365 Days of Small Decisions
"What if I told you that one year from today, you could be living your dreams, but (there's always a "but") it would mean that every day between now and then you would have to choose your destiny; in other words, that there are at least 365 choices standing between your dream and its coming true?" - Sarah Ban Breathnach
Thursday, September 1, 2011
10 Lessons I learned about myself in 365 Days:
1. Fear is my fuel. I have learned that if I feel fear, the best thing for me to do is ACT. However, I am also like that loud mouth dink next to you on the roller coaster. You know the one... screaming over and over, "Why did I do this?!" "OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod!!!!!" only to be followed swiftly by lip curling Edvard Munch screaming, then raucous laughter, finishing with a languid denouement of rhapsodic delight.
2. Fear makes for good fuel, and so does devotion. What can I say, but the 365 day envelope contained me and sustained me. The commitment I made to testing the theory became less about the theory and more about the commitment... if that makes much sense to you.
3. Ego toys with your modesty when you are a writer, pulling down your emotional pants. I had many instances of deleting what I had written and then reinstating it, because my inner critic was afraid at times to tell the naked truth. I learned about ego a lot this year, especially when I became result-oriented and not process-oriented, or if I thought about what y'all were thinking instead of remembering to stay in the process of plumbing and spilling.
4. I am capable of more than I have given myself credit for. Small choices were actually very hard choices, as I fought not only old self-limiting habits, but mental paradigms that were like walls I had to scale, you know, repeatedly.
5. Solitude awakens, and that can mean that you feel stronger or more fragile. It all depends. I learned, best not to fear solitude, but embrace it, welcome it in, make it tea, be curious about it. Solitude soon becomes your greatest teacher.
6. Never deny yourself what makes your soul sing, even if others who matter to you judge you harshly. The phrase 'most of us die with our music still in us, unsung' tells a common story. My father's legendary intention to go to Spain but his inability to allow himself that kind of 'luxury' is how I grew up. My mother's fear of following her own path is what I learned. It was challenging to lay claim to what I wanted because it was easy to fall prey to the outside judgement of selfishness. I will never hesitate to feed my soul's desires again.
7. Women are people before they are mothers... the tendency is to deny oneself what one needs. Motherhood does not eclipse personhood. I see that one of my roles as a mother is to show my children how to be dream chasers. I'd rather they remember me with my head thrown back laughing, arms widespread celebrating life than any other way. Besides, I doubt they'll remember my cooking...
No child benefits from watching their parents live small.
8. Forgiveness is a daily thing. Even if I had 365 shots, I had to clean the slate and not get tense about what hadn't happened.
9. After you leap comes the flight, not the fall... Next time, I will spend far less time wondering what the crash might feel like if I leap, and focus on what the flight will feel like instead.
10. Yes is the only word you need in your pocket. I checked my stats all the time because it gave me a real charge to see who was reading me and where. I was humbled and energized when I came to see that the number one blog post that was read was entitled Surrounded by Yes. It wasn't a particularly brilliant post at all, but the word YES was the beacon that called. And really, what was I doing the entire year but saying yes to my own deepest desires... and isn't that the whole point of living fully?
It ain't over till the fat lady sings.
Stay tuned for a few more thoughts on Ban Breathnach's theory- and then hold on tight. I have news.