If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this post:
I had about a zillion (give or take) ideas that I wanted to write. As is so often the case, I felt like everything had to be done before anything could be done.
Once again, I had found myself trapped by my nemesis, perfectionism (and its side-kick, anxiety).
In my quest to Do All The Things, I started working on one task — until something reminded me of another urgent task. I flew from flower to flower, attempting to select THE task that would lead me to acceptability. Which one was it? What task was the (singular) Very Most Important Thing?Perfectionism, anxiety, and a happiness plan
I am on a quest to be free of this beast, but freeing oneself from a life-long pattern is not a one-and-done activity. Repetition is required for learning and for un-learning. Fortunately (?) I am not short of opportunities to practice.
The #WritingCommunity on Twitter offered me some techniques to break out of my hamster wheel-like thought process. (Thanks, @LauraLizBuckley, @JamesPrescott, and @SDHoward3, for taking the time to answer my tweet for help!)
While I made good progress on about three different posts, I still didn’t have one ready to edit and schedule. It looked as though I had a LOOOOONG day on the hamster wheel ahead of me.
Instead of this, the Universe, with all of its vast wisdom, provided for me.
No, it did not provide the perfect formulation of words for me to pour through my keyboard. I actually thought it had.
A friend of mine made a Facebook post that sparked ideas for what I THOUGHT I was going to publish this week. I sat down to my computer, ready to tap out my thoughts on compassion, polarization, politics, and neutrality.
Suddenly, I heard a sound that struck fear into my heart.
My mother had fallen in the next room. (Spoiler alert: she was not seriously injured.)
In order to explain why this sound aroused such dread, I shall share a little of my mom’s history with you:
- She has osteoarthritis
- She has osteoporosis
- She has had one hip replaced
- She has had one knee replaced
- She fell on the ice this past March and sustained a compression fracture in two vertebrae
- She is scheduled to have her second hip replaced later this month
Also, nearly everything I have written about my organization skills and clutter-acquiring habits could just as easily have been written by her.
The Universe was not dictating to me what I should publish this week. Instead, it was reminding me of what matters most in my life.
Today, I shall not document my thoughts on any of the topics inspired by a Facebook post. Nor shall I attempt to Write All The Things. I’ll not even try to select the (singular) very best thing to write.
Today, the Universe forcibly removed me from my hamster wheel. (Thank you, Universe!) It showed me that the most important use of my time right now is helping my mother prepare herself and her living area for her surgery and her recovery.
Beat back the blues
Clearly, you matter to me, too. I wouldn’t even have a blog if I didn’t want to help people to live their best lives. So, now that I have shared what I needed to learn, I shall revisit an older post, Beat Back the Blues.
In it, I wrote a list of things I do when I find myself in a funk.
- Wash your face. Brush your teeth. Put on moisturizer. You’re worth your own care!
- Put on some tunes. Dance if you can manage it.
- Affirmations rock. Make a list of positive statements, written in the present tense as though they are already happening for you. Say them out loud. Believe them! (Even if you don’t realize it, your subconscious believes you when you say things. Feed it the good stuff!)
- Remind yourself of your brilliance. (You are amazing! )
- Get some sun (or light therapy).
- Meditate/pray/talk to the Universe/journal. Get it out where you can see it.
- Let go of responsibility for everything.
- Remember: There are no big monsters! Only tiny monsters pretending.
- On the topic of little monsters, do 5-10 short easy tasks. Put away that pen. Take out the trash. Deal with and delete an email or two.
- Swallow the damn frog. Most of the time it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be — even if it is, it will be done instead of looming.
- Take a nap. “It’s okay to have a bad day. Just don’t unpack and live there.”
Since writing this post, I have elaborated on a number of these thoughts. I’m including excerpts that seem most relevant to me but feel free to link into any that call out to you.
You are worth your own care
Discovering what you can control can be as easy as taking a quick and dirty personal inventory. Have you had nourishment lately? Energy drinks don’t count, people. Are you cold? Put on a sweater. Hot? Switch on the fan. Have you moved your body in the last hour? Stand up and walk around even if it’s only for a couple of minutes. Our bodies need us to tend to them. When we’re wrapped up in something that demands a lot of attention, sometimes we lose sight of the signals we’re getting. If they are left ignored, though, the stress adds up fast. It’s amazing how much better we can feel with only a few minutes of basic self-care.A not-so-secret happiness hack
You really are brilliant
The moment you focus on something good about yourself is the moment you are building your best self. The harder this exercise is for you, the more important it is for you to do it. The easier this exercise grows for you, the brighter you shine in the Universe around you. This is not merely accepting yourself; it is embracing your part of Everythingness.The value of you
There’s no such thing as a big monster
There’s no such thing as a big monster. Everything that looks like a big monster is really a pile of little monsters trying to look scary. Take each little monster one at a time and defeat it. Pick one thing you can do, and do it immediately. Then pick another one. It doesn’t matter if it’s the absolute best thing you could choose to do. Doing something is better than being paralyzed by fear of the “big monster” and doing nothing. Keep on picking little things that you can do. As the little monsters fall, you start to see the illusion of the big monster as the reality made up of little monsters. The little monsters fear YOU because you can defeat each one easily. They gather together in fear to try to scare you instead in order to survive. Don’t let them.The Tiny Monsters Speech, courtesy of my favorite project manager
(Seriously, folks. If you ever find yourself overwhelmed by almost anything, read through the Tiny Monsters post. The speech alone is massively helpful, and I broke it down into all of its pieces. Also, there’s a Back to the Future reference, and it’s worth a look just for that.)
Just swallow the frog
Swallow the frog first. It comes from a couple of quotes by Mark Twain: “ If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.” “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” So tackle the thing on your to do list you least want to do. You’ll feel ever so much better once it’s done.Beat back the blues
The rest of the items on the list don’t have their own posts yet, though they certainly will someday. If you have any great thoughts on blues-busting, drop me a line!
Brightest blessings to you all, Sunny
Let’s keep in touch!