Cultivating and designing a worthy life is a balance of the goodness you infuse it with, along with the boundaries you place that protect your joy. I thought I would share with you some of the things I decided to stop doing, which I have found to be just as critical as the things I do do.
I don’t lay in bed at night and “think about stuff”
I made a conscious decision to stop doing this a few years ago, and I have never looked back. I came to the conclusion that ruminating on my past didn’t elevate my state of mind, and it didn’t serve my growth. If left to it’s own devices, my mind would start dismantling my peace, replay regretful memories, start working through anxiety riddled lists of things I need to do, or haven’t done or should have done better, until the prospect of falling asleep would disappear into the horizon.
But protecting my peace of mind, wasn’t the only reason why I decided to stop doing this. I also realized that spending too much time and energy lost in thought about the past or the future was a futile and wasteful thing to do with my time. It only strengthens my imagination, not my clarity. The only thing we really have right now is this moment. Everything else is our imagination.
The only exception I have to this rule, is when I find myself thinking of my first baby Mia. Though I think about her every day, I’m talking more specifically about that spiralling vortex of sorrow and heartbreak that grips my thoughts from time to time. It doesn’t happen all the time anymore, but occasionally it does. Grief is demanding and relentless. I honour my sadness and my journey through grief. Sometimes these episodes are triggered by looking at photographs of her, or just that time of my life; 6 months pregnant with dreams one day, and then 6 months pregnant with devastation the next. Sometimes it happens when I read the personal accounts of some of the loss-mama’s I follow on instagram, about their angel babies, and their story. I feel their pain and it just engulfs me.
But if I can choose not to fall into that rabbit hole at 1am, I will do my best not to. Sometimes I do, and it’s an opportunity to release some of the emotion. Other times I prefer not to, and I watch something lighthearted and fun, or talk to my friends who always uplift me somehow.
So what do you do when you’re laying in bed and trying to fall asleep? I hear you ask.
Well, I do this silly little thing that I refer to as “putting on my movie.” I close my eyes and allow my mind to play random images for me to “watch.” The rules of the game are:
- No words, no labelling, no narratives or thoughts to accompany the image. If you do this, you’ll just get more interested and more alert.
- No memories. I usually do not see myself in these images. These images are not usually ones I recognize either – they are not from memories of my life. When you use memories, you tend to get identified with what you are seeing.
Just close your eyes, and see the random images your mind shows you. Watch, and fall asleep!
I don’t say yes or no right away to a commitment (unless I am 1000% sure)
An unhappy yes is a no to yourself. I do not like doing things with a “nope” mind – the experience carries so much friction and unease.
I also don’t want to be forced to say yes or no because of the urgency of the moment, coupled with my desire to conform and please. I’d like to be more thoughtful and intentional about my commitments, so that I can do things joyfully and willingly.
I also want to save adding the explaining, the cancelling, the rescheduling, the apologizing, the worrying, and the disappointing to my to-do list:
Ain’t nobody got the time for that.
Now, I just say “Can I think about it, and get back to you?”
I don’t wait for a fresh start
I talked more about my addiction to that fresh start feeling in this post. Basically, I realized that I spend more time waiting for a fresh start than I do actually starting/doing things. To counteract this, I started creating multiple fresh starts in my life.
I get a fresh start every Monday – the beginning of a new week.
Wednesday – I could really use a mid week fresh start.
Friday – the beginning of the weekend!
On top of that, every single morning is a new day and a new chance to live the life I want, to be the person I want to be.
Within the day, I have a morning, an afternoon, and an evening. If my morning is unproductive and doesn’t go to plan, I get to try again at 12pm. And then again in the evening.
I give myself so many opportunities to succeed, and I do not allow my failures to become global, and take over the whole day, week, or month, or definitely not my year.
I don’t put off 5 minute tasks
I talked about how I put myself onto a procrastination challenge in this post, because I was habitually putting everything off. I now strive to never put off a task that can be completed in under 5 minutes – things like – putting away something, sending off a quick e-mail etc. It seems small, but these small 5 minute tasks do add up over time and contribute to our background level of stress.
I do not engage with shame
Shame is when someone takes your personal experience, infuses it with their prejudices, values, stories, beliefs and gives it back to you to carry.
It is not yours to carry. And you don’t have to.
There is a place for regret in my life. There are things I regret, lessons I’ve learned, things I would do differently if I had another chance.
Shame is a paralyzing emotion that serves to try to get you to NOT do “that thing” ever again. Shame is used to bury what doesn’t make sense to a person, to a community, to a culture. But I don’t want only to never repeat a mistake. I want to do better than that. I want to be better than that. You cannot be shamed into being better. You can only be compassionately uplifted into it. And that begins with myself.
I ignore remarks that attempt to shame me or make me feel bad about something. No one can make me feel anything without my permission. This is a difficult concept to employ in our lives, because I find that I can be so attached to the opinion of others. So I have chosen to begin here, with shame. It’s something that is easy to recognize once you know what to look for. And once I recognize it, I hear a little *ping* and I tell myself “it’s okay, this is not for you.” And I let it go and live my life a little bit lighter.
I would love to hear what things you don’t do that have helped you protect your peace and joy.
While I have you here – I wanted to let you know that I have not forgotten my youtube channel! As much I would love to devote all my time and energy into creating beautiful and valuable videos for you, I have to prioritize my upcoming exam for now. Writing blog posts is significantly easier than filming videos for youtube – maybe that’s because it’s still so new to me. I can write a blog post slowly over the course of a couple of weeks, collecting paragraphs here and there until it’s complete. Videos take more time, + set up, + for me to actually put on clothes and look presentable haha. Thank you for being so patient with me! I have lots and lots of ideas swimming around my head and in my notebook, and I can’t wait to bring them all to life when I can.
All my love,