If you’re like me you’re probably working double time these days in all areas of your life and perhaps not seeing the results you expected. Is that happening to you? It’s certainly happening to me. I’ve fallen into the valley of diminishing returns and now must build a staircase and climb out.
This week I forced myself to look at my day-to-day and even hour-to-hour habits to see where I can plug a few energy leaks.
Exhibit A: I eat sensibly and work out often, yet yesterday a friend whom I’ve not seen at the gym in two years leaned close and whispered, “are you pregnant again?” This guy is a good observer with the keen eyes of an ex-cop and yet he did the stupid thing, he asked a woman if she was pregnant… I had to admit something painful. Two years ago I was pregnant, the baby made it almost five months but I lost it. I’m an older mom and I know that was my last baby. The same weekend I was miscarrying, my mother-in-law, whom I loved dearly, called to say she was terminally ill (she died five-weeks later). I was on autopilot after that for many months.
For some reason the weight I gained just won’t leave because I’m hanging on to it. It really didn’t bother me, in fact it was a comfort but I clearly saw through my friend’s eyes that I needed to let the emotional weight go regardless of what happens to my real weight. I had my revenge. I dragged my friend into his first yoga class and was gratified to see him sweating so hard his hair stuck to his scalp. That will teach him to ask a chubby woman if she’s pregnant…
Exhibit B: There’s a harsh irony in this next point. This week at my husband’s request and for the first time, I actually logged the hours I spent reading and answering emails on the loops, writing blogs or visiting other blogs and commenting. Guess what? I logged 15+ hours, and last week was a “light” week. I often spend more time on this stuff. 15 hours is a part time job. I realized that at the slow rate I work those 15 hours would be better-spent writing or giving a few quality hours back to my family.
Exhibit C: Last Thursday I attended a special Autumnal Equinox yoga class that began with a breathing mediation on our inner fire and mentally stoking that fire to a roaring blaze. The instructor then asked us to toss anything into the fire that we couldn’t bear to carry any longer. What followed was a killer-hard extremely physical class that left everyone drenched with sweat and a few people in (cathartic) tears. Holding a few of the more difficult poses with my limbs trembling, the instructor would walk past and say, “If I asked you to stay in this position all day what would you give up?”
It was a great question to ask. What was weighing me down? The first thing that popped into my head was “Emotional scar tissue”. I had to let it go. The second thing was “Unrealistic expectations”. Believe it or not that one was more difficult to let go because unrealistic expectations are so strongly connected to hopes, fantasies and goals, which are all wonderful things except for the “unrealistic” part… Surprisingly, real responsibilities felt featherlight because I knew they were necessary. It was only the unnecessary burdens that caused drag.
This week has left me with a new manifesto to stop wasting my limited energy and time and find ways to reclaim a little progress in my life and push forward. These are challenging times and it’s a safe bet they aren’t close to being finished with us. I can sense another big wave of adjustments on the near horizon.
In this season of harvest, unburdening and shifting gears, I dare you to be honest and comment about a draining or unnecessary thing you are willing to let go of.