One of the benefits of spending years in and out of therapy, processing thoughts through writing, and earning 15 credits taking pastoral counseling classes is gaining an array of tools to help navigate the ups and downs of life — not only gaining the tools but also an awareness that they exist; it is only up to me to decide when to use them. And still, sometimes I choose to stay stuck rather than sort through my toolbox to find the right pry bar to get me moving again. Allowing myself to be stuck is actually one of my most recently acquired tools — simply letting myself be where I am with no (well, with significantly less) judgment.
Not expecting to be my best self every day is one of the tools I found through meditation. Nothing in the world, in this life, stays the same. While you read this sentence the world is changing, you are changing. Our unreasonable expectation that we can figure out how to get happy, and then just keep doing that (whatever it is), and we’ll stay happy forever — that unrealistic expectation causes us neverending angst. Life ebbs and flows, so I’m working to set myself free of the notion that if I’m not feeling my best, something must need to be fixed. Thus, in these few weeks of waning motivation, I’ve been practicing not fixing but, instead, being and observing.
Rather than prioritizing working through my list of healthy habits, I have watched them fall away, lately: I go outside less frequently, don’t write as much, stopped meditating, don’t even come close to getting my steps in, have been staying up way too late, and of course, that’s not all. I’ve seen it happening in real-time but have decided to observe the cycle and try no to judge it — or myself.
Having patience with myself has allowed room for reflection: I remember at this time a year ago, I felt accomplished and energetic. I had just completed a certificate in Pastoral Studies, my sister and I had participated in a writing workshop together, my husband and I were about to embark on our first-ever cruise, I had a sassy new haircut, and wore funky earrings every day.
It’s not difficult to see things are different for all of us lately. For me, this year’s writing workshop was scrubbed (and simultaneously a weekend away with my sister), our exotic vacation has floated beyond the horizon, and my overgrown hair renders even the funkiest earrings inconsequential. I see now that any expectation I have harbored that this summer will feel anything like the last is absurd, which only ratchets up the aforementioned angst.
Having recognized that, I also admit that I’m getting tired of feeling tired, so I’m rummaging around for a new tool: the ink-filled pry bar that nudges me along, word by word, finally compelling me to take action. So, I’m calling my hair-stylist, then I’m calling my therapist. Then I’m going to write some more.