Every January, an onslaught of productivity products is slewn at us in an effort to convince us that we can be a better version of ourselves...if we just buy whatever they are selling.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of goal setting and organizational stuff~ I’ve purchased programs and books, listened to podcasts, watched videos and participated in challenges galore.
There’s really a lot of good stuff out there, and I know this because I’ve experimented with so much of it.
I’ve also used a whole lotta time and energy perusing for more and different and new things as though what I really need...the thing that will actually get things happening is out there.
But it’s not.
Well, maybe it is, but I probably don’t need it because I already have what i need to get things done and make things happen.
I have a spirit of a dreamer and a functioning and creative brain to help me figure out how to make those dreams come true. I have paper and pens to make lists a plenty, and internet access, shelves of books and a library card to research and learn what I need. I a phone and friends and family who are smart and know people and things.
And whether I like to admit or not, I actually DO have time to work on things~ the time I spend looking at new planners and journals~ the time I spend earning money to pay for them~ the time I get sidetracked and look at 5 million other things that have nothing to do with getting me closer to my goals~ yeah….that time.
I know it’s a crazy idea, but I could use that time to actually work towards the things I’m saying I want.
And even though I’m not a gambler, I’d bet YOU probably already have a good deal of what you need too.
Why we as humans or as westerners are convinced we need some outside source or product or expert run program and can’t do things on our own is a mystery.
As a species, we’ve gotten pretty far. As a society, we’ve traveled, explored, developed and created. (Some have also destroyed and pillaged along the way, but that’s another essay) Somewhere along the line, many of us have become complacent and dependant on outside validation.
We’ve lost faith in ourselves.
We’ve become addicted to distraction.
Maybe the fear of actually realizing we are letting the precious gift of our lives and our freedom pass us by paralyzes us into seeking any means of avoiding the truth?
Even if it’s watching other people live their lives instead of actually enjoying going out and living our own, or convincing ourselves that WE ARE actually doing something by buying and consuming (or buying and ignoring) products to guide us on our path, but never actually making any progress on that path.
I’m not bashing the self help industry because I know it does a lot of good, and I’ve benefited plenty from it myself.
But I am saying that at some point, we should look at what we actually are doing~ analyzing and planning are great and so is having help, but eventually you gotta just do what you need to do.
And you’ve gotta realize that you can procrastinate and deflect all over the place, but you actually already have what you need right inside you.
It might not be all you need. In fact, it might barely be a smidgen of a tiny bit in the general direction.
But, it’s something and it matters.
And it’s worth focusing your attention on long enough to actually get something out of it.
In a world where a bazillion new, shiny and different options are at our fingertips, we’d all do well to just sit down and start working with what we’ve got~ to use that up and make the best of it, and along the way, we’d probably realize what else we actually do need and a whole lot more things that we don’t need at all.
And if you believe that what you tell the universe matters (which I do), you’d be sending out the message that you’re not just wanting to think, but to actually do something about making stuff happen.
Whether it’s a trip to Europe or a night in your backyard in a tent with your kid, writing a blog post or a book, whatever it is, the most likely way to get there is by taking a step.
Put down the map, quit buying new ones, and just take a friggen step.
You can always pick the map back up or buy another one if you really find you need it. But you also might find that your destination didn’t even require anything beyond your internal compass and some tools that you already had on hand.
For today, just take a step already.
In the weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays, my jolly spirit seemed to have run away and I found myself lost someplace between extreme blues, uninspired “bleh” and all out annoyed as heck.
It was the time of year when I would normally be spinning like a crazed dreidel pulling together joy and magic for the holidays, but not this year.
There were times when I wondered if I was on the edge of flipping my shizzle sticks.
Well, truthfully, I did completely flip them several times in the weeks leading up to the holidays, and at certain points, I even wondered if they were lost altogether.
As a lifelong ponderer, I’m unable to be content just chalking it up to hormones or low blood sugar.
For me, the magic of celebrations is a really big deal, and not having the energy or even the inclination to deal with them was….well...kinda freaky.
It had been really cold, dark and rainy, and I’m fairly sure that I am not genetically designed for that. I know that Northern California cold of 40 degrees is not quite like Midwest cold of minus 12 billion degrees, but the people who live there are simply hardier than me in that way. I would just cease motion, give into the pain and die within 15 minutes of going outside in that kind of frigid hell.
Anyhoo, I know winter is hard on me and definitely dampens my mental state. Another thing that wa hard on me is that this was the first Christmas in 18 years (AKA, her entire LIFE) that I have spent without my Girl Child. She’ was a world away in Ecuador, with her host family.
Lastly, the holidays are just hard because they trigger all sorts of issues about family and money and gifts and celebrations and expectations. And when you’re pulling together somewhat unfamiliar people in unknown scenarios, it’s even harder.
It’s hard to be all “Let’s make holiday magic” when the utility bill has quadrupled, you are tired and deprived of natural daylight, and juggling things that you don’t really want to juggle, but are pretty sure if you stop, they will crash and shatter into 40,000 pieces that you will have to clean up yourself because most people aren’t inclined to take the lead and just take care of a mess, no matter how friggen obvious it is.
And also, even though I still totally loved the idea of holiday sparkle and magic, and my heart was sorely missing that, the sad reality was that not everyone thinks the same things are magic as I do, and the thought of pulling together a dissapointment was exhausting.
So, it kind of felt like there was a good chance that I could sew and bake and create away making things from my heart, or spend all kinds of money on things or experiences I think would be rad, but there was no guarantee that the recipients would like them or even care.
And all of that was rather depressing, and not so inspiring at all.
So, I found myself here in the season of giving, feeling like I had not much to give at all. It’s not as though I was completely impoverished in creativity or time or funds. I knew I was blessed to have enough of each of those areas, but to me, holiday giving is supposed to be from the heart, and my heart felt depleted.
And also, I was missing my kid.
I’m actually super happy for her and proud that she has worked so hard to create the opportunities she has to adventure out in the wonderful wide world, AND that she is brave enough to take advantage of them, and competent to thrive, but still, my home feels weird.
Adding to the whole partial Grinch thing I was feeling is realizing that there had also been a number of small thorns in my mojo that I tried ignoring or being sensitive about, thinking I could just work around,them, and always hoping they would find their own way out of my well being.
But they didn’t.
They went deeper and deeper inside and even when you couldn’t see them on the surface, they were there. After enough festering and neglect, they got infected and eventually a whole lotta toxicity burst out of me in the form of head spinning, fire breathing extreme meanness.
Anyone who has experienced the kind of out of body experience where you’ve lost your mind due to being soooooooo mad knows that it’s like watching someone else yelling and thinking “Sheesh. You need to calm the heck down, Lady.” (my guess is many, if not most, parents have had this happen, whether they can admit it or not)
Anyway, that in and of itself is exhausting and did not contribute at all to my being able to pull off holiday happiness.
I guess the good news is that I at least try to learn and grow from my mistakes, and I worked to take measures to avoid any more of such ugliness. In this case, it meant talking directly to the people around me about what was going on, delegating some of the weight off of my shoulders, taking care of myself better and taking steps to put myself in a better space.
My Partner is a Wise Man and he mentioned that perhaps I don’t have to be sad about not having the energy to make holiday magic….that maybe it’s not all on me to come up with things and that maybe I could just try to be open to letting it happen on it’s own.
“You mean, like don’t try to pull it all together myself??? Just wait and see?”
I’m pretty sure I stared at him in disbelief for about 5 minutes after that.
Honestly, that crazy thought never crossed my mind.
The thing was, he was kinda right and the magic of the season did happen without a whole lot intervention on my part.
Sure we bought a lot of food, because that always helps everything and we worked together to find gifts that felt right for people~ with support by my side, I wasn’t too Grinchy for that.
The thing was, I just did what I could in the easiest and most low stress way and let go of any expectations about how it would actually turn out.
And it all turned out pretty darn nicely.
No, it wasn’t like some happy, made for TV Christmas special where we all laughed and sang carols, sipping hot cocoa by the fireside.
It was more like an oddball bunch of semi, but not entirely blended people eating tamales from Costco and way too many sugary things, playing games and watching Netflix with a few outside excursions thrown in.
And that in and of itself, was magical enough for me.
A lot of people wished for a white Christmas. I was just glad that mine wasn’t as blue as I thought it would be.
Since January 1st was a bit of a down feeling day for me, I’ve decided to do a re-do dance and start my new year a few days in.
(I love being at the stage in life where I have absolutely no qualms about knowing that I can do such things, like make January 2nd or even 8th the kick off to my New Year, because, well, why not?)
And perhaps due to my funky start / restart, as I’m looking ahead and dreaming and scheming about what I want in the New Year, I’m having to make a conscious effort to point my compass at what I actually DO want, rather than narrowing my eyes, judging and critiquing what I DON’T want.
I know it’s important to be aware of what we don’t want, in order to avoid unconsciously slipping into it and all, but an excessive amount of time and energy spent on negativity never seems to propel people to anyplace positive.
And man oh man, can I generate some negativity if I let myself....especially when I have the winter funk.
So, I’m working on imagining my happy place(s) and the things that will make them such.
So, what DO I want in 2017?
I want lots more of the following:
And as the wise woman Danielle LaPorte would ask:
How do I want to feel?"
Well..... I want to feel:
Abundant and Prosperous~ not just in monetary matters and material goods, but in love, friendships, and in the ever so precious commodity of time.
Peaceful~ unclenched jaw, non furrowed forehead and Chill.
At Home~ like I’m in the right place, around the right people and doing the right things.
(You know how sometimes, things are just such an effort and you feel like no matter how hard you pedal, you’re still going uphill, and no matter what you give or try, it’s not right for the people you’re around or situation you’re in? Well, I want to avoid all that BS, and when I find myself working hard at something that is clearly NOT in my zone of genius or even competence, and the efforts aren’t panning out, I don’t want to keep wasting my efforts there. I would much rather let go of what isn’t for me and focus my energy on what I’m good at.
Whoopsie~ there I go being negative........Back to my Positive attitude~ (insert more re-do dancing...)
You know how sometimes, you’re with the right people and you feel so completely loved and accepted and that whatever you have to offer is not only appreciated, but is plenty? Well, that’s where I want to be and who I want to be around.)
Competent and Confident and Making a Difference~ I know putting myself in the right situations and settings where my greatest gifts are needed will help me to help others in the best possible ways (rather than struggling to do things I’m no good at or aren’t wanted or needed~ see my above detour into the dark side...)
Supported and Safe~ I'm realizing that partnerships are a dance, whether between lovers, friends, family members or business associates. After my divorce, I had the opportunity to figure out my own independent big girl life and to know that I’ve totally got this. And that was one amazing and awesome thing to come out of a very hard time in life.
Now, I’m learning how to do a healthy partnership where we actually work together on things.
Like it's not all up to me to fix everything in the world~ crazy concept, I know!!!
Where I want to be is knowing that yes, I've got this, but also that the people I'm with have got my back and if I need to take a break, or slack off, or even collapse, they will catch me and keep me upright. And, of course, I will do the same for them.
That's the good stuff...
So, I'm feeling pretty good about knowing how I want to feel and what I want to experience, and even better....I'm also feeling pretty good that I can pull it off.
I'm not rushing out to plan, but more marinading in the ideas and seeing where they take me.
Planning will happen, of course, and I will have 75 million colorful ways of tracking it, but for now, I'm just open to where I want this year to take me.
I hope the New Year beings you lots of joy, and I'd love to hear about your dreams and schemes in the comments below.
(If your year started off at all sucky, I encourage you to do your own re-do dance and start again. Shake it my friends!)
Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
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