Category Archives: learning

The guilt prison.

I’ve been lamenting this topic for awhile now – both personally and experiencing it around me, at the studio, on social media, amongst friends.

The guilt prison.

The self-imposed guilt *we* put on ourselves – whether it be to get in that workout, run faster, longer, more, push through a cold, jam in a zillion errands into an hour because you’re racing the clock to your next meeting, commitment, plans etc. or any ‘imaginary’ self-imposed deadline you put against yourself – because it’s usually either a) unrealistic, or does not *need* a set timeframe or deadline to complete. We just put that on ourselves as a deadline, which then in turns to unnecessary pressure, unnecessary stress and ultimately? The guilt prison.

Because we didn’t meet that imaginary deadline or goal or number we were trying to reach.

So we guilt ourselves, we turn to negative self talk, we beat ourselves up, or even worse, still try to find a way to meet this ‘deadline’ or (usually unrealistic or unnecessary goal), even if our heart, mind, or body isn’t really into it, but our minds take over and tell ourselves we need to do such-and-such or we are a failure.

I realize I am speaking in the proverbial ‘we’ when I am of course talking about myself, BUT I am also talking about seeing this in action just about everywhere I look, lately.

The negativity, the pressure, the anxiety – and all of it? Completely and absurdly unnecessary. Completely arbitrary. Completely self-imposed ‘deadlines.’

For what?

What do we accomplish by guilting ourselves into doing things vs. doing them out of intention and because we truly WANT to?

Absolutely nothing. 

The guilt prison is entirely draining and self-fulfilling, really, too. And partially because whatever we’ve set our minds to, is sometimes too much, or motivated by the wrong reasons, so it will naturally fail, as a result.

5e854ace1c41ff3afe31ff66716e6d77For me, it goes back to intention – my word for 2014 – and doing things out of want, not because I ‘need’ to or because I feel a need to keep up with a certain routine, but literally because I want to. This could be social plans, plans with family, a b9 class, a run,  or even food. Eat out of intention. Do out of intention. Work (out) with intention.

Strip away the guilt. Get back to basics. Let’s break free from this guilt prison. I know for one, I am entirely exhausted of it, from my own tendencies too, and my natural inclination to do more, more, more, when sometimes less and simpler is truly best. I am ready to shed this inclination fully and finally, and I hope if you struggle with this, you will work towards a guilt-FREE life, along with me.

After a crazy week, it’s just okay.

It’s been an exceptionally crazy week.

One of those weeks where I realized stuff has to give, and it’s just okay. 

In my journey towards letting go, loosening my death grip on routine and perfectionism and putting undue pressure on myself (there’s enough pressure in this world, why do I add MORE to it?!), it was one of those weeks where I had to put my money where my mouth is.

And not stress the extra laundry (gasp!), stray dish or two in the sink for more than an hour (gasp! gasp!), or class I wanted to take (today, but after an especially trying two days, I just have nothing left, so I let this go too).

And step back, take a moment to sneak in a few extra intimate moments with M this morning, since we’ve been ships passing in the night (our sole dinner together was Monday night, sadly), and embrace the time we did have this week – running outside twice together, a few extra mushy IMs or texts during the day, an extra ‘I love you’ or two.

It was also a chance for me to take a step back and reset my focus, and reinvigorate things at work. Though the last two days, in particular were mentally and physically tiring (just long days out of my comfy cozy home office, big meetings and lots of them), I came away from it feeling a bit more energized, and if that’s not a good sign, I am not sure what is, when it comes to work.

It was also a chance for me to test my patience in all things sickies. Last week, the stomach bug that had me appreciating what rest does, and this week? A cold that would not relent. The snot just wouldn’t stop coming. So.much.snot. Gross, I know, but seriously, it was of epic proportions. And it added an extra layer of stress to my two days of meetings where I felt less than professional with my box of tissues, raw nose, hoarse voice and cough. But I made it through, I took it day by day and I didn’t try to do too much. I know it made a huge difference to the severity of this cold (for as much snot as there was, I didn’t ‘feel’ that sick, thankfully!).

I am feeling ridiculously relieved as the week comes to a close, and pleasantly surprised at what letting go and practicing what I preach has done for me this week. I think that deserves a cheers or two, or three, don’t you? 😉

I can’t relax.

I know, I know, it’s not really a newsflash or anything.

But today, during a much needed massage (I rarely get them and when I do, I instantly wonder why I don’t more often!), I realized I cannot relax. I tense my shoulders, I close my eyes but they aren’t really that relaxed, sleepy shut, they are shut but still somewhat tense, and while I eventually relax, it’s usually near the end of the massage that I really feel like I’ve ‘succumbed’ to the massage and my body feels limp and serene.

I use that as an example, a very real one, at that, and my seeming inability to loosen up (literally and figuratively!) and let go. It is *that* ingrained in me, to be go, go, go, that really relaxing, without something on my mind, a list, a reminder to do something, clutter I want to clear off the table etc. It’s always something.

I do it with my workouts. (that is changing though, as I’ve written about here most recently and a top priority for me to revamp my mindset and stick with my ‘smarter, not harder!’ mindset and actually believe it when I do it, not do it and then harp on it for hours after, silly self guilt!).

I do it with M. Yep, I do. And I hate it. Sometimes I just want to let go more around him, let him take the lead, release more. In every way (ahem). To melt into his hugs always, and not for just a moment. Whenever I catch myself rushing through THAT, I literally want to slap myself. Who does that?

I do it with work. This has gotten better, but it still happens. I have this PR agency mentality (everything must be done…YESTERDAY. every deadline, everything, faster, faster, do it, do it) that I still haven’t shaken after three years *not* working at an agency, and I catch myself rushing through editing something, or writing something, or replying to an email. I need to relax in this way too. Take more time to think about a response. No knee jerk reaction. No let’s see how fast I can get this done and impress my boss…but at what cost? Quality? Stress? Self-imposed deadlines are my nemesis.

I need to relax. I need to keep this high on my list for 2014, the year of intention. It just must be done. Who doesn’t relax during a massage?! I mean, come on!! 😉

363fa4362f345a1973ce9deb7efcb613Boy, was that an a-ha moment today, that unfurled a slew of other ways I don’t ‘relax’ in my life. and it’s food for thought for me as we head into the first official work week of the year. Game face on…

Nailed it 2013 (and what to nail in 2014)

I loved this idea for a post that Christine wrote and thought I would do my own little take on it, partially as a look back at the year, but also reflecting on areas ‘to nail’ in 2014. Not so much goals, but moreso in the quest of my ‘perfectly imperfect’ journey.

What I’ve nailed in 2013?

Let’s see, I think I’ve done a pretty good job with these, but you’ll notice some of them show up in the ‘what to nail’ list below, and hey, that’s okay. Some of these are ongoing and reminders to me constantly.

  1. Nixing the numbers fixation. I struggled with this a LOT in 2012 and the early part of 2013. From weight, to miles, to food, to everything. I felt compelled to quantify everything, when really, who cares? Who am I competing against but myself, and even then, why is it a competition? It’s not, so cut the sh*t and just live.
  2. Learning to let go. This is a work in progress, but I do feel like I’ve made some big strides here. This really ties in to number one, above, too, because part of my numbers fixation is all about control and *not* letting go. And I am trying to apply this to all areas of my life, including my marriage, because I never want to fall into the trap of constantly nagging, complaining, nitpicking over seriously non-issues, when there is a man that loves me for me, that would do anything for me, that lets E-V-E-R-Y-thing roll off his back and yet, I sit there, uptight and nudgy half the time. That’s ridiculous and not even worth it. So I am learning. And trying to step back, breathe, and then react.
  3. Balancing the ‘me’ workouts with those I teach at barre n9ne. I think every instructor or trainer must face this at one point or another, how to balance their own ‘me’ workouts with those they teach. At first, I tried to keep my usual barre/running routine *and* my classes (which could range anywhere from 6-9 classes a week), but that quickly became a ‘HARDER, not SMARTER’ routine and I was getting nowhere. So I stopped taking classes and just taught them, and ran. And that didn’t feel quite right either, because the first time I took a class in a month, I felt AMAZING after and I realized how much I missed TAKING classes, not just teaching them. So I found my balance in taking a couple of classes a week – less if I taught more, more if I taught less, as schedule allowed – and I think it has not only made me stronger and feel more fit, it has made me a better instructor. I can weave in new combinations of moves I observe other instructors do while I take their class, I realize how certain moves stacked with others tire the body (in a good way) and think about new ideas for my own class structures, and it just lets my mind roam and feel the workout in a way that I don’t feel when I am teaching, and making sure clients are in proper form etc.
  4. Prioritizing.  This has been HUGE for me. I was feeling so rush-rush-rush and busy all.the.time until I started saying no. Until I started prioritizing and putting my time where it mattered most, not spread so thin that I barely enjoyed any of it. I am definitely keeping this one on the list for 2014 and beyond, because prioritizing is truly the simplest way to happiness.
  5. Marrying M. I file this under ‘nailed it’ because, six months ago today, I married the man I was meant to be with, and with each day that passes, I realize more I love about M, more qualities that I adore about him, and more I want to explore and learn together in our marriage. And in the literal sense, I married M in the most perfect way for us than I could have ever imagined. Quietly. Small. In a place that we love, Healdsburg. What more could we have asked for? Bliss.

What to nail in 2014…

  1. Letting go. This is one I have just started to ‘feel’ happening, the change towards letting go and not being so damn particular about things, and I am excited to see it continue to take shape in 2014. It’s been worth it to step back, to release control, especially in my marriage with M, to give that to him more, since he is so laid back and easy about life, the ‘control’ tends to shift to me, and I don’t always think that is best, because it just feeds into my type A-ness and not the good qualities of being type A. And it allows me to sit back and slow down more, when I let go, observe and BE.
  2. Not taking others’ actions so personally. This one has reared its ugly head in the last oh, six months or so, and it’s driving me crazy. There are a few instances of things that have happened in my life that I took SO damn personally and stepping back, they truly had nothing to do with me, as a friend, employee, person. Yet I allowed it to attack my psyche, to bring me down, to draw out the cattiness and some resentment. And those are  ugly qualities. No more. I draw the line here.
  3. Allowing imperfection (more). Dirty dishes, being late (oh this one drives me crazy, but once in awhile, is being say, 5 mins late, for example, the worst thing and reason to get all bent over? uhh no.), changing plans or course of action. Letting these things happen. Letting go, per #1 as above 😉
  4. Stop the comparison trap for good. I really DID nix this one almost entirely this year – tying into the numbers fixation issue I mentioned above, but once in awhile, it still comes back. And it again brings about ugly traits, jealousy, bitterness, frustration. And I am NOT that person. So I vow to rid myself of this need to compare, compare, compare. This isn’t a competition or a race. Compare to nobody, not even yourself.
  5. Slowing down. I have LOVED the slowdown challenge and getting into The In-Between, I just drink up the words and want to sear them into memory forever. There is just so much you see, learn and experience when you slow down, strip away the complications, and keep it simple. It’s truly amazing.

So, there you have it…some things I’ve nailed in 2013 and more I plan to nail in 2014, along with living with intention, of course. What I found most interesting in putting this list together, is how many of them tie together so well, and the themes that rise out of these – simplicity, balance, and embracing. I’d say that’s the only way to live, don’t you?

Living with intention.

My last post touched on this a bit, on authenticity and being our own people, but this is truly my goal for 2014, 1000%.

Intention. Purposeful living. Honesty. Reality.

Doing what I say I am going to do, not *just* saying it and striving for it, but doing it. That means more slowing down, more simplicity, more back-to-basics.

It means *not* striving for perfection but excellence and actually standing behind those words and actions. Walking the walk. Easing up on myself more, letting go, relaxing the rules sometimes – more often than a once-in-awhile. Less rigidity, more fluidity.  <–this is TOUGH for me.

It means being honest. Even when honesty is the hardest route, but the right one.  I struggle with being upfront. It is far easier to just let stuff fester, to ‘let it roll’ when that’s the last thing I should be doing (in some instances…when in others, my (in)ability to ‘let it roll’ steals my own joy).

Living with intention also means being nicer. Yep, being nicer. Sometimes, I am not so nice. I get bitchy. I get nitpicky. I get – wait for it – naggy. And those are ugly traits. I don’t want to be that way. But I get that way when I hold stuff in, when I get too uptight and when I try to be everything to everyone. And I refuse to do that anymore. It’s just not worth it. To me, AND to those around me. It cheats everyone in my life, to be honest.

While last year I determined 2013 to be the year to ‘just be’ – and I think I lived up to that in a pretty good sense, there is still work to be done in the first category I mentioned – being still and believing in myself. And I think intention has a lot to do with that, being purposeful in the changes I want to make – in my thinking, in my actions and in my words.

So…that’s where I am heading, mentally, into 2014. I plan to post more on this as the new year comes about, but as this topic is actually more the one I thought about just as I drifted to sleep the other night (and I finally remembered it!!), I wanted to chronicle it before it drifted off yet again.e51b150511a762284bbc067745f37440

It feels empowering to live with intention…it ties together everything I stand behind and want to embody: authenticity, balance, and a less-is-more mentality. Because when you do one thing well, it is 100x better than doing 10 things just ‘meh.’