A little over a year ago, I had lost my job of 12 years, leaving me feeling powerless, directionless and anxious. I was stunned. After a reasonable spell of self-pity, self-doubt and self-abuse involving laying on the couch in my pj’s crying and watching Magnum PI re-runs for days on end, I decided to take the time that was given me to make some changes. I had been wishing to get off the treadmill, wishing to have more time for myself and my family and to put my energy toward work that felt truly meaningful. Here was my chance. I was determined not to waste the opportunity to shift the way I was living. And like all projects that I head, I went at it with gusto.
Make a list:
- Design a new career that draws on your passions and natural abilities. It will be wonderful. BE immediately, insanely successful at this thing.
- Get healthy: lose 60 pounds, master yoga, run 5K and for god’s sake quit eating stuff.
- Organize the house and all occupants therein.
- Be happy.
- Visualize all of this and make it happen.
Break list down into actionable goals with timeline and boxes for check marks so that you can monitor your progress and feel the success. Ignore the fact that you are feeling worse and keep at it, this is your time to flourish!! Post some positive affirmations all over the place to convince yourself that you are wonderful.
Ok, so I have anxiety, now. Panic attacks, a little social anxiety. How am I going to fix this?? Um, Meditation, exercise, give up caffeine, take yoga and relax, come on relax. Why isn’t this working!!?? I’m doing everything on my list. I’ve read articles, books and blogs. I should be healthy by now. I should be happy by now. Why isn’t everything perfect, like I said?? I have the Kate Spade ‘You are so beautiful’ wallpaper on my phone!
Yesterday, in the middle of one of those really important conversations with my best buddy, I worked it all out. I was feeling unsatisfied with my personal redesign because I had overworked it, over planned it, made it so specific that the chances for unexpected joy or success in a form different to my visualized dream were lost to me. In my focus on my list, I lost the magic and the heart of what I wanted. I was too focused on my goals.
And this morning, I am meditating, sitting still, concentrating on my breath and thinking about cranberry sauce and Christmas presents. ‘Thinking, thinking, thinking’ I say to myself in an attempt to return to quiet and then… ‘What shall I write for this week’s blog post?’ just as the bell dings to signal the end of the meditation, I giggle and think, ‘thank god that’s over, I’ve got stuff to check off my list’.