My lovely sister in law has a great way of describing things succinctly that still makes me laugh. Recently, she described her last month of awfulness as not being helped by her sitting in her grumpy pants! I loved that as it just so captures the stomping of feet. I don’t think I have a pair of grumpy pants but I do have a pair of worry pants that I try on every now and again for size. Unfortunately, they seem to stretch or shrink with me, so it may be time to just throw them out once and for all.
Two things help me when I have my worry pants on. One is for my common sense to kick in/friend’s common sense to make me see what I don’t see – and the other is to question my underlying beliefs about my circumstances or abilities. My journal comes in handy for both… as I increasingly find that it nips the anxiety in the bud before it gets to worry and reminds me to focus on my aim for the year of “a healthy balance of creativity and outrageous joy.” One month in, here’s what I’ve learned.
Comments about me having 48 hour days and/or queries about me having a “twin” used to make me laugh and puzzle me. Lately, I’ve begun to reflect on it more though – that busyness doesn’t make for effectiveness, stronger connections or results unless I’m focussed. That flibbertigibbet again! I know when life is too busy as I don’t have time for me scheduled in. I also know that when my ironing pile gets too big, I’m too busy. Life me, you may well have something in your life that shows you things are on track – I have friends who know it when all their bills are paid, or cupboards are full, or home baking is ready in the tins. The healthy balance is about having a life that is healthier in all respects – eating, exercise, activities, learning, family and friends etc. I know what is in my life wheel and I don’t even have to look at the time I spend proportionately on each area to know when I’m meeting myself coming. Someone commented that perhaps that’s what my blood pressure – with it’s wild swings at the moment – is trying to find too; that healthy balance.
The amazing thing is that over the past month, I’ve felt hardly any pain in my knees or hips or joints or muscles. I’ve slept much better as a result, and find that I’m walking as fast as I used to, and I’m walking down the stairs normally (where “normal” for me has been one at a time for some years). I can’t wait to get out on my bike, and I’ve gone for several long walks. I went to Pilates and really felt it in my muscles which is the first time I’ve actually felt that despite going to the gym for some months and pushing myself really hard there. Things, they are a-changing.
I’m now looking at my diary and rearranging things to say “love to, but not now, perhaps next week?” And leaving space in my weeks instead of the crazy days of stressful workdays and meeting people for lunch and tea after work before going to a meeting. Journaling gives me the space I need to think – as well as letting me see and feel root causes and emotions. Then I can deal with things mindfully i.e. they are then in my mind to deal with rather than being out of my conscious awareness. And in doing that, I find that gaps are created where I saw no gaps, that I’m unexpectedly well ahead of schedule in a number of areas – and for once, I’m not going to fill that space up.
I’ve found lots of ways to be creative this month – from brainstorming at wasted meeting time to making my word butterflies for people (and have a queue for these now, and suggestions to make cards), to creating scrapbooks as well as in cooking and writing. I’ve found I am totally absorbed in this; the only thing that frustrates me is interruptions and glue not sticking properly!
I’ve learnt that this means lots of things to me. It means walking the walk. It means speaking up and standing up for what I believe in. I either believe it or I don’t (which is not to say I’m not open to persuasion of course). It means that rather than let things fester and quietly deal with things (in my own head), that I tell people how I’m feeling. What I’ve learned by that is that when you give it (however gently), then expect people to do the same – and tell you the truth about things they see in your life, or things they are not happy with. When this happened recently I had to smile – but in the spirit of honesty and love, once it’s “out there” you can then start to deal with it.
It also means that it’s time to live large – or to stop living small. If I’m an expert in an area, acknowledge that. When I wear my worry pants that say “Who do you think you are” I know that all experts started somewhere. I had to define my concept of expert and found that it usually means a paper qualification of some sort. Yet all that gives is a paper qualification; I have a BA (with distinction) in Human Resource Management – but the truth is that very little of what I learned there would be of much use to me in an HR role. Would a dissertation have helped me feel comfortable with the word expert? Well, I had studied and read enough and written enough on the subject to write several – so I had as much expert knowledge as anyone in that field, I reckon. I knew there were journaling experts, some of whom had certificates to prove that; and then I found information on one of the main ones and found out that they started as a first year student with a small group of friends and acquaintances. So even having that certificate wouldn’t have proved anything to me (I know I’m quite evidence based!). Now I know who I am – I’m someone who is passionate about journaling and it’s therapeutic benefits in all sorts of areas from trauma and stress, health and relationships and happiness and gratitude. And I know that happiness and gratitude is where my focus in journaling will be, to show others ways of journaling to happiness.
What might outrageous joy look like? I wondered about that yesterday. If sad feels sad and happy feels happy, what does this look and feel like? Does it look and feel like massive happiness? Or does it look and feel like elation or some other emotion? Is it enough to feel lighter and happier? As well as the other books I read, I usually journal with one book, reading it slowly and reflecting on what it says. And as I pondered this very thought, I read that when I know I’m empowered and utterly free to create, and all things are focussed on that, then I’m in vibrational harmony – and it will be absolute joy. I actually get that – and at this point, I am empowered and focussed and free to create whatever I want to create. And when I’m doing that, it IS absolute joy. I’m typing this on what I now see is a thoroughly balanced weekend – health, creativity, family, friends and me – and with a big smile on my face.