Happy New Year…almost three weeks in. I have decided to omit the word belated, because for me, mid January is when I felt like beginning this year. It’s been an unusual start; we’ve been extremely busy, I have been feeling under the weather, and have had a general nagging feeling about my life’s direction.
It is difficult for me to admit that. I usually love the first moments of a New year. I clean, I purge what is not needed, I make goals and plans. But this year, I did not jump in feet first. I dipped my toe in, and then decided I needed a couple of weeks to think about it.
I’ll be honest, I think the year left me drained. It was a good year, but for some reason, it just took a toll on me. I’ve been irritated, with myself and others. There have been many times that I felt my conversation on gratitude was falling on deaf ears. I have been disappointed in both my efforts and results, and I just have been feeling that no matter how hard I work, I am not getting ahead. I have asked myself if this is what I am supposed to be doing, or should I just let this go and have more time to devote to our small business.
When I began writing, I had this “knowing.” I understood my path and exactly what I had to do, and I felt connected to something larger than myself that was guiding me. That road-map is still there, but I think I let the minutia of life drown out any tips on navigation. I think at times, I was focused on the feedback more than the creation of something wonderful. I think I was somehow thinking that after all my hard work, this was going to get a little easier. And then it didn’t. It actually got a little more complicated.
So I began to get irritated. And then I stopped writing. And then I started reworking things that I already had written, criticizing myself to the point of immobility. To the outside observer, last year was a banner year, filled with success and publicity and growth. And, to be honest, it was all those things and more. But it was also a time of transition for me, as I internally struggled with where the heck I am going with this message of JOLT. I wanted to scream at the world, “I am really trying, but I don’t have this figured out. And by the way, I still really miss Stephen. I miss him every day. Cut me some slack!”
Thinking like that puts you in a tough spot when you are the JOLT lady. I’ve had to reach a little deeper to find the gratitude, work a little harder to find those tidbits of inspiration. I’ve stalled my momentum with my crisis of confidence. And I’ve done all of this internally, with my own thoughts.
So, I’ve taken the first couple of weeks of the New year to reflect, to ruminate, to decide what I intended to do in 2014. I have really stepped back and thought about what my declaration of intention would and should be for my life and my purpose. Sounds complicated, but it actually is not. It involves sitting, thinking, napping, reading, dreaming, and beginning the change of my internal self talk.
And, with that contemplation, I have realized that 2014 needs to be a year of Self Care.
I intend to focus more on caring for myself.
- Physically: Yes, I have the same intentions as so many others when it comes to physical health. But it is more than firming, toning and losing. This year, I am going to pay more attention to the subtle cues of my body, the little twinges that tell me that I am veering off the path, I am not going to let myself get so damn busy that I am utterly exhausted. I am going to explore my relationship with food and drink, and whether or not that is aligned with my goals for health. But, the biggest thing I am going to do is starting loving myself, just the way I am. I am going to start looking for one little thing each day that I like about me. Today it is my laugh lines, they tell you so much about how I have lived.
- Mentally: Love thyself. I could be a mental prize-fighter if you knew how many different ways I have beaten myself up over the years. My looks, my weight, the words I use, the words I didn’t use, the emails I have not replied to as of yet, the mistakes I make, every time I felt I did not do enough. Every single day, feeling it is not enough. I am not enough. I’m done with it. My husband pointed it out to me a couple of months back. I had received the feedback summary from a recent speaking engagement, and it was glowing. He was so pleased to see how the audience had responded to my message. Do you know what I noticed? The two people (out of the survey of hundreds) who didn’t really get what I was saying and thought I was just trying to sell my books. That is all I could see. That is just so wrong. So, I’ve decided. Part of my self-care is adopting the practice of Louise Hay with her daily affirmations. I have to get back to that place of peace.
If you need to get back to that place, or even go there for the first time, I strongly encourage you to check out Louise. I intend to walk my talk. I am unchaining my life from the shackles of self-doubt.
- Spiritually: Sitting on a bump in the sand, waiting for the divers to find Stephen, my life was completely shattered. Blown to bits. And I never felt closer to God. I remember the moment I said, “God, I don’t know what to do. I’ve always thought I could take care of things, but I don’t know what to do. So I give it up to you.” What followed is difficult for me to explain. I have actually hesitated to speak much about it, but I had a conversation with God that year. My life was stripped bare, and He walked with me as I learned to breathe again without Stephen. It was the toughest year of my life. But it was also the most awake year of my life. I was connected to something so much larger than myself. And then time passed, and the so-called “normal” life began to creep back in, with its to-do lists, obligatory social events, people who love to criticize, the evening news, job pressures and so much more. I’ve had good and bad feedback about what I do. I am too spiritual, not spiritual enough. I am too religious, not religious enough, my message is not aligned with the message of the Bible. I do not fit with the traditional bereavement discussions. All of that noise…it began to drown out that conversation. I still feel tremendously connected to God, but I’ve struggled some as others have expressed that my connection may not be as authentic as it should or could be. No more. I recognize what kind of life I need to live to continue that conversation. And, as part of the year of self-care, I intend to eliminate the noise that has distanced me and prevented me from moving forward.
So, it is a year of self-care. I intend to nurture myself a little more, and through sharing my journey, I hope we can have a conversation about how you are doing the same. I intend to clear out the mental clutter that is holding me back. I intend to push forward with the faith I had in my first book, to not hold back, to not over-think things.
That means a few things. I am going to be a little more opinionated. Instead of smiling and trying to fit into the expectations of others, I am going to work at being my authentic self. I am going to be a little more self preserving, with time and commitments. I am going to be a little more vocal. I can already hear my husband saying I am just fine in that department.
And finally, I am going to cut myself some slack. Everything is happening as it should, in the time that it should unfold. I am going to trust in that.
Here’s to taking care of ourselves so we can care for others,