A good friend of mine surprised me with a special gift a few weeks ago – a new book! She called me out of the blue and said she was stopping by with a prize and when I came home this little gem was sitting on my front porch. She originally told me about the concept of mindfulness and I had been thinking a lot about it a lot lately. So the book, “Wherever You Go There You Are,” by Jon Kabat-Zinn couldn’t have dropped in my lap at a better time.
As instructed at the end of each chapter, I tried to take a moment to actually do the suggested exercises which mostly consist of quiet contemplation. The concept of mindfulness is pretty simple, really. Just be present. Be present and breathe. These two things sound so simple, yet I don’t feel myself doing this easily. It seems that I am constantly in a state of action – in my brainwaves or otherwise. I spend so much of my time wishing that I could shut down each day for a few minutes that I completely miss the opportunity to do exactly what I wished I could do. No thinking, no rushing, no pressure to do the next “task on my list”, just sit. So. Hard. To. Do.
After reading this book, I came up for a big gulp of air and really tried to evaluate a few things. I’m not sure what happened over the past 2 years but something inside of me has given up on taking care of myself. I gained about 15 lbs, I stopped exercising, I eat a terrible diet now and worst of all, I drink a little too regularly for my own comfort. Every day I think that today will be the day I decide to get back to my old self but I do nothing. I am tortured by my own disappointment in a lack of action. I beat myself up all the time over the fact that I’m not the same person I used to be when I had my crap together. I took care of myself. I had a running routine and I was healthy. I felt motivated at work and I pushed myself to do a better job for my customers and co-workers. I was happy with myself and that made me a better wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. I felt confident and I didn’t tear myself down.
I say a lot and have perfectly well formed intentions but then when the alarm starts beeping, I end up hitting the “schnooze” button and give up. Wouldn’t changing my environment and changing my bad behaviors make me feel better? Wouldn’t it open up new possibilities for me to build experiences rather than feel lousy that I didn’t do anything today? If I felt better physically, wouldn’t I feel better mentally? The things that I would change would be good for me. These changes are not hard to do, but they are hard to act upon. What the hell is wrong with me? I just hear myself scream in my mind DO SOMETHING! And then silence.
I read this great article recently called “How to Make a Damn Decision” by the guys over at The Minimalist blog. They say that to decide is to act and for every time I think in my mind, “I should do this today”, I need to change it to, “I must do this today”. The truth is I really do want to change. I crave it. I’ve lived in this slump for long enough. Change is inevitable and since I’ve somehow managed to change into the person that I am now, it shouldn’t be that difficult to change again.
My decision is made then.