Category Archives: Inspired Transitioning

Giving Up or Letting Go

Woman, Face, Head, Hand, Write, Glass, Word, Letting Go

I went to bed early last night. Really early. I think it was 6:45. I asked my daughter to tell her dad that I loved him when he got home. I tried to stay up. I grew impatient with my body and that impatience was expressed in snips of angry words and frustration.

Everything seemed loud: the dogs’ scampering paws on the floor; the noise my daughter made as she prepared a snack; the cat’s meows; the nagging inside my head. Especially the nagging inside my head.

That nagging, I know it well. The voice that says, “Push! Just get it done. You haven’t finished this, that, or the other thing. ” The voice that lies and tells me everything is urgent when I know it isn’t. That voice, the one I’ve fought with but given into so many times.

Except, last night. Last night it didn’t win. I did.

I wanted to make a family dinner and sit as a family. I (we) didn’t.

I wanted to get some more work done on our remodeling project. I didn’t.

I wanted to do the laundry and get it all folded. I didn’t.

I wanted to get an hour of reading (at least) done. I didn’t.

I wanted to share some quiet time with my husband. I didn’t.

I wanted to write last night. I didn’t.

I wanted to…. (fill in the blank.) I didn’t.

In fact, the only thing I did get done was the one thing I deemed important, and that was giving the old cat his subcutaneous fluids. Yep, after I sifted through my long, and incomplete, to-do list, I decided the cat would be granted the only additional check-mark on that list.

I crawled up to bed. My body was achy. I was running a small fever. I needed to sleep. Despite the disapproving voice inside my head, I gave up.

I gave up on the rest of it, including pushing myself to stay up “just long enough” to say goodnight to my husband.  I gave up on the laundry and the remodel. I gave up on the family dinner and the reading. I gave up on trying to write. Other than the cat’s fluids, I gave up on everything left undone on my to-do list. I gave up on all of it last night.

Except, I didn’t.

At the start of every month, I set out my monthly goals, with the plan that I will have hit my bigger annual goals by meeting my incremental goals along the way. At the end of last year, I said I wanted 2019 to be my year for a health-makeover. In many ways, planned and unplanned (more about that another time), it has been. In keeping with that larger goal, I listed self-care as one of my (broad) goals for November. Self-care means taking time for me to do those things that fill my bucket. I enjoy meditating, but it can (far too often) be deleted off my list of to-dos when my schedule gets busy; same with reading, writing, walking, visits with friends, time with my family, eating healthy, doing my hobbies, etc.  Self-care is far too easily and too often discarded when that voice inside my head gets loud.

Except, last night it wasn’t.

Last night, I went to bed early. I didn’t give up; I let go. I let go of the expectations I had placed on myself and opted, instead, to honor the goal I set almost a year ago. A “health-makeover” isn’t a one-day-and-done goal, but is, instead, an on-going mindset. There are steps forward and, on occasion, steps back. Last night, I stepped forward. I quieted the voice that tells me to push until the work is done and focused on a bigger project; ME.

Last night’s win, however, was met by a bigger challenge this morning. Would I beat myself up when I had to add yesterday’s to-dos to today’s to-do’s? I was rested, very well-rested, and ready to tackle my to-do list. Nonetheless and very out of character, I avoided peeking at my calendar for a long time this morning. I sipped my coffee. I enjoyed the rays of sunshine bouncing off the new living room floor. I indulged in a very, very long hot shower(thanks, tankless water heater!), and even did some training with the dogs before I cracked open my planner. And, perhaps that long delay was just what was needed to let go of any hidden negative self-judgment. Before peeking at my calendar, I first looked at my November goal planning sheet. Last night, I let go and, in doing so, made the best choice possible to meet one of my November and annual goals.

Sometimes, giving up gives us the freedom we need to let go.

Begin Again

“Part broken – part whole, you begin again.”
~Jeanette Winterson (from ‘Why books seem shockproof against change.’ THE TIMES: BOOKS)

It’s that time of year again–the time when many writers hold themselves to a self-imposed commitment to write every day for the 30 days of November. Some call it NaNoWriMo. Bloggers– with no novel in mind– call it NaBloPoMo. Some think it is motivating, and some think it is pure hell, losing themselves under the weight of generating something new every day of the month.
I’ve jumped into this pool more than once, and I’ve been on both sides of the argument. There have been years that I was thrilled to be pushed to write daily. By nature, I am a goal-setter so I (usually) welcome that extra push to strive harder and meet the challenge laid out before me. However, that same drive can also become my fiercest enemy when not kept in check.

I had to check and double-check the date of my last entry on this blog. It has been almost 2 years since I’ve written on here. 2 years! For almost 2 years, this site has sat, gathering dust and my guilt. Since I stopped early, I’m guessing my last round of NaBloPoMo was more daunting and crushing than motivating. I don’t really remember what was going on in my life at that point. I do remember it felt liberating to give myself permission to walk away from a commitment, especially in the middle of it. On the other hand, I know this blog also became that over-stuffed closet in my mind, the one that holds the junk that needs to be purged but is, instead, ignored. Lights turned off. Fingers in the ears. Singing loudly. I did my best to ignore it, but I could still hear and feel the echoes of this blog. Especially when I wrote elsewhere.
I suppose I haven’t been entirely quiet for 2 years because I have been writing and sharing short vignettes on Instagram. (Did you know I’m on Instagram? https://www.instagram.com/reclaimingmary/) More often than not, my posts are connected to a moment captured in photo during my day, be it from my morning walk, life with the Guide Dogs for the Blind puppies I’ve continued raising, or just a random, unremarkable moment in my day that prompts me to dig deeper.
With a quick look back over the last two years, I’ve discovered the obvious;  I could never really be quiet. Whether on this blog, a social media platform, a long letter to a friend, or in my journal, I have been writing. In fact, and without a doubt, I’ll forever be writing. Words to paper are the air to my lungs. Thoughts come in, swirl about, filling me, and then pour out when there is no room left to draw in anymore.
Lately, I’ve been feeling the need to take let out a very large breath. That voice that pushes me to write has been screaming in my head. I’ve opened and closed this blog at least half a dozen times in as many days.  “Write!” I hear it calling. Then, I look at this site and question where to even begin. Still, I hear it, that pleading moan that I feel deep in my bones. “Write!”

I dabbled with the idea of writing here again but made no commitment to myself or anyone else. I wasn’t ready to commit.  “Write!” The voice grew louder in my head as my list of excuses grew longer. And, just when I was ready to turn my back on this blog once again, I saw a friend’s Facebook post announcing she was jumping into the NaNoWriMo pool once again.

“I’m in, too!” I announced. I didn’t think, I jumped, as I’ve been known to do more than once. But was I? After all, there is no one watching to make sure I write here. I could just as easily have said, “Sure, I’m in” before closing my laptop and flipping on the television. Instead, I opened this blog. Date of last entry: Nov. 12, 2017. Then, I wondered what was happening two years ago when I stopped writing.

I pulled up my old photos from Nov. 13, 2017, the day after I stopped writing here. Other than having just started raising another Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy, I saw nothing that indicated life had gone through a major shift. However, I apparently had sipped a cup of tea that reminded me “This life is a gift.” I agreed then, and I agree now.  Since I snapped a picture of it, odds are good I wrote about it someplace. Somethings in life haven’t changed.
I guess stopped writing here two years ago because it was time to stop. Perhaps I simply needed a break. Perhaps, I simply needed the time to let things swirl about in my head a bit longer. But, just as my dear writing friend, Niki, declared today, it is time to begin again.

I don’t know if I will write every day this month. I think I will try just to, well, you know, dust off the keyboards and my writing chops, but with a busy month ahead, I will write for the primary purpose I always do; to discover and to dig deep.  I hope you’ll stick with me because, my friends, I’m in!