Half-Year Check Up

Part of my journey as both a person and a mother is learning to live with two opposing feelings. For example, it’s okay for me to sometimes feel extremely grateful, and also sad, at the same time. To love my kids, and to sometimes need a break from them. To feel frustrated that I haven’t hit a goal, but also content with the journey of getting to it.

I’m learning that when I acknowledge the two opposing forces and just accept them, it becomes easier to exist within my own skin.

The idea of two different sides and being a work in progress reminded me that we are just past the half-year mark. I wrote a post at the beginning of the year outlining my goals for 2017, so I wanted to revisit each one and see how I’m doing so far.

Half-Year Check Up

Stretching (and meditation). I’ve been sticking to my morning stretch, even if just a quick one as I get out of bed. On good days, it’s a sun salutation, usually with Penelope next to me trying to mimic it, which also means we start the day laughing.

As for the meditation, I got off to a rough start because it’s hard to find quiet time with the kids. But I felt strongly that I needed to find a way. As I said in my last post:

I’ve been waiting for months to “find quiet time” to meditate, stretch, etc. since it’s always so loud and fast around here, but I’ve realized that it’s exactly in these moments that I need to stop drop and Zen. No one is ushering me into a peaceful room and rolling out a yoga mat for me while striking Tibetan bells and massaging my chakras.

I started out trying to research meditation pillows, which probably sounds ridiculous and shallow, but I felt if I had a visual THING holding me accountable, signaling me to use it, then I’d be motivated. But I kept putting it off because I’d get overwhelmed with choices. One google search for meditation pillows and I’d fall down a rabbit-hole of thoughts:

Which one should I get? I’ll go with this one, it’s not as expensive. Oh crap, I guess I have to get the organic one without toxic materials, because I don’t think I can meditate to enlightenment while sitting on an environmental offender. How can my mind achieve Zen if my butt is living a lie? Is this thing even going to be comfortable? Oh, here’s the perfect one! It’s handmade by monks and filled with the tears of those who purchased Tolle’s A New Earth but fall asleep when they try to read it. Add to cart! Wait, is it fair-trade, sustainably-sourced? Will the monks be compensated? It’s not Prime eligible. Jesus, if I can’t be patient enough to order something that’s not Prime eligible, I am destined to fail at meditation. 

And I’d close the search window. Then, on my birthday in February, my sister sent me a package – with a meditation pillow in it. How is it that sisters always have a sense of exactly what you need, when you need it? I don’t meditate every day, but I’m happy to report that I’ve successfully incorporated it into my weekly routine. (I downloaded this app, with guided bite-size meditation sessions, which has been a huge motivator for me.) As for the pillow, I have no idea what it’s made of or where it came from, my butt’s new mantra is “Ignorance is bliss.”

Be more open, and put it out there. I feel good about this one. In the last post I mentioned how I had about 200 drafts sitting in my draft folder I’ve been holding on to, for various reasons. I’m happy to report that I’m down to 171. Most of those I’ve re-worked and either published here, sold for freelance, submitted to books, or shared on our What a Good Eater! blog. Sometimes it’s hard because you can’t rush a piece, especially when it’s personal. It becomes a living thing, and like a stubborn toddler, the more you push it, the worse it will fight back. I’m still chipping away at that list, but I’m getting there, and it feels good to set things free.

Nurture the relationships that matter. I never feel I’m doing as good as I should here. The good news is that the needs of the kids and family in general sort of force you to operate on the bare minimum and make those closest to you a top priority, so it sort of happens by default. But there are still phone calls I haven’t returned, because my hands are full or it’s so loud that I feel bad for the person on the other end. I’ve since dusted off this jar that P and I made and have been better about using the ‘connect’ coins, but this one needs more work.

Let go of what no longer serves me. I feel like I’ve made some headway with this one. Curating your life, is what I call it. For whatever reason, it’s become easier for me to quickly assess what’s working and what’s not, then sever the ties and purge things. I think getting a taste for the extra clarity and space it frees up has made this one somewhat addicting, and I’ve been able to be guilt-free when deciding where to put my energy. Try it with me, and help me stay motivated. Think of all that energy that can now be re-routed to the things that actually make your soul feel good!

Hula hooping: Shit. I haven’t hula hooped. Not even a little.

Make self-care a top priority. Damn it. I don’t like this list anymore.

Be OK with myself. Maybe it was turning 35, or the fact that over the last few months my anxiety has come back tenfold and forced me into re-evaluating certain things. Maybe I’ve been feeling more balanced now that we’ve gotten Ciro’s diet under control and he’s grown a bit, or maybe it’s the knowing how fleeting this time with the kids being little truly is. But I’ve gotten comfortable with being a work in progress, and accepting myself a little bit more. I know that I’ll never be one hundred percent there, but I’m better than I was just six months ago, and I call that a win.

Fail forward. Goodness, yes. This year has been particularly tricky, with both Penelope and Ciro growing. Trying to balance their emotions and needs has been tough, particularly when it kicks up certain dust inside yourself. And sometimes as a parent you wonder how it’s possible these precious people are entrusted in your care, and are you even doing a decent job?

Penelope, especially, is watching me. She is a sponge, soaking up everything. She intently listens to everything around her, and as she does I always say, “downloading, downloading…” because that’s exactly what she’s doing. She is downloading this world, and often times, as her mother, she is looking to me. For my reactions, to answers on how to act, how to make sense of her surroundings. She sees me fail, and I let her. She sees me lose my cool, then take deep breaths, and apologize. She needs to know I am human. I have failed, many times and I know for sure that will continue.

Her Uncle Marc bought her a bike, and initially she would get upset when she fell off it while riding. She’s learned over time that not only will she fall, but she can learn how to fall. Now when it happens she jumps up and says, “I’m learning how to fall!”

Yes, baby. It’s what we do when we get back, up that counts.

Take breaks. I have not done well here. That’s probably where the anxiety comes in. I started taking more freelance jobs, and have begun figuring out ways to prioritize time to work. While adding work to the “taking breaks” section probably sounds like an oxymoron, carving out time to do something creative feels good to me. But I should probably set aside a couple of hours a week to go for a walk or read a book.

Those were my goals for 2017. I sometimes feel good about the progress made, while also feeling like I haven’t done enough. I’m trying to focus on the good, but I don’t kick myself anymore for feeling down sometimes.

Now, your turn. Did you set any goals? How do you feel at the half-year mark? Do you sometimes feel you have two feelings, co-existing inside you? Tell me in the comments!

 

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