My sincere apologies for the long delay since my last post. The start to 2016 has been a wandering road of reflection versus impulse; daydream versus reality. Like many resolution makers, I wanted to begin this year anew, with a fresh perspective of my life; to break the chains of patterned behaviour and instead taste the sweet air of risk and change. Being the notorious big thinker that I am, I made one promise to myself this year: that I would consciously steer my primary focus into the direction of the small. To take control of the choices and situations I know I have immediate power over and/or to take ownership of the decisions I have the freedom to make in order to divert the occasional uncontrollable circumstance into a more bearable one.
Perhaps first I should back up a little bit.
This whole journey started with a trip to the cosmos.
I have always been inquisitive about the universe. The immense opulence of it somehow always escaped me, yet the fascination of what lies beyond the clouds never ceased to leave me in a state of wonder. As a nine year old, I watched the Challenger explode on live television, spending the days following learning about the space program at school. As a teenager I left the theatre following a viewing of Apollo 13 with a transformed view of the courage it takes to be one of the privilege few who get to travel to the moon. One of the best days I ever spent with my father was when we toured the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. We spent hours peeking through glass to catch glimpses of things that had touched the moon; we toured one of the launch pads; rode a takeoff simulator; stood and just stared at the endless artifacts of humankind’s greatest adventure – a trip to the stars. Since my dad and I share the “quiet” gene (that is, we’re both introverts), hours passed yet we barely communicated with one another. We both had an unspoken understanding that it was much better for wonder and imagination to be our tour guides. My dad being the science/technological whiz, he, of course, was more interested in the mechanics of the machines, whereas I, having not been gifted with such scientific know-how, floated in the simple awe and grandeur of the place. It was a marvelous day of feeling small amongst the larger than life, both figuratively and literally. We were two dust specks among thousands of others. It was perfection.
My reason for bringing up the wonderment of the universe is to remind myself that we really are specks of dust floating on a burning sphere. Just a tiny blue dot in the sky. We take our lives way too seriously sometimes. I had begun to only live within my grandiose, pie in the sky thinking. It overwhelmed me so much that I started to doubt that the thirst I kept having for more was, in every sense, unquenchable. I had set my sights TOO high, and forgot that in order to achieve the big I must start with the little. Success relied on my repeated attempts of trying and failing; choice making and the acceptance of mistakes. All to be done over and over again until my desired outcome is reached.
Every day we wake up to the light of the past. The sunrise is a glimmer of what the sun looked like eight minutes prior, for it takes eight minutes for the sun’s light to caress our face. The stars we wish upon at night are shimmers of the past, for they burned out long before the hundreds of thousands light years’ voyage it took to become recognizable dots in the sky. Our reality is an illusion, and we can only control that which is within our immediate grasp.
In order to maintain a manageable and realistic hope that I will achieve my resolutions this year, I developed each from the perspective of a dust speck. I asked myself three questions that I knew had been taking up way too much space in the vast expanse of my brain.
- Where do I want to go with my blog/writing?
Writing has always been a passion of mine, however, I am terrible when it comes to actively taking the time to put words on the page. I have PAGES and journals filled with ideas, musings, and random thoughts, yet I’ve never taken the time to expand on them. For years people have asked me when I am going to write a book, to which I reply (with a laugh), “oh someday – probably”. The reason I started this blog was for it to be a form of practice writing as it would hold me accountable to those who were kind enough to read it (of which I extend my sincere gratitude!).
My first change of 2016 will be to revamp my blog. I now hold slightly more understanding of how to maneuver through all the dashboard commands, so over the next little while you will likely see small changes here and there to the format and aesthetics of the site. I also asked myself what I ultimately want to achieve with my online space. Given that my intended focus was on simple living, the simple (and obvious) answer was to bring more focus to the ways in which I’ve made my own life simpler – from recipe choices to journeys of self-discovery. I will shift the focus of my entries to more specific categories so that others can use it as a reference point for simplifying their own life. And for all those who look forward to my Life, Dora Style and Book Review postings – don’t fear – those will continue to be included. Long story short, changes are coming in the recreatingsimplicty blog experience. Stay tuned.
- How can I break the cycle of my emotional eating?
I’m a snacker, always have been. Give me a box a crackers and I’m content for the long haul. Needless to say, my waistline has suffered immensely (pun intended). When I’m bored, I eat. When I’m stressed, I eat. When I’m hungry, I REALLY eat. I have suffered through endless cycles of gorging, only to be left a guilt ridden mess. I knew I needed to have a serious discussion with myself and identify why I was choosing to eat the way I was (and yes, it’s a CHOICE people). I appreciated that I needed to conduct a strong reevaluation of my relationship with food. The best place to start was in how it made me feel. Most of the foods I ate left me bloated and moody, a strong indicator that all was not well. In an attempt to change my hard-wired thinking, instead of blaming myself, I started to blame the food. The food was making me feel horrible, therefore, did I not respect myself enough to prohibit it from doing so? If a person said or did something that made me feel the way certain foods make me feel, you can bet dollars to doughnuts that I would protect myself and/or remove myself from their space. I realized that by overeating and giving in to poor food choices and indulgences that I was willfully punishing myself. I’ve slowly started shifting that chastisement to the makers of mass marketed foods – foods filled with fake ingredients and science lab concoctions. While it has taken a great deal of internal self-talk, I’ve come to question anything or anyone that claims X or Y is good for me. I focus instead on how it makes me feel. Dairy makes me bloated. Sugar gives me a headache. Such honest insights have been small steps in fully realizing the impact food has had on my day to day life. My hope is that I continue on this positive journey and that 2016 becomes the year I break the pattern of looking to food for comfort and joy and instead replace that longing for its one intended purpose – nourishment.
- What do I need to do NOW in order to make things better?
We are all faced with the ever-growing list of things we do NOT want to do. Many of us, myself definitely included, surround ourselves with the “if only’s”: “If only I had more money”; “If only I had made X decision earlier.”; “If only I wasn’t surrounded by idiots.” The list goes on and on. I can rhyme off DOZENS of people who I have worked with and counseled whose seemingly only satisfaction in life is blame everyone else for their problems. Try as I might, my encouragement of helping them realize that they really do have control over how THEY react to the situation, seems to never endingly fall on deaf ears. Then one day, not too long ago, I had the “ah ha” moment that forced me to apprehend that I had, unintentionally, fallen into the same trap of blame. My life not being what I had imagined it would be was everyone else’s fault. They were the ones holding me back. They were the ones who prevented me from taking risks. They were the ones who made me second guess myself. Enter in the dust speck assessment – I’m not big enough or important enough for others to plant that much focus on me. The liberating realization was that I can make small, impactful decisions in my day to day life that will eventually lead to big, impactful decisions for the remaining years of my life. Small and simple wins the race. Write thirty minutes a day. Take a day off work if feeling overwhelmed. Have a nothing day once a week. Limit social interactions as to not get burned out. These were all choices I consciously made in the early weeks of 2016. Each has made my life easier and more carefree. And the added bonus? Old habits are slowly changing into better habits. Win, win.
There you have it, the three questions I have dutifully asked myself day in and day out since 2016 began. Some revelations may be old hat for you, but we are all on our own journey in this life so it only makes sense that we make discoveries at our own pace, when they best present themselves to us. I certainly hope each of you finds the time this year to focus on you without feelings of guilt or remorse. While we may all be little dust specks in a vast cosmos of unknown, we each have the ability to catch wind and fly.
Happy 2016 to all my wonderful readers – especially to those who have become faithful followers. To this dust speck it means the world.