Half of 52 = Week 26!
Take your pick of what image best describes this celebratory milestone in my Finding 52 expedition.
Golden and classy? Rusted and dented? Cuckoo for cocoa puffs?
However you see it, I am halfway around the bend, midway to my goal of discovering my best life, and hopefully, having a few laughs as I go!
Last week I challenged myself to journal 3 things I loved about myself, each day. This seemed like a great practice to continue, so I decided to give it a try for the rest of the month; not only because I would like to fill up the little notebook of mum’s I started writing in, but also because I need to take up someone else’s challenge from a book I read a few years ago.
Ann Voskamp is a gifted and moving writer who pours out her soul into words. In her book, One Thousand Gifts, she shares pivotal spiritual breakthroughs and champions small adjustments made, to find joy during painful periods of life. Her book was a godsend for me during an incredibly rough patch of depression and despair. Her descriptive and poignant vignettes of seeking out gratitude, helped direct my heart toward living through loss, and even better, how to be thankful for your sorrows….okay, I am still working on that one…..but the fact that I can see this as a possible destination, or as a compass bearing point, is hope that I could end up there one day!
But I was afraid. I did not take up her journaling gratitude challenge.
1000 is a lot! Even without a deadline, this number seemed quite intimidating. Highly quantified outcomes scare me. Remember the pep talk I had to give myself to start this 52 week journey? It amazes me how 26 weeks have whizzed by in warp speed! So, at this midway point of my exploration, I feel prompted to take some reflective breaths, and allow some time for my discoveries to seep deeper into who I am becoming.
To do that, I have a quick update on the hummingbird situation:
It occurred to me that I was attempting to force an interaction with these special friends, by taking familiar routes or choosing paths where I have encountered them before. Outside, I am trying to appear cool and rational, and come up with several justified reasons to tread a certain direction. While inside, I am frantic and desperate to head straight toward a hummingbird…. or any bird, so I can sense that all is well in my world….proving I am okay.
Hummingbird = Blessing….every time….right?
Not really. Chasing down a particular road with a singular intent to GET my blessing…..seems to be a juvenile way of getting what I want. It would be like using teenager tactics and logic, now that I am a well seasoned adult. I must grow up from trying to assure my best life….to….living in my best life. This relates perfectly to how I see Gratitude playing out in my daily routine. Thankful now…..for the people here, in the weeks dedicated to Being Grateful for YOU and US.
I am going to try and tackle each day and decision, without considering how to force a particular outcome. Forcing does not work with hummingbirds. After 6 months of searching for solid answers and actions that lead to a life well lived, forcing does not appear to work with life, either.
For 26 weeks I have pondered the concept of best life, thinking it to be pivotal in becoming my best person. However, the word ‘best’ is also a strong trigger word from old, dysfunctional years. It was my duty, while under the direction of a relentless husband, to be better than everyone else. I had to eat better, talk better, pray better, exercise better, learn better, and act better. He even asked me to be better than all his ex-girlfriends put together, constantly letting me know if I was measuring up to their better qualities….but what was ‘better’?
Whatever he thought best.
It took several years for me to realize I could not predict or understand the flow to his logic. It was easier to accept his rants as true, and carry on with my busy mommy duties.
It took 14 years to sort through that mumbo-jumbo, hocus-pocus mess that held me….and my kids….to an impossible standard. That was tough to do, even as a grown woman with a healthy-ish upbringing. It has been even harder for my children, growing up believing a sick version of the truth, was reality. A twisted, controlling, feigned religious existence….was apparently…..best.
This reflection from my painful past, acts like is a sounding board for me now; helping to process where I have been, where I am going, and where I NEVER want to be again. I see how magnetic repetitive behaviours can become, and how quickly I can be caught in a vicious, spinning ‘Groundhog Day’ loop thinking….desperately chasing hummingbirds, or despairing in regret over wasted time and energy. I accept there is a benefit in repeating a healthy habit, but if that is all there is, I fear it will not take me the whole distance. There is a risk of forcing every outcome and losing the ability to see beyond that habit, or blinding following routine because it is easier than jumping into something new.
Yes, I am free from obedience driven, intolerant manipulation, but the minds of 4, incredibly gifted children, are not. Progress is happening, as they work hard to re-align a gentler, more loving reality into their outlook, but a haunting voice remains inside them. One that screams accusations of not being good, not being worthy, and never being enough. How they deal with those untrue allegations, varies with their personalities.
One of my boys flogs himself with greater and grander life accomplishments, in order to ease his howling voices. One girl runs to opposing societal norms, to rebel against her demons that prey. One boy runs from love and support, not able to accept it yet, only comfortable in extreme conflict. One girl pretends it does not exist, ignoring anything upsetting, in order to carry on with life.
Are they wrong? No. It is their direction, their hummingbird chase.
As they grow and mature, their direction will change. The voice they allow to win, will change. I can only whisper softly into their ears, it is okay….you, are okay.
And okay, is enough.
Because I have deciding to keep journaling this whole month, I set my goal this week to write a descriptive journal entry on every person within my immediate circle, recording how much I appreciate their deeds, spirit, characteristics and efforts. This week coming up, I plan to share parts of my entries with each of them. In fact, hubby is getting that instead of a birthday card this week…lucky him!
It is a little weird, thinking about a right time to spurt out some grateful words, but then I remembered what 26 weeks has taught me. Do not force it. Just do it. Live it. BE thankful. It is always the right time to express appreciation.