I had the honour of choosing the book this month over at the Laughing Medusa Blog‘s Self-Love Book Club.
Colour me surprised but I wasn’t expecting to be moved by a book donning the title Spirit Junkie [Gabrielle Bernstein]. After all its cover is plastered with a bleach blond skinny woman flanked in a sequinned happy-face dress. I want to be at peace (or feel like I have some kind of inner-peace, ahem sanity), but not at the cost of being a putz. Does this resonate with you?
For some Bernstein’s anecdotes may come off as charming, but I didn’t find most of them relatable. What I did take notice of was her simple explanation of how fear takes charge of day-to-day life. Simply put, my cool, collected walk and contagious laughter is undermined by my fear of f–king up. A fear that I am nothing more than my past mistakes, that there is no way that I could have learned or grown or become stronger because of them. Have you felt this way too?
Fear is normal and at times even can be helpful. Bernstein asks you to choose love at every turn, but I can’t quite get on board with that. Conversely, I suggest that you grab the reins on your ego when the negative thoughts turn from exploratory to aggressive and you can’t quite decide what end your most recent meal is going to fly out of.
How, you ask? Start the inner-dialogue and deflate your ego. Bernstein contends that by just communicating your fears out loud or writing it on paper (for those fond of journaling) can release us from the madness that our fear of reliving the past plays in our daily life. If you are looking for a non-preachy, slightly bleach-y approach to reducing negative self-talk in your life, I suggest you pick up Spirit Junkie and go buffet style. Spirit Junkie provides meditations and journaling prompt to help guide you through the process, allowing you to choose whatever seems to make sense to you and for you at the time. We’ve all got to start somewhere.
Even the best laid plans run into roadblocks. I started my celebration early this month and got quite smug with myself after a barrefit class. Of all things I threw my hip and lower back out trying to wrangle a sick cat into a carrier for a vet visit. It’s funny how delicate and fleeting the body is even when you are admist feeling on top of your game. Four days of committed movement is a huge feat for me considering walking around the block or a casual half hour on a stationery bike was a big deal just a month and a half ago. Last week I hit up three out of my allotted four movement classes in the face of a silly yet painful injury. I spent hours beating myself up this week thinking I should have pushed myself more, feeling even a bit of shame knowing that I didn’t meet my goal. There are so many colloquial phrases to draw from here, for me “you are your own worst enemy” flashed to the fore. To say the least, I lost sight of being gentle and realistic with myself. Even with all of the planning in the world, life will still throw you a curveball.
Thankfully I had a very wise man at my side when I tried to awkwardly step into my athletic gear and hobble out the door. His words quickly silenced my frantic thoughts – “sometimes you need to let yourself win”.
For so many people I know, the fall and early winter is all about keeping your head down and working hard. Challenging yourself to meet goals, professionally, personally is an important part of growth, but a surefire way to flirt with burn out. I mentioned in an earlier post about my own burn out in a past job, since then I have gotten better at taking time for myself. This is certainly not a new, but I am finally taking on the treat yo’self attitude that is captured in this great comedic moment.
Over at The Laughing Medusa’s Self-Love Book Club we just finished reading The Happiness Project, a book I had originally picked up two summers ago. In a nutshell, as much as I appreciate Gretchen Rubin’s candor, I really felt overwhelmed with coming up with my own methods to tackle my own laundry-list of goals. Again, The Happiness Project left me wanting more. What I did appreciate was her idea to focus on one goal a month. Rubin gets into some of the science of building habits, and her Happiness Project and website reflect a 21-day project model. I am personally of the belief that it takes around 30 days to develop a habit, for me three weeks can feel abrupt.