Writeous Chicks Newsletter – December 2007

27 Dec

At this point in the year, many people I know feel like this about 2007:  “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out!”  Whether it’s the stress of the holidays, career anxiety, relationship problems, self-neglect, exhaustion, and/or a disappointing past couple of months in general, many are ready to call it a day (year) and start fresh next week.  The new year offers the hope of new beginnings, and an opportunity to bust out of whatever rut you may have found yourself in circa December ’07.  With that in mind, here are a couple of my favorite* tools (*and by favorite I mean I either actually like it or, or, more often, I kind of hate it and resist it but it works really well so I practice it grudgingly….grrr….) for getting unstuck and moving forward….

1)  Celebrate Your Accomplishments!

As a Type A perfectionist workaholic, my first response to this is usually:  “What accomplishments?”  Because I know how much there is on my To Do list, and what a small fraction of it I’ve actually accomplished.  However, over the past few years I’ve learned the importance of celebrating my self and my accomplishments, and how nourishing and necessary this is.  Relentlessly pushing yourself without taking a moment or a breath to recognize yourself for all your good work leads to burnout and exhaustion.  Your self is smart and will be onto you when you keep pushing her to do more without ever offering any rewards for her considerable efforts, and she might start to get really pissed off about it.  And workaholism is an excellent, extremely effective way to avoid dealing with your life, and experiencing the pain of things that may not be working.  Although pain is something we try very hard to avoid, this pain is valuable because it can prompt you to make the necessary changes to create a more desired version of your life.  I had this crashing realization a few months ago when I woke up on what could have been a gorgeous, lazy autumn Sunday morning with my To Do list already running through my head.  And yes, this means that my infamous list started in my sleep!  My ceaseless thoughts of the more and more and more that I had to do, get done, and accomplish, kept me totally disconnected from how I felt, what was actually going on in my life, and what I wanted to change, and further kept me so busy chasing after it that I never had the time or energy to make any changes.  Taking time out to celebrate your accomplishments can introduce some ease, joy, and much-needed space into a workaholic lifetsyle.

So first of all, what counts as an accomplishment?  When your big goals feel far away and unattainable and you are immersed in endless To Do’s, it is easy to miss all your smaller day-to-day accomplishments.  But accomplishments of all shapes and sizes are celebration-worthy.  So if you wrote two pages of your story or journaled for 10 minutes or spoke up for yourself or did something you had been putting off or were nice to yourself in your internal dialogue at time when you usually would have berated yourself, then it’s time to celebrate!

Next up..how do you celebrate your accomplishments and renew and restore yourself with the acknowledgment of your successes?  It can feel so foreign and uncomfortable and damn unproductive that it’s hard to know where to begin.  I am relatively new to consciously and deliberately rewarding myself, so I experiment and try to find things that bring me joy.  Some of my favorites** (and by favorite I mean I LOVE this!) include getting manicures, pedicures, and massages, but my all-time favorite is simple and cost-effective – when I really want to celebrate, I throw a dance party for one in my apartment, and kick it to old school R&B.  (If you have a favorite** way to celebrate your self and your accomplishments that you LOVE and want to share, post it below!)

2)  Don’t Have a F*cking Clue (i.e. Surrender)

As the years tick by, I sometimes feel like everyone around me is making progress, and I am spinning my wheels standing still, or worse yet, moving backwards.  Earlier this month, probably because I had cleared some space in my mind by easing up on the mental To Do lists, I felt the pain of not being where I want to be.  I wanted to do more or think more or figure it all out and make it happen already, but I had to admit, I just didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know why I was where I was, and I didn’t know how to get where I wanted to go.  And for once, instead of trying to bulldoze my way through this uncertainty (which usually results in that lovely banging-my-head-against-a-brick-wall feeling), I was just kind of cool with not having a f*cking clue. I knew that I wanted to change, and do things differently, and that felt like all I had to be sure of.  This took a lot of pressure off, and I could relax, embrace my not-knowingness, and step out into the unknown.

Well, there are two ways to step out into the unknown – with excitement or with dread.  As the years pile on disappointments and things just not turning out how you’d hoped they would, it feels like it gets harder and harder to joyfully anticipate a new outcome.  It’s like:  “Ok Universe, prove it to me that this won’t turn out exactly how it turned out last year, which by the way, totally sucked.”  But it is exciting to think that things don’t have to play out the same way they always have, and soothing to let go and trust that something completely new can be created.

As Rilke said, “Now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been…”  These last quiet, contemplative days of the year are the perfect time to welcome your excitement about brand-new shimmering possibilities in the year to come.  And 2007 – don’t let the door hit you on your way out!

Enjoy these last few days of the year, and wishing you glorious things that have never been in the 2008!

Lots of love!

Jen xoxoxo

Copyright © 2007 by Jennifer Garam

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