Archive | January, 2008

It’s All About Luuuuvvvvv on February 23rd!!!

21 Jan

I am teaching a one-day writing workshop called It’s All About Love WRITE NOW! on Saturday, February 23rd from 1:00-4:30pm.  Click on Upcoming Classes & Workshops for more information!

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Writeous Chicks Newsletter – January 2008

21 Jan

What Can You Let Go of in 2008? 

Last month, as the year was drawing to a close, I had a powerful realization.  Reflecting on the past few years, I could see that I had made progress, but it all felt so difficult and slow, and hard won at the price of my own exhaustion and depletion.  I seemed to have been following the path of most resistance.  I wondered why things couldn’t be easier for me, and why I couldn’t achieve my goals faster, and with more joy along the way.  Which is when I saw that I had been addicted to struggling and suffering as a way of life.  Combine that with my perfectionistic tendencies, and it was a formula for taking most time-consuming, difficult, stressful, worry-filled, and least enjoyable route from Point A to Point B.  And then there’s the problem that many people face – in the desire to make or do something perfectly, it takes so long, that it never gets done at all. 

In examining this more closely, I saw that “my struggling thing” was strongly tied to how I defined myself and how I related to others.  On some level, I expected everything to be an uphill battle, and then I connected with others about how hard everything was.  In our society in general, women are conditioned to bond around the negative, and what is going wrong.  We experience closeness when we are complaining to our friends about the guy or lack of guy, the job or lack of job, the money woes.  And I believe that complaining has a place in identifying what is not working in your life and leading you to a solution, but when you dwell for months or years in the complaint, it just attracts more of the same.   

Nonetheless, in uncovering my patterns of struggling, I saw that I felt comforted and connectedness when I complained to those close to me about the list of what I felt was wrong in my life, and that this behavior was keeping me trapped in a cycle of perpetuating more to complain about.  An important part of my classes is women supporting each other in bonding around the good, and breaking this powerful conditioning.  But I acknowledge that it can be very uncomfortable and awkward to get the ball rolling in this more positive direction.  Many people can talk for hours about what that a*shole did this week, or what’s wrong with their job, but nothing stops a conversation like:  “I feel great!  I am in a healthy, supportive relationship with a great guy, I adore my job and am doing work I love, and I experience financial freedom every second of my life!”  Others can perceive this as annoying and threatening and like, who brought Susie Sunshine to the party?!?  But an important and necessary part of breaking the addiction to struggling through a life that is perceived as difficult and exhausting is letting go of the need to bond with others primarily via complaining, and instead focusing on the positive and setting the stage for a life which incorporates more fun, ease, joy and celebration. 

In my WRITE Into the New Year! workshop last weekend, we explored ways to make positive change that lasts longer than say, around now, the third week into January, when the momentum may have slowed or skidded to a halt, and your excitement for change may have been replaced by your irritation at the bone-chilling temperatures.  One way to change is to think about what positive habits you can adopt to support you and your goals.  Another powerful way to effect change is to look at what you can let go of.  I have tons of positive habits – I practice yoga and meditation regularly, I set goals and take action towards them, I write daily gratitude lists, I continually read inspiring books, and more.  But all of my positive habits were dragging against the resistance of my addiction to struggling through life.  So that became something I have to let go of to get more traction on all my positive habits, and make progress faster and more easily and enjoyably. 

In an acting class I took several years ago, the teacher had an exercise in which we asked ourselves “What if?” questions during a scene.  Like, “What if I was in love with my scene partner?” or “What if I was really scared right now?”  The ‘what if’ was a gentle, low-pressure way to spark our imaginations rather than the harsher, less fun, way less effective alternative of self-talk that went like this:  “LOVE THIS PERSON DAMMIT!” or “Feel scared NOW!” or as some actors are prone to thinking when the pressure they put on themselves seems to be squelching all emotional life whatsoever, “Why can’t you feel ANYTHING you cold-hearted JERK?!?”  When I see myself creating extra work, thinking thoughts of struggle, and making things more difficult for myself, I think:  “What if this could be easier, or more enjoyable?”  No pressure, it is an alternative to berating myself for making things difficult, and offers me some new perspectives. 

Scan your life and make a list of all the things that are holding you back from creating everything you desire, and living the life you want to live.  This list may have 1 or 10 or 100 items on it but you can start simply by picking ONE this month, and making the decision to just LET IT GO.  What if you could let go of something in 2008 that has been holding you back for years, and that would make all the difference? 

Lots of love! 

Jen xoxo

Copyright © 2008 by Jennifer Garam