All Of The Things That Did Not Happen In 2018

Wiping the dust off of this blog and realizing this will be the first (and likely only) post of 2018. I’m okay with it though. My motto of the year has been “DBT of South Jersey, we strive for imperfection!”-and isn’t that the truth?!

 It’s quite fitting since the end of the year is when we tend to naturally begin to reflect on what was, while also creating intention about what’s to come. It’s also the holiday season and it’s easy to have a crap load of things to get done and this week. I found myself ticking things off my mental list, while adding things to it just as fast. In thinking about writing the blog, I considered all of the things that I was not going to get done for the holidays. The title in my mind was “The Christmas Cards Ain’t Goin’ Out” but decided “why limit myself to what’s not happening this week, I’m more ambitious than that!”. So here we are.

 I love getting Christmas card. Especially when the cards have photos on them. I cram them in on my fridge and on my table, and whenever I get one I smile because I think of the time it took for that person (no matter how small the amount) to think of my family and send us a holiday wish. I sent holiday cards out for maybe 2-3 years consecutively and felt really on top of things at that time, but this year-the cards ain’t going out, and that’s fine.

 In prepping for a family party yesterday I thought “I should bring something”. Why? Not because I was asked to. I was told they have everything, just bring myself! I had a quick, rather impulsive thought “I’m going to make a pie” …A pie????????!!!!! Ah, I chuckle a little thinking of that. How cute of me. I made maybe three pies in my life. One was okay and the other two got comfy with the trash really quick. Making a pie right now in my life is a serious mastery task, and I don’t have pie time. I opted for boxed brownies which I may have still overcooked, but somehow the world kept spinning.

 Separate from this, I have a little list of 2018 intentions that I wrote out to start this year. Here are some of my (cute-no judgment) ambitious goals:

·      Read 12 books (I read three last year but all on my honeymoon).

·      Meditate 365 times (every day, but I gave myself room to double up after missing a day).

·      Cook dinner twice a month (we are and were at zero. Maybe .5 I’ll be generous).

·      No credit card debt by the end of the year.

 There were (a lot) more, but you get the idea.

 I achieved zero of those goals! And here’s what I think about that. It’s fine, really it is. I notice how easy it is for me to have these insanely high expectations for myself, and then be pretty unrelenting when it comes to achieving these goals. When I consider some of these goals, I consider, where are they coming from? Are they coming from myself, my own wise mind? Or am I putting them on myself from more of a “this is what you should be doing, Shaelene”-judgy type of vibe? Short answer? Yep.

 Because I love Christmas Cards so much, I love the idea of that. I love the thought of sending cards to others and I have this small, likely irrational fear that if I don’t send cards I won’t keep getting them. The truth is, when I send them, I really put thought into what I say and time into them, and that takes time. Time that at least this year I just don’t have. I also love the idea of being “domesticated” and baking a pie or feeding my family. The reality is, I’m not going to be that person because I don’t even enjoy cooking. Maybe I will someday but honey, that day is not today. And that’s okay.

I had an amazing supervisor at my old job and have a distinct memory of supervision with her one day. I was talking about the need to take care of myself (years ago, so still a relevant theme) and how I keep trying to get to 6am yoga before work, but it’s honestly so damn hard. Her response, “Why don’t you just accept that that’s not you? That you won’t be a 6am yoga person and that that is ok?”. Cue lightbulbs.

 Though even with such direct insight, it’s still a target behavior for me. Putting more on my plate than I WANT to handle. I say want because I can be so willful at times that whatever I put on my plate I will handle, regardless of what the cost is for me. The cost of doing this for me has been big-physical pain, sickness, time away from family, stress, burn out and all around not what I want.

The thing about target behaviors, behaviors you want to stop or go away that is, is that they’ve dug a strong groove in your brain and for that reason, they can be insanely hard to change. One of my team members Alexandra, talks about changing behavior is like skiing down a mountain. You have the path you’ve skied over and over and it’s something you could do with eyes closed. But now, with new behavior, you’ve got to see the old grooves, feel the old grooves and the pull to go-but still choose different. Even though it feels unnatural.

 So, what is my skill practice? Which skills do I need to get myself on the path that feels better in my life instead of the one I think looks better? Likely a lot of skills, but the ones in flashing lights are effectively and turning the mind (over and over again). Effectively-the mindfulness skill that says do what works. React to what is, instead of what you think it should be. And do it over and over again until it becomes your new way of being. Since mindfulness is rooted in acceptance, that is required as well. (2 for 1 skill special on that one. Boo-yah!).

 I really do smile at the thought of the cards that weren’t sent, the pie that never was, the books not read, the card debt that remains; because I realize those were goals weren’t meant for me to start with. To help with turning the mind, I’ve started reflecting on what I did do. Here are some of those things:

·      I OPENED AN AMAZING PRACTICE THAT PEOPLE (BOTH STAFF AND CLIENTS) REALLY LOVE!!!!!!

·      I ACTUALLY READ EIGHT BOOKS! THAT IS INSANE (THE GOOD INSANE)!

·      I PAID OFF ONE CREDIT CARD AND ONE STUDENT LOAN! AND THANKS TO INTEREST RATES, I’LL GET TO KEEP PRACTICING MY ACCEPTANCE SKILLS AND MAKING THEM STRONGER AS I PAY OFF THE OTHERS! (#Dialectics).

·      I COOKED ONE MEAL THIS YEAR THAT I ENJOYED AND MAKE AGAIN!

·      MY PRACTICE IS EXPANDING IN 2019! (YEP! SECRET IS OUT!)

I did some real work this year. And I will keep working. But I tell you, it won’t be pretty and it doesn’t have to be. I’m making a promise and commitment to myself to choose with intention instead of expectation or reaction. I choose to treat my time with care and love. I choose to do what works and to keep working at it-over and over and over again.