Time to think

Number One Highland Park

Treating myself to a celebratory almond milk iced latte and grain-free muffin the other day, I stumbled across a thought-provoking article in Darling Magazine. Bre Scullark writes,

“Masking the motive behind our actions subconsciously gives us permission to live an inauthentic life.”

Leading an inauthentic life is the last thing I want, but I’ve found lately that it’s an easy place to get to. I’ve had a ton to process in the past half year: engagement, a new job and leaving a company that felt like home, ongoing health flare-ups, my grandmother’s passing, marriage, moving into a place with a guy (my husband, but still), my first and hopefully only lay off, another new job… That’s some hard work, ya’ll. That I haven’t been doing.

The article goes on to say that “when we numb our emotions we deny ourselves the opportunity to find acceptance and peace uninterrupted.” Compulsive behavior like eating, shopping and entertainment are all ways we continue this pattern of avoidance. Interestingly or perhaps fittingly enough, these are also all ways to consume rather than create. Producing creative work requires things like processing and feeling.

Since I got married a little over 2 months ago I’ve become fast friends with the consumption and distraction part of this equation. I’ve read 6 books and started 3 others, watched all 5 seasons of Brothers & Sisters, caught up on the full seasons of 4 other shows, spent two weekends out of town, added several blogs to my regular reading roster, pinned countless pins and obsessed about apartment decor with the receipts and return slips (and then receipts again) to prove it.

But when all these fun things aren’t balanced with any time to reflect or engage in creative outlets of my own, they become stifling. I have been learning firsthand that laziness and self-indulgence are not the same as rest.

This quote from Louis C.K. also hit me hard, talking about people’s need to constantly preoccupy themselves:

“And that’s why we text and drive. People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.”

It is hard. I’m slowly trying to take stock of my reactionary habits, to be more mindful about how I’m spending my time and why. After all,

tom ford quote - time and silence

 

Planning for now

sunshinewe are alive print

After months of feeling ‘eh’ and a week and a half where I literally didn’t leave my apartment, I finally feel like I’m getting back to myself and to my life. My planner had become accustomed to such neglect that it’s not sure what to do with all this one-on-one attention now. It truly is like the post-pill popping portion of those allergy commercials…I’m basically pushing back the curtains to let in blinding light and running through a flower-filled meadow as we speak.

This past weekend was filled with three of my closest friends, an art party aka my new favorite Dallas event – the DADA Art Walk, reaching new poses at Super Yoga Palace and reminiscing on high school days at The Rocket Summer concert / dance party. Instead of being completely wiped out from the weekend, like I would have when submerged in allergy-related sickness, I woke up this morning energized for the week and summer ahead. This year’s new bathing suit, check. New Home Pinterest board, check. Plane ticket bought and time off approved, check and check!

All this planning has got me quite excited for the fun ahead, but my favorite part is that for once I’ve managed to keep my balance between the doing and planning so far. It’s easy for me to get lost in the plans and possible scenarios instead of making the most of the time that’s going on right now. New changes are just one month away, making being present in this time even sweeter.

This week my only goal is to continue this momentum, which will require even more of my previously mentioned mindfulness and thankfulness. After all, sometimes goals take more than just one week to master!

And of course, since no life moment would be complete without a corresponding movie quote, I’ll leave you with this little nugget from the always fantastic Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the always fantastic 10 Things I Hate About You…”And I’m back in the game!”

Finding…mindfulness.

mind over matterliving in the present quoteSigh… Mondays.

See, I’m not usually one of those people who dread Mondays and complain about their jobs. But I’m not going to lie, I started this morning groaning out of bed and maybe getting just a little bit sassy at other drivers. But reality finally checked in, reminding me just how much I have to be thankful for. It’s easy to get bogged down in all the things that don’t go exactly the way I want them to, which in my case consists largely of having an uncomfortable, embarrassing and altogether exhausting allergic reaction going on the three month mark.

As an interviewee said on NPR this morning, and I paraphrase: It’s like when you’re driving. You don’t think much of the green lights because you just keep going. But those red lights make you stop, make you wait, can even make you late. People invariably end up saying, “Ahh I hit some red lights,” not “I hit some green lights.”

I know I need to spend more time meditating on my own green lights to get myself through the red ones. And I think practicing a little more mindfulness is just the thing to help me do that.

I’ve been reading a book called My Year With Eleanor, in which author Noelle Hancock writes, “Mindfulness is a technique where you concentrate on the present experience without judging or trying to control what is going on. To be fully aware….It helps you stay in the present, where fear does not exist.” One Apartment Therapy article calls mindfulness “an accepting and kind attitude toward yourself and your present moment experience…that will change your relationship to life.”

Here are some tips for practicing more mindfulness, which are all part of my plan this week to try staying gracefully in the present and practice more acceptance:

Change the day’s first words. Waking up and indulging groans and dread for the day sets my attitude, and therefore, perception for at least the next three hours. Complaining is a habit, and I’d like to train my brain to not jump straight into it every morning.

Put. the phone. down. How many times do I re-check email, refresh Facebook on my browser, scroll through Twitter, and when all that still fails to entertain, turn to other apps to see what latest GroupOns are featured and which new pug is on @PugsofInstagram, only to repeat the process? I waste so much time with absent-minded scrolling.

Be thankful for waiting. It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of going and then get frustrated when something jars me out of that by making me wait. Instead, this moment that I can’t force into productivity is a fantastic opportunity to breathe and think without feeling guilty.

Dedicate time to just sit. Not in front of the tv, with a book, food or even a cup of coffee. Just me, being still. A word of warning, when you try this one in bed, at night, with a relaxing cool eye mask on…this also turns into a fantastic way to accidentally fall asleep. As I learned from personal experience.

What helps you relax and think more on the positive side of things?