#Reverb10 is a movement to encourage folks to tackle a daily prompt with the intent of reflecting on their year. If you’d like to get involved, it’s not too late! You can backtrack to previous prompts or simply jump in where you are. If you’re interested, you can see all my #reverb10 posts here.
Dec. 11: 11 Things: What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)
Can I be honest? I think simplicity is great, but I also believe you can reach a point where things get a little too simple. Short of having a slightly embarrassing amount of clutter (which I’m currently working on ejecting), I honestly don’t think there’s anything significant in my life I want to eliminate. I’ve already simplified things. I’m thinking maybe it’s time to start adding a little complication again. So, in that vein, here are 11 things I’d like to add to my life in 2011.
- More travel.
- More fruitful work.
- More friends.
- More collaboration.
- More risk.
- More opportunity.
- More relaxation.
- More acts of kindness (random or not).
- More dressing up.
- More laughter (even if it’s at myself).
- More hugs.
Maybe in 2012 I’ll need to simplify & eliminate again, but in 2011, I want more rather than less.
Dec. 12: Body Integration: This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)
This feels like a boring answer, but I think I feel this most often when I work out, and probably most during the sorts of activities where I don’t consider myself a natural — namely, running and yoga. Ninety-nine percent of the time, hitting “failure” — the point where you can’t run another step or hold a pose another second — is entirely mental. When we experience discomfort, it’s our natural instinct to stop. The problem with that is, if we stop any time we feel uncomfortable, we never grow. We never get to the next level. We never advance. And while there are a number of unfortunate effects of that, it’s also boring as hell.
Maybe it’s the storyteller in me, but I want to have a character arc. And learning that I don’t have to stop just because I’m uncomfortable — that the point of discomfort is the place where change happens — has been vital in pushing myself forward this year. Maybe it’s masochistic, but I almost look forward to those moments when I don’t know if I can go on because it gives the the opportunity to triumph.
And it’s in these moments when you’re forced to shut down a part of your mind and, to shill for Nike, just do it. Jillian Michaels said it in a much more zen way: “Feel the pain, acknowledge it, and move through it.” It’s a statement I’ve come back to time and again this year, especially whilst running. It’s a manner of thought that brings me back in tune with my body. I really like the aspect of feeling/acknowledging, as opposed to ignoring. Ignoring your body’s signals can be dangerous and destructive; learning to be present, to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” to quote Ms. Michaels again, is part of the journey.
So, while I’ve learned these lessons via exercise (which is one of the big reasons I champion health & fitness — the mental side is just as important as the physical one), it’s something I try to carry over into other aspects of my life. There are a lot of days that I don’t feel like writing, to be honest. I feel like snapping my fingers and having the perfect version of what’s in my mind appear on the page, sure. But the actual, grueling, teeth-and-hair-pulling act of writing? Unless I’m in that blessed place sometimes called The Zone, it’s not exactly enjoyable. But I also know that, just like in running or in yoga, I’m not going to have a shot at getting into The Zone without going through the discomfort of starting. So I feel it, acknowledge it, and then move through it, because achieving (on most days) is more important than relieving the temporary discomfort.
The more we can be present in our bodies, our lives, our circumstances, the more fully we can experience them, and the more we take from them. One thing I try to carry with me is that there is beauty and worth in all experience if we choose to see it. There is as much beauty in melancholy as there is in joy. One is more pleasurable than the other, but they both inform our lives if we allow it.
So, while I don’t have a single moment to share, I will say I make an effort toward this most days, and the concept of mindfulness (or being present) has perhaps done more for my sense of well-being (and truly, my sanity) than anything else in the past five years.