Today is the first day in the second trimester of my Lean2Life Quest/experiment. December 24th 2012, Christmas Eve Day, was the first day of my year-long mission to restructure and redesign my life from the inside out. My goals were vague. My plan was to let a plan unfold. An important guiding principle was to stop starting and start finishing.
I knew I aspired to create space for grace, ease and flow in my life. I knew I aspired to be able to enjoy my weekends and evenings with the sense of completion. I knew I wanted to tend to neglected areas of my world, solve ongoing problems, and build strong foundations for future endeavors. I was struck by the dream theme Marion Woodmen shares: "Your hymns will never make it to heaven until you clean up the mess in your basement." If she/you/I want to aim high, we need strong, stable foundations.
It's hard to believe I'm a third through the process already. There is so much left to do that it's easy to overlook what I've achieved so far. So I'm making a list.
1. My closets have room in them.
a. My clothes closet is functional. I've improved access to basics and even was able to remove a dresser from my bedroom, opening up space and flow. I can even dance in there now. I've simplified my wardrobe to a point where I'm not overwhelmed with options. It's easier and more fun to get dressed in the morning.
b. I can open my office closet without things falling out. I'm not embarrassed for people to see it. My office bookcase doesn't spill over into the garage.
c. I have room in my bathroom closet and the things I use daily are readily available.
d. The kitchen is arranged based on point of use... and stays organized. I can find spices without fumbling.
e. I could go on.
2. I'm enjoying my food. I'm enjoying my food! I'm enjoying my food!!!
a. I'm managing my fat digestion challenge so now I can eat enough fat to stay balanced and maybe gain weight. Yay!
b. I identified and desensitized myself to a number of food allergens.
c. I've created an adaptive new eating routine that keeps my energy pretty steady and feels natural.
d. I'm eating a much broader range of foods.
e. I have lots of new "recipes." (I put that is quotes because I don't write them - I just know new ways to create delicious meals.)
3. Family: I've created room to be a better wife, daughter, sister and friend. I'm probably about the same as a mom as I always have been.
a. I set my low-vision dad up on a new computer system that he can use - with effort, but still... I support him online and enjoy the opportunity to speak with him regularly.
b. I set him up so he can dial my number with a phone that amplifies so he can hear me.
c. I've discovered how cool my dad is
d. I set my brother up with awesome support in his city to help him through very challenging circumstances.
e. Bob (hubby) and I are traveling companions in improvement efforts.
4. I'm not going to be a dried up little old lady. Old, yes, but not dried up and not teeny-tiny.
a. My food solutions are allowing me to replenish myself.
b. My efforts toward addressing chronic dryness (which is a challenge for almost everyone in this climate) are working. (Some approaches you don't want to know about.)
c. I even figured out how to put lotion on my own back - which is a bigger deal than you might imagine since the dryness caused chafing from my bra strap. (Makes you wonder about the things you don't want to know about, doesn't it!)
5. I've been tending to overdue maintenance, such as getting the recalls taken care of on my Prius.
6. I am learning to be more attentive and see what's right in front of me.
a. For example, (and I have hundreds) I noticed that the ceramic stovetop burner at a guesthouse we stay in has the option of turning on just a small inside burner when using a small pan. This was our sixth stay there - and I had never taken the time to figure out what "dual" and "single" on the dial mean. This time I did.
b. I'm learning to count and measure. I'm not there yet, but I'm doing things like measuring water and oatmeal, and noticing what level of heat works best. (I know, I know, most of you learned that when you were six.)
7. I am sleeping beautifully.
a. Dreaming blissfully.
b. Remembering and recording and learning from my dreams.
c. Finding ways to lull myself back to sleep when I awake at night
a. I have music available in every room I frequent
b. I have many Pandora stations and MP3 playlists that delight me
9. Capacity for pleasure
a. I am totally experiencing the subtle beauty of music at new levels. It takes me places.
b. Food is a rediscovered source of pleasure
10. I place things consciously all around based on point of use.
a. For example, I have lip gloss everywhere I settle to enable myself to keep my lips continually moist as part of my process to combat dryness.
b. I have lip gloss where I sit to read as well as lotion for my hands. My reading station has clips for different sized books so they stay open in the stand without my holding them. I have a pencil, pen and Post-its for note-taking. I have reading glasses and glass cleaner. I have a fingernail file. I have stevia in case I settle in and discover I didn't sweeten my tea enough. I have toothpicks (brush picks - they're great!) If I find myself getting up to get something, I ask myself if I want to keep that item handy to that point of use.
11. I can find things I'm looking for with much less time wasted in searches.
12. Habit changes. I still shop a bit more than I need to, but I've reversed the direction, and more goes out of the house than comes in.
13. I'm having fun! Bob and I are learning to Tango! I revel in the freedom from deadlines and production commitments.
14. There are psychological and relational shifts.
a. Optimism. I've broken through gridlocks I wasn't sure I could affect. For example, every newly ordered closet helps me believe I can live a graceful, organized life.
b. Mitigated shame, which emboldens me to see and acknowledge remaining challenges. For example. I didn't take pictures of the first closet I took on because I felt shame about how bad it was. Now I don't feel the same need to hide, and hide from, my messes, limits and flaws. They are just a part of what is.
c. I am getting to know myself, and my relationship with my own nature is very supportive. For example, if I feel resistance toward something, I take the time to discover why, and use the information to find solutions that work on all levels. I'm making changes based on who I am discovering I am, and how I actually operate rather than imposing structure that I rebel from at the core.
d. Trust: I can leave things unfinished without worrying that I'll never get to them. Completion is the norm.
e. Habits: I'm learning how to change them without requiring a will of tempered steel.
f. I'm sharing a wider range of who I am and how I live and perceive with my circles.
g. Less disheartened by setback and new challenges. I see them increasingly as a sign I need to go deeper and do more problem solving.
Reviewing all this makes moving forward far less daunting. If I made a similar list of remaining challenges, you'd know what I mean. But that's not today's focus. Today is celebration. But tomorrow, I just might deepen my focus on learning to back out of the driveway without wiggling, waddling and waffling about. My driveway is a straight shot, and I'm still not good at straight lines.