Today is the first weekday that I have woken without alarm, alert, feeling good, and anxious to start a new day. It has been a very long time since I have woken in this manner. I can attribute this feeling to many of the following things and I am grateful for each and every one of them.
- Practicing New Year’s habits to not drink alcohol on evenings that require going to work the next day. This habit change was primarily for saving money, improving health and belly fat loss. A side benefit is easier waking behavior without a sense of dread.
- A sense of hope at our workplace arrived yesterday . We have a new “C” level person and I have a high degree of confidence that changes are going to occur and circumstances are going to improve in 2016.
- There are activities on my calendar to anticipate: a family get-together, book club, birthday parties and a trip abroad that was made more real by researching flight options.
- Friends. Friends to knit with, friends at work to laugh and cry with, friends who were family first, friends in spirit who know your soul (and love you anyway), and furry friends who purr, nuzzle, and love you unconditionally.
I am feeling grateful and hopeful this morning, and it is good.
I have written 4 blog entries since my last posting, but none of them were worth the web space. Someday, I will add more content and they will become worthy of posting. Until then, they are just dribble.
So my word for 2016 – AND – is causing me grief. I’ve thought of many things to write about: Friday and Saturday, Family and Friends, Bacon and Eggs, Soup and Sandwich. You get the point. One issue that is causing me grief is that I have not been willing to create a focus for this blog. Neither have I been willing to tell about myself, to put a character in the story, or to put shape of any kind to this blog.
And so… there is nothing to write about.
I could write about the sweater I’m knitting and the new stitch I learned, but then it would be a crafty blog. I could write about gardening and recipes using fresh food, but then it would be a gardening or foodie blog. I could write about the audiobooks I enjoy and what I think about the writing style and content, but then it would become a mind-numbing series about the entertainment I choose.
Since no one has yet stumbled on this blog and there are zero views to date, I have decided to let go of caution and write.
- Write 50 words. That’s a paragraph.
- Write 400 words. That’s a page.
- Write 300 pages. That’s a manuscript.
- Write every day. That’s a habit.
- Edit and rewrite. That’s how you get better.
- Spread your writing for people to comment. That’s called feedback.
- Don’t worry about rejection or publication. That’s a writer.
- When not writing, read. Read from writers better than you. Read and Perceive.
Willpower is a muscle to be exercised. I know this because it was an encouragement picture e-mailed from my gym.
Willpower is an AND word. Ex: Weight loss will occur when
- you exercise your willpower against eating unhealthy foods
- AND when you use your willpower to exercise.
Yesterday, I exercised my willpower and did not eat that deliciously moist chocolate frosted brownie that a coworker made to share at work. This seemingly simple act was not easy. It required mental energy to think about the AND benefits of not eating sugar, extra calories and how my jeans would look if I could lose another five pounds. It required me to make a decision and to exercise willpower, every single time I walked past that pan of temptation.
This exercise of willpower make me realize my great wealth. I not only have food to eat, but I have a plethora of choices on what to eat and when.
Today, the focus is on the AND that requires willpower. Focus on the abundance in life that others in this world do not have. Focus on what I have: a home, clothes, a job, food, family and friends and not on what I cannot or should not have.
Exercise willpower today over the excesses in life. Practice thinking about our gifts AND be grateful to have a choice.
As I was considering the word for 2016, a quote from Mary Tyler Moore gave weight to the decision. “Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”
I have a well established practice of going to work Monday through Friday and performing the tasks assigned to me. There are other activities that utilize the word practice. Yoga is a practice of training your body to learn movements and meditation. Physicians practice their education and experience by applying standard cures to unique human bodies.
Practicing is similar to a habit. Changing habits form many new year’s resolutions, i.e. quit smoking, eat healthier, exercise more, etc. I have practiced changing habits by taping facts on my walls telling about the benefits of exercise and the evils of sugar.
So how do you practice being brave? Practicing to be brave happens frequently in people’s lives, i.e. going back to school, moving to a new city, leaving a bad situation, swapping bad habits for good habits. You have to be willing to take chances AND make mistakes.
AND lets you do this. You can practice being brave AND grow.
As 2015 was nearing its end, I was listening to a variety of books, looking for inspiration for 2016. Gloria Steinem’s My Life On the Road, provided my word for 2016. In the final chapter, Gloria described the time when she thought she needed to settle down, stop traveling and establish her home. Once done, she realized she missed traveling. Gloria then decided she could have a comfortable home AND she could travel when she wanted to travel. AND… you can do both. It doesn’t have to be Either / Or.
AND is not punitive, nor absolute. It allows for human weakness. It provides a baseline for growth. It lets you be brave yet still keep your security blanket. AND is flexible.
As a new year’s resolution, AND gives you points for gradual improvements. You don’t have to go full out to a goal, then quit in February when you realize it’s impossible to keep the resolution. You can improve your diet AND still enjoy a piece of chocolate birthday cake. You can quit drinking during the week AND still enjoy happy hour on the weekend. You can get your writing career off the ground AND still keep your full time job.
AND does not allow for a period at the end of the sentence. AND requires something else. AND gets you moving. Once you are moving, AND keeps you going. If you put AND in a sentence, it requires a follow-up. ex: I poured my coffee AND drank it. I got dressed AND went to work. I opened my laptop AND started this blog.
Happy 2016… AND…