I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions but I do try to commit to making at least one simple change at the start of each year. For 2022, I decided to get some space to grow vegetables and decide if farming was something I wanted to pursue. That turned out great and I now have a small agricultural business that I hope can be profitable in 2023.
This year, I decided to make some more aggressive changes. I’ve joined a gym, started using a planner more frequently (with the goal of using it daily) and have been working toward increasing my weekly income.
I would be a liar if I said this year’s changes have been easy so far. The truth is, I have been struggling with consistency BUT I will continue. I’m sure that the man I am a year from now will thank me.
This is a lesson I thought I mastered many years ago but, lately I’ve realized that this is a life long journey.
As we grow, things in our lives change. Some of these changes are for the better…. Some not so much.
The idea is to accept yourself as you are and love that version of yourself.
Once the love is there, you can begin making adjustments.
I think a lot of the time, we are so busy trying to become the “best version” of ourselves that we forget to be kind to ourselves.
If you’re always chasing some “other” version of yourself and you never take the time to accept and love who you are in this moment….. How will you know if the version of yourself you are pursuing is even compatible with who you came here to be?
The pictures at the top of this post show how this lesson is being lived out in my life.
For years, I was chasing the “serious professional” image. In pursuit of that, I was neglecting those parts of me that love being outdoors, working with my hands, & interacting with farm animals.
I shoved that part of me to the side for over a decade. Why? I was worried about how people would perceive me. I didn’t want people to think I was country or without ambition.
The reality is, I was robbing myself of something I love…… Something that, thanks to my parents, is something I am good at and have the instincts for.
The lesson: Farmer Bash, Bash the Intellectual, and Smooth/Laid Back Bash are all VALID manifestations of different aspects of ME.
In heavily focusing on what I thought was expected of me & worrying about the opinions of others. I spent many years living in misery and searching for what was in plain sight.
I invite you to learn from my mistakes.
Start spending some time with YOU. Even if there are things about yourself that you don’t like, make the effort to accept yourself and love yourself as you are.
From there, you can begin working toward a better version of yourself. Not from a place of wanting to please others or keep up appearances…. But from a place of love.
Confession: I’ve been working on a book for about 10 years. I’ve scrapped manuscript after manuscript because I wasn’t quite articulating things in a way that I felt good about.
Sure, the words were hitting the pages but something was missing.
Today, as I was getting ready for work it hit me.
I was writing from a place of raw pain. I had not taken the time to heal.
To be honest, I didn’t know how to heal. I mean. How does one heal?
I had no idea so I’ve sort of wandered around in the wilderness of life for the past decade or so, facing the ugly process of healing.
And, to be clear, healing is an ugly process. It’s not all light and love and butterflies and rainbows.
Healing is messy.
So…. Now that I’m more healed now that I ever have been (Healing is an ongoing process). I am taking the time to see if a book is really what I want to put out into the world or if I want to tell my story through a different vehicle.
Time will tell. For now, I’ll stick to blogging and resume my creative writing journey while reflecting on the many things I’ve written over the years.
I don’t know what’s next but whatever it is will be something that honors my past and the lessons that have come from those experiences.
There’s no way to accurately predict where this journey will take us.
All we can control is how we flow with the process.
Sometimes we rise to the occasion…. sometimes we fall flat on our faces.
None of us have arrived at perfection. We all have flaws and probably some regrets to go along with them. That’s life.
If we’re lucky, we’ll be learning and growing until we pass on to the next phase of existence.
It is with this in mind that I encourage us all to be kind to others. Extend grace to others.
That doesn’t mean you should be a doormat or allow people to violate your boundaries. It just means that we should be careful not to judge others harshly. Keeping in mind that none of us are without flaws is a good place to start.
I’m learning that it’s better to control what you can than it is to worry about what’s out of your control.
We cannot control what life throws at us. We can control how we respond to it.
This takes practice. A LOT of practice.
The next time your boss makes a last minute change or someone pushes a sense of urgency on you that would normally induce stress, take a few seconds to breathe and say to yourself, “I will not stress. I will not stress. I will not stress.”
It may seem like a small thing but this act will help you to be mindful of how your body and mind react to stressful situations.
I had a situation last week that prompted me to start doing this more frequently. My manager said, “This is going to be a stressful month.” That didn’t sit well with my spirit.
I am not okay with someone else deciding that I am going to be stressed. That’s a boundary that I don’t want anyone being able to cross. In that moment, my mind said, “No. This isn’t going to be a stressful month for me.”
To keep myself accountable to that decision, I remind myself each and every time I feel myself getting stressed out that “I will not stress.”
I’ve been thinking about how to do this post. How to…. put words to what I am thinking and feeling. I want to be transparent while saving some things for myself. I want to keep it 💯 without crossing certain personal boundaries.
I will start by saying, “I have been intrigued by the idea of a minimalist lifestyle for quite some time.”
Removing clutter appeals to me because there are other ways that I want to use my time, mental space, and energy.
Over the years, I’ve gone through a cycle of being a extreme minimalist to having so much clutter I couldn’t function to getting fed up and trashing most of my belongings.
This cycle has repeated itself many times and I am exhausted. At this point, I just want to clear the clutter & use the remaining space (spiritual, mental, physical, etc.) for the things that matter.
I’ve already gotten started by beginning the de-cluttering process. The 3 day weekend afforded me sufficient time to begin purging my stuff.
During the first phase of my purging, I started to take breaks and deal with the intangible things that have been cluttering my life. I’m feeling so many things during this process. Joy, rage, goofiness, sadness, etc all have come up during this journey.
This morning as I was getting ready for work, I decided to get rid of some of my shoes. These shoes hold no true significance but I realized, to my surprise, that I had somehow put emotional stock into them. I don’t need them, they are well past their prime but something in the back of my mind kept urging me to keep them “just in case”.
A bunch of excuses for keeping these worn out items played through my mind. I almost gave in….. It was tough but I took a deep breath, reminded myself that I did not need them and I removed them from the shoe rack and prepared them for disposal.
Immediately after that, it’s like a switch turned in my brain. I collected a few more item that I badly needed to get rid of and tossed them into the bag as well.
When I return home this evening, I plan to continue the purge.
As the year 2021 comes to a close, I am preparing for my annual start of the year season of fasting.
It started during my time in the C.O.G.I.C. denomination. We did a 21 day Daniel fast every year. It helped a lot of folks lose weight and get centered and/or closer to God.
Now that I’m more of a Christian universalist than anything else, I’ve decided to kick off 2022 with a season of fasting. I know that part of it will be a financial fast in which is engage in necessary spending only. I’m also considering a social media fast during which I abstain from posting on social media or from scrolling obsessively through social media. The jury is still out on that one but I do know that I need a time of fasting.
I used to think that fasting moved God but what it does, for me, is give me an opportunity to be more mindful about what I put into my body and what it is that I allow into my mind. This is something I find grounding because we live in a consumer culture where we are pressed on all sides to eat more, scroll more, & spend more. I wonder what this has done to our ability to produce meaningful things in our society. 🤔
I don’t have an answer in this moment but I’m searching. Hopefully the cutbacks I make this month and the fasting I do to start the new year will bring me closer to an answer.