Tribulations “R” Us

I wish I could write something light and airy for you to read and consume with the ease that cotton candy melts on your tongue. Unfortunately, these past few days have been exhilarating and daunting. They have been relentlessly jarring me out of comfortable spaces to address the long overdue.

Everywhere I turn there is a fresh challenge: wisdom teeth chose this weekend to remind that growing wise is a never-ending and often painful process, maneuvering the end of a long standing relationship and trying not to be horrified postmortem, health issues of family and friends. It is nonstop.

I could rail against fate and all of this “too much” at a time where I’m not sure I can muster up “just a little” but I know that Tribulations “R” Us” always precedes Triumph Unlimited. So I’ll take my mind-boggling dose of issue stacked upon issue and dismantle each one powerfully to tap into the triumph that I’ve been squirreling away for days just like this. Take that, trouble! I’ve got more victory where that came from. Bring it.

Affirmation: Each tribulation is a gift that allows me to experience the amazing power of overcoming anything in my way.

It’s been a long time…

…I shouldn’t have left you…
It’s been more than a while since I last blogged about Results, Not Resolutions.  In the past few months I’ve been working on those aforementioned results.  Often I’ve tried to avoid results and just get by but 2011 will not stand by and tolerate stagnation.  So, whether I like it or not, change is happening and ushering me closer to my dreams than expected.   I’ll tell you all about that later.

I’m back.  I’m blogging.  And for those in the know, Tessism’s birthday season is ramping up.  As an Aries, I’ve chosen to celebrate my birth during the entirety of my sun sign which is from March 20 to April 20.

Welcome to Tessism’s Birthday Season of Aries!  This season is all about leisure and indulgence and the theme is **drum roll** (gather closely now)…A Month of Sunday…Brunches!  I’ll tell you a little bit more about it this week.  In the meantime, my birthday season is a celebration of and for everyone!  Hang tight and enjoy.  We’ve only just begun!

Results, Not Resolutions

The year is new. Actually, it gets no newer than this. With each new year comes the usual broken record of resolutions. Often they are promises held over from beginning years past.

I recently heard a news report that said only 12% of resolutions are kept. While I’m not quite sure how they came up with that figure, it sounds right to me. I’m not a big proponent of New Year’s resolutions. We start the year hopeful & then we conveniently forget our lofty promises to ourselves.

Rather than jump on the impotent bandwagon of substanceless declaration because it’s the first day of the year, I propose that we focus on getting results, not resolutions. How about we get things done this year?

This year I’m focused on results that make a lasting difference. Those results aren’t limited to one day. For instance, today, 2 bags of clutter causing coats were removed from my home & delivered by me to Salvation Army. That’s major.

Results everyday or bust! That’s my 2011. What’s yours?

Challenge Day 30: Score!

I swear I have the 30-day challenge blues.  After pushing day after day, I’m pretty sad that there is no more challenge left and that sucks the wind out of my sails.  Funny since I expected Day 30 to be the day to end all days where I would stand atop the mountain of my achievement and look out with puffed chest congratulating myself for daring the impossible.

I’m sure that I have the blues.  Now that there is no challenge each day, what will I do with myself?  Haha!  Anything and everything. The interesting thing about challenges is that they beget challenges–a sort of challenge-addiction.  Tomorrow or later this week, I’ll ruminate about lessons learned.  In the meantime, let’s get on with our last challenge!

Today’s challenge: Take stock of the last 30 days.  How did you do?  What did you do well?  What did you not do well?  What would you like to continue to work on?  How did it go?  What did you learn?
I’ll be sorting through the lessons learned on this journey for days to come but in the meantime, here are the stats of what I attempted this month:

My closest friends can attest to the wonderful peace I gained in these 30 days as well as the struggle it was to complete these last few days.  I know I couldn’t have done it without them or you.  I also know that I’m not quite done yet.

While I was able to challenge myself to different things each day, I haven’t gained mastery over anything new.  I have an experience of what it is like to live a revolutionary life but I still have work to do.  Each day of these 30 days of challenges revealed so much about myself to me.

The greatest revelation is that this month was a buffet of challenges for me to choose from and work on extensively in the near future.  All the challenges have been interrelated.  They are all pulling for the same transformed, galvanized life.  The next step for me is mastery.

Gratitude: I am grateful for that I could complete this month of challenges when I’ve done nothing like this ever before

On the horizon: More results, lessons and mastery…the journey – to be continued.

This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper.1

Challenge Day 29: Dare to Want

One more day to go and suddenly I am incredibly exhausted.  I’d rather nap than blog.  The only thing that keeps me going is my promise.  Good thing I made one, otherwise I wouldn’t have continued.  Thank you for the strength you give me by reading and witnessing my journey.

The last few moments before the end of a grueling marathon can be the worst.  It is in those moments that your mind, body, being resolve whether to finish or to curl up in a ball right there.  The next challenge is important for me to keep going.  Come run with me.

Today’s challenge: Dare to want…wantonly.  Allow yourself to want for no reason.  Want things you’ve never wanted before.  Want until you want no more.  Write it all down.  Change your mind if you need to.  Keep going until you see what you say you want and match that to what you really want.  Write that list about ideal mate that you’ve resisted writing for years.  Go ahead, write it.  Want him and everything.  Go!

Wanting is such a odd thing.  Most of us don’t allow ourselves to want things fearing that wanting things that don’t manifest may kill us or be close to dying.  We treat our wants as if we will never have them and work to push them away.  In turn, we end up yearning those things that we deny.

We suffer when we live as if wanting is a reminder of our inadequacy.  We are stuck believing that we’re not enough to deserve or earn our wants.  What if wanting was a normal part of your day as simple and constant as brushing your teeth?  What if wanting was a tool that you use to design your life?  Today’s challenge is my opportunity to dream to the point of incredulousness, dance into the impossible and shed suffering.  So I will be writing that list and collaging my vision of heart-thumping future.  What have you not dared to want?

Today’s victory: I spent a wonderful weekend failing and winning at most of my challenges.  When I missed the challenge mark, I made sure I went back and hit it dead on.  That looked like heated discussions, impasses and, finally, peaceful resolution.  I’m glad I have these tools working actively in my life.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the incredible community that surrounds, supports and fuels my dreams.

On the horizon: The scoreboard

Challenge Day 27: Lose Wait & Late

This next challenge is one I put off as long as I absolutely could.  In fact, I cheated to make sure it was one of the last challenges I did this month!  Rather than avoiding it any more to the point of further egregiousness, I’m biting the bullet and going for it for these next few days.

Today’s challenge: Give up procrastination and lateness.  For the rest of the month, do not live as if there’s tomorrow or that you have a right or an out that makes it ok to be late.  Lose wait.  Lose late. Go!

Oh, that time thing is one of my biggest issues and it’s closely bound to my procrastination.  Since this challenge is incredibly difficult for me, I had mercy on myself and am practicing it for a few days as a start.  I will challenge myself to 21 days straight of no procrastination or lateness in the next few months.  In the meantime, baby steps.

To come to terms with how detrimental procrastination and lateness have been in my life, I turn to a trusty passage:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

~Shakespeare, Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5

There’s but so much time in this life.  There is no tomorrow.  It’s gone in a blink.  Why wait?

As for being late, it’s my m.o. all over the place…except for movies.  I am fanatically early for movies–at least an hour or 45 minutes early to shows.  I am committed to getting great seats, no stress finding seating and an overall enjoyable experience at the movies for which I am never, ever late.  Ever.  Odd for a person who is pretty much late for everything else.  I will attempt to apply such dedication to the rest of my life.

Being late, while it may seem innocuous to me since I really intend no harm, chips away at friendships and networks, constantly disappointing and creating mediocre expectations and strained acceptance of “that’s how she is”.

For the next few days, I will honor my friends, networks, commitments and myself by practicing a new-found awareness of and respect for time.  So no more 11th hour blogging and other transgressions…I need all the support I can get so my friends, countrymen/women lend me your encouragement.  It’ll take all that and then some for me to be successful.  My stomach flips at the thought but I’m ready to dive!

Today’s victory: Today’s victory was very simple.  I kept a promise that involved time, my usual nemesis.  Every time I meet the demands of time and promises without avoidance, it’s a huge win.

Gratitude: I am grateful for how much more free I become with each day.  Every day I grow.  I know that every new day presents a new opportunity for breakthrough.  For that I am utterly grateful.

On the horizon: Doing what comes naturally

Challenge Day 24: Let It Go

A new day brings a new challenge.  Now that the Four Agreements are out of the way, I’m left with a week’s worth of challenges to dream up.  I dedicate the next seven challenges to things that I find the most difficult.  Today’s is something I have to keep practicing because it just never sticks.

Today’s challenge: Let things go.  Practice letting go as often as you can.  Let go of people, things, grudges, disappointments.  You name it.  Let it go.  Become a master of unburdening yourself.

Letting go is beyond difficult for me.  I tend to hoard memories and things.  I hold onto data, ideas and what we did last week.  I never forget how you hurt me or how you misunderstood me.  Even my home holds things I refuse to let go.  My favorite poem highlights how letting go feels like losing:

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

–Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied.  It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Letting go can feel like dying–if we really know how that feels.  It’s a trick that the familiar plays so that you can continue on the same path.  Notice that when you let go, the bottom does NOT fall out of the world.  If fact the world opens up even more for you.

I can hold onto things that hurt me and keep me from moving forward or I can take a risk to see what will show up once I clear out the space.  For the next few days, I’m going to practice shedding thoughts and things, especially the unnecessary.  I’ll take it even further by letting go of the things I hold onto that seem crucial yet haven’t been useful.  I’ll get rid of those items so that I will room for something new.

So it is with heavy heart that I let go of that one that I want to love me so much that my memories overshadow the present.  I’m letting go of the past to make room for an unrecognizable future.  I will do this every chance I get for the rest of this month.  I wonder what I’ll do with all the space I create.

Today’s victory: I literally let go of something today and I feel great!

Before

 

After

I let go of a whole lot of hair today (If only you could see the front!) Chopped!  I feel like a new woman.  Letting go can sometimes be fun.  Who knew? Let the games begin!

Gratitude: I am grateful for the delicious that always finds me.

On the horizon: Lightening my heart

Challenge Day 14: Empty Your Cup

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing a bit of finality and fatalism in the conversations that I’ve been hearing.  I kept hearing “nevers” and “it will never be the sames” and so on.  At first I wanted to dismantle the absurdity of such statements with a cool dose of “how do you know?”  Seriously, I thought, if you know so much about the future, can  you tell me about next week’s Mega Millions?

Then I realized that I do the same thing in conversations with myself and others: predicting fate with a certainty reserved for oracles.  How do I know?  Why must I always know?  The antidote for that is today’s challenge.

Today’s challenge: Adopt a beginner’s mind.  Give up the arrogance that you already know.  Give up your view that you know everything and that your view of life is the only way that it is.

When you already ready know, there really is no room for anything new.  If you want to create anything new, there needs to be space.  The following story illustrates this:

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

Read more from Darren Henson on IronPalm.com

Since I am committed to building a life unlike anything I have already seen, Beginner’s Mind helps.  This is simply giving up being right.  It takes rightness to a place of cluelessness–a place where knowledge can be developed and acquired, not assumed or dug up. Such thinking entails the ability to encounter fresh experiences with the innocence of first inquiry.  Here are some characteristics of Beginner’s Mind:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Wonder
  • Naïveté
  • Curiosity
  • Playfulness
  • Fascination

Beginner’s Mind is curious, flexible and more committed to questions than answers.  Its delight is in wondering and it is willing to try out new possibilities without being stuck.  Amazement, wonder and awe are the realm of Beginner’s Mind.  When we adopt a mind that doesn’t know, we are open to unlimited possibilities and we discover that

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be enjoyed.  — Unknown

A Beginner’s Mind creates a new twist in this journey for me.  Anything and everything is possible.

Today’s victory: I was doing great today and then I wasn’t.  I’d put ego aside and I was so wonderful and then something set me off.  All I need to throw a wrench in these days of challenges is a conversation or two with people.  It’s very easy to be gracious while sitting in front of my computer.  It’s another ballgame when I take those challenges and involve people and their opinions and button-pushing.  Today’s victory was simply doing everything in my power to remain committed to my challenges.  I did not give up on the conversation.  I was able to step back and observe my reactions, ask for a time out and jump back in and try again.  In the end, I was rewarded with peace and all is well.  Now that is the little victory that could.

Gratitude: I am grateful for each day I awake with the mistakes of the past solidly lodged in the past, facing a brand new blank canvas awaiting my creation.

On the horizon: Compassion

Challenge Day 13: Once More, with Passion

As I reach the arch of this month of challenges, I wonder how long will the momentum last.  When will I run out of steam?  Challenging myself to meditate every day is great way to center and refuel and, with today’s challenge, I’m injecting a much needed fuel enhancer into my month.

Today’s challenge: Find passion in all that you do.  Don’t just do it.  Do it with passion.  If you can’t find the passion, don’t do it or find a way to find your passion.  Live each day, moment with a dose of passion, big or small.

Going through the motions is sufficient for an adequate life.  It falls pretty short for the extraordinary, unrecognizable one that I’m aiming for this month.  I’m not going to do my challenges because I said so and don’t want to be disappointed if I don’t make it.  I’m doing these challenges because my life is at stake.  Without them, I’ll end up drowning in the numbing mediocre.

In choosing this month’s challenges, I’m working areas that are quite important to me.  Since my life depends on this, why not put my life’s energy into the rest of the challenge days?  If I cannot do a thing with passion then I won’t challenge myself to it.  Going even further, if something is not worth putting my whole self into it, I won’t do it.  Laundry gets done because clean clothes elevate me.  Writing is an honor I give myself.  The mundane, the extravagant, the minuscule–all of it will be done with passion.  It’s time for me to go with passion or go away.  I’m here to stay and feel and marvel at each moment while I’m at it.  How about you?

Today’s victory: I managed to haul 6 bags of sensitive documents to the Upper East Side Shred-a-thon as promised on Day 8.  My shreddables became a thing of the past when a lovely gentleman dumped the bags into a huge bin that his ProShred truck swallowed.

My knight-in-shredding-armor from ProShred

I watched my documents transform in this nifty monitor.

Papers go bye-bye hi-tech

The paper will be recycled into industrial paper.  New life for my clutter.  That feels good.

Gratitude: I am grateful for my uncanny good luck!

On the horizon: Making room for something new

Challenge Day 12: Concentrate, Meditate

Saying that the last few days have been hectic would be an understatement.  It takes a tremendous effort to shift in any one area of life and I’ve been challenging myself to shift in multiple areas by taking on a different practice and/or different level of practice of transformation every day this month.

I am not quite halfway through my challenge-month but I am clear that I will need to center myself if I want to continue successfully through this process.  That leads to today’s challenge.

Today’s challenge: Meditate at least 30 minutes every day.

For the next 19 days I will take 30 minutes to counter the general stresses of life and the added pressure of these daily challenges.  Here are some possible benefits of meditation:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved sleep
  • Pain relief
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced stress-related ailments
  • Improved sense of well-being
  • Improved overall health
  • Clarity of thought
  • Increased concentration
  • Increased creativity
  • So much more

I’m really looking forward to to tapping into my inner depths for healing and centering.  Namaste.

Great Resources:

  1. The Chopra Center’s 21-day Meditation Challenge – http://www.chopra.com/meditationchallenge
  2. Benefits of Yoga on HealthandYoga.comhttp://www.healthandyoga.com/html/meditation/objectives.html

Today’s victory: Besides it being a gorgeous day today, I was able to set realistic goals for myself today.  Instead of forcing myself to do a million things today, I did a few things and they were done well.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the coming weekend and the space and time I am taking to nurture myself each day.

On the horizon: Writing and reflection