Quote of the Week: “A ship in port is safe. But that’s not what ships are built for.” Grace Murray Hopper
Writing Exercise of the Week: Write about a time you were saved by the bell (literally or figuratively).
The official countdown has begun. A new year is right around the corner.
I’ll confess that I’m a little bit anxious. For the past few weeks I’ve been adding to the running list of things I’d like to do in 2014. Goals, accomplishments, tasks I keep putting off, things I want to get done or experience. Some (most) are older than others. In fact, they seem to be making a repeat appearance on my annual new year’s resolutions/wish lists. And that got me thinking.
At what point does persistence become resistance to reality? I tell myself some things take time, but maybe—just maybe—I need to let them go and free myself from the disappointment I feel when I don’t get those things “done” or accomplished.
How can we let these things go? What if we’re wrong? What if that thing we wanted was just about to happen, but we walked away? Here’s a clue: our feelings. Are you feeling fearful or are you feeling hopeful? Are you feeling dread or are you feeling inspired? Are you feeling anxious (cough!) or are you feeling relaxed?
You can’t look at a situation and dissect it mentally. Been there, done that, and I’m still on that merry-go-round. There’s an easier way to get what we want. And that’s by paying attention to how we feel.
Our feelings are our biggest clue. They are our compass. Without them we look to others for confirmation if we’re doing the right thing, if we’re on the right track, if we need any course correction. If we let our brain and thoughts lead the way, we’re following formulas and other people’s good ideas. Our minds know how to attach to other like-minded thoughts and processes, how things are “supposed” to be done. The result? Insanity. Suffering. Feeling lousy. Feeling not good enough. We hit the highs as quickly as we hit the lows—and then we berate ourselves for not doing more.
But when we let our feelings guide the way, we trust our own desire for well-being. We realize that what works for others might not work for us, and that’s OK. When we go for the feelings—feeling good, feeling happy, feeling peaceful, feeling content, feeling healthy, feeling abundant, feeling connected—we don’t beat ourselves up when we can’t lose those last 15 pounds, make a million dollars, find that perfect mate, or get a promotion at work. Can 2014 be the year when you’re brave enough to take a different kind of risk, one that lets go of “doing” or thing goals and choosing “being” or feeling goals instead?
In doing so you might feel like you’re slacking or not trying very hard. It might feel uncomfortable, focusing only on your feelings. But consider this: are you tired? I sure am. I’d love to feel good, period. I want to be over those incessant lists of what I want to do or should do, but haven’t yet. The thought of wiping the slate clean feels like relief. The thought of adding these tasks or goals back on for another year does not.
I just got my answer. What about you?
We all need good writing skills, not to mention an occasional boost of confidence. Middle and high schoolers, develop your essay and writing sample skills for SSAT, SAT and college applications with yours truly. Essay clinics offered December through February. Contact Waimea Community Education at waimeaeducation.com for more information and to register. Darien Gee is a national best-selling author based in Waimea. She also writes under the name Mia King. Learn more at dariengee.com and miaking.com.