On New Year’s Day, I posted this article, called “New Year’s Day: the Rose and the Rock.” It spoke about the spirit in which you can make your resolutions, knowing your fervor will die out pretty soon. How to keep going anyway.
So this is my 30-day check in, after having made my resolutions. By this time last year, I had basically forgotten my promises, and was well into the unconscious plodding of my daily life. This time, I’m fighting back. I’m checking in.
What did I say I would do? I said I would:
* Write the first three chapters of my book by March 31
* Submit ten pieces of writing every month
* Quilt every Sunday
* Slow down. Unplug for real, every Sunday.
It was clear to me that these things wouldn’t happen without a certain degree of conscious effort. So I decided to schedule five days a week for writing (only 45 minutes at a shot). I put in my calendar the days in which I’d submit my writing to magazines and online publications. And for the Sunday unplug, quilt, slow down? I wrote it in my calendar. I made sure my wife knew this was happening so nothing was scheduled during this time.
This turned out to be a realistic schedule for the most part.
- First Three Chapters: I’m into the really crappy sixth chapter of my book. I don’t care. I’m continuing so that I have something to edit. Letting go of perfectionism, working almost every day.
- Ten Submissions a Month: I submitted eleven pieces of writing in January, so —check! And I was accepted and got paid for an article in Tricycle Magazine’s blog site (this is a big deal)
- Quilting: I’ve been quilting every Sunday; and it’s much harder to do this than I imagined it would be. I have to force myself do something enjoyable — work tasks yell at me, and they seem to weigh so much more in the pantheon of ‘worth’ that I mindlessly start working. And then I remember my commitment. I wrestle myself away from the laptop, turn toward my beautiful sewing machine, and begin handling fabric. (And then four hours go by without my noticing.)
- Slowing down and Unplugging: Oh boy. Last week was the first time in a very long time that I really honestly unplugged. This is how that went. So tomorrow, I get to do it all over again. The trick is to actually power down the laptop and the phone the night before. Looking forward to it.
- Slowing Down: I’ve asked myself to focus on slowing down in conversation. I finish people’s sentences, or hurry them along deftly if I ‘know’ where they’re going. I have required of myself to not know for a while. Let my friends, my family, my spouse tell me whatever it is until there are spaces in their speaking — and let those spaces be, not try to fill them with how perfectly I’ve understood. I am trying to really listen.
It’s going pretty well. The hardest part is just remembering that I made these commitments, but I’m getting there. I use this journal, and it’s amazing at keeping me on track and fully engaged with my dreams and goals…but everyone finds their own way to fleshing out their intentions.
How have you done? What did you promise yourself? What mechanisms did you put in place to make sure it would happen? How’s it going? No matter what, be kind — to yourself and to the world around you. And if you fell away from it, just start over today.
Namaste my friends.