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Take Yourself Off the Hook!

Again, I have not written in a very long time as I let the busyness of life get in the way.

We dropped off our 2 children to sleep away camp yesterday and I have 3 weeks to do the things I feel I don’t usually have time for when they are here.

One of those things is to write.

This is my 2nd year spending 2 months in NC for the summer and every time I come here, I put all this pressure on myself to do and see certain things. Especially with the children gone, I feel a surge of energy pulling me into “have to’s” and “should’s” because I need to use this time wisely as it will be gone before I know it. Last summer, I was a bit disappointed in myself that I didn’t do the things I had set out to do.

As I sit on my deck this morning after having walked the dogs and eaten breakfast, I remind myself that one month ago I chose to live an unhurried life this summer. I even posted it on facebook to confirm my commitment to myself. So, what is the rush to do, see and go? It is a stunning morning today. It’s not too hot, the sun is shining, there’s a slight breeze and the birds are chirping away. I am overlooking the top of the Smokey Mountains and I don’t have to answer to any calls of “mama!” So, again, what’s the rush. There is none except for the ideas I implant in my intellect.

I was listening to part of Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying to be Me, this morning while walking the dogs, and she reminded me that if a ritual or practice feels like a burden, then don’t do it. It’s probably not the right thing for you. Whenever I spend time here in nature, I set many goals for myself and don’t follow through with them. Most of them are a type of daily practice such as taking long walks everyday up and down the mountain, meditating, journaling, dancing, swimming at the lake and exploring the area we are in. I realize that I get disappointed when at the end of the summer, I didn’t do all those things or didn’t do them everyday! Just writing this feels heavy. I don’t think I am alone when I speak to the amount of burdens we place on ourselves. It’s almost funny to think that even the pleasurable things can be a burden if there is a should or fear attached to it. I mean, really, who would feel burdened by having the leisure to walk, swim, paint, meditate or dance? Well, I do. It is only because I have this conversation in my head about how I “should” use this time while I am here. Should, should, should!

My husband once said, “I would never want to live in your head!” There are so many days, where I too don’t want to live in my head either. However, I have the power to choose my thoughts to create the feelings I want to experience.

If you recall, I previously wrote a blog about not living with any “shoulds” and here I am “shoulding” all over myself! Well, I am taking myself off the hook and taking my own advice. I pledge to not “should” myself while here in NC for the rest of the summer.

I will experience the things my soul is longing for and not what my ego or intellect tells me. I will sit on the deck reading a book or writing, picking blueberries while walking the dogs, going to the lake for a swim just because I feel like it, paint with watercolors, enjoy my freshly made rhubarb jam in the morning on toast or a croissant, walk the dogs without feeling the need to go all the way down the mountain, dance when my soul is calling for it, and simply just be.

I think that anyone who is on a spiritual path knows that all we have to do is just be, surrender and allow. Yet, it seems so difficult to do at times. Well, of course it is, I just used the word DO! We don’t DO spirituality. As Anita Moorjani says in Dying to Be Me, “We don’t have to do anything to be spiritual. We already are spiritual beings.”

I invite you to take yourself off the hook for at least the rest of the summer by taking all “shoulds” out of your rule book and write down 5 things your soul truly desires. If you have a daily practice or ritual that feeds your soul, then keep it. However, if you have a ritual or practice that feels like a burden, drop it. I once met a woman at a talk I was doing on The Shadow Effect movie, and she shared with me that she had been meditating one hour since the late 70’s each day but dreaded it each time. I looked at her in shock and asked her why then does she do it? Her response was fear based. She had a teacher once tell her that this is what she needed to do everyday or else……. If you are doing something because somewhere you took on a belief that you are “suppose” to, then ask yourself, how does it serve you? If it doesn’t, I suggest you drop it!

What does your soul desire? For me, it’s the simplicity of life such as picking wild berries. I was in Germany with my son visiting friends this summer and although I did some sightseeing, most of the time, I was just enjoying being with our friends and experiencing how they live their lives in a small village and on a farm. One of my favorite moments was standing under their cherry tree and just stuffing myself with delicious, sweet, juicy cherries until I couldn’t eat anymore! I had never seen a cherry tree before, and I was not buying them at the store because hey were too expensive at the beginning of the summer. Standing under the cherry tree was so fun and delightful. I felt like a kid in a candy store!

What can you do this summer to bring the same feelings of pure pleasure, peace and simplicity? Remember that no matter what responsibilities you have in your life right now, you can always carve out some time for your soul. The great thing about summer is that the days are longer and it is probably still light out when you get off of work. Take advantage of that time.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Dance by yourself in your house with your favorite music and be as silly and free as can be;

  2. Find a nearby farm where you can pick fresh berries;

  3. If you soul longs to create something, paint, carve out a piece of wood, or go to a place where you can create something out of clay;

  4. Cook something you don’t usually allow yourself to have that you so miss or so desire. This summer, I made things I use to love as a kid such as fresh rhubarb jam and fresh blueberry pie.

  5. If your soul needs to be near water, find a body of water near you and just go sit by it.

  6. Invite friends to play a board game or game of cards.

  7. Keep it simple and fun!

Would love to hear what you did to take yourself off the hook. Please share!

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