my friend, stefani, has inspired me once again. she's always so busy and positive and goal oriented. i love this post about your new mantra, stef!
a few years ago, i read "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. it's one of those books that really makes you pat yourself on the back and say, it's okay, you're okay, you are of worth. and it really stuck with me. when i find myself being too hard on me, i go back and read it again.
i've never really had a "mantra" per se, but i go through phases where i try to adopt a certain attitude or philosophy and really integrate it into my life and change my habits and thought patterns. a couple of years ago, i felt like i had really gotten into a rut of being SO hard on myself, and feeling guilty all the time for not being "good enough." not a good enough mom, or wife, or friend, or visiting teacher, or neighbor, or sister, or daughter or seamstress or cook or landscaper or housekeeper or scholar or whatever. so i had to start reminding myself to stop apologizing for not being perfect. i remember telling a friend, "i'm not going to say i should anymore." as in, i should workout, i should eat better, i should spend less money, i should reorganize my pantry, i should wake up earlier. because after each i should comes a depressing feeling of not being good enough, of not being perfect. and guilt, and hopelessness, or else just excuses.
so, instead of thinking "i should" i started saying (and a lot less often, i might add) "i will". as in, i will get up earlier. OR, i will eat better. but not all of those things, because it's really easy to think "i should do blah, blah, blah" and the list can be infinite. but to actually SAY "i will eat better, get up earlier, exercise, paint the living room, practice piano, learn french, organize the pantry, darn my socks, volunteer at the school, visit my neighbor, build a deck, rebuild the engine on the suburban" is different. because when you SAY "i will" you are making a commitment to yourself, and you know you really can't actually DO all of those things, at least not today. "should" is not a commitment.
okay. where was i?
when we went to paris last fall, i was a little nervous to leave the hotel room and go out into the big, bad city without my brave husband. but, i knew that i might not get the chance to go there again, at least not without someone else with me, so i pushed back my shoulders and started walking. and i had a really great time! i saw things that i might not have had a chance to see, and i didn't get mugged or lost. so last year, i tried to live a little less fearlessly.
that new attitude pushed me to do things i was too scared to do, not the least of which is go back to college. i had my first day yesterday, and although i was nervous (it's been almost 20 years since i've had french, and even longer for math) it wasn't so bad. yes, i'm older than some of my classmates parents, and possibly even older than one of my professors, but i'm excited. and as my neighbor said yesterday, "if i had had the work ethic back when i was in school that i had now, i would have been a Rhodes Scholar!" well put. i HAVE come a long way.
so, even though i don't usually adopt a verbatim mantra, i like this quote that i heard in church a few weeks ago:
"nothing changes unless something moves."
i like it. it encompasses being brave, jumping in and getting started, as well as reflecting and seeing that a change needs to be made in the first place.
so, now i'm going to move my something and go make some changes (like the laundry and some much needed studying.)