My Seven Daily Sanes

I’m so different than I was ten years ago. I am reminded of this daily when I look at the top shelf in my office where the shadow box sits that Grant made me for Christmas ten years ago. It contains  pictures of me finishing my first marathon complete with my hard earned and nearly died trying to acquire necklace medal. Honestly it was all I could do not to put that thing around my neck and saunter around every day ALL day for people to see. I’m not a jewelry person but THAT bling? It has stories to tell! Like when I thought my friend Bill was a medic on a bicycle at the top of the hill nearing mile 13. There he was practically shimmering like an angel and I thought “Thank GOD because things are not going how I planned.” It turned out he was Bill instead, which was even better, offering flat Coca-Cola and inspiration. “Meet you at the next mile marker and you can have another drink of this.” My friend, without a doubt is responsible for helping me cross the finish line, one mile at a time with sugar nectar and pep talks for incentive, so that I could experience Grant and our cheering kids waving and clapping  at the end like I was some kind of princess warrior. My eyes still water over that feeling. 

I think it would be funny for Grant to make me another shadow box at the end of this year to show how hard I have worked to reshape my marathon mentality and physicality. There would for sure be a picture of me first thing in the morning showing off my Fitbitch that says I already burned 636 calories and I HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN OUT OF BED YET! I mean, how great is THAT? I’m awesome without even trying!

I’m currently not running due to a very long battle with bad ankles. Right now I have frozen peas strapped to both sides of my ‘good’ ankle that I sprained when I fell down the bleachers when I was trying to take a picture of my son David at the end of his last home JV Football game. It was below 30 degrees that night and I forgot I had a blanket wrapped around me. I went down with a very large and painful crash. I’m pretty sure Grant was trying to pretend like he didn’t know me because he just kept walking. Two lovely older-than-me people tried to help me up but I was literally frozen solid and would have taken them down with me. “No. I’m good. I’m pretty sure I sprained my ankle but my husband will eventually notice I have fallen and literally can not get up, and come back for me. He promised until death parts us.”

Some days it’s easier said than done to not comparison shame myself to the me of ten years ago. Sometimes I dream about it, the running.  Long distance running is a powerful thing and the experiences of my marathons have taught me so much about myself and continue to give me insights and new perspectives in my daily life. The other day I had an ‘aha’ moment that I will share before I get to the point of this post, which I’m pretty sure is not about marathons. 

I was reading this beautiful novel that was just…mmmm…so yummy….see? I was deeply absorbed in the words and the story and the magic it takes to write a novel when I felt my left brain say to my right brain something really nasty “You will never write a novel. Blogs are easier. Short.  Simple. Not a lot of effort. You’re just not smart enough or disciplined enough to write a whole book, especially a novel. You should give up on that idea.”

WTF left brain? First of all, you are an overly analytical naysayer. Second, I  can remember when blog posts were super hard to write. Mainly because it was YESTERDAY that I was struggling to get one finished before the WSU Cougar Football game started. But here’s the thing:  I can also remember how hard it was the first time I ran three miles without stopping: huge accomplishment! A marathon is simply a series of short runs, that when gradually and methodically put together, becomes a marathon. Perhaps novels are of similar nature. So fuck you left brain.  

Which brings me to the point of this post, though without much logic (because I just pissed off the non-dominant side of my brain):  my seven daily sanes. 

At the beginning of the year I made a pact with myself to try and adhere to seven simple daily actions to at least keep me PAR with my current state of being a content and mostly at peace, inappropriately tight size fourteen, moderately energetic, non-running,  successful business owner, hippy chick goddess. I call them ‘My Seven Daily Sanes’.   

  1. Pages
  2. Grats
  3. Yoga
  4. Medication (whoops I mean MEDITATION)
  5. Veggies
  6. Water
  7. Walks

Now I’m not gonna lie, this list has been much harder to check off each day than last year’s list: 

  1. Grow my hair

I have been doing number one of the seven pretty regularly for over 14 years. Julia Cameron taught me in “The Artist’s Way” how important it is to check in with myself with morning pages (or what I sometimes refer to as morning vomit). Three pages of handwritten words unedited (especially by the asshole left brain) and unfiltered. I notice, on the rare days I skip this ritual, that I feel like I do when have two different colored socks on or a black bra with white panties: off kilter. The first two pages are almost always whining yucky stuff, but usually by page three I have some kind of weird little break through, like “maybe I should stop eating cookies at midnight” or “you really need to quit this job and form your own business and here is the first step toward that”. 

Grats is a newer thing that has helped center my thoughts on positive things in my life (especially after the nasty brain vomit). Every day: ten things I am grateful for. Then I write thank you ten times at the bottom of this list. I think these journals will be a good thing for my kids to read when I’m dead. Unlike the morning pages which really need to be burned. My grats contain things like: “I’m thankful I didn’t kill Grant yesterday because today he is so much nicer.”

Everything feels better when I practice yoga: my brain, my bones, my skin, my muscles, my joints, my soul. That’s all that needs to be said about that, except that it is my running from ten years ago: life saving. 

I have written a few posts about meditation as holistic medication. Some days I have time for a nice long guided mediation. Most days I just try and remind myself to breath in and out: 4 counts in, 6 counts out. Repeat until calm again. As a catholic, I have found the rosary to be a good form of prayerful medication. Keeps a person off the ledge.

OH VEGGIES. I know I need to eat more of you gross fuckers. It’s a quest I’m still working on. When I feel shitty I consult the last few weeks’ checklist and say to myself: “dummy, cheez-its are not veggies. This is why you feel bad.”

Water is often on my daily grats list but it’s usually in the form of being grateful I can wash my hair or take a hot bath/shower whenever I feel like it, something so many people don’t get to do. Those very people would willingly hydrate every day if they could. So this needs to be something I never take for granted. I have rarely known real thirst. But when I don’t drink water my face looks like a dried up old hag. So.

I added walking to the list because my Fitbitch is a total nag. She says I need to move more. Plus I have this new puppy Bella who needs to move or she gets grumpy. Right now I’m a gimp but the walking thing is wonderful. She and I have these amazing conversations about the best places to poop when you are a dog (she prefers the middle of the street with cars coming for a nice adrenaline rush), the scary house that she refuses to walk past (we now go around), and how some day soon she and I will maybe do some running but for now we will just piece the short walks gradually into longer ones. 

See?

Are My Dogs Having More Sex Than I Am?

No amount of natural family planning education could have prepared me for the conversations about sex that I have had with and about our dogs Cooper, a big, beautiful un-neutered 2 year-old yellow lab and Bella our 1 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, who started her first period five days ago. Even if we HAD been paying attention and not giggling during most of the six week long NFP course we enrolled ourselves in over 20 years ago when I decided to throw away the pill after the two oldest boys were born and be free spirited and open to whatever and whoever came our way. Grant willingly went along for the ride which resulted in four more kids. 

The instructor was LOVELY and very knowledgeable but everyone in the class was so dang serious, taking notes and nodding their heads. Meanwhile in the back of the class Grant and I were giggling and drawing pictures of penises and making gagging noises every time the instructor talked about the consistency of the deposits left on the woman’s undies when she was ripe for the picking. Who KNEW that was a thing? And though I will admit that by number five pregnancy I did say to myself a few times that perhaps we should have paid attention a bit more, David was my most mellow and happy baby, so I was rewarded more than I was harmed by my inattention. And we DID learn enough to only get six instead of twelve kids. So I’m happy we took the classes but also glad we were not super rigid on the “rules” or we’d not have had near as much fun during the chaos. Nor would we have these six amazing people in our lives.  The truth is I never felt like my people where all here until our youngest arrived fourteen years ago. And then I just knew that was that. And it was. Even though we continued with our free spirited approach. 

BUT I am really struggling with the dogs and the subject of sex and teenage dog pregnancy. 

Now mind you, I have had many conversations with my kids about sex. I think we’ve been relatively open about the subject without being over the top. It’s my and Grant’s job to try and steer them to live their best lives by making good choices for themselves and for others. My standard line is “Sex always complicates things, so you’d best be certain your relationship is strong before you go down that path.” That is really the only true advice I can offer my kids about sex, to be sure you are in a good relationship before complicating things. And I feel like my kids are going to do their best to be mindful about a very personal subject. 

But the dogs? I’m not completely certain they are listening to any advice I’m giving them.  

Now. Before you judge you need to know that we have ALWAYS spayed and neutered our pets in the past which I GUESS it’s the right thing to do. Though sometimes I wonder what the animals think about us controlling their lives so much. If someone forced ME to get spayed, how would I feel? I’d rebel of course. It would be Planet of the Apes all over again. Only super different. 

But with Cooper and Bella things kind of just snuck up on us. Cooper is technically our oldest son’s dog (which is a whole different story). But we all agreed that we would wait until he was full size before we discussed taking his balls from him because of the research we did about neutering dogs too soon. But now, here he is two years old, with GIANT balls that seem wrong to take. And the boy/men in the household, who love Cooper almost as much as I do, adamantly believe with deep, full body shudders, that he should keep his balls. 

When Bella came into our lives at about 12 weeks old, I was in this place where I felt like I could take on anything, including Chesador puppies. We had agreed to wait until after her first cycle to get her spayed (that full growth thing again) but I had that deep down longing to just let nature take over. My life has gone quite well with that approach (save for the whole bank account thing). Besides, why should it be the girl dog who has to be the one to go through the pain of getting spayed? Girl dogs are people too!  

I felt great about this idea until Bella got her period. And then holy hell. She is currently a moody messy pile of stinky insecurity. It didn’t help her self esteem a whole lot when we put her in these flowery Velcro dog panties with a hole for her tail. “CuteBone Dog Diapers”.  She doesn’t know this, but she is soon going to be the spokes-dog for these diapers. I submitted a 5 star review complete with pictures of her to Amazon Prime, so I’m sure we’ll be getting the six figure contract any day now. Or at least some free dog food.

Cooper and I have talked a lot about how sex complicates things and that Bella is much too young to be a mother and he just looks at me with those beautiful, serious brown eyes and wags his tail in agreement, so I mostly feel like everything will be fine. He’s a good dog, with morals and convictions. And he has professed his deep love for Bella so I feel certain he will wait until they are both sure it’s the right time. It’s clear how much he loves her. 

He also told me that he LOVES puppies and would be a stay at home dad if Bella wanted to be a working dog mom. Do you see how great he is? Just look at that innocent face (he is sitting on our dining room table in this picture): 

IMG_4617

But Bella? I’m pretty sure she’s a total slut. The boy dogs ALWAYS seem to get blamed, but seeing the way she is starting to act as she gets closer and closer to prime puppy making time I feel like the boy dogs might be getting an unfair tail shake. Consequently, when we leave the house, she is the one who gets locked in the bathroom for safe keeping. I know it’s terrible to talk about her this way. She’s normally so cute and funny and smart. But right now, she’s completely lost her mind. Here she is looking like a circus monkey, sulking about her diaper on the couch:

IMG_4525

Yesterday, when I was doing yoga in my daughter’s old room (now dubbed the yoga room) I forgot that no one else was home when I shut the door. The dogs always want to be on my matt and interfere with my awkward chubby girl stretching so it was habit to close them out. Five minutes later, a loud banging started up against the yoga room door and I pulled out of my downward facing dog pose super fast, hobbling to the door with a now tweaked back and yanked the door open only to find both dogs right outside the door looking very guilty. Bella’s diaper was pretty much in tact and  it turns out that they were fighting over a tennis ball but I still yelled at them, my chillaxed attitude about sex and mother nature and making good choices pretty much out the window: “YOU MAY NOT HAVE MORE SEX THAN I DO! THIS IS MY HOUSE TO HAVE SEX IN NOT YOURS.” I swear Cooper nodded his head in serious agreement, but Bella? She just smiled her stinker face dog smile and said “Why don’t you just close that door again woman and get back to your chubby yoga and we’ll just see about your silly human rules.” 

IMG_4479

Do You Know Where You’re Going To?

In March I signed up for a free 21-day online meditation experience with Oprah and Deepak Chopra entitled “Shedding the Weight, Mind, Body and Spirit.”  

Don’t laugh at me.

I signed up because:

  1. Duh. It was free.
  2. The last year and a half of my career has been very stressful but I can’t afford nor do I have time for therapy. This deal was only 20 minutes a day and I could do it in my nightie before sunrise.
  3. As a result of the stress, I have eaten the entire city of Spokane trying to sooth my bottomless pit of anxiety and do not want to move to a new city just to feed my stress baby. My PEOPLE live here.  And while I am pretty comfortable with my body, this shit has gotta end at some point.   
  4. Because I really don’t want to buy bigger pants. Clothing shopping stresses me out.

So. Since I have been doing some regular chubby yoga and learning a little about how to heal my messed up Chakras and have yet to be struck down by lightning by whomever punishes people for breaking the Catholic rules, I figured I’d be safe to listen to what Deepak had to say about why my ass has gotten so big. He IS, after all a doctor, in addition to being a new age, alternative medicine, metaphysics, spiritual healing gazillionaire.

Besides. I’m a Catholic CONVERT. We have different rules. But that is waaaay off topic and for a different blog post.

I have always loved Oprah, despite the fact that we have opposite views on a lot of things. I really think she has been good for the world and has helped so many people with her gifts of giving, sharing and opening our eyes to new ideas. She certainly changed my life when she did a show years ago on how a good bra really DOES make a difference in how you look. I had never before paid attention to the fact that one of my bras gave me “double boob syndrome” which is just “AAAAGH!!!!!!” once you are no longer blind and SEE. Now, yes, that’s maybe one of her more shallow topics. But that particular episode of “Oprah”  caused me to begin paying attention to myself.

Which is powerful.

I’m not saying being all obsessed about my physical appearance is powerful. Nor is it my jam.

For instance, I came across this funny post on Facebook called “How High Maintenance are You?” where you gave yourself points for things like:

  • Wears High Heels
  • Wears Makeup Daily
  • Nails are painted
  • Brows are waxed
  • Wears a lot of jewelry
  • Shaves Everyday
  • Gets Massages Regularly
  • ETC ETC

If you got 20 or more you were high maintenance;  50 and you’re SUPER high maintenance; 100 you’re pretty much a supermodel/queen of a small country.

I scored a “2” out of a possible 119 points. Which is quite frankly a little embarrassing. I would have gotten a ZERO if my two point opportunity had said “Colors hair more than three times a year”.  I suppose I should put out a little better effort for the people in my life who have to look at me.

But I probably won’t.

Whatever.

What I think IS powerful is when you  pay attention enough to KNOW yourself and can still be comfortable hanging out, whether you wear high heels and jewelry or are someone who doesn’t really MIND five-day old stubble on your legs.

Because everywhere you GO, there you ARE. So why not make the relationship as enjoyable as possible? 

It was with this thought in mind, plus the fact that I was starting to develop TMJ from all the chewing, that I started my 21 day morning adventure in my nightie with Oprah and Deepak. I tuned in religiously. Every single day for 21 days,  I lit my candle, put on my headphones (so as not to wake up the home front at 5 am) and sat on the comfy meditation pillow that my bestie gave me a couple of months ago.

In each session, Oprah goes on first for a couple of minutes. I have to admit that in the beginning, it was hard not think about my double boob conversion experience when I heard her voice. Or how I should change my sheets at least weekly and throw away my pillows after a year on account of the terrible yuckiness that happens to pillows from our dreadful heads. (Another life changing episode of “Oprah” and one I wish I was still blind to). But I knew she was the perfect person to have empathy for my steadily growing girth and help me to either heal it or accept it. She had her own background music, kind of upbeat and perky, while she spoke about her own experiences about meditating and shedding the weight that we let harm our spirit. She would usually end with a bible verse or line from a favorite poem leaving me almost every time thinking “Yes, that.” Then she would introduce Deepak and the background music would get more serious and mystical.

Enter Deepak with his mesmerizing Indian accent, which gave me the giggles for the first few days. (Being serious is a struggle of mine.) He would start with a centering thought. One example:  “I let negativity and darkness dissolve in my light” and we would repeat it a few times together. Then he would speak of the burdens that we let weigh us down and how we can release these burdens, which are of the ego, when we go to our true self, which is pure love and light. He didn’t focus much on my (or anyone’s) excessive back fat. Which was comforting.

THEN he would say the mantra which, according to Wikipedia is “a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, a word or phonemes, or a group of words”  which in this case were in Sanskrit, that help to “induce an altered state of consciousness”.

‘Aham Prema’ was one mantra, which means “I am love.” He would repeat it several times. speak a little more, then say the mantra a few more  times to help launch the meditation portion, which started at the sound of a soft chime and continued for about twelve minutes, the mystical music playing softly.

One morning during the meditation portion, despite me trying to focus on repeating the mantra and breathing, I couldnt stop thinking that the background music sounded like a song from my younger years “Do You Know Where You’re Going To”.  

So things went a little cattywampus inside my head for a bit.  Only a few of you reading will understand most of this:

  • Do I like the things that life is showing me?
  • Oh I really do!
  • Who sang that song?
  • Dionne Warwick
  • No. She sang “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”
  • Wo wo wowo wowowowo
  • I haven’t been to San Jose in years. Since I was a kid with my dad.
  • It was Diana Ross.
  • She was so pretty.
  • Did Deepak plagiarize her song? Would he DO that?
  • Interesting: all three are D names and I think they are all in their 70’s now. I wonder if this is significant.
  • I’m so sad Donna Summer died. How long ago was that? She’d be 70ish too…
  • I miss Diamond Lake and Donna Summer playing on the 8-track in the ski boat…
  • “I Feel Love.” That was one of her songs.
  • I am love.
  • Aham Prema.
  • Breathe H

Now. What I have learned from my past experiences meditating is that I have a monkey mind. And what I KNOW is that this is perfectly okay. Thoughts and emotions flow in and out of our minds at whatever pace our current state of being is in. They are not good or bad, they are simply THERE.  And then they are not there. And then they are there again. I like to pretend that my thoughts and emotions during meditation are feathers floating around me. When they get in the way of what I need to see, I just gently blow on them (Breathe H) until they float softly out of my current line of vision.

And here’s the thing: if we have the power to do this, then the things we believe to be burdens can become blessings. It really and truly is up to us to let our light dissolve whatever is blocking our ability to sit with ourselves in total loving acceptance, which in my case usually comes with giggles, monkey thoughts and at least for now, some jiggly fat.

It’s amazing how light a person can become in such a short period of time just by breathing on a few feathers. And while I might not know where I am going to, I know it will be amazing getting there. If I let it.

Twenty one days sitting mostly quiet with myself (and the Oprah/Deepak team)  helped me to know this more clearly. I’d recommend it to anyone. Even to people who scored 119 on the high maintenance test and are clearly getting regular massages. I’m not jealous of you at all.

Namaste brats.  Ha!

 

 

 

 

Embracing All and Nothing

The other night I had a panic attack. I’m talking breathing into a paper bag, heart pounding in my eyes, dark thick fog, standing on the ledge panic. Luckily by the time it set in all the way I’d placed myself in a nice hot bath, which for me is the best place to have a panic attack. The soothing sound of running water masks the sound of spazzy hyperventilation and the heat soaks into my bones, making me sleepy and a little less internally combative. So no one in the house knew the marbles were temporarily running loose in my head. I’m trying to learn how to keep that shit to myself because the fewer people who get caught in the crossfire of my irrational panic the better. I generally pass through crazy town faster when there aren’t any hostages.

The reason for this particular panic attack?

I blame the damn vegetables.

Hear me out.

Every year for as long as I can remember, I have written a new year’s manifesto that includes at least 50 items I want to experience, achieve or learn about in order to BE A BETTER PERSON. And every year I mostly kill myself the first part of the year trying to check all those things off my list in order to be smarter, more successful, skinnier, richer, happier, funnier, prettier: BETTER.

The second part of the year I pretty much eat all the cookies.

Lists are my crack.

So this year, in attempt to get sober and healthy, I decided in late December that the only thing on my new year’s manifesto would be this:

“In 2018 I will be kinder to myself and to others.”

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Just kindness.

I have spoken the following words (or similar ones) to my people over the years:

“Beautiful, lovely, smart, funny, dear friend! Be kind to yourself! Do YOU. Embrace your perfect self AS YOU ARE right now in this moment and the next kind step will present itself to you without a drop of struggle.”

And I have meant and still believe these words with all my heart. My people are so perfect. If only they would just see that they don’t need to change or become better. They don’t need to make a list of rules to be their best selves if they just wrap their arms around themselves and BE.

But as my mother used to say “Do as I say, not as I do missy.”

(Insert hypocritical snort here.)

But THIS YEAR was going to be different.

And it was my total and complete intention to LEAVE my beautiful and perfect manifesto ALONE and try to let the ‘next kind step present itself’ without a crazy ass list and wrap my arms around myself and celebrate my AS IS self.

Then voila, along came my next kind step, a workshop (that I’d signed up for clear back in November) called “Balanced Goal Setting” that was offered by one of my friends. While my main purpose at the time I signed up was to support her growing business, I thought, knowing my history of manic goal setting, that the content in the workshop (namely the word BALANCE) would help me keep true to my 2018 Manifesto.

The day was wonderful. I immediately fell in love with the small group of talented, ambitious and openly honest women. The discussions were guided well by Rene’ to keep us all on task but there was a rawness to much of the discussion and I was able to confess to the group my all or nothing behavior and how my hope was to find some middle ground in my goal setting so that by mid year I wasn’t in fetal position from exhaustion eating all the cookies.

We did this fun activity where we were asked to draw our current state of reality and then our desired reality. There were no rules. Just coloring. Which is my jam. My talentless jam. Which is why it’s my jam: zero performance pressure.

I wanted to be truthful and committed to my simple goal to be kind to myself and others and gently acknowledge my current state: complete and total physical, mental and spiritual chaos with the inability to hone all the things coming at me in a balanced manner:

And here is the desired me with tidier hair, better physical flexibility, cute hippie jeans that fit, and all of my catholic chakras in balance, kindness overflowing.

I went through the motions of identifying a few key long term goals, examining my why, setting some time lines for action steps and ways to be accountable. I shared some of them with the group and feel like I received and gave good feedback. But deep down inside, I had the nagging knowledge that it was dangerous for me to be doing any kind of list making and kept glancing at my desired reality picture and breathing in deeply with the Bette Midler version of “Human Kindness” running through my mind. This was going to be me in 2018.

I left the workshop with some wonderful new friends and a sense of peace that I had taken some basic ideas that were relevant to my quest for human kindness and would NOT, I repeat NOT go over the top with this.

But an addict will do all kinds of things to get a fix. It started with a simple question “What are some things I could do to be kind?” My first response was:

“Eating more vegetables would be a kind thing to do for myself and it would leave less room for shit food.” (Note to self: swearing does not qualify as kind.)

But then: “How will I keep track of this vegetable consumption? How on earth can I remember to be held accountable for this act of self kindness? It’s not like I’m gonna REMEMBER to eat broccoli, no matter how kind it is..”

So I made a perfectly innocent little daily checklist that looked like this:

3 Greens ______ ______ _______

The size of a sticky note. Absolutely no big deal. Though as I type this I am thinking what a great sticky note marketing idea this would be:, 365 sticky notes that say: “Did You Eat your Veggies Today? It’s Kind”. _____ _____ _____

Don’t copy me. It would not be kind of you. It’s my idea.

But then I thought, another kind thing to do for myself would be to consume a little fruit. Balance is kind. Fruit tastes good. Especially after broccoli. A kind but healthy reward for putting miniature trees that taste like crap in my mouth.

3 Greens ______ ______ _______

2 Fruits _____ _____

And then maybe some Yoga. Every day I will do Yoga. It’s peaceful and will help my body feel better. That would be kind. 20 minutes minimum every morning. Of aggressive Yoga.

3 Greens ______ ______ _______

2 Fruits _____ _____

Yoga _____

But the piece of paper looked weird with so few words and so few things to check off. So I added a few more things for Feng Shui:

3 Greens ______ ______ _______

2 Fruits _____ _____

Yoga _____

Lots of water _____

Write for 30 minutes a day _____

Read for 30 minutes a day _____

List 10 gratitudes everyday _____

1 Handwritten note to someone _____

The list grew and grew and grew. I’m too embarrassed to expose all of it. But before I knew it I had THE MOST PERFECT DAILY KINDNESS CHECKLIST in the history of all time. ALL for the sake of kindness to myself and others. And it was only January 5th so it wasn’t too late because everyone knows the first week of January is just a “warm up to the resolutions” week.

I put the title “Balanced Day Checklist” on it and printed up 360 8-½” x 11” sheets and put them in this cute little clippy thing so I would have record of all these lovely things I needed to check off each day for kindness to self and others. So that I would be accountable for my kindness. 24 hours of highly efficient kindness. It felt reasonable and solid.

I showed a couple of my friends the “plan”. I casually told them “It’s not etched in stone, it’s just a sort of guideline. To keep me in tune with things. If I don’t get to it all, well, so be it.” They were polite and encouraging. “That’s so inspiring!” “Wow! Good job!” My daughter said “Gimme that I need to copy you.” One friend said: “Wow. That’s a New Year’s resolution on steroids. I’m just going to try not to shit my pants this year.”

Enter the night of the panic attack. I’d had a very busy couple of work weeks and pretty much shit my pants on the whole kindness thing. 14 of the 21 days with nothing checked off except “drink lots of water”. Which wasn’t really kind. I was just really thirsty.

The rules were in writing. And the boxes were not getting checked. My grade was a 30%. Worse than just an F. It was negative FFF. Fuck kindness. I can’t be kind when I’m FAILING to check all the boxes.

I got out of the tub, pulled myself together a bit and did what addicts are supposed to do: I contacted a sponsor. The friend who said my list was on steroids and basically nutto. I sent a text :

“That stupid daily balance sheet I put together: it’s too much. And I don’t know how to back away from myself.”

My friend’s response: “Simplify.”

Me: “The checklist WAS an attempt to simplify.”

Friend: “Oh I see the dilemma. Make it a weekly balance sheet and split it into 5 days with 2 days off.”

I mentally imploded at the logical idea of changing things up. I had already printed up the pages and there were 339 pages left to complete. I texted on and on trying to work things out, without any further response from my friend who knows better than to become a hostage on the crazy train. Then I had myself a small cry and went to bed.

The next morning I cut up the 339 pages into scratch paper (small tantrum) and then made a simplified weekly balance sheet with a few less spaces to check. But I only printed six pages because I wanted to be able to regroup without having another panic attack. I need to save those for more important things like bad hair cuts and pants that won’t zip.

See here’s the thing: if I am going to truly be kind to myself and wrap my arms around myself “as is” like I have told so many of my perfect people to do, then I need accept the truth that part of who I am includes extremism. I’m probably never going to stop setting over the top goals and making lists and then failing to accomplish everything on the list. This is part of both the fun and the agony of being me. And I think the kindest thing I can do this year is stop trying to fight the all or nothing me and embrace the all AND nothing. That pretty much covers every angle and level of kindness possible, which begs to become a perpetually changing list.

I have to go. It’s time to eat a serving of small bad tasting trees _____ _____ _____

Namaste perfect people.