I failed at the first task outlined by the personal journal, Find Your Awesome, by Judy Clement Wall but not all the way. I adjusted it for my purposes. To remind you of what I was supposed to do, the day one challenge of Find Your Awesome was to text love to people. Or maybe just one person. Who knows? Maybe the challenge is discovering how hard it is to text love when you’re not feeling it. That’s how I interpreted it, anyway, so although I didn’t text anyone how much I loved them, I just texted them, or replied to a text I received and gave it my full attention. Stop it right there. Yes, I know, people normally pay attention to their texts. Yeah? No, they don’t. Don’t pretend that you remember much of your talks via cell phone keyboard. There are days when you reply ‘k.’ K is not an answer to anything other than “Does your name start with a C or a K?”
My reimagined challenge was to stay present and pay attention to the texts I received and reply with full, thoughtful answers. Instead of texting love, a love I couldn’t feel for anyone yesterday, I used what I know of myself from the book called The 5 Love Languages. I never read the book but heard about it, thought it made sense, found a summary somewhere while explaining it to someone else, and decided that my personal love language is ‘acts of service.” I show someone I love them by doing something for them. I cook dinner, do their laundry, buy special things at the grocery store when I’m thinking of them, and make sure they’re well cared for when sick. I make a special stop at the pet store just for the dogs–they know I love them because I buy Brody and Pearl their special cow ears.
The funny thing is, people unfamiliar with ‘love languages’ sometimes don’t feel loved by me because they have a different love language they hear. They may need physical touch, words of affirmation, or quality time. I don’t always have the presence of mind to remind myself to give the family member or friend what they need rather than just what I’m willing to give. I need to be better about this.
Yesterday, my sister sent me a text asking for advice. I read through the text twice because I wasn’t sure I understood. It involved a lot of different people I didn’t know so when my sister reduced the key players to their pronouns, it wasn’t entirely clear who she was talking about. Normally I would have assumed I understood the text and responded accordingly whether it was right or wrong, and gone back to scrolling through my Twitter feed, but this time with my personal challenge in the front of my brain, I typed back a huge amount to clarify what I thought the she was asking but wasn’t completely sure. However, because the advice needed was particularly important, it was imperative I spend some time outlining what I understood from the original. She responded that I had understood correctly. From that moment, I contemplated the pros and cons of each option presented. Should she go with Option A or Option B given all the knowledge I had in front of me? Given everything I had ever learned from real estate, from life, from her husband, from my life up to now, would I tell her to choose Option A or Option B? I deliberated. I thought. I furrowed my brows and stressed over giving the best possible response. I went so far as to type out my answer only to realize that I was heading back toward Option A in a circular motion. I didn’t erase the words I had already written, I kept them there to show I was as confused as she.
My sister didn’t write back right away. She actually has an important job putting criminals away so I didn’t take it personally when I didn’t hear from her. Instead, I decided it was time to head to my favorite chair and meditate. I purchased HeadSpace a few months ago intending to use it every day but I have only just completed the 30 day foundation series and I was just about to unlock my next 30 days. HeadSpace won’t let you move forward without your foundation meditations completed so I was excited to get started on my next choice of meditations related to ‘relationships.’
Just as I was about to learn what the relationships meditation was all about, my sister called. She never calls and I mean never, although now that I’m thinking about it, she has called twice in the very recent past so I guess I cannot say ‘never calls’ anymore. Let’s just say she hasn’t called for years prior to the last 10 days. She called the Friday before Spring Break and then on Wednesday during Spring Break which was her daughter’s birthday. She was just calling to say thank you for the presents but I suppose that still counts as a call.
Ok, I got totally sidetracked there for a minute. My point is that I wanted desperately to send her call to voicemail so that I could use the time I set aside for my meditation practice but, again, with the challenge inspiring me to get outside of myself, I selected ‘answer’ rather than ‘ignore’ and talked to M for almost an hour. I paid attention to what she was saying. I focused on all the information she presented which can be fleshed out more fully via conversation rather than text, and I was fully present. I listened carefully. I repeated what I thought I understood. And from everything I knew at that moment, I gave thoughtful advice. I called love rather than texted love.
So, you tell me, was this a successful first day of the challenge?
My challenge today from Find Your Awesome is to love my body. What perfect timing since I haven’t been feeling the love lately despite recently successfully losing 25 lbs. I’m still not happy because I’m not as firm as I once was. I haven’t been able to exercise like I have in the past due to various age related issues. Just last night, I was lying in my sauna, lamenting my belly. I was wondering how many pounds I’d have to lose in order to have a flat stomach again? After giving birth to three beautiful girls, I’m not sure I will have a flat stomach again and the rolls are worth it. To me, I’d gladly give up my belly for all the joy and life experiences my daughters have given to me. But the belly is still there and so are the beauty stereotypes. Looks like this challenge has come along just in time for the summer season of skin.
Today, I must give my body the love it deserves. I will let you know how that goes tomorrow. Until then, enjoy your body today. Give thanks to it for giving you the ability to walk around and see all the spring flowers.