Julie & Julia… inspiring and wonderful, but I really couldn’t do that

Julie & Julia

I got the DVD for Christmas but didn’t actually watch it until today, with my mother and sister. It was fantastic. If I wasn’t such a picky eater I could definitely see myself choosing to cook my way through a cookbook… and, knowing myself very well, I could also see myself failing not long into the endeavor! Like Julie, I too am a bit of a quitter. Unintentionally, most often. I simply get distracted by another interest and, as Anais Nin says, absorb myself in it. Completely absorbed until another sparkly new hobby comes along.

But I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. It’s like Girl Scouts. Bear with me here, I do have a point. There was a badge book, and there were badges in several different categories. One was science-y, and one was artsy, and one was outdoorsy. Each category had a badge called a “Dabbler.” It was meant to give you an idea of what the category was by letting you dabble in different things. One from column A, B, C, D, and E and voila! You’ve earned yourself a badge! Other badges were all about one thing, like playing an instrument or learning to navigate your way to a campsite with a compass and a map. But the dabblers were more exciting.

I think in life, I am a Dabbler. I like having lots of interests. I may not be particularly great at any one, but if I get bored I can easily move on to something else. And maybe come back to the first one later. And there’s nothing wrong with that. When I was in elementary school I was always first in my class. As I got older I slid toward the middle – I was still smart, but so were the new kids in my classes as my schools got bigger. And I learned to be okay with that. Like Christine Kane talks about, it’s okay to be an imperfectionist. To do things and not be perfect, but it’s still good. Because nobody’s perfect, and you can’t just let fear of being imperfect stop you from enjoying life.

On April 10, 2010 (technically yesterday because it’s after midnight here) I turned 28 years old, and I know I still have a lot of life ahead of me, but I think figuring out that it’s okay to be imperfect, and it’s okay to be a Dabbler, is a pretty big lesson that I’m glad to have learned early on. Because I have a feeling there are a lot of people older than me that still haven’t gotten that yet… but don’t worry, I’m not perfect and I know I still have a lot of lessons left to learn, many that I’m sure there are others my age who have already learned them!

Word of the Year Check-In: February 2010

My first post talking about my word of the year feels like it was written forever ago, but really it was just over a month ago. My word is Presence, and it’s definitely a challenge at times.

While my husband was in the hospital, he did a lot of sleeping… and I did a lot of watching TV, and playing solitaire on my phone. I had a book with me, but for some reason I just didn’t feel like reading. On the other hand, since I couldn’t get on the Internet I wasn’t on the computer all day, which was a positive difference.

Now that he’s out, I have been on the computer less during the day than I used to, but staying up far too late into the night playing stupid Facebook games… they are evil, I tell you! They suck the life out of you and before you know it, you’ve wasted hours away. Here and now I’m stating my new intention: If I play Facebook games, I am limiting myself to an hour a day total. Okay, maybe two to start, but that’s the total for all the games I play there. I have to get a stopwatch application that can help me time it.

So what prompted this check-in? A post by Christine Kane about Getting Back on Course. It’s a video blog, and since I can’t print it up I took notes as I watched it. The first thing on her list of what to do to get back on track is “Be Present” — clearly this is speaking directly to me, as that is my goal for this year! She mentions that one helpful thing is to write down your intention and read it (aloud) every day. That makes sense, as it keeps it fresh in your mind if you’re constantly reminding yourself about it. I’ll have to figure out the best way to remember to do that daily.

Now that my husband is out of the hospital and in recovery, things should be returning to normal pretty soon as far as my life goes. I took a couple weeks off from work and will be going back Tuesday, and then I’ll be back home. So I am trying to get back into blogging a few times a week now. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers while I was away. I don’t have a lot of followers, but I’ve sure missed you guys!

Abandoning “We’ll See” Thinking

Christine Kane just posted about the phrase “We’ll See,” and it is amazing. Why can’t I write brilliant posts like that? Anyway, I never really thought about the phrase before, but I have certainly used it. Well, that stops now… at least, that’s my intention. I won’t rehash the whole article. As always, I post it as a reference so my readers can go check it out, then come back here for my thoughts on it.

Have you read it yet? Okay, good.

First of all, I agree with the first point, that “we’ll see” is something parents say to shut the kids up when there are no plans to revisit that point in the future. “Can we go to the movies this weekend?” the child asks. “We’ll see,” the mom replies. But as the child quickly learns, that answer is as good as a “No.” But not really as good, because a stronger response would be to simply say no! I don’t want to say “We’ll see” to my (future) children when I mean no, because I don’t want them to be upset that I didn’t follow up on the presumed promise that the answer could still be a yes at some point.

I will add, however, that it’s not entirely bad, IF it is followed by clarification. If my child wants to go to the toy store and I am running errands before we have to be at a given place at a given time… In that situation I think it would be fine to say, “We’ll see if we have time after I do what I have to do.” In that case, “We’ll see” has turned from a “No” to a “Yes, but.” “Yes we can go, but only if you are good so I can get this stuff done quickly.”

Christine also says “We’ll See” is “protective armor.” If you really want something to happen, adding “We’ll see” shields you from the positibility that it might not happen… how depressing is that?! I pride myself on being a positive person. I look on the bright side, I have faith that everything will be okay, and I don’t let it get me down when things go bad, because they could always be worse. So why should I add a negative end to a hopeful statement?

Recently, I’ve said to my husband, “I might try selling my art on etsy, but we’ll see.” If I read into that, the translation is: “I would like to try selling my art on etsy, because I want to make art that moves people so much that they would actually pay me for my work. Putting a value on my work in this way values and validates me and my art. But that’s really scary, because what if nobody buys my art after I put it in my etsy store? Maybe I shouldn’t even go for it, I don’t want the let down of not selling anything. So I’m not going to put anything online. Maybe in the future I will change my mind but probably not.”

I want to stop thinking like that. I want to be brave and adventurous. I don’t want to limit myself because I’m afraid. So the first thing I’m going to do about this is: I am going to put my heart oil painting on etsy. Amazingly, it is still not completely dry. So I will wait until it’s fully dry, but then I will put it up for sale. Now I just have to decide what price to set.

CED: January 7 2010, Starting a Gratitude Journal

Yet another great idea I got from Christine Kane’s blog: A gratitude journal. I first heard about writing down gratitudes from Rhonda Britten and Iyanla Vanzant on the TV show Starting Over, a show here in the US where women lived together in a house to work through their issues with life coaches. It sounded like a cool idea, but I never did it.

I love Christine’s post so much. It makes it so easy! I don’t know why I always thought it would be hard, but this makes it simple. Every night, write 5 things you are grateful for. And the best part is that it’s okay to repeat things! Christine says, “they don’t always have to be new and different.” It makes sense, but I always thought that if I was making lists of things I’m grateful for, I should always think of new things. Which is ridiculous! I’m not thankful for my husband just once, I’m thankful for him every day. So why not list him lots of times, on lots of days?

I decided that since the lists will only be five things, unless I feel like doing more (I don’t want to set the bar high and then not reach it and get upset), I should use a small notebook. So I am using this adorable one I got at Borders a few years ago. I know it was when the last Traveling Pants book was out, because we put the notebooks by the books to try to sell more. Anyway, the pocket on the front is an actual pocket, which I love.

And here is my first gratitude list. Since I haven’t written my second yet. First is actually a couple pages about what a gratitude journal is, from Christine’ blog post and another blog post I found about the same idea. And then is this (you might be able to click it to see it bigger, not sure).

So it’s almost bedtime, and after I bring the garbage downstairs I will be working on my next list. I am hoping that writing these lists every night will help me to remain present in my life by encouraging me to really pay attention to the good things in each day.

(Posted 1/8 but did this 1/7…)

Intention Breeds Results: Self Coaching 101

The other day, I posted about something I wrote in my Goddess Year Workbook in the section on who I’d like to invite into my life as mentors and teachers. Today I have something else to share from that section, because I am amazed that just two days later I found what I was looking for. Is this what they mean when they talk about the law of attraction? Here’s what I wrote:

I want to find a mentor to teach me better ways to handle stress and marital fights.

Now first let me be clear. When I say “marital fights” I don’t mean anything physical, and I don’t mean anything out of the ordinary. Every couple bickers, and I sometimes have problems handling arguments where I internalize and can’t see things objectively. I have trouble stepping back from the situation to try to see things in a new light.
In reading Christine Kane’s blog archives, I found an entry which talks about ways to deal with criticism. The fourth technique she lists is Self Coaching, specifically mentioning Brooke Castillo‘s book Self Coaching 101. I loved the idea that I can coach myself to heal negative thoughts, so of course I googled it. If you click on the link for the book and scroll down, you will find links to three things that give you a taste of what the book is all about, three free downloads.
Self Coaching 101
First is a telecourse Brooke did that explains the basics of self coaching. I downloaded the mp3, and it’s about an hour and a quarter of awesomeness. Then there is a 9 page PDF that corresponds to the telecourse, and another PDF that contains all of the worksheets from the book. I listened to some of the telecourse last night, and the rest on the drive to work this morning.

This is exactly what I need! This is what I can use to handle stressful feelings, and arguments! This is what I need to help me stay positive. When I have a negative feeling, Brooke explains how easy it is to turn it around by identifying the thought that is causing that feeling, and then changing the thought. The most important thing is to remember that feelings are caused by our thoughts, not by our circumstances.

I’m not going into further detail, because the materials on the site are available at no cost. If you are interested in learning more, please go ahead to Brooke’s site and check it out for yourself. Here, I’ll even post the link to the Self Coaching 101 book site again. Personally, I’m going to check out my local libraries (easy, since I work at one) to see if they have the book I can look at before deciding if I want to buy it. But I can see how even just the free materials will be a huge help to me, and to anyone who wants a basic introduction to changing their feelings by altering their thoughts.