Shortly after Jose’s father passed away, we were dancing in the living room before dinner. Jose, Me, and Lucia, with her favorite song playing loud on the speakers.
The Eagles’ Take it Easy is a pretty good song to live by, if that one line that I love with all my heart is any indication. When they sing it, I get all teary-eyed. (If you read the title of this post, then you know what’s coming.)
We may lose and we may win though we will never be here again…
This one line is a call to arms to live in the present if I’ve ever heard one, and it’s blaring at me most days during this season of my life.
Recently I told you about what a hard year it’s been. Although I’m coming out of the challenges and starting anew, I’m needing a lot of help to do so, and dancing with that song on with a usually-in-a-good-mood-when-dancing three year is a pretty good thing to do when you’re needing a boost.
That day, after we danced, Jose said: “New rule! Dancing 3 times a week!”
Lucia laughed, but I laughed harder.
There are a few key things I’m doing these days to start the new year. (Yes, I know it’s June. And yes, I believe that a new year can start at any time.)
I’ll share more in detail about what exactly I’m doing and why I think it’s working in the future, but for now know that meditating has been something I’ve finally gotten into in the last 18 months. When I say “into” I don’t mean I’m great at it, and I definitely don’t mean I have an uninterrupted streak. One of my goals for 2017, which was to meditate 10 times a week, is something I’m still struggling to achieve. That said, I am doing it, and it is helping.
I mentioned earlier that I’ve been trying out a “Morning Pages” practice for the last couple months. I’m still at it. It’s been very, very useful for me, and I’ve gotten so into it that I’ve started to ask people for advice on how to make it a better practice. When doing an interview with Ally Fallon recently for the big online event I’m hosting in September, I asked what she thought of the fact that my morning pages have to happen when I get to my office, and not when I first wake up (as the practice is intended). When she said, “I’m a big believer that people need to do the best they can with where they are right now,” I smiled wide.
This is one of the best things I’ve been trying to do more in recent months, and it’s been a huge thing for me. For many years, I have set extremely audacious reading goals, sometimes reading up to 200 books a year. When I had my first child three years ago, I cut that to 150, and when 2 other kids showed up last year I realized that 100 was better for me.
I decided this for two reasons. First, having lots of little kids takes take, and reading so much realistically may need to take a back seat. But secondly, I started to see that sometimes I was finishing books subconsciously (or consciously) because I was aware of my “number”. Given that reading is pretty much my main hobby, I did not see this as a good thing.
Cutting down my number, and trying to read slower (I’m an incredibly fast reader) are helping me to savor books. Another thing? Listening to my favorite podcast, What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel, which consistently encourages me to find memoirs, novels, and books I’ll be more likely to truly enjoy than just study. (Here’s the episode I was in recently.)
There are other things I’m doing, like trying to remember to dance three times a week, but for now that’s what I’ve got.
What do you prioritize during challenging times?