I have had several epiphanies lately.
A couple of weeks ago, I had to drive to the mountains on a Friday to meet dear friends who were coming for the weekend. I was sick with a bad cold and my work was crazy busy. I didn’t want to miss seeing my friends, though, and my husband was already in the mountains, waiting on me. I had to get up there, as much as I dreaded the drive.
As you may know from other posts (see Fortytude), I have a love/hate relationship with self-help books. I loved Fortytude by Sarah Brokaw, struggled with Eat, Pray, Love and really wanted to throw The Secret off of a cliff somewhere. When a dear friend and my cousin both recommended a book called Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth, I was intrigued.
Lately, in an effort to make the five and a half hour drive to the mountains more bearable, I have listened to books on tape. Thus far, I have tried two mystery/intrigue books; with each, before I knew it, I was at my destination.
I loaded up on kleenex, downloaded Women Food and God from Audible Books onto my iPad, and set out on my trip on Friday morning, with my four-legged travel companions.
Here was my first epiphany – DO NOT LISTEN TO SELF HELP BOOKS WHILE DRIVING LONG DISTANCES WITH A COLD. The combination of my not feeling great, the warmth of the sun, the monotone voice of the author (whom I am sure is a lovely lady), and the not overly exciting subject matter almost killed me. The bulldog snoring coming from the back seat didn’t help either. I made it about two hours and then desperately searched the radio dial for AC/DC to get my blood flowing again.
I didn’t get far enough into the book to understand yet what the connection is between your belief in God and your eating habits. I did, however, hear something very interesting. At one point in the book, Ms. Roth urges the reader to have “the willingness to stop defining your tasks as a means to an end and instead inhabit what you yourself have chosen. What if this is exactly what you are supposed to be doing because it is what you are doing? What if each nitty-gritty task is perfection itself and you keep missing it because you’re looking for something else?” She warns that “[y]ou miss the life that happens in the middle zone – between now and what you think your life should be like. And when you miss those moments … you are missing your own life.”
Those words haunted me for the rest of my journey.
I am constantly working towards self-improvement goals. Right away I can list five projects that are dominating my time and thoughts:
1. Improving my yoga practice;
2. Making my diet more healthy;
3. Improving my sleep habits;
4. Deciding what I want to do with the rest of my life; and
5. Growing my hair.
And my thinking is that once I am as nimble as Gumby, rested and healthy, in a job which I am passionate about, and have long hair – I will be living my best life.
In all seriousness, I now see the potential danger of this. At times, I don’t think I have been fully enjoying my life; instead I have been preparing myself to live what I think will be an amazing life once I reach these goals. It reminds me of that old warning of “don’t miss the forest for the trees.” I have been focusing on the trees; I need to see the forest.
My life is incredible. I am so lucky in many ways. I am surrounded by people who love and support me. I have reached goals of which I am very proud.
Instead of constantly trying to improve myself, I am working to ENJOY my daily yoga practice; to TASTE and APPRECIATE what I eat – and not be obsessive about it; to ACCEPT when I can’t sleep and not fight it so much; to REALIZE that maybe I am where I am supposed to be in life career-wise; and, finally, to be GRATEFUL for how my hair looks (ok, if you know me, you know this one won’t last. But as the trusted sage Meatloaf might say, four out of five ain’t bad.)
Interestingly, now that I have become more in-tune to this issue, I feel like I am getting bombarded by the message.
This week especially, my yoga instructors have asked us to be present and in the moment. Enjoy the here and now. On the day that I am writing this post, I came across this quote from Baron Baptiste on facebook: “True success is not about anything more than truly living a life that works on all levels, not just for us, but for the world.”
I am ready. Are you?