For my annual resolution, I always pick a word. And that word represents something I need to replenish; something I’d like to have more on in my life. In the past the words have been abundance, enough-ness, and love.
For 2019, I chose clarity.
For me, clarity means feeling all the feels, as uncomfortable as they may be, and making active choices when it’s time to act. I’ve been trying to slow my brain down, and put a little more distance between a stimulus and my response to it. For me, it means meditating, learning more about addiction, and committing to a sober year.
At the almost halfway point, I’d like to share a couple things of insights and actions I’ve learned so far:
1. Meditation Ain’t No Thing
Meditation gets an eye roll until it doesn’t. You can meditate everywhere you take a pause: Standing on the line for coffee, waiting at the DMV, first thing in the morning. In the shower, on a walk. Checking in with yourself, feeling your body and breath. Being present, choosing not to do but to be. It really is that simple. And it makes a massive difference for your brain and body.
ACTION: The Kool-Aid has been chugged, folks (have a sip). Download the Calm or Headspace app and give meditation a try. Start with some books by Pema Chodron or Jon Kabat-Zinn. I am in the middle of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s 8 week meditation class. Check it out (no pressure).
2. Sometimes I Can’t Meditate, and That’s The Point?
I can sit myself on the cushion, and sometimes I have no more than 2 seconds between thoughts. Sometimes I spend that whole hour thinking, observing I’m thinking, and thinking again. And apparently, that’s okay! Just the observation of “thinking” is part of the meditative act. That’s awareness. So failure is success? As long as I’m making an attempt.
ACTION: My teacher at UMass is Rebecca Eldrige. Check out her 45-minute meditations here. Get in the arena with Yoda and Teddy Roosevelt. It’s about doing, attempting, putting yourself out there, not necessarily succeeding.
3. Brene All Day
Shame researcher Brene Brown has emerged on the scene over the last 15 years and is changing the way people relate to themselves. It could all be eye-rolling self-help nonsense (and Brene’s the first one to say so!) if her ideas weren’t based on her own rigorous academic research, and she wasn’t so Texas likeable. Sister can spin a yarn. She’s the funny friend you want to have, who literally wrote the book(s) on vulnerability and courage.
ACTION: Check out Brene’s Ted Talk about vulnerability, her new Netflix special and books.
4. Sober Curious? You’re Not Alone.
The online world is changing recovery and sobriety. Sober-curious grey area drinkers who aren’t ready for (or don’t feel like they fit) in AA have found an alternative. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to rethink your relationship with alcohol. The new awareness of firehose of booze messaging feels tangible, especially for women/moms who are at historical highs of alcohol consumption.
ACTION: @tellbetterstories Instagram feed is challenging media leaders to #reframe their booze stories (looking at you Goop). Hip Sobriety provides information and support for alcohol exploration. There are SO. MANY. BOOKS. (including this one by my Montclair neighbor) and podcasts.
In my coaching practice, 100% of my clients come to me to make a change, a shift, a transition and a transformation. The first step is always awareness — of where you are, of where you want to be, of the many paths to get there. For that you need clarity.
To help you achieve yours, I wanted to raise the game on mine. Five months in, this is where I am and what I’ve learned.
Click on the links, play around. Or save this for a summer morning when you’re feeling particularly fuzzy. It’s a little shot of clarity when you need it most.