Yep, it happened. I immersed myself in my mindfulness, motion, and curiosity practices; I tracked my progress; I wrote about the experience; and after months of work, I turned in my final Master’s Project. After all that work I deserved a break. And I took a break; from my practices. But I’d forgotten that the practices were not being done only for the purpose of my Master’s Project; I lost sight of continuing these practices as a way of life. Some of them I maintained; like motion, but I’ll be honest — mindfulness and curiosity totally fell by the wayside. Slowly the ruminating thoughts came creeping back, the auto-pilot kicked back in, and I began to feel like I was sinking back into the rut. Yikes!
Have you noticed how people make a point of not talking about diets as much any more? Instead, they talk about life changes that bring about weight loss. Same thing with mindfulness/motion/curiosity. Going all in for a semester and then thinking I didn’t need to continue to nurture and engage with those practices was like cutting out sugar and fat to lose weight and then being surprised when you gain weight after going back to eating them again. Live Big and Sparkle is a lifestyle, it’s not an event or a one and done; it requires commitment and tenacity and ongoing practice — even on the days when you just don’t feel like it. And I lost sight of that. And my immediate reaction? I should close up shop and just drop this since I am obviously flawed and unable to follow through with my own concepts. Yeah, that makes sense. Not.
Perhaps even more important than sticking with the program is being able to re-set and re-start after you fall off the wagon. When I turned forty I decided it was time for me to learn to ice skate, even though I have no coordination, was absolutely terrified, and certainly had no need to learn to ice skate; but there you have it. “First thing we’re going to work on, is getting up after you fall,” my instructor said. At the time, I assumed this tactic was primarily driven by her observation of my terror and lack of any innate skill. But no, that’s how she starts all of her lessons. Turns out she starts all of her lessons that way because it’s going to happen. Because every single one of her students is going to fall at some point. If you’re learning to ice skate and can’t get up when you fall down, your progress will be pretty limited. Although Live Big and Sparkle doesn’t give me the same sense of physical fear (not likely I’ll break any bones — although maybe the motion practices?), it certainly requires some bravery to step up and live it every day. And I’m pretty sure I’ll “fall” again — probably for different reasons. Maybe next time I’ll remember this sooner and get re-engaged sooner, but even if I don’t it’s important to know that it’s okay to “fall,” recognize it, and know the steps I need to take to get back up. It was important for me to experience this, because it’s important for me to tell you and encourage you to move past the feeling you’ve messed up and should just quit.
Take this as your advance permission slip and use it as many times as you need to. You will have times when you just don’t feel like being mindful, or in motion, or curious. You will have times when you completely forget about being mindful or in motion, or curious. Those times might last for a while. Remember that none of this goes on your permanent record because there are no grades. This is a process and it’s the process that is important. You can re-start it as many times as you need to. You can re-start in as small or as big a way as you want. Just always remember that this is for you and for your happiness and well-being. And it’s important. Because you are important.