Sunday, November 6, 2016

Right now gratitude - day 4

Hello again, dear blogosphere. I haven't blogged 4 days in a row in...well, a long time. I'm really enjoying writing these posts because I don't feel any pressure to make them anything they aren't. Being grateful sometimes seems like it has to be a grandiose gesture. I like making it simple.

I keep talking about Gretchen Rubin and her Happier podcast because it has so many great tips and tricks to know yourself better. I listen to them on my way to work and since I'm late to the party (her podcast started in April 2015), I have a lot of episodes at my disposal. I think it's possible to listen to 2 or 3 just during my driving time. Which sometimes can dilute the power of the episodes - I hear a great idea, and then move to the next episode and hear another great idea and I forget about the first. But nevertheless, I love her advice and humor and content every time I listen.

One of my favorite ideas came in the August 26, 2015 episode (go ahead and listen - I'll be here when you get back.) But before I talk about the episode, a story. When my mom invited me and my sisters to go to Italy, it was a life decision that wasn't easily made. It was really, really hard for me to chose to go there. The whole idea of leaving for 10 days felt so overwhelming and foreign to me. It was a choice that I almost didn't make because of the sheer anxiety of it all. It felt like another person's life to chose to go to Italy. I felt guilty about leaving my family. I felt guilty about spending the money on myself. I was this close to not going. But I got brave and went, and had an amazing experience. It wasn't easy all of the time to be in Italy - remember my Mary story? I was an anxious mess on some of the days I was there. And I used to feel that since I was so anxious while I was there, it meant that I had failed.

During the episode, Rubin talks about choosing the bigger life. She says that when you are conflicted about making a decision, choose the thing that opens up your world and brings you a bigger life. I think about my choice to go to Italy, and for me, it was choosing the bigger life. I feel like since I've turned 40, I've taken many more opportunities to live the bigger life. When I take a day and go on a hike with my sister, I'm choosing the bigger life. When I ask my husband on a date and tell him a few things that I've never told anyone about myself, and  I squirm in every way possible because I'm uncomfortable about those things being out in the world and therefore out of my control, I'm choosing the bigger life. When I see an interesting seminar on using yoga for anxiety the day before the seminar and I sign up (like I did yesterday!), I'm choosing the bigger life. It's not easy. Sometimes it's uncomfortable.

And I know that there are ways that I'm still staying safe in my little life because I just haven't expanded enough to be able to incorporate everything. But I'm trying and pushing my boundaries and working on being authentic to myself more and more, and I'm grateful for the growth that it brings me. I'm trying to see these attempts at authenticity as attempts, not successes or failures. And I look back at my Italy experience and realize that part of what made it so hard was that I was choosing the bigger life. I'll always be glad I did.

How do you choose the bigger life? Is this a concept that resonates with you?

And, since I've posted a link to the Mary post, I'm going to post this photo. I wrote to San Petronio a few months after I got back and they were kind enough to send me a photo of the Mary statue. Isn't she so beautiful?


Amy Sorensen said...

Love you. Love that you were brave enough to go. And I love the concept of choosing the bigger thing. I'm going to start doing that more!