Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

It's the end of the first month of the new year, and it's time for my obligatory word-of-the-year update.

Remember my goal to "refine"? and how I struggled to put into words what I've been thinking?  I shared this quote by Joel Kramer:
"Yoga is a dance between control and surrender--between pushing and letting go.  When to push and when to let go becomes part of the creative process, part of the open-ended exploration of your being."

Funny thing about this goal?  I feel like I know less about it today than I did 31 days ago.

I spent half of the month telling myself that just letting things go was the right way to approach life, but that approach left me feeling lost and out of sync, as I wrote in this post.  Somehow, I slipped into the marshy waters of "let it all go."  And that's a dangerous place to be.  I stopped caring about exercise, because it's okay to let a day or two go by without exercising (then that turned into a week or more . . . ).  It's okay to sleep in once in a while, but every morning? The messes in the house no longer frustrated me, but they got more frequent and deeper.  I forgot how important it is to my mental health to avoid sugar (best documented in this post), and I tried to convince myself that it was okay--just let it go--but it wasn't. It was fine to forget prayers once or twice and not crack open my scriptures for days on end (because we all make mistakes, right?), and I shouldn't beat myself up about it when I occasionally forget.  Problem was . . . it became more than occasional.  It became the norm.

As I tried to surrender too much, I lost some of the daily passion and focus I usually feel in my life.  My camera was idle, but I had spent hours on Pinterest.  My scriptures were closed, but I knew everything that had been posted on Facebook. My alarm went off every morning, but I barely acknowledged its call before returning to sleep.

I didn't like what I created this last month, but I didn't understand what the root of my unrest could be. Letting it all go exposed a weakness in me that I'd never seen before, and I don't know how to explain it or define it, but somehow, by letting go of the control, I somehow lost who I am and who I think I was meant to be, frankly. I couldn't find the balance between control and surrender, because I've been a control monster most of my life, and without that monster ruling my life, my days became blurry and purposeless.

Fighting the nasty INFLUENZA for more than ten days didn't help, either. I lost almost a week of life as I fevered from bed to couch and back again.  When I returned from my sickbed, I had to address all the things that had been neglected in my absence, and that pushed my goal even further from my mind.

Now that the sick is mostly behind us, I've had a few days to reflect on what it is I truly want to do this year.

A friend sent me this quote one day:
Reading this sent me into the ugly cry--that place where truth strikes like a missile and you can't avoid it any longer. It was in that moment that I realized that I'd been on the wrong track with my approach to refining myself. 

Something was said in Church on Sunday that hit me hard:  "It's easier to see if you're out of shape physically, but it's harder to see if you're out of shape spiritually."

That's what I'd allowed to happen.  Not only had I lost some of my physical fitness, but my spirit was shouting for attention. I had surrendered some of the best parts of me, and that wasn't going to work. It never will.

Lucky for me, February is a short 28 days.  28 days to reconnoiter and reevaluate.  28 days to recenter and reset.

28 days to figure out where I'm headed on this journey to refine.

It's going to be much harder than I ever anticipated.

And I believe--I know--it's going to be worth every second.


  1. I could definitely relate to this post, Jen. I get exactly the same way when I "let go" in the sense of trying not to care.

    I'm finding that the trick is to "let go" while still caring. That is such a hard thing to do, like rubbing your head and patting your stomach, but I am getting somewhat better at it.

    I think what has helped me is trying to focus and prioritize my efforts based on stewardship rather than the instinctive need to control. That helps me keep my energy out of places where it isn't needed or doesn't belong.

    Hard to describe. Hope this made some sense to you. And yes, I fail OFTEN.


  2. I can so relate to this, and it's so good that it you recognized this shift in a relatively short time frame. I love Sues's comment about stewardship. There are places in our lives when we need to have a hold on exactly what is going down, but maybe the key is recognizing those situations and letting the rest go? Or maybe it's learning to take a step back--frequently-- and ask if this will matter with an eternal perspective, or even if it will matter in a decade.

    Looking forward to future insights, you are so great to share the journey!

  3. Perhaps the letting go is really meant to be the letting go of the negative things that we cannot control? I think we have up and down months and this happened to be a down month for you esp with all that flu! I have a feeling you will find new balance in February since you are feeling have had a lot going on with your kind to yourself and make a checklist of the important things to get done today :) hugs, cathy

  4. Love your blog!!! Love your honesty and how you are raising your family.