A funny thing happened to me yesterday on the way to trying to live life wholeheartedly.
But, let me first digress. Wholeheartedly? What in the world are you talking about SWOG-blogging lady?
About a month ago I started listening to Brené Brown’s book, The Power of Vulnerability. Thanks to a fellow SWOG (you know who you are–DGK), I latched onto Brené a few years ago when her book, The Gifts of Imperfection was recommended to me. She’s a qualitative researcher that does work on topics like shame and vulnerability. If you haven’t read any of her work, try watching her out on YouTube in one of her many TED Talks that she’s done over the years.
Anyway, one of the things she’s discovered through interviewing thousands of people during her career is there is this small percentage of people who have found a way to embrace vulnerability and live in a very, what she refers to as, “wholehearted” way. As I listened to The Power of Vulnerability I found myself thinking–Eureka! That’s it!!! This is kind of all over the strength with grace thing. I need to get me some more of this wholehearted stuff!
The way she describes “wholehearted” is by referring to ten sort of principles or ways these people choose to live their lives. I do pick the word “choose” intentionally, by the way. My Georgetown mentor told me, “We are always at choice. We can choose for ourselves different ways of thinking and behaving.” So these wholehearted people, Brené found, do something interesting. They cultivate certain things on one hand and they let go of certain things on the other. So instead of striving for more, more, more they do what makes more sense. They do more of something and less of something else. They do more of the good wholehearted things and less of things that get in the way of living a peace-filled and joyful life. I’ll be laying out more about these ten principles in my blog over the next few weeks/months.
So, I did as I so often do…jumped straight into the deep end of the pool. I went out three days ago and bought myself one of those wee little pocket journals–the size and nature that could literally fit in a man’s dress shirt breast pocket. And I took every one of of the ten principles and I wrote on the left side of one spread of two pages the things I needed to “cultivate” and on the right side, the things I needed to “let go of.” I made a vow that I would get up every morning– before I did anything else–and I would read one of the ten principles, in successive order of course, and I would practice cultivating and letting go of those particular things on that day. I would do this everyday and maybe by 60 to 90 to 120 days, I would have wholehearted living absolutely figured out.
You just KNOW where this is going, don’t you??!!
So, Day 1 I get up and read my little journal and the notes that went along with the first principle. It was about authenticity. I was all over it. This is cool! I did a fairly good job of keeping the lessons in the forefront of my mind all day long. I really felt good and like I was onto something important.
Day 2 comes–which was yesterday– and I bound out of bed. I had a ton to do…I had a bunch of phone appointments. I had company coming for dinner and staying to help me with genealogy research I was doing on my extended family (you know who you are SWOG-lady and thank you DS!). I had some pre-work I wanted to do for that meeting ahead of time. I had about three potential SWOG posts competing in my brain cells for wanting to be posted next. I had some clean-up work to do. I wanted to fit in a work-out. You get the picture. I was off and running to what promised to be a very busy day.
And, yes, the little diary was TOTALLY forgotten. Did not give it a moment’s thought. Did not even think, “Oh, and I need to read my little diary and see what I need to practice today.”
Somewhere around 2:30 pm I remembered it and the conversation in my head went something like this:
GEEZ Louise, Bev. I CANNOT believe it’s only Day 2 and you’ve ALREADY forgotten what you committed to doing. What is the MATTER with you?!? You can’t commit to anything and see it through!
So, I scrambled to find my little diary and opened it to the second principle for wholehearted living. It is as follows:
Cultivate Self-Compassion and Let Go Of Perfectionism.
I LAUGHED OUT LOUD. So much so that I doubled over and snorted a few times just for good measure. And, do we think that was a coincidence? Naw. Probably not.
Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?