Monday, April 2, 2012

French kissin' April!

Mmm . . . bare legs and road bikes.

Oh, I am sooo glad to shuck off drippy, dreary days for birdsong and sunshine! It's not exactly balmy here in northwest Montana, but it's been warm and dry enough to get in three (count 'em!) hour-long bike dates with Hot Husband in one week. On the road bike, even! Without wearing four layers!

A new month means another chance for me to pick up my head and decide what I really want to be doing. I remember to take the helm rather than drag along in the wake of everyday life. So I'm setting my Compass in April. Let's do this. 

April Compass
This year, I've decided to pick a 30-day adventure for each month. Confession: I was outstandingly slackadaisical last month, so I'm choosing three adventures for April. Put a little caffeine and sunshine in this girl, and look out.

Adventure 1 is reading a selection from the Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba every day. These little gems are written by the founder of the martial art aikido, which Tiger Boy has been studying for five years. I love the practice because it's about resolving conflict peacefully by using your opponent's energy to flow through a struggle instead of engaging, blocking and dominating. Life work, big time.

Adventure 2 is learning Spanish. I took German in high school and college, but I really should have picked a language based on the cuisine. I'm conning Tiger Boy into listening with me, since he'll start taking Spanish next year. The goal here is just daily work, so we're using to the Coffee Break Spanish podcasts in iTunes, which make me giggle. I'm pretty sure the hosts are from Scotland, so it's accents galore!

Adventure 3 is getting ripped arms. Well, maybe just the start of them. After seeing Michelle Obama sleeveless for the past four years and noticing that every woman in the public eye seems to be going for strong, defined arms, I decided to quit focusing on my belly. I've been doing planks and pushups for the past couple of days, but I'm going to pick up a set of hand weights today. I'll be trying variations on this workout from Woman's Day plus tips from Hot Husband.

All of these adventures should take me 15 minutes or less, so it's completely doable. Probably.

March Review
It would be really easy to look back at March and beat myself up for not living up to hyped-up New Year's expectations, but I'm really over that sort of drama. I started out committed to low carb meals and totally blew it last week on ice cream and bread. I've defaulted to my charming pattern of procrastination followed by freaking out on several projects. I completely lost my Star Chart for a couple of weeks.

Oh. Well.

Now that I'm over 40, I'm chucking the Woulda-Shoulda-Coulda Carnival and going for wisdom. That means seeing patterns, noticing how they serve me, and rewriting them if they don't. It's about awareness. Permission. Experimentation. Forgiveness.

Let me tell you, it feels a whole lot better than trying to motivate myself through shame and guilt.

I'm writing myself a little reminder that I'll put in a 2013 calendar so when I hit the Slug Months of February and March, I don't get stuck in a self-hate spiral. I'll have a map, a soft blanket, warm socks and some clues.

Oh, Sweetie--
You know these months are long and grey. You know your body wants you adhered to the couch, watching silly YouTube videos for hours. Take a cue from Persephone. Hunker in. Read some juicy fiction. Catch up on all the movies you've meant to see. Write letters to friends.

Most of all, trust that when the world wakes up in spring, you will, too. Great ideas and plans will suddenly pop into your brain, and you'll be of running -- running! -- and bursting full of excitement.

February and March are not really inspiring times to start big new projects. Gently set aside expectations of big productivity. Make progress with short projects. Use external motivation, like scheduling a fun, short-term class. Remember that 10-Minute Momentum is fantastic. Five minutes is fine.

It's okay to embrace this slower time of year and go within. Every plant needs time to renew before it blooms again.

I'm writing the letter now, when I'm on the other side, I've emerged and I can see those Slug Months for what they are. Not failure, not unused potential. Just part of the rhythm of an entire year.

My pattern for this time of year tends to be Abundant Enthusiasm. For gardening! Non-curtain window coverings! A compact project desk! A groovy camper for summer fun with the dudes! Biking in Glacier! Lord help poor Hot Husband as he listens to all my blathering about anything and everything.

No time to waste. I have a podcast to absorb and bicep curls waiting!

Bike love gardening project from apartment therapy


  1. I love this Note To Self idea! But I'm lazy. Can I just print your note and stick it in my 2013 calendar? BTW, if you get tired of bending HH's ear you can always call me about the latest "shiny object."

  2. Oh, dear. Do you really know what you're in for? Yes, I guess you do. Campers and garden plans and biking, oh my!

  3. Just ran across this quote on the interwebs. "In the middle of winter, I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer." — Albert Camus

  4. "That means seeing patterns, noticing how they serve me, and rewriting them if they don't." That is wisdom. Better make a "note to self" here as well. Thanks!

  5. You're welcome, Chuck! Happy to pass along the stuff I can manage to remember and allow to shape my life. ;)