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Posts Tagged ‘Resolutions’

Tis the season for self reflection, goal setting, and let’s admit it, jealousy and competition. Whether we are talking about sibling rivalry flaring up at holiday functions, competition for bonuses at work, wondering why we didn’t get invited to that holiday party, or are our own worst enemy in the goal-setting and self-reflection department; the green-eyed monster is as evergreen as that needle-shedding star holder we put up each year.

I like to think that my experiences in open relationships prepared me to foresee and handle my envy in a healthy and constructive manner.  But the truth is, I can suddenly find myself seething with the angry-hating-blaming-scathing-gossiping-fearful bullshit as much as anyone.  And being currently devoid of lovers, or even wanting to enter into monogamy (gasp) doesn’t give me a free pass.  Instead, as we approach the end of the year, I find my jealousies bubbling up around my art instead.  Do you want the bare-naked, ugly truth of what’s been happening in my head?  Ready or not, here it is:

Why is this or that person more successful than I am?  Why haven’t I won any awards lately? (Besides the fact that I haven’t entered any competitions??)

Why is it so much easier for that person to master that move that I’ve been struggling with for years? (Have you actually been focusing all of your energy on that move?)

Why is that person thinner than me, when I work out so much? (Because they are them, and they are you.  A little self acceptance please!)

Why is it so hard for me to commit to a weekly writing schedule?  Or finish the freaking book I’ve been working on for a decade? And why is that person who can’t even spell properly getting published? (Let’s look a little more honestly at your time commitments, shall we?)

Why was that person offered that job/gig that was half-promised to me, or that I feel like I suggested/inspired?  (Uh, did you even really want that job? Was it really promised to you? Did you really deserve it?)

If only I had regular access to a studio (and/or a car), I could polish and choreograph the ideas that I have more easily.  I’d have more time, more energy, be able to make more money.   IT’S NOT FAIR! (If it’s not working, you’ll need to figure out a new solution.  Time to start saving for a car…)

And even, yes, why is dating suddenly such a barren, non-existent thing in my life? What’s wrong with me? At least I used to just have trouble keeping a partner, now I can’t even get a date? (Do you even want to date?  Do you have time?)

Jealous Cat

For me, the end of the year is about looking back at what I’ve learned and forward to what needs to happen next.  This inevitably involves some self comparisons to people that have accomplished more, less, or specifically what I wish I had, in the past year.  I spent a glorious evening last week wallowing in my envy and self-pity.  It felt good like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese feel good.  Like a comforting, unhealthy indulgence.  And then the defeated, depressed hangover kicks in.  And luckily, my experiences confronting jealousy on the dating playing field, and a little kick in the ass from my best friend who got sick of listening to my whining, came in helpful after all.

The realizations that I came up with in delving into my artistic career path insecurities is remarkably identical to what I’ve encountered before in romantic situations.  Jealousy seems to come from 3 emotional sources: Fear, Envy, or Defeat.  Which, looking deeper, means it signals 1 or more of 3 things: That you care about something or someone deeply; that you aren’t on the right path to get, or are not being clear about whatever it is that you want; or that something about your current tactics/habits isn’t working.

For my artistic journey, identifying what of these factors is triggering each jealousy has cleared the way to better planning, scheduling, and goal setting overall.  First, that while I think that I want certain jobs/gigs, they may actually not be right for me, and even be a hinderance on my overall broader goals.  What I’m really wanting is the acceptance of my peers when being considered for a job.  For instance, right now I have exactly the right balance of teaching and creating that I need.  What I need is a little more time to work on my personal projects, without abandoning the work that I do with my troupe.  It would also seem that I want an artistic partner-the right artistic partner-someone who inspires me to work harder and who I can communicate well with, and who commits to meeting and working with me at an equal level.  Without examining what exact aspects of being passed over for certain jobs was making me jealous, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with clearer goals and needs moving forward.  Nor would I be able to realize that I don’t even want some of the jobs I’m jealous of, in order to focus on working harder to get the ones that I do want.

Next, I needed to realize that if I’ve been working on something for a long time and its not coming together, then something in my approach obviously needs to change.  Perhaps I need to be honest with myself about how much effort and commitment I’m actually putting towards what goals and re-prioritize.  Maybe I need to be a little gentler with myself in the realm of how much one person can realistically accomplish in what amount of time.  Or you know, I could ask some experts for help and guidance.  Probably all of the above wouldn’t hurt.  Without examining this area, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a new game plan and I wouldn’t have the excitement and fresh inspiration of the new challenge that I’m taking on for 2014 (I know, you can barely wait to hear more, right?).  I’d still be defeated and self-pitying, eating mac and cheese with my cat.

Finally, I may need a certain amount of patience.  Like when I sit wondering why I haven’t been asked on a date for a whopping two months (seriously, that seems so long!), I have to admit that I didn’t want to be.  I hate the institution of dating.  I like meeting people naturally, being friends, hanging out, getting to know each other.  But, I’m working on my art right now, which involves more alone time, physical work and exhaustion, and self reflection than hanging out drinking and socializing.  And I’m loving the friendships that I’m building that are about training and creating more anyways.  So, “yes” Envy, thanks for coming over to visit and all, but you can take your leave now.  I need to get back to work.

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Well, we’ve said goodbye to 20-12 and all of it’s magical, earth-shattering, mind-bending forces of change.  And here in Erinina Land, we’re welcoming 2013 with a big bang of our own. We spent the last days of the year packing a moving truck, performing a last mega New Year’s Eve in NYC with no other than Moby (yeah, that Moby), and then in the wee days of 2013, we began a week-long road trip to Austin, TX.  [In fact, I wrote this post originally as planned on January 2nd.  Apparently, we are having technical difficulties…because here I am editing it in draft form on January 11th.  Well, I’m saying “yes” to pushing ahead through mistakes too.  Convenient, eh?]  I am heading west in hopes of a better life, as our forefathers also did.  After all, “there are no Taxes in Texas, and the streets are paved in gold” or something like that*.

So, as I have obsessively been mentioning on multiple social media platforms (like I know what I’m doing), this year also marks my year-long commitment to  saying “yes” to what the world offers to me, and to what my deepest version of my truest self desires.  So what does that hippie sounding, new age weirdness mean exactly? Well, let’s lay out the parameters, shall we?

For a girl who spent quite a few years in NYC learning how to stand up for herself and say “no,” as well as quite a few years before that (all her life), honing her own stubborn Viking traits; it seems time to take that knowledge and you know, try something a little different.  I could become a grumpy old stick in the mud, who knows what she likes, gosh darnit.  Or, it could be time to try on things that I might automatically reject because I think I know better, or because some deep subconscious mind is scared, or even just to listen more deeply, not just to myself (but god forbid), other people, who might have great lessons to impart.  Like, maybe I could listen to someone who could teach me to stop writing super long, run-on sentences, like that last one.  Just Maybe.  Or actually, “yes, I will.”

I fear that over time, I’ve reverted to the two-year-old, protesting just to assert my own control and power.  But, what opportunities am I missing in my stubborn, drag my heels, “don’t tell me what to do, I know what’s best for me, and what I like, and where I’m going” mentality? Do I really always know whats best for me?  Likely not.  Unless, we’re talking about the part of me that requires deep peace and quiet, or disciplined meditation in order to be heard above all the stubborn Ego Erinina-isms.

Alright, alright.  So, that’s the basic why.  And my previous post discusses the serendipitous steps that brought me to this epiphany of saying “yes.”  Now, let’s set some parameters.  How do I say “yes,” and when?  Because, well, sorry to say, creepers…but the year of saying yes does not mean you can hit on me and I’ll just say “yes, whatever you want.”  Nope, nope, nope.  That’s not how it works.  Here’s how it works:

1. When the Universe (or you know, just a person in it) presents an opportunity that will not jeopardize my health, sanity, or predetermined goals for the year; I will say “yes.”

2. When my deepest, truest self sings to me to follow, or ties my stomach in knots with warning; I will say “yes, I am listening,” and take the necessary steps to stay on the path that is right and safe for me.  I will also not use fear as an excuse, since I have spent enough time listening to myself to know the difference between a fear that means, “yes, go forward” and a knot in my stomach that says “don’t let this psycho kill you.”

3. When I must say “no” to someone, I will say so in a way that validates them and their invitation, by saying “Yes, but that is not for me” or “Yes, but I cannot do that right now.”  Unless they are total creepers.  Then, I get to say “yes” to totally telling them that they’re a creeper.  Because my deepest, truest self can be a little sassafras.

4. I say “yes” to failure and learning.  I am already failing and saying “no” out of habit and doing the kicking and screaming against change that is in my nature.  I expect pitfalls.  I say “yes, bring them on.”  At least this blog will be more interesting for y’all.  I mean, trust me, next week’s post is already full of me ‘effing this whole thing up.  Read on, my trusty followers.  This is likely to be one interesting tug of war between my ego and my super ego and, well, you know, just the everyday shit of life.  Sorry mom, but I’m also saying “yes” to swearing.  I swear.  Like a sailor.  Someday, I want to be a sailor.  Makes sense, I guess.

Alright, alright.  I think that is enough for now.  Parameters set.  We can always add amendments later.  After all, if the founding fathers can’t get the constitution right on the first try, cut me some slack.  I’m just a blog writer people.

 

*You’re supposed to sing this quote to the song, “There Are No Cats in America” from An American Tail.  Also, from what I can tell so far…there are just as many taxes in Texas as there were cats in America.  Go Figure.

Stubborn Kitten

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I would like to learn to fight in a couple of different senses.

1. I’d love to be able to be a person that wins the argument or the altercation with whomever is picking a fight with me just by knowing how to be the right combination of patient, cryptic, sassy or just plain non-engaging. This is probably one of those never perfect kind of goals though.

2. I’d like to know how in theory to kick butt MMA style. However, I am so not interested in the beatings that actually being an MMA fighter may involve. I’d also love to do this in some kind of movie, performance, etc.

3. I’d like to learn how to knife fight. Not because I ever want to get into a knife fight, I’ve seen the gory pictures. But because in a life or death scenario, I think that would be my weapon of choice (seems less immediately deadly when defending yourself) and I’d like to know how to do it well and with control.  Like I said, just in case I ever need to.

Me, Drunken, Viking Warrior

 

Cat, Fist Warrior: http://www.graphicshunt.com

 

Cats, Martial Warriors: http://www.graphicshunt.com

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Today I am revisiting how I deal with mistakes.  Because, well, they’re always happening.  If they’re not happening, you might want to check to see if you’re breathing…or your ego.  Once upon a time I blogged about how you have to accept mistakes as a part of the process and that you can’t let them derail you from where you’re going.  Good stuff, good stuff.  Now I’m going to totally contradict myself.

It seems that there is a tendency to become a little too accepting of your mistakes.  Especially with something sneaky and ‘reward’ based like cheating on a diet, drinking alcohol, drugs or smoking cigarettes.  The fact is, these things are deeply wired into our reward behavior patterns and the pleasure centers of our brain.  That’s why they’re so hard to change.  So yeah, mistakes and slip-ups are going to happen.  But thanks to a great man at my great quit what ails ya recovery program (that because of the fact that its a recovery program unfortunately has to go nameless), I have a new perspective on this whole mistake thing.

I’ve altered his analogy a bit to fit my personality, but here ya go.  If you were riding your shiny new Steampunk train through the Wild, Wild West and it broke down half way to Oregon, you wouldn’t just walk back to the godforsaken town you’d run from, right?  Of course not.  But the point is, you’re in the middle of nowhere on an important journey (a race to prove your machine’s magnificent capacities perhaps?), you might not want to let the blasted contraption fall apart in the first place if you can help it, right?  Can you tell I’m working on a Steampunk story right now on my fiction blog?

So that about sums it up.  Mistakes are allowed.  They’re human.  But that doesn’t mean you get to just let them happen.  You still have to do the work to try to stop them.  Keep your engine running and your tracks clean as it were.  There will be plenty of mishaps that you can’t control.  Try to level the playing field by controlling the ones that you can.  I tip my hat to ya, and as usual…here is your cute kitten for reading all the way through.  Let me know what mistakes you’re trying to prevent this week in the comments!

Mistake Kitty

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Based on Gretchen Rubin’s book the Happiness Project, here is an on going assessment of my personal Happiness Project. Please note that almost nothing listed requires any change, need or want in behaviors of others. Almost everything is instead a commandment or assessment of myself and my own wants, needs, thoughts and behaviors.

Drains:

Guilt
Punctuality
Waking up
Commuting
Jealousy
Illness
Worry about sleep
Chronic To do lists
Messiness
Too much alcohol
Bad food
Social Time that feels like a chore
Communication upkeep & guilt
unfinished projects
Complaining
Other people’s guilt trips and hang ups
Secrets/Lying

Sources:

Trapeze
Baths
Sleep
Stretching
Hot Yoga
Heartfelt giving
Chanting
Being cared for unconditionally
Feeling beautiful
Feeling strong
Cuddling
Alone Time
Evie Time
Friends that make me laugh
New projects & ideas
Creating
Playing
Laughing and Giggling
Learning
Connecting amazing people to amazing things and people
Sharing the knowledge I’ve gained
Success at goals

Feeling Right (what I’m succeeding and failing at):

-New York City (no idea where to move)
-Job (moving towards positive)
-family/community (not enough time)
-time/lifestyle
?Romantic life (not sure what I want)
+Circus
+Travel
+Financial Stability
+purging excess stuff
+Success

“10” Commandments:

*Change your thoughts (Pollyanna)
*Look up, look around, breathe, notice something new
*Appreciate your own time, every minute you’ve been given of your specific journey right now
*Make it work, if you long for that dream you can have it, but you have to make it happen
*No excuses. Ever. Especially to yourself.
*Take care of self (wash face, eat veggies, don’t drink too much, floss)
*Do what you’d want done and don’t give anything you wouldn’t want to receive
*Jealousy gets you misery and exclusion, caring and love bring positive energy back to you.

Tackling problems:

*Allow to wake up when I wake up.
*Don’t get upset if sleep is interrupted, play with Evie, sing, be thankful for day.
*Reframe all thoughts positive.
*Eat salad or brown rice once a day.
*Stop drinking daily, even if it’s just one glass of wine.
*Connect and make time for who you want to see, no guilt over who you don’t.
*Connect with family weekly somehow.
*Keep up with financial progress from 2010, year of finances, but tackle 2011, year of organization.
*Stretch like a contortionist, condition like a sculptor and warm up like a runner/jump roper/trampoliner!
*If you’re not being challenged, challenge yourself.
*Get out of dodge once every three months and get perspective.
*Ask for help!
*Repay debts of gifts, friendship, energy and money or don’t accept them.

 

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One of the best lessons that I’m currently learning is a concept from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.  During her year working on Happiness Resolutions she comes to understand the not so subtle difference between goals and resolutions.  Goals are something that is accomplished and then moved on from.  Resolutions are things you work on everyday forever and never fully reach to perfection.  The great thing is that the rewards are not achieved from the attaining of perfection.  They are achieved from the daily practice, and from getting back on the horse when we fail.

Every year people make resolutions and succeed for a short time and then fail for a day or a week or a month and give them up as lost, not realizing that the point of resolutions is to be able to fail and start over.  Everyday is a new day to try again.  Personally, today I’m thinking of two particular resolutions.  I’ve abandoned my contortion stretching for a few days.  And I broke my alcohol fast with some friends last night and had a couple of drinks.   Its OK.  Besides my body aching from not doing stretching, no big deal.  Start again.  And last night we had a good time, laughed a lot and no one was killed.  More importantly, I’m not hung over and plenty fine to perform again tonight and not drink afterwards this time.  In fact sometimes I think screwing up a little in our resolutions can help us want to get back on the horse.  Drinking makes me tired, that’s why I’m giving it up.  I need my energy.  Not stretching makes my body hurt, so keep stretching.  Good reminders.

Everyday is a new day to try again.  At whatever we’re trying in our lives.  Here’s to your new day!  (Raises a glass of protein shake)

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