We have finally reached spring. Although it still feels a lot like winter I can literally see the light. There are buds on all the trees and bushes, the daylight lasts longer and longer every day, and the sun has been shining.
Winter is not my best season. In fact, it’s my worst. I get really really down. I am literally cold all the time (and not like normal people cold-but my insides chill and I cannot find warmth). I am super grumpy, all I want to do is sleep, and the past few years I’ve gotten really sick at least 2-3 times (mindset issues?).
I recently listened to a podcast about winter and seasons changing and it got me really thinking. Winter is a time of death/hibernation/rest in nature. Without the death of winter there is no rebirth of spring. Under all of the brown and gray is the most beautiful bud waiting to emerge.
Is that why I feel like I am dead every winter? It must be true because with the sun shining down these past few days I literally feel like I am coming back to life. I feel happier and I am smiling a lot for no reason. I am lighter on my feet. I feel good.
The other day I was cooking in the kitchen with music on. I was swaying along as I chopped vegetables and simmered rice for stir fry. It occurred to me that I have been a serious person lately. Very serious. That is probably why the only time I thought I was having fun was when is when I was drinking. I was open and relaxed. I could let myself go. But when I stopped drinking I halted all fun. I felt terrified that if I let loose of the grip just one inch I would return to my party girl days.
I felt safe when I said no to everything, turned in, stayed home, and was in my controlled enviornment. I didn’t want anyone around to let go either. When the kids asked me for anything I always said “No!” When someone invited me to do something “No.” When Drew was having fun or being silly I said “Stop.” I felt irritable around fun. I always tried to reign it in.
If I did decide to engage in “fun” I was always the first to leave so that I could home and focus on structure and routine. I didn’t want to stay up late because I might be tired, or go to a different restaurant because I might not like it, or travel to a new place because what if it’s not safe, or hang out with new friends because what if they think I’m a drunk or that I am boring or anxious (all very true and probably best that they know from the get go).
A lot of that was resistance. I didn’t want to be faced with any kind of living because then I might feel anxious again which might make me feel like drinking again. Guess what? All of that resistance created more anxiety. It was a constant internal battle of trying to void myself of myself-my life.
The worst parts of me were creating my standards. The bitchy, scared, judgmental self. Why was I listening to her? Why was I worried about failing her? Her standards were filled with limits, lack, and scarcity.
Now, I’ve realized that my seriousness is silly (and even selfish). I mean, who do I think I am? Why must I always be the killer of fun? When did I start believing the lie that adulting means being joyless? Things aren’t always easy and my life is filled with endless roadblocks but that doesn’t mean that I can’t lighten up.
When I read The New Earth, I learned that I have three options when it comes to my attitude about my situation. I can choose acceptance, joy, or enthusiasm. If I choose acceptance that means that I understand that this is what it is. I don’t have to make things worse by thinking about how much I hate it or how much I wish things were different (like I did all winter long). If I can change it, I should and will, but if I can’t then I need to accept it. That’s a great option for me because my first instinct is always RESIST. RESIST to the point of making myself and my family miserable.
If I choose Joy, well then that’s where things get really good. This doesn’t mean trying to create a good time. It means that I can CHOOSE to bring joy into all of the things. Laundry, cooking, working, hanging with my family, exercise, and more. It means I can smile or even laugh. I can crack a joke, I can mess up, I can listen to music loudly (even if it’s inappropriate). I can talk to strangers and step out of my comfort zone. I can say YES when people ask me to do things that I have never done before. I can let go!!!
When I choose enthusiasm I do things like write, volunteer, advocate, speak out, help strangers, send the text to check in on my loved ones, and run as fast as I freaking can. It’s the choice that makes my hands sweat and my heart beat fast. It’s not the easiest and it goes against all of my instincts to stay small, don’t make a scene, be quiet, and turn away. But when I do it I feel ALIVE.
I guess it’s time for my rebirth. I can feel the energy flowing through me and I am finally ready have lots of fun (whoa-better stand back). I plan to sing, dance, and be silly. It will feel weird for sure but when I return to that resistance I am going to give myself the only three options I will ever need. Do you accept, do you choose joy, or do you choose enthusiasm?
Now please excuse me while I put on some 90’s rock, dance around my living room, and tell my chores to f off!