Back to the Basics: Rediscovering My Loves

The backstory.
Josh was out of town this past weekend for a cycling event, so I had the house to myself. Being a person who loves to be surrounded by people, my original plans were to pack virtually every moment with hosting out-of-town guests, meeting up with others for coffee, and spa dates. As the time drew closer, a few of the plans fell through and I felt the increasing desire (or need) to spend a substantial amount of this time alone. This time would be used to re-group and focus on what the heck I am doing in life. Ha. One of the things I love about myself is that I always have ideas for projects, businesses and improvements. One of the things that frustrates me about myself is that I always have ideas for projects, businesses and improvements. My mind moves at 100 miles/hour and sometimes I cannot even keep up with myself. I feel like this weekend, I got a little taste for what this has been like for those around me. πŸ™‚

My original intention for the weekend was to figure out which of my many projects I should pursue first. However, it took a completely different direction. Last Wednesday I met with my naturopath of whom I’ve been meeting with for at least three years now. That being said, he has had plenty of time to get to know me – my strengths, desires and struggles. The abbreviated conclusion of our conversation is that I do not love myself. Yikes. This is coming up, AGAIN?? This must be an underlying current because it pops up in various areas of my life and recently has been popping up more and more often.

The twist.
I left his office with a new focus for the weekend – one I was much less excited about: “I am loved and accepted by myself and by God right where I am.” Not so ironically, the thing I have been avoiding is what I needed most. And… ironically, the thing I wanted most for others is what I most needed.

The basics.
I have based my value strongly on what I can produce – how quickly I can turn projects at work, how much house cleaning I can complete, how many people I can help… It has been an exhausting life to say the least. In my mind, if I am not actively producing, then I do not have value. So to deal with this this weekend, I chose to eliminate distractions (facebook, e-mail, and tv) and all projects (no blogging, no housework, no finishing the basement project that I started and have left hanging for a week now). It was hard.
I then wrote on a few notecards, “I am loved and accepted by myself and by God right where I am” and placed these in each of the bathrooms. Throughout the weekend, if I found myself thinking critically of my physical appearance or spastic tendencies I would drop what I was doing and force myself to walk into the bathroom, look into the mirror and read out loud: “I am loved and accepted by myself and by God right where I am.” Admittedly, at first, I had a difficult time even looking myself in the eye. Throughout the weekend it became easier.

The love.
Despite all the “soul-searching” I have done over the past year, I have lost touch with the basics of what I love to do. I have been caught up in what everyone else thinks I am good at or what they think I should do. This week, when I met with my naturopath, he asked me “What do you love to do?” When I’m asked this, I always go back to the same staple answer: “Well, I love being with and interacting with people.” This weekend I forced myself to go deeper.

What do you love to do?

I selected a yellow index card, wrote the words, “What do you love to do?” and taped it on our living room wall. Throughout the weekend, as things came to mind that I truly enjoyed doing, I would write them down and tape them to the wall underneath the original card. I was surprised by my answers! I forgot how much I enjoyed dancing. At one point this weekend, I closed the living room curtains, moved the furniture and danced like a crazy woman – and had a BLAST!

The conclusion.
I realized a few things this weekend:
– I don’t need to have all life’s answers figured out RIGHT NOW.
– My value is not based on what I can produce (still grappling with this one).
– It’s okay to take time to do the things I love to do (dance like nobody is watching).

What is one thing you love to do but have put it on the back burner because “life happened”? Please share in the comment section.

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10 thoughts on “Back to the Basics: Rediscovering My Loves

  1. I love that you spent your weekend this way. I relate to a lot of what you’re saying here…my journey of the last year or so has largely focused on really understanding at a heart level that God loves me and then working through all that entails (God says I’m beautiful, worthy of love, valuable regardless of productivity, etc.). I suspect it’ll be a life-long journey but it’s one I don’t mind taking a while because each tiny step of progress is just so joy-bringing! The best part is when the inside changes begin to show on the outside. Ahhh, I’m excited for you!

    Some stuff I’ve reclaimed (or was brave enough to claim for the first time!) since beginning this journey: my athleticism, painting, cooking, songwriting, resting, guilt-free free time, my library card, playing the guitar…ooh, there’s a bunch of stuff!

    • Amanda – you are making me smile SO BIG right now! I love the list of things that you have reclaimed in your life! It is also exciting/relieving to hear there is someone else actively on this journey to really understand what it means for God to love her.

      Ohmygosh, I CRAVE the guilt-free free time. Even today – while I have the day off from work – I had to tell myself it was OKAY for me to sit down for an hour during lunch and that I did not have to simultaneously be “producing” something. This is going to be a difficult journey, but I know it will be worth it.

  2. Alana:
    I am so happy you had a weekend of YOU time. I remember writing in the margin of my journal at the Vision Board Workshop we attended together last Fall…mention to Alana she should inspire women through dance. Your whole face lit up when you talked about dancing. Glad you finally took dancing off the back burner! Be patient my friend, you are waaaay ahead of the curve on connecting with yourself. It took me twice as long to even realize I needed to stop “doing” so much, and find my inner voice.

    You my friend, do not need to have all the answers to live a passionate, love filled, memorable, authentic life. You just need to learn to be YOU.

    XOXO

    • Terri, thank you for this! Yes, I keep coming back to dance as well. I remember growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to dance to music with my little sister while my Dad laughed with delight and recorded us with his VHS video camera. πŸ™‚ There is just something thrilling about being “on stage” like that. I have really enjoyed getting back into Zumba (downtown at Rosa Park Circle). Because the classes are in public, I feel like I somehow am performing with an audience.

      I am continuing to work on just being ME and seeing where it leads. πŸ™‚

  3. Hey friend…I have so enjoyed reading your posts now and again. This one really spoke to me right where I am at today. At this stage in life, it is hard for me to break away to even think about what I love to do. I can so relate to your need to produce even in your free time. I have tried to getaway every now and again during the day for a chunk of time to just sit in silence with God, my bible, a notebook and maybe a parenting book πŸ™‚ I have struggled getting away lately…using my “free” time to meet with a friend, run some errands, or think about parenting or small group and how I can improve in areas. We have been challenged in Church lately to REST in God, don’t just lean on him and others.

    So back to the question…what do I love to do? It is funny because my husband just asked me today to try to come up with 5 things he could do to make me feel loved or love me better. I told him this is hard for me, because I don’t want to be needy and I also have a hard time knowing what I really want. I like to make life easier on others and will take on tough things to make it easier on them. So…what do I love to do? I am working on this list…but I know that I LOVE to play basketball and to coach as well. I love to worship. I’ll be working more on this πŸ™‚

    • Kristin, thank you for your comment! Yes, it can be hard to juggle so many “roles” (wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, etc.) It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the things that we need to get accomplished and leave little time for ourselves. I am happy to hear you are making an effort for “YOU” time! Even with that time, it can be difficult to break away and do things that really fill your tank. I am reading a book right now, which I plan to do a post on in the near future. It is called, Find Your Strongest Life and it is geared toward women. I am learning from this book how to pay attention to the details – the details of what makes me come alive. It sounds like this book may be helpful for you, even with helping you to answer Adam’s question, “What can I do to help you feel loved or to love you better?” (It is AMAZING by the way that he would ask you this!!) When I write this post, I will shoot you the link! Also, if you go to stronglifetest.com you can take a free personality test that helps you learn about what “roles” you are naturally good at – these roles also mean that you come alive and are at your best when you get to do them! I think there is a short description for each after you take the test, but there is longer descriptions for each inside the book.

      Also, when you mentioned how difficult it is to let others help you (I assumed this by what you said :)) and how you often take on tough things to make things easier for others, I thought of the “Helper” personality type in the Enneagram. If you are interested in checking this out, this may be a helpful reference to learn more about yourself – which is turn may help you as you interact with others. BTW – I have a little bit of the “Helper” personality type as well, which is one reason why I feel I do not have value if I am not producing in one way or another.

      Thank you again for stopping by! I love reading your comments. πŸ™‚

  4. When was the last time you experienced full out joy? My answer? Tubing last winter. Laughing all the way down the hill and waking up the next day bruised, sore and walking like I was 80… left me with total, unadulterated delight.

    “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.E. Cummings

    – MJ

    • MJ, reading your comment made me smile! I can see you squealing as you went down the hill. haha. E.E. Cummings was right. It does take a lot of courage to grow up and become who you really are!

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