When I climb (and let’s be honest, I haven’t been doing much of that lately), I’m always slightly petrified by the mere possibility of falling. Even though I’m strapped in to a harness with several well designed safety features, I am terrified of plummeting down toward the floor and my untimely death. I’m hardwired to fear and avoid any source of physical harm. I know that the much more likely result isn’t pleasant either. The second I lose my grip and connection to the wall, I will be thrown quite violently into the wall. I’ll bruise.
I’ve been working a lot toward getting over this fear. I’v’e been telling myself that I need to let it go and focus on the goal. The bruises are part of the process. Falling is part of the process. Brian constantly reminds me that the fun of climbing isn’t about getting every climb on the first try but on committing to putting time and effort into working on a “problem.” I think that this philosophy is a great guidance for both climbing and life. And yet, accepting the idea that falling and yes, failing, is part of the process is difficult.
So my confession is that I have fallen. And falling hurts. I had so many goals and projects for myself at the start of the year that I burned myself out almost immediately. And all the to do lists and post it noes I bough to help organize the madness didn’t help. I got distracted and the work piled up around me. And then I caught a nasty cold and now I’m wading through my failures.
But I can’t look at a couple of weeks of backlogged work as a defeat. Yes, I fell off track. I have gone weeks without exercising. I fell behind on grading. I didn’t have any boot camp perfect days at the Happiness Project. I gave in to a lot of really bad junk food. Oh, and I think at one very low point I binge watched some TV marathons instead of reading, writing, or grading. Sometimes failure has the opposite effect. Instead of bruising and moving forward, I find myself turning into a pessimistic defeatist.
Somewhere in all this mess I decided to refocus my energies with my One Little Word Project. My word for 2014 seems to fit perfectly into everything that I haven’t been over the last couple of weeks. Vigor is the word I chose to guide my 2014. I want to live more vigorously? So what does this mean to me? Well, being vigorous is: physical strength and good health; effort; energy; enthusiasm; activity; and healthy growth. These are many of the ideas that have motivated my happiness project. I’ve whittled them down to a short little mantra to guide me: Be lively. Be awake. Be present. I have been scrapbooking and journaling my way into getting to know and understand the word better.
And in doing those reflections, I came to a bit of an epiphany. Living vigorously means falling vigorously every now and then. I immediately remembered the gnarly cycling accident I had last summer. I remember feeling vigorous as I crashed into the fence. My injuries screamed BADASS. And you know what? I got back up and rode my bike back home. I went on a run the next day. I got back up with vigor. And that is exactly what I need to do now. Yes, the problem is going to be a bit more difficult to navigate now that I’ve been bruised and broken a bit, but that doesn’t mean I have to get back up. Instead, I can work a little hard, think a bit more creatively and find a way out of my productivity spunk. March is here and I find the beginning of a new month to be an awesome opportunity to wipe the slate clear and set a new focus for myself.
And the really good news is that this month’s happiness focus is FUN! More on that later ….
© 2014, Jennifer Lesnick. All rights reserved.