Commit to Ten

What is important to you? What must you do everyday? What is not currently a habit that you want to become one?

I have been wanting to establish an every day writing habit for years now and I’ve mostly succeeded. I purposefully write about five days per week, even more if you count work. But the purposeful, personal writing is the habit I’m interested in achieving. I want my writing to be an absolute part of me for the rest of my life.

Reading about writing, taking writing classes, talking to other writers, I seek to understand what it will take to make it happen. A few weeks ago I hired a writing coach; her daily check-ins keep me focused and provide direction.

I’ve learned over the years that if I want something to happen in my day, something that is non-essential to other people, I’ve gotta do it first. Mornings are sacred to me, ritualistic even, and my writing generally happens then.

Except when it doesn’t. Some days work has me up earlier than normal and at an event first thing. In those situations, my tea with honey and essential oils is the only sacredness I get.

My writing coach, Jen, says ten minutes a day. No matter what, carve out ten minutes in your day. If it’s usually mornings, go for it, but on those days when that’s not possible, commit to ten somewhere in the day.

Being a perfectionist makes life feel impossible. It’s really not a good thing. I write wanting the words to flow. That’s not how it works, at least not for me. The writing, the very act of it, is about getting words on the page (or screen), coherent or not. Editing is something else altogether. Editing shapes the words and sentences into something others might understand, and I guess that’s my dilemma. I not only want to write every day. I want to polish a piece for other people’s eyes.

After going through many years of not writing and feeling the difference between then and now, I want to keep a momentum. I want to write, edit and publish here each day. It’s my way of recording life. So much moves through. I want to watch it. I want to see growth. Now that my mom is gone and I have nothing left of her, writing is my commitment to my daughter. Ten minutes a day may not get me all three, but it will put me one step closer to my goal.

So whatever it is for you, writing, reading, being in nature, practicing yoga, playing an instrument, drawing, sitting in meditation, painting … commit to ten. It will become part of you, an essential part you’re not willing to part with.

Doing the Right Thing for the Sake of Doing It

Human behavior fascinates me. I’m surprised, baffled and appalled by the way people behave. Each of us is different; this I know, and it’s a good thing, but when I see people behaving badly, I’m unnerved.

I’m not perfect, far from it, but I do deeply care about TRYING to do the right thing.

I had a difficult situation this weekend and was faced with a choice — do what someone close to me wanted me to do that I didn’t want to do (knowing how I’d be treated), or protect my sanity by doing what I felt was right for me. I chose the latter and I’m glad I did. It didn’t save me altogether but I had more choice than I would have had otherwise.

The situation involved an official college visit for my daughter, welcoming her and her teammates for the first time, together, on campus. Her father would be there and while I didn’t know exactly what would go down, I knew there would be unpleasantness.

I was faced with a few uncomfortable situations. My dad and I were left out of a group (me, purposely; he by association), a group we were supposed to be included in for Maddie’s sake. I did nothing; there wasn’t anything I could do. Her dad facilitated the separation.

So while I prefer trying to get along, he chooses to make things harder than they have to be. I am truly baffled that he can’t let things go. Honestly I’m not sure what needs to be let go of; things with he and I just are. We have not been together for sixteen years of her life. Maddie is eighteen now.

Why is it so hard? Why can’t he suck it up for her? I feel like he makes it about him, but I’m not him so I don’t know. I simply can’t understand and I struggle because of it. I thought life would soften throughout the years. Instead the edges feel sharper than they used to. My heart breaks because I know she wants her parents to get along. I want that for her too.

“The only person’s behavior I can control is my own” becomes my mantra.

I almost didn’t write this post for fear of who might read it, but it’s truth, and what is writing if not truth telling? It helps me make sense of life. And now that it’s been written, I must let it go. Allowing myself to relive negative situations deprives me of energy and sanity. Once is enough.

. . .

We are all doing the best we know how. Yes, even people whose behavior we can’t make sense of. We are all different. We cannot possibly understand another person’s motives and we shouldn’t try.

. . .

As always, I choose to do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. There’s a voice inside of me, beckoning me to do so. I recognize it as my mom’s. The difference, however, is that she did the right thing forsaking herself. I cannot, will not, give that much of me.

I will do the right thing because I feel better for it, but not at my own expense. In this situation, letting go is the only resolve. If I keep replaying it, I’m the one who hurts. I may not ‘win’, but that’s not the point anyway. In the grand scheme of things, there aren’t winners and losers. Life isn’t black and white.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Take the Chance

We create our reality. Every action, inaction, chance, avoidance; it all matters. We set the stage and, in part, the plot of our lives. We choose; every choice matters. One choice leads us one way,  while another takes us down a different road altogether.

I say if you want something bad enough, go for it. Never at the cost of others, of course, but if its doable, even if you’re scared, do it!

I met my husband by ‘chance,’ but once I met him I knew there was a connection. It wasn’t a know it with my head sense; it was an I feel this deeply in my heart sense. I couldn’t explain it but I knew it felt right and I couldn’t NOT see him again.

J is not shy but he is extremely reserved, prone more to inaction than action. I knew I’d have to make the move if I wanted to see him again. I was scared and unsure, having just ended another long term relationship, but I also knew, like I said before, that I had to take a chance.

One day, I bought a coffee at Tim Hortons, during the yearly “Roll Up to Win” sweepstakes. I told myself, if I win anything I’ll call him.

I rarely win things. Do you? But this day I did. A sign, a grand, amazing opportunity to put myself out there. I only won a coffee but I vowed to get his number and call that week. He answered and, as they say, ‘the rest is history.’

If you want something, go for it. It could change your life. You could marry Mr. Right because of a chance you take; I am. You could land the job of your dreams, or the house you’ve always wanted. Your new best friend might be standing in front of you but it takes courage to be vulnerable. Ask her to lunch, coffee or cocktails. Make the call. Send the text, or email. Turn in your application or resume. Lay it all on the line. Show your heart. Say what you really feel. “This might be crazy, but…”“Give me another chance.”“I am in love with you.” “I am perfect for this job.”  

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”

Lewis Carroll

Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash

H I !   I ‘ M   H E A T H E R   S A G E  . . . 

. . . a writer, blogger and yoga teacher (who rarely teaches in the traditional sense anymore). Also a softball mom, happy wife and flawed human doing the best I can. I love books, stationary, hot tea, wine, essential oils, quiet mornings, playing outside and many other simple things in life.

Life changes all the time. It’s the only constant. Beautiful, mundane, joyful, awful, insightful, random, the way things move through; my practice here is of ‘recording life.’ The name of this blog, on the 19, is where we live. Find more meaningful writing on soul fabric and Medium.