Quitting to-do list

I love quitting, and since I’ve practiced it so much, I can rightfully say that I am a master at it by now. Yet, I still have so many things I would like to know how to quit.

These are the things I wish I could quit:

  • thinking it’s my fault and I did something wrong when someone doesn’t call me back for a second or third date.
  • creating horror stories in my mind when something doesn’t go the way I expected
  • eating meat (but that thing just taste too good, and I am too lazy to come up with new recipes)
  • not to see the negatives in people so early on in the game
  • seeking love, approval and understanding from other people, and give it to myself fully.
  • thinking that happiness is out there, a career, a thick bank account, a devoted lover or a long travel away. It isn’t.
  • obsessing about “knowing” and could just appreciate and focus on “being” instead.
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Milkshake from BurgerVille (but that shit is too addictive, and I’ll just have to endure the torture until it is finally off- season).
  • thinking that I am not a good enough mom, just because I don’t live up to the false, unrealistic image I’ve created in my head about good moms. Or thinking life would be better if I didn’t have kids. (because that’s not true…but I sure can convince myself often about it)
  • holding on so tight and just let everything go… let myself go…. let everything flow.
  • thinking….obsessing about certain thoughts.
  • Tinder ( it always comes back to my life, promising me the world, and leaving me empty and nauseated)
  • being so hard on myself sometimes
  • being afraid to speak up, ask for what’s mine.
  • doubting myself and my talents, skills.
  • staying up late at nights and waking up tired the next day. (that’s why I’m stopping now and going to bed!)

 

The list is not finished, but I quit in the middle …

Although I have my work cut out for me, and one will be harder than the other to accomplish, I am still hopeful that my quitting skills will get better and better with time, and I will be able to check off all of these bulletpoints on the list.

(Not sure about the milkshake though…. that probably has crack cocaine in it, and I am hopelessly weak against that.)

milkshake

Quit the busyness of life

Have you noticed how busyness in this modern world became a thing to brag about? Every time I ask people how they are doing, the answer is ” I’m good but very busy. Just running around like a headless chicken.” And have you notice that most people are never busy enough to make sure that everyone around them knows how busy they are. They are posting it on social media, text it to friends and they talk about being busy all day long. As if being busy is a validation for their existence, their hard work in life and it qualifies them as a good, important citizen of the world. We have to be busy, or seem busy, to fool ourselves and others, that what we are indeed doing something important. So important that if we had stopped doing it, the whole world would collapse without our assistance.

In reality, most of us are just hiding behind this busyness. Hiding from our real feelings, our real pain and our own selves. Because if we had to slow down even for a day, silence our minds for a second, uncomfortable thoughts would pop up to the surface. Thoughts that are silenced with busyness on an average day. But in the silence they come up, full frontal to the surface, and we will have to hear them out, listen to them and deal with them. Acknowledge that they exist. And most of us are not ready to do that. So we bury ourselves in 16 hr work days, working out all day, growing a mile long to-do list, and at the end, drinking/smoking/etc so that we could handle the silence when alone.

I had two part time jobs and when I wasn’t buried in work, I had the kids to distract me from me. I did it while I could, but the beginning of this year I celebrated my birthday. January is my birth month and I did the unexpected. I looked at my finances and I realized that I don’t necessary HAVE TO work both jobs with full force, and I will still stay afloat somehow. I can take a break. I can give myself the luxury for a whole month to spend some time with myself and see what arises. After a little struggle from the mind, thinking ” but what are you gonna do? isn’t that too much of a luxury for you? how dare you being so lazy? (this thought came with my mom’s tone of voice 🙂 ) you are gonna be wasting your days when you could be earning money. blah, blah, blah”…

But I still did it. I cut my hours way back at my first job (that was stressing me out) and there I was, sitting face to face with me, myself and I with all that time on my hands.

At first I was struggling. Gosh, what am I gonna do? Funny how when I am very busy, I think I would do soooo many things if only I had time, but as soon as free time presents itself, I am lost and can’t think of one thing to do. Thankfully I didn’t have to think much, because as you know it, life is happening with or without your permission, and so it did in my case as well. Life was happening and I watched it happen, and after a deep breath, I even engaged in it wholeheartedly. I did everything it presented to me to do. I went on hikes, got a massage (haven’t had one in years), went to a sauna, I did yoga, I purged the whole house and got rid of so many things, I hung out with friends, went on walks, read books, went shopping for myself (which I haven’t done in months), started writing again, picked up pole dancing as an exercise and lived every moment as it came. I took every moment without judgement but let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Judgment arises whether you like it or not, want it or not. It comes up. Self criticism, self hatred, in a form of ” you’ll never be enough if you don’t push hard, if you don’t work all the time, if you don’t make a lot of money, if you don’t figure out what you want to do in your life, time is ticking, quick, quick, hurry up, you gotta make something out of your life like yesterday.”

You know what? In reality, these thought were not new visitors. They were always there in the back of my mind, I was just too busy to notice them and to hear them out. And now that nothing was distracting me from them, I could hear them loud and clear.

So what am I gonna do with them? Believe all that they say and run back behind my cover of work and distraction? Hell no. No matter how much my habits and fears were screaming yes.

Instead I sat down with them, listened to them, heard them out and noticed them all. Then I stopped and asked if they were true? All the accusations, all the fear based concepts, all the threats of the mind…. turned out none of them were true. Turned out, all the hard wired, deeply drilled thoughts, concepts and “truths” were nothing but a lie. A lie I believed for 3 decades without questioning them once.

Once I discovered the true nature of my thoughts, ideas that were driving me crazy for so long, I gave permission to myself to just relax into being. Just relax into my body, my mind, my soul, my present moment, and stop future tripping about “what will be?” and thinking that I am in control of the whole universe. Instead I made my number 1 focus to do what seem, feels right to me. To listen to me more, to make myself a priority (which again, in today’s world, in mommyland, it is not a well-accepted idea) and by getting rid of soul and time sucking activities in my life, I provided the space and time for new ideas to pop up in my life. And they did. They had to. Something had to fill up the void that it created. And what a ride it has been. I am enjoying my days, I learnt to enjoy the art of non-doing, the gift of being, the listening, (to myself and others), the weightless being, the less panicking, and the more relaxing days.

There is life beyond busyness. Matter of fact, that’s where real life really starts.

So dare to “unbusy” yourself, and be brave enough to rest, relax, play and listen once in a while. It is worth it.

“It takes courage to say yes to rest & play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” (Brene Brown)

 

I quit feeling guilty

Feeling guilty is an absolutely useless and unproductive emotion. It does nothing to change the past, totally ruins your present and will most likely not help you act differently in the future either. No matter how much we hope that the longer we torture ourselves with this feeling, the better we will be in the future. That’s bullshit!

I had a long talk with my friend today about how I acted with my kids recently, how irritated I got early in the morning when I was not fully awake, yet they were already  sucking my blood and energy with full force. I told her I was not proud of how I behaved, but also, I was not giving into this guilty feeling that was slowing creeping up on me whenever I was think about the past. Because I am a human being with my own limitations, my own weaknesses, and no matter how much I’m trying to be holy and immaculate and this mature adult persona, I still have my Achilles heel, and that’s too much noise too early in the morning. So I have two roads in front of me:

1) I can either sit here, feel like a shitty miserable human being and beat myself up over what I did, but that’s not gonna change anything in the past at all. I won’t be able to go back and redo it. And even if I would be able to go back, feeling how I felt at the moment, thinking the thoughts I had at the time, I realize I had absolutely no choice BUT to act the way I did. I was believing my thoughts. I believed that humans shouldn’t be able to utter a word before 9 am and I believed I was tired, sick and exhausted. I believed I was irritated. So based on what I believed, the only way I could respond is barking at my kids to leave me alone until I prepare breakfast. That’s it. I can drive myself crazy with the “shoulda, woulda, coulda”s of life, but what good would that do, and how would that change anything???? It would just make me feel even more shitty about myself…and we all know how good, mature and responsible those humans act who feel horrible about themselves.

*OR*

2) I can just accept that the past has happened the way it happened, and I have no control over it anymore. I can make amends, apologize to my kids, tell them that I prefer silence in the mornings and we can work out a plan how to coexist in the mornings so everyone is happy in the future. And I did it all. Plus on top of it all, I threw a HUGE amount of self love and forgiveness into the mix.

But how could you? You don’t deserve it?! You should feel ashamed longer. You messed up! What’s to love about that? About you? How can you possibly love a person who yells and isnangry in the mornings? How can you possibly love that part of you?”

Well, guess what?! That’s part of me, too. Just like the nice, the funny, the happy, the flexible, the creative me, so is the annoyed, cranky, irritated, loud, angry parts. They all create the whole and I LOVE every little bit of it. Especially the ones that don’t deserve love. Because those parts NEED it the most. And I accept them. I won’t fight against them. Because the more I fight and deny them, the stronger they get, and the more frequently they come back. So I accept them as they are, part of me, part of you and part of everyone. And I love that I get to experience how it feels to be angry, annoyed, cranky and irritated. That’s part of the human existence package I signed up for. No one said we should always be holy, quiet and balanced. So why should I put this unrealistic expectation on me?

I am human, and I love that. I have all kinds of emotions and I love that. I lose my temper and I love that (because that way I can relate to people who do as well). I realize when I fuck something up, and I love that (how mature I become). I apologize when I am aware of my fuckups, and I love that.(props to me) I love the whole process, because why not? Going against it and arguing with it will make me lose that battle (but only a 100% of the time, as Byron Katie so wisely said).

So that’s how I broke up my on again/off again relationship with my boyfriend, Guilt. It was an unproductive, not efficient, toxic relationship, and I am better off without him!

So long Jimmy… I mean, Guilt!

 

Today I quit panicking

When I woke up today, I was already anxious. It was one of those days when I couldn’t stand noises and people around me early in the morning (that’s basically every day for me though) and it’s unfortunate, because my kids haven’t mastered the camouflage mode that perfectly just yet. So I woke up from my sweet, sweet bed, not ready to fight my daily battles of adulthood, so I jumped right at the coffee machine to churn some life supporting juice out of it. While the hope inducing dark water was brewing, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the thousand things I was “supposed” to do today, not knowing where to start, not even knowing what to do exactly, how I will accomplish it and the guide book for today was nowhere to be found. No order, no system, nothing. Just me and the big blank empty day ahead of me face-off style with my mile long to -do list in my hand.

Yeah, if you step out of it and look at it from the big picture’s point of you, there really wasn’t anything to worry about, because worst case scenario, I just go back to bed and hope that the kids are still alive by the time I open my eyes again…. and trust me, I was soooo tempted to do it… but instead I drank my energizer bunny and after I fed and dropped the older one off at school, I found myself at home with the 4 yr old (who is thankfully very self sufficient at capable of entertaining herself, unlike her older sis) and wasn’t sure where to start. I felt that oh-so- familiar feeling arising inside of me, that voice that is so good at panicking, spinning in circles and feeling more lost than Tom Hanks in Cast Away.

But then another, more sane voice (I would like to claim that that’s  the real me) spoke in a calm manner, and said: “When in doubt, do the dishes.” 🙂 So I thought, what the heck, I gotta start somewhere, so that’s where I started. I did the dishes.

Doing the dishes manually, not putting into the dishwasher calms and slows me down, centers me and warms up my hands in cold winter days. So that’s what I did. I followed that little voice’s orders. Once I was done, the whole world didn’t look that hopeless anymore. You know, clean, empty sink is equivalent to a made bed and a vacuumed floor for me. When those are done, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For some reason, they have this magical power that can transform the whole area all at once.

After the dishes were done, the next obvious thing popped up. The next idea, voice and order came. “Clean up the table, sweep the floor, how fun would it be to strip the beds and clean them as you saw it in that YouTube video, do the laundry, fold the laundry, call the bank and sort your things out, answer your text messages, cook this (just out of nowhere, and was such a great idea), go on a walk in the sun with kiddo while everything is drying and cooking, enjoy the sunshine and slow down, declutter the closet area, clean the guinea pigs’s crate, wash her bedding, self-clean the washing machine, take a shower, listen to good music while at it, go pick up other kid, feed them, take them to gymnastics, feed them again, wash their hair, braid it, brush teeth and put them to bed, sit down and meditate, write a blog.”

When I closed down all the excess chatter in my head about all the futuristic thoughts and started focusing only on the task at hand, my mind settled down beautifully. Although it didn’t go down without a fight, because it tried to fight back constantly. It likes to jump into the future and torture me with thoughts like “What should be your career? What should you study? What will happen at work? When will this person call me? What will that person think of me? Why is life so hard? Poor children in Africa. Why is Trump’s skin so orange? etc... It spins, spins, spins and spins out of control until it blows my circuit and I feel like I’m on a nervous breakdown, whereas in reality, nothing is happening, but my own mind that’s driving me nuts.
Instead I decided to focus on the actual task at hand and only on that thing. Whenever a thought popped up like “Will I have time to wash the girls’ hair tonight and should I even bother? It will be so late by the time we get home anyway.” all this at 9 am, I consciously flipped the bird to this thought, I said “Nice try. But I won’t fall for it. We shall see what happens when we get there. Not before, not after. When I get there, I’ll see what I’ll do. But it’s a mystery even for me at this point.” And continued with the task at hand… and then onto the next one, and the next one, and the next one…

As long as I focused on the present moment, the task at hand, I was not anxious. I was in the moment, in the zone, in the flow, doing what I had to do in that actual moment. Not before, not after, but right when I got to it.

The whole day unfolded wonderfully, effortlessly, perfectly organized and I have accomplished a whole lot more than I even imagined with my little skeptical mind I would early in the morning. I realized that the longest journey in life has started with only one step, and was accomplished by one step at a time, one task at hand, one moment by moment.
I also gained a lot of trust in that little compass of mine, that little guidance that’s so subtle, so gentle, but always there, telling me what to do, where to go, where to be; and that’s in the present, in the NOW…. always and forever!

Quitting the “bad mom” monologue

Today I had a rough day with my kids.

Since I’m divorced, I get the girls half the time, and since my schedule is complicated, I get them for short periods sometimes (2 days) where I am a rock star mom, and for long stretches (5 days) where I lose my shit by the end of those days. I usually start out strong, calm and more peaceful than the Dalai Lama. I even manage to fool myself sometimes, tricking me into thinking that I have changed and nothing can ever phase me… I have found Nirvana inside of my soul and nothing can get me out of my zen zone. 🙂 Until day 5 hits and 1 extra day of no school messes with my neurotransmitters. That’s where I lose my marbles and can’t seem to find them for a couple hours.

It is not necessary the noise level that gets to me (although that certainly doesn’t help either), but the constant struggle with my inner monologue that’s driving me insane. The constant mommy guilt that eats me up alive on the inside. How I witness myself turning into my own mother whom I disliked so much for so long, and feeling powerless over this mutation, transformation that’s happening to me.

Today my older daughter (whose love language is gifts) has brought it to my attention that the reason why she doesn’t buy me anything for my birthday anymore, is because I have never worn the bracelet she picked out for me (2 yrs ago…random much?!). Whooossshhhh… the tsunami of  old memories of my mom never liking my gifts I gave her, and the mommy guilt of not being good enough, attentive enough to my child, repeating the same old cycles was overwhelming and I could barely keep my head above water. So to ease the pain of me being a shitty mom, I overcompensated by letting them eat dinner in bed and having a movie night even though it was a school night. Because I wanted to be a good mom. I was dead-set on showing them that I can be a good parent, just like their dad (in their eyes…not so much in mine…but I’ll quit this theory some other time..I still like to hold onto this feeling for a little longer).

So there I was on the couch with them, earning my own brownie points in my own score keeping game, compensating for not giving them enough quality time, love and affection, heartfelt talks, confessed my sins of being a shitty mom and did everything I could in my power in that hour to quiet that torturing device AKA the guilty voice inside of my head.

Then bath time came and I thought ” Finally, I’ll have 2 seconds to myself to enjoy the silence”. Was I wrong, or what?! The older one comes out screaming bloody murder, because the little one scratched her, and conveniently leaving out the part where she was annoying the hell out of her before the scratch defense mechanism got activated.

I lost my shit! The good mommy mask came off, and all hell let loose.

I got them out of the tub, made them sit down on the bed and started my speech!

“Listen to me for once and all! I am DONE feeling like the bad parent all the time. I quit for once and all! I am done thinking that I am less than your father, and believe this false idea that I am not as good of a parent as he is. Guess what?! I am just as good as he is. Yes, you get a lot of freedom at his place, you get to watch your iPads as much as you want, you get to eat chocolate often…. but guess what?! Who carried you 9 months inside of her body? Who gave birth to you? Who breastfed you? Who was left alone at home with sick kids while your dad was having fun snowboarding on the mountain for days? Who worried about you, researched google for both of your skin problems for days and nights? Who healed you from all kinds of sicknesses? Who cooks every day foods that are healthy for you, and so challenging to fit into this limited diet of yours? Who takes you to gymnastics every week? Who takes you to the playground? It’s all ME! I might be different than your dad, but I am not any less than him. If it is your story about me, then stick with it, and work through it when you are older and you are in therapy. Keep that story if that’s what you want to believe onto me. But just know, that that’s not reality. I give you a whole lot more than what you realize, and if you don’t see it,that’s your problem. But as of me, I GIVE UP the idea that I am a bad mom, for once and all. I am not willing to believe that I am ruining your lives, that I am any less than dad, or that I am not enough.”

Well….. how crazy am I to say all this to a 4yr old and a 7 year old kid?! :))))

But you know what? It was effective. They both broke down and apologized deeply for their behavior, for calling me names and for acting up. Deeply, truly, from their souls they were apologizing, and we kissed, and we hugged, and we cried it out….then we went to bed, and talked and talked and talked some more. And hugged some more. And we kissed. And all was well….

But I had to QUIT thinking that I was not good. That I was ruining their lives. That I am not enough. Because guess what?! I am enough. I have to be enough because I am the only mom they got. So it is what it is. And I sure am doing a damn good job even if that nonsense mental insane chatter that’s been happening inside of my head doesn’t agree with me all the time. It doesn’t have to. I quit giving a damn about that as well!

 

* The joy of Quitting *

Quitting has such a horrible rep. In today’s pushy, go-getter, neurotic society everyone is praising the stubborn, sweaty and masculine slogan that screams: KEEP GOING! NEVER GIVE UP!

How fucked up is that? REALLY???? Never give up? Are you out of your mind?

What if that thing I am so stubbornly not giving up is costing me my health? My wonderful relationships? My happiness? My sanity? My balance, my calm and ultimately my life? Should I just keep going on because at the end, supposedly there will be a reward waiting for me… something that will make me happy for ever, and ever?

Bullshit. The illusion of these fairy tales and action movies are over.

I’m saying: GIVE UP! Quit! Just do it! 🙂

And I’ll teach you how!

I am a master of QUITTING! I used to think that this was a handicap of mine, a weakness, a trait that I have to kill or at least overcome. Until I realized that there are no weaknesses, faults and negative traits, because everything is just a matter of context. Just like being stubborn might be a “weakness” when it comes to a popularity contest, but it serves you well when you believe in an idea and you actually manifest it and you make your big bux off of it. And so on and so on….and the same is true for QUITTING! It was my “weakness” for 35 years, or so I thought. I had many great ideas, but I never stuck with any of them, because…. well…. I was just too good at this Quitting thing after all. I had my PhD in it. Until I gave up the notion of beating myself up for it and started celebrating this trait in myself as if it was an amazing part of me.

And guess what?!

As it turns out, it is an amazing thing indeed! Being able to quit has saved me from spending my whole life in a sexless, lifeless, suffocating, lonely marriage of mine, has saved my sanity when it came to quitting a soul-sucking job that drained my energy on a daily basis, has prevented me to go into very bad relationships because I could quit them early on, and every day lately I see more and more benefits to my “weakness” and more and more reasons to celebrate it.

So join me on this journey of quitting and let’s celebrate ourselves as we are. QUIT blaming and torturing ourselves for what we are, and instead let’s learn the joy of quitting… there is sooooo many amazing things are waiting for us to be quit! Let’s not waste time holding onto them any longer! 🙂