Back in February 2016, I wrote post inspired by Gretchen Rubin.
I was curious to know how much had changed since I wrote it five years ago. Certainly, my life has gone through many twists and turns since then. Was I true to my commandments? Or do they need to be modified?
I’ve sat with this post for about a month, observing myself and my reactions and responses to all things in and out of my control (believe me, it’s true: very little in our lives is within our control). If anything I’ve grown into these commandments of me – I am more of all of them. I was blessed with two key things over the last five years: my lovely Bill for a long and short time, he loved me for me, while he brought out the rawest parts of me; and, my Mastermind group which provides me with a safe container for learning and being. These two entities have reinforced my commandments of me and any tweaks are as a result of these two glorious influences.
Inspired by Gretchen Rubin
THE COMMANDMENTS OF ME
BE LEE | Without reservation or apology. Gone are the days of doing what I am told – not only does it not serve my highest good, it has never resulted as planned. Its time that my life be MY life to enjoy the triumphs and suffer the consequences of my own making and not conform to the agenda of others. This is new. This is BIG. I am still a work in progress, I have to be patient with myself and focus on progress not just the result. The front page of my website has the quote from the incomparable Maya Angelou: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” I’m doing better.
This was the hardest one to live since I had been in so much a habit of living my life for others, either by habit (my father) or by choice (my children). I knew I had fully achieved this commandment when Bill called my dad to ask for his blessing to marry me and my dad said “no”. (Not because of Bill but because he didn’t see the reason for a marriage, a contract. We already had a domestic partnership, and we weren’t having children, so why get married?) I booked the venue and planned the wedding anyway. Bill really reinforced my confidence to be me, all the time.
RELEASE | With love and kindness, grace and gratitude, all those things that do not serve me or my highest good. People, opinions, habits, tangibles, ideas, expectations, dreams, goals, all of it can go. In order for continuous growth I will need to make room for new people, opinions, habits, tangibles, ideas, expectations, dreams, goals, all of it.
Not just for growth, but change has to happen to simply stay in the now. There is an ebb and flow in staying still, if not you go backward and complete insignificance. I’ve grown a lot in the last five years. The most significant change? I allow for not knowing, for dreams, for desire, for whimsy, for the intangible to be truth.
BE PRESENT | Enjoy the now; there is only now. Listen not to answer but to hear what is being said and enjoy ideas and opinions that do not require my participation. Enjoy the process, the journey, the flow of all things. Do it now, there is no later.
I am so happy that I fully embraced “do it now, there is no later” especially in my relationship with Bill. If I hadn’t thrown myself completely into our relationship with complete trust and truth I’d have regretted so many things. As it is, I gave him everything, every thought and feeling and loved him unconditionally. It was reciprocated and I know he died knowing he was loved as well as anyone could be.
LIVE MY TALK | In truth, in kindness, with no guilt, no shame, no judgment.
There is no agenda, no ego, no control. Sweet liberation.
LEAN IN | Guaranteed on the other side of fear is JOY. This has been proven over and over again.
I continue to be a disciple of the brilliant Brené Brown. I am living a life filled with joy because I’m able to identify my fear and use it as a challenge to move past it.
IT IS ALL ENERGY | Positive, negative, fast, slow. Go with it. Mantra: this too shall pass.
THIS belief and practice sustained me many times.
MODEL IMPECCABLY | Words are hollow, it is in action that we speak our truth. Though far from perfect, I make many decisions from the perspective of how best I can model my response, decision, opinion to my kids in a manner that is grounded in truth.
At every opportunity, I show up for my kids in the best way I can. I also got them the very best stepdad they could have and showed them that, for the first time in their lives, I could be happy in a relationship.
SET UP FOR SUCCESS | If I need to leave my life to feel nourished, connected, accepted, loved; it is not sustainable.
I have built and re-built my life, a life that is sustainable and joy-filled. Incremental corrections are all it takes to stay the course while remaining open to incorporating new experiences. Every day is a life I love, I don’t need to leave it to feel fulfilled.
THINK FIRST | Speak, write, observe only after a good night’s sleep on all matters of importance.
Well, that was written before I was in a relationship! Ideally, that would work, but I found I couldn’t sleep for the whirring in my brain if we hadn’t hashed out whatever the issue was – and it was always the same one. It happened three times – then it became unimportant.
BREATHE | As an introvert, I am regularly overwhelmed. I use breath to ground and re-centre myself.
I’m mindful of my breath – especially when wearing a mask as mouth breathing can trigger an anxiety response. I use breath every day. That is one thing I can control!
EXPRESS YOURSELF, CREATE DAILY | In whatever form that takes: blog post, photo on Instagram, journal entry, bed made, new recipe. All days that have time spent creating are good days.
My creative muscle gets regular exercise in all areas of my life. Sweet release.
DO THE RIGHT THING, ALWAYS | Even when it is hard; especially when it’s hard. I have a finely honed instinct when it comes to right and wrong. I do realize things are not often as they first appear. I have to trust that, often quiet, inkling that lets me know the right path. Then take it.
Though I live in a lot of gray, I’m still aware of my black and white world which keeps my ideas of right and wrong pretty easy to discern – the gray just dulls the edges of my natural judgy response. I allow for more time and more information before I respond, at this late date I just might have stumbled on the concept of discernment.
I am grateful to have had my commandments tested regularly over the last five years. I’ve learned a lot about myself and continue to explore how I show up in the world.