Thursday, November 12, 2009

a month of Doing Things Differently

On October 15th, I was feeling stuck. Not just stuck, but stymied. I mean , parked like a lemon on cinderblocks in the front yard. Like life was a swamp of molasses and I was waist deep in it. I was depressed, angry, frustrated, and basically just wanted to stay in bed all day. Every day. For the rest of my life.

You know, things were normal.

I wanted so many things so badly, and I was trying so hard to do everything right... and was doing absolutely everything wrong.

Then one morning the fairy of enlightenment bopped me on the head and asked, what if there is no right way? What if there are just a variety of ways in which things an be done, and here I am, bending over backwards trying to do the ones I think are "right"?

So I challenged myself to a month of doing things differently. Not right-ly, or wrong-ly, just differently. And this meant anything -- from something as simple as walking down the other side of the street on my way to work, or wearing my hair in pigtails, to something as complex as choosing to hear my self-criticism with compassion and detachment, instead of using it to beat myself up.

And now that it's almost over, I'm happy to report that it's been an amazing month. Some "differents" were enormous successes, some were floppy failures, and others were just kind of meh. But without giving myself permission to have the big floppy failures, I probably wouldn't have had the enormous successes.

Or the pigtails.

So I want to challenge you all -- if you are feeling stuck, just try something different. Identify what you want to do differently, then deliberately make the change. Eat a funny food. Do your regular walking loop in the opposite direction. Shake up your tree, and you might just be pleasantly surprised by the fruit that falls on your head.

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