#BlogElul Day 1 – Do

taking stock of the past year

As I was preparing for this series of blogposts, I wrote the prompts first as they were written and then proceeded to translate them into French, as my intention was to publish for my own blog, and benefit from the spiritual exercise, which is – believe it or not – easier for me to do in my native language (I wonder why: not! thinking in a different language brings different thoughts and thinking in English brings me towards action, rather than reflection, whereas thinking in French is much more an exercise in introspection).

 

Once I had written a couple of blogposts, I stalled because sometimes words do not translate well. That is when I decided I could pause and use my blog in English (here) to also play #BlogElul and bring the challenge to the next level, that is to use multiple media / languages / formats, etc to illustrate the broadness of what can be done starting with a simple prompt: just do it!

 

That is when I realized that I had accepted the prompts to be verbs in the infinitive form, to do, and not imperatives: “do!” because I would never try to guide my readers as formally as giving them orders, advices, or compelling inspiration.

 

And now, I realize that I could be stuck in paralysis just because of that. Looking back at a full year – an incredibly difficult one it appears – and getting ready to account for my mistakes and shortcomings when I arrive at the time of the Days of Awe is a scary task for someone who struggles with depressive moods, a strong tendency to ruminate and see the negative in anything she does, while wanting to be a role model and inspire others in positive outlooks on the world and on life.

 

Just do it!

Rather than fearing all that could go wrong and backlash, go with it and see what happens next. After all, when I all started this, blogging and everything, I opted for the “One day at a time” mantra, knowing all too well that this is all I can actually take.

 

“Before his death, Rabbi Zusya said “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?”

 

I have always understood this inspirational quote as a call to just be oneself, and just do it!

If the fear of not doing it right, or doing it as intended, or doing it as well as the others is simply preventing you from being yourself, that is the biggest mistake or biggest sin, because it prevents the world from having your deeds to be inspired by.

I keep having this fear of not doing the right thing. It brings me regrets. There is always a choice, and the inability to make a decision because of this kind of fear is extremely crippling. If I practice the “just do it”, I am hoping to feel more at ease with it. After all, this is only the first step.

 

This blogpost is inspired by the #BlogElul project created by Rabbi Phyllis Sommer of Ima on (and off) the Bima in preparation for the start of the Jewish New Year which is traditionally a time of reflection and soul searching. Whether you are Jewish or not, religious or not, feel free to comment and/or participate in these universal themes and add to the reflection and inspiration. Also feel free to see how I was inspired by the same prompts on Un Jour à la fois, if you can read French.

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The power of feed-back

Lily of the gardenI have really been wondering why I stopped blogging as often lately.

One of the reasons could be because I am too busy. But it does not sound right. I do spend lots of time doing things that take time that I could skip and write instead. I have been writing regularly and consistently for days in a row, with discipline and determination, but I have never chosen to write and share publicly.

Because when I choose to share publicly, I am being very careful of what I have written.

I want to choose the proper topic, so that it would be appealing to my readers. Interesting and informative. Also thought provoking and inspiring. It then becomes more difficult to decide what will fit the criteria.

Then I censor myself a lot.

Then I doubt my syntax, grammar and style.

Then time goes by and somethings comes up to cut the inspiration.

If I get distracted, I lose track of what I had wanted to write about.

If I get interrupted, I lose the desire to share about the initial idea, and maybe another topic starts invading my feelings and my need to share about, but it does not fit the criteria of either being interesting, inspiring or thought provoking, it has become more selfish or attention grabbing and I resent those blogposts from others so why would I do the same to my readers and impose a boring self-absorbed post with no added value?

So in the end, I keep writing for myself, privately, with least efforts to correct, rewrite or build a real blogpost that would be looking like what I have wanted to do in the beginning when I had in mind to share my one day at a time, in a fashion that would draw attention to my passions and topics of choice. And in the end I resent myself for being quite lazy after all and neglecting my readers and my blogs, both in English and in French.

A sad reflection on a depressed mind.

Many around me often wondered why I was not taking medication for my depression. I have recently been working with a coach with the goal to achieve relief and inner peace and transform my outcomes in life, in order to truly shine and reach my full potential. I have shared with her about my mental conditions very early in the process but luckily for her, this was not a condition that she had ever suffered from, and since she is not a therapist, it was not easy to predict how difficult things were going to be in the process of our work together: I dreaded the moment when she was going to let me know that I needed to try medications again otherwise we were not going to see any progress arrived at a certain point, the same way it had always seemed to happen every time I had been determined to work on myself.

This could mean that indeed, the solution IS medication so that I can lift the lid that blocks my path to self development. Unfortunately, every time I meet that time, I have to remember that I have been on medications and that, if I have to agree that the medications were useful in some ways, they were killing so many of the other things that make my life have a purpose in other ways, and in the end the benefits were fading to the point of disappearing completely to leave me worse than before and I started being able to relive again only after I had finally weaned from the medications!

A healthy diet and a regimen of daily exercise have been much more efficient, even if they are much more work than just taking pills and visiting regularly a doctor and a therapist. Every time I have fallen back off the horse, I have seen the depression come back very strongly. Unfortunately, the exercise and a lighter weight and better physical form have not kept the depression completely at bay, and when it has come back, it has also impaired my ability to sustain the very hard discipline that it takes to keep the healthy diet and exercise, because it impaired my interest in everything including those things that were helping.

Sometimes, asking for help is not asking for a fix. Today, I know that the kind of help I receive from acknowledgment is greater and more effective than any kind of medication. I need the stroke of compliments on a job well done despite the perceived imperfections of it. I need the recognition of the work I choose to show publicly because I believe it can speak to others and reflect on what is shining and burning inside even when I feel it not.

Embrace who you are

Embracing who we are

I love my gym club. For many reasons. But today one of the reasons is that there is not a single day without a good story coming from attending my daily workout. Not only do I get healthy exercise, but I also get loads of inspiring stories to bring home. If only I had more time to sit and create them, you would enjoy them daily, I promise!

Anyway.

Today, my story has a lot to do with what I teach in my small business: embracing who you are.

This lady was standing as we were getting dressed back to leave after exercizing and she was staring with a look of envy at two young women discussing their workout result next to the computer, out of ear reach:

Oh I wish I was like them” whispered the lady as I was passing by, getting my shoe bag. I looked at her. She looked really sad not to be “like them“, and I wondered what she meant, she had a very good looking figure, was pretty and well kept, with a very nice outfit, she seemed healthy. I understood she wanted to have those young ladies’ firm and trim figure, the problem was that there was, maybe, thirty, oh yes, maybe thirty five years of age difference between them! Sure enough, your body shape changes, your tone and look, your general appearance, otherwise you would not be able to tell a generation from another, and definitely this lady could be the mother of the two she was so envious of!

I wanted to tell her to embrace who she was, because there was no realistic way she would ever be like them, anymore: we don’t go back in time, yet, we can keep up with looking great for our age, and probably get admiration when people mistake us for younger than our birth certificate’s official age, but I don’t believe it necessary to look like we are not really our generation, because that might bring other expectation onto our shoulders, that we would not want to go back to!

I could certainly hear her regretful sigh that time had gone, and that she was older now, but I am sure that some of the worries she had at the time she was younger had also vanished and gone by. She was simply looking at the figure, and not the whole picture. These two young ladies were certainly struggling too with some issues they were sharing with their coach, and who knows, maybe they would have been envious of the older lady who had the leisure to go back to her peaceful life at that moment when they had to run into the next stressful part of theirs. Or maybe not. Maybe the older lady’s life is not that peaceful at all and this is why she needed to unfocus and be distracted from who she really is and dream she was thirty years younger again…

Truth to the matter, I would hate being thirty years younger, especially knowing now what I have gone through those thirty years, and having to go over all these painstaking lessons again does not appeal to me at all! I like repetitions when I sense progressing, and when I sense it becomes easier, not again painful.