Healthy Idleness

The present moment is the only one that matters…We have the choice to let go of worrying about the past, and instead, focus on the present, and the things we do have the ability to change.

Letting go isn’t about having the courage to release the past, it’s about having the wisdom to embrace the present. Steve Narbone

Try some healthy idleness… JJ (Family Friend)

Idleness – the active choice NOT to do – is really hard. I always have to be going, going, going. Sometimes, though, I get what I consider to be a signal from the Universe that maybe it’s time to take a break. Slow down.

I know that it’s a cliche to slow down in the winter. To take advantage of shorter days, longer nights, colder temperatures. But this year, it is oh so tempting to disconnect. To take the time to breathe. When I think back on all the insanity of the past 3 years – two moves, three jobs, lots of upheaval in relationships and life – it makes me think that if I don’t disconnect, I will be forced to… whether by illness, or some unanticipated significant event.

So, perhaps I won’t work a full day Monday (New Year’s Eve). Maybe tomorrow I’ll take the time to do my (fun) errands, enjoy a lunch with my mother in law, and take a nap. Because you know what? It’s okay, sometimes, to just sit. It’s okay to stare out the window without a purpose. It’s okay to NOT follow a set schedule or list of tasks all the time.

Healthy Idleness. What a concept…


From the ever-wonderful Brian Andreas, Storypeople, and Flying Edna (
Oh, this is so me. This was this morning’s Story of the Day (one of my favorite emails…) and it just spoke to me. It is so hard to take those first steps; so hard, in fact that it’s sometimes not even obvious to others that I have done so. And yet, in my head, I have ruminated and pondered and *almost* made the decision so. many. times. 
But they don’t see that. All they see is the delay and the time that it took me to get to that first step. (There were probably 10,000 steps leading up to that first step, because of all my dithering and pre-work and almost-steps…)
It makes it so hard, sometimes, because from my perspective, I’ve taken that step! I’ve succeeded (for the most part; sometimes, well, okay often? I then take a step back and have to work myself up to taking the step *again*…). But if you don’t see me moving – as I do, in my head – then, well, it’s frustrating. 
Which then feeds into that lovely feeling of shame…and the need to pull back into myself, and keep myself from being vulnerable. Keep myself from being open. 
What’s funny is that this is really only in my personal life. In my professional life, I’ve been more than willing to jump, to take that step (or more often, those steps, plural…). Maybe I use up all my step-taking there? 😕
I am hoping to take more steps to be me, again, in the new year. I don’t know that I want to set goals, per se, but… maybe that’s one thing to do? So many people do that this time of year. Perhaps it’s more of an intention? What do I want to focus on? Taking the steps? Reaching out? Opening up? Hm…. ah, things to ponder. Good thing I have a few days! 

I have been struggling with this recently, this feeling of needing to be something else, someone else, to meet the expectations of others.
And yet, I also know that I need to become comfortable with owning who I am, what I am, how I live, and what I value.

What do I want to be?
What do I need to do to achieve that?
And then, what will I have?

This be-do-have approach was something my therapist (yes, therapist, I finally have a good one…) really emphasized at our last meeting. And it resonated so, so much with me.

I want to be happy. I want to be independent and strong again. I want to live my life without apology, with joy, seeking new experiences and the beauty in the everyday.

And I keep coming back to this awful thought – is this possible within my current relationship? This wasn’t intended to be a “relationship blog” but it is foremost in my mind right now.

When I am constantly challenged by the person who is *supposed* to love me as I am, to accept me with all of the changes and challenges and frustrations… well, how can I then be who I am? How can I, as Nin says, find peace with exactly who and what I am? because I am working so, so hard on that. And then to be brought down by one offhand comment, or a series of them? That makes me think that I am not being loved as I am.

I’ve never read Anais Nin. Perhaps I should start. Next up on my “inspirational” reading list is an Anne Lamott book. I’m also working my way through Seneca’s Letters to a Stoic. Short, overloaded missives full of wisdom, insight and ideas. Perhaps reading some Anais Nin will help me continue to broaden my perspective and think outside of my narrow little box.

Then again, Goodreads describes her as an “eroticist”, so… perhaps not. 🙂 I’m all for challenging myself, but maybe not to that extent, just yet!

A related quote to end on… from a wise friend:

Love doesn’t have goals or benchmarks or blueprints, but does have a purpose. It is not the change the people we love, but rather to give them what they need to thrive. Alison Gopnik.

A contradiction in terms…and in life…

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Oh, I have gotten so good at this at work! and yet, in my personal  life, I have not even come close to this. How can I have evolved (I hope) to the point where my work is my passion and my driving force…and yet my life outside of work is limited in scope and imagination? 
I finally know that I am in the right place for me, professionally. But now? Now it’s time to figure out how I can live fully in my non-work life.

There’s another term (hence the post title) that speaks to this…

Image result for arete live fully
Live fully. 
How can I truly live fully in my entire life? how can I reach the bar that I have finally (FINALLY) hit in my professional life, but in my personal life? 
How can I live my values, pursue my passions, and connect with others? 
Oh, the big questions. Fortunately, if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I love finding the answers, too. 
Time to start seeking.