Its like watching in slow motion as your child cannonballs into the pool right next to his 95 year old grandmother. It’s like watching the baby in the high chair slowly push his bowl of mush to the edge and not being able to get there in time – we already know the disaster that will ensue.
That’s what it’s like watching myself sometimes, being a helpless witness as I see myself losing the momentum I had worked so hard to maintain. Like a disaster I am watching unfold but am incapable of preventing. It’s already in motion and all I can do it brace myself to deal with the aftermath.
It’s February. Like many people I started the year out strong, with a new planner, journal, a well established morning routine and a big ambitious goal to keep me inspired.
And then one day I woke up and suddenly the big ambitious goal didn’t inspire me to leap out of bed. And I found that instead I just wanted to hit snooze. And another morning I decided I would sit with my tea instead of writing out my goals, or curl up on the sofa with the dog instead of doing my cardio. And just like that 3 days went by without doing it. Why is it we work so hard to get ourselves to where we want to be and then – just like that – we can so easily turn it off? I used to beat myself up for this until I realized it has to do with my flow.
See, I am a woman – not a machine who perfectly executes everything I try to program myself to do. Man if I achieved everything I planned to do – my life would look very different today. But I don’t. Cause I’m human.
Humans get tired. We question the point at 4:30 am. Somedays we need comfort over achievement. And it turns out that’s totally OK. It’s actually part of who we are.
Somedays maybe the goal isn’t to achieve the “goal”, but to allow yourself the time and the grace and the pampering that you need. The art of listening to yourself – and honoring those needs – is something we can all learn to do more graciously, and it is a worthy goal in and of itself.
My fortune cookie told me: “Treat yourself with the same dignity and respect that you treat others”. Alright. Which means that when I tell my husband to rest up, to listen to his body but then I beat myself up for doing the same…I’m respecting his needs…but not my own.
There are seasons in our lives. And as women there are seasons in our cycle in which we have more energy that others. This is an actual physical phenomenon. I can wish for perfect consistency but it isn’t realistic. Our hormones are either in high production or low production, and that affects our focus, our drive, our libido, our energy and yes, even how much a cry at the Olympic commercials (it had to be said, but woe to the male in my family who might use that beautiful sensitivity against me). And the truth is that men have the same hormonal cycle but they go through it every 24 hours, whereas we cycle more with the moon. Which is a lovely image and I do thank the Creator for making me a magical woman. But sometimes this makes 100% consistency difficult if I am treating every day like the last.
When we learn to honor and give dignity to our WHOLE selves as women, embracing the beautiful ebb and flow of our cycles, we can allow ourselves to go with that flow. To plan to have more quiet days when needed. To plan the dinner party when we know we will have that extra energy and desire to be social. To turn down invitations when we know that we will want more seclusion and time alone, rekindling our own fire. Even the foods we eat can be geared to meet those changing needs.
Our fluctuating powers don’t need to be a source of discouragement, pointing to a failed routine or a broken record. We are human – not machines. And we will not function the same way every day. So when we watch ourselves lose a consistent streak or lack the willpower to meet that exercise goal – extend grace. Ask what you need instead. But don’t flush the whole plan. We will come back to it when the time is right. We will cycle back. In the meantime let’s learn to give ourselves respect and dignity as beautiful, magical, human beings.