getting what you need is simple

I've had trouble sleeping the past few nights with anxious dreams and just not feeling rested. I told myself before going to bed last night that I really needed to sleep through the night. I said this aloud in the mirror. I took some deep breaths as I got into bed; I turned on my heated mattress pad, set my sound machine to the sounds of waves crashing and cuddled up for the night.

I could hardly believe it when I woke up at 6 this morning. One night without restless fits, or waking up every few hours, an entire night of sleep. I keep thinking about the importance of saying aloud what I need. M really hates when I need help and I don't voice it, when instead I grumble or whine or make a big fuss when I could have said, "Do you have a second to help me?" She also is annoyed when someone begins to say something and then says "Never Mind." The power of asking is surprising to me. A few days ago it snowed a few inches before we were to leave for the weekend. M was at work and I was not looking forward to shoveling snow once again, alone. I began the task by shoveling two trenches and then I needed a break so I decided to come back and shovel the middle later. When it was time to shovel again I was thinking, "I really wish someone were here to help me or one of the neighborhood kids wanted to make some money and would ask to do it." 20 minutes later, the girl across the street was at my door asking if I'd like her to finish shoveling.

The power of asking for what you need and receiving it can be overwhelming.

This is at the heart of the questions with which I'm living right now. What do I need? What's preventing me from asking for it? What is it that I am afraid of?

I think that what usually stops me from stating what I need from people in my life, from the universe, from myself is a deep-seeded feeling that I'm somehow undeserving of success. I become convinced that the answer will be, "No," despite evidence to the contrary. I end up not trusting myself, leading to all kinds of trouble without being conscious of it.

I LOVE, LOVE the post Jen Lemen wrote on Lindsey's blog (which I highly recommend, anyway). It's all about the power of trust, "trust that it's going to be good." I have written before about self-doubt, about trust, about losing myself and about the power in asking for help. I also think there is power in going into situations assuming the best. "Trusting, that it's going to be good."

Are there things you need that you aren't asking for? What is stopping you from trusting it's going to be good? What are you afraid of?

more 2010 wrap-up

Since the holidays and being on our road trip, I haven't had time to sit and read blogs I love. I've read a few here and there via my RSS reader on my phone but I've missed quite a few posts on blogs I read regularly. Two weeks ago Lindsey posted her response to an annual recap and though I've spent a great deal of time during reverb10 and my own blog year in review reflecting on 2010, I really liked how my own responses to the questions made some 2011 goals evident. I'll be talking more about that in an upcoming post but for now, the final 2010 wrap-up two weeks into the new year.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Made the most of summer. Did a tasting menu at a local restaurant, read books that were meaningful to me and not for classes or reading lists or studious purposes, shoveled a driveway of snow,

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I set intentions for the year instead of resolutions and I think last year's word(s), "living in the moment" did frame my actions in 2010. This year I'm focused on thriving and I hope next year to report success.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

It seems like everywhere I turned, someone was having a baby. My neighbor, Theresa, to Baby Frank. My sis-in-law's sister, Christyn, to Cathryn and one of my colleagues' wife had Ethan.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no but both of my grandmothers were in the hospital. Both are recovering from infections currently and I surely hope that's the end of that for 2011.

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Confidence, a greater sense of purpose. Professional support. I think the three are related.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I'm not very good at remembering dates, that's what I have Facebook, Flickr and the blog for. But I will remember softball games, car rides between M's two jobs, cleaning out the garage, trying new recipes, putting up the Christmas tree, all the small moments that make up my life stand significant for 2010, the year of moments.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Opening myself up to possibilities, conference acceptances, especially to 4 C's

9. What was your biggest failure?

being spread too thin

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I hurt my knee running and wasn't able to follow through like I wanted on running a 5k. My allergies were horrible and I was awfully sick for about 4 days.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

the iPad!

12. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, trying to pay off some of my debt.

13. What did you get really excited about?

moving a block down the street, planning our New Year's (Jan. 2011) trip Southeast, the iPad

14. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Probably "If It's Love" by Train because it's a song that took some time to grow on me and one whose lyrics caused a most hilarious confusion via Facebook.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier.
– thinner or fatter? probably a bit weight on my bones
– richer or poorer? I have more money in savings than I did last year so I guess I'm marginally richer but no where near where I want to be.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Though I did a lot more reading than I normally make time for, I wish I'd done more. But mostly, I wish I'd done more listening.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stayed up nights worrying about things absolutely out of my control, which is almost everything. I wish I'd been less grumpy and more kind.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

With M's family, happy and loved.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Though it isn't new, I really got into Lie to Me this year and Celebrity Ghost Stories. I continued loving Good Morning America and started watching Grey's Anatomy again, which I am still making up my mind about.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I was really moved by books Lindsey suggested like Dani Shapiro's Devotion and Dominique Browning's Slow Love as well as Laura Munson's This is Not the Story You Think It Is. For Fiction: I just finished Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, which is a wonderful novel about friendship, the things that hold us together and tear us apart. It's also a dystopian novel but it's very subtle, providing impetus for the actions of the characters instead of taking center stage and having the characters move around a dystopian plot. It's beautifully written and wonderfully sad. They've made it into a film starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Kiera Knightly, which looks amazing but I suggest reading the novel without knowing what it is about or viewing the trailer for the film.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

I was quite nostalgic with my music this year, listening to a lot of 80's mixes and Foo Fighters' Greatest Hits but I loved John Mayer's CD Battle Sessions and it's been on repeat in the car since I bought it. And of course, Brandi Carlile never left my playlist. M introduced me to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and I recognized their song in a commercial recently.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I didn't see many movies this year but I thought The Social Network was brilliant; I loved Easy A. Other than that I watched films I'd already seen, particularly around Christmas like The Holiday and Love Actually.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 32 in 2010 and in a few weeks I'll be 33. I taught classes and held office hours. I ate dinner with friends at our favorite Mexican place after watching a middle school volleyball game. M had to work.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Professional recognition

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

the way I would describe my personal fashion concept in practically any other year: comfortable: jeans, patterned t-shirts, flip-flops when possible

26. What kept you sane?

Reading. Writing. Friends & Family. M. A particular colleague I've grown to depend on.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.

Pema Chodron