#reverb15: Intentions and Un-Goals

Ungoals | What are you so NOT doing this year? What's on your "I just can't care about that" list? While this prompt asks for ungoals, and I will get there in this long blog post eventually, I wanted to spend some time on my goals and intentions first. Because I took a blog break over Christmas Break and into the New Year I haven't had a chance to write (like I typically do) about my word which will frame my goals and intentions for the year. This will be the 6th year I've chosen a word since I first heard about the practice from my friend, Sandy. My words are most successful, I think, when I spend some time with them. 2012's "tend" and 2013's "open" were probably my favorites. They felt specific. Both came to me and just clicked in a way. But all of the words I've chosen over the years have become part of me and my experiences, even I wasn't always good at keeping them at the center of my actions and thoughts. Like 2013's "open" my word for 2015 first came to me in images, dreams and each time I tried to think of something else I might use, the word just boomeranged back into my consciousness.

My word for 2015 is "explore," inspired in part by this Mary Oliver poem that I couldn't stop repeating:

dangerous things

When I looked up "explore" in the dictionary, I fell in love with these ideas:

travel in or through an unfamiliar place  in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it

inquire into or discuss (a subject or issue) in detail

Both of these definitions are important and at their heart are about spending time with something specific (a place, an idea) in order to come away with a greater understanding and familiarity. Yes!

This year, I want to set some specific goals connected to explore, ask some specific questions of myself, of my word.

What would it mean to explore my my heart? my relationships?

How can I be an explorer every day? Take notice of things around me as though I'm seeing them for the first time?

What new ideas, places, people might I explore?

I want to invite a sense of adventure, of putting myself out of the familiar, of learning to enjoy the unplanned scenario. I want to actively participate in new things. Here are some things I'm going to try:

Indo-Row Class at the Gym

New recipes: up first is Tandoori chicken burgers

Ways to reduce my processed sugar intake

See movies I've always meant to see but never have, particularly classic movies

Read new authors

Look for new collaborative opportunities

One of the things I really want to let go of is how deeply tied to plans I get. I'm terrible once a plan is in place to change it. I get my hopes up about Plan A that I lose the potential of Plan B. Also I'm a little selfish in those moments, and I'd like to be more flexible and understanding when things work out differently. I'm too easily read, too quick to disappointment about whatever we were going to do, I can't see the possibilities in what we're doing instead; I'd like to change that and I think "explore" can help me do that.

Other ungoals:

For years, I've had this idea that I'd like to have a plant and keep it alive, watch it grow, etc. After I killed my air plant last year, I decided, you know, I'm not a plant person and that's okay. I am just going to let that go.

I wrote this summer about things I no longer care about like wearing makeup or getting dressed in "real clothes" to go to the store. I've worn sweatpants in public this winter more than I should probably admit. Whatever.

My birthday is tomorrow and I'd like to embrace it rather than lament my age. I'm now closer to 40 than 30. Okay. Who cares?

But I think the main thing I want to let go of, the thing that leads me to the worst patterns of thinking is this idea that if I'm not stressed I'm not working hard enough, or that if my life is busy, chaotic, I'm somehow unable to handle the facets of my life. My career, my life, my relationships aren't like other people's. I don't process information the same way others do and I don't always feel on the same page as everyone else. I heard something recently that has changed my thinking in significant ways. In an interview with Marc Maron the director of the fabulous movie Boyhood, and other favorites of mine: Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Waking Life, said "Pressure is a choice," and that blew my mind. I am my worst critic, often, and put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself. Pressure is a choice. Stress is a choice. So when I feel myself feeling undue pressure, this is my mantra. If I'm going to choose to pressure myself, I want to be aware of it. And then maybe cut myself some slack.

And maybe if I'm in the mindset of exploring, I'll be less likely to be telling myself, "you should be doing x, y,z". Instead, I can feel the moment, notice my surroundings, explore my own heart and thoughts, and compare them only to one another.