How to Make It Through March

In 2012, I made it through this dreariest Ontario month with a healthy, happy glow thanks to a little experiment I undertook. One year later, I’m looking back at March 2012 to remind myself how to survive the end of winter. Here’s how I wrote about it then.

It started small.

First, I thought, “I want to spend more time focusing on taking care of myself.”

That led to my roping the love-of-my-life in on a commitment to buying and eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and beans and lentils, and less sugar, flour, and animal products.

“This feels good,” I thought. “Maybe I’ll make this whole month about doing things to take care of me!”

Next thing I knew, I’d stopped drinking coffee.

Then I splurged on an apartment-size mini-trampoline (if you call $45 a “splurge”, that is) because how could I possibly be miserable and/or dislike myself while jumping up and down on a trampoline? (It’s really the best thing anytime I have a mental block… I just go jump on the trampoline 100 times and by the time I’ve done that, my perspective has shifted or else I’ve come to a decision).

One of my teachers encouraged me to buy myself a little something to celebrate some of my recent business successes, so then I went and bought this darling little silver ring. And some of the Mistresses in my MistressMind group (because “Mastermind” group doesn’t quite capture our sexy, dominatrix-y, determined business minds) told me that with the next round of business successes, I ought to go buy myself the meditation cushion I’ve been wishing for. I’m sitting on it as I write this.

“But it’s more than all these external things,” I thought. “It’s about caring for myself internally too.”

And that’s when I decided that this would also be The Month of No Negative Self-Talk.

I’m fairly addicted to negative self-talk (see The Slot Machine of Negative Self-Talk), and telling myself to “Stop it!,” isn’t going to work. But what did work was telling myself that I was giving myself a vacation from negative self-talk. Taking a month off. Free to go back to it after a month if I want to.

Anytime I heard the negative self-talk start up, I said to myself, “Ha! Vacation! I don’t have to do that this month!”

And then I thought, “But it’s more than the absence of self-talk. I want to start talking to myself in a caring way.”

So I developed the mantra I was going to rely on for the month:

“I trust that I am doing the best that I can everyday, and the best I can is enough.” 

(Don’t think it’s enough? See above re: no negative self-talk!)

As you can see, once the process got underway it was fairly unstoppable. I’ve just had a glorious month of delicious smoothies, fantastic salads, walks by the river, “mental health break” days, acupuncture appointments, fresh flowers, early bedtimes, and loving invitations to the love-of-my-life to do the dishes / clean the juicer / go grocery-shopping with me.

Now, here’s the interesting part:

So, I had a great month. That’s clear.

But what surprised me was the ripple effects of being kind to myself.

I started being more kind to others.

Experiencing the joy of caring for myself led to a spontaneous outpouring of caring for my loved ones and doing kind things for them.

Although I was working fewer hours, my business seemed to take off this month — if I scheduled breaks for myself, it seemed that the client appointments practically scheduled themselves.

I found myself buying gifts for others — spontaneous generosity (a soul trait that I often struggle with… perhaps because I had not learned how to be generous toward myself?).

What’s next? I want to keep this going!

So, it’s been more than a month, and I have no desire to drop all of this self-loving. It’s brought too much goodness into my life.

During my last call with my MistressMind group, I focused on how to keep it going, and uncovered a little fear I was caring around:

A fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle all this love for myself.

How curious! Who knew that I carried around a fear of being loved?

Thanks to lovely Head Mistress Cynthia, I have this new challenge for the month:

How much love can I handle?

How much care and goodness can I take?

How much love before I reach the saturation point? Will I disintegrate?

(More likely, I will dissolve into some essential being-ness of love — which does explain some of the fear. Soul growth always requires some melting away of ego identity, and that’s scary.)

My invitation to you this week:

I invite you to get curious: What would A Month of YOU look like?

And one last note: special thanks to the fabulous Danette Relic, who penpal-coached me through the lovely journey of the Month of Me!