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?

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

Laura McGrath, CPCC, is a Toronto-based co-active life coach who helps smart people to live from their hearts. Let's talk! You can subscribe to Ready for Change news to receive thoughtful notes on personal growth, and you can contact Laura to find out if coaching is right for you.