Monday’s Meditation: On Throwing In The Towel Too Soon
Two weekends ago, after holding strong the entire winter long, my sinuses died inside of my face. In light of the severe mental fogginess and overall ick, I consciously decided to take the week off from the blog. (Apologies for leaving you hanging.)
I decided not to make myself wrong for it, but to feel proud for listening to the gnawing, hollow pain under my eyes saying, very clearly: Annie, maybe think about a break?
I declared to City that I had chosen to take the week off, which seems to be my method for determining if I’m serious. As if I expect him to oppose me all, “Oh no you’re not!”
Generally, he considers any such blog-related questions a trap, and does his best to avoid answering or giving his opinion on blog decisions at all costs. This time, he paused flossing his teeth to say, “Sounds great, just as long as you’ll be able to pick back up again,” before wedging the floss in between the next two teeth.
Over the course of the week, as I threw back shots of ginger, lemon, cayenne and other horrific immune-boosting tinctures, and coaxed my sinuses off of the ledge, I thought about how easy it would be to release my commitment to the blog. Last week would stretch into this week, and those into the next three months, and pretty soon I would realize it had been a year since my last post.
It wouldn’t really be that easy for me–writing this blog is akin to breathing, but ostensibly, generally, that’s the way it works, doesn’t it?
I do believe there is a part of each person that is self-sabotaging and staggeringly slothful. This part, in stark opposition to the better, wiser, more disciplined, more loving whole of you, wants to find a way to let you off the hook. It wants for you to find a reason to throw in the towel and give up trying. Nothing tempts this part of us as does a small slip up. A blemish in the perfect track record. A lapse in showing up for your goals and values.
When you eat the cookies you’ve promised yourself you won’t eat, when you miss a day at the gym, when you have a week when you aren’t diligent about tending to your paperwork, or when you have a week when you don’t make time to maintain your space and put your belongings away in their proper place, that lazy, sabotaging part of you pounces:
Well, you ate those cookies and ruined everything, might as well capitalize on the failure and eat two dozen more, it tells you.
You blew the streak you had going at the gym, so who even cares. Didn’t go yesterday, why go today? It gripes.
You’re already so behind on your paperwork, there’s no way you’re going to catch up. Might as well just let it keep piling up, it grumbles.
You were doing so well at keeping things neat, but now everything’s a mess again, so screw it: don’t deal with the mess, just add to it, it persuades you.
You made one mistake and now everything is ruined and there’s no point in trying because it’s never going to be perfect, it brainwashes you.
But there is no such thing as the perfect track record. There has never been progress made, great strikes taken, and massive endeavors undertaken where there have not also been mistakes, slip ups, and momentary lapses in better judgement.
When you are committed to a long term goal like health or sobriety or nutrition or writing a blog or to Live Simply, you are bound to make mistakes and to have off days. Far from giving you reason to quit, these moments are merely invitations to reaffirm your commitment.
The point isn’t whether you do it perfectly every day from now on, but whether you grant yourself the grace needed to pick it up back again.
Nothing is ruined. No vision is a foregone conclusion.
Just pick it back up again.
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