It's been quite awhile since I've posted. I graduated from Tools last June and have stayed eternally grateful, if not eternally connected.
I decided to check out Tools a couple of days ago and found the new Body Makeover program. I'm checking it out. Meantime, I figured I might be able to encourage all of you to keep going on your path and working your Tools, because of how the habits I learned and have continued to use have helped me in my life. I don't log in to Tools that often anymore, because I am so busy living my life. Every once in awhile, when I need a jump start or reminder, I come back in for a recharge and go back out there.
So, in an effort to push those of you with the courage and commitment to take Tools on, I will let you know how far I have come since I joined. You can see prior blogs to get a sense of my prior challenges. Note, I still have many challenges and some days are more difficult than others, but I have tools to get me through.
I incorporated much of what I learned in Tools in my own morning ritual of waking, stretching, doing a few yoga poses, meditating and praying. After my shower, I type out my food plan, a list of gratitudes, prayers and hopes for the day, a forgiveness list, and an affirmation list. I also write out an action list. I email this all out to three friends, who I have enlisted as "Action Partners." We check in with one another on a weekly basis to outline our actions for the week, particularly having to do with our financial and career visions.
I do my best to eat a healthy breakfast and then I go off to work for the day and to the different activities I have on different evenings. I have to admit, my work is not as fulfilling as the work I had earlier in my life, before some major family illnesses, including my own, but it pays fairly well, is fairly flexible and allows me to serve the greater good and have balance in my life. I have another opportunity I may take, but that remains to be seen.
Throughout the day, I check my anxiety and temper at the door by asking the question, "How important is it?" when I start to feel riled. And I reach out to trusted people I have gathered in my life to share my difficulties, not to complain, but to gain perspective and get feedback to help me make the next right step. And I welcome their reaching out to me in the same manner.
I eat healthy meals and snacks througout the day and try to make sure I get exercise most days of the week by walking at least a mile or two. In the evening, I write all my expenses and income into a little notebook, which I do my best to enter into a spreadsheet at least once a month, to monitor and modify spending and savings.
I make a point of trying to go out on a date once a week with my husband, and to have a weekly meeting to deal with parsing out family responsibilities, including housekeeping, shopping, cooking, bills paying, paperwork, laundry, errands, etc... We discuss parenting issues and concerns about our own parents and relatives.
I also have become involved in my spiritual community, been asked to give a mini-sermon, recited my poetry at local slams, gone out dancing, to concerts and to museums. I joined a task force to work on a way to develop an emergency fund and an emotional, spiritual and career counseling network for people in my community who are at risk of losing their homes or can't pay for medications. I read and keep my mind active with different kinds of puzzles. I do my best to keep up with family and friends, but could do better in this realm.
Was I doing this when I began Tools? No way. Would have sounded way too overwhelming, ambitious and impossible. But little by little, as I keep on keeping on, one step at a time, even when I start feeling down or disappointed, I look back on how far I've come and figure that little by little, things will work out.
I have lost 20 pounds. I have a good job and the possibility of another. My relationships with my son and husband are vastly improved since I began setting boundaries, taking care of myself first, not letting myself be taken advantage of, gave up my guilt and stated my needs. I say what I mean. I mean what I say. And I don't say it meanly. I rarely lose my temper in the way that I used to. Basically, I declared their indepence and my own and we're all the healthier for it after a slightly rocky time of adjustment.
I'm no saint. My home is still cluttered. I haven't made my home a haven yet. I still have loads on my life list that I have not achieved yet. I still procrastinate too much and too often. I still sometimes fall back into old patterns and negative thinking. I am still not exercising as much as I would like. But I have let go of perfectionism, workaholism and the self-loathing that goes along with them. Little by little, step by step, there is hope. And I have found Tools, people, community and resources to help me along the way.
Happy trails to you Tools pioneers. It's hard work, but worth every moment to stake out the territory of a life well-lived. I wish you love, peace, health, illumination, creativity, support and fun along the way.