Originally published on selflovewarrior.com on September 9.
September’s Self-Love Diet writing prompt is focused on fostering positive thought and gratitude. I have been focusing on both this month, but the biggest intention I have been focusing on this month is letting go.
Positive Thought and Gratitude
In continuation with the 5 Days of Positivity and the 7 Days of Gratitude Facebook challenges, I wrote my day 2 Facebook posts yesterday. I’m all about flexibility and accepting imperfection. I wrote my day 2 posts about a week after my day 1 posts, and I wrote “5 days of Gratitude,” instead of “7 Days of Gratitude,” and “7 Days of Positivity,” instead of “5 Days of Positivity.”
This month I have largely been focusing on letting go. My grandma died almost 24 hours to this moment. It’s 4:32 am on Tuesday. She died at about 4:45 am on Monday, September 8, 2014.
I decided that letting go would be a major intention for me before I knew my grandma was dying. My 27th birthday was on August 28th and on the 29th I realized that if I keep on doing the same things, I’m not going to get different results.
I realized that I needed to drastically change my habits if I wanted to create and live a life that would help bring me closer to living happily as my authentic self, and the first thing I needed to do was lessen my plate and let go of responsibilities.
I have a lot of passions, and I want to get involved in a lot of things. I have always been this way, but I now know that I often overextend myself and that it is incredibly hard for me to be committed, focused and productive when I have my brain focused on too many projects.
Step One In Letting Go
I used to be on the board of Eating Disorders Recovery Support, Inc (EDRS). I’m passionate about eating disorder recovery and the eating disorder recovery community, and I love EDRS and being part of the board, but I couldn’t give the attention and commitment that EDRS needed and deserved, and I couldn’t do the job that I knew I could have done, and that drained me energetically.
This past week, I called the president of EDRS and told her that I was removing myself from the board, and I recommended a few great people that could get involved with EDRS.
Letting go for me is hard to do. I have so many ideas that I’m excited about of how to market EDRS and ideas about social media campaigns and collaborations, but I don’t have the energy to make those ideas come to life.
I’m not living in balance, and until I am, all of my energy needs to be focused on bringing me into balance.
There are a few other areas of my life where I’m letting go of big commitments, and I’ll update you once I have followed through with letting go of those commitments.
My Grandma’s Passing
I think it was last Thursday when my aunt called my dad early in the morning. She told him that she thought my grandma was dying. For a little over a week, about 30 to 70 people were going in and out of my grandma’s house every day. I stayed in San Francisco most all of this past week. Family drove and flew into the city. My aunts, uncles and cousins and myself were sleeping on beds, couches and floors at my grandma’s, at my aunt’s across the street, at my cousin’s three blocks down and at my other cousins’ about 20 or 30 blocks away.
I had over a week with my grandma. I had over a week of saying goodbye and letting go, surrounded by my family, by people who were all doing the same thing.
When I was in San Francisco with my family and grandma, the environment was sad, sometimes vibrant, sometimes draining, and always filled with love. It would have been easy to forget about self-care. Some nights I would stay up late sitting next to my grandma, but most nights I went to bed early. I knew I needed sleep, and I didn’t want to run myself down. I made sure to take me time. I went for walks almost daily, and sometimes jogs, exploring Golden Gate Park. I knew I needed to keep myself grounded, and nature and movement do that. I made sure to shower each day, which could have easily been forgotten when grieving, getting mixed nights of sleep and being in a house with at least 30 people throughout the day and one shower.
Only a few days after my 27th birthday, after I decided that I wanted and needed to change my routine, habits and self-beliefs, amidst grieving and change, I followed through with my new intention. When I could have easily forgotten about self-care and self-love, I focused on it even more. In a time when I could have gotten lost in sadness, I reached out for positivity and gratitude. When I was feeling difficult emotions, I let myself feel them, while also visualizing warmth and love expanding from my heart and coming into my heart. I didn’t push my feelings away. I sat with them. I felt them. I shared them, but I didn’t let myself get lost in them.
I don’t have control over all of the circumstances in my life, but I do have control over my thoughts and actions.
I experienced a lot of anxiety this past week. I characterize the anxiety I experienced as low key anxiety. I would get small, but somewhat frequent panic attacks. I worked through my anxiety by taking care of myself: trying to get good sleep, getting out in nature, going for walks and jogs by myself to have me time and to get movement, enjoying quite time in the shower, engaging family members in conversation – doing things to soothe myself and to help bring me to the present moment.
I most frequently get anxiety at night, usually when I’m getting ready to go to bed. My number one trigger for anxiety is death. I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy because of my anxiety. I love the show, but there’s so much death on the show that it triggers my anxiety. Hearing about heart attacks triggers my anxiety. My number one anxiety talk is, “I’m going to die today/tonight of a heart attack.” Once that thought runs through my head, it becomes difficult for me to breathe easy, and then it becomes difficult for me to relax. Most of the time I can eventually get myself to relax and fall asleep at night, but some nights I can’t.
Tonight was one of those nights. I had a hard time falling asleep, but I did eventually. I slept about 2 hours, then I woke up anxious and exhausted. To deal with my anxiety, I try to preoccupy myself. I watched about 20 minutes of a movie I don’t remember on Netflix via my iPhone. I played Spider Solitaire. A few hands of Spider Solitaire usually works to distract me, to bring myself back to the present moment and to calm me. Spider Solitaire didn’t work last night, so I created myself a Tumblr.
I created a Tumblr account awhile back and did nothing with it, aside from adding a profile picture. I remembered that a lot of people search through Tumblr for interesting and engaging content relating to the queer community, and I wanted to lose myself in something to let go of my anxiety.
I forgot my Tumblr password since I never used my Tumblr profile before, and reset it. I posted some recent photos I took on walks and other photos that I found online about gratitude and identity. I shared some posts I put on Facebook earlier, and I started to do Tumblr searches.
I searched “LGBT” and “Queer,” and I followed my publication, The Human Experience, which my college friend Julianna manages. I scrolled through The Human Experience Tumblr and found and reblogged a lot of great queer, mental health, body positive and feminist content. I also learned that I was tagging words on Tumblr incorrectly, and looked up how to tag on Tumblr.
I got completely absorbed in the process of creating my own Tumblr blog and looking through and curating content. I got lost in the present moment and was able to let go of my anxiety.
Self-Love and Balance
My main life focuses are self-love and balance. A bigger goal that will help me live a more balanced life is finding a full-time job with benefits that will bring me to San Francisco. My first step that I listed in my last self-love post, “Knowing What You Want + Positive Thought + Action = Positive Outcome,” is letting go.
I’ve been focusing on letting go for about a week and a half in various avenues of my life, and I have more letting go to do: letting go of current beliefs that no longer serve me, letting go of permanence, letting go of my grandma’s physical presence in my life, letting go of my anxiety.
The other beginning steps I listed to reach my goal of balance:
- Going for walks and jogs out in nature
- Visualizing my heart opening up and receiving and sending love
- The 7 Days of Gratitude Facebook Challenge
- The 5 Days of Positivity Facebook Challenge
- Connecting more with friends and family near by and far away
I not only want to focus on letting go, but I also want to focus on letting in. Letting in love. Letting in people. Letting in new beliefs. Letting in new habits. Letting in new thoughts. Letting in gratitude. Letting in peace.
After letting go of my anxiety, the next step I took towards balance and self-love was writing this self-love post, allowing myself time to reflect and refocusing my attention on my intentions of self-love, balance and inner peace.
I’ll continue towards my goal of balance step-by-step. My next first step is more letting go.
If you’re inspired to, you can submit your own self-love posts to be published here, on Self-Love Warrior. You can also share your Self-Love Diet journey on the Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works Facebook page.