I find competing values a bigger challenge to navigate than bad habits. Sure, I ate a few latkes this holiday season, and started dabbling in refined sugar again, but my larger issue is when important work takes me away from my other important work. In the past few months, I completed an intro to midwifery course, a hypnobirth training, a women’s endocrinology training, and a few other classes – all of which took a major toll on my yoga class attendance and my family’s schedule.
When I focus on any of my priorities, it starts to feel like the ONE, the issue through which all other topics in life filter. There is a competition between my daily yoga practice, home cooked meals, meditation, getting ample sleep, creating routine, continuing education, diligent blogging, herbalism, volunteering, quality time with my daughter, and date night with my husband. Right when it feels like one has taken root so much so that I don’t even need to focus on it anymore, it starts to shake loose.
The truth is, some of my focal points actually are more important to me than others. Even when I can’t make it out to yoga classes, a daily home practice saves me, and when I loose that everything else starts to suffer. I find it helpful to pause to connect with my top priorities each day, even if I can’t have a longer meditation. I give myself one person to tune into, one task to handle, and one meal to make from scratch – and a few sun salutes – and this addresses the bare minimum for me.
We need some discipline in our daily practices – we deceive ourselves when we pretend it is ok to passively wait for the pendulum to swing us back to our highest selves. When each evening I see more of my computer screen than my husband’s face, I can pretend that I have been more busy than usual – for a few months – but if it continues I know I’m creating a problem. I need to remember that most disagreements I have with my 2-year-old can be handled by giving her a little more time, or by taking two seconds to jump up and down with her.
And yet with a little skill and a little trust, we do ebb and flow toward our highest. Whenever one value knocks another out of the field for the moment, we have to trust the trajectory of our path, and know that when something is in our psyche, we can return to it cyclically. There are some things I have learned and fully internalized as if on a cellular level, and some things I’ll need to review.
It takes a cycle of many years to become who we are becoming. Self-compassion, humor, and noticing the when and how of our small progresses helps.
I’d love to hear if the life coaches on my list agree – do we need swift action or gradual change? Comment below.