Losing Weight in the New Year
With the arrival of a new year often comes the tendency to reflect on what’s working well in our lives and where we’d like to make improvements. One of the most common resolutions made is “I’m going to lose weight!” A worthwhile goal for many, no doubt. But whatever your bathroom scale says, there may be a way of losing weight you’d find even more satisfying than shedding physical pounds.
On the same day last month, two items landed in my Inbox relating, coincidentally, to the idea of shedding mental weight.
One was notification of a new blog post, which began:
This post is really just to say a strange patience has washed over me.
Tudor went on to discuss the many ways in which a writing career demands patience and how difficult it is at times to have it, to simply wait for something that one has no control over. Then she says:
But right now, for this minute, I’m not impatient. I’m enjoying the book I’m working on. I’m feeling OIM [her book, Objects In Mirror] get its legs. It’s moving on its own! It’s finding readers without me! Patience is extremely relaxing. (Italics are mine.)
I think Tudor’s post spoke to me because I too struggle to be more patient in many areas of my life, and it was heartening to see how it can, sometimes – with patience ironically – just quietly come. Seeing that Tudor found patience relaxing increased my motivation to continue striving for it. Or maybe I should say… waiting for it?
The email from Brenda was about something she said she wasn’t going to worry about. I’ve sometimes decided myself not to worry about something but, like being patient, it’s not always easy. Brenda said:
I think I have finally realized there is not any sense worrying about things – you do what you can about them, but all is not in your control, so you can’t fix every single thing that comes across your “desk”. If you DON’T worry, your life seems to be much more “free”, much less troubled, less stressed.
These two items came in less than seven hours apart, yet both were addressing how achieving a certain not-easy-to-reach frame of mind – having patience, not worrying – made life better thanks to shedding excess mental weight. Was there something Zen in the air that day? This email went on to say, quite eloquently, I thought:
There is a real level of comfort in choosing not to worry – and the “choosing” part, really does, in essence put you in control, because you actually are in control of deciding how to react to the situation. So, should you be a control freak (as I sometimes feel I am), then you have your control and your sense of peace at the same time. Kind of like having your cake and eating it, too.
Maybe this spoke to me because I recognize the control freak in myself too, and I’d never thought of deciding not to worry about something as a way of taking control. I suppose deciding to be patient is a way of taking control too, especially if what you have to be patient with is something you can’t control.
Is there excess mental weight you’d like to shed this year? The weight of worry or impatience, or of resentment or petty jealousy perhaps? Or have you already done it? Instead of making this new year a time to berate yourself for what you’re carrying that you wish you weren’t, why not celebrate whatever weight you’ve shed already?
To all my readers and followers, Happy New Year!
Original images courtesy of Claire Bloomfield & marin / FreeDigitalPhotos
Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.