Before running fully into summer and an erratic schedule, I’m again taking a cue from writer Emily P. Freeman, who encourages her readers to “pause to reflect on the past season before we move ahead into the future.”
For me, this intentional practice feels just right – regular, but not so often that it feels overwhelming. And it complements some of the private journaling that I do.
So here, in no particular order, are things I learned in spring 2018 (March through May):
1. Forgotten home movies need an audience
In our fast-paced digital world, my family’s home movies largely had been forgotten. That is, until my husband brought home a duffel bag full of his childhood memories back after visiting his parents one weekend, and I started converting those videos to a digital format.
I’d heard about a couple of those home movies for more than a quarter century but never had seen them. My husband, when he was 13 or 14, wrote (on a typewriter) scripts based on a couple of his favorite television shows. And then he, his sister, and his friends acted them out. Mom provided filming and editing expertise.
After a really really long time hearing about these movies, I finally got the opportunity to watch them. And the cinematic marvels left me, believe it or not, walking on air.
(Any guesses on which television show one of the home movies was based?)
2. A CSA subscription can lead to better dental habits
We subscribed to a CSA (community supported agriculture) this spring. What I didn’t expect by having all of those greens show up in my box each week was that I not only learned how to prepare arugula, chard, and collards in new and delicious ways. But I also began having to floss my teeth twice a day.
This news made my dentist very happy a few weeks ago.
3. I’m a little too into tracking – and the irony isn’t lost on me
In coaching, I help clients focus on setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timed. And when trying to create new habits, I try to set them for myself, so that they become ingrained, second-nature.
I’ve noticed lately how much it helps me to measure things, whether it’s steps or sleep. I’m not measuring against someone else, but giving me a way to assess where I am compared to where I want to be.
So I use a Fitbit to track my goal of walking or running at least 10,000 steps every day. But the irony of tracking another new habit isn’t lost on me.
While taking a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course this past winter, I noticed the positive impact that meditation had on me. And when that course ended in March, I wanted to continue with my daily practice. It was time to take what I’d learned and make it my own.
And so after trying several apps, I started using Insight Timer to play guided meditations and/or sit in silent meditation. But the irony isn’t lost on me that I’m tracking progress (and accumulating stars!) for an intended non-striving and stress-reducing practice.
4. Spring brought shedding
We’ve lived in four different towns since marrying and having children. Each time we moved, I always felt a tiny rush of relief. I could let go of obligations and roles that no longer served me, without the difficult (to me) process of explaining to someone why I no longer could serve in a role. And then I could start fresh, in a new town, without expectation. That I previously served on the PTA or led a small group? No one in my new town needed to know that if I didn’t want them to.
I relished those resets.
But I’m not planning to move again anytime soon. So I’ve had to learn how to get out of some obligations. The past couple of years, I’ve added more commitments (especially life-giving ones such as health coaching), without dropping previous ones. So this spring, I’ve gotten quieter and determined what I needed to shed.
For a healthier me, this ongoing process requires daily effort – not just when I’m moving from one state to another – and not just in the spring.
How often do you pause and reflect on your life? It’s your turn, and I’d love to hear from you. What did you learn this spring? Comment below, or send me a note.
I’m Amy Hoogervorst, an integrative health coach offering grace and space for a healthier you. Thanks for reading! You can read previous “what I learned” posts on the blog. I also send a weekly email (the Weekly Well Check) with curated links and information that might be useful on your path to optimal health and well-being. If you’d like to receive it and all my news, please CLICK HERE to subscribe.