Spiritual Advice for March
March can feel maddening – not just because of basketball and the time change, but because it’s the time in-between.
- In between the bitter chill of winter and the soon to be unbearable humidity and heat of summer
- In between the newness of shiny resolutions and goals the seeming stagnation of unfulfilled visions
- In between the rooting of new ideas and the blossoming of them into the world.
It’s tiring work to stand in this space and hold your ground. It’s hard to show up every day in pursuit of a goal when you can’t see any real progress.
This is the time we live in. A time when everything seems instantaneous – our food can be microwaved in minutes so no need to plan our meals ahead of time; we can download and stream an entire season of a TV show we’ve longed to see; and we can find someone to sell us their instantaneous one-size-fits-all solution to what ails us.
What’s most important to you, and to me, takes time. We know in our bones that meaningful change – in relationships, in body image, in health and in career takes time. The steps may seem simple but they are in no way easy. In fact, the longer it takes to reach a goal the madder we get at the delay of reaching our desires.
What can you do in the face of this madness? How can you manage your need for action and change with the requirement for patience and stillness?
These are in no way the only options and certainly you’ve heard them before, but this month, give yourself permission to be exactly where you are and try one or more of the following:
- Start with your breath. Take five minutes every morning and every evening to take in three long breaths. Breathe in for 7 seconds. Hold it for 7 seconds. Breathe out for 7 seconds. Hold it for 7 seconds. Begin again.
- Ask yourself WHY. Why did you set the goals and visions you have? What underlying feeling is driving you? How will you feel when you have completed the task or the goal? If your why isn’t compelling enough, the chances are it’s not going to get done. There’s also the fact that sometimes your WHY seems too big and overwhelming – so you get stuck, feeling insignificant. If that’s the case, take some time to chunk it down into bite-sized pieces.
- See yourself at the end of your project. Close your eyes and take a look at yourself in your mind’s eye. How is she different than who you are today? Every action changes us and it’s up to us to manage that change. If you’re goal is about health and fitness it’s not just about giving up gummy bears, it’s about being the person who sees gummy bears in a different way. It’s about recognizing yourself as a wholly competent and healthy person.
- Ask yourself what you have to give up in order to reach your goal. This isn’t about deprivation or powering through. This is the inner game of releasing your current definition of yourself to meet your new definition of yourself. It’s actually about being more gentle and compassionate with YOU. If your intention is to help others find time for self-care, you may need to invest more time and energy in your own self-care. You can’t care for or serve others if you aren’t willing to care for yourself and receive support from others when you need it. This is what we call Walking our talk.
- Release your need to control the outcome and the timeline. Sure, life is full of deadlines and I’m not encouraging you to skip them (editors, bosses and clients get mad when you do this from my experience). I am encouraging you to cut yourself some slack when it comes to how you get everything on your to-do list completed.
- Recognize that sometimes imperfect action is better than no action. This is not an excuse to half-ass your way through your life, but it is the permission you need to go run that 5K even if you’ll probably walk most of it or paint the living room even if you haven’t identified every single possible swatch on the planet. Taking action reminds your brain that you are capable of taking action. When you cross it off your list you have proof that you can complete tasks. As the tasks get more complex you build confidence and proof that you are capable.
- Treat yourself like you’d treat your most adored person. Whether it’s your child, your best friend or your life partner – when they are struggling to make it through a tough time how do you support them? Do you listen and encourage at the same time? Do you remind them of all the ways they’ve already succeeded while also holding the vision of their completed goal? Do that for yourself.
Of course, this is your life. This is your ambition. So take what works and toss the rest. Just take action and find your way through the Madness of March. I’ll see you on the success side in no time!
Written by: Peggie Arvidson