So in the past few weeks I’ve become pretty obsessed with the idea of removing any and all toxic chemicals and allergens from my life in my food, beauty products, and household cleaning products (yes, yes - this is me being your typical white girl. Case in point: I simply cannot let the chance for an apropos Britney gif go by without taking it.)
But seriously, I was shocked when I learned about the harmful chemicals present in what we are lathering our bodies with ladies (and gentlemen.) Unreal.
What’s more unreal, is the junk we allow into our minds. I’m realizing that part of my desire to remove all this material toxicity from my world might stem from my subconscious knowing that I need to deal with the mental toxicity too.
Chemicals are the toxins affecting my physical body, and negativity is the toxin affecting my mind.
Negativity: well, that’s general. But I think it’s only general because it’s so widespread. It’s a pesticide that seems to spray every part of life. When was the last time I didn’t feel negative? Four days ago on the speedboat in Antigua. Jumping off the boat, eating on the beach, flying through the waves (sometimes whilst seriously questioning if I was about to go overboard,) hearing JD’s story, and laying in the water while it rained. Four days?! Four days is a long time. The inner knowledge that my life doesn’t look the way I want it to still existed that day, but I felt the teeniest part of my adventurous spirit peak it’s head around the corner and say, “hey, nice to see you again.” I remembered that I get to choose which steps I take next.
Not too long later, I got some news that inspired one of the worst feelings around. Envy.
Envy is an icky icky thing. There’s a reason that its known as one of the seven deadly sins.
[Can we talk about that ‘America’s Next Top Model’ seven deadly sins photo shoot though from like a million seasons ago for just a second? So good.]
Envy makes me feel gross. Like what type of person doesn’t want to be happy for someone else when something good happens for them? I don’t think anybody wants to feel envy. It’s certainly not something we go around advertising. “Hey everybody!! I’m so jealous of blah blah blah, hear me roar!” But we do feel it. We are human after all.
What’s interesting about my experience with envy these days is that it always turns to annoyance at myself. Probably rightly so. My thought pattern tends to go like this:
- “I wish would happen for me!”
- “ Yeah but how could happen for you when you're too afraid to try?”
- “Uhhhh hello have you seen the last two years of my life? Cut me a little slack.”
- “Yeah, Becky, you’ve given yourself enough slack - it’s time to put your big girl pants on and get over yourself. If you want , go get it.”
- “You’re right. But what if I try and happens and [insert negative emotion or experience here.]
So, I have the awareness to know that envy is childish and unhelpful. Thank God. #winning (at least a little bit.) What I have trouble getting away from is the “slack" part. The me version of the little Lizzie McGuire cartoon that tells us Lizzie’s thoughts on the show, Lizzie McGuire, (a very important part of my pre-teen years) having this internal convo is not wrong.
I have needed to cut myself slack - yes. But I’m thinking it’s been the wrong kind of slack. It’s been the slack of excuses instead of the slack of mindfulness. And excuses lead back to negativity. And negativity leads back to the pit. And the pit sucks.
Negativity accuses and mindfulness observes. Negativity beats you down and mindfulness asks to help you move forward. For example:
Thought: “I really need to prioritize my health and wellness.”
Negativity: “ Yeah but today has been a tough day. And if ordering Indian food and cookies makes you feel better, you go ahead and do that. But don’t complain when you’re fatter tomorrow.”
Mindfulness: “Am I actually hungry? If not, what am I trying to ignore by eating Indian food and cookies? If I am, is there a healthy option that doesn’t employ deprivation?”
Negativity complicates everything. It strips away the simplicity of - this is how I feel - ‘x.’ This is what I want - ‘y.’
The more I read about life and health, the more I realize that to live a life of mindfulness requires retraining the brain. It is 100% the opposite of how the world communicates with us and therefore, 100% the opposite of how we’ve been conditioned to communicate with both ourselves and others.
I now feel overwhelmed.
This whole 52 day thing is starting to feel like a total chore and why did I even set out to do this in the first place? I need a little reminding. So I go stalk the Team Wadadli (the Antiguan rowing team) Facebook page, and subsequently stalk a ton of other teams' Facebook pages and blogs, as one does, and I’m reminded why I started. (Don’t even try to tell me that you do not do some social media stalking every once in a while!)
The fact that I need reminding on DAY 2 scares me a little, but hey - keep on keeping on. And looking at those photos and videos of them coming into the harbour, the excitement, the sense of accomplishment, the victory... well, it gave me just the reminder I needed.
In case you can’t guess it by now, I don’t believe in chance encounters, but I do believe in divine appointment. I believe that people are put in our paths and we are put in others’ paths for specific reasons, usually without knowledge of it. I know that JD was put in my path to jolt me awake to the adventure of life. It’s only with a sense of adventure that I would be willing to fight my way back. And the only way I'd hear that was if the vessel was completely new.
PS: I can’t decide if this is going to be suuuuuuper awkward if for some bizarre and very unlikely reason JD ever reads this. Hopefully it would fall on the - I’m so glad my story impacted a complete stranger in a positive way spectrum and not a - this random chick is crazy spectrum. But as one of the best people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing once said to me, “it’s none of your damn business what anybody else thinks about you."
I have no idea where this leaves me and I have no idea what the next step is. There seem to be a bajillion to choose from. But I do know that the negative part of me wants to say that I’m getting nowhere, while the mindful part of me wants to encourage me to keep moving, even if at a snail’s pace. And for the first time in a long time, I'm going to choose to be mindful - not negative.