Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Challenge yourself with love

Yesterday was my daughter Monnya's 25 birthday. I remember being pregnant in July. I felt like a pizza oven. It's so hard for me to imagine Monnya has been alive for 25 years. Yet here she is- a beautiful woman inside and out who I am inspired by. Last Friday I went to the performance at the end of her week long aerial dance camp for girls. I have gone every year since she started offering the camp three years ago. I love to see her in her glory being the cheerleader and guide for girls from 5-13. They come out of the camp confident and empowered, dancing and flying through the air. Monnya is a talented teacher. She has the ability to break the complicated aerial dance moves into small clear steps and praise the kids every step of the way. She is passionate about aerial dance and that passion is contageous. She makes the process very non-competitve between the girls yet gently pushes each one to go to her edge. Monnya is gifted with the ability to support others in challenging themselves with love. She has always done so with herself- sometimes to the point where I am shaking with fear. To her, life is a daring adventure.
Today she came to my house to pick up her car because we left it there to go to the surprise party that Isaac her husband had planned for her. It has been such a treat to see her so much in the past few days. Today she showed me her hand decorated goal book in which on her birthday she had written her goals for this year. She has an extensive process of goal setting and monitoring her goals. Her goals are about all aspects of her life. She has made daily entries in her book for nine months. I am really proud of her perserverance and persistence. Monnya is a perfromance artist. Many of her goals are related to training to develop her artform as an aerial dancer. She stressed that the success of her goals isn't determined by the outcome. Success is determined by her keeping her agreements with herself and then acknowledging herself for doing that. Success is also cutting herself some slack and having compassion for wanting to rest.
Goalsetting has never been my forte. It is easier for me to ignore my accomplishments and focus on what I haven't done. Monnya encouraged me to push myself and create my own book. I have been feeling stuck and anxious and her enthusiasm fueled me into movement. I got to experience my daughter's skill at challenging with love.
I found a beautiful book that Monnya's step-mother had given me for my fiftieth birthday. I had been saving it for something and it was perfect. Sometimes I save things obsessively, not allowing myself to use them.I'm glad I saved that book and I want to give myself permission to use or wear beautiful things instead of saving them. I decorated the inside because the outside was already decorated. That fulfilled my goal of artistic expression for today. My goals are physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. There are doing goals and being goals. It is my intention to do clear goalsetting and to monitor my goals with compassion. I want to see what I plan to accomplish and acknowledge myself for the energy I put in regardless of the outcome. I think in my mind the difference between goals and intentions was that intentions included letting go of the outcome. I see that I can create goals and also be gentle with myself about what happens. I think I have been aversive about goalsetting in the past because I associated goalsetting with being hard on myself. I see now that it doesn't have to be that way. In fact setting goals can be a way to honor my own effort and energy. I am excited about my book and about having a record of my progress. Today I accomplished all of my goals. I spent the evening with myself and thoroughly enjoyed my time. I feel renewed energy, as if my life force has been amped. I am grateful for my daughter and the power of her life-force. I am grateful to myself for recognizing that she is my teacher and receiving the gifts she has to offer. Thanks for listening to my kvelling. Kvelling is a yiddish word that my mother taught me for the wonderful feeling of expansiveness in the heart that happens when you share about the accomplishments of someone you love.
Consider creating a record of your goals and a system for monitoring them. It is a good feeling to be accountable to myself. See if it might be useful for you to create a system to know what you want and watch yourself move steadily in that direction. Notice it is possible to be kind to yourself in the process. See if it might be satisfying to challenge yourself with love.

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