A new leaf for a new year?

We start each brand new year with sayings like “this year I’m turning over a new leaf!” or “out with the old, in with the new” but the problem is, we’ve spent so much time investing in those old habits it is so hard to just sweep them out the door, we instead sweep them under the rug, so we can pull them out when no one is looking and wrap ourselves up with the comfort of them once more!

new leafThe term “turning over a new leaf” is something of a misnomer. I know it MEANS to make a new start, only as far as I can tell, a leaf generally looks the same on both sides, no matter which way you turn it.  And that’s the thing about new starts — we often begin with the right idea, but soon find ourselves doing the exact same patterns of self-abuse, just in new and shiny ways.

The reason? We treat ourselves the way we believe we should be treated. We do not feel deserving of anything more.

Mindfulness invites you to look inside each moment and really SEE how you are acting towards others and more importantly, towards yourself. Compare how caring and giving you are to others against how restrictive you are with yourself?

For example, I often make sure my daughter has vegetables with every meal, but then tell myself “I can’t afford fresh veggies, so what we have should be reserved for her, since she’s more important” or “I’ve already ruined my body, why waste the good food on me” or even simply “I don’t like raw carrots”. None of which is accurate. All of which uphold my deep-seated belief that I am not deserving.

I’d like to say it is a personal issue that grows from an abusive father and a dismissive mother. I’d like to say that through psychiatric treatment I can get better.  While both statements may be true, the bigger Truth is, I  live in a society which encourages us all to feel undeserving. If we feel this way, it is easy to justify stealing our time from us, keeping us busy at useless jobs, keeping us over-worked, our minds under-nourished, our bodies under utilized. We are tired and stressed. We have little time for the important things, like family, friends, cooking great meals, communing with nature. We constantly feel lacking and so become amazingly efficient consumers, always trying to fill that void. Because the Truth is, a feeling of being undeserving goes against our core Truths and we are always trying to BUY our way into alignment.

There are other people who have written on the above topic in much more eloquent ways than myself (you can find them all over google, if you search for ‘why I don’t like the north american work ethic‘ or something similar) ….

But the point I am trying to get at, the reason I maintain this site —

YOU ARE DESERVING. _I_ am deserving. We were all born deserving.

It is time, now, this moment, to re-write that inner script!

Yes, you deserve a break.
Yes, you deserve a moment to breathe.
Yes, you deserve that raise/that longer lunch/that designated parking space!
Yes, you deserve friendship/companionship.
Yes, you deserve that healthy snack/that morning run/that evening walk.
Yes, you deserve the TIME and the EFFORT.

You are deserving.

Mindfulness is a tool that can help you find these capital-T Truths for yourself.  Taking pause and evaluating your thinking process in each moment, each action.

Asking yourself questions as you carry out daily tasks, such as:  “Why am I having a fast-food meal, when I already know it is just empty calories and fat?” or “Why am I driving in rush-hour traffic for two hours every morning, just to get to a job I don’t like, where I don’t feel appreciated?” or “Why do I come home and change into the comfortable clothes, that I would never dare to be seen in in public, rather than wear them all day long?” or “Why am I in a relationship where I don’t feel valued?” or “Why do I put my co-worker’s/spouse’s/children’s desires before my own, each and every time?” or “Why do I feel guilty when I do something just for myself?”

Finding the answers to these types of questions, and seeing how many of them stem from a place of feeling undeserving, you might be surprised how even that simple act of acknowledgement can get you started towards a change in perspective.

It isn’t a new leaf we need, it is a new intention, along with a determination and willingness to stick to it! Be mindful in all you do, and see how your world comes alive!

in Buddha's words

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