We have just started the Lenten season and I'm reminded of the periodic landmarks that we have built throughout the calendar that encourage us to better ourselves. Simple questions like: Am I happy? What can I do better? How can I have a bigger impact? How can I feel better? are all thoughts that arrive around milestones like New Year's Day, the Lent season, a birthday, springtime, and swimsuit season... Yikes!
I believe it's a built-in process in the cycle of living to do a periodic evaluation and set goals, recognize where you are with your wellness (or anything), and find new ways to be accountable for changes that might have been on the radar awhile but linger in the background now.
This month's piece of wellness is accountability and I'd like to dig into what it feels like, emotionally, to be accountable. This is one effort that clearly reflects the presence of emotional baggage versus wisdom that can arrive from processing a negative experience.
If we are still tethered to the emotional baggage and the trauma of an event or an action, the effort of accountability can often come with the behavior of blaming, rationalizing, confusion, discouragement, and many other deflecting acts. This is the case no matter which end of the trauma you found yourself, the giving or the receiving. In addition to the behavior, this baggage can come with emotions of guilt, humiliation, and defensiveness to just name a few.
On the other hand, if you're presented with an opportunity that requires accountability and you are untethered to the baggage, you are able to separate where you are now emotionally, physically, and mentally from where you were before. That behavior or that experience is not resonating with you anymore so you have processed it into a piece of wisdom. Wisdom always carries us forward. Wisdom helps grow love. Wisdom strengthens our figurative Tree of Life. Wisdom aligns efforts with goals and naturally fosters accountability.
Many of us, including me, set goals at the beginning of the year and I noticed then and still see now how difficult that was for me this particular year. I almost didn't know where to start! Slowly, slowly, and with much love, I did put together some goals. They stuck around for a couple of weeks at the very best and faded into the background of life. I was responding to an outside queue more than I was responding to an inside urge for change. I was in a place where I needed to settle and heal more than anything and ultimately that's what ended up happening. Much needed settling and healing and growing and here we are at the beginning of March. Now, there's a new outside queue that has shown up, the season of Lent. I'm more aligned with this stimulus to set goals. I feel it from the inside out. Another thing that I noticed and listen to about the difference between Lent and New Year's Day is that Lent is only for 40 days. So the commitments that I make are in a smaller chunk of time. This feels so much less intimidating to me than thinking of the new year that is laid out in front of me and an obligation to spread across 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days. That feels like too much! So I look to that beautiful mantra of growth: noticing, listening, and shifting and I see now it's more beneficial for me to have short-term goals and allow them to become long-term behaviors. So for Lent, I have a daily goal of exercise which I measure in a 10-day cycle. I also have a goal that stretches the full length of Lent and is measured in a large quantity. Over the 40 days of Lent it is my goal to walk 20 miles with my dog. This is a big goal, a longer-term goal but I have daily accountability that I can show up for and short-term responsibility. When I have moments of needing to decide to walk in freezing rain and ice there is wiggle room in my goal where I don't have to walk every day but of course, I can if I want to. A daily walk can get me ahead, it can set me up for success, and it can take the pressure off the "not doing" that sometimes happens. The reality check is though, I live in Upstate NY and the weather can be just awful. Wiggle room removes the suffering aspect of needing to be out in nastiness and pushes me to enjoy the nicer days. To track both of these goals I set up worksheets that I have hanging on my refrigerator and they have been such a great way of being accountable! I see them, my family sees them, and it's a gentle reminder of my progress, my promise, and my accountability. I put these worksheets on my website for anyone to download, you can click here to head over there. They are 10-day or 10-task oriented. So through the month of Lent, I will be using four worksheets for my daily exercise goal. And I will only need two worksheets for my walking goal because each sheet tracks 10 miles. I hope that you check them out and let me know how they help you find accountability!
So all this talk about accountability and goals and things we need to be accountable for... let's talk a little bit about releasing that emotional baggage that might be creating behavior/ emotions keeping you stuck and tethered to that trauma. I think above all else, the number one thing to offer as guidance with this is finding forgiveness! Forgiveness of others and forgiveness of self and recognizing you are here right now and you have the potential of being whatever you want to be moving forward. (insert heart face emoji here!!)
Things to notice, listen to, and shift:
What is that emotion that shows up and is in the way of forgiveness?
Do you feel it in your body?
Does it create a Cascade of other emotions?
What are those other emotions?
Write them down, look at them, think about them, feel them, acknowledge them, and recognize that they are emotions, they are not you. Emotions are molecules of a hormone cocktail that flow through your body. They are not you. If those molecules are in there, it's important to remember they have a frequency or a vibration. When that takes over, the vibration of your most beautiful self is interrupted. That is the beginning of the creation of the trapped emotion experience. That is the beginning of that emotional baggage piling up. This, THIS MOMENT, is the beginning of you noticing and understanding you are accountable for that baggage and you're the only one holding on. You are the only one keeping it tethered. Letting go is just that easy! Let it go! Practices that you can do at home to encourage this are things like yoga, guided meditation, guided tapping routines, and listening to music that clears the chakras and attunes the body to a better vibration. Many of these practices have videos in the Resource playlist on my YouTube channel. The YouTube channel helps support the work my clients are doing at home and is public so it can be a tool for anyone interested in empowering, simple, and gentle healing.
Of course, I am here to support anyone that is struggling in any part of their journey with connecting to and releasing that emotional baggage. It is always my honor to help those on the journey to become accountable for their own healing and recognizing the value of tools that will optimize their environment to heal!
I hope to connect with you again real soon. Until then I wish you endless Love and gratitude!
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