Part of this season’s intentions is to clear my space of clutter. After selling my beloved condo much quicker than anticipated, I moved out without much thought to purging and prioritizing items. With a recommitment to getting rid of items that aren't being used or those that don't bring me joy, I decided to focus on my library. Although I’ve tried this before with little success, it was time to be realistic about downsizing. When an opportunity to move into a new space appears, I want to be mindful of keeping items that emphatically bring me joy.
My library, as are many of my belongings, is suffocating in a variety of plastic bins tucked away in the laundry room, coat closet, dining room, and the office. Needless to say, I have a lot of books!
Occasionally, I write notes with questions and realizations to myself and adhere them to pages. During this purge, another one is almost definitely in order, I found a few books with 20+ notes. Curiosity bit me and I pulled the notes out of Radical Acceptance to see what I’ve learned about myself, the world, and life itself.
I found things like:
“How can I relate to my life with compassion?”
“I want to accept myself completely.”
“Behaviors we use to keep us from pain only fuel our suffering.” p. 71 Pause Reflection
Although I found value in the read, I stopped about halfway through. Sometimes, in the hopes of healing, I oversaturate myself with positivity, self-help, therapy, and self-care. And when I become overwhelmed, everything is abandoned.
Maybe because things get too difficult when facing the variety of ways that trauma has affected my life. Maybe it’s just doing too much. Or maybe it is a solid combination of all those things.
After reviewing my notes, I found two that left the greatest impact.
Say yes to what works to keep you balanced.
This one reminds me to take care of myself, to slow down and have a few do-nothing days. I write about self-care, fully aware of its importance, but sometimes forget to implement it, especially when I become very busy. Having several projects to work on simultaneously feels like a welcome self-imposed challenge. When completing different items, I feel comfortable, structured, and accomplished, because each task propels me toward reaching different goals.
This note should be duplicated and placed in random spots throughout the house for me to re-discover. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to program these words in my calendar by scheduling reminders. In order for this to authentically surprise me, I’ll ask two or three friends to enter different dates and times.
Taking care of my stuff and making ample time for alignment, in whichever form suits me in that moment, is a process in which I am becoming more comfortable. Perhaps I’m still a novice, but would like to transition to intermediate level of practice.
Do not deny the truth of your experience. Relate to experiences with friendliness to diminish their power.
This note speaks to my growth in expressing feelings or ideas and asserting myself. Sometimes this will be articulated as a complaint, praise, or indifference. All of which are okay.
My truth is valid, irrespective of the subject matter. It is also a reflection of becoming increasingly self-aware.
The freedom to express my truth, in all its gore or glory, is new. I continue to grow and heal in a non-linear pattern while trying to support myself with compassion. In the past, this did not seem possible. My voice remained stifled due to lack of confidence, societal messaging, opinions of significant others, and other foolishness. And here I am transcending all that and powerfully standing in acceptance while experiencing growth.
Since I am currently exercising a purging phase, I will type the notes and recycle the paper. Whenever necessary I can access the notes, despite their being out of order. If I revisit the book again, I can compare the originals with new notes to assess how any new insight or changes in perspective.
Does anyone else write notes to themselves or take notes in books within the margins or on sticky notes? Do you ever revisit? Or reflect, discuss or put into practice something new from a text?