“Did I look like this before?”
Hoping for a better angle, I titled my head sideways as I stopped in front of the long mirror near our bedroom closet.
I stared at my legs and wondered, “Did these exercise pants make my legs look like tree trunks last year or have I packed on some winter weight?”
I dismissed the question quickly, pretty sure I knew the answer.
I found my running shoes by the back door on the shoe rack and laced them up for a walk. I stretched a bit, letting my leg muscles know they’d be doing something besides being propped up adjacent to my ass.
It was past time to get my bacon moving.
I let the momentum carry me down my steep, quarter mile hill before turning to make the hike back up. My thighs seemed to grumble that “tree trunks were made to stay put.” But they got the job done as I huffed and puffed my way to the top.
I managed a couple more trips before my mind started to relax.
The fourth time up I had a thought.
“It feels good to walk off the winter weight.”
What felt good in a moment, felt uncomfortable the next. I realized a few extra lb’s weren’t the only thing I’d accumulated over the last few months. My mind and spirit were heavy, too.
I tucked the thought away for another day and kept walking. But it continued to tug at the corners of my consciousness. It rolled around with me in the covers as I tried to sleep.
Like a pimple that eventually finds it’s way to the surface, this thought was begging to be popped.
I was reluctant to learn what was weighing me down.
Because I thought it meant I’ve have to do something about it. More doing? Ugh.
But I eventually grabbed a pen an paper.
But before I even started to explore what was feeling so heavy, my monkey-mind listed more stuff for me to do. “You need to be running. Lifting weights. Doing yoga.”
“It’s no biggie,” Monkey-Mind said, “Just 10 minutes a day for each one.”
I recalled the other “10 minute habits” I’d accumulated over the last several months. I currently had twelve.
120 minutes worth.
They lived with me as expectations and “should haves” every day. Little failures piling up like wet snowflakes when I didn’t do them (which was a lot).
That felt heavy for sure.
Then the avalanche really got rolling.
Out came tumbling all the other shit I’d been storing up like a squirrel. Mental stuff. Emotional stuff. Physical stuff. Spiritual stuff.
It was actually nuts.
On my shelf were three distinct piles of books- fiction books, self-help books, and writing craft books. For some reason (I can’t fully remember), I’d committed to read one of each per week. Each stack held at least five paperbacks, laying on their sides. Their spines stared at me like Children of the Corn.
In my Amazon cart were 20 more. Books. Anytime someone recommended one, I popped open the app and added it so I wouldn’t forget.
My podcast app had 6 notifications for the last two days, reminding me of the episodes I’d missed. I was subscribed to at least ten. More recommendations from peers, podcasters, and professionals I followed.
My email was ransacked with updates and articles and free courses I’d signed up for not wanting to “miss out.” Not to mention the emails for all the “not so free” courses people wanted to sell me.
“Under A-chiev-er,” perpetually gnawed at me.
When I started digging into why I felt the need to make these ridiculous goals and have all this at my fingertips, I realized I’d been comparing myself to other people. People I wanted to be more like. Write more like. Sound more like. Succeed more like.
I thought, “Who I am isn’t good enough.”
The piles of comparison reinforced the fact that everybody else seemed to be doing better than me. I was beating myself up for not measuring up.
“Los-er,” I heard again and again.
When I started digging into why I felt the need to compare and change myself, I noticed a bunch of lies had stuck to me like beggars lice.
“I must be like everyone else to succeed.”
“What I’m doing and who I am isn’t enough.”
“I’m screwing up a helluva lot more than I’m nailing things down these days.”
These were Lies I let in for a visit somewhere, somehow.
But the next thing I knew, these Lies had moved in, were buying furniture and remodeling me.
“Fail-ure,” they drilled and pounded.
Clearly- I had more than winter waddles to lose.
I needed to lose what was weighing me down at my core, substantially more.
It was time to do some spring soul cleaning.
Toss out ideas that were stale. Dispose of demands that didn’t fit anymore. Hurl habits that had outlived their usefulness. Bag up the beliefs that were never really in season to start out.
So I got busy getting rid of things.
I wrote it all down- item by item.
And I’m still writing. I’ve got a notebook page open now for additional crap that needs to be scrapped.
I write it down. I give it up to God.
Then God gives me something in exchange for it. A word, a picture, a peace. It’s always a surprise and it’s always better than what I was holding too tightly.
I feel lighter already.
More like me.
No doubt I’ll accumulate more clutter; I always do.
But at least I’m starting spring kinda clean.
How about you?
Are you ready to shed the winter weight?
Also published on Medium.