2014 Week 2: Shifting my gaze toward spirituality

Happy New Year! I love the fresh perspective and motivation January brings.

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Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

I started this blog two years ago to help me focus on outward goals: running more, eating better, exploring my new home country, writing, learning German, learning to be a mom. And I’m so happy with how these ambitions have unfolded into realities.

For 2014, though, I want to try something a little different. I’m committing this year to exploring not just a continuation of these things I still feel passionately about, but how I go about them. How I go about life, actually. I want to pay more attention to what’s going on inside to help me live my authentic life. And for that, I am giving more thought to my spirituality.

I tend to oscillate between two states — reaching outward toward tangible goals and settling back into introspection as goals sit untouched. The two tend to stay in opposite corners. And I find I have to almost start over with each aspect as I return to one side from the other.

I decided to try to bridge that gap when I heard a comment by life coach Gabrielle Bernstein that keeps replaying in my head: “Speed up by slowing down.”

Here’s her take:

“I’m not saying you should renounce the world and meditate all day—but I am suggesting that you clear space to access your inner power. When you do that, time will seem to expand, and you’ll accomplish more.”

As I got used to being Mommy and found time to return to me, I’ve set more and more goals. But as I reach for them, I sometimes feel frazzled.

It’s true, I’m not rushed by bosses, paychecks, deadlines of a professional matter, or  anything but my little people and my own standards. But my personal desires and familial duties flit about in my head, making me feel, while doing one thing, that I should be doing 20 other things. I feel a bit like a cartoon dog whose legs are spinning but going nowhere.

Well, those spinning legs kick up a bunch of dust but not much accomplishment. Motivation carries me so far, and after a while, what does get done tends to be halfhearted, less thoughtful. In this cluster of mad dashes I begin to lose heart in the things I had felt so drawn to.

Speeding up by slowing down, to me, is a call to turn inward, to refocus on not just accomplishing a to-do list, but in doing whatever I do with true intention. This may be with meditation or reading inspirational, thought-provoking work, whatever. I am calling this spirituality because I see it as tapping into my higher power, one that can guide my thoughts, choices and actions in a more focused, thoughtful and balanced way.

I’ve practiced meditation before. I’ve seen what it can do for me. But the inevitable end was this: after I marvel at its power, I hop on the train to which it led me and the ride is so exciting and wonderful that I no longer have that 10 or 20 minutes to sit in stillness and reflect on anything divine. I have baths to give and tiny people to feed and writing and exercise and language class.

Then it becomes stressful. I think about giving up some of the writing. That makes me sad. So I eat a box of Lindt truffles. I grow more tired so instead of exercising, I nap. I think something has to give. Well, I believe there is something ready to give — it’s that divine energy inside. This year, I want to pay more attention to all it has to offer.

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About Tara McLaughlin

I'm a stay-at-home mom to two girls in my boyfriend's hometown of Bern, Switzerland. Life as a new mom in a foreign country has been, in so many ways, rewarding and challenging. I will document that journey here, on Another 52 Weeks.
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