I had to write about my latest experience – maybe you can relate.
My work with those dealing with high stress or chronic conditions include many techniques and perspectives. With all that I teach, there is one more ingredient that is vital to success: Finding balance by getting back to doing the things that we used to enjoy. Even if you are unable to do exactly what you used to enjoy, then dive in and try something new.
I took my own advice (yes, I was out of balance) and signed up for a jewelry class. I had always wanted to try this and finally gave myself permission to commit my precious time to a weekly class. I signed up for a beginners class (an improvement for this overachiever!) I am learning how to light a torch, how to solder, make a bezel, sand down metal, cut out designs and more. In the class, there are many who have previously taken this class.
I had to purchase materials and am happy to report that I did not invest in sterling silver (tempting as that was) for my first project, just to take the pressure off.
Our first project was a simple ring, which went well except I jump every time I light the torch, and got tiny cuts from snipping the solder. My first ring turned out well, with a decent soldering job and a bit of hammered texture. Feel like a kid in art class! I just finished my third class and must admit I still jump when turning on the torch, but no longer cut myself. Ahhh, making definite progress.
I bring this up because I remember the last class I signed up for a few years back. It was a mosaic class with students at mixed levels of experience. Rather than picking a simple coaster for my first project, I decided that I could handle a Lazy Susan. That was not challenging enough – I made spiral designs. No wonder why I quit! My overachiever was alive and well, derailing me from enjoying myself.
I remember a conversation with my older daughter. I was telling her that I wanted to learn to knit scarves and I was going to take a class. She laughed at me and said; “Mom, you will either quit in a week or open a knitting store!” She was correct – I quit after one lesson.
I have learned a lot since then. I am now happy to be the slowest, least knowledgeable in the class. I am really having fun just being inexperienced me. After all, aren’t we supposed to have some fun without it being a contest of comparing, competing, and over achieving?
When I allow myself to simply be a beginner, I am able to stay present with what I am doing while enjoying the process.
I also love a challenge and always will, but allowing myself to balance work with play gives me more stamina and willingness to step up to the hard stuff.
Begin to notice when you are comparing yourself with another. Also, notice when you are comparing yourself to your own high standards. What might happen if you allow yourself to just be where you are? I would venture to say that your experience will be much richer, less stressful, and enjoyable.
Try it and see for yourself. Feel free to let me know how it goes.