I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~Elwyn Brooks
I didn’t do an annual review for 2012.
Life, it seems, has its own course, whether I’m at the wheel, or not.
My sincere hope is that you wear my annual review shoes in order to walk the path you want for your life in 2014.
The transparent reason for not doing an annual review (or even writing much) is that I’ve had no energy for the process over the past couple of years. A large part of me wants to crawl in a hole and just be in it. Or run to nature like Christopher McCandless did (true story).
Sign posts along life’s path (like the picture above) point me in the right direction again. I’ll explain more below.
Serving others has been my life purpose for as long as I can remember. The problem is that I’ve never served myself. As the constant teacher time always reminds me, you can only love others as big as you love yourself.
Nonetheless, I seem to have a mid-life crisis every year. It’s common enough that I’m now calling it my mid-month crisis.
Without it, how would I ever know whether I’m ever on the right road or path?
What Didn’t Go Well This Year
PROCRASTINATION: My plans for world domination are still, well, plans. As a mover, action taker, and salt shaker, I pride myself on doing and putting one foot in front of the other.
Unfortunately, not using the treasure map tells me I’m off course. Which made me wonder, what’s the purpose behind this procrastination?
Lesson Learned: See “What Did Go Well This Year”.
SELF ABUSE: I continued to emotionally cut myself, although not as severely as in the past. I still haven’t burned myself in two years, which is a constant battle. I choose subtler methods than physically abusing myself like overworking and letting people take advantage of me. You’d think as my own boss, I’d give myself some slack.
Patterns run deep.
Lesson Learned: See “What Did Go Well This Year”.
What Did Go Well This Year
I own that all of my suffering is self-inflicted.
Procrastination is my heart’s way of telling myself “You don’t really want to do this Chris.”
Self Abuse is my ego’s way of telling myself “You are unlovable and powerless.”
Awareness, inspiration, and gratitude are my heart’s way of telling myself whenever I need to be smacked in the face “Yo, Chris! Wake up! You are love and you are powerful beyond all reason. Stop dilly dallying, unplug from The Matrix, take the red pill, and live right now (because you might be dead tomorrow).”
The #1 lesson for 2013 …
You can’t half ass loving yourself. It’s all or none. A full celebration or none at all. Go big or go home.
Moms, it’s no longer acceptable to say “I don’t have time for myself, my kids and husband come first.” Teachers, doctors, fathers, sons, daughters, same-same.
Requires Action: You might be asking, “How do I fall in love with myself?” My answer is “The same way you would fall in love with anyone else. Separating your ego’s identity from your heart/soul and talking, thinking, and treating yourself with those same loving thoughts that you would treat a potential mate.”
Instead of GOALS, I’m going after FEELINGS
Wednesday, December 11, 9:32 PM: “Boy, am I exhausted” I thought, as I auto-piloted through another self-scheduled, ridiculously long day. I had been working since 9 AM that day, treating patients, doing administrative work for Heroes Journey, meeting with business partners, and coaching classes, when I finally was able to make it to my car to go home.
I’m driving on 287 North when I notice a car pulling up on the left side of me. It’s not the car I notice, but the light’s reflection on my side-view mirror.
Someone had drawn a heart on my side-view mirror. Anytime a car pulled up to it, the heart was illuminated.
That heart made my day. That heart made my week. I have no idea who did it. (Much gratitude for whoever you are.)
I felt … loved. The feeling of love coming from a person shifted to the feeling of love for myself, for life, and everyone and everything around me.
Fast forward to me, 3 days later, after I watched this interview with Danielle LaPorte.
Throwing away my goals for 2014, I’m now going after feelings. Thank you Danielle LaPorte.
I want to feel 3 things on a daily basis.
- Love: That means love for myself, love for nature, connection with other beings, animals, and organisms, and depth of interactions beyond “It’s rainy today”.
- Brazen-ness: When I take action that I know I shouldn’t take, I feel powerful. When I’m told in the 3rd grade I’m too small to play football and I’m 1st Team All Conference as a senior at F&M College, I think to myself “I can do anything”. When I grow a chiropractic practice having long hair, I think to myself “Hell yes!” When I can dance, exuberantly, by myself, sober, in front of other possibly judgemental adolescents, I remind myself “Conformity is for sheep.” The only way to be an individual is to be me.
- Freedom: I want to fly. Free of any burdens or chains, powered only by love for myself. No constricting work schedules or financial attachments. Time for Chris to let go, flourish, stay minimalistic.
All three of these feelings fit into the theme I’ve chosen for 2014.
Theme for 2014
Working with a theme for the year allows me to guide my thoughts, actions, and behaviors. I’ve found it super helpful.
2010 – Taking Root (Started Barefoot Rehab) – The idea was that the business would be my foundation (or roots) for the rest of my life.
2011 – Bigger (Grew Barefoot Rehab) – With a bigger plant in my mind’s garden, I could sustain myself with more of life. More fruit to come.
2012 – Bearing Fruit (Started Heroes Journey Crossfit) – When you plant an apple seed, you expect an apple. I didn’t expect an orange so soon in my life, although I knew it was coming. The orange that was a Crossfit box got checked off my bucket list.
2013 – Diversifying the Gardens (Grew Heroes Journey Crossfit) – Planting apple seeds and orange seeds allows me to enjoy the various aspects of service. Treating patients allows me to connect 1-on-1 with another human heart. Helping a gym community find fitness and inspiration to live their best lives allows me to serve more birdies with those fruits.
2014 – Eat the Fruit .. and enjoy the apple (Falling in Love … with myself) – The illusion is that I need to plant apple seeds to get apple trees and orange seeds to get orange trees. Perhaps, that is how it works on Earth.
In your mind, you can have whatever you can envision.
In 29 years, I never realized love as an energy, or a resonance, that simply needs to be tapped into. I thought it was something that you go out and get or someone gives to you. Boy, was I wrong!
Love is always there. Like oxygen. It takes tuning to that resonance in order to vibrate on that level.
No boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, goal, dream, house, car, or anything external to you can tune you to that level. They can only act as mirrors to reflect back to you, where you’re living off course and living in the illusion.
Oh boy, am I tired of the fakeness.
In 2014, I will hold myself accountable to falling in love with good ‘ol me and all of the (lack of) conditions that comes with true love.
I will notice the little things, consciously looking for all of the hearts on side-view mirrors that I can find.
I will do my best to bring as many of you along with me for the ride.
If you’re ever in North Jersey and leave your car to get some tea or visit a friend, make sure to check your mirrors at night.
You never know who might have showered you with love.
Your turn …
- What didn’t go well this year?
- What did go well this year?
- What do you want to feel in 2014?
- What is your theme for 2014?
P.S. If you’re local to Parsippany, NJ, and want MORE out of your body, mind, spirit, and life … STAY TUNED for a Meetup Group/Book Club based on Transformation and Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map.
Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic. He practices out of Heroes Journey Crossfit in Parsippany, NJ.