Confession: I have been meditating for almost five years now and I still grind my teeth. My dentist was adamant - stop it (she lamented, how many people are not grinding their teeth these days?). I have resisted getting a mouth guard, because, holy shit, that sounds incredibly unsexy. But the truth is, I may need to swallow my pride and just get one. Receding gums, due to teeth grinding, are also incredibly unsexy (not to mention, painful).
In order to protect my teeth and my overall health - because I don't think I'd be grinding my teeth simply for the hell of it - I've started scaling back how much I commit to. It's been hard. I like being busy. I like helping people. And I have a really hard time saying no. I also hate disappointing people, especially those I care about. But I am realizing more than ever that my wish to not disappoint others is costing me a great deal. I am at an age where I can no longer simply push on through. My body is telling me to stop and pay attention.
Finally, I am listening.
At the beginning of the year, I took three days off to completely clean out my closet. Something I had been avoiding for a very long time (understandably). I found receipts from ten years ago, letters, birthday cards, old photographs from high school, magazines I'd kept from my time in the Czech Republic and papers I wrote in grad school. It was unexpectedly emotional. When I was done and I only had a few small boxes left, I felt a huge wave of relief. I felt lighter.
There is something about creating space, both physically and mentally, that is highly motivating and refreshing. Since then, instead of committing to more projects, more tasks, more self-improvement fiascoes (going sugar-free and gluten-free, while healthy, is just not realistic for me), more this and more that, I have decided to commit to saying no, setting boundaries, scaling back, simplifying, giving stuff away and making room for space.
It hasn't been easy, but something surprising has been happening. I'm starting to relax. Slowly but surely. Little by little. Why is it so hard?
We'll see what my dentist has to say...
(What I'm listening to right now: House of Cards by Radiohead)