My Journey from Discovery to Acceptance to Change
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Hope Through Authenticity

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Campaigning for Me in 2018

 “….. he ran a campaign of discipline not impulse.” 

Do you campaign for yourself?  Before you roll your eyes at the absurdity of such a statement, read one of the definitions:

Campaign: a systematic course of aggressive activities for some specific purpose

dictionary.com

Let’s break this definition down. 

Specific Purpose

Do you have specific purposes for your life?  Or, like me, does your life often just happen? 

If I look at my life – how I spend my time, what I worry over, where my money goes – what campaigns do I support?  Do I run a campaign of discipline or impulse?  Do I run a campaign where I win or lose?  Are there energies, resources and efforts I need to shift or refocus? 

It’s 2018 and in last week’s post, I promised myself that I’d ACCEPT myself.  Acceptance is acknowledging that in this very moment, I am where I am.  Acceptance allows me room to choose a new place for my next moment.  Acceptance does NOT mean living a life I don’t love.  I ACCEPT that I suffer from bi-polar (or whatever juicy label I have today) but I can CHOOSE how to handle this.  I ACCEPT that I cannot eat what I want when I want if I want to be healthy.  I ACCEPT that I like to lily-pad and I need to structure my life so that I can do this (watch for a future post about lily-padding).

I ACCEPT that if I want to have a life I love, I must set a course.

Systematic Course

One of the things I hate most about political campaigns is that most candidates tell us why we should not vote for their opponent rather than why we should vote for him/her.  In other words, I want a candidate to tell me what platforms she supports – what are her agenda items, what systematic course is she committed to?

I’ve decided to develop a campaign for myself.  If I had to create a political ad, what would I promote, support, fight for?  But wait ….

The Skeletons In The Closet

Every candidate, every person, has skeletons in their closet.  For me, these skeletons will start to rattle the very second I decide to get serious about my campaign.  Past failures will pound on the door.  Unkind words will again have volume.  My negative side will get louder and louder.  Even as I write these words, one corner of my brain is reminding me that I’ve failed so many times.  The exact words I’m hearing are: 

  • “You always disappoint yourself and everyone else around you.  Just stop trying.” 
  • “Why should you have to give that up – it’s not fair that everyone else can have that and you can’t.”
  • “You won’t be able to handle this.  Look at how worthless you’ve been the last week.  You’ll fall into the abyss again and again.  Why don’t you just stay there?  Wouldn’t that be easier than climbing out over and over again.”   (this will be another post soon)

I ACCEPT that my mind is often my enemy, my opponent.  I CHOOSE to fight that.  I ACCEPT that I will lose some of those fights and will sink into the abyss from time-to-time.  I CHOOSE to keep climbing out. 

The Campaign Poster

If I designed a campaign ad, what would be on it?   Let’s make a list – don’t justify your list, don’t censor yourself.  Just write a list of all the things you’d like to have/do/accomplish/be.  Think small.  Think huge. 

I’m going to do this “real” time – I’m going to write a list for exactly five minutes (setting my clock now):

  • Get “Decide to Hope” published in April
  • Get “Journey to Hope” published in September
  • Start a 3rd novel
  • Start a “Better Accept & Change” Book Club
  • Learn how to market my book/myself (learn this social media stuff)
  • Lose this last 10 pounds
  • Stop drinking soda
  • Stop eating refined carbs
  • Keep this blog going and try to grow my audience
  • Continue to work on my mental health issues and management
  • Decide the best eating plan and become a FANATIC
  • Keep making the scrapbooks my family loves
  • Read read read read – anything and everything
  • Quit worrying about my weight – really get my eating disorder under control
  • Control other impulses
  • Keep my exercise routine (find a way to “shake things up”)
  • Find an accountability partner that really holds my feet to the fire
  • Find ways to show Dave love that fits my personality
  • Keep cultivating those 2-3 friendships that really matter
  • Hike Europe/Travel
  • Find the courage to join a writing group and stick to it (no matter what)
  • Actually get fully dressed whenever I’m leaving the house (or every day?)
  • Really evaluate my spending and make adjustments – look at this goal more carefully!
  • Start teaching (think outside the box)
  • Find a volunteer opportunity that energizes me
  • Continue to take classes/learn
  • Find some way to be spiritual
  • Financial goals – use a budget

Time’s up … these are the things that hit me at 8:15am on January 1.  Certainly the list is not exhaustive or all inclusive.  Because I want my campaign to succeed, I’m going to take the next week to refine my list.  Questions I’ll be asking myself:

  1. Is this a true goal for me OR is this a “should” goal?
  2. Am I willing to apply “aggressive activities” towards this goal?
  3. Am I willing to be held accountable for this goal?  If so, what would that look like?
  4. Do have the resources for success?
  5. Why is this important to me?
  6. Based on my mental health challenges, am I asking too much?  I have to find that balance.
  7. Do I have the support of my husband?  We must have aligned goals or I will fail.
  8. What does my body “feel” when I think of this goal?
  9. I'll come up with more questions once I start this analysis!  I will NOT avoid any questions that come to mind -- if my mind is sending me questions then they need attention!

Somatic* Goal Setting

I can’t believe I’m going to talk about this … it’s so “gooey*”.  But, I have come to understand how much my body tells me.  As I think of these goals, I get an immediate bodily reaction.  For example, when I think of volunteering, my shoulders tighten and I have trouble taking in a deep breath.  For me, that’s a warning sign that I need to acknowledge and listen to. 

Taking My Time

Campaigns don’t start after one day of thought.  While it’s January 1 and I’d like to have my campaign poster on my refrigerator today, I’d much rather have a campaign that I can win.  In order to accomplish that, I’m going to slow down, do some homework and come back to this next week.

Take The Time To Refine

I can’t do it all – maybe you can but I ACCEPT that I have a limited amount of energy, time and resources.  I also ACCEPT that my mental health requires dedicated self-care that limits me to some extent.  For the first time in my life, I want a campaign that I can fully support and execute completely.  I want to win!

My list only took me five minutes.  I can’t and shouldn’t finalize my campaign based of a five-minute session.  I want the final outcome to be ME – the ME I CHOOSE to be … in order to accomplish that, I need to:

Monday/Tuesday: add to this list – make it as long as I want.  I will also go ahead and strike anything I know is a “should” or that my body rejects.   I will discuss this with my husband – he knows me better than I do and he also has some goals that I need to incorporate.

Wednesday/Thursday:  create categories.  For example, many of the goals could be categorized as “physical health” or  “mental health” or “career”. 

Then I’m going to do the hard work:  as I write each goal, I’m going to listen to what my brain starts to say and how my body feels.  I’m going to write EVERYTHING down – by doing that I can identify the enemy.  There may be some enemies so strong that I don’t want to fight them right now – and that’s okay!  I ACCEPT that I only have a limited amount of strength and skills at this moment in time.  If I choose battles where the enemy is too strong, I will fail and that will create a domino effect where all of my goals crash.  I’m strong enough to admit that to myself and structure my life accordingly.  Of course, one of my goals will be to continue to build my mental, emotional and physical strength so that one day I can fight any enemy.  But, I’m not there yet and that’s OKAY!

Friday:  trim the list and discuss again with my husband.  Then, I’ll trim it again.  And again.

Saturday:  FINALIZE my campaign platform.  I’m going to go so far as to design a poster – I’ll post that next week!

Sunday, I’ll begin to develop my list of “aggressive activities” for each goal.  This will be the subject of my next post. 

I’ve had a very difficult December (see my post from December 31).  What I learned during that time is that I need to be intentional in ACCEPTING myself and all my “issues”.  The abyss is a hard place to be and even harder to climb out of … I’m going to be more careful about avoiding the abyss and I think that starts with being realistic with myself about what I want and need out of life.  It starts with campaigning for myself. 

I hope some of you will join me and share your experiences with this LIFETIME project.

*gooey -- I prefer to live in my mind, so when I'm told to listen to my body (somatic experience) or to meditate, I think of those activities as "gooey" or "woo-woo".  I used to avoid them.  While I still don't like them, I totally recognize their importance in staying grounded and balanced.

Some recommended resources:  

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    In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....

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