I have been absent from writing here for a while now. It is not because I have forgotten about this space, it’s because I have been out and about doing things. I realized that I had to keep myself busy with things I wanted to do and try in order to embrace the process of self discovery. I thought I would be able to do all the things I wanted to do and write about them. It turns out that something that I still need to work on. I decided that now that I’m on vacation it would be a good time to start the habit of continuing to do all the things I have been doing and adding writing to those things.
Because I have been so bad at keeping this updated, I wanted to start my reentry into blogging with the 4 main things I have been doing to embrace my self discovery, so here it goes:
1-Volunteer at an animal shelter:
Once a week for the last 3 months I have been going to an animal shelter to walk the dogs. They have an orientation day for volunteers interested in dog walking and after you attend that you can go any time you want to walk the dogs. I’m usually there for about 2 hours and walk about 5-6 dogs. It has quickly become time that I cherish for a few reasons; I’m alone with my thoughts and the dogs, I get to exercise while doing something I enjoy, and I get to meet and play with many dogs.
Reason this has helped my journey to self discovery: This has confirmed that I enjoy working with animals and in a cause I believe in. This has been a way to help animals in need without feeling like I have to bring them all home. I have been thinking that I want to transition from teaching to a field that involves animal handling and care, this is helping me get hands on experience and has helped me realize that it’s something I should explore more.
2- Taking dance lessons:
1 to 2 times a week I have been meeting with a dance instructor. I have been learning ball room dancing (specifically rumba and salsa), but I have also started to take pole dancing classes. This has been an eye opening experience for me, because the older I get the more comfortable I get with my body and the less I care about what people may think. I have always had a hard time following dances with steps, I love to dance, I’m just not coordinated enough to think about counting while I dance, and taking private lessons has really helped me understand the dances more. Pole dancing has been a self discovery experience all on it’s own, because I think it comes with so many stigmas about it, that just admitting to people that I’m doing it is an empowering experience, but I would say it is a super fun way to exercise and learn to embrace your body.
Reason this has helped my journey to self discovery: This has taught me that I can learn and be good at things that weren’t previously my strong suite. It has also helped me feel more confident about my body and be thankful for the body I do have. I think we get so caught up on if we are fat or skinny that we forget we have capable bodies regardless of what they look like, bodies that can move, that can take you places, and that is something we shouldn’t take for granted.
3- Reading and finding a community of readers:
I have been reading a lot. My Goodreads reading challenge for this year is 75 books and I have already read about 43 books this year. I have been embracing my reading, finding little times to read in between task, but also letting go of books that are not catching my attention. Which means I get to read things I really want to read. Not only have I been reading, but I made it a point to find a community of people that also like to read. I joined a reading circle at a local bookstore, we meet once a month and go over what we are reading. I joined Litsy, an online community of readers, I have heard it marketed as if Goodreads and Instagram had a baby. Litsy is great, I joined an online book club and have done a few book exchanges with people through it. It’s a great way to meet people reading the same book as you, but also people that have similar interest in books. I will also be attending BookCon in NYC, which is a huge book convention with panels, lots of book sellers and just people that love books.
Reason this has helped my journey to self discovery: For a long time now I have found it difficult to find other people that enjoy reading and just talking about books, partly because we are mostly introverts and aren’t crazy about meeting new people to begin with, but also because we are hard to find. This has helped me in my journey because I have had to push myself to go to events alone and interact with the people there. It has also helped me meet new friends with similar interest.
Baking for me is an exercise in mindfulness. I’m focused on the steps and what I’m doing in the moment and everything else fades away. For this reason I have wanted to start challenging myself to try different bakes, different recipes that involve practicing new skills. It has become a way of getting stronger at a skill I enjoy and also embrace the meditative properties of it. I have baked many breads, macaroons, sweet breads and tiramisu. There is so many other pastries and skills I want to practice, it’s something to look forward to.
Reason this has helped me in my journey to self discovery: Baking has helped me stay centered and provides a treat to look forward to. I can plan what I want to bake and when I want to bake it. By dedicating a specific time and centering myself to follow the steps and embrace the wait, I create a practice where I’m forgetting about any trivial issues I may have and only exist in the moment. I also end with a product that regardless of it meets my expectations can be shared and provides an excuse to interact with neighbors, family and friends.
Overall, I want to keep adding things to my journey of self discovery, but I think these 4 are great simple examples that other people can also follow. This summer I want to continue to embrace doing things to learn more about myself and I want to make a real effort in recording my progress. Hopefully I will be able to at least update this once a week with all the things I’m doing.
Sorry for the break.