#6 Don't Limit Yourself

Jan 18, 2015

Around this time of year, I really enjoy going to the movies to see films that are nominated for Best Picture for the upcoming Academy Awards. What makes it so much fun for me is that I particularly enjoy going alone. There’s no reason behind it. I just really enjoy time to myself. Last year I went so far as to revel in two movies in one day with a little treat for myself in between!

I treated myself to a day in Montclair, which is where I often have to travel to see films because our local eight-cinema theater, which I can walk to, typically takes up multiple theaters to show the latest kid flick. It’s unfortunate that many artistic movies don’t seem to pass through this way. I was headed to see Nebraska and Philomena. It was a cold and rainy afternoon making it the perfect movie day. I caught Nebraska in the early afternoon and the plan was for my sister to meet me later in the afternoon for Philomena.

Between shows I excitedly hurried next door to Carousel Cupcakes to indulge in a hot chocolate and my favorite carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese icing….YUM! I sat at the counter by the window and looked out onto the busy street that was being pelted with heavy rain. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I was so in the moment. It was then that I had my first blogging idea: Dates with Myself.

I didn’t go anywhere with the idea other than thinking of a catchy title for the blog. I deliberated on a few titles while texting my cousin since Dates with Myself was already taken, but the blog wasn't being updated. I felt I had something there.   My intention was to help others find ways to treat themselves to time alone and share ideas of how to do so. It’s so important to take pleasure in time with yourself. Many people see going solo as a negative, a depressant. I’ve never seen it that way. I’ve always been very comfortable with my alone time. Of course it could be because I lead a very active life, but doesn’t everybody? Forget everything else I’m a part of, parenthood demands some solitude and I am sure to relish in any opportunity of solitude I can find when it presents itself.

One movie I was particularly excited about seeing this year was The Theory of Everything. I wasn’t heading out alone this time, Steve and I planned to go together when my sister called to remind me she was home and could join me. Steve insisted she and I head out just the two of us to enjoy some sister time. Sister-Date, yay! So once again, rather than walking to the theater, we drove thirty minutes to see Eddie Redmayne perform the role of his life as Stephen Hawking.

I know very little about Stephen Hawking and his theories, but what I do know is he is a physicist who, despite his limitations and the doubts of doctors, went on to defy the odds and make remarkable contributions to the fields of science and medicine. He told himself a different story than the one told to him by his doctors and his family. He refused to be held down by his circumstances and he forged ahead proving them all wrong; both in his health and his theories. This begs the question: What story are you telling yourself?

As I watched the movie, I couldn’t help but think of the journalist of Elle magazine, Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a stroke and was left with Locked-In Syndrome. His sense of sight, smell, touch, and sound were all intact but he was left not able to move or speak. It was his nurse who discovered his ability to communicate by blinking his left eye. Together, they wrote and published his memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.  It is astonishing.

The stories of these two men and how they chose to live their lives despite their ailments bring me such faith and hope and joy and belief while also leaving me shaking my head in disappointment as I think of those I hear complaining and doubting themselves and the world around them. The difference between the complainers and doubters and Hawking and Bauby is that complainers and doubters are choosing not to live fully in their minds, thus paralyzing themselves and locking themselves in. Hawking and Bauby have so much more going for them.

Maybe you can help someone or yourself SHIFT today to a better place. Tell them something wonderful about themselves. What would you say to yourself?. Check out one of the many affirmations listed on the website for a little guidance.

Offer yourself or someone you love a good book to read or to listen to. If they need a SHIFT in thought, I recommend A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Tolle. If it’s a SHIFT in health that’s needed, I highly recommend Dr. Lissa Rankin’s book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself. If it’s a SHIFT in attitude that’s needed, perhaps the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby would be inspirational. Zuzu’s Petals: a True Story of Second Chances by Lauren Ward Larsen is another inspirational read.

If dates with yourself sound like fun, I’ll be posting more about them.   In the meantime, why not take a baby step and head out to the movies today by yourself? See a movie that’s been nominated for Best Picture.

Have fun on your first date!