Impulsive /m-ˈpəl-siv/ adjective
Doing things or tending to do things suddenly and without careful thought; acting or tending to act on impulse; done suddenly and without planning; resulting from a sudden impulse.
I am VERY impulsive a lot of the time. Shopping, whoa mama! Eating, you betcha! I do those things without thinking and without planning. A thought enters my mind and I act on it. Zip, zop, done and done.
I struggle to keep myself in check. And you know what? A lot of my behavior is done to make myself feel better. But you know what else? It usually makes me feel worse. Maybe not immediately, but always within a few hours.
I’ve been talking with my therapist about my impulsivity. We decided that whenever I go out to a store I need a list. On that list is everything I am going to buy on that trip. And if it isn’t on the list I don’t get to buy it—at that time.
Take my recent trip to Michael’s. I went to purchase supplies for a craft I was planning for Sunday School. While in Michael’s I decided I needed new charcoal and a bright lamp for on my easel. I left Michael’s spending $99. I only needed about $20 worth of craft supplies, but I didn’t have a set list and I acted on impulse.
With this new plan I will sit down and consciously plan out and write out exactly everything that I need at the store I am going to. As I’m walking around the aisles if I see something that is not on my list, no matter how badly I want to buy it, I cannot buy it. What I can do is start a new list, on the next page of the notebook, and put the item on the list. This way I don’t need to worry about forgetting what it is that I want to buy (which, hello, if I really need the item I will not forget about it) and I can walk away and mull over the purchase for at least a day. So the back of my planner (I use an Erin Condren Life Planner. Click here for $10 off your first purchase) I am going to write my lists. I mean, when I go food shopping I never go without a complete and detailed list, why should any other shopping be any different?
What else can I say? I am trying to remember to take three breaths BEFORE doing anything. Nothing is life and death in my life. I do not have the key codes for nuclear weapons. I am not performing life saving surgery. I am just me. And I need to remember that and remember that I can always go back, I can always return, to the item or food at hand. There will always be a second chance, and probably a third and a fourth, to purchase or eat the item in my sights.
What are some tricks of your trade that you use to avoid knee jerk, unthinking reactions? I’d love to know.
Now I am a fully committed, fully believing, fully proud to be a, Jew. I know who my G-d is and I love Him. I fully agree with the customs and rituals of Judaism, well, for the most part that is. I know this to be true. However, I currently find myself in a Bible Study with a great group of Christian women. We are slowly making our way through Pricilla Shirer's book, Fervent. And it is a good one. I mean, I have to skim over the references to Jesus and the Devil, but for the majority of the book I feel her message is one that I can receive deep within my heart.
This week we are discussing knowing your true identity. For it is the Yetzer Ha'ra'ah's job to blur that knowledge, to dull your understanding of who you truly are, and to make you wage battle against superficial things and people. Shirer claims that "fervent prayer keeps your true identity in focus. Reminds us who we really are and taps into the power we really have in" G-d. It is when we lose our focus, lose our intention that our prayers become muddled and focus on the surface, neglected the nitty gritty, deep down and dirty. But, if we really keep praying it will "keep the truth about our real identity in constant, unbroken focus before us."
Shirer talks a lot about truth being the undergarment around which all our other "armor" (or weapons against the Yetzer Ha'ra'ah) is layered. And truth, she says, is G-d's views about us, not our own. Truth is necessary to equip us with the tools we need to truly see ourselves as we are, beautiful and perfect in G-d's eyes.
I'm working on my commitment to prayer, mainly because of this Bible Study. It is refreshing to be able to take such an active role in my praying. I am used to reading the words in the siddur and possibly adding some personalized prayers for other people in my life. What I am learning through reading Fervent is that it is okay, even preferable, to make all prayers personalized. I mean, of course I'm going to read the prayers from the siddur. But I will also add some of my own requests, both for friends in need and for myself.
I'll leave you with this last quote from chapter three: "No matter what is against you, it is no match for the power and authority He's given you access to. There may be armies standing against you, but they're only waiting to become an unwitting witness to the overcoming power of G-d and the overriding ocean of His grace. [And] prayer will open your eyes so you can see it--can see who you really are, that you are alive indeed, and that divine resources and riches and solutions are on your side, assets that make you 'more victorious' through the sheer size of His love. This is the belt of truth."
Tonight, the holiest day of the entire year begins for Jews everywhere. Yom HaKippurim, the Day of Atonement. It is Go Time ladies and gentlemen. The Book of Life and The Book of Death will be sealed tomorrow night. All will have been decided. This is the first year in many years that I am not wishing, praying, desiring to be inscribed in the Book of Death. That is huge!!!! HUGE!!!! H-U-G-E!!!! I can't remember the last time I hadn't wished for death. If not by my own hand than by some confluence of events. But I do not wish for death this year.
I wish for a year of unending possibilities and experiences. I am praying for the wisdom and ability to create a life for myself that is fulfilling and positive. A year where I spend just as much time reflecting on what I already know as I spend on learning new and exciting things. I want to brush up on my Hebrew. I was to develop the drawing that I started in grad. school. I want to get back to playing the guitar. And, yes, it should come as no surprise, I want to get into shape and get healthy. But not just a superficial healthy. And I think that this is the real purpose of this blog, I want to become spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy. I want the whole kit and caboodle. Yep, this girl wants it all.
So, to give you a hint of what is up my sleeve for www.1000miles1step.com, I am preparing to post on a regular basis. I haven't decided what that is yet. It could be weekly. It could also be every other week. I'd love to be able to commit to every week, but honestly I don't want to over extend. Know what I mean? In the meantime, while I'm working through all that nitty gritty, take a minute to sign up for my newsletter (you can do that on the Home Page). Look around. Leave some comments. And get ready to take this wild ride that is my life with me. I'm so glad you have decided to join me.
גמר חתימה טובה
May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life (and want to be)
Why I'm Blogging
Just your average 40 something trying to find the way in which she can make sense of her life. I hope you'll join me for this journey.