twelve months of bliss

Twelve Months of Bliss – July Recap

July 29, 2015

Have you ever started to tidy up a room and before you know it, you’re purging anything and everything you’ve quickly realized you don’t need anymore? It may have started with just one piece of clothing, hanging in the back of your closet… you haven’t worn it in years (like, 20 years) and today is the day you decide it’s time to just accept that no, silk vests will never make a comeback. It’s time to let go. So you throw it into a bag and before you know it, you’ve got two large garbage bags full of things you no longer “need,” and your closet has breathing room, spare hangers, and your heart feels a bit lighter too.

This is how the end of this month was for me: once I finally got into the rhythm and NEW habit of not doing my one thing. The realization that there were so many unnecessary things clouding and cluttering my life hit me like a ton of bricks and I wanted them gone, immediately. While that’s how this month may have ended though, it’s certainly not how it began.

July’s challenge, Making Room, required kicking one “bad habit,” in hopes of making the necessary space for something better. First, let me share with you what I consider to be a “bad habit.” My definition of a bad habit is something you take part in on a regular basis that in no way helps to better you as a person. Easy enough, right? Not so much; this month was seriously rough for me. I felt completely spastic for a lot of it…. which confirmed one thing: I may have thought I knew how to make room in my life but in reality, I’d completely forgotten. Completely. That, and I have some habits that are so deep, I didn’t even know they were habits until I attempted to give one of them up and wanted to make a million excuses as to why I could keep doing it. That, and the fact that there were many days I just flat out ignored this month’s challenge and continued with this habit anyway.

I told you. This past month was ugly.

So what’s the bad habit I attempted to give up this past month?


Were you expecting my habit to be something more serious? Well I can assure you this is a serious one for me. It all started when Christian and I moved back to Chicago after having spent 5 1/2 long and horrible months in Los Angeles. I’d never had cable before and for some reason, we’d made the decision to “treat ourselves” with this upon our winter return. Let’s just say that I became a BIG fan. I fell in love with HGTV – to the point where I truly convinced myself that yes, I could purchase and rehab a house. (No, I wasn’t drunk, I was just hooked on cable.) And it didn’t end there. I began telling Christian all about the lives of The Real Housewives and the Kardashians and all of the important current events like which celebrity is currently IN and who broke up with who. Because, you know- I knew these people personally. I also began to counsel Christian and others in how they might be able to protect themselves should an intruder ever break into their house after having cut the power and hacked their laptop camera. What qualified me to give advice in such things? Shows like 20/20 and Dateline, duh.

Years went by and watching TV became more than turning it on to intentionally watch a show and relax (which, I feel might still make it a habit but not necessarily a bad one. We all have our vices for winding down and relaxing.) Before I knew it the TV would just be on in whatever room I was occupying – I wasn’t even necessarily watching it anymore, it was just ON. If I didn’t have music playing, the TV was on because God forbid I simply sit in the silence.

I knew as soon as I posted this challenge that giving up my chosen bad habit was going to be hard but I had no idea just how hard it would be. I’ll tell ya right now, it was like torture for a good 2 1/2 weeks. Until it wasn’t torture anymore. Once I’d gotten over the feeling of not quite knowing what to do with the silence and space, as well as accepting that no, I in fact was not missing anything, it felt SO good to have that TV off and I remembered that I really do love moments that are free from distraction. And then things just started to snowball and before I knew it- I was getting rid of quite a few distractions… and it felt easy and I could breathe.

But this month’s challenge was much more than just kicking a bad habit… it was learning to not only make room, mentally and emotionally, but to learn how to be comfortable living in that newly made space. And I think that may have been the hardest part. Often times in life, our habits remain not necessarily because we love the habit itself, or even because we love the routine of it all (which, we probably do), but because we have completely forgotten how to be alone with ourselves. Sure, we are all about exploring new ideas and new things, but most of the time we make those plans to explore so that they fit our own way of thinking, of living, and of desiring the NEW. What if we simply made room though, and then instead of planning or acting, we simply learn to be still? What if instead we sit in the silence and with open arms and an open mind accept the space plan-free and just as it is, versus what we hope it to be? What if we give our minds and hearts and souls the quiet room to breathe and explore, without judgement… without self-critiquing based on previous experience? Might we find new parts of who we are? New ideas? New dreams? A happier, more peaceful self?

I am convinced, this is what happens when we say goodbye to a bad habit and in turn make space for something new… for it to find us and not the other way around.

Not all habits are bad but we must be aware of how much time is dedicated to the ones that serve no purpose in bettering ourselves or the world we wish to live in. Personally, I’ve found I’m so much more fun when given more time in the space in which to simply be who my heart tells me I am that day. We are creatures of habit, we are… but hopefully this challenge taught you that we don’t need to be. While I may go back to watching some of my favorite shows, I’m also going to spend more time in the extra room I have found this past month πŸ˜‰

Reflect, identify, make room, and then allow yourself to be completely free in the newly made space.

Now it’s your time to share your feedback from this month’s challenge. Link up your thoughts below & don’t forget to check the Twelve Months of Bliss page in a few days for next month’s challenge!

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  • Oh television the time robber! It must have been a rough month for you. It took me half the month too to decide what I was going to do in making room. Yet, the nagging thought, the voice in my head that kept calling me into action for my one thing I knew I had to do. It was making the commitment to do it and stick with it and make it my new habit that was difficult. Yes, this was a rough month but such a challenge and for me I’m so thankful for it. I love a challenge and someone else knows I do too and He used your Twelve Months of Bliss series to bring me back where I needed to be. I love what you said, “to be completely free in the newly made space.” Beautiful!

    • I mean, Shark Week near killed me. I definitely watched it and just flat out ignored my rule – eek!

      Loved your post today, Michelle πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for this note.

  • I so agree that it appears most people do not know how to be alone and that there is always some noise in the background. I began to notice after my Mom died that I often had silence in the house – no more tiv, not even my beloved music. I believe it was necessary in my grief journey to not have the outside noises. I so appreciate this challenge and always look forward to each month.

    • I could definitely see that, Sheryl. I did the same when going through my own grieving time years ago and I know the silence helped heal me and grow me. No idea when I got out of doing it but it somehow happened!

  • I have such a love hate relationship with television! There are so many shows that I have fallen in love with and at times, it’s one of the few things I have the mental capacity to enjoy. Long, busy work days followed by days cleaning our home tend to lead me to being nearly useless outside of mindlessly watching TV. But I loathe those moments. I absolutely hate when I’m not sitting there to truly enjoy a show I really love and instead, am binge watching a show just to fill the time. I’ve been working on this one for a long time and it’s still a work in progress, but I definitely have gotten better! Love this series πŸ™‚

    • Yes!! I totally agree with you – sometimes I just want to mindlessly watch tv after a long day… but when I really think about it, all it seems to do is continue to drain me mentally. And then what’s worse? The minute a commercial comes on, I grab my phone. UGH! This month was like a wake-up call for me πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the note, Ashley!

  • For me it was staying on the computer or my phone late and therefore staying up late for NO reason. Reading is one thing. I can never give that up before I go to bed. But I stopped being a slave to IG and getting lost in the random twitter world after I read and staying up way too late plus you know that light makes it harder to go to sleep anyway!

    • Oh I know it, lady. Right there with you. I finally deleted some of my social media and “news” apps (you know, like People and E!) from my phone last week and it’s been SO nice.

  • I so get this! It’s definitely become a habit for me (since college really) to have some kind of “noise” on at all times, usually TV but also music. And while it’s not inherently a bad thing it does get to the point where I’m not comfortable just being quiet and alone with my thoughts. I’ve been convicted of this lately and I think I need to turn off the “noise” sometimes and just listen for the still, small voice. πŸ™‚

  • We decided when we got married that we wouldn’t have a tv in our bedroom and in fact we don’t even have cable. Some people think we are crazy, but it’s been so good! We don’t watch much tv and what we do we can get on a basic channel or a movie on redbox!

    • We have talked a lot about getting rid of cable… we’ll see πŸ˜‰ We have made a rule – no technology in the bedroom after 9pm and that has helped so much!

  • Oh, TV is a BIG one for me. I grew up with a TV in my room and used it as a night light … It’s a security blanket, really. I always have the TV on regardless if I’m watching it or not.

    We cancelled cable a couple of years ago and we signed up for Netflix, HULU and bought Apple TV … It hasn’t changed much in terms of me being a total TV junkie (I love my shows!), but on a completely unrelated topic, it is significantly less expensive. πŸ™‚

    Chelcey |

    • I was getting into the habit of using it as a night light as well πŸ˜‰ I do think that one of these days we will say goodbye to cable too.

  • oh my gosh. This post is so eye-opening, Emily! I literally had HGTV on for background noise all day yesterday. I have found myself feeling pretty empty and unaccomplished so today I sit in silence trying hard to focus on the more fulfilling. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • I know!! ha! HGTV had been background noise for so many of my days. Thank you for your note πŸ™‚

  • Yesss television can be such a habit! I can’t wait to share mine on Monday πŸ™‚