The Power of Accomplishment
December 9th, 2019
Accomplishments are relative, powerful and more meaningful than ever. I cannot set up unrealistic or stressful expectations for myself, whether self-imposed or from others — and thus, take on only tasks that depend upon and are controlled by me, though don’t have to solely be for me, wherein I can complete them at my own pace, according to my fluctuating situation, in a safe environment without pressure, and see them idea or activity through. The seemingly simple sense of completion is monumental, no matter from where it stems.
Silly as it may sound, preparing a superfood-packed smoothie for myself each morning, once I’ve downed my routine myriad of pills, provides me with a modest sense of hard sought after accomplishment. It doesn’t always taste even decent or look remotely appetizing, but completing the task from start to finish is a major win — from getting the almond milk from the fridge, frozen fruits and veggies from the freezer, superfoods and seeds from the drawer and oils from the cupboard to combining all in the Vitamix, blending thoroughly, pouring it into a bowl, topping with nut butter and hemp for more plant protein, washing the blender, setting it to dry, and finally sitting down to breakfast with one of my trusty small spoons.
That all may seem insignificant — a process I long took for granted and did without thought, effort or much attention at all — but throughout my recovery, I've had to work hard to reach this point where I am even able to reliably make a smoothie for myself, and it can still prove to be too much on occasion. This has now become a treasured morning ritual, something I look forward to when falling asleep, not only because of the nourishment it will provide to my body, but also for the nourishment for my mind. Smoothie preparation actually makes multiple of the daily lists my psychiatrist has asked me to keep: gratitude, achievements / accomplishments and enjoyment / fun — and perhaps value-based activity as well, because I see it as a way to support our local organic farmers, small natural foods companies, plant-based living and, of course, my own health.
Like preparing a smoothie, making a mug of tea gives me great satisfaction: boiling the water, selecting the tea bag, letting it steep, sipping, washing the glass and composing the used tea sachet. I have also realized that searching for, selecting and ordering a package online (no matter what it is or from where) and then seeing it arrive at the door a few days later provides a similar sensation of achievement and completion (though this in no way means I’m purchasing frivolously or without my typical sustainability, fair trade and low-waste ethics). What a concept: I set out to do something — and it worked! Taking a shower is another go-to activity where I feel a sense of success, sometimes needing to break up my days with one to feel like I have accomplished something. Publishing a post online turns pieces of my all-day writings and constant processings into finite finished journal entries of sorts, reflecting upon, refining and realizing the value in my words, rather than run-on rambles. I intermittently reply to email, edit short paragraphs for my mom, empty a box, reorganize a shelf — tasks I am confident that I can finish without too much time, effort, unknowns, or the involvement of others, especially knowing my precarious health could flip without warning.
When I feel like I am accomplishing nothing, I still make and look at my lists — and it undoubtedly helps. Some days, it is simple, basic, fundamental: I got out of bed, I breathed, I brushed my hair. And that is a miracle. Others have a bit more excitement: hearing back favorably from my email to the airline where I had cancel yet another scheduled flight, finishing an audiobook so I can begin another title from the cue, making cranberry-applesauce with apples from a local organic orchard and lots of cinnamon, trying a new medical treatment that shows promise on any level. Whatever it is, I closed the loop, I saw it through, I succeeded somehow in body or mind. Unconcerned with comparison or allotting value, I am learning that my accomplishments of any kind, in any size, from any angle, on any topic, at any moment are accomplishments all the same — worthy of acknowledgment, note and pride.
PS Don’t get too excited about the sight of solid-ish coconut shreds atop my smoothie bowl — or think it means I’m accepting deliveries of or recipes for anything but soups, smoothies and mashes! This woman is still not able to chew, my friends. All got blended up further before I carefully, slowly and happily spooned the smoothie into my mouth — a tiny taste of sweet accomplishment.