Life affirming or life limiting?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2021 is here! We hope for a better year, a year with fewer deaths from a horrible virus, a year where we can hopefully come together and actually physically be together more, a year where we have compassion and continue to do our best to support each other.

Thinking that we are just entering this new year, I want to invite you to consider each decision you make, each choice, each act- basically everything you do- with one question: is it life affirming or life limiting?

Things are not always so clear, but try to use them as a base. This is not an easy task. Believe me, I am trying to do it and there are moments that my emotions get the best of me and I can’t think rationally about whether something is life affirming or life limiting. But heck, I’m human too. Right? This is not a perfect science.

Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.

  1. Someone flips you off. You feel like flipping them off too and yelling at them. Ask yourself: is that life affirming or life limiting. The answer would be life limiting. I am not saying become a human doormat, but I am saying, choose where you put your energy. You may not need to respond, for your own emotional health. It doesn’t feel good to be flipped off, but, in a way, it also doesn’t feel good to flip someone else off (well, not usually- LOL). Think moral injury- if you didn’t read that post from a while ago or don’t remember what a moral injury is, if you’d like, you can go back to it here: https://writeyourbutterfly.com/2020/06/09/moral-injury-and-grief
  2. It can also be something simple: Hmm, should I go on a walk in the park or lay in bed and watch my phone? Ask yourself the question: which is life affirming or life limiting for me right now? It depends on the moment, it might be life affirming to go walk in the park, but that may depend on your mood, time of day, weather, etc. Sometimes it might be more life affirming to lay in bed looking at your phone. It’s all about perspective and choice.
  3. If your neighbor who is kind of rude to you most of the time asks you to take care of her sick dog while she is out of town for the weekend but you had plans to go camping, ask yourself is doing this for your neighbor life affirming or life limiting. If you say “life limiting,” maybe you say no. Set the boundary, you can’t.

If we didn’t already know it, we have certainly seen this year that life is short. So, if there is something that is life limiting, don’t do it. That includes your behavior and it includes setting limits. Choosing life affirming actions includes making choices that benefit you but also ones that benefit the whole (all of us).

If you ask that question thinking of our planet, you might ask. Is it life-limiting or life affirming to recycle? Recycling benefits the whole. It is life affirming. Is it life limiting or life affirming to limit water usage? We all need water, conserving it is good for the whole- for all of us. That is life affirming.

Look to see when you can choose to act in life-affirming ways.

WRITE: I invite you to write about three things in your past week that are life affirming and one that was life-limiting .

Write why you classify them in this way? What makes you feel they are life-affirming or life limiting? How did/does each one make you feel?

Bonus write: If you wish to go deeper, write about a time when it was hard to choose a life-affirming action over one you might consider life-limiting. Why was it hard? What happened? How did you feel then? Was there any resolve?

As we continue into 2021, try to look at how you can choose life-affirming ways of being in the world, for your own emotional mental health and for the good of the whole.

Thank you for writing with us today. If you would like to write with us again in the future, please follow the blog.

Take care. Be well. Happy New Year.

Best,

Liza

Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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