So far in our 7 experiment (http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2011/12/26/an-experimental-mutiny-against-excess), we’re about 3/4 for 2. Or something like that. Month one, January, we were supposed to give away 7 things per person in our family. We got about 2/3 of the way there before we ran out of time. But we continue, so at least that’s not a fail. I’d say we got a B for January.

February–eating only 7 foods. D. For me anyway. Maybe a D+ for grace. I tried, really. And the funny thing was, my errors were not so much ones of willpower as simple forgetfulness. I’d be making a recipe, and it said to toss in carrots and mushrooms, so, I did. Or I’d see a plate of brownies at church, and I’d just put one in my mouth. Sometime around the second chew I’d realize. I’m not supposed to be eating this. And we all know it’s kind of rude to spit out brownie mid-chew in the middle of church. Especially if said brownie maker is nearby.

When our book group read The Happiness Project last year, the author had a chapter on Mindfulness and its link to happiness. I knew before reading it that would be the problem chapter for me. I am so not mindful. If I ever had to identify for police what my child was wearing this morning, I couldn’t even verify that she was wearing anything at all, let alone color and style. I don’t pay attention. This is a fatal flaw for a writer and, I am guessing, not too great as a human being.

Thus, the barely passing grade in eating the right foods. What does it teach me? That, yes, paying attention matters. Being present in the moment matters. Telling my daughter she looks beautiful in the morning because I noticed matters. Looking carefully at that food I’m about to eat, or that person I’m about to forget the name of, or that sentence I’m about to let slip that I shouldn’t matters.

I will always struggle with this. It’s not in my makeup to look outward and notice things. But I’ll keep trying.

Now March. That’s going to be an A. Wearing only 7 articles of clothing. All month. And no, since I know it’s your first question, underwear do not count. You know why I know I can do this? Because I’m already realizing the great month it’s going to be for laundry. That, I noticed right away.

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