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Macy Robison

October 02, 2012

After avidly watching "So You Think You Can Dance" for the past 9 seasons from the comfort of my couch, I decided it was about time to get myself moving. I used to be a dancer. (Well, if I'm being honest, I've always been more of a "singer who moves reasonably well") And being further inspired by a story I'd heard about a mom who taught herself to tap dance by watching YouTube videos, I looked around on YouTube, and I found a Zumba routine to try. How hard could it be?

Hard. REALLY hard.

You see, in my imagination, I'm a 19-year-old taking dance classes every day at BYU. I watched the Zumba routine before trying it and thought I would be rocking that routine the first time through.
In reality, I'm a 38-year-old mom of two who hasn't danced in years and really needs to lose the rest of the baby weight. (From the first baby!) And I definitely did NOT rock it. And in the midst of my muscles screaming at me, my five-year-old said, "Mom, are you trying to do that dance on the TV? It doesn't look the same..."

That's the trouble with things like Zumba. (And getting enough sleep, and eating apples instead of cookies, and running, and reading your scriptures every single day…) In your head, you think it's going to be easy, but it's not. It’s hard. You know you need to do it. You want to do it. You know it will be easier if you keep doing it for enough days that it becomes a habit. But it's just SO HARD at first.

As a self-proclaimed, self-help book junkie (I’m very good at learning all the things I should be doing to make myself better – just not as good at doing them), I recently read a book called “The Happiness Project.” Over the course of a year, the author tried to determine which suggestions from happiness experts (De-clutter your closet! Exercise daily!) would make her happy. The book was fascinating and I had some great takeaways, but the most intriguing idea was that instead of taking advice from the happiness “experts” as the final authority - she created resolutions to DO those things for a period of time and see what worked for her.

I’d heard that idea before. One of my favorite Seminary mastery scriptures was John 7:17 – you’ve got to take action to know if a doctrine of the gospel is true. You have to DO the doctrine. And while testing happiness ideas isn’t the same thing as gaining a testimony of fasting, the principle is the same – if you want to KNOW something, you need to DO something.

I thought about starting a happiness project of my own, but then I had a different idea: Why not a “seek the good project?” I could come up with a specific resolution I could keep for two weeks – something designed to help me seek the good in my life – and at the end of the two weeks, I can return here and report what I learned and then try something new.

And I knew just where to start.

After writing about it last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about my journal and its neglected pages. Then, I remembered a General Conference talk from Elder Eyring about the journal he keeps for his family. He tells of how he began keeping this journal after witnessing his father-in-law providing service for their family. Elder Eyring received a prompting to write about this act of service in his journal. As he did, he understood that he was “supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family.”

Elder Eyring then shared the process he went through as he started journaling each day:

I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.”

I’ve kept a gratitude journal before (back when Oprah told me that was what I should do), but this type of journaling seemed different. This type of journaling would be a structured way for me to seek out, recognize and record the ways the Lord blesses my family and I daily. A way to seek the good and write it down so I’ll remember. The perfect start for my….

I’d love for you to join in with me. You can keep a “seek the good” journal with me, or choose another project to help you seek the good. Share your plans below to inspire others, and check back here next week so we can share what we are learning.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, those Zumba routines won’t dance themselves.

Macy Robison is a performer, photographer, and mom. She lives with her husband and two kids in Austin, Texas. When she isn’t boogying down with her Zumba video game, she aspires to be found running the streets of Austin, training for the half marathon her brother is making her run in January or on her elliptical watching reruns of “Downton Abbey.” She also hopes to play tennis again someday.