They say you can’t improve your progress unless you track or measure it.
We measure everything: the number of likes or retweets, weight loss, daily steps, the bikes down Market Street, but do we measure our emotional improvement? No. Why not? Well, I decided to track my emotional growth on the kitchen wall – like when I was a kid charting my height – and you know what? I can really see the improvements!… and the backslides.
My journey of emotional growth started in my early 30s, when I moved to San Francisco. It was a wonderland of local farm to table foods, tattoos, and fixie bicycles. Everyone was so vegan and organic and free of gluten’s tyranny. They were aware and doing things like acupuncture, yoga, and reiki. I came to realize that I had the self-awareness of a zygote. My first mark on the kitchen wall was literally inches from the floor. I made huge strides during the first year, though, thanks to intensive twice-weekly therapy sessions, meditation, loads of daylong silent retreats (which never work because I like to talk), yoga and, of course Pema Chodron. I had what many would consider a break-through within the first six months and a huge emotional growth spurt equivalent to three inches of height. (What happens next?)