Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ness is Everything

Shortly before Tom and I met, I watched You, Me and Dupree. It's a cute movie, but not one I'd go over the top in my praise for, and certainly not one that I'm recommending that everyone watch.

However, the movie held a key theme that I continuously go back to when I'm having a rough time. I won't describe the entire plot, but basically one of the characters (Carl) is in a slump. He can't really find his mojo, his relationships are struggling, and he just isn't in the groove. Owen Wilson's character tells him that he has lost his "-Ness", and that he needs to reconnect with his Carl-ness to improve things with his job, his wife, his life.

I love the idea of giving a name to your inner self, your essence, that spark that makes you you. And so often since then I have reminded myself to reconnect with my ness.

When Tom and I met, I was entering my last semester of grad school. I was stressed about my thesis, about finding a job after graduation, about deciding what to do with my life. I was bogged down in my small and personal struggles, and had most definitely lost my Dana-ness.

On one chilly day, just a month or so after we met, we hiked Kennesaw Mountain together. Near the top, we sat on a little rock overlooking the entire valley. We talked about ourselves and our families, and it was one of our first conversations that really went beyond the initial "getting to know you" phase of the relationship. In the midst of what must have been a woe-is-me speech about my thesis and grad school angst, Tom said simply that I just needed to find my -ness.

The suggestion made me stop short, made me forget my troubles, made me smile.

Let's be honest - You, Me and Dupree isn't really one of those movies that will go down in history as a "must-watch". It certainly isn't a quotable movie that carved itself a niche in US pop culture. In fact, you probably haven't thought much of the movie since it came out. To write this post, I actually had to search google and wikipedia to remember which movie "-ness" even came from.

So when Tom - the Tom I didn't even know yet - told me I needed to find my -ness, when he said exactly  the right thing that made me stop short and redirect my thoughts, I knew. I knew this guy might just be a keeper. Suddenly our conversation was transformed from negative to positive. Rather than talking about the negatives in our life, we each began to talk about our own -ness. He learned about my Dana-ness, and I learned about his Tom-ness.

Every time we walk past that spot, we remember that time almost three years (three years!!) ago. We always mention it. "Here is where we talked about our ness." "Remember that day...."

Somehow a really stellar 2009 and 2010 turned into a really shitty 2011. One for the record books. I haven't been myself, and I have felt lost, confused, broken, and sad. I have lost my ness. Starting today, right now, I am going to find it and bring it back. Rather than focusing on external circumstances - both the good and the bad - I am going to focus on my internal Dana.

Because after all, the things I want are not things at all. The things I want are already here - love, peace, security, happiness. I just have to remove the clutter and bring them to the surface.

This December, this month of purchasing and buying and making haste and rushing, I am going to slow down, take a deep breath, and live my life. Rather than worry about tomorrow, I am going to love the very moment. This moment. This one right here.

Wishing you the very best day, and hoping that your own -ness is quite intact and is guiding you on your path.


  1. Hey Dana-
    I am working on my -ness as well. I am forcing myself to enjoy the quietness of the season, be still and live in the moment. I am taking the time to reflect and center myself this month. And just like you...where I love THAT video...I am fine with my not so super model body and I am trying to embrace it, flaws and all. I love you and I know 2012 is going to be a much better year. Nikki

  2. Thanks so much for your comment, Nikki. It's easy to get caught up in this busy season, isn't it? Slowing down feels just right for December...

    I hope you and Matt are still planning on coming to Key West next month - I'd love to see you!

    Love you too, and here's to a very ness-y 2012!


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