2016 . . . it's been a doozy!
Seriously - in addition to all the general craziness in the world, I'd say this year has been one of the biggest collective AFGO's* in my life. Yes I know that learning and growing are good things (I'm a Life Coach Yo!), and it doesn't always feel good while it's happening (I'm also human). Phew! (*AFGO = Another Freaking Growth Opportunity.)
My year started out with a bang in January - when I got let go from my job as a software trainer. Hindsight being 20/20 and all - it was a total gift. But the one thing which flipped me out the most had to do with money. In the first few weeks after I got the news I would find myeslf walking down the stairs and suddenly be unable to move - literally paralyzed at the thought of having to go to the grocery store to buy food for two teenage boys. How was I going to Manage??
Thankfully I got unemployment benefits, and a few part-time work gigs that allowed me to function mostly normally by just making some adjustments to my budget. And I've actually been really excited about having multiple streams of income and making a living from work that I am choosing. (As opposed to the golden-handcuffs of work that paid well but wasn't a good fit for my heart.) But as sexy as it sounds, it hasn't been without it's own set of issues - yes it's my stress as opposed to someone elses (yay), but not having a consistent cash flow sometimes makes things complicated (boo).
Also, in the last few months I've noticed a bigger than normal struggle with my time. I've always been a planner and a bit of a control freak - but this recent need to have more than regular advance notice on scheduling (and changes in scheduling), inability to see further than a few hours from where I am right now, and zero capacity to be remotely spontaneous? It's been downright curious. Combined with my over-thinking brain and snails-pace decision making superpowers? It's also been wildly annoying.
** I'd like to take this opportunity to say that my boyfriend has been a Saint lately. That is all. **
After several rounds of "What the heck is wrong with me and why can't I be more flexible?", I got some clarity around it all realized the following:
For those of you with children, you might remember that when they are little there are pretty much two things you may battle with them over: Food and Potty Training. Why? Because those are the only two things they have control over in their lives . . . What goes in and What comes out!
And just like a two year old, with my life feeling so crazy and uncertain - I have had a death grip on my time . . . because it feels like it's the only thing I have any control over! Oh my goodness - what a relief to have that awareness. I haven't quite sorted out how to release control and surrender to what is and what will be - but I like to say that self-awareness is the first step to recovery, so I'm on the right path.
Something tells me I'm not alone in this need for control. Do you feel overwhelmed in parts of your life? Are there things you are hanging onto with white-knuckles that perhaps you could release? I'd love to hear about them - send me a note or leave a comment . . . we are in this together!
Wishing you the happiest of holidays - I hope you'll continue to stop by in the New Year!
Love and Light,
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All Judgement is Self-Judgement.
This simple but powerful statement is one of the biggest "ah-ha!" moment's I've had on my personal-growth journey - and it is so true! I posted this in my Instagram feed this week, along with the following: "Most of the time when we are judging others, it is because we recognize something in them that we don't like about ourselves. So . . . instead of projecting that outward, take a look inside."
I'd say in my life, the times that I've felt most judged have been 99% related to my parenting style. In all fairness, the way I've parented my boys post-divorce could probably be called unconventional, but I don't think it's warranted the type of wrath I've felt from other moms.
Here's the deal: I was a REALLY good kid. Good as in I didn't drink until college and I've never done drugs. (OK - I can count on one hand how many times I've smoked pot . . . it is definitely not my thing.) That being said I've always known that I was the exception and not the rule, and fully expected my boys to do way more than I did. I also had this huge fear that they were going to lie to me, so from a relatively early age I impressed upon them the importance of telling the truth - and made sure they knew they wouldn't get in trouble for being honest.
And that's where things got a little dice-y, since as it turns out I'm really bad at imposing discipline and consequences - since I had always left that up to their Dad. Whoopsy. (I will also add that carrying around a boatload of guilt about all kinds of things, is not heplful in these situations. But I digress . . .)
So how did this all show up? The short version is that I accidentally over-shared with some other mom's once about what I knew my kids were up to (because it involved a funny story), and the judgement that came as a result of that was pretty wild. I felt hurt and angry as one does when the judgement is overflowing - especially since I knew their kids were doing naughty things too - they just didn't know because well . . . they had different "house rules" if you will! The bottom line was that I would never judge them for how they parent their kids, and I just wanted the same treatment. It's complicated I know - but I just felt like there had to be a better way.
** To be clear - I do not condone underage drinking or other substance use in any way. When it came up with my kids it was always a starting point of really good conversations about why it isn't a good idea, what it does to your developing brain, addiction, etc. **
How does All Judgement is Self-Judgement pertain to my story? After some time, I did try and put myself in their shoes to see how maybe there was something about my way that was reflective of something they didn't like in themselves? I will add that the people involved were by their own admission big party-ers in high-school (unlike me) . . . perhaps that had something to do with it? Who knows. What I do know is that without so much judgment - the world would be a happier and better place.
The holidays can be a stressful time - so before you snap at the lady at the post-office, judge your co-worker's holiday dress or think painful thoughts about your family member who always has a little too much to drink . . . take a look inward and get curious about where it's all coming from.
Love and Light,
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** I've been thinking about community this week as we are in the midst of the holidays which can be a difficult and lonely time for some people . . . so I thought I'd share a piece I wrote a while back about Community, Baseball and Neighborhood Potlucks. **
Ten years ago, in the midst of a deep depression and failing marriage, I told myself this story: In order for a marriage (with kids) to succeed, you need to have family around to help raise them, allow for affordable date nights and keep you generally sane. To some extent I think it’s true . . . having family nearby when raising small children is a blessing. Unfortunately we didn’t have that luxury as we lived in Seattle and our closest family was in Eugene, Oregon (where I was born and raised), and Hawaii. What’s curious about this story though is that when I was growing up, we didn’t have family close by and my parents are still happily married. Hmmmm.
My Dad (a Biology Professor at the University of Oregon) is an only child, and when I was young his nearest family was his Dad and Stepmother, who lived in Florida. My Mom (a Pharmacist who also holds a PhD in Biology) is one of seven (7!) kids, and had embarked on an adventure at 27 that brought her from Paris, France all the way to Oregon, then meeting and marrying my Dad shortly thereafter. Soooo Yeah . . . no immediate family in the vicinity.
What was cool about my parents though, was that they created something even better for themselves . . . through community. Whether it was Church (Catholic for my Mom, Unitarian for my Dad), Folk Dancing, or my Dad’s co-workers – all of whom were brilliant, quirky, creative scientists – these people became our community, our village, our Family.
It was through the science crowd (many of whom lived in our neighborhood) that somehow a monthly neighborhood potluck was born. Over time it grew to not only include those fun mycologists and biologists, but other neighbors as well. Everyone took turns hosting and it was a great mix of people, conversation and food. Don’t get me wrong, there was always at least one truly odd dish – I believe our family started using the phrase “Culinary Nadir” around this time. But mostly it was a great spread, and in a pinch we could always depend on my Mom’s soup + French bread, or finger food (“Walk-Aways” were a favorite potluck contribution) to fill us up. I’m sure as a teenager there were times when I was resistant to the potluck, but as an adult I have such fond memories of those gatherings . . . it was genius.
Getting back to that struggle a decade ago . . . I did find my family/community eventually (though it didn’t save the marriage) in the most curious of places – at the baseball field. Given the number of hours I spent there along with the good fortune of having kids with lovely parents on our team, it was inevitable. Since then I’ve been far more aware of the importance of community, and its’ healing abilities to prevent loneliness and depression. I’ve found “my people” at the gym, knitting on Monday nights and through my life-coach training program. Not to mention the greater-creative-network of people I’ve met at art-retreats over the last five years . . . they span the globe! While there is nothing wrong with virtual community, I do have to remind myself periodically that there is no substitute for meeting with friends in person, catching up eye-to-eye, over some good food. Bring back the monthly potluck, I say! It would make the world a happier place.
Do you have a good sense of community? Who are your "people"? Are you looking to create more connections in your life? Drop me a quick note and we can schedule a free 1/2 hour call to discuss some ideas on how to make that happen!
Love and Light,
1/4 cup warm water
1/8 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp yeast.
Mix to dissolve yeast
2 cups of flour (1 whole wheat, 1 white)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs slightly beaten
Combine and let rise 30 minutes.
Roll out dough in a 9 x 11 pan, spread filling on top, roll again to enclose filling.
Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes.
Dessert filling: 8 ounces cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar creamed together.
Add grated orange peel, poppy seeds or ground walnuts, or sesame seeds.
Savory filling: 2 onions sautéed in butter, Swiss cheese, Parmesan, parsley, basil, paprika, sour cream, salt and pepper.
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Over the last couple weeks I've talked about Change and Risk in this space - and today I'm bringing it full circle to show you how they actually work hand-in-hand!
In 2009 I was getting divorced, working in a toxic job environment, and feeling completely stuck in my life. In the middle of all that I decided it would be a great idea to fly across the country - by myself! - to go to an art retreat in New Hampshire. What the HECK? Seriously between the time I registered in January and actually got there in September, I cannot tell you how many times I vacillated between thinking I was supremely enlightened and completely insane!
Enlightenment and Insanity aside, that weekend changed my life. And while I kind of knew it in the moment - it wasn't until months (maybe years?) later that I was able to see that it CHANGED. MY. LIFE. Like in a really major way. And it was at that point that I realized that trying something new (in this case taking a painting class) actually helped me navigate all the change that was going on in my life. It gave me the opportunity to take a risk, realize that it wouldn't kill me, which in turn assisted me in dealing with the bigger events going on in my life. Total Win. All of this led me to believe that trying new things (taking risks!) when we are in periods of big transition - can make everything work out better!
I believe this so much that I actually created a video about it earlier this year - featuring my Dad! Take a peek . . .
Here's something to chew on: The difference between water that isn't boiling (210°), and water that is (212°) is only TWO DEGREES. Small Change - Big Impact! (Click to Tweet!) If you're in a rut - you don't have to turn your life upside down in order to take a new direction . . . just a small shift can create a long lasting positive effect.
So what new thing will you try this week? A different route to get to work? New Lipstick? A change in your exercise routine? Remember it doesn't have to be something big! Once you conquer those small changes you'll realize you can go bigger next time - and even turtle steps create new pathways in our brain . . . it's all good. I'd love to hear how you're implementing small steps to greater change this week - send me a note or leave a comment!
Love and Light,
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Meet me here on Saturdays for some weekly vibes - honoring the week that has past, and clearing the way for what's new. Gather your journal and favorite pen, along with a hot cup of coffee/tea/chai - and settle in for 30 minutes dedicated to YOU.
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