As we grieve for the Old Normal and settle in to the New Normal

April 3, 2020 – Hello and Happy [some day they call “Friday”]!

This morning I was pondering the recent 2- to 3-week “settling in” process – I bet you’ve been whirled around in a process of confusion, wonder, upset, anger, exploration, and occasional settling. We all have.

Eternally fascinated by the human brain, behavior and personality types, I find comfort in exploring my curiosity about how each individual I encounter is handing the New Normal. I, myself, am aware that I went through, and am still on the looping path of a “settling in” process.

I feel strongly that there are significant parallels here to the 5 stages of grief and loss.

“The 5 stages of grief and loss are:
1. Denial;
2. Anger;
3. Bargaining;
4. Depression;
5. Acceptance.
People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.” – as proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

1. DENIAL – I recall when “things were getting real” and everything was getting canceled…well, it’s just for big events…the group number kept dropping and eventually settled on 10. No more than 10 people together. But we can still go to people’s houses we KNOW, right? Come on! Ok, just a month, or two, max. Did we get dropped into Jumani??

2. ANGER – Looking for someone, something to blame. Easy target: Wuhan, China. I have heard: “How could they be so irresponsible? Look what THEY have done to the world?” Well, we all know this is not just because of Wuhan. We have been overtaking the natural spaces of the earth, sticking our dirty human-ness in the most ecologically complicated and earth-sustaining places for a long time. (another blogpost for another day)

3. BARGAINING – I hear people say, “Well, my life hasn’t really changed that much. I’m an introvert anyway…been waiting my whole life to be told to stay home!” etc Making memes to keep the sense of humor up which is, in all seriousness, critically important. we seek to protect our brains from descending into darkness.

4. DEPRESSION – Needing way more naps. Running out of energy by noon. More time spent just staring off in space. Often as a result of watching too much news…submitting yourself to death by a thousand cuts.

5. ACCEPTANCE – Using the term the New Normal. Casting off the old filters and applying the new one. Seeking to celebrate the undeniable benefits. Truly saying goodbye to things that are no longer and not just waiting around for that to be the norm again. Patience. Being in the NOW.

As in the typical grief process, you may experience some, not necessarily all, of the stages, and not in a typical order. and most importantly, not just one time. It’s a loop-the-loop ride, folks. we can be circling up and back multiple times in the process, sometimes over a week, even in a particularly tumultuous day. And the more information that is released, even if it’s not necessarily accurate, will affect which stage you’ll be in at any given moment.

I scrolled through my blog feed over the past 2 weeks, and I can see the stages, not necessarily anger because I’m not that kind of blogger. (positivity is my jam, but I have felt all of them, trust me). I am overjoyed that I feel about 10% more normal and settled in. That percentage can be perceived as low, but not to me. I’ll take it. Remember the new filter? The New Normal is not to be trifled with. You take what you can get and celebrate your wins. 10% feels awesome.

Do what it takes to get “there” and let “there” be what it needs to be for you at any given time. Read all day? Do it. Bake all day? Awesome. Call and/or video chat friends and loved ones all day? Absolutely.

Partaking in those activities right now are like medicine and will fortify you. Listen and observe what you need right now. You do you and then you’ll look in the proverbial rearview mirror and say, wow! Yay me! I’m kinda sorta getting more into “acceptance”. And that’s good enough, because that is strength.

Cheers! -ryan:)

You can’t deny the wisdom from certain Disney characters

April 2, 2020 — I hope you made it through the most surreal April Fool’s Day on record. If you were a prank-ER, or even a prank-EE, I hope it helped you have a small sense of “normalcy” is this new crazy world.

It’s funny how often we can quote the wisdom of Disney characters…as Dory said, “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!” I love that. Swimming is always forward! and forward is the only way to go, mark my words. We must keep on going. (LEARNING A FEW LESSONS would be nice icing on the cake)

And Elsa, so very wise (and possibly a minimalist)…repeats “let it go, let it go…!” We must let old things fall away to be gone forever. We can and must choose move forward and feel the good vibes. Look back for strength and lessons learned…not for regret and should-haves, blames and shames. We are in a constant state of re-frame. re-adjust, re-center. re-prioritize.

What needs to change? What historically did not work, but now it’s gotta be changed?

The answer lies in (SAFE, obviously) people-to-people interaction and support. SIMPLE yet POWERFUL support. Helping people fight isolation. It’s undeniable how time spent reaching out helps you feel better within. Every single time. The difference between feeling good about something you did (for yourself) and something you did to help support someone else?? Honestly, there’s no comparison. It’s great to do stuff for yourself, but it’s GOLD to do something for someone else. You get two-fold goodness. Two-fold “GOLDNESS”. (I just made that up! It’s a thing!)

Our world is so big and so small at the same time. Does anyone else feel that? Thanks to the media and the internet we can be easily in touch with people far far away.

cup of sugar society

My crusade, if you will, is to connect both far AND near, especially near. When it gets down to it, the “cup of sugar society” is still there. We can’t hand off sugar right now, (and sugar has been demonized anyway ha), but we CAN connect in a neighbor-to-neighbor way. If we were all of a sudden cut off from all the media, who would we turn to?

Our neighbors.

“Won’t you be my neighbor?” Thank you, Fred Rogers. Oh how before your time you were! (Such beauty in his message. But that’s a blogpost for another day)

I hear you already: “But Ryan, I’ve literally never even spoken to my neighbors and they probably think I’m weird..” “But, Ryan, I’m pretty sure my neighbor hates me. I mean, we’ve never even made eye contact much less had a conversation.”

So what? Allllll that garbage is just your Head Trash Monster having a heyday. And all that garbage is thinking from the Old Normal. Elsa called an said, “let that shizz go!” (paraprashasing of course)

Y’all, these times are different. We have been unified by this mysterious, powerful unbiased enemy.

If we can’t unify and connect with our neighbors now, in the face of THIS…I hesitate to say, what a lost opportunity. And detrimental to moving forward through this.

So just start with a wave. Eye contact. Even a smile. Everyone is afraid and unsure. Let’s seek to be afraid and unsure as a community…you never know what treasures lie in there.

Cheers! -ryan:)

Please someone say, “April Fool’s!”

April 1st, 2020 — Hello, April, 2020. I can’t say that this particular March flew by like every single month before it has. Hello, April in the New Normal. And it’s no April Fool’s joke…

March 2020 was without any shadow of a doubt, the MOST life-altering month in my life EVER, including January 2000, when I became a mother for the first time. Wow, there are people becoming mothers for the first time in this New Normal. That is brave, scary and amazing, as if becoming a mother isn’t already all those things and more.

March 2020 was when pretty much EVERYTHING was simply canceled. “the Earth is closed”. It hung up its shingle and said, “none shall pass”. I remember when my husband told me “they’re canceling SXBW” and I thought, “really? wow. that’s really something…better to be safe I guess” Then no March Madness, NBA season, and pretty much EVERYTHING following that. Including school. Uh oh.

March 2020, when everyone went cuckoo for toilet paper, Lysol, and hand sanitizer. A bit different than when I was growing up on the east coast in North Carolina and “a hurricane was a-comin’!” The stores were swiped clean of batteries, water, BREAD, coffee (my mother had her priorities straight of course), ice, and canned goods.

March 2020, when the Spring Break vacation started for kids that hasn’t ended yet. Full transparency: it’s Lord of the Flies at our house. Our 2 teens that are here at home have become vampires, and only come out to feed. (that’s a blogpost for another day!) Sigh.

March 2020, when one of my hardest-working, most dedicated clients with whom I was working 8 hrs a WEEK and we were KILLING it together, making great progress, had to say, “I can’t have you over now?!?” Nope. I can’t go into ANY of my clients’ homes right now and it breaks my heart! There’s magic there that I miss so much.

March 2020, when we found ourselves with more time at home than we’ve EVER had, except for when we had our first newborn, but even then my mother-in-law was at home with us, supporting us in that special New Normal of tired confusion and deep love.

January 2000, new mama

March 2020, when we all found out that we were going to be home-schoolers. Y’all, I was an actual teacher for my entire 20s, and have an actual teaching DEGREE and training and skills yet I don’t even know wtf is going to happen with my kids’ schooling! Yikes.

March 2020, when everything went into Zoom, FaceTime, including all meetings, exercise classes and even hanging out with girlfriends! The other day I was doing a Zoom yoga class and there was my around the corner neighbor, ha! Big, small world.

my awesome March of writing!!!

March 2020, when I uncovered my true, unadulterated LOVE for writing because the freight train hamster wheel that was my life, and all our lives, was put on PAUSE. My morning practice of gratitude journaling became longer. I started reading too! The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert finally made it off the shelf and into my hands, changing me forever. Opening me up to what had been inside, but covered up by manic SCHEDULES. The PAUSE button has given me that gift. I am, in turn, hopefully, sharing that gift with you, too. 🙂 The picture is my March “record” of writing using the 750 words website. A bright spot in this new crazy world.

A treasured gift, and one among many, actually, if we are being honest and awake.

Have you seen ALL THE PEOPLE OUT WALKING??? (Ok, Austin has great weather right now, but still) Have you enjoyed the NOT RAT RACE? The “mom taxis” are not running. We are eating up all the food in the (albeit dirty dirty) house. Everyone’s pets are in Heaven with their people home all the time!

Have you been loving on your friends and family more than ever via phone and over Zoom? I’ve talked to more friends live on the actual phone that I’ve not spoken to in years. Why? Because we are all in this TOGETHER. It’s a unifying force.

Heads up RIGHT here, people. If you’re still reading this, here’s the GOLD:

Have you noticed a re-prioritization of your true values?

If not, drop everything. (you have time now) I mean it. Stop, and get QUIET.

Sit alone, preferably early when no one else is up. Or when everyone is napping or asleep. Or on a walk with no earbuds in. Welcome some silence.

You have beautiful things that have been knocked loose are now swirling around in your head that absolutely need your attention. They are jumping up and down like a 4 year old that needs to be taken to the potty RIGHT NOW. Listen.

Please.

Accept the gifts that are right here, for YOU. Now.

Cheers! -ryan:)

When EVERYTHING breaks…

March 31st — Yesterday was a Cat in the Hat rainy weather day. Perfect for a Monday. It started like this:

Me: “Alexa, what’s the weather today?”
Alexa: “I’m sorry but I can’t connect to the internet right now…”

Yesterday we experienced abject fear.

In the grand scheme of things, where the health and safety of humanity are the ultimate goals, it truly seems petty, I know. I’m fully aware of that saying of “1st world problems”…

But when you realize that everyone’s offices now are in Zoom and on the internet, technology is a must. It’s not a luxury. Face-to-face meetings can only happen in video chat now, and let’s be honest, phone conversations are just not the same sometimes. And if you haven’t tested out keeping up with distant family over FaceTime and Zoom yet, it is so much fun and facilitates that imperative connection…it’s absolutely essential right now.

As my husband said, “To shelter in place with working, reliable internet: no big deal. Easy peasy. But shelter in place with failing, dicey technology?!? Watch the heads start spinning in complete circles. NOT AN OPTION” We have businesses to keep afloat, keeping ourselves and our employees who trust us also afloat and not panicking. You can’t do that without the ability to be on the internet reliably.

Personally, I’m way more old-school than anyone in my family in that I will still watch tv or a movie and not also be on my phone. I sometimes sit and eat without my phone. (Crazy, huh?) I love to sit outside and look at the sky tech-free. I even talk to people on elevators and in line…I know!

But you take away my internet at home during shelter-in-place, and we have a PROBLEM. This extrovert needs her ZOOM time both for business and social. This ADD mind needs focus. Her kids become super irritable, which cuts into everyone’s flow. Basically, everything tends to come a screaming, chaotic halt.

It was a real mess.

We spent literally all day (and some of the previous day Sunday) in some form of troubleshooting, waiting on hold with Spectrum (oh the joys), entertaining workmen, and my favorite: testily asking each other, “OMG what are we gonna do?? Who do we call? And some barking, too: “Get someone over here to fix this!! Go buy another router, go buy SOMETHING from Best Buy to FIX THIS NOW.”

Good times, right? But hey, burn through the hotspots. We gotta work!

If you read my blog from a few days ago about “other peoples’ ZOGs,” here’s some evidence to back that up.

Luckily, we got Michael Bennett of Bennett Technologies to come over and peel us off the ceiling and FIX all our issues. His ZOG. NOT ours. A real godsend!

Let me just say that my whole family is quite tech-savvy and they do all kinds of stuff tech-related that makes my head spin, but when you have the dreaded STRESS GOGGLES on, all bets are off. One literally cannot think straight.

So, after all the drama of the energy-draining day of panic and stress and burning our phones’ hot spots, we are good. We even got our Spectrum plan lowered in the process: go figure! So there was actually a bright spot from having had to endure a 1 hour and 11 minute phone call with 3 different Spectrum representatives (crazy googly-eyed face here).

What’s the lesson? It can be best relayed in a favorite saying here in Texas:

If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute!

PATIENCE, y’all. Persistence, and patience. (breathing helps, too)

I make no false promises of that being easy, but you can’t force it. Calmly, methodically approach a situation and identify the next, best step.

Instead of calling Spectrum back not ONE HOUR after the worker left and all ceased working, we realized we should call that awesome network drop guy we have used in the past and see if he could possibly come fix or at least identify the problem.

Consult someone else’s ZOG. It’s a win every time. (and we supported a local small business!!! Win-win!!)

Not 20 minutes after all the wifi was back up and humming, my amazing sister-in-law popped in with a video call to the Google Home and we had the greatest catch up full of chuckles, stories and shared frustrations with raising teens (especially right now).

No wonder I feel so good today. I’ll take it.

I might even seek out a Dr Suess book in the house and read it, soaking in all those warm fuzzies.

Cheers! -ryan:)

Heads up: vulnerable blog post

March 30, 2020 — It’s a fresh week! I love a fresh week but honestly I’m still pretty off.

Morning is my time. I have energy and bandwidth. Later in the day it’s a real crap shoot. I can’t count on getting anything done really.

I think imposter syndrome is rearing its head. We wear so many hats and there’s an accompanying imposter for each of those: mother, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, yogi, athlete, household manager, community activist, business owner, professional, you name it. If we think we have some sort of perceived role then we line right up to tear ourselves down about how we suck at it!

What is it about control? Does control equal

focus?? The very idea of control right now is laughable.

The concept of failure stops us in our tracks, often before we can even get started. The expectations are large and heavy. Self-invented, yet they feel real.

Today I will avoid over-investing in expectations of any particular outcome, progress or system for myself. It’s back to basics. Nothing more. The moment I think “ok, today I’ll do (something that I’ve decided is important)” and then when I literally can’t and the day is falling away, it’s that mental battle on repeat. It’s over before I can even start.

I am ok, really, but I’m suffocating under layers of global uncertainty and it’s going to take some time to wade through and claw out from under.

Here’s my one and ONLY plan: (and feel free to try it yourself)

I will get energy from looking back over the past 2 weeks and noting with a sense of accomplishment and wonderful gratitude for what I HAVE DONE and what positive things are now a welcome part of my life.

Like having my husband home not traveling. Like going on countless walks and seeing friendly people out everywhere. Like hearing kids outside! Like not feeling time stress. Like blogging my head off and feeling like a WRITER. Like reading books that have been staring at my from my shelf for ages. Like cooking up the produce before it goes bad. Like doing online yoga many days. Like playing fun tennis with fun friends. Like calling distant friends relatives and having warm, engaging conversations. Like sitting out front in the evening and chatting up the neighbors as they venture out for walks.

I just re-read that list and already found myself defaulting to those thoughts of “but here’s what you should be doing…“

BACK OFF, Head Trash Monster. Nobody is buying what you’re selling today.

Life is actually great and I’m doing a great job!

And so are you!!

Cheers! -ryan:)

Your “pause” button has been pressed…

Stress goggles!

March 28, 2020 — Is anyone feeling a bit trepidatious of when we are “let out” and then it’s going to be a wild frenzy of running around again, a RE-reprioritizing of the New Normal but with revived elements from the old? The second school is back in, the classes, the activities, the meetings are all back on in person, you will be forced to make choices or they will be made for you.

The Stress Goggles are waiting…

Right now, when it’s a relatively calm environment, albeit an odd, strange calm with an unfathomable element to it, it’s still calm. You can’t deny it. If you’re NOT feeling it, then you need to take a second and notice if you’re applying the old filters. Laundry and dishes can wait, they will be there.

Take a few deep breaths. What can you gently yet firmly take advantage of right now that will be very difficult after the air horn goes off and they say, “GO!!!” and the lunacy begins anew?

I want you to sit for a moment, think back to 3 or 4 weeks ago, to your life “B.C.” (before coronavirus), and catalog the things that were difficult, challenging, keeping you in that (here come the cliches) “under the gun” “behind the 8-ball” state? Another way to put it is:

If someone could’ve pressed the Pause Button for you, what aspect of your day or life would you have immediately re-evaluated and put a doable system in place for yourself?? What small, yet tactical set of actions would you have created or implemented? Something seemingly minimal, yet so very helpful, that would then become essential, and seamless?

I am a constant seeker of new systems that I hope will work for me. I join and purchase memberships into communities that offer structure and accountability that will raise my success rate a little, but honestly, I’m always hoping for it raising a lot. But that all depends on if it is something I, Ryan, can fully integrate and make it something that easily (read: automatically) runs itself inside my life and brain and actions.

Before the shizz hit the fan and sent “normal life” into orbit and was replaced by this New Normal, I was specifically working on the One Thing I felt would give me tools to solve issues that were bringing me down on a consistent basis, shredding my confidence as a person, mom, so-called organizing expert, all of that:

It’s called last-minute living. Hair on fire moments. Running around in Stress Goggles.

Feeling like I sucked, all the time. Spending energy tearing myself down by giving the Head Trash Monster free reign in my brain.

Last-minute living is characterized by, but not limited to, the following stressors:

poor calendaring
arriving late
missing events completely
overpaying for items or re-buying
arriving unprepared
doubling back for forgotten items
time wasted going in circles looking for things
wasted time that then consequently consume time set for [exercise, self-care]
expired opportunities that would have been fun
wasted gift cards/coupons that would have provided fun experiences or monetary gain
yelling at family members

Just writing all this down ignites all those above-mentioned emotions in me that helped me identify the absolute need to examine what was happening daily and what things I could do to have any hope of improving (or even, SOLVE) some of these issues. I was desperate. Interestingly, my particular flavor of last-minute living was way more prevalent before the ‘shelter-in-place’ order, but it’s still relevant.

As a P, (a creative, right-brained, not type-A, a squirrel), it means that I function most easily when I “figure things out as I go along”. I’m good on my feet, I can pivot, I don’t stress too hard about details. Wellllll, that type of functioning has its negative outcomes, (see the list above!)

People who are more J, (structured, left-brained, type-A, planners), can more easily dedicate their focus to tasks that contribute to a more planned out, prepared execution of their day, a project, whatever it is on deck for them. (that takes more effort for me)

Don’t get me wrong: I love how I am. It has as many benefits as detriments. Everyone is a work in progress, and knowing your strengths and weaknesses is the special sauce. Your super-power. I have the tools in me to create the systemic habits that will raise my success rate and therefore, silence that Head Trash Monster and let me have more and more Yay Me Moments.

CALM is what I seek. When I am calm, I am successful. When I FEEL successful, I am unstoppable. You’ll find me in my Zone of Genius.

Cheers:)

Collect lots of ZOGs in your life

March 27, 2020 — (This post was inspired by some good energy flowing around)

Naturally, we spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves and our faults and our to do lists and the demands on our lives and time. It’s all-encompassing. It’s never-ending. It’s a full-time job, actually. It actually is our job. If we don’t do it, then who will? The need for self-improvement in our lives, our work life, is an ongoing process that began when we were little and continues every single day.

The driving need to achieve, be productive, access our talents and give them to the world gets us out of bed every day and as well it should! The more you work at it, adjusting it as you learn more about yourself, the stronger you become in your resolve that you are on the right path.

The critical piece is to focus on and zero in on what you are absolutely, brilliantly amazing at.

You are capable of countless things.
You are good at lots of things.
You are even excellent at many things, too.

But you are GENIUS at a few special things, things that originate directly from your soul. Those special skills are what make you dance in your skin, where everything flows so easily because it’s your ZONE OF GENIUS. Each and every one of us has one. (Book suggestion: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks)

Ironically, you recognize everyone else’s ZOGs long before your own, when you get caught up in that magic that radiates out from them making your world a better place. Stop and make a list of people you go to for their ZOG or, if you don’t know what I mean, then make a list of those people that you seek out specifically for that “it” factor. If you’re lucky, you will have a long list!

There are people you (gladly) pay to benefit from their ZOGs: your doctor, your massage therapist, your chiropractor, your fitness trainer, your yoga teacher, your business coach, your counselor, your favorite author, your professional organizer, your aesthetician, your graphic designer, your mechanic etc etc. You KNOW when you have these people in your life because you wouldn’t DREAM of missing an appointment with them and you cry when they move away!! You go to them for their magic and bask in their superpowers and are better for having sought out their help.

Equally important are the are people you befriend for their ZOGs: your amazing friend (the bff) who always listens to every single one of your stories and problems like there’s nothing more important in the world to them, your workout buddy (the accountability partner) that draws you to show up and be the best athlete you can be just by being with them, your neighbor (the connector) who literally knows absolutely every best contact for any problem you might have, the family member (the archivist) that remembers literally everyone and everything about your family, including every story, memory and birthday! These people provide something essential yet so easily to your life that you couldn’t imagine how you’d function without them.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have list of teachers, too, that found the Golden Ticket and were able to pair their ZOG with their career. I know I have a few in mind!

Pay full attention to this next point:

Each one of these “go to” people, the paid and the unpaid, let me be crystal clear, never ever makes you feel inadequate about yourself because you know that you are the benefactor of something that they uniquely are so amazing at that you’d never fault them…instead, you THANK THEM! Even your Head Trash Monster is temporarily silent because it too recognizes and respects a Zone of Genius!

I find that gathering others’ ZOGs around me fills in my gaps, which is a relief because it would be exhausting (and impossible) to try and be AMAZING at everything. So, my advice is to not bark up that insurmountable mountain. Instead, accept the gift that comes your way when you are around someone’s ZOG.

And then, shout out it out to others!! Champion and trumpet their gifts out to the world! (ZOGs grow and strengthen with use) If we all connected with each other’s ZOGs…wow!!!! Fireworks!! Maybe even world peace?

PS — Identify YOURS if you haven’t already. You have one! EVERYONE does. And there are people who NEED YOURS, too! (refer to the book suggestion above, or simply google “find my zone of genius“)

Time for some new filters, but not the Snapchat kind (although those are so fun!)

March 26, 2020 — Here’s a lesson I welcomed into my reality yesterday: sift your priorities through a new filter. If you’re hitting walls, feeling…. yes, I’m going to say it, UNPRODUCTIVE, you absolutely need to reassess your priorities. There’s a new filter on our collective lives right now. The virus. It’s a filter though, not a wall. Stay with me.

If you were all of a sudden house-bound back during the “old normal”, you would just carry on and be productive in the old normal way. You’d likely be killing it because you just got all this staycation time and everything is as you have known for ages. You have ALL your energy and focus PLUS time??? What a gift!!

However, now you’re housebound, but almost everything is radically DIFFERENT. Your brain and heart are stuffed with “what if??” and all these unknowns about how long this will be, and so many certain dire ramifications on the economy and social interaction going forward that it’s like the proverbial square peg in a round hole.

But it’s just a different filter. Life carries on. Of course it does.

So, I encourage you to PICK UP a new peg and search for its right hole. You will likely have to pick up several pegs and try several holes. And some days the peg will work and other days not so much. All of a sudden I’m reminded of those plastic shape-sorter toys for toddlers that encourage them to put different shapes into their matching holes, teaching them mental and physical dexterity…star, square, circle, oval, triangle. After getting them all in, you then open the toy releasing the shapes, and START ALL OVER. Learning and practicing, on repeat.

That’s what it’s going to take in this period of uncertainty, change and reprioritization.

I’m actually looking forward to that time when we are allowed back into society and then our lives “return to normal” not just for the reasons that are obvious, but because I’m going to have re-adjusted my priorities. I will have seen and felt what it’s like to have my family at home all around me, being together with all its ups and downs, felt that “slower” life of not driving everywhere all the time, enjoyed a not psychotically over-scheduled day, done yoga or taken walks every single day…and I’ll realize:

OHHHHHHHH. This is how it’s meant to be. More like when the babies were little little. Parks, sprinklers in the yard, sidewalk chalk, puzzles, reading, cooking, extended bath time, tending to the house and each other. Being home a lot more.

There was a certain deep sweetness to that slower pace of life. Even though it’s crazy and scary right now with the virus threat, I still feel some of that sweetness now. I hear more kids outside and see lots more people on walks, riding, walking dogs. I hear fewer cars whooshing down the street. We are cooking and talking. (Not so much CLEANING…ha!) Truly, my house is filthy, but I don’t actually care that much right now. Not a priority.

It’s nice in this surreal yet real way.

I encourage you to cast off old filters and seek to try on these new ones, and note how nicely that square peg fits into its right hole.

Cheers to you on your daily journey. And always tell yourself, “yay me!” because you rock!

Are you getting distracted by “OPGs”? I sure am…

From my daily affirmation book today!

March 25, 2020 — Hello, Wednesday that feels like any other day…are your days blurring together, too?

Caveat: I am a creative. If you are super Type-A, this blogpost may turn you off! I will not be offended if you click away right now and go enjoy something else with your time. Now let’s get down to it…

Words that describe how I’ve been feeling during this New Normal:

rudderless
unsure
expansive
creative
relaxed
deflated
introspective
grateful
connected
thoughtful
unhurried
panicked
overwhelmed
concerned
overindulging
stripped down to the basics

We are in a period of constant re-adjustment: of our schedules, our priorities, our businesses, our basic day-to-day functioning. And there is literally no operations manual by which to be guided. Even if there was, it would change daily, if not hourly. Until 3 weeks ago, we were living in oblivion as to how RADICALLY our lives would be changed. No one saw this shizzshow coming.

Personally, in the Old Normal, I was focusing hard on honing my daily schedule and seeking to be on time and prepared and feeling pretty good about my strides there. Now, that feels unimportant. And frankly almost silly! How quickly things changed.

If you’re online at all, and likely you are, it’s not long before you’re getting lots of advice: (and I fully admit to being one of the advice-givers!)

keep to a schedule
exercise and eat well
get dressed (wear a bra LOL)
don’t watch too much news
find connection
make a meal plan
get lots of sleep
brush and floss your teeth
use this time for something important
meditate

At this point, I’ll refer back to my list above of the emotions I’m feeling during this period of “wtf happened to the world”… it runs the gamut.

I wonder if you’re feeling oppressed by OPGs? “Other People’s Goals”

You gotta do you right now. Everyone is at different mind-places multiple times a day. Until you’re ready to “keep to a schedule” or “find connection”, you’re going to drill yourself down thinking, “keep to a schedule? but I just can’t right now!” Give me a few hours. “Find connection? Okay.” Then you spend 5 hours calling people. (I’d say time WELL spent actually, but I bet you’ll beat yourself up for “wasting time” am I right?)

It’s not about planning out whole days and weeks (and a month??? what even is that??? seems like a year). It’s about HOURS right now. I know I am cycling through a multitude of energy highs and lows each day. I am wandering through my dirty dirty house and thinking “someone should vacuum! I should have taught my kids to vacuum when they notice (LOL) the floor is this dirty.” (Oh the Head Trash Monster is having a field day right now with everyone’s pysches…tabling that discussion for another blogpost)

But I don’t want to vaccuum. I really don’t. I will ride the energy of what is working for me. (I did actually get the vacuum out and it’s sitting in the middle of the floor…progress)

True story: I was so rudderless yesterday afternoon that I went upstairs, downstairs, out to the garage, the front yard, the back yard, and THEN, finally, I grabbed my computer, sat in the living room and went to town deleting pointless files off my desktop, and loaded and tidied my Google Drive instead! What an unexpected win. (and when I opened my laptop this morning it was so gloriously tidy)

But that was NOT on my “to do list”. Do you get what I’m saying?

MY goals are governed by my ENERGY right now. And that’s totally okay. It’s like physical therapy after a car accident. You can’t run until you re-train your legs to even walk steadily.

Give yourself grace, which means do what feels right for now. No judgment. No thinking about OPGs. Just yours. Hey, if you take a few quiet moments to be introspective, you will find the things that ARE working well for you right now. And you’d better say “yay me”! Again and again.

I’m sitting down right now to revamp my 90-day goals. Or I might not:)

Thanks for reading this as a gift of your precious time to me. Cheers! Comments welcome!

A thank you to someone I’ll never be able to directly thank (a tale of perspective)


Old Hag or Fair Maiden?

March 24, 2020 — I woke up really “off” this morning, partially because I had some really weird anxious dreams which I won’t upset you with, but also with some random leg pains. So, my normal morning joy was a bit compromised as I sat down with my gratitude journal and a lovely cup of coffee in my comfy chair.

Luckily, with all this “new” time we currently have on our hands, I am less concerned with judging my energy or mood, because the day ahead is simple: staying at home instead of rat-racing around doing a million unimportant things. What a change in perspective from a short 2 weeks ago.

I want to share another radical alteration of perspective I had a few short months ago.

This past January as I started the new decade, I turned the big FIVE-OH. Yep. No one loves a big birthday like that, let’s be honest, but I wasn’t overly dreading it. But I wasn’t jumping up and down excited about it either. When I think back to when I turned 30 and 40, I sought to honor each decade beginning my life’s new phases. (and truth be told, I usually mentally frown upon others who vocalize such dread about 30 and 40-don’t you? oh those foolish babes!)

But, approaching 50, I definitely experienced more of those “50 is the true start of OLD” thoughts. Thanks to greeting cards of black balloons, being almost 11 months older than my hubby, and ribbing from BOTH my big AND little brothers (it’s their job, I get it!), it was easy to go there and think, O.L.D.

So, I went to yoga class on the Monday before my actual birthday, and the teacher went around the room to check in with each of us. When he got to me I said, “Wellllllll, this time next week I’ll be (drama here)…50” Obviously I was expecting (and clearly inviting) some reactions from fellow attendees in the tone of “welcome to the old club, you poor thing” type stuff, but what I heard instead rocked me in a such beautiful way:

Someone sighed out, “Ohhhhh…fifty….”

Like it was 21, or 25 or 29 or something super YOUNG.

Right then, in that micro-moment, I cast off that “50 is the start of being old” shizz and donned the “50 is freaking YOUNG!!! Let’s do this!!!” True story.

I will never know who gave me that amazing gift of perspective change. I would like to thank her with a huge hug (assuming we will be able to hug strangers ever again!) because what a GIFT.

Whenever I grumble, ache, or look at what I still want to accomplish in my life and think, “if only I’d gotten started 10 years ago on…[this business, this project, this relationship with myself] I would be able to do so much more…” I channel that mysterious, generous voice in the yoga studio:

“Ohhhhh…fifty…..”

Let’s do this staycation thing. The earth, the universe, whatever you believe, is TELLING YOU SOMETHING.

Listen. Hear. Act.

Don’t overthink it. Just invite the space to move the needle forward on something you couldn’t possibly imagine doing in between mom-taxi, demanding work travel, caring for everyone but yourself, over-volunteering, whatever!

I bet you signed up for at least one program to do SOMETHING fun, important, whimsical, introspective or collaborative but then lost touch with it. I have a LONG list of those too.

Pick one! Log in. Just play and explore. I’d love to hear about it if you want to share! I’m here to cheer us on:)