Recipe to Ease Overwhelm

Recipe to Ease Overwhelm 20150805

 

Sometimes, in spite of all of the self care practice you can muster, your day just goes off the rails.

Maybe it’s because a bunny chewed through the fuel line on your car.

Maybe it’s because you didn’t get enough sleep.

Maybe it’s because you took a few days off for vacation or because you’ve been ill.

Maybe it’s because you mixed up the dates on a deadline.

Maybe it’s because someone else mixed up their dates and suddenly hands you a deadline.

Maybe it’s because life can just get life-y and throw a whole lot at you all at once.

You look up and you’re in overwhelm. It’s a horrible feeling — having a whirling dervish of panic flying around in your head — and just makes a difficult day even harder.

My hubby was in overwhelm recently and told me so. I couldn’t remove anything from his proverbial plate, but I could help him walk through the process of collecting his thoughts and sorting through them so that some of the anxiety could be set aside. Having a clear head and remembering to breathe makes those pressing tasks much easier to accomplish.

When we’re worked up, we just don’t think clearly. We feel like we don’t have time to stop and make a plan. The reality is that we must pause and assess before we can get anything of value done.

So, when I encounter someone in overwhelm — or am feeling it creeping into my day — here’s what I do.

(1) I tell them to breathe.

It’s essential. You’re going to do it anyway. Give it your attention for a moment.

(2) Then I walk them through a dervish dump and sort.

Basically, you get it all down — everything that’s flying through your head — and then sort those items into what really must be done today and what can wait.

(3) Then come more reminders to breathe.

It’s amazing how our bodies respond to intentional, slow breathing.

At that point they are usually calm enough to take it from there. If not, we rinse and repeat.

Overwhelm happens to the best of us. It’s not a sign of weakness or failure. It’s a sign that you need a moment to pause and plan. So, next time you hit overwhelm, remember to stop, breath, list, breathe, sort, and breathe.

The image is a colorful, painted background with the Recipe to Ease Overwhelm written on it.

Self Care Day on the 6th: December 2013

December 6

Whew! Guilt is like a virulent cold. It’s around all year, but it seems to become twice as contagious during the holidays. We have massive lists of shoulds and oughts and musts but seem to get stuck in place, staring at the list with one eye, and looking for an escape hatch with the other.

Well, consider this your permission slip to examine those obligations for their true value, keep what still seems important, and toss the rest.

Seriously. Stop wasting your precious life eating your own soul with guilt over stuff you don’t really want to do or procrastinating the stuff you actually do want to do.

I just spent a little time with a favorite cousin who is a fantastic writer. He’s also great at other things and has a cadre of interests (and the books to match) to fill three lifetimes. During our visit he said just about the saddest thing I’ve heard in years. He has a couple of writing projects that he wants to work on, but life has been lifey recently and he hasn’t been able to devote much time to them. It’s completely understandable. Truly.

Here’s where it got sad, though.

He feels so guilty about neglecting his writing that he won’t allow himself to enjoy other stuff in the meantime.

Oh, heavens.

If you are going around feeling guilty about not writing and you are still not writing, stop wasting your precious life. Either sit down and write or find something else to do.

Seriously. Take a step back and reevaluate where writing fits into your priorities.

Ned Andrew is a writer and is usually fantastic at motivating himself to work on stuff well ahead of time. There are days, though, when he’s just not in the mood. Luckily, he has me to intone my mantra of, “If you really aren’t feeling it, take a walk, read a book, or whip up a meal and come back to it when you’re ready.”

I know this flies in the face of the advice writers usually get about sitting down and making a business-looking habit of churning out a certain number of pages or words before allowing themselves a break. It’s good advice for the most part, but if you find yourself staring at a blinking cursor for hours without a single inspiration, and your whole being is screaming, “I want to go for a walk!!”, this isn’t a recipe for great writing. It’s a recipe for misery.

Please, dear, go for the walk.

Okay, now that you’ve gotten some fresh air, let’s take a moment to size up some of the other “obligations” that we carry around.

If you are sitting around feeling guilty about not sending Christmas cards* and you are still not addressing those envelopes, stop wasting your precious life. Either sit down with a stack of cards and stamps or find something else to do.

If you are walking around feeling guilty about not calling your mother and you still haven’t picked up the phone, stop wasting your precious life. Either dial her up or find something else to do.

If you are beating yourself up with guilt over avoiding the gym and you still haven’t managed to darken the door, stop wasting your precious life. Either lace up your shoes or find something else to do.

Sort your list into three categories:

Now  —  Later —  Never

Now: Some of the things on our guilt list are tasks we actually do want and/or need to do right now. For those items there are all sorts of little tricks to get us out of the precontemplation stage and into action. That’s where the daily habit of sitting down and churning out 3 pages helps writers. If you are determined to get those cards out, make it a game with the whole family putting them together assembly-line style. Pour yourself a cup of coffee**, get in a comfy chair, and dial Mom up. Put on your running shoes.

Later: Let’s face it. There are things on your list that aren’t urgent and which you really aren’t in the mood for right now. It’s okay to take a break or reschedule those tasks. Taking a walk or a month-long cruise might be just the distraction you need to return to your work refreshed and raring to go.

Never: So how many of your self-imposed “obligations” are promises that you will never actually honor but are nursing a massive guilt cold over? Enough of that. If you’re not going to do it, own that. Return the book advance. Ditch the cards. Send Mom flowers. Buy bigger pants. Once you stop perseverating over this pile of never-to-happens, maybe you can redirect that energy into something truly worth your  attention.

And what if you are feeling guilty because you aren’t actually going to sort your list into three categories and make decisions about which ones to address and which ones to procrastinate and which ones to forget about?

All together now:

Stop wasting your precious life. Do it or find something else to do.

 

* or Hanukkah cards, Kwanzaa cards, birthday cards, birth announcements, wedding invitations, thank you notes…

**or your beverage of choice

Self Care Day on the 6th: November 2012

November 6

It’s November 6th! And you know what that means, right?

Well, if you live in the US, it’s Election Day. Which means it’s time to vote if you haven’t already participated in early voting. I’ll spare you the rest of the monologue since — unless you’ve been on a long safari — you’re full up with this election. I certainly am, and I actually love this whole process of researching candidates, making my choices, going to the polls, and voting.

So, let’s assume you’ve voted or have that worked into your schedule for the day (or happen to live in Tanzania and aren’t scheduled to vote until 2015) and move on to the self care portion of the program.

Cool? Great!

Even if you aren’t running for elected office, the beginning of November can be a wee bit anxiety inducing. Lots of folks see this as the start of The Holiday Season. You know, once the Halloween candy has been collected from all of the neighbors and the stores are unabashedly stocking the shelves with every possible flashing red, green, and gold item the marketing folks can dream up, we start to tense up a little (or a lot) knowing that the calendar is officially going off the rails any minute now.

Gifting — listing, financing, buying, wrapping, sending, unwrapping, thanking, storing — is just one of the activities that deserves recognition as a varsity sport.

Then there are the parties and the concerts and the rellies and the Nutcracker and the cooking and baking and cleaning out the guest room for Aunt Molly and the non-stop merry-go-round travel among commitments far and wide and someone forgot the apples for the Waldorf Salad, so the whole thing is ruined.

Well, whoa. Who says?

While I’m as sentimental as just about anyone I know, I finally pushed pause on this whirling dervish of holiday hell and rethought the whole thing several years ago. Just like any other “project” in my life I took a long look at it and asked some of those really powerful questions that Helen Sanderson and her crew taught me to ask. Fair warning: These queries are magical.

What’s working?

What’s not working?

What do we love and want to keep?

What do we dread and want to toss?

Knowing what we know now, what will we do next?

So how do you work this magic? It really is up to you.

Maybe you like sticky notes. I know I do! So, when I did this, I went through each question, putting one item on each sticky note so that I could look at it in isolation and really think about how that aspect of the season impacted my joy — positively and negatively.

You may want to do this exercise alone or you may want to involve some (cooperative) folks from your planning committee — er — family in this conversation. Or you may want to do it by yourself first and then invite comments.

Got your stickies? (Or your notebook or your pictures from last year or a word processor document open or a template from Helen or your steering committee and graphic facilitator?)

Good. Now, go through each question one at a time.

What’s working? Make a list of all (or a sticky for each) of the things, people, foods, traditions, and Traditions that really make this season meaningful for you.

What’s not working? Make a list of all (or a sticky for each) of the things, people, foods, traditions, and Traditions that really make this season dreadful for you.

Then refine them with the next couple of questions. What do we love and want to keep? What do we dread and want to toss? What might we combine or change or rethink or move around?

Be fearless! Really think about what it is you want out of your — YOUR — holidays.

One of the things I changed was gift giving. There came a point when it just wasn’t fun anymore. I was spending weeks hunting down and buying stuff off of lists that my family exchanged in September and shipping it all over the country or schlepping it there along with the apples for the Waldorf Salad, only to have all of that stuff get lost in the piles of wrapping paper and gift overwhelm.

Now, we tend to give everyone (except the wee kids) on our holiday gift list exactly the same thing. It’s different each year, but it’s the same gift for everyone — teachers, Mom & Dad, cousins, friends, siblings, co-workers. One year, we made popcorn kits that included paper bags, kernels, seasonings, recipes, a movie and a lovely glass bowl. Another year everyone got a hand-made scarf. In slim years, we’ve given out ornaments or baked goods. We save the specially-picked-out-just-for-you gifts for birthdays or sussies*.

I’ll admit that this practice may horrify you — and I’m cool with that — but it makes me a very happy camper during the season of lights.

I have friends who have stopped visiting far-flung relatives and stay at home, volunteer at a shelter, cover the office for their co-workers, and save their travel for when the traffic is a lighter. Some folks give a donation to a charity they love and forgo the gift exchange. One large family goes to a state park and rent cabins so that no one has to clean their house and host 30 cousins for a week.  Still another has their big gather-the-clan celebration at Thanksgiving and does their Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations with their immediate families in their own homes.

No offense intended to the memory of Oscar Tschirky — aka “Oscar of the Waldorf” — but I am pretty sure we could even find a way to be joyful without a bowl of chopped apples, celery, and walnuts doused in mayonnaise.

So, what will you do to take care of your self during the holidays? What are you keeping? What are you tossing? What are you reinventing? I’d love to hear all about your favorite traditions and Traditions — old and new!

 

*a word my dear friend, Tracey, taught me for gifts sent just because

Brown Paper Packages Tied up with Strings

How to Be Blissful

Candle

If you’ve known me for more than 8 minutes, you know that I love Susan Kennedy (aka Susan Arial Rainbow Kennedy or SARK) and her juicy, happy, free-flowing style of loving herself and life (and naps!)

From time to time, I treat myself to a SARK book or one of her online gatherings. They’re always colorful and fun.

Then I started adding other other online courses and support systems. They’re all great — full of information and enthusiastic people — until I hit the saturation point. I couldn’t call in to one more tele-webi-simul-confer-nar..

So when I got the invitation to SARK’s Creative Clubhouse, I deleted it. And the next one. And three more. And then I got the wild hair to go ahead and look at the information. And then I deleted that one, too

Until Tuesday when I decided, you know what? I really like her stuff and I’m in need of a balance to GiTheWriQua (Gina’s Thesis Writing Quarter — my nod to NaNoWriMo). So, I signed up and semi-reluctantly called in. (Ned Andrew basically grabbed my plate from me and sent me to my studio with seven minutes left before the call.)

The call was okay — my energy was low from worry over the storm in the Northeast — but the game we played got me engaged. By the end of the night, it didn’t look like much, but I’d captured this:

I’m a visual person, so having the instructions in front of me the next morning allowed me to take my scribbled mess and turn it into a poem I’m pretty proud of.

Wanna see?

Okay. Here it is!

How to Be Blissful -- Live without a watch -- Peace -- Follow your heart -- Ease -- Build yourself a creative play space -- Fun -- Fill it with an abundance of sparkly ingredients -- Joy -- Light a candle. Light two more. -- Breathe -- Turn up the music! Dance and sing! -- Giggle -- Express your love through yarn, fabric, words, pictures, color & sound -- Flourish -- Invite your favorite people in to play, too -- Bonus --Fearlessly do the thing you long to do --Play -- Be the person you’re destined to be -- Bliss -- Love, Gina ;~}

So, there ya go. Even in the middle of the worst storm pretty much anywhere, ever, I found a tiny space of calm.

Oh, if you wanna come play with us, you can! The Creative Clubhouse is open! Woooohooooo!

Blissful!

PS Happy Anniversary, Ned Andrew! I love you, sweet boy!

Pausing to Refill

Refiling My Cup -- Gina Lynette

As I’ve been thinking a whole lot this week about Joyce Rupp’s quote about pouring from an empty cup, I’ve been paying special attention to things that refill mine.

One thing that really helps is when I give myself permission to be a bit of a slacker. I don’t mean, give up on life. But as a driven, hyper-motivated, constantly-on-the-go someone, turning down the volume is sometimes desperately needed.

While I’m a pretty happy camper for the most part, it’s been a tough fall and winter for me in some ways — especially physically — and I started to really think about why. It isn’t a new revelation, but I’ve been using way more energy than I have available to me at a sustainable level. I needed to do some spring cleaning of tasks and to dos in light of the reality that my world has shifted to include two little people in my day who were previously off site, I’ve added a wonderful-yet-time-and-talent-intense contract to my schedule, I’m still in grad school, and I still want to include my coaching, art, and writing in my regular routine.

I know that as I add new elements into my day, it’s a great idea to paused to say, “Okay… that’s new and I want it here. Do I have room for it with everything else or do I need to do some clearing somewhere?” The truth is that those “You Can Do It All” siren calls are still pretty enticing. So, it always kind of takes me by surprise when I sit up and realize, “Hey! Wait! I’m worn out and cranky and have lost control of my calendar again!”

Next week is finals week. This means I have 5 papers to write as soon as I return from helping to facilitate an out-of-town conference this weekend. It’s going to be a whole lot of intense, time-limited, on-deadline work.

So, today? Today I gave myself permission to pause and refill my cup. You know, take a deep breath. Pour some coffee. Sit still. Participate in a live video summit that I didn’t think I had time to  attend.

And you know what happened? This little seed that I’ve been precontemplating for about 4 years just burst out of that conversation. I shared my idea, in public, with the actual person whose writing inspired it. You see, I was afraid to allow myself to want to pursue this idea because of fears of stepping on her toes, stealing her ideas, or infringing on her copyrights.

And you want to know what happened?

She said, and I quote, “Go for it!” Right there! Live!

I’m so excited that my teeth are buzzing. I’m hoping to keep this excitement and motivation flowing as I focus on this conference and finals week… but watch this space. I’m going to make room on my calendar for launching an idea that’s been percolating for years.

Talk about a full cup! It’s overflowing today!

How about you? What are you doing to refill your cup? Or, perhaps, the question should be, “What are you going to pause doing in order to refill your cup?”

Note: The lovely cup in the image was made by the incredibly talented and supremely delightful Melodie Grace. It’s my very, very, very favorite cup in the whole wide world.

Is Love Available Even Here?

Endless Traffic

I first heard Mark Silver ask this question and I believe it to be a wise approach to moment-by-moment living.

Sometimes we don’t even have to ask the question. The love is obvious. It’s in those moments that we are in our bliss and sink into the happiness that is connection.

At other times, we have to work a bit to find it. It may be disguised as fear or some other harder-to-like emotion. The challenge is to ask in those moments of fear or panic or irritation or anger, “Is love available even here?” The sweet reward is discovering that peace and ease and gentleness are available within even those less-than-idyllic moments.

But here’s the catch. In order to get into this space — this love-seeking-in-every-moment groove — you have to actually want to be loving. That old “kill ’em with kindness” trick of pretending to be loving while secretly plotting their demise ain’t gonna get you there. This adjustment of intention sometimes takes work, but the rewards are amazingly bountiful.

You see, though we think of love as something Out There that we have to go find or choose to share with someone else, fact is that it’s not limited to a two-person exchange made popular by greeting card companies. It’s what I harp about on Self Care Day on the 6th (SCDot6) and something that you’ve, no doubt, heard a bazillion times. In case you’ve missed this particular missive, I’ll spell it out here:

You can’t love anyone else until you love yourself.

There. I said it. My harping on you to be good to yourself is really my selfish ploy to get you to love yourself so that, eventually, you have the space in your heart to love me. Well, me and anyone else you happen to encounter.

See that picture at the top of this here post? That was taken toward the end of a very long car trip. We thought we were 3 hours from home after making it all the way from the Berkshires to the Smokeys. That is, until the interstate was completely shut down and we were forced onto a little side road. It took us over four hours to go about 20 miles… meaning we still had three hours of travel left an hour after we’d hoped to be home.

We are pretty happy travelers for the most part, but this jam was enough to try even our well-honed patience. As the sun set, I started taking pictures to post on facebook to express our complete frustration at this endless sit-and-wait situation. I’d like to say that I remembered to ask, “Is love available even here?” and that suddenly the clouds parted and the traffic magically cleared and I was happily singing along to Billy Joel in no time. But, no. It wasn’t exactly like that.

I did, however, remember to look over at my sweetie and be grateful that I was in the car with someone I actually like. And then this caught my eye:

Love. Here.

I was so taken with the pretty sky and sun and clouds and tree that, for a moment, I forgot how tired and irritated and desperate-to-be-home-already I was a moment before.The 20-mile line of traffic stopped being my focal point and there it was.

Love.

Here.

I could catalog a million moments when love was right there in spite of the surrounding scenery. Sometimes the only love to be readily found in a particularly hairy event is the scenery. The reality, though, is that love is available even here.

P.S. I got an email asking whether this “seeking love in each moment” practice means we have to love our abusers. I’m not sure I completely understand how we got from asking whether there is love available to us all the way to wondering if I’m advocating that we have to love someone who is hurting us, but I’ll play.

On one level, loving everything in its right space is a good thing. I can love even a really, really mean someone in a, “Gee, I can empathize that they are having a rough time” kind of way. But that doesn’t mean I have to spend my energy allowing them to beat me up. Some folks would call this version of love “agape” from the Greek.

On another level, if I’m asking the question, “Is love available even here?” I am probably looking for a way to feel authentic and connected and, possibly, in relationship with myself, my source, or another being. That’s where the scenery might have to come into play.

The night my life was at the greatest risk the only words that would come to my head were, “Tell me everything will be okay.” I don’t know who was supposed to tell me this, but wanting to know it was what kept me centered and focused until the incident passed. “I’ve got to know I’m going to survive this.” may not sound like, “Is love available even here?”  but they are closely related.

After the attacker left the room and I caught my breath, seeking something to calm my shaking hands, I grabbed the magazine on the table next to me and opened it to a random page. In bold letters in the middle of the page was the quote from Julian of Norwich that has since become my constant companion.

Quote

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

— Julian of Norwich

 

A day or two later, I was at a conference and someone I sort of knew but wasn’t particularly close to said, “I thought you’d like this,” and handed me a printout of a short version of Julian of Norwich’s biography. And then I walked in to a gift shop later that weekend and saw a candle holder with the quote on it. I, not shockingly, bought it on the spot.

So, my question was answered — three times — and I took that loving assurance to mean that things would work out fine. And they did. And they continue to do so.

So, was the love in that moment from my abuser? Not really.

But was love available even there? I sure do believe it was.

And is.

Julia and the Bluebird

The Cost of Knowing

 

Bluebird and Julian

 

Quote

It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment or the courage to pay the price…

One has to abandon altogether the search for security and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.

— Morris L. West, The Shoes of the Fisherman

Making the Moves so that my Child can Dance

Gillian Picture Day

I’ve been struggling with something for a while that suddenly became very clear for me this week.

Several months ago — after I got past the shock of having Berns enrolled in a private school that allows him to work from home — I started getting these little nudges to do the same for Gillian. I kept batting them down for several reasons. As I worked through each of my concerns I was left with two remaining excuses to keep things status quo: we love her team at school and things weren’t “bad enough” to make a change seem worth the drama.

So, as these things tend to go, the more I turned away from this intuitive nudge, the louder the signals became. I do believe in purpose and order in our universe, even when I want to pretend otherwise. I knew we were headed this way, but kept telling myself “in middle school!!” and then when even that timeline seemed to be stretching it as we watched Gillian getting more and more uncomfortable, “the end of the semester!!” So, it really came as no shock when I got the call on Friday sending her home for the 4th time in 2 months with nits in spite of endless poisonous and prescription treatments, combing, and laundry.

But I was still kind of in the stew. And then I “accidentally” rediscovered the link to Sir Ken Robinson’s TEDtalk on creativity. While I don’t necessarily agree that schools — in general — kill creativity. I do believe that they are a better fit for some kids than for others. In this talk Ken talks about a famous dancer and choreographer, Gillian Lynne. Yes. That’s her real name and its real spelling. I’ve read the book he references (It’s actually titled “The Element”) and bawled when I read Lynne’s story. It reminds me so much of two of our girls — Skye, our professional dancer, doughnut maker, and upbeat ed assistant; and her baby sister, Gillian.

I’ll include Ken Robinson’s 19-minute TEDtalk on Creativity and the three-paragraph excerpt that won’t stop running through my head here.

And the third thing about intelligence is, it’s distinct. I’m doing a new book at the moment called “Epiphany,” which is based on a series of interviews with people about how they discovered their talent. I’m fascinated by how people got to be there. It’s really prompted by a conversation I had with a wonderful woman who maybe most people have never heard of; she’s called Gillian Lynne –have you heard of her? Some have. She’s a choreographer and everybody knows her work. She did “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera.” She’s wonderful. I used to be on the board of the Royal Ballet in England, as you can see. Anyway, Gillian and I had lunch one day and I said, “Gillian, how’d you get to be a dancer?” And she said it was interesting; when she was at school, she was really hopeless. And the school, in the ’30s, wrote to her parents and said, “We think Gillian has a learning disorder.” She couldn’t concentrate; she was fidgeting. I think now they’d say she had ADHD. Wouldn’t you? But this was the 1930s, and ADHD hadn’t been invented at this point. It wasn’t an available condition. (Laughter) People weren’t aware they could have that.

Anyway, she went to see this specialist. So, this oak-paneled room, and she was there with her mother, and she was led and sat on this chair at the end, and she sat on her hands for 20 minutes while this man talked to her mother about all the problems Gillian was having at school. And at the end of it — because she was disturbing people; her homework was always late; and so on, little kid of eight — in the end, the doctor went and sat next to Gillian and said, “Gillian, I’ve listened to all these things that your mother’s told me, and I need to speak to her privately.” He said, “Wait here. We’ll be back; we won’t be very long,” and they went and left her. But as they went out the room, he turned on the radio that was sitting on his desk. And when they got out the room, he said to her mother, “Just stand and watch her.” And the minute they left the room, she said, she was on her feet, moving to the music. And they watched for a few minutes and he turned to her mother and said, “Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn’t sick; she’s a dancer. Take her to a dance school.”

I said, “What happened?” She said, “She did. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was. We walked in this room and it was full of people like me. People who couldn’t sit still. People who had to move to think.” Who had to move to think. They did ballet; they did tap; they did jazz; they did modern; they did contemporary. She was eventually auditioned for the Royal Ballet School; she became a soloist; she had a wonderful career at the Royal Ballet. She eventually graduated from the Royal Ballet School and founded her own company — the Gillian Lynne Dance Company — met Andrew Lloyd Weber. She’s been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history; she’s given pleasure to millions; and she’s a multi-millionaire. Somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down.

–Sir Ken Robinson, TED 2006

I can’t watch that video or read those three paragraphs without knowing, deep in my intuitive Mama soul, that Gillian needs to spend her days feeling successful and happy and dancing and creating art and writing stories and, yes, getting the core curriculum under her belt. She’s spent enough time trying to hold it together and be a good girl and make it through a day only to lose it and be embarrassed by her own inability to sit still and be quiet and wait for others to catch up to what she’s figured out hours or months ago.

As I’ve been struggling with this decision, Gillian’s been making plus and minus lists all Fall as we tried to figure out what parts of her day and week are working and which ones aren’t. It’s narrowed down to the fact that certain people are wonderful and important to her, she wants to participate in her class’ holiday program, and the rest is painful.

So, as awkward as the timing is, my husband, wasband, and I have talked it over and we’ve asked Gillian for her input. We’ve all decided it’s time to enroll her in The Farm School Satellite Program so that she can catch up on what she’s missed while being out of class because of the endless nit picking — both the literal kind and the more hurtful social kind — that she’s encountered this Fall. She’s ready to make the change and we, finally, are too.

The process is pretty simple. I’ll enroll her in The Farm School, they will request her records be transferred, the local school system will want any textbooks and library books back, we will sign an “everything is in order” form at her elementary school and she’ll be transferred.

Gillian had one request and I’m hoping we can make it work. She really wants to be able to go to school and see her classmates and support staff and say goodbye to everyone. The end of the school year is always excruciating for her, so I know this will be tough.

But, she’s a brave, funny, kind, loving, and talented girl. She’ll be fine.

I, on the other hand, may need to set a schedule to rewatch Sir Ken’s video to remind myself why I’m taking this leap with her.

How I Spent November’s Self Care Day on the 6th

November 6

When I first started the Self Care on the 6th thing, it was really the result of a rant. So I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about the variations on how the day might go. I just launched.  I’m actually proud of myself for this fact. I don’t tend to be a leaper as much as I’m a precontemplater. So, launching… that was amazing.

And here we are three months in. Self Care Day on the 6th landed on a Sunday this month. It also happens to be the day most of the United States flops our calendars back to “standard time” and gain an extra hour in our day. It’s always a tough adjustment for me. My circadian rhythms are evidently etched in titanium because it takes some serious sleep deprivation before I get on a new schedule.

So, today I rested during that extra hour. I slept until I woke up (no alarms) and managed to sleep about an hour later than I usually do. It was wonderful. I only felt a tiny bit guilty as I reminded myself that sleeping in was a act of self care.

My second act of self care today was allowing my string of blog silence continue in spite of the fact that I had a self-imposed deadline. I wanted to encourage y’all, but I took my own advice and didn’t try to pour from an empty cup. I am working on refilling it as I recover from a pretty harsh relapse, and just don’t have the eloquence or the energy to write. So, I didn’t.  I’m here to report that it feels really good to follow my soul urgings in that way.

What I really wanted to do today was be present with my family. With that in mind, I used my extra hour to teach Lizzy to crochet. It’s a meticulous process, but she has the determination to learn. I love this woman. And, yes, she’s a woman now. She turned 18 this week. She’s been asking to learn to crochet for a while, so I got her a great handmade bag, a big hook, and a skein of yarn as part of her birthday celebration. There’s something precious about passing down this very rewarding art to my daughter.

I have another family-focused urging tickling the back of my head. I have been in precontemplation mode about homeschooling our youngest daughter for a couple of months. The question is, can I follow my intuition on this big a decision or am I still harboring fears about re-making that leap?

So, I’m going to use the extra hour one more time. We’re going to sit down as a family and talk about the future and how we’d like to go about living in the now while keeping an eye on then. What does education look like for our family? What does work look like? How do we schedule our days? Our months? Our years?

Living on purpose requires a bit of courage, suspension of disbelief, and pausing to take stock. It also takes time. Good thing we got that extra hour today.

I believe in my webmaster!

Believe

 

This one’s for you, Robert!

Robert Owen is my webmaster, hosts my website on his servers, and walks me through all sorts of conversations that start out with my asking, “Would it be a pain in the butt to reconfigure time space and add a coffee dispenser to my contact page??” and ending with his sending me an email that says something like, “It should be there now. Take a look.”

So, Robert is moving all of the bells and whistles to a new server. (Wasn’t Jeeves doing his job?)  He tells me that this will do amazing things. I can’t imagine what those things are, but I do believe anything is possible when Robert is playing with the ones and zeroes.

Go! Robert, go!

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