Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: habits

Five Year Plan

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard

I believe that small, daily habits build our lives, so of course I love the idea of this 5 year, one-line-per-day journal. Since I received this little book as a Christmas gift (thanks E!) I started January 1st 2015.

Each night, I write a little bit about the day. So far, I’ve missed an evening or two (usually b/c I’m tired and turn off the light before I remember) but it’s simple enough to fill it in the next morning. It has 5 entries per page, with each page being one day of the year. You fill in the year and a little blurb about your day.

I’m only 6 weeks into it, so there’s no spectacular a-ha moment. The nightly reflection is nice, but the real reward will be over the next few years, as I revisit my previous entry for each date. So much can happen in 5 years…

Since 2010:
– this blog was started
– we adopted Carter Cash
– we got engaged (and then married)
– we went on our epic Grand Canyon trip (and had yet to visit Hawaii or Alaska)
– my job was different and has only gotten better
– my siblings didn’t live near me in CA
– my relationship with my parents was not so good
– I attended my first retreat, and took many an online class
– a few of my really good girlfriends still lived here
– I started therapy
– I was just beginning to experiment with photography again
– I’d never had a life coach
rock climbing was not a thing
– I was still in my 20s
– I didn’t know how to take care of myself. I certainly hustled for my worthiness.
– I hadn’t read Harry Potter yet.

So yeah, a lot can happen in 5 years. Looking forward to having this small, memory-keeping habit capture and reflect on my days and our lives.

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Piqued

Had a super productive week both at work and home because I am traveling a bunch in the next 2 weeks. By the time you read this, I’ll be in Denver visiting my friend Chelsea, where apparently it’s going to be a low of 14*. I’ve packed 3 sweaters and my puffy down “sleeping-bag” coat to keep me warm while we bike, eat, drink tea, and spend mucho quality time together.

Ah, the dark, dark nostalgia. Hey Arnold! characters all grown up.

This tweet.

And also my Twitter conversation with Yvette Nicole Brown where we chatted about the Serial podcast. She is my favorite guest on the Talking Dead (she has pages of notes about each episode).

OMG the Serial podcast. Hoping to write a longer post on this eventually, but I am loving the narrative form, the voices, the music. I don’t care so much about the who-done-it as much as the storytelling process in the series. The Slate Serial Spoiler Special is the podcast-about-the-podcast and a critical discussion about both the unfolding of the reporting and the way it’s being reported. So meta.

New moon in Sagittarius today – the questing sign.

I share Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook statuses (stati?) a few times a week. I love her updates, her words, her take on life.

We saw Interstellar last weekend (I liked it, was glad we saw it in the theater too) so of course I am drawn to stories about people’s experiences in space – An Astronaut Reveals What Life In Space Is Really Like.

On the last two nights of my final flight, I slept on the flight deck, my sleeping bag strapped beneath the overhead windows. The position of the shuttle put Earth in those windows, so when I woke up the whole world was out there in front of me—in that moment, just for me alone.

And cuz I’m not one to miss a list: The Top 10 Mistakes in Behaviour Change (and How to Avoid Them). My favorite is mistake #4 “Trying to Stop Old Behaviors Instead of Creating New Ones”. This def works for me. I like how he included further reading links.

And on that note – Can Absence Make The Mind Grow Fonder. I’ve found when I stop consuming something (purchasing clothes, drinking alcohol, eating Oreos, posting on Twitter etc) I don’t miss it. Yes, there’s the initial moment of going for the thing and realizing it’s not there (or I made a choice to avoid it) but then after even a few short days, it’s like, whatever. I do agree on the substitution part, which supports what I liked about mistake #4 in the above paragraph.

Have a great weekend xo

Post-Travel Grounding

Back home.

Here is how I get grounded after returning from a (work) trip:

I do not schedule anything for my first full day back. Traveling is fun and exhausting. I usually need quiet, slowing down time to feel back at home. Like jumping off a merry-go-round – you hit the ground running before you can slow to a stop.

I unpack – putting things away, sorting dirty clothes and storing the suitcase (so it doesn’t live in front of my dresser, blocking drawers) really helps the travel feel done.

I return to my normal morning activities (aka rituals) – the dog and I go out for a walk or bike ride, I write morning pages, I make the bed and eat my favorite foods (H was wonderful to pick up eggs and milk so I’d have groceries to make my own breakfast my first day back at home #itsthelittlethings).

I take it slow – I don’t expect too much of myself, I don’t pressure myself to get “to dos” done, I listen to podcasts, straighten up around the apartment, and nap. Napping is important, especially if I’ve overloaded myself with information and conversations, like the return from a work trip.

I find quality time with my husband – so much of feeling untethered in our relationship for me comes from a lack of quality time. He picked me up from the airport, we slept in on Saturday, we went out to dinner Friday night. We spent time together and that makes me feel even more comforted and grounded.

I indulge – this time, I’m being even more self-indulgent and taking a 4 day weekend after traveling for work 4 days. But I’m learning more and more that my all-or-nothing personality functions well when I’ve rested enough. If I take an entire day to do what I want to do, or even more so, to do nothing productive at all, then I bounce back with tons of energy the next day. It’s a rubber-band sling-shot type of balance that seems to suit me.

How do you ground yourself after travel?

Heartaches for the Impermanence

I’ve been thinking about ease, about changing my one little word (which I have yet to write about here), about cold and seasons and God and creativity.

But mostly I’ve been focused on getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, running my miles and staying leveled… not doing anything to tip the scales, to allow the demands of work to take me away from myself.

Wasn’t sure what to write about tonight and then remembered I’d marked this passage in the book I’m reading – Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott – where she recaps advice a priest gave her when she was considering an abortion:

“Get quiet for a moment, and then think about having the abortion: if you feel a deep secret sense of relief, pay attention to that. But if you feel deeply grieved at the thought of it, listen to that”

What a perfect way to describe our own ability to choose, to listen, to trust the inner guide.

And then this yesterday in The Right To Write by Julia Cameron:

Practice means what it says: writing is something to be done over and over, something that improves through the repetitive doing but that needs not be done perfectly… Consistency is the key to mastering the instrument that is you.

You, the writer, are a spiritual instrument. If you allow yourself to write consistently, you will become more and more finely tuned. You will become more and more fluid and expressive. As you become more fluid and expressive, you will become more vibrant, more vital, more alive.

I’ve been thinking about repetitive actions, the daily happenings, the differences within the sameness. Rituals. The idea that we’re all stalking our lives like animals, thinking it’s something to take down, eat alive, thrash about. Or we’re so dejected, we don’t even bother engaging. So disappointed that adulthood is just more laundry, more email, more snow.

But I’m learning to see the immense magic in all of this – how I want to take a photo of every freaking palm tree against a blue sky every.single.morning. How I want to show you my boots next to a patch of ice or aligned with a parking spot marked with my favorite number. How I spend every morning the same way – wake up, write, feed the dog, run, shower, eat… and I have yet to tire of this.

Instead it’s these rituals that keep me going when the pressure of work is on, or when the push and pull of days ruffle my feathers.

Tonight I called a good friend. She was in tears, dealing with the grief of losing a mentor, and talking about how it just makes everything so much more real. That we’re only here for such a short time. That the socks on the floor, or the dirty dishes aren’t really that big a deal.

That the ice I stood next to yesterday may be the only ice this year.

And I am so grateful to be in a head-space where I can fully appreciate these moments. That I could show up to support one friend last night and another today. That I can kiss my husband. That I can have my sister snuggled on the couch with my dog.

And yet my heart aches for the impermanence of it all. For the season changes, for the growing older, for the books read and unread.

There isn’t enough time, I keep thinking, over and over again.

I need you so much closer – Death Cab for Cutie

Full Moon in Scorpio ~ Full Flower Moon Dreamboard

Pretty 'n Pink

I created the Pretty ‘n Pink one above first. Drawn to beauty, a bit of lavishness, and the idea of being perfect, naturally as I am. The bright pink tissue paper was a surprise and the first time I’ve used extra material like that. This, I think, is the Taurus sun, shining out in all it’s tactile luxury.

Swim Deep, Take Flight

Aiming to do just one dreamboard, this one came out of the blue (haha). A bunch of little pieces combined to form it quickly. Not that I want to read into this too much, but it’s like the old habits that pull me down (not taking care of myself) are at the depths. I need the reminder, but I am now, with the help of others (the whale & penguin scene) and more play, able to “take flight” and start chasing my dreams. This is the Scorpio moon, helping me search my depths while also experiencing rebirth – rising from the waves a new person.

____________________

Inspired by Jamie Ridler Studios Monthly Full Moon Dreamboard

How luscious is it to know that we are dreaming under the Full Flower Moon! The inspiration I suggested under the New Moon was to consider, “Who are you when you are in full flower? What exudes from your personality? What’s possible for full-flower you?

Previous dreamboard: October 2010

Call Someone You Love

On the drive home tonight, I realized that the podcast I was listening to was b-o-r-i-n-g. I was stuck in traffic with at least 20min to go. My first urge was to check my phone for email, texts and other mindless connections that could impair my ability to drive. Then I thought, “I could call Grandma”.

So, I did.

And instead of numbing out with (dangerous) phone clicking while driving and instead of feeling crappy because I felt crappy, I reached out. I called someone I love. We didn’t talk about anything specific, but it was fabulous. I heard all about her daily life right now. She’s in the senior citizen stage of caring for her siblings and friends who are aging faster than she is. It sound depressing, but she sounds good. We covered the drama surrounding planning a wedding and how we love a good bargain. And of course, we always chat about food – how much we love fresh fruit, like strawberries, and snacking on delicious things like avocados and almonds.

I miss her. We don’t see each other enough. Even though she spends weeks at a time at my parents house, my trips home don’t overlap her’s. She said she’ll be at not one, but both (long story) engagement parties this summer. I can’t wait to see her.

Family is so important. These people that watched you grow up, that took care of you when you were sick, that praised and loved you from the very start, they hold a key that other people can’t. And sometimes that makes it very difficult to become the person you truly are, but I’m blessed with wonderful grandmothers who have always made me feel cherished.

I didn’t realize this until I was typing, but my horoscope mentioned reconnecting with a special someone – too funny!

Have you been playing a marathon game of phone tag with a friend? It’s time to stop the madness — do whatever you can to get in touch today. Put as much energy into this task as possible, because reconnecting with this person is more important than you think.

It’s so wonderful. I’m glad I made the call 🙂

 

Replace Numbing with Relaxing

I think of personal developments, especially the kind of self-awareness that comes via therapy, as an upward spiral staircase. You continually pass over the same places but you’re a few rungs higher each time. As one place in your life constricts, others may open. My black and white thinking can pull me out of this ebb and flow. If one thing is going poorly, it seems everything is. I’m sucked into the drama and I can’t detach.

This weekend I felt so stressed, unable to explain it or shake it off. I was faced with a conversation that I dreaded, worries that it would escalate into a fight, knowing I had to somehow stand my ground. Even though I found myself shaking, shivering and being extremely uncomfortable during the whole thing, it all worked out. Relief.

And just as life hands you one challenge after another, I found myself faced with another conflict today, one in which I couldn’t do much to resolve (so frustrating). With the help of my man, I was able to get some sleep. With the help of the mantra, “Just listen. Be present” I was able to stay with the conversation and give what I could.

I know I’m being vague (still trying to figure out how to navigate my life online and, really, how to tell my story). The point is that in the past 3 days I’ve tried new approaches to confrontation and how I treat myself within these situations. Which brings me to today’s DreamLab focus: Numbing.

List of default habits that I use to numb my emotions:

  • Eating, especially sugar
  • Caffeine consumption, especially in the form of sugared tea or flavored lattes
  • Sleeping. The more stressed I am, the more sleep I need, but I also use it to avoid thinking and therefore feeling
  • Continuously doing the next “productive” thing on my To Do list, instead of giving myself a relaxing break
  • Talking too much on the phone with certain people
  • Dicking around on the internet, especially checking email (especially on my phone) when I don’t have to (this boarders on self-abusive)

It feels extremely difficult to give up even one of these items, especially as PMS starts to creep in. It’s only for a few days though. My hope is to avoid the sugared tea. We’ll start there. More importantly, I continue to replace numbing actions with positive ones:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Working out, especially getting outside for a run
  • (Relaxing) conversations with people
  • Reading
  • Snapping photos
  • Blogging
  • Snacking on fruit and drinking herbal tea
  • Taking a bath

There’s more to say, but not right now. The important thing is that I am proud of myself for the work I’ve done the past few days. I’m learning… and really, that’s all we can do.

Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab: play, practice, learn

11 Things on the 12th

There is so much I want to eliminate in my life and so much more I want to add…

ELIMINATE

  • Sugar, especially soda and over-sweetened tea
  • Mindless TV watching
  • Extended, complaining phone calls
  • Putting pressure on myself about anything
  • Mean thoughts, about myself or others
  • Overeating
  • My “story” – thoughts that cause me pain
  • More debt, especially my car loan
  • Guilt – that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, that I’m making someone else unhappy, or that I’m not “doing enough” with my time
  • Self-counscioness – to just go for it, to laugh loud, to be silly
  • Freezing in stressful situations.

REPLACE WITH

  • Delicious tea, lemon water, coconut water and juice
  • Reading, writing, podcasts, kissing
  • Warm, friendly conversations
  • Allowing myself to just be
  • Awareness, forgiveness
  • Healthy food, small portions
  • Inquiry
  • Budget & saving
  • Gratitude for everything I’m able to do and be
  • Silliness, smiles and spontaneity
  • Take a breath, think and then speak honestly