Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: INFJ

Piqued

As you know, I launched 30 Days of Dresses this week. Woo! Thanks for all of your comments ūüôā

I loved this Complete Guide To Structuring Your Ideal Work Day, especially the idea of brushing your teeth at 2:30pm. While I’m continuously trying to find the right daily and weekly routines that support my energy levels and introversion, this seemed like a great guide for any office worker bees.

Abby Kerr, who ran the INFJ business class I loved (it’s coming back!), has a real knack for linking to amazing posts. Follow her on Twitter.

Abby shared Allie’s post on the care and feeding of new moms. A few of my friends are new(ish) mom and I admit, I had no idea how to help them. And because I love offering help, supporting people¬†and receiving help myself when I’m down in the shit-time of any life change, I felt completely useless as friends to these women. This post will be my reference material now.

Back to introvert’s dreams, here’s a list of things only people who love spending time alone will understand (I think my sister gets credit for texting me this). This is seriously alone-time indulgences and I could spend a month just going through a challenge checking items off this list.

I am¬†loving the National Geographic Your Shot Blog. Animals, nature, culture and gorgeous pics? I’m in.

To follow that up, living off the grid / what people miss about living in the wilderness. This pretty much sums up my broken heart after Alaska.

And finally, Pink Ronnie has reevaluated her blogging / storytelling, shuttered her Pink Ronnie blog and launched The Shoemakers Daughter (tho today the link isn’t working ūüė¶ ) I love her style, story-telling and photography. I would love to take a class with her in person and am book-marking her Life Captured online courses.

That’s it for this weekend. Enjoy xo

See all Piqued posts.

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Animal Spirits

This weekend we were in Santa Margarita for our friends’ wedding (more on that later) and I kept encountering animals.

There were deer on the property. They came into the yard of the house we were staying in, nibbling on grasses, their tails and lips and ears twitching.

I went for a run with another girl staying in the house and we had a group of horses come right out of the field they were grazing in and trot over to us. They came within arms reach and stood there, their muscular bodies taunt but calm, watching us with liquid eyes.

Later on the run, a silhouette of a dog popped up on the horizon. I thought it was a coyote at first, but as it started to run directly towards us, I realized it was a cattle dog. He ran big, looping circles up a hill and back to us, where he joined two girls on horseback and followed them off down the path.

We saw a male deer, antlers flashing in the sun, running through a field of tall grass.

That afternoon, I visited Autry Cellars and while we were chatting with Steve Autry (the owner), his tasting room guy came in and pulled Steve to the front room. A falcon had landed on the deck outside and was perched there, not moving.

There was a very large picture window between all of the people in the tasting room and the falcon on his ledge outside.

Mr. Autry said this was unusual behavior for this type of bird. He sees falcons flying low over the outskirts of the property, but never landing on the main building, especially this close to people. He also pointed out that the bird didn’t have a tag.

Two different times the bird lifted his wings, caught the wind and let it carry him towards the window – testing the pane, knocking into it to see if it was really there. After the second time, he flew away, around the side of the building. Mr. Autry said the bird was outside on another spot, closer to the building than he’d ever seen them before.

When I look up falcons as animal totems, I read this:

When a falcon flies into your life: You are being asked to be vigilant. An opportunity for big positive changes in your life is close at hand and it will require good planning and strategy as well as action on your part. You are reminded that you have all the tools and knowledge to take advantage of this opportunity and that your success depends on your quick reactions. Stay focused and grateful for all that is coming your way. Know that you have the ability to soar high and see things with greater vision!

This could not be more perfect for how I’m feeling since returning from Alaska. It’s as if, all of a sudden, my life is shifting – moving from one level to another – that I am growing or have grown in ways I didn’t realize until this very weekend.

To add to this layer of knowing I have all the tools and knowledge I need to move forward, I read that falcons and hawks serve the same symbolic purpose.

Ever since feathers became a symbol for me, I’ve wished for a hawk feather. In true intuitive fashion, I have no idea what a hawk feather actually looks like, but I thought surely one different enough from the black crow and white seagull feathers in my collection.

Amazingly, hawks represent both focus / day-to-day and big picture / higher-level perspective. Which is exactly where my strengths align for my INFJ Meyers-Briggs type.

A specific way the hawk guidance works is to use a high level and yet clear and focused vision to guide your action. Hawk Spirit Animal

Adding to that, I feel many women in the blogging community who identify as INFJs also see their spirit animal as a wolf. While wolves are incredible animals, I wasn’t feeling them for me. But falcons…

If falcons are your animal totem: You are independent and need to have alone time in order to be happy. You have a sharp mind and are very agile. You know how to mentally work out problems and are always three steps ahead of your peers and workmates. You have the patience to wait in order to get the most out of any opportunity that comes your way. You have impeccable timing and know exactly when to strike for the greatest benefit to yourself.

It seems that I’ve been secretly wishing for hawks / falcons this entire time.

And after that falcon knocked into that window trying to get our attention, I just knew he was there for me.

Not Responsible For Other People’s Success

We know that I care a lot about self-care. That self-care seems to be the best way for me to make myself happy, to have enough energy to deal, to feel my feelings and to be present in my days. I think a lot about how, when my reserves are low, I feel like a screaming 4 year old. And if my reserves are high, I feel like Superwoman.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with anxiety. It’s coming from feeling really out of control with my salaried job and from not having enough down time, even with vacation.

I’ve spent the past 6+ months feeling like “life is steam-rolling me and going with the flow is gonna get me sucked out to sea.” And I wrote about wanting to make a change. To create boundaries and understand what my priorities are, instead of just going with the next thing…and the next thing… and the next thing.

It seems that, to dig out from the back log, to create space, to feel in control, I needed a new tool.

So, I’ve started saying No.

It began with the hand-to-heart practice that Heidi taught me. That little action began to give me pause.

Then, I decided to clear my meetings for the next few weeks. Meetings take up tons of energy for this introvert, they suck up time and create even more work. I needed a buffer. I needed to go through the back-log from months of chaos. I needed to feel relieved and focused when I woke up, not dread.

Then, I listened to Tiffany Han on Elise’s podcast (episode 17) where she speaks about taking a social media break, being bored, and saying no.

“You are not responsible for the success of anyone else’s business endeavor…people need to be strict preserves of their sanity, because no one else is going to look out for you. Cuz no one else cares that much, honestly. We’re all trying to do our own thing.”

What?!

I am not responsible for other people’s success?

Of course I’ve heard this before, but for some reason, Tiffany’s no bullshit attitude coming through my headphones was like a sermon. I felt the grace of good advice run through me.

Because that’s how I feel. Often. That I am responsible for everything. And to start saying no, to separate myself from other people’s needs, to create some space to think about how I feel and what I want – this has felt like a game changer.

So, I said no.
No, I don’t want to go to Six Flags.
I don’t want to leave my apartment.
I don’t want to cook tonight.
I don’t want to host that event that maybe only 10 people will show up to.
I don’t want to stay up late.
I don’t want a glass of wine.
I don’t want to travel for work right now.
I don’t want to meet up on a Saturday.
I don’t want to go on a 10m hike.

These things are all awesome in the general context of life. I am not turning down bad things, if anything, I am saying no to things that seam unreasonable to say no to. But, it has to be done.

Because each time I said no to one of these items, I created space for downtime, for refueling, for quiet.

(We know, I need so much downtime to function.)

But also, each time I said no, I was able to say yes to something awesome too. Going to the beach for lunch, going for a run alone, meeting a friend for coffee, spending time with H, working on a cool project, blogging, reading. Or doing nothing. Things that refuel my reserves. Things that I deem worthy of my time. Things that matter to me.

So – as the deep summer is upon us – I encourage you to say “no” to something this week. Open up some space in your life. Maybe it’s something you hate, or something you said yes to once before and now feel obligated to keep it up. Maybe it’s something where the other person will be disappointed or you’ll feel guilty. Go listen to that podcast and try out that two-letter word. No.

Because you are not responsible for the success of anyone else.

You can be selfish, in the very best way. You can say No.

Hand To Heart

“Knowing we can create a safe space for ourselves, no matter where we are or how we feel, is a gift that will last the rest of your life.”
~Susannah Conway

It started with a simple suggestion from Heidi Taylor. That I could put my hand on my heart*, breathe in an observation (usually an unhappy, panicked one of overhwhelm) like “I don’t know how to deal with these emails” and then breathe out a response (usually a productive, supportive and self-loving suggestion) “sort them by sender, set a timer and take them one at a time”.

This practice of breathing with my hand to my heart started to create space around my responses to things. It gave me a way to acknowledge what I’m feeling and to self-soothe. Game changer.

I’ve also started meditating – short little guided meditations from Susannah Conway’s The Sacred Alone. I signed up for the class months ago, but never participated in real time. I try to do them when I wake up, between drinking some water and writing my morning pages.

These practices spilled over into my free time. I chose to go without any music or podcasts during a few of my commutes and a few 2m runs. One night, I laid down on the floor in our office, in the dark, and just watched the sky. A few days I didn’t check Twitter at all. I started reading a new book. I took my lunch break at the beach & stared at the waves.

With my anxiety up a lot the past few weeks, it’s been really amazing to have these physical practices of both self-soothing with my hand to my heart and sitting still for a few minutes while meditating. Both get me more into my body and out of my head, where the anxieties tend to grab their fuel. Making the conscious decision to limit the input/output of my days only creates more space.

It seems that what I’ve been craving is space. Safe, open, calm space. And space + noticing seems to equal presence. Because I don’t want to miss my one precious life. I want to live it.

*Heidi will tell you she found this practice via Kristin Neff.

**I highly recommend this hand-to-heart practice. Go on. Give it a try xo

 

 

2014 One Little Word


Flow first came to me via the INFJ business class I’m in. Abby spoke about working with our preferences, energy, cycles, seasons – “designing for flow” she called it.

Genius.

As I thought and felt through the last weeks of 2013, I tossed around a few words: hum, resonance, depth, grow. I wanted a word that could embody growth in an upward, expansive way, but also in a deep / depth way. I wanted a word that gave me the feeling of being one with energy, with people, with my life, and supported me in the way that “trust” did in 2012. Mostly I wanted a word that would move me forward through another spiral of life, *and* would be comforting.

The more I thought about “designing for flow” the more I realized this could be my word.

Here’s what flow means to me at the start of this year:
-Go with the flow, overcoming resistance. Energize focus.

-Cycles & seasons – following the planets, the moon, my own energy / body, a time to work, a time to harvest, a time to lie fallow. Respecting these rhythms. Aligned.

-Creativity – depth, bringing things together, allowing creativity to fill in the gaps of my days.

-Finding flow – the actual state of engagement and productivity.

-Waves, oceans, currents, tides. Sacred energy.¬†Heidi ¬†Taylor¬†mentioned “sacred idleness” on Twitter – that seems to resonate here. So does my Year of Ocean project.

-Movement Рclear space, energized focus give and take. Set up systems & structures to flow through.

-Priming the pump, filling the well, and taking care not to overdraw my reserves.

-Power in Ease (path of least resistance) – let go or be dragged, trust.

I’ve found that my one little words ask me to look at their opposites. The opposites for¬†flow I see now: resistance, stuck, scarcity, lack. When I’m experiencing these feelings through the year, I want to remember to come back to¬†flow.

Aligned + moving. Riding the waves. Living by the moon. xo

Interested in choosing your own word to guide you this year? I suggest two resources: Ali Edwards One Little Word series, as she’s the creator of this online project and Susannah Conway’s Unravelling booklet. Missed this in January? Don’t let whatever month it is keep you from choosing a word to carry with you the rest of the year.¬†

Welcome 2014

Sending out a big welcome to 2014, though I’m not as good with the whole “fresh start” as everyone else on the interwebs seem to be.

I’ve realized there is a transitional phase to the years for me. It takes so much for me to process what happened in a year and writing long lists of goals whilst high on a double latte just set me up for disappointment before MLK’s birthday.

December brings an upswing in my career ambitions, the holidays take a lot of energy (I mean, boatloads, people). Not to mention, every January I have to run the largest (aka most stressful) event of my paid job, which makes the whole month pretty much a rubber-band ball of anxiety. No wonder I usually feel a bit behind as the new year starts off.

Our holiday travels were full of family, and I’m so grateful for the time with them. However the trip also involved no sleep, very little in healthy foods, and a head cold for both of us (his hit while we were still at my parents’, mine is just settling in today). Also grateful for the extra week off since we’re on school schedules, but it’s zipping by.

I’m left feeling like I can’t get enough downtime, even though I just had two weeks off from work.

With that said, I’m taking solace in the new year’s moon that just graced our world. In fact, it’s a goal of mine this year to pay attention to the lunar cycles. And as Ezzie says: If you‚Äôre having a tricky time of planning your intentions for 2014, or if you feel that the year ahead seems overwhelming in its magnitude: rest assured, it‚Äôs not just you.

Well, thank goodness. Because 2014 could be summed up as “overwhelming” even before it started. Our calendar is booked through Christmas, H is adding another professional leadership item to his schedule, and I have more events and hopes for launching things than the past two years combined.

So for the rest of the weekend, I’m working on Unraveling 2014, my INFJ business class, and digging into the first installment of Ali Edwards’ One Little Word class.

Happy new year to your and yours. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to figure it all out this week. You have the next 365 days to reach whatever goals you’ve set. And you’re probably right where you need to be.

A Day Alone

I’m taking Abby Kerr’s INFJ Business class, and one of the things I’m learning about is recovery time.

How much I need, what tasks require more or less recovery time, and the self-imposed limits I’ve crafted for what is the “correct” recovery time for me (read: hustling / being good enough / work first, play later etc.)

Last week, I didn’t feel so hot. In fact, it’s the most out-of-it I’ve felt in a while. And even after a day of trying to take care of myself and starting to feel better, things were only looking slightly up.

So after two days of this, I decide to call out of work. And thank goodness. The pure relief of not having any pressure, the freedom to do what I wanted, the delight of playing hooky – it was exactly what I needed. I felt better immediately.

I saw my therapist, went to my favorite cafe and worked on my INFJ class, hunted down and rented a costume for a party, ate lunch and read a book at another fav cafe, and then came home to relax.

It was bliss.

And the reason I share this is because I forgot sometimes what I need. And maybe you do too. So here’s a suggestion: I encourage you to take a day for yourself. I know that sounds indulgent, b/c it is. It is not often we are encouraged to take a day for ourselves. So if you can’t go for that, try an afternoon or even an hour in a cafe, reading a magazine or a long walk outside alone. Allow yourself to pick something for you, and go for it.

 

500th Time of Allowing Myself

Carter and I this morning during our bike ride.

What I want to tell you is this is my 500th post, and at such a milestone, I wanted to celebrate the way that bloggers do…

But I’m realizing more and more how much hustling goes on online, with word-count limits, bullet lists and productivity tricks. I mean, I knew I was avoiding that type of space, but it’s only in the past few months I’m thinking about actually creating this space, fleshing it out with my own experience and inviting you to share yours.

So instead of a give-away, top 10 list or guest posting all over the interwebs, I am here, doing my usual thing. Sharing stuff about life.

I hosted a work event last night – it went as perfectly as an annual event can, with the help of lovely volunteers and the weather knocking down the RSVP list (this is a good thing). And even though I rested beforehand and didn’t have much on my plate today, even though I had volunteers and nothing crazy happened, even though I was home and in bed before midnight and didn’t drink a single sip of alcohol – I woke up today feeling totally wiped out.

This almost always happens. The effort of planning, executing and keeping myself calm for the weeks prior and during the hours of an event, lead to some crazy post-event hangover.

I think it’s a pressure thing. I’m learning in my INFJ business class how my type is prone to over-achieving and over-extending… not to mention perfectionism.

And in honor of my INFJ-ness, I went for self-care today, but it seemed I felt worse as I tried a myriad of things: working, running errands, reading, and finally napping. Somehow even napping made me feel worse. I mean, come on.

It’s only hours later, after a walk outside in the chilly air, two Advil, a mug of hot tea, and a heat pack on my neck that I’m feeling able to do anything. Sitting here & writing is a major step up from the tears that leaked out while I changed the bed sheets.

It’s posts like Dream Time by Elizabeth that remind me it’s OK to have days like this (serendipity has her using Van Morrison too hah). It’s listening to this podcast again, Jen Lee speaking with Michael Nobbs, that remind me it’s OK to not be able to get too much done. It’s this episode of Creative Living with Jamie where they speak about honoring seasons and experiencing winter… and it’s me trying to remember where I am in the moon cycle, as maybe that’s what’s to blame for all of this.

I know a good night’s sleep will help. I know this is only temporary. And I know my body & emotions process things in ways my mind doesn’t understand… so it’s only fitting that my 500th blog post is really just me circling all of these resources and lessons again – and allowing myself to be.

xo

Let the Holiday Seaon Begin!

Last night I ran a holiday event for work. It was awesome – we had a fabulous group of people show up, all went smoothly and my superiors are happy. On the other hand, it was tiring – talking to that many people, standing in the cold (my hips and feet were so stiff) and working a 12hr day.

Being the first event of the holiday season, it was a nice kick-off. I got to see so many people from the alumni community I oversee and all were in bright moods. I especially loved seeing Krysta who has become one of the coolest people I’ve connected with in 2012. (I wrote about her here) We’re pictured above ūüôā

I spent most of the day recovering – events take so much out of me (I’m an INFJ) I did my work, had Starbucks with my sister, went grocery shopping, she’s baking cookies and we’ll make arroz con pollo for dinner. I spent a chunk of the afternoon chatting with my good friend Liz who’s two weeks into her relocation to the East Coast.

None of this is incredibly interesting but it’s my life this week. It’s balancing events and home and anxiety and enjoying friends. It’s the start of the holidays and the end of 2012. It’s me circling and revisiting what matters most – time with people I love, being home and not putting too much weight on the things that don’t matter.

**If you’re looking to review your year in a gorgeous and inspiring way, visit Susannah Conway’s blog for her yearly workbook.