Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: olw

Check List for Worthwhileness

We had Monday off from work – and there is nothing I love more than a Monday holiday. A perfect day for some climbing outside (it’s been months) at Stoney Point.

Making a 1/2 day trek to LA’s urban outdoor rock gym is right in line with my adventuring for 2015.

It requires some planning, getting up early on a day off, packing a bit, and the whole hustle it takes to actually get going. Then, once you’re there, you scout around for the routes, re-route your plan if other people are already there, discuss anchor points, look at maps, stand in the hot sun and set anchors (this part mostly done by H), and then finally – almost 2 hrs after you left the house – you’re ready to climb.

And climbing is a metaphor for life itself, but we don’t need to go into it right now. Instead, what I want to point out is, all of the above is hurdle enough to keep people (and by “people”, I mean me) from doing anything interesting with their time.

So a day like this is really just a check-list for embarking on anything worthwhile:
Plan a bit
Pack a bit
Invite someone cool to travel with
Stare at maps some
Scout a bit
Route + re-route as needed
Tie in / buckle up / walk off the cliff (whatever, you get it)
… and enjoy it

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2015 One Little Word: Adventure

2015 was off to a slow start on the personal end coupled with a roaring schedule for work. This required turning in, focusing my energy where it was needed – on myself and my job.

Now that the knot of work loosened, I am excited to shift focus to my own projects. What better way to get clear on my intentions than by sharing my One Little Word for 2015?

Adventure. Yes.

While most of the past 10 weeks are a blur of holidays, work and not-so-great events, my OLW came to me before that. In the midst of traveling to Denver, Joshua Tree and Boston – on flights, during road trips, while climbing rock faces – I started to feel an inkling of something new. A whisper of forward movement. A feeling of needing to shake things up.

I could already feel the Saturn shift happening, and the planet of hard work was moving right into adventure-loving Sagittarius.

Perfect timing.

 

Flow: Month Six

Ah, June.

I have to say, this entire year has felt like a whirlwind – at times I feel like I’m cruising along, other times I feel like I’m drowning. Up & down. It’s only in the past few days I’m surfacing again.

June saw me travel for work (again), family visiting (again), work drama (again), and not feeling so hot (again). But there was good too – I hired a life coach, climbed outdoors in gorgeous New Hampshire, renewed my Year of Ocean commitment, napped in the late afternoons, killed it at my annual review, spent quality time with friends and had a week with family in Newport Beach.

So much life is coming at me head on and I don’t have a reference point to deal with it all. And even though it’s all good things, it’s a lot.

I need a break.

I’m realizing that flow, like anything else, is actually a negative thing if taken too far.

I am moving at the whim of everything and there is no time to catch my breath. It’s like I’m a boat taking on water, and what I really need to be asking myself is “Do I have to carry this right now?” Because I take on a lot. Probably too much.

This, of course, is the on-going struggle I have. To prioritize my own life over that of everyone else in it. To say “No”.

While I have the perspective to know that everything is not a crisis, I still feel responsible for it all.

What I’m thinking is that I could use some structure for my flow. Some perspective. Some scheduling and processes. Nothing crazy, since I already know that creating structure and abiding by it are two different skill sets, but I’ve got to figure out something.

Life is steam-rolling me and going with the flow is gonna get me sucked out to sea.

It occurred to me this morning that there is a level of fear and hard work that I’m not willing to face. That doing everyone else’s bidding is exhausting, but I receive immediate positive feedback from it, so it feels like a win. Doing my own thing could result in too many variables: things not working, getting in trouble by someone else, having to say no / disappoint people, not reaching the goal.

But I’m seeing that to live a deeply nourishing existence, I need to not just carve out my own time, but to structure my time around me. There is a difference.

I feel like I’m sinking, when I want to be swimming. Diving deep. That requires energy and focus. And so that is where my heart is after 6 months of flow. Here’s to another 6 more.

You can see all of my OLW ~flow~ posts here.

 

Flow: Month Five

 

Like I wrote here about my jury duty experience, May was a befitting challenge to my OWL ~flow~ because I spent two weeks in a situation I did not want to be in.

It was all about giving in to reality, like how H told me to float on my back that time we were caught in a rip current, but I didn’t know it, and the waves kept crashing over my head, and my body went into full panic.

Give in to the fact that the house feels like a disaster between moving everything around for the new floors, not being home and not cleaning. It will all eventually get done.

Give in to the fact that some nights it felt too hot to sleep, that the heat wave made us all cranky, that even after jury duty, I had stressful dreams for a while. Turn on the a/c even if it makes us feel like bad people, and get some rest.

Give in to the fact that I couldn’t go see my therapist. Up the self-care & be my own supportive voice.

Give in to the fact that I couldn’t get work done, or didn’t have the energy, or things were taking forever. If it absolutely needs to get done, it’ll get done. If it doesn’t, it won’t.

Give in to the fact that I had to tell people “no” and deal with their reactions. Can’t please them all.

Give in to the fact that I had a ton of energy and wasn’t sure where to put it. Go out for more runs.

And while it seemed the month went by in a blink, I did get two long posts out – one, a blog hop Jill invited me to, and another about climbing outdoors (for the first time). I ran more miles in May than any other month so far this year (and for the past 12 months, only rivaling November 2013. Both months ran for a total of over 40miles). I printed pictures and bought an Instax camera and drank a lot of coffee (which made me happy).

We are deep into binge-watching Game of Thrones (which started me on a Kit Harington/Jon Snow bender) and finally visited with some friends who had a baby. We celebrated H’s 30th birthday. We went to an observatory and I looked into the night sky through a big-deal telescope, and then looked for the light. And I finally got to Joshua Tree, to the desert.

Even when life is stressful, we find our days resemble some sense of vacation because we have the luxury of living in SoCal. Just the other day, as I biked home from a coffee date with a friend, I felt pretty lucky to be where I’m at, jury duty, work, messy house and all. To remind myself, I checked in and refocused.

All of that pent up frustration of having to sit still in a spot I didn’t want to be, seemed to create enough pressure to spring me into an idea-creating frenzy. I am excited to follow that thread. It’s scary how fast May flew by, but lately June is my favorite, so I’m pretty happy to be right here again. Flowing through 2014.

How’s your one little word for the year going?

You can see all of my OLW ~flow~ posts here.

p.s. Mercury, the messenger of the Gods, goes retrograde tomorrow. If there was ever a good time to back-up your files, double-check your work, go with the flow and enjoy the journey, now until July 1st would be a good time.

Flow: Month Four

April was a lot like March, if March was on speed.

The craziness that was the second half of March took over ALL of April.

Traveled to Boston, where I spent a night with my parents, went climbing outdoors for the first time, worked three 12-hour days, had an all-night happier with friends, took the 7am EST flight back (at this point, I was on no time zone what-so-ever), returned to LA to find the entire downstairs of the apartment in upheaval, as H decided he was going to finally change out the floors, with his entire family landing at LAX the next afternoon. Then on to them visiting us for 12 days – including going to Six Flags, Universal Studios, and doing a crazy hike in hot weather – and then packing up and going to Stagecoach country music festival for 4 days.

Whew.

In each circumstance, with each day, came a new reason to go with the flow.

Traveling for work is nothing if it’s not just showing up and doing my best.

Coming home with the expectation that H and I would relax before his family arrived, only to have the apartment in upheaval for the next two weeks, gave me the opportunity to repeat “it’ll get done…and we’ll finally have new floors”.

Staring at a massive pile of stuff in our office while said floors were replaced let me cut myself a break and know that, when I had the energy, I would put it all back together again.

Being whipped around time zones, with no routine, lots of restaurant food and family in town made me listen to my body more. Was I thirsty? Grab a glass of water. Was I tired? Let’s take a nap. Did I need to burn off some energy? How about a run.

Attending a music festival with 60k people and camping off-site meant the control-freak in me could only do so much. I really just had to see what came up next and go with it. With sixty-thousand other people. Haha.

Getting not one, but TWO, flat tires on the drive to the festival gave me the chance to ask for help, hang with my sister (where she took the awesome picture  of me above) and really trust that things would work out.

And y’know what? They did. They do. Over and over again. Things work out, timing makes sense, people stop by, strangers speak up and things I thought were imperative end up being kind of… whatever.

I already wrote this here, but my therapist said it best “Justine. You’re doing really well. You’re just rolling with the punches”.

Crazy thing is, I don’t feel like I’m rolling with the punches – I hardly feel like I’m being punched anymore. Nothing seems that dire right now (and of course, I’m lucky/grateful that’s the case). But it used to be that my car stereo not working could send me into a tailspin, and somehow having two flat tires was, like, nothing. We were safe, we had food and water, we called for help and we figured it out. A total pain, but relatively easy in the grand scheme of my life.

So despite how chaotic my schedule is lately, I am feeling pretty awesome. I know it won’t always be like this, and I def have days where I cry or just want to watch TV and zone out, but I am proud of myself, again, for cultivating a sense of well-being, of confidence that I can figure it out, of trust that things will work out…

For trusting and honoring flow.


Read about how my OLW ~flow~ worked for me in January, February and March. xo

Flow: Month Three

We can sum up March as I’ve finally gotten my energy back and it’s a good thing because I am committed to a shit-ton of stuff.

I know I hardly blogged in March, but that’s OK because 3 months into 2014 and I’ve:

  • Cut back on my drinking
  • Grabbed coffee with a woman I met at the retreat 6 months ago
  • Continued running 2-5x per week, usually 2m at a time with the dog (slooooooow)
  • Started (and become obsessed) with rock climbing at an indoor gym
  • Spoke an an important meeting
  • Traveled to San Diego and Big Bear
  • Hosted 10 events for work, one of which was the most well-attended event for our office ever
  • Attended a conference and a training
  • Took care of our homelife while H took his Comps test and ran the talent show
  • Biked 10m on a hot day to see a best friend as she ran the LA marathon (go Steph!)
  • Wished my mom a happy birthday (with my siblings and the gift of an expensive purse hah)
  • Hung out with another best friend while she visited LA (hi Liz!)
  • Read two magnificent books
  • Had Conan O’Brien talk to me (thanks to a friend I made at the conference, who needed a tour around Abbott Kinney and conveniently wanted to order a hot chocolate from the Toms Shoe store right as Conan also  came in to order a coffee)

So, I’m still going with the flow. Even when I forget that flow is my word for the year – I’m working on a new level of acceptance: This is how things are – an acknowledgement of how something really is and not the half-imagined version my brain would like it to be.

Interestingly, I have no real routine – every week is different – and this will continue for April as I travel and we have family visit. Yet, I’m still functioning fine. Things are getting done, cycles are aligning with the moon, emails get answered…eventually.

I have noticed a bit of multi-tasking manic-ness creeping in. When I read Sas Petherick’s “Calling Bullshit On Multitasking” I laughed out loud. She writes: “When I feel organised, I feel more confident, more in control.”

I get that, and I agree, but I’m also aware this week how much this seems to be my season of high energy, pulling a lot of information in and (possibly soon) creating a lot of product to ship out. My energy is great, my brain feels clearer and my confidence is up. If I was swimming through rapids in January and February, March felt like I finally caught a wave.

Looking forward to riding it for the rest of April.

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 – clear 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.