Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: presence

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.

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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

 

 

Quick Re-Focus

The internet is wonderful.

I found Kristen via Instagram, I’m sure by way of Project Life or some other paper crafting topic. She has a little process where she jots down her “right now” on these adorable Currently cards.

Back to the work grind this week – it’s probably been 2 months since I’ve worked 5 days straight, mostly from the office. Yesterday, a mid-day slump hit and then I saw Kristen tweet about using a Currently card to re-focus. So I did just that.

I’d just made the little card while on the phone with my mom and it seemed like the perfect canvas for my right now.

No need to reiterate it as the picture speaks for itself, except to say that Game of Thrones? I GET IT NOW. I apologize for my delay in hopping on that wagon. We’ve watched all of season 1 in 4 days and are straight into season 2. Probably have watched 30 hours of TV in the next week and a half. Sheesh.

Happy Thursday xo

Day In The Life: Live Is Being Lived

Lately, I’ve been up and down emotionally. When this happens, I never know exactly why and therefore randomly try things to help me feel better. Most don’t seem to work and the best plan is just to wait it out. Monday was anxiety, Wednesday was frustration, and Thursday was something close to depression.

But when I remembered it was June’s “day in the life“, I perked up. Here was something that could anchor my day. Something that would remind me to notice the moments and to choose the “better” task hour to hour.

So, I went through my day, taking photos. And I remembered my horoscope from Astrobarry last week:

In case you haven’t noticed by now, Pisces, the horoscopes I’ve been writing you lately have been pretty fucking awesome. They have mostly centered around accepting yourself for who you are, right here and right now (instead of mooning over what could’ve been or might someday be), and just reveling in the giddiness and gorgeousness and general good-time feelings wherever and whenever you can find ’em. Now, I don’t want to be a sugarcoating bliss-ninny and give you the mistaken impression that everything in life will be sunshine and rainbow and tutti-frutti ice-cream cones from here on out—hell, I bet even at the best of times, there are still some things that are functioning poorly and/or mainly serve the role of ‘giant pain-in-the-ass’. And yet, here comes a year full of Jupiter-in-the-5th, starting early next week, which is one of the loveliest astrological happenings a sign can experience: an increase of encouraging planetary energy in the house of love and romance, children and child-like wonder, pleasure and play, and all leisure-time activities which bring creative self-fulfillment. Raise the roof on that one, dear fishy! While this will not magically remove all bumps-in-the-road or thorns-in-your-side, it does support you whenever you take steps to improve your appreciative enjoyment of the world. Knowing you, the hardest part just might be determining what you most genuinely enjoy… without unduly considering everyone else’s preferences and pressures. Doing more of what you really really love, by the way, is an incredibly attractivequality.

And I focused on doing what I wanted to do.

This is the hardest thing for me. I may seem all bad-ass and confident, but sometimes the slightest look from a friend or word from H can send me off into the hustle for worthiness.

This week had plenty of that as I prepared for my annual review. Even though I just received a promotion, even though I rock my job, it sent me into a panic. Thoughts swirling about if I’ve done enough and will make the cut. If I’m liked

But I kept my focus on taking those photos. And the ideas from above: “just reveling in the giddiness and gorgeousness and general good-time feelings wherever and whenever you can find ’em… pleasure and play, and all leisure-time activities which bring creative self-fulfillment“.

And I realize now as I write this that the act of taking these photos, of noticing my life, gives value to where I’m at, allowing myself to do what I want with these precious minutes I’m given each day. And it brings creative fulfillment, which brings me deep happiness with myself and my life.

*The picture of the 3 of us on our family walk is my fav

—Related—
Ali Edward’s Day In The Life
Susannah Conway’s e-courses, especially Unravelling
Liz Lamoreux
Brene Brown

As Fully Myself As Possible

Today was difficult.

Not because anything was wrong. There wasn’t a ton of work to do and my schedule was open. Maybe it was all the running around this weekend (or for that matter, the alcohol). Maybe it’s my lack of working out or the Moon in Capricorn or it being Monday.

No matter. Today was annoying from the start. And I went with it.

I’ve learned that there’s no point in fighting any of it. I get up, get dressed and try to accomplish a small task or two for the day. Or maybe one large item I can knock off.

I don’t force myself. Berating thoughts are not allowed in my head. There are no “have tos” or “shoulds”, just a simple question, “What next?” I realized that frustrating days are out of my control. They exist for a reason I can not see at the time, maybe only to counter-balance the insanely productive days.

On these perplexing days it’s extra important to go through my daily routine, leaning on it for place markers, a sense of a through-line. I write morning pages, walk the dog outside, set up my computer and respond to emails. I choose one thing I can get done with the energy I have. Today I accomplished a few things, but in other terms, failed at completing, or even starting, anything I “had to” do.

I showed up for life and that’s a heck of a lot more than I used to be able to do, even back when I was oh-so-productive. Yes, I crossed items off my To Do list then, but I wasn’t living. I was some task-doing-robot version of me.

Today I chatted with my mom – I think she had some things she needed to work out. I texted with my sister about her visit. I cooked a full dinner. I walked the dog at the ocean and then again after work. I did an hour of yoga. And here I am writing to you.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are ~Anain Nin

That quote, from one of my favorite authors and birthday sister, is truer now than I’ve ever known it to be. A year or two ago, I would’ve suffered through a day like today, beating myself up for not being productive enough or chipper enough or forcing myself to do things I didn’t have the energy for, and then felt guilty for how, in all of my toughness, I couldn’t “handle” the day in which life seemed perfect yet I was miserable.

Instead I gave in to this flow of life – I trusted and stayed present and went with each moment. And I’m only able to do that now because I see myself as part of this flow, as trust and presence and love. During my yoga practice, I chose the small prayer “It’s all enough“… because it is. Each day, every time.

Emails, to dos, projects, other people’s approval – they matter, but not in the way I used to believe. What matters now is that I treat myself like a precious object, and show up in the world as fully myself as possible on any given day.

And that’s all the business I really have to worry about.

Birthday Intention

Happy birthday to me! 2.21 – my very special number.

By the time I realized, it was too late in the week to plan anything official. On a whim we ended up at the Library Alehouse (loved this place) Friday night, Hals Bar & Grill Saturday and a house party for game night Sunday. We took full advantage of the 3-day weekend with drinking, napping, running errands and cleaning.

The whole weekend was low key, but the celebrations felt fluid. No panic to plan anything, really no drive to make a big deal. Friends had our waiter bring dessert with a candle, another friend had cheesecake for me. They sang and I blew the candles out, not sure what to wish for, but grateful to have friends, have love and be in good health.

I don’t have any big words for what this birthday means for me. This past year was huge – while I wanted so much, I didn’t expect it. Facing the next 12 months is too much. I’m focused on smaller time-lines. I’m interested to see where the next 4 weeks take me as planets move through Pisces. Waiting to see how things play out as they shift and change.

Fingers crossed that things get rolling before Mercury Retrogrades in March. So much is happening in that period of March to May. No therapy, two major events, work changing, parental visits, some home decorating and a possible trip. Basically, life, but y’know, scary for a planner like me. So much uncertainty.

As I wrote here, I’m thinking it’s important to concentrate on creating – giving myself the space and permission to do whatever art I want. Luckily, I found Karen Walrond at the perfect time (last week) and she shares a bunch about (art) journaling. And that brings me to a new inspiration – ZENTANGLE. I’ll have more to share about this soon, but you can see some in action here.

Doodling with repetitive patterns. Coloring in little drawings. Pen and paper are the only requirements. It’s soothing, calms my mind and just feels good. I.love.it.

My new intention is to concentrate on creating. This requires my word of the year: “presence“. With the current Pisces vibe I know it’s the perfect time to pull inward, but I also know I’ll be pulled outward. I’m learning balance. Working with the anxiety that will come up will be the hardest part. Creating should help with this. I’m also contemplating doing the Artist’s Way again starting in March. We’ll see. Just trying to really listen to myself now, and learn.

To Gain Value

Staying in line with my theme of emerging / presence, “appreciation” could be the binding element. As my life has expanded and my true self has begun to emerge here in 2010, I’ve found that my ability to notice and appreciate the details has expanded as well.

The Happiness Project had this quote the other day and it sums it up perfectly:

“Happiness does not consist in things themselves but in the relish we have of them; and a man has attained it when he enjoys what he loves and desires himself, and not what other people think lovely and desirable.”  ~ La Rochefoucauld

It’s silly to write, “this year I’ve learned to appreciate appreciation” but it’s true. I am learning to appreciate my life, to be truthful about my own desires and recognize that, in the long run, I’m here to make myself happy. Not in some selfish way but in a self-serving way. If I focus on my happiness, my wholeness, my reality then I will be healthy enough to serve others.

This definition suits my point: sensitive awareness. Being sensitive and hyper-aware then, my emergence this year has allowed me to notice the details of my life. To relax into a Saturday nap or notice the sunlight trees on early morning walks with the dog. To just be present and whole in the moment. To know that everything is good and as it should be, even if it feels upsetting or scary. To give myself all the approval for my life that I’ve been aching for from other people.

I love these posts, and not because I’m super prepared to respond. Unfortunately, each post feels like some hurtful, critical feedback – too difficult and too much to contemplate. I’m realizing, though, that it’s partially the perfectionist in me (will my post be right?)  and partially that I’ve just never thought about these things. In fact, I was having a terrible time of “gratitude” a month or two ago. I just didn’t get it. Somehow something changed because I feel more grateful for my days now. I think that shift happened with being more present. The less time my mind is on the past or the future the more I am available to experience the fullness of life in the moment.

Appreciate – to gain value. As my I’ve focused on myself this year, as I’ve allowed myself to just be, with less criticism and pressure, I’ve found that my life is richer and more perfect than it ever has before. But my life hasn’t changed that much.

I did. I am relishing in what I have.

Emergence / Presence

My word for 2010 is emergence.

Grand Canyon

Jupiter was in Pisces, Saturn moved out of Virgo. I felt myself expanding, gaining confidence and beginning to learn who I really am.

A few weeks ago, I was worried that I had wasted this year, but then I started listing events.

Travel, which was a goal for 2010: We took trips to Utah, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Diego, and multiple trips to the East Coast (MA, PA, NY, FL and NC).

Lots of firsts: I flew in a helicopter, drove an ATV, started therapy, hiked Angels Landing, slept under the stars, shot a shotgun, rode a horse, launched another event, and established this blog.

Huge life events: We adopted a dog AND got engaged.

And my favorite accomplishment of 2010? Finally liking peanut butter! (haha)

I didn’t participate in Bestof09 but I followed along as Gwen Bell reviewed her year. It inspired me to make some general goals (?) for the coming year. Now I’m excited to be fully in #reverb10.

And that brings me to my word for 2011 – Presence.

Honestly, it just came to me, but it feels right. With all of the emerging, thinking, feeling and living I’ve been doing, if there’s anything I want it’s to live my life more fully. To not be concerned with the past or the future, but to be fully present now.

To exist in the now. Companionship. Self-assurance. Calmness. Enough. To be fully in my body, my life and for that to be enough.

Pups

Grand Canyon Morning