Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: rest

Wandering Through the Garden

“Working on ourselves is a lot like cultivating a garden.” ~ lois wilson

My friend Steve shared the quote above on yesterday’s post where I spoke about my slow entry into this new year. The garden reference supports what I’m feeling – that the past 2 months or so were a time to rest, to let the fields lay fallow, to drawn in.

But with the new year energy (all those motivating pins on Pinterest! all those big resolution posts on Facebook!) it make sense to feel a little behind. And then one of the biggest shifts in astrological news coincided with Christmas week – Saturn moved from Scorpio (underworld, emotions) to Sagittarius (curiosity, actions).

It’s like the whole Universe is a classroom full of kids being let out the day before summer break. It’s hard to ignore that type of energy, that cosmic shift.

Astrobarry wrote about here:

…and if there’s one central theme we can confidently associate with the taskmaster-planet’s recent occupation of the archer’s-sign, it’s that our job is now to move decidedly forward, straight into the heart of the action, the adventure, the excitement, to the obvious next-destination on this journey and/or toward that which really matters to us. Life’s too short to get caught replaying details of the past…

That is what I’ve been feeling – a serious focus on forward movement. Future. Dreaming, but with plans. Ideas but with outlines. Projects that lead to goals.

But for all that energy, it doesn’t mean we know what to do with it yet:

For the time being, many of us are sort of wandering through our new year, still acclimating to the different Saturn vibe. We aren’t sure quite how quickly or dramatically to move forward, caught between eager optimism and recalcitrant fear. Even as circumstances change, our minds remain in a struggle to catch up, as suggested by Mercury’s current retrograde (continuing through Feb 11). In this unfamiliar territory, it makes sense to proceed by feel, sensitive to our surroundings, somewhat meek or tempered with the force of our actions, still assessing the astrological temperature before taking more confident ownership.

I think that’s what I meant yesterday, I’m feeling my way through right now – not pushing myself to go any faster or work any harder than I need to. And I’m OK with that.

I know from experience that for each down turn there is an upswing. Like for each winter there’s a spring. xo

 

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Powering Down

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I haven’t been posting as much lately. I’m super grateful for this space and for you, dear reader. And I find the holiday season sweeps me up and carries me into it’s darker, festive days.

So, I’m going to power-down this space for the next few weeks in order to finish up work, enjoy time with my family and gear up for the new year.

Here are a few things I have going on:

– Moving this blog over to it’s own URL, hosting and tweaking a new layout. It’s going to be all sorts of revamped (I hope).

– Napping. A lot. Sometimes I just need more rest than other months.

– Hosting Christmas at our place, for my family, for the first time ever.

– Enjoying having my husband, parents and siblings all together on Christmas morning for the first time in the 12 years H and I have been together.

– Promoting a big work event (the one that usually steamrolls me in January) and trying not to lose my shit.

– Writing Christmas cards. Shopping for gifts online. Panicking ever so slightly we won’t have it all done in time.

– Celebrating my sister and good friend’s birthdays.

– Going to the movies! I’ve seen Gone Girl, Interstellar, Nightcrawler, Hunger Games and Exodus in the past 2 months.

– Scrapbooking, aka putting words and pictures together on paper.

– Savoring time with H, walks with Carter Cash and coffee dates with friends.

– Generally feeling great about life and the awesomeness of 2014.

– Working my way through the Unraveling 2015 workbook. Get yours here.

Cheers to your holiday and a happy new year to you! xo

Living For The Love

Life is moving at lightening speed, with work event hosting and planning, trying to get as much work done as possible in the few business days before the Christmas vacation.

And yet, days goes slowly. My energy is low again, the darker evenings bring on a sleepiness I can’t battle, and I feel like tucking in – to needlepoint, to books, to hockey on TV, to bed with flannel sheets and night walks with the dog.

This morning, I read Yes by Jillian at The Noisy Plume:

…life is short.  It becomes more and more apparent to me as I watch my grandparents in the twilight of their wonderful lives, as I watch my parents age, as I see our siblings and friends having babies and growing the next generation, as I see the lines of a life well lived begin to pepper my face.  I’m not going to live forever.  Neither are you.  I am concerned that when I lay in the quiet of a failing heartbeat on my deathbed that I will regret how much time I spent worrying, how much time I spent on my computer hitting a “like” button, how many days I sacrificed making memories with the people I love on the land I adore for a small job I didn’t pour my heart and soul into.  When I realized all of this, I decided to say yes as often as possible to the people closest to me, even if there were 100 unanswered and festering emails in my inbox, even if I was straddling a deadline in the studio, even if I was running late on photo submissions for freelance work — I started setting those things aside and doing a better job of living for love, living for the love of life, living for the love of experiences.

Her words wrap around the feelings I have about the panic that sets in about events, unanswered emails, the general piles of stuff that spring up around the house and the to-do lists. In the end, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the time I’ve spent with people “living for the love of experiences”.

———

Rest keeps coming up for me too, from tweets, to blog posts, to friend’s emails. Like, OK Universe, I hear you.

November saw me travel to Boston, to Denver, to Joshua Tree. I haven’t blogged about any of it yet, and I’m not sure why. I know there is some type of flow that happens between living / experiencing life the writing / reflecting I do… and I think I may need to do even more of that to really grasp what that flow is. To articulate it to you in words.

It’s so hard to revel in this season when everything seems to be so busy busy busy. I am taking time out each day to post a photo for December Reflections. I turn the Christmas lights on at night. I’m sipping a lot of hot chocolate and letting the holiday music blast through speakers while I work. The to-do list is focused, albeit shorter and shorter to cope with my lack of energy, but even in my weariness, things are getting done.

And then this by David Whyte:

To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner bulls eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.

Again – to move from a place of outward productivity to a place of inward enjoyment. Reflection. A different type of giving and receiving. Especially being open to receiving.

If that’s what I focus on in the the next few weeks – receiving – I should be able to sing sink* right into the holiday spirit.

*Originally I wrote sing which I thought was a wonderful slip as music seems to move me much more lately, and singing is an excellent way to move into the holiday spirit. xo

Re-entry

I could go into all of the craziness that has been 6+ weeks of my life, but right now I’m throwing down the marker that I am back, here, home, loving my life. It’s such a relief, really, to be back in it after leaving it for some many days.

With that said, re-entry is hard. Finally slowing down involves a lot of metal-on-metal from the brakes, waiting for my energy to steady, feeling my mind smooth over like ripples on water.

I’ve napped almost every day this week, guzzling glasses of water, falling asleep as early as 8:30pm and not waking up until 7am. Some mornings, the catch-up for work feels impossible, like I’ll be forever back-logged, and then other days I power through 40 emails. I have energy for meetings but find afterwards my voice is hoarse and I need to lay down.

My life is so full, and I am so grateful for all of the experiences of the past 6 weeks – but it’s time now for me to slip back into the soft comfort of my life, of my living – to find my own routine again and just be.

But first, rest

There was a new moon on Sunday – and I slept right through it. What a way to welcome in this new season, eh?

Sunday morning, I rollerbladed the dog to the Farmer’s Market (how LA of me, I know). Cruising through the stalls on my skates, I picked out blood oranges, rye bread and farm-fresh eggs. Back at home I cooked a full breakfast. We watched the Flyers game and ate our food.

And somewhere in the 3rd period, I started to nod off. And slept for over an hour, on the couch. H woke me up to ask if I wanted to go climbing, which I did – was looking forward to it all week – but I just couldn’t get moving.

I ended up back in bed, post-shower – warm, clean and more sleepy than before. The sliding door was open and a strong breeze was outside, rustling through the palms. I slept, fairly deeply, for over 3 hours. Each time I woke up, I listened to the breeze outside, felt the cool sheets, and just knew I needed to keep laying there until I felt filled back up.

It took until Monday morning, sleeping in later than I normally do, to finally make me feel rested.

Two weeks ago I attended a conference on higher ed social media. Last week, I spent the day at the YouTube Space in LA.

Both events set my mind churning with ideas.

I am not sure how to capture all of them. Not sure what to do with all of them. I can feel the potential for my work expanding and I can feel that I’m lagging behind. There’s not enough time to capture, organize, do.

Then something clicked – these big ideas I’m having, that could catapult me right out of my current space, are too much. I’m falling into the Mars retrograde problem of all show & no go. I don’t want to talk a big game, I want to create, produce and have something to show for my work.

It’s not about revamping my resume (though it needs an update) or about finding a new job (I like my current position). It’s about going deeper into what I do well and what I can create in my current position. It’s about the work I do for myself.

It rings true for my ideas about flow too – that I need to be ride the waves, be present, act on what’s in front of me, and honor the seasonal shifts.

So I think my day-long nap on Sunday gave me a new perspective – in a subconscious, processing way. There is a certain knowing I’m experiencing in the past month, a confidence in feeling that I am kicking butt, that I am prepared, that there is opportunity for me to step up my game.

But first, I needed to rest.

Flow: Month One

Looking back over January, I have one word for myself: proud.

I’m proud that I managed my anxiety with four major events in 21 days, kept up my workload, gave myself space when I needed it and listened to my intuition.

There was the upswing of anxiety with events – planning, preparing, all hurry-up-and-wait.

There was plunging exhaustion with so much adrenaline coursing through me I only slept 8 hours in 2 days.

There was the serendipity of being asked, “What are you proud of?” the day after the last event played off.

That night, getting coconut milk ice cream with these ladies, I experienced a deja vu, only to have the store clerk say “That means you’re on the right path.”

There was Heidi’s advice via Instagram: “lots of deep breathing to help slow your body down. Generous amounts of kindness and compassion for yourself especially in recounting the event and your delivery of it. Listen to your body and do your best to give yourself permission to give it what it needs most. Hang in, Justine. You have a great sense of awareness around your HSP so I trust you will know what you need. 🙂 …the tears are a great sign that you are releasing. The more you can give into them, allow for them, and not judge them, the more peace you will find. Be gentle with your process.”

I gave into the tears, so hot and heaving one morning, I thought they wouldn’t end. And I was gentle.

I shared on Facebook:
This weekend I was the gal in the arena “who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if (s)he fails, at least fails while daring greatly”

I had almost 500 people show up to one event. We had 3 events total. I leaned heavily on my coworkers & husband. I didn’t sleep. I took good care of myself. I laughed with people and almost cried under pressure. Then actually cried in the shower. I chose green juice and then downed margaritas. I answered email from bed, walked the beach and checked Instagram too many times. I was focused, scattered, grateful, pissed and everything in between.

Risk requires vulnerability and vulnerability requires trust & love & really good people in the arena with you. The critics don’t count b/c their not even in the game. Remember that. xo

And then I posted this: Brene Brown – Listening To Shame

I drank too much (again) and took naps at 5pm in the afternoon. I did a ton of work and then soaked in a hot tub. Twice. H and I went to San Diego for a night. I hiked during the day and checked email late at night. I swam in the ocean. I went out on runs with Carter and then took over a week off from exercise because of a terrible cold. And stress.

I started pulling tarot cards – tuning into whatever magic the Universe whispers through signs. I pulled the Eight of Pentacles (focusing on the task) and The World (fulfillment of a grand project) multiple times. It’s become a morning ritual.

Somehow, it is what we’d call a “net win” – coming out at the end of January feeling confident in myself, trusting and moving along with whatever reality brought me.

It truly felt like a month of ebb and flow, week to week, day to day, even hour to hour.

And I was determined to not put my living on hold while I was awash in the anxieties of these work pressures, and I succeeded. I asked for help and received it. I was open to whatever came my way. I risked and was rewarded.

I think I grew more this past month than in other month’s combine. And I’m proud. I went with the flow. I was the girl in the arena. And I dared greatly.

Much Needed Rest

The month of high-pressure events, networking and hustling is over. And even though I’m exhausted, I survived, remarkably better than previous years.

I welcome February, my birthday month, with open arms.

I took yesterday off and spent it devouring The Goldfinch, biking with Carter, and talking with a friend at a marathon lunch at the library cafe.

Today we’re headed to see the Flyers play the Kings and I’m hoping the rest of the weekend (and the month) involves a lot of much needed rest. xo

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

Naps

This week I was in Boston for work. I arrived late after a delayed plane, so I wasn’t eating dinner until 11pm EDT the first night. After a clunky and uncomfortable 5 hours of sleep, I was up at 6am, not so terrible, except that my body  felt more like 3am. Jet lag is a bitch.

But this isn’t a post about Boston. Instead, it’s about the 23 hours of sleep post-trip I needed to finally feel normal again.

Friday I flew back early – touched down in LA by noon PDT. Somewhere around 4pm I went down for my first nap. I slept 3 hours. It felt amazing. Afterwards, I was still able to sleep 8hrs, going to bed at 11pm.

Saturday morning was good, but I was back on the couch by 1pm and slept through 4pm. I was frantic with how tired my body felt and how much I thought I had to do. “Tell me I can sit here and doing nothing,” I asked H. “Relax,” he said. “Just sit and watch hockey”.

He made me leftovers for lunch. I ate on the couch. The dog cuddled with me. I didn’t watch hockey. I napped through the game and then some more.

Energized from sleeping, I rallied and went out to dinner with friends. By 9pm though, I was yawning and ready for my bed again. Asleep by 11pm, before H turned off the iPad, and slept a full 8hrs again.

This morning, with the sun streaming in, after odd dreams and my bladder feeling like it would burst, I woke up. “I think I finally got enough sleep” I told H. He laughed. Apparently he and my sister were calling me Miss-Sleeps-A-Lot.

But I wanted to write about this for a few reasons.

One: I never used to take naps. Take time out for rest when I have so much to do? Never. But H loves to nap. I used to be jealous, that he could “check-out” in that way, but now it’s the whole “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. Naps do something for my brain and body, like a quick reset button for my energy, a clean slate for my mind.

Two: I didn’t know how to nap, for me. Now, I set a timer for 30min, 1hr and 15min or go for a full 3hrs. If it’s a longer one, I prefer taking a quick shower afterwards. If I do this on a Friday night before we go out, I can stay out and up until 5am no problem. If I catch 45min and a shower before a work event, I can handle the noise / people / event chaos with more energy and less anxiety.

Three: I didn’t prioritize self-care until recently. Now, instead of feeling guilty, weak or stupid, I just nap – and I feel better. End of story. There’s no glory is powering through. This goes for skipping exercise (or not), for eating healthy (or not), and for sitting at the computer for another hour (or not). By listening to what my body really wants, I am able to satisfy my needs and move on. Less fighting, less frustrations and certainly, less tears.

So, I’ve been napping. And while I felt self-conscious about how much sleep I wanted the past few days, I knew that the less than 20hrs of sleep I got during my 4-night trip (I usually need 7.5 hrs per night to feel good) AND the overwhelming amount of people, meetings, and traveling I navigated warranted the need for more sleep than usual. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of – I worked my ass off last week and my body needed this rest to catch up. I’m almost certain I’ll sleep my average 7.5 hours tonight and wake up tomorrow back on track.

But even if I don’t, I can always squeeze in a nap.

How about you? Do you nap? What are your napping secrets? If you don’t nap, why? I would love to hear about your experiences. xo

Sundays Are For (Week 20)

…morning pages. Quiet walk with the husband and pup. Dog park. Knitting. Call with a friend. Collaging a vision board for my One Little Word class. Re-hydrating. H and my sister cleaned the downstairs yesterday and it feels so nice. Another walk with the pup, this one with my sister. The quiet of the apartment with only two people in it. And then a quick Skype with our parents.

This little series isn’t consistent, but it helps me focus on enjoying my time off. Haven’t posted in a month, which was the day we went on that crazy hike: Sundays Are For (Week 19)