Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: space

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

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.

And just, begin

When it comes to tarot, I have no idea what I’m doing…but I decided to pull a few cards on my birthday to see what little bits of wisdom would shine.

The gist of what I could decipher was a message for me, about me.

As I say goodbye to twenty-nine, I’m moving on and forgiving myself for restlessness and lack of progress. Or I’m restless b/c of a lack of progress. Burnt-out even. That maybe I’ve been too passive which has led to stagnation.

As I say hello to 30, I’m welcoming creative projects, messages in dreams (which are vivid lately), my own trust and intuition. I’m embracing a sense of freedom – living how I want to live. This is about renewal and beginnings.

At the same time, there are warnings of lack of foresight and obstacles to long-term goals. Recommendations of breaking down plans into smaller tasks.

Looking even more forward, there is a tone of wishes fulfilled, bliss, happiness, personal integrity and completion. Balancing ideas with action. And again a note of lack of progress or planning, short-term focus, must create plans to pursue goals. A possible recommittal, focusing on the long-term more, moving beyond material satisfaction. And hey – a note to relax, lighten up and give myself space around frustrations.

To me, this little path speaks volumes – I have not been giving myself priority, and that if I want to really achieve anything for myself, outside of my day job, I’m going to have to have goals + actions, and then follow through. I see all of this in relation to my own drive to be creative, to grow my own community, to expand my reach in this world.

And then today – less than a week into being thirty – I pull The Fool. A card of potential, beginnings, and free spirits “…represents the beginning of all creativity and a desire to accomplish new goals (or to, at least, start the process of working towards those goals). The Fool indicates that anything can happen and the opportunities are just waiting to be taken advantage of.”

Which feels about right as I just want to sit with a cup of tea and a notebook and jot down all of the ideas swirling in my head. To really have goals but also a road map. To get the ball rolling, as they say. To acknowledge I am just starting out, but to actually, also, begin.

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.

Year of Ocean

The ocean is sacred to me.

Since growing up on Long Island, I feel it when I’m far from the water. The semester I lived in Nashville, I knew I was land-locked. My love of Los Angeles increased the closer we moved to the Pacific. Spending even a half-hour staring at the waves brightens my spirits and calms my mind.

This idea came to me before I chose my One Little Word for the year, so it seems only appropriate I chose flow. (more on this soon…)

I wanted another year long project (like Project Life). I wanted something that would be a challenge, but nourishing for my soul. Something I “had to do” that was good for me. Something that would inspire me and make me take advantage of how close we live to the beach. If / when we buy a house, this will cease to be our norm. I may never live this close to the ocean again (though, secretly, I doubt that, you never know).

And so here is my project: a year of ocean. 52 weekly posts of pictures and words about a trip to water. The weather, the company, and certainly whatever comes up. I think it’ll keep my one little word at the forefront of my mind and allow me clear space, which is something that’s come up since the retreat in October.

And speaking of that retreat – I read this post On Patience by Laurie the other day and she spoke right to me (also my experience of her in person). As I’m moving into this new year, I have my hopes but I’m feeling a bit whiplashed.

She mentions two things that give me permission: a practice of not doing anything (what I’ve been craving) and a friend who rests in his self-care habits (what I’ve been practicing).

Space and self-care… flow. Year of Ocean seems like a perfect way to declare, track, and record my experience of both of those things.

**I’ll be using a tag Year of Ocean here and on Instagram if you wanted to follow along. Better yet, start your own thing and let me know so I can follow you.

Numbing: It’s Not A Small Thing

Long story short – I was unable to go 48hrs without my #1 numbing fix (super sugared tea), not to mention the “need” for other vices snowballed. So #erfect.

I thought I was going crazy. I’ve read this somewhere before, but I really did feel like Linus without his blanket. And I thought, “This week is impossible for this non-numb challenge, b/c work feels insane, I’m PMSing, blah blah…” but it’s the flip. Things feel insane because I’m not giving myself the space to deal. I’m not setting my boundaries, choosing proactive things like long walks and naps, and I’m certainly beating myself up for feeling so tired.

The opposite of being present is busy. ~Brene Brown

I’ve spent a lot of the past 3 years with not much to do, but there is still chaos in my head. I still say “yes” to too many things and I keep myself from doing the soul-supporting activities that feed me. Even though my schedule is not full, I am still busy. My head is full of running ramblings that keep me from being present. That inner turmoil – the worry that I’m not doing enough, being enough or helping enough – is what leads to numbing.

Numbing: This is not a small thing. To take on the behaviors and things we do to keep from feeling, is one of the biggest endeavors ever. We have to create space for this. ~Brene Brown

I’m giving myself permission to create space, to do the things that fill me up and say “no” to the things that don’t. This is very scary to me, because what if I say “no” to something important? That’s a whole other post, I guess. Right now I’m going to focus on taking care of myself.

It’s a process. I’m learning to decipher between indulging and numbing (it’s a hard one). And we’re not perfect, we’re human… so it makes sense that this brings up so much rawness. To strip away the habits that we’ve used to protect ourselves obviously leaves us feeling exposed… but there is a tiny bit of clarity in there that I’m willing to work towards.

 

 

Half-eaten

I’m going on 3.5 days alone, but not really. A friend hung out for almost 24hrs, sleeping over and keeping me company. It helped, but emotions hit as soon as she left. It’s not wallowing depression but a quick, sudden outpouring that leaves me within minutes. I am both elated and terrified of being alone.

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Manic…Wednesday?

I am feeling so anxious / energetic / busy… can’t pinpoint it. My mind feels numb and blank, yet I know it’s just a facade. I am not at “overwhelmed” yet, but  that could hit at any moment. It all feels silly too b/c I don’t have too much to do. Yes, I’m busier than usual. Yes, I’m used to being along 9+hrs per day and now I’m not…but how can I feel such manic energy and then crave coffee? It is not a truly lively phase, but something else. Heck, I don’t feel lively at all! It’s like my brain and body can’t keep up with the energy…but where is that push or pull or vibe coming from?

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