Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: stress

4 of 52, Year of Ocean

Last week was challenging. I could say “What a way to start off 2014” but it’s how I start every year – with events that are bigger than me, with more work than I can handle alone, with an abusive amount of stress and socializing.

What was different this year is that I had a team. A few coworkers that came out to attend and assist at the events that actually helped.

And after the crazy weekend, we had some time together – sipping coffee, walking Santa Monica beach, eating at Cafe Gratitude and talking for hours. Of course we were still working – one of us would step aside to take a phone call while the other two looked in shops. They took photos of the ocean while I sent important post-event emails. But it was exactly what I needed after the pressure, the exhaustion and the work.

These two gals are my support group at work, despite us working 3,000 miles apart. We vent, laugh, work, challenge and discuss so much. We call ourselves Team DAJ and one day hope to take over the world.

But I think what’s most important to mention here is that they’re kind, hard-working people with smart opinions that set very high bars for themselves. They may have traveled out here to work my event, but the whole thing would’ve sank without them.

I was offered Grammy tickets as a thank you for my hard work, but the Grammys were right after my biggest event on Sunday, and there’s no way I would’ve made it there without crying. I was able to extend the offer to these ladies and they took it with glee. It was the perfect topper for their LA trip, despite the very long day they endured.

And as they were getting ready in the bathroom at the venue, while I still had guests mingling outside, and was waiting for the rental company to come and break down all of the tables and chairs, I listened to them chatter with excitement between stalls. They.were.so.excited. And I felt like a proud older sister, ushering them along to the next Hollywood adventure. As one skipped out of her stall so I could pee, and the other asked me to zip up her dress, I felt like, for the first time in a very long time, I had girlfriends. Not individual women who I shared deep conversations with, but a tight group of girls who gossiped and joked with their own group language, full of inside jokes and shared experiences.

So for the first time ever, I came out of the eventful weekend happy with my work, and I give most of the credit to feeling like, for the first time ever, that I had a team.

Team DAJ. #loveyameanit

**See all of my Year of Ocean

A Quiet Moment

While I have 3 events in the next 7 days, I also plan to: clean my apt (relaxing for me), hike, run, see the ocean, get a mani/pedi, have dinner with awesome friends, get a massage, sleep in, cuddle Carter, drink delish coffee, kiss H and run all over LA with my awesome colleagues. Work stress or not, I only get to live these days once.
~Posted on Facebook, January 22 2014

I did indeed clean the entire apartment. I needed something productive to do with my energy. Since I worked on our MLK Monday holiday, and did a bunch of work last week, I’m caught up with the events. I just need to confirm everything one last time and pay the vendors.

To add to the “hurry up and wait”, we had another snow day at work. Since the college I work for is on the East Coast, snow days are basically a free day for me. While I check email and do work that needs attention, I know that everyone else is probably not working either.

And so, I went with the flow of it all. Saw my therapist, took myself out for a latte and some INFJ business class work, visited spent way too much at Michael’s, grocery-shopped, watched some hockey with H, cooked dinner, did some Project Life and now I’m here – writing to you.

By the time this posts, I’ll be off and running on 4 days of event-planner busyness, but right now, sitting here in the quiet, I know I did good.

I’ve learned to live my life whether or not external events are stressful or calm. I’ve learned to do what needs doing, and then to take care of myself. Or maybe it’s the opposite. To take care of myself, and then do what needs doing.

It’s so much easier this way.

I wish we could all live like this, but I know jobs and families are demanding. Not everyone has the luxuries that I have. But I wonder if, inside your busy days, you can find a quiet moment to sip a latte, to stare at the birds in the yard, to snap of photo of yourself, to jot down a few thoughts, to lay in the blue light of morning.

To create a quiet moment, to take care of yourself, and then do what needs doing. xo

 

Tweet Tuesday – Ease

I was introduced to the work of Rachel W Cole by the fabulous Creative Living with Jamie podcast. Rachel writes about our hungers, about feeding ourselves, about nourishment. There is something deeply sensual and playful about how she approaches these ideas, like I can feel them in my body more than I take them into my head as ideas.

The quote above made me catch my breath. This is exactly the type of distinction I feel I’m unable to make, especially in any panic or shame-driven state.

Ease = being with what is
That doesn’t mean things are easy. That doesn’t mean I can handle them alone, or I should. That doesn’t mean I have to knuckle down. It doesn’t mean I can’t cut myself a break.

This echos my circling of trust. And it is a mantra as I gear up for 8 events in the next 20 days.

Right now my energy is amazing – the past few days I’ve been cruising through running miles and work tasks and keeping up with everything. It feels easy because I feel good. When I took a small break today, I sat outside and faced the sun. I gave myself a few minutes to sit there soaking it in. I listened to the world around me. I kept my phone off.

I did what Rachel calls a 2-minute hunt for ease without even knowing I was doing so. And I didn’t make that connection until I wrote this just now.

So over the next few days, when I’m not feeling so hot, and things feel more difficult, I can remind myself to stay the course, but also take a rest. Take 2 minutes to hunt for ease, call a friend, close my eye or doodle a thought, and know that I am being with what is and that is ease.

Thie Grateful Season – Honeymooning

 

 

 

One of the best parts about getting married, or more so, planning a wedding, is the honeymoon. My husband planned the entire thing by himself, I just gave him feedback on what I did and didn’t want to do. We chose Hawaii because I need beach, exotic, romantic and umbrella drinks and he needs activities, variety and fun. It was the perfect mix for our personalities.

Though this was our first real vacation together in our relationship history (10 years!) we had some lessons to learn. I need way more sleep, downtime and quiet than one “should” need on vacation in H’s family. He needs more of a diverse set of activities and entertainment than my family would ever want on vacation. Add to that mix a cranky me (wedding hangover?) and stressed him (too much scheduled) and pouring rain, and you have a recipe for unhappiness.

While my honeymoon wasn’t everything I’d hoped for – the downtime to just be together, the romance, the good food (aspht) were kind of lacking – we still had an amazing time. And it was a unique experience only we could’ve had. And now I’m excited to go back again to really dig into the best parts of the islands. And even excited to go on vacation together again – knowing better what we both need and want from the time away.

You can read the posts I put up during our travels here: Hawaii

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!

Summer Equals Grilling

Summer equals grilling and this was our first dinner off the grill.

I spent every night this week away from home and it caught up with me this morning. I bailed on girls’ night and instead went for some home favorites – grilling, H and the pup (appropriate with the moon just leaving Cancer)

I decided to take tomorrow off from work to continue working on the wedding stuff and keep my mental health in the black.

Even Carter got to enjoy the deliciousness.

Treat Yourself Like a Precious Object

My one sentence message that I’d like to share tonight for #trust30 is below. I’ve spent the past year and a half learning this and really living it only for the past 6 months. It’s taken from the Artist’s Way book.

Treating yourself like a precious object will make you stronger.

I grew up with my mom telling me “Put yourself first” but as she wasn’t the strongest example of this, putting everyone else before her own needs and care, I didn’t understand. It feels selfish and indulgent and just not OK to put myself first. Of course I want to be first, having everyone wait on me and my whims, but the reality is, I do all of the waiting. And this creates serious resentfulness. Like, I will scream at your in public or at least, I will have nightmares of screaming at you in public for buying the wrong peanut butter. Ya.

“That is the other side of selflessness: its tyranny.” Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

After some therapy work, I came to the realization that I wasn’t living my own life in my head. I was living what I thought everyone else wanted from me. So, I wouldn’t sit and watch tv if I wanted to because surely there is something more “important” like washing the sink full of dishes or cleaning the bathroom. I don’t go out alone because my fiance will be sad or my dog will be lonely. I make up excuses to not take care of myself. wtf?

I’ve had it before, the sense that even in the course of my most legitimate and daily actions – peeling a banana, brushing my teeth – I am trespassing. Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

Therapy, time, experimenting and the Artist’s Way book have all helped me figure this out for me. And the big picture starts to come into focus:

  1. I see how mean and hatelful people are towards themselves
  2. I see how that leaks out in their interactions with other people
  3. And I just want them to know that it’s OK and they need to take care of themselves.

I’m learning that we’re all imperfect, we’re all in this together, and it’s ok. WE’RE ALL OK.

(For more on the above, dig into some Brene Brown – Gifts of Imperfection).

Taking care of myself first, making time for me, creating boundaries that honor my self are truly important to the level of happiness and contentment I feel. For example, last night I could feel that old rage start to bubble up, though it was just at a “cranky” level. I whined my old mantra, “I’m just sooooooo tiiirrreeeddddd”. And I made a decision to get to the gym today, no matter what.

After a sweaty cardio session, I felt much better, and it renewed my energy to deal with a work issue this evening. Could I have dealt with that issue if I hadn’t worked out? Sure. But I would’ve been in tears, yelling into the air about how f-ing stupid my life was, blah blah blah… instead, I’ve been mildly annoyed but kept calm and, really, almost found it funny.

Me – finding something frustrating funny – UNHEARD OF.

So yes – that’s what I would say to a million people if I could. It’s an easy was to say “Love yourself” but it feels much more tangible and DOABLE this way.

Treat yourself as a precious object. It will make you stronger.

Moon Void of Course (of course!)

I woke up feeling fine and going about my routine – drink vitamins, feed dog, take him for a walk – but I could feel a heavy feeling gathering. It’s a familiar feeling. It starts with “What should I do today?” slides into “I am so lost” and becomes “I just want to sleep – I hate everything“.

 

Up until now, I’ve been able to avoid it by staying busy. See, I work alone and my job doesn’t require a lot from me. Most people would find this to be most excellent, but for me, it’s like I do not matter in the whole entire world. Staying busy – scheduled, productive, and enjoying my time alone – is key. Recently it’s been even better because I’ve taken on petsitting a friend’s dog 3x per week. This gives me just enough mental stimulation to feel productive but not so much I want to cry. Plus, it’s extra income. Win.

 

Wednesday this feeling started (no pet sitting, no work to focus on and rain too!). I wallowed a bit but eventually got my butt to the gym and then hosted an event. Yesterday, after a late night drinking wine and not a lot of sleep, I expected to feel crappy. Still, I hit the gym and did what I could to figure out what the heck to do with all of this time. I just couldn’t get motivated. And then, my dog sniffed another dog the wrong way at the park and ended up with a bite mark and swollen snout. Nothing horrendous, but scary and stressful enough that I felt myself slipping.

 

Why Are You Here, Right Now?

It is much harder to put something off than it is to actually do it. We talk, think, try to come up with a new angle, improve the plan, clear the clutter, get more sleep, stay up later, put more time in or take more time off – the cold truth is, if we just DID whatever IT is, we’d be able to move on, free and satisfied in our accomplishment.

IT can be many things – call the repair man, make the doctor’s appt, read that book, talk to someone about something important, quit any number of substances, write a few pages, finally step into the gym… What keeps us from anything we think we want to do (but just can’t make ourselves do) is RESISTANCE.

“Resistance is monumental; I feel it like a massive brick of fear… I also know from experience that the alternative to doing my work is a hundred times worse than the pain or fear of doing it.”

~Steven Pressfield  { More Here }

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We’re All Job Hunting

Today I had the acute sense that no one cares. Life is one big, selfish love-fest with everyone putting themselves first. This came directly from feeling ignored or shut out multiple times.

Monday was easy for me b/c I had structured, doable tasks for my job, my business and my personal life, but yesterday I lost all momentum. After doing so much the day before, I woke up with that old feeling of dread – that I was supposed to be doing something, but I couldn’t get myself to do anything.

Today was a combination of both. I felt productive and helpless. I tried to explain this mixture of feelings to more than one person and was met with a lack of empathy. Either they thought I was feeling too much or they tried to trump my frustrations with their own. Luckily, it all slid by and didn’t downward spiral, but I’m starting to worry.

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Diving In

I have a side business (www.homelifema.com) on top of my regular 9-5, my boyfriend, my dog, long-distance phone calls to my favorite people, exercising and errands… You can see how it’s possible that I love blogging but have yet to carve out a consistent time for it. Today though, I somehow did it all. Well, not ALL, but everything I set out to do. And not even that, but I touched, if ever briefly, on each aspect of my life I currently deem important. I didn’t have a dream day or even a vacation day, but I did have a FULL day.

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