Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: work

Piqued

The week continued to be a doozy. It seems after the meltdown on Wednesday, things were looking up again. Thursday was quiet. Easy. Good.

Then Friday I ran around and hosted a big event. The amazing thing is that I have an assistant now and he rocks. This was the first time I felt like I was actually hosting an event and not just running around like a crazy person for 5hrs.

But back at home that night I cried and cried again – getting into an actual argument with H and melting down for the 2nd time in a few days.

What the heck?

Yes, it’s definitely hormones, but besides that, I still don’t know. And I’m not sure I’ll figure it out. But I have today to hang out with a good friend from college, tomorrow a video chat with another longtime friend and then completely free. Monday I plan to take an entire day to myself and go wander Pasadena, taking photos, sitting in cafes and exploring.

The above picture is of Cater in a large box from a hiking backpack H ordered. Carter knows tons of commands, so with a little food bribing, we can get him to do lots of cool things. Like climb into a box and lay down, b/c it’s funny… but then he stayed there! So we gave him his duckie and towel and he chilled out for a while. Proving again, he is secretly part cat. Also, animals are so weird. And the best.

So now, some links:

Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Yes, I linked to this in other posts, but I love E. Gilbert and I will watch anything she’s on.

The internet has created the Facebook engagement reveal, blog-featured wedding, and Pinterest-worthy baby’s rooms – so of course announcing a pregnancy is also swept up in this series of public displays of “my life is awesome”. A couple announced their pregnancy by creating a Wes Anderson parody and I loved everything about it.

I want to set a calendar reminder to reread A Cup of Jo’s post 10 Things I’ve Learned In My Career every month.

She also linked an article she wrote for the New York Magazine about people who only wear one color. Being almost 38% done with my #30daysofdresses challenge, I am finding it more constricting than liberating. So I’m not sure I could wear only one color, but I do love me some navy.

Elise is sharing This Is My Business Story in installments and I can’t get enough. The details, the timeline of things, the practicality and the reflection. Elise is a planner, works super hard and really values the behind-the-scenes sharing which, in my opinion, is a great use of the internet and the other side of the coin to the above paragraph about everyone’s fabulous version of their life they share online. And as someone who is considering updating her blog / changing the path of my career, I love that she’s kept every one of her posts live, all the way back to the beginning. How’s that for behind-the-scenes?

Lindsey never ceases to amaze me with her words on memories, living, time and life. Time Folds Like An Accordion made me aware of my own life again, it’s little details as I sit here typing this for you, for me – to remember – H napping on the couch, Carter napping in the chair, a vase of flowers on the table, and arrangement I made for the event on Friday night. How time slips and slides and truly does fold back on itself.

And because I saw Gone Girl last weekend and b/c Jennifer Garner is gracious and adorable while being asked about her husband’s success with the movie even though she has TWO movies of her own out (ahem)… watch her on Ellen.

Think that’s enough for now. xo

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Piqued

As you know, I launched 30 Days of Dresses this week. Woo! Thanks for all of your comments 🙂

I loved this Complete Guide To Structuring Your Ideal Work Day, especially the idea of brushing your teeth at 2:30pm. While I’m continuously trying to find the right daily and weekly routines that support my energy levels and introversion, this seemed like a great guide for any office worker bees.

Abby Kerr, who ran the INFJ business class I loved (it’s coming back!), has a real knack for linking to amazing posts. Follow her on Twitter.

Abby shared Allie’s post on the care and feeding of new moms. A few of my friends are new(ish) mom and I admit, I had no idea how to help them. And because I love offering help, supporting people and receiving help myself when I’m down in the shit-time of any life change, I felt completely useless as friends to these women. This post will be my reference material now.

Back to introvert’s dreams, here’s a list of things only people who love spending time alone will understand (I think my sister gets credit for texting me this). This is seriously alone-time indulgences and I could spend a month just going through a challenge checking items off this list.

I am loving the National Geographic Your Shot Blog. Animals, nature, culture and gorgeous pics? I’m in.

To follow that up, living off the grid / what people miss about living in the wilderness. This pretty much sums up my broken heart after Alaska.

And finally, Pink Ronnie has reevaluated her blogging / storytelling, shuttered her Pink Ronnie blog and launched The Shoemakers Daughter (tho today the link isn’t working 😦 ) I love her style, story-telling and photography. I would love to take a class with her in person and am book-marking her Life Captured online courses.

That’s it for this weekend. Enjoy xo

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Glimpse Of My Best

Yesterday, I wrote about doing what I want. Learning to ebb and flow with my energy, demands at work and home, and general enjoyment of my days.

While last week’s emotional ups and downs were tough, writing yesterday’s post was soothing and empowering. I could see the progress, I could feel the upward sweep of energy again.

I just took the dog out for his last walk – where we say he needs to “just pee on a post”. Normally, H does this walk, but he was busy with school work so I decided I could go out again, for the third time today.

Honestly, I wanted to feel annoyed that this chore was left to me, but as I walked in the crisp air, in the pitch dark, I felt grateful – to be outside, to be in a safe neighborhood, to be in quiet, and to be with my awesome dog.

Before I sat down to write this, I pulled a tarot card (I have the Wild Unknown deck) and pulled the Queen of Pentacles.

The Queen of Pentacles may represent a mother figure in your life who can provide you with loving support and nurturing to help you get through the influences of your past. She may be a teacher, a counsellor, a mentor, or someone who you are very close to. Alternatively, she may represent a part of yourself, particularly if you are investing a lot of yourself into nurturing and caring for others and creating an established and comfortable lifestyle.

After working at the office all day, cooking dinner, taking care of the dog – it seems a fitting card. Deeper still is the importance of “you are also able to find time to invest in yourself and ensure that you have enough ‘me’ time in between all of your other commitments.”

So much of my mood swing last week seems tied to giving too much of myself. Pulling this card feels like a North Star in that whole lesson being learned – here is a symbol of the woman I want to be. Warm, practical, nurturing, generous and yet, hard-working, focused and proud of her success.

It feels as if this card solidifies much of what I wrote about yesterday. I am at my best when I have a sense of warmth, trust and security. Doing what I want, taking care of my own needs, only serves to strengthen these feelings, making me a stronger and more fulfilled person, which in turn allows me to give even more back to the world. And why else am I here if not to give my full self to my life?

Doing What I Want To Do

Blissed out after rock climbing at the ocean

Last week, I felt like crap. I was feeling awesome for over a week (energy was way up) and then, major blahs.

Anxiety, crying, low energy.

After all of these years, I can’t seem to find exactly what causes these downshifts. For someone so type-A, driven and focused, feeling like crap for multiple days in a row is a huge blow to my confidence.

On the surface it feels like something simple – putting too much pressure on myself with work, not getting enough rest, H not helping around the house, people driving like morons, hormones – you name it, it feels like the general cause of my stress. I assume I can ride it out for a few days, but when it takes over more than a week, it starts to feel insurmountable.

I’m learning that it’s complicated. And I’m learning if it’s normal for me, than it’s normal.

It’s about my innate power – my own abilities and the energy they require. How I can be so tuned into other people and yet get lost in the static of overwhelm. It’s about being highly sensitive. It’s about the ebb and flow of energy.

While there doesn’t seem to be an exact cause, there are a few things that seem to help pull me back to the filled up, happy person I always want to be. Listing them here in case they help you, and as a marker for myself the next time I’m way down in the muck.

Sleep
Overwhelm, exhaustion, an empty tank – whatever you want to call it – getting more sleep seems to brighten my moods. More than a usual 7-8hrs. We’re talking 10hrs over night or a solid 3hr nap. I know this may not sound “reasonable”, but I’m learning I need to trust myself in what I need, and if that’s 8hrs of sleep and then a 2hr nap later that morning, so be it.

Diet
Eating healthy helps, obviously, but lately a few things really throw me off. I’ve lost any interest in alcohol, (which is better than the opposite) and when I do have a drink, I feel miserable. It wrecks my sleep and ruins my mood the next day. Coffee, even decaf lattes, seem to both up my anxiety and make me incredibly sleepy. So I’ve been sticking to tea and chai lattes for my hot drink fix.

Work
Clearly I’m one of those people that care just a bit too much about work, my bar for excellence far exceeding other people’s. So last week, I took a day off. An entire day where I left my phone at home and did something fun. Another afternoon, I spent sitting with a friend at her pool, relaxing in quiet before I hosted a work event (where I was “on” for 5hrs straight). Making sure my reserves were refueled or even topped-off before I needed to pull from them is definitely something to schedule in in the future.

Input
When I’m feeling anxious, I tend to check social media a lot, mindlessly taking in information via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and websites. It feeds the feeling that I’m doing something productive with my energy, but I’m not. At all. So, I stop. I ignore texts, drive without music, go for runs without podcasts, turn off the lights in my apartment, turn off the TV, stop checking email often and choose carefully who I spend my time with. It may seem extreme to people who don’t feel the way I feel, but it really does help me bounce back.

Change Of Pace
Getting out of my normal morning > work > homelife routine also helps. Clearly, the euphoria of travel is partially being away from my responsibilities – all of those shoulds (true and made up) I let run rampant in my head. Last week, H and I went climbing at Point Dume again. This gave me quality time with him, a challenge to rise to (I climbed really, really well) and an evening at the beach. All of these things shift my perspective away from work / pressure / unhappiness back to loving my life and feeling like a badass.

Creating
There seems to be this correlation between not creating and feeling like shit. I was able to get some creative time on Friday night and Saturday – writing a blog post, shooting some photos, and playing with paper. I also made time to write morning pages, which have fallen out of my routine. Another way to refuel and top-off the energy reserves.

Self-care
All of the above falls into self-care, but the mental shift that seemed to take place last week was one of going from feeling trapped / exhausted / anxious to feeling OK with how I was feeling – allowing myself to feel it, talk about it, accept it and do what I not only needed to do to help myself, but actually what I WANTED to do.

And isn’t that the crux of it all – doing what I want to do? Why is that so difficult? And yet, it is. It’s the one thing that makes me the happiest, and it’s the thing I struggle with the most.

I mean, I started this blog and called it Allowing Myself because that is the skill I need to keep learning over and over. To allow myself. Last week was just another version of it. And each time, I get a little better at it – I move through it with more confidence and grace – even if it seems like there won’t be a light at the end of the tunnel, there is. Every time.

So maybe this week we could all practice a little bit. Tune into that little voice that suggests something that would boost our energy or even make us downright blissed-out, and choose that thing. Allow yourself any of those things you think aren’t reasonable to want, the thing that feels like “oh, that must be nice” but isn’t in your reach – and do that thing.

Let yourself do what you want. And I’ll be doing my best to do the same.

xo

Piqued

Well gee, all the good energy I wrote about last week seemed to fizzle and evaporate this week. It was a rough one. Not sleeping well, anxiety, crying – and no real explanation for it. I could’ve written about it, but with two work events and the general feeling like crap, I just didn’t.

I can tell you what helped though, after the fact: seeing my therapist (objective, yet supportive, sounding board), spending an afternoon with Billye and her dog in the pool, having helping hands at my work event, having one gal tell me she was floored by my abilities in my work, taking a full day off, and getting 10 hrs of sleep.

Top that all off with climbing Point Dume again last night, the hardest I think I’ve ever climbed outdoors (!!!), and a belly full of pizza and Mexican Coke, and I’m finally feeling normal again.

Here are a few links that made me happy this week:

I’m a fan of the Japanese, and if there’s one thing they do well, it’s spotlighting adorable animals… like this Shiba Inu WHO WORKS AT A STORE. Carter knows how to close a cabinet door, so the next likely step is to have him open a slider and poke his head out like this kid. Canine help you? I die.

My friend Stephanie (you may remember when we said our goodbyes) is kicking ass and taking names at her accelerated program at John Hopkins University  (b/c she’s a smarrrrrrteeee) and she’s blogging for them. Read why she decided to leave LA and become a nurse, with all the humor that makes me love her to death.

Another adorable dog story (I can never get enough) that turns out is maybe a hoax, but I don’t care b/c LOOK AT THIS BEAGLE. Who cares if he doesn’t actually work for the airline / return lost items?? The last 10 seconds? My heart bursts.

But in real news, Leo has a FULL BEARD. While he makes a wonderful speech about climate change, I could not stop staring at his facial hair and man-bun. He is my absolute favorite since I was about 13, so I’m rolling with this new look. True love, I know. Other people think his beard must be stopped. I can’t believe he hasn’t made it on this Tumblr yet: Fuck Yeah, Men With Buns.

And for something more on the serious side – or at least not dog or man obsessed – I liked Paul Jarvis’ post Do What You Love which opens with this quote by Mika Tokumsitu: “If we believe that personal fulfillment is really the ultimate purpose of labour, then who do we expect to do all the other jobs that are not so existentially fulfilling?”

Jarvis goes on to write:

Find a job that you don’t have to worry about when you’re not doing it. Or a job that doesn’t make you miserable every single day. And you’ll be far better off than a lot of folks.  As I enjoy telling my wife, work is called “work” and not “super happy fun time” because often it’s just tasks that need to be done. It doesn’t mean your life is less meaningful just because your job lacks existential value.  You aren’t your job. It doesn’t have to define you unless you let it. Plus, you can always do what you love in your spare time. I do.

Last but not least, I found Retta via Instagram where she shared the story of a few monarch butterflies in her garden. It’s inspiring to see these small projects she’s documenting. I’m also enjoying her blog Will & Wanting.

Have a good weekend xo

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Recently (September 2014)

finishing my Alaska travel journal & organizing 500+ photos from the trip

rolling with the projects I’d like to work on for myself

going to the office a lot more now that I have a temp to help with things

becoming more fit with HIIT

watching The Leftovers

reading The Giver (first time since I was 12…? Was first published 20 years ago. Undecided if I want to read the other 3 books in the series)

remembering the importance of this date

quitting complaining about work. #notworthit

thinking about growing my hair a little longer

celebrating the fact that we have ~6 weekends in a row with no major plans

loving the new perspective I have post-Alaska

eating a lot more salads, and less food in general

dreaming of owning my own business

wearing dresses and gym clothes – the heat is getting to me

missing Autumn like woah – sweaters, darker days, crisp air and changing seasons

listening to a bunch of Paperclipping Roundtable episodes in a row (loved ep 216), Elise’s podcast & random Spotify playlists

planning our finances, sort of

working on embracing my inner hippy – full moon, tarot cards & spirit animals

trying to spend less money

wishing for clothing in mustard yellow & peacock teal… and cooler temperatures

feeling a bit more self-assured

obsessed with battling the flea problem – they must die!

Summer Nights, School Days

Evening roller-blade

Walking at 5am

Math I don’t understand

My view most nights this week

Besides it being post-vacation-blues week, it’s also back to school.

H started his 7th year of teaching. Each year I hope he’ll hit the easy groove that experienced teachers do, and then some huge opportunity/challenge presents itself. Two years ago it was a masters program. Last year it was being department chair, a masters program and 4 different classes. This year, masters program completed, it’s department chair and multivariable calculus, which happens to be the hardest class they teach.

Which he is reviewing every night, all night, after working a 12 hour day.

Which means that it’s just me and the Carter-man for long stretches of time.

I’ve learned that the shift from summer break, having H home all of the time, helping around the house and generally being there for me, to the first week of school, arguably one of the most stressful times of the year, can suck. I love my alone time, but having him around all day, everyday and then not at all puts a strain on our relationship.

Or, should I say, a strain on how I feel about our relationship.

Because in reality, we’re the same as we were last week (well, not entirely the same since last week was still Alaska). I’m just going about my day assuming it’ll be one way and it’s another, totally different yet OK, way…

Luckily, I’ve noticed this pattern, and I let things slide to compensate. So, dishes won’t get put away quickly or he won’t remember to do something (because he hasn’t had a moment to himself) or I have to take the dog on all 3 walks for the day. It’s not easy, but it’s not awful either.

It’s just life.

—–

Yesterday I was up at 5am to be on a 6hr video conference call. Apsht. Somehow I survived, and the early start time meant an early leave time.

Feeling completely burnt from the meeting, I settled on yoga, made green juice, and took the dog to the park to run around a very dry, very hot baseball field. I straightened up and vacuumed. I ate turkey chili cold from the Tupperware. I perused Instagram, cleaned up DropBox and worked on a small project taking photos of our possessions in case we ever have an insurance issue. I cooked zucchini and heated up left-over pizza. I went out with Carter again, this time on roller-blades.

I wrote this sitting across from H as he went through calc problems and muttered things like “oh shit, I found the area instead of the arc length” which may as well be German to me.

We kept the front door propped open so a breeze came through the apartment while it went from twilight to pitch dark outside in what seemed like an instant.

I couldn’t fall asleep the other night and stayed up past 1am.

Carter mopes around looking for H, patiently waiting for him to finish his work so they can play.

It’s a transient time of summer nights, school days, 5am alarms, evenings solo even though H is home, and hot weather. The last of it seems to throw me off the most. Autumn feels like the natural signal for us all to hunker down, do our work, spend more time indoors. We don’t get that here in Southern California, the season or the natural transition.

I miss it.

 

August Break For Alaska

au·gust
[aw-guhst]
adjective
1.inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic.
2.venerable; eminent.

I said last month that July is my favorite – and it is – but it was also hard. The writing I posted was deeper, and was well received, but I lost my words the past week or so. Where my writing dried up a bit, my focus on healthy eating and exercising stepped up a notch. Things always level-out, so I’m not worried.

Welcoming in August with a full day of work today, trying to officially catch-up / dig out / set up some buffers for the 2 weeks I’ll be traveling through Alaska.

What? Alaska, you say? Yes – I’m thinking the definition of “august” above is right in line with this epic family trip.

I can not wait. It could not come at a better time.

Participating in August Break again. Last year (August 2013) it started to feel like too much pressure, so I don’t know if I’ll be posting on the blog, but you can follow me on Instagram.

Stay cool & dry out there lovies.

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.

 

July (My Favorite)

I’m off this week in Newport Beach with my parents, celebrating the 4th. It’s the first time all year that being out of the office = actual time off. All the other days I was traveling or running around with people – basically, not relaxing.

This morning had a similar start where I had a work call reschedule, then cancel, emails to go through and people who think they need my attention… and after 30 min of that, I decided I was done and unplugging from work completely the rest of the week. It will all go one without me. My work is not my worth.

A helper in this is that the wifi at the vacation home is sucky and basically a waste of time. So I wanted to post a quick hello here, to update you on my absence and also welcome in July.

2014 is 1/2 over, and it’s been a whirlwind to say the least. I’m not sure how time is going so quickly.

Despite the lack of internet, I’m writing blog posts and (hopefully) coming up with a bit of a schedule. I have so much to share but I just don’t get around to it. Working to change that.

After the work crap this AM, I took myself down to the beach – walked the wet sand, shot a few photos and felt the humid, salty wind on my face. The ocean. The month of July. They really are my favorite.

Hope you’re off to a great summer-time. xo