27
Jan

Try and get better

You said to me, isn't the expression practice makes perfect? And NO, came shouting out of my mouth. There is no such thing sweet girl. So just know that practice will make you better, end of story. And that's why trying and trying again is so important. It's how you get better, even at hard things. But better never means perfect, sometimes it doesn't even mean your best, it just means better than before.

Because here's the 100% very ugly truth about me...

Did you know that after YEARS of doing yoga, I still look like the strangest person in the room and my form is still off? Did you know it's been over three years and I still can't do a handstand for more than a few seconds? Did you know that I can't do a headstand from a tripod position? Did you know that my balance is hit or miss just depending on the day? Did you know that with every "let's try this" I fall, sometimes right on my face? Did you know that I get repositioned, reset, even after all these years? But did you also know that when the instructor asks the room to try, I always do. I always at least try and then I work and work on it. Did you also know that I come home and quietly find space and time to keep working so that I get better.

Or, did you know that even though I have been running since I was 8, my feet flare out when I run and I look like a mad woman? That people know it's me without even having to see my face? That strangers come up to me in bars and ask if I run on their road because I am that memorable, my run is that memorable. Oh, and did I mention how incredibly slow I am while I run and how much I get passed by everyone? How right before and right after every half marathon, I cry. Nerves get in my head, I don't want to actually do it, how much it hurts, and how much I have to talk myself into it? Do you remember finding me on a curb, head between my legs, crying and hurting and unable to talk for a while? How every year, while getting ready to train, I actually dread it? But year after year, there I am, back at it, trying again and trying to hit my time again. Because when I turned 38 I hit my best run, my best time. I got better. And at 39 I got worse by at least 2 minutes but that doesn't mean I won't show up at 40.

Remember how I told you that I learned to swim when I was 37...weeks before my first triathlon? Well, did I also tell you that the classes were my version of torture? They were at 8pm at night, in the freezing cold pool, I was the worst at it, I didn't have goggles at first, I looked like a drowning rat, it was all horrible. The teacher was so annoyed with me, I couldn't get it, and she was actually worried about my tri. She didn't know if I was going to make it in the open water. And, at my first race, I did make it out of the water, just to meet the bike with a flat tire and had to race over 3 miles carrying my bike on my back. Everything hurt when I was done, and the next year, I did it again and this time, I was the last person to finish on the bike. The last person to finish the bike. And the next year I did it again and then again, I have done four and I'm not done. The training at times is one and a half hours a day, I am exhausted, I am worried, the water is in the low 60s and that walk in, the feeling of sinking myself into that water is the most terrifying part of my life. But in my fourth one, I got better. My swim was my strongest, I made it all the way up the hill on my bike, and every time, I finish. Now, once a week, I hit the pool to prove to myself that I can. And just this month, I am swimming 1,000 yards and I am always passed, always the slowest in the water, but I am getting better.

I work for an agency that I believe in as much as I do you and this spring will be 19 years. You would think after 19 years in one place I would be perfect, I would get it all right all of the time but absolutely not. I make so many mistakes, daily mistakes. But now they are lessons and they are how I learn and how I get better.

In starting my own company, the fear drapes over me like the heaviest weight, but I still show up. I still go on and I have learned to be me with every interaction, every communication because that is how I get better. Staying true to who I am and trying and trying something in a different way, and messing up and learning from it and finding a potential solution and seeing if that worked and then going from there. Better, I am getting better.

Better takes time, it takes so much damn patience, it takes commitment, it takes want. Nothing will ever be perfect, you will never stop learning, you will always have to work at it, especially if you love it. Better is what you strive for, it's what your goals have to be because anything else is not obtainable or not worth it.

25
Jan

Five Minute Friday - convenient

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on convenient.

Go.

I wish I took advantage of it more, the conveniences all around me. I wish I didn't make things harder than they need to be. And what I really need to change is working smarter, not harder. Harder I've got down, harder I can handle, harder I know how to do and I know it inside and out. Smarter is where I need to focus.

And again, in my year of change, I need to realize that smarter has to be my choice and what I dedicate myself to and that means finding ways to make things more convenient for me and for them. I need to rely more on others, I need to let go of certain things, but I also need to stay true to who I am and what is important to me, or else I will wind up in a dark place of anxiety.

Instead, I need to open myself up to see that I am not alone. I am allowed to share my workload, I am allowed to ask for help, and I am allowed to find space to be and breathe. I am privileged enough to find that space, I am lucky enough to be able to find my creatures of comfort, and I am in a place where I have no choice but to give in to it all. I can't just wish this part of me away, the one that makes things so much harder. I have no choice but to face it and make myself change. I have to see that there are times it serves me and others well and there are times it crushes my light. I am smart enough to know the difference and I have to rely on just me to make it stop. Things do not need to be hard to be accomplished, they do not need to be thick as mud. And most times, when they are forced, they are not well taken care of and allowed to come to be more natural, which is always the better way. In my year of change, there are certain elements that fall squarely on me to change and learning how to make my life more convenient is certainly one of them.

Stop.

20
Jan

Finding peace

In all the little things.

Like a warm bath.

The quiet snow.

The fireplace.

An uncluttered home helping to unclutter my mind.

The weighted blanket I begged for.

Nightly reading dates.

Slow starts.

Deep breathes and listening to myself breathe out.

Our weekly gratitude writing.

Big, meaningful, hugs.

Warmth.

Lit candles.

Connecting on the couch.

Hand holding.

Snuggles and piling on top of each other.

Family games.

Good food.

Movies and unwinding.

In my year of change, so many things have been added.

And to be honest, too many things have been added. There are times I cannot really focus and the list is never ending and I feel as though I am buried. I have also felt very alone, already resentful and angry at how much I have to keep explaining myself. How much I have to defend who I am. And in my own mind and worry, I have felt very picked on, very under the microscope and what I need to remember that there are few that get others. I am no different and, I serve others well.

But I have also added so much of what will keep me breathing. So much of what will keep me grounded and happy and at peace. Which is all I wish myself in this year. Peace, calm and joy. I wish love and warmth. But I can't just wish it, I have to make it happen.

So I will find my breath in yoga.

I will find my calm in my nightly bath.

I will stop my racing heart with weight.

I will stop my racing mind with words and hugs.

I will remember what is at stake.

I will hold on to who I am.

I will hear their laughter and remember how important childhood is.

I will bask in their love and need and desire to be around us.

I will always keep them talking as I sit attentively and listen to their day.

I will remember that the last time I felt lonely, the universe provided. And I will remember that the universe isn't just listening, it also speaks loudly and I will sit quietly and listen with open arms and an open heart. I will remember what my person and my coach said when I turned 40, what is amazing about you is that you are always thinking and always leading with your heart.

I have been working on letting go of the toxic and moving in the right direction for me. My biggest focus in this year of chaos has to be peace, calm, and joy. They cannot be big things, but small manageable ways to find it in my world. Because my world is my world and my ways are my ways. And when I set my mind on something, I find my way. But, I also have to remember that I cannot force it like I do most things. I need to go slow and find a natural rhythm to this dance.

So, my small and manageable ways are starting to serve me well. They are working and I am finding my clarity. I am finding my own way.

14
Oct

When the struggle is real

I have been in a season of sacrifice for a very long time.
I started referring to times like these in my life as seasons of sacrifice because someone I follow mentioned how it helps to reframe the hard.
Focus that it is a season, not your life.
Focus that it is a sacrifice, not the new normal.
Focus on the systems you can put into play to make it manageable and realize you will get back to your ways in time.
It's a season, and seasons change.
But I remember the end of last year.
I remember how that season of sacrifice made me so sick.
Brought me to the doctor kind of sick.
Made me think something horrible was happening to me kind of sick.
And in my year of different, I knew the season was approaching and I have been trying.
I planned, I put my systems in place, I prepared, I put myself in the "right" state of mind, I kept eating and drinking water and doing the things that I was told I needed to not get sick and avoid another health scare.
And instead, I have been struggling, really struggling.
I think part of my issue is that it started so much sooner and summer never let up and I just never felt an exhaling.
Halfway through my year, there is always this little window of reprieve.
One in which I get to calm down a bit, regroup, recenter, refocus, and remember to breathe in and especially out.
That life isn't that serious.
That all is going to be okay.
That I know where my real priorities stand.
And as I enter my last quarter of the year, I am never ready, but my mind at least got a little break.
My summer normally is a time of rest and calm and instead it brought with it turmoil and haste.
And I struggled.
My fall is crazy, always crazy, and for the last several years, just keeps adding on to itself.
And I am still struggling more and more.

It could be because my summer was too much.
It could be because there is now too much on my plate and I can't breathe.
It could be because my calendar and schedule and to-dos and family and kids and business and life and all of it is piling up and I am the one that keeps us organized and I can't so we're not.
And I'm the one that keeps the house running and I can't so it's not.
And I'm the one that keeps everything moving but I can't so there's a lot of running to stand still.
So, I'm struggling.
To smile, to stay awake, to keep it all going, to be close, to talk, to want to partner, to take anything else on, to laugh.

And I say all of this for anyone that is reading and feels that they are alone.
I know I'm not, we're not
I know we are all out there.
Doing our very best every single day.
Because we are.
And our tempers might be short.
And our patience might be worn.
And our minds and bodies might be tired.
And our nerves are actually sizzling.
But we show up.
We show up for them and for us.
We show up for jobs and homes and loves and life.
We know the end will come and we tell ourselves every day that we, of course, have a little more to give.
We wake up a little earlier, we stay up a little later, we make time, we find a way.
We show up even though the struggle is very real, and there will come a day when we look back and think, how did we do that all?
How did we manage that?
How did we make it?

Today, for my birthday present, I went ziplining.
We were about to walk across a really scary bridge after three exceptionally scary "falls" and the tour guide said the best thing I have heard in a very long time.
Compared to the shit you have just done, this bridge isn't' even a skid mark.
And that's how we make it.
That's how even though the struggle is very real, we always find a way.
We show up, keep going, and realize we can handle a load of crap coming our way.
We let things go that we can, we prioritize it all, we continue to do and try our very best, and we show up again and again.

It's hard to stay strong and remember all of this when we are smack in the middle of it.
It's hard to keep remembering how capable we are.
It's hard to remember that sometimes you will lose at things.
It's hard to remember when you feel so unappreciated and so very alone.
It's hard to remember that it's not all on you.
Because the struggle is very real, and the time seems unmanageable, and you don't see a way out.
But hold on and remember it is a season, not your new normal.
The last leaf will fall
the season is changing again and the sacrifice is always worth it because we make it work.

25
May

Five Minute Friday - pause

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on pause.
Go.

And today, I will hit pause and sit in calm and comfort.

It has been a whirlwind of a week.
Two huge events for my agency
big meetings for my business
triathlon training is really taking up so much of my time
the kids are getting close to the end of the school year
my husband has reached his school year limit
I have been running around trying to keep it all together
which means at night my brain falls apart and forgets how to fall asleep
which means this morning as I sit in the success of the last few days
I will hit pause.

Today, I will breathe
I will nap
I will have a cup of coffee by a window while I read
I will take my dog to the park and have her burn off energy
I will pause.

I will shut down
forget my list
I will linger
I will sit with myself
I will be happy with the accomplishments but also happy that it is over
and I can hit pause.

Today I will hug my kids
I will snuggle them
we will have dinner together
we will kiss noses
they will tell me about their week
they will ask how my week went
and I will remind them that work is important
that mom loves to work
she leans into it
but I am happy to be home
hitting pause.

I will reconnect
become a better bride
a better mom
a better friend
I will find the other parts that were pushed away.

Today I will linger
I will smile
I will feel whole and full.
Job well done sort of full and whole.

And today, I will hit pause and sit in calm and comfort.

Stop.

27
Apr

Five Minute Friday - stuck

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on stuck.
Go.

All throughout my life, there are years and years of feeling like I couldn't move.
Years of feeling captured in mud of my own doing.
Years of feeling cemented
until the universe tells me that something has to give and I make a change.

Where once I was angry, stuck in the feeling of why me, it's all on me, bitter resentment of a childhood lost.
The universe gave me you, the person I needed to remind me of joy and ease.
Where once I could not trust or believe in soft, I met someone who melted all worries and got rid of many sharp edges.

And it continued to give and give with family and little faces and second chances.

And I found myself stuck again, missing family and framily.
Missing connection and adults.
And the universe once again reminded me it was time to make a change and open my heart and the universe gave me close wonderful friends.
And traditions
and love
and taking care of each other.

And I found myself stuck again, things being too hard because I made them so.
Things being out of sync
out of balance.
Our lives totally out of balance.
And all the emotions and night upon nights of crying and feeling like I had nowhere to go
stuck inside my own head
stuck inside my old ways
stuck.
And the universe reminded me of a different way.

In my year of different, I made the change.
I no longer wanted to keep doing the same things and expecting different results.
I no longer want to run to stand still.
I needed to make changes.
I looked at the direction my life was heading
the pain I was causing
the destruction I was doing
and I pulled my feet out of the cement
I pulled my head out of the fog
and I made the change.
To no longer be stuck in me.

17
Dec

I lost my hum

There is something that happens when you say yes to everything.
There is something that happens when you think, sure, I can do that too.
There is something that happens when you keep on going and forget to eat, or breathe or think.
You lose your hum.

There is something that happens when you don't delegate.
There is something that happens when you take control of it all.
There is something that happens when you keep plugging along.
There is something that happens when you keep adding to your plate.
You take other things away.
You make your priorities out of whack.
And in the end, you lose your hum.

I first heard someone describe the hum on a Ted Talk and as soon as she opened, I immediately cried.
Tears of anguish
tears of guilt
tear of understanding
tears of being understood
tears of heartbreak
tears of wanting a different life
tears of realizing how beautiful my life is if only I stopped to look.

But, there is something that happens when you don't stop to look
you lose your hum.

I have acknowledged the hum before but in five minutes, I couldn't exactly dig deep...
So, here is how the hum goes...
I introduce myself by the number of hours I work in a week.
I wear it like a badge of honor.
I define my life by it.
Because a mom that loves her work and loves to work has to justify it, to someone and everyone.
And I do love to work.
I love working
I love the joy, the accomplishment, the tasks, the wave, the ride, the emotions, the winning.
I love to work.
It makes sense to me, I love that there is a right and wrong answer.
I love that I can get better at it.
I love that math makes the world seem real and I understand it.
I love that I get to be good at something.
I love to work.
And so, I do it all of the time.
I do it in my sleep
I do it instead of other things
I do it instead of things that I am worried I am not good at
I do it instead of sitting in quiet
I do it all of the time.

And the harder I worked, the better I got, the higher up I was promoted, the more work I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and the harder I worked
and the more I was promoted
and the more I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and so on and so on and so on.
Until, there was nowhere else to go.
And I was doing so much of the work
and I am a hard worker so she can do that too
and I won't let it fail so I work harder
and I won't give up so I keep going
and the hum got louder.

And then one day, it was gone.
The hum, the drive, the determination.
I lost my hum.
Suddenly, none of it made sense.
None of it seemed right.
Suddenly I was filled with regrets and what ifs and I should haves and what did I do and resentment and anger.
Because the hum made me think and feel
the hum was my guide.

So, I doubled down and searched everywhere for the hum.
I hear it when I am working, so I will work harder.
I hear it when the work makes sense so let me stay right here until it all makes sense.
I hear it when everything comes into focus so let me stare at the problem, I can find a solution again.
I just need to work harder.
But the hum was gone.
And I went into mourning.
I mourned a loss.
Of my work
my time
what I sacrificed
what I allowed to be sacrificed
I mourned me.

And then, I rooted to rise.
I ground down to rise up
and I found a new definition.
I found a new badge to wear.
I found other things to be proud of
and I learned to find a hum in different places.

It is still my go to
and when things get stressful and work becomes overwhelming
I still put my head down and forget to come up for air.
It is only when my depleted and exhausted and angry body climbs out of bed in the dark that I realize
I am here again.
I am in the bad place and I have to set a different plan in motion.
I have to determine a time, a limit.
I have to set a schedule of I will allow this for this amount of time and then,
I find my hum someplace else.

I cannot do it all
I cannot say yes to all
I cannot be it all
but I can still love the work
and the life.
I can say yes to my kids
I can read to them
I can train with them
I can journal with them
I can play board games
I can comb their hair
I can have quiet snuggles
I can be present when I am with them
I can make this life I asked for lovely
I can find my hum.

This Ted Talk changed me...http://www.ted.com/talks/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything

8
Sep

Five Minute Friday - work

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on work.
Go.

It's what I am best at.
No, really, I am a good worker.
I put my head down, I work my fingers to the bone, I get it done.
I am a hard worker, I don't give up on the assignment, I don't turn anything in late, I stay staring at it until I figure out how to make it work.
And when you are good at something, you gravitate to it, it keeps giving you a feeling of success so you keep showing up.
So, the better I got, the more I worked.
The more I worked, the better I got.
And the cycle kept going and going and going.
I added a child, I didn't break my stride.
I added a second and folded him in too.
I kept showing up for what I was good at.
I once heard someone who felt overworked talk about work like it was a hum.
There was a hum to my day, I've got this part of my life.
I could work my way out of a situation.
I could work harder and get a little more done.
And the hum was so loud in my head, I felt light, I felt like this was the one place in my life that I knew the answers.
And the hum grew stronger and stronger.

"Mom, I know you're probably going to say no to this, but can you play with me?"

Until one day, I didn't feel light.
I didn't feel strong and able.
I was tired.
I felt heavy.
I was sad.
I was stressed.
I was anxious.
I was worried all of the time and
I lost my hum.

"Mom, why don't you get time off with us like dad?"

And, instead of taking a step back, regrouping, taking a much-needed break, stepping away and finding my breath, I doubled down.
I worked harder, searching for my hum.
I stayed up later.
I got up earlier.
I worked from dark till dark.
I kept at it, thinking, somewhere in the work, I would find my purpose again.
I would find how I have defined me.
I would find me and my strength,
I would find my hum.

"Mom, are you done yet? Can we have a reading date now?"

It's what I should have done three years ago now,
I should have given myself an opportunity to grow differently.
I should have opened up opportunities.
I should have used what I learned to my advantage.
But, they say it's never too late.
So here I am, starting and trying to not focus on the should have, could have, would have.
I am starting new.
I am finding a new path,
I am finding me.
I am finding my hum.

Stop.

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