Take a Tizzy Timeout

The holiday season is here, and I can already feel myself revving up into overwhelm mode. I LOVE the holidays, but I can really stress myself out with all the extra tasks I take on during this time. Cooking, baking, hosting, making and sending out holiday cards, shopping for gifts, decorating … does this sound like your list also? Last year, I was able to use my new morning ritual to stay somewhat centered, and it helped me slow down and enjoy the season more. But I still wore myself out. When things get extra busy, I work myself into a tizzy trying to handle everything as quickly as possible. I tend to keep moving until it’s all done—and then collapse.

This year, I plan to take some short breaks each day—“tizzy timeouts”—to recharge myself as I go. I’ve tried this during crazy-busy days recently and it really helps. Give it a try the next time you find yourself in that whirlwind of activity. Just taking a moment to sit down and breathe, or a few minutes to savor a cup of tea, can make all the difference in how you feel. That tiny little rest restores enough energy to keep going without completely burning out. And it can help make whatever you’re doing a lot more enjoyable!

I also highly recommend a morning ritual, if you don’t already do one—or if you’ve tried but find it hard to implement. For some tips, check out this article I wrote recently for Yoga Journal on “5 Ways to Actually Stick to a Morning Ritual,” or this post on The Daily Positive: “Meaningful Morning Rituals in 10 Minutes or Less.

Whether it’s in the morning, at lunch, in mid-afternoon, or in the evening, carve out some space each day just for you. Take some time to rest and recharge. The holidays are a marathon, not a sprint!

I won’t be posting next week since it’s Thanksgiving, so I’ll see you in December! I hope you have a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving (if you’re in the U.S.) and a lovely week (if you’re not!).

1 hammock.jpg

Take a Vacation from Adulting

**I've been craving more playtime lately, and was going to write about it--then realized I already had! So here is a repost from June 2017.**

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.
— Sir John Lubbock, “The Use of Life”

I think it’s a travesty that we don’t get summers off as adults. Who needs the break more than us, I ask you? I get grumpy in the summer when all I want to do is go to the beach but my endless list prevents it.

Remember what summer was like as a child? All those marvelous days stretching ahead of you with absolutely no responsibilities, and the only “to do” was have fun! Let’s try to incorporate some of that feeling into our lives this summer. Whether it's for an hour, a day, a weekend, or even a glorious week, craft a plan to release yourself from the tyranny of adulting. Do absolutely nothing or go have some totally frivolous fun.

Play hooky from work, play hooky from home, take everything on your list and give it to someone else—or procrastinate like a student facing exams. It will all be there when you get back. Turn off the phone, turn off the computer; be as unreachable as if you were in one of those over-the-water thatched bungalows in Bora Bora. (Better yet, actually go to one of those over-the-water thatched bungalows in Bora Bora, lol!)

What do you miss most about childhood summer days? Lying around? Reading all day with no interruptions? Napping? Going to the movies? Going to the beach? Getting ice cream? Do whatever your heart yearns for.

Think of the activities you did that made you feel free and full of promise and possibility. Or, think of what you wished to do but never got to. Go rollerskating or bike riding or swimming or camping. Set up a Slip’n’Slide! Go to a playground, swing on the swings, and eat Popsicles. Get some art supplies and do some wild and crazy finger painting, play with clay, or create Jackson Pollock-style splatter art. See if you can round up some friends to play kick the can or sand volleyball. Meet up in a park and have a picnic. Have a picnic all by yourself! Rent a boat, kayak, canoe, or paddle board and get out on the water.

Maybe you miss sleep-away camp. Several summers ago, as I was planning my son's summer, I found myself feeling jealous. “I want to go to camp,” I thought. “I want to make art and swim and hang out with other girls and have campfires!” I posted that thought on my Facebook page—and amazing life coach Carla Robertson replied, “I could make that happen for you!” She actually created a weekend “camp” with several other women at a group of little cottages in St. Francisville, Louisiana. We made crafts, hiked in the woods to some beautiful waterfalls, and relaxed. We also enjoyed marvelous individual coaching and treated ourselves to Prosecco with sorbet, which was a nice grown-up twist! Maybe you can create something like this for yourself and a few friends.

In 2016, I Googled “art camp for women” and discovered Lucky Star (which is held in early November but since it’s in Texas it still feels like summer)! I immediately signed up, and it was the quintessential camp experience—only way, way better (gourmet food and you could bring your own adult beverage!). Held at a gorgeous historic girls’ camp on the Guadeloupe River, it was incredible from start to finish. I immersed myself in art classes, yoga, horseback riding, sitting by the river, and late-night campfires with singalongs—and I got to share it with about 100 new friends. It was magical, and I highly recommend it! (Lucky Star is in Hunt, Texas, in the hill country: www.luckystarartcamp.com.)

Whatever you did in your childhood summers that made you happiest (or whatever you wanted to but couldn’t!), try to do it or something similar now. At the very least (and perhaps this would do the very most good), spend an afternoon lying on the grass in your backyard with some lemonade and good music, watching the clouds and listening to the birds. Enjoy doing nothing; imagine that you have absolutely no responsibilities and the entire glorious summer lies ahead, full of promise. Repeat as often as possible, and I bet you start to feel like a kid again!

492.JPG

Patience! Wherefore Art Thou, Patience?

Oh, patience! Anyone else have trouble being patient? I am thisclose to getting a printed proof copy of my book in my hands – the physical culmination of ten months of work – and I'm stuck. A "very odd" error in a file I'm trying to upload has customer service stumped. I've been "escalated” to the "tier two" team, which cannot be a good thing. I spent hours at the computer yesterday going through all of the many steps, giddily anticipating the thrill of placing the print order and knowing that my book is finally on its way to me. To be foiled at the second-to-last moment – after weeks of waiting for my final files (again, trying to be patient) – oh! The agony. I know, I know, first world problems.

But it brings up an issue for me that I face time and again: having to be patient. This has never been easy for me, so a while ago I started praying for more patience. I want to be like Marmee in Little Women: unflappable and constantly calm, even in the face of terrible difficulty. So far, not even close.

Recently a friend mentioned that she is always careful what she prays for; that in her experience, when she prays for patience, what she gets is more situations in which she needs to be patient. Aha! So I stopped praying for that, but apparently the half-life on those prayers is quite long.

I know it's a lesson that I will face again and again until I learn it, but it’s so difficult. I guess the best lessons always are. I suspect I'm also being taught that my usual "butt my head against the obstacle until it gives or I fall down" approach is not the best. Certainly there are times when persistence and hard work are needed, but I tend to view any setback or delay as something to be attacked with increased vigor, rather than accepted.

It's all tied in to my productivity complex, which I've talked about here before. I simply don't feel right if I'm not being productive when there is something left to do. But – here's the problem – there's always something to do! The list is neverending. I can't possibly get it all done, even if I work around the clock. And we all know what happens to us with all work and no play. But I have such a difficult time playing or simply resting during the weekday. On the weekend, sure (after all the household chores are done, lol!). But Monday through Friday? It's a very tough sell to my inner taskmaster.

I have had the experience, though, of taking a break from something (usually when I had no choice) and reading or going for a walk, then coming back to a resolved situation or the answer I'm waiting for. So I know that sometimes, that can work. I also know how much better I feel when I alternate periods of concentrated effort with periods of R&R. And truly, if I'm in a situation that requires waiting on someone else, doing something fun helps the time pass much more quickly than moving on to another joyless task so that "at least I'm still doing something.”

Today I am walking away from my computer with the knowledge that I've done all I can on this project, and it's time to wait for the cavalry to arrive. I will go get a massage, and if there's no news after I get home, I will do something fun with no guilt. I will not stew, or complain (anymore than I already have today!). I will channel Marmee and be a virtual beacon of patience shining for the whole world to see. Well, I will try, anyway.

If you're facing any sort of similar challenge, I wish you piles of patience and a speedy resolution!

IMG_6862.JPG

 

 

Dreams for 2018

Yesterday I received Sonia Sommer’s weekly email newsletter; in it, she called this week between Christmas and New Year’s the “bridge between years.” What a lovely idea. It does feel like that—neither here nor there, a sort of limbo between past and future. It’s a time for rest and reflection—which is good, because that’s all I feel like doing! I don’t know how your year was, but mine felt astonishingly busy. And while much of the work was enjoyable and fulfilling, it still has left me a little worn out and in need of a break. And after baking, cooking, and cleaning my way through Christmas, I am really ready for some good, old-fashioned lying around! I spent Tuesday curled up with hot tea and a novel. Ahhh!

I’d like more of that all throughout 2018. I’ve been so productive over the past few years; I’d like to lie fallow for a while. I have a huge stack of amazing books I’ve been gathering, and I want to read them—and truly take the time to absorb their messages. I want to read, and think, and write just for myself. I want time to be fully present with my husband and son. Instead of rushing through my days, I want to move intentionally, with calm purpose. I want a more creative year in terms of having fun, making art, and creating just for creating’s sake. I want to play more and be more free. I want to travel and explore, learning and growing through new experiences.

2018 feels momentous to me—like it will be a really fun year of change from the ordinary routine. Yes, please! I’ve been such a good, hardworking, business-before-pleasure kind of girl. I’m ready to let loose a little! Or perhaps a lot—who knows?

I feel like this book I’ve been reading, The Lotus and the Lily, and the process it is guiding me through will help facilitate that (see previous post, “Forgiveness Is the Cash”). In a few days I will make an Intention Mandala, setting down my dreams for the new year. This book has led me on a fascinating mental journey over the past several weeks. I actually can’t wait to finish it so I can re-read everything and cement all the concepts in my head.

I’m ready to leave behind all my old baggage and step lightly and joyfully into 2018. How about you? What sort of dreams are you dreaming? I hope that you get everything you wish for and more! Happy New Year!

beach dawn 5.jpg

Do You Ever Have Trouble Taking a Break?

I have been working very hard on writing a book for about the past five months. The manuscript is now with the editor, and I have turned my focus to the elements of production and promotion. It’s all quite overwhelming, and I feel like my brain is totally fried at this point. What I really need is a break, but I can't seem to give myself one. I feel compelled to keep going, as much as possible every day, so that I can meet my deadline. Since I am self-publishing, it is a completely arbitrary and self-imposed deadline—but I will still feel like a failure if I don't meet it.

On the one hand, I'm proud of myself for persevering in the face of difficulty and mental fatigue. But on the other hand, I seem to have lost the ability to take a break. Each weekend I tell myself I’m going not going to do any work, and then I feel fidgety until I finally give in and so something.

However, we are going to the beach this weekend, and I am not taking my laptop, and I am not taking my notes. I am going to do my very best to put all of this out of my head for three whole days. I know it's going to be a struggle, but I feel like it's necessary for me at this point.

Many people I admire say that doing less is often more productive than pushing through and doing more. I'm going to experiment with that this weekend and hope that they are right! I think a lot of times we put too much pressure on ourselves. A life coach I've worked with named Carla Robertson calls it “SIMU”—“stuff I made up.” I keep thinking all of these things are vital and have to happen right away, when the truth is, they can actually wait.

I hope that you are also able to take a break this weekend from whatever you may be struggling with, or working too hard on. Give yourself some rest and relaxation. I will certainly be trying to achieve that. Ha—I’ll be trying to rest. Sigh. Wish me luck!

 

066.JPG

Take a Vacation from Adulting

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.
— Sir John Lubbock, “The Use of Life”

I think it’s a travesty that we don’t get summers off as adults. Who needs the break more than us, I ask you? I get grumpy in the summer when all I want to do is go to the beach but my endless list prevents it.

Remember what summer was like as a child? All those marvelous days stretching ahead of you with absolutely no responsibilities, and the only “to do” was have fun! Let’s try to incorporate some of that feeling into our lives this summer. Whether it's for an hour, a day, a weekend, or even a glorious week, craft a plan to release yourself from the tyranny of adulting. Do absolutely nothing or go have some totally frivolous fun.

Play hooky from work, play hooky from home, take everything on your list and give it to someone else—or procrastinate like a student facing exams. It will all be there when you get back. Turn off the phone, turn off the computer; be as unreachable as if you were in one of those over-the-water thatched bungalows in Bora Bora. (Better yet, actually go to one of those over-the-water thatched bungalows in Bora Bora, lol!)

What do you miss most about childhood summer days? Lying around? Reading all day with no interruptions? Napping? Going to the movies? Going to the beach? Getting ice cream? Do whatever your heart yearns for.

Think of the activities you did that made you feel free and full of promise and possibility. Or, think of what you wished to do but never got to. Go rollerskating or bike riding or swimming or camping. Set up a Slip’n’Slide! Go to a playground, swing on the swings, and eat Popsicles. Get some art supplies and do some wild and crazy finger painting, play with clay, or create Jackson Pollock-style splatter art. See if you can round up some friends to play kick the can or sand volleyball. Meet up in a park and have a picnic. Have a picnic all by yourself! Rent a boat, kayak, canoe, or paddle board and get out on the water.

Maybe you miss sleep-away camp. Two summers ago, as I was planning my son's summer, I found myself feeling jealous. “I want to go to camp,” I thought. “I want to make art and swim and hang out with other girls and have campfires!” I posted that thought on my Facebook page—and amazing life coach Carla Robertson replied, “I could make that happen for you!” She actually created a weekend “camp” with several other women at a group of little cottages in St. Francisville, Louisiana. We made crafts, hiked in the woods to some beautiful waterfalls, and relaxed. We also enjoyed marvelous individual coaching and treated ourselves to Prosecco with sorbet, which was a nice grown-up twist! Maybe you can create something like this for yourself and a few friends.

Last year, I Googled “art camp for women” and discovered Lucky Star (which is held in early November but since it’s in Texas it still feels like summer)! I immediately signed up, and it was the quintessential camp experience—only way, way better (gourmet food and you could bring your own adult beverage!). Held at a gorgeous historic girls’ camp on the Guadeloupe River, it was incredible from start to finish. I will go into more detail in a future post about the healing power of making art, but I immersed myself in art classes, yoga, horseback riding, sitting by the river, and late-night campfires with singalongs—and I got to share it with about 100 new friends. It was magical, and I highly recommend it! (Lucky Star is in Hunt, Texas, in the hill country; 2017 dates are November 1-5: www.luckystarartcamp.com.)

Whatever you did in your childhood summers that made you happiest (or whatever you wanted to but couldn’t!), try to do it or something similar now. At the very least (and perhaps this would do the very most good), spend an afternoon lying on the grass in your backyard with some lemonade and good music, watching the clouds and listening to the birds. Enjoy doing nothing; imagine that you have absolutely no responsibilities and the entire glorious summer lies ahead, full of promise. Repeat as often as possible, and I bet you start to feel like a kid again!