I used to seriously dislike people who chastised me for my glorification of busy. There was a while that I marketed my business specifically for crazy busy women, and it was on more than one occasion that I was told that I was part of the problem.
Why, I asked, what is so wrong with being busy?
Of course, I read Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive. I knew how important it was for my own self-care, and that of my clients, to take time for ourselves—to meditate and do yoga and get enough sleep. So it just irked me to no end when people censured me on my use of the word busy, when in fact that’s what I was and what many of my client’s were: busy.
Fast forward to the present day, fresh off a nine month hiatus from building my business because I was focused on moving my family across the country, and I have found myself in a very different frame of mind. I am not busy. I am nesting. And I am frequently bored to death.
Then, as I was scrolling through Facebook I saw these two memories: one from the perspective of a business owner and the older one as a stay-at-home mom.
I can totally see how I was indeed glorifying busy.
Just to seal the lesson, I was on the phone with my mom just last night and she uttered the words: “I can’t stand idleness. I have no use for lazy people.” It was certainly not the first time I heard THAT come from my mother’s lips. The evil of sloth is a very old tape that my inner critic had ingrained from a very young age and loves to replay.
It soon became apparent to me that I have to find some reconciliation in the grey area between the extremes of busy and lazy for my own sanity.
Today, I am not busy. I am nesting. I am supporting my husband and my children by establishing new routines and decorating our new home. I am writing again and enjoying the process that requires lots of daydreaming and contemplation. I am still coaching, of course, and even coaching has its own down time like holding the silence after a powerful question so that my client can go into themselves and find their truth in their answers. I’m not chasing potential clients instead I am allowing them to find me. I am not lazy. I am purposeful in my non-doing.
Where do you fall in this belief spectrum? Busy, good or bad?
I have been preaching about self-acceptance and healthy boundaries and self-care for a very long time now. Most of the time it’s because of lessons that I learned, and wanted to help others transition through rough patches more easily, if at all possible.
Here’s another one.
I am not immune to the whole vanity thing that affects all of us. And by being a public speaker, I tend to have to look somewhat presentable on stage…or a least better than without makeup in my yoga gear, as most days I coach over the phone or sit behind my keyboard writing in comfy clothes. The thought of having a mouth full of metal brackets while speaking on stage was not a pleasant one. I’m also, like most moms, not one to put spending $6000 on myself ahead of the other expenses for my family–especially my children. But this year, self-care outweighs a little vanity and requires money being spent on me.
After I broke one of my teeth for the 5th time from my crooked bite, and as I was told an implant would also break less than a year after being replaced… I decided to finally get braces. But not before becoming the most informed patient on the planet. Dr. Andrea Stevens Dentistry, my partner at the Ottawa Makeover Project, was instrumental in my decision making by giving me an in depth second opinion on my best course of action.
So now I have an extra little sparkle in my smile for the next three years. And I’m walking my talk by investing in my oral health so that these pearly whites can last me another 43 years.
Have you had to make a large investment of time or money in yourself lately? What was it for? Do you feel that it was worth it on the long run?
“Into each life some rain must fall.” -Ella Fitzgerald
As much as I am completely on board with positive psychology and the spiritual concept that the positive vibes you put out in the world return to you, there come times when life hands you a shitty situation and you’re going to feel shitty about it. This is a blog about shitty feelings.
I went to an excellent talk last week given by two child psychologists from Anchor Psychological Services on Emotion Coaching with our kids. Boiling a three hour talk down to a paragraph, in essence, they said that we as humans need emotions or we would have evolved out of them by now. Each emotion shows a need: sadness for comfort, fear for safety, anger for a boundary or to be heard, and shame has a need for reassurance of self. They also said that by avoiding our negative emotions there is a risk of maladaptive coping strategies like emotional eating, self-harm, substance abuse, depression, or anxiety.
Today, I am angry because of an injustice towards my daughter at school yesterday. I also have some sadness for her pain, and some shame around how she chose to react. If I listen to what society says is proper for a lady… I don’t get to puff up and yell and demand justice. At best, women are allowed to cry about it—that’s much more socially acceptable. But in all reality, in proper society, people would rather I just bury the shitty feelings, slap a smile on my face, and let it fester inside of me clogging up my arteries.
When I briefly asked about anger on my Facebook profile, most women said they do something physical like run or clean the house, many of them journal about their feelings and some of them vent it out with a friend. I also received some well-meaning advice through private messages to question if I should even bother being angry. Does the situation really matter? While I know these lovely ladies were trying to make things better by looking for the silver lining, it was still asking me to dismiss my feelings… and I kinda like my arteries to stay clear, thank you very much.
I am not suggesting we all be in a rage for months on end or fall into the depths of despair, but I am suggesting that we give ourselves permission to feel our feelings, to deal with our feelings, and to move on. Because, I can assure you that, at some point, another situation and another feeling will show up. I do wish all of us the more positive emotions more often, but this is life, and we are here to discern the difference between light and dark and joy and pain. One doesn’t exist without the other.
Thanks to having taken the class last week, I emotion coached my daughter (though I have a feeling I have more work to do there). Then for my own self-care, I voiced my boundary to the school, I had a good ranting session with my friends, I had some comforting hugs from my husband, and I let myself be vulnerable and have my oldest daughter reassure me that I am a good mother.
I can’t fix the injustice but at least I’m not burying mine or my daughter’s feelings. This is self-care my friends: Emotions need to be in motion.
Leave me a comment about what you think of the need for all emotions, good and bad.
Here is a blog I wrote for my Spring Cleaning series at Life in Pleasantville. Autumn can also signal changes with the return to school and holiday rituals, where do you see opportunities to clarify your life?
You know that amazing feeling when you put on a pair of freshly cleaned pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses? Life just looks so much better for a while, and you can’t believe how cloudy and blurry your vision was before you took the time to clean your glasses. Same thing with the windshield on the car, don’t you love it when you turn on the wipers and get a crystal clear view? Every once in a while that happens to our inner vision as well. We have a conversation with someone and all of a sudden we see them for who they really are, or we see the real intention behind an action. And the best feeling is when we get a clear view of who we really are and where we want to go.
Sometimes I bemoan the rain, the drab weather and all those April showers. Then I try to look at the bright side, I tell my kids the grass and flowers need the rain, it washes the winter salt from the roads and that it helps to melt away that last bit of snow that is sticking around the shady parts of the yard. If we look at rain metaphorically, it is a cleansing agent for so many things. It washes away the old to give life to the new. So what are the soul messages we can take away from April Showers?
The Do Over
Part of the message of spring is what I covered in last week’s post, about taking the cues of the season to apply change to your lifestyle. But there is more to spring than the change of the season, there is also a huge element of re-birth—a chance to start anew. If last summer some of the perennials in the garden didn’t take, or the grass was a little yellow, we get a brand new chance to make them thrive this year. The same applies to our lives. We can always use a Do Over in some areas of our life, be it relationships, family or careers. The challenge, I find, is giving our selves permission to try again. We all too often forgive others their trespasses way easier than we forgive ourselves of our own. But that’s part of being human, the learning and the growing. After all, being is a verb. We are always evolving. If we are blessed enough to wake-up in the morning, we are given the gift of a Do Over and can make our life’s garden thrive.
I can see clearly now
I am a firm believer that none of us can fix something, or do better in the do over, if we are blind to the truth of the situation. Unfortunately, in today’s world the truth can be hard to find. It’s not always from malice that the truth is fuzzy. We live in the information age where opinions are shared at light speed on mobile devices and media outlets everywhere. We are also surrounded by many well intentioned people who love to tell us what they think about our lives. Something as personal as deciding if and when to go back to work after having a baby can lead to everyone and their dog telling you what to do. And it has got to be a cosmic joke that all that advice is usually contradictory—my mother-in-law and my best-friend consistently have opposing views. It actually takes a concentrated effort to turn off all the noise of the world and find our authentic self and what we believe in our hearts to be our own truth. But when we do we find the magic. When we are able to look at ourselves from a place of acceptance and love, and when we make decisions from a place of personal truth we thrive better than any well-tended garden.
Your homework this week is to take a few moments to quiet your mind and connect to your authentic self and then look at your life’s direction. Take a look at your relationships and your career choice and your passions from a clean window. Ask yourself if you are making choices that are right for your higher self, for the greater good of others. If your choices are not the best choice then be gentle and compassionate with your human self and take Maya Angelou’s advice “When you know better, you do better.” If your choices are just right, give yourself a big hug and get out there and dance in the springtime rain!
What do you get when you go from only being able to run 3 minutes straight to running 30 minutes straight? Besides running 10 times more?
There are the obvious advantages of starting a running regimen that slowly challenges us to push beyond what we thought we could do physically. Cardiovascular Health, Increased Lung Capacity and Weight Loss just to name a few.
I have spoken openly about my most stressful year when my oldest daughter left home last year, and how I ate my way through it (and all the stress leading up to that). Right before I had put on all that weight I was doing an amazing job of exercising, and eating well. I was kind of meditating, but not really on a regular basis. I knew of my higher self, but we didn’t hang-out as much as I’d have liked. Thanks to a wonderful mentor, Adele from Phoenix Rising Healing Centre, I spent most of this fall and winter meditating and really connecting to my higher self. I was laying the foundation to proper self-care.
And then, one day in March I decided I was done living the unhealthy life. Remember the scene where Forrest Gump gets out of his rocking chair and leaves his porch and just runs. That was me. I decided my body, my health, and my happiness was a priority, so I ran.
But this isn’t all about how I look from the outside. Running releases those endorphins that bathe our brains in lovely happy hormones which help with the lows in our lives and even with balancing out some of the mental extremes us women get every month. When I was asked by a friend if I was running to train for a race, I answered I was training for menopause. I want to stay off hormones and anti-depressants when my time comes to say bye-bye to my monthly gift from Mother Nature. If you want to stay off medication, regular exercise is a great place to start.
More importantly, I gained an enormous sense of accomplishment. When I went from running intervals of 3 minutes to 5 minutes with walks in between, I was so very proud of myself for doing something I had never done before. And then I reached the 8 minute mark which was oddly enough a mental block for me. Pushing through that was another huge triumph. The feeling of running 20 minutes straight and then 30 minutes straight is so marvelous that I wish I could bottle it up and give it to the whole world.
Over the years I managed to accumulate some negative self-talk that I heard from the critics in my life. One of those old tapes that stayed on repeat for a long time was: “You never finish anything, Tammy. You always give up before then end. You leave the job half-done.” Imagine my surprise when two separate people told me in one week in January that they admired my strong work ethic and my ability to get the job done. I was amazed at how these two seemingly intelligent people could be so wrong about me. Then I took the time to look at the evidence from their perspective, and gosh darn it I did work hard, get results and finish the job. Those old tapes were wrong! What are your old tapes telling you about your ability to start exercising, running, meditating, putting your self-care on your priority list?
What more proof did I need? After all, I wrote a book. And, I got it published. Those two are not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination. Let me tell you that it took nerves of steel to run through that gauntlet. But, I saw it to the end and I got the job done. And every single time I lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement I want to quit a quarter of the way in, but I push to the half way mark and then I’m good until the last five minutes and I have to push to the end. And every single time I pat myself on the back.
I may have the book smarts of years as a registered nurse, alternative healer, and psychology student, but I also inspire by having walked (or ran) my talk. When I work with my clients, or give a class, you get all of me—not only what is in my head but also what is in my heart. So head over to my Facebook page and like it! Comment bellow that you are ready to put yourself first on your priority list and I will contact you to let you know how I can help you do that.