Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! What I'm doing instead of resolutions

I woke up this morning with a few thoughts on my mind about the coming year. My day job is winding up which gives me an amazing opportunity to look at the things I want for myself in 2014.

It's no secret that I've begun my life as a life coach and mentor to people who are searching for their personal north star and learning to move beyond thinking that is based in a need to "improve". Regardless of where you are in the sea of your life, looking to your north star will give you the guidance you need to choose a life that resonates deeply with your truest self. So in that spirit I give you my list of desires for 2014.

1. I want to have coffee with friends more often. Before you dismiss this as not much of a goal, I am going to confess that casually getting together has been a major problem--everyone (including me) is scheduled to death. I miss the experience of just being able to call someone up and say "can I meet you for coffee".  I'm opening up and letting that in.

2. I want to see the stars in the Southern hemisphere. I've never been south of the equator. I want to go somewhere on that side of the planet with a good blanket of stars and perhaps a telescope. Eh, I don't need a telescope. I just need to be there. Whether by plan or invitation I want this with all my heart.

3. La vie française. This year I'm going to indulge my inner francophile. Language, cooking, and perhaps even a visit to the City of Lights with my wife (who also loves la vie française). I'm putting it out there--I'm going to chat someone up in a Parisian bakery in 2014 and invite them to lunch.

4. Nurture my inner water spirit. I am most alive when I'm near the ocean. I plan to step up my paddleboard/kayaking skills and get out on the water more to commune with this precious life force. I'm calling friends to myself who want to share this experience with me.

5. Make a safe/healthy place for my best friend (the one who is not Keri) in my home. My oldest friend is terribly allergic to animal dander. For this reason she hasn't been able to cross the threshold of my home for years. I miss having her over!!!

Because I want to cook for her and to have a place to play games and chat I am building a small annex in my back yard. It will have 4 seats (for Keri to have a place and also in case she wants to bring a friend), a counter, and will be screened in so we won't have to contend with the small flying creatures of my yard. It will have a wall that will prop up in warm weather and will close down when it's cool. There will be access through the side gate so she won't have to contend with the furry nightmare that is my living space. I will also run electricity out there so time of day won't be a gating factor. I've been designing this in my mind for a few weeks now. I plan to break ground in Spring.

6. Build my coaching practice and reach the people who need my original medicine. Part of being a coach is knowing who your people are. I've been through hell and back on my career, on my creative life, in love and in finding courage and authentic voice.

When I sit with people in coaching sessions I am able to help them to stop looking at the illusion that there is something wrong with them and to start working on their personal truth and beauty. Because I've developed my own courage and I am skilled at subversion. I'm working on a plan to plant truth and beauty in a place that in the past has been my personal bête noire. I'm imagining this last part into being so I will share more on that as it unfolds.

Earlier this season I set an intention that everything I choose in my life will be in service to this last New Year's desire. By focusing on my desires and building the life I wish I am also serving as a guide post to the people I want to reach--"living it to give it" so to speak.  

How do I plan to do all this? Well, not by having a plan and working harder. I'm going to bring this all into being by finding the most fun and playful way to approach all of them! I've already done a lot of "hard work" to make things happen in my life. However, over the last decade or so I've discovered that being playful and open is the golden key to making luscious things happen. Even being kind to myself and resting has been a better solution than doubling down and "working harder".

Everything I've wanted to happen this year has happened. I'm taking this as a message to open up to bigger and more beautiful things in my life.

What are your New Year desires? I'd love to hear them. Please drop me a note or leave a comment.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

100 Days of Kindness: ACK! My 90 yo Mom fell!!!!

I started writing this post three weeks ago and life started happening all over the place!

After getting over my illness (FINALLY) and getting back to a more or less normal pace my poor Mom manages to fall on her FACE while moving a flower pot.

Good news is that Mom is ok. She had some pretty scary looking abrasions--and because she hit her head the urgent care send us to the ER in case she needed a CT scan. After 2 hours of answering repetitive questions and waiting around, the doctor decided Mom didn't need any deep diagnostics. They closed up Mom's wounds and sent her home (she refused a wheel chair ride to the car--the staff called her "feisty").

The day after the trip to the ER I was dead---so tired. I didn't stay up any later than usual nor did I wake up any earlier but I was still really tired.

The ER is an exhausting place to be--when my brother called me and told me Mom had fallen and that I needed to get over there I went on high alert and remained flooded with adrenaline all night. After we took Mom home I was rag doll weak. It didn't help that I had an early morning at work that diverted me from my usual routine. I didn't bring my usual healthy lunch or get in my usual yoga and meditation. The whole combo messed me up!

And even worse, that whole week was full of early work days. I could get up earlier to do my routine but I was already tired.

So, what does kindness look like when you are already running behind on self care, feeling stressed and the end still isn't in sight?

It looks like the best you can do.

As the days after Mom's fall turned to weeks, Christmas rolled around as well as the wrap up for the end of the year at work. I focused on the essential things I needed to do and let the rest go. Luckily I already did all my shopping online so I only had to face the madness of the retail world to pick up groceries for our holiday dinner. Beyond that I spent a lot of time just resting and reading books. I gradually brought back in my self care rituals -- I feel better doing them than not doing them.

My routine is actually what helps me get through my stressful times but sometimes I need even more flexibility. Five minutes of stillness or a minute of planking is better than the lengthy meditation/exercise sessions I would have skipped because they felt like too much in the moment.

For me, self kindness is looking more and more like rest and choosing behaviors that support me through my days, giving myself a break from perfectionism and letting good enough be good enough.

How did your holidays go? Please drop me a line or respond to this posting let me know how your kindness experiment is coming along.