chaos · compassion · order

My humanity is showing.

11.12.18.jpgPardon the mess, it’s just the inside of my brain.  You’ve arrived at a consequential time for me and I haven’t had the time to put all the belongings into their rightful place and order.

This pile here, atop what used to resemble a desk, is all my pending work tasks—the ones at the bottom over a month old.  Over in the kitchen, this disarray is where I collect all of my home related things.  As you see, the junk drawer holds, “Call the shade installer,” “Look up glucosamine supplements,” and “Find a better place for the Sodastream.”

In the heart of the living area is the jumble of my relationships, a pile of body parts.  The ear of my mom, for listening to the chaos and whose call I have to return.  The pointer finger of my dad for his accusation of missing his birthday.  The palm up, “Stop” sign of my inner self reminding me to pause, slow down, and remember my divinity, stillness, and truth.

On the porch, are my running shoes—sorry you tripped on them when you arrived!— dusty, beside a study about the precipitous drop-off of muscle tone as we age and a mishmash of the area’s workout classes.

So, you’ll have to forgive me if I can’t pause to look you in the eye right now.  If my fingernails have created a series of half-moons in my clenched palms, if a fistful of chocolate chips is a reasonable dinner, if my sleep cycle is a jackinthebox poised to awaken me at any moment.

Because, do know: There’s a robot vacuum on its way.

And a bed frame.  And a holiday break.  There are boxes unpacked so I have my favorite bread knife again, designated desk space, and a re-organized medicine cabinet.

Help is on its way.  I’m taking the action—some areas more slowly than others—but the pile will get unpiled, the sneakers will get sneaked, and I will learn anew what it’s like to let myself be human.

 

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achievement · courage · progress

Dare Up.

11.9.18One of the points Deepak Chopra made during today’s new meditation experience, “Energize Your Life: Secrets to a Youthful Spirit,” was about opening ourselves to receive the nourishment and energy that we need.  Opening myself to receive is a concept I’ve been on about for a little while, and the idea of “starving at the banquet of life” as its antithesis has similarly been on my mind.

While I have made strides to allow myself to admit what it is I want or desire, I know that I must open still more in order to truly hold the kind of health and abundance I want to have and hold in my life.

Opening myself to what I truly need and want requires a few uncomfortable things from me: 1) acknowledging what I want (which presumes that I have gotten quiet and honest enough to be clear about my desires), and 2) telling other people what I want.

Both of these steps require a vulnerability that feels exposing.  But it also leads me to the lyrics, “Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine.”  And you know what seems to happen when people “let it shine,” when they share vulnerably and openly who and what they are?  They inspire other people to want to do the same.

Brene Brown wrote about this idea in her book, Daring Greatly, quoting President Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the arena” speech.  He dramatized that the people who would criticize us for “daring greatly” are generally the ones who aren’t trying to dare greatly themselves.

So if you’re making strides to improve the quality of your life, in any arena — mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, sexually, financially, healthfully, energetically — keep daring, because there are those of us who are still in the bleacher seats, looking to you for courage, inspiration, strength, and invitation.

Dare on, Readers. Dare on.

habits · organization · self-care

A List, not a Litany.

11.8.18“You’d tell me if I had B.O., right?” I called across the house.  

“Why?  When was the last time you took a shower?”

“Errrm, I can’t remember.”

*Chuckling* “Yeah, babe, if you can’t remember, then it’s a sign to take one.”

As these mornings have unfolded in the new house, even though it’s closer to work, I’ve still been barely managing to make it to work on time.  Partly this is because J and I take some time in the morning to talk and be cute, partly it’s because I’m living out of a handful of shopping bags that I’ve moved over from Oakland so nothing feels routine, and partly because I have that drowsing in my head that says, “You live closer to work now, you have more time, go slow!” so maybe I’m not quite as rushed as I felt in Oakland…which was and is part of the luxury of living here in the first place!!

So, this morning, I began to write down a list, not a litany.  (The other day, J intoned to me, as I rattled off all the things I needed to do, “A list, not a litany,” as I’ve chanted to him!  Damnit that he listens to me!)

On the list is (yes) shower, talk to boss, exercise, call a mover, look up a Roomba, holiday cards, call my Dad (for his birthday which was on Tuesday and I didn’t call)… and, frankly, the list does go on.

But at least it’s there.  When it is a litany, it is unmanageable and unactionable.  There’s no toe-hold to make movement from when I’m rattling and lamenting.  But, with a list, there are concrete steps, even if they feel overwhelming as a whole.

One checkbox at a time and many of the items will be ticked off.  The move is temporary, the 7th grade trip will be confirmed, my dad only has a birthday once a year.

Sure, several of the items are daily (or should be!), like showering, blogging and meditating, but it reminds me only that I need to re-print and re-start my Habit Calendar, which had helped me to keep track of all the daily, weekly, and monthly items I needed.

A list trumps a litany any day.  A list connotes order.  A list infers completion.

So, first, dear reader: A shower.

 

finance · goals · parenting

Next steps.

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Yes, that’s me, during a 2015 modeling shoot.  Guess I was prescient! 😉

As J and I were driving into SF on Saturday, up and over the hills from the Marina to the Mission, I had a brainwave.

We were continuing the discussion (begun many moons ago) about kids, their time and financial impact on our lives, and the well-worn difference between what I anticipate it will be like and what he will.

When I tell him that I’ve done the research and kids cost x amount a year, he laughs and says, “Where? In Des Moines?!”  So I said that I would do some research on it, see what financially savvy mommy blogs there might be.

And that’s when it struck me: I’ve been aiming to transfer my blog to some kind of regular magazine column, and to preferably make some kind of money off this writing I’ve been doing for over the 10,000 hours they say it takes for a person to become an expert.  But, aside from the general tenor of the writing I do here, what would be my hook?

I paused in my speech, and said, I think I just had a lightbulb moment.

What if I started a blog about learning and becoming and refining what it takes to be a financially sound parent?

If we learn best by doing, wouldn’t it be great if I researched what information was out there, and coalesced my learning into my own writing?

So, I began to search the web.  When I type in “financially savvy mommy,” I get a lot of results.  I also found an article that listed the 25 “best” finance & parenting blogs and began diving into those.

What I saw was what I’d kinda hoped: Most of them suck.

Or rather: many were 404 not found anymore, or were about how to clip coupons and crochet a hairshirt, or were just clippings from other websites.

Very few (in my limited research so far) had what it was I’m looking for… which is great, because it means a vacuum and niche exists.

Combine the vision-, goals-, and values-based living I have and want to strengthen with the financial acumen I’m learning and also want to strengthen, and then aim that in the direction of planning for, raising, and thriving as a family — with a little irreverence and humor thrown in?

Well, that’s a blog I want to read.  So I better get to writing. ❤

 

moving · partnership · stress

Team Jolly.

11.6.18.jpegI’m having a Captain Obvious moment: Moving is Hard.

Now that my homebase is in the same county as my job(!), I am less and less desiring to cross a bridge after work, pack anything up, and then drive it back up over here.  While J and I have already agreed that the larger pieces of furniture (of which there aren’t many) will be moved by professional movers… the ins and outs of when and how—with Thanksgiving eating an entire weekend in which movers may be so inclined to do so—is beginning to give me palpitations.

Add to that fact that I haven’t settled into any regular face-to-face or phone gatherings with like-minded folk, I’m feeling a bit spinny.

So, I got to be brave and tell J this morning that I needed some support.  I was feeling (AM feeling!!!) a little off the rails about packing and scheduling and mustering motivation to cross the bridge twice in all these days leading up to the November 30 deadline to be out.

I said I needed physical support, and emotional … ushering, I called it, instead of “nudging”!

Add on top of many of these home upheaval things that my feelings at work are in high-overwhelm, and I’m not doing so hot.

I’m doing my best, and things are “just fine,” but I know that I need to get my meetings in and I need to get my items in a place where I can feel like it’s not gonna tumble on top of me in the last days of November.

Additionally, I really need to let my boss know—in MORE certain terms—that I’m not doing so well at work.  I have several additional duties and classes/meetings at school this year, and I feel at many times like I’m just drowning in it.

have made the genius move to teach my students mindfulness using the training I received at my last school, and that has helped these Massive Mondays to be a little more centering, but on the whole… I’m not having much fun.

It’s a season; I know it’s not permanent.  But…

as J came to find me in my “blogging room” after my bid for help this morning, he put his arms around me and said, “Thank you for asking for help, for letting me know what your needs were.  We’re a team.”

To quote Lean on Me:

“For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show.”

 

abundance · diversity · loss

Succumbing.

11.5.18.pngI like it here, I whispered.  I didn’t want the neighbors to hear.

The doors to the front and back were open, the windows wide.  We were eating a massive and delectable breakfast he’d cooked after a five-mile run up in the hills near the house.  The cat was sitting on the threshold watching the cul-de-sac outside, kids speeding by on razor scooters, neighborhood folk tossing a tennis ball down the block for their shaggy, golden dogs to fetch.

It was the ultimate moment in suburban living.  And it was dreamy.

Both J and I have lived in cities our entire adult lives, with the kind of diversity, grit, grime, and evocative atmosphere a city will provide.

The population around us now fits almost squarely into monochromatic, heterosexual couples in various stages of raising their offspring.  We both would like a little more color, in several ways.  (J says, humorously, that he doesn’t want to lose his edge; I point out he’s listening to Fugazi while wearing khakis, but, you know!)

But while this homogeneity is not our ideal, with one black woman on line in the grocery store, one full-sleeved woman walking her dog, clearly there are advantages to living where we are now.

Moreover, this weekend, we went into San Francisco twice, once on Friday night for an impromptu sushi and Legion of Honor visit and on Saturday afternoon to visit a lingerie & corset shop and his preferred motorcycle shop.

So, we had our visit to the grit.  We parked next to the homeless man strewing his belongings vociferously on the sidewalk.  The Haight Street Santa-Cruz-esque bros lighting up the air with the scent of weed.  And also to the diverse: the same-sex couple walking with their kid, the fashion-conscious women not in yoga pants, and the wide variety of color that remind us we are only one crayon in the box of 64.

But, we’re bridge and tunnel people now.  We visit the grit and diverse, we aren’t hugged by it every day.  There is a loss in that.

Yet, too, we are not immune to the Siren song of crickets in the evening.

 

community · empathy · humanity

Stronger Together.

11.2.18.jpegIn a somewhat delightful role-reversal, it was J who offered the optimistic viewpoint yesterday after my riled-up blog post.  Having shared that a neighboring school would be joining ours in a show of solidarity yesterday morning—and my feeling angered that these types of gatherings only occur in times of atrocity or within the boundaries of our personal identifications—J said that maybe one of those kids will one day be in a situation where others are speaking antisemitically and that kid will get to say,  “You know, the school across from mine growing up was Jewish, and they were pretty normal and fine to me.”

J pointed out that maybe one kid gets to not engage in hate-speech because they were exposed to a community different than their own when they were young.  And, of course, he’s right.

When we hear so much about speaking into echo-chambers, pandering to one’s own side, or read a sarcastic meme about, “I wrote a diatribe on Facebook and actually changed somebody’s opinion” or “I read someone’s diatribe and was convinced of my own inaccuracy”…

then I suppose any opportunity to walk out of one’s own comfort zone, out of one’s own community, to step a foot in a school that doesn’t belong to our own; or, as the recipient of the kindness, to see that others are willing to cross out of their circle of identification and hold hands with someone who by appearance or religion or socio-economics are different from us,

then I suppose it is not only worth the effort, it is worth my respect and appreciation.

I was genuinely moved by the show of…solidarity…yesterday as the mostly Hispanic students sat next to our mostly white/Jewish ones.  I was moved by the speeches of the principals of both our schools.  I saw that what was happening on the stage between the two of them, by appearances so different, was a potential manifestation of what could be happening between our own students in years to come.

(I also did say afterward to one of their teachers that it felt a bit hollow that we only do these things when there’s a tragedy, because I still vehemently feel we need to cross our respective streets in moments of normality and of joy in order to build real and regular relationships with those “different” from us.)

But.  I must admit: it was an experience that was more about unity than about division or ideology (even my own), and I am grateful that our students and teachers got to experience it, despite its precipitating event.