fear · focus · goals

Scattershot

12.7.18.jpgAs J and I continue pondering whether or not to have children together, I have to look at my personal history of focus.

In the 21-day meditation challenge I’m working through now, The Energy of Attraction, they return repeatedly to the idea that in order to manifest anything in our lives, we must be focused on it.  We must maintain that focus.

I feel like some of my 6th graders! SQUIRREL!

My attention muscle is extremely weak.  Rather, my attention on myself muscle is weak; I have a voracious capacity to focus on you!

And it would be easy for me to give up; to say, “You know, clearly it’s easier for me to focus on the needs or goals of others, and it’s sooo freakin’ hard to focus on myself, and besides, I’m totally bomb at “helping” other people(!),  so I should just do that!!  I should dedicate myself to what others—including my partner, potential children, students, their parents—may need.”

It’s so much easier that way!  It’s ingrained!  It’s hella focused!

But, truly, I know that’s not the path I really want to or am meant to follow.

My path, clearly, includes the consideration of others, but I know that I need copious strengthening of the muscle of Coming Back to Myself first.

I have so many disparate interests that part of the lure toward “helping” others is that I don’t have to decide.  It’s the curse of the “Master of None.”  I don’t want to be a master of none; it doesn’t help my self-esteem to say that, Yes, I play several instruments, but none of them competently.  Yes, I’ve been a community theater actress, but I don’t do that anymore.  Yes, I’ve worked in bands, but those collaborations fell off.

In fact, I increasingly notice that my friendships often suffer the same “fall by the wayside” fate if I’m not attending to them.

I want to study physics, fly a Piper plane, visit Rome, own rental property, do Shakespeare, play the piano…

But more than any of these things, I want to write a regular column in an online or paper publication.  I want to use my voice and my ability to condense disparate pieces of information into a coherent whole to inspire others to ask important questions of themselves, to illustrate progress, and to share vulnerably that I may help others to do the same.

I want to be a writer.  A published one.  And I don’t want to waver from that goal.

And yet, EVEN AS I TYPE THAT, I feel emotions, something like resistance, or fear, or hopelessness, rise up in me.

And so I know that THIS is the place to “focus” my attention.  I will never be able to move wholly into a realm if I feel terrified of it; if I feel ashamed putting my attention on myself; if I hide what I want for myself.

In a word, I must own my voice.

Honing my focus in on this one goal feels internally like my trying to benchpress … any number of pounds!!

But, I have been going to the gym lately, and I do notice that I can hold that plank a few seconds longer.  Make my mind like that plank: just a few seconds of awareness on bringing my vision into reality, just merely hold my attention on that goal, and see, just see, what movement can happen.

 

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goals · insanity · meditation

Center

11.21.18We finally had our Goals Group call again last night.  It had been several weeks, folks out of town, my cross country final “meet.”  And it was like an oasis.

Although I’ve been connecting regularly with my action partner via text each morning, letting her know what I hoped to accomplish that day, I was finding that those lists were becoming more and more “task” oriented and much less oriented toward my visions and goals, which is the aim of an action partnership (at least to my understanding).

Further, I was barely getting through any of the items I was texting her.  Because the way it’s currently set up is that we make commitments but don’t follow-up on if we did them or not, I was finding that I was writing lists and then hardly doing any of them!

So, I got to tell as much to my Goals Group last night.  We’ve been working together through a series of questions over seven months now, having weekly calls to share our answers to what our goals are, what’s holding us back, what’s the payoff we’re getting from avoiding our goals — you know, the usual!  And it felt like an anchor last night, a recentering to come back to, “Oh yeah, what am I attempting to do with my life, again?”

It’s all well and good (and necessary) to accomplish the daily tasks of living—like Complete assignment for work, Get car smogged, Pick up paint samples,… Shower daily…—but these tasks do not fulfill the deep needs of my true self, and without holding those needs and goals in my awareness, without anchoring into my “purpose” or vision for my life, I begin to feel lost, unmotivated, and vague in my life, even while accomplishing the tasks of daily living.  Then I begin to feel depressed and listless.

Those tasks are not what bring me to life, so  I need to hold my vision for myself and my life topmost, as it is literally “vital” that I do so.

Therefore, last night I committed to my Goals Group that I would do my morning practice today, Wednesday, and Friday.  Journal, Meditate, Blog.  This practice (all three together!) helps me to remember who I truly am, not an automaton just trying to “get through the day.”  I want more for my life and for myself.  And if I don’t take the time to reflect, if I don’t set aside the hours (yes, hours every morning) to come back to center, to remember who I am and what I want for this one lifetime I am honored to have, then it’s just a series of days falling off the calendar.

I am grateful for the chance to plug back in, to center.  I do not yet feel back “on it” or “in it” — in myself, I guess that is — but I do know that, one day at a time, I will write myself into right thinking, and then think myself into right action.

Welcome back, to both of us.

 

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. ❤

 

focus · goals · relationships

Ready, Aim, Keep Aiming.

10.23.18.pngI was able to share on a phone call yesterday some of my fears about “going into hiding.”  I told them how I’d done this flurry of work, inspired to send out this essay recently to magazines for publication … and then how it was published! … and then I stopped writing my blog for a few days because I got scared (of what, it’s hard to say).

Then, my bandmate and I played a small gig the other night for about 60+ people after some success 2 weeks ago when we’d played out, and I told the phone listeners that I was afraid that if I didn’t set up another gig or specific plan for sometime soon, it would be another year before I sang in public.  In fact, I said the same thing to my bandmate as I drove him home that night!

I also told the phone listeners that I’m … moving in with someone right now, and how I know that my time and attention can become exceedingly divided, and I can get off-kilter when in relationship, and I wanted to tell on myself so that I could keep my priorities front and center.

These are the priorities for me.  A relationship is wonderful, and what will happen here remains to be seen, but thinking about it, or him, doesn’t move me toward my visions.  And my visions are quite specific nowadays, thanks to my Goals Group, so I really have no excuse.

Magazine columnist; Small plane pilot; Lounge singer.

These are my goals, and I want to ensure they stay that way.  Whatever else happens around them.  To do that, I want to be focused on them, I want to set up guards in place so that they’re unstoppable, inalterable, have fail-safe mechanisms.  I want my goals to be impossible to fail.  Not necessarily on the basis that I’ll succeed in my business ventures, but that they’re not diverted from, that they have a chance to succeed because I’m putting energy and attention and intention into them.

My meditation (Desire and Destiny from Deepak and Oprah) tells me I have only 2 tools in this lifetime: Attention and Intention.

With my intentions clear, but my attention divided, I cannot get to my goal.  I need the same voice I intone to my more distractible students: Stay on target, Mol.  Stay on Target.

 

friendship · goals · isolation

The Buddy System

9.20.18.jpegWhile many actions I’m taking are to strengthen the net around moving toward my goals, it’s become clear that plain “accountability” isn’t enough for me in some cases.

Would you believe, even following that blog about the importance of music in my life, that I bought tickets to a concert last Friday and didn’t even attend?  It was the evening after Back to School night, so with the delayed homecoming it was a very short night of sleep and a long day.  But still.  I discovered, as I checked in by phone with my Action Partner (and admitted to her that in just a few hours I “should” be going to a concert), that just buying a seat doesn’t get me to that seat.

As I looked at my list of actions for yesterday, I had 2 competing tasks: “Find Opera Buddy” and… “Call Opera to Sell Back 2nd Ticket.”

Now, I’m not as dense as I look;P so I can extrapolate from last Friday’s experience to know, pretty deeply, that if I sell back my 2nd ticket, I have a much less likely chance of actually making it to the show.  And that’s just sad, because I was so excited to buy this package of tickets and go to the opera.

(I’m not traditionally a huge opera person, but I’ve gotten into a few over the last couple of years, so I bought a small, teacher-discounted set that includes Tosca, which I’ve seen and loved, and It’s a Wonderful Life, which seems like it’ll be a totally cool and unique opera experience.)

So.  I need a buddy.  It’s funny: 2 coworkers and myself bought tickets to see this simulcast of Macbeth last year at a movie theater — one of them had to cancel because of a work commitment and one got violently ill in the middle of the day!… So, you guessed it!  I didn’t go either.

There are plenty of activities for which I don’t require a buddy, but it seems the list of things for which I do are any events requiring I leave my 5-block radius once I’m home from work!

In the age of last-minute flaking, made so much easier because of texting, I find that I am flaking out on myself.

Part of my vision/goals for myself is to form new friendships and to strengthen those I have.  If that’s the case, then it follows that maintaining fidelity the first of those action items (“Find Opera Buddy”) will generate more dividends than going (or not going) alone.

 

design · goals · travel

Tra-velocity

palihouse instagram photo.jpgThere is some seed sprouting or thread emerging along my internal lines of desire for design.  Particularly hospitality design, particularly high-end boutique design.  (The reflection upon which brought startling tears during meditation this morning, but enough on that.)

J’s birthday last summer was one he’d have rather passed unnoticed but, being my know-it-all self, I clearly knew a better way, which was to visit this town he kept speaking about, San Luis Obispo.  And if we were going to visit for a 3-day weekend, then we weren’t staying at a Motel 6.

I began to research smaller, independent hotels in the area and came upon the Hotel Granada.  Frankly, I didn’t choose to research boutique hotels, because I wouldn’t have really known what that was.  I just web-searched the best hotels, and after clicking on a cute inn—that ended up looking like a grandmother’s doily collection exploded—the Hotel Granada was it.  Exposed brick walls, contemporary artistic photographs, local coffee service, the guts from a dissembled baby grand from the original hotel decoratively hung in common areas.

It spoke of lush, design, thoughtfulness, invitation, calm and sexy.  Done.

Our stay was phenomenal.

And this led us together on a path toward a few others: The Highline Hotel in New York City and The Palihouse in Santa Monica.

Everywhere we went, I ate the walls with my camera.  I documented everything, researched who was who in the creation of the hotels.  J and I spoke about how it might work to be a partner in a project like that (those brainstorming moments were some of his most alive).  By the time we’d stayed at the Palihouse, almost a year from our Granada experience, called up on my iPad were 3 interviews with a man to contact about how to get into this business.

Then J and I broke up.

Yesterday, I allowed myself a pajama day.  It was glorious.  And I watched a Netflix show called “StayHere” about how to maximize your home to host short-term rental guests.  Politics of economy and displacement aside (eek), watching the design take place was breathtaking.  Every piece carefully chosen, every photo “gram-worthy,” the copy on the website inviting and friendly.

God, how I wanted to do that!!

Each episode I had a smile on my face, there was something exciting about it.  I was inspired.  In discovering a magnet whose pole was calling to mine, I felt uplifted.

But where and how does this thread go?  Dunno!

I do know that I have engaged a financial advisor with whom I’ll meet again in September and October as she gathers my facts and future details to construct an ultimate plan for me. (omigod, thank god there are people whose JOB IT IS to do this! I was lost for a little while there.)

In our “What are your goals?” meeting in September, I intend to at least mention this seed/thread within me.  Because there is no execution without a plan.

There is something so … delicious? luscious? enlivening? in thinking about design from this frame of mind.  It’s not that I want to do it to my own home, which of course I do, but it’s about doing it for others, for another’s experience, for planning and plotting from moment one how a person is received, cared for, and set on their way.

Somehow to provide a hug to people without ever even meeting them.  Which I guess is kinda what I choose to do here.  Neat.

 

action · goals · honesty

If Wishes Were Horses…

8.21.18.jpgIn some reading or other, I learned about the difference between Wishes, Dreams, and Goals.  As I remember it:

  • Wishes are desires you aren’t willing to work toward.
  • Dreams are desires you aren’t sure how to work toward.
  • Goals are desires you’ve made a plan to work toward.

Writing the other day that I wish I had a lifted seat (ham-hocks!!!) made me reflect that it’s actually a Dream of mine, not a Wish.  I am willing to work toward it, I’m just not entirely sure how to attain it.

Which makes me reflect further that, in truth, I do know how to attain it… I’m just not willing to work for it, so it is a Wish after all.  Ha!

So, where the rubber meets the road is where I have to be honest about my true willingness to achieve what I want.  Surrrre, a hot ass would be AWESOME!  Buuut, did you know what nearly all the literature and friend advice says?: Do squats.  Ugh.  How boring.  And so, it goes from Dream (doing research) back into Wish (Meh, too hard).

Where it hasn’t gone — and here’s where I’m beginning to suspect the magic is — is into Goals.  Into becoming true and actionable, with action steps, and deadlines, and dates Goals.

Okay okay, so maybe a lifted seat doesn’t get your relatable meter running, but maybe “Earn my small plane pilot’s license” or “Record the score for my musical lyrics” or “Earn a Second Bachelor’s Degree in Physics.”

Whatever floats your boat.

Goals are on my mind today because my Weekly Goals Group call is this afternoon and our question for this week is, “What are your Goals?”  Eek.  It’s a little more specific than that (what are the major areas of your life and what are your goals in each for the next 1, 5, 10, 20 years), but when we read aloud the question of the week last time, all of us ladies on the line laughed out loud, absolute hilarity ensured for over a minute.

As if the idea of nailing the whirling dervish of our wishes and dreams down onto the page was as ridiculous as hunting unicorns and pixies.

Oh, how we laughed, too, sheepish and blushing, because this is the spot we avoid. Don’t make me look!  Like a sore tooth, we just chew on the other side; we make due not using our all, we pretend that this is a normal state of being.  And we laugh at the idiocy of the suggestion to face the aching tooth.

Goals necessitate that a person must be specific about what they desire, and then nail it to a calendar, or routine, or practice.  A goal is not a fairy; a goal is one unavoidable action at a time.  A goal is a partnership that holds you accountable so you can’t kick your desires down the pages of a calendar.

A goal is so real and, therefore, so vulnerable.  (Hence the hilarity giggles.)

A goal being a real thing means it’s subject to struggle and injury.  But it is also capable of growth.

Wishes and Dreams do not grow.  They are the things of childhood fancy.

A Goal is a Grown-Up tool—and a dance partner—and it begs and invites you to dance with it, every f*ing day.  Ugh.