Grateful For, Working On, Proud Of

How are you all friends? I wanted to share how we are doing in our home. Some things that are working, and some things that have been difficult. It’s our story right now. More and more I am feeling called to share my story on this blog with the hopes that in the sharing, it will help others to feel less alone, more normal, and like they have permission to share their story too. By now you know that I am a question asker, story teller, and eager listener. For the first few years of writing this blog I was brave and went a little deeper with my sharing. And then I chickened out. I started to worry that I was taking up too much space with my words. I was being too “big” with my voice. So I started to share less, and kept it light – book reviews, things to buy, great new businesses. And then back in January I went on a life-changing trip. I spent 5 days in Sedona, Arizona with 45 women I had never met before. It was my first time ever traveling alone. We walked in, opened up, let go of all judgment, and learned a lot from each other. We heard stories of love, loss, death, cancer, physical abuse, mental abuse, friendship, heartache, fulfillment, fear and bravery. We were led by the incomparable Elizabeth Lesser who reminded us that women have been playing it “small” for too long. She said the voice telling me I had been too “big” was a lie. She reminded me that my story has value. In fact, she reminded me that each and every one of our stories has value. And so I have gotten back to sharing vulnerably and meaningfully. And I have been craving hearing more of other people’s stories too. I haven’t decided if that yearning is meant to be fulfilled by just listening, or perhaps there is some broader plan in place; more meaningful interviews on the blog or maybe even a podcast. Stay tuned for future plans, and in the meantime if you have a story that has been quietly lying below the surface of your every day, waiting to be told, know that I am here to listen. Email me or call me – I am eager to connect.

And that leads me to this update. A dear friend, who encouraged me to go on the Elizabeth Lesser trip, recently wrote and asked me to think about these three things: what am I proud of, working on, and grateful for. It’s not the first time she has asked me to reflect on this and I would encourage you all to think about these things today. It’s a great way to find some perspective and self love. Here is how things stand in our home. Grateful for… I’m grateful for my home that I love, the good health of children in this crazy time, and my pooch. Her loyalty and love is really shining through right now. Oddly I feel like she is being extra well behaved because she is happy that we are all home and doing things together. I am ever more and more conscious that I am one of the lucky ones. I have a large home, healthy children, and enough savings in the bank to ride out these tumultuous financial times. We have grocery stores in our town that restock regularly, and enough technology, paper, books, and pencils to homeschool for the rest of the year. I wake up and go to bed each night grateful for that truth. We also say grace nightly (loving that now that my husband is home, he can do family dinner with us) and ask for protection and hope for those who have less than us. I am really worried about the disabled community right now. They are scared, confused, and their programs have been shut down for safety reasons. I worry about their caretakers too, many of whom are not trained to teach and fully care for their charges on their own. If you have the bandwidth I would encourage you to consider donating to Abilis, the non-profit I have worked with for a decade, who is helping those with disabilities in our area.

Proud of… I am not sure if it’s good or bad but I have been allowing myself to sleep in until much later since we are technically supposed to be on spring break right now. Thankful my kiddos have been sleeping too. That’s a big one. I find that when the sleep goes, so does the patience, rational mind, and balanced emotions. I am proud of not letting myself get depressed so far. As an empath it is really easy for me to go to that place of despair where I feel like I couldn’t possibly make the situation better or “fix it” for enough people. I barely watch the news because I actually start to feel queasy with all the bad stories coming at us right now. I’m working on finding myself as my own “touch tree” during this time. It’s a term Glennon Doyle speaks of in her new book Untamed (highly recommend!). When in the wilderness and lost, people are supposed to find a sturdy and unique tree to use as the place they come back to as to not get lost. She says that the touch tree in all our lives should be ourselves. Revolutionary. Coming home to yourself when you feel lost. I am a person who really relies on my close friends for deep connection, dialogue and advice. In this time of physical isolation, I am working on looking to myself as my touch tree.

And working on… NO JUDGEMENT. We are all handling this situation in our own ways and it feels so important to just support others in their decisions and find peace in my own. I am realizing that stress and feelings of handling this situation “worse than” or “better than” others really stirs up the judgement. Are the kids being allowed too much screen time? Should I be getting more done? Am I helping others enough? Should people be leaving their homes? These are questions that I need to release for now and create some distance from. I need to just BE IN THIS moment and let the emotions come as they will. One morning, early on in the quarantine, I had been up worried since 4:30am. At 7am when my husband woke I told him we needed to use this as an opportunity to draw us closer together. In my life I have seen adversity break many couples. I didn’t want to be a part of that statistic. He’s a strong man so too often I let him be my whipping post when I am stressed. Not this time. The conversation (and some extra intimacy time even when I am exhausted and stressed) has really shifted things for us. I walked into his “office” two days ago with tears in my eyes. I told him I was so sad for all the special things our children and others would be missing this spring and started to quietly cry. He listened and was supportive. It wasn’t easy bringing that vulnerability to him, but it was important. We have to feel it all, without worry that emotions are too much. We live in a vast universe. I know this to be true, there is more than enough space for all of our love, fear, curiosity, emotions, expression, and existence. Allow yourself to move into that open space. I’m sending so much love to you all from afar.

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