Deciding What’s Next for You

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What if, instead of making a New Year Resolution, you just made a plan?

The first step in that plan is to decide. I mean REALLY decide on what your life is about.

Are you an artist? A writer? Teacher? Landscaper? Accountant? Vintage sign collector? Car repair whiz?

We shrug and grin and say “I don’t know” but down deep….we do.

I think we know what we’re curious about. How we feel best spending our time. What we were born to do.

We’re just so full of questions and don’t know most of the answers.

And who are we anyway? Is this the right time? What if it doesn’t work?

BUT if someone you trust & respect said “you should do this” you would likely feel more courage about it.

If an angel stepped off the subway and said “you should do this” you would likely just go DO it.

Here’s what I want you to know:

YOU are the only person who can give yourself the authority to step into the light. And only YOU can decide

What if you stepped into authority of your own life today?

It requires us to turn down the volume on “what will people think?!”

Way down.

It requires us to listen harder to what WE think. To what OUR heart has to say.

People stick their toe in the water all the time. That’s ok, and I want you to be really clear: that’s not deciding.

Deciding is not rushing out and quitting your job without a plan, it is not moving out without a plan (unless you’re in an abusive #relationship In that case – GO. The plan will happen later)

Deciding is inside work. WE decide. WE step into authority. WE take responsibility for what happens next. WE are in charge of this one life we have.

Here are some ways to decide:

🌱I’m going to do the thing

🌱 I’m going to spend 30 days researching the thing and making plan. On Jan 2, 2019 I’m going to open a checking account in the name of my business

🌱I’m going to do this list of specific things for three months and then on February 1, 2019 I’m going to start telling my friends what I’m doing.

🌱 On Tuesday, I’m going to start volunteering in the community doing what I want to someday get paid for. I’ll gain experience, help people, and build a good reputation.

I believe in you! You are so, so loved

xo M

Where The Truth Is

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Am I the only one who thinks going to the bathroom alone counts as me time?

A few years ago, I started scheduling work appointments for myself to have time to think.

When someone would want that time I would simply say “oh I already have a commitment then, how about…” and then propose another time.

It. Felt. RADICAL.

If you think about it, we have 16 awake hours. That’s 960 minutes.

Could you give yourself 1% of that time today?

Carve out roughly 10 minutes to just sit and think. No phone, no tv, just think. Breathe.

If you have kids like me, maybe during nap time or snack time. Sometimes I just go sit in my car in the driveway. Sometimes they come pound on the windows and I have to try again later ☺️🤷🏻‍♀️

Just so you know: The quiet might get uncomfortable. Just try to notice it and say out loud “oh this feels uncomfortable”.

Stick with it as long as you can. It might just be a minute or two – that’s ok!

There’s a reason why we’re naturally afraid of silence. It’s where the truth is.

Whatever happens, I’m in your corner. And you are so, so, loved.

xo M

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Where Does Your Heart Go?

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We all have a place we go when we drift. What we think draws us is what it IS: the corner office, the house on the beach, the partner who adores us.

Here’s the thing: it’s not the place that we want. It’s how we imagine we’ll FEEL DIFFERENTLY there.

Happier. More content. Less struggle. Finally made it.

People say “learn to be content with what you have” and I think that’s some hogwash.

You know what works? Learn to be content with where you’re GOING

Learn to gift yourself with peace by saying to you “This IS hard. This IS frustrating. But I know where we’re going. And I believe this is the next right step to getting there.”

Feeling lost? It’s ok. We all feel lost sometimes. Make your destination: I want to feel better than I do right now.

Here’s the thing: we never really get to one place and stay.

What we find is just a better way of traveling to the next chapter in our story.

Wherever you are, wherever you go, know you are so so loved.

xo Michele

Should I Stay or Go?

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When something needs to change, or doesn’t quite add up, we know it. It feels strange – like a shirt that’s a little too tight.

It’s uncomfortable.

We adjust and it feels better for a moment, but our attention keeps coming back to it. It’s UNCOMFORTABLE.

So we talk ourselves out of what we KNOW, because we don’t know what to DO.

In the book “To Good to Leave, To Bad to Stay”, Mira Kirshenbaum explores what scientists call a “strange loop”.

It’s when two seemingly opposite things are true, making it nearly impossible to decide which one to choose.

Rather than putting all the pros and cons on a scale ⚖️ to see which one is best, consider taking a “both- and” approach.

For example: My boss can be a real intolerable jerk when she’s mad, AND I also really enjoy working with her because we get a lot done and usually have fun doing it”

Example: I feel miserably unhappy and stuck in my relationship AND I love the moments when we’re all together with friends & family laughing and having a good time.

What I want you to know is: this is normal.

We grow. Sometimes we outgrow. It takes courage and clarity to tell ourselves the truth about that.

What to do about it is important, yes. But for today, give your self the gift of saying out loud:

🌱I feel uncomfortable

🌱I want to feel better

🌱I’m afraid I’ll choose the wrong thing and regret it

🌱Whatever happens, I’ll stand by myself. I’m not sure how to do that yet, but I’m making that commitment to myself right now.

Wherever you are, wherever you go next, know you are so so loved.

xo M

The Difference Between

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In the history of all days, today is one of the most beautiful.  The sky is clear & blue, it’s literally 72 degrees, and there’s a slight breeze.

Perfect.

I have a friend who is sad today.  I mean, life changing, devastatingly sad.  He is “between seasons”, as our friend Pastor Rob Bell would say.  Or, more specifically, he is exhausted from white knuckle hanging on to something that’s already gone.

I’ve been there, haven’t you?

As I pulled out of Mom’s driveway this morning headed back toward my house, I thought about the beauty of this day.  And I thought about all the days just like this that I was so entwined in wanting things to be different that I could not see what already is.

I get caught there sometimes, in the gap between what I have and what I want.

I legitimately thought for years that I would feel content and happy if I could just have the right job, the right house, the right friends, the right relationship, the right family.

There was a picture in my head and heart of this beautiful home, filled with happy people, and peace.

I changed cars, I changed jobs, I changed houses, I changed furniture, I changed my yard, I changed my kitchen, I changed my weight, I changed my education level.  I changed everything.  Still, not happy.  Not content.

In fact, things just kept getting worse.

What I didn’t know.  What I couldn’t have known, is that contentment can only grow in the pot of ME.  It can’t grow in a house, or a car, or a marriage, or a child, or a job, or an MBA.  It just can’t.

There are some completely confusing statements about contentment out there, too.  #1 on my list is:

“Learn to be content with what you have”

This statement, dear reader, is complete bullshit.

The idea is good – contentment doesn’t come from exterior things.  But the advice is no good.  What if the things in our life are awful?  Or (even more confusing) mediocre and barely, occasionally, meeting our basic needs? And, most certainly they are because if we haven’t yet done the work to heal what hurts, we have hired people and situations to hurt us in a way we know best.

Someone important left us?  We hire people and situations guaranteed to abandon us.

Someone important hit us?  We hire people and situations guaranteed to devalue us.

Someone important verbally/emotionally abused us? We hire people and situations guaranteed to continue the tradition.

The “why” of this is another post (note to self).

Anyway, we do these things.  And we are just not going to beat ourselves up about it.  What we ARE going to do is try to understand how to feel better.

One of the first things we must do for ourselves – our very first gift – is to begin to name our feelings.

I started this process 20 years ago and it was surprising to me that I really could not tell what it was I was feeling.  I just knew I felt bad.  My heart hurt.  My head hurt.  My body ached.  I felt tired all the time.

“Our emotions are our body telling us the truth” – Pastor Rob Bell, Seasons

I began to try to say how I felt out loud and found I had no words.  Like, literally no words.  I had never before said “I don’t like that”.  It was surprising to me to learn I didn’t know what I did and didn’t like!  How do I like my eggs?  What do I like on my pizza?  What is going ON with me?! I had no idea.  I just felt numb and icky.

So, whenever I felt icky, I would stand in front of the mirror and practice saying my feelings.  I was trying to name them.  It was like being color blind all my life and slowly gaining sight.  I would pause and get still, sometimes close my eyes, put my hand on my belly, and this is what would come:

I feel angry.

hmmm… my heart aches.  I must feel hurt.

Why do I feel hurt?  Because I feel disappointed.

Why do I feel disappointed?  Because things didn’t turn out the way I hoped they would.

OK! Listen, the first time I landed on “disappointed” it was like I could jump over the Empire State Building.  I had no idea that those finer emotions even existed in me!  I had rarely (if ever) acknowledged them or felt safe to express them.

Fast forward 20 years, and this helped me work on boundaries after my divorce. (Read:  Never, Ever Get Hurt Again. Ever.)

Study after study has confirmed that when we can NAME something, it loses it’s power over us.  We stop running.  We learn to sit with uncertainty and keep breathing in & out.  We get up and take a few steps, or maybe we just get up and stand.

Whatever it is, wherever we are, it’s just ok.

We learn to give ourselves grace and hold space for whatever it is we may be feeling. Sometimes it won’t be pretty.  It will often be something that brings a feeling of deep shame.  It’s ok.  Many, many, travelers have stood where you stand.  Keep going.

When you feel like the waters of your heart and mind are muddy, find a quiet space, put your hand on your belly, close your eyes, take some steadying breaths, and say “what am I feeling?”.

You’ll know when you hit truth.  You’ll feel it in your bones.

xo

Michele

Want the Truth? Clean Yo Fridge.

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Full fridges are a thing.  A glorious thing.  My mom always has a full fridge of food in various stages of fresh/cooked/leftovery goodness.  Need to feed the guy fixing your outside light? No problem.  Need to feed the pastor and his wife? Come on over.  Dinner for six in 90 minutes?  Delightful!

I subscribed to this level of fridge stocking until 2 years ago when I realized I just kept throwing away unopened food that I meant to cook. Or thought I might need.

A full fridge made me feel good.

This past weekend, I cleaned out my fridge and noticed we hadn’t eaten some leftovers AND the brand new package of fresh corn on the cob.  I started to Google “does corn go bad?” and then saw it had expired like 3 weeks ago.

Yeah…..

No.

It makes me feel like a good mommy to cook.  I put the groceries in my cart, I think of how delicious the recipe picture looked and how happy it’s going to make me to put that meal on the table for my babies.

Then, life happens.  Fostering happens.  Work happens.  School happens.  My exhaustion happens. And, the food grows hair.

As I was chunking stuff in the trash can this weekend, I literally had the thought “BUT IF I CLEAN THE FRIDGE WE WILL HAVE NO FOOD!”

And it occurred to me:

A full fridge of hairy food

is not a fridge full of good food. 

It’s a fridge full of rotten food.

As I stood there enjoying the cool air and wiping out the shelves, I thought about that illusion and how it plays out in life like that, too.

IF I CLEAN OUT MY RELATIONSHIPS, I WILL HAVE NO RELATIONSHIPS.

I WILL DIE ALONE BEING LICKED BY MY 57 CATS.

The truth is that if we clean out our relationships, we will not be alone.

We can know that with our heads, but it doesn’t feel that way in our hearts.

It feels jittery.  Panicky.  Like the earth has lost it’s gravity.

What if we are already alone?

Maybe the relationships we keep because we want our life to seem full are past their expiration date.

Maybe we just keep pushing them to the back and changing the baking soda container hoping no one will notice the smell.

Maybe we are keeping them around because they make our life feel full.

It’s possible.

If they are making our life feel full, then why do we feel like a duck paddling for all it’s worth trying to force the feeling that all is well?

Maybe our lives ARE full.  It’s just….

Maybe they are full of things that are structured around the jumbled up history of choices that led us here.

Maybe they are NOT structured around the part of us that is the most true.

Maybe that’s a good indicator as to whether or not we are walking in the light of our authentic self – our best self.  If our life fridge is full, but we feel that gnawing empty feeling, maybe what we’re holding on to is gently asking us that it’s time to let it go.

And make room for the good stuff 🙂

Onward….

Me

 

 

 

 

We Already Know

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Dear sister, we see you struggling to keep your chin above water.

We see you posting happy things on Facebook.

We see the frantic look in your eyes.  The jerkiness of your movements.  The extra alertness needed to keep all the plates spinning.

To keep all the illusions intact.

Especially the illusion of “happy”.

We can see you’re not happy.

We can see he’s not happy.

The question for you, dearest sister, is:

Why is it important to pretend?

What would happen if you stopped?

How would your life change, really?

If there is love to lose, it has already been lost.

If there is change to be faced, it has already happened.

We love you.

We see you.

We see this.

There is grace here.

The only one

and really, truly, the only one

who has not accepted

what has already happened

is you.

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