I’ve technically been unemployed for almost a year now. I was just gearing up to return to work…we launched the website, I had my first speaking gig with the Rev Collective titled “Radical Vulnerability, Navigating through life’s transitions” and I was engaged in conversations with a handful of local companies listening to their needs, challenges and business goals with an eye towards developing programming for their employees. Then the world seemingly dropped the mic and everything, well just about, was completely upended. And, we’re left to climb a beasty mountain…its surface dotted with ambiguity, uncertainty and fear. As we’re settling into absorbing accepting that there just isn’t much we have control over…I went in search of things to balance the dotted surface of my mighty mountain…and I found that “normal”, “worthy of anticipation”, and “worthy of celebration” brought great joy.
“Normal”. I’m jazzed about two things. The first is nature. If you need to ground yourself in “NORMAL” – get outside. As far as I can tell, Mother Nature either isn’t watching the news or just doesn’t seem to care, because EVERYTHING that happens in the spring is happening! The early flowers are pushing through ground cover to show us their beautiful little heads, trees are budding, birds are migrating ( I saw a bluebird yesterday!), and our days are increasingly longer! When I find my brain mired in un/non-productive thinking, I head outside. Even if for a couple of minutes to be reminded that #natureisnormal.
The second is order…and here’s how I latched on to this. I was observing the exceptional parenting skills of my brother and sister-in-law with my nephew, Harry. They give credit to Miss Sarah, their Day Care Leader, who runs a very orderly day care for 5 precious little ones. She has activities for the kiddos and moves them from “module” to “module” in 20’ish minute increments. She doesn’t offer choices (lots of science behind the detrimental effect of too many choices, here’s one of my favorite resources https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paradox_of_Choice ) and, just like the Pied Piper, the kiddos follow her from one “module” to another, cleaning up the mess before moving on. It occured to me that I was lacking order. Of course, there are tasks I engage in daily. I mean the foundational order that makes things feel, well you know, more normal. In processing how to go about this, I also considered that I should schedule blocks of time each day to engage in behaviors that I know (also plenty of science out there about behaviors to improve your mental and phyiscal health, here’s one of my favorite resources https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawn_Achor) will aid in living the life I want to. In no order of importance: gratitude, exercise, mindfulness/meditation/prayer, solid nutrition, connecting with others, and being out in nature. I named every day alliteratively…Mindful Monday, Thougthful Tuesday, Workout Wednesday, Tuned-In Thursday, Forage Friday, Sweeping Saturday, and Self-love Sunday. I then considered activities which correlate. See the photo, I’m all about color, it brings joy and levity. Each day I choose one or more of the activities and that goes into my open “order” block for the day. A super positive consequence is that this practice has also created a host of things “worthy of anticipation” and “worthy of celebration”.
There just aren’t any magic silver bullets out there…our lives are the sum total of the things that we string together, one strand at a time. I’m sure that just like me, you’ve done a reasonable amount of reflecting. As I consider the people, places, experiences, and things in my life that matter the most to me, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM I’ve fought hard for. Folks, this is no different. We’re all fighting hard right now…and we’re going make it to the other side of this. This beasty mountain has an ascent, a plateau, and a descent. What’s most important is how we fight, how we navigate, and closely we weave our strands to those members of our tribes that matter the most to us.
In loving kindness, and until next time.