This morning I am full of gratitude for the chance to rewrite my daily life. In the first month of my part-time schedule, I have felt a profound shift in how I move through the day. I am less compartmentalized, (much) more emotional, more willing to take risks, more likely to make mistakes and less likely to blame someone else for them. It is exciting, but I must confess that moving out of my comfort-zone in a number of areas has made me, not surprisingly, feel very uncomfortable a lot of the time. For as long as I can remember, I have had a very consistent feeling of tightness in my chest (like I had a brick wall instead of a sternum). Within the last few weeks, the brick wall has been absent for long stretches. Instead, I have a feeling of energy throughout my arms and legs that is intensely uncomfortable and almost painful. I’m trying not to spend too much time analyzing the sensation and to just accept that it is a sort of emotional growing pain. At some point in the coming weeks and months, I will be able to look back at this experience with some insight, but for now, I just need to lean into it.
Monthly Archives: September 2011
Having time in my day where I am not required to be at the office (or anywhere else) is great and is also causing me a tremendous amount of heartache. On the one hand, it can be delightful to sample from the buffet of options of how to spend my time. I can choose from exercising, socializing, working, reading, running errands, organizing – the list is endless. On the other hand, having choices in my day introduces new risk and new opportunities to lose. For any one thing I choose to do, I am painfully aware of the many options I have rejected (and I am questioning whether I made the right choice, as though there is one). In addition, I have friends inviting me to go places and do things and making choices means that I say “no” sometimes and risk their disappointment and even disapproval.
The schedule I maintained as a full-time lawyer and mother of 3 really protected me from having to make choices. I was always doing something that was required of me. I could easily say “no” to things or to people because my schedule wouldn’t allow (or at least that felt like a socially acceptable refusal whether or not it was literally true). Without that schedule to hide behind, I am faced with taking a stand for who I am and what I want – a position that is both thrilling and terrifying.
I basically cried all day yesterday. I had an argument with David, missed my exercise class, had an emotional therapy session, received a nasty email from opposing counsel, had an argument with my oldest daughter and then cried all through Breck’s seminar last night. I could barely see through my right contact lens by the time I got home last night and I think it’s because it had built up salt deposits from all the tears.
By the time my head hit the pillow, I had worked through most of the issues from the day, but I was left with a feeling of embarrassment over what I considered to be my extreme (and even public) displays of emotion. I am more in love with life than I have ever been before, so I have a certain commentary in my head that I am doing something wrong if I am boo-hoo’ing my way through the day. But the truth is that the life I’m now creating has more capacity for being messy, emotional and out of control. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s part of being more expressed – whether I like it or not.
One of the assignments in the the Path Finders class was to do a “vision board.” If you don’t know what that is (I didn’t), a vision board is a collage with images of things you would like to do/happen/manifest in the coming year. I really had fun buying magazines, tearing out pictures, arranging them and gluing them. I enjoy doing art projects (that aren’t too messy) and it was great to work on a collage at the same table where my kids were eating snack or working on their homework. more…
Ok, it seems a little weird to keep writing in my blog about writing in my blog, but I’m going to do it anyway. I really love the challenge of putting something in writing on a regular basis, but it truly is a challenge. I have lots of impulses during the day about things I might want to share on the blog. But often an idea that I can sense welling up inside of me ends up disappearing before I can get my arms around it. This morning I was writing in my journal and I had an experience that gave me a little bit of insight into my own creative process. more…
I had so much fun with the kids this weekend. This is not something I take for granted. Weekends have always been a tricky thing for me. Historically, after a week at the office, I look forward with great enthusiasm to the family time together over the weekend. Saturdays are usually pretty busy and it is fun running the kids around town for whatever class or birthday party is going on that day. Sundays are usually much mellower. When faced with a lot of down time at home with the kids and everything I think I should be doing around my house, my anxiety often goes through the roof. I am pleased to report that yesterday I moved through the day with a fair degree of equanimity. I am sure that yesterday was helped by the fact that I have started my new schedule and didn’t have a full Monday workday staring me in the face, but I have also increased my capacity to just “be” with myself and with my kids (in all of our various forms and moods).
I am constantly reminded of how quickly my kids are growing and changing. It is a fact that all parents face. Fortunately, my realization of how fast it all goes really motivates me to continue working on my ability to be present. Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) made a one-minute video called “The Years Are Short” that is a sweet reminder to enjoy the every day moments with our kids.
- Today marks the end of the first week of my new life. So far so GOOD. I’m still figuring it out, but I feel 100% sure that I’m in the right place or at least on the right path.
- This week Breck led his first Wednesday night seminar since his heart attack. It was great and he’s doing incredibly well (I feel so grateful for that!). Breck posed the question “What should you stop doing?” Although it took some getting to, the answer for me was “Stop being so serious.” Apparently (and unbeknownst to me) I am actually a playful person who mistakenly thinks she needs to be serious about everything.
- I’m doing a 5 week on-line class called Path Finder with a woman named Karen Walrond who has a great blog called CHOOKOOLOONKS. I found Karen’s class through Brene Brown’s blog. It just so happens that Karen left her law practice after 14 years (and without a plan) to explore living a more creative life (hmmmm, sound familiar?) AND she decided to lead class about “creating your own beautifully different life” which just happened to start this past Monday. This class was meant for me. This week she has guided us through several journal exercises intended to help us distill the activities and themes that inspire us. I’m excited because I have come up with five words that describe the underlying motives behind 90% of the things I love to do: CONNECT, PAUSE, TOUCH, EVOLVE and RISK (or “CoPTER” because my brain can’t not make up an acronym). I’m not sure what Karen’s going to have us do with our words, but I like just having identified that these are the actions that make me tick.