Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for new people.  My husband ran into one of his old coworkers the other day and they had discussed buying/selling a boat.  We took a short trip out there to see the boat so I met him as well as his girlfriend.  I didn’t realize how isolated I’ve been, how wrapped up in my own little world I’ve been, until I met these people.  I also didn’t realize how much I’ve been craving contact with people outside of work and outside of my own home.  There is so much kindness in the world in spite of all the insanity we put each other through.  We all just hung out outside talking about different areas of our lives and it was so nice to simply talk.  It made me realize how much more I want to expand my world.

Today I am grateful for spontaneous get togethers with the family.  After we met up with my husband’s old coworker, we made another quick side trip to see our niece to drop off some toys for her son.  We didn’t know that our other niece was also with her so it was such a nice surprise to see both of them.  It’s wonderful to see how well they are doing and the wonderful people they are becoming.  They both have a maturity beyond their years and a remarkable ability to go with the flow.  I give my husband’s family a ton of credit for that: they are all able to go with it. It’s really nice to spend time with people who remind you how to do that.

Today I am grateful for my body.  We did a ton of physical work yesterday in preparation of our move.  We took down our bed, cleaned the carpet, and packed up our son’s play room.  My body nearly completely shut down in April so I’ve really had to be gentle and slowly increase my activity to get some strength back.  As I was making multiple trips up and down 30 stairs to get the pieces of our bed stored in the garage, I realized that I’m getting better.  I’m still no where near where I used to be, but I was able to handle it.  I had to stop several times but I never gave up.  I’m feeling it today, but I’m so grateful my body was able to move like that.  I know that I will be able to get back to myself again.

Today I am grateful for learning to hold my tongue—a little bit.  The last few times we have moved, I have handled the brunt of the work.  The packing, the organizing, the unloading, the unpacking.  While we worked on our bedroom yesterday, my husband started to not feel well.  My immediate thought was, “Bullshit, you just don’t want to do this.”  I said some choice words about his laziness in my head—and only in my head.  My husband isn’t very good at expressing what the issue really is so he has a tendency to “not feel well” when we need to get something done.  I am working hard on breaking the martyr syndrome so I kept all of my anger to myself and continued working.  He eventually got it together and started helping.  We are moving in 10 days and I think that finally hit him as he saw the extent of the work we have left. 

Today I am grateful for breaking the chain of my old habits/mental cycles.  I really struggle with spontaneity because I love a plan.  I like to know where the pieces are going to fall.  I’ve been intentionally practicing staying in the moment and adapting as things change.  In some sort of cosmic joke, the more I’ve leaned into it, the more things don’t go according to plan—not that they have gone wrong, just that I’ve had to pivot a lot more in the recent weeks than previously.  Either that’s a mark of my stubbornness before or I’m a really bad planner.  Maybe both.  As frustrating as the pivot can be, I will admit it’s been easier to go with it in most circumstances.  There is a lightness that comes with it.  There have been a few where I’ve dug my heels in when I felt it really necessary and that actually felt different as well—it wasn’t about proving, it was about doing what was right.

Today I am grateful for foresight.  The more I’ve spoken with my boss about the changes coming at work, the more I’m glad I made the decision to lean into change.  There are so many things coming up to and including changes in reporting structure that we have no control over.  It’s frustrating to not know what that will look like when we do know there is already a plan in place—it just hasn’t been shared.  I’m learning to accept that there are certain things that are in play that I won’t have any say in.  I can either go with it or I can make a choice to go in a different direction.  It isn’t the end of the world.  Had I not been focused on accepting things as they come, I would not be able to adapt like that.       

Today I am grateful for being in the moment.  We are down to the final few days in our current house and getting ready to move onto the next adventure in our lives.  We spent a lot of time prepping over the last 24 hours in particular and we spent a good amount of this father’s day packing.  We still took some time to drive out to my parent’s house and we came home and napped for about an hour.  We got a really nice dinner and we are spending the rest of the evening together, taking some time to pack up miscellaneous things before we dive into the rest of the big stuff.  It felt so nice to be able to float in and out of what we were doing, tackling things as we needed to, and still relaxing with each other.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.   

Growth

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“There’s nothing more important on our spiritual path than developing gentleness to oneself,” Pema Chodron.  We are our own worst critics and I’ve said before, my mind can be a vicious place.  I’ve always thought that pushing through was key.  I ended up with a lot of emotional outbursts because I never addressed the emotions as I was feeling them.  I pushed them down and tried to deal with them later, but I always ended up with unresolved feelings because I never addressed what was bothering me as it happened.  You know, you have a confrontation with someone and then hours later you think of the perfect thing to say?  Yeah, that was my life.  I’d always have the perfect thing to say in hindsight. 

I didn’t distinguish between when something needed to be said and the need to say something.  The former is an appropriate response and the latter is a combination of compulsion and ego.  I felt the last word coming out more often than not and didn’t think about how to handle it until later.  I developed a hatred for myself and a need to make people understand, to prove.  I turned that frustration on them as well as on myself.  I hated how my imperfect brain gave the perfect answer at the wrong time.  I hated not being heard.  As more and more people stopped listening, I turned inward.

The war over what I should have done or said became even stronger except it was between what my soul knew I should do and what my ego actually did.  That manifested in things like hating how I looked and believing I was doomed to fail at what I tried.  I believed that I was meant to be a doormat and I continued to lash out.  I hated what I saw in the mirror as I consumed more and more of the bullshit around me whether it was food or feeling sorry for myself—or eating because I felt sorry for myself.  Taking care of myself, even if it was just a shower became a chore.  I didn’t feel like something worthy of care because I couldn’t manage my outer relationships let alone the relationship with myself.  I didn’t listen.

Slowly I began to feel like I didn’t want to feel those things anymore.  As I looked at the life I built around me, even the parts I didn’t really want to agree to, I realized that I  had a lot to be grateful for.  The anger, the fights I started with others, the demands I placed on my husband, the criticism I turned on my child—all of that had to do with a lack of care for myself.  I operated under the delusion that they owed me the same care that I gave them.  Granted in a partnership that is usually how it works, but when one partner (me) is making demands that the other behave as they see fit, the other partner loses appreciation or the desire to be together.  I started looking at the demands I was making on myself—the things that I made obligations in my life and started asking if this is what I really wanted.

I learned to sit and acknowledge when I felt angry and I started dissecting why.  I spent my time doing what I had been told I was supposed to and I simply didn’t want to do it anymore.  I felt trapped into a life I didn’t fully agree to.  So I started small and began appreciating that I had made it that far and that I had a comfortable place to start over again.  Then I started asking what I did want.  I’m still working that out, but I am getting closer.  As I dug into what I wanted, I started to address what I needed to do to achieve those goals.  Shifting my focus to what was in my control as well as what was on my path made it much easier to recognize what I did and didn’t want to do.

As I write this, I feel an overwhelming desire to share—this work is no chore.  I feel love as I write these words, as I share a bit about what I went through to appreciate this beautiful life.  I am still not gentle on myself and I feel disappointed in myself when I am not living in alignment with the values I have.  I am quicker to accept my humanity and I am quicker to get back on track.  I have learned to ask myself what I can do to course correct instead of berating myself for straying.  There is value in appreciating one’s ability to move forward.  It pays to be gentle when learning the lesson.  We absorb it easier.  We are resilient in our humanity and we will get it wrong, that is part of being human.  Learning to move on with the lesson—that is living.

When The Opinion Doesn’t Match Yours

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I want to open this piece with saying that I truly value other people’s thoughts and ideas.  There are billions of people on this planet and we all have a unique story to tell, unique experiences, and unique ways of interpreting those experiences.  It is so important to be open enough to take in all sides of a story to piece together the full picture.  It requires not taking things at face value, putting aside ego to realize your view may not be entirely correct, and having genuine curiosity about someone else’s perspective.

I also want to talk about the times when we know with absolute certainty that someone’s experience is absolute bullshit.  Simply, there are some people who always need to be the victim so they create some kind of an excuse to not see the full picture while spreading a story of victimhood.  Often those people tell a narrative that wouldn’t hold up if all sides were heard.  They will avoid the other parties involved in order to maintain their story.  In most cases I still say let them be.  When it comes to the reputation of other people, or putting an in appropriate label on someone, then I say all bets are off.  There comes a time when you are sharing a story that people might not believe, and then there are times it’s an outright lie.  When the story you tell to make yourself feel better becomes malicious, then the line is drawn.

I have a close relationship with someone who always needs an excuse to feel left out or to feel like the victim.  I noticed it when they would start sharing their side of events for things we experienced together and I didn’t remember it at all as they said.  The first couple times I let it go because there is an age difference between us so I let myself believe I had room for error (IE I was so young maybe I don’t remember it right).  Then the stories moved into an age range where I clearly remembered everything—and I still didn’t remember it the same way they relayed.  It hit me that they are either content with lying or their brain is completely different than mine.  They had no capacity for an objective viewpoint, only their own.

There comes a point when you recognize that people are choosing to appear a certain way and that no matter what the narrative is, you can’t support it.  Beyond that, there is a point when those are no longer stories, they are lies.  It’s also true there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it because they have convinced themselves that their version is the truth.  Whatever those around you choose to believe is their choice so the decision becomes is it worth having this person in your life.  What value do they bring if they are choosing to distort reality?  Make the choice to carry other people’s opinions lightly and stand firmly in your truth.

Making Rash Decisions

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It’s human nature to make a split decision, a split judgement call when it comes to people.  It doesn’t matter who they are: the people we work with, our family, the guy in the car next to you that just cut you off.  We are trained to determine the status and danger level of a person within seconds.  This is something I’ve been consciously working on over the last few weeks because I realized I have a tendency to not only make judgements quickly, but to believe the story I tell myself just as quickly.

While dealing with the transaction for our new home, we’ve had a ton of pressing, need-to-respond now situations and it’s been incredibly frustrating having to make life affecting decisions on a dime.  I’ve found myself blaming all parties involved, not understanding how people who do this every day aren’t able to keep up with simple communication.  I work full time and I am not always able to respond immediately.  Plus I still have issues with ego where I can’t stand having to jump at someone else’s beck and call.  I like to have time to review things and to be able to understand what I’m doing.  I don’t like being put on the spot when I don’t have the information I need to make a clear decision.

It took me a while to understand that this isn’t about them withholding information or not doing their jobs.  It’s that they do this so often that it isn’t a big deal to them.  They handle multiple transactions at once and are familiar with the real estate world so they just go about their routine.  They aren’t trained to hand hold everyone through every step—especially people like me who have limited time as it is.  We are on different schedules.  I know at the end of the day it will all turn out, I just need to realize they aren’t doing this maliciously.

I wrote about being put on the spot at work the other day and how uncomfortable I was with that.  I also mentioned my concerns that my boss was trying to set me up.  I’ve taken some time to chew on that as well and I spoke with her.  She is incredibly overwhelmed because she is dealing with two budgets, interim managing two additional departments, and a merger.  She wasn’t trying to make me look bad, she was trying to get some assistance.  Admittedly she could have gone about it better, but she was demonstrating trust in me, not sabotage.  Again, I let my ego get in the way and was more concerned that I looked like a fool than I was about her needs.  Once we spoke about what was going on in her world, it all became clear and I immediately offered her assistance.

Another circumstance at work surrounds the transition of one of my teams.  There was a lot of miscommunication between the team they are moving to and myself and it resulted in a pretty awful situation for my staff.  I initially thought it was calculated until we sat down and talked.  It turns out the other manager I’m working with didn’t have any advanced notice either.  All we had to do was sit down and discuss—there was no ulterior motive. 

Our initial interpretations aren’t always right.  Yes, we need to rely on our gut, but not when it comes to a situation where people we know or interact with regularly aren’t behaving normally.  More often than not that is a sign that they need help and don’t know how to ask rather than them being calculated.  And for those who don’t know how to ask for help it is even more challenging because you have to get them to admit they need help before you can do anything about it.  So, I’ve learned on the most practical level to use the pause.  Don’t automatically assume the worst in people.  I’ve been on the receiving end of that—I wrote about my siblings in my most recent Sunday Gratitude post—and it sucks.  I don’t want to cause that pain for someone else.  Especially when we have had a good relationship.  When we feel like our ego is being challenged, that is when we need to pause and see what is off.  Communicate, even if there hasn’t been good communication.  It can make all the difference. 

What is Unhealthy

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“You can eat the kale.  You can drink the alkaline water, take the supplements. Do yoga.  But if you don’t deal with the shit going on in your heart and head you’re still unhealthy,” via paradise awakening.  Speaking from experience, my head can be a vicious place sometimes.  It takes a lot to keep the nasty voices at bay.  Doing the work on our souls opens up many doors, many we had closed for a reason.  When I talked about emotional intelligence, I spoke about recognizing our patterns and this is part of that work.  Knowing that some of the things you do aren’t healthy and that you will have to give them up if you want to move to the next level. 

We often feel alone when we break patterns because those we have taken with us on our journeys start to disappear.  We can’t take everyone with us as we evolve and we feel lonely.  That is when we are most likely to revert back to the patterns we are trying to break.  Giving up the patterns that keep us stuck, or that make us feel crappy are all part of awakening.  It’s not easy but it is necessary and it takes a ton of determination.  You have to decide what you really want and what you are willing to give up to get it.  You won’t get a new life without sacrificing your old one.

I’ve been open about my history with anxiety and depression and self-harm.  I still have a ton of anxiety.  There were days as recent as a month ago that I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it through work because I didn’t know what my coworkers were thinking about me.  There were days I couldn’t leave my son because he was crying for me and I felt so guilty for giving him a sense of abandonment that I started to hate myself.  But I had to find a way to cope and what helped a little was trying to understand.  I don’t mean looking for an answer; when I talk about understanding I am looking at all sides of the story.  I am trying to learn everything I can about the situation to see what my possibilities are.  Some people call this controlling, but I use this as a means to gauge what I need to do.  I haven’t gained the ability to completely flow yet, but I have the ability to accept my options.

Inner work is the most difficult because you will find truths about yourself that you had no idea were even possible.  You will find things you hate about yourself.  But you need to focus on the things you love.  If we are willing to give up the façade we present to everyone ever day and get really honest, you will find some amazing things.  You will actually find that a lot of what you don’t like about yourself falls away because you are aligning with who you really are—not the image of what you wanted people to think about you.  And that is key.  We have to accept the reality of ourselves in order for others to do so.  Again, we may lose people and things along the way—but what is meant to be in our lives will always come back to us.  What is ours is always ours and it will find us.  So do the work.  ALL the work, internal and external, and watch how the world changes. 

What You Really Want

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“She learns that what is achievable isn’t always what is important,” Brendon Burchard.  Sometimes we have to go through some shit to understand what matters the most.  I used to think that what we value is clear, a no-brainer but there are times it takes a raw view to define what we value.  Losing what we love or really struggling to achieve a goal.  Sometimes it takes getting exactly what we thought we wanted to see what is really important.  Seeing the effort it takes or what the actual sacrifice is to let us know that there is something else we should be working for.

I always thought I wanted to climb to the top of the corporate world.  I thought a title and status would prove my worth—and that maybe someone would look at me as more than just a short girl.  That drive transferred into everything I did.  My whole life became about proving how much I knew, how capable I was, that I wasn’t to be underestimated.  Anytime someone disrespected me became a reason for me to have a meltdown, or it was further proof that I would always be seen as nothing more than the short girl.  Spending all that time on proving myself was killing me.    

We have zero control over how the world interprets us.  We are biologically programmed to make quick decisions based on first impressions because we used to have to determine if something would kill us.  That instinct hasn’t gone away, rather instead of judging our safety, we judge people’s appearances.  I resented that so much and used it as an excuse for my perceived lack of success.  I felt like people wouldn’t give me a shot because my shortness was perceived as weakness.  And that did happen but I learned that in the corporate world, it was more of a popularity contest than a qualification contest.  If you did something the group didn’t approve of that was excuse enough to exclude you.

After 19 years of that, I’ve realized that I no longer want to participate in that game.  I saw that the more I sacrificed of myself whether it be my own time, time with my family, money, going to events I had no interest in, taking on projects without full consent, the further I got.  The line was clear: choose the corporation over personal and you will get where you want.  I’ve watched coworkers give up time with their kids to the point the kids are suffering, I’ve seen hours away from the home when they desperately needed rest, I’ve seen people coming in so sick they could have been hospitalized just to get a project done.  And honestly, I’ve done all of those things myself.  No matter how much I’ve given up, they always want more—and the second the boundary is drawn, I’m not a team player.

I know what it takes to get where I thought I wanted to be.  And now I don’t want to do that.  Life is too damn short and it moves so fast—I know what I want to do.  I know what is important to me: my family, my freedom, my time, my word, the gifts I’ve been given, having fun, and the ability to try new things, to gain new experiences.  I don’t want to be locked into a corporate world with one goal: domination.  There is so much more to life than being on top.  And honestly, the top is a really precarious place.  There are a million others who would do the same or more than you to get there—and they would sacrifice you in a second if it meant they could take your place.  Some people have the drive and get off on the thrill of being number one.  They relish the competition.  I ask what are you really competing for?

Burchard’s quote also reminded me of the piece I wrote a while back where I talked about what we could and should do.  Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.  And just because we have the ability doesn’t mean that’s what we want to do.  We have to evaluate our lives and prioritize what is important otherwise you will spend your time working on what is important to someone else.  Do what is right for you—and that means knowing what is right for you.

Emotionally Intelligent

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“Your emotional intelligence and intuition will offend everyone who can’t run game on you,” via awakening body.  Understanding the energy of what is going on around us is really key.  During a conversation this weekend, The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield came up.  Sidenote, that is one of my favorite series of all time.  We talked about the chaos of this past year and how everyone is at their breaking point.  Redfield talks about how when people lose control, they start exercising their “control dramas” on those around them.  These range from an aloof persona where people behave as victims to achieve their needs to the aggressor who demands other people meet their needs.  After a year of sustained trauma, people are so frustrated that they desperately cling to any control they have.

The interesting point is that there are clearly people who are aware of this and there are clearly those who are not.  Those who are aware recognize that control is a defense mechanism and they may even be astute enough to know what caused it.  Many more pretend they have no issues whatsoever and continue to demand people bend to their whim.  Emotional intelligence is the former.  That isn’t to say that those who are aware don’t fall back into old habits.  It is to say that they recognize them quicker and are willing to address it.

There are moments I’m quick to recognize what I’m doing when I fall into my control drama and others take me a long time to decipher.  Regardless, it’s amazing to see people change their tune when you behave outside the lines they have drawn for you.  When you no longer fulfill their purpose, these people are quick to gaslight and flip the story that it’s your fault they didn’t get what they wanted. 

We aren’t here to feed into other people’s definitions of who we are.  Redfield talks about recognizing a control drama in others and moving past it by addressing it directly.  For example, an aggressor will demand you do what they say and become angry if you don’t comply.  We address that by asking such a person, “why are you angry that there may be more than one way to do this?”  I’m not crazy, I know having these conversations in this day and age is incredibly challenging.  But I have hope that we will be able to communicate that way with each other some day.

Emotional intelligence is about knowing who you are on the deepest level and understanding your patterns.  These aren’t things we teach in school.  Kids are highly intuitive, and honestly, that is when we should start working with them to express themselves in a healthy manner.  As adults, recognizing our patterns means putting aside ego and accepting our humanity.  And being human means that we all have the capacity to mess up.  We also have the capacity to learn and create a collective intention.  That starts with understanding that not everyone is for us and being ok with that.  Expect to lose those around you who disappear when you do something for yourself or those who become angry when you have a different opinion.  And be ok with it. 

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful to wake up surrounded by my family.  I woke up early to get some work done and my husband and son were in bed with me and so was the dog.  The cats were milling about in the room as well.  My entire household, the world I love and have created all in one room with me.  How lucky am I?  Granted I didn’t want to be up THAT early…but that is life, and I will say it again, I am damn lucky to be able to experience that love.  That is two weekends in a row waking up like that and it doesn’t get old. 

Today I am grateful for honest conversation.  I’ve been struggling with a situation in my family involving my son and my niece that we haven’t addressed.  I’m glad we took some time to ourselves to really think about it, and today we finally sat and talked.  I feel like there was a degree of resolution for us, but not to the point where I feel comfortable that we are on the same page.  They expressed their thoughts and some of what they said will have an impact on me for a long time because of how they view my son.  At the very least, I know the truth—or their side of the truth.  I’m grateful to know where I stand.  The love is always there, but I feel more comfortable making decisions without their opinion.

To continue that thought, I am grateful to know where I stand with those around me.  I thought of this after the conversation with the family today.  Often it is the initial reaction to a situation that tells people how they feel about you.  It hurts when that happens to be your family.  When you try to be strong enough to handle things on your own and they still make a rash decision about your supposed selfishness.  Again, I know who I am and where my actions come from.  It is so hard to stand my ground but I know that I am ok at the end of the day.  There is a reason why they say other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.

Today I am grateful for transition.  I am opening my arms and embracing what comes my way.  This past year has turned so many things upside down for so many people, no one is alone in that.  The past six months have been particularly challenging for me, but I feel confident that I am exactly where I need to be.  There were many tears shed but I am happy for the growth.  I am not the same person I was a year ago—I am who I need to be.  Even little things, like the chaos of this move have seemed easier.  Just because things don’t go according to plan doesn’t mean they are wrong. It gets old hearing the same story over and over again so sometimes we need to change up the tune and go with it. 

Today I am grateful to embrace who I am.  Along with transition, that means accepting who I am.  This will always be a challenge so any little step I can take toward self-acceptance is a big deal.  I tend to take opinions to heart and I’ve spent a lot of time downplaying who I am, hiding myself, or pretending I don’t really want something.  I’m really proud of the work my husband and I have done together to get where we are going.  We are so blessed and I will no longer down play the beautiful gifts I have in my life to make anyone comfortable.  I want to show people that being comfortable with who they are is what gets them where they want to go.

Today I am grateful for true spontaneity.  We took a long drive today, just to get out of the house.  We listened to music, we ended up at a lake looking at boats, we had a light lunch, and we talked.  We haven’t had that kind of lightness for quite some time and it felt beautiful.  While we were having lunch, my son said to me, “Mommy, I love it when you make your happy face.”  I almost burst into tears.  Tears because I truly felt happy and tears because I couldn’t remember the time it felt that joyful, tears because my son recognizes that level of emotion in his mother already.  And I realized that I need to experience that joy more.  The things we value in this life, the things I thought I valued were not my own.  Those moments with my family are what are really important.  I’ve felt for so long that I needed to achieve a certain level of success in my life in order to have those moments and today I realized they are freely available any time.  I just have to let them happen.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Defining Value

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Continuing the discussion on purpose and value, I felt it appropriate to follow up on maintaining your values after being rattled.  This past week has left me tense and off centered—not so far off that I’m completely out of alignment, but far enough off that I can see something is not right.  I’ve often struggled with the politics in place at my job.  I don’t enjoy playing games and I definitely like things to go how they are supposed to—and working in the medical field, I don’t feel that is a negative.  In spite of the nature of what we do, the focus on healing, the clarity of what needs to be done, the personal drama still kicks in.  What we do requires a high level of functioning and I don’t know if that incapacitates the brain socially after a certain amount of time.  Meaning we are so engrossed in the day to day intensity of healing that the pressure kicks in and we resort to child like behavior with each other—name calling, undermining, finger pointing, etc.

This week I was put on the spot twice for things I had no previous experience with.  One of my teams is moving locations and I wasn’t invited to any discussion of their change in hours or what the actual transition would look like.  When I began explaining the information I was given to my team, it got heated enough we had to involve human resources.  It was only then that my boss invited me to a meeting that had already been on the calendar as part of the preparation for this move.  There had already been a series of meetings to curate this discussion—I wasn’t on any of them.  During the meeting they asked when our operation was closing and what that would look like over the course of the move.  My boss couldn’t unmute herself and she typed out to the group that I was on the call and could speak to that.  I made the choice to step up and I did the best I could, but I was still caught off guard.  I had no clue what had previously been discussed, I had no idea they were waiting for a decision, and I had no idea what impact my uninformed statements would have on this move.

I detest not being prepared for things and I had outright been excluded in the decisions coming up to the final meeting—I hadn’t even been invited to any of the prep meetings.  I hate giving concrete answers when I have zero context to how we got there—I can’t speak to the purpose if I wasn’t involved in the decision making process, I can just rattle off someone else’s choice.  I’m still frustrated by it.  I’m also frustrated by having to make decisions for people involved in the process where they can easily turn the blame on me if something goes wrong. 

The other situation was an email chain my boss sent me that contained a week long discussion about how to market a service that has moved within the organization.  She’d already been having this conversation with marketing and then randomly emails me saying she will “bring me up to speed,” gave me a five second overview, and expected a decision immediately.  When your boss comes to you with a project like that, it’s difficult to say no.  I found out after the fact that she had reached out to one of my employees instead of coming to me—a week ago. 

Today I woke up and this feeling hasn’t been sitting right with me.  I’ve been trying to say that it is a message to step up and step into my power, to trust myself more, and to recognize that I am more capable than I thought.  I’ve also been trying to tell myself that it’s only my ego on the line and that looking foolish isn’t the end of the world.  But then I realized that looking like I don’t know what I’m doing is a detriment to my career.  Regardless of the background, if I’m constantly in situations where I can’t provide an answer to something, it starts to look like I don’t know what I’m doing.  Then I looked at the cards from a site I follow and it talked about walking away and recognizing when someone isn’t being forthright with us.  Knowing when a situation isn’t healthy for our souls anymore.  And I have to question, regardless of the lessons, whether or not this is actually healthy for me.

I will not make any hard and fast decisions—I’m a record keeper and I like to gather all the facts.  I also don’t like fumbling around trying to make a choice when the resources are available and being withheld for whatever reason.  I do know that I’m tired of constantly feeling like I don’t know which way is up and being responsible for choices I had no part in making.  I also know that I do have the choice in how this plays out.  I can take the lesson of trusting myself as well as the lesson that I can’t always trust others—sometimes their actions speak louder than words and those actions say, “I’m willing to leave you out to dry for the sake of my own skin.”  It takes some time to recognize the difference.

Lastly, I want to play devil’s advocate to my own situation.  There is a distinct possibility that my boss may see something in me that I don’t see myself.  She may very well be asking me to step up because she has faith that I can do it.  That actually does give me some relief even if it doesn’t comfort me much.  Sometimes the role of a mentor is to show us we have the ability when we don’t believe it ourselves.  I may never know the intent, but I can define what this means to me.  I know I don’t want to sit with the belief that I’m being sabotaged so I can choose to believe the latter—that I am being called to step up.  Growth isn’t always pretty.  Sometimes it’s fumbling through a meeting, sometimes it’s realizing what we want for ourselves, and sometimes it’s deciding how we want to interpret the situation.   

Defining Enough

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What is enough?  Rachel Cargle wrote about what constitutes enough in our lives and defining that for ourselves.  I don’t think I realized how much influence the outside had on my decisions for what I wanted my life to look like.  We are trained to want more, bigger, better but we are not trained to ask if it serves our purpose.  That requires knowing what our purpose is. It is entirely personal.  Those are answers we will not find anywhere but in ourselves.

Cargle goes on to say that we need to define what holds the highest value for us and what brings the most joy.  She asks, “what feels to me like rich and meaningful living as opposed to checking off the to-do list that society handed me at birth?” That is an honest measure of what is enough and what success is.  To me, that is my son waking up and immediately crawling to my side, or my lap for morning cuddles.  Or watching him lay on the couch (or really sleeping anywhere), curled up in his blanket, and seeing the absolute innocence and potential of life.  It is watching him play.  It is listening to his words and understanding that the meaning of life is right in front of us.  It is sharing my life, knowing it may do some good, that while I have my own story, it resonates with others.  It is helping people awaken to new possibilities in their lives.  That is my animals herding me toward the kitchen because they’re starving (they’re not, they’re just dramatic 😊).  It is seeing that the chaos around me and the poor sleep is because there is so much love in this house—I am trusted, and I built that.

Purpose is being able to start again each day.  Pushing forward with hope no matter what the day before looked like.  It’s seeing the sunrise, hearing the birds, listening to the songs of the world.  It’s the taste of a meal I prepared.  It’s the movement of my body after sleeping, or working for too long and reconnecting with what the body is meant to do.  It’ drinking cold water.  It’s completing my book collection from my favorite authors (and adding to a to be read pile that will take forever to catch up on).  It’s thinking about a song and then hearing it on the radio.  It’s dancing with my kid in the kitchen.  It’s spending time with my family and listening to the laughter, hearing the same stories for the thousandth time and making new stories together.  It’s the feeling of organizing anything—putting meaning to chaos—and then doing it all over again.  It’s the starting again and moving on to the next step.  It’s deciding what I want life to look like and knowing I’m an active participant in it. 

Purpose is seeing the gentleness that is life.  Yes, there are harsh moments that seem destined to break us.  Those moments are really meant to build us up, to show us what we are meant to be, to make us who we really are.  Revealing who we are is the kindest act there is.  I can deal with the destruction of a pretty lie in favor of a stable truth.  Just because we don’t like something doesn’t negate it—and purpose is seeing the world as it is so we can play our role.  Purpose is finding the reason why things didn’t go as we had planned, slowly seeing the bigger picture. 

Purpose is the acceptance of who I am.  Taking the good and the bad, the light and the dark, and loving myself anyway.  It is learning to not take anything personally and moving forward with an open mind.  It is being open to learning what the world has to show me.  It is admitting I was wrong and working with my husband to build a life together.  It is hearing my husband admit where he was wrong too—because we are more willing to put aside our egos than we are to let go of our relationship.  It is leaving room for growth with both of us.  That means being willing to learn the other person all over again as we evolve.  It means leaving room for myself and honoring what changes come up. What is purpose to you?  What is enough?  What do you value?