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Archive for the ‘intentions’ Category

After my 30 day blogging journey, my  intent was to fall in love with my blog again. I wanted to feel comfortable picking up the conversation so my writing didn’t feel awkward or disjointed after a month break. I use the analogy of phone conversations: when I speak with someone regularly, there is a rhythm. When it’s been a long time, and there is too much catching up – I know my calls need more than five minutes to connect, and I put off the call for another day which only makes the conversation seem bigger.

When daily blogging became a habit, it began to fit into my daily routine. I’ve wanted to be an early morning blogger with visions of sipping herbal tea while the rest of my house sleeps soundly. However, that has not been my reality since becoming a mother of two children (almost a year ago – whoa!)

Instead blogging began to happen in the evening during my son’s bathtime. I discovered a little writing nook in my bedroom, just outside the bathroom door. At 3 1/2 years old, he is now demanding privacy from his mother in the bathroom. So I sit in my writing space with the door halfway open, my back turned away for his privacy. I am auditorily supervising, making sure water is not being dumped from the tub when he plays waterfall or tsunami or whatever is going on that sounds like a natural disaster.

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With the door open, I call out frequently: “What’s happening in there?”

“I’m just playing.”

“What are you doing?”

“I put syrup on them!” I’m hoping he has not poured out the expensive baby washes which line the tub rail, and has chosen the generic wash from Target as syrup tonight.

His imagination is active, and the water does something to balance out his play and simultaneously settle him.

I’m back in the saddle again tonight, blogging while he splashes away. He has been in the bath for over 30 minutes while I’ve written the sentences above.

“Want to come out yet?” I ask.

“No, my guys are taking swimming lessons and they are not finished.” There is always a pretend-play excuse for everything. I will be mopping the floor later, if I remember.

After my 30 day blog affair, a few things happened:

My mom and entourage of Mahervelous women came to Ojai for a visit and I took a break from it all: coaching, speech, and blogging. It felt good to give myself a little staycation, but there’s never really a true “break” with two young children. There have been a few rough sleeping nights: teething (almost 1-years old!!!!). We are entering a big touchpoint for my baby turning toddler as she is fighting for independence wanting to move, and clinging to me in the same moment.

Next there were a few restless and dark nights of the soul for me. I tend to go with the flow, but periods of intense change and uncertainty bring on my inner tantrums. I become like my 3 1/2 year old son who won’t come out of the bathtub. My overactive imagination thinks that swimming lessons are needed or all of my inner desires are going to sink. There is potency as I splash through my turbulent waters, resurfacing with clarity. My inner storms are passing, and the sun is on the horizon. I feel supported.

“Mama, I’m ready to come out,” he calls. And just like that, shifts happen.

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I met my husband on my 24th birthday. I threw him a 30th birthday party the following month just after we started dating. Eight months later, I learned the truth when I looked at his license and the math didn’t add up. The guy I had fallen for wasn’t really 30, he was 32 (!!!) and worried a 24-year old might not have given him a chance. My husband hates this story, and will probably be annoyed for it being told (again) (online) but it’s a story that belongs to both of us now. The reason I’m sharing it is because I’m having some deja vu with my 30-day blog affair. Today marks the big 3-0 (versus 31)! Last night I was feeling like I failed my own 30-day challenge after not blogging on day 28. Maybe that’s why there were 31 days this month: an opportunity to still hit 30 even with one miss. (Or maybe I just don’t count to 30 so well?) In any case, we celebrate birthdays in our house with a big old ? on the cake instead of numbered candles.

Now that this journey is complete; I want to share some thoughts if you are considering blogging more consistently or taking part in any 30-day challenge:

1. Blogger’s block can feel real, but it is somewhat of a myth. I frequently don’t know what I’ll write about when I sit down to write. I worry what I’m sharing might have no significance. However, it’s really resistance rearing its ugly head (read The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
if you are looking to tackle creative resistance rather than living in procrastination). There is always something to say. I would put pressure on my blog posts to be the most meaningful thing I’d have to say all week – month – longer (which is an easy way to fall out of love with blogging). It puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on a blog post. Imagine thinking you could never speak unless your words were always perfectly articulated and quotable. I would probably be mute. How scary would that be to utter a sound? As a speech pathologist this analogy hits home. It’s okay that a post might not be eloquent or what you want etched on your tombstone. Just writing and posting on a daily basis will change your relationship with blogging.

2. I chose 30-days of blogging because I wanted to have a relationship with my blog again. It felt like a long lost friend after going over a month without posting. I knew I wanted to hold onto it, but my writing felt awkward and forced. There was too much time between posts to just throw out a casual thought or bedtime haiku without it feeling disjointed. After my first week blogging, I found a rhythm. After the second week, it no longer felt like a long-lost friend, but a close confidant. Ideally, I would like to post 1-2 times a week now, but I’m not sure if that will feel too distant initially. I may experiment for a little bit, just like Goldilocks (I use fairy tale analogies frequently with a preschooler at home): too hard, too soft, just right. My blog became home again. It was no longer an afterthought, instead it was front and center. When I knew I had some heavily scheduled days, I wrote an extra post preparing myself for the near future. An editorial calendar for the blog started to sound ideal versus restricting. We shall see.

3. I began to see some themes taking place over the course of this month. Some of the things I blogged about frequently were: breathing room and undoing. This topic just won’t leave me, so more to come…

4. The best part about committing to any journey for 30-days is you take your word seriously. Your intentions become real. You feel on-fire moving through your day. More to come on this as I have a special interview with a friend who coaches others through mental and physical 30 day challenges. She gave me a pep-talk in the beginning of my 30-day blog affair with the advice to just take on this one thing (rather than trying to do 10 things and once). Keep it simple. And to just do it!

5. Any writer will tell you they love acknowledgement for their writing. Comments and followers are great. The more the merrier! I will not pretend to say this doesn’t matter. But writing consistently had me care less about what others thought, obsessing over stats, etc. and just get to work.  This was good for my writing soul. Anyone who wants more blog followers, just write more regularly!

6. I don’t consider myself to be a poet. I surprised myself this month with my Bedtime Haiku post when I didn’t have the energy to write much or for too long. (I loved it, and may bring this in more often. Stay tuned…) I could do this every day for a month (so don’t tempt me, you know that could happen!)

So tonight I’m signing off with Blogging Haiku:

Choose Your Own Journey

Is a blogging home for me

A full heart tonight5734_1193154504068_8116_n

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Yesterday would have been the 28th day of my blog affair. But last night I wasn’t feeling it. I was wiped out and fell asleep beside my son before 9 pm.

I thought to myself: “It’s okay, just post something in the morning. Besides, you really don’t have anything to say tonight and you would be forcing it. Nobody is going to miss you! (Really).” That was the mistaken voice of reason. It was really my voice of mediocrity, and I’m frustrated it won out. When I chose to begin a blog affair last month, I made it easy to show up; a post could be a picture, a poem, or a quote instead of feeling like it had to be the most meaningful thing I ever wrote.

I almost posted a picture last night. How easy it could have been to do this:

Beach Day!

Beach Day!

Or this…

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Or even this…

Making Mandalas - Inspiration from paintings (or I could so make this)

Making Mandalas – Inspiration from paintings (or I could so make this)

I may sound hard on myself, but it’s not about the post. It’s about the meaning behind the post. I am proud of just showing up here every day. It has not been easy. I had to find time to blog on some full days. I changed my writing area from a desk in the living room, to a desk in my bedroom so I could write while my son took hour long baths. Despite his temporarily pruny fingers and toes, my blogging became an affair of the heart. I started to fall in love with my blog again. I began to think about it, rather than feeling guilty for not thinking about it. I began to write faster, and get out of my head, releasing the need for approval and feelings of judgment, because I didn’t have the time. I was off to the next post.

And every time I sat down to write, I’d think I have absolutely nothing worth writing about (and even more prevalent: people are getting so SICK of me writing this much, just stop already).

There are many creative lessons I’m taking from this journey. There is magic when I show up, especially in the face of resistance. There is inspiration in committing to something. I am seeing common themes with undoing which is so needed in my life right now, along with the biggest message in the book I’m writing. I’ve regained integrity by doing what I said I’d do (with the exception of last night where I lost a piece of my own integrity too). As writers, we can re-purpose writing! So much of what’s been posted would have probably died in my draft box if I was not looking for something to share.

So for the next two nights, I’m getting back on the horse again. There is an even bigger lesson from last night which I’m still sitting with this evening. We never get the day back. Things become too much to make up the next day, which is why procrastination gets heavier.

We always get to choose again.

 

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A year ago today we left New Jersey for Ojai. We had a layover in Las Vegas (not recommended when traveling with a toddler who can’t stay away from slot machines). My son was chased by the gaming officials, knowing I couldn’t run after him at 31 weeks pregnant. Life was full of adventure and possibility after relinquishing control embracing the journey into the unknown. Tempted to post: “California or BUST!”  I remained silent virtually, thinking a woman in her 3rd trimester with a doctor’s note to let me on board should not tempt fate.

When we arrived in Ojai late that night, there was a feeling of finally being home. We were welcomed by little things my in-laws left (which felt like such big things) having been unsettled since Hurricane Sandy.

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We had been in Ojai a few months before, the same week Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast ravishing Breezy Point, where were living at the time. When we packed for our trip to Ojai in October, I never expected not to return to Breezy Point. It was surreal returning in late November to grab a few belongings witnessing the devastation and life stopping in an instant. My son’s colored teddy bears were on the nightstand beside his bed. The plastic jack-o-lantern remained in the window which my mom bought to entertain Evan and give the house a Halloween flair. There were clues of our life before, erased like the tides.

While I was in Ojai, I learned of the fires over social media. Never really understanding Twitter, I was glued to the page as news about #breezypoint was unraveling before news stations could report. I spent the night fearing the worst to the people in a community I loved for the past 34 years as images of a 5, 6, and 7 alarm fire rang through my mind in areas I knew like the back of my hand. We had only been in Ojai for four days when Hurricane Sandy hit. I watched CNN constantly, in disbelief when familiar faces were being interviewed. I wasn’t sure where we would go when we returned, touched by the kindness of people who reached out inviting us into their homes.

Ultimately, it was a call for change sooner than planned. If not for Hurricane Sandy and that period of uncertainty, I don’t know that we would have made it here. The period between February and June of last year was precious. It was a time of nesting, redefining ourselves as a family, birthing, and community building, to see if this was where we belonged. My husband and I wistfully spoke of returning to California every winter, but there was always something. The further we settled into our New Jersey lives, the harder it became to think about leaving. We had big conversations, realizing we could choose our journey and design our life around our growing young family. I wanted to experiment before Evan was school-age, or feared living with regret. There were strong urges to let go and release our belongings to lighten the load, just as powerful as the urge to nest overcame me in the last days of pregnancy. I trusted things would work out, and ultimately leaped.

I spoke to a friend who I met a year ago (this week). She has been on a similar journey, leaving her corporate job behind in Massachusetts to follow her creative calling and moving to Santa Barbara. When we spoke last night, it was her 4-year anniversary. There is significance in honoring anniversaries, especially ones for the resilient spirit. There is power in honoring the part of ourselves that is scared and called. There is power in acknowledging gratitude for the way life has turned out, bigger and richer than my controlled, practical, and planning mind would conceive. Anniversaries remind us of who we were and where we have gone. There is power in honoring a journey that is now a written chapter of life.

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What do I value? Where does one value trump another? What values do I want to instill in my children? Are the values I want for myself the same for my children or different? What values did my parents pass on to me?

I’ve been sitting with these questions all week, talking with women, mamas, and coaches about what we value. I’m wrapping my head around it to design a life which works for my family, or the family we are becoming as we grow. I’ve gone through an archaeological photo dig of my childhood looking for clues finding values everywhere.

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Here I am at three-and-a-half (roughly the same age as my son) still an only child before my brother arrived in September. I’m carrying around my purse of Little People (I’m referring to Fisher Price, not the politically correct phrase), just like my niece Janie might now – (except she carries her little princesses) or my son (he carries a stocking of Wizard of Oz figures, or sometimes a bag of gnomes). I see values of play, imagination, and creativity. I also see the value of down time without the busy-ness of schedules for me and my peeps.

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Was freedom a value I sought as a child? Was I looking to choose my own journey? I’m actually not running away, but coming home. I was the least rebellious 3-year old who ever existed. My parents would give me a look and I’d listen. As much as I value freedom as an adult, I frequently squash my son’s.

“Do you want milk or water with dinner?”

“How ’bout apple juice?” he’ll reply.

“Not a choice. Milk or water?”

“I want ORANGE JUICE THEN!”

It’s exhausting. Freedom may not currently be a family value as limits and patience are tested daily.

I sit with the photos, my memories, and I write some more; all for the sake of being a better parent, or the parent my children need me to be, or the one I hope to be when I finally get it together.

I heard a great statistic today from a wise mama mentor. “We get it right about 30% of the time as a parent, and amazingly that is enough.”

I am going to wear my 30% proud, like I would when I scored 30s and 40s on my impossible Freshman Zoology exams, which needed to be curved because they were so damn hard (it was the only class I EARNED a C which I knew was my absolute best). Maybe that’s why 30% is enough. Some days there are way more wrongs than rights.

In the world of baseball, 30% is actually really good. A 300 hitter is the measuring stick between pretty good and a potential All Star.

Today was an All Star day then. I’d have to say, I think we may have even been batting above 500 by the end of the day.

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The past few years, I have chosen “words of the year.”

My practice began in 2011, shortly after giving birth when I chose SIMPLIFY.

Then in 2012, with a strong urge to begin living with less – it was UNENCUMBERED (although it could have also been CHANGE).

Last year with the help of Susannah Conway’s Unraveling the Year Ahead, I came up with BIRTH/CREATE (maybe obvious considering I was gestating).

And this year, I have two. I was not one of the bloggers who shared their word/(s) on New Year’s Day, as I was still contemplating mine. I could sense two distinct energies coming up with neither one overpowering the other, rather wanting to remain conjoined.

At my coaching mastermind retreat in Sedona last month, I met another coach doing groundbreaking work. Her practice supports women recover divine powers by connecting with their pelvic bowls (so much more coming about this, as it’s become a new fascination). She taught the functions of our ovaries are the point of creative power: the right and left ovaries each holding different energies.

I told her my story: having an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit misdiagnosed for months when I was 9-years old. Ovarian cysts like mine are rare pre-puberty. My cyst stumped the teachers, school nurse, and doctors asking about problems at home or in school. I was having problems in both, as I frequently rocked in the fetal position to alleviate the pain. I was hospitalized for a week before it was discovered, and immediately removed with part of my ovary. My scar resembles a C-section. But more than my physical scar, the conversation between my mom and surgeon was stitched into my memory: “Will she be able to have children?”

“Only time will tell,” he answered.

I had just learned about ovaries that summer. My love of Judy Blume books prompted questions to my mom. My “talk” was a drawing of 2 ovaries and the egg traveling through the fallopian tubes. I’m wishing we kept that sacred diagram for posterity with ovaries, birth, and cancer present in our family tree. I will deal with them when I’m ready, I’ve promised my parents, doctors, and anyone else who broaches the subject as my own interest in their dance and my pelvic bowl increases.

And so this year I have 2 words.

My right ovary shouts:

OWN IT!

OWN IT!

A friend shared this post with me, which captures my Madonna-inspired intention. Bring on the ROAR! The call to step up, play a bigger game, and all of the other phrases which I simultaneously resist. But “OWN IT” to me means more. It is about “enoughness” and taking responsibility. It is the call to move into being generative and teaching, leaving the hungry seeking student behind. It is calling me out of the shadow where it is more comfortable to observe asking me to share my gifts for the greater good.

CULTIVATE

CULTIVATE

CULTIVATE is my other word. This one feels rooted like a tree. It is the fertile soil of the constant gardener who has been toiling each day although you might not yet see the fruits of her labor. It is the one who continues to show up, branching out in a new community, connecting with people who inspire her, and taking little gentle baby steps each day. CULTIVATE is a word that speaks to my motherhood and the delicateness of raising children. CULTIVATE is the calm and quiet word which says, “Yes, I will show up again tomorrow and keep going.”

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It took me a little bit longer this year.  January was busy with tying up loose ends at work, preparing for a cross country move, and countless doctor’s visits.  So happy to report a week after arriving here in Ojai, we made it!!!  More accurately, 2/3 of us are here, not counting my baby bump.  I still have a husband who is driving our packed Subaru of earthly treasures we could not part with for the next 4 months through New Orleans as I type.   (And I’m crossing my fingers some of my old journals made the cut!)

I’m so grateful to be here, especially for the time and space to create what is next.  I was feeling incomplete as 2012 ended with more change than I ever imagined when I set out to write my intentions for the coming year on a beautiful New Year’s Day 2012.  (Again, those journals would help me here, but these are  images from 1/1/12 I’m holding onto: )

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last family picture with the 4 of us

my favorite picture of the year

my favorite picture of the year

New Breezy Point home - (11 months pre-Sandy) 1/1/12

New Breezy Point home – (11 months pre-Sandy) 1/1/12

Love this picture of Greg, Janie, & Libby

Love this picture of Greg, Janie, & Libby

New Year’s 2012 was a spectacular 50 degree day; a rarity in January.  I soaked it in, wanting to capture the day’s essence- planning a new year which would captivate this kind of day.  I remember being jealous of my friend who was writing out her intentions for 3 hours – (she has no children).  Three hours of uninterrupted writing was a dream for me, but a 15-month old Evan cooperated that afternoon, and I wrote a few thoughts in my journal (wishing it was here now…)  Maybe I wrote about wanting to hold onto the feeling of beauty and family.  Maybe I wrote about knowing some changes were ahead: working less hours to have more time to create, freeing myself from debt, finding an answer to “where should we live?”  Only time (and that journal entry) will tell.

Instead, these photos are my memories of 2012.  I recently completed Susannah Conway’s Unraveling the Year Ahead.  For all of you other late bloomers to 2013, I would still HIGHLY recommend her free resource.  It brought me such gratitude honoring my journey over the past 12 months.

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Vision board for 2012 – created during Tama Kieves’ retreat at the Open Center

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picking out Valentine’s Day cards – 2012

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Malibu with friends – planting of California seeds

Let the Gratitude Begin!

My Timeless Gratitude Workshop

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picture from one of our first night in June as Breezy Point residents

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my last adult weekend at Revel in AC. The fancy drinks pool-side and sink did this baby good!

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my guys

walking journey

one of my last morning walks with Journey to the promenade
feather

bird feathers = reminders of Journey

gnome

the fascination of gnomes began here

balloons balloons4 beach day

my ride

my ride and his chariot

watching him play

watching him play

mastermind

Accountability buddies masterminding in the city

kite

an hour alone on the beach on a September weekday afternoon

an hour alone on the beach on a September weekday afternoon

journey shells

Ashes and shells

we found and planted Magic Wands: (one for him, me, and Dad)

we found and planted Magic Wands: (one for him, me, and Dad)

Home

Home

buddies

best buds

post-post lesson

painting

breezy8

what was left in Breezy Point after the fire – post-Sandy

capes

fun in capes

cousin dance

cousins dancing

gnome 2

hanging with the gnomies

heath

Heath’s shower – a year of celebration with good friends

 

breezy signs

sign when returning to Breezy for belongings

gaga xmas

Gaga and her babies

Here are some of my own unravelings about 2012…

My word for 2012: UNENCUMBERED letting go of physical possessions, our home, responsibilities, debt, creating space for what I want and de-cluttering

hermit crab shell - lego home

What did I embrace in 2012?

What did I let go of in 2012?

  • living life on automatic (becoming conscious with all big decisions)

What did I discover about myself in 2012?

I am way more adaptable than I give myself credit for.  I can easily go with the flow and plan/adjust as needed.

So watch out 2013 because the word that keeps coming up is CREATE/BIRTH.  So many wonderful things already, and new things to come.  I am so ready for this journey~

How about you?  I’d love to hear your words for 2013.  Won’t you come and unravel with me?

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