Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Failing Towards Happiness

I have a new BFF, although she doesn't know it yet.  I learned about the powerhouse that is Rachel Hollis somehow, someway, but I can't recall the initial introduction to her work in the world.

Most excellent podcast!
I put her book, "Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be", on hold at the library and once I received it,  I think I read in about 3 hours, tops.  I am now listening to her podcast, "Rise", and just listened to her episode about failure.  I am sure I will re-listen to it at least 37 more times because it is the elephant in my room these days.

I also watched a Tedx talk by Natalie Butto Wills about how problems fuel our creativity that leads to innovation.  I consider failure a bit of a problem, so I am getting creative about it!

Here's why.

As many of you know, I took big risk of moving to Providence, RI - sight unseen - and it has been an epic adventure over the past 7+ months.  I know I am still new to the city (and likely will be considered as such for at least the next ten years), but I feel that I have found my people and the vibe of the city resonates with me.

Me and Liam hitting the road
What I now face has to do with my livelihood (aka getting a new job).  This is a big one for me because of some real obvious reasons...I need to eat, pay my rent...that important stuff.  I also attach my professional life to my identity (or, vice versa).  It is as tightly wedged in there as how I feel about my place in the world as a mother, a friend, and being an entrepreneur (*).

I've been telecommuting for my job that I held in Portland, Oregon and although it makes sense to transition out of it for many wise reasons, I have attached a great deal of anxiety and fear about making that particular change in my life.  You know how it rolls, that damn Negative Nellie who won't. stop. nagging.

"You are way too old."
"No one is interested in what you have to offer."
"No one knows you, so good luck with that."
"You don't have a degree, so you aren't good enough."

Crap like that.

I have started the process of finding 'traditional' employment in my field of fundraising and communications for non-profits - I am good at it, so why not?  But on the other hand, I am also working on developing my side hustle of being a content creator for websites, social media, and podcast production.

A really scary idea: launch my own business.  For reals.  Yikes.

But I have a few cheerleaders on my side of the field.  Not only Rachel, but also my pal, Shari. She is inspirational in so many ways, but in the case of this post, she has lived the life of a successful entrepreneur (own it, sister) for about a decade.  We have been supporting each, most recently, as accountability partners and she has been nudging me to jump into the pool of such risk-taking with both feet.

I don't know where this is going and that is totally fine. (Right, Rachel?) I am sharing this with you, dear reader, with hopes you will be motivated to find your tribe to help you find your truth because you gotta find those people who speak your language of intention to help you on your journey.  I don't believe it is a solo trip although there are moments when you must stand on your own two feet even if they are wobbly.

So the lesson learned today: I am failing my way to happiness because it is the true success in living directly. Who's with me?

(*)  I've decided to get public about that reality.  I am an entrepreneur and have been for years but didn't recognize/acknowledge it.  Thanks to those people who have helped me own it - you know who you are. 💓

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Out of the fear comes...

An interesting switching of gears these past few days.  I don't know what the triggers have been to choose this path of darker reflections.  Perhaps I  have been spending too much time on social media and reading the wrong headlines in the news!

Out of fear and anxiety comes loving, caring gestures.  That's how I like to see it.  When you put vulnerable self out there and people respond with caring words and acts, it is a reminder of the goodness that can be found in humanity.

It is a demonstration of love to be direct about it.  Every act - whether small or over the top - is an act of love when the intention comes from a loving heart.

I wrestled with buried anxiety this past week - stuff that I thought was long gone.  And when it came back up, the voice of loving reason was LOUDER than the voice of fear.  This, my friend, is a really good thing.

I am dedicated to the belief and practice that love will conquer all.  I will stand by that value and continue to walk that talk as often as I can.

Love wins. Always.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Love & Loneliness

There's a loneliness that can creep up on me when I least expect it.  I live alone in a city that is new to me, so there's no wonder it sneaks up on me.  It feels bigger than life sometimes when I am ill or when I feel afraid.

I admit, it is difficult to see the love in those kinds of moments.  But love - like the moon and the sun - is always present even if you can't see it.  My daughter is several hundred miles away but I can feel her love because it is ever-present and part of me.

I suppose self-love is also about welcoming the 'scaries' in some capacity because that kind of stuff lingers as much as joy can fill the air.  It is all about the ebb and flow of grieving and of celebration. It is the human experience.

It is comforting to constantly reminding myself that this, too, shall pass...whatever 'this' is in the moment....and also know that love is my rock-solid foundation and will help keep my face in the sun.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Negative Nellie & Little Miss Susie Sunshine

How do you balance love of a friend and the need to share something that most likely will be unpleasant with someone you care for? I know that I have languished in a dark place or two due to many reasons over the years - and it is necessary to visit that space - but what to do when you a think a friend keeps returning to the Hole of Despair and almost embraces it like a long lost friend?

Do I give her the space to be in that frame of mind and just "be there" for when she emerges on the other side? Or, is it part of my loving kindness to call it out in the open? This is something I think about often. I struggle with my need to 'fix it' but on the other side of it, I want to look a positive ways to tackle life challenges. Is it a one-size-fits-all approach? Unlikely. I suppose the best approach would be to bring it up and see where the conversation goes but that is being vulnerable (aka dang scary).

I thinking of times in the past when I shared fears and anxiety about how I was feeling in a friendship and then, it seemed like the person disappeared in few weeks. I've been reluctant to give it a go as a result, but then again, I want strive to be my true self when it comes to my close relationships.

The conundrum!
The quandary!

I'm going to sit on this for a bit and I'll get back to you about how it all turned out.


Sunday, March 31, 2019

The love of living the day

The love of living the day as fully as possible is a daily pursuit for me. Waking up in the morning to do my practice of writing, reflection, and meditation is an expression of love - for myself. It is my form of self-care. I am blessed with a profound freedom of choosing how to live today. That act is easier to realize when the stressors and anxiety are low; by pursuing the practice of the practice, I am strengthening my muscles for the inevitable future of struggle and pain. The practice is in the present but the rewards are realized now and later. I am grateful for the time and space to explore these ways of living. Gratitude is both an internal and external expression of love, too. I am grateful for the ability to start my day off with a mindful presence.

Art by Melissa Harris

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Connecting with strangers

We often hear that we should teach our children about 'stranger danger' and that makes sense, to a certain degree, and I wonder how we unlearn that messaging when we become adults?

I find one of the most charming experiences in life is talking with someone I don't know, a stranger.  Whether it is a moment shared while waiting for the light signal to change or walking to your car with another volunteer talking about the theater you support. 

Just last night, I met another volunteer usher with Trinity Rep. I started volunteering there soon after arriving in Providence.  We walked together to our cars last night after assisting at the theater and she shared that she is a case worker for the state of Rhode Island.  That caught my attention because of my work as a fundraiser for Kinship House, an outpatient mental healthcare agency for foster and adoptive children in Portland, OR.  We had a commonality.  Her genuine spirit was light and loving although she carries the weight of dealing with heart wrenching circumstances in her work in the world. 

In our brief exchange, we shared a little bit of who we are with one another. And although we agreed to catch up the next time we crossed paths, with a likelihood it will not happen, it is a loving human experience that I will carry with me.

Last night, two strangers became acquaintances. Who knows, maybe someday we will become friends.  It could happen.  This is Rhode Island, you know. Our experience offered us the chance to share a piece of our heart and soul with one another in a brief connection.  Just because.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Love is the company you keep

Love is in the company we keep.  When I spend just ten seconds thinking about all the loving connections that I am blessed with, I experience about 100 years worth of saturated love-ness in each of those seconds.

I don't know exactly how I got to this place of welcoming love as an essential need and want - it is as essential as food, water, and air.  Perhaps although I navigated a bumpy childhood littered with trauma, there were loving helpers who kept me safe.  People like my paternal grandparents.

Later, the lessons were many as I learned through a chose family of friends and then the ultimate experience: motherhood.  I learned that all of us worthy of love. 

It has been a painful and a joyful journey that is far from over. And, I still find myself learning how to love.