This post was written in November 2009, and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching.
I wrote a bit ago about “the happy place.”
For the past week, I have noticed myself existing in “the grumpy place.”
I used to not understand why these moods would come upon me–why it was that life would suddenly feel negative, pissy, irritable, frustrating, like everything was “happening to” me. Now I get why these times happen–it’s a buildup of negative emotions that I’m not releasing in a healthy way, combined with not enough self-care. It’s also something that can be seriously agitated by not enough sleep and/or being sick.
I am reminded again and again in my life that it is always better to do the daily work than to clean up the mess later. I’ve mentioned this in regards to relationships, before–it’s always better to face those ugly parts, clear the withholds, have the difficult conversations–than it is to clean up resentments later. I’ve had more than one friendship or relationship in my life where, by the time we finally started to clean things up, there was so much to clean up and so much trust had been broken that it was really, really complicated to figure out where to go from there.
The same holds true for self-care. One simply cannot bounce from working on getting an e-course going, to teaching, to grading papers, to moving an entire house and living amongst boxes and chaos, to using all spare time to paint/organize/unpack/unload/sort/buy furniture, completely neglecting yoga and exercise and even eating well (I had brussel sprouts for the first time in quite awhile this past week, and I was SO EXCITED to be getting a green vegetable in my mouth–it has been a “mix up a pack of instant oatmeal for dinner” kind of time).
This lack of self-care has manifested itself in a few ways, the most critical of which was noticing that during my coaching sessions this week, I felt “off,” not as easily able to tune in intuitively to what my clients needed. And that–that–really was a huge wake-up call that things had reached mission critical point. Self-care is not just about me, it’s about the space I hold for others, too.
I don’t do “balance” perfectly–frankly, I don’t believe anyone really does–and yet I honor myself for all that I have learned, especially with my ability to notice, so much faster, where I’m getting out of balance. It is really, really difficult to say no to things I wanted to do, but I am braver about noticing when it’s needed and speaking into that. For instance, I had this whole fantasy of cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner here at the house (our new house, our perfect little house that we searched so long for that is exactly what we have always wanted ever since we moved in together!) with some of Andy’s family, complete with bonding over how to cook a whole turkey and learning new cooking moves and just hanging out around the fireplace (yup, we have a fireplace) as the day slowly tucked away into night.
And earlier this week, I noticed that every single time I thought of this dinner, I felt completely overwhelmed. I don’t want to cook all day–I want rest. I don’t want to have people in the house all day–I want time with my love and equal parts solitude, to reconnect with me. I feel so very, very stretched and the to-do list is really big. What I really need right now, more than anything, is some time to have absolutely nothing on my plate. Quiet time with my love. A cozy couch and a blanket and a kitty and a pile of movies, good food to munch on, walks outside to stave off the bloat.
The Thanksgiving fantasy of a grand dinner in this house will need to happen next year. I am disappointed and don’t want to disappoint others, and yet I know deep down that if I try to fit onemorething in, I’m not taking care of myself.
This doesn’t mean that the day won’t be meaningful in some way. We were invited to do dinner at someone else’s house and so this means we will get out for a few hours, say hello to others, toast, share what we’re so grateful for (and there’s so, so much).
Between deciding to let go of this big, grand (and energetically consuming Thanksgiving fantasy), as well as finally getting a solid night’s sleep for the first time in a few days, I am feeling better. I am feeling less irritable and snappish. I have taken things really, really slowly this morning. There is still a pile o’ stuff on my office floor–stuff that I’ve left there because I refuse to do anything with it until I know exactly where it will go, what I will keep and what I won’t. I’m making a goal of finishing my office by this evening. It’s a good goal. There is a little sigh of relief that I know comes whenever I have my own little space.
This post was written in November 2009, and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching.
It dawned on me today that one month from today, I’ll be holding my last class sessions. For the past few months, I have struggled greatly with just being here, now, where I am, in THIS life, with THESE circumstances, and not rushing to get to THAT life with THOSE circumstances that I somehow think will be so much better. I am very, very aware that THAT life, the one I’m transitioning into, will still be full of challenges to grow into/past.
I keep thinking to myself, “How different would my life be right now if I completely embraced the idea that every single thing that has ever happened to me, is a gift? What if I embraced the idea that every single thing that is happening in my life right NOW, is a gift?”
When I am in my strongest and most empowered moments, I believe this completely and truly and fully. When I’m not feeling empowered, when I feel like a victim of circumstances, it seems like everything “happens to” me.
I have been thinking of this a lot today because it is one of those days where, despite eight hours of sleep, I am dragging. And it has been a day full of little complaints and critters and “have to” and all of that muckity-muck. Yet I know that there have been times when I’ve been equally as tired, but in a space of pure joy, such that I didn’t even care that I was tired. I was just simply excited about living, and that made all of the difference.
I’ve been fielding phone calls today–still trying to get things squared away with the plumbing issues that we had, little odds and ends–and then in between all of that, trying to get some odds and ends of work done, between teaching two classes. It’s a full day, and the voices in my head today have been whining a lot about all of this work and how the house still isn’t unpacked (!) and it’s not faiiiiiirrrrrr.
That inner little girl wants to go out and play, and is sick of that being put off for another day.
I was driving down the street and was trying to reason it all out in my head. “Okay. I love the saying ‘If you’re not having fun, why are you doing it?’ Yet in life, stuff still needs to be done. These phone calls and repairs still need to be made. I don’t get to just blow it all off; that’s not realistic. How exactly can I marry “Fun” with getting it all done?”
And the very next thing I thought was: “Make it a game.” Right then, my spirits lifted. Of course! Make it a game. Make it a game; challenge myself to see just how much fun I can have, how loving I can be to the people I’m coming into contact with, give myself five points for every time I’m patient, list as many things as I can think of to be grateful for in the next thirty seconds–Ready, Set, Go!
The thing is, none of us get any points for being miserable. We get no kudos for being snarky. We get no life awards for being a victim. Every single synapse in my brain wanted to spend the entire rest of the day complaining about how bad I had it, all the things that were piling up, how tired I was, how grumpy/cranky I felt…at a certain point, after acknowledging and owning those feelings, it was time to shift it. I’m trying to convey how badly I didn’t want to shift it; how badly I just wanted to stay in a comfort zone of complaints.
I chose to challenge myself to come up with thirty things that I’m grateful for in thirty seconds.
I felt amazing afterwards.
This stuff works. We are completely in choice about how we can live our lives and what we’re capable of. If there is anything at the top of my list of gratitude, it’s that I’m in the process and have committed to stay the course in doing work that is about getting really real about all of the negative emotions while simultaneously refusing to stay stuck there.
Okay, then. Now I’m off to arrange for trash disposal service, hit up the post office, take some phone appointments, teach a 3-hour night class, and collapse back in bed at the end of it all. And again the old habits rise up of how I
…so I wonder what game I’ll choose to play, next.
This moment, now–ready, set, go!
P.S. The giveaway for Your Courageous Life continues…five winners will be chosen!
This post was written in November 2009 and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching.
Please right-click and save-as to download this badge if you’d like to put it on your website–direct it back to www.thecourageousyear.com
So, at this point, you wonderful people have pretty much made my day so many times that I can’t quite fathom any of what is happening, and I am so very grateful for all of it, again and again and again.
Yesterday was a record day for the number of signups in one day for The Courageous Year.
I’m sending all participants a little special something in the mail, and those letters are making their way to all corners of the world–today I will send something to Greece (!), I’ve sent packages to Canada, the U.K., and all corners of the United States.
Still more of you have volunteered to pass out Courageous Cards in your area.
What are Courageous Cards? They’re cards that dare people to dream. You leave them in special places like yoga studios or coffee shops, or (like my mother) in little nooks and crannies of bookstores (I so love the idea that someone would be browsing in a bookstore, which is a favorite activity of mine, and run across one of my cards), and trust that the right person will find it at the right time, and that when they do some little whisper or glimmer inside of them will breathe and go, “Hey. Hey, you. You’re courageous. You can do this thing you want to do. You can make this shift you want to make.”
Today alone, mail is going out to Oregon, Ohio, Florida, San Francisco, Toronto, British Columbia, Missouri, Massachusetts, Edinburgh (!), Colorado, and New Yawk.
That’s not counting the 15 or so packets that I sent out two weeks ago, which also went to places as diverse as Ireland and Chicago.
I needed to order more cards from my printer, yesterday!
So basically, I am giddy and so excited for what this year will bring for myself and the people participating. And the enthusiasm has really made me sit up straighter and put some additional pressure on the pedal to make this good. To check every single detail that I can and to really, truly, bring this course alive because it’s not just about the course or the individual goals of the participants, but I see some larger possibility here, both for connection between people as well as creating the world we want to live in. I see something so bold and beautiful and COURAGEOUS about all of this.
I want you to know that I still have days, even whole weeks, where fear just runs my ass (I was going to phrase that more delicately, but I figured y’all appreciate honesty!). I mean, I seriously have these moments where my stomach is in knots, and then that goes away and I trust that it’s all going to be okay.
Then the knots come back and I’m going nuts-o again. I’m riding this wave. I’m just trusting that if I do what I know has worked for me time and time again, things are going to be okay: Feel afraid, do it anyway, transform.
If you would like to get on the list for my next mail out of Courageous Cards to leave in your area, please let me know–email me and send me your address. And if you’re interested in learning more about The Courageous Year, feel free to click on the link and go.
P.S. Several people have emailed me to ask if I’m going to monitor enrollments to make sure that the course isn’t too large and overwhelming. The answer? Absolutely. I’m using a Content Management System (CMS) that will allow me to put the people enrolled into separate groups so that things remain more intimate, and I’ll also have a lot of control over the discussion forums–I can set up categories, for instance, so that things are organized and threads are easier to find.
** I only provide affiliate links for people whose work I wholeheartedly support! **
Affiliate Disclaimer: If I like someone's offering, I'll often agree to be an affiliate. This means that if you purchase the product through me, I get a commission. I'm required by law to tell you that, and--you know, I just don't suggest or recommend anything that I don't genuinely believe is over-the-top full of big bold beautiful love and usefulness. So, purchase however you wish, or don't--just know that I'm offering it up with integrity. ~ Kate
Your Courageous Life
Life Coach Kate Swoboda