Waiting for the Other Shoe

"You're waiting for the other shoe to drop. You're so tangled up in your fear that you're not really experiencing the job of what's happening in your life right now."

We'd just sat down to a delicious meal when my friend delivered this wisdom. Although my life was flowing like a river out of the Rocky Mountains I was having a hard time enjoying it. I was fretting. Pacing. Worried about events that hadn't happened yet. Her words stopped me mid-sentence.

She was right.  (Damn it)

Life was so good for me — better in fact, that it had been in months. And yet. I was waiting for that other shoe to drop, crushing all that long-sought happiness. My happiness was being swallowed up by the fear monster. The perceived pain I was feeling felt real and yet–it wasn't. It was just phantom pain I was reliving from the past even though that I wasn't in the past–I had moved forward to a new time continuum.

If you're like me, you might tend to focus on the shoe rather than the joy. But focusing  on what seems like a precariously placed shoe isn't going to make it stop from falling.

Waiting for that shoe to take it's tumble exacts a cost.
It tightens your chest making it hard to breath.

It closes off your heart.
It distracts you away from what really matters.
It squeezes the joy right out of your life and everything in it.

The only thing that can stop the shoe from falling is out of your control. Shoes are gonna drop sometimes and it's okay. You will be ok. You always have been and you always will be.

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How to Really Enjoy Your Life

I was lucky. I grew up in a home with two parents who did what they wanted for their work. My mom loved to write, sing and play the piano. Outside of her children, she loved her creative projects. My dad moved the family to Michigan so that he could pursue his love of creating prototypes in the auto industry. Cars were his passion from the age of 5 and even though no one before or since has been an engineer–he has followed that passion. While we didn’t live in a huge home with lots of designer items we had a nice living and were probably one of the wealthier families on our block in the suburbs of Detroit.

My parents also had the same life dream to travel all over the country in a trailer. When I was growing up we hauled our pop-up trailer around the country every summer to a new destination. Now that they’re both retired, they spend 4-6 months a year traveling the country in a trailer–just as they dreamed of doing. It’s not the most conventional nor cost effective thing but it is one of the most important things for them and so they do it.

Unlike many other parents they didn’t tell me that I had to be one thing or another. There was never any pressure to go to law school or business school–though two of my siblings did that on their own volition. My parents seemed most focused on whether I was a good person and if I was happy. They did want me to make money so that I was stable but otherwise they never tried to sway me when I wanted to do something which for me was usually creative and often just a little ahead of my time. I’ve followed my creative leanings and given into my passions and this has largely worked out for me. Like I said, I was lucky to grow up in the house I did with parents who cared about this as well. If you didn’t, don’t worry. It’s not to late. It’s never to late to follow the stirrings of your heart.

I know that we live on physical planet and  have to live so sometimes you need to take a job “just for the money.” I know I certainly have. Just make sure that you don’t only take only jobs just for the money.

 

"If you say money is the most important you'll be spending you life completely wasting your life. Doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living that is go on doing things you don't like doing which is stupid."

Alan Watts

Do YOU like what you're doing? If not, this video is just for you.

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Going Lean in Everyday Life (Or How to Write a Blog Post in 10 Minutes)

I’m a creative type. There I said it. If you know anything about this type you know that they love to be left alone for long hours huddled in their creative den, perfectly their art whether it be a painting, website or in my case–writing. Like the stereotype often goes–my work area can become super messy and even though it bugs me I just dive deeper into my work. Lately my work has been off the charts busy with a full-time client and two part-time ones. Pretty sure that doesn’t equal a balanced life. But it does equal a messy house, a neglected personal blog and too many thing too do.

I am ready to try new things–not because a big number ticked over a few weeks ago but because I have been trying to do things different since I got sick this past summer. This sickness was an indication that the way I was doing things just wasn’t working and since I’m not insane that meant that I needed to do things a different way.

So, for the past few weeks I’ve been trying something a bit different. Rather than allocating a full day to a project like I’d like to I am now getting work in very small micro bursts. I’ve started with 10 minutes on a timer for each iteration. 10 minutes to clean off my desk. 10 minutes to plow through my email. I even did it for this blog post. I didn't futz over it or spend hours trying to get the perfect phrasing. I published. a.k.a. Committing or Shipping in the tech world. I largely think it worked.  (Though I did add 5 minutes for the actual posting because wordpress can be a rascal sometimes) Sometimes I need to add another 10 minutes because I’ve gotten into the task and I want to get just a bit more done. I did this last night. I cleaned off my desk (which meant sorting my bills and receipts and other nonsense) and then in the last 3 minutes of the second iteration I paid off 3 bills and took care of another billing issue. I went to bed feeling quite pleased. I got the inspiration from the world of lean startups and small iterations and my mom who has done a similar approach which she probably got from a woman's magazine.

What I love about my lean approach

1) Feels very doable

2) I get something done which is better than nothing

3) I get very focused on the task at hand

4) I feel good about it so I inch up a few notches on happiness meter.

Now certainly everything may not fit into this lean approach and that quality doesn't matter because it does and there are times I will certainly want to luxuriate in a project. That said, so far it's really helping me to stay focused and get an enormous amount done especially in things I dread because I don't think I have time. Wondering how you might be able to put this concept into your life and what you discover.

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The Year of Love

Last night a big number rolled over in the calendar. As the new year started I found myself sitting on my couch starting to have a pity party for one. Then I remembered that being alone on this day was actually my choice. I was offered a plane ticket to New York for New Years. New *freaking* York! But I made a choice. I decided to spend New Year's Eve at home in favor of a trip out a bit later when it coincided with a work event. Though it's much more cool to be in New York when the ball drops I made a choice that supports me for the longer term. Um, does this mean I've finally reached adulthood?

As I sat pondering all of this I found myself doing what I'm wont to do when there's something on my brain. Turning over word combinations in my head I decided to write. Although most of what I write never reaches anyone else's eyes I thought I'd share it with the hopes that maybe you'll relate to it. I'm not going to pretend that I have something novel to say about the new year. It's just really me talking to myself as the appointed 2013 hour arrived.

—————

Dear Suz,

Remember a new year started–not a completely new life. Sure, you can go ahead and make those resolutions to run climb another 14er and save 20% of your income. In addition do something that’s really powerful. Something that will power everything else in your life.

Let this be the 365 days that you really love yourself. Love yourself enough to:

Take small, reachable steps rather than HUGE leaps.

Let go of stress of any form.

Save more than you think you need. This will give you more options and freedom.

Appreciate every scar, crease in your face and every single failure. This means you're really living.

Be kind to yourself.

Allow yourself to be upset from time to time.

Just be upset. Don’t get upset about being upset.

Not worry about that other shoe. It's dropped many times and you're still here.

Be willing to face others disapproval, especially when it means you earn your own.

Remember to stand strong for what you want.

Cook more often. Despite what your first boyfriend said–your food is edible.

Smile more often. It really does make things easier.

Not worry about those little rolls of flesh that pop out over the top of your pants.

Focus on what you have in your life. Practice being grateful every day.

Be unabashedly you.

Be open to love from wherever it comes.

And most of all remember this. You don't have to all of these at one time. Just do one little thing each day that brings you more love and happiness.

Love,
me

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