In this month’s Open Letter, I made the following claim;
Velociraptors do not respect boundaries. They actively avoid them and work skillfully to get around them. Even people with the best of intentions can step all over your boundaries. I also wrote about the many ways people can react to being asked to respect your boundaries. See: Temper Tantrum
Sometimes when someone says, “Please respect this boundary.”
I hear, “You hate me. You don’t want to be with me. You think I am terrible and awful and fugly.”
This seemed like a good time to bring back the word ‘fugly’.
It’s easy to recognize the velociraptors in others. It’s not so easy to understand why we start tapping electric fences for weakness when someone asks us for a little space.
And there will be sorrow across the lands. It is time to report to your office. Even if you LOVE your job, going from living on sugar cookies, wine and cheese while watching movies and playing with new toys can
Here are 5 things you can do right now to make this week less awful:
Make a plan. Get your planner out and review what’s coming around the bend. Take out your highlighter and block off time for lunch, breaks and the 2 times a day you’re committed to checking your email. Yes, twice. That’s all you need.
Eat well. Pack your lunch. Pack several lunches. Put snacks together for the week. No one on the planet functions well hungry. Why spend your day feeling like a cranky toddler with a case of the hangry? Plan to eat. Your body will thank you. Your coworkers will too.
Get some rest. Speaking of cranky, go to bed at a decent hour. It’s really over and staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning won’t bring your vacation back. It will just make you tired and miserable for your first day back to professional reality. Get yourself comfy and sleep like it’s your part-time gig.
Pace yourself. If you happen to be an overachiever (like me), the starting line can feel super sexy. It’s all shiny and new. The race is just riddled with endless possibilities. You can jump tall buildings in one leap or whatever. No. You can’t. You can only jump normal. You still only have 24 hours in a day and only 8 of them are for work. This is a relay not a sprint. Take it easy Jesse Owens.
Bring the magic. I’m not talking about casting spells here. I’m talking about bringing an amulet to the table. I love to take reminders of my amazing holiday with me when I’m about to step back into the hustle of
my day job. I love my Glacier National Park coffee mug. It reminds me of Lake McDonald and the mountains I woke up to behind it. Grab a little magic to take with you.
You are going to be awesome. And remember, there’s always the weekend.
PS – For more tips on #militantselfcare head on over to the Facebook group and click JOIN.
Thank you for reading my stories, thoughts and feelings. Your readership has given me the gift of confidence in my words. Your comments, likes and shares encouraged me to keep telling stories. This blog was a stepping stone in discovering the treasure that is my written words. Thank you.
My life has evolved.
You’ve seen the changes. If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you’ve seen my children grow. You’ve watched my relationships thrive, struggle, end or become more weatherproof. You’ve seen me advocate freely and build a nonprofit that is a reflection of what I would have wanted for myself as a child.
You’ve seen my snapshots.
It’s time for this blog to make a transitional move. It is time to reserve my words for publishing. There’s only so much time in a writer’s day and I’m already managing an organization that has quickly become bigger than me. I need to focus on those things that will serve my dreams for the future.
My intentions for the future are as follows;
You can expect that I will be writing and that I will be published online. You can expect that I will be published in print too. I will be working on my memoir and a few secret side projects. Outside of family and friends, you will always be the first to know when and where you can read my work. You’ll be able to find short reflections and rejections* here too. Topics will revolve around nonprofit, survivorship, #militantselfcare and every now and again, my family.
You may also be invited to attend workshops that I create based on lessons I learn along the way.
Which reminds me. There’s still time to sign up for my Militant Self-Care Workshop on December 2, 2015.
I’m getting super professional in my old age.
*rejections = things I tried to publish elsewhere but were rejected because some people are just intent on discovering me after I am dead and gone.
I arrived wearing yoga pants covered in dog hair and my slippers. The yoga studio is 2 minutes from my house and I was 2 minutes late. I was thirsty and rushed as I unclasped my watch, dropped it into my purse and headed in to select a mat. I grabbed a pink one, took a step forward and stopped. Definitely not pink today. Where’s that black yoga mat?
Yes. Black like my soul.
I’ve been having trouble getting my feet underneath me since Soulfire 2016. I’ve felt sluggish, disconnected and turned inward. Invitations are lost on me. Pajamas are all I want on my body and my bed is the only place I want to be.
I’m not depressed, I’m emptied out. My charge is depleted. I’m exhausted.
I’ve been trying to do the bare minimum with the hope that my come back is on its way.
Do you hear the upbeat music kicking in? Here it comes! It’s almost…Nope. I’m going back to bed.
I’m laying on my deeply dramatic emo black yoga mat thinking;
I’m just not feeling okay. I’m just not okay with how I’m feeling. I’m not okay with working right now. I’m not feeling quite right. Why can’t I get my mojo back? I’m not feeling okay enough to do much these days.
My thoughts distilled: I am not okay.
I usually take a week off after big time events but this week went awry. I made some commitments that I shouldn’t have and then one of my children had to stay home from school sick. A come back is not in the cards for this week.
Things are not quite where they should be in my soul.
I’m invoking a Do Over for next week that will include auto responses, critical tasks only and loads of leisure time with the people I love the best.
While gently leaning into a yoga pose and reflecting on my feelings, this is what I heard myself say. I was shocked at the lack of compassion in that voice. A voice that found its origin somewhere inside of myself.
It made me angry. Who even says that? Oh, right. Me.
In the hours leading up to the yoga class, my heart had been aching and I felt like I was going to cry. Two separate events had come careening towards me threatening two different kinds of catastrophe. Although I had managed to fix the problems, I was emotionally spent. Despite my fears of inconsolably crying on a yoga mat in a room full of people, I decided to take all of my feels to a yoga class.
I’m so glad I did. In the process of calling myself on my own bullshit, I learned a few things I thought you could benefit from too.
3 steps to disrupting your own negative inner dialogue.
Quiet your surroundings. Hear yourself speak. Had I not found some quiet time, I may not have ever heard the voice in my head telling me that I deserve to be in pain for choosing to do the work I do. I needed to be on my mat and in my breath to hear that super awful message loud and clear.
Some tips: Go on walks without your iPod. Turn off the radio in your car. Fold laundry without Netflix. Get on your mat and practice or meditate. Journal before bed.
Listen to yourself. What you say to yourself is important. That very simple phrase had the power to prevent me from asking for help or seeking compassion from those around me. If I’m constantly telling myself that I deserve to suffer, than I will suffer. The end.
Tips: When you’re approaching heartaches, obstacles, emotions, what are you saying to yourself? Are you calling yourself nasty names or telling yourself you’re unworthy? Are you saving your compassion for everyone else? Listen for patterns or reoccurring themes.
Challenge yourself. When I heard that phrase float through my mind, I nearly bolted out of my yoga pose. It was mean and unhelpful. Once I challenged it, I found it completely untrue and can now dismiss the thought if it ever comes around again.
Tips: When you hear yourself being negative, challenge the statements that you throw at yourself. Respond with the opposite sentiments. Where there is a lack of compassion, give yourself some loving kindness.
That phrase has now evolved into this one:
“With my heart work comes personal transformation but only when I am brave enough to inspect the wound.”
What will your negative inner dialogue transform into once you challenge it?
I thought I would happily dance on his grave. I had the quote all ready for this year’s calendar.
“Every step I take for survivors feels like I’m dancing on his grave.”
Jena and I lined up the shot. I was going to walk like a bad ass between some headstones in an old cemetery. The lighting was perfect and I asked Heather to use her hair and makeup artistry to make me look like I wanted to get into a fight.
Whatever that means.
It was in this moment that I realized that I am not the kind of girl that goes dancing on graves. I don’t make a habit of adding insult to injury. I love restoration, healing and connection. I wish the bad guys well in their fight against their personal demons.
Every year, the Soulfire Project brings new revelations. This is why I have decided to honor the stories of survivors through the online collaborative story telling series of Why I told again this year.
Last year, many of you shared what inspired you to disclose the sexual trauma you endured. You spread the word across every social media platform. You inspired and encouraged survivors and allies to break the silence.
Let’s do it again!
Where: Share your #WhyItold story on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
When: Midnight on October 20th until Midnight on October 21st.
How: Join me on Sunday, October 18th at 4 p.m. EST in a Google Hangout. Click here to sign up. I’ll be there with ideas, prompts and guidelines. You must be over 18 to participate.
For those of you who have never shared your story before, I’ll be there to encourage you. I’ll also likely have a glass of wine, some light snacks and a comfy place to sit. I suggest you do the same.
Can’t make it? Sign up anyway and I’ll send you some sweet info to get you started.
The Twist: I will be turning this year’s collection into an Anthology! If you’re interested in contributing something you’ve written, you can check a box during sign up and I’ll send you guidelines shortly.
I will be reflecting on why I don’t dance on graves. What will you share?
I held the question written in pretty handwriting on it’s little white card in my hand. I leaned back into my chair and thought about what the world could count on me for.
I was at a point in my life where I was overwhelmed with the work to be done in the world. That point in my life seems to have encompassed much of my twenties and all of my thirties. Darfur, orphans, refugees, cancer and sexual trauma in addition to what is now sitting on the world’s agenda. Honestly, the locations of the horrors, the oppression and the devastation just changes. It doesn’t end.
I am not being a martyr here. I’m hoping many of you can relate. If you participate in social media, you probably feel like you know too much. The images and videos flashing on your screen are disturbing but you feel some deep responsibility to bear witness. In this current moment I was struggling with what my role could or should be within other social justice movements that I support but have no active or vocal role.
What can we count on you for?
This question. Have you ever seen a video of a mobile of the solar system when it reaches a point when all of the planets align? That’s what this question began to do for me. As I kept repeating the words to myself, I found that I had made promises to the world and in order to keep them, I would have to limit my focus.
For one, I promised that I would raise three good people when I gave birth to three healthy beings. I have made promises about the care of children I serve through my foundation. I have promised a certain kind of friendship to those I am lucky enough to call friends. I have promised to be a good sister, daughter, niece and granddaughter. I have promised to be a good neighbor.
And oh, the promises I’ve made about the kind of person I want to be!
I have made a lot of promises. The world counts on me for a lot and I happily oblige. This is not grunt work for me. This is heart work. It makes me sing – even in the trenches with shit up to my ankles. I’m singing whether the songs be of sorrow or, as I called it to a friend earlier today, my own version of panic at the disco.
Deciding what the world could count on me for made it much easier for me to discern what I cannot be involved with at this time. In this season of my life, the world cannot count on me to volunteer for other nonprofits (unless it’s behind the scenes). The world will have to do without my leadership in other causes because I have chosen my soapbox and my torch to bear. The world cannot count on me to bake for the bake sale or always be the parent volunteer. I don’t bake and I am a working mother. This makes me so grateful for the parents who bake and who are there when I cannot be.
The world can count on them for that.
When you decide what the world can count on you for, you can allow others the opportunity to step it up. If you are not there to do it, someone will either get it done or decide it’s just not important enough to be a priority. That is the magic of allowing others the opportunity to rise to the occasion.
I believe that my yes must carry the same weight as my no. If I over commit, my family, team and friendships suffer. They have to tow the line, go the extra mile, do without and find ways to make the ends of my time meet their needs. It’s not fair and that expectation is not a declaration of my love for the personal relationships in my life as much as it is a side effect of my ambition.
Ambition with a dose of disregard is like a logging company in the Amazon. It will only lead to destruction.
Saying yes. The kind of yes you almost yell. Saying the kind of yes that makes you sit up late at night dreaming, get up early for meetings and show up with a mind open to learning the ropes – even if it means taking two steps backwards – is well worth saying no as many times as you need to.
When you decide what the world can count on you for and you don’t stray, you will shine. Because truly, the world has been waiting for you to bring it the way only you can.
So, friend. What can we count on you for?
PS – The question of when and how to say no has come up in the #militantselfcare Facebook group. Join the conversation here.