As I approach my 30's I feel an intense sloughing off of old beliefs and expectations. A lot of people have told me their 30's were their favorite time because they had finally let go of insecurities and pressure from the outside world. They were also young enough to not feel buckets of regret about it.
It is the Sweet Spot. For some.
When I'm feeling stressed out it's good for me to evaluate where the expectations are coming from. And on a larger scale, what is my model of the world? What do I believe HAS to happen in order for me to feel fulfilled? In the past I had quite the list:
Serve others first and forego my own comfort.
Make every action directed toward helping others.
Create businesses that help others.
Don't follow your dreams because they may not "help others."
Push down your desires because they are selfish.
Don't be a consumer.
Only support local or grow your own food.
Share your space, time and money with people who need it.
Unfortunately, this list destroyed me. I became burnt out, angry, poor, sick and unfulfilled. I used to watch movies about Saint Francis of Assisi for life inspiration. We had friends who were living on the streets, friends who didn't have food. We were trying to live in solidarity and provide a space for everyone to use at their need.
I think a lot of my frustration came when I realized after all those years of "giving" myself, money, time and energy...there was no climax, no thanks...and Johnny and I were left with the realization that we weren't set up for adult life. We had to continue trading our comfort to move forward, to buy our land. And even now, as we approach two years since buying it, we are no where closer to moving.
This isn't a pity party. Johnny and I are very good at rising to an occasion and slaying it. We literally dream and scheme every single day. But something needs to change. The tiny house we built wasn't made for the long term...and I still don't have a shower. (haha) You could say, "just move into an apartment." But that feels like a soul crusher to me. Especially since we've been trying to move out of Portland. That would keep us here longer.
On the bright side, we have begun allowing ourselves to play and adventure more. We got married as children yet we took on so much crap. We're trying to view this time of life as a re-do of our early 20's. I started Pole Dancing again, Johnny is surfing and snowboarding. I have kept my model of wanting to be of service to other people but now it is in the form of wellness coaching.
(Speaking of that! I have a retreat for women coming up in November: Blue Ocean Retreat)
Our goal, now, is to not push ourselves toward the property if it's not happening. We've sacrificed a lot of our joy over the years and I don't want to do that again. Money is always the issue, for a lot of us, and we continue to dream up ways of making more and providing more value to people in the process.
Ultimately we want to develop the property and provide a space for people to come stay, our intentions are still focused on giving and sharing with others, but at this rate it will be another 5 years. So...we're at a cross road. And we've thrown around a lot of options. No decision has been made but we are always open to taking the ideas and thoughts from others who have experiences to share.
My new model:
Pursue what brings you joy.
When you feel joy you will be more able to give to others.
You will be in a resourceful state to solve problems.
Don't let "shoulds" rule your life.
Life has a way of throwing you curve balls.
Live open minded, with and open heart and open hands.
Ride the wave. (now that I've surfed I know how intense, scary and epic this really is)
I don't always get to wild harvest the medicine I make. But when I do...it's incredible. I should also say...empowering. St. John's Wort is one of those herbs. It's known to bring light into people's lives. This is especially important for those of us who have long winters. St. John's Wort is the perfect sidekick to a diet rich in vitamin D for those dark months.
I am happy to say that my harvest and medicine making is now complete! Head over to my Store to purchase a bottle for yourself!
(but please scroll down and read the contraindications for this herb...it cannot be mixed with pharmaceuticals)
The Eclipse was one of the most comforting moments of my life thus far. If you didn't get to experience it in Totality I hope I can shed some light...or...I guess darkness on what the experience was like so we may all go into this next chapter feeling invigorated by it's occurance.
We all know that feeling. When our whole body tingles with emotion.
When we watch two people who deeply love one another commit their lives to each other.
When a baby is born.
When we hear that song.
When we we're far away from city lights, laying under an epic amount of stars.
When we re-count the beauty of someone's life after they've passed.
When we feel truly seen and known by another.
When we re-connect with our truest self.
The Eclipse brought forth these feelings. The whole sun was blocked out, darkness descended quickly and the temperature dropped. A ring, brighter than anything I have ever seen in my life, pierced the daytime darkness. Our whole group reacted with strong emotions, speechlessness and tears.
It reminded me that life is a journey of discoveries. Each year I am blown away by something new.
So many of us close ourselves off from these experiences. We don't need an Eclipse to have them in abundance. It was just one of those moments that humbles and inspires us.
In the moment of Totality, I returned to my roots. I allowed myself to be shocked, surprised, blown away. I allowed myself to cry (as if I could even hold it back) and feel that indescribable comfort. I felt as if I was transported to another world. One where all my fears and worries disappeared into that darkness. I was at full peace. Time no longer mattered, problems no longer lingered in my mind. I was wiped blank. I relinquished my control, realizing life is much more magical than our minds can comprehend. We always try to comprehend everything...and in that moment I just surrendered.
We've made leaps and bounds as humans, but we still can't stop the moon from blocking out the sun. We still can't stop ourselves from dying. But if dying is anything like the eclipse felt, then it's all okay. That was the comfort I found in Totality. And that comfort is ours if we pause and watch nature, the stars and the universe swirl around us in it's epic beauty.
Living with wonder replaces living with hate or despair.
Living with wonder humbles our running lips and leaves us speechless when no words are needed.
Living with wonder unites all people.
The Eclipse is also a sign of new beginnings. What are your intentions for the coming months and years? I want be out in nature more often, pause more frequently, practice gratitude and wonder, remembering that as long as I am pursing what I know to be true within me that everything will be okay. And ultimately, to approach life with more curiosity and less fear.
FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE: My groups reaction to the Eclipse
FYI. There is cussing in this video...because...damn...nothing was held back.
My deepest motivation is looking at the world around me with curiosity, accepting that it is mysterious to me, yet I am a part of it. And when I look at myself I realize I am just as mysterious. No one knows the inner workings of the universe, the spiritual planes, or why we experience this life. But for me, I've wanted to experience it as deeply as I can, I've wanted to know what my body and mind are capable of and experience a health and vitality that rages. I've wanted to play along with our emotional evolution and be at the forefront of psychological excellence.
Because this is what is in front of me!
We spend so much of our lives either chasing after things at the expense of ourselves or our present moments. We lie in ditches of depression and anxiety controls our minds. We are wounded, yes, but not dead.
I want to train my body and mind for resiliency. I want to heal and let go, heal and let go, heal and let go. I don't want to spend another day plagued with anxiety or fear. I don't want to feel good...I want to feel incredible.
I have this theory, that the human body and mind need discomfort in order to thrive. Something I use really often in Wellness Coaching is this idea that we have 6 Basic Human Needs that we need to fulfill. All of us will try to fulfill them in different ways and some of them are more important to us than others. The problem is, some of us fulfill them in negative ways. The road to joy and health is learning to meet these needs in positive ways.
The 6 Human Needs are:
The two I wanted to focus on today are Growth and Variety.
The reason being, Growth and Variety both require an amount of discomfort to fulfill.
Those of us who have a high need for Certainty will have a harder time stepping out into that unknown.
Every day I am able to use the 6 Human Needs to find out how I am doing. When I'm feeling down or in a place I don't like I will pull out a journal and look at all the ways I am fulfilling my needs in that moment, positive and negative.
Variety - The need for stimulus and change
For example, I might be meeting a lot of my needs but then come across Variety and realize that I've felt really bored in my life lately, my routine has been monotonous and I have been sitting way too much. Variety can be emotional variety like calling an old friend to meet up for coffee, it can be physical Variety, like taking a walk or working out, it can be a large thing like planning a vacation. If we don't fill our need for Variety with these good things then ultimately we will seek out other destructive ways, like drugs, heavy drinking...adrenaline junkie activities, etc. We HAVE to meet the first 4 needs so it's good to evaluate how you're meeting them at any given time and replace the bad habits with good versions that meet the same need. The needs for Growth and Contribution aren't met by everyone, but these are the needs that create true joy in your life.
A few activities that I enjoy for Variety:
Cold Showers/Baths and Sauna: Pushing our limits with body temperature is really good for us. So not only does it meet our need for Variety, a very primal need for variety, it benefits our immune system, increases our ability to withstand harsh temperatures, detoxes, improves circulation, etc. Taking a cold shower or bath can also shock us out of a mindset or pattern. When you're feeling anxious, circling thoughts or anger, go jump into a cold shower and see what happens. You've seen it in the movies where someone is getting angry and they dump cold water on their head, right?
Exercise: There is nothing better than getting out and moving. Whenever I've been sitting too long or start feeling anxious I get out of my house and find some way to move my body. Sometimes it's as simple as a walk. Other times it's dancing...because dancing is the best. Getting up and working out is uncomfortable...but the benefits abound.
Meeting up with a Friend: If am alone with my thoughts for too long it's nice to get out and connect with a friend, this will also meet my need for Love/Connection and possibly a lot of my other needs depending on the friend and conversation. There is discomfort when opening up to someone, but ultimately Growth comes from it.
Going on a long Trip: We all know the feeling of getting out of our day to day routine by taking a trip. This is an excellent way to bring variety into your life and have something to look forward to. I recommend having at least one big trip planned every year. We went to South Africa a few years back and were out of our comfort zone much of the time, which gave us a lot of epiphanies.
Growth - The need to learn and expand your abilities
I often see people in a funk because they aren't growing in their life.
Ways that I cultivate growth in my life:
Reading/Podcasts: I actually really enjoy combining growth and variety together by reading at a coffee shop or taking a walk while listening to a podcast. Both reading and podcasts are ways to continue learning about the subjects that will enhance your life or help you reach your goals. Ask you friends for recommendations or join a book club so you can meet some of your other needs too, like Love/Connection and Contribution.
Stretching/Strength Building/Pole Dance: Some of you may know that Pole Dancing is one of the ways I work out. In order to become better at this I have a stretching routine and strength building routine. I am able to see growth in how flexible I get, how strong I become and the difficulty of moves I can master on the Pole.
Learning How to Relate with Others and Solve Conflicts: We are pre-programed by our caretakers growing up to react certain ways. One of the ways I enjoy growing is by learning new ways of relating to others and how to handle conflict effectively. Self-improvement in general is my favorite area to see growth.
Pushing and Stretching Myself: I am constantly pushing myself past the pre-defined limits. Whether that's in reading, learning, social settings, strength building, etc. It feels good to grow in all areas and push ourselves. We thrive when we overcome obstacles we previously thought were fixed forever.
Some other thoughts on GROWTH:
We will always experience some amount of Discontent. It exists as a source of motivation to keep you growing. Same goes for Discomfort, we won't change until the discomfort of staying the same is worse than the discomfort that would come from changing. Sometimes it's time to move into a new stage of life, push past our fears and dive into a little discomfort. When people tell me they are unable to succeed in some area or that they want to change but don't know how I usually start with asking them how comfortable they are with discomfort. We NEED discomfort. Our bodies thrive with discomfort.
Metaphorically and literally, if we stay in an air-conditioned room all summer and and heated room all winter, never allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable then we will be ill prepared for life, lacking in energy, excitement and growth, and unable to achieve our goals and feel truly alive.
HOW ARE YOU PRACTICING DISCOMFORT IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW?
The importance of financial security was beat into my skull through the constant verbal concerns expressed during my upbringing. This was somewhat concerning given the fact that I had never been able to pull off good grades in school. I was stuck in an in between land, which I feel most of us inhabit, for a good portion of my life thus far. Fear drilled its way into my decision making and found a way to put up a wall. Thank God I am good at climbing because I’ve spent a lot of my time sitting on top of it and jumping from one side to the other.
The first time I jumped over it was during my only year of college. Both my parents are in dental professions and I was lured into applying for Dental Assisting school in order to have some certainty and create a stable future. I was sitting in orientation, among a crowd of women as the presenter listed off the things we would need for school. One of the things on the list was Scrubs and where to find them online. As the presenter scrolled through the online store my mind only thought about one thing; what would be the most crazy and unique patterned scrubs I could buy? About 10 minutes later, and only 20 minutes into the 2 hour presentation, I stood up and walked out. The doors opened and flooded me with fresh air and light. I took a deep breath, the kind you take when you know you’re in the right place, the kind that contains a smile in it and sometimes joyful tears. I’ve always been braver than I give myself credit for. I left the possibility of a secure job behind and continued into the unknown.
A lot of us forget to look back at ourselves as a young child, when we were most free, and see what was there. I was obsessed with dress up, wrestling, starting clubs with other kids where I was the leader, singing, dancing, posing, creating space with decorations, being creative in all ways, spending lots of time alone with my imagination, analyzing my emotions and other people (yes, I remember doing this from as early as 6 years old). But what do those things tell me about what I should do now? They tell me so many things. They tell me I wasn’t meant to be a Dental Assistant, that’s FOR SURE. They tell me that my concern has never been about money or even stability, they tell me that I enjoy leading, performing and connecting emotionally, that is my currency first and foremost, without that all the money in the world wouldn’t satisfy me.
But hey, I am also realistic, and I do need money to survive. So what are legitimate jobs for me? Well, I went on a little journey after that fateful day in Dental Assisting Orientation. I started with the Floral Design Institute. An obvious choice for my creativity and visual mind. Once I started Forest & Field (now 7 years ago!) I also got this emotional fix. I was working with couples on their weddings and getting to hear a lot of their stories as well. Sometimes I felt like I was coaching them through certain aspects of planning in a very emotional way. Unfortunately, I was in an interesting time of life where I was incredibly concerned with how every action I took affected the world. It was stifling, but I was learning. This meant that I felt guilty about floral design because it didn’t “help” the world in the epic way I desired. (more on that later)
The next road I took was toward health. For a few years I studied Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Therapy. As I’ve mentioned in my other posts, I came down with allergies for a whole year that debilitated me. Ultimately my road into health was because I wanted my life back. Although, after completing both courses I felt a little lost again. My mind has always been so creatively driven that even the thought of being a Nutritional Therapist and Herbalist triggered me back to the moment I walked out those doors at Orientation. Yet this time it was different. I was SO thankful for the knowledge because it saved me. It healed me. But I was scared to peg myself in an area that I didn’t fully feel fulfilled. The more people reached out to me for advice the more I pulled away. I haven’t shared this information with anyone but Johnny, but I feel it’s important to mention, and here’s why.
Sometimes we think we have to do something just because we said we would or we spent a lot of time or money on it. This is no way to live life. Thankfully, I think I’ve found a way to re-define it for myself so I don’t fully have to let it go.
This past year has been the most eye-opening for Johnny and I. We’ve opened ourselves up to a vulnerability and a truth that we ignored in the past. We’ve been blunt and honest about our life, our circumstances, our marriage and our direction. It’s been REALLY hard and REALLY good. We realized that some of his childhood coping mechanisms had put us into some hard places. And it’s like we both finally woke up. We spent so much time living for other people and trying to “save the world” that we lost ourselves. Sometimes it’s not about doing what is “right” or having a “servant's heart” it’s about being true to who you are and giving yourself grace and freedom. When I allowed myself that I became more healthy and able to love and give to others out of that well I dug within me. When we “try” to serve others and be compassionate it can actually steal the truth and love within us, making us resentful and ultimately thwart the vision that we were trying to accomplish in the first place.
I learned that I need to be ME. That was the best person I could be for the world. This whole year has been re-defining that using my childhood self and journey to understand what it is that I desire. Honestly, it’s really easy when you’re just open and real. Ask someone who has had a few beers what it is that they truly want, they may say something completely different than if they were sober. How can we let down our guards and be real with ourselves sans intoxication? If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled then you’re probably not embodying your truest expression of self.
In order to bring the story full circle, I’d like to share where I’m at right now. For so long I’ve dabbled in many things, it’s time I create a more direct vision. I am not tossing aside any of my training, I am just specializing. First off, I am allowing myself to love Floral Design and use it as a way to transform a space and create a feeling, like I’ve always desired. I think I got worn out on doing weddings that weren’t fulfilling me creatively and were repetitious, this year I have the opportunity to create installations and epic art while bringing the couples story and desires into their wedding. I also have found ways to meet my need to contribute through making medicine out of arrangements, donating to charities and doing flower graffiti around Portland with the leftovers.
As far as the health aspect goes, I enjoy having nutrition and herb knowledge for my own life, family and friends across the board, but I really need to focus on something specific in practice. I started getting overwhelmed by it and knew that I wasn’t in the right place. This is where I’d like to officially announce my new direction (which is always subject to change). I will be focusing on mood and emotions. This means digestion will still be a key focus due to its huge impact on emotional well being and function, but I’ll be diving into more mood specific food and herbs in order to support people while also supporting them emotionally through my Strategic Intervention Coaching. Feel free to continue asking me questions about health, but know that I am switching gears in that arena. On top of all that Johnny and I are heavily focusing on couples and marriage coaching. Healthy marriages are the backbone of a family and we are incredibly passionate about this life choice.
I know this is the right direction because it feels deeply right. It feels in line with my true self, and there is no better place to be. Fore more on being yourself check out my most recent Vlog below!
Be Wild. Be Well.
Building trust in a relationship is all about repeating and reinforcing.
If you want to build trust with your partner you can follow these steps:
1. Commit and Declare
The first thing is to just say,
“I want to build trust with you and I’m committed to that because I love and care about you.”
2. Create Heartfelt Emotion
Some couples have strayed from being emotionally vulnerable, so even the first step can be hard for them. After you say something with your words you need to create heartfelt emotion behind it. For a lot of people, especially women, PRESENCE is of utmost important, no one wants a partner who is constantly distracted and not focused on them. “PRESENCE is EMPATHY for what the other person is experiencing in this moment right now.”
Exercise: Sit across from your partner and look into each others eyes. Practice this definition of Presence. Think about your partners Positive Intent instead of seeing the things they do that hurt you, see how they might be protecting themselves from vulnerability, see them as a child that maybe didn’t get the love or attention or freedom they needed. Marriage is a place where we can grow and be pushed beyond our boundaries, practicing true presence with our partner is seeing the positive intent inside them and also the hurt that they have gone through. It is empathy for the other person. While looking into their eyes flood yourself with thoughts of gratitude and dedication to the other person. Practice this everyday.
Your wife is nagging you all the time. Positive Intent: "she is scared that you don't care about her"
You husband is unable to emotionally connect with you. Positive Intent: "he is protecting himself, making sure he is safe."
In both these situations if the other partner understands the Positive Intent behind the actions they can better love their spouse and build trust. Our positive intents were formed as survival mechanisms. We learned that we would only get love from our parents when we cried and complained, or we were put down when we tried to be emotionally vulnerable and so we stopped in order to protect our self,
A Positive Intent doesn't mean the person should go on acting like it, it means they should understand where there actions are stemming from and realize there is a positive intent behind them, something that they've used that is no longer helpful. After the realization it is time to make a change.
3. Share, Listen, Learn
-Every time partners communicate it can be seen as either a comment or request.
-Are they just commenting about something or are they asking something from you.
-Practice listening and responding to your partner so you can learn new things about them and meet their need to connect and build trust with you. Allow them to speak truth, even when it’s painful for you to hear, that safe space is where trust is truly built.
4. Align Vision
After completing steps 1-3 you should come to a place where you are aligned with your partner on what you spoke about. This is when you align your visions and confirm what you both desire.
5. Act of Love
Seal the conversation with an act of love. This can be as simple as a hug and kiss or more extravagant, like a date night. If you can’t end the conversation with an act of love then more trust building needs to happen. You may go back in steps and keep working on 1-3 before moving to 4 & 5.
FOR MORE TIPS CHECK OUT MY NEWEST VLOG BELOW.
"HOW TO BEST LOVE YOUR PARTNER"
I've always desired to be more encouraging, more uplifting to the people around me. It's not that I don't think people are great...it's just that I tend to keep those thoughts in my head.
I am so drawn to emotionally connecting with people but have had to work hard at overcoming my adversion to true emotional vulnerability. It can tend to seem like the character quality we desire the most in ourselves is the hardest one for us to cultivate. But it can be done through repetition!
What is the quality that you want to develop in yourself?
For the next week I am going to compliment or uplift every person I come in contact with.
My hope is that it will become habit.
Join me in practicing your desired quality every day for the next week.
I will check in next Wednesday with my stories. I hope to hear some of yours!
Be Wild. Be Well.
After perusing the cluttered newsfeed of Facebook, I often regret the time spent. I find a lot of news to be discouraging and just plain sad. I also find some personal news unnecessary, although it is my choice to follow people and scroll down through the endless posts that we put out into the world, memorialized for all time on a server in the middle of a desert, or who knows where. This is not an attempt at being cynical, I’ve lived that life already and it’s not rewarding. This is actually the opposite. The other day I came across a video that actually sparked something deep in me. Because of my past dance with negativity I have to be very careful about what I watch with my eyes and hear with my ears. I’d rather be FOR something than AGAINST something. Of course I am against things...but I’ve learned it’s better to focus on what I can do about an issue instead of wallowing in sadness or fear.
We’re all on the same journey. From birth to death. That journey can look completely different, but it’s something we all share. Some of us grip tighter to our lives than others. Some of us even get to the point where we will take our own life rather than living it out. So, back to the video I watched: it was about a girl, 19 years of age, who was terminal. Her life expectancy was mid-twenties and she spends her time living the short life she has been given with everything she has. Because she does not fear death she is living her life, albeit short, to the fullest. It’s weird, because some of us spend so much our time consumed with worry, working too much and zoned out, that we forget about our true life.
“Live everyday like it’s your last.” I have heard this quote a hundred times over but never truly dissected it. For the terminal young girl this is more pertinent because she knows the amount of sand in her timer, for us, it gets a little more complicated to live like this. Some of us might have a shorter life expectancy than her but we wouldn’t know it. Some of us will live to be 100 years old. So how do you live everyday like it’s your last while still living in preparation for the future in case you get there. That is the true test. I believe it’s a balance of preparation and celebration. Preparation is key because we should have goals and dreams we are working toward, the key is creating a journey that is worth living too. Celebration is living in the moment. It reminds us to be thankful for the people and the moments in our life.
This is my next goal. To celebrate daily and prepare daily. Looking ahead can be exciting, but if we only look ahead at the expense of our NOW then we may be disappointed when the future doesn’t turn out like we thought or we don’t make it there. On a similar note, if we always living in the past full of regret we will also lose out on our present moments. Let the past teach you things but don’t let it control you. A new tactic that Johnny and I have been trying out is weekly or monthly “resets”. Whenever we get stressed out or overwhelmed by our current situation we wake up the next morning and act as if this was the first day of our life. Our home, our bank account, our friendships, our hardships, everything is looked at as a new life that we are blessed and challenged by. We have the tendency to live in our past mistakes and our future goals all too often, this recenters us. It’s like taking the little Google Maps yellow man and dropping him down somewhere random. We wake up and say, “this is the life we have in front of us, today is the first day, how are we going to life it well given what we have in front of us?”
We are not promised tomorrow. How can we live FOR things instead of always AGAINST? How can we create daily CELEBRATIONS? How can we continue to PREPARE for our future without being fully consumed by it? And how can we GROW from our past experiences and live NEW days? We are here to live, grow, connect, create and someday die. It’s the journey of life. How we walk that path is up to us.
If I were to design my own life, which I am able to do, albeit slowly sometimes, what would I do? When we feel depressed, lost and exhausted it means it’s time to re-center, re-define our visions so we can get back on that path, the one we really care about.
My dream life combines meaningful work with leisure and adventure. It’s the life I showcase online. The life where I create meaningful experiences for people as my work. The life where I know the land and I explore the natural world, foraging and connecting. It’s a life full of community and full of the beautiful lonely moments. It’s about learning, growing and teaching. It’s about knowing myself so I may love myself and others with my full capacity. It’s not about obligations, it’s about what we know is true in us and living that out.
I know that some of you reading this are stuck in obligations as we speak. Write about how you would design your life. What is important to you? Who do you desire to be? Who inspires you?
Try and remember yourself as a child. What was important to you? What made you come alive? What have you always known to be true? Reconnect with that part of yourself.
Bring to mind the moments in your life where you felt truly alive and aligned with who you desire to be. Close your eyes. Pull each moment into your chest with your hand. Breathe deeply. Grab one memory, pull it in. Grab another memory, pull it in.
Now bring to mind moments and memories from the future where you will feel truly alive and aligned with who you desire to be. Imagine these memories from the future and pull them into your chest. Imagine another and another and another. Pull them into your chest. Breathe deeply.
Everyday I get closer and closer to this being a daily reality. Many things have stepped in the way, as they do, and in those times we must be even more rigorous about self-care and keeping our eyes set on our visions. These small exercises can re-center us when we’re feeling lost.
Remember Yourself. You will find a way if you seek it. Don’t lose heart.
Be Wild. Be Well.
"Oh what good is it to live
With nothing left to give
Forgive but not forget
Not loving all you see."
I came home, doused in the conversations and obligations that others unintentionally put on me, ready to retreat. I am a cave dwelling human. I am one who draws inspiration from images, music and the lonely moments. Loneliness for me is not lonely. My ideal day would be 8 hours alone, 4 hours with Johnny and 1 hour with people. I put every little ounce of myself into carrying out conversations. I've always been hyper aware of the emotions that float invisibly between people conversing. I see beneath things, above words and around the shields people put up. I am best when I am one on one, or leading a group. Trying to maneuver within a group is when I am most uncomfortable and when I become most exhausted.
This is why I call myself the Queen of Self Care. When I was younger I did this naturally. I poured heavily into myself. I took care of my mental health and later on my physical body. I didn't think much of it, not until recently. I spent the first 6 years of my marriage doing the opposite. Trying to take care of people, be around people and lay down my desires. This created sickness within me, as these things do. This last year I have re-invigorated Bailey.
Write your name down: BAILEY. What does your name evoke in you? Who are you? What do you love? Forget everything you've learned. Forget all the expectations. Who is Bailey? (insert your name)
A lot of this re-emerged after my first 45 hour work week. I took a holiday job so Johnny and I can continue to pay our mortgage without dipping into savings. My winter season is always slow so it seemed like a good idea. As this week came to a close I had a plethora of emotions. I've mentioned how many hours I worked to a lot of people who seemed to think this was normal. I started to think...maybe I'm being weak? I had to remind myself that 45 hours of doing something that I love, something that has meaning to me and invigorates me would be so much different than 45 hours of working for someone else doing things that have no relation to my life besides bringing in a little bit of money.
I know that a lot of us have no choice...or at least it would take us a while to work toward something else, but I can't help but think we've created a culture that sucks the life out of us. This last week I woke and left for work while it was dark. Then there was the 9 hours in a corner with no window starting at a screen. By the time I got home, it was dark again.
This breeds insanity.
I know so many people do it.
I came home exhausted, unable to even do the things I loved in my last hours of the day, unable to cook a great meal, unable to clean. For me this isn't just the "work" it's my introverted nature being bombarded for 9 hours of my day while working. I gave myself some grace instead of feeling like I was weak. I honestly don't think it is good for anyone to work like this. As humans we are meant to have a certain amount of freedom, expression, natural light, movement, fresh air and taking part in things that make us come alive. The common workplace does not breed this.
So how could we support the 40+ hour workers? It got me thinking...what if I worked with corporations and businesses to create better working environments? My Wellness Coaching (as I call it) could be used so well in these situations. I've decided that for the next month I will work this job as an experiment, as a way of understand others, gaining empathy and dreaming up ideas for the common worker. The business I am working for already has a few things in place, like morning and afternoon stretching as a group. I love that!
I'm taking my introverted little self on another adventure into discomfort to discover more, create more, do more. I will post a part two after the month is over. In the meantime, take care of yourselves! It's the best thing you can do.
Bailey Patrice & Jonathan David