Monday Mantra 09.26.16

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Some days the To-Do list is too long and the squirrel in your brain is on crack so your thoughts are racing a million miles a minute and you have the attention span of goldfish.

Welcome to my Monday.

While meditating this morning, I checked the time twice and kept wondering “Jeez! How long is this going to take?!” Not exactly the best mindset for meditation. As soon as the gong sounded, my eyes flew open and I jumped up, immediately thinking of all the things that needed to get done today.

Then I sat on the couch and didn’t move for 20 minutes. I was paralyzed by all those things that needed to get done so I retreated into Facebook and Twitter and Blossom Blast.

I recently read Glennon Doyle Menton‘s book Love Warrior (actually, read is not the right word because I inhaled that book. I couldn’t put it down and read it at stoplights and in line at Costco. Go read it. Once you’re done here, that is.) and in it she takes about being overwhelmed by the things you have to do and decisions you need to make. To be fair, the decisions she talks about are MUCH bigger than my To Do list, but the lesson is still the same. You don’t have to worry about the totality of it all. Instead of focusing on the big picture and ALL THE THINGS that need to be done, just do the next right thing. Then the next one after that.

For me, that meant actually saying to myself “The next right thing is getting off the couch and taking a shower.” After my shower, it was “The next right thing is brushing your teeth and getting dressed.”

It sounds ridiculous. I know. I KNOW. And maybe you won’t have to chunk it out so precisely, but I tend to get distracted and go in 10 different directions and next thing I know, I am in my bathrobe going through pictures of Christmas 2010 to find just the right one to post on my friend’s Facebook page for their birthday.

I went about the rest of my day like that: The next right thing is to go get your tire fixed. The next right thing is to go print out the materials you need for class. The next right thing is to make lunch. And I stayed on track. And I checked things off my To Do list, including this post.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do the next right thing and make smoothie popsicles with my son.

European Vacation!

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If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know that Ben and I headed across the pond for this year’s summer vacation. What possessed me to take a ten-year-old boy to Europe for two weeks by myself? Well, as with everything in my life, there’s a story that goes with it…

When Ben was born, he was a big baby. Like over 10 pounds big. Like after the nurse called out his weight, my doctor looked over the curtain protecting me from seeing my innards and said “WHAT DID YOU EAT?!”. Like the pediatrician said “Congrats – you had a three month old!” after she examined him for the first time. Like they put him on a scale next to a set of twins and he weighed the same as both of those babies COMBINED. Like, the newborn outfit that I brought to the hospital to take him home in was bursting at the snaps. My Incredible Hulk baby.

To me, he was just my tiny little perfect baby. To everyone else, he was “Big Ben”, nicknamed so by the nurses in the hospital. It’s a nickname that has stuck, used by coaches, friends, and family, even though he isn’t quite the chunk-a-munk now. Over the last ten years, London and in particular the landmark Big Ben, has held a special place in our house. So when it came time to plan this summer’s vacation, one that would coincide with Ben’s tenth birthday, I decided ten years old was a good age to introduce him to Europe. Plus #BigBenTurns10 had a nice ring to it.

(To be fair, he had been to Europe once before. We had spent a week in the English countryside when Ben was about nine months old but that doesn’t really count. Though I will say, a jet-lagged baby is NO JOKE.)

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Once it was decided that we would be heading to London, the fun really began. For me, half the fun of going somewhere new is the planning. I love doing all the research, pinning ideas and packing lists, plotting out what to see and where to go and what to eat. You gotta have a list of must-have food items! Luckily, Ben and I are similar in that sense and we started having planning meetings in the beginning of the year.

The original plan was to spend five days in London. That’s it. But one night, Ben turned to me and said “I want to see the Eiffel Tower. Is that in London?”

No, it’s in Paris.

“Is that far?”

Well..no. It’s about a two-hour train ride.

“Can we go see it?!”

I gave it about a half-second’s thought before saying “Of course!” I figured we would add on an overnight (or 2) in Paris before heading home. So we add Paris to our planning sessions and one day Ben says “Paris is in France, right? So is Normandy. Can we go see the D-Day beaches?”

Turns out his class had been learning about the Normandy invasion and he wanted to see the actual beaches the soldiers fought on. So am I going to be the asshole parent who says “No, we are not going to visit the D-Day beaches and pay our respects?” No, I’m not. So I said “Absolutely!” and added “find day tour to Normandy” to my Summer Vacation To Do List.

With a few more days in France added to our itinerary, I reached out to a good friend who lives in the south of France to see if she and her kids wanted to join us in Paris for a couple of days. Because my friends are awesome, she suggested we come to the south of France to stay with her and spend the last days of our vacation relaxing by the beach.

Uh, yeah. I guess so. I mean..if we HAVE to.

So we added on a few more days and before we knew it, we were looking at a full two weeks in Europe – just the two of us!

Cue the anxiety sweats.

 

Mantra Monday 09.19.16

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As soon as I have a deadline, I suddenly realize that I MUST clean my entire house, paint the living room, purge every closet, rearrange all the artwork in my house, sand the patio furniture, rotate my tires and organize my giftwrap collection.

And it all has to be done before I can start actually working.

Why??

Fear.

Fear of failing, of not being good enough, of being laughed at (instead of with). Fear of being successful (“shit, what if it’s good and it’s a fluke and I can’t ever do it that well again?”), of being seen.

There’s so much that goes into perfectionism and how it actually winds up holding you back instead of propelling you up. But ultimately, it comes down to fear.

If you can’t beat fear, do it scared. But do it.

Monday Mantra 09.12.16

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There’s just something about fall, isn’t there? All the back-to-school supplies, clean notebooks and fresh pencils. It all screams NEW BEGINNINGS.

Today I woke up to a beautiful crisp morning (a rarity in these parts of Southern California this time of year) and even though it’s my first day of unemployment I was calm. You’d think my Type-A planner personality would be screaming for order and a plan. Instead, as a cool breeze floated my bedroom curtains, I thought “I can do anything I want today. And tomorrow. And the day after that.” And rather than make me anxious, IT FELT SO GOOD.

It was so freeing to realize that today is the beginning of whatever I want. I get to decide where I go next, what I do, where I dedicate my energy and time.

So I meditated, threw in a load of laundry, journaled and enjoyed a cup of coffee before meeting my best friend for a hike and lunch. Then I started toilet-training my cat. Because that’s happening.

 

Monday Mantra 09.05.16

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It can be hard, especially when things are falling apart, to trust that things are coming together in a way that is more beautiful and more grand than you could ever imagine. But that’s almost always the case.

I’m someone who likes to make a plan and frets over details and it is a challenge for me to take a deep breath and trust that everything works out exactly how it should when it should. When I feel the anxiety creeping in, I sit myself down and get quiet for a few minutes. Then I do what I do best, I make a list. I make a list of every time something bad has turned into something good and it helps me remember that the Universe definitely has my back. And I just need to trust the timing of my life.

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Every Monday, I pick a quote that resonates with me and post it as my #MondayMantra on Instagram. Follow me to be the first to see my weekly pick and all the other random stuff I share on there.

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