There’s Peace in Process

I’ve held back on this post since typing up it’s title in June. Back then I had this overwhelming need to write about surrender and acceptance, presence and patience. I felt like I was just on the brink of reaching it. Just.

I’ve held back on this post since typing up it’s title in June. Back then I had this overwhelming need to write about surrender and acceptance, presence and patience. I felt like I was just on the brink of reaching it. Just.

See I returned home to the lovely Apple-Isle of Tasmania at the end of 2011 after spending seven glorious years in sunny Queensland. I was convinced that I’d be here ‘just for a little while’ until my husband finished out his fly-in-fly-out contract. I was sure his work would return us interstate in a year or so. While it wasn’t my first choice to come back home I resided to the fact that I should settle-in to enjoy being closer to family and old friends and discover a new romance with Tassie’s well known unique island lifestyle.

I hated it.

For a long time. In fact there were probably two whole years I spent completely absorbed by a mindset that had me pointing out everything I didn’t like about my location and circumstance. I struggled through the darkness and freezing temperatures of winter. My job wasn’t giving me the kicks I needed to feel progressive in my career and I felt a complete disconnect from mainland Australia the rest of the world. And without detailing too much of my inner Negative-Nancy’s stories let’s just say in a nutshell Tassie’s lifestyle is typical of that in most regional areas  – it’s just not for me.

Naturally my mental state took a battering in this frame of mind. Nancy crept into any space I’d let her. I saw very little good, every bit of the bad and spotted the ugly (and unfortunate) a mile away. I have to say, while my friends are reluctant to, I know this attitude turned me into a real drag to be around. Who wants to go out with a chic who’s all about telling you how crap the town is that you choose to live in? Yep, draaag.

I knew it was happening. I could feel my good vibes and optimistic outlook on life flying out the frosted door. But my wish and will for things to change was so strong and no match for a few self-help books and positive inspiration feeds I grappled with.

All because it wasn’t perfect. The situation wasn’t my ideal. And ultimately, what I wanted wasn’t happening when I wanted it to. Tutt, tutt, tutt.

In the moments we feel like we’re at battle with ourselves and our lives I think it’s pretty hard to do what we know is right and ‘trust the process’. And in my experience most people choose to mutter these words only when there’s a positive opportunity in the mix. Rarely are they spoken when you’re in a completely screwed up situation e.g. after the four hour drive to Falls Festival you realize you left your ticket at home (true story!), not cool and pretty hard to see why ‘trust’ in that process would benefit you.

So yes, it’s harder than it sounds but evidently it can work out. It does work out.

When I drafted this post back in June I’d surrendered to trusting in the process. It’s all I had left. I’d spent so much energy on wishing and willing things to happen a certain way that my ‘wishing’ well was at an all time low – I was tired.

But with fatigue came surrender. Surrender grew acceptance and acceptance let me just be. And just being (in it’s simplest form) is the most blissful state I can be in regardless of it’s geographic location.

Surrender started small. Rather than resent all the big things that triggered my Negative-Nancy attitude I focused on the act itself. I opted out of criticizing the limited night-life options that drove me crazy and focused on the opportunity of actually having a girls night instead. I was after all lucky I to have my good girlfriends around me. Gratitude grew. And rather than curse the cold weather, I treasure-hunted hearty and healthy recipes, learnt to light a fire and devoured Pinterest for winter outfit inspiration.

They were small (but deliberate) changes in my focus and kept me exactly where I needed to be and discover what I needed to learn: presence and patience.

Then, it happened.

Last Thursday, my husband greeted me at the door with words I’d been waiting so long to hear: ‘We’re all on for Newcastle.’

In seconds after he gave me the news I wish I could tell you that that I had a cathartic outpouring of relief, excitement and gratitude for what was now finally happening. There was no such moment.

And a quote comes to mind:

“Peace is in the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”

Wayne W. Dwyer

And that’s the only explanation I have for my reaction; I’m at peace with the process.

I truly believe that when you totally accept your moment in time, when you unashamedly learn the lesson and give complete acknowledgement to the feeling – effortlessly – things will start to make sense. Life will seem to fit and striving will stop.

Like I said – it’s harder than it sounds – but if you’re beating yourself about because things aren’t flowing and life just isn’t panning out as planned do the thing that you’re most fearful of: surrender. Trust the process, see the simple and let the Universe catch you the way it’s meant to.

Images: BustBright, Wokisnotajob.com, Best Quotations 4 UCoffeeinthemountains.tumbler.comJoyreactor.com, alohatides

How to tame Rushing Woman’s Syndrome

It’s that big exhale you take after sitting yourself at the steering wheel. It’s the pressure that builds when you count how many minutes you’ve got left until you need to run out the door. It’s the gradual tension that builds in your neck… in that same hard-to-reach spot. That’s your energy levels talking – and it’s not saying nice stuff.

For me, my energy (vibes, feelings, mojo; call it how ever you feel it) is a very, very important indicator of my health. As a general rule I think about my overall health in terms of a transaction – energy in, energy out. Whether it’s food, movement, social gatherings, housework, work-work or just quiet moments to myself. All are moments in time that either replenish or diminish my energy levels. The key I’ve found to managing my overall health and wellbeing is committing to an awareness of my body’s energy and honouring what it needs. Admittedly I get the ‘honouring’ part mixed up a bit.

I don’t think I need a scientific statement here to say that as women, we tend to be in a rush to do everything and be everything to all people. And when we rush we tend to get less connected to the way we feel and more connected to what we’re chasing. Or rather, the perceived need that we must chase at all.

In a bookmark worthy article over at The Whole Daily, Dr Libby Weaver author of Rushing Woman’s Syndrome (and one of Australasia’s leading nutrition specialists and weight loss experts) put what I’ve been trying to grapple with about my energy levels for years into a nice and simple, here’s-why-this-really-happens, tidy little sentence:

“Not that long ago in human history women were given the opportunity to do what had traditionally been their father’s jobs, while maintaining what were traditionally their mother’s responsibilities and what has unfolded for too many women is a frantic double shift, of working day and night, with very little if any rest.”

In short – we can’t do everything yet we feel like we must. And pronto!

A Mumma’s day often transitions from work-lady to home-lady; both are jobs. So we’re wired, 24×7, to get things done as quickly as possible usually with the goal to feel ‘complete’, ‘done’ or may be even just ‘free’ to have damn rest? As Dr Weaver explains, in the evolution of her book, she had never before witnessed so many females in a rush to do everything and be all things to all people.

Enter the Rushing Woman.

In my last few weeks at work I was determined to beat this buzz. I found myself making a new revisiting the previous week’s goal every Sunday: ‘No rushing, no striving – just flow’. But in the Monday morning after the night before of washing dishes, folding laundry, bathing baby, balancing books, paying bills, phone calls from it takes-half-an-hour-to-say-‘Hi’ relatives – truthfully – I was left uninspired by my Sunday mantra.

So I ask myself: ‘What am I doing wrong?’, ‘How can I be so clear on an intention only to be over-run by an intense feeling of overwhelm and lost time?’

If you’re gelling with these scenarios (and before you fly into another session of scolding yourself for what you didn’t get done today) take a moment to think about how you’re using your Third Space.

Let’s park the idea that we should probably focus on letting go of the hellish to-do lists altogether – sometimes our list of non-negotiables fall within one day. And here’s a concept that can help any lady rushing through it.

I first stumbled across leading educator and researcher in human performance, Dr Andrew Fraser, a few years back. His work on (or more appropriately in) the Third Space featured in an article in Madison Magazine a few years back. The concept stuck with me. Here was a whole ‘nother space in time I wasn’t using!

While I’m not advocating (and I am in fact guilty of) giving into a need to set and conquer a ridiculous list of tasks each day maybe we can use the Third Space to manage the huge amount of energy this type of rushing woman syndrome? After all, as Dr Fraser points out, it’s not what we do that matters. But what we do between what we do that counts.

So here’s a couple of Third Spaces to try to help with the transition between your different roles and environment. It’s all with the intent to help you find time and space to manage that precious energy resource that is you.

Your AM Moments:

  1. The kettle or smoothie ‘stand-off’: Rather than run away after flicking the switch use this time to stop to stand still and gather your thoughts for the first part of your day ahead.
  2. The car ride to calm: No radio, no music and 6 deep breathes will help with a reset (best served up after the school drop-off). Perfect for the transition from home-lady to work-lady.
  3. Toilet Time-Out: You gotta go at some point. Use the time at the basin mirror to take in your mornings mishaps and what you don’t want to carry forward into the arvo.

Your PM Moments:

  1. Let it go lunch time: Do yourself a favor; never deny yourself a lunch break and use the walk to get it or eat it as a time to reset. The 3pm munchies will thank you.
  2. Mindfulness Mailbox: Pause just for a second before you go inside the house. Head over to the mail box and ponder your way back before making you way inside to start back at your home role.
  3. Karma charge up: More of a mindfullness reminder before bed and great lead in to a meditation. Charge your phone, charge your mind. Resist the urge to scroll over to Facebook, phone down and eyes closed with a focus on reflecting on the day, resting the mind and resetting for tomorrow.

Images: via We heart it, via Pinterest, via We heart it, lamthanh via Pinterest

Which one is right for you? Quitting versus Letting Go.

A few weeks ago, in a moment of complete peace and clarity, I quit my job.

A much needed disclaimer: this is not a post about how you should drop everything (a.k.a. quite your job), buy a ticket somewhere exotic and set-up camp to go ‘find yourself”. Stay with me for a little…

I’m now well into ‘my notice’ period and I have no regrets about finishing up at the end of the month. This is highly uncharacteristic for a self-confessed planned and calculated person control freak.

I have some loose plans around what I’d like to do next but nothing rigid. And this surprises me the most. Traditionally I’m never without a clear set of next steps, I’m always aware self-conscious of what I ‘should’ be doing and rarely will I commit to any decision until I’ve researched, pondered or given it the once over with a pro-versus-cons list. I’m that friend who is annoying to shop with because she never just buys the pair of shoes. She has to check every other store for the slight possibility that she might make the ‘wrong’ choice and miss a much better style or sale. I’m the girl who fears regret, error and waste.

So why hasn’t this all kicked in to gear after I’ve completed disregarded all of the logical reasons for staying at a good paying, semi-career developing, work-life-balance-orientated and generally all-round great job?

My conclusion? I don’t think I’ve actually quit. I’ve let go.

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And as a budding wordsmith I had to get deeper into what that meant – literally. And the dictionaries set me straight. As a round up…

To QUIT brings about words like:

stop, cease, discontinue, give-up, force and (as per my classic example) to resign.

 

To LET GO has connotations of:

permission, being released from, dismissing or escaping to be free.

 

It was the perfectionist mindset that I’d applied to all facets of my life that got me in the ‘quit’ space a few years ago. ‘If you can’t do it right perfectly why do it at all?’ was a re-occurirng  story in my head. So I attempted the resignation. Thanks to an incredibly wise, empathetic manager, mentor and friend – it wasn’t accepted. It’s crazy to think that sometimes people in our lives can see our lives so much clearer than us. What was said as ‘I can’t’, ‘You need someone better’ by me was heard as ‘she needs time to see the good’ and ‘here’s an opportunity to help someone’ by her. Incredibly, incredibly grateful.

So I worked on it. I continued with adjustments. I was in a financial and fateful position that saw me go part-time (and have a baby – yikes!). I accepted that my managers ‘great’ needed to be my ‘enough’ and not ‘you need to do more’. My husband gave every inch of his being to help me without request. I got a nice, professional lady to to ‘talk’ to me once a month. And with this help I found ways to enjoy what I was doing again, actually see good work being done and set time aside to answer an overwhelming call to explore what it really is I want to be pursuing.

This opened my eyes. My grey-glasses had been lifted and the world wasn’t so bad after all. I saw options I could never see in a down-an-out, this-is-my-lot-in-life-so-I-should-just-accept-it funk I’d got myself into. I saw possibility, I realised that a career change wasn’t something to fear or get right the first something. I accepted that the judgement of family, friends, ex-colleagues or people in my network impacted me as much as I choose to let it. I had a stupidly-simply revelation that no one, but you, actually makes rules about how you explore your life or structure it. The adjustment got me back into a space where I became.. content.

So I let go. I gave myself permission and am completely at peace that I no longer need this part of my life.

And here I am verging of being the stay-at-home-mum/studier/start-up-blogger/happiness seeker and what I have to offer is that maybe we get quitting and letting-go mixed up and misused. They each have a purpose in our life. The most important factor is that the definition sits ok with you.

To divorce or stay together? To keep studying or start working? To sell or stay? What do you need to quit and what are you ready to let go? The lesson I’m taking with me is to ask the question first. Don’t berate yourself on the answer, neither is right or wrong. Just make sure you know the difference before you do it.

 

Images: Stanley Kubrick via FlickerTalasanayoga.com