"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Raging Hose-beast of Christmas Present

For those who know me personally or who have read this blog, you will know I absolutely preach self care. I cannot stress the importance enough. My husband has an incredibly demanding and time consuming job. We homeschool our children and they both veer towards an empathic nature. I have a very strong personality. The result is I tend to set the emotional tone for both my home and my family. Taking care of my emotional needs is vital for our peace and tranquility.

But as you all know, Christmas is upon us. This year is a bit more fraught with stress for us. My husband is flat out getting his butt handed to him at his job.  He is amazing but the work level is astronomical and he is struggling to not drown. Another addition is my new part time job. It is greatly beneficial to our lives but it also adds just one more thing.

Let's cut to the chase. I have not been eating well. I have skipped far too many yoga practices, meditation sessions, and I need to go for a run so badly I might just take off in my house shoes here in any minute. I woke up this morning with my mind racing and physically shaking. It is just not good at all.

Now I could muddle through and hope for the best. I guess I could also start day drinking. But let me be honest with you, if you lose your mind this time of year in order to make perfect memories for you family then you are most likely perpetrating an epic fail. There is a very good chance your children's memories won't be of a perfect Christmas. Nope, they will probably have precious and endearing memories of mom turning into a hellacious bitch and holidays as something everyone just tried to make it through as unscathed as possible. Probably not the warm remembrances we were going for, right?

So what to do, what to do....

You grab your over-committed, unrealistic expectations by the horns and your wrestle it into submission. But in a loving, peaceful, and zen way, of course.

Seriously though, this is what I do anytime I whirl out of control like this. First STOP. Just stop. Close your eyes and breathe. Take five minutes to meditate. I promise, you really do have five minutes. Clear your mind and then gentle seek to get to the route of your problem. Mine are lack of self care and unrealistic expectations.

We are referring back to the oxygen mask here. You put your oxygen mask on and then your children's and anyone else you claim responsibility. Oh, and remember most people are simply not your responsibility. So I take care of my needs first in this instance.

I need to clear my brain and have a tranquil environment. I grab a piece of paper and brain dump everything I "think" I need to do. Then I clean my home to what makes me happy. For me it is a clean kitchen and clutter picked up. I light candles and turn on chant music of some kind. I have read many articles about chants raising your vibrations. I am not sure how it works but for me it works.

The first thing apparent, normally, is I am not eating well, doing yoga and mediation practice, or working out especially running. It really is funny the things I know with every fiber of my being I need to stay centered and in harmony are the first thing I chuck away. These are the first thing I change back. For me this means probably no junk for Christmas. Yes, I am a total sugar junkie and those seasonal treats are amazing but honestly, sanity and balance feels better than any of them taste. I will flat out cancel other things to run and do yoga. Remember, this is your foundation and it is of the utmost importance.

Once these things are back in alignment it is easy to see what else needs to go. Go over that list of things you are convince you MUST do. None of us like to shirk our commitments but sometimes we must summon up our humility and admit, "I am sorry but I committed to more than I can do at this time." Sometimes it means dropping commitments. Sometimes it means buying something rather than homemade. The truth is those people who love us and really want the best for us will understand even if they are disappointed. If they don't, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate that particular relationship, family or not.

It is so easy to get carried away this time of year. It is so easy to run ourselves ragged. Is it any wonder people fall sick right after the holidays? We refuse to care for ourselves and compromise our immune systems. It just isn't worth it to me.

So today, I am streamlining everything. I am eating well. I have scheduled yoga for this afternoon. I have scheduled a run for tomorrow and a couple of days next week. Those particular appointments with myself are sacrosanct. Only a true emergency will pull me away and nothing involving cookies is an emergency.

I encourage to not lose your focus at this time of year or any time of year. You are not nearly as effective as you think when you do. Simplify and do what is the most important to you and your family and our memories and experiences will be so much the better for it.

May peace and harmony find you my friends and may the warmth and blessings of the holidays be upon you.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Exceeding My Limitations: My Birthday Present To Myself

This year my birthday present is a family lesson and a day of climbing at the local indoor climbing gym. This isn't a surprise to anyone who knows me. I have wanted to do this for some time now. It is a logical adventure for us to embark on at this point. However, it recently became even more important to me.

This past summer I developed vertigo. After a rather large scare and a slew of medical tests, it seems to be the type some women simply develop in their 40's. At first it really affected my life. It was hard to get around and it hit hard. Time has eased the worst of the symptoms and attacks but it has become a permanent resident of my life. It is mine to learn from and deal with each day. Yoga was difficult until I learned to just stop, focus, and let it past. Although it will sometimes still bring me to my knees, over all it isn't too much of a burden.

Until Thanksgiving Weekend at the Trout Lodge.

We love getting away for that weekend and jumping head long into outdoor adventures. We hike, explore, and generally ramble. My daughter went on her first two solo trail rides. She was so proud to sit up there holding the reins of our horse. She was, as she terms it, just so nervacited. I love that girl.

Actually, it was a long weekend of firsts. Logan tried archery for the first time. I tried it for the first time since middle school and discovered I am pretty damn good at it. So that's a new passion to explore. It was also our first time at climbing Pines Beak. It is a 35 foot climbing wall. Both the kids and John did amazingly well. I am mesmerized by the spirit of adventure my children embody. Seriously, it is wonderful to behold their courage and taste to try new things. Well, except food. My husband is a beautiful beast of a man, so no surprise there.

My story was different. I jumped into it ready to go. It is so hard but I was determined. But sometimes determination just isn't enough in a given situation. I barely made it two-thirds of the way up when my new nemesis struck me. Vertigo hit. The world spun while I was over 20 feet in the air. I immediately rappelled down. I was very disappointed first in myself and second in the new normal of my life. It pretty much sucked.

I have thought long and hard in that moment when I gave up. I know now I could have done a few things to hold it at bay or allow it to ease off again. I could have just stayed immobile right there and gave it time to pass. The truth is there was a line waiting to go and I did not feel I had the freedom to employ this. Well, I didn't really think. I reacted. Also, it was really a one try thing. One bite of the apple and then you are done. My limitations defeated me....for that moment.

Because you see, I am not going to be defeated. I am not going to allow vertigo to define my life. It will not decide my limitations. I am going to decide that for myself. I am going to do this again. I have designed a situation set up to help me succeed. We will have a two hour class. I will tell the instructor straight away my challenge so that person will know I may just need to hang out for a few minutes. I will have all day to try and try again. I want to do it once. I want my children to see me doing my level best to overcome this issue. Maybe I will do it again. Maybe I won't. That doesn't really matter. What matters is I have the determination, the focus, and the grit to give my all to reach this goal. Even if I don't, I will know I gave it may all. Isn't that what truly matters in the end?

Exceed your limitations my friends. Do not allow them to define you. Define yourself each and every day.