Transitions: They are backseat passengers, not drivers

NOTE: This post is all about transition and how bumpy they can be. All the transitions in my life meant this original post did not get posted as scheduled, so I am taking the liberty of doubling up here! Today’s post covers both parenting/education and thoughts on life’s purpose. Part of managing transitions is acceptance, and I’ve accepted I was over-scheduled last week. Stay with me for a longer than usual post, please, and I hope you find a little acceptance and grace with whatever transitions you face!

Phew - we got kids off out the door, off to school, off to college.

Now what?

In the schools I taught in, we took deliberate care to work through the first six weeks of school slowly - building community, learning routines, getting to know each other. The transition can be hard. It's uneven in the classroom, and it's bumpy at home.

Be aware of this universal fact about transitions. Know that once the kids are out the door, there is new work to be done and moving through this transition with acceptance and compassion (for others AND yourself) is key to getting this transition to smooth out into new routines.

Read More
Come Away with Us!

Have you heard about this incredible retreat for curious and creative women that’s one year away?.  It seems to like a long way away, but in 365 days, we'll be gathering in the historic Kilkea Castle in Ireland. 

Will you be with us?

Our friends at Old Sod Travel have designed a luxurious yet, down to earth trip. This is the kind of trip where you'll have nothing to worry about because you'll be transported back in time to a 12-century castle, restored to modern charm and convenience.

  • You'll be fed healthy and delicious meals.

  • You'll have time to connect with other women or find a quiet space indoors or out where you can reflect and do as you please.

  • You'll be able to participate in activities on the grounds that range from spa visits to hikes to historic walks.

  • You'll be able to participate in group coaching, art workshops, yoga, and mindfulness sessions.

  • And oh yes, you'll get to enjoy authentic Irish music and pub life.

You'll get to pick and choose what you want to do for five whole days in a most bucolic and pristine setting. 

Read More
What DO You Do?

As we roll into the waning days of summer, I am struck by the passage of time. I've been thinking a lot of the past many years, especially since we just had our adult kids and their significant others here for a bit. The heavy lifting and merry-go-round of parenting are in the rearview mirror. But there is still so much to do.

I think about the craziness of summer and savor those invitations to join other parents poolside or on walks with their little ones, as they submerge underwater for hours on end or find new bugs to marvel at outdoors. I know when I was the parent, it was not as present as I would be if I had to do it all over again. I couldn't be - that merry-go-round was about to toss me off and I was holding on for dear life.

In my 25-year journey as a parent, teacher, teacher of teachers, and adults, I've learned ways to embrace the chaos and find moments of calm. As the founder of Grounded 2 Grow, I echo the sentiment in a recent Psychology Today article titled "Mothers are Drowning in Stress." I know with support and accountability, individuals can connect, curate, and commit to both caring for themselves and others.

Over the years, I developed superpowers (okay, real strategies and tactics, but superpowers sound much more FUN!) to hold on and enjoy the ride.

I am a master at finding calm amid the chaos, and I can help you do the same.

Read More
lisa wellsComment
Progress, Not Perfection

Plastic Free July 

Did you hear about this movement? Did you try to eliminate single-use plastic last month? Plastic Free July seemed to be all the rage as we rolled into summer. Like so many things, I thought this would be an easy thing to do. I consider myself pretty enlightened on this topic and pretty aware of reusing as much as I can.

  • I carry my reusable bags, 

  • I tote my bamboo silverware.

  • I carry a wondrous glass straw and a collection of stainless ones.

  • I recycle and repurpose boxes and containers as best I can.

I figured I could DEFINITELY go all month without single-use plastic.

As the first week unfolded, I realized there are so many times single-use plastic makes its way into my life. It’s more than refusing the bag or the straw.  The plastic tabs on food containers, plastic tags on clothes, plant and garden containers.  Some of the are harder to avoid, but eliminating the obvious ones simply meant keeping reusable water bottles, utensils and shopping bags handy was easy-peasy. I definitley did not nail plastic free July, but I made progress.

Read More
What Brings You Joy?

“What brings you joy?”

Last winter, I asked a client this question.

She responded with a self-conscious giggle and said, "Gosh, that IS a good question!"

She had been so busy raising three smart and beautiful children who are now grown and flown. She's a devoted and loyal employee and gracious wife. Along the way, she had forgotten what brought joy to her life, and she was going through the motions, slightly numb and uncertain about what she wanted next.

Fast-forward to June, and she's got a few new hobbies and new habits that bring her joy. The frustrations of work bead up and roll away like rain on a freshly waxed car. She sees them bubble up, but she doesn't let them seep in.

Read More
When the To-Do List Doesn't Get Done - It's a Sign to Slow Down

Summer is unofficially, officially begun here where I live. Yes, it’s not even Memorial Day. But this is Commissioning Week at the US Naval Academy, and along with 9000 family and friends who come to town to watch these midshipmen graduate and receive their military commissions, we all play hooky on Tuesday and/or Wednesday to watch the Blue Angels. THIS is the start of summer.

It’s the transition to summer, really, as we all do our best to stay invested in school in the final weeks, wrap up sports schedules and attend concerts, celebrations, and performances. We’re half in for summer and half in to finish the year strong. Which sort of feels like double dipping, multiplying items on our to-do list (do I need three graduation cards this weekend or four?) and chugging along to the next mile marker.

Do you ever chug along to get to the next stop and then get distracted, wondering, “What on earth am I doing?”

We plan, and we do, and we give. We’re usually moving at such a rapid clip that we can’t find the space to consider what we are doing, let alone what we want to be doing.

I know what I need and desire to be doing each week, I make it a point to plan to get most of these things scheduled, arranged, and completed. I know it’s really an “ideal” and that keeping it all in balance is a fallacy. It’s utter crap that any of us achieve a perfect balance.

Read More
Sunshine On My Shoulders, Makes Me Happy

I love, love, love sunshine on my shoulders. Or my feet. Or my face. Anywhere.

But often what we love too much, becomes - or is - harmful.

I’m often on my soap box about sunscreen. Mostly because I’ve had horrendous habits over the years and it’s only in my 50s that I’e started behaving like an adult, at least as far as being in the sun goes.

  • Last spring, I bought a hat. That’s huge for me. I don’t like hats, but they cover parts of your head and neck that are easily missed by sunscreen.

  • I wear SPF 20 on my face as a minimum every single day.

  • I own several shirts with SPF in the fabric.

  • I ditched all my expired sunscreens (after getting burned, literally!) and now we all have mineral sunscreen with a high percentage of zinc.

Read More
May Madness and External Accountability

Forget March Madness, we’re onto May Madness

It seems every parent I bump into or read their social media post has their heads, calendars, and lives full!  In the classroom, spring has sprung, kids have grown, testing is likely underway, and there is so much to do both to wrap up this year and begin setting up a solid start to the new year.  On top of all that, there are spring sports and dance recitals, end of the year showcases, concert, first communions, graduations. 

In Annapolis, we see all sorts of new-is young adults around town in civilian clothes. These are the soon-to-be USNA graduates and Navy Ensigns, who are evicted from the dorm and have a wee bit of time and freedom to act like regular old 22-year-olds until Commissioning Week begins on May 19th.  The underclass men and women breath a little sigh of relief but soon move off to summer blocks at sea, in trainings, or possibly even getting to go home and be a civlian for a short period of time. Commissioning Week is the blessed and unoffial start of summer here.

Read More
Can I Hold Space So You Can Let Go?

I posted something short earlier this week on my Facebook page about this article “For the Women Who Hold Too Much.”

I think most of us can relate to feeling that sense of overwhelm when - or if - we stop to pause and explore all the feelings.

“…About lugging the weight of our worlds until our backs are bent until we can’t even see our own palms, our own wants, and needs?”

We, middle-aged females, tend to hold so much for others - literally, metaphorically, energetically. It's hard to set things down or dare I say, not even pick them up?

Often it’s because our roles demand that we pick up things - like our toddler’s toys or the dinner dishes. Or all the household tasks for our aging parents. Or that boss that leaves us and an endless stream of jobs.

Or because picking up and holding other people’s emotional baggage or physical work is a pattern we’ve fallen into.

Or because we do it unconsciously because we like to be in control or we see work that needs to be done.

Whatever the reason, many of us carry things and don’t even realize the weight of what we carry. Then recognizing the circumstances surrounding us and the feelings inhabiting us becomes even more elusive.

Read More
3 Ways to Come Clean

Many of us do what we can to live healthy (or -ish) lives, fulfill our goals and responsibilities and give our best to our families, communities and this earth we inhabit.  It’s not easy and it’s an evolving process as we learn and grow. As I was packing for a trip to the gulf coast of Florida to see my parents, I smiled at the towels, water bottles, sunscreen and a few reusable straws and bamboo serving utensils.  I stopped in my tracks and went, “Wowee, wow, wow!”

So much has changed, even in the past decade. And double, wowee – I feel OLD as I type this!

When my kids were little, juice boxes were just coming on the scene - along with those pesky tiny straws, wrapped in plastic. We went through tons of straws. And as I cleaned out our garage last week, I found a bin of miscellaneous plastic wear - some left over from packed lunches and USNA tailgates. I hadn’t opened that bin in years, but I clearly bought them for different events based on the rainbow of colors.

It seems as the weeks and months pass, we’re reminded and finally getting the message that plastic is really going to be the death of us.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole. But there’s no disputing that plastic is horrible for the earth and our bodies. Every time we make a choice not to use plastic, we’re doing something good. 

Read More
Planning or Present - Need at Time Out?

As March melts into April, we all want it to be spring. Mother Nature is tempting us with sunshine and longer days, but then there’s that wind, rain and chilly morning temps. With Easter and spring break coming, April will come and go in a blink and May will be knocking on the door. April was also the month I secretly prayed at night for rain so that after-school sports and games might get rained out and we’d get a bonus hour or two out of it because I knew May would be a doosey

When my kids were adolescents and I was teaching full time, I remember feeling that May was a bit conspiratorial. It gave us a glimpse of summer ease, but there is always so much packed into the last weeks of school. Concerts, plays, field trips, outdoor sports, the desire to play outside BEFORE and AFTER dinner. Toss in things like First Communions, graduations, all that spring yard work, and it is just relentless. To end the month, the US Naval Academy’s Commissioning Week means an influx of thousands of proud family and friends and lets us Annapolitans usher in summer with the Blue Angels’ flight demonstrations.

Let’s stick with April, shall we?

Read More
Your 3 MITs

Like you, I have a lot I need to get done in a day. And, perhaps like you, I also busy trying to get through the list, trying to manage all the little fires, that I just keep fighting those fires without any idea what is most important.  Those 3 MITS (most important tasks) can elude me on some days, but I’m in the habit of assessing what I need to do at the start and end each day to keep me moving toward my goals and maintaining some level of sanity.

But it’s not without effort.

What’s also common for me is to distract myself with something else, less critical. My friend Jen Louden calls them time monsters.

Read More
Girl, Clean Up Your Products

I’m a big Rachel Hollis fan and recommend her book, Girl Wash Your Face to so many friend and followers. But girl, before you wash your face have you ever thought about what you’re putting on it.

Probably not.

And you probably think it’s safe. (Or you’re too busy to even consider the quesiton…)

If you know me IRL or online, you know this is an issue I don’t stay quiet about. Of course, it is NOT all safe. One of the hats I wear while I a doing all the other things in life is CLEAN BEAUTY ADVOCATE. Sure, I’d love you to buy Beautycounter products, but what I’d really LOVE is for you to do two things. Two simple things that will keep you and your family safer.

Read More
Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Present

The Bee Gees.

Weren’t they just dreamy?  Those of us nearly too young to really know the Beatles, hung on the love songs by Barry, Robin and Maurice.  Those outrageous leisure suits and stacked heels (nothing my CPA dad nor friends would ever sport) were fetching!   I remember hearing these lyrics and thinking that my mother really didn’t go anywhere when we were gone to school.

How funny is that?   

Can you imagine your kids thinking you’re just sitting around at home while they are off at school?  As in, on the couch eating bon-bons and watching Netflix?  (Hey - and if you ARE doing that - no judgment, just more power to ya, sister!)

Parenthood by default means juggling work, kids, and that sliver of a personal life. We all question what we are doing and we all see the joy and love and the frustration and struggle. Maybe you're going this parenting route alone or you're often alone. I know what it’s like. When my kids were adolescents, there were months my husband was gone 10, 12, sometimes even 20 days a month. It. Was. Insane.

I was a little insane.  

Read More
Why I Care About Personal Care Products (and Why You Should, Too!)

As a former classroom teacher and teacher of teachers and yogis, I never thought of myself as a salesperson. A few years back I read Dan Pink’s book “To Sell is Human” where I learned we’re all selling something - an idea, our brand, our work, our love. Pink points out that teachers routinely work to persuade students to ask questions, process ideas, change behavior, and to move. Essentially, “educators are sellers of ideas.” Truth.

I now have people scratching their head and asking me, WHY am I consultant with Beautycounter and what the heck am I selling? I am continuing to sell - ideas. My primary goal in this work is to amplify Beautycounter’s mission to get safer products in the hands of everyone. That involves selling the idea that we need to bew scrutinizing and selecting safer products. (Of course, I’d love to sell your products if that’s what you’re looking for -that’s in part, how I earn my income). Companies and the FDA are not in the business of taking a critical look at the safety of products and transparency in labeling.

Read More
You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling

Love. Perhaps you’ve heard  lots about it this month? From heart health to Valentine’s day to marketing anything fuchsia and crimson. I’m not an expert on love, except that each day I wake up determined to love something and someone.

There’s so much to love in the world. But in the noise of the day and the week, it’s easy to let that loving feeling take a back seat: cue Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards in Top Gun.

Waking up ready to love has not always come readily for me - quite frankly, there were days and weeks it may not have come at all. We all have those dark and twisty days where the only loving feeling we want involves our pillow, Netflix, a good book, a long hike or a complimentary spa day. John Rauch  describes how something happens as you approach middle age – a curious  “U curve” that reflects how many of us find an uptick in overall happiness in our 50s. Maybe  I am on the upswing after what honestly, was a pretty tumultuous late 30s/early 40s decade. Maybe I metaphorically bitchslapped myself right off the busy train and I realized that planning and counting on everything to be just-so was a recipe for frustration. Viewing the world through a difference lens lets me see the love instead of gripping and ruminating.

Read More