Posts in Life's Purpose
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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