Never say never. I promised myself “no more commitments”! I promised myself that, until after January 1, 2013, I was going to say “no” to invitations, engagements, volunteer
opportunities, freelance work, interviews and any other plans outside of work and school. I wanted this time to focus on the holidays with my family and prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas and really enjoy the season this year.
Sometimes the Law of Attraction acts like a boomerang because when I said “no”, that word sort of rebounded in the universe and came right back to me…and pretty much laughed! “Forgetaboutit” said the Universe. “There’s work to do.”
And, because the voice of the Universe is very compelling, off I went.
I attended a meeting where 25 or so local women gathered to talk about One Billion Rising RVA - an event that is going to occur on February 14, 2013. One Billion Rising RVA is part of a worldwide campaign organized by Eve Ensler (the founder of V- Day and author of The Vagina Monologues) and activists across the globe. At the meeting, I learned that one in three women on this planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That’s right -one in three!
So this year, instead of reading the staggering statistics and shaking my head thinking “what can I do?” - well, this year, I’m going to do something. I’m going to Rise.
One Billion Rising RVA is an event, a rally, a
revolution, a rising, a chance to dance and celebrate. February 14, 2013 is a
time to come together to increase awareness, to demonstrate our collective
strength, our numbers, and our solidarity across borders. It is a catalyst to a
new time and a new way of being.
On February 14, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, I will join the most fabulous RVA women and men and we are going to rally, rise up, dance and celebrate to spread the word that we will no longer tolerate these atrocities against women and girls. Our numbers will shout to the world that violence towards women stops now! Thousands of people all over the globe have already committed to rising up on February 14! Plan to be one of them. If you were like me, once thinking “what can I do? Violence against women is a part of life, it will never end” remember - never say never.
Because it ends now.
I sent a message today; one of extreme gratitude. I have been thinking a lot this week
about the past as I work on my Visual Journal to the Soul (more on that later). And as a result, have been thinking about where I was, where I am now and, more importantly, how I got here. One of the best things I ever did for myself was get an education.
I started in the early 80s as I worked at a Community College. I took a class from time
to time. I did well and I enjoyed it so I thought “what the hell” and quit the job, transferring to a four-year college. Bad move. I got overwhelmed and did poorly.
I decided to move to Virginia and, once here, decided to begin again. This time, without a lot of the “noise” that kept me from doing well the first time (noise in the sense of
physical, mental, emotional and spiritual distractions.)
Anyway, I began again part-time while working and I managed to finish and finish well.
My last semester, I worked full-time and took 21 hours. Yes - that is not a typo. I
worked from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm and took classes from 3:45 to 10. Wow, I was tired.
But in 1995, I graduated - Magna Cum Laude - with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. I wanted to go to law school. I wanted to write. Law school never happened - two kids and a divorce happened instead. But I began to write and write and write. I loved it. Now, I am back on the education track, going for a Masters in Education. Wow, I’m tired. But I love
Getting back to the message - I wrote one of the first professors I ever had at the Community College. I’m pretty sure she was a feminist; she was uniquely beautiful and always
put-together. She taught women’s studies. I felt so grown-up in her class. She told us “ladies- men will come and they will go. But nobody can take away your grades.” Those words stuck with me to this day. I realized then, and still do, the importance of education. Not that it makes a huge difference in jobs (it does) and salaries (pretty sure) and networking (obviously) but that it’s mine. Something I did. Something nobody handed me. I earned it.
So I thought I’d say thanks to one of the people who propelled me along the way. I’ve had amazing teachers since and I’m sure I will again. And I hope I remember to say thank you.
So they know their work is not in vain and that the difference they hoped to
make along the way came to fruition.
It did to me.
Eleanor Roosevelt said “do one thing every day that
scares you.” Sometimes, for me,
that’s just looking in the mirror when I roll out of bed sleep deprived,
stressed out and facing a long day with a ton of work in front of
But that’s not what she meant.
What I think this courageous woman meant was to challenge yourself to do
that which you never thought you had the courage to do. She meant be brave, be
decisive, take a stand, and meet that frightening thing head on.
I decided to take her up on her challenge.
I haven’t done one thing every day that scares me because a few things,
in my opinion, carry over a few days.
They were that big!
First, I removed my daughter from public school. There were a lot of reasons leading up
to this decision; but I have felt like the school’s been failing her for a long
time. Unfortunately, as a single
parent, I didn’t know what to do with her. I can’t afford private school and I
have to work during the day. But a
series of events finally collided and I made an intuitive, one-second, with my
heart decision to pull her out. I
didn’t know what I was going to do; but I knew she couldn’t go back there one
more day. I made the decision to
home school her for the rest of the year.
That one, I think, should fulfill the scare yourself requirements
for at least a week!
Then I had to make a big request of my boss. I never like doing this. I always feel
“not good enough” and make excuses or pile things upon myself instead of asking
for what I need. But this time, I asked for the permission to telecommute for
until the middle of June. That
scared me a lot. What if she said no? What if, worse, she said that I was a pain
in the ass and they didn’t need me anymore? I’ve had my share of challenges since I
started there and she’s been so gracious when I needed to tend to a sick kid but
what if enough was enough? Yet, I
scared myself and I asked. She
said yes. Problem solved!
Over the course of the next few weeks, I said no to several
invitations because I just didn’t have the ability in me to socialize. Before, I would have agreed and tried
to muster up the oomph to glam up and head out. This time I didn’t.
I said no and made no excuses. I made choices that scared me, I said no
to a lot of things and agreed to others.
I refused to be goaded. I
wrote without having a client request.
I flirted back. I trusted
And, that scary woman looking back at me in the mirror
today? Well, let’s just say I like her a whole helluva lot more!
I had a conversation running through my head today while driving. I was reminiscing
about an argument I had with a former colleague. He was telling me that my health
insurance company isn’t responsible for covering a medical procedure. He felt like people had entitlement issues when it came to health insurance and that the insurance
companies were not responsible for paying for hospital stays, etc. My point was that I’m paying for health insurance. It’s part of my salary package. I rarely use it; but when I need it, I want the services that they are supposed to provide.
But that’s all besides the point. The point is, I was replaying this conversation in my head, complete with rising blood pressure, clenched fists and teeth, tension in shoulders and racing heart beat. And the original conversation happened over whether or not my health insurance should cover an overnight stay in the hospital when my oldest daughter was born - the one who will turn 16 in August.
So I’m all angst-ridden over a 16 year-old conversation. This person, who undoubtedly went on to piss off a myriad of others, has no idea that he is renting space in my head - for free. And 16 years later, I am still feeling the physical effects of that conversation. Replaying that negative conversation over and over in my head isn’t doing me one bit of good.
Catherine Pratt of Life with Confidence calls those raging conversations. And ain’t that the
truth? I was raging while I was having the conversation. In my car. By myself.
Pratt stated that these conversations are a waste of energy. When we are replaying
these conversations, we are not paying attention to what’s going on in the real world around us. That’s the exact opposite of what I’m trying to create with my mindfulness practice. She also states that when we are having these raging conversations, other events, that
would normally go unnoticed, like someone cutting us off in traffic, can cause
an irate reaction.
So the other day, when the negative memory surfaced and I found myself hitting the old playback button for the third time, I stopped and reminded myself that this happened a long time ago. I centered myself by focusing on my breath and told myself that was one
person’s opinion and it doesn’t matter to who I am right now. After a few calming breaths, I turned up the music and I took myself to that happy place in my mind; the one where negative people and health insurance arguments don’t exist.
My daughter wants to go to a performing arts high school. She has been taking ballet for many years and wants to be a choreographer. Her guidance counselor told me she wants to go to Julliard to study dance.
The mom in me wants to say “whoa, where’s your back-up plan, kid?” A dancer? They make like what? Next to nothing?
But my soul wants to yell “bravo, baby! You go for your dream. Don’t let anyone stop you and don’t let anyone make you second guess yourself. The nay-sayers of the
world will try to steal your dream, but don’t let them. Believe in yourself and you can do anything you put your mind to.”
And this is my mantra - it’s what I say to myself constantly. If I believe in myself, if I have that positive, energetic attitude, I can achieve anything. And it’s always worked for me. I
remember back in the 90s, I was working at the newspaper. An opportunity opened up and Investor’s Business Daily was opening their mid-Atlantic operation and would be printing newspapers at our production plant. They needed a production manager. The requirements weren’t outrageous - a bachelor’s degree was a must but that was about it. I had a
bachelor’s degree and I wanted to apply for the job.
I spoke to my then boss and told him I wanted to apply. He was supportive and agreed that I should. I had five separate interviews with various members of the management
team. Five! That’s a bit much. But I never gave up. I kept a positive attitude
throughout. And I got the job.
Wow, you’re probably saying. So what? Big deal! Well, it was a big deal.
Here’s why: I found out after I was hired that the company had received about a hundred resumes for the job. Most were from men. The team interviewed me only because I
was an employee of the paper. They did it out of a sense of obligation.
They had no intention of hiring me. That is until they met me. My attitude won them over and they hired me in spite of my boss’s recommendation (something else I found out
later.) They weren’t incredibly fond of him and so his recommendation meant little.
Fast forward several years. I was working at another company as a training designer and a position opened for a senior training designer. At the same time, another team wanted me
to work for them in a marketing role. I told the hiring manager that I had no marketing skills or knowledge. She told me “we can teach you marketing. We want you because you have a positive attitude”. I took the job, bypassing the senior training manager position (which I was also offered). I loved it and I learned a tremendous amount.
So positive thinking and believing in myself has proven over and over in my life that the outcome of any situation can be what I make of it. And now, I need to convey that to my daughter. I need to drown out the words of the practical (negative) mom and be supportive and believe in her dream. I need to give her all the reinforcements that I have given myself through the years and the ones I will continue to give myself until the day I leave this
So, Emily, my beautiful ballerina -you go out there and you nail the audition to the performing arts school. You apply to Julliard and I’ll work on finding the money. And it will
come. Because I know it is meant to be. I know it because it is your dream. And in this family, dreams come true.
Remember the words of Walt Disney: “if you can dream it, you can do it”. And he didn’t start with years of dance experience. He just started with a dream and with a mouse.
My friend Lynn is so freakin’ lucky. Next week, she flies to Tampa and stays for four days in a rented house with three friends. Then she returns to RVa - via Harley Davidson!! What a great experience for her. For me, not so much as I had to go head on with that old familiar green-eyed monster: ENVY. But I’ll get over it.
What I found even more interesting than my own character defect was some other people’s reactions to her journey. Twice, in one day, Lynn was asked “aren’t you too old for this?” But, how can that be? Lynn’s my age - 50. Which is the new 30, right?
And even if it isn’t, why would you even ask a question starting with “aren’t you too old…?” Women, I think, probably hear this more than men. “Aren’t you too old to: get that tattoo, wear that outfit, go on that trip, sing at the Super Bowl, get pregnant, date that 29 year old, text, tweet or just be on facebook, wear a two-piece, pose nude for a camera, drive with the top down, eat cake for dinner or wear those thigh-high boots?”
To me, the real question is, why are people asking? Is it displaced envy? Do they secretly wish they had the balls to be free like Lynn? Or do they want to pass their inhibitions onto her to make her one like them: afraid, denying, hiding, isolated, secluded, trod-upon, poor, embarrassed, inhibited and unsure. One word: absofreakinlutely!!! Someone (a woman, younger than I by a year or two) told me in front of a group that she thought “adults being on facebook was creepy” when she found out I was. Yes - she used that word. Then after she found out how much fun me and everybody else was having on facebook, she joined. I wouldn’t have after making that kind of comment; but that’s just me. Wait a minute, I wouldn’t have judged me in the first place.
The point is that many people are fearful of living soul-fulfilling, fruitful lives. They grudgingly trudge to jobs they hate, stay in relationships out of fear because misery is (to them) better than being alone and then they die…way before they ever lived. Sad really. But oh, so true. I feel such pity for those who don’t know how to live, who won’t let themselves let go and enjoy life, who deny themselves pleasure, joy and happiness.
So when you ask me (if you dare) that question, expect a resolute “hell to the no I’m not too old!” I lived the first half of my life in a fog. I did the things I was “supposed” to do. And now, well, now, in the words of poet Jenny Joseph “I will make up for the sobriety of my youth.”
Because I am still youthful and sexy and giddy at times and always, always happy and content. And if given the chance, I would be on that bike myself. And what’s more, I secretly love knowing that the reason they ask is because they’ll never have my bravery, my confidence or my zest for life. Maya Angelou gets it: Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise that I dance like I have diamonds at the meeting of my thighs? Yes Dr. Angelou - some are upset that you confidently wrote that just like they’re upset that Lynn will add more awesome memories to her repertoire. They’re upset because we do that thing which brings us joy, to live our lives and love our lives and that’s what makes us rich beyond words. And they're upset because they don't. And they’ll use that “o” word weapon to try to make us recoil in fear and become them. But we won’t. Because we know better. Because we know best.
So the next time you hear the words “aren’t you too old…” remember this. If they have to ask, they can’t afford the answer.
My readers know I’ve tried a variety of ways to find balance in my life. I’ve read books and blogs and magazines galore. There is a ton of information out there. Some things worked and some didn’t. But I kept trying and I feel like, although I’m doing a lot of juggling between kids and work and school and doctor appointments for the Type 1 kid, I’ve made a lot of progress and incorporated a semblance of balance. Here are my top ten tips for finding balance in your over-scheduled, over-burdened life.
10. Make a List
It was important that I saw, on paper, the sheer magnitude of my obligations. My daughter had doctor appointments weekly and I had to find ways to balance taking time from my job to take her. My weekends were crammed with Saturday (and sometimes Sunday) soccer games, Sunday School (for which I taught), Mass (non-negotiable), week nights were filled with music lessons, dance lessons, acting classes and the usual necessary errands like grocery shopping, dry cleaning, laundry and pet care.
After I made a list, I was able to talk with my kids about priorities and enlist their help in removing some of the obligations from the list. I asked the Church to replace me as a teacher on Sundays, Rachel decided to pursue acting in high school as opposed to soccer. We paired down our schedule and had the satisfaction of crossing non-priority items off of the list.
It’s imperative to take time away from obligations in order to find balance. I don’t mean getting up amidst a ginormous project and announce to your work team that you gotta go. I mean take a mini-vacation over a long weekend. We love to jet up to New York City for a long weekend of shopping, shows and culture. As a matter of fact, we’re getting ready to do that in about five weeks. Take a day trip and visit places around your city that you’ve never gotten to see, take in an afternoon ballgame, visit a day spa or an outlet mall. The important thing is to rejuvenate your soul by getting away from it all.
I cannot have balance without solitude. I need a day or even a weekend of absolute quiet so I can write, read and most important, think. So when my kids are away, I do just that. I don’t answer the phone nor do I make any commitments for my days of splendid solitude.
7. Lose the iPhone
Yes - this is vital to my life balance plan. I used to be that girl who woke up in the middle of the night and the first thing I would do is check my Blackberry. Not anymore. I cannot be plugged in 24/7. I need a break from the phone, email, texts and calls. I leave it in another room or on another floor with the ringer off once I get home. I might answer texts from a select few but everything else can wait.
6. Take an Inventory
Check in with yourself at the end of the day and review your behavior. If you’ve offended someone, make it right. Apologize or at least try to change the way you acted. Taking time regularly to reflect on your actions is necessary if you want to change behaviors, eliminate certain attitudes and just become a little kinder.
Planning is vital for a life in balance. I take time on Sunday nights and review the coming week. I used to cringe when I thought of doing this because I wanted to enjoy that little bit of weekend I had left. But then I realized I wanted to enjoy the whole entire week; therefore, I needed to incorporate some serious planning into my schedule. I look over my FranklinCovey planner and my iPhone calendar (yes, I have two calendars - I don’t recommend this but it really works for me.) I make sure all relevant meetings and appointments are on both. I pack my briefcase with whatever I’m going to need for the week and I pick out what I’m going to wear the next day. Makes my mornings almost a breeze! I make sure I put gas in the car on Sunday nights, count out all pills and vitamins and put them in our individual holders, sign pertinent school permission slips, review the girls’ assignments for the week and pack lunches for the next day.
4. Move it
Moving one’s body is so important in the game of feeling good. I can’t have balance if I’m feeling sluggish and cranky. With our newfound free time, we joined a fitness center. We go as much as we can and I was smart enough to pay a little extra each month to be free of the one- or two-year commitments that are impossible to get out of. At work, I get up and move around every hour or so. I stretch in the doorway or just walk to the mailbox.
I check in with my kids regularly. We talk all the time but I found that it is important to group up and make sure our priorities are aligned. If there is a problem with school, we can nip it before it becomes a runaway train. We talk about how we’re doing with our goals and yes, we even talk about feelings. It’s a great way to keep the bonds strong.
2. Leave it at the Door
I heard a story about a guy who, when he left the office at 5:00, would ball up a piece of paper and throw it into the trash. This was his way of leaving his work problems at work and not taking them home with him. I never come into the office yammering about the argument I had with my kids in the morning or how the milk spilled or the dog ran away. And I never come home discussing my work issues. Keep it separate.
1. Live with Purpose
Find your passion and live it. My passion is writing and I can’t do it enough. My other passion is helping people. I love that I can write this blog which hopefully inspires others. Someday I’d like it to grow into a book or a workshop series. My youngest daughter’s motto inspires me: if you can dream it, you can do it. That gives me purpose and that purpose helps me stay balanced.
We rented I Don’t Know How She Does It last night. I remember reading the book years ago and finding it hilarious. We adore Sarah Jessica Parker in our house so how could I possibly find fault with the movie, right?
Okay - first of all, let me tell you how she does it. She HAS A NANNY. AND A HUSBAND. And probably makes a bajillion dollars at her job as an investment banker. That, my friends, is how she does it. Okay, I know the book is fiction and Kate is a made up character, who despite being told her hair is a wreck and she’s disheveled, she manages to look pretty freakin’ good throughout the movie. Of course, it's fiction. Here's the non-fiction version:
I’m a single mom, I have a job for which I have to travel at times, I’m also pursuing a Masters degree. I have a house, two rescue pets and two kids. Teenagers. One’s a type one diabetic. I can’t even look at that sentence without wondering how I do it. With that being said, here’s what goes on at my house on a pretty regular basis.
Last night, I had a cold. I put water in the kettle for tea and put the kettle on the burner. I turned on the burner and remembered I never responded to an important email. Went up to my office, responded to the email and began paying bills. Remembered I needed to start dinner. Headed downstairs. At the top of the stairs, I smelled pine. How nice, thought I. My scented candles cleverly emit fragrance even when they’re not lit. Except one was lit, from the bottom up. I had it sitting on the back burner which I inadvertently turned on in lieu of the front burner on which sat the kettle. The wax was liquefied and when I moved the candle, the glass cracked. Smoke was everywhere. Rachel was in the living room having her guitar lesson. I asked her if she noticed the odd smell. She said "yep" and kept playing. Liquid wax seeped all over my glass stove, I cleaned it up as best I could before it hardened but guess what? It hardened.
At our house, I leave candles lit and leave the house to go to church. I let my dogs out to play in the yard while I go to the store. My neighbor has to call Animal Control because they get their collars hooked together and attempt to kill each other trying to get free. I go to the pharmacy and look down expecting to see my grey UGGS and I find that I’m wearing bedroom slippers. It took me three years to MAIL an amended tax return. That's right, it was done. I just had to sign it, fold it, write the check and put it in the mail. THREE YEARS??? I find a Bear in the Big Blue House tent in my attic that I bought for my children’s Christmas gift years ago. Still in the box. Never given.
Rachel hasn’t eaten anything green since she accidently ingested a piece of moldy cheese. Instead of putting her laundry away after it sits on her chair for six weeks, Emily just throws the clean clothes back in the hamper. That’s how I get wrinkles out of clothes as well. That rancid smell emitting from my desk? A salad I left in the drawer when I had to leave work early when Emily got sick. Why the hell it was in a drawer in the first place, I’ll never know.
I'll take a bit of Kate's pancake batter on my suit collar any day over some of this stuff! My non-fiction story won’t be I Don’t Know How She Does It. It will be I Don’t Know How She Does It and Doesn’t Manage to Kill Everyone Around Her. I could go on and on but I barely have time to read a book let alone write one. So I’ll leave that to the….ahem…experts.
Where’s the Tylenol?
I love the beginning of anything new. As a kid, I loved the fresh start of a new school year - the notebooks were blank pages awaiting new insights and knowledge, book spines were straight and lockers sans clutter holding only the lingering pine cleaner scent. I love opening the mailbox which beholds a brand new edition of one of the several magazines to which I subscribe. Although I can pick up copies of the same magazines for free from my library, nothing is better than an untouched magazine. I love a new car, a new and empty house, the start of a new job - anything that promises a fresh start.
Why is that? Why is “something new” so alluring? Is the old really that bad? Was this past year really that terrible? As I look back over the last 365 days, well unfortunately, I have to say “yes”! This year sorta sucked! My daughter had problem upon problem resulting in hours upon hours sitting in waiting rooms, therapists’ offices and clinics. This resulted in tons of copayments and countless hours of missed work. It also resulted in a myriad of stress-related ailments that I myself suffered from and which I could do without. It resulted in a lot of worrying about her older sister who I fear feels like she has to take a backseat to everything going on with the sick child. Even my blog suffered (as you can undoubtedly tell as my last post was in October!)
Even with all our uncluttering attempts and de-stressing exercises, life was really unmanageable at times. So as I go into a new year, I am looking forward to a blank page which I can rewrite my story starting tomorrow. My daughter is doing great - hopefully that means fewer trips to the doctor and an end to the therapy. I started my master’s program and I love it. I started running. I have planned more one-on-one time with both of my girls so they can feel the support and the attention of their mom without having to share it - at least for a few hours. I am looking forward to a year of less - less buying, less consuming, less television, less toxicity, less time spent with the wrong people and less stress. I envision one with more reading, learning, experiencing and loving.
I think they call that living!
As my new logo portrays, my life is very hectic. Some days it is all I can do to grasp on tight and just hold on - not manage, not complete, not organize, not anything. Just hold on! And once in awhile, if life gets this way, it’s okay - everyone goes through periods where they bite off more than they can chew and struggle with time management.
But when you are juggling tons of activities, deadlines, people, etc., every day, all day long, it can become very difficult to keep it all together. I had days like these running together so often that I would forget things like the day, the date, bills that needed paid and appointments for the kids. We’d end up arriving at soccer games at half-time or arrive at dance class two hours early. I made appointments on top of appointments as I was trying to juggle driving, checking my iPhone calendar and texting people to confirm. I was on the verge of tears more often than not, thinking that life was just supposed to be this way and I needed to be more - oh, I don’t know - organized, together, a Type A personality - anything other, anything better, than who I was.
During several months of self-reflection, I’ve come to realize that taking time to stay in the present really grounds me. It also removes distractions that seem to materialize out of nowhere. Today, I still don’t have time for extensive yoga practice, spa visits or meditations on top of mountains; however, I have incorporated some changes into my life that seem to help me focus and stay present in the moment.
Get off the Grid
One day a week, I try to unplug. I try to stay off of the PC and the iPhone. I avoid texting and checking Facebook updates. I limit phone calls to emergencies only. I read instead of watching television. I do this on Sundays and this practice has helped me to allow my mind to focus on the week ahead but also to wander and be creative. I feel more positive because I have one day off from the chronic naysayers and complainers on social networking sites. Have you ever read some news article or blog comments? The rudeness and blatant disrespect toward the writers is astounding to me. Having a day away from this is healing to my soul.
As I just said, I don’t have much time to spend in meditation. Fortunately, it is my arch-enemy, the iPhone, which has helped me with this dilemma. Every morning, during my 30 minute commute to the office, I recite the Rosary with my aptly named iPhone app. I love it - I just press the button, and a soft-toned woman recites and I join in. My mind sometimes wanders, but I bring myself back to present, focusing on the Glorious, Luminous, Joyful and Sorrowful mysteries. This is the perfect way to begin my day and I arrive at work in a peaceful state of mind.
I’m tired of doing ten things at once. All the “supermoms” I know, the ones who say they can juggle twenty things at a time, seem to be in a foul mood more often than not. I’d rather do one thing at a time and be present (and happy) while I do it, than juggle ten things and forget I’m doing all of them. If I am folding laundry, I love to feel the softness of the towels, the lavender scent of the clothing and astonish myself at how clean I got the gym uniforms! If I am talking on the telephone, I try to avoid jumping online simultaneously. If I am in the yard playing with my dogs, I don’t text or answer emails. If I am cooking, I want to appreciate what I am making, from the act of cutting basil from my garden to inhaling the scent of a freshly peeled pineapple. It’s these little bits of joy that make stressful days easier to handle.
It was mystified to read an article recently that said a high percentage of people don’t breathe right. Really? But think about it. A lot of people take very shallow breathes and don’t fill their lungs. Deep breat is a phenomenal relaxation technique. During times of stress or low-energy, I fill up my lungs all the way to the count of four. Then I hold that breath for eight seconds and release for seven. Even doing that one time helps me to relax, be present and stay balanced.
So, life can come at ya really hard. We all know that. But staying in the moment and giving myself time to incorporate bits of peace into my life has helped me stay sane more often than not. I don’t feel like I want to burst into tears so often and more often than not, I have an empty arm with which to hug my kids or pet my dogs or pick up my pen and write.