Hard Things

In my 2021 Recap post I reported that I spent 2021 in limbo, slowly moving and figuring things out while doing a lot of waiting.  I explained that I started a new 27-year astrological cycle on January 8th (my progressed moon/emotional self moved into my first house of beginnings) which I thought might light a fire under me to get going, but I wasn’t going to force it and I would JUST BE.

I did actually get a little fire exactly on January 8th and started an online class I had purchased but hadn’t been motivated to start. That moved me back into working on my website and web design business stuff.

Omicron was raging, and my looong renovation punch list dragged on into February, so I was still laying low in my apartment and doing stuff behind the scenes as the days rolled by.

I had grand plans to bust out in March, launch my business, and get out in the world more.  I have been slowly moving at turtle speed in the right direction, but it’s May and I am still mostly hiding in my shell.

The resistance to putting myself out there is HUGE. My perfectionist tendencies are a very big wall to get over.  I do not do things unless I am fairly certain I will excel at them.  It’s risky and scary to start a business and risky and scary are not my jam. (This is why I never really thought I would start my own business even though I knew deep down I was supposed to.)

I have all of that resistance and fear combined with my general hermit tendencies that have been exacerbated by the happenings of the world.

I have been blogging for YEARS about trying to get out of my apartment, do more things, and live a more connected life.  It’s never been easy for me to do.  After two years of comfortable hibernation, not wearing make-up, looking older, feeling older, realizing I hate all my clothes, being afraid of getting sick, and increasing crime in the big apple – leaving my comfort zone is 1000% harder.

Some days, I am perfectly content.  I love the freedom to do whatever I want, pretty much always, and it’s comfy in my turtle shell. Other days I wake up in a panic thinking, “This is it. I am stuck here, getting closer and closer to being the old woman who dies alone in her apartment, with her computer and her phone, regretting in her last moments all of the things she didn’t do and the connections she didn’t make because it was hard, and she was afraid.”

The world has been a shit show.  It’s not all on me that everything is harder. It’s harder for everyone but not everyone is stuck in their turtle shell and it’s getting less comfortable in here.

Last week, my friends and I were discussing how hard it is to change and one of them said, “People don’t really change”.  This lit a fire under me to prove her wrong. People CAN change!  I can change. We can ALL change!  That is literally why we are here on earth, to EVOLVE! (I think?)

But it’s so easy to get stuck.  And it’s so hard to get unstuck.

I keep thinking about the “new things” I did in 2017 (which continue into 2018 and I tried to revive in 2020 before the world fell apart).  That entire experience shifted my energy and led me to even more new adventures, new friends, and new ideas that changed my life. (I have evolved!  I am just stuck on this next level.)

I never would have done those things if I hadn’t committed publically to doing them. Once I tell lots of people I am going to do something, I do it.  (I always thought I was an Upholder, but I have some Obliger in me for sure)

But re-starting MORE NEW things feels old and stale and not right. Every good sequel needs a new twist, but I haven’t been able to come up with one.

Until this week when I had an epiphany!

I don’t need to do NEW things necessarily; I need to do the HARD things.

I need to do the hard things that I have been avoiding that are keeping me stuck.  I need to leave my comfort zone, take the risks, go on adventures, connect with other people, spend time in nature, help people, experience art, write more, and share the things I create with the world. (Sequel flashback to my 2018 New Things theme)

I wish could do all of those things with no fear.  But, alas, that is not the hand I was dealt (or the hand that I chose?) in this lifetime.

Doing the hard things requires me to push through that feeling of fear in my gut (aka anxiety, for you mentally healthy people) and all of the excuses that I make to avoid that feeling.  Here is a peek inside the brain of an anxious, avoidant person when they try to leave their comfort zone:

It will be crowded.  The subways feel dangerous. COVID cases are rising. I don’t have sunglasses and it’s sunny. Everyone will be in their 20s. Everyone will be OLD. What if I get stuck talking with someone annoying and I can’t escape? I have to keep working.  I shouldn’t spend the money. What if I create something that people don’t love?  What if I make a mistake? What if people think I am a lonely loser? It’s too cold. It’s too hot. What if I have to go to the bathroom? What if it’s not fun? I don’t have anything to wear.  Is it even worth it?

Anything that requires me to get past the excuses to do the thing counts as hard.

So, inspired by my anxiety, turtles, my friends who don’t think it’s possible to change, my progressed moon in the 1st house, and Glennon Doyle’s motto “We Can Do Hard Things”   (love Glennon)…..I will be doing 100 Hard Things between now and the end of 2022.

So many things are hard, it really should be easy (and also incredibly difficult) to knock this out, so I am going for the gold and not even giving myself a full year! Some of the things will be NEW but some of the things will just be everyday hard things that I have been avoiding.

Putting this out in the world and committing to it is HARD so #100HardThings #1…done.

(The number of times I almost bailed in the 48 hours between having this idea, getting excited about it, writing the post, panicking, re-writing the post, and finally publishing the post…A LOT.)

I will write about my journey along the way which will also be HARD. I want to spend LESS time on social media and hard things are not always Instagrammable so there will not be 100 social media posts, but maybe some.

If I can get unstuck, maybe I can inspire other people to get unstuck. If you want to do hard things with me, bring it on!!!  I would love to have some company on this journey.

Let the games begin….

(This immediately made me think of Squid Game.  And if I actually posted this and it’s out in the world, I am probably as scared as if I were competing in the Squid Game.)

But I have to do the hard things.  The happiness of my future self depends on it.

Photo credit: Nick Abrams on Unsplash

2021 Recap

I spent most of 2021 in limbo.  I wasn’t ready to move forward but I also don’t sit still very well, so I was moving, slowly, figuring things out while also doing a lot of waiting.  Then things got a little crazy at the end of the year.

I haven’t written a blog post in forever.  I am still not feeling exceptionally eloquent but sometimes you just have to get back on the horse, even if it feels weird, or you will never get back on.  So here is a (not exceptionally eloquent) summary of my 2021:

January

2021 felt like a continuation of 2020.  I didn’t even start a new Bullet Journal until March because it didn’t feel like a new year. (déjà vu right?)

February

I lost my job and decided I had ZERO interest in taking another corporate job and would take the rest of the year off to study astrology (which did not happen) and dabble in building websites (which did!)

March

I applied for co-op board approval to renovate my apartment which was supposed to take two weeks (spoiler alert, it took a lot longer than that).  I avoided committing to anything big while I was waiting because I knew that at any minute, I would have to drop everything, pack up my place and move out for at least six weeks.  (Limbo)

I volunteered to help a friend update her website and it went well.  She loved it and I learned a lot!

April

The day after I got my second Pfizer shot, I broke my ankle. While everyone else was excited to get back to living a hot vax summer, I was laying low, healing.  (I did eventually get out of my walking boot, reconnected in person with friends and family, and left NYC for the first time since 2020 later in the summer.)

June/July

While I was in limbo and laying low, I continued to explore my interest in building websites and discovered Squarespace. I spent most of my summer and early fall taking courses and learning how to build Squarespace websites and start a web design business.  I loved learning something new that used a mix of my technical, creative, and business skills.  I built and launched TWO websites in the summer/fall (check them out here and here if interested) and started building an infrastructure and processes to launch a web design business.  I set a goal to build 2 more sites for my portfolio and launch my own website and business by the end of the year.  Those things have not happened yet, because….

August

….at the very end of August, I FINALLY got approval to renovate my apartment and that, as expected, derailed me from getting very much else done for the rest of the year.

September

Before the renovation got going, I did squeeze in two trips to Albany, attended an unexpected family funeral, walked with my family in our annual suicide prevention walk, and packed everything I own into three closets and multiple suitcases.

October

In mid-October, I moved out of my apartment and into an Air B&B for six weeks while my renovation kicked off.  I thought I would be able to get stuff done there, but it was very unsettling and uncomfortable not to be in my own space, so I wasn’t very productive.

November

Right before Thanksgiving, I moved out of the Air B&B and into my sister’s basement for 2-3 weeks while waiting for the renovation to be complete.  (I didn’t really live in the basement, but I did sleep there, because they had their own construction projects happening, and it was very cozy!)

December

After two weeks in Pennsylvania, I was unexpectedly diverted to Albany for two more weeks to help my dad, who had been having some health issues.

After getting my dad back on his feet and set up with some help going forward, I headed back to NYC the Tuesday before Christmas exhausted and looking forward to being in my own, newly renovated home!

The renovation was not completely complete, unfortunately, so the crew kept working and I wasn’t able to get really settled until the week AFTER Christmas (and there is still a bit more to do in January, so I am not feeling totally settled) but I am mostly unpacked, loving my bathroom and kitchen upgrades, and happy to be home!

Now What….

I had an astrology reading in April where I learned that my progressed moon (which represents our inner emotional self) was in the 12th house (the house of endings) for all of 2021.  Astrology says that 2021 was the end of a 27-year chapter of my life.  I was shedding my old self before starting a new 27-year cycle which starts on January 8th, 2022.  (Leaving the corporate world is definitely a big change, so Astrology might have something here….)

Since my new cycle does not start until January 8th, I am giving myself a few more days before I dive into 2022. Plus, the world is just very weird right now so it’s hard to know what to do exactly.  I was also told that even at the beginning of the new cycle I might not know exactly where I am headed and will still be figuring things out (phew..no rush!)

So instead of writing a bunch of goals and forcing myself to get this post out before the end of the year, I have just been taking it easy.  2021 was a lot. (That last 27-year cycle was a lot!)  I need some more time to recover from all of that before I re-commit to actually getting things done.  I did commit to watching all of the Harry Potter movies (that I have actually NEVER seen) before my HBO Max month runs out on January 16th so I plan to make that happen! (Three down, five to go)

You might hear more about me starting my own business soon or maybe things will take a different turn or maybe it will take me a while to get going.

I did set up my 2022 Bullet Journal which always starts with a cover page and theme for the year.  For 2022 my theme is….. Just Be.  That is my current vibe.

Who Do You Want to Be?

It’s been almost a month since I revealed on the blog that I was no longer employed and planned to spend some time exploring my passions to see where they might lead.  This post was met with wild acclaim and people were inspired by my bravery.

That was cool.

It also put some pressure on me to continue to be inspirational and brave.  Please be aware that I am not inspirational and brave on most days.  Less than a week after I wrote that post about exploring my passions, I came VERY close to moving back in the direction of just taking a job to pay the bills.

I got nervous about completely relying on my savings and the stock market to survive.  I got sad about not renewing my expensive Pilates reformer membership. I panicked about moving forward with my apartment remodel now that I have no income.  I ended up on an email list that was reminding me daily how much work it is to be a freelancer.  I told a friend I would help her with her website and then realized I knew nothing about Word Press page builders. (I didn’t even know they existed.)  I got in my head about how crazy it was to learn new things and try to make a living doing those new things so late in my life when so many other people already know how to do those things and are so far ahead of me.  I started questioning whether I really wanted to do those things. I wasn’t feeling passionate about anything. I was spiraling.

I did what I often do when I am spiraling. I Googled.

“How do you know if you are afraid or if you really just don’t want to do something?”  This is not the first time I have asked the internet this question but apparently whatever answers I found in the past had escaped my mind. Serendipitously, I got some amazing and helpful responses this time.

The first one came from a Hypnotherapist on Quora

Genuinely not wanting to do something means you have experienced it, it made you realize “well, this is or isn’t for me,” and you understand what that experience felt like. If it didn’t make you feel good, then you choose not to do it because you don’t want to feel that way again.

Scared is just fear of the unknown…. Until you experience something, you honestly have no idea how that experience will affect you. So to keep you from doing it and stay feeling ‘safe’, you create scenarios in your mind to validate your fear instead of taking action on the opportunity. This is why we cling to the worst-case scenario (instead of the million other, mostly good, possible outcomes) so we can validate our own fear and not feel accountable for experiencing these new feelings and exploring new opportunities for ourselves.

I like to say the courage you use to leave the thoughts and circumstances that no longer serve you, become the confidence needed to embrace a new beginning.

Thank you, Kristen McPike, the hypnotherapist on Quora, for these wise words that Google presented to me exactly when I needed them and reminded me that I can’t give up before I try!!! (And she has a very nice website if you are in the market for a hypnotherapist or a courage themed coffee mug.)

I didn’t stop there.  After watching a Marie Forleo video on Fear vs Intuition, You Tube presented me with a Ted Talk about Hard Choices, by Ruth Chang, a philosophy professor at Oxford.

Ruth explains that hard choices are hard because there is no clear best choice.  If it were obvious that you should do A over B, you would just do A and it wouldn’t be a hard choice.  She sees hard choices as opportunities for us to use our agency to decide WHO we want to be. Instead of looking for external reasons to validate our choices, we should look inside ourselves and become the authors of our own lives. In her words, “hard choices are precious opportunities for us to celebrate the power to become the distinctive people that we are.”

She really got me when she talked about drifters.

“People who don’t exercise normative powers in hard choices are drifters. Drifters allow the world to write the story of their lives. They let mechanisms of reward and punishment, pats on the head, fear, the easiness of an option to determine what they do.”

Whaaat!! How are so many random women on the internet looking into my soul??? (Sometimes internet algorithms are working for our benefit!)

So I asked myself…..”Do I want to be the person who drifts back to a safe job where she does not have to do hard things and is not worried about money or do I want to be the person who puts in the effort to figure out what will make her happy and build a life around things she enjoys doing (but might have to make some sacrifices along the way)?”

These inspirational words reminded me that I don’t want to drift anymore and saved me from running back to safety before I explored new possibilities.  I may decide that I want to take an easy job that pays the bills as part of my future life, but I have to make sure something else won’t make me happier first!

Once I was back on track, I continued on with my explorations and spent three weeks learning a Word Press page builder and helped my friend (and former spiritual life coach) upgrade the look and feel of her website!  I was definitely in a flow while I was working on the site (which is a good sign that I might like to do more of this) and learned a lot about color wheels, font combinations, image editing, and responsive design.  (A lot has has changed since I learned HTML in the 1990s!!) There were moments of doubt when I looked at beautiful sites made by professional designers and moments when I looked at not so great sites and knew I could do better.  Most importantly, I enjoyed figuring it all out!  My friend Kelli is officially re-launching her site soon but you can get a sneak peak here.  I went from having no idea what I was doing, to creating something she and I were both pretty happy with!

After wrapping that up, I had grand plans to write this blog post and shift my focus back to astrology projects for a bit (the planets are calling me), but instead I spent most of this week reading news, scrolling through social media, and binge watching Tell Me Your Secrets on Amazon Prime (so good)!  It’s hard to be an unemployed person with lots of interests who wants to keep up with what is going on in the world and also sometimes doesn’t want to do anything and is often anxious about one thing or another.  I am pretty sure I make it much harder than in needs to be (and I am probably not the only one who does. Who’s with me?)

What finally got me to re-focus and get some writing done was that question Ruth Chang inspired me to ask……“Who do I want to be”?

Do I want to be the person who consumes useless information on Twitter all day? (Yesterday, I watched a movie review by Mandy Patinkin’s wife.  Something about Judi Dench and the theatre.  She loved it.  I also read every single response in a twitter feed about J&J vaccine side effects, even though I am half way through the Pfizer vaccine, and I consumed a lot of unproductive political snark.)

Or do I want to be the person who makes the most of this precious time and continues to explore and create, because who knows what is coming next???

If you are feeling stuck or unmotivated or are making a really hard choice, give it a try……Who do you want to be?

PS: If you don’t want to miss any of my future posts, sign up  to get an email every time I publish something new! Scroll up and enter your email on the top right (under the search bar).

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

My Sabbatical Has Come to an End

My four-month sabbatical/furlough is almost over.  I return to work on September 1st. It feels like a lifetime since I closed my work laptop on April 30th. Four months ago, I had no idea what the world would be like at this time or whether I would have a job to return to.  I am grateful to be returning to a paycheck and continued health insurance during a global pandemic, but it feels surreal after four months away.  It feels kind of like I quickly left my home in the middle of a war, not knowing when or if I would return.  Now the war is over (but not really) and I am returning home after a long time away.  I have heard that my house is still standing but I don’t what condition it is in.  What will my house feel like when I go back inside? Will I dust everything off, set things back up, and forget that I ever left? Or will it never feel quite right again?

In the physical world, I am in literally the exact same place that I was when I left.  My body has not traveled more than two miles from my home office desk, and I have spent most of the past four months sitting at this desk.  This year feels like a weird, time warp.  It will be a very strange adjustment, even though I will still physically be in the exact same place where I was when I left. (I expect to be working from home for the foreseeable future.)

So what have I done with this amazing gift of time that the Universe gave me?

I spent a lot of time studying astrology, and you might have noticed, I did some writing about it.  I love that astrology can help us understand ourselves better so we can live happier, more meaningful lives.  Every birth chart is like a beautiful puzzle of a person’s soul.  Astrology is a passion that engages my analytical mind and my compassionate heart.  If you had asked me a few years ago what I would do if I had four months off with so much time on my hands, I probably would have panicked. I am so grateful that astrology found me before my quarantine furlough/sabbatical. I am sure some of you think I am crazy (but secretly you are also really curious about the puzzle of your soul, aren’t you?)

I also spent a lot of time this summer trying to understand what was behind the angry content from Trump supporters that started showing up in my social media feeds after George Floyd was murdered.  I was getting passive aggressive messages that I was a “brainwashed liberal” so I went down a rabbit hole for many weeks to confirm for myself that this was not true (Spoiler alert: It’s not true). I won’t share everything I learned in that rabbit hole, but if you have any questions about QAnon, I probably have the answers. I didn’t find any magic solutions to the problems we are facing, but I am much more informed and engaged. And I have a much better understanding of the feelings behind the anger and why so many people support Donald Trump. We are going to need a lot of compassion and empathy to get through whatever comes next.

No matter who wins this election, we will still all be living together in this country. The forces that are dividing us won’t go away.  The angry voices will probably get louder and more dangerous. The issues we are fighting about are complicated and do not have simple answers.  We need to work as hard as we can to get honest, compassionate, intelligent, and capable leaders into our government.  Then we need to fix our political systems so they better represent the people (check out RepresentUs who is doing just this!)

We have a lot to do and we have to stay engaged. Make calls to swing states. Listen to each other. Ask people why they believe what they believe and why they feel what they feel. Get everyone you know to vote and to vote as early as possible. (If you are not sure how to vote early in your state, read this.) And be nice to each other! Be especially nice to the people who are the most angry.  They are the ones who need the most compassion. And if you can’t be nice because YOU are too angry, just walk away and use your Mars energy where it will make the most difference.  Yelling at angry people is not usually effective.

I digressed. Back to me and my sabbatical, which is really completely irrelevant in the context of our world right now, but I will continue.

When I was not trying to understand our country and the depths of everyone’s soul (which is clearly how I like to spend most of my time), I did the same boring, quarantine stuff as everyone else. I finally had time to organize my recipes (highly recommend Paprika) and have cooked every one of my meals since April.  (This was a HUGE change for me. I rarely cooked pre-COVID/sabbatical.)  I have become really good at making pizza and I even started roasting almonds (I will never eat another unroasted almond again.)  I miss the Pilates reformer, but I replaced it with this weird thing called PVolve that I don’t hate, because it is kind of easy (which probably means I am not doing it right). I did lots of projects around the house and collected zillions of pictures of clouds on my long, daily NYC walks on the East River (hence, the featured image on this post!)

I went back and forth between being super productive and feeling completely unmotivated to do anything.  I am amazingly good at being a quarantine hermit (that shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me) but I called my family in tears a few times, because sometimes being a hermit is HARD (no matter how good you are at it) and 2020 is bringing a lot of really hard, sad things.  I also had a lot of inner turmoil about whether to travel this summer since I had all of this time. Ultimately, I decided that it was not worth the extra COVID risk, hassle, and cost, so I stayed put and streamed beach views on my television.

I don’t have to tell you that this is the strangest, hardest year of our lifetime.  I did not totally reinvent myself during my sabbatical (as I hoped I might when I kicked it off), but I did REST and let my body and my mind go wherever they wanted to go (within COVID limitations).  That is exactly what I needed to do.  I am so grateful that I had this time and that I was healthy and that my family was healthy so I could just relax (when I wasn’t anxious).  Many, many people are the opposite of relaxed right now, so I know how lucky I am.

The story, for all of us is still very much unfolding. My next chapter is returning to work, but there are many more chapters to come.  I have told you that astrology says there are big changes coming that we can’t really see yet, and that is what it feels like for my own life as well.  I have no expectations about what my future chapters will hold.  I think right now, we all have to let go of any expectations, pay attention to where our hearts are leading us, wear our masks, and go with the flow (and vote!)

I Am Officially on Sabbatical

You might recall, that last year, I really wanted to rest.  What I didn’t tell you was that I also read, not one, but TWO books about taking a sabbatical:

I was craving a looooong break. I devoured these books and was inspired by the idea of a sabbatical, but I didn’t have the guts to actually take one (despite how the first book tried to make it simple for me).  I didn’t think I could leave my boss high and dry. I was afraid to walk away from gainful employment at the age of 50. What if I get sick? What if I run out of money? What if  I can never find a job again because I am so old? (If you have been listening to Cuomo’s daily briefings you may have heard that 51 is the new 81.)

So I kept working. And more work was piled on top of the work I already had. And I kept working.

Earlier this year, I wrote down some things that I really wanted but seemed out of reach. This sabbatical idea was still very much on my mind, because this was at the top of the list:

“Be free of my job and have time to rest and figure out what I really want to do with my life and not worry about money”

But was still too scared to actually DO anything about it.

When I was in my 20s I quit my job TWICE with no other job lined up.  I don’t remember what I was thinking or how I got the nerve to do that, but BOTH times, I found new jobs that led me in to new careers.  Clearly, as I have aged, I have become a chicken shit.

Fast forward to Spring 2020. My plans to re-enter the world, and interact with humans again were thwarted by a global pandemic.  I found myself hunkered down at home, feeling grateful that I still had a paycheck, but it was harder and harder to focus, because I was completely burned out and the world was on fire.

Then, not long after I wrote that last post, I found out that my company would be furloughing people.  One thing led to another, and on May 1st, I found myself on a four month sabbatical.

Whaaaaattt!!!!????

I wish I could tell you that I got the courage to make this happen for myself.  I did not put my hand up to volunteer. I was still clinging to the security of my job, certain that I was too important to be let go, even just temporarily. But the Universe knew better.  My ego was hurt for about 5 seconds, and then I quickly transitioned to being grateful that the Universe took over and forced the issue. (Excuse me, you said you wanted this. WTF. It’s go time!)

If you somehow still don’t now what a furlough is in the age of COVID-19, it is an up-paid leave of absence.  The company intends to bring you back after a period of time, but there are no guarantees.  You often still have health insurance (I do!) and you are eligible for employment. It is basically, a pretty sweet sabbatical situation (aside from the whole quarantine/global pandemic thing.)  And assuming one has some savings, which I do and am very grateful for.

“Be free of my job and have time to rest and figure out what I really want to do with my life and not worry about money”

I manifested it!!!  Kind of amazing, right?

So here I am, with four months to do anything my heart desires, within the confines of my budget and my tiny NYC apartment (at least for a while). In week one, I have been full of energy and have worked through a long list of personal “to dos”.  Now I am feeling called to just chill out and rest. I need to create some space in my mind to see what is lurking under all of the “busy”.

I have no idea what will happen next. Four months is a looooong time. I have no idea whether I will still have a job in four months or whether I will want to go back to it or not. None of us has any idea what our lives will be like in four months.  I am feeling some internal pressure to do something AMAZING with this opportunity and come out the other end a whole new woman with a whole new life. That might happen. But I will start by just getting quiet, listening to my heart, and following it where ever it leads me.

Today, my heart wanted to take a Zoom yoga class with my dear friend Erica and she mentioned this quote by Dov Seidman which was absolutely perfect, not just for my sabbatical, but for all of us whose lives are on pause right now:

“When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings they start. You start to reflect, you start to rethink your assumptions, to re-imagine what is possible, and reconnect with your most deeply held beliefs.”

Let’s get started….

Pandemic Thoughts from NYC

Just as I was starting to pick my life back up again and “go direct” after my 2019 Retrograde, the world fell apart.  We were all sent to our rooms to reflect on who we are and what the f&*% we are doing.  But even I, who am on an eternal quest for self growth am having a hard time focusing on that.

As things were unfolding here in NYC, I was in a complete state of anxiety. I am a Meyers Briggs SJ who is ALWAYS prepared so, of course, I started acquiring things early (not hoarding because SJs also follow the rules and think about others.)  I would have mini moments of panic and run out to CVS in the middle of the day to get something I was running low on and then pop in to the grocery store just to make sure it was still stocked.  I worried about my brother who has been sick for two months and tried to convince my Dad to stay home while sending him lists of things to stock up on. I had a cough that I would normally write off as a chest cold or allergies but of course I googled symptoms and worried about it constantly.

The first week of March, I had a colonoscopy I had been avoiding for a year (super fun activity to go through while the world is devolving around you). While I was waiting to get rolled in to the procedure room, I overheard my doctor  say “It’s everywhere. It’s too late to stop this from spreading.”  I already knew this.  We are literally on top of each other here in NYC.  There is definitely no hiding from something we don’t know is coming after us.

Two weeks later, I went in to a panic when I got an email from my doctors office saying my follow up appointment was cancelled because the doctor was “not feeling well”.  Whaaaattt did that mean????!!!  Within an hour, my temperature was 99 degrees.  Cough…temperature rising….freaking out!  I took an Advil (before I heard you are not supposed to take Advil for COVID-19) and texted both my energy healer and sister in a panic.  They were both super helpful and within two hours, my temperature was back to normal.  Did I have Coronavirus for a minute and then it passed?  Or did my brain freak my body out?  We may never know unless I get sick or get an antibody test, but I am fairly certain I am not the only anxious person who is going through this a few times a week right? (BTW: I have not heard a word from my doctor’s office. No news is good news, I hope!)

Five days after the “fever” incident, a friend convinced me to go outside to get some fresh air.  After walking for an hour and climbing seven flights of stairs to avoid sharing the elevator, I was pretty sure that I was not sick.  Since then I have been (mostly) calm, working from home like I have for most of the past 10 years , with a ton more video calls than usual so I have to actually shower and put on a bra now. I continue to order in food so I can save my non perishables…just in case. (This grateful SJ, does not  mess around with being prepared AND she really hates cooking.)

It’s hard to focus on anything for very long. There is so much news to read and so many family members and friends to check in with.  It takes more energy to figure out how to safely get food and do laundry and exercise. Then I feel guilty that those are the only things I have to worry about so I write out all of the things I am grateful for over and over in my journal.  Then I do more scrolling and searching for what else I can do to help while listening to sirens outside and siting safely in my home so I don’t get sick or make anyone else sick.  I make online donations and share things on social media that are helpful or completely irrelevant.  I go for walks on the empty streets of NYC and have to remind myself that this is not a quiet Sunday morning in August. I can’t touch anything, I have to dodge people who get too close, and I can’t touch my face.

I can’t even bring myself to focus on TV.  Nothing seems worth my time and nothing has been able to keep my attention.  I haven’t had the energy to read or write.  It’s even harder to stay off social media now. We are all going through this together and that is the only place where we can all BE together.  At least that is what I am telling myself.  I have watched a surprising number of ex-bachelor contestant’s Tik Tok videos  and spent last Friday night watching three hours of an influencer’s blind date and the aftermath on an Instagram Live.  What is wrong with me?

We are all still processing the shock of what has hit us and adjusting to what (I believe) will be a long period of isolation and grief.  If it hasn’t hit you yet, don’t get complacent. It’s coming. Be careful and get ready.

I finally got myself focused to do some writing because these questions are constantly going through my mind behind  all of the noise:

    • What the f&*^ is going on?
    • What are we supposed to learn from all of this?
    • What are we going to differently when we get through this?

This is a wake up call.  Things will not (and should not) “go back to normal” when this is over.  I don’t have the answers.  We are all going to have to figure this out together. The people who are governing like adults or saving other people’s lives or making sure we all have food to eat or taking care of kids while trying to work from home or trying to make ends meet with no income or out on the street because they have no home, are kind of busy.

So if you have energy and time to spare, go inside for a few minutes and see what your heart has to say about the bigger picture of what is happening here, so we can figure this out.  Then you can watch Tiger King and Tik Tok’s.

 

I Went Retrograde in 2019

It’s been a minute, I know.  I once again fell off the face of the earth but I am making another come back! I have committed to write 12 blog posts this year and now that I have officially shared that with the handful of people who will read this post, we are in this together and I will make it happen!

It’s always so hard to re-start after a break.  I know that I want to start writing again but I am not entirely sure what I want to say.  I struggle with how much to share and why I am sharing anything at all.  My perfectionist self wants every post to be amazing and insightful.  Especially after a long break.  I am not sure I can muster up “amazing and insightful” right now, but I want to get this rolling again (and I am continuously working on letting go of my perfectionism) so here we go.

To start, I am not an astrologer yet!!! (surprise!)  I still love Astrology. I have acquired many more astrology books. I listen to Astrology podcasts weekly. I follow a zillion astrologers on Instagram. I went to an astrology conference in the fall. I think in the language of astrology. I post Instagram stories about the moon and astrological events that move me. I have done some mini readings for friends.  But I haven’t been able to invest the time to take it to the next level and I am not sure exactly HOW to take it to the next level. (I don’t think I can get a master’s degree in Astrology?)  It’s still a passion. I am pretty sure its part of my life’s purpose in some way. I just have to figure out what to do next. More on that to come!

Speaking of the language of astrology, I feel like I went retrograde at the end of 2019.  The official definition of retrograde is to “move backward”.  Planets go retrograde, but they don’t technically move backward.  They appear to be moving backward because the earth and the planet are moving at different speeds in different orbits.  (This video explains the astronomy of it, or just trust me).  When planets go retrograde, astrologers have observed that things can go a little haywire down here on earth.  Astrology says that the disorder retrogrades can cause is trying to show us something – to force us to pay attention or see things from a new perspective.  We don’t usually make changes when everything feels good in our lives.  We humans usually need challenges to push us to evolve.  It’s kind of the whole reason we are here.

There were some great moments in 2019, but there were a lot of challenges too, and things devolved for me as the year went on.  I started out in Hawaii, then got to celebrate my birthday with people I love, and followed that with an amazing trip to Ireland.  But I also had multiple health issues, went through some crazy family drama, got attacked by a dog, and worked a lot. By the end of the year, I found myself right back where I always end up, working around the clock with no time for myself, or anyone else in my life.  Things culminated into a work tornado of stress that was unlike anything I have ever experienced.  (I know I have had a lot of work stress in my life so, I kind of feel like Chris Harrison on the Bachelor who insists that every season is the most dramatic one yet!  But really, it was the craziest yet! The Universe could give those reality show producers a run for their money.)

(Side note: My Year of Creativity kind of fizzled. Unless you count spreadsheets as creative?)

Everything could have been so much worse, and I am grateful that it wasn’t. My health issues were not life-threatening, the dog “bite” did not break the skin, my family is (mostly) holding it together, and I did not lose my job.  But there were messages being sent, and I was listening!

Universe to me:  Hello!!! I thought we were moving in the direction of our life’s purpose?  What are you doing?  You are not taking care of your heart! You are not taking care of your body! You are not feeding your soul!  OK, I am going to throw some stuff at you to make you pay attention!!

It was not fun.

In January, the smoke cleared. Things lightened up at work in a way that was definitely for my greatest and highest good, but there were some hard lessons in there about my ego and letting go, and about paying attention to where I put my energy, that helped me shift my perspective. (Nice work Universe!)

At the end of a retrograde, after a planet goes “direct” again, there is a shadow period (called a “retroshade”) as the planet is adjusting to the shift in direction (or the illusion of the shift in direction, I guess.)  January was my retroshade period.  Things were still a little weird and then I took some downtime to regroup and recover.  When February started, I was ready to go “direct”.

To get the energy flowing back in the right direction, I decided to bring “New Things” officially back in to my life!  I don’t have a specific number new things I want to do this year, I am just going to try to get out and do new stuff and hopefully, write about it!  I managed to knock out five new things in two weeks, so I am off to a good start!  You can find the list on my lists page!

Happy (very) belated new year!! It feels good to be “direct” again, and on the right path, and to have this 2019 wrap up post complete so I can really get started with 2020.

PS: Ironically, as I was writing this post, Mercury went retrograde and will be retrograde until March 9th, 2020.  Metaphorically, I am “direct” but in reality, we are all now experiencing Mercury retrograde which may cause some disruptions in communication, perception, and thinking (which are all related to the energy of the planet Mercury).  Be careful out there.

All The Retrogrades

It’s been a minute, I know!  It’s soooooo hard to find time to write! But here I am! Let me catch you up….

Right after I got back from the UK, one of my employees resigned and my already heavy workload doubled in the job that is not my life’s purpose #bummer (I think in hashtags now, blame Instagram.)

BUT, I still moved forward with gusto to help some of my fellow pilgrims/heroes/spiritual creative friends with projects so I could learn more about what they need and how I can help them.

I gave my friend Maryanne some social media coaching, and she is doing great with  beautiful posts about her work as a Gyrotonics and Gyrokinesis instructor!  (FYI she happens to be teaching a 40 day online course. If you are looking for a morning movement and breath practice with an amazing teacher find her on Instagram and she will hook you up!)

I helped my friend Kim get her website cleaned up and get a page posted for her upcoming Soul Deep Retreat. I learned that building websites in WordPress is fun, but very time consuming!  Helping creative & spiritual entrepreneurs with systems related stuff feels like the right move, but websites might have to be outsourced or kept very simple. Good learning.  Another side note…if you have any interest in Shamanism, want an astrology reading, or to get more deeply connected to your soul and change some recurring patterns in your life, reach out to Kim! I have done a couple of sessions with her myself that have been very eye opening (more on that later) and I just love her.

I also helped my friend Chris set up her Acuity scheduling system so she can have her clients automatically schedule time with her.  Chris is a costume designer/stylist launching a business to help people clear out their closets and fill them back up with clothes that make them happy! How amazing is that! Chris is a talented artist and a beautiful soul. (I love my new friends!) If you have some closets that need clearing or some styling needs, Chris is taking on new clients this fall! You can find her here on Instagram.

In the middle of all of that excitement, I got sick. My bi-annual sinus infection reared its ugly head and it lasted for weeks!  My body was clearly trying to send me a message and I think it might have been…

“Starting your own business is too scary! Stay where it is safe and you know you will succeed and have a steady paycheck. Stop all of this side hustle shit.”

I also just completely melted down emotionally, and had all kinds of doubts about everything and there were a lot of tears and thoughts like this…What have I gotten myself in to? Can I really have my own business? How can I work on this and do my full time job? Why can’t I connect with my spirit guides and see my past lives like everyone else? Why won’t my crystal talk to me?!  Why isn’t the Reiki working!? What am I doing!!! Is this all bull shit? 

Good times.

But ALSO during all of this, I was exposed to Astrology!!!!!! This completely deserves its own post (and there might be many because I am kind of obsessed at the moment.) What I will say now, is that we are apparently in the middle of a very crazy astrological time. Its eclipse season, both mercury and mars are in retrograde, and Uranus moves in to retrograde soon.  I had no idea what any of this meant before two weeks ago (and I still don’t really but now I talk like this!) Is it real? Is it not real? Well, it made me feel better to know that, possibly, planetary alignments could be contributing to me feeling like shit because planets keep moving so there might be an end! You tell me if you have been feeling any of this in the past few weeks?

In simple terms, this astrology feels like an explosion with an earthquake thrown in for good measure. Eclipses pull up shadows and things we wanted to keep hidden. Mercury retrograde tries to trick us in to making mistakes so we can learn from them. Mars retrograde demands that we make our anger, potency, and power conscious so that we might use it wisely instead of destructively. Uranus demands change. (Source: Chani Nichols)

I can’t exactly tell you when it will let up (because I don’t really know what I am talking about yet) BUT the final eclipse is on August 11th so this could be good news!

There was also a shamanic journeying sessions that I am still processing (wow!) and I learned about my energy centers of training which I need to tell you about did some shadow fear work and some Ho’oponopono meditation.  Its been a lot of stuff!

When I thought about sitting down to write this post, I thought what would come out was…”Yeah, I’ve been working a lot and I got sick and was miserable”, but now that I am at the end of the post, I realize that I have been working on and moving through a lot of stuff. This is why I should write more!!

I will be back soon….I promise!

 

One Week Out

I have been home for a little over a week. The jet lag has faded and I am back to real life.  I am falling back in to the rhythm of my just OK and not AMAZING life. Old patterns and feelings are creeping back in.

I still have so many questions! How can I keep moving and growing while living my day to day life? How can I ignite the flame of the sparks of spiritual connections I made in the UK? What the hell kind of business am I supposed to start? There are not enough hours in the day.  In my free moments, I can’t decide whether to write or research or get in my move calories or meditate or do Rieki!!  Then I have to plan healthy meals, get in my 8 hours of beauty sleep, and keep doing my day job.  I have accumulated so many books on my Kindle but I am not reading them!!  (I guess I need to prioritize the one on Slip Stream Time Hacking!)

What is the right balance of taking care of yourself and pushing yourself to keep growing?

I was planning to write about the poetry and movement course but that is not how I am feeling today. Today I am feeling a little paralyzed and overwhelmed and not sure what to do next. The Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) are setting in.  I have withdrawal from being surrounded by the people I became so close to.  I am back in my solo life that requires effort to engage with other people (not my forte) and will power to NOT engage with the wrong people (also not my forte).

My life is not all new things and adventures. There is a lot of this FUD mixed in.  My life is not my social media feed. Keeping up that level of excitement is against my nature (or at least my current vibration.) I have to fight hard to break the downward spiral that can set in.  On days like today I try to start with one thing that will move me in the right direction.

No, actually, what I do first is give myself a little bit of time to feel what I am feeling. I acknowledge that what I am trying to do (live my biggest and best life and elevate my vibration) is hard and I let myself have an internal temper-tantrum.

 

I did the work! I went on the pilgrimage! Can’t it be all fixed now? Why can’t I make decisions more easily ? Why is the path still not clear? How can I still get distracted by things and people that are not best for my greatest and highest good? I released my fears in to a sacred spring. And then I burned them in the fireplace of a 700 year old manor! I plunged naked in to a freezing cold healing pool to purify myself.  I have the Universal Life Force Energy flowing through me.  AND I have the I have a manifestation wand that lights up!  Seriously…what else can I do???!!!!

Well, I am a star soul on a quest for enlightenment. There is more work to do. (More on star souls later, I am still learning!)

After the temper tantrum, I buckle down and make myself do SOMETHING. Just one thing (that I don’t really feel like doing) that will keep me on my trajectory. I can take a walk and listen to an inspiring podcast.  I can reach out to connect with other human beings (being careful to stick with the ones that will elevate my vibration.)  I can write.  I can get my ass to a yoga class (or a dance class)! I can finish that book on Slip Stream Time Hacking! I can make a list of stuff to learn about for my mystery business (I really love lists. Can start a business that is all about lists?).

My inspirational advice for today?

Get perspective. Practice self love. Do just one thing, which will turn in to one more thing….Keep moving.

 

 

Restarting the Blog..Maybe

One of my goals for 2017 was to start blogging again. It’s December 28th so I thought I should get on it.

A few months ago I re-read 5 years of blog posts to try to get back in to the swing of it.  When I read back what I had written, I was not sure I wanted to start blogging again. I like having a history of what I was up to (and thinking about), but reading myself say the same thing over and over again —  setting goals, trying to achieve them, work getting in the way, blah, blah, blah — was boring (especially in a binge read which is not how they unfolded or were intended to be consumed.)

In case you are just joining in now or want a refresher yourself here are a few to give you a gist of my personal development theme:

I did write some hilarious posts about the minutia of my life (if I might say so myself):

My many posts on television bored the bejesus out of me. (Some less sucky ones include Goodbye Friday Night Lights and I Finally Tackled Battlestar Galactica)  I have no interest in blogging about television any more.  I definitely still watch television and it has become SO much better since I started this blog in 2010.  (Back in the day, Netflix only came in red envelopes! Remember that?)

There was a lot of interest in my dating posts and I did enjoy writing and re-reading those! Here are a few goodies from that genre:

I wanted my blog to be a continuous story thread to keep my readers (aka family and friends) up to date on what was going on with me and it was the same s*^t over and over, with small progressions in the right direction.  That is what life is, but that is not a riveting read. I don’t want to blog that way any more. Social media has exploded since I started the blog and that is a much easier way to keep people up to date.

I did take on a huge project in 2017 and it was very weird not to write about it here.  There was a request to summarize that project and the blog seems like a good place to do that so I have committed to at least one more post!  It seemed weird to jump right in to that after such a long hiatus, so I birthed this transitional summary post you find yourself reading now.

There are a couple of other reasons to re-start the blog again:

  1. I have an interest in writing and I think I’m pretty good at it. I want to explore this creative outlet again and see if it something that should become a larger part of my life.
  2. I want to write about things that are helpful to other people. I spend a lot of time searching on the internet for stuff that I want to know more about.  I can pay it forward by writing about things that other people want to know more about.

I don’t know how far this will go. I thought about creating a new blog to start fresh but I don’t have a new idea or perspective for that yet.  If that emerges I will take the leap, but for now, I will continue the story here and see what unfolds…