09 Mar A Taste of My Own Medicine
It’s good to be back! I’ve missed you and I’ve missed writing so much. I hadn’t planned on taking such a long break but I found myself in kind of a strange position. I was spending so much time and energy teaching, writing and talking about how to experience joy and fulfillment that I didn’t have enough time to do the things I was talking about. Add to that a dramatically busier work schedule the demands of having small children and caring for two parents with serious health issues and you have what I would call a relapse of sorts. After five years of cruising along in the joy zone I was in stress, fear and overwhelm with a dash of burnout.
It has been unsettling for me to dance with these old feelings but I’m so grateful for the opportunity. You see I used to feel like this all the time. Stress and overwhelm were my home base of emotions. So much so that I didn’t even recognize them as unusual or unhealthy. Fortunately, I’ve gotten accustomed to feeling relaxed, happy, inspired, passionate and joyful and there is really no going back. When my clients are in overwhelm I tell them to practice extreme self care and that’s what I’ve been doing to get back on track. I kind of pulled the plug on everything including my blog to regroup, get inspired and fill up my tank. It’s taken longer than I thought it would.
Part of my self care was to do a digital detox with my family. We turned off the phones, TV, computer and iPads for a whole four day weekend. It was wonderful. I got my girls a Spirograph (one of my favorite childhood toys) and we spent hours designing and coloring beautiful pictures and patterns. I think I enjoyed it even more than they did. I’m pretty sure as a society we need to spend more time coloring. Kids are on to something. Coloring is fun and really relaxing! It was a little disturbing to me how uncomfortable I was without my phone or email access. I think phone addiction is a habit that requires a little more mindfulness on my part.
The next part of the return to joy was to ask for help. This is an area in my life that I really struggle with. I like to be the support system for everyone and it is awkward and uncomfortable for me to be on the receiving end of help. I finally reached the point where I knew I couldn’t do this alone so I bumped up my appointments with my coach and added some extra support from friends and colleagues. I have come to terms with the logistical difficulties of caring for my parents but I have not come to terms with the harsh reality of what is really happening. The moment when the child becomes the parent has happened for me and it happened much sooner and faster than I was ready for. All three of us are being forced to face our mortality and it is really, really hard. I needed some help processing all of these feelings.
After being coached and counseled I took a time out and went for a girls weekend with some dear old friends. It’s hard to believe that these women (most of whom I met in seventh grade) and I are still friends after nearly 30 years! Old friends are so special. They give you a feeling of comfort like a well worn pair of jeans. There is simply no place for pretense around the people who knew you when you had braces and a bad perm. That trip was medicine for my soul. I haven’t laughed that much and that hard in a very long time. It’s been a while since I’ve been away alone and having a break from my regimented schedule was amazing. By the second day I even stopped looking at my watch! Sometimes I underestimate the importance of fun. I’m a very growth driven person and I have to remind myself that doing things just for fun is equally as valuable as doing things to learn, grow and improve. Luckily I have amazing friends (both new and old) that snap me out this mindset and remind me to come and play.
Now I’m in the last phase of “recovery” which is to address my schedule (which is currently not sustainable) and to get my creative mojo going again. I will have lots of goodies for you in the near future in this department. I’ve been reading, dreaming and getting inspired by the nice weather, the opportunity to get out in my garden and to collage until I am blue in the face. So stay tuned.
The most important thing I’ve learned from this experience is that it really doesn’t matter how much you know. It’s what you do that matters. If I know everything there is to know about joy but if I am not practicing any of it it doesn’t benefit me at all. What’s great is that it is a simple formula for me to get back to joy and I can do it anytime I get off track. The moment I practice what I know I get to feel good again! If you are going through your own version of a relapse of old behavior or emotions I hope you will find it helpful to know you are not alone and that it’s only temporary. Do the things you know you need to do to get back on track.
Joy is here waiting for you.
p.s. I’ve been having issues with major spam in my comments section so comments are currently closed but I would love to hear from you about what you do to get back to joy! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment on Facebook if you have advice or feed back.