what i’m into – keeping me sane {march 2019}

I invite everyone to share your link to your What I’m Into blog posts in the comments below and let your community know that you are doing so.  We’ll do this every month, next on Wednesday, May 1.  I’d be honored if you would spread the word.    

Whew! As I type this I am exhaling from the month of March.  Oh March! You were filled with incredible highs and implausible lows.  I am in awe of the magnitude of what I have experienced.  Yet, I’m still here – a little stronger, a little wiser, and more at peace than I have ever been in the entirety of my life.

  • For most of March, my family has been fighting this flu-like, but not flu-like virus that has hopped from one person to the next, and seemingly went around again. So, for most of this month, I have been stuck at home.  Which turned out to be a good thing because it was my intention to focus on the home front and continue the process of tidying using the KonMari method in March. I’m sharing my experience with you and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, head over here to check it out. Being at home gave me no excuse to not get into that third category of papers that I had been dreading with every fiber of my being. But I got it done and you can look for all the details in the next week or so.
  • The day that I essentially finished tidying my papers, I felt another moment of the “life-changing magic” that Marie Kondo describes. I can’t wait to share it with all of you. I was riding high.
  • Then a week and a half ago, my family experienced a low. Prior to my work of intentionally being uncomfortable, being in the present and doing the “next right thing”, this experience would have broken me.  The Hubby gave me fantastic advice, which he generally does whether I can see it as such at the time or not.  He said, “do whatever you need to do to be who you need to be at this time.”

So, with gratitude, I encourage each of you to develop the tools that you need to stay sane, now.  If you don’t know what they are, experiment until you find what works for you.  For me, what’s working is:

  • Moving my body – my favorite is running in the early morning as the sun’s just coming up. That time of quiet and serenity has been vital to my sanity as life has swirled around me.
  • Writing – via journaling and even sharing my experiences with you on this blog.
  • Meditating/Praying – I am learning that I can combine this with running and with writing for greater impact.
  • Reading – books and magazines, both nonfiction (inspirational, etc.) and fiction (to take my mind off things). Emily P. Freeman’s new book, The Next Right Thing, releasing tomorrow, has been a Godsend for such a time as this. I wrote a full review here.
  • Listening to Great Music – sometimes you just gotta create a playlist. And more importantly, listen to the playlist that you created.  Why is that so diffcult?
  • Talking to someone – close friends and family and a professional. If you don’t have someone to talk to, reach out to someone.  Don’t worry if you are rebuffed.  Reach out to someone else but keep reaching out.  Don’t give up. Find the person(s) that is there for you, even if you must pay them. And if you already know who they are in your life, sincerely thank them.

Thank you all for reading this blog. Thank you for linking to your content.  Thank you for your comments. Thank you for accompanying me on this journey.

enjoy life…

book review: “the next right thing” by emily p. freeman

The Next Right Thing

I have a confession to make.  I’ve never reviewed a book before I’ve finished it. And even though I’ve only completed 64%, without a shadow of a doubt, I can 100% recommend The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman.

I have read three of Emily’s four books and I have been listening to her podcast, “The Next Right Thing” for over a year now. I enjoy Emily’s soothing voice but I tend to learn best via the written word, so when I heard that she was writing the book, I preordered it immediately.  Amazon didn’t even have the cover art to display!

I have early access to the book in digital format via Netgalley; the book releases on April 2. But unlike most books that I read, I am not flying through it. This book is meant to be savored. This book is meant to be read again and again.  This book is meant to be the hand of God guiding you slowly and peacefully through making decisions in this messy, yet magnificent life.  Yes, that is a direct reference to another favorite of mine, This Messy Magnificent Life by Geneen Roth.  Geneen details how important it is to choose to live life from a full heart and to make decisions from that space.  Emily tells you how to do that.

I have always struggled with making decisions. For over 35 years, I have driven my family crazy with my anxiety and worry – so much so that they have kept things from me until I absolutely had to know them, concerned about my reaction. Because I want to do everything right, my fear of doing something wrong has caused me to do the wrong thing or be terrified to act at all.  Over the past 13 years, I’ve learned how to combat my need for perfection and to make decisions from my heart. The Next Right Thing is the book I needed 13 years ago. Emily has put everything I’ve been learning about whole-hearted decision-making into one place.

The book is as light in tone as it is heavy with content, and the irony is not lost on me that as Emily is discussing putting down our phone to hear the silence, I’m reading on the Kindle App on my phone. I cannot wait for this book to be available in hard copy. I like to highlight and write in margins when I come to good points and The Next Right Thing has so many good points! I can’t finish reading because I keep having to hold her nuggets of wisdom in my mind, turning them over and over.

She ends every chapter with a prayer and a practice.  A favorite is part of one below.

May we not demand a spectacle, a miracle, or a sign.

May we simply, quietly, be still and know.

The Next Right Thing will help you know.

enjoy life…

P. S. Saturday, March 30, 2019 – I have finished. It was way better than I anticipated. Pick up your copy and read it.

 

books: create home thru konmari

For our first-ever Enjoy Life Project, we are working on Creating Home. The first step is to purge my home of the unnecessary, anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or loved. I am using the KonMari method, developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering guru and author of two book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up {LM} and Spark Joy {SJ}.  So far, I’ve introduced the project, discussed my criteria and completed my clothes (part I and part II).

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When tidying Marie’s second category, books, Marie invites us to ask this question: What kind of books will reflect the kind of person I want to be?

If you read this blog with any regularity you will know that I love books and I love reading.  Books have always sparked joy for me.  They have such a special place in my heart that I devoted the entire month of October last year to discussing their importance to me. I went into the books category fairly confident that the books that I had sparked joy. Even more confident than I was with my clothes.  I had purged a few books from my shelves last year because I had a suspicion then that seeing some of those books was making me feel guilty about past decisions. So, a lot of them went. I didn’t think that I would need to get rid of very many.

And I was right.  I own 193 books. I gave away six of them.  Marie includes magazines in the books category and I had 29 magazines.  I kept 13; three of which were of historical nature and featured Michelle Obama on the cover, eight were for reference as I work on various writing projects, and two were current issues that I am in the process of looking through.

It took me one and a half hours to go through all my books. Seeing them all on the floor was a little unnerving but it didn’t make me shudder. The sheer volume of them sparked joy. I was happy to have so many of them in my life.

Surprising Discoveries

Books that reflected my current life were on the bottom shelves. My books about writing, research, etc. were on my bottom shelves and all the books about my past and former careers: event planning, grant writing, administrative support, were front and center. That struck me as to the value that I was placing on my current situation and how I was hanging onto the dreams of yesteryear. I changed that immediately. And now my goals are at eye-level.  It’s been a very interesting shift.

Unread books can be taboo in both the reading community and Marie Kondo and I was afraid that I would have a lot of unread books.  Shockingly, I only had 15, three of which I let go. And here, as a bookman (a person who loves books and reading), I must disagree with the venerable Marie. “The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it.”  I have a number of books on my shelves that I initially didn’t read or started reading and didn’t finish. But I came back to them later to discover that the time was right for me to read them. Women Food and God by Geneen Roth and The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge fall into this category for me.

Still To Do

85b7544a-7f1e-42bd-be72-14e94a7cd15dI am getting new bookshelves so that I can see all my books. Right now, most them are stored behind each other because while my bookshelf is very wide, it is not very tall. After I get the bookshelves and as I place the books on the shelf, that I will probably purge some more. My bookshelves will be constantly evolving: highlighting the girl I was and showcasing the woman I am now while pointing the way to who I hope to become.

By tidying, Marie says that I am honing my intuition and ability to take action. I love that. I’m going to need it because paper (and all that THAT entails) is next. OH BOY!

enjoy life…

Please ask any questions you may have in the comments. There are no stupid questions and I do enjoy sharing what I am learning. Please ask away.