It’s Thursday evening and I can’t help but wonder about the balancing act of life now days. I can recall a time when people where using the phrase work/life balance, the wonderful idea of having both a personal life and professional life that are in an equal and rewarding balance. Are they still using this idea I have to wonder? Are we actually able to have a sense of balance when everything has been off kilter for so many months now?
With the uprooting of office space, being moved out of cubicles, not seeing those re-assuring faces or hearing the voices of our dearest co-workers we have all been exposed to a bit of off-kilter. Converting dining room tables to desk’s, spare bedroom’s to offices, and our own kitchens to break rooms we have had to adapt.
If we have learned anything during this adaption phase is that in the midst of off-kilter we have proven that balance becomes an act of survival at times. Whereas work/life balance had included travel time, dry-cleaning, in person meetings and lunches we have been changed of that. The idea of travel time simply means shuffling from one room to another, dry-cleaning not a chance, since most of our meetings are virtual do we even need anything but a clean shirt? And for lunches sure thing, just open that fridge and grab what you want.
Now all humor aside precautions where taken to ensure safety for as many people as possible and for that I will always be grateful. 2020 was a very long and tedious nightmare of sorts in which each day you awoke finding yourself pulling together your senses of hope. The amount of loss of people globally is simply heartbreaking, too many lives lost, families shattered beyond repair. Yet we survived, we pulled through, we have been able to persevere. I think back to my opening of work/life balance in dismay and think it should be referred to as survival/work/life balance. Adding the key word of survival is so very important because that is what we have each been able to due within our own right, survive.
The act of survival has become an integral part of our balance hasn’t it? Where once heading out the door simply meant grabbing your keys and a wallet, know the first thing you grab is your mask(s) and then maybe hand sanitizer before reaching for your keys and wallet. We adapt, we balance, we survive. Let us each for a moment acknowledge and repeat the word RESILIENCE as this is a characteristic we have all been able to manifest just in order to make it through the day.
It’s not been easy, there have been tears, sleepless evenings, and too many snacks, but I keep trying, trying to do the best I can. Without a doubt I miss the faces and voices of the friends within the office, more than I ever realized I would, but I do.
My balance is ok, honestly depends on the day, but I make it work. It’s interesting how now we look forward to our virtual engagements just to see the faces we so miss in person, to laugh and try so very hard to make that connection, to keep that connection, to feel the encouragement of others. We are already near the close of the second month of 2021 and we have seen positive movement, now more than ever we must ensure that we balance.
What I have learned is perspective, what truly matters, what truly deserves the energy and attention we now hold so sacred. I find I am in no rush as I once was, I lean in even further now and listen with compassion, I acknowledge even more than usual and show gratitude without limits. The losses strengthen you, the pain hurts there is no doubt to that, but it fuels your survival. The balancing act is to simply be…
Time does seem to go fast when you stop for a while and look back on your journey.
It was only four years ago that I was turning the big 50, excited about waking up in London, England and spending time exploring. What was a ‘bucket list’ wish turned into a milestone celebration thanks to my husband.
He planned everything to make sure the trip was everything I could have ever imagined it would be. It’s an interesting thing, life that is when you have a chance to share it with someone you love.
Four years this very month, our birthday month that we share, makes us feel very happy. To awaken in London, just the two of us, no real agenda, only one thing scheduled was weirdly refreshing indeed.
The saying ‘love is love’ runs through my mind because what I have learned is that when you are living your authentic life with someone who has captured your soul, every day becomes easier and easier. Exploring the streets of London was even more magical as we learned and discovered the doings of our favorite place.
There are so many memories, and too many photos, but we couldn’t be happier with our time there. If I had to pull down two things that stand out the most from our journey it would be our evening at Royal Albert Hall [http://www.royalalberthall.com] simply amazing and I would strongly recommend it once travel and activities are able to resume. The other is our tour of Buckingham Palace [http://rct.uk], yes call me a typical tourist but I could not even think about missing the majesty of it call.
As an American I have always been simply fascinated with the royals, it is such a far removed life that I wanted to simply see a glimpse of it for myself. As we walked from room to room it’s overwhelming in a sense to see within their world, even if just a minimal view.
What I have grown to understand as I get older is the feeling of gratitude. Life is hard make no mistake about it. Each of us deals with our own challenges and demons, regardless of the words we type or the photos we post. However, gratitude when you allow it in can sooth the immediate aches. Standing in front of Buckingham Palace, looking at something you’ve always wanted to see with the one you love, gratitude at its finest.
Now, four years later at the start of a new year and we as a people are trying are best to capture, contain, and ultimately eliminate a disease that has taken too many lives, we wait. We wait to simply resume our lives, to move past the pause button that has been engaged for all of us, we wait. To explore, to familiar and unfamiliar faces and places, to recapture memories and make new ones, until then, we wait.
London you captured our hearts , your beautiful country, your amazing people, everything about you, you’ve captured us. Until we can visit you again.
What a day it’s been, call after call, virtual meeting after virtual meeting. Do you feel accomplished, satisfied, like you have done your best? Well you should, you put your all into being as successful as you possibly can be.
The close of day should bring accomplishment, achievement, reward for a day well spent. It’s ok to spend time in reflection, it’s how we grow, we do better, we become better.
I often think about the day and remind myself I did my very best to provide the greatest assistance I could. My goal is to help and if I achieve this my day is made.
You have to put things into perspective, we all have various roles and responsibilities, as well as professional norms and expectations. It’s a wonderful and fulfilling feeling when you can make a difference in someone’s day.
Today, Monday the 1st I made it my goal to stay focused, eat well, and help as many as I could. I remind myself that what I am doing today is going to bring me closer to where I want to be tomorrow, and it does.
With only 28 days in the month that is 28 days to make a difference. Can you do it? I think you can…
As we leave January behind and we prepare to enter February one simple act, one simple thought, one simple word; THINK.
- T-is it true
- H-is it helpful
- I-is it inspiring
- N-is it necessary
- K-is it kind
We must hold ourselves to a higher level of regard, and respect not only for ourselves but for others as well.
Imagine for a moment….kindness
Imagine if we would just….think
What we do for self care is so very important to our own mental health. With everything going on right now, I can only speak for myself but my anxieties are at an all time high.
What I am realizing is that the whole stay at home in isolation thing is beginning to make it more un-comfortable for me to leave my home. The realist in me gets it, I understand completely the reasoning for it, the impact on community, and quite honestly my own level of responsibility to community. However, along with learning and becoming adjusted to the new norms we are all getting use to I am also trying to learn how to best manage myself and my anxieties to once again feel comfortable, simply just leaving the house.
For me what I have tried to do is go for a walk, nothing overly exciting, just a walk. With all honesty I will tell you the first several attempts were challenging, seriously a simple walk a challenge?
The community in which I live is beautiful, it’s welcoming, it is my home, yet now I am un-nerved to walk amongst my neighbors. The first couple of times I went out all masked up hyper sensitive to social distancing and what others where doing. I found myself becoming more and more stressed on a simple walk, and if I saw someone without a mask, whew my nerves just got more intense. The simple walk to try and calm myself was backfiring on me.
We then decided going for a drive, windows down, sun roof open, and no immediate stresses. This worked and actually allowed me to take that so well needed deep breath. However, the reality is, and I realized I need to get back out there. I love going for walks, I always have and the idea of allowing my anxieties to take this from me was unacceptable. So we masked up and hit the pavement again, we walked earlier in the morning, later in the evening to mix things up a bit. Its during this time that our local parks and trails were still closed by order of our governor.
The walks were beginning to help, I could feel my anxiety lessening a bit, it was still there but I was beginning to feel better about it. It’s exhausting quite honestly and trying to explain to others isn’t always easy, especially for those who truly don’t understand it. The last thing I want to hear is “just deal with it” or “just get over it” believe me this only adds to it.
When the parks were opened I was excited about the chance to simply just walk, hear the birds, and most importantly breath.
The first walk in the park was rewarding, we brought one of our three dogs and even our mask’s just to be pro-active. It’s a humbling feeling to be able to fully engage by simply walking in the park. We stopped by the river to take it in, enjoy the moment, appreciate our current state of being.
Are the daily norms changed forever? Yes, for me they are, but I will adjust and allow myself to be at ease, it may take longer for me and that’s ok, there is no rush.
My Sunday reflection.
Today like most days I found myself missing you. I hear a song, look at a photo, see a red cardinal and it triggers an emotion.
The emotion that arises causes such tears, such a feeling of loss, such a heaviness in my heart and I struggle with figuring out how to rationalize all of it.
I am simply a son who misses you so very much. How would I have grown with you here? Who would I have become with your physical presence next me? These are just some of the questions that arise. I am angry at times at you for stealing away the “could have been’s” sometimes and it makes me mad that your every breathing moment wasn’t in the best interest of me and my brother.
I want to scream HOW DARE YOU STEAL OUR LIVES FROM US but to whom would I yell to? your headstone, the sky’s, the old photos? Who please tell me.
You left us with one parent, a broken parent and a continual state of life out of balance. I have nothing to compare it to because this is my only experience. At five and three, my brother and I were not prepared for any of it, and to this day we still aren’t. There is a void in my memory that I continually fight with, struggle to gain a control that will never be, in a continual failed attempt at a memory, a clear as crystal memory of you.
I have glimpses, quick memories of you and for that I am beyond thankful. The few photos of you I cherish and find at times not able to look at because the ache within my heart becomes too much for me. My GOD how I miss the idea of “could have been’s” I just don’t know what to do.
People would say I made it, I survived, that you would be proud of me. Well, isn’t the idea of survival up to interpretation? I think back on childhood and remember just being scared, just feeling alone and unloved, not regarded at all. T
he broken parent re-married and the relationship was beyond toxic, abusive, traumatizing, every horrible and frightening word you can imagine to say the least, but yet we were able to barely maneuver are way through it.
I think back now as an adult to how I maneuvered through life back then, always that feeling of having to think ahead, have a plan. What did I know, nothing, no plan, no anything, but the instinct to make it through each day.
Being witness without realizing it, seeing the slow collapse of a parents willingness to remain engaged, relevant, a protecter for their children changes you. As an adult with life experiences under my belt I can and associate the behaviors to what the parent was going through, dealing with, and just trying to survive themselves. However, I am now a parent myself and can’t internalize or even imagine allowing my child to fall to the side.
Life out of balance is survivable indeed, it’s not easy but it can be done. The void never fills, for me specifically it hasn’t. I believe the older you get the more you learn, the more you rationalize, the more you associate feelings and raw emotions.
It’s ok to acknowledge a hard road travelled, I do, I do it to remind me of the accomplishments I have been able to achieve with the start that I was dealt. What I do know is that there is less tolerance for wasted time, useless conversation, and most importantly toxic relationships regardless of who they are with.
There is so much more to this story, when I am ready. It’s important to understand that everything is related in time, and when comfortable. I miss you so very much, and I know within my heart you are so very proud of me. I see a red cardinal everyday and dream of you often, you are with me, with my daughter, my brother and his children. We love and honor you and now are beginning to realize we achieved because of your hands on our shoulders guiding and shielding us. We love dad.
What are we doing? Sounds like a simple question doesn’t it, it isn’t.
We are becoming more consciously aware of the society in which we walk amongst. Yes there are so many wonderful people that encourage, uplift, and provide us the continual energies needed to move us forward, remind us of the goodness and potential of others. However, we are continuing to see the harsh and ugly realities that continue to plague us, blur the peaceful vision that we want to see, that we want to believe.
I ask myself why, why can’t we just accept others as they accept us. None of us are perfect, none of us are a perfect representation of the ideal being, I know I’m not, are you? Yet, there are those who walk amongst us who feel it within there control, there power, there right to change the course of someone’s life based on there ill perceived perceptions and realities.
All of us deserve the right to live, to feel safe, to feel accepted and to be able to walk amongst each other shoulder to shoulder without fear. We all deserve the right to thrive. The right to be conscious in our environment.
What I have learned is to put yourself within an environment that will allow you to re-charge, re-group, and hopefully reset yourself. To become conscious is not always easy, it means facing the harshness that often surrounds us. Allowing the walls we have created to protect us to come down, to become conscious means we must be willing to expose our vulnerabilities to truly be able to see what we want, what we will allow, what we can no longer tolerate.
I began writing this the other day because the anxiety and stress of adapting to our new normal was beginning to become kind of heavy. The process of re-learning what we have always taken for granted is a job within it self, talk about stress. So what do we do? What can we do, how can we get ourselves to a space where we can alleviate the sudden stresses brought upon us without option?
For me it’s music, music allows me to become conscious, allows me to re-become the self I remember, the self I can still relate to. Music is my becoming of consciousness.
This past Saturday I watched and most importantly listened to an Instagram.com live stream between two amazingly soulful singers; erykahbadu.com and missjillscott.com and I can comfortably say the hour and change of listening and watching these soulful legends sing, laugh, and banter back and forth was the re-set I so very needed. To become conscious is to allow yourself the time to wrap yourself in what brings you peace, what brings you calm, what allows you to just breath. To simply become conscious.
Music can flood you with memories, good and bad. Make you laugh with a happiness that is un-yielded, that places a pep within us that gives us each an unbridled energy of joy that can’t easily be explained. The right lyrics penned by the right visionary of the message can extract you, even momentarily from the harshness and brutality that walks amongst us, giving a welcomed escape.
So, to become conscious let me ask you this; what are you doing?