Monday, March 21, 2011

Getting a taste.

Just recently I was commenting that I didn't really know how to be home with my son by myself all day, even though I've always wanted to be a stay- (or work-) at-home-mom. For years I've been saying that web pages (what I've done professionally for the past 11 years) just aren't my thing anymore. A year ago I bought the domain name for my would-be coaching business, and promptly created a placeholder that has remained there ever since. Ever since the windows were installed in our house just after we bought it five and a half years ago, I've been thinking to myself that I really ought to finish painting the trim.

What do all these things have in common?

I found out almost two weeks ago that in three months, my position will be eliminated.

It wasn't that great of a shock; we've been warned of budget cuts for the past two years. In this round of cuts we knew our department would be losing two positions. Since my position was merged into this department, it had never really been the most important service being provided in the eyes of those deciding things like what services will be provided, so I sort of figured that my position would be one of the cuts. Finding out for sure, though, makes it real. That's different than probably.

So now, glance back at the first paragraph and guess how many of those things have either moved up on the priority list, or have become sudden real possibilities?

The house has been on the market for nearly three years and still I'd always put off all the little things like painting the window trim, little things that I felt like we needed to hide when we'd leave the house for someone to view it, which would end with the curtains being drawn and the house feeling dark. Along the same lines as the bathroom shelf I mentioned recently, it didn't take that long to paint the window trim; I open the curtains constantly now and it feels so much brighter in here, not to mention the good feeling that comes with being able to show off more of the house rather than feeling like I have to hide it.

I have a gazillion sick days saved up that I'll lose at the end of my job, so instead of cramming doctor's appointments into lunch hours, I'm taking half-days (we can't take sick leave hourly) and using the remaining time to clean up the house or just take some me time. (I played a video game the other day. By myself. For as long as I wanted.)

My father-in-law has been sick, and since my in-laws watch the little one during the day, that left me without childcare today... which, by the way, also counts as a sick day. I spent today with my son in a totally different mindset than the last time -- what could this be like if it were an everyday thing? Would I make breakfast every day, or cook up extra sausage and muffins early in the week to reheat later? Oh look, I can look through a cook book and toss something in the crock pot to be ready for dinner with absolutely no rushing around after work! I can do laundry! I can wash dishes as I go, because I'm not hurried! Oh, and since my father-in-law is still sick, I get to learn even more about what it's like to stay home with my kid and take care of my house all over again tomorrow! And I can already see the bottom of the laundry hamper! Well, one of them.

I've been crocheting more, as I realized I'd stopped making fingerless gloves that I was making so many of for a while, simply because people stopped asking. And then I felt stressed out and trapped and like I needed to do something but didn't know what, until I figured out that, oh yeah, that whole crochet thing was totally my creative outlet. Now I'm figuring I can build up a stock and sell them at the hippie store around the corner, and/or craft shows, and/or on etsy, and bring in an extra few dollars occasionally (in case that few dollars makes a difference).

I realized that after saying so many times "I am so done with websites!" that this time, I am so done with websites! I don't ever have to do them again if I don't want to when this job ends. I love me some barter so I'll keep up the ones I love doing, or love what I'm getting in exchange, but I am done being a webmaster. I actually started giggling when I realized that. I'm free! Now it's all on my own terms.

Like my own. That domain name I bought a year ago for my would-be coaching business? The one I kept telling myself I really ought to build a website for? The coaching I kept telling myself I really ought to start building a clientele for? Now that I finally got my kick-in-the-butt from the Universe telling me, "Okay! I'm giving you all these things now! You figure out what to do with them!" it took me a week to build the website from the ground up. And I love it.

And here it is: Life Spiraling Forward

Please, take a peek, and you know anyone who you feel that would resonate with (including yourself!) please feel free to shamelessly promote me as much as you want! I even have a sweet "hey, my new website is up!" price special going on for the first five folks to sign up. And if I find out they came from you, you might get a present. Just sayin'.

I've been having conversations with the Universe about this house attracting its new owner this month, and after a long dry spell we've seen a huge increase in traffic, which is pretty rewarding and says to me that the Universe listens. So I'ma keep talkin'!

You know, I didn't used to be this way. I used to be a worrymonger (which I would occasionally worry about). This "new" way of being, the way of seeing opportunities, feels so much brighter. (And hey, if you'd like to learn to do the same thing, there's a link up there for a life coach...)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thoughts as a medicine cabinet.

Our house has been up for sale for quite some time now, and though we really haven't had any activity recently, we've become restless with the state of limbo we've been in. Our new house, which belonged to my husband's late grandparents, is just sitting there waiting on us. We've put some work into it here and there -- refinished the hardwood floor we discovered under the living room carpet, started painting what will be Raiden's bedroom -- and have moved some of our extra stuff over in various spurts, but we have finally grown restless with the restlessness. We're moving there. For real.

Though at times it feels like this process is really dragging out (and, let's face it, after almost-three years, it really is) we're lucky, in a way, that we get to take our time with it. There's no mad flurry of WE HAVE TO PACK RIGHT NOW OR ELSE and that allows us a little space to really go through what we have while we're packing it. Keep; yard sale or donate; trash. We've had several moments of "I forgot that even existed" and "So that's where that went! How did it get in there?!"

The most significant for me, so far, came yesterday afternoon. Raiden had become a holy terror and it was very obvious that it was because he was tired (though he refused to admit this, of course), so after getting him down for a nap, which pretty much never happens anymore, Rich and I were able to get some packing done without having to 1) stop a million times to entertain a three year old, or 2) feel guilty ignoring our three year old. Rich took to the bedroom; I stationed myself in the bathroom.

My first stop: the medicine cabinet above the washer. Storage tub in front of me and trash can to my side, I started going through all the stuff we had piled in our bulging-at-the-seams cabinet, deciding what to keep at the house we're still living in, what to go ahead and take over to the other house, and what to get rid of entirely. My being a pseudo-hippie came in two-fold in this scenario: 1) I had at least a couple dozen bottles of Standard Process supplements in the cabinet that have been there for who knows how long and for who knows what purpose, and 2) this made me think. It occurred to me, especially after a recent conversation with my fabulous coach (her website, her blog), that it was an analogy for thoughts.

I had all this stuff stored in my cabinet and though I knew vaguely that it was there and that I wasn't using it, I hadn't taken the time before then to really look at what the stuff was, how it was serving me by staying in my cabinet, when I picked it up in the first place, when it outlived its usefulness, or if I would ever use it again.

What about thoughts? What thoughts do I have sitting in the back of my mind that I know are there but don't really pay any attention to? How can these thoughts be serving me (or even "serving" me by allowing me the freedom to stay stagnant when moving forward is scary)? Where did they come from? Do I still need them? Will I ever need them again? Could someone else I care about benefit from me keeping them around?

I recently discovered the power in letting a thought go and replacing it with another, and even the power in realizing I could let it go.

What was funny to realize while cleaning out my cabinet was that if something was full, I had a hard time throwing it away. It was taking up a lot of space and I knew I would never use it again, but the thought of getting rid of something that hadn't really been utilized still bothered me. It made me wonder what big, full, useless thoughts may be occupying my mind, keeping me from replacing them with something I felt better about.


Later in the adventures of bathroom tidying, we removed a shelf we had never liked. There had been a built-in cabinet when we first bought the house, and I don't remember when we removed it or why, but the section of wall behind where it had been was painted a different color than the rest of the wall. We even color-matched the paint and picked up a quart a while back, but never painted it. Instead, we got an ugly shelf and decided that hopefully the clutter on it would cover up the ugly wall. It was functional, but it's always bugged me.

After the shelf was out, the wall was painted and the new shelf was in, I wondered aloud, "Why didn't do do this when it was for us??"

One of my favorite questions on my new-coaching-client questionnaire is, "What are you tolerating?" I was reminded again that I ought to ask it of myself occasionally, too. And then move on it. It didn't take that long to move the shelf or paint the section of wall. There was no reason to let it sit there bothering me for however many months or years it has been that way, when an afternoon took care of fixing it.

What else am I tolerating? How much energy am I giving the annoyance it's causing me, compared to how much energy it would take to do something about it and then be happier with it?


So what about you? What's hanging out in your brain's medicine cabinet? What is your unpainted bathroom wall that you're hiding with clutter on an ugly shelf? And when will you do something to change it?