Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sucker Punches from the Universe

Image credited to this site

My calendar and to-do list have been putting me through the ringer lately. And I feel like a wimp for even saying that because I know there are loads of people out there who have far more on their plates than I do. But man alive, does it feel like the Universe been giving me a run for my money...

I think it really started to sink in when I had to drive up to the Santa Ynez house the night of Mother's Day to meet an appraiser in the morning (we're refinancing). Although I love going to the new house, those trips lead to neglect of the Hollywood house...and I often come home to find cat hair and cat litter covering every surface. I'm hoping it belongs to my two cats and they're not throwing wild parties while I'm out of town...

In the back of my mind I also knew that I'd be traveling again for the next 3 weekends, all while trying to balance some semblance of house cleanliness + yardwork (Mr. W's grapevines are particularly high maintenance...) + errands (for myself and other people) + a couple of much needed social obligations + those pesky jobs I'm juggling right now, with two different employers and my coaching business. Oh, and did I mention I also had PMS?

The icing on the overload cake was that I was set to lead a weekend retreat for four women I'd never met. And the topic was *Overcoming Overwhelm*! How ya like the Universe's sense of humor now?!

We have a saying in coaching that goes like this: "You've got to live it to give it." And clearly I was living it.

I asked myself the age old gem "How is this serving me?" and realized that, although endlessly painful and frustrating, my stress was helping me remember tactics that would be good to mention at the retreat. 

Thankfully, the weekend went well and I was able to squeeze in 2 full hours of weeding in the front yard before the girls arrived. When I came home Sunday night (after 3 hours in traffic) I was delighted to finally have a smidge of downtime.

And then the cat had some sort of seizurey thing where his back legs wouldn't work right.

And I went over the edge.

Mr. W took the brunt of my f-bombs and Trader Joe's beer tried unsuccessfully to calm my nerves.

The "I CAN'T TAKE ONE MORE THING!!!!!" soundtrack was playing over and over in my head.

But I rallied and got the cat to the vet Monday (he's fine, just needs to be watched in case it happens again). Held things together through my workload Tuesday. And Wednesday, heard the piece of advice that made everything finally feel better.

It wasn't overload, it was abundance.

Having someone position the situation this way released some clenching fist inside me and allowed me to start looking at all the craziness through a lens of gratitude. Sure I had tried to see how things were serving me the week prior, but something about attaching that word "abundance" to it made the feeling of it shift entirely.

I am lucky to have such a full life. A full life that overflows and spills messily over the edge of my cat litter box sometimes. I'm lucky to *have* to travel between two houses and two countries. I'm blessed to have so many social obligations blocking my nights and weekends. I'm fortunate to have such an influx of work filling my waking hours.

And when I can stop and see things from this perspective, I'm grateful for all of it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Self-Defense for Dark Alleys and Dark Days

Cat fight!

I'm over at The Path to Wonderful today sharing an experience I had last weekend in a Guided Chaos self-defense class. It's pretty cool when something meant to school you on the art of attacker-escape can also leave you with a bunch of awesome life lessons!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

One Is the Loneliest(ish) Number

My life has been filled with a lot of "twos" lately. There are the two cats I've had for over a decade. And the two primary writing clients I've been juggling for the last year. And the two houses I've been inhabiting. The two countries I've been traveling between since Mr. W started his latest work project. And last week, I had two of my favorite coaching cohorts staying with me.

One of the creative directors I work for made a joke that house guests are like fish—they start to stink after about 5 days. But my coach friends were here for 8 and 9 days, and didn't emit a single foul odor. That said, by about the 7th day, I was excited to get back to my solo lifestyle.

And then they left.

They moment the house was quiet and empty, I started to cry.

It could have been from exhaustion. But it was also just that feeling of vacation and fun coming to an end. I was filled with a deep empathy for empty-nesters in those first few moments they're alone at home after their kids have gone off to college.

Even when you're looking forward to flying solo, it still has the power to bring up swells of grief.

This got me thinking about the whittling that will take place in my life soon.

It made me wonder how much sadness I'll feel when I'm fully settled into just one wonderful house. I suspect there could be tears at some point. And don't even get me started on the floodgates that will open when I find myself with only one living cat.

I wonder if, on some level, we always have to grieve losses—even when we want them.

As I adjusted to being the only human in my home, I found myself drawn to one of the things I always know will recenter me: the outdoors. I took to my garden and almost immediately felt reconnected. Even when I am just one, there is no need to be lonely. My backyard is continually giving me new companions.

Tomatoes, anyone?

Although these guys are arriving a little early, they taste amazing.

I ate that big one last week and it was so yummy!

Mr. W and I don't remember seeing any peaches on the tree last year, so I was
really excited when I noticed these little babies today.

Slightly stunted parsnips. Our soil is so hard. But I just roasted and ate these
guys with dinner and they were quite tasty.

And last but not least, our pride and joys: baby wine grapes. Hopefully we'll
be pressing these guys when we live at the new house fulltime.