Day 5-10: Change your question, change how you feel

The biggest take away I would say so far about The Wear Your Joy Project, is simply changing what I focus on and what I ask myself "how can I wear my Joy today" drastically changes how I feel about myself and how it leaks into my day.  

After baby my body has definetly shifted and my style has shifted in many respects as well.  I am welcoming in stronger thighs and gluts but my pants are not as forgiving as I am.  

So in this pic I opted for a new favorite denim shirt, leggings and boots, because boots, boots boots!!! I love me so me boots!  

 
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These last few days have been busy with family in town, birthday celebrations and life so I don't have a bunch of photos to share, but I'm finding that there are certain pieces of clothing that I just keep wearing over and over again.  Some days its just the watch I love, or a jacket and the rest of the outfit is so so, but just that little effort can make all the difference.

Next up: getting rid of clothes that do not spark JOY!

 

Heeding the Season of life

Heeding the Season of life

I grew up in Seattle Washington, a lush rainy city with mild but distinct seasons.

Summer's were warm and the days were long with sunlight. My childhood was filled with memories of swimming in lake Washington and endless hours of playtime.

Winters were wet and dark and remind me of mornings when I would wake with the darkness and run to the heat vents, and pull my night gown over my knees to quickly warm.

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Parenting again: "I like this, this is fun, this feels good"

imageMotherhood doesn’t have to suck, or be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. I’m having fun these days, like I am enjoying staying at home and being with my kids.  

All parts of it, and I can’t believe that only a year ago I had sworn off having any more kids.

There is this whisper in the back of my head

“I like this, this is fun, this feels good”

But I’ve been too afraid to say it out loud for fear that it won’t be any more, that suddenly things will change and it won’t feel easy, breezy and fun.

The truth is, that I KNOW it will change, it won’t always be this way, but for right now I’m enjoying what is.

Becoming a parent again allows the chance to do things differently.

I was CA-RAYZEE, the first go around with my son, and I say that lovingly because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

None of us do, and no matter the millions of mothers before me who had all sorts of opinions about how I should parent, I had to figure things out for myself.  

First time motherhood is not everyone’s challenge, for some it comes with ease and grace, I’ve seen people do it.

For some of us it is a challenge.

And for me, I had to learn by doing and experiencing.

I believe some things in life you have to experience in order to know. There is no escaping the pain of going through something challenging, the reward is in the wisdom you gain of having to go through it.   And yet there is still this drive to want to spare people from making the mistakes we made by providing them with all sorts of advice.  

“Don’t do what I did…..”“Don’t buy that…….”“10 things I wish I didn’t do when….”

Shortcuts are nice, and other people’s mistakes giving rise to practical advice can be helpful, but what about our own missed lessons to be learned if we just follow someone else’s path all the time?

If I had not had the experience of being a mother already and making mistakes that I made, I would not be the mother I am today.

I can rationalize and say that R was a more challenging baby, or R didn’t sleep, or R was like this or that, but what I realized is that I’m different this time because I am choosing to be different.

This time I am parenting by instinct, this time I’m giving myself a break, making time for myself, accepting help, getting out of the house and sharing responsibilities

I am not reading other parents blogs, expert sleep books, or filling my mind with “should's” of being a parent.

What works for you and YOUR LIFE, is what you ‘should’ do.

I don’t know if what I’m doing is right, but I know that this time I feel better, I’m less irritated and more joyful.

“I like this, this is fun, this feels good”

That whisper gets louder everyday

What Autism has taught me #2

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I made a new friend the other day at the park, our kids are in the same class and we politely started talking while the boys ran around. Her daughter was there also, playing in the sand and swinging alone and while we talked she would casually say things about her daughter, who she referred to as monkey:

“Monkey can’t eat soy, dairy, sugar or gluten, so these cookies are great!

That’s pretty normal for San Diego, so I didn’t think much about it but then she said

“Monkey couldn’t go to any of the private schools around here so that’s why we are at this school, which we love!”

This peaked my interest, so I asked:

“Why can’t she go the private schools?”

“O, she has Autism and is nonverbal so they can refuse to accept her.”

internal voice: WHAT! OMG, she said that so casually!

“You know, R has Autism too!!!” I blurted out, probably too enthusiastically.

“Yeah, but he can talk, Monkey is smart and can talk but she just refuses to, that’s so frustrating”

She didn’t even flinch when I told her R had Autism and responded as if I had told her the weather was nice that day.

The exhale I had in that moment reminded me that I tend to hold my breath in those first meetings with parents. I’m always wondering in the back of my head, do I tell them or do I say nothing?

Usually I say nothing.

It is not that I am ashamed of R and his diagnosis, or that we have a hard time with R being Autistic, I feel the opposite in fact, our life is so much more colorful, and magical with the way he views the world.

But in that moment my excitement was more about relief. Relief that I didn’t need to explain what Autism meant, or give an explanation that R is high functioning or that I didn’t have to feel her uncomfortableness of how to react, because I knew she just GOT it, and she didn’t care, it was no big deal.

I wonder if we both felt that same relief, because her next question was excitedly

“Where do you work out!?”

It was as if we got that elephant in the room out of the way and we were able to just be parents. There wasn’t the wonder of if I would disclose R’s diagnosis and I wasn’t faced with the uncomfortable worry of other people and their perceptions of Autism.

I’m not judging anyone for having uncomfortable feelings. I too, before I experienced Autism thought all sorts of negative stereotypes about autism that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself or my child if I’d had a choice.

But life handed us Autism and the only choice was to enter that world and become educated and skilled in helping R succeed. In doing so I realized that it was not as scary as I had thought and wasn’t going to be a horrible burden or a lifetime of struggle. I saw that my little boy was still the amazingly creative, funny, sweet, musical, engineer, lego loving kid that I had always known. I also realized that I have no idea what Autism really is.

All I know is every detail of how R’s Autism manifests. The saying is: “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”

What was the same about my new mom friend and I was that we understood a language and lifestyle that comes with being autistic. When I told her we had to leave early for therapy, it wasn’t weird, in fact their ABA therapist was coming over later that night too.

I came home that night excited and giddy as I told Mr. Science all about my new friend and our day.

I know it may sound a bit over exaggerated to get so worked up over this moment but in a world of parental posturing and properness, It felt so free to just be ourselves, no apologies, no explanations.

It’s been a journey to where I am today with my sons diagnosis and I would be lying if I didn’t say at some point I just wanted him to be “cured”, or “fixed” but really if I stripped away the Autism would R still be R?

R has made leaps and bounds in his communication and ability to make new friends. I love that people see him for who he is and love him all the same, this makes my heart leap for joy. He has taught me to communicate clearly, to say what I mean and mean what I say, to set good boundaries for myself and for him, and to play and imagine and forget this world on a daily basis. I’ve been to outer-space and visited the moon more times than I can count!

I’ve moved beyond wanting to cure him of his Autism, my wish is to give him all the resources and support in the world so that he can feel good, confident and happy.

But, I think that’s what we all want for our children.

I guess we are no different.

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Thanks for reading!

As a side note I am reading an amazing book called Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and Search for identity by Andrew Solomon, which talks about families dealing with deafness, dwarfism, autism and other disabilities, its a a great look at how we view these conditions in our society and he presents some interesting ideas and comparisons that have really made me think differently about autism.

http://www.amazon.com/Far-Tree-Parents-Children-Identity/dp/0743236726/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457570774&sr=8-1&keywords=Far+From+the+Tree

Breaking up with Debt

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When I was about 7 or 8 my parents opened up a bank account for my sister and I at our local bank. We both received a pleather brown bank book that would record our balance. I remember feeling excited about depositing my allowance or gift money into my account because it meant taking the walk with my sister and dad to the local bank and seeing my number in my bank account go up.

This memory is so visceral, I can still feel the carpet under my feet as we walked in, the feel of the bank book in my hand, the smell of the bank and the sound of the machines electronic stuttering as it printed out my new balance. I loved watching that number grow, but more than that I loved the adventure, the experience, and the bonding with my family.

This memory has come up because I have been exploring my money habits and tendencies. I have some big money goals in the coming years, and one of them is to get back to the spirit of that little girl who loved saving, who thought money represented joy, adventure, and love.

Over the years I have had different relationships with money, in both a functional and dysfunctional way. I still relate to the having of money as joy, adventure and love but on the other side I have also associated the not having of it as sadness, dull, and being alone.

The latter association has caused me to learn some hard lessons and somehow along the way I forgot about that little girl who loved to save her pennies.

Getting clear on my money story and being brave about facing my finances has been both hopeful and also terrifying. I find that as I tell myself the truth about my money, and really see what money I have or don’t have I feel less shameful and more and more like that little girl with her brown pleather bank book.

I felt a little of that childlike glee today as I made a final payment to my credit card.

Did you hear me??  Today I am PAYING OFF my credit card, that has carried a balance since 2003!

When I imagined paying this debt off, I thought it would feel amazing, I thought I would celebrate and jump for joy, but while I am happy to be ridding myself of this burden I cannot help but feel humbled  and gratitude for what this debt over the the years has taught me.

Weird to say, but I can remember what those dollars in debt have allowed me to do and at times saved me from serious hardship.

But just because I am grateful does not mean I need to perpetuate that old money story.

It’s time and I’m ready to create something new, to re­-define my money identity of someone who finds the joy in creating, having and enjoying money. Someone who sees the value it brings to my family, relationships, my business and creative pursuits. And creating and conquering goals that support this. This has me motivated.

Debt free may be on the goals list for a few years to come, but tonight I’m popping a bottle of champagne and celebrating the end of a relationship that I am finally saying goodbye to.

In case one of your goals this year is financial in nature here are a few money resources I’ve found inspiring and helpful.

The Art of Money with Bari Tessler: http://baritessler.com/

The Art of Money Podcast: How to make more money and overcome underearning http://baritessler.com/2016/01/episode­2­how­to­make­more­money­and­overcome­underearnin g/

Raise Your Hand Say Yes! podcast interview with Amy Robles on money: http://tiffanyhan.com/amyrobles/

Mint.com: Love this for tracking money and setting up budgets.

Here are a few on my list to explore and research, I may give a review in the future

You need a Budget: http://www.youneedabudget.com/

LearnVest: https://www.learnvest.com/

What are your money saving secrets? Financial wins? Motivational tactics, books, podcasts?

Would love to hear from you!

The Curious Creative

imageThe creative journey has brought up some questions for me. What is difference between pushing and forcing? What are the signs to stop, change direction, and let go? What does it mean when something is draining and not charging/uplifting? Do I sit through the uncomfortableness, or do I abandon ship all together? I have been in business for myself for the past 9 years, this has taken shape in many different ways, etsy businesses, aerial bootcamp, personal trainer, acupuncture practice, air bnb landlord, aerial performer, and other smaller creative projects. I have started and created businesses that have made up the tapestry of my income.

By definition that makes me an entrepreneur, however I’ve never really identified with that term. I identify more with the term creative, because it seems to encompass more of who I am. My desire to create and build an income and be my own boss is in service to support creativity, self development, and helping other people.

The measure by which I gauge if something is worth doing is “Is this fun? does it bring me joy?, does this light me up? If the answer is yes, then my next question is “Will this add to or take away from the lifestyle I want to live (i.e will I still be able to spend time with my children, my husband, and have time for creative pursuits?”) If the answer is Yes. Then the last question is usually “How much of a financial risk will this involve?” If the answer is minimal then I most likely will pursue it. This is my business and life compass, it has nothing to do with numbers or marketing and strategy and everything to do with the feeling I am after.

There is so much information out there on how to build a business, how to create more wealth, how to sell better, how to build your audience, and I actually love a lot of it. I appreciate that there are other creatives out there pursuing their dreams, bringing new ideas and verbage around being a business owner, and making a living doing it.

But the chatter and all the advise can become overwhelming and actually create more confusion for me at times, making the dream of become an creativeprenuer all the more elusive. The do’s and dont’s can sometimes make it difficult to decide when to just put yourself out there with the “ugly” work, or when it is time to wait it out.

“you guys, just get started, sit down and do the work!” - some business coach

or

“Be vulnerable but don’t share what is personal” - some business coach

And that’s when I have to say “fuck it” and throw it all out, and just listen to what my gut is saying, listen to what I feel like doing, and be willing to risk the mistakes and the hard lessons for the pursuit of doing what I love.

Because the truth is that most of us learn by failing and flailing at something.

I wish that I would see more of the process of the in-between pursuits of the passions in our lives, I wish that while on the way to the bigger dreams of our lives people talked about what its like to be in the middle of something rather than waiting until we reach the top of the mountain, to me that is inspiring, to me that is where the interesting part of life happens.

In the mud and loving it.

Get Messy.

Ten years from now we'll look back at this [challenge] and laugh, so why wait?!?! -Tony Robbins

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Money, Goals, and Telling the Truth

IMG_2056I signed up for an 8 week business coaching course in hopes of really taking my business to the next level. I wanted it to help give me some accountability in my business and increase my wealth consciousness. I hoped to create good habits and make big changes and really discover what the culprit was behind my underearning beliefs.

“I can only make a certain amount of money”

It has been a scary adventure to embark on. Money has always felt elusive to me, what creates the flow and the lack?

There have been times when I have made more money ( and hated my life, job, and relationship), there have been times when I have had little to no money ( and felt creatively inspired, in love, and happy.)

Throughout my life I have always had some interest in trying to create more wealth and live the life I saw in my dreams.

I have learned money practices, read books on wealth, practiced positive affirmations, done some scavenger work on my money hang-ups, investigate the family I was brought up in and their beliefs on money, and loads and loads of practices on self worth.

Money shame is about as taboo as it gets for me. Not because I want to earn a million dollars a year, but because I have been taught that it represents so much more in our society. The having of it and the lack of it.

If you have it, then it the message has always seemed: you are responsible, make good decisions, have good forethought, have a great self esteem, are well organized, well read, understand how markets work, spend wisely, budget savvy ect.

AND you look good doing it.

The lady I see who represents this is dressed neatly, is put together, lives a life of leisure, and travels often. I see a women with a cardigan draped over her shoulders, drinking a martini, and loudly laughing as she flips her hair.

By contrast, the person who struggles with money, barely makes rent every month, works many jobs, has a creative passion that she would rather be doing than crunching numbers, or book keeping, has an eclectic style, is a free spirit, does what she pleases but faces the money consequences of never really living the free life that she would like to have. She may be an entrepreneur, an independent dreamer, a person that has fun, is the envy of her practical friends, but has an extreme amount of debt with no real plan to get out.

The pursuit for me has been “how do I meld these worlds together?” How can I live this creative, authentic life, where I get to spend time with my family, pursue my passions AND have an abundance of wealth an absence of debt and freedom to travel?

I decided to do this 8 week course because I figured thus far what I have been doing was not working out for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some great successes in my life that I’m proud of, that have brought me in income and provided me the life I want to live, but the bigger question for me is how to move beyond that.

How can I move into the next level? What could I do differently? ( what am I doing wrong?)

What I want to share is the truth, that I think sometimes gets forgotten or left out when we tell a really good tale of success. This course has been good, but it wasn’t life or game changing for me, at least not yet.

I’m 6 weeks in with two more to go, and what I want to share is that while the expectation and hope was that I would reach my goal,( which was monetary), what came up was very enlightening, frustrating, and profound all at the same time.

In the beginning of a goal you have a fire under your ass, and are excited about the possibility of attaining that goal, and then the excitement wears off and you are left with doubt, fear, and “this isn’t working”, why am I doing this?”

It takes some encouragement to keep going and the promise that it will turn into something else, but really the only promise that we can give is that IF you do this work you will learn something about yourself. That is it.

But part of this 8 week course is about commitment and not changing course, and so I have been doing the exercises, Visioning, Gratitude, Surrender, Forgiveness, Time Management, Focus, Determination, Tenacity, Showing up.

And while I want to say that I have gone above and beyond to reach my goal, the truth is that the results came in this way, I learned:

When starting something new my first reaction is that I doubt, think it is dumb, simple, and have immediate buyers remorse. I nay say in my head, I think (judge) that quick results like that of people saying “it's working! I started this course and I just got my first million dollar client” is a bunch of bullshit. Comparison is my worst enemy. When I don’t see HUGE results I think “this isn’t working, why am I doing this, this is so simple, this is dumb, what’s the point”

Its both humbling and disappointing when the realization of going for your goal is that the results are sometimes met with an old tape from your childhood ( not this again!), or that the realization that this may be a slow and steady road,or perhaps there is more work to be done.

Its also a great lesson to see that the benefit does necessarily come from the physical thing or achievement that we acquire, that sometimes the result is discovering more of who you are, or who you need to become or are becoming. Sometimes it's about seeing your baggage and allowing it finally to be left behind.

Achievements are nice, having things are great also, but often the biggest successes come from the silent victories that matter only to ourselves. The big rewards still on the horizon sometimes unknown to us.

Right now, where I am takes a bit of faith. It takes trusting in the goal that I went after and trusting all the ways that I have listened to that voice inside me to keep going. This is has become the biggest challenge in fact for me to follow what I feel to be true, and go forth blindly.

Too be continued.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Who knows what's around every corner? Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Maybe the dreams of yesterday, The broken dreams of yesterday. Maybe the dreams of yesterday.

-Gary Moore

It's what you NEED, maybe not what you WANT

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This has been a year full of unexpected wonderful surprises, that will be HUGE life changing moments for our family. I couldn’t be more excited and grateful for where I am today. If I were to define 2015 I would say it has been about transformation, letting go, getting real about money, getting focused on the who I want to BE in work, life, relationship and parenthood, and lots of creation and movement.

Mr. Science and I had planned at the beginning of the year to take a trip to Kauai. Mr. Science had never been and I hadn’t visited since we spread my father ashes there years ago, so we booked my mom’s timeshare in late October, to secure our spot.

We planned this before we knew I was pregnant, or before we were engaged, and at the time our calendar was pretty wide open. We had decided after a busy 2014 year of travel Mr. Science and I agreed that this year, 2015 would be simple, easy, and our big excitement would be this one tropical vacation to Kauai.

And then boom, we were getting ready to be parents again, and planning a wedding in 6 months and, and, and...

And that’s how life is right? Make a plan, shit happens, scrap the plan, make a new plan, shit happens and then let go.

We decided that we would make Kauai our honeymoon & babymoon all wrapped in one. One last trip just me and Mr. Science. Who said the honeymoon had to come after the wedding? And my whole life I have done things backwards, so why stop now.

Kauai was beautiful, we took a helicopter ride and saw the Jurassic Park falls, snorkeled with tropical fish and turtles and swam in the lukewarm water, we ate hawaiian food, tried authentic shaved ice, bird watched, and went to bed at 8 p.m. If you have never been it's definitely worth going.

All this to say and I was totally overwhelmed with the difficulty I had with just being there, with doing NOTHING. With so many of my vices stripped away, internet, facebook, instagram, child, work, meetings, etc. I was left with space, so much space. It was illuminating to see all the many ways I can distract myself from being with myself.

My nature is to move, to do, to plan, and my life consists of keeping track of dates and Ryu’s schedule, his therapy, making his lunch, my work schedule, running my bootcamp business, planning our wedding, getting ready for baby, and my mind was swimming in details that I just couldn’t shut off right away. For the first few days I felt mostly restless, anxious and sad. With the absence of not doing and not rushing around, I was met with pure emotion.

It took some effort on my part, and a few tears being shed to just let those feelings be there AND also have a great time in hawaii. I don’t mean to paint the picture that I was sulking, I was just acutely aware of how badly I needed this vacation, even if it was to show me that I needed to make space for nothing, for staring out the window, for taking a nap, or meditating, or turning off the internet and not pushing, pushing, pushing.

The irony is that I came back from vacation rested and totally in relaxed mode. I have found myself sleeping in later and not feeling so anxious. I have found time to meditate and my clarity and focus on the direction of where I am going seem sharper. I can imagine the birth of little M, and have let go of it needing to be a certain way. And all without doing any “work” I came back to a packed schedule, the fullest I have been since starting working at this clinic.

The saying “you always get what you need, maybe not what you want” rings true for me, and while I’m sure as the days get closer to wedding day, and baby day, life will speed up and I will became wrapped up in the vortex, I hope to be reminded of this trip, all parts of it. The beauty of water and trees, the time alone with Mr. Science, the roosters, fish and turtles, the yummy coffee, and the anxiety, and fear and sadness. I love the idea that you can hold both beauty and ugliness at the same time, and I hope always that this trip reminds me to just observe and let go.

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Aloha!