I didn’t always know it was possible to love a mountain. This one is the one that gets to me… Half Dome in Yosemite. It used to have trees, but now it doesn’t, I can only imagine it with trees. As you go up you sometimes pass by eagles flying below you. That’s wonderful.
One thing about eagles is that they never look up, other birds like hawks do, because they get eaten by eagles, or finches get eaten by hawks, but eagles don’t look up, such is their confidence in themselves.
The first time I heard that, it reminded me of being young. I was kind of a falcon who imagined there were no eagles.
Anyways, things feel like they are lightening up in the world. Like the sun coming back to my hemisphere bit by bit each day, life seems like it will be easier this year (I hope).
I’m doing little things to change my attitude and environment to a new year: changed my wallpapers to the above image, changed my passwords, changed my “color or the year” to red (pink was last year).
Changing from pink to red represents to me, really diving deep into the fundamentals of life, I’ve been very ungrounded for a long time and I’m starting to keep a new agenda, make 1-3-5 priorities, get a bit organized, check in on Coach.me again, make goals again, try to feel like an adult again.
Basically I want to live an INTENTIONAL LIFE, rather than a reactive one, I want to feel like I’m the captain of my soul, instead of saying it, but not feeling it, I want to feel ahead of or in the moment instead of a week or two behind…
I signed up for a cool “stop negative self-talk” presentation that I’m struggling to get through, the kids enrichment actives and daily routines are pretty scattered and chaotic, the family meetings have been abandoned for a few weeks, and I have a (free) workshop about life purpose (ikegai) coming up Thursday that I already felt guilty for missing, because I thought it was two Saturdays ago.
So my life feels a bit too chaotic to me right now, I’ve been trying to take breaks for over a year and it didn’t work out YET.
I recently watched “Less is Now” on Netflix, about Minimalism, it gave a metric for thinking about items, “what is necessary?”, “what is essential?”, “what adds value to my life?”
As opposed to “what sparks joy?” provided by Marie Kondo.
It’s useful to find what sparks joy, but I found I needed more, most of my stuff doesn’t spark joy.
I wanted to take more notes from the movie, but it’s going to take awhile.
Something I was working on today was some slides from the end negative self talk presentation from Heather Davis.
An educational game I was playing today about building Rome (Cesar 3) said on level 2, if there is a problem, pay attention to it and fix it, there is no warfare in this area so your success will depend entirely on your management skills.
This is pretty true of my life in general… but there was the feeling of synchronicity that the presentation was saying the same thing.
It was nice that Heather kept talking about the feeling of the problem being the problem more than the event, I often act like it’s stupid what my kids are crying about, because it is usually stupid. Ex my son wants to throw rocks at me and I gently hold his hand and don’t let him… It’s a bit stupid to cry for that, but whatever he feels, betrayal, powerlessness is just as valid as any betrayal or powerlessness that I’ve ever felt on its own. Feelings are valid, but actions can be restricted. Kids can’t be controlled, but they can be guided. There are very fine lines that are tricky and I appreciate Heather telling me about what really works and what doesn’t.
Heather does something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time in finding where neuroscience of the amygdala taking over the mind meets ethics and stoic philosophy.
Ethics being that mom lives matter, that I don’t have to find solutions for my kids problems (though I can try to help them build tools to generate them).
Stoic philosophy being that you “paint your own cloth” (found a great article about that and the pandemic on Daily Stoic today)
A wise man dyes events with his own color.– Seneca
Heather mentioned a more modern take:
It’s the way we react to circumstances that determines our feelings, not the circumstances themselves.– Dale Carnegie
What if being stuck isn’t a problem, what if it’s how the problem is perceived that is the problem?
Our kids get stuck when they think they should be something that they are not.– Heather Davis
Or that life should be different than it is.
So, Heather mentions a lot of things I’ve heard before, such as “the obstacle is the way”, “problems are opportunities”, but she really wraps it up tighter with action plans such as the above redirect your mind slides that I was working with earlier.
I want to help my kids make their own charts to redirect their behavior, but I felt I really had to make my own first and really own it, really walk the walk. And that got my mind spinning as to what am I doing now? What did I used to do when things were worse? What did and didn’t work?
The reason I had never redirected their behavior is that I didn’t want to distract or invalidate their feelings, but sometimes they get stuck, so sometimes you let them vent, they vent, it’s over, but other times it becomes more than it has to… sometimes they handle their own feelings, sometimes I try to “name it to tame it” and validate and verbally label what they feel (but it doesn’t work well in our family as of now), I think that you could say “you are feeling bad, it’s okay, but here are some options to try to shift your mind if you want/when you are ready”… I didn’t think of a way that said your feelings are okay and valid, but we could try to shift them if you want.
Which looking back seems silly, but that’s what kept me from trying before, I thought it would somehow invalidate the feeling and be disrespectful, which I think I picked up from RIE parenting, which says don’t jump in all the time, it didn’t say none of the time, but somehow that’s the message I got. RIE is all about “your child is a whole person, they are capable of handling more than you think” but I think I push my little ones too hard like the story of the lion who throws the cub down the mountain to teach them the strength to climb up… sometimes I think I don’t guide them because I don’t know how or how much to guide them.
I’ll mention one last thing she said, because it was helpful for me as a person, she mentioned the skill of “Flexible Habit of Mind” understanding it’s okay to be stuck, it’s not about “them” (you), it’s about having the right “tools” or “strategies”. That was exactly what I was pondering in my last post and I find it interesting for it to resurface exactly at the right time for me to pick it up. Kind of “when the student is ready the teacher appears”-ish.
So, I’ll try to end this extra windy post, but I’ll end with a metaphor I always think about. When I hiked Half Dome, the first time snow stopped me, the second time I was alone and it was a thunderstorm, the third time with my husband, each time it was a special hike. One special thing about that particular 14 mile hike is you have a hard hike to the hike, there is a small but super steep trail that takes you from the nearest parking lot to the start of the hike. The prehike is harder in a way than what follows. Another interesting thing is that the forest is so thick for a long way you can’t see any progress, you move along seeing similar pines and flowers until suddenly it’s almost over when you reach the rock. The rock section has a metal ladder that was put there from the first climbers, which is what made it possible for a novice climber like me to easily get to the top (you don’t have to be a climber at all, it’s a hike with handrails basically).
It’s all very metaphorical for my learning process, the very beginning is the hardest struggle, like the initial decision to try something or drop a bad habit is the hardest part for me, I always feel like I’m not improving as I’m improving (I’m blind to progress), and through the shared work of others greater than myself I am able to do things that otherwise I never would be able to do.