MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS: EPISODE FOUR

Holy fuck you guys. It’s fucking Christmas time all fucking ready.

Can you fucking believe that?

OH MY GOD IT FEELS GOOD TO SAY FUCK so much again.

If you kindly follow my blog you may have noticed I haven’t written anything since… June-ish or so. I promise you it’s not because I didn’t have anything to say. I have ALL THE THINGS TO SAY. It’s because I’ve been up to my MOTHER FUCKING EYEBALLS in parenting, work, other work, some other work, and some more work after that.

Sigh. More on that later. Continue reading

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HEY MAMA

Today I celebrate the tenth birthday of my daughter.  She’s ten. A decade. 3,652 days (you know, plus leap years?) old.

Parenthood, well that escalated quickly.

But seriously, when people say “the days are long but the years are fast,” they aren’t fucking kidding. Continue reading

GAS PEDAL

Wow. So January is off to kickass, rockin’ good start so far.

But um, holy time commitments batman; according to my calendar, I have about 30 free minutes in the month of January, 15 in February, and potentially five, give or take a phone call, in March.

Wowie wow wow.

I love it. It’s good. I work well like this. For the most part anyway.

In any case, it’s safe to say that my time is rather. . . limited these days. I am thrilled to have a positively absurd amount of work to complete, but I also have several projects in progress, a household to maintain, kids to not totally fuck up raise, a body to keep alive and healthy, a mind not to lose, a practice to maintain, people to see, places to go, etc., etc. . .

It’s quite a load for one person (even for one who likes carrying heavy things. . .). I’m juggling a constantly shifting schedule and making compromises with my time at every turn of the big hand of the clock. My feet, and my head, never stop running. Like ever.

People often ask me “how do you do it all?” “Aren’t you tired?” And often, just, well, “why?”

The short answers are, of course- “Are we ever really ‘done’?”  “Obviously. And your point is?” And “why NOT?”

Really. Why not?

The alternative, returning to an uninspired existence and limiting myself, is hardly appealing. Now that I’ve tasted this flavor of vitality I don’t want to go back to plain old tap water.

Calendars are meant to be filled. Life is meant to be lived. Couches are meant to be. . . dusted occasionally?

Kidding about that last part. Mostly. Rest is essential, and should be scheduled in just like anything else. Being present when at rest is in an of itself an act, and it’s good for you to be still for some time, so I hear anyway.

However, finding the balance is difficult. Inactivity drains momentum, but too much movement and you’ll find yourself on the couch anyway, having exhausted your resources and energy.

And so rather than staying on the seesaw for the ride, sometimes we just jump off and watch it sway. Instead of risking failure, we do nothing. And you know what happens when we do that? Nothing. Nothing happens, at least not with us.

The answer is not to do nothing, the answer is to move in a new way.

You want different results? Then honey, you get to do something different. Rather than continue to sit on your ass, complaining about how you don’t like your life, close the tab out on your personal pity party, stand up, take a big breath, and throw on your big kid pants.

It’s go time; choose a speed.

It’s your journey friends, but you’re not making it alone. Remember, the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your ability to publicize it. . . I mean, no, um, it’s is your attitude. Have a good one then, would you?

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MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS

So, after a rather lengthy internal battle, a few rounds of rationalization, several bottles glasses of wine with my friends, and uh, careful review and critique. . .

I ordered my Christmas cards this weekend.

Sigh. Insert monkey covering eyes emoticon here.

Yep. I caved.  I totally did. Like, I did the expected thing.

Ugh.

I’m a little pissed off at myself, being so traditional, predictable, materialistic, and generally propagating the curated version of my life that I think people want to see.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 11.11.30 AM

Lame.

Because on the one hand, what’s the point? With social media we all pretty much know what’s up with our peeps (and their peeps) so like, save a tree, or something, right?

And, let’s be honest- what do people actually DO with that shit anyway?

They toss it in the recycle bin along with their guilt (and some debatably compostable petrified halloween candy) and move the fuck on with their real actual lives, that’s what.

So. Yeah. Speaking of (real lives). . . I just made an executive decision. The cute Christmas cards I ordered in bulk? Yeah. Not sending those. Nope.

Instead, you get, the real, live, authentic (cost effective!) e-card/newsletter that describes our life. This one though- is a bullshit free zone. No fluff. No spin. No labels. The real fucking deal.

Gulp.

Here we go. Presenting:

Not Another Fucking Christmas Letter

Dear Friends, Family, and People That Don’t Fit In Either Category,

Thanks for all of your adorable cards and holiday wishes. Good shit.

In case you don’t stalk roll your eyes at make fun of follow me on instagram, facebook, twitter, RSS feed on my blog, elephant journal or like, actually see me in person, then you maybe don’t know that my life is, uh… a little different than it was a decade ago when I wrote my last Christmas letter.

A smidge. Tad. Small amount.

So, um, here’s a quick update:

Madison

She’s nine now, and basically that means she acts like a bitch with a wad of angel in her back pocket 99% of the time. No, I don’t mean the other way around, I mean exactly that. She’s in hormone change central and waivers between a sweet and loving big sister to a screaming maniac at any given fucking moment. I’m using this opportunity to teach her about karma (ahem . . .), self control, breathing, and sarcastic replies being kind.

I feel for her, in a big way, actually. Luckily, she is catching on fast to the satire game and her witty banter is developing quite nicely. Can’t say the same for her spatial awareness, but it’ll kick in soon enough.

On the upside- she’s quite musically gifted. This means she loves to sing and dance. Everywhere. All.the.fucking.time.

She is ridiculously clever and pretty and tall and could easily pass for a twelve year old. Sometimes I accidentally put on her pants. This has a whole lot to do with lycra and that’s all I’m saying about that.

Rory

That little dude finally learned how to ride his fucking bike, can’t hold fucking still for two fucking seconds, can read like a fucking eighth grader, knows the square root of 99, 999, and asks forty-five fucking questions a minute.

Also, he doesn’t forget anything. Ever. E-V-E-R. Except that you asked him to put his shoes on five times. That — he fails to recall.

He turned six last April and hasn’t been particularly successful with the team sport scene since the coaches don’t really like it when you kick them in the knees and run off the field. However, we’re trying our luck (and their patience) again this Spring since I finally fucking remembered to sign him up for Little League on time.

Fuck.

Me

Um. Let’s see.

I’m pretty sure I’m officially in my mid-thirties now, which makes me old and you oldER.  I’m still single and I’m mostly avoiding dating because it’s hard fucking work finding the time and a man who can fucking keep up with me (she said ever so humbly), but uh, I’m trusting the universe to provide. Because it will.

Yes, I did say “trusting the universe.”  That’s how I roll now. And also, I have used the word “fuck “ probably twenty times in the last eight paragraphs. Fucking get over it. Be grateful I used it grammatically fucking correctly and move on already.

I’m using my college degrees and credentials to . . . ummmmmmmm . . . leverage my resources? I write, actually, like, for money not just because I can.  Twice a week I play dress up as an English Professor too so I can sound important and shit. Actually, no, because they pay me to help adults learn to read while I crack jokes for several hours. It’s fucking awesome.

I ride my bike to the yoga studio, shop at the Food Co-Op, and buy organic fucking produce at the Farmer’s Market.  Oh, yeah, yoga. I do that. Like a lot. I’m rather flexible. For real. In lots of ways, as a matter of fact. I did Teacher Training last summer, and then I quit a normal well paying job so I could help people work their (sweaty) shit out at five locations a week.  Because I fucking wanted to, that’s why.

I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up, and I’m going after it, spiritual gangster style baby.

I’m busy. Ridiculous busy. My calendar makes my head spin and my heart sing. I love where I’m at, and I’m amazingly fucking happy.

Life is good. We fucking hope you are too.

Be love. Be light. Be happy.

Peace out.

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(SHE’S GOING) THE DISTANCE

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but for real people, when you know what you want, and you let the universe know- IT DELIVERS.

Remember those miracles I mentioned last month? And how once I was very clear about what I wanted the universe just made it rain?

Yep. So that happened. Or, er, is still happening.

Well, I also made a list regarding what I want my career to include and resemble based on what I’ve learned about myself in the last eighteen(ish) months and what the best version of me looks and feels like. I made it, and then I started taking some positive action to manifest exactly that.

Here’s what I outlined.

  1. Flexible schedule, as the exact opposite of M-F 9-5,
  2. Ability to work from home (or um, the beach) at least two days a week.
  3. Three components- writing, yoga and empowering people- must be included
  4. Room to grow. However, wherever, and with whomever.
  5. Income must be reliable, consistent and sufficient to maintain my lifestyle and live debt free.

Yep. That’s a list with just five things on it.

Five. Down from . . . 25 a year ago? Reduced from “I don’t know what I want to do but I know it’s not this” and improved from “I know with every fiber of my being that this is 100% the right direction and path but I have no idea of how to make actual money doing it.”

It’s just five things.

They are broad enough to be open to possibility, but narrow enough to rule out things that are quite simply not going to work in my life anymore. It’s kind of like with relationships— I’m just not settling this go around.

I know what I want. I know it’s time. I can see my life’s work ahead of me with the most certainty I’ve had in at least a decade, maybe ever.

I get goosebumps talking about it. My eyes get all sparkly and my hands start talking with me.

Shit just got real (clear).

Figuring out who I wanted to be when I grew up was step one. Step two? Do it.

The biggest hurdle in front of me right now regarding just that is time, and how I’ve been using it. Namely- not sleeping, eating, or exercising much (for me) and switching job hats and titles every two to three hours all day long six or seven days a week.

Not exactly what I was shooting for there regarding the whole resting place deal. .  .

So, I’m fixing it.

I’m conscientiously saying yes to the things that are aligned with my path and my growth. I’m letting them in, all of them, while simultaneously letting go of the things that aren’t serving me— all of them too. Gulp.

I’m jumping back in the water to swim, and swim strong.

I appreciate the abundance. I’m grateful for the lessons, but some (more) things, it’s time to let go. Even the safe ones. Especially the ones that I am most desperately clinging to with wanton abandon.

It’s right choice. It’s the scary choice, it’s the brave choice, it’s the “are you crazy” choice. But it’s mine.

I trust the universe, 100%, to provide, and it is. It always is.

 

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SOMETIMES I LISTEN

So, I’ve been going along here, full speed ahead. 13-15 hour work days almost seven days a week. Getting my shit done. Saying “yes” to everything. Saying “no” to very, very, very little.

It’s been awesome. Amazing. Fan.Fucking.Tastic.

Things like this have happened:

  1. My yoga classes are growing, some even doubling in size.
  2. My writing is growing, I have more assignments and clients.
  3. My business plan is progressing and my website is getting updated to reflect it.
  4. I have two evenings a week to myself now, every week, to handle my shit sans kids and I make sure to use every.single.minute of that time. No seriously, if I’m not working up until midnight those nights it’s a fucking miracle.
  5. I almost fell asleep on top of the table at a training on Tuesday

Did you see number five there?

Yeah, about that. . .

There is a yoga axiom “exercise and rest are essential for human health.” Guess which part I choose to follow?

Here’s a hint. It starts and ends with the same letter. . .

So. . . rest. It’s just not my thing.

Even when it maybe, um, should be.

You know that whole Reticular Activation System deal I’ve talked about before, where basically, once you become aware of something the more often you see it, when you never did before? The more often you notice it, everywhere, all the time?

Guess what keeps showing up in my life this week?

Articles about resting. Astrology reports about the new moon and Mercury being in retrograde or some shit and how savasana is actually the best pose to take right now, and not, in fact, balancing half-moon.

And then there’s all those research reports showing the importance of quality sleep. Friends who whisper shout things at me during yoga like “MICHELLE! YOUR RIBS. REMEMBER YOUR RIBS AND JUST LIE DOWN ALREADY!”

Ummmmmm. Thanks but no thanks?

But today I listened.

Today I reconsidered what I was saying “yes” to as I drove (way over the speed limit) to work, running late (again) to a job site thirty miles away. My mind, though, was going even faster than the wheels of my mamamobile, if you can believe that. I wasn’t present. My shoulders were hunching. I was kind of sort of, well, here, actually.

And then I spilled an entire cup of hot coffee all over me, and the car. Then I remembered that the person who picks up the kids on Fridays while I’m teaching is out of town. Then my friend texted me, asking where the keys were that I was supposed to have dropped off that morning. Then two e-mails popped up asking when the Press Releases I’d promised to get out asap would be ready. Oh, and just to throw salt in the wound, my calendar alert setting let me know that I was late for the TB test reading for the TB test I was supposed to have done Wednesday (but didn’t).

I looked down at my wet, coffee covered skirt, wiped the creamy brown streaks off my calves, pulled off the freeway and turned my ass around.

Fuck it.

I hear you universe.

That work+Me+Today=Not happening.

Namaste? Nope. Namago (nah-mah-go), actually.

There’s a reason I have personal days available.

Today, I need a day to check in with my person, apparently, because otherwise she’s going to show up to teach, a literal hot mess and smelling like eau’de café for the next four hours while she pretends that she is fully aware and present in lesson delivery and that the ujjayi breathing she’s doing to keep her shit together isn’t actually freaking out the children.

Yes, universe. Yes. I will go home. I will rest. No really. I will.

Actually, I’m going to take a nap now. Yep. A nap. Me. In the middle of the day. Such a rule breaker.

I’m taking twenty. And then I’ll get (the rest of) that work done. After I care for me. Not before. After.

I’m saying “yes” to rest today. Real rest. No exercise. Rest.

Peace out friends. May you find a place to take pause today as well, even if just for a minute.

YOU SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY?

So. Today. I um. I’m celebrating 2014.

Oh. No, not the year. I mean, I have punctuality challenges, but I’m not that late for New Year’s Eve.

Nope. Today is my 20-14 birthday. You know, 20, plus 14.

Go ahead and roll your eyes. I know. It’s lame. And yep. I’m 34.

This girl. Right here. Thirty-four today.

Super. Yay me.

This means, that, gulp, I am not realllllly in my early thirties anymore, and instead, officially in the “mid-thirties” range.

Or not. Or, as my dear (same-aged) friend rationalized to me, we can still check the “18-34” category on registrations, thus we are basically the same as an 18 year old, and therefore clearly still in our early thirties. I mean, obviously.

Good spin right there, isn’t it?

But also, on a real level, SHITBALLS. If I’m turning 34 that means I’m almost 35. No really. HOLY FUCK. Thirty- FIVE. That sounds like a grown-up age, and I am definitely NOT a GROWN-UP.

But maybe I am.

And maybe I like it.

Most of the time.

Maybe, actually, since my soul has finally woken the hell up, maybe I’m like, really enjoying being an adult. I mean, take a look at all the awesome shit that happened just while I was 33:

  1. I started my blog! That inspired me to write for Scary Mommy. That motivated me to submit to elephant, which prompted me to become a regular contributor, which led me to being a Featured Author. I can’t WAIT to see what kind of authorship will next manifest.
  2. I got to up my teaching game, become a Professor, and do a decent enough job that I even got hired back on, with more classes, each semester. Suckers.
  3. I got to live in a neighborhood that was on my “I wanna live here someday” bucket list, and not only make friends with the people with whom I share a street, but host and attend not just one, but two block parties with my kickass neighbors.
  4. I got to enjoy the benefits of living the urban life in a city that is of a manageable size for me to conveniently, inexpensively and fully explore with my kids. We walk to the park to attend events and concerts. We take day trips to the ocean and the mountains and are still home by bedtime. We ride bikes to dinner in midtown and pick up frozen yogurt on the way back. We stroll to coffee and yoga on Sunday mornings, and we bring groceries from the food co-op home in backpacks after a long ride along the river trail. Somebody pinch me, because there is no way this is my real life.
  5. I got to learn how to live bigger with less, to let go of material shit, and how to leverage my resources.  Seriously, I haven’t even been to Costco one time in 10 months. Not kidding.
  6. I got to create my own schedule, working when, where, and with whom I wanted. I have never been happier in my work life than then, not ever.
  7. My yoga practice grew, first by assisting and connecting to the yoga community, and then by completing teacher training and becoming a yoga teacher. Me! I’m a YOGA TEACHER. For reals. Happy sigh. Oh yeah, and about handstand and titibasana– check! Maybe don’t ask me to hold them for a long time but. . . I didn’t place a time limit on it for a reason.
  8. I made new friends, and created THE most amazing community and network of friends and contacts through fitness, yoga, writing and connections. I have never had a heart more full of love and appreciation for the people in my life, in whatever capacity they have come, and in whatever way they have changed my path. Awesome. People.Are.Awesome.
  9. I sang and danced, with Michael Franti, on stage, in the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, at a yogathon, with some of the area’s most revered teachers. I mean. . . are you kidding me? That’s just fucking cool.
  10. I got to walk my kids to school almost every day, for the first time ever. In yoga pants. And flip flops. Even in December, when boots might have been a better call. Whatever, it’ s only two blocks. Toes don’t freeze that fast.
  11. I started CrossFitting. Enough said.
  12. I joined a wine club. Stop laughing. While it’s debatably geriatric ridiculous, it also happens to be at a vineyard nearby where I spent many a lovely sunny Sunday with friends creating new and joyful memories. It sincerely warms my heart when my shipment arrives. Literally, it does, it’s mostly red wine.
  13. I ran somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty events, and usually with people I had never (at least majoritively) previously met. I completed mud runs, obstacle runs, relays, half marathons, themed runs, pub crawls and brewfests. Oh wait, no, scratch that last two, no running for those guys. Biking, yes, but not running. Oops.
  14. I chipped a tooth carrying a bottle of Longboard in my mouth out the front door on Christmas Eve. Yup. You read that correctly. Why is this on my list? Because I did it while hanging out with my little brother, who, being eight years younger than me, I am just now finally beginning to get to know. I’m so glad I was invited to the Cool Kids Fire Pit Party. This year though, just advance warning, I’m using a cup.
  15. I got to make writing and consulting a real part of my career and income. I got to attend business meetings in fancy restaurants, at golf clubs, and in coffee shops. I got to hold conference calls and help build websites. I got to manage projects, and see them grow. I got to learn, on the job, in real time, and with some legitmate Superstars. Entreprenuership; it’s kind of a big deal.
  16. I got to experience a wide range of dating adventures. From heartbreak, to one-and-done, thanks for-the-drink-don’t-call-me-again-please dates, to the people cheering at the bar for us (can’t make that shit up), to the weekend where I was whisked away, in a sports car no less, for the weekend, I had so.much.fun. Well, right after I got over myself and started trying to have a good time anyway. And I learned a whole lot about my intuition, about myself, who I want to be with, and just how complete I really am.  
  17. I got to see Yosemite,  finally, and with some super cool ladies. I also learned while there, that if one wants to climb Half Dome it is advisable to: a) not be hungover tired before you begin, b) arrive at the park well before 11a.m., c) go with people who like heights, and probably also, hiking. At least I can say I looked at it. I touched the rock. I have a picture of me holding tree pose in front it even. That totally counts.
  18. I went on a girl’s trip to Napa with some of my nearest and dearest from childhood, reminding me that the bonds of friendship from our youth are strong enough to hold through a lifetime. I pray my children will be as fortunate as I to have a cohort such as them.
  19. I got to explore who and what I want to be, and to take positive action to make that all happen. It’s been a bumpy ride, but I just installed some seatbelts and a new shock absorbing system, so you know, buckle up tight.
  20. I trusted the myself, and the universe, over and over and over again, and it provided and in such great abundance. What an amazing life we have here on this world, let us always remember that.

That list is really just the tip of the iceburg, and I share it not with you as a way to gloat and exult my good fortune but rather to relay a message of sincere gratitude. To let the universe know how very humbled I am to be a participant in this life. To serve as a reminder, that when you look for good in your life, more good comes. To remember to be willing and open, always, to what comes my way, and to choose to find an opportunity in every adventure.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~John Milton

So thanks, 33, you pretty much kicked ass. 34, let’s go. Let’s do this. Let’s make shit happen. Game time.

Happy Birthday, to me. To the Bucket List, and beyond!

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GUTS OVER FEAR

So, I have  confession to make. Gulp.

I’m not actually always that good at letting shit go.

Like, um, I am. . . but . . . I’m also . . . not.

I’m good at letting SOME things go. I’m good at not letting MOST things bother me. I can release hurt, anger, pain, frustration, and other things that have otherwise provided me a disservice and let them float away from me. Usually.

I’ve gotten really efficient at reframing. I am a Master Bullshitter. Kidding, but not, but kidding. I can shift perspectives faster than a policitican in November. Life is a lot of how I choose see it, and I choose positive at least 90% of the time; it’s just how I’m wired.

I have the Four Agreements pretty dialed in, too, like I’m really working on practicing what I’m preaching here.  I have shifted the way I think. Developed new habits, attitudes and gotten really really clear about my beliefs.

I am open. Receptive. Willing. Making major progress.

Big. Huge. Whole new person. Hell, whole new world.

But, you know, some things just really die hard. Sometimes, old patterns come out to play, sans invitation and certainly without an rsvp. So inconvenient.

The things we struggle with in our deeper selves tend to be the things with which we will wrestle  for a lifetime. They don’t go away, we just get better at managing them. We peel back layers, we understand them better, we learn to respond differently. But, then they manifest in new ways, hopefully better, but often, they just show up in a new package.

Same shit. Different day.

Oh. Boy.

For me, it’s usually, uh, errrrr. . . wellll . . .  ummmm . . . Control. Or planning. Wait, no, it’s overdoing it.

Um. Right. Okay. So it’s really, “controlled chaos.” Yes, better. Perfect, actually.

Speaking of (chaos, that is, and my attempts to rein in that crazy), some things, I just.won’t.drop. Some decisions, I neglect to stop analyzing. Some questions, I demand answers. Some things, I refuse to allow to simply be as they are. Some ambiguity, I slap a label on and stuff into a box, lid closed tight for fear of the fog of its uncertainty clouding my path once more.

Why? Well, usually because:

  1. I don’t feel like getting over it, moving on, or changing. I just don’t. End of story.
  2. I am avoiding dealing with what will happen if I do. I’m actively choosing not to offload something because of what else might shift in my life. I know these demons well, and I don’t want to make new aquaintances. Courage is required here, and my intestinal biceps are taking a rest day.
  3. I’m not ready to learn the lesson, and I know it. It requires more experience, more time, energy, or grounding that I just plain don’t have in me at the moment. And besides, I don’t like to learn things the first time, I like to fuck it up six or seven times, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.
  4. I am (naively) hoping something will change, magically resolve itself, or otherwise get FIXED before I get to deal with it.
  5. I’m a human being.

All reasonable excuses, right? Nothing too particularly novel there.

Yes, I said excuses. Because that’s what they are.

I can call them explanations. They could be rationalizations. Logistical probabilities. Reasons.

Guilt-removing nomenclature.

My ability to articulate reality using words of varying degrees of impact on my perception is of little consequence in this case, actually.

It doesn’t really matter what they are called, but rather, that they exist. And, by acknowledging their existance, I can: a) offer myself some grace, and b) FIX IT!  Kind of.

When you know better, you do better (theoretically speaking anyway). Well, if now I know, then, um, it’s time to do.

So.

Big breath.

I’m working on it this month. This, following set of weeks where I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of vehement sensibilities that has been so turbulent I have fucking motion sickness.

All that spinning. All that thinking. All that pulling. All those things, all at the same time, more than I can possibly hold in my own two arms, with just this one heart, in just this one body, with only this one mind.

I am about to emotionally combust, and I’m glad.

Why? I mean, like I really have fucking time for another fucking meltdown right now? FOR REAL?

Yep. Nope. But, uh, yep.

Because, you see, it means I am almost there. I’m just about ready to let go of those last few things. I’m prepared to shed another layer.

Sometimes I have to be pushed to the edge before I will fall; I don’t always just jump.

But now, honey, get your parachute ready, it’s breakthrough time.

Now, the rubber meets the road. Now, I get to put all that I’ve learned to the test. Now, I get to break open just enough to let some good, juicy, chakra opening, honest-to-goodness soul satisfying sustainable sunshine in my heart.

All I have to do is exhale.

Ready to witness this release? Get comfy, it’s happening, right after this commercial break.

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JUMP

Yesterday was a trip. Literally. I had my first day at a new part time job (yes, another one. . . ), about 30 miles away from my house, back in the community from “before.”

Before, as in prior to when I made all this progress. Before, in my previous existence, when I was unhappily married and taught kindergarten at a school down the street. Before, when my reality was uninspired, planned, predictable, and I operated primarily on shallow, level one state .

Before, when I knew my life was not great but didn’t know what to do about that.  Before yoga. Before breathing. Before freedom.  Before I became this version of myself.  BCTFD, as it were.

Yesterday was strange.

You know how when you visit your hometown you feel all awkward and conflicted, as though you don’t know who you’re supposed to be? You run into people and can tell that they remember you as you were at 18 years old when you left home for college, and they don’t know you as you are now, and it’s just . . . uncomfortable?

It was kind of like that.

But, worse.

I pulled up that morning into the parking lot and I sat in my car for a minute, breathing deeply. Envisioning my future. Giving myself a pep talk. Using the power of positive thinking.

I can do this. It will be good. It’s just a year. Just one. Actually, it’s just nine months. Nine months is nothing. This isn’t forever; it’s just.Nine.Months.”

My heart sank as I stepped out of the car. My gut was on FIRE, screaming at me – “NO! This isn’t it. This isn’t you anymore. This doesn’t fit. You are finished with this. Stop. Don’t do it. Turn around. Get back in the car. Go home. Go back to your world.”

I wanted my normal Thursday. The one where I teach yoga in the early morning, write, then do my mom thing and get the kids off to school on time(ish). Go to CrossFit. Assist at yoga. Write some more. Maybe go for a run.  Work from a coffee shop. Have family time. Then work again, do some reading, catch up with my friends. Go to bed when I feel like it.

 That life is good, really good.

So, um, WHAT THE FUCK was I doing in that parking lot then? Why was I not doing that, instead?

Why am I there? Why, after over a year of reprieve, I am stepping back onto an Elementary School campus as an employee again? By choice?

Shit.

Well, while my former routine fills my heart with gladness,  it does not, alas, sufficiently fill my wallet, yet.

It’s just not generating the stable income required to maintain my lifestyle anymore; the feast and famine nature of being an independent contractor for the large bulk of my work is making me crazy. It is literally pulling me in so many directions I am breaking.

Even after eliminating as many possessions and monthly expenses as possible, stress is creeping back into my life as monthly bill pay has turned into a neverending game of “go fish.” I am constantly losing, left with a handful of sealife, and an empty stack from which to draw.

This is not maintainable as a single mother of two children. It was fun, for awhile. I had resources, a back-up for some time.

Now? Well now I’m all out of cushion. My ass just made contact with the ground.

This is not to say I haven’t built my businesses, I have. I have gained clients, created networks, grown my professional depth and breadth in new dimensions. Things are picking up, quickly.

They are moving. Just not fast enough to hold it all together.

I can’t keep using this patch kit, there are too many holes to fill.

If I operate from a place of fear, if I’m so focused on generating instant income that I lose sight of the big picture because I can’t move past “go,” then the whole scene is going to fall apart. I won’t do my best work. I won’t make smart decisions. I will function from a stimulus-response pattern instead of using a strategic approach.

There is a difference between not having a solid plan, and refusing to pull your head out of the sand. It’s awesome to go wherever the wind blows you, but, it’s important to make sure you have the wings with which to rise on the airstream.

My wings, as it turns out, are currently out of commision.

I’m tired from flapping so hard in every direction.

I want one stable thing in my life. One normal, stable, dependable thing. A rock to stand on, so I can leap when and in which direction I choose.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ― Rumi

Well, I asked the universe, and it answered.

Less than a week after deciding to look for a way to continue doing what I love to do while I had a reliable income stream, my calendar was filled with job interviews. I had the great luxury of having options, opportunities from which to pick and choose.

Thankfully, the two pager resume I’m packing is actually kind of, well, loaded. I have degrees, credentials, and experience. This makes me highly employable, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I recognize how very fortunate I am to have this kind of arsenal just hanging out in my back pocket, mostly unused, but worth its weight in gold (and student loans, but that’s another story).

I ended up choosing a job that offers me the best of all worlds. I get to work at a school where a friend of mine is the boss, I already know most of the staff, and I’m doing something I know how to do forwards, backwards, with my eyes closed, and in my sleep.

I get to teach kids how to read.

How fucking cool is that? How amazing is it that I am blessed to give the gift of literacy to our youth? I get to help them access their world. I get to serve as a catalyst for their growth, development and ultimate success. And, I know what I’m doing too, like for real.

Seriously, that’s badass.

It’s going to be one crazy ride. I will be working about seven jobs, eight sometimes even. Teaching at the college, teaching at the Elementary school, teaching yoga, writing for my clients, writing for elephant, doing PR and marketing for more clients, assisting at Zuda.  I’ll be driving north, south, east, and west, sometimes in circles, and changing changing roles (and clothes) several times daily.

You know what? I love it. I love every teeny tiny bit of that madness. It’s so me. It’s just how I operate- totally non standard, non conventional and sure as hell not like I’d had my life planned out, before.

This time around, I get to do it right. I get to be a great “me,” and a great teacher. I get to walk in my old space as a new person. I can be who I am and who I want to be, with no regret, no pretense. Just me. Just like this.

Nine months. About 270 days to get my financial house in order, my shit figured out, my work clear, my game tight.

Why do it? Why not just say “fuck it,” quit six jobs, take up teaching full time again and make a solid paycheck with some benefits and two months off every summer?

Because that’s not who I am anymore. It’s not what I want.

I didn’t swim across the lake this far to turn around now.

What I learned and I discovered during my exploration these last fifteen months has been awesome. I think maybe, finally, I know what I want. Quite clearly.

And yesterday, as soon as I shook off the fear, the moment I stepped out of the parking lot, into the classroom, and saw the smiling faces of my new (but familiar) colleagues, I knew I made the right choice for right now.

I found my rock. It’s an awfully nice one too. I think I’ll just sit here awhile and catch my breath, happy to be here, in this moment, at this time, in this place.

“I know you’re tired but come, this is the way.” Rumi

HEY THERE, YOU’RE AN ALLSTAR

Have you ever observed a spinning top? It leans one way, and then another until it slows and topples. Notice that it never simply spins in the middle, centered, perfectly balanced in all directions.

Let’s take a look at that little metaphor of life, shall we?

How many things are you doing right now? How many jobs, titles and responsibilities all fall under the label of “MINE” at present?

Can you even count them?

I can’t.

Seriously. I can’t. Mom, Yoga Teacher, Professor, Writer, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Student, Yogi, Runner, CrossFitter, Athlete, Housekeeper (a bad one), CFO (equally unskilled in this department), CEO, Amatuer Chef, Mid-level Baker, Wannabe Standup Comedian, Grown-up (shiver).

The list goes on. And on. And on.

I wonder if I can fit that all on one business card? Oh wait. I know. I CAN. There is one title that covers all of that.

I am. . . DELUSIONAL.

Ha! But really. To be honest, I cannot possibly continue to do all of that all the time at a level of satisfaction that I would prefer. I (big surprise coming here, brace yourself), like to do everything right. I like to be the best. I want to be the winner. The example. The Superstar. Wonder Woman. Yep. For sure that’s me.

Or not.

Or, I am learning, that just like a top, when I lean one direction, I am leaning away from another. If I give my time and energy to one thing, that by default, it means I am not giving it to something else.

I physically cannot lean in two directions at the same time.

That does not mean I haven’t been trying. I mean, I have a pretty decent Warrior Two pose and all but. . . Yeah. I still fall over. Often.

The solution? Change. Let go. Shift my priorities and change my expectations.

To tie it up nicely with a bow, I engage in the following:

  1. Calm
  2. The
  3. Fuck
  4. Down

For real. I mean it. Chill.

What does this really look like?  Well, like this, actually:

1. Save yourself and get out of the pool, Narcissus.

Take a big breath and cut yourself a little slack. Despite what your ego may be demanding, you are human, actually. So, you know, take of the cape, offer yourself a little grace and get comfortable with not being numero uno in every.single.category.ever. You are enough. Accept that. Stop fighting for first. The leader of the pack blocks the wind for those behind him, enjoy a little reprieve from the full gale force now and then, would you?

2. Pick teams, choose sides and then rally.

Determine your priorities, both short and long term. Be clear and limited in scope. Depth not breadth. Decrease your bandwidth. Stay in perspective. Not everything has to be done RIGHT NOW, at the speed of light and before the kids get home from school. One step at a time. The journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step, remember? Maybe figure out what step one is, eh?

3. Set your intention.

If you don’t know where you are now it will be difficult to recognize where you’re going and how you got there.  Spend some time identifying your current reality then take a look down the path a few steps. Decide what you want. Be very very clear about how you would like your future to look and ask for it. Be specific and open to interpretation. We usually get exactly what we ask for, whether we recognize it or not, and dependent largely in part on the energy we are sending out into the universe. Be aware of your thoughts and stay positive in your intention so when that karmic boomerang comes back around you can catch it , and with open arms.

4.  Clean your (metaphorical) house.

Get organized. Get rid of clutter, both tangible and intangible. If it’s not serving you, let it go. If it can be done by someone else, let it. If you can use help, take it. If you can give it away then let it find a new home. If it doesn’t help you, or the people in your lives in growth, then drop it, no matter how hard it is.  

Less is more. I repeat. Less.Is.MORE.

5. Change your Mind(set)

If you can’t reasonably let something go at the moment, then change the way you think about it. Remember, everything is impermanent. Everything. Let work just be a means to an end and not an identity. Allow pain and fear to bring wisdom and experience. Let dealing with difficult people in your life be a lesson in patience and humanity; find the cry for love in every angry face.

“When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.”

Byron Katie

My friends, be Dory- just keep swimming.