Self-Care Sunday

For this week’s Self-Care Sunday, I took a trip out to the Palisades to visit The Self-Realization Fellowship at Lake Shrine. My goal while visiting Lake Shine was to focus on the present moment and minimize any thoughts that involved my past and future. It wasn’t easy. I kept thinking about getting home before it got dark, and that I had to grocery shop before I got home or I wouldn’t have anything to eat.

This task wasn’t easy, but I’d say 95% of my thoughts while at Lake Shine were present-oriented. I really took in my surroundings. The lake. The ducks that were on one and couldn’t stop quacking. The tourists and other visitors. I even brought my library copy of The Power of Nowthat I read some pages of while I was there. Such a perfect book to read in the most peaceful place in Los Angeles.

It’s amazing how you’re instantly alleviated from stress and anxiety when you just live in the present. It was refreshing to know that I didn’t have to look at my phone to check the time. I had a whole day to spend on myself, and time simply didn’t matter.

Afterward I made an impromptu visit to the beach. It was the perfect way to cap off my trip. I’ve never been to the beach while the weather was so warm out. I was sun-kissed and loving every minute of it. I mean, aside from the fact that the sun cancerous.

I also received a gift from my mom today–a cute little mini backpack I had on my Amazon wish list. It was a great bag to have with me on my trip this afternoon.

Oh, and it’s my cat Dupree’s eleventh birthday! Ever since the day we met, we’ve been inseparable. We just belonged to each other instantly. Dupree is a big ball of crazy and I’m so happy I’ve gotten eleven wonderful years with this baby. I’ve never known love so unconditional (on my end, at least), and even though he’s kind of a jerk, I know he loves me at least a little bit.

A great quote I read from The Power of Now:

Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as is you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.

I’m going to do my best from now on to accept before acting.

Please enjoy a photo set from my Sunday!

How did you spend your Super Bowl Sunday? Did you take a moment this weekend to do something kind for yourself?

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Leaning Into Discomfort

I was hoping to get my blog post in before midnight, but since I was busy working all day I will allow this one slip of my 28 days of blogging. (And so early on in the month, too! 😫).

I’m going to keep this post brief. Today I found myself especially irritable. On Thursday I had negative experience at work that left me distracted and jeopardized my ability to coach well and to have fun while teaching. Instead I felt on guard, insecure, and most of all ashamed. Then today I felt that my time had been disrespected by an employer who showed up twenty-five minutes late when they knew I had a hard out time. On top of that I’m worried about my family’s health and well being and my own financial stress.

I felt angry. Frustrated. Hopeless. Anxious. Like I attract very specific people and behavior and this is all my fault. I brought all of this upon myself. Even the things that didn’t have anything to do with me. Somehow I found ways to feel guilty because of them.

Thankfully, instead of blowing up, I vented to my therapist about the way I was feeling. I confided in a couple of friends. None of these people provided me with answers, but I didn’t need them. I just needed someone to listen and relate.

Thanks to The Craving Mind, one of my February reads, I refrained from my usual food binge or compulsive Amazon purchase. I simply forced myself to sit with and EXPERIENCE the emotions that were coursing through me. As excruciating as it is to acknowledge the awful inside of you–we can all agree it’s far easier to distract ourselves with instant gratification–it’s when we confront our fears and pain head on that the most progress can be made.

As great quote I read recently by Jonathan Fields goes:

“The butterflies always fly when you’re pushing into something that matters deeply and that requires growth. The reframe is to learn to experience the sensation as a signpost that cool things are happening and lean into it, rather than as a signal to run.”

It is so important to walk toward the scary parts of life. If we aren’t uncomfortable, we aren’t growing.

And you know what happened when I sat with the pain? The jumble of negative emotions inside of me disappeared. I’m still affected by all of this week’s events, but my mind is clearer and I’m ready to tackle it all with reason and compassion

As Fields says, I’m ready to lean into it.

February Goals

Happy February!

I don’t typically create monthly goals for myself, but I feel compelled to create fun, 30-day challenges every month this year. For February, I have a few goals in mind:

1. Blog daily for the next 28 days

2. Dive deeper into my meditation & yoga practice

3. Start paying off credit card debt

4. Establish a sustainable work-life balance

1. 28 Days of Blogging

If you’re subscribed to my newsletter and blog, you may have noticed that this is my third consecutive post. I really want to be more active on my blog and share my self-care journey with, others with the hopes that maybe you can take what I’ve learned and implement some self-care for yourself.

I’ve never had a set blogging schedule, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can do it!

2. Deepen My Meditation & Yoga Practices

I’m super excited that I’ve finally returned to a daily meditation routine, but I can feel my body craving more. I haven’t quite decided how I plan to incorporate more meditation into my day. I may do both a morning and evening session, or challenge myself by sitting longer in my practice. It would be fun to work up to 20 minute sessions that don’t lead to falling asleep.

As for yoga, I try it fit it in daily, but only in 20-30 minute practices. This month, I want to dedicate 2-3 days a week to some challenging, hour-long sessions.

From back backs to hip openers to mastering the crow pose and handstand, there are so many things within yoga that I want to improve. I know it’s all a matter of picking one and sticking to it.

3. Pay Off that Debt

Last year was an amazing year for me financially. I had eliminated my credit card debt and had the credit to get myself a new car. Unfortunately, I was in a toxic living situation that I knew I was emotionally ready to leave. This last minute move put me back into credit card debt that I’ve been putting off paying off until I had more money put into savings.

So in February I want to begin paying that off debt using the snowball method.

4. Design My Ideal Schedule

I’m terrible at putting myself before others. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been concerned with disappointing others, so I agree to do things I don’t really want to do to avoid conflict. This has carried over heavily into my work life. I gave so much of my time and energy to others and wasn’t taking care of myself.

I daydreamed about what my ideal work schedule would be when I finally had the money to work less and when I finally was in this phase of my life, etc. One day, I just asked myself: If I want more time off, why do I have to wait for a future that may never come? Why can’t I just ask for what I want?

I’ve worked hard last year to create a schedule that allows for time for rest and self-care. I’m already reaping so many benefits from working less. My days are slower and I’m able to appreciate them more, which is what life is all about, right?

I have one more freelancing gig to part ways from to achieve my ideal work schedule and I’m ready to take the leap of faith and put in my notice this month. It’s a bit of a scary venture, and as much as I’ve loved the freedom of freelancing over the past two years, it simply isn’t stable and is usually just plain stressful. I’m retiring my days of chasing checks in exchange for a few extra hours a week of stable work. I’ll anticipate a regular paycheck arriving right on schedule, thank you very much!

Do you have any goals for 2018? What are you doing to center your work-life balance?

In the Light of the Hot Ass Sun

In 2011 I transferred schools for my junior year of college. I was commuting thirty miles from my studio apartment in the bustling, dirty city to the rolling, green grass of the secluded foothills off the 10 freeway, where my new school was located. The grass literally ALWAYS looked greener here.

It was the second week of school and I had just been broken up with the night before so I didn’t get much sleep. My mind was focused on the whys and “how could this happen to mes.” I exited the freeway and approached the winding road that would lead me to the parking lot uncomfortably far from campus but was always empty, when my car just stopped working.

It just. Stopped. Working.

Fuck.

I really didn’t know what to do. I had only been living independently from my family for four months at this point and rarely left my apartment except to go on dates with my now ex, so this was the first real crisis I had ever had to deal with alone.

I called my mom and asked her what to do.

“Why are you calling me?” she asked over the phone. “Call your insurance, they’ll send someone to pick up your car.”

“Okay,” I replied.

After I called my insurance company and set up a tow truck to come get my car, a police car pulled up beside me. He was a part of the campus police, but I think he was still a legit cop nonetheless.

“You can’t park here,” he said to me as cars drove around us. If he thought I was in the way, he was even more of a traffic inconvenience.

“My car broke down,” I said. “Someone’s coming to tow it now.”

“Well move it out of way so people can drive by.”

“I can’t,” I said defensively. “I’m not strong enough.”

I flashed to a memory of being in high school when my mom’s car broke down in the middle of a two-lane street on our way home. It was the late afternoon and I remembered the sky was a dramatic burst of oranges and yellows.

“Get out of the car and help me push it to the side,” my mom said, immediately.

“Can’t someone else do it?”

I refused to get out of the car in fear of someone seeing me pushing a broken down car and assuming I was poor. They would have been right, but why I associated a broken down car–which can happen to anyone regardless of how much money they made–and having to push it with being poor was beyond me.

“Get out and help me, Beck!”

I could see the pain, and the tiniest ounce of shame, in my mom’s eyes. She wasn’t just being a mom and demanding I do something, she was a helpless human being and was begging me to do something.

As we pushed the car off the road, I’m pretty sure someone I recognized from school made eye contact with me as they drove by. I don’t remember who it was now, and it’s not even important anymore. The feeling of being caught a victim of poverty was less damaging than refusing to help my mother when she needed me the most. THAT feeling–guilt–has never gone away.

Now I was twenty-one years old and still embarrassed that someone at my new school would see me pushing my broke down car and judge me for it.

Except I didn’t have to push it.

“Get out,” said the cop.

I got out of the car and watched the police officer push my car effortlessly to the dirt path. I thanked him.

“I think I have to miss class today,” I told him.

“Email your professor and let him know what happened,” he said. “Give him my name and I can verify it in case he doesn’t believe you.”

“Thanks,” I said.

I sat in the driver’s seat of my car with the door wide open. It was springtime but warm beneath the California sun.

Now everyone was looking at the sweaty girl sitting off road, with her door open and fanning herself as they drove by.

It wasn’t so bad.