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February 2017

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5 Things to Do Before We Skip Town-Cleaning out the Mental Cobwebs

We hit the six-months-to go mark yesterday. Whoa, yikes!..I just caught my breath when I wrote that. That means about 180 days to ready, steady, go. In my whirling life I realize I have a lot of loose threads I am constantly picking at. Some are reasonable and others are just plain, annoying time sucks. So, while I am trying to ‘clean house’ literally I also need to do it figuratively.

These are the things I am working on.

Kicking Toxic Relationships to the Curb! I am a human, non-sociopath (thank goodness) but, that also means I am a deeply feeling person. While this is not a bad thing, I find that I invest in relationships that are clearly not helpful, kind, symbiotic or healthy for me.kristopher-roller-188180

I spend a lot of time trying to craft a response from someone I care about and ache for them to like me back. I spend too much time, energy and, quite frankly, pieces of my soul in the output of others without receiving a balanced, authentic connection in return.
I am practicing turning towards the ones that have shown up and have earned the right to hear my story.

Say No When I Feel I Should say ‘Yes’. How many times a DAY do I mumble out an ‘okay’ or squeak a ‘yes’ when I know, in my heart of hearts, this request is not what truly aligns with my value much less, even have time for. It feels like a must but, at what cost?
dikaseva-34987Now, I don’t mean shirking my responsibilities but, rather saying yes to a time commitment that ever shrinks my sliver of ‘me time’ that have on my calendar. No one is making me do this. I do it. And I need to cut it out. Now.

 

Paying attention to the ‘shoulds, oughts and musts’ that rattle in my head.  Or otherwise said, stop ‘shoulding’ on myself. I say this to my clients all to time and like other  psychotherapists, I don’t always practice what I suggest (shock!). I think of these words as threads from someone else’s rule book, goals and they hijack my own dreams, hopes and intentions.

jared-erondu-15318I find myself surveying the room to find the ‘best’ choice or solution for all involved and meanwhile my voice, and often, my values get muffled.

Pushing others agendas to the front of the line will get me nowhere and often, it is not reciprocated

Resetting my Expectations of Others. Also, something I talk a lot about with clients. I am trying to do this more in my own relationships and, luckily, I have a very supportive and intuitive husband that often takes me by the shoulders and tries to redirect me to the more realistic path.

When we have an event, gathering or interaction coming useemi-samuel-15564p, my husband and I will talk about what the minimum expectations are (seriously shooting as low as possible), what is reasonable and achievable and then, the dream scenario.
All the while, becoming abundantly aware that I can only control myself as I am hoping for some crazy, magic, Jedi mind trick to get others into knowing and doing what I want. Often without saying it out loud.

Minimum : Low, low, bottom of barrel e.g. I show up at an event, I have a coffee
Reasonable and Achievable: e.g. I see the person, have a couple of connectingwords. 
Dream Scenario, aka, Lottery, Bonus, Gravy: The names says it all, expecting the best!  

unknown
I am setting simpler expectations. Dream Scenario will not likely happen but, if it does, what a pleasant surprise! It’s a lot shorter fall from high expectations and landing splat in a pile of disappointment and resentment to saying ‘that was unexpectedly awesome’.

 

Slow down and Look People in the Eye. In our technologically focused society we are often bumbling around the streets, coffee lines and even traffic lanes with our eyes angling down at a device. We are missing connections around us that are as authentic as anything we desire from those we are following on social media. jon-tyson-77013Simple eye contact is a deeply personal, human experience.

Now, I am not saying I am trying to see into stranger’s souls. No, I am merely saying we often feel so alone while surrounded by dozens of people. And a simple head nod and eye connection can boost our serotonin and release a few healthy hormones in blood stream to battle the anxiety and cortisol spikes we get while scanning click bait online.

 

Whew…so, what are you working on? Is this helpful to you?  These are not going to be accomplished immediately. These are all practices that are like pulling the car alignment into place. It takes attention and management. Saying them out loud makes me more accountable for them as well. So, how about you? No high expectations, just the minimum please.

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Less is More! How to downsize?

Argh…big sigh…I realize I can write a lot about the state of the world. This is a lot of  what I have been talking about in my work and professional life for weeks but, I am going to move my attention to fun future planning. At least for a bit. A pleasing distraction.

Working on our departure! We have a little over six months to go before we take off for our near year trip away from the States. I am feeling a mix of excitement and frozen in indecision or angst. What is set, you ask?

We are leaving at the end of August and are heading West. Those steps of the first days/weeks we are out and about will be documented later. Right now, we are wrestling with the pieces we leave behind.

So, what to do with our house? We had this romantic idea of leaving most of our furniture in our house and rent it out on a part-time basis by Airbnb or Homeaway. 78a265wpio4-david-marcuHowever, I have found out that the City of Portland (thank you Amanda Rhoads for educating me) is really cracking down on folks renting their houses out for short-term rentals. You have to live in your house 270 days a year to do short rentals on the other 90 days.

I get that there is a housing crunch in our city and support measures to block people from profiting crazily from this. However, I am bummed. I had hoped to have a relative easy access to our house if something were to go horribly wrong while we are on the road. The idea that our house was comforting back up plan if need be.

That brings us to the other option of a long-term renter. We are going to get it up and going before the school year so, perhaps a new Portland family can find some comfort in our space.

That leaves storage! We have shifted into this mind space to downsize so, we aren’t putting a gillion boxes into storage only to be unpacked a year later wondering why we will have the stuff we lived without for 12 months. Kelvin is heading up this task with plans of various drop spots in our garage: sell, donate and throw away. I’ve been bumping around places on the internet to learn more about minimalism at home.

I have had 42 addresses in my life so, moving, while a headache, is not such a worry for me. But, the accumulation of a life’s stuff does get in my head. tpkqwyhy8q4-aneta-ivanovaEven ten years after my Mom died, my Dad still had their house in the exact same state as it was the day after her wake. The tablecloths were still on the tables and her purse from the hospital was sitting by the door, full of her eyeglasses, paper planner and multitudes of expired medications. It was sad for me and, I think, spooky for others.

To live a lighter life feels and seems like a good idea. We plan on carrying everything we need on the road. Small amounts of clothing and entertainment devices. Having less around our house also feels good on the brain.

So, onward and upward! On with the planning. Please comment on thoughts and suggestions.

 

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