Two Feet.

My daughter has two feet.  And for that I am incredibly grateful. You see every morning we go through the same dance. Well maybe not every morning, more like 6 out of 7 mornings a week, and most definitely on the mornings when I am running late to get to work. The dance is all about putting on shoes. Two shoes and two feet.

It is impossible to plan for this dance because you never know how it is going to go. There is the one morning a week that she picks out shoes, puts them on the correct feet and is out the door before I get my shoes on. That day is glorious.

Then there are all the other days. Some combination of not being able to pick shoes or getting one shoe on then changing her mind and starting completely over with the picking process or only wanting to wear black shoes because her brother is wearing black shoes but she does not own any black shoes so now the world must end immediately. Two feet I think to myself, I only have to get through two feet. 

There is also the task of dismantling whatever pair of shoes she is going to wear prior to putting them on her two feet. There might be pulling out velcro straps from hooks or clasps, removing laces, untying all bows that are decorative, removing inserts, or even attempts to peel off the soles if heaven forbid they are staring to fray a little at the edges which they do because she rubs her feet on rocks. The dismantling process must of course be completed for both shoes. Again I think to myself, only two feet, you can do this, it is only two feet. Parental patience will prevail.  

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Then we start the process of putting the shoes on the feet. And if you think you are going to help her with that process well you should just sit yourself down and think again because that would be wrong. Soooo wrong. And if you happen to be running really late and think you’ll speed things up by helping the process along, say by putting one of the shoes back together, well, you just made a critical error and now the world really does end. At least the world where you make it to work on time and your child is wearing shoes when you drop her off at school and no one is covered in tears or snot. But really, it’s only two feet, stay patient. Two feet. Imagine if she had three feet? Involuntary shudder of fear and horror. 

So invariably the first shoe goes on the wrong foot. There’s technically a 50-50 chance but I think in reality it leans more towards 75-25 with the wrong foot-shoe combo winning out. And then there is the complaint that the shoes don’t fit anymore. And you being an adult say “it’s on the wrong foot, switch feet and it will fit better.” And that seems like a logical thing to say, but it is not. It is soooo not. Because now the child is insistent that the shoes don’t fit and now you have to go back to the beginning (meaning you start over at picking out shoes), because for some reason the child does not think she can put her shoes on the wrong feet, ever. So it’s best to just nod and smile (through increasingly gritted teeth because you are now at least 10 minutes into this process) and say “yup, we’ll have to see about getting new shoes soon.” And then the child puts the other shoe on the other wrong foot and says it feels great and smiles at you. Two feet. If my child had three feet I would never go anywhere because we would never make it out the door. That would be three shoes to go on three wrong feet. And my parental patience level barely makes two feet on a good day.   

So now to go back to the beginning I simply want to say I am grateful that my daughter has two feet because I do not have the patience to deal with getting more little shoes onto more little feet. And if I were my own best friend I would remind myself to be grateful for the little things even if they seem very commonplace, like two feet.

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Recharging my soul

I wish my soul had an indicator bar like a battery on a cell phone or other electric devices do. I wish that indicator would send me an alert message when I was at 25% or 10% of my capacity and then I would pause and “recharge.” If my soul sent me an alert that I was at 5% or 1% I could immediately stop everything and rush like a crazy person into a frenzy of soul-recharging activity, similar to what people do when they see their cell phone batteries are at 5% or 1% or less. The frantic rush to an outlet or a charging pad or running in between offices asking if anyone has a charger that can be borrowed – I am sure we have all seen it or experienced it with a cell phone or a laptop or a tablet – the single-minded pursuit of recharging and not letting the battery on the device die.

What if we did that when our souls were running on empty? What if we actually took the time to recharge to 100%? Can you imagine people suddenly realizing they were running at 5% of their capacity and rushing to a spa for a massage or a hike to a beautiful waterfall or resting in a field watching clouds float by? What if you were sitting in a business meeting and the person next to you suddenly jumped up and said “gotta run, my soul’s at 5%” and they rushed out the door to camp for a week and knit hats? How awesome would that be if we took care of ourselves like we take care of our electric devices?!?!

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So if I were my own best friend I would really listen to my own advice this time and recharge my soul to 100% (or as close to 100% as I could get). If I were being totally honest (and why not be totally honest) I would say I am charged to about 20% most of the time. I dip down to 10% (and become a bit cranky,  sorry people who live with me) then find a way to claw back up to 20% or so. But I cannot remember the last time I actually charged myself back to 100%. I believe I should treat myself, my soul, as good, if not better than my electronic devices. So I challenge you to check in with yourselves – how “charged” are you these days? Are you at 100% most days (if so, way to go!)? Or do you hover in the lower numbers most of the time, feeling a bit empty or run down? What could you do to recharge yourself? What could you change in your life to consistently run at a more “charged” level? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions – just food for thought as you go about your day.

Wishing you a fully charged life!

Do turtles jump?

Well, do they? Do turtles jump? Can they jump? Do they want to jump? Have you ever seen a turtle jump? If you do a quick search of the mighty web you will probably find a few videos of snapping turtles lunging and hopping and it looks an awful lot like jumping. You may also find various sites that talk about turtles not being able to jump because of the weight of their shells (the equivalent of a 250 pound backpack on a full grown human) and their overall physiology and other limiting factors. The general response on the internet is that turtles do not jump, unless they are snapping turtles and then stay the heck away. (If you are a turtle expert and know otherwise, then please let me know!).

“OK, so…. what?” you are probably thinking right now. Why is she writing about turtles? And jumping? OK, bear with me. Imagine you are a turtle. Imagine you are hanging out in your turtle space with a little water and a little grass and some fish and some flowers and some bugs. And you are sitting in the sun while a soft breeze blows through the grass, half asleep after your big turtle breakfast. You have a good turtle life. THEN… a frog jumps by and your whole world turns upside down and you think “holy moly that is the coolest thing I have ever seen I have to do that right now. I do not even know what that is but I know it is what I should be doing. It is what I want to be doing.” So you try to jump and you cannot. You tell your turtle friends about what you want to do and they all laugh at you or tell you cannot do it. You tell your turtle parents and they tell you jumping is not for turtles and you will get a respectable job crawling thank you very much. And so it goes.

But you keep trying to jump. Yes, you are a turtle. And yes, you should not be able to do this. But. But. But…

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So, if I were my own best friend and I were a turtle and I wanted to jump more than anything else in the whole big world, I would remind myself to find a way, despite all the evidence and all the feedback and all the limitations.

Because people have done really amazing things despite everyone saying they could not do it or they did not have the skills or they did not grow up the right way or with the right support or with the right skills. Because if you want it badly enough I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way. There is simply a way. So go be a jumping turtle.

Squirrels on meth

I have been meditating for approximately a week now and I would like to share 10 things with you about this experience thus far:

  1. My brain is full of squirrels
  2. And I am pretty sure the squirrels are on meth
  3. I am trying to the get the squirrels to slow down but they are fast little buggers. Really fast. And I think that has to do with the meth.
  4. I may have to send the squirrels to detox (not sure what this will do to my brain but there could be a few really ugly days coming up)
  5. Meditation is really hard. Especially if your brain is full of squirrels. On meth. Or full of lots of thoughts that never seem to stop.
  6. Meditation seems like it should be easy but that is an illusion. It is magic and it is hard.
  7. So… for meditation you just sit there, right? And you think about nothing, right? And you just think about….  Ha. That’s when you notice the squirrels. They are zooming all over the place. They never stop moving. Never stop. Stop squirrels stop.
  8. And then sometimes one squirrel does stop. And it stays there staring right into your face like a three-year old trying to figure out what you are and what to do with you. And you say, “Hey squirrel, move on. I’m meditating here.” But the squirrel, it just runs around you and comes right back – front and center with it’s beady squirrel eyes looking at you. And the next you thing you know you have spent your whole time wrestling with one squirrel instead of clearing your mind and such.
  9. Meditation is reportedly one of those things that can change your life if you commit to it. After one week of doing this I can see why. If everyone else’s brains are full of squirrels or monkeys or bats or frogs on stimulants, well… it is quite eye-opening when you realize what is actually going on in there. Anarchy. When I finally catch the squirrels and harness that energy, well… imagine what will happen. Just imagine.
  10. I truly believe all those people who do amazing things and who swear that meditation is a key part of their amazing things are onto something. First, conquer the squirrels in your brain. Second, conquer pretty much anything you want because this meditation stuff is one of the hardest things I have ever done (and just for reference, I went through 38+ hours of labor to deliver our second kiddo and I did an IronMan and I went to Walmart on Black Friday and survived all of them – but meditation is harder than being in labor while doing an Ironman and shopping at Walmart). Once you figure out meditation it is all there.

So, if I were my own best friend I would tell myself to keep on meditating. There is gold at the end of the rainbow. And I would tell the squirrels to sit the heck down, close their eyes, and namaste the heck out of life. Peace out.

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Plan A

I was listening to a book last week and one of the characters was trying to convince the other character to do something she was not sure she wanted to do. The first character said something to the effect of “If Plan A doesn’t work it’s OK. There are 25 more letters in the alphabet.”

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I love it. 25 more letters! 25 more chances to make it different or tweak it or try again. 25! I was trying to think of the last time I tried something 25 times in an effort to “get it right” or to get to what I wanted to achieve. The only thing that comes close has been my ill-fated attempts at sandwich bread making which I’ve posted about here before. I might be somewhere around Plan R or Plan S by now and to be honest I had given up, but I have another 8 or so letters to go so I think I’ll try again. However with everything else I think I might get to Plan D or Plan E and then I stop. I am short-changing myself – there are 26 letters in the alphabet! It is time to become more resilient, to not give up so easily, to persevere.

So if I were my own best friend I would remind myself to try-try-again, if plan A doesn’t work there are 25 more letters in the alphabet.

And what about you? Do you give each new opportunity at least 26 chances before you walk away? Do you move on to Plan AA, AB, AC and so on? Or are you closer to what I have been doing recently, stopping after a maximum of 5 or 6 attempts and moving on? What could we accomplish if we gave everything at least 26 attempts, each slightly different based on what we learned from the previous ones? Imagine!

Fail often.

Failure has a bad reputation but once you get to know it, it’s not really the bad kid. It’s the cool kid in disguise. Failure means you tried something. Failure means you took a chance. Failure means you found something you can improve on the next time. Failure means you have the opportunity to get better. Failure means you have the chance to grow.

I like all those things… trying something new, taking a chance, improving, opportunity, growth… So, if I were my own best friend I would tell myself to fail a bit more often.

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Cookies and Living in the moment.

Sometimes a reminder to live in the moment and find the simpler pleasures comes along and just makes me smile. This such reminder happened to show up in a book I am listening to right now when I commute to/from work. I pulled out a piece of paper (while driving) and instantly scribbled down as much as I could remember because I truly wanted to remember it (and then blog about it later).

Living in the moment can be such a challenge – not reminiscing or regretting the past, not dreaming or dreading the future, but just being in the present moment. And sometimes those present moments are really hard. Life can be really hard. Sometimes I really really want to think about the past or the future and not face the icky or painful or hard or “real life” stuff that is there, in the present. And sometimes when facing that icky/painful/ooky stuff I need something positive or kind or fun to get me through. That’s what this quote makes me think of – finding the positive in the midst of the not-so-positive.

So without further ado, a quote from a well-known, blue furry friend on Sesame Street, Cookie Monster:

“Today me will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie.”

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