When Things Fall Apart
Hello and Happy Friday!
So far 2013 has proven to be a year of new beginnings and a bit of "rolling with the punches" when the unexpected happens.
What's NEW: The Nourished Home has a NEW website! I invite you to check out the site and stay tuned for more changes, including a new blog, in the weeks to come.
I'm also thrilled to share that in January, I led 30 amazing Mamas through a new labor of love, the 14-day Hectic to Harmonious Online Home Cleanse journey, where we:
(1) cleared the clutter (literally & figuratively to create more space and time for our kids to grow into their TRUE and BEST selves, and
(2) enjoyed a simple approach to meal planning, prep, and meaningful family connection at the dinner table.
The "rolling with the punches" part (so far) is that the hard drive on my computer crashed a couple of weeks back...
And some important things WEREN'T backed up. Read my featured article this week about what I do when things "fall apart" (whether it's my hard drive, a sick kid, or big loss...).
When Things Fall Apart
The hard drive on my computer crashed a couple of weeks ago.
When one's business, heart, and soul are on such a thing (and the past few months of work aren't backed up, I'm mortified to report!), it pretty much feels like things are falling apart.
I felt like I was sending one of my babies across country. I had to trust she'd be okay in someone else's hands. I'll admit a few tears were shed and many deep breaths were taken on this one.
And then I did this:
I slowed down and reflected on what I needed to do to move forward during the waiting period. I called on my colleagues, friends, and family for support. I took care of myself and savored some extra time with my family while I waited, did what work I could do, and made a plan for getting back to "normal".
I waited for two weeks and got some less than encouraging calls from the lab in California.
I had to let go. And I did. Man, did that feel good.
And then yesterday, my baby, my most recent work for The Nourished Home, pictures of my beloved family, and my dissertation (completing my PhD this spring!) was returned to me intact. I'm lucky and very grateful (and I now have a hopefully fool-proof back up system from here on out).
Although my hard drive in no way compares to the actual importance of our real babies, children, our loved ones, or our own precious bodies, I've been thinking a lot about how we cope when things fall apart.
How do you respond when something unexpected, difficult, and out of your control is thrown at you?
What do you do...
- if you suddenly find yourself on bed rest for the last few weeks of your pregnancy?
- when your child gets sick in the middle of an important work week?
- when you or your partner gets injured or loses a job?
- when you're confronted with the loss of someone you love?
When things fall apart, here are FOUR steps you can take to help you get through:
1. Slow down & allow yourself to receive the message the universe is sending you.
I recently gave a talk at Juniper Hil School here in Maine to a group of parents about Soul Fever, which is when our children are off kilter, out of sorts, stressed out, overwhelmed, and acting out because of it.
Think of how you treat a physical fever when your child is sick. You slow down, hold him close, pay close attention to how he's feeling, nurture him, and wait to resume normal activity until he's better.
Well, it's the same for Soul Fever. When our children, or we, or something in our lives is out of balance, we can slow down, give ourselves the space and time to regain a sense of equilibrium, lovingly pay attention to what is needed to move forward, and get back to the normal flow of things once we feel renewed and ready.
When you slow down and listen to the message lying underneath the pain or discomfort, what do you learn? What are the next steps forward for you and your family?
This process of slowing down and listening is actually a quicker fix for the problem you're facing. I know that when I don't slow down and pay loving attention, things get worse before they get better.
2. Get support.
One of the biggest mindset shifts I work on with my clients is that is indeed OKAY and in fact BRILLIANT to ask for and receive support throughout our lives.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. In reality, it takes a village for all of us, regardless of our age, to live a healthy, vibrant, sane life.
I find that when we're comfortable asking for support BEFORE things fall apart, the falling apart happens A LOT LESS. And, when things do fall apart, it's liberating to ask our friends, loved ones, neighbors, and sometimes professionals who are really good at giving the support we need for help.
This simple principle is true for big transitions, too. Let's think about a few examples:
- We need support and love from our community when we choose to marry our life partners.
- We need great support for recovery and bonding in the immediate weeks after our babies are born.
- We need helping hands when we're moving from one home to another.
- We need support & accountability when we're making a lifestyle change, like eating more nutritious foods, exercising more, taking on a meditation practice, releasing extra weight that we no longer want to be carrying on our bodies.
- We need to be held by those who care most when a loved one passes.
Whatever transition you're going through, whether it is big or small, joyful or painful (or a mix of both), who are two or three people in your life you can ask to support you right now?
These people should be kindred spirits. The ones who really get you and bring out the best in you. Start here today. Get in touch with these people now.
Trust me when I tell you they'll be honored to support you.
Think about how you can expand your support network in the weeks and months to come. With support, things come TOGETHER, and a world of new possibilities open up.
3. Take care of your one precious body (especially when things fall apart).
As parents, I know it is quite challenging to put our own self-care and health at or near the top of the priority list. The basic truth here is that when we aren't full of energy, when we aren't comfortable in our own skin, when we don't feel we deserve to take care of ourselves, we simply don't have that much to give during difficult times (or even great times!).
- Good self-care is crucial to good parenting.
- Good self-care is fundamental to a happy life.
- Good self-care is what allows your one precious body, the vessel that holds your mind and spirit, to give you a long, vibrant journey shared with the people you love.
Start by asking your body, "What do you need today to feel good?"
Sit quietly for a moment and let the answers come. Maybe it's a walk outside, some dancing in the kitchen, some warm winter soup, a hug from someone you love. In each precious moment, if you're in touch with what your body needs, you have the energy and clarity of mind to start putting whatever has fallen apart back together.
So start listening to your body today. Everyone will thank you.
4. Make a SIMPLE one-step-at-a-time plan & LET GO of the rest.
Whatever the difficulty, whatever it is that has fallen apart, allow every single thing you're concerned about to fall onto a piece of paper.
- Get out a pen and paper and take 5-10 minutes to write down whatever you think needs to happen to get through this time.
- Review your list and you'll see that there are typically two or three things that need to happen first, that are of the utmost importance.
- Start with these things, do them well, with a graceful steady pace, and then move onto the next 2-3 most important things on the list.
Avoid getting lost in the overwhelming details. Remain focused on what matters most and give attention to those things first.
When you have slowed down, you've accepted support, and you're taking care of your precious body, this list and the actions you need to take come with greater clarity.
These four steps help me put things back together again with greater ease, love, and grace. What steps do you take when things fall apart? I invite you to connect with me on Facebook to let me know what brings you the peace and clarity you need during difficult times.
How has 2013 been for you so far? I'm curious, what's new and good, and what do you do when things fall apart? How do you pick up the pieces and move forward? I'd love to hear from you!
With warmth & light,