On Losing Ourselves

It happens slowly, at least I think it usually does. Maybe it begins with less sleep, the exhaustion slowly consuming us. Maybe it begins with an abrupt change, shifting and even shattering our routines and disciplines. Or maybe it begins with a restless feeling, a darkness that crawls over us and gradually consumes the light.

We cut corners. We begin to lose our grasp on the pieces of ourselves that refresh us and bring happiness. As the heaviness sets in and the dull feeling takes over, we feel like a poor version of ourselves, a shell of the person we really are.

But that’s how it starts.

Then the excuses are ushered in. There’s not enough time. There’s not enough energy. Everything else is demanding our attention and we forget to demand our own attention. We don’t see where we’ve gone and we don’t pull ourselves back.

Next, the things in our lives that don’t usually bother us, they start to feel heavy. The people around us, even the ones we love, we turn away, even close down or withdraw. Everything we come across is exhausting and exasperating.

But this isn’t the truth. These are not the people and the things draining us. They are not weighing heavy.

The beautiful thing about life is that we can change our course quickly. If we can open up, embrace our power, embrace our responsibility, we can shift our perspective, change our direction, respond differently. If we can see the darkness that has surrounded us, we can release it and bring the light back. After all, the light is so much better. We can release and relax and receive again.

It can take days and weeks and months for the darkness to build up, but just one moment for the light  to come back in. We have to choose it. We have to open up to it. We have to welcome it in and stay true to it.

It’s work. It’s intentional and consistent. But we are responsible for this and it is so beautiful.

Being a mom

Welcome in and welcome out.

We become so attached. We assign meaning to things and then we hold on to those things with everything we have. And these things feel like something to us, something that's really a thing to us, because we gave it that meaning. It becomes essential to us. Then we assign more meaning to more things and soon our closets and our shelves and our drawers and our cabinets and even the walls are filled with so many things. They are all important and they are all essential. And they feel heavy but we can never let go.

Or can we?

Today I had a conversation out in the middle of thousands of garlic plants with my brother about just this thing. We talked about releasing things, letting go of the stuff that has accumulated in our lives, in our homes, over the decades. That's right, decades.

When my husband and I recently moved back to Southern California, we made an intention of letting go of the clutter in our lives. Moving is a great chance to do this, and it felt so good. We filled up box after box of the things we thought we needed but truly did not. We challenged ourselves to reconsider packing up those items that we assigned some sort of sentimental value to. Instead, many of them made it into the donation box. And it felt amazing. We felt lighter. Life felt clean and there was a release.

So I talked to my brother about this. He asked me what he should do with all of the tools he has, many that are good but he doesn't necessarily need. The piles of tools. The piles. Let them go. Donate them. Thank them for their time and let them become someone else's treasure. Put them in the donate box and don't think twice.

He asked me what to do with brochures from meaningful events, the pieces of paper he has collected to remind himself of something special. You have the memory. Take a picture if you must. Then put it directly in the recycling bin. Let it travel on to the recycling plant to become something new that someone can use.

And what about those items, the ones from people who have passed away? The broken religious statue, the programs you get at funerals, the little token you don't really like but have imbued with sentiment because it once belonged to that someone, what about those things? Let them go. If having them in your life does not bring you joy or fulfill some sort of practical use, release them. They are not that person. Cherish memories and the people in your lives, not the things.

Things get heavy. Things pile up and fill the white space with darkness. Things create shadows and dust and heaviness. Welcome in. Welcome in light. Welcome in release and space. Be comfortable in that space and enjoy the emptiness.

And welcome out. Welcome out the things that served a purpose once but do not anymore. Welcome out the things that brought you joy at one point, but don't actively do that anymore. Hold onto memories, but not things. Fill up your life with experiences, but not tokens reminding you of past experiences. Embrace the people in your life, but not the stuff. If you have to stop and question, let it go. Donate. Pass on. Recycle. Just release, somehow.

It's really not about things. It's not. Your home will feel better with less. You will breathe deeper with less. You will move lighter with less. So welcome in and welcome out.

garlic field talk

This cycle we repeat and repeat and repeat

Your life is fast. My life is fast. We have work and children and activities and obligations and cooking and cleaning. We go to the gym. We go to work. We drive. We wave to our neighbor. We unpack from the day behind us and prepare for the day ahead of us. And at night we collapse into our bed in exhaustion, only to be awakened by an alarm buzzing in our ear. The cycle continues. We do it all again.

We are working to better ourselves, to improve our lives. We want to work out more, cook more meals at home, spend more time with our loved ones. We want to save more, earn more, vacation more. But we’re in this cycle and this cycle is fast. We try to pull these pieces into our routines, into our lives, into these cycles that we live through. But suddenly the days become weeks and the weeks roll into months and into years. Suddenly ten years have passed and then more. And where did they go? When do we take moments to pause, to reflect, to dig deeper and understand, or to step outside of ourselves and look back at the person we have become.

We wake up today the same person we were yesterday because of these routines, these habits, these cycles. We are so firmly associated to the person we were yesterday and the day before and the day before and the month before and the year before. The idea of any change is scary and daunting. It may be a place we don’t want to visit because it can be complex, and we don’t have energy for more complexities in life. It requires us to step back and look at ourselves, to dig into our motives and understand our values and the chatter happening within our minds.

So instead of tuning in to what’s going on inside, we reach for our phone. We open up our computer. We browse the web and jump on Facebook or Instagram or whatever version of crack we choose. Because while many of these things are used to connect, to inform, to enlighten and expand, so many of us turn to them without realizing that they are quieting the inner voice. They dampen our connection to ourselves. We reach for something outside of us, something often times empty. The truth is that we have become strangers to ourselves.

So today, step away, tune in, sit in silence. And when the silence gets hard and you have to stop, keep going. The goal is not to have major epiphanies or life-altering moments, though you may have those. The goal is to clear out the corners of your mind, to feel the spaces you haven’t felt in a while. Do it today and do it tomorrow.

This isn’t the end. This is the first step.

Parenting Hack: Popsicles for breakfast. Every day.

My husband let me sleep in last weekend. It was glorious. When I woke up, the first thing he said was, "They had popsicles for breakfast." In our house, that's fine. In our house, the popsicles are healthier than the cereal because they're homemade popsicles.  Make these. It's easy. Your kids will probably love them. Also, this is a GENIUS way to get your kids to eat all of the good stuff at once, even the things they may not necessarily like to eat.

Parents, here's what you do:

1. Buy these: http://amzn.to/2q7rpSy. Or these: http://amzn.to/2rFPTmV. When we bought the push-ups, they sent us double so we have tons if anyone wants to take some off of our hands!

2. Blend up all of the good stuff. You can play with different combinations, that's what we do. I never follow a recipe. I just start adding the stuff I have in the fridge and anything else I want to make sure they get. Remember fruit sweetens it up. Bananas and mangoes are always winners. I usually use the following: coconut milk, cashews, pineapple juice, water, banana, carrots or kale or beets, ginger, full fat and plain yogurt maybe some apples or peaches. Play with a few different combos. Your kids may not love the first few attempts, but you'll get the hang of it. And then add anything else you need to get your kids to consume. Does your kid need extra iron? No kid likes that taste, but toss it in here. They'll never notice. Anything else? Extra fat? Oils? Go nuts.

3. Toss them in the freezer for about 8 hours, sometimes a bit longer.

I am constantly making more and more of these in our house. My son eats the push-up pop and the popsicle versions. For my little one, I just pour the smoothie into a tupperware (about an inch thick) and freeze that. Then I cut it up into squares and she eats them up with her fingers. It's messy, but she loves it.

Healthy, easy and definitely better than the store bought ones. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner and pretty much any other time of day.

Add booze for adult versions, naturally.