Posts Tagged ‘patterns’

Sickly

Monday, October 7th, 2013

About a day after I got back from New York, I got sick. Or, well, sickly. I don’t think there was any sort of infection, just inflammation and an extreme histamine response.

And truthfully, I was offended.

You see, I don’t get sick. It’s part of the unwritten contract I have with my body. The one benefit of having an immune system that is always in overdrive, always ready to attack my joints if I don’t follow the path we’ve carved out together, is that same heightened sensitivity kills any pathogens arrogant enough to trespass.

Defenses Armed

The last time I remember being sick, actually sick was about eight or nine years ago. I was teaching first grade and about a month into the semester I got strep. That’s it, I don’t get colds, I don’t get the flu. Dammit, I don’t get sick.

But apparently, I do occasionally get sickly. Because here’s the thing, that unwritten contract… It’s pretty one sided. As in, I made it up and my body doesn’t even know it has a bargain to uphold. It just does its thing, and sometimes its thing is getting overwhelmed and taking me down for a few days.

Bossy

I can make up all the rules I want, but there’s no way to force my body into compliance. And so I do what I can, eating well, exercising, making sure I get enough rest. Because that’s the real agreement, I do what I can and so does my body.

Which reminds me of both of the things in which I firmly believe: 1) We do the best we can with what we have available. 2) I’ll always be okay, maybe not great, but okay.

The Best and Your Best

We have a tendency to say “I could have done better” when we mean “I wish I’d done better”. Because if we could have done better, we would have. Our capacity in one moment is not always, or even often, our full capacity. We’re human, we get overwhelmed, we make not perfect choices.

Instead of beating yourself up over a less than great choice, I’d like you to try something. Say, “I did the best I could with what I had” and let it go. Then, figure out what your next choice is and make the best one you can. Because all we have is each moment and when we relive the previous ones, we lose the one we’re in.

Do you have a different way of getting out of a frustrated at yourself loop? Please, share it with us in the comments.

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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Getting Ahead by Letting Things Fall

Monday, September 30th, 2013

I just returned from New York, a city I love to visit, which confounds almost everyone. How does the quiet, reserved Caterpillar not feel squished in such a bustling, charged city? All I can say is my NYC is different from their NYC, but that’s a different post (or series) all together.

This trip I had the opportunity to observe a few families, comprised of young parents and gaggles of children. Without fail, they were frazzled, in a way, comprising their own spheres of chaos.

I can’t imagine being a parent at such a young age, much less one of several children. It appeared from my outsider perspective that they were constantly struggling to catch up. Incapable of getting ahead by the shear force of all that had built up, yet to be done.

Not The Momma

This is not parenting advice, given that I am not a parent, I have no place trying to tell anyone how to raise their families. And even if I was, it’s not for me to give unsolicited advice. (Hmm, sounds like I’m reminding myself there, doesn’t it?)

It did remind me of a coping mechanism that I use on occasion. One where everything gets piled and stacked in front of me, like groceries on a speedy conveyor belt. Getting ready to crush, if not me, then at least, itself, spilling even further out.

Stop. Then shift things aside, like the blank spaces to the sides of the belt. I have a habit of putting off the things that scare, unnerve, and bore me. A behavior which has been known to leave me staying up later and later, until dawn greets me before I’ve had a chance to sleep, a sign that I must find a solution soon.

Forsaken

When I reach that point, I forsake a day. Like I said, not advice for parents, just one example of an option I tend to use. I’ll stay up for as long as I can, usually around 11 am, then nap for 3 hours or so. Going to bed at 9 or 10 pm, and starting the next day sometime between 7 and 10 am. I may be a tiny bit tired, but by the next day, I’m fine.

On the other hand, if I try to roll back my bedtime, it takes days and is a significant struggle, sometimes for weeks on end. Obviously, this only works for someone with a schedule like mine, but we’re also the ones who are more likely to end up in this predicament to begin with.

What Bothers Us In Others is What Bothers Us In Ourselves

It does lead me to wonder, how can we skip forward rather than attempt to roll back, in other situations? Can we double up cooking some meals and recapture that time further ahead in the week? Or trade with a friend, cooking for cleaning?

What do we keep on our lists, that we don’t really need to do? What can fall to the wayside for the week… forever? After watching those families build struggles for themselves, I have to wonder, how am I building my own struggles, what can I release?

Is there anything you can see to release, maybe just to see what happens for a week?

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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Taking Off the Invisibility Cloak

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

It’s easier being invisible, blending in, than it is to stand out, to be noticed. Not in that it takes effort to be noticed, but fielding the attention. Especially if you’re not used to it.

Recently I’ve been wearing dresses more often and jeans and tees less. I’ve been putting effort into styling my hair and finding attractive shoes. I haven’t suddenly developed a rare strain of viral vanity; I want to give talks. I want to stand up in front of crowds and be at ease while commanding their attention. Part of it is, of course, knowing my material, but part of it is getting used to being looked at.

Stretch and Twirl, and Stretch

I’m pushing at this particular emotional boundary from a half dozen directions, including practicing awareness of people being aware of me. I’ve been gathering dresses and skirts to replace my jeans. And in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been wearing them on a regular basis.

When you walk through the farmers market in jeans and a tee, no one takes note. When you wear a red halter dress, heads literally turn. A pretty dress says “Look at me” and people do. It’s unnerving at first, but then comes a choice. You can pretend you don’t see, or you can smile and say hello. Admittedly, some days it’s a coin toss as to which I choose.

Presence, it’s a Gift

It’s not about being pretty, it’s about being present. It’s about saying “I am worth noticing”. And there’s nothing easy about it. At least, not for me, not yet. But, the practice is worth the stress, because I’d rather be slightly uncomfortable now and rock being on stage later. Because, the thing is, I am worth noticing. I am worth paying attention to, and that’s what I want to radiate from the stage.

Invisibility Bag zazzle_bag
If you like this thought, come visit the SocialCaterpillar store.

And, yes some people are douches. Some people shout, what I think are meant to be appreciative comments, though I can’t tell for sure. It all sounds like “Heyschnuffleschnufflehoney!” when they’re in a car and I’m on the sidewalk. God love ‘em, they don’t know any better. If they did they’d enunciate. Or pull over… Come to think of it, I think I’m glad they don’t know any better.

And yes, some people scowl, but their pain is not something I can fix by blending in. And, yes, I do get overwhelmed, and go home and put on pjs and drink copious quantities of hot tea. Because I can walk away whenever I choose.

But, for now, I choose to make an effort to be seen and be comfortable with it. Because each little stretch makes me a little more flexible, both in body and in spirit.

Have you been hiding or making yourself noticeable recently?

Looking to stretch your comfort zone in tiny ways and pick up some resource recommendations? Sign up for Inching Along, and every other week I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

8

Ready to Take a Risk?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

I’ve been poking around quite a bit in psychology recently, what with school and all the reading I do about introverts, emotions, and how brains work. In both my fiction and nonfiction reading, the acronym HALTT has shown up quite a bit recently. It’s also common in the world of recovery. For those who aren’t already familiar with it, it stands for:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired
  • Triggered

As in, if you are in any of these states, your behavior is more likely to be… unlike what you would prefer.

Not for Me

Truth is, I really don’t like HALTT. It’s negative, coming from a place of lack. Keeping an eye out for a deficit does not keep my tanks full, it just keeps them from drying out. And so, I’ve converted HALTT to RISSC, as in, looking at my readiness to take a risk. Which for me, makes tons more sense anyway. It works like this, am I:

  • Rested
  • Interested
  • Sated
  • Supported
  • Content

Because, when my tanks are full, I’m in a much better position to take on the scary. When I have a strong foundation, I can handle it if something goes wrong. When I feel emotionally and physically nourished I am more likely to know when to stop and how much further I want to go.

Nap and A Snack Mug mug
If you like this thought, take a peek at the Social Caterpillar store

The Emotional Symphony

Each part works in concert with another to create what is, in effect, the symphony of that moment. When you’re highly nourished at each level, they combine to form the perfect background for supporting your next choice. And when one is out of harmony, then it can throw the others out of harmony too.

If I’m tired, I’m more likely to make bad choices regarding food. If I haven’t eaten properly, I’m more likely to be distracted and misinterpret what other people say. Those conditions combine to create a place where I have no business making myself vulnerable because I’ll end up defensive on top of everything else.

I’m still learning to see what I need to have in order to set myself up for success when trying something new. I know I’m better off when rested, showered, fed and watered. It helps significantly when my home is clean and organized, too. I like to know as much as possible about what will happen next, whatever “next” happens to mean in that context.

What are your necessary conditions for taking risks?

Have you been thinking about adding a few comfort zone stretching challenges to your life? Get those plus resources and other fun nuggets of info in your inbox every other week, sign up for Inching Along today.
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

+Kathryn Hunter

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Two Faced

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Sometimes it seems like there are (at least) two different versions of me, the one who likes to hang out and be sociable and the one who all but refuses to leave the apartment. In reality, it’s more of a spectrum, from no-human-contact to oh-that-sounds-like-fun-let’s-go, and all the tiny points in between.

I’m at my best when I find my harmony point. Where I can take into account all the other things going on in my day-week-life and realize what events will make me feel good versus those that will make me feel exhausted. Because, they may be the same events, just a difference in the surrounding details.

Varied Personalities Bag bag
If you like this thought, take a peek at the Social Caterpillar store

 

I’m My Own Rainbow

And then, there’s the way I am when we first meet, the way I am when I’m in a crowd, the way I am when I’ve know you a while and it’s just us… All different, often *quite* different. I have a friend whose husband thought I didn’t like him because the first two times I met him were large group settings and it was all I could to to remember who everyone was, including myself.

I have another friend who recently told a mutual friend that he thought my quiet side was a front. Heh. That’s cute. I mean, I can see why he would think that. When we first met, I barely said a word. Now he can hardly get me to shut up and he’s seen all the ‘outgoing’ stuff I’ve done over the past couple of years. It could easily look like an effortless transformation if you weren’t in my head and so far, I’m still the only one in here.

But really it’s all me. Just me at different times, in different situations, under different circumstances. We all do it. You don’t act the same way in front of your grandmother as you do with friends you’ve had since Jr. High, do you? Please, say the answer is no. Or that your granny likes to smoke with you behind the garage.

Juuuuuust Right… Now

Different isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s that my variables are different that other people’s. Or even my own, depending on what else I’ve got going on. I can feel like grabbing supper with friends one Friday and not want to leave the house the whole following weekend, just because of a difference in all of the other stuff I had going on each week. And that’s great, because it’s what works for me, as long as I see it and make allowances for my limitations wherever they happen to land at that point.

What about you? Do feel like you should always be the same or have you found your rhythm of differences?

Looking to stretch your comfort zone in tiny ways and pick up some resource recommendations? Sign up for Inching Along, and every other week I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

2

And One to Grow On

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

I’m turning 35! This means that I can tick a different box for age range on surveys now. And probably some other stuff to, but mostly after 21, all the cool perks of aging have passed, unless you want to be president, which I don’t.

When I turned 33 I started this blog (Happy Blogiversary!) and made a whole slew of changes and took on loads of lovely fun challenges. When I turned 34 I watched the sun rise from the top of a float in Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. And since then… meh, it feels like I’ve fallen into a rut.

So, I’ve written down 36 things I want to do or try over the next year:

  1. Host a Get Together
  2. Drive a Manual Transmission
  3. Learn to Tell a Story
  4. Fire Poi Spinning
  5. Toast Masters
  6. Singing Lessons
  7. Improv
  8. Aerial Arts
  9. Ballroom Dance
  10. Dance Club
  11. C25K
  12. Give Speech/Talk
  13. Submit Writing
  14. Go up in a Hot Air Balloon
  15. Snow Board
  16. Learn how to make drinks
  17. Paddle Board
  18. Have a full High Tea at The Russian Tea Room
  19. Krav Maga
  20. Capoeira
  21. Tandem Hang Gliding
  22. Learn to Sail
  23. Go Rock Climbing
  24. Rafting
  25. Range Shooting
  26. Parkour
  27. Take a Real Vacation
  28. Have a Spa Day
  29. Attend Awesomeness Fest
  30. Take a Cello Lesson
  31. Evasive Driving
  32. Dive
  33. Shoot Pool
  34. Glass Blowing
  35. Conflict Resolution
  36. Visit Canada

Most of these deserve a bit of explanation, but rather than go through each one now, I’ll give the necessary background in the posts related to each event. Some may be combined, like taking a real vacation, I can see at least ten other options that would work well with that one.

A majority of what’s on this list is stuff that I’ve thought about trying over the years and just never got around to. Well, you only live once and all that, plus, I’m feeling a bit stifled and I just signed another lease, so I need a way to keep having adventures without taking off again.

And I totally reserve the right to change any of these as I see fit. I mean, I am a grown up after all.

I’m curious, what have you been thinking about doing, but just haven’t gotten to, for whatever reason?

Want to receive small comfort zone stretches and resource recommendations every couple of weeks? Sign up for Inching Along and I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

7

One Tiny Thing Thursday #28, Persnickety About Parameters

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Welcome to One Tiny Thing Thursday, where we choose to do one lil bit of a part of the scary, instead of trying to tackle the whole overwhelm all at once. Because, starting small is usually better than not starting at all. Join us?

I have a project that I’m working on and it’s with/through another group who have specific parameters. I have a difficult time remembering their requirements because I think they’re too conservative, but unless I want to do this entirely on my own (which I don’t right now) then I have to stick to their numbers. Still, it makes me a bit pissy thinking about it, so I put off looking them up.

Ultimately, I’d like to have a self made resource for this information, one I can look at without getting my hackles raised. For today, though, my tiny thing is to look up what I need to know. At most this will take 15 minutes and then I can carry on with doing the parts that I like.

Update from last time: Releasing and forgiveness have been working well. I’m feeling ready to shift gears the way that I need to in the next couple of days.

If you want to play along, then just tell us in the comments what you’re One Tiny Thing is. And if you like, you can always come back and let us know how it went too.

Looking to stretch your comfort zone in tiny ways and pick up some resource recommendations? Sign up for Inching Along, and every other week I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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Gathering is not Harvesting

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

I spend a lot of time planting seeds, making experiments, trying new things. Mostly, just to see what happens next, to see how I react, how I feel. This is a whole lot like when a three year old plants seeds. Sometimes they are seeds. Sometimes, they are dimes, or roasted coffee beans, or mom’s earrings.

I plant with no real intention of harvesting. Sure, I’ll come back and gather whatever fruit has fallen from vines that sprung up near my plantings. Did diving lead to volcano boarding lead to watching the sun rise from the top of a Carnival float? Or would I have done each of those things without having done the one before.

I have no idea.

Experiment v Intention

This year has been about experimentation for me. It’s been great and I’m thrilled about my experiments. Now, I want more. I want to have a goal. Or several. I’m not ready to share them yet, though I will. They’re still tiny sweet things.

I can’t stand resolutions. I don’t make them for one simple reason. Resolutions are wishes.

  • I’m going to lose weight
  • I’m going to go out more
  • I’m going to get a better job

How much weight are you going to lose? What’s your nutritional plan? What’s your exercise plan? What is your motivation to lose weight?

What does ‘more’ mean? Who are you going out with? What do you want to do? Why do you want to go out more?

What kinds of jobs are you looking for? Do you have the skills you need? How will you get them? Where will you look for jobs? Why do you want a better job? What are your deal-breakers?

Goooooooooaaaaaaaaal!!!!!!!

Goals are measurable:

  • I’m going to lose twenty pounds by June. My first nutritional changes are swapping unsweetened herbal teas for my sodas and changing three meat based meals into vegetarian meals. My exercise plan is two to three pilates classes a week and a daily twenty minute walk at lunch. If I haven’t lost three pounds by February (unlikely) , I’ll make more nutritional changes.
  • I’m going to go out with Sarah and/or Kim twice a month. I’d love to meet new people and get to know my town better, so we’ll go out to classes once a month and try a new restaurant or bar once a month.
  • I’m going to get a job as a nurse. My first step is to apply to nursing schools nearby. I want to have a steady paycheck and help people. I won’t take a job in the ER, it’s too high stress.

Time to Share

Okay, I’ll let you in on one goal for next year. I want to try public speaking. I’m pretty sure that unless you’re new here, you already knew this. (Hi new people!) That’s my seed. I’ve even found my first step, going to try out a few Toastmasters events. I’ll chose  one or two to attend regularly. I’ll apply to speak at Ignite Austin, TEDxSMU, 140 Conference, and Blog World Expo.

I’ve got a license to teach Unfolding Your Life Vision and Dream Box (not out yet) from Jennifer Lee, so I’ll be putting myself in front of small groups on a monthly basis too.

What’s your goal for the upcoming year? How will you know if you’ve made it?

Looking to stretch your comfort zone in tiny ways and pick up some resource recommendations? Sign up for Inching Along, and every other week I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

3

One Tiny Thing Thursday #27, Cracked

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Welcome to One Tiny Thing Thursday, where we choose to do one lil bit of a part of the scary, instead of trying to tackle the whole overwhelm all at once. Because, starting small is usually better than not starting at all. Join us?

It’s December. Well into December, in fact. This is the month when my day job workload doubles. And I know this, quite well. Still, things are falling through the cracks. Slipping and dropping.

Today’s tiny thing is forgiveness. I’m forgiving myself for not doing all the things I *should* be doing. And remembering that next week, I can truly begin to recenter.

Hugs to all who need/want them and I did manage to write a post, which will be up on Saturday.

Update from last time: I made it to the grocery store and now I’ve got a friend staying with me, so he has been grabbing a few things for me when he goes. A major bonus during December Overwhelm.

If you want to play along, then just tell us in the comments what you’re One Tiny Thing is. And if you like, you can always come back and let us know how it went too.

Looking to stretch your comfort zone in tiny ways and pick up some resource recommendations? Sign up for Inching Along, and every other week I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

0

Permission

Friday, November 25th, 2011

It’s okay to be overwhelmed.

It’s okay to need a nap or a ‘nap’. Either one.

It’s okay to go for a walk to get away.

It’s okay to go home early.

It’s okay to take care of yourself, however that needs to happen.

*Hugs*

If you’ve got things that work for you and you want to share them, please do, but no pressure.

Want to receive small comfort zone stretches and resource recommendations every couple of weeks? Sign up for Inching Along and I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

3