I'm describing my reaction today as I opened my wallet to put some change away and noticed a bunch of receipts inside.
Usually I clean these out every week or so. I pulled them out and all 5 were dated around March 14. Right before I stopped going out anywhere.
It felt like I’d discovered a time capsule.
During that long-ago week, I facilitated a workshop downtown on Monday and Tuesday - taking the GO train, picking up coffee in a crowded food court, spending hours in a small training room with 8 corporate leaders. I hosted a webinar on Thursday, had lunch in a (nearly empty) restaurant with a friend on Friday. And, as the photo will attest, put gas in my car on Saturday.
And here we are, eleven weeks later.
Eleven weeks of Zoom meetings, countless walks around our neighbourhood, deferring all errands to my husband given my immune condition, and alternating between worry and...
Anxiety mounts, almost unbearable.
Thousands dead, countries comparing.
Grocery store panic, record alcohol sales.
Who knew banana bread could blunt the fear?
Debt soars, almost unbearable.
Savings cashed, deficits bloated.
People suddenly know the word ‘furloughed.’
Who’s thinking about balloon payments to come?
Gratitude rolls in, almost unbearable.
Kids can still learn, we find food at the end of the lines.
People risk their essential lives for others.
Who would have thought that ‘breath’ would top the list?
Hope pokes through, almost unbearable.
Curves flattening, humans compassionate.
Spring promises hope.
Who knew that tender green buds in a pile of old leaves could make me cry?
It’s all, almost unbearable.
- Lisa Mitchell, April 21, 2020
Jessie is 9.5 years old now. She’s the most gentle, soulful and sweet dog you could ever want to meet. I love her so much I can’t even express it properly. The irony is that I spent the first 7 years (!!) of her life with us without fully appreciating her awesomeness!
We adopted Jessie from a rescue agency when she was not quite a year old. She was incredibly shy and completely mute. Totally submissive to all other dogs and humans. She cringed when people raised their voices. She didn’t know how to climb stairs. Wide-plank floors made her stop in her tracks, not wanting to walk on them. Clearly, she had been somehow traumatized or abused. Plus, she had fleas. :(
The whole idea of getting a dog was mine at the time. Our son was only 4 and seemed scared of dogs, and my dad was lonely at home waiting for us to come home from work and school every day. Plus, I grew up with two very special dogs and cherish my memories of...
Today I’m literally vibrating with the to-do list antsies. So much to dive into and check off! Big tasks, little tasks! Boring tasks, fun tasks! And yet this list is a potential (huge) source of overwhelm.
So what does a coach who specializes in helping people overcome overwhelm do when she’s dancing with overwhelm herself? Two things.
A new journal. Lovely!
Full of promise. Self-coaching and reflection magnet. Trusty companion. Overwhelm-overcomer. Clarity Catalyst. Mind-map container.
My last journal was about this size too. Not so huge that it won’t fit in my purse and not so tiny that I get a cramp in my hand from trying to write in it. It took me 18 months to use up every last page! Sometimes, I wrote every day. Other times, once a week for a bit. It saw me through times of both incredible growth and momentum AND times of deep stuckness and confusion.
Sounds silly, but my journal was there for me! Always helping me combat my mouthy inner critic. At my side when I couldn’t figure out where to start because I was brimming with so many ideas - and potential distractions! Providing a safe space to break down the pros and cons of various decisions. To mindmap new business and program ideas. To dream big!
Yesterday I had a networking coffee with an acquaintance who was recently restructured out of her organization. She didn’t see it coming, and is feeling a bit lost and uncertain.
I asked her what she wanted next for her career and what her ideal role would look like. She is a graphic designer and has significant experience in Marketing project management. She started talking about how she’d love a role in Marketing strategy and client relationship management. Almost as soon as she put this out there, she quickly dismissed her own idea! She said it wasn’t realistic because she didn’t have the actual experience and job title history to successfully target roles in this area.
As she started to describe advertised roles similar to the ones she’d held before and was thinking of applying to, her energy clearly dropped. She was talking like someone on death row. Zero enthusiasm. An air of resignation and...
I’ve been musing today about kindness and gratitude and how we often miss what is right in front of us. The first couple hours of my work day today were really...irritating. I don’t know if there's a full moon or what, but it felt like I was attracting all sorts of annoying people and tasks! You know those days.
I went for a brisk walk in the sunny cold with my husband. The air and exercise - and a wee bit of venting - helped me start to rebound from this funk. But I wasn’t all the way out of my crappy mood.
I grabbed my journal and started to write out some self-coaching questions. Specifically: What’s bugging me? What’s really bugging me? (there’s always stuff below the obvious) What do I want? What do I need? What am I grateful for?
And there it was. The SWITCH that literally moved me out of grumpy and into joyful. Here’s what I realized I am grateful for…
Today I woke up tired. That kind of head-in-a-cotton-ball, enveloping, bone-weary tired that sometimes strikes out of nowhere.
All I wanted to do was go back to bed and huddle under the covers for another hour. And yet my to-do list was screaming at me from my office down the hall. “Oh no you don’t! No rest for you, wicked one! This is ridiculous - just because you had a major event yesterday doesn’t mean you get to take it easy all of a sudden. Suck it up!”
I felt the familiar rise of guilt, impatience and frustration as I realized my body and foggy head had other plans and were just not responding the way I needed them to. My legs and back ached as I dragged myself down the stairs to the coffee pot.
And there she was. Jessie. Our sweet, furry, floppy-eared rescue dog. Looking at me expectantly with bright brown eyes. And suddenly I was immune to the screams from my office and the...
I love bubble wrap. It’s no secret. And I appear to have passed this love onto my son. He actually joked about loving the bubble wrap more than the gift wrapped in it!
What is it about bubble wrap that is so satisfying? I think it’s because it gives us a moment to just BE, to allow the messy tangle of thoughts we carry in our heads slide onto the sidelines for a joyful moment or two. It’s a gateway to being PRESENT and truly IN THE MOMENT.
So, what does all this have to do with a secret for your best year ever? Well, I’ve been reflecting on what made 2018 a great year for me personally. It was my first full year in business for myself and it was filled with myriad accomplishments, a few disappointments, a lot of learning and oodles of personal growth. I invested non-stop in my personal development, achieved new designations and certifications, met and built relationships with many...
I roasted some parsnips fries for lunch today. OMG – they are incredible in my humble taste buds’ opinion. I LOVE them. Sweet, earthy, caramelized, scrumptious. And as I ate the first couple fries, I had a sudden flashback to the early 90’s.
I was a new homeowner, living with my ex in a cute little bungalow we had renovated from top to bottom. And one day, an elderly neighbour from across the street rang the doorbell. He introduced himself and explained that he had a huge garden – and too much produce for him and his wife to consume by themselves. He proudly handed me a plastic bag full of dirty, root-like looking things. “What are they?” I asked. I honestly had no idea. “Parsnips.” he replied.
Hmmm. I thanked him profusely as my puzzled brain tried to work out why anyone would think it was a good idea to eat what he...