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The intricacies of true surrender

We talk about surrender a lot in the spiritual community. I mean – a lot. And that’s not a bad thing. However,  it brings to mind the Princess Bride.

You keep using that word

So, what does it mean?

Well, to me, it’s about confidence. Confidence in yourself, and confidence that there is a force bigger than you directing things. So – confidence in yourself, how does that happen? I think we’re seriously misguided in our society on this one, to be honest. People really don’t like that snowflake label, but if we’re being honest . . . it’s got some merit.

We have got to remember that no one owes us anything. No one is going to take care of you, and no one has your interests more at heart than you do.

Cheerful, right? What can I say, I’m a ray of sunshine. 😉

Honestly though, this is actually a really good thing. It’s very empowering – this means you’re the one. You’re the one who is going to take care of you. You’re the one looking out for you, and as previously established, you have your own best interests at heart more than anyone else does.

Why is this empowering? Think back on your life – what have you been through? What have you accomplished? Have you made it through something shitty and come out stronger? Of course you have – unless you’re just a quivering pile of crap in the corner, you’re uniquely suited to take care of you.

Does this mean no one cares about you? Of course not, but that’s not really the point. Even if you’re the most loved person on the planet, your well-being and your destiny is still up to you. You can make positive changes today. Those changes will directly impact your life. That’s a lot of power, and it’s power we take for granted.

So how does this relate to surrender? It’s pretty simple, actually. You surrender to circumstance and chance, knowing that you’re able to handle whatever comes your way – regardless of whether you’ve dealt with a certain scenario before. You know that, beause of your unique talents and abilities, you’re able to handle anything. And guess what? You are. You honestly don’t have a choice but to handle it (whether that means you handle it good or bad is another matter, but it’s still going to be handled either way).

What about the higher power thing? I think everyone believes there is something outside ourselves. At least, I think we all feel it. Now, whether you’re an athiest or not, whether you believe we are just dust after we die, that’s fine. I think we still feel that human connection, and I think we all know that things will pretty well work out.

So what’s the benefit of surrender? Well, I think for one there’s a lack of stress once you surrender. Life is going to happen – you can either let it, or try to force it. One way is stressful, one way is adaptive. Surrender lets you be in the moment, without worrying so much about what will or has happened.

We talk a lot about being in the moment too – why? Because it’s the only thing we really have. We can put ourselves in a mindset of stress and worry about the future, or longing for the past, but neither option does a damn thing for us. Realistically I think we’re prone to planning (that’s definitely a good thing), and prone to reflecting (also a really good thing), and these are both opportunities for us to learn. But we have to make sure we’re striving to always stay in the moment. We won’t do it – we’re not really built that way – but the striving helps us to do it as much as possible.

When we can do that, we can surrender. When we can surrender, we can have peace.

When we have peace, we can love others, and when we love others, we can honestly heal those around us.

Britt

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The rhythm of life . . .

I kind of love it when things hit me the way they did this morning. I was driving to work – it was a completely normal morning. And I’m just so happy about it. I had just dropped my two oldest off at school, and was rounding the corner to my work, and physically felt the rhythm of routine.

You know how I love routine.

But there’s this breath . . . this rhythm . . . to our lives. It’s like a beat hits every time our routines click into place. Got up this morning, had my tea (beat), watched the news (beat), got the girls up (beat), drove the littlest to the daycare (beat), the bigs to the school (beat), drove myself to work (beat). Very pleasant, not gonna lie.

Talking to a colleague yesterday about a show we’re doing on Monday (the Dr. Elisa show at 9 a.m. woohoo!!!) about the value of routine and how it can help you in your life really got me thinking about this, so I’m sure that’s why it came up this morning. But I love the way your life falls into this rhythm.

Our rhythm is completely crazy right now, b t dubs. We have sports happening, birthdays, my health crap, my husbands work being insane, the girls in school, all the things. It’s been really good, just busy. The things I am really valuing though, are my routines. Even if the middle of the day feels like whitewater rafting our day begins and ends on a relatively calm note. Maybe not the glass-like calm of a mountain lake . . . but like the bubbling of a gentle stream. Like the difference between Screamo and Reggae.

I’m killing it with the analogies this morning. 😉 lol!

So, back to my morning drive and the rhythm hitting me. The sun was coming up over the horizon (it was up, just really pretty at that particular moment), and I felt the continuity that has established itself over the last year. We’ve really gotten to th epoint where our routine is pretty established. And I love it because it’s very comforting. Just like little kids (moms, I’m talking to you here) feel the comfort in knowing what each moment brings (we get up, we have breakfast, we play with Mommy, then it’s naptime, etc), in kind adults need that continuity. It’s every bit as comforting for us as it is them.

The reassurance of having an expectation met is universal. That’s why little kid shows (damn you Dora) always follow the same format – it’s reaffirming those neural pathways for our kiddos. Expectation + Expectation Met = Reassurance. So completely aside from making your life run more smoothly, routines are actually beneficial in that they are reassuring to our little psyches.

What routines do you have? How do they help you day-to-day? We’ll be talking about this on Dr. Elisa’s show Monday, at 9 a.m. Pacific time. 🙂 come join us!!!

Britt

Mornings . . .

I think mornings are our least appreciated and most valuable time in the day. I have talked about my morning routine before, but I have to tell you – it’s very underappreciated by so many of us.

Is there anything better than a great start to your day?

Nope. There’s not.

We need to make our start a priority. Interesting side note here – did you know there was no plural for the word “priority” until the 1900’s? I think that when we do our morning routine, we allow ourselves the space to start our day right, and because of that we function much more peacefully and essentially throughout our whole day.

Okay – not saying that your morning routine has to come first in your life (although, if you wanna get pedantic here, it does come first), but it’s certainly worth moving it up your importance list. Allow me to paint you a picture here –

4:10 a.m. – my alarm goes off. Yes, I’m slightly insane. But my husband wakes up at 5:00 a.m. so this is how I get my alone time. It’s all I get, because I have kids and a husband and a full-time job. I use this time to make my tea, pull some oracle cards if I feel like it, or – like I did this morning – sit quietly on the couch.

The dim, comfortable living room, with no TV, no cell phone, no noise. Simple, quiet, and calm. The silence has its’ own rhythm. I almost can’t even explain the beauty in this – there’s the sounds of outside; it’s the birds chirping, the house humming, the breathing of my little family . . . it’s beautiful.

If you sit outside (which I often will in the summer), you get the beauty of grounding, too. I love putting my feet in the grass all early, with the dew making my feet wet and the cool, crisp fall air all around me. A jacket, hot tea, my slippers (it gets too cold to put my feet in the grass by late summer lol). It’s an absolutely amazing way to start off your day. This morning the two littles were sleeping on the couches (it’s their favorite weekend treat), so I had the added bonus of watching their cute little faces while they slept – mom win!

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5:00 – up gets the hubs. He starts to get ready, and I start to pull myself out of my reverie. We will get in the shower (we have some really awesome conversations during this time period) together, and begin the getting ready process.

  • A little side-note here – I keep my getting ready routine really simple. I wash my face, hair, and body in the shower. When I get out, I lotion up my body and face, brush my hair, and let my hair air-dry. After I eat my breakfast, I go back into the bathroom, and I’ll either blow-dry my hair or put it in a ponytail. Then I’ll flat iron either all of it or what’s left out of the ponytail. I don’t do makeup (on principle). You can read why here. That’s it. Then I’m off for the rest of the day.

6:00 – Make the hubs’ lunch and mine and the girls’ breakfasts. I have taken to making the girls’ lunches the night before, so I can make time to have a healthy, nourishing breakfast. At some point during this time, Anna (the youngest) will usually wake up. We have a snuggle, I get her a snack and turn her on a show so she is occupied while I finish up making things and getting Ryan out the door, then sit and have my breakfast in (blessed) silence.

7:00 – it’s go time. This is the last stretch before we get kiddos on the bus, get Anna to daycare, and get myself to work. We have to be out of the house by 7:35.

That’s it. The predictability of this routine, the sameness of it, allows me to wake slowly, and the benefit to that is I don’t have to rush. When I wake too late, and don’t have time for my routine in the morning, I find that my whole day is off. I do let myself turn the alarm off on the weekends – but I also find that my littles wake too soon after I do, and it still throws my day off.

The remedy to this is that I allow myself to sleep until my body wakes me up to pee (#mombladder). Then I’m up for the day. That way I get a little bit of both worlds – my girls will sleep in a little bit. So they might wake up at 7 on a weekend, as opposed to 6:30, and I will wake up somewhere between 4:30 – 6:30. So I’ll still get my own time.

Sooooooo many people who are (by society’s definition) successful have set morning routine. They do it every day, whether they’re home or not, whether they’re tired, sick, etc. They always do it. And for many of them, it’s got built-in quiet time. Time to be abstract in in their own way, time to slooooooooow. Time not to worry about the to-do list (they usually make time for the to-do list), and time to simply allow your thoughts to flow.

The flow is where creativity comes from – whether you use that creativity for art, business, family, or something else. This is how you get that.

Make time for you – make time for your soul to replenish.

Britt

Wealth

So – what do you define wealth as? Is it money, objects, is it the ability to stay home with your kids, or is it the ability to go on vacation? I think we all have a little bit of both, truthfully. If I had all the money, I would definitely be a stay-at-home-mama again. No question. That said, I absolutely love my job and all the people I work with, so I am wealthy now in the sense I do something every day which I truly enjoy.

Can you say the same? I hope so. I think the ability to look at what you’re doing with joy is a big part of it. Being an administrative assistant is not the most exciting job in the world. However, like I said I really do enjoy it. The reason I enjoy it is because I intend to. I come to work, I enjoy interacting with my coworkers, I get to organize things and geek out a little. It’s pretty fun.

I miss my kids. I hate dropping the little off at daycare, and I wish I was home during the day so I could catch up on housework while the bigs are at school. However – the reality of life right now is that I have to do the housework with my kiddos home because I have to go work. So I enjoy the crap out of my morning snuggles, the time my kiddos tell me all about their day at school, and the quiet time in the morning before they wake up (a.k.a. my sanity hour).

So what does this have to do with wealth? Well, even with me working, we don’t have all the money. We have a little bit of the money. And a lot of the debt. So we’re doing what we can. But I have a hell of a good marriage, awesome kids, a good outlook on life, and the possessions we do have we truly enjoy and use. Not to mention that I’ve discovered minimalism, which helps me appreciate what we have without wanting more. Last but certainly not least, I’m able to teach my kids the value in contentment. I think that’s huge.

I will forever appreciate the small things because I grew up with small things. We were soooooooo not wealthy. But I was loved, secure, and taken care of, and I knew it.

What is your wealth?

Britt

Denial . . . it’s just a pretty river, right?

Dammit. I’m a food addict. For real.

I don’t know about any of you, but I really really struggle with this. First of all, the label. Addict. In my mind, it’s reserved for actual drugs. But the evidence is there. Food addiction is a real thing, and science is beginning to accept it as such. Sugar in particular holds an addictive punch some say is greater than cocaine. If that’s not a drug, I don’t know what is.

The naysayers will say that it’s not a drug. Everyone does it, and what’s the harm? Well – the harm is our obesity pandemic. Our country is in a state of emergency, and the bizarre thing is no one is noticing the cause. But sugar and food are so pervasive in our culture – think about it. We have food at every holiday; birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, Labor Day, Memorial Day – they’re all about food at this point.

This is not a negative thing in and of itself. Food is not the devil here – as per usual, the devil is in the details. The details, of course, is the addictive nature of our food, caused by the sugar and fat the food is composed of. Biologically, this works against us. Our brains absolutely light up at the sugar content of our food.

My addictive self loves this. And as I’m struggling to get healthy and help my body heal, I have to release this food. My body needs whole, healthy foods to heal, and I’m doing it. It means no sugar, no flour, no “treats” because I “deserve” it.

It’s hard.

Sugar releases endorphins in our body, and endorphins make us feel good. My body wants to feel good right now. The autoimmune conditions I’m dealing with make me tired, achy (my joints), and inflamed. Also cranky (ask my poor kids and husband). So a nice, sugary, “treat” sounds awesome. Except it doesn’t – because the flip side is it exacerbates all the symptoms – later.

So I’m having to come to terms with the fact that it’s my addictive side crying out for this stuff, not my healthy strong side. And I don’t like it.

But it’s okay – it’s worth it once I get through the hard part. As my body heals I’ll feel better – I know this because I’ve done it. The hard part is justification. In my mind, a little bit is okay – except it’s not. There is an old saying, “One is too many and a thousand is never enough”. I get it. One little bite of something that triggers me will send me into an hours- or days-long obsession where I just want more of whatever is “off my diet”. Meaning, of course, anything sugary, snack-like, or “bad”.

So why do I say anything about it at all? Because I think a lot of us are in the same boat. Try to imagine your birthday without cake. Christmas or Thanksgiving without pie. Movie night without popcorn, going out to dinner and ordering healthy. Life is too short, we say, just enjoy it.

I’m learning so much about what our bodies need and the damage we’re doing to ourselves by just eating whatever we want. It’s a hard pill to swallow, and an even harder walk to walk. However, that said, the power in accepting that I cannot control myself around these foods, is pretty immense. Understanding that it’s not because I’m weak or bad. It’s honestly an addiction.

I don’t have to guilt myself about it, I just have to accept it and move forward. I have to accept it so I can conquer it and be healthy. I’m going to be healthy because I want to help this awareness spread and help others gain peace around their food. By the way, the awesome byproduct of eating the way our bodies need is that you shed all the weight you no longer need. I’m down 30 pounds so far, and about another 30 to go.

I feel good. I look good. I’m excited for what’s coming next. All because I am accepting that I’m an addict.

Take a look at this bookmaxresdefault. Even if you don’t subscribe to all of it, the research is there to back it up, and it really could change your life. You could finally gain peace. How great is that?

Britt

Back to school is coming . . . simplify

Well, it is officially back-to-school season. The girls’ school stuff is purchased and in their backpacks, new uniforms are in the wash, the Middle School Social was last night, and Back to School Night is Monday.

Summer absolutely flew by.

But in the midst of all the preparations and all the hullabaloo, something occurs to me. The school year is rife with opportunities to overfill your calendar and overcomplicate your life. Survival is contingent (for me anyway) on keeping things as simple as possible. Here’s what works for us:

  1. One thing at a time. My girls love to do extracurricular activities. They get to pick whatever it is they’re interested in, and they can do that. The only rules are: they can only be doing one activity at a time, and they have to finish out the season they started.

    Why do we make this rule? Well, because children today are faaaaaaar too busy. We have them doing things every night of the week, they have homework, and they are left with zero empty space. I know it seems silly to leave room for empty space, but that’s where creativity lies.

    I want my girls to enjoy their creativity (and I’m a firm believer everyone is creative in some way), and that’s how you do it – you create room for boredom. Then they get creative. Also – kids need to sleep. They can’t wind down and sleep effectively if they run absolutely all day and get home at 9:00 and have to be up at 6 to get going again. It just doesn’t work. So, we say “no” to a lot of things because the girls have to pick and choose what they want to do for that season. This season it’s Volleyball, in case you wondered. 😉

  2. Shopping. Shopping can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. We got the list, went to 2 stores (one has a really good deal on shoes, the other has a good deal on everything else), and got what was on the list. That’s it. Keep it simple, keep it cheap. Also – there are still things I’ll have to get for the year. My big issue is I try to get everything done all at once. That’s fine, but I really don’t have to buy their winter coats until September. They have a jacket for now, that will be fine for at least another month, and in the meantime I can keep an eye out for sales. Ditto rain and snow boots.
  3. That reminds me  – reuse what you can. My girls have uniforms, which truly does make this easier, I know. But even if you don’t, reuse whatever you can. I know we have this culture of “back to school shopping” where kids get a whole new wardrobe every fall, but it’s actually not necessary. Go through your closets, have your kiddos pick out their favorites to carryover (or if they’re like my kids and everything is their favorite, have them pick several items to donate), and fill in the gaps with new stuff. My middle daughter was able to reuse almost everything from last year, and I only had to buy a couple of things for her.

    I got everything my girls would need in my online shopping cart. Then I went through what we saved from last year and removed everything we didn’t need. The difference it made with just their clothes (and they were all on sale, so this is all about half what the normal price would be) was close to $180. Now – I know in some parts of the country that’s not a lot, but it certainly is for us. That $180 covered all the rest of their school shopping.

    And I don’t know if you noticed this, but saving money is very stress-relieving. LOL!!!

  4. Lunches. Okay – damn you pinterest. There is a smorgasboard of cute little lunch ideas for moms to send their kids with. Eff that. Sorry. I love my girls, you know this. I love to send them cute little notes (corny jokes for my oldest, hearts and princess pictures for my middle), and I pack them a lunch every day (because food sensitivities blegh), but good lord do you see what some of these videos expect us to do for lunch when I am still working on my coffee (okay tea)???

    Nope, with a big fat greasy side of Nope.

    My girls will get a lunch packed that is nutritious, free of any foods they react to, has a cute little note (at least for the first week lol), and a snack in there. That’s it. They have a lunch box, we have an ice pack for each of them, that’s good enough.

    They’ll also have a sane mama out of the deal. I’m calling it a win/win.

  5. Delegate. The first day of school was always my favorite because I would come home, and sit with my mom and have a snack and tell her all about my day. Who I talked to, who looked better than last year, who looked worse, who was gone or who was new, any new drama – nothing was off limits. My mom loved hearing about it, and I (of course) loved telling her all about it. My girls and I do the same thing, it’s really fun.

    This year I can’t. I have to go to Salt Lake for a doctor’s appointment and I will be gone. I will help them get ready, get them dropped off, and finish a few things before I get on the road, and I won’t be back until their second day (at like 10 p.m.). I’m so sad about it, and I was really feeling guilty.

    Then I remembered. The only person better than mom is Grammy. Mom win. So, instead of going with me to Salt Lake, she’s going to come down and get the girlies and let them tell her all about their day, and she’s going to stay until Dad gets home. That’s pretty perfect. While I’ll be a little bored between appointments, I’m super good to make that trade-off. I want the girls to have that same memory and positive association with learning that I do, and I honestly think this was a big part of it.

  6. Dinner. Crockpot. InstaPot. Need I say more? Okay fine. :p

    It’s important that your family eat healthy. So for the first week (at least) plan out some crockpot or InstaPot meals (or meals you can prep ahead of time and stick in the freezer and pull out right before you cook them) to save yourself the stress or the “what the hell” effect of just calling for take-out.

    Your body and mind (and wallet) will thank you.

 

May the force be with you this school year. 😉

 

I’ll be talking more about this on Tuesday, August 21st on Kelly McClain’s show Being Badass (I get to guest host for her!) at 12 p.m. pacific time. 🙂 I’m so excited to be back on the air for a minute, so join me at 12 Radio!

Britt

My today

Today is a good day. I’m feeling good, feeling resolved, inspired, excited, anticipatory. It’s a good day. I’m loving my Back to Basics challenge. I’m really enjoying the Facebook break – I think at some point here I’ll take a full Facebook hiatus. Not sure how I’ll work it, because I do use it for my professional life as well, so I’ll have to ponder that. No worries, it will come.

That, by the way, is the beauty of the Back to Basics challenge – “no worries, it will come.”

If you know me at all, you know I’m a planner. An obsesser. My “committee” is in full force, just about all the time. Lately, though, along with the urge to go back to the basics in just about everything, is the urge to de-stress. I’ve decided that my health issues are not to be fixed by medical doctors. They don’t have an answer. Disclaimer here – it’s not that I don’t think western medicine has value. If I get injured, I’m going to the doctor. I think what we’ve learned about the human body thus far is amazing, and what we have yet to learn is awe-inspiring.

That said, we don’t know jack shit about autoimmune diseases. We don’t know what causes them, what cures them, or really how to help them. We know how to suppress the immune system, and that’s it.

My gut tells me that’s not the right approach. So I’m going a natural route. Time will tell whether that was wise or not, however my everything tells me it’s the way to go right now. For me. And only me. If you’re suffering from illness, you have to make that decision for yourself, and you’re the only one who can.

Okay, so moving forward – I’m getting all these messages and signs that today is all we have. It’s important to quit looking to tomorrow and yesterday for my answers, and worrying about what has or will or may happen. So today, it’s a good day. Had a good morning, enjoyed my tea and cards, got to work on time . . . it’s a good day. I have fun ideas bouncing around in my head, and I’m not sure where they’ll lead, but it will be somewhere.

How’s your today? What are you excited about? What are you looking forward to or worried about? Are you letting those things take you out of today? I guarantee if you look around, you have something positive happening right now. It might be small (I still have power), or it might be big (scrawny little-kid arms wrapping around your neck in a “nuggle”). But it’s there.

Look for it, and appreciate it. As to the rest – “no worries, it will come”, and you’ll deal with it when it does.

 

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Back to Basics – day 4

Whelp, I got all inspired again and undertook this huge project. Surprise! This is so me. lol! But you know what? I’m kind of loving it. And by kind of, I mean I freaking love it.

So I decided I was only going to check Facebook once per day, I’m going to really work to sticking with my bright lines (read more here), and I’m going to do a handful of other things to take myself back to the basics of my life. It’s about appreciating my life and family as they are, and inviting gratitude into my life so I can appreciate what I have, because it’s really a lot. You can read about it here.

So essentially, it’s going really well. This weekend I had a bit of a rough patch (not entirely unexpected for the first days of a new commitment). It illuminated a few things for me that I hadn’t had to look at before.

  1. Meds play a role. I’m on prednisone for my Autoimmune Hepatitis and other suspected autoimmune conditions (the worst of which is Arthritis, but we don’t know which kind). Since I started on fairly high dose, we’re trying to step down to the lowest possible dose as quickly as we can. Doing so, I got to experience some unpleasant side effects this weekend and learned what anxiety feels like. I’ve had anxiety before, but this was way different. Also, I’m realizing that I cannot be too hard on myself for having these moments – it’s not my fault. This is the drug, and as we come down off the higher doses I’m going to experience some of this. So, in essence, I’m having to learn to forgive myself being human.
  2. Food is comfort. I know, it’s obvious. But part of the side effects were also being very loopy and feeling lightheaded and out of my own head. Eating brings consciousness back into the body – creating a fake “grounding”. Absolutely all I wanted to do this weekend was eat. I didn’t, but I had much less peace around my food than I have had lately.
  3. My body physically notices when things change. Again, obvious – but it’s true. Our bodies are so amazingly in tune with what’s going on around us that if we pay attention we can really learn a lot. This weekend I rested a lot. It was really positive because I needed it. So in that sense I was very successful (one of my goals was to listen to my body more and rest when necessary).

I’m going to make this an open challenge I think and do a support group on 12Academy if I feel there is enough interest (find my 12 page here or my Facebook here). The basic premise is, I’m simplifying my life in the ways I feel are key for 1 year. I began 7/27/2018, and I’ll continue on until that date in 2019 (at least).

Here are the key areas I’m working to bring back to the basics:

  1. Facebook/social media – once a day.
  2. Bright Lines – this is about simplifying my food and giving myself food neutrality.
  3. Pay attention to my health (rest, sleep, water, stress reduction).
  4. Do something creative every day.
  5. Morning routine (tea and connect with the Universe).
  6. Belongings Assessment (I’m decluttering something every day).
  7. Connect with my little fam daily on an individual basis.

Seems like a lot at first glance, I know. But I’m already doing several of these things (the morning routine, the bright lines). It’s about bringing everything to the simplest I can. Like the facebook thing – if I clear this out it provides me a lot more time. This weekend I was able to go through the girls’ room and clear out their toybox and craft closet – this is huuuuuuuge you guys.

Connecting individually on a daily basis – this one is really important to me. I am a full-time working mommy with a husband I love and I want to make sure they all know they are very loved and appreciated. Now – this won’t be a big thing every day – it can’t. But it can be a 5-minute slow-down to listen to my 6-year-old tell me about the dream she had, or a 5-minute story before bed with my littles, and slowing down and really talking to my husband after dinner, and really listening to the story my 11-year-old has already told me 4 times.

It’s little things that make a big difference.

I’m doing a year, but that’s just because it felt like a fun idea. I’d love to hear from you about whether you would be interested or not, how often you’d like to meed (via conference, probably $15 each time to keep it affordable, and do like a support group-style meetup where we can talk, and answer questions, and go over struggles, etc).

 

Have a great week!

Brittani

Back to Basics: An Ascension Project

I love inspiration. I’m feeling so pulled to simplicity. Feeling so repelled by excess, and feeling such a strong need to cleanse and clear those things which were supposed to bring joy but only bring stress and pain.

It hit me today – I want to simplify. Not just a little bit (we don’t do a little bit here lol), but a lot. I really want to have some fun with this though, because I can. 🙂 So here’s my thought process today. I’m sick of doctors. I’m not a doctor and I cannot tell you where your best health path lay, nor would I try.

For me, I’m fed up. I’ve seen FAR too many doctors this year, and I’m going back to the basics. I’m making sure I get my rest and sleep, I’m moving my body in the way that feels best at any moment, and I’m eating the healthiest diet I can think of (for information on how I’ve lost 33 pounds since January even with all my health crap and being on steroids, go here).

I’m sick of being in debt. We are working our debt snowball (information on that here – you know, in case you’ve been under a rock) and getting our finances in control. We want to pay off all our debt, including our house, so we can live the simple style of life we love without any stress attached to it.

I’m sick of being stuck on Facebook.

Need I say more? Okay, fine – I feel like Facebook has more control over me than I do sometimes. Not always, I’m pretty conscious, but I notice myself more and more clicking to check Facebook when I don’t really even want to – it’s just a habit. Facebook does not get to be a habit.

I’m tired of living in a mess. Now – I’ve already purged a lot of crap out of my little house. But there’s more. I want to go through the rest (just a little at a time is fine) and get rid of what is not serving us. That doesn’t mean everything has to go, it just means we have to keep what we love and lose what we don’t. I’m ready to look around and see neatness. Not perfection – I have three kids, we don’t care about that. I just want it to be peaceful and low-maintenance so housework can be the bottom of the to-do list.

I’m tired of feeling stressed. I know, I know – is there even a more trite thing to say? Probably not. Still – it’s the truth. And I know the best way to kill stress is to connect to another human I love and to slow waaaaaaaaaaay down. I’ve been getting this feeling for weeks and months now, and while I’ve been working on it, there are still more things I can do. For instance – “no”. I don’t do a lot outside my home anyway, but I do some. It’s not all essential.

I have the feeling the time I spend on Facebook is more than I think it is. I have the feeling cutting that out is going to really open my calendar. I’m really excited for this because this means I’ll be more engaged with my kiddos and more engaged with my husband. That’s a totall win-win for everyone. Hello, happy life.

Also, I already have a happy life. If it goes on just exactly the way it is until the day I die, I’m so good with that. I’m just feeling the urge to deepen – my relationships, my contentment, my connection; and that means to clear some crap out. I’m ready. I’m going to start this today. I already have. Here is what I’m doing:

  1. Facebook is once a day from here on out. End of story (unless I have to post something for my public page, like a blog post – but that’s it).
  2. Keep my Bright Lines (no flour, no sugar, eat only at mealtimes, measure my food)
  3. Pay attention to my health.
    1. Rest when I’m tired – no guilt.
    2. Sleep – goal of 7-8 hours minimum.
    3. Water – minimum of 3 bottles per day (24 oz bottle)
    4. Stress reduction – keep on our debt snowball.
  4. Do something creative every day.
  5. Morning routine.
    1. Tea and connection (cards, meditation, grounding, journaling, whatever).
    2. Movement of some sort (as my body permits).
  6. Belonging Assessment.
    1. I’m loathe to call this a purging. It’s not. I’m going to assess the value (to me) of everything we own. Do we love it, need it, want it, use it, enjoy it? If so, it’s valuable and has a place at the table. If not, it’s outskies.
  7. Connect with Ryan and the girls individually, in some way, every day.
    1. Say yes to them more often than no when they want my time.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s really not. It’s being mindful, but in a quantative way. I want this to be something I enjoy, and I’m really excited for it. I’m going to do this for one year, starting today. So I will be done July 28th, 2019. I am really looking for some people who want to join me. Your list doesn’t have to look like mine, it’s your list.

What can you simplify to help your life? What can you release? Why do you want to release it?

I want to do a monthly meetup on 12academy, where I can chat with whomever wants to join this challenge. We’ll talk about struggles we’re having, successes, offer tips, make suggestions, just be a support group for one another. The cost would be $15 per meeting, and we’ll meet once during each month. I would also have a groupme chat so we can meet realtime when necessary and offer support to one another throughout our days, which would of course be optional (but I think very helpful).

Anyway, this is where my brain is heading . . . I’ve created a poll on my facebook page if you’re interested in weighing in, or of course here in the comments I’d love to hear your opinions. I’ll keep you updated!

 

Britt

Chronic Illness

Chronic illness is hard to accept. There is a pride inherent (in me, anyway – must be the Leo thing) that makes me reject the thought I’ll be “sick” forever. I don’t know if everyone struggles with that aspect, but I sure do.

I’ve always been a believer in “mind over matter”. I’m not saying I thought you could “will away” illness – I never really took it that far in my head. I just knew that I could change my attitude about anything, and that things always look better with a positive attitude. I knew that I had a choice about my feelings, and how much energy I gave to any certain feeling or emotion.

I still believe all those things. I am also beginning to understand the very real struggle of feeling that your body is attacking your soul. That depression is being forced on you and there’s no amount of willing that will fix it. That sometimes, things look shitty and there’s no way around that and no alternate way to look at it. That even if you take really good care of yourself (I do), your body can still get sick.

Sounds pretty hopeless, huh?

I agree. I’ve had some moments where I’m really at a loss for how to find any kind of positive lining in this. I wake up a lot of days in pain. Tired. Hopeless. Depressed. But I wake up. I get up. I go to work. I love my kids and my husband (love as a verb here).  I engage in my morning routine to connect spiritually and physically with this body I’m in, even (and especially) if it’s hurting.

I try damn hard.

It’s working.

Life is tough right now. There are a lot of autoimmune issues cropping up for me and I’m learning how to navigate them. I’m not always swimming  – sometimes I’m drowning. But I’ve got an online support network. It’s giving me a new mission – I want to facilitate in-person support groups and private counseling sessions, so I’m going to go back to school and get my bachelor’s in psychology so I can go for my master’s so I can help people navigate this incredibly tough area of life.

I’m learning that with the stress my body is going through, I can’t do as much. I have to say “no” more. I have to simplify – my calendar, my home, my life. I have to be able to rest. I have to be able to laugh – that means not too much stress. I have to be able to connect with those I love and in order to do that, I have to feel well. To feel well, I have to eat well, rest well, love well, and slow waaaaaaaaaay down.

There are days I have to call into work. I hate that. I hate being unreliable. I’m keeping those days to a minimum because I made a commitment to being there. But there are, unavoidably, days I cannot work. I have to rest. This is giving me a gift – I have to place myself as a priority. Truly, my body will not let me overextend anymore. This is something I am learning to view as a gift, rather than a punishment. It is, however, a learning – I’m not there yet. I still get frustrated, I still get angry and mad, and most definitely scared.

This is a test of my convictions. I have to go along with western medicinal practices on some things, which means I’m constantly researching and deciding if I’m really okay with what they want to do. These diseases are not all benign – some of them are fatal, and until we know what I actually have, I don’t really know what all my options are. The unknown is incredibly scary.

If you’re going through something like this, I encourage you to reach out. To me, to a therapist, to your doctor, to an online support group – reach out. I’m not a doctor, I can’t offer you medical advice, but I can offer you an ear to listen, a heart to love you with, and a shoulder to cry on. You can find me here, just about any time.

Much, much love

Brittani