The practices that keep my head on straight


There are consistent themes in my industry to "push on," "be passionate," and my personal favorite, "think more powerfully." I don't even know what that means! Does it mean you need to think with more energy? Does it mean you need to move more powerful thoughts through your head? What is a powerful thought?

See, I don't even know. But I do know this: What a load of hooey.

OK, maybe not all of it. I like to be excited, passionate, and even a little powerful in life. It feels good. But the truth is, it only feels good when it's honest and when it's really how you feel.

I'm in the midst of a major life change. My family dynamic is changing, and fast. There's definitely some beauty that's come from it all, the silver lining stuff. But mostly it's been sad and confusing. Not every day or even all day, but I assure you it's there.

"It" meaning the "I wish this were different and better yet not happening at all moments." Before I go much further I'll share this -- choosing to bring really real life to this space is not something I take lightly. I've gone back and forth about whether or not this was "appropriate" or "too gritty," but when a friend told me that -- with this being my outlet to help, but to also be myself -- didn't I owe it to myself to continue bringing my truth here, even if it isn't always packaged prettily?

I decided, yes. Yes, I do owe it to myself.

There are plenty of things I don't share because they are private and personal to my family's process. But this stuff here, the nonsugar-coaching (not a typo) that it is all sweet and good all the time? That's not life, folks! And I am not exempt, industry professional or not. Being human gets the best of us all.

In the unfolding of all that's happened with family, these things were the first to disappear. In fact, this is how I sorted it through the first 8 weeks... #nojudgment

Bad news
Find strength and make inappropriate jokes
Be strong some more
Pretend I am OK
Realize I am not OK
Laugh at not-funny things
Drink wine.
Drink too much coffee, you know, to balance
Better news
Cry a little less
Go back to work
Assure everyone I am OK
Drink more wine
Get angry
Get angry at the rain, cause that helps
Better yet, get angry at the cupboards being left open. More rational?
Surrender... a little
Drink less wine
Make more jokes, this time they're funny
Really go back to work

Just me? I don't think so. We all have our own cycle. I WISH it looked like this:

Bad news
See the good in it all
Write in my journal
Let go

HA! Cute, right? Where was I? Oh yeah...the practices that keep my head on straight.

Now, this is MY list. This might not be your list. It doesn't need to be your list. But can you let it inspire you to make your own list? Because there will come a day when you'll need it and it'll quickly escape you.

After I got through the 25+ steps above I did sit down with my journal and asked for clarity. Who did I ask? Well, whatever wanted to move through my pen. I just wanted some peace of mind. I didn't even want answers. I just wanted some focus.

At first what came through was a laundry list of things like Just be, sleep, stop eating bread, stop pushing, take a bubble bath every day, watch comedies, stop binge watching Grey's Anatomy, pray more, keep your channel more open, make peace with this, make it easier where you can...

I loved all of it and all of it I already knew. And then this came through:

"You're actually in the flow.
It may not always feel awesome or
exactly what you expected.
Your job now is to not resist the flow
or in other words...just be."

I tell clients all the time to just be and I swear I can hear their eyes roll through the phone but this is the first time this advice has landed so clearly for me. That, and it also came through a license plate, a magazine cover, two friends, and my wife (who is usually right, shhh).

My first instinct was to resist (*Insert facepalm emoji*) and then I sort of GOT IT. All this stuff started to pop up that letting go of would feel simply amazing. It would free up some energy and anxiety. It would remind me of what really matters and leave more space for where I really need to be right now.

The things themselves are irrelevant to anyone but me. But I bet you have a list, also. The things that even just thinking about non-resistance brings to mind. Yes, THOSE things. See, you have a list too.

Don't get me wrong. Being in the flow doesn't bring my mom back or take away what's happening for my dad. It can't. But it can make it so much easier to be present for it. So no, it isn't always about thinking more powerfully or being uber passionate. Sometimes it's just about being fully here and being honest with yourself.

Andrea Wilborn