Creating a Sabbath Day

At the beginning of last year, I wrote out extensive goals for the next 10 years in the domains of career, personal, and health.
One of the goals I wrote to achieve in about 10 years was to observe a sabbath day once a week with my family. It seemed like something I would have to put off for a long time until I could figure out how to make it happen and work up enough courage to actually go through with it.

When a few things shifted with my schedule at work, and my Sunday would be freed up for the foreseeable future, I meditated on the idea: was I ready to launch into this, and would I be able to sell the idea of minimal electronics, resting, and quality time (read: not watching tv or running errands) to Brandon?

As it turns out, Brandon was completely enrolled, and possibly relieved that I (the person who looks to fill every moment with something) was suggesting this.

So beginning this Sunday, we will be observing our very own version of a sabbath. In my vision of this, we will spend the day together as a family (read: I won’t run off to yoga, Brandon won’t run off to golf, and Lincoln won’t run off to the mall ), and if we do anything with other people or groups of people, it will be done as a unit. I plan on turning off my phone on Saturday evening and turning it back on Monday morning. (If you need me you can send smoke signals or come over). Brandon won’t be required to turn off his phone and I will make the request that it is used minimally.

A church service will also support the original intention for the day, and we will spend the day together resting, recharging, and reconnecting. I’m excited about what this will contribute to us as a family.

This will fulfill my intention to bring simplicity in, and I have to admit, I’m looking forward to turning my phone off for an entire day. ( now seeking actual alarm clocks)

Leadership

I’ve spent a great part of the last 5 years (and quite a bit of money) developing myself as a leader, specifically how to do it most effectively, how to communicate most effectively with people, how to manage the energy of larger groups of people, being some of the things that I have spent time learning and relearning. Any time I lead a new group of people, I learn something new. One thing that I’ve learned over and over again is that in order to create the environment (or training) that I want, I have to be leading from what I want to happen. (This is also extremely applicable in the domain of family life). What this means is that I have to look out into the future, see the result I want to produce and then work from that intention. It doesn’t work for me as a leader in my job or in my family to lead only based on my temporary feelings or circumstances. For example, it doesn’t work ultimately if I’ve had a bad day, or I’m overly tired to take it out on Brandon (my husband), or the people that I’m leading at my job. It demolishes trust, and doesn’t generate the kind of environment that I want to be fostering. As a leader in my life, it is my responsibility to take care of myself and the environment I’m in, not anyone else’s.

One of the specific learnings from one of my trainings, is that when I am at the front of the room (for say a training or workshop) and I want to get the attention of the participants, and let’s say the room is loud and the energy is high, what doesn’t work is me yelling and to try to get the energy down. Me yelling would only contribute to energy and noise. What does work is me matching my energy to the energy I want to create and utilizing something creative to get the attention of the participants. Same thing would apply with my family. If I want to create a quiet environment before bed so Lincoln (my 3 year old) quiets down, playing chase isn’t the greatest idea. Instead, we lower the lights, read stories, and rock while we listen to lullaby’s. Because I know the environment I want to create, I am able to create that environment through my actions, words, and energy.

When looking to make a change in your world, whether it’s your home life, or you’re looking to revolutionize people’s ideas, are the actions you are taking (or not taking), the energy you are outputting, and the language you are using (spoken or written) creating the result you want? Are you creating from what you want, or from what you don’t want? Is what you’re outputting creating more noise without producing a result other than more noise? If you are angry about something, is your anger producing anything in other people other than anger and fear?

What result do you actually want? Consider leading from what it is that you want, rather than what you don’t want to create a more effective result.

Orbits

This post is somewhat scientific and mostly metaphoric.

I will attempt to make a correlation between a way you could look at  parenting (or any relationship that is important to you) and the orbits and rotations of planets.

One thing that I was concerned about when I was pregnant with Lincoln was that I would have to lose my identity, give up my dreams and goals, as soon as I had him. This caused a lot of despair and there wasn’t a lot that anybody could do or say to support me in this process that actually gave me insight into the actual reality, that I could create the relationship with my child that I wanted as well as the parenting style. It seemed like there were only 2 options: sacrifice yourself to your child(ren) and in doing so give up anything and everything that you wanted for your future, give up having some kind of relationship with your child so that you can focus on pursuing goals and a career.

For me neither of these fit.

I knew that one thing I wanted to teach my children was that no matter what kind of a life they wanted, that they could have the choice to create it. Just because people have fallen into certain roles in the past, doesn’t mean that it’s the way that everybody should create their life.

So this is the part that the science metaphor comes in.

I believe that things work well when there is a balance involved. Science seems to agree in the realm of orbits of planets/moons. If you do any basic research (which is all I did) about the way planets and moons orbit, it seems like in order for an orbit to last, there has to be a balance of force: meaning that if there is too much or not enough the moon (or satellite) won’t be able to stay in orbit with the planet. (You are the planet, your child (or other person your referencing this to) is the moon/satellite). Each body has to have their own power/force/rotation in order to maintain the relationship. One body cannot give up all its rotation/power/force for the other. If they did, the balance would be broken and one would get sucked out into space. (This is probably not scientifically accurate). Additionally, the orbit is elliptic which means that sometimes the bodies are closer together and sometimes they are further apart. This doesn’t not change the relationship and it is not bad that this happens.

So what does this mean for you and me? It’s a metaphor and ONE possible way to look at the parent/child relationship. (You could really apply this to any important relationship in your life). Becoming a parent does not mean that one should give up on their dreams, goals, jobs, etc and it will require creating a new balance as you bring a new body into your orbit.

Mostly, remember that you can create the life that you want and what works best for you and your family. Create your life based on what you and your partner want, not what other people (including and not limited to in-laws, family, society, etc). This will probably take work, courage, and bravery, and you can do it.

The Luxury of Simplicity

Sounds catchy and exciting, doesn’t it?

This is my intention for 2017-to discover what living simply looks like. How do I live simply without becoming a hermit and still stay true to my vision of my life? I’ve spent a good part of my almost 31 years on the planet, making myself busy, working, chasing after dreams, goals, and the next thing. I realized while leading a yoga retreat in France last fall that I wasn’t taking advantage of the simple luxuries currently available to me in my life daily. Especially the assets of time and relationships.

So this year will be about discovering the luxury of simple things like drinking tea and reading a book before bed (currently reading Bleak House by Charles Dickens), sitting and enjoying a conversation with another human being without looking at the time to rush to the next activity, sitting in my living room with my husband and son (and bun in the oven) listening to records, cooking dinner for my family with whatever ingredients we already have in the fridge or pantry, or spending our day off together with no agenda, no phones, and no tv. It will be about bringing about balance and teaching our son (and future child) how to live without doing constantly. And how to be ok without being always entertained by something or someone else (one of the great things I learned from my parents).

This is an experiment, just like most things are in life. As the variables change, the results will also change. That is what you will read about here.