Finding Abundant Life between HELL Yeah and No at Work

Finding Abundant Life between HELL Yeah and No at Work

There’s an article circulating this week called Why Relationships Should Be ‘HELL Yeah or No.’ It’s targeted at millennials, and about love relationships, but the headline drew us in and got some of my Gen X friends and I talking about work projects and work relationships. To the point I was told to blog about it. So here goes: ideas about finding abundant life between HELL Yeah (I love this work!) and No (I don’t want do this anymore.) at work.

1. Trust HELL Yeahs and Nos about the work itself

Here at mid-life, I’ve noticed that I use a Hell Yeah and No approach for taking on new work projects and for sticking with work projects. Not out of any particular personal wisdom (which I’m hoping comes later in life): simply because when I don’t trust my own HELL Yeahs and Nos — and the HELL Yeahs and Nos of those I’m working with — we end up having way too many Oh HELL NO! moments. On work projects now, I’m all in, I take breaks when I’m not feeling all in, and then I return when I’m all in again. I allow others to do the same. Together we work on encouraging and allowing ourselves to do this and learning not to take it personally when others need to walk away. Helps us stay happy and interested and engaged and productive. Helps us know when it’s time to take a break, time to let go of responsibilities and take on new ones, bring others in to help or take over, and move on completely from work, too. The extreme ends of the spectrum can be helpful for making day-to-day choices about the work itself. This works especially well when everyone feels they have the ability to work while energized and to slow down or stop or leave or move on when they’re not.

2. The ends of the spectrum aren’t enough for long-term friendships and work relationships

Thankfully, humans are too beautifully complex and interesting to settle for just two choices. There is so much more to learn…

a. Ask “Where am I on the spectrum between Hell Yeah and No right now?” and be willing to move away from a new-to-you No

For me, work projects eventually end, while friendships and working relationships may last a lifetime. Long-term human relationships require an understanding of where I myself am on the spectrum between the HELL Yeah and No at any given time and a courageous willingness to shift, move, and let go. For example, there are many Hell Yeah-at-our-core people in my life who I have walked away from for a year, or a decade, during years that we, or our work, became Nos for each other. But that doesn’t mean they’re out of my life forever. When we listen to new Nos and let go of each other “for now” (well before feelings get hurt beyond repair and definitely before contempt settles in), then often the parting really is “just for now.” Many friends and work colleagues return, eventually. At least here in my indie, work-for-yourself corner of the work world. For those who don’t return, I still get to love the memory of them and pop online to see what they’re up to now and then, share a recipe, or share news about work they might be interested in.

b. Notice if your No is an intuition-screaming-loudly No or a self-doubt No and be willing to move toward the occasional self-doubt No

When it comes to new people, many Nos from the beginning tend to stay Nos, simply because they aren’t given the chance to come farther into my life. That’s ok. Sometimes our No instincts are screaming loudly, and when they’re that loud, they’re spot on. Trust yourself. I’ve left jobs, social groups, and spaces when a screaming loudly Oh HELL NO-for-me showed up. I’ve never regretted those choices.

Sometimes our Nos aren’t about the other person at all: they’re about us, being stretched, and our own fears about our ability to handle something. For example, I eventually became friends with a guy at work who was a No-for-me as a work partner the first time we met. I read his fast decision making and organizational political savvy as “slick and untrustworthy.” Yet we had compatible goals, complementary skill sets, and we decided to stick together. We eventually ended up loving working together because we had opposite strengths that we could suddenly both draw on. We ended up wildly successful as a result. He eventually became an Oh Hell Yeah! friend for life. I carry him in my heart now no matter where we go or what we do: the same is true for the other three friends in that self-organizing work group. For me, reimagining the No is about reimagining ourselves together. This tends to require trust and respect that starts with trust in and respect for yourself. Can I trust and respect this someone who is remarkably different from me? And can I still trust and respect myself in their presence? If so, and if they can say the same about you, then together we can reimagine ourselves, changing our initial Nos into a mutual Oh Hell Yes! I learned a valuable lesson from this friend about work partnerships and about myself. Sometimes we need a No to grow. To round out an amazing small work group. To collectively pull ourselves from good to great. To get to another level of Oh HELL YES! for all of us.

3. Watch for the hidden gifts within Oh HELL No! at work

Everyone I know has had many Oh HELL No! work experiences early in life. Many of them are about us: part of growing up and learning to play/work well with others. Many of them aren’t actually about us as individuals and are instead the natural outcomes of the antiquated work systems and cultural norms we inherited from those who came before us and the beliefs and ideas we unconsciously hold as a result. Our Oh HELL No! work experiences point directly at the real, often hidden, work that we are actually doing: improving our cultures and work systems for ourselves and those who come next. Many people make entire careers out of their Oh HELL No! experiences: tapping the energy within THIS WILL BE DIFFERENT FOR THOSE WHO COME NEXT! to pull forth massive social, professional, and personal change.

For those of us who love to work, and imagine ourselves working across our entire lives, I suspect there is never a complete escape from Oh HELL No! work experiences. There’s just too much work left to do to create work systems, cultures, and selves that more fluidly work well together and more fairly and justly work period. If we’re lucky, we can imagine the world of work into a playground: remaking many of our own No and Oh HELL No! experiences into sparks for innovation and change together. I believe that those of us who can imagine this have a responsibility to do so: not only for ourselves and those who come next but also for all of those today who are crushed, beaten down, or killed by old ideas and outdated systems and patterns of thought. This is my belief. For me. Part of my own Oh HELL YES! I’ve yet to live in a way that allows me to get entirely past Oh HELL No! at work now and then. Maybe next month. Speaking of that…

4. Watch extra close for the gifts within Oh FUCK NO! work experiences

I can say from recent personal experience that as you age — learning more skills, better understanding yourself and peers and environments, gaining more credibility and respect, and having more work colleagues willing to connect you to perfect-for-you others — that it is possible to delude yourself into thinking that you’ve moved past Oh HELL No! work experiences. And I can also say that it’s at this self-satisfied moment that you are perfectly primed and ready to land hard, on your ass, within an Oh FUCK NO! work experience.

This fall, Daniel unexpectedly lost his day job. Just like that, 85% of our income vanished. At the same time, we were also helping my parents (mom with Alzheimer’s disease and dad a tired primary caregiver of 10+ years) pack and move across the country. At the same time we were preparing our Seattle home for sale and awash in a sea of floor repair, countertop replacement, and cleaning/beautifying projects. And I was also trying to get not one, but two, books published. We were stressed, tired, and too busy. And I lost my way again. I took on several new work projects/clients in a hurry: rushing and making decisions out of fear and while exhausted. One of those clients had work processes and systems and cultural norms and expectations that were wildly outside my own comfort zone, and I had no interest in changing myself, or connecting with them, to make things better. But I stayed anyway. Out of fear. And just six days in I totally lost it. Frustrated. Angry. Trapped. After ending my work days sobbing, for three days in a row, Daniel had to tell me to quit. I couldn’t even see it for myself. I ended up hurting myself and Daniel, and to a lesser extent an old friend who offered me the work, and an employment agency, in the process.

My own Oh FUCK NO! work experience was not primarily the result of broken old systems and antiquated cultural norms and expectations. This one was the direct result of me over-booking myself, not standing in/working from my own power, and making decisions out of fear. I know the difference now between a primarily-a-Lori-problem and a primarily-a-system-problem and this one was on Lori. Yes, their system had problems. Massive problems. As do most of our large work systems today. But I showed up to work with zero interest in connecting and becoming part of any small group that could make them better. This was work I should not have been doing. I suspected it ahead of time. I became more certain the moment I started it. I knew it more deeply every day that followed. But I ignored my loudly screaming intuition. And, surprise, surprise, I landed in an Oh FUCK NO! work experience.

Fortunately, I have a wide support system, a great partner, and generous, forgiving work colleagues. I was given the chance to say “I’m sorry. I messed up. I shouldn’t be here. I need to go. Right now.” And I was graciously forgiven my mistakes. By everyone. The employment agency even let me keep a bonus I’d been given for bringing the client to them and for connecting them with others in my field. Nothing pulls forth gratitude — and drives home noticing the deep privileges in your life — like being graciously forgiven for making big, ugly-crying, pain-inducing mistakes….

5. Be open to receiving the you-specific gift/lesson/insight

I have no idea what you took from this essay for yourself. Unless you choose to share, that’s not even my business. For me, this didn’t begin as an essay about the deep privileges of my work life or my skin color. But for me, now, how can it not be? When I get to count on gracious forgiveness, the-benefit-of-the-doubt, and getting to be fully human in my work life — even when it was definitely me who screwed up — while countless others can’t? When I get to quit a job — even when I need the money — because I so clearly should not be doing it? While countless others can’t? That’s total bullshit. We can do better. We must do better.

These are the rights I will fight for, and speak up for, for myself and others: the right to be fully human at work, the right to make mistakes, the right to be graciously forgiven for mistakes and to receive the benefit-of-the-doubt, and finally, the right to give up work and move on to something else when your intuition is screaming at the top of its lungs that you moving elsewhere will be better for everybody. This is a much needed comfort, insight, and reminder here in a month when I’m feeling down about book sales numbers and wondering where my next editing gig will be coming from.

Today, if we’re lucky, even our Oh FUCK NO! work experiences can become gifts that point us toward who we’re becoming and where we’re going next. I’m ready to help move these rights from for-a-lucky-few to by intention for everybody who wants them in their work lives. I don’t have to wonder anymore if I’m ready to go there now. I’m already here. This is already part of my own Oh HELL YES! and I have my own Oh FUCK NO! experience to thank for it.

Through the Flames, Watch for Deep Grace

Through the Flames, Watch for Deep Grace

Turning away from the deepest suffering means turning away from the deepest grace. That’s the heart of this post.

Several friends and I have asked ourselves the same question this past year:

How do I keep an open heart while standing in the depths of pain, of suffering, of hell?

Everybody’s answer is different.

As a poet, my answer has been to surround myself with other poets and writers who’ve done the same. This year especially, as my family and I fell into our own personal mini-hell, I’ve turned to black poets, writers, and voices that stay with extraordinary pain, creating through it, pulling forth stunning creation, and broken, stunning, badass new selves. Work that other broken-hearted, angry, and frightened people can stay with and feel. Or willingly return to, when they’re stronger. Broken, weeping people, like me.

The voices of black poets, especially, have pushed me along this year when I thought the pain of my family would shatter me. They surrounded me when it did shatter me. They celebrated with me when I came out the other side a new creature: stronger, more gentle, fiercer, kinder, beautiful, a voice forged in fire.

Staying with pain, standing in the fire, in your own hell, is horrible. It is horrific. Words fail. There is screaming and yelling and crying and rage and grieving and mourning and exhaustion and not getting out of bed and cowering and hiding and giving up entirely. The only true words that can emerge at this point are: “This is hell. I am in hell.”

I’ve learned to listen to voices that have lived through and spoken those words. And to those who’ve died and had others speak those words on their behalf. They were my saviors this year in many ways.

It takes a long time to get to them. Yet, once spoken, the words “This is hell.” can bring forth a new self. One cracked open to deeper insight, growth, clarity, strength, peace, friendship, and grace. Ridiculously deep grace. Grace that pre-hellfire you couldn’t even imagine.

Suffering is horrible. You have to let it be what it is: horrible. Name it. Face it. Fall apart.

Then, not before, can you become more graceful. When suffering can fully move through you instead of pooling and stagnating within. Suffering can become a tremendous gift when we’re ready. A tremendous gift to a community or a country when we’re ready.

We’re ready.

In Ferguson. At the center of this United States in November in 2014. At the center of our collective, unspoken, ignored, stagnating and sinking-us hell.

To my ear, saying that black lives matter is not saying that the lives of law enforcement don’t. It’s the opposite. It’s a reminder to those of us still avoiding our pain to step into the fire, wake up, and remember that all lives matter. All lives. That black children’s lives matter. That watching black children die in the street, and anywhere else, breaks our collective heart again and again and again in this country. That killing hurts everyone. White America is ready to listen now. The repeated, pointless, death of child after child after child in this country has pulled us into our own hell. All of us. This is it. This is what hell feels like.

To my ear, which now contains my heart, people saying black lives matter are saying this:

This is hell. I am in hell. We are in hell. Talk to me. Work with me. Help in whatever way you can before our whole country burns to the ground on the backs of dead children.

Hard to hear. Hard to say.

And not everyone is ready to hear and say these words, even now. But I am.

I’ve been through my own hell this year, and I find that it’s much easier to listen now, to face hell, and to speak. I don’t have to turn away from suffering to find grace. Grace is always here.

I can stand with those in hell.

I can stand with the vulnerable. With those who walk together, unarmed, terrified, with little hope, yet moving anyway, for the sake of their neighbors, children, selves. People throwing their whole being/community/country onto the fire for everyone’s sake, not just their own. Because they know we’ll be better for it.

I can stand with those who have stood in the heart of their own hell, burned, shattered completely, and stepped forth new people, willing and able to speak for those who no longer have a voice.

Wow, do they move with grace.

There are hundreds of links available now to find and follow if you have the courage and space within you to do something in response to what you know is happening in Ferguson right now. My dear journalist friend shared this one specifically for those unaccustomed to stepping into the fire of racism and white supremacy at all, let alone together.

My post is for people who can’t do anything right now. People caught up in their own mini-hells, for example, too exhausted and sad and beaten down and scared to extend care out beyond the smallest of circles yet. I get it. I’ve been there. So recently that my tears aren’t even dry yet.

I ask one small thing, for your own sake. If you cannot bear to act or look at Ferguson right now, please don’t look entirely away. Instead, look for those in the heart of the fire who move with the deepest grace. They are there. Look closer or have someone look for you. Chaos will organize itself around them. Watch and notice that even chaos bows before deep grace.

Watch for those moving with deep grace in the heart of hell. Watch and learn. They will teach you how to keep your heart open within the deepest suffering and pain. How to survive your own hell.

You need that deep grace now more than ever. We all do. Don’t look away.


Breaking Facebook Ties with Beloved Family Members

Breaking Facebook Ties with Beloved Family Members

Shit. I’m just getting to write about all sorts of fun stuff these days. Woo frickin’ hoo, life, thanks. I’m not an expert on this subject, just somebody going through this pain right now.

When to unfriend somebody you love – pre-contempt

When you see that the next step you’re most likely to take together will be feeling contempt for one another, and you don’t want to go there, because you love each other, it’s time to part ways for a while. You’ll sense that if you don’t step back now, take time to process pain and heal separately, that it’s possible your relationship will never recover. Trust your intuition on this. Allow your heart/body intuition to override your guilt and your desire to fix things. The time to fix things is over. For now.

Signs that it’s time to unfriend a loved one

  • You are going through a drawn out, painful, heart-wrenching life transition. So are they.
  • For them to survive and begin to heal, they need one story to be true right now. For you to survive and heal, you need a very different story to be true right now.
  • When you share what you’re feeling, you inadvertently hurt them, repeatedly. When they share what they’re feeling, they inadvertently hurt you, repeatedly.
  • That hurt begins to feel like it’s on purpose. You begin regularly hearing meanness in what they say. And they hear it in what you say. Things that a stranger listening in on your conversation would never jump to such pain-fueled conclusions about. Your mutual pain is deep enough that you all begin to imagine slights that don’t necessarily actually exist.
  • Instead of two (or more) equally valid perspectives, their truths become your lies, and vice versa.
  • Every time you try to support one another, you fail miserably. It keeps getting worse, not better.
  • When you speak your real, lived experience and perspective, you are told that you are wrong again and again and again. You never feel truly listened to or really heard.
  • There is a wall of pain between you. You try repeatedly to holler over the wall that you really do see their side of things—and should be allowed yours—but it becomes clear that they’re having the exact same experience that you’re having (feeling that they’re being told that they’re wrong, feeling not listened to, not heard, hurt by you).
  • The existence of your story is too much for them to bear right now, and vice versa.
  • You create and/or share something—a drawing, a painting, a poem, a song, a saying, a video, etc.—to help you and your closest others get even closer and move through your loss and grief together, and you learn that they were devastated by what you created/shared.
  • You stop sharing your whole self, your true self, your real feelings—to protect them or yourself—to the point that you become exhausted, or get physically sick, because right now you really need to be able to share your whole self and your real feelings. And Facebook is a place that you want to/used to be able to do that.
  • You realize that time spent trying to hold up your old world/story/family together is unhealthy for everyone in your family. It is interfering with all of you finding and surrounding yourselves with the people you desperately need right now to create new worlds/stories/families for yourselves. Your heart breaks as you realize it’s no longer each other that will help you heal.

My story

I wrote and shared a long poem about our family’s struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease this week. This poem. We’ve lived with Alzheimer’s in our family for 9 years now, and for the first time as a poet and a writer and a human, I felt ready to talk about it. More than that, I need to share about it now because my immediate family needs boatloads of new ideas, stories, help, support, and heart comfort right now as my mom moves into the middle stages of the disease, and my dad crumbles completely under the weight of being a full-time caregiver.

And it worked. I got what I needed. Friends and strangers alike showed up to share their stories, offer their support, and surround my breaking heart with love, light, understanding. I felt less alone. Less helpless.

And then I learned from my aunt that what I’d written was devastating for her and my uncles. My story too much for them to bear. A story out of alignment with theirs. My truths are their lies. These are people I love to my deepest depths. People who helped raise me and played with me and who have loved me every day of my life. I adore them. And they live thousands of miles away, so Facebook has been the primary place where we’ve connected and shared for years now.

This aunt told me that she loves me but can’t take any more of our pain, and she unfriended me. Letting me know that she’d reconnect later. I sat with that for a minute. Breathed it in. I, too, had “hidden” relatives this year that have been causing me chronic pain. But it had never dawned on me to unfriend them. But when she did that, she freed both herself and me. I felt lighter and freer. I actually thought “Why didn’t I think of that? Why did I stay in this masochistic situation for a year? She’s is a bloody genius!” I was reminded how much I love her. I followed her lead and unfriended my uncles and her daughter—those who are being hurt by me and my story. Now, suddenly, after a year of trying to fix our family, I can just share my experiences without fear, and they can share theirs without fear! Hooray! I am at a point where I have to write about Alzheimer’s Disease and my experience of it. They’re likely at that place too. I want them to heal. I don’t want to cause these loved ones one more second of inadvertent pain. That’s not me. That’s not them. Not us.

Example: how to unfriend a loved one

This is not advice. This is way too individual, personal, and painful a task for advice. This is simply what my aunt did for me and what I, in turn, did for the family members I unfriended. I’m sharing it because although this was painful, in how we did it I also found a needed sense of closure (for now), peace, and a surprising freedom and lightness of spirit (in realizing that I can, for the first time in a year, share my whole self again on FB). And I want the rest of my family to be able to do this too, for themselves, as needed. And know that I’m 100% ok with them unfriending whomever they need to unfriend now, including me, to heal.

In a private message or call (wherever you feel safest):

  1. Remind them that you love them.
  2. Tell them you are sorry for their loss and pain.
  3. In one sentence, explain that you need to step away from them on Facebook right now so that you don’t inadvertently cause them pain again.
  4. Don’t try to explain anything about your story/side, causing both of you more pain. The time for trying to be heard over the wall of pain has passed.
  5. Optional steps:
    • If it’s not forever, tell them it’s not forever. In my aunt’s case, she left it open ended. We’ll be back in touch again someday. And she reminded me that she’s always still there if we really need her. I decided to give my uncles and cousin a time span. I’m disconnecting for one year, while we go our separate ways to heal, and I hope to reconnect with them a year from now.
    • If you want to, give them another way to connect with you if they really need you or want to talk further: your phone number, email address, Skype details, etc. If you don’t want to do this, don’t do it.
    • If you want to, give them the option to reengage as Facebook friends. If you don’t, don’t. You may want to say, for example, “I know what I’m going through, my experience, is too hard for you to hear right now, so I’m unfriending you for a year. If, in the coming months you’d like to try reconnecting here, just send me a friend request and we’ll try again if we’re both ready.” Whether or not you make this offer depends on your heart, not theirs. The state of your heart, and what you want, matters most here. If you want to be apart for a whole year (or more, or forever), don’t make the offer to connect sooner.
  6. Remind them that you love them. So that the last words they receive from you are words of love.
  7. Unfriend them.

What next?

Give yourself a long time to heal. For me, this feels like cutting off my own hand. How kind to myself would I be if I lost my hand? How long would I allow myself to heal and recover? That’s how long I will be extra good to myself and surround myself with the best of the best heart healers for me right now. That’s how I came up with a year apart. I need at least that much healing time.

After you unfriend people you love (which happens in one second and so could be mistaken for a little thing when it’s not), sit and breathe deeply for a while, go for a walk, hug someone or some furry beast who loves you, create something, or do something else that brings you peace. Spoil yourself for a few days. Take comfort in the fact that you’ll all have more energy and time to connect with people who will truly help you mend your broken hearts without simultaneously also stomping on them.

In a workshop about fearless writing that I attended a while back, we began talking about memoirs. A memoirist in the class (sorry, I don’t recall his name) said something so profound that I can’t shake it. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) that the only pure, lasting truth in any family story is how people felt. To write fearlessly about your family, in a way that people will accept and connect with, you have to write and write, through many drafts, about how you felt. Don’t allow yourself to stop and publish when you are the victim in the story. Keep going. You must write and write and write until you become the protagonist – a spirit who others can relate to, see themselves in. Not a victim, not a braggart, but a life traveler, a story teller, a learner, a broken-heart survivor, a seeker of higher understanding. The things we all are. If you are writing yourself as a victim, keep writing, your story’s not done.

When we make the decision to unfriend beloved family members on Facebook so that we can all heal, we’re creating the opportunity for all parties to be able to come back again to that story one day on their own terms, with new found strength and abilities to stay with it longer next time, listen more closely next time, dig a little deeper next time, until we’re able to craft and live a new story together. Or part as cherished friends. The people we love deserve nothing less. Social media hasn’t changed that.

Forgiving Myself

Forgiving Myself

I love working with Bas. He’s part childhood pen pal,  part imaginary friend, part work colleague, part informal cultural attaché, and part best friend. And the fact that we’ve both been writing about transitions for several years without fully knowing we were writing about transitions dovetailed so perfectly, the timing couldn’t have been better for collaboration on this book. So I came into creating A Travel Guide for Transitions overflowing with enthusiasm and gladness for the opportunity.

Then a whole bunch of real life crap happened. April was an unexpectedly tough month for me.

No, that was my grown up filter using the words unexpectedly tough.

April sucked, my friends. It SUCKED.

Daniel and I adopted an 8-week-old puppy — my first puppy ever — and I got to learn some hard truths about myself. For example, I become a shell of my former self on just 4 hours of sleep per night. And to be my creative best self, I really do need  4- to 8-hour chunks of empty alone time and space most days. When I don’t get them, I flail and plot my escape and I questioned all my life choices to the point that I saw fear in Daniel’s eyes. That made me want to weep.

No, that was my grown up filter again. Made me want to weep, geez.

I spent 2 or 3 days each week in April weeping. I pretty much became the anti-me.

As it turns out, I am not the amazing puppy mom that I imagined I would be. I hate much of it actually. There’s a fun pill to swallow: I hate being a full-time mom. She’s just a tiny dog, arrgh, this should be easy! For frick’s sake, I have friends who raise a gaggle of human children with laughter and smiles on their faces most days!

Guilt piled high and dug deep within me this month. At least I can take comfort in the fact that 20- and 30- and 40-year-old me were all correct to trust their own intuition on this whole mom thing. No actual children were harmed in the making of this blog post or this life of mine.

Also during April my neighborhood partner-in-crime, Knox, left the country for a month, leaving me in charge of event planning for a giant neighborhood-spanning summer event. Ugh. Bleh. I love my neighborhood, and getting closer as a community, and I’m really looking forward to our new event (Yay Hopscotch CD–1.8-miles of fun!). But a solo large-scale event planner I am not. I can do it, and I’m even pretty good at parts of it (like blogging about what’s happening–surprise, surprise). But most of the tasks involved drain me of energy. Presenting to large groups? Convincing faceless strangers at the Seattle Department of Transportation that a temporary hopscotch path of flour, sugar, and water won’t hurt people? Bleh. Draining.

And there wasn’t much energy to drain in April, since I was running on 4 hours of sleep a night and already drowning in guilt about being a terrible mother, and partner, and friend.

Message received universe.

Transitions help me learn about myself, and, wow, do I have a lot to learn.

On the up side, going through several transitions at once meant that I got to learn about myself in almost record Lori Land time. Didn’t feel like an upside at the time. Felt more like I was a bug being stepped on by a giant shoe and its deliberately nasty wearer.

I asked Bas for forgiveness for working far slower than I had planned. Instead of being upset, he drew me a funny “This Sucks” doodle, and checked in with me to see how I was doing more often, and then sent me an amazing map doodle of Lori Land (yeah, that’s going in the book!), and then he did an entire fun doodle trailer for the book so I could imagine the end.


I asked Daniel for forgiveness too, repeatedly, for dumping so much on him and being so entirely not myself for so long. Really, you’d have to go to reality TV to find a worse wife than I was in April. He of course was amazing. Doing more puppy parenting, working from home so I could get a little time to myself, picking up home and yard chores that I usually do, making me juice.

Asking for forgiveness comes easily to me now, it seems. But forgiving myself? That’s apparently what I’m working on now.

Sometimes life allows us to savor transitions, and other times just surviving them sounds pretty damn good.

Don’t beat yourself up if this is not your time to savor a transition.

Ask for help or at least allow yourself to be helped.

Make time for self care, even if this means allowing others to do a whole lot extra for you right now: people who will help you make time for yourself.

Forgive yourself and survive this time around.

“You can always savor the next transition, right?” I said to myself this morning. “And ditch the guilt, girl. It’s just not you.”

And in an instant, the moment I feared would never come again is back.

I’m back to savoring.

Back to wanting this exact life.

Back to work as play.

Back to me.

I even love that damn little puppy.