Two Years Later . . .

I’ve paid for two years of hosting for . . . hope?

The good news is, I am doing SO much better than when I wrote my last post! It’s weird to remember again how much I was struggling. I am so thankful! I’m still not qualified to be your guide, but maybe I can start wrting again as a fellow traveler who has learned enough to know she hasn’t learned enough.

Or maybe I’ll write in 2022 when I have to renew my hosting again. 🙂

Hello Again

To any remaining readers that I have, I’m sorry I’ve been silent for nearly a year.

I’ve encouraged you to be brave and follow your deepest values even if it means being different from those around you. I was naive.

This past year I faced a large and painful rejection for being different and it was not the glory-making, “Freedom!!” moment I’d imagined. Quite the opposite.

I’ve wanted to write you many times, but I didn’t know how to express that living the authentic life is more difficult than I ever imagined. Yet despite the pain, I believe more deeply than ever that the only life worth living is the authentic one.

One thing is clear, I am not qualified to be your guide. I am fumbling in the dark wishing that someone wiser than me wrote a blog or a book on the topic. If you know of any, let me know.

Until I find that mentor, I am compelled to write about my stumbling experiences, searching for the authentic life lived to the fullest. Maybe we can piece together our collective experiences and find wisdom together.

I am humbled and honored to be your fellow traveler.

Eat That Frog: Why Action Beats Organization

Oh dear. The perfectionist in me does not want to post this at all (I know from your comments you understand!), but I promised to post bi-weekly and this week it’s all about doing and finishing the work we have to do, so here I am, sacrificing a bit of my ego to make some small progress toward a dream . . .

In the video I talk about why all our organizing efforts are in vain if we fail to do the work before us.  I encourage you to face the ugly task you’ve been avoiding and make progress on it.

An ugly task can be anything but you’re the only one who knows that it is.  It could be as simple as laundry or cleaning the toilet, or it could be setting aside the to-do list and spending some quality time with your kids.  It could also be taking a nap so you have the energy to do the hard task you’ve been avoiding.

Whatever it is, go and do it!  This is as much for me as for you all.  This week I’ve been discouraged and tired and have NOT been getting up early like I say in the video. I don’t have it all figured out, I’m just better than I was and that gives me hope.

When you do your hard task, please comment below!  Yes, do it first – right now!  You’ll be so happy you did.

What’s the Simplest Version You Can Do Today?

My first YouTube video, my first vlog post.

I’m back from my December break and ready to try something new in 2017.  I’ll be posting a short video on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month while I do more work on the administrative part of my blog and learn new technologies (like YouTube).

I wish you all a wonderful start to 2017 and look forward to learning from you all through our discussions on Blue Ocean Families blog!

If you watched the video, please share which thing you have been delaying because you can’t do it “properly” and how you plan to get the first version going today!

Harness The Power Of Complaining

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Have you ever resolved to stop complaining only to find that a few hours into the experiment it seems hopelessly impossible? I’ve been there many times.

I can’t promise you a cure for complaining, but I do have an idea that solves two problems with one act.

Are you good at keeping a diary? I somehow realized even early on that keeping a diary was something worthwhile but I never managed to keep up the habit.

My childhood diaries are little more than dates followed by profound observations like “Hi” and “Bye.” It didn’t make for an exciting friendship.

So if you ever wonder what you should write in a diary, here’s my tip.

Complain to your diary.

There is no better listener than the blank page. It won’t judge you too quickly or look bored. It will listen until you’ve found the words to express your worries and will not throw pithy solutions at you.

Simply writing down concerns feels good, but more often than not before I’ve finished writing a solution comes to mind. Even more complex problems are easier to analyze when they sit objectively in front of you in pen and ink.

So the next time you want to complain to a friend or dump on a spouse, grab a sheet of paper or an old notebook and retreat to a quiet spot long enough to get all your feeling out. You can always throw it away if you don’t want any record of your emotions lying around.

I still find it hard to make the time to journal enough and even harder to take the time to reread what I’ve written, but it’s always rewarding when I do. After a month goes by I hardly remember I even had those struggles and take improvement for granted – a surefire way to stay unhappy and stoke the urge to complain.

Reading about past troubles that are no longer issues is a wonderful way to naturally produce feelings of gratitude and hope.

 

And now an administrative note:

I’ll be taking the month of December off of blogging to refocus and plan for the next year. I’ll give the Blue Ocean Families concept one more year of increased effort to see if it’s something I should continue with, or shut down. If you appreciate what I do here or see potential for growth, please email me personally or use the contact form to share your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks, and have a wonderful December!

When Not To Take Advice

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How often do you receive parenting advice from well-meaning family, friends, and even strangers?

When my first was born it felt like I’d received a sticker on my forehead that said “New mom, criticize me.”

Strangers said I didn’t dress my baby warmly enough, friends gave me books saying I’d ruin my kid if I didn’t parent in a particular way, and comments from family that weren’t in the least meant critically would hurt.

I had received unsolicited advice before, but it ramped so quickly after having kids that I knew I’d have to come to terms with it somehow. I quickly learned I could never please everybody and I better find a way to make peace with critical comments.

Sometimes the advice made immediate sense in a kind of “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment. More often, the advice was at odds with something intentional I was doing. It was then that I would suddenly feel insecure.

I hit upon a simple and helpful question to ask every time a comment made me unsure of my path:

Has the person giving advice ever given me concrete, selfless, and timely help?

If the answer is “no,” then I’m free to listen to the comment graciously, say “thank you” and move on with my life without guilt.

If the answer is “yes,” then I need to take the time to consider the matter carefully.

In other words, listen to your mother.

But seriously, I’m not saying do whatever you’re told, my point is that only people who have sacrificed to invest in your life in a way that you personally find helpful and uplifting are the folks who are likely to have chosen their criticism carefully.

Advice is cheap and there is plenty of it spread around, but the folks who have invested in your life are to be treasured.

I’m not a puppet of those that help me, I just take what they have to say seriously and take the time to wrestle with their ideas.

Where this question is most helpful is when a comment is bothering me that really shouldn’t. The comments of haters on the internet is perfect example.

Somehow these comments hurt, but they are not based in reality – or only in a twisted way – and though we all know haters aren’t worth arguing with, their comments still hurt.

This question helps me see the matter more concretely and reminds me to turn to the faithful few in my life for perspective and advice and not to be blown by the winds of opinion.

If we set out to build a family culture according to our deepest values then we will bump up against established norms and ruffle feathers and get criticism. We need to stay calm, gracious, and confident in such exchanges and bounce right back again.

I hope this question helps you the next time you feel oppressed by negativity!