#VOWenhance, #VOWsuspend, & Parting Clouds

For a couple weeks now, since #VOWenhance (yes, this my very late post), I’ve been thinking a lot about the various things and people in my life. Doing a bit of a mental inventory. Taking stock. Trying to figure out who and what I may need a bit of a break (this coming week’s VOW) from. Or what I need to add to days that may make them a bit better.

But last week, amidst this inner work and as life sometimes has it, I had to pause (or, more fitting, #VOWsuspend–yes, I am doing a combination post).

My body’s always been pretty sensitive to the seasonal changes, and this fall is no different. Last week had me sequestered in my bed for most of it, and by the time I was feeling better, Tadpole (my little black fur baby) was not. A few very long days and sleepless nights (plus at least 30 loads of laundry, 20 trash bags, and hours and hours of vacuuming) later, he and my apartment are seemingly flea free (though I am certain I feel them crawling all over me).

I can’t even tell you how ready I am for a #VOWbreak. From cleaning. From combing. From washing. From this city. From its nearly 90-degree weather. From work. From wine. From feeling alone. From being alone in my apartment. From feeling like not enough and all too much all at once.

And the thing is, over the last couple weeks, the answers to the questions I’ve been asking have shown up, and, for the first time in a couple months, I see the clouds parting, not completely, but the clearing is starting.

And I need the sun to


Steph’s Song of the Week: Need the Sun to Break by James Bay

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWsuspend post (coming soon).

Level Up: Reflecting on ENHANCE

This week both Steph and I had the good fortune to attend lectures by HRH Brene Brown. I have a sneaking suspension that the lessons we learned from Brene and her new book Braving the Wilderness (buy it, buy it, buy it!) will fuel both our posts this week.

It’s not a surprise that we’re all struggling right now. Everything in our world seems divided because, let’s face it, everything is divided — especially in the US. Today I got into a social media tiff with a relative because I posted a moderately divisive post about #actionoverprayer. But the thing is, I didn’t mean to ostracize someone I care about, to cause inflammation amongst public discourse. I just wanted to encourage people in my network to be move involved in the problems of our world. I didn’t even think that it could incite mild controversy on my page.

But incite it did. And rather than firing back with what my bleeding-liberal-heart wanted to say about innocent lives over shooting hobbies and if someone doesn’t agree with me then they can just defriend me, I decided to consider the lessons I learned this past week. About how we are forming these isolated factions — us versus them.

And that mentality isn’t making our country any less sick. It isn’t making us any more connected. In fact, Brene’s data shows the opposite. That we feel more lonely and isolated than ever because we forgot to recognize the humanity between us. We have depleted our interconnectedness to such an extent that we refuse to challenge our own perspectives. To acknowledge a middle ground.

None of us are good at this.

But Brene asks us to be better. To address disagreements in an open-hearted way. To agree that our social issues exist on a continuum rather than separated pillars.

Brene’s call to action weighed heavily on my heart all week. She asks us to ENHANCE our relationships by improving our conversations. To recognizing that it isn’t all-or-nothing. That you can be against us while still being with us.

So rather than lecture my cousin, rather than call to arms my liberal brethren to teach this guy a lesson, I decided to message him separately. Acknowledge that we disagree on a lot of things but at the heart of the matter, we can hopefully agree that there is a problem we want to fix. We need to fix. And it doesn’t matter if it is done exactly my way (or my party’s way) or his. That our egotistical sense of righteousness isn’t what the world needs right now.

We owe it to ourselves (in the plural sense) to find our way back to each other.

This week we take it a step further and SUSPEND judgement, harsh words, and possibly some disbelief…

Lin’s VOW mantra: Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit. Edward Abbey

Lin’s SOW (Song Of the Week): More Today Than Yesterday (Carmen McRae or Goldfinger versions)

& Be sure to catch Steph’s #VOWenhance and #VOWsuspend join post (coming soon!)

Reflections on #VOWbalance: Ask & You Shall Receive

I’ve been saying for nearly two months that something feels off.
Out of alignment.
Off balance.

I haven’t known what it was, despite my efforts to find out.
To be honest, I am not sure that I know now.

What I am sure of, at the core of my being, is that what Paulo Coehlo wrote in The Alchemist is true:

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

I know what I want.
And I am ready for it.
Or nearly.

And walking home on Friday night, I told a friend as much.
I told her what, or rather, who, needed to leave my life,
despite the fact that I also didn’t want him to.
Upon waking up on Saturday and one phone call later, he was gone.

Someone who has been a constant in my life for the past two months, isn’t any longer, and somehow, despite the sadness, I wonder if it wasn’t the very thing causing my lack of homeostasis.

Because I know, more now than ever, how much power our minds have.
How accurate those soul-deep inclinations are.
How much power our minds have to change our lives.

And this week, I aim to


my life.

Steph’s BALANCE mantra: Sell the goat.

Steph’s Song of the Week: I Almost Do by Taylor Swift

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWbalance post