What is Bringing YOU Light? (Finding Snippets of Magic in the Dog Days of the Pandemic)

Hello everyone.

Life is kind of crazy these days still, right? People are approaching the pandemic in their own ways. Everyone is dealing with a different hand. We are all flooded with conflicting viewpoints and information. And that’s not even mentioning the white elephant in the room for parents, school!

Eik! Luckily this post is on the opposite end of that darkness. It is about LIGHT.

Recently I had an amazing conversation where I was asked a poignant question. I liked the question so much that I immediately sat down to capture it so I could share it with you (and remind myself of it again later too)!

Here is the question: “WHAT IS BRINGING YOU THE MOST LIGHT RIGHT NOW?”

A person standing in front of a sunset Description automatically generated

This question is so powerful that I will ask it again. “What is giving you the most energy or light right now in your life?”

As parents, we are responsible for so much. Life stacks up on us every day. Then we stumble to bed, steal some sleep, wake up, and repeat! Over, and over and over. (It’s like we are living our own version of Groundhog’s Day, especially now!)

We take care of our jobs, our kids, the never-ending laundry, cleaning, cooking, snacks (how is it that it ALWAYS seems like it’s time to cook, eat or cleanup?!) Plus, now we are adding in school from home?! The list goes on…

We are swamped, inundated. We turn on the news and it is disheartening. There is so much wrong. We have so much work to do.

But, what if in this darkness we PAUSE? What if we pause to discover that tiny little gem in our day that gives us energy? What if we think about what is lighting us up inside, if only for a moment? If only to give us that added strength that we need to tackle all there is to tackle these days.

Maybe the answer is obvious- and it came to you as soon as I asked the question. Awesome! If not, no worries. Take a minute now to think about it now.

Ask yourself where do I find refuge? Where can I play, relax or find joy? (It’s ok if it’s ridiculously small or otherwise inconsequential. What matters is that it lights you up.)

Once you recognize what is making you feel the lightest, then you can make time for it. Hopefully this can help you slip in more uplifting moments and survive pandemic life!

With everything swirling around out there, I know I need to take some time to care for myself. If I don’t, I won’t have enough energy left to be there for my family.

It doesn’t have to be big or long. It doesn’t even have to be alone. Sometimes we are surrounded by kids and responsibilities all times, so we need to be able to find light in the presence of our family.

I needed someone to give me permission to find my energy-giving pursuits. I needed her to tell me, “Laura, it’s okay. Please find what is giving you energy and go after it, even if just for a little bit!”

Let me give YOU that permission too!

It is okay!

Please find what is giving YOU energy and GO after it! 

Be as big as you can in this hard time. Shine your light and share it with others so they can shine their light too. It’s like my friend Alex says, “It’s all about the ripple effect!”

I know right now doesn’t look anything like we expected. But let’s hunker down and pretend this is our winter. What can we create now that will be ready to bloom in spring? Let’s bring our light, share our energy, and lean on each other along the way.

Though we may be “socially distant” let’s stay connected and pump each other up. If you need pumping up reach out to me right now!

I know we all have magic inside us. Let’s give ourselves the time and space to let our light sneak out of us, even if all can manage is one tiny snippet at a time!

 

PS- Upon reflection I found that writing, connecting with others and being creative is bringing me light right now. I also am energized by playing and creating new games with my family for our #WeWriteTheStory2020 Challenge.  I would LOVE to hear what is bringing YOU light! So please reach out to me personally or share in the comments 🙂

What Will You Create? How to Use Self-Care & Creativity to Survive

I don’t know what the last few months have been like for you, but if you’re like me, I’m guessing that it has been a whirlwind of emotions and feelings! One minute I feel one way and moments later it’s like I feel the exact opposite. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling bad. I’m energized, I’m tired. I’m brave, I’m fearful.

Taking on new challenges comes with a new set of circumstances. So much has changed and there is so much newness to deal with and navigate.

Through the ups and the downs, I have felt an innate desire to serve people and help myself and others rise to get through this crazy time. Sometimes it has been easier and other times it has been harder.

But tonight, on a walk I took by myself, I was able to let my mind wander… I think I found an answer for me, and I wanted to share it with you (as I imagine we all may be facing some of the same roadblocks even though our particular circumstances may be totally different.)

The answer that came to me was being CREATIVE.  To CREATE a new way.

According to Merriam-Webster here is the definition of creative & create:

 

Definition of creative

1: marked by the ability or power to create : given to creating

2: having the quality of something created rather than imitated

3: managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits

 

Definition of create

1: to bring into existence

2a: to invest with a new form, office, or rank

b: to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior

3: CAUSE, OCCASION

4a: to produce through imaginative skill

b: DESIGN

1: to make or bring into existence something new

 

Yes, my responsibilities and roles have been altered. Yes, I am now a TK & 2nd Grade Teacher. I am a housecleaner. A chef. Yes, I am home ALL THE TIME. Yes, I did most of this stuff before, but no I did not do it alone and I did not do it ALL THE TIME!

I’m sure you can relate. Maybe you are trying to balance having two parents working from home trying to homeschool at the same time. Maybe you are trying to balance the different school workloads of your three kids, all different ages and levels. Maybe you are trying to balance caring for your elderly family members who you may or may not even be able to see right now.

Life is complicated. And it is complicated beyond complicated now as we face unprecedented times.

But let’s get back to being CREATIVE.

YES, things are hard, and things look different. But what the heck can we actually DO about it?!?!?!?! How can we make the best of it?

We can CREATE.

The idea just popped in my head and even though it didn’t make my headache go away, it did seem to offer me some much-needed SPACE and possibly a taste of potential freedom.

Then when I was listening to a podcast interview and it brought the idea home even further. They were talking about the importance of self-care right now, how the people doing well right now are the ones who are making their own self-care a priority; vs. the people who are barely holding on, they are getting swamped in the gravity of it all, neglecting their needs, and struggling.

But what really got me was when he said the people in prison war camps who survived were the ones who thought that this was going to last awhile. Those who thought it would be temporary didn’t survive.

So clearly this isn’t war camp. We are not POWs, but if we act in ways that say this is how it’s going to be for a while, then we can adapt our lives to our current situation. We can be CREATIVE and find ways to make at least some of the things we need and want to work!

Let’s create from scratch. Let’s be creative and find ways to make space for some PLAY in our day-to-day lives.

PLAY is essential and now more than ever we need to create moments of joy, love and flow in our lives. We need to show our kids that we can do that. We need to play with our partners. We need to leave the heaviness behind from time to time so we can hang out in the world of LOVE AND POSSIBILITY, even if just for a few moments.

So, I can’t wait to see what you are going to CREATE for yourself and your family! Let’s take on our self-care and sneak in some PLAY! Game On!

 

PS- I also want to take a minute to thank amazing my boys and all the wonderful people who partnered with us in our #WeWriteTheStory2020 challenge so far! They inspired me to find creativity and blew me away with all the fresh and fun ideas they came up with. Playing and sending out over 50 games so far has shown me how we all have the innate ability to be creative, we just need to allow the time and space for it. You can learn more about our challenge here and you can stay up to date on my daily posts including games, sanity hacks and more on my instagram. Thanks all!

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/creative

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/creating

The Beauty of Imperfection

Written on February 29, 2020

The drive to perfection is pervasive. It slips into every nook and cranny in my life. Kitchen counters, clothes-organized-by-color in closets, stellar achievements. It even tried to seep into my head watching my 7 year-old-son’s basketball team that I coach underperforming. Having a drive to be successful and work hard is amazing. But so often it tows (and often crosses) the line into over-competiveness and unhealthy need for perfection.

And what is the deal with perfection anyway? Live in the perfect home, have the perfect career, sculpt a perfect body, date/marry the perfect person, have the best dressed kids/win every award/achieve/achieve/achieve.

Strive. Strive. Strive.

And for what?

What are we losing? What are we giving up? And worst of all what are we missing out on as a result?

The science proves it and these days there is no lack of studies- money, success, and awesome things DO NOT CAUSE HAPPINESS!

So why do we keep on doing it? Why do we keep pushing for more? And then more and then more.

Hedonic adaptation is definitely part of it. Get something good in your life, get used to it, need more to reach that next level, then reach it, get used to that and so on.

But this is a post on wabi-sabi and see how long my ego kept me from getting to it? I could go into the research on how to beat or pare down hedonic adaptation (and I definitely can in a future post), but for now I’d rather side swipe it and skip to wabi-sabi.

According to Collins Dictionary wabi-sabi is a Japanese term loosely translated as “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.”

What a drop dead gorgeous and completely intimidating concept for this American born and raised girl.

Find beauty in the imperfect.

That sentence could stand alone. I can imagine flipping through Instagram and just seeing that sentence show up on EVERY SINGLE POST! Maybe just that phrase with a rainbow of background colors behind it. Or maybe that phrase with an elegant and potent image unique to each poster that really drives home the POWER of celebrating the beauty of what is already there. The beauty of DROPPING all the striving, angling, positioning, wanting and wishing.

Proud but not satisfied.

I am proud of where I am. Life isn’t perfect, but I am doing the best I can. I am enjoying what I have and what life surrounds me with. And I am following my dreams and passions in a way that supports me and those around me. No one is perfect.

A perfect life is an illusion.

And if you are around people who claim to have it or claim they can teach you how to have it I call shenanigans!

Find yourself some real people who admit their life sucks sometimes but keep getting back up, holding their head high (or as high as possible that day), and give it their best try. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. You learn more from losing.

I have learned so much from wabi-sabi and am just a novice. It’s my word of the year and I still study it more and practice it more. But along my journey I want to cherish where I am. Life is fleeting. Moments slip away into memory faster than blinking and I just want to know that I’ve given it my all. I will fail. I will fumble. But I will never give up my pursuit of happiness. And wabi-sabi will be my secret tool to use along the way.

It will be my light saber guiding me in times of darkness to fight off the evil intuitions my mind sometimes pulls up. I will honor myself and those around me in celebrating the ultimate beauty in life, aka imperfection.

My soul has spilled out on this page for you and for me. I will reread this lots of times and shake my head and feel it in my heart. Tears slide down my cheeks as I type this. I just want to leave my all on the court. I want to give my all. I want to make a difference. I want that for the entire planet. I want us all to come together in love and acceptance and drop all this crap and hate and intolerance. We are the same. Let’s build each other up. Let’s work together as one team.

Think of the generations that living like that could become. Think of the love, the power, a universal team. I pray for that….

EPILOGUE: April 24, 2020

I wrote this post above on Leap Day, February 29, 2020, well before COVID-19 was running its tidal wave across the world, before it was even called COVID. It’s unreal how much has changed yet how much of the above is even more relevant now. People are sheltering in place. We are being forced to slow down and face imperfection and the cycle of life. We are realizing all we took for granted.

We are facing new challenges and stresses, and we are facing them alone due to social distancing. Each day there are new facets of this pandemic that become apparent. But I am going to do like Mr. Rogers said, and look for the hero’s. I am going to keep sharing my #WeWriteTheStory2020 games each day and posting Sanity Hacks in hopes that we can sneak in even a moment of play, joy or connection.

I’d love to hear what you have been learning about embracing the beauty of imperfection during this time so please comment below or shoot me message on my blog or my instagram @chasinghavers.

We can do this, one day at a time, one moment at a time…