We may lose and we may win though we will never be here again…

Shortly after Jose’s father passed away, we were dancing in the living room before dinner. Jose, Me, and Lucia, with her favorite song playing loud on the speakers.

The Eagles’ Take it Easy is a pretty good song to live by, if that one line that I love with all my heart is any indication. When they sing it, I get all teary-eyed. (If you read the title of this post, then you know what’s coming.)

We may lose and we may win though we will never be here again…

This one line is a call to arms to live in the present if I’ve ever heard one, and it’s blaring at me most days during this season of my life.

Recently I told you about what a hard year it’s been. Although I’m coming out of the challenges and starting anew, I’m needing a lot of help to do so, and dancing with that song on with a usually-in-a-good-mood-when-dancing three year is a pretty good thing to do when you’re needing a boost.

That day, after we danced, Jose said: “New rule! Dancing 3 times a week!”

Lucia laughed, but I laughed harder.

There are a few key things I’m doing these days to start the new year. (Yes, I know it’s June. And yes, I believe that a new year can start at any time.)

I’m meditating.

I’ll share more in detail about what exactly I’m doing and why I think it’s working in the future, but for now know that meditating has been something I’ve finally gotten into in the last 18 months. When I say “into” I don’t mean I’m great at it, and I definitely don’t mean I have an uninterrupted streak. One of my goals for 2017, which was to meditate 10 times a week, is something I’m still struggling to achieve. That said, I am doing it, and it is helping.

I’m journaling.

I mentioned earlier that I’ve been trying out a “Morning Pages” practice for the last couple months. I’m still at it. It’s been very, very useful for me, and I’ve gotten so into it that I’ve started to ask people for advice on how to make it a better practice. When doing an interview with Ally Fallon recently for the big online event I’m hosting in September, I asked what she thought of the fact that my morning pages have to happen when I get to my office, and not when I first wake up (as the practice is intended). When she said, “I’m a big believer that people need to do the best they can with where they are right now,” I smiled wide.

I’m reading.

This is one of the best things I’ve been trying to do more in recent months, and it’s been a huge thing for me. For many years, I have set extremely audacious reading goals, sometimes reading up to 200 books a year. When I had my first child three years ago, I cut that to 150, and when 2 other kids showed up last year I realized that 100 was better for me.

I decided this for two reasons. First, having lots of little kids takes take, and reading so much realistically may need to take a back seat. But secondly, I started to see that sometimes I was finishing books subconsciously (or consciously) because I was aware of my “number”. Given that reading is pretty much my main hobby, I did not see this as a good thing.

Cutting down my number, and trying to read slower (I’m an incredibly fast reader) are helping me to savor books. Another thing? Listening to my favorite podcast, What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel, which consistently encourages me to find memoirs, novels, and books I’ll be more likely to truly enjoy than just study. (Here’s the episode I was in recently.)

There are other things I’m doing, like trying to remember to dance three times a week, but for now that’s what I’ve got.

What do you prioritize during challenging times?

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16 thoughts on “We may lose and we may win though we will never be here again…

    • Being out in nature does it for me. We live by the ocean, a mere mile away however at the end of a work day labored by 100′ s of emails, phone calls, meetings, field work and commute. A home life blessed with kids and all that that entails, running the house hold, addressing HS choir board issues, teaching fitness class outside my full time job, volunteering, it often feels cumbersome and daunting to go down to the beach. Despite my hesitation of making the jaunt down to the ocean after the rest of life has worn me out, I never, ever, ever regret my retreat to the beach. Being in nature clears the heart, mind and soul; it is free and does more than anything our overtaxed brains could do on its own, it truly is therapeutic and gets me out of my head, I then can come back with a more clear and different perspective.

  1. My biggest struggle is remembering to take care of me. I know that probably sounds odd but all my life 3/4 anyhow I’ve always taken care of everyone else, putting my needs on the back burner. I find this especially true in the challenging times.

  2. What do I prioritize during challenging times?

    I sing. Arias. Hymns. Audition songs.

    Why?

    Way back, in an awareness circle, the whole group was challenged to find something we could not do, and to do it. This was a hard task for me. There’s not much I can’t do, or learn how to do. So I was scratching around to think of something.

    At that time, I was just out of an unhappy relationship and – I remembered as I drove home from that meeting – one of the things my ex would do is to suggest I don’t sing along to a song on the radio. According to him: I was ruining it. For about 30 years, through his discouragement, I believed I couldn’t sing.

    Next day, I rang a friend. Did she know a singing tutor? Long story short, I ended up having lessons with Maria Kesselman (wonderful singer).

    I have perfect pitch, apparently. I am unskilled but I can sing. And I do. So liberating.

  3. I try to prioritize me time in any form. Even if it’s just 15 minutes of silence and doing absolutely nothing at the end of the day, I need it to be healthy.

    Claire, are you on Goodreads? I’m also a 200-book-a-year girl (well, if I count the books I read to my daughter, that is. 😉 ) and I would love to be able to follow you if you’re there. I’m sure I’d get lots of ideas for good books from your list.

  4. I think it’s a constant struggle for me to let go of the little annoyances, but it’s especially helpful for me to be intentional about this in a hard season. Also, being mindful that everyone is fighting their own hidden battle, so I need to stop taking things so personally.

  5. Praying. When times are really trying. Also when I really need to focus on something and not let other thoughts enter I put on a 3 hour Gregorian chant thing I found on YouTube…I am amazed at how well I can then focus and get things done.