Taking Heart After Parkland
Frozen drips of sap hang from the maple tree outside. Much of the snow has melted with the recent warmer temperatures and rain. The puddles of water have dried up with the sun appearing again. I choose to walk on the sunny side of the street, and soak up the sun’s warmth. I have a lovely talk with a bundled up neighbor sitting in her porch doorway reading a book, and soaking up the sun too.
My husband, John, and I have been laying low. He recovering from a concussion followed by a flu/cold. Me fending off mild symptoms and a full blown sickness. Our daughter, Mandala, called today, sick also. She said this has been the worst season for sickness on record. There are multiple sicknesses going around all at once in the school where she works. Makes you want to hunker down and stay away from human contact altogether till the spring!
Hope you are managing, coping and healing yourself with the health challenges that are abounding right now. And finding patience and compassion for yourself in it all too. Give yourself more rest then you think you need. And be patient with the slow healing process. Find small ways to create joy for yourself. Is there something you have been wanting to get to that you can do a little of right now while you are healing? Something that would inspire you?
Here is an article, A Practice of the Heart: Now & Always, in celebration of Valentines Day tomorrow. It will help you to use appreciation as a practice for this Valentine’s Day. And for every day that can use a little more love. Not just for your partner, but for your kids, extended family, your friends, your community, all that you hold dear. How you might more deeply celebrate them. In a way that will be remembered, always.
So Happy Valentine’s Day!
And here are photos by my daughter, of valentines she made for her school children with bits of ribbon, beads, buttons and old cards she had. Aren’t they lovely?
Your partner in deepening connection with those you love,
Nancy Francisco, Certified Professional Coach
Lately I have been reading and thinking about partners getting into conflict over their parenting styles. And different strategies parents can try to address that. To create more peace between them. And one strategy stood out for me.
That was the practice of offering your spouse or partner 10 appreciations before presenting them with a concern you have over their style of parenting. (Link to full article below.) It sounds like an awful lot of appreciations! And it is. A stretch. Far more frequently, I know I have critical thoughts rather than appreciative ones. But that’s the point of this practice. To focus on the appreciative thoughts much more. And maybe mostly. Practice making appreciation the more go to thought.
So here are 3 practices you might consider, to bring more appreciation into your relationships, your life, starting with yourself. You might choose just one Practice of the Heart, to keep it simple.
10 Appreciations Practice: Consider offering your partner or your best friend or your child 10 appreciations in the next while. And refrain from criticisms during this time. Let those negative thoughts just float by unspoken. Noticed. But allowed to just float by. Notice what happens. How you feel offering these. How they respond. How this might shift your connection with each other. Deepen it. What fulfillment it might offer you in your relationship with them. Notice whether you are learning more about them too.
Appreciation Note Writing Practice: Consider putting your appreciations in writing. There is nothing quite like getting someone’s appreciations in writing. My family has done this for me. And I will never throw these notes away. Ever. They sit in a special place where I can find them and read them again from time to time. I treasure them.
So write a note and be as specific as possible about what you appreciate about that person. What you value about them. What you see in them. What you love about them. Let them know that you really see them.
Do this for Valentine’s Day. Or their birthday. For Christmas. These are gifts that last a lifetime and will be remembered that long. Give this to a partner, child, friend. Anyone you care about and appreciate.
Daily Practice of Appreciation: You might just become more mindful of people in your life each day. And how you appreciate who they are. How they show up in your life. And when you think of it. When you notice it. And the person can stop for a moment and really hear you. Simply tell them what you appreciate about them. And how they touch your life. How they enrich it.
So let me know how this goes. What you think. I love hearing from you.
And here is the link to the article, Partnering Well In Parenting by Rachel Schofield, on the Hand In Hand website. Where I found this 10 appreciations practice. And more strategies about how to parent together.
Your partner in growing more connected, peaceful families,
Snow continues to blanket our world here in New England. This stream in Forest Park was so full and fierce when warm weather came, along with the rain, just last week. As I went to shovel out my driveway, again, a neighbor walking her dog reminded me of how beautiful the snow is.
A flock of crows continues to look for food in our neighborhood. I love to watch them take flight. They are such a powerful looking bird. Even in the quiet of winter there is still so much to notice and appreciate.
Here is an article, Patience: Losing & Finding It, that can help you find more patience with your kids and with yourself. When you are feeling like it’s hard to calm yourself down, so you can be the parent you want to be with your kids. Or the adult you want to be with your family and friends.
Your partner in growing more patience and calm,
Nancy Francisco, Certified Professional Coach
I had just finished shoveling snow in front of my house. And was just standing there to pause before going in. And I noticed something odd about a beam on my porch. Something was hanging from it. As I took a closer look I realized that what I saw was peeling paint falling down. I was shocked. As I looked more at other beams, I noticed that 2 other beams were also badly peeling, as if someone had applied paint stripper to them.
Just days before, as I was sweeping the snow off of my newly painted porch floor, I discovered that as I swept, the gray paint came off in places. We had just spent a bit of money having a painter scrape and paint this porch just 3 months ago. It took awhile longer, as most things do. But when it was finally done, we would continually say how lovely it was to have this porch painted, and painted so well, that it would surely last as long as we lived here. And even though we have tons of projects to do on this house, that at least we could now check this one off our list for a long time!
I am sharing this with you, not to find sympathy, although that would be nice, but to give just one example of how our lives are full of these moments, when things don’t go the way we have planned. Unexpected things happen. That try our patience.
I have been learning a lot lately about conflict, something that tries our patience often. Conflicts between siblings. Conflicts between parents and their children. And what I am hearing again and again is that when approaching conflict, parents first need to calm themselves down. So that they can actually help their child or children calm down. And together listen to each other. And solve the problem at hand. But this is no small task. To find calm and patience. To approach a conflict rationally and model how to resolve conflict for our kids.
Have you been finding yourself losing your patience lately? Finding it hard to accept or tolerate things going wrong? Taking longer? Here are some thoughts about how you might find more patience in the days ahead.
Fill Up Your Well: What is one thing you need more of for yourself right now?
More sleep. Eating more regular meals. Time to yourself. Support with something. Connection to loved ones. Time to create or play. Adults need play time too. Decide what that is and give it to yourself.
You will have more patience when things go wrong, when there are some things in your life that are going right. You won’t feel so knocked off balance if you are already moving toward self-balance. Not so depleted that one thing going wrong takes the last bit of patience you have. So fill up your well regularly.
Slow Down: You probably need more down time, unscheduled time.
You might be trying to cram too much into a day. Life doesn’t work perfectly, like a machine. We need to allow time for things to go wrong. Not go perfectly. Certainly kids don’t operate that way. Kids have their own sense of time and priority.
And lower your expectations for what you can realistically accomplish in one day. Maybe 2 or 3 important things. And that is it. We all have limits, whether we recognize them or not. We just can’t do everything. So live your life from choice, and then you will feel more empowered and patient.
Find Presence: Practice being present with what is.
When things are working out well. And when things are all messed up. My daughter locked her keys in her running car, along with her cell phone, hat and gloves, in the terrible cold we had recently. She panicked at first. About what might happen next. And then she arrived in the present moment and worked at solving her problem. First accepting the help of child with a cell phone waiting for a bus. Then walking to a nearby gas station. And calling the police, that came right away to open her car.
So try to be more present with what is, right now. Not in the past or the future. Accepting what is. And what you can do about it now. What you do have control over. But it will help you to be more present, if you are already filling your well and slowing down.
Notice What Is Working: Practice appreciating all the things you are grateful for.
The things that did work. Like my daughter finding the help she needed. She posted a lovely list of all that she was grateful for on that very trying day.
Consider what helped you through an unexpected turn of events. Somehow gratefulness lifts us up. And it is something we do have control over. It is so easy in our busyness, to overlook all that is working in our personal and family life. All the simple gifts. Our gratefulness will cushion our disappointment with the challenges that surely find us all.
So, after calming down from the shock of needing to redo my porch, I called my painter today, to meet tomorrow and talk about what happened. And what can be done to fix it. And later this week I will tackle coming up with a list of other things that need attention this year, in my home. Knowing that my plans won’t go perfectly. And maybe some things in my home will never get done. But that I am doing the best I can do. And so was my painter. Life isn’t perfect. I think what matters more, is how we show up in it. And what we do when things go wrong.
Let me know how you are bringing patience into 2018.
I would love to hear from you!
Your partner in growing more patience and peace,
Happy New Year everyone! Glad to be back writing this newsletter again. I have been busy offering workshops in the past few months. Also doing a lot more listening and reflecting instead of writing. And taking time to dive deeper then usual at the end of 2017 and the beginning of this year into where I want to take my work and my life going forward.
I look forward to continue to offer you e-zines that uplift and inspire you. As I feel more deeply rooted in what inspires me. These days, it is so easy to be pulled off balance with all that we hear going on in our country and the world. I hope that what I write can help you regain your balance. And create the peace you seek.
Here is an article, 2018: Less Judgment, More Peace, that can help you start this new year loving yourself a little more. And creating more peace for yourself, more joy. We all have negative voices in our heads we may not even notice. That weigh us down. Stop us from finding joy, peace, love, in the present moment. Here are some insights, strategies about how to begin to let go of some of the judgments that are weighing you down right now. So that you can move into this new year lighter, with more energy and greater satisfaction in your day to day life.
Your partner in creating more love in the world, starting with yourself,
Nancy Francisco, Certified Professional Coach
2018: Less Judgment, More Peace
This is a lovely bridge over a stream that I often walk by during the week. Hoping this article will help you bridge from 2017 to 2018 with less self-judgment and more compassion for yourself. As you begin a new year of your life and take time to reflect on the year ahead, take time to consider how 2018 can offer you more peace and self-love.
One thing I have heard as I have been listening to parents is how unsettling it is when another parent, stranger or family member criticizes their parenting. Honestly, parents need more support than they get in this world. Certainly not criticism. Especially from other parents. So here are some thoughts about how to deal with this. And take it a step further. Strengthening the love you have for yourself.
1. My guess is that people who criticize you are walking around with a lot of self-judgment whirling around all the time in their own heads. Judgment they may not even be aware of. So they are letting it spill out on you. But it probably has nothing at all to do with you. They are letting you know about how it feels to be them. If their heart was filled with compassion, they would never offer this to you.
2. But since we have no control over what others say to us sometimes, we need to focus on what we do have control over. What we tell ourselves about our parenting. What voices of judgment are whirling around in our own heads every day. Not just about our parenting, but about anything we do or don’t do “right.”
3. Let go of perfection. Life isn’t perfect. We will never be perfect parents. We all make mistakes. And will continue to. That’s part of living, breathing. Being alive. Growing. Becoming. Creating. Our own parents made mistakes when they were doing the very best that they could do. And so are you. Every day. Doing the very best you can do. And perfection isn’t what kids need. They need real parents who are parents for the long term. Loving them. Learning from them. Growing with them. Showing them their vulnerability and their strength.
4. Be OK with the present. With what is right now. It is enough. You are enough. More than enough.
5. Notice the critical voices in your head each day. What are you telling yourself that you may not even be paying attention to? If it isn’t kind, loving, than question it. Is it really true? Is it loving? In your best interest?
6. Reframe those judgmental thoughts. Turn them into thoughts of support, acknowledgment. Celebrate the things you are doing that are most important to you today. And acknowledge that you have limits. You can’t do everything. Only a few important things each day. You are doing what you can do. You are an amazing parent. Your child is so lucky to have you as their parent. And you them.
7. Be kind to yourself. Hopefully, there are many that love you in your life and show you kindness. But more than anything, you must do this for yourself. And out of this kindness for yourself, ripples out your kind compassion for others you encounter every day.
8. When you hear negative self-talk, stop. Notice it. That will give you more perspective. Distance from it. Get you unstuck from it. Don’t let it weigh you down. Drain your energy. It is an old voice that doesn’t serve you anymore. Let it go. Reframe it. Enter this new year a little lighter. A little more compassionate. A little more at peace with yourself and the world.
Your partner in creating more loving connection and peace,
We are midway through the summer already. The days grow shorter now with sunset at 8:00. There are hints of fall in recent cooler days and nights. Empty green pods ring the outer edge of the lotus pond as more lovely blooms are at varying stages of opening. A dragon fly rests on a huge, round lotus leaf. I love how graceful it is and how it’s wings shine so delicately in the sun. The beauty of these shapes of life make me stop in wonder and celebrate all that just is.
The maple outside my house has dropped it’s seeds. The sidewalk is covered with them as they crunch underfoot. Every day now squirrels hang from the branches and eat their fill. Somehow it feels too soon.for the fall. And yet it is just about 6 weeks away.
As we look toward the fall, and a new season of our lives approaching, here is an article, Tending the Soil: Growing A Family, that can help you to tend the soil your family grows in. Help you look at the quality of balance and relationship that feeds your family and keeps it growing strong. I will also tell you about a new workshop, private session and series that I am offering, that give you even more help with cultivating that soil, for the weeks and months ahead.
Your partner in Growing A Family,
In my own backyard garden, the Zinnias are growing tall, in bright shades of red, pink, orange and yellow. But the sunflowers, usually as tall as me by now are short and struggling. And one sunflower plant that started out so full is now a skeleton of itself, eaten, I think, by slugs. And the Bamboo and Hydrangea bushes have grown so much with all the rain, that they crowd out the bushes around them. I love them. They are beautiful. But there is just no more empty space.
If your family life were a garden, would it look something like this? Are some things like weekend family time really thriving but your partner time is struggling to stay alive, like the sunflower plant eaten by slugs? Are you feeling over-scheduled and crowded in like the Hydrangea? Is time connecting with your kids thriving but time taking care of yourself barely blooming at all right now? Are you concerned that screen time is overtaking your family life, your kids life, and you’re not sure how to prune it?
Here are some steps you can take to cultivate your family garden for the season ahead. And grow the kind of personal and family life that helps you thrive.
If you would like more help with this I am offering a workshop, a private session or a group series to get you started.
Workshop: A Mini Family Life Retreat: Tending The Soil. This workshop will help you take these 3 steps in a brief hour and a half. With the support of other parents doing the same thing. The fee is $20, $35 per couple. I will offer this locally. I can come to your home and offer this to a group of your parent friends too.
Private Session: A Personal Family Life Retreat: Tending The Soil, Designed By You. This is a private session with me, over the phone or in person, at a time that works for you. You have my undivided attention for an hour and a half. Helping you look at what’s working, not working in your personal and family life. You choose which area you want help with. You come away with first steps you want to take to grow your life into more connection, calm and peace. My fee is $125 for one parent or a couple.
Group Series: From Being To Agreeing: Planting Seeds And Getting Started. You might want more help than one session. More extended support. You may be ready to go deeper and make more significant changes in your life.
Come away from this series with: Greater insight into your family strengths and challenges around connection and peace. Knowledge about family life balance, screen balance and basic rituals of connection. Focused action taken on your biggest area of challenge, with group support and coaching. And next steps to take when the group ends, to keep you moving forward. This 4 session group will meet every other week for an hour and a half. The fee is $75 per parent. $90 per couple.
Interested? Contact me for a free 20 minute consult. Tell me what you’re looking for. Ask any questions you would like. I can tell you more about these offerings. I can help you decide what would be a good fit for you. No strings attached if it doesn’t feel like a good fit. I would just love to talk with you and see if I can help.
Your partner in growing a thriving family,
Back to my website, www.thecelebrationcoach.com
The stream was flowing swiftly in the park this week after all the rain we got. It was so loud, I could hear it over the traffic noise from the nearby interstate. There is a lovely “field” of pink/white lotus flowers blooming in the pond across from the covered bridge. I spot a family of deer in a grassy opening near the Barney House. And a family of Canadian Geese I have been watching this spring and summer. The babies are almost full grown now. It’s hard to distinguish them from their parents.
How quickly life seems to flow like the stream. All of nature seems to be in hyper-drive. And it’s almost the end of July now.
As the years pass evermore quickly in my own life, and in my marriage, now 45 years old, there is still need for growing. Even though we have seen so much growth already, both in each other and in our relationship. Each change in life requires our relationship to change, just as it did 30+ years ago with the birth of our first child. And just recently as our last left home for good this time.
Here is an article, Married 45 Years And Still Growing, about how my husband and I have been growing again, responding this time to illness and challenges of aging. And sharing this together. Hope you find this helpful in your own life, as you grow significant relationships with partners, family and friends. No matter what age or stage you find yourself in right now.
Your partner in growing connection and deepening relationships,
John and I have been together now for most of our lives. We married when I was 21 and he was 26. You might think that moving through our 60’s and 70’s now, that we might have, over the decades, figured everything out. How to live peacefully together. How to agree. How to meet whatever challenges come along. But that just isn’t so.
We will probably never be completely done with growing into relationship with each other. And with ourselves. Because, I think that life has a way of constantly changing the way things are. So we need to be open to those changes. And take time to embrace them, and make them a part of who we are as individuals. And how we are in relationship with each other.
I would also like to say that having challenges come up in a relationship is normal. People don’t live “happily ever after”. Sharing your life with someone takes intentionally nurturing it over time, like tending a perennial garden, that comes up every year but still needs to be weeded, thinned out and watered to keep it vibrant.
So for the past year, John has had different health issues come up. This has been concerning to me. Sometimes it has been unclear exactly what the cause has been. The challenge in all of this was that he has always been like that proverbial Energizer Bunny on that battery commercial that kept going and going. And what may have worked when he was younger started to really worry me at this time in his life.
As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge to get him to slow down, I happen to be at the opposite end of the busy doing spectrum. I like to take my time with things I do. Take breaks. Pace myself with projects. And check in with how I am feeling a lot when I am doing anything. Be more mindful. And plan more too.
As you might imagine, these differences have gotten us into some conflicts in the past. But over the years, we got more accepting of our differences. Found ways to cope with them. And also found ways to do things separately, so that I could take my time, and attend more to feelings and details. And John would go as fast as he wanted on his own, until he was exhausted, and satisfied with his accomplishment. This also worked well when the kids were with us, because there really was so much to do raising a family and caring for a home.
At first I tried to figure out how I could just do what he had done. Take his place. I soon realized that I just couldn’t.replace what he had done, how he had done it. And that that just didn’t work for me to morph into some superwoman Energizer bunny.
So what I did was engage in many conversations about how I felt and what I needed. My concern for John’s well-being and need to slow down. Our need to collaborate a lot more on taking care of our home. Our need to plan together more too. At the same time, I voiced my need for John to reach out more to me, to check in with me as we worked together. And to pace ourselves when we worked together.
It wasn’t easy at first. For either of us. Uncomfortable. It took a lot of commitment to keep talking about how we were feeling. What we wanted. Trying to stay away from judgements or arguments. Just talking and listening to each other with as much kindness as possible. We raked and mowed the lawn together. We painted part of the garage together. Sometimes we had to stop and sit and talk along the way.
As the spring has turned into summer, and we have been practicing this new, more collaborative way of being together, it has all gotten easier. John is taking a lot more responsibility for slowing himself down now. And feeling a lot more acceptance about pacing what we do. He is checking in more with me too. Our relationship is better for having done this growing. Stronger. We are much better at collaboration now, not just around caring for the house. There are still times when he needs to be reminded to slow down, but it is a whole lot easier to talk about this now. And he quickly adjusts his expectations.
So I hope this encourages you to embrace change and conflict, when it comes into your life, at it surely will. I hope that reading this heartens you in some way, in your relationships. To see any life changes as opportunities to deepen your relationships. And at the same time, to honor your own needs, take good care of yourself. And create a situation that is a win win for everyone.
It does take focus and energy. But it’s worth it. Finding your way into creating more love, more peace in your home. And sharing it with your family, friends, community and beyond.
Your partner in growing connected, peaceful families,
The stream and ponds are full now, with all the rain. Lotus leaves have appeared on the surface of the ponds. The beauty of green is everywhere. Frogs croak. An empty Canadian Goose nest lies on an island with the remains of egg shells. It’s hard to tell whether the babies survived. I hope so. A goose was sitting there just last week. Can’t find any evidence of young geese anywhere yet. They must be somewhere. Spring is so full of anticipation and wonder. I want to see it all!
It’s great to be writing to you again after so many months. Sometimes it’s good to stop, take a breath and step back for awhile. Hope you find what’s been resting and deepening in me these past few months, helpful to you and your family, as you look at how you can live a more connected, celebrated life.
Here is an article, Family Connection: Looks Like, Feels Like. A huge part of my work is about connection. So here is what I think connection is. What family connection means. Looks like, feels like. And why I think it’s important enough to spend part of my life writing and talking about it. Helping others deepen it n their lives. I hope it helps you reflect on what connection means to you. And why it’s important to take time out of your life to grow it.
Your partner in creating family connection,
|A Connected Family Of Turtles At The Park
Hanging Out Together On A Log
For decades now, I have been noticing how our celebrations and rituals hold a huge potential for us to build community. To deepen our connection to each other.
And what I mean by connection is relationship.To create celebrations that intend to build relationship. That are designed to make it stronger. Deeper. More long lasting. Our relationship to ourselves. Partner. Children. Our family members to each other. Relationships with co-workers. Within our schools and colleges. Neighborhoods and other communities that touch our lives. Anytime we gather together to meet. And we are doing this every day and around the year. So there is a huge potential when we gather to strengthen, to build relationship.
A potential to go beyond surface conversations and judgmental thoughts. To really get to know someone. Especially what they most care about. And what their strengths are. Discover, deepen, what you love about them.
I think that as a culture, we long for this kind of deeper connection. To be known by others and appreciated. Seen for who we are. To matter to someone else. To feel a sense of belonging in a family, in a community. But this doesn’t just happen. Too often, this opportunity is missed. I think that connecting with others is something to practice and develop. To intend to do.
So what does family connection look like, feel like? Here are some thoughts.
So family connection doesn’t mean an absence of conflict. But does build on that connection to return to peace. It is fertile ground to grow personally and in relationship to others. It offers a feeling of home, where you are known and appreciated for just being yourself. It needs regular feeding and redirecting. But builds bonds so strong they can last a lifetime. It requires making choices, priorities, setting boundaries. And it is a school for team building and a high quality of listening. Wow! All that wrapped up in family connection!
Ultimately, a connected family looks and feels like the world we all long to create for our children and for all human kind. What better place to begin than in our own homes, with our own relationships. And ourselves.
Hope this has been helpful to you and gotten you thinking more about what family connection is all about, especially in your own life. What it looks like, feels like. Hope this has inspired you to seek it out more for yourself and your family. It sure has inspired me to write about it!
Please feel free to share this.
Let me know what thoughts you have about this. I would love to hear from you. More articles coming soon. I promise.
Your partner in growing connected families,
Hello everyone. It’s good to be back writing this e-zine. I took some time off in August and early September to do other writing and just take a break.
The season is turning now from summer into fall. The days are stunning this week. Breath taking in their beauty. It is such a relief to have cooler temperatures and low humidity again.
The park has been an adventure to walk through each day this week. A theatrical group, Double Edge Theater, is setting up for their Latin American Spectacle. A collaboration with the Springfield middle school, the Conservatory For The Arts. And City Mosaic that supports the city’s cultural district. They have been installing mini sets and zip lines throughout the back end of the park in the pond area and around the meandering stream. There will be stilt walkers too. Come and see this FREE event Friday, September 23 or Saturday September 24 at 7 PM. It starts at the Barney House on the hill. Here is their link with a cool video and photos. Latin American Spectacle/Double Edge Theater
Your partner in downsizing, in all it’s forms,
Are there some things in your life that you never seem to get to? That feel too big, too hard? For me, one of those things has been cleaning out the attic. Until August. And than everything shifted. I want to share with you what I learned. Because the experience has felt profound for me. And might be inspiring for you too. Help you find your way out of an impossible place.
When we bought our house more than 10 years ago, the owner was to clean out his family’s belongings. This had been his parent’s house. But he never did. Perhaps he felt like I have felt. Just too overwhelmed with it all. So our stuff got piled around his stuff. My mom moved out of her home to an apartment. Years later she died. John’s parents died. My Aunt died. And we added our own family layer of things we couldn’t part with. And as the kids grew up, outgrown toys and other things they couldn’t part with were added to the growing mess. Until we reached a point where we had pretty much filled up 3 rooms and 3 large closets.
So here’s where the shift happened for me. This whole year has been a year of letting things go. Of making space. For doing things in my life that I most want to do. I have let go of a lot of volunteer work. Even things I enjoyed. It’s also been a year of completion. Of getting things done that have been weighing down on me for awhile. And making space for doing something new.
So one day this thought came to me. We recycle so much that we only have to put our big green trash can out once a month to be emptied. What if we filled up one trash bag a week of things we don’t want and probably no one else would want. Just went around the house and filled it up. It could be like a fun game. Seeing what we could put in it. (I know this might urk some of you that I decided to just throw stuff into the landfill, but bear with me.) We started with the garage one day, when my son was visiting John and I. I got up from dinner and told them my idea and my son said let’s do it! So in a short time we had filled a bag of trash or 2 from the garage. We all felt great about it. Amby found his fishing pole. And there was suddenly more space and a calming order in a section of the garage.
So that’s how it all started. With a simple plan that felt kind of novel and fun. Now we are 5 weeks into cleaning the attic. We have the large hallway cleaned and are almost finished with the largest of 3 rooms. Our plan has been simple. Just fill up trash bags. Focus on one area at a time and forget the rest of the mess. Spend only an hour or 2 and stop. We have ended up completely filling our can each week, with 2 or 3 trash bags. Putting stuff on the street that people have thankfully taken away. And brought some stuff to Goodwill.
Each time we finish, we go back up and just look at what we have done. To celebrate. Breathe it in. The sense of amazing calm where there was such chaos. The spaciousness of it now. We have a way to go still. But it is such a feeling of empowerment that John and I both feel now when we are doing this. This task that for years, has felt so hard. Impossible.
So here are some strategies for moving through your own impossible place in your life. It could be a project like mine. It could be making a big change in your life. Or starting to create a more satisfying family life.
I would love to hear from you. Just leave a comment.
Check out other posts here or return to my website. Find out more about how to create more calm, connection and peace in your life. Even though creating this might feel impossible.
Your partner in getting unstuck and into action,
Nancy Francisco, CPC
The last few days have brought blessed rain to a drought filled summer. The stream and ponds are so low in the park. I see some small trees dying or dead. Other trees dropping leaves too early. It grieves me. I am looking into how I can help young trees survive in my neighborhood, with a little weekly watering. But despite these challenges, there is much beauty in the pink and yellow Latana, the butterflies attracted to my Zinnias and the hot pink Lotus flowers blooming in the pond at Forest Park.
With 5 more weeks of summer left and school starting in a couple of weeks. And the busyness of taking up a fall schedule of activity. It’s a good time to look at presence. And how ritual and celebration have the potential to stop time, and help us find presence in our over busy lives. Presence to then nurture us, support challenging changes, reconnect us to our life meaning. Here is an article, Stopping Time, Finding Presence, that will help you bring more presence into the months ahead.
Whenever we celebrate, we are stepping out of time in some way. Out of ordinary time. We are taking pause. Even stopping time and the busyness of our lives. To lift up something important to us.
As you look toward this fall and the holiday season that will soon follow, consider how you can create daily ritual and celebrations, that truly bring presence to your personal life and your family life. Here are some tips you might use to help you create moments of presence in the weeks and months ahead.
I would love to hear from you about how you might bring more presence into your life this fall. Just leave a comment.
Check out other posts here or return to my website. Find out more about how to create more calm, connection and peace in your life.
Glad to be back writing to you again. The first part of summer has been very full. Looking forward to slowing down. The heat and humidity of July is encouraging that too. Found this blue Dragonfly in the park today, landing on this amazing “field” of pink opening into white lotus flowers. Life is so amazingly beautiful and fragile at the same time. Spotted 4 ducklings swimming with their mother in the stream. I’ve been looking for ducklings all summer. What a joy. They were fuzzy in mottled colors of brown and tan, blending in with the stream and rocks.
Your partner in creating more calm, connection and peace,
Self-Care Amid Growing Human Crisis
It’s been 6 months since I last wrote about self-care. It’s a good time to revisit self-care, mid year, between the beginning and the end of summer. At the same time, I am so aware of my own need to dig deeper into what I am doing to ground myself, especially in the last month, with all the disturbing news about shootings, racism, homophobia, terrorism and war. And as I reach out into the world more and more with my work, my reach needs to balance my own self-care. The one needs to equal the other, for me to remain standing strongly in my life.
Here are some thoughts about this, and how you might anchor yourself more in self-care, in the months ahead, as we experience so many challenges before us.
Hope this is helpful to you. Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.
Wishing you calm, peace and connection, as you take really good care of yourself,