[00:00:00] Hi, friends. So I know you're here because you're having a really hard time. I really, really get it. Life comes with some pretty major curveballs. And when you are in the middle of them, it can feel like complete chaos, in both your life and inside your head. I have definitely been there — first with a really bad divorce and then with cancer treatment. And you can kind of say, I guess, that I am an expert at getting knocked down repeatedly and then somehow managing to get back up each time. I've been on a road trip with my daughter for the past two and a half weeks in our RV, and it's given me a lot of time to think about the types of things that I want to share with you all.
[00:00:48] And I realized that I don't want to just focus on our kids. Because while our kids definitely need help when we're in the middle of something really life changing and horrible, what we really need to do is help ourselves first so that we can be good role models for our kids. This is the whole reason why they tell you to put your own mask on first on an airplane. Blah, blah, blah, you've heard that a thousand times, right? But it's true. Right now we're in the middle of a pandemic. I keep hearing people say things like, "how am I supposed to help my kids when I don't have any idea how I'm doing?" And that is the universal thing that people are going through right now. And it's true whether it's a pandemic or divorce or cancer or whatever hard thing you're dealing with — if you don't have any idea what you're doing, it makes the stress of trying to take care of your kids even harder. So before you can help your children, we're going to help you help yourself. And that might feel like, OK, well, I am a hot mess. And how am I ever going to get around to helping my kids if I have to help myself first?
[00:02:11] So I'll tell you what I learned during therapy, during my divorce. Basically had that exact same existential crisis, like I am a mess. I cannot help my kid. And my therapist, who is incredibly wise and I love her so much . . . she said, "all you have to do is be one step ahead. That is what you need to do. You are not expected to have it all figured out. You just need to figure out part of it and then teach it to them."
So as long as we are staying one step ahead of our kids, which God help us, I hope we are because we're like way older than them. And awareness is the first step, right? As long as we are one step ahead of them, we're going to be OK.
And that is what this is about. From all of the hard stuff I have been through as a parent, I have come out with five main things that have helped me to build the life that I lead now, which is so much more peaceful, balanced and stable. Now, this doesn't mean that my life isn't hard. It is still so hard for me so many days. But I have a foundation that makes it easier for me to handle whatever life is throwing at me.
The five things that are part of my foundation are:
[00:03:33] Now, I want to get into this a little bit deeper so that you know what I mean when I start listing this stuff off.
So first is routine. Routine is so important for our mental health. Most of us have routines, and don't even recognize it because they're the parts of the day that we don't think about. And that is actually what makes routine so powerful. It removes the stress from our lives by making one less thing that we have to think about. So for both kids and adults, this means that we have something stable we can rely on, something that we don't have to think about or worry about. It's like a container. Without it, we'd have no idea what the heck is going on next. I know every morning I am going to wake up and I'm going to do this, this, this and this without thinking about it. The routine is a container, so I don't have to think about those four things. I can think about all the other things that I need to do. If you think about yourself as a captain of a ship, routine is the anchor in rough seas.
[00:04:45] Next is boundaries. One of the big things that I realized after cancer was that I was a complete wreck if I did too much. My friend Carmen and I used to take these walks along the creek during cancer treatment and talk about how much more manageable our lives had become. Ironic right? But there was no more having to rush places and do so many things. It's taken some really big boundaries for me to be able to create a life that makes me feel good and feel healthy post-cancer. So the thing is, before you can have boundaries, you really have to understand your own values, so that you know where to even lay your boundaries in the first place. So for me, I realized that I really value that spaciousness of not having to rush from one thing to the next. And now that I know that about myself, I can lay boundaries so that my my life flows better and isn't so stressful.
[00:05:30] Number 3 is intuition. So much of our lives is spent fighting and trying to control things. This was so true, especially true, for me after my divorce. I felt like in order to protect my daughter, I had to make things turn out how I thought they should be. But the reality is, life gets a lot easier if we learn to let go and go with the flow of life. And we do this by listening to our intuition.
I knew for years that I needed to meditate, and that would be how I could slow down and actually listen to my gut instincts. But I could not figure out a way to do it that worked for me. Mindfulness, wasn't it. I downloaded that Headspace app. None of those apps worked for me. But once I figured out a technique (which I will share with you later), I have had a much better time with it. I learned the technique from an energy worker who was at a breast cancer retreat that I went to. And she really shifted things for me in a really positive way. So I can't wait to share that with you.
Fourth is joy. Most of us do not have enough of this in our lives and we need it for ourselves and for our kids. Figuring out how to spend more time playing and doing things that we enjoy is life-changing. I remember that same therapist during my divorce, trying to get me to play more with my daughter. And I was just so stressed I couldn't I couldn't let go enough to do it. But as time has gone on, I've been able to relax more. I've been able to figure out things that I enjoy doing that my daughter also enjoys doing. And that is how you bond with people. So finding ways to bond with your kids and finding joy in little things together is a game changer. For the record, when it comes to playing with kids, I tend to keep these activities shorter, so I'm actually having fun. Because really the kids know when you're having fun and when you're not having fun. And it's way better when we're actually having fun, right?
[00:07:47] And last but certainly not least is resilience. Resilience is like the number one thing I live for. I have a necklace that says resilience. It is what drives me. Resilience is about having faith in ourselves that we will be okay no matter what happens to us, not because we believe that everything works out for everybody — newsflash, it doesn't — but because we are strong people who have 100% success rate of surviving hard stuff so far, we can do it again. This is important to teach ourselves and it's important to teach our kids, because this is the raft that keeps us afloat during hard stuff.
[00:08:23] So my friends, from behind the wheel of a 24 foot motor home, these are the deep thoughts that I had and wanted to share with you. And this is what I would like to discuss in the future: How we can build resilience in ourselves and our kids, and how we can use these five things I have found to be so important in my own life to take times that are really, truly horrible and use them to change our lives for the better. Because I really do believe that hard times are an opportunity to improve our lives and make them more authentically us. So with that, I am signing off and I hope that you have a wonderful week. Thank you.