Discover more from Finding the Flotsam
Don't be the Kool-Aid man
how I am practicing intentionally arriving into each aspect of my day
DISCLAIMER: if you elect to listen to me read this newsletter I did so tired with crispy ears after a weekend in the sun. Apologies if my zest is lacking. I felt like a monotone robot reading it.
I just wanted to send a heartfelt thank you to everyone who left comments or reached out after I shared the newsletter about my mom on Friday. I lean into vulnerability and share my journey because I want other people to know that they aren’t alone no matter how complex things may seem. It’s my way of paying it forward. When I was in the midst of doing the really hard work, I eagerly devoured any content that mirrored the things I was feeling. The comments people left moved me deeply. I am so grateful to have so many brave people in this community. If there’s one thing I’m learning it’s that we all have far more in common than we realize.
Now onto today’s newsletter!
“You are now arriving at your destination”.
Admit it. When you heard that sentence, you heard a GPS.
Our days are filled with endless moments of arrival.
Waking up to greet the day.
Your first interaction with another living thing.
Showing up to work.
Entering the grocery store.
Getting into bed.
Imagine if that familiar GPS voice marked each and every one.
There’s a reason ‘arrival’ is on my mind. This is MY time of year. I wake up like a kid on Christmas morning ready to shred wrapping paper and dive head first into the doing. I want to plant ALL THE THINGS, devote hours to new projects, and go for long meandering walks. I don’t want to waste a single precious drop of my momentum.
There are problems with jumping into my day this way though.
When I don’t stop to notice when I’m in a state of arrival things can go haywire. I have a knack for skipping meals and shoving a handful of something (usually Club Crackers for curious minds) in my mouth just so I can continually leap from one thing to the next. I’ll crash after 14,000 steps and my energetic self is replaced with a hungry, short-tempered, and anxious version. I’ll overlook an important item on my to-do list. My dogs will receive an inadequate amount of undivided attention and become monsters. I’m less present in conversations with people I care about. I’ll mismanage my energy.
Most times I don’t want to slow down and take the time to arrive. My body and mind resist it. Sometimes I even cheat, like writing this newsletter during my slotted morning meditation time.
But when I do take time to pause, check in with myself, and mark my arrival I am better for it, and so is my work and world.
I don’t want to be like the Kool-Aid man bursting through life (okay, maybe a little part of me does).
Taking time to intentionally arrive takes practice.
I’ve found some days carry more resistance than others. I’ve also discovered that this practice doesn’t have to be complex or require loads of time. There are really small shifts that can go a long way. I’ll leave you with some of the forms it takes for me. What would you add to the list? I’d love to fill up my toolbox!
I simply stop what I’m doing and count 10 long slow breaths.
My morning go-to is a cup of Earl Grey. If I find that I am moving too quickly I will get a drink and commit to slowly drinking the entire thing before I start on my next task.
I love doing this outside in the morning, or when moving from one setting to another. I simply stop and notice what parts of my body feel warmer or cooler than others.
Along the same lines, Lindsey wrote this in her newsletter,:
The last few months, any time I’m waiting to pick up a kid (which is often), I turn my car all the way off and try to acclimate to whatever temperature it is outside. This seems like such a small, stupid thing - but consider how many people sit with cars running, burning fuel, to stay in a climate controlled space while they wait every single day.
Lindsey shared it as part of a powerful reflection about finding reciprocity with the Earth, but I feel like it also lends itself well to the concept of arrival.
I recently bought my first mala. In case you’re unfamiliar, a mala is a strand of beads (108) used to keep count during meditation. Sometimes I’ll use a mantra. Sometimes I’ll hold each bead for one inhale and one exhale. This has been an incredibly interesting tool for me. There are times I can actually feel myself resisting settling in and wanting to “hurry up and get it over with”. It usually only takes me about 10 minutes to make it all the way around, but when I’m first starting and my mind hasn’t settled it can feel like an eternity.
There’s no one-size fits all solution to this and clearly I am still figuring out what works best for me on any given day. We are works in progress and I am really interested to know what’s been helpful for you!
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My journal, Lessons from Nature is now out. You can find it here.