Update: I wrote this original post on April 29, 2020. It’s now January 14, 2021. I can now see that the post was very premature. I think I just wanted SOMETHING in life to feel normal. Anything! So I tried to create NORMAL. It’s now 8 months later and as you all know, nothing is back to normal. And for me, I’ve learned to accept that. Grudgingly on most days but still, I accept it. Today I am taking a look back at my innocence and longing for Normal. I know She will return.
As I write this, most of the U.S. is still experiencing self isolation due to Covid-19. It’s been about 6 weeks where I live and I can’t lie and tell you that I hit the ground running with self care, productivity, fresh cooking, and a new workout program with my extra free time. I didn’t. I kinda did the opposite. I slept more than normal. I craved childhood comfort foods which were not low calorie or healthy. I sat a lot and watched the news until I could spout virus statistics with ease. I made to do lists that were never marked off. And I journaled to try and understand what was happening in the world, release my crazy chaotic thoughts and even to do a little dream analysis because my dreams at night were out of control, vivid and often disturbing.
Then something happened that knocked me out of my near constant state of inaction. A close family member had a heart attack. He called from the back of an ambulance as it was racing to the hospital. He sounded calm, but I was not. I wanted to immediately pack a bag and race several hours away to be at the hospital. Be by his side. Take action! But I knew that wasn’t possible. A quick call to the hospital confirmed that due to Covid-19, no visitors were allowed. Not only would I not be able to see him, I also realized that I was going to be dependent on the hospital staff for updates. I felt helpless.
Fortunately, everything turned out fine very quickly. The health care workers did a swift and amazing job of taking care of his heart and he was on the phone with me telling me he felt great within a few hours. A wonderful happy ending.
But I was different after the experience. I was ready to start living again. Fully living!
I had seen a quote a few weeks earlier from Dave Hollis. He said “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” It caught my attention. I knew it would be true for me at some point in time. I just wasn’t sure when. Post heart attack was my time.
I started getting up everyday and doing things I enjoy. Surrounding myself with sights, sounds, and smells that I love. I began to explore new creative ideas without self judgment. I allowed myself to follow my curiosity. Most importantly, I extended myself grace. Sweet, amazing grace that I freely give to others but withhold from myself.
It feels like a whole new world has opened up to me in this time of everything else being essentially closed. The irony is not lost on me. And neither is the truth that it has taken this time of lockdown to help me awaken and unlock who I really want to be. Me. Just real, genuine and wholly me. I’m not sure I have achieved that yet, but I am definitely on my way.
If you too are searching for action or what you’d like your new normal to be when this time of isolation ends, here are several of my current favorite things that I am exploring. I hope you find some ideas or at least some freedom to start exploring for yourself. (These aren’t ads. It’s just stuff I use and love ❤️)
Update: First off, my brother, who had a heart attack, is doing great!! And I didn’t mention in my post, but I hadn’t been able to see my Mom who suffers with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, starting on March 12th. That was really weighing on me when I originally wrote this post too. But on Mother’s Day weekend, I got to see her in a drive-thru parade at the assisted living facility where she lives. I cannot tell you how relieved I felt seeing her and knowing she was okay! And in July, I got to actually see her in person!! It wasn’t “normal” being 6 feet apart. And she was very confused by us both having to wear a mask, but it was real, in person and so soothing for my soul. I have seen her many times sense then too. I am so thankful for the healthcare workers that took care of my brother and that continue to take care of my Mom.
I had fallen in love with the “idea” of yoga several years ago but I’ve had trouble getting to the practice part of it. Last year, I learned lots of basics and how to get comfortable with being imperfect in my poses by practicing with Yoga With Adriene which is completely free. She has a lovely voice, soothing manner and instructions that really speak to the newbie. She also has a precious dog, Benji, that makes many appearances in her home studio.
Currently, I have switched to using an app called Down Dog. Typcially there is a monthly fee, but it is free until June 1st because of Covid-19. I like that I can set the time limit, music type, voice, and type of yoga easily and then get practicing. And since the weather has finally warmed up, I can do yoga on my screened in porch! I love that.
Update: I try SO HARD to be consistent with a Yoga practice but I struggle. I have a goal to do 10 mins of yoga with Down Dog “most” mornings. I have to constantly remind myself that a small amount of work will yield rewards. Not necessarily BIG rewards, but rewards. Perhaps you need the gentle reminder too. Oh, and Adrienne does a free 30 day yoga practice at the beginning of each new year. This year it’s called Breath. You can find it on her website Yogawithadriene.com. Also, unrelated, but I decided to let my hair keep growing out even after hair salons opened back up. Here’s a current pic after 8 months of growing.
Whole Foods Plant Based Eating
For almost 10 years, I have eaten predominantly vegetarian with periods of time eating vegan. In 2018, I decided to get serious about the whole foods plant based lifestyle and attended a 7-day Immersion experience hosted by the Engine 2 team. You can find out more info on their website PlantStrong.com.
Important: I cannot emphasize enough that you don’t need to attend this type of experience in order to adopt a plant based lifestyle. There is an enormous amount of good info online to help you if you decide you’d like to explore how to start incorporating plant based foods into your diet.
Based on the time periods in the past when I ate completely plant based, I knew that my whole body and mind felt transformed. I knew it was time for me to get back to basics and honor myself with that feeling again.
If you would like to watch a fascinating documentary about plant based eating that will clearly answer the often asked question “But where do you get your protein?” check out The Game Changers. You can watch it on Netflix.
And here is a link to one of my favorite cookbooks Happy Herbivore Light & Lean.
Update: I still strive to be 100% whole foods plant based. Notice I said “strive.” Truthfully, I don’t achieve that goal A LOT of the time. My pitfalls are eating out. I do the best I can but I have to look away a little to make it work. Being vegetarian is much easier. Restaurant food almost always includes butter and other no nos. Overall, I am proud of my health journey and plan on keeping Plant Strong even though I have trouble keeping Plant Perfect. If you want to learn more, here’s a link to one of my favorite podcasts. In this episode, Rip interviews Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show. Plant Strong Podcast with Jon Stewart.
Music for Concentration
This isn’t new to my time in quarantine. I am addicted to Pandora’s Classical for Studying station. I can’t work to music that includes singing. I find myself singing along. Instrumental music is what works for me. I have listened to it so much over the past several years that I immediately go into a lovely work trance whenever I hear it. If you haven’t found the music that will do that for you, keep searching. It probably exists.
Update: I have tried LOTS of other stations, sounds, mixes but I still come back to the same Pandora station. I’ve decided to just embrace it.
Ink & Watercolor Florals
Over the past couple of years, I have attended a couple of watercolor workshops and an ink floral workshop. I have always been afraid to try and create art. That may sound silly, but it’s true. I actually wrote a blog about my first experience in a watercolor class that you can read here.
But something has shifted in me. I am loving exploring drawing! It is fascinating to me how I have lifted the cloud of fear around this happy and fun art form. Once I started combining ink florals with my favorite quotes, I couldn’t stop! And coming later this week, I am releasing a 13 page Coloring Collection that you will be able to download for free. Here’s a sneak peek.
If you are interested in painting and drawing lessons, check out my friends websites. Leana’s is called Maywefly.com and Tram’s is TramColwinArt.com. They are both doing some great classes that are downloadable.
Update: I did it!! I created a coloring page collection and released it into the world! I am so proud of being brave enough to let others see my sweet ink florals. And SO MANY people have downloaded the collection and shared with me their completed colored pages. Some color in the lines and some outside the lines. I love them all! If you are interested in reading about the Collection, here is a link to the blog post – Awaken Your Soul Coloring Page Collection. If you are in a hurry and just want the download link, you can grab it here – link to download my Free Coloring Page Collection — Awaken Your Soul.
(Above I have added one of my pages that was colored by my friend Rebecca. Amazing!!!)
Pukka Tea – Lemon, Ginger & Manuka Honey
I can’t tell you how many cups of this tea I have had over the past few weeks. It makes me feel happy and calm. I buy it at Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville, AR. Look for it where you shop or online. I don’t think you will regret it.
Update: I’m still drinking my Pukka teas! And so are my Coaching clients. Most clients choose this flavor. I love it too!
I really love candles but sometimes they upset my sinuses. These candles are constantly burning in my studio. They are made by my friend Christina. She makes them in small batches with coconut/apricot wax and essential oils. They are non toxic with aromatherapy grade oils, not fragrance oils that cause me sinus problems. Her business is new and features just one of her many talents! Send her a message on her Instagram at Clean.Living.Botanicals if you are interested in buying one for yourself. (Just a heads ups, the candles are small but they last a long time and I believe not having sinus issues is worth the price.)
Update: I have found another brand of candles that I also love! The scents are light and allow me to breathe easy. And I absolutely love the creativity they use in naming the candles. Here’s the candle that is currently burning in my studio. You can find it here — The Love Struck Company.
Ember & Aura Tarot : Awakening Edition
I recently bought this beautiful tarot deck created by Jamie Richardson. I am in love with it. I realize that tarot cards can feel a little woo woo to some and even a little scary. But let me explain what they do for me. Tarot cards help me awaken to my spiritual path. They don’t necessarily predict future events. Instead, they enhance conversations between me and the Divine. They help reveal my current path and teach me soul lessons. If you are interested in this deck, this is Jamie’s website EmberandAura.com
Update: I’m still in love with this tarot deck!
A Book Suggestion
First I watched the Netflix series based on the book and then I read the book. The series is really good but I knew the actual events had been changed quite a bit for television. So I downloaded the book to read the real account.
It’s called Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots and I found it fascinating. I am drawn to books, fiction or nonfiction, where the main character is searching to find her true self and pulls back the curtain of a secretive community. I loved it. I suggest watching the series, reading the book or doing both.
Update: I’m currently reading The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker. I love his blog called Becoming Minimalist and I found it very useful for helping me reduce clutter and excess stuff in my home. I decided to give his book a try because he provided room-by-room guides. Even though I have read several declutter/minimalist books, I’m learning from this one too. If you are in the mood to declutter, this is a good book to start with.
Last bit of advice
If all of these suggestions just feel like too much for you right now, that’s okay. That’s actually more than okay. Please just allow yourself to feel what you feel. Rest. Be kind to yourself. Your New Normal is waiting for you whenever YOU are ready. I promise.
And if you need someone to talk to or if your life is in transition and you need help navigating the next step, I’m here for you. You can read about my Life Coach services on this page and schedule a free Inquiry Phone Call here.