Warning: This blog post is going to be long. However, since I blog about every two years, you can get through it. 😊 2020…is it really as bad as people are saying it is? It depends on how you see it. Have there been some really crazy and awful things that have happened? Yes. Personally, I’ve had heartaches and joys. And for many, such as myself, it’s been viewed as a challenging time, but a chance to rise to the challenge and look for the positives that can come out of the hardships.
I believe that fear is the big factor in how people are seeing this year. The more fear they have, the worse things are. Fear, as we are witnessing, is incredibly contagious. It spreads like wildfire, and can be downright paralyzing. I see people so afraid of dying that they have a fear of or have forgotten how to live! Wear masks, stay home, avoid contact with others. Things that wear down the human spirit and the immune system. Why not keep living life and take responsibility for your own health, make better choices and build your immune system to fight not just COVID, but the thousands of bugs we come in contact with every single day?
I subscribed to the fear for about a month, as I was “compromised,” with chronic Lyme and autoimmune conditions. Then, I woke up. I was afraid of living because I was told by media that doing the things I loved most would likely kill me. Really?! When I saw that weed shops, liquor stores, fast food places remained open and were deemed “essential; (things that tear down the immune system), but parks, gyms and family gatherings were off limits (things that strengthen the immune system,) I decided that was NOT living. I also felt that the way I live my life—food, lifestyle, mindset—gave me a much better chance of survival than isolation. Staying indoors and wearing a mask everywhere, as a healthy person, was not the choice for me. I’m not judging if your choice is different, so please don’t judge me. I believe in personal responsibility, which starts with the choices you make upon waking until the time you go to sleep.
Well, I said I’ve been “living,” since April, and here we are at the end of August already. While hiking last Saturday in my beautiful state of Colorado, I had some big “ah-ha” moments while listening to some of my Spotify songs. (See my list at the end—take a listen and see if they speak to you, too!) I began taking stock of what I’ve experienced in 2020 thus far—have I truly been LIVING? I’m sharing my thoughts so that you, too, can take stock of this year so far. Has it all really been that bad that you have nothing to be grateful for? My guess is a hard “NO.” Without further ado, here are my hiking revelations 😊:
- Surround yourself with people whose energy is good! This year, from quarantine until now, it made it easy to see who made me feel good…and who did not. Your “tribe” will support you, accept you, and be real with you. Let go of those who bring you down with their mere presence. I have let a few “friendships” go in 2020. Probably more so than any other time, as I’m in a great place with myself, and in alignment with my soul. Yes, this takes some time and effort, but is so very worth it! I also recently ended a relationship with someone I loved, but whose energy caused me anxiety and left me drained. Everything is energy! If you’re in tune with yours, as am I, you will literally feel those who up your vibration, and those who sap it. I experienced this recently, spending a weekend with three people who brought me down energetically so much, that I was unable to be my authentic self and couldn’t wait to get away from them. Living? I think not! I have great energy and want to remain that way—even increasing it. The saying, “Your vibe attracts your tribe,” is right on. But I’d go a step further in that you have the power to CHOOSE your tribe. Make it count, and choose wisely. Be your authentic self. That IS living.
- I’d never heard of “Attachment Theory,” regarding how people relate in relationships. All relationships, but clearly in romantic relationships. People, this is a game freaking changer! I’m still an investigator at heart( my last career was as a police officer). I always want to learn the why’s and how’s. Well, I dove into this theory to learn about how to handle specific behaviors by my then-boyfriend, but was given a huge gift of learning the why’s about myself as well! I found that most of my life I had, due to a crazy childhood and reinforced in early adult years, the “anxious” attachment style. Lord help me. Thus, I sincerely apologize to anyone I dated before 2015. 2015 is when I can pinpoint my change to “secure” style. Yes, the potential for a little crazy lives in all of us, depending on situations. I had my issues, and still have triggers( as we all do), but it wasn’t all me. I have had a knack for attracting a lot of the “avoidant” style guys. Apparently, they like the secure style…and put them together with anxious? Nuclear bomb. Most people are not aware of why they act as they do. My “ex” kept saying, “I’m hot and cold and I don’t know why.” Well, I sure do now! My point here is if you want to learn about yourself and your partner, or how to choose better partners (who the hell in the revolving world of singles wouldn’t want that?!), get to know this valuable stuff! The book I HIGHLY recommend is “Attached.” Get it here:Attached Easy listen on audiobook as well. There’s another great workbook you can use on your own or with your significant other to help better communication called “The Attachment Theory Workbook.” Get it here: Workbook Trust me here, if you do the work, you will thank me later!! You’re welcome. Improving relationships that matter equals LIVING! Existing in those where you’ve given up? Not so much.
- Human connection is vital for me. Not just in COVID times, but all the time. It’s how I’m wired. I used to be ashamed of that, as I didn’t want to come across as needy, but it’s so much further from the truth! Human connection is normal. Yes, normal…for ALL of us. I listened to a great podcast this week where the person talked about how humans depending on other humans is healthy! People who say they don’t need anyone, well, you do. Family-wise I’m down to one cousin. This hasn’t been easy on me, those close to me know that. I do well on my own, but I need relationships of all kinds in my life to really thrive. I saw good during quarantine, where more people were reaching out. Spending time in solitude wasn’t new for me, so I actually was one of the few upbeat people during quarantine! Ha! For an extrovert such as myself, knowing that I wasn’t missing out on any social events was a blessing. 😊 People who were too busy for connecting with others were suddenly connecting. As Cinderella once sang, “Don’t know what you’ve got, til it’s gone.” Why does something have to be gone to appreciate it? If you crave connection, be honest about it. Reach out, because most others won’t. Be honest and vulnerable. This deepens connections. If that’s too much for someone, see point #1…they aren’t your tribe! I clearly remember a few months ago. I was hiking with a friend. I was very vulnerable and open about how alone I was feeling. Not lonely (big difference) but alone. She turned and gruffly said, “Susan, we’re all alone. Get over it.” Here I was opening my heart for some connection, but instead it was a slap in the face and shut me right down. With connection we should value vulnerability, openness, and also compassion, empathy and validation. That’s all most people want! Connect. Be real. Speak your truth with compassion, empathy and vulnerability. Validate others’ feelings…you don’t have to agree! You will surely find your tribe this way, and weed out the unproductive connections. You may be surprised who’s there and who’s not, in the end! The song, “People,” says it best: “People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.” True connection equals LIVING.
- SLOW THE F&CK DOWN. I used to feel guilty if I wasn’t “doing” something all the time—or most of the time. I had to have a reason for downtime, justify it. We aren’t productive or “living,” if we’re doing nothing, right? Wrong! Downtime, off-days, rest days, whatever you want to call them, are NECESSARY. The body repairs during rest. Guess what? So does the mind. We have become so accustomed to being busy all the time, our minds going constantly with stimulation, tuned in to tech all hours of the day and night. People, this is not living! It’s keeping you from fully connecting with others, and most importantly, yourself—your soul. Stop. Learn how to just “be,” without needing to justify it. Make it a daily practice. I do meditation and hypnosis in the morning, at night, and sometimes midday! It’s made a huge difference for me. I have a peace of mind I didn’t have before. I’m so in touch with my soul, that it’s enhanced my life in every way. Increasing quality of life is LIVING. Meditation (no, it’s not just for the “granola” crowd!), set times for unplugging, or even try a float tank. I thought I would hate it the first 5 minutes. Then I woke up an hour later…refreshed, energized, and had 30 minutes left to meditate and set intentions! Be in the moment. Stop worrying about the past. IT’S OVER. Stop obsessing about the future. Plan as necessary, but too much leaves you missing out on the beauty of the moment. All you truly have is the NOW. Be present. Living.
- You don’t have to do things on your own. Ask for help. The frustration and anxiety that comes from doing the same things over and over, yet expecting different results (insanity) keeps you from living fully. Farm that shit out! I’m certified level 2 reiki, yet I go to another practitioner. I’m an epigenetics and health coach, and I use other coaches to help me optimize. People have had it ingrained in them that asking for help is weak. Only the strong survive. I’ve learned that the opposite is true: it takes a strong person to ask for help. Remember my “people who need people?” Yep. Have your team of professionals ready to go. Mind, body, and soul are all equally important. If you’re not tending to one, it’s affecting the other two, keeping you from truly living life. If you tend to reach for the weed, the booze, unhealthy food, poor lifestyle choices, bad relationships, stop and think before you act. What creates strength and resiliency? See: COVID fear. Ask for help. The unhealthy choices keep you from truly living. Healthy choices will have you living like never before! Ask. For. Help. You have choices.
So, in retrospect, I do believe I have been truly living. This year has been good for me, despite things which happened that seemed negative at the time. There always seems to be something good that comes out of “bad” things. Sometimes those things are taking us closer to our purpose, not away from it like it can feel.
I will continue to live and learn. Look for lessons. My next relationship will be better than my last. The business partnerships I’ve been forming are furthering my purpose, and I see my coaching taking different directions. The slowdown from COVID made me take a new look at things. Change is good!
My body will continue getting stronger, fitter and not fearing catching the next bug. I will continue to invite people and things that make me happy and vibe with my energy. I will continue to express gratitude and love for the people in my life and each experience that happens to me. I will love and I will experience loss. I don’t know how much time I have left with my sweet Rupert, but am embracing every single moment I have with him, and am grateful for the past 16.5 years we’ve shared. He’s been my rock. Our mornings and evenings on the balcony have become so precious to me. Savoring and being in the moment. The now. He is dying, yet he is living out loud.
Enjoy the little things, as they do become the big things. Can’t remember who actually said that, but I love it. Death is part of life. Please don’t let fear of dying keep you from living your best life! You are only guaranteed today…make it count! Be happy and be healthy!
Here’s a list of the songs that inspired me on my hike:
Destination Unknown- Missing Persons
Roll with the Changes- REO Speedwagon
On Top of the World- Imagine Dragons
Here and Now- Kenny Chesney
Precious Illusions- Alanis Morrisette
The Story-Brandi Carlile