“I have learned things in the dark
that I could never have learned in the light,
things that have saved my life
over and over again,
so that there is really only
one logical conclusion.
I need darkness
as much as I need light.”
― Barbara Brown Taylor
Good morning, my darling <<Name>>. How have you been? How has this week been for you? How was your week? Mine has been good and frustrating all wrapped into one.
Mostly good things. A good visit with my dermatologist with a negative biopsy of a suspicious mole, a manicure, and lunch with a favorite client. But I'm frustrated at my lack of progress on my next book.
I made the decision to self-publish this next book between Labor Day and the 1st Day of Fall. Self-publishing allows me to have a sense of control and a bit of leeway when it comes to meeting my deadline.
But deadlines only get so much wiggle room, right? And because no one else is holding me accountable, I have to hold myself accountable to reach that deadline.
Like any project that involves writing, for me it's all about story. And because I choose to use my own life as fodder for lessons learned, it comes with the challenges of also bringing stories I've never shared with many people not just with those of you who grant me this space in your inbox, but with strangers who don't know my work or my story.
That has slowed down my editing process, for sure. Do I REALLY want to share this tidbit or that cringe-worthy moment? Does my own contrast of the good and the bad come from a place of love and having healed while also being a way to connect? For YOU to see yourself in those moments?
It's why I chose this quote this week (from Barbara Brown Taylor's Book Learning to Walk in the Dark) to remind myself - and share with you - that we need both dark and light in our lives. The dark can feel scary, but it isn't without value.
It's why I have a lantern in the bookshelves in my office, to remind me that in the darkest dark, the light is still there, ready to illuminate a path for me (and others).
Part of the human condition means we are all a mix of good and bad experiences. And that ALL the parts of us - our dark, our light and those shades of twilight and grey are all worthy parts of who we are.
As we go into a new week, don't forget that, OK? Especially right now. With so much uncertainty, angst, and worry in the world, we need to be reminded that all of our experiences - especially the tough ones - don't define who we can choose to be.
To be honest, I don't know if this book will be published "on time" or not. I have been working with a fabulous book designer (she is doing my cover art) and told her I'd make a final decision this coming week.
So, wish me luck.
And know that as I edit and tweak, I am always thinking about how I can use my words to help you heal your heart and love all the parts of yourself.
By the way, if you’ve been thinking about how a coach or mentor might be helpful, reach out to me. Though I haven’t made any final decisions, I am leaning toward not taking new clients when 2021 rolls around (though I'll still be available for existing or former clients).
Please continue to take care of yourself. Please be safe. As always, I am sending you love.
From the blog: Emergency Care After a Tumble Down the Rabbit Hole. Not only does a change in season seem to bring about the desire for opening the windows and starting fresh, all those desires to start fresh can bring up our stuff. And our minds, being the tricky little beasts they can be, can take one small little thing and begin to let it spiral until suddenly, you are a stressed out little ball of tension, and you’re quietly weeping and contemplating just having ice cream for dinner. I call this going down the rabbit hole.
The rabbit hole is an allusion for tumbling into a world that isn’t your own. It stems from the Lewis Carroll Books about Alice, the most popular being Alice in Wonderland. So, there you are, minding your own business and down you go like poor Alice. And the thing is, no matter how “evolved” you’ve become – no matter how much self-growth work you’ve done – there will always be triggers that send you careening down into an abyss you thought you’d already escaped.
The occasional rabbit hole is an inevitable part of being human.
What I’ve learned from multiple experiences with my own rabbit holes is it’s often a sign that it’s time for us to learn a deeper level of a lesson or evolve into our next stage of being. Sometimes, we pick up on the signs and create our own plan from a place of ease. And sometimes, we aren’t picking up on the signs that a shift is coming.
So, yes, my dear, in my experience, that occasional rabbit hole is the push we need to come to grips with the fact that we’re due for a growth spurt, even if it’s without our express permission.
As we move towards the final months of 2020, I realized that I’ve made very little progress on one of my biggest goals for this year. And YES, I know that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. It feels as if a decade worth of news stories have happened in a few short months. But that doesn’t mean that I am immune to having a moment.
So, down the rabbit hole I went. Beating myself up for not making better use of all this time at home and hitting my book deadline.
Now, the thing about a rabbit hole is it’s easy to fall down there and get stuck. It’s tempting to just wallow around in all the muck and mud your mind brings up. A rabbit hole can be a major set-back or a growth opportunity.
Fortunately, I’ve developed some personal tools for dealing with just these situations to always use the experience as a growth opportunity, even if it feels like a set-back.
Here, then, are a dozen of my best tips I have for surviving the first few days after your descent so you
- Allow yourself to have a good cry. I won’t lie, I hate to cry. But, crying is our body (and mind’s) way to deal with stress and improve our mood.
- If, after the cry, you’re still feeling a little angry, do something physical. Go for a brisk walk or go for a drive. Do some heavy cleaning. Weed the garden. Put on some loud music and jump around.
- Write your way through. Get all the gory details down on paper. Yes, write down every gory little thought (e.g. – I gained three pounds which proves that I’m a fat slob and therefore no one will ever love me and I’ll never be happy again). When we are emotional, writing things down will help find the logic.
- Channel Nancy Drew. Step back and see if you can pinpoint the trigger (or series of triggers). As if you were an amateur sleuth in your favorite mystery novel, look at all the places your thoughts went. Even when those thoughts are really illogical, it’s helpful to get it all down after a tumble down a rabbit hole.
- Be curious like Alice when it comes to the Unknown World of Emotions. No matter how evolved we are, when we fall down the rabbit hole, we stop acknowledging how we really feel and go for the big emotions: angry or sad, rather than the real, more specific emotions lurking under the surface: frustrated, offended, shamed, disappointed, forlorn, discouraged, scared, worried, or belittled.
- Go back to the page and record what Nancy Drew and Alice discovered for later reference.
- Clear the decks. Choose one room and clear it of every trace of clutter. Then clean it. Places to start are your desk, your bedroom, your kitchen…. Yes, my office is spotless after my most recent tumble….
- Designate a space of refuge. Be it a chair, a corner of the couch, a cozy place under the tree. Every time you are feeling out of control or as if you’ll go deeper down the hole, go to your space of refuge or that spotless room.
- Bring in beauty and nature. Buy some grocery store flowers or that little jade tree in the adorable pot.
- Read an old friend. Choose a book you’ve always loved and re-read it. Yes, even if it’s something you read when you were twelve. Reading can make you happier, especially fiction.
- Go to the water. Soak in the tub (with bubbles and maybe a book and an ice cold glass of water) or take an extra-long shower, caressing every tiny piece of your skin and staying in there until your fingers become pruney.
- Be extra kind to yourself when it comes to food and drink. Don’t stay on a strict diet and don’t overindulge on sweets or alcohol. Be loving and kind when it comes to what you put into your body – aka things you love to eat and drink. Eating a cookie with a cup of coffee in the afternoon is loving. Having a glass of wine while you share stories of the day is nourishing. Scarfing an entire package of Chips-Ahoy while sitting in front of the TV or downing an entire bottle of wine is not.
If you think these tips sound more like triage than a long-term plan, you’re not wrong. The first days after your tumble down the rabbit hole are about damage control – keeping yourself from taking a second fall, or becoming so mired in confusion that you can’t find which way is up.
This is key to using your tumble down the rabbit hole as a growth-opportunity and not a major setback.
Click here to read the follow up post that includes a plan to turn a tumble down the rabbit hole into a come back rather than a setback
It's Hatch Green Chili Time - something I took for granted when I lived in Texas and am so grateful that my favorite grocery store, Dorothy Lane Market, brings in huge quantities of these wonderful peppers from New Mexico and roasts them up! I always buy a couple of quarts of the roasted chilies, eat some right away, and freeze more for the winter. Yes, you can get canned green chilies and they're good, but...
While I am taking advantage of all the late summer bounty - these chilies, fresh tomatoes, local corn, and the first batch of local potatoes - I'm making double batches of some favorites and freezing them for the first cool days of fall. Like this New Mexico Style Green Chile Stew. I've cut the recipe down for manageable size but it's easily doubled or tripled. And though I made it on top of the stove, you can also do it in the crock pot.
Take a 2 1/2 to 3-pound Boston Butt Roast (pork roast with a little fat) and cut the meat into 2-inch cubes. Season the meat with cumin and garlic powder and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Cover the bottom of a heavy-duty stock pot (I love my enameled cast iron pot for this) with olive oil, put the heat on medium high, and brown the meat in batches. Pull out and set aside.
In the same oil, sauté two diced yellow onions until they begin to soften. Add two crushed cloves of garlic and four carrots that have been sliced into bite sized pieces and sauté another minute. Return the meat and any accumulated juices back to the pot, then add 2 diced large tomatoes (or one can of diced tomatoes), two peeled and diced potatoes, and six cups of chicken stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low for one hour.
At the hour mark, add 2 cups of diced roasted (no seeds!) Hatch Green Chili peppers and the corn from 2 cobs back into the stew. Simmer for another forty-five minutes.
If you prefer to make this in the crock pot, brown your meat and sauté your onions, then layer everything in the crock pot in this manner: carrots and potatoes on the bottom, add the browned meat and juices, then the onions on top of the meat. Lastly, add tomatoes, corn, and green chilies atop the meat, and then gently add the chicken stock.
Cook on high for four hours or low for seven to eight hours. DO NOT STIR until after the cooking time. After stirring, keep in on warm in the crock pot for another 20 minutes before serving.
You can serve this as is or top it with any combination of sour cream, cheese, avocado, and/or fresh strips of tortilla chips. It's good served over cornbread ...and in soft tortillas as a taco filling.
---Oh, and if you aren’t a fan of pork, you could also do this with chicken breasts if you add 2 tablespoons of good real butter to the pot to amp up the fat (and moisture) content.
--If you want to serve it over rice, just eliminate the potatoes.
--If you want to add more fiber and protein, add a can of rinsed black or red beans along with a teaspoon of cumin as the beans will absorb some of the spice. (I sometimes add a can of beans to stew I've pulled out of the freezer to give it some variety.)
This freezes for up to six months.