Savoring the Fall Season

Gazing at the calendar tells me we are in the midst of a colorful fall season filled with pumpkin spiced lattes, luscious soups, and cooler weather. Wait! Did you hear me, South Florida? I said cooler weather!

 Living in the tropics is exciting (as many of you know, I’m loving Florida Part II), but I would appreciate more of a seasonal change. Most of us enjoy a change of season, even ever so slight. I believe that our lives too have seasons. In fact, when I first stepped out into entrepreneurship, I titled my coaching business, “Seasons of Change.” 

Letting Go

Whatever season you feel your life is dancing toward, consider, at least for today, living in a fall season and fully appreciating the change it brings. It’s about trees slowly cascading their leaves, shedding layers, and baring branches. Anything you need to shed? (Sign yourself up for 10 pounds I hear a little voice inside my head shout rather loudly. Right, it’s not enough the scale screams at me, now my inner gremlin is leading the charge). But seriously, any chance you clinging to a hurt, a disappointment, a broken relationship? If so, note how Mother Nature brilliantly displays the act of letting go. The season is calling to you to forgive, forget, and move on.

Living Simply

Fall is a mellow time, someone once wrote it is “a season to find contentment at home by paying attention to what we already have.” As a self-described minimalist (granted I’m new to this), I genuinely appreciate the benefits of my much smaller new home.

You see, we moved to a small condo craving the soul-soothing surroundings of blue water more than square footage. Before leaving California last Spring, my husband and I made so many trips to the Goodwill Store, the manager asked us if we wanted a job there. John and I gave away at least 70% of our possessions. Now, although high-rise condo living might not be for everyone,  we delight in a clutter-free space that is easy to clean and maintain. I’m getting so good at this I don’t even have a junk drawer!

Like the fall season, get mellowed-out. You don’t have to go to drastic lengths like we did, maybe just clean out a closet and free yourself of things you never wear and no longer need.

Savor the Season

Lastly, Autumn is also about reaping the benefits of what was sowed during the summer months. It’s a period of gratitude that our hard work paid off. As written in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a “time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted.” So perhaps it’s time to pause and savor the delights of the season.

Are you with me on this? Because I’m heading out for that pumpkin-spice latte and to honor the gods of shedding, I’ll ask the barista to make it non-fat and nix the whipped cream topping. 

Lowering the Bar Confessions from a Recovering Perfectionist

A dear friend of mine sent me a self-help book she loved as it spoke to her on multiple levels. I read chapter after chapter in which the author, Shauna Niequest, writer, speaker, wife and mother of two worked on remaking her overly hectic life after experiencing mega burn-out.

Although I had empathy for the author, as I took in her story I could not relate to her situation. You see I am hawk-like about guarding my calendar from over-scheduling.  I pride myself on this because it’s one of the few things I did not have to learn the hard way.

About three-quarters of the way through the book, I found a chapter aimed directly at me. Yes, this one had my name on it. My author-guide talked about her incessant desire for perfection as she planned for a holiday she knew looked so much better in her mind’s eye than how the whole event would actually shake down. After much soul searching, the writer came to the conclusion she must choose, “present over perfect.”

As I read, sentences like “perfect has become as near a dirty word to me as hustle, prove, earn, complete and push,” popped up making sense. It all came to a crashing crescendo when she wrote, “Perfect and the hunt for it will ruin our lives.”

Okay, I give up. I’m guilty of trying to create the perfect this, or the perfect that, and day-after-day continually disappointing myself. When I go to bed at night and start counting my blessings, somehow the “Perfection Princess” who lives in my head starts recounting all the things that did not live up to her standards. Reading on I got some advice on how to turn my quest for perfection on it’s ear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the author professed, “It’s all about learning to show up and let ourselves be seen as we really are,” I thought wait a minute. If that means leaving the house without make-up, forget it. Not going to happen, at least not yet anyway.

Knowing I had to start somewhere, I chose entertaining. We invited another couple over for Saturday night dinner and drinks. Aha! Instead of spending hours scouring recipe books to design the perfect menu like I usually do, I opted for a simple rustic Italian dish created in the slow cooker. I really blew the lights out on dessert. Finding a cool creation on Pinterest involving store bought ice cream sandwiches and whipped cream, I put it together in under seven minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening went well. Simple as the menu was, my guests ate with gusto. We all relaxed and enjoyed just being together over food and wine. When dessert was served I must admit, it looked like something a 3rd grader cooked up. But guess what? I didn’t care. It provided my guests with fits of laughter and some really good bites.

So cheers to “present over perfect.” I’m getting there. If you can relate to any of this, let me know and I’ll send you the recipe.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your comments on how you deal with perfectionism.

Three Lessons in Simplicity

The dream was so enlightening I wanted to linger in it for as long as possible. I stayed still without moving a muscle remaining connected to my dream state for a few more minutes. When I finally turned to get out of bed, I made a solemn promise to retain the lesson provided by my nighttime experience.

My fascinating dream started in a panic. I was on a flight to Paris with a group of tourists, all strangers, when I realized I’d forgotten to bring any form of currency. Now in real life that would be something I could resolve, but in this fantasy world it meant spending two weeks in the City of Lights sans money for food, essentials and souvenirs.  My head began pounding with a nasty stress headache. The thing I wanted at that moment, even more than money, was an Ibuprofen, also an item left behind.

Feeling utterly miserable I started to wonder if I died. Oscar Wilde once said, “When Americans die, they go to Paris.” Did this mean I was going to spend all of eternity in Paris without a lousy franc?

Suddenly I had a one of those light bulb moments. I would ask everyone on the plane for a small contribution to sustain me.

Gaining my courage I stood up, announced my plight to the group and walked down the aisle collecting funds from my kindhearted flight mates.

By the time we deplaned, my headache cured itself and I had enough to at least feed myself. I don’t remember much more about the dream except that I was immensely happy with very little in Paris. I enjoyed the simplicity of existing on inexpensive meals and exploring every free venue in the city.

My three takeaways from my dream flight to Paris go like this:

  • If you need help, ask for it. Don’t try to go it alone. Sure I had to swallow my pride and look like a blonde bird-brain who doesn’t have it all together, but such is life. It happens, deal with it.
  • Make the most of the moment. Whether it’s a trip to Paris, or your kid’s soccer game be mindful of where you are. No thinking about the pile of unfinished work at the office or laundry at home.
  • Someone once said, “everything is figure-out-able.” Stay with your problem until you have a plan A and a plan B. Get creative and find some sort of solution.

Wishing you sweet and insightful dreams!