Happy Halloween everybody!!
Love the treats but the nasty trick is… when the sugar rush has worn off and we wake up tomorrow – it’s NOVEMBER!!!
Christmas is just 7.5 weeks away?! And I feel like I’m still working off my turkey belly from last year!
‘Life moves pretty fast’, as Ferris Bueller says, and like many, you might be asking yourself ‘where did the past 10 months go?’ and be wondering just when and how you’re going to fit in all the things you had planned to do this year in the two months of it that are left.
If that wasn’t pressure enough, as we move into this most joyous of seasons… isn’t it true that the ‘to do’ list literally doubles and time shrinks - filled with parties and preparations (and the occasional hangover).
It can leave us feeling less than festive viz. ‘downright bummed out’ - if we’re starting the new year with some misplaced sense of ‘I didn’t accomplish anything in 2017’ as we roll over the ‘to do’ list into our next set of resolutions.
Fret not! If any of this sounds familiar then I have a great set of tools to help you handle the overwhelm that too often accompanies this time of year. I’m offering a Lunch-n-Learn at the end of next week which will have you walking away with: a new perspective, and a tamed ‘to do’ list.
It’s just $25 to attend – and FREE if you work for an Benedict Associates EAP client company!! What a bargain! Bring your own lunch on Friday, November 10th to the Emporium Building - 69 Front Street (above Flanagan’s). Spaces are limited so call the lovely Helen on 295-2070 ext 0. to book your spot.
Head into the holiday season prepped and with a plan of action to get done all that needs to get done and start 2018 on a clear path… (if not a clear head!)
P.S. All this talk of Christmas freaking you out?
Let’s look at the plus side – it’s the start of the Hallmark Christmas Countdown…(oh yeah!) The high-fructose-corn-syrup of television making that fuels an insatiable appetite for predictable, formulaic Christmas slush which is the best (or is that just me?!)
Ok - full disclosure…? I actually have a secret dream to be in my own Hallmark Christmas movie!! (Move over Candace Cameron-Bure! hehe)
P.P.S And if you’re wondering how the girl that is late for literally EVERYTHING (that’s me) is this time so early, on the bauble and far ahead of the game… with my Christmas tree up and all decorated and looking fly…
Yup – you guessed it. Not so much early as perhaps a little tardy in taking it down. I was aiming for another Yuly party, but the summer breezed by so fast it didn’t happen… next year! But no worries, in the Pitt household, we’re always happy to have Christmas 365… Now where’s the eggnog?!
Julia Pitt is a trained Success Coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on (441) 705-7488
A few weeks ago a friend asked if I had a book she was looking for. I dug around in the endless piles and dusted it off. ‘The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo. The irony. Bought years ago with good intention (like them all) … until it got swallowed into the bookshelf overflow and general clutter. Besides, I’d later heard the comment, “that’s the one where she talks to her socks to keep them happy…” I figured yeh, I’d never read it.
Yet somehow now, the prospect of giving it away made me crack the spine – just to see. As they say, ‘when the student is ready... a small, Japanese organisational guru's manual appears’.
I have often joked about my untidiness and knack for accumulating things. Writing it off as: “interesting isn’t neat!” However, taking photographs through my house recently, I suddenly saw it through an objective lens (without the glossing-over I have trained myself to do)… it wasn’t a pretty picture.
How good we can get at just ‘putting up with’ things.
In my defense, it’s not like there are stacks of newspapers you can’t move around… and yet, here these are that I’ve been holding on to (because I can’t help feeling they’re pretty cool).
The truth is, I am a bit of a hoarder (little h). And I’ve been drowning in STUFF for the past few years, feeling completely helpless to do anything about it… because I didn’t know where to begin.
Half of the stuff isn’t mine… inherited. A lot of it was expensive… does that mean valuable? I’m not sure… Most of it is nice/a slice of history/functional/useful/handy if I ever (fill in the blank) in the future… How do you get rid of that stuff?
I really didn't know until suddenly this simple, little book has shown me a way. Not only has it broken the overwhelming task of ‘tidy the house’ down into really small chunks so that each bite feels manageable... and arranged it in a progression that intensifies after practice and skill. More importantly, it has offered a valid measure for deciding what to keep and what to move on…
So simple and yet previously overlooked – perhaps because it didn’t seem ‘intellectual’ enough… or maybe even from feelings of undeserving… The straightforward question: does this thing bring me joy?
Not the SHOULDS or the SOMEDAY I MIGHT NEED IT or the JUST IN CASE or the BUT THAT WAS YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S… just, DOES THIS SPARK JOY IN ME?
If we got to pick (and we do btw.) wouldn’t we choose to have more JOY? What really sold me was her suggestion: ‘imagine walking into your space surrounded only by things you love, that bring you joy’. What an overwhelmingly tantalizing prospect that is and suddenly I am fully on board to do the work.
And what is the work… talking to my sock drawer? Yes – in part.
The 'MariKon' system is to touch and hold each object in turn and ask ourselves, “does this spark joy?”
I can tell you, in the beginning, kneeling on the floor holding a white t-shirt and asking myself, ‘is this sparking joy in me?’ made me question the sanity of the whole process. But then strangely, an answer started to come… Joy? I don’t know about joy, but comfort, yes. ‘It’s easy to wear,’ I thought ‘and flattering… as t-shirts go’. The blue one however, next in the pile, is scratchy and requires ironing – no joy there. And so it began.
I am three weeks in. Doing a little bit every day… and what’s crazy is that I’m REALLY enjoying it. Not words I ever thought I’d hear myself say about tidying! I am finished with the closet. Nine bags of clothes - that didn’t fit right, weren’t really my colour or were more about the buying than the wearing… (so head to Orange Bay if you’re a size 8-12 and long in the leg!)
I mean, look at this sock drawer… a thing of freakin’ beauty!
And what a different relationship it’s created for the objects that remain. More gratitude. Now I can see what I have, and feel a desire to treat those things I love, well. I love picking socks in the morning!
The more I do, the more I realize this is less about tidying and more about having a measure of what’s important in life. The questions can be applied to anything. ‘Does this spark joy in me? Do I really want this in my life?’ You start looking at things in a whole new way when ‘joy’ is your yardstick.
6 months, she suggests. It is a process that will likely take 6 months to do the whole house – not the 2 weeks that I had vaguely imagined that the ‘Sort the House’ item on my To Do list would take… The item that has unsurprisingly been carried over from week to week for the past 10 years!
So six months from now my house will be joyful! I’ve said it now – it’s official. Hold me to it - nothing like giving myself a little accountability…
And what about all the life changing magic that Marie Kondo promises will follow? Watch this (tidy) space I guess.
Little says ‘unhinged’ like laughing hysterically by yourself on an otherwise dark and silent airplane… until shushed by a fellow passenger leaning into my solo spotlight. I just pointed at the manic raccoon face and slunk deep behind my copy of ‘Furiously Happy’…
Blame author Jenny Lawson and her (NYT bestselling) autobiographical musings and anecdotes from a woman diagnosed with a litany of mental illnesses and disorders - sounds hilarious, right?!
But it’s had tears rolling down my cheeks - for all the reasons tears do that.
I absolutely love this funny, uplifting book that not only writes openly about mental illness, but also celebrates it! Not like, ‘yay! I’ve got depression and anxiety,’ but like, ‘hey, this is the way I’m made - a bit different, given - and with a ton of great. Let’s deal with it and make the most of it!’
Elsewhere in the world you’re weird if you don’t go to therapy! And anyone who’s anyone has a Coach, right? Because Coaching is awesome! …Here in Bermuda however, mental health is still such a taboo subject. Any kind of helping profession or personal development tends to get lumped together: as somewhere you definitely don’t want to be seen, with an attitude of: ‘I don’t need help, I’m not crazy!’
Hello?! This sh*t (mental illnesses, in their multitude of classifications and degrees of severity) affects a LOT of people. If not you directly, then I bet you know someone close by…. Aren’t we tired of pretending like mental issues don’t exist, being swept under rugs, hiding behind brave faces, desperately trying to look ‘normal’ and ‘fit in’ when perhaps inside it feels like worlds are crumbling?
“Unapologetic…” is a word used amongst ‘Furiously Happy’s rave reviews, and it’s precisely this which makes the book so darn inspiring. Accepting her diagnoses, recognizing that how her brain works is part of who she is and that it brings its own joys alongside the pain… owning her ‘crazy’… allows the author to live fully.
We try so hard to fit ourselves into this box that society's designed. Who in society, I don’t know… but there’s this general collective idea of how we’re supposed to act and think and be like (and btw. having any kind of mental illness is definitely not in the criteria)…
I know how hard I’ve tried over the years to stuff myself into that constricting cube.
So when, whichever way you try, you just don’t fit, it’s really easy to spend your time and thoughts chiding oneself, feeling bad or useless or undeserving or pathetic, ashamed, less than, self-pitying… and even more depressed or anxious because you’re constantly apologizing for the way you are and lamenting the fact you aren’t ‘normal’.
What a waste. And this is what Jenny Lawson says. Life is too short to spend the time you do have feeling bad about feeling bad, or feeling sorry about the way you are.
The book’s title comes from her decision on how she intends to spend the ‘free’ time that her illnesses give her. When she can be, she is not just happy and grateful… she milks joy. She launches into her creativity and sparkle, and shares with us the adventures of her gloriously unique mind and quirky perspective. Out of the darkness she finds the light – and the comedy. When she’s not stuck under a duvet or a table, this gal lives and loves and laughs… furiously.
Couldn’t we all take a page out of her book?
Whether or not we have a diagnosis, we all have our own versions of crazy.
And the truth is that we get to define our own ‘normal’ too, if we dare. Let’s love the life we’re given, and live it furiously happily!
** Living with any mental illness or condition is isolating enough. You are not alone and you don’t have to do it alone. We all need help sometimes and there is help out there for you… so please reach out until you find what works for you.
What makes a person old? Is it the years they’ve been alive? Because ‘old lady’ does not come to mind when I see pictures of people like Tao Porchon-Lynch, Betty White at 95 or any number of dynamic, beautiful women celebrating big number birthdays… And yet this past week, at mere youthful age of 41* I have never felt more like an outdated, antique old fogey.
It’s Facebook that did it. Not comparing myself to everyone else’s airbrushed photos – I have long since stopped doing that. I mean, just trying to use Facebook.
In highschool, age 16, when the Russian computer geeks in my class advised me to get an email address, my reply was, “why bother, this whole World-Wide Web thing, is never going catch on!”
Yeh, that’s always kinda been my approach to technology. I get dragged along and swept into it, but usually only to a bare minimum level and always reluctantly. Don’t get me wrong. I love my computer – I learned to type on a type-writer so I totally appreciate the joys of Cut and Paste and the genius of Spell-check. And yes… I do send emails!
I have had a Facebook account for years but I can count the number of things I have ever posted there on one hand – always accompanied by a strange, uneasy feeling of shame or embarrassment as soon as I’ve done it. I occasionally look at other people’s postings – but have to limit it as every time I start scrolling down that feed list I enter a black-hole that literally sucks hours from me at warp-speed.
The thing is, I don’t want to stop my weekly column, even if the Gazette can’t publish it. So I figured I would post them on Facebook… which brings us to last week: setting up this new page, trying to assemble photos in Photoshop, figuring out how to post things so that people can actually see them, working out all the moving parts… I was like a monkey using power tools – it was painful and I’m sure would have been just sad to watch. I would say it was like I had a mental age of 6, but six-year-olds cope way better with technology than I!
My mother told me that in 1969, when she went to tell my then 90-year-old grandmother that men were about to walk on the moon, my grandmother replied, “switch the television off. I have seen enough in my lifetime, I don’t need to see that.” She was born in the 19th century for goodness sake, so perhaps she had a point?
But I, it seems, have adopted her same attitude to Social Media. I just haven’t wanted to know - tried to avoid the whole messy business if I could… but it turns out, I can’t. Not in the business that I’m in. Not if I want to stay current in the world as it is. I can have my opinions about how “the kids of today… blah, blah, blah,” but this is where the world is and if I’m not in it, I’m out of it: defunct, out-moded, old news.
Part of my aversion to it, I realize, is that I didn’t believe that I could learn it. That I’d ‘missed that boat’, that it was somehow ‘too complicated’ and I was too ‘past it’… but that is the fuddy-duddy mentality right there. If you think you’re too old, you are – whatever your years.
So I have decided instead to adopt a mantra from Bernice Bates, a yoga teacher in her nineties. “I can’t do that…YET,” she insists people say in her classes.
I am off to find some young whipper-snapper to teach me how this whole Social Media thing works… It may take a lot of tries and possible 100 years but I’ll get there… and even at 141, I’ll be all the younger for it.
Shying away from the world and what it throws at us only ages us before our time. Embracing life (and change) as the adventure it is, keeps us only growing bOlder!
* Yes, while I feel 41 is already a shockingly high number and I’m completely perplexed as to how I reached it, it nevertheless is still young compared to what I hope to live to…
Julia Pitt is a trained Success Coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on (441) 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com
Julia is a trained Personal Development Coach, certified NLP Practitioner, writer and public speaker. Using coaching methods, tools and conversation, Julia helps her clients achieve the goals they set for themselves and transform their lives. Here she shares her own personal development journey on her life quest for authenticity, growth and having a good time!