I met Laura Cisneros in Atlanta at a SCW Mania in 2011. I was pretty much walking by minding my business and she said something to me that not only startled me but made me laugh my head off. She was tiny but fiery but fierce. I spent every free minute I had over there at her booth, chatting, learning, observing, gasping at her story, how “free” she seemed to be. But we all have a story.
Laura asked me to let her know if I wanted her to edit and I looked at what she had written and laughed. The truth is if I edited it, I’d be edited HER. And I won’t do that. I asked her to tell her story, her way. So here it is…….
Love you, Sister. ❤
When Tasha asked me to write this entry for her, I was like “Okay. What do you want me to talk about?” And Tasha, being Tasha, said: “you know, just that life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to work on self and that LIFE WILL BE HARDER if you DON’T…” Here is the reasoning behind this truth. Your consciousness frames your perspective. Your attitude creates your reality. Your reality defines your opportunities. Your opportunities define your life.
So, for me, the question is how do I maintain a healthy consciousness and how the hell do I do that when I’m a working mom of three. Work-life balance sounds awesome, but what is it? For years, as an ambitious super mom, I swore up and down I could do it all. I ran from the airport to piano recitals, from manufacturing floors to homebound conference calls with a feverish child in my arms. I fretted over balance sheets, and distributor deals, while carving pumpkins and selling lemonade. All the while, slipping into a kinda frenzied numbness of doing that was leaving me hollow. Doing it all, having it all was making me less of who I was.
My parenting became more managerial, less nurturing. I became rigid and strict on my children. It was then that I realized the work-life balance I thought I had was anything but that. Yes, the hours of my day were divided between Laura the CEO and Laura the MOM, but I was not. You cannot be two people.
This struggle between these personas came to define how I viewed the world and more importantly, who I was in it. The problem was, I was wrong. Wrong about everything.
It was time to take stock.
But life does not have a “pause” button. And as mothers, doers, and dreamers we keep pushing with this idea that, “Right. I know I need to reflect on this stuff, but first I’ve got to get this business off the ground; or launch that platform or get my kids in high school, or land that job.” But that’s not how it works. Ever. Life is not charging a single hill. It’s charging one just to see the peaks of the mountain behind it.
So, how then? How do we do the necessary work of “self”? How can we do this work in the frenetic, screeching, sideshow called life? The work that makes not just living in it, but thriving in it possible?
If you’re like me, you need short-hand, a rule of thumb or a top ten list. While I love self-help, I’m almost too overwhelmed to take on another tool in my toolbox. So I’ve come up with a simple method that is a combo platter of teachings from graphic design phenom and monster woman on the mainline of universal emotion Tanya Freach taught me and some verbs. Are you ready to give yourself some room to remember who you are and how you want to be?
1) Make space. Give yourself as a miraculous and transcendent a holy and sacred opportunity to be. To be with you bullshit. To be with your beauty. To be with your loss. To be with your victories. To be with your vanity. To be with you love. To be in all you complete and utter humanity. Make space. All it takes is holding that in you mind for one moment. With a single breath of acknowledgment. Give yourself that gift throughout the day.
2) 5 Verbs: F*ck all the programs, methods, mantras, journaling. Start small. Just a few verbs. Verbs to keep top of mind. Verbs on post-it notes. Verbs on rings. Verbs on refrigerator magnets. Wherever. Select carefully. Think deeply about the action you want to take. Your verbs should act to settle you into the consciousness you want to achieve. They prompt you to behaviors that help you reframe how you see the world. They are words that feed your essential nature and give you the gentle direction you need to support change or to remind you of who you are.
And these verbs should change with you. Making space will help you curate the right words. Expand these words in your mind. Read the definition. Makes them a part of you.
I’d say meditate, but even that sounds like a commitment to me. I will use the term “mindfulness” however. Be mindful as you read, or see these words. Sew them on you soul like Girl Scout badges.
So what are my verbs?
to rise slowly by or as if by continued effort
to ascend or rise
to proceed or move by using the hands and feet
to ascend in prominence, fortune, etc
to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear
to pay attention; heed; obey
to wait attentively for a sound
exercise or activity for amusement or recreation
fun or jest, as opposed to seriousness
to grant pardon for or remission of
to cease to feel resentment
to have or show respect or concern for
to take into account; consider
to look at; observe
to relate to; concern
I rub on these words now like stones in my pocket. They are like breadcrumbs and power bars leading me to the home within myself and sustaining me along the way.