Fuel, Heat, and Oxygen for your Soul

Remember a couple weeks ago when I said I was living life on a banana peel and only doing crafts to try to make some proverbial space?

Leave it to the queens of authenticity and vulnerability to say it better. Glennon Doyle’s podcast is one of the best things out there. Last week’s episodes touched on this idea of creativity and making space, and said it in a way that resonates all the way to my gut.

The first episode of the week talked about creativity, “Writing & Art: When does your real self get to breathe and be seen?” This really made me think about when I write posts that let my real self breathe vs when I am writing to teach. What is my mission and purpose for this space I write in each week? Do I need to change how I am approaching content that I put out?

Then the second episode of the week was Glennon’s sister Amanda’s view on creativity and generally being “non-productive.” In the episode, “Creativity, Chemistry & Claiming Your Joy,” Amanda talked about a recent valley she was in and the realization that it is not her family’s fault – she needs to take ownership of her needs.

She talked about that need with the metaphor of fire. Fire takes fuel, heat, and oxygen. Without letting oxygen in, the flame dies. You need space for oxygen to come in to fan the fire. Creative pursuits are the fuel and your desire to be creative is the heat.

I have the desire and the fuel. But man that O2 is tough to come by these days.

And life is smothering lately.

And what helps when I am smothered is to do things that breathe life into my soul. These 2 podcasts are such a more eloquent way to say how I feel. I hope you find it helpful as well. The podcasts are well worth the listen.

By |2021-10-26T07:04:01-04:00October 26th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

When Home Changes

The definition of home can change over the years. It is hard to have to let go of “homes” that no longer serve you, represent you, or match your definition of home.

This could be shifting roles in family life, friend groups changing, additional job responsibilities or countless other ways your settled “homey” feelings are kicked off their axis.

It might not be as dramatic as your daily schedule proverbially burning down or moving to a new literal home. It might be a subtle nagging that time spent in a space or relationship is no longer the soft place to fall that you thought it was.

When we think about this through the Sustainable Productivity (SusPro) lens, it means to ask yourself two questions:

  • Is it productive for me: Am I getting the desired outcome?
  • Is it sustainable for me: Can I continue this lifelong if I want?

If the answer to either one of these SusPro questions is no, it is time for an adjustment.

3-Step Adjustment

Once you decide something is no longer Sustainably Productive for you, you can take action through these small, manageable steps. This is not the time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Sweeping, dramatic changes are not SusPro and often lead to burnout and negative self-talk. Not to mention don’t solve the problem that brought the need for change in the first place.

1 – Name what is not working

This could look and feel a million different ways depending on the issue and your life circumstances. Don’t overthink it. It could be activities just not fitting into the schedule this season. Maybe it is feeling drained after drinks with friends instead of fulfilled. Never quite finding time to reading the selection for book club – for a whole year.

Don’t judge what you name – let it be what comes up. No matter how trivial, petty, or small it might be.

2 – Make small changes

Once you name what is not working, brainstorm ways to make small SusPro changes. Don’t quit book club altogether, let the group know you can only commit to every other month. Instead of always having drinks with that One Friend, maybe ask that mom you see at band pick up if she wants to grab coffee. Or go have coffee with yourself instead of someone who leaves you drained.

If you are not sure how to make a change to what is eating your lunch every day, keep an eye out for when you DO feel at home. Certain clothing, rooms in your home, smells, people, activities, etc. How can you add more of that? Maybe you don’t need to stop having drinks with that friend, but you try to add other people, change to dessert earlier in the night, or just wear different pants!

3 – Evaluate

After a few rounds of your small changes, decide if it is working or not. This could be several months if you are backing off of book club, but it could be days if you are trying steel cut oats for breakfast instead of donuts. Take yourself full circle as ask the SusPro questions:

  • Is it productive for me: Am I getting the desired outcome?
  • Is it sustainable for me: Can I continue this lifelong if I want?

If the answer to either one of these SusPro questions is no, it is time for an adjustment.

Keep in mind the answer might be MAYBE. If you are not able to say no, keep going and see what develops. You might just be in the stage of habit change where you are resetting routines and neural pathways. Give it time to bake in before deciding.

Your Turn

Are you feeling comfortable in your literal and proverbial “home” these days? If so – identify why and what makes you feel at home. If not – what is not working and what small changes can you make?

By |2021-10-18T17:27:14-04:00October 19th, 2021|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Limping Through Life?

When living life on a banana peel, one must move very slowly. If at all.

Here is a rundown of what is not getting done:

  • House cleaning
  • Sustainable Sue content planning
  • Bike rides
  • Uninterrupted night’s sleep
  • Weed pulling
  • Showering
  • Meal planning
  • Reading multiple books in a week

Live footage of me finishing last week:

Source: Giphy, of course

We are down to the basics, and I must add crafting as one of my basics to keep afloat. I am taking this tip from a couple friends who craft to manage their stress levels too.

Above: Sumo wrestler relaxes between matches by cross stitching (Source unknown). Right: Tom Daley, British Olympic diver manages stress at events by knitting (Source: Instagram)

 

NOTE: Before I go further I want to acknowledge all the privilege that I have that allows me to manage mental health. I have money to afford hobbies or therapy, no kids at home to feed when I just want to eat ice cream for dinner, and a job where I work at home and can lie down during my lunch hour if I need to.

My Floors Are Not Clean But…

Here is a snapshot of what that is getting me through these tough days.

1 – English paper piecing is a quilting / sewing technique that I learned at my local quilt shop. I have several projects in mind including a quilt I may try to sell and small handbags for my nieces. Bonus is using up fabric scraps AND scrapbook paper from my stash. Yay for free crafts!

2 – I learned to knit in August and finished a scarf as my first project. I bought some practice yarn scraps from Reconsidered Goods (think Goodwill shop for all things crafts). I worked on my stitching for awhile before purchasing nice yard for a blanket I want to make for a couch we purchased earlier this year. Lucille is a big fan of knitting too, as you can see.

I like this craft because I can carry it easily in a single bag and it is easily contained to do on long car trips or in waiting rooms and such.

3 – I have wanted to make a puff quilt since seeing it on social media. Turns out Lo and Behold Stitchery has a free pattern that includes a video tutorial! This quilt is 720 squares of shades of Christmas colors, plus backing and binding that I was all able to pull from my fabric stash. I really loved using the stash because half of the squares are never seen so I could use some of the less favorite fabric that was in my mom’s stash that I inherited. There is also some fabric from her that is just so old it is hard to work with. I could not part with it, but this way I can use it and it just does not matter how janky it turns out!

Here is my puff-in-progress.

The purpose of this post is not to shame you into thinking you * should * be doing crafts too. This post is a reminder to myself that what I am doing today is enough. I hope you have something in your life that brings light to your days.

Be easy on yourself and others.

Your Turn

What could you stop doing to give yourself a break? What can you start doing to give yourself a break?

By |2021-10-11T19:11:05-04:00October 12th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fitness Without a Finish Line

I want to share some words with you a little differently this week. Kindred Mom blog invited me to talk about redefining strong, brave and beautiful in the second half of life. I shared about the Sustainable Productivity concept of  “fitness without a finish line” and then recorded it as a podcast with them. You can find this piece here. I hope you enjoy it. Here is a small excerpt:

My 45 year old belly I see in the studio mirror is far from the six pack abs that belonged to the collegiate athlete who was weighed each week and when she hit her (coach’s arbitrary) scale goal was told to start dropping body fat. Young Susan did as she was told – mostly through high intensity cardiovascular workouts which were part of pre-season/in-season/post-season/off-season training programs anyway. And let me tell you––if it was on the training schedule it got done. If there is one thing Young Susan (and sometimes Today Susan, if I am being honest) loved, it was a gold star.

Health and Fitness

By |2021-10-05T08:53:13-04:00October 5th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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