If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

When I want to give someone tough love, one of my favorite phrases is: If nothing changes… Nothing changes.

Ouch, I know, right?!

But this week I want to keep things more on the lighter side. If you listen to the Sustainably Productivity podcast, you know Bixby and I traveled to Italy to see our eldest in the second half of April. I felt such awe for the age, history, and culture of all of the cities we visited. I am still rolling that around in my head.

Today I want to talk about how we are quite similar to the Italians who lived thousands of years ago. It reminded me of the Us Weekly Magazine segment: “Stars – They’re Just Like Us!”

Let’s take a little tongue in cheek tour to see how when nothing changes, nothing changes.

We All Have Unfinished Projects

This is a statue of two children playing a game they invented. There is supposed to be a third child in the empty space on the platform. Sort of reminds me of all of the craft projects I have piled on my desk, waiting on the spare bed, and swirling in my brain. Can you relate?

They Don’t Always Take Care of Their Books

Libreria Acqua Alta is a bookstore in Venice that obviously has books that have not survived the floods there. They turned it into a tourist attraction of sorts (successfully – as you can see). I don’t know about you, but sometimes I put books face down on the table or bed. I have been known to dog ear pages – even in library books in an emergency and if it is a physical book I own, I mark it up as needed. Do you have a book confession?

They are Extra About Their Pets

At the same time we were looking at these incredible statues of greyhounds in the square in the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence, Lucille was living her best life in a pet boarding place where she swam in a pool every day with other dogs and ended her day with a Frosty Paws before bed. How do you spoil your pet?

They Screw Up on Large Projects

Obviously, the photo above is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But did you know there is a different tower that actually leans MORE than this famous one? The photo below is the Garisenda in Bologna. It leans twice as much as the debacle in Pisa, yet it is seldom spoken of. We did not know about it until we walked past it on our visit.

The wide open field and beautiful grounds in Pisa sure make for a prettier picture. I guess that is another way this ancient civilization was like us – the valuation of beauty and its photo op. Reading up on the cause and impact of these architectural and construction debacles has been interesting. And makes me feel a little better when I make a mistake at my job. What have you bungled today?

They Dedicated Space for Hobbies

This is the ancient writing space for royalty in ancient Italy. I love that there is a window nearby. Looks very similar to my writing nook. Do you have a dedicated space for your hobbies?

Their Physicians Hated Them

Check out the footgear on this dude in the painting. Looks very similar to the torture device Bixby has from his doctor (picture below) after all the exercises for his bad ankle failed him. I feel that way about some of the appliances, wraps, exercises, and devices I have been prescribed too. How is aging going for you?

They Loved Family

All joking aside, we had an incredible time learning about ancient and current culture. But the most important thing we did was see our eldest thriving in a situation we could never have imagined her in. This is one time I hope that if nothing changes… nothing changes.

By |2023-05-26T05:47:17-04:00May 30th, 2023|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Pep Talk From (and For) Uncomfortable Sue

Time for a pep talk, gang – circle up. No one likes to be comfortable more than I do. I love my sweatpants. Crocs are my go to footwear right now. I have had the same hairstyle since I was 8. But this writing and podcasting thing sure has me stretching my comfort zone these days. 

I have been finding encouragement in weird places and wondered if some of these might help you too. Sometimes we need non-traditional methods to break into our stubborn brains. It is sort of like the unmotivational posters from Despair that remind us to take ourselves a little less seriously in the office. 

Slow Growth

I was watching some science thing and they made a comment that a variance in just one molecule changes the make up of something, technically rendering it a different species. This is a pep talk for Uncomfortable Sue (and maybe Uncomfortable Sue) who feels like she is making progress too slowly. I feel like I should have more readers and listeners by now. I want all the results to be successes, no failures. 

This is magical thinking at its best. But what this science inspirational nugget does is tell me that these small, incremental adjustments do matter – even when I cannot see the progress. You cannot see changes on a molecular level unless you have a microscope. I am sure there are microscopic ways the Sustainable Sue business is growing that I just am not aware of. 

I just need to be patient about the time it is taking. Which leads to the next pep talk for Uncomfortable Sue.

Painful Disconnect 

Glennon Doyle said something on her podcast that made me pull the car over and write it down. The pain is between the knowing and the action. This is why when our insides and outsides are not matching up, we feel uncomfortable and disconnected. Because we are – there is a disconnect between knowing something is wrong and doing something about it. 

The fun part (or “fun” – we are talking about pain after all) is that now that you are aware of this idea, it might even show up more for you. This concept has shown up in my life in big and small ways since I heard it months ago. 

  • Each spring I want to be a woman who grows her own herbs and vegetables, yet I don’t take action on making a plan to prepare the soil and remembering to water the plants.
  • In 2017 I knew something was wrong with the way I was drinking alcohol, but I lied to my counselor for years about it, refused to admit I had a problem, and blamed everyone else for my misery.
  • My digital clutter makes it hard to find files and costs money to store and back up. Although this drives my crazy, when the time block to do something about it pops up I have been dismissing it without taking action. 

The truth is when the pain gets great enough, that is when we will change our behavior. Sometimes it take a long, dang time. But I do believe that you become a truer version of yourself as you get older. We can shed the fears and other obstacles to really learn who you are. 

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”

David Mitchell

When you meet the true you, this is when your insides and outsides can start to align. You can become a fully integrated person and this is where the pain is relieved. 

Sustainable You Reflections

  • What do you think is taking too long to get the result you want?
  • What small (even microscopic) changes have you made to move from the knowing?

If this pep talk was helpful for you, I would be grateful if you shared it with a friend who might need some encouragement. 

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that sustain YOU.

By |2023-04-14T08:50:59-04:00April 25th, 2023|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Keep. Showing. Up.

Coach Sue here for a pep talk to help you keep showing up for yourself. It can’t just be me hitting the dark, cold weather doldrums, right?

Things had really been cooking along with my writing for the last few months. 

  • I have been showing up regularly in weekly essays on my website,
  • My book proposal is ready for an editor,
  • A friend of mine started a weekly writing “support group,”
  • A few more creative opportunities are in the works for later this month, and
  • I found a writing group that meets monthly at my local library. 

It felt like the universe was conspiring to support me as a writer and creative human. The wind was at my back – full steam ahead. 

Then I turned the page of the calendar and it seemed like the wheels fell off the Writing Bus. 

  • The editor I had a get-to-know-you call with this morning no showed. 
  • I was the only person who showed up for the library group (which turned out to be for fiction writers anyway).
  • The other editor I interviewed is out of my price range.

Pep Talk Section

The pep rally starts here.

I bring you all of this today as an example of life on life’s terms. While I don’t believe that we should always try to cram that square peg into a round hole, I do believe that what we want takes work, patience, and creative problem solving

Maybe my message needs refining before getting to an editor. Perhaps giving feedback on other writers’ work is not where the universe wants me to focus right now. Am I not getting book traction because I am supposed to focus on a more verbal medium?

I don’t know. 

As a revering control freak and people pleaser, it is REALLY hard to say that. I just don’t have an answer. Sometimes Usually my time is not the universe’s time. I feel impatient that “it” (whatever “it” is) is taking months – this seems like forever in my 48 year old life. But in the scheme of the expansive universe over millennia of time, months is a drop in the bucket. 

What I do know for sure is that creativity and sharing words in any format feels like the right thing for today. And science tells us repetition yields results. So I will keep showing up – and I hope you do too. 

I will leave you with these poetic words that expresses my sentiment in 35 words when I it took me 10 times longer. 

4 Immutable Laws of the Spirit

Whoever is present are the right people.

Whenever it begins is the right time.

Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened.

When it’s over, it’s over.

— Harrison Owen

Sustainable You Reflections

  • What in your life feels like rolling a boulder uphill these days?
  • Have you truly been showing up consistently related to this boulder? Is there a way you need to change how you are showing up – more attention, less control, different activities? 

It might be hard to see where you need help with that boulder or how you can show up differently. Creative problem solving sometimes needs an accountability buddy. If you need help find me on social media or send me a message to Susan@SustainableSue.com. I would be glad to help you work on it!

Until next time –

By |2023-02-04T14:50:30-05:00February 14th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments
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