Hey Soul Fam,
Is it just me or do you guys also feel like you’re in a bizarre time warp? Every time I turn around, it’s Friday again. And the start of another month. And a new season. Same, same, but different. What a mindfuck, right? I’m calling it Lockdown Limbo.
I’m accepting that productivity in Lockdown Limbo just looks different. And that’s ok. When all of the things we typically outsource are begging for our (inexperienced) attention, we have to get creative and go gently with ourselves. Give ourselves permission to do the best we can – and let some things just slip through the cracks. I finally tackled my gray hair situation; wrestled my king-sized duvet back into its freshly laundered cover (only to discover it was the wrong way around!); and conquered the army of dust bunnies threatening to evict me from my own home. No organization projects, though. Those still sound like the domestic equivalent of a root canal to me. I’ll stick to piles versus files, thank you very much.
And, to be honest, I’d rather spend the extra time fueling my soul. Please give yourself permission to do the same. It’s more important now than ever!
Here’s your inspiration, my friends. I dare you to try something new in Lockdown Limbo. 😉
WHO OR WHAT IS INTRIGUING ME AT THE MOMENT
Kinrgy, founded by Julianne Hough. She calls it the “Soul Cycle of Dance.” It’s a wild and deeply primal experience – some combination of dance therapy and spiritual fitness. A way to reconnect with your body, truest self, and highest vibrational energy. If you’re feeling sluggish, meh, uncreative, or stuck in your head, try this now. It’ll get you out of your funk – and your comfort zone. I’ll be honest, when I first experienced it last week, I felt silly and self-conscious (even though no one could see me dancing alone in my house!). But then I just let go, tuned out the self-judgment, and trusted my body. It was soooooo liberating, you guys. It’s a powerful way to get your energy and creative juices flowing. Try the 15-minute experience led by Jules Hough herself on @Kinrgy IGTV.
WHAT’S GOT MY ORANGE HIGHLIGHTER IN OVERDRIVE
I’m still making my way through the quarantine stack I shared last month. At the moment, I’m deep into Dr. Mark Hyman’s Food Fix and it’s making me scream with rage at how ass backwards our food ecosystem is today. Big Agriculture runs the show. The crops it subsidizes (i.e., corn, wheat, and soy) are responsible for the cheap, ultra-processed food and sugary beverages causing preventable chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease to skyrocket. Not to mention the associated astronomical medical costs of treating these diseases and the environmental impact of industrial farming methods used to grow and harvest these crops. This fact alone made my blood boil: such a large portion of S.N.A.P. (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), funding for the food insecure, goes to purchase unhealthy food that the Coca-Cola Company has essentially become a billion-dollar welfare recipient. It’s maddening. If you have any interest in rebelling for systemic fixes that get at the root cause of our health and environmental issues, this is the book that will spark your activism.
Also, I want to celebrate Olivia Reiman, a friend and soul sister, who just published her second book. It’s called Break the Chain: How to Face Your Fears With Confidence to Create a Life You Love — and it feels so freaking relevant right now. Here’s the summary: Creating a life you love is usually the goal right? So why does it feel so freaking hard and scary?! Because it involves doing the one thing we tend to avoid – facing our fears. But I’m here to tell you it can be done with confidence! Once you can pull back the curtain on the inner workings of this whole process you start overriding fear with fun! That’s when life starts to change for the better. So how many chains are holding you back right now? How many fears, beliefs, and opinions are in the way of becoming the YOU that you want to be? Let’s explore where in your life to find these chains and take you step by step through how exactly to break them. It’s time to break the chain, face your fears with confidence, and create a life you love!
Finally, I’m re-reading Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. This bright green, pocket-sized book of provocative quotes went everywhere with me in the early days of Soulbbatical. Sometimes I simply pulled it out to look at the reassuring title in paralyzing moments of self-doubt or fear. Last week I felt called to grab it again – and keep it next to me for inspiration. The other day I flipped to two random pages and landed on quotes that could not be more apropos for these uncertain times. Savor these words, my friends:
“If it is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.”
“This is not how your story ends. It’s simply where it takes a turn you didn’t expect.”
It’s time to pivot. We got this.
WHO/WHAT/WHERE IS GIVING ME ROCKET FUEL
Well, since we can’t go anywhere (and the IL shelter-in-place order has been extended through the end of May), I’m focused on the simple things that light me up and make me feel spoiled. Right now, those things are organic wine, fresh flowers, and healthy treats.
Organic Wines – As many of you know, wine is one of my favorite things in the world. A good wine and cheese pairing is culinary bliss to me. I swear I must have a little Italian blood coursing through these Irish veins. But the reality is that I’ve been dialing back on consumption in order to stay present to myself and my emotions – and, most importantly, to honor my health. However, I’ve given myself a little wiggle room since discovering organic wine. I’m in love with Dry Farm Wines, a monthly subscription wine service that sources delicious low sugar, lower alcohol, biodynamic wines from artisan producers around the world (France, Italy, Spain, Austria, South Africa, and so many other countries). They are freaking delicious – and keto friendly to boot. If you’re looking to walk the line between health and hedonism, this is as close as it gets (IMHO).
Fresh Flowers – It feels decadent, but I’m giving myself permission to buy fresh flowers from my neighborhood market every week. They make me smile because I’m supporting local business and I’m bringing nature and bright color into my house. Most recently, bright orange Gerber daisies (of course). What are the little things you can do for yourself right now? Creating and celebrating meaningful moments is a powerful way to combat the overwhelming Groundhog Day feeling.
Healthy Treats – Over the past couple of years, I’ve become a pretty clean eater (well, most of the time anyway). Part of my Soulbbatical journey has been a commitment to giving up caffeine, refined sugars, most grains and legumes, and all dairy except for the occasional cheese indulgence (because, wine). But that doesn’t mean I deprive myself of yummy snacks. I get creative with clean ingredients. In quarantine, I’ve been making batches of my favorite no-bake pecan snowballs. All the goodness of dates, pecans, and unsweetened shredded coconut in a bite-size sweet and salty treat. Warning: they’re addictive! (Note: I skip the arrowroot and, instead, roll the cookies in shredded coconut.)
PODCAST EPISODES, VIDEOS, OR WORDS OF WISDOM
FROM MY TRIBE
Here’s a powerful message of hope and resilience from author Neil Gaiman. I invite you to pause for 3.5 minutes and let this sink in. We are stronger than we think. Always. (And that voice!)
I’ve also been doing a lot of podcast and media appearances lately. Spreading the good word of Soulbbatical has felt so on purpose in a time of need. One of my favorites is the 25-minutes I spent live with Jon, Felicia, and Amy on The Jam (a local Chicago morning TV show). Check it out (my interview begins at the 32 minute mark.) Another was the popular “Nobody Told Me” podcast.
Finally, my friend Cheryle Jackson is hosting her second annual Grit + Grace Day event on May 22nd. Virtually, of course. It’s called “PIVOT! Plot Your Comeback Post-Pandemic” and I’ll be one of the keynote speakers at 9a CT. Stay tuned for details on the socials. This one will be one worth attending. (Email me if you’re interested.)
I’m here for each and every one of you. Shoot me an email and let me know what lit your soul on fire, what shifted your perspective for the weeks or months ahead, or how I can support you in any way.
And don’t be shy. If you love what you’re reading, share it with friends, family, clients, and colleagues who need a little more Soul Fuel in their lives. I mean, in this day and age, don’t we all?
Stay safe and soul-full my friends. Happy Whatever Month It Is!