a hard month and a new start

At the end of every month, I do a review of what went well, what I feel grateful for and what areas still need to be developed. The template I use is from Nicole, my absolute favorite goals/productivity/life-ass-kicking coach at Life Less Bullshit. She sends out a slightly modified one every month to her email subscribers. It's a good reminder, because otherwise I start breezing into the next month with no regard for what I did or where I'm going. As one of the senior consultants where I work says, "The train's off the tracks, but we're making great time!"

I have to admit, this past month was really difficult for me. Yesterday and today I've had a pretty rough time. And I've also had a rough few weeks without fully knowing it when I was in the midst of them. As someone with a generally unfailingly optimistic (ahem, annoyingly sunny) outlook, it's unusual for me to be so down. My yoga family has experienced some upheaval and we're all reeling from the shock. I haven't run in about a month, even though I have a race at the end of May. I've barely done yoga in weeks, even though I'm training to be a certified yoga instructor. I didn't go grocery shopping or eat very healthfully. I didn't take emotional or physical care of myself and, for the first time in over a year and a half, I got sick. Peter left for Alaska on Saturday and it only fully hit me this morning.

Don't get me wrong - I'm still over-the-moon excited about our move to Cordova, AK but the preparations for the trip overshadowed every other area of my life for weeks.

The thing is, I didn't really feel like I was running myself into the ground until it actually happened.

Following a hard month, it's easy to look back and pinpoint what went wrong. But to be honest, I can now say it was a welcome learning experience. Once Peter was offered his job with the U.S. Forest Service in Alaska, we only had three and a half weeks to get ready for the move. I still have five weeks left before leaving Boulder, but the majority of preparations had to take place before Peter left. The timing was crazy and stressful. It was a whirlwind and surprisingly I embraced it fully (so much so that it wasn't clear until later what had gotten neglected in the meantime). When I think back over what I'm most proud of in April, it was my resilience in the face of fast-moving and uncertain change. For once I was able to be the unwavering support that Peter needed as the deadline for his road trip grew nearer.

And I'm truly grateful for the wonderful support of my family, Peter's family, and many close friends, some of whom came of the woodwork to offer their assistance before I even knew I needed it. To offer companionship and support. To tell me to go easy on myself and accept that ebbs and flows are a part of the status quo. That I won't always love running and do it regularly or make time for my yoga (mental or physical) or feed myself properly and that's okay. That I have a lot going on right now and kindness to myself is way more important than how many miles I covered this month or the fact that I haven't unrolled my mat.

Yesterday, I had a friend who offered to hang out, not knowing how awful I felt, and I almost said no. But instead I sent her back a text and said I was in need of some tea and a good cry. Immediately, she said, "I'll bring the chocolate. What time should I come by?" And when I read it, I just burst into tears. Ugly, scrunch-face tears. Because that's all I needed. I couldn't give myself the compassion I needed right then, but there she was to do it, no questions asked.

So I'm choosing to be at peace with the other commitments that got left behind last month and the big situations that I can't control. What has happened has happened and I can only move forward. I didn't run? So what. I can't go back and make up the hours or miles missed. I was training for a race for fun, which I had somehow lost track of. I'll still race and I won't be as fast if I had made time for running. In the grand scheme, no biggie. Running wasn't my priority last month - moving was - so I have to let it go. Likewise, there are circumstances outside my control right now and all I can do is change my own reaction and outlook on them.

I'm curious to see what my tumultuous April will mean as I progress through May. When Peter left a few days ago, I deep cleaned the apartment, I spent an embarrassing amount of money at Whole Foods stocking my fridge, went on lots of meandering walks and hikes with pups, and napped with my dog. This morning, I went to a yoga class for the first time in several weeks. The theme was, unsurprisingly, nurturing and feeling cared for. As this new month is starting, I'm having to face self-forgiveness, care, and compassion over and over again. Lifelong lessons that I will have to revisit often to remind myself what is important.

How was your April? Did it feel as crazy as mine seemed? What are you looking forward to this month that you didn't feel like you could dig into last month?

Iris Rankin

Soulful questioner, exuberant organizer, here to find the balance between discipline and delicious relaxation. Iris Rankin is the founder of Project Intention, a values-based community focused on living day-to-day with purpose, planning, and heart. Iris encourages women to adopt the self care practices that make them feel divine, the planning tools to hone in on their essential wants and needs, and the emotional resilience to express their most authentic selves.

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