Tag Archives: clarity

Are you Nucking Futs?

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We did it!  We moved our family of 6 to the magical land of Costa Rica and the next few blogs will provide insight as to how we made this decision and the physical/emotional journey of actually manifesting our desires in to action.

The seed was planted roughly 5 years ago when Adam and I first visited Costa Rica. There was a vibrancy, an energy that felt like home to me.  Time and time again, I questioned how we could make a move to Costa Rica happen but never made a strong effort to answer that question.  While the yearning to live in this tropical wonderland never really subsided, I allowed life to dictate a path for me.  I chose to be a spectator to my life rather than an active participant.

Fast forward 5 or so years and I found myself living in Arlington, Texas, and I was very aware of the nagging feeling that this was not the place for me (or my family).  I had this belief that I could (and should) be happy anywhere.  I had plenty of “rational” conversations with myself about how I should be content.  I owned a beautiful home on a small pond in a upscale neighborhood.  I had many friends.   The kids had friends.  I had two thriving businesses.  Adam had a well-paying full time gig.  My kids were attending top-rated schools.  I had a rich social life with zumba, bootcamp, yoga, pokeno, parties, etc.  I had easy access to every type of food, entertainment, store I could imagine. I was living “better” than probably more than 90% of the world’s population and, yet, no matter how much I rationalized how I should be feeling, I wasn’t feeling it.  Something was amiss and and I could no longer continue to ignore that pull.  I could continue to allow life to happen to me or I could listen to the call, drop fear, and start creating the life that was calling me forth.  Of course, my life consists of more than just MY wants and desires so I needed to be responsible in how I approached this questioning.  We are a family of six and it mattered that all members felt they had a voice in where the journey would lead us and what constituted a life of fullness for each of us individually and us as a group.
Searching for this answer came so very easily when we approached it one tiny step at a time.  The first step was acknowledging the pull, the whispers of my heart.  Without judgment.  Without any shoulds or should-nots.  The second step was to present my desires of change to my life partner and four boys.  And once they were on board with the idea of imagining/creating a different life path (because it turns out all of us were feeling misplaced/misaligned in our Texas life) we took the very next step.  We needed to know WHY we wanted to make the change.  We didn’t need to know what those changes would look like or how they would come to fruit or even if they would come to fruit but we needed to be very clear about WHAT needed to change.

So we sat down and made a values list.  What did we as a family value?
Our list looked like this….

values

Quality Time. Nature. Slower Pace of Life. Cleaner Eating. Simplicity. Lower Cost of Living. Community. Education Model/Support. Spiritual Health. Eco-conscious (off-grid). Cooperation. Sustainability. Personal Freedom.  Culture of Like-Mindedness.  Social Medicine.  Less Government.  Less Capitalism.  Sharing.  Shared Responsibility.  Equality. Encouragement of Play.  Multi-generational Influences.  Peaceful Spaces.  Mindful Consumption.  Empowerment.  Inspired Career.

And just like that we were all in agreement of what we valued, what values were currently out of alignment, and what we wanted to set out to manifest.

We have referred to this ‘values list’ a million times over during the exploratory and transitional period of the last 8-9 months.  Every time someone has asked us, “Why are you moving to Costa Rica?”  We know why!  Every time someone has mentioned that we may be nucking futs.  And, every time we have questioned our own sanity and decision making capabilities.  We just pull up this list and breathe in the absolute knowing, “ahhhhhh, yes, this is exactly why we are doing what we are doing.”

In response to all those who have questioned if we are nucking futs?  Absolutely nucking futs!  But at least we are nucking futs with values!

 

 

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Positively Significant

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*Spoiler alert*

Okay, it’s true.  I am a complete sap and the people at Lego played right in to the easy task of making me cry.  Right from the get go I began to get that little knot in my throat.  From the moment when Emmet hears what his “friends” really think about him.  To believe that one is insignificant is a truly painful story.

I have told myself that story for most of my life.  I have believed that my being introverted makes me less valuable and less valued.  I have believed that I am less significant than my husband.  He’s always been the outgoing, good looking, fun to be around, successful, and always remembered one of the relationship.  I have simply been the support staff in his shadow.

I choked up because at one point or another we all believe the lie that we don’t matter.  That we are not masters of anything.  My boys will (or have) experienced the pain of being unnoticed and rejected at times.  And the story they will sell themselves is that they are insignificant.  Worthless.  It’s an easy story to sell one’s self.

Fast forward to the end when the dad realizes he has become the bad guy in his son’s story and I just about fill my soda cup with tears.  These moments when we are able to see ourselves and the pain we cause others are the moments that slap us into consciousness.

I had my wake up call last week.  Adam had filmed a really special moment happening in our family.  I made a comment thinking that

courtesy of sun times

courtesy of sun times

I was being joyful and fun and adding positively to the interaction.  I was unaware.  The moment shifted and the joy left.

After watching the fun dissolve, I decided to watch the video and I was completely open to what I might see.  And what I saw humbled me greatly.  I had caused the shift.  My comment caused a child to feel stuck in the middle and that child lost his spark.  He had every right to feel that way because I was sitting there looking sour, unhappy, bothered.  My face was frowning.  My eyes tired.  My comment not witty or amusing at all.  The message was all over my face.

Playing back that video was my slap into consciousness and I’m forever grateful for the sting.  Without the ability to rewind and observe myself from my family’s perspective, I would not be aware of my shortcomings.  I would not have been given a catalyst for dynamic change within myself.

I am not insignificant just as Emmet was not insignificant.  I am significant to each and every person I am in relation with.  I am significant to each and every moment that I breathe.  I can choose to be a positive significance or a negative significance.

I am choosing positive.  I’m tearing apart the Legos, throwing out the glue, and making changes to become the good guy in my boys’ and husband’s stories.

It’s never too late to write a new story and create a happy ending.

“Everything is awesome.
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.
Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream.”

Afterthoughts

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I’ve been home nearly two weeks now and I wasn’t quite prepared for the level of emotions I would have once returning.  I spent the first few days in absolute emotional turmoil.  I cried a lot.  I’m not one who sheds tears all that easily and they were flowing freely and unabashedly.  I snapped a lot.  I felt useless and the days felt ordinary.  I felt really angry with the people around me.  I was irritated with my kids for selfishly fighting over a toy when they have hundreds more.  I was irritated with people asking me how my trip to Haiti was.  I mean, how do you explain that to someone and what are they really wanting to hear?  How do you relay the tragedies and stories of poverty?  In all honesty the person I am relaying it to probably doesn’t truly want to know the depths of what I’ve seen.  I felt angry with myself and with my country.  I was angry at the amount of wealth and comfort in my own home.  I was angry with my fellow citizens for their greed and apathy to those who are less fortunate.  I was irritated and angry with complaints from family and friends about things that are really trivial and unimportant and truly overinflated.  And then I was irritated with myself for being irritated with others.  Ugh…what an ugly cycle to be spinning.
Then I had a wonderful, perspective changing talk with DeRose, a nurse at J’s previous elementary school.  Her Sis-in-law lives in Haiti and has talked with visitors about these exact feelings that I was experiencing.  She briefs them on what they will feel like when they return to the states.  I wish I would’ve had that type of foresight.  I seriously began to feel a little crazy.  DeRose reminded me that Americans will never be what I need them to be.  And me being angry with them only does more damage than good.  She reminded me that I need to be the same love I was in Haiti to my neighbor here in the States.  She reminded me that I need to live by example and hopefully I will raise my boys to be that example in their generation. I need to be involved in my own community so I feel more useful.  She told me how she sews hats for babies in Ghana, delivers personal hygiene products to the homeless, etc etc.  Wow!  What a beautiful example of who I want to be.
After that conversation I was able to start processing my anxieties with a little more purpose.  I know what I WANT to do and I know what I NEED to do.  Mark and I started a non-profit called Endure to Give.  It’s in the very very baby stages but I believe it has potential and it’s something that we can stand behind and build together.  It’s a non-profit that encourages amateur athletes to raise money while training and use their sport to give back to their community.  As an initial fundraiser we will be planning an epic ride sometime in 2011 and hopefully tag a marathon on the end of that ride for me   Those monies will be used to directly benefit the needy in our own backyards.  Now that gives me hope and meaning in life.
I have also spent the last two weeks truly evaluating my life.  I’m not ready to uproot my family and move them to some desolate country like Haiti but I am ready to teach them the meaning of selfless love. I am ready to live in a less than perfect neighborhood, in a less than perfect house, with a less than perfect car and in less than perfect clothes.  I’m ready to think less about what people think about me.  I’ve worn less makeup, not replaced the clothes I donated and opted out of manicures/pedicures this past week.  I’ve thought about every dollar I have spent.  I have realized how rich I am.  I have realized how every day is truly a gift.  I am thankful for every mile I put on these legs because it means I have health.  I have realized how truly important community is.  I have learned to feel uncomfortable and put myself out there to make friends, to say an encouraging word to someone I don’t know, to build the gaps in relationships, and to appreciate my country.
I have spent long hours appreciating the men and women who serve this country.  Who have fought for my freedoms.   I have thought about the sacrifices they make.  I left my family and this country for one week and came back a different person.  To put it plainly, I came back somewhat disturbed.  Not myself.  Our soldiers leave for 12-18 months and see/hear things that are so horrific that I’m not sure how they ever recover from such tragedies.  I was not asked to kill anyone in the name of war.  I have not watched my friends die.  I was not asked to turn my back on the needy.  But our soldiers are.  I now can understand at a very small level how tragic their occupations are.  May each and every one of them receive many gifts for our freedoms and may we respect how we treat those freedoms instead of squandering them away with our self righteous behaviors.  It’s something we are all guilty of.  The world is not as large as we make it seem.  We are all in this together.
Lastly, I spend each day worried that I will forget the impressions that I brought back from Haiti.  Will I forget how badly the world is suffering?  Will I forget the eyes of those who are starving?  Will I forget the beauty in each of those orphans?  These are real fears for me.  I don’t want to return to my old ways.  I always want to remember.  My hope is that Haiti will never leave me.  And that all would experience a Haiti sometime in their life because perspective is everything.