Bit by Bit, Drop by Drop

My family and I are settling into our new digs (new city, new state, new job, new preschool). It's been a lot, but after three months in our new home, we finally feel like we are finding our footing.

There are no more tears at preschool drop-off in the morning. It still stings a little bit when I drive away, but it feels really good, too. I guess we're both growing up :)

We've come a long way. Heading into preschool on his own these days :)

We've come a long way. Heading into preschool on his own these days :)

One of the first assignments at my new job is producing a project for psychologist and New York Times bestselling author Rick Hanson. Rick has written and taught extensively on the essential inner skills of personal well-being, psychological growth, and neuroscience—the study of the brain. His latest book is Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. 

Rick's Book, Hardwiring Happiness

One of the more powerful things I have learned from Rick so far is something he refers to as "bit by bit, drop by drop." It originates from the Buddha:

"Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good."
—The Buddha

He uses it to explain how taking in the good in our lives, bit by bit, drop by drop, we eventually hardwire the brain for happiness.

The more I thought about this concept, the more I wanted to put it to the test in my own life—but not only with taking in the good, but in other areas of my life as well.

I have used it throughout the past month in the areas of financial, health, exercise, personal, political, friends, and family, and with my creative projects, as well.


So far, it has completely helped with my overwhelm and my anxiety about my to do list. Before I started working with bit by bit, drop by drop. I would go to sleep at night feeling guilty about all I still needed to do, and when I’d wake up in the morning, my heart would already be beating with all I that I had to do that day.

I know it seems so basic to tackle things bit by bit, but for some reason addressing these items daily makes me feel more calm, and overall, I feel better about myself.

Bit by bit, drop by drop, the pot will be filled.

I'm grateful for the work I get to do. I am constantly being introduced to amazing individuals who teach me so much about myself, and about life in general.

Until next time,
Shelly




 

JUMP

“I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings, coming down, is the hardest thing. I’m learning to fly around the clouds, what goes up, must come down.” —Tom Petty

Episode 13 is up.

We jumped—and it has turned out to be one of the bigger jumps of my life. I would put this jump right up there with becoming a parent and losing my sister to cancer. I’ve always been one who is up for the ride, however this time I’ve really had to buckle-up.

I have moved a lot in my life, and I’ve changed jobs before, but for some reason moving with my husband and son has completely put a different kind of spin on everything—a spin that has not stopped, where I still feel like I am hovering above our new life. I look down and see all the pieces and players moving around, but I am a bit disconnected from it all.

We knew this opportunity called us as a family, as if there was and is something we need to learn here, or grow here, and some reason to be here now.

Throughout this entire experience, I am putting everything to test that I have learned so far in my life. For instance, instead of running away from uncomfortable feelings and situations, I’ve attempted to feel them, witness them, and then move on as much as possible. This is a new thing for me.

Starting a new job, moving across country, my son starting preschool—all within about a three week period—just about broke me. But, because I had experienced uncomfortableness, unbelievable sadness, and unexpected circumstances before, I knew somewhere within me, that I would—that we would—survive.

It’s funny. It’s so extremely hard to go through all the hard stuff, but when we come out on the other side, we definitely are stronger (as cliche as that sounds) and hopefully we know how to deal with the remaining part of our life a little bit better.

Even though those hard experiences suck while going through them (like the death of my sister), when life presents something else hard (like moving out of state for a job), in my gut I know I can do it.

I’ve learned a lot about myself moving for this job. I’ve learned that I might as well walk through difficult and uncomfortable situations with a good perspective, a good attitude, and with hope because one moment is going to turn into the next, and there is a good chance life is going to go on.

And it's my personal choice to walk through life however I want—happy, sad, empowered, broken-down, inspired, hopeful, courageous, and so on. It’s pretty simple when you think about it.

However, for me, the most difficult part about it all is being conscious enough to recognize when I’m letting life happen to me, when I’ve checked out, and when I am caught up in the constant spin of worry and fear in my own mind.

It is one of the most amazing things when I catch myself there, wake myself up and take myself out. This for me is one of the best parts of my day. 

Enjoy Episode 13—JUMP!

 

 

The Magic of a Boring Evening at Home

Episode 10 is up.

The backdrop of my life has been muted by the recent world events.

I had a planned a different theme for this episode, Episode 10, but after what happened last week in Orlando, my thoughts and heart have been focused only there.

At times like these, I frequently recall a speech I heard presented at the Academy Awards by a woman named Gerda Weissman Klein. Gerda's speech has stayed with me forever. 

OX,

Shelly

 

Episode 9 is up. 

For me, I know when life gets extremely busy—too busy where my priorities get out of whack—I am the only one to blame. I set my own priorities, and it is my responsibility to protect those priorities.

In Episode 9, Turn Your Brain Off For Awhile, I own up to neglecting to pay attention to my priorities, and after I bomb a live interview at a conference I was invited to participate in, I become determined to get passed my issue of public speaking.

ENJOY.

OX, Shelly

We know even when we don't know.

Having my son gave me the big kick in the ass I needed to "crack open" – as my friend Molly so eloquently writes in her book, Cracking Open. I had been cleaning up the edges of my life, peering with one twisted eye into my core, and over the ledge of a very long dark road I knew someday I needed to walk – dark because it was unknown.

Isn't it true that we always know, deep inside, what is best for us, or where we belong, or what we were put on this earth to do? Maybe we are a little unclear as to what it looks like exactly, but we know, and we beat around the bush until the day we throw up our hands and say, "OK I'll do it, I'll do it!"

I know. You know.

We all know even when we don't know.

We wear masks until we're ready to reveal that which we have always known.

I do not want to die with the knowing still inside me pounding furiously on my rib cage to get out. I see her in there, wide-eyed, and hungry, like an unfed child, almost to the point of starving, just wanting a sip of water.

She stares at me with her compassionate, yet anxious eyes in the early hours of my day and as my day winds down after I put my son to bed, she’s always there, yearning for me to pay attention to her. Her ribs are now beginning to show, her jaw a bit sucken in. She’s angry. Angry because she hasn’t been fed in so, so long. Pissed doesn’t even begin to describe it.

I want to die having danced arm in arm with my knowing. I want to get tangled up in life with my knowing, I want us to climb mountains and I want us to fall down. I want us to dig to the bottom of the earth and I want us to taste the top of the sky.

I've been hiding for awhile and it's time, "OK, I'll do it, I'll do it."

I'll be me.

As a senior in high school, I even opted to not put my senior picture in the yearbook because I did not want to be seen.

When I was younger, I never wore shorts because I thought my skin was too pale.

I always thought I was fat, even though I was skinny. Always wearing t-shirts over my bathing suit because I did not want to be seen.

I never thought I was enough – not ever, not ever.

And it’s not like my hiding stopped after high school either. I was critical of myself for years.

Until recently, I still felt like that girl who would hide under t-shirts, in closets, in meetings, deep away in the dark.

Where on earth did I get the idea that I was better off hidden away somewhere?

I picture my son hiding and I cringe. I don’t ever want my son to hold back. I want him to enter a room with his head held high, feeling equal and enough to everyone else in the room.

I don’t want him to hesitate with stating his opinion and showing his heart in a meeting, across a dinner table, at school or to me.

Because I want to be the best version of myself for him, no more beating around the bush for me, no more hiding behind my work, and no more hiding behind my excuses.