The Connection

Here are a few things I’ve come to recognize within my own health matters. These matter in my opinion because mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health are all interconnected. The state of one impacts all. So my health efforts become a kind of a duck-duck- goose kind of game. I take care of one aspect, then move to the next, then the next.

For example, I love coffee. Duh. I like meditation. I occasionally love to run and do yoga type stretching. I do therapy. I pray. I set boundaries. I like to try and get at least one meal in a day that has a green vegetable. Sleep is also super important. Keeping my house clean is important. Spending quality time with my husband and also visiting our daughter in NYC is vital.

Here’s the thing. I can’t do all of them at the same time. Not possible. And I know when I’m off my game. It shows up in this one peculiar way: I can’t find my set of keys when I need to leave the house or leave the office. That’s it. My overwhelm has lead to a certain level of unmanageability. So these days, rather than stomp around my office grousing and sighing-or being visibly and vocally flustered at home, I recognize it. I stop. I figure out what is the best next step and do it. I cancel non-vital activities, tell my friends/fam what is going on with me and pare down my day or week as much as possible. Should someone in my community be unhappy with my cancellation or honesty as to why I am cancelling, then I know it’s on them. Obviously I don’t bag on major commitments unless I’m ill or dealing with a family emergency. Time has taught me that I will repeat lessons but that each time I revisit the lesson, the time it takes to work through it diminishes.

No one has all the answers, nor is there one person out there that has it completely put together. Oh, they may look that way or sound that way–but guess what? We’re all human. And that, my friend, is the thread that connects us all.


Getting to the heart of the matter

It’s been a very odd year.

I mean odd, as in, I haven’t felt like writing.

but… I have felt like telling stories in-person and online.

Truth is, I know that is my true calling. Without a doubt. What I do about it now is completely up to me.

I have always loved telling stories, especially first-person. Whenever I have an opportunity to share personal stories, my goal is that it will help another person feel less alone, less crazy, and if I’m really lucky, they’ll have a good laugh, or two or three.

On December 14, I’ll be storytelling at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH for the second time this year. I feel incredibly vulnerable sharing this particular story because it focuses on my high school years, and the theme for the show is ‘Growing Pains‘. This is a Long Story Short production at 3S.

If you’re in the Portsmouth, NH region, I’d love your support at the show. I know the other storytellers would as well.

Upcoming events!

See me at True Tales Live- In Real Life- Our 1st annual fundraiser, Friday June 30. I’ll be sharing the stage with five other True Tales Live NH storytellers. The event will begin at 6:30pm and will have an intermission.

For the first time in years True Tales Live will offer an in-person show. Our program will feature six tellers, each sharing a ten minute story.

This program is a fund-raiser for True Tales Live, a local, all-volunteer non-profit.

True Tales Live is building community through first-person storytelling. At our monthly storytelling shows, we learn to value and respect our diversity while we listen, laugh, and cry together. Our workshops encourage new tellers. A schedule of our workshops and shows is here: truetaleslivenh.org

With a nod to Sonya

One of my long-time administrative colleagues took a moment to remind all of us in our conference session (IAAP-CAPStone) to take time and evaluate if we are living our purpose. Are we going through the motions at work allowing the sing-song days to come and go with little or no energy?

She also reminded me how I came to training and teaching, which I had also visited during my session presentation in Cape Town. It comes down to this: Pay it forward.

There were so many IAAP members in DC Metro that encouraged me, prodded me to keep going and trying. I remember the day Pat May and I walked out of the CAP exam-thinking we had not passed. Once we received the notification we had passed, we made an agreement that we would bring along those other EAs/Admin Assistants that didn’t think they could ‘do’ the exam. Our thought was if two 20 year EA veterans could do it, certainly the younger members of our field could conquer it. Over the next five or six years, the CAP study group in DC evolved to a handful of EAs wanting 1-1 time with CAP alum. My good friend Jan Szych and I decided to host an intensive exam boot camp at her offices on Saturdays. After a year or so of teaching the domains at NVCC Workforce Development, I began to host the study group on one Saturday, three weeks out from the exam to help my colleagues do one last embrace of the expansive materials.

I have always been grateful for the teachers that stepped in to help me when I was a very young girl, growing up without my mom. Their kindness, their empathy paved the way for me to pursue a career in ‘helping others’. Today, I think about how can I encourage, energize the younger members of the workforce around me. They are overwhelmed. They are scared. They are angry at the disrespect shown to our profession. And, it’s not just the admin world- it’s the broadcasted disconnect between what organizations say and what they do. That distrust is incredibly corrosive. All I can do is connect. Listen. Try to help them problem-solve. Encourage them to dismiss the haters and disdainful. Trust themselves. Trust their journey, their purpose. Thank you, Sonya. I so appreciate you.

Hear me out…

One of my favorite bits about being off work for 4 days! I get to catch up via phone/video chat with many friends and family members. I’ve been working my way through a list of friends that I’ve scheduled calls with this weekend. Sounds silly to have to schedule a call with a friend however, I find that this way we’ve blocked the time for no interruptions. Last night I had one of those calls after our dinner.

This friend has known me since high school We’ve been on opposite coasts, had a tiff in the late 80s, made things right in the mid-90s, and have been there for each other ever since. It’s included job changes, career changes, relationship snafus, weight gains, weight loss, searching for faith, reconnecting with faith, and sharing a common concern about the erosion of kindness in our society. As we were about 45 minutes into a 90-minute call, we were chatting about our beliefs as to what could be contributing to the inability of many of those we are around, to find empathy for others–remove a rung or two of their judgement ladder.

For some reason, I blurted out these words: Nobody is listening, but everyone wants to be heard.

Damn. We both stopped our stream of conversation and doubled back. I said it again. And, I knew it would be a blog post and so did she.

Ever been in a family argument in which everyone is shouting to get their voice louder to be heard over the din of the others? Yeah…that. The world feels like that right now. The fear has taken over and the faith.. well, the faith that we can be okay, that we can be better humans, that we can recognize we are a small speck in the great universe–let’s just say that faith is taking a beat-down.

I’m guilty of this too, though I mostly save yelling for rollercoasters, bad referee calls (imo) and driving.

It’s certainly given me something to ponder. How am I doing when it comes to listening to others? Am I present enough so the person in front of me feels confident they are being heard? How can I better ask others to be present, tame my fears, and ask them to not only listen, but to hear the why behind my words.

What’s so funny?

I spent a weekend away on a retreat with seven other humans, four of whom I had never met.

I was so, so very ready for a getaway. Work pace has been non-stop (who knew so many homeowners would re-do their kitchen during the last 18 months?!) I was counting on quiet time, meditation time, journaling, and long hikes. What I didn’t anticipate, was the laughter. Side-splitting, OH-MY-GAWD, tears-rolling-down-my-face laughter!

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ and yes, I do believe it is true. Comedies are my favorite type of movie to watch. I love to go and see live comedy. I’ve seen Craig Ferguson in-person three times!

Here I was all set to be serious and get my crap together in my head by being quiet and focused. When it turns out the universe, in fact, did not want me to take life so seriously. At the dinner table the first evening, someone put their music playlist on shuffle- and “I think I love you! and what am I so afraid of? comes cranking through the dining room.. before you know it..all 8 of us are singing along to the old Partridge Family tune and cracking up laughing.

Yeah. I got my serious time in. I got my meditation time in. I got my coloring time in. But most importantly, I got my connection time in, along with a great dose of perspective and silliness. The lesson? Don’t take myself or life too seriously. Thanks, Universe. I got the message. ~ K.

Spiritual Condition?

I’ve heard more than my fair share of conversations of late regarding spirituality. I’ve heard of friends enlisting a ‘spiritual director’ even though they are involved in a religious organization.

Now, let me be clear- I’m referring to spirituality NOT religion. So I asked my good friend and mentor, what she really meant by the question she posed to me one late afternoon. “How’s your spiritual condition?” she asked. “My what?” I replied. “Your spiritual condition.” she stated, and then went on to suggest that I ponder that question, perhaps even journal on it. And, so I have.

My biggest obstacle to obtaining what I define as a positive spiritual condition is quite simply knocking down the shame that comes over me when I need to ask for help. My childhood was a strict’ Do not ask for help. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Don’t tell anyone outside our house what is going on- kind of household’. Asking for help was weak and shameful, shame-filled.

But how can I define what a positive spirtual condition would look like, for me?

  • Concerns and problems are right-sized. I know what I can and cannot impact or change, and I can accept that perhaps these concerns or problems are not really mine to solve.
  • I can ASK! (what a concept!) a close and trustworthy member of my circle for their opinion and any suggestions they may have regarding said concerns or problems.
  • I intuitively and instinctually recognize when I’m holding my breath and start taking deep breaths to get it back in sync.
  • I can meditate and pray without being all over the place in my head.
  • I can recognize opportunities to be of service to others
  • I can be kind and empathetic even in the most challenging of circumstances
  • I’m regularly participating in some kind of group or service that helps realign and adjust my perspective
  • I am journaling or writing a gratitude list daily
  • I mentally acknowledge beauty and joy when I witness it
  • I honor sadness, tears, and grief as a reminder that I’m a human being
  • I’m not numbing my feelings of any kind by eating too much, being online too much, shopping, or staying up flipping channels.

Am I able to sustain this on a daily basis? I’ve never really tracked it. Maybe I’ll start taking a closer look at my spiritual condition in December- perhaps journal only on that. For November, it’s about staying physically healthy as we head into the dark days of winter here in Maine. I’ve taken to walking in the early hours with a good friend. This morning I captured some amazing pictures which I’ve posted below.