The Big Exhale

Last night I was preparing my second bedroom to welcome the contents from my home up north and relocate Lilly’s room to the beach.  I know, I know, you will all say “Jacky, you have been moving for the past two years”, but I finally bit the bullet and agreed to allow long term renters into my home. Turning my Paso Robles address into a house and my Cardiff pad into a home.

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The view last night from my porch in Cardiff.

In true fashion, I have reorganized each and every inch to make way for the new belongings that will arrive here on Sunday. The temporary queen size air mattress that has welcomed all my guests was next on my list to pack up.   Looking at this giant volume of air, I was a little perplexed of the ease to deflate and store.

Upon opening the nozzle, I decided to expedite the process by stretching across the surface.  Soon the contents were bellowing out filling the room with the sound of progress.  Laying there I began to feel the bed give away and slowly my body floated to the floor. As I sank deeper and deeper into my surroundings, I realized that I too was letting out a big release.  The room was quiet and for the first time in five months, so was my mind.

For the past, few months I have been going full steam ahead.  At times, I felt like the hamster on the wheel, no time to eat, sleep or even breath.  Literally there have been days that the sound of my cell phone would trigger the instant thought of “What is wrong”.  I accept that I am a natural worrier and tend to struggle with the ability to turn off my mind, but this was a whole new level of being on constant alert.  In that state of mind, without even realizing, one can very easily forget to exhale.

But laying there on the floor, listening to the mattress deflate it wasn’t the unfinished tasks that crossed my mind, but of all I have accomplished. Professionally and personally, I have been clearing hurdles on a daily basis.  The biggest was moving out of my house.  Reliving every moment of my three kids lives through photos, awards, toys and stories.  As hard as it was to let go, it wasn’t near as bad as I imagined.  And the distance has given me a better perspective.

Grandma Treva always says, “This too shall pass”, and Beth Wonson loves to use the phrase, “Grace is in the space”, these two women are really on to something.  Time and distance really are the best medicine for a new perspective.  As I laid on the floor last night I decided to give myself a much-needed vacation from …… me.  Keeping with the 2018 resolution schedule, I am going to switch August and September.  I am going to make August all about me.

Putting yourself first, surely doesn’t sound like the most humble and popular idea.  Like lining up a daily chore sheet and remembering to add your name at the very top.  Who does that?  But, maybe one can do it, by being clever in the way they go about their day?  Instead of feeling the urgency of answering every question that come to you like a carefully served tennis ball, let the emails, texts, interruptions fall to the ground.  Pick up the ones that need solving and kick the rest to the curb.  Give yourself some space.  Spend time doing things you enjoy.  Don’t go around holding your breath, let go and open your eyes to your surroundings.

One of my favorite exercises when I taught marketing at Cal Poly, was the tea cup lesson.  Asking the students to draw tea cups, both simple and ornate would produce some real artistic qualities across the classroom.  But when you showcase all the work and ask if any one drew the cup from looking down, the room would fall silent.  Getting your mind to change it’s perspective is a chore.  But allowing your mind the time to expand and reposition can really help one see a whole new world of possibilities.  And who knows, maybe a change in perspective might be the best reminder to remember to open your mouth and exhale.