Changing a Mindset

If we can change our thoughts, we can change the world. – H.M. Tomlinson

You ever have one of those weeks where you just can’t seem to get anything done?  You start the day full of promise – I am going to run those 5 miles! I am going to get all of that reading done! I am going to plow through that stack of emails that need to be sent! Next thing you know, it’s 8:30pm and you literally have no idea where the day went and why everything that you thought was going to be so easy at 8:00am seemed daunting at 1pm and nearly impossible at 6pm. You spin around in circles, shift around “to do” lists and think, “Tomorrow it will all get done, I know it will.”

Well, I have been having one of those weeks….

I’ve been able to rationalize most of it because most of what I am working on are long term projects – putting the building blocks in place of a project that seemingly gets more complex by the day. I’ve talked to friends who are suffering similar struggles with focus and energy and think to myself, “They are going through this too, so it is totally ok for me to just watch one more hour of (insert whatever) and then I will pop up and get this done.”

5BEC830F-E5F3-4042-969E-47EA76D71A86My mind definitely has its own rhythm for tackling gnarly and long projects, a rhythm I have only begun to understand after years of working primarily from home and has required me to really learn self-kindness. However, this week has been different. Day after day has passed and even the simplest of things have overwhelmed me – and reduced me to tears for absolutely no reason at all. Now, there are certainly a number of personal things that have been going on that have contributed to this, but I realized this morning what was really going on: I’ve had the wrong mindset.

What do I mean by this?

I mean that I have been focusing too much on my struggle and not enough on my purpose – so much so, that almost all I see is struggle these days. So much of my life has been so complex for so long that even the simplest of things – like when to run to the store or do errands – has seemed daunting. While I could blame the current pandemic and two months of lockdown / nationally allocated times of movement / permission slip requirements for this evolution, if I am really being honest with myself (which I obviously am), my approach to life was quickly heading in this direction long before.  Due to the long term horizon of so many things I am navigating, I had already begun to assess success by a series of incredibly small steps – and condemning myself when I was unable to meet them. While this approach can work in the short term for a single to handful of projects, when applied to almost every aspect of a life, it pretty much assures that you (I) will never be happy with anything I do – no matter how large or insignificant.

I realized this morning that I was taking the joy out of my own life. What good is it to have finally found a true passion – almost a life calling – with the work I was doing if I was making myself miserable at the complexity of it all?  My mindset was not only undermining my ability to realize the potential of my future, but draining happiness from my day to day.

Now, it doesn’t look like life is going to get any less complex any time soon.  If anything, it could become more. But if that complexity wasn’t going to control me, become the focus of a never ending spiral, then I need to change how I approach it: to focus less on tomorrow and more on today.

I know that this isn’t going to be easy.  It took me months – years – to hard wire in my current mindset.  And it will likely take me just as long to both undo and wire in a new one. But it is doable. It just requires a commitment to taking on a new habit – a new perspective.


Thoughts on a Tuesday Morning

A person will be called to account on Judgment Day for everything permissible he could have enjoyed and did not. – Talmud

A3FDDBBF-49A5-4311-9389-76463CDE15E8I am always a little frustrated by how long I go between making entries into this blog.  Days, weeks, months pass by.  I think of things that I want to say, to write about, and share. But all too often am held back because I feel those thoughts need to be deep, profound and somehow resonate with whomever may read this.  I’ve begun to realize, though, that in approaching this blog in this manner, I have been missing the whole point of my even starting it.

I created this blog to share a journey – my journey – of moving from one home to creating another.  As that journey got sticky and not nearly as glorious as I had expected to be, I retreated, pulled back, afraid to share so many of the things I was experiencing, to speak their truth.  In so doing, though, I robbed myself of the ability to fully comprehend the nature and lessons of this journey and connect with others along the way.

Like so many, the current world events have rippled its impact across my life in ways that I could not have imagined weeks before.  Prior to, I was set on realizing my goal of splitting my year equally in both the US and France. I was about to take a trip to the US to secure funding for a Foundation that I had co-founded a few months previously. I was interviewing for a position with a large technology company that would have possibly resulted in another move. And, I was about to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of a good friend.

And then the Universe stepped in and threw us all a curve ball. This curve ball forced me to come face to face with issues of control and questions of identity that have lingered below the surface for years. Although there has not been a day that has passed where my heart has broken a little bit for the lives that have been lost, I have also been grateful for the opportunity that this has afforded to finally begin speaking the truth – to family, friends, but, most importantly, myself – of not only pain but also beauty.

Throughout those conversations, I have realized that it’s the simple things that we all miss. A loving smile from a stranger, now covered up by a mask and hinted at with wrinkles around the eyes. A wink from a friend of a shared inside joke sent across a once crowded bar, now closed for the foreseeable future. A touch on the arm at uncontrolled laughter, now impossible in a time of social distancing.

We all miss the simplicity of connection – real connection. And though we currently do not have the French bisous or American hug to anchor us daily in connection, it is there – just in the intangible of this shared experience of transition. I have felt it daily and I hope whomever is reading this does too.

After months of empty streets and shuttered stores, the streets of France and the US have begun to open up again. But life is not going on as normal, even if appearances look otherwise. There is a new normal that is taking shape – both in our external world and internal beings.

As it continues to evolve, I am committing to myself to write and speak more – even if only a few words – both on this platform but, more importantly, face-to-face with others.

I am committing to not only recognizing all of the joy that is possible in even the most difficult of times – but to revel and share in it.

I am committing to giving myself the gift of connection – to listen more and fear less.