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Dear Friend,

If you’ve ever cleaned out a family space – whether your own or another’s – you know it’s stressful. The other day, I was reminded of a time when I was cleaning out the house I had shared with my then-husband in the wake of our separation, a friend was cleaning out a house filled with possessions hoarded by her late mother, and a second friend was going through a fresh breakup.

Like a little round robin, we would take turns with one person getting time to stand in the middle of the space crying and overwhelmed while the other two kept life moving – the cleaning and sorting, the keeping food available, the comforting.

I used to think that showing up for people I loved meant back-burnering my own needs. What I’ve learned through trial and some rough errors is that I’m most able to show up and be useful when I start with attending to myself, making sure that my basic needs are met proactively so I have energy to give elsewhere.

A few more words on that inspired by another round of cleaning out – this time an abandoned storage space in Theresa’s family – this past Saturday. Read The Moldy Maraschino of Selflessness and let me know how this dynamic has played out in your life.
 

 

Two worthwhile repeats and a newbie.


A repeat: This one pops into my mind frequently as I think about how I want to show up for loved ones dealing with rough stuff. The ring theory of how to not say the wrong thing reminds us not only to not burden those closer to the epicenter of the stress with our discomfort, but also to reach out for the support we do, indeed, need.

A repeat: Parker Palmer has written and spoken so beautifully on his experience with depression, and this reflection on ways people tried to show up and ended up being moldy maraschinos, and the ways people truly showed up, moves me every time I think of it.

A newbie: In condolence notes, I often default to a reflection on how inadequate our 26 letters are in the midst of an experience as complex as grief. This article has some great ideas on what else we might say because saying something is far more important than being comfortable.

 

Circling it back. 

Showing up for ourselves so we can show up for others brings me back to the Buddhist concept of maitri. I’d explain it but Pema Chödrön does it so much better:

 
 
I don’t know about where you are but here in Roanoke, VA, we’re heading into a largely cool and rainy week (except Wednesday, you gorgeous-looking day, you!) – and I also don’t know about you but a rainy week often requires a little more self-nurturing for me. I foresee a few extra cups of tea and extra-cozy socks.

You?

With love and gratitude for all you are,

SB


p.s. Scroll all the way down for a final pop of delight with all the colors.

p.p.s. These emails are a labor of love for me - emphasis on both labor and love. If you find value in today's email, please share the love. It might just inspire someone else and it for sure gives me the warm-fuzzies.

 

Self-prioritization is, indeed, a practice and a challenging one when we've made it however-many decades already steeped in the tea of two-dimensional selflessness - or selfishness, for that matter.

If you're curious how coaching can help you cultivate new, awesome practices, let's talk!
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Self-acceptance allows for self-nurturing allows for our biggest lives and baddest selves. Like so:
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