Listening to Life: Spring 2019

It only feels right to participate in Emily P. Freeman’s seasonal What We Learned post.

I first fell in love with Emily’s words when I found her podcast, The Next Right Thing. The episodes always follow through on her promise to provide “a little space for your soul to breathe, so you can do your next right thing in love”. I’ve been encouraged by truth, equipped with tools, and inspired to try new practices - like the 5 minute reset I talked about in my post about getting in the mindset for a productive work session. (One day I’ll figure out which episode that one was from.)

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In this season, I’ve been especially helped by her in the area she talks about a lot – decision making. Decisions have come up that I didn’t see coming and, whaaaat, I had already preordered her newest book, The Next Right Thing, and received her course, Discern and Decide, so they were available to me exactly when I needed them. Both have been so incredibly helpful to give me tools and words and truth to navigate decisions, big and small.

I always seem to have a person who’s work is really speaking to me and I go down the obsession rabbit hole and read everything they’ve ever written. Clearly, Emily’s work is the obsession of the season and hers has seemed to stick even longer than the usual.


things I’m learning –

big and small,
silly and serious,

as I take time to pause
and listen to my life


01. 20% of people are Highly Sensitive and June is in the club.

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We’ve always known that June is very uh… particular, has a lot of feelings, and dislikes a lot of foods… and scents, and noises, and bright lights, and on and on. We’ve also noticed that she has an incredible memory, attention to detail, and awareness of other people’s feelings. It wasn’t until a friend posted about a book she was reading, The Highly Sensitive Child, and I immediately reserved it at the library and started reading, that I found out all of these things are very related. I learned that June experiences basically everything with higher sensitivity that others, including me. This can lead to her being very easily overwhelmed and frustrated.
I’m so grateful to now know about this and be learning how I can help her through it. I’m only half way done with the book so I haven’t quiet learned the how-to-help part. Stay tuned.

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02. I’m not good at good gifts, yet.

A pattern I noticed this season is that when a good gift is presented to me, I don’t handle it well.
When I have precious time alone, I actually stress about how to spend it and use it well. When I notice a way in which I am privileged, I feel guilty and worry instead of enjoying the gift or opportunity, being thankful for it and graciously giving to others from that place. A silly example… I’m totally a gift card hoarder. And notebook hoarder, but I’m not sure that applies.
I’m very much still in the learning here… but I think it’s important to recognize and as EPF would say, name it.


03. Paprika is magical.

I’ve started adding a generous sprinkle to almost everything I cook and it’s… well, magic.


04. Caffeine has real power over me.

I finally decided to break my mean coffee addiction. The withdraw was oh so real and I didn’t even cut caffeine completely! I just scaled back from a cup of coffee in the morning and after lunch to a black tea or half cup of coffee in the morning, and I’ll admit… some dark chocolate in the afternoon. The first few days were dark. But I’m happy to be headache and fog-free now! It’s actually sad how proud I am that I did this. I mean, it made the list.


05. Everything has a season, a cycle, a rhythm.

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I know I will forget some of the places in which cycles, seasons and rhythms came up but this was a huge pattern as I looked back at what I learned this season. It has given me a lot of hope to understand the cycles of my own body better (and how amazing that is instead of completely annoying) via a free email course I did from Groove, an app I started using (and have really loved) to track my cycle, and a book I’ve started reading called Do Less by Kate Northrup which has me rethinking the way I structure my work and my schedule altogether.
Crafting a Rhythm of Life (or Rule of Life) came up in multiple places, but mainly in the Discern and Decide course mentioned earlier by EPF. I’m slowly working on crafting my own Rhythm of Life, or tweaking the one I already had, really. Instead of it being about productivity, or even self care, it’s about walking with God.


06. I’m very motivated to do what I’m not supposed to do.

So there’s this thing about us Enneagram nines… we’re really good at procrastinating. For me, and it sounds like for most, it’s a very sneaky type of procrastination that can even fool me. It’s not that I’m chilling on the couch for hours as the most important things go undone; it’s doing something that feels important right now - or just something I want to do - instead of doing that thing that really needs doing. This wasn’t exactly new information, but I was reminded of this as I listened to several podcast interviews with fellow nines.
Looking back at how I spent the Spring, the work I got most excited about totally felt like I was playing hooky from the most responsible thing I could be doing. Instead of working on custom design projects I’d already been paid for, I spent a lot of time building an online shop hoping and praying that my people needed the branding products I was making as much as I thought. This example turned out really well, so it has me thinking about how I could use this to my advantage.
Annnnd also worried that the other creative ventures I’m really loving right now might be less captivating to me if they ever become the thing I “should” be doing. Like this space. And writing in general. I’m glad to at least be aware of this!
Sort of a side note since this point isn’t really about writing, but this quote grabbed me as an answer to my question: why is writing, this thing I’ve never felt good at or even liked, feeling like it’s making me come alive?

[Writing is] an act that helps you, preserves you, energizes you, in the very doing of it.

- Naomi Shihab Nye

Captured from an On Being podcast episode.


07. Stopping the scrolling is right, for now.

Maybe this one has a lot to do with the point above, now that I think about it…
It was time to take a break from Instagram. After thinking about it for a couple weeks, and thinking about how much I was thinking about it, I signed off my personal account for the Summer. Since it’s something I feel like I need to do to connect with my audience at The Business Bar, it’s really hard for me to separate this pressured feeling from my own account. When something in my real life happens, I literally think about if and how I will post about it. That is not how I want to experience my life and honestly, how ridiculous!? It was time.
It has been a week and I so far I’ve learned: this is a good, good thing.

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08. My 3 year old’s words melt me.

Favorite quote of the season:

”Mom, hold my hands. 
Remember that you are the best mom.
And you are brave and super strong.
And you can melt monsters.”

- June Capri

It must be noted that this interaction happened while she was sitting on the toilet and I was sitting in the bathroom with her, on the floor. This is where a lot of our deep conversations happen. It’s weird and I’m starting to love it in all its weirdness.


Okay Summer, we’re ready for you. Fog and cold and all.