Monday, July 21, 2014

#reverb13 revisited

I'm a thousand types of happy that the truly terrific Tracy has written some mid-year check-in prompts for the #reverb13 crew. What a perfect way to see how all those dreams and intentions we set all the way back in December are incubating!

Without further ado -- and never mind *how* many weeks late -- here they are:

1. Choices: If you chose one, how are you honoring your word for 2014… or do you want to change it (feel free to pick a new word now!)?

The word that chose me for 2014 is trust. To be honest, it feels like trust and I have wrestled with one another all year. Motherhood -- particularly of a newborn -- has been a stark reminder of all the ways in which I do not instinctively trust my self my judgement (or, occasionally, my sanity).

If I were to be more honest -- or cynical -- the word that would more accurately describe my year would be should. Because that has been the word that has undone me, time and time again.

I should be coping better. This should feel easier. I should be able to manage just like so-and-so seems to. I should be over my stuff by now. I should be able to do it all, without sleep, without sugar, without time to myself, without help. I should be the perfect parent, the committed writer, the one who never misses the bigger message.

I'm reminded of my dear friend Max Daniels and how I told her I felt I needed to trust a certain knowledge more and she challenged me, with her delicious trademark grin, "Don't trust it: investigate it! See if it works for you. And if it doesn't, toss it!"

As I write this, I wonder if permission would be a more honouring word, one that leaves room for greater investigation and flexibility and compassion. And, funnily enough, that feels like something I could trust.

2. Habits: How are you managing your habits? Are you still battling addictions, eliminating the negativity and turning-off auto-pilot? Have you added any new good habits?

One of the biggest habits I have been tackling this year has been my sugar consumption. But it's fair to say that, with a lot of help, the auto-pilot has been switched off. I know why I numb myself with chocolatey substances and I see myself do it. And I can also see the tiny moments that afford opportunities for interruption. Sometimes I take these opportunities, sometimes I don't.

I used to wonder why I chose to tackle this particular habit whilst sleep-deprived, hormonal and breastfeeding. But I see how the old and deeply ingrained feelings that drive most of my knee-jerk behaviour (particularly the shoulds) are exactly the same ones I want to numb out. They just become magnified by a million in that vulnerable time that is life with a newborn.

It's a work in progress and, in many ways, one I'm grateful for.

3. Priorities: Describe a single moment where you practiced self-compassion over the last six months. What did you do and why?

Today is a good example. Today I am easing up on myself. Today I said no, with apology, that I would not be able to manage a certain errand that would see me staggering around yet another harshly lit, noisily sterile, disorienting shopping mall. Today I admitted I was tired and on the brink of struggling. Today I decided to live with a bit of mess around me. Today I decided to do what I can. Today I claimed unambitiousness as an act of freedom.

There haven't been many days like today. But I am learning that this is one of the most powerful ways of avoiding the perfect storm that engulfs me with panic and kick-starts the shoulds. Once those shoulds start reverberating, I see anxiety pile up in layers upon layers on top of my psyche. My chest fills with a black hole, my eyes can't focus, my ears become blocked, my arms go limp and I struggle to breathe.

Today I see the layers descending and I stand as still as I can, knowing that only with love will they will evaporate into thin air.

4. Living: Show us your best memory to date. How can you make more of them just like that this year?

There are so many incredible memories swirling before my mind's eye as I write this. But, just this morning, as I gave my daughter a kiss and cuddle before she joined her class at assembly, I watched as she leaned into her baby brother's pram, gave him a kiss and said, "Never forget, big sister is here!".

I am so grateful for this question because it reminds me that my job is not always to make memories: it's to notice them.

5. Dreaming: If we could grant you one wish that would ultimately make 2014 your best year ever, what would it be?

It feels like a selfish one but it would make my millennium to have my novel published. As I've mentioned before, I submitted it during a particular window of opportunity and, as I hadn't heard anything, assumed that window had been firmly closed. But I recently discovered that it has been left ajar (if I can flog this metaphor just one more time) and that gives me hope that there's even the tiniest possibility left that I am in the running for publication.

I'm under no illusions about the traditional publishing route. It's hard work and it's an even tougher marketplace. But it still feels like the right path for me and I remain optimistic that my gorgeous, brave protagonist will see light of day... one day.

Thank you so much, Tracy!

I'd love to know how all my Reverb kindreds are travelling! If you feel inclined, please do link to your responses in the comments below.

And if you enjoyed this... why not sign up for August Moon?


  1. I loved reading this!!! Despite all the changes you've experienced, you've been remarkably present this year. And I love your goal for having the book published this year. Why shouldn't you- you're awesome! I have been doing work with a local women's leadership group here in Savannah and it has me really thinking about how important it is to OWN what we want with no apologies. So go, Kat! :D

  2. Every word of this is lovely, but I especially like 1. permission (oh, yes, please!) 2. that you said No to someone (and therefore Yes to yourself, hallelujah!) 3. seeing what a beautiful daughter you're raising and 4. the possibility of your publishing, wheeeeeeee!

    Just FYI, I TOTALLY trust your sanity. Totally. xoxox

  3. I have had to change my word for the year also. What I wanted the word to be, was not how the year has plated out so far!

  4. Loved reading this and I'm now thinking of changing my own WOTY. Like Kim, above, my WOTY has NOT worked out as I'd hoped it would and, like you, it has felt like wrestling a dragon, bringing up many resentments and demons. I just might take you up on the idea to change my WOTY mid-year...

    Good for you on wanting your book published and I hope, with your knowledge of the marketplace and traditional publishing routes, you will consider alternate publishing options so we can all have a copy of what will be a wonderful first published book =-)