Another week, another list of ten things making our world better.
1. This instagram. Jen Winston of girlpowersupply is a beautiful mixture of inspiration, laughter, joy, sorrow, anger and love. Her posts wake you up to the realities of the world and allow learning without shame. All of her posts are important.
2. This vegan creamer. November is here and the leaves are finally starting to change in Virginia. This vegan pumpkin spice creamer is just the best. I’m not a hard core pumpkin spice fan but oh baby this stuff is good- I may have waited 30 minutes for a very kind, patient Target employee to find it in the back for me because I refused to go through the week without it.
3. This playlist. In my new open workspace it can get very quiet. Sometimes I appreciate the gentle silence but other times I love a bit of background noise. This playlist is beautiful and soothing. It acts like white noise, just more calming. I play it in my headphones when I need to focus. I’m playing it now, as I write.
5. This podcast. An amazing friend mentioned this podcast and I’ve fallen in love with it. Arianna Huffington sits down with notable leaders, celebrities, athletes and influencers to learn how prioritizing well-being — instead of burnout and overwork — has made them happier and more successful. Chelsea Handler’s episode is my current favorite.
6. This youtuber. Estee Lalonde is a Canadian youtuber living in London. She is creative, refreshing and fun to watch. Her podcast and her instagram are beautiful as well.
7. This blogger. Heather is a plant base, Canadian, millennial mama to the most adorable little one. Her blog and instagram are so bright and beautiful.
8. This book. Brene Brown’s new book- need I say more? Brene is answering questions about the book on her LinkedIn each week as well. She is brave, smart, kind and challenges me- lovely.
9. This charity. Glennon Doyle is a human empathy machine. When I don’t know how to help or what to do I turn to her.
10. This mama. Kitty Cotten is mama to little Harriet. I love literally everything about her.
“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” Maya Angelou
Our country, our world, is divided right now. I’m so tired of it. We are happier and healthier when we are full of joy and love and when we connect with those around us. We are stronger together.
This is not to say we should ignore the bad-no. We should be angry and fighting and working hard. But some days, we need to rest. We need to fill up our cups so we can be there for others. Put our own oxygen masks on first.
In an attempt to bring some light and love into our world I am starting a new series called Better. Each Friday you will find a post here with ten things that are making my world, our world, just a bit better.
Ten things making life better this week.
1. This Book. Scott Harrison is incredibly inspiring, 100% of the author’s net proceeds from Thirst will go to fund charity: water projects around the world.
2. This Podcast. Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig are hilarious, intelligent women just trying to make you laugh. This week? They talk about the time they got too high and watched Planet Earth II- just writing about it is making me smile.
3. This instagram. Thomas Middleditch is so hilarious I don’t know what to do about it. Scroll though his instagram for videos that are so weird they’re guaranteed to make you giggle.
4. These jeans. I’ve worn these jeans four times this week and they make me so happy. I have realized that skinny jeans are my worst night mare so I have let them go from my life. Hello “boyfriend” jeans- which is really just a term for jeans with real pockets that don’t squeeze all your lady parts and thighs to death.
5. This baby. LISTEN. My little chickens makes me so darn happy. Please feel free to stare at pictures of him, or of your kiddos or loved ones. Turn off the TV, close all the apps, look at your people. Look at pictures of them, pick up the phone to call them. It’s so tempting when we pick up our phones to open Instagram, Facebook or another app. Call someone you love instead. Stare at your little ones, your loved ones. If you don’t have someone you want to stare at or call? Do something today that will get you one step closer to finding your people.
6. These food pouches. Sometimes, mama needs a break. Sometimes mama doesn’t want to steam more pears or sweet potatoes or beets. For those times, these wonderful pouches are full of the good stuff. Most store bought baby foods (even the organic ones) have hidden sugars. “Apple puree”? Yeah, that’s just another word for sugar. These pouches can be found in the dairy/refrigerated section of your local Kroger- or online. With different varieties for babies, toddlers, and kids. (Thank you Auntie Rochelle for finding them.)
7. This Ted Talk. Laughter connects us. In a time where I want to know more about what brings us together than what drives us apart? This is too wonderful.
8. This yogi. Anne Evers is 97, vegan, and a yogi. She’s still growing, learning and working to make our world better for the people coming after her. The world needs more Anne’s. Also, she inspired me to get my butt back on the mat.
9. This relationship podcast. Days are short. Life is full. Weekly reminders to love my partner are necessary. Rachel and Dave Hollis remember to love each other well. I bring all of their advice into my relationship because my husband is my very best friend and I want to invest in him and love him well. We can have exceptional relationships even when life is full.
10. This phone accessory. I fought the Popsocket for a long time y’all, but I have tiny hands and it’s so darn convenient. If you have a large phone these puppies are worth it. They also have a Popsocket stand so you can situate your phone in your car- “insert praise hands”.
That’s all for this week y’all.
My new company has a beautiful tradition of starting each morning with a thought of the day, today’s thought? “Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.” Erik Erikson
It’s almost October. Here in Virginia the weather is getting crisp and rainy. Fall will always be my favorite time of year. The cold makes me feel like I can breathe. I can wrap myself in sweaters and jackets, they make me feel protected and less vulnerable. More prepared for what is to come that day. I feel simultaneously more awake and alive, and yet cozy and protected.
I am in the middle of a big transition, as sure as the change in season. Very soon, I will leave my current position in student affairs and step into a brand new role with a company that I can’t stop raving about. I’m leaving the known and stepping into a new challenge. A few months ago, if you told me I would be entering an entirely new career with excitement and challenge, a place with a fast paced environment, established culture and yearning for relentless excellence- I would have called you a liar.
That’s not who I saw myself as. I’m the quiet, happy, contented girl that wanted to work in the same place forever. I told myself over and over again that I was okay with complacency, that comfort was my most important value. I lied over and over again to myself repeating the phrase, “I’m not good enough for more, I don’t deserve it.” We all do it. We have roughly 70,000 thoughts a day that play on a loop- for many of us? Those repeated words are, “You’re not good enough.”
I’m here to tell you that you are. You are so much more than you think. You are a child of the universe and the stars. You are made of love and light. That imagined ideal self you have always wanted to be? You have everything you need to become her. If you live in a privileged enough country to have choice then you have everything you need.
I used to tell myself that I was not that “go-getter” type. I told myself that I hated blazers and that anyone who was constantly reaching for more was greedy, or came from money, or some other lie that excused my complacency.
I think slow living and simple living have been mixed up and confused with laziness or living a life that is quiet or less than. Slow living is about being present in every moment you can. Being mindful enough to stop and play with your little one, noticing the sun coming through the leaves on the gravel road, sitting for five minutes to really smell and love and enjoy your herbal tea.
Slow living is not an excuse to not live your life. You can live intentionally, environmentally and slowly while still being a total bad ass.
When I picture my ideal self, the Bonnie I want to become I see myself in great boot cut jeans, a comfy sweater and a Patagonia winter coat, vegan work boots- taking Miles and our two other children around our farm sanctuary. We’re greeting the animals and feeding and loving on them. The ideal Bonnie is effortless and kind, she does not judge others- she uplifts and sees the best in everyone.
She is a warrior for Mother Earth, she is zero-waste and off-grid. She is hard working and sought after. People ask for her to speak at conventions about how you can save animals and the earth and be rich enough to travel, run the sanctuary, and care for friends and family. Money is awesome and supports my happiness and goals.
Ideal Bonnie puts her children and husband above all things- they are the great loves of my life. Ideal Bonnie hikes and camps every week. She’s outdoors more than she is in. I have a great team that cares for the sanctuary when we’re away.
I am on my way to becoming this Bonnie because I stopped telling myself I wasn’t good enough. I stopped repeating the lie that I am a quiet caretaker that exists solely as a support for other people. The world has told women for too damn long that we can’t strive for more. We can, and we are.
Take the time you spend tearing yourself apart and start telling yourself you are good enough. The universe is waiting for you. I promise if you believe in you, and you remind yourself every single day about the ideal, about the person you have always wanted to be- you will get there.
Change is scary and uncomfortable and your brain is going to work really hard to make you feel like you’re doing the wrong thing. At the first sign of challenge or failure we want to retreat back to where it’s safe, but safe doesn’t mean good. Comfort is not progress. Have the courage to try.
Let go of other people’s expectations for your life. Don’t allow your fear to cloud out every thing you’re doing so right. You’re already doing better than you think.
“First the breaking, then the rising.” Glennon Doyle
I used to tell myself a whole bunch of lies. I had this vision of who I was, an immovable personality structure that influenced everything. My partnerships, friendships, familial relationships, and how I moved through the world were in orbit around who I thought I was. I was fixed, learning and growing sure, but learning and growing as a particular person. A representative that was poised and polished and traditionally beautiful, and I would send her out into the world.
Who I was (my most secret, true, and honest self) was tucked away. Still there, always there, listening but not participating. My real self was too much for the world. Too emotional, loud, brave, wild, opinionated, sexual, passionate, angry, awake, happy and big- the world doesn’t like big and bold and passionate girls and women- so I continued to send my representative out into the world.
She smiled and waved, cared and loved, had good times and bad times. She lived well, but when she came home at the end of the day, in the quiet and truth, she was so tired. My true self would pat her on the head and thank her for getting us through another day in this world that doesn’t like brave, wild girls.
My representative isn’t here anymore. Slowly but surely over the past few years she has been unraveling. Each blow to my representative, to who I though I was, who I thought I should be, gave way to the real me hiding underneath. As I allowed pieces of the forward facing me to fall away, it would leave a spot for my truest, deepest self to step into the light. Graduate school, losing my dad, coming out, finding my life partner, having my beautiful baby, transitioning jobs, listening to podcasts, reading books, having conversations with amazing, real people- all separate moments, smaller parts of a greater whole.
The universe was speaking to me, asking the question, “Who are you when all else falls away?” That is, after all, who we really are. At the end of things, after this beautiful, brutal life- we’re all that’s left. The me that’s here now? Inside and out? I like her. I really like her. Love her even. I love who I have become, who I am becoming- I’m not done.
Small change over time becomes big change. What lies are you telling yourself? What is your representative telling the world about you that isn’t true deep in your heart, in your gut. Our representatives protect us, they keep us safe in times when we need them- I don’t need mine anymore.