Release | July 2021

Release | July 2021

FOMO (fear of missing out) is the enemy of valuing your own time. — Andrew Yang

This month, Carolyn encouraged us to have fun…and I spent a good bit of time thinking about how to work fun into my word…release.

So I started by filling in my clouds with what filled my day… things I liked and things I struggled with…

Then I gave things stars that improved my day… and the starless clouds all seemed to have the same recurring theme… FOMO.

And while not all the things that got starred are “fun”… they are absolutely necessary which inspired me to contemplate how to insert fun into the mundane daily tasks of housework and cooking… no solution yet…but I am thinking about it!

I did find some “quick and easy” (?) solutions this month and I am happy to report that those changes brought success… or at least started me on a path to solving the problem!

News Fix: I have found that listening to NPR’s Up First six mornings a week is MORE than enough news for me for any given day. I did not die by not checking news at ten am, or at noon, or at 5 pm…who knew! lol Steve consumes more news than I do and in July and if something earth shattering happened, he told me. (okay… he also told me news that was not earth shattering as well… but those tidbits provided some humorous topics for dinner conversation!)

IG/Twitter Doom-scrolling: I had fallen back into the “boredom trap” of doom-scrolling Twitter and IG… I am telling you this is a hard habit to break! I tried a different approach as July progressed…I stopped “carrying my phone” with me, but rather I am leaving it sit either on the kitchen counter or the dining room table. This way I have to physically get up to do any doom-scrolling and that is helping tremendously. Full disclosure… I do wear an Apple Watch so I am not entirely “disconnected” but so far, this seems to be working well for me.

Blog Reading/Writing/Email Hell…which often leads to Endless Internet Surfing: I set a timer on my phone when I sit down at the PC in the morning… the amount of time is still in flux…but, when the timer goes off… so does the pc… and I have not died. At.All. I am still working on a way to make blog writing feel fresh and still seeking solutions to that sticky topic. Sigh. Despite that huge hurdle…the timer has helped me see clearly just how much mail I do not need to read… look at… contemplate… etc. so I have begun “unsubscribing” to a plethora of things and it feels amazingly good!

Reading: Finally… reading, which only got a half a star (while reading for myself always, always gets at least one star!!) My big hurdle this summer… book bingo, and it pains me to say that. It seemed to me that I spent more time “reworking” squares to fit what I was reading versus picking a book to fit a square. I have one book to finish for a cover all and that feels like the biggest relief ever. It was an important lesson in how I should listen to that small, quiet voice instead of allowing that shouting FOMO voice to drown me out.

And there you have release for July…

I want to thank Carolyn for hosting us and for all her work on putting together things to make me think in new ways.

See you all back here on Wednesday for some Unraveling!

Release | July 2021

Release | 6.28.21

If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in? Slow down and enjoy the moment you’re in and live your life to the fullest. ― Nanette Mathews

Carolyn’s prompts for June included a Blast List, which I struggled with… I was stymied by what to put on this list. Or so I thought… soon the idea of an Un-Blast List was rattling around my brain. As in… releasing the idea of “must do’s” and reimagining a truly slow summer. One not full of things to accomplish, but rather full of something very different.

Finding joy in the slow moments of the day… and intentionally creating more of them.

And so June began and each moment I felt some urgent desire to hurry to get on to the next thing, I stopped and contemplated why? What’s the rush? It was the beginning of a lovely experience… stopping and enjoying the current thing. Purposefully. With intention.

Summer is a finite time… fleeting… all too soon over…and rushing to fill the days with all.the.things. seems so very wrong. Releasing the idea that more is better… and embracing each moment has made for a really wonderful month! (Although, not rushing to fill the days is not as easy as it sounds!)

Slowing down allowed me to sit quietly with my thoughts as well. This, my friends, is never a good thing… except this month it was different and I could not put my finger on what was different until I listened to this…and these words especially struck me… deeply: “…Have patience with all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves” 

Yes, slowing down has been very good. The days still feel as if they are racing on, but each day feels more full… memorable… lasting…

I want to thank Carolyn for hosting us as we share our word updates! Be sure to stop this week to see how June was for everyone else!

See you all back here on Wednesday!


Release | July 2021

Release | 5.25.21

“They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite”
Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

It seems that I have found the path forward with my word, and while I can’t say it feels good… it is a good thing. My “ah-ha” moment came courtesy of Pádraig Ó Tuama…specifically, The Corrymeela Podcast episode 11 with Dr. Lia Shimada. I have listened to the podcast several times this month to pound home that “ah-ha” moment.

Couple that with the “ritual” worksheets that Carolyn provided this month and I am beginning to find some purpose for release.

The first thing I did was begin to write down my daily rituals and I to see an interesting pattern form.

Control, Perfection, and Expectations.

Early on in my life I learned that the only thing I could control was myself, which has since expanded to controlling, or trying to control, everything around me…because if I could be perfect – if everything  was perfect – it would be all right… right? Yeah, my adult brain absolutely knows that is not the case… but boy is it hard to let go of control!

I also learned very early that no one lives up to my expectations… and because they won’t, I don’t have to “let them in.” Perfect… that way I don’t get hurt and, more importantly, I don’t have to open up and share. It is the one lasting holdover of my childhood… the idea that as long as no one knows, it will be alright. Except that is only a lie I tell myself.

So where does grieving come in? I know that that living in denial, avoiding, ignoring, and holding in the secret of my childhood has staved off grieving for things lost…and I have to give myself permission to go through the ritual of grieving those lost things.

Hoo boy. I knew this word was going to be hard, but I also knew that it is so necessary. Today, the hardest part is talking about it because I have lived my entire life holding in this secret. I don’t talk about my family… I talk about grandparents, but never my home life. I am not here to say that the floodgates are going to open and I am going to beginning talking about those things. It is never going to be a “conversation starter” or part of any discussion and that is okay. What I am going to do is move through the grieving process… be it forward or backward.

And I am really going to focus on releasing perfection, control, and expectations.

I want to thank Carolyn for providing the space for us all to share (and I want to especially thank her for this months worksheets!)

See you all back here on Wednesday!

(I have gone back and forth over allowing comments here or not… and no comments just feels better. Thank you all for understanding.)



Release | July 2021

Release | 4.26.21

Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy. There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.” –Charlotte Eriksson

This month was all about giving release a bit of a pause. This word has been so mentally taxing at times that it seemed necessary to step back and give myself a bit of respite.  So in the midst of that pause, I allowed April to be about something other than me. Instead I spent my time immersed in memories of my maternal grandfather – Oliver Emil Huxhold. Thoughts of my grandpa are always close to the surface in April because of his love of poetry.

But, this month was a “two-for!” Not only was my grandpa a poetry lover, he was also an avid birder! He knew so many birds (and his bird book library was most impressive!) But when MS curtailed his outdoor time – by the time I was 5 he could no longer manage stairs at all – he began to identify birds by their songs. The best times ever were sitting on his lap listening and learning. His absolute “Holy Grail” of birds was the elusive Purple Martin. My grandparents lived about a block off Lake Macatawa on 11th Street in Holland, MI and sadly, as close as that was it just was not close enough to the water. We tried however, and I remember the spring we got him a Martin House for the back yard. My uncle installed a super long galvanized pole first and then installed the Martin house on top of that – hoping that the added height would help. Alas it did not and my grandpa grumbled plenty over the Sparrow Condo in his back yard! To my knowledge he never saw or heard Purple Martins in his life.

Steve and I headed to Erie to spend 10 days at Presque Isle. And wow. Just wow. I went outside a lot (I did bring my phone, but only to take photos) and I have so much to share with you all about our trip but for now, I’d like to share just one thing…the bittersweet achievement of my grandpa’s Holy Grail with the sightings of so many Purple Martins! I love Presque Isle, but I think my grandpa might have thought he’d “died and gone to heaven” if he could have visited it!

Purple Martin Heaven! (with a little Tree Swallow Annex off to the right side!)

And so in all that “outside” time, I really felt like I had company. My thoughts were full of grandpa and remembering all those memories and being immersed in them was exactly what I needed this month.

And, of course, Carl Sandburg has a poem for us! I think he describes them perfectly.

By Carl Sandburg

If we were such and so, the same as these,

maybe we too would be slingers and sliders,

tumbling half over in the water mirrors,

tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun,

tumbling our purple numbers.
Twirl on, you and your satin blue.

Be water birds, be air birds.

Be these purple tumblers you are.

Dip and get away

From loops into slip-knots,

Write your own ciphers and figure eights.

It is your wooded island here in Lincoln Park.

Everybody knows this belongs to you.
Five fat geese

Eat grass on a sod bank

And never count your slinging ciphers,

your sliding figure eights.

A man on a green paint iron bench,

Slouches his feet and sniffs in a book,

And looks at you and your loops and slip-knots,

And looks at you and your sheaths of satin blue,

And slouches again and sniffs in the book,

And mumbles: It is an idle and a doctrinaire exploit.
Go on tumbling half over in the water mirrors.

Go on tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun.

Be water birds, be air birds.

Be these purple tumblers you are.

We sat and watched the martins “tumble” around us as time just faded away and I began to understand my grandfather’s love of these beautiful birds and perhaps leaving a “Holy Grail” item for the next generation to achieve is the perfect thing to do…

I want to thank Carolyn for hosting us – make sure you stop and see what everyone else did with their word this month.

Thank you for reading and if you want to see my journey with release, you will find it here.

I will be back on Wednesday with some knitting and reading! (and I promise to get caught up with all your blogs soon!!)

Release | July 2021

Release | March 2021

Hello Monday.

I am joining Carolyn again to share my March update on my word. A word that I have again considered dumping… releasing release. Or maybe just curtailing release to be my clean out the physical closets in this house companion, and keeping release out of the emotional closets of my mind. But I am persevering, because I am reminding myself how hard Focus was and how challenging Intentional was. Starting something new is never easy and so I persevere.

I have spent this very long month with my thoughts. And this quote from Brené Brown in my head:

When you numb your pain, you also numb your joy. 

Oh boy. Yep, that is absolutely true. I am the master of saying nothing and numbing/ignoring the painful memories of an abusive and dysfunctional house. This month I have been opening the doors in my brain that I have kept shut and discovering that by locking those painful memories in, I was also locking in some good memories as well. I can’t erase the painful memories, but I don’t have to be numb and thus avoid all joy. It has not been easy and honestly, I considered just shoving all those memories – good and bad – back in the farthest recess of my brain and locking the door again.

But then I started reading Padraig Ó Tuama’s new book and this passage has become my new meditation, especially when I am feeling like shutting that door, locking it and throwing away the key:

To greet sorrow today does not mean that sorrow will be there tomorrow. Happiness comes too, and grief, and tiredness, disappointment, surprise and energy. Chaos and fulfilment will be named as well as delight and despair. This is the truth of being here, wherever here is today. It may not be permanent but it is here. I will probably leave here, and I will probably return. To deny here is to harrow the heart. Hello to here.
Pádraig Ó Tuama, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World

The emphasis is mine, but the power of that sentence is exactly what I need. It is just for today and it might not be tomorrow. Yes, it might be back, but just like that small determined child…I will survive.

And I have a list of things I can begin to work on releasing next month: the shame of being a victim of abuse, the guilt that it was somehow my fault, the embarrassment of being talked about, the worry of being judged.

Thank you for reading and if you want to see my journey with release, you will find it here.

See you back here on Wednesday with a knitting update!


Release | July 2021

Release | February 2021

I am joining Carolyn again this month to share my word update.

This may be the most exhausting blog post I have ever written. I started it on Friday, rewrote it on Saturday, deleted it on Sunday and started again…exhausting  to the nth power! And even then… hitting that damned publish button! February has just been so mentally difficult. Despite a plethora of recommendations, I had been avoiding Brené Brown for a very long time. Something in the things she said just hit way to close to home for me and I was not ready at all to even begin to think about why. But then February came… and I figured, how bad can starting be? Especially in such a short month…

Oh boy…how bad?

Apparently really bad because I listened to The Gifts of Imperfection…twice. And that was not enough so I ordered a physical copy and have been reading it, marking it, underlining it, writing in it ever since. There has been lots of anger, tears, frustrations, if only’s, and thoughts about how ignoring things just doesn’t work long term. This phrase really hit home for me:

“The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Yep. Exactly.

This month I began the work of not hitting the snooze button anymore and started to peek into my inner closets that are jammed full of all the things I don’t really know what to do with.

I started out by using a combination of Carolyn’s Being vs. Doing prompt for February and the worksheets that Brené has on her website for Wholehearted Living. Before I knew it, those pages were full so I moved to the margins and wrote more and then flipped over the paper and wrote still more.

And while I’d like to tell you that I have found a solution in all this reading, thinking, and writing. It just is not as easy as all that.

But what I do know is that I am not going to solve anything. I just need to find a way to release it.

If only the doing was as easy as the knowing what to do

I will be back on Wednesday to share some unraveling (fingers crossed that there is a finished sweater!!)

If you want to see my journey with release, you will find it here.



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