author moments

Head and Shoulders

The slower pace of summer leaves more time for conversation.

Long car rides, leisurely coffee klatches, back porch dinners, sun soaking on the pool deck. It’s easy to get lost in our phones or pop in AirPods and retreat to our own little worlds. Somewhere on the long roads of Pennsylvania, my daughter told me we should really talk more on all these remote miles.

I searched “road trip questions,” “questions for moms and daughters” and finally found a long set. Just a few would send us down rabbit holes of stories, ponderings, insights, new opportunities to connect. Once the ball is rolling, it can keep going on and on.

“What’s your favorite body part?”

This question came up around the table with friends. It was one of those rapid-fire sessions, quick answers to “would you rathers” and the sort. I reflexively said the top of my shoulders and biceps. That little spot where the work really shows. There’s lots of things I pick apart about my body, but that is one place that makes me smile when I look in the mirror.

I am a slow thinker. Sometimes after a rapid-fire question session I’ll find myself thinking and rethinking my answers. While I do love my shoulders, really my favorite part of my body is my brain. I love it’s strength and it is the part of me that is truly unique. It can make people laugh and make people wonder. It has my empathy, my vocabulary, my insights. I think I could live without many of my body parts, but my brain is too precious and central to lose. It sees the world like no one else’s.

What’s your favorite body part?

balance

My Control Panel

In a challenge right now with a fitness group, we were tasked with thinking daily about what in our lives we can and cannot control. We had to write it down and repeat it to ourselves each day several times. To some this might seem silly, but especially in this time of flux and frustration, I found it useful. Here are some of the things I wrote down this week.

What I cannot control:

-My other family members’ schedules

-Other people’s priorities

-How other people interpret and respond to my choices

-How other people see me

-Many details about my work day – where I work, how I allocate my time, how many meetings I have to attend

-Traffic

-How fast the postal service delivers packages

-The coronavirus pandemic – its length, severity, and impact on people I care about and the world at large

-How others respond to the pandemic…their movements, opinions, responses, precautions (or lack of)

-Whether or not my daughter will have a lacrosse season

-The weather

-Other people’s level of stress and its’ impact on their actions, attitudes, etc.

The list goes on…and I realize I spend a LOT of time spinning my mental and spiritual wheels on the list above. NOTHING I CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT. AT. ALL.

Here’s what I can control.

-My actions

-My choices

-Where I put my energy – writing, reading, recreation, learning, exercise, rest

-Where I direct my attention

-My movement

-What I consume – food, media, etc.

-My hydration

-My attitude toward challenges

Really, it’s a small list, but it’s what I need to focus on. You notice that most of what I can’t control involves other people and most of what I can involves me. When I find myself fretting about the world and all its ups and downs, I remember what I can control and then try to DO something related to these lists.

It seems like a goofy task to say these things several times a day, but I learned that my anxiousness lessens when I consciously remind myself what I can do something about. And then DO one of those things. What’s on your lists? Give it a try and see how you fare.