Great Expectations Set You Up to Fail

flickr, Marco Bellucci

The other day, one of our Reclaim the Sass challengers shared with the group about a tough time she was going through in the last two weeks. Her father is ill and in the hospital and, obviously, she isn’t really feelin’ the sass right now.

Because all of our Sassafrasians are amazing, someone else immediately sent love to her and said, “Since I started the challenge I have been exceptionally cranky and down and I have no real reason, just coming up against my self appointed limitations that keep me from my full sass expression. Trying to let myself flow through it to the other side with as much grace as possible.”

The first dozen or two times I tried to change myself I remember that, too. I remember starting all gung ho – “

Time 1: “Woo hoo, let’s buy those protein shakes and lose that belly fat.”

Time 2: “Woo Hoo, once I get my house/finances/fat butt back in shape I’m NEVER going to allow myself to get THIS BAD again.”

Time 472: “What’s the use? I never seem to stick with what I said I was gonna do. I give up.”

Well, “giving up” is probably the best thing you can do when you decide to Reclaim Your Sass.

The best possible place to be in when you begin anything of import is utter and complete surrender.

You surrender your expectations of how it’s going to go.

You surrender your expectations of how compliant and consistent you’re going to be able to be.

You surrender all ideas of what you think your mood should be like while you are going through this time of change.

Cause here’s the thing love —  It’s not really all that surprising to feel cranky, moody, and even depressed when you start out on the exciting journey of “this time I absolutely mean it, once and for all, I’m finally gonna do something about that thing that’s been bothering me like FOREVER and I’m gonna be so happy to finally have found someone to help me (that’s ME in this case) and a community of women (that’s Beautiful YOU in this case) that I’m just gushing with excitement and I imagine every day of this transformation to be completely filled with “aha” moments … and blah, and blah, and blah, and blah.

Cause the truth is you might actually feel kinda completely SH*TTY at the beginning.

You might have feelings of sadness and remorse that you waited so long.

You might have feelings of disappointment cause, once you get just the smallest way in to it, you realize that changing your life is a whole lot more complicated than you thought.

You may feel resentment that the people around you aren’t supporting you more. And, after all you’ve given them over the years, and they can’t, not even ONCE, be there for Beautiful You.

. . . . And, another thing . . . .

See what I mean?

When you make a commitment to make a commitment to yourself, all you’ve really done is state your commitment. The “going throughs” is a completely different thing altogether.

But that is no reason to feel glum. Further, you can completely LOWER your expectations of yourself in this way – you can’t expect yourself to be graceful at something the first time you do it.

Really, who does that?

Did Peggy Fleming look so hot the first time she laced up and risked the ice?

Did the principal of the New York Ballet pirouette the very first day at the barre?

Did Jennifer Boykin put together interesting and fun pieces the very first time she grabbed a pencil?

No way, Jose.

What we are doing here is creating a new life for ourselves – one day at a time. And the new life we are creating is, at first, a complete change to our interior world. The correct changes to our outer world will come from the understanding we get from understanding ourselves.

And, at first, we just can’t understand ourselves all the time. It takes practice, and love, and patience, and deep DEEP acceptance – both of self and of others.

So, if you are Challenging with us this month, or if you are just working through change on your own, I completely honor and commend your decision.

Just don’t sweat it if you’re a little bit grumpy and, from time to time you fall down on your beautiful behind.

Besides, it’s never the fall that matters. It’s the RISE.

Have fun. Make good choices.

Love, Jen

P.S. We are announcing new changes to our monthly reinvention program – Chapters – as of this morning. To learn more, visit our info site: Chapters

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It Was a Rough August

flickr, KT King

It was a tough August. I wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to miss my second son who left for his freshman year at University.

But, it was more than that. I just didn’t feel right in my body. When I first thought about it, I figured I hadn’t felt right for a couple of weeks or so. But now, I knew it was much longer.

As it turns out, depression returned, and while it’s been out on leave it’s been WORKING OUT. This is one tough dude that’s got ahold of me!

Please let me protect myself and most of my readers by making this request: As much as I care about you and I know you care about me, please DO NOT fill today’s comment section with your stories or treatments for depression. But I’d love to hear about how you are living successfully with whatever challenges are before Beautiful You.

The last thing I want to do is accidentally transform Life After Tampons into the site for depressed older women. We have to be vigilant when we talk about our struggles here. Otherwise, we might accidentally slip into living in the problem rather than the answer.

We have to protect ourselves from that.

Because we are so much more that that – we are so much more than ANY of the challenges before us.

Because we are WOMEN WHO RISE!

That’s right. Old, young, with or without tampons, with children or without, from the under- or upper-class (whatever the hell that means), with a man, with a woman, with several of each – no matter what, “We Are Women Who Rise!”

And so, while we may individually face great challenges, we have to remember not to forget that there is always ONE PLACE we can come and seek strength, solutions, and hope.

And that place is right here at Life After Tampons.

Right now we are at the very beginning of our Reclaim the Sass Challenge. Already hundreds and HUNDREDS of women are working together to overcome challenges and get sassy and happy about life. I’m leading the group, but I am clearly also one of them.

In other words, no pedestals here. No Ivory Tower. Just one women helping other women in the ways she is gifted to do best.

You have your own gifts, and your own concerns. So, if you’re ready, now is COMPLETELY the best time to Reclaim Your Sass during the month of September.

If you are already a regular subscriber to Life After Tampons, you are already enrolled. If you would like to join us, simply put your contact information in the box below.  You can start with the very next video (we do not send videos already recorded because I want to reinforce this: You are NOT behind.)

We start where we are. Trust that that is enough.

And then, have fun, make good choices.

Love, Jen

 

 

Photo: Flickr, KT King

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My New Job

flickr, weight lifter Patrick Feller

Don’t freak out. I’m not going anywhere, sort of.

What I am doing is stepping into bigger shoes. (A little scary, since I’ve worn a Size 10 since 5th grade!)

Here’s the scoop:

Two years ago, when I launched Life After Tampons, I had two primary objectives:

1. To be the site where any woman who wanted to change her life, would find the tools, community, and resources to do that – REGARDLESS of her current relational, geographical, or financial status. In other words, you don’t have to invest a penny to gain BIG TIME from hanging out here.

2. To be the GAME CHANGER in the industry – to be THE site where women who want to rise are taking decisive actions to make their dreams come true.

I’ve already accomplished Goal #1. HANDS DOWN. If you take the time to cull and study the HUNDREDS of postings, FREE workshops, and FREE eBooks on this site, you will find the help you need to make changes.

Now, I’m moving into the Bigger Shoes of Goal #2.

I want to LEAD a community of action takers so that, together, we completely REBRAND the world’s expectations about the possibilities for women over 40!

I no longer just want to write pretty blog posts. I want to be the leader of Women Who Rise!

To do that, some things are gonna change, and some things won’t.

Take a peek:

 

The Things that Are Gonna Change

A few months ago, I led a FREE video workshop for anyone in our group who wanted to Reclaim the Sass in their lives. I extended an invitation for you to join, and over 500 women, plus one really terrific guy, took the challenge.

Oh my gosh, it was LIFE CHANGING for so many women.  Sass was reclaimed, lives were changed, hope was restored, and hundreds of our participants made bold steps forward on behalf of themselves.

And the whole experience CONVINCED me that it was time to make a BIG move toward my second goal.

So, here’s the scoop:

Our next 30-day Reclaim the Sass Challenge begins on Monday, September 1 (they are quarterly challenges). You don’t have to do anything to join this challenge. As a preferred subscriber to Life After Tampons, you are automatically enrolled in the Challenge.

Every day, for the month of September, you will receive a VERY short video message from me with one little bitty powerful idea to change your life and Reclaim the Sass.

You also get full access to a TOP SECRET Facebook group already in operation. The Group is EXCLUSIVE to Reclaim the Sass Challengers and HUNDREDS of women (plus Sam) are already there sharing their experience, strength, and hope with each other.

Tomorrow, I’ll send you a message about how to join the group and on SUNDAY I’m going to announce the theme of our Challenge.  This is so super COOL; I can’t wait to let you know that part!!

Now, don’t worry if you miss a day or two or thirty. It simply doesn’t matter how perfectly you “perform” your challenge.

Nope. Not one bit. Cause just keeping the idea in front of you every day is gonna go a long way to feeling very differently about your life on October 1st than you do right now – even if everything feels perfectly rosy today.

If this isn’t the best time for you, and you prefer to skip the Challenge, please just delete the email when you see it. Of course, you could always unsubscribe to our messages, but then you would miss all the other posts, and future FREE eBooks, worksheets and other stuff that is exclusive to our SUBSCRIBERS.

 

Here’s What Won’t Change

1. My ongoing commitment to provide for Beautiful You the very best tools and resources for you to finally at last really really be the change in your own beautiful life.

2. Fun. Cause I’m completely fun. Except when I’m not. Which isn’t often but does happen on occasion. Thank you for loving me anyway, by the way.

And that’s it!!!

More info tomorrow. I CAN’T WAIT to share this journey with you.

Have fun. Make Good Choices.

Love, Jen

P.S. If you were part of the June Challenge, please let everyone else know about your experience in the comments below.

P.P.S. If you are reading this post, but are NOT a regular subscriber, I will not know how to get you the Challenge Materials unless you let me know how to reach you in the little box below. So, um, SIGN UP!

P.P.P.S. Thank you for allowing me the privilege to be part of your life. I adore each of you.

 

photo: flickr, patrick keller

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My Boy is Leaving

photo23 days. But who’s counting?

Um. I am.

Seventeen years, eleven months, and one day ago, God gave me the most precious gift of my life – again. Oh, it feels like five minutes ago that Avery Scott Williamson, my second son, was given on loan to me for this first part of his journey.

Right away, there was a special connection. If he had spent some time in the hospital nursery, I would “feel” him needing me and be walking down the hallway just as the nurses were wheeling him to me from the other direction. After the 4th or 5th time, they would just shake their heads in wonderment.

Me, too.

He was an exhausting baby. He never slept. (Who does this sound like, mom?) She would tell me that I just had to nap whenever he mercifully decided to close his eyes for the 10 or so minutes he did a day. Of course, this always happened next to the pineapples at the Safeway.

And, oh my gosh, he is absolutely the most clever person I have ever known. Back to that not-sleeping thing: He had this habit of getting out of bed every night and needing to start the whole “go to bed” thing over and over again.

When he was THREE YEARS OLD – on the night before his 4th birthday, I said to him, “Now, Avery, tomorrow you are going to be 4-years old and that means you’re getting to be a big boy now. I think you are old enough now for the responsibility of staying in bed at night. So, since all privileges come with responsibilities, if you break your responsibility and get out of bed tonight, you need to bring me a privilege to trade.”

I talked to all of them that way. My strategy was to just keep them stupefied on “Big Words and Supper,” but, of course, that strategy only went so far. They all had amazing vocabularies by the age of 8 or 9 and were especially gifted young debaters.

Oh, well.

So, anyway, I explain the new “big boy” rules to Avery and he assured me that he understood them and that was that and off to bed he went.

Ten minutes later, Avery comes out to the living room.

“Mom, I need your help with something,” he says.
“Okay, Avery, I want to help you, but first you need to surrender your privilege because you got out of bed.”
“But mom,” he doggedly continues, “this is important. I need to know what socks to wear tomorrow.”
“Well, socks are important,” I stupidly answer, “but first you need to surrender your privilege because we made a deal and you broke it. So what privilege to do you want to surrender for getting up?”

“Um,” he pretends to think about it. “Using my bed?”

Yep, THREE YEARS OLD, and this is how crafty and funny and clever this boy was. What could I do but kiss him all over his beautiful little face?”

There was no disciplining Avery. You couldn’t really take away any privileges because Avery is decidedly unattached to anything. He can make himself happy anywhere under any conditions with absolutely nothing on hand at all.

At a family reunion when he was five, he had all the 80-year olds playing some game in the banquet hall that he invented with his favorite toy – a tiny little broom – and a ball.

I realize as I share these stories with Beautiful You, that I’m breaking my own rule just a little bit, cause here at Life After Tampons we don’t really talk about our partners and our children because we keep the focus on ourselves. Truly, where else do you go in life where you get the socially-approved permission to give yourself the gift of your own life?

But I am sharing this with you because, as my nest continues to empty, it does impact my own personal journey quite a bit. These last two weeks, I’m finding it extremely difficult to get “my” things done. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to be with people.

I don’t want to do anything but sleep, and then sleep some more.

This is always a warning sign for me because I’m not a sleeper. My good friend told me this morning that she also suspects that my inertia isn’t just because my grief that Avery is leaving, but also all the grief underneath it.

The baby that didn’t grow up. The divorce and the way that ripped all of our lives apart in a way that can never be reclaimed. That had so many repercussions – my eldest son moved in with his dad in the middle of his Junior year of high school, so he had already left before he left.

 

So much sadness wrapped around so much joy.

I always underestimate the complexities and subtleties of my grown-up life. I’m not really equipped for any of this. And yet, again and again, I find that I must be. There is still one son who needs me and deserves his turn. There is that delicious Italian who wants a LOT of me. There is beautiful you.

Oh, how in love I am with Beautiful You. Truly truly truly, you cannot know.

So, I soldier on. I don’t really know how to do this – this leaving thing. Every other time – losing my father when I was 11, the daughter who died, the surprise divorce, the son who left early – the change was thrust upon me.

Suddenly, someone I loved was ripped from me.

But this time, it is the longest goodbye. And I am so very very proud of this man who is my son. So very very proud.

When I started this journey with you two and a half years ago, I didn’t know where we were going. I have a much clearer idea today, and I’m going to share more about that with you next time we connect.

But what I do know is this: The only way out is through. (click to tweet)

The journey is what matters. We don’t get to see the whole plan at once. Every morning, one day at a time, we simply rise and do the best we can to point ourselves in the direction of what feels like the rising sun.

And, we stay in touch with ourselves and each other along the way. Please tell me, love, how are you doing? What do you need next? How can I support Beautiful You.

I’m gonna have some extra time on my hands in just a few weeks, and it’s all yours, love. I am all yours.

With Devotion,
Avery’s Mom

P.S. In just over a week, we start a new chapter over in the Chapters Program. Our theme for the month of August is “Insisting on Happiness” and I’m creating a “Sunshine Manifesto” for our Chapters members. I’d love it if you’d join us. Here’s where you go to register.

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