Finding My Anchors Amid Uncertainty

The Rock (yes that Rock–Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is the inspiration behind today’s post. Or one of them at least.

(Remember, I’m going to occasionally talk about my obsessions on this blog…The Rock is just one of many…and did you know he has an f’ing alarm clock you can download?! Mind blowing goodness, that’s what it is.)

In a recent video post on his Instagram page, The Rock spoke and wrote about his anchors in life–his family and his physical training–and how they drive him to keep pushing himself.

In The Rock’s own words, “Find your anchor and protect it.”

(Now that man should have his own f’ing daytime talk show. Oprah, can you smell what The Rock is cookin’?)

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And so, thanks in part to The Rock, I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of anchors. 

Having recently transitioned out of one life chapter, I’ve been grappling with how to stay steady and strong as I begin a fresh, new chapter.

A lot has changed over the past few years.

  • I’ve grown older and wiser and tougher.
  • I’ve changed jobs and volunteer gigs.
  • I’ve had some dark days and I’ve had some great ones.
  • I’ve travelled and stayed still.
  • I’ve tried new things I never in a million years thought I would (pole fitness, skiing, Krav Maga, shooting a gun to name a few) and stubbornly refused to let other things go (mac and cheese addict forever).
  • I’ve read and not read.
  • I’ve written and not written.

All through these normal life fluctuations my anchors have largely remained the same and kept me sane–my family, my friends and my own training.

Anchor #1: Family

My family has given me the unconditional love only a family can. Despite our disagreements, annoyances, and frustrations we may share sometimes, I know that I can always count on them to be there for me no matter what. 

I am grateful to have such a family as I know not all do. They are there with a life float if I ever need it and they are always open to listening if I choose to share my thoughts.

I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful. Thank you.

Anchor #2: Friends

My friends have given me joy, adventure and a place among them to shine as myself. With them, I am safe to be exactly who I am while also being pushed and challenged so that I can grow ever more wiser. They make me smile, but more importantly they make me laugh.

This last sentence reminds me of a line in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth Bennett writes to her aunt and uncle about her relationship with Mr. Darcy: “I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.”

My friends aren’t quite like dreamy, steamy Mr. Darcy but the same sentiment applies as they give me pure joy.

Thank you. I am so grateful.

Anchor #3: Training

And then my training anchor comes in two parts: inner (self, soul, emotional, mental, whathaveyou) and outer (physical). I have found over the years that if I leave either part unattended my whole self suffers whether or not my family or friends are readily available.

My inner training has ranged from reading and writing to coloring and meditating and yoga. All of these practices bring me back to center even amid chaos.

My outer training has varied over time from steady distance running to high intensity fitness like Krav Maga and MMA. Whatever it is, I know I need it. Go a week without it and my mood and outlook already feels off. With it, I feel powerful and empowered.

Find Your Anchor(s)

If you’re like me and feel like you’ve lost your way during a life shift or anticipate some life changes happening down the road, I encourage you to think about who or what are your anchors and make sure you keep ‘em by your side.

You may not need them all the time (helicopter anchors are no good just like helicopter parents–eek!), but when you do need them they will be there waiting for you. Just remember to pay attention to them occasionally if they happen to be real people…real people don’t wait forever (real talk).

And if you feel like you don’t yet have anchors–don’t worry. Try some different tactics on for size that may make you feel calm, collected, safe and happy. No harm in trying and no harm in failing. Just keep going.

I wish you boundless seas of goodness in your anchor search. May you find what you need even amid uncertainty.

With love,

KP

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Feature photo credit: Opatija’s Sea Maiden / KP Original

Reinventing My Story of Grief

Dear Readers: Please welcome guest writer, Alexis Croswell (AC) to Inspiration for Good today! AC is a dear friend of mine and a fantastic writer — I hope you will enjoy and be inspired by her personal story as much as I am! xoxo -KP


Today marks the eleventh year since my mom passed away.

When I think about this fact, these are my thoughts:

  • FUCK. This still really sucks. I miss her
  • I wonder if I’d be the same person today if she were still alive  
  • The smell of lavender is her scent
  • Whimsical art reminds me of her (especially if there is purple)
  • Mothers who love their children remind me of her
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Photo credit: Mark Croswell

This last bullet point struck me recently. Living in a big city I don’t see a lot of mothers and children in my day-to-day life. However, a few weeks ago while riding the bus I sat across from a mother and her daughter. The daughter was about 13, the age I was when my mom died.

They were having a discussion about texting in class, and the mom said with authority, “If everyone was doing something really stupid, everyone was doing it, and you knew it was wrong, you shouldn’t do it.” The girl persisted saying it wasn’t a big deal, then ignored her mom for a few minutes in the “MOM! I-am-not-having-this-right-now” kind of way. After a period of self-reflective silence they resumed idle conversation.

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Photo credit: Mark Croswell

I had forgotten what those moments between a mother and daughter can feel like. It was benign and it was beautiful.

When I was younger, everyone in my community knew about my mom’s death. We had all grown up together and many people knew her personally. After I left my hometown, I was a blank slate to new people. Once we passed the point of casual acquaintance I had to shape the story of who I was. My grief became part of this story.

In the minds of people who had never met her, my mom was only the memory of a woman with cancer who died too young. People would associate her with sadness, my sadness. I was too close to the tragedy to speak much more of her than what had most recently happened. I had blocked out so much of my life because it was too painful to recall.

Now, when I talk about my mom, I want to feel and acknowledge the grief, but then allow those memories of joy, happiness, and love to help shape my story.  

Her soul lives on today in me and my sister, and everyone who was witness to her kindness. She is a beautiful woman.

She gave the best hugs. You know the kind – mom hugs – where you fit just right and you know that everything will be okay, someday. Her laughter was beautiful–it added positive energy to the world.

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Photo credit: Mark Croswell

Growing up in our house there was magic, and I could let my creativity run wild (as long as I dusted on Sundays).

She tolerated the summer month I kept pet worms in my bedroom. She laughed in a knowing way when I showed off my hairless legs the first time I shaved. She gave me an appreciation for the act of making art. She painted and created because it made her soul come alive. She taught me how to cook, and how to organize and let go of what I no longer needed. We made the best Christmas cookies.

She was kind and she loved.

I wish I had more solid memories of her during these happier times. What I remember most was the year I watched her die.

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Photo credit: Mark Croswell

It was a slow progression: losing her hair, losing her breast, losing her grip on the physical world. I remember the day she told me she could sense that the end was near. When she said this, she didn’t cry; I didn’t either. I climbed onto her hospice bed and laid with her, our bodies and souls doing the work that our words could not.

I miss her fiercely and love her dearly. It’s never easy to write about her (I had a break for crying around paragraph three) but it is important to me. Grief is a weighty and complex emotion, so when I can break it into pieces and turn those into words on a page that I can confront it gives me clarity.

There will always be grief. Some days I will let it envelop me. Other days I can acknowledge it and let it pass by me so I can find the joyful, happy, and loving memories of my mom. I hope that you can find acceptance and love for your story, whatever it may be.

In the words of my mom, and one of her greatest pieces of advice, I hope that you too can “enjoy life.”

-AC

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About the Author: Alexis Croswell has a passion for story telling and an innate desire to learn. She enjoys deep thoughts and emotionally stimulating conversation. She will also be the first to laugh at herself and doesn’t take life too seriously. In her day job she works in content marketing at a people analytics company.

Discover more about Alexis here.

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Feature photo credit: Mark Croswell