Connecting Women: Why This is Our First Priority

I’ve written about this before, but this is a topic so near to me that I think uncovering and unpacking the layers is relevant, important, and necessary. When I go back to what it is I do, connecting women and holding space for women is the common theme. So, why is that so important?

Connecting to Sustainability

Years ago, I identified that my goal is to educate people on the importance of a sustainable society. This was a beautiful moment because it allowed me openness to opportunities that had just been created and were now available to me. I was able to declare Sustainable Urban Development as my minor at Portland State. I was able to travel to Italy on a Sustainability Study Abroad. I was able to co-author a book on Sustainability. Because my bucket job explorations in sustainability didn’t lead to a paid gig, I kept unpacking what sustainability meant for me.

The Triple Bottom Line is the common definition I use. It’s easy to understand, wrap our heads around, and generally gets the point across. I’ve called it the Three Es, until this new definition. It means that you balance three things equally instead of just one.

In business, the norm is to balance the books. You know if a company is making a profit, or not. You balance the profit books, the economic books. In the Triple Bottom Line definition, you add two books: people (equity) and planet/place (environment). With how we’ve measured environmental success, this piece is easy to measure. We know if we are polluting the environment more than cleaning it up. We know if we are cutting down more trees than planting. We know if our food is contaminated, or not. We know if our water is contaminated, or not.

Connecting people

But people, that’s where things get messy. Because people are messy. We bring all of our junk, or baggage, to the table – no matter what the table is – work, family, volunteering. If we had a bad day at work, it’s often hard to hide it from our families. If family life is stressful, it affects our concentration at work. We are a society that likes easy things, so we don’t deal with the people aspect because it is hard.

And, the hard thing is exactly what we need to deal with. If we want our society to be a better place tomorrow than it is today, we have to tackle the hard thing. I want society to be a better place. I want my son to grow up with kindness, compassion, and opportunity within a setting of health, wellness, wealth, and awesome choices. I want the next generation to have even better opportunities. If we collectively want that, and I think we do, then we have to work together to figure out people.

Connecting with Women

I am focusing on women for many reasons. I am a women. I was raised by a women, who served our family as a single mother using social services, until she remarried. I have sisters. One sister is the mother of a special needs child. One sister was killed by her boyfriend. That is, one sister was a victim of domestic violence.

I watch all the women in my circle: gay, straight, single, parents, black, hispanic, white – and they all have spaces where they need support. Many women I see are not the sole breadwinners of their families, and that directly affects choices they make. Some women face exclusions that I, as a white women, cannot relate to, and it’s unfair and unnecessary.

So, I see a need for us, women, to come together like we never have before. I see a need for us to cross race, political, and economic lines and see the potential in each of us. I see space for us to thrive together.

When women support each other in joy, we do amazing things. We love. We share. We are kind. We show up with compassion. We gift, and we support. I want to create a society that honors the feminine to bring these necessary things back into our world, massively. Join me. Let’s connect.

The Shop is Updated

A few weeks ago, we worked with some of the pieces of walnut and oak we have, and we updated our shop. Check out the new pieces on Etsy. Most are one of a kind. Get yours today!

Stained Walnut Oil Holder
Finished with a salad bowl finish, this oil holder holds 11 9 or 10ml roller bottles. The salad bowl finish brings out the dark, beautiful richness of the walnut. This piece was designed to accentuate the natural beauty of the grain. It’s great to fit in small places.
Walnut Oil Holder
This unstained walnut oil holder, with its butter soft finish, will hold 12 9 or 10 ml roller bottles. This is a one of a kind piece. Fit your diluted touch kit or your emotional oil touch kit with ease!
Massage Kit Oil Holder, White Oak Massage Kit Oil Holder, White Oak Massage Kit Oil Holder, White Oak 🔎zoom  Request a custom order and have something made just for you. Item details 5 out of 5 stars.      (1) reviews Shipping & Policies Do you have your favorite massage oils in 5ml bottles? This holder was designed specifically for dōTERRA's AromaTouch Technique Kit, including space for fractionated coconut oil. Keep your massage tools at the ready to offer the healing touch of massage and oils! Will hold any 5ml bottles or 4oz bottle in the center. This holder is made of white oak. Meet the owners of BalanceShared Learn more about their shop and process  Michelle Lasley    Peter Lasley Massage Kit Oil Holder, White Oak
Store your 5ml AromaTouch oils and Fractionated Coconut Oil in this oak holder.

Choosing Joy

"The love of a single heart can make a world of difference." ~ Immaculee Ilibagiza
“The love of a single heart can make a world of difference.”
~ Immaculee Ilibagiza

I was “supposed” to be at convention. I was not there. I was home. My sister-in-law was there, and I was supposed to go and be there with her. And, I did not go.

The amount of guilt and concern that I was letting people down, no matter which party I chose, made me cry for three days.

I pieced together the trip, purchasing items as funds allowed. But, the last bit didn’t come through, and I chose not to discuss the full finances with my husband. Because of that choice, he didn’t know what significant amount I had already invested in my business trip. And, I chose not to go. And there was lots of sadness around.

Finally, after a few days, the husband told me he was sad I wasn’t going. I was shocked, as this was not an expected outcome. This was a breakthrough in our communication, where we opened up on some of these desires. We discussed the true cost. And, we set aside a plan for next year, that is budgeting the money as it comes in to forecast for the future.

This was and is an emotional time, for me, for many. And, with all the sadness and guilt over the choices I made, I am ultimately choosing joy for this decision. I am choosing joy for a lot of reasons. Mostly because, though the other emotions are informative and help me take responsibility, guilt doesn’t allow me to see and express love. Guilt gives me comfort in wallowing. Guilt pigeonholes me in a place where I regret and tell the same awful story over and over.

So, I would rather choose joy. I would rather recognize where I could have made different choices, and work really hard to communicate my needs and desires. And, I will work on asking for help.

Help was offered on loan. And part of choosing into joy in deciding not to go was to choose into getting ourselves out of debt. The company is a debt free company, and my husband and I desperately want to live debt-free lives. We want to pay for any future cars and houses in cash. We want my school loans paid off. And, we want any borrowed money from family repaid in full with extra for the burden carried.

Walking into convention with more debt did not feel like a joyful decision. And, that reason plus so many more, I sat at home as my plane took off with a group of women I longed to get to know better. I cried for three days until my husband and I had a breakthrough in communication. And, I worked on breathing into joy. I worked on breathing into love.

Choose joy.

I am an emotional eater

We bought a coloring book that links to an app on my phone.
We bought a coloring book that links to an app on my phone.

When I started the Whole 30, I started it as an experiment with my body. I started it to see if there was any reactions to food that I could weed out. I didn’t start the Whole 30 to see how I used food to confront emotions. In the third week of the challenge – the second week of March – I had a terrible day, and then week, at work. And, in that week, my emotional eating was crystalized.

I had a bad day at work. One bad day turned into a terrible week. I’d like to get into the details, but it’s too personal and too close. I’ve gotten congratulations and compliments on this thread of personal posts, but previous emotional confessions have happened so long ago that there has been time for healing. That is, the emotional incident occurred so long ago that I’ve had time to make sense of the emotions, so sharing the feelings is cathartic and hopefully helpful to others with similar issues. While sharing my feelings on recent incidents could be cathartic and helpful, I’ve also found myself in situations where it became uncomfortable to discuss the thing that happened so recently. So, we’ll leave it at as a bad day that turned into a bad week.

The first bad day, when I came home, the only thing I wanted was a brownie. A rich, fudge, chocolatey brownie. But, I was doing the Whole 30. I was committed to the Whole 30, and sweets are strictly prohibited. There is no cheating, and there is no slipping. To the point you are not to eat fruit if you are craving sugar. So, I resisted.

It was painfully clear though (as if I hadn’t realized it before *hear the sarcasm*) that I am an emotional eater. I take comfort in comfort food when I don’t or cannot deal with whatever emotion surfaces.

I vented, in this instance, to my husband instead. Declaring loudly, “I am an emotional eater!”

So, I’ve known for a long time that I take comfort in comfort food, but it wasn’t until that moment that I knew that was a barrier for me in dealing with emotions. Realizing it, so clearly, because I committed to no cheating through Easter.

Emotions arose, and I could not cheat with a brownie. I had to figure out what was bothering me. It has taken me now maybe 6 weeks to figure out what really bothered me about that bad day and bad week. I figured it out without resorting to sweets to help, but I have not finished my end of the deal – I have not confronted those whose actions I found so offensive. So, I sit on the edge of artificial harmony because I’d rather not go for the jugular.

But, I have realized that I am an emotional eater. And, now this recognition brings choice – to succumb or to confront. And, I can do this, eyes wide open. And, I should thank the Whole 30 for helping to bring about that realization.

How do you deal with difficult emotions? Do you take comfort in rich, chocolatey brownies, or do you face the emotions head on?

Creativity

A glimpse at where I can be creative: my accessories. I haven't purchased a new ring since my resized wedding band ($8, thank you). This is the second most expensive ring I've purchased ($26, the other being $23). A great find from Button, a local consignment shop.
A glimpse at where I can be creative: my accessories. I haven’t purchased a new ring since my resized wedding band ($8, thank you). This is the second most expensive ring I’ve purchased ($26, the other being $23). A great find from Button, a local consignment shop.

Self-discovery, a life long process, trying to assess our strengths, our weaknesses, what sets us off, what sets us on fire… all to assess our place in this world, to figure out where we belong, what we should be doing, our best strategies in working with our families, our colleagues, our friends. In 2010-2011, I recall writing more about my observations of others’ reactions towards things. The last two or three years, I’ve been more inward, considering my reactions to things, events – past and present.

So, from past to present – throughout my life, I’ve been prey to quizzes. Starting with the ones that appeared in  Seventeen magazine that later morphed into MySpace and Facebook. Now, the self discovery quizzes I take are in the form of reading about the Meyers Briggs (Please Understand Me I and II or learning all about the Enneagram) or they are found under the pretense or assumption of scientific research with downloadable apps, found exclusively on the App Store (or in the Android Market). And, I am victim to their guile in self understanding.

When confronted with the question, “What are you thinking/feeling right now?” I often freeze. My mind could be on a train of thought venturing deep into… and the question is posed and *POOF* the train evaporates as I struggle to come back to the real world. What was I thinking? What am I feeling? It’s as if a hollowness comes over me and I cannot identify what it was. I need to step back, assess, retrace my steps. It’s in those assessments, away from the question that I am often able to get more clarity.

Back to quiz taking. One was created from Steven R Covey’s book Great Work, Great Carer, written in tandem with co-author Jennifer Colosimo. I found it after delving into (still unfinished) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I started reading it during a moment of calm between all the varied things I have been involved in – church, social justice volunteering, food club, and work. This was just before the feeling of staleness and a new rut came over me. This was post Strengthsfinder 2.0 and Strengths-Based Leadership. This was on the continued discovery of self. This discovery of self to lead me to what Po Bronson thinks we should all be doing, finding out What Should I Do with My Life?

I took this Great Career quiz sometime ago, and tonight, for kicks have retaken it. The quiz simply takes you through a variety of tasks that would be found in a variety of careers. Asking things like, “Do you want to be a forest manager?” to “Do you want to organize complex filing systems?” Then, you rate it on a five point scale – tapping in one direction for very much so and the other for not really at all.

Topping the list, consistently, has been the path of “creative”. Prior to this veil of thinking, I have forgotten how important creativity in work is to me. So far out of the every day is my drawing and painting and sketching, that I only focus on the task lists, the organizing, the leading. How could I have forgotten that I love to draw? How could I have forgotten that I love to get dressed up and put make up on, not to showcase some feminine ideal, but because of the creativity involved. I call it “painting my face”. Some of the most enjoyable moments in a work day involve brainstorming or designing. Yet, a decision I made when I was a freshman in college (the first time at MSU) made me focus on the reading/writing side of a career. This cognizant choice to make a perceived safe decision away from the heartbreak if someone didn’t like my design… Is that why I am in any perceived ruts now? Am I in a career stalemate because I failed to acknowledge when I was 20 the need for creativity that I have?