This message is brought to you by the coronavirus, two and half weeks in.[Tuesday, March 31st, 6pm] I think the lesson from today can be summed up neatly with this two-word, oft stated phrase in the Crowell Home: F*ck it.
I’ve decided that for today Imma let go into the mess. Really relax into the chaos. Settle into the shit, and get comfy.
Here we go:
I spent my entire day on zoom, which was glitchy AF as the entire world suddenly logged into it (F-You, Zoom! YOUR internet is unstable!) “connecting” with clients (F-You social distancing! I want to hug my people!) and being emotionally available (F-You self control! I’m going to dip my OREOS in wine!) while also taking care of my kids (F-You color coded homeschooling schedule! One tap for the next 5 hours? SCREENS!) and trying to stay on top of the mountain of videos I’m creating for my classes (F-You youtube auto-translate! Why must it take 73 clicks to find you?!?).
And for good measure: F-YOU New York Times app of doom, Facebook panic button, and [SAY IT WITH ME]:
F-THE-H out of you, Coronavirus.
Fuck all that, is what I’m saying.
I’m going to let my kids watch tv and tell my students the videos are delayed. I’m going to get a drink, lay on the couch, watch “Some Good News” and cry (all those “gratitude for healthcare workers” videos make me weep). Or maybe watch the Office and laugh. Or just close my eyes and pretend I’m on a beach far, far away from Zoom where the coronavirus does not thrive. And I’m gonna look like this, because F-YOU middle aged body!
Tomorrow I’ll re-engage my brain, hop back into the drivers seat and see where The ^Almost Daily Catalyst takes me.
What do you need to say f*uck it or F-You to?
I hope you take that break.
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My posts for the past week boil down to one piece of critical advice: During the coronavirus crisis (and, actually, always) it’s very important for you to realize that you have CHOICE about what you think, what you feel, and how you act.
Not total choice, obviously, but a heck of a lot more choice than most of us are exercising.
And listen, I’ve heard every version of how that’s not true:
“Some people have depression and anxiety or worse, Amanda. They aren’t at choice about how they feel.” They have more choice than they know, and I want them to see if they can find some. Will their choices make them feel all better? NO. But I’m not going to let that stop me from encouraging them to do what they can to feel more at peace TODAY.
“Some people have lost their jobs and have no money and nobody is hiring right now, Amanda. What do you want them to do?’ I want them to know that even SUPER hard times don’t have to be the only thing happening in your life. Where can you find joy? What delights you? How can you get a little bit of that TODAY?
“Some people are sad, angry, and frustrated, Amanda! And what’s wrong with that? You shouldn’t shame people who are feeling entirely rational, albeit negative emotions.” I would NEVER shame anyone for feeling badly.
And I never said that exercising your choice about how you think, feel, and act during the coronavirus would mean that you will feel great all the time.
How bizarre would that be? Our world is in crisis, people we know are sick (and maybe we will be, too), and there are real worries about how we are going to recover from this economic free fall. Being present and intentional often means feeling sad and angry and frustrated. That’s totally fine.
AND! Being present and intentional can also mean feeling grateful. It can involve laughter. Sometimes it means that you restrict your exposure to the news so you can be present with your kid without that crushed feeling in your chest. Sometimes it means that you tell your husband that “If pajamas are on my body, NO ONE WILL SPEAK about the coronavirus!” All of those things are allowed.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
So, if that’s true and we have more choice than we realize, how do we go about exercising that choice? Or, said another way, how do we manage our minds so that we can live intentionally while feeling more peaceful?
At the center of that question, is another question: What is a mind?
There are actually a lot of answers to this question! In all the related fields (neuropsychology, personal development, meditation and hypnosis, etc.) every answer they come up with seems to be controversial! Which is kind of weird, when you think about how basic that question is.
Whenever that happens (which happens a lot in “the literature” around fundamental ideas), my go to strategy is to look at all the options and then come up with my own working definition and then see where it takes me. I’m always looking for the position that leads to the best advice about living an intentional and adventurous life.
Answers range from “your mind is your brain, obviously” to “your mind is your bridge to universal intelligence, obviously” and everything in between.
I like to think of the mind, most of all, as a workspace. This is where we go* to observe our world, navigate our emotions, make choices about our thoughts, and, well, exist.
In my theory (which I’ll someday give a name…) the workspace of the mind has three interwoven parts, each of which can be adjusted to support our ability to choose.
Mindset: These are the lenses that fall into place and color/frame the way we interpret what’s happening to us. Fundamentally, a mindset is a pattern of beliefs. Beliefs are ingrained thoughts. And thoughts are things we can choose. We’ll talk about how to be strategic about dismantling and strengthening our thoughts, beliefs, and mindsets so that you (and not the mindless status quo) can be the boss of what happens in your mind.
Mindscape: It’s helpful to think of your mindscape as the almost physical space occupied by your mind. Is your mind crammed so full of half processed trauma, disorganized memories and repetitive thoughts that you want to punch me in the face every time I tell you have a choice about what you think?
Or do you maintain your mindscape so there’s room for introspection, innovation, and creativity? We will discuss what kind of maintenance will help you make/keep your mindscape a place you want to spend time.
Mndmanager: If you’ve ever taken a cognitive development class, the mindmanager is a lot like the “central executive.” Or Joy, from inside out. Or Genius, from Herman’s head.Your mindmanager has shit to do, and only some of them involve your conscious brain. It’s for our mindmanger that we need to engage in self-care. And if you struggle to believe you are good enough, It’s your mindmanager who needs a bit of an identity upgrade.
When you understand the pieces of your mind, you are better able to intervene with intentional choice when things go a little crazy around you. And that’s our goal.
*PS- It’s totally wrong to say we “go” there. We ARE there. The fact that there is a “there” means that we “are.” Our mind IS our physical existence. Without our minds we are either nothingness or released back to universal intelligence/God or whatever it is that happens after death. But for this life, this crisis, this moment in time, our mind is where we are. Let’s take care of it, shall we?
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Recently the four of us (collectively, The Crowells) stumbled across baby videos of the small ones learning to walk, crawl, and talk. Much oohing and aahing ensued. Then came a video with an actual adult… it was me with my daughter, who was 2 at the time, showing her what it’s like to see herself on video (when you turn the cell phone camera around in selfie mode) and she was laughing which made me laugh. Oh how we laughed! It was adorable. I said, “Someday- when I’m gone- you’ll be watching this video and crying, “‘Oh, how I miss my mother!'” Yes. I said that. Sorry. My husband, who is hip to my game and not having it, then said, “Not if I marry some other woman who hides all the videos.” I, obviously easily riled up, said “What?! Why are you remarried so soon? And why would you remarry a woman who hides the videos!”
Some escalating back and forth ensued while our children are watching, confused. “Wait… what do you mean when you are gone!?!” It took me quite a while to calm down from that. (My husband is a bear poker, he knows how to calm me down, but he’d rather rile me up. Such is the story of soul mates.) And here’s what you already know:
Our brains don’t discriminate between the stories we are telling ourselves and the things that are true. What story are you making up and then worrying about? Is it that people are judging you? Is it that people don’t like you? Is it that you aren’t a “math person?” Is it that you are lazy? All of that is a choice- these are stories you are choosing to tell about yourself. And that choice has consequences. Once you’ve said it, your brain is going to respond. Get worried, see the world through that lens, build up the back story to support it, turn it into a belief, and then you’re stuck. Watch out for the stories you are telling yourself. Choose the good ones.
Forever and ever I’ve wanted to be an author. And forever and ever I thought that was impossible. See, I’ve got this eye thing from childhood seizures (long story, I’m fine now) that makes it really hard for my eyes to see typos (I also CANNOT find Waldo, but that’s a story for another day). And to me, that felt like an insurmountable problem!
It’s not like people didn’t like my writing… they would read my blogs, and told me they enjoyed my emails… but I assumed they liked it because I have a quirky sense of humor, not because it was GOOD or anything like that.
Or at least that’s what I told myself because:
Have you ever noticed that the thing that other people admire about you is the same thing that gets you into trouble? Me too. People ask me all the time “How do you do so much?” And I come up with some kind of mindset related truth, “Get your head clear and begin to take steps!” Which is true… but another equally true statement is, “Be a pathological finisher who overworks until you run yourself into the ground!” So, can we shortcut the growing pains for a minute- think about your greatest strength and just admit that you are going to overdo it and start working on getting that extremism under control. Driven to climb the big mountains…and sometimes you sulk about a board game so much that no one in your family wants to play with you? So generous and caring with your friends and family that they wouldn’t know what to do without you… but you never make enough time for YOU to finish your novel? So creative that you write poems and paint pictures that bend our perception of time and space but you just cannot focus enough get the bills paid? I feel you, friend. Now you know… how will you control your biggest strength when it starts wreaking havoc?
One of my clients said last week, “If my profile doesn’t resonate with them, then I’m happy to provide a referral.” BAM. That’s the sound of someone stepping into their power, leaving fear and scarcity behind. “I have something to offer. It’s this, it’s not that, and when you recognize it as what you want then I’ll be here.” This is the kind of confidence and clarity that turns you into a magnet, drawing clients toward you. They want to be seen by you, helped by you, and spend time more in the world you create where they can feel better. And it’s hard, you can’t fake it, and it’s usually on the other side of struggle. This is something to be proud of.
You have likely experienced both personally and professionally that our mental health world is a world of word of mouth.
One of the biggest myths I hear constantly is that word of mouth is something that happens by chance. Luck. It’s out of our control, or the universe is (or isn’t) on our side. Sound familiar?Continue reading
Have you noticed that everyone is talking about the Law of Attraction these days? The Law of Attraction is the idea that whatever you focus on (good or bad) will be attracted to you like a magnet. So, if you think about rolling around in a large pile of money (a la Scrooge McDuck) money will be attracted to you. If you focus on scarcity then continued money problems await. Can this be true? Is there really such thing as a “universal law of energy”?
Maybe? I’m not so sure.
I have, on the other hand, experienced some very strong luck or good fortune in my day. Receiving exactly what I wanted. Manifesting opportunities “out of the blue.” Serendipity, as it were.
Here are a few example:
You know how summer goes: In June you’re still wrapping up and recovering from the school year and in August you’ve turned your attention back to the classroom to ensure that you are ready to go when school starts up again…
But JULY. Oh, how I love July! Here are five reasons why July is the BEST time to recharge.