Work/Life Balance

That’s a phrase I picked up from living in the tech bubble for 11 years. Say it with me “work life balance.” The concept is self explanatory and quite frankly is a no-brainer but for some reason we more often than not find it hard to do. Think about it; How many times have you found yourself picking up an extra shift at work, clocking in that OT, then find yourself surprisingly fatigued, unmotivated or overwhelmed by activities that typically bring you joy?

I just spent the last 2 1/2 months doing just that. I was working 6 days a week, sometimes up to 55 hours, without any respite in sight. I pushed through as I usually do, but found myself getting progressively tired all the time, not realizing I didn’t make time to check in with myself, let alone rest and recuperate. We find ourselves thinking “I can’t spend time with you because I want to sit in my couch and be a vegetable, to–say it with me–balance out the energy I just spent working too much.” We convince ourselves we’re being productive but in reality we’re depleting ourselves of creativity, secluding ourselves from our community and ultimately limiting our potential for personal growth.

In order to break that cycle there are a few things I like to do:

1. Get organized. I schedule everything in my iCal. The trick is to block out the time frame for each activity, that way you visually see how many free hours you have in a day or week, to do more of what you love. Or just breathe.

2. Play hooky. Take an unexpected day off. Changing your routine can open the doors for spontaneity and get those creative juices flowing. Pro tip: Make sure you incorporate a self care practice. That could be anything from reading a book in the park to baking your favorite cookies. My personal favorite is setting intentions for the coming lunar cycle, burning some incense and doing a card reading.

3. Quality time. Time is money but it’s also priceless when you spend it with those you hold near and dear. Go have coffee with an old friend, make dinner with your parents or participate in the hobby of your significant other. Taking time to be present with those who hold you up can refill your reserves when you feel like your cup is empty. My partner’s newest obsession is plant parenthood so we bought a bunch of new plants and repotted old ones.

Most importantly take a deep breath. All the things are manageable if you take the time to check in with yourself, listen and fulfill your needs accordingly. That’s it for me folks! I’m playing hooky today and have to go pack for an impromptu picnic with friends!

Until next time ✌🏽

Creating A Sacred Space

Spring is finally here so to honor this beautiful change in seasons I decided to create an altar. In the past I always had an unofficial altar: my prized possessions, small treasures and jewelry purposefully placed atop my dresser with photos of loved ones arranged with intention. I enjoy maintaining that space, it’s something that I’ve always done naturally, but I never took the time to reflect on why I did it. Now that I’m older and have found my interests veering more toward unconventional spiritual or energetic practices, my altar has taken on a new vibe.

Currently, I have a special handmade bowl gifted to me that holds all of my smaller crystals I’ve collected over the years, crow feathers I collected on a spiritual journey years ago in San Francisco, a Ganesh statue from Thailand gifted to me by an old friend, my oracle and tarot card decks, smudging supplies like sage, palo santo, abalone and fresh camellias, attributed to living in the Camellia Capital of the World; Sacramento, CA. Not only do all of these items you see on my altar have a deep personal meaning, they are objects and supplies that I use when I want to center myself, clear my mind or sort through emotional challenges.

Altar for Virgin de Guadalupe
Altar for Virgin de Guadalupe

Traditionally speaking altar making is a common practice among many cultures across the world. You may have seen altars dedicated to Asian or Indian deities in various restaurants or markets where incense is burning and gifts of sweets or fruit are placed on the altar at certain times of the year. Specifically in India, altars dedicated to Ganesh are commonly placed near the entryway of homes or businesses as he represents new beginnings and the removal of obstacles in one’s path.

In Mexico on the other hand, people build altars to honor the deceased. It is a beautiful tradition to build ornate altars in remembrance of those loved ones who have passed. This tradition is practiced during Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

In the Celtic and pagan traditions honoring Ostara (Easter) or Spring Equinox, people create altars laden with fresh flowers, seeds, aromatherapy oils and fruits to set the intention of looking forward towards growth and abundance.

There’s no one way to create an altar and your altar can change throughout the year. Make it personal and set your intentions for your altar this spring. Feel free to leave comments and questions below and please share your altars with us here or on social media by hashtagging #bloomingaltars

Navigating Impostor Syndrome

I initially saw this post representing some form of expertise, citing intellectual science papers and well known psychologist. However, I think we have all had enough of the over complication of this phenomenon. We hear the words a lot these days, even though the term was coined well over 40 years ago by mental health practitioners – it comes up almost everyday like it was introduced a short time ago. Impostor Syndrome has everything to do with self and what’s happening on the inside. Or is it really that simple?

Arguably, the conditions in which this particular syndrome develops in a human being is spread wide across the spectrum. Therefore, making it damn near impossible for someone to quickly identify the simple fact that they may have feelings around being undeserving of the success they experience.  These ideas lead me to share some personal feelings on what that looks like and how I navigate that uncomfortable space.

For such a long time I let people and circumstances decide what I was capable of doing. I’m not entirely sure how I molded my thinking, but I’m sure it started in the 4th grade. Being ranked against school mates, meaningless testing, introduction of puberty, the divide of the ‘who’s who’ on the playground that has now become a platform for observing differences; really I can go on. All of these things have to do with a lovely feeling  of confidence.

I was never short of extracurriculars on the schedule. Band, volleyball, cheerleading, art and dance we’re apart of my life for over a decade. I loved being a part of them but sometimes, it was a bit hard. I’m a firm believer that representation matters, when we don’t see a lot of people that look like us, or aren’t accepted by many people that meet those same qualifications – things sometimes feel a little bit lonely. Confidence in these instances, lacks a bit. Sometimes it’s over compensated with a false confidence leading people to believe you’re fine when really, you need the ear of someone who understands your challenges and who holds your hand through them.

This is where college got fun. All that life experience boosted me, my connections with people and new ideas were forming and I was really excited about them. I found what I loved most in this phase of my life – psychology, philanthropy, journalism and business. I honestly thought to myself – “This is impossible, no one likes all of these things.” I had a passion for them that conflicted with the model of 1 major, 1 minor or at most a double major. I convinced myself that my goals were unrealistic and therefore I was confused and lost. I gave up here.

I would love to write fast forward here, but there is too much juice so I’ll keep it short. A career choice I would learn later to be not at all in line with any of my loves, a marriage to my best friend, some devastating life events; all lead me back to face myself and inspired me to live wholly and outright. I started emerging myself in all my true loves again in the name of self-care; psychology, philanthropy, journalism and business. Reading books, discovering new ways to make myself happy, meeting new people, conversing and sharing common interest. I, in short was developing in all areas I held near and dear. The time came where Isabel and I were discussing what we wanted from life again and then came Blooming Dreamers. From there we developed relationships and aligned ourselves with peers and mentors who were in these same fields. Without saying it, we were molding our expertise.

Reality check; how in the world can I look at myself as someone suffering from impostor syndrome when I am doing all of the things it would take for me to become well versed in becoming an expert? Maybe it’s the social media culture we live in or the performance appraisal hysteria we face around this time of year. Either way we were raised to seek out validation. Some of us I might even reach to say, I heard the words impostor syndrome and made up an excuse as to why we just weren’t doing well in life. Let us not fall victim to the placebo effect, or read our ways out of following our dreams.

My goal is to always be constructive and productive. To read up on things that will educate me in all my endeavors. To reach out and embrace new experiences. To live like this is my shot and I’m going for it. In order for me or any of you to move through paralysis, we have to reframe our thought processes by finding new ways to approach challenges. Finding circles that support my dreams and goals has been absolutely crucial in showing me that anything is possible.

If you want more fascinating info in an extremely tasteful and informative perspective, check out Matt O’ Keefe’s take here:

https://www.comicsbeat.com/impostor-syndrome/amp/

With that, I wish us all the best success and I cannot wait to hear your stories of how you conquered your fears of success.

V. 2 What About Your Friends…

Here at Blooming Dreamers once a month we like to showcase people in our community who are sharing their love and their light through their work. For the month of February, Black History Month, it is our privilege to introduce you to a longtime friend, a woman for the people, Eryn Reeder. Have a listen as we discuss her journey becoming a therapist, her unique perspectives on mental health maintenance and self-care.

Website: http://strengthtogrowcounseling.com
Email: ErynReeder.LCSW@gmail.com
Instagram: @strengthtogrow

What About Your Friends…