Finding Balance Amidst Chaos



View from 33rd floor of TIAA-CREF Building, Denver

View from 33rd floor of TIAA-CREF Building, Denver

 Last week was one of those weeks that everything seemed to swirl into a tornado of chaos, churning violently causing a trail of destruction around my house, my body and life in general.

It started with a few late nights of homework battles, exacerbated by tween hormones and emotional meltdowns. As a single parent, there’s only so much patience left at 9:30 pm when your children should have been sound asleep. As I attempted to multitask between what felt like herding cats, and preparing a powerpoint presentation, I had a moment of such overwhelm and exhaustion that I decided that was it; I was done for the night. I shutdown the computer and told my daughters that I would no longer participate in the battle of homework and bedtime. I crawled into bed and politely (through gritted teeth) suggested they only call me when they were ready to be tucked in, and that mom was officially off duty.

The week progressed with the usual ups and downs, but then Friday arrived and the tornado was joined by a conflagration, typhoon and tsunami of everything that could go wrong, and did. The girls had spent the night at their father’s house. So, I woke up early to put some Virgo finishing touches on my presentation, deciding a few more slides and images were necessary, and emailed it off. Naturally the email couldn’t be opened and I frantically resent it in a different format, praying that would work.

I was already running late to my daughter’s school, where she was receiving an award at 7:30, before 1st period, and because the day was jam-packed, I had to make sure I had everything with me for the presentation and other activities. I grabbed my computer and coffee, ran out the door, leaving my uneaten breakfast on the kitchen counter. As I was cussing and driving, empty stomach rumbling, I noticed a hole in my stockings…ugg, maybe my skirt will cover it, I hoped. My California driving skills kicked into full gear and I made it to school in record time. Unfortunately, it was not fast enough. I marched into the library to see my daughter, sitting with her dad and sister, as the ceremony, which only lasted 10 minutes, was ending. Feeling like parent of the year, I silently judged myself and assumed everyone else was doing the same.

At least I was staying for her appearance in the spelling bee, I’d possibly redeem some of my mothering points, right? Then the email came in that my presentation STILL could not be opened. As I frantically awaited for the Bee to begin, I grabbed my computer and emailed several different versions and formats praying one would work. Finally, the PDF worked; this being less than ideal because my animations were rendered obsolete. Deciding it was good enough for now, I closed the computer and nervously watched the stressful activity of my child on the school stage, spelling words that I was pretty sure I would need spellcheck to complete. However, my daughter, who has horrible stage fright, rocked it!  I was able to stay to the end, where other parents had left…yay, more points for me. She didn’t win, but did very respectably. I smothered her in proud hugs and kisses, hopped in the car, and headed toward downtown Denver.

As I drove a little unsure of the directions, I spotted my destination marked with a giant TIAA-CREF sign, and kept my building in my site. Of course, I missed the garage entrance and did the drive out of your way, navigating through the one way streets, dance. Starting to feel anxious that I would be late, I was able to park and find my way to the lobby with ease. As I sat in my friend’s office, who had asked me to come speak, I realized that my adrenaline still pumping and probably had been for the past three or four hours. I took a moment to appreciate the beautiful view of the city and mountains from the 33rd floor and took a deep, cleansing breath. I closed my eyes and visualized all of the anxiety and stress of the morning leaving my body.

As I finally calmed my heart rate down, I reflected on how insignificant the issues of my morning actually were. Getting this presentation just right was not going to make or break me. Yes, I was upset about walking in late to my daughter’s award assembly, but I also stayed another two hours to support her. She knows I love her and go above and beyond to show her in every way possible. Most likely, no one was judging me, but if they were, it was their issue, not mine. I reveled in my ten minutes of uninterrupted time to just sit and be in peace and calm. Our bodies are really not designed to be in that flight or fight state for too long. I realized I was already starting to feel drained at 11:30 for that reason. It is why so many people end their days with that same depleted feeling.

Finally it was time to get the projector set up and naturally, an adapter was missing, and then there was something wrong with the lights, and so on. Because I had taken the time to meditate for a few minutes, I was able to take it all in stride. The presentation would be great, with our without the technology gods on my side. I ended up weaving this story into my talk. After all, my focus was on organizing your life. I could see the look of horror and sympathy on my the faces of my audience as I recalled the day’s events with humor, and then finally relief as I reminded them all was good. I was ok with the mishaps and was chalking it up to this is what happens in life.

Things will go wrong, they will not go as expected; it is completely out of our control. However, we do have control over how we react and how deal with it all. Taking time to find balance amidst the chaos is how we navigate through the murky waters of life. As it turns out, the presentation went well, but I didn’t have time to get to the slides who’s early morning addition made me late in the first place. I could’ve have thrown a tantrum about this, and set blame to how those slides were the initial cause of the day’s chaos, but I just laughed at myself and said, “oh well, they weren’t meant to be seen today. I can use them the next time and they’re already formatted.”

It’s equally important to recognize your limits and know when to take a time-out, as I did with my children earlier that week. Believe it or not, the world continued spinning when I checked-out for the night, and they somehow managed to find their way to bed. By the time I kissed them goodnight, my anger had slipped away. I feel so blessed to continue to practice these skills needed to calm myself, and I do emphasize the word “practice.” Meditation isn’t something that you master in a day, or week or year for that matter. My mind still wanders to my to-do list and other thoughts, but even if I can get myself to take a few deep breathes, I’m already better off than I was the few minutes before. As a Virgo, I understand that we are our own harshest critics, but isn’t emerging from chaos with poise and maybe even a giggle or two so much better than pain and suffering?

Introduction to Feng Shui Class



Are you looking to improve the energy of your home or office?  Are you trying to sell your home or find a new one?  This feng shui class is for anyone interested in learning how to enhance the energy in your home or office—or any other type of space.  Concepts we’ll cover include:

  • Basic feng shui principles.
  • Balancing the energy in your home or office.
  • Introduction to the bagua map.

Take from this class tools you can use immediately to:

  • Make any space feel welcoming.
  • Change the energy of your home, office or space.
  • Shift and improve many aspects of your life by applying feng shui principles.

Light snacks, coffee and tea will be served.

Fee:  $27 online or $33 at the door

Feng Shui Class on Square Market

Additional information:  Call Julie with any questions, at 303-929-9655. Visit these pages to learn about Julie and feng shui.

Bring (optionally):  A journal or notebook, a copy of your floor plan, and/or a friend!

Introduction to Feng Shui Class



Are you looking to improve the energy of your home or office? Are you trying to sell your home or find a new one? This feng shui class is for anyone interested in learning how to enhance the energy in your home or office—or any other type of space. Concepts we’ll cover include:

  • Basic feng shui principles.
  • Balancing the energy in your home or office.
  • Introduction to the bagua map.

Take from this class tools you can use immediately to:

  • Make any space feel welcoming.
  • Change the energy of your home, office or space.
  • Shift and improve many aspects of your life by applying feng shui principles.

Light snacks, coffee and tea will be served.

Fee: $27 online or $33 at the door

Feng Shui Class on Square Market

Additional information: Call Julie with any questions, at 303-929-9655. Visit these pages to learn about Julie and feng shui.

Bring (optionally): A journal or notebook, a copy of your floor plan, and/or a friend!

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