three life changing words

Lately I’ve been thinking about my “shitty roommate”.  This is my personal inner voice—she makes me doubt myself all the time.  She puts those snarky thoughts in my head that I’m “not good enough”, “not reaching my potential” or “if only you were more like…”.

Shame is the inner language of self-attack and self-blame AND shame is my shitty roommate’s jam.

Instead of trying to kick her out (which is exhausting and nearly impossible), I’ve decided to get more curious about her…even love her up a bit. Yes, she’s manipulative AND she also has pushed me.  We’re really quite competitive.  When she has my ear, she’s granted me the opportunity to self-correct behavior that doesn’t line up with my values, seek forgiveness from those I’ve wronged or offer myself a little grace.

But now, it’s time to change the rules of engagement using one short sentence. 

true

The more I say it, the more power it has for all sorts of situations in my life.

When I question her language, my shitty roommate just puts her headphones on and leaves me alone until the next time…and there will always be a next time.  She hates those three words, however, we do seem to be getting along a little better lately.

three very good questions…

Today I closed the door for the last time on my much-loved studio of 15+ years.  It’s empty.  My work is now in storage.  This is the end of one era and the start of another.

I keep thinking about something my husband, Jeff told me a few years ago.

What’s working?

What’s not?

What’s next?

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  1. The last painting in my studio.
  2. My paint covered work shirt.
  3. A layered image of me and the empty studio.

I’ve been thinking about my ego…

lately and basically the more I read the crappier I felt about myself…however there was some hope in what I was reading too.  Einstein helped considerably. Thank you, sir.

ego einstein quoteThe more I protect my lack of knowledge (get defensive, react, don’t listen, dig in my heels) in any given situation the harder I have to work to protect my ego.  When I’m protecting my ego I’m generally talking more than listening as well. Not a great habit.  If I let go and accept things as they ARE instead of how I WISH they were in relation to me—my ego becomes much less fragile or reactive.  This will no doubt be a lifelong practice.  I’m only noticing maybe .00005% of the time now when my ego is acting wounded and subsequently protective, but that leaves a lot of room for growth, right?

noticing

When things come up and I start offering my views about how to fix something or what I think someone else should do, my husband reminds me (and I him) to, “put that on the list of things you don’t have to care about”. Sometimes, because he’s a leadership coach, I don’t take kindly to be “coached”, but now that we’ve done this for each other I notice when my EGO is showing up much faster. That ain’t nothing.

“This country’s hard on people, you can’t stop what’s coming, it ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.”  —The character Ellis in the film “No Country For Old Men”

Indeed, it ain’t all waiting on me.

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pay yourself first

I know a lot of people hate Mondays.  I’m sorry.  I’m not one of them.  I’ve always loved Mondays and I like them even more when it’s raining or cold.  I feel really productive and I think, “Well, I have to get my work done, so why have the pull of great weather taking my attention.  Crappy Monday weather simply makes it easier to get at what has to be done.

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So, on this cloudy (with a good chance of showers this afternoon) April Monday in Vermont I find myself with one of these such days. However, I’m rested, coffee fueled and hitting the ground running.  These are rainy day images from Brooklyn I shot over the weekend.

I’m trying a new process to get myself organized and I would love to hear how others do this as well.  On Sunday nights I write down a list of my intentions for the week—day by day.  This practice has uniquely organized my “highly disorganized” brain and has allowed me to relax a bit because the week is laid out for me.

I have to get very specific because I’m easily distracted.  I even write down my food intentions for the week because it sets a tone…especially after a rather indulgent weekend with friends eating and drinking beer in Brooklyn.  I pencil in writing, homework, appointments, exercise, breaks, errands, projects, phone calls, tasks, quiet time and family time.  This may sound rigid, but there’s plenty of wiggle room.

I’ve started paying more attention to what I do when and this has been a real game changer for me.  I’m highly creative in the morning and I have a lot of clarity and energy.  So, the tasks that require the most of my brain power I do first thing.

I can complete other things later in the day that require much less of me.  I don’t want to waste my most creative time doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom or paying bills.

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I was reminded when I started this practice that my Grandpa Louis used to say; “Pay yourself first, Lisa”.

He said this in regard to my savings account when I started working my first job at a grocery store when I was eleven.  However, now I realize that Grandpa meant so much more in that simple statement.  Setting my intentions for all aspects of my life; work schedule, social activities, food, exercise, creative and quiet time is paying myself first and it’s been quite effective for me so far. Thank you, Grandpa.

This week is now history, next week is sheer potential.

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I spilled my coffee in my studio and thought the way it pooled on my drop cloth was really cool.  I was bummed about my coffee but thrilled to get the shot.  I hope you have a week filled with unexpected discoveries.

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”  —James Joyce