I had my hands full with the law firm. 6 lawyers, and a team of multiple people with multiple personalities. Even when that was “all” I had on my plate, people would ask how I was able to keep it all going – making it look seemingly effortless. If you are reading this – I know you get it. You are also one of those people who want so much out of life and aren’t afraid to work (smarter) for it. But then came Zoe (7) and Mia (4) and the launch of my startup, Hello Divorce.
Let’s get one thing straight – It’s not effortless. I have always worked hard and played hard. Actually, I probably work harder than I play. But it’s only because my personal is in so many ways my professional – and so, it brings me joy – it brings me purpose.
But as a survivor of childhood trauma, I always must remember that busyness is a sign of trauma. & it can be toxic. It can serve to perpetuate unhealthy life and relationship patterns – and perhaps more importantly, can distract me from the now. That terrifies me – as I always want to feel as if I live deliberately… mindfully… curiously paying attention – as opposed to just letting life pass me by.
So, below is my cheat sheet. What I do to help keep my life in check, to make more room for the things I love and to create space for all the mountains I expect to climb and the intentional parent I want to be. I hope it helps you and what I really hope for – is that you can contribute to this list so that all of us can find 1 or 2 or maybe 5 ways to keep on keepin’ on.
Write down all the reasons I won’t succeed. Really. I write because it helps me figure out what my thoughts are. And I write because it helps me figure out my fears.Writing down my worst attributes help me figure out where my insecurities or perceived flaws are. Then, I can be deliberate about who I choose as my next mentor. Sometimes it’s help with a practical issue like growth or marketing – and sometimes it’s someone who can simply help me quiet an unpleasant and unrelenting inner voice.
Choose one thing that helps me get closer to my overarching goal. Sure, there are projects you are committed to, a business you want to succeed, a child you’d like to see excel in something – but what’s the overarching goal? To work remotely? To have your company get acquired? To work in a different field? To move to a city that isn’t expensive as fu%k? What is one (usually different) thing that you can do each day to get you there?
Think of something just right about where I live. It’s seriously a way to uplift your spirits. Grass might always be greener but it doesn’t mean we can find contentment in the moment.
Think about what I need more of and what I need less of and then I let all the other thoughts float in and cycle out. Less thought, more gut.
Chart my feelings for a day – from “this sucks” to “neutral,” “bored,” and insanely happy.
Prepare a slow cooked meal. Not really because I don’t really cook but it sounds like a wonderful way to unwind.
Be a little kinder than what is necessary.
Set an alarm at a random time and stop doing whatever I’m doing right then. I then take 3 monstrous breaths no matter where I am and who I’m with.
Spend a day not overlooking the details (I do that a lot) (overlook details).
Try a new sport or activity – or something that makes me feel like a kid.
Check myself when i blow a thought or fear out of proportion.
Accept an uncomfortable feeling for what it is.
Tease out a desire that I didn’t consciously know I had.
Be ridiculously honest with someone or tell someone (anyone) about something I love (or ask them what they love). No better way to feel alive.
We are all a work in progress. This is simply my mindfulness survival guide. I’d love to hear yours. The more intensity in our work – the more relevant mindfulness is – and seeking everyday magic in our everyday lives.
Erin Levine is a Certified Family Law Specialist and the owner and managing attorney of Levine Family Law Group, based in Emeryville, CA. She is the founder and CEO of Hello Divorce, a platform that helps users skip the expensive attorney on retainer and divorce on their terms, offering curated articles and resources, DIY videos, instructional form templates, and access to flat-fee legal services and mediation. Learn more or register for a free Hello Divorce starter membership at www.HelloDivorce.com. For advice, inspiration and tips to help you navigate your divorce, follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
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“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
- MARCUS AURELIUS