Welcome back to the show, my friends! Guess what? Today is the season premiere of Season 3 of Live Free Creative podcast.
That means that I have been creating this show for two whole years. It was the beginning of September, 2018, that I dropped the first couple episodes. And on every Thursday morning at 6:00 AM Eastern since then you have had a new show available for you to listen, to enjoy, and hopefully feel inspired by.
Today’s episode is number 108: Learning From the Heart. I’m excited to dive into and explore a little bit about an example that I recently read about in a book, and share how it is making impact on the choices that I make in my everyday life.
Before we get into that, I want to share a little bit about life lately.
Segment: Life Lately
Fall is closer as I am sitting here recording this episode today, I am fall-over-on-the-floor exhausted. I just finished the first day of Adventure school. That’s what our family decided to call our homeschool, the Anderson Adventure School.
And this morning went so well. We’re doing class from nine to noon and then quiet time in the afternoon so that I have a chance to work and the kids have a chance to kind of wind down and do some personal play time and screen time.
This morning was so fun and everyone had a great time and we sort of worked through how we’re going to do some of the things and managing the three different levels of writing and math and reading, and it all just flowed really nicely.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’m sure we’re going to get in more of a rhythm and a pattern and kind of figure things out.
I was fully engaged and fully focused the entire time as all of the kids were. And right about the time that we were finishing up lunch and kind of heading into this next phase, I realized that I felt like I needed an nap.
I don’t know that I’ve had that much sort of head-turned-on, completely focused, engaged time for the last several months. In fact, it’s actually been really difficult for me to tune in and focus on something over the last few months.
I think with the pandemic and the social justice movement, and all of the things that are going on in the world, it’s been really easy to feel distracted and to feel anxious and to feel pulled many different ways.
And this morning was a good reminder of how really tuning in and focus can be really enriching. And it also is a little bit exhausting. And how a lot of the time as we’ve been seeking out distractions or felt distracted, it has been sort of our own emotional preservation because really digging into something can, can be a little bit draining just as much as it is fantastic and wonderful for us.
So I’m going to need to reevaluate a little bit over the next couple of weeks, how to make sure that I’m getting the space and time that I need for rest in and around the focused time of being the teacher and the mom, as well as the focus time that I spend working and making sure that I have that space, which is something that I like to protect for myself and will actually flow really well into what we’re talking about today, with learning from the heart.
Other things going on in life lately, other than the fact that we just started homeschool and the 2020 school year is underway at the Anderson household. And we’re all very excited about that.
The progress we’re making on the clubhouse. So if you don’t remember, or you’re new to the podcast, we bought this current house that we’re living in about two and a half years ago, almost three years ago now, which feels a little bit bizarre.
We did a full renovation on the house, inside and out. We had a flood, we did another full renovation on the house and in the backyard we’ve been working on some landscaping. And right when we moved in, we noticed this cute little shed in the backyard, a little bit dilapidated, but that was fully wired with electrical because I’m assuming that the previous owners, one of them had used it as a wood shop or a tool shop.
So we knew right off the bat that this would create a fun little outdoor space where our kids can hang out. And we started talking to them immediately all those years ago about turning the shed into a clubhouse.
Well, it was not high on the priority list because of all the renovation that we were doing to the actual living spaces. And as a pandemic hit earlier this year, I thought, why don’t we go ahead and start working on the shed-clubhouse conversion, because we were out of projects on the house, which is a good feeling, but also I love working on something. So it was kind of fun.
We didn’t do a whole lot. I mean, I built a side shed in a weekend and we were able to start moving some of our storage or yard tools and things like that into the side shed to make space in the actual clubhouse room itself. And then I ran into the stumbling block of realizing that some of the skill set for what needed to happen, the framing and the sheet rock and the reroughing of the electrical to where we wanted.
It was just outside of my own ability. And rather than wanting to learn all of the skills that I would need to effectively renovate the shed, I decided to hire someone and the decision to hire just took a load off.
Instead of feeling like, Oh my goodness, how are we going to get this done? When are we going to get it done? What do I need to do? What do we need to learn? I put it into someone else’s hands and decided that the trade off of having someone, a professional, come in and do the rough-in and do the sheet rock was well worth the money that I was going to spend on it. And that felt really good.
So over the last week and a half, we had the electrical all roughed in, the sheet rock is complete, and the first layer of paint is up, which is just the primer coat. So we’re ready to start rolling again.
I have a fan that I’m going to install inside. I have the flooring picked out. We’re going to go with a vinyl, really durable vinyl…it’s like a click-in-place floor that I found at Home Depot. That’s really pretty. It looks like a light washed wood.
We have picked out wallpaper. I involved my kids and we are working with Tea Collection, who’s one of my favorite clothing retailers. They did a collaboration with wall shop and offered to send us some wallpaper.
And so the kids and I hopped onto the collaboration website, looked at all the different available options, and my kids chose out this really cool tiger print that’s on a denim background, like a light blue kind of denim blue background. That’s in the mail.
We have started choosing our furniture. It’s a really small space. It ends up, being finished out, about seven and a half feet by about 10 and a half feet. And on one side, we’re going to put a TV with a console. And on the backside, we’re going to put a little bit of storage space. So it really ends up being about a seven by seven area that the kids will be able to hang out.
So that’s enough space for a really lounge-y type sofa and a couple floor pillows. We have talked from the beginning about getting a mini fridge for some drinks that my kids, that’s probably their very favorite thing. And they are so excited about sticking a mini fridge in there. Milo has already decided what types of drinks he wants to have in it.
I have decided that they will all be clear liquids so that we don’t ruin any of the furniture and things out there. The kids can play, and I don’t have to micromanage with like red Gatorade happening.
There’s so much enthusiasm around this project. And as we head now into the school year and into the fall, actually the weather cooling down is going to make it a lot easier and more comfortable to work on the project and spend time out there. So it’s kind of rolling along.
Hopefully by the end of this week, I will have a small deck built on the front and at least the fan installed inside. I probably will install the floors maybe over the weekend into the beginning of next week. And we’re going to put in a small paver patio as well, right in front of the deck.
I’m actually trying to eliminate most of the grass in my yard because it’s not great grass. So I think we’re going to just slowly take chunks out of it and put in hardscapes and other useful areas and what is left of the grass by next summer…I think that I’m going to pull it all up and try to lay down some turf by myself.
I priced it out with someone and it was going to be about $10,000 to do 600 square feet of turf, which sounded maybe not like the right investment for me. So I’m going to, we’re going to see how that goes to install some turf on my own.
But for now I’m super excited to dig into the clubhouse. And my goal is to have it all the way finished by about the end of September. So if you follow along on Instagram, I will make sure that I am keeping you updated there. And there will also be a master blog post about the full shed to clubhouse transformation in a couple of weeks.
Another life lately is that I decided after several months of sort of hum-hawing about exercise, that I am going to go ahead and train for a half marathon as if I was going to run a race, but I’m not actually going to sign up for a race. I don’t even know if they’re doing many races right now.
I have a fantastic eight week training program that takes you from about a base of two to three mile comfort level, all the way up to the 13 mile comfort level. And it’s been really nice to take the decision making out of it.
I made one firm decision, which was, I’m going to train according to this training plan. And ever since then, every single day, I know what I’m going to do for my run or my workout. It just reminded me of the power of making one big decision that eliminates all the other decisions.
Rather than waking up and thinking, “What am I going to do? Am I actually going to work out or not today?” I wake up and I look at my schedule and then I just go and make it happen. It’s definitely a lot easier for me to work out in the winter and fall than it is in the spring and summer because I get so overheated. So I’m really looking forward to cooler weather days so that I can run without feeling like I’m going to light on fire from the inside out.
Lastly, I want to just keep you updated on what’s happening on the home front for Live Free Creative Podcast, because it is the anniversary of the podcast and the anniversary of the Patreon membership group for live free creative, I have revamped the offerings over there a little bit, and there was some fun, new things.
So right now there are two Patreon podcast levels. And then I also have two personalized coaching levels.
For $6 a month, that is the podcast-plus membership level. Every single person who subscribes at that level gets a bonus episode every month and also gets to join the digital online book club. It’s a self development book club. It is so fun and has been really amazing to get to know some of the women who come every single month, a great way to connect virtually pandemic or not.
One of the new offerings for this next season of the Live Free Creative Podcast is the podcast-pro level membership. This is $12 a month. You get everything in the podcast-plus membership level. So the bonus episode with a PDF, you get to join this digital book club.
This level also includes a monthly call that is a Q&A call. So basically like a group coaching call where we can go into questions about the topics we discussed in the podcast, either the episodes that happened during the month itself or other episodes or other general questions that you have.
This level also includes a blanket discount to everything in the Live Free Creative Shop, including my online courses and my in-person workshops and retreats.
It also includes some bonus content. I have some fun behind the scenes coming up, some polls and some full-on interviews that will be exclusive to the podcast-pro membership level with friends of mine in the self-development, organization, intentional living industry, and I’m going to pull those interviews together as videos that will just be available for people in the podcast-pro membership level.
So for $6 a month or $12 a month, you can jump in and get a whole lot more out of the value that you receive from the free weekly podcast. You can take that all to the next level.
There also is a really fun option right now to join for the whole year in advance and you get a 10% discount. So when you jump in and become a patron at any level for the whole year, you will save 10% on the membership.
Now I want to briefly mention my two coaching levels. So I have a coaching level. That’s a one-on-one coaching call once a month. That includes a weekly check in. This creative mentorship is for me to help you make decisions, move forward, and really reach your own personal goals in business and in life.
It’s been fascinating to work with a whole variety of different businesses and also different women at different stages in life and motherhood who just need a little bit of extra support. They need someone to bounce ideas off of. They need some consistency and accountability, and we have been able to move some of these businesses completely off the ground and into new projects, new ideas, and even wholly new financial stability within the businesses themselves.
I have the once a month call level and also a twice a month call level. All of these are super personalized attention. They’re one-on-one, and it’s so fun for me to just really get into the ring and get into the corner with you in your life and your business to help you achieve your goals, help you grow and develop and move forward in the ways that you would like to in whatever it is that you’re working on individually.
So if that sounds like something that you could use a little bit of a boost by having someone right there, working along with you, helping you see your own life and business a little more clearly, that’s something that I can do for you through the creative mentorship that is all available through the Patreon memberships.
If you head to Patreon.com/livefreecreative that’s where you’ll find the Patrion levels for podcast-plus and podcast-pro, and also both of the creative mentorship options.
So my friends between home school and home projects and taking care of my body through new exercise programs and creating some new, fun offerings in my business with the new updated Patreon membership levels, that is all life lately.
Main Topic: Learning From the Heart
Okay. Let’s talk for a second about the heart. How much do you know about your heart, about your heart muscle itself? I remember the familiar sound of a heartbeat learning in nursing school about that boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom.
And for the first time having someone explain to me that those booms are the contractions of either side of the heart, that one side pumps and then the other side pumps. And then there’s the space in between where the heart fills back up with blood.
Boom-boom, and then pause. Boom-boom, pause. Boom-boom, pause.
Now beyond understanding the basic mechanism of physiologically, what was happening and how to listen to it at a very basic level as a nurse, you know how to count it, those sorts of things. I never really considered the importance of both the contractions and the relaxation.
Those pumps, followed by the pause.
Last month, when I was reading a book for that Patreon digital book club. The book is called Together by Vivec H. Murthy.
He’s a doctor who was the 19th surgeon general of the United States. And this book Together is all about the healing power of human connection in a sometimes lonely world.
So Dr. Murthy, is a surgeon general who really brought to the attention of the country the widespread loneliness epidemic and how, even as we were more connected digitally than we ever have been before, individually and within our families and communities, people feel more disconnected and more lonely and more sort of on their own than they have ever in history.
You can imagine what a fascinating read this was during this particular time in history where we have also been physically disconnected for months now in ways that we couldn’t have even imagined before.
So many of the ways that we use to congregate and spend time together and the gatherings and even things like going to the movies and wandering in the mall and going to your favorite concerts.
So many of those things that used to breed connection have, for a time, been eliminated from our lives. It’s just a fascinating time to realize that, even before the global pandemic, there was this loneliness epidemic.
The book talks all about what it is, how we got there, what it means to be lonely, how you can identify those feelings, and sort of peel them away, and the importance of connection.
And then it goes into, in the second half of the book, how to connect, how to move beyond the loneliness into connection and how you can really get back to that feeling of belonging to your community, to your family.
And one of my favorite points that he makes is: that begins with the feeling of belonging to yourself, relating from the inside out.
There was a paragraph that struck me as I was reading this book. And then as we discussed it in the digital online book club, we were discussing it. And one of the other women quoted this paragraph. And I said, “Yes, Oh my goodness. I recognized that same thing. I marked the page and I underlined it because I just thought it was such a beautiful visual of the importance of that pause.”
And I want to read this for you. This is from Together:
It takes concerted effort to reclaim our opportunities for solitude today. What’s required is the white space that allows us to deliberately suspend our mental clutter and fully experience our feelings and thoughts. For many of us, this will mean strictly limiting distractions to protect periods of quiet.
These moments of pause, allow us to tune into ourselves, which simultaneously prepares us to tune into others. By allowing our minds to wander without agenda or destination, we learn to read our emotions and sensations, to listen to our bodies and trace our thoughts.
We relax. We reflect on the significance and consequences of our actions and choices. We make sense of the responses we receive from others.
Skipping ahead a little, he says:
If we ever forget the power of pausing, we need only remember the lesson of our heart. The heart operates in two phases. Systole, where it pumps blood to the vital organs; and diastole, where it relaxes.
Most people think that systole is where the action is. And the more time in systole the better, but diastole, the relaxation phase, is where the coronary blood vessels fill and supply life-sustaining oxygen to the heart muscle itself.
Pausing it turns out is what sustains the heart.
I know this, I believe this. Taking the time to pause and reflect and relax, that that is a vital component of life.
Not only physically, but also mentally and relationally and emotionally and spiritually, that filling up the pause where we truly allow ourselves to be refilled with that life-sustaining oxygenated vital blood that then can pump out into our lives, into our relationships, into our children, into our hobbies and our work, and all of the other things that we do.
Dr. Murphy goes on to explain:
This is why solitary reflection and self awareness plays such a critical role in preparing us for relationships with others. As we become attuned to our own inner signals and frequencies, we naturally gain an empathetic and largely unconscious ability to recognize and relate to the signals of others.
This internal attunement helps us feel centered, confident, and calm, securing the foundation of self knowledge from which we can build a strong connection outward, not only with other people, but also with the wider world.
Sometimes I feel like I am a little bit of a broken record because I know that I talk about the need for slowing down and for stillness and for reflection.
I even have a whole episode, Episode 71 of the podcast is called The Power of Pressing Pause. I think that we know intuitively. And if someone would ask us, you know, is it important to take a break? Is it important to relax? Is it important to pause? We probably would say, yeah, I think so. I think that that matters.
But when you look at your life, do you see that built in to the rhythm of your every day? to the rhythm of your week? Does your life function with the consistency of a heartbeat with constrict-constrict, relax, constrict-constrict, relax?
Or do you find yourself more often constricting, constricting, and then trying to constrict again and again and again, and then wondering why you don’t feel all filled up.
I know that in my life that I have been there, that I have gotten to that point where I look around and wonder with all that I’m doing, why don’t I feel fulfilled? Why don’t I feel different? Why don’t I feel satisfied or content or happy when you’re chasing and pushing and checking boxes.
And that’s coming from this girl who loves to achieve, and I love to work on a project, and I love to start something and get it done and make it happen.
And I recognize that all of that energy has to come from somewhere. I don’t want to live outwardly at the expense of the things you can’t see, like my own wellbeing, my own heart, mental state, my relationships.
Those invisible ties that aren’t something that you can see and pick up when it’s dirty, like the kitchen floor or a bedroom. It starts to get cluttered. And so you just collect everything and put it all away.
The ongoing work of developing relationships and connection with yourself and with others is something that is really hard to quantify. It’s really hard to put on a checklist. It’s really hard to just make it happen and then be done.
Because it is ongoing. It is the boom-boom, pause, boom-boom, pause, of our life. There’s of course the outward push. The actions of getting those things done, taking care of people, the physical pieces of running a life.
And then there’s the pause. The filling up. The making sense of the real connection that are things that are a lot harder to just mark off as done.
I think one story that I have told myself about taking time to relax and pause and give myself some space and time is that that time that I give myself will automatically make whatever comes next, easier.
For example, maybe some of you can relate to this. You think, “I’m going to go on a girl’s night. I’m going to take care of myself by dressing up and going out and really relating to my friends and feeling connected.”
And you do you feel so connected to yourself, you feel connected to your friends, you have this great time. And you come home and think, “Because I gave myself that time, because I took care of myself that way, that means that tomorrow with the kids will be so much easier.”
And then you wake up and you spend time with your kids, or you go to work, go back to work and you think, “Oh, well that will be so much easier. Everything is going to be easier for a little while,” because of this relaxation or because of the pause that you took.
And you wake up and begin the day. And it isn’t easier. It’s just as hard as it was before. It’s like the kids are still toddlers and they’re into everything and they still need to be fed and clothed and, and dealt with emotionally.
And you need to go to work and do all the projects. And your boss is still kind of a mean guy and, whatever, all of these things that we think that the pause or the taking a break or the going on vacation, we think that that will solve some of those other things.
And the truth is that it doesn’t. But what it does is give you the time that you had on vacation. It gives you the time that you had in relaxation, in connection.
That pause is meaningful in and of itself.
Sometimes it does totally shift your perspective and you come home more grateful and more satisfied, but sometimes you don’t, and it’s still worthwhile because the alternative is to continue to constrict and to continue to push without a pause.
I just had this experience. I spent four days on the beach in California with my sisters to celebrate my older sister’s 40th birthday. We did our own little self isolation within this beautiful beach resort on Coronado.
We had a room with a patio. So we spent a lot of time outside next to the fire pit. We could walk straight out to the beach. We spent some time outside of the pool. There were lots of space in place. So we felt very safe and really were able to stay just kind of our own little family bubble while we were there and spent lots of time outside. And it was so relaxing.
We had a whole day in our private pool cabana, where we just like slept and chatted and ordered drinks and read our books.
And then the whole next day on the beach, where all of us came home a little bit lobster looking because we got a little sunburned, even with our sunscreen, but you forget how hours and hours and hours in the sun will do that.
We just all relaxed. And it was so wonderful. And as soon as I got home, I had to pick up life. Unpack and do the laundry. And Dave went back to work and I took care of the kids and got ready for homeschool and got ready for the projects in the backyard.
And I enjoy all of those things. I really like my day to day life. And sometimes I fall under this false idea that if I take time away from my regular life, that when I come back, it will feel different or it will feel easier.
The truth is that it’s not always going to happen like that. You might need to go on vacation or need to press pause, or need to take a break and take a night off just to sit and read in a hammock or a porch swing.
Not because it will change everything moving forward, but because it will give you a chance to be filled within your life.
The days and the hours and the minutes that you spend in that rest and in that relaxation and in that pause are fulfilling in and of themselves. If I hadn’t taken four days away, I wouldn’t have had those four days of relaxation.
And even though my life was a little bit full before and is a little bit full still, I was able to have some space in between.
I know this is a little bit of a ramble about the lessons we can learn from the constriction and relaxation of our heart, but as I wind it up, I want you to just consider the only way that any of this ever makes a difference or matters is for you to take the idea and to use it to reflect on your own life and your own experience.
Where do you take the time for that pause? When does the heart of your life, of your self within your life, get filled back up? Does it happen once a year, once every couple months? Does it happen weekly?
Do you have a system in place or a schedule in place where you get to fill yourself in order to move forward with the contraction and the action and the pushing of all of that energy out into all of the things that you do.
I want to challenge you to reflect on that question and then to make space regularly for that relaxation and that pause, taking a cue from our hearts, how they beat-beat, and relax, beat-beat, and relax.
Learn from that lesson, and discover for yourself how it feels to have that space to relax and pause so that you can connect more deeply with yourself, which in turn allows you to connect more deeply with those around you.
I know that even in a weird year, like this year, we often can get caught up in the idea that there is somewhere we need to get. There’s that next level, that next promotion, that next financial stage, that next child, that next stage of life, that we’re moving ever forward towards some destination where everything will suddenly change and be different and be better.
And this lesson from the heart reminds me that this is life, the beating and the relaxing, the action and the relaxation, the moving forward and then filling up and then moving forward again.
That’s all we have. We have the beats and the pauses, and I hope that your life is filled with both.
Thank you so much for being here and for tuning into Episode 108 of the podcast Lessons From the Heart.
Season three has begun friends. I’m so excited and looking forward to another year of creativity, adventure, and intentional living here on Live Free Creative Podcast.
If you haven’t yet subscribed, make sure you hit that button so that you can tune in every single week and not miss a show.
I also want to invite you to celebrate with me by sharing about your favorite episode on social media. It can be this episode. It could be any of the episodes that you’ve listened to and loved.
If you take a screenshot and post it on your Instagram or your Facebook page, that broadens my audience and allows this message of intentional living to get to even more people.
Also, I wanted to let you know that I’m hosting a fun giveaway for reviews this month. So during the month of September, if you leave a five star written review on Apple or iTunes for Live Free Creative Podcast, you’ll be entered into win a super fun adventure prize pack, including woven market bag and Turkish towel from Mae Woven.
It’s a beautiful woven bag. I have one that I’ve taken to the farmer’s market every week for years. It’s a great beach bag. It’s perfect for adventures.
And the Turkish towel folds up so small and light. It can be used for picnic blanket or when you’re at the beach or the pool.
Also a travel sized toiletry set from Tubby Todd, which is another one of our favorite companies, all natural bath products.
The bundle also includes a National Park pass so that you can get out and visit your national parks as well as a Less Stuff, More Adventure journal, to keep track of your adventures, whether at home or abroad.
And a Less Stuff, More Adventure leather luggage tag that are custom to my shop. This adventure bundle is just for people who leave a written review on iTunes for the Live Free Creative podcast in the month of September.
So even if you’ve already left a review, you can head over and update it with a new one, sharing some of your new favorite episodes. Every single review during the month of September will be counted as an entry. And I will announce a winner at the end of the month and send your adventure package off to you.
I’ll catch up with you again next week. Bye bye.