I grew up thinking about foundations and what could make them crack under pressure. After all they didn’t put the rebar in my parents house foundation and well, drought came and shifted their foundation that they got special permission to water their foundation when we had massive water restrictions, like less than two hours per week. There were caps on how much water you could use per person that sort of thing.
So yeah, it was on my radar as early as my teens, as to what a unsure foundation could and would do.
The point of your foundation is that it is what sustains you when the going gets tough. It’s a part of your daily routine if you pay attention and it’s the place where you get a little done every day and it keeps you buoyed when nothing looks like it should.
This situation in the world gives us a really good time to reevaluate and reorganize our priorities and values and make sure that what we’re doing aligns with what we value. It’s not so much about beliefs because there are as many ways to do that as there are people.
But going back to basics is where we get the most value.
I’m not immune and I was letting quite a few things slide in my efforts to keep up with demands on my time and life.
Previous posts have mentioned the tattoo on my arm. I’m a tactile learner (learning best by doing the thing) and decided that I needed a visual reminder of what gives me the most ‘boost’ to my day.
I made this decision four years ago, and I haven’t changed much. I just have a better way of explaining it now.
These four things are my four corners to a foundation. They are what keeps everything from shaking when it all goes sideways. It keeps me grounded when the rules change and when I start new jobs (after the first week anyways).
Finding Your ‘Corners’
I personally like to stick to four things that get done every day, no matter what. Sun or shine, these are the things that I make it a point to put on the schedule and I cross them off when I complete them. It didn’t take much to find them for me.
I just listed off the things that I did when I was stressed and didn’t know what to do and they actually made me feel better.
When I sat down and wrote— fiction, poetry, non-fiction, instructional, you name the type– I felt better. It was a way to sort out emotions, to make sense of all the things that were really pulling on me and decide which ones I had control over, could do something about, or just had to mitigate the damage this was going to bring. It also helped that I could get something done and could check it off.
It made a bad day a little better because I got something that was important done.
When I started making something–finishing a knitting project, sewed something, tinkered with a ill-fitting thing, painted furniture–it gave me a sense of getting something done. It made me feel like an accomplished person rather than someone who had just floated through the day and got nothing done. There was proof (usually unless I undid the yarnwork) of something I did.
It was tangible. It was something I could take a picture of and prove to myself that I wasn’t useless which is the most annoying little voice in my head at times.
When I made it a point to love on someone–myself, someone else, a thing, an animal, insert noun– the world was a little brighter each time. I do a lot negative self talk that gets pretty poisonous pretty fast. I have to be really careful with the what-if simulator because it’s a spiral point for me (the place where it could go bad or good without noticing) and I avoid it like the plague it is.
I’ve made it a point recently, to be more diligent about the showing of love to other people because I’ve found in the past that when I make someone else’s day, I’ve made mine. I like fixing things, and sometimes they need the love, too.
When I focused on my breathing— being intentional about counts, doing heavy exercise and the like– I noticed that I didn’t have time to think the negative self talk that was dragging me other places. And my fitness tracking device made happy noises when I actually completed the goal for the day.
This was where I realized that I needed it everyday. Not just 3-5 times a week, but everyday.
Make the Time
The whole exercise will not work if you don’t make it the priority. Sure, there are kids, there are work schedules, and there are other demands on our time. This doesn’t mean that these things can sit on the side.
It’s about multi-purposing your four things. Maybe your life has less need of the creative portion of things and needs a tactical list of things that you just check off.
The only ‘rule’ I’d make with this is that it really should be something you do daily.
- There should be a ‘pause‘ element that gets you to be really present into today. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Today, here, and now.
- There should be an ‘accomplishment‘ element that just tips the day from ‘eh’ to ‘good’. It should do it every time, not just half the time.
- There should be a ‘progress‘ element that you can track your completion but it’s not really about the finish line for this part.
- There should be a ‘hope‘ element that brings you into a more thankful state. It’s not about who you know, it’s about how you know ‘them’.
You can put them in any order you want. They can start your day, they can end it. It’s about consistency.
It’s about making yourself feel better about every day even if nothing looks like it went your way.
Take your hope and make more,
p.s. There are a lot of similarities to box breathing if you take the idea that there should be an in, hold, out, hold sort of thinking. There’s a variety of reasons why box breathing is useful. May inspire a post in the future….