Sausalito is a small community, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. It bloats big on the weekends, when the tourists stroll. This is quieter Monday. My full workday awaits at my San Francisco office. This moment, it feels like vacation, as I sit and slurp here. The Italian caffe is a transplant from North Beach in the City. The outside tables are full. Mine is next to Nanny. She’s from Scandinavia and cares for two young children. Among the other tables, retirees, cyclists, cop, local tech employees, yoga instructor and Mom’s group congregate. So do their dogs.
Nanny Facebook friends in Europe, while comparing local nanny listings . On her table sets a well-worn, bookmarked novel and today’s vitamin packet. These are other signs of LeadingLifeNow: Physical health, pleasure (reading), spatial environment (organized).
Nanny volunteers some thoughts: “My boyfriend says he’ll wait for me. My contract’s up in May. I hope I can find an American boyfriend; and get married.” My ears perk on this universal subject of love relationship and love’s broken loyalty. I wonder what’s missing from Nanny’s relationship, besides the endless attractions of the San Francisco Bay area. Or is it the picturesque fog, drifting over the Golden Gate bridge like wispy cotton?”
I ask, “Do you want your Euro-boyfriend or the American boyfriend, and marriage?”
She sips from the cappuccino cup, looks upward into an early-morning, sun-filled sky. There’s a deep breath. She turns to me with her whole body. Legs easily close the space between our tables. She touches my hand like an old friend: “It’s love….it’s love I want. Unconditional love. This is the part of my life I find most confusing and not all at the same time. I’ll just tend to it until it makes some sense.” We glance at the dogs around us now. Unconditional love makes sense to them.
“Tend to it”. That “It” is the “Love Relationship” circle of LeadLifeNow awareness . This insightful woman, new to her 20’s birthdays, tends to “It” in her own way. She knows what’s clear and concrete. She knows what’s confusing and a little crazy. Bottom line: She’s aware and action oriented. She makes goals and plots her path. I’m impressed! What were many of us doing in our barely-twenties? “When did you start actively pursuing leadership in your life? Who are your teachers?”
“I want to be a whole person. It started in the womb, I guess, during my Mom’s pregnancy. It’s been my Mom, mostly. Yeah, she’s my longest teacher. Yeah, she did yoga on the beach. She still does. My Mom’s an individual. She’s my best teacher, even when she’s telling me not to do something.”
I drift for a second. The skywriter in my mind writes: Nanny, Whole Person, Whole Life.
Nanny learns and grows from Mom’s to-do and not-to-do teachings, whether directly or implied. Do you have some time today to gather the value of your Mom’s teachings?
Meanwhile, all around Nanny and me are four-legged reminders of unconditional love: It’s as if the poochclub has come for sniff-n-bark chat after morning exercise at the dog park. We two-leggeds can learn a lot from these furry teachers. Who mothers whom?
How does that little ball overpower Leading Life Now?
The opponent hits a very good forehand to your weak backhand. Again, and again, and again. It’s a hot, bright day. She’s tired; on your period; guzzling water with electrolytes. Your feet hit the ground in your running-crossover step, heavy with this morning’s double cinnamon roll. Attention is with that you aren’t doing. This is reactive, not proactive. This thinking will block your stride toward the Nationals. These sets will replay on Dad’s iPhone, brother’s smartphone, the team’s network, ESPN2, and in your head. All will echo your disappointment; the failures, flaws, “F—Ups”. Inner critic will muscle in to win. That will bring your biggest loss.
It takes a lot to keep your inner critic happy. It whoo-hoo’s when you lose focus and concentration; raise self-doubt. squash self esteem, and flood negative self-talk. If you’re looking to change what’s happening on your court, go to your inner court, too. Your swing starts within.
One person would seek the first bar in the JFK terminal. The other might be more ritualistic: A long walk through Bryant Park’s summer vibe, down to SoHo. Then, Havana Café and half dozen beers. Both are different modes of relapse. Relapse happens.
Alcohol’s a hard one. It’s legal! Lots of folks drink without addiction. Genetics play a part. So do Family Rule. There they are again; those Family Rules. They state or imply whats cool, what’s chill, and what’s not. What were your Family (of Origin) rules about daily drinks, monthly binges, or holiday highs? Are you re-scripting your own rules today? Or reacting to those passed down? Relapse is a part of recovery. We blow it. It’s our humanness. Know this going in. Keep moving on your “circular” path of life, through the relapse to recovery. Keep your commitment to Lead Life Now in view. Use your whole-person, whole-life tools again. Be self- consoling to the part of you that tripped and fell. Whether your thing is Padrone or pastries, Bailey’s or bonbons, keep moving through to recovery again.
37000 miles in the air or waaaaay down on the ground; we are who we are. We’re just being ourselves. So, what life did you have for breakfast?