One thing I can say about what's going on in our world: we are all looking inward as the coronavirus takes hold of our livelihoods country by country, and self-assessing our ability to maintain our stability and calm through the storm. A month ago, very few of us anticipated voluntary or mandatory quarantines in our own homes. Today we look in the mirror in the morning and ask ourselves how we plan on taking care of our families, our income, and our well-being while our communities get through this COVID-19 pandemic. We have countless news channels, blogs, social media and articles advising us on all sorts of things - with new facts unfolding so quickly that they can be confusing and at times, contradictory.
Picking the best approach to this "shelter in place" mandate can be difficult with so many official voices broadcasting their commands or opinions to us so strongly. We are told to stay home and only go outdoors to shop for groceries, take care of essential job responsibilities, or obtain and administer medicine to those who need it while being encouraged to continue supporting local businesses as best as you can, maintaining a 6' distance from others. We are encouraged to stay optimistic for an economic turnaround within 15 days while being strongly advised by health officials to expect to remain indoors for possibly months. I have been begged by real estate agents to allow my listing to be shown to their clients, and then admonished by real estate agents for allowing showings on my vacant listing with gloves and booties on all visitors to the property. This is definitely a time of charting unknown territory, for all of us.
So what I've found myself doing through all of this chaos is seeking the pathway to my heart. What I mean by this is that I take a "time out" from my racing mind to let my heart lead me away from anxious thoughts, and towards thoughts and activities that take the focus off of my fear and onto what truly matters in this moment. The title, "6 Surefire Ways to Make Your "Stay at Home" Magical," is just a title. These six things are what I do to live through each day and go to bed feeling accomplished and satisfied with my work in the world. We are all so beautifully unique; only you know which choices take you back onto your personal pathway to the heart. Adapt this list, if you wish, until it works just right for you.
1. Give Zoom a Go
I used to shake my head in wonder at my teenage daughter's preference to jump onto FaceTime or Houseparty with her friends, rather than make a phone call. This past week, I've been on two purely social Zoom calls and one Facetime, and I've discovered that I really like it. A friendly face-to-face conversation uplifts the mood and brings much more humanity into the conversation. Plus, I get to see my friend's newborn baby sleeping in her arms, rather than imagine how sweet that little guy looks. If you haven't jumped on the video-call bandwagon, I definitely recommend you give it a try!
2. Shift Your Focus Outward
Dedicating at least one of your day's "to-do's" to giving to someone else will help you rest peacefully at the end of the day. Any time you spark joy in the heart of another person, you've also ignited joy in yourself, generating love and positive emotions inward and outward. This is like adding fuel to your positivity machine, and the more this engine runs, the less time you've given to fear. This is surely magic in action!
I came across this meme on Facebook the other day and simultaneously laughed and cringed.
Yes, I've been wanting to paint the interior walls of my house, pull the weeds in the backyard and iron the clothes that are begging for a good de-wrinkle... but apparently not that badly because I'm not doing any of those things. But, what I have done and will continue to do is to sketch illustrations in my sketchbook along with a great video class offered through creativebug.com. It's something I am doing with my daughter, helping to bridge the teen-parent gap however I can, and giving my mind a break from a constant entrepreneurial need to "do something productive." I'm also taking dance breaks in the living room at 3 PM daily along with Melissa Etheridge's Facebook Live Sessions, taking my time making dinner in the late afternoons, and reading a fiction novel. These may seem inconsequential but to me, these are luxuries! I continue to remind myself to make time to play, and what better time than now?
4. Bring Art Into Your World
I like the idea of taking a walk for the sole purpose of snapping a shot of something beautiful and uploading it to Instagram every day. This can be as easy as sharing a work of art online or as challenging as you want it to be. Are there photo frames in your storage that you could use to showcase something you've printed on your home computer? Do you have a favorite poem you can write out and display? Does music or theater inspire you? What can you bring to life for yourself or for others to enjoy?
5. Exercise Your Authenticity
At your core, you are individually fantastic. Multi-faceted and special, you come with your own set of innate talents and learned skills that are as unique to you as your fingerprints. Start your day with a 5-minute reflection on this question, "How can I express my core talents today?" Asking yourself this question before the day has taken hold will let your heart answer more than your mind. Write down your answer in your journal, and find one opportunity each day to do something uniquely YOU.
6. Appreciate Something Small, All the Time
I personally struggle with the buzzword, "gratitude." The word has become so overused and generic that my mind either skips right over it and looks for what's practical, productive and attainable, or tries so hard to find something supremely important enough for my gratitude journal entry of the day that I eventually give up and move on. One day I listened to an audio on appreciation, and it finally clicked for me. Love and appreciation are the same feeling. When I wash my cold hands in warm, soapy water or when I wake up and see the light blue sky through black tree branches silhouetted through my bedroom window, or when I breathe in the cozy scent of my autumn-inspired candle in my living room, or sit down on a cushion for a few minutes to close my eyes and meditate because I have a few minutes to do just that, or when I gift a child with a toy I know she will love and get to watch her unwrap the present and try it out... I take in that moment and fully, completely notice every sound, every detail, and etch it in my internal "appreciation log." Some people have journals dedicated to writings of gratitude, which is a beautiful practice but one I have struggled with. This is what works well for me, and adds sparkle and meaning into my world.
If you've read this far down the blog, then I will take this moment to share something with you that I only recently discovered about my career as a real estate agent and my mission to find my purpose in life. I didn't feel like being a real estate agent was my true calling. I didn't grow up wanting to sell houses when I was an adult, and I don't have any desire to drive a Mercedes Benz or wear a Rolex watch or wear Manolo Blahnik shoes. I am not materially driven, I am heart-centered. I struggled with this as I not only coached agents on finding their "Big Why" to help them find the motivation to do the difficult prospecting activities all Realtors must do to succeed, but tried very hard to make my own Big Why a big enough monetary goal to get me out knocking on strangers' doors every day. Yes, I am passionate about staying on the forefront of our industry and knowing the housing market's in's and outs. Yes, I am committed to the highest standards as a real estate professional and serving my clients beyond their expectations. And yes, I believe in serving my industry and community by giving my time and energy to committees and non-profits! But my daily goals as an agent often clashed with my purpose as a human, and my first years as a real estate agent were psychologically brutal. Only recently have I discovered something that was right in front of me all along:
The gift of being a real estate agent goes beyond exceeding expectations as their Realtor, it's about bringing humanity back into the real estate profession by stopping by to give a "just because" gift, checking in, celebrating life's little wins and holding the space when times get tough. A day well done is a day where I make a positive difference in someone's life, and in real estate, I get to do that every single day.
And that... is pure magic.