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Issue #10  //  Clear Out and Tune In 📻

"The white space in our life is where the magic happens." 

- Brian Gardner

From Melia:

These days, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the pain and joy and beauty in the world.

I open my Facebook feed and see it all in rapid succession: the fallout from last week’s ICE raids in Mississippi; Simone Biles landing a historic triple-double and winning her sixth national title; births and deaths and anniversaries and new jobs.

This is on top of what’s happening in my own life: Evan turns 6 today (what?!); he both makes me laugh with his clever jokes and ignites my rage with his high-octane tantrums. I haven’t even unpacked from our trip because we slid right into school and work. One of my best friends is moving away, and it makes me cry to even think about it.

It’s a lot to take in.  

It’s the reason why on some days, I don’t even open my social media accounts or look at the news, because all of those peaks and valleys feel like too much to handle. My To-Do lists are so long, and my brain is so full, that it’s hard to even notice what’s happening around me, much less to care and engage.

I’m constantly trying to find the sweet spot where I’m informed enough to be an engaged friend and citizen but am also caring for my mental health. I can imagine that you relate.

I’m reading a book that’s helping me zero in on what matters most to me, what will help me make my highest contribution by doing “less, but better.”

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less is teaching me to set one priority at a time and to defer or decline the rest. I’m learning to default to no instead of taking on so much, a habit that comes from good intentions: wanting to help other people and make the most out of every day.

The more open space I create – by going to therapy and getting the thoughts out of my head into Google Keep, by getting rid of physical stuff that doesn’t spark joy, by setting aside quiet time whenever possible to meditate – the more I have to offer others.

I’m adopting a new mantra: Clear out and tune in.

When I’ve cleared out more open space, physically and emotionally, I can tune into when Evan is starting to get upset and help him calm down. I have the bandwidth to learn about what’s going on in my community and in the greater world and do something about it. I see the opportunities that come my way instead of letting them pass by unnoticed.

Clear out some space yourself today, whether it’s capturing your To-Do list on a Post-It or doing a full Getting Things Done brain dump of everything on your mind. Start a box of items to donate. Say no to an opportunity, so you’re free to tune in to what really matters and make your highest contribution.


🎙 Latest Episode: #22 - Why We Procrastinate & What To Do About It

We often think about procrastination as a time management or productivity problem – but it’s actually an emotional issue, a way to avoid feeling triggered by our task lists. We share some of the ways that procrastination creates roadblocks in their lives, as well as strategies to overcome it.

👉 Steal This Tip: Name the emotion.

When you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself questions to get to the heart of what is bothering you. What am I feeling about this? Why am I feeling this way?

It’s easier in the moment to avoid a task and put it out of sight, out of mind, but Future You is going to pay that debt. You can give a gift to your future self by getting real about what’s causing you to procrastinate.


Episode #11: Paid Work vs. Real Work🎙

For some of us, what we do for a living doesn’t fully embody who we are. We may have creative projects, family commitments, side hustles, or jobs we dream of doing that we think of as our most important work at the moment.

We explore the concept of what we consider real work vs. paid work and more inclusive alternatives to the question, “What do you do?"

Listen to the episode for more details.

😄 Things We Text Each Other


via @reesewitherspoon

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

From Gill: 

  • Making Spirits Bright
    Yes, it’s August and 1,000 degrees. But I have a weakness for holiday movies and look forward to watching them every year. This week, two holiday movie trailers came out: Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, and Laura Dern, and Last Christmas, directed by Emma Thompson and starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. I’m preparing the tinsel and hot chocolate already. (h/t Darren for this hilarious Twitter thread on an alternative interpretation of Last Christmas.) 

In Our Ears  🎧

From Gill: 

  • Banding Together
    Melia shared this with me last week, and I cannot wait. Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby are collaborating as The Highwomen (an all-female counterpart to the legendary group, The Highwaymen with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson). The Highwomen’s debut album will be released in September, but you can listen to four songs now on Spotify, plus a fabulous “Women on High” playlist featuring their favorite songs.

From Melia: 

    On Our Plates & In Our Glasses  🍽 🍹

    • Caprese Salad 
      From Melia: I’m not sure why I hadn’t made this before, because it’s so simple and delicious. Sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette. You can stop there or put it on top of baby spinach and add bacon, if you like! I didn’t use a recipe, but this one is pretty close. You can just whisk the olive oil and vinegar together instead of doing a fancy balsamic reduction.
    • Fancy Bourbon Punch
      From Gill: I wanted to make a festive cocktail for a friend’s birthday party, but I also didn’t want to cart a bunch of ingredients to her place (on the metro/by foot). I cut this base recipe in half, so the bourbon, tea, sugar and citrus mixture fit into a 1-liter bottle. Then I grabbed a bottle of chilled sparkling wine, and I was all set. It was delicious, and you can adjust the boozy/sweet proportions to your liking.

      Until next time! 


      Melia & Gill 😘😘

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