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Issue #26  //  Sink, Swim, or Float  🌊

via Shazmyn Ali

From Melia:

My family is in Week 4 of quarantine, and with a strong-willed 6-year-old and 3-year-old and two parents trying to work from home, things are going pretty much as you’d expect them to. There’s been a lot of shooing. A lot of shouting. A lot of wine. And many thoughts of, “How the hell are we going to get through this?”

My wonderful therapist, who has young children of her own and GETS it, had some insight for me in our video call this week.

“The conventional wisdom is that in a time of crisis, we can either sink or swim,” she said. “We forget that we have a third option: We can float.”

If we get overwhelmed, we can sink into helplessness. If we swim against the current of reality, we exhaust ourselves. Instead, we can float on the surface until the rough waters subside.

I tell you this as someone who has rarely floated through this ordeal. I’ve ping-ponged between underfunctioning -- ruminating and getting very little done -- and overfunctioning, furiously scribbling grocery lists and flying off the handle at my family. But the metaphor resonated with me, and I’ve been doing my best to practice the float.

The way we learn to float is through the breath. We close our eyes. We take three deep breaths. Everything slows down. Here, we create the mindful space to ask ourselves, “What would it look like to float through this moment?”

For me, moments ago, floating meant giving myself a time-out from my children, who were whining and pestering me as I tried to write this. I stopped yelling at them (swimming) and feeling sorry for myself (sinking) and holed up in the quiet guest room instead.

Floating means leaning in to a screen time free-for-all during the quarantine, because it’s the only way Darren or I will get any work done. It means being okay with whatever I’m feeling and whatever my family is feeling, and cutting ourselves every bit of slack because NO ONE IS OKAY RIGHT NOW.

We’ll all have times during this crisis where we’ll sink or swim, sometimes within the course of a few minutes. But we always carry a secret weapon with us, no matter how high the tide: our breath, which allows us to float. 

Sending love to you all. 💕

🎙 Latest Episode: #34 - Sharing Your Gifts for a Better World, with Heather Andersen Shellen

We’re thrilled to chat with Heather Andersen Shellen about finding joy during tough times and how she uses her creative outlets for herself and for the greater good. Heather, a longtime friend of ours from California, is also a writer, musician, activist, baker, stay-at-home parent, and generally delightful person. On quarantine parenting, she says: “You know that mug, World’s Okayest Mom? Well, now’s your time to shine.”

👉 Steal This Tip: Heather Shellen Edition

Any time I’ve done something that I’ve been really proud of, it’s when I’ve ignored my lack of confidence and just decided to jump in. So much of what gets put out in the world is simply because the person that did it believed it was worth being listened to, looked at, read. The same goes for any of your talents or gifts. Even if it’s not perfect, just dive in and do it, and you’ll get better the next time.


Episode 24: The Shame File🎙

Shame is something we all experience (except sociopaths!), but no one wants to talk about. We give a brief overview of Brené Brown's research on shame – including why it's harmful, how it affects women and men, and how to overcome it. We share how shame shows up in our lives and steps we can all take to identify our shame triggers and begin to free ourselves of them.

Listen to the episode.

😄 Things We Text Each Other

Gill's Disney-inspired fashion plan

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

From Melia: 

  • For the Parents
    This Medium piece, The Parents Are Not All Right, has resonated with me and so many other parents of young kids. It says so much about the impossible expectations of America's working parents, who do not have government-subsidized childcare and parental leave. Also: this tweet is one of my favorites to come out of this whole situation.

From Gill: 

  • Some Good News
    John Krasinski’s new YouTube show, “Some Good News,” shares a roundup of positive stories from around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. You can share your own favorites by using the hashtag #SomeGoodNews on Twitter. The show is sweet, funny, and uplifting and has some fantastic cameos. In the second episode, the original cast of Hamilton reunited to surprise a fan who had tickets to see the show for her ninth birthday and was disappointed when it was canceled. SO GOOD 😍😭

On Our Screens & In Our Ears  📺  🎧

From Melia: 

  • Pods and Vids to Process All of This
    In line with the national trend right now, my podcast listening is down because I don’t have my usual commute or gym time – or the headspace to learn much of anything new. Right now I’m drawn to podcasts and Instagram videos that help me process what we’re all going through, with humor and compassion.


    - In The Happiness Lab Coronavirus Bonus series, I especially liked Ep 2: Coach Yourself Through a Crisis and Ep 3: Rising to a Challenge.

    - I loved what grief expert David Kessler has to say on Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us about how can find meaning in tragedy, even if we’re not grateful for the tragedy itself.

    - Glennon Doyle’s Family Morning Meetings on Instagram sometimes get me through the day. This one is a must-watch for parents of young kids: “You know what ‘TV TIME’ is during the corona? TV time is ALLLL THE TIMES. ALL THE TIMES. ALL.”

From Gill: 

  • Comfort Listening
    I usually listen to Spotify playlists that feature a mix of different artists, but lately, I’ve been revisiting full albums I love. Most transport me back to certain times in my life and have been a soothing soundtrack as I work: Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York, Janet Jackson’s Janet, Paul Simon’s Graceland, Brandi Carlile’s The Story, Citizen Cope’s The Clarence Greenwood Recordings.

On Our Plates   🍽 

From Melia: 

  • Spinach and Bacon (or Pepperoni) Quiche  
    There was a bunch of leftover pepperoni in the fridge (a failed attempt to get Avery to eat anything but Cheez-Its), and I was looking for non-pizza ways to use it. I tried this simple quiche recipe and subbed pepperoni for bacon, layering it on top before I put it in the oven. It looked pretty, and it got nice and crispy. Salami would work great, too.

From Gill: 

  • Oatmeal & Peanut Butter
    Simple comforts are brightening up my weekdays. This week, breakfast is stovetop oatmeal, peanut butter, and a generous dollop of honey. Good peanut butter is hard to come by in Spain, so I make my own – roasting peanuts in the oven for a few minutes till they brown up a bit, then blending them in the food processor with salt, honey, and oil until smooth.

If you like the Semi-Together podcast, why not share the pod with a friend who would enjoy it? You can also become a patron here.  

Until next time! 


Melia & Gill 😘😘

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