What do you do when life goes bump?

There’s a funny little saying our beloved and hard-working assistant Blue announces when things get a little crazy and life whirls out of balance.

“It’s a little ‘kittywampus’ around here!” she’ll say, and I’ll laugh.

Our assistant Blue and her assistant Wilber keep ‘kittywampus’ under control in the office!

But if I ever needed strategies to cope with things going ‘kittywampus,’ this past week was rich with opportunities to practice my coping skills.

I know you’ve had those kinds of weeks (days, months, years?), too.  Maybe it’s happening for you right now.  Life is flowing along nicely and then bump, bump, bump.  (I swear it happens in threes…)

It started when I knew I had too much to do to fit into one week.  Writing deadlines. Calls. Interviews. Scheduling conflicts. Overdue work. Creative thinking time.  All of us here (Wilber included!) are working feverishly on the launch of a new,  top-secret project for you.

Add to it, this was my final week in Florida before the “great migration” home to Martha’s Vineyard.

Boxes to pack. Closets to clean. Clothes to organize. Cat to get ready. Cars to prep.  (How two people and one cat can accumulate practically a lifetime of stuff and books (even though we both have Kindles) in four and a half months is beyond me!

But I am not complaining and feel ever grateful to have designed our lifestyle to live in places we dearly love. I feel especially blessed to be in the warmth and sunshine of Naples when it is bitter cold and grey on the Vineyard.

Then in the midst of what was starting to feel chaotic, I received bone-chilling news that pushed me right to my edge.

Fierce, deadly tornadoes had struck Alabama.

Nearly my entire family lives in Huntsville and the weather radar showed they were in the direct path. (Thankfully, the televised images of the dreadful destruction had not yet made their way onto CNN.)

I made calls to every member of my family that went nowhere. Hours later, my mother was able to reach me and let me know all of our relatives were safe.

Shaken and surrounded by destruction, however, they would be without power for several days.

My mother had weathered her “scariest tornado ever” closeted alone with her kitty in the dark in her laundry room; her cell phone battery was two bars from dying and so it would be unlikely we’d talk until they had power again.

In an already too busy and now stressful week, I felt overwhelmed, frustrated and helpless.  There was nothing, short of dropping in by helicopter and scooping them up, that I could do for them.  I was edgy and cranky with my loving, supportive husband who, as usual, calmly rolled with it.

The crush of everything left me worried, frazzled and even feeling a bit hopeless at times.

In my more sane moments, I knew it was a week “gone kittywampus” and that I needed to reach into my toolkit, pull out my strategies and use them.

So, here’s what I did to keep myself from going completely over the edge:

  • Walked each day even though I didn’t feel like it (I took pictures of flowers along the way which brought me joy)
  • Listened to comedienne and Woman on Fire Janette Barber on Rosie Radio (made me laugh and feel better)

In the sunshine, walking and listening to Woman on Fire Janette Barber on the radio perked up my spirits.

  • Paid attention to my breathing (always works)
  • Sat in meditation a couple of times for a few minutes (helped to center me)
  • Reached out to a couple of Women on Fire I love and adore just because I missed them and I wanted to get outside of myself (reconnected me to my deep passion for our Women on Fire community)
  • Held my “fear” fingers (my index fingers which is a Jin Shin Jystu practice that relieves fear)
  • Bought two baby cupcakes at Whole Foods; woke up at 4:30AM to watch the Royal Wedding and ate “cake” for breakfast to celebrate (I felt re-engaged seeing the joy and exuberance of two people so obviously in love)
  • Immersed myself in a Watsu experience (thanks to Woman on Fire Ellen Wingard who introduced me to this stress-relieving treatment in a pool, I finally felt calm and relaxed; more on this amazing “massage-in-water” in a future Spark!)

Golden Door Spa Watsu Expert Tamara Caggiano melted away my stress as she worked on my pressure points while I floated in the water. A truly amazing experience!

By the end of the week, two more “strategies” turned my week of ‘kittywampus’ back into a more peaceful existence:

One:  A wonderful, romantic dinner at sunset on the beach with Rob. It is our annual ritual to say good-bye, share our favorite moments of the season, and to express our appreciation for our time in Florida.

Good-bye, Naples, Florida. Rob and I soaked in our annual ritual of a sunset dinner at the beach.

Two:  Woman on Fire Jamie Eslinger suggested that we toss coins into a fountain and make wishes.

Jamie, on the right, and me as I say goodbye to my ‘kittywampus’ of a week and wish for the recovery and healing of all those tragically affected by last week’s tornadoes. Oh, and I also wished for William and Kate to live happily ever after. I think they have a shot at it!

What is your wish for this next week?  Or, what do you do when things go ‘kittywampus’ in your world?  You are so welcome to share it in the comments section below.

As always, my wish for you is that you get to live the life of your dreams!

Until next week…from Martha’s Vineyard.