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How are you...? (OK, but how are you really?)

How are you today? I ask this as an honest question, not just a social pleasantry. Too often we are in autopilot and automatically say, "Fine. Good. You?" But it's important to not go through life in autopilot so we can be present. Why? Because we can't connect from autopilot.

So how are you really? Right now. I invite you to close your eyes and check in with yourself. Sense into your body, your heart, your needs. How are you experiencing your raw and real self in this moment?

When I check in with myself right now, I feel a bit of foggy, numb, blank. After hearing the news of complete remission for my daughter's cancer and the very next day launching my both daughters away to college in another city 11 hours away, I'm still reeling from the massive changes.

These past 7 months were so intense, supporting my 21 year old face cancer treatments, that I'm overwhelmed, feeling a lot of conflicting emotions.

  • Uncertain about what just happened.

  • Relief that the health danger is over.

  • Mixed up about going from 110% 'on' and in tiger-mode facing a crisis to... not.

  • Lost from not having fully processed the deeply repressed fear I'd stuffed so I could be strong and make important decisions.

  • Sad that my girls aren't around any more.

  • Hopeful for this next chapter of my life.

  • Excited to have dedicated office space in our home again instead of a laundry room or corner of our bedroom.

  • Ashamed that I can't get my head back on straight.

  • Happy that I can feel all this as 5-10 years ago I would have been stuck in my head and gone to old patterns of over-doing, self-criticizing, and rationalizing to avoid feeling uncomfortable.

In my day to day life I find I go back and forth between 3 general minsets: autopilot/thinking/doing, triggered/reactive/blaming, or feeling/grounded/present.

In fact, I need all 3 mindsets as they all serve a purpose and meet needs; the challenge is being in choice, instead of stuck, compulsive, at the mercy of them.

Using the 5 Steps To Connect Framework gives me the best shot I know of to connect with my myself so I can connect with others in my life.

These steps show me how to notice where I am, so I can choose to shift if I feel stuck.

At least when I ASK where I am, like when I'm in autopilot or reaction, I can name it and own it so I don't direct it unfairly, unknowingly at my kids or partner.

This framework is the support I need to choose connection parenting. It may be messy. It may be uncomfortable at times, but it's real and brimming with life.

Asking is a key skill for how to live in choice and awareness, especially while parenting.