Goofing Around With Colleagues/Friends

We see each other live a couple times a year. We work really hard during those times, but we also goof around a bit. I really love it all.

**For the month of November each year, I try to focus on something I’m thankful for each day. It is the month that holds Thanksgiving where I live, after all. Focusing on the positive and remembering the little things that make life great are things I should do more often. Last year I found that writing every day during the holiday time got a bit stressful. So this year I’m writing throughout the year and scheduling the posts to go out in November.

Reflections on Breathing

Breathing. One of those super-simple things that is hard to do. But, oh, the clarity it brings. I am truly relaxing for the first time in a super long time, and I am able to focus on breath and thought. It’s actually kinda hard — some of the things I have time to think about now are things I don’t really want to face. But I know it’s good in the long run.

Inhala exhala

~Jane the Virgin

I did a lot of inhaling and exhaling as I attended a keynote and additional session with Millana Snow at our recent Grand Meetup. During the sessions we did deep breaths normally then made the breaths even deeper by basically inhaling past the inhale then exhaling. I relaxed.

Getting ready for our Deep Breathing session.
Getting ready for our Deep Breathing session. Phones away shortly.

I saw colors moving in odd yet interesting forms. My senses were heightened. (It’s interesting to do a deep inhalation session with 800+ of your colleagues who all stay in the same hotel. Quite a whiff of the hotel shampoo. Good thing I liked it.) I felt parts of my body I had forgotten existed. And I created and sorted.

Conversations danced through my head, nudging the question “What if” to the forefront of my brain. And you writers out there know this: a decent “What if” is always followed by a good story. Am I right?

Stories swirled, and my mind whirled, and I stood up thinking about the world differently.

I believe in energies, but I don’t think in this particular instance the breathing and energy were the key components to advancement. Testing will occur in my future, I’m sure, but at this point, my thought is that the growth and insight that came to me in that time were results of simply allowing myself to relax, while awake, for a session focused on mental freedom.

I can do this from home. I just need to remember how effective the outcome is. This is a very good lesson, and something I should take the time to do throughout the year. Lie down for 60-90 minutes and simply breathe. Nice, deep breaths. Let time, obligations and phone notifications rest in an alternate reality for the hour-and-a-half. The world will keep rotating, astonishingly. At the other end, life is a bit more clear.

It all reminds me of how I have felt in the past in regard to Bible study and prayer time (basically the same meditation I refer to above). I know I’m solid in the God-arena so it’s easy it push off that quiet time, especially when I’m busy and tired. But when I don’t take time to step back and breathe my life starts falling apart. Work gets overwhelming, relationships become strained, etc. The busyness of my reality takes over in a very non-healthy manner.

However, if I take the time to study, consciously breathe and pray, somehow things always seem to fall in place. So why is it so easy to have that slip? I’m not sure I will ever figure that out.

Breathe in

Breathe Out

Pray in

Pray out

Oh look, almost a reflection 🙂

A Meeting of Minds

My team – minus one who was with us in spirit and in our hearts

September darted right through a pretty pivotal week in the life of me. On September 15, 2019, I celebrated my fifth anniversary of working at Automattic. Little did I know, back in the day, that in five years I’d be celebrating the occasion while attending the Grand Meetup in Orlando, FL, where we merged 808 Automatticians from 72 countries into a hotel and embraced the rare opportunity to live, learn, laugh and share a love of WordPress together. In person.

Back when I was hired there were around 200 of us, and I thought that Grand Meetup was overwhelming. Interestingly, I found this meetup less overwhelming. The sheer number of humans allowed me to acknowledge that there was absolutely no way I could meet everyone so I had the freedom to allow myself to enjoy the company of whoever I was with whenever I was with them without stressing about leaving anyone out. If I couldn’t connect with someone, we agreed to meet in a video call in the future.

We stayed at a lovely hotel in Orlando, and it was brilliantly decorated — Our creed was everywhere!

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

https://automattic.com/creed/

The staff treated us like royalty, and it was very humbling to see all the amazing people there. My colleagues and the hotel staff. Talk about examples of customer service! Smile and greet others by name? Look them in the eye? Have patience? Listen fully before responding? All noted.

The company lined up incredible speakers who mentally challenged me and sparked a sense of creativity in me. There were embarrassing moments (results of exhaustion and too much people-ing) and moments where I could reach out to reassure others. We had times of intense work and times of relaxing with colleagues.

I tumbled through a gambit of emotions from elation and excitement to depression and homesickness with bits of times where I felt really smart and others when I wondered why I was even hired and how I was worthy to sit in the same room as others. I learned more about our products, tips for supporting others better, how to focus on maximizing my own talents so I can be there for others.

One of the things I love best about this company is how we do come from all over the world. I brought some US stuff for colleagues, and came home with some chocolate from Bolivia, chocolate from New Zealand, spices from Sri Lanka and wine from Portugal. Amazing! One of the best gifts actually came from Peru. My team lead brought the sweetest sweater for my granddaughter:

Again, I am so thankful for this job and experience. I also look forward to working every day, still. I’m going to stop blogging now so I can sign into live chat and start doing some support. 🙂

Breathe and Relax — Get the Most out of Life

Life is too short to step back, breathe and relax. At least that’s what my brain tells me as I take on “just one more” task or commitment. But isn’t it interesting how time actually seems to slow down so we can immerse in truly living when we step back, relax an breathe?

In dance we are encouraged to take two steps in a dance move then pause for two counts–taking the time to think about and learn from what we are actually doing.

In music, the intense beauty in a sound clip is often found in the rest between notes.

What inspires you to step back and breathe? And how did you find it? I found a recent happy place during the crazy schedule we had at our company meetup.

We hit the ground running on a Saturday afternoon. From that moment on, we had opportunities to play, learn, laugh, and work next to comrade-colleagues we only see once or twice a year. Events and sessions kept us active (if we wanted) from about 6am until 2am the next day every day (and some nights went later for some). It’s an exhausting and beautiful time.

Since I am struggling to maintain a healthy weight I was determined to exercise and ward off a repeats of last year’s +7 lbs gained over the amazing week of incredible food choices. Because of this, for the majority of my days at the meetup, no matter how late I was up, I tried to go for a 7-ish am swim. I really missed it and felt off-kilter the days I didn’t do it.

It wasn’t a huge swim (I also went for walks during lunch and in evenings), but I got some laps and treading-water time in. Then came my blissful moments — for about five minutes, I would just float on my back and…

Relax and Breathe

And this was my view as I did so:

Dawn in Florida with birds segmenting the distance between my floating body and the setting moon.

Bliss, right?

Now that I’m home, on a daily basis I find myself back in those moments as I lay in a bed of gently lapping waves, staring at the sky, and listening to my own long breaths as they echoed underwater. As I think of it, I’m filled with tranquility.

I’m going to leave those thoughts there. And in closure, join me in my quest for some peace amidst the chaos of life. I think the impulse of my brain is wrong. We DO have time to breathe and enjoy all we have and refocus. On that note…

breathe in help GIF

Winning Fun Things

IMG_4838.jpgDay 24/30 – Today I’m thankful for fun memories of winning things. In September I was at our company meetup at Whistler (since our company is distributed, we gather once a year so all co-workers can be together in person).

Some years I take classes, but this year I joined a bunch of others in working my regular support job while I was there.

There was a random drawing for those in the room, and I was the lucky winner of these awesome coasters 🙂 Now when I set my coffee down, I’m reminded of a super fun week and am also reminded of how fortunate I am to work where I do.

  • For November (the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US), I’m trying to blog about something for which I’m thankful for each day of the month.