Your Personal Tool Box

lifelong essentials

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

I tell my kids . . .

This is for your emotional tool box.

My plan is to give each of my kids a physical toolbox when they leave home — screwdrivers, a hammer, tape measure, some nails, some screws, picture hanging kit — a few necessities to get them started. This is easy but the emotional tool box is much more difficult to fill.

What’s in the emotional tool box?

  • speak kindly
  • say please
  • say thank you
  • honor every life
  • take care of the earth
  • listen (even when you don’t want to. even when it is boring. listen anyway.)
  • drink enough water
  • walk around the block
  • be grateful for three things and write them down
  • on a full moon, let go of something that is bothering you
  • on a new moon, invite in all possibility
  • increase your vocabulary so you can express yourself and help others express themselves
  • look in the mirror and see the miracle of you
  • write love notes
  • on garbage day, write down one disappointment and throw it away
  • take at least 15 minutes a day for quiet time and just be
  • be aware — of how you are feeling, of how life feels, how your relationships feel. be present in the now
  • and so much more . . .

Creating your own practice

The other day I read an article about the 110 things you need to do before you get out of bed. I laughed. Clearly the writer is single with no pets and his job is flex time. We don’t need a million things to try and keep track of . . . we can only do one thing at a time. Do one thing and do it well, then move to the next thing.

Create your own practice.

Not what someone famous does . . .

Not what your mom does . . .

Not what your mentor does . . .

Find your own practice that works for you for today. Don’t become too attached to your practice because it will change with the seasons of your life.

Master using a hammer before you worry about the other tools! by Adam Sherez on Unsplash

How do you create your practice?

You tune into what your truth is telling you. What your soul is whispering. What your heart longs for . . . listen and you will be shown where to start.

Grace is a necessity. We extend grace to ourselves and to others as we navigate becoming the best version of ourselves understanding that life flows. Life is change. Life is constant movement and our toolbox is what helps us as we trek up the mountain, float down the stream, dance as fast as we can and especially when we are in silent awareness.

How to practice your practice

Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, decade-ly? Some tools we need daily. Yours will be different than mine. What helped me was to create my master list, then decide when I needed to use each tool — because sometimes I forget in the moment, of say when I’m cranky, I just need a little down time. My cranky fix is usually going for a walk or maybe taking a 15 minute break from life.

When checking in becomes our practice, we naturally gravitate to our tool box without even thinking of it as a tool box — it is just part of who we are.

Different tools for different seasons

When I was younger I was an avid runner. That was a huge part of my tool box and I didn’t even realize it. Over the years I replaced running with pushing a stroller, pushing a swing, then the driving to soccer games began and forgot that part of me that loved the cadence of running. The beat of running is what I loved. Once I had that epiphany, it was easy to find activities that have that some beat or cadence. AND I don’t need to do it for 20 miles at a time.

Now, I am an avid dog walker. Rain, sleet, snow, fog . . . I’m out there with my dog. It’s gives me a rhythm to my life that I need. I’m also in nature with an animal. That is my sweet spot. It is a bit of alone time.

For me, walking the dog is NOT just walking the dog. It saves my sanity.

I was able to figure this out after 40 years but maybe you will be lucky and figure it out earlier. My tuning in/awareness practice lead me to understand this about myself.

Interesting that I have used the same tool my entire life — experiencing nature, keeping a beat with my feet, feeling my heart beat in my chest, breathing in my nose and out my mouth, and of course my beloved companion, Dexter. Before Dexter, it was the kids, before the 4 kids it was my 3 labs Abby, Eddie and Lucy . . . I’m consistent in the part of my life over the seasons.

I have spent time “sharpening my saw” as Stephen Covey would say.

“Black and white shot of assorted woodwork equipment on wooden wall, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, England, United Kingdom” by Sneaky Elbow on Unsplash

What’s in Your Toolbox?

If you care to share in the comments what is in your tool box, I’d love to hear. We are all walking each other home on this journey and your input may be just the thing someone needs to hear.

by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

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