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I am prompted to write today because I am the student now, learning deep lessons from my own teachings. I have been struggling with knee pain and instability for several years, ever since a seemingly innocuous incident when I stepped into a cab at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago while there for a conference. The pain instantly pierced through my knee like a knife blade. It was excruciating. I knew something inside my knee had snapped or torn.  Silent tears rolled down my cheeks. I sat in the cab all the way to the hotel, in throbbing pain, wondering how I was going to manage all the activities of a 200+ person conference -- a 9-ring circus – all rings my responsibility.  Somehow, I pulled it off through sheer willpower and determination. I worked through the pain, which subsided enough to do my jobs, but came back with a vengeance when I got home 2 days later. I made an emergency appointment with my Primary Care Physician, who referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. Nothing took away the pain except a bag of frozen corn. Eventually I got a real ice pack from the pharmacy.

I really wanted to avoid surgery, which was initially not recommended by the surgeon, who recommended physical therapy. I explored alternative therapies, from energy healing to personal training with a coach. I tried willing my knee to heal through mental concentration and meditation. Nothing worked. The pain went away after several weeks, but in its wake, I was left with an unstable, wobbly knee that compromises my balance. I went back to the surgeon a few weeks ago hoping for another non-invasive solution. He suggested an MRI and cortisone injections, although he didn’t hold out much hope that steroids would solve the problem. Last week, the results of the MRI came in, I met with the surgeon again. 

Bottom line: He strongly recommended immediate surgery to avoid further damage to the knee.  I trust and believe him because he saw me 2 years ago and never pressed for surgery until now.

The enormity of the situation hit me hard when he stressed urgency and told me about recovery – 5 weeks on crutches! Non-negotiable. My immediate reaction was denial, fear, anxiety, and panic. Complete emotional turmoil. 

Intuitively, I know that the surgeon spoke the truth. 24 hours after our appointment, I scheduled the surgery for June 10 this year – 2 days after I get back from a conference in California.

After I made the appointment, I started spinning out: racing thoughts, fears, anxiety, confusion, jumbled thinking. Screaming thoughts about each of my daily activities on crutches. It was overwhelming. I tried making plans in my head, to no avail. I was completely panicked. I live alone with my yellow Labrador retriever, Conway. Luckily, he is a senior citizen and much calmer than your typical Lab. However, he will be of no assistance during my recovery except much needed emotional support. I’m feeling helpless, alone and anxious. How am I going to climb my steep stairs to my bedroom and the only shower in the house? How am I going to put Conway out on his lead to do his business? And, I need to work and my office is upstairs. This is going to be impossible! Certainly there has to be another solution. I started thinking surgery was a mistake. Then my thinking would replay the same questions over and over and find no solutions. I was incapable of any decision making or coherent planning.


The next day gradually brought clarity as it occurred to me to use the tools I teach in my classes and that I show my clients how to apply and integrate into their daily lives! Getting excited, I broke out of my fear-based immobilization and started making lists. I wrote down every random thought about what I needed to do to prepare for the surgery. I listed pros and cons of surgery. I scribbled down my fears.  I vacuumed the basement in anticipation of friends visiting to do my laundry down there. I have never been more mindful in my life. I became painfully aware of everything I did moment to moment and how that would look on crutches. I envisioned balancing on one leg, crutch in one hand, the other crutch carefully resting again the wall while I brush my teeth, while I grab something out of the refrigerator, but it in my backpack, and navigate to the air fryer. Each activity, every movement, will be slow and methodical. OMG. I normally move around with purposeful speed. Is the universe sending me a message that I need to slow down? Hmmmm. My anxiety ebbs and flows.

I started reaching out for help from my fabulous friends – my soul sisters. I got a lot of support and volunteers to help -- from food prep and laundry to shopping for groceries and scooping up dog poop. I conferred with my pet sitter – an amazing human -- to keep Conway, my yellow Labrador, on a regular walking schedule. I asked my cleaning service for extra visits.  One dear friend is a retired orthopedic nurse. How fortunate am I?! She patiently soothed my anxieties and gave me some smart, practical advice.  Other friends calmly listened to me and gently reassured me that everything would work out and  I was reminded me to live in the moment, one day at a time. You see, all my file drawers were open, and my filing cabinet was tipping over. In my class, I have a slide that says: One small task at a time, one day at a time. The message: Break down enormous challenges into small manageable tasks. Then focus ONLY on one task at a time. Use lists and calendars to organize. And that’s what I did.

Twice I emailed a list of questions to the surgeon’s assistant. I can never think of questions in the moment of a doctor’s office visit.  My mind shuts down, especially when confronted with the unexpected. I needed processing time.  I actually build processing time into my daily schedule as a matter of routine.

Once I had my medical questions answered, I wrote and got busy. I filled my bird feeders. I cleaned out the refrigerator. My list is now 22 items long – and growing -- of all things I need to do before my surgery. Silly things, mostly. But all important to make my recovery as comfortable as possible and to minimize the possibility of inadvertently putting weight on the healing knee. I prioritized my list on a time line: now, next weekend, and the weekend before surgery.  

I’m still grappling with fears, but they are now more manageable. Interestingly enough, I am not worried about the pain, but about my upper body strength to manage the crutches. About maintaining compliance with doctor's orders. Writing out my fears takes the power out of them. I stop future tripping and bring myself back to the moment, knowing that when faced with challenges, I can reach out and ask for help – I am not alone! And I will have the tools and resources to manage any challenges. It’s just not going to be at my normal break-neck pace. I will be forced to slow down.


I am planning to use my time differently and more wisely. I will be writing and reading a lot, while I plan my conferences and manage my coaching business in the comfort of my chair in front of my computer -- which I decided to move into my kitchen. I will have to get comfortable receiving help. I will grow and adapt. I am a student today. Planning how to live my life very differently over the coming months. I’ll keep you posted! Love to all!


Updated: Apr 21

I’m sitting here in my home office staring at the computer screen. I’m doing absolutely nothing. Feeling guilty. I was raised in a high productivity family. If I wasn’t doing something, there were negative consequences. Today, I fight that urge to be a “human doing” and strive to incorporate down time in my schedule, which ultimately improves my productivity and the quality of my work and life. But today, I’m feeling a bit depressed because I’m in the hallway, waiting for the results of very important, foundational, actions I have taken over the past few months. I sit and consider: “Have I done everything I can do to move my projects forward? Is there anything left on the table?” I pause. I listen for words of wisdom from my inner guide.

What actions can I take and when? I run through the main areas of my life: work – all revenue streams, family, spiritual practices, friends, recreation – you get the idea. I quickly write down my thoughts. Later I can organize these ideas. But for now, I just let it roll, scribbling as fast as I can.

Often, I’m told to just breathe. Doing nothing is the antidote for my overly busy schedule and racing mind. I call it my “processing time.” In a world that moves so fast, I wonder why I don’t fly out into the universe! Taking time to get grounded, consider what’s important in my life, moves me out of emotional mind and into spiritual mind. I get all the answers I need. I always schedule processing time into my Google calendar. Over scheduling, for me, leads to missed opportunities, mistakes and disorganization. Yeah. That’s my experience. If I don’t stop, I miss stuff! I forget things. My world gets chaotic.

Fortunately, I have an office at home, which I share with Conway, my Yellow Labrador Retriever. He doesn’t take much of anything seriously. Great lesson for me. So I head downstairs, tail-wagging dog happily in tow. I head to the kitchen, settle into my favorite chair, and gaze out the window at flowers on my porch, where birds and chipmunks are frequent guests. I am grateful to be alive and prospering in this wonderful world we call Planet Earth. I take a moment to PAUSE. I am grateful.

Updated: Apr 21

Do you find yourself in organizational chaos? You are not alone. My “flow” when I’m in peak performance, is VERY messy, but I have developed a unique approach to streamline my processes. I’m no longer living in constant stress, neglecting any of my interest areas or stifling my creativity. Before organizational enlightenment, I missed appointments, lost opportunities and made bad decisions. And, my life was completely out of balance. Secrets to my system: Consistency. Persistence. Routine. Office supplies. Positive Mindset. Organization is a founding principle of creating life balance and to living in peace & joy.

“To do” lists are my keys to sanity. I love unloading my ideas onto the safety and sanctity of paper. What an amazing time management and prioritization tool, if used for maximum effect. Everyone is different in the form and substance of their lists – paper, digital, recorded on smartphones, but the outcome is the same: increased productivity, focus, clarity, satisfaction and profitability.

“I have a million ideas”, one of my clients told me. I don’t want to be pinned down or confined by lists, schedules or calendars, she confides. She’s a brilliant art entrepreneur – an amazing abstract painter with so much talent she glows. Stalled in the pursuit of building a thriving business by chronic last minute jumbles of frenetic activity, she was often distracted, unavailable and not painting. She missed meetings and deadlines. She began the organizational process somewhat hesitantly, not really trusting herself to operate differently. I gently guided her to confront her resistance to organization, and to move beyond it. “I know that to sell more art, I need to plan and organize,” she says, near tears. “What’s gotten in the way? I asked.

With remarkable courage, she identified her mental and emotional blocks based on core belief systems that were no longer serving her. Armed with this new knowledge, she began to make lists in earnest – a task she has spent a lifetime avoiding. And, she created a living project board, her own idea. It is simply a bulletin board on which are tacked sheets of paper representing each key area of her life: home, education, family, spiritual, fun and her three businesses, among others. Eventually she took the project board data and added due dates and time lines, and from there to an 18-month calendar. She vows to always be ready for the next opportunity, deadline or appointment. She is now prepared. More on her progress in future blog posts!

Everyone is different in how they approach this foundational key to success. There is no cookie cutter approach or “how to” methodology that suits all. Organization is a dynamic, organic process. As life happens, so your processes evolve. Share with me your struggles and success stories. Looking forward to hearing from you.

All the best, Roz

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