Lady Sunflower’s Boudoir

A few weeks ago, I told the story of how, on the occasion our twenty-third anniversary, my indulgent husband had the great idea to get new sheets.

I’m going to be honest, they are almost a little too cutesy for me, but the sales lady did a great job of convincing me that they were “classic” and “timeless” and even “British country estate chic” (as if that had ever been a style I was interested in?)

You would think that after I’d dropped a fortune on brand new “classic British country estate chic” sheets that, given their price should have come with a title (Lady Sunflower, perhaps?) I would be happy.

Ahhh, but no. Because once I got them home (a flat sheet, a fitted sheet and two pillow cases) and onto my bed, it was obvious that my comfort pillows…that is, the wild array of round and travel pillows I use to actually sleep at night, would look completely out of place.

Fast forward to a trip to Ikea to replace some broken bowls and a brief wander through their bedding section to bemoan the fortune I spent on sheets and how unfinished the bed looked with my ugly round and sausage pillows. Then, I got this idea that maybe I should cover them.

So I bought an Ikea sheet in a silvery gray color and set about putting the finishing touches on her ladyship’s boudoir. The sunflower sheets had come with matching fabric strips as part of the packaging, which I used to add bows to my pillow covers.

Cute, or cute?

So then….why did it take so long to show off my project to you? Oh, because literally the very night I finished my project, my sheets had a run in with a creature and had to be washed. And since we had to change the sheets, my husband seemed to have a rather judgmental opinion on me immediately changing back to our new sheets (as if new sheets wasn’t his idea???)

I let about a week pass by before I silently and without warning changed the sheets and turned my bedroom into Lady Sunflower’s Boudoir. (Fingers crossed, we have narrowly so far avoided an incident with the cat.)

Week 31: Pantheon and Genre Thoughts

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. Once a week, I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

#15 1€ or less CPW for each individual item, less than 0.20€ per item globally

It’s been a long time since the last time I talked about my closet. The Pantheon. My Boudoir. I suppose that this is in part because last year was a year dedicated to thinking about my Boudoir, whereas this year I am just wearing clothes when I need to and trying to keep an eye on how often I wear those clothes.

Last summer in particular was heavy in the Cost Per Wear department, since my summer wardrobe consisted of five dresses I was determined to get down to a cost of 1€ per wear, more or less successfully. This summer, for that reason only, seems a little more boring than last.

However, I did notice that I have been, in this ungodly hot weather, been wearing the same three or four dresses on repeat entirely accidentally, because they work and don’t make me sweat. It’s not getting me much traction on my CPW efforts, since one of them was a gift and one of them was already well-worn.

Nonetheless, I am looking at a 0.21€ global CPW for the entirety of the Pantheon as of today, and as long as I can refrain from adding anything new to it, and as long as I continue to wear clothes, I should see this number continue to drop.

The exciting thing is that, as opposed to last year, I don’t see any gaping holes in my wardrobe that will have me obsessively thinking about and plotting how to obtain the perfect answer to the gaping hole.

Honestly, I know this one isn’t the most interesting of updates, but when I sat down the other day and realized that my mind was empty enough and that I was unstressed enough that I could think about my wardrobe, it felt like a win for the entire human race.

Take that, stress. I’m back to thinking about my closet for a few days.

#7 “Don’t Look Down”: Keep chipping away at finding a literary agent who shares my vision.

Don’t get excited. I haven’t found, nor have I even been looking lately, for an agent.

However, I have done some under-the-surface and behind-the-scenes grappling with genre. The chances of finding the agent who shares my vision is zilch if I keep querying agents who represent the wrong genre. But I think there is a part of me who was unwilling to be realistic about the genre.

I had this idea that I had created a sweeping world (I have, but hear me out) the likes of Tolkien and Rowling. Now, as I parenthesized, I have created a sweeping world full of intriguing peoples and traditions and history. But the books are about people, first and foremost. They are about very specific people and how they and their families negotiate this sweeping world in which they live. And part of that story exists in courtly romance.

Not all of it!!!! Much of it is about family and geopolitical ambitions and murder and otherworldy canines who are always there at the right time… But the fact that I was unwilling to admit that there was a courtly romance element at all to the series was cutting off an entire (relatively successful in the marketplace) genre. And courtly romance there is.

The epiphany came when I was reading an article about Bridgerton, and I was like, “Dude, I want someone to make a successful show like that out of my books.” So then I read more and I was like, “Wait a second, that could be my books–only mine are vastly more exciting because, well, mystery, thievery and murder.”

Of course, then I got distracted writing about forty pages of the next book before I could come back to thinking about finding an agent in this genre, but that is par for the course in this arena right now.

Episode 27: Passionately Curious Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death. Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Spiritual Life." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 27: Passionately Curious
  2. Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries, and Secrets, Oh My!
  3. Episode 25: Anything But Routine
  4. Episode 24: You Are What You Wear
  5. Episode 23: You've Got a Choice

Week 30: Anniversary and Golden Data

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. Once a week, I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

#2 Do the heart work necessary for my marriage

Sing With Your Feet, the podcast, will be back on September 1. If you will remember, we were in the middle of a 19 episode-long series about the Ideal Life themes. Our first episode back will be about…you guessed it….Marriage.

It is during this season right now that I am often thinking about marriage. For one, with a teacher for a husband, we get to see a lot of each other during the summer. For two, our anniversary is smack-dab in the middle of summer.

It was our anniversary this last week. Twenty-three years. Twenty-three years!

That either sounds staggeringly like more than half my life, or like a drop in a bucket compared to a couple who celebrated their seventy-eighth wedding anniversary earlier this year. There is no middle ground on this for me.

In any case. we’ve never been very on-the-ball about anniversary gifts. There might be some flowers, or “here are those socks you need” kind of thing. I might have gone out to buy myself a little something at his urging to mark the occasion. But truly, anniversaries have never been much of celebration.

Well. This year, my husband had a brilliant idea.

Him: “You know what we should get for our anniversary?”

Me, all ears: “Do tell.”

Him: “New sheets.”

Aha! The man is brilliant. You may remember last year, during my “buy no clothes in 2021” challenge, I took to mending everything. Socks. Underwear. Jeans. Tank tops. I even branched out and started mending our sheets in that slapdash, visible mending is cool kind of way that I was perfecting.

It just so happened that the mended parts of the sheet were all on his side, and that he is the one who makes the bed in the morning. So apparently this reality, besides the half hour I spent mending the sheets, has impacted him more than it has me.

The last time we bought sheets was at Target in 2003. So. Yeah. We needed sheets. We’ve talked about buying sheets for years. But, y’all, sheets are expensive. I mean, real sheets are expensive. I’m not talking about the grocery story brand, not even about the Martha Stewart specials we bought at K-Mart in 2000. Those Target sheets in question were more the more “luxury” Target brand at the time, but I bought them heavily discounted. They were still expensive.

However. I had a bundle of cash that had been gifted to us. So, fresh with my husband’s brilliant idea and blessing to go pick out something perfect for our twenty-third anniversary, I went to a little shop in town, which carries only French-made linens. I knew for a fact I would be walking out the door with new sheets, real sheets, real French-made sheets and would be paying cash for them.

There is a special kind of power in that. It is not something I get to experience very often. It is a life to which I would love to become accustomed. But it is likely never to be mine. Nonetheless.

The woman was typically standoffish when I disrupted her coffee break in the absolutely crickets and tumbleweed shop. When I wouldn’t go away, and when she finally deigned to ask if I needed any assistance, I told her: “It is my twenty third wedding anniversary, my husband said we need new sheets and, oh, by the way, do you take cash?”

Then suddenly, she was helpful. Imagine that.

“Oh, your husband had a wonderful idea! I mean, the bed is the one place where you are both together! Isn’t that a wonderfully brilliant idea he had! Oh, let me help you find just the right thing.”

Which she did. The absolutely perfect thing. She even wrapped it prettily.

I will write an ode to my beautiful bed in a future post, but needless to say, I am very thankful to my husband for having this really great idea to buy real sheets that I suspect will last us the next twenty-three years.

#17 Track steps, water intake, monthly(ish) cycles

Last week I wrote at length about how the Fitbit has revolutionized how I track all my trackables. But what is astonishing to me is that it also has the ability to track my sleep. I can set a goal for how many hours I want to sleep, and then, as a function of my movement and heart rate, can “tell” if I am actually sleeping during the night or am restless and moving around a lot.

This should come as no surprise, but I am a very very bad sleeper. But pre-Fitbit, without actual data in front of me, I had no idea just how very very bad a sleeper I was. I don’t yet know exactly what to do with it, but having data puts something behind the “I didn’t sleep well last night” daily ritual conversation I have with my husband every morning. Now, I can try different things. Like a chamomile tea, to see if it helps the restlessness. Or different bedtimes. Or room temperatures. Anything. Everything, and see if anything actually improves the 4+ hours of restlessness every night.

Data is worth its weight in gold.

Episode 27: Passionately Curious Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death. Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Spiritual Life." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 27: Passionately Curious
  2. Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries, and Secrets, Oh My!
  3. Episode 25: Anything But Routine
  4. Episode 24: You Are What You Wear
  5. Episode 23: You've Got a Choice

Week 29: what can we change?

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. Once a week, I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

#20 Practice Mindfulness: articulate and savor the good moments

A few weeks ago, I postulated that perhaps as a secondary conclusion about the importance of articulating the good moments as a way to practice mindfulness, that it was, if not equally important, very very close to it, to refrain from articulating the mild annoyances about things I can’t change.

Not to say that I am successful at keeping my mouth shut, because I am not always. But I find it unhelpful to continually repeat complaints about things we can’t change. And even more importantly, repeatedly articulating those things make them consistently top-of-mind, therefore omnipresent.

Articulating our thoughts helps sear them into our memory. We need to be careful about which memories we choose to sear.

But here’s my little twisty thought on this matter: how do we know what we can change, and are there people who cannot parse the difference? Is it a question of will to stop complaining about things we cannot change, or is it pathological for some people?

For example, I have come to realize that I am less unsatisfied as a mother when I stop snarkily commenting on the weird/irritating/anxiety producing behaviors of my children on the reg.

Now, there is a difference between dealing with a behavior that needs to be corrected, and making regular sarcastic observations or snarky comments. The former is critical to raising healthy, safe children. The latter provides a brief escape hatch which ultimately leaves me grumpier and less ready to notice the good moments.

On the scale of being a miserable parent and being a happy parent, articulating good moments has the power to move the needle to the right. My snarkiness and complaining moves the needle to the left. Bridging the distance between miserable and happy is complicated by my own behavior and attitude.

I’ll admit, though, that it’s really hard not to be snarky or complain. Sometimes it just sneaks out of me. What is critically important is to not make a habit out of complaining.

And more importantly, to continue articulating the good moments.

#17 Track steps, water intake, monthly(ish) cycles

Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

Lily Fields, welcome to the 21 century.

Thanks to my father, who was here with his wife Daisy (whom you may remember from our month-long ode to Mise en Place last year), I inherited his old Fitbit. The photo at the top of this article shows my eldest scalawag modeling the Fitbit whilst admiring a decorative object at a hotel (yes, seriously.)

It looks, for all intents and purposes, like a watch. Not that I didn’t know this kind of thing existed, but remember, it wasn’t until January that I had my first smartphone. So…I guess I am what is called an extremely slow and reluctant adopter of new technologies.

I can’t honestly say that I would have bought one of these for myself even had I known how life changing it can be when I’m trying to manage the basics of my health. I’m notoriously cheap and do not like to spend exorbitant sums of money on myself. So no. It would never have crossed my mind.

However. Now that I have an easy way to keep track of hydration, steps, sleep, even heart rate (let it be known that I impress even my typically unimpressed indulgent husband with my resting heart rate!), I feel like for the first time since I was pregnant, I finally have a handle on my health.

Episode 27: Passionately Curious Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death. Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Spiritual Life." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 27: Passionately Curious
  2. Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries, and Secrets, Oh My!
  3. Episode 25: Anything But Routine
  4. Episode 24: You Are What You Wear
  5. Episode 23: You've Got a Choice

Week 28: the humble pedometer

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. Each Saturday, I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

These last weeks, with the start of summer vacation for my indulgent husband and my scalawags means I have had to scale back my creative activities until school starts back up again. For example, the podcast is on hiatus and will be back on September 1.

But for now, here is one tiny 22 in 22 success story:

#17 Track steps, water intake, monthly(ish) cycles

Although I am never particularly good about drinking enough water, the obtaining of a glass of water is not very complicated. If I get thirsty, I can take ten steps, pour a glass and ta-da, hydration! No getting in a car, no parking, no searching around a store whose layout is regularly switched around, no out-of-stock items.

That said, do I actually do it often enough to stay hydrated? Well, that is another story entirely. That would be about tracking, and keeping track of how much water I drink isn’t as easy as I would like it to be.

On the other hand, for quite a goodly number of years, I have relished in the joys of the humble pedometer as a way to track how active I am. I’m not a connected device kinda gal (at least not yet). This lowly little device just passively keeps me informed of how achy I can expect to feel the next day. (Interestingly enough: it’s usually the day after low-activity days that I feel most achy. Ahh, the joys of getting older…)

So tracking steps had become a habit which I kinda sorta relied on. Where I was struggling the most on this little goal was that I had no working pedometer anymore. Somehow my pedometer had ended up in the washing machine and consequently was only working one time out of ten for the last…oh…three months, maybe?

“Well just go buy another one!” You might say. And you might be right. But I’m one part lazy, three parts cheap, two parts too busy to get myself to a sporting goods store and five parts not willing to go to a sporting goods store with my five and six year old scalawags because they will beg me for everything they see until I lose my mind….all for this one little tiny thing. Motivation to keep up with my 22 in 22 was insufficient!

When finally three weeks ago I had the occasion to go to a sporting goods store out of necessity for something for a little boy, I looked for one, but go figure, the pedometer I wanted (a little one that can discreetly live in my bra all day) was out of stock.

“Well,” I figured, dramatically, “I’ll never track again.”

But then a short week later I needed to go to a craft store to get brooch pins (for gifts I made for the boys’ teachers, oh my goodness. Those gifts. So so cute), and that craft store was near the sporting goods store. So I made the detour, in and out, just hoping, although doubting, that perhaps there might have been a shipment.

Okay, let’s just stop to recognize the fact that a craft is a significant enough reason to get me out of the house and into a commercial area, but not the pedometer. Priorities, friends.

But guess what? There it was! My little pedometer was back in stock!

So finally, I’m back in the game when comes to the tracking stuff.

Just a side note, I think I mentioned this in the podcast episode, “The One About Our Bodies,” but the purpose of the pedometer, in my mind, is not to “hit a goal” necessarily. What it does for me is creates just a tiny sense of internal competition when I’m up for it. And when I’m not up for it, gives me a little signal that I will ache tomorrow.

It was impossible to back to my “why” in order to get motivated again, until I solved the mystery of the missing pedometer. The very fact of passively tracking the steps makes “Oh why not take a detour?” more likely. Or, “I’ll take the stairs just to round it up to x for the day…”

Yeah, so not a ton of progress in other areas lately, but at least we have excavated a giant stumbling block from the road!

Episode 27: Passionately Curious Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death. Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Spiritual Life." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 27: Passionately Curious
  2. Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries, and Secrets, Oh My!
  3. Episode 25: Anything But Routine
  4. Episode 24: You Are What You Wear
  5. Episode 23: You've Got a Choice

Transcript Episode 27 : Passionately Curious

Welcome to Sing With Your Feet, the podcast in which we take joy very, very seriously.

The podcast in which we re-discover what brings us joy and make space for it in our lives.

The podcast in which…

My name is Lily Fields, and I am going to be your Fairy Godmother for the next half hour or so.

This week’s podcast, which is Episode number 27, is going to be our last until September—that’s right, your Fairy Godmother is taking a little summer break to be with her scalawags and indulgent Prince Charming while they are all out of school.

 I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to decide to take the summer off. It’s one of those decisions I had to make according to the checklist I shared with you back in Episode 23 about Making Wise Decisions—like “under what circumstances will I regret making this decision,” and “what part of my ideal life is this decision feeding”, and which part of my Ideal Life will suffer by making this decision.”

Sharing this time with you each week is something I enjoy very much, and I’ll admit, I’m going to miss you. But the truth is that the Ideal Life circles of Parenting and Marriage are the predominant ones I need to focus on this summer. So there we go.

You’ll definitely want to follow the podcast’s Instagram, that’s @singwithyourfeet this summer, though, because I’m planning to give you a few Ideal Life reminders now and then.

LiElla Kelly, is hard at work on her own podcast, a mini-cast called Death Becomes Her, which you can find on all your podcatchers. If you need a summer dose of your wicked stepsister, she’ll only be few clicks away.

All right…now that we’ve done a little bit of housekeeping, Cinderella, let’s get down to business. Let’s talk about Passion!

THE SUBJECT AT HAND.

Would you believe me if I told you that the origin of the word Passion in Greek is the word “to suffer”, or “to be acted upon?”

This might not surprise you actually, since last week, in our discussion of relationships and duty, I mentioned that “Compassion is love in action.” It literally means, “to suffer with”.

I love love love this idea that Passion is suffering. Because…well…it just hits so right in a very Fairy Godmotherish kind of way.

I want to throw a little quote at you here, because I think it sets the stage for everything else we are going to say this episode. It’s from Albert Einstein, who said, “I have no special talents. I am just passionately curious.”

Before I started uncovering the fairy dust in my every day life, and the digging up treasure that was hidden in my own back yard, and most importantly, before I learned how to set boundaries and limits in my relationships, I would suffer for lack of time to do the things that made me feel alive.

Do you remember how last week, I told you that before I undertook to learn how to love myself, I used to hand over a permanent marker to everyone I knew and let them fill in my calendar for me—filling it with lots and lots of time-consuming projects that were not necessarily things I wanted to do? Well, once I learned how to set limits and learned how to say “no”, I had more time to actually do the things I loved to do. And, just to head off what you are about to say, Cinderella, which I know you’re about to say because I can read your mind: yes, but Lily, I have small children. I just can’t say no.

I did not learn how to set limits until after the addition of those time-consuming little creatures I call my children. So it is possible. As a matter of fact, it might even be because I had those little creatures that I learned how to say “no”, finally. To be honest, my children were the first people in my life I have ever been able to systematically say “no” to and not feel guilty for it.

Pre-children, I used to feel guilty for using my time to do the things I loved. I used to feel like I owed my time and talents to others, for some existential reason, and that I didn’t have the right to use my time the way I wanted to.

So I would daydream. I would fantasize. I would suffer from longing for the day that I could actually do what it was that I wanted to do. Then one day it hit me that if I didn’t prioritize my own joy, well, no one else would ever do it for me. So I started taking passion much much much more seriously.

And, to take a page from Albert Einstein it didn’t require any special talent to make this shift. It just required passionate curiosity. Curiosity, first and foremost about myself and why I didn’t know how to prioritize my own joy. Secondly, curiosity about those little silvery threads of joy that still were there, jumbled up in my heart from a lifetime of disuse. And thirdly, curiosity about the world and how things worked.

Now, I will admit that I had, in this process, one very important partner in crime, and I am going to try to be careful not to project the totality of my experience onto you for this reason. My partner in crime was my husband, Prince Charming Fields, who is not called my indulgent husband for nuthin’. He has always put up with my busy schedule and has long been willing to shoulder a bunch of responsibilities around our house so that I could sneak away to attend to my commitments.

But in spite of his collusion to help me get out of the house, there was still a problem: I was committed to a lot of things, yes. But I wasn’t committed to things that made me feel alive. I was committed to a myriad of activities that people asked me to do and that I agreed to because I felt like I owed everything to everyone.

So I was busy, and I was being super helpful to a lot of people, but I was not experiencing joy. All in all, once I was able to start shifting how I made my commitments, my husband’s experience of my busy-ness barely changed, except for one small thing: I complain a heckuva a lot less about my commitments than I used to.

That is one benefit of pursuing our Passions. We complain a lot less. We suffer a lot less.

IN MY IDEAL LIFE I AM A PERSON WHO…

It’s been a very long time since we’ve talked about just how awesome it is to feel alive. There’s a reason for that, of course. In the early days of the podcast, I gave you a bunch of homework to do to help you start defining your Ideal Life: first, there was the prompt that said, “In My Ideal Life I am a person who…” You were to finish that sentence as many times as you possibly could to start getting an idea of how all the different parts of your life were interconnected.

Then, I suggested that you list out a good memory for each of the first 18 years of your life and describe the circumstances of the most memorable or most pleasant of those 18. It was a way to pull out little silvery threads that once brought us joy.

We talked about how those activities might just be ones that could still bring us joy, if we were able to bring them back into our lives in small doses appropriate to our current circumstances. That is the focus of the Passions circle of our Ideal Life Blueprint.

Just for a quick digression, the third element that we talked about in the early episodes of the podcast was virtue, and how those noble characteristics that we want to be remembered for when after we die (AKA, virtues) can become like the edge pieces on the puzzles of our lives, which make it so so so much easier to make decisions and do hard things.

This summer, while you are waiting for your Fairy Godmother and Wicked Stepsister to come back from their hiatus, I highly recommend you go back and listen to the first 10 or so episodes for a refresher. They might actually hit a bit differently, now that we’ve taken a deeper dive into our Ideal Life Themes.

But today, we are talking about Passions. Those silvery threads that look a heckuva lot like joy. Actively pursuing, teasing out those threads and giving them a try again is a much-ignored part of self-care. We aren’t talking about becoming a professional race car driver, here, or climbing Everest or winning a Tony award. We are talking seeking out and taking advantage of opportunities to try those things we’ve always been interested in. You like to drive fast? You like to climb mountains? You like to perform on stage? Well, passions are those things that we know will increase our happiness, even in tiny doses.

They are the things that make us feel alive and the things that we are willing to take risks for.

Let’s pick apart those definitions, shall we?

Just before we do, peruse your Ideal Life statements, look for the ones that connect back with those silvery threads to the activities we enjoyed doing as children, or things that we wish we could do more often.

I usually share my In My Ideal Life I am a person who statements here to help dislodge some ideas for you, but I don’t want to influence you, or to make you think that you your passions aren’t valid.

Whatever makes you feel alive is a valid passion. Whatever you are willing to take risks for is a valid passion.

PASSION/ WILDCARD

So my first definition of our Passions are the things that, in the absence of which, we suffer a little bit.

My second definition of Passions is: the things that make us feel alive.

For you it might be hiking or cooking or meditating. For me it is making music and textiles. My sister Poppy loves to travel. I have a very dear friend who loves animals and spends every possible moment with them. My father-in-law is passionate about naval warships.

Whatever your passion is, it reliably brings you joy.

Now, I want to address something here, because a listener once brought it up, and I want to be very very sensitive to those of you who might be hearing me wax passionately about passions but just aren’t feeling it.

I am not a mental health professional, so keep that in mind. There are people who struggle to complete the exercise about the good memories for the first 18 years of their lives, because they suffered very difficult childhoods. There are also people who are anhedonic—people who have no experience of joy or pleasure at all—and it is often related to childhood trauma.

Another problem might be a generalized lack of interest, or inability to get excited about anything that sneaks up on us in the form of depression or simply just a less passionate season of our life. This can happen to all of us from time to time. This apathy might not be long-lived, or it might last for years.

In either case—whether you have never felt like you had a passion in your life, or if you had passion but have lost it, then perhaps you need some professional help. A counselor, therapist, psychologist could help you navigate this. Please, please, please. Get help.

After that lengthy but important parenthesis, we were talking about our passions being the activities that make us feel alive.

It can be a pastime, a hobby, an activity. It can be something that we do completely alone or something that we do with others.

But I’m going to suggest here that, for example, playing Solitaire on your computer is not going to meet the bar for a Passion according your fairy godmother. Sure, it’s a pastime, maybe even a hobby. But, on the other hand, I will say that, perhaps, video games might be a passion.

Why, now Lily Fields, you are talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Ah, but my dear I am not.

Because the last subpart of the “making us feel alive” definition is something that connects us to others or to the natural world.

This definition is actually more inclusive that it sounds at first blush. I would argue, for example, that even if someone is doing an activity entirely alone, like, say, making jewelry out of, oh, I don’t know, bottle caps, that there is still some connection. I mean, people wear jewelry. There is a tenuous possibility that the making of this jewelry will bring that person into contact with others. Either in the obtaining of the bottle caps, or the giving away of the jewelry (and the subsequent joy that it might bring to do so…)

Plus, theoretically, by recycling bottle caps, we are keeping them out of landfills, so in that way we are connecting to nature, too.

The point is that Passions are most delicious when they are something that are shared, or in some way connect us with other people or with nature. It’s one of the tenets of the Philosopher Princess’ theory on life and happiness: connection is happiness. (Believe me, we’ve done well to leave her in her ivory tower this season. Once she wakes up and starts saying annoying things like, “Virtue is its own reward,” we’ll all be wishing she would just go back to sleep.)

How did I get started quoting that woman? Ugh. Yes. I was talking about Solitaire. Sorry. That was a really long digression.

RISK TAKING

My third definition of Passions is: the things we are willing to take risks for.

Here I go, I am going to tell a story, so settle in for a second.

My mother taught me to knit more than twenty years ago. I found it so relaxing. After making a lot a lot of scarves to master various stitches and techniques, I branched out. I still have my first knit item of clothing: it was a pale blue mohair sleeveless sweater which I still wear, thank you very much.

That blue mohair yarn came from some a monastery in a teeny tiny village in southeastern France. It was a gift from my mother-in-law, who knew I loved to knit.

It turned out that the monks at this monastery raised the animals themselves, they sheared the animals themselves, prepared the wool themselves, dyed the wool themselves and they spun the wool themselves.

For the twenty some years since I discovered that little monastery in that teeny tiny village in southeastern France, I have found the idea of wool production absolutely fascinating.

When we moved to Northeastern France in 2007, I befriended someone who has a gigantic family. Both her parents are from immense families.

Her mother and several of her aunts had maintained some of the old traditions of wool preparation and spinning, and of course, knitting. One of her aunts still had an old spinning wheel, although due to bad health, it went unused.

I will not hide from you that when I first heard about this aunt and the spinning wheel, my curiosity was piqued, but I wasn’t courageous enough, and I didn’t love or trust myself enough at the time, to take a risk and ask her to teach me, something I would live to regret.

Several years past, and the conversation about wool came up with another friend, who mentioned that they owned some property on which they kept sheep. She asked if I would like to take the wool and try to figure out how to spin it.

So I did. I MacGyvered a little top-whorl drop spindle out of the lid of a pickle jar, a dowel rod, a random little hook and some washi tape. Oh, I learned to spin. I did it poorly, but I did it.

I made a jacket out of that handspun wool, which I wore (and still do wear) so proudly. So proudly, I tell you.

Well. Then Covid. And we lost that lovely old woman of the unused spinning wheel, and along with her, all of her knowledge and skill.

However, my friend’s mother thought of me when they were emptying the house, and asked if I would be interested in keeping the spinning wheel. So what do you think I said? Uhmm, yes please.

So now I had a spinning wheel, but no more wool. The spinning wheel sat there for a long time.

And that is where the Little Prince and a theme park I go to with my boys nearly every weekend come into play. You’ve heard of Le Petit Prince? By the author Antoine de St Exupéry? Go back and listen to episode 14, called Know Thyself, in which my indulgent philosopher husband makes an appearance. He quotes St Exupéry, and I remember it was quite lovely.

Long story longer. One of the first things the Little Prince does in the little poetic book is to ask the narrator to draw him a sheep. And the narrator sums up his whole tale by saying, “I know the little prince existed because he was charming, he laughed, and he wanted a sheep. If anyone wants a sheep it is proof of that he exists.”

I know. You should really read the Little Prince. It’s full of lovely little poetic thoughts like that.

This little theme park has an entire petting zoo themed around sheep and pigeons, because, well, it was with a flock of migrating birds that the little Prince embarked on his adventure around the universe.

Last summer, every single time we would go to the park (which we do quite often), I would say to my eldest scalawag, “I wonder what they do with the wool?” Because here are like 40 sheep of maybe a dozen different breeds, with all this gorgeous, varied wool, and I was creatively drooling every time I would see them.

Finally, my son said to me, after about the thirtieth time I had said, “I wonder what they do with the wool,” “Why don’t you just ask them?”

Now, let’s step out of the story for a second to introduce a very important point about the essence of Passion. Passion is something you are willing to take risks for. Something that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone for.

You know me well enough by now. I don’t like to step out of my comfort zone. I don’t really like to talk to strangers. Staying safe, though, is a surefire way to live a boring, passionless life.

My son was right, of course. For all the times I had wondered about the wool, and secretly imagined spinning up a lovely coat from some of those long locks, the only thing keeping me from an answer was my inability to talk to strangers. If I could just ask someone, then I would have an answer.

I know how small all this sounds, but I still remember the moment at which my interest in wool went from a pastime to being a passion: it happened when I was willing to take a risk and talk to a person I didn’t know.

“Excuse me?” I said to the person who cares for the animals. “What do you do with the wool after you shear the sheep?”

The guy gave me a strange look, sizing me up as just one of those weirdos who asks stupid questions about the animals at the park.

“Nothing. Do you want it?” the guy replied. He might have been joking, but my son immediately cut in and said, “Yes she wants all of it.”

And with that, my passion was solidified. Indeed, he would be very happy to see the wool go somewhere other than the trash. He was interested in what I would do with the wool…I insisted on saying that I was a novice, but that I had a spinning wheel and that the only thing I was lacking was the wool to use on it.

We exchanged numbers, and he promised that when the shearing was done in the late springtimer, he’d give me a call.

So after many many months of waiting, I got a text message about a month and a half ago telling me that the wool was waiting for me. I received about 100 lbs of wool…which is only half of what he could have given me…but I have a little bit of a storage problem in our current configuration.

But for the last month or so, I have been passionately literally reinventing the wheel…figuring out how to wash, card, spin, felt…

I always loved wool. But it became a passion worth my time and energy when I realized that I was willing to take a risk and get out of my comfort zone in order to make it happen.

Incidentally, this passion does pass the connection test also: it connects me back to nature—with the wool and the beauty of the natural fibers—it connects me to others, because I am developing a project with my children’s school to teach the children about wool and the history, art and science of wool. And I am making little gifts out of the wool for all the people I love because there is literally nothing more poetic than a rose made out of the wool of the Little Prince’s sheep.

Wow. That was long. The point is this: there are activities you might love but that don’t qualify as passions because you wouldn’t necessarily sacrifice your comfort for it. Passions are what we are willing to sacrifice for, take risks for and…to take us back to the original Greek definition of Passion, passions are activities we are willing to suffer for!

WICKED STEPSISTER

LiElla Kelly, Death Doula and your wicked stepsister is here to share with you a slightly wayward story about someone who wants to express their passions, even in death. You’ll see. LiElla will douse out the fire of those passions pretty quickly!

As you know, I’m a bit wicked, a bit deathy. What you may not know is that Lily, you know, your Fairy Godmother is getting deathier and deathier with each passing day. I know this because she sends me a variety of oddities that are right up my alley. I take it as a compliment. My deathy enthusiasm appears to be infectious. It seems that recently, Lily was perusing the D&D chats. For those of you who you don’t watch Stranger Things, D&D is short for Dungeons & Dragons. Why Lily is spying on the D&D crowd, I don’t know, maybe she’s a closet Dungeon-Master…in petticoats, maybe that’s her secret Wildcard.

At any rate, Lily sent me a letter that was on a D&D chat. It was written by a 36 year-old woman about her husband’s end-of-life plans. She writes,

“My husband of 12 years has had some medical problems recently. The topic about end-of-life plans came up, and I asked if he wanted to be buried. He didn’t want that. Nor did he want to be cremated.

My husband wants me to have his skull taken from his body and cleaned. Then he wants that skull put on the mantelpiece in the living room. The rest of his body he wants sent to one of those places that makes the gems out of bodies and made into two blue diamonds. He then wants the gems to be put in the eye sockets of the skull to look like eyes. Then he can, quote. “watch the family home” and “be passed down through the generations.’”

So, is this possible? Let’s examine the elements. 

First, upon his death he would like his head removed from his body and cleaned? Who is going to do this? Well, it’s not going to be the death doula, the doctor or the family. The best hope is going to be the mortician and I’m guessing that’s going to be a tough sell. Morticians do provide deathcare and while you could make an argument that embalming is invasive, it’s nothing like getting out a saw and removing the head from a corpse. I have however, read about a woman whose job it is to do just that. There is a fascinating book called Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers. In the very first chapter, we learn of Yvonne and her exceptionally unique job. Yvonne is the Lab Manager and resident Cadaver Beheader in a lab where surgeons practice surgical procedures like face lifts. Since donated bodies are very valuable, you don’t use a whole body to practice a rhinoplasty. Instead, heads are separated from the rest of the body. The heads can be used by the plastic surgeons and the rest of the body can be used for other purposes. I’m guessing that getting a private audience with Yvonne isn’t an easy task, so she may not be available to help you with your…well we’ll call it a legacy project. Here’s another problem, even if the mortician or the decapitation specialist (I don’t think that’s her real title but she really does deserve a special title), even if one of them was game to segment the body, most states have laws pertaining to abuse of a corpse. I can’t imagine that a funeral home would love the optics of being associated with corpse abuse or the legal implications.

But let’s say your legacy project has passed that first hurdle and now you need to have the skull de-fleshed. I live in Montana and de-fleshing skulls isn’t as uncommon as you may think. Skulls of one sort or another are frequently used in western art, bison skulls, elk skulls, cow skulls. There are plenty of people familiar with the process. However, once again, those pesky abuse of corpse laws could make it difficult to find someone willing to do the procedure on a human skull.

But for the sake of argument, we’ll assume that the creepy-crawly bugs have done their part of the job and the skull has been boiled and you now have a nice, clean, de-fleshed skull.

Back to the now headless body. The body needs to be cremated. The cremains (which is the fancy name for ashes) will contain carbon. When the cremation is complete, you’ll need to send about 1 cup of cremains to one of the companies that can turn the carbon into a diamond. A company called Eterneva offersthis service. They will make a 3-carat blue diamond for $50,000. You’ll need two for this project, so that’s $100,000. 3-carat diamonds are certainly substantial on your hand but we really need a stone more comparable in size to an eyeball. A 100-carat stone is about the size of a lollipop, still a bit small to fill the eye-socket of a skull but this is getting a bit pricey so we may have to settle for 100-carat eyes. 

So ultimately, our grand total is going to come to millions of dollars and a few broken laws…but, you will have a skull that would be a valuable family heirloom. One more little side note, it’s not technically legal to keep a person’s skull but perhaps with the expressed wishes of the deceased, maybe you could get a court judgement in your favor. So, let’s add a few extra legal fees and court costs to the grand total. 

Lily, I hope that answers your question.

Before I leave, I want to thank you, the listener for your enthusiastic support of the Wicked Step Sister. I so appreciate the warm reception. This episode marks the end of season 1, but if you’re interested in continuing our death chat, you can find me on my own mini-cast called Death Becomes Her. I hope to catch up with you there. And last but certainly not least, a great big Merci Beaucoup to Lily for sharing the floor with me. Au revoir

Oh, LiElla. I’m going to miss you this summer!! What will we do without our wicked stepsister?

THE EXERCISE

Let’s take a few minutes to answer the four questions we answer for each of our Ideal Life Themes, for this, the theme of our passions.

1: What is working? Did you have an uninterrupted day to do something that you love? (Who am I kidding? How about an uninterrupted hour?) Is there an opportunity for you to take an activity from being a hobby to becoming a passion, if you just have the courage to take a risk? How exciting!! Enjoy the honeymoon phase with a new passion!!!!

2. What isn’t working? Does this talk of passions leave you feeling tepid? Are you having a hard time imagining the last time you did something you loved? Are you suffering terribly for want of time? Do not despair. Just be honest as you answer this question.

3. What do I need to consider? If you are in a season of life where pleasure and passion is conspicuously absent, please consider getting professional mental health support. Or at least, consider having a heart to heart conversation with someone who can listen compassionately to you. Go back to those silvery threads we talked about earlier. Which ones of those would you be willing to go out of your comfort zone to reincorporate into your lives? How could you do it? Or…if you are faced with a lack of time to do what you love, consider how you use your time. Without standing in judgment as to how you use your time, consider the ways you might be wasting it on things that don’t matter and how you might channel some freed up moments into what you love.

4. Lastly, what can I do today to get me closer to my Ideal Life in this area? Is there a phone call you need to make to sign up for a class, or someone you need to contact who can help you make a step forward? Do it today and then celebrate that little step forward!!!!

PEP TALK

You are unique. You are special. You were created with an exquisite palette of talents and passions, character and personality that qualify you to make an indelible mark on this world. I believe that you can make a difference by using the full palette in a way only you can. 

Be willing to get out of your comfort zone for the things you love. The reward is for daring to pursue your passions is a life of greater satisfaction, more moments of happiness. The Philosopher Princess loves to go on about how virtue is its own reward. Well, I would like to add that passion also is also its own reward.

Closing

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe on your podcatcher, and please, if you enjoy something you’ve heard here please share it with someone you think could use a fairy godmother, too!

A great big thank you to Seven Productions here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.

SIGN-OFF

We’ll be back with you on September 1 to start examining the Ideal Life Theme of Marriage.

In the meantime, lace up your dancin’ shoes, darlin’. It’s time to start singing with your feet.

Show Notes

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death.

Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week’s theme being “Spiritual Life.” The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up!

Links:

Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning

You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge

A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.


Episode 27: Passionately Curious Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death. Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Spiritual Life." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 27: Passionately Curious
  2. Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries, and Secrets, Oh My!
  3. Episode 25: Anything But Routine
  4. Episode 24: You Are What You Wear
  5. Episode 23: You've Got a Choice

Episode 27: Passionately Curious

Show Notes

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death.

Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week’s theme being “Spiritual Life.” The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up!

Links:

Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning

You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallengeA great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.

Episode 27: Passionately Curious Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death. Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Spiritual Life." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 27: Passionately Curious
  2. Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries, and Secrets, Oh My!
  3. Episode 25: Anything But Routine
  4. Episode 24: You Are What You Wear
  5. Episode 23: You've Got a Choice

Week 25: Smelly Cat, Keeping Quiet, Tracking Fails

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. Each Saturday, I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

#3 Scoop the kitty litter as an act of love

Since our beloved Titi left us for that great sundrenched kitty condo in the sky, we have been left with just our one last cat, a big round tuxedo cat named Sunny. Sunny has never been a social guy. He’s gorgeous, don’t get me wrong. But he’s just shy.

It seems that he lived the first twelve years of his life waiting to be an only cat, because he has never been more friendly or more affectionate. My indulgent husband says I treat him badly, which isn’t really true. I talk badly to him, because he’s the only one in the family whose psyche won’t be destroyed if I actually said what I was thinking. Example: “get your rear end out of my face,” and “your breath stinks” and “it’s a good thing you’re good looking.” I wouldn’t say those things to a person. But my cat? He can take it. Besides. I put up with a lot from him.

In any case, I totally get why people like to have dogs. When everything else seems out of control and like no one else listens or respects us, a dog is there to fill in the void and make a person feel listened to and respected. I guess cats fill something of a similar role for those of us who have had enough of people and don’t have the patience for a dog.

#20 Practice Mindfulness: articulate and savor the good moments

As important as it is to articulate and savor the good moments, I noticed this week just how important it is to not articulate all the bad moments.

If it is in the articulation of the good moments that a memory finds its footing, then it is equally true of bad moments. The more I let little negative comments slip, the more real the little irritations seem.

This week was a week in which I walked a tightrope of just trying to keep my mouth shut on things that weren’t going well (while failing miserably). Forget about articulating the good. Just keeping my mouth shut was a goal.

#17 Track steps, water intake, monthly(ish) cycles

It should come as no surprise that I have been quite lax with all this tracking stuff. My pedometer went through a washer cycle, and my attempt to replace it this week failed (out of stock) I haven’t been drinking nearly enough water. (And then I’m surprised that I’m in a foul mood?)

Next week is week 26, that is, halfway through this year of 22 in 22. It might be a good idea to check in and do a bit of course correction. New Year’s Resolutions are great, but after six months, they don’t feel so fresh and exciting anymore. It’s not because they aren’t “fun” anymore that I can give up. I just need to reconnect to my “why.”

Episode 27: Passionately Curious Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death. Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Spiritual Life." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 27: Passionately Curious
  2. Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries, and Secrets, Oh My!
  3. Episode 25: Anything But Routine
  4. Episode 24: You Are What You Wear
  5. Episode 23: You've Got a Choice

Transcript Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries & Secrets, Oh My!

Welcome to Sing With Your Feet, the podcast in which we give careful thought to the way we interact with others so that our hearts always stay in the right place.

The podcast in which any impetus that is not pure joy is examined to make sure that we never lose sight of our “why”.

The podcast in which we look at life and death as two intertwined and related issues, because giving some thought about our relationship with death to make the most of our relationships in the moment.

My name is Lily Fields, and I’m going to be your Fairy Godmother for the next half-hour or so. 

LiElla Kelly, Death Doula and your Wicked Stepsister will be here a little later in the episode, and what she has to talk to you about is intriguing and a little disturbing. But it is worth sticking around for!

In this week’s episode, we are going to be talking about Relationships. “Relationships” are one of the nineteen Ideal Life circles that form the exquisite Venn Diagrams of our lives. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been taking a look at that Venn Diagram, and how some of the circles overlap in ways unique to each of us. For example, we’ve looked at the overlaps of topics as varied as Sexuality and Spirituality, or Parenting and Keeping a Clean House, or Personal Style and Mental Health.

This theme, Relationships, is one of three that deal with other people and how they fit into our lives. There is the theme of Parenting, which we talked about in Episode 18, and Marriage, which we will talk about in Episode 28, our first episode back after the summer break. Relationship, vague as it sounds, is about any relationship with anyone outside of the people who live immediately in your household.

You may find this a little complicated and just want to have one circle on your Venn Diagram for Relationships, or on the other hand, you might want to break it down further to being about your work relationships, your relationships with your own parents…or any other important relationships in your life. 

There is no right or wrong number of circles on your Venn Diagram. The important thing is that you actually take time each day to think about your Ideal Life and how it is going, concentrating on one circle at a time and asking yourself questions about it. We’ll review those questions at the end of the episode.

In My Ideal Life I am a Person Who:

In our effort to articulate our Ideal Life, I suggested that you respond to a prompt which says, “In my Ideal Life, I am a person who.” This prompt doesn’t ask us to think about what we would be doing or what we have in our Ideal Life necessarily, but what kind of person we would be.

This is important because many of the things we dream of doing in our Ideal Lives, while they might be exciting and important, are limited by the kind of people we are. You know, winning a Noble Prize is great, but if we aren’t the kind of people who know how to work hard, and stay focused, then our dream is unattainable. I’m simplifying here, but you get the idea.

Saying In my Ideal Life, I have a friends who support me is great. But eventually, if after a long long time we end up with stunted and broken friendships, the question becomes, “who do I need to be to have friends who support me?” 

That “who I need to be” is the line of thinking that we want to follow when we are thinking about Relationships.

Here are a few of my statements.

In my Ideal Life I am a person who:

  • knows how to say “no”.
  • doesn’t get caught up in other people’s drama.
  • can listen without trying to find solutions.
  • accepts a “no” without overanalyzing.
  • doesn’t have to constantly entertain everyone.
  • is on top of birthdays & anniversaries
  • feels no need to make excuses when I want to leave.
  • isn’t afraid to speak her mind out loud.
  • knows that people who are angry are not necessarily angry at me.
  • is thoughtful about gift giving.
  • doesn’t immediately assume I’ve done something wrong when someone important wants to talk to me.
  • stays in touch with the people I love.

Setting Boundaries

Each one of us will come at this topic with our own shadowy darkness, and so I know that if you do not struggle with setting boundaries or with saying “no”, then everything that I am going to say over the next few minutes will go in one ear and out the other.

That’s fine. And, hey. If this is you, then I could probably use a few lessons on how to be confident and stop double and triple guessing myself in this area.

But if you, like me, struggle with boundaries and the vaguest possibility that you might disappoint someone, then let’s get started.

I’m not going to shock you here when I tell you that the overarching principle that should guide our Relationships, whether they are with our children, our spouse or anyone else, should always be the Golden Rule. In case you need a little reminder on what that Golden Rule says:

“Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do for others as you would want done for you”.

The simplicity of this gets lost in translation, however, when we find ourselves out-of-love with ourselves. It is incredibly hard to put love into action when our most intimate relationship–the one with ourselves–is built on self-judgment, self-criticism and self-loathing.

It literally does not compute, when you are someone who has no self-respect, that who you are is worth protecting by being careful about how much of yourself you give away.

I have gone through periods of my life when I have essentially handed over a pen to other people and let them fill in my calendar for me. Anything anyone asked me to do, I would say “yes,” because I DID NOT KNOW that I had a right to say no. 

While from the outside this might sound like an altruist talking about how kind and generous she is, let me tell you that from the inside, it was a cauldron of guilt, anger, anxiety, exhaustion and frustration.

I’m probably going to end up saying this a dozen times today, but guilt is never a reason to do anything. 

Guilt is a red flag. Guilt is a relational cancer that says, “I owe you something that I can’t repay, but I just have to keep trying.” The truth is, maybe I do, maybe I don’t. But it is a vicious cycle that robs us of our potential for joy: because we keep trying to repay–with our time, or our talent or our treasure–something that can’t be repaid. The futility of the whole enterprise leaves us feeling unhappy and unsatisfied.

The feeling of guilt should never be a reason to do anything.

Now, let me get down into the nitty gritty for a second here, because there is a feeling that manifests itself in a very similar way to guilt that we need to look at, but is something much healthier.

That is Duty. 

Duty is a very important why that can be a reason for doing things we don’t want to do–duty is born out of compassion and a desire to contribute to improving something–for someone we love, or for a group, or animal, or a plant (as you will see later!) Compassion is a virtue, which the Philosopher Princess defines as “Love in Action.” 

The way duty makes us act and the way guilt makes us act are ostensibly the same: they cause us to do things that we don’t necessarily really want to do.

Duty, however, as it takes its root not in a vicious cycle of indebtedness, but rather, in love, and more specifically, love in action, has the potential to bring us joy. 

Just to kick up a little more dust on the topic: if we have convinced ourselves that we are acting out of Duty and not out of Guilt, then we need to consider something else: is the action we are contemplating actually our duty, or is it someone else’s that we have taken on unjustly? 

As humans, we are very good at taking the temperature of Justice. When something feels unfair to us, we get uncomfortable. Sometimes, our role is not to deal with a situation directly, because maybe we simply are not equipped to handle it. But our role might be to take the situation to people who can deal with it. In this case, the best, most compassionate course of action is to get someone involved who can do something.

Guilt is the worst possible reason to do anything. 

Here’s why. Let’s go back to the Golden Rule: do for others as you would want done for you.

Guilt is a dirty little secret that can, after the fact, rot a relationship. We’ll talk about secrets in a second.

If the only reason I can find to do something is guilt, then I need to learn how to impose a boundary..

That means, I need to learn how to disappoint. I need to learn how to say “no”. Likewise, if I want things done for me with joy, then I need to uncover joy-filled whys to be my impetus for my actions.

In a future episode, when we talk about Commitments, I will come back to the idea that we must only commit to things that make us feel alive.

Learning how to resist and decline commitments that leave us tepid is a whole thing. But the number one rule is that Guilt is never a reason to do anything. Our incessant need to repay someone for a debt–real or imagined– that we cannot humanly repay is a self-worth problem. Guilt is evidence of a self-esteem issue. I’ll come back to this in a second, but first:

So how does the Golden Rule fit into this? Because consider this: if in your dealings with other people, you knew that they were tepid and were only acting out of a place of guilt, how would that hit you? I’m guessing that it wouldn’t be something that you would love knowing. Knowing that someone is only helping you because they don’t respect themselves enough to draw a boundary? Or that they feel like they owe you something? 

A system of indebtedness does not a healthy relationship make.

In this, then, if we want to do for others as we want done for us, we need to be clear with ourselves as to why we are taking any specific action, and, whenever possible, we need to make sure that our why is from a positive place. Love is always a good place to start from.

If you struggle with saying “no”, then may I humbly suggest that you need to start loving yourself better. You might need some counseling to help you get down to the root of your feeling of eternal indebtedness and your need to please. Please, if this is a point of struggle for you, get help. 

Do not spend all of your life handing over a permanent marker to others to fill in your calendar for you, doing things you don’t want to do and that just make you feel unhappy.

Time is the one resource you will never get any more of. Use it wisely.

Getting counseling is a wise use of your time.

Secrets Stink

My family lives in a smallish apartment on the fourth floor of a five-story apartment building. There are 35 units in our building.

Our building is from the 1950s, designed by a student of Le Corbusier, and is on the register of historic landmarks. It was and has always been public housing–our entire neighborhood in this little town in France, was destroyed during the second World War, and new housing was needed, and quickly. There were lots of ideas at the time about how public housing could, theoretically, at least, beautiful. 

Our building is beautiful in a 1950s kind of way. But having been built quickly during housing boom, it quickly fell into disrepair. In the mid-aughts, there was a project to renovate it. 

At the time, there were people living in the building, and most of them moved out. Only one person stayed through the renovation.

He was an older man. Polite, courteous, discreet person, always nicely dressed. I was always impressed that he loved this building so much that he was willing to put up with more than two years of construction work to be able to continue living here.

Long story longer. I was in town a few years ago, and ran across him. He was smoking a cigarette when I saw him, and he quickly moved to hide the cigarette when we greeted one another, as if he was embarrassed by it. I’m not offended by smokers as a general rule, but I thought that this was just one more way in which he was trying to be discreet.

“Shhh,” he said to me; confidentially about the cigarette. “This is our little secret.”

“Your secret is safe with me,” I replied.

Well. The years passed, and he died a little more than a month ago. I’m rather certain his passing had nothing to do with cigarettes, by the way. He was just a very very old man.

About two weeks ago, his children came to the building to start emptying out his apartment. I didn’t know this, however, not at first, at least.

What I noticed was that the hallways of our building were filled, absolutely thick with the stale smell of cigarettes. It was overwhelming.

It turned out that as his children were emptying out the apartment, they had to put his furniture into the elevator to get it down to their U-Haul. Every piece of his furniture had been saturated by the smell of cigarette smoke. 

What had once been a “dirty little secret” was out in the open now, and it took over the whole building for days.

I have all kinds of thoughts about this, but one of them seems particularly important to our discussion of relationships: When we arrive at the end of our lives, people will remember us according to the kind of relationship we had with them, certainly.

In this case, he was a nice enough neighbor, discreet and courteous. But my last memory of him is of this terrible, awful smell that filled our building for days. His “secret” tainted what could have been a nearly flawless legacy.

I don’t judge him for smoking, it doesn’t make him any less kind or courteous. But I will always remember that smell when I think of him.

When it comes to relationships, secrets stink. Especially secrets that we feel compelled to keep wrapped up tightly. At some point, they will eek out and, even if they don’t destroy the relationship, which some secrets could, they can leave an unpleasant memory in their wake.

When it comes to Relationships, please consider this: knowing yourself and being lucid, honest and transparent about where you are not living up to your Ideal Life can help you deal with those secrets so that they don’t cause damage later. 

We have previously talked about how carrying around undealt with anger from season to season of our lives distances us from the source of the original anger–leaving us irritable and uncomfortable, but without an immediate cause. 

May I humbly suggest that the same is true with secrets. Secrets that we keep about ourselves and our own lack of virtue are damaging enough, in the way that they impact our behaviors and our reactions.

Over time–and over generations–this can be compounded as “Family Secrets,” the details of which are lost, but the impact can still be felt.

A great-grandparent who had a child out of wedlock, which at the time was a gigantic shame on the family name. A great great grandparent who had two families and attempted to hide it. 

Those kinds of secrets forge deep ruts in the psyches of a family. We cannot undo the secrets of the past, but we can keep new secrets from effecting the generations that follow us.

Again. Counseling is a way to tease out some of the damage done by secrets from the past. Resolving the conflicts that secrets cause can ease our relationships now. 

And Relationships are what we were here to talk about in the first place.

Bringing it into the now

All right. So I have made this sound pretty dire, haven’t I? Two topics in the realm of relationships that are not very joyful: learning to set boundaries and dealing with secrets that rot our relationships.

But I do want to give us some hope.

Remember I told you about the old neighbor who died? Well, something that happened while his children were moving out his things was that they left a number of things by the dumpster. These were items they esteemed to be of no value, but apparently they couldn’t be bothered to actually put the items in the dumpster.

So these items just sat there for days and days.

One of these items was a plant. It was a kind of palm-tree-ish kind of thing. Over the course of the days it was by the dumpster, someone actually took the pot it had been living in, leaving this poor plant to die a lonely death next to the dumpster.

One day last week, after seeing it for the nth day in a row, my husband said to me, “I just can’t stand seeing that plant like that.”

I happened to have seen it that very day. I had given it some thought, too, but didn’t think we had a single pot to put it in. Besides, that thing was nearly dead.

“I can’t stand it either, but what can we do?” I replied.

My husband went down to our basement storage unit and rummaged around until he found an old Ikea pot. I had completely forgotten about it–I hadn’t seen it in more than 10 years! 

He brought up the plant, which really looked pretty pathetic. We prepared the pot together, putting some stones the scalawags had gathered in the park at the bottom for drainage, and then some unwashably filthy wool from a fleece I had been given recently. Our veggie composter had yielded several liters of really great compost, so he threw that in, too. My husband lovingly placed the plant in the pot, filled it in with regular potting soil. 

He took the plant to its new home out in our beautiful hallway, and then he watered it.

It was kind of a solemn moment. The compassion with which my husband had invested in that rather ugly, scraggly potted plant moved me. 

Life deserves better than to dry out and shrivel up from lack of care. Relationships are the care that keep people from drying out and shriveling up.

Not all of our relationships need the equivalent of a daily watering. Some might be just a one-time experience, like the stones in the bottom of a pot for drainage. Or the wool. Those stones have a story, and they will remain in that pot forever. The wool will likely disintegrate over time, but it has a part to play in the story of the resurrection of this plant, too. There will be more veggie compost in years to come, but it won’t be for a long time.

When you think about your relationships, consider this: what role do you play? Is that relationship a daily or weekly part of your life? Is it a yearly investment you make? Is it a once in a lifetime, but unfading part? Is it something that you enjoyed once and can let fade into memory?

The next morning, my husband and I eagerly snuck out into the hallway to check on our new little friend. It had perked up nicely. It still wasn’t a beautiful plant. But it was alive, its leaves were no longer droopy. 

It was such a touching reminder of how little it takes to cultivate life. I caught myself wishing that all Relationships were so easy. They aren’t, and I know that. I’m not naive. People are not nearly as easy to deal with as plants. I mean, people are prickly, they have their pride and their annoying habits and they sometimes chew loudly.

But the lesson I walked away with is this: when investing in a relationship brings us joy, and we invest with the tools and treasure we have available to us, everyone comes away more alive.

Wicked Stepsister: Relationship With Death

I love to talk about things that bring life, I’m not going to hide that. And one of the things that I truly believe brings life, is to consider our death–how we want to be remembered after we die and then living our lives in such a way as to be remembered that way.

Well, LiElla Kelly, your wicked stepsister, is also a Death Doula, meaning that she accompanies people who are facing end-of-life issues. 

Today, she draws a direct line between relationships and death. And it is a doozy. 

With that…LiElla, the floor is yours!

Let’s start with something deeply unpleasant, perhaps a bit gruesome…corpse meditation. What pray tell, is corpse meditation? Whatever you’re imaging probably isn’t too far off. Corpse meditation is mostly practiced in Thailand and Southeast Asia by Buddhist Monks. It’s a practice of death awareness, a meditation on death with the goal of improving your relationship with death. The ideas is that deepening your appreciation of mortality will lessen anxiety associated with death and enhance engagement with life. A monk who is a practitioner of corpse meditation has this to say:

“We are obsessed with externals. No one wants to see the internals. But we try to see them in an equal light, neither delighting nor being repelled by the attractive or unattractive signs of the external or internal.” He further explains, “Corpse contemplation, or corpse meditation would be just literally meditating on a picture of a dead body, or a body at one of the actual stages of decomposition.”

Alrighty then, that is one way to improve your relationship with death. Though corpse meditation isn’t meant to be macabre or morbid, the idea of contemplating a decomposing corpse is a significant departure from our western culture that has been socialized to avoid death. So let’s put this into a context that we westerners can better relate to. Terror Management Theory. Admittedly, the word ‘terror’ doesn’t instill much confidence. But Terror Management Theory, and this is very simplified, is a fancy way to explain the relationship that many of us have with death. It stems from the idea that we have an inner conflict whereby our instinct for self-preservation collides with our understood inevitability of death, leading us to develop coping mechanisms such as avoidance and escapism.

As you know, healthy relationships aren’t based on avoidance and escapism. In an attempt to improve our relationship, how can we engage with death in a way that aligns with our values and is relatively comfortable for us, at least more comfortable than spending time up close and personal with a decomposing corpse? We could start here: Death Awareness, or the recognition of our own impermanence. Consider these statements:

Just like everyone, I age.

Just like everyone, I get sick

Just like everyone, I suffer loss.

Just like everyone, I fall victim to accidents.

Just like everyone, I die.

This exercise encourages us to recognize that death is an even playing field. When it comes to mortality, no matter who we are, where we live, our bank accounts or our culture, the mortality rate for the human species remains at a whopping 100%.

Now that we’ve recognized that we’re all in the same boat, we can advance our relationship with our eventual death by planning for the future. Here are 5 strategies that I recently found in an article…and since I am your wicked step-sister, and we’ve been hanging out, these ideas may sound familiar.

1. Take care of your paperwork—you know, advance directives, end-of-life planning…that stuff.

2. Continue to improve your comfort with your mortality. Ponder questions like, If I had little time left, what would I do and why?

3. Talking About Death Won’t Kill You! Have conversations with others about what you’ve learned and plans you’ve made. Normalize the conversation.

4. Consider your vision of Good Death. That sounds an awful lot like, “In my ideal death, I am a person who what?”

5. Make a plan to go out in style. Investigate your options, educate yourself and find the practices that align with your own personal beliefs and style.

Once we get through that entire checklist and our relationship with death has gotten to a place of relative comfort, here’s something kind of fun that you can explore…Memento mori. In Latin it means, “remember that you will die” or “remember to die”. Memento mori comes in all sorts of artistic and symbolic forms. It became very popular between the 16th and 18th centuries, appearing on tombs, in paintings, church walls and jewelry. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll find depictions all over the place. Who knows? You may be surrounded by reminders of death and not even realize it. Start looking around and see what you can find, and then maybe you could start talking about it because as you know, talking about death won’t kill you…I promise.

Thank you so much, LiElla. You know, just last week, I was explaining the concept of Memento Mori to my little boys–because they got it into their head that skulls were reserved only for Halloween and for pirate flags. I got lost on a tangent about poor Yorick with them before I realized I had perhaps gone too far.

But you’re right. We need to be on the lookout for these things…and they definitely won’t kill us!

 

The Exercise:

All right. Let’s take a minute to review the four questions we ask for each of our Ideal Life Categories, on the theme of Relationships.

What is working?: Are you able to keep a good balance in your relationships? Or maybe you had some time to be with some of your friends in a way that brought you a ton of joy. That is fantastic! 

What isn’t working?: Is there an imbalance in some of your friendships that is making you feel uncomfortable? Are you struggling with saying “no”? Or have you been feeling guilty lately in your relationships? This is part of the process–but don’t stop there. Get curious about this. 

Things to consider: Where is that imbalance coming from? Do you want a relationship more than your friend is willing to give? Or, do you have a hard time telling your grandmother “no” when she asks you over for lunch for the third time this week? Keep asking yourself “why” until you get to something you can act on. Are there times when you are mistaking Duty and Guilt? Take a deep dive into those relationships. 

Things to do: If, in general, you struggle in relationships, it might be time for you to get started working on yourself: How can you start loving yourself so that your relationships are built on a healthy foundation? Get Counseling. It can only help.

 

Conclusion/Peptalk:

I know that, for an episode about Relationships, I didn’t actually talk much about relationships. 

We only bring to a relationship the time we have, the talent and interests we have, and the resources we have. We cannot bring what we do not have. 

Do not allow yourself to feel indebted because what you have is not sufficient for the other party in a relationship. This will lead to you feeling guilty about something you cannot control. 

No one has a right to take from our resources of time, talent and treasure without our permission. Loving and respecting yourself is the first step in learning to say “no”. 

When you get to a place where you love and respect yourself, all the other aspects of relationships–and especially the Golden Rule–will start to make sense. 

I believe in you. I believe in your ability to invest who you are in making this world a better place, and that your Relationships are one way you will make that happen. First, things first, though, my dear: You must love yourself before you can love others. 

Closing

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe on your podcatcher, and please, if you enjoy something you’ve heard here please share it with someone you think could use a fairy godmother, too!

A great big thank you to Seven Productions here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.

This is your Fairy Godmother signing off. Just remember, it is never too late to start singing with your feet.

Show Notes

Talking Points: Setting boundaries in relationships; the destructive power of secrets in relationships; investing our resources in relationships does not mean bankrupting ourselves.

Episode 26:  is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week’s theme being “Spiritual Life.” The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up!

Links:

Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning

You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge

A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.

Episode 27: Passionately Curious Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death. Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Spiritual Life." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 27: Passionately Curious
  2. Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries, and Secrets, Oh My!
  3. Episode 25: Anything But Routine
  4. Episode 24: You Are What You Wear
  5. Episode 23: You've Got a Choice

Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries and Secrets, Oh My!

Show Notes

Talking Points: Setting boundaries in relationships; the destructive power of secrets in relationships; investing our resources in relationships does not mean bankrupting ourselves.

Episode 26:  is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week’s theme being “Spiritual Life.” The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up!

Links:

Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning

You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge
A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.

Episode 27: Passionately Curious Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: What is Passion, anyway?; Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones; Dungeons, Dragons and Death. Episode 27: Passionately Curious is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Spiritual Life." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge A great big thank you to Seven Productions, https://7prod.fr/,  here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie for the Intro and Outtro to the show. Also, thanks to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 27: Passionately Curious
  2. Episode 26: Limits, Boundaries, and Secrets, Oh My!
  3. Episode 25: Anything But Routine
  4. Episode 24: You Are What You Wear
  5. Episode 23: You've Got a Choice