Don’t Forget to Add the Grace

There are days when we respond to circumstances with abundant grace. We have things come at us and we adapt and pivot like a boss. I recently wrote that one of my superpowers was my ability to adapt and pivot. I think my superpowers were malfunctioning on Sunday.

Sunday was typical. I got up by 4:45 am and was able to catch my favorite live meditation on Clubhouse. One of my dear friends and accountability partners lives in New York and she was in the virtual room doing the meditation as well. I felt connected to her. My day was off to a great start.

My meditation was followed by weekly planning and journaling. I made a cup of tea and sat down to coach clients. Though I live in California, most of my clients live on the east coast so I am up early working with them. After coaching, I had a Zoom meeting with one of my accountability groups. I have several and each brings unique value, perspective, and friendship to my life. Many of these women I have never met in person, yet I consider them my closest friends. When things go south, they are the first people I reach out to.

By the time all the meditating, vibration plating, and zooming was done, Emily was up for the day. I had chosen to do self-care Sunday on Saturday this week so our day was free. We had breakfast and got ready for the day. I did some chores and got things prepared for the week. Emily and I also sat by the pool and watched it fill with water for a few hours.

Later Emily and I were sitting on the floor watching The Wiggles (Shocking and unexpected. Right?). I realized Emily needed to use the restroom. (Let’s just say that mom is potty trained after 20 years.) I tried to pick Emily up to walk her and she dropped her weight. I tried again and Emily dropped her weight. By the third time, I was a little less patient and anxious that I might get injured. She is well over 100 pounds and doesn’t assist. The third time, she stands and bears weight. I start walking her to the restroom and as we turn the corner into the hallway, she throws herself forward.

I just hear the sound of her body crashing into the wood floor. Justin hears and springs to the hall to check on her. My mind went straight to the worst case. I am certain she hit face first and I am going to lift her and find her nose broken, teeth missing, and covered in blood. She does not even think to put her arms out or do anything to brace for impact. She just falls forward. I have a vision of her playing the trust game and no one is there to catch her.

We scooped her off the floor and to my imagination’s dismay she was fine. She isn’t even crying. I was shaking and a mess. She didn’t have a mark on her. I continued to check on her for the next few hours. I was certain I missed some injury. I played the incident over and over in my head. I allowed my brain to spiral. It was not my best moment. The feelings of guilt and anxiety had me reactive all evening.

I chose to carry the guilt and anxiety with me all day Monday. I spent today still anxious and overwhelmed. I got up at 4:45 am. I meditated. I journaled. I exercised. I went through all the motions but I had not forgiven myself. I had not given myself grace. Emily was resilient. She was fine. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this after a day of stress and anxiety, that I decided to give myself grace. I released the anxiety. I centered myself. I reminded myself that old habits are hard to overcome. Sometimes I am not going to adapt. Sometimes I am not going to pivot. Sometimes I am going to wallow in my thoughts and that is okay. I just will not allow myself to stay there long. I can be resilient too. I can have a fall and get back up and shake it off. I may even stand up without any bumps, bruises or bloody noses like Emily did.

Question Your B.S. (Belief System)

I always state that I am a caregiver first. Most people think that means I care for everyone else except me. Three years ago that is exactly how I defined caregiver first. I put everyone’s desires, wants, and needs before my own. My family, boss, coworkers, teachers, bus drivers, the clerk at Vons. You get the idea. There are several reasons I put myself last. I think the biggest reason is that I had a belief that it was kind and noble to put other people ahead of me. It was required to let the world know I was good, kind, caring, dependable. My belief system was that sacrificing my needs for others was the right thing to do. It wasn’t because I had deep-rooted issues of self-hatred or any other baggage. I just grew up believing that is what you do.

Angelique calls Em her ‘Lil Sis

I tell my clients that to change your life all that is required is changing your thoughts. Most do not believe me and will argue that this is not true. We have a set of values and beliefs that we are certain are correct. We hold these truths fiercely and many of us are not open to considering maybe we are wrong. We close our minds to the possibility that we are only one thought away from relief from pain, suffering, self-loathing. We have a choice. Our thoughts are a choice and maybe it is possible to change them.

Erica and Em love to dance and have fun

Three years ago I decided to redefine what caregiver first means to me. My new definition of caregiver first means I care for myself first and then I care for others. I did not even change the words! I just changed how I defined them. One day I just decided I was a hot mess and wasn’t getting the care I needed and that wasn’t making me a better anything! I was always feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and spinning my wheels. Caregiver first means I go to bed earlier and turn off the television and electronics by 8 pm most nights. It means I do not drink wine just because my day was long and my patience was short. Caregiver first means I include things that are important to me on the calendar and then I figure out how to make them happen. Figuring it out means saying no to some things and it also means relying on others to help. Asking for help is a way I can care for myself and my family but it was not easy to implement.

Sommer is Em’s beach, park, and shopping girlfriend

Reaching out and accepting help caring for Emily was difficult. Most moms of special needs children, if not all, have the thought that “no one can care for my child the way I can”. We hold onto that thought as if letting it go will be the demise of our child. Although it was difficult at first, it got easier with time. The help I needed turned out to be a beautiful gift for Emily too. It has expanded her world to others that look, think, act, and care for her differently than mom. Emily has been introduced to the world of vegan food, including donuts. Her caregivers take her to restaurants, movies, and the beach. They encourage her to flirt with the cute boy at the party, expose her to age-appropriate music, and dress her in clothing that the girls her age are wearing. (I need the emoji of the lady with her hand over her face right now.) They do not care for her as I would. Thank goodness!

Em made it to the high rollers table at camp

I challenge you to try a new way of looking at things. Dare to question your belief system. Decide if it is useful to keep. Embrace a new belief or redefine a word in your life. It could be the start of amazing discovery for you and those you love.

The Gift of Acceptance

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. In my experience, holidays often come with unexpected or unwanted emotions. Grief and sadness are the two that show up on the regular. Holidays tend to highlight or magnify the loss I have experienced. They are a reminder that my parents are gone and not here to celebrate. They highlight Emily’s disability and missed milestones. If you have a child with a disability you get it. Your child is right there but not in the way you expected. It isn’t the way you thought it “would” or “should” be. Emily cannot tell me in words that she loves me or appreciates me. She doesn’t wake me up with a hug or bring me a card she picked out just for me. She is unable to do those things and that is okay. She is perfect in how she shows up, but that doesn’t mean I do not mourn the loss of what I thought it would be. This underlying and almost indescribable grief almost always strikes on Mother’s Day or birthdays. This Mother’s Day was not a unicorn. The grief arrives whether I want it to or not. Grief is funny like that, it is the uninvited guest that shows up when it wants. 

Sunday started with me in a funk. The grief and sadness were real and wanted to be heard. They required space and time to be. I asked Todd if he would listen for Emily to wake while I did some meditation and journaling. He mentioned he had things to work on outside, but he did agree to get Emily up and take care of morning hygiene and medications. Knowing I had lots of emotions and limited time, I got to work. I put on a 5-minute meditation to silence my thoughts (or at least get them into some semblance of order). After that, I wrote with reckless abandon. I got all the sadness, grief, fear, bitterness, anger out of my head on paper. When I decided there was nothing else to get out, I let it go. I let go of the expectations and wishing things were different. I stopped arguing for what I thought should be and accepted what is.

eggs Benedict by Justin

I came out of my room with puffy eyes and a red face, but inside I felt good. I was ready to embrace my usual Sunday routine. I treated this Sunday like I do every Sunday. Emily and I both got our shower, shampoo, and shine on. I did laundry and got Emily’s medications set up for the week. Justin got up around 1 pm and made eggs Benedict for me. We had a lovely brunch of eggs and mimosas.  Later in the day, Justin planned to head out and visit Nana (Todd’s Mom). Todd was done with his work and decided to go with the kids. I got a gift I did not expect. I received 3 unexpected hours to be at home alone. What a wonderful gift. I enjoyed every second of it. I rested and watched a silly romance movie. It was wonderful. The family brought me a chocolate malt from Baskin Robbins™ that I enjoyed for dinner. Yes, I had a milkshake for dinner and it was amazing!  

I made a choice to process and accept my feelings, rather than rejecting them. Giving myself the gift of acceptance shifted my day. Acceptance allows us to be content when things are different than we thought they would be. Sunday I was reminded that acceptance applied not only to my circumstances but to my emotions. How I was feeling was real and accepting and allowing those feelings to be was a gift to me. There is a sense of peace that comes from allowing yourself to feel all of the feelings instead of trying to shame or suppress them. 

Small Steps Lead to Big Results

Two years ago my “go-to” feelings were stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. I was not feeling much joy, calm, happiness. I regularly stayed up late watching television. I would eat and drink wine most nights. I would wake up feeling exhausted. I did not wake up feeling refreshed. I did not like who I was and what I was thinking and I would do anything to avoid being alone with my thoughts. I was starting to hate looking in the mirror because my body showed my pain and discomfort in myself. 

Somewhere in the last 20 years, I lost the joy of learning. I lost the joy of discovery. I lost the joy of my own company. It was not caused by anyone else. I realized I was the source of my problems and I was the only one who could rescue me. I am crying as I type this because I have compassion and empathy for that grown-ass woman who was paddling upstream and drowning in sadness. I knew I needed to make a change but I did not know how to take action. 

The journey started with losing weight. I thought that was my problem. If I lose weight, I will be happy. I will feel joy. I will love my body and my life. I lost 15 pounds at the beginning of 2019 and I was not feeling the joy I thought that would bring. I knew I needed to rediscover my love for myself that I have always had in the past, despite the number on the scale.

I decided that I would go to bed earlier. I knew sleep was imperative for mental and physical health and my Fitbit told me I was failing at sleep. This is where the change starts. It was that one, small change that was the catalyst for more change. In order to get more sleep, I turned off my notifications on my phone. I downloaded a meditation app and began meditating to help me go to sleep. Since I was in bed earlier, I wasn’t in consumption mode. I quit consuming news, food, and alcohol in the evenings. 

As my sleep improved, I woke up rested. I was up earlier. I began incorporating morning routines. I had time to meditate in the morning too. This was a great way to start my day. I also had time to journal and get a podcast or some reading in. I added exercise. I started doing planks, sit-ups, and push-ups. Nothing crazy. Nothing life-changing. At least that is what I thought. Over the following months, I began to discover myself. I was excited to spend time with my thoughts. I loved the thoughts that came up. I was feeling more joy. I was less reactive during the day. I was able to adapt to challenges and circumstances rather than panic and freak out. 

I am not the same person I was two years ago. I have completely changed. The changes did not happen overnight. It was one small actionable step at a time. I continue to grow. I continue to add things that bring me joy. I will continue to delete things that no longer serve me. My sense of self-love and self-worth has blossomed. I love the person I am becoming and look forward to creating the person I will be in the future. 

Throw Away the Manual

If you have ever purchased a new gadget you know it usually comes with instructions or an owner’s manual. Most things do come with instructions, but people don’t. Or do they? Every person has a belief system. The beliefs they value and apply to life are a type of instruction manual. The funny thing is each is unique to the individual. My manual is different from my husbands’. This is fine as long as we do not try to impose our manual on someone else. 

We think we can apply our manual to others and they “should” follow it. They “should” have the same values, morals, principles that we have. Thinking this usually gets us into trouble. This concept took me a long time to grasp. We think we have the power to influence others and change them. We can slap our manuals of behavior on them and they will comply, if they care about us, or want us to be happy, or any other condition we apply to the operating manual.

It is hard enough for us to control our behavior, yet we think we can control the behavior of other people.

Thinking one should act or behave in a certain way is usually a recipe for discontentment. Our friends, family, coworkers, teachers…you get the idea, will never be able to live up to our expectations. It is never the action of another person that creates our emotions or sense of well-being. It is always a thought we are having that generates the feeling we get. It is always in our power to create any emotion we want.

Don’t believe me? Close your eyes and think of something that makes you feel happy. Your favorite vacation spot, a child, a pet.  I would bet that a feeling of joy or contentment came over you. Perhaps you even realize you are smiling. John Assaraf teaches this concept of creating an emotion in his book Innercise. It is just one of the exercises he uses to help unlock the power of your brain. We have the power to generate any emotion based on a thought we create. 

This is powerful because it means we have the power to be happy in any relationship. What! Really. Your spouse or partner does not have to do or say anything to you for you to feel loved. If we drop our manuals and observe our relationships, we can find the ways they show love. It will be unique to them. 

I used to think if my husband loved me, he would anticipate my needs and meet them. If I was tired and overwhelmed, he would give me a break. If I needed help caring for Emily, he would just jump in and offer assistance. First, I have to express what I need to him. I cannot expect him to be reading my mind. Heck, I can barely keep up with my thoughts and meet my own demands! Second, I can express my needs, but I cannot demand he respond in a certain way. It is his choice. Whatever he decides is not a reflection of the depth of his love and devotion to me. Third, learning this concept and applying it takes practice and patience. 

Not applying our manuals to others takes practice to develop. First, it takes a decision. You decide not to put your expectations on others, period. Second, you have to learn to see when you are applying your manual to someone else. It usually starts with, “If he/she would/should/could, then I would feel/be/act…” Third, you must be willing to let that expectation go and accept how they are showing up. 

When we give up trying to control other people, which we know doesn’t work, it is very liberating. We grow. We begin to challenge some of our beliefs and expectations. We become more receptive and open to the world around us. We may even realize there are things in our manual that no longer serve us or apply. We can start to change the manual we have for ourselves. When we realize how much power we have in creating our life and a life we love, amazing shifts happen. The possibilities are endless. It doesn’t require any other person around us to adapt or change. We become the change.

Fasten Your Seatbelt

An old friend called me this weekend to check on our family. The discussion turned to the past. When Emily was a toddler, she was easily overstimulated by sounds or crowds. We were spending Easter at their home and at some point Emily “lost it”. She was crying and inconsolable. The only thing that worked was to drive her around and play a Wiggles CD in my car until she calmed down. I missed most of that evening. A few weeks later Emily got upset when I was covering dinner with aluminum foil. Todd and I realized that was the sound that had upset her on Easter. 

Princess Emily was riding solo in her yellow chariot today

As I was discussing the last year, I mentioned that I feel like Emily has lost 18 years of progress this year. I know this is just a thought, but I also know she is not the same woman she was a year ago. A year ago, she was out in the community daily. She would ride the bus and go out to eat. She went on overnight trips and was able to sit through a movie at the theatre. She had a social life. She has never acclimated to large, noisy crowds, but the progress was amazing.

What a difference a COVID year makes. Now just the sight of a person walking by gets her excited. Her voice gets loud and you can hear her a block away. She gets overstimulated easily. She is not easily redirected or easy to console. Her ability to tolerate wearing a mask is short and her agitation is long. She has become attached to the family. She gets upset when separated from us. Her anxiety is high and her transitional walking low. I cannot think of one area where she is doing “better” than before. 

This week Emily is scheduled to go back to school for a few hours a day. She has not been to class in fourteen months. There have been meetings and calls to help prepare parents and students for the new protocols. We found out Emily’s regular teacher will not be returning this year and is out on medical leave. I had a call with the school nurse on Friday and we discussed her behaviors and ability to keep a mask on. We discussed the mask exemption form, which I completed. The nurse mentioned concerns the substitute teacher had about working with students not wearing a mask or shield. The thoughts I had around this conversation were not good. I am working on them.

Buckle up that seatbelt

The cost of the last year is high. We have all suffered loss and are grieving. The loss of loved ones, jobs, family, connection, stability, income, careers, mental wellness…and the list could continue. As I reflect on the challenges and difficulties, I know this is just the first part of the challenge. For Emily, the next part is integrating back into the world. It is learning new ways of doing things. It is adapting to the new structure. For each of us, we will have to adapt. I get it. For those with intellectual disabilities, adapting will take longer. The road will have more bumps and curves. All we can do as a family is buckle up our seatbelts and prepare for the turbulence ahead. We will land safely but for now I better stock up on Dramamine.

My Superpower: Adapt and Pivot

I like to have a plan. I love the look of my day planned out on paper. It is a map that gives me my direction for the day. I am not attached to any planner or scheduling tool. I use what is in front of me and make it work. I am currently using the Change Maker’s Journal at Primal Potential by Elizabeth Benton. For the past 737 days, I have planned my days and my food. Some of those plans are detailed and some are sparse. My current planner has lots of blank space. 

I will write on any plan or paper

My plans are flexible. I often time block my days or just make general “ta-da” lists on them. I do prep work for the following day the night before. This gives me time to see where adjustments might be made. I adjust my plan if needed. My plans usually have my goals or notes from a personal development tool that grabbed my attention. My plans often include an affirmation or quote that spoke to me. I also include gratitude. For the past year, it has been 3 things I am grateful for about my husband. 

My food plan is usually loose. Many days it simply says, “listen to your body and GBB (good, better, or best) choices. I do not believe any food or drink is “bad”. They are choices. Eat when you are hungry and don’t eat when you are not hungry. 

My beautiful mess

Did I mention my plans are messy? I sometimes cannot read what I wrote. Does that matter? It used to. As a recovering perfectionist, I have learned the art of letting it go. I also expect them to change. I manage a house. I work. I am a caregiver. I am a wife. You can bet no matter how pretty my day looks on paper, it will not unfold as planned and that is okay. I expect the changes. I do not fight them or resist them. 

After I write out my beautiful, messy, imperfect plan, I look it over and see the gaps. I decide what are the “must do’s”. Typically only one or two items are critical and anything that doesn’t happen can be moved to another day. Caring for Emily has taught me that nothing is certain. You cannot predict sickness, shitty diapers (yes, I said it), a caregiver not able to come when I have a deadline at work, and a multitude of other things called “life”. Some days I catch myself singing “Life Changes” by Thomas Rhett: “you make your plans and you hear God laughing…” 

Fight like a girl: adapt and pivot

The reality is we have no control over many factors in our day. We cannot control traffic, Zoom issues, internet problems, sickness, or countless other factors. I simply make my plan and prepare to adapt and pivot. In the past year, adapt and pivot have become my sidekicks. We are quite the trio. I tell my clients that learning to adapt and pivot are amazing tools to utilize. Both are essential to learning how to create calm in the chaos. As I proof this in the wee hours of the morning, I just got an email meeting reminder that was not on my plan and the caregiver texted she is sick today. What can I do? I can adapt and I can pivot. The only thing certain is change, so plan for it and then adapt and pivot. 

Anxiety Sucks

The title sounds a bit harsh but I am not a fan. We all experience anxiety. It is a normal emotion and can be useful. I get anxious when I am running late or driving in traffic. Many circumstances can bring up anxiety. Most of us can practice tricks and tools to temper the feeling and continue with the task at hand. It does not stop us from propelling forward.

One of my favorite tools is to just sit and experience how it feels in my body. Notice that my heart rate increases. My skin is warmer to the touch and gets flush. I get a knot at the top of my stomach. Sometimes my mouth will get dry and even my eyes will twitch if the feeling is intense. Observing the physical responses curiously and objectively is sometimes enough for the emotion to cycle and pass. There are times when deep and focused breathing or visualization is a better tool. I can take my brain in another direction. It is like I get off the anxiety train and get on the calm, or maybe the acceptance train. It is incredible what our brains can do.

I can adapt to change fairly well. I may not like it but I can do it. My mental health has always been stable and I am extremely grateful for that. I am fortunate to have found tools to manage my anxiety and I do not suffer crippling and physically limiting anxiety. Not everyone can do this. I know this is a gift that I do not take for granted.

I have been with my husband, Todd, for thirty-five years. We have been married for almost twenty-nine. After we had Justin and Emily, he began to experience anxiety. It did not pass with a body scan and some breathing techniques. His anxiety would take over his body and he had little to zero control over it. Sometimes it would keep him from being able to work or focus on anything else. He was paralyzed by it. I did not meet these episodes with compassion and understanding. There is a bit of sadness I feel just typing that out. I just did not get it. I began to learn more about it as Todd gathered tools to manage it. It has taken hard work, counseling, and for him, medication. I have developed compassion and empathy I did not possess in the early years.

Todd’s experience living with anxiety helped us recognize it in Emily. We noticed from a young age many things triggered anxiety. The number of things that create anxiety for her is too long to list. It may be easier to tell you what doesn’t trigger anxiety: The Wiggles and eating. When the world stopped due to the pandemic, Emily’s anxiety escalated. It seemed like everything would trigger it. You can see and feel it. Her hands and feet sweat. She grabs for me like I am a life raft she needs to hold onto to keep from drowning. Her eyes will blink rapidly, or she will cover her ears. Her anxiety is easy to see and recognize. It is hard to watch her experience it. Finding ways to temper it is not easy.

Covering ears is one sign Emily is anxious

For the past eight months, we have worked with her neurologist to try to get a balance of medications and a routine that gives her comfort. Mental health treatment is not a one size fits all treatment. Most health issues are not. We all respond differently to treatments and what works for some, does not work for all. This year of trial and error and throwing darts to see which ones will stick has sucked. Seeing Emily panic and freak out sucks. Anxiety SUCKS but we will figure it out. We will continue to do whatever it takes to help her manage it.

Sometimes Grace IS Self-Care

We all have ideas of what self-care is. A day at the spa, a weekend retreat, a massage…you get the idea. Friday I had my first hair appointment in six months. I consider that self-care as well. It was an evening appointment because you take what you can get in COVID times. I fed the family and made sure Todd was ready to take charge and off I went.

I returned home less than 3 hours later to some drama. Emily was whining from her room and Todd was sulking in front of the television. The washing machine was working hard and I could smell bleach (one of my favorite smells…yes, really). I can tell that I missed something epic and I feel a little gratitude if I am being honest.

Emily’s schedule has been really off these past few weeks and her anxiety has been high. She is having panic attacks during transitional walking, when sitting in regular chairs, and recently while sitting on the toilet. She has been refusing to use the restroom on the toilet for the past few weeks. This is both frustrating and challenging after years of success. While she cannot tell us when she needs to go, our consistency and scheduled trips have made our lives better. This season, a bit of a mess.

Todd tried to get her to go to the restroom before bed and she refused. He finally gave up and put her to bed. Well, you can imagine what happened after. It was a shit-show in the true sense of the word. After stripping her bed, bathing her, washing her hair, cleaning up all the surfaces, and doing laundry both were upset and exhausted.

My first thought was, “If I had been home this would not have happened.” Is that even true and even if there is truth in that statement, is that thought useful? I decided to let that one scroll on by. I went to comfort Emily and cuddle her in a clean and sparse bed. I see her glaring out the room at Todd who is still pouting. I call out to him, “did you apologize for getting upset?” He just shrugs his shoulders. The next thing I know he is sitting next to her and they are having a little “chat”. I feel the energy in the room lighten. There calm in the house has returned.

I reflected on the day and knew I showed up with love and compassion. I did not beat myself up for not being there. I decided to give myself grace. I also comforted both Todd and Emily. I thanked Todd for taking amazing care of Emily, bathing her, cleaning the bathroom, and doing laundry, because that was off my “to-da” list for Saturday now. I decided that sometimes grace is self-care. It certainly was on this day.

The Wins Matter

When we are working on a goal, it is important to recognize the progress toward it. It is easy to get lost in the “end result”: The Finish Line. Reaching a goal is only one moment on the journey of progress. If we attach only to the goal, and not the person we are becoming on the way, the finish can be a letdown. We miss all the successes and small changes we created to get there. The tiny habits we built on each day. We create joy in the journey by celebrating all the way to goal.

Add Up The Wins

I am someone who plans daily. I have written over 700 daily plans. Some are in notebooks, expensive journals, planners, or a blank piece of copy paper. The vessel is not important to me. I always say the planner that works is the one you use. What you will find on almost all of these plans are my daily wins. Some directly related to my goals and many just ways I showed up that day. There are days when my win might be that I got up, took a shower, and made the bed. Those are the easy ones to add. The hard-fought wins are not getting upset at my son for forgetting to move his car for the street sweeper, or not having a glass of wine at the end of a tough day. The Wins Matter.

Every time we acknowledge our success and wins, our brains take notice. As the wins accumulate, so does the confidence that comes with them. The growing wins drown out the noise of difficulties. It softens the blow of challenges because your brain knows it can overcome them. It has evidence of doing this over and over. Our brain has to practice new thoughts, new beliefs, and new patterns of what we are capable of doing.

If you have ever listened to Tony Robbins, he talks about the power of our minds. He often says, “Where our mind goes, energy flows.” If we put our brainpower to work focusing on the successes, it will look for more success. If we focus on the problems, our brain will find the problems. It is just how the brain is wired. It may sound like woo-woo, but there is a science to it. You may have bought a new car, and suddenly you see that make, model, or color everywhere. This is a good example of our brain looking for something that it never really noticed before, but was always there. Our brain is seeking out the information now.

If we look for wins and successes, our brain will see more of them. Count the wins. Celebrate the wins. Put your mind to work at seeing what is possible.