Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Keep Dreaming of a Future

I was asked today, what do you know well enough to teach others?  This question got me thinking, and ultimately sparked happiness in me, because it woke up an awareness that I do in fact know something that I can teach others.  I know many somethings, actually.  I've had some hard times.  I've had some great times.  Good or bad, life has treated me to some unique experiences, some of which have challenged my beliefs.

I believe that just when you think you cannot survive another day, something so tiny inside of you sits up and yells "you can do it" and that teeny tiny voice is what propels you forward.  That voice allows you to take the smallest, almost imperceptible step in the right direction.

I believe that learning to love yourself is a far harder journey then loving someone else, and once you can do it unconditionally and without judgment, everything else just falls into place.

I think, too often, doubt is a camouflage to fear which means it is fear and not doubt that is stopping us from moving forward.  Fear often stops us from making any decisions, but most especially those decisions that would benefit our future.

I also think that we are far more triumphant than we allow ourselves or think ourselves to be.  And that grace is on our side.  So, even if we make a decision, proceeding past doubt and then discover it was the wrong decision, we are always at choice.  That's why I like the saying "Make a decision. And then make the decision right".  Because sometimes we find out something about ourselves that is equally transformative, after we make a "wrong" decision.  I don't think there are any rights or wrongs here. I think there is growth anyway you decide to work with it.

I believe that the more action you take, the more free you will feel.  I've faced a lot of fears this way.  I think most procrastination, when it comes to major life decision, is out of fear.

I think perfection isn’t perfection as we have learned it by definition. I think it is a person's flaws, mistakes, talents, and anything that sets them apart from the rest of humanity, that makes them perfect. You see, you’ll never find anyone who is, by dictionary definition, perfect.  However, when you come to love someone enough; you begin to see their flaws, and the things that make them different, as their true perfection.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Give Light and People Will Find the Way

When I was in school, my Creative Writing Professor once gave me an assignment that at the time was extremely uncomfortable for me.  In fact, I was actually hesitant to do the assignment, not that I had much of a choice if I wanted to pass the class. 

My professor instructed the class to divide a piece of paper into two columns. 

In column one, I was instructed to write down all of the things I like about myself.  These would be my personal strengths, difficult situations I've overcome, people's lives I've touched, personal accomplishments, and the values I have obtained throughout my life that increased my feelings of self-respect. 

In the second column, I was instructed to make a list of my personal short-comings, weaknesses, or issues that I still struggle with.  In his words--perhaps you’re selfish sometimes, or maybe you avoid taking responsibility, or is it possible you haven’t followed through with commitments you made to yourself or others.

Whatever these issues were, he wanted us to bring them out into the light of day to be examined.  He said that they would automatically feel less shameful if we acknowledge their existence.

At the end of the exercise, he had us read both our strength column and our weakness column aloud for the entire class to hear. 

Next, he told us to put your hand on your heart and tell yourself, “I am strong. I am weak. I am flawed.  I am broken.  I am learning.  I am vulnerable.  I am human.  And despite all of this, I give myself permission to love myself unconditionally.  I am a growing, evolving being who uses past mistakes as fuel for my journey of growth.  I accept myself as I am, and I set an intention to become the best version of ME."
Ironically, the assignment I had the most trouble with, I found it personally invasive, is now basically what I journal about publicly.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Some Things are Destined to Be

So that the stones that you'd step on
Aching your feet....
And the curbs you would trip down
Putting you in the street...
Become less of a burden
And less of a chore
And the light of love's embracing
Protects you ever more...

Luckily time doesn't only heal wounds, it also opens our eyes to what we didn't see before and it helps guide us to new paths. 

My ex-husband for example, he wasn't a bad guy, but I've learned that that relationship wasn't what I thought it was.  I was in a state of denial and in some sort of desperation, and a bit of stubbornness I guess, I lost myself in an unhealthy relationship and began to doubt my own abilities. 

The biggest lesson I learned from that relationship was to trust myself and listen to my instincts.  Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, I would do it all over again because without the difficulties and tears, I wouldn't be who and where I am today.  Sometimes you have to be knocked to your knees and left breathless before you can really stand up on your own two feet, catch your breath and see things with new eyes and with a new attitude. 

I know, sometimes it feels like things will never get better, but they will.  We seem to give our power to other people to the point that we feel completely powerless to live our own lives. 

I finally wiped the dust from my eyes and began to see that I am the only one in control of my life.  My life is my own creation and although it can be impacted by others, it doesn't have to be destroyed by negative people and experiences.  I can take the mistakes, the hurt and the tears and turn them into something useful and empowering. 

I am a work in progress, but the path ahead of me is so much brighter and happier than anything I previously had.  Heartache can really bring with it blessings and opportunities you could never imagine.  No matter how awful it feels at first over time the pain eventually gives way to acceptance and understanding.  If you're lucky and can let go and forgive you free yourself from carrying the burden of anger, frustration and unhappiness.  Just have faith.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Our Truest Life is When We are in Dreams Awake

As an introvert, (my warmth and people skills are often mistaken for extroversion), I find that whether I want to or not, when it's quiet and I've been overly stimulated for long stretches of time without enough of a break, my brain pretty much insists that I shut down.  For me that means little contact with the outside world, no computer, no writing, etc.  In these moments, I focus all of my attention on no-brainer activities and meditation.

I can live on moments of adrenaline, for a while, when I need to.  I can keep working past my comfort zone, even when the situation I am in is not overly stressful in the grander scheme of things. But there comes a moment when it is as if that fun, creative, engaged part of my brain says, "Nope, you have got to rest or there won't be anymore output."  At this point I'm useless.  I know I need to get back into adrenaline mode, but I'm mentally exhausted. 

I had hermit moments today after a week of non-stop work.  I did nothing special.  I just spent the day doing boring household things that required little or no thought.  I did the mindless mechanical tasks that I don't normally do when I'm feeling more like my normal, focused, productive self. 

Now, at the end of the day, I already feel a multitude of new ideas welling up inside my brain.  Sometimes, all it takes is a short break to rejuvenate my thoughts.  My desire to engage is coming back.  Had I skipped today and forced the issue, I would have still had a day like this sometime in the near future, like it or not.  

I think for us introverted types, being a hermit is a vital part of refilling the proverbial cup now and then.  It has never seemed to me that I have a choice in whether or not to do the hermit thing.  I feel it's more of an instinctual part of me.  I think, for me, those moments of being a hermit had more to do with my upbringing.  I've come to accept that part of my personality needs alone time.  I have never felt guilty, not once, for taking care of my needs.  When I don't, my work suffers and I get moody -- who needs that?

I am a huge bookworm.  One of my favorite things to do to decompress in these I want to be alone moments is to curl up with a good book and just get lost in it.  Combine that with a nice hot bath and a glass of good wine, and I'm lost to the world for quite some time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Blue Air, Love, and Flowers

Life is a pretty amazing teacher.

It never stops providing us with opportunities to learn, grow, and become the people it knows we can be.

One of the most important lessons I have learned from this one great teacher called Life, is that happiness is not a destination.

Happiness is not something that is out of reach, it isn’t reserved for the rich and famous, and it definitely does not come with dual side airbags, a swimming pool, or a side order of fries.  Happiness is much deeper than any of that.

Take a moment to really think about what makes you happy.

What makes you feel whole?

What, or who, brings joy into your life?

What makes your heart smile?

For me, my happiest moments are those filled with laughter, creativity, inspiration and love, and are often spent with the people who know me best, and love me most.

I’m happiest when I’m laughing, writing, reading, listening to music, exercising, walking/running in nature, window shopping, or just sharing random thoughtful moments with the people I love.

Those are pretty simple things, and most are always readily available to me no matter where I am or how much money I have sitting in the bank.

All of those things can bring me happiness right now, in this moment, and in every moment.

I've always known what I needed to do in order to maintain my happiness.

Which brings me to another important lesson Life has taught me, ever so persistently.

Happiness needs to be noticed, chosen, and nurtured, so that it can grow into a way of life.

Think of all the time you spend maintaining your body; showering, washing your hair, brushing your teeth, eating healthy foods, and exercising. These are all things that the body needs to stay healthy, invigorated, and energized.  We know what our body needs.  We choose to fulfill those needs every day, and take care of it so that we may grow into healthy people.  Happiness is no different.

Our mental, emotional and spiritual health needs just as much care and maintenance as our physical health.  Sometimes it's just harder to see that.

I think it's important to take the time to notice and acknowledge when you are happy.  From those moments you can figure out what you need to do more of to keep that happiness flowing.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Take on the Responsibility for Making My Dream a Reality

When I'm writing, I get into that state of flow where it becomes highly meditative.  I guess you could say I fit my contemplative practice into the cracks of my everyday life.

First of all, doing things in accordance with your core values is absolutely essential. Many people drift through life super busy, but never actually work on the things that matter to them.

Secondly, to-do lists suck! I have eliminated most of them from my life, and it feels great. Sure, some might say that they need them to get things done. But honestly, if your life is so complex that you need lists to manage it, you may want to relax a little and simplify what you're doing.

To me, lists and structure is so contrary to what life is supposed to be.  It's so easy to get distracted and sidetracked. I find it helps me stay focused on my values and vision just to repeatedly ask myself, "What are my priorities?"

Right now, I'm really working on simplifying my life.

I sometimes find myself feeling so overwhelmed that I don't even know where or how to start and I lose all efficiency in my work.  Focusing on one thing at a time ("single-tasking") and just letting the rest go until I have the full time and energy to spend on it is the way to go.

I remind myself that I can’t worry my way out of worrying, and that the most effective use of any moment is to fully do whatever it is I’m doing.  The rest will get done later.  That, I’m learning, is the most important part of simplifying.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pale Walls of Dreams, Between Myself and All I See

I love road trips.  I really love them.  I can’t get enough of them. It may have something to do with my childhood.  I can't remember taking a single trip in my childhood that involved an airplane.  I adore flying, but I love having all the random experiences you have that can only happen on the road.

There is something amazingly wonderful about having the experience of arriving somewhere understanding exactly what it took to get there; seeing the land, interacting with the people at each of your random stops, seeing new cities, exploring the culture outside of your own place of residence, and experiencing the weather in a way that can’t be experienced when you fly to a destination.

There’s also something awe-inspiring about exploring the many different winding roads of my own country.  It intrigues me.  I find the differences and similarities in the landscape from state to state to be fascinating.

Driving from New Mexico and ending up in North Carolina, eating BBQ in Mississippi along the way—these experiences keep the mind fresh and life interesting.  Some of my best travel experiences have been on the road.