A Refreshing Change is in Your Future

Good Morning! I don’t know about you, but I can’t sleep. I woke up bursting with inspiration to write. Which is pretty amazing considering it has been a very long time since I felt the inspiration to do much of anything!

The last few months my life has been in complete upheaval. I have pushed my limits emotionally and physically. And I have been left feeling exhausted and overwhelmed for a number of reasons.

My current job is very demanding and although it may seem easy to some to simply walk away at the end of the work day or take a day off without worrying about the aftermath. For me, that is not an option. I take a great deal of pride in my work, so if there is still work to do my day does not end and many times my weekends never get started. It’s great for my employer, but not so great for me as I am beginning to realize. I enjoy my job and I love the people I work with, but I need to find some type of resolution to this before I get burned out.

I spend all day on the computer, so needless to say I have not felt much like jumping back on at the end of the day and writing. However, I forgot how important it was to my mental health to do just that. Writing is a way to center myself. A way to stay in tune with who I am and where I want to go from here. In the absence of it, I begin to lose myself.

Without regular reflection, I begin to fall back into old patterns and the great deal of progress I have made over the last few years begins to fade.

Well enough is enough! Every day we are faced with conflicts and challenges, that is a given. However, we do not need to allow them to rule us. There is a balance in everything and I just need to find it. How you ask?

The first step…just breathe…in with the good and out with the bad. Rather than having a mini meltdown over whatever is bothering me, I need to take a moment to take a deep breath and center myself before tackling whatever obstacle is in my way. The problem will still be there, but I will be better able to deal with it after a moment of catching my breath.

Dyer would say, “The morning has secrets to tell…don’t go back to sleep.”

Perhaps that was the reason for waking up at 4 AM bursting with inspiration today! Kind of a way of putting myself in check before tackling the tasks at hand 🙂

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How Important is Alone Time?

I have had a lot going on these past few weeks and by the time this weekend hit, I could really feel it taking a toll. It was time to re-evaluate my life and my priorities. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t have some alone time to reflect on things, I begin to feel a bit anxious. Perhaps it is because I have spoiled myself over the last two years by making this time a priority. I know that I am no good for anyone or anything if I am not taking care of myself mentally and physically.

My loyal and ambitious nature can sometimes be my own destruction. I have this idea that I can do everything for everyone and once I start something I have to finish it! This is great for my friends, family and employers, but it is not always as great for me.

Although it is good to be dependable, it is necessary to know your limits and when the time comes to speak up for yourself despite the consequences.

I know I can do anything I put my mind to and I also know that in order to do so, I must have a clear head. And in order for me to have a clear head, it is very important that I have some alone time to organize my thoughts.

I struggle with an aim to please everyone and in many cases this results in taking on too much. As well as putting my personal needs on the back burner. I have thought long and hard about the road ahead and I have come to the conclusion that I am ready for a change.

As my life currently stands, I am spending the majority of my time working on the non-creative aspects of my life. It is daunting and at times very stressful. There is very little time in my day to be creative, inspired or constructive in my growth; much like the life I escaped in moving from Wisconsin in 2014. How did I fall back into the same patterns again? And more importantly, how do I get out of them? That is something I needed some alone time to figure out.

According to an article by Sherrie Bourg Carter in Psychology Today, the constant motion of daily life can hinder deep thinking and the ability to effectively work through one’s personal life challenges. Constant distractions such as meetings, phone calls and incoming emails cause tasks to take longer to complete and therefore make the work day less productive.

2. Solitude helps to improve concentration and increase productivityWhen you remove as many distractions and interruptions as you can from your day, you are better able to concentrate, which will help you get more work done in a shorter amount of time.. – Sherrie Bourg Carter

This may not be true for everyone, but it definitely is for me. When I am working from home with no distractions, I am way more efficient. Unnecessary meetings, phone calls or emails marked as important (when they are not) drive me nuts. Why spend time stressing/talking about what you need to get done instead of just doing it? I know there is a need for these things sometimes, but eliminating the unnecessary clears up time to do what is.

Time is precious and finite. And for that reason, I find it absolutely necessary to prioritize accordingly. Know what is important to you and put that at the top of your list. What a better way to do that than to have some much needed alone time. A moment of solitude, free from distractions, revitalizes the mind and helps those creative juices flow!

In doing so today, I have gained a better understanding of my true desire for my life moving forward. I will take the next two weeks to think it over, but I am pretty sure I have figured out what I would like my life to look like from here on out. It is not what one would call “ordinary”, but that is not a word I like very much anyway. How boring to be ordinary. I’d rather strive to be extraordinary!

Sometimes it takes a wrench being thrown into the mix to help you see more clearly and to remind you that you are in control of your own life. When you give this power to others, you hinder yourself from greatness.

Now go out there and seize the day! 🙂

My Golden Buzzer

I noticed something about myself recently. A confirmation that I have made great strides on this journey of reconnecting with myself and others.

I would like to share my experience in the hopes that it may be helpful to anyone who has ever felt lost.

What I noticed was that I have been able to consistently be at peace with where I am in any given moment. I allow myself to feel, but then to let go. I have found a love for myself that is nurturing and safe. Alleviating the need to constantly search for it in something or someone else. In times of sorrow, I reflect. In times of anger, I reflect.

And in times of joy and peace, I savor.

It has allowed me to fill my mind with appreciation. Appreciation that holds me together during times of hurt and disappointment. Appreciation that helps me grow in those moments of reflection.

It brings me to a peaceful state of gratitude. Where I stand strong and ready to move forward.

As a result, I have found that people’s opinions no longer carry such a hefty weight. Sure I value them and take them to heart, but in the end any decision I make will be mine alone.

Instead of spending all day on the phone asking people what I should do about something, I ask a few in my inner circle for their thoughts, ponder them for a while and then when the time is right I go with the decision that best resonates with me.

It may sound like a simple, normal process to some, but for me it was not. I would over think every situation I was faced with. However big or small, I would over think it to death. Which meant I was always thinking about the fact that I had to make a decision about it and all the possible outcomes. I am pretty sure that is what they mean by driving oneself insane. I was on my way to crazy town thinking like that. Where is the joy in any of those moments?

That was the problem. After years and years of winding myself up into a state of exhaustion, I had slowly pushed away all my joy, all my peace of mind. I didn’t know what was genuine anymore. I was physically present, but never really there. It is what eventually caused me to up root everything and move to Colorado.

It has been two years now and when I look back on that time, that person, well I don’t know if I could even begin to explain it to you.

Becoming aware of such a powerful shift in my consciousness was much like the Golden Buzzer on America’s Got Talent…haha (click here if you don’t know what I am talking about)

The scene goes in slow motion as you see the joy rise up in them as the confetti covers their face. Its that gasp for breath as they try to comprehend the gravity of what has just happened. All their hard work and dedication has lead up to that moment and in a split second their lives are changed.

Only this time its my Golden Buzzer…its my hard work and dedication that is changing my life, changing me for the better. 🙂

Not very long ago I wrote to you about a challenge I had given myself after reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I decided to tackle the most challenging of the four: Don’t Take Things Personally.

For along time this had been a major struggle in my life. Much to the point where it was turning me in to a recluse. My mind was always distracted from the moment at hand, thinking about what others may think of me, needing their approval. It made me so uncomfortable that I just stopped socializing.

I remember one day in reconnecting with my uncle after many years, he made an observation that finally made me aware of the shift in myself that had taken place in my life (some time in college I’m guessing).

We were talking and I made the comment that I didn’t go out much because I wasn’t a social butterfly.

“What?! You have always been super social, what are you talking about?”

I was flooded with emotion. It was like this switch finally turned on a light inside of me that had been dormant for years. He was absolutely right. Back when we lived together (just after I graduated high-school) I was always out socializing. And I remember being pretty fearless. I was who I was and although I would adhere to social graces and common courtesy, I didn’t really care that much about your opinion of me.

Having social anxiety was just the story that I had been telling myself over and over again for years. So long that there was no doubt in my mind that it was true. But it wasn’t true.

For me, the cure for my anxiety was merely mastering a way to find peace in any circumstance no matter how uncomfortable. Surrendering to what is without losing sight of what is yet to come.

When I learned to appreciate the excitement of life’s challenges, I was able to be grateful for the experience. Because all those challenges and experiences are what makes me who I am.

And that is exactly what was missing. For all these years, that something I had been searching for was me.

Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?

I think the question I am asked most as a writer is where I get my inspiration? It’s a great question and one that is not always that easy to answer. There are times when, without explanation, an idea will jump into my head and I am stricken with a deep need to express it.

Often it is just as I am stepping outside. As the air hits my face my mind becomes filled with poetry! I can not tell you how many poems I have written during my breaks at work 🙂

Other times, I am in the mood to write, but I just can’t seem to get started and/or narrow down a topic. Good ole writer’s block…an author’s worst nightmare! In the midst of one of those moments, I remembered a gift a very dear friend of mine gave me not too long ago that I thought would be helpful to share with anyone else who may have a case of the dreaded block!

She sent me a notebook, along with 50 or so tiny pieces of paper about the size of the ones found in fortune cookies. Each one of them containing a writing prompt.

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I have not read any of them except for the one on the very top of the stack, “A list of things you’re thankful for”

So…I thought it would be fun to start a feature where each week I will pick one of the prompts from the bowl and write about it. Sort of a weekly writing challenge if you will 🙂

I look forward to reading the posts from anyone else who wants to take the challenge with me!

 

And on that note…

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Today’s pick is…

 

 

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“A skill you want to learn”

 

 

Okay, good one. There are many, but if I had to only pick one it would definitely be the one I am currently working on mastering; public speaking. Something I have avoided my entire life and I mean intentionally avoided too!

College was really hard for me in that respect. Just raising my hand meant I had to speak in front of the class, which made my skin crawl, so I just never did it. I was the girl in the very back corner who never spoke…the phantom student…lol.

I try not to have regrets, but if I had it to do all over again (knowing how important that skill would be to me now), I would have tried to tackle my fears early on. I never imagined there would come a day when I would be scheduling book signing/reading events. I mean I dreamed of publishing a book, but I am not sure I thought too much about all that comes along with it.

Thankfully, the more events I do, the more comfortable I feel. It’s easy when your heart is in it. I find that my passion out weighs my fear on most occasions! Plus, I am speaking about my life and my mother, two subjects I am pretty well versed in, so that helps too 🙂

I look forward to the day when I can confidently walk  on to a stage or speak to a group of people and inspire them in some way!

I know I will get there someday and until then I am going to relax and savor the journey ahead.

What about you? What skill would you like to learn?

Be Courageous!

I believe that being open and honest with the people we hold dear to our hearts is the most important action we possess. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us and I would hate to leave this world with words unsaid. Therefore I find it essential that those around me know just how I feel about them. Whether it be a simple reminder to my best friend that I love her or coming clean to someone about feelings you’ve had cooped up inside, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the satisfaction you feel knowing that you have said all that you needed to say.

Whether these feelings are reciprocated is irrelevant. I can rest easy knowing that when I lay my head down at night, I have left nothing unsaid. It can be a little too much for some people, but that’s on them. I would rather put it all on the table, than to look back and hold regrets for the words I couldn’t find the courage to speak. I am no coward!

Life is all about taking risks and I think it is better to have taken a risk and faced rejection that to spend the rest of our lives wondering if things would have been different had we only spoken our mind.

Don’t be afraid of the possibility of reaching a dead-end.

Instead, think of it as a fork in the road. It’s life’s way of telling you that you need to take a different path, a better path, your destined path.

Be courageous in the face of uncertainty, using the actions of others as your compass rather than your validation.

Photo courtesy of Winnond via FreeDigitalPhotos.net