Monthly Archives: June 2015

Take a Breath

Sometimes, no matter how focused we are on moving forward and creating change and new adventures in our life, we are forced to deal with some sort of setback or event that blindsides us and leaves us rattled.

When that setback involves past relationships and/or events in our life, it can throw us off balance, make us question our place in this world and wreak havoc with our self confidence.
So,how do we prevent inevitable run-ins with our past from sending us into a spiral of defeat, self-criticism and panic?

Many of you know that the last year has brought many changes in my life. My Mother passed away, somewhat unexpectedly last year, while I was in the midst of packing up and getting ready to move from Florida to Colorado. In May of this year I moved back to Florida to deal with a house I own. I also went back to a job I previously held, as a fill in person on call. While I know and accept that my life is in transition, I have been struggling at times with feeling like I am right back where I was 5 years ago. In reality this isn’t so, but does create some anxiety and unsettled feelings to my days. Add to the mix an encounter with a past relationship, one that I thought was on friendly terms but was apparently quite wrong, and the self-defeating murmurings in my brain became a 10 on the anxiety and the lack of confidence scale. I was grateful for nice customers that day, but by the time I got home that evening I was feeling like a fish out of water and in need of some restoration.

So, the burning question is how did I handle all of this and how can my experience help me to be better at encouraging all of you to not let one bad day bring you down.

And the truth is actually that I made it harder than it had to be. It was only a single day, and to let what happens on any one day impede your joy or calmness of the next day is not staying in the present moment. Nothing I did that evening helped me find my center and feel peaceful and the next morning I still wasn’t back to rights.  So what did I do? I took myself to breakfast and treated myself to french toast and bacon and numerous cups of coffee. I smiled and chatted with the waitress and other diners near me. I got back out in the world and carried on with my day. My anxiety lessened, I remembered that I will have everything I want if I keep paying attention and remember that as I have my own path to follow, so does everyone else.  I did my best to stop overthinking the previous day and focus on make the new day a successful one. Once I was able to release the events of the previous day, my confidence returned and I no longer held on to that desperate feeling of needing to create reactive change; instead letting change unfold as it will while still remaining proactive and positive.

Some ‘notes to self’ that may be of help to you or encourage you to make your own ‘notes to self’

We are all in this world together. Every person we interact or cross paths with during the day has their own life to figure out. A smile and a friendly word or two can make someone’s day and help you too.

Remember or find your mantra. I have a few that I use at different times. A new one I just picked up that has been helpful: “History need not repeat itself.” From TUT- A note from the Universe (sign up at TUT.com).  Thank you Mike Dooley for once again giving me a morning Note from the Universe which was just what I needed.

I make things harder than they need to be and hold myself back…ever find yourself doing that?

Thanks for reading everyone! Remember, change takes time. We all backtrack or feel confused at times. Just don’t stay stuck in that place and try and use it to motivate you instead of paralyze you.

Next up I take a look at Dan MIllman’s The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, a book that I keep close and have re-read many times. Let’s see how it can help us let go of defeating behaviors and thoughts.

Finding Inspiration Within Ourselves

Article, books and blogs abound these days on the topic of minimalism. What I enjoy about the current minimalist movement is that it acknowledges that we all have a different comfort level not only in the amount of material items we have in our lives, but also in how we go about clearing out the items that are cluttering our space. While one person is able to just throw out or donate everything in one big effort; another needs to start with just one drawer. Minimalism also prompts us to become choosier about our purchases; trading in quantity for quality, or considering necessity versus short term happiness. We learn to find a balance and distinguish between items we want and/or need.

Applying some of the tenets of minimalism ought to be able to help us wade thru the seemingly endless amount of resources designed to keep us inspired and optimistic. The digital world has brought a constant flow of possibilities and offerings via Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites. Amazon has replaced the need to go to the bookstore. It is not a stretch to say we could read inspiring words, quotes and stories all day on our computers/tablets/phones. But if we are always reading inspirational words, how do we take the leap to putting them in action; to facing our fears and standing up for ourselves? How do we learn to dig deep inside ourselves to find our own strengths and courage to create the life we want.
We start taking the leap by beginning to practice minimalism and selectivity in what we read and watch. There is no need to go cold turkey on inspiration! We need inspiration and there are certainly benefits to finding it in so many places. What we don’t need is to become bogged down in it so that it begins to feel obligatory and meaningless and we aren’t really even paying attention to what we are looking at anymore.
Some say if an item doesn’t bring you joy any longer it is time for it to go. Well, if your email box is full of newsletters and book recommendations waiting longer than a day or two to be read maybe it is time to unsubscribe to some of them. You can always re-subscribe if you delete one and then find you miss it. If, like me, you have several books that you reach for often, keep a couple at a time next to your bed or reading chair and rotate them every few weeks. Visit a bookstore instead of automatically ordering from Amazon. Spending some time looking at a book or magazine before purchasing it may save you some money and disappointment if you find you don’t feel a connection with it.

Lastly, spend some quiet time by yourself. Be introspective and figure out what truly inspires you. Write your own mantra or comforting words and perhaps draw a picture to go with. Keep it near you so you can use it to remind you of your journey. Letting your creative side blossom even just a little can help you think outside the box and find new ways to make your dreams become reality.

Remember that while we live in a world in which information and answers are available almost instantly, it takes takes time to make your dreams happen and to shed those old layers that no longer serve you. So slow down and enjoy the journey. Don’t forget you are your own best strength and resource. Introduce your dreams to your authentic self and become your own best cheerleader and inspiration.

Our Personal Heroes

 

Recently, I have been reading a wonderful and thoughtful book titled Ducks on the Pond: Reflections on Heroes I’ve known, by William E. Carpenter. In his book, Dr. Carpenter pays tribute to the teachers, neighbors, acquaintances, and even a few strangers who have influenced his life. They are his personal heroes who changed his life or his perceptions of it in some profound way, often in a way he didn’t discover or understand until later in his life.

One of the many wonderful things about this quiet book is that, a few essays in, I started thinking about the heroes in my own life. Starting from a young age we all have people who shaped our lives and helped us find our path in work and love. Some of them we remember easily; Dr. Carpenter’s book might help you remember a few more.

I encourage you to take some time to remember the heroes in your life. Reread a book they recommended.  Share a remembrance with a friend. Tell your children or grandchildren about them. Most of all, honor them with how you live your life and how you treat others. Raise your glass, toast them, and be grateful for their lives and their presence in yours.

You can order Dr. Carpenter’s book at www.mmripublishing.com

Excuses…Banish Them And Start Facing your fears.

 

Today’s topic is not likely to be enthusiastically received by you, my readers. So before reading on, take a deep breath and try to finish the post without a “yeah, but…” right off the bat.

Excuses are use for a myriad of situations.  They make us feel better or ease our conscience, supposedly relieving us of blame when we don’t fulfill an obligation or don’t make progress forging ahead with a dream or goal.  But the relief is only temporary and sooner or later we need to let go of our dependance upon them if we want to live a life of joy and freedom.  Excuses allow us to not face up to the real reason we don’t get where we are wanting to go, and become disenchanted with trying to transform our life. And I’m betting that most of you know the real reason.  It is fear, plain and simple. That is the big ugly monster in the closet. And until we stop making excuses, fear will lurk in the background dumping rain all over your parade and happiness in your decision to change your life. Little scary isn’t it?  The only way to get past fear is to stop with the excuses. Every time you start to make an excuse that keeps you stuck you need to stop yourself and re-focus. Remember, small baby steps will get you there.

While the list of excuses is endless, the two that are used the most often should be no surprise to us. They are time and money. So how do you begin to banish not only these excuses, but others that are holding you back?

If you have been reading my prior posts and done some soul searching and work to discover what it is that you want to change in your life, then you hopefully have created a mini-plan or outline to help you attain your goal. Remember my last post about setting goals rather than expectations? I’m hoping you all took that to heart and moved your dreams from fantasy to acknowledging that you need to start doing some work to make them happen. Excuses will only prevent you from doing this work and leave you in a stagnant situation.

The more focused you can be in pursuing your goals and the more they become a part of your daily activities, the easier it is going to be to rid yourself of these two excuses. There are many ways to make your dreams the focus of your daily life and still be productive at your day job or other obligations. It may sound silly, but list them out and tack them on the fridge…on the wall in front of your desk. Use them as a bookmark or keep them in your wallet purse. Make an acronym out of them if you are able. Whenever you are having a down or discouraging moment just repeat them to yourself. Have faith in yourself and what you can accomplish.

A simple pen and paper exercise can help you begin to release both the time and money excuse from your mind.  Just for a day or two record the time you spend on all your activities. This means Facebook and social media, exercising, just sitting, cooking, work, reading or anything else you spend your day doing. Do you see any areas where there could be improvement? Do the same thing with money. Record every dime you spend for a couple of days. From bills to coffee to parking meters, to online orders, add it all up. See any places you could cut back.
While this is a relatively simple exercise, it can lead to many questions and force you to look at your entire life. While monetary obligations are real when we own homes, cars, and other material goods, are all these things worth the cost and time it takes to keep them? Only you can answer this question for yourself. Do you love your job. You may love your work and your dream may involve a goal that uses the skills you have now. So time spent at work might be valuable to you. Then you need to look at how some time periods may be used more productively so you have time to focus on your goals. If you are spending time doing things you don’t love, or working to have material things that don’t bring you joy, this is the time to work towards changing that and creating the life you desire.

I also want to recommend a blog post to you on this subject. It will challenge the resistance you have to letting go of the money excuse. It is by Shawn Blanc, one of my favorite bloggers. You can find him at Shawnblanc.net.  The blog post Fear not Money can be found by clicking on the archives.