The Seeds of a Dream

books

So I have been comtemplating the idea of writing a book and getting it published.  I mean, really, truly focusing on getting it done.  For years I have wished and dreamed of becoming a published writer.  I always put it off because life got in the way (ie, job, school, family needs, time, household chores, etc).  This time I’m telling myself, “No more excuses!”

I just need to decide what I want to publish.  I’ve been thinking about focusing on a fictional story I’ve been creating for over 15 years.  I got the characters, the plot, several rough drafts but nothing really solid (ie, a submittable manuscript).  I’ve also been thinking about writing a book of poetry.  I’ve got atleast two dozen or so of poems laying around that I’ve written over the years.  Then I was comtemplating on writing about change, which is the very premise of this blog so it makes sense.  That led me to think what about change can I write about?  I can make it personal because there are lots of changes going on in my life.  I can make it educational and discuss the pros and cons of change.  I can also write anectdotes of others’ experience with change.  There’s really alot of choices I can write about but I just need to focus on one right now.

I guess, like everything else we do when we are at a cross roads, the best thing is to write down a pros and cons of each, dig deep and explore why I want to publish my words  for all to buy and keep.

Starting with the pros list on fictional writing:

1. I can create a world and control whatever happens in it (the control freak in me loves this idea).

2.  The world needs more stories so I would be supplying what the world needs more of. Taking a break from reality does a body good, so I’ve heard.

3. I love writing fiction and making things up as I go along. The act of creation is man’s recipe for a well fed soul.

I guess my reason to write a fictional story is to create something and call it mine, such as an artist does for her paintings she creates.  I enjoy doing it and if other’s like what I create then that makes me happy too.

The pros on poetry:

1. I have a lot of poetry in my arsenal so getting a manuscript together on poems would be easy (minus editing).

2. I enjoy stringing words together in rhythms that create pictures in one’s mind.

3. I wouldn’t expect to be put in the ranks with Angelou or Frost but it would be nice knowing I have a book of poems out there.

For me, poetry is the soul speaking and when I write poetry I believe I am sharing a part of my soul.

The pros on writing about Change:

1. Change occurs everyday so why not write about it.

2. Change is the premise of this blog so it just makes sense.

3. We all need to change something, so writing a book on it may be helpful.

In summary, I like writing about change because it helps me deal with the changes in my life and if it helps someone else than that’s even better.

Continuing my pondering here; the list of cons for fiction:

1. It’s going to take some time to get an organized manuscript together for submission on my story.

2. There’s so many stories out there on the shelves, how will I stand out from the rest?  I will have to make my story very unique and inviting (every author’s problem).

3. Fear of others not liking it.  I know, I know, criticism happens (sometimes helpful, sometimes not) but this story has been under my butt for 15 plus years.  I’d have a hard time if someone ripped it apart.

Are these cons or just excuses?  Hmmmmm….

The cons of poetry:

1. Not everyone reads poetry.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t see anyone lining up in the poetry corner at B & N’s diving for the latest prose and rhymes.

2. I will have to edit some of my older stuff (teen poetry), although looking at my writing from back then to now allows me to see how my writing has changed and progressed.

3. My poetry is not set in any particular format (ie, iambic pentameter, haiku, etc) so an editor would have a field day with my writing style.

Poetry is not a popular read but I do like to write it.

Cons for writing about Change:

1. I am not and I don’t claim to be an expert on Change.  I don’t want to be known as the guru of Change but I do like writing about it.

2. Pin pointing what particular aspect of Change I’d focus on would be a challenge.

3. Research would definately be needed if I went this route.

Writing about Change would be a challenge and it would take time to research the topic thoroughly enough to make it a worthwhile read.

So there’s my crossroad list of pros and cons on what to write about.  I’m still contemplating what I’d like to focus my writing energy on.  I created a poll here so maybe all of you can help me decide.  In the end, I know whatever I decide it will come from the heart.  I love to write and it helps me express myself in a way that no other medium can.

Thanks for stopping by and please participate in my poll:

The Creation of Meditation

Lean back, let go

Tiny rain drops on a window

Slide away, give way

No tomorrow, just today

Let go, let it be

Serendipity

Relax, pause

Peace is your cause

Slowly, gracefully

You become

Beautifully

Silence your mind

Mantras are kind

Breathe deep and slow

Tensions will go

Thoughts may come

Set them free

Breathe in and out

Gracefully

Erase the pace

Leave the race

Be here now

Peace is your vow

Sacred is time

Enjoy the climb

Quiet clears

Your ego fears

Breathe, relax

You will see

The power of silence

And serenity

Go

Get up, go

Don’t be slow

Time is fast

Don’t you know

Be like a tree

Go with the flow

But stand your ground

When you have to though

Live your dreams

Get up, go

Life’s a stage

And you’re the show

There will be highs

There will be lows

There will be times

You just don’t know

Keep your head up

Stand up, go

Just get up

And go, go, go

Wealth in Health

Wealth in Health

Today I am writing about the one thing that is the most valuable thing a person can ever have and that is his or her health.  Without good health a person has nothing.  The wealthiest person in the world has nothing if they are not healthy enough to enjoy their riches.  The most talented person in the world is useless if good health does not exist within them.  The fastest runner in the world can not become the fastest runner with broken legs.  Okay, I’m sure you get the idea.  I am expanding on this idea of wealth in health because I’ve come to realize that if I want to change my life for the better in all of its entities (i.e. career, relationships, finances) I need to start with my health.

I can be good at my job but if I don’t feel 100% in my wellness my abilities to carry out my duties in the best possible way will not be 100%.  I can work towards a better job (ie, honing my present skills) but if an ailment befalls me then those job skills don’t progress as fast as I’d like them to.  My intentions of getting all that work load done can be haulted by a headache, a stomache, a head cold, or something far worse.  Even taking a sick day can set me back on my work load but sick days must be taken because everyone likes to share except when it comes to germs.  Passing along an illness is like passing along that fruit cake no ones wants; not welcomed!

What is welcomed is having good social relations with others.  However, my health effects the people I mingle with on a regular basis. If my health gets me down I’m not feeling up to hanging even with the best of company.  Sometimes my health holds me down to the point that I get depressed, I want to be alone, and I start to get the “Why me” syndrome.   That’s when I want to smack myself with a bottle of “Wise up! You’re better than that!” and remind myself this too shall pass.  Friends understand when I am sick but if I start to stay away for too long they start wondering about me.  It’s not enough to be physically healthy; I have to be mentally healthy too in order to socialize and join the party.  Socializing is an expense I can’t afford to lose.

Other expenses in my life I’d like to improve on are my finances (ie, debt and savings).  If an ailment takes over I need to take time to rest but that means taking time away from my money maker.  Let’s also add in the cost of getting better when feeling under the weather, which decreases my wallet size.  It’s a vicious merry-go-round I’d like to jump off.  Oh the ills of my physical wills ails my money pails.

Today I talked about how health effects my ability to change my life.  Good health is the most valuble thing a person can have.  Imagine what you can do in your life all because you can read, you can walk, you can talk, you can breathe.  You can change so much in your life as long as you have your health.  May your health always be with you.

Why Am I Here?

Image

She walks into the darkness not knowing what to do.

Shards of light shines down and she hangs onto them like tiny gems in a cavern.

The Divine Creator tells her, “I am you and you are me.  Go forth and experience all that I have created.”

“Will I suffer?” she asks.

“Yes and through your struggles you will find strength.”

“Will I get scared?”

“Yes and through your fears you will find courage.”

“Will I be lonely?” she continues.

“Yes and through yourself you will find the greatest company.”

“Will I have help along the way?”

“Help will be offered when you need it the most and even when you think you don’t need it.”

“Will there be others like me?”

“There will be others who may be walking a similar journey but no one will be like you.”

“Why me?  Why do I have to go?”

“Because I am you and you are me. I want you to experience all that I have created out which I will experience all that you will create.”

“I still don’t understand why?”

“We can not be re-united until you see what I see.”

“What do you see?”

“Love.”

The Divine Creator creates a hollowed out tunnel and she falls fast into a warm darkness.  Her eyes open to the sound of crying.  It is her crying.

Making a Home

Image

I went to a house warming party the other night where the new homeowner updated the house with fresh paint and new floors.  The hostess was blessed with guests bringing her food and gifts for her new house.  This made me think that a house is made of floor boards, painted walls, light fixtures, and other malleable constructions but a home is made of memories, laughter, and love.  My Dad used to say home is where you hang your hat.  I also feel home is where you hold your heart and this can be made anywhere you feel is most comfortable.

Home is a place to rest your head after a long weary day and when I have those days I make my home snuggled on my giant bean bag.   Sometimes I find home in a cup of warm tea sitting with a friend immersed in comforting conversation.  At times I find home under a thick fleece blanket on a cold winter’s night.  Other times, my home is made in the kitchen in a large pot of chicken soup; that’s a tasty home.  The many diverse locations I’ve created home in also have that certain quality that makes it homey.

What is brought into a home helps imbibe the feelings that exist there.  If positive feelings are welcomed into a home then positive feelings will be felt by all who enter.  This sentiment is true conversely as well.  In my line of work I go to people’s homes to help them.  I have been to some homes where the energy there just didn’t feel right to me.  The people that lived in these homes argued with each other a lot.  I have also been in homes where there is so much love and support for all who lived there that it almost made me feel I wanted to stay there myself.

A home is one’s sanctuary for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.  My sanctuary varies depending on what I need for comfort at the time. I like to think I have lots of love and laugher in my home.  How about you?  What type of homes do you make?

Cleaning out the Closet

A cluttered mind is a cluttered life.  That’s what I discovered while cleaning out my closets (including my mental closet).  You know it’s time to unload the baggage when the To-Do list is long and the worry list is even longer.  As I sifted through the unnecessary wares of my life collection I began to realize not only are these tangible items crowding my space but my anxious thoughts and fears are also cramping my life.  I realized it was time to clear it all out.

Image

I began to have Zen moments as I let go of what was not necessary.   I threw out an old pair of shoes here and a regret about something in the past there.  I tossed out another purse I never used and another worry that will never serve me.  I crunched up those old gift bags and stomped on those fears that held me back.  My exercise of letting go began to liberate me like never before.   A cleaner space gave me freedom to move around and that made me feel better.  A clear mind gave me the ability to appreciate life more and helped me focus on what is really important.  I loved letting go!

Now keep in mind, it wasn’t easy at first but concentrating on one area at a time gave way for a tidier space and mind.   Some items and thoughts were harder to let go.  I had to ask myself questions such as, Did I ever really need this? or Did this ever help me? Once I came to the conclusion that these things and these thoughts were not aiding my life in any way it was easy to let go.  I knew I had to let go if I wanted to move forward.

During my “cleansing” I came across some things I didn’t know I had.  Some of this stuff was buried deep and hidden for a very long time.  The covered things were the hardest to let go because those things were a part of me for quite awhile.  At times I cried because it was like saying good-bye to an old frenemy that I loved and hated at the same time.  Alas, it was now or never and I chose now because I knew it was for the best.

Cleaning out the closet was a healing experience for me and I recommend it to everyone.  It’s not easy but it’s worth it in the end. You just have to concentrate on one area at a time until everything is emptied out.  You don’t know what you have until you start clearing it out.  Clean out the clutter and let go of all that weighs you down.  Your future self will thank you.

Unplugged

wpid-2014-01-01-21-31-27.png

Today marks a new year, which for many that usually means out with the old and in with the new.  For others it means doing things differently to get better results (ie., dieting, exercising).  While others, like me, venture out for new experiences (ie., hang gliding, rock climbing). Okay I don’t plan on riding the tails of the wind or grabbing rocks at a 90 degree angle but I do plan to change the way I use my time by going unplugged for the entire year.

When I say unplugged I am saying I am choosing to cut myself off from watching TV, playing video games, and participating in any social networking for the entire year, with the exception of this blog and managing my Facebook page under the same name.  My goal for this year is to be more productive and expend my energy towards accomplishments like organizing my house a little better or finally writing that book I always wanted to write.

I will be chronicling where life takes me unplugged so please check in here often. Maybe I’ll learn a different language or get re-connected with some old friends.  Maybe I’ll just simply have the most organized house on the block.  Who knows where this unplugged life will take me. Whatever happens I know I’m open to the many changes that come my way.  Wish me luck!

Finding Clarity

Clarity, clarity, oh where art thou?  You could find clarity in the stillness of your silence.  The trick is to actually sit down long enough to allow it to happen.  Jumping beans of thoughts and flashing movements of this project and that never ending to do list will not give you clarity.  However, it may give you a migraine which is a good way to not find clarity.

Bringing yourself closer to stillness will clear your mind.  Settle the dust and free your mind.  You need peace and quiet.  There’s a buzzing sound in your head you say.  That’s just your body telling you that yes you need this winding down.  The clock of our busyness needs to stop in oder to get back to the slow metronome feeling of our inner natural existence.  Easier said than done, you say.  Let’s jump down the rabbit hole together and explore this more.

Close your eyes.  Well, after you have finished reading this article.  Shut off all technology and that includes your phone.   I know, the shocking horror of it, but yes this must be done.   Get comfy on your couch, your bed, a giant pillow, a patch of grass.  Whatever you find über soothing.  Close your eyes and imagine the most incredible, softest cloud you have ever seen.  Relax and gently breathe in and out.  With every inhale you take in a little more of that soft, airy feeling.  With every exhale you let out the stuffiness and the confinement.

Keep your eyes closed and feel your body getting lighter and lighter as if you are floating on air.  Focus on this light, airy feeling.  Focus on the calmness of your breathing.  Focus on the quietness of your being.   Embrace this relaxing, tranquility.  When you have had enough, slowly open your eyes and give yourself a healthy, long stretch.

This peacefulness is what your body craves.  You get so caught up in the diligence of your schedule that you forget what your body naturally needs. Rest and relaxation.

The previously mentioned guided imagery sample is only one of many ways you could find your inner peace.  Walking in the woods or a local park, listening to soft, relaxing instrumental music, coloring, or painting are other ways to find tranquility.

Whatever activity you choose to help you float like a cloud make sure that you do it and do it often.  Understand that keeping a regular schedule of tranquility is very important to you.   Finding clarity will give you peace of mind, enable you to get better answers to problems you are facing, and keep you healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

May you find clarity this week and may peace be with you.

Know your Safety Net

Know your Safety Net

When things get tough and all the cards are stacked against you it’s important for you to know who is part of your safety net.  You need people to lean on and have them listen to you from time to time, especially when you feel like you’re up against a corner with the lights out and there’s nowhere to go.  When you know who is in your corner rooting for you a sense of hope and encouragement is given.  When you gain hope and encouragement during your darkest hour it could be the one thing that saves you.

Think about who is part of your safety net.  Who can you count on the most?  It could be a longtime friend, a close relative, even a family pet.  Your safety net could include those who can comfort you and give you that little break of peace you are needing.  When we keep a mental list of who could be our ‘go to’ person we are preparing ourselves for safety in times of danger.

Sometimes life gets hard.  Extremely hard.  We may find ourselves on the bottom of the darkest, hopeless point in our lives with no sense of hope or relief anytime soon.  It’s important to plan ahead for these times and create our safety net.  If you don’t do this you may be setting yourself up for even a harder, darker sense of reality.  In the end, getting out of that dark corner may never happen.

Your safety net should include those who make you laugh, those who put things in perspective for you in a positive way, and those who support and inspire you.  It should be someone you trust wholeheartedly and you know they will never judge you or ever push you away when you need them most.  It should also be someone you could trust and depend on.  Who comes to mind?

One thing to keep in mind is that you do have someone you could count on.  You do.  You are never really alone, no matter how much you believe this despairing idea.  You always have at least one person who is willing to help you no matter what.  Dig deep and think hard.  It may be that long-lost friend or relative you haven’t spoken to in years.  There’s always someone who can help you.

Know your safety net.  When you prepare your safety net ahead of time you are preparing yourself to be helped in the future, especially when you need the help the most.  It’s better to plan for the worse before it happens because when you plan your safety net ahead of time you are already giving yourself a fighting chance in your corner.

Celebrate Each Little Step of Success

Trying to achieve that monumental goal seems difficult at times, especially when you are faced with  many challenges along the way.  Sure you are going to commemorate that big achievement when you finally meet it but while you endure the journey towards that pinnacle moment you need to celebrate each little step of succes along the way.  If you don’t stop and celebrate every triumph on your road towards success then you are setting yourself up for a bumpier ride.

When you don’t pause for the successful moments along the way you drain your motivation meter and in the end you set yourself up for failure.  Continuing the journey without stopping to acknowledge what little steps you have already overcome slows down your momentum.  Simply grueling over the challenges you face without enjoying the rose petals along the way makes the road to success a bit dull.  Embrace the positives, especially when you had a hand in creating them.

When you take the time to celebrate the small successes you are reminding yourself of how capable you are of achieving that big goal you set for yourself.  Glorifying each upside moment helps you realize why you need to continue the road you are on.  Embracing every win along the way helps ease the tension and gives you momentum when roadblocks occur.  Lastly, having a party as you climb up the ladder is just plain fun.

Help yourself achieve your goals by celebrating each and every little success you meet along the way.  Once you recognize how far you’ve come you will gain momentum to continue bigger, better, and greater than you imagined before.  Eventually when you arive at your destiny you will thank yourself for gaining so much during the journey.

Be Selfish

Be Selfish.  That’s right, make yourself happy first.  If you are not happy then you will not be able to go anywhere or do anything to improve your situation.  You need to make your happiness a number one priority in your life before you attempt to reach your goals.

A demanding job,  a needy spouse, whining children, a helpless friend, a barking dog, endless laundry, and the list goes on.  When is it your turn?  You could only give so much before you have nothing left to give.  When you’re bankrupt of yourself life takes on a downward spiral and it’s very hard to climb back up.

Your happiness depends on you.  When you are not happpy  and you stay unhappy you are robbing yourself of becoming the person you are meant to be.  The goals you set in your life will never be achieved if you just go unhappily through the motions of daily living.  You want to reach that star of success then you need to make sure you are happy.

It’s time to for you to take command of what you deserve; your happiness.  You need to recognize when enough is enough and that may involve you speaking up and saying no when others are requesting more out of you.  Take charge of the happiness wheel and steer it towards the things that make you happy.  Even if everyone else is telling you that you shouldn’t.  Bottom line is that only you have the right to know what makes you happy.

Selfishness gets a bad rap but unselfishness is just as equally bad, especially for you.  When you give and give to others without giving to yourself your health, happiness, and overall wellness  is at risk.  You have the right to take a break and you are entitled to say no when you feel you are spent and you need a break from giving.  When you take a stand and become selfish you are telling yourself that you are worthy and you deserve to be happy.  When you say no to others you are saying yes to yourself and that is okay.

Be selfish, be happy, be succesful.  You deserve it all.

Take a Chance

Take a chance this week.  Life is fleeting by every time you resist the chance to do something about it to change the way you want it to be.  Stand up to your fears and get risky.  Your life begins when you take a chance.

Life waits for no one and neither should you.  Cast your fears aside and grab that risky bull by its horns.  The ride may be wild but in the end it will be well worth it.  You want life to become better and there’s no better way to do it but to take a chance.  What you think you may lose in taking that leap of faith may be a blessing in disguise.

Remember when you let your guard down and you tried something new.  That refreshing feeling you got is what life is all about.  You want to feel that vibrant energy again and the only way to do it is to take a chance.

If the chance you take ends up becoming something unexpected that is okay.  Learn from it and grow.  That is what it’s all about; taking a chance and learning from the experience you had.  If you don’t take a chance then you will never know how far you could’ve grown or what you could’ve become.  A life with no risks is a life not lived.

Get out there, take a chance, and live your life!

The Wall of Reason

When you want to change something ask yourself why do you want to change it?  You may have the best laid plans to change something significant in your life but it doesn’t matter unless you know why you are making the change.  It is important to recognize why you want to create the change in your life because knowing why will make the change that much more meaningful in your life.  Recognizing why will give you a greater sense of growth in your journey towards a better you.  Identifying why will help you learn more about yourself.  Understanding why may help you realize that there may be nothing that needs to be changed.  Consider the following short story:

There was a man who lived in a house that was situated on a piece of property surrounded by a large stone wall.  This man lived in this house by himself for a very long time.  One day he decided to remove the stone wall that surrounded his home.  This was a huge challenge for this man because the wall that surrounded his home was a very high wall made of stones.  Each day the man went outside and removed stones from the wall.  He threw the stones in the ocean that was located behind his house.  He thought this was convenient since with every lap of the ocean the waves carried the stones away.

Every single day for weeks upon weeks the man removed stones from the giant wall that surrounded his home.  The man’s neighbor (a curious, inquisitive one; you know the type) watched from his own house as the man toiled and sweated over the elimination of the wall.  After watching the man for several weeks taking away bits and pieces of the stone wall that surrounded his home the neighbor decided to ask the man what was going on.

“Hey!  What are you doing?” yelled the neighbor.

The man who was preoccupied with his wall removal continued to work.

“I said hey!  What are you doing?” The neighbor shouted again.

The man, who suddenly heard his neighbor’s voice from across the way, stopped and look towards his neighbor.

“I’m removing this wall that surrounds my house.”

“Why?” asked the neighbor.

“I don’t know,”  shrugged the man.  “I just want to.”

The neighbor, who was much older than the man, shook his head and began to laugh continuously for a moment.

“What?” exclaimed the man who was very annoyed by the neighbor’s mockery.

“You’re doing all of this hard work and you even don’t know why?  Seems quite silly if you ask me.” The neighbor went back inside his own home.

The man gave a dirty look towards the neighbor’s direction and turned to continue his work on eradicating the wall.

A few weeks went by and the stone wall continued to decrease in size little by little with every stone the man removed.  The man worked long hours removing the wall; only taking short breaks for food and rest.  Soon afterwards the wall was only one layer of stone that bordered the man’s property.

The neighbor came out of his house again to call out to the man.

“Hey!  Did you figure out why you are removing the stone wall?”

The man stopped his toiling over the wall and looked towards the neighbor’s direction.

“I told you before.  I just want it removed.”

“Do you think the wall was there for a reason?”

The man looked annoyed at the neighbor, “No.”

The neighbor laughed endlessly as he did before and went back inside his own house.

The man shouted back towards the direction of the neighbor’s house, “I don’t care what you think!  It’s my wall! I can do whatever I want!”

No response was heard from the neighbor.

The man continued his work on the wall as he shook his head and furrowed his eye brows over the neighbor’s ridicule.

After several hours the man removed the last stone from where the wall once stood around his house.  He tiredly carried the last stone towards the shore and threw it into the ocean.

The mas was exhausted beyond compare and surrendered himself upstairs to his bed.  He closed his eyes and fell fast asleep.

Whoosh! The man bolted up in his bed.  Creeeeeeeeeek!  The man frantically looked around and saw water seepig through the walls as the frame of his house struggled to hold itself together.  He quickly jumped out of bed and ran to the window.  Huge waves of water came tumbling towards his house and before the man could even comprehend what was happening the roof of his home flew off.  He grabbed onto his bed post not knowing what else to do.

“Help!” screamed the man as he held tightly to his bed post.  The ocean waters spilled into his home with haphazard care; knocking out the walls of his house.  As the salty sea rushed in, the man coupled up enough strength to jump onto his bed to use as a make shift boat.  Waves of water pushed the bed-boat off the second floor and into a pool of ocean waves newly formed by the tumultuous currents.

The man’s bed-boat floated along the salty waters until it came upon his neighbor’s property which rose higher than the sea.  The man jumped off his mattress ride and clung to the sandy knoll at the foot of his neighbor’s property.

The neighbor ran down towards the man and helped him to his feet.  As the ocean continued it’s wild rage back and forth along the shore the two stood in awe at it’s expanse.

“Are you okay?” the neighbor asked as he helped the man walk up the hill towards his house.

The man gasped for his  breath as he answered, “Yah, just scared.”

“I guess now you know why.”  The neighbor stated.

“What?”

“Now you know why the wall was there.” The neighbor said as he smiled at the man.

A moment passed before he answered his neighbor with slight annoyance, “If you knew then why didn’t you tell me?”

The neighbor smiled widely and said, “Son, you need to learn things on your own.  Before you go changing things you should ask yourself why things need to be changed in the first place.  Chances are there’s a reason why for everything and sometimes we don’t need to be changing anything.”

The man stood back for a moment and thought about this.  He knew his neighbor was right, although he didn’t want to admit it.

The neighbor let out a chuckle and put his hand gently on the man’s shoulder, “Come on, I’ll make you a cup of tea while we wait for the emergency crew.”

The two men entered the neighbor’s house.

The next time you think something in your life needs to be changed stop and ask yourself why do you want the change. Sometimes things are happening in your life because you need to learn from it, grow from it, or like the man in the parable, be supported by it.  We may not like certain things in our life and we certainly have the power to change most of what we don’t like.  However, be sure that the thing you want to change in your life is exactly what you want.  Stop and ask yourself why do you want to change.  You may just realize that you don’t really have to change anything because you are exactly where you are supposed to be and experiencing exactly what you need to experience.

It all Begins with You

Waiting for your boat of dreams to sail in?  Hoping your train of opportunity arrives?  Wishing for someone to give you a break?  Sorry to bust your bubble but it all won’t happen unless you make it happen.  What you want in your life can only happen if you make it happen.

Think of someone you admire or look up to as a mentor.  Imagine how they got to be where they are today.  I’m sure they didn’t become who they are today by sitting back and wishing and waiting.  I could almost bet they made things happen in their life to help themselves succeed in the goals they set out for.  Did they face roadblocks and have bumpy rides along the way?  Of course they did but they either worked through it or figured out a way to work around it.

A happy, successful, meaningful life doesn’t just happen.  You need to make it happen. Sitting back and hoping life gets better for you is not how it’s going to happen.  Giving up too easily is not going to make it happen for you either.

Thinking outside of the box or going through non-traditional means is a good way to creatively get to where you want to be in life.   Looking for multiple ways to solve the same problem is another way to make it happen for you.  Sometimes you have to be brave enough to close one door in your life in order for a better door to open up.  It’s all up to you.

Life has a way to bring the things we want when we are open minded, positive, and are willing to accept whatever comes our way; good or bad.  You could have the life you’ve always wanted but only if you are willing to make it happen.  Take charge of the wheel when the ride gets bumpy, hold onto tight, and steer you life towards the direction you want it to go to.  Your destination is waiting for you.  Just remember that it all begins with you.

The 7 Sides of Happiness

Happiness can be achieved in many ways and like other things in life it is up to you to get yourself there.  It’s no one’s job to make you happy so here are 7 ways to help you get there:

1. Exercise – Participating in a regular exercise routine,  such as simply going for a 20 minute walk is chemically good for you.   Researchers say the more you exercise the more your brain releases neurotransmitters known as endorphins, a.k.a “happy hormones” (Bora, 2011).  These happy chemicals are released into the bloodstream and reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which causes high blood pressure, blood sugar imbalances, and impaired cognitive functionings (Scott, 2011).  In short, move, move, move your way towards happiness.

2. Eat Healthy – According to the Mayo Clinic, eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, tryptophan, and B vitamins increases the Happy meter (Nelson, 2009).  Omega-3s can be found in fish, nuts, and seeds.  Tryptophans are present in bananas, turkey, and lean red meats (Rich, 2011).  Eating plenty of leafy greens, dairy, and lean meats will provide the B vitamins to help boost your mood (Cohen, 2010).  Let your hunger lead you to happiness in a healthy way.

3. Discover and Learn – Finding new places and learning something new always excites the brain and engages the happy mood.  When you find things of interest you help your mind focus on something other than negative thoughts and worries.  It’s also exciting when you are learning and growing in a new skill.  Tap into your travel bug or pick up a new hobby to get happy.

4. Connect and Help Others – Fostering those relationships that are closest to you helps you stay connected to your happiness, especially when making happy memories with those you love.  When you have a sense of comradery with others you gain a sense of belonging, which gives you peace of mind that you are not alone. Even more important, when you help others you not only give happiness to them you also give happiness to yourself (see Can I help you?).  Hang out with your best friend or help someone carry their groceries to boost your happiness.

5. Relax and Breathe – Sit in silence and focus on your breathing to become happier.  Your busy lifestyle prevents you from settling down to the point where you can just be.  Make it a point to calm down from the hustle and bustle using muscle relaxation techniques.  Check out Progressive Muscle Relaxation Techniques  at Livestrong.com.  Deep breathing exercises used in  Yoga or Tai Chi is also a great way to calm yourself.  Grab a comfy spot, relax your mind and body, and focus on your breathing to reach Zen happiness.

6. Laugh– Finding the funny side of life will give you a healthy dose of happiness.  Watch a funny show or just be plain silly to boost your happy scale.  When you laugh you distract yourself from all the stresses in your life and give yourself an increase in endorphins and other neurotransmitters that regulate mood.  See The Benefit of Laughter – How Laughter Can Reduce Stress and Increase Health to learn more.  Smile, be silly, and laugh yourself all the way to your happy place.

7. Be Grateful – Appreciate what you have and let those things be the source of your happiness.  A supportive family, good health, a steady job, and being able to walk and talk are all things to be happy for.  When you appreciate what you have instead of resenting what you don’t have your perspective on life becomes more positive.  Count your blessings and be happy.

These 7 sides of happiness is part of what you could do to maintain a healthy state of being. Preserve your happiness through regular exercise, eating healthy, laughing regularly, and learning to just relax and breathe when you need to.  Happiness is also primed up when you focus on your strengths and use those strengths to discover and learn new things, connect and help others, and appreciate what you have in your life.   Happiness is also a matter of perspective and when you see the positive in every situation you will be more than likely be much happier in the long run.

Sources:

Bora, Chandramita (Oct., 6, 2011) Neurotransmitters and their Function http://www.buzzle.com/articles/neurotransmitters-and-their-functions.html

Cohen,Bradley (Sept., 28, 2010) List of foods rich in vitamin B http://www.livestrong.com/article/249016-list-of-foods-rich-in-vitamin-b/

Nelson, Jennifer (May 23, 2009) Nutrition and healthy eating: The food and mood connection  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-mood/my00716

Rich, Martin (Sept., 2, 2011) Foods that make you happy instantly http://www.livestrong.com/article/531712-food-that-makes-you-happy-instantly/?utm_source=undefined_R1

Scott, Elisabeth (Sept., 22, 2011) Cortisol and Stress: How to Stay Health http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/cortisol.htm

Sometimes Bad Things Happen to Good People Because Good People Need to Change

The need to change isn’t always apparent.  We get stuck in the routine of our lives so much that we don’t realize  that we need to change.  At times, we do realize we need to change but don’t know how to do it.  That’s when we are hit with something big; a huge negative that is.  Those bad things that happen to us is life’s way of telling us to wake up and do something different.  Some of us brave the wake up call and truly become wide awake.

A colleague of mine was let go from a company due to “limited budgetary costs” as the powers at be claimed.  In reality it was politics in motion but however crass the reasoning it was the wake up call my colleague needed to create a change for the better.  Afterwards this colleague had doors open and new opportunities given that would not have appeared without the budgetary (political) elimination.

I have also survived the negative catalyst for change.  By age 30 I lost both of my parents and by older brother.  I first lost my brother to diabetes and a sudden brain aneurysm.  Seven years later my mother lost her battle to cancer and a year and half after my father fell with a sudden heart attack.  It would seem that deep depression would set in after losing over half of my immediate family but instead I threw myself into collegiate studies in pursuit of two master degrees.  This may have been away for me to avoid the negative reality of losing my family but in the end I earned two master degrees, gained a better appreciation for myself and my level of resilience, and eventually learned to accept the loss of my loved ones.

I will always want my loved ones back with me by my side so I could talk and hug them again.  However, I realize without having those losses happen to me I would not be the person I am today.  I appreciate life and I cherish everyone I encounter along my journey.  I experience every moment as if it may be my last.  I reflect on what I could do to better myself.  The negative stuff still happens from time to time but I know I will and can survive.

Next time something bad happens to you recognize it as the catalyst for change that may be needed.  Ask yourself, “Is this my wake up call?”  It may seem awful at first and even all the while the bad is happening but it may be necessary.  Once you realize that you have the control to make yourself better, stronger, and wiser you will survive and ultimately you will change.  Because sometimes bad things happen to good people and good people need to change.

Good luck in your life journey and I hope that whatever negative comes your way it makes you change for the better.

Destroying the Bully Within

Knockout the Negativity

There’s a phrase we have heard before that states, “We are our own worst enemy.”  We say negative things to ourselves that beats down our true inner beauty.  Our own self worth is kicked in the gut and dragged down to the ground by the bully that lives inside us.  That bully needs to be stopped and needs to be destroyed.

The negative thoughts we think about constantly become our beliefs. When we believe something we behave in a certain way.  Our behaviors show the world who we are.  When we show others who we truly are we shine.  However, our shine can only glisten if we believe we are beautiful.

If you think you are ugly inside you will behave in ugly ways, such as gossiping about others, cheating and lying to yourself and everyone you meet, and showing contempt towards everyone you believe is prettier than you, smarter than you, better than you, etc.

Conversely, if you feel beautiful inside you will behave in beautiful ways, such as showing compassion towards others, openly sharing and caring for others, and giving love to everyone you meet with a smile, a friendly handshake, a warm hug.  True beauty really is skin deep.

Learn to ignore that nasty bully within if you want others to know the real you.   You are not a number on a scale.  You are not a mistake.  You are not dumb.  You are not less important than anyone else.  You are not an age.  You are not limited.

You need to believe that you are beautiful, you are intelligent, you are brave, you are strong, you are talented, you are kind, and you are love.  You can do anything and be anything as long as you believe that you can achieve what you deserve.

“Ha! Easier said than done,” you say.  Try for one week to say something positive about yourself everyday.  Look in the mirror and say a positive affirmation about yourself, such as  I am smart, I can do this, I am the most creative person I know, etc.  It sounds silly but the more you do it the more you will begin to believe in yourself.

Another trick to try is to find your strengths and reflect on past achievements.  What are you good at?  What have you done?  What have you overcome or survived through?  When we focus on our strengths we recognize our talents and we believe in that talent.  When we reflect on our past achievements we realize how far we’ve come and we begin to believe we can go further.

If that doesn’t work then ask others for their opinions.  Find those that you trust and just ask them.  Get them to tell you what they like about you and why they are friends with you.  You may be suprised who admires you and who looks up to you.  When we realize we have gained respect from others we begin to understand that we need to respect ourselves.

Respect yourself, believe in yourself and you will shine.  That bully that rears its ugly head with all the negative thoughts and judgments needs to be destroyed because it’s kicking the living beauty out of you.  Kick that inner bully in the face by telling yourself how wonderful you are on a daily basis because you are wonderful.  Stomp on that bully inside by focusing on your strengths and past accomplishments because you are a survivor.  Destroy that negative monster by finding your closest admirers to remind yourself that you deserve to be respected and you are valuable.

Good luck and may you always win when you battle the bully within.

Stay focused!

Stay Focused

This week’s challenge is all about staying focused.  Let your energies hone in on one idea all week.  That cluttered closet, the craft project you started months ago, or those broken things you tossed aside with some far off intention to fix.  Maybe it’s something you’ve been thinking about for sometime but haven’t found the energy to get it started.

Whatever it is you want done get focused on it and stay focused on it all week.  Ignore the distractions, sidetrackers, and time wasters.  Those engaging, enticing time vaccuums that turn into huge amounts of ‘Whoah! Look what time it is!  I gotta stop this!’ realization.

Do yourself a favor and avoid all that and focus in on that one pressing thing you want done by the week’s end.  If you stay focused you just might surprise yourself!