Monthly Archives: June 2012
So today we had an extra second, our Leap Second, to balance out something scientific or another 🙂 There is a fishing rodeo in town tonight and so I got to spend my extra second stuck on top of the ferris wheel with my son.
I don’t like ferris wheels. I don’t mind heights. And I don’t mind rides that go fast or upside down. I love roller coasters. I don’t like ferris wheels. So it makes sense that Jack would be anxiously awaiting the ferris wheel, and that we would end up sitting on top, just sitting waiting for it to move for that extra second of the day.
Aside from the death grip I had I Jack’s arm, and the other on the rail, I thought about the fact that things did look quite peaceful from the top. And that if I weren’t terrified I could take a picture for the extra second and it would probably turn out quite beautiful. But as it was, my child isn’t afraid of ferris wheels, which makes me not trust his 3-year-old impulsiveness to sit still while I attempt to gather the courage to let go of anything and take a picture.
So instead what I was left with was a nice little moment of peace and realization that even though I was terrified, I was in awe of the beauty that surrounded us. I could feel the calm, feel the love. And it was a pretty awesome second. Made more awesome by the knowledge that it was one more second passing that brought me closer to where I wanted to be. Which was safe and sound on the ground.
We normally have 86,400 seconds in a day. Today we had 86,401. Do you know what you did with them? Each second, each moment is a chance to live and grow closer to your goal. To face your fear. To climb to new heights. How do you spends your seconds?
Since writing my book, the number one thing people ask me is, “Who was the boy?” My response is always I can’t remember anymore. It’s been interesting, because even though I know I wrote about him, I didn’t actually think about the fact that I would be talking about him to people. And even though I don’t normally tell anyone who he was, it’s a really strange thing to go back to. Made stranger by his random reappearances as well, but that’s not the point.
One of the things I usually end up talking to people about is whether or not I think it’s possible to find that more than once. For a long time I really wasn’t sure that you could have that again. That you could have that connection, that intensity, or just the easy familiarity upon meeting. Lots of people refer to him as my soul mate. I don’t. But that’s partial bitterness that I’m working on leaving behind. But with each day that passes (and with each interaction I have with him) I’m reminded more and more that it would make no sense for it to not be possible to have that more than once. I think the biggest issue is being closed off to it after the first time.
It’s hard to reopen your heart, it’s hard to even want to envision a world differently than you had when your heart was open. But it’s possible. And it’s important. Because even if we were left broken, we have the capacity to pick up the pieces and come back to life. We can come back stronger than we were before. We can go places with more courage, more faith, more hope, because we already know how to be open. We already know how to love. We know how to look and see where we need to grow, who we need to be to find a path that will last. One that fulfills us. One that reminds us we are whole just as we are. And we will invite people who are the same. People who won’t run, people who won’t lie, people who won’t make it a point to destroy the things they love, as long as we make it a point to come back better and stronger. (PS please take heed to, “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou) So it never really matters about ole what’s his name anyway. Being open was up to you. Being open is still up to you. And anytime we begin a journey more wise than the first time we tried, the potential for reaching our goal is increased exponentially. So take the time to grow stronger. To reach higher. And to remind yourself that you were always whole to begin with.
Tonight while I was washing Jack’s hair, he kept putting his head down and the shampoo would get in his eyes. We have this issue reemerge every so often. I continuously tell him that if he would just keep his head up, he wouldn’t have that problem, nothing would get in his eyes, and the shampoo wouldn’t hurt him. And tonight when I told him that, it hit me just how much that idea really applies to our lives in general.
It’s easy to just put our heads down when we feel like something is coming at us or we are worried we are going to get hurt or times are hard. We can sense the danger, so we try to close our eyes and hide our heads away, but in reality this only causes more problems. Instead of escaping the issue, we’ve actually made it worse.
When we put our head down the water rushes over us. It gets in our eyes. We can’t see. It becomes confusing. Sometimes we even start to breathe the water in as we start to panic. The situation worsens. We start to choke. It’s hard to breathe, we can’t find the air. When if only we would life our heads up, we wouldn’t have the problem anymore.
We have to keep our heads high when that barrage of negativity comes at us. We have to choose to look up, even if it’s scary, even if we want to run. When we know that there is the potential to get hurt. We have to take on the world face to face, head held high if we are going to survive the wave, or even have the chance to ride the wave. We can’t see anything if our eyes aren’t open, if our heads are down. Look at the world, look at the wave, and choose to take it on. Even if it knocks you down, when your head is above water you know where you’re at and how to get back up. You’re still in control. You’re still in the fight.
**I keep trying to respond to the comments I haven’t yet, and it keeps telling me that it’s an invalid request – that’s also happening with this post, so if this ever does post, I’m not ignoring anyone, my blog is just being weird. I’ve asked for help!
Sometimes it takes crashing down onto the ground to realize what’s actually wrong. We have these skills that allow us to be really good at ignoring the things in our lives that we don’t want to pay attention to. In general, it’s necessary that we don’t pay attention to everything and only give large amounts of our attention to a small number of things at any given time. We can’t function if we are taking in every single thing that comes at us all the time so selectivity is important.
The downside to that is, we have a tendency to misuse this ability. We are really good at being able to pretend that things are different than they really are. We are good at pretending our relationships are sound, when we know that they aren’t. We are good at pretending that next year we will get our lives in order, when we know that we won’t. We are good at pretending we will look for a new job next week, and go back to school next semester. We are good at pretending that we will start our workout routine tomorrow, because we have a lot going on today and it’s really hard to exercise with no one to help me watch Jack (and I totally swam some today, so it does too count, stop telling me it doesn’t!). Okay so maybe that last one was mostly me. But that’s not the point.
The point is, we make priorities. Certain things get put on the back burner. Unfortunately, that back burner is still on. Maybe it’s on low, but if you continuously leave something sitting over an open flame, at some point in time it’s likely to catch on fire. And then that thing that you were planning to do, that thing that you really need to pay attention to ends up going up in flames. And once it’s on fire, that’s when we start to take notice.
Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to fix something once it’s been damaged. It’s not impossible, but it’s a lot harder. If instead of ignoring the problems in the relationship, we had worked on them or at least acknowledged them, we’d be in a better position to keep it. Because it isn’t always that we want to let go, it’s just that we’ve gone too far to know how to get back. And when we’ve been out of school for so long, it’s hard to deal with being older than everyone and going back into an environment where our lifestyle is different than most of the people around us. Fitting things in with our schedules or lack of schedules gets frustrating when there’s not a simple fix and it’s going to require time and effort.
But once that fire is lit, once we start to crash towards the ground, that’s when we open our eyes. That’s when we realize something needs to happen. When that line is crossed and we’ve reached the point of no return. Things cannot stay the same any more. And those are the moments when we finally make the choice to change and to act. Sometimes it takes crashing and burning to find out how we know how to fly.
When I was considering what I wanted to do for my career I used to use the word “just” a lot. If I could just make enough money then the job doesn’t matter. If I could just work in this city, then I wouldn’t care what I was doing. If I could just have my dream job fall in my lap that would be fantastic! : ) If I could just do something I’m halfway interested in, then I’d be fine.
Unfortunately, I was never fine doing any of the things that I just wanted to do. Now there are circumstances where we have to JUST do something. Our livelihood depends on it. We have to be able to provide for ourselves. And that’s okay. And we can be okay in that, as long as we are continuing to work towards the things we truly want as well. It turns out a lot of the things we just want are fairly easy to come by. At least at first.
When we just want a job, there are jobs that don’t require any background at all, it’s just that it’s hard to make a living with those. But when we want a job that pays well, that we enjoy doing, and that allows us to feel like we aren’t settling, that’s a bit harder to come by. We justify the places we are at in a variety of ways. We have plans to move on to something else one day, we have to have some means of survival, we are in a safe place, and bad things can happen if we move outside of that comfort zone.
But what it’s important to remember is that it’s not necessary to justify not settling. No one else has to understand it. Only you, because you know what makes you happy. You know what will allow you to be fulfilled in your life. So maybe you have to work a job that is a just job. But that doesn’t mean you don’t continue to take the steps you need to feel fulfilled. You continue to paint, you continue to cook, you continue to look into classes for school, you continue to exercise, you continue to write, you continue to volunteer, you continue to find whatever it is that has the potential to make you feel like you are spending that time in a meaningful manner. Something that makes you have a spot of certain happiness and accomplishment. Continue to pursue that part of you that doesn’t make you qualify it with just. Don’t let the just define your life. Let it pass by as it does while you are on your way to being who you want to be and doing what you want to do. Let your time count. Don’t let your time settle. Because each day the sun will set and you won’t get it back. But if each day you make your time count, if you spend some time outside of the just then each sunset brings a sense of fulfillment.
– I thought I posted this yesterday… I wondered why no one at all had even like it, and it turned out I hit save as draft… Ah, technology and me! 🙂
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier” Mother Teresa
I am pretty sure I have quoted this before on this blog, but it’s truly one of my favorite quotes. I just wanted to take a little bit of time tonight to say how thankful I am for all of you who have taken the time to stop by this blog. Your support is truly amazing to me, and I am so thankful that I have had the chance to connect with so many people.
My goal for this blog is to make it so that when people come here they feel uplifted and perhaps find a little bit of insight as well. There are so many things around us that work to easily bring us down, and I think it’s important to have a place of refuge that we can return to lift our spirits up when we want. And I hope that when I write, I write things that do just that. I want the words to be places that can be returned to for moments of encouragement and inspiration.
And when I started out deciding to make a blog like that, I didn’t realize that it would be returned. That I could come here and see such support and such encouragement. It’s overwhelming the community that has formed here sometimes and I am honestly grateful beyond words for it. So I humbly thank you all, for stopping by, and I hope that as you do, you leave happier.
I also wanted to say thank you to the following people for nominating me for awards. Again, it’s incredibly kind of you to take the time to do so!
And a very special thank you for taking the time to read and review my book! It really means a lot to me!! Thank you so much!
Having a background in psychology and always being fascinated by the power of the mind, I love watching what unfolds as we utilize our thoughts. The things we think and the things we believe matter. In general the things that happen inside of our minds are quite cyclical and reciprocal. The things we think now influence the things we think next. So what we thought yesterday influences how we think today. And how we think today influences how we will think tomorrow. The more we reinforce these thoughts, the stronger they become. The more we continue in the same pattern, the more easily the habit forms.
So we have this continuous cycle of thoughts, they affect the future, they affect the now, and they feed off of themselves to make their neural pathways just a little bit quicker and stronger with each thought. Our brains work the way most things do, they search for efficiency. So our thoughts form pathways that often become similar to a groove in the road. It’s a well-worn path and it’s cut through the field, so when we try to change those thoughts, we have to work a little bit harder to jump up over those grooves and form a new path where one didn’t previously exist.
The thing is, it really just takes one thought to start to jump up over the grooves. We have to believe. We have to deliberately get off of the path of least resistance, and make a decision we don’t normally make. For me, when I was making the choice to be happy, it was a deliberate thought. I had formed a very well-worn path of unhappiness, and changing that took time. But the first time I jumped up off of that path, the first time I believed that I wanted to change, I jumped up over the groove and started a new connection.
I lit a pathway that had previously been darkened. It was unfamiliar, and a little bit scary, and in the beginning, I wasn’t sure it would hold out. After all, I didn’t have to put thought into being unhappy, I just was. But I believed enough to try. So I tried one day. And then I tried again the next. I would write it in my journal at night that I chose to be happy today, and in the mornings, I would write reminders for myself that I would choose to be happy throughout the day. And even though it took some time, each day it got easier. Each day I believed that I could be happy, that I wanted to be happy, and my thoughts jumped out of the groove each time, and traveled that new path each time. As the days went on it was easier and easier to be happy, the new path was become better-traveled, and its own grooves were forming. Until one day I didn’t have to think about it. It had become my new habit. I didn’t give it thought. It didn’t take effort for me to remember. It simply was. The same as my unhappiness used to be.
Our ability to tap into our own minds is our strongest resource. Our ability to choose, our freewill, makes us powerful. It is the only true control we have, which is over ourselves. It’s hard. Sometimes it takes help from others. But the moment we believe, we have the capacity to jump the groove.
I also want to say how thankful I am for all of the support for my book from everyone over the past few days! I honestly don’t have words to say how amazing you all have been. Thank you so, so much!
The kindle version of my book is now just $.99! (it started at midnight, I am excessively uncomfortable with self-promotion!) Which is very exciting!! One of the reasons I opted to make a kindle version was to keep prices low. I think that we all have to pay attention to how and what we spend our money on, so I’m really excited that I get the chance to do this!
So, if you are interested in changing your life, following your dreams, understanding your relationships, sharing the difficulties of parenting, feeling inspired, motivated, encouraged, and understanding why you really are worthy of all of the wonderful things life has to offer and learning how to achieve them, it truly is a dollar extremely well spent. It’s a short read (it is 260 pages, but it feels so much faster, honestly!) It’s written in the same format as my blog. It’s like we sat down in my living room to have a conversation about everything worthwhile that I’ve learned in my years studying psychology and in my personal life. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (except those of you who are manly enough to hold it in, but you’ll want to), It’s a chance worth taking, and it costs next to nothing. Give it to someone as a gift. You don’t need a kindle to read it. So please share it with everyone you know. It’s time and a tiny bit of money well spent.
And I want to thank all of you for creating such a wonderful and supportive community here. It really is impressive, this blogging community. Thanks for letting me in, encouraging me, and helping me accomplish my dreams. I hope I help you all do the same!
I also want to thank the following people for nominating me for awards this past week. I appreciate the thought. It means a lot, because I really want people to enjoy this blog and to feel inspired when they read it. So thank you. Check them out:
Just like the sailor respects the power of the sea, we have to remember each day to have that respect for ourselves and for life. Respect is something that we talk (or sing) about a lot. We all want to be respected. We want to have people believe in us. And we want them to care enough or at least acknowledge that we deserve to be treated in a respectful manner.
A lot of times we feel that people fail to respect us the way we want. We feel that no one respects how much we do at work. They don’t respect what we do at home. They don’t respect the time it takes us to figure things out. They don’t respect our place. They don’t seem to have much regard at all for the way we want things to go or the way we want our life to turn out. It can be frustrating. And though it would be nice if respect were really just always reciprocal, it doesn’t necessarily work like that.
We can spend all of our time being kind to others, working hard for our bosses, or whomever we have to please, only to have it returned without acknowledgement or even ridicule. The important thing to remember about respect is that respecting ourselves is one of the most beneficial things we can do. And these are the keys to doing it:
- Respect who you are. This means you have to respect that you are you. You are no one else. And you are worthy just as you are of all of the good things life has to offer simply by being you.
- Respect your power. The things you say and do have power. We can’t take back the things we say or do. They remain. We can apologize, and we can hope for the best, but the things we do cannot be undone. So we have to act with respect. Respect to ourselves and who we want to be. And respect to what we want to accomplish.
- Respect others. We spend a lot of time calling attention to the wrong things when it comes to others. We question what they’re wearing. We question their intelligence. We find ways to make comparisons that are completely unnecessary (and probably detrimental) to our well-being or to theirs. We have to change our focus, move away from those comparative habits and learn to look at ourselves and others without judging.
We have to be able to live our lives happy without ourselves. It’s rare that we are comparing ourselves to others because we are secure ourselves. It’s important that we take the time to respect ourselves enough to know that we should be secure in who we are. We worthy just as we are. We are capable of whatever we want to accomplish. And we don’t have to worry with anyone else. It is time not well spent that we don’t get back. I used to be terrible about talking about people’s outfits or hair or mostly the things that they said or did that I could find a way to make fun of. It wasn’t because I was a happy person. It was because I liked knowing that they weren’t perfect either. That they shouldn’t be considered great, because I wasn’t considered great. But in reality, all that I was doing was wasting time. And I wasn’t wasting anyone’s time but mine. I wasn’t wasting anyone’s mind but mine. Instead of focusing on me, and letting the other stuff go, I failed to respect anyone, including myself and it just left me unhappy and unfulfilled.
We all can do great things. We all deserve great things. Life is worth our respect. We have to respect our time. We have to respect ourselves. We have absolutely nothing to gain by failing to respect ourselves, our power, and others. The sailor respects the sea, because it has the capacity to overwhelm their boat with barely a moment’s notice. Storms pop up out of nowhere, and it’s the same in life. We have to respect our life. That’s how we gain the knowledge we need to weather the storms that are thrown our way. So the next time you sing the song, remember, it’s truth. We all deserve respect, so we need to take the time to truly respect ourselves.
Today Jack and I went out to a farm to pick vegetables. I’ve never really seen a farm where they grew lots of vegetables before. I’ve been to a pumpkin patch, to go through a corn maze, but that’s pretty much it. While we were out there, despite the oppressive heat, I realized how peaceful it was. I looked around at all of the natural resources sitting right there at our fingertips.
The rows were mostly full – although the picking season is halfway through. It made me think about just how much we have at our fingertips. Things that are built-in for us to use whenever a need arises. We have the capacity to take from all the things we have innately within us and the things that exist all the way around us. Whether we need food, or we need a hand, someone to talk to, or we just need some time to think, it’s there, ready for use whenever we need it. We just have to take the time to look, to pay attention to what’s actually around us and what’s actually within us. We have to look at our instincts, find out what we are really looking at, and we can find a place of peace and hope and follow it using our natural resources.
I apologize for the shorter post today, but we’ve been out at the farm, and Jack has a busted – possibly broken nose and two black eyes to accompany it from running into a chair. So it’s been a bit of a day!
But always remember that the resources we need really are out there, sometimes it takes stopping, breathing, and just looking around to see them. Letting our instincts guide us to the resources we need. In New Zealand there is an indigenous tribe that a group of students from my school visited. The tribe members figured out how to mix together two different flowers as a cure for an illness that was affecting the tribe. A doctor who was traveling with the group asked one of the tribe’s women how many times of trial and error it took for them to figure out which two flowers would work. The woman said what do you mean? We listen to the plants and they tell us what we need to know. We asked for the cure and the flowers told us. It was really interesting to watch her talk about it. They talk about a connection to nature that doesn’t exist in the modern world. I wonder myself if they really hear the plants and bugs (she spoke about talking to a mosquito as well). And I don’t really know, but I do know there is a connection that we miss out on most of the time. Just looking out at the sky or the trees or the water, we can see there is beauty and there are moments of connection. We have resources at our hands. We just have to pay attention.