Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Archive for the ‘challenge’ Category

October 2, 2014 I love lists!!!

There’s a phrase I never thought I’d hear myself utter!

Truth be told, this is really a new love in my life. It began just shy of a year ago when I left the rat race and no longer had a fixed routine. Suddenly, I found myself needing structure, not only because it got me motivated, but because it gave me a sense of accomplishment to check a task off of one of my lists. I have several now, but one main list on which I keep track of daily and weekly chores as well as things I’m trying to accomplish over the course of time, and things I want to make part of my regular routine. For the most part, it works very well. However, one thing I didn’t count on was how much I like being away from people…a LOT! This makes things like regular gym visits very challenging, and forces me to look for alternative activities that I might actually stick to for more than two or three months.  So far, cleaning house, something I used to despise, seems to be filling some of that void.

I’m also learning, by following my lists, that it does me good to get out in the world more, as I seem to get things done better when I’m not a complete hermit. Take today for example. I had to be out of the house early to take one of my cats to the vet for a check up. By noon, I had not only been to the vet and returned, but I had emptied, cleaned and refilled both sand boxes, vacuumed the entire house (minus the ant room which I am still hesitant to enter) and scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom floors! All that, just because I got moving!

Lists: They’re not just for tasking any more!

Using lists isn’t just to keep track of what you have to do, though (and I’ll include packing lists in that category). They can also motivate in other ways. Take, for example, the gratitude list I always close my posts with. Can you really be unmotivated and miserable while counting your blessings? Lists are also good when you’re trying to make a decision. You can lists pros and cons, or things that inspire you…the possibilities, and lists, are endless!

Lists and graphics and charts, Oh, my!

Spending over 30 years playing with numbers, charts and spreadsheets does leave a mark on a person. Being no exception, my lists have evolved so that they are no longer simply checklists, but spreadsheets on which I can not only check things off, but quantify my actions. Once I have compiled enough data, I’ll be able to do some trend analysis as well. (OK, so maybe that is a bit over the top, but did I mention I love my lists?)

Something else I’ve discovered by keeping my lists, I sleep better at night! No, really! Think about it, especially the women out there. How many hours of sleep do you lose in a month because you’re making lists in your head instead of falling into a peaceful slumber? If you committed those lists to paper or computer screen, wouldn’t you rest easier? If a small amount of effort could cure your insomnia, wouldn’t you try it? C’mon! Be honest now! I challenge you to try listing for just a week or two, then report back to me via the comment section of this blog. I want to hear from you, whether or not keeping lists works for you, and if it does, I want to hear about your lists. What where they for? What did you keep track of? How did it make you feel to check things off or count your blessings or list the pros and cons of a decision you were trying to make?

But before I go off into a list bliss, I’ll close with my favorite list, my nightly gratitude list:
1. I am grateful for lists. They keep me focused and they remind me of what’s truly important.
2. I am grateful for the people who read my blog, especially when I hear that something I said inspired them.
3. I am grateful for all that I accomplished today, and the things I plan to do tomorrow.
4. I am grateful for forward progress on my copywriting class. Sometimes, it just takes a little motivation.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, harmony, motivation, inspiration, imagination, gratitude, faith, hope, health and prosperity…and of course, LISTS!!!

Namaste

September 15, 2014 I wrote, I edited…now what?

There was a time when I would write and write, keeping my precious babe safe within my own arms, and perhaps, those of a select few. That moment has passed.

So I wrote the first 50,000 words of the novel in less than 30 days. I wrote the next 18,000 words in the next couple of months, then spent about 6 months editing, fleshing out, and reworking the rough draft into about 98,000 words. Now what?

In truth, I took a few weeks off, visited my daughter a couple of times, read a number of books by some of my favorite authors, and just took time to breathe. But one can only sit and breathe for so long before it’s time to get back onto that superhighway we call life and make something amazing happen!

Movin’ on with a little help from my friends.

Very gently, I began soliciting readers who might give me constructive criticism, not so much on grammatical issues, but on content, flow and whether I have something going for me, or need to return to the drawing board. Slowly; possibly due to my own hesitancy about baring my baby’s soul; I found people who were willing to read and critique my work. But I think the real turning point has come in the last few days. First, I found a friend of my daughter’s who has been doing some editing and was willing to take on my “child”. But the real opportunity to get the heck out of my comfortable, safe, rejection-free mausoleum came tonight when I finally bit the bullet and attended a Read and Critique with a local writer’s group. They had some great advice while refraining from ripping the whole first chapter to shreds. I also got a taste of what each of them was working on, and definitely felt like the new kid on the block! But as I tell new dancers, we were all beginners once! One lady offered to read the first three chapters and be brutal, if need be, which, right now, I really do need!

As I know that this is the right direction for me to take at this point, I’ve already RSVP’d for next week’s session, and am going to block it out on my calendar for awhile. This is a group of people who were once where I am, and who are encouraging not only the experienced, published writers, but those like me who are just starting out. Not that I haven’t written for most of my life, but until my blog, the bulk of it was for my eyes only.

Fledglings must learn to fly, and the first step is usually pretty frightening!

I know that if I’m really going to make a go of this massive career change, I have to leave the nest, the comfort zone behind, gather my courage, leave my ego, and just take those first stumbling steps which will ultimately send me airborne! Surprisingly, it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I’d suspected, sharing even a small piece of my “baby” with strangers. I realized that they’re not out to smother her or my desire to write, but to help me make her stronger, better and above all, more marketable. I’m sure they’ve all certainly made their share of false starts, and are willing to share what they’ve learned with others. Heck, I may even learn that I’ve categorized it incorrectly, and that will also be helpful. I will be the first to admit that there’s far more about the publishing industry that I don’t know than that I do. (Although I did get a very nice complement about my editing skills). Now, I have the opportunity to learn what works, what doesn’t, how to find a publisher for my particular type of work, and who knows what else?

If it sounds like I’m very excited about this next phase, I admit, I am. But I’ll also have to admit that I’m very pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t sure what to expect tonight, but it was an excellent beginning to a new learning experience. Even better, at least three of the people who where there have published, and I will be able to read what they’ve written and sold! How great is that?

Even more amazing than my experience tonight is that I managed to stay on topic for quite a long spell before the ADHD kicked in. It does happen occasionally, when I’m really excited about something. The hyperactive energy is channeled into my excitement, I guess.

As one thing led to another, I mentioned that I was an Empath, because it was an explanation as to why a particular piece resonated with me. Speaking with the author of the piece afterwards, she revealed that she, too, is an Empath, and asked me what I’m doing with it. I had to admit that my one foray into healing wasn’t entirely successful (though it did give me the courage to quit doing work that was sucking me dry in favor of work I loved, even if it wasn’t fiscally responsible in the short term). I realize that the place, the time and the question were put before me intentionally, and will end up devoting considerable to finding a better answer to the question, even if it means leaving my comfort zone in yet another direction.

Both information from my daily Tarot readings and just gut feelings lately have indicated rapid and massive changes. I think what I’m seeing right now is just the tip of the iceberg as to what those changes will be and more, where they’ll be taking me. If only my memory and my fingers can keep up with my imagination. In fact, I’ve already decided to do the NaNoWriMo challenge again in November!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for opportunities which turn out even better than I would have imagined.
2. I am grateful for successful people who are willing to help others find that success.
3. I am grateful for new learning experiences.
4. I am grateful to have found people to edit my first work.
5. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, love, motivation, imagination, guidance, hope, health, harmony, peace, meaningful work and prosperity.

Namaste

September 2, 2014 Love those recurring lessons

Face challenge, learn lesson, move on. Repeat as necessary.

From time to time, the Universe “encourages” me to repeat a lesson when I don’t show evidence of having taken that lesson into my soul. Often, the repeated lessons come courtesy of someone else, and frequently, it is by example.

Today, I was presented with three previous lessons in one. The first, trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt, until they give you reason to do otherwise. The second: trust your instincts even when you can’t find concrete proof that you’re right. And the third, and maybe most important as I recently allowed myself to forget it: Don’t get involved in other peoples’ battles, especially if you don’t know both sides of the issue well, and have a right to make a judgement. Even then, Stay the hell out of the middle!

Several months ago, I was forced to set some pretty drastic boundaries for the sake of myself and my immediate family. Thankfully, those boundaries seemed to have done the trick…until today. I received a comment that seemed benign at first, but there was something vaguely familiar and disturbing about the second part…but I gave the poster the benefit of the doubt as I was unable to find evidence of the previous experience.

On the one hand, I feel I did the right thing by giving the benefit of the doubt, but as the dialogue continued, it became clear that my first instinct was not to be ignored. Clearly, some people’s lives are very narrow, and, I don’t know, maybe loneliness causes them to take up the sword for other people, even those they barely know. I am often inspired by people who face challenges in their lives I can’t even imagine, yet are able to rise above them and actually do the world some good. Unfortunately, a lot of us are not able to rise above our own pain and misery (and in all honesty, I can’t say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could, if faced with the challenges some of these people face), and seek some kind of outlet.

For some, the outlet is to just crawl into ourselves and close the world off entirely. For others, it might be to act as an advocate for others. But some just use it as an excuse to start fights and breed hate wherever they go. If they can’t find a cause of their own, they’ll adopt someone else’s, in fact, anyone else’s. I could go all goody-goody here and say that I give them tons of compassion and send them love and light, but the fact is, when their target is me or mine, the best I can do is to refuse their invitation.

There comes a time when the best thing to do is build a better boundary.

I may not have learned everything perfectly, and I certainly still let myself get sucked into someone else’s drama on occasion (but I’m working on that!). The one thing I have learned, though, is that when someone finds it necessary to repeatedly attack with no valid reason for doing so, and in spite of previously established boundaries, it is simply an indication that I need to re-establish my boundaries with a bit more strength.

One who engages the irrational is also likely to try to teach a pig to sing…with much the same results.

It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of lessons, but I’ve finally learned that yelling back (literally or figuratively) at someone who isn’t rational never ends well for either side. While I can’t do anything about the choices others make, I can choose not to lower myself to the level of a mindless robot who goes on the offensive just because someone told them to. What I can do is to try to learn from their actions as I’m going on about my business.

I’ve heard it said that if you find someone else’s behavior offensive, it’s because it is a mirror into something you need to work on in yourself. So I am grateful for these reminders, and truly do take them to heart. Every time I have an experience which raises unpleasant feelings within myself, I know it’s time to do some soul searching. Everyone truly is put into our lives for a reason, even if it is only to show us where we need to make improvements in ourselves.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for those people who remind me of flaws I have not finished fixing.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to show that I have actually learned and retained some of my lessons.
3. I am grateful that I feel no need to try to make others miserable when the better choice is to make myself and others happy.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to be a better me.
5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, challenges, opportunities, kindness, health, happiness, joy, beauty, love, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Namaste

July 25, 2013 The challenge of remaining positive

Did
you know that the slightest form of negativity can instantly sabotage a
conversation? If you grumble about the weather or slightly frown when a
colleague says something displeasing, stress neurochemicals are
released in both the speaker’s AND listener’s brain.

A friend posted this today and I have to say that the article, which is quite a bit longer than what I’ve shared here, really resonated with me.  Thinking about it, it makes a whole lot of sense.  I can definitely feel the draw downward on the Laws of Attraction continuum when I so much as think  a complaining thought about someone or something.

So what do we do about it?  How do we set an intention to keep our thoughts as positive as possible?  How do we keep from draining our own batteries with negativity?

Here are some possibilities:
1. When you feel a complaint bubbling up inside of you, immediately think of something you appreciate about that person or situation.  (it’s impossible for your brain to hold both a positive and a negative thought at the same time!)
2. Make a point of thinking about at least one gratitude per hour.
3. Catch yourself mid-complaint and ask “will this really matter in five years?”
4. Instead of voicing the complaint, make the biggest pouty face you can, then, once you’ve stopped giggling, release the complaint without voicing it (if you can even still remember what it was!).
5. Whenever you are in the bathroom (or any place else that has a mirror or mirror-like surface), look yourself in the mirror and say “I’m beautiful, sexy and delicious!”
6. Perform random acts of kindness.
7. Engage in random acts of silliness.
8. Give someone a hug, just because.
9. Gather “positivity buddies” around you to help each other remember to keep thoughts, words and deeds positive.
10. Give lots of compliments and praise.

 11. Sing along with the radio.
12. Dance to the music in the stores where you shop.
13. Actively seek out the humor in every situation.
14.  Laugh or smile for no reason.
15. Throw imaginary heart shaped confetti at anyone or anything which threatens your positive outlook.

And wouldn’t you know, because I started this train of thought today, someone would throw something in my way that required me to stop my spew of negativity mid-stride (though not as quickly as I would have liked!)  The Universe just loves to show me how far I have to go, and leaves it to me to recognize how far I have come!  But in the end, I found the solution, and will calmly express my disappointment in the behavior to the appropriate parties and let go of the situation.  Once again, it isn’t what people do that matters, but how we react to what they do.  In this case, turning my attention to the wonderful people around me, the happy, dancing energy and new connections defused the negative energy.  (not to mention, the song we needed on my phone which was easily connected to the dj equipment and used temporarily until it can be replaced in their system with a little help from their friends!)

I also realized that people stoop to petty, childish behavior when they think they need to control something that doesn’t need controlling.  It is probably an indication of how out of control their own life is.  This is the same behavior that leads some to eating disorders or alcoholism, and the best I can do for them is to send love and light, but disengage my own emotions from the situation.  And so it shall be.

I look forward to hearing how other people maintain or restore their natural, positive energy amidst life’s challenges.  We can all learn from each other (like number 15 which I borrowed from a friend, and have used extensively ever since!).

As I’m learning since posting this blog more publicly, the life lessons I’ve learned may be helpful to someone else, and the lessons someone else has learned may be helpful to me.  What better way to share positive energy than to offer each other examples of how we met and overcame life’s challenges?

So here’s another one for you.  Let’s get out there and engage in random acts of sharing!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for dancing which never fails to center and ground me.
2. I am grateful for the loving inspiring, spiritual beings who are continuing to come into my life and enrich it beyond anything I could have imagined.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to expand myself and my abilities to help others.
4. I am grateful for information that comes to me exactly when I need it and am ready for it.
5. I am grateful for unconditional love.

Love and light.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: