Monday, January 2, 2012

Love the Rock

One of the many perks of my current freelance job is that I get to spend a lot of time online, connecting with other bloggers.  One of the newest additions to the blog tour event I'm organizing Teresa, has posted about 7 suggestions for 2012.  By far, my favorite is #2.

"Remember if you can't change the situation change your attitude.  If you're tied to a rock, learn to love the rock.  Let the situation change you."

I had this image in my head of myself hugging a rock, though a chain bound us together, loving the rock as if I'd chosen to be bound to it.    While many of the things we are bound to are results of our own choices, sometimes we are bound to things because of the choices of others, or circumstances beyond our control.

I LOVE freedom.  I love to have no ties that bind, no anchors, no chains holding me back, all the analogies you can think of, I'm sure they apply to me.  And when I do sense something weighing me down, I tend to fight it, wriggling like a worm on a hook to get out of the situation and be free once more.  But sometimes, the things that "weigh us down," whether it be a loved one, a job, a health concern, a living situation, financial lack, whatever it may be... have purpose in our lives.  These things are there to teach us patience, perseverance, wisdom, to strengthen us and prepare us for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

So I am trying to see the "rocks" of my life as blessings.  How can I grow from this?  How is this rock helping to change me into the person God wants me to be?  When I see the rock as a blessing in disguise, I love it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Look Back, Look Forward

Well, it is New Year's Day, 2 am to be exact.  The evening did not go exactly as I had originally planned, but I ended up having the perfect, lovely evening with family and friends.  I have been aching to get some time out in nature or to just be alone and meditate, really soak in the events, opportunities, and challenges of this year and think about what I'd like to change.  Unfortunately between work and um... other things (Harry Potter marathon, totally necessary) I haven't been able to do that.  I had this long list of things I wanted to wrap up today, in order to start the new year with a clean slate.  Somehow I managed to get most of it done and still enjoy the evening.  And since I am still wide awake, I'll take the time now to look back, and look forward.

Looking back: This year brought me lots of adventures: concerts, the circus, 3 months in Australia, 3 new jobs, a ton of new friends... it also brought me lots of challenges: money issues, health issues, relationship issues.  But looking back I can see how each of those things shaped me and made me into the person I am tonight, right now.  I have learned so much this year- new ways of thinking that I know will help me progress, new insights to myself, recognizing more of my strengths and weaknesses.  I feel so blessed tonight, looking back over the past 365 days, but there are still many things I want to change- new things to see and do, new people to meet, and new ways to become a little more the woman God wants me to be.  So what do I want to see, do, and try this new year?

I want to invest in my health more-time, money, energy, whatever it takes for me to be truly healthy and happy.  I want to invest in my dreams more- write, paint, create anything and everything I can, and not let feelings of fear, doubt, and negativity hold me back.  I want to use my talents and gifts to help those around me, enrich their lives, uplift people, and make the world a more beautiful place.  I want to build upon the skills I developed this past year, fine tune the basic good habits that give me strength and peace.  And last but not least, I want to have more courage- courage to open my heart to people, courage to try new things, courage to fail sometimes, courage to be myself, courage to rise to any challenge that may arise.

I am reminded tonight of "Up," an incredibly touching and beautiful movie (if you haven't seen it yet, please do!)  In the movie, 78 year old widower Carl Fredricksen finally embarks on an adventure he's been wanting to take his whole life.  He spends a lot of time looking back over his life- meeting the little girl he would later fall in love with, building a life together, living through disappointments and joys, losing her.  He goes on an amazing adventure with tagalong boyscout Russell, and comes to realize that though one phase of his life is over, he still has many more adventures ahead of him.  At one point he has to empty things from his house so that he can continue to travel, which reminds me of an analogy from Amy Parmenter, who says that when we are making transitions or seeking to change our lives, we need to look at it as embarking on a journey.  We need to "pack a suitcase," carefully considering what supplies (attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, habits) will help us, and what will weigh us down and hold us back.  And then we need to consider what supplies we don't have that we should have to help us on our journey, and focus on acquiring them.

What are you unpacking at the end of this crazy year?  And what new things will you choose to take with you into 2012?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Love the Questions

I have been wanting to write a new post for awhile now... something about Christmas, something about the New Year, something about family and friends and all of the things I've been learning lately.  But I have been so busy and had so much on my mind lately that it's been hard for me to organize my thoughts.  
Much of what has been on my mind involves questions about the future- relationships, work, finances, plans... so much to think about.  And we are impatient people.  We like to know now what is going to come of something, where to focus our efforts.  We don't want to go down a road that will end up in us being hurt, or disappointed.  But sometimes we have to let go of the urge to figure things out and just embrace the uncertainty of this adventure called life.  We have to stop worrying about which path we are taking, and focus instead on enjoying the journey.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves ...
Don't search for the answers,
which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.

rainer maria rilke

Saturday, December 17, 2011


This has been one of the things on my dorky dailies list for the month of December, but I am way behind.  Or at least, that's what I thought.  Today I read an ebook by Amy Parmenter called "Know Where To Go."  It's a short book about making changes to have a more fulfilling and happy life.  She shares six steps to make positive change in your life:
1- Consciousness- you have to come to a realization of who you are and how you got here
2- Reflect- take a long hard look at yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, needs, desires, faiths, and fears
3- Emote- focus on how you feel about who you are individual aspects of your life
4- Aspire- with a fresh perspective, make your mind and heart open to new possibilities
5- Try- make goals to try instead of to achieve, it's far more enjoyable and less intimidating
6- Emerge- move forward with direction, a positive attitude, and confidence
She ended by stating that her father is an artist, and that she had always bemoaned the fact that she didn't have a creative bone in her body.  Like her, I applied the word "creative" to art, music, etc.  But creativity is simply the ability to create new ideas, and that can apply to every area of our lives.  It wasn't until she pointed it out that I realized the first letter in each the six steps spell out the word CREATE.  May we each use our God-given creativity to create a beautiful, fulfilling life!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Make More New Friends

Last time I wrote about this topic it was something I really struggled with.  I mean, full-blown anxiety struggled with.  And while meeting new people and turning them into friends is still a challenge, I realize that I have grown a lot in this regard since my post 10 months ago.  Good thing, huh?  I mean, that is the whole idea of this blog- to make personal progress.  I feel pretty rich in the friend department right now, and while some of that is due to my own efforts, a lot of it has come by Divine intervention.  
A couple weeks ago I started a new job, organizing a blog tour for a Christian author.  At the time I had never even heard of a blog tour.  But now I am contacting new people every day and trying to connect with each of them on a personal level.  It was slow going at first, but now a few days into it I have met some of the most beautiful people and feel like this whole new world of friends has opened up to me.
I love those moments where we can see God's hand in our lives, bringing opportunities that help us learn and grow and people who will inspire us to become our best selves.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~Albert Schweitzer

Monday, December 12, 2011

Talk on the Phone

I... hate... talking on the phone.  Through text or email you can think about what you're going to say.  In person you can read someone's facial expressions and body language.  When you're talking to someone on the phone, you've got nothin' but your words and theirs to convey thought, feeling, expression, and concept.  Not cool.
Nevertheless, sometimes we must communicate through this method, and i am trying to accept that.  Tonight I talked to someone I'd been meaning to call for two weeks... and it was lovely.
I don't know why I work myself up about these things because despite occasional pauses or stuttering, my conversations usually go pretty well, sometimes dazzlingly well.  And yet...
So I did a little research tonight.  Turns out that people who talk on the phone regularly are usually better at socializing in general.  (Hm... another problem of mine.)  I also found some dorky fun tips for talking on the phone:
1.) before you call, think about what you want to say/ask.  (Duh.  But if you are like me, you may spend too much time thinking about it and psych yourself out.  Don't do that.)
2.) try to relax (you mean, don't get hopped up on Redbull and pixie stix?  Oh... that's what I've been doing wrong.)
3.) get into a conversation (gee, why didn't I think of that?)
4.) be honest (no problem there, I am usually TOO honest.)
5.)  (Ready... this is my favorite...) If there is an awkward pause, say "Can you hang on a sec?" and pretend like you are stepping away to do something until you think of something to pick up the conversation again with.  (That. is. brilliant.)
And so, people in my life, I am trying to overcome my phone aversion to improve my relationships with you.  Because I love you.  I love you so much, I will even talk to you on the phone.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Follow Your Heart

I always have a lot going on in my mind, but lately it has been especially crazy.  I've been seeking others' advice, people I love, trust, and admire.  But at some point you have to stop asking other people what you should do and listen to your own thoughts.  A good friend of mine once told me he admired me because I know who I am and what I want.  This is wonderful, but it doesn't necessarily mean life will be simpler for me.  Just because I know who I am doesn't mean I don't want to change things about myself.  And just because I know what I want doesn't mean I know how to get it, or if I'm even meant to have it.
Everyone has dreams that never come true, a career path they don't follow, a place they never go, people they never meet, talents they never develop, things that they want, big or small, that they will never get.  But at the same time, God is placing new people, places, events, opportunities, and learning experiences in our path on a daily basis.  Who knows what will happen if we can follow our hearts and seize these moments?

Your time is limited, so dont waste it living someone elses life. Dont be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other peoples thinking. Dont let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. - Steve Jobs