I am trying meditation again. I’ve lasted three days. I know that when I start my day with meditation, create an intention, and live my day with that intention, I am much happier. I am clearer on my purpose. I am able to choose how my day will go.
For example, this morning I woke up from a dream where I kept entering different classrooms trying to find my son, Nick. He was only 9 or so, but I could never catch up to him. I woke up sad and missing him.
Then I listened to Tom Evans’ Ten Minutes of Mindfulness on the Insight Timer app. He noted that our brains are always giving and receiving. If I’m talking, then I’m not listening. If my mind if filled with sadness, then I’m not receiving whatever it is that I want to receive. So I opened my mind and asked, What did I want to receive?
Joy, Love, Laughter, a wonderful day.
What would that look like and how did it involve my purpose?
Writing and sharing hope to anyone who is in need and open to receive. It’s as simple as that, but oh so hard.
Instead of sadness, I choose joy. Joy as I remember my beautiful son, Joy as I am in the moment with my other son, happiness that I get to sit at my desk and do what I love–write.
When I receive openly, then I have more to give. Love, compassion, my gift of writing.
That sadness has been lifted. If it settles back, I will remind myself of my intention and know they are thoughts that I can change. If I hadn’t sat down to meditate and write from that meditation, my day may be starting quite differently.
What are you open to receive today and what are you open to give? Write it down and make it so.
It’s the people who are placed in our lives that lift us up when we are at our deepest lows, who we know will support us when we need them most or celebrate when life is wonderful. The power of people is to bring out our personal resilience. That sense of community and connections is what gives us the strength to keep going. Those connections that come across our path at the right time for the right purpose.
Who are the people who stitch you together?
Who do you have late night conversations with or share a cup of tea or coffee?
What songs or lyrics bring you strength, push you through, lift you up?
What are some quotes that speak to your soul, flutter your heart.
Poems that give you chills.
Books that have transformed your life or made you laugh out loud with joy?
Take scraps of paper and write them down on separate pieces. Then stitch them together in your journal or keep them in a jar to pull one out when needed most. This is what counts, what lifts us up, and are reminders of our resilience.
Over the last few months and really the last three years, I have planted multiple seeds that I have wanted to grow for a very long time. Sometimes life throws us too much rain or tsunamis or earthquakes that force us to abandon our blooms for a bit. But once it happens, it’s very important to slow down and enjoy what you have worked so hard to grow.
In addition to being clear on what I want to grow, I have added daily intentions that I foster throughout the day to nourish my seeds. If you’d like some journaling techniques on growing your purpose, check out my previous blog titled: What is Blooming for You? On day 10, my intention was Slow Down and Enjoy the Bloom. The week had been hectic and a few times I wanted to skip the intention process, finish one project, and jump into the next. There’s so much I want to bloom that I tend to rush. This intention process is showing me that I take on too much and don’t stop to appreciate the results of my hard work and nurturing.
I met with my beta readers and my third manuscript in three years is heading toward the publishing process. It won’t be until the end of 2019, but because I have nurtured this dream, it is growing faster and more vibrant every year. I’m excited and grateful. It’s not done yet, but I slowed down, enjoyed talking with the students who will read the book, and learned from them.
What I love about these intentional words or phrases is that they are like rays of sunshine that remind me throughout the day what I want to focus on. Over the weekend it was Unselfish Me Time, which influenced my decision to get up early, journal to my boys, read, and enjoy the quiet time. This allows me to rejuvenate so that I can give to others and be fully present with my family when they arrived. On Easter Sunday, it was Family Love. It was quiet, but precious in that I spent valuable and quality time with my son and husband.
Throughout the day, I’ll check in so that I stay on track or write through any rough spots. My journal is my ‘pause place.’ I can take a break and reconnect with my purpose. At the end of the day, I take a couple minutes and write about my intention, my growth, whether the intention worked or didn’t. Why and what I can do differently tomorrow.
Use your journal as your personal guidance system. You’ll be amazed at how self-aware you become and you’ll foster your own ability to recharge, reconnect, and nurture yourself.
As the world outside comes back to life, the birds sing once again, and the sunshine sheds its light on the goodness around us, we know that hope is blooming.
–What is blooming for you? It could literally be flowers and vegetables, but it could also be something inside you that you want to grow. Or a project that you want to build. A change that has been bubbling all winter that you are ready to manifest. Maybe it’s within something you have no control over, but have to accept it into your life. If you aren’t sure, writing about possibilities will help the ideas take root.
–Once you know what you want to grow, get specific. Here are some suggestions:
Job stability or a new one–going back to school, getting a promotion, changing careers, retirement or what to do now that you have retired.
Simplicity–downsizing, decluttering, slowing down, spending time with who and what matters.
–In spring we often view rain as a hindrance to our ability to enjoy ourselves or the outside world. Rain is needed to nourish the earth so that flowers can grow, trees can bloom, birds can find worms to eat. Without the rain nothing would grow. April showers do bring May flowers, but we have to find the goodness in the dark clouds or setbacks that may affect what we want to grow.
–What do you see as rain in your life? What is the negative that you feel is preventing the growth, that you might have seen as a hindrance, but actually can help you bloom and nourish what you planted?
–What positive sunlight can you cast on your seeds to help them grow?
–What can you do to nourish yourself and what you are blooming?
–Shifting your perspective to seeing the good in very situation will make the harder parts of growth and change a bit easier.
–Once those seeds sprout and you are growing what you planted, how will you feel? –What will it change or affect in your life?
–What does it look like? Describe it like you would a flower or plant.
Create a visual. It could be flowers with what you want to grow in the petals or a garden with the seeds noting what you want to bloom. It can be a quick reminder and motivator in our daily path to grow, heal, and become more aware of who we are. Writing in your journal helps to translate what you want on the page into your life.
Write about the process of what you are growing. Every moment of our growth or transition into spring, into change, into something different whether we want it or not needs to be a gentle movement. The more we ease into the moment, the easier the transition, the more we are aware of our intention and our potential.
I’ve been listening to Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming. She mentions how her best friend, Kevin, swerved from his path of becoming a doctor so he could be a team mascot. He enjoyed his time doing that and then became a doctor. This whole section has made me pause and ponder whether I ever swerved in my life. The other question that has been plaguing me is what it a Swerve and was it a necessary part of his path to make Kevin a doctor?
Michelle went straight to law school partly because of the applause she received from people when she told them of her career plans. She admitted that she has a need for approval and is a people pleaser. But she wasn’t happy. Maybe her Swerve was finding a fulfilling job that balanced her career and family life.
From the first time someone mentioned they wanted to be a lawyer when I was in high school, I chose that field. Instead of writing or being an English teacher, I majored in Political Science and History. The pride my family felt in me kept me on this path. I did change my major to English with a minor in Political Science during my undergrad years, but I went so far as to visit law schools and take the LSAT’s. But I wasn’t excited about it anymore. I was filled with worry when I told my mother I didn’t want to be a lawyer. She was fine with it, and so I continued on to get my master’s in English Literature.
I met my husband when I was 22 and was married at age 24. Had my first child at age 29. My second at age 31. Before children, I worked as a receptionist then at a bank in the facilities department. When I had my first son, Nick, I was determined to be at home to raise my children. I kept on a traditional path, but did I swerve?
I did and still write books. That’s my passion, my purpose. I don’t think it’s a Swerve.
What does it mean to Swerve? Is it doing something that you have always been afraid to do or is it trying something untraditional or outlandish or crazy? And who decides if it is crazy?
These questions have been plaguing me for myself and also for my son, Stephen. He is getting ready to graduate college. He will get a job, hopefully be able to support himself, and enjoy what he is doing. But what if he wants to Swerve? What would it be? I almost want to encourage him to Swerve. Take that year off and travel the world. Ride a motorcycle across the country. Move to another state and see what it’s like.
To me a Swerve is a calling that keeps beckoning you to do something that makes you feel alive, pushes you out of your comfort zone, and shocks even you. Who says your path has to be straight? Why not curve with a Swerve and venture into something or somewhere that you never thought you would?
So my big question is: What is my Swerve? What is calling me? Am I brave enough to take the chance? Is it that important? Well, yes it is, because I can’t get it out of my mind.
What about you? What is your Swerve? What have you wanted to do that you have stomped down because it’s not acceptable or timely or a financially sound decision?
Please share what Swerving means to you. I need some answers!
This morning I received an email to update my accounting software information. I clicked on my browser and FaceBook photos jumped out at me. I had to respond by clicking hearts, adding emojis, and typing comments. 30 minutes later, I couldn’t remember why I had gone to my browser. I bounced back to email only to see the reminder again to update my account.
Being present is so much more than being mindful of what you are doing in this exact moment. If I’m being perfectly present, I am aware of my fingers tapping over my keys, the blog post I’m writing, Zoey licking her chops behind me. But then I wonder why Zoey is licking her chops and crying. I’m completely distracted.
OK, I’m back. Zoey wanted a drink of water. Sarah just texted me. I responded. Now I’m back to being completely present with my post. I didn’t have to respond immediately to the text, but I heard the dinging, and it’s like I’m Pavlov’s dog and can’t think of anything else until I have answered. I multitask all day long thinking I’m being more productive and attentive.
But I bounce around so much, I’m not aware of what I’m doing, and my heart rate is rising because I have multiple balls in the air. I’m afraid I’m going to drop one and it will fall through the cracks.
Being present, which means mindfully being present right where you are and with what you are doing, turns off the sympathetic nerve or that fight or flight reaction you get when you have too many activities/stressors/fears happening at once. It doesn’t have to be a life or death situation for our body to think we are in danger. It can be bouncing back and forth between answering a text, responding to FaceBook, and hitting a deadline.
Every moment of our lives is magical, precious, and deserves our undivided attention. If I concentrate on what’s in front of me as if it’s in the palm of my hand and nothing else matters, I feel a sense of calmness and attention that I don’t have when I’m scattered in 2, 3, or 4 different places.
It’s a practice, and there are more times in my day that I’m jumping through the air saving falling babies, throwing in one more load of laundry, having a tea/coffee break with the hubby, and imagining the world of Dragonia all at the same time! When I’m in the moment right here, right now, I’m safe, clear in my purpose, and present.
Challenge yourself to be completely attentive to what you are doing or who you are talking to. Note the difference in your memory, your mind’s clarity, physical body, and productivity. Create your intention and be in that moment. Sometimes that’s all we can do, and it makes the biggest difference.
I am taking a course on Insight Timer app called The Art of Timefulness: Transform the Way you Manage Time by Tom Evans. Day one focused on breath, day two on relaxation, and today was about procrastination. During this meditation, he asked us to focus on fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of success, and fear of being magnificent.
By identifying these fears, we can remove them and replace with unconditional love. Through this we learn what our purpose is and speak our truth.
I connected most with being magnificent and letting my light shine as I call it. I don’t necessarily fear the unknown. I most certainly fear failure and this has stopped me from trying activities or business ventures. I fear failure with building my publishing company, I fear ridicule when I publish a book and worry whether people will enjoy it. Will it impact their lives? Will they want to read the next one?
I fear success, because then the bar has risen, and I fear that I can’t live up to what is expected.
But what I fear the most is sharing my light, my magnificence in the truest form I know. Imagine being completely yourself, sharing who you are without pretense, opening yourself to vulnerability–and being rejected.
That could stop anyone from being magnificent.
But if I do what I am meant to do from the purest part of who I am, which is to share hope through writing and empower others to create hope, how can I fail? And if someone thinks I write crap or isn’t affected by my words or doesn’t enjoy my stories, it’s not personal to me, it is just who and where they are in their life.
When I think of being magnificent in this way, it’s freeing, uplifting, and empowering.
So today I’m going to be magnificent in whatever I do. I’m going to be myself, share my truth, and hope that others can do the same.
Knowing ourselves is the first step to being magnificent. Journal your way to magnificence:
Answer these questions for each (unknown, failure, ridiculed, success, magnificence)
What do you fear about . . .
Write about a time when you faced . . .
What did you learn?
What is standing in the way of your magnificence?
What would being magnificent look like to you?
Once you answer these questions, create a mantra for your day, week or month or use the one I created. I highly recommend Tom Evans’ class and the free meditations on Insight Timer.
My week of Creating Space was a lesson in learning what is attainable! There were many positives like following a tight schedule and getting more done than I think I would have, but the stressful part was attempting to get it all done when life steps in.
In addition, I had this huge goal of finishing my novel to get it to the printer. That definitely ate up a lot of my time, but was part of a my business plan.
My Create Space project needed to be broken down into four phases that I will schedule for the rest of this month.
Phase One–Declutter & Clean–Go through each room and get rid of what I didn’t like, need or use. This involves removing everything, checking for doubles like having 6 wooden spoons in my kitchen drawer and 100 pens!
Handle it once. Give it away, donate it, or sell it. Right now some boxes are still in my dining room, so that is on the to do list. Cleaning each room as I went through helped to break up the monotony and emotional struggle of decluttering. All my windows have been washed, which felt good.
I didn’t finish any particular room completely. So in the future, I would declutter and clean each room as a specific goal. For example, take two days to declutter my bedroom, closet, and bathroom. Then detail clean if needed. Then that room is complete.
Phase Two–Files and Binders–This should really be first for me, because part of the reason why I took on this project was to clean my office, clear my files and teaching binders, so they were organized and the lesson plans and handouts were easily accessible.
This phase will take a full week, and I will specifically break down this goal for the week of July 23.
Phase Three–Index Journals–This is more about creating accessible history and finding entries easily. I only started indexing my journals two years ago, so I have years of journals that aren’t titled or indexed. Part of this plan is to do just that.
In addition, I currently write a separate journal to my sons, but I had previous entries mixed in with my personal journals. I managed to mark those. I will make this a project to transcribe them into separate journals. I only have a few, so this might be a winter goal.
Phase Four–Digital Decluttering and Organizing–The best way to avoid this is to go through my photos and files and get rid of what doesn’t work each month! I was great about this when I first got my Mac, but five years later I’m overloaded! I did manage to create some space, but it’s disorganized. I get very frustrated when I can’t find a file or photo. I am uploading my files and photos to Google and am doing it in what I think is an organized manner.
I need a week to do this right. I haven’t set a goal for this yet, but since my computer is vital to my job, it has to be done in the next couple of weeks.
I also made a list of what I needed to replace or never purchased–like curtains in my bedroom and now my office.
But back to my main reason for creating space–building an efficient and effective business. Next week I will focus on my files and binders. Then I will have the space to create my book promotion for Saving Atlantis, which will be published this fall.
Here is what I managed to finish:
Was my Create Space plan SMART?
Specific–I was very specific in what I wanted to get done and what I would do each day. That helped me to be extremely productive.
Measurable–Crossing items off my list never felt so satisfying, even though part of me was bummed for not getting everything done.
Attainable–I have to put half of what I want to get done in my calendar, because it always takes so much longer. I have a tendency to add in too much work. But at least I have a guideline to follow and know what needs to get done.
Realistic–Not in one week! Another is Relevant–I should have stuck to the ultimate reason I wanted to do this–for my business and I probably could have had my office done.
Time-based–I will break down the rest of my Create Space into longer time periods.
The most important part of my week was that I made time to take care of myself. When I chose to exercise or be with my family, I truly enjoyed those moments. I was mindful of my decisions.
Thank you to everyone who encouraged me online and in person. You held me accountable and gave great advice!
What is your goal and how are you going to achieve it? Start today!
Full disclosure. I did not venture into the closets today. My morning began in the usual fashion. I was almost finished with the edits that my fantastic proofreaders found in Saving Atlantis. I had to get it done. Then self-care could not be ignored, so I went to Lynn’s wonderful Baptiste class. I was with Karen, one of the proofreaders, and I had some questions about her comments. We discussed it over refreshments at Uncommon Grounds.
I came home, finished the edits. The 10th draft is looming over my head. Time to reread the manuscript. Then I filled out an application for the Albany Book Festival in September, which is important for my business.
By that time, Stephen came home, and we watched the end of the World Cup Soccer semi-finals. I won’t go into my disappointment that England lost.
I had promised Luke I would go on a date with him to a car show. We rode our motorcycles, talked to Camaro enthusiasts, and ate dinner. We saw our friend’s new motorcycle–Fat Bob and of course had to go over every detail! I walked the dogs and now it’s 9:30pm.
I thought about the closets and feel like they aren’t a high priority, but they are on the list. What to do? I could berate myself for falling off the create space wagon or I can give myself a break and start over tomorrow.
I still have editing to do and tomorrow is cleaning bathroom cabinets, indexing my journals, and transferring personal files to storage to create that essential space on my computer. I’m falling behind, but I did leave some time on Saturday to make up for whatever I didn’t get done.
Even though I didn’t do what was scheduled, I had a great day. I want to share a book I’m reading about having less to make room for what matters. It’s called The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. She doesn’t necessarily give you a guidebook on how to live with less and be happier. It’s more of a memoir on why she decided to put restrictions on her purchasing and how living simply helped her mentally and physically.
I’m not quite finished, so the rest of the evening will be filled searching for inspiration in a book!
I woke up this morning with a renewed clarity for my business. It stemmed from the goal tracking I’ve been working on for the last couple months for myself and my journal workshops.
Last month in journaling class, we worked on specific goals. This included what accomplishing that goal would mean to us, why we were doing it, what was standing in our way, and what detailed steps were needed to achieve this goal. Of course a deadline was included. The goals ranged from self-care, losing weight, writing a book, and planning a trip.
I did this for general self-care, which included journaling, lowering or eliminating gluten and dairy, as well as increasing exercise, and meditation. It’s still a work in progress, but I have been tracking it and journaling how I feel physically and mentally.
However, I also wanted to Create Space in my personal life (home) and my business (office). I have written many times about having too many balls in the air. I have recently tossed some to others or to the side. As a result, I have chaos throughout my workspace and home.
Over the last couple weeks, I identified what I wanted to accomplish–clearing specific rooms, cleaning them, throwing away clutter, and organizing papers and files. What stood in my way was time, the sheer enormity of the project, fear, and still having to work.
I broke it down into clearcut areas. I rearranged my schedule to take this week off (so if you don’t hear from me, you know why). Each morning I am committed to editing my book, because that is still on a deadline.
I want to do this, because my goal is to have a successful publishing/writing business and a healthy and empowering personal life with less stress from the mess!
I’ll journal about the process each day and what clearing this space means to me and why fear comes up. I think it’s because once this is done nothing is standing in my way, so the fear of failure looms, but lets see what happens!
I have my support group and scheduled yoga and walks mixed in to keep me centered and sane.
Each part of this process is broken into specific daily steps. Today’s goal: J9’s office space!
Keeping it positive, light, and bright are essential for getting the work done. Daily mantras will be huge!
I’ll circle around each night to let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!