Embrace Change

embrace change

I’ve been randomly picking daily passages from Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing your Soul. It’s a different way to meditate to begin my day. I pick a passage, read it, then write about it in my journal.

Today’s was September 22 and the message was to Embrace Change.

Just as seasons change, so do our lives. We don’t question the leaves turning gold, red, orange, or yellow. There are so many joyful activities–picking apples, wearing flannel, Halloween. Sure there’s that nostalgic feeling when summer is ending, but we go with the flow. We trust this is good, because that’s how nature is.

When our personal lives change, we get thrown out of our comfort zone. If we never changed, we wouldn’t grow physically, emotionally, or spiritually. I have fought change, shoved my heels into the dirt, and refused to move. It has hurt me on my journey, but maybe that’s part of it. Now that I’m ready for it, change is a bit easier.

Just like fall flows into winter it’s not a bad change, it’s just time for it. It’s time for me to do what I would have been doing 11 years ago before my son became ill. It’s not like I’m removing everything that has to do with the amazing foundation we have formed–just what doesn’t work for me and my family.

The change–passing our foundation’s family run on–will help another family fund research to save their child’s life. That makes it more than time to be ready. We’ll still serve the pediatric community, and I can serve a larger audience with my writing and teaching. I know see that this change is empowering to me and is helping others.

I needed this passage today. I also need to write it out to remind me that change is OK, change is exciting, change is good.

What changes are happening in your life?

Have you been digging your heels in? How?

What can you do to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the change?

Write it out and trust the process.

Be Open to Receive

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North Carolina–Blue Ridge Parkway toward Mount Mitchell

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.

Have a wonderful day!

June–Month in Review

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June was a month of healing. I had my left ACL replaced in my knee on May 30. Recovery was a bit tougher than I had figured. My body was so exhausted, it shut down. I had no choice but to relax and let my body heal. For two weeks my journal was filled with posts about lack of sleep due to an immobilizer, pain, and stiffness. But as I wrote I could note the improvements.

I used this time to edit Sketchy Dinosaurs–my middle grade novel that is due to be published in December. I read, emptied my schedule, and stayed home. I gave up the idea that I had to be everywhere and do everything.

There’s a certain freedom in completely surrendering to my body’s needs. When I didn’t, my body rebelled. I spent time with friends and gave myself permission to let things go. Taking a step back gave other people in the foundation the opportunity to be in charge and allow their talents to shine. I loved that and hope to keep my schedule lighter to let others get involved and open space for new projects.

I didn’t reach a lot of my goals, but I was not realistic with what I could get done. My goal should have been to heal my body and nothing more. However, that’s hard when life continues to happen, and I can’t let a whole month go by without working. The best part about being a writer is that I can do it anywhere.

It may take me forever to learn that I can’t accomplish all that I put on my plate. I always think I’ll get more done than I do. I figure even if I get half of my goals done, I’ll feel better. That’s not the case because all I think about is what I didn’t do.

I plan to spread my goals out, so that I won’t feel so much pressure and can enjoy the process and results more.

July has begun and I’m still healing, editing my book, working on a picture book, and overseeing the creation of a new website. I’m slowly down, see?

The Power of People

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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.

A Life that Loves You

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This saying popped into my head as I was writing a note to my niece about how proud I was of her going for her dreams. Sometimes it takes some swerves and curves to figure out what our dreams are. Sometimes they change or are fulfilled, so we wonder what’s next.

A great deal of my life is influenced by my purpose what drives and fulfills me. When I thought about how I lived my life, I asked myself if I’m living my life in a way that is loving to myself, that is good for me, and is supporting my purpose and dreams.

Those are big questions to ask, and I don’t think it can be a yes or no answer or black and white. So what does living a life that loves you mean to me?

  1. Fueling my body properly: What I put into my body has a direct correlation to how I physically feel, how creative I am, and how much energy I have. I’m really good when I plan out meals and have good food on hand. I’m an emotional eater, so when life isn’t loving me so much, I don’t show myself love with food. I’ll reach for that chocolate bar or some type of comfort food. That may be fine once in a while, but instead of placing food that makes me feel crappy in my body, I ask how will this food show love to me. What kind of life do I want to live and does what I’m eating move me forward toward that life or pull me back?
  2. How I spend my time: I am a really good time waster. I can skirt around what I should be doing and not get anything done. When I finally sat down and journaled about why I did this, I realized I was prioritizing what I thought I should be doing instead of what fulfilled me or led toward living my dreams. I credit the change in how I spend my time on some deep soul searching and writing through why I’m here. How do I want to make an impact on the world and what is my purpose? After I was clear on my purpose and the fact that writing is my passion, I began to clear out what no longer served me. Don’t get me wrong. I still waste time, but I have clear goals that are stepping stones to my dreams.
  3. People in my life: Living the life that loves me also includes being surrounded by people who love me. It’s people who believe in me and vice versa. We lift each other up and celebrate our successes with true joy. I will have separation anxiety if I don’t see my tribe enough, so I plan gatherings, outings, and tribe dates. Spending quality time with my husband and son is equally important if not more so. I love being around people who accept me as I am.
  4. Get moving: Exercise has always been a part of my life. I remember waking up at 6am in high school and doing aerobics in the living room of my family home. My brother would scream at me in the basement because my pounding woke him up. Working out is my stress reliever. Bringing yoga into my life balanced out the physical and mental strengthening.
  5. Be where you are: I recently tore my ACL and will have surgery next week. This has changed my exercise regimen, but I’m doing what is best for my body as it is now. My injury has forced me to slow down and be fine with not pushing my body or my schedule where I don’t want it to go. Living the life that loves me right now means letting go of my expectations and doing what serves me best.

Living a life that loves you is an endless checks and balance. Checking in to see how life is feeling. And I mean that literally. We can move so fast that a whole month goes by, and we don’t remember what we did.

Take a moment to pause and answer this question in your journal–What does living a life that loves you mean? Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially. Feel free to use the headings I chose or create your own. What matters most is that you love yourself first,check in and begin again.

Slow it Down and Enjoy the Bloom

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blog.rismedia.com

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.

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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.

Give it a try and let me know how it works.

What is blooming for you?

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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.

Growth

–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.

Seeds

–Once you know what you want to grow, get specific. Here are some suggestions:

Personal–health, reducing stress, self-care, relaxation, exercise

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.

Rain

–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?

Sunshine

–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.

Flowers

–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.

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Visual example by Arthur Forest

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.

 

 

March Month in Review

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Goals/Purpose: This may be on the of the first months where I accomplished most of my goals between the foundation and my publishing company. I think it was partly because I was going away at the end of the month and wanted to relax so worked extra hard, but also because I put less due in the month and broke it down.

In journaling class, Arthur said he has so much he wants to do and that can often make us not do anything. I can relate as I have so many writing projects. The main focus has been my middle grade series, The Puzzle Quests. Book three had to get to the editor. It didn’t get to my beta readers as I had wanted, but I built in time and I needed to let the book sit.

While it was with my editor, Karen Knowles, I worked on a draft of a picture book about my dog, Zoey, and my non-fiction table of contents for the book I’m writing on journaling. When my middle grade manuscript heads to the beta readers, I’ll shift focus to the pictures books, which is due in June. Learning to break down my goals within what I want to accomplish and grow based on my purpose has been key to getting so much done.

Mentally: I was edgy most of the month. I know it’s because I’m stirring things up and have been for a while. I have always listened to my gut (that innate intuition) that we tend to tamp down. I admit I have tamped it down for a long time, but now I’ve let it loose. It’s shifting my eye to writing, my goals within it, who I want to write for, and what I want to write.

Social/Me: March was wonderful socially. Family time. Stephen was home. A fabulous relaxing retreat in Sarasota with Karen filled with soul searching, writing, yoga, great food, and lounging. It was just what I needed.

It ended with a visit to Stephen and my first cousins who I hadn’t seen in a long time. I came full circle and April has me easing through the transitions March has begun.

 

Swerve

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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!

Be With What’s Present

Every moment is magical. Be present with it.

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.

Long Pause…………………….

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.