Months in Review

January2019

January was a blur of catch up, rush, get overwhelmed, then catch up again. I literally accomplished one item on my publishing company goal, but finished a great deal of goals and updates for the foundation. This included a new website. Check it out at www.fighttobehealed.org

February2019

February’s focus was on family and finishing the first draft of Sketchy Dinosaurs, the third book in The Puzzle Quests‘ series. I scheduled when I would write and made it my priority. I also stayed home. That is a theme for me–keeping myself still is very difficult. The nature of my work involves meetings, events, teaching, and visiting patients, so I schedule stay at home time.

One change that really worked for me in February was a daily intention. My life/purpose word is HOPE. Everything I do with the foundation and my writing is driven by my desire to share, create, and grow hope.

But just like having a long-term goal, I needed smaller daily words to keep me on track. Every day I thought of an Intention Word that would help me accomplish my goal. I also wrote why or how this word applied. Sometimes it ended up as a phrase. Some were:

Deep Breaths of Gratitude

No Self-Doubt

Eat Clean and Healthy

Love Myself

Be Present

Patience

Acceptance

Joy

Peace

Persistent

At the end of the day, I wrote about the word and whether or not it resonated or helped with my goals. Some days it reminded me of my plan of action. On my Persistent day, I wrote for four hours. Other days when I didn’t set my intention, I titled my journal entry. Some were: Fatigue, Conflict, Reminders. There was a clear connection on how well my day went when I wrote down my word.

On the day my word was Simplify, I didn’t even write an entry. Using my journal as a reminder for my purpose, calendar, and entries kept me on track and gave me guidance on what was or wasn’t working.

I did incorporate Sunday Simplicity to plan for my week, which helped me rejuvenate and not feel as stressed. I relax, read, enjoy family, prepare my weekly calendar, order my food through Hannaford to Go, and do that never-ending laundry. Doing this lowers my stress levels and gives me time to take care of myself.

For March!

My big goal was getting the 2nd draft to the editor. Done! Check that off my list!

Keep Sunday Simplicity

Title my entries and continue Intention Words

I also wrote a list of my goals/to-do’s for the month, so each week when I plan my calendar, I have the list handy and can break them down into manageable projects. There’s nothing better than crossing off those finished items!

Reviewing your previous week/month guides you on whatever path you take, but you need to write it down in order to know what you have done. Schedule in that journal time. You’ll see and feel the difference it can make!

 

Be Magnificent!

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.

BeMagnificent

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.

 

Create Space–Tracking Goals

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.

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Need I say more? Embarrassing, but I’m going for full disclosure here & I want to see if this process of using my journal works.

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.

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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!

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The details even came down to specific meals for the week and moving a meeting.

 

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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!

Be Here Now

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There is a soothing space in this moment. Right now. As I bring my pen to journal, the scratching of the ink along the page is like a mantra, calming my system, focusing my mind on what is right in front of me. As I connect with my words, nothing else matters. Any stress, anticipation of my day, worry about the world or those I love all melt away. All I am is in this single moment. A writing meditation.

It’s quiet. My dogs rest around me secure in their safe place. I am aware of my self, my emotional and physical state. Being here now makes it easy to accept where I am, because there is no other place to be. As the thought to add something to my list urges me to turn the page to my calendar, I keep writing, push those thoughts away and remain here. In this place.

Be Here Now. There is no other time that will give me what I need. I soak it in and appreciate now.

How can you be in your moment, where you are, right now?

Love Yourself as You Are

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Because of the snowy weather, my journaling workshop at the library has been cancelled, but this doesn’t mean we can’t journal together!

February is the month of hearts, love, and romance. Not everyone partakes in these festivities, and this month or Valentine’s Day can actually be sad and lonely for some of us.

My theme of Finding Purpose and putting dreams into action has to start with the most important step you will ever take in your life. Loving Yourself. This has been popping up all over the place, so I know I need to write about it.

I love the quote by Steve Maraboli where you have to love yourself enough to take action required for your happiness. How we feel about ourselves affects every decision we make. Take personal health. In restorative yoga this morning, Instructor Jess spoke about accepting your body where it is right now, not how it was yesterday or how it may be tomorrow. And not only accepting it, but being grateful for your body and your beautiful legs that carry you throughout the day.

This was perfect for me, because I woke up feeling very creaky! I’ve been working out, trying to get in better shape, and eat right. In class, I felt tight and was actually mad at myself for not making quicker progress. Then Jess said to breathe through the pose. I not only breathed through the pigeon pose, I also worked through that self-doubt and anti-love. I was working so hard on putting myself down, I forgot about how amazing my body is. How it gave birth to two babies and carried them through childhood. How I biked 100 miles for a charity or earned my karate belts by physically defending myself. Or how I sit for hours and use my fingers to type words from my heart. How my arms hold others in love and comfort. How I am alive, healthy, and able to walk up a flight of stairs.

For your journal prompt, take each part of the above quote and write about it:

*Write about the amazing ways your body supports you and what it has done in your life.

*What action can you take to be happy in any part of your life today? It can be as simple as reading a book, calling a friend, taking the time to journal or play in the snow if you have some, ride the waves if you live near a beach.

*What is holding you back from your past? What story are you holding on to? Can you write the ending where you say goodbye or have closure? Who in your life is filling yours with drama? Is it time to let them loose?

*What are you looking for in a relationship? This could be with a partner, your current spouse, family or friends. You deserve to not only love yourself unconditionally, but to be loved that way as well.

*How do you want to feed your mind? Go back to school? Read a book? Learn a language or draw, sing, etc.

*What physical activity can you partake in to make you feel good? Do you want to join a gym, take kickboxing, dance, yoga, martial arts, biking, meditation, walks. The sky is the limit. Movement means happiness!

*What do you need to forgive yourself for? Can you write yourself a letter? Can you have empathy for yourself like you would have for a friend? Putting that guilt aside, perhaps knowing that you cannot change what happened, but be with it, and give yourself a break is enough for now. Not forgiving yourself is one of the heaviest burdens we can bear.

*What is one step you can take today to loving yourself? This is a long list of questions. Take what moves you today, write, and take action. Then tomorrow go to another or continue on the same one.

You are worth every moment of happiness, self-love, and joy. Believe it for yourself and have a beautiful day.

love-yourself

Each New Day

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Photo by Alysia Thomas

Each new day is a chance to begin again. No matter what is happening in our lives, we have the choice to change where we are going, what we are doing, and how life affects us.

Sometimes those choices mean leaning on others when our load gets too heavy or letting the world go by while taking care of ourselves. Self-care is mandatory if we want to fulfill our purpose and be the best person we can.

Knowing our potential and instilling boundaries is essential.

Start this new year being the best you can be, but remember–be the best to yourself first.

What ways will you take care of yourself this month and this year?

 

Loving Yourself

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I placed this sticker in my journal, because I agreed with the concept, but am not always sure that I follow it. I also thought of the quote, “Love yourself as much as you love others.”

It’s hard to give self-care, but as soon as a good friend or family member is in trouble or needs support I drop everything and am right there. If they are down, I’ll be their biggest cheerleader, and show them how special and unique they are.

When it comes to myself, I have gotten much better, but I will still see all that I haven’t done when I have really accomplished so much. When that happens, looking back to my journal can give me perspective on what I have actually done and the good I have created around me. It also is a clear cut guide on what I have done for myself in terms of self-care.

This is what happened in my life last week:

Pig Roast fundraiser prep and clean up

Lost a wonderful young man to cancer and attended the wake

Prepared for Nick’s Run and Nick’s Ride to be Healed

Set up for writing classes, finalized middle grade novel

Taught journal workshop

Took my mom to appointments and went to a calligraphy class with my niece

Celebrated end of treatment for Bella!

Held a motorcycle fundraiser

The entire week was non-stop action in terms of all I had to get done and support I gave to others. It was a rollercoaster of happy and sad.

Here are some types of self-care that I practice:

Yoga

Weight training/Karate

Meditation

Journaling

Massage

Reading

Walk my dogs

Time with friends and family

Protect my space

Since the weekend before this last, I practiced yoga 4 times, and did other exercise twice, so not bad. I didn’t meditate once! I journaled every day and sometimes twice a day, and that is a huge calming practice for me. No massage. I have listened to an audiobook, but haven’t sat and read in quite a while.

I missed walking the dogs a couple days, because of rain and a lot of fundraising events and prep.

This past Saturday, my husband and I had an impromptu get together with two sets of our good friends. I could have kept doing work, since I’m so behind, but I needed the break. I think it made a huge difference the next day when we had a motorcycle fundraiser. The day was wonderful, and my frame of mind was positive. I also have made sure to spent moments with my son as he will be leaving for school soon.

Protecting my space is huge for me with self-care. I work hard to surround myself with positive people. When working with kids battling cancer, there are very sad situations, and I feel strongly about reaching out. When I do, I’m drained, I miss my son, and the sadness can overtake me. That is when I take the time to recharge by doing whatever self-care works for me in that moment. I have to take care of myself and love myself enough to show empathy and love to those who are suffering.

When I take care of myself and feel good about myself, then I attract positive people who will show me the same kind of love. What you think you deserve is usually what you get. We all deserve to be loved, but we have to believe it and act like it.

Self-care and surrounding myself with positive people and energy has made a huge difference, but it is a constant practice.

How do you show self love? What do you do for self-care, how often? If you don’t, what small step could you take? Track it in your journal and take note of what changes in your life.

 

Different Levels of Activity 

Sitting still is one of the hardest activities for me to do. Yes, I sit when I write, but my mind is extremely active as are my hands. To sit and let the world flow around me is very difficult. 

Even Dakota, pictured above, is waiting for me to say, “Wanna go for a walk?” His mind is in constant motion. But for a little while both he and I kept still even if our minds went crazy. 

I let the crazy fly through and move on. 


Even if I can’t be completely inactive, I try to take the time to sit and read. Dakota enjoys chomping on his toy, named Marvin, or chewing on a bone. Having that quiet time rejuvenates me for the chaos of my week. 

In order to go inactive, another word for downtime, I need to prioritize. I haven’t stopped for months, so I worked really hard to keep this weekend free. I may go on walks, tend my garden, read and write, but I’m home and in slow mode. 

Perhaps there are different levels that we should strive for. 

Stillness- simple meditation where we sit in a comfortable position, focus on our breath, and let our thoughts go.

Inactivity-Hanging out in your backyard, pool, beach, the woods, or anywhere you can relax and not be required to do anything. 

Slow Mode-keeping your schedule light, so that you can do something you love or be with those you love. No schedule. 

Conscious Activity-choosing to go to events, be with friends, finish that project you have left for months. You make a conscious decision to do what is important to you, not because you feel obligated. 

Busy Bee Mode-working, fulfilling family and other obligations, every day chores that must get done. Deadlines. Goals. 

None of these levels of activity are all good or bad. If you sat in stillness all the time or never had downtime, your body and mind might eventually rebel. 

Finding the balance and giving yourself permission to be in any of these modes are key to living a full life. 

What level of activity are you at today?

Taking Responsibility

This summer Dakota and I have gotten into the habit of taking an early morning walk while the rest of the family sleeps on. It’s become sort of a meditation, because he is a meanderer and forces me to slow down.

I thought about this post and what I wanted to write about. The idea of responsibility came to mind as I had been journaling about others taking responsibility. In order to understand what someone else is going through, I try to put myself in their place as much as I can. Even if I cannot completely understand what they are feeling or going through, I can at least empathize and appreciate their feelings.

This idea of taking responsibility for our own actions, past digressions, and happiness keeps coming up. So in order to walk in someone else’s shoes, I thought about my own life. Am I truly taking responsibility for what happens in my life? Do I believe outside forces are responsible for my happiness? Do I blame others wrongfully when something doesn’t go my way?

That’s a lot to think about. On Shark Tank last night (Luke loves this show), one of the investors refused a woman’s product, because he felt she was all over the place. She worked out a lot, had three kids, was trying to market this paleo bar, and also carried another job. He said she put so much effort into everything, that she wasn’t good at the one part they were interested in. She was spread too thin. Now it’s a bit hard to focus on only one aspect of your life when you are a parent and still want to be successful in a career. But she seemed to have a few careers going.

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Photo by Alysia Thomas

My husband and I looked at each other. We both pointed our fingers at me. Very often I blame my lack of time for my inability to get work done. But if I really look at it, I have so many projects on the table, it is hard to be successful and not feel harried. Instead of blaming the 24-hour day, I need to look at my priorities, my purpose and goals, and cut out what isn’t serving me anymore. That’s hard to do when I feel responsible for others.

There’s that word again. In a sense, I’m not taking responsibility for what happens in my life. I’m letting others or situations dictate it. And I’m also taking responsibility for others when it’s not my job. But I’m a fixer and a nurturer, so it’s very difficult for me to let others fall. In the end, however, I’m making it worse for them. Everyone needs to grow by failing and getting up on their own.

On a positive note, I know I am responsible for making myself happy and so surround myself with those I love and who love me. Those who empower me and make me laugh. The hard part is making those changes when we aren’t very happy. Knowing what it is and making small changes may be enough, but sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and follow our own path, not others.

As you can see I have a bit of journaling to do about this responsibility topic, but it can wreak havoc on our lives if we don’t take responsibility for ourselves, own it, and move forward.

Are you taking responsibility for what is happening in your life right now? Do you feel you are responsible for your own happiness? If yes, what do you do to create that happiness? If no, who do you feel is and why?

Do you blame others when things go wrong or do you accept your role, take action, apologize if necessary, and move forward? How do you feel either way?

What Grounds You

baby feet in grass

For the last fews days the topic of forming my physical foundation and grounding myself has come into play. Much of what I physically do requires a solid foundation. In yoga, whatever is touching the floor is my foundation and connection to the earth.  Even today in class, when we were on our back, Jess expressed the needs to press every part of my body into the mat to feel connection and draw strength from it.

In martial arts, my feet are my guide as I smoothly and unobtrusively step across the floor to not give away my next move or have a strong foothold before I kick.

Even in boxing, I am repeatedly told, establish my footing before I hit my target.

My feet, my hands, whatever connects to the earth is my foundation, my center. But what grounds me? What keeps me on my feet and centered when life is off kilter? My breathing has become a huge part of what keeps me grounded. It’s a calming tool that I can use anywhere and provides the space for me to think before I react.

My family grounds me by keeping my head out of the clouds. They connect me to what is important and remind me of where my priorities are.

My spirituality and beliefs are a huge part of my inner foundation. I know I am forever connected my son, Nick, and that is a surety that gets me through the hardest days.

Having a strong foundation that you can root down into when a storm is brewing helps you weather even the most devastating ones. So it’s vital to have it established. It’s like living in a hurricane prone area in a tent. Your foundation is never going to hold.

What is your emotional, physical, spiritual foundation? What do you connect with and how do you root down when life is trying to tear you up?