Month in Review–February

I can either say that I needed a few more days in February or I have to continue my quest for time efficiency. Of course I can be the most efficient person, but if I take on too much, I’m not going to get everything done.

That was the theme of February for me. There were fun times, happy moments, first birthday party for my nephew, Liam. Here’s a photo in case you need some cuteness in your day.

Liam2.3.18

Valentine’s Day date with my hubby, outings with friends, my sister, and sunny days to walk my dogs.

But there were a lot of days where I didn’t get the work done that I needed or scheduled. I have become better organized using my journal as my calendar. I did start prioritizing by listing my monthly goals, but they aren’t translating into my daily business.

As I review my journal entries, I see a shift toward growing my writing and teaching business, plus lots of ideas that tend to distract me. There are entries like: “I’m not getting my work done.” Or “I bought mechanical pencils and I have no idea what happened to them! I frustrate myself!” The dogs didn’t eat them. In my frenzy of activities, I probably threw them out.¬†Another entry, “I’m still saying yes too much.”

Seeing how much I had in my schedule did make a decision for me not to take on a mentorship, even though it would have been wonderful. If I can’t put 100% into it, I shouldn’t do it.

There was at least a week of not journaling. Not straight in a row, but a couple days here and there. I’m out more nights than I’m in and that is plain exhausting.

Where I thrived and hummed with happiness was when I was writing and teaching my Writer’s Journal program to fourth and fifth graders at Karigon. I know this is where I should be spending my time. Writing and sharing how to write is a huge part of my journey. I only need to clear the path.

One of the best parts of February was getting outside more, being on my yoga mat, and putting my health in the forefront of my day. I feel the benefits.

March

My goals for March? Stay home as much as I can. Get a solid 2nd draft of Saving Atlantis done to share with my beta readers in April. Plan more school writing workshops and write, write, write! Writing my goals down and what I want to happen is the first step. The second is scheduling it into my calendar and sticking to it.

How was your February? What are your goals for March? What is important enough to spend your time on?

Keeping track on how you feel about what you are doing gives you an idea of what is nourishing, dragging you down, or revving your engine! Pay attention and put it into action!

Where are you Needed?

mountains
Photo by Alysia Thomas

When we set priorities in our lives on how to spend our time, whether it’s work, personal or emotional, so many distractions can get in the way. But sometimes it’s not only distractions. There may be a project or mission you have been working on, which has built a life of its own. You are good at it, and it’s successful. It’s easy to stay in that comfort zone, rather than venture out into something new. But what happens when you get the nagging feeling that your path has changed? What you are doing has served you in the past, but now your purpose has grown as you have.

Asking where you are needed now might help you soothe those nagging thoughts.

My purpose of bringing hope has been brought to others in many different ways over the years. I have written fiction books that soften the harshness of reality and inspire others to fight for what they believe in. I have written a non-fiction book that honors young adults who never gave up. I teach the art of writing fiction and journaling to open people’s worlds to possibilities.

The creation of Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation was a manifestation of two parents’ grief and the need to help others emotionally and financially. That need is still there. 90 children each year are newly diagnosed and over 900 each year come back for treatment and checkups just at The Melodies Center in Albany Medical Center. The need for the foundation is there, but where am I needed within or outside the foundation?

What comes up for me is writing techniques that I share with others on how they can heal and become self-aware through journaling. Person to Person connections. That is where I thrive and as more people struggle with illness, a lost sense of purpose, and pain, that need grows even stronger.

I have taken a windy path to this road, and I couldn’t have gotten to this level of awareness and ability without my previous experiences. Plus, that nagging feeling goes away for me when I accept the truth of where I should be. It doesn’t mean that I am leaving what I am doing. But it does mean that I am shifting my role. The best way I can serve others is by following my purpose. It hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

Where are you needed? Write about it and connect to what you feel when you are writing. Your gut knows you better than anyone. Listen to it and follow your path.

 

Finding Purpose–Sharing your Gifts

Angeloak
Angel Oak Tree, Johns Island, SC (Photo by Janine Cammarata)

When we take care of ourselves, find out who we are, and grow our purpose, we may want to share it with the world. Trees absorb the energy and nutrients from the earth, take what they need, and then releases all their goodness so that we can live. That is part of their purpose and their branches and leaves reach out to make an impact on others.

  1. What do you want to give to the world?
  2. What is your purpose and how will you share it?
  3. How do you want to make an impact?
  4. What does that impact look like to you?
  5. How does it feel to know what truly feeds your soul?

Trees have known a secret since the beginning of life on earth. They have to shed what doesn’t serve them anymore to make room for what will. Even the evergreens lose their needles and renew again. When leaves fall, it’s a sign that another season has come to an end. Another cycle has come and gone, so that another one can begin.

fall-leaves-on-the-ground

  1. What can you let go that no longer serves you?
  2. Is there something you are doing that prevents your newly found purpose from evolving?

Creating space to let the new in or to allow room to grow is part of our learning process. As seasons change, so do we.

Finding Purpose–What Will you Grow?

Finding purpose in life and what drives you is a lifelong endeavor. It will change as your life circumstances do, but being aware of where you are and want to be is the next step. If you have followed the Finding Purpose series, you have established your values, what is important to you, and the type of person you are.

acorn_sprout-56a319505f9b58b7d0d053e8

Everything wonderful starts with something small. Life forms from a tiny acorn.

Journal about the following questions:

  1. What do you want to grow within yourself?
  2. What or who do you want to grow into?
  3. What kind of life do you want to live?

I’d like to grow a sense of community through my teaching and writing. Through my written word and connection, I instill a sense of hope that we can all make a difference, even if it’s a small one. As with the acorn, a small act of kindness can grow into something incredible and self-sustaining.

Old oak

 

acorn
Template to use on your personal oak.

Use this acorn or draw your own and write the words you came up with on your quest for growth. For me it’s writing, yoga, community, personal health, family, connection, hope.

You have the power within yourself to be the best person you want to be. It’s all in you. Nurture it and watch it grow into something beautiful and amazing.

 

Finding Purpose–Your Core Character

The third part in our Finding Purpose series is developing your core. I am referring to your character core, who you are as a person, or who you perceive yourself to be.

As with our bodies, the trunk of a tree is the core to its strength and ability to bounce back when the storms of life try to knock it over.

trunk
Photo by Alysia Thomas

To work on your core, answer these questions:

  1. How do you describe yourself?
  2. How do people describe you?
  3. Is there a difference?
  4. Why do you think that is?
  5. Write those words on the trunk of the oak tree you have already begun. If you want to start from the beginning of this process, visit my previous posts, You are Awesome! and then Root Values.

Remember not all of your characteristics will be positive. Maybe there are some you want to work on, especially if they are characteristics others have described you with. As someone in my last workshop said, “I am stubborn or at least my kids say I am.”

Being stubborn may be seen as negative, but it can also be a positive. If some words cause a reaction, journal about why you are seen that way, and whether you want to change or nurture it.

Keep going! This is important and you have to do the work to find the purpose!

Great journaling and let me know how it goes!

Finding Purpose–Root Values

Finding our purpose. Living our dreams. Being the person we want to be. These are strong notions that need deeply instilled values to implement.

The oak tree has huge significance to me as it probably does to so many people. When my son was in the hospital battling cancer, this poem was sent to me. It was a daily prayer to Nick that he would never break from this disease. His spirit never broke, but unfortunately his body did.

Then this poem and all that it signified became my personal mantra, symbol, and prayer to keep going without one of my boys. I have bent, lost my way, cracked branches, had holes drilled into me, have bared my soul, but I have never broken.

oaktreeimageryforhealing

Through my journaling and becoming self-aware through yoga, I have learned what I stand for, and not only how deep my roots go, but also what I value in this life. As part of that knowing, my purpose is to share with others, so that under the worst possible circumstances, you have hope. That is my purpose, that is my impact word–HOPE. We all need it.

Over the next couple days, I will share this process with you. It began with my last post of writing about your personal awesomeness. Start there if you please.

 

oak tree

You can use this image of an oak tree, draw your own or find another image. The point is that the oak tree symbolizes ourselves and our foundation.

Step One: Journal on the following questions:

  1. What are your core beliefs and values?
  2. What is important to you?
  3. Why do you have these values, where did they come from?
  4. How were they instilled in you?
  5. How do they impact your life?
  6. How do you live by them?

Step Two: Write your values in the roots of the oak tree. Words such as honesty, trust, dependable, etc. are words that you will have chosen to describe your values after you journaled. There are no wrong answers. It is whatever is right for you.

Be honest with yourself as this is the path to your purpose and you want it to be true.

Let me know how it goes for you. Keep it in your journal as we will come back to it tomorrow.

Happy Journaling!