Stuck

I’ve been feeling a bit off lately. Some days have felt like a much heavier dose than just a bit. This hasn’t lasted for just a couple of days, or a week. It’s been at least a month; maybe more.

I blamed it on a number of things; the end of the school year, grief, our move, summer, the moon. So many transitions were happening, and I gave myself allowances, time to let my world stop turning so fast.

I think, however, I gave myself a much wider berth than I needed. I expected the dust to settle exactly where I had left it, but I slid back into older, more well-worn tracks.

I haven’t had much energy. I have found it hard to get motivated. I haven’t been able to settle into a positive mindset. I’ve been overly irritable for no reason.

I haven’t however, done any of the things that sparked so much for me prior to the transitions. I haven’t opened my planner since the end of May; my journal, even before that. I haven’t met with my Accountability Ladies in as many months. I’ve stopped following as closely along with the groups I was finding so much inspiration from, and instead I’ve been doing an inordinate amount of mindless social media scrolling. I’ve blown through far more than my fair share of light, chic-lit beach reads, and haven’t opened a single self-development book. I haven’t been exercising. I’ve been drinking again, and not in the mindful way I had been so conscientious and successful in for so many months.

I haven’t been listening to myself; in some instances I have tuned out completely. I haven’t kept my own personal goals and interests front and center, with everyone else’s. It’s led to some personal confusion, and a lot of noise in my own head.

I got stuck. I landed right back where I was before I began this journey.

Car, Stuck, Old, Broken

It’s so, so easy to get caught up in the every day of life; it’s also easy to get stuck in old ruts when you’ve become unsettled, even when you were doing so well blazing new paths.

You can get caught up in being stuck, and not even realize that you have stopped moving.

The first step to getting unstuck is recognizing that’s where you’re at.

“What good is livin’ a life you’ve been given,
If all you do is stand in one place.”
~ Lord Huron

Follow the Leader

Lately, I’ve been a bit fatigued with the conflict between who I am and adopting the characteristics of a person that I want to be; there is an array of emotions that I’m surprised about having on this journey.

How do we acknowledge and appreciate the characteristics of others, yet not lose ourselves in wanting to become something we are not? There are times where the acknowledgement comes as a detriment to ourselves, working against our natural inclinations, our authentic selves, to achieve something that isn’t meant for us. Comparison, and striving to compete, overshadows simply growing into better versions of ourselves.

I need to replace the feeling of lack, the fear, the worry, and the guilt with something. I’ve had so many conversations with women who feel the same.

A friend shared over a Ted Talk recently about filling our lives with joy, and the line at the end, “putting yourself in the path of joy more often,” resonated deeply with me. With this one line, I worked out a bit of the tension I have been feeling.

When you’re on the same level with joy, there is little space for guilt, worry, fear or lack.

If we each were more intentional in chasing what brings us joy, who would we be? If we were joyful, and sought joy on purpose, not by happenstance or by hoping and wishing for it, what would our lives look like? So much of how we view ourselves, others and our lives is rooted in our mindset; comparisons would dissipate and we could acknowledge and easily celebrate that which brings joy to others simultaneously with that which brings joy to ourselves.

As my youngest’s fourth birthday looms tomorrow, I am reflecting a bit on her impact in my life. Our kids teach us more than we could ever hope to learn about life, and she may be my greatest teacher when it comes to joy. She sings with abandon, dances every second that she can, races from discovering one magical thing to the next, and sees wonder in absolutely everything. She is very black and white about what brings her joy; if it doesn’t spark joy, she creates resistance around whatever “it” may be.

As adults, I think we’ve become adept at allowing and justifying the opposite, and we are drowning because of it.

So today, and tomorrow, and the days following, I will try harder to take her cue; I will intentionally seek to put myself in the path of joy. I will celebrate other women for the characteristics I admire in them while reminding myself that there is a wealth of joy to be found within, too.

little girl, running, field, flowers, carefree, joy, joyful, wonder

All For Naught

“What do you daydream about?”

This was a question posted in a Facebook group that I am a member of over the weekend; the question was posed by a woman whose podcast I am an avid listener of.

She went on to provide the first answer to the question, that her daydream was owning a lake home.

I read that response and I stopped short.

For years, owning a lake home was my daydream.

My husband and I spent hours of time and energy scrolling real estate sites while our own home was on the market.

I sat in front of the very home that we purchased, long before we had even put in an offer, and thought about what life would be like living there. I would drink coffee on the back deck every morning, overlooking the lake. I envisioned rolling out my yoga mat and creating a meditation space in the room with the large picture window. I thought about the evening kayaking I could do with my girls.

It wasn’t until this weekend, when I forced myself to sit down on our dock while our girls swam around with their friends that it struck me; I haven’t truly embraced or acknowledged this accomplishment.

My husband and I achieved our dream of owning a home on the lake. We purchased our home in January; we’ve been living in it part time since then, full time for a few weeks now. I have done exactly none of those things I dreamed about doing here.

I have occupied my time within my real life daydream with checking mundane, trivial things off of the same daily To Do checklists. Not celebrating it, not embracing it, not living the life that I dreamed about having.

This mindset is so easy to crawl into; once something that we want is achieved, we waste little time on truly celebrating it before we’re on to the next thing.

The biggest goal on my Year Compass plan for 2018 was purchasing a lake home; when I sat down to start my Year Compass, our home at the time was under contract. I honestly don’t know that I truly believed that purchasing a house on the lake was something we could accomplish. Yet I sit here today, in a space that I yearned for, knowing that it was what I wanted with every inch of my being, and every day I have occupied it since I have taken it for granted. I haven’t truly embraced or celebrated it. I have drowned the achievement in the details of life.

What accomplishments have you achieved, and then glossed over, only to move on to another?

Take some time and look at where you are. Think about the moments that have gotten you here. Think about what you have now, that you wished for one, two, five years ago. The achievements that should have brought you joy, that you worked so hard towards and were so patient for, that you embraced and then easily tossed aside for the next dream.

Have your daydreams and work to make them a reality, but make sure you stop to enjoy the reality you have created before, during and after you’ve achieved the next, and the next. Each and every accomplishment is a step in knowing that you can do and make anything you desire a reality, but it’s all for naught if you don’t recognize and appreciate where you are and what it took to get there before you make the next leap.

Don’t let your daydreams become a reality, only to never acknowledge how significant that really is.

woman, dock, water, sitting

 

Busy vs. Important

Too many times we sacrifice the latter for the former.

It’s easy to mistake, busy. Busy masquerades as important; it carries urgency, an air of significance.

busy, rushing, walking, fast, commuting

Busy often parades itself around as productive. Busy gives us a false sense of status.

Busy is glorified, sensationalized and held on a pedestal. My rote response to “How have you been?” is typically “Good. Busy.”

Busy is expected. The ability to be in the constant state of busy will never subside.

The problem with busyness, however, is that it distracts and robs us of what’s important. There are countless ways to be busy; there are numbered ways to do what’s important.

Busy makes life blurry.

Busy carries no purpose. Busy is easy, busy is comfortable, busy is familiar. Busy is understood.

“How have you been?” “Good. Busy.” And we all nod in understanding.

We have made busy a way of life.

Important, however; important is a challenge. Important is doing the hard work, and it can be uncomfortable. Important is an investment.

Busy is easier, but busy is shallow. Busy adds stress, but never value.

If you find that you’re in the rut of busy, take a few minutes and think about those things that would encourage you, and your family, to thrive.

Write it down. Contemplate it. Work focusing on those key ingredients into actions on your daily To Do list. Be intentional about chasing important.

For me, important includes things like connection, gratitude, passion, growth, movement, self-care, and being outdoors.

Find some clarity in this blurry, fast-paced, ever-evolving life. Downgrade busy. Remove its mask and look at it in the eye for what it is.

Let’s bring emphasis back to important.

This is Your Ride

I’ve seen this message pop up on the stationary bike at the gym dozens of times. It was there again today, reminding me…

josh-nuttall-305072-unsplash

This ride is yours, and yours alone. Sure, there are plenty of people riding along with you, but what happens in your head is yours. What you chase, the effort you put in, the thrill of the accomplishment or the weight of defeat when you come up short is yours.

Some rides may look a lot alike, others may vary in intensity, view and vehicle. The prize is not necessarily the same for all, although we all have our eye on one. It doesn’t matter if your neighbor, your mother, your brother, your sister, your best friend, your competitor or your boss are on the same track; you have to get through your course, on your time, on your own ambition and your own determination. You have to conquer your skill before you can move on to the next level, and that only comes with the work that you’re willing to put in to get there. You have to stay true to the rider that you are, and push towards the one that you want to become.

You’ve got to want to take off the training wheels.

What does the ride look like to you? Are you pushing yourself, getting the most you can out of it, or are you coasting along, not really working at digging any deeper, developing or growing any further? Are you taking the time to listen to your thoughts along the way, or are you consistently drowning them out with the noise? Do you ride the same ride every time you get on the seat, or are you challenging yourself with new and more difficult levels every once in awhile? Are you confident in your awareness of when to push yourself, and when to take the scenic route when you need to? Are you taking the actions necessary to get to the place those riders who are better than you are at? Are you surrounding yourself with riders who will support you, ride along with you and push you to get to that place? And when they’re not looking, are you working just as hard?

Are you taking rides that scare you?

When you fall, do you stay down, or do you hop right back up again? Do you use the scars you earn along the way as fuel, or as a weight that you carry, reminding you of your failures?

Life is just like learning how to ride a bike. And this is your ride.

Power Source

 

 

 

Power

pow·er/pou(ə)r/

  1. The ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality.
  2. The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.

We all have it, the ability, the capability; power.

There are those who use and abuse it. Those who seek it, would do anything to have what they perceive it is. Some of us readily, many times unconsciously, hand it over to others. What most of us ignore is how we operate in it; we just aren’t aware of what it is, much less how to harness it.

My three year old fully believes in her power. At one time we all did, but we lost it along the way. Power – the right kind of power – is a practice; it’s not given or taken, but developed.

Power comes to us in how we frame our thoughts, how we respond (not react) to a given situation. We can operate in our power from a position of lack, or we can operate in our power from a position of abundance. We can wield our power from a mindset of limitations, or we can work with our power in possibility.

Where is your power coming from?