No pain, no gain

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Business travel and other commitments kept me away from the hot room for days. I told a friend I looked forward to the simultaneous pleasure and pain of that evening’s practice. Not entirely familiar with Bikram yoga, he asked why I do it if it causes me pain. When I last hiked, my aching body rebelled as the wind sliced through five layers. When I write, oftentimes it’s with my own blood. So, why do we endure the physical and/or emotional pain that may accompany a strong passion(s) we entertain? Sometimes there is pain in the midst of transformation and healing. Of course, there is the adrenaline high that pushes many of us beyond our comfort zones. For me, I do what I do to face a challenge, to squeeze out every last drop of living in a particular moment. To come out a better, more complete version of me. And sometimes that might mean a skinned knee in the process.

Why do you do what you do?

From the ground up: a foundation built to last

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Guilty of sabotaging progress you’re making in life? Maybe you’ve ditched the prose you’re halfway through writing, the deadline only days away, because binge-watching Netflix appeals more. Or you wish every day was Friday pizza, wine and movie night instead of the yoga, ab or glute challenge you committed to last week. Once we fall from our carefully crafted plans, it’s challenging to get back on track. After a few of those days, however, I showed up for Bikram yoga practice but, instead of ditching my glasses, I donned them to better analyze my postures. Surprising (to me), I noticed toned muscles and, any “damage” I thought I’d done by eating poorly, was negated by a foundation of regular exercise and healthy eating I began building years ago. Same idea with my writing: a lifetime of dreaming, preparing for, educating myself and practicing the craft allows me to pick up where I leave off. A solid foundation is key to lasting success.

Where can you build a (better) foundation?

Image courtesy of Worakit Sirijinda at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Staying power: what it is and where it comes from

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While nursing a reflective mood recently, I scrolled upon these Facebook gems:

Burning desire to be or do something gives us staying power—a reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves up and start in again after a disappointment. ~ Marsha Sinetar

True strength doesn’t come from loving yourself when you have your sh*t together, true strength comes when you can stand courageously in your darkest, messiest and weakest moments and still find the strength to love yourself beyond all circumstance and definition. ~ Jannine Murray

Give. But don’t allow yourself to be used. Love. But don’t allow your heart to be abused. Trust. But don’t be naive. Listen. But don’t lose your own voice. ~ Anonymous

I’ve been a little naïve, used, my heart abused. I’ve forgotten how to love myself, and I’m searching for the voice I’ve lost. But my passions afford me strength, staying power—disappointment after disappointment—because I have a reason to rise every day and begin anew.

What gives you staying power?

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. 

Sifting through the muck to reach the prize

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What seems to us as bitter trials
are often blessings in disguise. ~ Oscar Wilde

For the past couple of weeks I’ve wrestled with psychological and emotional baggage that’s over 30 years in the making (and not flattering), which has also triggered a nasty case of monkey mind (also not pretty—see ‘Revisiting…’). Then add in to the mix an extra dose of restlessness that stems from myriad [new] dreams I dared dream and laid the foundation for last year, which I hope to begin living out in 2017. And most of the areas I’m working on will not and cannot realize change overnight. After all, it’s impossible to rush something you hope to last forever… or at least as long as you’re breathing. Any type of growth takes time. Healing—physical, emotional, spiritual or mental—takes time, too. I just need to remind myself of this while I wade through each trial to discover my own personal blessing.

Do you count them as today’s trials or blessings?

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When all you see is the mess: there’s still hope

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work-in-progress
Recently I pulled up a link to a blog post I wrote for a digital publication several months ago. I read through the piece with eyes that had grown objective over time and thought, ‘Wow, this is good. What was I so worried about before?’ Later that day, the post popped up in my mind and I recalled it in its rough form: the countless drafts, rewrites, edits from my freelance editor (aka Big Sister). In other words, the work in progress was a mess. Isn’t that what our lives can look like at times? From the exterior, we might appear like we have it all together—and maybe we do now and again—but I guarantee a mess has littered our paths at one point or another. Thankfully, the people we are today are still a work in progress. And there’s hope for us to listen more, speak less and sprinkle love and kindness into our little worlds.

Where do you see your biggest work in progress?

Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Time management: the +10 plan

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Time management: #thestruggleisreal. I can record a task in my planner to the minute, but invariably I’ll end up running behind or, worse yet, running out of time. I tend to think I can squeeze in one more thing, or I simply allow too little time in my schedule. I began 2017 with a new plan: the +10 plan. In the mornings, by the time I leave for work, I’ve lost roughly 10 minutes. For the past two weeks, I’ve set my alarm 10 minutes earlier and moved each a.m. goal back 10 minutes. The result? More cushion. I’m able to spend additional time enjoying my morning devotions, which automatically sets me up for a smoother day. Plus I have extra space to complete my chores with ample time to prepare for my workday. I’ve dabbled with applying this +10 plan to other commitments, as well, and with similar results. If you need more time, give it a try. It works!

What time management tips can you share?

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Energy flows where attention goes

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I’m happy to report that my focus on the ‘Power of p’ is off and running—peace, patience, purpose and prayer at the top of my 2017 pursuits. In addition, I plan to emphasize another P: my plenty (vs. lack). Thus far, this has proven an exercise in attitude adjustment. Sometimes you just want to pout because you’re not where you thought you’d be at this stage of the game (of life). For example, while hiking a couple weeks ago, I ruminated on my novel and how I still haven’t written it (yes, I wrote one a few years ago, during a 30-day challenge, but I consider that my practice)—and about all the writing workshops on my schedule this year. I’ve decided that, like any person training for a marathon or the Olympics or a trek into the Grand Canyon, that’s what my practice and workshops are doing: prepping me to write and publish my novel. It’s about keeping focused on the plenty.

How’s your energy flow?

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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