Making a challenge work for you (or working through the blahs)

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Challenges_blahs

 

It’s no surprise that I love a good challenge. I even attempt to make them harder—like the 30/30 yoga challenge I completed three-and-a-half-years ago. It didn’t just entail completing 30 classes in 30 days. I also omitted specific foods and beverages from my diet. Recently I signed up for another 30/30 and, to date, I’ve completed day six of the same regimen. But I’ve run into a few struggles with the blahs—understandably. After all, it wouldn’t be called a challenge if it didn’t test our mettle. That’s why it’s important to practice mindfulness in other areas; i.e., steal naps when your body needs to recharge, refuse to stress out about household chores, do something for your health (take a yoga or kickboxing class, book a massage or acupuncture treatment). My goal during this challenge is to strengthen my mind, body and spirit to equip me for several upcoming travel and writing commitments—with my blahs but a distant memory.

What’s the latest challenge you’ve successfully conquered?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Take it or leave it: my advice, that is

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Take it or leave it

An acquaintance recently shared how they had doled out relationship advice to a friend of theirs. I’m not proud to say I reacted with an eye roll and audible scoff, which I followed with an incredulous, You? This person became defensive in response as they crossed their arms and stared me down: They appreciated my input, thank you very much. Immediately I mentally smacked myself and acknowledged I’m probably the last person to pass out suggestions on any topic because I’m the last person to heed my own advice. It’s easier said than done, comes to mind, as well as, Do as I say, not as I do. Why is it that we oftentimes think we’re experts on another person’s situation but, when it comes to our own, we feel powerless to change things? I always come back to fear—of failure, regrets. What if we take our own advice occasionally? Maybe start with something small and go from there.

What advice would you like to test out?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The #1 way to change your life

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decisions decisions
Following a recent set of immunotherapy injections I receive weekly, I experienced a minor adverse reaction. This involved lightheadedness and elevated blood pressure, which resulted in extra TLC from clinic staff and revised treatment plan. Afterward, I second-guessed my reaction and feared the emergency medical attention bordered on overkill. I’m sure we’ve all done it: second-guessed words spoken (which can’t be retracted), choices made that are irreversible. A post on social media reads: You’re always one decision away from a totally different life. Not that it matters if we choose vanilla over chocolate ice cream, but whether we respond in love rather than hate, fellowship versus isolation. Or we decide to ‘put up or shut up’ and accept the consequences. It’s easy to blame extenuating circumstances because it removes our own culpability, however, I think it’s time to quit dwelling on the what if’s and determine our own destiny. We still might second-guess ourselves, but we could also change our lives.

What life-changing decision will you make today?

Mirror, mirror: who’s the fairest of them all?

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mirror mirror

Back up five-and-a-half years: During my internship with a local beauty pub, I wrote on myriad topics—particularly those that challenge the ‘seasoned’ ladies—sagging skin, spider veins, etc. Oftentimes I joke that, although I can’t stop the aging process, I plan to fight it—kicking and screaming—the entire way. With that pursuit in mind, in addition to adopting a healthier lifestyle over the past several years, I’ve met with various professionals to discuss my ‘age-defying’ options. When I recently learned how the Chinese practice of acupuncture and cupping can help promote facial rejuvenation, as well as total-body benefits, I signed on for the treatments. Granted, I believe beauty is only skin deep and our characters bear witness to the beauty within. Yet I’m excited about becoming the best version of me—on the outside yes, but also my overall health and wellness. After all, this is the only body that’s going to carry for me the next half century.

How important is total health to you?

Image courtesy of podpad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Put up or shut up: what will it be?

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Put up or shut up

Money is no object. Health concerns are minimal. Food, clothing and shelter are accounted for. What now? I broach this topic in ‘Asking the big question: what next?’ In other words, if the necessities in life were covered and there were no other barriers to achieving your goal(s): where would you be, what would you be doing? Or have you already arrived? At times, I’m so far from Someday—my personal nirvana—that I feel defeated, yet I’m close enough to tease myself into holding onto my dreams. I’m beyond the point of no return, however, at the top of the apex, the half-century mountain marker, with only one way to go. And fast. So as I take the plunge down the other side, either I put up or shut up: take action to do what I’ve been talking about for over half my life or stop talking about it. Even I am sick of hearing it.

Is it time for you to put up or shut up?

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.  

Borrowed time: when you run out of somedays

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Borrowed time

 

I need to press pause here, in the midst of my ramblings about the pursuit of happiness, my dreams, Someday. Trivial musings in light of world affairs. And Rob, the cashier at my local grocery store who I write about in ‘Slow down, listen more…’ and ‘How (not) to be miserable…’ The one diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. As I head out of the store recently, I stop at his register. My heart aches for this kind man, a smile on his lips even as he presses a tissue to his mouth, coughing and gasping for his next breath. The cancer has spread and the third round of chemo, he says, is kicking his butt. His jeans hang from barely there hips; his hugs are bones at best. Yet he lights up when he mentions his recent trip to California. And next month—for his birthday—he is traveling to Hawaii. We all live on borrowed time. Rob is simply living his somedays now.

What about you?

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When we stop trying to plan everything

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Stop planning
Last week we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. A day beforehand, I asked her what flavor cupcakes and ice cream she preferred. Surprise me, she said. For a Type A planner, this kind of response causes my heart to race and my palms to sweat. OK, not really, but why make things more complicated than they need to be? In my writing life, I demand certain conditions be met before I write. And, unless I have an outline in place, forget it. Plus, my days must be planned from beginning to end. But, when I don’t allow wiggle room into the equation, I miss out on the opportunity to improvise; to practice patience. To be kind(er). Perhaps instead of crossing every T and dotting each I, we apply a simplified mindset to the moment: a go-with-the-flow approach. A skeleton idea, of sorts—to our day; our (personal) story. Then let the rest be a delicious surprise. P.S. The birthday sweets were a hit.

Do you practice a go-with-the-flow mindset?

Image courtesy of nattavut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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