Avoiding self-imposed ruts

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Self-imposed ruts

 

According to Oxford Dictionaries, a rut is “a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.” A friend of mine recently said the difference between a rut and a grave is its depth. (We also have a choice about the one in which we get stuck.) At any given time, we might find ourselves trapped in old thought patterns or routines and feel like guinea pigs going round in one of those wheels because sometimes it seems easier to go through the motions. However, each day is an opportunity to transform our reality—to jump off that spinning wheel and reinvent ourselves. A few tips that have worked for me are to: practice 1) letting go of things I can’t control; 2) making choices that advance my goals; 3) not worrying about what others think; 4) prioritizing and learning to say ‘no’ and 5) engaging in activities that make me happy.

How do you avoid or escape the self-imposed ruts?

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Body shaming comes in all shapes and sizes

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Body shaming

 

The other day, a couple of (well-meaning) people thought it was okay to comment about my weight on Facebook. If I were heavier, I think it would be un-PC to call me out on it. But I weigh in on the smaller side with a lean BMI. The biggest (no pun intended) thing to note, however, is that my weight is nobody’s business, except my physician’s. What is important is that body shaming is inappropriate toward any size or shape. A few years ago, I wrote an article for In With Skin magazine—titled “Body Image Can Shape Well-Being”—about the ways people close to us may influence our feelings toward our bodies, either positively or negatively, plus tips on how to develop a healthy body image. And as someone who has lived in the shadows of an eating disorder for decades, I speak from experience. It’s okay to express concern (privately, rather than on social media). But remember: words create a lasting impression.

How’s your body image?

Image courtesy of Aleksa D at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Show up, don’t give up

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Show up not give up

The last time I wrote, it came out in bits and pieces—sprinkled throughout the course of a day. It wasn’t the most productive work I’ve ever accomplished, but it afforded me practice at my craft. And that’s okay, because life, in itself, is one big practice (not perfect) that occurs each time we show up. For instance, I’ve returned to my music after a 20-year hiatus. Even though I’ve rehearsed several hours, so far, I have a long way to go before I sound halfway close to my “back-in-the-day” self. My daily yoga is also a study in practice each time I step on my mat. Some days look differently than others, too, depending on what’s going on in my body and my mind. Whenever we show up, even if in bits and pieces throughout the day, our muscle memory will begin to fill in the gaps. Because it’s about showing up, not giving up.

What is one area in life where you could use more practice?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The ‘write’ conditions

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The write conditions

 

In my post, “When you need a new plan,” I talk about how I would never write if I waited for the perfect conditions. Shortly after composing that blog, I carved out time to give my office a mini-makeover. I didn’t hang any framed inspirational quotes or light scented candles to infuse creativity. But I did toss, file and throw errant miscellanea in a bag for future [read: likely never] perusal. Despite the clutter control I attempt to enforce, not everything retains a spot in my home, however, my desk is now free of excess papers and the floor space around my feet is clear. It’s not perfect, although it is a start. I think that’s a good reminder when we embark on any endeavor—whether it’s mending a friendship, beginning a new job, planning a getaway or whatever it is we’ve been putting off for the ‘write,’ or right, conditions. We all have to start somewhere.

What have you been waiting for the right conditions to undertake?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Where does the time go?

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Where does the time go (2)
This past week I began an experiment that revolves around how time seems to go faster when we’re having fun (and the opposite when we’re not). Although I’ve only studied my hypothesis in the hot room during Bikram yoga, I believe it’s true anywhere. During one 90-minute practice, I had a hard time keeping my mind in the room. I spent a good deal of class lying on a beach, sometimes strolling along the coast to retrieve pretty shells. My thoughts also jumped from how uncomfortable I was, to which asanas I planned to skip, to my lack of remaining water. Class took forever! During the next practice, I focused on the instructor’s words, my breath, my body’s movements and my mantra as I bent and stretched to receive each posture’s benefits. Class was over: Bam! Same thing happened less than 12 hours later. When we fully invest in each moment, time doesn’t go faster; rather, we lose track of it.

When do you lose track of time?

Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Forgiveness is a funny thing

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Forgiveness

In my post, “Forgiveness leads to freedom,” I talk about different types of forgiveness—toward others, as well as ourselves—and how it frees us. The act of forgiveness, itself, is intentional, voluntary. It isn’t something that happens when we’re not looking, nor does it require an apology to initiate. Over a decade ago, a tragedy struck my family and it took me nearly a year to forgive the person responsible. Fast-forward to a few years ago. More misfortune, this time caused by someone close to me. This particular situation shook me to my core and rendered me a blubbering mess. Unforgiveness took root. But a week or so ago, an event occurred that was a catalyst for me to accept what had happened and admit my unforgiveness would not change the outcome. Again, I chose to forgive. And now my heart is free to fully love again. That’s the funny thing about forgiveness: when we give it, we receive so much more.

Can you forgive someone today?

Biding our time

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biding our time
At first, I was going to title this post, “Doing time,” as it relates to life and its rote, mundane tasks. But it’s more than rising each day at a prescribed hour, eating breakfast, showering and dressing, doing time at work or school, coming home and eating dinner, washing up before bed and repeating it all the next morning. It’s about learning what we need to do to get where we want to go, practicing patience with others and ourselves, leaning on those in our support system and returning the favor, and waiting for conditions to be opportune for change and/or growth. And it’s not always going to be pretty. Sometimes it will rain on our parades, we won’t like the food in front of us and our friends refuse to come out and play. Or maybe we need solitary confinement to get our heads screwed on straight. It’s about attaining the most from Today while keeping our hopes and dreams alive.

How does biding your time look?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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