Try it on for size: encountering contentment

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For years I’ve struggled with a fast-track mentality: I need to get this done now, go here then, achieve that by the time I’m X years old and the list goes on. I write about what feels like a race against the clock in “Doing life in the fast lane” and how while the first 50 years took their own sweet time, now the necessity to apply imaginary brakes in order to slow time… grips me with a palpable intensity. “There’s just not enough time,” becomes a familiar refrain. Yet I sense a shift, an infinitesimal settling, deep down, where my soul works out my purpose day in and day out—the feeling that maybe it’s okay if I sink back into my days, my hours, each moment. Go with it rather than fight against it, the ebb of time and its cyclical flow. A contentedness washes over me, as if I’m trying on this new season and it finally fits.

Are you a “fast-tracker” or go-with-the-flow type?

Photo courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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33 Strings for Your Soul: debut CD shines

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A long-time friend of mine is the mother of two lovely, intelligent young ladies. Sophia and Olivia are homeschooled, and I am ever in awe of their myriad interests and engaging conversations; outgoing personalities; zest for life and the selfless, humble kindheartedness they extend toward others—whether their fellow human-being or those of the four-legged variety. Sophia’s love for music and sharing it with others began when she was a child and, according to her website (which she developed, earning her a blue ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair), she “is passionate about sharing her musical skills and bringing the power of music to others.” I am incredibly proud of Sophia and her debut CD—a relaxing and peaceful blend of harp melodies which would benefit such places as nursing homes, animal shelters and daycares. From the thoughtful content on the CD jacket, to the compositions she performs, to the recording of each piece, Sophia is the consummate professional. Her talent will bless you.

For more info: https://www.sophianienaber.com/.

Photo courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If you could do it all over again: would you?

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Every positive change in your life

begins with a clear, unequivocal decision
that you are going to either do something
or stop doing something. ~ Anonymous

If life afforded a “do-over” button or an instant replay, and you could relive the last X number of days from a specific set point (determined by you), would you? This idea stems from a novel I’m reading: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. A Sci-Fi suspense thriller, the premise begs the question of a multiverse—an infinite realm of being or potential being of which the universe is regarded as a part or instance. If presented with the opportunity, I would do it all over again: I would live more—and worry less—a lot sooner. It seems a shame that it oftentimes takes age to precede wisdom (or at least that’s the plan). But the good news is that every moment offers us the chance to make a positive change. Almost like a do-over.

Would you do it all over again?

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Anger slays: discovering a balm for calm

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In a recent USA Today article, Ken Fisher offers 11 ways to protect your money and sanity as you age. His final tip is worth adopting regardless of age, income, social status, vocation or education level: “Remember that anger slays.” He references a psychologist buddy of his who taught him to live his actions as if he’d live forever and his emotions as if he knew he’d be dead in 30 days. This brought a huge peace of mind to Fisher and every time he’d anger, he’d ask himself if he’d waste time over “this” if he knew he had only 30 days to live. He never did. Of course, my husband told me about this article after I had become disproportionately angry over something so small in the larger scheme of things (isn’t that usually the case?). Anger does slay: relationships, progress, health, peace of mind. Ask yourself: will whatever it is matter if my days are numbered? Because they are.

What is your balm for calm?

Photo courtesy of Ben Schonewille at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

You are not defined by your past: stay rooted in the present

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When you start to make the right decisions and pieces of your life begin to fall into place (see Falling into place… ): beware. This is also when the curve balls (may) start to fly. At least that’s been my experience over the past several weeks. And I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that every time I think I’ve got my bases covered, certain issues continue to bubble to the surface, threatening to define me and, in turn, undermine progress I’ve made in the areas of self-improvement, relational growth and my vocational aspirations. Here’s the scoop: When you’re assaulted with reminders of your past failures, know that you are not the sum of your mistakes, your poor choices or the number of times you’ve been struck out. In fact, each time you replay your past creates a stumbling block—and hinders present and future growth. Don’t allow the past to rob you of today. You’re an MVP: start believing it.

How do you stay rooted in the present?

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Transformative change: finding comfort in your own skin

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On the topic of changing one’s mind (see “It’s okay to begin again…”), there’s a word for that which also encompasses changing one’s heart, self or way of life. According to Merriam-Webster, metanoia is a “transformative change of heart especially: a spiritual conversion.” I like to think it’s validation of where I find myself these days—in part due to the mindfulness journey I embarked on more than two months ago. As a daily exercise between conscious thought and a willing spirit, I’m drawn to life’s simpler things and able to find joy within both the hills and the valleys. Not only has my heart softened toward those closest to me and to the plight of the human condition, but I feel a richer compassion for myself. Although unsure of my next step, I’m okay with that because I’m moving forward. And, for the first time—maybe ever—I’m comfortable in my own skin. Perhaps Club 50 is “the new metanoia.” 

What recent transformative change have you experienced?

 

It’s okay to begin again. And again.

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If you feel like you’re starting over at square one today, pat yourself on the back for starting at all. Lately, I’ve not only begun the process of reinventing myself (again), but I’ve changed my mind countless times on how I envisioned my future—my “Someday.” Lesson number one: How many times do I have to remind myself that I am a work in progress? That means there are days when it looks like I have it all going on but others where I’m a hot mess from head to toe. It means my canvas might be covered in swaths of pinks and purples and a splash of glitter. Or blank when my sparkle needs to recharge. Lesson number two: I recently read that changing your mind equates to self-respect, and that “you owe nothing to your younger self. You are not failing because you are no longer chasing a dream you’ve outgrown.” Even if that younger self was last week.

How do you start over each day?

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