Get up, dress up: showing up for your ‘best day ever’

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The other morning, a whirlwind in jeans and boots and a flirty (if I say so myself) smock, as I passed a gentleman in the parking lot who shares an office near mine, he asked, “How are you?” To which I replied, “Great, and you?” His response: “I’m great too; best day ever! Every new day is the best day ever!” Did I experience a drama-free day? No. Did I get cranky when my laptop acted up? Yes. But when we get up and dress up, it’s our job to be intentional with how we show up. Try these 10 ways to jump start your best day ever: 1) be present, 2) do less, 3) get one important thing done, 4) plan your perfect life (and start taking steps), 5) declutter, 6) go for a walk, 7) focus on three projects, 8) listen to great music, 9) watch a sunrise or sunset and 10) spend time with a loved one.

What’s the secret to your best day ever?

20/20 vision: ring in a new look, new direction

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Anyone else brimming with excitement over the ball dropping in T-minus 19 days? I love a blank slate—revisiting previous goals and dreaming new dreams—366 new beginnings to be exact (yes, it’s a Leap Year). And this year begins a new decade, so I hear—along with my new “word” for 2020: growth. For those of you who have experienced your own growing pains that often accompany progress, you know that growth can manifest itself from the inside out. This undoubtedly requires an exercise in patience when unable to immediately discern external change. Or, it may appear messy on the outside initially but, as you cultivate your goals, the fruit of your efforts begin to blossom. Stay tuned as I grow in tangible ways, including a new direction for Always The Write Time blog. I’m thrilled to share this fresh season with followers of my rhetoric and ramblings—the messy, the colorful and everything in between. Buckle up for an exciting ride ahead.

Happy New Year blessings!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A nasty word called addiction: from bondage to freedom

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In today’s post, I share a snapshot of a decades-long journey from bondage to freedom. Until six months ago to the day, I lived as an addict most of my life. Ever since I can remember, food consumed me (pun intended). Not so much the taste and health benefits, but the ways it [temporarily] anesthetized my emotions and contributed to a false sense of control. For years I engaged in an active bulimic lifestyle (see Body shaming comes in all shapes and sizes), bound by rituals that revolved around binging and purging. More than three decades ago, I “beat” the physical cycle of abuse but, throughout the subsequent years, lived with the psychological torment of a distorted body image, yo-yo dieting (an unhealthy practice with hidden dangers) and self-inflicted shame. Social interactions where food played a major role—parties, work lunches, friendly get-togethers—served to debilitate and oftentimes paralyze my mind. Until I finally surrendered these thought patterns. Bottom line: there’s always hope.

For more information, contact me.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Absolutes: yes, no or maybe?

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Growth comes not from hating what is wrong, but in loving what is right. I heard these words during yoga practice a while ago, another “ism” shared by our instructor. As a child raised in a Christian household, I soon learned that in life there are absolutes: yes and no. Right and wrong. Good and evil. Sickness and health. And the list goes on. Throughout the years, these (and other) absolutes remain, yet many have become muddied over time; shades of gray splashed onto a canvas of black and white. Rather than accept or reject, we choose to tolerate. Instead of casting blame or offering forgiveness, we overlook. An exception to the rule might take the place of “always” or “never.” Yet when it comes to growth, compromise won’t garner the results we seek: Because what we give out, we get back in the same form. However, I believe we can’t go wrong with love. But we’ll never be right about hate.

Do you struggle with any absolute(s)?

How to determine if you’re an amateur or a professional

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In a recent post, I talk about taking massive action to fight for your goals. The article I reference focuses on the importance of changing our mindsets. And that it isn’t just trying something once, or trying and failing and then quitting. It means trying until we get the results we want; i.e., mastering daily habits that ultimately lead to success. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and the creator of the Habits Academy, it’s about the power of schedule and creating a daily routine. Clear says, “Stop waiting for motivation or creative inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.” Further, give yourself permission to deliver a less-than-average outcome. “The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.”

So what’s the verdict—amateur or pro?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Hot flashes: triggers + tricks to find relief

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Okay, ladies (and gentlemen—maybe you know someone who could benefit from this post), since I’ve been navigating this latest season (aka menopause), I’ve been experiencing hot flashes—what I’ve playfully dubbed “power surges”—common symptoms that can (and do!) flare up at any time. When my sweet mama developed hot flashes, her nose turned bright red. Some women get night sweats. And many, like me, morph into human radiators that heat from the inside out and can drench our clothes in seconds. Common triggers: alcohol, heavy and/or tight clothing, heat, physical activity and warm drinks. A few tricks that work for me—and have reduced my daily power surges from seven to one or two:

• Wear layers that can be removed quickly
• Regular acupuncture sessions
• Flaxseed meal (a good source of lignans that may balance female hormones)
• Clary sage oil (I add 24 drops to 2 ounces of purified water & spritz daily)
• Sip a cool/iced drink at the onset
• Portable fan

What tips work for you?

Image courtesy of nalinratphi at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I quit.

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One day, you wake up and just know it’s time to say, “I quit.” I quit the negative self-talk. I quit complaining. I quit obsessing (see “A time for everything…). I quit whatever no longer serves me—the toxic behaviors that harm vs. heal, the co-dependent relationships that eclipse vs. edify, saying “yes” when I mean “no.” I quit making excuses and, instead, take ownership of my decisions, my goals, my commitments, my successes—and my failures. I quit piling on the unrealistic expectations, and replace them with my victories, big and small. I quit dreaming new dreams without attaching wings: the tangible steps I must take to create the reality my heart envisions. One day, you wake up and just know it’s time to say, “I begin.” And embrace every thrill ride, every bump, bruise and disappointment because it means you’re alive and present in this moment. That you’re breathing and you were created for a purpose.

What do you need to quit in order to begin?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A time for everything: the key is in the knowing when

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I can obsess over life’s minutiae with the best of them. Pounce on an idea or thought, roll it around, pound it out, stretch it and kneed it, worry it and ruminate on it—until I become paralyzed—hashing and rehashing, attempting to establish if or when I took a wrong turn, misjudged or misunderstood. Oftentimes, I seek freedom from my thoughts through journaling, a safe place where I scrawl my uncensored soul across the pages of my college-ruled notebook. Mostly, though, I pray. Absolved of conventions about where or when or how, I unearth solace on the mountain trails. Just me and God and nature’s playground. It’s here where I often find the answers—and healing—I seek. I’ve mentioned it before, how there’s a time for everything according to the Good Book: A time to keep and a time to throw away… a time to be silent and a time to speak. The key is in the knowing when.

Do you struggle with the knowing when?

Taking massive action: fight for your goals

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I’ve mentioned a friend of mine—KM—in previous posts. We met during a four-day writers’ retreat in Port Townsend and, in some ways, I’m surprised by our connection; in other ways, it makes sense. As she once said to me: It just is. Over time, she’s become a sounding board, the voice of reason (aka my conscience), a cheerleader and mentor of sorts. My hope: to reciprocate in kind. Recently, KM emailed me one such token of her “tribal” (e.g., the battle cry of writers, bloggers, yogis, etc.) affection—a link to an article intended, I believe, to make me think (she’s subtle like that) about why I haven’t been fighting for my goals. After all, I’ve always believed if you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. A word of caution: avoid hinging that something on someone else. We must pick up the gauntlet and take massive action by fighting for ourselves.

Are you ready to take massive action?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Not ‘just’ for women: DIY Botox

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More than a decade ago, I spent a semester interning for a local beauty magazine. Not only did I learn a lot about the publishing industry, but I discovered how much I didn’t know about skincare. However, as a non-traditional (older) college graduate, I spoke to a specific audience—middle-aged women, like myself, who struggle with similar concerns; e.g., spider veins, adult acne, stretch marks, etc. Now that I’m immersed in all things menopausal, although no expert, I’ve been experimenting with the latest fads and tried-and-true remedies for relief. On the heels of my avocado tale, I came across an anti-aging facial that uses my favorite fat in its collagen-boosting DIY treatment. Touted as “practically Botox in a mask,” it purports to hydrate, prevent aging, reverse oxidative stress, tighten skin and promote elasticity: Combine ½ avocado, ½ ripe banana and 1 egg yolk. Apply to skin; leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water. (Cover remaining; save in fridge for five days. Reapply as desired.)

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