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.)

All the things we carry: how to lighten our load

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The Things They Carried, a collection of short stories written by Tim O’Brien (1990), describes the physical and emotional things American soldiers carried while serving on the ground in Vietnam. Years ago, I studied the compilation while enrolled in an undergraduate creative writing course. Today, I think about all the things we carry throughout our lives. The intangibles that are out of sight, yet weigh us down in mind: the heavy burdens of emotional baggage, the ugly scars from our pasts. Yet I wonder if there’s a way to purge—to abandon and/or forget—the things that impede in order to make room for the things we choose to carry instead: an attitude of gratitude, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And always forgiveness. All the things that help lighten our load along the way. Or perhaps the most important thing is to help carry each other’s afflictions in order to share the load.

What things do you carry that should be left behind?

Image source: http://rickhudgens.blogspot.com.

 

Empowered vs. embarrassed: becoming your biggest advocate (encouragement for women)

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In my post, Resigning ourselves to embrace each season, I share my new normal: menopause. Since then, I’ve consulted with myriad health professionals, researched countless treatments and, in reality, become my biggest (health) advocate. PSA: I urge everyone to assume this role, whenever possible. But, because I cope with a few uncommon medical issues; e.g., a blood clotting disorder and congenital heart defect, I’ve learned that several potential solutions prove riskier to manage hormonal imbalances. This simply means heightened due diligence on my part. And, because no medical expert is perfect, nor every woman created equal, a trial and error mentality is key. Throughout the process, I’ve also discovered my voice—not only by asking questions, but by being transparent with others. Rather than suffer embarrassment, I feel more empowered than ever. Stay tuned for upcoming posts that include tips for managing this new season, from common symptoms and natural remedies for relief, to encouragement that we’re not alone.

How do you manage the new seasons in life?

Image source: https://transforminglifenow.wordpress.com/.

The road from aversion to acceptance: an avocado tale

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More than three decades ago, I was afraid of avocados. On a dinner date—while residing in the Midwest and before I met my husband-to-be—I ordered a California burger. When it arrived, topped with a gooey blob of green stuff, my expression no doubt reflected uncertainty and something akin to fear (aka distaste). Fast-forward dozens of years, now living in the Southwest: even then, whenever my cousin touted the merits of avocados, I winced at the fat content packed into those leather-skinned pouches. However, not too long ago, I discovered the deliciousness of guacamole. Newsflash: it’s made with avocados! Plus, the fat is the good kind our hearts crave. No longer afraid of the fruit, I add the tasty goodness to salads and tacos, smoothies and more and—of course—my weekly guacamole fix: Combine two large avocados, peeled and smashed; one small yellow or white onion, chopped; one Roma tomato, diced; juice from ½ lime; salt and pepper to taste. Try it on a toasted bagel!

Image courtesy of khumthong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Gain vs. gap: realigning our focus

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I’m notorious for making things harder than they need to be. And often creating more work for myself in the process. Anyone else relate? <raising hand> Lately, however, I’m finding peace in that space between now and then. You know the space I’m talking about: the gap. Recently, I read an article written by a popular motivational guru who encourages readers to focus on the gain, rather than the gap. Loosely translated, I take this to mean we must look at what we’ve accomplished vs. what we have yet to realize. Consequently, rather than fight the process—of growth, of attracting abundance, of [fill in the blank]—I’m learning to go with the flow when necessary, and to identify when a means or a method no longer serves me before I wind up spinning my wheels in frustration. To quote my good friend KM: “assimilate; make connections.” And then trust yourself to know when to act.

What things do you usually make harder than they need to be?

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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