Make it work: just do it

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In my post, “How to discern the answer you’re looking for,” I talk about a trek into the desert that brings clarity to a dilemma and, although not a make-or-break-me situation, it’s a debate I engage in with myself on the daily (isn’t that a fun, hip phrase?). To write, or not to write—that is and has been the question for decades. However, during said hike, I discover, with certainty, that the desires knit into my heart prior to conception are not without a purpose (although TBD). So why don’t I jump for joy and shout with exultation?! Because life. And its plethora of more pressing goals and commitments; the battle between self-care and self-indulgence; the act of self-sacrifice to put others’ needs ahead of our own. But wait! To make it work does not mean all or nothing, nor does it require a choice of one dream at the expense of others. To make it work means: just do it.

How do you make it work?

Photo source: https://www.pinterest.com.

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New year, new you: back to the basics

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Prior to Jan. 1 each year, I prepare a list of goals to aim toward over the next 365 days. This year was no different; however, come New Year’s Day, I abandoned several of my plans to focus on immediate, more pressing needs: my relational, mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. Although fraught with copious amounts of kicking and screaming, my resolve birthed a new plan to Let go and let God, if you will. Once I stripped away the myriad tasks that occupy my planner and relinquished control of outcome-driven objectives—in other words, after I surrendered my own agenda—I returned to the basics that I write about in “Falling into place…” Not only have I been blessed with second chances, but a foundation has been laid so that, when it’s time to revisit my original goals—maybe where I left off, maybe somewhere different—I’ll be ready. As a new and improved version of me.

What new goals, if any, have you begun in 2018?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Are you doing what you’re supposed to do or what you want to do—or both?

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Recently I texted my big sister and dumped a “woe is me” montage on her. I suck as a writer. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I’m champing at the bit. Her response: Breathe and pray—the words a balm to my spirit. Oh dear heart, if you, too, are a person who strives, strives and strives some more, it’s okay (normal even) if you don’t know where you’re going. Just breathe and pray. And ask yourself if you’re doing what you’re supposed to do or what you want to do. Because, as my sister reminded me, these might not be one and the same. You have been created to do magnificent things. But what you think is your passion might only be the tip of the iceberg. Already eight days into NaNoWriMo and, truthfully, I need to regroup. To breathe, pray and search my soul. To discover what will truly make me happy and then do that.

Are you doing what truly makes you happy?

Photo source: http://www.framesandfreckles.com.

Strong enough, smart enough and brave enough: all you have to do is ask

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Be strong enough to stand alone,
smart enough to 
know when you need help,
and brave enough to ask for it.
~ Ziad K. Abdelnour

I’m not sure if it’s a Type A thing, or just a fragment of my own personal makeup; however, I feel that the practice of enlisting the help of others is oftentimes viewed as a sign of vulnerability rather than a display of strength. The writing life is typically a solitary endeavor but, after juggling, rearranging and finagling my schedule (see “The price of sacrifice…”), I finally conceded I needed assistance to pursue my vocational goals. This meant approaching my little family and informing them when I would be unavailable, and then pinning my boss down to ask for additional flexibility in my “9-5” work schedule. All it took was a little smarts and a whole lot of bravery to walk away with blessings from all parties. And a renewed sense of my purpose.

What do you need to ask for help with?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Back off baby: slow down!

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NaNoWriMo day two (see “Jump right in…”): 2,068 words down, 47,932 words to go. And I’ve already learned something about myself, and my writing. I realized that in the not-so-distance past when I’d sit down and compose, I’d navigate from A to Z in a straight shot to arrive at the “good parts” quicker. This hit home as I drove through my neighborhood recently and a vehicle raced up behind my car. Back off baby, I thought, right before the driver swerved around me, only to be forced to stop at a red light. It seems we’re always in a rush to get to the “good parts;” consequently, we oftentimes miss the magic that unfolds during the detours and roundabouts, the hills and the valleys—in life and on the page. As I plunge into this month of writing, I promise to allow myself to slow down, explore new territory (whether planning/plotting or pantsing) and simply tread water for a bit.

When do you need to back off?

Jump right in: approaching everyday life

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Yesterday I registered for NaNoWriMo. For readers unfamiliar with this acronym, National Novel Writing Month is an annual, internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November, and where participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript. Although I’m excited to share the group energy and online support, I’m even more eager to implement a concept that occurred to me as I tried to wrap up my book outline (yes, I’m a planner/plotter vs. pantser). I can either wait until it makes sense (how often does that happen?), or I can jump in and figure out the details later. And not just with regard to my novel, but also my crazy busy life. In my post, “The price of sacrifice…,” I mention re-examining my needs and wants and here’s what I’ve got: they will (likely) be forever imbalanced. This means that, at times, I’ll just take the plunge and figure it out as I go. Kind of like a pantser.

How do you approach everyday life?

Photo courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When you run out of margin: create more

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In November, my second three-year term as secretary on my neighborhood community’s HOA board of directors concludes. I’m beyond excited to allocate my extra time toward other pursuits in an already jam-packed schedule. Case in point: a goof up this past Sunday in regard to said schedule reiterates that my margin runs shallow. While I spent two hours in the mountains hiking and writing, my church peeps waited for relief at the information desk. Although written in my planner, I overlooked my commitment when organizing my morning trek. With one minute to spare, I showed up for service, located a seat and later learned I had missed my volunteer stint. Yes, I’m human, but the oversight forced me to admit I either need to a) slow down or b) color code my task list. Regardless, good riddance to crabby neighbors and hello to more time for things that thrill me. It’s about creating margin (and taking a nap or two).

What happens when you run out of margin?

Photo courtesy of nunawwoofy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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