Falling into place: when the pieces of your life come together

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It’s been two months since I embarked on my mindfulness journey (see “A month of mindfulness…”). While some days—moments even—prove easier than others, there are the days you return home from work and devour a half bag of sweet potato chips without a second thought. And you know what? That’s okay. Because part of practicing mindfulness means you recognize a behavior or emotion but, instead of obsessing over it, you accept it for what it is and then let it go. My recent post, “The secret to letting go…,” focuses on what you can change or control. Based on this premise, I have since discovered a newfound freedom: When I let go, other pieces of my life begin to fall into place. From renewed relationships to a healthier self-image to hope for the future, I’m reaping the fruits of right choices. Most importantly, I’ve learned to be happy regardless of my circumstances, because I choose to be. Every day.

When will you take the mindfulness challenge?

Photo courtesy of ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Green with envy: turning the tables

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envy

I met a new neighbor lady the other day who, in one word, I would describe as stunning. Her waist-length hair fell in a dark sheet over slender shoulders and framed flawless skin, eyes highlighted by a fringe of long lashes. Black wedges supported her willowy frame, and a gauzy black dress flirted with lissome legs down to there. Her voice soft, she spoke in chocolate-smooth tones. She presented herself with grace, humility. Admittedly, I had expected an older woman (i.e., older than me), someone who’d been around the block a few times (more than me). I reserved judgment: Did I even want to like her? After all, she embodied that which I desired: wrinkle- and blemish-free skin, thicker hair and legs down to there, the identical clothes in my closet and eyelashes of the non-flea-bitten variety. And then, in response to the envy taking root, a small voice within my spirit whispered: But she’s not you. Can’t argue with that.

What does your green-eyed monster struggle with?

Image courtesy of tigger11th at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Acceptance is a choice

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Acceptance

Do you ever find yourself wrestling with a situation, feeling unsettled, heavy in your heart, at odds with yourself and/or the world around you? In reflecting on my post, ‘Four ways to flush out frustration,’ I keep returning to the first way we can absolve ourselves from irritations and disappointments: acceptance. By accepting our reality rather than pretending it doesn’t exist, we make a choice— because we are either choosing a) to live with a particular situation or b) to change ourselves into more of what we seek. Making a choice, for some of us, affords a semblance of control in our lives that might otherwise seem lacking. Yet, when it comes right down to it, each of us entertains a choice every day. We can either allow others and various circumstances to pull us down, or we can choose to rise above. For me, this might comprise sweat, tears, prayers and/or all of the above. Today I choose to be love.

What choice do you make today?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Achieving common ground

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Achieving common ground

We will never agree with everything someone thinks or feels or stands for. But that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for understanding and acceptance of our differences. Recently, I made the mistake of assuming a friend of mine and I were on the same page in regard to a certain situation. Although my friend—I’ll call her Paige—said “yes” to my take on things, I later learned that did not mean she agreed with me. In my post, “Agreeing to disagree,” I cover our dissimilarities and how they color our interactions with others, oftentimes casting us in circles or up against brick walls. Instead of agreeing to disagree, however, I’d prefer to achieve common ground—the middle-of-the-road compromise where both parties have a say and, although it might not be a perfect solution, each can live with the outcome. Give and take is a healthy part of any relationship, as long as everyone’s voice is heard and mutual respect is offered.

How do you achieve common ground?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The right thing

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The right thing

This can be a tough concept in whatever capacity we find ourselves—parent, wife, boyfriend, employee, neighbor—the person whose reflection we meet in the mirror every morning. I don’t know that the execution is the hardest part, but rather coming to the realization and acceptance that both are one in the same. I’ve recently learned that I lean toward passive-aggressive behavior. Although a surprise to me, I can see it originating in my childhood. I am a people pleaser and I never want to disappoint, but somewhere along the line I started to believe I don’t deserve to have my wants or needs met. So I have historically adopted a “martyr-like” mentality and stuffed my real feelings. Obviously, this is counterproductive and little gets resolved except more feelings of inadequacy, bitterness and self-doubt on my part. However, little by little I’m beginning to speak up for myself and do the right thing.

What is one thing in your life that’s been both the hardest and the right thing?

Moving forward through the grief

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Moving through grief

[Image credit: -Marcus-]

It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’
I do not agree. The wounds remain.
In time, the mind, protecting its sanity,
covers them with scar tissue
and the pain lessens.
But it is never gone.
~ Rose Kennedy

Nearly a month has passed since my family experienced an event that garnered much heartache. One of those situations where you don’t know how you would handle it unless you’ve been there, done that. Even now, I’m not sure how I should feel or react. I’ve found myself going through the various stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and — hopefully one day — acceptance. Or something similar. I have even struggled with guilt. Yet as I move forward and the wounds still linger, the pain continues to lessen. I wish there was a quick fix to ease the transition through each stage. But I’ve been allowing myself to laugh again, while looking for joy in what remains.

What is your secret to moving forward through the grief?

The fine art of living

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Letting go

 

[Image credit: kibsri]

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
~ Henry Ellis

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up.  In letting go, we’re actively participating in an outcome we hope for.  In other words, letting go is faithfully accepting that whatever is meant to happen will happen.  Conversely, holding on when hope for change or growth is obscured by logistics only causes frustration because we’re doing nothing to further our hopes and dreams.  If we simply realize that letting go gives us permission to take what comes our way, we can either use — or discard —  it as a potential stepping stone toward our Someday.  We’re still holding on to a hope for something more or something better.  We’re merely letting go of the expectations — the sometimes crippling desire to control an outcome we truly have no control over.  It’s compromise.  It’s acceptance.  Once we do that, we truly begin to live.

Are you holding onto something it’s time to let go of?

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