When you feel like a failure: don’t look back

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You know when the perfect opportunity to offer words of wisdom and insightful advice to your child—adult or otherwise—takes on the appearance of a train wreck versus the motherly win you strive for? Even with a quarter century of parenting experience under my belt, I still bomb (and not the fizzled-out kind), the recent fail an up-close-and-personal affront at my ability to think before I speak—to mindfully build up rather than fight fire with fire. Tears ensued. Hugs suspended. Hours later, my mom ego bruised, I waved a white flag in the form of a text: Do-over? My treat. My faith life on display, it had revealed a mind and heart polluted by the demons I refer to in “Fighting the demons…:” old habits repeated, past choices tendered. But I have a choice now: I can allow the mistakes of yesterday to define today, or I can choose not to look back. Because that’s not the direction I’m headed.

How do you respond to failure?

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

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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.

It’s just the beginning

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The beginning

At some point you need to take your life into your own hands. And make your own decisions. Start living the life you want now. Texted to me from a friend after listening to the broken record of my life again, I read these words nestled between a bit of well-deserved derision, and then returned to my safety net (see “Habits are choices…”). As expected, I woke up puffy and sad, no closer to any resolution. Except at some point I need to take my life into my own hands. And make my own decisions. And start living the life I want now. Not tomorrow. Not Someday. Today. This means committing to a few tough choices, making mistakes, disappointing people, feeling discomfort instead of stuffing it. And forgiving myself for waiting so long. Because my heart is heavy, burdened, by conforming to a life that no longer fits—the caterpillar who believes her world is over. Yet it’s only beginning.

Is this the life you want to live?

Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Habits are choices… good or bad

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habits are choices...

I’ve got a bad habit. Okay, numerous bad habits. As I engage in these harmful rituals, however, I realize the resounding reason why stems from fear. Oftentimes when I am challenged to step outside of my comfort zone, when change is inevitable or painful and/or I desire to avoid a certain situation, I seek solace in habitual patterns—even if these patterns are not good for me. I create a panacea for the unknown with something known, a temporary fix that is all-too-often self-destructive. In particular, I excel at stuffing my feelings with junk food and drink and then cursing myself the next morning when I awaken puffy, sad and no closer to a resolution. I sabotage any strides I might experience because it’s easier to fall back into my safety net of familiarity. And then I wonder why my life doesn’t change. But today is a new day. Time to make better choices.

What is a bad habit you can replace today with a better one?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

It starts with a choice

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When something bad happens, you have three choices.
You can let it define you, let it destroy you,
or you can let it strengthen you. ~ Anonymous

In the course of my lifetime, ‘bad’ things have happened. A decade ago my family was devastated by a drunk driving accident. Both of my parents died within a five-year span. My adult daughter and I were estranged for months. The definition of ‘bad’ is subjective, but how we choose to react to the bad something is always the same. We can allow it to 1) name the person we are (Victim, Loser, Etc.), 2) cause us to quit or give in or 3) inspire us to better ourselves. Of late, instead of using the bad things as learning tools, I emulate Einstein’s definition of insanity: Do the same thing over and over again but expect different results. It’s high time I jump off the treadmill, count my blessings and stop playing the victim.

What’s your MO when bad things happen?

[Image credit: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

Whose idea was this anyway?

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Whose idea

 

[Image credit: cuteimage]

It is our choices … that show what we truly are,
far more than our abilities.

~ J.K. Rowling

Ever wake up and the solution to a dilemma is on the tip of your tongue? Or ever crawl out of bed and not have a clue as to what you’re doing with your life? Both examples are snapshots of me over the course of a few days. In one breath, I successfully solved a web-formatting issue, and in the next I can’t recall why I want to pursue my master’s degree. Something about time passing whether I’m in school or not. Which leads to my next question: Ever jump on the band wagon of someone else’s dreams and think, “Oh, that’s *my* dream!”? But then partway into the planning and prepping you realize yes, time will pass, but whose passion am I really pursuing? If that happens, step back. Regroup. Be gentle. And allow yourself permission to change your mind.

What choice(s) are you at odds with today?

Is it real or is it Memorex?

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Many who read the title of this post may not be familiar with the 1980 commercial featuring Chuck Mangione and Ella Fitzgerald.  It revolves around breaking glass sounding just as authentic on cassette tape (Google the definition if necessary).  Not so far of a stretch is the topic of substitutions.  In a society of abundant choices, it’s easier than ever to replace one thing with another.  When dining out, we can ask for a fruit cup instead of toast; when shopping we can choose generic rather than name brand.  For a long time, I refused to exchange Heinz catsup for any other tomatoey condiment, but over the years I’ve relaxed a bit.  However, according to one of my friends, if it isn’t pig, it isn’t bacon (while the turkey variety is fine by me).  Although when it comes to Someday, only the real deal will do.  No substitutions allowed.  This may delay the fulfillment of my dreams, but I’ll appreciate what I’m waiting for that much more when it gets here.

What do you refuse to replace for the real deal?

Image credit: Kilcrease, Worth. “The Journey Ahead: Meditations on Death, Bereavement, and End of Life Care.” Photo.  Psychology Today.com copyright 1991-2012. [6 June, 2012]

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