Just keep swimming

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After nearly a month of illness at the beginning of the year, I’ve made several lifestyle changes. More sleep; less commitments. More yoga; less worry. More leafy greens; less processed foods. Reading more and writing a new book (which hasn’t made it from my imagination to paper… yet). Getting more organized and less cluttered; spending more time serving others. Doing the good stuff while eliminating the bad stuff, all in the name of balance. I start each day with positive intention; I end each day with gratitude and an asana. But now I’m sick again. Up until January, I had not been sick for over three years. Yet even though I’m doing everything I should be, there are still no guarantees. Once again, the single thing we can control is our response to any given situation. And at the end of the day, we only have three choices. We can tread water (get nowhere), sink (give up) or just keep swimming.

What’s your choice when the water rises?

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Trapped in time

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Trapped in time

[Image credit: digitalart]

Ever feel like you’re trapped in your circumstances? Pain, depression, job from Hell, neighbors who aren’t so neighborly, family situation, <fill in the blank> … we’ve all experienced our share of disappointment. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix—or “Drano”—to untrap ourselves. Some rely on prayer as the answer. For others, it’s meditation, writing, exercise, participating in a one-(wo)man cleaning frenzy or lending a helping hand to someone in need. I’ve done all of these at one time or another and, for me, each has its own place to temporarily remove me from whatever situation I’m dealing with. But another suggestion is to make one small change in your routine. If you’re in pain, try something new to relax your mind or a particular pressure point. If you’re in a dead-end job, begin with updating your resume. Relationship issues? Start talking. By taking a proactive step, we begin to move in the right direction and regain a sense of control.

How do you resolve those feelings of entrapment?

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?

Carpe diem (life’s dos and don’ts)

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CarpeDiem

Don’t wait for time. Make it.
Don’t wait for love. Feel it.
Don’t wait for money. Earn it.
Don’t wait for the path. Find it.
Don’t wait for opportunity. Create it.
Don’t go for less. Get the best.
Don’t compare. Be unique.
Don’t fight your misfortune. Transform it.
Don’t avoid failure. Use it.
Don’t dwell on [mistakes]. Learn from [them].
Don’t back down. Go around.
Don’t close your eyes. Open your mind.
Don’t run [from] life. Embrace it.
~ Bigvai Volcy

This post is more for me than anyone else.  Another reminder of how I desire to live actively, rather than passively.  How I want to take control over my own circumstances.  But I’m more likely to spend time beating myself up over missed opportunities instead of pursuing the life I desire for myself.  Sometimes I feel selfish adopting this attitude.  However, if I want something, I can’t wait for it to drop in my lap.  I can’t wait … period.  Carpe diem.

What are you waiting for?

[Image credit: http://www.villacarpediemcuracao.nl/%5D

Life as a yogi (in training)

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[Image credit: lobster20]

You cannot always control what goes on outside.
But you can always control what goes on inside.
~ Mr. Yoga

Yoga reenergizes, reorganizes and revitalizes.
~ Bishnu Gosh

Bear with me while I ramble about my new addiction: Bikram (or “hot”) Yoga.  In a little over a week of attending the 90-minute sweat fest almost as many times, I’m already seeing results.  I don’t want to get overly excited but, after just two sessions, my digestive issues had lessened.  In addition, I’m becoming a little bit stronger from the inside out, and my flexibility is slowly improving (the main reason I decided to attend in the first place).  Like Mr. Yoga states, I cannot always control what goes on outside, but I can control what goes on inside.  So as I give myself the gift of Yoga, I believe I’m re-energizing my body, reorganizing my thoughts and revitalizing my spirit.  Better than a prescription any day.

If you’re a Bikram Yoga lover, what does it mean to you?

Pushing myself to the edge

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[Image credit: Vlado]

Some of you may have read about my battle with an eating disorder in a recent In With Skin article.  Although years later I am in a much better place physically, at times I still struggle psychologically.  For example, Friday and Saturday, combined, I logged in 4.25 hours between the gym and Yoga studio.  A girlfriend asked me why I push myself so hard.  Without analyzing it too much, in some ways it’s oftentimes the only area of my life I truly feel in control over.  Poor food choices or personal issues beyond my power equal double-time in my happy place(s).  Of course, there’s also an element of attempting to fight the age thing. My girlfriend also suggested it’s a form of punishment.  Whatever the reason, for me there’s nothing like the endorphin rush I receive — even the emotionally-charged moments where I’ve been flailed, my feelings stripped raw and exposed.  Makes you want to hit the gym with me next time, doesn’t it?

Where’s your go-to happy place?

Surviving the tough decisions

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[Image credit: anankklm]

In my post Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I talked about a particular situation where the outcome was not solely in my control.  However, a couple of days ago I received direction loud and clear in the confines of one or two sentences spoken between friends.  This resulted in the absolution of a figurative pinky promise and a mutual dream … for now.  After following through with my decision, I’ve admittedly experienced a heap of warring emotions: remorse, disappointment, sadness and failure, as well as a double dose of second guesses.  If not for my resolve to do the right thing, I may be stricken with grief, as well.   But if I peel back the layers and closely examine the myriad feelings, I just might also detect a small amount of relief on both sides of the equation.  At this point in time, it’s this latter emotion I must passionately cling to in order to move forward with my heart intact.

What is your secret to surviving the tough decisions?

Replacing discouragement with hope

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

While it is wise to accept what we cannot change about ourselves,
it is also good to remember that we are never too old to replace
discouragement with bits and pieces of confidence and hope.
~ Elaine N. Aron

More and more lately, I’m realizing that the only thing I can control is myself and my reaction to others’ actions, as well as the situations I find myself involved with.  While there are certain qualities inherent in our personalities, for the most part I’m okay with my own personal “quirks,” if you will.  It obviously doesn’t help to wallow in a self-defeatist attitude; however, for those areas which I know can be improved upon, this is where I can exert some control.  So while I’m unable to change another’s circumstances to benefit myself, or to rush or slow down time for my own agenda, I can make a choice to replace any discouragement and frustration with confidence that I’m doing the best I can with the tools I possess.  And hope that my future will be better for it.

Do you beat yourself up over the things you cannot change about yourself or others?

A sobering wake-up call

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[Image credit: Daniel St.Pierre]

A week or so ago, a friend of the family went into cardiac arrest, resulting in a coma.  The prognosis is grim.  The most sobering part of the story, personally, is the friend is my age.  And for all intents and purposes, a healthy individual.  He had been running an errand and simply collapsed.  That could be me.  Or someone close to me.  All these plans I have — my tasks for tomorrow, goals for 2012, dreams for Someday — only have meaning if I’m alive and kicking.  For me, it was like a brush with mortality (the proverbial wake-up call), and I can only hope I’m making the most of this very moment.  And the next.  Does my family know how much I love them?  Have I made amends where necessary?  Maybe now is a good time to tie up loose ends while I’m still able.  Because life can change in an instant and as hard as I try, that’s one thing I cannot control.

Have you ever experienced a wake-up call resulting in a changed outlook on life?

Moderation doesn’t have to be a dirty word

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[Image credit: vichie81]

Be moderate in everything, including moderation. ~ Horace Porter

Living a life of moderation is an unwritten goal of mine.  There are certain times when I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing, but I also believe the healthiest lifestyle embraces the moderation rule.  It’s all about balance.  For many years, I struggled with an eating disorder and went from eating everything I could get my hands on, to starving myself for days.  Similarly, many dieters deprive themselves of their favorite treats, only to binge days later (as a reward for sticking to their “diet,” no less).  Although these examples refer to unhealthy extremes, I also think moderation needs to be taken lightly.  For instance, when I travel, my good intentions oftentimes fly out the window simply because it’s common for our routines to get off track.  I used to worry about maintaining my daily diet, working out, sleeping a prescribed number of hours; you name it, I attempted to control it while traveling.  But I discovered that there’s a time and a place and for me, vacation is neither one.  Perhaps moderation has more to do with finding a happy medium, but then allowing for adjustments when necessary.

Have you found that happy medium, or do you typically live one extreme or the other?

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