What matters is the doing: replacing fear with freedom

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Deadlines. Some people flourish under these heavy-handed task masters. Others freeze. I dwell somewhere within the pages of both extremes, depending on the hour. Most recently, under deadline for a 20-page submission earmarked for critique at an upcoming writers’ retreat, I struggled. With doubts, fears, frustrations. I hollered self-recriminations like “fraud” and “you suck” into the recesses of my monkey mind. I contemplated canceling my reservation. But, in the end, my goal was to write. And I did. My goal was to make deadline. And I did. And, for the most part, I had fun. Except when I didn’t. In my experience, I can attest to the truth that I am my own worst critic. Even though, I know my submission lacked passion. It lacked voice. But here’s what I learned: It doesn’t matter how I feel about doing something. What matters is the doing. And I did. In spite of fears and doubts and jitters. Which leads to freedom. Because I survived.

What are you afraid of?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If you knew you’d succeed, what would you do differently?

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In my recent post, “Let go…,” I listed 10 things to release to be happy. What other baggage could we add to this list? The first thing that comes to mind is: envy. Oh, if we’d choose to find gratitude in our hearts for who we are right now. That instead of being critical over our perceived flaws or weaknesses, we would delight in our abilities, strengths and uniqueness. During a recent hike into the mountains, as I often do, I poured out a heavy heart within the solitude of the surrounding desert landscape. While I searched my soul, I left all my unmet expectations and disappointment, hurt and frustrations, right there on the trail. And walked away with this revelation: to change my situation (see #4 in aforementioned post) could simply mean that I change me. Not with the intent to please someone else, but with the hope that any self-improvement trickles into those lives around me.

What situation would you change if you knew you’d succeed?

How to excel at this one life

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Many self-help articles share a common theme on how to grow and excel at this one life: stop complaining. This doesn’t mean we can’t vent our frustrations, but how about a new approach? Rather than spew negativity to those around us, let’s try writing it down; i.e., spend a few minutes daily journaling our angst. Maybe your partner behaved inconsiderately or you forgot to fill up your gas tank for the week. Or perhaps the first work email of the day rubbed you the wrong way or your alarm went off much too early this morning (it can’t be Monday already, can it?) and your stomach is in knots—knowing that after an eight-hour day, a 2 ½-hour HOA board meeting follows. Once you’ve written everything down, release these thoughts and mindfully replace them with thankfulness: It’s a new day. You’re breathing. Friday’s coming. Everything is temporary. Most on-point quote (by Heraclitus): There is nothing permanent except change. #truestory

Is your MO to complain or to be grateful?

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Practicing patience, perseverance

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[Image credit: David Castillo Dominici]

If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.
~ Lao Tzu

I was ticking off complaints to a friend the other day because I’ve been stuck in an uncomfortable season for…well, a season. Often I look for an easy way out, but I was reminded if I attempt to avoid discomfort, it’s possible I’ll forgo a boatload of newfound strength and courage. Plus, the easy way doesn’t always mean the right way. And, if something is worth fighting for, then all the disappointments and frustrations I endure will serve as a reminder to hold on even tighter once I’ve reached my destination. No need to worry if I’m not where I want to be or think I should be now. What’s most important, in my opinion, is practicing patience and perseverance, while finding peace in the present.

What’s your MO for handling a difficult season?

Grounding yourself


[Image credit: renjith krishnan]

At the beginning of the month, something happened to really test my patience.  I was so upset I was seeing red and, what made it worse, was that it took place while I was at work (although not work-related).  When the phone rang and I picked it up, I strove for a pleasant tone, not knowing who was on the line.  Right away the caller, who turned out to be a close friend of mine, asked me if I was okay.  With that, the flood gates opened and I poured out my frustrations in what seemed like one exhalation of angry words.  My friend couldn’t fix it, and I knew that.  But he listened, and it felt like a figurative anchor had pulled my tumultuous emotions back to earth and grounded me.  I was still filled with tremendous angst, but it helped to be able to simply vent.  And the object of my irritation should consider herself lucky.

How do you ground yourself when you’re angry or frustrated?

Always keep dreaming


[Image credit: nokhoog_buchachon]

Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. ~ Marsha Norman

This marks my 200th post since I began Always The Write Time to chronicle my journey as a non-traditional student, and has evolved into an excursion (or peregrination) through life.  I’d like to say thank you for joining me as I ramble and reflect daily, and for sharing in both my frustrations and my triumphs.  I hope over time, you’ve discovered as I have, that we’re not alone — that others possess similar struggles and hopes, as well as their own “Somedays” they’re waiting for while doing their best to live out their todays.  As for my dreams, they’re few.  I envision myself enjoying good health, a successful career doing what I love and moonlit walks on the beach.  Perhaps your soul and mine have written each other into our respective books, and one day our paths will cross.  Until then, I wish you the most beautiful dreams and a happily ever after.

What do your dreams say about your life’s story?