20/20 vision: ring in a new look, new direction

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Anyone else brimming with excitement over the ball dropping in T-minus 19 days? I love a blank slate—revisiting previous goals and dreaming new dreams—366 new beginnings to be exact (yes, it’s a Leap Year). And this year begins a new decade, so I hear—along with my new “word” for 2020: growth. For those of you who have experienced your own growing pains that often accompany progress, you know that growth can manifest itself from the inside out. This undoubtedly requires an exercise in patience when unable to immediately discern external change. Or, it may appear messy on the outside initially but, as you cultivate your goals, the fruit of your efforts begin to blossom. Stay tuned as I grow in tangible ways, including a new direction for Always The Write Time blog. I’m thrilled to share this fresh season with followers of my rhetoric and ramblings—the messy, the colorful and everything in between. Buckle up for an exciting ride ahead.

Happy New Year blessings!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Do what you can: how to cultivate discipline

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On the heels of my previous post, “Persistence, determination…,” what if you don’t see the results of your consistent efforts right away? Or even within months or years of “showing up” each day? How do you fight the discouragement and keep on keeping on? That, my friends, boils down to the question: How badly do you want it? If it’s something that doesn’t occupy your thoughts 24/7 or make you excited to jump (or crawl) out of bed each morning, then whatever it is may no longer be worthy of your attention. And that’s okay. But if it is a dream that defines you or your purpose in life, then you must work through any disappointment or obstacles and chalk them up as growing pains. Maybe up your game, reprioritize. Simplify along the way. According to “Consistency Beats Talent…,” ‘Do what you can with the hours you have. Cultivate discipline. Master your time so you can maximize your production with what time you have.’

How do you cultivate discipline?

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Enduring the heat of refinement

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Enduring the heat of refinement

[Image credit: digitalart]

Sometimes we hurt the ones we love, especially ourselves. A desire may yield a “no” or “not now,” but only because timing isn’t right. Growing pains can be just that: painful. And not everyone will understand. But rest assured that there’s a purpose in the discomfort. All change includes some kind of unease. We are stretched and pulled and remolded—refined—into the individuals we were created to be. During Bikram Yoga practice, students are told that glass must be heated up in order to be blown into its ultimate shape. The same holds true for our persons—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Whether in the hot room, or in real life, we must endure the “heat” in order to allow ourselves to be perfected. I’m struggling with that part. I’d much rather skip over the ache and find myself in the land of plenty: my Someday. Unfortunately, it seldom works that way. I just have to believe it will get easier.

How do you handle the heat?

This too shall pass


This too shall pass

[Image credit: Vlado]

I think the phrase This too shall pass requires an active, rather than a passive, approach.  For instance, my daughter’s change of residence (see Empty nests are for the birds) is not going as well as we’d hoped.  Granted, it’s only been five nights, but she’s spent 60 percent of those nights at “home,” in my nest.  Not that I’m complaining, but I know that wasn’t her intent when she made the decision to fly the coop.  I can’t be sure if she’ll be back, or if these are simply growing pains while she learns to spread her wings.  But without action, her circumstances will remain the same.  In other words, she can’t continue to keep one foot in each door indefinitely.  She either needs to stay put, confront her concerns and see if it works out.  Or she needs to accept that it’s not right for her.  Even if that means temporarily returning to the nest.

Do you believe this too shall pass with, or without effort?

Beauty for ashes


[Image credit: Danilo Rizzuti]

Just when the caterpillar thought the world
was over, it became a butterfly. ~ Proverb

My daughter knows how much I love butterflies.  Not necessarily the winged insect (although I think they are beautiful, delicate creatures), but rather what they mean to me in the bigger scheme of things: fortitude and new life.  This proverb is scrawled on the side of a mug I received for Mother’s Day, one of several hand-picked gifts for the special occasion.  It sits on my desk at work now, and each time I glance at it, I’m reminded that this new season of my life is actually filled with layers, not unlike a cocoon.  Currently, my health issues are one such layer.  But instead of getting stuck in this season, I realize that whatever is going on with my body is simply a necessary part of the growth process in order to thrive with wings intact — just like all of the other challenges life throws our way.  Sometimes it’s just growing pains, and other times it’s the real deal.  But the world is not over.  And as the lyrics of one popular song promise: I’m counting on beauty for ashes.

Are you a butterfly living in all its glory, or a caterpillar endeavoring to transform itself?

Easy is not always better

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[Image credit: cbenjasuwan]

For over two weeks now, I’ve been experimenting with my diet.  My stomach has caused me grief for at least four months and so I took things into my own hands, thinking perhaps I’m dealing with a food allergy.  For the first seven days, I restricted my choices to just fruits and vegetables, eaten in small amounts every few hours.  Over the following week, I started introducing new foods such as oats and eggs, quinoa and dark chocolate, sprouted bread and almond milk.  For the most part, the milder the choices have produced better results.  But sometimes I can’t explain the discomfort.  And the restrictions have been challenging; I miss my protein bars and frozen yogurt, cheese and crackers (to name a few of my favorites).  But the sacrifice is nothing compared to the moments when my stomach feels good, “normal.”  I think about how easy it would be to get lazy and do what comes easy.  But like with everything else in life, the best things — the most rewarding outcomes — are the ones that come with a few aches and (growing) pains along the way.  At least that’s been my experience.

What sacrifice(s) have you made today for a better tomorrow?