Finding hope in the most unlikely places

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On a Monday morning I drove to work as is my habit, my mind preoccupied with a litany of tasks I hoped to accomplish. In addition to eight hours on the job, I needed to pick up a couple prescriptions for an infection I’m battling, get to yoga to create a little breathing space and decide what color my painter will be painting my kitchen cabinets. Plus make room to practice my Spanish. Underneath the surface, I whispered prayers for close family and friends struggling with illness and grief, those undergoing surgery and others wrestling with financial and spiritual drought. When I pulled into my parking spot, my mind still flitting from thought to thought, a flowering branch caught my attention. Its peachy blossoms, the only blooms noticeable in my row of stalls, encouraged me with its new growth. A simple reminder—in the midst of shadows, hardships and yes, my friends, Monday mornings—that infused my spirit with restored hope.

What is something that renews your hope?

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7 truths on and off the trail

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As I often do while hiking, I pray. I meditate. I search my soul and ask what it longs for most. I plot my goals or a story outline. While trekking through the desert this weekend, it’s as if life made a little more sense to me on and off the trail with these truths: 1) Danger is always possible: prepare for the unexpected and proceed with caution. 2) To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun. 3) Remember where you came from: embrace your roots. 4) Keep your eyes open for love: it can show up in unlikely places. 5) Obstacles [aka mountains] are inevitable: it’s our choice whether to scale or avoid them. 6) If it’s meant to be, new growth finds a way. 7) When we think we’ve made it unscathed, another obstacle looms in our path: if it’s the same one, quit going around it and tackle it head on.

Which truth(s) can you relate to everyday life?

Be a miracle worker: start with yourself first

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What lies before us and what lies behind us
are small matters compared to what lies within us.
And when you bring what is within out into
the world, miracles happen.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-improvement: this term conjures up a bevy of images. To some, it might mean a healthier lifestyle by logging in extra Zzzzs each night or increasing water intake throughout the day. For others it could look like volunteering for the soup kitchen, learning a new skill, pursuing a creative outlet or taking online classes. There is no set formula for improving oneself. And, thankfully, it’s a lifelong process. For too many years, I played the part of victim (see #4 in my post “Let go…”)—complaining because nothing changed in a particular situation. But I realize that, in order for miracles to happen, I must change myself: First, by concentrating on my personal growth. And second, by being receptive to what lies ahead.

What area(s) can you improve upon to make miracles happen?

 

Sifting through the muck to reach the prize

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trials-blessings

What seems to us as bitter trials
are often blessings in disguise. ~ Oscar Wilde

For the past couple of weeks I’ve wrestled with psychological and emotional baggage that’s over 30 years in the making (and not flattering), which has also triggered a nasty case of monkey mind (also not pretty—see ‘Revisiting…’). Then add in to the mix an extra dose of restlessness that stems from myriad [new] dreams I dared dream and laid the foundation for last year, which I hope to begin living out in 2017. And most of the areas I’m working on will not and cannot realize change overnight. After all, it’s impossible to rush something you hope to last forever… or at least as long as you’re breathing. Any type of growth takes time. Healing—physical, emotional, spiritual or mental—takes time, too. I just need to remind myself of this while I wade through each trial to discover my own personal blessing.

Do you count them as today’s trials or blessings?

Image courtesy of fantasista at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Taking the plunge is not for the faint of heart

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Take the plunge

In any given moment we have two options:
to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.
~ Abraham Maslow

During my yoga practice the other day, the instructor praised me. Not for a flawless asana. Not for holding the pose the longest or for my kick-ass yoga shorts. No, he commended me when I fell out of the posture. ‘Good job, Chrissy,’ he said, as I caught myself before plunging into the mirror. Although my practice proved more grace-less than grace-full, I did the one thing the teachers encourage students to do: fall forward. This means I moved somewhere new—I stepped into growth. Yes, I fell, but I fell forward, the result of stretching more than I kicked. Had I fallen backward, my body would’ve missed out on what it feels like to dig deeper, which ultimately leads to muscle memory. Each time we seek safety over growth, I believe we set ourselves up for loss versus gain.

Which step will you take today?

Image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

All things are possible

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possibilites

Miracles occur daily. From the sun rising to setting to opening our eyes each morning, we witness marvels on a day-to-day basis. Even the seed of hope we plant in our hearts—to bring about transformation in our lives and the lives of others—is a miracle waiting to happen. My post, Be the change, focuses on being what we want in order to manifest more of what we desire; i.e., if we covet more love, we must be more loving, etc. During the past four weeks, as I’ve bid adieu to my forties and jumped headlong into the fifties, I’ve engaged in a personal makeover of sorts. It entails reflection, prayer and specific assignments that challenge me daily. In the process, I’ve discovered forgiveness, healing and growth, as well as an understanding that, as we change, it’s possible to effect change around us. But this requires living with intention and being true to ourselves. Always.

What possibilities do you hope come to pass in the New Year?

Image courtesy of Greenleaf Designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Never say never

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Never say never

[Image credit: graur razvan ionut]

Never say never is something I’ve been known to say on occasion.  And I’ve learned that whether I say it or not does not dictate if I repeat something I said I’d never say or do something I said I’d never do or eat or participate in or whatever it is.  Whenever my mom heard me say this phrase she’d say, never is a long time, Christine.  I suppose there are some principles we know in our heart of hearts that we would never compromise.  But to say “never” also limits possibilities for growth and expansion of our horizons.  As for me, I am going to make a sincere effort never to say never again.  Although if I do that, then I’m already failing at this edict.  So, instead, I’ll try to leave it open-ended and open-minded.  Because we never know what life circumstances we’ll face one day that may blow our lofty statements right out of the water.

Do you regularly say never or not so much?

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