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?

Club 50: it just keeps getting better (wear the tiara)

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My daughter called me the other day and said she’d read an article that seemed like something I’d write: “50 Life Lessons Written by a 50-Year-Old Woman.” I wish I could say I had penned it because it was that good. And perfect. The cool thing is, I’ve already discovered most of these lessons and apply the majority in my own life. There are others I plan to put into practice, and even more that I’d like to add: 51) Pamper yourself often: buy the flowers, new dress or new shoes; splurge on a fresh “do” or mani and pedi. 52) Find something you’re wildly passionate about and pursue it, fearlessly. Or reignite an old passion, boldly. 53) Love others and love yourself; be kind always. 54) Cultivate a healthy body image. But my all-time favorite is the author’s closing tip: wear a tiara whenever you want to (and not just on your birthday). I think this might be my life’s new motto.

What is your life’s motto?

(Re)writing your story: happily-ever-now

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If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.
~ Mo Willems

Everything we might’ve been taught says running away isn’t the solution. That we should look adversity in the face and show it we’re stronger. But what about when quitting means leaving a situation where we’ve tried over and over yet nothing changes? In her post, “You’re Allowed to Leave,” Rania Naim invites us to let toxic friends go, to surround ourselves with love—people who encourage and nurture us—and to pick the kind of energy we need in our lives. “You’re allowed to forgive yourself for your biggest and smallest mistakes and you’re allowed to be kind to yourself, you’re allowed to look in the mirror and actually like the person you see.” Leaving might not mean physically. Letting go could simply mean releasing ourselves from the expectations of others and those expectations we’ve adopted as our own. Don’t wait for Someday to be happy. Be happy now.

What does your happily-ever-now look like?

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Staying power: what it is and where it comes from

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staying-power

While nursing a reflective mood recently, I scrolled upon these Facebook gems:

Burning desire to be or do something gives us staying power—a reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves up and start in again after a disappointment. ~ Marsha Sinetar

True strength doesn’t come from loving yourself when you have your sh*t together, true strength comes when you can stand courageously in your darkest, messiest and weakest moments and still find the strength to love yourself beyond all circumstance and definition. ~ Jannine Murray

Give. But don’t allow yourself to be used. Love. But don’t allow your heart to be abused. Trust. But don’t be naive. Listen. But don’t lose your own voice. ~ Anonymous

I’ve been a little naïve, used, my heart abused. I’ve forgotten how to love myself, and I’m searching for the voice I’ve lost. But my passions afford me strength, staying power—disappointment after disappointment—because I have a reason to rise every day and begin anew.

What gives you staying power?

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. 

When all you see is the mess: there’s still hope

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work-in-progress
Recently I pulled up a link to a blog post I wrote for a digital publication several months ago. I read through the piece with eyes that had grown objective over time and thought, ‘Wow, this is good. What was I so worried about before?’ Later that day, the post popped up in my mind and I recalled it in its rough form: the countless drafts, rewrites, edits from my freelance editor (aka Big Sister). In other words, the work in progress was a mess. Isn’t that what our lives can look like at times? From the exterior, we might appear like we have it all together—and maybe we do now and again—but I guarantee a mess has littered our paths at one point or another. Thankfully, the people we are today are still a work in progress. And there’s hope for us to listen more, speak less and sprinkle love and kindness into our little worlds.

Where do you see your biggest work in progress?

Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Suck it up, sister: when our words do little to help

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suck-it-up

Well-meaning intentions, words meant to encourage and build up, may be reduced to mere platitudes or a stale Sunday-morning sermon to a heart unwilling (or unready) to hear. We might open-mouth-insert-foot or, instead, offer the perfect verbal hug. Regardless, if we approach each person, each situation, from a place of love, then we’ve done the thing. We cannot control the rest, but we can be kind. A new favorite quote of mine: “Sometimes not saying anything is the best answer. You see, silence cannot be misquoted.” I opt for silence when words fail me in the face of grief or hardship. Or when I have nothing nice to say. I admit, however, that oftentimes my zeal gets away from me and I overstep my bounds. But when the shoe is on the other foot—when it’s not what I want or think I need to hear—I hope I remember that a simple ‘thanks for your encouragement’ is always the right response.

When do you opt for silence?

Image courtesy of aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Acceptance is a choice

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Acceptance

Do you ever find yourself wrestling with a situation, feeling unsettled, heavy in your heart, at odds with yourself and/or the world around you? In reflecting on my post, ‘Four ways to flush out frustration,’ I keep returning to the first way we can absolve ourselves from irritations and disappointments: acceptance. By accepting our reality rather than pretending it doesn’t exist, we make a choice— because we are either choosing a) to live with a particular situation or b) to change ourselves into more of what we seek. Making a choice, for some of us, affords a semblance of control in our lives that might otherwise seem lacking. Yet, when it comes right down to it, each of us entertains a choice every day. We can either allow others and various circumstances to pull us down, or we can choose to rise above. For me, this might comprise sweat, tears, prayers and/or all of the above. Today I choose to be love.

What choice do you make today?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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