When results and efforts disagree: defining growth

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Photo by m. on Unsplash.

Now that we’ve surpassed the five-month mark into our new adventure on the mountain (see After the Leap), due to a three-week setback with COVID early on—as well as multiple challenges that have taken precedence—it often seems we have little to show for our efforts. Especially…[read more]

We all reside here: hanging in the balance


Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. What shall we do with this gift? For some, #thestruggleisreal and their days hang in the balance as they fight for their next breath. While others grieve, strive, win some, lose some, laugh on the outside, cry on the inside. Continue to repeat the same mistakes. Yet, when we break it down, we all reside in a similar place: each of us shares the same 24 hours. And our days are numbered. What if we acted like it? Was that argument I had with my daughter yesterday afternoon worth it? Would she remember the last words I spoke, albeit in anger: “Drive safe”—or, rather, would she remember the sound of the phone line going dead with no goodbye? It’s so easy to forget that our words, our actions, oftentimes leave lifelong imprints on others’ hearts. When we can be anything at all, let’s use our gift to be kind.

How will you use your gift today?

Photo source: http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au.

When you feel like a failure: don’t look back


You know when the perfect opportunity to offer words of wisdom and insightful advice to your child—adult or otherwise—takes on the appearance of a train wreck versus the motherly win you strive for? Even with a quarter century of parenting experience under my belt, I still bomb (and not the fizzled-out kind), the recent fail an up-close-and-personal affront at my ability to think before I speak—to mindfully build up rather than fight fire with fire. Tears ensued. Hugs suspended. Hours later, my mom ego bruised, I waved a white flag in the form of a text: Do-over? My treat. My faith life on display, it had revealed a mind and heart polluted by the demons I refer to in “Fighting the demons…:” old habits repeated, past choices tendered. But I have a choice now: I can allow the mistakes of yesterday to define today, or I can choose not to look back. Because that’s not the direction I’m headed.

How do you respond to failure?

Photo source: http://www.passionpluspurpose.com.

Learning from our mistakes

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Learning from our mistakes


We met 22 years earlier and, despite two dozen-plus years between us, we clicked. A big sister of sorts, she trained me in so I could fill her office shoes while she vacationed. But when she returned to the workplace more than a week later, she learned she had cancer. My temp assignment stretched into long term. We developed a friendship over homemade meals I delivered and commonalities we discovered. I stayed on for a year once she came back and we worked well together. After changing jobs, we shared coffee dates and strolls through her neighborhood, mourned our respective parents’ deaths and exchanged cards and phone calls. Yet I could’ve done more. Just this week I learned from her sister that she lost her fight to cancer two months ago. My heart is heavy and I am once again reminded how little it takes to maintain a connection. And, when we don’t, we miss out on what truly matters in life.

What lesson have you recently learned?

Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Purging and prioritizing: housekeeping for the soul

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regrets mistakes memories

Hard, this life thing. Over the past few weeks I’ve engaged in significant housekeeping tasks that, below the surface, denote a clean slate—a ‘starting over’ in practice and in theory. On the home front, I’ve tackled clutter and tossed what is no longer necessary, bagged up things to be sorted through eventually and donated items I hope might bless others. My personal life also experienced a collective loss, which has become the catalyst toward a sense of peace and healing—an opportunity to put my priorities in right order, to live with intention instead of allowing life to happen to me. Every regret or mistake I’ve made is a lesson learned, a temporary memory purged much like photos that fade over time or are deleted off a hard drive. And then replaced by the truth of knowing I’m finally on the right path as I leave behind my self-centered ways and prepare to step into my fabulous new life.

How do you ‘get over’ regrets or mistakes?

Fear is *not* a favorite F word

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Fear can be debilitating. Fear of… failure, the unknown, change, making a mistake, saying the wrong thing, getting hurt, causing pain, running out of time, missing out. Regret. The other day, I made a decision, set my plan in motion and, for several hours, I felt at peace about it. Only, when it came time to execute ‘said’ plan, fear seized and held me captive, resulting in an aborted mission. The solution? I must confront my fears, head on, instead of running away from whatever situation I’m facing. Otherwise, I will never be able to make peace with the past and move forward into the present that’s waiting for me to delight in. But this requires courage that I have yet to access, and confidence to trust in the process. It also requires daily positive affirmations that, indeed, I am good enough. And keep in mind: There are no mistakes. Just life lessons. So that’s one fear we can all say goodbye to.

What is your biggest fear?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

It’s just the beginning


The beginning

At some point you need to take your life into your own hands. And make your own decisions. Start living the life you want now. Texted to me from a friend after listening to the broken record of my life again, I read these words nestled between a bit of well-deserved derision, and then returned to my safety net (see “Habits are choices…”). As expected, I woke up puffy and sad, no closer to any resolution. Except at some point I need to take my life into my own hands. And make my own decisions. And start living the life I want now. Not tomorrow. Not Someday. Today. This means committing to a few tough choices, making mistakes, disappointing people, feeling discomfort instead of stuffing it. And forgiving myself for waiting so long. Because my heart is heavy, burdened, by conforming to a life that no longer fits—the caterpillar who believes her world is over. Yet it’s only beginning.

Is this the life you want to live?

Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

May I get a second opinion?

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Second opinion

One of my articles was recently published in a local magazine. While I waited to receive the hard copy in the mail, I viewed the web version online. However, once I read it, my excitement deflated like a punctured balloon. The article contained mistakes missing from the original draft I’d submitted to the publication. One of my editor friends, after reading it, said she would’ve asked that I dig a bit deeper, something I would’ve expected the magazine editor to request. I knew my friend was right, though. I’m never going to write again, I thought, much like a petulant child. Yet minutes later, I knew I wouldn’t stop. If nothing else, I learned something. Everything we do is a reflection—of ourselves, our employers—so the next time I write something, I will ask for a second opinion before it goes any further. Granted, I can’t do anything about the publication’s errors. But I can always do a better job.

How do you feel about second opinions?

[Image credit digitalart and freedigitalphotos.net]

Searching for your happy place

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[Image credit: Ambro]

Think of all the beauty around you and be happy.
~ Anne Frank

Recently I posted a blog about the road(s) to happiness.  When I checked the blog site analytics the next day, I was amazed to learn that particular post received the highest volume of activity compared to my others.  The fact that people are searching for happiness — most likely typing in many of the keywords I included in my post — should not surprise me.  But it did.  However, perhaps it just means a lot of us are seeking the very same thing and wondering if someone else has it figured out.  And if that’s the case, then we want to know the answer too.  Maybe it would eliminate the need to reinvent the wheel, or keep us from making the same mistakes.  If I had the magic answer to that age-old question, I would bottle it and attempt to make a profit.  But I have a feeling Anne Frank may have figured out the secret a long time ago.  And if she’s right, it means we don’t have to wait until we arrive at our final destination to be happy.  Look around you.  Happy now?

What does your road to happiness look like?

A is for attitude (adjustment)

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[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

I know I’ve touched on the topic of attitude adjustments in a past post (or half-dozen), but it bears repeating simply because we can all use them from time to time.  When my ankle kept me from my regular training and working out at the gym, I could have appreciated the time off from the daily commitment by catching up on some reading instead of feeling sorry for myself.  If you planned to vacation on the beach but could only afford inland, that isn’t stopping you from building sand castles or taking a stroll along the shoreline every other morning.  If your new home is half the size of your previous residence, consider yourself fortunate that you have a roof over your head with less to clean.   Then there are the old standbys: if the dirty dishes are piled in the sink and the laundry ceiling-high, be thankful you have food in your tummy and clothes to wear.  And one of my favorite quotes to date can easily be applied to improving our attitudes: mistakes are proof that you are trying.  I can safely say I am trying each day.  Multiple times … without fail.  That’s really all anyone can ask.

Where can you make an attitude adjustment today?