Got faith? Your story isn’t over yet.

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On any given weekend over the past several months, I’ve hung my “closed” sign, packed my bags and driven up north. Each time, these getaways prove a source of inspiration and a form of self-care. Opportunities to refresh from “the grind,” to rediscover and reconnect with who I am—a faith-filled wife, mother, sister, employee, friend, writer, yogi, hiker and dreamer. And what I desire out of this one life—simple pleasures like that first sip of liquid magic in the mornings before the sun makes its ascent; autumn’s burst of vibrant color; raw, belly laughter; music and books that stir my soul; a connection between two hearts. To be a light in the world. To make a difference. Yet even if a lone tear slips from my eye when plans fail, I still choose to be grateful, knowing it’s simply part of my story. One that’s not over yet. After all, when our faith is tested, our endurance earns a chance to grow.

How’s your faith life?

Dealing with loss: a new way to approach closed doors

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Open doors are often viewed as gateways to fresh opportunities. Conversely, we might assume a closed door denotes an end. However, I read an article recently that describes doors in an expanded light: closed doors can also signify new beginnings. When a metaphorical door is closed in our lives, and we accept it as our new reality, we grant ourselves permission to grow in other areas. Perhaps you’ve experienced a closed door through the loss of a friendship, hope or health. Rather than mourn the end, I believe it’s healthier to carve out space to reconnect with or rediscover the spark of your truest self. This may be revealed in your sacred place—through a creative outlet or a commune with nature, meditation or a mini-getaway. Allow the door to your heart to remain open. Resume living. And trust that, although your path might look different than you’d imaged, it can lead to a new beginning if you allow it.

What door has recently closed in your life?

Photo courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to adopt a new mindset

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motivation

In a recent post, 4 tips to reclaim your get up and go, I suggest splurging on yourself to (re)summon your purpose. You might ask: How does purchasing a pair of sassy summer sandals help me snap out of my motivation-less mindset? I adopted this very suggestion myself, and I’m happy to report it went a long way toward improving my spirit. I may not have located my get up and go, but the act of simply leaving the office mid-day with my colleague, to laugh and shop together, infused my attitude with gratitude. I returned to work with a lighter spirit—albeit a lighter bank account—but also with renewed excitement for a getaway lined up next month, as well as a couple writers’ learning opportunities around the corner. I might even take a mental health day soon to revisit my passion and ensure I’m still heading in the right direction. It’s no wonder I feel a bit more empowered.

How will you adopt a new mindset?

Image courtesy of aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Taking stock: evaluating the process

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Taking stock

 

The goal thing seems to be working for me (see Crush your goal(s) one step at a time): I set a realistic amount of time to work on my book project each week and adjust my life around it. The first week I tallied in a bit shy of my goal, however, after a few tweaks I settled into a comfortable writing groove. But then two things happened: 1) I got stuck; i.e., I’ve forgotten most of several weekend’s worth of mountain musings where I fleshed out characters and plot points; and 2) Two new writing opportunities fell into my lap: one a contest and the other a guest blog post (both with back-to-back deadlines). Rather than view these new commitments as diversions, though, I’d like to think of them as opportunities to bend and stretch my writer’s muscles. This way, I can remain flexible so I’m ready to jump back into my book project when the time is write.

How is the goal thing working for you?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When you fail, because you will

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When you fail

The blues of mental and physical wear and tear
are not as devastating as the yellows
of the quitter. ~ James J. Walker

The next morning, I reeled from the previous evening’s confrontation with a homeowner in my community. Although he did not attack me, personally, he questioned the integrity of the association BOD on which I serve. He pushed my buttons; I sunk to his level with my response. Twelve hours later, I struggled to lift my ego off the floor. I allowed one person’s attitude to steal my peace and rob my sparkle. When I see this homeowner next, I plan to apologize. But, until then, I need to accept 1) I’m human and 2) this isn’t the last time I’ll fail. And maybe it really isn’t failure but, rather, an opportunity to address my own flawed heart. A heart that is resilient—that breaks a million times—its scar tissue a reminder that I am not a quitter.

Do you believe in failure, or opportunities?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When life doesn’t make sense

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Making sense

Platitudes like, “You’re never given more than you can handle,” or “There’s a reason for everything,” fall on deaf ears when you’re smack dab in the middle of a crisis. No one ever promised we wouldn’t be required to deal with a tragedy we’re ill-equipped to handle. And right now I cannot think of a single reason why a healthy, vibrant, beloved wife, mother, grandma and friend would be struck down in the prime of her life. I have yet to understand the reasons behind the trials my family has suffered. But I’d like to believe there is a greater purpose in the scheme of things—a method to what seems like madness. Of course, we can let the uncertainties paralyze us from living, or we can rest in the knowledge that if it all made sense, we might miss opportunities to grow and to make a difference in the lives of others. Isn’t that the bottom line in life?

How do you make sense of it all?

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Refueling depleted reserves

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refuel

 

Since I began the practice of Bikram yoga nearly three years ago, many of my posts paint a picture of the takeaways, the lessons learned… mindfulness and a focus on the breath—the present—two recurring themes to carry outside of the hot room. A few days ago, my morning began as a test, or an opportunity, to practice my yoga off the mat. To remain peaceful amidst chaos. My car did not want to start and, when it did, it argued about it until AAA came to the rescue. Eight hours of work, an empty suitcase and last-minute trip plans loomed ahead of me, my flight took off in 24 hours and my adult child still needed her mom. By the time I burst into the yoga studio, I had practiced so much mindfulness throughout the day, my reserve underwent depletion. Thankfully, it only took me an hour to pack after a rock star practice. And I slept like a baby.

How do you refuel depleted reserves?

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The truth hurts

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ID-100264855

I would bet I learn something new every day—whether it’s a different vocabulary expression from my word-of-the-day calendar my daughter gave me for Christmas (“because you’re a writer”), or something I gained during my yoga practice or while working on the job, or something I read online or in print or something a friend or acquaintance passed along. In these examples, it’s a good idea to double check the source or get a second opinion. But when I really learn something new is when I screw up. And I’m not referring to a simple faux pas. I’m talking about the OMG-you-said-or-did-what!? mistake. Those are the best kind of learning opportunities, in my opinion. Although painful, most times (at least in my experience), they require us to take a deep look at ourselves. We might not like what we see, but the old adage, “the truth hurts” is truer than we’d like to think. Hopefully, then, what we learn will stick.

What new thing did you learn today?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Carpe diem (life’s dos and don’ts)

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CarpeDiem

Don’t wait for time. Make it.
Don’t wait for love. Feel it.
Don’t wait for money. Earn it.
Don’t wait for the path. Find it.
Don’t wait for opportunity. Create it.
Don’t go for less. Get the best.
Don’t compare. Be unique.
Don’t fight your misfortune. Transform it.
Don’t avoid failure. Use it.
Don’t dwell on [mistakes]. Learn from [them].
Don’t back down. Go around.
Don’t close your eyes. Open your mind.
Don’t run [from] life. Embrace it.
~ Bigvai Volcy

This post is more for me than anyone else.  Another reminder of how I desire to live actively, rather than passively.  How I want to take control over my own circumstances.  But I’m more likely to spend time beating myself up over missed opportunities instead of pursuing the life I desire for myself.  Sometimes I feel selfish adopting this attitude.  However, if I want something, I can’t wait for it to drop in my lap.  I can’t wait … period.  Carpe diem.

What are you waiting for?

[Image credit: http://www.villacarpediemcuracao.nl/%5D

Try it, you’ll like it

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Remember forcing yourself to attend a function or participate in something you really didn’t want to, and then discovering it wasn’t as bad as you expected?  You may have even enjoyed yourself a tiny bit.  Or perhaps a lot.  That used to happen to me all of the time as a young girl when I had little choice over my circumstances.  Now that I’m a grown-up, however, I have more opportunities to decide if I’m in — or out.   Although I’m getting better at avoiding commitment at the get-go — when I’m convinced it’s something I’m not interested in — I sometimes vacillate this way and that with my decision-making.  Like yesterday morning when I decided to skip the gym to catch another hour of shut-eye.  I told myself I could bring a change of clothing with me to work and head over for some quick cardio at quitting time … if I felt up to it.  I gave myself a huge out, but forced myself to go anyway.  And I’m so glad, because not only did I run my second (and a half) mile this week (pain-free!), but I met a potential new friend in the parking lot.  Plus, I felt a whole lot better than if I had spent the better part of the evening lounging on the sofa.

When was the last time you did something you didn’t want to, but were pleasantly surprised with the outcome?