Today I am grateful for:

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Gratitude is the gateway to joy.
~ Elaine S. Marshall

I believe I speak for the majority of people reading this post that the year 2020 has proven like no other experienced in our lifetimes. It’s impossible to ignore the chaos surrounding global political, financial and cultural strife; shelter-in-place orders; business closures; loss of lives and livelihoods; hoarding of everyday supplies; social distancing; mandatory mask orders and more. Yet, while discussing the state of current affairs with close friends, relatives and online groups, I find I’m not alone in nursing a deep sense of guilt that stems from feeling grateful for our individual blessings—even in the midst of great heartache throughout the world. And the collective consensus is that it’s okay—in fact, it’s essential —to grant ourselves permission to feel the “feels.” Because not only does gratitude transform what we have into enough, but it also leads to abundance, and a conduit of joy, we get to share with others.

What are you grateful for today?

Photo source: jackcanfield.com.

How to determine if you’re an amateur or a professional

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In a recent post, I talk about taking massive action to fight for your goals. The article I reference focuses on the importance of changing our mindsets. And that it isn’t just trying something once, or trying and failing and then quitting. It means trying until we get the results we want; i.e., mastering daily habits that ultimately lead to success. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and the creator of the Habits Academy, it’s about the power of schedule and creating a daily routine. Clear says, “Stop waiting for motivation or creative inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.” Further, give yourself permission to deliver a less-than-average outcome. “The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.”

So what’s the verdict—amateur or pro?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A new way of thinking: what I learned on ‘sabbatical’

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After my last post, penned two months ago, the mojo I’d regained (see Change up the rules…) suddenly vanished without warning. I felt uninspired. Specifically: unmotivated to read or write. Worse yet: I feared I’d lost my love of the written word; hence, my sabbatical of sorts. But I never strayed far. I attended a writing workshop for six weeks to keep my finger on the pulse of creative plotting strategies. I also wrote an article for an online trade magazine. And, during it all, I picked the artistic minds of several writers and learned a new way to approach my writing: with permission to play. Not only does this concept eliminate the pressure to “get it right the first time” (be honest, does that ever happen, anyway?), but it also inspired a vision for one, three, five plus years down the road. Most importantly: I’m reading and writing again. As a wise yogi once said: Whatever we practice becomes greater.

What do you need to practice more?

Image source: http://www.mindylacefieldart.com.

Mama don’t preach

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Preach

 

In my post, Don’t wait until you die, I write about giving ourselves permission to love ourselves wherever we’re at. To live now, because it’s too late if we wait. Yet nowhere do I mention my faith—the overriding factor in my life and day-to-day decisions. My desire, however, is that to those who know me, my life reads as a testimony to the One who is greater than I am. That instead of self-reliance, it’s evident my reliance is on a higher power. This is why I don’t pepper each blog with spiritual fodder; rather, I share and dissect insights I stumble upon, whether divine or otherwise. Always The Write Time was never intended to serve as a platform to preach about religious or political beliefs, but a creative outlet in which I hope my words inspire and encourage others as I live and learn. Nonetheless, if you ask, I’ll tell you the reason for the hope that is within me.

What is your life’s overriding factor?

Image courtesy of Janaka Dharmasena at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Don’t wait until you die

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Don't wait until you die

 

To anyone who thinks they’re falling behind in life” is written to me. I am the one who thinks I need more motivation, to read more lists and posts about how I’m not doing enough. Because I’m not doing enough, right? I’m still writing blogs about how I need to simplify, find balance, be kind, follow my dreams: to do. To be. To perpetuate an endless cycle of more than. The pièce de résistance? …we all need more than anything… permission to be wherever the f*ck we are when we’re there. Oh, this soothes my soul. Who doesn’t crave permission to love themselves exactly where they are? A yogi instructor recently ended her evening class with Alan Cohen’s words: To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. I exited the room, tears streaming down my face. I want to live now.

Which one are you?

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Whose idea was this anyway?

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Whose idea

 

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It is our choices … that show what we truly are,
far more than our abilities.

~ J.K. Rowling

Ever wake up and the solution to a dilemma is on the tip of your tongue? Or ever crawl out of bed and not have a clue as to what you’re doing with your life? Both examples are snapshots of me over the course of a few days. In one breath, I successfully solved a web-formatting issue, and in the next I can’t recall why I want to pursue my master’s degree. Something about time passing whether I’m in school or not. Which leads to my next question: Ever jump on the band wagon of someone else’s dreams and think, “Oh, that’s *my* dream!”? But then partway into the planning and prepping you realize yes, time will pass, but whose passion am I really pursuing? If that happens, step back. Regroup. Be gentle. And allow yourself permission to change your mind.

What choice(s) are you at odds with today?

The fine art of living

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Letting go

 

[Image credit: kibsri]

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
~ Henry Ellis

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up.  In letting go, we’re actively participating in an outcome we hope for.  In other words, letting go is faithfully accepting that whatever is meant to happen will happen.  Conversely, holding on when hope for change or growth is obscured by logistics only causes frustration because we’re doing nothing to further our hopes and dreams.  If we simply realize that letting go gives us permission to take what comes our way, we can either use — or discard —  it as a potential stepping stone toward our Someday.  We’re still holding on to a hope for something more or something better.  We’re merely letting go of the expectations — the sometimes crippling desire to control an outcome we truly have no control over.  It’s compromise.  It’s acceptance.  Once we do that, we truly begin to live.

Are you holding onto something it’s time to let go of?

Guilt-free living

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[Image credit: Simon Howden]

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: life is too short.  At my age, I’m finally learning how to embrace this philosophy by giving myself permission to say “no” (or even yes) without feeling guilty — and without the need to apologize or make excuses for myself.  After a week of hitting the gym following time-off to allow my ankle to heal, I skipped my work out on the eighth day because I decided my sleep was more important.  Following a healthy dinner one night, I indulged in a few Girl Scout thin mints for dessert and enjoyed every bite, knowing I’d be in spin class the next morning.  And although I would have loved spending time with several sweet ladies this past Sunday evening, I also knew I needed to prepare for the week ahead.  Things, people and pleasures will always vie for our time, but we need to learn how to choose which ones will keep us moving forward.  Without feeling guilty.

Do you struggle with guilt instead of enjoying the moment?