Are you doing what you’re supposed to do or what you want to do—or both?

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Recently I texted my big sister and dumped a “woe is me” montage on her. I suck as a writer. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I’m champing at the bit. Her response: Breathe and pray—the words a balm to my spirit. Oh dear heart, if you, too, are a person who strives, strives and strives some more, it’s okay (normal even) if you don’t know where you’re going. Just breathe and pray. And ask yourself if you’re doing what you’re supposed to do or what you want to do. Because, as my sister reminded me, these might not be one and the same. You have been created to do magnificent things. But what you think is your passion might only be the tip of the iceberg. Already eight days into NaNoWriMo and, truthfully, I need to regroup. To breathe, pray and search my soul. To discover what will truly make me happy and then do that.

Are you doing what truly makes you happy?

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

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Consistency is key: 8 steps to become a better version of you

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After 30 days of practicing mindfulness, I can honestly say: it works. Not only have I gained a deeper level of awareness of who I am and what I want to be, I’ve also discovered that consistency is key to (lasting) change. Practice these eight steps to become a better version of you:

  1. Recognize and acknowledge negative thinking; work to change your train of thought.
  2. Choose happy: every moment, each day.
  3. If you’re not happy with XYZ, pray, say and/or take action.
  4. Don’t take life too seriously: laugh at yourself. It heals, it’s contagious and it’s a free ab workout.
  5. Smile often: it’s sunshine on a cloudy day, for yourself and others.
  6. Mistakes happen: own up and rectify if possible. Then move on.
  7. Slow down; life is not a race to be run but a journey to be savored.
  8. Be kind to your neighbor, your fellow human-being: we are all in this thing together.

How do you practice consistency daily?

Revisiting the monkey mind

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Monkey MindEver get accused of thinking too much? Making assumptions? Complicating things? I’ve heard it said that men’s minds organize thoughts into neat compartments, or boxes, while women’s minds navigate the tangled and vast circuitry of cyberspace. Yet, I take it a step further with “monkey mind.” Unsettled, restless. It only stops jumping around during yoga practice and while I’m sleeping, although I beg to differ with the latter. In the mornings, I awaken tired and cranky. Without ambition. It could be a few health issues I’m dealing with, but mostly it’s a mind that won’t stay still. It worries and plans, it regrets and rehashes, it hopes and prays, it bargains and posits assorted scenarios; it begs me to make changes that my heart, when I’m conscious, refuses to acquiesce. In my post, From the inside out, I talk about how to focus on breath to tame the chatter. But I also think there comes a time to simply let go.

How do you tame a monkey mind?

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Deviating from the norm

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[Image credit: digitalart]

One of my goals for this year is to travel more.  More than what? you may ask.  Just more.  Last year, I was fortunate to spend 10 magical days in the southeast along the gulf on my eat, pray, love journey, and then another 10 days in the Midwest with my dad and as many family and friends as time allowed.  Since starting my job last fall, however, I’ve had to revisit my planning for 2012 (shorter, more frequent trips).  So far this year I’ve spent a long weekend in the Midwest, with another mini-getaway on the calendar and — fingers crossed — a road trip with a dear friend.  For my most recent trip, I organized everything to a T (although the weather didn’t completely cooperate).  But it was more stressful having to stick to an agenda than play things by ear.  So for my upcoming travels, I plan to try something different: not make plans.  No Franklin, no set schedule, just fly by the seat of my pants.  As long as I see my best man, I’ll be more than good.

Do you plan your trips from start to finish, or is it more fun to watch them unfold as they will?