If you have to ask yourself if it’s wrong: it’s wrong

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A while back, a friend was wrestling with a right-or-wrong type of decision and praying for discernment. My response: If you have to ask if it’s wrong, then it’s wrong. That same sentiment popped up recently in a Christian women’s group I recently joined. Yet, even those not grounded in Biblical principles know that our intuition—polished over the years through trials and triumphs—offers a decent gauge as far as “gut feelings.” I believe it serves as a warning bell alerting us to booby traps ready to easily derail if we’re not on guard. Or, perhaps we’ve chosen to ignore the flashing lights, only to plunge headfirst into the unknown, regardless. Sure we could end up unscathed. But we also might find ourselves so off track that it takes months—or years—to regain solid ground while we mend the superficial scratches or tend to deeper wounds. Seek that still small voice today. Stay the course. The race has only begun.

What decision are you wrestling with?

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The home stretch: bidding farewell to 2019

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How’s the year wrapping up in your world? Mine resembles a project still in the works: missing pieces to the puzzle; loose ends, tangled and frayed. Unfinished business: words left unspoken; goals unrealized. As well as one certainty: I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life or the end of next year—or the end of next month—without seeing progress. Although baby steps still mean we’re moving forward, we might fall on our hindquarters, take two steps back for each one we advance or veer off the original course. But we shouldn’t drop to our knees where we are and stop—unless it’s to pray. So as we bid farewell to 2019, I pray for: a clear vision for the New Year, favor to succeed, strength to overcome, confidence in our convictions and the peace that passes all understanding. And that any loose ends or unfinished business or missing pieces to the puzzle serve as stepping stones from one chapter to the next.

Cheers!

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A time for everything: the key is in the knowing when

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I can obsess over life’s minutiae with the best of them. Pounce on an idea or thought, roll it around, pound it out, stretch it and kneed it, worry it and ruminate on it—until I become paralyzed—hashing and rehashing, attempting to establish if or when I took a wrong turn, misjudged or misunderstood. Oftentimes, I seek freedom from my thoughts through journaling, a safe place where I scrawl my uncensored soul across the pages of my college-ruled notebook. Mostly, though, I pray. Absolved of conventions about where or when or how, I unearth solace on the mountain trails. Just me and God and nature’s playground. It’s here where I often find the answers—and healing—I seek. I’ve mentioned it before, how there’s a time for everything according to the Good Book: A time to keep and a time to throw away… a time to be silent and a time to speak. The key is in the knowing when.

Do you struggle with the knowing when?

Don’t let anything dull your sparkle: manage your mojo with a mantra

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My mojo is missing, my mood is meh and I can’t put my finger on it. When I told that to one of my sisters recently, she said: “Turn it over to the Lord. Be your sparkly self again.” This requires daily, oftentimes minute-by-minute, discipline. Yet I’m the first to admit that I frequently allow circumstances beyond my control—the mess in the world, others’ actions and reactions—to dictate my disposition. To rub me the wrong way. To dull my sparkle. But what if we were to adopt a mantra when we’re tempted to pull up an easy chair and accept mediocrity versus excellence? Or pessimism rather than optimism? Perhaps now is the time to recommit to memory the prayer of sorts I devised when I first began the practice of Bikram yoga (see “Waiting for better days”). Because I am strong, I am healthy and I am happy. And I refuse to remain stuck in a rut. Stay tuned for mojo updates.

What’s your mojo mantra?

Image source: https://fityourself.club.

Your breaking point: recognize the signs

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This past year seems like it’s elapsed in a whirlwind, with my goal to pursue the power of P (peace, patience, purpose and a more passionate prayer life) being usurped by the practice of mindfulness. Which makes sense, because it’s a concept that involves each of these pursuits. This past weekend, the chance to practice mindfulness showed up in a big way: As is often the case, my plans on paper did not translate well into real time, and I quickly recognized the signs that signal my “breaking” point. Close to panic mode when the little piles and pressures in front of me become overwhelming, I turn inward and disengage. Oftentimes, this means a solitary trek into the mountains as a means of avoidance. This weekend, however, I opted to dodge all outside commitments to allow my soul to catch up to my body right where I was at. To let the day unfold with no agenda. And with no regrets.

What does your breaking point look like?

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Defeating the demons: pressing in to get your head (and heart) unstuck

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In my recent post, “Make peace with the past…” I contemplate the choice to salvage the Someday mentality [“Someday my dreams will come true, I’ll accomplish X, Y and Z or fill-in-the-blank”]—or to let go of the one-sided dreams. You know the type—where the outcome centers on circumstances beyond your control. Today, I’m at a crossroads as I fight a few familiar demons: rehashing old habits, rethinking past choices, dwelling on the old. Yet the only way to reclaim my reality is to dig deeper, to press in to those areas which best define me: my passion and my purpose. To pursue, with greater intent, life’s simple pleasures and the transformative power of prayer, the mindful practice of gratitude and self-compassion. And to finally release those things which I cannot change in order to appreciate the life that’s smack dab in front of me. Not a million miles away. Not within the pages of a fairytale. But here, and now.

How do you defeat the demons?

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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?

Lean on me: finding a balance between solitude and fellowship

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I usually hike alone, using the space to reconnect with nature, to work up a sweat and to pray. This past weekend, however, I joined a group of ladies for an unhurried trek in the mountains and I gleaned a few observations along the way: 1) Circumstances might require us to slow down and come alongside others who need encouragement or a helping hand; 2) When is oftentimes less important than how we reach our destinations and 3) Although I enjoy my alone time, I believe humanity was created for fellowship and that two (or more) are better than one: if I fall, someone will be there to pick me up. Whether I fall in the literal or metaphorical sense, my friends are there to lend a hand, a hug or a compassionate ear. It’s good to enjoy our own company, it’s better to surround ourselves with a reliable tribe and it’s best to find a balance between the two.

How do you balance alone time with companionship?

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Energy flows where attention goes

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focus-on-plenty

I’m happy to report that my focus on the ‘Power of p’ is off and running—peace, patience, purpose and prayer at the top of my 2017 pursuits. In addition, I plan to emphasize another P: my plenty (vs. lack). Thus far, this has proven an exercise in attitude adjustment. Sometimes you just want to pout because you’re not where you thought you’d be at this stage of the game (of life). For example, while hiking a couple weeks ago, I ruminated on my novel and how I still haven’t written it (yes, I wrote one a few years ago, during a 30-day challenge, but I consider that my practice)—and about all the writing workshops on my schedule this year. I’ve decided that, like any person training for a marathon or the Olympics or a trek into the Grand Canyon, that’s what my practice and workshops are doing: prepping me to write and publish my novel. It’s about keeping focused on the plenty.

How’s your energy flow?

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The Power of P

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the-power-of-p

If the number of visitors who read my recent post, ‘A simple(r) life…,’ is any indication of what much of society pursues, then this topic ranks up there with all things happiness-related. I believe that’s because a happy, simple life is a basic necessity many of us seek. However, we often get in our own way and make it complicated, instead. For example, if you’ve searched for happiness your entire life—in relationships, material goods, addictions, net worth—you’ve discovered it’s an illusion, a temporary fix. Why? Because true happiness manifests itself when we sow into others’ lives something of value, something that will last: our time. A simplicity known as kindness. It’s only then that we find fulfillment—contentment that arises from a humble heart. Good news: it’s an ongoing practice, not perfect. With that said, my pursuits for 2017 revolve around keeping it simple with the power of P: peace, patience, purpose and a more passionate prayer life.

What is your No. 1 goal for 2017?

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