Embrace the struggle: every good story contains conflict

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We must let go of the life we have planned,
so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
~ Joseph Campbell

Nearly 18 months ago, I embarked on a rite of passage: the admittance into “Club 50“—a new season I embraced with enthusiasm, positivity and sparkles. Oh, the places I’ll go, to coin a favorite Dr. Seuss book title. I began to plan this next half century, my hopes and dreams—my bucket list—with gusto and determination. Yet, here I am, a year and a half later, my bucket filled with these same goals, along with a few plot twists along the way: loss, disappointment, unrequited dreams. But, if we release our plans—or, at the very least, loosen the reins—perhaps, in turn, we invite opportunities to build character and deepen relationships through our struggles. In the process, we might even create space to dream a new dream. And to share that dream with others.

What plan(s) do you need to release?

When others rain on your parade: dance in the storm

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When we change our thought patterns, we change our livesSpend enough time with Debbie Downer, or Negative Nick, and you will begin to notice more of the cracks and blemishes rather than the silver linings. What can go wrong will go wrong. It’s hard to remain sparkly when others in your circle focus on the dark clouds or even try to rain on your parade. However, I believe this is when we’re supposed to learn how to dance in the storm. Admittedly, over the past several weeks, I’ve allowed others to dampen my spirit and dim my sparkle. But, now that I’m jotting my blessings down daily, it’s easier to recognize other steps I need to take toward self-improvement. One area I’ve recommitted myself to is a healthier lifestyle to better manage my heart health and overall well-being. There are just too many blessings waiting for me to do anything but dance—and sparkle my way—through this one life.

How do you weather the daily storms?

Image courtesy of radnatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Breaking free: rote action is no action

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I write about change. About Someday. About setting goals, taking baby steps, chasing dreams. Extending kindness and sparkles. Eliminating toxic people from our lives; hopefulness. Perseverance. What’s next. And then I “get” busy. Push it all to the back of my closet as I flit from task to task. Pretend I’ve taken hold of life by its proverbial horns. But my tiara is tarnished and I’m tired and all I want to do is jump off the non-stop roller coaster and figure stuff out before it’s too late. I think, for me, discontent no longer points to an unrealized purpose but, rather, my own personal purgatory where life isn’t just passing me by (see “Take action…”). Instead, it’s the rotten stench of anguish and despair that almost suffocates and renders me ineffective. Rote action is no action. Busy-ness can only put off, so long, what must be accomplished to escape from the grip of fear: of failure, regret. The unknown. So, what’s next?

How will you break free?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A different kind of super power

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Super hero powers

With a packed social calendar, this past week I contemplated: if I could possess a super power, what would it be? Without a doubt, I would choose to be in two (or three!) places at once. I’m not sure such a super power exists, but the costume would comprise a tiara and a handful of sparkles scattered in my wake (of course). Lately, I find myself in situations where I am unable to attend one event because I have already committed to participate in another. For example, in a couple of weeks I travel 1,700 miles to my hometown to celebrate with family; however, I will miss two functions ‘back home’ involving my extended family of yoga practitioners. Even yesterday I missed out on a gathering to attend worship service. It’s at times like these when we don’t necessarily choose the better option but, rather, do the ‘right thing…’ because oftentimes juggling our commitments requires balance. Perhaps this is a super power in itself.

What’s your super power?

Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Kindness is free, sprinkle liberally

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sprinkle kindness

My post ‘Birthday wish list: the gift of joy‘ talks about ushering in a new decade (which I did—complete with princess party and sparkles) in the form of engaging in 50 acts of kindness. A dear friend suggested I spread these acts out throughout the entire year, rather than attempt to stuff them into an already packed birthday month. And then to personalize them along the way. What a gift of joy this journey unfolds on a daily basis. I’ve encountered kindness begets kindness: a returned smile, a thank you, a hug, a gentler response. And then I want to do it all over again. But not for the recognition. I think serving others might just be a little self-serving because this is where I get my happy on. And although it’s a little corner of my world, I can sprinkle liberally. My hope is that kindness becomes contagious and scatters outward to make a bigger impact.

How do you sprinkle kindness in your sphere of influence?

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.