Category Archives: writing

These Words Changed Me

I truly meant to have this one up last night, however, I was floating and my eyes were heavy after Benadryl. (You’d think I’m on staff as much as I talk about taking these meds, but really my allergies rule most of my life. Relief is soon, I hope).

So, there were two books I can without a doubt refer to anyone and everyone. These two books changed me when I read them in July; and when I say changed me, I’m not throwing out a catch phrase. I mean, seriously, honestly, tears streaming down my face, time-to-move and rearrange my life type of change me.

The first is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Everyone around me kept referring this book and I’d been rolling my eyes. I thought, “yeah, I know – consistent effort over time makes a difference.” If I haven’t mentioned already, I’m such a prideful person. It’s sad, really, and one personality trait I am working on. So after I beat down my ego, I started on TCE, and wow. Darren talks about our habits and setting goals and becoming a better human being because if you’re not actively becoming better, you’re actually becoming worse. I’m serious, he says that. Not in those exact words, but you’ll get the point. I used TCE to set a purpose for my bootcamps and actually scripted every post for each camp within a few days after devouring TCE.

Without revealing all of the content I use in my camps (you have to be there), I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes:

“If you’re not making the progress that you would like to make and are capable of making, it is simply because your goals are not clearly defined.” I’m pretty much a goal nazi. That’s my only comment for now.

“95 percent of everything we feel, think, do, and achieve is a result of a learned habit!” Your habits define you. So, who are you?

“Never seek advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.” Ooo, this one. Raise your hand if you’ve been listening to everyone else’s opinion your entire life, and when you take stock of who you are learning from, you realize you would never want to be that person or live their situations. I’m raising both hands. Most often, those I’ve let weigh in heavily on my own life decisions  were on the outside of what I actually wanted to do – who I actually wanted to be. Their advice was an echo of their own thoughts and feelings, whether those feelings were fear, hesitation, cynicism, none of them were mine and none of them mirrored the type of person I wanted to be and would become…!

The second text was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but that doesn’t matter because I’m telling you my own personal opinion and reflection on Strayed’s book.

I’ve found I naturally gravitate to works by artists who are not afraid to be embarrassingly raw. Those who put the fear of soiling their reputation aside and instead rip it to pieces themselves. These artists aren’t hiding a damn thing. They’ve destroyed the filter that stops them from voicing something that Grandma wouldn’t read. They pour all of their life experiences in their art and then unleash it to the public.

I felt for her as she described the trauma that surrounded her numb attitude toward life. Many times, I cried and cheered for her with each step toward her own self discovery. Gah, reflecting on it makes me want to reread it right this minute. I’ll be right back…

Serendipitously, at the start of the year, I’d set my intentions on vacation in Oregon. Many parts of Strayed’s book take place in and around Oregon, so as I finished Wild the week before we arrived in Portland, I felt a strange closeness to her and all of her experience. (This happened again when I began to read Into the Wild and he finds himself in the same area Strayed discusses. All of our stories will always overlap).

While I loved every single bit of text in Wild, it was the few quotes on page 175, Part Four that changed me:

“When I had no roof I made audacity my roof.” Robert Pinsky The idea (for me) of living audaciously was born the day I read this page. I renamed my coaching team “Audaciously Alive,” and will be soon be launching a business self-titled Live Audaciously. Thank you, Cheryl, for this quote and planting the idea in my mind of living bigger and more on purpose as an adult.

“Never never never give up.” Winston Churchill Forever and always, keep going. You were given this life to live it and bring all of your gifts into it.

So there it is. A brief reflection of the words that changed me this summer. These words forced me to ask telling questions. These words pushed me to run away from everything easy and obvious, and start living like the person I truly am inside.

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November 29th

In the midst of (unsuccessfully) studying for my CPT exam next weekend, I’m thinking about next year. Anyone else guilty of the same type of mind flow? I start a lot of projects and feel successful when doing them all at the same time. It drives Nigel crazy.

So, I’m thinking of next year and how I am going to launch a 100% health overhaul. I’ve mapped out posts to keep myself on track, and beginning December 15th I’ll be reflecting on this year and prepping for the next. But right now I need to study. Cannot wait to share all I’m learning!

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What’s in a name?

Life events overlap sometimes. Common themes began to appear. A friend called it synchronicity.

Either way, I’ve found the dilemma is not knowing what to write about, rather, owning what I write. I hold back because I don’t want friends or family to knit my writing to me, to draw conclusions about me because of what I have written, or to be disillusioned by what they comprehend.

One by one, lots of happenings began pointing me toward something that would allow me the freedom to bleed: a mask, a name, a pen name.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth. -Oscar Wilde

Dr. Suess; Mark Twain; William Shakesphere; George Orwell; Pablo Neruda; Voltaire – to name a few famous pens. Now to creating my own. What an adventure this will be!

 

 

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Secrecy

Oh, I can’t explain. When I like people immensely, I never tell their names to any one. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure. It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one’s life.

-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Motionless

I really thought today would be better. I thought I’d be smarter, more confident, more motivated.

I woke up wrestling the same demons that plagued me days before. Right now, as I reflect, I’m trying to draw out what has been helpful these past two months. I’m also been weeding out what has been hurtful.

I’m so thankful for a husband who allows me reflect and recuperate. During all of this “sabbatical” he’s willingly slaved away so we could still survive. He is truly one of a kind.

Also, I’ve realized a month away from busy and obligated is probably the most helpful time frame. Now that I’m counting down month two of not working so hard, I’m to the lazy, apathetic stage. What once had a purpose is now very much irrelevant. Yes, one month is healthy. Any more than one month is just plain lethargic.

I have a few money-making opportunities in the works. I am also waiting to see whether or not my efforts toward a certain something have been in vain. My gut tells me no way. My impatience fills me with doubt. Soon, this waiting game will be over…

 

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A Constant Fog

They were holding hands as they entered the fog. His grip was tight on her petite hand. We can do this, she thought. As long as we cling to one another we can do this. As she was allowing all of her doubt and insecurities pass, she noticed his grip loosening.

“Sweetheart, what is happening?” she asked.

“Nothing babe. I just heard something, I might need to check it out; see if everything is ok. Wait here.”

Before she could respond, his hand slipped away from hers. She had to stay still, to stay calm. He would be back any moment. Though the fog was thick and pressing, she noticed something standing a few feet ahead of her. She knew it wasn’t him, but for some reason it seemed to draw her near. She stepped toward the figure. “Stop!” Her mind screamed. With a deep breath, she ignored the impulse. He’ll be back any moment. It wont matter if I take a few steps ahead.  It appeared to be another person, another man. Maybe he knows the way out of the fog. Maybe he can help us.

“Hello,” she feigned confidence, but her voice reflected her unsure reality. The man extended his hand to hers. She reluctantly accepted his offer. Her mind immediately interjected, “What are you doing?? How will he find you if you’ve wandered? He is your protection. How can he protect you this way?” She silenced her thoughts by reminding herself that he walked away from her. His hand slipped away first.

There was something strange about the grip this man, this thing, held on her. She kept giving a little more, taking a few more steps. She kept silencing her mind until she could barely hear it screaming at her, until she could barely hear it at all. She continued to battle and justify, whispering things like, “he abandoned me, remember?”

Meanwhile, this figure kept leading her away, further and further from where she once stood. The fog has only become thicker, more dense. She can taste it. It is suffocating. Despite all of her attempts, the figure does not respond to her or her questions. It only continues to lead her deeper into what she cannot comprehend. She meant to find freedom and she is only more deeply entangled. Then the something stops. It drops her hand and simultaneously disappears.

At this point the fog is too heavy. She falls to the ground. “Where is he?” The sobs begin to rack her body as she realizes she is the problem.

If only he would speak. Then she could find him.

If only he would motivate himself to look, to search, to fight. Then he would find her.

If only he would cling to her as tight as he did when they entered the fog, then they could survive this; together.

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Week Two

To be vs. to do – an update on my recently, purposefully un-busy life.

So far, since I have put to rest the driving force of the acquisition of money and the desire for productivity, I have been able to savor the tranquility hidden in the act of being versus the act of doing.

I’ve put focus on a holistic, healthful approach to intake and time consumption. I’ve lost five pounds, lost a nasty head cold, lost the headache and pressure of a rigid schedule.

What have I gained?

I have gained the time and space to pursue relationships. Time to wake-up and feel thankful and alive. Time to appreciate my husband for all that he is and how hard he is working as I reflect and recoup. An appreciation for the now, each moment…an appreciation for all that God has created: the raw, the community, the inspiration, the quality, the transfer of energy, true joy, perspective, semantics, knowledge, wisdom, beauty, potential, art in all of it’s forms, love, the ability to love.

Mostly, I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the ability to live. To live imperfectly but fully with everything I’m given at every moment.

 

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Possibility

11: the number of days remaining at my current job. 0: the number of jobs I have lined up after this one.
This makes me feel alive for some reason. It makes me feel free. It makes me feel like I don’t have to be tied-up to some responsibility to survive. I feel like my options are wide open and my future can be etched with my own pen.

Realistically, this is very stupid. However, it doesn’t stop me. I technically have a job substitute teaching, but need to register my fingerprints to be “official.”

I’d like to work in a warehouse or bar-tend or do something completely random, for fun, just because.

Ideas?? Suggestions?? Dares???

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What do I desire?

Hi.

Perhaps the grandest of adventures is in the making. My loans will soon be paid (well, we’ve paid four in one year. I am extremely STOKED about this) and my full time job will be no longer as of December 28th. It’s funny. I wanted full-time work so badly and now I’m running as fast as I can toward change. I believe I served at CFCA for the appropriate allotted time. As mentioned previously, I successfully depleted four different student loans with one remaining. My attitude toward the final loan is to not focus on it, let it disappear more naturally. I’ve learned a great deal about working in the non-profit world. It truly is fulfilling, but so are many other things. I know I can do anything I would like to do. Some things may take more time and effort, but it’s the risk I’d take given wanting to do that particular thing.

What is my dream job? I’m not really sure. My Facebook news feed provided me with the most interesting video.

What would I do if money didn’t matter? It’s so hard to say…we are so trained to search for something that earns us money, not fulfillment. But how do we pay the bills if what we want to do doesn’t currently earn us anything? It’s really a hard, heartless, vicious cycle.

I want to write. I want to travel. Could I become a travel-writer? My current worldly answer is…I can teach. Only sometimes am I passionate about teaching; however the answer is acceptable and the pay check is real, not imaginary. Would I love it? Probably not…would I enjoy it? Yes, sometimes.

Right now, my husband and I are looking for work in Nashville and Chicago. I’d like to move. I’d like to do something interesting and mobile before I’m 30.

Perhaps it’s all so overrated. Thoughts?

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