Day 41: Just as I am

My 500 Words

Today has me thinking a lot about motivation, ambition, friendships, and the ever present wonder if I will find my life’s purpose. No pressure…just find your passion, fix your relationships, examine the fulfillment of your daily life, and whether you actually like living in a cold mountain town (mostly cold). Just figure it out, OK?

I spent an hour talking on the phone to a friend last night, a great friend. She is a friend that I cherish and value more than most. Yet, I was exhausted by our conversation because I was exhausted. I don’t want to live out my social life over the phone, and this causes a conflict internally. I wanted to move to a new town to start fresh, but I haven’t yet. I haven’t created any new relationships, although I have strengthened some that faded due to distance previously. Now, though, I am finding the LDR with pals to be tiring. I don’t want to live my life through my computer or my phone. I want to be present…as in “in person”, here, there. You get it.

Does this make me a bad friend? Does it mean I just need a break? It might mean that I am just not being replenished by many of these relationships currently. Or, it might just mean that I am in transition. If I am transition, that is okay. I am okay with that. They might not be, but I am. I am ready for something new, and if that means shattering limiting beliefs that my friends and family share, that is okay. It also might just mean I need to pull away temporarily. Also OK. It is all OK.

I am in the process of paving a new path for myself, like many new paths I have paved in the past. This is just the current one. I have been here before, and it has always been OK, if not great. Sometimes, letting go of certain beliefs about yourself involves distancing yourself from people close to you. Distance can aid in the allowance of change and growth. It feels in so many ways that I am clearing all interests, wiping the slate clean. I don’t know what will come from it, but I am trying to trust the process. I am in the process of wiping the passion plate clean, and I am trusting the moment and the process until a new path makes itself clear.

I have, perhaps, wanted a passion and a career so bad that I have set my hopes too high and simultaneously encountered great resistance. I am working on and in the process of releasing this need and switching it to a want. I don’t need this to be happy. I am already happy. I don’t need this to be fulfilled. I am already fulfilled. I am worthy and capable and am so excited if it is coming. If it not coming, I am OK with this moment exactly as it is. I am happy and perhaps not sure if I need a change at all. I am happy in this moment. I have purpose, joy, fun, laughter, money, and abundance. I am happy exactly as I am in this moment.

Day 26: Alignment, Huh?

My 500 Words

Alignment. It has a word I have been hearing about a lot lately in my search for meaning…or rather my search to get more of what I “want” out of my life.

Dictionary.com defines it has “arrangement in a straight line, or in correct or appropriate relative positions” or “a position of agreement or alliance.”

In the world of manifestation and soul-stuff, alignment tends to mean the state in which we can better hear and respond to our inner voice or intuition. Is this what it means to you? I am just a learner here and figuring it all out as I go. As the story goes, everyone finds alignment differently. For some, it is through exercise or work, and for others, it might be through sipping a favorite tea and journaling. The point is that you are more receptive and aware while in this state of alignment. I am not sure when I am most aligned. I have felt great alignment, I think, after some yoga classes, meditation, writing, walking, or even running. I have felt it after listening to a great talk or reading a poem. I am not sure in this moment what that is. Maybe that is because, as Jess Lively said on her podcast that I listened to today, your optimum alignment is shifting and changing as you shift and change.
Our intuition leads us to the expression of ourselves that is optimized in our direction of growth, so our optimum state of alignment is constantly shifting as we grow. How beautiful but also how frustrating. Like exercise, like diet, and like relationships, there is no stagnancy in this life. We either keep growing or get lost.
While this resonates with what I know is true, my mind and maybe even deeper parts of me feel tired by this reality. I have found the optimum moment in relationships, and it feels like we are at the peak of this place we can stay forever. Then, something changes, whether quickly or slowly, and we are back at a brand new square one that we aren’t sure how to navigate from. Perhaps this is why there is divorce and breakups, and perhaps this is why it can be an almost natural progression for some people. They loved. They grew. They tried to make it work, but their growth didn’t align with the relationship. They moved on.
In this moment, I am not married or divorced, but I am committed to making many relationships in my life work. I guess this is why people say that shit takes work, even the relationship with yourself. I have found my, or what I thought was my, peak self many times over. Then, I change and have to relearn how to nourish myself optimally. In many ways, I am grateful for this surprise and the journeys it can lead to. I guess this is how the soul is exciting, not boring and content like the mind says it is.
Growth means new experiences, and that is never boring.

 

Day 24: Last Minute Posts

My 500 Words

Today I am posting at the very end of my day. I did not prioritize my 500 words, and I am regretting it so much! Ah, cest la vie. But, here I am…doing it at 9:15 PM after a long day (I am a grandmother). Last night, I had too much fun, which left me with a slight malaise today, which has lasted until recently.

My man-friend and I had a really great day futzing around our Colorado town. We met for coffee this morning, had lunch at a warm, fun spot, and walked to the movie theater, where we watched the new James Cameron flick. Then, I snuck in a quick workout and shower. Now, we are chilling out, netflix-ing, and planning our Sunday.

We are deciding between skiing, not skiing, or something else. Tough life, eh!

Alas, today I kept up with my life theme of presence. I spent the morning feeling present and thinking about presence. I thought a lot about my inner voice and wondered if I knew her at all. I wonder if I have heard from her at all. I have also thought a lot about my own anxiety issues and whether my inner voice could have or could in the future alleviate some of those troubles.

The mind loves a problem and will create them if not presented with one. I find this in my life a lot in that things will be just fine but I will stress that something greater is wrong or that I am making a big mistake. It can be exhausting.

I have to admit. I am just not in the zone tonight to write this. I just want to be done. Luckily, the content of this post doesn’t really matter. I just vowed to post something. I didn’t vow to post something good, interesting, or even coherent. 500 words at any cost. And, it is coming atcha.

For tomorrow, I think it would be cool to go to a hot spring and sit in the cold but stay hot. I am not sure where I can do that or whether there is one nearby. I suppose once I finish this I will look for some options. I am hoping to have a happy Sunday before starting another slog of a week.

It is crazy how the mind is like a monkey. It jumps from opposing thoughts and fears with ease, causing me to worry about one thing and then immediately an opposing idea within the same moment. How exhausting. Is there really a mind that is separate from the soul? From the self? Is this mind just there to protect us and keep us safe? It is an interesting idea and seems plausible in so many ways. However, the concept of past lives kind of freaks me out. Oh well… everything in its own time. You don’t have the understand everything right now. You just have to accept the moment and to make the most out of it. Alright, mates. That is it for me today.

Adios!

Day 17: Books, America, Yeah- Keep Reading!

Books, My 500 Words, reading challenge 2019

It is day 17 of #my500words, and I am in a slump. I have a lot happening in my brain these days, but my day to day feels uneventful. I worked from my apartment all day every day last week and found the experience to be restorative mostly. I welcomed the arrival of my boyfriend home as I am much more likely to get out of my head and into the world when he or other friends are near.

I am reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow still and enjoying it. But, WOW it is so detailed that my library rental might be due before I can finish. I am only 15% finished with a few days left. I like the book a lot but find the material to be so dense that I cannot gulp it in for a few hours at a time. I am disappointed by this. But, there is still time left, so perhaps I will mark my spot in it if I don’t finish and wait a few weeks until I open the book again. That really would not be the worst outcome.

What shall I read in the likely middle time? I would like something fiction maybe, something I can absorb myself in. I have started 2019 with political books mostly, maybe there is a good fiction book that keeps with the unintended theme! I shall commence some research. Ideally, I could read 2 or 3 books before returning to good old “Hammy”, as I affectionately call the book. I am absorbing so much of the book though, that if I were doing this for a history class, I would be crushing it. However, reading it for a reading challenge, I think the choice was not as brilliant!

Last year, I started reading The Handmaid’s Tale and thought it was great. I never got going on it however, so I could restart that! Dystopian novels might fit the bill if I want to stick with my political theme but try some fiction.

There are, surprisingly, a lot of articles about what political fiction one should read and why it is a worthy genre. All The King’s Men comes first in every list, so maybe I will see what this book entails. It does make a little nervous, however, that it will be very dense material. I could use a fun page turner, and political fiction might not exactly produce that. I COULD BE WRONG THOUGH! Alas, I have a few days left of scrolling through Alex Ham’s life, so it doesn’t matter just yet. My confidence might just be a bit down after 2 weeks and not as much progress as I would have hoped.

The bright side to all of this is that I am reading MUCH more intently, challenging myself with the material, and honestly learning a lot. And, as those were my goals surrounding this reading challenge to begin with, I would say that I am and will be a success whether I hit 50 or whether I merely desperately try to hit 50.

 

Day 16: Effort Without Validation

My 500 Words

I have been thinking a great deal about validation and its connection with effort level. I often find it so simple to justify inadequate effort due to a lack of validation. What does validation do for us that we are willing to work or not work on its behalf? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines validity as the confirmation of one’s worthiness or legitimacy. The need for external validation is what drives some to seek unhealthy relationships with work or others.

I don’t think that I am terribly in need of external validation, but the appearance of a need does sometimes present. At times, I feel like I want to be appreciated for my strengths or my perceived accomplishments from people that don’t actually care about me. Why do I care what people that don’t care about me think? I can usually resist this need, but occasionally I find myself craving the approval of the world. Particularly, I find myself seeking validation in my career or job. I think this is due to an insecurity I harbor. I never focused on my career in my early twenties, seeking instead travel and adventure at all cost. By my mid-late twenties, I felt behind and like I had to jump in and land where everyone else had, even though they hadn’t necessarily prioritized what I had.

I find myself suffering from this line of thinking less and less everyday, although it can still creep in from time to time. I have found the solution to be painfully simple and have learned it in a few areas of my life already (i.e. health, fitness, money).  The solution is acceptance.

In order to further yourself in any way, you NEED to accept where you are. You cannot get from A to B if you don’t first accept the fact that you are starting from point A. If you don’t accept that your next step is A to B, you will spend all of your energy learning how to get from C to D. A lot of times our imaginations can get the best of us, and we are on to the next thing before we complete the last! This is normal; this is madness!

Maybe the answer is meditation, a spiritual practice, or giving up entirely. Maybe the race for validation and success is worthwhile and noble, albeit exhausting. I can’t say much for certain about that. But, what I can say is that if you are working towards a goal, whether pure or not, you have to start where you are. If you can’t walk a mile, and you are researching the best long distance running attire, you need to focus on the task at hand! Accept where you are, which is <1 mile, and start practicing. Incremental change brings great personal change and growth. We are what we do every single day!

I have found this to be true in diet, exercise, relationships, and work. If I don’t bring consistency and humble acceptance of my lot, I don’t progress. Do you ever feel like this need for external validation can derail your goals? I would love to hear from you and to know I am not alone in this feeling of stagnation from time to time.

Day 16 of #my500words! Woo!

 

 

Day 15: The Pain of Possibility

My 500 Words

I have been waking up for the past 15 years or so in the middle of the night in a panic. It doesn’t happen all the time or even often anymore, but it happens. When I was about 14 or 15, I hit some kind of awareness threshold. Thank you very much, marijuana. All of the sudden, I became aware of the terrifying fact that I was alive and, subsequently, became paralyzed with the fear of what that meant.

I had been in my childlike mind up until that point, accepting my reality as it was, never wondering what else was out there, aside from the prospect of a fun vacation of course. Life and reality felt fragile suddenly. It felt like one strong wind could change everything, could change me. I grew fearful of things that seemed to happen to people around me or more likely, on TV and movies. Questions like “how does someone become a murderer? or a bad person? or a lunatic?” began to trouble my tired brain. “Could I become this? Could I become that?” And then it grew into thoughts like “am I actually that? am I suppressing this?” Suffice to say, no one could really ease my worries. I was in the grip.

Admittedly and regrettably, I still find myself in this grip in some ways. I am still overcome with the anxiety of existing and not knowing all of the answers, but wanting to. I wonder if this is common. I wonder if we are all walking around scared to death of becoming like this person or like that person that we heard about on the news. I wonder if it is just me. Or, the likely answer, is it just those of us on planet earth that deal with a similar brand of mental illness that share in these thoughts. Perhaps we are the internally obsessive and tortured crew that spends evenings staring at the ceiling wondering if we are going to accumulate multiple personalities soon or if we are already have and are just not yet aware of it. Will we ever be aware of it? Ah the cycle could continue forever.

Last night, I found myself googling some cognitive behavioral therapies for obsessive compulsive thoughts and behaviors. I find myself doing this a lot, as a self-diagnosed person with an interest in living a more stress-free life. It is helpful, but I find the craziness to be my baseline state internally. Externally, things are usually grand. I have stresses, but they don’t get to me too terribly. It is my inner, less rational fears that occupy more space. This might mean I am mentally ill, just like you :).

I still struggle and still could do much more to manage my mental health, but I often find more solace in the acceptance that this is sometimes normal in this life. We can be sad, anxious, worried, or even obsessed with things we know are either not real or not real enough to matter, and that is OK. Sometimes, we may fall victim to their temptations, and sometimes, we may be so exhausted with the idea of all of the madness that we tell it to “get lost, loser!” and go back to sleep. I hope that tonight I fall into the category of the latter tonight.

XO

 

 

 

Day 14: Writing Outline? Just kidding!

My 500 Words

Well, I was all set and primed to start my outline goal today…But, there is a gigantic problem. Actually, there are two problems, one of which is gigantic. The first problem, the small one, is that I don’t think I can attach an outline document here as though I were attaching a document to an email. I never considered that this wasn’t an email, but now I know. Sure, I could add it as an image or project. This seems like more work than it is worth.

Plus, upon further consideration, I don’t think that an outline matches the #My500Words challenge. The point of this challenge is to build a habit of writing everyday. I might incorporate an outline into my next challenge, but as Henry Miller commands, I cannot start a new challenge until the task at hand is complete.

I tend to deal with this shiny object syndrome. I don’t know if it is a personality trait or merely an unfortunate habit I have picked up. In any event, I can get in over my head sometimes, committing myself to too many things and losing focus. I had a practice for a while (that I try to continue still) where I wrote down my goals every single night. I would remark on my progress towards each of these ends and whether any of my goals were reached and could therefore be replaced. This REALLY helped me.

I love to learn, and I can get so excited by new possibilities that I overdo it. My enthusiasm for life and possibility is one of my favorite things about myself, honestly, so I would never want to squelch that. However, I would like to harness it better than I currently am. I have done this before, and it has been PAINSTAKING. While I worked my way through college and graduate school, I cried and felt spiritually and creatively oppressed. When I finished, I felt directionless and without purpose.

The best course of action for me is to write down all of my ideas when I have space for a new goal or project…then write them down each day of the week that follows…hopefully losing a few. Those that are left at the end of 1 week get into consideration mode. In consideration mode, I have to come up with a plan of what achievement means and how I plan to do it. In addition, I need to come up with my REASON for wanting to do it. This final list, those that are in active consideration mode, have to be said out loud to a third party. Hopefully, the act of planning it out and reasoning the action to a third party will allow for greater clarity. In addition, this process will hopefully allow me to have a greater “why” to come back to when the going gets difficult.

Shiny Object Process:

  1. List all ideas out
  2. Write them each day of the week for 1 week.
  3. Cross off ideas that have lost luster over the week.
  4. Come up with a plan and a reason for each idea. Write out.
  5. Vocalize the list along with the plan and the reason to a third party.
  6. Decide.

Day 13: Do You Plan Your Posts?

My 500 Words, Professional

Today, I spent a lot of time thinking about my goals, or rather my big, audacious dreams. I am maniacal about my personal information upload and try to cram most moments into brain updates of some kind. Today, I did a lot of that. One podcast I used to accomplish this was by The Life Coach School about setting impossible goals. It builds off the Tony Robbins idea that you need to change your beliefs of what is possible to achieve what was previously thought of as impossible. It resonated. So many dreams that I have yearned for in my life were buried because I thought they were impossible for me…that I could never even come close to achieving them. Crazy! If only I knew how pliable our universe is and how my biggest impediment to achievement was that very thought. Ugh…C’est la vie.

On day 1 of this challenge, I thought it was all a bit of a stretch…that I probably wouldn’t think of a way to write 500 words each day. Now, I am like…”hmph…500 words is pretty doable actually.” How sad to think I could have quit right away…and likely probably already have a trillion times before. Perhaps my first product will be some kind of challenge that anyone looking to smash those limiting beliefs. If you have a belief or an impossibility that makes accomplishing your dreams impossible, share it with me. It would be nice to know I am not alone out here! I am even thinking about starting a podcast. They are my favorite media, and it could be fun to get involved. Do you listen to podcasts?

I digress! I am thinking that I want to add one more feature to this challenge. I want to add an outline of each post…to get in the habit of thinking about what I am going to write before I do it. It might be kind of ridiculous to do this, but I want to get a better idea for how I can optimize my personal writing process. If that means that writing an outline will help, then I want to start doing that! I have gotten comfortable in the past 13 days (only 13 days, gasp!) with pumping out 500 crappy words. But, I want to add a little challenge, without abandoning my current goal of 500 words for 31 days. I will start (and finish!) the edX course “The Writing Process” that is offered by Berkeley through the awesome education platform. I think the course is an undergraduate, introductory level, but I haven’t taken a class like this in years, so I think it will be beneficial. I am also planning to take what I learn and apply it to my new goal to add an outline of my blog post and attach it for the next 18 days. My assumption is that it will improve the content and the flow with just a bit more effort…I look forward to seeing how it all shakes out!

One of my favorite sayings has always been, “trust the process.” What I will do instead is test the process and see if it makes things better 😊.

 

 

 

Day 12: Changing A Bad Habit

My 500 Words, Skin Care

I have a few bad habits, but I have one very terrible and embarrassing one… one that I really should have outgrown by now. I haven’t…until today.

I am a picker. I have large pores but pretty good skin. I spend an inordinate amount of time finding things wrong with the skin all over my body and picking, digging, and popping. I am a pimple-popper, and if there is a lack of pimples, I will find something to pop. I love to pop.

I am not completely sure where this DISGUSTING habit has come from. It started as a form of stress relief to pick at my legs and unearth ingrown hairs from a large patch of skin a few years ago. Prime pickings! Unfortunately this habit has spread across my body and to the holy grail, the face. In the past few years, this has led to some serious repercussions, i.e. infections, scarring, and embarrassing skin lesions.

As I treat another crisis of my creation this week, I am finally inspired to make a change. I kept thinking I could keep squeaking by. Perhaps I have reached the point where the pain it takes to remain the same is greater than the pain it takes to change. I think it is time to make a change. Even this post indicates that something has changed. This is a topic that I would have literally crawled into a gutter and waited for death if I thought about blogging on it previously.

I am calling on Tony Robbins for assistance with this, as he is the king of personal development and overcoming personal obstacles. I started with some YouTube videos of Tony speaking and providing some solutions for getting over bad habits and finding the best version of yourself. Of course, these aren’t Tony’s words. He is mega inspiring, so much so that he generates just as much skepticism as he does believers. One video I found instructs you to do a quick visualization exercise. You start by pointing your right hand straight out in front of you with your toes facing forward. You then are instructed to turn your torso clockwise as far as you can. Then you face forward and visualize doing the same thing but twisting even farther. Then again, but even farther. When you go to actually do the exercise again, you typically find that you are able to turn significantly further than you initially did. Removing the limiting belief, that we can only turn so much, allows you to see that you could actually turn much farther the entire time, you just didn’t believe it.

I found this to be a profound but simple exercise. I plan to practice this in other small ways to get started. I want to utilize it with blogging, with photography, and with my exercise. I am visualizing myself with great skin and zero impulse to pick, which is not the same but will hopefully help me in my quest to stop the mad war against my loving, protective skin.

As I write more regularly and explore more of my actual interests instead of what I think might make me money or sound good at a party, I am finding so many limiting beliefs and blockages. I have plenty of resistance to work through. I am trying to focus on Henry Miller’s first writing commandment, “work on one thing at a time, until finished.” Howeverrrr, I can see my next writing challenge developing and formulating in the background. In the meantime, I will try to continue on with my current 31 days challenge (19 more days!) while allowing the corners of my mind to prepare for what is next.

Day 11: Pumpkin Bread is a Food Group

Baking, My 500 Words

I have been watching The Great British Baking Show quite a bit lately, and it has me thinking about cakes and pastries wayyyy more than I should be. Every challenge, I say out loud, “I would eat that right now. I want that!” It hasn’t been good for my bikini bod goals this spring.

There is coffee shop near my apartment that I frequent on weekends pretty often, and a coffee with their pumpkin bread has become a fun ritual for my man friend and I. We have even made our own a few times, not a simple feat given our in-aptitude for high altitude baking.

In any case, I have been thinking a lot about these excellent bakers on the Great British Baking Show and how they have become so good. We have sat on the coach, sipping hot beverages and eating snacks many a night wondering what the prize is for the GBBS winner. So far our research (minimal, admittedly) is NOTHING. These folks are out there cranking out cakes, crying, winning or losing, stressing, and more just for the benefit of being on the show.

Aside from the delectable baked goods and the beautiful emotions that happen on the show, I am consistently surprised by the simplicity of the baking components. Everything is some combination or version of sugar, butter, and flour. It is maddeningly simple that we can create such unique and magnificent baked creations using various proportions of a few core ingredients. Country singer of the 1950’s Harlan Howard is credited with saying that the only thing you need for a good song is “three chords and the truth.” This is certainly true in music, and it seems to be true in baking as well.

While I may be exaggerating the simplicity of a great pastry’s inner workings, I am not simplifying things that much. Sure, you often use eggs and new baking techniques use all kinds of substitutes, but I implore you to have an open mind. Please watch a few episodes of the GBBS and pay attention to what they are each putting into their blender or their dough each week. They set out to create new things and to accomplish new challenges at the direction of the show leaders, but they start off with the same few core ingredients.

This may not shock any of you. This will likely bore all of you. BUT, it is fascinating to me. I tend to live in lala land and visit earth every once in a while, usually when forced. So, to see this very regular, normal, everyday thing in life in a new way has been quite exciting for me. I have the apartment to myself for a few days and am excited to maybe bake some new things free from pressure or expectation. What shall I bake? Pumpkin bread with chocolate chips and frosting? Yeahhh, that is exactly what I was thinking too. How did you know?

Stay tuned until late next week to find out whether I did or did not complete this goal or try something completely different.