I'll be honest and just say that sometimes the choice to be hopeful is not an easy one.
It is a daily choice - sometimes a choice made moment by moment.
This past week was incredible for me personally, and for my family. Ultimately, I am overflowing with gratitude and hope and joy and love as I sit and write - but I know that I can only get to this place and appreciate it because I am aware and have felt the other side.
So therefore, I think it's important that the perspective the downside gives us be celebrated too - when we are ready to celebrate it.
I've gotten to a place where I can quickly recognize that I'm in a difficult funk. It usually comes about when I have forgotten how to listen to myself and get caught into listening to others. It's a tough place to be in though, especially because I'm always outnumbered :)
I have found it crucial, then, to cultivate a strong relationship with myself - one that I can recognize and...
I looked up and it was mid-December. How?!
Well of course I know how.
Each month I thought that I would take the time to write my thoughts down, post on social, etc.
Instead, each day of each week I had something else take that time, and I realized quickly how easy it really is to lose track and not live your life in the mindful ways we all want to. I, too, fell into a place where I was getting down on myself for not prioritizing as I knew I wanted to.
Soon, though, as I looked December head-on, I was reminded of my end of year evaluation process and in that remembering, I snapped back into a place where I had the motivation to set aside this time. This was a trigger that worked for me, and the result is that I have dedicated time in a few weeks to do this review, and I also protected the time in my calendar enough to just write this very post. I had something else entirely planned, but knew that this was too important and...
For a few months now I've been taking the time to really learn about some of my habits, where they stem from and how I can be more aware of them in order to shift them, where needed.
Each of us have habits in our lives, whether we are actively aware of them or not. And having them isn't necessarily a negative thing - something I've had to remind myself of a lot lately.
As I took the time to figure things out, one of the most important things I learned about myself is that I can be helpful...to a fault. That may not seem like something to work on, but trust me, it is.
Raise your hand if you've ever committed to more than you could handle, engaged with someone you knew you didn't need to, or inserted yourself and your skills in a time when maybe they weren't explicitly needed? All hands raised, I'd imagine.
Because so many of us do this, I wanted to make it the focus of thought here, bring some additional awareness to it, and share some of the steps I'm...
It's been one week and I am finally finding a truly quiet 30 minutes or so to ask myself how I'm feeling and waiting a beat for the answer. This is something, by the way, that I am working on doing more and more of in my life, but that's a topic for another post. (ps: it's hard)
Last week I produced and sang in a benefit concert here in NYC. It was titled "So Far" and was a collection of songs that have gotten me through the last few years, and included a collection of people who have done the same thing. It's always a TON of work to get something this complex together and keep it moving forward over almost a year of time. Not to mention that I was going to be singing on most of the pieces...there were a few moments where I wondered if I had undertaken more than I could deliver. But I love music and I knew that I had the idea for a reason - so onward.
The night arrived and I asked everyone for 10 quiet minutes in my dressing room with...
We are so surrounded by noise. So much presumption. So much expectation. Both that is put upon us, but more, what we put on ourselves.
Lately, in my practice of slowing down and taking a beat before moving along, I've been discovering that many of the choices I made, I made without thinking. I did the thing I should do. I did the thing that was expected of me. And many times those things were also what I wanted to be doing in that moment. But sometimes, they weren't.
There was always a moment (blink and you might miss it) where I would have a gut reaction and either listen to it, or not. This month, I decided to listen. Oooooo was that hard!
My default was to go right back to compromising; doing what I knew (or thought I knew) would be best for the other person or the situation. It took a little practice to stop and think, and then FEEL what I actually wanted to do in any situation....
I remember sunny days and wide open spaces, cycling with my Mom in Pennsylvania when I was younger. The sun, the breeze, the movement, were all feelings I'll never forget. For the last five years or so I've really gotten into cycling as part of my weekly workout routine. It's a fantastic workout (if you dial in) but also is a time that I can clear my mind, listening to the music and instructor and just be in the flow.
There are two classes in particular each week that I just will not miss. One of them is my Monday night class, which always leaves me feeling better than when I came in. Last week, the instructor was taking us through a hard ride and cautioned us not to think of the "recovery" time as a time to tune out and back off, but rather as a crucial time of activity that allows you to move into the work to come. I nearly fell off the bike.
You see, the last month or so I've been deliberately spending time working on myself in...
Lately I've been getting back into reading again. For weeks my stack of books waiting to be read by my nightstand were just collecting dust. Then one day in a moment where I could have either opened Netflix or the book cover, I chose the book. I've got to remember to do that more!
Because what I discovered was not only that I really love reading, but so many great lessons and words of wisdom inside those pages. You know when you get to a passage in whatever you're reading that speaks to you so profoundly that you have to stop and re-read that part a few times to let it sink in? That happened over and over again in this book.
Many things stood out, but in particular, this idea of "success" and what we are all striving for. Many (myself included at times) are looking for a tangible result to know they've made it - for instance:
"I'll be happy when I have X saved in my bank account"
"I'll be happy when I finally get to go on that...
For the last few years I've really started to explore. Maybe because I've been getting more curious...about myself...and also what's outside of my self. I go on trips now, and these trips I go on are just for me. I'm usually on my own, by design. I treasure these days and moments with myself, wherever they may be.
I find that when I'm solo, my mind has a chance to be quiet, and when I actually find stillness, I find the best little nuggets of wisdom that end up changing my life.
At first, I was nervous honestly - it takes courage I didn't know about to go and be by myself - what will come up? But over these last years, I learned that what I uncover on these trips only and ever make me better somehow. Perhaps more importantly, I have learned to seriously love my own company - I really do. If you happen to run into me on one of these trips, you'll find me singing to myself, laughing out loud, getting lost down winding...
Here we are, a few weeks into January in this beautiful new year and I'm wondering how everyone else is doing with their resolutions.
Are some of you going hard and staying strong in your resolve? Are others already moving past their January 1 goals? Perhaps some of you opted out of the resolution thing altogether this year (a completely reasonable thing to do)
One thing I've noticed this week is that the gym is CRAZY busy! And people are serious about their workouts! As with most years, by mid-February or March, things will settle a bit. People will move on, make other choices, give up.
Each year I wonder, why do people really do that? The same people who will come in full force and make sure their yoga mat is front. and. center. are many times the same people who in a matter of weeks will stop showing up.
Now don't get me wrong, I think change can be an excellent thing. It's a reality of life and can bring about...
Whether it's swimming or snowboarding, half-pipe or hurdles, there's just something about the camaraderie and uplifting nature of the Olympic games that makes me feel so hopeful and happy. Ya know?
Sure, there are disappointments and setbacks, and the pressure is absolutely ON for these athletes, but there are stories of struggle and triumph that are inspiring...and that's just what I think we all need right about now.
One of the reasons I think the Games resonate with me so much is because (for the most part), it reminds me that in a world where you can pay for followers, filter your face and watch so much negativity surround you - they represent the way it "should be".
What I mean is that if you focus, dedicate yourself and work hard to become the very best version of yourself you can be, you can indeed be rewarded. But there are no guarantees or short-cuts on that path. There are years before a glimmer of payoff is seen. No instant gratification....