Saturday, November 18, 2017

Be Brave Enough to Take Action

"Even tiny steps in the right direction can signal a great turning."
Mary Piper

The lightning woke me before I heard the thunder.  
It was around 5 am on a Saturday morning (my alarm set for 5:30), and I found myself alone in bed once again as I treaded water in a 4 year long distance relationship.  For some reason on this particular day, my plans to bury myself in work could not mask the gripping pain in my chest. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what was wrong, but surely this is what the onset of depression felt like. 

I knew things needed to change.  

This voice had spoken to me before, but this time the words were not a whisper or a suggestion.  They were a scream-  the shriek of spectators watching an old woman cross the street as a breaking car squeals to a stop. 

I knew in order for things to change I would need to take action, but that thought itself seemed overwhelming.  I don't even how I came to the idea (perhaps divine inspiration), but the understanding that came to me that morning was that I needed to "start surrounding myself with good people."  

So just like Bill Murray in the movie What About Bob, I started taking baby steps toward meeting and talking to people who inspired me.  I asked friends to join me for runs or bike rides.  I asked for business meetings with my boss.  I asked friends to join me for dinner or coffee. One particular dinner turned into 2 hours of reflective conversation and perhaps a little too much wine, but I left that restaurant remembering who I was, what I wanted for my life, and what I deserved.  

This was my great turning.  I became brave enough to say what I wanted, and to know that it was time to leave the situation if it was not going to lead me to live my best life.

Since then I've taken many more baby steps.  
Baby steps toward feeling better by getting more sleep.
Baby steps to a healthy relationship with someone I dearly love, respect and trust. 
Baby steps toward a job that is less stressful and more rewarding.  
Baby steps toward doing more of what I love.
Baby steps toward becoming a writer.

Paulo Coelho says that "When you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it".  I believe this with my whole heart.  Be brave enough to take action.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Create your own Damn Adventure

"Bloom where you are planted."

I read two articles today.  One where Men's Health raved about the nirvana that is Boulder, Colorado and the other article claimed Dallas, Texas as  "the worst outdoor city in America"  (Outdoor Magazine 2014)

Well hell,  Guess where I live.
So- here I am, a girl that craves adventure, who LOVES being outside and wants nothing more than to live my passion hanging out with the hippies, cyclists, trail runners and yogis in the mountains; but I reside in the Dallas suburbs.
Yee- haw.

I pouted about it for a while, and then decided that since I'm here for 6 more years, (and since I write a blog called "Adventures of an Ordinary Girl,") that it was time to "suck it up buttercup" and do something about it.  Thus, here are my ideas of how to have an adventure wherever you are.

1. Do something out of your comfort zone.
This could be anything from skydiving to volunteering at the homeless shelter.  My new adventure is teaching the "active older adults class" at the Y, and each and every day I am inspired by their strength, tenacity and love of life.  They scare me a little- in a good way- because they know exactly what they want and let you know accordingly.  They expect the best, which makes me better.

2. Play with your kids.
Have you forgotten how to pretend?  Play with your kids.  It's so fun to see the creative and amazing adventures they live out every day.  Make space for play and family time in your life and get ready to swim with mermaids, and to shoot the bad guys with squirt guns.

3.  Get outside!
Maybe we don't have the mountains or the beach, but we have a few man-made lakes and rivers and several bike and hike trails. Get to the water or out in the woods.   Yes, you will have to drive there, but the euphoria you experience as you see the sun rise over White Rock Lake or as you witness that bobcat winking at you at Rowlett Creek makes it all worth it.

4.  Buy local or organic
Head to the farmers market as if you lived in Seattle.  Shop at Whole Foods or Sprouts.  Good food- free of pesticides and other toxins is worth it, and the experience is fun instead of stressful.

5.  Take a class, see a show, try something new
Just get out.  Now that I live in Allen, it is so tempting to stay up here in my own little bubble- but there is so much talent available to us through theater, restaurants, museums and music.  Go experience all of it!  Soak it in!  From Broadway to burritos- we have it.  Eat it up.

6.  Hang out with someone new
We learn what we love through doing.  Introduce yourself to someone, and let them introduce you to new experiences. Have you ever eaten a little baby octopus' at a French restaurant before?  No?
Now that's adventure!!!

Oprah Winfrey said that "the biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams."
Travel to Machu Picchu, swim with the sharks in Africa, climb that goddamn mountain......
But the life of your dreams is happening right now, where you live.  What are you waiting for?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Perhaps You're Suffering From "Time Sickness"

"Time is an illusion." 
Albert Einstein

It's Sunday, my day off of work and all I can think about this morning is how many activities I can cram into it.  How much can I accomplish?  What can I get done?  I should of course work out, and clean up a bit, and contact some clients and perhaps get a head start on work for next week.....
I even said out loud that "I wish I didn't have to go to Sammi's soccer game " because it would take up so much time in the middle of my day.

Whoa!  As soon as that came out of my mouth I knew that my priorities were way off, but so many thoughts whirled around in my brain that I couldn't even think straight.  Fortunately  I know that when I feel that kind of anxiety, it's time to quiet the chatter a bit, meditate first,  and then make decisions from there. 

I have been following Oprah and Deepak's 21 day meditation challenge and sat down to day #3 (because I'm already behind)- a lesson on Recognizing and Healing Time Dysfunction.
In this meditation, Deepak describes the epidemic of time sickness.   Time Sickness, he states, is "the ultimate disorder because it throws the mind and body out of balance.  As we race against the clock  and measure every day on what we did or did not achieve- life isn't lived.  We know we suffer from time sickness if we feel there is never enough time, if we are constantly looking at the clock, if we find ourselves dreading the passage of time, or if we feel frustration or failure if we did not achieve all that we thought we should during the day. "

As I sat in silence after today's lesson, I recalled Aaron Conner telling me a few years ago that there "is no such thing as time."   In that moment, I couldn't quite wrap my head around that idea.....but today it occured to me that perhaps another way of putting it is that there is no such thing as a lack of time, because time is infinite.  If, as Chopra states, "time shifts depending on what is going on in the inside"  then time is of limitless abundance.  If you believe that we are more than just a body, time has no meaning.  Past, present,'s all an illusion.

Pretty deep I know- so what do we do with all that?  It all goes back to being in each and every  moment.  Each moment we birth our own experiences.  We can change them whenever we want.
If you find yourself dreading time passage, then find something else to do.
If there is never enough time, allow for space.
If you keep looking at the clock, undertake an adventure where the minutes are irrelevant.
If you are frustrated by your lack of accomplishment- then accomplish something damnit!

So, as I let today unfold, I walked by the TV and sat down for 40 minutes to see Shalane Flannigan kicking ass in the New York marathon  (inspiring the hell out of me). I decided to write.  I'll get a little work done after I watch my daughter score a few goals in her final soccer game, and perhaps sit and read a bit this evening if thats the way things unfold.

It's funny how thankful I was this morning for  the "extra hour" alloted to us as daylight savings time ends. Maybe if we could see the abundance of time available to us in each and every day, we could make every moment matter and in turn our reward will be a healthy relationship with time.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

When You're Done Beating Yourself Up.......

"When you're done beating yourself up- come and see me." 

"When you're done beating yourself up, come see me."
We'll sleep in on a Saturday morning, then meander to the diner up the street for strong coffee and warm biscuits with Virginia ham.  We'll discuss the meaning of life and enjoy each others company as the sun caresses our skin.  You'll have to go too soon because you'll forget who you're with, but I know you'll be back.

"When you're done beating yourself up, give me a call."
You can put down your work for a bit  and we'll take the dogs for a walk on the trails.  We can pick up pizza on the way home and have a dance party with the kids.  Don't worry, a few glasses of wine and you'll be jiving with the rest of us.  I bet you'll even sleep like an angel tonight, carefree and content.

"When you're done beating yourself up, stop running away."
I want to take you on a trip to the mountains where you actually take time to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the view.  We'll meditate in silence, and I'll help you discover who you really are- someone who stays.

"When you're done beating yourself up, I'll send you a friend."
He's super cool, and he'll really dig you.  You guys have so much in common, that you'll just sit and talk for hours on end.  You'll adore him, I just know it.  Perhaps you'll even fall in love.....

"When you're done beating yourself up,  you will have to walk away from things that no longer serve you."  Trust me, its ok.  It's part of the process.  Let them go.   I'm here now.

"I'm so excited that you're coming to see me."
I've missed you!  Welcome home.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

People Who Make a Difference- See Things Differently

"When your vision has shown you the holiness that lights up the world, 
you will understand perfectly."  A Course in Miracles

Last night we went to see the movie Same Kind of Different As Me, a beautiful story about Ron and Debbie Hall's impact on the homeless community in Fort Worth.
(If you haven't done so, read the book- you will be blessed).
I'm not going to go too much into the details of the story because I encourage you to discover it for yourself, but what particularly resonated with me was Deborah Hall's ability to see things differently.  When she looked at the Union Gospel Misson, she saw beyond the exterior to envision a place of beauty and  potential, and more importantly she saw the people she served there as her friend and equal.

The Course in Miracles states that "God is in everything we see."
God is in your cup of coffee.
God is in the trees.
God is in a banana.
God is in that pen that you write with.
God is in you.
God is in me.

I know, it sounds ridiculous at first.  God is in the banana? 
Choose to see differently:  God made the banana and the people who farmed it so we could be nourished.
God is in the pen?
Choose to see differently:  God is in everything that you write, and what you write is creation.

When we look at everything in our lives through glasses of love, appreciation and open-mindedness we are choosing to see the purpose of the universe.
We can observe the why behind the anger, the beauty beyond the scars.
We will recognize wealth instead of lack, confidence beyond insecurities.
We know our infinite connection with all things, and witness peace instead of war.

There IS another way of looking at the world. 
Behold the light.
Choose to see everything differently.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

5 Things You Should Never Feel Guilty About ( In my humble opinion)

"There's  no problem so awful that you can't add a little 
guilt to it to make it worse." 
Calvin- from Calvin and Hobbes

This week, I find myself in between jobs, with 6 free days.  You would think I would be ecstatic about it, but instead I find myself fighting guilt- for my conditioned self has told me all my life that busyness equals success.  Luckily, this morning I went out and was reacquainted with a familiar friend on the trails.  My authentic self.  The self that knows only truth and love.  The soul that knows that I shouldn't feel bad for doing things that bring happiness and peace into my life.  As she encouraged me to let go of the guilt, I started thinking about all of the amazing opportunities we miss because of pressures that we put on ourselves.

Now, let me start with this blog with a safety label- I have come to understand that ANYTHING in excess is not healthy, but how many times do we beat ourselves up over doing normal, everyday things because we feel we shouldn't be doing them for "X" reason.   Here is my list- maybe you can relate.

1.  Eating Food.  Drinking Drink. -  You did it.  You ate the donut.  It was warm, and creamy and so fucking delicious, but the first place your mind goes is that you "shouldn't have eaten that."  Of course now you're probably going to gain 12 lbs overnight and when that sugar high wears off you're going to spin into a world of pissiness your day is obviously completely ruined and you might as well go ahead and have a "cheat day."
Omg.  Eat the donut and savor its awesomeness- then move on and have vegetable soup and a salad for lunch.

2.  A messy house.  This one is tricky, because sometimes messes can make us more agitated and we would feel much better if we would just clean it up.  However, how many times have you missed out on inviting your neighbors over for drinks because the house was "messy" or lost your shit when your kid left their dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher?  In the grand scheme of life, do you need to let those clothes on the floor ruin your evening?  We are busy people, and everyone's house is messy at some point.  I promise.

3.  Sleeping.  Why do we glorify lack of sleep like it is a contest to be won?  Whether its sleeping late on a Sunday morning, or sneaking in a nap before the kids get home, just do it.  Sleep is medicine, and  you and everyone around you will be better for it.

4.  Sitting still.  Sitting still makes me feel antsy, but again that's comes from my own conditioned, exercise freak mind.  I actually used to get pissed when I would see others just sitting around reading a book or listening to music.   Didn't they have something that they SHOULD be doing?  Through my meditation practice I have learned that stillness is essential in cultivating awareness, which leads to so many other beautiful truths.  It's ok to just be.  Actually more then ok- its pretty awesome.

5.  Traveling.  There was a time a few years ago that I found myself confusingly depressed with $300 to my name and little credit.  I literally did not know what to do with myself, but I knew that I needed to get away from all of it.  I had miles, so I got on the American Airlines website to see where I could go with the miles that I had, and perhaps a friend that would let me crash with them.  I to this day have no idea how I made all of that happen, but I spent three beautiful fall days running trails in Virginia, got my shit together, and came home to see my business take off.  There are SO many beautiful places to go to.  Just plan it and make it happen.

There are a few more things I can think of.... alone time, exercise, baths.......we all have our own list.  In my mission to live more mindfully, I hope I can let go of guilt's stronghold.  It's too damn heavy. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A love story

This is a story about a boy who won my heart.  A love story.
Lets begin in the middle........

Have you ever been to a hotel where the shower head is so amazing, that you never want to get out?  And every single time you say to yourself "I wish I could have awesome showers like this at home!"
Well, after such a conversation my boy gets on Amazon Prime, orders the shower head and I am now typing this blog in said shower (kidding).  Now here's the big deal about showers for me: The alarm goes off at 3:45 am 5 days a week, and I stumble in the shower to lather myself in peppermint soap to wake my sleepy ass up. I work, workout and return to said shower a tired, sweaty mess.  A good shower is heaven on earth.  My boy understands.

Going back a few months....
Have you ever been to a restaurant where the coffee is noticeably delicious and you think "wow- I wish I could have coffee like this at home?"  Well, guess what?  My boy fires up his phone and we now drink said coffee every single morning.  Coffee to us is pretty much like taking a shot of life for breakfast.  On lazy Sunday mornings we sit, read the paper, and talk with over sized mugs in hand.  Coffee is heaven on earth.  Not only does my boy understand, he presets the coffee pot every evening so its ready for me when I wake up. 

And back to the beginning......
Have you ever asked someones opinion about a book, and they tell you that they have it if you would like to read it and they actually go to the post office and mail it to you?  That's the kind of stuff my boy does, and he follows up with "what did you think?"

He's the one that knows I hate grocery shopping and either goes for me, or comes with me just because.  He's the one that plays phone tag with annoying insurance companies.  He listens to my visionary chatter and encourages me to be true to myself.

The rest of the story is to be determined.....and life isn't always easy, but my hope is that my heart will continue to burst with mindful appreciation every single day.