Friday, January 5, 2018

You are Responsible For Your Own Happiness

 “On a deeper level you are already complete.  When you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do.”  Eckhart Tolle

Woe is me. 
Between my knee surgery and a nasty sinus infection that followed I’ve been stuck in bed way more than I ever care to be, and because Greg has been gone for work all week I’m feeling lonely.  My first instinct is to be pissed, both at Greg for missing his flight home and at my knee for no rational reason at all, but I know deep down that I am just playing the victim.  

Marianne Williams tells us in A Return to Love that “the ego argues that the love we need must come from someone or something else, and that there is someone or something out there that can fill that hole.  The reason that anger is so often aroused in our closest relationships is because we are projecting on to someone else the rage we feel against ourselves for cutting off our own love. The pain we feel is actually our own denial of love.”

So tonight I decided instead to take ownership of my own happiness as I am today.  I shopped a little, had a nutritious dinner and took a warm bath.  I’ll write and meditate and read a bit before getting a good night’s sleep.  There may or may not be chocolate and wine. I’ll remember that this feeling of loneliness and sadness is only temporary, and that tomorrow is a new day.  I'll say thank you.  

Feeling depressed, unsure or lonely?  Step away from blaming your past, your relationships, or your job and take the bull by the horns.  Call your friend, punch the shit out of a boxing bag, read trashy novels, or watch Eddie Murphy movies until you pee your pants.  Whatever makes you happy, find that thing and do it. 
You are whole as you are.  Shed the ego and love yourself. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Meditation streak- 365 days of No Rules Meditation

"Be still and know yourself as the Truth you have been searching for.  Be still and let the inherent joy of that Truth capture your drama and destroy it in the bliss of consummation.  Be still and let your life be lived by the purpose you were made for.  Be still and receive the inherent truth of your heart."

Ah- that quote.  Doesn't meditation sound delightful?  And the pictures you see of people meditating- they seem so happy and dreamy.....

I’ve read the research, gone to classes, and understand the many benefits of meditation.  I have even experienced some of those moments of exquisite bliss, but for some reason I just haven’t been able to stick to it.  Perhaps because when I first was taught meditation there were rules:

Sit still. 
Don’t think
Ok- today you can think.
Don’t fidget.
Don’t fall asleep. 
I said be still…….
And be enlightened.

Thankfully over the years I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong way to meditate, and like exercise, I always feel better when I do. So in the spirit of Nike I have decided to “just do it" 
(but for this challenge, I don't even need shoes!)

I am committing to a meditation streak.  That’s right- 365 days of at least 10 minutes of meditation with journaling of the good, bad, ugly and enlightened. Other than that, there are no rules. 
Morning, midday, evening- whenever I can get it in.
Mindfulness meditation, guided visualization, transcendental, seated, walking…’s all good.
Music, no music, screaming kids......all I have to do is just be.  

Today I started with a guided meditation to ring in the New Year- and came to the realization that who I am is someone completely capable. That it’s time to let go of self-doubt, and to stop playing small. That I should say “yes” to opportunity and believe that I am the right person for the job. 
Oh- and that this knee thing is completely temporary and I am not really a crippled piece of crap.    
Pretty good start to 2018 don’t you think? 

I invite you to join me on this journey- would love to hear about your progress, struggles and reflections.
#meditation streak  
Happy New Year!
Namaste J

Monday, December 11, 2017

Good riddance to that jealous bitch!

"What sort of love is permeated jealousy?  You are jealous because you are unaware that everything you need is inside you."
Peter Deunov

To look at it from the outside you probably never would have said "Jesus, that Jennifer is a jealous bitch."  But I cannot tell you my friends how many times that green eyed monster has made me suffer.  I'm not proud of it, but the story goes like this.....

I wasn't always a jealous person, but when life shows you insecurity, people become a threat.  Maybe she was model beautiful, or he could run faster and farther than I could, or they had cute kids and the "perfect" house.  
"Wow- look how much she loves him", or he got a  shiny new bike, or she won an award for philanthropist of the year.  
It really didn't matter, jealousy rose as my first instinct.  Opening Facebook was like opening Pandora's Box, and sometimes I would literally feel sick to my stomach.  Why was everyone’s life seemingly better than mine? 

My ego fought back, and I tried to protect myself by pretending to be strong, capable and beautiful.  There were the sickening displays of public affection, hand-picked race pics, fake smiles, sexy clothes and silly banter.  I became a peacock with a false sense of superiority.  But I still was a jealous bitch.
Feeling extremely sick, I honestly decided one day that was just too much trouble- and I chose to be 100%  genuine instead.  

Brene Brown said, "Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect."   That's what it took for me.  A strong sense of belonging in my relationships, my workplace, and for my self has allowed me to cultivate a sense of belonging.  A sense of purpose. 

I've stopped trying to prove myself to anyone, because I am finally aware that everything I need is inside me. So now when that green eyed monster joins the party, he and I dance together in a celebration of your accomplishments....and my wisdom.  

Monday, December 4, 2017

How I manifested the life of my dreams

Within all of us is a divine capacity to manifest and attract all that we need and desire."
Dr. Wayne Dyer

When I first saw The Secret, or heard people talk about the "Law of Attraction" I thought it was total bullshit.  Sure- my relationships suck, I have no money in the bank, and I'm constantly exhausted; but if I just have POSITIVE beliefs, my wildest dreams will come true!  Right.

At first, I ignored the possibility of this fool’s paradise- but then my best friend since second grade shared her experience, and I began seeing and reading more articles, and I hired a life coach.....and with my personal rule being that when I hear or see something 3 times "it must be a sign"- I finally acted. 
I was in a rut in both my relationships and my job, so those are the areas I concentrated on.  Fast forward 2 years and things are pretty damn awesome.  Here's how I made it happen:

1. I figured out what I REALLY wanted. 
We spend so much time bitching about the things that are going wrong, we don't even know what would make us happy. I was so far gone that I asked for help from friends and hired a life coach.  Laying it out there is tough, and you have to be brave enough to believe you deserve it, but this is the first step toward positive change.

2.  Write it down (I love a good list)
My friend Jennifer told me she made a list of exactly what she wanted in a partner- even what he would look like!  (She's happily married now.)
My first list was what I wanted in a relationship, including a partner that lived close by (that’s asking a lot, I know) and when it was clear that I would not get those listed things, I decided to move on.  They say that when one door closes another door opens so I went on to make the  "perfect guy list" and later the "what I want my job to look like" list.  
Oh, and I also noted that I no longer wanted to be stressed about money.   

3.  Send it to the universe
I understand that this seems corny as hell, but literally you just imagine with all of your heart what it would feel like to have these amazing things in your life, and you put it out there to the universe or your higher power that this is what you want. Then you let it simmer and the magic begins happen.  

4.  Take Action
Ah ha- here's the catch.  I didn't say that you just sit back and watch it happen.  You have to start taking ACTION.  For me that meant one thing at a time, and it meant talking to people and getting help.  It meant distancing myself from some people.  It meant taking a risk on a new and different job.  It meant trusting that those who love me had my best interests in mind.  It meant being brave- over and over and over, and celebrating each win along the way.   

Joy Page said that "to manifest your hearts desires, you must be your hearts desires."  
I have become my heart’s desire.  No, it’s not always sunshine and roses, but I made it happen!  
I manifested a life of love and peace, a life where I am truly happy.  
Perhaps it’s time to believe in a little magic yourself.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

This is your brain on bullshit....

"I could see peace instead of this" 
A Course in Miracles

Ah Tequila- she is sneaky. 
Syrupy and sweet one minute, she is malicious and cunning the next.  
Tequila can take me from 0 to Bitch in less than 45 seconds, so I don't drink too many margaritas; and even though I didn't finish half of the soup bowl of frozen deliciousness the waiter brought us last night- it definitely affected me. 
Not to go into detail, but tequila was telling me to feel jealous and insecure. She wanted me to start a fight over absolutely nothing. She wanted me to be mean.  
However last night as those thoughts began to boil, something clicked.  I was able to understand that those feelings were not the real me. Choosing not to entertain them, I went to bed.   
For some lucky reason, I chose peace.  

So many times, our mind is like tequila, leading us to believe stories that are just not true.  It tricks us into believing that we need to feel anxious or worried. It tells us that we are not enough, or that we need to be fearful.
What if there was another way of looking at it?  What if we could see peace instead?

What if we went outside for some fresh air, or found our breath in meditation?
What if we allowed for communication, or even to step away for a bit if necessary?
What if we chose to be mindful, or to make a change?
What if we chose love over fear?

A Course in Miracles states that "Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter.  It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward.  It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises." 

Consider that the situation may not be as bad as we think it is. 
Peace is a choice.  

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?