The Strength to be Happy and The Wisdom to Use Your Ruby Slippers.

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This is the part of your story when you slow down and get real. This is when you choose how you spend your energy. This is your opportunity to live on the other side of suffering.

Under the same force, two people may respond contradictory. Are you a good witch or a bad witch? We have a choice to make each time we come up against struggle and strife. And, we have a new opportunity to respond in each new moment. When you start to tally up favorable, positive moments and feel them happening in succession, gather the strength to keep that momentum going. At the same time, remember your strength and use it if you revert back to old responses. Be forgiving of yourself and show loving kindness to your heart, but demand the strength you know you possess or no one else will. Because if you’re not feeling strong when you move around in the world then it’s time to get strong and stay that way. It’s time to stop making excuses and it’s time to be in control. Are you a hero or a victim? Are you a heavy or a light? Are you strong or….

It’s time to assess and conquer…. inside. I’m not talking about a strong body, I’m talking about a strong spirit and a clever soul.  “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” -Carl Jung  Being awake can take great strength, so wake up and smell the crossroad. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and handle it.

These are not inner battles we post on social media or overthink and discuss at length with our close friends. Stop getting sucked into the abyss of competition and curiosity. Be on your own journey. Close your eyes, breathe and be still. If you went inside and checked your inner self highlight reel or your soul expressions with the frequency that you check your Facebook account and your Twitter updates then you may be able to pry off the compulsion to struggle through your every moment. It’s ok to take a moment, it’s natural to relax and rejuvenate. It’s healthy to unwind and feel pleasure and it’s even ok if no one else is doing the same or knows about it. Just do it. Let go of self-judgement, conquer the monster of comparison and stand capable in your own stability. “Comparison is the thief of joy”- Theodore Roosevelt

These inner battles are the struggles that we must process over time… silently, with great resolve and commitment. Cultivate discipline, access fortitude. Gather strength and enjoy solid valor. You have it, you just have to decide to access it. Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers or the lion and his courage…. “You’ve always had the power, my dear, but you had to learn it for yourself” -The Good Witch. Just decide you are strong and you are strong.

I believe being happy takes great strength. I know that finding happiness will continue to take courage. I think that being happy and satisfied is nothing to hide or be ashamed of.  There is no worthy prize for proving you are the one who suffers the most or has the hardest life. Complaining and bellyaching, sour moods and melancholy are the tools of the powerless. We should never forget or cease to respect how fragile we all are, but no one in the world is going to be as concerned about your moment-to-moment indulgent negative whimsy as you are yourself. And honestly, it’s usually the strongest spirits who experience the most suffering that seem to show the bravest and most unbroken fortitude. They are my heroes and the only ones I will look to for guidance.

If you want to be in my thoughts then make them better, not worse.

Becoming Me

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Who were you before the world stepped in and told you who to become?  When a baby cries out and a caretaker responds with loving kindness, in the beginning it’s all a guessing game to try our best to soothe, respond and love.  But we really never know the true meaning behind those cries.  Even the best intending people may put their own needs and assumptions on those cries and respond the way they see fit.  That’s the best they can do until that baby can confirm those suspicions.  Is that baby having every need met, or is that sweet, dependent soul beginning the journey of taking what is offered and making it fit? Such is life as we grow into ourselves and begin to make our true selves heard.  And even then, how much are we forced to push down and ignore of what we really want and need?  Those innocent smiles on children desperate to please may be the faces of little ones learning to do the best with what is given to them while learning to manage what they truly wish.    

As we grow and mature, we have a chance to consider who we are and what truly makes us happy.  Are you letting yourself be the person you were meant to be?  How do we figure out exactly who that is?  After years of being told what to do, it may be difficult to truly be authentically present and acknowledge how much of who we have become is put upon us and how much of it we were free to develop on our own.  Take a step back for a moment and think about where you are, why you are there and whether or not it is who and where you would like to be.  Such is life really, but the next phase is letting go of some of that ingrained learning and allowing yourself to push back from the shore and mindfully explore what your choices will bring.  Navigating your path after you set sail on an adventure such as this may be filled with unknown, but it’s always in times of deep reflection or exploration that we have the opportunity to grow the most.        

Need to change a few things?  I do, and I want to learn more about myself.  There are 5 steps I am taking to thoughtfully process this lesson.  

Live life and engage in activities I enjoy.

Over the last few years I have found myself diving into new experiences with a brave, awakened yearning for change.  Feeling satisfied and content was no longer acceptable.  I longed for a divergence from my routine and I have found myself engulfed in exciting new opportunities saying, “YES!  THIS is me! THIS is what I crave and how I want to live!”  And it feels good.  I want more of that, so I make it happen.  

Stay curious and learn

Instead of sitting in wonder of some of my interests, I decided to engage in workshops and learn new skills, read new books and attend readings of their authors, and manage my own new business focused on my passions.  I hunger for new knowledge and I will never know enough about the matters that interest me.  

Live in the present

Engage.  Put down your technology, turn off the television and properly engage with the people and experiences around you.  I like to make a pile of cell phones when my friends have dinner and the first one to reach for their phone instead of being immersed in the gathering is handed the check.  If we all remain engaged and never touch a piece of technology then I consider that a win.  If you are not enjoying your surroundings and need the stimulation of outside sources, then it’s time to unravel that.  That unraveling is genuine work and you should be making time and space to focus on and improve that matter.  It’s the constant learning and unraveling that makes us grow indefinitely, but it’s in the present that we live.  Wherever you go, there you are.  Be there.  

Meet new admirable people and reawaken valuable lost connections

The people I have met and align myself with have made all the difference, and the people I have reconnected with from my past have impacted my journey more than words can say.  It’s those who love you unconditionally and authentically that deserve your precious time and attention.  Strengthen those bonds, throw your energy in their direction and it will come back to you with boundless possibility.  Your soul mates, no matter how abundant or few, will see the authentic YOU emerging and admire the light shining from you.    

“All of me loves all of you. Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections” -All Of Me, John Legend

Sleep and spend time alone

When I am alone with my thoughts and without other influences to taint my perspective is when I catch a clear glimpse of who I am and what I truly want.  I like to form my own impressions without speculation of others leaking in.  And, never underestimate the importance of rest and renewal.  Our sleep patterns are the refresh opportunity that we have everyday.  After expending all of this energy to make change and become my authentic self, I need to let my body absorb this information so it can truly be integrated into my reality.      

The question of who I am may never definitively be answered because she changes with each moment, but it is the promising journey to discover and rediscover myself that ignites my spirit and inspires my momentum.

 

above photo is of my daughter holding my hand that very first day

My Version of Eat, Pray, Love

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With a mindful attempt at focusing on my heart-mind connection, I set off on my own version of Eat, Pray, Love except mine was more Spa, Solace, Family.  Along the way, I got a chance to settle into a few versions of myself that I normally don’t get to enjoy.  At home, “me time” normally lasts a few hours at most and is spent in the aisles of the grocery store or meeting a friend for coffee.  The luxury of unwinding and relaxing into myself was a welcomed gift.  I was hoping to mindfully direct attention toward some of my less attended to “parts” that had been neglected for far too long.  I needed to find balance, I needed to find harmony.  I was lacking the sense of wholeness that yields happiness and like the tin man waiting impatiently rusting in the field, my parts needed to be oiled.  During three recent and varied journeys, I was able to enjoy and reflect on how variation and taking a break can help you reflect and achieve balance.

My first journey took me to Mii Amo Spa in Sedona, Arizona where I was able to enjoy a bit of pampering and spiritual growth along side two wonderful girlfriends and a few other amazing ladies we met along the way.  It was an inspirational few days spent among the red rocks enjoying hiking, massages, chakra balancing, meditation, and even a bath of milk and honey.  I had time to do some beneficial spiritual reflection and left feeling light and energized, ready to get back to my life with a sense of desire to apply what I had discovered to my daily life.  Interesting that some time away from my life brought me a keener sense of reality.

The next leg of my journey took me out of the red rocks and into Phoenix where I dropped off my traveling companions and checked myself into a beautiful hotel in Scottsdale to spend some time alone.  I got to catch up with a few close friends, but this time was about going inside and staying within myself for a change.  I didn’t know how much I had needed this time alone until I took it and the balance it gave me was both welcomed and surprising.  Sometimes it’s not clear where the balance will come from or where the pieces will fit until you gently let them fall at you and find their place.  Letting go and following the flow has it’s own quiet calm, like watching water rise and fill crevices and trusting and knowing that it knows just where to go.

A week later I was off on yet another vacation to relax as a family and let my daughters spend some quality time with their grandparents in Florida.  A different type of trip completely where I was reminded that having us all together is what life is all about.  Family is love and love is family.

From these three experiences, I felt balance.  I see the need for all of these kinds of escapes to recharge and gain momentum in different ways.  Finding this kind of balance has been a missing part of my self-care, and I plan to explore more ways to get out of my comfort zone and take a little more time for myself.  I’ve been shown that a bit of true “me time” is good for my balanced soul.  There is a fine line between self-care and being selfish and the debate continues over where that line exists.  The truth is that it looks different for everyone and getting to know yourself and your needs make that line clear as day.  It’s possible to find solace and pockets of time to recharge and reflect reasonably within your own life, but getting out of your life and having new experiences always presents the opportunity for added perspective.  And, though the true definition of balance may literally mean ‘even distribution’, sometimes just a bit of divergence can lead to a major shift and provide the balance you need.

photo taken at Mii Amo Spa in Sedona, Arizona

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