Most of the time I don’t know what the hell I am doing. I plan on certain things happening-eating, sleeping(at some point), work, and bills. Most everything else, I navigate day to day, gut feeling by gut feeling.
I kinda just do as I go, and go as I do.
I love it.
I love it because I used to plan a lot in the past.
I had a plan for every possible negative outcome that could happen when it came to my health, relationships, and any natural talents I possessed.
You see, all the planning I was doing essentially stemmed from fear. Sketched out by my insecurities, outlined by my worries, and essayed by my anxiety.
I didn’t realize how much this way of thinking contributed to my habit of self-sabotage until I saw a therapist.
Which is a whole different blog post I might get to in the future.
Back to the planning thing. Planning is not all negative. Planning can be really great, and imperative for certain situations. The planning I was consistently doing was not healthy. Over the years I learned, and am learning, what kind of planner I am, what kind of planner I want to be, and what kind of planner I don’t want to be.
These are three things I believe we should not hold off on for the perfect plan.
The weather, people, and creative ideas.
Waiting for the perfect sunshine weather to take a walk along that beach you love? First of all, be grateful you live close enough to a beach to do that because I am very jealous right now, and second, put on a hoodie…go for that walk. Waiting for the perfect person to sweep you off your feet? Sweep yourself off your feet, and your vision of this desired person will become less narrow, thus opening your eyes to greater possibilities.
Have an idea that charges up your creative mojo, lights up your mind, and ignites your soul? Don’t wait to talk to someone you think has it all together to help you perfectly lay things out. Don’t wait until you’ve sorted through all your notes, sketches, or recordings. Pluck one thing from the beautiful mess of a potentially amazing idea, and do something with it.
Because if you wait until some perfect sign, person, or plan comes around you are not really doing much more than waiting, are you not?
You gotta do at least one thing with your something in order to figure out if this something, is even…something!
And who knows? This one thing from this something could be the key to discovering if it is even anything.
I am going to keep this short, because I have stuff to do today. I am not giving myself the normal 2-4 hour block of time to go between writing, changing my Spotify playlist, checking Facebook, checking emails, and my phone (which aside from Instagram has the EXACT SAME CONTENT).
I am going to write a book.
Not later, not next spring, and not down the line when I feel I have an “aha” moment on what to write about. This is seriously on my bucket list.
So I’m doing it. Now.
Think I’m bluffing? Well here’s the thing. I had this thought about a week ago.
I am really tired of waiting.
I am tired of waiting for a lot of good shit to happen to me…
So *I*-am going to start to happen to a lot of good shit.
I am going to place myself in good things.
Like the new job I landed. Just pitched myself to do some marketing for the executive director. Guess what? She’s stoked! Or the many yoga studios in my area. I got a Groupon and decided why not studio hop myself into a great one I can commit to? Or the beautiful (it will NOT be used as kindling after the wedding) bridesmaid dress I ordered one size smaller than I am now because guess what? That’s a GOOD size for me to happen into.
You feel me on this waiting thing?
Back to the book. It WILL be published by June, and it WILL be in the living rooms or bathrooms of 100 people in my local area. Apparently if my book makes it to the bathroom it is a true success; according to my publisher.
I recently decided to welcome 2015 with open arms and kick it off by developing a healthier relationship with food. I already had the workouts down, but with a diet that often consisted of emotionally ruled choices I decided it was time to focus on what I was eating more than what I was doing.
The following is a true story, and clearly my catalyst for change…
I LOVE jalapeno poppers. Not just any, although I will eat most kinds, but my true addiction is the Jack in the Box ones. The gooey cheese, the seed-filled spiciness, and the fatty ranch to dip them is is the ultimate party for my mouth! There is a drive-through right by my house that I used to go by…a lot more than I would like to share…until one recent night on my reluctant last run for 2014.
I had decided to start off 2015 I would not go anywhere that had a drive-through. Alrighty, no jalapeno poppers from Jack for quite a while. This past week I was coming home from a friend’s house and realized this was the night. I had to drive-through one last time before I took a major break from crappy food.
I drove up and ordered the poppers. As I pulled up to pay the guy he smiled, and shyly made a suggestion on another sauce I could try with the poppers. Instantly I smiled and with foodie enthusiasm and replied “YES! I’ll try that!” Boy did he look happy.
“Well, I see you here so much I thought you might like to try something different with your jalapenos, and maybe if you like it we can try some more new food over dinner sometime?”
Most men who hit on me think I am in my mid-twenties (not bragging here although it IS pretty damn cool). I knew this guy was young so my turn down was an easy “I’m too old for you and no, age is more than just a number give me my poppers so I can go home [and eat these shamefully in bed].”
Not too long ago I took a quick trip to a new beautiful state. On my last day, I decided with the limited time to drop off the rental car, take a nice long sunshine walk back to my hotel, and explore the area.
Later on in the sunshine, as my tiny feet grew tired and I got closer to the end of my little adventure, I noticed a bright green grassy knoll filled with dandelions. Alongside the short wall dividing the green grass and the bright clean sidewalk my boots paved, the perfectly cotton ball-shaped dandelions were lined up, swaying in the breeze.
It was a loud busy street, but I didn’t care. Just like I did as a little girl, wishing to “save the world,” I picked up a dandelion and made a wish. Then I picked up another one, then another, and made a few more.
As a walked away from that quiet moment I realized it left me feeling really good. I knew the wishes made could come true, and I was capable of making them happen. In that moment I also remembered, in order to do that, I had to let go of the SHOULD, and be with the IS. Meaning, if I could accept life in the present, things might go a lot more smoothly. Overall, I often struggle with fighting the now, try to leap over to points anticipated, and end up getting hurt from tripping over myself. Plus, I missed out.
Because the lessons in life are mostly in the in between.
“Put your wishes out there with positive intentions! Share them with someone or write them down. How often do we make wishes with a defeatist attitude-keeping them as just far away dreams that will never come true? Do you really want to live your life never taking any chances to heighten your level of success? And I am not just writing about career or money. Wishes can be about anything…healthier relationships, reconnecting with someone, taking that trip you’ve thought about but never planned for, or starting that meditation routine you know will help with anxiety. Make a wish. Then evolve it into something outside your head and within your grasp. You can do it!”
My sister is here in town for a lengthy visit. We are all very excited to have her, my baby niece, and sweet 5 year-old nephew in our every day lives for the next three weeks. She traveled with both kiddos for the first time all the way from East coast over here to California. They arrived here safe and sound, but not without experiencing all the possible challenges that arise when you are in the hands of a major airline.
As I hopped in my car to go get the fam I received a text that they had boarded the plane but once again, their flight was delayed. It was too late to turn around and besides, my GPS indicated it was going to take over an hour in traffic to get to the airport. Having not had dinner, and driving stick shift in a non-AC car during commuting hour set the tone for my arrival. After circling a few times in the hourly parking I found the section close enough to their airline where we wouldn’t get lost coming back out, and raced inside to find a small snack that would hold me over until we got home.
Thank you Starbucks, for being at the end of every commercial street, and in every possible nook an establishment will allow you to take over.
Overcome with hanger (hungry+angry) I whipped out my gift card every educator receives at the end of the school year and pointed to the most carbo-filled chunk of chocolate in the display case I could find. I ordered a large milky overly sweetened coffee, and just in case the chocolate chunk wasn’t enough for my…small snack, I ordered a croissant as well. My hanger quickly disappeared. Just the thought of having food in my possession changed my state of mind.
You would think I would have yanked those pastries right out of the cashier’s hand and gone to town, but nope. First I had to find a desirable setting for the first bite. If you are a foodie, or struggle with an emotional connection to food you will understand this. I do think though that at some point many of us, if not all, do this.
I needed to find a suitable place to wait for my family whilst having the freedom to wholeheartedly devour this “small snack” from the Bucks. I looked at my two options.
As much as I love Virgin America’s positive “club lounge” feel there were too many cute guys that would would lose focus on my great hair as I ate, and gay ones that would judge my conduct as I ate. So I opted for the corner of a less fabulous airline. Facing the street. I plucked my purse down, chugged my coffee, and first pulled out the marble loaf. My moment was here. I took a monstrous bite into my baked floury treat, and breathed out a huge sigh. So huge in fact, pieces of the treat flew out of my mouth onto my purse.
Told ya I couldn’t have sat at Virgin.
Calmed down with food, and having some time to kill I got to thinking. What was it about my attachment to food that could present a kind of determined action to create a certain moment with it? Is it just me? Am I the only one who so impulsively makes unhealthy choices while at the same time PLOTS on what the environment will look like when I eat it? I know this can’t be good. I mean I opted to be away from great music and eye candy to face the street so I could comfortably eat food.
Within two hours of that snack I was home eating dinner. The food I consumed had already left my system, but I knew some of it would stay on my thighs.
This month’s theme is things I have done or still do to stay internally balanced. In the moment, or in general. It is important to have tools to use in the moment when feeling unsettled inside, but it is also just as important to create time in your life to maintain some balance.
It might feel like you are wasting time to take time out when you feel okay, or family keeps you incredibly busy, but the payoff comes when that balance is inevitably shifted by outside sources and you have established a foundation of practices to utilize.
Sit back, and enjoy your special Sunday with this light read. I am fairly certain you have done or do some of the listed things, and I am very hopeful you will find some things on this list to add to your tool box.
30 Things of Mental and Emotional Health
1. Gone for a long drive and sang to my favorite tunes. At the top of my lungs with a few enthusiastic arm gestures.
2. Pet something-an animal, a soft pillow, a significant other’s hair…getting in touch with a few of your five senses helps you get outside of your head.
3. “Word vomit”-as in text, call, or share with someone in person who I trust EXACTLY what is going on in my mind; no matter how ugly it might look or sound coming out.
4. Go for walks with some tunes I enjoy and make sure to ignore all messages or calls. Don’t worry, your loved ones will still be there if you are not electronically available for a bit.
5. Looked at old pics of loved ones from a time in my life I recall fondly. Not to ignore the present, but to remind myself all things are temporary. Good or not so good-this too shall pass.
6. Blocked someone on Facebook because I knew otherwise I would leave myself open to potential drama. Any opportunity I have to block that anywhere in my life, I do. It is not avoiding-it is letting go.
7. Checked in with someone I haven’t spoken with in a bit-it’s nice to reach outside yourself and reconnect for within that time you do, you feel more present.
8. Cried in the bathroom at work. Wiped the tears, smiled in the mirror, and went on with my day a little less burdened.
9. Played hooky from work and hit the beach. How great does it feel to be a little naughty and come back to your job refreshed?
10. Meditate-sitting, laying down, on my walks, and in the car. There is no right way to meditate. Only your way. Perhaps prayer is what keeps you grounded. Even something as simple as checking in with your breath. Stop. Take 4 deep breaths. Be still.
11. Gone to Target (or another store I like) and bought something I don’t need. Would not encourage this as a regular activity, but it is fun to indulge once in a while!
12. Screamed at the top of my lungs. Into a pillow, or in the car.
13. Let go of friendships after realizing we were living in the past, the present was unpleasant, or I needed to create more space for a positive future. Sometimes all of the above.
14. I take naps.
15. Tell the people I love-that I love them. How often do we hesitate though when we feel it? Get over that moment of hesitation, and tell the people you love that you love them. Often.
16. Thrown something-again not a highly recommended activity to do frequently and you will need an appropriate object (I have lost a few phones in the heat of the moment), but if you can align something nonperishable it can feel GREAT.
17. Blasted some fun music and had a solo dance party. Jumping on the bed or couch was always part of the choreography.
18. Written furiously in my journal like a hormonal teenager. Keep in mind as far as this goes it can be about all the extremes we go through emotionally at times, and everything in between!
19. Done a vigorous short workout to blow off some steam. Even if you are not a member of a gym or super active if you can find one activity to do with all your energy for a short amount of time-it WILL help.
20. I like to cook. It would add more stress to my life to bake as I am highly unskilled in this area, but for many it can be a relaxing experience. Does it mean you have to eat the entire project when the kitchen timer goes off? No! Share it or take a portion and put the rest away. The action of creating something is the point.
21. Let out a huge, throaty, dramatic :SIGH: combined with an extreme eye-roll…
22. Forced myself to try something new-even something as little as trying out a new restaurant or meeting new people with an old friend can stretch out my ever-so-tightly wound comfort zone.
23. Got on YouTube for a bit to see where it took me. If you have not done this yet please do. You will understand.
24. Cuddle. There are generally so many options-I cuddle my pets and family. Again, using one of the five senses brings you to the present and keeps you still during those moments of affection.
25. Accepted the fact that I will not always be balanced. Sometimes I don’t do a darn thing, and let whatever it is run its course.
It always does.
From followers via Facebook and Twitter:
26. “Books help also. Just escaping from the noise, entering a place of fantasy for awhile. I get lost in them often.“
27. “I like to sing when I am stressed out. (I asked where)…Everywhere!”
28. “Being balanced it can mean not being balanced for a moment and just saying forget it. Like throwing your hands up in the air and letting go of whatever you thought something was supposed to be like.”
29. “I like to play with my kids on the floor. Sit down with them and pretend I’ve got nothing but Barbie’s playhouse to worry about. Then I bond with my daughters too.”
30. “I keep journals, meditate, exercise, and cut off anyone or anything that no longer grows me.“
Thank you for reading! Please feel free to contribute an idea for this monthly post via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You might be rolling you eyes-another fitness article? Give me a chance to wow you, or at least now you-as in you might try something I suggest asap. Keep in mind the thoughts I will share do not always match up to my actions it is continuous work, and although you might not know what I look like I can promise you it does not even remotely resemble this:
However, what I can share is that in the past I have successfully lost a good amount of weight and broken bad habits without buying any meal plans, a gym membership (I do have one now), or pills. I have not tried any of the latest diets nor have I done any workouts that entailed the words cross or fit in them. I love to eat and am pretty active, but like to do things on my own terms.
Being “F.A.B.” is how I see it:
F=FUN…If you are not having some fun with a healthy lifestyle whatever you are doing won’t last long. Figure out what that means to you! For myself it was trying out my mom’s NutriBullet and discovering I LOVE to make smoothies. It was realizing I don’t love the treadmill at my gym as much as a jog around my neighborhood. That I don’t really like to strength train so I find better success doing short term challenges on YouTube or Facebook. If you are a parent maybe having a cooking contest with your kids using some healthy ingredients. Taking them to the grocery store and picking out a new veggie or fruit for the week to try. Or, taking yourself to pick out a few new foods and trying a new recipe. Have fun. Your kind of fun!
A=ACTIVE…If you can tweak the way you do certain things you can incorporate more activity into your life that becomes second nature. Take the stairs at the two-story Target those 3-5 times a week you pop in (always intending to stick to the list). Park a little farther away when you hit the grocery store. Watching your fave Tuesday night show? Do squats during the commercials. Have kids? Instead of checking emails when they are playing at the park play tag with them for 15 minutes. YOU’RE IT! Don’t want to join a gym? Get on Amazon and buy a few workout videos to workout to at home. Try something new. I am not the best dancer, but when I bought my first Shaun T Hip Hop Abs dvd I felt like Janet Jackson! Buy a yoga for kids CD and do it with yours before bedtime. Make being active work for you and develop realistic, long-lasting habits.
B=BALANCED…something that really helped me instill more permanent habits into my life was changing my mindset to what I put IN my body versus what I needed to cut OUT. So often when we want to make changes to our diet we think “Oh I shouldn’t eat ice cream every weekend,” or “I need to cut the creamer out of my coffee,” and I don’t know about you, but that can become a real drag. We are rebels at heart are we not? Balanced means you can still consider nixing the creamer, but also think about adding healthier foods into your life. Adding some physical activity into your life, and adding a more positive mindset into your life. Mind over matter is true in this case. What you train your mind to focus on will manifest on the outside. Think about what stress can do to you. For me, it added ten pounds with about eight of that going straight to my middle. It brought my blood pressure up and even landed me in the ER last summer. Get that negative self-talk outta here. Instead of thinking “I am fat and need to lose weight,” think “I will work towards the healthy body I know I am capable of having.” Be kind to yourself, but motivating. Do words matter? YES, and a balanced mind will equal a more balanced body.
Take care of your mind so you can take care of your body.