In Transition

There are moments in your life in which you’ll feel lost, unfocused, unmotivated, unambitious. It will seem like everything you want and dream of is always just out of reach. You will be filled with indescribable pain – pain that doesn’t radiate from a clear point, but is felt intensely just the same. Your appetite will begin to fail you, and every sunny day will have a permanent cloud floating within it, directly above your head. And in those moments, there will be nothing easier than for you to feel as if you have failed, and in effect, allow yourself to stop living. Not necessarily physically, but spiritually, emotionally, mentally.

Laundry

Every single disappointment that is felt – every failed career move, every failed relationship, every failed diet and health endeavor – every supposed failure will begin to take its toll on your soul. The heaviness will feel immovable, and you will feel immobile and stuck. Almost as if your feet are covered in cement blocks, and you’ve been thrown into a vat of quicksand. When you’re in quicksand, you’re told to refrain from fighting, because you’ll make it worse, and that’s true. But some fights don’t require physical strength. It seems counterintuitive, but in those moments, your focus should turn inward, and you should seek wisdom to help calm you. These are the moments that are most crucial, because those moments are called transition. 

Which Door

So many of us hate the thought and feeling of transition. It is uncomfortable, because it is stretching us, pushing us towards a life that is unfamiliar to the one we currently have. We want desperately to hold on to what we have now, even if it is not serving us well, because the thought of the unknown is far worse. As humans, we are creatures of habit, because habitual behaviors enable us to multitask and get through our everyday life rather seamlessly. Our habits are a gift and a curse, and they can pin us down into situations and experiences that should be changed. We settle for less than what we deserve and what we want, because we put in our minds that something is better than nothing, and something familiar is better than something new. If we continue to hold on to that mindset, we will never experience growth, and lack of growth is akin to death. Would you rather be dead inside than to try, just a little bit?

Strength

Our cycles of growth are cyclical, and we are given the opportunity to evolve every few months or so. If I want to keep it one hundred, I would even argue that those opportunities are provided to us every day, the moment we open our eyes. When you’re going through those transitional growth periods, your biggest tool is to be present, to pay attention to what is occurring within as well as around you. It is when we’re at our lowest points that our biggest seasons of change are revving up. I’m personally experiencing my own growth cycle, and damn, it doesn’t feel good at all. And I’ll be honest; I don’t want it – I don’t want to deal with this battle. But I know that I need it. Some of us walk into the storm, but others hunker down deep in the basement of their minds. If you’re feeling paralyzed, be introspective and figure out why it may be happening. Cut down on the distractions and begin the process of internal de-cluttering, but most importantly, don’t be complacent. There is something so much greater for you, but you have to be willing to go through the changes to get there.

(All photos courtesy of gratisography.com

 

 

 

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Life is For Living…

I wish I were one of those people who could get up early in the morning and feel like they can take on the world. You know who I mean. Those people who rise at five, do a little meditation and yoga, sip some coffee, ponder life and the like. The truth is, I’m not one of those people. One of my many faults lies in the fact that I am a dreamer by nature. I would rather sleep in, and hold on to my amazing dreams that give me the pleasure of escaping from the reality of the world. My fantasy seems to be so much better than my reality could ever be. But I suppose that’s the problem. All too often, we allow fear and complacency to make us believe that what we are today, what we have at this moment, is all that will ever be true for us. I’ve realized that it is in those moments that we have to push through and make the conscious decision to NOT give in to mediocrity, that we cannot allow our dreams to become wistful memories.

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What is it that you truly want out of life? What are your dreams made of? How will you make those dreams come to fruition? These are the sorts of questions I ask myself, when I find that I’ve spent too many minutes viewing the falsified lives of others on social media sites. Depictions of grandeur, of steak dinners and golden tickets, when the realism is more ramen noodle and shut off notices. I’ve been smart enough to remove television from my life; so much so that, I probably watch not more than an hour a week, if that. Yet somehow, I have a harder time blocking out the social media chatter. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not a coveter by any means. And social media gives me great ideas about what I need to be doing. The one thing it doesn’t provide me with is the actual motivation to get up and do it. I get sucked in the 30 second video montages, and I find that I am unwittingly wasting my life, one view at a time.

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So how do I begin to become one of those people? The early riser, the go getter? At one point, I fit squarely in that category. I was unstoppable, ambitious, creative. And somehow, I’ve let the bullshit take over and turn my mind into the malleable clay that media and society is so desperate to capitalize on. I’ve realized that I need a break. A true break. I need to refocus on living, experiencing, being present. We spend so much time proving to everyone else that we’re living our lives that we forget to prove to ourselves how to actually do so, never realizing that we truly aren’t. What’s important to me right now though? Living in this moment, regaining my creativity and drive, loving myself and those around me, but in an intentional, not half-hearted way. Too many of us are alive, yet refuse to live. I have no desire to be a drone, a clone of everything that is wrong in our shallow world, a person who is incapable of formulating their own opinions and feelings without first checking in on the popular consensus. Today, I choose to wake up; what will be your wake up call?

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The Heart of the Matter

Forgiveness. It’s a word that’s been on my mind for a couple of weeks now. I’d been contemplating whether or not I should write about it, and then Sunday morning, India Arie’s cover of the song “Heart of the Matter” rolled through on Pandora, and then her song “Wings of Forgiveness” came on. So yeah, the question in my mind was pretty much answered for me. And of course, with today being the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, it seemed even more apropos.

Boxing

I’ve never considered myself to be a very forgiving person. In fact, traditionally, I’ve been the complete opposite, the grudge-holder, who contemplated all of the ways I could make you pay for hurting me, betraying me, no matter what the offense might be. I grew up around people who didn’t necessarily believe in the idea of letting things slide, of letting bygones be bygones. Because if you did, you were somehow weak, a pushover. And you know what all of that negative energy beget? A home filled with resentment. Pent-up anger. Anguish. Anxiety. All of the things that can lead to depression. I realized that it also hurt ME. If the other person was smart, they weren’t even thinking about me and my animosity towards them. I was only damaging my OWN soul.

Arm Wrestling

I’ve been dealt with some hurtful situations over the last year. Situations in which I would have had every right to lash out and act crazy. Initially, that was my first inclination. I wanted to do everything in my power to make those persons pay for what they had done to me, how they had made me feel. I sometimes even fantasized about how it would all go down. But for some reason, I made a different decision. I determined that it essentially wasn’t worth my energy. Yeah, I’d feel good in the moment, but that’s all it would be. Just a moment. Once it was done, my psyche would be wrought with the memories of my malicious impulsiveness. So, I did nothing. I meditated and prayed on it, and decided to just forgive.

Pancake Smiley

Let me tell you – that was quite literally the best decision I  could have made. Now, instead of being consumed with rage, I could focus on more important aspects of the situation’s aftermath – like healing from it. Anytime I had any thoughts on potentially going back on my decision to forgive, I just thought about how it would affect me. After a while, it stopped being in the forefront of my mind, and I’m pretty certain that I pushed my healing curve ahead tremendously. Yes, anger can be justified, but it’s also a choice. We can always choose to keep our minds and spirits there, and as a result, become breeding grounds for negativity. Or, we can choose forgiveness, and learn to be the person who moves on. Not because we’re weak, no. But BECAUSE we’re strong, and we love ourselves more.

What’s Your Vision?

What’s your vision for 2015 and beyond? A friend of mine purchased a book for another friend, entitled, “One Word That Will Change Your Life”, and, while I haven’t read it (I plan to!), the idea is a novel one. What better way to keep yourself and your goals in sight than to give yourself a theme for your year, and every year going forward? I know that for me personally, my last year was one wrought with many changes. It was a year of heartbreak, shattered dreams, and destroyed goals. But it was also one of self-actualization, acceptance, and perseverance. If I could sum up the last year in one word, it would have to be transition.

Pile of Junk

It’s New Year’s Eve, so of course, many people have created a laundry list of resolutions. For some, that may work, but for me, I’d probably lose the list by the second week of the year! I eliminated my desire to create resolutions long ago and instead resolved to be a better me every day of my life. Sometimes, I move two steps forward, and other times, I take six steps back. However, as long as that backward movement taught me something valuable for my growth, then the regression was inherently worth it.

Sterile Room

For the coming year, I’ve been trying to come up with my one word. I know that I’ll be focused on exploring all of the elements that make me so unique, becoming even more comfortable in my skin, embracing my talents and quirks alike. I want my days to be purposeful, meaningful, and filled with growth and love. For too long, I have allowed my spirit to be stifled. I’ve cared too much in the past about following some generic blueprint for life, being flexible to those who don’t deserve such accommodations. This year will be about me breaking through my oft self-inflicted barriers, about me becoming more organic and authentic, being more free. Hence, my focus for the year will be spent freeing myself of any thing that constrained me in the past. My word for 2015 will be freedom.


Freedom

You’re Not Hungry Enough

A good friend and I were having a very intense conversation late one night (much like the majority of our nightly convos), and this one was about careers and life goals. I was complaining about the lack of creativity in my corporate role, while he was proclaiming his anticipation of finally being able to do what he loves on a full-time basis. I made the mistake of telling him that I wish I felt that way about what I do, and thus, the probing began.

Creative Mind

He asked me to think about what I loved to do; something I would do, even if I didn’t get paid for it. I threw out a couple of things I like doing, but then I said, “If I could do anything full-time, something I absolutely love, it would be to create, to write”. Of course, he says, “There you go. Do that”. And like many people, I began throwing out excuses: no time, kids, this, that, yada yada yada. He quickly and quietly shut down my negativity monologue though. “You don’t want it that bad then. You’re not hungry enough”.

Baby Birds

That comment gave me pause. Because of course, when it comes to work, I try my best, I work hard, so I almost felt offended that someone would insinuate that I wasn’t hungry! I bust my behind with everything I do, because my hunger and competitive spirit doesn’t allow me to be anything but the best. When I really thought about it though, I realized that my work-life really isn’t my best. It’s the best for someone else. It doesn’t give me an extreme sense of satisfaction. It doesn’t make me feel like I’ve contributed anything awesome to society. Essentially, my “best” isn’t bringing value or meaningful growth to ME.

Live Your Best Life

I decided to take that comment as a challenge, and start making goals that would reignite that feeling of competitiveness, of usefulness, of hunger. But not just goals that I’ll write down, walk away from, and barely remember. I want them to make me accountable, not to everyone else, but to myself. Sometimes, we allow circumstances to shift our focus away from where we want to be in life, and we create excuses for that shift, instead of making changes. Excuses are null and void for me now; I’m ready to create change.

 

 

When Life Gives You Seeded Watermelon…

…just spit the seeds out and keep it moving. Man, it’s been a minute for a new post, and for good reason. So many transitions in my life right now, I can barely keep up. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, turned practically inside out like Penny from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (I couldn’t find the inside out episode…if you haven’t seen it, I can’t help you). I’ve been spending the last few months re-learning who I am, what I stand for, and what I want out of life. And yo, this crap is not as easy as you would think. When you spend the last fourteen years of your life being defined as one thing, it takes some time to unravel and shed your old persona, your old ways. You have to re-think and re-define everything you assumed you knew (with certainty!) about life, people, love, relationships. And it feels just about impossible.

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I think the most difficult part is removing old labels and behaviors that were so deeply embedded in your psyche, your every day life. Essentially, those habits that encompassed your reality for half of your life, gone. Understanding and accepting that you are, in actuality, your own person, with no restrictions, no labels, and now you have to begin rebuilding yourself. At first, it seemed daunting, which is almost laughable, considering how independent and self-assured I can be. But nothing is more stressful than the unknown, regardless of how confident you are!

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So, in true Misfit fashion, I’ve begun to embrace it. Pain and change is temporary, and you can only allow yourself so much time to wallow in it. My friends have commented on my strength and perseverance, as if I’m superwoman. I’m not. Not even close. I’ve just come to the realization that I can’t necessarily control situations, but I can choose how I respond to them and how to overcome them. My strength comes from my will to ensure my happiness and peace, no matter what life throws at me. Most importantly, I’ve come to realize that I can do whatever the hell I want to do, how I want to do it, and when I want to do it. I accept these changes as my challenge to do just that. And lucky y’all…you’ll hear all about it.

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Fallin’ For Yo…Me

It’s okay to be alone with yourself.

That’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past five days. It’s human nature to want to be around people, connect with other souls (no matter how much you may tell yourself that you’d rather be alone). We crave conversation, shared experiences, love, companionship, all those good things. But what happens when you put so much into your interpersonal relationships, and not enough into your intra-personal relationship? You know, the one with yourself?

Lonely

I am so absolutely 100% guilty of having a hard time being alone. I grew up in a family with five siblings, got married at 19, and started a family at 20. I have a good deal of friends, so there’s always someone to reach out to. But I’m starting to see that constantly seeking other people to fill that void that makes you unable to cope with the silence, to enjoy just being alone, just being you.

Silence

Having other people around 24/7 to ease the chatter of my mind has made me insanely lazy when there’s a reprieve that forces me to make attempt to listen (And the barrage of social media notifications and mindless surfing doesn’t help either). In the process, I’ve found that I’m starting to lose sight of who I am, what I’m most passionate about. How does that oft-quoted meme go? “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything”. I’ve been finding that I have been susceptible to the latter. One week, I’m trying on one personality, the next, a “better” one. But what happened to MY personality?

PersonalityI have spent the last few days being alone (minus the daily kid interaction/interruption, but that doesn’t count). And let me tell you. It SUCKS. I hate it. Absolutely hate it. There’s no constant stimuli, no one to entertain my random thoughts, to cater to my whims. I’m dependent on myself to engage myself. It is awful, because it is a wonderful breeding ground for paranoia, negativity, self-pity, over analyzation (made up word). I start to think that I’m not missed, that no one cares. I start to chip away at the confident exterior I wear as a badge, and I become a little insecure. It can be pretty self-deprecating and pathetic, to say the least.

Insecurity

So, after a very emotional weekend and a LOT of thinking, I’ve decided to focus on the important stuff for the next couple of weeks – the important stuff being me. I have to like, date myself, as corny as that sounds. I want to remember what makes me so special, so unique. I want to draw myself in and get lost in myself and fully appreciate myself, and (PG-ingly) love the hell out of myself. I’ve come to the realization that the silence isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and that the loneliness is actually just a synonym for meditation. I’m going to allow myself to be more spiritual and in tune with who I really am. I’m going to finally take advantage of this time to understand who I am…to fall back in love with ME.

Self Love

Reflections

Peace

Today, I’ve taken the time to reflect on what has occurred in my life over the past 365 days (and I urge you all to take a few moments between the partying to do the same). This past year has put me through many tests, of my resiliency, my loyalty, and my heart. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I am capable of (physically, emotionally, and mentally), as well as some VERY hard lessons in patience and faith. I’ve never been one to make resolutions (this could have something to do with my resistance to commitment, I suppose); I’ve just always resolved to be a better me. And that is a daily goal for me, not just a yearly one, or one I recite every December 31st.

In retrospect, there are so many things I could have done and handled differently, but you can’t really get back up if you’ve never fallen. As a result, I’m always thankful for the falls that come complete with cuts and bruises, and the scars to prove they actually happened. 2013 has been so much about change for me, and I’ve squashed a lot of fear and stepped out in faith in order to grow. I close this chapter with the hopes of a brighter and even more exciting one in 2014, and I pray for blessings and strength for myself AND the ones I love. Challenge yourself this year, but always strive to make every year your best year ever. Have a wonderful and safe New Year everyone!

Me!

This Mortal Life

I am heartbroken over the passing of Paul Walker. Did I know him? No, not personally, of course. But many of us get to “know” celebrities by the moments we share with them in movies, from photos, from their work in the community. Many of us begin to think of these celebrities as our friends and family, so their untimely deaths have a deep impact on us. For others, though, I think it conveys something deeper, some aspect of ourselves that we have to examine.

Direction

It doesn’t just mean we won’t see our favorite star on the big screen again, in something new. It’s so much bigger than that. It sharply reminds us of our own mortality, and that can be scary. It causes us to take a step back and examine our lot in life, our paths, to see if we’re really where we want to be. It makes us hold on to that loved one just a little bit longer, makes our kisses last a second more than usual, makes us bite our tongues instead of harshly rebuking our partner with venomous, hurtful words. Essentially, it reminds us that we only have this one life, this one chance to live fully, to give our all in a positive way.

Live with Purpose

Today, you have to ask yourself: what can I do to live life fully? If tomorrow wasn’t a guarantee (which it is undoubtedly not), what would you do differently? How would that change your outlook and game plan for the day? I challenge you all to love yourselves enough to be the best you possible, to live in the present and enjoy every moment of it. That isn’t to say that you should live recklessly, but you should live with intention. Leave the fluff behind and focus on what is important, what helps you grown and learn and love…what helps you BE. May all of those who didn’t have the opportunity to wake up today rest in peace, and may you all take that as your cue to live a life of peace and purpose.

Paul Walker

Here Comes the Sun

It’s so easy to a bitter, sour person when things don’t go your way. Maybe you didn’t get that promotion you wanted, or they left you out of the equation yet again. Maybe your archenemy just drove by in the car you wanted, or purchased the house you thought you’d be able to buy. Unfortunately, bitterness won’t improve your situation, or make you happier. Sometimes, you have to make a conscious effort to just let it go and be happy. As of late, I’ve been focusing on three ways I can ensure my daily happiness (daily, because you have to start somewhere), and just be great. Why do I keep focusing on these positive posts? Well duh, I’ve still got work to do!

1. Don’t let other people’s emotions and reactions to you determine your mood.

Argh

I have such an issue with this. I tend to be very empathetic, and sensitive, and if I care about someone, their mood seems to always somehow dictate mine. I could be floating on cloud nine all day, and one sideways comment or dirty look can make me feel some type of way. I can’t help but feed off of others emotions sometimes. It’s such a gift and a curse (ok, I’ll stop with the hip-hop song references). I’m figuring out slowly but surely that I have to do my best to kind of put up a wall, or just brush it off. Because, like I’ve said in previous posts, it’s really not that serious. That doesn’t mean you can’t care, but you kind of have to care about yourself first.

2. Stop raining on other people’s parades. 

Debbie Downer

Like, seriously. Just because you’re in a bad mood doesn’t mean you have to put everyone else in a bad mood too. Try being genuinely happy with someone else’s good news or good fortune. Or dammit, if you have to, fake it. There are always those scientific studies out there that say things like, “smile when you’re upset and it’ll make you happy”. That’s like, actually true. At least in my case. When I start faking the feeling, I actually start feeling it. Try it today. Smile!

3. Chill with the self-deprecation. 

The Breakfast Club

You’re actually not as horrible as you think you are, or as stupid, or as [insert unrealistic negativity here]. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes in life, but the key is to feel it, and move on. And while you’re at it, relax with the over-analyzing. I’m one of those people who, after a trying situation, goes back and tries to think of every single thing I could have done differently. And when I bring it up to whomever was involved, they had already stopped thinking about it eons ago. Besides, if you were sooo perfect, how would you ever learn, and grow? If you have to, stick some positive affirmations up around you. THEY ACTUALLY WORK.

No one is expecting you to be happy all day, all of the time. That’s actually pretty ridiculous and would make you some weirdo Stepford Wife or robot. However, you can actively change your outlook on life, so you can start being a more content. If you have some tips for improving your outlook on life, please please please feel free to share with the rest of us!

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