Back to Basics for the New Year

You wander from room to room
hunting for the diamond necklace
that is already around your neck.

by Rumi

 

Every New Year I begin to look forward to all of the exciting things that I am going to challenge myself to do.  In previous years I have quit drinking, done Paleo Whole30 challenges, lost weight, trained for a half-marathon, and various other hard-core, high-intensity challenges.  I generally would find a mountain to hike on the morning of the New Year and look out onto the islands thinking about all that I would conquer in the near future.

This year feels a little different.  I’ve moved into a slower-paced, more introverted town.  I’ve not taken the time to make a lot of connections here.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the yard with my dogs or crafting something in my living room.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, worrying, planning.

This new year I think all I want to do is get back to the basics.  I have been avoiding starting a new life in a new place.  And I’m not saying I’m making a resolution to become a social butterfly in 2016.  I really mean the basics.

I want to get back into meditation when I wake up in the morning.  I am going to finish my meditation bench for myself before 2016, since trying to meditate on the couch in the sunroom in the morning is akin to going from one bed to another.  I fall right asleep.

1210150653I am going to plan meals ahead of time.  I am going to avoid gluteny cookies and crackers and bread because I think they are contributing to my never ending rash that appears and re-appears on my legs.  So, I am going to plan dinners ahead, task Nathan to completing some of them, and take leftovers for lunches.  My health is dependent on it.

I am going to continue to walk with my buddy, Maria on Thursdays and start walking on my own or with Nathan at least 2 other days.  I am not going to hurt myself by trying to run right away.  And I’ve got my jump-rope now, which I love.  I’ve been doing tabatas with a variety of moves intermingles with jump roping.

I am going to visit Asheville and Colorado Springs and make a more researched decision before we move again.

Basically, I’m going to get back to the things that I already know work.  I’m not going to try to lose 30 pounds or eat totally Paleo or join a buddhist temple.  I’m just going to ease back in and take care of myself.

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What are you planning for this new year?

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2016- The Year of Connection

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Missing Hawaii

It is midway through December. The Christmas tree is up, and that combined with the smell of pine and fallen leaves outside the house has me in a nostalgic mood.  It has me thinking about the past year.  God, so much has changed.  This time last year, I lived in Kailua, the most gorgeous place on the planet.  I dare you to tell me different.  I lived a mile away from a beautiful beach.  My best friends lived in walking distance from me.  On a Saturday morning I had a dozen people I could call at the drop of a hat to invite to a last minute hike or walk on the beach.  I knew my neighbors, and I had healthy, active people surrounding me.  I could walk to Crossfit and my work was a mere 15 minutes away.

Why then does it feel so right that I’ve moved to this out of the way place, where we are surrounded by squirrels, deer, bugs and birds?  Where Walmart is the best option for produce?  Where the beach (which in no way compares to Kailua) is a half hour drive away?  Where we are afraid to let our dogs run loose because they might get eaten by alligators or snatched up by large predatory birds?

One major answer is family.  I am missing my best friends like hell, and I am going to have to figure out how to visit soon, but now I feel like I live on the same planet as my family.  When I call them in the morning, it is also morning for them.  I don’t get the news 6 hours later than they do.  I saw my family and Nathan’s family in July.  Then I drove to New York for Thanksgiving.  Twice.  I am going to see

them again over the Christmas break.  I think Nathan said it most eloquently when we spoke of it in the car the other night.  He said, “This last time we drove away from the house, I was sad, because I would miss them, but I wasn’t thinking Is this the last time I am going to see them?”

How shitty is that question?  This is why I moved from Hawaii.  If someone in my family gets sick, or a family member gets married, or a family member has a baby, those things matter to me.  And living in Hawaii, you start to question whether you can afford to go see them.  That’s screwed up.  My mother-in-law had a liver transplant.  My sister-in-law gave her half of her own liver.  That’s freaking amazing.  And when we got married, they couldn’t come to Hawaii, because traveling when you’ve gotten a liver transplant is pretty freaking difficult, especially at first.  That sucked.  Big time.

Living so close feels amazing.  I feel like I am getting to know them again.  And it’s not like I didn’t talk to my siblings or my parents.  We kept and still do keep up a pretty good conversation via facebook

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Seeing Family is Priceless

and email and I was able to have Skype conversations with them on most of the holidays over the years.

Seeing Family Is Priceless
Seeing Family Is Priceless

But, let’s be honest.  It’s not the same.  It’s not the same as trying to sleep on the top bunk at your parents’ house when your oldest sister is sleeping on the bottom bunk and you’ve got years of catching up to do.  It’s not the same as being able to clear your crap out of your parents’ house for them.  It’s not the same as having a cup of coffee with them across the island in the kitchen or building a bonfire or playing Pandemic or talking about the Dragonriders of Pern books or simply being in their presence.  It’s not the same as spending time with your nieces and nephews and the dogs.  And it’s definitely not the same as being able to give them a hug.

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Seeing Family is Priceless

I feel like I missed a lot over the years, but at the same time, I grew up in Hawaii.  I became a big girl there.  I learned how to be a kind, loving, healthy, individual.  I learned how to love myself and I found friends there that became my family.
So how, in 2016 do I find what I had in Hawaii (not the beaches, but the friends and the lifestyle) and stay close to my family?  How do I find that connection somewhere close enough to New York?

I haven’t found the answer yet.  My husband and I are looking for employment possibly near Asheville, NC or in Colorado.  I need to find a group of people who are interested in health and wellness like I am.  We need to find a place that doesn’t have an undercurrent of discrimination.  And I need a place to be able to hike and work out, but this place can’t cost as much as Hawaii did.  I refuse to be a slave to the price of a plane ticket home.
Any ideas?  Comment below!  Where do you think the best place to live is?

 

Missing my Hawaii Family
Missing my Hawaii Family

Adulting

1029151915a_HDRToday was a new day.  If you read yesterday’s blog you know that I had a temporary meltdown.  I think that’s par for the course, that everyone has days like that.  I was tired, hungry, and spent the day trying to look busy.  So the follow-up of a dead battery and a car that wouldn’t start pushed me over the edge.  I’m pretty sure everyone has days like this every once in a while.

Today was a much different kind of day and it’s the reason I can tell that all of the hard work I’ve been doing over the years is working.  Rewind back just 7 years and this type of incident might have set off days or weeks of feeling down.  For me that usually looks just fine, maybe slightly frazzled or a little tired at work.  I would hold it in and put on a happy face for my professional colleagues and then I would drive straight home to crash.  I would watch tv, read a book, or just sleep.  I would definitely eat like crap and isolate myself.

Today it’s a different story.  This morning I knew that I was going to wake up feeling junky.  That’s expected after a day like yesterday.  Especially since I replayed the incident over and over in my head over night instead of getting a good night’s rest.  But, I’ve been here before, and I know what to expect.  So this morning my alarm went off and I angrily jumped out of bed to silence it.  I got straight into the shower, then turned on all of the lights, turned on some music and made coffee.  I took the time to sit in my sunroom to meditate this morning.  I listened to the crickets chirp, the jets flying over head and the birds.  I took the time to center myself for the day.

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When I got to work I wrote down my Core Desired Feelings.  If you’ve never heard of Danielle Laporte and her Core Desired Feelings, you’re missing out.  The very, very basic of it is to identify not what you want to do, but how you want to feel.  I put “supported, connected, joy, freedom.”  I took the time to seek out friendly faces, to smile and chat for a moment.  And as the morning went on I started to feel very good.  This afternoon I texted my friend to go for a walk around the track.  We did 2 miles, talked, and then did some random plyometric moves and had a good laugh about it.

When I got home I decided to take this thing all the way, so I made dinner on an actual plate (courtesy of my in-laws) and set the table for myself.  I ate looking out the window at my front yard and listened to the crickets chirp again.

This wasn’t easy.  It took a lot of work to continue to take actions to make myself feel better and dig myself out of the hole.  But it was worth it.  Tomorrow I know I’m going to wake up in a better mood and hopefully I can enjoy my weekend instead of curling up in my jammies.

Now that I’ve adulted all day I’m going to search for last night’s Criminal Minds episode, and hit the sack early.

Today is the Only Day

What if today was the last day?  What if today was the only day?

Recently I was asked the question:

“What do you want your legacy to be?”

Wow.  What a question, right?  But, it’s an important question.  When you ask yourself this question, it makes you dig deep about what you want to leave behind.  What would you want family and friends to remember about you?  What would you want your children to know if you could only pass on a short message in a letter or a video?  It makes you clear away the clutter and get to the heart of what your message in this world is.

I had a few ideas.  I’m sure this is a list that will grow, expand, and change as I continue to live my life.  Today, here is what I want you to know:

I want  you to know how incredibly essential and significant you are.  Yes, you.  Right there, reading this.  You.  This world needs you.  Your actions and words and thoughts and energy are an integral part of this universe.  And knowing that, I want you to believe in yourself and the potential that is in you.  That thing you want?  That you tell yourself is too big or expensive or grand or improbable.  You can have that.  The barriers are an illusion.  They are not real.  There are obstacles, but they are conquerable.  Every single one of them.  

That’s what I want you to know.

What I want you to do is test this.  Stop believing what you read or see on tv.  Try with something small that you’ve been putting off.  Figure out what the obstacles are and figure out how to get through and over and under and around.  Have fun, be creative, ask for help, get messy and laugh.  And then all of a sudden you’ll see you have or have done the thing.  Congratulations!  Now do something bigger.

 

That’s what I want you to know.  Believe in yourself.  Do cool shit.  In the great words of L’Oreal “You’re worth it.”So now it’s your turn.  What’s the legacy you want to leave?

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Oasis at Night

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30 Day Blog Challenge

 

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Hello my dear friends! As a member of the Easily Distracted crowd, I have probably mentioned before that I have a tendency to get an idea, start an activity, and then forget about it before I finish.  That is why, even though I love crafting, I have to pick projects that can be finished in a few hours, otherwise it might end up incomplete in the Land of Unfinished Toys.  When I moved from Hawaii to North Carolina I was forced to finish or give away many eyeless and earless elephants, unstuffed monster pillows, and cut, but not sewn bags.  The vault of half-finished ventures includes a list of about 20 blog post drafts, carefully thought out, started and abandoned.

Other than limiting myself to projects that can be complete in one day, it helps if I can find a group of folks that can motivate me.  So, in the name of those abandoned posts, my friends and I have begun a 30 day blog challenge.  I am hoping that this will light a fire under me to get in the habit of completing posts and publishing them rather than banishing them.

This post counts as Day Number 1.

My goal for this challenge is to create habits.  Hopefully along the way you will be entertained and informed.  My hope as always is for you to feel empowered, brave, and free.

I’m not sure what’s in store for tomorrow!

P.S.  If you’d like to join our facebook group and get motivated to blog with us, comment here or message me on my facebook page.

Courageous Living

Some tips on how to start living a Courageous Life.

This could be you!

Know your why.

I can’t say this often enough.  Know why you are doing what you are doing.  All too often we just drift through the day, making money at our job, then handing that money over for the bills.  Make money, pay money, worry about money, blah, blah, blah.  Back when you were a kid, when Moby Dick was a minnow, you had dreams and visions and you knew how to use your imagination.  Then we go to school and they beat that out of us to make room for Math Facts and the Grammar.  For years I went to work, counted down the minutes until I could go home and have a beer, wake up the next morning to do it again until Friday.  Then, for a brief hour at the end of the day I’d get really excited about the weekend, but I was so tired that I usually just drank and slept through most of it.  And this was when I had already moved to Paradise.  The beach was 4 blocks away and I was bored.  Talk about living the life.  It wasn’t until I realized that I had no goals or vision anymore that I started to pick the locks on my rainbow handcuffs.  I started to ask myself why I was here, what I wanted from life, why was I in that job, why was I in Hawaii, why did I bother getting up in the morning?

It took me a long time to dig through the muck and the boredom to unbury the dreams I had squished into the far corners of my brain.  But I started to get little glimpses of pure joy.  Ecstasy even.  I began to get excited to get out of bed in the morning.  I started to think about my future.  I began to dream about all of the cool things that I could do.  And little by little I started to do them.

The How is not important.

This one is big for me and I’ve just started playing around with it recently.  It’s something that I’ve been working on, and I’ve been going bigger and bigger.  Decide on what you want.  Commit to it.  The How will always show up once you’ve commit.  I’ve always had the valid excuse that I don’t have enough money to travel back and forth to see family as often as I’d like to.  The problem is that I came to the conclusion that my job pays me X amount of dollars and since there will be no surprise bonus in June, then it can’t be budgeted in.  I was focused on the how.  In January I went to a PSI basic seminar and heard it again, that the how is not important.  So I decided I was going.  Not just to a vacation in July with my family, but also on a PSI 7 day seminar in San Francisco.  Because I had commit to it, suddenly the fear came.  How will I make that money?  And my brain, in it’s glorious brilliance gave me answers.  I could sell stuff I own.  I could sell stuff that I make.  I could provide life coaching and therapy services.  There was a ton of possible options that I wasn’t looking at before because I had a job that paid me X.

Guess what?  I’m going on both of those trips.  They will happen.  I won’t have to look back and regret not making it happen.  Do I know exactly what it is going to look like?  No.  But there are tons of exercises out there that I’ve been using to get some ideas.

Try one of these:

  • Kylego
  • Write a letter to yourself as if you had already made it happen.  Try this letter to yourself from futureme.org
  • Sit down and get a clean piece of paper.  Write the numbers 1-50.  Commit to coming up with 50 different ways to make the money you need.  Think out of the box.  You’re cute, don’t forget prostitution!  Play with the list, after a while your brain will start to come up with some rather clever ideas.

Challenge yourself. 

Don’t think you can do something?  Commit to a challenge.  There are plenty of challenges out there that you can do with a great amount of support from other people.  Don’t think you can get off the couch and run?  Sign up for a race.  Don’t think you can eat healthy?  Join a 30 day challenge.  Don’t think you can learn to play an instrument?  Announce on Facebook that you’ll be playing your guitar on your street corner in 3 months and invite everyone to come.  Community college courses are a great idea as well.  Take an inexpensive painting or hula or sign language course.  Commit to the entire semester.  You’ll be surprised at what you are capable of.

Experiment.

We tend to trust what other people tell us in order to avoid making mistakes that other people have made before.  If someone tells you that the stove top is hot and will burn you, it just makes sense to never touch the stove top, right?  Well, not always.  I’ve found that a lot of warnings I’ve been given over the years came from the land of Good Intention.  But we’ve come a long way from the origins of these warnings.  My mother told me not to touch the stove top and her mother told her not to touch the stove top and her mother before her and the Holy Bible before her.  But what if it turns out that I have one of those induction stove tops that doesn’t burn you?  That is only hot when the right pan is on it?  I’ve been keeping a 2-3 foot “safe” distance from the thing because I thought it would sear off my skin, when I could have been chopping my onions right on it.

I feel like a lot of our handed down warnings are like that.  At some point there was a danger of showing your ankles in front of a man because he might get the wrong idea and you’d end up raped.  But, Thank the Sasquatch, things have changed.  Some other examples:  Don’t tell your boss about your weaknesses.  Don’t wear white before Memorial Day.  Don’t eat pork.  Fat makes you fat.  You have to be germ-free.  You have to use soap that bubbles.  You should get married to a person of the opposite sex and immediately begin popping out babies.  If there is a nuclear bomb warning, get under your school desk, the safest place you could be.

You can continue to live a “safe” life, never exploring the boundaries.  Or you could test it out.  I have nearly invisible scars all over my hands and arms (and the rest of my body) from various experiments.  The pain is temporary and the lessons you learn are priceless.

Carry yourself with confidence.

I used to work at a job with a person who was very confident about his work.  He would tell me all of the things he had done in this position, how he had made so much change in the lives of his clients, how he was a master at groups.  I thought he was amazing!  A couple of years later I actually got to watch how he ran groups.  Well, it was good.  I thought to myself, though, that I was a little better.  And this surprised the hell out of me!  He had so much confidence in how he talked about his abilities, that I just believed.  I didn’t think to question it!  Here I was, being modest, talking down my abilities, and believing that he was better than me.  And not just better than me at group, but I’ll admit that there was a feeling of him being a better person than me.  If there was a promotion opportunity, who do you think they would have given it to?  Even I would have given it to him!

All of a sudden, watching him work, it was like somebody took the blindfold off.  There was several lessons to be learned.  Lesson 1- I was devaluing my abilities.  I was much better than I allowed myself to admit out loud.  I was disrespecting myself by telling other people that I was “okay” at my job, that I did “pretty good” work.  WTF?  Don’t tell me you don’t do this.  I still catch myself.  I can tell you a million ways that someone else does a great job and I’ll tell you that my strongest talents are “no big deal.”  Cut that shit out.

Lesson 2- If you act confident, people believe you.  They don’t question you.  They allow you more freedoms and responsibilities because they think you can handle it.  This is worth some serious experimentation.  At my last job, I started to hate it.  I was really good at getting things done, but no matter how quickly I completed tasks I was still expected to be physically present in my office, even if I wasn’t doing anything, from 7:45am to 4:30pm.  Didn’t matter if the only thing on my to-do list was “twiddle your thumbs.”  I don’t remember why, but one day I was getting ready for work and I didn’t feel like going in yet.  So I procrastinated.  And for no real good reason, except that I wanted to drink a second cup of coffee and pet my dog for a half hour, I was late.  A good hour late.  For some reason I decided that I was not going to apologize or make an excuse (I had car trouble!).  I decided to walk in like I had been somewhere important, as if I was right on time.  Not one person commented or asked me where I had been.  I opened the front door, smiled wide and said hello to the clerk at the front desk, checked my mailbox and walked into my office.  Turns out nobody gives a shit where you are unless there is a good story to it.  They couldn’t sniff out the usual drama, so they ignored me.  A fluke you ask?  I began to do this quite often.  Often enough that I’m sure they knew I was just coming in late.  And I never offered an explanation.  And no one ever asked me.  I just continued to do good work while I was there and left when I was done.  Seriously, try it.  It’s kind of amazing.

Last lesson, Lesson 3- When you act confident, you start to feel confident.  It’s the old fake it til you make it cliche.  Why does this work?  I don’t really know.  I’ve got my theories.  But if you practice putting a genuine smile on your face throughout the day, and you’ll start to feel happier.  Walk into a room with your chest high, your shoulders and head back, and you’ll feel more confident.  It is not a cure for anything, but it’s like a kick-start to a good mood.  Do it.

Follow Your Horn.

Follow your horn originates from a group of my closest friends and family who happen to love unicorns.  It is wordplay on “follow your heart” and means listen to your intuition.  The truth of the matter is when we stop trying to do what other people want us to do we can start listening to our own inner voice.  It turns out that we know an awful lot about ourselves.  This is one of the reasons that meditation is so important.  Meditation helps us practice shutting out the external noise.  Our friends and loved ones, they have good intentions, but you are a better judge of what you need than they are.  Just getting quiet, doing a meditation, a mantra, yoga, or some kind of simple repetitive or rhythmic task can put us in a state of calm and relaxation.  When the mind chatter quiets, when we get still we can tune inwards and see what we truly feel about things.  This is a muscle that needs to be exercised.  At first the chatter won’t go away very quickly or completely.  If this is new to you, you might not know what your body is telling you.  It is worth your time to practice.  When you get good at it, you will be surprised at how easily you will know what to do.

 

What are some of your life rules?  Comment below!