Thoughts we can Feel

Good Monday morning, to you! If it happens to be stormy, windy and rainy by you, I hope you are able to have a pleasant day in spite of it. Whether your day is going well, or perhaps you could use a bit of motivation and encouraging words, I’m here today to offer some of quotes I’ve discovered recently that are quickly becoming my favorites. So without further adieu, here are some quotes of encouragement and strength today:

“The strongest people aren’t always the people who win, but the people who don’t give up when they lose.”

“If you keep looking back at your yesterday’s, you are not living in the gift that the present is.”

“There comes a day when turning the page is the best decision for you because you realize there’s so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.”

“Never let your fear decide your future.”

“Note to self: I am allowed to cry. I am allowed to scream, but I am not allowed to give up. It will all get down somehow. Just breathe.”

“Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own.”

“Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Every day is a fresh start. Each day is a new beginning. Every morning we wake up is the first day of our new life.”

“You are part of a puzzle in someone’s life. You may never know where you fit, but someone’s life may never be complete without you in it.”

“Trust that every ending is followed by a beginning.”

“Use your eyes to see the needs and use your talents to meet them.”

“Don’t let your fear of the past affect the outlook of your future. Live for what tomorrow has to bring, not what yesterday has taken away.”

positive-quote                            courage-quotes

 

A Tangled Path to Acceptance

Let me ask you this on this Friday morning: how often have you looked back on your life, no matter how positive or not so positive it has been and regretted a choice, thought, or decision you’ve made? To that end, how many times have you thought, if only? If only I had made a different decision or choice – if only I had taken a chance, or maybe, if only I hadn’t taken that chance? It is often easier and even, sadly, a widely-accepted social norm to berate or chastise oneself for the decisions one made or didn’t make.

Instead of focusing on the reasons WHY we made that particular decision or choice, we focus on where it has lead us to, what we have lost, or the ramifications of it. Instead of focusing on what actually drove these past choices, we may ruminate, analyze, or play out scenarios in our head of what our lives might have been like if we’d made different choices or taken different paths. Often times, this only leads us to sadness or regret and as a result, we spend much of our time dwelling in the past, envisioning a life we don’t have instead of relishing in what we DO have and the time we have been given to live it.

On the flip side, there can in fact be positives to reflecting on the past. It can keep us from making future poor decisions or provide us with insight into difficult choices, decisions and other situations within our lives. Self-acceptance has often been something I’ve struggled with in particular through the years and acknowledging where I am at the present time. Being kinder to myself is something I hope and wish to employ at I begin my 28th year on Tuesday, May 3rd.

Begin Again quote

As I said last year on my 27th birthday, for those of you who may recall, birthdays for me are often a chance to set a new goal, a new dream, or maybe the decision to choose to pursue a goal I neglected, but always harbored within me. With that being said, my goal for my 28th year, is to acknowledge I may not have or be living the life I believed I would, but then again, when I envisioned my life, I was a very young, impressionable adolescent or child, unaware of what life could bring or what I could encounter. I didn’t realize that the plans we make for ourselves can and will change as we grow and develop as a person and see more of what life has to offer. Some of these changes will be positive, some of them will be negative, but just because the path I thought I would take is vastly different, does not mean it is the one I will always lead. To get what we aspire to have out of life, we have to start somewhere. This year will be the year I decide to acknowledge what I’ve lost and the choices I made, but instead of ruminating and wallowing in self-pity, will choose to start again and adjust my sails.

After all, there truly is no time limit on when we can achieve our dreams or set new goals; why not start now?

Starting Over quote

Half the Truth

The other day, a rough, emotionally-driven, raw afternoon, I sat in my car with the windows drawn and tears streaming down my face as I mindlessly scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed on my phone. Like clockwork, I scrolled through the countless photos of people’s children, engagement and pregnancy announcements, party photos and simply happy moments. Sure, mixed in here and there were trivial complaints or motivational quotes, but nothing capturing my undivided attention, until…

A favorite author of mine, Elizabeth Gilbert, the writer behind the popular non-fiction novel, Eat Pray Love, posted a short piece of writing entitled, “Not this.” Words filled my newsfeed, words that seemed to spill from me, capturing each thought, worry and sentiment I’ve felt through the years. Realizing others and more specifically, Gilbert herself and the others she speaks of have experienced similar feelings was all the comfort and reassurance I needed at that moment. Reading this piece summoned a certain confidence and courage within me, words I needed to hear at moment, thoughts I needed to propel me forward. After reading it, I pushed open the door to my car and felt as though a window had suddenly been opened.

So here I am today, on a beautiful Spring afternoon in April, hoping that by posting her piece, maybe somewhere a window will be opening for someone else or at least will be a reminder that we’re never truly alone in our thoughts and fears:

“Not this” by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Dear Ones –

Most of us, at some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly…which is: nobody) will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place — or at least, in a very bad place.

Maybe we will have to admit that we are in the wrong job. Or the wrong relationship. With the wrong people around us. Living in the wrong neighborhood. Acting out on the wrong behaviors. Using the wrong substances. Pretending to believe things that we no longer believe. Pretending to be something we were never meant to be.

This moment of realization is seldom fun. In fact, it’s usually terrifying.

I call this moment of realization: NOT THIS.

Because sometimes that’s all you know, at such a moment.

All you know is: NOT THIS.

Sometimes that’s all you CAN know.

All you know is that some deep life force within you is saying, NOT THIS, and it won’t be silenced.

Your body is saying: NOT THIS.

Your heart is saying: NOT THIS.

Your soul is saying: NOT THIS.

But your brain can’t bring itself to say “NOT THIS”, because that would cause a serious problem. The problem is: You don’t have a Plan B in place. This is the only life you have. This is the only job you have. This is the only spouse you have. This is the only house you have. Your brain says, “It may not be great, but we have to put up with it, because there are no other options.” You’re not sure how you got here — to this place of THIS — but you sure as hell don’t know how to get out…

So your brain says: “WE NEED TO KEEP PUTTING UP WITH THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL WE HAVE.”

But still, beating like a quiet drum, your body and your heart and your soul keep saying: NOT THIS…NOT THIS…NOT THIS.

I think some of the bravest people I have ever met were people who had the courage to say the words, “NOT THIS” outloud — even before they had an alternative plan.

People who walked out of bad situations without knowing if there was a better situation on the horizon.

People who looked at the life they were in, and they said, “I don’t know what my life is supposed to be…but it’s NOT THIS.” And then they just…left.

I think my friend who walked out of a marriage after less than a year, and had to move back in with her mother (back into her childhood bedroom), and face the condemnation of the entire community while she slowly created a new life for herself. Everyone said, “If he’s not good enough for you, who will be?” She didn’t know. She didn’t know anything about what her life would look like now. But it started with her saying: NOT THIS.

I think of my friend who took her three young children away from a toxic marriage, despite that fact that her husband supported her and the kids financially…and the four of them (this woman and her three children) all slept in one bed together in a tiny studio apartment for a few years, while she struggled to build a new life. She was poor, she was scared, she was alone. But she had to listen to the voices within her that said, NOT THIS.

I think of friends who walked out of jobs — with no job waiting for them. Because they said NOT THIS.

I think of friends who quit school, rather than keep pretending that they cared about this field of study anymore. And yes, they lost the scholarship. And yes, they ended up working at a fast food restaurant, while everyone else was getting degrees. And yes, it took them a while to figure out where to go next. But there was a relief at last in just surrendering to the holy, non-negotiable truth of NOT THIS.

I think of friends who bravely walked into AA meetings and just fell apart in front of a room full of total strangers, and said, NOT THIS.

I think of a friend who pulled her children out of Sunday School in the middle of church one Sunday because she’d had it with the judgment and self-righteousness of this particular church. Yes, it was her community. Yes, it was her tribe. But she physically couldn’t be in that building anymore without feeling that she would explode. She didn’t know where she was going, spiritually or within her community, but she said, NOT THIS. And walked out.

Rationally, it’s crazy to abandon a perfectly good life (or at least a familiar life) in order to jump into a mystery. No sane person would advise you to make such a leap, with no Plan B in place. We are supposed to be careful. We are supposed to be prudent.

And yet….

And yet.

If you keep ignoring the voices within you that say NOT THIS, just because you don’t know what to do, instead…you may end up stuck in NOT THIS forever.

You don’t need to know where you are going to admit that where you are standing right now is wrong.

The bravest thing to say can be these two words.

What comes next?

I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows. It might be worse. It might be better. But whatever it is…? It’s NOT THIS.

ONWARD,
LG

– Thank you to Elizabeth Gilbert for bravely sharing this inspiring kaleidoscope of words, they are many words I’ve thought, but never written.

Weekend Wisdom in Quote Form

What an interesting week it has been: from digging out from the impromptu snowstorm that arrived without abandon last week, to meeting new neighbors who tremendously helped with shoveling, and running errands around unshoveled roadways, I’m more than ready for the weekend. That being said, quotes I recently stumbled upon carried me through the rough times this week and therefore, I thought what better than share this wisdom than whomever might be reading? Perhaps it will provide you or someone else you know with inspiration, reassurance and the acknowledgement that despite how tough life can be, it can also be wonderfully surprising. At any time, life can provide us with seconds chances, opportunities and promise:

Help Quote

“Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.”

“Sometimes we don’t notice the things other people do for us until they stop doing them.”

“Close some doors today, not because of pride, incapacity, or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.”

“Reading: That place where you are by yourself, but you are never alone.”

“There is always a way.”

“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.”

“If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.” (A side note to mention: I feel particularly strong about this quote, especially as of recently. When I was younger, I was hesitant to ask for a lot of what I needed, or what would have helped me, because I was afraid, ashamed and embarrassed. Today, as an adult, it’s something I attempt to do each day – asking for what I need, but still respecting if the answer is no – at least I asked and took a chance. So if you’re doubting whether or not you should ask for something you feel would help you, I encourage you today and everyday, to take that chance and ask, because if not, what could be so simple could turn out to be much harder than it has to be.)

 

 

16 for “Sweet 16”

Happy New Year! We’re currently five days into the new year and for me, it’s been off to a rather tumultuous start. Coupled with the malfunctioning/breaking of certain household appliances (i.e. heater, garbage disposal, water heater, and washer), it’s been a challenge to stay positive and ultimately convinced this year will be a sweet one. That being said, I decided that to keep in line with the affectionate nickname of 2016 as “Sweet 16,” I would compile a list of 16 goals/aspirations for this new year. They are simply what I’d like to adhere to or keep my focus on for these next 12 months, or ideally, permanently. So without further adieu, I give you:

16 goals for a “Sweet 16”

New Year

  1. Remind myself it’s okay to be where I am in life right now. There is no need to compare myself to where other people my age are in their lives. It’s like the well-known quote says, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Someone else my age who is married, a mother, and has a fulfilling career might have already weathered something significant I have yet to encounter. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense, or benefit me in any way to compare myself to someone else’s current life situation. We all have our own experiences, situations, sentiments and relationships that color and shape where we currently are in our lives; it’s what makes us unique and gives us a story to tell.
  2. Remain as calm as possible even when live seems to be in disarray. This sentiment applies to when I experience technology issues (such as my laptop malfunctioning, iPhone issues, and beyond). It’s quick and easy for me to react with worry, fear and anxiety and the immediate, “IT NEEDS TO BE FIXED NOW,” train of thought. Rather than react immediately, I’ll try to take a step back and reframe what it is going on, then plan accordingly. Getting myself worked up and upset will only make me ineffective in dealing with the situation and drains me of my energy and strength.
  3. Pursue all that is important to me, no matter how far-fetched, or out-of-my reach it seems and feels. Helping others, writing and someday owning my own business are goals and accomplishments I’d love to someday meet and feel would complete a void once filled by volunteering and contributing to the community.
  4. Travel more, even if it is a day trip to somewhere minutes away. Sometimes our greatest discoveries and destinations can be only a short distance from our homes and we never once realized they existed.
  5. Be patient with myself. It’s easy for me to leave a situation or experience when it becomes uncomfortable, so this year, I’d like to feel those uncomfortable emotions and stay. Of course, this is within reason, but includes learning new technology and allowing myself be vulnerable in meeting others and taking chances. Allow myself the chance to ask questions, make mistakes and learn from them. It’s okay to need extra help, especially when learning something new. There is no shame in asking for clarification or for someone to simply lend a helpful hand or watchful eye.
  6. Stay in the moment. So often, I’ve looked back on experiences I’ve had and wished I would have been solely there, instead of envisioning where I would be in 10 minutes, or next year. The present moment is where I need to stay. If I am constantly looking towards the next moment, then I miss out on what the current one has to offer or might teach me.
  7. Eat an ice cream cone coated in sprinkles in the summer, while my hair flows around me in its natural form, unbrushed and unstyled. How freeing it would be, to allow myself to enjoy something as simple as an ice cream cone without worrying about how my hair looks or whether or not I’ve managed to smooth out every wave. It’s time to be kind to myself and realize my wavy, thick hair is not a curse, but just part of my DNA and what I was meant to have.
  8. Publicly sing again, whether it is through karaoke, or some other form. When I was younger, I was convinced I would pursue singing as a career. In short, I loved everything about belting the latest songs, singing in the school choirs, and thinking about what song I’d sing next. I’d like to take the chance this year, to sing in public and do so without regret or harshly judging myself.
  9. Start to write down all the thoughts for books that freely circulate within my mind. So often, ideas for novels will pop into my train of thought and I’ve let countless concepts slip away into oblivion, because of my fear in getting started. Instead of procrastinating and fearing “it won’t sound good,” take a chance and freely write, accepting whatever surfaces, no matter how “wordy,” it may be.
  10. Spend more time outside, enjoying nature. So often, I’ve watched the most beautiful of days slip away in favor of staying in, typing on my laptop, or reading. Instead of doing this indoors, why not read outside, or take a couple minutes to take a leisurely stroll and breathe in the fresh air?
  11. Reach out to someone, if I am thinking of them. Countless times through the week, I’ll think of someone I haven’t spoken to in awhile and have the urge to write to them and instead of taking a chance and acting on my feeling, I overthink it and opt not to.
  12. Buy fresh flowers in the spring and summer and display them.
  13. Go strawberry picking in the spring. The only fruit I’ve ever picked are apples and it’s always been a wish of mine to pick something else and create homemade recipes with them.
  14. Visit the beach and simply relax. It’s been years since I visited the beach, but this year, I’m determined to take a trip.
  15. Most importantly, reduce my negative “self-talk,” – too often, I find myself talking down to myself or about myself, chastising myself for things I did or didn’t do, instead of accepting mistakes I’ve made and learning from them. Let this year be the year I become a friend not only to others, but also myself.

New Year quote

Happy New Year! May this year be one filled with happiness, success and love.

Notable Reflections

Perhaps it is because it’s what I’ve been subconsciously searching for, or maybe it is simply a coincidence, but recently I’ve noticed numerous articles, quotes and pieces of advice centered around the concept of fear. Fear is something I’ve battled throughout my life on many occasions and it is only when I make a choice to act in spite of it, I feel a surge of confidence and comfort. Shying away because of the fear we harbor within us is one of the easiest ways to feel overwhelmed and ultimately, trapped. Acting and making choices in spite of fear is not an easy feat by any means, or at least to me it isn’t, but when I summon bravery and courage, most of the time, I end up feeling at piece with my decision.

Courage quote 2

Sometimes, the occasions when I’ve experienced fear were simpler and less significant than others. For instance, when I was about 17, my sister and I traveled to Disney World for a quick spring break vacation. I was excited and eager to ride an upside-down roller coaster for the first time. Though I’d been to countless amusement parks in the past with numerous opportunities to ride upside-down roller coasters with friends, I’d always opted out and chose to wait on the sidelines as my friends squealed with excitement over the largest, complex roller coasters around. In some instances, I was frustrated with myself and my fear of riding the roller coaster, or rather, by my decision to not experience it at least once. My fear and worry continued to get in the way, leaving me curious to what it might feel like to be upside down. On that particular trip to Disney World, I made the decision to ride the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, one of Disney World’s only upside-down roller coasters, in spite of the fear I still harbored within me. When the moment of truth arrived, I stood at the foot of the coaster, with the ride employees urging me, “You need to make a decision now.” My fear was piquing at that moment, but when a ride employee volunteered to ride along with me and talk me through the ride, I took a chance. Some of the ride is blurry to me now, since it has been 10 years since that moment, but what stands out to me, is my courage and ability to ride that coaster in spite of the fear still pulsating through me. Though it might sound so simple to some, for me, it was a feat proving I could still make choices and take action in spite of fear. Fear does not have to completely dissolve within us in order to make a choice or take action.

Courage 3

In hindsight, what I’m attempting to say is that I’ve missed out on many opportunities, chances, friendships and relationships because of fear. As I grow older and I reflect on these instances within my life that stand out to me, I realize how fear is something we can control. Sometimes, it feels as though fear may control us, but we are the ones creating that fear and are in the driver seat of that fear; we determine the direction the fear charges towards. Perhaps my perspective is flawed, but it is what I feel most resonates with me and my particular experiences.

Life Quote

That being said, here are some quotes I recently stumbled across that I hope will bring you some perspective and comfort this rainy Tuesday (if it is rainy where you are today; here in Pennsylvania, it is a rainy, chilly day!):

“I could conquer the world with just one hand… as long as you were holding the other.”

“Sometimes we don’t notice the things others do for us until they stop doing them.”

“If you live in fear of the future because of what happened in your past, you’ll end up losing what you have in the present.”

“Fear is not your enemy, it is a compass pointing you to the areas where you need to grow.”

 

 

 

Fall Through the Lens

Good Morning! It’s not often I post photos I’ve personally taken, but I felt that today was as good a day as any to provide a quick glimpse into my iPhone camera album! Some of the photos I’ve taken are unique in my opinion and unlike anything I’ve taken before and though they may be simple, I thought I’d share them. Before I share these photos, I’d like to share a quote I stumbled across this morning, which was said by one of my favorite authors/poets, the late Maya Angelou:

“We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility.”

In reading this quote, I thought, what an appropriate sentiment for a day like today, a day in which people are constantly faced with judgment and criticism, a world where so many people each day ruminate in the past, wishing they’d made different choices. Why not make a different choice today? A choice to see the past differently and offer acceptance/forgiveness to ourselves, what we have been through and encountered.

Today, I’m making a choice to share the photos I’ve taken myself. They aren’t professional, they aren’t monumental by any means, but they are a snapshot into my life and in simple terms, the “Fall season through the lens.”

An apple tree from a local orchards from last month.

An apple tree from a local orchard from last month.

A closer image of the apple tree.

A closer image of the apple tree.

Another angle of the apple tree.

Another angle of the apple tree

A horse at a local farm store I recently visited.

A horse at a local farm store I recently visited.

Horse 2

Horse 3

Horse 4

My first Starbucks holiday cup of the season.

My first Starbucks holiday cup of the season.