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

Spring Forward in Thoughts

Good Morning, to you and Happy Earth Day! Since I’ve only very recently resumed blogging after a brief hiatus, I neglected to welcome in the new season of Spring (hardly new, now a month into it!). That being said, Spring has always been a season I’ve looked forward to for a multitude of reasons. Living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, we often endure a harsh, frigid winter (or at least, in reason years we have) and so the Spring is always a welcome occurrence in my mind. There is truly nothing better than having the ability to step outside of my house, sans a heavy winter coat and boots and feel the light, Spring breeze tousling my hair and allowing for a cleansing fresh start. The beginning of Spring is also an acknowledgement and reminder of new beginnings. Not only are seasonal flowers and produce blooming and growing, but it’s also the chance to try something new and with that, it leads me to my recent discovery via Twitter, one of my favorite social media platforms.

Spring Quote 2

Having recently read the latest novel by acclaimed author, Debbie Macomber, I decided to check out her Twitter page and see what she’s been up to and if she’s sharing any inspirational words. While on her page, I noticed her “retweeting” several quotes and other motivational tweets by the Twitter name – World Changing Women. Curious as I was, I clicked over onto their page and discovered an entire outpouring of motivational and inspirational quotes, posted multiple times throughout the day. To me, it was just what I was looking for and hoping to see. Immediately, I clicked “follow” and since then, have been actively enjoying their tweets, liking them for further reference.

So, I thought, what better than to share some of my favorite quotes thus far, or at least those that have profoundly resonated with me:

Quotes/Thoughts from “World Changing Women” (Twitter handle: @WomenOfHistory)

“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.”

“Worry does nothing but steal your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing.”

“Sometimes it takes sadness to know happiness, noise to appreciate silence and absence to value presence.”

“When you do something out of love, you don’t count the cost.”

“Some people pass through our lives in a shorter time frame than we had hoped to teach us things they never could have taught if they had stayed.”

“The story of your life has many chapters. One bad chapter doesn’t mean it’s the end of the book.”

“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.”

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”

“People who are meant to be together find their way back, they may take a few detours, but they are never lost.”

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.”

Spring 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.)

 

 

Believe It When you Feel “It”

Good Morning from an east coast with an apparent winter storm fast approaching! Given the weather reports, it sounds like my fellow east coast neighbors (and possibly elsewhere within the U.S.) will be snowed in this impending weekend. Not the biggest fan of snow or inclement weather in general, I’m hoping it will end up being more on the milder side, versus the opposite. That being said, it’s been a rather tumultuous week, to say the least.

When it comes to my car, one that I purchased from a three-year-lease last year, I’m always checking to ensure it is working properly. Bringing it in regularly for service appointments, checks and constant self-monitoring is always key and something I do on a consistent basis. For the past couple weeks, when starting my car, I began to notice something didn’t seem or “feel” right. It wasn’t a feeling I could easily describe and had difficulty placing it into words and explaining it to my family. Given I don’t drive a significant amount, when I was outside of my car, I pushed aside my worries and concerns over it and let it slide, believing it was probably just my irrational fears getting the best of me.

All the same, when it came time for me to drive my car, the fears and worries would re-generate and I would ruminate about potential problems with my car, anticipating the worst. Still, it failed to convince me to bring to the mechanic or auto center and I tried my best to privately silence the thoughts in my mind. Then yesterday, it all changed without much warning and the choice was no longer mine.

Monday morning the call I was hoping for came in: an invitation for a second interview for a career opportunity. I was surprised, excited and nervous. The interview was to happen yesterday, at 10:15am. Since the opportunity is only about 10 minutes from home, it was something I could easily manage, despite the short notice. I readied myself for the interview, making it out to my car to briefly warm up it (or so I intended to) around 9:45am and pushed the start button in my car (note: my car is a push start). The engine churned and churned and then… nothing. Nothing at all. I sat in my frigid car, with the temperature registering barely in the teens, wondering what I had done to deserve this outcome. Of all the times, I was home, with nothing to do, or no plans for the day, my car was always fine and yet, when something of a rare occurrence, a job opportunity of this magnitude surfaces, my car decides to fail. It was easy for me to begin the blame game (thinking I should have followed through on my concerns, I shouldn’t have let it go, I should have told someone), but I couldn’t have really known when I really think about it. Sometimes, these things happen without warning and they are beyond our control. As a 2012 vehicle, the end of this month signals it’s fourth year. I try to rationalize and reason with myself, that the battery was reaching it’s retirement, as they often last about 4-5 years, I’m told.

The best I could do, was focus on what needed to be done (i.e. getting to the interview on time, or within a reasonable timeframe and then working on dealing with my car issues afterwards), though it was challenging and all near impossible to silence the concerns and upset circulating within my mind. I had little time to fret about my car; I needed to quickly mobilize and plan for the impending ten minutes I had left to spare before the interview was set to commence.

Life sometimes gives us blessings in little ways, for whatever reason. With every unfortunate event, there is always a silver lining, hidden somewhere, no matter how small or minuscule it can seem. Yesterday, I was afforded a blessing: my sister, my best friend, my confidante, coming to my rescue. With a call and quick explanation, within minutes, she arrived. Words can never truly begin to express the feelings surfacing within my heart and mind as I spotted her SUV making it’s way down my street into the parking lot, quickly stopping in back of my car; she was here and somehow, through the ways life has ways of somehow working, we made it to my interview at 10:15 on the dot, without a moment to spare and when I found myself inside of the building, seated in a chair listening to the interviewer, I could all but pinch myself, wondering how it was all possible and how it is evidence that truly every second can bring change, either positive or negative. Life constantly catches me off-guard and though it may often feel or seem monotonous, it has its moments that truly make me question everything I’ve ever believed.

My family and I (specifically my sister and I) have an often unspoken relationship and what I mean by that is we can easily understand each other with or without spoken words. All it takes is a facial expression, a gesture, or really anything, to trigger a question, an action or a decision. Instead of wallowing in the “why me” attitude and feeling sorry for myself, I chose to operate under the belief of gratefulness. How grateful I was for my sister, coming to my aide. Sometimes things happen to us that are unfortunate, but we are NOT what happens to us; we can make the choice to see the bright side, no matter how dim it may seem at the time. Yesterday, I worked through not only the sadness and regret in not investigating my initial concerns about my car, the fact that it happened to me right before an interview and trying to not reason that it was an “omen” of some sort, and also the guilt of tearing my sister away from her day, wreaking havoc on her morning and overall day.

Help Quote

Instead, I chose to focus on my intention, as I so often to. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve spoken fairly frequently on here, in previous posts, about my concept of intention and strong belief in it. When I start to doubt myself, my decisions and actions, I choose to focus on my intention. I ask myself, when the self-defeating thoughts start to mount: what is my intention? Was my intention to do no harm? Was my intention to help others, including myself? In this instance, was my intention to solely travel to my interview as quickly and calmly as possible on my own? YES. The fact of the matter was and is, my intention was to travel to the interview independently, as I did the first time. Sometimes though, life throws obstacles our way that causes us to have to ask for help. In this instance, help was the equivalent of one of the most important people in my life arriving in her trusty SUV, with minutes to spare and today, I’m looking back on yesterday, thankful to have gotten through it and grateful for the incredible family in my life who make each day all the more worthwhile.

Though words can never truly express it, I hope my family knows how truly grateful and fortunate I am for them, each and every day.

Intuition Quote

 

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.”