The Benefits of Changing it Up!

change ahead

This has been a year of changes for me. Or shall I say I was forced into making some changes, and now I am embracing those changes and making new ones. I am pretty much a routine kinda girl. I find out what works, and I tend to stick to it. Some people call this anal, I tend to prefer the term disciplined. A back injury last year forced me into some physical activities that did not include running. I did not run for 3 months and then slowly added days back in, with rest days in between, a strategy that I am still employing. However, as any runner will tell you, running is addictive once you get past the point of hating every second. And the withdrawal of running also comes with a withdrawl of those little addictive endorphins, which make you feel so good, you actually forget that running is hard and you go on your next run. And so on, and so on.  So for me to go from running 6 days a week without fail(unless sidelined by pretty much death) for years, to NOT running… was going to take some getting used to.

hot yogaLike I said, I was forced to change, so I decided to take up hot yoga. This was intense hot yoga.Not just your average take it easy but the room will be hot yoga. No, it was more like power yoga at 105 degrees where they practically bolt the doors and encourage you “not to drink” if you don’t have to. I chose to ignore that part since it is already hot in Phoenix and I figure as a “runner” I know my body well and I know when it needs water and when it does not. Plus, that’s easy for you to say when you are just standing inthe front of the class telling me not to drink! Anyway, the class was so intense that it made not running a little bit less sad. Plus, part of the class was a flow period where they played four songs and you basically rocked it out as hard as you could until the seated series. I strengthened muscles I didn’t know I had. I intensified my ability to withstand some serious heat while being very activie, and I was able to unload some stress in the meantime.

And then, well, the classes became harder to get to because of my work schedule, and I couldn’t resist not pushing the poses that I wasn’t supposed to push because of my back so I took up something else. Enter CrossFit. If you have not heard of it, CrossFit is a short but intense workout (45-60) minutes that incorporates a lot of power, strength training, elements of gymnastics, fast-twitch muscle fibers, balance and coordination. It wasn’t a ton of cardio, but what we did was intense and fast. Think push ups, jump rope, deadlifts, overhead presses, box jumps, burpees, sprints with weight, etc….I was sore after Every. Single. Session. It really gave me a boost in my overall strength. I was surprised, however, how much weight some of those ladies could handle, but that many of them could not run a half mile without stopping. There was something to be said for not getting so wrapped up in one activity (for me this was running!) that you lost the benefits that come from crosstraining. Soon though, I could not resist the temptation to push myself on exercises that were not good for my back. I needed to make a change.

I then decided to do something that really scared me. I decided that I could no longer be a 6 day a week runner and I needed a new challenge. So I signed up for a half-ironman distance triathlon in Oceanside next March. Yep, I would be swimming 1.2 miles in the ocean, biking 56, and running 13.1. I’ve never been a swimmer before. I dabbled in it once for about 3 months or  a few years ago, but this was going to require some serious prep. And some extra hair washing and drying… that gets really old (yes, I am a girl). But you know what? Yesterday (after my 15th time or so in the pool), I actually enjoyed it! It started to flow and I felt that Zen feeling that I can sometimes get when I run. Don’t get me wrong, I still have goggle issues, I look really dumb in a swim cap and I am super scared for the beginning of that swim. All the hitting and kicking in the face, the feeling of getting pulled under, the shallow out of control breathing at first, it scares the heck out of me. But I think it will make the completion of it that much sweeter.

I also signed up to hike the 7 Summits of Phoenix. It was a one day, 23 mile hike that I had never done before. Normally I would be in marathon training mode and therefore would not have wanted to forgo my Saturday long run for something like this. But I did. And it was great. I did it with some fabulous friends and it was not competitive at all! I don’t even know what our time was. It was great to be physically exhausted without the stress or goals that I usually place on myself when competing.

7 Summits

I signed up to be a pacer for a “Girls on the Run” program where I run next to a 3rd grade girl for her first 5 k! It will feel so great to encourage her to do her best and to give some of my time to hopefully help this girl develop a love for running, or at least make her feel strong and able bodied in hope that she can carry that in her pocket and call on it when she needs to.

Not all my changes have been physically based. I decided to respond honestly when asked “how are you?” I decided not to sweat so much of the small stuff. I am not perfect, I don’t have to be. I can have friends over and be undecided regarding what to make. I can (gasp!), not serve an appetizer. I can let my kids dress themselves in outfits that I don’t particularly like and let them walk out the door. I can skip a workout. I can ask my husband to lighten the load. I can slow down, mess up, and downright suck. It’s okay, the world will not end.

Elenor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing per day that scares you.” And although one per day may be pushing it for me, I think there is something to be said for shaking things up a bit. It makes you sit a little straighter, pay more attention and be more adaptable. And if I fail? Well, the failure really is in the not trying.

Rediscovering Me

The summer is over and school is back in session for my children. Their school break was a whirlwind of vacations, summer camp and classes, with very little down time. To say I was anxious for the school year to begin is a major understatement. Add to that the extra several days that Tropical Storm Irene brought us and it was clear from both my children’s and my perspectives that school needed to start. When the day finally arrived, I packed the oldest three on the bus for their full days of school with smiles all around. I then settled down with the youngest of my brood, who is only three, for what she endearingly calls ‘Mommy school’. No rest for the weary, as the old saying goes. At least I was only going in one direction instead of four.
Then I got the game-changing email. My dear sweet three-year old was accepted into Playschool! Our town runs an absolutely incredible program though the high school in which they run a model preschool for the students interested in child development. One of my other children was lucky enough to be able to participate as well, so I knew what an opportunity this was. So now I anxiously prepared my youngest for school. New backpack, new lunchbox, new folder, new crayon box. She was good to go, and more then eager to kiss Mommy good-bye and walk off with her friends. I have to admit, as I left my three-year-old ‘baby’ at school I did get choked up. Another milestone. Another era over.
I went home that day and sat on the sofa, and then it hit me. I had the next precious ninety minutes all to myself. I could not tell you the last time I actually could plan to have time with no direct responsibility for any of my children. What would I do? There is always a long chore list in my house…laundry, cleaning, cooking, preparing for this or that. I sat there for about ten minutes trying to decide which chore to pick. I got to thinking. I had ninety minutes for me. What did that mean? Somewhere amid the science homework and soccer games and ballet classes, I lost sight of what I could spend my ‘me’ time on. I love my children, but the role of Mommy almost always comes first. Now, I was thinking about what I craved, needed, wanted to do. I thought of A Mom Knows Best…all the contributors have something exciting to offer you as readers, but also me as a fellow contributor. I am still sporting mommy jeans and sweats, yet I read with excitement Carrie Humphreys’ awesome fashion tips. I love a glass of wine now and then, yet I know nothing about it. Jessica Granatiero and her amazing shop, The Savory Grape, are always hosting tastings and informational get-togethers. Why haven’t I attended? Carla Izzard lives in the same town as I do, and we both share an interest in running, yet I couldn’t tell you the last time I slipped into my running shoes and hit the road. Maureen Umehara always has such wonderfully supportive and thought- provoking comments. I decided right then and there, when Cait was at school, I was going to take those precious few hours a week and work on me, rediscovering the me that is not the mom, the nurse, the educator, the volunteer…but the me that is a person with lots of ideas and dreams. And where better to look for guidance and help then the amazing group of ladies that contribute to this website. Each week I will be looking to work on something about me that needs looking at…and asking for the input of these amazing women. Won’t you join me? Look inside yourself and take a look at who you are, and who you want to be. I am sure the ride will be bumpy, with lots of twists and turns. The destination is a better me, a better us. I know the trip will be worth it.

Do you have a personal or professional goal you’ve been working toward?

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Too Young to Die

I found out last night that a former 4th grade student of mine passed away this week.  I had just seen her post on Facebook the previous week about loving her friends and family.  Of course I “liked” the post, but had no idea I would not be seeing her around on Facebook anymore.  Her name was Kylie, and she was one of the sweetest girls I ever taught.  I remember her getting sick the year I taught her as well.  She ended up at the hospital for about a week and I remember taking her work and a stuffed teddy bear.  This week she was back in that same hospital at age 18, a freshman in college.  This time she did not make it back home, but passed away due to complications of pneumonia.

(Kylie on the left around the age I taught her)

I was in shock when I saw the post come through yesterday of people tagging her in candlelight vigil pictures (her name spelled out in candles with a beautiful picture of her in the center).  I didn’t know what to make of it at first since I had just seen her post on Facebook days before.  Why were they tagging her in pictures and having a picture of her surrounded by candles?  I went to her main Facebook page and got some answers.  She passed away at the hospital in Norman, OK on Wednesday.  I saw some posts from other former teachers, and one in particular from a high school teacher that mentioned she had been sick and hospitalized while in high school as well.  I was in shock, saddened, and confused all at the same time.  I could this happen to a bright, beautiful, young girl with her life in front of her.  She was so sweet and caring.  How does this happen?

I was thinking back a funeral my husband attended a few years back of a co-worker whose son died of Leukemia at the age of six.  Why?  What did that little boy do to deserve that?  I thought of my good friend whose sister just lost her baby daughter at 39 weeks.  Her room was set-up, clothes were ready to be taken to the hospital, there was so much hope for a new life into this world.  Why?  Why did she not have a chance to enter this world?  What’s the reason?

Unfortunately, there are no answers as to why.  Nobody did anything.  Nobody deserved anything.  There is no rhyme or reason of why people are taken at different ages and for different reasons.  This is where your beliefs come into play.  What do you believe?  Even if you are religious and believe in God it can be a hard concept to wrap your mind around.  I asked my mom last night, “What do you think Heaven looks like?  Do you believe in a Heaven?”  She said she did and that she believed it was the most beautiful place surrounded by no pain, but only by love.  She said she spoke with a friend about reading the book “90 Minutes in Heaven,” and that her friend claimed to have a similar near death experience.  She said to my mother, “Don’t ever be afraid to die.  It’s beautiful.  It’s comforting.  It was the best thing I have ever experienced.  I saw my loved ones who had passed on.  I saw the tunnel and the light.  I am not afraid to die when the time comes.”

Those words were comforting to me but confusing as well.  I am a person who likes to see to believe, and with religion it is more about faith than evidence.  I do believe in God and a Heaven.  I guess I just need to have stronger faith in that faith.  It’s hard to imagine that with young ones dying at such a young age that there is some purpose in their death, but I guess we must leave that up to something or someone greater to decide.  The most we can do as mortal individuals is to take life and cherish it when we have it.  Pay attention to the beautiful things in your life, cherish your children and family members, help others and take care of your community, know what is important in your life and what is not worth worrying about.  I am guilty of letting small things get me upset.  Unimportant things.  I think everyone can be.  When I think of these young souls it helps me to cherish what I have here on the Earth now.  Go hug your kids, leave the dishes dirty for a day, spend time outside in nature, be with your family.  Live your life to the fullest each and every day!  Know what is important and focus on all you have in your life.

Kylie’s last Facebook posts said:

Kylie Johnston If I have you on my Facebook you are on there for a reason. You have either taught me a lesson, been there when I needed a friend, given me advice, or taught me patience. For whatever the reason, I am glad that we are friends. I love all of you.· October 6 at 1:15pm via mobile ·

Kylie Johnston Thanks everyone for your love, support, and prayers. I am beiginning to feel better and I appreciate the kind words.· October 7 at 10:07pm via mobile ·

Kylie Johnston BOOOOOOOMER!!!!! · October 8 at 2:46pm via mobile · (Kylie was an OU fan!)

Kylie Johnston Really sick. Listening to the rain, watching lifetime movies, and eating soup. Happy Saturday everyone.· October 8 at 6:48pm via mobile ·

Kylie Johnston So sick I can barely lift my head off my pillow. Thank you mother nature for the beautiful rain that I plan to fall asleep listening to. · October 9 at 8:15pmvia mobile ·

Kylie Johnston Delete Facebook or not? Such a hard decision! · October 11 at 12:08am via mobile (So many are glad now that she decided to leave her page so they can visit her and talk to her there!)

* Kylie passed away at 2am on October 12th.  It’s fitting that her funeral is held on the “Sweetest Day,” as Kylie was such a sweet and caring person.

(Kylie’s Facebook profile picture)

Kylie:  Rest in peace sweet girl.  You are in a good place without ailments.  I pray for you and for your family.  May their hearts heal from the emptiness they must feel without you.  You were a bright light on this Earth and you left such special memories for everyone that knew you.  Rest well.  Your Teacher, Mrs. Wheeler

(One of her Senior pictures)
* Have you lost a loved one at a young age?  How do you deal with the pain of losing someone so young?

 

Kristin Wheeler

How Charity Makes You Hot!

Mission Hot Mama Founder

Jenni Hogan, Mission Hot Mama Founder

My good friend, Jenni Hogan, is inspiring all moms to get back their hotness.  One of the ways she is doing this is through her site, Mission Hot Mama, which she created shortly after the birth of her daughter. Like Jenni, I created A Mom Knows Best, shortly after the birth of my daughter.  Our girls are only a few months apart.  Jenni and I are also both TV people with normal husbands.  I say this because we are both extremely lucky to have such supportive spouses and because, quite honestly, I can’t imagine being married to another TV person.  The amount of drama that unfolds in television newsrooms makes both Jenni and I crave for normalcy once we get home to our families.

We both grew up volunteering with different organizations and, now, charity work is often an extension of our careers.  Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Recently, Jenni helped spearhead an amazingly successful mobile tweet up in her city of Seattle, which raised more than $8000 for The Moyer Foundation.

Last week, I wrote about how cancer has reared its ugly head in my family.  I didn’t want to leave you with a sad story.  I wanted you to feel like you could do something to help others who had cancer….kids with cancer.  Why kids?  Because I don’t know if you’ve ever toured a hospital, full of kids with cancer, but it’s heart-breaking. By clicking on this link and hitting the “like” button, A New England Company is going to donate $1 The Tomorrow Fund to benefit kids with Cancer.  Our goal is to get 5000 “likes”, which = $5000 for some well-deserving kids.   Jenni was nice enough to pick up the story and share it on her site MHM, because when you do for others you feel better about yourself.  After all, a truly hot mama, is beautiful on the inside and outside!

There is just one day left of this campaign, so we would love your support and any help you can give spreading the word!


Living the Dream

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

O.K., so I wanted to title this post “Boring is Good”, but realized no one in their right mind would read a post entitled with the word boring!  This is what I have to say.  There once was a time when I did things like skydiving and “black water rafting”, but that was all back when I was young, immortal and most importantly not yet a mother.  Not long before I had my own children, I watched a toddler close to me go through a life threatening disease.  After years of treatments and hospital visits the child was cured.  In subsequent conversations with the mother she would say “We are all healthy, nothing new or exciting is going on in our lives, but that is just the way I like it now. Boring is good.”   Twenty years ago, that was the antithesis of my life motto.   Even after getting married, for many years as we established our home and family, there seemed to always be something exciting to report on to our friends.  There was a steady flow of new jobs, births and moves.  Now that the kids are a bit older, I guess we’ve done what they call “settling down”.   Much of our time is spent shuttling  kids to games on the weekends and doing  family-centric activities.  It has gotten to the point that when someone asks me ‘what’s new’?  I feel so boring! I have nothing to say!   The thing is, I am also at the point in my life where I look at that as a GOOD thing! To me it means there is no drama, and no angst (other than the gnawing question of how we’ll pay four college tuitions). In this economy, with high unemployment, foreclosures, war, natural disasters, and potential health problems, I am embracing boring.

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

This is not to be confused with being bored.  I always tell my children, “there is no such thing as being bored!”  This is about being excited about life everyday without needing drama to stir things up.  I once had a friend ask if I got bored being a stay at home mother. I was surprised by the question, because, as I told her, I wished I had enough downtime to be bored.   My life was chaotic with four little kids!  Now that they are older I do get moments of down time, but I know now how precious they are, and savor every second of them without ever feeling bored.  When my wanderlust  does grip me from time to time, I remind myself how I always knew it was time to head home from my travels.  I would find myself in an exotic location peering not at the spectacular scenery around me, but into the glowing windows of  thatched village huts, wistfully thinking of the lucky family cozy inside their home together.  When asked, “what’s up” my husband and I will mostly respond with our motto of  “living the dream”.  Sometimes, when the question comes from a friend who I’ve previously described my “boring is good” theory to, I will answer that my life is boring at the moment. Knowing that I mean that in the best possible way, they will often reply with a wink and a smile, and say in return “boring is good”.

 

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Do You Have the Post-Event Blues?

If you compete in sports, I am sure you can totally relate to the feeling of complete accomplishment and exhilaration that you experience when taking part and finishing a sporting activity.
As some of you may know, back in May of this past year I completed my FIRST MARATHON!    I had promised to report back once I had completed the race to tell all of you how I did.     I remember the unbelievable feeling I had crossing that finish line and getting my medal.   I was trying to hold back all the tears when hugging my loved ones who were there to be a part of the special day.  It was a day like no other, and one that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life.  However, I woke up the next morning to find myself feeling very down, sad, and dare I  say, even depressed.  I should have been ecstatic, but instead I was left feeling empty inside…and more than a little sore.
How is it that I was sad and ready to cry even though the goal that I had been working so hard for was finally accomplished?!  I was mad and upset with myself for how I was feeling.  I could not understand it, and, unfortunately, that made it all the more harder on me.  I thought I would feel better in a day or two, but I was mistaken.  Fact is, I was still feeling down after a full week had passed and I was starting to become concerned.   I did what any person would do and turned on the ole’ computer and started to GOOGLE my heart out!   After some research, I realized that what I had been feeling was in fact, normal.   I was experiencing the post-event blues, my friends.
Post –event blues?  What is that? This type of sadness or depression can be commonly found in runners, but can also be found in musicians or people planning  a big event such as a wedding or a reunion, etc.  When anyone spends large periods of time either mentally or physically preparing and training for an event such as a marathon and then, in what feels like a second, it is over, it can be hard to deal with– on an emotional level.   It is similar to the letdown many of us experience the day after Christmas or after a huge event or fundraiser for which you have been working and planning.  It was such a relief to know the feelings I was experiencing were normal and natural.  So, now, the question became, what do I do to feel better?  Can I feel better? You certainly can fight those negative and depressive feelings, and here are some tips that can help.\
1.         Rest and RelaxTake some time off and just rest your mind and body.   I trained for over 18 weeks for the marathon, and I  needed at least a week or two off to rest and help my body heal.   My body had just gone though a huge ordeal, and it needed some time to recoup and rest in order to be back in working shape.   If you have just planned a huge event and you are suffering from the letdown of the day being over then  you can take this opportunity to catch up with friends or go out to that movie you have been planning to see.   Do something for YOU!  You accomplished something extraordinary and special to you, and you need to enjoy and revel in it.
2.         Get back into a routine After the mini-vacation, you need to get back into a daily or even weekly routine.  It is important to start slow and take your time.  Your body and mind are going through a huge emotional and physical roller-coaster, and it takes a lot of drive and willpower to get back into the grind.  It is not going to happen overnight. You need to get yourself back to being energized and focused on the next event in your future.  Set a pace that you are comfortable with and proceed from there.
3.         Plan New Events And Set New Goals for Yourself This one was very important and necessary for me to get out of my depression.  A huge part of why I was feeling so depressed was the fact that I had accomplished this huge dream of mine, and I no longer had that to look forward to.  It really hit me harder than expected. I needed to set a new goal,  and once I did, I found my spirit and enthusiasm returning as quickly as it had disappeared.  I started to set my sights on another full marathon for the end of October. Focusing on setting a new goal for my finish time and starting a new training schedule felt good…and I was quickly becoming myself again.

If you have experienced anything similar to this, or if you have any remedies for helping to fight the depression, please share.

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A New Place to Find Me!

I was recently asked by Momversation to talk about what it’s like to be a working mom. I’m thrilled to be part of the Momversation community. Those of you familiar with Momversation know it’s a terrific place to find influential and engaging moms, talking about issues we all face! If you’re not familiar with Momversation, I encourage you to check them and join in the conversation, you’ll be glad you did. I’d love your feedback on the topic of working moms. I’m of the opinion that ALL moms work, some just get paid for it.

Motherhood and identity

photo by Bob Packert

I stood in my gown frozen by the moment that had just passed, the room around me buzzed with beautifully dressed people.  I was at a Hospital gala event with my husband, in the middle of his first year of residency training.  Having just had our first child, I was stuffed like a sausage into my dress, so my confidence was far from its peak to begin with. The conversation had begun innocuously enough, with an introduction, and cordial small talk.  She was a fellow physician who worked with my husband.  A moment before she had innocently asked, “So what do you do?”  For the first time ever the words “I am a staying home with our new baby” would cross my lips, and I will never forget their immediate effect.  I had answered with pride, still excited at becoming a new mother.   Her reaction stunned me as the smile on her face faded, her eyes glazed, and subtly searched the room for an escape.   She excused herself with a polite, “oh, well, it was nice to meet you.” and moved on.  As I watched her walk away, the strangest thing happened, an internal voice shouted after her.” Wait! But I used to work on Hollywood movies! I have travelled all around the world! I’m a Scuba Diver! I really am an interesting person!!”  I was shocked by my internal reaction.  What was that!? What was the sudden plea for validity that sprang into motion?!  My whole life I had wanted nothing more than to become a mother, and was thrilled that I was able to stay home with my baby.   If this was what I had wanted so badly for myself, why was that external validation suddenly so important to me?

After that evening, I became interested in the identity shift that takes place when a woman first becomes a mother.  Whether she works, stays home, or does both part time, I believe in no judgment, there is no right or wrong.  It is such a personal, case-by-case decision; there is only what is right for each individual. In the end, women need to do what makes them the best mother, and what is best for their family, in any permutation.  Personally, although I had always wanted to be a stay at home mother, I loved my job, so when the time came I had tried to stay on part time.  I quickly figured out that after what I would pay for child care, I would take home about $100.00 a month, and in the end it did not make sense.  There is much ado about the effect of retirement on men, and how it impacts their identity.  I believe women who leave careers behind to stay home with their kids go through a similar identity shift.  Mothers who go back to work have to deal with a new paradigm as well.  I have been quizzing women, testing a theory since that night.  I wonder how much of what a woman’s mother did in the last generation, may dictate the daughter’s decision when she becomes a mother herself.  My own mother was a career woman with a Ph.D., as amazing as she was both as a woman, and mother, as a latch key kid, I idolized my neighbor who was home with her kids.  I know that is where the strong desire for me to stay home with my own kids came from.  I have a friend with the opposite experience, she decided she never wanted to be a domestic servant, and be in a position of financial dependency, as she viewed the situation of her stay at home mother.  Today she is a successful career woman, with a family.    I would love to hear your own experiences with this issue, and how they may relate to your own mother’s experience.

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Passion Pact: My Head is Swimming, But in a New Direction

pic Galina Barskaya/ http://www.free-stockphotos.com/download-free-woman-in-swimming-pool-pictures/

My head is swimming…I have an article due today and I can’t seem to focus on just one idea. I was going to write about the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence (and the importance of helping our kids develop both).  I also just had a session with an image consultant (Thank you to my friend Noreen for giving me her free session! Thank you Margaret Batting for the great tips!). So I also planned to write about that experience.  But the other night, as I was reviewing  my notes and typing, I received an update on Facebook and got a little distracted. I was tagged on photos of me that I had done as part of an inspiring project for women. It was the first time I had seen the photos! They were so amazing I thought, “Is that really me?”.  They were challenging (in a good way) how I saw myself.

photos by The Revelation Project, Monica Rodgers and Robyn Ivy

The project I am a part of is called The Revelation Project. Simply put, it’s about finding the real you and letting that “You” be seen (That project will be the subject of a whole other article!). I became involved in the project as part of a pact I made with myself this year.  Remember the article I wrote on aMomKnowsBest titled ,“What is Your Passion?” ? That’s also part of my pact with myself and what I’m calling “My Year in Transition.”  I will definitely do longer articles on each of these topics mentioned. However, for now I just want to take it all in and reflect on my journey so far…
This year, because of my “Passion Pact,”  I’ve started making a lot of different choices in my life. So of course there are going to be changes in my life. Luckily so far this year they have been good ones.  But any change can be unsettling. Change can challenge the borders we set around ourselves and our lives.  In my case, those are the borders I want to break through so I can be able to step into who I am and want to become. In the process, I hope to also let go of who I “think” I am or at least who I think I “should” be.

Last year I was at a point in my life where I just felt empty. So I decided that this year I would fill up. Last year, in addition to having to deal with some difficult things, I was beating myself up about where I was (or really, where I wasn’t ) in my life. I had been putting myself down for not being where I  thought I “should” be in my life.  You know where that got me? Stuck.  “Shoulds” never seem to lead to any place good.

The Revelation Project, Monica Rodgers and Robyn Ivy

How did I get out of it? In addition to several other things, one simple thing I did was change my labels in my head. Instead of labeling myself as “stuck” I started to see myself as “in transition.” Really that’s what life is, a transition, right?  Even when we can’t see any movement, change is there.  The seed in the soil may not look like it’s growing, but it is. The river may look at times likes its not moving, but it’s always flowing.

Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Image: Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I also  changed the questions I had for myself. Initially I kept asking myself “What the heck are you doing with your life?”. Now this might have even been helpful if it was actually a question. But I finally realized that it wasn’t. It was just a judgment.  When I changed my question to, “What do you want your life to be?”  I finally started to feel different.  I didn’t necessarily have the answers but there was a feeling of movement and possibilities rather than a feeling of stuckness.

Also right now, I’m not just asking questions, I’m listening. Instead of jumping into a new plan for my life I’m listening to my heart to see what little things it wants to do, where it wants go and who it wants to be with. I have a feeling that starting small and listening will also eventually help clarify who I want to be and what I want to do on a grander scale.

So right now, I don’t have a “grand plan” for my life and I’m ok with that.  I have some ideas of where I want to go, but I’m not letting these ideas become “borders” again that limit me. Instead of being jugemental I’m being inquisitive. I’m exploring my heart and seeing where it wants to go. I’m listening to that inner voice that I  feel like I’ve ignored for so  long and seeing where it will lead me. So far by listening I’m feeling more alive, and I think that’s a good thing.

Oh and BTW, in order to follow my pact, I’m also working on giving up the guilt/expectation that as a mom I should put myself last. I realized that belief not only does a disservice to me, but also to my daughters. I want to be a role model for them.  I don’t want them to feel that when they become a mom that they have to put themselves last or let their lives be led by guilt.

Well, that’ just a few thoughts floating around my head. So, yes my head is swimming.  But at least I’m swimming somewhere, instead of feeling like I’m just treading water. However, I have to admit, that even when we feel like we’re stuck treading water, we’re still moving.  The current can still takes us somewhere without us even knowing it..sometimes somewhere good sometimes somewhere not so good…but it’s always an adventure.

renjith krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How about you?  What questions are you carrying around with you? Are they really  questions or just veiled judgments? Are you swimming or treading water in your life right now? Do you think there is a time in our lives for both? Are you listening to your heart or has it become quiet too? As I’m finding out, it’s never too late to listen or to be heard.

Picture 1-Galina Barskaya ;Picture 2& 3- The Revelation Project ,Robyn Ivy and Monica Rodgers; Picture 4 Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Picture 5 renjith krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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