Having What It Takes

Today is blizzard 2019 for almost all of Colorado. March is our snowiest month, but this size of a storm doesn’t happen every year. Fortunately, I am home watching the wind blow the snow around from the window by my couch and making bets with myself as to how often my cat, Gracie, changes napping spots throughout the house.

Forced to the confines of my 1200 square feet of living space, my mind begins to wander and wonder. My thoughts are not original or unique to today. In fact, my mind turns to a question conveniently stifled by the busyness of most days, but always burning in the back of my mind. ” What next?”

When my mind is still and the house is quiet I am aware that in one month I will be 56. I will be honest with you. I am ready to do something completely different when I turn 60. Something creative. Something flexible. Something that makes me excited to wake up every morning. And, let’s be honest, something that will allow me to cover all my expenses and live a comfortable retirement from education.

The problem is I have no idea exactly what that may be. Of course, writing comes to mind. “Do I have what it takes to really get serious about writing, blogging, or maybe even a podcast? How do I prepare now so I am set for success down the road?” It is as I am mulling over these thoughts that I look over at my trusty wall calendar. “You have what it takes!” is the motivational quote for the month.

Ha! I have to laugh out loud. There are absolutely no answers to my questions in this quote. Yet, there is a simple wisdom I can hold close to my heart. A knowledge that, like Dorthy and her ruby slippers, the answer is always within my being. Despite the mountains of self-doubt I expertly build for myself, I have always had just what it takes to get through life.

In fact, we all have what it takes. Sometimes we dream. Sometimes we plan. Sometimes we have to muster every ounce of courage to face life altering challenges. Through it all, we have what it takes. There is an inner voice, our truest self, that we can turn to for strength and inspiration. Thank goodness!

So ya, I still do not have a clear four year plan. I do feel a peace that I will know what to do if I keep on reading, researching, and experimenting with my writing. I am pragmatic. I know to keep planning and working. I also know a lot can happen in four years and I may decide to pursue something completely different that has not presented itself to my imagination just yet.

This time of life reminds me a little bit of being an undergraduate in college decades ago. The excitement of what life might hold if I keep on course, adjusting my dreams as I discover my strengths and weaknesses, savoring the moment knowing I will not pass this way again. This time, however, I am pressing on free from the concerns of my youth and a certain wisdom that comes with age. My life is what it is. I desire for the next phase of my life to be for the personal development of my soul. Not a perceived need to prove myself in a career.

As I finish this post, the snow is lightening up but the winds are still strong. Gusts of 65 miles an hour. I get the call that school will be closed again tomorrow. After I work on some grades and get some work done around the house, tomorrow just might be the perfect day to do some life planning! I do have what it takes, after all!

What about you? Are you taking on a challenge? I would love to hear stories about how you have proved or are proving that you have what it takes.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Until next time,

Laura

Summer Life Goal Review

Solstice has come and gone. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere it is officially summer.  Yay! Let the good times roll! For my friends Down Under, the days will be gradually getting longer and warmer for you.  Either way, we are half way through 2018 and 2019 is inching its way towards us.

How’s your year going? Do you feel on fire? Have you experienced setbacks or heartache? Did you start 2018 off and running to find yourself heading into June walking at a leisurely pace and perhaps a bit lost and forgetting exactly where you are going? BTW it is Ok to enjoy a leisurely stroll and allow yourself to get a bit lost. For many people wandering and exploring is part of the joy of living. 🙂

I love the cycle of the seasons, the ebb and flow of time. I look forward to seeing the changes in nature and in my life. With every change of season or beginning of a new cycle ( including my birthday and  each new school year) I like to take some time to reflect on how things are going. There is a balance to planning a well lived life while knowing  life is complex and we can’t plan for everything. We will get thrown curve balls and get hit with unexpected circumstances. Sometimes even tragic circumstances. These unseen events can make us ask ourselves why we even bother to make plans and set goals. Giving up is different than reassessing and adapting. Giving up leads to all kinds of social distress and dysfunction. Perhaps at some point you have been there. I know I have.  Reassessing and adapting on the other hand,  can be painful, but it leads to a life of fulfillment and helps us find what gives our life purpose and meaning.

I was not back on my blog when we all rang in 2018. It was not even a consideration at the end of December. However, I did have a motto: Creative Inspiration. I chose this motto because I knew I desired to create and design my life in such a way I would be proud of my time here on Earth. I also knew that I want to encourage and inspire others to create their life on their own terms. Neither one of these things comes naturally to me and yet I feel that developing these traits within myself is part of my life purpose. I also had a new resolution: journal every morning and list the things that I am most grateful for as well as things that are going well in my life.  My motto combined with my resolution has been very transformative for me.  There has been a subtle shift in how I approach my self and the world around me. I can feel many hard edges in my psyche beginning to soften. I am back to blogging and it feels good to say “This blog is my creation.”  Hopefully, the blog is inspiring as well.

If you are looking to review some of your life goals or New Year’s Resolutions, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is working well in my life?
    • Things you are proud of, success at work or interests, relationships, are all things to consider.
  • What have I learned this year? 
    • This can be things you have learned about yourself, others, or the world.
  • What would I like to change?
    • Career, outlook on life, habits, are just a few things that may be ready to evolve.
  • What do I need to let go of?
    • Emotions, clutter, or toxic relationships. Anything that is keeping you from reaching your fullest potential.
  • What areas of my life could be improved?
    • Things may be good but is there an area that is begging to be made great?
  • Do I need to set new goals or adjust existing ones?
    • Life changes. How are you adapting to the change?
  • Am I being true to myself.?
    • Are you living a life based on your values and your dreams or are the opinions of others weighing you down.

Enjoy the new season with all of its promises, everyone! I hope these tips are helpful.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. As always, I would love to hear from you. Do you have any tips to add?

Until next time,

Laura

 

Cultivating A Gracious Demeanor

Happy Monday, everyone.

One of my goals for 2015 is to begin cultivating a more gracious demeanor. I am not talking about putting pretences or  not allowing my natural personality to shine in social situations. Rather, I am interested in being more  mindful and aware of the art of making people feel relaxed, and valued in my presence.

Other than remembering the basics of saying ” please” and “thank you” and trying to refrain from using bad language most of the time,  I have spent most of my life blissfully unaware of how I present myself in the company of others.  It is safe to say I have been all over the graciousness spectrum during the course of my life. There is no use fretting over the times I have been rude, offensive, or self-absorbed in my dealings with others. I know that being gracious shows respect for not only those I come into contact with but for myself as well. Being gracious towards others changes how others see themselves and the world around them.

My areas of concentration for becoming more gracious in 2015:

  • Make a conscious effort to have pleasant facial expressions as I go about my day.
  • Offer sincere greetings and maintain good eye contact for those with whom I come into contact.
  • Stand up straight and practice good posture.
  • Attention to the tone of my voice, trying to use good diction and appropriate voice level.
  • Develop the skill of listening attentively and asking thoughtful questions during the course of a conversation.
  • Find sincere ways to encourage, complement, and support people.
  • Stand my ground with poise and a calm voice when I need to defend myself or become agitated with another person.
  • Strive to make others feel comfortable in my company.

Successes and failures are sure to come and go as I work towards being more gracious. It will definitely be a work in progress but I am looking forward to working towards the woman I want to become in this aspect of my life.

As always, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Until next time,

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Do You Want To Be In 2015?

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I hope you are enjoying the final days of 2014. I know I am getting excited to say “goodbye” to the old year and welcome 2015.

I think I have found a recurring theme among some of the blogs I like to follow. There has been a lot of buzz about Diane Von Furstenberg the past couple of weeks and her quote ” I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be.” It is easy to see why these words have inspired many thoughts and discussions in the blogging world and why they are particularly inspirational as we head into a new year and fresh beginnings.

In my personal life I have been re-inventing myself for several years. For those of you who do not know, I once was close to 300 lbs and full of self-doubt.  My friends and family saw my potential but I could not see it for myself. Slowly things began to shift in my life. I am literally half the weight I once was, working out about five days a week. I still struggle with anxiety and self-confidence from time to time but I can honestly say I am much more confident now than I ever was in the past in just about every area of my life. I look for challenges and adventure in everyday living and I am blessed to have people in my life who will nudge me forward when I show signs of hesitation in setting new goals for myself.

So what kind of woman do I want to be? The list is long. I know that I want to be the kind of woman who inspires others to realize that as long as they have breath in their body there is a chance to change and become the person they aspire to be . I want to encourage others to think deeply about life and not accept the status quo out of ease or convenience. I want to have lots of adventures, travel, and meet fascinating people. The ability to enjoy the gift of life throughout the changing times and seasons I experience while cultivating an air of graceful elegance is what I am aspiring to develop within myself.

Making resolutions is  a ritual meant to improve our lives. However, many people fail and eventually give up on the idea of setting out on new beginnings each January. I believe the reason for this is because a resolution is like treating a symptom without addressing the underlying cause of the affliction. Losing weight, getting more exercise, getting out of debt etc. are great goals to achieve but most of us do not address the underlying reasons as to why we are overweight or in debt. Creating the lives we want to live is not a hit or miss shot to embark on every January 1st but an ongoing transformation with ups and downs, successes and failures, that take place over the course of our lifetimes. It starts by taking an honest look at how we see ourselves in the present moment, deciding who we want to become, and then start behaving as if we are already that person. It is not a lie, the person we want to become is already deep inside us waiting to be discovered. Decide who you want to be and when  February rolls around if you find that you have eaten some cheesecake, bought something on credit, or still haven’t cleaned out your closets, rather than going back to life as usual see it as part of the journey of becoming who you were meant to be. Celebrate the times you said “no” to eating dessert, followed your budget, and made your bed in the morning.  You will discover that you are, in fact, changing and becoming more the person you have envisioned in your mind.

Tonya Leigh at French Kiss Life has a great post and podcast on the subject if you are interested in gaining further insight into creating the kind of person you want to become. She is a life coach and works primarily with women, but hey, I am sure guys can find a useful tidbit or two as well in her thoughts and insights.

I am so glad to have interacted with you in 2014 through the blog and look forward to hearing from you in 2015. My best wishes for a wonderful year ahead, filled with endless possibilities.

As always, I would love to hear from you! Do you have any goals or resolutions for 2015?

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Until next time,

Laura

A Weekend Of Simple Pleasures

“Sometimes, the simple things are more fun and meaningful than all the banquets in the world …”
― E.A. BucchianeriBrushstrokes of a Gadfly

Welcome to the weekend! I hope you are ready to relax and enjoy some time just for yourself and the people and things that are important in your life. For many years I did not know how to relax. I wanted to relax, it is in my nature, I just honestly didn’t know how. My attempts to relax were valiant; however, my mind seemed to make me feel guilty for not taking care of business. There always seemed to be business. I have made quite a bit of progress in this area over the past several years but I still struggle from time to time with just letting go of obligations for a couple of hours or even a day.

This evening I was trying to put things together for school and all the things I needed to accomplish this weekend flooded brain making me even more exhausted than I already was. Then bam, just like that, a late but great New Years goal popped into my mind. Weekends should be about relaxation and rejuvenation. So, no matter what else I have going on in my life, I need to find time for a simple pleasure each weekend; a pleasure free from the distractions of life.  2014 is going to be the year of conscious enjoyment.

My plan is to make a list of things that I enjoy and include one thing each weekend. The challenge is going to be to sit back and enjoy the moment without any mental conversations going on in my head. It is a good weekend to start working on my goal since it is my manicure weekend, yay! I also will be fortunate enough to enjoy pizza and a tea house with various friends. That is a lot of simple pleasures for one weekend. How funny that only an hour ago all I could see was endless obligations.

My initial list of my simple pleasure included:

  • Trying a new restaurant
  • Reading  a new book
  • A good coffee or tea
  • A movie or TV series on Netflix ( don’t watch TV during the week as a general rule)
  • Getting outdoors and hiking, walking, and exploring
  • Catching up with friends
  • Playing  my flute
  • Crafts
  • Snuggling with my kitties
  • Listening to different types of music
  • Catching up on my favorite blogs

I am sure I will come up with many more simple pleasures to enjoy on the weekends. What would be on your list?

So, here is to a nice relaxing weekend filled with simple pleasures!

Until next time, relax and enjoy!

Laura