40 Days Week 3: Equanimity

I was expecting a huge shift this week. Last time I went through the 40 days program I remember experiencing a HUGE shift this particular week where I felt like everything really came together. As you can probably tell-the shift didn’t happen. Or atleast it wasn’t as monumental as I had anticipated it being. This time it felt more like an overall shift.  I felt like I entered this week with more patience, and an increased feeling of peace which was very, very helpful in having an equinimious week.

Here are my questions:

1. How much do I believe the winds of grace support me?  As much of a believer as I am, and I am a BIG one, I sometimes-okay most of the time-have a hard time believing that I am worthy of His grace. I know it exists, and I know that he freely gives it, but I still have a hard time accepting the fact that I am worthy of His grace in His eyes.

 

2.Where can I use less reaction and more divine interpretation?  I can use less reaction when it comes to my kids. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed very easily, and to let little things bother me.  I’ve realized, through equanimity, that when I take the time to breathe and remove myself from a situation I am allowing myself time to think through what kind of an impact the decision will yield? Will this make a difference in a month’s time? How about a year? A week? If the answer is no then I can generally loosen the reigns, and know that this one very small piece of time will not have a huge lasting impact.

 

3.  How can a shift in vision enhance the quality of my life?  A shift in vision was huge in enhancing the quality of my life this week.  I realized that by removing the negative and shameful words from my vocabulary I was able to let joy, and happiness pour into my life.  For example, I am by nature a very anxious person.  This week when I was anticipating certain situations that I knew I would find myself in rather than labeling my emotions as “anxious” I labeled them as “exciting, eager, and intrigued.”  This not only helped me make my way through some challenging moments this week, but it was a very helpful tool in helping me shift my vision.

 

4.  What things are likely to trigger reactivity in me?  Hunger, exhaustion, topics I feel passionately about, situations that I believe I should be able to control (ie traffic, my children’s behavior), and situations that I think I could have made a better decision in.

 

5. How can I respond better to moments of reactivity?  I have found that my AM and PM meditations have really grounded me.  They have helped me remember to come back to my breathe, and I have found that by taking 5 or 6 deep breaths I am able to better assess and work/think through a situation.

Next week we are onto Restoration and our 3 day fruit cleanse, check back to see how my week went!!

  

 

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Goals for 2016

One of my top goals for 2016 has everything to do with health. If you haven’t already read this post, I encourage you to. If you are looking for the cliff notes here they are…3 years ago at the age of 27 I suffered a large stroke. Yes. Really. My road to recovery included 6 months of intense physical and occupational therapy, having to retest for my drivers license, and each day is still much of an uphill battle. So for 2016 I am making sure to make my health my top priority.
What does that look like? For me making my health my top priority looks like…

 
1. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep every single night. For me this is one of the worst side effects of my stroke. One bad nights sleep leaves me feeling hungover. Seriously it’s the best way to describe it. Everything hurts. I have ringing in my ears, I’m unable to concentrate, and I have blurry vision and get dizzy very easily. No fun, so for me staying up an extra few hours simply isn’t worth it.

 
2. No alcohol ( well kind of ) don’t get me wrong I do like to have a good time, and let loose every once in a while and a glass of wine certainly helps ease my social anxiety when I feel it creeping in, but honestly the way I have been feeling the past year after drinking even just one glass of wine totally isn’t worth it for me. I almost immediately get a headache, and I sleep terribly on nights that I have even one glass of vino :/ if you read #1 you know why poor sleep is so terrible for my health, and don’t get me started on the tummy issues that I get as a result of drinking alcohol either. So my goal is rather than drinking 2-3 times per week it’s looking more like 1-2 time per month MAX! I mean come on I’m all about that healthy lifestyle but sometimes a momma’s just gotta have her mommy juice and loosen up!

 
3. Cultivating Community. This one is new for me. In middle school and high school we moved so much ( my dad was in the Coast guard) and I had such a terrible group of friends. This combination never allowed me to really develop and maintain that strong grounded connection with anyone. It felt like the minute I did we were either packing up boxes to move again, or I was being betrayed by another close friend of mine. For me at this stage and walk of life this isn’t an easy task. Or something people openly discuss. But so many of us walk this path. Loneliness. Everyone is already established in their own little groups and cliques and I’m all like ” hey guys, I’m over here… Wanna hang out?” No…but seriously. That’s what it feels like most days. I am working on this though. I have turned a new leaf though…Within the past couple of months I have joined an amazing and supportive yoga community who have made me feel like I belong for the first time in the longest time. Just me, as I am. No hoops, no tryouts, just open hearts! I’m looking forward to building a firm foundation on those already established connections to springboard me into deepening those relationships. And for me that looks like putting myself out there, which leads to #3.

 
3. Being vulnerable. In case you skipped past 1 and 2 this is a biggie for me. I don’t think I have ever once in my whole life been vulnerable. Up until now being vulnerable has just been too uncomfortable for me. It’s a door that was shut many many years ago, duct taped, nailed, and soldered shut never to be opened. My natural go to is to close up tight like an oyster shell the second real conversation happens. I’m more of a light and fluffy kind of girl. But what I am learning is that in order to live a life of connection, a life of joy, a life of compassion, caring, and wholeheartedness I HAVE to be vulnerable. I have to put myself out there and I have to let others in. As awkward and uncomfortable as it is it really is a good thing.

 
4. Acknowledging and letting go of/working through my shame. The past couple of weeks have brought an awareness to how much shame I am carrying around, and how long I’ve been carrying it. My childhood wasn’t the best (hoping to be vulnerable enough later in the year to share more details on that), I didn’t make the wisest decisions as a teenager when it came to school, I became a very young mom ( without a connected community), I married young, I never finished college (though I did manage to rack up a TON of college debt), I had a terrible basically non existent relationship with my mother (thankfully it has gotten much better the past few years), I tend to be a very jealous person, I have a tendency ( in my eyes) to be selfish, and I’m sure there’s more but for now that feels like enough self mutilation! I promise I’m not a masochist 🙂

 
5. Living a life of authenticity in order to live life of happiness. Pure, passionate, heartfelt happiness. And I want my children to know this as well. I want them to know this possibility. Whatever path you are on, you can change it. My bible scripture for this year is “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 I feel like a house whose roof just BLEW OFF and all you can see is bright blue, sun shining sky above. That’s where I am headed. My cracks are beaming with light!  Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we truly are. People are allowed to change. I’m allowed to change.  I’m learning this. I think because I have lived a life where the norm was stagnancy I felt like if I did try to live a more authentic life, everyone would think I was a fraud. A goody two shoes. An over achiever. Well guess what?! That NOT TRUE! And it’s okay if I have to tell myself that every single day ( I’m probably going to have to!)

 
5. I want to be of service. I have a servants heart. I love helping others.  I remember being a little girl and watching the commercials about starving children and just wanting to reach through the TV and hug each and every one of them. I currently volunteer at our Yoga studio as part of their Fair Trade Team. But I want to make a commitment to help others. When someone is sick. I want to drop of dinner. Fresh fruit. Chicken soup. Baked ziti. When someone is in need of a listening ear, I want to be it. When someone needs a hug I want to give it. This is important for my health in the new year because doing this makes me crazy happy!!! Like truly, down to my core, a little kid on Christmas happy. So I’ve decided I’m going to help others more! At some point in this life I would absolutely LOVE to be a part of a missions trip and work with children!

 
6. Holistic health FIRST– this year I am embracing all things holistic. The more natural the better. Chamomile tea, lavender lotion, daily meditation, yoga, Reiki. Lots and lots of water. Self care. Less social media. More real life. I’m learning technology is not connection- at least not for me. Most days it’s actually narcissistic. Chiropractic care. Reading and learning as much as I possibly can. Growing. Nourishing my mind, body, and soul. The Dalai Lama said “when we talk we are simply repeating what we already know. But if we listen we may learn something new.” How amazing are these words?! Another reason for my approach to holistic health is my hope in it healing my body. I have felt so exhausted and sick and have been dealing with residual effects, of my stroke, for 3 years and I’m sick of being consumed by frustration because my body won’t do what I want it to do. So I am taking charge of my health. I am the patient and I’m making sure my doctor has my health as her first priority. I am going through some testing to rule out anything serious, and to see if there are any underlying conditions that need to be medically treated. My prayer is that if I change my habits, eating, and wellness I can heal my own body from the inside out. I’m sure I’ll have more to post on this later.

 
7. Letting go of the guilt.  Mom guilt BE GONE! you aren’t welcome here anymore. This is your eviction notice. Bye bye! As mothers society places an incredible amount of pressure on us to do it all, have it all, share all, know all, want all, and if we can’t do this then they might as well revoke our mom card. I’m done with all of the soul crushing society has done. This past year has shown me that perfection is exhausting! Not only that but I can’t do it all. Obviously because when I did try to do it all I ended up having a stroke at the age of 27! Trust me when I say this-your health is not worth perfecting the latest Pinterest design for your 3 year old’s birthday party. It’s just not! In becoming more aware of my body and what it needs I am realizing how terrible and detrimental to my personal health stress is.  It really is a wicked thing.  When my older two were just babes we waited until they were 3 to send them to preschool and even then it was only a couple of days a week. We were fortunate to work opposite schedules so that one of us was always home with our boys. Then along came number 3. Preschool days increased for kid #2 and we added aftercare for our 3rd. Did I mentioned hubby and I both work full time? Well here we are with kid #3 who is in full time, five day preschool ( who is also the first kid dropped off and the last kid picked up) and our older two are in after care more days than not. And You know what? Sometimes as a parent you have to do what you have to do. End of story. No shame, no guilt. My kids absolutely love their schools and my older two beg to go to aftercare even on days when we don’t need it!

 
So that’s about it. For now. What is one of your top priorities/goals for 2016? Leave a comment below!

10 things I hope to do differently for ME in 2015

As I reflect back on the past year there are a few things I am looking forward to having a fresh start with in 2015.This is a list for me. This isn’t a list for our family, or for my marriage. It is just a list of what I wish to work on for me this coming year.

So here’s my list of what I hope to do differently for ME in 2015…

1. Disconnect-I have already begun this process to quiet the noise.  For me this has to come in baby steps. From the first days when AIM instant messenger connected I remember sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time and just typing, typing, typing away. Back then that was the only form of online communication that was prevalent. Nowadays it is literally all around us. We have access to it 24/7.  I run this blog, and have a successful skin care business ran mostly online and through social media.   These days I am realizing it is super important to put away the screen, the phone, the device and just be present. To live in the moment.  So for me, this change is all about finding a happy medium {is that even a thing?!} For now I have chosen to “hide” my social media apps on my phone so it is just a little bit harder for me to easily access them, or at the very least look down and see all of the notifications piling up and feeling the tug to check them right.now! Remember…baby steps!

2. Separate work & home– This is probably one of my biggest struggles.  If you aren’t already aware I run a successful skin care side business in addition to my 9-5 job!  For months now I have been wanting to set concrete work hours for this fun side job of mine.  Already having a full time job, and a family at home, I need to keep my sanity intact as much as possible. Having strict, and seperate business hours for my skin care business will allow me the flexibility, and freedom to enjoy all areas of my life to the fullest. Plus, if I am trying to return emails and place orders for clients while wrangling a 4 year old who is in the middle of his melt down the likelihood of error on either end is pretty high! So from here on I want to be full committed to each task I tackle and go at it 100%.

3. House Rules– I’m not sure why it took me so long to implement this idea, but after discussing the idea with “Mr. Mom in the Middle” we have decided that having a set of house rules will be good for our home. Just like our kids have rules for their classroom that they take part in thinking about and coming up with we are going to do the same for our house. We will sit down as a family of 5 and compile everyone’s idea’s on one list. I will then have that list blown up, printed and framed to hang in and around our house. My hope in all of this is to kill the chaos.

4. To give more Grace-to others as well as myself…this my friends is not easy. You know the saying we are our own worst critics? Well say hello to the worlds worst critic with a sprinkle of perfectionist!  After going through this past year I realized that while I need to take care of our house and all that comes with it, and my family I also need to take care of myself.  This is not such an easy pill to swallow for a self sufficient, fully independent momma like me.  I want to extend grace more to those around me as well as myself. I want to have more patience, kindness, understanding, and compassion.   I also want to learn to “let it go” I am the type of person who can and will replay something someone has said to me 50 times in my head. A few months ago someone said to me, “Nobody can make you feel a certain way, only you can let them make you feel a certain way” and I thought to myself how true! Why should I allow someone to rent space in my head and cause so much toxicity? So this my friends is something I am constantly, and on a daily basis, working through and on.

5. To not focus on the numbers-this is something I have focused on for far.too.long! It also has a lot to do with disconnecting. Can I tell you how sick I am of posting something only to go back minutes later and see how many likes it has received? Which then in turn either leaves me filling empty or incredibly fulfilled? Say WHAT?! Since when did others opinions, or time, or likes justify who I am, what I stand for, and what I do. So my hopes in disconnecting from Social Media more frequently are that I will not base my feelings, success, and production on numbers from others.

6. To post reminders of Who I Am. It’s no surprise that I am a Christian women and that I openly talk about it. I feel like there are days where I need to live it more. It’s one thing to talk about something-it is a whole different thing to actually do something about it. Actions speak louder than words.  I am hoping to start this by finding a really great bible study and diving in head first.  Also, I am going to start writing down bible verses that speak to me and handing them on the fridge, leaving them in my purse, the car, etc. These are not to be “showy” or to be used as “proof”, but rather they are for accountability and reminding. Lord knows I need reminding during the day. My hope is that I can avoid those messy mommy/wife moments that happen by stopping, reading, breathing, remembering, and moving on.

7. To begin getting out of debt– notice I didn’t say get out of debt completely. I know it’s just not possible. I know it’s going to be a long, uphill battle. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I also know how worth it it is going to be when I don’t have the weight of this weighing me down- literally! These days so many college students are burdened with student loan debt. I am no different. So I want to put myself on the path that allows me to start paying down my debt as quickly as possible. I am in the process of scheduling an appointment for hubby and I with a financial adviser and I am hoping this along with our zero budget will allow for us to begin a program to start paying down my/our debt.

8. To take better care of my health– shhhh! I will let you all in on a little secret this year…. I am turning 30 this year 😦 This is my year for vitamins, oils, and anything healthy.  Exercise, working out, shakes, whatever it takes to get me feeling my best I am willing to give a try! I am already back into my T25 workouts.  I would love to get into some great meditation/yoga for the soul workouts…if you have any suggestions please let me know!

9. To go to Influence Conference-I know, I know this is a pretty specific one. This is a spiritual conference that for the past 3 years I have only dreamt of going to. Each year I have watched from afar as others have been led by fearless women to their greatest spiritual place. A safe place, a place of growth, a place with no judgement, a place of all consuming and uplifting goodness, a place of community. At this moment, I can’t even wrap my mind around how it would be possible for me, logistically, to even think about going-not to mention the cost. So, for the first time I am going to pray, pray, pray that I somehow, someway make it there.

10. Read more– I have a ton of books saved in my amazon favorites. Books that I hope to one day read. That I plan to read one day. Reading always has been a passion of mine, and much like many other hobbies of mine have fallen to the wayside of life! This is the year I hope to read more books, to unplug from reality, my phone, the laptop, everything and simply immerse myself in literature.

What do you hope to do differently in 2015? I would love to hear!

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