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Flourish in your Weirdness

25 Apr

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After of series of Youtube videos, I had a bit of an epiphany.

Flourish in your Weirdness.

This Weirdness

This Weirdness

This Weirdness

I realize that many people we look up to are people that are paving paths, opening doors, going into places that we haven’t explored yet, letting us know that it is safe to be there.

That it is safe to express yourself in this way, and to explore these realms.

Having an example of someone who has gone before you, gives you the confidence of what is possible.

For example I have a friend who just got a job as a manager for a retreat centre in Indonesia. BAM! Imagination exploded, that’s something I could do! I also just met a co-worker who rode on a bike 8 hours a day for 90 days across southern parts of United States to promote affordable housing. BAM! Another inserted possibility.

These are examples of doing your weirdness. Which is great, and sometimes overwhelming to know all of the possibilities that are out there. Remember, it’s not the choice that makes that option the best, it’s the effort you put into making it the best option that makes the choice a good one.

But I want to speak more about being your weirdness.

I realize that the more that I accept my weirdness, and step into my authentic self. The more I allow others to do the same.

The more that I stay within myself, and hide my thoughts, feelings, desires from people the more I am encouraging others to do the same. It is as if by hiding myself I am articulating to others, “Don’t show yourself, don’t live an authentic life, it is scary to be real, it is unsafe, you are going to get hurt, people aren’t going to understand, and you will be lonely.”

Being an outsider without a community is one of the hardest things people face. So of course it would be a huge obstacles to jump over when wanting to truly show up. This dirty little fear monster whispers in your ear, “The thoughts you have, the person you are, will not be accepted by others. If they really knew who you were, you would never be understood, and you will be lonely.”

But you know what the funny thing is.

So many people have these same fears. And are probably thinking the same weird outlandish thoughts that you do, they just haven’t had the time to reflect or have cultivated the courage to articulate it yet.

And maybe once you start showing up, the crowd you are running with doesn’t fully understand, maybe you will have numerous conversations about different subjects that expand your mind and the minds of those around you. Maybe you realize, the thoughts and actions you have aren’t benefiting you, or bringing you in the direction of your desires, so they must be evaluated and revised.

And that’s ok. Its ok to change, to disagree, to figure out what works and doesn’t work for you and those around you. I just heard a great podcast about two people who were on different sides of the spectrum for gay marriage, and how their thoughts evolved when they became friends.

It can be hard for others too because once you start showing up, this encourages them to do the same and maybe they aren’t ready for that. There are still fears that are holding them back from being fully themselves. So remember to be gentle, to yourself and others.

Accept the process of the unfolding.

Become comfortable with uncertainty and exploration.

Another option is maybe others don’t understand your new way of thinking, and they aren’t interested in understanding. This will be hard.

But the good news is. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE WHO GETS IT.

Trust.

And the only way for you to find out is to have the courage to be seen.

To step out and say, this is me, what about you? Standing up for a belief that you would rather be loved for who you are, than loved by people who only love an imagine you portray. Allowing tenderness towards our weakness and vulnerabilities so that we may expand our compassionate hearts.

You might end up like this for a little bit, but that’s ok. It’s all part of the process.

huckabees

Even as I write this, I have a voice that says, no, you can’t write that. You can’t reveal those thoughts to people. They are going to think you are crazy, unstable, and will grow up to have lots of cats with a house that smells like kitty litter when you walk into the door. But still I write because I know the doors it will open.

Writing helps me better understand myself, and shares a perspective to others who might be dealing with similar situations. I realize I don’t have all the answers, but I am dedicated to the exploration. And maybe a small part of my discovery helps you to have a discovery too! (which of course you must share with me after)

I know authenticity and vulnerability are huge topics and I would love to learn more about how people approach these subjects in their own lives.

How do you show up and be seen?

How do you stop hiding behind walls of perfection and be confident and grounded in the soul that resides within you?

Keep shining super stars, and spread the joy!

The Affects of Positive Thinking

1 Apr

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I have been thinking some great thoughts, and writing some great journals. But I haven’t been posting because I had this little thing called self-doubt creep in. I listened to a podcast a while back, and they had the best of intentions when they were talking about authenticity but it made me question myself.

On the podcast they were saying how people these days are being to authentic, being too vulnerable, and it comes across more so as a need for attention, rather than a courageous act of sharing. Which got me thinking.

Do I know what I am talking about? Is what I am writing about actually helpful? Am I being honest with myself? Am I doing this for attention or because I feel like what I have to share might help others who are in similar situations. There are so many other articles out there already, do I have any original ideas to contribute?

And after stopping at these thought obstacles for a while– I realized that indeed– these were thoughts. Thoughts are not facts, they are opinions, and can used to help or hinder. And this is exactly where I needed to start to transform my life from living to thriving.

Because of the wonders of meditation, I have allowed my mind to quiet down to a point where I can notice the varying levels of thoughts and question their place in my mind.

I often wake up with an overwhelming wave of anxious thoughts that demand me to answer Who, What, Where, When, and How Life questions. Berating me about what I am currently doing, and how I plan to get to where I want to go.

And I have allowed this to go on for far too long. Thinking that, this criticism is good, it is making me a better person, it is keeping me on track.

When really it is just cutting down my self-esteem, causing me to constantly be future thinking, and filled with anxiety and fear.

Now, I like to greet those critical thoughts with a good dose of self-compassion:

“Hey there thoughts, slow down, I really want to think thoughts that are supportive and encouraging because I love myself and I want to support my wellbeing. I realize how important it is to have positive thoughts because they affect my actions, and my words.

I know you are trying to look out for me, but it’s not working.

Let me be in joy, peace, and presence. Let me be positive light to those around me and myself. Let my thoughts show love and support. Allow me to let go of fear and stress and let in laughter and love. Allow me to show up in creativity, play, and authenticity. Now that we have that covered, let’s focus on these thoughts as they support a happy, whole, and healthy me. One step at a time.”

Sometimes I have to give myself a long speech, sometimes I only need to pause ask a short question like, “Wait, is this thought supporting me?”

And it doesn’t really matter how many times I have to divert my thoughts, just that I keep on going. Kind of like exercising, but you don’t get to the results of a six-pack. (But who really gets six packs anyways. People who know how to Photoshop, that’s who.)

Gandhi says it best:

Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.

But I want to know about you!

What pep talk helps you to divert your critical thoughts when they get the best of you?

What thoughts do you want to guide your life?

What thoughts have become obstacles to stepping into a fuller life of joy, peace, and presence?

On my bathroom mirror I posted this quote:

I ground myself in that which resides in all things and in me. I put faith in the unfolding of the path, with each step I am given an opportunity to learn how I can listen, how I can love, how I can be in my authentic self, how I can open my heart to joy, peace, and presence.

Allow me space for light and laughter, so I may allow others to do the same. Grant me courage and wisdom to see experiences as opportunities to expand my capacity for love and gratitude for all that is.

Breath In Being

Breath Out Being

Stay calm so you may listen to your heart that leads you.

Hope this helps! Comment below to let me know what other things you do to keep your thoughts positive and supportive.

Keep on shining on!

 

The Showdown! Being vs. Doing

25 Apr

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There was a stage in my life where I validated myself through doing.

I thought that I could create my value through accomplishment.

Working two jobs, going to school full time, planning/organizing events, president of the Social Justice Club, creating a recycling system for the three dorms of Thompson Rivers University, and planning a trip to Guatemala.

I was constantly on the go, constantly getting sick, constantly ignoring my body so that I could achieve recognition for everything I was doing. Saying yes so that people would appreciate me thinking that could fill this validation void I had.

Like a bucket with a hole, I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel whole. 

Then came the stage where I did nothing, where I was so burnt out that I said no to almost everything except school and work. However, that isolated me because I wasn’t part of a community, nor was I feeling passionate about life.

Along comes my study aboard in Italy. Sweeping me away all the expectations of things I thought I needed to do, the people I thought I needed to please, and the self induced stress of uncertain success.

Italy gave me the lesson of love and how to find pleasure in life.

I learned the art of creating moments of simplistic joy found on a park bench with a cup of gelato.

From there I learned how to go from loving what is in life, to loving myself.

I started focusing on who I was being while I was doing things in my life.

By focusing on being I could connect to what I needed in life, how I was interacting with people, and make what I was doing, meaningful.

I am now able to recognize when I am doing something for external validation.

I am proud to be able to find value in myself through knowing I being the person I am proud to be.

Questions on Being:

1. What do I need in my life to be healthy?

2. What does a healthy schedule look like for me? (This creates a foundation for your growth)

3. Who is someone I look up to? What impresses me about them?

4. What are personal characteristics that I am proud of? (You can write them down, make a vision board, or make a scrap book of things you love about yourself)

5. What do I want to improve? What small step can I take each day to improving one item on this list? (Remember to have patience, and compassion for yourself- loving who you are and who you are becoming)

6. How can I connect to gratitude, presence, and joy in myself and with others?

 

Life is a Series of Beautiful Stages

25 Apr

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I had an epiphany the other day. It was a Sunday night at around midnight, I had a beer in hand, no work the next day and was reflecting on the recent days before when stress was getting the better of me. Stressed about where I was and where I thought I should be.

But Sunday, this Sunday, I had spent it in the present, doing nothing related to all the work that needed to be done. Smiling at what currently is.

In this moment, I realized that life is done in stages.

There is a stage for childhood a stage for your teenage years, a stage for adulthood. And in each of these stages I looked forward to the next stage, without enjoying the joys of this current stage.

For example, when I was 10 I couldn’t wait until I was a teenager, when I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to drive, when I was in high school I couldn’t wait to be in University, when I was in University I couldn’t wait to get a job, you can see where this is going.

But in each of these stages there are such beautiful things to be grateful for.

When I was 10 I could play in the forest until it got dark, making pretend scenarios of trolls and goblins. Then I came home and enjoyed fabulous meals prepared by my mom.

When I was a teenager I got to explore the realms of what it meant to be me, trying out different character traits to see what fit.

When I learned to drive I spent late nights jumping in puddles on a rainy day, sharing music that soothed the soul, or talking till the wee hours of the morning about love, fear, and desire.

When I was in University there was so much to discover, so many countries to travel, anything was possible. Like detectives my friends and I investigated the riddles life presented before us, debated thoughts from essay we were exploring, and comforted each other in relationships we were trying to figure out.

It is true, I don’t have a house, a career, a loving husband, but what I do have is what I need in this stage of life.

I am grateful to be able to take naps on a random weekday, and take time off to visit my family in Tacoma.

I am grateful for the time to teach yoga on Mondays, and go out on a Thursday night to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

I am grateful to have the time to learn what I need to be healthy, happy, and present.

I am grateful to know 5 different ways to make a sandwich, and 10 different ways to make pasta.

I am grateful for the opportunity to live with three outstanding women.

I have faith, determination, and patience, that what I am working towards will come to fruition, but in the mean time, wow, this is a beautiful life.

Questions:

What things will we miss if we keep on thinking of what we don’t have, what we want, what is currently not in our stage?

What are you grateful to have in your current stage in life?

How will you appreciate the present?

How will you cultivate patience, simplicity, and presence so you can connect with abundance?

8 Tips to More Energy

25 Apr

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How can I have a more positive energy?

Here are a couple of my ideas.

1. Exercise at least three times a week.

This is so important in so many ways. If this is the only thing I commit myself to: my sleep, my mood, and my thoughts will improve.

2. Journal at night time.

Recording Highs/Lows/Lessons and will help me digest my thoughts for the day, helping me become aware about my thoughts and emotions.

3. Treat yourself Day.

I am going to give myself a day once a month to focus on questions I need to ask myself, things that I want to explore, a recovery day. A day where I wake up in the morning, do yoga, go to a coffee shop, think, explore write. If I don’t schedule out this time for myself, I feel drained, as if I am doing all these things for other people and not giving myself the time I need to recharge.

4. Go for the Healthy Option.

You are what you eat, food is the fuel of your life! I am becoming more aware of what I am eating. I always thought I was a healthy eater because I knew what was healthy, without putting action what I know. Recently I have been on auto drive, eating things that were convenient rather than what would be the healthiest choice. I still will allow myself comfort food every now and again, but I like to imagine, “What will I feel like after I eat this?” It tends to help encourage me to go for the healthy choice rather than instant gratification.

5. Set up a good morning routine.

It does suck to wake up early, but I feel so proud when I started my day off well, and I am the first one at work. If I wake up now or 30 minutes from now, I will still be tired. But if I wake up now, I have time to do meditation and yoga stretches which will start my day off on a good foundation.

6. Getting enough sleep.

This is a crazy idea, getting to bed on time. But sleep affects so much of a person’s life. Inadequate sleep can affect mood, metabolism, immune system, and energy levels. If I want to live the best life, I need to take care of my body. Yes, there are some days when I will go to bed at 1 or 2 am, but let’s try to make those the exceptions.

7. Let go of negative thoughts.

It isn’t surprising how much our thoughts affect our mood, relations with others, and energy levels. I expanded in another post about tips how curbing the negativity.

Meditation is a great way to improve supportive and compassionate thoughts. There are many different ways to meditate. Find out which way works for you!

Another way to improve positive thoughts is to focus on gratitude. At nighttime I have a gratitude journal that I write down five things I was thankful for during the day.

8. Connecting with Presence: 

I am currently working on trying to enjoy the first bite, the first drink, the first breath, the first hello — giving myself presence, and gratitude for what currently is, and what will be. Jack Cornfield wrote an inspiring and eye opening book called A Path with Heart. 

“When we let go of our battles and open our heart to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment. This is the beginning and the end of spiritual practice. Only in this moment can we discover that which is timeless. Only here can we find the love that we seek. Love in the past is simply memory, and love in the future is fantasy. Only in the reality of the present can we love, can we awaken, can we find peace and understanding and connection with ourselves and the world.” 

Having a good life isn’t easy, but it sure beats the alternative!

Now go cultivate some positive energy like a curious and adventurous carrot farmer!

You’re too Lovely to let Negative Thoughts get to you.

25 Apr

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“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Shakespeare

The Overview of Negative Thoughts

Thoughts are like different packs of wolves. One pack for negative thoughts, another for supportive thoughts, another for creative thoughts, etc.  At first they are puppies, small and harmless, but these mind wolves feed on the number of times you think about them. The more you think about them, the more you feed them, the stronger they get.

Soon one pack of unruly terrors will have full control of your brain, affecting your decisions, relationships, and energy level.

BUT DON’T WORRY! There is hope! Through acknowledging you have these thoughts, being aware of them when they happen, and deciding to think in a different manner, habits can be formed that reduces the negative spiral.

What the bleep do we know is a great movie that explains about how our thoughts create mental path ways in our brains. If one continues to feed critical thoughts, their default setting will be set on criticism. It take patience and determination to improve our thoughts, but it is attainable and worth it!

Feed what serves you, acknowledge that not all your thoughts are your own, and send compassion and support to yourself during this journey.

Small Steps to Creating Better Thought Habits

Being conscious of something is the first step to change.

Often I find myself thinking about past conversations (good/bad/boring) I had with people. When I am able to notice this I refrain from beating myself up about what I was thinking and become curious. “Huh, funny I am thinking about that. What is something more interesting/positive I could think about?” or “Huh, odd that came up, what would give me presence, joy and gratitude right now?” This helps for thoughts I don’t care to have that don’t need a lot of problem solving to resolve.

By working on this, it leaves my  mind open for supportive and compassionate thoughts to enter, giving myself more time and energy.

Ask your Thoughts Questions

Another great resource can be found through Kate Byron who encourages us to ask four questions to ourselves when we notice a thought is bothering us.

1.) Is it True (Yes or no. If no, move to 3)

2.) Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)

3.) How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4.) Who would you be without the thought?

It is important to be aware that by focusing on positive thoughts we are not A.) ignoring larger problems that need our attention to resolve or B.) beating ourselves up for thinking a negative thought.

When dealing with the mind, things are hard to define in the black and white, figure out what tools work for you to make your life more enjoyable.

Lastly Mary Hynes from Tapestry did a great interview with Daniel Smith has a great book out called “Monkey Mind: A Memoir on Anxiety.” Where he uses similar techniques to Kate Byron to ask yourself questions about if your thoughts are true, if they serve you, and how they can be improved.

Best of luck on your adventures and may you find the sun shining in your face even on cold windy days! 

Questions for Personal Awesomeness

25 Apr

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“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates 

Sometimes have a good question unlocks the answer. I found these following questions helpful when I was trying to figure out what I wanted in my life. These are taken from various people through great conversations. Take some time to treat yourself with a little reflection, creating the path you desire. Your life will thank you. =)

1. Are you living your best life?

2. What does your best life look like?

3. Are you being your best self?

4. What does your best self look like?

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5. When have you felt most alive? What were you doing? Who were you around?

6. Can you incorporate any of those activities or people into your current life?

From Coach Billy http://madeyouthink.ca/

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7. Make a list of characteristics you admire in someone.

8. Highlight the top three you value.

9. What are steps you can take to make those characteristics a habit. Start with one characteristic, and go from there.

10. Make a list of your own values and next to those values make a question that when you answer it, you will know you are living that value. Example: I value integrity. Question: Am I proud of everything I did today? Example: I value showing appreciation. Question: Have I told someone a compliment to their face today? Example: I value being grateful. Question: what are five things to be grateful for today?

From Drew Dudley http://nuanceleadership.ca/

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11. What is your purpose in life? Try to make a statement saying My purpose in life is to—– so that—-. Example My purpose in life is to strive towards living my best life, so that I can help others to do the same.

From Stephen Shedletzky http://www.inspiraction.ca/

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12. Where will I be in five years? Sit down and think about where you will be in five years. Divide a paper in four parts : Health/Wealth/Social/Career. Close your eyes and imagine all of these factors- a place where everything is possible.

After you have thought holistically about all of these factors, open your eyes and start writing down your thoughts, in the different sections.

Next- make a plan- If this is your five year dream, work backwards to see what you need to do in 4 years, 3 years, 2 years, 1 year, right now to reach where you would like to be in five years. Break down the large goal into small steps that you can do each day.

From Matt Corker http://www.mattcorker.com/blog/

“You are going to live the next five years of your life anyways, might as well live it working in the direction of your dreams.
Having a good life is not easy, it takes a lot of work, both mentally and physically. The other option is to be unsatisfied with your life. Thus, out of these options, let’s build up the strength and see how great your life can become.”

Later if you are a visual person (or just like arts and crafts) you can create a vision board of what you are moving towards as a reminder that this hard work is worth it. Put focus on the actions you are taking towards this dream, rather than believing that if I dream something it will happen. The habits you make today impact the destiny of your future.

In all this change, in all this improvement, please remember to be gentle. Try to avoid destroying yourself into perfection. Focus on loving yourself for who you are, and who you are becoming.

Best of luck on this grand adventure!