Category Archives: Life Hacks

Reminders

super moon portland wftvReminders

It’s been an intense weekend, friends.

The kind of weekend that drives me back to my personal-development focused blog, rather than my writer-focused blog. And how telling is it that I haven’t been here since March?

Ouch.

2017 has been an ouch-y year for a lot of us, of course. I found myself slipping into the restless mindset: “I’ve been in Portland for four years now; I’m probably ready for a change of scenery.”

But that’s all it would have been: a change of scenery without, when what I really wanted was a a change of scenery within.

I’m sort of glad now that I didn’t have the means to travel in 2017. Instead, I moved from the aristocratic lifestyle of 2016 (no job on purpose for a few months, then no job on accident for several months) to the scrambling-for-dollars lifestyle of 2017 where I stressed about spending and was thankful (sort of) for the three jobs I juggled.

One of my life goals for the year was to be more open to things I ‘d been skeptical (or cynical) about: astrology, tarot, and crystals are examples. I started off well, then spiraled right back down into money worries and loneliness and the scarcity mindset. Yes, I still did fun things, but my days were infused with the feeling of mis-fitted-ness: ‘This isn’t how I want my life to look forever.’

Over the summer I worked and fretted, drafting work deadlines only to rewrite and rewrite them, dissatisfied and resentful that others made me change my plans.

Over the autumn I stuck with business goals, devoting time to social media posting, and cultivating local relationships that could be useful in future.

Now it’s almost winter solstice and I realize how distant that open-mindedness goal seems.

So when asked to join a moon circle for the fourth time, I accepted. The timing felt right. Prompted by someone with pink and yellow hair, sitting between a home altar and a cozy fireplace, surrounded by women who threw around words like ‘oracle,’ ‘shamanism,’ ‘releasing,’ and ‘surrender’ as they chatted over herbal tea and chocolate.

I journaled with everyone and shared: loss of confidence, issues with entitlement, difficulty loving and trusting. And I was wowed by the level of genuine sharing, vulnerability, and trust that I witnessed, and that I practiced.

At the beginning I felt alone, walled in the cynicism story I carried about women like this in Portland. Then I looked inside at my scenery. And realized that we are all in the same boat, looking for connection, carrying a light, trying to be our best selves.

I’m not sure what I’ll do to honor this recommitment and reconnection to myself but I do want to celebrate it–this reminder that the moon is always full, it is only that we can not see its beauty all the time.

 

Image via WFTV

Surrender & Self-Love in February

I wrote a post a couple weeks ago for my gym, Muv Training, for its February newsletter. When they published it, I reread it, and was satisfied with how it had come out.

But then a few days later, I was wandering around in one of my ‘Cup of Comfort’ trances, and the lessons I had pointed to in that Muv article came back to smack me in the face.

What’s a ‘Cup of Comfort’ trance? Oh, yes, I haven’t published that story yet.cup of self love sketch

Well, a year or more ago, I was wandering around half an hour before work. I wanted a tea, or a coffee, or a hot chocolate. But I wanted a comfy seat, too, and a quiet atmosphere, and not too expensive. I was on foot, and checking all the cafes within reach and open in the time allotted was a formidable task. But as I flipped through my mental Rolodex, I realized none of them would give me what I wanted.

Because what I wanted was a ‘cup of comfort,’ that feeling of being warm, and cozy, and comfortable. And cherished.

hygge sweater cup of coffee

Tea, or coffee, or even hot chocolate, would not be able to do that.
So I went to work early, in a bit of a huff, I’m sure, munching on that bit of mental floss and how I could learn from it.

What happened this last time was the same search, but in the car–more choices, dammit!–and without the time limit–I was on my way home, and only limiting myself on the amount of money to spend as I once again flipped through the mental Rolodex of cafes open.

But this time, I’d just read my own words on self-love and self-care, and I realized, as I parked and contemplated Noraneko, parked and walked around Hawthorne, peering through windows, that what I was really searching for, what that Cup of Comfort held, is Self-Love.

Oof, ya.

I’d been trying my best to not go out, not spend money, create brilliant works of culinary art at home on a shoestring budget, and have that suffice. But my self-love well was getting low, and somehow, I wasn’t recharging it.

I went home with this realization, feeling at least sufficient enough to turn down the warm interiors on Hawthorne. But once home, how to replenish?

well of love margaret agnes rope stained glass

Self-care? I got a massage (on an account I’d long since had to deactivate), but that did not work. I tried bonding with the cats. That did not work. (Their pee on my rug thrice this week made me irritable.)

I could have gone to the gym, but didn’t. I might’ve gone to the show I had tickets for, but didn’t–it was miserably wet and icy Friday night.

I watched Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone. I traced how Harry found his way to the friends he needed. By chance! And I was reminded of the hardest piece of belief and trust and faith.

Surrender.

 

Have you battled such demons? Made similar discoveries? Do share.

 

Images via VidyaSury, DailyMail, & Pinterest (by the way, Margaret Agnes Rope, incredible stained glass artist of the Arts & Crafts movement–who knew?!?) 

Reframe for the New Year

What if instead of “I Will”, your goal/intention/resolution for 2017 was “I Am”?

I Am

Stories that Don’t Serve Us

I had a cluster of interesting nonfiction reads at the end of last year, and I was caught by Brene Brown’s idea that we all “make up stories” to explain to ourselves why certain things happen.

And it is entirely possible to tell ourselves different stories.

These stories we tell ourselves, such as, ‘because I’m boring,’ or ‘because I’m unattractive,’ frame the events in our lives. How to reframe?

Instead of ‘he didn’t call me back because I was boring on our first date,’ why not, ‘he didn’t call me back because he’s busy or didn’t feel a connection. Did I, really, or just want him to call me?’

obviously so excited

Instead of ‘she didn’t smile back at me because I’m unattractive,’ why not, ‘she didn’t smile back at me because it’s a scary world, and we’re conditioned to be distrustful nowadays’?

These stories are something we control, but they also have a powerful effect on our moods. So why wouldn’t we shift the story, and give ourselves the benefit of some confidence? (couched in self-awareness, and self-honesty, of course!)

Goals in 2017

For your goals for the year (or resolutions, or intentions; whatever works for you), why don’t you try changing the WILL/WON’T to AM/AM NOT?

I won’t smoke–>I’m not a smoker

I will get in shape–>I am a healthy body ready to get healthier

I won’t judge–>I am open to understanding people outside my experience

See how this makes the task or action more of a piece of your identity? That is a key way to reframe those unhelpful thoughts we have, and those unproductive stories we tell ourselves. It’s like the opposite of negative thinking, where a person gets caught in a cycle of “I’m not good enough,” when really, it’s the circumstances that are not good.

This is how we seize the reins to reframe our year!

My Goals

I’ve whittled my end-of-year ruminating down to two intentions and a word:

1) Let my heart-light shine forth without expectation of reward (No, not that Heartlight. Well, actually, why not?)

2) Be open to learning from previously dismissed sources, such as astrology

** SUFFICIENCY ** (where I caught my word is in the link)

If you meditate, try meditating on that last one. Tell me what comes up.

More on that word soon. Happy 2017.

 

Images via Pixabay & Pinterest