Monday, January 31, 2011

28 Joy-Inducing Activities!

Tomorrow is the February 1st!  And I am ready for 28 days of Joy!  I have made my list of 28 joy-inducing activities - even a chart to keep track of my progress.  I think that this will be fun!
What would you do to add a little more joy in your life?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In Search of JOY in Ordinary Moments

I have decided that during the month of February I am going to focus on adding more joy to my life. Basically, I am going to have a list of simple things that I can do (one each day) to add nuggets of joy to my life. 

I have done some research on joy and found this quote that I love and reminded me about the ordinary moments that are filled with joy...
I think the beauty of twinkle lights is a perfect metaphor for joy.
Joy is not a constant.  It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments.  Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down the extraordinary moments.  Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.
A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy.  That would eventually become unbearable.
I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, and inspiration.
~ Brene Brown 
I am looking build a list of 28 things to do (one for each day) to add joy to my life.  Some that I already have on my list are:
  • Hang twinkle lights
  • Get fresh flowers for my kitchen table
  • Get outside and walk through the park (even though February is stinking brrrr here)
  • Go sledding with the kids
Also, I plan to begin a gratitude journal and write 3-5 items I am grateful for each night, and I am giving up alcohol (since it is a depressant, thus not joy-inducing) for the month.

So I am curious...
what are some ordinary moments/things that bring you joy?

Perhaps you can help me add to my list.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Middle of the Road

Extremes and I don't really get along.  In most every situation, I have almost always place myself somewhere in the middle.  Not too left, or too right.  Not too crazy, or too boring.  Not too smart, or too dumb.  Not too successful, but not unsuccessful.  I could go on...

Clearly, at some point in my life, I began to believe that the middle of the road is safe.

And, it is, isn't it?

I am not sure I fully believe that anymore.

While I am not interested in extremist or radical behaviors.  And, I do find some wonderful benefits to being a "middle of the road" person.  I wonder if I have lived this concept, well, too extreme?!!?  (oh, the irony!)

Typically, I have wanted to "understand all sides", but then, I don't always know how to own my own opinions, thoughts, and convictions.  Also, I generally don't feel too strongly about much, but then, I have missed out on feeling too excited about anything.  And, I suppose, by doing this I have been saved from some heartache and disappointment.

...and that's good, RIGHT?

Or is it...?

I am suspicious that by avoiding heartache and disapointment, I have also inadvertenly denied myself more joy and happiness.

Because, in the end, heartache and and joy go hand in hand...don't they?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reflections of Motherhood

This video is too good not to share!  I found it while tooling around on one of my newest favorite blogs Ordinary Courage by Brene Brown.

I think I would tell myself... "There MANY right ways to mother. Don't compare...TRUST the mom in you!"

What would you tell your pre-child self?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Three Word Day

Welcome to my first edition of my THREE WORD DAY. 

Three Word Day is a self-reflection activity.  By picking three words that best sum up my day I more easily target in on the most important aspects of my day.  And, hopefully I can see that my day is a "baby step" toward my ultimate dream.




What are your THREE WORDS today?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Me in the Mirror

On January 1, 2011 when I was seriously considering taking on the love of my body as my #1 goal for 2011, I did something that I typically don't do.  In fact, I can not remember the last time that I have actually done this.  I sure that for some people, doing this is not a big deal and perhaps strange that, for me, this was incredibly hard. And, honestly, I feel extremely vulnerable, to even share this with you.  But, in the spirit of my goes... 

My big step toward loving myself, especially my body, was standing in front of a full length mirror in my birthday suit.  Yep, Buck naked.  Egads! 

But, instead of looking at myself with my usual disgust, I consciously forced myself to find beauty.

This body, MY body, has carried 2 children and birthed them.  And, has safely completed a sprint triathlon and 5Ks, and trained for a half marathon and was able to ran/walked ten miles.  It has never broken a bone or been severely injured.  In fact, my body is strong and kind to me.  So, I saw the curves, rolls, and excess layers and decided to embrace them.

And while it was a big step - it is hard to maintain that appreciation.

Today while strutting my stuff in a Zumba class, I noticed how much I avoided looking at myself in the mirror. So, I forced myself to look, and tried to appreciate.  At times, I laughed at how silly I looked.  Other times I saw my body move and witnessed muscles in action and felt good.  Occasionally, I saw extra fat, and felt forgiveness...but still there were moments that I felt shame. 

Shame that I am the largest one in the Zumba class.  Shame for occasionally doing "low impact" when I "should" be able to always do the "harder" exercising.  Shame that I am not the thin, active, spirited person that I envision in my head.  Shame of the round belly, and double chin.  Shame that I have gotten to this place - the heaviest (excluding pregnancy) that I have ever been.  Shame that I have high blood pressure - because I have not cared for my body.  Shame and sadness.

And I don't want to feel shameful anymore.  But I know there is not a magic pill to make it all go away.

So, I write.  I share with you my experience about my shame...because "Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story.  It hates having words wrapped around it - it can't survive being shared." ~Brene Brown

And, I remind myself, that loving myself, especially my body, is a journey... and my mirror packed and ready to come along!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Defining Love - your thoughts?

I read this wonderful book The Gifts of Imperfections by Brene Brown.  The book is amazing - encouraging, thought-provoking, honest, and challenging.  I have never before read a book that invoked so much emotion - at times I was hopeful and happy and other times I felt incredibly angry and frustrated.

But overall, I was inspired.  I AM INSPIRED!

I have already gone back multiple times to reread parts to better understand myself.

One statement she made, as a part of her definition of love, has really stuck with me...perhaps because I SO want to believe it to be true, and in the same breath, I am petrified that it IS true.  The quote is:

"Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them -
we can only love others as much as we love ourselves."
~Brene Brown

So, I am uber curious, what do you think?
Can we love others, only as much as we love ourselves?

Monday, January 17, 2011

From Loathing to Loving - a beginning.

You know those moment...those Aha Moments, when words mixed with strong feelings intertwined with a guttural knowing of TRUTH, invade your entire being?

That is what happened to me one fall day 2011 while I was taking a bath.  I had been reading the book Women, God, and Food and was thinking about my weight, health, and my body.  Just prior to the Aha Moment, I had been lamenting about all my past lose-weight-eat-better failures and felt completely depleted and hopeless. 

Then, something clicked in my head, and that wonderful moment arrived and I realized...

That every time I have EVER tried to loose weight
I started from a place of LOATHING my body
(I would see my reflection in a store window and feel disgust, or I would step on the scale with dread and that LOATHING of my body - and thus a significant part of who I am - would temporarily motivated me, yet ultimately fail me.)
and I wondered, what if, I started in space of LOVING myself and my body?

I knew, in that moment, the incredible power and possible profound impact of those words.  I felt empowered...
and a millisecond later I felt discombobulated and bewildered. 

I didn't know how to start in a space of LOVING my body.  It was a complete change in my thought process and I felt lost.  Yet, I knew that I needed to find my way to that place.

And this year, that is my journey. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The year of...

Inspired by the amazing Debbie Phillips and encouraged by Inner Mean Girl Reform School I have decided to identify and embrace a theme, My Theme, for 2011. 

This theme will guide my decisions, help ground me, move me forward and keep me inspired.  I am excited about the possibilities and have a clear, realistic vision for what I want to accomplish by December 31, 2011.

But, also, I am scared.  Scared of failure and disappointment and fearful that this will be just another one of those things that I start (with all the greatest of intentions) but do not complete.

Ironically, this is today's inspiration...
I love my Inspire Cards by melissaAnne
So - to combat quitting, and to keep me honest and accountable...I am not going to keep my theme unwrapped - I am announcing it - outloud and proud (eek, this is scary!...but here goes...)

For me, 2011 is the year of loving myself, especially my body!

What is YOUR theme for 2011?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Crumpled Tissue Paper and Pretty Bows

Every day when I turned on my computer, since September 30, 2010, this blog, that I have set as my home page, has come up on my screen.  Every day since September 30, 2010, I saw the title of my last post, "The Half Marathon That Wasn't" and I felt a twinge of...something...


But surprisingly those feelings are (mostly) not about the Half Marathon that I didn't do.  Those feelings are about this blog...that I left hanging, undone, and alone.  More so, I felt sad that My Search for Me in Mommy seemed to have fizzled.

Or did it?  I don't know...  When I started my blog, I planned to write about my "purposeful" journey for 1 year...but in reality, I only completed 6 months.  And in that sense, it is a failure. 

But, when I reflect back on January - June 2010, I know, in my heart, that I did not fail!   During that time I grew tenfold.  I found nuggets of wisdom that I never knew I had.  I realized more of "ME" than I ever could have dreamed.  I began to feel more comfortable in my skin and more authentic.  Dare, I say...I TRANSFORMED?  Yes, I believe I did.  And, all of that is what I set out to accomplish.  YEAH ME!

So then, I asked myself, what happened from July-December?  I know that I became focused on my new business (Little Hands Artwork) and directed my energy there.  And, definitely took up much of my time that I would have otherwise spent on my blog.  But, also, during the last six months of the year, I also found myself (consciously, and unconsciously) sifting through the realizations, lessons, and Ahas of the previous months.  I "tried them on" to see what fit me and learned which ones I owned, which ones that I still need to grow into, and which ones I could discard.  That sifting, is still with everything, it is a process. 

So is it a failure?...NO it is not!  But I am disappointed that I did not continue in a more purposeful way.  And I do regret that I did not follow through with my one year plan - as it would have seemingly wrapped it up in a beautifully wrapped package.

But I guess, journeys like this, don't fit into pretty presents.

So I sit here among the roles of wrappings, the crumpled tissue paper and the pretty bows...and I am enjoying this moment.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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