The Great Pause

Wednesday morning. It’s 10:00am and I am sipping my homemade espresso with almond milk froth on top and just a dash of cinnamon. Funny to think I used to spend $5 a day on this habit that has so quickly become an enjoyable do-it-yourself task. Leaning back on the patio loveseat, I stretch my legs out to absorb the sunlight that streams in ever so generously this time of morning. There is a stillness outside that at first I found eery, yet now I’ve come to embrace.

I have been hesitant to write about this new “normal” that we are all, in our own ways, trying to navigate through during this unprecedented time period. Mostly because, up to this point, it’s provided me with many more positives than negatives. I suppose part of me feels a tinge of guilt from that fact. Knowing how many people have lost their jobs, have had to suffer decreased income, who have lost family members and friends from the pandemic, and of course for the health care workers who have had to witness a magnitude of innocent people die very much alone. I feel I should be grieving alongside them all.

Every morning I wake with gratitude. That myself and my boys are healthy, that we have plenty of food to sustain us, a cozy home to enjoy together while we are quarantined, and that I have remained fully employed, despite the economic state. I have spent the greater part of the past six years in particular, with a thankful heart. But this experience has deepened that sense for me, and brought me back in touch with the simplest of life’s pleasures. A fast paced nation with unparalleled momentum, at a sudden standstill. I walk outside and see father’s playing catch with their sons on a Tuesday afternoon, mothers and daughters enjoying coffee and conversation on their patios, and couples walking together in the evenings laughing and conversing. And I can’t help but think, at what cost we have found contentment.

Part of me yearns to return to the old normal, ready to join my girlfriends for happy hour, backyard bbq’s, and crowded coffee shops in the morning. But during this “great pause” as it’s been deemed…..I can’t help but contemplate this one piece of advice:

“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” – Dave Hollis

So as the days pass, quiet in my home, sans the distractions I’ve become accustomed to, I welcome the silence; the stillness. I breathe it in and from it I exhale a newfound love for life. Far from vibrant days in the city surrounded by tourists, the acoustic music of the street performers, the aroma of fresh coffee and food. This is life. The life we all have waiting for us when we get home, when we are our truest, most authentic selves. How we receive this opportunity to return to our true selves paves the way for a society of PRESENT individuals.

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Reflection

It’s 11pm on a Tuesday night in late November. I lie wide awake with my mind whirling , as has become my norm in the past few weeks. The only thing quieting my frazzled thoughts is the subtle snore coming from my eight year old snuggled next to me. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be letting him sleep in my bed, but as I look at his little face, so soft and peaceful…I know these moments are few and fleeting and that soon enough they’ll be a thing of the past. In this moment I feel enveloped with gratitude, that I get to be his Mom; their Mom. That the one thing I’m doing right, is loving them.

On a personal level, this hasn’t been the best year. Not the worst year by any means….but certainly not the best. And the older I get, the more I recognize that stagnancy is almost worse than turmoil, than affliction. Because what often stems from the latter two is perspective; whereas the other tends to lead to a place of mediocrity of mind and soul.

I’ve so much healing yet to do and growing and brainstorming, it’s often overwhelming. But as this year comes to a close, I try to make peace with all of the things that didn’t come to fruition; with all of the times I misjudged and made decisions that didn’t flow with the current of my life, that led me upstream then back where I started…..and I forgive myself. Because sometimes that is truly all you can do. Love yourself enough to forgive.

This year has, however, brought me much closer to my boys; my heartbeats. Even on days I’ve felt like a complete failure, I closed my eyes at night knowing those little humans felt loved and happy and content. And that is everything. For them I am grateful and I am blessed.

In the coming year, my wish is to be the best version of myself not only for me, but for the little souls I’m guiding through this crazy thing called life.

Thoughtful Thursday

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I’ve been reading a lot about friendships and relationships in general. The type of people we allow to affect our lives, our beliefs, and ideas. Who we choose to spend our precious time and energy on. Slowly but surely, we become like those we are around the most. It is up to us to do an honest assessment of whether those we are closest to serve as a “fountain” (positive reinforcers who support our ideals and end goals), or a “drain” (negative reinforcers who want us to stay stagnant to benefit their own complacency and inability to handle the growing pains associated with furthering oneself in life). And that certainly goes both ways; we also need to evaluate what sort of person we are and the impact we have on others by our words, actions, and the ideas we perpetuate. Like anything else in life, it’s about finding balance; allowing ourselves to be a valuable resource to others, and a listening ear when need be…but not so much that it affects us negatively, dampens our desire to be and do more, or dulls our disposition. Life is short and we should never apologize for being picky about how we spend it and who we spend it with.

Monday Motivation

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As much as I hate to admit it, I started this Monday off on the wrong foot. I woke up later than I wanted to (and needed to for that matter), I was lagging and felt mentally unprepared for the day ahead. I even contemplated calling in sick to work (total quitter move). But then that awesome little voice in my head (that has become increasingly persistent) told me to turn the “Manic Monday” mentality I was rocking, into a “Magic Monday” instead. I focused on making the best use of the now dwindling time I had left to get out the door and off to work, and instead of listening to music while I sat in bumper to bumper traffic….I chose a podcast that I knew would put my mindset where it needed to be. And guess what? It worked. I got to work early, inspired, and ready to have a productive day, that would hopefully turn into a productive week. The purpose of this post being….it only takes a few minutes, and a few positive thoughts and intentions to change the course of your day (week, month, life). I hope everyone reading has a great start to their week. What are some things you do to start your week off right?

I’ve linked one of my current favorite podcasts’ below in case you’re a self development “junkie” like myself and want to take a listen. I love that some of the episodes are only 15-25 minutes (great for those of us with busy lives).

Earn Your Happy Podcast

Thoughtful Thursday

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As simplistic as it is, I felt this particular reminder was needed, given the extended (and unintended) writing break I have been on the majority of the year. I’ve encountered so many changes of direction, most of them positive, yet consuming. Nevertheless, my heart always goes back to writing; reflection through words that provides an unparalleled outlet. I think the balance between the business aspect of life and the creative one will always be a fight for me. And that’s ok. Because at the end of the day, I realize it’s better to have too many passions, then none at all….

A determined return is on the horizon for me. Of that, I have all the confidence in the world.

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday

It’s been a challenging week for sure. I came down with a bad cold that sort of knocked me off my feet. Except, when you’re an adult and have children, you don’t have the option to be down very long. But after as much rest as I could possibly manage, I’m beginning to feel like my normal spunky self again…so I thought I’d jump on here quickly before the NyQuil kicks in (lol).

One thing that has increasingly been on my mind lately is CONTENTMENT.

Contentment is a mental or emotional state of satisfaction maybe drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind.

I used to primarily associate the idea of being content with material things. If a person is content, they’re less inclined to fill their lives with endless material things. That statement certainly carries some weight. However, I’ve come to realize contentment in more than a few areas of my life and it has brought me a great deal of peace. I no longer feel the need to be surrounded by people to fill any sort of void or uncomfortableness with being “alone”. I’m content with what I have to offer myself in the way of self love and encouragement; no longer yearning for affirmation in one way or another from others. I’m content with just trying my best each day and having faith in what my life has in store without constantly living for the next moment.

Our society thrives off of flaunting their accomplishments, and with the help of social media, provides many outlets on which to do so.  While that may serve as motivation to some, I’m learning the beauty in doing things a little quieter in life and how much satisfaction comes from recognizing areas of personal growth (even if those thoughts never leave my mind or heart).

And on that note, here’s a picture of me and my two biggest sources of contentment (and happiness) in life: