self-care

#musings #heart&soul

My wise and gentle friend once had me list three qualities that I aspire to – three qualities that I admire in others.

I thought about it for a long time – I love introspective exercises like this.  I thought about my favorite friends, individuals I am most drawn to in a group – how I admire others who are easy-going, who go with the flow of life without becoming too attached to particular outcomes.  I thought about a particular high school friend (or two), with the kind of graceful confidence that I crave.  Finally, I thought of my wise and gentle friend herself, and other non-anxious, meltdown-free friends of mine, and I found my last word: peaceful.

I handed my friend the index card, on which I’d written my three words: easy-going, confident, and peaceful. 

My friend smiled at me.  She then, still holding the index card so I could see it, said, “What you admire in others is nascent in you.”comparison-is-the-thief-of-

In my life, I do a lot of comparing.  No matter how often I tell myself that comparison is the thief of joy, I still find myself looking to others and wishing that I had what they have or that I acted the way they act.  (Particularly people who embody those three words above.)

Hearing what my friend said – that the things I most admire in others are things that are budding, blossoming, emerging in me – was incredibly inspiring and energizing to me.  It was nearly three years ago that she said those words to me, and in those years, I’ve grown tremendously in my confidence, my peace of mind, and my ability to move through life with flow and ease.

What are the three qualities you most admire in others?

thought of the day

#musings #WhatWouldYouSay?

Every few months, I re-arrange my office.  Sometimes that involves moving furniture around, or redoing my bulletin board.  Often it involves a Google Image search for inspirational quotes, which I print in color, laminate, and hang on the walls.  I try to find words that will inspire the kids – the words I find always inspire me.

During this week’s search, I found this image, with imagesthis phrase: If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say in only two words?

Whoa.

I could sit my younger self down and I could tell it lots of things.  Having to do it in only two words is a challenge that inspires me.

SAVE MONEY.  You’re gay.  Hug Dad.  Quit drinking.

Those are all awesome.  🙂  However, my answer for today is: stop worrying.

Worrying has added nothing to my life and it’s subtracted a lot of joy.  If a Ten-Years-From-Now version of me showed up on my doorstep in five minutes and simply whispered, Stop worrying!, and then ran away – I think that might be enough of a shock to jolt me out of my worrying habit, which gets me NOWHERE and is usually pointless.

What would you say?

balance · writing

#mind #musings #wholehearted

Recently I posted about a short solo hike I took along the Gunpowder, and how that time in nature pulled my focus and triggered some thoughts.

My hike was inspired by Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, a book about Cheryl taking three months for hiking and self-discovery on the Pacific Crest Trail.  I find Cheryl’s story and quest inspiring; as someone who is constantly looking for opportunities for self-discovery, self-improvement, and personal growth, I love hearing about how Cheryl recognized the chaos in her life and walked down a path that helped her to make some sense of it all and to re-ground and to re-center.

Then, I realized that Cheryl is part of a list of women I keep in my head – women who inspire me, women of whom I am extremely envious, women whose stories I devour.  Many of them I’ve already mentioned in my short time writing on this blog: Cheryl Strayed (obv), Brene Brown, Kristen Neff, Gretchen Rubin.  While walking by the river and ruminating, I added Elizabeth Gilbert to the list, too.

What did they all have in common?  They’re all writers, and I find myself seized up with envy whenever I think about someone who spends their days and their lives writing for a living.  (I love my job – love it!  And can’t imagine not doing it.  But deep down, I long to write more and better and more fruitfully, in one way or another.)

These women also have written about a common subject – self-discovery and growth.  And I found myself, as I walked along, comparing and contrasting their journeys and their methods.  Elizabeth Gilbert took a yearlong journey to three foreign countries, striving for pleasure, prayer, and balance.  Brene Brown spent her days in academia and utilized the stories she found to develop a beautiful Wholehearted approach to the universe.  Kristen Neff found meditation and self-compassion following a period of personal pain.  Cheryl Strayed hiked for three months on the Pacific Crest Trail in an endeavor that brought her growth, self-knowledge, and healing.  Gretchen Rubin stayed right where she was, at home in New York City, and developed a blog and happiness framework, making small changes to her life to increase her happiness and quality of life.

The question next on my mind was something along the lines of, “Well…  What about you?  What are you going to do?”

This question is doubly meaningful for me.  First of all – these women (who rock) all wrote terrific, wonderful books that were about their vwhole-hearted-elephantarious journeys toward self-discovery and growth.  So – is there another journey that I could take?  A unique, amazing journey that I can then write about in a book that inspires others the way these books inspire me?

Secondly – given how much I am struggling with this waiting period, how lost I sometimes feel, how I want to feel grounded and centered and in the flow – is there something I can do, some wisdom hidden among all these women’s efforts, that will help me to feel found, to feel happier, to feel self-compassionate and balanced and Wholehearted?