Archive | June, 2012

Out of the Holding Pattern

23 Jun

Out of the Holding Pattern.

Out of the Holding Pattern

23 Jun

Most people are aware of holding patterns, even if they’ve never flown. It’s when they put an airplane in a set flight path that just circles around and keeps the plane in the air without ever really going anywhere. I feel like I’ve been there myself for the past week.

I’m stuck, not in a bad place, and maybe that’s part of the problem. Last week, I got a summer cold. I was coughing, had a fever and felt just plain awful. I’ve never had a summer cold that I can remember, and this one knocked me for a loop. Seven days later and I am still not fully recovered. My family will tell you that I’m never down for more than a day or two, so when I hit my 4th day of sick, the kids were worried, especially since I had decided to take that sniffling, sneezing, achy, how the heck did I wake up on the kitchen table medicine. The road back has been slow and when it comes to illness, especially my own, I’m not very good at feeling bad.

The worst part for me in the past about being sick was watching the house practically fall down around me. When you have a house full of very active boys, that can happen quickly, and it has always amazed me how long it takes to clean up a mess that can happen in an instant or less. It also amazed me how the small pile of laundry I had when I stared feeling bad would erupt into a mountain of clothes I somehow didn’t even remember seeing on my children during my illness. The sink would overflow with dishes and the mess just grew.

This time, the house still stands. Although they had to be asked to help with the daily chores, the kids and my husband did pitch in when asked. The bathrooms stayed clean. The dog hair was swept up, mostly. The dishes were done and put away with only a few games of where the heck could they have put it? The laundry, when I finally felt well enough to venture into the basement, was caught up in just a few loads, thanks to the gift of a high efficiency and large capacity washer and dryer, the gifts I never knew I needed until I had them. Everything is pretty much where it was before I got sick except for me, and that is my holding pattern.

I know I should…(insert any number of projects I have waiting for me to start and/or finish). I know I could…(insert the same list), but I’m not. Why? Why not? For me, I think it has to do with accountability. I need some outside pressure to get started again. I need someone to tell, so I guess I’ll be telling all of you. Today I will get started again. I’ll spend some time making my home and my life just a little bit better. I’ll put off procrastinating and enjoy the ride. I’ll get back to helping my dreams come to life, and I’ll let you know how it goes. By doing that, I’ll opt for de-cluttering over napping and moving forward over just staying where I am. I’ll start reaching and growing and just knowing that inspires me to get out of this chair. Today, I begin again, and it feels great! Thanks for being you and have a great day!

The Road Not Taken

15 Jun

The Road Not Taken.

The Road Not Taken

15 Jun

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost (1874–1963)

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

For some reason I cannot get this poem out of my mind today. I woke up with the last few lines rattling around in my head. It was with me when I did my personal writing this morning, and it has been darting in and out of my thoughts all day. To me, that is a sign that I’m supposed to share my thoughts and the poem with you. I don’t know why. I don’t know who might benefit from it, but the fact that it is almost nagging me tells me not to ignore it, so here goes.

I’ve loved this poem since college. It speaks to me because I’ve usually been the one to take the road less travelled. I’ve been told as a woman, a business person, a friend and a mother that I am not like most others. Most of the time, I wear that thought like a badge of honor. I kind of like being different from the average person. When I’m feeling particularly good about myself, that thought shows me strength and a uniqueness that makes me who I am.

On my bad days, the ones that make me question all my decisions, that road feels very lonely and desolate, as if I don’t have a friend in the world. It is when I become very aware that that the traits that are not like others also can make it difficult to “fit in”. Those traits keep you from being invited to dinners, to parties, and to vacation with friends. On those darker days, I question if I have made the right choice to follow my own drummer instead of the one so many others do. Fortunately, those days are few and far between.

This week as I’ve re-grouped from vacation, I’ve been hearing my drummer again, and the beat is getting louder. I know that the path I’m about to take is one that most people won’t. It’s a path that I’ve flirted with but never really stepped on with faith and focus. As I clear the various volunteer follow-ups and clutter from my home and body, the path I know I should be on is becoming clearer. Each day is a step closer, and I am as excited and exhilarated as I am apprehensive. Now I just have to let the excitement over take the apprehension, and I’ll be running down that path in faith and joy. With the help of a few friends and my loving family, even that road less travelled will feel more like home.

Each of us has the choice to do the safe thing or the bold thing in our lives. Each choice takes us in a different direction. I hope you choose the one that gives you the most joy and fulfillment in your life. You deserve that so you can share it with others. Follow your own road less travelled and let me know how it turns out. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

Creating the Life of your Dreams

14 Jun

Creating the Life of your Dreams.

Creating the Life of your Dreams

14 Jun

” If you are going to be successful in creating the life of your dreams, you have to believe that you are capable of making it happen.” – by Jack Canfield

I believe that everyone deserves to have the life of their dreams. More importantly, I believe that everyone can have a life that is fulfilling and inspiring and full of joy at least in my part of the world. There are just too many examples of people who have overcome the most heinous of circumstances to live a beautiful life for me to believe otherwise. I know that sounds very Pollyanna-ish, and I realize that there are so many in the world who are suffering today, but each person that suffers offers someone else a chance of creating that fulfilling and joyful life, not just for themselves, but for someone else as well.

As a woman, living in the United States of America, my life is pretty good by default. I live in a nation of unlimited opportunities for women. I can choose to stay at home to take care of my family full time. I can choose to work full time. I can choose any number of options in between. I can vote. I can drive. I get a free education through high school. I can choose if, when and where I go to college and/or grad school and whether I choose to become a doctoral candidate. I choose the number of children I will have and who I will marry or divorce. I have so much control over my life just like the rest of the women in this country.

Unfortunately, we also have one of the highest rates of depression and medication for that and other mental disorders in the world. The blessing of being able to choose to be happy and successful also allows us the choice to be unhappy and depressed. Now, before anyone cries foul and says that depression isn’t a choice and that mental health requires medication, let me state that I understand that there are times and situations when medication is necessary. I have family members and friends that have benefitted from medication when their mental health was unstable. Some of them require medication to get through life. Others, however, have used the medication to get through a difficult time and now are medication free. It doesn’t always have to be a lifelong dependency, but I digress…again.

Yesterday, I looked at the calendar and realized that there are ten weeks of summer break until my children go back to school. Every summer I have grand visions of overhauling my life; losing 50 pounds, de-cluttering my house from top to bottom, becoming a bestselling author and making a million dollars while being a super mom, wife and friend. I can dream big for sure. The catch is actually doing the day to day things that will create the kind of life I want to live, so this summer I’m going to do something different. I’m going to put some gentle pressure on myself to actually follow through on some of my summer dreams. First, I’m going to check in with reality. Yes, I want to be and do those things, but the chance of them happening in the next ten weeks is unlikely; possible, maybe, likely, no. The gentle pressure will come in the form of accountability, and the accountability will be to my readers.

Some people do best at going for a goal when they keep things to themselves. The power of the secret fuels them. I do better when I have public accountability, not because I intend to shame myself if I don’t reach my goal or because I value your opinion of me more than my own. I like the public accountability because if I’m only accountable to myself, it’s much easier to slack off a day, which turns into a week, which become months and years. I am a social person and the energy of others helps me stay focused. For example, I know I should exercise at least five days per week. I have a friend who I’ve started walking with. Both of us have substantial weight to lose. We don’t walk fast, but we usually walk for at least an hour per day. She is on vacation this week, and I haven’t walked once. Now that I’ve shared that with you, I know I’ll walk today. Is that crazy? Maybe, but it works for me.

So here’s my plan. I plan to exercise regularly, lose weight, write consistently, de-clutter regularly and spend quality time with my family every week. If I can combine a few of those activities, I’ll be thrilled. Every week, I’ll check in and let you know what my progress is. If you have a few things you’d like to accomplish in the next ten weeks or more, I would love for you to join me. Maybe we can create a Facebook page to cheer each other on. My plan is to make this the most wonderful summer ever, and this year I have a secret weapon to actually make it happen…you! Thanks for being you and have a great day!

The Unplanned Day

13 Jun

The Unplanned Day.

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