Friday, March 30, 2012

Fear and Hope

A little fear is healthy, right?

Maybe it sounds silly, but after getting back from an amazing vacation, I immediately switched back in to my stressed out, fear mode. I'm not busy enough, I'm not eating right, I'm not going to ever see anything that beautiful and amazing again... I've already lived the best years of my life.

That's too much fear. The reality is I'm not busy enough. I'm getting there, but I'm not working as much as I would like to be working. I'm alright though.

As for eating right: I've been on vacation. Give me a break, okay brain? Okay. I'm back to my normal routine, I'll go get some greens today, and I'll stop eating so much chocolate.

Those fears are diminished, but the other fears are going to take a little more work. Traveling is expensive. The plane tickets alone for most travel experiences are crazy prices, and add in the cost of living... it's a tough pill to swallow. How am I ever going to afford doing something like this?

This feeds my fear of having lived the best years of my life. What if I'm not successful? I'm about to spend a lot of money on school, in a career field that has a ton of growth potential, but I'm really, honestly scared I won't be successful in it. I've never failed in a way that has been life-altering. Don't get me wrong, not everything I have tried has been a wild success (let's take a look at my current work situation. About half of it is going really well). What if my ultimate failure is the simple fact I'm never going to accomplish anything greater than I already have?

This is where resiliency and hope have a huge role in my life. Hope it self is a great motivator. Hope is what makes a person push forward in the face of some heavy fears. Hope is one of the key elements that differentiates between success and failure. I have hope. Someone has been standing over my shoulder (parents,  professors, partner) saying "I believe in you, and I believe what you are doing is worthwhile". That support is invaluable.

I think resiliency is born out of hope. The more hope one has, the more that person is able to think of set-backs as temporary, not as failures. I'm thinking about children, and how I want to raise my (very) future off-spring. The psychology buzz word of child-rearing is currently "resiliency". There are books about it, and there are parenting classes and information that can make the mind dizzy. I'm pretty certain there has to be hope to create resiliency though, and with out, even the most educated person can't raise a child who is resilient.

I'm going to put those fears aside for now. I've ruminated on them, and I have a few ideas for making certain they don't come true. Putting fear aside isn't an easy task. My own personal method is to create a series of steps to make certain the thing that makes me scared doesn't come true. This time around, research is going to be the key. If I know there is work in my career field, I'm a lot less fearful.

The other ingredient to putting aside fear: giving other people hope. I'm in a great place to do that now, particularly with the work I do. Taking a little pain away gives people a lot of hope, whether it is physical or psychological, and I'm capable (just ask my mama). Taking the time to step out of my own self-induced drama really gives me a little perspective on the things that really matter. Giving love and hope brings it all back around, doesn't it?

Let me know if you need some hope. I have some to share.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Note on Vacation

I am taking the time to write, because I have a few hours before Karaoke starts at the bar just outside my hotel. No, I don't think I will sing, but I'm definitely going to go and listen.

The ten hour flight was long. Long in the sort of way that makes you wish you were able to actually sleep, but lacking the proper blood/alcohol balance necessary for sleeping in the economy section of the plane. Now that I'm here, the flight was worth it. I did have a few moments of questioning my decision though, and I'm still seriously grumpy at my travel company for booking me through Atlanta instead of somewhere on the west coast, and charging me an arm and a leg to do so.

All that aside: I took an impromptu Ukelele lesson in a store on Waikiki beach with a couple of young men who introduced me to my new favorite song (Superman by Tarrus Riley, thank you). That alone was worth the ten hour plane trip. If I had to turn around and go home now, I would feel sad, but satisfied.

Tomorrow is going to be an early morning, and I would love to go to bed now, but it is only 7:30 here, even though my body is screaming that it is 1:30 in the morning, and I would like some sleep. I'm planning a longish run tomorrow, since I am staying quite close to the Honolulu Marathon route, but we will have to see how I feel, and how the traffic looks.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Reality Check: A Review of January's Resolutions

I totally forgot to write last week, and I don't feel bad about it. 

I had a busy week, time flew by, and before I knew what happened, it was this week. I'm pleased I didn't beat myself up over it. I'm happy I simply let it go. If this blog has been anything for me, it has been an exercise in letting things go.

I feel like each of the resolutions I've started working on are coming along in some sense. I'd like to check in with January's, examine them, and identify how the resolution is contributing to my overall sense of wellbeing. What is the point of a resolution if it doesn't contribute to that?

Resolution 1-2012: Nurturing Creativity
I'm finding creativity in interesting places, and it is giving new life to parts of my life that had seemed unrewarding and mundane previously. I have gotten particularly creative in my work. My every day life sees me giving massages to some number of people. In this work, it is easy to lose focus, and do the same thing for every client, especially someone looking to relax. I've been focused on being present during a massage: not talking as much, unless the client wants to, trying to really listen to the goals and focus of the client, and to be aware of what the body is telling me while I work. No massage is ever the same (I dread having a client who wants the same thing as last time, because I won't remember). I used to get board, and feel like the days would drag when I worked previously, but simply being present has allowed for a new level of creativity to come along and flourish. I really like what I am doing. The lesson I am taking away from this: sometimes, simply being willing to experience something opens us up to new depths of ourselves (this should probably be a duh moment, but I'm taking it to heart).

Resolution 2-2012: Stop Shoulding Myself
I forgot to write in my blog last week. I slept in when I needed to wake up at 5:30 in the morning to get all my stuff done this week before going to work. I really like wine. I mess up all the time. The reality is, I'm  messing up less now that I'm not beating myself up for the previous times I've messed up, or forcing myself to put too many things on my plate. No, I haven't given up all sense of responsibility. No, I'm not sleeping in late every morning. No, I'm not drinking a bottle of wine every day (hell, I'm not drinking a glass of wine every day). I've found that focusing my energy in the present, instead of worrying about yesterday and tomorrow, really helps me do what makes me feel best in the long run. My energy is freed up to make good decisions. I'm not perfect. I catch myself saying "I should do this", and I'm not always gentle with myself, but I'm working on it. Simply working on it is making a huge difference in how I treat myself, which feeds in to every other resolution I've made.

Also, I leave for Hawaii in less than a week. I'm so excited, I can barely keep myself focused.

Resolution 3-2-2012: $40,000 Year
How on earth does making money contribute to wellness? Fiscal wellness is important. If we don't bring in money in some sense, we are living off of what we have in our reserves, or struggling very hard to get by. I like having money in my savings account, and I really like not struggling. Having a specific number allows me to set specific goals. I like specificity.

All that aside, oh lord, this is the goal that gets me every time. Things are on the upswing still, but just a little slower of an upswing than I was hoping.  This was a slow week, and I've had to practice a lot of gentleness, and focus on abundance so I could let myself sleep. I'm afraid it isn't going to be a $40,000 year, but I'm keeping the number as my goal. A motivational speaker once said "If you shoot for the moon, you'll land among the stars" (which, very technically, isn't true, but it is a great image). I'm making my moon the $40,000 mark. The number might not be possible, but it is keeping me motivated, and is stopping me from simply throwing in the proverbial towel. I'm working on word of mouth exposure. I'm working on getting my hands on as many people as possible. I'm looking forward to starting school in fall. I'm hoping for a full schedule when I get back from vacation at the end of March. A full schedule is going to be necessary, because a week off means no income. Stressful, yes. Worth it? Definitely.

 I'm learning a lot about being frugal these days. I try not be cheap, because when I get cheap, I experience guilt for buying things like new running clothes, which are necessary for my hobby. I'm trying very hard to curb impulse buys (and frequently failing miserably), and save enough for taxes (and maybe a retirement fund some day). I'm not going to lie: I'm super frustrated with my financial situation right now, but I'm staying positive for the sake of this goal. I have everything I need. I am working on getting everything I want.

Next week, I may or may not write. I'm going to be in Hawaii.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Resolution 7-2012: Green Smoothies

I'm happy.

I had a whole page written about this statement, and deleted it. I'm leaving it up there because it is true. Being happy isn't what I want to write about today. I think I've waxed vomitous about being happy, and what it takes. Today I'm writing about things that make me happy.

Food is important to me. Those who know me personally would say food may be the biggest love/hate relationship in my life. I have a disordered eating pattern (which isn't quite an eating disorder, but if you want to get into that discussion, email me). I have no ability to gauge on my own if I am eating enough, too much, or too little. I love sweet stuff, which happens to be bad for my body (I don't process sugar very well. No one in my family does). My best bet is to keep a daily food journal to keep myself in healthy ranges. This is similar to my inability to distinguish lengths of time: I need a clock to make certain I'm working with in my time parameters.

I've been listening to a teleconference about wellness, and one of the major pieces of body wellness is food intake. As I was listening to different people talk about how they live their most vibrant, healthy life, I kept hearing the words "green juice". In the course of one week, I had heard no fewer than four people mention green juice, or smoothies, and the positive affects this ritual had on their health and their bodies. I was working on breaking out of a cycle of eating too much sugar, and other foods that were making me feel sluggish. I thought I might give it a try.

I started to research recipes for green smoothies, as I appreciate fiber, and I wasn't about to invest in a juicer (I have two small blenders). In a matter of minutes, I felt more guilt about eating meat than I have felt in the last two years. I was a vegetarian, and I discovered animal protein makes me feel good. I don't need tons of meat, but a little chicken, a few eggs, fish, and occasionally some red meat helps keep me clicking. Most of the information related to green smoothies was raw food and vegan propaganda. I don't see anything wrong with being a vegan, but the lifestyle isn't for everyone, and something like green drinks should be accessible to everyone. Most people I know would have given up immediately.

The second guilty charge: I was  bad for drinking caffeine. I like coffee, I like green tea. I don't drink soda. I haven't been a regular consumer of soda for years. Please don't lump my relatively healthy habits of tea and a little coffee in with something like soda.

In spite of these heavy charges, I persevered in my search for a reasonable recipe for a green smoothie, and information on how it might benefit me. Finally, I found some information on the website of our local health food chain (we don't have Whole Foods where I live), and it was easy. A leafy green of some sort (or in my case, a blend of spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce), blueberries, and water. Add some other vegetables if you like, some ginger, and some other stuff as the spirit moves me. Easy.

And then the blender issue hit. Every site recommended the purchase of a really expensive blender. I started having blender envy. I started worrying that maybe my little Magic Bullet blender, gifted to me by a good friend, wasn't up for the green smoothie challenge. I was going to try it, and if it didn't work... I would go to Craigslist to find a solution.

Here is the long a short of this post: if you think it is going to make you feel good, and help you live your most vibrant health just a little more, try green smoothies. You don't have to be completely committed to a raw or vegan lifestyle. You don't need a fancy $500 blender. My Magic Bullet actually works really well. In fact, the cups in comes with are pints, which means two of those a day, and I'm drinking the recommended amount of green goodness. Sure, I have to do a little more chopping, and maybe spend a little more time blending, but the results are worth the effort, and the extra money spent on an expensive blender doesn't seem to be worth it right now.

Green smoothies make me happy, if only because they make me think I'm doing something really good for myself. I'm glad I didn't get discouraged by the hype surrounding the drinks, and there is a lot of hype. I'm not a vegan. I'm not a raw foodie (I was for a month or two at one point, and it was hard), but I've given myself permission to be a green smoothie girl. This morning, I also blended my morning pint with green tea. I feel supercharged now.


PS- I do sort of really love the idea of writing about this in a blog about living a juicy life... but then again, I like puns.