Monday, December 31, 2012

2013-My Vision

It's amazing to me, the power of just saying what you want outloud to the universe.

Of course, nothing just happens. You have to take every opportunity that arises, you have to stare fear down in the face, you must be willing to embrace change and failure as signs, not as dead ends.

I was reading some of my tweets from last New Year's. I tweeted on the eve of 2012 that this time next year, I wanted to change careers and begin working with my husband full time. I didn't know how we would do it. And I still really don't understand how, but just this past month, we made it happen. We are running the business of my dreams together as a team. We work from home, we have our business meetings together in our living room or on walks. Work doesn't feel at all like work. I am living my passion alongside my life partner who is also living his passion, and our work is changing lives. Our marriage is rock solid.

Last year I resolved to make this year more balanced, avoid drama, and to live with gratitude. After a rough year, I'm there. Last minute, but I'm there :) I began writing my daily gratitude down every day, and even do my own separate version for my husband. It keeps everything in perspective, and makes me realize that I have absolutely nothing to complain about. There are no longer any "shoulds" in my vocabulary. Just what is.

This year I created a vision board for myself full of quotes, pictures of people and places I love, places I want to visit. It makes me happy every single time I look at it. I'm reminded of all the things that already bring me so much joy, and that the world is full of possibility and opportunity. I believe in the power of visualization and thoughts becoming things, so here are my thoughts for 2013:

1. Declutter. From our bedroom to the kids', I want minimalism, and simplicity. Easy to clean up, less distraction and drama.

2. Spending diet. We are cutting expenses everywhere we can at this moment to make room for our dreams. We aren't eating out, at all. We're making everything from scratch. I'm cutting the girls' hair. We are cleaning our own house for the first time in 9 years.  Instead of material gifts this Christmas, we tried to give our kids experiences or really thoughtful gifts. Concert tickets, pet fish, scooters that get them outdoors more. Less stuff, more use. (In case you're skeptical, it was declared best Christmas ever) Even if our budget opens up and money became no object, this is something I want to stick with.

3. Laughter. 2012 was tough, but I made it through with laughter. My husband makes me laugh all day long, my kids crack me up regularly.  Laughter is a huge priority for me in 2013.

4. Passion. I am so incredibly passionate about the work I'm doing, and I want it to spread to others. A big goal of mine is getting the people around me to catch the fire in my heart and start a grass roots movement of change.

5. Meditate. This is a new skill I've been working on that I believe has helped me with anxiety. I've learned to be completely in the moment, to just listen to sounds, see colors and sights, feel textures without judgement or thought. I practice while driving and waiting in lines and it has been an unbelievably calming activity. I'd like to expand on this.

6. Happiness through intrinsic gratification. Happiness from helping others, self-growth, finding joy in every day. I'm going to live every day exactly the way I want to and trust that the universe will align to support it. If I want to write, I'll write. If I want to rest, I'll rest. No stress, no busy for the sake of being busy, no apologies, no guilt. If I want to weight train, I'll do that. If I'd rather run, I'll do that. No more "sacrificing for the greater good" or chasing something that never comes. Goals are great but daily happiness is most important.

7. Move. Another thing I started this year that I want to expand on is moving as much as possible. I've been working out for a few years now, but it's really starting to sink in that this is not enough when you work behind a desk all day. I'm trying to get up and move around, to walk every day in addition to my workouts.

8. Do it now. Procrastination and lack of focus are two major issues I work against every day.  I started a journal where I've been writing down the 3 big things I need to accomplish that day. Until those are accomplished, no email gets checked, no social media, no texts or phone calls. This has helped but I still have some work to do in other areas besides work, like keeping the kitchen clean and not having things pile up in "I'll deal with it later" piles.

9. Helping others and positivity. The past year I have watched one truly miserable person cause so much wreckless damage to so many people, and it's been eye-opening. If one angry, sad soul, left unchecked can do so much external damage, what would happen if that energy was put to positivity and selfless acts instead? One person can touch so many lives around them, and I want to not only be responsible with that knowledge but to put it to good use. Every act, every word that comes from me I want to be positive and good-intentioned.

10. Unwritten. I have a very big thing that I want for 2013. I don't even want to say it out loud, but here I am asking the universe to open up a way for it to happen, because right now I don't know how.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012: Reflection

Every year for the past few years, around New Year’s, I have gone back through my iPhone photos, pulled the best, and made a collection to document our year.

This is a really great way to photojournal how our past year went and a fun reminder of all that transpired.

This year I began looking through the photos, just to begin to choose the best ones. When I scrolled back through the beginning of last year and then all the way through September, I began to shake and feel anxious, to my surprise. I was seeing the photos but remembering the feelings, instantly recognizing the smile I pasted onto my face as an empty one.

I realized that I could look back on this year as a bad one, but lately that has not been my style. I had a legal battle with my ex that was so incredibly stressful and difficult, but in the end I ended up getting what I deserved and the kids so deserve. I fought a major, major battle with depression this summer that almost killed me. My relationships were strained in the process as I struggled to hold on to those that I love most.

But all of that hardship, just as it always has, brought me to a deeper understanding of so many things. I feel for the first time like I am really beginning to understand happiness and higher living. As I searched for a natural and homeopathic cure for my depression and anxiety, I found answers right under my nose.

I realized how little I actually need to be happy.

I realized that gratitude is the answer to just about every problem that surfaces in my life.

I realized that there is so much power in my thoughts that I need to control the way I think.

I realized just how in control I am of my thoughts.

I realized that life is really not supposed to be stressful and packed with things and activities and commitments.

I realized that simple is better.

I realized how much judging others hurts ME.

I realized how little all the “stuff” of our head actually matters in the end.

I fell in love with the outdoors again.

I fell in love with laughter again.

I learned to say thank you for every good thing.

I learned how to inspire myself.

I realized that the only moment I have is right now, and worrying about the future or the past is a waste of emotion.

I learned to avoid drama by reacting from a place of peace.

I decided that I would live every day exactly the way I want to live it, no chasing of dreams or putting anything off…I find happiness daily and love to wake up in the mornings and experience it.

So maybe this wasn’t the rosiest of years but it was necessary for my growth. I feel fully in control of my life now, I feel happy and am certain that no matter what life throws at me, I’ll be just fine.

I’m the luckiest girl in the world, actually.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Heart Walking Outside Your Body

I should be working, but I just can't.

Like every mother and father out there, every aunt and uncle, everyone who has loved a child, I can't get past what happened on Friday.

This is not just a news story that I can turn off. I have turned off the tv, avoided social media, and yet every time I am alone with my thoughts, a movie starts playing in my head of some crazed soul walking into my daughters' classrooms with a semi-automatic weapon and shooting. My six year old is afraid of thunder. She is afraid of the dark. My nine year old is too young to see the movie Twilight. I just can't stop thinking about what these kids saw, how much they probably wanted their mommies, and how a band-aid just isn't enough this time.

I can't look at the photos and names of the victims. I feel selfish for that, because I want to grieve them for the sake of their parents and brothers and sisters. But the brief glance I did see of the list showed names and faces of kids who look just like my own six year old and her friends. How would I ever go on without one of my children? I just don't think I could. I can't imagine a pain worse than this, and knowing how scared they probably were....I couldn't.

I sent my babies off to school today for the first time since this happened. They have been in school for 1 hour and 14 minutes, and every minute has been excruciating. I don't feel that sense of peace and safety that I felt before. Kids---babies---were off limits before. They aren't now.

This is a slippery slope for someone with depression and anxiety. I am trying to use everything I've learned to get through this, including writing my feelings down here. I am intensely grateful for my three children, always, but now I can't stop staring at them and thanking the universe that they are safe, innocent, and still naive to the events of Friday (I did tell my oldest because I knew he'd find out on Facebook). I've tried to see what good I can see in the situation--the donations pouring in, the outpouring of love from our nation to the families. It's hard to wade through all the crap that has also come out, the fight over gun control and even mental illness. But I'm trying.

I have only recently come to believe again that there is no true death, only the end of our physical form. This has helped me a little. I feel a tiny light of peace that I would not have felt otherwise.

But overall, I grieve with the rest of the country for the loss of innocence, extending from the ones lost, to the ones who saw, to the families affected, to the town, to every parent and child who now doesn't feel safe at school.

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” -Elizabeth Stone