Friday, October 31, 2014

Elements #29

Start focusing on the possibility of positive outcomes. The mind must believe it CAN do something before it is capable of actually doing it. The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful. Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on what you DO WANT to happen, and then take the next positive step forward. No, you can't control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things. Everyone's life has positive and negative aspects - whether or not you're happy and successful in the long run depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.
Now we come to a close of a chapter. I am glad that I got to through all of these prompts over the last few months, especially since I have a tendency to start things and not finish them. I wasn't always like that, but the last decade is filled with projects started and not finished. Granted, there are plenty of craft projects that were completed, but little things like a-photo-a-day or a blog post each day... these things fell by the wayside quite frequently.

But let's take a moment and think about this final prompt. The possibility of a positive outcome. I need this thought right now. With all the things that I have planned and the road I've chosen, I need to focus on the possibility of good things. My mind still has an inclination to think about all the "bad" things that can happen. I know that it's because I had so many times when I thought things were going well, only to have them fall apart instead. But I'm overcoming that and I'm looking at my future with hope and trust in myself.

At times, I catch myself thinking about the negative outcomes that could happen, but I've gotten better at stopping myself and replacing those images with wonderful things. Instead of allowing the fear come in, I remind myself of how many people I will get to meet and how many places I will get to visit. I made myself laugh the other day when it dawned on me that I will get to see places I've always wanted to see! The sun rising over the Atlantic and setting over the Pacific, a summer storm in the Sonoran Desert, a spring afternoon in the Rocky Mountains... all of these will be available to me. And that is what I will remind myself of when the darker thoughts try to crowd in.

On this Samhain/Halloween, I wish you all the brightest and most positive blessings.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Longer nights

As we draw nearer to Midwinter, I can't help but think about all the preparations I still need to take care of. The holiday on Friday will find me alone for the evening with candles lit and various books and lesson plans ready to go. I will also be staying away from most media. My phone will remain on, but only so that I can be reached if Brianna should need me. And I will sit in silence. I feel as if I'm about to let go of something even though I'm currently reaching for something. Perhaps I'm letting go of what has been holding me back and reaching for the potential I have.

We bought fabric last weekend and I spent some time washing & ironing it all while the yarn absorbed colors. At one point the dyeing, ironing, embroidering, and dreaming all ran together and I laughed at the thought of how this would all work once I'm on my own and in a smaller space. I will have to find some organization to the chaotic creativity. Perhaps that will be easier to do once I'm on the road. I guess I'll figure that out later. For now I am happily crafting away at the items for the new shop. Candles are being rolled, embroidery is being stitched, and "plushies" are being plushed. I look forward to announcing the opening.

In the meantime, my sweet girl will be heading to MEPS on Monday. I'm cool with it most of the time, but I do have moments when I feel a huge empty space inside. That's not quite right... it's more of a space inside preparing to be empty. As if it's not quite time (which it isn't, since she won't be leaving until May), but my heart is getting ready for those moments when the house is still and quiet and my youngest child is nearly 300 miles away, doing things that I can't imagine going through myself. Things that my oldest child put himself through, too.

With all the bold colors and crisp days lately, it's hard to feel very sad about most of this. Instead, I look around at the amazingly blue sky and the brilliant leaves, I listen to the birds and the rain, I cherish all the little moments and dazzling dreams. These are the days that memories stem from.

May you all have a blessed day!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Elements # 15

Start competing against an earlier version of yourself. Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, bit know that competing against them is a waste of time. You are in competition with one person and one person only - yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. Aim to break your own personal records.

I thought about this one quite a bit. When I look at earlier versions of myself I see someone who was openly accepting of so much, who was financially stable, who was building up for the rainy days and still able to splurge on things for the kids, who was sure of herself and how she felt about the people in her life. Another earlier version, however, was someone who constantly second-guessed every thought, who walked on eggshells all the time, who hesitated to show affection, who stopped singing and dancing.

And yet... both of these versions of myself were important to help me grow to where I am now. While I'm far from that self-assured and confident young woman, I'm also far from that cautious and uncertain older woman. Both remain inside me, but not fully Me. I know that might not make sense to many, but the version of myself that is currently coming forward is much stronger than any other time in my life.

While I don't have a huge well of wisdom to pull this post from, I do have a fairly clear view of my near future. Between the new shop, the new goals, and the upcoming new living situation, blended with the current shop, the current goals, and the joy of still having a few months with my daughter, I think that my life is going well. The earlier versions of myself wouldn't have seen the amazing joy in each moment I currently have. They wouldn't have been grateful for each day that I wake up and am smiling because it's one more day that I don't need surgery or medical attention.

Is that competing with the earlier versions of myself? I don't know, but I am looking forward to getting to know my current Self and creating my futer.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Elements #22

Start noticing the beauty of small moments. Instead of waiting for the big things to happen - marriage, kids, promotion, winning the lottery - find happiness in the small things that happen every day. Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner. Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference with the quality of your life.
Generally speaking, I think I do this already. Many times I sit on the front step and listen to the birds or just watch the clouds go by. I have moments when I sip my coffee and feel gratitude that I am able to do so in the comfort of my own home. I also think about the times when Brianna & I are preparing meals or whatnot and how special that feels to me. Even the phone calls with Anthony are treasured bits of time to me.

I think that, when I was younger, I didn't catch all of those small moments, but that's the nature of younger people, too. Even so, I can still remember many times when I sat with a child sleeping on my chest, or pausing for a moment before going to bed just to listen to the sounds of the kids sleeping, or even taking a deep breath while driving home from work and feeling gratitude that I had a good job to help provide for my family.

There are days when it's not as easy to enjoy the small moments, especially when there are bills to pay and the job is stressful and the kids are down with another cold. When these times come, acknowledge the frustration, since to do otherwise would cause more stress later, then try to find one thing that will make you smile. Whether it's a glance out the window at the changing leaves, or a sip of your coffee, or even just a few minutes of relaxing, take the time to remember how important and special those little moments are.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Elements #26

Start taking full accountability for your own life. Own your choices and mistakes and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them. Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will. And when they do, you'll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own. You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life. And no, it won't always be easy. Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them. But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles. Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.

Accountability. Control. Responsibility. All these things fit with this week's prompt. Taking responsibility for your life is of the utmost importance, I think. If you aren't in control of your life, then you don't have the freedom to make the choices that will be best for you. At the same time, you also have to make sure that you are doing your best, no matter the situation.

I know how difficult this can be sometimes. A lot of times we have a tendency to bemoan our situation and lay the blame on the job we have, the place we live, the people in our lives, and other things that are simply part of the situation, but not the cause of it. I know that I've done that. I didn't like the place I was living or many of the people around me. I didn't like a job I was in. It was easy to point out the things that made my life less than I wanted it to be. And yet, I had put myself in that place. I made the choice to move across the country and living in a place where I knew almost no one. I made the choice to stay there in the hopes that things would get better. I even made the choice to move again knowing that there was a chance that it wouldn't be "right" in a new place.

Sometimes, and I think this is important, there isn't a blame to be laid anywhere. Sometimes we are just in a situation because that's where we are. Sometimes we have to take a job we might not like simply because the job is needed. Sometimes we are continuing to drive an old car because this is what is available to us. But even with these thoughts, I recognize how important it is to live with the responsibility of the actions we take.

I wish I had some wonderful words of wisdom to share about this, but all I think about is that I have made recent decisions that will take a long time to culminate, but I'm ready for it all. I'm ready for the hard work and the possible setbacks. And, while I know that it won't be easy, I also know that I was the one who made the choice and am the one who will live with it all.

Be well, friends. Carry an extra smile in your pocket for the days that are really hard to deal with.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Elements #19

Start helping those around you. Care about people. Guide them if you know a better way. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness. And so on and so forth.

This one seems like it should already be known, but I realize that's not the case. I do know that kindness can be something as simple as a smile at someone in the store to helping change a tire. There will be times when you feel like you can't help another person because you don't know how, but if you can just say a kind word, that might be all that's needed that time.

I disagree with the part that states "the more they will want to help you". I honestly don't believe that we should be kind to people so that it's returned, but more so that it's passed on. We shouldn't do things in the hopes that it will be returned to us... it just doesn't work that way. Just as an act of anger can spread, so can an act of kindness.

I'm keeping this one brief, but please keep in mind: it only takes a second to smile at someone.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Breathing freely

“We too should make ourselves empty, that the great soul of the universe may fill us with its breath.”
― Laurence Binyon

There have been days when I despaired of ever getting caught back up, of ever reaching a point where I could lean back for just a moment and take a breath, of ever knowing that I didn't have to keep struggling so hard. Some of you already know that I went into debt to move to Asheville. I also used up every dime in my savings account and all my envelopes. I'll admit that it wasn't the smartest thing I'd ever done, but I had faith in the things that people were telling me and I believed I would be working soon after arriving and that I'd have my loved one follow me here to share in the finances. Neither of those happened, of course, and I ended up in a position of living penny to penny once again. My credit score dropped from 720 to 528. I was horrified that I let that happen again. That I let the words of another person sway me from my goal of being debt free and in good credit standing.

Photograph from
Robert  Stephens of Solitary Traveler Photography.
I will admit right now that I do still feel resentment about this, simply because I trusted the people in my life. I trusted that the opportunities would be there for me as I was told. I trusted that my "partner" was going to get things settled and would be moving here as I was told. I had worked very hard over the years to get out of debt, to reach a point where my money was all my own again. I was nearly at that place and I was really starting to feel good about the future. Then I made these choices and ended up going several steps backward. Yes, there is still resentment. Granted, K was sending money to me each month to help with the rent and I was able to get emergency food stamps, but to watch the balance in my savings diminish, to see the late charges on the debts again... it made things very dreary.

But now! After keeping an extremely tight budget since we moved here I have finally paid off two of the credit cards I got to pay for the move here. I have finally reached a point where the disconnect notices and collection calls have ceased. I have finally gotten that moment where I could take a deep breath and know that it was going to be alright. I can't say that I did it all by myself. The first office job here helped to keep the utilities on and introduced me to someone who led me to the bookkeeping job I now have. So I did have help from others, which I appreciate more than they will know.

I have reevaluated my goals and I have a new one. While I still want to own my own land one day, I recognize that it isn't what I want right now. What I want right now is something even more simple than a tiny house in the mountains somewhere with my animals and garden. What I want right now is smaller and yet, so much bigger. It will take at least 9-12 months to save up for what I want, but in the meantime, I will still be able to enjoy the time I have with Brianna, enjoy time with my new friends, and enjoy the wonderful feeling of knowing that I'm about to do something awesome. And, strangely enough, I think my mother would be tickled pink about it.

When I'm closer to reaching the first goal I will share with you all what my plan is. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful day!