Sven recently told me I was mean. He also said that luckily he liked mean. At first, that didn’t make me feel better. Who wants to be called mean? No one!
But after some consideration, I guess I am a little mean. I have never used that word to describe myself before, nor has anyone else, but my sisters and I do have this running gag about who is the evilest of the 3 of us. I mean, obviously it isn’t me, but on some level I guess I could be seen as a bit mean.
We call each other evil because we like to give each other a hard time. We tease each other. I also give my kids a hard time sometimes. But it is all because I like them a lot. I guess I sometimes give people I like a hard time.
Sven has defined this as mean. It’s not my favourite word choice but I’ve come to terms with it. I feel that he often makes poor word choices when it comes to me. In fact, shortly before we broke up, he told me that he was dreading our date and then tried to take it back as he didn’t mean it. Once that word was out, I didn’t feel like it was something you could take back. I have since forgiven him for that incident but it was definitely an example of a poor choice of words.
Sven tried to explain mean to me. He said I was clear, direct and didn’t take any BS. All of which are true. However, I personally, would not have grouped them all together to define mean.
Oh well. I may not like the terminology but I’ve decided that I am ok with the whole thing. I guess partly because Sven said I was ‘Just the right amount of mean.’ Apparently that’s a compliment.
I have been such a slacker with the blog.
I have done some writing but it was on my novel and even that has not been as much as I would like. I don’t seem to have much time for the blog these days. But perhaps we should just blame that on Candy Crush and move on. “Hi, my name is Gwen and I’m addicted to Candy Crush.” It’s a sad, sad thing to say out loud. Eep!
Anyway, now that I have chastised myself, let’s talk about what I have been doing. I have still been doing the 365 days of gratefulness thing. It’s actually fairly easy to find things that I am grateful for every day. The tricky part is either remembering to take a picture or sometimes you can be grateful for stuff that can’t really be photographed.
For example, I’m still not in the practice of always being grateful for the thing while it is happening. I often do a little recap at some point during the day and if that thing is long past, it can’t always be photographed. Or sometimes you can be grateful for music or warm breezes or something that is difficult to capture by photo. So even though it is slightly trickier than I originally thought, it is still totally do-able and I am happy to report that I am doing it.
I hope that some of you are doing it too!
That’s it, that’s the whole blog post. Just a recap more than anything else. I will try to write more, I promise!
I’m starting a new project this year in addition to the blogging. It’s really an extension of things learned last year. Upon reviewing my blog, I realized that although I say what I am grateful for every evening, I don’t acknowledge what I am grateful for when it happens as much as I would like. Therefore, this project is going to help me with that.
I got the idea from 365grateful.com. The premise is to take one photo every day for a year of something that I’m grateful for. I have my phone with me all the time so taking a picture every day does not seem too taxing. I’m going to post the photos right here on my blog, also not very taxing. So in theory, I should have no problem completing this project.
I’ve only just begun and I’m already having a hard time choosing just one photo for the day. I think this is going to be a fun project that is good for the soul. You should do your own. You’ll like it :).
Here’s the first picture from Jan 1 (go check out the page):
Jan 1 – I’m grateful that I’m healthy enough to shovel all of this snow off of my deck. I’m grateful that I am strong and capable.
What a year 2013 has been for me.
I have always wanted to blog, and guess what? I did it. I blogged for a whole year, 198 blog posts in 2013. Wow!!
And during this blogging adventure I have learned some new things, changed the way I look at some things and really made progress towards living a happier life by myself. Recently, I participated in a Winter Solstice Ritual and because of that I’ve taken a quick review of 2013 (and by quick review, I mean I took 3 days to read every single one of my blog posts). From this review I have taken stock of some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned and will carry forward into 2014 with me.
The whole year was not one big ray of sunshine but I’m starting 2014 with some positive energy and personal strengths that will serve me well in the new year. So here is the Wisdom I’m Bringing into 2014 (and there is a lot of it, 52 weeks worth):
- You CAN choose your thoughts – once upon a time I didn’t think this was true and just let my thoughts get carried away on tangents that weren’t all that healthy. Now I know that by simply acknowledging the thoughts and redirecting them, you can change your thinking. It’s a powerful tool that I am happy to have discovered.
- Micro-movements or baby steps are the key to success – I have often felt overwhelmed by big tasks and then avoided them or told myself that I couldn’t do them. But this blog is proof that micro-movements can turn into big things. 198 blog posts weren’t written in one day and if I had thought I needed to write 198 blog posts on Jan 1, 2013 I may have given up before I started, but one post at a time brought me to post 199 which I’m writing today :). And SARK has helped me realize that you can break your steps down into tiny, little movements if they aren’t small enough the first time.
- Perspective can help you stay positive – not every day is a bowl full of cherries, but my life is pretty good in the big scheme of things. I have a nice place to live, a regular income, 2 great kids and I’m pretty healthy. Lots of folks don’t have any of those things.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends when you need someone to talk to – this one is pretty self-explanatory.
- Personal change takes time and effort – change is often not a quick option, it takes practice and effort and commitment.
- Take the time to review what you have accomplished – often we are quick to say that we haven’t done anything in our lives but if you really think about it you will find that that isn’t true at all. Sometimes we need reminders.
- Be generous – sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we forget to help others. It doesn’t take much effort to be nice or lend a helping hand or to donate to a worthy charity. Be generous with your words, thoughts and actions, it helps make the world a better place.
- It’s OK to look after yourself – for many years I put my kids first and ignored doing things for myself. This really isn’t good for you. It’s important to pursue your own happiness and joy. No one can live your life for you.
- Live in the Now – be present for your experiences. Spend less time regretting your past and worrying about your future. Focus on the beauty that is your life right now.
- Always take time for fun – plan fun activities. Plan silly and crazy activities. Plan outrageous activities. Plan adventures. Plan outings. Plan trips. Plan picnics, photo shoots, trips to the beach, walks in the woods, scavenger hunts. Then do them all!!
- Confidence, intelligence and a positive attitude is sexy – ‘nuf said.
- Unplug – take time to get outside and enjoy nature, your electronic devices will still be there when you get back.
- Finding your Passion may be surprising when you really get down to it – I expected my passion to be surrounded by excitement and fervour, it turned out that it was more of a thought that kept trying to get noticed but got pushed back down by “I can’t” and “later”.
- Make an effort to keep in touch with friends – they became your friend for a reason in the first place.
- Not all friendships are meant to last forever – some people are just passing through your life and teaching you lessons along the way.
- Make memories – spend time with friends and families, go on adventures together. The memories are worth more than material items.
- I’m ready for a real relationship – I haven’t found that person yet, but I’m no longer scared of making plans with someone or discussing the future. It seems more plausible now than a year ago.
- Some things may seem scary and hard but we can do them if we keep trying – perseverance, practice and dedication to a goal is important and when you are on the verge of giving up, try a new approach.
- People Will Treat You the Way that You Allow Yourself to be Treated – this one took a couple of lessons and I’m not 100% sure I have learned it yet. Hopefully it will sink in soon.
- Never use the words “We need to talk” – it only makes people jump to bad conclusions.
- I like walking – walking makes me thankful for my strong legs. I’m looking forward to more walks in the Spring.
- Eating healthier and moving more will make you healthier.
- I am enough – I’m smart, I have skills and talents, I’m lovable and I am enough.
- Even negative things can have positive aspects – like being unemployed.
- Over-thinking causes more issues than it solves – I’m an over-thinker, is there a support group for that? Living more in the present helps with this but it is a learning process.
- Secrets can hold us back – let them go, it will lessen their grip on you.
- Negative feelings don’t respond to reason – let them pour forth and release them to the universe, you don’t need to be their caretaker.
- Sometimes what you ask for shows up in a different form than expected – embrace it and be thankful.
- Your inner-wise self has answers – ask her questions, ask her for help and have her write you love notes.
- Expressing your words is a form of success – speak up, be heard, write, and be happy that you have written.
- I’m creative and imaginative – it often sneaks up on me and I don’t even notice.
- I should proof-read my blog posts more – ther seem to be severl typos.
- Always move forward – onto new and better chapters.
That is an impressive amount of wisdom for one year! I’ll have to come back and visit this post often to remember what I’ve learned.
Today, I screwed up. You know, one of those stupid mistakes that you kick yourself for afterwards?
Lemon (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)
I was at Costco at lunchtime, and rushing so I would be back to work in a timely manner. I unloaded my stuff into my trunk and as soon as I slammed the trunk shut I realized my mistake.
Of course you already know where my keys were. I’m not the first person to make that bone-headed mistake and I won’t be the last either.
I weighed my options. First I thought about calling a friend and asking them to drive me to my house, I decided against that one as I would ultimately be using at least an hour of their time in order for them to do me a big favour. The other options were grabbing a cab to my daughter’s school to get her house key and then to my house to get the spare car keys and then cabbing back to Costco OR calling the local locksmith. It turned out that both options would cost me around $60 so I opted for the locksmith.
During my wait time, the voices inside my head were quick to kick me when I was down and tell me how stupid I was. However, that was when I decided to make a choice not to let them have a free-for-all. I decided that what was done was done, I couldn’t change it, only wait for the fix that was coming shortly. I had gotten myself into a mess but had promptly rescued myself as well. It did take a few minutes for those voices to settle down but I WAS ABLE TO CHOOSE not to berate myself.
I tried to take an even bigger positive approach and see if I could figure out the top 10 things about locking your keys in your trunk… I could only come up with one, having a lot of free time all of a sudden. So even though I couldn’t turn lemons into 10 glasses of lemonade, what I did do was take the lemons and do something else entirely.
I took the lemons and traded them in for something more palatable, perhaps not delicious, juicy mango but something like a nice, crisp apple. Something that didn’t go to the extreme positive but didn’t leave me with a sour look on my face either.
I like it when I get to choose the thoughts in my head.
I’ve been slacking on my 52 Actions so this upcoming week I’m going to try extra hard to do this one. It’s an easy one but pretty important. Compliment 7 People in 7 Days.
I mean, who can’t compliment 7 people in 7 days?
In fact, it’s so easy that I dare you to join me. I dare you to compliment 7 people in 7 days. Even if just 2 of us do it then 14 people get compliments. If 3 of us do then 21 people get compliments. You see where I’m going.
So I triple-dog dare you to join me in complimenting 7 people in 7 days. You know you wanna. Just do it, you’ll be glad you did.
And to inspire you further, listen to Kid President, he’s pretty smart and says that you should do it too!
I was hanging out with my sister and Mom yesterday and something interesting happened. A car pulled into the yard (it’s kind of a big yard) and the people in the car just sat there looking around.
Well my sister automatically assumed that these people were disparaging the way things looked in the yard now compared to how they looked a few years ago. And my Mom kind of jumped on the bandwagon a bit by putting negative words into these people’s mouths. We had no way of knowing what these people were thinking nor did we have any idea who they were. Eventually they went on their way.
The interesting thing that happened was the thing that I said. I said “why would you assume that they are saying negative things? Maybe they are saying something nice.” My sister (who reads my blog) was pretty proud of me and the fact that I looked at things from a positive perspective. And I was pretty surprised at the fact that I didn’t just jump on the bandwagon but actually spoke up and said that there was no reason to assume they were thinking negative things, they could have just as easily been thinking something positive.
Sometimes being happier is about changing your perspective and your attitude. I really think that I have made progress in this part of my life.
Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying out some of the different methods of Energy Healing that are out there today. I guess it all started when I began looking into meditation, then I came across a project called Heal Your Life which was doing intro videos to things like Qi Gong, Tapping, Chakra healing, smile healing, etc. I tried out several but my favourite had to do with the chakras. I think part of the reason why is that the chakras have been around for a long time and are also part of the meditation program that I’m trying to master.
English: Chakra picture produced by AuraStar2000TM bio-energy sensor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are 7 chakras and each chakra affects different parts of your life. Chakras are thought to be centres of life force or energy. You can have open/ strong or closed/ weak chakras and each chakra can act independently from one another or they can work together. Of course they are most powerful when they are all strong and working together. When your chakras are strong or open, it is easier for good things to come into your life.
Based on the little bit of experimenting that I have done, my chakras are a mess, lol. But I think that the work I have done in the past 8 months has made some moderate improvements in them. I feel like that things are starting to head in the right direction for me.
I’m know I’m getting a little hippy-ish with talk of energy healing but I really believe that there are some viable options out there in terms of alternative medicine. Most of these forms of energy healing are based in ancient far East traditions and religions. They have been around for thousands of years. So who am I to dispute energy healing and meditation as methods to living a happier, more abundant life?
I have been practising an Abundance Mantra for several months now and I feel that it is helping me. Even if you don’t believe in energy healing or meditation you can’t dispute that focusing on the positive aspects of life is healthier than focusing on the negative.
If you spend all of your time enveloped in the negative, it doesn’t take long for you to develop a pretty negative opinion of everything and life itself. If you focus on the positive (which is sometimes difficult to do) then you have a greater chance to see opportunities that are presented to you, you have a healthier outlook on life and you are a happier person in general.
I know that some days I complain about my life and the fact that I have been unemployed for 10 months but the fact is that I have been on a great journey during this time which probably would not have been possible if I had been working and stressed like in my previous job. And that journey has led me to explore energy healing and I kind of like it. Maybe you should check it out too.
I’ve been unemployed for 10 months now and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. This time off has been an opportunity for me. An opportunity to explore new things, to take time for myself and to re-evaluate where I’m going in life. So without further ado, here are the
Benefits of Being Unemployed:
- The gift of time.
One of the things about not working 8+ hours/day is that you have a lot more free time to do other things. Of course, searching for work takes up some time but you can’t spend 40 hours/week doing that soul-sucking task or you would end up in a fetal position on the floor.
- Less stress.
I’m sure that several of you are looking confused at this one. Let me clarify, some days are pretty damn stressful, when you wonder why no one is hiring you after multiple interviews, that can be pretty stressing. But I haven’t been feeling that every day. For the most part I have been enjoying the lack of work-related stress. No deadlines to meet, no lack of communication, no problems with co-workers… you get the idea. Plus, when the kids get home, the evening rush of homework and activities is a lot less rushed and a lot less stressful.
- Better health.
I have lost 14 pounds during the last 8 months. It has not been due to dieting. It has been due to eating better, less stress, more exercise and an increased focus on self-care.
- An opportunity to try new things.
During this period of unemployment I have embraced blogging, tried meditating, learned about chakras and life energy, completed some small challenges, reached out to friends new and old, and signed up for a writing course. Plus, I learned a lot about happiness, positivity and gratitude, started playing badminton, and spent some time volunteering.
- Did some things I did not previously have time for.
I’ve done a lot of reading, purged some stuff, organized a get-together, scrapbooked, did more yoga, taught my youngest how to ride her bike, planted a flower garden and a few vegetables, went on some day-trips, did a little dating, and watched too much TV.
- Explored options for my future.
This time off has given me an opportunity to assess where I am in life and where I want to go. It did not happen quickly but after some soul-searching I have become a lot more serious about writing a book. I think I needed to go through certain steps to get to this point but I am excited about writing and I want to see what I can do in this field.
- Improved a friendship.
I have this friend who I liked but we didn’t hang out that much. We both got laid off together and it was a bonding experience. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders in the whole blogging adventure and job search process. I really appreciate her support and I ❤ her. Thanks Regan!!
- Made new friends.
Blogging has put me in touch with some people I never would have connected with before. I like that I have readers and I like reading other people’s blogs. Plus the writing course has added more people to my life. I’ve only been there a short time but they seem like a super supportive bunch and I am excited to get to know them better.
I know that these are my benefits, but if you’re unemployed you can make some of them yours too. Don’t spend all of your time feeling sorry for yourself. Put yourself out there, take risks and do something that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. Of course, don’t give up the job search but keeping busy with things you like will help you keep a positive attitude and that will help in the big scheme of things.
I feel like I am always waiting to be good enough.
I’ll just read one more article on the topic before I can speak intelligently about it. I’ll just research one more piece of information before I can make a decision. I’ll just get one more opinion before I can decide if this is the right path for me.
I have never felt like the expert. I undervalue my worth, my knowledge and my experience. I know that part of this comes from being a woman. Rochelle Schieck is quoted in Lisa Bloom’s book, think, as saying,”One of the most paralyzing things for a woman is her doubt.” and I believe that for me, this is true. I’m concerned that this is coming through in my job interviews. I feel like I’m a jack of many trades and a master of none. And perhaps my insecurity leaks into my interviews when it should not. When I should be proving that I am the best candidate for the job.
books (Photo credit: brody4)
My insecurity presents itself in other ways too. Recently, I have been mulling over book topic ideas. And again, I feel like I could write a little bit about a lot of subjects but not enough for a complete book. I know that I can always research the rest but it is nice to have a solid foundation. So I end up with a bunch of possible ideas and nothing that calls to me or presents itself as the best option. In the past I would have given up at this point, feeling overwhelmed and not up for the task.
But this month is different, at least as far as the book idea goes, for this month I am writing. I am just going to write each day on whatever topic I like. Much of this writing will become future blog posts, but I also plan to start attacking some of my book ideas by putting actual words on paper. I plan on fleshing out some stories, I plan on getting involved in the writing community that I have joined, and I plan on doing instead of thinking.
I may not know how to write a book and I may not know how to get it published but I do know how to write a sentence and that is enough for today. I AM enough and I can do this.