Thursday, August 17, 2017

Say No to a Sweet - Just Once

"There will always be more cookies."  Not my most profound statement, but discussing health and eating habits a couple months ago with friends, this sentence just came out of my mouth... yet, it is SO true.

Whether you are battling weight, trying to maintain or facing health concerns, take a look at how you view food - especially snacks and treats.

I indulge.  I do.  Tempted by a warm chocolate chip cookie or a moist, dark chocolate brownie, damn, I can definitely enjoy myself.  But it doesn't happen every time.  Known as "the chocolate girl" when I was young, I have been able to change my relationship with desserts... and if I can do it, anyone can.  Call it willpower or self-discipline, but I think that it's just logic and reason.

For every occasion with a cake, there will be more celebrations with cake.  Say "no" just once.  See how it goes.  Remind yourself that there will be more cookies. More are made every day by companies and people.  Seriously - when was the last time you were in a grocery store or market and the aisles of baked goods were empty?  Even zombie apocalypse shows have baked goods still in them.  They are everywhere!

Now, if you find that you just cannot refrain - even once.  That this pastry in front of you is stronger than any care you have for yourself, take one bite and really focus on how it makes you feel.  If nothing else compares to the joy of the taste and the calories (and fat) are actually worth it, then own it.  Be happy.

Yet, if you find that you aren't even enjoying the flavor as much as the expectation, don't finish it.  Toss it.  We have been raised in a society that lectures us to not waste food, but if the satisfaction isn't legitimate, then we ARE wasting the food... and at our own personal value, as well.

I would rather feel a little guilty for throwing away part of a cookie than physically feel bad and finishing it.  There will be more cookies, and the appreciation will be so much more enjoyable when you don't partake every time.  Don't have the attitude of "I've said no three times, so I know deserve this."  Instead, take the power.  Look at the item and ask "Does this treat deserve ME?"

Please try, and let me know how it goes. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Facing your Demons

When I set out on this journey of living alone (pretty much for the first time ever), I knew there would be demons to face - wounds that appeared to be scarred over but were really just covered, not healed.

The big challenge with these demons is that they pop back up when you don't expect them.  They catch you unprepared.  Peacemaker and people-pleaser, I have been hurt by others, have breached forgiveness and tried my best to keep things smoothed over.  I have held back painful words as I didn't want to make things worse.  I now realize that isn't good for me, nor for the other person.

"Be a Lady until the end" is what my mom always said, and I excel at rising above and not stooping to anyone's level, but can't I still be feminine while stating the truth?  I want to know if I ever hurt anyone - it's the only way to work on improving.  So, isn't it also fair to me to enlighten others of their harmful behavior?  I didn't realize that perhaps they didn't know.  I just figured their actions and words were intentional and obvious.
Having the challenge of wanting everyone to like me, I have actually been disrespecting myself... and not liking myself.  Sometimes the truth hurts - it doesn't have to lead to an argument or destroy a relationship unless the other person is unwilling to accept their hurtful actions.  In which case, you obviously need to side with yourself - as that is who you are going to be with for the rest of your existence.

This is the "Clear" part of my Cook, Clear & Connect mission.  Your connection to self and spiritual guidance can't be as smooth if you have negativity clouding it.  Clearing can be painful and the main reason issues are covered is because they are difficult to confront and process.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Relationship Changes in Yourself

As my life has changed and my journey adjusted, I have constantly found frustration that I don't feel like I "know myself."  Recently, it occurred to me that maybe I don't have to know myself -maybe the point instead is being patient and learning about myself.

With friends, we don't know everything about them right away, it takes time for the relationship to develop and grow.  Sometimes years; other times, souls click quickly.  But as humans, we should want to continue to evolve... and at times, that can change your relationships in good ways or bad.

Thinking of myself as my own friend seems very odd.  I've read many (probably too many) inspirational, motivational and "self-help" books, but I don't feel like the messages sink in and take hold.  The big messages of loving yourself before you can love anyone else... I have just skirted through life ignoring all that.

But now, as I embark on a challenge of living alone after all these years, establishing myself in a town totally new to me and a career in a completely different realm, I am interested to learn about myself.  Find my soul and attempt a healing process.

I will be conducting my own personal take on "Eat, Pray, Love" and "Under the Tuscan Sun" during my solo time in Texas.  My mission will not mimic the paths of these amazing authors.  Instead, I am inspired by their discoveries. Once the page is ready, titled "Cook, Clear & Connect," I will share it so that you may Follow it, if you are interested.

In the meantime, please comment below or on Facebook what you have learned about yourself and any challenges that have led to your growth and change.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Taking the First Step

I have worked hard to make a good life for myself in Peoria.  For a small town girl who had no desire to stay, I have come far. 
For all my accomplishments, I am proud, but I do hold sorrow that things for me rarely went as I planned, as I had hoped.

My excitement of the future, sadness in leaving, and fear of the unknown have me currently feeling quite insane.

It is so easy to stay.  Obviously, comfort zones are just that: comfort.  It takes courage to step out, to do something or things that maybe you never thought you could.  So many people stick to the mundane - It is simple to blame others and complain versus taking a risk.
One of my favorite quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt is 'You must do the thing you think you cannot do.' 

How else do we grow?  How else will you ever know what you can achieve and who you can truly be?

I held on to doubts for far too long based on judgements that were made on me, not by me.  Based on disbeliefs I was somehow taught, rather than those I have developed.

If in my own journey, I can rise above and believe in myself and in the power of opportunities,  I truly hope I can inspire you to do the same.

Reject the easy path. Say 'no' to the known and climb into the adventure instead.  No matter what, you will learn, change and grow from the experience.

Step one...

Monday, July 31, 2017

Okay... even Bigger Changes

"Everything's bigger in Texas," right?  Does that include Change?
I am moving.  I am leaving my life and all that I know.  I am expanding my career path, changing my address and pursuing great changes in myself.  I feel pretty insane.  My friends are the best.  Hope's involvement in Peoria Ballet Company and the Dunlap Dance Teams has been so incredible - I have loved so much of those experiences.  Stage experiences, coaching experiences, all of my volunteer efforts.  The amazing connections I have made with people and businesses.
However... there are new challenges and new moments of joy and success if I look to the opportunities rather than the losses.  Some are made by choice, but most changes are forced upon us. This situation is both - I did not choose for my husband's job to be eliminated from his company in January.  But I did choose to do something about it to help our family financially.

My new employment will move us to a better market for my husband's amazing and impressive talents.  As frightened as I am, my confidence in his abilities overshadows doubt.  We still have a long, long way to go, but each step must be taken at a time... with patience and faith, two characteristics that I typically lack.  The bigger the change, the more steps, more setbacks and more dedication required.
A quote by Danielle LaPorte was in my social media recently... "How deep change happens: It's not always the dramatic decisions.  It's after persistence, loss, rebuilding, devotion to what you deem meaningful." This adjustment is not something I can just tackle and celebrate victory.  It is going to take a lot of endurance.  I will appreciate any and all support and encouragement, yet I know that I will not be able to rely completely on that.  I am on my own, at least at first. 

Our home will be put up for sale this week and my family will join me in Texas once other pieces fall into place.  In that time, I will be working on self-improvement initiatives and self reliance in a new city, while also researching school districts and mastering a new role in a completely different work environment.  Please follow my journey and provide any feedback possible.  It will mean the world to me.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Travel Perspective

One year ago, I adventured on my first "Girls Trip" - which is sort of a half truth - as I embarked on a flight to Las Vegas solo to visit my high school "bestie" at her house.

Even with delays, a major lack of customer service, surprise "pat downs" because of the jewels on my shirt, I do love to travel.

I will say, however, my horrible experiences with Allegiant Air did actually restore my faith in good people as well.  Meeting others in my ridiculous situation and being able to laugh together about an additional delay because a lavatory wasn't emptied during the 12 hours it sat at PIA (after our initial delays) led to bonding.

In a world when most people stare at their phones and avoid eye contact, the travel issues and overall hatred toward Allegiant provided reasons to interact and get to know each other.  It was incredible.

I love random conversations, too.  I enjoy being reminded that there are millions of people in the world - so many of them are amazingly interesting and cool.

Travel reminds me that while I think my challenges are large enough to consume me, I am just a speck on this huge planet. Taking any moment to escape the norm, explore cities, learn about other diverse people and the landscapes they know... that is what I love.

So, one year later, financial circumstances have shut down my ability to travel at this time.  Never again via Allegiant, but I yearn to do it again... one day.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bid Farewell to Expectations

We have all suffered heartbreak and disappointment.  Rejection hurts, and I'm not sure it ever gets easier.  With all these people roaming our planet, we are blessed to encounter kindred spirits and soul mates.  Unfortunately, we meet people who also are some sort of "life lesson" that we may or may not ever understand.  People that we believe in and want in our lives, but it doesn't always work out.

It's not always the person that is what we miss so much, though.  We miss the expectations and the excitement... the "what could have been."  The person is just a person - it's the filter that we used to view them that we need to change in order to heal.

However exciting or attractive or happy this person caused us to feel... we are still the same.  We didn't change.  Yet, after being hurt or neglected or turned down, we feel less worthy, less appealing, less confident.  When they pull their interest or support away, we tend to think that it was something we did or something they learned about us that they didn't like.  But it isn't us - it is them.

We are still the awesome, incredible individuals that we were when they entered our lives.  We allowed them to control our feelings.  With or without intent, we handed over our power.  We made them important because we liked, maybe even obsessed over where we imagined the relationship progressing.  The possibilities keep us attracted and sometimes blind us.

But they fell short.  That isn't our fault, but we do have the abilities to take back our control of our thought patterns and move on.  Get the filter off of what the imagination made us see and believe. Sometimes the truth hurts because the reality is so disappointing compared to the initial thoughts.

Expectations can be land mines... try to instead focus on moments as they are.  Enjoy them without placing too much invested emotions on where it could lead.  Just savor.  If the other person is scared or for whatever reason cannot cherish time spent with you, shift your perspective back to you.  Know that you deserve better.

Removing the lens hurts, and it can be a long, difficult, sad process.  But when you know you are doing it so that your own self-value can shine, it helps.  Remember that your view is up to YOU. While others can (and will) let you down, you have the ability to change your perspective and thoughts.