If you're like me, you've had a few unfulfilled moments in your life. There's a yearning for something more and disdain for the things that currently rent space in your life and in your head. We often hear of de-cluttering and organizing our living and work spaces, but rarely about the positive affect de-cluttering our relationships with people, jobs, subscriptions. etc. can have on our lives. -Yes, I did add in subscriptions (too many monthly auto-payments have robbed us of having some of the things we really want in life). We may not remember the exact subscription, but we definitely know someone is supposed to pull something out the account. and that knowing takes up mental space that could be used for a new venture in life.-
I do understand that there are some things or people we can not cut all ties with, but we can definitely ensure the amount to time and energy spend on it is the same size, or a wee bigger, as the amount of value it brings to our lives. The art of letting go and making space can take time and often be very difficult because we link busy schedules, more things, and having many or specific types of 'friends' and acquaintances to happiness and worth. Getting down to the real reason why we feel the need to look externally for happiness and fulfillment can often alleviate some of the need for clutter that ultimately causes distress, leaving us yearning for true purpose and value in even the smallest things in life. When we make space for things that will add the maximum value, it acts as a mental invitation that lets the universe know we are ready.
Here are few questions to begin to assess for clutter that prevents the entrance of something or someone of highest value to your life:
How many days do you spend worrying if you've forgotten a birthday?
Have I dreaded going on a friends' event and just wanted to lay cozy in bed?
Have I sat on the other end of the receiver listening to complaints and wanted to just hang up?
Does this relationship feel obligatory or chosen?
Does this person align with or support the goals and dreams for my life?
Does this person leave me feeling better?
Am I always tired?
Do I have time and energy to do things that I enjoy?
Do I have any downtime?
Does doing this make me happy?
Am I being used, overworked, etc.?
When was the last time I used or wore this?
Can someone else benefit more from this?
When I look at the space, does it make me proud?
Why do I own this or want to buy this?
"Your happiness does not hang in the balance; it lives in the space where you can accept yourself right where you are."
Frankie, what’s a goal you want to accomplish in year 37?
“I want to really strengthen the ability to feel ‘ok’ in the spaces in between.”
I don’t get it, what do you mean by spaces in between…..
“The ones that everything tells you to push through, the ‘you’ll get there’ spaces.”
Most of our life is spent striving to reach goals or desperately hanging on as the pendulum swings to opposite ends. One end representing where we want to be (or some expectation) and the other representing the lack thereof. We’ve been told to enjoy the process, but are also constantly sent the message that we should be working harder or always striving to achieve through the idea that we should be on the positive extreme of happy, joyful, excited about life, learning, spiritual, religious, success, etc.
What happens when you are in between sadness and happiness or being a hermit and the social butterfly and have no desire to reach either end?
Well that my friend would probably get you a clinical diagnosis after a few months, if you talked to the right person. Then the message is sent that you are inadequate. Most often this message is sent out by things in our environment (objects, people, jobs, thoughts) and we go on to perpetuate feelings of inadequacy in others. It is that feeling of being inadequate that often leads us down the path to feeling as though we don’t belong (and let's face it, we all want to belong), catapulting us into a dangerous game of pendulum swinging to reach expectations that may have never been ours to attain. When we go for things that were never ours to attain, we must work that much harder to keep it and to stay sane in the process. In that chasing, physical or mental, we can reach extremes of exhaustion that alter our paths and lead to destruction of our natural ability to be resilient and find common ground between what we want and where we are at the moment.
So, what is a possible solution?
It’s definitely not balance… it’s removing the labels and monitoring our mental diets by avoiding ingesting messages that have direct or indirect negative influence on our mental well-being. It is our strong mental capacity and strength that drives what we do in the physical. Sometimes we need to forget where we are headed and train ourselves to be 'ok' with where we are physically and mentally. When we place success on the place we are headed, we also place the label of unsuccessful on where we are and that attaches additional, often deemed unbearable, labels to the current state or location.
We must recognize situations that cause us to feel inadequate and the thought patterns that coincide and begin to counteract those thoughts or remove ourselves from the environment, if possible. That removal can be physically or mentally, by remaining neutral to triggers. As a middle-aged woman, many examples I have dealt with personally or seen are feelings of inadequacy related to perceived intelligence levels, control, race and ethnicity, appearance, education, career and jobs, weight, parenting, popularity, being able to have children, being single or married, being able to afford to travel, what type of home you live in, body shape and size, etc. The list can go on. It is not only damaging to ourselves, but to connections we form with others.
The work toward removing the chains that entangle us can be difficult, but very rewarding and beneficial.
It really is MY party and I cry if I want to, or NOT!! The most important lesson I've come to realize is that it really is my life and I make of it what I want. With every year that passes, I realize a few things and evolve in my stance on others. Today these are a few that stand out:
1. Put one foot in front of the other despite circumstance.
2. Accept your negative feelings, and then let them go! There's no need to avoid or lie to about how you're feeling, just admit it and learn to let it go or just be.
3. Prioritize AND balance! Consider a balance beam. If we placed work on one side and home life and everything on he other, the balance would still be totally off. Home and personal life consists of so many things and work life (although it pays the bills) cannot take up more of your time than it.
4. Give permission to love yourself and others just the way you and they are. Ditch the idea of what things should be based on what you've been conditioned to believe.
5. Energy is so important.... keep yours neutral towards things that are least important to your life, kick it up a notch toward things that contribute happiness, and acknowledge but turn away from things and people that only seek to drain it. Energy is always trying to stay fulfilled, so be mindful of that when forming relationships and hanging on to dead ones that do not suit your purpose.
6. The evolution of parenting is hard business, but necessary. You have to raise your children in a way that will help them navigate through their world, not the world we live in today. This is not to say that we have to buy into what others think we should be doing or not.
7. Friendships... that's a tricky one and has always been an unconquered feat. The word is used too lightly and often never enough. Friends support you and they tell you the truth when its required. They buy the sugary Koolaid even if they are diabetic... but you know it. They clap for you even when they feel behind... but you know it. You know it and you acknowledge it. That's what makes you a good friend. In the same breath, you outgrow some people as well and you have to be friend enough to acknowledge it. You may even realize that some were never friends to begin, doesn't make them bad people, they just were never supposed to be placed in the friend category. (I've actually had people un-follow me on social media, but still contact me in private when they want someone to talk to... this is an example of not-good energy.)
8. Marriage.... its a partnership AND friendship that requires room to let people grow.. or not. It is a decision to do life with someone in a manner that is not hurtful to them or you. What it is not is a challenge to match up to some childhood ideal or dream or what is often depicted on social media, television, and the community. It is not a replacement for all your other relationships.
9. Your worth? If you don't define it, someone else will and it will always be less than it should be.
10. STOP PLACING YOUR EXPECTATION AND BELIEFS ON OTHERS. YOU DO YOU AND THEY CAN DO THEM.... WITHOUT ONE BEING RIGHT OR WRONG.
11. God speaks to regular people like you and me... every day. If He dwells within, then we do not need externals to guide us to Him once we become in-tune. We need only to let go of things that drown Him out: over-working, mental clutter, busyness, etc.
So these are my top 11 things I feel are ever-so important to my evolution as a person. I'm sure you have your own ever-so important lessons or Ah-ha moments that have help you navigate through life. You can have your cake (..or chocolate chip pancakes) and eat it too!
Energy, it is the most readily-available, valuable and overused currency. We all have it! If we are not careful, concepts, things, and ideas will take more than we are willing to give of it in a blink of an eye. Everything needs energy to live, even thoughts and feelings. When we take away the energy those thoughts fizzle out and can die. Hence, the reason many snatch it before you can even offer it up. The downfall to that is that we no longer have the mental capacity to focus energy on things we really want in life and allow room for it to manifest in our world because it's so crowded with everything else. We often see this when employers encourage employees to dedicate excessive time and energy to helping the establishment prosper or employees, athletes, etc, feel the invisible pressure to meet high standards.
The quickest way to be dejected from a group or to kill something is to quit giving it the type of energy it requires to live, become neutral or disinterested in the cause (silently or verbally). We see it happen with relationships, friendships, communities, networks, businesses, and on the news. We would like to attribute every downfall to money, but the loss of money is often attributed to the loss of energy toward a particular idea, thing, or even person. As a person who brings a desirable energy to the table, I often come across people who don't necessarily have a vested interest in me, but want the energy I am willing to give. How many times have you asked that question, 'They don't even like me, why do they keep calling me?' or 'They only call me when they are having trouble or need to vent.'...... it's all about the energy, baby. You'll even even across people that want to hand-off negative energy or defuse your energy. Quit feeding the monster and it will find someone else to feed on.
While we often think of the highest energy drainers as people in our lives, sometimes the culprits of us not being able to place our energies in positive and beneficial areas are things we voluntarily participate in: worldly news and politics, religious beliefs and traditions, and thoughts of how unhappy with are with certain things in our lives (where we live, work, our neighbor, etc.). While an individual can instantly drain our energy and be gone, the other things we keep plugged in do no allow other, more beneficial, thought waves to engage us. Yes, even thoughts are energy, so the term 'let it go" really does have value. Also, the term 'simplicity' or 'simple life' holds more meaning in the mental world than in the physical world. Live a simple life by not allowing too many things to take up space in our head, thus robbing us of necessary energy for things we really want in life. It is also equally important to not attach negative thoughts to the things we desire. If we want a particular spouse, house, or job, there is no need to bash the one we already have or lack. We simply should assert the thought that we want a particular thing and detach and dissolve any negative feelings of not not having it.
Lastly, we will want to know how to maintain our energy. The answer is simple... being aware of what we are giving off by restricting and neutralizing engagement:
1. Awareness: learn to feel when things drain you and begin to disconnect from them (news,t.v., music, complaining)
2. Prioritize your interests and allot your energy to those things (however, do not become hyper-focused).
3. Resist the urge to engage in things that captivate your attention, but don't necessarily align with your goals or bring you joy.
4. Create Boundaries: Don't isolate, but do choose to not engage with people who bring negative energy, don't reciprocate positive energy, or make you feel guilty.
5. Neutralize yourself! There is no way to predict what someone will say to us, but we can choose our response and emotion to it.
6. If there are things you want in life, don't attach a negative spin to it.
So, the next time we come face-to-face with an opportunity to spend our energy, we should weigh the pros and the cons and see if it is really worth it. Is it worth not having the things we really want in life? It's your energy, spend it intentionally!
Who doesn't love ice cream and cookies! Me and the girls decided to try our hand at a new summer treat, and I think we #NailedIt!
Yes, it's been a crazy four months. Many of us are mentally overworked from the uncertainty that lies ahead. As a school counselor, mother of a high-risk child and two ready-to-return-to-school children (one being a male teenager), and wife of a high-risk person, I have attempted to think of every scenario and map out the best response plan for each. All of that ends today, where I have laid those worrisome thoughts to rest and opted to think of what I can do TODAY that is in the best interest of my family and others in my community and neighborhood.
1. I can #MaskUp everywhere I go:
Yes, even when I'm going for my early-morning walks downtown or at the local track. While I definitely wear a mask in stores, I sometimes lax on it while at work or outdoors. So from here on out, I vow to #MaskUp for my 8 year-old daughter (who is immunocompromised), my husband, my elderly neighbors, for veterans, and to help our country-now that's real patriotism!
2. I can practice physical distancing everywhere I go.
I know it's hard to turn down invites where social distancing can be compromised because we are all dying for human interaction and togetherness that we took for granted, but the state of our country needs us right now and its the least we can do for those who have fought for it and those who are too weak to fight off this virus.
3. I can choose not to engage in negative conversations (i.e. politics, Covid-19, complaining ) that can negatively affect my immune system.
There are many studies conducted that conclude that negative emotions and stress weaken our immune system responses, thus rendering it less effective in fighting off pathogens. A group of researchers conducted a study on the body's response to the flu vaccine in the presence of the stress hormone, cortisol. They tested the stress levels of 83 seemingly-healthy male subjects and surveyed how stressed or overwhelmed they felt on the days they received a specific vaccine. They concluded that on days where they answered feeling stressed or overwhelmed and had higher levels of cortisol in their blood, their bodies had high inflammatory responses and less antibodies were present (G. Miller, S. Cohen, S. Pressman, B. Rabin, & J. Treanor, 2004).
We all have at least one person whom we feel is worthy of us adhering to mitigating measures that have been advised across all 50 states. For many, that person is ourselves and for others it may be that elderly neighbor, our elderly family member, a local company awaiting our compliance to fully re-open and regain financial business flow, etc. When we #MaskUp in solidarity, we become active soldiers fighting the war against something that has the ability to bring our country to its knees. I know why I #MaskUp. Who do you #MaskUp for?
Miller, G. E., Cohen, S., Pressman, S., Barkin, A., Rabin, B. S., & Treanor, J. J. (2004). Psychological stress and antibody response to influenza vaccination: when is the critical period for stress, and how does it get inside the body?. Psychosomatic medicine, 66(2), 215–223. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.psy.0000116718.54414.9e
"The best communicators in the world are that because they are fluent in human."
"There are more years behind me than ahead of me..."
If you're lucky, you'll happen upon the lost place (where you will re-introduce yourself to yourself) and know exactly where to go, with confidence...
I love all things creative and writing thought-provoking posts. I began documenting #MyEarlyMorningThoughts about two years ago and have since received many requests to begin blogging and to continue posting about everyday life, growth, maturity, and SPIRITUAL concepts. Don't be shy, feel free to comment your life experiences and wisdom on any post.