Finding Positivity in Challenging Times

louise-hay-quotes-self-esteem-choose-feel-good-habit I felt compelled to write this blog post because I thought others might need it.   We live in challenging times, but that’s a phrase that is used quiet often as there are always challenges in the world.  Now, it’s the global political climate, the hurricanes devastating parts of Texas, the Caribbean and Florida, the threat of our impact on the world, and countless other items that fuel news sites and keep people awake worrying.

I don’t mean to marginalize anyone’s challenges, in fact those are what make you, you.  Challenges ideally provide us an opportunity togrow, to make a choice.  There are some challenges that we are in control of, like reaching a goal at work, running an 8 minute mile, eating healthy, the list goes on and fills our days.  Those challenges become months, then years, and suddenly lifetimes.  That’s pretty heavy huh?

We spend our entire lives encountering challenges.  Let that sink in.  Life essentially is how you respond and live beside your challenges.  Whether you embrace them, conquer them, or let them consume you. That is your life.

Of course, there are the challenges you are not in control of.  These seem to be the issues that start to whittle away at us, because we have no power to directly change things.  I can’t decide to alone make world peace happen.  I can’t call North Korea and recommend that we all just “pipe the fuck the down.”  I can’t even force my mom/dog/the dude to do anything they don’t want to truly do.  I have no control over these situations.  Nothing I do can change a foreign leader’s mind – I cannot control it/him/them…. others.

I know what you’re thinking – my actions do control outcomes!  Well, yes and no.  You cannot control others.  Plan and simple. What you can control is your reaction and action towards others.   You can persuade someone, convince them to do things, but fundamentally, you are not in the driver’s seat for them.

So what am I really going on about?   The only thing you have control over is yourself.

You only have the power to control your actions, reactions, and purpose.  You are ONLY in charge of YOU.

What?  It’s true, yes even if you have kids – especially if you have others depending on you, I’m sure you know that you can’t really control them and trying to do so makes every situation worse.

So what do you do?  You focus on yourself first.

You are 100% in charge of your own reactions to a situation.  You can choose to be upset, you can choose to facilitate anger, disappointment, or fear.  You can choose to react anyway you want.  I’m sure you see where I am going with this – your choices do  have consequences or further reactions.

So how do you find positivity in challenging times?

You choose that for yourself and set the intention of positivity.

Instead of watching the hurricane coverage and feeling sad, scared or angry, you could start a local Facebook group to collect toiletries for the victims stranded in Houston and surrounding areas.

Instead of feeling like you hate your job and dread going to work each day, you could start challenging yourself to learn one new skill and use it each day.  Or you could make a list of all the reasons why you are such an amazing asset to the company and then spend your free time looking for a new job that will recognize that list.

Instead of feeling consumed by guilt and fear over money, you could honor yourself to create a realistic budget and exercise it.

I could go on forever.  Now this doesn’t mean we don’t have bad days.  It doesn’t mean that every single moment is a ray of sunshine or that the state of our world is in any different shape.  However, I think you’ll find that as you start to react intentionally and with positivity, you can dramatically change the way the world impacts you and thus how you give back to it.

xx

GFK

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The Pursuit of Balance

The past 6 months of my life have been a whirlwind. I have moved back to Colorado, found an awesome job (with no time off at all), accepted the bad news about Vladimir being close to the end, moved into our new apartment, hustled hard enough to get a team lead position at work, and just finally now in August feel somewhat settled in a ‘routine.’

With settling in, I can finally take a deep breath and realize that I’m completely unbalanced in some aspects of my life right now. Perhaps, it has been this way for some time, but now that the excitement and stimulation is dwindling, I have the time to observe and reflect that I don’t really feel like I’m living my best effective life. I’m not unhappy by any means, I am very privileged to have this life and been having a great time. I’ve made a lot of changes and progressed so much, I’m very proud of myself. But, what I am saying is that I haven’t knit, crocheted, or crafted regularly for 8 months now. My diet and exercise habits have been out of whack – too much working out is not beneficial for my body (and I would argue most everyone’s also). And I feel like I have pushed energy and attention into people and things that well, quite frankly, don’t even care that I engage with them.

It’s time for a reset. What does this mean? Well I’m taking it back to the fundamentals. I’m kicking off a 90 day health and fitness challenge on Monday. I’m getting back on my bike for short fun rides. I’m starting to sew, knit, crochet, and craft just for myself. No more custom orders this season. I’m making time for the people that I love, the folks I moved back to Colorado for and the people I love that live elsewhere that deserve my energy. I’m reflecting on the things I could improve upon, like my codependency and my tolerance for people who make me feel uncomfortable. It is the season for improvement.

This late summer and fall is the perfect time for a transition inward. By focusing on myself and balancing my life I will be more effective as a friend, family member, and partner. It is time to radiate from within.

I’m on the pursuit of balance.

LET’S GET ALL SQUISHEE.


At the beginning of March I made a little ‘to-do’ list and I just wanted to revisit that and set some new intentions for Spring now that we are really getting into some wonderful weather.

1. Go to the dentist. I did it! After what seemed like decades of bad news at the dentist, I finally received an ‘outstanding’ review and found out more about my options for dealing with my 15 year old root canals. Since the integrity of my teeth is really great, the dentist told me I would have these ‘dead-teeth’ for a long time and could go with a ‘less invasive’ method of crowns for fixing the color issue I have going on. CUTE! I know right!? Anyways, maybe prepare yourself for the panic stricken dental posts that will begin to show up as I embark on this endeavor in the next six months.

2. Cheapskates are the BEST skates! Well my cheapskate lifestyle is really gaining momentum. I’ve managed to stop consuming new clothing and housewares items. I’ve cut my shopping bill to reflect a sustainable, yet low amount each week. I’ve even gone so far as to price compare at several store and online for the items I consume regularly. I signed up on Amazon’s FREE Subscribe and Save plan for several reoccurring items that I use such as face wipes, wet ones for the cats, allergy medicine, floss, toothpaste, vitamins, Vega protein powder, and lotions. The great thing about the subscription plan is that you can save up to 15% off each item and you can choose the frequency of how often you’d like to receive the item. Then you receive all your monthly subscriptions on the same day depending on your frequency selection. PLUS you can cancel or opt out of it at any time. It’s really a great program and there are quite a few discounts/coupons floating around that take 30% off your first Subscribe and Save enrollment. I even called up my current satellite and internet providers and negotiated new cheaper plans – and somehow got SHOWTIME and STARZ for FREE!!! (for three months). Cut my monthly bill by $30 calling on both! 🙂

3. Lent. Going strong with my GIANT reduction in froyo. Thank goodness. Adios frozen yogurt. I’ve only had it twice all of Lent. However, now is probably not a good time to ask me about all the Easter Candy and limited edition sugar I’ve consumed in place. SAY SUMTHING!

4. Positive Energy. In this goal I have made the most improvement. I really did kick the negativity to the curb. Both in my personal and professional life I’ve made immense efforts to be positive. Don’t get me wrong I’m still emo as hell sometimes and will readily drop a UGH MY LIFE IS OVER in jest (well mostly jest), but I’m not focusing on the negative. Life is wonderful right now and the fact that I am rocking it, is just glorious. I worked really hard to get here – I’m healthy, I’m sober, I’m busy, I’m creative, I’m excited and most of all I’m able to love myself and the great family and friends that have my back. I owe a lot to PMA and to my support group. I’d also just like to give a huge kudos and squeeze to my ‘heterolife mate’ and life-seester Tannith – she has been my sounding board and a great friend in all these changes despite being such a stupendous wife and mother to her own family!

For some new intentions I really want to find a balance in fitness. I love working out – for the physical results, but also for the mental benefits. I rejoined an online Yoga site to practice some things at home and so far I’m loving it. There is deep twisting for detoxification and wonderful work for tight shoulder (because the chiropractor visits are few and far between) and hamstrings. I think keeping with my existing cardio regimine but adding yoga to the mix will be splendid. Further, I really want to focus on being a leader and student in my health, crafts, and relationships. I’m so grateful I have this moment to be proud and look at all the gifts I’ve given myself.

See I told you I’m all squishee.

BARF RAINBOWS.

XXX
GFK

Perspective

Gee Whiz February Health Challenge you caught me on a day where this is a total loaded prompt for me. Sigh. Perspective.

Well, I guess in terms of perspective, mine has changed extensively in the last 7 months (!). Things I used to see in a certain light are now not even in the light, let alone my thought process. I think honestly, the thing I’ve changed my perspective the greatest in regards to is PMA: Positive Mental Attitude.

People can get a little preachy with the battle cry of PMA, but for the most part I love the idea. Of course everyone has a bad day here or there we are humans living in a challenging world. For example in my life recently: I’m heavily affected by blood sugar and in fact had a ‘bad’ day on Thursday when I didn’t properly feed my body/mind resulting in a quiet and somber afternoon/evening (I literally had to ‘put myself to bed’ early just to get back into balance). However, that didn’t stop me from spewing my irritation about ‘boxed lunches’ and literally a rant occurred about how bread/rice are conspiracy food fillers….. I know, I know – carry a snack always.

But I digress, PMA is just a way of seeing the world. Instead of ‘woe is me,’ ‘the world is out to get me,’ ‘nothing ever goes right for me,’ PMA challenges us to see not only the positives, but identify the underlying ‘problems.’ I’ve been a huge advocate of DO since I changed my life, and PMA is an extension/inclusion/result/cause/action of that. Lots of the roadblocks we face are put there by us. It’s simple to sit back and judge others and their problems/problem cycles, but ultimately, we all have areas in our lives that need PMA. I feel like I’ve only really brushed the very shallow surface of this, but perhaps it got you thinking about the positivity we can bring to everything we do. It’s easy to get into a cycle of shame and disappointment, but literally that is the worst way to go about finding a solution to a problem. Not only will you feel your life becoming a huge drag, but you yourself will become a drag too. Friends and family are always there to support you, but even if the spiral of shame is too encompassing, your drag may start to alienate you further. PMA is necessary to get through the challenges with a lesson learned, not just simply to get through one rough patch to immediately/simultaneously encounter another hardship. Life is difficult – there is a whole wide world of hard out there, but PMA can truly change your life. Focus on the good, enrich the positive parts of your life and the negative, energy wasting, drag parts will subside and be solved. PMA is important for us. It’s hard and no one wants to sound like a cheerleader, but you have to in order to have the life you love and want. At the end of the day, the only person that matters is yourself. With PMA and cheerleading for your own success, the people and things that lift you up will surround you entirely.

Nothing Hill Vimeo from EasyRider Records on Vimeo.

“you are the weakest link between you and your dreams”

xxx
GFK

From Green with Envy to Happiness – the Power of a Smile.

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them. – Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
 
Over the past year my life has changed more than I could have ever imagined.  Some things like losing my grandmother I wish hadn’t happened and other things like finally moving with The Dude to Chicago were a dream come true.  Somewhere in between all the changes I learned a really important lesson.

The energy you give out you get back.  Now I know a lot of people know this concept, but I have truly lived it and seen the great things that positivity can bring.  A year ago I was pretty whiny and down on myself.  For whatever reasons – not graduating or working on my thesis, not officially moving, having issues in every single personal relationship I had.  But, one day after the dust settled and the grief subsided, I realized only I was going to get me out of the hole I was in.  It was hard and awkward, but I started by just smiling.  People get really tired of only talking about negativity especially if every time you talk it’s the same sob story over and over – no changes.  I realized no one wanted to hear it anymore – everyone was nice enough to let me sulk for a few months (thanks everyone seriously I know it was annoying), but if I kept it up I was going to lose friends and family.  I also was letting my negativity stop me from finishing my thesis, work on relationship that were important to me, commit to move, and overall be happy.

I hope they don’t mind my calling attention to them, but the best example I have of the power of positivity is my cousin Matt and his wife Oli.  I have never met two people who had so many opportunities, adventures, and so much love.  I wondered why – in my bad attitude days I was, well to be honest – jealous of them.  As embarrassing as it s to admit I always thought ‘they get everything they want! no fair!’  But, once I started smiling and acting positively even though it was hard at first, the stuff I wanted to happen started happening too!  Wow.  Then my green face turned into a smile for them – the opportunities they earn are exciting and well deserved.  I realized they created their own success by being positive, happy, and loving people (obviously with a lot of hard work too) – they most certainly didn’t get to travel around the world (several times) with a bad attitude and a surly face!  But seriously click on all the links in that paragraph and see how amazing Matt and Oli are – it will motivate you to start smiling and fulfilling your dreams too.

I needed to write about this because my life is so great right now – my relationship with The Dude is great, my animals and new addition are all healthy adorable and happy, I got the job I dreamed of, and live in the city of my dreams too.  It’s such a change from a year ago – even six months ago. How did all this happen?  I started smiling.

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