Setting Up Your Year

Setting Up Your Year

Before I set my intentions for this new year–I thought it would be important to chose a guiding principle for the year.

Some people refer to it as ‘your word for the year’ that will serve as a umbrella for all you intend to accomplish.

A guiding principle is not the ‘what’ you want to accomplish this year but the ‘how’ you want to pursue your ‘what’.

Here are a few good questions to ask yourself to come up with your guiding principle:

  1. How can your attitude help you reach the goals you are thinking of achieving this year?
  2. How will you find happiness as you work towards your goals?
  3. How will you implement your daily intentions to move you forward step by step?

I thought about this long and hard to be able to keep the momentum from last year into this one.

I found that I had the most success reaching goals when I kept things simple and used common sense to guide me through the difficult or confusing times.

So I chose two guiding principles for 2019: simplicity and prudence.

Simplicity, of course, means doing things in the easiest way possible. That sometimes takes a little thinking and planning time.

Simplicity does not necessarily mean fast–remember that trying to do something quickly often results in having to do double work because we decided to cut corners.

And prudence means to do things with caution and care and forethought. So again good planning to avoid making things harder than it needs to be.

We live in a fast paced, run around, world. But it doesn’t always have to be this way.

Give yourself some time to develop your ‘How’, write it down where you can see it every day, and use your how as your guidepost for 2019.

There are endless opportunities and possibilities to help you reach your goals. Set yourself up for success!

Almost The New Year

Almost The New Year

The Christmas holidays have passed and the New Year is looming close.

It has been exactly one year since I began this blog and I started writing it for many reasons.

One reason is that I was looking for a creative outlet and I love to write.

Another was to share with other empty nesters that life does not end when the children become independent and move out–it is just a new phase of life.

But this blog has developed into more than that.

Along the way, these last twelve months I lightened my load and learned a few things myself.

I decluttered my life and home (although I’ve learned this is an ongoing process) of things I did not need, papers that were no longer useful and in a few instances people that were toxic.

I’ve lost weight, became a certified health coach and am living a healthier lifestyle with good foods, lots of water and exercise.

I gained more space in my house, my heart and my mind. I’ve gained more time and in many instances more peace.

I’ve gained-even more importantly-a great deal of perspective of what is truly important to me and my family.

2018 has been kind to me, but mostly because I have been kind to myself.

I am standing strong in my conviction that if something is not healthy for me-physically, emotionally or spiritually- then it doesn’t need to be in my life.

I am grateful for everyday of this year, even the difficult ones, and I am grateful for the people I share my life with–some close and some far–that have made this year so special.

In a few days we will raise a glass and toast the year that has passed and usher in a new one–

May 2019 bring us all more of the good, less of the bad and the strength and opportunity to continue our journeys.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Vision Boards for Finding Clarity

Vision Boards for Finding Clarity

A long time ago, I started creating visions boards….in the 80’s, when I was in high school, I would comb through magazines and cut out pictures of things I liked, places I wanted to go, ideas for future adventures.  I would stick all these pictures on a poster board I would hang in my room.

I cannot tell you where I learned to make them or the fact that it is a form of positive thinking and manifesting, and setting goals for your life.

Like most teenagers my boards centered around–well me.  They didn’t necessarily have any specific goals in mind and were certainly market driven–based on the magazines I chose, but they did help clarify what I wanted out of life.

If I remember correctly some of the things I put on those boards were definately expensive (I remember having a fondness for diamonds) and I would need to have a college degree in order to achieve them.

Did that goal manifest itself?  It did.  I did, thankfully, attend and finish college successfully and been able, over time, to have all the I’ve wanted (although now I am not too impressed by diamonds anymore.)

The boards also helped solidify my values–because on them I have always placed pictures that represented family, work, God, service and country.

I’m a nerd like that–and I have always been blessed to have these strong foundations in my life, because I sought them out–at least my brain did.

In college I made vision boards too, and throughout my life as an adult.  I have even shared this little goal setting craft with my girls.  And I hope it helps them focus on what they want as well.

It used to  surprise me when something on my boards would manifest itself in my life–although it really should not have surprised me at all.  These were things that I had on my mind and the mind is so much stronger than we know.

Now that I am older–I still make them on a smaller scale, using a 12 x 12 sheet of scrapbook paper and the pictures I print at home after collecting visual images of my ideas from the internet.

I have my vision boards where I can see them daily.  And while our hurry up run around life may not allow for study of the boards–our mind’s eye sees them and goes to work.

The clarity they provide is one of honing in on the things that are really important in your life.

Now, I am not sure how it works, but I do know that it does work. I am not a scientist and cannot break down the steps the brain takes to create the vibrations from this visualization exercise to in turn create the energy in you and the world to make things happen.

But I do know this. Our brain, once it has clarity, subconsciously will lead us in the right path.  It will tell us when to turn right instead of left to find those things, events, people, and circumstances that we are meant to interact with.

When we don’t have clarity–in our lives–there are moments when things are unorganized, in chaos, and indistinct. Bad things happen to us.  We have a car accident, we make a bad financial decision, we come in contact with people who mean to do us harm. And things seem to be out of control.

Even in a world that is out of control–look at the people it does not affect.  Is it because those people are better, smarter or richer?  Or is it because they practice positivity in their lives regardless of the insanity around them?

Imagine if everyone created vision boards–and were able to create their positive energy that could mix with other people’s positive energy.  What would our world look like?  It would certainly be a different place.

My thoughts today, as I watch the chaos in the world on the news, is that they are manifesting exactly what the talking heads see in their mind’s eye. Their lives are in turmoil and it shows in their broadcasts.  Long time politicians are losing their foothold because the negativity itself is bringing them to their knees. People are being used because they cannot visualize a different way and are vulnerable to the suggestions of others, of promises that will not come true.

Each one of us is responsible for our energy–vision boards are one way–to clarify and direct that energy for good.

Change of Weather

Change of Weather

In the last 48 hours, in Texas, we have gone from the high 80’s in our “autumn” to a cold and rainy 54 degrees.  This is a major change of weather from one day to the next and it is very refreshing.   It reminds me that nothing ever stays constant.  There is always change in the air.

We can learn a great deal from mother nature if we understand that there is a season for everything–but when it is time for the season to change–we should embrace the cold front.

What am I talking about, you might think?  Well I am talking about a change in our thinking.  Sometimes we are just locked into one way of thinking and events in our lives seem to be spiraling out of control and causing harm or pain to ourselves or others.

Why does this happen? Because we are unwilling to change.  We are unwilling to see a different outcome or a different path.  We are unable to see the good side of bad situations, negative people and events that did not unfold the way we expected it to unfold.

There are many movements that have become popular now to learn how to change, to learn to think and act positively, to believe in a higher power that can lead us to the answers we are seeking.

What do all these things have in common?  Positive thinking.  It is a change of weather for many people.

I am a true believer of positive thinking, of finding the silver living in every storm, of learning from our mistakes and of putting our faith in a higher power that can help us find the miracle.

Being a believer does not make it easier–but it opens the doors to what is possible. And once we accept what is possible, opportunities will open up for us where we once thought that no path was available.

It is an amazing shift–if you allow the winds of change to bring the fresh air in!

I have seen it work powerfully in my life time and time again.  We find ourselves in a situation that we are unsure how we are going to handle and we start to panic, or we think we will just never make it through this hurdle.

But if you just stop–look at the situation honestly–and accept that there is an opportunity to change, good things can happen. Think about the outcome you would like to occur,  visualize what the situation can look like, how you intend to get over the hurdle, and the steps that will help you fix or turn around the challenge.

Then keep a positive attitude, accept the lesson the situation is teaching you and give it to God or a higher power.

Everytime, without fail, there will be a change of weather, and a way will be found where you thought there was no way.  The things and people you need will appear just when you need them and a new season will begin.

Enjoy the cooler weather–and see it as the positive change that it is–a time for renewal and an opportunity for a new way forward.

Being The Real You

Being The Real You

Life can sometimes be hard. And without thinking about it we sometimes make life harder for ourselves.

Being 50 gives you (ie. read me) a lot of perspective.

We cannot deny our personality but many times that is exactly what we do in order to impress other people, to not rock the boat, to go along to get along or to keep others from hurting us.

However, when we deny our personality and our true selves in order to protect ourselves what often happens is it backfires and we complicate our lives.

It does us no good to deny our true needs and wants because in the end we will be frustrated, angry or full of regrets.

Also, we usually get to a point in our lives–for me it was 50–when we no longer want to settle to please others or to keep wasting time in endeavors that are not making us happy.

Life can sometimes be hard but it can also be wonderful if you find a way to be the real you as you navigate the rough parts.

Here is what I have been doing to be the real me:

  • I choose to be honest, with others but mostly with myself.
  • I choose to spend time doing things that I find enjoyable and fulfilling.
  • I choose not to apologize for my feelings and opinions.
  • I choose not to worry about what other people think.

I know, it sounds easy…but it is actually hard. But oh so worth it! So enjoy being the real you–its the only you there really is!

Autumn Changes

Autumn Changes

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn–my favorite season.   You will forgive me if I become a little wistful.

When I was a girl I lived in a climate in which you could really see and feel autumn all around you.

There would be a nip in the air–no longer the warmth of summer, the winds would pick up and the trees.  The beautiful trees would begin to turn.   The bright and deep green leaves would turn to yellow and orange and red.

In Texas–the autumns are a little different.   But you can definitely feel when there is a change in the air.

The heat that seems to come from the earth itself subsides, not entirely, but in short waves.  The rains come and the dusk and dawn stretch out and seem to get longer.

In autumn we think of the harvest–reaping what we sowed throughout the previous months, until all is gathered and collected.

Autumn is the quiet time in the seasons. It is when mother nature slows down and folds in on itself and prepares for the long rest of winter–so that in the spring  she is rejuvenated and ready for the force of summer.

Our autumn in life comes on very much like mother nature’s.  Cooler breezes,  some rains, the changing of colors.  And the rest and quiet to continue on.

I am just entering my autumn–not fully developed and changing slightly, but looking forward to the changes, the expectations and the whole new world that is opening before me.

Like my favorite season–I am enjoying each year more than my last and am continuing to look forward to all the transformations.

Embrace the cooler weather–the relaxing days–and enjoy the autumn like never before.

5 Steps to Relieving Stress

5 Steps to Relieving Stress

Stress is the body’s way of reacting to and managing threats or strenuous demands on the body.  The more demands or threats we face from day to day the higher our stress levels.  These levels can get so high that it can affect our health–in a very bad way.

Headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite are common side effects of stress.  Continued stress along with these common side effects can cause us to make poor decisions, have or cause accidents and generally spiral out of control until some develop anxiety problems, depressions and other illnesses that cannot be clearly diagnosed.

We must find ways to reduce and learn to cope with the stresses of everyday life.  This may look different to different people because we all handle stress differently.  Here are some sure fire ways to reduce stress in your life that have worked for me.

  1. Let Go.  Let go of toxic people in your life and toxic situations.  You know where you go and who you are around that make you feel stressed.  Limiting or eliminating these people, places or situations will help keep your stress level down.  You don’t have to feel guilty about it (adding more stress), just decide to wish them well and let it go.
  2. Understand that Everything Changes.  Nothing stays the same forever–we know this in our heads and in our hearts. The seasons change, the economy changes and we change as the life around us changes.  To help relieve some of the stress you are feeling just remember that “this too shall pass.”
  3. You Are In Control.  This is your life and you control it. If something is stressing you out on an ongoing basis–you can change it.  No one can dictate how you live your life. If the stress is coming from a financial situation or your work environment you can make the decision and take the steps to make the changes that work for you.
  4. Focus.  Understand and accept the things that are important to you and focus on those things.  Let the noise of all the other stuff going on in the world pass you by. When you keep your focus on the things that really matter–to you–everything else just extra. Keep your focus.
  5. Gratitude. When you have had a particularly stressful day, take a deep breath and think about all the things you are grateful for.  I bet, as you do this exercise, you will find that the things that were stressing you out are not on that list–so refer back to # 1 and #4.

It is so easy to get caught up in the negative energy of others–and that causes a great deal of unnecessary stress, but worse we continue to do the same things with the same people that are causing the major stressors in our lives and expect a different outcome. By using these 5 steps it has helped me cope with stress and learn to change the stressful circumstances.

I hope they work for you too!  Life is too beautiful to be stressed out about stuff that really doesn’t matter!  Happy Friday!