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A year and a day ago I threw away my comfort zone and left the security of a position I knew I could keep for a five-week challenge to see if I was fit to be a flight attendant.  I was both exhilarated and terrified, and believe me when I tell you most of the messages I received in the week preceding my departure from my department on the ground were not encouraging.  A lot of people  doubted I would make it, and I almost didn’t go, but it had been something I’d been pushing toward for over 6 years.  I needed to know.

For over a month I navigated the cutthroat environment with my head down and my eyes forward, stepping out and finding non-industry people near our hotel when I needed to breathe.  I studied, I started working out, and I learned through immersion to be completely alone.  Sure, I had a few friends, but they were taking their own journeys respectively.

On graduation day, it was still just me.  Sure, Hubby was waiting for me when i got home with a big hug and a celebratory dinner, but at the moment I was given my first set of wings the only person there with me was the one responsible for getting me through it.  Me.  Quite egregiously, I had assumed that day that the hardest part of my journey was over, but it was just the first step.

For the last year I have learned a lot about life and about myself.  I have learned to be independent and how to speak up for my needs.  There is not a single relationship in my life that has not been touched and reshaped by the experience, but the ones that have survived the transformation have been fortified by a newfound purpose and confidence that I have thing to offer and a right to not settle somewhere I’m unhappy.  I have learned to adapt and be transient.  I have learned to be fluid but firm.  I have learned to be present even when I am flying across the country.

A year ago I was reminded that my life is not stagnant or restricted.  It is not over, and while I have lost certain opportunities I have gained others.  I still have life and love to give., and it’s worth more than I ever could have imagined.

Aloha.

Go now, be invaluable!

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I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  I generally believe that every day is a change to start over.  Every day is an opportunity to be better than I was the day before.  There is no reason to wait until the first of the year to improve life.  So what is our preoccupation with New year’s Resolutions?  The first of the year gives us a clean slate.  It’s like a zero on the timeline from which to count forward.  What we forget, however, is that even death is not a tabula rasa.  This is why so many resolutions fail.  In order to grow and pursue our greatest potential we must accept accountability for past decisions, learn from them, and make peace with them.  For example, I can’t expect to jump into a new workout routine and nail it on the first try.  I must identify why I have failed in the past and learn how to pass former benchmarks.  I must also accept my surroundings, my financial capabilities, my time management realities, and anything else that may throw my new goal off course, not to make excuses for failure but to make a strategy for success.

This year the New Year falls on a new moon in Capricorn.  What this means is a very earth heavy new moon energy with the added optimism of a whole world of people celebrating a new start.  This is the perfect time to dig deep, plant the seeds for the coming year, and pushing ahead with goals that may have fallen into stasis or become unmovable.  This moon also pushes us to make this new start with integrity and authenticity. I want to look healthy and feel better about myself, not, I want to look like an airbrushed supermodel.   It inspires us to pursue the future in the spirit of passion rather than one of fear.  I want to lose weight so I can participate in a Disney Marathon,  not, I want to lose weight because I’m afraid I’ll never find someone who thinks I’m beautiful.

The alignments of this new moon center strongly around transformation and self liberation.  Most of our resolutions fail because of self-sabotage.  We constantly compare ourselves and our lives to past experiences and limitations we’ve either placed on ourselves or allowed other to place upon us.  The task here is to decide what’s important, what’s worth what you’ll spend on it as the wheel turns, and how to fit it in to the life you’re already living.

What will aid us in this all of this?  Perspective.  Attitude.  Balance.  We cannot take on these new tasks already defeated, guarded, or at limited intensity.  We must be able to give them our all with the firm belief that we will be victorious.  We must be able to identify the walls that have trapped us for too long, realize that the mortar that holds them together is nothing but fear and self-doubt, break them down, and begin to build the roads that lead us to the rest of our brilliant lives.  Without this new light on life is the only thing that will get us through the darkness between planting our new seeds and having an orchard of fruit-bearing trees at our disposal, because what Capricorn teaches us is that this is going to take time, but oh will it be worth it if we can stay on target.

My work for the night is deeply personal as I try to learn to focus, not on what I want to manifest in the coming yea,r but how to blaze the paths  that get me there.  Those things have been manifested for a long time.  I just need to find them.

 

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Blessed be, and Happy New Year!

Aloha!

Go now, celebrate and start forward!

English: Late Harvest

(This post is a little later than I wanted it to be, but it fits with the overall theme of the topic.  See, I’m not a procrastinator; I’m a demonstrator.)

 

We live in a world of five year plans and college prep pre-schools, a world where, at 30, I am considered too old to make new plans or pursue unmet dreams and goals.  Now, were it my dream to be an Olympic gymnast I’d agree with that sentiment, but I believe those things to be the exception, not the rule.

At Mabon we celebrate the late harvest and the beginning of Autumn.  This brings two very important things our way.

The late harvest is our last chance to stock up for the coming cold seasons.  We must decide what we can and cannot use and rid our valuable space of anything that isn’t useful or that takes up too much room in order to keep what will help us thrive through the winter months.  Setting goals and following our passions can sometimes require sacrifice and tough decisions.  There may be people who don’t support us and hold us back.  There may be other activities we have to miss and other interests that must be set aside to focus on those goals.  Dreams take time, money, and effort to be viable.  In the meantime we must be able to feed, clothe, and house ourselves.  This generally leaves little room for anything else.  What are you willing to give up to store your dreams?

The beginning of Autumn is also the beginning of the dark half of the year, which is generally a time where we turn inward.  Introspection is always my first step when reaching for a goal.  Why is it something I want?  Is it really what I want, or am I trying to fill some other void?  Is it something that can actually be accomplished?  What will it take to get me there?  I cannot begin to make real plans until my head and heart are in the right place to do so.  Imagine trying to write a novel with a litany of other things on your mind.  You will most likely end up distracted, frustrated, and incoherent.  Clearing your thoughts and structuring your life to be conducive to writing a novel before you begin is going to give you the clearest path to that end result, and your novel is more likely to reach its full potential.  When you are strong and healthy so are your dreams.  The same is true when you are cluttered and not in top form.  Take the time if you need it to prepare during this time of introspection so that you’ll be fresh and vibrant when the light returns and it’s time to plant again.

The key components here are dedication and optimism.  In today’s disheartening economy it can sometimes be hard to imagine having the opportunity to reach out of the rut of keeping ourselves alive to even attempt to touch our dreams.  Many people my age are still looking ahead to owning our first homes or having a family simply because it is not yet feasible to do so.  Many more who have attempted it are struggling to keep it all afloat or have given up.  We take jobs that pay some of the bills, and we work ourselves to exhaustion to pay a few more.  We have become accustomed to debt and failed credit checks, because we simply don’t have a choice.  It’s hard to see past the daily struggle sometimes and imagine being able to do something that makes us passionate, and the idea that we have missed our chance at a good life is prevalent.  I’m here proposing the alternative that while the conditions might not be ideal, and while it won’t be an easy task, it’s not too late to keep trying.  It’s not too late to make plans and set goals.

It’s Mabon, and it’s time to embrace the late harvest!

Go now, set a new goal!

Namaste

 

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been training for a mud run.  This weekend that day finally came, and my teammate and I geared up and prepared ourselves to face a pretty big unknown.  Where we ready? Had we trained enough?  Had we trained for the right things?  What on earth had we signed up for?

As I tied my shoes and watched the crowd gather at the starting line I began to lose my grip on the childlike “fun in the mud” motto I had developed during training, and reality threatened my confidence.  I am not a child.  I’m almost 30.  I’ve been overweight my entire life and have battled Fibromyalgia for the last five years.  What was I thinking?  Too proud to back out, I took a deep breath and tried to not look like  I wanted to vomit.

The horn sounded, and we dashed up the first hill only to wait in line for the crawl to the first obstacle, The Mud Pit.  I trudged in about two steps before the mud sucked me in like something out of a cartoon.  My shoe was gone.  My only recourse was to dig it out, remove the other one, and clamor through the pit barefoot.  I did, and rather ungracefully I might add.  Then I pulled myself from the muck as the image of the mammoth at the La Brea Tar Pits came to mind.  I laughed, fell back in the pit, laughed again, scraped my way to relatively dry ground, and put my shoes back on.  We were going to do this thing if it killed us, and I was not so convinced it wouldn’t.

For 3 miles we slipped, climbed, sprinted, and limped our way through mud, water, foam, and rocks.  We cheered each other on and offered encouragement when it looked like one of us might give up and go home early.  We laughed, we danced, and we put on the most convincing smiles we could for each other, but when we saw the 2 miles checkpoint we knew we had it in the bag.  Then we came to it, the obstacle that had been on my mind since we registered for the run.

The Death Drop.  A 40 ft inflatable slide.  I don’t handle heights well.  I handle falling from those heights even less well.  The panic hit me about half way up the ladder.  My knees buckled.  I shook all over.  I froze for a second, my teammate cheering my on from the top.  The world silenced as I slowly edged my way to the top.  I didn’t want to look over the side, but I did, after which I promptly told the attendant that he could call the helicopter any time, because there was no way I was going over the side.  Well, there was no helicopter, and there wasn’t going to be any helicopter.  My only option was to let go and plummet to the bottom.

I am happy to report that I survived the fall.  I have pictures and clean pants to prove it!  We finished the race, and I have seldom felt such a sense of accomplishment and power within myself.  It’s been a long time since I’ve trusted myself to find my own strength and help a teammate find hers.  It’s been a long time since I was able to feel like there’s a lot of life left in me.

To me it’s not a coincidence that this run took place on Litha, a day of power and fruition.  All our hard work and preparation, the seeds we have sown for months, was worth it.  People thought we were crazy, and maybe we are for rolling around in three miles of mud, but not for thinking we could do it in the first place.

Go now, do something crazy!

Aloha

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I found myself speaking with an old friend very early this morning whom I haven’t seen on a regular basis since I was 21.  At the time, in my mind, I was a struggling college dropout.  I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, I was working a frantic entry level job at the mall and trying to sell my art on the side, and I constantly wondered where my next meal was coming from.  Basically, it was a less adult version of what I’m doing now.  I was wildly taken aback when  this friend told me that he still talks about me and who I was then, but in his version I’m a girl with a passion doing what I love and making it happen.  His words to me?

Experience is what it is, and its powerful.  Don’t let anyone put it down. You’ve done the hard work before.  Now this stuff is just how you present most of it

I begin to wonder now if that’s the key.  With the matured focus and extra information and resources I have now, is that the missing piece, and I’ve had it all along?  It seems so simple, yet I’ve overlooked it because somewhere since then I lost sight of the dream to focus on the “methods” and “plans”.  Sure there’s merit to all that, but none of it means anything if the passion for that work doesn’t show when I give myself to the world.

Somewhere towards the end of that line of conversation he gave me this:  

Don’t throw yourself into what needs to be.  Throw yourself into what can be

Suddenly it all made sense.  I finished my NaNoWriMo project because it was something I was capable of doing every single day.  If I approach these other goals with that same concept and add in the passion I once had for life and creativity I could be unstoppable.

I remember why I kept myself around this friend so much at a time in my life when I was depressed, suicidal, mostly friendless, and ready to give up my dreams for a bucket of bad decisions.  Not only was he always there to make me smile and feel like I had some fight left in me, but he reminded me why I fought to begin with.  That power makes me who I am.  The good, the bad, the frustrating, it’s all a part of who I am, and it makes me one hell of a fighter.

Hubby and I like to play Spades, we have for years.  Whenever I mention this I know people begin to wonder whether I was raised in a Senior Center or a prison.  I’ll tell you later, but it will cost you your lunch.  You laugh, but you’ve never been shivved by someone’s grandma over the last tapioca pudding.  Or, maybe you do.

In any case, it is my opinion that anyone in any kind of relationship should learn to play spades.  I have rarely seen a couple last more than a year who couldn’t make it through a game without one of them throwing a tantrum or storming off into the other room.  It’s a game of communication and attentiveness, and something we could all learn from in dealing with daily life.

Spades is a game of nonverbal communication.   There is no table talk allowed playing Spades.  This means partners have to find other ways to communicate with each other.  Great attention is needed to body language and eye contact, but so is awareness of how your partner is going to perceive your body language or nonverbal clues.  Sometimes it is just important to know the messages we send to others, especially those with whom we share intimate contact, as it is to know how to read and not over-read or misinterpret those messages from others.  It took me a long time to get used to the fact that if Hubby doesn’t have a response he deems important he just won’t respond much at all.  There might be a shift in eyes to make contact for a second or a nearly imperceptible nod, but I had to learn to recognize that and not take it personally or feel ignored.  Nonverbal communication is key to any relationship, even in a world run by texts and emails.

Spades demands we stay calm with each other.   Don’t tell my partners, but sometimes I make mistakes.  In Spades this can happen for lots of reasons.  Sometimes you just guess wrong.  That’s why it’s  a game.  The lesson here is calm.  If I blow up at my partner because he made a mistake not only do I look stupid but it throws us off for the rest of the game.  We are no longer a solid unit.  I’ve caused a rift.  I can point out where I think things went wrong and what I think should happen next time, and he can either agree or disagree.  Then we move on.  We don’t let it bother us for the rest of the game.  I also can’t freak out because I made a mistake and let it continue to bother me.  Both of these situations have the potential to lead to doubt and resentment.  Don’t do it.  It doesn’t help anyone.

Spades involves being able to know how your partner thinks enough to foresee his next move.  I have to know how and why my partner thinks the way he does.  I need to know how he is going to react to my moves and how he expects me to react to his.  This takes an inordinate amount of attentiveness and a deep knowledge of my partner.  This can be hard to do.  We like to think we know the ins and outs of our spouses and partners.  How many of us can really say we know how our partners would react under certain circumstances.  Could we trust them to consider all the factors and everyone involved?  Do they know us well enough to know the same and anticipate our reactions?  This lesson can be useful not only in communication and daily interactions, but in emergency situations.  If I weren’t home during an emergency could I trust Hubby to act as I would need him to?  If not, what needs to always be in place to make sure t hings are taken care of in my stead?

Spades encourages you to work together, not for your own agenda.  This is a big one, especially when playing a game.  We have a mutual goal, and in some situations I may have a goal that helps us as a team but requires work on behalf of my partner.  I can’t tell him how I need that help, so it’s his job to put his goals aside to help me with mine.  So often we get wrapped up in our own agendas and forget to leave any focus for common goals or those that benefit everyone.  During arguments we’re often so concerned about “winning” that we forget what the outcome should be, a resolution that works as well as it can for everyone involved, not just Me.

In playing Spades if these things are not kept in mind you will lose the game.  That’s where the last lesson comes in.  What if you lose anyway?  Did you still enjoy yourselves?  Are you bitter and resentful with each other or the other pair?  Is anyone bleeding?  If you answered “yes” to the last two, you need more practice, and maybe some stitches.  Once you can answer “yes” to the first one you can apply these lessons to daily life.  Just keep that fridge stocked with pudding.

Go now, grab a deck of cards.

Aloha

 

 

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