It’s Our Choice

I am a suck-the-life-out-of-my-day kind of woman. From the moment I get up in the morning until the moment my head hits the pillow I am on the go. I really do not know how to slow down. Some might think that is a bad thing and say I am relentless while others might think of it as being tenacious. Regardless of what others think, we all get to decide each day how we are going to approach our day.

This recent Daily Om, titled: “Do What Excites You” says it so well:

“Each day, we make choices that influence the character of our experiences, and our decisions determine whether our paths are rousing or tedious, breathtaking or tiresome.”

I want my life to be rousing and breathtaking. I want to learn, grow, and be challenged. If you are bored you are not trying hard enough. How is it even possible to be bored today? There are endless ways to entertain ourselves, even if they are tedious and brain numbing. Sure, I have my days where the wires in my brain do not connect for some reason and all I want to do is veg out on some bad game apps on my iPhone. Candy Crush anyone? That, however, is the exception rather than the norm.

So, what in life rouses you? What takes your breath away? New ideas? Compassion? Empathy? What makes you in awe of the world? Remember, we can choose to make decisions in our lives that invigorate, inspire, and challenge us to look at life in new ways. We can do that every day. It’s our choice.

I heart good people.

It has been a good week. I have been surrounded by genuinely good people. It makes my heart flutter a bit to be reminded of the preciousness of life, of meeting new people, trying new things, and having a wonder and awe that sometimes when you go outside of your routine you are able to look at life differently.

I actually love my routine. I love the structure it provides in my life, what it allows me to do. However, we all need moments, days, and weeks in our life where we live outside the bubble we live in. Where we feel uncomfortable, do something different, and have moments where our awkwardness sheds light into a different or new view on the world. Maybe that is through a new experience or challenge, new food, or a new culture.

I am on my way back from Shanghai, China. I have been here for two weeks, and in a few hours I will be flying back home. Next week I will share some highlights from my trip. It is a fascinating city, different from Portland in so many ways. I will not tell you about that now, as I want to savor my trip and let it marinate a bit. I will tell you that I am inspired by the conversations I had this week, the different individuals I met, the new friends I made.

As I said I want to process it all, put together the story of my week, but all in all, I feel blessed to have been surrounded by good people. It makes me optimistic about the world, it inspires me, and brings a smile to my face. We like what is comfortable. So often we go to work and interact with the same people, get into our car, drive home, and do it all over again. Sure we interact at the grocery store, or Target, or with the gas station attendant, but how often do we get to meet new people and truly connect with them for an extended period of time?

Good people. We should always surround ourselves with good people.

Motivational Pas$w0rds

Ugh. Passwords. You have to change them every 30, 60, 90 days. They have to be these crazy different number of unique characters. A capital, number, symbol, lowercase letter. Every company has their own strategy for how different and unique your password has to be. It is so hard to keep up, and I have a hunch it is only going to get more complex.

I decided a long time ago to make sure my passwords encompassed some positive, upbeat, or inspiring word, phrase, or group of numbers so that every time I had to type it into my computer, I would think of that idea, phrase, joke, whatever floats your boat — a great way to inspire you all day long, give you a pick-me-up, or a little reminder that may make you smile.

This article from 99u talks about how you can motivate yourself towards your goals through your password. It links to this article, which shares examples such as Forgive@h3r and Quit@smoking4ever. Such great ideas to help uplift your thought, and change the perspective on your day.

As often as we have to change our passwords, we can change out mantra on life. Smilemore4me, Bringiton@work, Caremore4others, or whatever you need to tell yourself, make THAT what you type over and over again during your day. Hopefully, it will bring a smile to your face, give you a moment to breathe a bit differently, and bring a bit more happiness to your life.

Never stop running…

Yesterday I was running on the treadmill after work. It was a tough run. I was exhausted after my weekend, and I just wanted to crawl into bed. Yet, because I felt like I should keep at it and stay focused on what is important to me, I changed into my running clothes and got onto the treadmill. Why you might ask? Why do I push myself so hard, when maybe I should have changed into pajamas and snuggled onto the couch?

My answer would be dedication. If I gave in, than tomorrow it would be that much easier to give in, and the next day and the day after that. Yes, I definitely take days off from running, but they are few. Usually my off days are when my brain can barely utter a word, or I feel like complete ass, and can barely stay awake, otherwise my butt is dressed and ready to run, and usually…usually I am better for it. The run gets me out of myself, out of my day, what I still have left to do, and allows me to breathe in and out, and let it all go.

Running is my therapy. Some of you might already know, but I usually run on the treadmill and read books while I run. I read and enter the world of another individual’s life through a memoir, or the world of make-believe through a novel. It means 50 minutes to an hour a day that is not about what happened that day, or what is left on my to-do list, it is just about my feet going, the sweat dripping, and the characters that are spelled out before my eyes.

Yesterday though was tough. I was struggling to continue, I wanted to run upstairs and jump into a steaming hot bath, relax, and close my eyes. The thoughts that kept coming to me were: “This is hard.” “You have had a long day and weekend, just quit.” And then I realized, these are just thoughts. You are not a quitter. You are dedicated. You get on that treadmill each day because it inspires you, it feels good, and your thought is clear afterwards. Often you find that solutions to problems come to you when you run and you were not even focusing on them.

I hope I can continue my dedication to running as I grow older, when pregnant, with a newborn, and with aching knees, because it grounds me. It makes the world right. It invigorates, inspires, and fuels me. What fuels you?

Tell someone you love them.

Feeling vulnerable. Feeling safe. Which one drives the choices you make on a day-to-day basis? Over the past ten years I have gone from being guarded, closed, and keeping things inside, to being so transparent I probably make others wince. I have no filter, and say what is on my mind. Yet, I know there are people in my life that I do not tell enough how much they mean to me, and how much I love them.

I did not grow up in a lovey-dovey house. In his final few years my dad was a hugger, but it erked me. I could not remember him being like that when I was a kid, and he had so much anger and depression stored inside him I did not know if the hugs were genuine, or if it was his way to try to keep what was left of our family together. What is funny about growing up in an environment of non lovey-doviness, is that it is harder for me to be that way with family (of course with the exception of Chris and I imagine my future little ones). My future little one(s) most likely will get annoyed with my over the top, make sure they know I love them, gushy momness.

Yes, I am going to share another quote from “Bread & Wine” because it is just a great, wholesome book. Her thoughts on love and vulnerability made me think and ponder. It made me question why I sometimes hold my family a bit of a distance away, and why it is easier for me to bring friends, colleagues, and others to a closer distance. I am not going to tell you my findings, as I think they are still percolating within my thoughts, but wanted to share this quote in hopes that it might inspire you to think about those moments that happen where you can tell those close to you why you love them, and why they matter in your life.

“The heart of hospitality is creating space for these moments, protecting that fragile bubble of vulnerability and truth and love. It’s all too rare that we tell the people we love exactly why we love them—what they bring to our lives, why our lives are richer because they’re in it. We do it best, I think, with our nuclear family—most of us tell our children and spouses how much we love them easily and often.” Page 176

We do not solve our insecurities all at once in life, but I appreciate when the thoughts from an author or friend encourage us to look freshly at our life each day and find how we can do one little thing to pull apart the onion layers of our vulnerability, our fears, and our past issues, and look a little more closely at who we are and what scares us. Hopefully, it makes our life richer, more vibrant, lively, and connects us to what matters most.