A Renewed Perspective

“What’s my motivation?” – that Sprite commercial from the 90’s with the diva actor as basketball player. Remember?

We are enjoying a weekend getaway in beautiful, crisp northern Arizona in celebration of my husband’s birthday. We are loving the adorable cabin we get to stay in, and the cool evening air!

Something about birthdays (apparently not just my own) makes me feel the need to reflect on my life and where it is going.  continue…

An Intention for Better Health

Health is a tricky thing. Who wouldn’t like to be healthier? It’s making the constant choices to get there that gets in the way sometimes. And it’s not even like we ever arrive at our perfect health.

Health is a choice that we make everyday. And even if we choose health today, or chose it yesterday, there are still plenty of health choices to be made in the future.

One of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors, Adriene (of Yoga with Adriene), says in her Detox Yoga video to set an intention for the practice. She gives a few examples that start with “I choose to…”. I like this intro to any intention.

You can write an intention at any moment of the day in your mind. Go ahead. Start with “I choose” and end with “whatever it is that you want in your life”. continue…

You Can Do Anything…If You Do It.

Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough motivation. Not enough will power.

What if these go-to phrases were meaningless, and no matter how much time, money, motivation, or will power was or wasn’t available, anything was possible? Saying anything is possible is easier said than done. But doing anything is completely doable.

This is not a post to pump you up about how you can do anything if you put your mind to it. This post is about the reality of following our dreams. continue…

Make Time to Move Forward

“Once you become consciously aware of just how powerful your thoughts are, you will realize that everything in your life is exactly how you allow it to be.” — Melanie Moushigian Koulouris

I get all bogged down by my excuses more often than I would like to admit. There are so many things I want to do in a day, and my most common complaint and excuse is that I don’t have enough time.

Not enough time to cook a low carb meal, not enough time to work on my blog, not enough time to go for a walk. I suppose the counter argument could be that I am trying to do too many things in a day, but what if I’m not? What if it is the perfect amount of activities and just letting go of my excuses and complaining would bring in that extra touch of time I needed all along to get things done?

Procrastination Battles

Things either get done or they don’t. Perhaps an over-simplification, but I am so tired of procrastinating. The worst thing in recent times is that I have somehow repackaged my procrastination as a lack of time. I tell myself I am constantly busy and just couldn’t get to it, which leaves me feeling confused and betrayed. continue…

Decide to Not Feel Bad & Fiction Friday

I have felt kind of bad all week for not writing. I have been a person who feels bad for not doing the things I say I am going to do, rather than either a) just doing them, or b) acknowledging that I have a lot going on and cutting myself some slack.

I have also been a person who desperately wants to write a book, and who has talked about writing a book for years now, but somehow, still, no book. When I woke up this morning, I decided I have a choice: I can either choose to feel bad about not writing, or just write and move myself, slowly but surely, into the category of people who actually write books rather than those who just talk about writing them (while feeling bad).

Feeling bad about not writing does no good. It doesn’t enhance my word count or my chances of success. All it does is bring about more bad stuff that I have no interest in. I get down on myself because I think I don’t have enough time to write. I just have to accept that I have whatever time is available to me and work with it. John Grisham managed to find time to write while he was still working as a lawyer, didn’t he? continue…

Why Exercise is Essential, Found Time, & a Blogust Status Update

Over the past few days, I have revisited creative ways to find the time to go for walks and get in reading on even the busiest of days. I was inspired by Robin Sharma’s video on You Tube the other day in a moment of desperation for a glimmer of hope and insight into how I might get on top of my life.

Why Making Time to Exercise Matters

He mentioned the power of exercise. These days I am not big into exercise that requires excessive amounts of exertion and sweating, but I do enjoy light yoga and moderately paced walking. The idea of getting up even earlier popped into my mind, and I have been doing it ever since. continue…

10 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Follow Your Dreams

When I set out to lose weight over five years ago, one of my strategies to keep me mentally on track throughout the day and prevent afternoon vending machine binges was to write out a different quote for each day of the week on a piece of paper that I kept with me at all times. Anytime I felt the urge to get up for a vending machine break at my job, especially around 2 p.m., I read my quote and most of the time it was enough to keep me from going off track that day.

I decided to use a different quote each day because I didn’t want to become immune to the inspirational effects of reading the same quote over and over everyday. Also, there are so many inspiring quotes out there, who can choose just one? I rotated through about seven to ten quotes that made me want to lose weight more than I wanted to eat a chocolate bar for a period of about two months.

Collecting & Storing Quotes

I collect quotes from random places. I first experienced the joy of quotes in high school, when my best friend started writing down quotes. Ever since then, I have dreamed of creating an organized collection of quotes that have inspired me to refer back to. Currently I have a notebook in Evernote that isn’t very organized, but is my go-to place for storing quotes.

There are so many times I come across an inspiring quote on a TV show, TV commercial, movie, or even a billboard. I try to get them down in the moment, otherwise it is hard to go back to the middle of a movie to capture the inspiring words. I also try to write down quote originals from people in my personal life when someone says something particularly inspiring or memorable.

The Power of Quotes

The right quote can have the power to, at a moment’s notice, pull you back on the track of the more disciplined version of yourself you envisioned on Sunday night when you were planning out your future.  You know, the thin, glowing, happy version of yourself. Her. continue…

Be Unwilling to Disappoint Yourself

For as long as I can remember, at least since I made the decision of what I would major in in college, I have been desperate not to disappoint other people. To my own detriment. I do my best to do what I am supposed to do to make sure I am meeting the needs and expectations of the people around me.

I have expectations for myself as well, but unfortunately they are largely trumped by those of other people. I want to be considered responsible, yet fun. Even if that means staying up too late and then getting out of bed the next morning so as not to disappoint anyone at my job by being late. Forget about disappointing myself by not making time to meditate. Well, at least put it secondary to what I perceive others expect.

Living from a Place of Fear

I would estimate that the majority of the time I am living from fear. I fear being late for work, saying the wrong thing, making a mistake, disappointing someone, being criticized, and mostly, not following my dreams. I fear, constantly, that I will never get the courage to write my book or make my blog a success, while simultaneously fearing that I am not doing enough to deliver on what other people expect of me.

It’s exhausting, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Which is why I share. The fear has improved, otherwise I wouldn’t even be sharing my thoughts today. We all have fears, but living from them day after day is not the recipe for a healthy life.

In my extreme unwillingness to disappoint other people, I have, unfortunately, become comfortable with disappointing myself. If I feel that someone else or some task needs to be tended to, then I likely take care of that need and skip my writing for the day.

Time is tricky. I can say I don’t have time to write, but I would have to carefully remind myself that if I believe everyone has the ability to make time to exercise, then I must also have the ability to make time to write. It isn’t lack of time that prevents me from moving forward (although I often cite that as the defining reason), but fear and a willingness to disappoint myself. continue…

How Not Taking Action Towards Our Dreams Is Selfish

Recently it dawned on me that our inspired ideas, or our dreams, are our way of receiving guidance to make other people’s lives better. I am not really talking about sleeping dreams, although they could be too. I am talking about the ideas that won’t leave us alone and keep nagging at us to get up and do something.

For me, this is writing. I have felt called to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Following a more traditional career path, I got lost in the time it took to pursue other goals, neglecting what I am pretty sure I am supposed to be doing with my life. I feel that I have the capacity to help other people through written words. And this idea will not let me go or leave me alone.

Our Dreams Are Our Guides to Help Other People

Sometimes I wonder: what if everyone (myself included) did the things that came to their minds as exciting ideas, that could likely help others? Beyond writing, I have had a few others on my list for several years now that I just have not taken action on. The reasons are all similar: not enough time, what if no one likes it.

I have heard people talk about self care actions such as taking time to exercise as selfish, but have you ever considered that not setting aside time to pursue a dream could be just as, if not more damaging than neglecting self-care? It took me a long time to debunk the judgment that exercise is selfish, and today I would like to share why I think it is selfish to not follow our dreams. continue…

A Year Ago on Awaken & Begin

A year (and three days) ago, the first post was published on Awaken & Begin. Starting a blog was a dream come to life in itself, and continues to be part of a much larger dream.

So far, Awaken & Begin hasn’t produced a penny of income, has attracted less than 50 likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter, and less than 10 subscribers. And I am still smiling. continue…

Is It Selfish to Pursue a Dream?

Sometimes I look around at the good others are doing in the world and I think I am not doing enough. At least this is one of my derailing thoughts when I am focusing on pursuing a goal.

There I am, happily affirming that which I dream to see in my life, and suddenly I feel selfish. I get the idea in my mind that it is frivolous and almost irresponsible to be chasing lofty dreams when there are people who are already helping kids and other people who need help now.

I then have to remind myself that the simple act of mentally focusing on what I hope to one day create doesn’t harm or detract from anyone. Perhaps someday I will be able to write a book that will change someone’s life. What if all (or even one of) the authors who have inspired us gave up before organizing and sharing their ideas?

Rearranging Thoughts & Transformation

We can completely transform our lives by choosing different thoughts. First, we have to become aware of the recurring thoughts, and understand their flaws.

The reason I know this is because I have tried it on for personal use on several occasions. The most tangible result was a 10 pound weight loss about eight years ago. continue…

The Most Powerful Way to Realize a Dream

When it comes to pursuing our dreams, there is a certain without a doubt knowing that must take hold. This supersedes all of the logical reasons it won’t work out, which well-meaning others may intentionally or inadvertently pass along to us.

It doesn’t matter if someone else has an opinion that you are not qualified, or that it is just not likely. And how, exactly, are they so well-versed in fortune-telling? I would like to know.

The opinions of others cannot hold us back. They might be a convenient scapegoat, along with other excuses of not enough time or money (all excuses I have used). But the real doubter, the only doubter who even has a say in the matter, is ourselves. continue…

Daring Greatly: How To Overcome Not Enough Time

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown writes about the theme of scarcity in our culture. The aspect of scarcity that I (and I suspect many others) identify with most is scarcity of time.

Not enough time to write, not enough time to read, not enough time to sleep. Not enough time is often the go-to excuse for just about whatever isn’t getting done: exercise, eating right, following our dreams.

I use the not enough time excuse anytime I am feeling sorry for myself for not being as awesome as I aspire to be. As aware as I am of the fact that this is nothing more than an excuse, and that I have the ability to overcome this perceived scarcity, it’s just too easy to fall back on.

Antidotes to Time Scarcity

One of my affirmations in my core value category of abundance is “I am enjoying an abundance of time each day.”  I am getting better on my journey towards this eventual reality. I am starting to realize that just because I don’t find the time one day to work on one of my projects doesn’t mean it won’t be there tomorrow. I am learning to take advantage of pockets of time in the day as they present themselves, and to let go of the time when other activities inevitably come up.

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown mentions that she believes it’s not that we need an abundance of time, but enough time. I do believe she is on to something with the whole “enough” philosophy, although I don’t see anything wrong with my affirmation for an abundance of time. It may just be a matter of semantics. In my mind, enough time is as good as an abundance of time.

Here are a few ideas (inspired by Daring Greatly) for overcoming the issue of scarcity of time: continue…

Giving Up is No Longer an Option

“Well you always throw away the first pancake.” – Reba on Malibu Country

The other night I watched a movie called A Case of You about a writer (my favorite kind of movie!) and it got me thinking about my dream of being a writer. This thought frequents my mind, but it often gets pushed to the backburner.

I have almost finished or barely started reading so many books about writing with titles like Writer with a Day Job, The Right to Write, and No Plot? No Problem! (written by the founder of NaNoWriMo), not to mention On Writing by Stephen King. To say that I am slightly obsessed with being a writer would be an understatement.

The Fear of Starting

A Case of You begins with the main character (played by Justin Long) agonizing over the first sentence of his book: starting, loathing, deleting. Some of the sentences were mediocre, others seemed really good, but they all had one thing in common: they all got deleted.

I know the feeling of attempting to start “chapter one” of some crazy idea I dreamed up in my head. What if it totally sucks and I pour all of this time into it and then it ends up being nothing? This is my ego trying to talk me out of doing something that makes me happy. continue…

Spark a Change

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  – Anais Nin

What does it take to ignite the spark to make a change? I wish I knew the magical formula. I have been trying to figure it out for years. Some days I have tried so hard to get inspired to try something new, almost forcibly so, only to be overcome by my doubts and fears.

I think there must be some kind of breaking point that, if we are lucky, we can reach eventually – where enough is enough, and we know that we are at a crossroads: we can either keep doing the same things, or pivot our direction. continue…

Our Comfort Zones of Discomfort

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

I suspect that wanting to make some kind of change is fundamental to being human. Wanting to change is the easy part – it is making the choices it takes to become different that is so hard, and sometimes can seem impossible.  continue…