No Good Thought Is Wasted

It can be hard to believe that our thoughts have any impact on our lives, especially when things don’t seem to work out, even if we were thinking positively. So why bother? continue…

How Do You Know When a Dream Comes True?

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

This past year has been filled with long-time dreams come true. We got married, traveled to Europe for the first time together, and now own two orthodontic practices (husband being the orthodontist). Still, I felt that my dreams had not yet “happened”.

This weekend my sweet husband took me back to the resort where we got married in Sedona and we enjoyed a very peaceful, serene, reflective weekend together (I will be posting pictures on our website this week for anyone who is interested). My plan was to spend time thinking about what I would need to do in the upcoming year to make my dreams into my reality. continue…

Release the Need to Judge and to Be Judged

I don’t know about you, but for as much time as I get to be alone, my mind is a revolving door of what I’m thinking other people might be thinking about me.

I work from home and absolutely love it. The being at home part. I probably need to get out more, but I’m truly happiest relaxing at home. Yet I find my mind going in circles throughout the day with thoughts of what other people think about me.

I partially blame Facebook. It reminds me of people who I might not have seen in years or who I might only be acquainted with and their thoughts about the world and other people. And then my mind starts to wonder: what do they think about me, then?

This sounds pretty selfish, now that I’m writing it out. Because clearly these people aren’t going around thinking about me all the time, if ever. But still, my ego insists on begging the question – just what do they think of me? continue…

The Life-Changing Magic of a Tidy Closet

After I started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I couldn’t wait to get started on my own “tidying marathon”. I still haven’t finished tidying the whole house and I started this process over a month ago. But I KNOW it is possible and am so excited about finally getting “tidy”.

I’m not sure how long Marie Kondo’s tidying marathons last, but if she were in the US or I were in Japan, I would love to enlist her services to keep me focused on tidying for however long it takes. As it is, I am doing this myself, motivated by the version of Marie Kondo in my head who paints a picture of me surrounded by only things that bring me joy, sipping tea in my perfectly tidy home and making time to do yoga and take a bath before bed at night.

Following the KonMari sequence, I started with clothes, then moved on to books, then papers, and am currently on “komono” (pretty much everything else – which is a lot!). Today I share my dramatic closet transformation. continue…

My First Day at Alt Summit Ever

It’s a week and a half before my wedding, and I’m at Alt Summit Summer 2015! I haven’t been blogging due to wedding planning (and who knows how many other excuses I could come up with), but now that I’m here at my dream blogging conference, I feel compelled to write.

I have been dreaming about going to Alt Summit ever since I first learned that it existed a few years ago when I started dreaming about being a blogger. As I sit here on my hotel bed with the Alt program at my side, I can hardly believe this dream has come true!

Over the past few years, I didn’t have the courage to come to the conference, not thinking that I was a real blogger. Being inspired by Organized Jen’s post about attending the winter session, the same blogger and vlogger who inspired me to start my own blog, I signed up this past winter as soon as tickets went on sale.

After some back and forth about should I go or shouldn’t I go to save money for the wedding, I ended up deciding I would go the night before the trip. And I don’t have to tell you that I am so glad I did! continue…

Creating for the Sake of Creating

Do you consider yourself to be a creative person? What do you like to create? Have you been creating lately?

I have been following Alex Beadon for a little while, and she recently started posting personal vlogs. She has been saying in her vlogs that after getting into vlogging, she realized that she missed the act of creating for the sake of creating ever since she let her photography business go.

This got me thinking: I love writing for the sake of writing. I get so caught up in how I might turn doing what I love doing into how I generate income, sometimes I forget that it is purely joyful for me.

I am in no way talented at painting, singing, or other forms of art. Nor do I want to be. But writing is the form of creation that I love.

The Cycle of Creativity

Kids are encouraged to create to develop their minds and just to have fun. As adults, we can get caught up in making a living and making everything work and forget to just do things because they are fun. And even if they are fun, it feels like they have to be associated with achieving some goal or getting something out of it. Otherwise, what’s the point? continue…

Book Nook Review: Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard

Ever feel like you need someone to sit you down and give you a pep talk to supercharge your life into action? Reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard is kind of like that. Squared. Cubed, even.

“We must ask if our desires to feel safe and accepted are in fact enslaving us to popular opinion—and to boredom.”

If you ever felt like you were destined for a greater existence but felt conflicted or overwhelmed about taking the necessary actions, this book is so for you. You might want to stop reading here and go get a copy to see for yourself. It is that good. continue…

Meditation Mondays: How To Change How You Feel in Any Moment

Life is feelings. Our lives are built on our feelings. When I tap in to my real feelings, I feel a light, buzzing feeling under my skin, and I am and more aware of the present moment. That is when I know I am on the right track.

How do you feel?

Right in this moment, do you feel how you want to feel? How about an hour ago, or three hours ago? How are you anticipating that you will feel in the next few hours? Is it where you want to be?

Are the feelings you identified the feelings you would feel if everything in your life were exactly as you would like it to be in this moment?

When I am feeling upset, frustrated, negative, gross, angry, exhausted, frazzled…I know I am off track. There are so many surface feelings designed to protect our egos that cause major problems. Letting go of them and allowing the real feelings to come to the surface allows us to live our real lives that we are meant for; not the ones that are designed to protect our egos. continue…

Why It’s Up to You to Follow Your Dream

Do you wonder what your purpose is, if you have a greater purpose, and if so, when will you ever find the time to fulfill it with the mundane tasks and responsibilities calling your name at every turn?

It’s You

While meditating this morning, I was asking these very questions. I feel called to function a certain way in my life, as a writer, but I constantly struggle with whether this is a true calling or if it is something I just made up. Secondary to that struggle is my battle with time, and where to find the time to carry out these crazy quests of my soul.

The phrase “it’s you” popped into my head. As in, it’s on you, your responsibility, to live out your dream. It’s your responsibility to the world to do whatever it is you are called to do that will help others.

No one else can do it for you. Whatever unique gift you have to share with the world, even if you are unsure of the specifics (like me), you are the only one who can deliver that one specific idea.

I think about Glee, and what if Glee never existed. What if the people who created Glee just didn’t bother, and went on with whatever else they were doing or were going to do. You might think of Dr. Seuss, Steve Jobs, a favorite author, or whoever else you see as a figure who has changed the world by being brave enough to share their ideas and gifts. 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 New Way to View Health, Life, & Beyond

“People are starving for love, not knowing their heart is a magical kitchen. Open your heart. Open your magical kitchen and refuse to walk around the world begging for love. In your heart is all the love you need. Your heart can create any amount of love, not just for yourself, but for the whole world.” Miguel Ruiz

I was first introduced to Anita Moorjani at an I Can Do It, Ignite! conference in San Jose, CA in February 2013. Wayne Dyer introduced her, and there was an obvious buzz in the room from the people who had already heard her story.

Her presence on the stage was peaceful yet powerful. Instantly I was endeared to her unique British accent with something else mixed in, and her wonderfully descriptive explanation of life as she now knows it after her near death experience (NDE).

Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing is the story of Anita Moorjani’s NDE, her life leading up to it, and her new life now that she “knows better” than the old version of herself. The story begins with Anita as a child, and we get a brief glimpse into her upbringing in Hong Kong. From the sound of it, her upbringing in Hong Kong was not all that different from that of a brother-sister pair in the US.

She loved to play and have fun, and she also learned at a young age that girls are looked upon by some as inferior to boys. She loved yet feared her father, and aimed to please her parents even if to her own detriment. She loved her older brother, and was teased by seemingly mean-spirited kids in elementary school for being different.

The Struggle to Please & Live

Anita then moves onto her somewhat unique struggle of having to deal with the sentence of an arranged marriage. Being of Indian descent, Anita’s culture expected her to marry based on the man who was chosen for her, not the one she truly loved. It is at this part of the book where the consequences of people-pleasing start to become apparent. continue…

Daring Greatly: Giving Up Perfectionism for Creativity

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

I have been listening to Daring Greatly by Brené Brown over the past few weeks. Brené Brown is famous for her TED Talks on vulnerability and shame, which is how I came to know of her. I previously read her book The Gifts of Imperfection, which had my name all over it!

When I saw that Daring Greatly was available through my library as an audio book, I was ecstatic. I have been listening to her words on shame, vulnerability, scarcity culture, perfectionism, and other topics that affect our ability and willingness to dare greatly over the past few weeks, and was inspired to write about a couple of these topics that I identify with in my own life.

Rather than write one review post on the whole book, I will be writing a short series of Daring Greatly posts inspired by Brené Brown’s research and book of the same name. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Trading in Thoughts

“He calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” – Romans 4:17

Lately I have been consciously trading in some of my constant recurring thoughts for some better ones. I have relied on my meditation time as the primary pocket of good thoughts during the day to bring about my dreams, despite predominantly negative thoughts, or thoughts of what I don’t want, throughout the rest of the day.

This is not good enough. Just twenty minutes a day or less of uninterrupted peace is no longer enough for me. I need constant peace. And it starts with my thoughts.

Thinking About Not Living the Dream Kind of Seals the Deal

My constant recurring thoughts for the past five to ten years have been primarily about things I didn’t want. Although I have a lot of good things in my life right now, there are still some results from my past limiting beliefs and thoughts in my present reality.

I recently listened to one of Wayne Dyer’s latest books, Wishes Fulfilled. After reading Wayne Dyer’s books over the years, I have noticed that one of the common themes to his message is that thinking about what you don’t want is pretty much a recipe for continually getting what you don’t want.

It seems so obvious. But why would anyone think about things they don’t want to keep entering into their life? 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…

Meditation Mondays: Tips for Reducing Flight-Related Stress

I have always been an extremely nervous flyer. Turbulence has pushed me to the point of tears on more than one occasion. I am the person on the plane asking the people around me if they heard that noise and if they think it is normal. I am constantly looking to the flight attendants for a look of reassurance, just making sure I don’t see any signs of panic on their faces.

I now always take my airplane pillow and a black sleeping eye mask whenever I fly. You know how they have those anti-anxiety vests for dogs? The eye mask itself wrapped around my head seems to have a calming effect on me.

Airplane Meditation

I got the idea of meditating on airplanes from either Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra, talking about how a long flight is a great opportunity to meditate. Just the idea of flying made me nervous at the time, so I didn’t really give it much more thought. Since I started bringing my eye mask on flights, I have gotten more brave about using flying time to get in some travel meditation. continue…

Focusing on the Bright Spots and Beginning Again

“Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong, my dear…Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” – Brida’s father to her in Brida by Paulo Coehlo

I remember reading in the book Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath about the concept of focusing on the bright spots – figuring out what it is that is working in your life and examining why, and then applying the same principles that make those areas work to areas in your life that you want to improve.

A few years ago, I got the idea to start a blog from a friend. I actually didn’t realize that just anyone (like me) could start a blog. I have been writing in journals forever, and have always felt that I am a writer. Blogging seemed like the perfect fit for me, so I went ahead and started a Blogger blog, but I didn’t really feel connected to what I was doing. I was too afraid to put myself out there, so I didn’t reveal the “real Annie” for fear of judgment (from my 4 followers).

I soon abandoned my Blogger blog, and decided I wanted to create something bigger that more people could relate to (my first blog was called “Annie Words” and I didn’t think many people, besides my 4 followers perhaps, would really identify with that blog name as a brand).

So I decided to start a WordPress blog. This blog was born just over a year ago. I came up with the name for Awaken & Begin one day after agonizing over the perfect blog name for several months. I quickly proceeded to sign up for a WordPress blog and follow the steps to get the domain name and self host the site. Then…crickets. continue…

Turning Dread and Fear Into Opportunities

“Don’t be scared about next Tuesday, because Tuesday hasn’t happened yet.” – John Mayer

Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that they are just people, like me. I am referring to the people that I know and especially those that I don’t that I tend to feel intimidated by.

I have spent many precious moments of my life in fear and dread. Major anxious anticipation of some type of activity requiring social interaction or calling upon me to present myself in some way to other people. Stage fright and social anxiety aside, the worst and most unnecessary part of the dread experience is the actual dread itself. What does it accomplish, other than a lot of unnecessary drama and likely damage at a cellular level? continue…