Be Your Own Hero

What we choose to focus on and give our attention to will be our perspective. If we fixate on what offends us that is all we will see in the world. Much like when watching television you are in control of the channel. If you don’t like what’s on, you have the right and the responsibility to change it. Choose your your viewpoints rather than be pressed or depressed by them. Norah Ephron wrote, “Always be the heroine of your own story, never the victim.”

We often get caught up in the idea of a knight in shining armor. A Robin Hood, that will waltz in at the right moment to save us from our fates. But as President Obama once said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” It’s us. We are the ones who are going to have to do the work of saving ourselves and of making our own lives more beautiful.

The first step is looking honestly at your life and deciding if there is something you can change. If you have conflict that is hurting your heart it’s ok to take a break. A quick way to know if this is happening is to check your text messages – if the top five conversations contain negative comments or complaints you have a choice to make. You can choose to continue to feel victimized by the situation or you can choose to get out of it. 

The fist step is to decide you want to do something differently. It is both as easy and as hard as it sounds. I am a firm believer that you can run away from your problems. If a particular group or friend feels as if they are taking more from you than they are giving back it’s ok to walk away. It is also ok to take space and time to heal before you return to that relationship, if you ever do. If you’re unsure I would encourage a cooling off period. This will give you time to assess, reflect, and calm down before you make a decision. The answer is already in you.

Setting boundaries is one excellent way that you can keep someone in your life while also getting your needs met. Boundaries exist to assure that we all feel safe and supported in our relationships. When someone gives you a boundary they are telling you that they want you in their lives and this is one way in which they can see that happening. 

Another great way to shift your perspective is to talk to a therapist or counselor, someone who can give you the tools to process your emotions and work through your feelings. You don’t need to inform others if you choose therapy. Though it has become somewhat a badge of honor these days. The work you do with your therapist or counselor is private and personal. They are able to provide the care that you need to heal or locate the root of your issue. It’s easy to keep having the same fight, it’s a lot harder to determine what situations feel unsafe or undesirable to you. With therapy and boundaries you may be able to heal and find a healthy way to engage with others.

Life can be hard but it is also a lovely and beautiful experience. If you’re feeling more miserable than joyful it’s a good idea to talk with someone you trust. There may be a medicinal solution that works for you or a therapeutic treatment that enables you to live the life you want that includes the people and experiences you want most in your life. When we choose to take care of ourselves we choose joy. And when we feel joyful, healed, and healthy we start to draw the right people, situations, and events into our lives. I can thinking of nothing more heroic than that.

Perspective Impacts Experience

I recently attended a writer’s workshop where the focus was on developing our craft, the publishing process, and how to get to the next level with our writing. I attended a talk where the speakers were friends. Instead of supporting each other’s best perspectives they dragged on another down. Both respected and known authors in their fields, they had independently achieved a certain amount of success. However, instead of talking about their accomplishments and celebrating them they instead chose to focus on how hard won those victories were.

While there is much to be said for honesty in a public forum and not sugarcoating the process to those in the audience it could have been defeating. The talk overly focused on the setbacks, challenges, and rejection that can be part of pursuing a writing career. Rather than giving hope, the speakers could not see beyond their personal hardship. They described their experiences as writers and anxiety ridden, full of disappointment, and rejection. 

As a counter to that, we all know that every path is challenging. As Tom Hanks told us in A League of the Their Own, “the hard is what makes it great.” But if you can’t enjoy being invited to speak at an industry event, and feel flattered or honored perhaps the wins are lost on you. Perhaps your perspective needs a tune up. Because to those of us in the audience being on stage and invited to speak is a very real victory. Several attendees spoke in the hall about having no interest in hearing about the challenges. We all know the challenges. We want to know how you came to be where you are as a respected industry expert. And if you can’t see your victory from up on a stage, chances are you never will, unless you make some real changes to your perspective. 

Perhaps that is the deeper lesson, how profoundly your perspective impacts your experience. We cannot enjoy the good if we are not looking for it. Instead of allowing our challenges to embitter us let us use them to motivate us as we move forward. We overcame so much to get here – isn’t that incredible? And this is true of every person in every room, not only those on stage. You made it here – that is worthy of joy and celebration!

Manifesting Your Best Life

One of my favorite things to do is manifest my best life. For me manifesting means that I envision what wonderful things I want in my life and then I celebrate when they arrive. I dream, envision, and picture. Here are some of the ways I make Manifesting work for me. 

Set a clear intention and Pinterest – Not everything I want is present and accounted for in a perfectly curated board but much of it is. Yes, some of my boards are big imaginings that will take years to accomplish – my chateau based retreat for women, that is vivid and strong but not what I’m working on right away, that’s a 15 to 20 year dream. I use the site to envision my next home and my dream for a writer’s cottage – the result is a next home that looks cottage-y and will encapsulate all of the beautiful hopes and dreams I have pinned and imagined already. 

Sidebar: I couldn’t be more excited or thrilled with what awaits me and my family in our new home.

Curate the Pinterest board. While I’m building the dream I grab everything that remotely connects to my vision. Then I go back through my pins to find what truly speaks to me. I edit. I delete. I save from other sources and really hone in on what I love in each image. Do I love the design of the room or the furniture? I want to see an image and have it consistently reaffirm my vision. I don’t want to be confused each time a picture pops up, and when that happens I remove it because it clouds my vision and I want to be super clear and deliberate in what I am manifesting in my own life.

Reframe the desire. I write this out in my journaling and I ask the question out loud so I hear my own voice asking – “How did I get so lucky as to have (insert your dream here) a seven bedroom, seven bathroom, home close to downtown with enough space to host lacrosse practices, a pottage garden, and walking paths similar to Versailles?” This is a lot closer to the vision that I have than you would believe. And these are the things I want. Now, did I get all of these things? No! But I got closer than I ever thought possible.

The trick is the framing of my Manifestation as a question, “How did I get so lucky?” Because then instead of some random imagined future that is beyond reach now my brain now sees it as a question. A question is something unfinished that needs an answer. The brain is a magical tool and by framing what I want to manifest as a question my mind starts to work on the problem. It starts looking for opportunities and solutions that it wasn’t looking for before. My brain looks for patterns and options and even when I am not thinking about Manifesting specifically – like when I am asleep or out with friends – my brain is still looking for answers to this question, and in this way I make my own luck. My mind is constantly looking for ways to solve this problem and eventually, it finds a way to do it!

Write down your wish list. Long ago when I was single lady I sat down to write out what I was looking for in an ideal partner. I typed up a list of the qualities I wanted in my life partner – not just tall, dark, handsome but makes me laugh, shares my values, and loves children. I called it my, “Husband Position Description,” and I got detailed, detached earlobes were on the list as were a preference for eating the other half of the Chex mix – the pieces I don’t like. No sense letting half the bag go to waste! 

I wrote the list and I forgot about it. Saved it to a file and didn’t think about it again, until years later when I was living with a man who would become my husband and came across an old document. I read through that list again and my partner checked every box on that list. That was a powerful moment, because I did not know him when I wrote that list, I only imagined that he was out in the world waiting for me to find him and then I lived my life. I met and dated men who were not him, I went to work, and out with friends. But my brain was on the look-out. My sub-conscious was weighing and measuring, checking and comparing, because it was looking to hire the perfect candidate for this position opening. And when I had found him, my sub-conscious reminded my conscious of the list so they could confirm and affirm what my brain already knew, I had found the one. 

Have faith. The biggest part here is the faith I have in the universe and God. I am a firm believer that what you put out into the universe is what comes back to you. If you send out doubt, fear, and insecurity that is what you get in return. Therefore, it is super important to send out only what you want most for yourself. Send out your hopes and blind faith and trust that what is meant for you will arrive and that which is not meant for you will pass you by. This means that even when something is taking longer than you think it should to arrive or when there is an unexpected detour you still trust and believe that your Manifestation is coming. It’s keeping that energy, that trust, that commitment to your goal. 

We must believe and trust that, “Everything arrives at its appointed time.” Your manifestation will arrive at its appointed time. You will get what you are looking for and it can feel like a perfect fit or a magical surprise when what you want shows up but God does not give you a dream that you cannot fulfill. There is no longing in your heart that was placed there to be unattainable. Everything you want, wish for, desire is within your reach. You just have to trust yourself, you mind, and your God to work those miracles for you. Pursue those goals, manifest those dreams, it’s what you are here to do! You are not here to be miserable, small, and sad. You are here to reach for stars, to build pyramids, and dance. You are here to fulfill a purpose, don’t waste your time doubting it, that serves no one. Trust yourself, you mind, and your God and watch for what you will Manifest next! 

Spring Appreciation

Today I am deep in appreciation, that firm life sustaining roundedness that yes, makes me grateful, but also makes me present here in this moment. Spring is just filling me with hope and promise that is satisfying and uplifting on a very real and primal level. Right now we are all lotus blossoms that have waited patiently, for hundreds of years. Not to say that there still aren’t challenges, or to belittle the collective loss, suffering, isolation, and angst – those feelings are still valid and real. Yet, now, the sun is shining. Birds are singing. Frogs making their guttural croaks that vibrate their very bodies. 

There is a breeze and it is gentle and cool. There are flowers by my bedside and crocuses in the yard. There is just this deep, affirming sensation of wellness and promise that in the coming days more of us will be well. 

The past year has been so hard and if we’re being honest the three years that led up to it as well, but here we are in this moment. This may be the other side and I am intensely, passionately grateful to be here. I did not know how this journey would go, if we would really make it. And I am filled with love.

I feel peaceful and present and bold. My mere survival to this point an act of defiance and delight. There are many who cannot say the same. And in that knowledge I just want to rest. That awareness and gentle gratitude for all we have learned, the sacrifices made, the hope we hold in our hearts for the future. 

The shape of what is to come is still undefined, we only know that it will look little like our past. What it will contain is the multitude of blessings we have found meaningful in this time of social distancing and conscientious isolation. For me it means quality time with family, it means more time alone, more herbal tea, meditation, and long walks. You’ll have to tell me what it means to you. 

Whatever shape your future takes I hope you join me in a collective sigh of relief. We’ve made it this far. We made it to today, this was not guaranteed and so let us savor it now that it is ours. We are all so fortunate to be here. What light. What love. What joy.

The Dawning of a New Day

Today is the first day of President Biden and Vice President Harris’s administration and I can feel myself cracking open. It is as finding an oasis in the desert. The tender shoots of spring are finally peeking out from under a blanket of snow. The last four years have been heavy, a burden on our minds, hearts, and heads. There will be those that seek and destroy the evils that have been unleashed in our nation but much like Pandora’s box, hope remains. And today I am feeling hope melt into the spaces that fear, disappointment, and lies had occupied during the previous administration.

The words I wish to share: freedom, confidence, trust, resilience, and hope. Hope that we are exactly where we are intended to be in the world, that our leaders will carry the torch of justice and equity into their daily works and that these United States will be re-anointed with the support of our allies and friends in the world. We have driven back the darkness for one more day. 

Once again we have been reminded of the fragility of democracy. More clearly than ever we see the necessary exercise of investing time and attention into whom we elect and why. The arrival of Biden an Harris is not an end to political discord or challenge, for we must continue to fight for those things we believe in and want most from our government and elected leaders. However, it is an end of our federal executive’s support for hate and fear mongering. We are not what we fear, we are not what we hate. This nation is made up of what we love, what we hope, and what we dream. Our most powerful dreams and the idea that we are free, nee obligated, to pursue them is a concept that is uniquely American.

We are selfish and spoiled, self-focused and obsessed. But we are not evil, we are not consumed by hatred. We are still a young nation and every youth rebels and rejects what is known in an attempt to find what fits. We have learned from this rebellion, this white supremacist attack on our collective beliefs and our Capitol building, that we are not what we hate. Those rioters sought to destroy, threaten, and steal that which belongs to the people, to all of us. They did not succeed. 

Sadly, lives were lost and harm was done – looting, violence, the damage to our collective consciousness. However yesterday a new dawn broke through, a new President and Vice President were sworn in, a Youth National Poet Laureate shook us to our roots, and voices raised in song celebrated our Nation’s new victory over threats to our democracy.

I was particularly struck the the words of the oath of office, “against threats both foreign and domestic.” Not even a sentence, often a blip we skim over to get to the seriousness of business. This week those words felt necessary, the gravity of their intention clear, the duty of our elected officials is to serve the people and to do their best to serve the best interests of our nation. 

Today as my heart is cracking open, as I feel the need to wash the last four years out of my hair. I remember only the lessons, the all too important and easily forgotten message, we are in this together. Today is a new and shining day. There is hope. We have each other and we will move forward stronger and more certain in our roles as citizens, public servants, and as one Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.