Changing From Within

As the leaves change colors from lush greens to brilliant reds and shimmering golds, it reminds me of the changes we, too, want to experience in our lives. Maybe we want to illustrate a children’s book, eat healthier, or find more time to spend with our familes. We hope to make positive changes in our lives, but we aren’t sure exactly how to make them happen. Our doubts surface or obstacles get in our way, and soon these changes seem much harder to accomplish. Feeling discouraged, we become afraid to take a risk because we fear failure. We convince ourselves that our lives are fine just the way they are, and we put our dreams on hold, telling ourselves that things are better this way — the way they have always been. But, that’s simply not the case. We can make changes in our lives — big changes. But we have to believe that they are possible. Dreams and changes are worth the effort; we just have to be willing to give them a chance.

At some point in our lives, we all yearn to reach our full potential in our careers, our personal lives, or even our spiritual growth. This is where our dreams are born, leaving us feeling invigorated, excited, and optimistic about the future. But over time, if these dreams go unrealized, they can start to fade. We have more questions than answers, and our fears of failure begin to grow. However, this is where we have a choice. When things don’t go as planned in our lives, that does not mean we should give up on our dreams. For our dreams are the best parts of ourselves. Instead of running away from our fears, we should meet them head-on. Once we identify the obstacles that are standing in our way, we can figure out how to overcome them. We develop a plan and stick to it, taking small steps along the way. In life, it is our challenges that are also opportunities for us to learn some of our most valuable lessons. Believing that can make all the difference. It’s about moving forward rather than looking back. It’s about discovering the whys behind our dreams. Once we make positive changes in our lives, we begin to grow and become the people we were made to be. We dream, we believe, and we achieve.

Think about the changes you want to make in your life and the dreams you want to pursue. Do you want to exercise more, take a cooking class, speak in front of people, or start your own business? Be as specific as you can and think about why you want to make those changes. Say your dreams out loud — speaking them into existence. If during this process, doubts begin to creep in, let them go. Don’t let fears or excuses take over. Develop a plan to take whatever steps are necessary to make your dreams a reality. Avoid distractions like sitting on the couch and watching Netflix (which I love to do, by the way) that will keep you from working toward your dreams. As Tony Robbins said, “If you change nothing, nothing will change.” It is your choice. Even the smallest steps forward will help. This is your life — embrace it, love it, and truly live it. That is my hope for each of you. Here are some questions to get you started.

  1. What changes would you like to make in your life, and what dreams do you want to pursue?
  1. Why are these changes/dreams important to you?
  1. How can you make those changes/dreams become a reality? What steps can you take?
  1. What or who is holding you back from making these changes?
  1. How can you encourage yourself to take the first step to changing the rest of your life?
  1. How does it feel to know you can change your life and become the person you were made to be? 
  1. Repeat this mantra: “Think big, believe big, and I will achieve big!!” 

Like the trees, embrace the next season of your life and make whatever changes are necessary to show your beautiful colors. Evolve, grow, and mature into the person you were made to be. Go rock climbing, audition for that play, sing a solo, or write that blog — whatever inspires you. That is where your true passion lies. Dream it, believe it, and achieve it.

 

Tidying Inside and Out

A few months ago, my fourteen-year old daughter watched a documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things which highlighted the benefits of living a simpler life. Intrigued by the idea, she began researching the topic and soon discovered Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo believes that through the process of tidying we can change our entire lives. Tidying enables us to examine every item in our possession to determine whether each item is useful or whether it sparks joy for us. If it does neither of those things, then that item can be released and given away. Once this process is complete, Kondo believes we will not only have a tidier space, but tidier lives as well. 

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Unexpected Glory

For many of us in December, it is easy to become lost in the busyness of the holiday season. We are shopping, baking, traveling, wrapping, caroling and often have more to do than we could ever accomplish. But the holidays are not the only important thing that is happening this month. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, December 21st is the winter solstice — the time of year when the outer world is the darkest. The winter solstice is a day where we can utilize this time of great darkness to shed light upon any fears or emotions that we have buried within ourselves. The solstice can serve as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, the light will return. As the American author and spiritual teacher, Gary Zukav states, "The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory."

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A Time for Rebirth

This past week, I've been spending more time outdoors as the temperatures are finally beginning to climb into the upper 50’s and 60’s. For those of us in colder climates, and specifically in New England, the warmer weather is a welcome change. Signs of life are emerging everywhere — birds are joyfully chirping in the trees, yellow daffodils are in full bloom, and tiny buds are sprouting up from the soil. Spring is a vibrant time of new beginnings, reminding us that life is about rebirth — about growing toward our potential. Just as seedlings change and grow, we, too, must be willing to change and evolve into the people we are meant to be; we can give birth to not only new versions of ourselves, but to new ideas as well.

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Through the Lens of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and although I do love the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, there is something I love even more about it. I love that Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate and give thanks for all that we have been given. Instead of focusing our attention on the things we want, we can focus on the things we already have and the important people in our lives. There are many blessings all around us and yet, many of us take them for granted. That’s why Thanksgiving provides us the perfect opportunity to take a step back and look at the world through a new lens - the lens of gratitude. Our feelings of gratitude impact how we see ourselves, how we see each other, and how we see the world. Gratitude creates feelings of compassion, empathy, hope, and contentment. When we are content with our own lives, we begin to view others and the world in entirely new ways. We are thankful for the moments we share and for the connections that exist between all of us. We want to share this love and joy we feel with others, knowing that love is what truly brings us together.

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