Sunday, September 30, 2012

Time to Unwind

Thoughts for Bedtime

An Evening Affirmation and Quote

Little Milly isn't quite ready for sleep yet-
I haven't written a bedtime post in a while so I thought it was time for it to make a reappearance. My days have been very overwhelming- filled with endless work and readings- and it gives me little time to post as much as I would like. Night time is my time to relax, rest, and unwind after hectic, busy days. My evening tonight is being spent snuggling with Milly and watching the Lion King on television. It is the perfect end to a day filled with stress, stimulation, and mental work. What are you doing tonight to care of yourself and unwind? We all need a break after a day filled with activity. Lets use this time to our advantage and truly relax and feel a sense of calm wash over us. To guide us toward this goal I have chosen an evening affirmation and quote for us to reflect upon tonight. First I will offer an affirmation that highlights release and relaxation-

All the muscles in my body release and let go. As I relax my mind and body immediately feel better and I am able to drift into a deep and peaceful sleep.

Again I am a fan of this affirmation because it provides a visual. I can see the tension and energy that fills every muscle of my being slowly departing from my body and being released into the cosmos. As I see this metaphoric release I am filled with a sense of calm and relaxation. These feelings allow me to put the stress and activities of the day behind. My mind becomes clear and I am granted the blessing of a beautifully uninterrupted sleep.
Next I'd like to offer a brief quote that highlights the importance of giving our minds a rest and the benefits of a good night's sleep.

At least put that night time stress to rest !
"It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it."

- John Steinbeck

So often we allow ourselves to ponder problems and continue thinking deep into the night. We neglect to realize that our best tool is a good night's sleep. By the end of the day we have used our mental and physical resources. We are no longer equipped to handle issues or think properly. Our best bet is too sleep on it. I know the suggestion sounds trite but it is the truth. We do not have all of our faculties at the close of a long, productive, and active day. It is best for us to release the stress and worry, allow our minds to clear, and come to peace with our current state. In the morning we will awake refreshed and ready to tackle any lingering issues and new challenges that may arise. Tonight and every night gift yourself this gift. You deserve this time to tend to yourself, give yourself a break, relax and unwind, and simply be at peace with yourself. What will you do tonight to release the tension and energy of the day? No matter what it is choose what works specifically for you and allow yourself to let go. Any issues will be better solved in the morning after a rejuvenating and refreshing rest.

Sleep peacefully dear friends,

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Proceed With Caution

Knowing When to Take it Slow

Listen to the Signs of Your Body

I apologize for my lack of posting recently but it has everything to do with the subject of this entry. I was hit with a bitch of the flu (excuse my language) I was forced to listen to my body and stay in bed doing absolutely nothing but sleep for a good three days. Now that I am well again I am stressed about the all the class I missed and work that I now need to catch up on. I have every intent on focusing on my work and making a huge dent in it today but in terms of going out and socializing it's time for me to proceed with caution and take it slow. My body has told me that I need to go easy on myself and take a break. In the hopes of not becoming incapacitated with another sickness and continue to progress with school I have every intent of listening to the signs of my body. As we get older getting sick becomes more of an inconvenience than anything else. It no longer carries the thrill of missing school, staying home and watching television, and having my mother dote on me feeding me Campbell's chicken noodle soup and orange juice. I am a big girl living on my own and I need to take care of myself as well as handle all the obligations that now fall on me. Despite the stress and inconvenience that comes with getting sick a part of my remains a bit thankful. I am taking it as a sign that I need to go easier on myself, stay in a few nights, drink a little less, put my energy into my work, take it slow, and proceed with caution as I move forward. I have a two quotes for us, as usual, to accompany the theme of this post: be gentle with yourself and take it slow when need be.
The first quote speaks specifically about being sick and taking on the responsibility of tending to your own needs and helping yourself.

It's flu season! Take care of yourself and stay healthy!
"The patient should be made to understand that he or she must take charge of his own life. Don't take your body to the doctor as if he were a repair shop."

- Quentin Regestein

While Doctor's are fabulous because they are able to diagnose illnesses and provide medicine when necessary we still carry a weight in our own recovery (no matter what from.) Most recently I was sick with the flu and my doctor was very helpful in providing a Z-Pack antibiotic to help me overcome it. But it was up to me to leave my sick bed, pick up the medicine, and take it. However, medicine alone was not going to cure me. I needed to rest, drink lots of fluids, eat even when I didn't want to, and stay in to rest when all my friends were going out. Now that I am well it is up to me to keep myself healthy. I need to continue doing all of these things to take care of myself and recognize what got me sick to begin with and cease to continue that behavior. I was going out too much, stay up too late, not eating enough, and running myself into the ground. I know what these actions will lead to- getting sick again. My doctor cannot monitor me constantly, nor would I want her to, and she can't force me to take the necessary steps to stay healthy. It is up to me. And it is up to you. Recognize when you need to take it slow and realize what you need to do in order to stay healthy and able. 
Slow down when you need to-
The next quote links closely to the first but is less specific in topic and meaning. I chose it because it allows us to think more broadly about the theme and topic of this entry.

"You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself."

- Jim Rohn

In my specific case today taking responsibility means taking care of my body so that I don't end up getting sick again and am able to complete all my tasks and work that have built up and will continue to mount through the course of this semester. I cannot change that I got sick but I have control over how I handle the repercussions now. And I have the ability to do everything I can moving forward so I don't get slammed again. Circumstances are what they are and things happen that we cannot alter but we can make choices and changes moving forward that give us a little more control over future situations. Today I am almost feeling 100% myself again and I am choosing to take advantage of this feeling of wellness. As soon as I complete this post I am going to buckle down, get started on my late assignments, and then move forward with my work for this upcoming week. I am not going out for a while. I am going to take this time to rest, stay in with Milly, and care for myself. I am choosing to proceed with caution so that I am able to stay well during the rest of this semester. What are you going to do help yourself today and in the future? What has held you back recently? How are you going to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Doctor's, therapists, dentists, and other professionals are there to help us along with our physical and mental health but they can't fix us or carry all the burden. We need to take responsibility and take the proper steps to help ourselves. Don't be hesitant to accept help but always remember that end of the day it is up to you. No one will or can take us by the hand and walk us in the proper direction. As we grow older we are granted fabulous privileges but we are forced to carry new responsibilities as well. The first responsibility we gain is knowing our needs and actively pursuing them in order to care for ourselves. Listen to the signs of your body, proceed with caution when necessary, and treat yourself well. 

Be good to yourself- we have only one body and one life,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Save Yourself!

Put on Your Big Girl Panties

Be Your Own Hero

Over the course of the past few days I have had a revelation about figuring out my problems, staying healthy, and living my life. No one else is willing or going to be able to do any of these things for me. In the past I have tried to depend on friends, doctors, treatment facilities, etc to get me through and make changes but it has always failed. Friends have left or abandoned me. Doctors have given up or filed me away under lost causes. And treatment facilities have done the same- kicking me out or discharging with the belief that in time I would return. I hate to concede but I must say they have all been right. As much as I resent my friends for leaving me it was unfair for me to expect them to carry the burden of my problems. They couldn't solve them for me. And as unethical as it may have been for doctors to just give up or refuse to treat me further they too were right. As long as I was depending on them to cure me I was never going to make any progress. And of course the treatment facilities were right also- I did return after discharge not once but twice. All of these experiences have ended up teaching me a valuable lesson- no one else is going to save me. I need to be my own hero and save myself! Now that I have come to this revelation it's time for the hard work being putting it into action. How am I supposed to save myself and work out these issues that have haunted me for so long. Well I guess the first step to becoming my own hero is putting on my big girl panties and facing the problems head on. What do I want from my life? How do I want to live? And what do I need to resolve and do in order to get me where I want to go? I am considering creating a to-do list that will include all the things I need to do in order to get me where I want to be and what I want in life. So far my list looks something like this:
"To infinity and beyond..."
  • Work with my doctors and gain some more weight until I'm at a healthy and stable place.
  • Have fun with friends but drink and "party" in moderation.
  • Eat something I enjoy or am craving at least once a day.
  • Follow my self imposed schedule to complete work.
  • Journal more often (at least 3x a week).
  • Depend less on my parents for help with things I should be able to handle on my own (ie. laundry, food decisions, feelings of sadness...)
  • Accept that my 23rd birthday is approaching and begin to act my age (or closer to it).
This is just the beginning of my list and I am sure it will expand and change as time goes on and I reflect more but I wanted to give you an idea about what I mean by a to-do list for life. Some of these are long term goals and others should be completed sooner rather than later but they are all things that are challenging or I am struggling with. Each one will pose a different challenge for me but they are all necessary steps for me to be who I want to be- an independent, fun, responsible, young adult who is heading in the direction of graduation and building a future for herself. No one can do these things for me even if they wanted to. (I am sure my parents would love to knock a few of these things off my list for me.) But no one can force me to confront these issues and actively work on them. It's up to me to put on my big girl panties and act as my own hero by overcoming these challenges and ultimately saving myself. I think one of the hardest things to face is recognizing what I am saving myself from. In the end I am saving myself from myself. I am interceding and shutting up the destructive, negative, debilitating voice that exists within me and convinces me to restrict, to engage in harmful behaviors, and tells me that I am a failure, unable to achieve my dreams. You'd think this voice would be easy to shut up. Who wants mean and harmful thoughts floating around in their head all day? But somehow these thoughts have kept me emotionally safe. The restricting and weight loss has made me feel confident and capable and fulfilled when I felt as if I had nothing else going for me. My regression and refusal to accept my age has helped me avoid reality, deny change, and feel comfort. My dependence on my parents has served a similar purpose. So as you can see admitting that these things are an issue and holding me back is already challenging for me. But choosing to make changes and taking the actions to do so will take even more strength that I'm not sure I have. My plan is to ease my way into and take it slow. Maybe I'll start with the the easiest thing, in my case journaling more often, and work my way up to bigger more challenging things, gaining weight and eating something I enjoy once a day. But completing every task, no matter how small it may seem, is a step in the direction of becoming my own hero. I have to because no one else is going to swoop in and save me from myself- it's up to me. As usual I have some quotes to accompany my thoughts in this entry. Today I had a hard time choosing just one so I'm sharing three with you- feel free to skim or skip over ones that seem irrelevant for your life-
The first quote is actually a simple proverb about breaking habits-

"Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow."

- Yiddish Proverb

I am looking at this proverb in two ways. First I am interpreting as words of advice that urge us to be proactive and break bad habits sooner rather than later because ultimately we will have to let go of them so why not do it now. My second notion about the proverb reflects about why it may be easier to abandon a habit today rather than tomorrow. The longer we act in a certain way the more it becomes ingrained in us and the harder it is to change. I have been acting in the previously mentioned ways for a long time. They are fully ingrained in me, so much so that I feel as if they are who I am. But I need to believe there is more to me and as I let go of these inhibiting habits and behaviors I will begin to see the true me that most certainly exists. My true self is buried deep behind these thoughts and behaviors that I have come to associate with my identity. If I start working to break these habits today then it's one less day that they have the ability to become further embedded. Lets start now- the sooner the better- don't let these bad thoughts and habits control you for even one more day.
The next quote I chose seems to directly relate to my ideas in this entry and poses a question for us to ponder-

"How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?"

- Anthony Robbins

Robbins asks what are we going to do today in order to make our wants for tomorrow a reality. I am asking what are we going to do for ourselves now and in the near future in order to create the lives we desire? What steps are we willing to take to reach our goals? Are we willing to put on our big girls panties and face our fears in order to save ourselves? Do we believe that we can be our own heroes? Well this series of questions leads me into my next and final quote-

"When you see someone putting on his Big Boot, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen."

Time to bring out the "Big Boots"
- A.A. Milnes, Winnie-the-Pooh

Lets make our to-do lists, put on our "big boots" or big girls panties, take action, and see what marvelous adventure unfolds. The adventure I am speaking of is your life! We all have dreams and desires but at the same time we all have thoughts, feelings, and situations that prevent us from reaching these dreams. We cannot sit back and let these hindrances run our lives. At the same time we can't wait in the hopes that someone else- friend, family, boyfriend, spouse, doctor- is going to come in and rescue us. Deciding to face our challenges in pursuit of reaching our dreams is up to us. Only we can decide when, why, and how. In order to live the life of our dreams we need to be willing to do the work, be our own heroes, and save ourselves from the obstacles that prevent us from getting where we want to go and being who we want to be. The time is now, don't wait, don't hesitate, just put on your metaphorical super hero cape and fly toward in the direction of your dreams.

Time to put on your big girl panties and be strong,

Hero, Mariah Carey

How to Save a Life, The Fray

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pressure Points

How do We Manage Stress and Tension?

Relax, Release, Refresh

How often do you feel this way?
This past few days have been very tense for me. I had a doctor's appointment today with my clinician and as you know from my previous posts, specifically "Dr. Of Doom," the days leading up to the appointment and the aftermath are always especially difficult for me. This appointment proved to be no exception. The anxiety and pressure that comes with weigh-ins leave me nearly debilitated. I feel as if the weight of the world is on my shoulders as I step on the scale and when I see that the number has gone up the weight (no pun intended) comes crashing down on me. Of course doctor's appointments and weigh-ins aren't the only things that cause me stress. The pressure I feel to stay healthy, do well in school, be social, and create a future for myself haunt me every day. We all have things in our lives that create stress and tension. The real question is how do we manage it and keep them in check? Sadly I don't have the magic answer. Nor do I have the perfect skills. (If I had the ideal coping mechanisms I wouldn't have an eating disorder nor would I feel the need to reflect through this blog.) But we all have some skills, healthy and unhealthy, that we use to calm down when the pressure becomes too much to bear. For me it's writing this blog, enjoying a cigarette (or two or three), drinking a warm cup of chamomile tea, sipping my favorite Pinot Grigio, and often just sleeping. 
3 R's: Relax, Release, Refresh
Not all of these are the best ways to cope with stress but they all serve the same purpose for me- relax, release, refresh. Lets call them the "3 R's." I know it's cheesy but to me it seems like a good system for unwinding when we become overwhelmed. First do something that brings you comfort and relaxes you. Whether it's running, cooking, or watching T.V. just get yourself to a state of relaxation. Once you have reached your ultimate level of calm (or the calmest you are able to get at that moment) release whatever is weighing you down. You can talk it out, write about it, do anything that allows you to get thoughts out of your head and into the world. Release them from your mind and in doing so release yourself from the prison this pressure creates. And finally once you have relaxed and released the thoughts refresh. Do something you enjoy and allow yourself to feel the relief and weightlessness of letting go of these worries. I in fact am in the process of completing this 3 step plan. After my appointment today my head was filled with negativity, anger, and fear. I bought myself a coffee at Starbucks and smoked a couple cigarettes to bring myself down. At this very moment I am completing step 2- release. Via my blog I am sharing my thoughts and worries with you and putting the pressure I feel out into the world. By doing this I am no longer carrying the burden of my thoughts alone. Once I complete this entry it will be time for my to engage in the third and final step- refresh. Personally I think this step is the most difficult. How are we supposed to feel better and engage in something fun after we have been through this miserable whirlwind? The only answer is to push ourselves or find a friend who will help you. Tonight I was planning on crawling in bad early, snuggling with my stuffed animals, and crying until I fell asleep. I alone did not have the mental stamina to push myself. But luckily I have a good friend who I shared my stress and feelings with who took upon herself to push me. There is a party at my friends' house next door tonight that I was supposed to go to. I was going to blow it off despite the fact that I have been planning going on all week. My friend convinced me that I should go and I am thankful to her for that. This party will be my release. I will drink a little bit, be surrounded by other people, hopefully be distracted from my tormenting thoughts, and potentially have fun! Fun- what a novel idea! Sometimes I forget what it is or that I, dare I say, deserve it. We all have pressure, stress, and tension in our lives but we need to figure out how to manage it and not let it overwhelm us or dictate our moods and behaviors. Now that I have shared quite a bit of my own stressors and personal insights with you I would like to offer you some words and advice said by others. First I am going to provide an affirmation-

I eliminate all stress from my life because my health and well-being is more important.

It's time to make our health our priority !
I was apprehensive about choosing this affirmation because I don't believe it is truly possible to eliminate stress from our lives. But what we can do is alter the way we approach and handle it. It is a simple fact that certain situations and tasks will bring on stress but we have the power, using the "3 R's" or any other relaxation method, to keep our stress level in check. The reason I picked this affirmation is because of the second portion that mentions health and well-being. This is an affirmation I would love to be able to embody and believe. I wish I regarded my health and well-being as my top priority but for some reason I don't. Something else is always getting in the way and I don't value my body and my health enough. But we all need to stop letting other things- work, family, crisis- get in the way of our taking care of ourselves. If we neglect our bodies and our well-being we will end up shortening our lives and missing out on moments and things that we want to experience. The things we are stressing about won't matter anymore if we cease to exist. It's time for us to put ourselves first. I have been and will continue to try and take care of myself and my body despite the pain and anguish it causes me. But I know that the alternative is far worse than a few extra pounds. I just need to remember this every moment of every day and make my health and my life my top priority as do you. I want to finish this lengthy and personal entry with a simple quote filled with valuable advice-

"You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head."

- Matt Groening

I am not going to bog down this quote with a personal take or words of analysis. I think it is pretty self-explanatory. Take it for what it is and do your best to follow it. Our minds and intellect often get the best of us and disable us. But our heart and our emotions express how we truly feel- follow their directions and you won't be mislead.

Relax, Release, Refresh,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Meet Milly!

Finding Purpose and Meaning

A Kitten is a Girl's Best Friend

Meet Milly !

So if you don't understand the title of this post you will soon enough! I am currently in the process of adopting a kitten from a local animal refuge and I have decided to name her Milly! Growing up I was never allowed to have a pet because my parents thought that I wouldn't help take care of it and I have always longed for a pet of my own. As a child I dreamed of owning a dog but as I have gotten older I have developed a new liking for kittens and cats. They are often considered unfriendly or aloof but I have learned that many cats can be quite affection and are not aloof but merely self sufficient. So bringing home my newly adopted cat will be one of the final touches to my new apartment and will truly make it my own home. However my desire to adopt a kitten has deeper meaning than simply fulfilling a childhood dream. I honestly believe that my ability to save another living being and the responsibility I will have to take care of her will aid me in feeling a sense of purpose and provide me with motivation to stay health. Milly will be dependent on me for everything and it is my duty to her to stay well and out of treatment. If I get sick I may be forced back into treatment but more importantly she will be forced to return to the animal shelter and that is the last thing I want. Milly is already acting as a motivator for me to stay well not just for myself but for her as well. Obviously it is not possible for all of us to adopt kittens nor would I recommend it but in life it is crucial for us to find things that give us a sense of purpose and motivate us to be our best everyday. The issue with motivators is that they are constantly changing. Something that used to fulfill our needs may no longer suffice. For instance my friends and social life used to motivate me to stay well or get better. Ultimately I discovered that those things were no longer important enough to me and I turned to school as my primary motivator. Recently I have found myself in a rut, feeling purposeless, and unmotivated by anything or anyone in my life. Nothing seemed worth staying well for. Finding Milly at the shelter and feeling an immediate connection with her gives me hope that not only are kittens a girl's best friend but that she will help fill the void in my life. I want to stay well because I want to continue caring for her and loving with her. I have a purpose because without me she would still be in the cold metal cage at the animal refuge waiting for a warm and loving home. I am saving her but at the same time she is saving me by providing me with a sense of purpose and reason to stay well. As always I have some quotes to share with you that relate to my overall themes: purpose and motivation.The first quote is a moderately humorous quote about fleeting motivation-

Motivation does need to be out of reach-
“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing--that's why we recommend it daily.

- Zig Ziglar

While motivation may not last this is no excuse not to pursue it. Like bathing, we must do it regularly. Although we are bound to get dirty and be forced to bathe again imagine if you never showered at all. The filth would just continue to build up and it would be less than advantageous for your hygiene as well as your social and professional lives. The same goes with motivation. If we don't seek motivators routinely a residual laziness, depression, and lack of fulfillment will certainly build. Although your current motivator may not last the test of time you must use it while it exists. When it no longer works for you search for another outlet. Refraining from find motivation will have negative effects similar to refusing to shower. You may not be physically filthy but your mentality will certainly suffer.
The following quote more specifically explains how motivation serves us in our daily lives and differentiates it from other elements-

“Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

- Lou Holtz

While ability defines what we are capable of and attitude impacts the quality of our work neither would matter without motivation. Motivation instigates our behaviors and determines what we actually do. Ability would mean nothing if we didn't have the motivation to get up and put our skills to good use. Having something or someone that motivates us in our everyday lives stimulates us and provokes us to take action. Once we have taken this action it is our attitude that affects the quality and way we complete a task. The three elements are reliant upon each other. Ability, motivation, and attitude- we wouldn't be the productive, animated, and fabulous people we are without all three.

 So this post comes down to one simple question- what motivates you right now? If you can't answer this question give it a little thought. Is it your children, your work, your goals, your family, your pet? What is it that keeps you waking up every morning and living life? If you pondered the question for a bit and are still unable to find an answer then you have a new quest for yourself. Find something, anything, that gives you purpose and motivation. It doesn't need to be complex or even a huge commitment (like my kitten will certainly be.) Just think about your life and what matters to you. Who or what do you love and care about? If you can answer this question than discovering what your motivator is will naturally follow. We all know that life can get us down and that nothing lasts forever including motivators. But the key to keep going is to have a fall back or even multiple motivators at once. If one lets you down or fails to continue working for you it is your job to find or create another. I have chosen to create a purpose and motivation for myself by adopting this kitten. What will you choose to do? There is no wrong answer. That is the fabulous thing about life. Whatever feels right or works for you is always the correct answer. So look around you, reflect upon your life, and allow yourself to see that you have a purpose, your life has meaning, and motivation surrounds you when give yourself the time to recognize it.

Keep going because you matter,

Just one more of me and Milly- she should be home by the end of the week !

6 A.M. Wake Up Call

Thoughts for this Morning

A Basic Morning Affirmation

I woke up this morning at 6 a.m. well before my alarm and still feeling quite groggy. But I couldn't make the same mistake I made yesterday. I woke up earlier than my alarm and deciding to get back in bed to rest my eyes for a little. Next things I know I am waking up and it's 2 o'clock in the afternoon. (Not the best move when you have a 10 a.m. lecture.) So today I fought through the sleepiness and kept going. I am feeling fine today. My mood isn't any extreme, neither high nor low, and it feels like it is going to be a relatively typical day. I decided to choose a basic morning affirmation to get us going this morning.

I feel energized and motivated by the potential that this new day holds.

I chose this typical morning affirmation this morning in an attempt to reaffirm my commitment to thinking positive and optimistic thoughts at the start of each day. While it is pretty standard I believe it holds a lot of value that we can benefit from. Not only does this day hold a great deal of potential but we can benefits emotionally from the possibilities that this day brings. Looking forward and expecting new opportunities can fill us with a sense of energy and motivate us to keep going. The uncertain is often regarded as scary or anxiety provoking but today's potential is a form of positive uncertainty. Lets look toward this uncertainty and become excited! Our energy will drive us to take advantage of today's potential. Our motivation will enable to us to make the most of every opportunity. Lets use the affirmation this morning to propel us forward, embrace these uncertainties, and use them to our advantage. Perhaps my early internal wake up call was a sign. A sign telling me to greet the day with positive expectancy, make the most of it, and live every moment of it. Maybe this sign was given to me yesterday but I ignored by going back to bed. But I did not allow that to happen today. Today I am awake and alive and ready to make the most of the endless possibilities that this day brings.

Wake up and greet the day with expectancy,

Don't be afraid to use your potential while taking advantage of today's possibilities!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rest Your Weary Head

Thought For Bed Time

An Affirmation and Prayer for Hope

Things have not been easy for me recently. Every day feels like a struggle as I try to manage thoughts of failure and attempt to cope with feelings of disappointment and loss. I have been spending too much time thinking about my past and wishing I could do the impossible and reverse time. My atypical and painful history is debilitating me from moving forward and enjoying the present. I feel trapped by my mind and by the sadness of my past experiences. I wish I could make the thoughts and emotions stop. I long to be numb to my painful memories. I can't stop thinking about friends I have lost, time I have wasted, and opportunities that I have past me by. I am nearly 23 years old. I should have graduated college and be moving on with my adult life. But instead I am still in school and forced to deal with a situation I never imagined I would be in. In my mind my life is not on track and this atypical life path does not correspond with the hopes and dreams I once had for myself. Tonight I am sending out a plea to the heavens- please inspire me with a sense of self, purpose, and most of all hope. Today I am straying from my typical format and instead of offering you a traditional evening affirmation I am providing an affirmation for hope because hope is what I need most right now-

I am now recreating myself, one positive belief at a time.

I was unable to find an affirmation that specifically mentioned hope but I feel that this affirmation serves my intended purpose and stays true to the topic of this post. I chose this specific affirmation because of its connection to my personal challenges at the moment. I am allowing my past to inhibit me from moving forward with my life. My constant pondering over previous experiences is preventing me from discovering who I am now and appreciating all that I have in my current life. My situation is not ideal but it is not hopeless. I am progressing, although not at the pace I would like, and I am slowly moving forward despite my feeling of being stuck or trapped. It is time for me to recreate myself, figure out who I am, and what I want for myself in the future. One positive and hopeful belief at a time I can build a life for myself that is filled with joy and love. I can create an identity based on who and where I am now. I am not bound to or limited by my past. I cannot erase or change it but it does not need to define me. Tonight I will think about this affirmation, strive to embody it, and send my prayers for hope out to the divine. The only way to move forward as well as appreciate the present is by letting go of past beliefs and experiences that hold us back. I cannot rewrite my history or undo my past actions and neither can you. But we can choose to be filled with hope and build identities for ourselves based on positive beliefs that we possess now. 
Let the old beliefs fall!
I believe that I can wake up tomorrow and continue looking forward. I believe that I have the ability to finish school in my own time. And I believe that I am worthy of respect, compassion, and love. It's not a lot for now but it's enough to get me started. Tonight as you rest your weary head think about some of your personal beliefs. You don't need to form a lengthy or complex list. Just give yourself enough positive thoughts to create a foundation for your new identity. More beliefs will come naturally and we will be able to continue recreating and building identities for ourselves that correspond with who we are now and will help carry us confidently into the future.

Tonight I pray for hope for all of us,

A Prayer of Hope-

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Late Start This Morning...

Thoughts for this Morning/Afternoon?

An Affirmation for Productivity

"I'm late, I'm late for a very important date!"
I had a late start this morning and am stressing a little bit about all the work I need to complete this weekend. I didn't go out last night with the hope that I would be able to wake up early this morning, be productive, and take advantage of the full length of the day. However despite my plan I still managed to sleep in and lose a chunk of my day to sleeping, lounging, and who knows what else I wasted time doing this morning. Now I am sitting in Saxby's and I am finally ready to get started on my work. But I am feeling like I may have bitten off more than I can chew by taking a full course load this semester. I am overwhelmed by the amount of reading I need to do. And French is going to take up a huge amount of my time at the beginning because I need to heavily review and get reacquainted with the language since I haven't really spoken it since last Fall. This morning I am need of an affirmation that will help me believe that I can handle this work load and that I will be able to be productive moving forward. 

Because I have a plan, I am able to manage all situations to my best advantage and be successful in achieving my goals.

My ABSURD day planner!
This is an affirmation that I customized to suit my personal needs. I do have a plan. In fact I have an exceptionally detailed schedule that lists all my tasks and assignments and allots time for their completion. I am hoping that this detailed schedule will help me in two ways. 1) It will show me that their is in fact time for my to finish all that I need to do. 2) It will help me organize my time and aid in my completing the tasks. Today my plans says French review and reading for my writing course. It also says History reading but I may need to move that to another day. But my point is it's only Saturday afternoon. I still have all of today and tomorrow to do the work I need to do for the week. Not to mention the free time I have in between my classes this week that I can utilize. What do you need to get done this weekend before your hectic weekly routine begins again? Try making a list of the tasks and scheduling them for certain days or times this weekend. Seeing everything written out on paper can help you feel less overwhelmed by the amount that you have to do. It's only Saturday afternoon- we still have plenty of time to be productive. Despite my late start this morning I need to believe that I can achieve my goals and finish my assignments. As I look at my plan I can see that there is plenty of time for me to do everything. And I still have tomorrow. I have the opportunity to wake up earlier tomorrow and truly utilize the entirety of the day and so do you! We can accomplish all of our responsibilities if we stay organized, calm, and focused. The ability to be productive and successful is within our grasp as long as we take the necessary steps.

Good luck fulfilling your responsibilities this weekend,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Life to Live

Making the Most of It!

Have Fun, Love What You Do, Be Happy

I am writing today with a new outlook and different disposition. I can identify to particular events over the course of the last couple days that caused this personal shift. The first situation occurred last night. I was feeling really wiped after a long day of classes and was in comfy clothes and ready to snuggle in my bed before 7 o'clock. I was exceptionally disgruntled when I had to leave my apartment and go to the house next door to drop off a check. I was exhausted, comfortable, and not wanting to move. But when I started talking to my friend next door I realized that people were going out to a bar nearby. I had been so dead set on staying in and relaxing that I surprised myself when I agreed to come along for the evening out. I went back home to change and get ready but my mind started to try and convince me out of going- "What about all the alcohol calories?" "What if you end up drunk eating?" "You have an appointment tomorrow morning." And the list of thoughts went on until I finally told it to SHUT the HELL up! I was going out, a couple drinks wouldn't kill me (or alter my weight), and even if I do end up consuming some extra, unplanned calories what's the big deal? I could sit alone in my room, watching T.V, and bored or I could go out with friends, socialize, be around people and music, and have fun! The choice was suddenly obvious. In that moment I decided that I was not going to let my irrational fears or negative thoughts hold me back. I was going to do what I wanted to do and no negative, eating disordered, depressive thought was going to stop me. I finally had a moment of clarity. Life is not worth living if you are severely underweight, isolated, miserable, and consumed by uncontrollable thoughts. I have one life to live and last night I chose to make the most of it. I don't know if my moment of clarity will carry on into today but it's still promising. If I can have one moment I can and will have another and hopefully this clarity will no longer come in spurts or brief moments but instead exist constantly through my life. The second defining moment that lead to my mental shift happened this morning during a meeting with my advisor. I finally met with the Communications Advisor in order to officially declare my major and check up on a few of the classes I am enrolled in. As I was sitting with her looking at my academic worksheet that outlines my requirements and those that have been fulfilled I realized that I have truly chosen the right major for myself. Courses that full my major requirements are courses that I am genuinely interested in and enjoy- History, Sociology, English, Psychology. I have finally settled into an academic field that suits my strengths and fulfills my academic curiosity. I have abandoned the world of math and business that I was trapped in while enrolled in GW's Business School and am finally doing what I love. I look forward to going to class and learning about a range of intriguing topics- religion, witchcraft, the media, popular culture- and displaying what I have learned through papers and projects that allow me to incorporate my own creativity and point of you. My father often told me that if you love what you do you will be successful at it. I didn't always believe him and parts of me still don't but in this case I think he is correct. I am choosing classes based on my interest in the topic rather than shooting for an easy A and I am still earning great grades. I attribute this success to my genuine love and interest in the topics I am studying. I want to read about them, learn more, contribute my point of view, and share what I have learned. It's easier to study and do work when you enjoy the topic. Therefore when we love what we do the work seems less tedious, we don't mind spending more hours studying or honing our skills, and ultimately our final product is better! So after this lengthy, detailed personal account you may be wondering what I am getting at. Today my point is quite simple: Allow yourself to have fun and pursue work that you love and being happy will come naturally to you. I have a few quotes to share with you today that touch on the themes of enjoyment and passion-
I have chosen this first quote because it is light hearted, provides a visual, and speaks to just enjoying the present moment.

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate."

- Thornton Wilder

Too often I question why I'm happy or if I am happy instead of just enjoying the experience. When eating ice cream we don't question if or why it tastes good we just eat and enjoy it. My advice to you as well as myself is to live life in this same way. Just do what pleases you, go for it, don't hesitate or wonder if you are making the right choice. If it feels good and right than just except it for what it is and appreciate it. Last night I wanted to go out well with friends, I put my thoughts and hesitations aside and I just did it! I ate my ice cream and loved every bite. I wish I could live this way every day of my life. But for now I am grateful for those moments and hope that in the future I will continue to experience these moments more frequently. The next two quotes I would like to share with you were said by the same person and discuss pursuing what we love most.

"Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night."

- Terri Guillemets

"Follow your passion, and success will follow you."

- Terri Guillemets

When I initially chose these two quotes I did not realize that they were in fact said by the same person. Now that I have noticed that Guillement spoke all of these words I can see a pattern and how they connect. First, pursue your passions with all of your might, heart, and energy. Second, once you have pursued them success will imminently follow. When we love what we do we provide a service to ourselves and others. Pursuing a passion brings us satisfaction, enjoyment and success yet it simultaneously impacts those we touch and are in contact with. When we do what we love we do it best and positively affect those who are impacted by our work. Additionally the people who we spend our time with are benefited by our personal happiness that comes from pursuing our passions. If we are stuck in a dead-end job or fulfilling tasks that we feel no connection with we are bound to be dissatisfied and unhappy in our lives. This unhappiness is like a disease that spread to everyone we touch. When we feel as if our life has purpose and we are fulfilled by what we do we are more pleasant to be around. Pursuing your passion is not selfish. In fact it is one of the least selfish things you can do. If you love what you do- teaching, therapy, nursing, fashion designing, hair stylist- you will perform to the maximum of your capabilities. The people who seek your services will be better off because you care about what you do and this caring allows you to be good at it. At the same time the personal impact of doing what you love will benefit the people in your life. When we are successful, fulfilled, and happy we are able to connect with others more truly and in a deeper capacity. Let us enjoy every moment of our life. Lets make decisions that bring us happiness. Lets pursue our dreams and share our abilities with the world. We only have one life to live so it is time that we start making the most of it!

Live life happy today and always,

Just have fun, period-

It's Only Life, Kate Voegele