inspiration

Live In Your Strength

Last night I received some cheesy but much needed advice…from a bag of tea. Yogi Tea Products puts inspirational notes on the tags of all of its tea bags and I’ve been trying to drink a cup of their “Detox” tea every day to help filter out some of the junk that lives in my body and immune system. Yesterday’s inspiration was the title of this post: Live In Your Strength.

What does this mean to me? This means being true to yourself and owning who you are, not letting other people talk you down or be ashamed of what you need to get through the day (even if it’s a hug and chocolate bar). Lately, I’ve been feeling a little like someone else is running my life and I have been running myself ragged to please them and not getting what I need in return, not a good feeling.

So I’m going to embrace who I am: a neurotic, OCD-filled, anxious, organized, perfectionist, detail-orientated, nerdy, affectionate, loyal person who gets in her own way a lot and doesn’t have as much confidence as she should.

And that’s OKAY.

I’m not perfect. I have flaws. And not everyone is going to be equipped to deal with them. And that’s okay. Because I have an amazing support system of people who love me and care about me and who genuinely want what is best for me. So the only people I need to think about other than myself is them.

My strength lies in my willingness to help and to take the lead, to reach out to others, my strive to succeed, my caring nature, my support for those I love, and my ability to push others and myself to be their best. My strength lies in navigating the world in such a way that works with my quirks, not against them. Yes, I am growing to be more flexible and patient. And this year, I have a goal to be more positive. But that’s doesn’t mean I have to change who I am entirely…or even all that much. Sometimes all I need is to take a deep breath, a step back, and look at the option that will play to my strength, not prey on my “weakness”.

How are you going to live in your strength?

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

www 8.20I haven’t been able to track down a single person to whom I can give credit for this saying, if one even exists. I’ve gotten hits from Dr. Seuss and C.S. Lewis to article titles and sayings that look like this but aren’t. So it’s going uncredited but hopefully the message will still sink in.

It’s a complicated world that we live in so why do we insist on making it more difficult? Why do people so often lack the courage to say what they really want to, what they really mean, and instead force other people to “interpret” what they are truly trying to say.

And on the flip side, most people lie like they breathe. Not always about something important but more often than not, they tell you something they don’t mean, to keep from hurting your feelings or rocking the boat, or give you a promise they don’t intend to keep.

Honesty can suck. It can be hurtful, even unintentionally. But I think it’s worth it. I would rather have a complete stranger tell me something embarrassing, like you have food in your teeth or your skirt is tucked into your underwear, than to have someone I trust not tell me those things.

And when it comes to building trust and respect, we can’t do that if we don’t truly understand the other person and what their needs are. So why don’t we take a day and practice a little honesty and specificity of words and see where we end up? I think in the long run, you will discover what I have, that if you say what you mean, and mean what you say, the world doesn’t seem so confusing and you can be a happier human being.

Mystery Ending

(From the Daily Post) Now, the “challenge” part of this challenge: every day for the next four days, open your draft and add to/edit what you’ve already written to fold in something new. Here’s your progression:

  • Day One: start your post.
  • Day Two: add a quote from a conversation you had with someone today (an email, instant message, or text conversation is fine, too).
  • Day Three: add something related to what your childhood self wanted to be when you grew up, or a dream you have for your future.
  • Day Four: add a reference to something currently in your refrigerator.
  • Day Five: add something inspired by a song you heard today. If you didn’t hear any music, use something you read (and turn on the radio!).

 

In a society that consistently pushes us to be better than the person next to us and define that gap a little more clearly, have we lost what it truly means to be great? When we celebrate participation and don’t keep score at sporting events, haven’t we really started to praise mediocrity? There are students who overwhelm themselves trying to be everything at once and others who simply can’t be bothered to try. Some schools hand out A’s like they are candy simply because having a C is now seen as not average but less in some way. Coursework has gotten easier in some ways and more difficult in others. And those who want to learn are often throw into a system that can’t properly cultivate that thirst for knowledge.

For example, I had a conversation today with a young woman who didn’t know what an amended tax return is, and I should probably mention that this student also happens to be a finance major at a prestigious business school. If our youth are so unprepared to meet the world that they don’t even know how to file their taxes, let alone amend them if need be, then what has all of that schooling really been preparing them for? Schools aren’t teaching lessons on how to be an adult and act in the real world but rather they are being sheltered from what they really need to know in order to survive. Something as simple as creating a budget or filing your taxes should be a class taught to our students rather than drones of meaningless facts and equations that they will probably never use again.

I had a variety of careers that I wanted as a kid, most notably, I wanted to be a doctor. But of course for me, I had a specific type in mind. I don’t remember which book gave me the idea, perhaps it was “Toxin” by Robin Cook, but I decided I wanted to be a cardiac-thoracic surgeon. That is until I heard the sound of a bone snap for the first time. Then that dream died. Now, I want to be a novelist. Well a writer, at least. Plus I want my writing to mean something, to influence people, specifically I want to inspire young women to embrace who they want to be. I want them to celebrate what they can accomplish in their lives and never have to give up on that dream.

And one of the most important parts of being a writer is obviously the snacks. And the tea but that’s a topic for another time. In the quest to make a difference, you have to treat your body well and to that end, I went to Trader Joe’s today. Boy, have I missed that store. I brought my 10 year old cousin with me and introduced her to the magical world of organic and all-natural. And we bought chicken pot-sticker dumplings. And damn are they good. Definitely worth keeping in my fridge, or rather in this case, my freezer.

As it is now Sunday, I can’t remember any song that I heard on the radio on Friday. But fortunately, I am reading a fascinating book by David Sedaris. His views on family and holidays are highly entertaining. “Holidays on Ice” is hysterical yet odd at times. I read a story called “Dinah – The Christmas Whore” and I had to try so hard not to snicker loudly late at night. No idea how this story might tie into the earlier ideas on society and mediocrity but I’m sure there is a lesson to be learned in there. I am very much enjoying Sedaris’ take on life, his humor, although sometimes dark, has the ability to make you think about life in different ways.

I’ve also decided that I’m not going to bother to go back and reread or edit any of my thoughts from the previous days. I’m simply going to post this and let the world see it for what it is. Love it or hate it, it is what it is: the product of whatever I was thinking and feeling on a given day. So have at it.

The Phantom Tollbooth

Book quote

Rereading a book that you loved as a child can have a profound impact on you as an adult. You understand some of the deeper life lessons that it was trying to teach you and can pick out the themes around which it revolves. As the quote from above (from “You’ve Got Mail”) states, the books we read as children become a part of our identity.

Reading as an adult can also impact us but usually in different ways. We are most likely given over to deep thoughts or changing our way of thinking based on a new idea represented or an old one given new light.

So what happens when you read a childhood classic as an adult? Well I participated in this little experiment to find out. A former coworker of mine lent me “The Phantom Tollbooth” because she was appalled to learn that as an avid book lover, I had never read it. For those of you who were in the same boat as me, the novel revolves around a boy named Milo who is consistently bored and pleased by nothing until the day he receives a mysterious package. When Milo discovers that the package contains a tollbooth that transports him to another world, he jumps whole-heartedly into the journey. He meets many a strange character and on his question to restore Rhyme and Reason meets members of the two kingdoms of Dictionopolis and Digitopolis, one convinced that words are better and the other prefers numbers.

The entire book is a thinly veiled attempt to install good behavior and habits into children, which isn’t bad at all. In fact, Norton Juster does a fantastic job at leading Milo down the correct path without ever forcing him down it. Plus he has to outwit other players on the field if he wants to move forward in his mission. Demons such as the Terrible Trivium and Senses Taker plus places like the Island of Conclusions crop up to interfere with the quest. It is humorously well-written and edges the reader along without feeling like the lessons are being shoved down your throat.

When I was finished with the book, I was amazed at how good I felt. I had learned that words and numbers are equally important and that being idle or bored with life is no way to live at all when there are so many adventures to be had. Since I try to live my life to fullest on a daily basis, I was not surprised to learn that this book had only served to reenforce that ideal.

And one quote in particular stuck with me: “So many things are possible just so long as you don’t know they’re impossible.” What a wonderful thought for an author to present to our young people. As we get older, we often lose sight of our dreams or stop making goals. In essence, many people stop living and just simply survive. But why not have something to reach for? Nothing is impossible as long you don’t think that it is. The minute we allow doubt, worry, and indecision to become every day part of our lives is the day that we stop living with the childlike wonder that makes life worth enjoying.

Pick up a book. Receive a new idea. Dream a big dream. And never let anyone tell you that you can’t because no one but you ever truly knows what you are capable of and what will impact you the hardest. Learn something from a book, a news article, a conversation and allow yourself to imagine a greater self than the one you are and work towards that identity.