Feeling stuck?

I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit. It’s that bored, shadow feeling that creeps up on me after a huge project has been completed, an overwhelming challenge has been successfully overcome and a lull falls where a high once was. It’s a good thing, but it’s also a little unsettling.

With that being said, I know of many people who’d rather the lulls, the routine, the comfort of knowing what comes next. That’s not me. That’s why I’m a writer. I love weekends checking out my calendar and inbox to find up what’s up for the following week.

For those of you who feel stuck, however, I’ve written up a new post over on LinkedIn. It’s my first one and don’t know if it’s something I will continue to do. But I hope you’ll let me know what you think.

Click on over to read my 5 Powerful Untruths That Keep You Stuck.

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Feeling Unworthy

{Etsy print by: Lori Portka}

{Etsy print by: Lori Portka}

It happened again.

I was feeling at peace with my life. The speeding ticket far behind me. The illness starting to heal itself. Acceptance was beginning to melt like chocolate, thick, rich and beautiful and seeping into anything hard and open.

And then it happened.

Life. It’s the person who’s doing better than you. The mom who seems to be perfect. The family with the bigger house. The friend with a better job. Suddenly, nothing you’re doing is good enough. And that’s not the end point.

The worse thing is when your child looks at you, when you’re staring straight in the face of your husband or your beautiful family, your home, your beautiful body, it’s not good enough. If it’s not good enough, you’re not good enough.

It’s a wretched feeling.

It starts with envy, but it’s an uncomfortable gnawing like the sound of nails on a chalkboard or a turtleneck choking your neck.

You know you should feel happy or use it to motivate you. But there you are.

How do you quell the critical voices in your head?

You keep telling yourself like I did:

“You are good enough.”

“Your life is perfectly imperfect, just the way it should be.”

Your fortune is in your ability to see it. Your happiness is dependent on imbuing the moment with gratitude. What you accomplish is not in direct proportion to your happiness or your worth.

Some people’s life from afar seem shiny and beautiful. They could be. It has nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with your life.

Don’t wish for their life.

Wish for your life being as grand, as alive, as heartbreakingly profound as it can be.

Don’t skim the surface.

Dig in deep.

Stop throwing away the good things you do for the amazing things someone else did. Stop putting your life alongside another. Stop making what you do who you are.

And embrace it all: your flaws, your contributions, your moodiness, your beautifulness. Pretend you are an outsider looking into your own life. And be envious of yourself…

*I’m busy writing nonfiction articles (like this heartwarming story of an old-time local store in the business of serving people and their pets), an essay and a few fiction pieces. These mini lessons are a slice of soul I hope will inspire you. 

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The Surprising Thing You Have to Be Grateful For

{Etsy poster by LotusLeafCreations}

{Etsy poster by LotusLeafCreations}

At any given moment these days, you’d hear a shriek, a shrill, a scream at my house. The 3 S’s every parent’s familiar with. But one day when the bean’s all grown up, I’ll miss those sounds.

It’s just one thing we often take for granted.

This past weekend, we had family over. Instead of white noise or “pink” noise, I’d say we had yellow noise. The happy sounds of laughter, sighing, and chatting-the background noise of loved ones all around. It’s what we take for granted. But it’s what those who are alone, crave most.

But it’s also the quiet that enthralls me. I’m not talking of the silence, which is absence of sound. But the stillness that accompanies trips in the forest or weekends spent in the country. It’s a sound so deafening it burns your ears until you get used to it.

It’s not a dream job, nor a fairytale romance. But it’s the seemingly insignificant moments that we most miss when  gone.

While you’re awaiting something grand to be grateful for, take a pause today and see if you can appreciate the absence and the chaotic symphony that fills your life.

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It’s Not About Finding Your Purpose

Accepting who you are warts and all

When I started this blogging journey, it was all about my writing. I wanted a place to pursue my passion. I wanted an arena to showcase my work and a venting spot to unleash my unexpressed writing dream. Since then, I’ve moved to Hawaii, bought a house, suffered from a few chronic illnesses and had a baby. Through it all, I realized the journey has molded my intention rather than the other way around. Instead of a place to inspire creativity and to get more writing gigs, it opened up my soul. It’s not just about finding our purpose or living our dreams. It’s about loving your life and finding a way to accept wherever we are in the process. It’s about self-acceptance. Patience. Faith. And courage.

I realized this because I found myself getting too attached to external circumstances. How many people were viewing my blog? How many freelance writing jobs was I getting? Was my work good enough?

Understandable questions to ask when striving for freelance writing success. But it was the meaning I placed on professional achievement and positive feedback that was wonky. Success, attention, like Lady Gaga’s new song, Applause, should not equal self-worth.

Doing well in your profession is important. Never giving up on your dreams is important. But more than anything else, our goal in life should be to find ways to love our self.

Basing who you are and your value on feedback from others or from success will inevitably deplete you. What nourishes our soul, what we’re really looking for, isn’t temporary validation through external sources. What lasts longer than a complement is the belief that regardless of what we accomplish, our lives mean something.

And that doesn’t have to mean BIG, grand, dramatic things. Just because your neighbor, a Facebook friend or a relative has done something so fabulous it leaves your life seem boring and worthless in comparison, doesn’t mean your less valuable than them. Just because you haven’t found “it” yet (great job, relationship, etc.), doesn’t mean you should walk around with your head down and your voice squelched.

It’s not about what you do that matters. You matter because you are here.

The secret is not in uncovering what will make us shine. The secret is that we don’t know we’re worthy of shining.

If we could all take that in on a deep level, the world would be a kinder, more loving, compassionate place to live. When we’re not trying to convince others of our worthiness, we’re ourselves. Being authentically you and feeling good in your own skin are the ways to happiness.

And your true calling?

It will find you on that path.

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It’s Not Them. It’s You!

{image via The Urban Slant}

{image via The Urban Slant}

The hardest thing to do, which is also the most life-changing, is to take responsibility for your life. This means that you look at everything going on right now, not as evidence of bad luck or misfortune, but as the decisions that led you up to this point.

It is not about self-blame or self-pity. You may indulge in both for awhile. You may need to. But to truly grow as a person and be happy, you need to empower yourself. That takes seeing your life as it is not colored by someone’s bad choices, your parents’ mistakes or hard luck.

When it comes down to it, it’s so much easier to blame someone else than to understand, have compassion for, and be aware of what you did to yourself.

It was a hard look at my own life that made me realize this. It took years for me to wake up. I saw that the company I chose to surround myself with, the situations I put myself in and the life that I used to lead were the results of bad choices stemming from a low self-worth. It’s also hearing a quote by Theodore Roosevelt spoken aloud by author, professor and public speaker Brené Brown on Super Soul Sunday that made things sync for me.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

It’s not bad luck that led to moments of insecurity and self-doubt when it came to following my dreams. I realized that I chose people in my life who reinforced a long-held belief that I could not write, that I was not a good enough writer, and that I would never live the life of my dreams. I saw a trail of critics who validated what I was feeling internally. When I finally lifted myself out of the negativity, I saw that I was the one who was putting myself on the line, risking everything, and being vulnerable by following my dreams. The people I listened to were simply good at being on the sidelines, feeling courageous in their critiques.

I say this because you may be in the same boat as me. You might be struggling, working hard, dealing daily with people who don’t support your dreams. You will encounter this whenever you strive for a non-traditional life. Don’t make things harder on yourself by surrounding yourself with negative, non-supportive people.

Happiness and success come when your insides match your outsides. When you notice that the people you spend the most time with are loving, understanding and genuinely care about you, then you’ve done it! You’re on the road to the life you were meant to live.

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I Don’t Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

{photo by The Inspiring Bee}

If you found yourself revisiting this question as a grown up, you know how frustrating the process of self-discovery can be. Perhaps, you took the first job you got after college or you simply fell into the career you have now. But it doesn’t fulfill you anymore. It pays the bills, but doesn’t make your heart soar.

If you find yourself asking, “Is that all there is?”, don’t despair. No matter how old you are, you always have a second chance to grow up again.

Speaking from someone who’s had over ten jobs in the last ten years, I don’t only know it’s possible, I’ve lived it.

The problem is most people are too scared to venture out into the unknown. We develop a false sense of control, and a weak web of security. But it’s enough to keep us away from the edge. Much better to live a safe life than to risk BIG.

At the same time, we drool over full-time bloggers, successful authors and entrepreneurs. “Lucky,” we think, never believing we can do it too. Yet, it’s only our minds that limit us and our ego that keeps us from venturing out of our shells.

The Truth About Taking a Leap

It is scary and it can feel risky and dangerous. But if anyone ever told you that staying where you are is safer than taking a risk, they’re mistaken. It’s NOT moving and resisting change that’s most risky. This is especially true right now when employers are looking for people who have multiple experiences and can juggle and manage a lot of different things.

Here’s what I know.

If we have just this one life and we were all born with a purpose, then not following the voice that tells us “this isn’t what I should be doing,” not only hurts us, but it hurts the world.

In all the years I’ve been exploring my life purpose, I’ve realized that I already knew what it was all along. I didn’t need career tests, books or webinars to tell it to me. All I needed to do was revisit my childhood, listen to my inner voice and trust in that. I’ve spent more than a decade trying to find my dream job and ended up doing what I wanted to do as a kid-write.

I spent my free time as a child creating a portfolio filled with mock ups of commercials, ad campaigns, and copy for faux products. I watched Bewitched on TV and Full House and wanted to work for an ad agency like Darrin Stevens and Jesse and Joey respectively. In high school, I did a project researching copywriting because it’s something I wanted to do.

And then college came and I heard things like: “You need to get a job that makes money. There’s not much jobs like those here.” I got confused and got lost in the tediousness of accounting and marketing classes and gave up. I did end up graduating with a BA in English. But I let go of my dream of being a copywriter. It seemed too hard and an impossible endeavor.

After graduation, my career went on a crazy course from research assistant to private investigator. It gave me good fodder to write about. But it also took me that much longer to finally recover and find the destination of my childhood dreams.

So I say to you now, the you who has been unhappy with your current job, the you who knows you deserve something more, although finding your dream job is worth the wait, you don’t have to wait to find it.

  • Think about what you loved to do when you were young.
  • Revisit the past-times you couldn’t live without.
  • Recall the jobs you dreamed about doing when you were a kid.

Follow the crumb left by your childhood self and you’ll eventually get there. Your adult self will finally catch up to your little kid.

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Gratitude Even If You Don’t Like It

Water or…

waterfall. Photos by The Inspiring Bee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been listening to Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge (By the way, it’s free. You can sign up for it here). Just this morning I listened to Day 12: The Gratitude Heart. In it, the speaker says, “We can be grateful for a situation even if though we don’t like everything about it allows us to be thankful for the opportunity to learn something new.”

It’s something we all know logically, but rarely do we choose to live our lives this way.

There is so much abundance in your life. There is so much wealth. If you allow yourself to truly see what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t, you will let in more things to be grateful for.

In my own life, it reminds me that I control my mood and my days on this earth by what I choose to bemoan or to view as a gift.

Hearing today’s meditation I realized that you don’t have to wait for life to be perfect to be grateful. You can still be searching for the right job, the right mate, the right place and have every right to say, “Thank you!”

In fact, it would serve you (and me) to do so.

That means I can temporarily forget that we still haven’t been able to use our car (that got a little worse for the wear on the ship over here), have yet to find a comparable gym or zumba class or additional writing gigs to jump for joy over.

What I can say is that I’m grateful that the warm sun and slower paced of living has physically healed me, reduced my sugar levels and mellowed me out. In writing about it, I realize the latter is so way more important than the former.

The other things will come in time. I guess the point is to grab what’s gratitude worthy now and be mindful of it. Be mindful of all the things you’re loving in your life because they won’t always be there.

No matter what you’re going through, I hope you can find something fabulous about your life, search for it in the clouds, in a field of flowers, in your child’s smile, hold them close, embrace it and say, “Thank you!”

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