Posts tagged change
Create Your Own Kerfluffle

Ever feel the need to shake your life up and rearrange the pieces?

A few years ago I was lost.

My life wasn't going the way I had always thought it would. I was at the age I once thought of as "old" and I had always assumed that wisdom and contentment came with that big number. Being accomplished, settled and happy came along as well, or so I thought.

 But I wasn't any of those things, except happy in my marriage. My well organized life lacked purpose and deeper meaning and weirdly enough instead of feeling wise with age, I felt like a naive 17 year old.

My confusion permeated everything. My job. My relationship with my kids. How I felt about myself. And wondering what my real life's purpose was weighed heavy on my heart and my mind. At that time my oldest had just left for college and I was reeling with the change it brought to my identity. Who was I if not busy mom anymore?

I started making some small changes to get out of my slump, distancing myself from things I had always done and rethinking ways of being that were ingrained in me. It worked for a while. On the surface I was more alive, but deep down I still wondered why everyone else seemed so happy and questioned why I was not.

I really dislike feeling stuck.

I wished for my life to feel right from the inside instead of always worrying about how it looked from the outside. I made a bold move and tried shaking things up by changing jobs and leaving the one I had held for nearly 24 years. It proved to be all things a highly sensitive person should not do---and halfway through my first year I was both mentally and physically exhausted, and very negative.

What helped me out of my slump the most was to begin writing again. Which after years of NOT writing anything, felt great even if the writing wasn't. It was an outlet to share my truth and I wrote it solely for me. But others read it and let me know that it resonated with them.

So it did give me some clarity, but it also led to more confusion. And when I am confused or unable to grasp something, I ask more questions. Then if I don't understand after the answers, I get frustrated (patience was never my virtue) and then overwhelm sets in and I give up.  That leads to some serious negativity.

My mean voice found the fuel she needed to take over and paralyze me with the fear of doing it wrong.  I became so afraid of doing anything wrong that I just stayed safe and coasted along -- alternately controlling things, and then getting exasperated when they didn't work out the way I envisioned and then giving up. But never growing forward.

Staying safe I now realize, is another name for staying stuck. No forward movement = frozen, stagnant, trapped. My biggest fear.

I didn't yet understand that the power was within me to change my life. One baby step at a time. The only way to get unstuck is to move forward, a step at a time -- don't try to solve everything in one move, just begin making the necessary changes to open up doors.

I read the book entitled Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and it made me see that what I feared most was moving out of my comfort zone and not being able to handle it. The whole book can be summed up like this: What is the worst thing you can imagine, now if that happens, can you handle it? Then, if you can handle that, you can handle anything.

Too easy? Not really. Thinking in that way made me see that it is okay to fail. To try again. To fall flat. The world does not end. Just because I fail does not mean that I am a failure--my mean voice had me so tricked into thinking it meant exactly that!

Stop looking outside yourself to make the changes you need to make from within. Stop giving away your power to others: bosses, friends, situations, history, or the mean voice in your head.

Take a step forward. Shake it up. Create a kerfluffle*.

You may find that is exactly what your spirit needs to find the sunny side of the street.

*Kerfluffle—Verb: To rile up, confuse, or anger a cat (especially kittens) into fluffing up.  (Urban Dictionary)

Going With the Flow
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I'm in my happy place, a week earlier than normal. That should be a great thing, right?

It however, looks more like a snowy winter's morning outside than the spring it should be. Once I might have been bummed, as no walk with my trees is happening today. Instead, I am going with the flow. Change of plans. I've got plenty of things to catch up on inside.

This go with the flow attitude, this new way of thinking is still a little foreign to me. I do not love change. I do not love the unexpected. It upsets my inner rhythm. It makes me feel a little off center. A tiny bit unsafe. I like the feeling of contentment that comes from a routine, a familiarity of sameness I can count on. So when changes, big changes, loom, I get a little freaked. In the past, I would get sad and cry a lot. In my present state of living life without a mapped out plan, I am opting for the glass half-full perspective.

This life change is going to be fun. This empty nest thing will allow me the freedom I crave. More creating time. More time with my love. More fun.

I know change is necessary or you become stagnant (which might be a nice word for stuck). I dislike being stuck more than the uncertainty changes bring, therefore I am practicing what I preach, and trusting the flow of life.

My girls are moving to their own place this week, moving their things and themselves out of our house. The boys have essentially been gone for a while. That means we will be empty nesters. Just the two of us in this big, quiet house. It is, as all life changes are, bittersweet; both exciting & sad.

I am so happy for the girls moving onto their next step of the journey, and also sad for Papi and I who will miss their constant and very alive presence in our home and lives.

The positive benefits of this change I am choosing to embrace are that I will have more actual play time with Nollie. My attention and time won't be shared with house duties, work, dance practice and cooking. I will now have the quiet time needed to get my stuff done and be ready for spontaneous fun with my little love when she comes over to play. I am so thankful for that!

Incredibly the March 31st snow is seriously piling up outside right now, but instead of being sad that a walk to clear my head with my friends the trees isn't happening, I choose to clear my head by writing out my feelings. This is all going to work out the way it is supposed to.

Breathe. Just breathe. I've got this.

P.S. Hello blog, it's nice to be back.

Reflections on a Snowy Winters Morn

Time goes faster the older I get. I didn't anticipate this as a kid sitting on my warm driveway soaking up the endless summer sun. I wish now I would have made a point of appreciating the freedom I had then, the clarity of thought, the uncomplicated simplicity of my life. But I was a kid, who knew that life would eventually roll along at so fast a pace it would seem there was no way to step off for a mindful moment?

My parents might have tried to tell me. But as a kid, who really listens to their parents?

I spent 2017 enjoying the moments directly in front of me, being 'present' as they say, and time didn't slow down at all. If anything, it seemed to move even faster. As I sit here reflecting on the year gone by, I so want to keep each precious moment of 2017 in my heart, relishing the cuddles from my sweet grand daughter, replaying the sound of her giggles and my husband's laughter as they played together, gazing up at the perfect blue sky of a summer day at the lake. Those little things fuel my soul and make my heart sing. I never want to forget them.

Another thing my parents may have tried to tell me way back when, is that everything changes, nothing ever stays the same.

The calendar turning to 2018 brings a brand spanking new chance to appreciate the moments right in front of me for another year. I know that I cannot recreate the ones I loved so much in 2017, but I have to remind myself there is no reason to think the new ones will be any less great.

I've learned at least one thing in my 55 years; you have to find your own joy. What things currently bring you happiness will change as you do, and as time goes by. Sometimes it means I have to dig deep for a silver lining and other times I have to fight to contain the awesomeness of the moment so I won't miss any second of it.

Life will be different for me this coming year as I can feel the winds of change blowing in. In the past I have tended to resist the unknown, to choose safe + familiar over new adventures, but I know if I do that I will become stagnant (again) and I do not want to waste this beautiful life of mine. So I will do my best to surrender to what will be.

In 2018 I will embrace what is, and graciously attempt to let go of what isn't. I will fill my heart with my own simple joys. I will continue to treasure all the moments with the members of my sweet family-- the little grand babies and nieces, my all grown up children and their significant others, the wise old ones (my parents), the one who is always my rock (my husband), and even with the ones that try my patience but give me the best of hugs. I will literally and figuratively "draw" out my own unique artistic talent by pushing past the self-critical voice I hear and find pride + promise in my work. And, I will allow my failures to be my lessons and my successes to be sweet reminders of my growth. I will shine in 2018. And if I am lucky, as I appreciate each wonderful moment, I will be able  to slow down time so I can enjoy life even more! .

Love + Blessings to you in the new year.





The Courage Within
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I had a really good week.

I made it through a full schedule of classes without my body falling apart, I am getting into a GROOVE with my students at GVSU and I launched my new website. All three are reasons to celebrate, yet the thing I am most proud of is that I am doing them all MY WAY.

As part of the clearing out process that comes with a website/blog switch, some old posts left in my drafts are popping up. I know my last post was also about staying in the wrong place too long and what it does to a person, and normally I would not share two of the same in a row, but I feel compelled to share the message that making change is up to you.

NOTHING, no job, no person, no life situation should ever be allowed to make you feel less than. To make you feel like you constantly have to prove yourself, to make you question your worth, to suck the joy out of you. Life is not meant to be so hard.

Over 5 years ago I found the courage to let go of what was no longer serving me as I set off to follow my heart. It was a scary fantastic thing to do. The result is I now end my days with a smile, a sense of worth/belonging, and knowledge that I make a difference. The dirty feet, messy hair and sweaty clothes I come home with are an in-the-present daily reminder of this. What a difference operating from your sweet spot makes in a person's level of joy. Below is the post from my drafts, I hope my words resonate with the right person today and encourage change.

You are enough. You are worthy and deserving of joy. You have a place in this world that is meant just for you. Find it.

Courage does not mean that you possess the strength to carry on. Courage means that you will carry on when you feel that you no longer have the strength.

This is one of the first statuses I saw when I opened up Facebook this morning. Maybe it was an answer to last night's prayers asking for the strength to get through the funk I am in. Maybe it was just what I needed to realize that I need to find the courage to plow through my current problems and face my fears. After struggling through another sleepless night, and waking up to the same sad, scared, tears-really-close-to-the-surface-feeling I have experienced for the last couple of weeks, I am ready for a change. I do not want to feel like this anymore. It sucks.

I believe in being honest. So I will tell you that my blog has been quiet because I haven't been myself. I don't know what people who suffer from depression feel like, so I won't say that is how I have been feeling, but I think it might be appropriate. I will say I am stressed, beyond stress I have ever felt before. Emotional is maybe not a strong enough word.

It stems from me feeling like a failure. At work. I was hoping by now that I would have achieved a different result, I've certainly tried hard enough. But a year after I began my quest to find my place within a changing industry and a stagnant company, nothing has changed. Honestly it has gotten even worse, for me. Because now that I have tried so hard, and beat myself up every step of the way trying to make sure I was doing the right things, and they haven't worked, I now I feel that I have indeed failed. Not a feeling I am used to.
Lately this feeling of failure is the last thing I think about before I go to sleep, what I think about during the night when I cannot sleep, and what awaits me when I wake up in the morning. It permeates everything I do. It is wrecking one of my favorite times of year. It is wrecking the joy I feel being around my own family.
I hate feeling uncertain, unappreciated, unsure, heck, unwanted. I hate that there is a now a knot in my gut all day long. I was foolish enough to think that people at work would see how hard I was trying. That by me finding the courage to take some chances and think outside the box, it would count for something. That someone in management would appreciate and recognize the lengths I was willing to go to find a solution.
Instead my value to the company is even more in question. So much so, I felt like I was summoned to a meeting to get my walking papers last week. I didn't, at least not yet. That is never a nice feeling to experience, but it is especially hard for me because our family size has recently increased by two. At this moment in my life, my contribution to the family income, is crucial.
Why is it that after doing a job for almost 24 years, my opinion does not matter? Why is it that after continually attempting to share ideas, and implement them, I am questioned about what I really do, what my role is? Whose fault is it that I am in a "grey area"? Why am I, after 12 years with this company, asked to write my own job description to clear up the confusion about what I do?
How can I not be offended by this? And not then take everything said as a criticism? My new boss (who has been at our company for a year) told me he has no idea what I really do. How is that even possible? If someone told you that you needed to start submitting a report every Friday about what you were going to do the next week, how would you take that? I cannot "not be so sensitive". I must be wired differently.
I take it like this, I am a failure. If no one can see any value to what I bring to the table, somewhere I have made a crucial error. Did I fail to advocate for myself? To make sure I achieved recognition? I am not motivated by my personal gain (at least not monetarily). Job satisfaction, passion for what I do, and joy come from feeling that I make a difference. Clearly I have failed to make that difference in my workplace, I have failed to matter. And that is my worst fear realized.
So, I am facing it. I am now going to find the courage to carry on. This blog will no longer remain quiet. I will once again achieve success. My promise to my family is this: I will not be sad anymore. I will fix this.

When one door closes, another opens.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, maybe these quotes will help.
He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he who loses his courage loses all. - Miguel de Cervantes

Have the courage to face a difficulty lest it kick you harder than you bargain for. - Stanislaus

Bye Bye Perfectionist

A couple of times recently I have been reminded that my life, my transformation back into the real me, is publicly out there on this blog when people I barely know have either asked me about it, commented on it, or referred to it. I am thrilled people have read parts of it and are intrigued enough to have questions. My whole journey began by writing it out. When I first yearned for something "more" in my life, I wasn't even sure what I was missing, I found myself writing it all out in a blog. It helped me organize my thoughts and uncover some of the feelings I was hiding deep.

It is also no secret one of my bucket list items is to write a book about my journey and what I have learned. Not to tell people "how" to do it, but to lead by example and encourage anyone they can change if they want to. My path will not ever be your path, yet some of the steps I took might help you. My roadblock seems to be in knowing how I should take what I have already written,  add in some additional thoughts, and combine them both into a book worth reading. I have always said I was a better editor than writer, but that seems not to be true in my own case.

How did I change my life? How did I transform from a rigid, unforgiving, perfectionistic, planned control freak into a freer, happier, live (a little more) in the moment me? It took a lot of inner work to shut down my inner critic, make some life (work) changes, step out of my comfort zone, and face my fear of failure head on. It took patience and trust and it took letting myself fall to rock bottom before I could see the way out. Maybe I should ask those who lived through it with me, to lend their perspectives? People I worked with, my husband, my children, my best friends. A lot of my most difficult work came from the inside. Because from the outside I faked it pretty well to those who didn't really know me. I was rarely a hot mess despite what was happening on the inside and was okay to have around (even if I was controlling) because I took charge and made things happen, running things smoothly and efficiently was my skill. But those who knew me well could see that on the flip side I was a fun sucker, lacked spontaneity and had a hard time deviating from my plan. I am determined NOT to be a fun sucker anymore. Ever.

I am still organized (in a lot of areas), that hasn't changed. And probably never will. But I know that once I quieted my inner mean voice, I found a softer side of me. I no longer want to watch life from my safe bubble, but to get down and dirty in it. To have some fun. To live in the moment. To stumble and fall, and get back up to try again. To allow myself to experience life and (if that means being the hot mess I once avoided at all cost once in while) then          so be it.

If I can change, I know if you really want to, you can too.

If you run from quiet, still, alone time, or find yourself easily bored when you do, you might be the perfect candidate to start where I did, with yoga. To me yoga is a moving meditation which uses breathing to bring a person into the present moment and put them back in touch with their body. It helped me stop overthinking, calmed my spirit and reconnected me with the inner wisdom I need to thrive. It reconnected me with 'me'. As I grow, my yoga practice grows with me. I have accepted that I will never be perfect and understand there is no "right" way to do a pose, only my way. Clearly yoga has helped me loosen up more than my hamstrings!

Your path will not be mine, but yoga is a great starting point for anyone. You may cross it off the list after trying it, or you may find like I did, that it can be a much needed lifeline to help guide you toward greater happiness and purpose. I'm teaching this summer -- ready to join me?



If I Can Do It, So Can You

Most of us are leaders in one way or another. Some of us don't lead corporations, or troops, or inspire trends in the fashion industry, yet we all have the potential to be influencers of those around us, especially those we love. In fact, we never truly know who is watching, imitating, learning from or listening to us. Our reactions/responses to situations, both good and bad, are often life lessons for others, and hopefully most of them aren't lessons about what not to do.

A few years back I was a chronic worrier and the stress of always thinking ahead to what might happen then trying to prevent it, affected me physically and emotionally. I became someone I was not, a critical, unhappy, burned out mess. My insides constantly felt like they were going to fall out (I carry my stress in my gut), I had trouble sleeping, and all I could do was see the negative of every situation. I allowed my fears, worries and expectations to get the best of my emotions, and the best of me.

One of the biggest catalysts in my life was making a Vision Board in 2011. I went into the process blindly, not knowing what to expect, which turned out to be the best thing for me. For once I didn't over think it, I just trusted the process as it happened. What came out on my board made no immediate sense to me, yet a few years later so much has changed. That Vision Board sparked so many changes and set the wheels in motion for me to make healthier and happier life choices. My career, my outlook on life, my relationships. my level of inner peace, and my health are all so much better now.

I realize the "control" I once clung to was a mirage, a quagmire of crap I concocted to keep myself safe from failing, from getting hurt, and ultimately from succeeding. I have since figured out I have no control over anything except how I respond to the life I have. And, that my happiness level is completely up to me.

I want to be known as a person exactly opposite of who I once became. One who is a joy to be around, who brings a healing and peaceful vibe with her into all situations. One who allows life to happen (without constant resistance), who appreciates all she has and never loses faith in herself or those she loves.  It took a while for me to figure out my personal prescription for wellness, but once I did, I am now able to maintain (and keep) a deep sense of inner peace. I think I have finally grown into a better version of me.

The Vision Board Process worked for me, so I know it can work for you also. If you are interested in making some life changes and trust me to help that process along, here are two upcoming chances to Vision Board with me:

Saturday, January 30 from 9:00 am -12:30 pm at Inspirations of Art Studio (spots are nearly full) $35 early registration| $45 after Jan. 20. Register with me by sending an email to or calling 616-446-7147.

Saturday, February 13 from 11:00 am- 2:30 pm at Armentality Movement Arts Center. Advance Registration /$45 ***Invite a lady friend that can benefit from this workshop for 1/2 Tuition | After February 6 /$55Register at or call 616-550-8244.

I hope to see your beautiful soul around the table at one of my workshops. It is never too late to grow + change and to live the life you've always dreamed of. You deserve it!

If I Told You...

Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

If I told you that you were going to die tomorrow, would it change the way you live today?

It should.

This question may seem irrelevant because you are probably not going to die tomorrow and no one could predict it anyway. But I believe the question should make you do more than think.

It should be a catalyst to bring on changes. Changes that move you into the present moment and out of the future or the past.

If you, like me, have spent way too much of your precious life here on earth doing things that didn't really matter, you might feel a pang of remorse when you ponder the question.

A twinge of regret for the moments lost, adventures rejected, and connections missed while you went about accomplishing all your ridiculous goals. Or a pang of sadness for all the frustrating attempts to prove yourself worthy that ultimately resulted in added  disappointment. You might even experience some reservation at the out of character actions you took trying to be accepted, included and appreciated.

And nothing grabs at a girl's heart more than realizing how silly it was to try to control the future by planning the life out of everyone and everything around her, even if it all started with good intentions.

For highly sensitive people like me, fitting into a world where you feel you stand out (for all the wrong reasons) is sometimes a major objective, a vision clouding objective. We get caught up in the doing, and we forget about the being. What we don't realize is that when we try so hard to 'fit in', those little compromises we make occur at the expense of our souls and eventually mess with our self-worth.

When we don't live in the present, we put off things that matter thinking we will have time to do it later. Until later comes and we comprehend all the missed opportunities.

I'm sure you've heard the saying many times 'live each moment like it is your last'  and maybe you, like me, would pause and reflect for a moment on where you were spending your time and attention, and then go right back to doing things the way you have always done.

When I finally recognized my life was not heading in the right direction, I changed it.

And in doing so not only changed my life, but the lives of those I love. What greater inspiration is there than leading by example?

So many good changes have come from being more aware, from living in the moment right in front of me. For a long, long while I forgot how to appreciate. I was so caught up in planning it all out, in accomplishing things, in making sure that I was responsible and productive, that I lost "me" and life delivered me to my lowest moment. I was emotionally and physically exhausted from all that striving. And I realized I was missing the joyous parts of life.

If you knew that today was your last day--how many people would you want to see, talk to, hug, write a letter to, or tell how much they have meant to you? If you knew you were going to die tomorrow wouldn't you want to spend the minutes of your last day doing things that matter.

I would.

A while back I started to get the sense that my time was limited. Not in an I-am-going-to-die-tomorrow way, but like a wake up call to pay attention to all the little moments I was missing. Stopping to smell the roses was not in my original plan. It is the only plan now.

One moment at a time. One person at a time. One honest declaration of love, one heartfelt I'm sorry, one please forgive me, one hug filled with positive energy, one thank you so much, one I am listening, I see you, I hear you, one you can do it! Those are the moments that matter.

What would you do differently if this were your last day?

There is time to make a change. Follow your heart. Go on an adventure. Do absolutely nothing. Believe in yourself. Whatever it is that is different than what you usually do; do it. And do it with all the focus you can muster, as if it were the last time.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

— Dr. Wayne Dyer
Growing Into Me

I'm not the same person I was. Not at all.

It is funny to see the realization dawn on the faces of those who knew me "when".

Questions of: Who are you? And what did you do with Terri? play across their faces.

The "old me" as I call it, or really the mask I wore to the world showed me as extremely organized. Planned. Productive. Future thinking. Busy. Distracted.

The "real" me is calmer, quieter, less organized and way happier.

But this brings up a question or two. Where did the majority of my old friends go? The ones who counted on me to organize, plan, prepare and hostess events that they enjoyed. They seem to be gone, along with my mask, my organized self and my clean house. Have I neglected them, or am I just no longer what they need?

Forward motion brings changes. And I recognize that this is all okay. Things are happening as they should.

But the new me still needs to be around people. I especially appreciate like minded people, the ones who get me for who I am: a student of spirit, a girl who communicates with trees, who sees colors behind her eyes, who lives to see signs that she is on the right path--even if she can no longer see the path ahead of her as she travels.

I believe in the real me. The new/old me. She is happy, honest, mostly carefree, and totally alive in the beautiful moments of life. I am not always in my head thinking about what might be (well, that still happens occasionally), or looking back at what was. I live more spontaneously and enjoy the moments at hand.

From the light shining off the dew in this morning's grass, to the larvae I saw stuck to my beautiful backyard tree --to the hug I got from my grown up son, still sluggish from sleep, I appreciate every little thing in front of me. I am thankful for every. beautiful. moment.

Finding My Essence

Big Star Lake

You have the power within you. Those words might be the only mantra I need for life. Now that I realize their truth, they are my answer for everything.

I've been wearing the ruby slippers for years and hadn't realized their power. My power.

To do Anything. Everything. or Nothing.

Why did I spend so many years giving up my power to others? Questioning my own intuition. Thinking I needed someone else's buy in to my ideas to make things happen. Why didn't I trust myself more?

I do now and I am not about to give up that power again.

In recent weeks I have recognized my ability to be fully me. To say yes when I mean yes, and no when I mean no. To go forward when I recognize that I am on the right path. To be connected with others when I want to and also to recognize my body's warning signs when I need time to dis "connect", or to as I call it "turtle in". To see the positive in the situations around me where I once might have focused on the negative.

Life is so much less complicated now. The drama is outside of my bubble. I have an inner peace that rocks.

Today I sat outside and appreciated the beauty of the lake before me. I appreciated the fantastic life I have been blessed to live. My beautiful talented soft-hearted boys, my gorgeous husband, my often crazy family who make me laugh and cry, and the many "others" who think that I am something special and call upon me to be their safe haven.

The sheer wonder of such a great life caused tears to leak. No one was around to see or notice, so I'm sharing that secret with you.

I'm not sure why I ever lost the ability to appreciate every. single. thing. about my life, but I am sure glad that gratitude is back in full force.

Happy. Happy. Happy. And so fully blessed!

Life's Little Challenges

Going With The Flow.

How many times have you had a day (or an event) all planned out, every last detail under control and then something happens to bring on chaos? A burned dessert, a sick kid, a traffic tie up, an unexpected expense, or a last minute injury. Whatever the circumstance, it creates a disruption.

Most of us can relate to times in our lives when our carefully laid plans took a back seat to something out of our control, times when we had to let go of our expectations and attempt to adjust or accept an altered plan. The way we deal with these unexpected changes says a lot about us. So do you fight them or accept them?

Question of the Week #40 / How do you handle life's unexpected changes? 

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a day and a half with two really cool people. In the course of our conversation a story (or two) came out, about how we have reacted in the past to being thrown off by the unexpected. Being a reformed control freak, I admitted that I have not always (or maybe ever) reacted calmly when this happens to me.

My friend shared with us her coping technique and it has helped open my eyes to a better way to handle things. When something unexpected and maybe not so positive occurs in her life, rather than reacting with anger, frustration or stress, she takes a deep breath and shouts "plot twist".  It stops her negative reaction and ends up giving her the perspective to see the situation for the temporary disruption it is, then allows her to respond accordingly. Shouting "plot twist" is like telling the universe "ok, I can handle this."

I've been using the "plot twist" idea to remind myself when unexpected changes occur, that all is still ok. My new lighter way of being believes that everything happens for a reason-- even if it isn't exactly what I was planning. That little bit of a reality check reminds me to stop resisting and go with the flow. So far, it seems to be working rather nicely.

The struggle is part of the story. 

Find Your Own Fun | Do You Even Allow Yourself Time To Think About Fun?


“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” — --- Paula Poundstone

I recently completed a passion mining exercise and surprisingly among my top 5 passions emerged this one: "Have more fun with friends and family."

I wasn't expecting to see fun among the top 5 but maybe that is because I don't actively spend time thinking about it. I guess I ruminate about things like purpose, meaning and how I can make a difference in the world and still provide income for my family so often, that I rarely think about fun.

I suppose it seems like f-u-n should just happen, but even as I purposefully attempt to slow my life down, I realize that some of us have to work at "fun" more than others. We have to be deliberate in making time for it. Left to my own devices I would oftentimes choose accomplishment over f-u-n. It is in my nature (and always has been) to set goals, to be efficient and to get things done. This exercise made me see that somewhere deep down I believe I am missing out -- or have missed out on some fun time in life.

It is weird that I can make myself a giant "to do" list of things I think I should get done,  in less than a minute -- pretty much at any given time. But creating a list of  fun things is more work than it should be. Each item I start to add to the list has so many buts attached to it: I'd like to write my book, but.....I really need to respond to the emails in my inbox in case one of them leads to my dream job. Or I'd love to spend the day making something out of paper, but I really should update my Linked In profile first. There always seems to be something more practical to do.

I have also come to realize that everyone has a different idea of what "fun" is. I imagine some people draw their ideas of  possibilities for new "fun" by watching others enjoying an activity. We might notice someone sailing for example, and think: "I should try that." Or maybe our idea of fun is based on an activity we used to love doing, and we think we'd be having a lot more fun if only we had time to ..... sew, paint, or grow a garden again.

But the truth is that finding "fun" can sometimes be a moving target. It can depend on our mood, our current job or life situation, the weather, our health, our attitude, even our unique personality and how we are wired on the inside. And I think  our ideas of fun change as we grow older, too.

So how often do you allow yourself time to rethink "fun"?   

The Question of the Week #27/  What Do You Consider Fun and Do You Need More Of it in Your Life Right Now?

Need help  jump starting your list? Here are something things that helped me rethink my idea of fun.

What did you do as a kid?

I am a big believer in thinking back to when we were kids and remembering what we spent our free time doing. One of my earlier questions of the week revolved around what roles you played as a kid. Now think about the activities you spent time doing, especially on rainy days. The things that interested you then, might actually help you think of things you want to do now.

Go big.

In other words don't let others tell you that your idea of fun isn't acceptable. If you like collecting things, or scrapbooking or reading children's literature or writing poetry, do it. Fun is as unique to you as is everything about you.

It's ok to change your mind.

Lots of people find that they love the idea of doing something but once they get started do not actually even like doing it. (Include me in this category). As we age our bodies change, our patience levels adjust, and our basic needs are different... so things we once found fun might not interest us anymore. Like dusting off that softball glove, or  putting on the roller blades.... clearly that would be entertainment only for those watching my attempt, not for the parts of my body sure to end up on the ground.

Here are my current ideas of FUN:

1. A day with no schedule, no responsibilities

2. Reading for hours (a real printed book)

3. Deeply connecting with someone via a face to face conversation

4. Helping someone see things differently, showing them a new perspective

5. Playing with my camera

6. Karaoke

7. GROOVIN' with friends

8. Taking a walk

9. Teaching someone something new

10. Relaxing in the sun

My choices are different than they once would have been. A lifetime of being an extrovert has left me with strangely introverted ideas of fun as I age. I now enjoy my time alone or with limited people around. I like doing less of the organizing I once thrived on. Instead I like to just be,  with time to think, to be more spur of the moment and to live without a plan. A few years back my list would have been filled with more active doing, and centered more around helping others have fun around me. Not sure if this new idea of fun for me is an age related thing or maybe I am now able to hear my inner voice, the one that is telling me to slow it down and take time to enjoy this life, or it will surely pass me by.

I'm curious about your list, did rethinking your idea of FUN change any of the things you thought would be on it?

Please comment and share... and don't forget to do something fun just for YOU this week.


If I Only Knew Then....

DSC_0081Retrospection can be a very enlightening thing.

"If I only knew then what I know now",  how many times have you said that?

With age comes wisdom and understanding.

While I've learned you cannot always stop someone from making their own mistakes by sharing what you have gleaned from yours, you can use what you have learned to mentor those who are ready to learn from you.

Question of the Week #20 / If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

As I look back on my life,  there is little I would change. Except maybe to have devoted more time to figuring out my own natural talents earlier in my life. Like most people-- life has a way of chugging along on its own power.  So, I got busy, or maybe I became content, and as a result I stopped growing. I stopped paying attention to what made me tick, what energized me and I lost myself for a while. I found myself doing what I dislike most, being stagnant.

So, if I had it to do over again I would start figuring out my "sweet spot", my purpose, my element as Ken Robinson calls it --earlier than I did. I think if I had, I might already be on my next move instead of questioning what it should/could be almost daily.

Many of my greatest inspirations are from real women who reinvented themselves later in life.  I wrote a post about my friend Edie a while ago, she reinvented, and I so admire her for it. Reading it reminds me that there still might be time for me.

Heck--if I had gotten moving earlier I might even have my Master's Degree in psychology already, or my teaching certificate, or my MSW.... or my yoga studio or have started a my own school.

What about you? Would you change anything?

P.S. For some the hard part might be in having to choose only one thing to change.




No Really, I Love Being A Fun Sucker

I am not your friend.Don't misunderstand me, I'd love nothing more than to just be your friend, but it is not my job.

I'm your parent.

And with that goes the biggest responsibility I've ever been entrusted with.

So as to not mess up this assignment...I am going  to follow the rules of what it means to be a parent, even when it sucks to be me. Which honestly, is often.

Wouldn't I rather just agree with you, exchange a few surface niceties and go about my merry way, instead of endlessly dragging out of you whatever your latest problem is? Oh heck yes.

But that isn't the job I took on. And I'm not one to brush things aside, let half truths lie, or hold feelings inside, for long.

So I will scold, prod, encourage, advise, push, pull, question and challenge my way through your week. Every week.

I will even say "no" to you, and I will say it often, without reason, with reason and every place in between.

Because I love you. Because I care. Because I can. Because I am your parent.

I won't attempt to buy your love with special treats, or adventures. I'll instead buy you "real" food, boots, underwear, deodorant, glasses, shampoo and all the other necessities required. I won't help you buy a car you can't afford, instead I will take you to the doctor when you are sick, navigate through your medical bills, bank statements and job applications when they don't make sense, stay up half the night when you have had too much to drink, all in hopes that someday you will learn to be independent. That you will make better choices.

I'd really rather go with you to the flea market, or bowling, out for Chinese or shopping...but instead I will work, so I can pay the bills.  I'll do the laundry, clean the house, do the grocery shopping and make sure everyone has a safe, clean and healthy place to live and thrive. A place where friends are welcome and wanted. Where birthdays are celebrated. Where accomplishments are celebrated. And failures are discussed.  I'll go to the boring school meetings, the conferences, and attend any baseball games I can fit into my work day.

And when things go wrong in your life, or you face disappointment or failure, I'll still be here---living my boring, predictable existence. Ready to lift you up or bring you back down to reality.  All the while doing my best at the hardest job I will ever take on, being your parent.  So you can have a chance at a life beyond what you were born into. A life with choices. A life where you can live to be anything you want to be.

I'm your parent, I'm not your friend. And I will always be here.

It actually hurts to say that I am not your friend, because someday I sure would like to be.

In the meantime I'm right here. I haven't changed, even though you have.

I am still the reality check. The thorn in your side. The fun sucker.

The one who loves you more than you can ever imagine.

And I will remain that person, no matter how far you push me away.

Because it is my job as your parent. And I intend to be the best parent I can.

Where do you find strength when life gets hard?


Are You Living a Happy Life?

Until recently I would have said, sure I am. Because I was happy in most areas of my life. My husband is rockin' cute, I have more material things than I really need (including a cottage and a boat) my kids are healthy and mostly happy, I have fantastic friends and a super cool extended family. But something still was not quite right. When I said I was happy, something was missing.

For one thing, I had lost the passion I had once had for my job. Now some people say you don't have to have passion for your job, it is after all just a job, a way to pay the bills. And maybe for a while I even convinced myself that this was true and I could handle that. I reasoned that I needed to make money, and could not afford to make a job change and take less than the level I had already achieved, even if it meant I'd be happier.

Luckily for me I came to my senses. I made a change because I realized that being unhappy at work was slowly killing me. It was sapping my energy and attracting negativity back to me. So, I made a switch.

Since the day I quit, I have never looked back. (Okay there was that one day when I was sure I could not handle the pace, but besides that, I have been super sure of my decision!)

Ask me now if I am living a happy life and I will answer with a huge "YES, I am Happy!" because I am now operating on all cylinders.

Passion, purpose + happiness.

I have a job that I love, reasonable goals to achieve to satisfy those I work for, and better yet, a sense that I belong with, and am welcomed by my colleagues. My opinions are considered, my ideas are at the very least given an audience, and best case scenario will someday be utilized. That is a dream come true for me! Combine that with digging the people I work with and for, and you have a recipe for happiness. For me anyway.

Having that happiness makes a huge difference in how I face each day. Postitive attracts positive, and I not only say this, I totally believe this. Because it has happened to me.

Reconsider my question... are you living a happy life?

And then, if need be, don't be afraid to make some changes in your life.