A Very Good Place to Start

I was going to wait until Monday to write this post, but it’s been on my mind for some time…..

Something has got to change in my life.

I am sure we’ve all had that feeling before, but this is something different than I have ever felt before. There’s something about this time that makes it feel as if there’s no more time to do it. So, I am taking my own advice on my different levels and I am starting small to make changes that will eventually become habits. I was on a great streak earlier this year until I got sidelined by stomach bug and haven’t been able to duplicate things since.

This morning I got up at 530am to start a long drive to Iowa to visit my family. Getting up early seems like something that doesn’t have to be done on the weekends, but for me, if I want something to be a habit, it has to happen daily. I plan to get up at 530am M-F and 630am on Saturday and Sunday.

What difference will this make?

I am not 100% sure at this time, but I do know that when I used to get up early to meditate or workout or just to get caught up on the day, I was more productive and happier and did better at life. So, there’s no time like the present to start that again. And there’s no better place to start than at the beginning of the day. HOPEFULLY, there will be a trickle down effect.

So, first change….get back to being an early riser and, on the flip side, early to bed.

 

Do you ever feel the need to change right now?

Is time running out for you to reach your goals?

What would be the first change you would make?

 

TOLT #92 – High Motivation; No Follow Thru

It’s a Thursday and I haven’t written a Think Out Loud post yet this 2021 year, so today is a good one. I am currently grading Wellness Vision Plans which is something I do three times each year. Summer session WVP’s are interesting because they only have 5 weeks to absorb the information that students in other semesters have 16 weeks to take in. Sometimes they’re highly motivated and really get the information and understand the concepts and implement things well. Other times, they’re totally off the mark.

This got me thinking about my own wellness….as always happens when I am teaching and especially when grading these projects. I often get jealous of the fact that my students are at a point in their life where they have so many options in front of them. I am often filled with regret when this happens. Do I want my life to be different? TOTALLY! Though my motivation may be high to make changes, my follow through lacks completely.

Why?

It’s because I am 40 years old and I have made choices in my life. Choices about priorities, choices about what I can and cannot handle, and choices that have trapped me into a routine that I can’t seem to break without total upheaval of other people’s lives. Sometimes life is like that. Sometimes the motivation is there, but the follow through just CAN’T happen.

I am about to be done with teaching for a few weeks again. I am about to go on vacation away from many of the things that weigh me down and restrict me. I want to use this time to encourage my motivation….to drive my enthusiasm….to cultivate my wellness. Sometimes the follow through happens in different spaces and the space I need is out there.

What’s a situation that has prevented you from changing or growing no matter how much you wanted to?

Fave Reads Friday – Procrastination

I started this post in April and never finished it. It’s been that way with a lot of things lately.

I am still reading a book from each letter of the alphabet and have finally made it to the letter “R”, but today, instead of reading the book or working or doing any of the other things I should do….I am procrastinating.

the books i’ve read so far

I liked each of them for different reasons, but was disappointed to find out that Olive Again was a sequel to a book that I had skipped. I was also a little thrown by Q is for Quarry because Sue Grafton has a whole series of books that came before that one and it made it a little difficult to connect to a character that other readers might have known more about. I felt that Kinsey’s character was not quite finished when I finished the book and that’s because there were more in the series to come….

Now I am on to Raising Good Humans…..which technically I have been trying to do for over 10 years now. I don’t remember where I saw this book, but it was recent and since I knew I was needing an “R” title soon, I snatched it up. It is pertinent to things going on in my life right now. I am having a bit of a crisis of personality on multiple fronts.

parenting

Let’s start with parenting. I have always wanted to be a good mom; a great mom even, but what does that even mean? I picked up this book because one of the reasons I feel I need it is that I yell. My kids and I have had multiple conversations about my yelling. Not because it’s a regular thing like certain people would lead you to believe, but because it’s something I don’t like to do and they don’t like either.

Our discussions usually follow the same pattern. First I tell them that I understand that they don’t like that I yell and that I also don’t like that I yell. Then I ask them if I yell a lot and they tell me no. I also ask them if I yell the first time I ask them to do something and they again tell me no. We talk about how I usually yell when it’s the fourth or fifth time I’ve asked them to do something and now I am out of patience and feel like I’m not being heard. We talk about how we can all do better to prevent the yelling.

But I am still left feeling not quite satisfied at the end of that conversation. Am I blaming them too much for my actions? Should I be better about this and able to control it more at this point in my life? Is yelling inevitable as a parent? Is it realistic to expect them to do things the first several times I ask? Crisis of personality…..am I actually a good parent?

relationship

That brings me to the next point. I am not even supposed to write about this, so I’m not sure if I will actually publish this post at all, but my relationship is always a rollercoaster. I get lectured about my yelling and how terrible of a parent it makes me. My yelling is a problem for many reasons. The first being that I am giving my kids anxiety (not necessarily true, but opinions aren’t fact) and that I am wrong to yell (because everyone says so). The second being that yelling brings my kids into things that aren’t their problem (probably true, but also not always yelling…sometimes just speaking with emotion that gets called yelling). And finally, the yelling is a problem because people who grew up in houses with yelling don’t want to live in houses with yelling…..but some people just don’t listen to others and that makes them feel the need to yell to be heard.

self-reflection

Being heard is a problem of mine. I don’t feel heard in many settings in my life and I think that’s where the yelling comes into play the most. The Raising Good Humans book has many exercises in it. I have been avoiding the first one because I am afraid that I already know the answers to my reactive parenting and that I don’t need a book to tell me this. I am afraid of what more mindfulness in my life will reveal about myself and my insecurities.

In all honesty, I feel very mindful and aware of some things that hurt. One is that I have not lived the life I truly wanted to live. This one hurts not because of what I have missed out on…..life is not over, I still have time…..but because this is a sentiment that my dad expressed before he left us. I don’t ever intend on walking out on my family, but I do struggle to balance what I want with what they need from me. I can’t eat what I want, act how I want, do things I want because I am constantly being judged…..and the judgement is that I am unworthy and not enough.

WORK

So, that brings me to my last area of discontent. I am not finding love in my job at this time. I don’t know how to best describe it. I want very much to reach my students and to engage them in a way that makes them leave my class feeling strong and inspired. However, I also want them to meet the standard of taking my work seriously and understanding that what I teach is college level….not high school. I have said many times that I hope that they never have someone come into their place of employment and tell them that their job is pointless or worthless.

I don’t yell at my students, but I feel like many of my communications with them are like lectures of what they’re not doing instead of praise for what they are. I want them to follow the rules and to enjoy it. I struggle with how to make that happen. Flexibility is not my strong suit….Libras like fairness and balance.

procrastination no more

So, here I am many paragraphs and words later still procrastinating and not reading or doing the writing exercise. No new decisions made, no new growth of character created. But, looking at the prompts in the book it looks like I’ve already started….

  • How do you feel about your parenting now?
  • What are your frustrations?
  • What do you want to feel instead?
  • What would you like to change about your behaviors?

The big question is….how do I make the me that I think I am be the me that is relayed to the outside world? How do I stand up for being the best me that I know I can be and want to be? I guess I’ll just have to finish this and try to find the answers to those questions and more.

What are your parenting mistakes and how do they translate to other areas of your life?

Training Plan Tuesday #21 – Tipping the Scales

Today I weighed myself for the second time in 2021. The first time was at the end of January when I first went to campus to teach. I told a colleague that day that I weighed 160lbs. I was embarrassed to tell her that, not because of the number itself, but mostly because I was putting so much weight into the number.

My colleague politely reminded me that the number doesn’t matter so much as other things….things I know and write about often. But, still I stood there feeling out of sorts for both the number and telling her. I also told her that one of those “other things” is how your clothes feel and that mine were FAR TOO TIGHT at that moment. There was no hiding it….I had gained a lot of weight (for me) in the past year and I was not comfortable with that mentally, physically, or emotionally.

Back in November I had decided to slowly take back my life and my fitness. I had started streaking. I now have an (after today) 82 day Yoga streak, a 52 day Run streak, and I have done 10 days of Pilates this year. (I also have some mediation streaks going, but that’s a slightly different story.) I am doing this because I also want to hit a healthy weight for me….and by healthy I mean comfortable to my mental, physical, and emotional health.

I wrote about weight and aging last January. Coming from a family full of obesity and health problems, this is a real concern of mine not from a beauty or outward appearances standpoint. I am genuinely concerned about the make-up of my body and how long it will last.

So, what’s the point of all of this? I am not on a diet. I am not trying to get back to the way I looked when I was in my 20’s or 30’s. The point is that I am very mindful of what is going on with me right now and I am doing things to make sure that I am well.

I weighed myself today for the second time this year. I was 157lbs. That is 3lbs less than last month. That is one month more of movement, one month more of mindfulness, one month more of life that I have had. When I weigh myself, I do not come up wanting; I am found to be content.

Meditation Monday #64 – The Two Fears

I have been meditating almost daily this year thanks to the Mindful Mornings Meditation Challenge on InsightTimer that I did in January.  It’s over now, but I have been continuing to get up and have meditation as my first real act of the day. This past week I started using the Daily Insight feature, but found the FREE 5 minute option to be both useful and too short. So, this morning I started just scrolling through the suggestions on the main page and looking at what was in the time range I wanted to be in. I came across this meditation podcast:

https://insighttimer.com/groundedmind/guided-meditations/goals-for-2021-episode-number-9

I loved the idea of looking at fear from two perspectives:

  • Fear of Failure – which I am sure we are all very familiar with
  • Fear of Success – which is probably a lot less common

I am kind of glad that this podcast didn’t touch on FOMO because I’m kind of over FOMO at the moment as my puppy’s separation anxiety is just blown up FOMO.

Earlier this week I had a revelation about myself and relationships. I realized that I was not practicing yoga in my relationships. Aparigraha is about not hoarding or not holding on to things that don’t still belong to you or the you you are now. I realized that I was still holding out hope for a reconciliation of a relationship because I wanted what it had given me at one time. But, I am not that person any more and I don’t want to be that person, so I don’t really want that relationship.

As soon as I had that enlightening moment I was able to let go of the fear that I would never have that again and instead found that within myself. The thing I was missing? Honesty. Honesty about who I am and allowing myself to live that truth. Maybe I also had a fear of succeeding on my own? I will never know because I recognize that I am succeeding at giving myself what I need. I am allowing me to be me and to grow. I was able to let go of some fear this week.

What fear are you still living with?

In my last post (way back in January), I started the year off with a Fave Reads Friday. And now, here I am again in February with another. It’s not that I don’t have a million other things that I want to write about, it’s that I am not making the time to do so. But just now I decided that I had a few minutes, so this is kind of also a TOLT post because I want to rant for a minute….

WHAT’S WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

I am still working down my book list and I got to letter “K” and it was The Knowledge Illusion by Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman. Oh, what a fantastic book so far….but the book is not the issue. People who use my library are.

In the first four chapters of the book I found 3 places in which someone had crossed out the word evolution and wrote the word “GOD” over the top….in ink. This is public property people! Then, as I was trying to figure out where to stop for the night I moved my bookmark to the next chapter start and noticed that it was missing. Yep, you read that right, MISSING!

Needless to say, I returned the book to my library yesterday and let them know about the damage. I requested another copy because I was so interested in the material, but they only had the one. So, now they’re putting in a request to order a new copy and looking through the inter-library loan system for one I could borrow in the mean time.

I just have to say that paying taxes that support the purchase of books does not mean that it gives you free reign to do what you want with them or to push your values into other people’s written works.

So, on to the next one

Last month I finished reading Jewel by Bret Lott. It was a really great story, but I had a hard time picturing the characters some times. It told the story of a family who dealt with the challenge of raising a child with Down syndrome during a time when little was known about the genetic disorder. It was told from the point of view of the mother, Jewel, and focused on her own narrative of life from when she was a child through the end of her years. I felt compelled to keep reading it until my eyes fell closed every night until it was done. At the end I was sad that I didn’t get to read more.

And now that I had to skip “K” for the moment, I have moved on to “L” and last night opened A Lesson Before Dying. I haven’t read much of it yet because I was super tired, but it is the story of two men. One on death row and the other the nephew of the best friend of the godmother of the man on death row. Say that 5 times fast!

Then and Now

When I finish this one I will have to skip around again to my “N” book before it’s due to go back and “I” has finally arrived with “M” on the way. I have decided not to watch tv at night any more because it gives me this time to unwind and read. It’s allowing me to feel accomplished in my goals, wiser, and like I am balancing my time during this new semester. It’s also giving me that time I need away from electronics when I am online for teaching and grading and helping my kids with school all day.

I am still reading to the kids almost daily and we’re so close now to the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The youngest is  on his last book in the Trapped in a Video Game series by Dustin Brady. And the oldest is reading Moby Dick and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator in turns. He checked out 7 shorter books from the library this week to start to meet some of the other categories in his 40 book challenge at his school. Today he read one he really liked called Spring After Spring and now I want to check it out because he almost never recommends books to others and he recommended this one to me.

I am still only averaging about 1 book a month right now, but with nightly reading and grading slowing down I might be able to pick up the book a little more.

What book(s) are you reading for February?

Fave Reads Friday #25 – What’s Wrong With People?

I haven’t written a Fave Reads Friday post in six months, but the reading hasn’t stopped. I don’t know why this is the first post I have chosen to write in 2021, but I think it has a lot to do with my theme for this year (that’s a topic for another post).

In my post linked above I had decided to add the Oprah’s Book Club books to my list of books that I want to read. As of today that list has 175 books, but I am in the process of reading one. I decided to start reading one from each letter of the alphabet in order until I get to the bottom of my list and then work my way back up. At the time I decided this I didn’t have anything in “A”, so I started here:

  • Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  • Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  • Earth Hates Me: True confessions of a teenage girl by Ruby Karp (I ended up giving this one to my 15 year old niece)
  • Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (made me like him even more as a person and wanted to be his best friend)
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

And now I had to skip my “I” book because it hasn’t come in yet and I am reading Jewel by Bret Lott. I also have my “K” and “L” waiting on my nightstand.

READING SILENTLY and ALOUD

I am trying to find time daily (even though I am prepping for the new semester) to read silently and allow myself to be transported into the new adventures of my books. I am making time (while my kids are still virtual) to read to them at breakfasts, lunches, and before bed.

We are on to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix now. A friend of mine graciously donated their set to us when her children stopped reading them. It makes it a lot easier to go at our own pace instead of rushing to read the book in time for library due dates. Although, these are the paperback copies and not the illustrated versions we’d been enjoying.

The youngest is reading the Trapped in a Video Game series by Dustin Brady. And the oldest has discovered adventure stories in the form of Great Illustrated Classics and Classic Starts books. He’s on to Moby Dick at the moment as part of a 40 book challenge at his school.

I am averaging about 1 book a month right now with the hopes of more. I wonder if I can’t finish the alphabet by July?

What book are you reading in 2021?

Fave Reads Friday #24 – The List

TOLT #91 – Good-Bye 2020

It’s the last day of the year and many of us have this mutual feeling of fear and excitement, relief and suspense, urgency and optimism as well as dread and the realization that it’s not over just because the calendar flips. I told my husband that I wouldn’t be surprised if the center of the Earth overheated at midnight and the whole planet exploded. Nothing is going to surprise me at this point.

At this time of the year I usually look at a recap of all that I’ve accomplished and start to plan out for the coming year. I decided to look at it a little differently this time around.

Habits I Formed in 2020
  • Flossing my teeth at night
  • Wearing my retainer
  • Putting on facial cream morning and night
  • Daily yoga (I am currently on day 35, but it’s still going, so it counts)
  • Daily run (Still only on day 5, but I am working on it)
  • Saving for retirement
Things I quit doing in 2020
  • Letting others define me
  • Taking chances with my health and safety
  • Saying “yes” when I mean “no”
Where My Life is going in 2021

This year I want to focus on the millions of little ideas I have in my head that I want to put into action. Things like continuing to work on “streaking” my fitness. After I can maintain 30 days of running and yoga I want to add in Pilates to the mix daily. These are the basis for the three things I teach the most, so I want to do them daily. I have some ideas for things I’d like to write and what I want to read. I have goals for this blog and my meditation practices. There’s so much more I want to accomplish and I think that my approach right now is one day at a time. If I add just one more day of doing it the way that makes me happy, then that’s one day closer to adding in the next great thing.

What is next for you in 2021?

Training Plan Tuesday #20 – Daily Yoga

The lack of in person teaching and a gym and time to myself has hit me hard this semester. I haven’t hardly run or “worked out”. But, the day after Thanksgiving I decided to start streaking….

It’s something that’s worked for me before. So, I am trying to hit at least 30 straight days of yoga (and technically 31 since I just did a yoga training on Saturday and didn’t do “my own” yoga that day). I am following one of my favorites, Erin Motz at Bad Yogi and her Original Yoga Challenge. I’ve done these videos so many times before, but it still helps to have something to follow when you’re feeling lost in a training funk.

Today I will be tackling this video:

Which is perfect since I just did restorative training this weekend. Her day 11 is my day 12. You can follow my progress on my Map My Run account. I am thinking of switching that up in the coming year and maybe even getting a fitness tracker.

Anyone else in a fitness rut? On a streak?