The holiday season is just beginning! What a magical time — full of friends, family, laughter, and light.
It’s a time when we are reminded of what we are truly thankful for; where we shed the weights of our everyday lives and rest comfortably in the knowledge that we are loved and love in return. It’s a time to remember that we have much to be #thankful for… especially as we hear stories of pain, suffering, and survival throughout our world each day.
It can be difficult to summon up these feelings of love and belonging and comfort on an ordinary day. Our lives are busy, crazy, messy… and that can all get in the way. But it’s worth the effort to start each day with a thankful heart. To remember, even for a moment, that our lives are pretty wonderful when we take the time to really look.
It’s time to notice the joy, the laughter, the light all around us. Don’t confine your thankfulness to a single day or a single season… you deserve to live to the fullest each and every day of your life.
So, friends, I ask you: What are you thankful for — what is bringing you joy or challenging your soul or changing your life — today?
Stress, anger, annoyance — these feelings can be poisonous, spreading and infecting the longer we allow them free reign over our minds and bodies. We can try to bottle them all up — to keep moving, moving, moving — because it we don’t acknowledge them, they aren’t there. Right?
It’s time to take a moment. A moment for yourself. A moment to let all those toxic feelings building up inside you run out. Because that build-up of negativity is bad news — for your mental and physical health. An ongoing study funded by the John Templeton Foundation has shown that “nursing a hurt leads to agitation and hostility that linger even after a person stops thinking about the incident.” These lingering feelings can lead to a greater risk for depression and heart disease, as well as a whole host of other potential health problems. Holding onto resentment, stress, anger is a losing game.
So today, do your body and your mind a favor — and scream if you need to. Throw a pillow across the room. Cry. Laugh. Get it out so you can let it go. So you can be healthy, happy, free.
It’s not wrong to take the time you need. It’s not wrong to express your feelings. Lose your cool, because this is living. It’s messy and crazy and beautiful. And you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Since when did ambition become expectation? We don’t let ourselves enjoy the beginnings anymore. We expect perfection — the best job, the right partner, the most “share-worthy” hobbies — from ourselves, right out of the gate. We get inspired by stories of hard work, of effort, of getting back up after every failure. And yet we don’t give ourselves the same grace or leeway. We expect the result, without the hard work. We want to be the exception to the rule.
Are the expectations you set for yourself unrealistic?
Don’t get me wrong: it’s good, imperative even, to have goals. We’re all striving for something outside of — beyond — ourselves. And the hope is we get there. But what if we don’t? And more than likely, we won’t get there on the first try. Does that make the journey less rewarding?
Wherever you are right now: you’re remarkable. You’re trying, you’re pushing, you’re freakin’ living. And yeah, maybe right now, you’re not exactly where you want to be (welcome to the “being human” ride). In fact, you may have pretty far to go. You may have some pieces to pick up. Doors to open. Doors to close. But isn’t that what life is for? Not for berating ourselves when we don’t get there fast enough, fall short, or miss the boat entirely. But instead, reveling in our failure — because it means we discovered something about ourselves, our career, our lives.
So I’m asking you to ditch your expectations. Stop playing the comparison game. Push yourself because you love what you do. Push yourself because you CAN. Push yourself not because you need to prove to everyone in the entire universe (animal kingdom included) you’re awesome — but because you, quite simply, want to enjoy this ride called life.
In the midst of dark times, we stand with Paris, shoulder to shoulder. United as one against the forces alive in this world that seek to tear us apart. The devastating acts in Paris remind us of the terrors being faced around the world — of the people suffering in Syria, Beirut, and across the Middle East. The pain felt in Paris this weekend is an echo of the pain felt by millions, each and every day.
Today, as we look tragedy in the face and mourn, we remember that love, kindness, and connection are all around us — if we choose to see it.
We can also choose to embody these things… and take them on in our own lives — every day, moment to moment, everywhere we go.
Consider being that today for yourself. For the world. Choose to embody understanding and support — for those who have lost loved ones. For those who are refugees, fleeing terror and pain. For those who endure unfair prejudice. As we stand still in grief, we also move forward in solidarity.
We all have an inner monologue — it’s our reality check, our embarrassment meter, our own personal narrator.
We take that inner dialogue as gospel. It’s the essence of truth becomes it comes directly from us. No outside influence, no bias, no nonsense. All truth, all the time.
I call bullshit.
Consider this: you don’t have to listen to that voice. Sure, it’s YOUR inner dialogue. But just because it’s the voice inside your head doesn’t mean it knows what it’s talking about. That voice? It’s collected a whole lot of evidence over your lifetime to create the resistance that ultimately keeps you away from the BIG, BOLD life you dream of living. That story? That voice? No one can hear it except you…
Sometimes we can be our own worst critics. And we know… it’s easier to tear ourselves down and give up than to stand up, declare something BIG then take action to make it happen. I get it – that takes risk, vulnerability – guts. But we all know: no guts, no glory.
Take a few minutes (six, to be exact) to watch this Dove campaign. Two sketches are drawn of seven women. The first sketch is based on her description of herself. The second on a stranger’s description of her. See how the two sketches compare:
You are more brilliant and beautiful than you think.
No matter what that voice has told you in the past… allow me to begin to paint your picture: you’re capable, brave, significant.
Is it what you’re doing from 9 to 5 everyday? (If so, lucky you.)
But maybe it’s something different — something you’ve been searching for and trying to understand for a while now. Your passion. That intangible spark of excitement, glory, pure happiness that hits us when we are doing exactly what we’ve been made to do.
Have you recognized passion in yourself lately?
So many times we say “I don’t know what I want to do” or “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with my life” without really thinking it through. We say it like a toss away comment — think “I’m so tired” or “This weather is good” — and we let ourselves believe it. Don’t fall into that trap. Chances are, your passion is staring you in the face. I promise you, there’s no way you were born to just pay bills and die. In between going to work at a thankless job and dealing with the mundane realities of life, you’ll find that passion. What you do when no one is watching, when nothing is at stake, when you think you’re just enjoying yourself… that’s passion. Take it from Jessica Hische,
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
Stop wondering about your passion and stop questioning what you should do with your life. Playing that kind of waiting game is not going to get you where you want to go. Don’t hesitate. Find your passion in the unguarded moments of your life. And then run with it.
Ah, another Monday. With the weekend over, we approach our week solemnly, ready to face another five days of work.
Often, work can feel challenging — so mentally and physically exhausting — that we begin to live for the weekend. For the hours between 5pm at 8am. These are the times we hold dear, the times we cherish because we have carved them out for play. We hold closely these moments because we view work — our 9 – 5 jobs full of endless meetings, little frustrations, deep anxieties — as something separate. Rewarding, but not likely to be fun — at all.
Our time is precious. We carve out moments for ourselves to be playful, to be serious, to be emotional — separating our feelings into neat, labeled boxes. Yet I’m curious — what is actually stopping you from bringing your play into your work? It will still be challenging (you wouldn’t want it any other way, am I right?), but it can also be fun, exciting, different. Take a word of advice from Alan Watts:
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
Today choose play. Even though it’s Monday. Even though you were almost late to work… spilled your coffee the moment you sat down at your desk… opened your email to a million notes.
This is a day in your life. This moment, this tiny slice of time, can either matter or be washed away. How will you choose to live today?
What could work look like for you, if you approached it from a spirit of play?