Tuesday, November 30, 2010


One of the problems that come from tying happiness to satisfying exterior wants is that what we want is not always realistic. When we desire or must have this product or that gadget and think we must have it to be happy but the money or the supply is not there we will be disappointed, and worse, distracted from finding the things that can really make us happy long term.

We live in a world that literally sells us the idea that we can be happy if we have things and that no matter how much we have we could always use the newest model of it to be that much happier. We live surrounded by the din of advertising, salesmen and peer groups who show us that this is the right way to live.

We have to be on guard every minute to make sure the voice in our head telling us what we want is our own voice. How will this gadget satisfy a need in our life? How does this product make our lives better? Is this a real need we have? Is it an area of our lives that needs improving? Being able to sort out our real desires from those placed there by advertisement is one of the basic steps we need to take to find the direction to guide our lives in.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Happiness, we all want it. We are told there is something wrong with us if we do not have it and it always seems to be a fleeting thing when we do have it. The secret to happiness is being honest with yourself, understanding who you are and what it is you want.

The false fleeting happiness that we chase after, those that come from outside ourselves are like a drug addiction, we need that next fix to feel happy. This is not the way we want to go through life.

When we begin to listen to our inner voice and hear the wants and needs of our heart we can begin to find long lasting ways to fill them. This is why we change our lives, to create a space to make ourselves happy. This happiness comes from within and gives us a place of refuge in times of stress, in times of darkness and times of pain.

I cannot tell you where to find happiness as each one of us is different; we each have different drives, wants and needs. But I can tell you where to look. Look inside yourself, take the quiet time to listen to your heart. Take the time to compare what you want to what you think you should want. Understand where these desires are coming from, find if they are safe desires and find a healthy way to fulfill them.

There are also unhealthy desires. Wanting something is not enough to justify it. A drug addict may want drugs but that need is hard on his body. We need to examine our wants and see if they are just a mask to make us feel good or if they are the deeper wants of our heart. Facing the deeper wants is hard. We wear fake happiness most of the time because we need to hide from the knowledge that we do not have the things we want in life. However, if we are able to face the hard things we can start constructing a plan to get what we need. Ignorance of what we want will only lead to more covering up, and more sadness all around.

Friday, November 26, 2010


The one who wins is the one who does not give in. Determination, the willingness to stand up again and again is one of the most importent qualities we can have in our quest to be the person we want to be.

One of the best ways to foster determination is to set goals we really want to achieve. When our tasks go beyond satisfying the expectations that society puts on us we are willing to suffer more hardship to realize them.

By chasing what we really, truly want we develop the habit of determination.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sticking to Our Commitments

It is one of those mornings when I am having problems getting started. It is savagely cold in my neck of the woods and the very thought of crawling out from the covers was daunting this morning. I was even considering reposting my piece from last Thanksgiving on being thankful for hardships just to have an excuse to stay in bed a bit longer. However, I knew by noon that would be weighing on my conscience. It might not be cheating, but it would feel like it to me.

This is the thing about commitments we freely take on. They are part of us and how we handle them affects how we see ourselves. I may not be clamoring to write every morning when I drag myself out of bed, I may not be proud of everything I post every day, but I am always proud of myself for doing it, for sticking with it.

We may not want to do the things we commit to, however, once we have committed to them they are a powerful motivator. Like deadlines they can compel us to act and also help us redefine ourselves.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Thankfulness

Thankfulness is something on every American's mind this week. But what does it really mean?

Thankfulness is an attitude that comes from the understanding that we are not alone, that the things we need and the things we want do not all come from inside us. Thankfulness is the understanding that we have received help to get where we are today. Thankfulness is a willingness to admit this and allow it to humble us.

Being thankful, truly thankful requires that we set aside our ego and admit that we cannot do it alone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Staying on Track During the Holidays

This time of year is traditionally the time for indulgence but lowering our guard too much can cause us to lose our way on our journey of personal growth. So before the turkey, before the lights, the trees and the mistletoe let us take a moment and remember what we are working towards.

By focusing on what we really want to accomplish in our own lives we can save our willpower for things that coincide with those goals. If we are working on financial issues we need to keep a close eye on our budget and not overspend on presents. We may have to turn down some holiday invitations or just work with what we have. If we are working on controlling our weight we need that will power to not have that glass of eggnog or rich desert. No matter what the goal we need to keep it in mind throughout the season.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Finding Time for Myself

I took the night off last night. Not from work, that was all caught up. Not from trying to change my life, that is ongoing. No I took the night off from other people. I took some time to be alone with nowhere to go, nothing pressing to get done and just gave myself time to rest. As we move into the holiday season it is easy to get stressed out, to think about all the things we have committed to, the places to go, the presents to buy, the notes to write and so on. We get so caught up in the good times that everyone is trying to have we forget to take care of ourselves.

Taking time for ourselves like this is not selfish though it can feel that way when friends you have not had time to see lately call wanting to visit. If we do not take time for ourselves we become cranky, irritable, and frustrated. The things that should be fun and exciting become commitments, something else to get through before going to the next thing. There is not always time to take a night off but when we feel ourselves getting overwhelmed and pressed in on all sides by the social, occupational and scholastic commitments we have made, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to find the time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Preholiday Rant

We are moving into the holiday season again. With this come the reminders to be thankful, to give to the needy and all that stuff. All of this irritates me. Not because I do not want to be thankful or do not want to give what I can to help those who are in need. What gets to me is that we need a reminder.

One of the things I believe is that as we grow and change and strive to meet our goals we must also be more compasionate and develop stronger connections to our community. We have to be aware of the needs of others not because there is someone out front of a store ringing a bell or because the nice people on the T.V. tell us to be. We need to be aware of others needs just because they are there.

Every day of every year there are ways to give and get help. There are organizations that need our time as much as they may need our money. When we see problems that no one else is addressing we cannot just sit back and hope that someone else will deal with it. We must remember we are everyone else's someone else everyday. The homeless are sleeping under overpasses whether it is raining or sunny. People go hungry on Monday as easily as on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Yesterday I went for a long walk, not out of a need to think or a desire for exercise but because there was somewhere I had to be and there was no other way to get there. Trips like this are always good times for reflection and an opportunity to come up with new ideas. They are also always longer then I expect them to be. About ¾ of the way through my trek I was worn out and tired in the middle of nowhere. I just wanted to sit down and quit.

At about this point I get a text from the friend I was walking to meet. "Tasty beverage?" Just that little encouragement put the spring back in my step, well maybe not the spring but it was enough to squeeze a few more miles out of me.

The shift in attitude that some outside encouragement can bring is incredible. The problem is when the encouragement is asked for it is nowhere near as effective, even worse is when we are fishing for encouragement and we don't get it.

To make encouragement part of our lives we have to do a few things. We have to have people in our lives that tend to build us up rather then tear us down, and if they do tear us down it is only as part of a remodeling project. We need to be encouraging to others, and we need to do things that are worthy of encouragement.

Surround yourself with encouragers: Some people have the gift to inspire and encourage and these are the kind of people we need in our lives. Then there are those who only have the ability to point out the things we are doing wrong. While we need to be told when we are behaving badly or hurting others this cannot be all we hear. If the only people we have in our lives are the latter we need to find some of the former.

Create a culture of encouragement: As it is important for us to be encouraged it is important for us to be encouraging. If we are looking for the rewards of honest and sincere encouragement we have to give it. As those around us are reminded of the power of encouragement they are more likely to reciprocate. Also if we are encouragers we are more likely to attract other encouragers in to our lives.

Do something that deserves encouragement: We should not be looking for encouragement for every little task or chore we do. "Yay, good job you can do it! Keep breathing," or "Good job going to sleep last night." These are not the sort of things we need to hear. So if we want to be encouraged we need to do the big things, make the big changes, go for the long walks and put on the big events.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Power of the Inevitable

Some things feel like they are inevitable. It just feels like this thing or that thing is going to happen no matter what we do. This is powerful in that when we feel something is inevitable we are more likely to cause it to happen. This can be for good or ill and is for the most part subconscious.

There have been many times when I have been working on a project and suddenly had the realization that it will not work. This is not the understanding that I cannot do it, or that those I am working with will drop the ball but a realization that no matter what happens the plan will not come together. On the other hand there have been times where the opposite is true, a project looks bleak but I know it will work out.

When we feel we already know the outcome no matter what our actions, it effects our motivation, and the quality of work and effort we put out. In other words it can be a self fulfilling prophesy. The question then becomes, is there a way for us to create a false sense of inevitability in the things we do to motivate us and drive us to complete them? This goes beyond visualizing the task as complete or needing to meet a deadline. This is creating a knowledge in ourselves that this will be done. So how do we do this, how do we create the knowledge that successes are the only possible outcome of our indeverers?

I'm not sure but it is something I will be thinking about in the days ahead. If you have any ideas leave me a comment here or via face book or email. Thanks have a great day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Maintaining Successes

This morning I am finally back to being able to post from my computer. The new cable arrived faster than expected and worked perfectly. This brings to mind a question, what do we do when things go right?

It is easy to talk about what to do when things go wrong, we feel we need to take action, change things, do something or we will not survive. But when things start going right that changes. The most important thing to do when life starts going well for us is not to coast. When we have what we want out of life it is easy to say, "Nice I can sit back and enjoy this." While we can do that for a few days, we have to get back to work or the good we have created will start to slip away from us.

This is not to say we should be pessimistic about the continuance of good fortune. Instead it means we have to recognize that we have done good work to create good fortune and that work must be maintained. In the past I have used the analogy of constructing a home to constructing the life we want. Confidence is the foundation, planning is the frame work, and action is sheet rock and so on. Like any house once it is built and lived in we have to maintain it, replace a garbage disposal here, slap on a coat of paint there. Our lives are like that as well.

Monday, November 15, 2010


There are times when we want to acomplish things in our lives, but feel we can't because we do not have adequate resources. For most of us this is just an excuse, a reason to not do and save face. Not having the resources to make the changes we want to make is just another challenge to overcome.

As long as we have two things we can do whatever we want and change what we want to change. These two things are time and the willingness to do the work. Funds can be raised, habits broken and connections formed. However in order to make things happen we have to make a plan and we have to be willing to put out the effort.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Just a quick post this morning as I am off to take part in the world's fastest novel event. A local coffee shop is hosting a group of writers to try to collectively write a novel in a day. Wish us luck.

Events like these give us an opportunity to try to do things we like in big ways in a suportive environment. It also give us oppertunities to meet people with similar intrests as us.

Finding comunities that coincide with our goals can help us to keep going when we are feeling overwhelmed. Knowing people who are where you are at, or have been where you are now gives us an idea base for overcoming hardships.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Keep Moving

Remind me to never write about dealing with the uncontrollable again. Yesterday was a whirlwind of uncontrollable events and for a time I did not deal with them well.

Shortly after I finished my post yesterday I realized that my laptop battery was low even though it was plugged in. I had been having some problems with the power cord the last few days so I did my ritual of unplugging parts and blowing on things but it did not bring it back to life.

Ok, so I have a momentary panic attack. What am I going to do? I have no money to repair the cord but I cannot be without my computer. Fortunetly I remembered some Amazon gift cards I had and was able to order the cord.

Later in the day I realized that my phone charging cable was not in my bag so there goes another way of keeping connected. Fortunately my boyfriend has a spare cable that works with my phone and we where able to revive it that night.

I was grumpy and irritable. I had a story I was working on but could not finish because all my notes were on the computer, and I was feeling isolated without my phone.

The problem was I was dwelling on the dilemma and not the solutions. I was not rolling with the punches but letting them hit me full in the face. It was not until I moved on that my mood improved.

I started working on a house ad for the paper and doing some image editing. Then wound up having a wonderful night cooking and visiting with friends. The key for me was not dwelling. Once I had a plan in place I could let go of the anger and frustration.

When the unexpected happens we have to deal with it, then keep moving.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dealing with What We Can’t Control

This may sound depressing at first but the vast majority of things in this world we have no control over. We cannot make people get their stories in on dead line, we cannot make people act the way we want them to act and we cannot stop sorrow from entering our lives.

When the uncontrollable variables of the world enter our lives we have to have strategies for dealing with them.

Know where you are going: The first strategy is to have a plan. Knowing where you want to be when you come out of a situation lets you guide your responses to bring you closer to where you want to be. It is like a ship in a storm, there is a heading you want to stick to but the wind may blow you off course. As you sail through the wind and waves you try your best to correct the course but when the wind stops and the sea calms you may still have some corectining to do, but at least you know where you are. You will know where to find land, provtions and repairs.

Expect people to be who they are: Most of our disappointment in people comes from expecting them to act the way we would act rather than the way they would act. We hope that people will notice things that we think are obvious or feel the things that we feel, but they do not. We need to be students of those around us so we can predict how they will react and expect them to be themselves. This does not mean we cannot give them encouragement to act differently or stress the importance of deadlines, but it does mean we shouldn't expect them to be someone they are not.

Accept some things are beyond our control: When we try to control and micromanage every aspect of our lives we wear ourselves out. We need to accept that not everything will go acordining to plan and save our energy for the important tasks. Knowing that we do not have to deal with every fire that erupts, that it is not our job to do everything, can alow us to roll with the punches, adapt and change and move fluidly through life.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Knowing When to Stop

It is easy to get caught up in doing the things we have been doing because that is what we do. Sometimes it is necessary to stop doing those things because they no longer bring us joy, pleasure or growth. We do them because they are expected of us when we used to do them for us.

No matter what it is we do in our lives we should be seeing some benefit from it, whether it is personal growth, happy memories, or the satisfaction of living well and doing right. When doing the things we loved becomes a chore we need to stop and ask ourselves why? What has changed? Is it us? Is it the way the task in question is treated by others? If we have lost enthusiasm for something it may be time to stop. Maybe it has lost its usefulness to our lives.

However if we have lost our love of doing something just because it has gotten difficult that is no reason to quit. We need to push through the difficulty to get better. Knoing when to quit, when enough is enough is an important skill to develop. Like so much of personal growth it comes from training your inner voice to be honest and then listening to it. When we can trust ourselves to tell us the real reason we want to throw in the towel, then we can make informed decisions.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Meteoric Insights

This morning I would really like to say something profound. I would like to find some skittering part of the human condition and put a pin in it and say, 'see this is how this is.' While over the weekend I have had several moments of reflection and interesting thought that I hoped to share, this morning they are evading my memory. That is all right.

Not all truths, revelations and understandings are meant to be held onto. Instead there are insights that are like meteorites. They streak brightly across the sky of our thoughts flashing with great brilliance and we say to ourselves, 'how did I not know this before? I will always remember this.' When they strike our consciousness we feel them in our toes, there is a tingle in our spine, our hair stands on end. We want to act, we want to write, we want to create art.

Like a meteor, however, after it hits it buries itself in a crater, driving through the layers of our conscious mind to our subconscious. The unremembered insight does not leave us, it becomes part of who we are. It becomes part of the frame work of our understanding of the universe where we can interact with it intuitively. It is another wire under the board, or perhaps a better way of thinking about it would be this: these flashes of insight into the human condition and the nature of consciousness are the cable ties that keep all our wires neat.

These flashes of insight are just that, flashes, because they are too encumbering for our conscious mind to deal with. The part of us that has to remember to take showers, get dressed and brush our teeth is not the part of us that needs to understand when it is the right time to draw someone a picture or to know when they need a hug. So do not go chasing after lost shooting stars. If you find them they will just be a cold lump of rock in your hands. Instead let their iron insights be part of you and be stronger for it.

Just a brief behind the curtain moment here to share with you. As I wrote the first words of this post today I did not know where it was going. This is just an example of how the meteoric insights can bubble to the surface and make themselves known in what we do

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bravery in the Face of Opportunity

Part of personal growth is having courage. We have to be brave enough to face the parts of ourselves that we do not like and change them. We also have to be brave enough to take the opportunities that present themselves. As we grow in skill, confidence and knowledge doors will open to us but it is still up to us to walk through.

It can be easy to say,'I am not ready for that, they would never pick me, why bother trying.' Well, this is the sort of attitude that holds us back from realizing the dreams we have. To make our lives what we want them to be we have to apply for the positions we want, we have to fight for the recognition we deserve and we have to be brave enough to not be chosen.

Just because we apply for a job, a college or a loan does not mean we will get it, but if we do not apply we surely will not get it. We do need to understand that it is a competition. Just because we are not picked does not mean we were not qualified, it means someone else was more qualified. Our confidence can weather these sorts of setbacks. We can only try and take advantage of the opportunities that come our way.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Ostrich Effect

We have all seen a cartoon where the ostrich sticks it's head in the sand to avoid seeing what is going on around it. I have a tendency to be an ostrich, to know that something is not right in my life and to avoid dealing with it. If I do not see it, do not think about it, it will go away. This does not work and often in my life has made things worse. It is one of the things that I have tried to work on in the past year and have had some successes. Being willing to be brave and confront the parts of myself I do not like has been hard but it has also been rewarding.

So how do we pull our head out of the sand? What steps can we take?

Acknowledge that we are not perfect: We make mistakes and bad choices in life. Those are as much a part of who we are as the victories we have won. They do not make us a bad person; instead it is how we repair our mistakes that truly show our character.

Accept the consequences of our actions: Sometimes our mistakes incur punishments and penalties. When these are deserved we should not try to avoid them but instead weather them as best we can. This means fulfilling the obligation we have brought upon ourselves with our actions. Once we have recognized the consequences and survived them we can move on and put the experience behind us.

Do something about it: The longer we spend hiding from a problem the worse it gets. If it is money related the bigger the debt grows. If it is emotional the deeper the wound becomes.

Put it behind you: Once we have handled a situation we do not have to put the energy into avoiding it. We do not have to worry and we can get on with living in the now not worrying about what happened then.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Beginning of the Financial Plan

Money management. This is not one of my strong suits but by this time next year I intend for it to be. To make this happen I need a plan.

Using excel I am going to start analyzing my financial patterns. First I am going to track how much money I make this month and how it gets spent. I am also going to start tracking bills and projected expenses and create a budget for the life I want to live in the next few years while I am at school. This way I will have a target income that I need to generate. This will give me the metrics to set my goals and benchmarks by which to measure growth.

Also understanding my spending habits will help me change them. By understanding that I am spending too much on coffee and not enough on food I will be able to make adjustments. This financial course correction is just the beginning. As I get my finances on track I want to move from being competent with money to being financially stable. To me this means having a savings account, an emergency fund and that I live inside my means.

But as in any other instance of personal growth, with financial issues the first thing is to know myself, to look honestly at the situations I have gotten myself into and not look away.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Quick Note on Overscheduling

It is election day, a day when in the US we are called upon to do our duty to our country and vote. It is also a good time to think about our other duties and commitments. We fill our lives, and our time with so many wants and needs they eat away at the things we want to do or that we need to do. We need to manage our time and manage our commitments. This is a lesson I am reminded of again and again as I overfill and purge my schedule. On that note, I confess, I have once again overdone it. So here is the message short and sweet, go vote, manage your time and don't be afraid to say no when you need to.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Blog Year Resolutions

As a new year of bloging starts the question becomes where do I go from here?

This year I plan to transfer to a four year school and continue to study journalism and I want to make enough money from writing to pay the rent. Last year if you would have asked me if I thought this was possible I probably would have given some weasely answer about how it is what I want to do but my lack of confidence in myself as a writer would have shown through. As this new blogging year dawns I feel I have the skills I need to make it happen.

On the personal front I am still looking for a place to call home. While I have a place to live there is not much of me in it, but if I can get more money coming in from writing I can finally have a place that feels like my own. The new relationship is going well and I am looking forward to this continuing in the next year.

Money, my ability to make it and manage it needs to be the major focus of this year. As always I am open to tips and suggestions and as I find tips that work for me I will share them with all of you. Have a great day and look forward to having all my great readers around for the second year of the blog.