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Hello Universe: Self Care

7 Nov

What I Want

I want to feel better.  I am still feeling sick, so I’m tired and I’m struggling to find motivation.  I want to provide myself with the self care necessary to make me healthy.

The Potential I Can See

I can nap.

I can go to bed early.

I can eat well– chicken soup and an abundance of fruit come to mind.

I can acknowledge how I feel and what I need.

My Commitment

I commit to being gentle with myself.  There is so much I want to do, but it will all be easier once I feel better and have some energy available.  I don’t need to put pressure on myself out of pride or a misguided sense of obligation.

* * *

What makes you feel better when you’re sick?

Hello Universe: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!

31 Oct

I’m going to break from my usual formula this week because I know exactly what I want to do.  I want to dance along to the theme from Rocky Horror every day this week.  I went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show Saturday night and I had fun.  I want to have more fun.

 

Four minutes a day for the next seven days.  It certainly fits in with last week’s attempt at joyful movement.  Let’s see what happens.

* * *

I highly encourage you to join in.  Dance along at least once — even if you’re wearing ridiculously high heels on a slippery theater floor.

Hello Universe: Joyful Movement

24 Oct
Chestnut Tree

It's a joyful tree.

Last week’s effort to increase my emotional awareness was educational and interesting.  I’ve glad I made that a priority and I plan to continue to pay attention to what I am feeling.  It sounds so basic when I write it out, but it felt like a revelation.

Wednesday I wished to spend more time playing and more time living in my body.  This week I’m asking the Universe to help me combine those wishes into some joyful movement.

What I Want

I want to make a habit of joyfully moving and enjoying my body.  I want to live in my body and love every second of it.

I’ve frequently thought that I should get more exercise — I always feel good after exercising and it’s good for my body.  However, that’s not a very interesting approach, and it’s not surprising that I can typically think of something better to do.  This week I want to focus on enjoying my body and what she/we/I can do.

The Potential I Can See

I can play!

I can get out my skirt and belly dance.

I can do some of the yoga poses that make me feel strong.

I can take walks and run down the hills.

I could put on some music and dance around the apartment — this is why YouTube exists.

I can also be open to a universe of possibilities that I haven’t even thought of yet.

My Commitment

I commit to trying something new every day this week and paying attention to the amount of joy I feel.  I commit to repeating the fun stuff and passing over the boring stuff.

I commit to loving my body and spending some time with her/me.

* * *

How do you find joy in your body?

3 Quick Tips to Cultivate Emotional Awareness

21 Oct

Earlier this week I set a goal to be more attentive to how I’m feeling, to encourage a sense of emotional awareness.  I enjoyed the practice and I’d like to continue it, so here’s what I found helpful:

  1. Find a trigger.  When are you going to ask yourself how you’re feeling?  It’s too difficult to just remember to do it, so having a time or action to prompt you can be very helpful.  I took a minute (and it really only takes a minute) during my drive to work, on each of my three breaks at work, as I walked into my apartment after work, and just before going to sleep to check in with myself.  Having several different triggers gives you plenty of opportunity to cultivate awareness, even if you happen to miss a couple or it turns out that one of your triggers isn’t very effective.
  2. Awareness does not necessitate action.  Start off small.  Notice how you are feeling and if you can easily make an improvement, feel free to do so.  However, the initial goal is to get in the habit of noticing our emotions, nothing more.  Telling ourselves we have to immediately change every negative emotion creates an enormous burden; why would we turn that burden into a habit?  Instead, note your feelings, offer yourself some compassion, and move on.  Do not get caught up in negative self-talk.
  3. Write it down.  Once or twice a day, I actually write down a sentence or two about what I’m feeling.  Nothing long, just enough to acknowledge my emotions.  It helps when I’m struggling to identify them, and it helps illustrate patterns.  Right now the patterns aren’t important, but once emotional awareness has become a habit, we’re going to want to change the negative patterns and encourage the positive ones.

* * *

How do you cultivate emotional awareness?  How do you incorporate how you feel into your life in a helpful way?

Hello Universe: Emotional Awareness

15 Oct

I’ve very pleased with how well I did practicing compassion this week.  These weekly goals are very helpful for me; they give me a way to focus without putting on undue pressure.

This week, I would like to bring my attention to my awareness of my emotional needs.  I tend to ignore how I’m feeling until it builds up into something explosive, which can sometimes cause unnecessarily impulsive actions.  I’d rather treat myself with a little more compassion.

What I Want

I want to be more attentive to how I’m feeling and what I’m having those feelings.  I want to be able to make small adjustments before I have to make major changes.  I want to pay attention to my needs and address them with love and compassion.

The Potential I Can See

As is so often the case, simply wanting to make this change should be a good start.  Once I begin the practice of acknowledging how I feel and making compassionate improvements, I’ll be able to refine the practice as needed.

My Commitment

I commit to being attentive.  I commit to being open to feeling that I typically would ignore or try to quash.  I commit to treating myself with care and compassion.  I commit to trusting myself and listening to what my emotions are trying to communicate.

* * *

How to do your emotions influence you?  Do you feel like you’re consistently aware of them and ready to act on them?

Hello Universe: Self-Compassion

10 Oct

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to bring my attention to this week.  I did quite well staying focused and maintaining some discipline in the past week, but part of me kept saying that a week, even a successful week, isn’t enough.  It can’t possibly be a habit yet, can it?  What if it’s just a fluke and I haven’t really made any progress?

Fortunately the larger part of me had the sense to remember that I am after progress, not perfection.  No, a week isn’t long enough to turn a goal into a habit, but that was never the point.  The point was to try being more focused and disciplined and not only did I try, I did quite nicely.  I was tempted to make this week’s goal “smothering my Voice of Defeat with a pillow,” but I had a better idea.

What I Want

I want to learn self-compassion.  I actually had to do a little research for this because I’ve never really thought about it before, and the best definition I found is from The Free Dictionary:

“Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.”
Except before I can truly offer compassion others, I need to learn to offer it to myself.  If I’m trying to connect with others, I need to have a compassionate connection with myself.

The Potential I Can See

I think learning to treat myself with compassion will help me with most of my current goals.

  • It will help me connect with others, and form healthy, loving relationships.
  • I’ll learn to compassionately acknowledge the problem, instead of completely over-thinking it.
  • It will help me be less judgmental about my original core story, making it easier for me to let go and build something better.
  • I’m trying to create a career, prepare to leave Spokane, and a few other adventures.  It won’t always go as planned, and learning compassion will help me treat myself with care and kindness so I can continue to progress, even after failure.

My Commitment

I commit to paying attention to these signs from that I’m being more critical than is necessary:

  • Comparing myself to others and putting myself down
  • Giving up on doing something because I feel it’s hopeless
  • Worrying about what might happen in the future
  • Being a perfectionist

I commit to trying to remember these steps to empathy from Ode Magazine:

  1. Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in his/her life.
  2. Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.
  3. Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.
  4. Just like me, this person is seeking to fill his/her needs.
  5. Just like me, this person is learning about life.

***

Are you offering yourself compassion?  Here’s a test to evaluate how self-compassionate you are.  Any advice for being more compassionate, both toward myself or others?

Hello Universe: Focus and Discipline

3 Oct

As part of the first week of The Artist’s Way, I chose an affirmation for myself: “I am focused and well-disciplined.”  I chose those words because I don’t really believe them.  I frequently let the perfect be the enemy of the good, which means I procrastinate, obsessing about how I should be doing what I’m putting off, instead of actually doing it.

Enough.

What I Want

I want to be focused and well-disciplined.  I want to spend my time doing things that I will enjoy, things I will learn from, or things that will have real benefits.

I do not want to spend my time procrastinating or over-thinking.  I want to spend my time doing.

The Potential I Can See

Openly acknowledging that my current normal is hindering my progress is helpful in itself.  Having that affirmation keeps it present for me, and reminds me that there are better options.

I can see how this ties into everything I’m trying to do right now.  Instead of over-thinking my original core story, I can focus on my new one.  Instead of obsessing over everything that does or doesn’t happen in my new relationship, I can be disciplined enough to maintain it.  Instead of despairing that my job isn’t meeting my expectations, I can focus on getting a better job or creating a career.

My Commitment

I commit to being aware of what I am doing and how my actions further my goals.  I commit to being present in my life instead of over-thinking the past or obsessing the future.

My other mantra?  “I can do this.”  I believe that one.

Hello, Universe

28 Sep

I went to my interview today; they watched me work for fifteen minutes and then they hired me.  I actually started immediately.  I’m pleased and grateful that things worked out so nicely, but I need to be realistic: this is not a good job.  The pay is terrible, the business is incredibly disorganized, and I will be taken advantage of in this position.  The work itself should be fun, but this is not a good job.

I’m feeling a little stuck, so naturally I turned to Havi Brooks and her brilliantly formatted very personal ads.  I always find that good things come when I ask the universe for what I want, so maybe I should create a space for myself to ask the universe.  Yeah, maybe.

What I Want

I’m trying to be specific, and I’m failing.  What I really want is a job that allows me to use my authentic skills — the ones that are intrinsic to me and the ones I’ve learned.  I want a job that pays me enough to take care of myself and I want to work for and with people that will remember that I’m a person, not just a cog, and my time has value.

The Potential I Can See

I felt sad and hopeless the first time I tried to answer this question.  The question I asked was, “What if I never experience truly supporting myself and taking care of myself?”  What if I don’t need to do it all myself?  After all, the entire point of this exercise is to seek help instead of trying to do it alone.

Fortunately I have some wonderful people in my life, and they gave me the push I needed.  I can see that good jobs exist, jobs that make people happy, that solve people’s problems, that help people travel, that help people through rough times.  I can see that I deserve to have a life free from the stress of worrying about money because my job doesn’t pay enough, or not having enough time because I have to work too much, or dread going into work because it’s a poor environment.

I admit that I am struggling to get from where I am to where I want to be, but I do have faith that it can and will happen.  I might not know what to do, but someone will, and being open about what I need might create an opportunity.

My Commitment

I’m going to apply for jobs.  Every day.  It doesn’t cost me anything to apply and I’ll never know what could happen if I don’t.

I’m going to be open to what might happen, to what might work.  I’m not going to limit myself to what seems practical or logical and I’m not going to let myself get caught up in what I should do.

I can do this.

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