Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Year in Review: 2012

Finals are all done, holiday parties are in full swing, and 'tis the season of reflection and resolutions! Aside from the fact that I reflect and make resolutions almost every other week, I particularly enjoy doing so during this time of year because I truly feel like it's a fresh start.

Self-help enthusiasts like myself appreciate the necessity of reflecting in order to move forward. So, instead of making a New Year's Resolution list, why not come up with a Last Year's Reflection List? Go for it! I challenge you! Think of all the accomplishments and failures and everything that falls in between from 2012. List them. Appreciate them. And, ring in the new year!

Granted, maybe two weeks before New Years' Eve is a bit too soon, but I was feelin' it!

Here's my short list!

In the year that was 2012, I managed to:
  • Change future career plans...twice
  • Graduate from college 
  • Go sailing 
  • Give a commencement speech 
  • Get rejected from a lot of graduate programs 
  • Fulfill a Bug Juice-inspired desire to be a summer camp counselor
  • Risk utter embarrassment to tell a guy I liked him  
  • Interview for jobs and submit resumes and cover letters 
  • Get hired
  • Rock rock-climbing
  • Get into a graduate program
  • Revamp this blog and keep it alive & kickin'
  • And so much more and then some! 
It's been a busy year! One full of ... well, quite simply put, full of life! I'm looking forward to living every moment of 2013. I hope you are, as well! But, let's not get ahead of ourselves, enjoy the last two weeks of 2012! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let's just call this inspiration for the rest of the week

Being that it is that special time of year again (final exams period), I have been compelled to find distractions. So, today, on a "study break", I went to the store to get ONE thing...and then I impulsively bought this:

If you ask me, it's a wonderful reminder for us all! It helps us keep in mind what's really important. (Not that final exams aren't important, of course! But, I think you get my point.) Alrighty, off I go!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pep talk to self, embracing flaws, etc. and such like

If you're like me, sometimes you do things that are carefully-thought-out yet spur-of-the-moment decisions. Paradoxical, but true. You may pore and pore over a decision and then just act on it in an instant. Sometimes, it's like, "Oh, why did I do that?" And, then it's like, "I did it because I had to". This reaction can relate to a variety of scenarios: from sending off a grad school application to telling someone how you really feel.

So, seeing as I often make these carefully-thought-out yet spur-of-the-moment decisions, I decided to write myself a pep-talk to buffer the self-critique. I'm hoping that maybe this bit of positive self-talk can help you out, as well. Oh, and for guys reading this, just replace all the "girl"'s with "guy" and this one's for you, too!

Pep Talk To Self: 
"Hey! Hey you girl! Don’t be downcast! Don’t berate yourself. What you just did in the name of hope was not dumb. It was not stupid. It was courageous. It took a lot of what’s in you to do what you just did. All you can ask of yourself is to hope for the best and to try to do your best. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, know that this much is true: you never gave up hope and joy and laughter and positivity and all those things that make you who are, girl! So, chin up! Think happy thoughts. We’re all trying to figure out this thing called life. Everyone’s just trying the best they can with what they know. As are you. So, float on, girl, float on =)"

Y'see, we often have a tendency to critique certain things we do and label them a flaw. But, good, bad or ugly, these so-called flaws are apart of who we are. So, instead of detesting these parts of ourselves, why not embrace the "flaw"? Think of it like this: to embrace is to accept, and acceptance yields the willingness to evolve and to grow. So, if making these spur of the moment decisions is truly a flaw (which it may not be, by the way, in certain contexts), your acceptance of that part of yourself equips you with the ability to change the habit if necessary. This is how it works in my mind, anyway.

On a final note, Emily Owens, M.D., has THE BEST closing monologues. I mean, okay, as Grey's Anatomy is my first one-hour medical drama love, obviously I have always admired Meredith's closing remarks, but, this new kid on the block Emily Owens has a lot to bring to the reflective voice-over world, too!

Last week's episode's closing monologue perfectly sums up what I'm trying to say here in this blog post:

"It's hard trying not to judge yourself. Because we are aware of every mistake. We know our inner doubts, our hidden motivations, our failings. So, my wish for next year is to be easier on myself. Focus less on the bad and more on the good. Really. Just give myself a break."  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trust Yourself (Thoughts on Rock Climbing)

After months and months of not having time or money, a friend of mine and I finally made it out to one of those indoor rock climbing facilities! It was great! I mean, I'm a little sore...like, really sore...but, I feel accomplished nevertheless! I even tried the "boulder" wall in which you don't use a harness! Granted, didn't make it that far off the ground, but I tried.

And, that got me thinking about how in life you just have to try. Especially if, you're not quite sure of the outcome, you have to at least try.

I had never climbed these walls before, so I didn't know exactly how the pegs were going to be oriented and distributed. Even if I carefully observed the wall and planned out how to climb up, I still wouldn't know if my leg would feel comfortable extended in a certain direction until I got up and tried it. You have to trust yourself to try things. Even if you don't dominate every single "rock-wall" that comes your way, you have to at least try and tackle the one in front of you. Trust that you will deal with it in the best way that you know how.

This reminds me of a wonderful quote I heard on this show that my other good friend got me really hooked on (as if I needed more shows!), Emily Owens, M.D.:
"We make all these plans about how things will turn out. But, life happens. Plans change. So, we adapt. We draw on strength we didn’t know we had. We give up any illusions of control. And, we deal head-on with problems that come our way."
Giving up the illusion of control is a powerful image. It's kind of like when you have to let go of the pegs and lean back into gravity, angled horizontally with your feet flat on the wall, in order to hop down from the wall. You just trust yourself...and, of course, a higher power, and the rope and your anchor and the harness, etc, but it's you who has to let go first before all the other necessary components can work..

I'm not sure if that all relates, but that's what I thought about while I was reflecting on my long-awaited rock climbing adventure. And, I wanna go back sooner than later! Trust yourself to try something different today!

Here are a few pics :-)

Could I BE more ready to climb?? LOL
Please note: we climbed much higher than this,
this was the only "safe-picture-taking-zone".

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Little Dose of Inspiration for Your Day

Junior year of college I rekindled the love I had for the show Grey's Anatomy in the worst way possible. It was nearly Thanksgiving break, so that meant that the semester was coming to an end, and there were assignments and studying to be done NONSTOP. I specifically remember frantically trying to complete my script for my screenwriting class, desperately trying to understand basic principles of biology, and assuming the hunchback position poring over numerous articles for my psychology term paper (did I cite that last reference correctly in APA format?!). Needless to say, 'twas a busy, busy time.

And that's when I rented a bunch of DVDs from our school library. A bunch of Grey's Anatomy season disc sets. Yup. That happened. Probably the worst. timing. ever. My friends encouraged me not to get hooked, but after watching all nine episodes of Season 1 - free on Hulu, I got the DVDs and went. to. work. This isn't a post about making "poor" academic decisions or anything heavy like that. I just wanted to give you all a bit of background as to what I stumbled upon next --

When you want to quickly relive scenes, you go to YouTube and hope they have it. So, I ventured to YouTube to try and find this quote Meredith Grey said about finding moments of clarity. To this day, I can't remember the exact quote or scene (and, quite honestly, it may have even been my own interpretation and not actually in the show), but I know it was from Season 4. I never uncovered the scene I was looking for, but what I found was equally - if not more - profound. In the comments of one of those YouTube clips I looked through was the following quote:
"Always we hope someone else has the answer. Some other place will be better, some other time it will all turn out. This is it. No one else has the answer. No other place will be better, and it has already turned out." 
- Lao Tzu
At times when I find myself showing signs of obsessive comparison disorder or being fidgety about where I am in my journey of life, this quote comes to mind. In a way, it's like a breath of fresh air. To think that you have everything you need right now, and everything you need is enough, is a truly calming feeling. Just thought I'd share one of my stop-and-take-a-deep-breath mantras!

Monday, November 19, 2012

On Academic Decisions

Have you ever had the feeling that you went to the wrong school or chose the wrong major? If you answered "yes" to either or both of these questions, I think it's safe to say that you are not alone. Lots of people have felt this way at one point or another. Except for those precious few who have never had a single academic doubt ever (no offense, of course, more power to them). For the rest of us, I think this apprehension is a natural. Especially, when you're navigating through these vague twenties or in between schooling.

So, in the spirit of "we're all in this together" (hey, I wasn't that obsessed with High School Musical, but this song is awesome!), I wanted to dispense a bit of advice as I continue to tread this path and conjure up various "far-fetched" plans as pertains to my future.

Re-evaluate: Where Am I and How Did I Get Here? 
It is so important to take moments in your life to simply stop: quiet your mind and assess where you are presently and consider the routes that led you to that point. That's for any life circumstance, good or bad. If you don't want to end up at that point again, you will know what pitfalls to avoid. If you like the way things are going, you will continue to look for similarly opportunities.

Rebuild: Add to Your Swag
When you're "in between", you can take that time to build on skills or do something you haven't yet been able to do. Take courses you might need in the next step - wherever that may be. Take up an interesting class if you can - like a dance class or something! I see it as adding building blocks to your personality and skill set, giving yourself some substance, some swag. (hahaha! sorry, if you know me, you KNOW how hilarious it is for me to try to be cool and use this word. But, regardless, you get the point.)

Rediscover: Again, what are YOU passionate about?
I can't stress this point enough in my posts these days. It's truly valuable to consider your passions as they evolve and to ensure that you're at least trying to connect with them in as many ways as you possibly can.The first step is to remind (or inform) yourself of what these passions are. Once you've done that, pursue your passions. Figure out what that looks like for you and do that.

And, let me say, I highly recommend Jenny Blake's Life After College book and blog for useful exercises and inspiration to keep on truckin'. Check it out even if you're still in college or years into life after college!

As always, hope this helps someone, anyone!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Embrace Your "Crazy" Idea!

Okay, so this post comes as sort of a public service announcement. I want to encourage all of you : embrace your crazy ideas! You know, those spur-of-the-moment ideas that are just so far-fetched but just might work.

In the spirit of dreaming big, as inspired by the previously mentioned Jenny Blake Acorn Project, I had a radical idea this morning. And, the point of this post isn't to go into detail about the actual idea itself, but instead to inspire you to embrace your own ideas when you, too, experience a stroke of inspiration.

I'm emphasizing taking a moment to embrace them because oftentimes when we're planning exciting things, we start to experience the doubts as to why they aren't feasible. So, before you write off your idea, take some time to truly enjoy it. For example, after I decided that my thought was a great idea, I shut the computer off, went to the gym, did some household chores, and of course had a jammin' dance party of one in my room - all operating on the belief that my far-fetched plan was going to work out.

Of course, now, I have to figure out the logistics and accept whatever reality introduces into the equation, but for a couple of hours today, my crazy idea worked. And, it felt great! So, embrace your crazy ideas every now and then before you write them off! It's well worth the positive vibes! And, besides, you never know - they just might work! =)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What Do You Value?

Okay, disclaimer: I had a test yesterday and am currently scrambling to study for one I have tomorrow, so this is a rather rushed post, but I just had to share this with you!

In the midst of studying around the clock, I have also embarked upon Jenny Blake's Acorn Project, and it's been awesome so far! It would take me an entire other post to explain how much of an awesome inspiration author, speaker, life coach, yogi (read: phenomenal woman!) Jenny Blake is! Her blog, book and general persona have definitely been encouraging to me ever since my good friend told me about them! So, definitely props to her!

But, quickly, let me share with you one of the steps from the exercises I completed with this project. In this exercise we were to identify our values and uniquely label them with an explanation as to why we value them. So, here are mine (written instinctively without over-analyzing, so pardon if the grammar is not up to par...):

Value #1: Letting Your Soul Shine Bright: letting your natural spirit radiate brightly from your face and heart and sharing that light with others. This means sharing your love, passions, and positivity with other people in the way that deems necessary for that situation and person. 

Value #2: Writing: in whatever form - let it be blogging or writing in a journal or writing scripts. I feel as if sometimes I must pin the thoughts in my head down to paper (/computer screen). 

Value #3: Igniting Passion Within Myself: I actively seek sources of inspiration to motivate me to knock the cobwebs off of my own personal passions. 

Value #4: Laughter: This is the very essence of my being because it is the one thing I absolutely love to do the most. 

Value #5: The Ability to Mentally and Physically Do: If I want to run a mile, I am so appreciative of being able to do so. If I think I can rock climb high, I will try to do that. I feel as if you don't use it, you'll lose it. We must use our legs and arms in every way we wish while we can.

What's your values? It's worth thinking about it! And, while you're at it, take a peek at another post I wrote on the Healthy Lifestyle Balance blog to identify your passions. Yes, there may be overlap here, but that's the beauty of being you!

Scattered and rushed, but sincerely from me - I hope this post is as uplifting to read as it was to write!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Your Spine, the "backbone" of your wellness and other related thoughts

I've had a few visits to the chiropractor lately, and as a result I've gained an amazing insight on how much the health of your spine affects your overall health and wellness. I won't get into the nitty-gritty details of why this is true - after all, I'm no chiropractor - but, I can share my perspective based on my own experience.

Have you ever been so stressed out that you feel stiff in your neck and shoulders? I know; that's like me asking, "Is the sky blue?". OF COURSE at some point or another you may have experienced this unfortunate side effect of stress. And, do you also sometimes aggravate that tension by setting yourself in a hunched position as you pore over notes in preparation for a test or surf internship opportunities on the internet? I've been there...actually, I am there...and, I'm just thinking the cycle of stress to tension and tension to stress is going to continue unless I make a sure effort to halt it.

So, without getting too technical here, I think the following quick tips are worth trying if you're looking to relieve mental stress and physical tension in your own mind and body, as well.

Educate yourself 
Courtesy of Google Image Search
Talking to different chiropractors and massage therapists and reviewing my old Gray's Anatomy flashcards has really illuminated the importance of taking care of my spine (meaning back and shoulder and neck, etc.). When you look at it, all our nerves and muscles extend from and attach to this uniquely curved structure. It's like the source of mobility and sensation. It should not be ignored, but rather nurtured often. Be kind to your spine. Articles on the internet, books and especially health practitioners are a good source of information for ways to do this.

Stretch and Massage
It's probably a good idea to take time out of everyday to just stretch out all of your muscles. Think about it. On a day when you're not warming up, working out, and cooling down, you may easily forget to stretch. But, even if you're just sitting in class or just "doing nothing" all day, it's still important to stretch to give those muscles some attention rather than abandoning them to build up tension. (See what I did there? Or, what I tried to do...)

And, of course, if you can get a professional massage ever so often, that would be great, too! But, odds are you can't simply enjoy this luxury as much as you may desire (or even require, really). So, instead, why not just take time to massage yourself? You can massage your temples, massage your neck, and even your legs! Maybe it won't be as great as when a massage therapist does it, but any attention you give those tension points in your body would be better than none, in my opinion. (But, my main vote is to try and see the professional if you can!)

Take breaks and Sleep
In this culture, we often work very hard towards our goals, whatever they may be. In my experience, I've seen this admirable work ethic turn into a restless race towards those goals. Who hasn't pulled all-nighters and chugged chai lattes (I don't really drink coffee, so I can't relate to that, but chai is still caffeine!) in efforts to get ahead of a self-imposed deadline? It's okay to step away from the laptop and take a few moments to simply breathe. Even if you do nothing else in those few moments but just breathe, I can't see how that doesn't help you in some way.  And, on that note of resting, I wrote a post about the importance of sleep in the other blog I contribute to, and my opinion remains the same: good sleep can be so rejuvenating.

A Final Word
I'm finding that the sooner you realize how interconnected everything pertaining to your mind and body is, the better you are able to improve your overall wellness. Think better, do better, feel better, and cycle through it all over again. After all, it's your well-being, so own it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

About being embarrassed...

So...I recently discovered that I made the fashion faux pas of wearing the same outfit exactly one week apart from each other. TALK ABOUT EMBARRASSING!! And, the thing is - I know this isn't the first time I've done this! It's such a bad habit! I have my favorite outfits that I tend to accessorize differently in order to wear them often. I'm not ashamed of this tendency to repeat outfits because I am by no means a fashionista! But, when I don't space out the looks far enough, I must admit there is a teeny ounce of shame... Like, a big "WHOOPS!"

Apparently my portable armoire contains too much for me to handle!
  Nevertheless, this entire occurrence led me to this conclusion: Doing slightly embarrassing things really ain't that big of a deal! Pardon the poor grammar, but don't miss the point! At first I thought, "I can't believe no one pointed it out to me!" Then, I realized that's probably because they didn't even notice! (On the flip side, if they did notice, they probably didn't point it out because it's actually not a big deal!) I also realized that once the deed was done, it was done! Like, that's it! It's over. No need to brood over what you completely cannot undo. So, shrug it off, shake it out even! So, I just wanted to share this lesson learned from my little mishap!

In closing, I'd like to say that while I have been posting a bunch of "mental health improvement" posts, more physical health related topics are to come! All about mind, body and spirit! Enjoy the day!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spontaneous Lyric Sharing!

Brad Paisley's "Find Yourself" is randomly stuck in my head at the moment. I'm sure you all are no strangers to the phenomenon of not being able to get a song out of your head! I figured I'd make the best of this familiar experience by turning it into a post. So, without further adieu (because I really have nothing more to say...lol) and in the spirit of my last post, I wanted to share this profoundly intriguing message from the chorus of the song:

 When you go through life so sure of where you're headed,
And you wind up lost, it's the best thing that could have happened.
'Cause sometimes when you lose your way, it's really just as well. 
Because you find yourself. 
Yeah, that's when you find yourself. 

Well, 'nuff said, right?! I think it's beautiful, and hopefully you find it inspiring, as well. Okay, that's all for this impromptu, impulsive post!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lessons Learned from the Vague Gap Year & the Move Back Home

To say that it can be a bit daunting to embark upon the vague, uncharted territory that is the gap year  is a gross understatement. I'd be willing to say that experiencing this gap year between undergrad and grad school has been one of my most terrifying experiences to date. Perhaps the difference lies in whether or not your gap year is planned or not... Regardless, once you're in it, you're in it deep.

Long story short, my Plan A for life after graduating did not work out, so I had to conjure up an efficient Plan B. I am coming to realize that this sort of situation happens to just about every other person in the world, by the way. Nonetheless, it still takes some adjustment to accept the fact that you have to not only come up with a Plan B, but to embrace it in all of its complex fluidity and ambiguity. So, hopefully a few words of encouragement can help you (or, y'know "someone you know") if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament - yikes! let's not say predicament - let's say a similar scenario.

Time to Explore and Confirm

A wonderful past professor of mine (who I always keep updated on my progress via email, something I recommend you do if you find such a professor who is kind enough to embrace the updates) often reminds me that you find out a lot about what you do enjoy doing by doing things you don't like to do. Take certain jobs, for example. If you never were a cashier, maybe you would have never realized you disliked dealing with money. Does that make sense? The point is, when you are not in a graduate or doctoral program or a career-binding job, you have time to scratch the surface of areas that you might be passionate about. You can find out valuable information from the most unsuspecting sources if you keep your eyes and hearts wide open to receive the advice pouring out.

During my little exploration period thus far, I've confirmed a few things:
  1. As far as I can see, I am slowly but surely still on the career path that I am most passionate about
  2. That which doesn't kill you certainly does make you stronger
  3. That which annoys you makes you more patient
  4. That which perplexes you makes you more accepting
  5. It is highly likely that I will never have it all figured out, but the little bits that I do figure out along the way is worth celebrating and embracing 
"Movin' back in with the 'rents" 

Returning back to the "house that built me" was extremely humbly, in fact. It forced me to realize that I was, in a way, still being built. Let me put it another way: Moving back home allowed me to see that although I had conquered independence as best as I could during my undergraduate career with single dormitory rooms and an apartment in LA for an internship, I still had room to grow into that young-adult-independent mindset.

Secondly, it allowed me to truly understand the value of budgeting out your finances. It's not a piece of cake to just up and move and get your own place! This is an obvious fact, but there's something about it becoming your reality that really resonates. You learn a lot about finances and how to prepare to stay on top of yours during this gap year.

Finally, if you dreadfully do have to move back in with your parents for a while, I think you can be comforted knowing that you learn how to truly value your family. You realize - even more than you did coming back home for the holidays during undergrad - that one day your room will no longer ever really be your room. Sure, the furniture may stay exactly as it is and a few of your items - like the trophies, the books, all that stuff that may not find its place in your new apartment - will stay. But, you won't ever really live there anymore. So, I stopped being annoyed that I was in the same room I had been in all those years prior - not progressing into an apartment like some of my peers. And, instead, I embraced the fact that I get to hold on to this piece of the past a little bit longer before it is lost in a way that is inevitable and necessary.

A Final Word

From a previous post and numerous conversations with friends, I think it is becoming abundantly obvious that I absolutely love pulling quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love - it's ripe with so many thought-provoking postulates that I simply cannot help myself. So, I want to leave you with this passage that really resonated with me when I read it. Even though, in context, the character (Richard from Texas) is speaking of getting over a failed relationship, I find that his advice also applies to getting over a failed "Plan A" and trying to move on to make "Plan B" work. I feel as if I must write it in its entirety or else it loses its effect:
"Someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing and you were in the best possible place in the world for it - in a beautiful place of worship, surrounded by grace. Take this time, every minute of it. Let things work themselves out here in India." 
Am I saying that every recent (or even not so recent) grad who finds themselves in a period of ambiguous transition should move to India to find peace of mind? No way! (As if any of us could afford to at this point, right?!) But, what I am saying is this: wherever you are at this point of transition, you're in the best place for growth. And, things will work themselves out. And, you will look back on this time as such a sweet time.

I couldn't tell you for certain if this is true. Check back in with me in a couple of months (eh, maybe years), and I'll confirm it for ya! But, I'll tell you one thing - it sure puts my mind at ease to believe it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Causes, revisited

At the finish line!
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post encouraging everyone to think globally and act locally when it comes to serving your community. Today, I got the opportunity to participate in a cause that definitely echoes this principal. Along with my mom and few other women, we woke up before dawn to run (okay...walk) in the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure. We did the 1K Fun Run/Walk, but next year my goal is to run the 5K race! (I figure if I post it here, that will ensure that I actually follow through).

I was so inspired by the hundreds of people (may have been more or less, I'm not the best when it comes to estimating the size of crowds) who came out this cold October morning, dressed and ready to support the cause. There were also a number of breast cancer survivors participating in the activities, as well - including a member of our team. To actually be surrounded by the faces that represent the cause you're donating towards is quite the uplifting experience.
Enjoying the lively concert while the 5K participants ran
 So again, I encourage you all to find a cause or event that you can support locally because I can almost guarantee you it will far-reaching, global effects. And, I can definitely guarantee that you will feel inspired and uplifted because of it.

Happy service!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thinking about buying skin, hair or nails supplements?

Sooo I was just tinkering around on my YouTube page, and I came across this oldie-but-goodie and decided to share it with you fine folks! It's a little choppy but I think you get the point!

So, bottom line is this - when considering taking supplements, consult a professional. haha That is my very expert advice!

Happy shopping! :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lessons from my Yoga Practice & Gratitude Challenge Update

Ever since I set out to practice better health habits, I have realized something. When it comes to my yoga practice, I find it hard to be motivated to practice alone. I find that I do much better with my focus and determination when I'm in a class. At first I rationalized that maybe this was due to the fact that I didn't want to "look bad" in front of everybody. But, then I thought that couldn't be the reason because I have always felt that yoga was more of a personal practice, not a competition among the participants.

At home with Yoga Zone on Hulu, I find it extremely difficult to pursue the poses. I confess, I pause the video to go do something else. Yet, whenever I'm in a class (admittedly, usually in the back row...), I don't really have a lot of time to look around for comparisons. I find it easy to focus on what I'm doing and listen to the instructor's voice.

So, what can I learn from this? From a practical point of view, I learned that I'm a lot more easily distracted at home than in a yoga studio. But, to take a broader view, I also learned that it helps to do things in a community of like-minded people. Because even if each person in the class is focused on their own mastery of movement, you can still feel a spirit of encouragement for you to master your own. And, it can be the same way with any endeavor. It helps to surround yourself with a solid support system of people who can motivate you to continue to achieve your goals.

Now, the gratitude challenge update...

It's been just about three days since I challenged myself to say thank you more, so here are the results as promised:

...I kinda lost track of the count, so I'm not really sure if I said "thank you" at least 15 times over the past 3 days, BUT I can tell you that being thankful has been on my mind a lot more! I had a wonderful little "conversation-over-coffee-at-Starbucks" with a friend the other day, and she reminded me that when things in life start to overwhelm you, it helps to write it down. This is because when you get past them - as you will get past them - you can look back and be grateful for the experience and for how far you've come.

So, again, cultivate a spirit of gratitude in any way you can! 

And as for speaking to strangers, I do that all the time at work, so challenge accepted, challenged accomplished...if that makes any sense.

Okie doke, that's all for now, happy day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New web address!

This blog is changing its address!

We are now officially located at www.findingabetterway.net! 

After much deliberation (and then finally a burst of spontaneity) I have decided to use the domain: findingabetterway.net. There's is a bit of a story behind it, so let me share it with you. 

I chose ".net" not only because .com was not available, but also because this website is meant to be somewhat of a network. I wish to be the hub that provides and also directs readers towards different sources for finding ways to better improve our mental health, physical health and spiritual health. It's all about mind, body and spirit, yo! 

Anyhoo, just thought I'd let cha know! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Officially a Published Author!

I am very proud to announce that I am officially a published author now! Let me explain...

A group of women from my bible study group and I all contributed to a "little book of encouragement" entitled Letters While You Wait containing various stories meant to inspire anyone who finds themselves in challenging situations. For more details and ordering information, feel free to email me! Just wanted to share with you guys this milestone and incredible accomplishment by these amazing women that I am honored to know.

Oh, and, as far as me and publishing goes (dare I say it?) this is only the beginning!

Fellow author Ashley Kendall and I at the book signing!
One last thing. I wanted to also share this bit of wisdom my Dad shared with me after I considered the fact that I might be a hypocrite if I don't always practice the patience I "preached" in my story. He said that the "light bulb moments (like when I wrote the story of encouragement) is where growth begins but it doesn't end there. We are always growing." Try and remember that as you continue to practice practicing what you preach!  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Note on Gratitude & Overcoming Fears

I've never seen Josh Radnor's HappyThankYouMorePlease film, but I love the first line of the trailer:
"The key to your life is gratitude; you do not give enough thanks...say 'thank you'."
 It's a simple suggestion that can bring about a complete overhaul of one's attitude. I'm sure the film goes more in depth on the concept, but I just wanted to scratch the surface myself. I'm going to challenge myself to challenge myself to say "Thank You" at least 5 times a day for the next 3 days and see what effect it will have on my overall mood.This challenge reminds me of Loving Kindness Meditation practice that improves your feelings towards humanity. So, I vow to make a conscientious effort to say genuine "Thank You's" to any and everyone I come across at least 15 times over the next 3 days, and I will report back to you guys with the results.

And, this is semi-related, but not really, I just stumbled upon this old gem of mine on YouTube, and I wanted to share it again here! A little background information: At my dear old Alma mater Duke, there is this plaza strip that a bunch of students cross daily to get to class, the Bryan Center, to pass out handout supporting various causes - EVERYTHING.

I still laugh out loud at the fake email address given at the ending! I mean, I think I'm funny. But, this just got me to thinking - this "plazaphobia" pretty much can translate to any public space nowadays. Merely walking the sidewalks of the outlet malls you can see people glued to their phones or simply on a one-track-path towards their destination, not bothering to acknowledge others. Well, in the same vein of giving more thanks, I think I'll add another challenge for myself to directly speak to a stranger at least once for the next 3 days. I'm just coming up with the challenges off the top of my head, but again, I'll let you know the results, if any!

So, go forth and be grateful today! And, maybe even challenge yourself to overcome something you find awkward. Y'know, if you're not busy doing anything else this weekend. :-)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Obsessed with the IDEA of being in love?

It happens to the best of us, and it happens to the rest of us. Whether we would like to admit it or not, everyone feels this way every now and again. You fall head over heels - not for a person, necessarily - but for the idea of being in a relationship. Or, maybe you are the type of person who absolutely does not share this fleeting obsession. Well, good for you.

For the rest of you, who can sometimes get caught up in the idea of having an awesome relationship with a passing crush - this advice is for you.

First and foremost: Don't berate yourself for feeling this way. It's not childish or naive to think that you could end up in a great relationship with someone you're interested in. Neither is it insane or stalker-ish or anything like that! At least not in my opinion. I like to look at it this way: it's just an indication that you have the capacity to freely give love and to openly receive it. Not too shabby of a quality if you ask me. You should never lose that spirit of hope and positivity, especially when things don't work out. 

Secondly, don't fear the feeling. Sometimes I get annoyed when I find myself even contemplating pursuing a relationship with a new person. All of my anxieties and apprehensions come to surface in the most random and inconvenient ways. But, we should never slap ourselves on the wrist for merely feeling something! I mean, how silly is that? Seriously, where is the harm in feeling excited or looking forward to the possibility of something new? No harm, no foul!

Thirdly (who says "thirdly", right?!), relinquish your control every now and then. It's been my observation that people like to be in control of lots of things all at once. In control of their budget, in control of their schoolwork, in control of career decisions, and even in control of their own feelings! Feelings are, like, the most spontaneously-occurring phenomena that can't be tamed! Don't get me wrong, we conscientious human beings are in control of our actions and can choose not to act on certain feelings. But, I'm not talking about all that heavy stuff, I'm just saying you can't control everything ALL the time, and you certainly can't control your fleeting feelings towards a certain person. So, why even try? Don't be afraid that you'll fall into the trap of getting hung up on a crush. Enjoy the feeling. Let it pass. Feel that way again when the next person comes along! To sum it up, give this amazing song by this amazing band a listen: "Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat" by Carbon Leaf.

Lastly, find a way to grow from every experience. Whether it be a crush that faded or a relationship that crashed and burned, embrace the experience and acknowledge the growth you can glean from each and every one of them. And, if this just sounds like a bunch of "kum-ba-ya, peace lovin'" idealistic mumbo-jumbo, you bet your bottom's dollar, it is! Not every crush has to feel so crushing! Sure, you're disappointed that nothing blossomed, but somehow, someway, I guarantee you, you're better for the experience. Whether you learned something new about yourself, or something new about others, it's worth it!

And another thing! I could go on and on about this topic, but I'll wrap it up here. I'd be remiss if I didn't add the admonishment:
"Avoid comparing romantic comedies and such like to your own life when you're in one of these states." 
You shouldn't project these fictional scenarios or characters onto real people and real life. That goes for songs, too. It's easy to get wrapped up in the beautiful yet heartbreaking songs about being heartbroken and lovelorn. But, simply appreciate the melodic surprises and impressive vocal range - DO NOT get sucked into sulking over the depressing lyrics. I'm not calling out any names, but YOU KNOW what songs I'm talking about and which artists I'm referring to! This post is not for that type of love lost. Sorry, I'm not that deep and haven't been that hurt ever, so I can't help in that department.

Final Word

And, I wanted to add -- not as a disclaimer, but more as an author's note, if you will -- I did hesitate to click "Publish" after writing this post for fear of being "exposed". I only share these types of thoughts with my very closest friends. But, then I thought, "eh, my closest friends are the only ones who read this blog anyway, so think I'm good!" (Humor gets me through the awkwardness...) But, more than that, as I have mentioned before, writing these posts are more therapeutic for me than for the readers. So, I say all that just to say, I hope this does help anyone (or a friend of anyone) who may stumble upon this post, because it sure helped me!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Some people run to clear their head. I've heard it described as a time to get away from it all and just be left alone to think.

Me - sometimes I run as kind of a buffer. I run when I anticipate that someone or some situation is going to stress me out. I do this in the hopes that the goodness that is released during the run will protect me from feeling the frustration of the stressful situation. Now, at first I felt like this was not a good reason to run, and that it was more of an avoidant defense mechanism than anything. However, I did once hear on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition that exercising more regularly does indeed help to lower your stress (rather than dealing with your stressors first and working out once you're not stressed anymore). What they actually said was, "You cannot wait until the stress goes away...your ability to deal with your stress will become better if you can get more fit." GOLDEN WORDS OF WISDOM (which also make me feel like my way is wise, lol).

But, the bottom line of this post is this: whether you're running away from something or running to clear your head, just run! Or if you don't like running, walk. Or swim, or dance - just move! You gotta find a way to get these negative energies out of your systems and exude positive vibes as much as you can!

I also wanted to share my current running playlist, just in case you need to mix up your workout music.

1. "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons
2. "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers
3. "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
4. "Young Blood" by The Naked and Famous
5. "Tongue Tied" by Grouplove
6. "Shake It Out" by Florence and the Machine
7. "Domino" by Jessie J
8. "Crazy Girl" by Eli Young Band
9. "Springsteen" by Eric Church
10. "Some Nights" by Fun.

So, yep! Those are the essentials, I add to it and subtract from it often. And, yes, it's kind of an eclectic mix of genres, and that's the way I like it. Hopefully SOMETHING in there fits your fancy!

One Last Little Thing!

And, while we're on the note of playlists and gettin' movin', as I mentioned in my post last week, life is one big dance party, so I encourage you to make moves - even if they are a little awkward. My moves almost always are awkward - in dance parties and in life! So, okay.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Somehow everything's gonna fall right into place...

...if we only had a way to make it all fall faster everyday"
Do you ever find yourself feeling this way? This is the intro lines to one of my all-time favorite songs by Paramore, called "Hallelujah" (give it a listen in your spare time!) But, doesn't Hayley sum it up pretty nicely with these lyrics? We know that in the long run, EVERYTHING (career, lifestyle, relationships, etc.) are going to work out because if we look back at our lives and the lives of others thus far, we see evidence of that. You made it through the awkwardness of middle school, college degree - check!, job interviews - done. So, obviously things work themselves out.

But, it can be hard to shake that nagging feeling of impatience - anxiously waiting to see how something will work out next. I have been guilty of this. I get so wrapped up in what the outcome of a certain situation will be that I don't take time to really, truly enjoy and embrace the journey. This reminds me of another one of my favorite quotes from yet another of my favorites (can you every really have too many?) Hope Floats. At the end of the movie, Sandra Bullock's voice-over reminds of this eloquent fact:
"Beginnings are scary; endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most." 
And, I'll take this quote a step further to convey my point: even if the beginning is not scary and the final outcome is not sad, the middle still should not be breezed through and taken for granted.

It's in the middle of things working themselves out that we work things out within our own selves. We grow more patient, or wiser, or simpler just grow in whatever way the situation allows us to. And this is what matters more than rushing to the end to see how it will work out.

Hopefully this ramble makes sense and speaks to some impatient soul out there anxiously waiting to see. Sometimes (okay, most times) I think I write more for my benefit than for the readers haha, but you guys still get the point.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off! Oh woaah!"

Props to Florence and the Machine for the awesome phrase in their song "Shake It Out" which serves as the title for this very imprompu blog post. Suucchhh a great song, and a perfect theme for what I want to share with y'all while it's on my mind -

We have GOT to stop self-degradation. What do I mean? I'm talking about the typical dissatisfaction with the reflection we see in the mirror. This "A blemish here, a blemish there, everyone is gonna stare!" mentality gets us no where except in a valley of sulking and dark shadows as we go about our day feeling a wee bit less than confident. It's a bad habit that all of us sometimes exhibit.

But, we've got to just plain strive to stop thinking negatively about our appearances! And props to you if you don't let the way your hair looks a certain day bother you, or if all of your clothes fit. Congratulations. But, I know for me at least, I do have THOSE days where I fall prey to the stinky thinking while looking in the mirror.

The Bottom Line 

The point I'm basically trying to get across with this rambling is this: 
"Life is far too short and way to precious to let these minor annoyances bog you down"
And you can quote me on that! (Because that's what I just did...lol) But, seriously! We don't need to weigh our spirits down with these negative feelings about not liking the way we look. We should embrace the way we look. Enhance it to our liking within reasonable realms, sure, but above all else -- accept and embrace your looks unconditionally! You owe that much to your spirit! To your aura! Let it exude with positive lightness! (Did I mention that this was an impromptu ramble...so sorry if it's hard to read, but it HAD to be typed!)

It's just like Flo said, "it's hard to dance with the devil (i.e. negative thoughts about yourself) on your back, so shake him off!" Because if you didn't already know, I'm here to let you know that life is one big dance party and you're all invited to strut your stuff and rock out in your own unique way!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here's some food for thought...

...what are your thoughts toward food? Have you ever considered how you actually felt about the food you consume on a daily basis?

Personally, I think of food as nourishment. (I really like that word, nourish.) I like to think of eating as a way of feeding my soul. Now, maybe that's because I read one too many Chicken Soup for the Soul books as a child, but nonetheless. My mind: food = nourishment = feeding the soul.

Think of it this way: When you eat something that is very satisfying for your appetite, you inevitably feel delighted, right? It's because you're literally doing your mind and body a favor. You're giving your body the nutrients it needs while mentally treating yourself to something pleasurable for the taste buds.

I'm just kind of rambling here, but I find the relationship among mind, body, and spirit (or soul for the sake of this post) so very interesting. As I continue to explore the dietitian profession, I am discovering there's an intricate link between how we think about food and our eating habits. It's worth considering your own feelings and habits every now and then, don't ya think?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Once again, Parks & Recreation did not dissapoint

Fall season premieres are among us, and for me that means a sense of normalcy returning to my weekly routine. I like to make sure I know who got voted off the island and what Meredith Grey's insightful voice-overs was about. (If it sounds like I watch too much TV, it's because I do. I make no apologies for the wonderful inventions of DVR and Hulu.) So, I got the chance to enjoy the premiere of one of my all-time favorites Parks & Recreation recently, and this episode had a subtle message that really hit home for me.

To give a brief plot summary, Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) is visiting her boyfriend Ben in Washington, D.C. Leslie's a hardworking, dedicated councilwoman of small-town Pawnee, Indiana, and Ben is working on a big-time congressional campaign. He takes her to a fancy affair where dozens of successful politicians and senators are present. Ben introduces Leslie to all these people, a few of whom she really admires, but she is overwhelmed by all their success and status. And, it certainly doesn't help matters to know that her long-distance boyfriend is constantly around these, as she puts it, "smart and accomplished and pretty women...who are so tall". This feeling isn't necessarily envy or jealousy (which are two different emotions, just fyi), but it's a feeling of insufficiency - like you don't measure up.

I myself felt this tinge of inadequacy when I was at a professional association's meeting earlier this week. My professional and educational development is still at their root beginnings, so these meetings can be very daunting for me! And, even though I was somewhat making progress in my networking endeavors, I couldn't help but to feel a bit unremarkable among the various professional women present. It's easy to feel like you're floundering when you're surrounded by a sea of successful people. Just like Leslie Knope did at that fancy affair.

But, the thing that Leslie and I fail to realize is that merely being able to hold your composure in the presence of professionals is a testament to the fact that you do belong there. Maybe you're not at their level yet, but what better way to get to where you're trying to go than to immerse yourself in the environment? I think we all can take a thing or two from the moral of this 30-minute situational comedy episode: take confidence in the talents and skills you can and do offer, and don't even worry about how you compare to others. It's a lesson that we have all heard in a hundred different ways, but I just wanted to give y'all #101. :-) It's good food for thought!

And, just as a little aside, here - did y'all know that Amy Poehler has this amazing organization called Smart Girls at the Party? She offers some good advice through their YouTube videos and has a website to boot! I encourage anyone and everyone to check it out!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Send Love and Light!

Recently I have been on this beautiful journey of steadily reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. Anyone who knows me knows that this book has definitely been influencing my outlook on life. (What can I say, I'm a sucker for self-reflection and self-discovery!) One concept from this book that I have been trying to cultivate in my own life is the idea of sending peace and kindness over someone's way.

Now, to be specific, the author writes that her friend Richard from Texas advised that she "send him some light and love" whenever she thought of her ex. I won't spoil the story, but I'll tell you that basically he was teaching her how to let go of a negative situation. And, somehow, someway, in my mind, this entire scene (Yes, I watched the movie first, 'tis true, but I'm actually reading it now, okay!) took on this whole new meaning of sending love and light (or peacefulness?) towards anyone who has annoyed or wronged you in the past.

You can think of it as sending positive vibes towards someone. You can even think of it as doing the opposite of holding a grudge. Instead of staying angry at someone who has upset you or holding on to that terrible feeling of resentment, why not release those negative energies and replace it by sending loving kindness their way? I love this idea, and I strongly believe it's one worth practicing.

I credit the book for bringing this idea to the forefront of my mind, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention another medium through which I learned about this concept of loving kindness. In the Psychology of Mindfulness course I took while in undergrad, we discussed a variety of concepts that quite simply nourish the soul. The Loving Kindness Meditation was one of them. In this practice, you are encouraged to send loving kindness by saying a set of pleasant phrases like, "May you be happy" over and over again to yourself, to your friends, to your enemies and to all of humanity. I'm paraphrasing, of course, and I encourage anyone in their spare time to read the actual article by Marcello Spinella, Ph.D. in order to truly appreciate and understand the concept and the practice. It's amazing what healthful benefits can come from simply wishing someone, anyone, well.

Monday, September 3, 2012

One of the best speeches I've ever heard

I cannot quite remember how I first stumbled upon the 1999 song "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" by Baz Luhrman, but I do remember that when I heard it - at the tender age of 15, or something like that - it greatly renewed my perspective on life. And, whenever I need to hit the ol' Refresh button on my perspective on life - times like when you're in career/higher education limbo - I go to YouTube and mellow out to this spoken word track.

Interestingly, the older I get, the more sense these words make. The original 1997 article by Mary Schmich, from which the lyrics of the song originated, is aptly entitled "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young". That's why this time, while I'm hitting the ol' Refresh button, I've decided to share why I think these words yield such calm clarity. Sometimes, I feel that advice is only wasted if it's not shared and spread.

I encourage you all to read the article and/or listen to the song. You surely won't regret it, and it only takes about 5 minutes. Below I have highlighted a few of my favorite excerpts and the reasons why I love them. So, if you're still not convinced, may they serve as a preview for you.
"Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth"
Adolescents and young adults cannot hear this phrase enough! There is truly something elusive and magical about being young. I once heard from some wonderful documentary about the 60's (which name fades me at the moment) that "It's important for the youth of today to believe that they can change the world because they actually can". And, though I'm sure I'm paraphrasing, truer words have never been spoken! It's many things, but certainly it's this type of hope and confidence that hasn't yet been jaded and faded by life's hard experiences that makes youth powerful and beautiful. Definitely qualities worth cherishing and cultivating for as long as we can.
"Do something everyday that scares you"
This quote by Elanor Roosevelt is simple yet daring. It's a great goal to have. It reminds me that no matter what happens even during the crappiest day, if you can say that you have in some way stepped outside of your comfort zone, then I would count that day as a success. Even if it's something as simple as studying for Microbiology or, I dunno, writing a blog post and sharing it on Facebook (yikes!) - anything that puts you one step closer to being more confident in yourself is worth the effort. I love this quote.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Do your mind, body and spirit a favor!

Recently, I've decided that I need to revamp my overall health regimen. Every so often I have these "healthy habits jumpstarts" in which I really strive to stick to some health goals daily for at lest a week. I often falter, so before long, my enthusiasm for the personal health challenge basically dwindles.

But, this time around, I'm going to really try to make these healthy habits stick! Maybe things are different now that I have a better perspective on life and how I fit into it now that I have embraced the inevitable quarter-life crisis rather than dreading it. I don't know. But, something's different. Also, if I really want these healthy habits to stick, I've got to do them for longer than a week, right? 21 days, I believe is the standard for developing a habit. Furthermore, accountability always helps, so that's where you guys come in. In 21 days, I'll check back in, and report my progress thus far.

Now, the point of this post isn't simply to report that for the next 21 days I'll be consistently drinking the daily recommended amount of water, sleeping for the ideal amount of hours, and resuming my yoga practices every other day. I want to urge you all to do the same. Not the same exact goals, of course. But, something that you can resolve to take on for the next 21 days that will help you to feel more connected to yourself.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Think BIG with small acts!

During my senior year of high school, our school launched this new global awareness initiative with a department dedicated to Diversity & Global Education. The main motto emphasized was to
"think globally, but act locally"
 The spirit with which college students possess during election years, when some of my peers are launching initiatives all over campus, reminds of this charge.

What I love about activism and awareness is that it can pretty much subscribe to any cause in which you have interest. In my opinion, no one thing is more important that the other. It's all a matter of personal preference. So, I write this entry not to use as a soapbox for my particular interest but to encourage all to stand for whatever or whoever you believe in. Even if it's yourself!

(Actually, believing in yourself - in big ways or small - is an absolutely admirable cause if I ever heard of one!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Late Night Epiphanies Stirring

Always we want to get to the end result. It’s like, we know we’re going through a period of growth, but we don’t want to actually go through the period of growth. We want to just know what we were supposed to learn and move on, new and improved. But, it’s basically impossible to jump ahead to the end because that totally defeats the purpose of growing from going through the experience. So, I can’t tell you how that interview will turn out. Or, how things will eventually work out with that guy. All I can do is say you might as well enjoy the growth period!

Since you can’t fast forward or rewind. Play. Which translates to enjoy. Enjoy the beautiful experience and all of its ambiguity.

This is especially true for budding relationships that might fizzle and fade or blossom. You really can’t operate on either prediction. You must, above all else, at all costs, operate purely on the present. It’s the only way to get the truth. The unadulterated truth on how you’re feeling. When you aren’t trying to frame your words in order to guarantee a certain outcome. Just be. Exist. These are concepts somewhat foreign to planners and organized individuals.

It’s a simple test of faith, perseverance, spontaneity and all those marvelously tricky virtues of life. Live for the little moments. This too shall pass, and then something else will come along, and you’ll do it all over again. So, just keep on living for those little moments. They add up to a beautiful life.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Art of Letting Go

So, OBVIOUSLY, keeping up with a blog whilst trying to do the other billion things on my to-do lists is highly challenging. But, nevertheless, I still have things I want to share, so as long as that's the case - the blog stays alive and kickin'! I felt it particularly urgent to share a thought today about letting things go.

Recently, I have become very aware of some of my bad habits -- not so much aware, as in I didn't know what they were before, but aware in the sense that I notice the underlying mechanism behind them. What I mean by that is this - say, for example, that my bad habit is making a snide comment at someone who I perceive to have treated me rudely. That's the action, but the underlying mechanism which I subconsciously use to justify that action is my sense of entitlement and conviction that I am the one in the right and they are the one in the wrong. This thought process happens extremely fast - so fast sometimes that I haven't even realized the fallacy of reasoning. And, thus, the bad habit persists.

However, now I am becoming more mindful of these mechanisms, and that's where the change must occur. One must first change their thought before they can change an action. So, the next epiphany that comes after making this type of discovery is one of regret. "I could have kept silent there" or "I should have shown more kindness to that guy even though he was being annoying" or anything! It's like, realizing that you have faults reminds you of all the faulty things of the past. Be it big or small, it doesn't matter.

It can be an overwhelming realization.

However, this is where letting it go comes into play. There are some people who naturally let things roll off their back, and others who find it extremely difficult not to analyze the details of nearly every interaction. I'll admit that I often fall in the latter category. So, how does someone like me (and maybe many of you, or at least someone you know) let things go?

The answer is surprisingly simple -- you just do it.

The first step to learning how to let things go, is to do just that action without analyzing the possible consequences or benefits of letting it go. You just realize something, decide to change accordingly, and go about your life - living in the present moment - not becoming preoccupied with past scenarios.
A picture that, to me, embodies the motion of letting things go!

Granted, there are some things worth re-examining in order to rectify the situation. But, even then, once the examination is complete and the resolve to change is made, that situation is no more. That scenario, that moment, the actions you did therein -- gone! Poof! Never to be seen again. The only thing to do is strive to not make the mistake again and to float on from there.

It's an art that takes patience and persistence to perfect. And, bear in mind that any type of artists never fully perfects their craft, but rather they practice it almost daily in order to get a little better each time. So, no pressure, just practice. Let it go.