Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finding a Better Way to... Live in the Moment (Music Monday #23)

I know today is technically Tuesday, but I kind of like the idea keeping track of all the Music Monday posts, so here we are.

Today's tune comes from the ever-thoughtful curbside prophet himself, Jason Mraz. I first heard this song sometime this Spring semester while working on my thesis. It was an instant gem added to my "Relentless Positive Thinking" YouTube playlist. (By the way, I highly recommend having "Relentless Positive Thinking" YouTube playlists that you listen to...relentlessly.)

I revisited this song yesterday as I began to reflect on transitioning into a new month with a new perspective. I just love starting anew and new beginnings. It's like the sunrise of each day, a fresh start. I get this momentum of transition each time the first of the month rolls around. I'm moving later on in July - so that will be a major transition for me in and of itself. As I begin to finalize the details of my move and tie up loose ends here and there, naturally, I begin to feeling completely overwhelmed. How to deal? Take every task one step at a time. Lamenting time past and fretting over the future warrants nothing more than more lamentation and frustration. Thus, I present to you a beautiful reminder of how to "live in the moment"...

Jason Mraz "Living in the Moment"

Favorite Verse:

I'm letting myself off the hook for things I've done
I let my past go past
And now I'm having more fun
I'm letting go of the thoughts 
That do not do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone

And there are plenty more nuggets of wisdom embedded in this song. I have to remind myself to discard non-supportive thoughts about the past, present or future at any given circumstance in life. It's definitely a lot more fun that way. Besides, isn't life meant to be more abundant? In hot yoga yesterday, I recognized a poster that said, "Presence heals." True words. After all, the a present is a gift! ;-) PUN INTENDED and RELISHED. Live in the moment, my friends. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Have a Quarter Life Crisis

I turned 25 yesterday, and let me tell ya - the months leading up to this have been one of the most emotionally challenging points of my life - filled with uninvited transitions in a couple of my relationships, newfound doubts and fears about my future plans and old insecurities rearing their ugly heads. The scene was set perfectly for a quarter-life crisis. A complete meltdown hinging at the depths of despair and hopelessness in every area of life.

For more on quarter-life crises, see Paul Angone and Jenny Blake's take on the concept.

On June 25th, I just bawled my eyes out. On the day before turning 25, I entertained the most negative, defeating thoughts one could ever conjure about the status of my future and my lack of personal development progress. It.was.bad. But, then, I listen to Rod Stewart's "Forever Young". And, the one line that resonated with me the most at that moment said the following:

 "Down whichever road you choose, 
I'm right beside you, win or lose, 
forever young." 

And, for the first time since hearing this song years ago, this line really made me think about God.

When I was younger I have always considered this song to be a letter from a parent to a child, which I still think it is. But, having gone through some of these tough life lessons, I learn more and more about how being a child of God means just that. This is my parent, my Heavenly Father, saying to me no matter what happens in life, I'll never truly be alone because He's always with me. He can send people into your life to convey this sense of love and connectedness, too, when your eyes are open to it. Sometimes with your actual patents, or friends, or even yoga instructors. And, if you happen to be someone who doesn't have a relationship with God or doesn't believe in God, please ascribe this to that undeniable higher power that we all can sense and feel. There's nothing worse than feeling completely alone in the world. For a brief moment on the eve of my 25th birthday, that's how I felt. But, then I was reminded in the most intriguing way that in fact, I am never alone.

That's when it hit me: what if the "Quarter-Life Crisis" could actually be a Quarter-Life Culmination? A comprehensive compilation of all the lessons and blessings you've accumulated over the years. I liked the idea so much I made a video about it. See below!

Culmination means a compilation of everything up until a certain point. So, I intend on sharing all the things I've learned up until this point in life with all of you. Throughout this season of transition and new beginnings and stepping out into the unknown, I invite you to join me on that journey! What have you learned along this road of life so far? Please share!

Oh, and as promised, "professional photos"! hahaha
Would you buy real estate from me?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Be Brave (Music Monday #22)

I was reading through an old journal post of mine, and it said the following: "A broken heart grows back stronger, not harder, but more resilient, more able to love extravagantly and to withstand love more powerful than you can imagine. Because when you allow your heart to heal properly, you're also nourishing its growth." I know right?? So deep!

As I've been going to through my own season of healing this past semester, I've come across some really poignant messages of encouragement along the way. It is so interesting how love and relationships are the common ground upon which all humankind can meet. We all can relate to what it feels like to love and what love lost feels like, too. It binds us altogether in this human experience. We were created for relationships. Of course this extends beyond romantic relationships, but those are no less important in our daily lives though sometimes I think they can get a bad rap. What is it that makes us so cynical towards the idea of being vulnerable in relationships? What is it that makes us so afraid to keep trudging forward and to try again? I'm not judging because I've harbored such feelings, as well. But, at what expense?

Sociologist Brene Brown (link to her iconic TED talk is above!) has done extensive research in this area. Also, recently I was recommended this book  discussing how to love deeper and well. I think our apprehension and discouragement comes from a widespread societal fear that is bred by the media. Negative expectations bring about negative experience, and vice versa. Which brings us to the ever elusive conundrum of "which comes first?" It could even be rooted in a primal self-preserving instinct to not get hurt. I don't know that there's a clear "answer", but it's worth the mental exercise to figure out what your own particular hangups and tendencies might be.

If there's one thing I've learned about myself throughout these relational trials, it's that I'm the type of person who takes the risk to fall in love and to love deeply. That might be a way to also hurt deeply if love isn't reciprocated, but I'm finding that you "cannot selectively numb". I feel it all. The joy, the excitement but also the pain and despair. And, then again, the hope and the love. You can't feel some emotions and not the others. God gave us this full, diverse spectrum of emotions to truly experience life. To dare to feel is to dare to live fully.

So, with that super long prelude, I encourage you to jam out to one of my personal all-time favorites, "Brave" by Sara Bareilles.
My favorite line is, "Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in."

I listened to this song on the way to a second date once, and trust me it is very fitting for pumping yourself up for allowing romantic relationships. (It is also very effective for running that last mile - I can attest to this!) So, go boldly towards whatever it is that you're wanting but might be afraid of. Whether it be telling someone how you feel, or ushering in a season of singleness to move past hurt and embrace self-discovery, or some beautiful combination of both, or something different altogether - I wanna see you be brave!

Join me in this spirit of hope, faith and love. What helps you be brave? 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Allow: Music Monday #21

The impetus of change can feel overwhelming - especially when you're finding it hard to go with the wave of change. A long time ago, I wrote a blog post entitled "The Art of Letting Go". It wasn't until recently, however, that I have been learning The Art of Allowing. I truly have come to understand what this means in my life. Sometimes we make decisions that takes us into the unknown; sometimes others make decisions that impact us greatly. Regardless the source, in order to allow something new, we've got to learn how to peacefully let go of the old. And to release with gratitude seems to be a powerful way to allow the new.

I heard this song a couple of weeks ago. This wasn't my first time hearing it, but this time, the last chorus really resonated with me:

Thank you Providence
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you, thank you silence

Earlier this semester, when my stress levels were peaking trying to balance work, school and life's daily challenges, I made a point to walk. Now, usually I prefer to run to work out - especially that nice time of year in Dallas where the weather isn't totally sizzling hot (It's called AprMay, I'm pretty sure and it only lasts about two weeks, in total...). However, around this time, I felt the need to slow down. Slow everything down. My pattern of speaking, my racing thoughts, even my workout. Walking through this trail near my house, I took it one step further and turned off my music (...or maybe I was listening to some talk on YouTube...or maybe an audio book, but I digress); I made a point to get completely silent. And, I realized that it is in those silent, meditative moments of nothingness that we can receive clarity. Clarity of thought, clarity in decisions. (But I admit, I wasn't completely "unplugged" and I took these photos - see below!)


This silent walk and many after it have helped me to regain perspective. Sometimes we get disappointed with how things turn out in life - or at least how they currently seem to be turning out. Dreams unfulfilled can really make us feel disillusioned. Nevertheless, we can be thankful because these events have the potential to yield a serene feeling of knowing that everything happens the way they're supposed to - it's Providence. You never know which one of life's little miracles are at the next step. Sure, when you're stuck in between, you can feel a little hesitant, unsure, doubtful. But, just wait. Be silent. Proceed on. And, above all, be grateful for life's beautiful journey.

Alanis Morissette's "Thank U" Lyric Video

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Finding a Better Way to ... Just Go For It!

Helloooo blog-o-sphere! I'm back! As I've mentioned previously - and to any and everyone I've come in contact with in the past few weeks - I had to take a hiatus from blogging while I finished up grad school. I'm officially a Master of Public Health! (I'm pretty sure that's the correct title, but don't quote me on that.) Nevertheless, I have learned so much about myself and about life over the past few months, and I just can't wait to share the insights with you all.

But, first, I have an exciting surprise!

A little bit over a year ago, a friend of mine posted this video on my wall. About a year after that we showed this same video at an annual event encouraging young girls at my church. This past semester, I've really delved into these spoken word videos for much needed inspiration. Last month, I got the opportunity to interview the spoken word artist himself! Allow me to introduce to some and present to others, writer, actor, spoken word artist Jon Jorgenson! Jon is pretty awesome, and he shares tons of inspirational content on his blog that can help you find your own inner awesomeness. And, he along with others share really encouraging videos via The Anima Series YouTube channel. In our brief chat, he discusses the notion of taking chances and making moves in your life. Listen to an audio of Fridays with Friends interview below!

So, the long and the short of it is, just go for it! Like when I took the chance as a hopeful fan to email Jon for an interview, for example. Whatever it  happens to be in your life at the moment, try it, act, I dare you to move! Action is how we find out what we're good at and how we nourish our God-given talents and gifts. What inspires you towards action? Please share in the comments - I want to hear your thoughts!

Special thanks to Jon Jorgenson!
Jon blogs about learning from the past, noticing the present, and creating the future. Find more from Jon, including to book him for an event at www.jonjorgensonblog.com. And, ping him on Twitter @jonjorgenson!

Welp, until next time, guys!