Posts Tagged ‘positive’

Inventing a pregnancy filter to sort thoughts and comments

November 30, 2010

An imaginary invention just might keep me sane through this pregnancy: a pregnancy filter.
I’m not imaging a filter that would keep three or four glasses of wine from reaching my baby, although that sounds okay.
What I really need is a filter that sorts the comments and stories people are so quick to share about pregnancy, childbirth and life to follow.
This filter will deflect the comments about how my life will never be the same, how much work children are and how I will be tired for the rest of my life. True or not, these comments are destructive on days when my hormones already help me blow everything out of proportion.
My pregnancy filter would strain these comments like water or air through a sieve. It would catch the stories of joy, love and adventure that other parents share about having children and let them roll around like sparkly beads.
While I’m inventing, the filter might as well be programmed with a setting that will clear thoughts of uncertainty or fears from my mind. I picture a little zapping mechanism that fries those thoughts like pesky bugs on a summer night. A little lightning bolt and no more worries about the future or my abilities as a mom. Zzzt. Gone.
Irritation that my workouts lack pep – zzzt.
Longing for a waistline – zzzt.
Jealousy when everyone else knocks back their third beer – zzzt.
Panic that my window on personal time is closing – zzzt.
Sadness for no seemingly good reason at all – zzzzzzzzzt.
Gone.
Now my mind can be full of wonder and excitement for all of the great things in our lives and on our horizon. I can bask in appreciation for the many blessings I have. I can smile about the little fingers and toes. I can feel my sweetie’s hug like a fuzzy warm sweater around me.
Armed and protected with this imaginary shield, I can respond to the stories of horror and exhaustion with a blank look. I’ll let the not-so-helpful comments slip right through the filter or get zapped into an imaginary faint puff of smoke rising from my head. Then I can concentrate on what really matters: finding happiness in change.

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Change is the only constant: The irony of being pregnant.

November 17, 2010

Being pregnant is ironic.
On one hand, everything changes and will keep changing – lifestyle, body size, priorities, etc. Yet on the other hand, nothing changes – day-to-day life, basic needs and the importance of the positive mindset.
Some days I wonder why everyone else seems more excited about this big event than I am. I suspect it is because most of them have children and have a keen sense of the joy and love that I cannot yet imagine.
Those days of mixed emotions are offset by the visits to the doctor for ultrasounds, which are thrilling and confounding. The human body has always amazed me. Seeing another tiny human body form from a spec is … well, miraculous.
For the past five months I’ve referred to the baby as the spec, the Brazil nut and the lime (because books use these objects to explain the baby’s size.) I’ve called it the baby, it, he, she and an alien. But now, she is a little person with active arms (like mom, talks with the hands), fingers, toes, growing internal organs (we saw the brain, bladder, kidneys, stomach and pumping heart) and a gorgeous little face that is either talking, singing or looking for food (again, like her mother).
And suddenly everything revolves around her. I feel more protective knowing she is a girl. I feel a bit of pressure to instill in her an unconditional self-love. Picking a name that expresses how smart, creative, unique and intuitive she will be is beyond daunting.
As if that’s not enough pressure, I am still trying to figure out how to work my own business, make adequate money and align to my true passions. I guess I would be going through that process pregnant or not. Knowing she’s coming just makes the balance much more important.
To everyone who keeps asking how I’m doing, how it’s going and if we are going to have more than one … here are the answers.
3) Let’s get through the first one first.
2) It is going well, especially compared to horror stories of morning sickness, out-of-control emotions and terrible aches and pains. (I am still in the second trimester though.)
1) I am doing the best I can on a daily basis. Before I was pregnant, I was very hard on myself, impatient and sometimes a bit crazy. I am still all of those things. I’m constantly working to have a heart full of love and a positive mind. My whole life, I said I would never do this without my perfect match beside me, and I am so glad that he is. Bob is my rock.
Earlier this week, a friend posted this Zen proverb: Let Go, or Be Dragged.
I’m going to try.

Blogging keeps the monsters out of my head

February 9, 2010

I don’t know why I took a break from blogging. Let’s just call it laziness. (A bad habit is as easily set as a good one). Some readers missed my writing, but I realized yesterday I am the one suffering.

Blogging keeps me in the habit of writing, which is good. Plus, rewriting and editing each blog hones my wordsmith skills. More importantly, writing helps me think creatively and explore unexpected thoughts.

Analyzing my thoughts helps me distinguish between fact and fiction. Often, I create a truth in my head that is upsetting and detrimental to my goals and relationships. Those negative thoughts roll around in my noggin. Like a snowball, they get larger with every roll. Pretty soon, the thought is a horned monster that stabs at my confidence and enthusiasm. He gnashes his terrible teeth and roars his terrible roar just like the characters in my favorite book.

Then, I put him on paper (or screen). When I dissect the monster, I see it is either a tiny, baby monster or no monster at all. Either way, it is no match for facts.

So, I need to get those pessimistic thoughts out quickly so they cannot build momentum. I know some people write their fears and concerns and then burn the paper – or freeze it in blue water.  In some exercises you write the worst possible scenario imaginable (in regards to that fear or worry) only to find it ridiculous or comical. Some people journal or write letters they’ll never send just to work out their thoughts.

Method aside, I must examine my thoughts continuously. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says the subconscious mind is like “a fertile garden in which weeds will grow if the seeds of more desirable crops are not sewn.”

His work focuses on feeding the subconscious creative thoughts – and mine must too.

An avid gardener, I know my love and passion for the crops is unequaled. Sure, people enjoy my tomatoes – and my blogs – but the genuine nourishment is mine.

So I’ll strive to tend the garden more often and rid it of weed sprouts and imaginary monsters.

Sissors and glue: The impact of our stories

January 5, 2010

Ever met someone you feel you were meant to know, or somehow know already? Possibly a person from a forgotten dream. That happened today when I met Dave Jarecki owner of Breakerboy Communications.

Not only did I immediately feel connected to Dave, he turned out to be someone I’d like to know for a long time. Our discussion lingers.

He seemed to have answers that were intended for me. He also had two killer name ideas.

Yet what’s resounding is our short discussion about stories.

Dave and I both suppose that stories are what separate and unify people. My story makes me different and connects me to the world. Dave and I talked briefly about why this is so important to writers and business owners.

Knowing your story is if utmost importance. I have had time to revive my passions during my eight months of unemployment. I’ve thought about “my story” from the viewpoint of a jobseeker, sales person, networker and wife. I’ve explored ideas, positive and negative, about who I am and what I want. I reconnected with family I haven’t seen for years at my grandma’s funeral.

I still don’t know my story completely because some chapters are buried and some are unwritten. I know that what’s important to me looms over the Columbia River, smiles as we pass and sleeps in my bed. My husband (family), climbing mountains and meeting people are the basis of my story. I love to hear a trickling creek and new story.

When we meet, and meet again, I want to hear a tale of your life. My husband would tell you that I’ll talk with someone in the checkout line 20 minutes.

If you don’t know your story or are not comfortable with the story you know, then you’ll probably never share with me. Maybe you need help discovering your story because it lives in dusty corners of your mind.

That’s why I want to help people – and businesses – find their voices and tell their stories. I thrive on it. It’s a treasure hunt.

This is what drew me to Dave. His work is about “cracking the code of your story.” His personal story of digging (strangely absent from his website) explains why the business is named Breakerboy.

I aspire to do work like Dave’s – call it brand development or storytelling. I’m on the path. When we meet, I hope you are ready and willing to tell me your story.

Thanks Dave. (Where the hell do I know you from?)

Lights, camera, success! Mind movie = rave reviews

January 2, 2010

Today I am creating a mind movie to guide me in this new decade and my new business.

I know visualizing my destination is crucial to easing my stress and worry about “how” I will get there. I also know that if I can’t see my success, I won’t know it when I have it.

I have read a lot about visualization, starting with The Secret a couple of years ago and in every positive attitude-building book since. Yet for some reason, I have not implemented a good practice.

Friday I had my first experience with muscle testing (applied kinesiology) and guided EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). My session with Pointman Consulting was specifically to help me move forward with my business without fear and old contradicting beliefs.

Despite being very open minded about these practices, I was still surprised when the invisible weight lifted. My coach Noah led me through a visualization exercise that filled me with a comfortable warm and tingly energy. At the end of the session my subconscious said “make a mind movie” in which I see, hear and feel my desired goal.

So today I need to make a short movie of me using my creative skills in marketing, sales and writing. What does it look like? Well, I am enjoying my work and making plenty of money to pay bills. I feel excited by challenges and satisfied as I help other small business owners achieve success. I work hard, but balance life with exercise and time with my husband. People meet me and are eager to work with me. I hear them saying I am such a great help and positive spirit. People congratulate me on my new adventure. Everyone I meet has a gift for me: wisdom, connections, education and means of making money. I feel so secure and stable that I bound through the days in happiness and love. I don’t get tripped up on the little stuff.

Yep, that’s my movie. This is who I am. Magazines publish my articles. I have extra money to buy the SLR camera I’ve dreamed of since their inception. Great ideas pop into my head for business owners and other clients.

I’m not an expert at mind movies but this is fairly simple. Imagine what the goal looks like, feels like and sounds like. The Secret and many websites provide guidance and examples. Another example of mine is that instead of saying “I must loose 20 pounds,” I imagine how I look and feel at this weight. When I go to bed and when I wake up, I visualize myself looking thin and fit, exclaiming how great it is to wear my old jeans and hearing people say how I look great. I support this vision throughout the day by banning negative self talk.

Start the decade off right with a movie of your own. Since you are the star, the superhero, you can achieve anything you imagine. As Napoleon’s Pedro would say: “All your wildest dreams will come true.”

Don’t wait for cancer to ask for a miracle

December 30, 2009

I was the typical person complaining to everyone about all my struggles until I starting taking responsibility for them.

We all have struggles in our lives, whether physical, financial, spiritual or mental/emotional. Instead of lamenting about my struggles, I ask myself if I am willing work on them – or simply feeding them.

Because I read a lot of spiritual/positive books, I am certain that thoughts attract similar thoughts and events to our lives. I also know that thoughts make our reality. (Olympic athletes improved their races by visualizing wins. The brain didn’t know the difference.)

I have been trying to catch my “whoa is me attitude” before it spills out of my lips. I ask myself, “Are you willing to work on this?”

For example, I have gained weight since I was laid off, and was never thin before, so I don’t like way it feels. My old reaction was to stand in the closet and bawl, complain to others and resent skinny people. But today I ask myself “what are you willing to do to change?” I am willing to walk more and try to eat less. I am thinking seriously about hitting the weights, but I’m not ready yet. So, I focus on making small improvements and BANNING negative self talk. (I tell my reflection I’m looking thinner whether it’s true or not.)

Most people have genuine reasons to complain. I used try to solve their problems until a life coach suggested another approach – ask people what they could do for themselves.

Since I don’t always have immediate answers for my issues, you might not either. However, we must keep asking how we can change, improve or ease the struggle.

Now I am going to pick on us a little. Friends lament to me about their horrible jobs, bad relationships, financial strife and health issues. They don’t know how to fix these issues, won’t seek help and don’t make even the smallest changes in themselves.

This describes decades of my life. It seems we want to wallow in our self-pitying, whoa-is-me attitude. Every time we complain, we bring more of the same crap into our lives.

Irritated? When the mirror was in front of my face, I didn’t like it either. But, I didn’t want to be a crying, complaining, fearful victim of the world. So I started making changes; first in my thoughts, then in my reactions and now in not trying to solve others’ problems.

Want to really feel like a whiner? Listen to this. A friend has a successful business and beautiful family. He is caring and does much for others. You know what he got for Christmas? He got three tumors on his beautiful wife’s brain; cancer in the worse degree.

In their daily journal this couple talks about reasons to be positive, seeking knowledge and support everywhere possible and multiplying their faith exponentially.

This woman could be sobbing all day over her struggle, yet she seeks healing by praying for others.

I am not saying that because other people have bigger problems, ours are somehow easier or overshadowed. I am saying you don’t have to wait for cancer to ask God for a miracle.

Do you really want relief from this burden? What can do to ease the struggle a tiny bit? Ask the Universe for help and expect it.

Today I will concentrate on what I DO HAVE, what I LOVE and ways I am BLESSED. I expect a miracle.

Enough maturity. It’s time to play.

December 23, 2009

An undefined absence has lingered in me lately. So I prayed for a miracle with earnest. I prayed for a miracle of joy and love in my heart so great that it must spill over to others. As I made a second lap around Gabriel Park I was drawn into the dog park.

A collie, a Bernese mountain dog and a greyhound mix bombarded me and my heart was immediately overflowing with joy. I knew what I have been missing – play.

I’ve been taking life a bit too seriously. I’ve been a bit too grown up for my own good. My focus on cleanliness is so overboard that I am often affronted by a dog’s muddy paws on my clean clothes.

Yet I grinned all the way home in the running tights and jacket I just washed, now covered in sand and muddy paw prints.

This childlike elation spilled into the evening as I joined a group of gals for a night out. I cannot remember the last time I really let Larque out to play, especially with girls. I’m accustomed to drama-free guys (for the most part) who watch sports and live simply. Truthfully, girls scare me a little – which is another blog entirely.

But thanks to some random dogs I was in a playful mood, eager to play. I was met by three tables of other playful girls who just want to enjoy life, share stories, sip over-priced concoctions and laugh loudly.

Again, I ventured out of my comfort zone and found what I’d been missing. I already yearn to know more about these gals. I crave further details of the wild tales that assemble their life stories. I want to laugh until my sides hurt. And I feel like I could dance ridiculously or sing horribly and they would join in, rather than judge.

My husband says I “collect people,” which is why people needing comfort seek me and tell me their stories. But what if I let down my guard and allow others to collect me? I can only anticipate continued joy and love from new friends. Every day is truly a gift.

“There are two ways to live your life – one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle,” Albert Einstein.

Thanks girls.

Tis the season to stomp ANTs (Auto Negative Thoughts)

December 19, 2009

Five days until Christmas and my focus is on the battle against ants. Not the little black sugar ants trying to find goodies in the kitchen, Automatic Negative Thoughts.

I’m listening to and reading Happy for No Reason. I heard this gal on the web, so I know this book discusses how most of us are not born happy, but raise our happy thermometer over time.

As I drove past two malls this morning, on a mission to the vet, I saw the usual hustle and bustle of people out buying happiness – or attempting to buy it. Simultaneously, the chapter about ANTs came on. Based on fight or flight, we are programmed to think cynically to survive. Since survival requirements have changed completely since our caveman days, we don’t really need to be so cynical.

Author Marci Shimoff says we only have to comprehend one thing to battle – and defeat – our ANTs. “What we think is not necessarily true.”

She says we have 60,000 thoughts a day and 45,000 of them are negative. Holy smokes Batman. Thoughts are like ants at a July picnic in the park. And if they are ANTs, then the picnic sucks, it’s too hot out, the watermelon is mushy and that potato salad is probably going bad.

I use many brain exercises, so this isn’t my first circuit at the mental gym. Still, I need to treat positive thinking like a workout habit. I can’t do it once a week and expect results. I figure this next week will provide plenty of opportunities to catch ANTs, put them under the magnifying glass and fry them. I expect a few of the ANTs to be nasty, flying carpenter ants (like Christmas will suck because we have no money), so this will be fun.

And I will replace the zapped ANTs with thrilling thoughts that may not be true, yet have potential. Wow, I think I just lost five pounds. My hair is perfect today. There are so many job offers awaiting me. The bills are covered for the month.

Plus, I will concentrate on the positive resounding truths. I have the best husband, a beautiful house, good health and enough wit to survive. My belly is full of yummy casserole, my energy is high and I hear the rain will stop for Christmas. (hike, hike, hike)

Last but not least, today’s blog is done! Woo-hoo.

Now get out there and stomp some ANTs.

Dream or nightmare, it’s still just one day

December 16, 2009

A woman in the Salem unemployment office just shared her amazing dream. She dreamt the president announced that we’d all had enough and everyone can now go back to work. In the dream she was inundated with calls from people who found work.

Then she woke up and cried. The dream is farfetched. Some days I feel like my dream of supporting my family again is also farfetched. I wake up and cry. Or I wake up and tell myself the day is a gift, go conquer. Either way, by the end of the day I’m often frustrated, confused and broke.

Yesterday I was so pissed I broke my 30-day blogging challenge rather than spread the negativity.

I found out I don’t qualify for the Self-Employment Assistance Program – a program that allows you to receive unemployment while you start a business. It’s only for people in the first six months of unemployment. Once you reach the extension phase, you don’t qualify.

I’m ticked mostly because I only learned of this program in the past two months. (I’ve been on extension two months.) I’m frustrated because full-time jobs with benefits are few while contract opportunities are seemingly everywhere.

The man at the employment agency was nice, yet condescending. I’m certain he didn’t mean to be crass. However, he suggested I get a job that pays an entry-level salary. Evidently he doesn’t know that employers hire people who won’t flee the minute a better job opens.

He was familiar with are the reasons I will lose unemployment and probably eligibility if the contract work ceases.

This conundrum is not going to destroy my positive attitude or resilience. I will not succumb to fear of “what ifs” just because government programs aren’t sensible. I will think it through and follow my gut. Possibly this chain of events intends to make me more tenacious.

But if you are in your first six months of unemployment and have a sound business idea, I suggest you act on it today. The Small Business Development Center through PCC has help and inexpensive classes for you. Plus, you can still qualify for the SEA Program.

As for the woman in the unemployment center, thank you for understanding. Thank you for having a warm heart and a dream that could come true.

My 10 favorite habits, so far

December 12, 2009

A chat with my little brother reminded me how much I enjoy saying “love you” rather than good-bye. This habit started in my early teens and is a rewarding life change. It tops my 10 favorite habits.

1) Telling people I love them – today. Possibly I read too many romantic novels in which the character lost someone and didn’t get to say it. I don’t wait until tomorrow to say “love ya.”

2) Build a positive outlook. If I said “keep” a positive outlook I’d be a liar at least some times. I keep constructing a solid positive foundation one brick at a time.

3) Be honest, but not harmful. Both parts are crucially important. A boss once said I am honest to a fault. He thought the fault kept me from selling. Much worse, the fault caused me to be rude and hurtful. I try to be candid, yet not blunt or inappropriate.

4) Laugh at myself often. A best friend knows when to laugh with me. So should I. When I do something silly, I chuckle. In the middle of disaster, I laugh. Of course I snicker and snort at my own stories. I just can’t help it.

5) Talk to myself, and listen for response. It runs in my family. My brothers sing little made-up songs or hum all the time and my mom states her next move before she does it. Dad’s not so obvious, except the little remarks to the air.

Naturally, I talk to myself (the cats, the plants, the garden and nearly everything). I recently began listening for a reply. An answer could lie in my words or body language. What is my heart really saying?

6) Strive to be a better listener. Quick with a word on anything, I had to learn to listen. Instead of letting my mind race ahead in the conversation, I try to focus on what’s said, not said and suggested. I can only improve.

7) Seek adventure/try new things. I do something new for my birthday every year. I also taste new things, listen to different music and join people in unique adventures. Even more significant, I give childhood dislikes a second chance. I still gag on sweetened squash, but adore little oysters on the half shell.

8) Read, read, read. I’m not Oprah, yet I do cram a lot of text in the noggin. Reading is one of my oldest habits. It connects me to fantasy, truth and people. Most days I wish I had more time to read from my pile of books, RSS and social media.

9) Always ask the question. Whatever the question may be, I typically ask it. I’m an outgoing, natural speaker, but crave stories and knowledge from others. So my philosophy is “ask and you shall know.”

10) Smile as often as physically possible. My face is literally tired at the end of a good day. I like to smile at people. I visited New York at 17 and was perplexed because everyone looks down and walks fast. A New Yorker friend explained that there are too many people to attempt connecting. Thankfully I live in Portland, because I like connecting.