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Broken Resolutions

Broken Resolutions

Feb 2, 2016

By Danielle Katz Repeat after me “Its OK. Im only Human.” Every year we burden ourselves with promises of improvement. This tradition is a natural response to a big change, or turning point, or even an upcoming event like a reunion or wedding. New Years Resolutions have to do with a number going up by ONE by the way. Its a natural time to reflect. “Hmmm …what have I screwed up over the past year? How can I improve on that?” All this reflection is natural, so is screwing it up and falling off that “wagon of change.” You see this resolution, or this manifestation of our hopes for ourselves, most assuredly as Oreos are delicious, will be broken. “To human is to err”…I think someone important said that. I don’t know who, but damn if it isn’t true! We are human, therefore, we make mistakes. Now sometimes its no big deal, like we took a wrong exit on the New Jersey Turnpike and now were totally stuck in traffic. And sometimes its a real dozy! “Holy crap I just took the dogs medicine by accident, someone drive me to the ER!!!” But either way, we learn and move on. As a mom, this is an especially tough one to drive into your little ones, especially those little perfectionist types (gosh-darn it they drive me crazy, boy I love ‘em!) This is important for adults too! We screw up and its OK!!! See the first line in this article. Repeat as needed. You will fall off that wagon, whether your trying to loose weight or not go postal at the post office because the lines are so long. (Aren’t the Holiday’s Over? Why are the lines still so long?). Here is the important part. Get back on the wagon. No kidding, its really that simple. Why does it have to be new years eve for you to be inspired? It could be a random Tuesday. Just do it. (Sorry Nike….but its true). For me its the diet. I can be an emotional eater, Hell I eat if I’m just tired and cranky. But I’m 5 feet tall and gain weight just looking at cake....

Finding Gratitude In The Dark

Finding Gratitude In The Dark

Dec 4, 2015

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” –Melody Beattie Most of us have heard about the benefits of gratitude. It can boost your immune system and decrease stress, according to Elizabeth Heubeck from WebMD. We know that practicing gratitude leads to a happier life and the feelings of abundance. What happens, though, when we can’t find gratitude? When we are trapped in darkness, how can we find a spark of thankfulness? Tune into one. small. thing. That’s it really. The practice begins in finding an appreciation for one small thing. Then the next. Then the next thing after that. Psychology Today posted a great article from Toni Bernhard, J.D. about moving forward when we find our gratitude “in short supply.” She says, “Instead of trying to talk myself into big gratitude—a lecture that is always packed with judgmental “shoulds” and “oughts”—I decided to think small.” Bernhard shares this example: Thinking big: “I should be grateful every single day that I live in a nice house with my own backyard.” Thinking small: “That’s a pretty little bird in the yard.” By thinking small, we tune into the TRUE feeling behind the sentiment. We can say we are grateful for the roof over our head because we feel we should. Our intellect reminds us of the atrocities of the world, and how we should feel grateful it is not happening to us. But sometimes that is too big for us to tap into. We can think it but not actually feel it. In those circumstances, reach out for something you can feel. For me, it starts with my children. I can immediately tap into honest feeling when it involves my girls. The practice of gratitude has to start somewhere. As with all things, the skill becomes stronger with practice over time. Seek the first, little thing you can find to be grateful for, and really feel the gratitude...

5 Ways to Give Yourself Permission

5 Ways to Give Yourself Permission

Sep 29, 2015

We find ways to justify all kinds of detrimental behavior. We can find excuses for all our bad habits, half of which are unconscious. But why is it so hard for some of us to allow ourselves happiness, freedom, passion? Why do we make excuses for poor relationships and unrewarding careers? Embrace the Fear Fear is responsible for much of our thinking. I have made too many decisions in its influence and I’m sure you have too. You don’t think so? It is easily disguised. Maybe you thought, “The timing isn’t right for me to leave this job. I’ll wait until _____.” Or maybe you thought, “I’m too busy to look for a new _____.” Perhaps fear even felt like comfort. People will tell you to move past the fear. That’s never worked for me. I just couldn’t let go of those feelings. What I have been able to successfully do at many points, and am encouraging you to do here, is embrace the fear. Hold the fear and move on anyway. Use the fear and turn it into excitement or, at least, allow it to remind you to keep moving. Who wants to sit around in fear? You want to move fast enough that you don’t quite feel it anymore. Dump the dead weight you are with. the one who makes you feel terrible, that holds you back. Afraid to be lonely? Well…make a plan to join a social club. Use the fear to spur you into finding opportunities to meet people whose company you’d enjoy.  Afraid of loosing your job if you start looking for a new one? Use the fear to help you organize yourself and move quickly. Make a plan to send out resumes and be smart about your search. Don’t allow the fear of loosing a job you hate keep you in the job you hate! Remember You Are Not Psychic Our imaginations can get the best of us. We can project (fear) into the future and hallucinate all kinds of scenarios to talk us out of following our passion. Have you ever had a fake conversation with someone that turned into an argument? Have you ever felt terrible (racing pulse, upset...

Your Inner Critic Is A Fraud

Your Inner Critic Is A Fraud

Aug 26, 2015

Have you ever read an article and thought, “Um…I don’t remember authorizing this interview.” Well, here’s an article that is all about us.  I can’t tell you how many times I feel like a fraud.  Even my nightmares contain worries that someone will know I am faking it! “Faking what,” you ask? Everything… In her article, Expert Enough, Take 2: Why Imposter Syndrome Matters, and How to Overcome It, Lauren Bacon talks about feeling like a fraud and physical things you can do to overcome it.  I’m including it on Workout Wednesday because it is really helpful to have a physical “thing you can do” when you need a boost of confidence.  It can be draining to always rely on your brain to bail you out.  Try letting your body give you a boost sometimes.  Bacon recommends doing these things: Stand (or sit) up straight Get big Lean forward Find your own power posture: “Ask your body to find a position that feels centered and powerful, and lock into that posture so you can recall it later.” Beyond your physical stance, you can also: Move your body. “Dancing to your favorite tune shifts your energy in incredible ways.” (You may have to do this before a big event, not during.) Carry a power totem. “I’ve worn my late grandmother’s wedding rings on days when I needed a reminder that my roots go deep and that I’m part of something greater than myself. It helps me keep my worries in perspective,” says Bacon. The thing that really hit me in this article is the idea that expert does not mean infallible.  Bacon says, “We can be experts, and we can be successful, and that doesn’t mean we need to be without fault.”  Yes.  Yes!!  We don’t have to be perfect to be an expert.  We don’t have to have to know ALL the answers to be able to offer valuable advice. If you suffer from Impostor Syndrome, you may also suffer from “can’t-toot-your-own-horn-itus.” This is also known as inability to promote yourself or can’t take a compliment (depending on where you are from).  Ashley Milne-Tyte, at The Broad Experience, who pointed out this article in...

What That Damn Dress Can Teach You About Life

The dress…you know the one. The “What color is it?!” that people are freaking out over. Crazy how you can look at the same thing and see two totally different ideas.   There’s a life lesson to be learned in all of this. (No, not to see if your spouse is color blind.) It’s all about perspective.   It’s all in how you look at it. Perspective. I struggle on a daily basis to stay positive, to relax, todecompress. Little things (and big things) get me stressed out. I’m up at night, my mind racing over things–like my work evaluation–that I can’t do a damn thing about at the moment.   I find myself short of breath when I’m thinking about the laundry and cleaning and dinner (and darn it if I forgot to take something out to thaw!) and baths that are cluttering up my evening after working 10 hours during the day.   My heart starts racing in irritation when my kids are screaming at each other in the back seat about what exactly are the lyrics to some inane Katy Perry song.   And I make myself STOP. Perspective.   When the world starts to overwhelm me, I take a step back and a deep breath. I pull out the positives in those situations that are making me freak out. (No, really. You need to do it, too.)   My job. I was in total tears over a recent evaluation at work. But then I looked at it differently. I have a job. A good job. I work with kids who drive me crazy at times, but love me fiercely. I make a difference in their lives. My evaluation didn’t meet MY standards and expectations, but (I keep telling myself) my boss wants me to continue to improve to be the best first grade teacher I can be.Perspective. It’s all in how you look at it.   Laundry and dinner and cleaning and baths…I haveclothes to wash and a house to clean. I have a healthy family who need to be fed (and the Chinese takeout place down the street rocks!). Perspective. If it’s overwhelming, let it go. Compromise. It doesn’t have to always be perfect. Really.   My kids in the back seat…they love music. They enjoy each other’s company...

Motivation, Macrame, and Green Beans

Motivation, Macrame, and Green Beans

Dec 4, 2014

I thought about writing an article this week called, How to Survive the Holidays with your Health and Sanity Intact (even if it wasn’t in the first place). I was going to tell you all about how to make healthy food choices that weren’t depriving, spend more time relaxing and less time perfecting, and yada yada yada. While I do think this topic is an interesting one, and I have a lot to say about it, I kept putting off getting it down on paper. I noticed this was happening, because every time I opened my computer to write, I got “distracted”: Researching such topics as the Cascadia fault line, the current and forecasted weather report for places I thought might be warmer than here in january, public swimming pools in my area, and how to make a net grocery tote bag out of string. What? Procrastinating, you say?! I decided it was time to write about motivation. There is a lot of space for me between procrastination and motivated action. If procrastination is defined as putting off an undesirable activity, well, I did desire to write about the holidays! The problem was, I didn’t feel inspired and motivated to do so. I felt inspired and motivated to daydream about travel, and plan some art projects (okay the fault line research motivated me through fear), and ultimately to think about what lights me up. What I want to move towards, and spend more of my time doing. Things like writing about what’s exciting me in the moment, and working on a fiber arts project. The next time you find yourself just not getting something done, consider not just why you are avoiding it, because you may not be. Consider what you most want to be doing in that moment, and ask yourself why you aren’t focusing on that. When we are inspired, we are more productive, creative, relaxed, and oh yeah… HAPPY. Once I got there, this article on motivation pretty much wrote itself! P.S. Regarding the holiday sanity piece, I’ll give you a hint: cultivate your own happiness and let your holiday cheer and choices pour out of a cup that is being refilled....

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