Tag Archives: Life

Are you afraid to put yourself out there?

This morning I woke up feeling vulnerable.

Putting myself out there on my blog sometimes makes me feel like I’m overexposed.  I told you, I’m an introvert at heart.

Does anyone else ever feel this way?

I started blogging because I wanted space to write and hold myself accountable for writing, but it has grown into much more.  It is now a space that I think through my life, my writing, my challenges as a teacher.  It is a place where I make new connections with like-minded people and strengthen old connections with those I wish I saw more.  It is a way to put myself out there and build a platform in anticipation of publishing my work.

In other words, blogging is increasingly significant to my life.  But, as a result, I also feel increasingly self-aware.  When I share my posts on Facebook, I question myself, wondering whether I’m driving people in my life crazy– “We get it, you have a blog!” I imagine people thinking.  Yet most of my clicks come from sharing my posts on my other social platforms.  Likewise, I’ve been convinced that creating a following is necessary to success as an author.

I know that there will always be voices of self-doubt.  In general, I try not to listen.  I just also wonder if other people feel the same way.  Do you ever feel silly about blogging?  Self-absorbed?  Self-important?  I’m not saying that blogging is any of these things, it just feels this way for me sometimes, maybe because I have a slightly obsessive personality.

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us… It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Even if I full-heartedly agree, it is a hard lesson.  It’s hard to put ourselves out there and not be afraid of our own greatness.  I hate to admit that sometimes I don’t feel that brave.  I really liked this commencement speech that I watched last night.  It reminded me that when all else fails, pretend to know what you’re doing…

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Good News: I no longer feel like I’m going to die!

One of the occupational hazards of teaching is germs.  I am constantly surrounded by germs.  In fact, something so nasty is going around my classroom that I had 6 students absent on Tuesday.  While this was pretty wonderful for the sake of quiet, focus, and my ability to teach, it was also downright horrible because I got sick too.

Even though I still do not feel great, I’m past that absolutely terrifying point where you feel like you’re going to die.  Seriously, my head and neck hurt so much that I was busy googling Meningitis.

Thankfully, it feels like the worst is over and I’m ready to drag my tired little body back to school tomorrow.

The only upside of being sick?

The honest to goodness excuse to do nothing productive.  I did not clean, I did not cook, I did not work, I just sat on my butt.  Generally, I find the need to do six productive things at once, so this little mental break was nice, even if it was excruciating to speak or move.

Among my more entertaining discoveries while sequestered to the couch was the documentary The Hollywood Complex, streamable on Netflix.  It chronicles families that move their children to an apartment complex in Hollywood that caters to parents hoping their children will become big stars.  The complex even touts famous alumni like Zac Efron and Hilary Duff, (speaking of which, Hilary’s now a mom, what the heck?!).

Don’t get me wrong– this is cheap entertainment, verging on trashy even, and definitely an interesting commentary on our societal obsession with celebrity.  However, for anyone like me that harbored childhood dreams of stardom, it is highly amusing!  As a teacher, it also made me wince at the education these kids are receiving.  One scene at a private school for child actors actually made me feel like an amazing teacher by comparison.

At any rate, sick or not, if you’re looking for something to pass the time, check it out!  Otherwise, take some vitamin C, wash you hands, and don’t let children cough in your face, (words of advice from an expert).

Photo courtesy of http://www.thehollywoodcomplex.com/

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Life ADHD

I have a serious case of life ADHD right now.

I go to work, get sucked in to all kinds of wacky side projects that have nothing to do with getting me out the door at the end of the day, (Randomly inviting published author to speak in my classroom, sure, why not? Less posters on my walls, great idea Mr. Firemen, let me get started right now!).  I get home, think about taking the dog on a walk, end up preparing for tomorrow’s smoothie recipe lesson in the kitchen, decide that I should read my new book on how to get published, but then end up on the laptop writing a blog entry while lamenting the fact that I’m neither cleaning my house nor getting any exercise, (while also simultaneously fielding phone calls and responding to emails…).  Then it occurs to me that I still need to book a room in Carmel over spring break and I have the urge to abandon the blog entirely and waste two hours rereading trip advisor reviews and trying to remember which of the hotels are dog friendly.

Truthfully, I do not expect anyone to have survived that paragraph.  I’m not even sure that I want to reread it!  The point is, I run around all day, torn between a thousand things that I actually WANT to do, never able to get through it all. I know I’m not alone.  We all feel this way on some level or another.  What I do not understand is how people have children and still manage to conquer anything on the list.  And, no, I’m not contemplating having them right this minute, don’t get too excited (or annoyed, depending on who you are!), but it is something that crosses my mind when I imagine what I would give up.  I guess that the love mechanism just takes over to the point that you do not mind giving something up?  (Or, I hope it does!)

Anyway, this post has little real substance, just felt like lamenting the fact that I do not have more time by wasting time writing this.  Irony in action.  I have to remind myself:  It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop.  In other words, it can all get done, just not as fast as we would like it to…

Source: google.com.au via Kay on Pinterest

Back to my ADHD, thinking about staying in Doris Day’s famously dog-friendly hotel in Carmel, but can’t get them to answer an email, (heaven-forbid I pick up a phone and call them!).

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It is good.

I know that I said that I was done with my book.  That may have been an exaggeration, or better put, a partial truth.  It’s more like I am done with the story.  However, in my fiery haste to write 50,000 words in two months, I left a lot to be polished and expanded.  Now, Tuesday nights are my night to write, my time alone, inside my head.

Tonight’s polishing stretched me to 53,000 words.  That’s about 212 book pages…  When all is said and done, I expect to have more like 60,000 words, or 240 pages, which is still on the shorter side for most published novels.  I just wish that I had the time to sit and focus and get it done.  Going back is fun, layers are emerging, new chapters are appearing between old ones.  Spring break can’t come fast enough.

Despite my restlessness, my theme for life this week is, “It is good.”  Anything that I find myself complaining about, I am following up with “It is good.”  For example, as much as I cannot wait for spring break to write with more abandon, I know that it is good that somehow I’m still finding a way to write in spite of my busy life.  It is good that I’m passionate enough about it to still make it happen.  It is actually kind of magical when I think about it.  My book has grown out of seemingly nowhere.  It is good to have something that energizes me to come home after a long day at work.  It is good.

I’m finding that this phrase applies to anything.  It is good that teaching is challenging, hard, makes me want to scream, cry, kick, laugh.  I am becoming tougher and more capable.  It is good that plans change and schedules are not always kept.  I am becoming more flexible and more appreciative of the people around me in the moment…

All things seemingly bad or challenging have their silver linings.  They make us tougher, smarter, braver.  They push us to grow.  They force us to make changes and move forward.  Granted, I know that not all challenging things seem this way, I just pray that I have the strength to make them all this way, to be conscious enough to find the good in everything, even the really hard things.

It is good.  Life is good.

I leave you with my favorite songs of the evening:

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So what if you don’t keep your New Year’s resolutions!

People always grumble about New Year’s resolutions. They complain about how they never keep them, so why make them…

I disagree.

Making my New Year’s resolutions is a yearly ritual. Thanks in large part to my dad, I have sat down every year since I was a kid to make my resolutions. For the past few years, I’ve called them “Envisioned,” instead of resolutions. For example, last year was “2011 Envisioned.” The simple act of calling my resolutions “Envisioned” has helped me to refocus my intentions on what I want my year to look like instead of how I want to change myself. Of course, those traditional little resolutions related to change still sneak themselves in there, but the big goal of sitting down and looking forward is to actually ask myself what I want in life. That’s a pretty exciting and important question!

Last week, I dug up my resolutions for the past few years and reread them. Even though I may not have successfully given up sugar or gone to the gym religiously, it was really exciting to be able to look back five years and see that overall I’ve moved my life in a direction that I already foresaw back then. It’s strange to revisit your past self and realize that you really are the same person! That may sound odd, but a lot of times, I think we see our current self as so different and evolved from our previous versions, when really, we are our past, present, and future self simultaneously.

Okay, okay, I’m getting a little metaphysical, I know, but this is a concept that fascinates me.  At any rate, going through my previous resolutions reminded me that I really am, to some degree, controlling my destiny through envisioning what I want my life to look like each year. I also noticed that I break my goals into common themes each year, whether I made my resolutions in a journal, as a collage, or on a gigantic piece of watercolor canvas.  These themes include:  Health, Family, Finance, Career, and (Intentional) Joy. Even the goals that changed because life changed are interesting to go back and reread. Remembering these changes reminds me of different points in my life that I may have forgotten without these road maps. Most exciting, is seeing the goals that are many years old finally coming to fruition, (finding a job I like, writing a book, traveling, etc.).

I think that New Year’s Day is becoming one of my favorite holidays as an adult! I am genuinely excited to sit down today and envision 2012. If you have made it through my rambling thoughts above, I invite you to join me today in envisioning your life in 2012.  Stop worrying about whether you’ll keep your resolutions and just make them. What do you want your life to look like this year? What do you need to do to make this happen? Dream big, you might surprise yourself.

Over the years, my resolutions have taken on a variety of different mediums.
Regardless of the medium, I have always broken up my resolutions into categories.
This was one of my favorite years to look back at; I made it during college and through my travels since then I have always thought back to this collage and spotted the scenes that mimic what I envisioned.  The most memorable was when Alex and I moved to Berkeley and found an old church up the hill from our apartment that looked exactly like the picture third down from the upper right-hand corner.  I believe that we do create at least some of our reality, so use this time to create one that you’re excited about!
“To see is to create!”
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Live Life, Be Brave

I’m thinking about getting a tattoo.

One of my most childish secrets is that when I was grappling most with my anxiety, I would put on the necklace below each day as a reminder to be brave.  It helped.  A lot.  Even now that my anxiety is just a whisper, I still wear it almost everyday, accompanied by one of two Celtic knots.

Thank you Jen for the poignant reminder to live, and Alex for the Celtic knots of our family.

As I was putting it on the other day, I thought that maybe I should get those words tattooed on me, as a permanent reminder that life is short and that it is up to me to be brave and live it.  It is a funny thing in life how living to our full potential often takes the greatest courage.  I do not want to ever forget that I control my courage instead of my courage controlling me.

If I choose to get a tattoo, I also want to integrate the tree of life somehow.  I am fascinated by its symbolism throughout many cultures, including the Celts.  It annoys me that the tree is becoming trendy, because my connection to it roots back further, to my childhood.  I used to sit high up in the branches of old trees and talk to them.  They even told me their secrets about life and our interconnectedness.  No, I was not on drugs.  Yes, maybe I am part hippie.

All joking aside, I really never thought that there would be anything permanent enough for me to want to have tattooed on my body.  However, anyone that really knows me, knows that I am an odd mixture of over-thinking and impulse.  It will be interesting to see which side wins this battle…  Maybe I should just buy myself a tree of life charm to add to my necklace and save myself the trouble!

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