Monthly Archives: November 2012

Wide Awake

I usually experience an opening or awakening in the springtime when my soul seems to wake up after a long troubled sleep. I see things clearly again. That didn’t happen this year. It started to. I felt a few moments of wide open clarity early on when I first saw the daffodils come up or on the first warm day, but I feel like I never really woke up. I’ve never had an awakening at this time of year, in the late fall or winter. This is usually when I feel my spirit darkening like tinted glass, when I close off and hunker down inside for a long period of deliberate unconsciousness where I try my best to ignore what’s going on around me.

Instead, I feel bright. Sure, I get tired and a little gloomy in the dark, early evenings sometimes, but most of the time I feel amazing. Something about these cold, clear days; the changing color palette; and watching the trees strip down to their essence is incredibly cleansing, as if the old ideas are becoming brittle and breaking away, leaving me sharp, clear, and wide open for the cold winds to whistle though. It’s like splash of cold water to the face to wake up in the morning.

I may feel differently in a few weeks, but right now I’m going to enjoy this. Maybe winter and I can be friends. Anything is possible.

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Relearning Happiness

One of the things I’ve spent a lot of time pondering over the last few months is happiness, and how I acquired it and them seemed to lose it again. The summer of 2011 was one of the most joyful times of my life, and not because everything in my life was perfect or was working out the way I wanted it to. I’d learned how to be happy, and once that knowledge was securely in place, it was easy to maintain until some big changes knocked them loose again.

After that, I told myself I was happy. I’d learned how to be happy, hadn’t I? I only struggled with anxiety and gloominess again because it was winter, right? As soon as spring came, I’d feel that joy again. All I had to do was wait. It wasn’t my fault.

Spring came. Summer passed. I never really felt spring or summer though. I felt like it just got hot. That anxiety and gloomy mood stayed with me. As much as I lied to myself, I wasn’t happy. That joy from the previous summer didn’t return with the sun.

That’s part of the reason why I decided to put everything on hold for awhile so I could figure everything out.

After a particularly overwhelming week, I decided that I wouldn’t lie to myself anymore. I wasn’t happy, but I knew happiness was possible because I’d achieved it before. I knew it didn’t depend on what job I had, how much money we were making, or anything outside of myself because I’d been happy in far less “ideal” situations.

So how did I do it? I spend the day reading my journals from that time, rereading blog posts from the spring and summer of 2011, and reading the book that introduced me to the ideas that turned everything around. If I could learn happiness once, I could do it again.

I realized that I just had to relearn everything.

The ideas and practices that brought me happiness before, I’d taken them for granted. I thought I knew them all, so I stopped practicing what I knew. I just expected that mindset to maintain itself, and I unconsciously let it slip away.  I felt humbled, because I realized that no matter how much I think I know, I will always have to practice and relearn these things. Gratitude, positive thought patterns, trust, affirmations, love…those things are practices rather than a permanent mindset that never goes away once it’s in place.

So now I do the things I used to do. I write things I’m thankful for in my journal every single day. I use affirmations and mantras to maintain positive thought patterns. I make an effort to appreciate others. I make a conscious effort to trust that things will work themselves out instead of fear that they won’t. I feel like a beginner again, but I actually feel happy and peaceful now even though there’s a foot of snow on the ground and the sun goes down earlier every night. I have less energy for sure and I get a little gloomy in the evenings, but overall, I can honestly say that I’m happy right now.

If I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that happiness is both a choice and a practice, not a result of circumstances or luck. As humbling as that knowledge is, it’s comforting to know that I can always choose happiness.

I wish you all the joy and happiness you deserve. Have a wonderful Tuesday!

 

It’s been awhile…

This is by far the longest hiatus I’ve taken from my beloved blog. It’s been over two months since I last posted. Two months! And what a two months.

I honestly wasn’t sure if I would come back or if it was time to move on. Another website is still in the works. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, journaling, and reading. I helped my family move away from the house I grew up in where my parents lived for almost 20 years and into a new home and a new start. I’ve been working a lot and keeping our little home running while my husband spends his life at school (no joke. Sometimes he comes home at three or four in the morning or even stays the night in the computer lab). I’ve been spending time with my friends and family, and I’ve even been taking ballet lessons!

Most of what I’ve been doing is contemplating. What do I want from my life? What do I want from my career? How can I get there? Who am I, and how can I create a life and career based on Who I Am?

I’ve asked myself these questions before, and I’m sure I will again. Everyone has to answer these questions for herself at some point, many times over.

That picture is becoming clearer in my head and I’m realizing that I need to spend less time planning and worrying, forcing, fighting, worrying about what other people want from me, and comparing myself to others and more time listening, trusting, and keeping my mind wide open and ready to receive any answers that come my way. My path has always been revealed to me when I’m ready for it and it’s easier to follow it when I trust that guidance instead of questioning it.

Several times over the past few days, the fact that my Etsy shop is empty at the moment and my blog is a ghost town has hit me hard. I’m still having plenty of insight for my own life and I’m well aware that others may need those insights, but they haven’t been making it out of my journal because I haven’t been blogging. I’ve been making art here an there, experimenting, but I don’t have a way to share it with people. I post a few pictures on Facebook, but that only gets so far. As I walked to work this morning, I thought about my poor lonely blog again. Yes, I plan to move this operation over to the new site when it’s ready, but does that mean I should stay silent in the meantime? I don’t plan to stay on Etsy for long, but does that mean I should completely close up shop?

Who knows. I’ve been running into lots of career-related snags which has gotten me into quite a mess of discouragement and I hit another one of those today. In the past, I’ve let it bother me and fester until I get so caught in my fear that I can’t move forward. Today I realized that if I want a different result, I need to have a different attitude. Instead of getting stuck, I acknowledged that this hangup is just one door closing so another can open. It’s a signpost, not a barrier. So instead of stressing out, I drew myself a hot bath and decided to listen for awhile and see if anything came to me.

Though I didn’t come up with a solution for that particular bump, I did get a very distinct message: Blog.

So here I am. I’ve dearly missed this outlet and all of my readers, so I will keep this blog going until it’s ready to move. My journals don’t feel quite complete unless I type up those entries and polish them to show to you. The insights and experiences I record for my future use and to work out my own thoughts don’t just belong to me. Those ideas are for you as well.

It’s good to be back! Let’s pick up where we left off. I’ll post when the urge comes to me and we’ll ease back into this. I’ve missed you all!