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Acceptance or Resignation?

 

A lot of us aren’t happy with where we are in our lives at the moment. We aren’t satisfied with what we’re doing or where we happen to be or what we are. We here so often that we need to accept ourselves as we are and where we are. Most of us fight this notion. I sure do.

I reread Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth last week (one big long string of Aha! moments. Read it.) and she mentioned that accepting is not the same as resigning yourself to a situation. It doesn’t mean that you give up and tell yourself that things will never change, or even worse, that you can’t change things. I think most of us think that acceptance involves giving up, so no wonder we resist it!

Accepting is acknowledging where you are and realizing that it’s ok for now. You may still want to change, especially if you don’t like your current situation. By all means, work hard to change if that’s what you really want, just don’t beat yourself up for where you are.

Acceptance is a change of attitude, that’s all. It’s not quitting. It took me awhile to let this sink in, but I realized that it’s something that I’ve always known on some level. I’ve never created significant change in my life until I accepted where I was first.I had to love myself the way I was and realize that I had to be where I was, because that’s where I happened to be. That situation had something to teach me. I accepted that knowledge, but I still wanted to change. Change happened pretty spontaneously after that.

Whenever I my situation and struggled against it, I got even more stuck. It’s like struggling when you’re sinking in quicksand (the movies always say that’s a bad idea) and sinking even faster.

What do you want to change in your life? What do you need to accept?

I’ll go first.

  • I accept that I need to have a job right now when I’d rather be a full-time artist and writer. Luckily, I enjoy my job, but I’d still rather do my own thing. It’s ok though. This job takes care of me, and I’m glad to have it. I’ll still work toward my goal, but I’m happy with what I’m doing right now.
  • I accept that I don’t have the money to travel the world right now, but obviously, world travel isn’t what I need at the moment or I’d have it. I can love my life anyway. I’d still like to travel and I’ll work toward that goal, but I won’t snub the joys of home.
  • I accept that I have about 10 extra pounds of “winter coat” around my hips and thighs. This is a little heavier than what I’m comfortable with, but it’s ok for now. I’ll still love and take care of my body and I’ll trust it to even things out on its own.
  • I accept that it’s still winter even though I’d really like it to be spring. We’ve had a lovely springy week and now there’s about six inches of snow on the ground and temperatures have dropped. I’ll take whatever moisture we can get for a nice green summer, and I’ll embrace a few more weeks of layers and hot soup.

I’ll accept these things, but I also expect change. I think the distinction here is simply attitude, because forcing change does not work. One cannot reach their natural weight by hating his or her body now. One can’t create a thriving career by refusing to acknowledge the starting point, where she is now.

How about you? What are you accepting right now? What does acceptance mean to you?

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Wise Words: True Change

Change happens when you understand what you want to change so deeply that there is no reason to do anything but act in your own best interest.

-Geneen Roth, Women, Food, and God

Intentions for 2012

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It’s that time of year again.

I thought I’d share my intentions for 2012. I like setting intentions rather than resolutions because intentions are more like mindset, purposes with which to align myself while resolutions are more like a to-do list with the accompanying guilt trip when you don’t. Who needs that?

I looked over my 2011 intentions, and my 23rd birthday intentions, and while some of my 2012 intentions are similar, they are more clear to me.

So here we go, my intentions for 2012:

  • I intend to let my creative spirit be my leader-Tara Wagner calls it “Organic Wisdom.” Laura Hollick calls it “Spirit Leadership,” and the latter rings more true for me. Either way, I intend to let my creativity lead me through life, and to give priority to my creative work. I don’t mean that I’ll blow off other important things, I just mean that I want to live with a spirit of joy and imagination outside of my studio as well as inside.
  • I intend to lay the foundation for my art and writing career-I’ve already started this by blogging and making my art available online, but I want to put my art into the community as well. I want to find a way to get paid for writing and to develop a more steady income from art sales. Of course, I want to do this in a mindset of joy and creativity rather than fear or force.
  • I intend to honor my body with the food and movement it needs-My 2011 intentions include something like this as well, and even though this is a general statement, I do have a specific action in mind for it. This includes all food and movement that honors my body, but I intend to start by adding vegetables, especially green leafies, and reducing my sugar intake. If you’ve been reading Handprint Soul for awhile, you probably know that I’m in the throws of winter blues right now, that I tend to be susceptible to depression and anxiety, and that I’ve had issues with extremely low blood sugar. Sugar makes all of these conditions worse, so even though I am certainly addicted to it on some level, I intend to break that addiction with an abundance of supporting foods, a few supplements, and healthy sweeteners such as stevia and xylitol. I’m not trying to completely eliminate sugar, just form a more sane relationship with it.
  • I intend to dive into my gospel study-I don’t really talk about my religion on this blog, but I am a member of The Church of Jesus  Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka the “Mormon” church. My religion and spirituality (yes, I believe those are different things)  shape my beliefs, who I am, and what I do. It’s always been a part of me. This year I want to deepen my knowledge of our doctrines and my relationship with God.
  • I intend to use money consciously and deliberately-I have a complicated relationship with money, and money management tends to stress me out. This year, I want to reprogram my mindset surrounding money as I learn to keep better track of income and spending, reduce unnecessary spending and instead spend money on things that hold real value for us. I also hope to save money for a sunny trip next winter. I don’t think it’ll happen for this winter, but maybe the act of saving for one later will make this winter a little easier. 🙂

There you have it.

Did you set intentions, resolutions, goals, focus words, etc. for 2012? Tell me about it!

 

Evolving Handprint Lists

I’ll keep this short, because that beautiful spring weather outside is calling my name! Perfect weather for a nice run, concluded with barefoot walking through the park, don’t you think? I think.

If you’ve read Handprint Soul for awhile, you know all about the Handprint List. You might have even made one of your own, which is awesome. I made mine last summer right after I graduated college and started to wonder what I wanted to do with my life. I always had a good idea of what I wanted, but I felt like I needed something more specific. As an obsessive list-maker, I made a list.

However, that was last summer and this was a year of huge change for me. Reading back over my Handprint List, I realized that I wanted to add a few things. I also wanted to remove a couple things. For example, I don’t want to be vegan anymore. Various reasons, but basically it just doesn’t work for me and I’m not going to do anything my body doesn’t like. Also, I no longer care about skydiving, learning to play chess, or going back and learning to use a pottery wheel. I’m a completely different person than I was last summer, and I have a much clearer idea of what I want to do in my life, so I’m trimming away the stuff that doesn’t interest me anymore.

You’re always changing, so your Handprint List should change to reflect that. It’s an evolving, fluid thing that grows with you and shapes as you shape yourself. Don’t get bogged down in a bunch of static expectations and “To-do’s” that no longer sing to you. Add things to your list. Cross off the things you don’t want to do anymore.

I’ll be updating my list little-by-little over the next few weeks as I refine it. It’ll mostly be the same, just a few more specifics and without some of the frivolous things.

If you haven’t made a Handprint List, I really encourage you too. You can either email me and I’ll feature it in a special page on the blog, or post it on your own site and send me the link. I’d love to see it!

And now, for that run…

Learning and Letting Go {Self-Discovery, Word-by-Word}

Life is a series of changes, but I’ve always had a hard time accepting that and it tends to get me into trouble. I don’t like taking risks and whenever I have something good, I’m terrified of losing it, but I think most people are like that. The seasons of life come and go, bringing new lessons and opportunities with them, but they pass just as quickly to make way for the new lessons. This is how we learn and grow.

I think an inability to gracefully deal with change is the root of the depression and anxiety I’ve experienced. It all started when my life did a 180 in a single year and left my head spinning for years after. In one year, I left a toxic relationship of two years, changed my major, changed jobs, got engaged to my friend of four years, went on birth control, moved out of my parent’s house, got married, changed jobs again, moved, and changed jobs again, and started my upper-division coursework. Whew! That’s a lot for anyone to experience it, but should I still be reeling from it years later? Shouldn’t I have gotten used to it by now?

Another change I’ve had a hard time letting go of is my experience with theater in high school. I had a tight-knit group of friends whom I worked with in a creative environment, and I thrived in that situation. I was so happy in high school even though I had my fair share of boy problems and homework related stress. I haven’t been in a show since and I barely see my old friends. I graduated five years ago, I should definitely be over that, right?

How about graduating college, changing homes and jobs twice in the last year, and experiencing health problems for the first time in my life? Ok, that one I’m still dealing with, the loss of my student-status and of being around like-minded people all day, having that cushion of school to protect me from having to be a grownup. This one takes everyone awhile, but no reason to be upset, right?

The thing is, all of these changes brought with them lessons that I needed to learn, so if I’m still struggling with them, I obviously haven’t learned the lessons, have I? Instead of staying stuck in the past, why not examine each situation for what it had to teach me and move on? Learn to be a grownup. Seek out that tight-knit, creative environment I had in high school because it was obviously good for me. Learn what I really want to do with life so I’m not stuck in the throws of graduate depression forever.

Change never stops; the lessons never stop. Live each season as it passes; grow from each one. That’s the beauty of life; it’s never stagnant, even when it feels like you’re not progressing. Something will change either on it’s own or because of a choice you make. Life, like people, is always dynamic and evolving. Learn, let go, and enjoy the ride.

This post was written as part of the Self-Discovery, Word by Word series. This month’s series is hosted by Mara Glatzel at Medicinal Marzipan, who has chosen the word CHANGE. Please go check out the details and take part!

Have you experienced any difficult change lately? 

Embracing Winter

I usually dread the first snow because I know I can’t fight the inevitable: Winter is coming.

I usually hate the cold, snow and that awful gray gloom that winter brings, but the reason I cling to the last moments of fall is because winter makes me sad. Yeah, I know all about Seasonal Affective Disorders and vitamin d and all that jazz and I believe a lot of that applies to me, but today I started to wonder whether my usual winter depression isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy. Do I get sad in the winter because I expect to?


This morning we awoke to a light dusting of snow. I was outraged of course, and proceeded to rant about how nature is going commercial, bringing Christmas in October right along with the department stores, but after I drove the kids to their charter school and walked them into the hollow, I stopped. Yes, I was freezing. Yes, it was cloudy and the hills all around me were white when they should’ve been blazing orange, but instead of cussing out the snow and feeling miserable, I tried to enjoy the cold. A few years ago, Sam and I went for a winter walk and I froze in my woolen pea coat and he only had on a tee shirt. I told him he needed to get his head checked and he told me “Sometimes feeling cold is part of feeling alive.” He does wax poetic on occasion and I’ve never forgotten that. I decided to embrace the nippy cold, my ears and nose going numb, the biting chill through my clothes. I did feel alive.
Without thinking, I pulled my new camera out, which is unusual because I’m not a shutterbug (obviously I want to be, because I carry that camera everywhere.) Could I find beauty in this landscape of winter taking over my beloved autumn?
Normally, this would’ve been a super grumpy day for me. Winter is coming anyway, so why not embrace it? The seasons will chance again, so why not enjoy them while they’re here instead of wishing for something else? Embrace winter, embrace change. Hopefully I’ll still sound like PollyAnna in February, but there you have it. I, McKella, bona fide hater of winter, am going to embrace the cold, the snow and the season, and maybe that’ll make it a little more pleasant.

 

The End of Books?

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I fought it tooth and nail, but I lost the battle.

I adore books; the feel of turning a page and smooth paper running across my finger, the lived-in feel of a book with dog-eared pages and a worn cover, and the thrill of discovering a new volume in a bookstore or library and thinking, unconsciously, this book will change my life. And they always do. Each new book plants new thoughts and ideas, each of which change my life in some small way, whether I drastically alter the way I live or make an effort to notice a certain plant that grows in my area.

The more I think about it, the more I can’t deny it: the physical book is becoming obsolete. As much as I love the chase of combing through library shelves, books are being outmoded in favor of the digital format. At this point, I have a choice. I can either cling to the past that will disappear sooner or later and become a memory, or I can embrace natural change and learn to use it. I’ve always wanted to write books, but writing is much easier to publish in digital format, such as ebooks or blogs, it’s better for the planet, takes up less space, and can reach anyone in the world instantly. Ideas spread faster digitally.

After all, nature will still be there. I can still read on a porch while watching the sun set, and each book will still change my life because while the format may change, the essence doesn’t.