What are you passionate about?

The age old question that you are asked umpteen times in your life.  Whether you are asked in an interview, by your friends, relatives, etc.  It’s interesting that this has come around more frequently as a question as I feel it means we as a society are more concerned with what drives people.  Not just what they aim for in the future, i.e. goals, but things that help wake them up every day and get out of bed.

Recently, in a book I read, there was a challenge to no longer ask “What do you do?” when you are meeting someone but to ask “What are you passionate about”?  I was struck to my core by this line.  It continued on to say that we define ourselves by our job and our title but is that truly who we are.  Our passions are what encompasses who we are and what is left of us when we go.  When you read an obituary, sorry to get daunting here, but when you read one do they say “X Smith was an engineer” and leave it at that? I mean, maybe some do but those I have read do not.  They talk about the individuals passions and what they truly cared about.

I recently had a conversation about passions with a colleague and friend.  She asked me to have lunch with her to specifically talk about my Passion Planner.  When we sat down she brought up that she was asked this exact question recently and she was a little stumped. She asked me my thoughts and I was inspired to write.

When talking with her I told her I am passionate about:

  • Family
  • Yoga
  • My relationships
  • Animals
  • Health
  • Living life

I told her when someone asks me what I am passionate about I think of things that make me happiest.  I also shared that my passions have changed and they will change.  New things come into our life all of the time and others leave.  There are people I know who used to be passionate about a specific sport and now they just don’t care for it anymore.

I do find that sometimes our passions can take too much of our energy.  We get so involved in them with our time and effort that we lost sight of why we are passionate about them. For this reason, if I find I am starting to not feel passionate about something anymore I start making a list. Yes, I AM that list person. Anyways, I start making a list of why I was passionate about it in the first place. If for some reason none of what is on the list rings true anymore, then I recognize it’s not something for me.

I have had things I have been passionate about that have relied on the people I was doing them with.  Which makes sense, sometimes our passions are brought to us by those around us.  This is why I have also taken the time to recognize it is the people around me I also need to be passionate about.

I need to be passionate about cultivating, nurturing and encouraging the relationships I have.  These can be personal or professional, but I find if I don’t also focus on the people then my passion for things can fizzle out.

Passions can be simple things, no one defines what your passions are except yourself.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou
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Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com

 

Never Say Never

What happens when you say the word never?  Can you think of instances when you state this word?  Let me give you a few:

  • I will never jump out of an airplane
  • I will never like sushi
  • I will never go camping when it does not include plumbing
  • I will never go hiking
  • I will never sleep in a tent
  • I will never settle
  • I will never do yoga and be able to calm down
  • I will never run a 5k
  • I will never meditate
  • I will never forgive this person

Guess what?  I have said every single one of those statements, those are all real life examples from my very own life, every single one, with the exception of jumping out of an airplane, is no longer valid.

Now this may just be the Brené Brown or Gabby Bernstein coming out but when I use the word “never” it always is in a negative way.  There is no positive thinking that occurs when I have used the word never, most often it is from disgust, defensiveness or stubbornness.  Over the last few years I have realized how much saying the word “never” limits me.  By stating that I would never do something I was preventing myself from being open to new opportunities and lessons.

In another post I’ll talk further but I have dug a lot into mindfulness and how your thoughts create your reality.  By stating sentences with “Never” in it I was immediately creating a wall, I was shutting down any opportunities that may come forth.  For years I told people I would never do yoga because it was too slow for me, I thought I’d injure myself and that I thought it was boring.  Quite honestly I just thought I would embarrass myself with my lack of flexibility and also not get the “body” I thought I wanted.  By this sentence I limited myself from being more conscious of my bodies abilities, from a stress reliever, and a community I never knew existed.

I have recognized to not state these sentences that limit my thoughts, actions and opportunities.  After dating my boyfriend for two years we had the opportunity to hike Mt. Katahdin.  This hike was the second hike I had ever done in my life, lets be honest I had big dreams.  I trained for six to eight months (think stair stepper, a lot of the stair stepper) at the gym wanting to ensure I prepared my body for what was to come.  Mt. Katahdin was one of the scariest, eye opening, and emotional things I have done in my whole life.  It took us 12 hours and at the end I collapsed on a picnic table and cried.  Cried from pent up fear from the trail (Knife’s edge, it’s called that for a reason) and from the fact I completed something I said I would never do.  This experience was one of the biggest examples I have to date that if I had continued to say “I’ll never do that” I would not have the memories I have now and I wouldn’t be able to count it as one of my biggest accomplishments.

When people ask me if I’ll do something or try something most often my response is “Maybe not right now but never say never”.  To be quite honest I thought I would never complete in a obstacle race, this past November I completed my first ever Spartan Sprint race.  I found out about it from my friend who was pulling together a team, I read the information, said “Why not, f**k it, might as well” and signed up then and there.  I didn’t do it for time, or to see what I needed to improve upon.  Quite honestly I can’t say I trained “properly” either but I did it for fun and to see what I could do.

I think when you say sentences including “never” you limit yourself from those experiences.  You limit yourself from the potential to say “I did this, I can do it again”.  I challenge you to do your best and Never say Never again.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou
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Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com

No “Right Way”

One thing that has been abundant in my life lately is the there is not a “Right Way” to take care of yourself.  Yes, sure there are guidelines by many institutions and schools of thought on how someone should take care of themselves.  However, I am a firm believer in listening to your body and it’s needs.  Just because something works for one person does not mean that it will work for you.

I have two amazing friends that have branched out and started their own company called “The Thrive Effect”.  These two amazing human beings are battling autoimmune diseases with an holistic approach to their care.  They believe in not only what is put into your body (whole foods, balanced nutrients and vitamins) but your mental and emotional well-being too.  These girls are wonderful, kind, and caring human beings and I can not wait to see what they accomplish and learn from them.  They started this journey because western medicine was not what they wanted to fill their bodies with.  They are on little to no medication and work to thrive with their diseases.  Is every day a picnic in the park?  NOPE, but they listen to what their body is telling them.  If they need modern medicine, sure use it!  If they need a day of rest, they take it.  They are working to build a community around this mindset and it’s truly an amazing feat!

I, myself, have had my own life lessons.  I do not have an autoimmune disease but I work very hard to listen to my body.  I see a chiropractor and I have for 10+ years, I see my PCP once a year for a physical, and I also practice a holistic approach to my life.

I focus on eating foods that will fuel my body, give it nutrients.  I take nutritional supplements with the knowledge that I do not take in as much as I should or could.  I have cut out a lot of processed sugar from my diet and I have quite literally trained myself to want water, fruits, and veggies.  I very rarely binge eat anymore and if I do I have a portion and then most often don’t want it again for a six months to a year.

I am not saying The Thrive Effect girls or myself have it all put together.  We don’t, I know we don’t, but we listen to what our bodies need.  Am I saying that I deny myself if I want McDonald’s? Nope! Do I feel guilty if I want ice cream? Nope! I recognize that it’s okay and it’s not the “wrong way” to provide for my body if I enjoy those things.

I also make sure I try and take the time to recognize what is good for myself.  I was working out three times a week over the last six months, in the last few weeks not only did I start a new job but my school semester started and I am now taking two classes on top of full time work, blogging, family, and my relationship.  I know many people do this type or workload in varying degrees and sometimes much more. However, for myself the balance wasn’t there to work out.  I allowed myself to let it go and I am focusing on my yoga practice.

My yoga practice helps me unwind and let go of the stresses.  I didn’t feel the need to wake up early or throw in the time at the end of the day to complete a workout that would drain any energy I had left.  Yoga helps my body unwind, relax, and recharge for the next items to come.

My mom has always said “There is no right or wrong way, there is only the way that is best for you.”  As you finish reading this please take that thought with you, don’t think that what somebody else is doing is the right way and that you have to do it too.  Listen to your body, your wants and your needs.

The Thrive Effect:
Website: http://www.thrive-effect.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thethriveeffect
Instagram: @thethriveeffect

Instagram: @beyou_findyou
#beyoufindyou
Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com

Fear

Every corner I turn I feel as though this world is coming up with a new way for us to be fearful, uncertain, scared, and worried.  We live in a world where terrorists are active within our lives.  We have social media constantly reporting on events that are happening within our own country that we never thought we would see happen.  We have TV shows that people get so enthralled in with criminal activity and conspiracy that our brains begin to fear what we see.

Even if we take it down to just us, just ourselves as an individual can you look at yourself and state what you fear? What you are afraid of? I find when we say what we fear most it is almost always tied to the amount of control we have over it.  When you are afraid of losing the person you are in love with it is most often because they have their own free will, they have their own emotions, and you have no say what those may be.

I can say, after much soul searching, a lot of the fears or uncertainties that I have are because I have no control over them.

With my boyfriend, there have been many times when I have been afraid of “losing” him or uncertain of how strong our relationship is.  I have been afraid because despite him choosing me, and choosing our relationship on a daily basis there are days when I know I can be a handful, my choices or actions may not be the best; because of those I fear that he’ll turn around and one day say “Nope, I’m done”.  It is tough to face these fears and uncertainties with him because while we have been together he has been in graduate school the whole time which is its own monster.  One of my biggest uncertainties has been despite being together the whole time, things change when school is over, how do I know we are strong enough to go thru those next steps too?

Despite my fears he has always been there to comfort me and tell me there is nothing to be afraid of.  When we hiked Mt. Katahdin two years ago and we hiked along knife’s edge (the name is NOT misleading) he stayed by me the whole time.  While I crawled on all fours across it and cried he was there lending his hand and encouraging me and telling me I could do it.  His reassurance, support, and comfort have always put my fears and uncertainties to rest.  I will admit some help from my therapist never hurt. J

From these fears and uncertainties I have also determined a fear of letting go.  I am afraid and uncertain of letting go of control, letting go of the thoughts and emotions within the situation.

I fear heights because let’s face it, you fall you fall, there is no going back.  Even tied to a carabiner I’m not exactly the most comfortable, it’s why I’ve never gone skydiving.  Free falling thru air, even if in tandum, no thanks!  I have no control over it, all these factors in these two situations are entirely not controlled by me this causes me to be afraid.

When I cut off my hair last year I was afraid to show everyone.  I was afraid of the judgement, the comments, and to put myself out there. It is scary to put yourself out there for all to see because again you have no control over their thoughts, their reactions or responses. Tying it back to our relationships, have you been afraid to be honest or voice your concerns, thoughts, feelings, or opinion with your significant other, your parent/s, sibling/s or friend/s.  It’s scary to do so!

One of the biggest things I am afraid and uncertain about is death.  For the last..ten years or so I have gone thru some nights where my mind just spins, I think of death, I think of dying alone, I think of those around me dying.  My mind just keeps going to the point where I have broken down to tears and have had panic attacks.  My mind has kept me up well into the night with these thoughts.  It wasn’t until I started talking about this fear with my parents and having a discussion that I have begun to cope; I know it is a part of life, I understand it happens for all of us.  What is driving this fear is my lack of control over when, where, how, and with whom.

I bring fear up not to be negative, sad, or doubtful.  I bring it up because despite fear I work every day to acknowledge it and be happy. Am I perfect? Definitely not, there have been many days where I have let it rule, I break down and cry and feel lost.  I know I’m stronger then it but it can be consuming.  When we give into our fears we not only are afraid but we can become angry, nervous, sad, frustrated, uncertain, etc.

The difference that I have found is in acknowledging my fear.  If I acknowledge I am afraid, if I acknowledge WHY I am afraid, and state what I can or cannot do about it I am better able to handle it.  Again, this is not fool proof and works often but not always.  Sometimes your fear or uncertainty needs to be talked about and brought to light so that those who you care about and are in your life can be aware.  I also have a therapist that I see to discuss these with as well because these fears or uncertainties are sometimes best addressed with her.

I share all of this and put myself out there in a very public way all because I have spent a lot of time recently being afraid, uncertain and scared for many reasons that have been out of my control.  So, as I stated earlier I decided to share, be open and honest about some of my biggest fears.  Hopefully this will help not only just myself but others in their journey to let go of their fears and uncertainties.

Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com
#beyoufindyou
Instagram: @beyoufindyou

Your Influencers

You know you’ve heard it from the adults in your life, let’s just count an adult anyone your parents age or older.

The friends you have, the people you spend your time with, make you who you are.

They help mold your ideals, your thoughts, your morals. I have had my own experiences as well as witnessed people I grew up with influenced by people around them. Now, if you are reading this and saying to yourself “I’m not influenced by any one,” good for you!  I ask you to just keep reading anyway, or you can just stop here, it’s up to you I won’t be offended.

When we are kids your family is your influential group. My parents influenced me to enjoy classical music, especially Andrea Bocelli. My mother influenced me to enjoy cooking. My dad has had me on a computer since I can remember, so his influence has helped me to be fluent on a computer much earlier on than most.  My sister influenced my ideals of friendship and was my first friend.  I won’t say there weren’t times I wish I didn’t have a sister but more often than not I remember pointing out that she was my sister and being proud.  I wasn’t someone who disliked having a sister and was never ashamed to say she was mine. 

As I got older my friends also became influences on my life. They influenced me to swear, they influenced me to lie to my parents, which was never successful by the way. They influenced me to judge people, most of all judge myself.

I judged myself every morning, before I would let them judge me. I beat myself up before they could. I can pinpoint when I started to really have self-image issues in fifth grade. I had cut my hair incredibly short, so I got called “mushroom head,” at that age you think no big deal they’re just kids.  Those words though have lasted to this day, since then I have cut my hair just as short twice, until most recently.  While writing this over the last year, I cut my hair down to a pixie cut.  I had been debating it for a year and then decided Memorial Day weekend that I’d call my hairdresser and if she had an appointment that day I’d do it and guess what…SHE DID!  It was a HUGE change and with curly hair I looked entirely different from those other girls who had pixie cuts.  It has been a test of my self confidence and has been a whole new learning curve the whole time.  It took me almost twenty years to feel comfortable again in my own skin and with my own identity to cut all of my hair off.

Learning to love myself again “without” the hair that has defined me for so long has been thrilling and scary.

Throughout my life and especially during this phase of short hair, my self-confidence has wavered from okay to down right gross, always comparing myself to other girls. At one point, when I was younger I felt so gross, so low, so poorly about myself that I thought cutting myself would cause relief. It did not, but it happened because of media influences as well as the people I had around me.  I saw others around me handling their anger, sadness, and depression in that way and thought, “Why not try it?”.  After that I was incredibly ashamed and swore I would never do it again.  I realized that self harm, physical self harm, did nothing except hurt and gave me a physical reminder of the low point in my life.  Why would I want a reminder of that?  Why would I want a reminder of a really low point instead of having a reminder of something happy?  Now don’t get me wrong, there are many I know who have these scars and look at them as growing pains, they went thru something and made it out the other side.  

**In no way am I stating that self harm is okay or acceptable to deal with things that are going on in your life.**

I am merely acknowledging that it happens to many whether it be cutting, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, eating disorders and any other type of harm one can cause to oneself.  I recognize it occurs as something that we feel we can “control” but many times I have seen where it ends up controlling someone.

As I’ve gotten older, I have begun to recognize and see when people influence my thoughts. In college, a few people I spent time with, were incredibly judgmental of others and I began judging people again. I felt gross when I did it, I knew it wasn’t right and I knew it wasn’t nice.  I didn’t like how I felt when I did it because again, I then began to judge myself.  I won’t lie, it’s sadly human nature to judge however, I now choose to fill my life with people who choose to be understanding and acknowledge no human being is perfect. I work very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt and to not judge them on how they look, how they dress, how they talk, or how they act.  

People around us influence our thoughts, actions, and emotions in many different ways.  If you continue to fill your tribe, support system, group, friends etc. with people who are constantly in fear, doubt, shame, sadness, nervousness, and negativity most often that is what you begin to feel like.  If you surround yourself with people who admit their faults, honest, kind, happy, positive, accepting; you find yourself reflecting those things back and living your life a bit differently

As Thumper said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Try it, give yourself a month, look at your friends and see who has a good outlook on life versus the one’s who are a bit more negative. Try spending a week solely with the friends who have a good outlook, then spend a week with the friends who are a bit more down. How do you feel? What are your thoughts like? Are you happier with one over the other? If you can’t tell after a month give it a little longer.

You do not HAVE to do this, it’s food for thought. It is to get you to think, if you can change how you think about yourself by who you spend time around shouldn’t you try it?  If you’ve had your own experiences like this share them with me!

Instagram: @beyou_findyou
#beyoufindyou
Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com