I work in an environment where every 2-5 years people are moved around and replaced. It was a very odd thing for me to get used to initially because most people tend to stay in the same job until there is a life changing reason to move. But here people choose to take a position they know will only last a few years and then they are off, starting over again and again.
Now it seems like a lot of people close to me are finding themselves in the position where they are starting over not exactly by choice and at this stage of the game it is pretty frightening.
In today’s economic climate there are millions of people unemployed and at a time in their lives where they should have stable jobs, their world is turned upside down.
I’m no expert at starting over but watching someone go through it has taught me a bit about the process.
So what can you do if it’s you having to start over or if it’s a loved one?
I cannot stress this enough. You have to be patient with the person starting over, even if it’s yourself. If you think you’re stressed about the uncertainty of the situation, take a moment to look at it from the point of view of the person going through it. What expectations have they put on themselves? They are probably enormous and in some ways unattainable.
On the flip side of this, if you are the person starting over you need to have patience as well. You can’t make things happen overnight. It takes time and effort as well as accepting that things will not always work out exactly as you want them to.
So for everyone involved be gentle, be kind, take a breath before you speak and choose how you will act rather than reacting in a negative way. Starting over is tough on everyone but only you can make it worse or better.
As I have said before, and I truly believe this, change is a good thing. It keeps us on our toes and keeps us alive. It is definitely scary and starting over after having the security of one particular position or job in life can be extraordinarily stressful but it is also a time for growth, learning and the start of something new.
It is really your choice what you make of it.
A few weeks ago I talked about "How to Be Healthy Without Dieting" on my Voluptuous Vinyasa Yoga site.
One of the small changes you can make is eating what is available for that particular season. Now there are lots of handy lists online like this one that tell you what you should be eating during a particular time of year or you can just trust in your local farmers market.
You are getting food that is grown locally, is in season and you are supporting the local farmers. It's win - win for everyone.
You can get everything from strawberries (pesticide free that actually taste like strawberries) to
freshly baked sourdough bread.
Now I'm lucky enough to have a market right down the street from my home that is open every Sunday throughout most of the year.
If you don't know where your closest farmer's market is go to www.localharvest.org. They list farmer's markets by area and if there are none by you, try a co-op or online delivery of fresh seasonal produce.
It's just one small step you can take towards creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself.
I'm getting married in 134 days. At least that's what The Knot tells me every time I log on to look at the 5 bazillion things I am supposed to be doing before that day. I am having 15 people at this intimate affair and I honestly have no idea how women do it with hundreds - I guess that's why wedding planners will always have a job.
In all honesty if I wouldn't piss off all 15 guests, I would be one of those people hopping a plane to Maui and The Knot can go fly a kite. I've never been a girly girl and this is like the ultimate girly event and for someone who's normal attire is jeans and whatever I think looks good on top, I am feeling a bit peonied, tuliped and taffetaed out. However, I will save that for another post once I actually have a dress and ceremony/reception site booked. Did I really say 134 days?
On to more serious matters. I have been reading a great book on some things you should know before you actually get wed. Now luckily I have waited until the ripe old age of 34 before starting this adventure and I am extremely happy about that. I have learned tons about myself in the past 10-15 years and there is no way I would have even married me in my 20's.
However, life is a journey and if you're not learning you might as well be dead. So I bought this book to see what wisdom I could get from it. After all, I am embarking on new ground. This isn't just living with someone this is living with someone for the rest of my life- that ups the stakes a bit.
One little nugget of wisdom has been dancing around in my head since I read it so I thought I would write about it here. You are responsible for your own happiness in your relationship. YOU, no one else.
The more I thought about it I realized that it applies whether you're married or single. The difference is when you're single you have an obligation to yourself to be happy, when you're married that obligation is also to your partner.
As a husband or a wife it is your duty to do everything in your power to make sure you are happy. Why? I suppose most of us single, unhappily married and divorced folks know the answer to this. Because one miserable person can ruin a relationship, especially when the other person has really done nothing wrong. (Please Note: Now let me state for the record that this works in those instances where no one has broken a vow but you break a vow and all bets are off. If you're caught with a deliveryperson, then you're partner can be as unhappy as they like!)
So you if want to go back to school or work - do it. You want to have a few days or hours to yourself -make it happen. You don't like your job- look in to changing it. Take responsibility of yourself and create your happiness.
How unfair is it of us to be unhappy when we have the power to change it? Even if you cannot do external things to bring you happiness, look within. After all that is where true happiness begins. I have often said to my other half that we could be stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do and I would still be happy. I might not like it but my happiness comes from inside me and I choose it. The glass is always either half empty or half full.
Now of course it is my hubby to be's responsibility not to be an ass and he needs to keep himself happy too but just like it's my responsibility not to be a witch and keep myself happy. When I think about all the unhappy marriages I have encountered, this is it. This is key.
So when I get hitched in 134 days, even with my tremendous dislike of lace, I am going to be certain that I do everything in my power to be happy. I will make sure that I give myself all of the self love that I deserve and in turn I will be a very happy newlywed, able to share all of that love and happiness with my brand new husband. That's you Mr. Price!
We all have some sort of planning system. For years I used Outlook on my computer at work that had a sync to my smart phone. I kept all of my appointments and contacts there. At the time that's all I thought I really needed in order to plan my week. Unfortunately, for security reasons I no longer have the option of using this system at work (no cell phones or syncing to computers allowed!) so I had to look for an alternative.
I really had no idea the meditative and introspective qualities planning has - seriously! It really does and I will explain further.
So I bought a Planner Pad because I had heard very good things about it and it's set up like this:
The top section you list your weekly activities by category, the middle section you put in your daily things to do and then this funnels down to the bottom section where you make the actual appointments. Notes/calls are on the side. There are also pages in the back that are lined to help you track goals etc. At around $25.00 each they aren't bad.
This was the first time in my planning that I sat down and actually thought about all of the different hats I wear and what I had to do for each and that was very beneficial. However, the funneling thing just wasn't working for me which led to me not using the planner as much as I should have. I know some people adore this planner but it just wasn't working with my brain.
Then I moved on to Franklin Covey. I really debated about getting a one year spiral bound planner or buying a really nice binder with their entire Master Planner system.
You see I need as much Master Planning as I can get. Not only do I have a hectic schedule with a full time job, teaching yoga, wellness coaching, taking care of myself and trying to have a relationship but add to that I am trying to plan a wedding for September 2010 and I need a whole hell of a lot of master planning!
First let me say that it is an investment. I spent about $70 total for the binder and the system but I just cannot sing its praises enough.
Here is my very swanky binder and it's not huge, smaller than a sheet of paper but not a pocket size binder.
So what is this Master Planner system and why do I feel like it has brought a sense of Zen to my weekly planning? First, there are sections in the back of the planner that take you through some exercises to realize what your values, mission and goals are. Part of this is determining all of the roles you have. This is really the backbone of the system and I get to start each week off by filling out one of these:
The first section are the things I am going to so for myself this week, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Then each section is a particular role I have. HR manager, yoga teacher, wellness coach, student, bride to be, etc. For each of them I write down the big goals I want to accomplish for just this week. This little guy then goes into my clear bookmark and everyday I open my planner up and am reminded of what I need to do. Then I plan my days accordingly.
It has monthly tabs so I can see each month at a glance and then it has two pages for each day.
Here I can write in my daily to do's by priority, appointments and any notes I need to write. So I don't have post it's everywhere or need to carry an additional notebook. Everything is right here. There are additional tabs and note pages in the back if I am planning a special project and tons of other little goodies.
So why does this system work for me, maybe its because I take the time to look at what I want to accomplish in the week from all different levels. Then I can take each day as it comes rather than trying to see a whole week at a time.
This system makes me reflect. I take 20 minutes every Sunday to sit down and really evaluate how I am going to take care of myself and what I am going to accomplish in each of my roles for the week. I never get too far ahead of myself and I don't feel overwhelmed. I am also addressing all of the areas of my life, not just the professional ones.
I realize that this system won't work for everyone but I thought I would share how it really has profoundly changed how I do things. I feel that I really have grasped a little bit of Zen when it comes to my organization and planning now.
So this blog is supposed to be sharing with people how I've found balance in my life. No one's perfect, least of me and nothing is constant, including having a balanced life.
But that's what makes life interesting.
In the past 2 months I have been to Las Vegas, Hawaii, New York, London and Paris.
My fiancé has returned to the UK to start his new posting (not in Afghanistan thank goodness) which leaves me in Washington DC until we get married, hopefully in September.
I am back to teaching my Voluptuous Vinyasa Yoga class which I adore. Hopefully twice a week to some fabulous ladies.
I've enrolled in the Alive Academy of Natural Health, in their 2 year program to become a Holistic Nutritional Consultant.
And my wonderful fiancé bought me a digital SLR camera so I have this great tool to start taking pics of all the new recipes I try so I can share them here.
Oh yeah and did I mention I am supposed to be planning a wedding for September?
It's no wonder I chucked my planner pad out the window for a swanky new Franklin Covey Master Planner. I need something to Master plan my life!
But I wouldn't have it any other way. Life is about learning, taking risks and new experiences. Sometimes you need a little chaos to shake things up a bit.
So watch this space...
Have you seen that show Hoarders? I haven't watched it but the advertisements make my skin crawl. I honestly don't know how people live with tons of crap.
In the past 10 years I have moved 6 times- the 6th time this past week. It's not really a conscious decision to keep moving but it just happened to work out that way. With each move I found I was throwing more stuff out and moving less and less. At that point in my life, I was practicing non-attachment and didn't even know it.
Now I'm not saying go out and get rid of all of your things but every 6 or 12 months take inventory of what you have and decide if it's something you need or is it just taking up space.
Clutter makes your life and your space messy and complicated. You know that great feeling you have after cleaning out your closet- that's how it feels when your surroundings are clean, simple and organized.
Here are a few tips for keeping things uncomplicated:
Books, DVD's, CD's or any other kind of Media- Lord of the Rings was so cool when it first came out but four years later How to Speak Elvish is just not getting that much face time. So if you haven't picked it up in a year or you've lost interest in it, sell it. Amazon makes it so simple to sell your unwanted items and you can make quite a few dollars doing it.
Clothes- I used to be one of those people that kept everything. It either belonged to the school of one day I'll fit into it or I'll hold on to it just in case I need a bigger size. Living in the present moment is not just about your mental state, it's also about your wardrobe. If it doesn't fit and it hasn't in a year get rid of it. If you owned it when you were 18- bin it. If you look at it and cannot understand for the life of you why you bought it, say goodbye. But don't throw your clothes or shoes out. Put them in bags and donate them. There are drop off bins everywhere and there is always someone who could use them.
Furniture: Is it old, ratty or a horrifying shade of hot pink? Do you have TV's from the black and white era? Is your garage full of bikes that never get ridden? Throw away the old stuff and give what's in decent shape to goodwill.
Cleaning house is really about taking stock of your life. Where are you now? How different are you from the person you were 2, 3 or 5 years ago. The past is gone and letting go of it also means letting go of the physical clutter that comes with it.
Remember you are not tossing away the memorable stuff just the junk that you've been carrying with you. Take a moment to really look around your home - what are the things you really need versus the stuff that's just taking up space.
I thought I had really made progress in 10 years and I still had 25 bags of donations and trash this time around. Not to mention I have sold over $500 in books, cd's and dvd's I no longer use.
You don't have to trash your whole house but see if there are little steps you can start to take to simplify your life. Remember once you de-clutter the physical, the mental is soon to follow!
After twenty years of fighting with my weight and trying every diet under the sun, I finally feel like I have a handle on my eating habits.
My grandfather summed it up once by telling me that I needed to find an eating level. Well, I found mine so I thought I would share a few things I learned along the way.
Plan Ahead: plan meals, snacks and shopping lists so you're not just shoving food in when your starving.
Don't Eat Out: stay home and cook the food yourself that way you control the ingredients and the portion size.
Know Your Portions: until you know what a cup, tablespoon and ounce are use measuring cups, spoons and a scale.
Drink water: cut down on sugar, diet and caffeinated drinks.
Be Mindful: eat slowly and turn off the TV and the computer.
Eat: 3 meals a day (and one snack) every 3 to 4 hours and don't skip meals.
Healthy Snacks: get rid of those 100 calorie snack packs for a natural snack (apple with almond butter; hummus and carrots).
Beware of Fat Free Foods: they can have tons of sugar, cut down the portion and go for reduced or full fat.
Avoid Unhealthy Ingredients: don't eat anything if it has more than 5 ingredients or you can't pronounce them or if you don't know what they are. (hydrogenated = bad)
Know Your Food: read labels and be aware of serving sizes. That drink might be 50 calories but if there are 4 servings in it, that bottle is 200 calories.
Avoid Processed Sugar: instead of juice have a piece of fruit; use raw or turbinated sugar instead of the white kind, avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup.
Balance Your Meals: try to eat a healthy carb, lean protein and good fat at each meal
Not All Carbs are Bad!: eat your fruits, veggies and whole grains (in moderation) daily.
Not All Fat is Bad!: eat nuts, avocado, and olive oil in moderation.
Know Your BMR: learn how many calories you need to live, by knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the amount of calories you need to live if you sat on the couch all day. If you're trying to lose weight you may want to reduce this amount but never go below 1200.
Track Your Calories: I know this part really stinks but in the beginning you do need to learn how much you can eat so you don't overeat. Once you know what 1300 or 1400 calories looks like each day then you don't have to be so meticulous. Try http://www.livestrong.com/myplate.
Don't Eat After 8pm: Let your body really break it's fast in the morning by not eating too late. Your metabolisim slows down at night so let it rest.
Get Rid of the Scale: pay attention to how you feel. Incessant weighing is unhealthy and you want a lifestyle change not a quick fix.
Live a Little: splurge once a month if you're really craving something. We only have one life and if you feel like having a piece of cheesecake or a Ben and Jerry's ice cream do it! Just don't do it every week.
Move: (more on this in my next post)
Well it's taken me a while to get back into the swing of things after my two week break in Sedona. Things just move at a much slower pace there and it was a bit of a shock being back in DC.
Now that it's the new year I thought I would take some time to write down my goals for the year. 2010 is going to be challenging for me but I also have loads to look forward to.
Goals for 2010:
1. Live every moment to the max with my soon to be navy hubby before he goes off to England and Afghanistan for 10 months.
2. After surgery last year and losing some of my fitness, committing to a 5 times a week fitness routine.
3. Get back to the basics with my diet. If the earth didn't produce it, I'm not eating it.
4. Get my website online.
5. Get my online business started.
6. Create my own yoga channel.
7. Keep posting on my blog
8. Oh yeah- plan a beautiful small wedding with the help of my wonderful mother.
I already started with eating healthfully and the exercise. We found a wonderful program that incorporated cardio, yoga and weights that is totally kicking my butt. It also helps to have my fiancée doing it with me.
This will hopefully get the body in good shape for our two week Caribbean vacation before he leaves.
Once I'm in DC on my own for a bit, I'll really get a chance to switch gears and focus on my website and business.
So that's the 2010 plan. It's great to write down goals at the beginning of the year and even more throughout. But it's also important to remember that goals are never set in stone and sometimes the journey creates completely new goals you never imagined.
It's a good road map but it's ok if you take some detours or even get lost for a while.
Happy New Year!
This time of year means so many different things to so many people. Maybe it's a time for sharing cheer with your friends or giving something back to those in need.
For me, Christmas has always been about family.
No matter where I have lived over the years, I always make my way home for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas day with my loved ones.
There have been additions over the years that have added greatly to our lives and there have been gaping holes left by those who have passed on.
Those spaces have been filled with the wonderful memories my grandfather left behind and Christmas is certainly one of the times I feel his presence most strongly.
It's a time to reminisce and find joy in conversation, food and tradition. To sit around the table for hours, eating together dishes that are older than a few of us combined- recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation with love and family in mind.
It's a time to remember and look to the future at the same time. To share happy tears and a feeling of hope. All the while basking in a feeling of contentment in the present moment. There are not too many times during the year we can share all of those experiences at once.
It's a time to look at those around you with appreciation and cherish the time that you have, share gifts and share ourselves.
At it's most basic, you know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you look at that lighted tree or that fireplace with stockings hung above it- yeah that's what Christmas with family feels like.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
What does Christmas mean for you?
Happy Holidays to all!!