Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How were you brave today?

" How were you brave today?" I asked my son as we were winding down the night and he was getting ready for bed. And without even stopping to think about it, his answer was " I was courageous by going into a scramble of feet trying to randomly kick the ball somehow I kicked the ball to my teammate."  I listened with him more struck by the choice of words "scramble of feet" and validating the courage because to a child who is very cautious -I knew this was a very daunting experience.  But he did it :) 

Whether we realize it or not, we take brave steps every day. From trying to be friendly to coworkers who may look right through you, to going to a meeting that we wouldn't otherwise thing we have nothing to contribute to, to speaking your mind, to making a choice to stay away from individuals that are harmful to you, to making phone calls to people that actually owe you money, to making a stand to face the unknown and embrace whatever it may give us, to making life changes such as a move, marriage, launching a new project, or even changing a style of ourselves?  And so often so many of these actions are not looked at as courageous -it is something we don't validate ourselves for - we just simply do it and move on. 

What if we took the time to reflect on our simple acts of bravery. How would we respond to ourselves and more than that, what would be our reaction? If we had a mirror or a movie that would replay to us the brave act that we did - how would we feel? Would we want to change something about it? Would we be in awe? Would we look at that and say, "hey, i can't believe I did that - if i did that, then I can do anything i put my mind to."  Would we begin to be more understanding of ourselves and less judgmental of ourselves?

Courage is an act of bravery.  Courage is an internal force that speaks to you when you are often silent I believe.  It comes to you when you are seeking ways of changing or facing new situations. It is not so much a conscious act, it is impulsive.  It is almost as if your inner voice is speaking to you and pushing you to do something that you otherwise would not do.  Courage is not bitter, but sweet.  Because when one is courageous, one is also letting go of a shed of our skin by doing something new.  One is continuously moving forward rather than shrinking back or staying numb.  Being numb is fear -courage is willing to take a risk subconsciously or consciously by making a move. It's like in chess -we can't just stay in position, we have to take a stand and move in the right direction. 

So I went to sleep last night with a warm fuzzy feeling proud of my son for moving his feet in the right direction even if he may have been scared -resting in the fact that he knew he was brave in what he did.  Thinking to myself that this is a practice I would like to continue -

So a journaling prompt for you is :  How were you brave today?

Happy Journaling!

Friday, September 2, 2016

End of Summer.

September is here. I'm savoring the last three days before we go back to school, we go back to a regular routine of work and school life.  Part of me is dreading it because it means that summer is slowly coming to an end. I feel it in the air already.  This morning as I walked to my car, the breeze was cool, I saw people dressed differently - a woman had a scarf around her neck.  Change is coming. The change of seasons. And with the change of seasons, our lifestyle begins to change to. We go through this every year and every year we feel the same way. A sense of grieving to say good bye to the wonderful summer that we have had. I still remember Memorial Day Weekend and how that meant, summer was here, and that means it was beach and pool time. That sense of excitement.  That feeling of being on vacation because we get to spend extra day time hours just doing things we love to do outdoors. That feeling of jumping in the pool and feeling the cold water on my body and coming out so refreshed. Summer meant to me longer days, more sunshine and just enjoyment. And I knew I wanted to make the most of it. I wanted to savor every minute because it would be gone before I knew it.  I don't know if I made the most of it or not, but I do know that this was a good summer, and for that I am grateful.

I got the opportunity to go away for two weeks straight and just tune everything out. I don't remember the last time I did something like that. It was just me, my husband and my son - and we just were together away from home, on vacation.  We didn't have a routine. We slept in, we ate, we drank, we swam, etc. It was great.  I found myself sleeping alot -how much of this was because of jet lag, how much because my body was truly tired and I was giving myself permission to sleep and rest. I found myself just being rather than processing. I didn't journal at all. I didn't feel the need to - and it was okay. I just lived. I figured the time to reflect will come on one of those cold winter days. And that's what vacation did to me.  It unwinded me. I don't remember the last time I felt so relaxed - physically. 

It is a grieving of some kind that we have to get back to a routine, or get back to "reality."  And then I realize we go through this every year. That sad feeling, or that longing for not ending.  In theory each season brings its own beauty. And we cherish what it brings to us, but there is something special about the summer months that we all mourn when it is gone.  We also know that it is temporary so we make the most of while it lasts. What if we changed our attitude to each season that comes our way? Embrace what we love and look forward about each season and make the most of it - because that too is temporary - so then we don't have that sense of loss. Nothing is really permanent -everything is a state of flux and work all the time.  It is us that must make choices to choose what really matters to us -and once we make those choices, we really begin to live.

I have to admit that for the last year or so, I have felt like a robot with my daily routine of work and balancing life. And while i know work is a means to livelihood, it shouldn't consume me. And so what this summer taught me was not to get myself too consumed in a routine because if you do, you become numb. When summer came, I found myself surrounded by individuals who just continuously worked - and would not stop to breathe. It has a ripple effect and I knew I needed time away from that. But I realize that is the situation of how this country has become.  Organizations want more productivity but dont' give enough. It is a disease that needs a serious cure - and the cure has to come from within.  The culture has to change.  You become a robot and almost mechanical.  Work in this country can do that to you - and it can make you feel like you are in a perpetual state of burn out.  The key is to find that balance and not let it consume you.
I don't have the answers as to how to not let it consume me again, but I have seen the extreme case of what it can do to individuals who let it consume them.  They are victims of anxiety, illness and suffering.  I guess because i have seen that, I take that always as a sign as to how i don't want to let myself get that way.  I want to live. And if I choose to live, then the choices I make in my life change -regardless of the work I do. So that life doesn't just pass me by like a movie.  Before you know it, the movie will be over, and I will still be there standing asking myself "where did all the time go?" 

So as the summer slowly comes to an end, I embrace the new that awaits. It is almost like a new year I feel - my son is a grade older, and with that comes new challenges. Work will be ever expanding, but I must hold onto what to my common core ideals before i let myself consume me. And the seasons will come and go and I will enjoy what it brings.

So enjoy the next month or so because we still have a full month because the weather turns chilly.  A journaling exercise I did a couple of days ago which I will share:

Why do I want to live?

Happy Journaling!