c'est moi.

c'est moi.
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Come sit down beside me with a dollar and a dime, we'll drink away our fortunes, here's to the meantime. -Grace Potter
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1.27.2012

songs to live by.

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Ain't Nothing Wrong with That- Robert Randolph & the Family Band

1.26.2012

alone doesn't mean lonely.

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When is the last time you sat quietly, alone, uninterrupted? No phone calls, TV drone, or keyboard typing to be heard. Complete silence. Aside from those few minutes when we are laying in bed falling asleep at night, we so rarely experience that void of noise and excitement. And it's not because we don't have the opportunity to have it. It's because we don't make it a priority.

Many of us don't make the time to just be alone, quiet, and content. The moment we could actually just be, we find ourselves instantly flicking on the television, flipping open our cell phones, or jumping onto the computer. And some of this comes with the era. Technology has allowed us to stay connected to the world at all times. Our smart phones firing off alerts of new tweets, Facebook status updates, emails, text messages, phone calls, blog posts, and voice mails. Our televisions with hundreds of channels filled with back-to-back movies and shows. Computers with a world wide web that never shuts off. It's very easy to lose sight of one small fact: Just because these things are always available, doesn't mean we always have to indulge.

Let me set a scene: A batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies is placed in front of us. Do we have to take a cookie? Well, of course not. Yet we'll find that many of us do take a cookie simply because they are there (and they will probably taste good). Just like we can pass on the cookie, we can choose not to fill our rare moments of silence and stillness with sound and chaos.

The ability to sit in a room alone and in silence with only our own personal thoughts is a luxury. It is often during those moments of isolation that we are filled with creativity, personal reflection, and life aspirations. Silence can evoke the deepest of thoughts when truly embraced as a vehicle for achieving them.

It has the potential to bring our inner passions and true self forward. We all should learn to sit alone in a quiet room. Learn to shut out the clutter and confusion. Trade the noise for silence, and the unrest for relaxation. It can be a window to your heart and the door to your soul. Seek contentment in that moment. Desire nothing more.

1.24.2012

it will take some courage.

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You hear of the people surviving in unimaginable situations. Being part of the 1% that recovers. The ones that fight an impossible uphill battle...but somehow, someway make it to the top. Those that defy the odds. The ones that push onward no matter what. And the ones that risk their lives. Those are heroes. Those are the ones with the courage to fight and the courage to survive.

You don't need to be at odds with cancer, fight a blazing fire, stand face-to-face with a criminal, or swim in shark infested waters to be considered courageous. Every single person will be faced with opposition in life. Every one of us will have to make a tough decision. We will have to decide where to draw the line. Determine when enough to enough. Stand up for something we believe in. Press forward despite others' opinions. Do something because it feels "right." Follow our hearts. Push our limits. Step outside of our comfort zone.

As we all know, there are repercussions for every action and decision in life whether good or bad. And that's what makes "everyday" courage so difficult to bear. I'm not talking about being brave in the romanticized sense. I'm talking about day-to-day courage. The courage to get out of bed in the morning. To face a tough situation at the office. To stand up to someone trying to drag you down. To cut someone out of your life completely. The courage to keep trying even after numerous failures. To run that whole mile. To lose that 5 pounds. To quit that habit that you've had for 10 years. To get back on the bandwagon after falling off. The courage to walk away. The courage to try something new. The courage to never look back. The courage to propel yourself forward in life, and as human beings. Emotionally, physically, mentally.

What requires no courage for some, takes every ounce of courage for others. 
Remember that we are all fighting our own battles.

Life is about pushing ourselves beyond our usual comforts. Improving ourselves as human beings. Too many of us stick to the high road and live in mediocrity. Why? Well, because we haven't mustered up the courage to be something more. We all are capable, but it requires us to dig deep within ourselves. Which is why you and only you will know when the time is right for an act of courage. You will have to accept that it may not be easy, it may hurt a little, and it may require a very large step outside of your comfort zone. But you can do it. You can muster up that courage and make that change. You can be something more. You can do something more. You can give something more. You can push your limits even more. You are courageous.

1.20.2012

quotes to live by.

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it.
If you don't ask, the answer is always no.
If you don't step forward, you are always in the same place.
-Nora Roberts.

1.17.2012

taking on the adventure of today.

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Every 24 hours we are blessed with a brand new day. A span of 24 hours that we too often try to rush though, getting only to the "good" parts. Wishing away the 10 drive to the gym. The 30 minutes on the treadmill. Maybe we look forward to a nice shower afterwords, but when it's time to flip off the water, we're back to wishing away our commute to the office and the 4 hours of work until lunchtime. And the 5 hours of work after lunch. Then wishing our commute home would be over so we can fill our stomachs with dinner. Veg out on the couch. See our significant other. Then before we know it, it's time for bed. Some nights we look forward to it; exhausted from the days stressors and hectic schedule. Other nights all that going to sleep means is waking up and doing "it" all over again. Until the weekend. Then maybe we look forward to sleeping in, seeing friends, and filling our days with fun.

Regardless of your daily schedule, you may find yourself wishing away all those "less-than-exciting" things to get to the good stuff. Think back on the past 3 days. How much of your time was spent wishing the minutes would pass just a little bit faster?

Of course, we all have to do things we don't want to do. Things we don't necessarily enjoy. Things which fill the time we'd rather be spending doing something else. And think we don't have much option except to do them. Yet, someday we'll reach our end, think back upon all our days, and reflect on our accomplishments, experiences, hardships, relationships; which, when combined, will make up your life as a whole. I urge you to stop wishing your minutes away. Every moment should be viewed as a new opportunity to experience and learn something that will enhance your life. If you notice your days are, more often than not, filled to the brim with things you dread, maybe it's time for a change. A new job. A new hobby. A new meaningful friendship. A new routine. Don't become complacent. Don't accept today as something you will spend wishing away to get to tomorrow, or get to 5 hours from no. No- make every single minute count. Life is too short to dismiss your moments away. Don't take the easy route through your day. Choose a path you are excited about. Choose a life of fulfillment. Get excited about life. Remember: Life is a matter of perspective. Get the most you can out of every single minute of every single day. Even during those times we aren't doing our most favorite activities. Above all else, remember to have faith that no matter what the present brings, it will help create a more enlightened you to take into the future.

1.12.2012

how do you cope?

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All of us deal with stress and hardship a little differently. Some of us hit the gym, while others eat entire pints of ice cream. Unfortunately, there is no way to shun stress from our lives completely- it's part of what makes us stronger and more well-rounded people. This little friend can reek havoc in our personal lives or professional lives. It creeps up on us when we take on too much. It knows no boundaries. It travels; stressed at work could mean stressed at home. Regardless of what aspect of life is stressing us out the most, the key is to have a coping plan in place to fend off those frustrations. Finding an activity that's healthy, positive, and gets those feel good juices flowing is going to help us not only keep our emotions in check, but allow us to witness a great life lesson; don't sweat the small stuff. We spend so much time getting worked up about things that are either A. out of our control, or B. are so minimal when considered in the grand scheme of things. So we bomb a test- guess what? It happens to the best of us and in 5 years, it won't matter anymore. So we are late to an important appointment- guess what? Nothing you can do but recover graciously. Same idea can be applied to anything. Ask yourself this: Is stressing over it really worth it? Sometimes, it is. Stress can actually be a very healthy reaction, but stressing too much and too often is very unhealthy. Once you've weighed in on whether or not having a meltdown over something in your life is worth it, look to your coping plan. What is a coping plan you ask? Well, it's a list of activities you can look to when you are feeling especially overwhelmed. We all know what our favorite things to do are, and there are no better things to do when we're feeling stressed out than those.

My personal coping plan includes running and baking; or even something as simple as indulging in a Starbucks latte can totally turn my anxiety level down a notch. Some of us have the tenancy to want to eat everything in sight, withdraw from our friends, drink heavily, or just become an absolute nightmare to be around. We take things out on our loved ones, get frustrated by absolute strangers, and let the stress consume us. This is no way to go through life. Start by jotting down the activities you enjoy, and also consider some of the following: working out, lighting candles, massage, hiking, writing, reading, yoga, meditation, cooking, listening to music, spending time with friends, going out to dinner, or playing a game. The key is finding what works best for you- if attempting a new recipe in the kitchen is only going to make you more stressed, then don't do it. We are all unique creatures, and we know ourselves deep down better than anyone else does. The next time you feel yourself feeling overwhelmed, look to your list. Listen to your mind and your body, and become increasingly aware of how stress affects you. If you learn to channel your stress in a healthy way, you will see a big difference in your mood and outlook. And when all else fails, remember that "this too, shall pass."

1.09.2012

quotes to live by.

5 comments

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment. I told them they didn't understand life.
-John Lennon.

1.05.2012

vow to be happy.

4 comments

What does being happy actually mean? Being content? Not wanting to change a single thing? Perfection? Many of us make promises to ourselves to just "be happy." To stress less, to live in the moment, to just be. To exist without feeling the desire for more. But when broken all down, does it mean living to a certain standard? Does it mean having a certain level of income? A certain relationship? A certain job? A certain body weight? Does it have to do with your access or ability to have certain things in life? 

To a dictionary, happiness is associated with good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy. But is that what happiness means to you? Do you think happiness is a way of life? Can it truly be permanent? Or is it a temporary feeling; only occurring when you are doing something you truly love? Is happiness a personal choice? 

So many of us vow to happiness, yet within just days find ourselves struggling to stay afloat. The key to achieving happiness is not to think it's a single determined destination to be reached someday. Happiness is today. Happiness is now. We have to recognize that hardships are part of life, and it's how we chose to deal with those challenges that will determine whether or not we can truly just be happy. We must learn to embrace the struggle, just as we embrace the joy. It, like to many things in life, comes down to perspective and outlook. We must chose to look to today with optimism; we must be willing to take on whatever life throws at us. Recognize that what doesn't kill us will make us stronger. And that no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, we will all experience things that challenge that happiness.

So the real question is, what are you going to do to protect and ensure your happiness?

1.03.2012

stop holding yourself back.

8 comments
I recently discovered a wonderfully inspiring article about how we can start living more fulfilled and happier lives, which can be read in its entirety here. And what better time to reflect on how we are holding ourselves back from living the best lives possible than the beginning of a brand new year. Hello 2012! Below you will find some fabulous food for thought, as written by Marc & Angel.
Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.

Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.

Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either. You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place. Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront. Making progress involves risk. Period! You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.

Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough. But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past. You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation. So smile! Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway. Just do what you know in your heart is right.

Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out. But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus.

Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.

Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.