#SeptemberEquinox14 Day 8

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 8:00 am September 30, 2014

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September Equinox 2014

Day 8: Balancing Goals

I have a huge confession to make — I’m terrible at balancing things in my life. It was because of this issue that I decided to create the September Equinox prompt series. I’m so terrible at balancing my life that I barely met my deadlines to get these prompts written, emails drafted and scheduled, and blog posts with responses ready for publication. If you’ve found that these prompts spoke to your soul, I want to invite you to set some goals with me. I have a tutoring student who recently completed a SMART goal paper, which reminded me of that system. I’m assigning you some homework to create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound goals to keep your life in balance. You may choose to share your goal(s) as a response to a prompt, or you may wish to tuck them safely away for your own personal reference.

My laundry list of goals are far too personal and lengthy to post here, but I promise you that I’m going to be setting goals to return to my gratitude and happiness practices. I will be restarting my Cultivate project with a new sense of purpose and direction well before I host my next prompt series in January. I will be reviewing September Equinox to evaluate the direction of March Equinox. And I will definitely be spending more time playing instead of just working, working, working, and crashing. I’m glad I’ve had an intimate group following along with the series, and I hope that you’ve gained as much insight about balance and transition as I have.

Keep your eyes out for Kat’s Reverb series coming in December and my Cultivate Series in January!

Don’t forget to share your responses by commenting on the blog or using the hashtag #SeptemberEquinox14.

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#SeptemberEquinox14 Day 7

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 8:00 am September 29, 2014

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September Equinox 2014

Day 7: Clearing Space to Grow

If you want to grow a garden, you have to clear some space for the plants to grow. Without ample space, their roots won’t spread, and their growth will be stunted. Clearing space — whether literally, figuratively, or both — makes for ample growth in people, too. Are you clearing your slate enough to grow? If not, what do you need to do in order to grow into the person you’d like to become?

My life is so cluttered on so many different levels. I feel so overwhelmed by my lack of space that I’ve reverted inward, losing a lot of ground I gained to build an audience and grow a business. I lost ground to cultivate a thriving life worth loving. I feel incredibly pressured to just “get it together,” but I just don’t have the motivation to move forward. It’s time for a good clearing.

I need to set some goals for myself to get back on my path. I have to release a lot of the clutter — whether it’s part of my physical or mental being or part of my environment. I have to reassess exactly what it is I’d like to accomplish, where I’d like to go, and what “the perfect day” will look like once I get there. I have to spend a lot of time resting and recovering. By the time spring gets here, I want to feel rejuvenated and ready to thrive. I want a clearer vision for my life.

Don’t forget to share your responses by commenting on the blog or using the hashtag #SeptemberEquinox14.

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#SeptemberEquinox14 Day 6

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 2:30 pm September 28, 2014

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September Equinox 2014

Day 6: Giving Thanks

No matter how unfortunate we may feel at times, there are always things to be thankful for. There are always opportunities to practice gratitude. Anecdotally, people tend to be happier when they practice gratitude. Do you regularly practice gratitude? How can you take some time to practice gratitude regularly?

I used to practice gratitude by writing daily lists: five things I’m grateful for, five things I accomplished, and five things that make me happy. I’d include a list of concerns to release them from my head, too. I was much happier. I’ve probably gone over a month since I last written my lists, and I could list a plethora of excuses — but none seem worthy enough to neglect my need to practice happiness and gratitude. Lately I’ve spent more time irritating myself trying to connect to wifi on my tablet during my lunch breaks rather than spending time writing my lists. It’s time to get back to practicing happiness and gratitude. I feel so much better when I’ve counted my blessings daily. Instead of grumbling while I wait, I can write my lists instead.

Don’t forget to share your responses by commenting on the blog or using the hashtag #SeptemberEquinox14.

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#SeptemberEquinox14 Day 5

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 8:00 am September 27, 2014

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September Equinox 2014

Day 5: Letting Go to Embrace

Sometimes you need to let go of the things that are holding you back from embracing the life you want to live. Maybe it’s a bad habit. Maybe it’s a bad relationship. Maybe it’s a bad mindset. Whatever it is — or whatever combination of things for that matter — you have to let go to embrace a life worth loving. What’s holding you back? How can you let go to embrace more happiness and peace?

I’m being held back by fear, regret, resentment, and anger. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of losing everything. I regret that I haven’t worked harder to make my dreams come true. I regret that I’ve made some decisions that turned out to be wrong. I resent the fact that other people have had too much power over me, my family, and my life. I resent that I’m stuck in limbo while waiting for events to progress organically. I’m angry that I can’t snap my fingers and fix things. I’m angry that my family has been dealt painful blows. I’m angry — too angry — that I’m holding in all this fear, regret, resentment, and anger. It’s not fair. And that’s when the inner voice says Suck it up, Buttercup.

I need to let go of these painful emotions — or rather the reasons for these painful emotions. It’s time to let them go, leaving them in the past where they belong. I have to move on to embrace the present and the future. I want to embrace my days as precious moments in time that I cannot get back. I want to embrace proper self-care. I want to embrace family meals around the table without the constant nagging inside my own skull. I want to embrace a life worth loving.

Don’t forget to share your responses by commenting on the blog or using the hashtag #SeptemberEquinox14.

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#SeptemberEquinox14 Day 4

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 8:00 am September 26, 2014

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September Equinox 2014

Day 4: Balancing Yes & No

We’ve all been told about the power of saying “no.” I will of course back this up as I, too, have a problem saying no at times. However, I want to flip that coin — what about problems saying “yes” to the people and things we love? What about saying yes to our passions? Are you saying yes and no at the right times? How can you better balance your “yes”‘s and “no'”s to enjoy your life more?

I find that despite my best intentions, I still have difficulty saying “no” when I really don’t want to agree to something. There’s something about disappointing or offending someone, but unfortunately I end up disappointing and offending myself. And then there are the times I say “no, I’m too tired” or “no, I’ve got [insert random excuse] to do” when I really want to say “yes.” What I really want is to say “no” when I know that I need the time and space for me to rest or have fun. I want to say “yes” more to spending time enjoying the life I have instead of lamenting my circumstances. I think the best way for me to balance yes and no better would be to say “let me get back to you on that” before making a commitment either way. This would allow me the time to better judge if I should say yes or no.

Don’t forget to share your responses by commenting on the blog or using the hashtag #SeptemberEquinox14.

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#SeptemberEquinox14 Day 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 8:00 am September 25, 2014

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September Equinox 2014

Day 3: Challenging Opportunities

Challenges bring us opportunities, even if we don’t see that while going through the storm. Think about the challenges you have faced — either recently, currently, or in the past. What opportunities presented themselves through these challenges? How can you reframe a difficult situation to see the rewards you gained during the process?

I’ve had the opportunity to bond with people through my struggles. I’ve had the opportunity to create a novel based on the drama that overtook my life for 16 months. I had the opportunity to reflect on where I am in life and where I want to be. While these challenges have brought an insurmountable burden upon my life, I can at least see that I have to focus on what matters most to find some happiness throughout my days. I can’t dwell on the dollar signs attached to my struggles, which tends to lead straight back to bed to hide under the blanket like a pathetic rag-doll. I learned that I’ve made great friends who are willing to lend an ear, a shoulder, and a hand to pull me back up. I’m very fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life who have made it possible for me to come out of this storm alive. For that, I am thankful.

Don’t forget to share your responses by commenting on the blog or using the hashtag #SeptemberEquinox14.

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#SeptemberEquinox14 Day 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 8:00 am September 24, 2014

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September Equinox 2014

Day 2: Transitioning Through Life’s Seasons

The equinox is a transition from one season to the next — from summer to autumn here in the northern hemisphere, and from winter to spring in the southern. While life’s seasons don’t have a distinct equinox or solstice, we experience the transitional phases that come with those “seasons.” Think of any transitions you’re currently going through or recently went through. How have you managed the changes from one “season” to the next? How can you help yourself ease into the next season?

My family is personally transitioning out of an incredibly stormy season. In keeping with those figures of speech, we’ve got flood and wind damage to clean up still in the wake of that storm. Literally speaking, we’re drowning in debt accumulated in the hopes that our situation would end sooner rather than later. Each member of our family has suffered our own mental and emotional trauma. It’s taken its toll on my health as well as my husband’s.

Managing the changes has been tenuous. We’ve all been trying to find our balance. Luckily, I see the kids bouncing back with such resiliency, and I’m both proud and relieved. It’s a shame we outgrow that adaptability as we age. So really, I think it’s definitely time to strategize better ways to ease into this next season of life. I have to stop operating under the pretense that I have to do everything right now — everything must get done as soon as possible or else! That’s a bad way to function. I need to slow down to give my body some time to rest. I need to let my mind rest, too. I need to listen to my body’s needs to sleep and drink plenty of water. I have to give myself time to sit and clear my mind, even if I don’t get to write out my thoughts the way I used to. I need to forgive myself for not doing everything “perfectly.” Perfect doesn’t exist. No more extensive to-do lists. No more rushing. Autumn’s here, meaning everything’s going to be slower down. What better time than now to slow down myself.

Don’t forget to share your responses by commenting on the blog or using the hashtag #SeptemberEquinox14.

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#SeptemberEquinox14 Day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 8:00 am September 23, 2014

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September Equinox 2014

Day 1: Balancing Work & Play

Let’s skip the cliches — it’s pretty obvious that there are consequences when work and play are out of balance. When we work too hard, we’re too exhausted to tend our hobbies and passions. When we goof off too much, our work quality decreases. Think about your work (outside the home, inside the home, for an employer, for yourself). Think about what things you love to do for play (reading, cooking, watching a program, fun family activities). Are you devoting enough time for both? How can you better balance your work and play?

I’m not going to lie — I just groaned as I sat down to write my own response. My work-life balance is so far out of whack these days that it’s all I can manage to get out of bed in the morning, drift through my day, and climb back into the safety of my bed. I have zero energy for anything that isn’t urgent. I don’t read my books anymore. I don’t sit down and write for the sake of writing. I’ve lost touch with my gratitude practice. I don’t journal regularly anymore. Cooking has become a chore. I can’t have fun because I’m too busy playing catch up with whatever chores I’ve neglected. Time with friends? Nope! No time for that!

It was when Kat and I were discussing her August Moon 14 series that I realized I needed to stop neglecting my need to live a life worth loving. Drawing on some inspiration from her timing, I decided to focus on the equinox — the ideal time to think about balancing. And as each of her luscious prompts landed in my inbox, I knew more that I had to stop drifting through my days on auto-pilot, barely eking out enough energy to accomplish the most pressing tasks while ignoring the rest. I had succumbed fully to the demons of depression. I’m still attempting to recover, given that my life was obliterated last year. As each health test comes back “picture perfect,” I’ve begun to realize that the problem isn’t particularly a physical ailment of a vital organ — it’s a deeper issue that really doesn’t have a set “cure.”

So thinking about how my days are spent mostly on working, whether it be on the clock or off, I think it’s high time I start scheduling time to play. I need time to enjoy myself. Whatever happened to my “Operation Summer Vacation”? Or my “cultivating a life worth loving” project? Today we start autumn, meaning crisper weather’s on its way. We’ll be opening windows, eating apples, and getting ready for two birthdays and Halloween. It’s time to relax and have fun. I’m going to stop being such a zombie and start living again.

Don’t forget to share your responses by commenting on the blog or using the hashtag #SeptemberEquinox14.

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#SeptemberEquinox14 Preparing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 8:00 am September 18, 2014

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September Equinox 2014

In preparation for September Equinox…

On Tuesday we’ll start exploring balance and transition through seven prompts that will inspire us to give thanks each and every day. Then on the 30th, I will send you off with some “homework” to keep you thinking about how you can best experience balance and gratitude. Each day you will receive the prompt via email and can also reference the prompt on my blog (in the links below). I will be sharing my responses on my blog in case you need some inspiration for your own response. I have included a blog badge for you to put on your blog to show you’re participating in September Equinox 2014. I’m excited you’re joining me on this journey and can’t wait to read your responses!

SeptEquinox14BlogBadgeIf you haven’t already signed up for the prompts, you can do so here. Don’t forget to share your responses by commenting on the blog or using the hashtag #SeptemberEquinox14. Add the September Equinox 2014 badge to your blog. Image is courtesy of Lisa Wilkinson (LisaL1964 on Flickr).

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#AugustMoon14 Day 14-16

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 12:31 pm September 4, 2014

How will you start the journey?

Kat writes: What sort of trust would this require?

When she asks if I would say the things I tell myself to a small child, I realize I’m incredibly mean to myself and tell myself things I wouldn’t tell my friends or children. It’s time to stop the negative self-talk once and for all, even if that has been an ongoing intention that fails time and again. I have a vision in my head of how things should unfold, and then life reminds me every single time that things progress at their own rate. I compare myself to others who have gone from zero to six figures in less than a year, meanwhile I feel like I’m over here chasing my tail. I want to get out of the hamster wheel and start feeling like I’m living — like I’m actually going somewhere and moving forward. I guess I need to start appreciating what I have instead of pining for what’s missing. I need to trust that things will work out as they always seem to do and take it much easier on myself.

What if there was no need to wait until you’re “perfectly formed”?

Kat writes: What if what you are doing right now was actually your destination? What would that mean for your journey?

I remember when I first started out here, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write and enjoy my life. Eventually my motives morphed into providing offerings, which have begun as tutoring. I only recently decided that I don’t want to take on pre-college students — it just doesn’t feel like the work I’m meant to do. It only took one student for me to realize that I’m not comfortable with tutoring English as a second language, either. I want to go further with my tutoring and consult with professionals, but I haven’t made it there yet. Right now, I’ve got a steady student, a steady full time job, and a steady stream of house work. The idea that this is my actual destination terrifies me, honestly. And yet, I also wonder if attempting to inspire others to join me on a quest to make our lives feel fulfilling is the actual destination. Regardless, I think what this means for my journey is that I don’t have to sit down here to write the greatest story ever told — I just have to show up and allow my words to find their place in the world. In the end, I think I just want to have my voice heard when I feel like I’ve got something worth sharing.

Fast forward a year…

Kat writes: You have my word of honour there will be glorious surprises.

A love note to myself, you say? Truth be told, I’m planning to be back in Florida at this time next year. I miss my family, and I’d like to get closer to them. Also, I haven’t seen the growth my family needs with the resources available to us in this area. Sure, I’ve grown heavily attached to several people while living in Georgia, but I’m just not into this place. And while the thought of leaving behind four seasons once again fills me with regret and sadness, I know that this is the right plan. So in thinking from one year later in the sunshine state, here’s what one-year-older-me has to say to present-me:

Write. Sit down, clear your mind, and just be. Yes, things have gotten rough. The “struggle” has been “real.” But take a deep breath. Look inside yourself. Look at all that you have accomplished. Trust me. When you get here, you’re going to be just fine. Just give yourself a chance. Drink your water. Eat your fruits and veggies. Avoid gluten, lactose, soy, and sugar. Quit abusing caffeine. If you’re tired, take a nap. Call it an early night. No one else gets to decide how you live your life. Don’t let them tell you to “sleep when you’re dead” or “just one bite isn’t going to hurt you” — or even worse, “I know you want to!” You are a 30-year-old woman! You are strong and intelligent, and you have a wonderful grasp of the English language — use that that pretentious English to tell them off. Keep walking your own path. Do the work that lights you up. Even if your work doesn’t pay the bills, it’s worth it to feel like you’re doing what you’re meant to do.

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