Everything ends. Meet me on the Equinox.

Everything ends. Meet me on the Equinox.

Everything ends. The words from Death Cab for Cutie’s “Meet me on the Equinox” have been echoing through my mind the last few days.  A cue for me to write.  Today’s the equinox, the time when light and dark meet in balance.  It also happens to be my half birthday, something I once celebrated with friends, but tonight I ran under a cloudy Carolina sky during a break in the storm.  The freedom to run and the freedom to get fresh air was the perfect celebration to start the new season.

This week, I had a zoom night with some friends from Purdue, and today pictures from our winery trip popped up in my memories on Facebook (“The Facebook” if you want to get technical and go back many years). 13 years ago in the picture, still friends, but now living very different lives.  The balance between life and work and fun is different. Living in the same house, and even the same state has ended, but our friendship remains.

Recently, I talked to my niece who is a college freshman and her plans for the week were studying and hanging out with friends.  I remember those days where the biggest worry was the presentation in Comm114 or what to wear to the next party at Gemini.  Or if we were going to be able to all wake up in time for stadium clean up.  Her college time is just beginning.  My college time has ended, but the memories and friendships remain.

Years later, there are new and old characters in my life.  Some who I’ve known my whole life, and some who have never met my family.  I still rock a Purdue hoodie when I can, but I’m sometimes surprised to find that I have Tar Heel shirts in my closet as well. Got to be ready for an invite to a football or basketball game!  And I recently bought a PU crop top…why not? 😉 Since college, I’ve experienced grief and the waves of loss that come with that.  Different landscapes, different seasons, but the love of experiencing something new remains.

Last night I had a dream and my Dad (who is now in heaven) was there. He wanted to get a picture of everyone at Thanksgiving.  My family is big, and he got out a set of bleachers so that we could all have a picture together.  He was very adamant about getting a picture of us together.  Waking up, I realized it may be because everything changes and he really wanted us to have the picture to remember our celebration. His last big holiday with us all was Thanksgiving 2019, and if we are able to get together this year, eventually those in the picture will change.  Wish I had a picture of us all at his last Thanksgiving with us. As time goes on, the memories of the good times and homemade noodles will remain.

So, as we go into the darker nights, the cooler weather, enjoy the experiences.  Enjoy the people who are with you, and know that even the trials and tribulations we are all experiencing will soon be a memory.  Take time to get out after dark and resist the urge to put on your pajamas at 7:30.  That’s a personal reminder to myself!  As the ebbs and flows of the seasons change, embrace the change.  Get cozy with a pumpkin spice latte and call up a friend.  Or better yet, visit a friend.  Try something new and enjoy the new season.  Balance the best you can and rest when you need to.  And in 6 months, as I begin another trip around the sun, meet me on the equinox. 🙂       

In your own neighborhood

In your own neighborhood

Have you ever lived somewhere and not seen it’s greatest landmarks? I’ve found that many people fail to explore the areas that are closest to them. Maybe if you moved to a new area, you wanted to check out the new sites, but as time goes on, you take for granted the cool places that are in your own neighborhood.  For example, when I moved to NC, I checked out Jordan Lake.  Once.  I was talking to friends and they mentioned how it had been years since they’d been there, probably because they lived so close.  It was gorgeous, and I enjoyed my time there, but didn’t return. Probably because I could easily go anytime that I wanted.

Recently, my neighbor wanted to check out the place that my other neighbor and I would frequently walk, so we took a walk and I showed him the trails.  He loved them, and said they reminded him of somewhere you would see in the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is about 3 hours away.  15 years he had lived within 5 minutes of a great trail, but had no idea. He only knew there was a playground and soccer fields, but didn’t explore further.  Why do we not explore those gems that are close to us?

I recently went on a new trail with my friend, about 1 mile and a half from where I live.  We found out about it because my neighbor had stumbled upon it on the way to his normal trail.  It was fabulous, huge trees and reminded us of a rainforest.   Gorgeous.  Enchanting.  Close. 7 years and I had never known the trail existed. Now, my friend and I are making a point to check out new places to walk because there are so many great places in our own backyard waiting for us to discover.

Duke Gardens is one of those amazing finds.  It’s one of the best places listed to see in NC, and thankfully this has not been a place that I take for granted.  I love it.  I love the feeling that I get when walking among the beautiful flowers and trees.  It’s magical, and a place that each time I visit, I see something new and spectacular.  I feel at peace there, and love to show new people it’s beauty.  The divinity and vibration of the garden can easily be felt when you arrive.

Take a moment to think of some places that are close to you that you haven’t been to or maybe only visited once.  Maybe exploration can occur where you already are.  Beauty can be found in any moment, any setting, and within.  Maybe you don’t have to travel the world to experience the enchantment of a new city or park.  Maybe a simple walk in nature can give your soul peace and presence.  The peace is already within you, awaiting you to align to your true self.  Why not connect to a new place and yourself?

Transformation begins with little habits

Transformation begins with little habits

The easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  That’s what they say anyway, and it really does make sense to me.  It’s the small seemingly easy things that really add up.  Once the healthy habits start, they can lead to a snowball effect of more and more healthy habits. And, by starting small, it can feel less overwhelming.  Transformation begins with little habits.

The last few weeks, I’ve felt sluggish and uninspired.  Just going through the everyday routine and not having much extra energy for anything else.  My eating habits weren’t great and I was back to needing caffeine to get through the day, even though I was probably getting enough sleep. Instead of having an iced coffee because it sounded good, I was relying on it more and more.   

I had signed up for a “Move more, Eat Less” 15 week course, and even though at one time I thought it was a good idea, I started to think, do I really want to commit to this?  I forgot the first week, and watched the recording.  Again, I thought, I can still probably email the instructor and let her know that I won’t be joining the class.  But the emails kept coming from the instructor, letting us know how to set up our dashboard and access the class that we had missed.  They sent a booklet, and as I read some of the tips, I thought maybe it would be helpful to participate and hear more.  

Later that week, I ended up getting a Fitbit because I was starting to realize how little I was walking by working from home.  I had one a few years ago, but when it broke, I never replaced it.  At work, I would take my breaks to walk, but working from home, I had stopped walking on my breaks.  Well, once I had my Fitbit, walking became fun again.  I had reminders to move every hour, and I was making a point to get out to my favorite trail again.  I felt more energized and more present in my relationships.  I was finding myself more engaged and spending less time on social media.  

I was talking to a friend this week about how it can be difficult to figure out where to put your energy after working a full day.  There can be a lot to balance, with relationships and home life and hobbies. I told her that I’m focusing on that one healthy habit (getting my steps in), and I hope that it will have a snowball effect into other areas of my life.  Although it’s been a short time, I have seen good effects.  As I exercise more, I am also eating better and feel more prepared.  I went to the grocery store last night, and I walked away with many healthy options, and no gummy worms!

I also recognize that it’s more fun to have people to encourage and to receive encouragement.  I added some of my friends who have FitBits on the Fitbit Community, and think that it will be fun to know my friends are walking too.  When I mentioned to my friend how I was feeling more motivated by using my FitBit, she was inspired to charge hers up and start using it again. For me, going outside is the best way to improve my mood.  And I know that even if I don’t feel like getting out at first, I always end up feeling better after I do.  

From my perspective, transformation begins with little habits.  It sounds like a good theory to try out anyway! After focusing on my steps, the inspiration to write this post came.  I would love to know, what has been your experience?  Are there any little healthy habits that you have started with that have led to other good changes?  Anything that you’ve struggled with, and how have you kept going?

Thank you! I appreciate you reading this, and feel free to share with anyone who you think may enjoy it!

http://www.beautyintheunknown.blog

Sit Still

Sit Still

It’s easy to keep moving. Harder to sit still.

But, in the silence and stillness is where your true connection is heard.

It’s where your soul’s purpose whispers hello.

Meditate on true and lovely thoughts.

Allow the magic of this world to find you.

In the end, it doesn’t even matter

In the end, it doesn’t even matter

In the end, it doesn’t even matter.  All the fear, the arguments, the being right.  Dr. Wayne Dyer always said, I’d rather be happy than right.  I would agree with him.  When you have left this earth,  what matters is how you lived your life and the connections that you made.  People will remember how you made them feel and the words that you said. Are you choosing to lead with ego and fear, or authenticity and love?  

I’m sure we have all witnessed relationship stress.  Not only does it affect those directly involved, but it also affects their loved ones.  Many times, it’s miscommunication and the need to defend our views and to be right.  To me, it’s a  waste of time and energy to worry about others’ opinions and what they are thinking.  I’m not saying that I don’t worry about these at times, but I do have the awareness to know that it’s not in my best interest when I do.  We can’t control others thoughts and feelings, but we can control OUR own reactions.  It is good to see different perspectives, but when you connect with your intuition, you are the only one who can decide the best path for yourself.

I’ve been in a unique position of losing 3 of my loved ones in a short period of time, with little or no warning.  As the pandemic hit, I witnessed uncertainty, fear and unknown.  And through it all, I knew that it could be so much worse.  I know this pandemic has hit many people very hard, but in comparison to losing my family members, it’s just different.  What matters is those friends and family who have supported and reached out to me.  What matters is how I feel in the current moment, and giving myself the grace to treat myself as my best friend treats me.  

So, I invite you to take a look at where your mental energy is going.  Are you reliving negative conversations in your mind, or expecting the worse?  Are you thinking about your next step to prove that you are right?  Or, are you treating yourself and others kindly and understanding that we are all growing and learning in this new landscape?  That we all are doing the best that we can with the life experiences that we have been given?

Thank you for reading, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

When the time comes, will you be ready?

When the time comes, will you be ready?

When the time comes, will you be ready?  When the opportunity to share your story arises, will you speak?  Each moment, each day is preparation. Sometimes, we don’t even know the reason we are preparing. We train for the race we signed up for. We study for the test that is next week.  But sometimes, the exams come when we least expect it.  Life can give us moments that we aren’t ready for, but how will we choose to show up?

When my uncle passed away in August 2018, I wasn’t ready. When my Grandma passed away in June 2019, I wasn’t ready.  And when my Dad passed away in December 2019, I wasn’t ready.  But I wonder, was I more prepared? Being more familiar with the funeral home, being involved in collecting photos for the picture boards, seeing my cousin lose her Dad.  Did these things make me more prepared?  Unfortunately, yes.

I’d seen and felt the grief. I was still going through the process when another tidal wave hit. I knew more.  I knew that it’s okay to cry for no reason.  I knew that I had to be gentle and patient with myself.  I knew that my loved ones who were above would want me to grieve, and then get back to being me, even if I didn’t feel like it.  I knew that I needed to go to work as a distraction and see my friends and coworkers.  I knew that I needed to do something different.  And I knew when friends and acquaintances lost a loved one,  I’d be prepared to talk or send them cute inspirational messages.  I could be there when others weren’t sure what to say.

It’s interesting, we go through life, and have no idea when our conversations with others or our previous experiences can come to our mind to help us or someone else.  I think the best thing we can do is keep going, and show up with an open mind and open heart.  Knowing, that it’s all unknown.  Knowing, that we are doing our best, in our current moment.  Knowing, that life gives us tests, and that even the bad experiences have a purpose in our journey.  How you show up for yourself matters. You deserve the best, so be kind to yourself.  Be present.  Take time to call your loved ones. Set boundaries that are healthy for yourself and others.  And know, there is a purpose for your life, even if you aren’t sure what it is quite yet.  You have the voice to speak your truth.  You have the light to share.  So when the time comes, will you be ready?        

When you meet me, you meet my Dad

When you meet me, you meet my Dad

When you meet me, you meet my Dad.  You also meet my best friend (she’s amazing!), my high school calculus teacher (he taught me patience), and my first boss (So generous and always brought us Krispy Kremes).  Each time we meet someone, we share all the memories and stories of those who have shaped our lives.  We don’t even have to say the words.  They are a part of us, and the experiences that we had with them become part of our soul.  We take them with us, and we can share their story as well.

I recently was talking to a friend who had never met my Dad, and we talked about how my Dad inspired others through his ability to beat the odds as a stage 4 cancer Survivor for 20 years.  My friend said, oh, so your Dad was resilient?  Yes, he was.  And honestly, having someone else recognize and articulate the word that I was describing surprised me.  How can someone who never met my Dad, and unfortunately never will, recognize the resiliency in my Dad?  Because, I am here to tell his story.  And because he passed down the bounce back ability to all who knew him, and even those who he just had passing interactions with. By connecting with others, I have the opportunity to share more about the loved ones in my life, and that’s a story I will keep on telling.

The other day, I was talking to my neighbor about my upcoming trip to Churchill downs.  He didn’t know that I enjoyed horse racing, and he told me about how his Dad would take him to Belmont to watch the horses run and bet on the races. As a boy, my friend had seen amazing horses such as Secretariat, Ruffian, and Foolish Pleasure race.  He said he was amazed by how many lengths Secretariat would win by.  He also witnessed the match race between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure, and remembers the jockey jumping off Ruffian on that fateful day.  Experiences that I hadn’t experienced, but as I talked with him, I realized that I also met his Dad in the time they shared together.  Although he hadn’t thought about those days for a long time, they were right there ready to be shared.

Take a moment to honor and thank those who were and are still in your life.  Even if you haven’t spoken or saw this person in years, they are still there.  Maybe it’s the teacher who liked to say big words like Megalopolis (BC Green team, you know who I mean). Maybe it’s the childhood best friend who you have no idea where she is.  Maybe it’s the TA from Chem 115 in college who wouldn’t let your class go home early when 911 hit. No matter who it is, know that all your good and not so good experiences with them are still with you, and they have had an impact.  When you meet me, you meet my Dad.  Who do I meet when I meet you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Comparison is a trap… Don’t fall for it

Comparison is a trap… Don’t fall for it

You’ve heard the saying that comparison is a trap.  Even more today as social media makes it so easy to compare our reality to the reality on our screen. We forget that photoshop exists, and our mind believes what we see. It’s easy to compare our now to someone else’s now.  But, do we know the whole story?  Our life experiences have brought us each to a certain point in our lives, and really, there is no comparison.

The only thing that we can compare is how we are showing up in the world.  Maybe you wake up a little early and have a little more time to make it to work.  Awesome job.  Maybe you sleep in and hurry out the door.  Good job, you got out of the door.  Be kind to yourself.  Even if you compare yourself to the version that you want to be, remember you are human and deserve grace.  You deserve to treat yourself like your best friend would treat you.  What words are filling your mind?  Negative or uplifting thoughts?

I recently saw a friend’s social media post that she had recently run a mile in 7:30.  First of all, awesome!  Second of all, I don’t think I could do that… it’s been forever since I’ve run that fast!  Third, well, if she can do that, I can too.  Well, I can at least run a mile.   So, I used her running to motivate myself to put on my running shoes, find a new trail, and just get going.  And I realized that I really enjoy it, and it’s so nice to get outside and exercise.  Did I run a mile in 7:30?  No.  Will I run a mile in 7:30?  Maybe, but I’m not really sure that’s my goal.  And, as I was running up and down hills, I realized that I didn’t even know the running conditions or terrain my friend ran her mile on. My friend had definitely been training, and I have no idea how long she had been running in order to achieve that time. What’s the use of comparing my first day running up and down hills to her run?  My path is filled with many turns, and unless I ask her, I have no idea what her path is filled with.  So, the comparison doesn’t even make sense.

It’s also important to listen to your intuition and know your next best step. Listen to what feels best for you.  I was once hiking with some friends, and they chose to run up a big hill.  I wasn’t feeling it, and I decided to take the slower paced scenic walk.  They got up the hill faster and got more of a cardio workout, and that’s awesome because it was their goal.  When I took the slower journey, I saw the butterflies, frogs and flowers that they missed.  My goal was to be more present and take it all in, and I achieved that.  Is either way better than the other?  No, we both got to the top, and we both had different goals for our journey.  That’s the cool thing about our lives.  We get to choose our journey and pace.  And know that some days racing feels great, but some days a slow and steady pace is what we need.  EIther way, you are exactly where you need to be at this moment.

So, the next time you begin to compare yourself to someone else or even the person that you think you should be, take a moment to pause. We have no idea what is going on in anyone else’s lives unless we ask. We may see others at the top of their game, but we missed out all the hours and tears they put in. You are doing great. You are doing better than you think you are. And I bet someone is watching. And you may not realize it, but you may be inspiring someone else. How are you showing up in the world? Are you giving yourself the grace that we all deserve? Are you doing your best, and knowing that your best one day may mean something completely different the next day. Keep on going. You can do it.

Podcast episode below:)

How to stop resisting your calling

How to stop resisting your calling

It’s easy to resist.  It’s easy to get distracted.  Why is it difficult to simply let go and allow ourselves the peace and happiness that we deserve? A lot of it is all in our head. Our mind has something like 60,000 thoughts a day, and 99% are the same ones we had the day before. When I first heard that, I was amazed.  That means that unless we make new choices, we will continue to live our lives on autopilot. Unless we think new thoughts aligned with our best versions, we will continue on the same track of our current reality.  And for some, their current reality is exactly where they want to be. But, for many, we see a vision filled with more love, abundance, and purpose.  I have found that the change must come from within before we can see it in our outer world.

Scheduling your time can also help to stop resisting your calling. I don’t know about you, but I dislike schedules, yet I know that they are helpful to me.  They help me to feel more organized and more on-point.  Once you have your priorities down, then you can see when you have “free” time.  Why not prioritize yourself?  Why not make room for the experiences and relationships that bring you joy?  I am committing to purposefully scheduling time for the things that I love to do, such as exercising and journaling.  What’s something, big or small, that you could commit to doing that your future self will thank you for?

Beginning is another way to stop resisting.  They say that getting started is the hardest step, and they are so right. But take the small step anyway.  Even if you don’t know where it will lead, trust your intuition, and keep going. The right people and events will show up for you in perfect timing. You will feel in flow. What’s the first step that you can take?

I think the easiest and hardest way to stop resisting your calling, your truth, is to just let go.  Let go of the distractions.  Let go of the negative self talk.  Let go of all that no longer serves you and fits into your dream life.  Letting go can feel so difficult as most of us don’t want to give up the control, but it can also be so rewarding.  Tonight, I allowed myself to be distracted, and then I finally told myself to commit to writing tonight.  And as I write, I feel focused and in sync. What do you need to let go of to align to your calling? Do you trust that letting go can make space for greater experiences? 

And if you are reading this and wondering how to find your calling, it will find you. That will be another conversation. I look forward to hearing your experiences. What tips can you offer?

Why I chose to share my words

Why I chose to share my words

February 2020.  2 months without my Dad on this earth.  8 months without my Grandma Fellure on this earth.  19 months without my Uncle Steve on this earth.  1 month before the pandemic began.  

The unexpected grief I had been experiencing led me to share my words with others.  It was partly for me to navigate this world, and partly because I knew that as I learned on this path, I could connect and help others. After writing my first post, I gained the courage to share it in March 2020.  Would my words be well received?  What if no one reads it?  What if no one likes it?  What if they do?

Then, I realized that it didn’t matter.  Those who resonate with my words will find them.  And if my journey of finding beauty in the unknown could help at least one person, it would be worth taking the time to write and share my words.  And the amazing thing is, I have received comments and messages letting me know that my words have inspired or helped others.

I have found truth and passion as I have connected with my intuition.  This is what keeps me going.  I recently found something that I had written when I was 8 years old.  I saw that the 8 year old in me wanted to be a writer and a teacher when she grew up.  Maybe the path has been winding and uncertain, but when I read those words, I knew they were still my truth.  Writing is where I feel the most alive, and I love the idea that my words can have a positive impact on others.  

So, I will keep writing. I will share my words with the world, even if I don’t know who will read them or how they will be received.  I will do this for me, and for you.  I will do this to share my truth and offer connection.  If you think that my words can inspire or help someone else, please share them.  I so appreciate you for being here on this journey.