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.

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?        

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.

When you love something, you don’t quit

When you love something, you don’t quit

I’ve been spending some of my North Carolina evenings shooting hoops, taking advantage of the opportunity to get outside during the winter months. Shooting around was something that I did growing up, but gave up after 9th grade basketball season. Why? At the time, I spent a lot of the time on the bench, and even though I loved my team, I wasn’t in love with the sport enough to try to keep playing in high school. I was okay taking my talents elsewhere and focusing on running. I never really missed it, but it was a game that my Dad loved. He was a proud member of the 1972 Sectional Championship team of the Pine Village Pine Knots. When I was growing up, my Dad would play pick-up basketball at the Oxford gym on Wednesday nights. He loved it. And I don’t remember when he stopped playing (possibly when he was diagnosed with cancer), but he definitely continued watching every Purdue game and loved watching his daughters and grandkids play. There was even that game in 5th grade when I was the leading scorer against the Boswell Blackhawks. I was fouled, made 1 free throw, and was a highlight for the Oxford Blue Devils as we lost 50 something to 1. Shout out to you if if you were in that gym that night! I know that he would be so proud of his oldest granddaughters Emma and Claire who are part of the 2020 Benton Central Lady Bison Sectional Championship team. I know that he was cheering them on from heaven.

I’ve played a few games of HORSE or PIG throughout the years, but really no desire to get back into playing basketball. Watching basketball, definitely, but not really playing. When my Dad’s birthday rolled around this January, I thought, I could buy a basketball and shoot at the hoop at the top of the hill in my neighborhood. I did, and have spent a few times just shooting around. And guess what, it is so much fun! There’s no pressure to win. No one cares if my shot goes in or not. And, I have found that the more I practice, the better that I am getting. It’s a way to relieve stress, and I’ve really been enjoying it. I understand why my Dad enjoyed shooting for hours as he was growing up. At times, it feels like he’s there with me shooting baskets, and I guess that’s probably the part that I love the most. A fun way to honor his memory and feel his spirit.

So, maybe I forgot that I did love playing basketball. Because as I spend my evenings around the hoop, it’s hard to remember why I gave it up. Maybe I took a break, and maybe I never quit. Maybe Dad took a break when he could no longer physically play, and maybe he never quit either. Just taking a rest as an opportunity to encourage and cheer on (or yell at!) other players. I’m pretty sure he is drilling threes in heaven, playing with his teammates that were lost along the way, including my Uncle Steve. I bet they are celebrating a Lady Bison victory, and I know that he is happy watching me shoot around, and that Emma and Claire got to be on a championship winning team. I always wanted to make my Dad proud, and even though I wasn’t the best basketball player growing up, I know that he was always proud of me and is still. One lesson that I have learned is that when you love something, you don’t quit.

The seeds you sow today

The seeds you sow today

The seeds you sow today become the dreams of your future.  Are you tending to the ground?   Ensuring that it is fertile?  Seeds can only grow in the right environment.  There must be enough space to grow, and the right amount of rain and sunshine.  Are you allowing negative thoughts to take root in your mind instead of your dreams?  Focus on what you want to bring into your life, and let go of what no longer serves you.  Release the naysayers and surround yourself with positive, encouraging loved ones who want to see you win.   Those who you can call at any time, and will be there to help and cheer you on.

In this current time, it’s easy to get distracted with comparison and a need to escape.  What you focus on expands in your life.  Would you rather be moving towards what you desire, or taking stock in what everyone else is doing?  Spring is less than 2 months away, and planting season will begin then.  Farmers will soon be busy preparing the land, checking for the right conditions, and getting the crops in before the time passes.  But, you have the opportunity to plant your seeds and take action anytime.  Today, you can begin sowing the seeds of your future dreams. What will be in your harvest?

Inspiration begins in the heart

Inspiration begins in the heart

Have you ever had someone tell you that you should do something, and you know that they are probably right?  Haven’t we all?  Logically, you know that their suggestion would benefit you in the long run, but you can’t make yourself take one step towards it.  Why was it so hard to move in that direction?  My guess is, you weren’t inspired.  Maybe you had a million things you’d rather be doing (Hallmark movies, anyone?). These million things are usually some pretty good excuses.  But, when the time is right and you feel the creative spirit within you, all those excuses are thrown out the door.  Kinda like when you are leaving on a flight to Hawaii in the morning (really want to do that!) for a 3 week vacation.  You will do anything you need to make sure that you are on that flight.  You feel motivated to get in motion because you know that the reward is worth the work.

I believe that inspiration begins in the heart.  When you feel inspired, you feel light and happy.  Time goes by quickly as you are consumed with whatever has your full attention at the moment.  There is no worry about the past or fear of the future.  I realized that I used to wake up much earlier on the weekends.  Why?  I couldn’t wait to go to my favorite place, Duke Gardens, and take in the blooming flowers and morning dew.  I loved the stillness and felt so peaceful and happy surrounded by the beauty of nature.  Another reason that I had to get up early on the weekends was to go to my favorite yoga class because I left feeling energized and ready for the day.  Both of these places have been closed during COVID, so I’ve been sleeping in a lot more (trust me, I do enjoy that though!).  But, I also miss the feeling of being so excited to wake up in the morning and get the weekend started. I miss the inspiration.

As some activities that we used to do we can’t enjoy at this time, maybe it’s time to reflect on new things to ignite us.  Know that when your heart is open and ready, inspiration will find you.  It may be completely unknown at this time, but I invite you to ask the question.  What is a new activity that you could try that may inspire you?  After asking this question, be open to receive the signs and synchronicities that may lead you to this answer.  Maybe the question is just the first step. A simple step to new possibilities. Embrace the beauty of the unknown.  How will you allow inspiration to find you?

You get to choose.

You get to choose.

By Tracey Lemming

Who do you get to be?   Who tells you who you are?   You get to choose.  I am a writer, because I say so.   My words are healing hearts, inspiring souls, and speaking truths.   No one gives me permission to write.  I get to be the stage, the actress, and the crew.  I set the scene, and my words flow easily and effortlessly.  I choose to be the audience, and I choose to play the part.  

How about you?  Is there someone you’ve always wanted to be, but allowed fear to win?  Why not now?  You get to choose.  That’s the beautiful thing about life.  In each moment, we have the opportunity to create, the opportunity to pivot.  Choosing the next best step in the moment, allowing our heart to lead.  One “bad” day does not define us.   We have the opportunity to start a new day by the glow of the moon or the light of the sun.  

What if the only thing on our to-do list was to start the day with a grateful heart and surrender to the present moment?  I’ve found that my best days are the ones that I expect the best from myself, loved ones, and the world.  Those are the days that I receive great news, perfect timing, and fun surprises.  Those are the days that I know without a doubt that there is a higher power in the unseen, guiding me in the most amazing way to all the good in the universe.  So now, I am a writer.  Who do you choose to be?