10 Reasons to Vacation Right Now!

 

IMG_0300Now more than ever I love traveling! My boys are older so I am more inclined to get up and go, with or without them to get away from home and get some downtime. We all need it. We need to be able to remove ourselves from the “every day” and refill our tanks. Even if we take a day off, I don’t know about you, but that day off from work is just a day off from work. I can find a trillion things to do at home that will make me think I should have just gone to work.

vacation1I have been taking yearly vacations now for about 6 years and I need it! It is like breathing for me now. And at least one vacation is a cruise. Actually, I will be going on one soon and I cannot wait!! I love seeing new places, trying new dishes that I never would have tried at home, and getting to know a foreign culture. Now that I started this, I do not know how I did life before. I have a wanderlust spirit now and it gets stronger with every new adventure I take.

Here are some reasons why you should take at least one big vacation a year…

  1. You will get to know yourself better. You get a chance to think in your quiet times and the opportunity to see how you react when you are in different situations. I journal during my vacation to check in on my feelings and think about my life. I also record things that happen that I may forget when I return home to the craziness.
  2. You become smarter. Going to all of these different places helps you to gain moreIMG_6276 knowledge about the world, maps, geography, cultures, and languages. I definitely have a better sense of direction after all of my travels so far.
  3. You get to experience something new. Nothing can really surprise you about where you live. It is different when you get out there and travel. There will be plenty of culture shocks…and it is a  beautiful thing. Staying in one spot for me is boring…might as well travel and get out of that.
  4. You make wonderful memories. Nothing compares to that! Collecting special moments will always be better than collecting things. I mean, after a while, where will you put all of that stuff? If you spend your life in one place, every day seems the same.
  5. You may just find out what the meaning of life is. I believe the meaning of life is a little different for all of us because we are called to different things and we have different gifts. While I travel, I spend time with me and think…write…pray. I always think about my purpose and the things I want to work on or change about me and my life while I am away. Almost looking for a fresh start in some areas.
  6. vacation2You sometimes get to see places that you have only seen in pictures. When you step into a foreign land that you have looked at on Google or Pinterest, it seems so magical. It is such a gorgeous feeling to actually BE in the places that you have dreamed of being in, knocking things off of your bucket list.
  7. You will inspire others to travel. Even though traveling is not a hard thing, it can be hard for someone to begin doing it. When you decide to get out there and make your dreams come true, you will inspire others to go and do the same.
  8. You will have exciting stories to tell. Our passports tell some exciting stories! When you have gone out there and experienced other places, you will have hundreds of stories to tell. Each day of travel brings something spectacular to your life.
  9. You meet some amazing people.
  10. vacation3 Every person on vacation has a beautiful and unforgettable story. You learn and you are reminded of the fragility and the intensity of life. I will never forget the awesome people that I have met on vacation, some of them are now great friends of mine and we plan to travel together in the future.
  11. You will become a better person. When I travel, I see a different perspective on life. Since I have been learning these new cultures, I feel like it is easier to be more tolerant. I am more compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and definitely more at peace.

IMG_6233These are just some of the benefits of travel. Every time I pack my bags, I am deciding to create another adventure and leave my mark in those special places. I am no longer afraid to step out of my own little world and see what is out there. Memories and excitement are out there waiting for us…I am actually getting ready for my next vacation as I write and I can’t wait. See you out there.

 

 

No Need to Feel Guilty

guiltyMy son and I had a conversation recently and he was talking about how he felt guilty for not being where he thought he should be at his age. I knew how he felt because when I sit down to think about where I could be if I had only did this, or started earlier, or not listened to so and so… I totally understand, yet now, I realize that I am right where I am supposed to be. I am content in my space and working my way toward my next one.

It really doesn’t matter how many times you have felt it, how long ago it was, the guilt sometimes still lingers. You feel bad about the setbacks, the curveballs, the failures that you bought on yourself…some of those choices may still hurt you today.

If you’re anything like me, you have tried several times to revamp your schedule, read aguilty2 lot of self-help books, blogs, and magazines. Did you think it was a great idea to start waking up an hour earlier like I did? Did you cut people and things out of your life…or maybe you started journaling, meditating, taking walks, or eating healthier. So…how is life looking for you? Pretty good right? But I am going to honest…inside, I still sometimes feel that even with all of those “checked boxes”, there is an unfinished, unchecked box that will finally put me on top.

I understand that feeling of incompleteness when you see a friend living the dream and you are not quite where they are. Especially with my blogging. It’s been over a year and I don’t quite have the traction I wanted but I have faith and I am researching and watching others work. I believe that when it is my time…it will be MY time!

guilty1Yes, you have changed so much about your life and you still feel like your life isn’t “dreamy” enough and admired by all. You haven’t gotten down to the size you wanted, wrote that book, paid off all of your bills. or still at that job you hate. I still have to work on getting up early but still getting enough sleep. I am nice to people but I have to admit that my thoughts are not always as nice. I need to work on that too! We all try our best, but we are still getting average results. This is true but we cannot stop hoping and believing that we can have what we have envisioned if it lines up.

Change is not going to happen overnight for many of us. There are steps we are going to have to take and it may get messy. There isn’t much that another person can tell you to guilty3do because your moves happen in your power…not theirs. Things can and will get better, in time. Maybe not in the timing you would like, but they will. You will walk in the dark, over the hills and in the valleys…but as long as you continue to go forward, you end up miles away from the guilt you felt for not being there already. And celebrate every mile because there are times when just taking one step will take a lot out of you. You will only get to your next stop when you are ready. Getting there may mean letting go of the comforts of where you are. Piece by piece, step by step, mile by mile…just move forward… and move without forcing yourself…when you are ready.

You woke up this morning and you planned to do the best you can. You are taking one step at a time. You are strong, your heart is beating. Just by being alive, you are making someone’s day! They are smiling and at peace because they have access to you. Your brain is functioning and you have passion. Your passion says a lot about you even when you have nothing to say.

Guilt may be chasing after you but look at you! You are still moving forward! Guilt has been whispering in your ear that you are hopeless and helpless but there you are, helping others. Your life means something. You are doing enough….you are enough!

guilty5Don’t let guilt ruin how you feel. You don’t need a certain “checklist” to look at to see if you are living a meaningful life. You are doing what you “should” be doing. Do the things that matter the most at that moment. You will accomplish what you ultimately want to …in time. You are not behind! You are on the path that was fashioned for you. You may not be the greatest, richest, smartest, or sexiest person in the world, but you are the greatest at being YOU! Your life is not perfect, but it is yours and it is not the catastrophe that you sometimes tell yourself that it is.

Speak life into your situations. Search for the good and forget about feeling guilty for where you are. If you focus on that, you cannot see the light on the other side of the tunnel. You are more than the titles you have, your degrees and other accomplishments. You are more than what people or your past says about you.guilty4

Think about what you have done, what you have been through. You are a survivor, a warrior, a lover, you are adventurous, a teacher, an influencer…you are a beautiful soul that is open to everything, you are ever-changing, winning…and you are NOT a quitter! You are who you are. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

I Want MORE!

iwantmore1We have all heard the saying, “less is more”, right? When it is said, the person is most likely referring to getting rid of things in life. Decreasing items, activities, people or just doing less. Maybe throwing away clothes or excess things you own, maybe even removing habits that you see as negatives in your life and they do not serve the good in you.

I am all for it! Actually, I am working on ridding myself of some material things in my home that I am not using but they are taking up space. After seeing how much cleaner my home is getting, for some reason it makes me feel better and I want MORE!!!! I am all for that minimalist movement. I feel like not only does it make my surroundings lookIMG_2071 good, but I feel like I can think more clearly. I wonder if that happens to everyone…

The “Less is more” mentality is used on every part of our day. We focus on having less anxiety, having less debt, not over-thinking, living with less regret, and having fewer friends to name a few. Everyone wants fewer of all of those things, but what if we focused on the “MORE” in our lives?

Putting all of our focus on what we don’t want does not help us get what we do want. If we are doing this, we are giving all of our time and energy on the removal of people, things and our mindset. This is pretty negative to me! This is us thinking about the “take away”. Concentrating on the subtractions…I do not want to give too much time to that. Remember what you focus on, grows!

I spent a lot of time in my younger years focusing on what I did not want in my life, and honestly, those things became monsters! They were bigger than anything I wanted to have.  I had to stop focusing on things that would keep me where I was, or drew me back in life, even if it’s was to remove them…That is giving it energy…life.

IMG_3009I am working on freeing myself from that way of thinking and focusing on what I want MORE of. I mean, how can we expect to create the life we want or become the person we imagine if we only focus on what we don’t like? Or what we don’t want? I am putting my focus on what and who I want to add to life. Doing that, I am acknowledging what I want to subtract but I am not feeding “the monster” by giving it all of my focus. I am also making a choice to add experiences and enjoying them rather than focusing on the negative. Being open to what we can have will be more enjoyable than focusing on what we don’t.

That has been a mind-blowing shift in my life so far…I feel so much lighter! There are fewer should’ve, would’ve, could’ve times when we focus on what we would like MORE of. Don’t pray for another job, another lover, or to live somewhere else. Look at where you are and how far you have come…embrace this space! Smile while you think about the good qualities you have…just focus on what you can do to add MORE into the life you have now. What is supposed to be yours, will be yours if you and it lines up with your given destiny so why stress?

When we spend time thinking about subtracting, it closes us off to MORE and makes ustrysomethingnew think small. If we focus on the things we want to add, we are focusing on the upside, on the current and possible growth in our lives. I am not saying acknowledging the negative is bad. We have to be open to seeing it and growing from it. Focusing on it will not help us grow or give us feel-good feelings so we should not dwell there. More positive leads to less and less negative.

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We are still going to get hurt by a person, relationship or life experience. Instead of looking at this and living in the hurt or pain, focus on the lessons, the good that did happen, focusing on bringing the right people that will bring the right energy into your life. Are you still having negative thoughts? Do not try to suppress them! I just think MORE about the positive things that I see and feel and the things that I am grateful for. 

Because I am a plus-size beauty, I get anxiety when it is time to purchase clothes….yes I do! But instead of staying with the feeling, I am talking to myself MORE (not answering back though 😉 ) about the parts of me that I love and reassuring myself that the rest of me is just as beautiful. I am not the most confident woman when it comes to the physical me and I am working on not focusing on the parts of me that I feel aren’t so sexy or the insecurity of all that thinking. I am a work in progress trying to be MORE accepting of me…all of me. There is more to my “sexy” than meets the eye.

That is where I wanna put my focus…

iwantmore

Comparison Can Bring You, Joy, Too!

goodcomparison4Sometimes we watch people “come up” and the green-eyed monster shows up on our shoulders making us wonder why they are getting the things that we have been longing for. Friends are getting new jobs, new lovers, getting engaged or married, having babies, buying nice things, becoming famous, getting promoted and/or getting recognized.

We can look at what is going on in their lives and not feel negative emotions. It’s possible! You can admire what you see happening in their lives without questioning your own success. Economists and psychologists call it downward comparison.  If you compare upward about things you can’t change, then you’re just going to feel stuck. No Bueno!

Comparing ourselves to others does not have to be an unhealthy, negative practice. It doesn’t have to be self-loathing or full of jealousy. Comparing yourself can be goodcomparisonproductive…say whaaaaaaat?!

There are pros and cons to this thing right? It is not good if we are trying to gain a sense of superiority or avoiding challenging yourself to do better. Or comparison can remind us of our own fortune…it serves as a reality check.

It can motivate us, give a different perspective, and make us appreciate our lives.  Comparison can lead to some incredible breakthroughs.

I know this sounds completely unusual. The internet and popular opinion say that we should stop comparing ourselves to others. There are so so many articles out there that tell you why you shouldn’t compare…and I agree with their points. This is just another way to look at a comparison.

goodcomparison1Honestly, we should definitely delight in the success, well-being, and growth of our loved ones. A little comparison can cause a light to go off in your head…your life and motivate you to not only aim higher but to put some action to it. Celebrating others and comparing may help us see where we are,  how far we have come and that we should be celebrated too. It can show us that we are worthy of more and push us forward.

When you see others win, you realize that you deserve more too, that you can grow as well, your time may come later but you are still worthy of your heart’s desire if it lines up with your destiny.

This is something that I have been working on for a while and it really has kept me on goodcomparison3track. I do not have envy in my life. I feel good about who I am becoming. I spend less time being self-deprecating (not all the way there yet- this will be a long journey for me) and it feels good to have less negative emotions flowing through me.

After comparing yourself, you may look yourself in the face and affirm your values, your own worth, and even bigger, what you want out of life.

In the book, Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holidays says, “Stare at it until you can. Only then you will understand what matters and what doesn’t. Only then can you say no, can you opt out of stupid races that don’t matter, or even exist.

goodcomparison5Stare at it…

Look at it…

Soak in it…

Own your feelings! The more we look at other people and compare our movements with theirs, we will look at where we are and where we wanna be. You will understand what matters to you and what doesn’t. You will learn your worth and act accordingly…

Misconceptions = Missed Opportunities

misconceptionsNo matter who you are, relationships are very important for you. Close relationships, either family or long-time friendships, are what we build our perceptions on life from. We all see things through our own special “lenses” and make our own stories from our experiences. With that being said, most of our time is spent with the people that have a direct impact on how we see the world around us.

Because we are all imperfect, we will sometimes fall short on seeing love as it truly is. The people in our lives may hurt us or we may hurt them and then comes judgment. But we do not just judge the action, we judge the person and love itself…we may even throw in the towel and quit the person and LOVE altogether. How many times have you heard someone say, “I am through with love” just because of their experience with one person?

There are so many misconceptions about love and relationships and I think we can tackle a few of them now so that we can learn to love people where and how they are, in turn loving ourselves. misconceptions4

For one, you do not have to agree about everything! In my experience, when there are differences, and mature communication, the relationships are strengthened, examined, and value is added to each person when you are free to say how you feel without judgment. If your loved one cannot speak their opinion without you feeling the need to change their opinion, is that an act of true love or control? We do not have to debate with people just because they do not see life the way we do. It actually makes life more interesting to see a situation through the eyes of a loved one and it can bring us closer to them.

Why is it that we would rather be the one whose right than be the person who asks questions to gain an understanding of another’s opinions? I think a lot of people love to hear themselves talk and do not have time to listen. While this person is talking away, they are missing out on the chance to see the other person’s ideas; see where they are misconceptions1coming from, and therefore get a different perspective. From my recent encounters, I feel like we are losing the beauty of an actual deep conversation. I don’t mean all…but I do mean some…In any conversation we have, we should look to be enlightened some instead of looking for the moment to tell someone what to do or say or how to be. Instead of being so combative, we should ask more questions ( except surface talk…I cannot stand surface conversation for more than a minute.) to find out more. In doing so, it may change the way we see things and we may find out that we are not as right about something that we thought we had figured out.

Another misconception about relationships is that humility makes you weak! Because we all have different opinions about things, there is bound to be some shaky ground when we are having conversations with others. Many of us have believed something for so long that the standard of thinking that we have will never change (or it seems that way). Not many will admit it but I think that a lot of people want to change someone’s mind about what they believe without even wanting to know why they believe what they do. They don’t know what the other person has gone through or the experiences that have impacted their view of the world. They just want the person to agree with their views…narcissism at its finest.

We have no reason to look down on or speak negatively about ourselves. We do have tomisconceptions2 be careful not to think too highly of ourselves though. It can be dangerous if we are “getting high off our own supply” and thinking that we can do no wrong. Humility attracts people that want to share and dialogue. Humility takes us away from seeing ourselves as “perfect” and encourages dialogue…giving us an opportunity to add value to each other.

People are different and that is one thing in life that we cannot avoid. Why try to avoid it anyway? We should embrace and try to understand the differences that we have. Gaining understanding helps to reveal the beauty that really does still exist in this world and makes every day a special and unique. We should not assume that we cannot give love to people that do not look, act, or think the way that we do. That’s lame and can leave us lonely if we get extra literal about it. More importantly, is that what love looks like? There is gonna be friction involved when we are dealing with other people. We can learn to respect the differences and let others be free to be themselves in our presence…especially because we want that same thing from them.

There is a problem with us wanting people to think the way we do. I get it…it is your world and in your world, you are always right! We need to embrace everyone with their different thoughts and beliefs…make a big ol’ unity salad! (yes, I am hungry)….anyway…how boring would the world be if we all thought the same, had the same interest and whatever else…clones…boring! I guess people wouldn’t look down on misconceptions3each other or talk negatively…still would be boring. Wanting others to be just like you ruin the chance for diversity, unity, civil dialogue…and growth!

Allow people to be who they are around you. You will deepen your friendships and relationships and find out so much more about who they really are. You may even find out who you really are! You may also find yourself sharing more about you. Adding value to each other is an important part of what deep relationships are all about.

Are You Living Your Best Life?

trysomethingnew1Do you feel like your life is on pause? Is this a chapter in your life that you are confused about what you want to do or frustrated about where you currently are? Do you need something new? Most of the time, we like to be comfortable. Most people just sit and wait for the next thing to come to them..or they just keep doing what they are doing and complain and/or overthink about it the whole time.

So what do we complain and/of overthink about?

  • We want more money and more financial stability
  • a great partnertrysomethingnew
  • we want to lose weight because we are sick and tired of being tired or being self-conscious all of the time
  • frustrated because we feel stuck in our jobs and we are not using our creative energy
  • we want more sex
  • we want more positive energy around us

That is just some of them. If we do not try something new to change the experiences that affect us negatively, nothing will change!

We have to occasionally introduce something new into our lives…it can be something big or small. Doing the same thing over and over again is going to get us what we have always gotten and if it is not what you want, why don’t we change it? You are not going to get a new result doing what you have always done. Do something NEW…

trysomethingnew3New things not only give us different result but we learn more and they bring us happiness, we receive change and a broader perspective and development. We never know how we will grow from that something new. When we do new things, a lot can happen to us. We can overcome fear, we learn new experiences and how to conduct ourselves in uncomfortable situations, get to know more about ourselves, grow, and maybe even meet some new people.

We have to stop spending time trying to hope and wish things into existence. Not gonna happen! We have to move! Put those thoughts into action. It may take some time and energy but if you want something you are gonna to have to put feet to it. If we don’t ever try anything new, we leave a lot out there to be discovered and enjoyed by someone else. Something that was supposed to be yours.

If you are out here feeling like your life is on pause, go do something new. Take a step toward that dream. Who wants to do the safe things all of the time? That life, I can imagine, is probably kind of boring. I mean, don’t do anything illegal, but venture off the beaten path every once in a while. Start challenging yourself, talking to people you would not normally talk to, Take the stairs, research a hobby, go find a completely different job or partner, have honest conversations with your loved ones…whatever it is, do it! If it makes you nervous…try it, within reason of course. Just try something new, something you have always wanted to do.

Ok so here is a reminder of what happens when we try new things…We

  • Meet new peopleIMG_6278
  • Learn more about ourselves
  • Expose ourselves to new ideas
  • Relieve boredom
  • Break up the routine in our lives
  • Increase our overall satisfaction
  • Give us more interesting things to talk about
  • Expands our perspective on life
  • overcome fear
  • We become more interesting people
  • Discover what we like and what we don’t like
  • Boost our overall confidence level
  • We experience more of what life has to offer

See, there are so many awesome reasons to get out there and try new things. What is holding you back? We can’t be afraid to get out of our comfort zone. You will only get to live this life once and I am sure you do not want to get to the end of it and have a lot of regrets.

trysomethingnew2This summer, why don’t you go ahead and try to become a little bit of a “yes” person! When the opportunity presents itself for you to have a new experience, challenge, or idea, go for it! Try not to make an excuse and just go for it. You will see that the benefits will more than likely outweigh the risks. Isn’t life way too short to settle for living a bland one?

So what are you going to try first?

Don’t Let Your Feelings Define You

definingyourself2The idea of being in tune with your feelings is not a bad thing. My only problem with feelings is when someone gets so far IN them that they allow those feelings to define them. When your emotions are so overpowering that you lose control, it is like you are saying that the situation you are facing is what you are accepting…you are settling for that and if it is not building you or others up, helping you grow, or kind to you or anyone else, you should not accept it because it is not serving good to your spirit. One of the current sayings out there that I just do not agree with is, “it is what it is.” I do not know why but it just does not sit right with me. It almost has a quitter connotation with it and that is just one thing that I cannot relate with.

We have to learn to separate our emotions from reality. This has been one hard lesson for me but I had to stop taking everything so personally. We should not believe that we are defined by our emotions.

Think about the things we say to ourselves…

“I am boring”definingyourself1

“I am not good enough”

“I have no one to support me”

“I am alone because no one wants to be around me”

All of those feelings are just that, feelings. They are not real/true and we have to remember that feelings are fickle and temporary (thank God) and tomorrow is another day, heck…it can change within the next couple of seconds! Whatever negative things like the above statements that you are telling yourself…STOP!

If I can speak for myself, at one time or another, these are all things that I have said to myself, among other things that were not self-serving. I know now that this is not how I show love to myself so it is something that I am changing and I get better at it every day. I would not let anyone else say these things to me so why was I doing it to myself?! I use to be so timid and my self-love was at an all-time low but I can say that I have grown and I know better so I am doing better.

definingyourself4We may feel these things at some time or another but we have to know that it is an emotion and we will not feel that way forever. We can feel these emotions but we do not have to be them.

You can feel alone…but know that you are not or it will not be that way forever.

You can feel like you are not good enough for someone. Maybe they are the wrong one. You will not always feel that way. And make sure that you know that you are good enough for YOU.

We are allowed to feel what we feel, just to not make that feeling define who we are as a person.

Any feeling we have can and will change!

Remember that feelings are fleeting and can change in a manner of seconds. This is also why we should be careful not to speak or react out of our feelings.

We should listen to our hearts and our gut, recognize what we are feeling and work todefiningyourself3 think our way into another direction if those feelings are not kind. Sure, we can feel lonely, sad, angry, defeated, or whatever, we are entitled to that. We do have to also remember that it does not serve us to be unkind to ourselves so yes, you may be lonely but you are not a lonely person…get out there and be around others and separate yourself from that emotion. You may be sad or feeling defeated but you are not going to be defined as a sad or defeated person. You can change what you are feeling by responding differently.  Get out there and doing something you have always wanted to do, or try it again, do something that brings a smile to your face.

When you have negative emotions, you can always put something into action that can make that feeling whittle away. Those emotions do not have to define you. They are real and you have every right to feel them but if they are not helping you to grow and feel worthy of love, you need to save yourself from yourself and take action to get your emotions in line with who you know you are and/or can be. definingyourself