Inspiration from unexpected sources

Sometimes you have to live your life…and just let things happen to you. You have to just sit back, stop pushing, and see where it goes. As a planner, this is a really hard concept for me. I always want to know the next step, the next goal. I always want to be working towards something.

But right now…I am coming to the understanding that this is different. Yes, I’m still working towards an ultimate goal of happiness. Of enjoying life. Of feeling fulfilled. I know that this will be a constant goal, a constant effort. But, at the same time, I realize that a set plan is not how I get there. You can’t have a list for happiness – whether to create it for someone else, or for yourself. It’s not a piece of furniture that comes from Ikea with step by step instructions. It’s life. And it’s messy. And unpredictable.

Which is why sometimes you you have to just sit back and say “Ok. I’m going to focus on this one thing I know I can do, and just let the rest be for awhile.” And then life happens to you. In crazy, unexpected ways you find inspiration.

This last week I got inspiration from two unexpected sources. The first was a cousin who lives out in Colorado and sent me a pin, maybe because I’ve been overloading her Pinterest board (sorry Pinterest followers), that made her think of me. I love it, and am considering printing it and hanging it somewhere I’ll see it every day:

The second piece was during the Grey’s premiere last Thursday. A friend came over to watch and drink wine. About midway through, a voice-over monologue – common in Grey’s – caught our attention about two sentences in, that caused her to look at me and say “I think they wrote this for you”:

“We’re all going to die. We don’t get much say over how or when, but we do get to decide how we’re gonna live. So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More Compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide.”

So yeah, I’m a planner. I want to know, set, and work towards the goals in my life. And sometimes when I don’t feel like I’m getting there, I act like a crazy child with Tourettes strapped into a roller coaster ride, anxious to get to the fun part and be done with the ka-chunk, ka-chunk of the uphill climb. But I’m slowly realizing that that uphill climb is part of it. And the goals in life wouldn’t feel like sweet, sweet victory without a bit of cursing and climbing. But mostly that, even through the climb and the cursing and clawing towards goals, there will be inspiration from friends or otherwise that remind you you’re not alone. There is a bigger plan, and sometimes it’s just worth relaxing and realizing you’ll get there.

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Project 365: Week 1 Recap

DAY 1: This, plus two other sunflower bushes nearby, grace my lane. That means every morning I leave and evening I return home, I get to see these beauties. They make me smile almost every time. I’m starting to wonder what it will be like in wintertime without them.

DAY 2: I’m so lucky to live in a city that is growing in a good way. The increase of good restaurants and bars is amazing to my tastebuds, albeit bad for my wallet.
DAY 3: I just bought tickets to this for a girls night with three other ladies. I’ve not seen it before, but only heard great things. I’m so excited.

DAY 4: Yet another great new place to grab a drink with friends. Loving this fall weather.

DAY 5: The detailing on the Murat is amazing. This picture doesn’t do it justice; silly iPhone. I saw the morning light hitting it this am on my way to work and was entranced with the beauty. 

DAY 6: Saturday was the annual Ovarian Cancer walk. My mom’s side of the family walked the 1-mile segment in honor of Grandma Sonja. It also happened to be the anniversary of my other grandma’s passing, so I met up with Grandpa T later in the day for dinner.

DAY 7: The first rain in awhile after a very dry summer. It made the weather brisk and beautiful. Most people don’t like rain, but I love rain boot weather. It’s all about perspective.

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Friday sunshine

This week’s Friday inspiration posts, as you can imagine, have to do with storms, rainbows, and sunshine. Enjoy and have a great weekend.
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TED Thursday

Most days at work, I listen to music. But in the mornings, or in the dead of the afternoon while I’m willing my body to stay awake, I turn to TED. Hopefully all of you know of TED talks. If not, you need to remedy this quickly. With an array of topics, I can listen and learn about an intensely specific topic in the span of 6-25min (the varied length of the videos). The presenters, and presentation locations, are from all over the world. You can learn about things that are culture-specific, or things that are pervasive of every culture. Today’s first talk that I’ll share has to do with happiness. I’m sure this doesn’t surprise you ;)

I thought it interesting how she touched upon the idea of happiness pursuit vs. ordinary misery. And moreover the fact that happiness isn’t just a lack of ordinary misery. That there are things that must also occur to create happiness. That happiness, to most people at least, isn’t just a sense of complacency. That being content with life is important, but there must also be things that invigorate you, that inspire you to live and love and continue to better yourself.

I think in a lot of ways I was stuck in a place of contentment. Except that I wasn’t content with that. I had given so much of myself towards creating the happiness in another that I lost myself. I lost myself in effort, but also because that effort didn’t feel as if it was being returned. And no matter how much I gave, it didn’t make the situation any better. Instead of working to climb a wall, I was digging a well. (Funny, the drastic difference a letter makes)

Unfortunately, this idea of “ordinary misery” and happiness being a lack of that is a common thought in society. It seems stupid, but it is. I know that for a fact because I ran up against it in my conversations with friends and family. And my inability to make them understand that lack of misery in my situation was not enough…especially when I was so quickly digging myself into misery in trying to help nourish a relationship that was not nourishing me.

And now? That happiness is on me. It’s daunting but relieving at the same time. I’m no longer killing myself to provide the happiness for two and making myself less happy in the process. I am focusing on the adage “you cannot help others if you do not first help yourself”….something like that. This is my “me” time, because I need to be happy in me before I can ever take that on again. And I can already see the effect of this; I’m smiling, laughing, and enjoying more…of life.

I don’t know what that has done to, or says about, my ability to receive action that creates happiness from others. Or my optimism/pessimism that that is even a possible outcome. I would like to think it is. I think I believed it at one time. I think love makes a person believe that until experience proves otherwise.

This has actually been a topic of conversation with a friend more than once recently. The idea of trusting another person to take action toward your happiness. Knowing they will fulfill and nourish you as you do the same for them. Not having to worry about providing for yourself and thereby safeguarding your heart. I think true, giving love from the right person can accomplish that effortlessly. I think love and happiness is an effort but should never feel like work. I think when two people connect on that level, the act of providing happiness for each other is done without even knowing it is occurring.

Is that outlandish? Is that an unattainable goal? I don’t think so. I see that type of happiness in some of my family members and friends when they interact with their spouses. The optimist in me says it has to be out there, otherwise – what’s the point?

Until then, you can find me out there creating my own sunshine.

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Over the Rainbow

Today’s Music Wednesday is brought to you by a (relatively) new lady to the broadly known singing world, or at least a new face to me, and I’m so glad I found her. Yet another strong vocalist with meaningful lyrical capabilities. I present to you Alyssa Bonagura.

The song is “Over the Rainbow”, on her new album, and is a lullaby about dreams that get followed coming true. It seems, especially considering yesterday’s “Rainbows of the future” post, particularly meaningful. The lyrics are as follows:

Over the rainbow waiting for you
Is everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
Beyond the rainbow, beyond the clouds
You can have it all. Anything you want.
You have the choice
You have the time
To have a voice
To make it right
So don’t give in
When things get grim
You can make your own sunshine
Find the truth, forget the lies
All you have to do is believe in you
Over the rainbow waiting for you
Is everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
Why can’t you send me over the rainbow
You can have it all, anything you want.
You have the choice
You have the time
To have a voice
To make it right
So don’t give in
When things get grim
You can make your own sunshine
Find the truth, forget the lies
All you have to do is believe in you
Over the rainbow
Over the rainbow
Waiting for you…
 
I think it’s important for me to remember that I can do anything. I have the time to figure out what I want; the ability to follow my dreams and search out the rainbows. I have the ability to make my own sunshine and my own happiness, after so many months without it.

This bright future is mine.

And that? That’s awesome.

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Rainbows of the future

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” – Lord Byron

On the way back to Indy, somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico, I drove through a storm. Not a horrible one, but one that gets your attention. And “drove through” isn’t correct, so much as “followed”. It seemed to pop up and move the same speed and direction as I was driving. Driving in rain, in a long U-Haul, is not the best of life’s experiences. However because of this parallel path, I got to follow a rainbow for about 75 miles. It was the best 75 miles of the trip.

I snapped a picture or two and sent it to two friends, who promptly pointed out the awesome symbolism of a rainbow leading me to better things. That these rough moments too shall pass. And that, as they both said, there’s “LOTS of love waiting” for me to arrive in Indy.

I’ve been so blessed with such a good group of friends to stand by me as I move into this new chapter of my life. I am so thankful for their friendship. They are proof positive of the rainbows that await my future. That life is meant to be loved, enjoyed, and spent happy. That I am meant to be loved and happy. They prove that.

“Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.” – Aberjhani

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365 preview

I’m going to start taking a picture a day (but only uploading them all at once on the weekends). I want to do this for a couple reasons:

  1. I think it forces you to step back and look at the world, to see the beauty in things, both big and small, and be grateful for said beauty.
  2. I love photography. I think it allows you to see the world in a different way and gives you a frame for life (see #1).
  3. I think “a picture is worth a thousand words” is a very true saying. And although I love the process of writing, and fancy myself eloquent at times (please just go with it ;) ), I love the creativity and thought that a picture requires.

So with that being said, every weekend you’ll get 7 new pictures from the previous week, starting today and ending Sundays. This first one, though, I’ll use as a broad, continued update on life the last three months. Enjoy.

 I moved into this place…well, not THIS place exactly, but the carriage house behind this place. And I love it.

I celebrated my Godson’s third birthday.

I got a puppy. This is her first day home.

I went to my first baseball game.

I had (and hopefully started the tradition of) cocktail and movie night with a girlfriend.

I welcomed home some heroes.

I watched baby E for some dear friends. Her smile is contagious.

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Friday Fun-day

The beginnings of what I hopes to be a continual post of fun things every Friday. Sometimes they’ll be inspiring, sometimes they’ll be funny. Enjoy!

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What I’ve been up to

Since I’ve been dormant for awhile except to the closest of friends, here’s a synopsis of the last 3+ months in all avenues of my life.

Work

I moved back to Indy at the beginning of June. I could’ve gone anywhere, really. Stayed in SoCal for a couple weeks, figured out where was hiring in the Arch world *laughs to self*, and moved there. But I knew where I wanted to work, so I moved there.

I’ve worked with Schmidt twice already, and loved both experiences. They take pride in their work and the sense of work community is better than I’ve seen at most other firms that do substantial work. There are a core group of people (of the 90+) that I consider my “work family”, and I love being back in the fold of that environment. (I was hired on in a contract setting to help them through two projects that will last through Thanksgiving, at which time I will hopefully transition to full time.)

I’m not kidding when I say family – this gang of misfits came after a day’s work, mid-week, and helped me unload my uhaul of the heavy furniture items and maneuvered it up some windy stairs into my new domicile. We then drank beer and shot the sh!t. It’s great to be back.

Play

I’ve been getting back into the groove of having fun and hanging with friends: hosted and been to some parties, concerts, races, awareness walks, low key wine nights, drinks on the porch, backyard movies…the good stuff. I’ve been smiling a lot, laughing even more, and just having fun. It’s refreshing.

Home Life

If you haven’t realized (which means you’re living under a rock, because all of my social media outlets have had proof of her, like I’m a brand new, first-time mom or something), I got a dog mid-August. She’s a black standard poodle. I gave her the name Madeleine, after the Col de la Madeleine. It is one of the toughest climbs in the tour, a hairy switchback known for separating the strong from the weak, and a perfect name for my new little french girl.

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Brave Part 2: The Inspiration

Everyone who knows me, knows I’m an uber-fan of Sara Bareilles. The voice, the style, the personality…it’s all there. Her music is true to herself. And maybe that’s what I like best, that self-truth. After all, that’s a part of this journey called life, right?

Her most recent single (off of her new album! eekk!!!) is the above and titled “Brave”. Her reasons for writing it are different than my reasons for finding it inspirational, but the underlying thought of courage and bravery resonate no matter the intended subject.

“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

I think everyone could deal with a bit more bravery in their life. The courage to know they are worth fighting for, and so are the things that matter. But to also know when to lay down the sword because the fighting is getting you nowhere.

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