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Embracing the Imperfect

Photo by Simón Pais-Thomas
Editor’s Note

I have only one word to summarize how I felt after editing this story from Kate: Wow. Don’t miss this powerful piece. And help me welcome Kate to the TSN family.

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. ~Theodore Rubin

Confession: Lately, for the past 6 weeks or so, I’ve been capital-U, “Unhappy.”

Plain. Simple. Unhappy.

Revolutionary insight? This does not need “fixing.”

It’s interesting to notice all the impulses to resist the Unhappy in life, as if the human experience were destined to be one devoid of suffering.

The messages are all around us that if we’re unhappy, we’re “doing it wrong.” So quick! Go buy something, do something different, take some kind of action, to make it all better.

Nope–I’m hunkered down with it, now. Unhappy and I are hanging out, chilling like a villain, asking what’s the haps with the craps.

The Art of Consistency

Photo by Lori Andrews

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

There’s a lot to be said in that proverb and quite a bit to think about.

The biggest lesson I take out of those six little words is consistency. Consistency is something I never really liked. In fact, I’ve always found it boring. It’s so….well….consistent. But I’ve come to learn that big goals require three things: a plan, commitment and consistency.

But I have always been a do it now, get it done, and move on kind of girl. Life was always too short to just keep plugging along at something day after day after day.

But…here is what I am learning: If you don’t keep plugging away regularly at something big, you won’t reach the goal. Plain and simple.

10 Life Lessons from an Unlikely Source

Photo by JUCO
Don’t postpone joy until you have learned all of your lessons. Joy is your lesson. ~Alan Cohen

Twirling in her pink tutu, slightly tattered and always a little dirty, my 3 year old niece opens her arms wide, calling for all of us to get up and dance with her. She wants to hold hands while we jump, spin and leap around the room.

She shouts along to the music, reminding each of us that we should be joining in. “Papa sing! It’s your turn Papa!” Panting and out of breath, we try our hardest to match her undying energy.

After the music starts to fade, she drops our hands and holds out her arms again. “Ok everyone, it’s time for a group hug!

We haven’t purposely partaken in a group hug for years now, but we oblige because her smile is contagious and her enthusiasm is impossible to tame.

Three years ago, she struggled her way into this world, red-eyed and out-of-breath. We thought she was in distress, but seeing her now, in full bloom, I believe she was just eager to get started, eager to dive in to what each of us were already taking for granted.

How to Overcome a Bad Day

Photo by Vanessa Paxton
Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it. ~Groucho Marx

One day a few weeks ago, my alarm failed to wake me up, which sent me rushing around the house. My day suddenly put into fast-forward.

I decided to take one last sip of coffee before I left for a meeting and ended up spilling it all over my clothes. I changed and ran out the door only to realize later that I left my grocery list in my other pants.

This was quickly turning into “one of those days.” You know the type. Nothing seems to go right, no matter how hard you try.

And one of the hardest parts of those days, at least for me, is keeping my chin up. It’s so easy for my outlook to go south when a few chips are stacked against me. It’s like a chain reaction of mood dominoes.

How to Stop the Pain

Photo of Gala Darling by Made U Look Photography
Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances. ~Wayne Dyer

I’ve spent the last week brooding over unexpected events that have transpired in my work and personal life, holing myself up in a darkened room contemplating all of the dire consequences these events will have on my present and future.

The same thoughts have been turning somersaults in my mind for hours on end, disrupting my sleep and pushing me to lash out when it’s entirely unnecessary and, sometimes, inappropriate.

In truth, I took situations that were completely neutral and transformed them in my mind to represent all kinds of gloom and doom. I’m beginning to see this as something I’m ridiculously good at–something I know that I need to change.

8 Lessons on Love

Photo by Shannon
Keep your heart open for as long as you can, as wide as you can, for others and especially for yourself. ~Morrie Schwartz

I distinctly remember the time I first thought about love.

I was 5 years old. It was a bright, sunny day outside and my mother told me that she and Dad no longer loved each other; and that they wouldn’t be living together anymore. My little 5-year old world was rocked.

I remember trying to take it all in—to process it all as fast as a 5-year old brain could. Thoughts rushed through my mind one after the other. I would no longer be living with one of them and seeing them everyday.

How to Find Motivation

Photo by Simon Pais
Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go. ~Unknown

The first time I attempted running as a form of exercise, I huffed and puffed my way out of my apartment complex, made it approximately one block and stopped out of fear that my heart would beat out of my chest and my lungs would explode. I promptly turned around hoping that no one noticed how out of breath I actually was.

A few years later, despite the memories I harbored of previous failed attempts, I tried it again. This time I made the not-so-smart decision to run in 100+ degree heat. I made it approximately half a mile before my head started spinning and my vision blurred.

Even after that incident, I was still inexplicably drawn to the sport of running and the breed of people who become dedicated runners.

How to Make Dreams Come True

Photo by JUCO
Editor’s Note

Pssst... 'Discover You Now' is here. Have a peek here. :)

This week, my husband resigned from his job of 12 years at Amazon.

It’s been an exciting and scary few days…okay, a few weeks… filled with various waves of emotion–anxiety, fear, but also wonder, fulfillment and exhilarating joy.

It reminded me of the emotional ride shortly after I left the comforts of my corporate job, 4 years ago. The emotional struggle was mostly in my head and it whispered words of fear to me, and convincing arguments of why I would fail.

This time around is no different. Perhaps, that sense of fear and uncertainty is further heightened by the fact that we have a son, and both of us will be without the comfort and security of a “real” job to catch us if we fail.

50 Simple Ways to Make Others Feel Special

Photo by JUCO
It is the quality of our relationships that most determines our legacy. ~James M. Kouzes

A few years ago, I received a long personal email from a close friend. It was an especially hectic time for me, so I only got around to replying three weeks later.

I began my email: “I’m sorry for the delayed response. I didn’t have time—“ In a moment of painful clarity, I caught myself in the middle of a lie and stopped typing. Didn’t have time? That simply wasn’t true!

We always make time for the things that are important to us: eating, showering, Facebook, watching our favorite TV shows. If we don’t make time for something, it’s probably because that “something” isn’t actually as important to us as we profess.

How to Change Your Life

Photo by JUCO
Editor’s Note

Help me welcome Rebecca to our TSN family of contributors. She writes beautifully—like a song that moves you in your core. This story on ‘how to change your life’ is inspiring, empowering and intimate. I feel very lucky to have found her.  Enjoy!

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. ~Jim Rohn

Ever since I can remember, I believed that something amazing was going to happen to me at 27. When the day finally came, I sat there wondering what it would be.

After my birthday passed and nothing happened, I became alarmed. What went wrong? Where were my lottery winnings? My book contract? Where was the shiny key to unlock my amazing story?

Then I began to really look at things, and I realized my life wasn’t nearly as lovely as the façade I’d created. Several of my habits were well beyond their expiration date.

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