2015, April 20

Do One Thing That Scares You

In the year of loving ourselves fearlessly during week 15, the assignment was to Do One Thing That Scares You. To be quite honest, for my very introverted self that was easier said than done. Mainly, because in the beginning I kept thinking of one big scary thing I should do come up and graciously I would slay that dragon…

In my blog post last week, I added a few suggestions for you off the top of my head. They included: pet a squirrel, buy shoes by yourself, say I love You first, have lunch alone, try cooking dinner, buy a new type of plant, leave the house without makeup on, go dancing, say “no” to someone you love.
Now, not all of these things are scary for me, but I know that real or imagined, many different things scare us on a daily basis. And the easiest is to start small in conquering our fear, and as we go on living our life, our fear diminishes. This won’t include *everything* that scares us, of course, but by doing it progressively we will become more daring.

On the other hand, after two days in which I thought “Nothing scary came up so far, what will I do if things still won’t appear by the end of the week?” I decided to think of all these small things and make a note of how I do something that scares me, every day. Below is my list for last week:

  • I dared to eat in public, though the food wasn’t from the place we were at.
  • I took a chance on editing documents the way it seemed best, to me.
  • I mastered using Styles in Word.
  • I stayed in a coffee shop even though a friend of my ex boyfriend was there, too.
  • I stopped avoiding sitting next to people I don’t know, at work during lunch.
  • I accepted compliments for my job well done.
  • I reached out to a dear friend and had a short talk over Facebook when I felt a bit depressed.

And you know what the interesting thing about my week was? Before it, I haven’t consciously paid attention to just how many things that scare me I already do on a daily basis. It pumped me up for what is yet to overcome!

 The assignment for week 16 is to Practice Hugging Daily. In the 52-52 e-mail, j sums up this suggestion perfectly, so I’ll leave you with her words for this one:
“This week, you don’t have to hug strangers if you don’t want to. You can hug people you know, but do it consciously. Be aware of your heart and theirs and all the magic that exists in a hug; there’s a lot. And the best thing about hugs is that the love flows both ways.”

How was your week? Did you do one thing that scares you? Or more than one? Was it difficult, or was it made easier if you re-framed how you thought about it?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop. Purchasing the guide automatically adds you to the 52-52 email list.

2015, April 13

Seven days, Seven pictures

For last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly the assignment was to take a picture every day. And my first thought is that I hope you joined in, because I’d love to see a picture of you everyday life!

I really enjoy taking pictures, as you all know, so this was an easy and fun task. Since around April 2013, I have been taking pictures nearly every day, and do share one picture on Instagram daily. (You don’t necessarily have to be a follower to see my postings there.)

What was my week of taking pictures like? I marveled in a beautiful decoupage egg decoration I received from a friend last year, loved my Easter presents from the BF, ate lots of yummy desserts, reveled in fragrant beauties in the form of Hyacinths, saw a whole family worth-of/-sized bikes on my way to work, glanced out at a view I used to look at with my dad sometimes and enjoyed a day in with Pixel purr, purr, purring away on top of me.
And because pictures are said to be worth a thousand words, here’s it all in pictures:

seven days seven pictures

The assignment for week 15 is to Do One Thing That Scares You. It’s not too hard, I think, to do something incredibly brave.
A few suggestions for you, off the top of my head: pet a squirrel, buy shoes by yourself, say I love You first, have lunch alone, try cooking dinner, buy a new type of plant, leave the house without makeup on, go dancing, say “no” to someone you love.
Even if you’re the only one who knows just how daring you are doing one of these things or something similar, I have a feeling it’ll help you try new things more often.

How was your week? Did take pictures every day? Did you post them somewhere online so that I can see them, too? :)

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop. Purchasing the guide automatically adds you to the 52-52 email list.

2015, April 8

Read and Recite Mantras Daily

The assignment for this past week of the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to read and recite mantras daily. It referred to the love mantras we’ve solicited (or not) during week 12 of this year.
I was so, so touched when I read the love mantra my dear friend wrote me! I talked about this, and a couple of my worries in last week’s blog post.

So this past week, every night before going to bed, I looked up my friend’s comment, and read it to myself. Most nights to myself, some nights to Pixel, and some nights out loud.
It was challenging. Because most nights I forgot, so I ended up reading it literally before closing my eyes for the day.

Reading her thoughts about me, and her encouragement, her belief in me was eye-opening in the sense that the week before I wasn’t quite as sure of myself as I am now after this little exercise.
It was such a good thing to have her kind words floating around in my head as I fell asleep, I woke up more confident and was more patient with myself during the day.

In her e-mail to us love warriors this week, j had a thought to share with anyone who might have fallen behind. I’m quoting her below, because she phrased it perfectly:

Join in now.
You don’t have to catch up. There are no prerequisites; earlier weeks do not have to be completed before the current week is.
Isn’t that great?
And, better, that applies all year long. It is never a valid excuse to not join in simply because you’ve fallen behind. No worries! Join in where you are. You have these emails, or the 52-52 guide, so you can do past weeks whenever you feel like it or not at all. No guilt and no excuses necessary. This is your self-love year. Do it your way.”

The assignment for week 14 is to Take a Picture Every Day.
You know I love taking pictures, I really like the pictures my new phone’s camera takes, so I can’t wait to take more!

As you may know, I already take pictures nearly daily, and share one picture on Instagram daily, so I don’t think that it will be too hard to follow this week’s suggestion.
I will save them, maybe even make a collage or something fun, and post the seven photos here, in next week’s blog post, so you can see them all in one place.

I hope you will join in, too. I’d love to see a picture of you everyday life!

How was your week? Did you solicit Love Mantras from other people last week so you’d have something to read? How did you feel reading them every day?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop. Purchasing the guide automatically adds you to the 52-52 email list.

2015, March 30

Soliciting (or not) Love Mantras

For week 12 of the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, the assignment was to Solicit Love Mantras.
Yet, the week didn’t pan out exactly how I thought it would. For one thing, I am writing this blog post during my lunch break at work instead of doing it over the weekend while resting. Because little-to-no resting took place this weekend (that’s another story though.)

Second, I received a Love Mantra from my dear friend Trisha. It’s the second comment on last week’s blog post. I loved it! Her kindness touched my heart, and to be honest, I got all teary reading that Love Mantra. (And now I feel bad for putting off replying for so long, but I want to write her a Love Mantra as well and include it in my reply.)

Her last sentence, If ever you have a down day or moment, just remember that there’s a whole world who loves and appreciates you for you, for what you do, for what you share.” was just what I needed to read on Friday! And every day, truth be told. Because as I’ve noticed this week, I have issues with believing this to be true.
There truly is tremendous power in the things we say about ourselves, both in our own minds and out loud to the people we’re around every day and to those we’ve just met. And if there is something more or less negative I have to admit to, it is that I seem to need reassurance more often than I used to.

When I was a child, and even a teenager I couldn’t care less if other people liked me or wanted to hang out with me.
I still think that way most of the time, I’m not craving to become the most popular, or have so many friends I need to take appointments for people to see me.
During my late twenties though, I noticed that lately I often think I might need new friends when talking to certain old friends, and that what I’d most love to hear at the end of a day is that I am appreciated and loved for just the way I am, no changes necessary.
That is one of life’s most difficult ‘achievements’ I think…

Third, the love mantra I really would’ve loved hearing/reading I didn’t have the courage to ask for. I guess fear of disappointment got the better of me, as it usually does. Instead, and with much tardiness given this blog post goes up in a few minutes I just asked for an honest opinion. In two sentences, said opinion revealed that I am liked even though I am not perfect. I’ll take it as a ‘win’ for today.

The assignment for week 13 is to is to Read and Recite Mantras Daily. I think this is definitely an exercise I need to do right now. I look forward to reading my love mantra every night before bed, and maybe even during the day, if feeling down.

Because I am loved. Yes. I am.

How was your week? Did you solicit Love Mantras from other people? Did you write your own? Have you offered writing one for someone you like spending time with/talking to/e-mailing with?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop. Purchasing the guide automatically adds you to the 52-52 email list.

2015, March 24

Celebrating my body, in London

Last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly the assignment was to Celebrate our Body, and, well I can say that my week of body celebration went sort of okay.

The thing is I traveled to London for training. And, every time something about my body behaved as you know, a body part and not this all-knowing, always best-behaving thing, I thought criticizing thoughts.

In her e-mail to us self-love warriors, j shared her trick to refocus her thoughts when her thoughts were relentlessly mean. She immediately thought a good thought when her mind was in a dark place so to speak. When I read that, I recognized doing somewhat the same thing myself this past week.

London Eye

I thought about how my hair was misbehaving, how my feet and head hurt, how sleepy I was. And, looking back, I did try to counteract it by telling myself “You’re in London. You may complain about being tired and your feet hurting and everything else when you get home.”
I should’ve probably phrased that better and focused on how my hair is a gorgeous color and it was clean and shiny and stayed that way for the duration of my stay so I didn’t need to wash it and lose two hours out of my time on that alone. I should’ve phrased it differently and thought about how my feet did get me there and of how lucky I was to be able to visit London every evening after finishing up at work and walking a LOT (from London Eye to the Clock Tower, to Tower Bridge, to Westminster Abbey and all the way to Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross.)

On the other hand, it was a good thing that my days were packed with work and visiting, and so, I didn’t have too much time to think of all of the things I dislike about my body (as I unfortunately do nearly all the time here at home).

Also, I rewarded myself/my body with yummy food like delicious Avocado BLT, Chicken Avocado and Wild Crayfish sandwiches, with Indian Curry, fishcakes and chips, with Pomegranate Raspberry tea, hot chocolate and Full On Fudge Brownies Milkshake.
It was the first week in a while (okay, probably since high school) when I woke up earlier than normally and had breakfast every morning instead of just a latte before leaving for work, and thus I had three meals a day instead of just lunch and dinner.

I also walked a lot, and even though it wiped me out by the end of the week, I really enjoyed it, and decided I want to go to the gym at least once a week after getting back home. I do have a complementary gym membership from the company, so I’d be crazy not to use it.
I think that is a good start to feel better about myself and my body, overall.

The assignment for week 12 is to Solicit Love Mantras.
Here’s what it says in the 52-52 e-guide

Imagine if your friend said to you, “I’m collecting love mantras from people who know just how flawed I am and love me anyway. I’m going to read these mantras to myself whenever I’m feeling insignificant and unsure. They’ll remind me not to get caught up in the voice that says I’m not good (smart, big, savvy, talented) enough. They’ll remind me to embrace my naturally badass ways. They’ll remind me that no matter how alone I feel… I’m not.”

What would you do? Write a kickass, take-no-prisoners mantra for your friend, right?

This week, go out and ask the people who love you most to write you a love mantra. (You can write them one too; they’re fun to write.)

How was your week? Did you celebrate your body? Or more importantly, do you need reminders to do so, or does it come naturally to you?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop. Purchasing the guide automatically adds you to the 52-52 email list.

2015, March 16

Practicing pleasure

“Practicing pleasure isn’t just about doing what you love, it’s about surrendering to it. It’s about doing what you do – creating, reading, hiking, writing, dancing, singing, gardening, running, knitting, cooking, making friends, making art, making love – with everything you’ve got, savoring the experience, letting delight rearrange your insides.”
~ Judy Clement Wall, the 52-52-Love-Your-Wild-Self e-guide

The assignment for this past week of the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, was to Practice Pleasure.
It was interesting. And I say that, because I noticed (or, re-noticed, actually) that our minds have a funny way of working overtime when we’re trying to focus on just one thing.

I have a trip to London lined up, which I leave for this afternoon. The new firm I work at is sending me there for a few days of training. I’m sooo excited!
So as you can imagine, on the one hand, I tried to keep my mind focused on what ever I was doing at the moment, and on the other, thoughts of “Do I have everything I’ll need? Should I take my winter coat or just a jacket? Which book will I pack into my carry-on for reading during the flight?” kept flooding my mind.

What I tried this week, with all the travel information pushing its way past all other thoughts, was writing them down or otherwise getting them off my mental to-do list. When I remembered I’ll need to take an outlet adaptor with me, I asked if there were any spare ones at the firm. When buying tooth paste for the trip came into my mind, I wrote it on my Google Keep groceries list. After I packed my bags on Saturday and then remembered stuff I hadn’t added, I immediately added them to the contents of my bag.
This way I was able to concentrate better on everything else I was doing at the moment these thoughts have risen, and got back to them quickly enough.

I really look forward to next week, when I’ll keep practicing pleasure. I will learn, probably a lot, I will have afternoons and evenings off to walk around London, do some sight-seeing and meet up with a friend of mine and her boyfriend who live there. I will do my best to be fully present in each and every moment, to surrender and experience all the newness around me with everything I’ve got!

And now, onto next week. The assignment for week 11 is to Celebrate Your Body. 
As a suggestion from j: “Every morning before you head out into your day and every night before you go to bed, look in the mirror and allow yourself to feel only the gratitude and awe that your body truly deserves.”
I plan on doing exactly that, all week-long – and hope it’ll become a habit even after week 11 is over.

How was your week? Did you play with us and practiced pleasure, did you do it every day? Do you find being fully present tough to meet, or is it something that comes naturally to you?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop. Purchasing the guide automatically adds you to the 52-52 email list.

2015, March 9

Finding my Life Theme while calling bullshit on “should”

Last week, I write a blog post about how I didn’t have the patience to sit down and write a different blog post. It was nice to cut myself some slack. And now, I’m back with what I missed.

The assignment for week 8, was to Find Your Life Theme. Inspired by Alex Franzen who wrote a post that began, “I believe every life has a theme.”, ended with “Here’s to thematic revelation,” and in between, it asked questions designed to help one identify the overarching theme of their own life, Judy urges us to give it a try.
I think this will be an interesting exercise for me, just like heart mapping was! Hope you join in, too.

The link to the post doesn’t work anymore, so I’ll paste Alex’s post and then answer her questions below (the non-italics and underlined text).

Alex’s Post & Questions

I believe every LIFE has a THEME — like a novel, a symphony, or a curated collection of art.
Your theme is an intricate composite of your family’s themes, your ancestors’ themes, your tribal-cave-man lineage, and your unique DNA. Stories, lessons, weaknesses + wishes. Percolating through the generations. Uniquely embodied … by YOU.With every decision we make — in this lifetime — we’re just playing variations on a theme. We learn the same lessons — over + over. We teach the same lessons — over + over. Our obstacles, talents + final-breath messages — they never (really) change. They just reveal themselves, in new + unexpected ways. Like I said — variations on a theme.
It’s fascinating to percolate through your life + hunt for themes.

It’s a more than a playful exercise in self-discovery — it’s extremely practical. Because once you’ve discovered your theme, you can tell your story. Your real story. The big story. The story with universal resonance + impact. Not just what you’ve done + when, with whom — but why. Some of my LifeThemes? Starry-eyed self-expression. Laser-lucid communication. Elastic resilience. Immersive devotion.

My biggest, most visceral theme? Supreme reinvention.

So. Want to discover your LifeTheme? (I thought so.) Let’s start with three elements, three questions — and a fill-in-the-blank statement. I’ll prompt you along. Here we go …

Your Cellular Obstacles
Your CELLULAR OBSTACLES are the troubles + challenges that keep promenading into your life, in different shapes + forms. Over + over + over. Your worthy adversaries. Your all-too-familar arch-nemesi. That fear you just can’t shake. The mistakes you can’t help but make. The merry-go-round loop in your head. Oh. THIS again.

QUESTION: What are the lessons you can’t help but keep learning (and quite likely, teaching — through living example?)
1. I need to let go of things which aren’t good for me.
2. I need to follow through on my dreams.
3. I need not fear that I am not good enough for something.

Your Magnetic Talents
Your MAGNETIC TALENTS are the big-money skills, easy-as-breathing abilities, natural gifts + visceral magnetism that you exude, when you’re operating at full capacity. The stuff you’re freakishly good at. Your borderline-prodigy abilities. When you’re using your MAGNETIC TALENTS, you’re actively in LOVE with your work. (In other words, you’re a GENIUS.)

QUESTION: What are you freakishly good at / completely in love with / frequently praised for / undeniably skilled at?
1. Organizing and decluttering.
2. Making simple, yet pretty handmade gifts.
3. Interior design, decorating.

Your Final-Breath Battle Cry
Your FINAL-BREATH BATTLE CRY is the message or mission that you’d HOLLER into the ether, if you had 25 seconds to live.

QUESTION: If you had the entire WORLD tuned into you — broadcasting live, from a top-secret location — what would you want the human race to know / remember / change / release / revive / believe?
1. Love really does conquer all.
2. Be open to possibilities.
3. Leap and the net will appear.

Your LifeTheme Statement…

My CELLULAR OBSTACLES are: letting go, following through on my dreams, fear.
And the biggest, most vital lesson that I’m destined to learn + re-learn in this lifetime is: only I can truly do something about the previously mentioned, no one else can.
My MAGNETIC TALENTS are: Organizing and decluttering, making handmade gifts, decorating.
I put them to use — every day — by: Creating a calming, clean, clutter-free environment we feel good coming home to.
I hide them whenever I: am with certain friends who aren’t into creativity and don’t understand that in my case, outer order truly contributes to inner calm.
But I’m ready to come out + tell the world that I’m in wildly in LOVE with my ability to: clear my head with during the simple act of reorganizing my drawers.
My FINAL-BREATH BATTLE CRY is: imagine the possibilities.
Because I believe that: love really does conquer all, and I don’t want to die before reminding the world that: if you have the passion, then you’ll succeed in getting that job, saving up the money, being with the man of your dreams; you’ll succeed with anything, really.
My Life has a Theme. And if I had to synthesize it into single word (or two, or three), it would be: Leap, and the net will appear.

For week 9, the assignment was to Call bullshit on “should”.

This being the first week at the new job, I think that it helped with my calling bullshit on “should”.  I let everything that wasn’t important, and that I could set aside without feeling obliged to follow up on, and did my own thing. I learned, a lot, even if there’s still soo much more of it.
I ditched going home to see my mom two evenings and instead went out with a friend whom I’ve been planning to take to a recently-opened coffee shop for months, and with two other girlfriends I only talked on the phone with for a while now, because I truly want to nurture those relationships as well.
I went to lunch an hour later on Friday, because I wanted to finish what I had started, even though practically every colleague from around my desk told me not to work that hard.
I asked a former colleague I get along really well with, to bring me my meal tickets from the old workplace, because I didn’t want to see and have to be polite to the person because of whom I needed to stay an hour and a half overtime on my last day at that firm. I was so much happier interacting with someone I actually like.

And the obligations I couldn’t get out of? I took j’s advice and reframed how I thought about them, or made them more fun.
I cleaned the apartment while searching for things to make toys out of, for our kitty, Pixel (he played with a tinfoil-ball for two hours, I’m not exaggerating! He also knocked off our Mimosa plant from its shelf, again, but that’s a different story.). I went to the market and listened to music on the walk there/back.
It was, all in all, a really good week! :)

For this week, week 10 that is, the assignment is to Practice Pleasure.
As j herself phrased it (and I fully agree!), “you can’t “relish” an activity unless you’re fully present, fully engaged. Practicing pleasure isn’t just about doing what you love, it’s about surrendering to it. […] Experiment with what lights you up inside, feel your own radiance, surprise yourself with just how brightly you can shine.”

Have you done any heart mapping? Either this week, or any time before? I’d love to see it if you have it published on your blog, or took a picture of it!

Also, how are you doing with calling bullshit on “should”? I do hope you’re good at letting go of obligations you don’t necessarily need fulfilled, and positively reframe the rest.

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop. Purchasing the guide automatically adds you to the 52-52 email list.

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