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.

2015, March 2

I had no patience last week

This past week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, we were supposed to find our life theme. And, well, the title above is all-revealing, I didn’t do it.

And as much as I’d love to blame this on anything else but my lack of patience to sit down and go through the questions Alex Franzen has written in a blog post from a few years back… I can’t. It was all me.

Sure, there were quite a few things which contributed to not having any patience for this.
It was my last week at the old job, and on the last day I even had to stay overtime an hour and a half.
On Saturday, when I planned on sitting down and answering the questions, I didn’t feel too well.
Then, some events in my personal life drained me and aside from posting a picture to Instagram, I didn’t even go online at all for the rest of the weekend.
Today, I started my new job, and of course didn’t want to hang around the internet, even though there wasn’t much for me to do right away, I just read a couple of things.
Now, it’s 23:17 at the moment of writing this sentence, and my eyelids are getting heavy and I don’t even feel like finishing it.

However, I do want to post something today, and as un-glamorous as this blog post is, these are for better or worse my thoughts at the moment.

I think that sometimes, Life happens, and as my friend j said it as well, there will be weeks when life demands more than we have to give. I also completely agree with her, although I am more than guilty of using having no time as an excuse for almost anything: “twenty four hours is all any of us gets in a day and how we fill those hours is all about prioritization.”

This past week, I did not have any patience to follow the e-guide. And that is okay.
Because, during staying overtime, I caught up with a friend who is on night shift, and we haven’t had a chance to talk much (more live, so to say) on Skype (I mean seriously, all my papers were signed, it’s not like I’d have gotten into any trouble for not actually working – and I seriously contemplated just standing up and walking out, but a little bit of work has gotten done).
Because, on Saturday, I got a little bit more rest in, and still managed to cook, and tidy up the apartment.
Because, instead of spending time online, I allowed myself to cry and thought long and hard about some things.
Because today, I got to know some of my colleagues, and some of the ins and outs of the company. I read up on a few things, and enjoyed the new, quiet environment around me.
And it is okay, because now, I’ll finish this blog post in two more sentences, then put my laptop away, turn the lights off and go to bed before 12am.

Hope you have a great start to your week, everyone! (And goodnight, if it’s night time where you are also.)

2015, February 23

Heart Mapping

First off, I’d like to thank everyone for their comments on last week’s love letter to myself. And also thanks to all the people who commented and liked my Facebook status a couple of days after the blog post went up, after I found out about getting the technical writer job! It means so much to me to see that much support, I really do love you guys for being so sweet! *huge hugs to each and every one of you*
I start next Monday, and can’t wait to see how it all goes!

Last week’s assignment in the year of following the 52/52 e-guide in 2015, was heart mapping. The idea was of mapping something, whatever grounds us in our life and also lights us up inside.

I actually wanted to give this a try a few years ago, but it didn’t go too well. And by that I mean that I ended up procrastinating so much about it, that I ended up not doing it.
This past week, I Googled heart mapping, and was amazed at the results. There are so many beautiful heart maps out there!
I kept wanting to print out a human heart. An actual human heart shape, because I’m not that good when it comes to drawing. I wanted to have the outline, and draw in the veins myself, write all that I wanted onto the heart, then add depth and show things in a kind of "order" by coloring my heart map in, somewhat like a topographic map. This was the plan, anyways.

Instead, I ended up simplifying it to the bare minimum after forgetting to print myself that human heart outline.
So, I drew a highly imperfect heart, and just started writing things into it. I first wrote, then drew a little line to separate everything, so it doesn’t reflect any kind of order or importance, all is as small or large a part of the heart as I wrote them out. When I ran out of space, I made the heart bigger by adding a sort of edge to it and filling that in as well. Also, I left a little space empty, just because there are sooo many things I have yet to discover, and I am positive my heart will be filled with more things as the days, weeks and years go by.

heart mapping

I drew it into my travelogue, because I think having my heart map in there will be a nice way for me to think of all these things when I travel. I tore out the first heart I drew. It took a couple of hours to finish, to be truly happy with what I’ve drawn and written. Some letters are smudged a little bit, showing when/where Pixel jumped after my pen. Several things are written upside down, cause I kept turning it every which way while writing.
And truth be told, I still want to turn it into a heart map with a human heart outline, like I mentioned above.

But I still really love the way it turned out! And it was such a fun exercise!

heart mapping 2

The assignment for week 8, is 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! Hope you join in, too.

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! :)

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, February 16

A love letter to myself

Every night two weeks ago, I scribbled down a 6-word glimpse of my day. I continued doing that this past week as well, since Cathie and I had so much fun catching up with each other on Twitter. Use the #6WordDays hashtag, and tweet at us if you would like to join in. :)

The assignment for last week in the year of following the 52/52 e-guide in 2015, was to write ourselves a love letter. When I first started thinking about writing myself a love letter, I figured it’d be something along the line of what my first love letter to myself was, or my second love letter. Yet, as the week rolled by and life inevitably made up its own mind as to how it should be shaped, I found that the most love I need to hear at the moment is regarding changing my job.

Dear Estrella,

If this was anyone else, writing you a letter would be easier, I think. Why is that? Supposedly I am the one who knows you best, so this should be the easiest thing in the world. 

I wish for you to see yourself as I do. I wish you could see the smart, confident young woman I see. The young woman who has a job, lives with her boyfriend and their super cute kitten, the young woman who just applied for a Technical Author position. Which brings me to the specific thing I want to talk to you about today. Granted, it wasn’t the job you originally applied for. However, ever since you applied, you couldn’t stop thinking about it. The interview went well, and you are actually considered, even though you don’t have experience as a technical writer. That is saying something all on its own.

It says you are a great writer. It says you can do so much better than QA at your current firm. It says you are smart, and resourceful, and people want to work with you. It says that, even though you still don’t fully believe it, you could be making a living as a writer. Sure it wouldn’t be as creative writer, but you would be writing in English, you would have a much better salary, and it wouldn’t be too far from QA, you know what technical writing looks like, since your working with checklists and all sorts of documentation up to this point have prepared you enough for it.

My point is: you are good at your current job, you are a great writer, and when give the chance, you will be good at technical writing as well. You will have checked off one of the items on your Life List: earning a living as a writer. Who knows, maybe not mentioning “creative” when you wrote your Life List made way for this opportunity.

So, in conclusion, I wish for you to see yourself as I do. I wish for you to believe in the possibility of making a living as a writer, and in case this position is filled by someone else, I wish that you go online and search for another similar position. You can do it. And you will be good at it!

I wish you only the best, because you deserve nothing less. 

Love, ~ K.

The assignment for week 7, is Heart Mapping. Judy says it’s easy and fun, so I’m totally believing her! “You draw your heart, and then you map it, charting out the things that are most important to you, your values and passions. Some things that might go into a heart map: spirituality, creativity, family, the environment, health and fitness, your pets, your friends, you search for the perfect cheesecake. Whatever grounds you in your life and also lights you up inside. If you need ideas, Google heart mapping. There are some beautiful examples out there for this.”
I know I tried this before, and came up empty… so I can’t wait for Saturday when I’ll get a few hours to write and hopefully map my heart successfully!

Have you written yourself a love letter? Either this week, or any time before? I’d love to read it if you have it published on your blog, or took a picture of it and it is on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Have you found it hard to write, or was it dreamfully easy?  :)

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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