Welcome 2020

Welcome 2020.

I honestly don’t know how to feel about today.

I do feel beyond relieved that 2019 is over. Quite honestly 2018 and 2019 have been some of the most brutal I’ve had in my life. Every day seemed like a battle and I was exhausted. I have always been an optimist by nature but these past few years have brought me to my knees and made me question everything.

I could recently tell I was just tired of it all and it all caught up with me. I could tell because writing has always been a release for me, but these past few weeks I didn’t have the energy or motivation to even think about it. The emotions of the first holiday season without my dad or our should be 6 month old son crept up on me. The first holiday season without both of my birth parents on this earth was more than I could process. All of the life (and there was plenty of it) that happened to me over that last two years seemed to be weighing me down during this already tough time.

I was tired. I am tired.

But a new year was just around the corner. My entire life I have loved the idea of a new year and all the possibility it brought. It always has such promise and hope, and now more than ever I needed both. And a new decade, even better. So as the new year approached, I found myself anxiously yet cautiously awaiting the strike of midnight. I didn’t know what would come but I desperately needed a new year.

As the minutes of the year came to a close, I found myself with mixed emotions. I was sad because I knew when I left 2019, I would be leaving the last moments with some of the most precious people to me. I was heartbroken thinking of all the hard times. Yet I found myself filling with pride that I had made it through it all. And I felt warmth thinking about all of the loved ones who helped me through it all.

I don’t know what this new year will bring. But I do know I am ready for a new year and I welcome a new decade.

So today I welcome 2020.

~ C ~

Wellness Check-In

Over the past few weeks it has been so incredibly hard to focus on my wellness pillars. Everything from reading books, to listening to professional development podcasts, to working out, to focusing on the present, to eating clean has been an uphill battle it seems. I am doing my best but if I am being honest, I am not exactly where I want to be.

It’s such a slippery slope. A few small not-so-great decisions turn into a day full of bad decisions. And that can spiral into a week filled with unhealthy decisions. It can happen in the blink of an eye, which is the scary part.

But one new tool I have in my life this year is discipline. Becoming disciplined has completely transformed so many areas of my life over the course of the year. I couldn’t see it along the way, but as I look at my overall healthier state now, I almost can’t believe the person I was before.

So as I find myself struggling a bit to stay focused on my wellness pillars, I will lean on my faith that small positive decisions each day will continue to open doors in my life. I will just keep doing my best and focusing on the small decisions each day. It’s worked so well for me before so I know the sky is the limit if I keep moving ahead.

~ C ~

A New Opportunity

I have always seen the first day of the month as an exciting opportunity. A time to start a new routine. A time to try a new “thing”. A chance for a redo when necessary. A time filled with hope and possibility.

Now of course the world works best when there is balance. So the first of the month also comes with bills due and responsibilities to take care of. Obviously bills don’t usually elicit excitement, but they are a part of life. And quite honestly lately I have even shifted the emotion I give to those items. I thank God and the universe for the item that brought me the bill, happily pay it and move on from it.

As the first of September is a mere few hours away, I am filled with pure hope. Hope of not only the new month upon me, but hope of the new season that will be ushered in this month. It feels as if things are coming into alignment in my life. I’m not saying I expect a smooth ride and no obstacles this month. But rather I am more prepared than ever to quickly conquer with determination and focus whatever obstacle may come my way.

I look forward to the challenges and opportunities this new month will bring. I am designing a few new activities into my life this month to foster growth and wellness. I walk into September with goals to achieve and faith to see me through.

~ C ~

Relearning Discipline

Not too long ago I lacked discipline in almost every aspect of my life. Prior to my life crumbling to pieces this past winter, if I’m being brutally honest, I was just a hot mess. I was eating terribly. I was working out basically never. I was late to everything. I woke up every morning exhausted due to a lack of quality sleep. Stressed out was a constant state of being. Somehow over the course of my mid twenties, I just allowed small poor decision after small poor decision to snowball and affect every aspect of my life. Then one day the rug was pulled out from under me and I was fatherless, motherless, childless and a shell of the woman I always hoped I would be.

I’ve always heard that when you are at life’s lowest point you find out who you are and what you are made of. I can now attest to this.

After hanging out in that dark place for a while, I knew I had to put a plan together to pull myself out of it. I knew for the first time in years I would have to be incredibly intentional about every choice I made because I was just too emotionally fragile to handle further failure and loss. Even though I had an incredible support system of my husband, countless family members and friends, I knew I needed to rely on myself to climb this mountain. And I knew I had to become disciplined again.

It started off slow. Eating bone broth and spinach for lunch. Reading a personal development book for an hour a day. Walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes twice a week. Recognizing when I became stuck in a cycle of negative self talk and taking steps to move out of it. I painstakingly analyzed every decision I made each day and if it didn’t support my physical, mental or spiritual healing, I didn’t do it. Although it was not easy at first, slowly but surely I was practicing self control, daily positive decision making and discipline. Here I stand 8 months out from that devastating period in my life and I honestly can say in every way I am completely a different person for the better.

But this brings me to last week. After weeks and weeks of healing and growth, I suffered my first relatively significant set back. I tweaked my back during one of my workouts at the gym. It wasn’t a terrible injury by no means but I was in some serious pain at the time and knew working out for several days was out of the question. Now no big deal right? Well to me, who had for the first time in years incorporated discipline in my life, I was terrified. Would this break in working out throw me completely off my positive track? Would I revert back to the weak person I once was and lose all those hard earned gains? Would this begin to negatively affect other decisions in my life? I know it may sound silly but this was so much bigger than a missed workout or two for me. I knew the extremely dark place I had crawled out of months ago and I just couldn’t afford to go back there.

But I decided to give myself grace and although waiting impatiently, give my back some time to heal up. After several days down and out, my pain subsided and I finally started feeling almost back to full speed. I decided it was time that I could try a light workout to get myself back in motion. And to my delight the workout went well and I felt amazing after it.

As I was walking out of the gym I realized something important. Discipline can’t be lost in a day or a few days. A lack of discipline is the conscious decision to make poor choice after poor choice (or poor excuse after poor excuse). Discipline is all about choices and when we have power over our choices, we have discipline. It was in that moment I knew I would never be in that dark place of a complete lack of discipline again. Life is too short and I want to live my best life for as long as possible. Although I will undoubtedly have setbacks in the future, I can always choose to reset and forge ahead.

~ C ~

Bonus: Below is a picture from my early twenties at my very peak of discipline. Although I don’t aspire to get back quite to the same place (that season has passed and I am okay with that), I use this as motivation that I can do anything I put my mind to, including winning my first figure show.

Don’t Quit

On what seems like an hourly basis, life tries to shake me out of my equilibrium. Those like me who have been trudging through a lot of life recently, may find it can take an exorbitant amount of energy to keep our ships steady and moving forward.

Because of this, one of the coping mechanisms I incorporated into my life this year has been carrying with me little mementos to keep me centered, encouraged and in the moment. Although I have a small collection of special keepsakes, they all serve the same basic purpose in my life. When I find my spirit becomes unsteady throughout the course of the day for one reason or another, I take out whichever keepsake I have at the time and just focus on it. I focus on its message, its energy and its simplicity, which after a few minutes almost always does the trick. It helps me remember I am in the moment and I am okay. It brings me back to life’s basics and allows me to regain momentum.

One of these keepsakes I hold in my purse at all times is a small quote card titled “Don’t Quit” that I purchased from a local cathedral store. I don’t know who wrote it, but I do know its message speaks to me every single time. And I hope that everyone who reads it finds the same comfort that it brings me.

Don’t Quit
~ By Unknown

When things go wrong
as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re
trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low
and the debts are high
And you want to smile,
but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won
had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight
when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst
that you must not quit.

~ C ~