Life and Intention

With the changes going on in my working life over the past seven weeks inspiration for this blog has fallen by the wayside. Instead of beating myself up over neglecting it, I just take it in stride knowing that times lacking inspiration are just part of the ebb and flow of life. 
I think part of it is, is that my inspiration and creativity has been needed in different areas in my life. With the new position I began as executive director of the Fitness Council of Jackson, I find much of my brain power being funneled over there. And it's not even that I'm uninspired, it's just that I'm so busy living I can't find the organization for the explaining. 
And yes, maybe some of you are unaware that I finished my work commitment with Girl Scouts and have moved into this much more challenging and different experience of being executive director of the Fitness Council. I've been plugging along for seven weeks now and despite a steep learning curve I think I'm doing alright. Just when I have a moment of feeling I have nothing figured out I look back over the past seven weeks and realize how much I've taken in, gotten used to, and moved past in that time. When I feel like it's too difficult for me to handle I remember to respect the learning process taking place here, and remember that everything, in it's own time, will come. 
Today, finally I have some of that inspiration ready to give to this blog, and soon enough I'll clue you in more on my new job. However, for now let's talk about life and intention. Around a year ago my good friend and yoga teacher asked me what my life's intention was. When I didn't readily know it on the spot, I took the time to consider it and write it down. Recently I did that again. As we all grow and change out intention may change. Mind did some, or I just learned a different way of articulating it. I'll share it with you now. 
 It turns out I only desire two main things: connection and challenge. Everything I feel I strive for comes through those two things. 
  • To people-I want to have meaningful experiences that connect me with loved ones, strangers, and all in between. I want to seek greater understanding of people's experiences. 
  • To other living things-I want to acknowledge other living creatures as they enter my life as well as connect with plant life and to understand the connection among all of us. 
  • To truth-I want to remain connected to what I believe to be true and to not be led astray by opposing negative outside forces. 
  • To Earth-I want to respectfully use this Earth as a home. Giving as much respect as possible, acknowledging and appreciating its gifts. 
  • To Universe-I want to always keep in mind the vast Universe I am in. And us the fact that I am nothing but a microscopic fractions of it as a source of perspective. 
  • Of beliefs-I want to be constantly trying to see things in another way and questioning beliefs with the intention to learn new things. 
  • Of the usual-I want to challenge myself to do things differently than what is seen as the normal and to let go what the illusion of normal is. 
  • Of intelligence-I want to always be learning new things and making my intelligence work harder and become stronger. 
  • Of mind-I want to understand my mind and what it is doing in different situations and why. 
  • Of body-I want to feel physically challenged and make use of my human body to its full potential. 

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Tip Tuesday: Alternatives to Cards

One thing that I hate building up but also hate throwing away are greeting cards. This tip it to help eliminate that. Believe me, greeting cards do have their place in my mind. Sending someone well wishes from afar or trying to cheer someone up with that perfectly funny card are perfect ways to use greeting cards. What is not perfect is the unwritten rule that I greeting card has to accompany any present and merely serves to let the person know who the gift is from. I say skip that, if you are handing the gift right over, don't waste the $2.99 plus that you spend on a card, just to sign a quick name. The person will be throwing it away quickly as it is. Or if they don't they just collect in a desk until you feel you've waited the correct amount of time to justify tossing it. Instead think of something more inexpensive, useful, or personal and release the need for a card. 

1. If you are giving the person a book or journal, write your personal message just inside the cover. No need for a card and that person will always be able to keep that message. 

2. If you are giving cash or a check tape that inside of a magazine the person will like. You can also write a personal message on the first page of the magazine. Still getting your point across but giving the person something they can  make use out of my reading. 

3. Make something out of thing around the house. Take five minutes with that in mind and I'll be there are a few ideas you can come up with. You can cut crumple up a paper bag and create a old fashioned look.  Cut up magazines to make colorful artwork to add to a homemade card. 

4. Write your message on the back of a photograph. This lets the person know who the gift is from but also serves as something the person will want to put up on their wall. 

5. Write the person a letter. It will be a lot more personal and save worthy than just a cheap-o card. They might not read it right away but it will be fun for them to go back and read later. 

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Tip Tuesday: Destress with Any Amounts of Time You Have

You don't need to head to a relaxation retreat to find some stress relief. Take these tips from Outside Magazine to relieve stress whether you have 10 seconds or 10 years of free time. 

10 seconds-Laugh. Even just anticipating a chuckle is enough to relieve stress and to elevate hormones that combat depression and boost immunity. It's to think of a couple funny moments here and there, or as I often do watch some clips from the Ellen Show. 

5 minutes-Chew gum. Chewing two sticks a day for two weeks can fight off anxiety and fatique and improve mood. Or in my case chew on something really crunchy or chewy. I find a lot stress can be held as well as taken out with your jaw. 

15 minutes-Meditate. Even just a quarter hour of meditation can bring stress levels down. Don't know where to start? Start with sitting still with your emotions. Sit in the moment and be completely aware of what you are feeling. If it is something negative shift your thoughts to a more positive emotion like thankfulness or joy. 

30 minutes-Go for a walk or jog. Being out in the fresh air will help bring a new clarity to your mind and you will be boosting your cardiovascular health and muscle tone. 

45 minutes-Take a nap. A 45-60 minute daytime nap can bring spiked blood pressure back down to normal.  For me 30 minutes is the perfect nap. 

90 minutes-Stretch it out with yoga. Nice gentle yoga will help being you back to Earth and calm your central nervous system. 

1 year-Move to Switzerland. This country is at the top of the Better Life Index for life satisfaction. Strong sense of community and high life expectancy make living the Swiss life sweet. 

10 years-Get a dog. A dog will help lower your blood pressure and improve your psychological well-being. 


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Tip Tuesday: Releasing Expectations

Expectations play a huge role in our lives. They play an important role when we are driving down the right side of the road and we expect people coming from the other direction to stay on the left. We expect that when we board a plane we are going to land safely at our destination. They are what allow us to go out into the world, for the most part, safely. 

However, expectations can also set us up for disappointment when we let our lives be run by them. When we have expectations for future events we have a good chance of being let down when what we thought would, happen didn't. 

It can be something as small as sending a friend a text message and expecting them to text back quickly. When we are checking our phone we are looking for the expected outcome, a return message. When that message does come as quickly as we wish, or at all, we feel anxiety and disapointment. 

 Or if we are expecting the vacation we are about to have is going to go off without a hitch. When problems arise we are disappointed, yet again when we didn't receive the expected outcome.

The best way to have no expectations is to have no expectations. Easy enough right? Here are some tips. 

  • Firstly, be aware of when expectations are entering your mind. Once you learn what you are feeling you will be more equipped to release them. 
  • Remember how disappointing expectations can be. Put yourself in a prior situation when your expectations didn't meet outcomes. Remember how that felt to feel disappointed. 
  • Understand that people and situations are unpredictable. We have no way of knowing what is going to happen tomorrow. We can't plan for everything.
  • Realize that "unpredicted" things that happen are called life's little surprises. If you head out on a trip and take a wrong turn, that is not you getting lost, it is you discovering another way to get there. Learn to enjoy that.
  • Lastly, try something new.  The reason new things are sometimes scary to us is because we feel we have no control because we don't know what to expect. What a way to release expectations than put yourself in situations when you have no choice but to.

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Each Time for the Very First Time

When was the last time you experienced something like a child? Or you experienced something for the 500th time, but it felt like the first time? Whatever your answer is, I'm sure it could be more. When we do something over and over again, say put our feet in grass, it may not feel as fun and interesting as the very first time we did it. Why do babies smile so much? Because everything that is going into their brains is new information. 

I recently saw the movie The Giver, based on the book by the same name by Lois Lowry. It's something I read in high school as well as reread just the week before the movie came out. However, being the visual person that I am, the film moved me to the point of not quickly letting go. 

In the film Jonas experiences joyful experiences for the first time in his life at the age of 12. He is raw and excited, and relinquishes control of his emotions to the moment. I ask again, when's the last time we were able to do that?

Without going into much more detail of the film or book (which is something I could gladly do) I want to take inspiration from Jonas and live my life as if I am him experiencing everything for the first time. The first time he rides a sled down a snowy hill, he feels the chilled wind in his face and is joyful in the moment that he loses control to the slope of the hill. He dances for the first time and experiences laughter, emotional connection, and the overwhelming feeling of love. 

The way we choose to experience things is within our control. We can walk out of our homes and stay within in confines of our own mind and thoughts. Or we can open ourselves up to the entire world around us, taking note of every sound, organic or man made, and experiencing it as a fact of life on Earth. We can shop in a store and choose to view all the colors and feel all the textures of that which is around us. We can experience the people that come into and out of our plane of view, wondering what their feelings are. 

I was recently posed with a life choice that challenged me to choose between my head and my heart. I'd always like to think of myself as a heart person, but I let me head win over in this one. I do think it's for the best. But after this choice I almost felt a shift in me. Whereas I didn't follow my heart on this grand scale, this time, I somehow began to give myself permission to follow my heart on a smaller scale and on a daily basis. For instance the other day on Cascades hill I decided I wanted to roll down it. When I got myself in position and proceeded to let go, I couldn't control my laughter. As I was knocked around by the hill I saw the world spin around me. Once my body came to a stop, even amidst a spinning headache, I still couldn't stop laughing. I experienced true joy. My hope was to experience that like Jonas probably would. I succeeded. 

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