Sunday, August 29, 2010

It Was A Good Week To.....

Photo credit: Michal Marcol

1.  Finish 31DBBB.  Over two weeks ago I fell behind on keeping up with the group participating in the 31DBBB challenge.  What I learned from falling behind is that there is only so much you can keep up with, and that falling behind wasn't going to prevent me from learning the rest of the exercises.  I spent the rest of the week reviewing the lessons, and even though I feel I'm not yet advanced to actually apply some of the tasks, I wanted to know what still needs to be done.  I've updated my 31DBBB badge to reflect a "survivor" and now moving on, will slowly learn towards becoming a better blogger.

2. Sit outside in the park.  Early in the week there was a wonderful cool breeze blowing through the afternoon.  I was having a bit of a stressful day, and so we packed our chairs and headed for the nearest park.  We set up under a shaded tree and I brought along a radio which we listened to (softly).  Something about being near the trees absorbs stress, and as the breeze tickled my face I felt the pressure relaxed and my spirits lifted.  I thought about nothing except being present in the moment.  It was all that mattered.

3. Watched a DVD.  Later in the same week there were a couple of days where our weather temperature hit the triple digits!  We took care of all our errands early, and came home to watch an old sci-fi movie the rest of the day.  Staying out of the heat, we kicked back, ate our sandwiches, and just "chilled out."

4. Be inspired to make a new video.  I like to watch people's creativity when making their own, custom music video on You Tube.  Since I learned how to use iMovie and iDVD this year, I suddenly became inspired to start a new project and make my own video with music in the background.  It adds to my skills and provides me a chance to become more computer savvy.  Once I complete my video and I find it satisfactory, I'll share it on a future post.

5. Have lunch with a friend I haven't seen in a while.   A good former co-worker friend of mine went to work for another company a few years ago, but we still manage to stay in touch through emails.  We share similar likes and dislikes when it comes to office politics and life in general, which makes our relationship friendly but not too prying.   I connected with her through Facebook when I finally got on Facebook this year, and we made arrangements to meet for lunch.  It was so marvelous to see each other and to bring each other up to date on what's been going on.  It was also healing for my part, because I don't often share the same kindred spirit with others as I do with her.  The time flew by and before we knew it, three hours had passed before we realized it was time to leave.  It was one of the best lunches I had in a long time.

Looking back on the good things that happened in your week helps you appreciate your successes no matter how big or small they are.  It is worth recognizing because: 1) it means you can say your week wasn't a total disaster, and 2) you were able to shift your attention away from feeling stressed to a more relaxed, agreeable, pleasant feeling. 

How was your week?  Feel free to share your good intents here and acknowledge your achievements.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What's Your Purpose?

I had a little difficulty writing this topic in regular paragraph form.  It came as a poem instead.   The inspiration came from observing someone who has all the ingredients to live a comfortable life, yet there was something missing...... 

What's your purpose, do you know?
How can you answer, if you don't know.
You have what you want, what you thought makes you lucky,
Yet, why do you feel so blue and unlucky?
The answer to that lies deep within.
Go under the layers, not the top of the skin.
Listen real hard, for the answer is there,
It could be the one that makes you aware,
That you are a person, that can help others to
Be happier, healthier and appreciative too.
The persons who are unable to do it alone
Need someone like you, to help in their home,
Or maybe a visit, just to say hi.
They're very grateful that you stopped by.
A family that's hungry, no money to eat
Gets a box full of groceries, oh what a treat!
The dog or the kitty that's locked in the pound
Gives you those eyes, big, sad and round.
Your heart will melt and your eyes will tear
When they lick your face, from ear to ear.
The person with chemo, who cannot eat,
Loves your company, to fill the empty seat.
The crafts you make with precision and smart,
You give to the patient, with love in your heart.
The care package you send to the soldiers overseas,
Makes them happy, appreciative, and very pleased.
The firemen and policemen that protect our streets,
The EMT's, doctors, and nurses that do feats.
When you volunteer your help, they know they can count
On your sincere, kind services, without a doubt.
The smile you get back cannot compare
To the new shoes or jeans you no longer wear.
So you think you have it made, but not for long.
The others that have less, they've shown you they're strong.
So what is your purpose as you ask yourself tonight?
To make a difference with Love and to be their Light.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Could Have, Should Have, Would Have

This poem was inspired by a conversation that I was having with my significant other.  

I could have been outgoing,
But instead I turned out shy.
I should have been an artist,
But instead I didn't try.
I would have been more prettier,
But instead I turned out plain.
I could have better clothes,
But instead I just complained.
I should have been a long term worker,
Producing and doing well.
But instead they laid me off last year,
It hurts but you couldn't tell.
I should have been real angry,
I had the right to be.
I could have been depressed,
It would have made sense to me.
Instead the door had closed.
It was time to move on now.
I had to figure out what to do,
But I didn't quite know how.
I wrote the resume again
And practiced my interview skill.
I even learned to Twitter
And I volunteered at will.
I trusted that my brand new path
Would be better than before.
I focused on improving my attitude and skills,
And found strength in doing more.
I found comfort in my silence,
And listened to my soul.
I found love and joy and compassion and peace,
It's part of being whole.
Could have, should have, would have,
Does not change what's meant to be.
So I accepted and was grateful
To start new again and be free.

What we learn from any setback helps us to more forward.  This journey is about finding your strength.  Don't give up hope.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some Fun Today

With all the news this week about jobs, unemployment, and the economy in general, I wanted to have some fun today!  I grew up watching these cartoons.  Brings back my childhood.  We need some humor this week.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Complete What You Can

image by: graur razvan ionut

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey 

Can you believe I'm behind?  Last week I had one of the most busiest schedules that happened in a long while.  So busy that, unfortunately, I fell 5 days behind on my 31DBBB challenge.  I put all my effort to try to keep up, but, struggling with priorities is hard when you're not a super-energetic, super multi-tasking person (like I use to be when I was younger).

My week started with a scheduled follow-up meeting with my career counselor to discuss more job hunting strategies.  I needed to put more effort towards checking the job boards and using social media.  Then throughout the rest of the week, I worked three separate events at the hospital where I volunteer.  I didn't think I would be overwhelmed.  I was wrong.  The time I put in for these activities barely allowed me any energy left to check in on my blogging activities.

I have a tendency to be very demanding on myself and push myself too hard to complete a task.  If I allowed myself to end the day without completing my task, I would be upset and take a "failure to complete" attitude.  I had to finish what needed to be completed.  I was not comfortable with being backlogged.  That was the mindset that I accustomed myself to, and it was learned through the work environment from my previous job.

Now, I realize that it is not worth the extra pressure on my health and well-being to stress over something I'm not able to complete.  I had to stop making those kind of demands on myself, especially if it related to my personal life.  I changed my thoughts and began to commend myself on what I did accomplish.  If I couldn't get to the next task, then I would just do it the next day.  I completed what I could, and that's considered the achievement for me.

Looking back, there were two bright spots that came from my busy week.  My career counselor paid me a compliment that I was the first of his clients to actually start a blog.  And, at the end of the week, I got a job lead through a network connection for a part-time bookkeeper.

For the next few weeks I will be making some ongoing adjustments to accommodate job hunting, daily tasks, volunteer activities, and my blogging more comfortably.  I am striving to have a more manageable schedule.  

I'll be continuing the 31DBBB challenge by reading the chapters on my own.  It has been wonderful keeping up with the challenge and all the other great ladies participating.  I am not quitting; just learning in a more relaxed pace.

My lessons from last week:  

1.  Complete what you can and feel good about your progress.  
2.  Don't worry about what's left.  Finish the uncompleted tasks the next day, or start fresh all over again. 
3.  Give yourself permission to take a needed "break." 
4.  Make it a habit to see achievement and progress, not unfinished tasks.

How do you bloggers cope with a busy schedule?  Do you make the time to read other blogs, respond to comments, come up with new ideas for topics while maintaining all your daily routine activities?  Since I'm going to adjust my daily schedule, it would be most helpful to hear some of your great suggestions.  

Sunday, August 1, 2010

5 Ways to Rest, Retreat, and Recharge

A fully charged battery will always eventually lose its power.  The same thing happens to our motivation.  We operate and carry on doing our responsibilities until one day, there isn't any energy in us at all.  This happened to me last week.  Was it all the running around from doing errands and appointments?  Sure.  Was the weight of always being strong and dependable and positive all the time getting too heavy?  Yes, more likely than not.  Whatever the reason, it's time to stop and recharge.

Sometimes I feel like shutting out the world and curling up to be alone.  I acknowledge those feelings, yet I make an effort to try not to act on it.  For me, the better way is to try to distract myself by spending time with me.  Here are 5 ways that I do to rest, retreat, and recharge:

1.  Stay off the computer.  With all the email alerts, I have to read and clear so much from my incoming box everyday.  And now that I blog (which I love by the way), it can be more time consuming because of reading and creating and participating.  And with Twitter or Facebook, here's another area I have to check to see what's going on there.  Honestly, I think I spend as much time on the computer doing cleanup/followup, no wonder I'm overwhelmed.  I stay away from the computer.

2.  Get out and savor being YOU.  Get away and enjoy the scenery.  Go to the mall, or to the park or wherever its pleasant.  This moment is for You!  One thing I appreciate is going out to breakfast.  I find it refreshing and energizing to start the day with a good breakfast in a relaxed and laid-back environment.  Sit outside, if possible, and feel the cool morning air.  But do it for You!

3.  Talk with a friend.  We know that sharing your feelings with a good friend is therapeutic. Meet up at Starbucks or any favorite coffee place, where you can just chat.  You can distract yourself by listening to your friend's stories.  Have a good time with the company you have.

4.  Meditate.  I try to meditate daily.  Some people don't like to meditate because it's perceived that you have to sit for hours with your legs crossed and chant all day.  This is not the way I meditate.  I like to lie down in a comfortable position, close my eyes and listen to soft music.  I focus only on my breathing.  It helps lower my blood pressure and calms the noise in my head.  Your meditation could be as simple as working on a craft project, or tending the garden.  Whatever is best, do it for you.

5.  Surrender your thoughts to Heaven.  We're not alone in the Universe, and our Creator is with us all the time.  You don't need to wait for Sunday to pray.  Just ask for help anytime and let go of the heaviness.  God does the rest.  He does hear our prayers.

These are just a few of my ways to recharge, but everyone has their own.  Whenever you feel overwhelmed, please take a time out and help yourself get back on track.  It's the right thing to do.

I would love to hear your comments on what you do to recharge or escape.  Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Week 1, 31DBBB Challenge, My Recap
"If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness."

Are you proud of your accomplishments?  I am very proud of completing Week 1 of the 31DBBB (31 Days to Build a Better Blog) challenge from ProBloggerI have joined with BlogFrog and the wonderful SITS (Secret to Success is The Support) community to learn all about building a better blog.

Two weeks ago, I have never heard of SITS or BlogFrog.  I received a link from a successful lady blogger, to a ProBlogger's article entitled "8 Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers".  As a new blogger I decided to subscribe to these articles.  

A few days later came the 31DBBB challenge with SITS and BlogFrog.  I was nervous and hesitated, yet a voice inside of me kept encouraging to join.  I reviewed the their websites, and after more hesitation I finally gave in and joined.  I figured, if this wasn't right for me, then I wouldn't go further.

I am so happy that I made this choice to join.  As for the challenge, it has taught me that there is a lot more to blogging than just writing words.  Here's a short summary of what I learned after completing Week 1.

1.  Write from the reader's point of view, instead of your own.
2.  Comment on other people's blogs often to build a good relationship.
3.  Content is important; it keeps readers interested.
4.  Become more familiar with using social media to promote a blog.
5.  Write link and interlink posts.
6. Read related material, ask questions, participate and support each other.  Learn all you can from 31DBBB and other bloggers in the community.  It will help improve and build a better blog.

The opportunity to grow increased with each new lesson.  It's very inspiring to be a part of the group support and camaraderie with wonderful lady bloggers!  It adds very much to my own personal growth and self journey.  I took a chance to step out of my comfort zone to participate.  There are times when it doesn't feel right to leave my safe circle, but in this case I am very pleased and proud to be part of 31DBBB.  I want to personally thank SITS, BlogFrog and ProBlogger for putting on this event.

If you have an opportunity to participate in an event that will enhance your own personal development, by all means go for it!  It'll change your life for the better.

Related post:  Change For The Better

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Finish The Race

"It's not important that you come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in the race, it's important that you finish the race."

Are you surviving the stress of looking for a job in a recession?  The other night I watched the second half of an interesting show on PBS Frontline.  The show was about a salon in New York and how the recession is affecting each person, from the salon owner to all of her clients.  It was a thoughtful and serious reflection of each person's view and their strategies on how they are coping in these hard times.

I do all the similar traditional job hunting strategies as some of these individuals on the program were doing.  After sharing thoughts about the show with my "Sam" (Significant amazing man), we've come to the conclusion that to run this job race today, you have to look at other alternatives to the traditional job hunt.  It's necessary in order to succeed in getting hired by a company. 

Social networking is a huge tool that facilitates the job hunt today.  Yet you need to become pretty savvy to use it.  Most younger generations are comfortable with social networks.  Yet people who are more mature in age are slower to embrace and utilize this medium to its advantage.

This is where I need to kick in my dose of optimism, faith, and hard work.  Yes, I am a bit slow using Facebook and Twitter, but I am using it more and more, especially since I started the 31DBBB (31 Days to Build a Better Blog) by ProBlogger challenge.  And I realize, that it's not so scary to understand once I began to get the hang of it.  The sites usually have a Help area for FAQ, but you may also search a topic from the Internet.  You'll find lots of great articles from pretty smart people who are experts in social networking.  There's no excuse not to back away from social media.

On Good Morning America the other day, a woman used Twitter to connect to a representative at a company she wanted to work for, and was later finally offered a position through her connection.  It took persistence on her part, but it paid off in the end by her becoming hired with the company.

I now get tweets, on my Twitter account, from job boards that I choose to follow.  My career counselor also "retweets" job openings to me from job boards he follows.  These are postings in real time, which means you can get a jump on applying for a position ahead of others.  I also set up email alerts, and stay in touch with former colleagues whenever possible.

I hope this encourages you to try this method out.  Overcome your mental obstacles and tell yourself, "This will only benefit myself, and also give me the confidence I need to succeed."  Of course, continue with your traditional job searches but add a new twist to it.  You might find it more enjoyable, and you get to learn a new skill on top of it.  

How are you staying in the game to find a job?  Feel free to leave a comment, I'd love to hear your strategies.  Stay strong!

Related article:  Quitting is Not An Option

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ten Positive Affirmations

“You, as much as anyone in the universe, deserve your love and respect.” – Buddha

Earlier this month I posted my “10 Sunny Ways” list.  In these hard times, it’s more important as ever to be as supportive of each other.  It’s been extremely difficult out there, with unemployment benefits not being extended, and people struggling to find work to make ends meet.  

Remember that a lot of what the media says is out of our control.  There’s never more a critical time than keeping your courage and faith strong.  To help cope with the stress, find people or friends that can be supportive and use your pals as an opportunity to talk about another subject, other than the current news.  Don’t launch into discussions about how much more difficult it’s going to be and that this recession will never end.  Instead, direct your discussions to produce an action that results in something positive for you. The benefit?  You’re no longer as depressed, and you accomplished moving away from feelings of despair to feelings of achievement.

I believe in positive affirmations.  They have a powerful effect on your consciousness if you say them over and over till it sinks in.  The following are a few of my own affirmations:
1.  I am grateful to wake up to another beautiful sunrise and enjoy another day.
2.  I love being alive and healthy.
3.  I conquer all fears by positive support, confidence and determination.
4.  Forgiveness is a form of healing.  I forgive myself and others for situations that cause stress.  I release the pain and can now move forward.
5.  I give all my problems to heaven.
6.  I laugh when I can, it releases pressure.
7.  I have the right career and it fulfills my life purpose.
8.  I am prosperous and abundant.
9.  I have lots of creativity.
10.  I love myself, my life, and I love others for who they are (despite differences).

There are some beautiful affirmations all over the Internet, but you can also create your own as well.  Try them, it will help you feel empowered and in control.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Motivate Yourself

"Unless you choose to take action on what you want, nothing is ever going to come out of it.” – Esther & Jerry Hicks

Last week I had a nice reunion lunch with some of my former laid off co-workers.  It was good to see how everyone was doing and good to chat on updates.  I thoroughly enjoyed visiting and staying in touch with friends, which is a great way to network.
One comment I hear a lot from others at lunch (and anyone else that’s unemployed), is that after a while they start to become bored at home.  The chores are done and all caught up.  Then what? 
For myself, I haven’t yet felt bored.  I’ve been keeping busy by my volunteer activities at the hospital, and I also have a couple of projects that I’m working on, one of which is this blog.  I never thought I would be blogging, but I thought, why not?  Creating my own personal website was fun, and I’m learning something new that I never tried before.
I’m a self-motivator. I would have suggested to my friends who are bored, that they take up a hobby or a new project, but that would have been too easy.  Sometimes I get the feeling that taking responsibility to create your own passion is suppose to be someone else’s duty.  It is so much easier to lament about what’s wrong with the economy, what’s wrong with our job market, or what’s wrong with our government.

If you are bored, it’s your inner voice telling you it wants some action.  Listen to your inner voice and step out of your comfort zone and try something new.  Maybe you want to try a new recipe, or sign up for a different exercise class at the gym.   Define what it is you want (that’s within your reasonable capability), then go for it.  Mistakes?  If you make one, then it’s a lesson learned for next time.
You don’t have to be bored, that’s a choice you make.  Be in charge of your life and follow your inner guidance.  Do something that allows you to grow personally, positively, and productively.  You’ll come away with a happier outlook with your life and your soul will thank you for it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Smile, It Helps You Feel Better

Every moment you get is a gift. Spend it on things that matter. Don’t spend it by dwelling on unhappy things.

As soon as my emotions get battered or bruised by a certain family member, it drains all the energy from me.  Nothing feels worse than someone who knows how to make me feel so guilty for something I did or didn’t do.  I have a tendency of feeling so bad that I make myself miserable for the rest of the day.

When that happens to you, do you let an incident control your mind-set for the rest of the day?   Or do you share your problem with a friend to get a different point of view?   Thankfully, I have a close person to talk to.  My significant other has sense of humor that helps to alleviate my heaviness.  As I continue to dwell  in my unhappy mood, he’ll make a corny joke to see if he can get a reaction.  Or, sometimes he’ll make an off-the-wall comment about a commercial or a scene he just saw on TV.  If he catches me rolling my eyes, it usually follows with a smile or chuckle from me.  Then he’ll remark “Ah it’s nice to see you smiling again.  I like to see you smile.”

Again, I am reminded of how blessed I am to have a best friend and to be here today.  Being able to smile again takes heart and spirit to forgive myself, my family, and the situation.  It’s not healthy to hang on to depressed feelings and wishing you can hurt someone as much as it hurts you.  One thing I learned from reading other self-motivational or self-inspirational material, is that we are all loving beings.  Despite all the hurt, the strong emotions, and the disagreements, in the end we must let it go by smiling, forgiving, helping each other, and loving each other.  And I am prompted to never forget my “Ten Sunny Ways” list.

Speaking of smiling, I just read “Stuck in the Hurry-Up Mode?” by Loretta Laroche, a consultant who encourages humor to deal with stress.  The basic message of this article is to slow down and live, but she has such a comical way of promoting her message that I couldn’t stop laughing. Take a moment and enjoy both reading and watching her short video.  It’ll put a smile on your face too!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ten Sunny Ways

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” ~Winston Churchill

The following list is very popular on different internet websites.  I regret I don't remember exactly where I found the list a few years ago, but I do want to acknowledge whoever is the originator. He/she deserves credit for creating this list, because it applies to any type of day you and I may have. I had these posted to my wall in my cubicle, and also next to my bedroom mirror. On a day when I’m dealing with stress, I focused, took deep breaths, and remembered my list.  It allowed me to get back on the right track.

It’s good to share it again and remind ourselves what a good day is all about:

10 Sunny Ways to Make Your Day a Good One!
  1. A good day is when I wake up remembering that a good day happens by CHOICE not chance!
  2. A good day is when I live the day in the present, being grateful for the little things in life.
  3. A good day is a day that I look back on and smile, because I allowed myself to be open to something new without realizing it at the time.
  4. A good day is when I can feel anger, pain, sadness, etc. but not let it take over.
  5. A good day is when I relax and go with the flow.
  6. A good day is drama free. (My choice, again.)
  7. A good day is when I'm aware that I'm a kind and compassionate person and treat myself that way.
  8. A good day is when I don't use excuses to paralyze my thoughts and dreams or allow fear to keep me from stepping out and doing something I believe in.
  9. A good day is connecting with people who are on the same self exploration journey as I am.
  10. A good day is the realization that EVERY DAY IS A GOOD DAY no matter what happens!
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