Lessons Learned & Random Ramblings

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A moment of self doubt & a response from the universe May 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 4:19 pm

Like most women, I wouldn’t mind losing 10 pounds but in general I don’t get overly caught up in my appearance and I tend not to be overly critical of myself. Today was an anomaly for me: I had a moment of complete personal panic and it took me by surprise and threw me off guard.

I took the afternoon off today and used a surprise gift certificate from a good friend to take advantage of a little pampering – a massage and pedicure. While I am a HUGE fan of pedicures and I regularly indulge, massages are a very rare treat. That being said, I have certainly had them before. I knew the routine – strip down to your underwear, lay on the table, get under the sheet…typically I can step outside myself, practice yoga breathing and enjoy the relaxation. Today I struggled – as the therapist lowered the sheet to massage my back all I could think about what how my sides probably looked fat. When she moved down to my legs I hoped she wouldn’t see the cellulite. It was a very rare moment of complete self-doubt and criticism but I couldn’t get myself to stop thinking negative thoughts.

I was able to regroup and push the thoughts (mostly!) out of my mind but it definitely made the experience less enjoyable. As I waited for the technician to get me for my pedicure I tried to refocus myself and take a few moments to settle my thoughts. When my pedicure began I was feeling a bit better but was also ready for some relaxing and quiet foot pampering.

The technician began talking almost instantly. I quickly realized that she needed an ear and found myself more than willing to provide it. She was an older woman (probably in her early 60’s) and was talking about life and its challenges. She talked specifically about her son who is currently in a bad relationship and is mostly out of touch. I found myself very moved by her story – particularly her personal background having coming to the United States as a young woman from Yugoslavia with her family. I listened with interest and compassion as she vented – she didn’t seem to really expect a response. When we were nearly finished I simply said that I would think good thoughts that her son would come around and reconnect. She responded by thanking me for finding my way into her chair and sharing my “beautiful spirit”.

As I left the salon and drove home I thought a lot about what she said. I was almost embarrassed by my massage self-doubt since the conversation and compliment from my technician seemed so much more important. I believe in karma but I also believe that people who put good out there will receive good in return. I would like to believe that by giving my ear and compassion to this woman, I received in return exactly what my soul needed – a reminder of what type of beauty really matters and how important it is to share with others.

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I like my everything! May 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 11:40 am

Inspiration from Jessica’s “Daily Affirmation”…

Recently this video “Jessica’s Daily Affirmation” has been everywhere and I, like many others, am incredibly inspired by the passion and excitement she feels for all the parts of her life – both the large and the small. It reminded me that when you are young, anything and everything seems possible. Jessica likes everything from her parents to her hair and ends by saying that she can do anything – no doubt a true statement with the positive attitude she displays!

The video – and her optimistic look at everything in her life – inspired me to create my own “I Like My Everything” list and “my everything” is as follows:

  • I like sunny days with a nice breeze
  • I like writing
  • I like pedicures and new flip-flops
  • I like long walks with my dog
  • I like watching baseball
  • I like my husband (in fact, I am madly in love with him but in keeping with Jessica’s wording…)
  • I like my friends & family (again, love would be more accurate but play along!)
  • I like when my ipod at work plays a song on shuffle that I haven’t heard in a while
  • I like singing along with the radio loudly and dancing around foolishly
  • I like curling up with a good book
  • I like book club
  • I like Twilight & Harry Potter and I don’t really care if other people think it is silly
  • I like books by Sarah Addison Allen – I have recently discovered her books and they are just perfect
  • I like flowers for no reason
  • I like eating swedish fish in the movie theater – especially at Niantic Cinema
  • I like ice cream
  • I like meeting new people and finding random things in common
  • I like swimming in the lake in the summer
  • I like when my sister makes me laugh at the silliest things
  • I like making a difference in the lives of others
  • I like being a professor
  • I like libraries and bookstores
  • I like thinking about all the things I like…

It is an interesting exercise. People (myself included) can sometimes get so bogged down in the things they don’t like – about themselves, about their jobs, about their body/appearance, about the way other people behave. The list of complaints can be endless. Focusing on the things I like and the things that make me happy instead immediately changes my mood and reminds me of how many incredible things I have to be grateful for…big thanks to Jessica for giving me a great excuse to be inspired!

How about you? What do you “like”? What do you consider your “everything”?
Take a few minutes and think about it. I promise it will put a smile on your face!

 

Being fearless… May 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 3:39 pm

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood”
~ Marie Curie

Recently a friend forwarded me the link to fear.less – an incredible site and a powerful compilation of stories and experiences. From personal triumphs and tragedies to surviving the unimaginable, from fighting for change to learning from history, the magazine looks at the ways in which we can take our experiences and use them to empower ourselves, teach others and create change. The stories featured are educational, inspiring and thought-provoking.

I excitedly downloaded the magazine and read all of the features. In doing so I was consistently asking myself the same question – am I fearless? And, if so, how? The answer was surprisingly difficult for me to determine. There are definitely times that I have been fearless – ending a bad relationship despite the fallout I knew it would bring, standing up for what I believe in even when it requires challenging others, embracing the role of teacher/mentor and finding a way to reach teens and adults. I consider these things to be pretty fearless – at least in terms of my own life.

In the editor’s letter in the May issue of fear.less it says “…we live in a time when we can empower ourselves by what we consume: what we read, what we watch, what we learn”. I think this is very true and very well said. We live in a time where ignorance is not excusable. There is more of an ability to educate ourselves and connect to news, to people, to passions than ever before. We can send a text message and support our favorite charities or respond to crisis. We can share links on blogs, facebook pages and emails and educate others about the issues we all face each day. We can be activists in ways large and small and make a sizeable difference in the lives of others.

I think that perhaps being fearless to me is being willing to take it all in and learn. It is being open-minded and passionate. It is fighting for what you believe in whether it is something that touches you personally or something that touches the world as a whole. Being fearless is stepping outside of your comfort zone to create and/or embrace change.

Everyone gets scared sometimes. Everyone has moments of panic. Everyone has at one time or another been temporarily paralyzed by the idea of taking that next step, of speaking out, of making change happen. Being fearless is finding the strength (and sometimes the support) to get past these moments and embracing the lessons you learn as a result.

 

The friends that matter most… May 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 10:08 am

Last month Glamour magazine did a friendship themed issue which included the following: “How to be a good friend (in 20 words or less): Always remind her that she’s braver than she believes, stronger than she seems and smarter than she thinks.”

I stuck this quote on my bulletin board at work and have found myself looking at it often in the last few weeks. It seems simple – to be a good friend you need to be the best personal cheerleader possible to the friends that matter. However, I’ve been thinking about whether I always do this for others and who returns the favor for me.  Unsurprisingly, not everyone does (including me) which is actually ok – it makes it easy to determine who you should work to keep in your life and who might require less effort.

One of my very best friends just moved across the country – I hope that I was a good cheerleader for her when she was making her bold moves because secretly I thought seriously about throwing a temper tantrum to try to make her stay. I refrained from giving in to my selfish instincts because the big move was what was best for her and I realized that supporting her was what mattered the most. She personifies the instructions provided by Glamour though – she builds me up when I am feeling down, she reminds me of what I am capable of when I have doubts and she never lets me forget that I can handle anything that comes my way even when I question it.  

I am sometimes amused by the way we label friends – best friends, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, etc. I am lucky – I belong to a network of people who I consider friends, I am in a fabulous book club with people who have become pretty close friends, I have friends from growing up, friends from college, friends from life who don’t quite fit into an aforementioned category. The bottom line, I have lots of people who play a role in my life – some more important than others. I also have a lot of people who I can enjoy spending time with without feeling overly emotionally invested which is often a welcome and necessary distraction from other things going on in life.

Earlier this week I went for a long walk with a very good friend who is having a tough time lately. She is struggling with who she is and what she wants out of life. She is feeling lost, lonely and disconnected. I was honored that she felt connected enough to me to put it all out there and ask for my feedback and support. What we wound up talking a lot about was the people in her life and whether they made her feel good about herself or if they reinforced the isolation she was already feeling. She realized that perhaps she needed to make some changes – reach out to some people while perhaps distancing herself from others. She also realized that friendships change and sometimes the people who were our strongest supporters or biggest influences at one time may no longer hold the same importance. This transition isn’t always easy but is sometimes necessary.

As a result of this conversation I realized just how fortunate I am – geographically my closest friends are a bit spread out, some are local, some are at least within driving distance here in New England but others now require more planning and now airline tickets! The most important thing though is that they are always there despite distance – by phone, text, long emails, fb comments – and they work to stay connected to me as much as I work to stay connected to them. I realize that not everyone has this and I am very lucky.

Friendship requires work – you need to be a sounding board, a personal cheerleader, a therapist, a partner in crime, a distraction and much more. It requires attention, consistency, patience, a sense of humor, compassion, committment and enthusiasm but it is so worth it for those that matter the most.