Thankful Thursday: Another Door Opens

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When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened to us.

-Helen Keller

I think Helen Keller was onto something here.

Keller embodied what it meant to overcome hardships as the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree in 1904. She persevered and became an American icon who continues to inspire people to push past closed doors in order to succeed.

What was her secret? Why is it so hard for us to let go of the hurt that paralyzes us from action?

There is no one simple answer. Each of us has a unique path laid out before us with its own set of challenges and opportunities.

Some of us look to the problems of our unhealthy, overly-competitive global society that forces us to constantly compare ourselves to the millions of others out there who seemingly have their shit together.

Others point the finger inwards and tear themselves apart in an effort to find an answer to “why?”, which only pulls them further away from their purpose in life.

The fact is that once we feel a door close on us, we tend to shut down completely. We forget that those trials are in reality, an opening for something greater.

I have seen more doors close on me of late, then I have in a long time. As always, the timing of everything sucks and I find myself making some tough decisions about what I need to do in the short run. Like I told a close friend the other day, it’s time I put my strong girl pants on.

But I remain grateful for it all. The tears, the uncertainty, the challenges, and the fears; all of it is a part of a greater story that lies behind another door which isn’t really shut closed. Walking through them is taking every ounce of strength I have, but that effort is part of what makes me human. I carry these experiences with me always, as a reminder of what I’m capable of in spite of the roadblocks put in my way.

How can I not be thankful for that reminder?

Tell me, what do you do when you feel doors close on you?

How do you remain optimistic in difficult situations?

What are you thankful for this week?

Here’s my gratitude journal below. Please feel free to share your own notes of gratitude below or on Facebook or Twitter!

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As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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Thankful Thursdays: It’s Never Too Late

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Another late start. Sigh.

This has become a bad habit I’ve developed the last few months.

Late to work. Late to the gym. Late to meet up with friends. Late to finalize my plans for New Year’s Eve (spent at home because I couldn’t make up my mind). Late to pretty much everything.

And here I am, late to write this post.

2013 was a strange year. An understatement of sorts because there’s no good way to boil down 365 days into one word. But that’s what it was: strange. With a side of bewildering. And a dash of weird.

As I rung out 2012, I proclaimed 2013 to be “MY year!” (to be fair, I spent last New Year’s Eve out with friends and made this statement after several celebratory drinks post-ball drop. Wasn’t late to that one).

Lucky thirteen, I thought. And it was lucky. Extraordinary in fact:

  • I spent 40 days exploring my spirituality and actively learning more about the nature of happiness through my then-guru’s miracle makeover program.

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  • I tackled my racial identity issues head on by proclaiming loudly that the judgement of others had no bearing on who I am as an individual.
  • I FINALLY learned how to ride a bike, a major hurdle in more ways than one.

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  • I opened up about my issues with disordered eating after my experiment with the Paleo diet.
  • I went back to school! I’m working towards a masters certificate in Nutrition Science at Tufts University and I just completed a course in wellness coaching certification. MAJOR win for the year.
  • I tested myself in the kitchen and created my own cookbook of sorts, by sharing my experiments here on this blog and promoting a Meatless Monday agenda.
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Part of my Meatless Monday and Summer Produce Recipe Series
  • I received the utterly surprising nod from Latina magazine as a top blogger this past summer which is both rewarding and humbling.
  • I beat my own expectations for what I was capable of physically by picking up powerlifting at the beginning of the year and then surpassing my own goals by December with this incredible lift.

These are just a handful of moments. There were personal experiences of transformations and epiphanies that pushed me to take a glimpse beyond my limits, if at least for a moment. Those brief periods illuminated a path for me by opening my mind up to new possibilities.

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But not all was bright and cherry. There were changes that I struggled with as well. I celebrated the unions of my closest friends at their weddings this past year and watched them take those huge steps towards a new chapter in their lives. And I couldn’t help reflecting on my own.

Where was I headed? Who am I going to be when I reach that stage? Will I ever be ready for marriage when I don’t even feel ready for this life on my own?

The strong foot forward that started out the year, shifted as the road took a turn. My steps became unsure and I lost sight of my direction. I stepped away from this world that I spent the better part of the year building and I stopped writing.

It seemed that with each passing day I was slouching towards Bethlehem more than traversing the path of enlightenment.

It’s no wonder I find myself late to pretty much everything these days.

As the ball dropped on 2013, I took note of these changes and how I ended up in this period of malaise. And I got restless.

The truth is that when I shut myself off to the outside world by running away from social networks, this blog, and other commitments, I was really opening myself up to a brand new journey. It’s unexpected and frightening, but one of the most incredible changes (and challenges) to come my way in a very long time.

I was close to dismissing this year as a failure in my grand experiment to reshape my perspectives on life, health, and happiness simply because the transformations didn’t appear tangible or wholly impressive. Then I realized that I sold myself way too short, another habit that I have yet to shake.

We never know when our worlds will change or how, but when they do it seems that everything is new again. And that’s how I feel right now. Brand new and aware of more than just myself and my choices. My understanding of love and happiness is complex and ever-changing. My opinions of what being healthy means is also evolving with each new experience. I hope to continue challenging myself to stop saying “I can’t” by trying new things and pushing past my boundaries.

I don’t know what’s in store for me in 2014. With horizons broadened each day, I’m inching along in this journey. There’s ups and then there’s downs, but I’m finally beginning to understand that no matter how much I run away from the world, I am never truly alone or truly disconnected.

If there’s only one thing I can take away from my ‘lucky 13’ it’s the power of gratitude and perspective. Taking the time to reflect and reset forces me to recall why I started all of this in the first place. There are still so many goals I want to accomplish for myself and for the community around me. It’s never too late to get back to who you are and your mission. If you find yourself caught between action and inaction, remember that you can always reset and start over. Each moment is an opportunity and it turns out that I’m right on time for mine.

Happy New Year everyone! I’m looking forward to sharing much more with you in 2014 so stay tuned!!

As always, keep paying it forward and stay healthy! 🙂

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Thankful Thursday: What I’m Thankful for this Week

imageSometimes we find ourselves in situations where we really need to be honest about our intentions.

For all of my talk about self-awareness, there are still certain areas in my life where I have trouble being honest with myself.

I call them triggers.

This past week brought back some of those triggers.

It always amazes me how traumas from our past can so quickly trump common sense. My experiences have roots in my heart and in my mind, and no matter how hard I’ve worked to weed them out, they creep back in and cause me to question who I am today.

And that’s what matters. Who I am today.

Who I am in this moment.

But I can still be grateful for who I was then.

I can still appreciate the journey that brought me to who I am right now.

Triggers be damned.

And in true cosmic-coincidence-style, fate threw me this bone this morning as a reminder of what I know all too well. That “click” that locked things in place for me in the past, and thankfully, it resounded loud and clear this week.

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What are you grateful for this week?

How do you move past negative triggers?

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below!

Keep paying it forward. Stay healthy (and grateful)! 🙂

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