Thankful Thursday: Are Your Eyes Open?

For you newcomers to my blog: welcome and bienvenidos!

Every Thursday I share at least three things I’m thankful for to keep myself accountable for recognizing the upsides in life, both big and small.

Sharing my gratitude journal last year was a cathartic experience. The therapeutic release of expressing gratitude for the good things in my life helped me gain perspective, especially when I needed it most.

2013 was a murky year filled with loads of detours. I felt like the Griswolds in their car getting stuck in one of those British roundabouts in European Vacation.

Yeah, this was me, on a perpetual loop.

Sometimes I struggled with thinking optimistically about my future, but focusing my attention on the good in the present moment allowed me to open my mind up to the potential that lay beyond my own limits.

A recent post by Ozioma of Burnbright Lifeworks, reinforced what I learned this past year:

Many of us lead exceedingly complex lives where millions of bits of information pass right before our very eyes, much of which we will never retain. This phenomenon causes our minds to focus on what appears to stand out: the BIG things. BIG shows of love, BIG spikes in sales, BIG, BIG, BIG. Before we know it, we fall out of gratitude and forget about the small wins we experience every day. Over time, what would have been milestones on our journey become meaningless and what would have been cause to celebrate is now seen as cause to compare.

I once learned that if you do not celebrate your achievements, both big and small, it’s as if they never happened.

On our journey to live big dreams, we can’t forget about the small acts of kindness, the small triumphs, and the small steps of progress we take everyday. If you truly want to enjoy the life you have, while working towards what your life can be, it’s important that you learn to celebrate your wins, no matter how small. ¹

She sums it up pretty nicely, no?

This week was filled with crazy highs and lows for me, but after a year of living in gratitude and looking at the upside, it was much easier for me to cast aside the  negative in favor of the moments that left me feeling ecstatic and appreciative of this life that I’m shaping each day.

So, without further ado, here are three things I’m thankful for this week.

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Have I convinced you to start your own gratitude journal yet???

No worries, I’ll be back here each Thursday sharing my journey and hopefully getting you to see the advantages to being grateful for the life you’re living now.

Until then, think about what may be blocking you from what you truly want for yourself. What are those barriers? How can you move past them? What puts a smile on your face each day? Consider those answers and open your eyes to the world around you.

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

 

CITED WORK

¹How to Live the Life of Your Dreams Entheos Academy

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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

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The big 3-0.

Yep, I’ve finally crossed the threshold of the my twenties and am starting off this new decade with a bit of celebration and a lot of introspection.

I never approached my thirtieth birthday with trepidation or angst. In fact, I looked forward to the day that I could bid adieu to the doubt, insecurities, and stupid mistakes that defined the last ten years of my life.

The reality is much different of course. There’s still fear. There’s still doubt. My insecurities are here for the long haul. And I’m pretty sure I’ll keep making mistakes just as easily.

But where I am now doesn’t compare with the kind of person I was at 21 or 25 or 29. This year alone has seen some of the biggest transformations of my life, in mind, body, and spirit.

To repeat a tired cliché, the most interesting people are works in progress. I plan to be interesting for a long long while.

As the holidays approach and the year comes to a close, I feel that the crossroads I’ve been standing at for the past couple of months are finally leading me somewhere.

Where? I have no clue. All I know is that my direction is forward and that I’m not alone on the journey. I’ve opened myself up to new experiences and new people who changed me irrevocably.

How can I not be grateful for all the hiccups, missteps, and challenges when they’ve brought me here, surrounded by love and inspiration?

So, bring it 30s. I’m ready for you.

What are you thankful for this week?

How has this year transformed your outlook on health and wellness?

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

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