The Good Stuff

Staying Present

Sometime last year, my best friend Megan told me about a daily inspirational text service called “Shine Text” that she subscribed to for free. Essentially everyday at whatever time you designate, you get a text with a short motivational message that focuses on one of the focus-areas that you indicated you were interested in when you signed up. It also usually includes a fun image/meme and links to articles and videos that further discuss the topic and provide action steps and advice.

Is it sort of cheesy? Definitely. But I do believe in the power of positive thinking, and with so many negative distractions that most of us have to overcome or try to ignore from day to day, trying to make a habit of reading my Shine Text each day is a goal that really has improved my attitude and mood.

Last month I received the image above and this message below, that has REALLY stuck with me lately:

“Our minds are expert time-travelers; bypassing the present to harp on the past or future 47% of the time… We get so caught up in the shams and delusions of the mind that we miss reality – what is happening now and here.”

The concept on focusing on what’s right in front of us and not dwelling on the past or anticipating what is to come too much, is not new. But lately it is something that I have struggled with a bit, so this Shine Text was perfectly timed.

I’ve always struggled with having too-specific expectations for things to come, and then have to deal with being very disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would. So regardless if the present is still good and positive, I sometimes miss out on appreciating those moments because I am stuck being upset about how it didn’t turn out instead. Another thing is that often, while I am counting down to something that I am looking forward too, I will measure the time based on all of the things both at home and work that have to be done in the meantime. This affects my attitude toward my “present” and belittles other day-to-day moments that deserve their own spotlight. Not that its bad to be excited for something in the future, but this is definitely different then setting a goal or even daydreaming about what we hope for.

I think these are easy patterns to fall into that are sometimes harder to identify. The Shine Text also shared this article, “3 Simple Steps to Stop Mental Time Traveling,” which didn’t necessarily present any groundbreaking advice, but instead broke down the challenge in a practical way that is a great reminder for how to approach each day.

I am a very observant and intuitive person. I know that those are two of my strengths, so I know that I am at my best when I shift my attention to the present moment, whatever that might be.

Being present makes me better appreciate what I have, rather than dwell on what I think I might want. It encourages me to get to the gym and say yes to spontaneous girl’s day trips. It helps me be more intentional with my conversations and commitments, and how I invest in “my people.” It makes me less anxious about what is ahead and better able to go with the flow. And it makes me notice the little moments like a stranger letting me use the last washer in the community laundry room, a new favorite jam or a flirty wink from my boyfriend.

Being present is better.

How do you focus on being more present?

And because this was a more word heavy post, here’s a jam that I have had on repeat lately. This is the slower version, but the upbeat version is great too!

Cheers!

 

The Good Stuff

Shine From Within

At the end of each year, we all tend to reflect on the year behind us and look toward what’s to come. Whether we do it with purpose or it moseys on through our mind, it happens. Many of us write down our goals or make resolutions. But the new trend that I have seen lately is for people to choose a “focus word” or phrase. (Example HERE.)

I particularly like this idea, partially because of my love for words. This exercise puts you in the position to  set individual, tangible goals, but also challenges you to “focus” on your character and lifestyle in a specific limelight. I struggled though, with what direction I wanted to go. I’m sure this is felt at a different age for everyone, but I feel that in just about every aspect of my life, I’m going through change. Some are subtle and expected, while others are bold and mindful. So how the heck am I supposed to choose ONE thing to focus on that is ideally all-encompassing? Or am I just missing the whole point of the exercise?

Well I thought about the word “value.”
Where should I be adding value in my life? How am I adding value to my job, and other roles I have? How are my values being shaped and remolded? How am I currently defining value?

Another word that has always been important to me is “risk.”
Where should I be taking risks currently? Am I being too risky?

I then thought about the word “yes,” and decision-making.
What is the best “yes” for me? Do I say it enough, not enough?

I was a little frustrated, and had almost determined that this was not for me.
Then on New Year’s Eve, my Grammy gave me this necklace pendant:

IMG_1446

My Grammy is always so thoughtful with her gifts and they often reflect her own way of looking at life.

Shine from within

That’s a big thought.
But the only thing I kept thinking, is what the heck does that even mean?
It’s not a single word so there isn’t a direct definitive meaning, and even introspectively there’s a lot going on there.

That’s when it became my 2015 focus phrase.
If I didn’t know how to define it for myself and my life, then I needed to.
It might be a bit cheesy and certainly won’t be easy to measure at the end of the year.
But that’s okay. I find that most things that are hard to measure the value of are an important part of who we are that sometimes get overlooked.

So I don’t have a well thought out plan.
But I do plan to spend my 2015 figuring out what “Shine from within” means to each part of my life and how I can be better from it. Whether I wear it as a necklace or just keep it in my pocket, I’m excited to have this token with me moving forward.

Here’s some of my inspiration to get started.

BGX1930.TIF
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/265923552973913584/

This has been my favorite quote since early high school. I love that no matter where I am in life, it always applies. And it was the very first thing I thought of when I got the pendant.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/265923552973858385/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/265923552973858385/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/404268504022678603/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/404268504022678603/
harry potter
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/265923552967004139/

What does it mean to “Shine from within” to you?