celebrate all the small victories

Friends, this has been an amazing week and for absolutely no reason at all. I didn’t win the lottery. I didn’t find a cure for any diseases. I didn’t even eat any Halo Top ice cream. Yet, it was a week filled with awe and gratitude. I had lots of energy. I felt fulfilled. I saw my future brighten. I felt alive. You may be wondering — HOW? We’ll get there in just a moment.

In recent months, and even just in the past week, I’ve been implementing a few changes here and there to my day-to-day living. I was feeling aimless. A bit cloudy. Uninspired. I had anxiety. What I feared most was disappointing other people. In trying to fulfill every task I thought was expected of me or desired of me (note: THOUGHT), I was wearing myself thin. I was reading between the lines and always assuming the worst. I was hard on myself. Then I was even more hard on myself. Over and over. I was having anxiety over things I couldn’t control. Like, ridiculous things. Things I knew were ridiculous, yet I couldn’t stop worrying about them.  It led to me needing a lot of reassurance from others in my life. And no matter how often I reminded myself that “you cannot control everything”– I tried. And when I couldn’t, I worried more.

That is until I made a few changes in my life that have opened my world. I feel like I can see clearer, listen more intently, and care for myself and others better than I ever could before. I feel like I’m taking steps, strides, and leaps in the right direction and it fills me with all of the happy feelings.

ONE. Meditating Daily. I re-re-re-rediscovered meditation and committed to 15 minutes daily. It’s been 4 weeks and I feel like my world is brighter and ever expanding. I never stuck to meditation even this long, especially as a daily habit. When I first started, I thought to myself… I’m just not sure how this will help. I know it should… I just don’t understand how. But I kept telling myself, “It’s only 15 minutes a day.” Cause let’s be honest, I could spend 15 minutes (ahem, an hour) a day just scrolling through Instagram, so let’s just give it a try. I know my journey with meditation isn’t over, in fact, I still sometimes question how 15 minutes of silence can change my perspective or even my stress level. But I’m happy to report that it was three weeks into my practice when I started to understand. Do I understand it all yet? Of course not. Am I going to stick to it to find out more? Hell yes. I like The Honest Guys for guided meditation.

TWO. Listening to the Optimal Living Daily podcast. Every morning when I’m getting ready for work, I would turn on a youtube video of some instafamous fitness guru. Though I gathered tons of ideas for new workouts, I had no interest in (ever, ever, ever) weighing my food, wearing roughly $300 of fitness apparel at all times (or like ever), or watching them open packages from their PO Box (worst segment of any video ever). The videos left me unfulfilled when really, I was watching them to be inspired. Last weekend while lying in bed, I decided to see if I could find a good podcast to listen to while cleaning the house. I started with the Moth, but it was what I downloaded that day and then pulled up on Monday morning that changed it all for me. On Optimal Living Daily, they read you blog posts or articles on self-development, minimalism, and living your best life from around the web so you don’t have the read them (um, genius!) Don’t get me wrong, I love reading about all of those topics– but I can’t do that and my makeup, so this was exactly what I needed. And by the end, I do feel inspired. Tuning into what I need, instead of what I thought I needed and allowing for that change– well, that’s where the good stuff is, my friends.

THREE. Turning off my social media notifications. This was a game changer. Because you know what, I don’t need to know what’s going on in everyone’s lives all the time. There’s a time and a place and turning off the notifications makes it that much easier to choose the time and the place and not even think about it the other 1,390 minutes of my day.

FOUR. Assuming the best when reading between the lines. This one would not be possible if not for my daily meditation practice. In fact, I attribute 98% of my newly found state of acceptance with who I am in the world to silencing my mind for just 15 minutes daily. I read an article on Tiny Buddha last week about how the author had completely transformed her relationships by actively and intentionally assuming the best instead of the worst. Because why make up some elaborate reason as to why someone did or didn’t do something or said or didn’t say something without actually knowing the reason? You’re setting yourself up for unhappiness that way and I am oh-so guilty of this. Being aware of this now has allowed me to change my reaction before it has a chance to affect my mood, my actions, or any snarky remarks that would follow.

FIVE. Writing. Because I love writing, I know that giving myself permission to dedicate time to writing will improve my every day and it already has. It’s so important to dedicate time and space to things you’re passionate about. This is something that becomes more and more difficult as we journey through adulthood. In fact, I’ve been feeling the affects of this since I graduated from college. The world is telling you that you don’t have time for impracticality, not when you need to be pushing yourself in your career and finding success is what society has defined as success. Spoiler alert, you can have it all. You can be successful, keep your hobbies and passions, and live the life that is true to you AND be okay with it. Just know, even if you do let go of what you love for a short time (or a long time), know that it’s still waiting for you. You just have to show back up. Be there, and do it, and then do it again. Most importantly, do it for yourself– it helps lessen any expectations, which makes it easier to keep showing up.

Things are moving in the right direction, folks. When you’re shrugging off life’s unexpected (and expected) icky moments and basking in the beauty of the good ones, you know you’re at least off to a good start.

Side note: the above listed life changes will not always cure our sometimes wacky, dramatic reactions to things we either can or cannot control. We are all human and I may or may not have claimed this morning that I was probably dying due to using a sinus rinse with tap water. After nearly drowning in saline solution, I read the warning to not use with tap water (in bold and all CAPS I might add), and may or may not have exploded with worry that I had just cost myself a trip to the ER and possibly a life of clogged ears, as that was also going on. We’re all just taking this one step at a time… no worries, no judgment. Happy trails.


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