Lessons from my puppies.

When I look at my puppies, I cannot help but to smile. They are always so happy — full of energy and full of life. Just being around them, I sense a feeling of comfort, like everything is right in their world.

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They are satisfied with their surroundings and content with being in the present moment. (As far as I know) They do not worry about the past and they do not anticipate the future. They just live their life as it unfolds, knowing that everything is going to be okay, just the way it is.

Imagine what it would be like to:

  • Always be happy
  • Be able to get over a confrontation with ease and just move on with your day
  • Have no worries about the world around you
  • Trust that your natural instincts will keep you healthy and in balance
  • Love unconditionally, every single day
  • Etc.

Dexter Selfie IMG_2740[1] Dack Attack LaughIMG_2699[1]
(Pics 1-2 are of Dexter and Pics 3-4 are of Dack)

It is hard not to envy that mentality. Sure, they may be dogs — but I think people could learn a lot from them if they took a moment to truly think about that.

I’ve written about dwelling on the past, and being preoccupied with what the future holds. As frequently as I have these thoughts, I find myself wondering WHY?!

  • Why do I let the past dictate the present?
  • Why do I worry about what may (or may not) come in the future?

I know it is cliché, but I love to think about the American Proverb:
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

First Day

Well I think I need to take those words into consideration. I need to see the present – every single moment – as a new opportunity to begin a new chapter and to embrace change.

I am starting to realize more and more each day, that I am in charge of my own life. I hold the pen to my life story, and whatever unfolds is ultimately up to me.

So  here is a dedication to myself. To remain present in the moment, to not fear the future and to not dwell on the past.
After all, right now really is the first opportunity to start something new and wonderful.

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Here we go again…

I feel a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach, after some of the conversations that I have had over the past couple weeks.

I have been confronted a few times from my family and others, about my appearance, and concern with my health. As much as I know they care, and have good intentions with these “talks” sometimes I feel that more harm than good is done for me emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, I see and understand the concerns… but I don’t think it is always realized the impact that these words and confrontations can have on me.

I am an emotional person. I dwell on things, and let them linger and really bother me. Writing is a nice outlet for me, but it still does not resolve the fact that my feelings were hurt and I cant seem to let it go. What makes it difficult, is when I can be having a perfectly happy day, and one little comment of conversation puts a HUGE damper on everything. I can’t pretend to brush it off and smile all the time.

It is time for me to be honest with myself.

In 2012, I sought treatment for my struggles after I hit “rock bottom”. This time around, I refuse to let myself get there. Yes, I have been through a lot of life changes over the past several months, but that does not give me good reason to stop taking care of myself.

I have so much to be thankful for…. I have a new home, an amazing boyfriend (who I see a beautiful future with), a loving family, wonderful friends, strong faith, etc. etc. I feel like these blessings have been hindered by some of the hardships that I have been facing.

I am happy with my life. Yes, I may have slipped, but things have settled down and I have been making a conscious effort to enjoy each and every day.

CURRENT SITUATION:
In all honesty, I do not have the same thoughts and struggles towards food that I have had in the past. Yes, I maintain a healthy diet, but I am not afraid to splurge and treat myself once in awhile when the opportunity presents itself. I still have some hesitation when it comes to random snacking (which is crazy, because everyone should allow themselves the opportunity to enjoy a good snack).

I think now, the main thing that I worry about is exercise. I feel like I need to do something physical every day, and when I don’t exercise, I get somewhat anxious. I have been trying to spend less time going to the gym to lift weights, and more time enjoying yoga (Not go on off topic, but yoga has helped me so much throughout all of this…more on that topic later), walking my puppies to the park, or just enjoying a different hobby. What I want, is to find a healthy balance in my life. I would love to focus my time on yoga and meditation, and finding harmony between my mind and body.

Admitting a weakness is hard for me. But seeing the people I love and care about worry (about me), is even harder. I don’t like feeling vulnerable to this. Every single thing in my life is so wonderful, and it sickens me that I still have to think about this at times. I swore to myself a year ago that I would never go back to the place where I was in my past… I am not there, but I need to really work on keeping myself away (FAR AWAY) from there too.

I am going to reach out to find someone to talk to, outside of my family, friends and social circle. Having a neutral “third party” to vent/talk to has helped me in the past, and I have no doubt that it will help me again.

Let the journey to health and happiness continue…

You are where you are or ever will be is up to you. You are where you are today because that is where you have chosen to be. You are always free to choose your actions, or inactions, and your life today is the sum total of your choices, good and bad. If you want your future to be different, you have to make better choices.
—Brian Tracy

 

Lessons Learned from a Trip Up North

It has been awhile since I have written, and today I feel inspired to write about my trip up north.

My family has a cabin in northern Michigan, where I have spent a significant amount of time at over the years. For my entire life, I have always considered it to be one of my favorite places in the world. It is the perfect “escape” from reality. A quaint cabin on a beautiful lake, in a small town that most people have never heard of…Oscoda.

When I was younger, it was so easy to find time to go up north (I’d go whenever my parents wanted to go, haha). There wasn’t the issue of taking time off work, or having other adult responsibilities competing with my weekends. I have found that as I get older, I spend less and less time up north, and that makes me sad.

Last weekend was Memorial Weekend. For anyone who has a cabin, it is typically the kick-off to summer, and everyone and their brother seems to be headed up north. I was able to escape from the hustle and bustle of Southeast Michigan, to enjoy some quality time with my immediate family.

For some reason, this trip up north really meant a lot to me. Since I have moved out, I don’t have as many opportunities to hang out with just my parents, sister and of course Riley! Although there was nothing super elaborate about the trip, just being able to hang out, talk and laugh, tell stories, play games, etc. made me realize how important these moments in life really are.

Before moving out, I don’t want to say that I took these moments for granted, I just never really realized how much they meant to me.

I have an amazing family. Although we do not always see eye-to-eye on everything and sometimes have our disagreements and moments of tension, I would not trade them for anyone or anything in the world. They are always there to listen to me vent, to make me laugh, to give me advice, etc. Knowing that I always can rely on them, through the good times and the bad times, is a fulfilling feeling that only a family can provide.

So this short, but heart-felt article is dedicated to my Mom, Dad, Sarah and Riley. I love you all, and appreciate everything you do for me, big or small. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you all, and I truly feel blessed to have you in my life.

Brode Family Selfie!!

Brode Family Selfie!!

xoxo

Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts.

Have you ever had something you want to ask or talk about with someone, but you didn’t know exactly how to approach it?

For example, something is lingering in your mind, clouding your thoughts, but you are afraid to express it because you don’t want to upset anyone, or get them worked up?

I absolutely HATE having to bring up uncomfortable topics and/or having to ask awkward questions… especially when the overall “mood” is positive and happy.

But is the atmosphere truly happy when there is something so deeply weighing on your mind?

Keeping thoughts and questions to yourself, when they are truly bothering you, is an easy way to avoid confrontation. You hold on to the thoughts, in hopes that you they will just magically go away, or you will find some creative way to ignore them. However, what good does that do for you when there are unexpressed feelings that are weighing you down?

I have been working on trying to be more vocal with my thoughts and feelings lately. Too often in the past, I keep these feelings to myself- and they just end up “eating away” at me emotionally. I have kept deep thoughts internalized, and it does nothing but make me sad, upset, crabby, etc.

I have learned that although addressing certain things may be “uncomfortable” or “awkward” initially, they generally get sorted out and better understood once they are laid out in the open.

Open communication between people you care about – family, friends, significant others, etc. – is key to maintaining happy, healthy relationships. If you cannot be honest and open with them, you probably won’t be with anyone else.

It is not always easy for me, but for my own well being and “peace of mind” I need to be able to step away from my comfort zone at times and speak up when something is on my mind.
Express Your Feelings

Living in the Present Moment

I LOVE yoga. I love the beauty of the practice, I love the serenity in the meditation, I just love everything about it! Anyone who practices, knows that there are a couple of things that are highly emphasized…

1. The Breath
2. Being present in the moment

There is something to be said about the feeling of “being truly present in the moment”. In today’s world, people always seem to be preoccupied with “WHAT’S NEXT?!” in their lives. Whether it be projects at work, things going on at home, never ending to-do lists, etc. people easily lose sight of what is happening at the current moment in order to be more focused on what’s to come… I am [VERY] guilty of this too.

I often find myself thinking about the future (future meaning any time beyond right now, haha). If I am getting ready for work, I am thinking about my evening plans. If I am relaxing at home at night, I am thinking about the weekend. I think about the summer during the winter months, I think about my life in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years from now… you get the point.

What I am beginning to wonder is WHY? What is the rush to get to “WHAT’S NEXT” in life?
Call it goofy, corny, cliché, whatever… but I am starting to realize that being more focused, and present in the moment may really change my outlook on things. Life is so short, and all of this time spent thinking about what is going to happen in the future is time wasted on what is happening right NOW.

I am blessed in so many ways, and I hate to admit it, but I think these everyday blessings are often overlooked because I am too focused on what is going to happen next. Although my daily tasks might not be all that exciting, I need to start looking at the simple pleasures that come along with my routine and enjoying each and every day for what it is.

I am thankful for…

  • Finding my true faith and having a wholesome relationship with God
  • Being blessed to have Joe in my life to love
  • Rescuing two healthy, happy puppies and knowing that we are giving them a great life
  • My wonderful, loving family and great friends
  • My career with PTI
  • My healthy body, that allows me to enjoy life and can help me accomplish any goals/dreams
  • Owning my own house
  • Etc….

Taking a moment to sit back and realize how much I have to be thankful for, makes me realize that there is no rush to get into the “next best thing”.  Whether it be enjoying a walk with my puppies, my commute to work, my “homemade” dinners with Joe, visiting with my loved ones, etc. I am going to make a conscious effort to take each day and look at the beauty in whatever it is that I am doing.
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(Please note, I understand that it is important to plan and think about the future. I am simply suggesting that it is equally important to look at the life you are currently living, and enjoying it to its full potential. You don’t want to miss the great things going on around you right now!)

Lent – Commitment & Changes

This past Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) kicked off the 2014 Lenten Season. Since (most) Christians know what this spiritual season represents, I am not going to go into exactly what it all entails.

When a lot of people think of Lent, they think of having to “give up” something they love until Easter Sunday. I have to be honest, each year I try to give something up… each year I usually end up forgetting about it 😦 I know, I know, that sounds bad… and I actually feel guilty writing that!)

Over the past two years, I have grown immensely in my faith… So this Lenten season, I am going to fully commit myself to not only giving something up, but also making a few personal changes to better my life.

ITEM TO GIVE UP
Gum… Yes that sounds goofy, but believe it or not, giving up gum is going to be difficult for me. Chewing gum is a weird “go-to” habit I have… whether it be after a meal, wanting fresh breath, if I am feeling anxious or bored, if I want to avoid over-eating/drinking, etc. I find myself resorting to it.

I have noticed how much gum I chew, and I realized it’s time to ditch it from my daily routine! So, I am going to give it up for Lent. I’m hoping that after Lent I am going to realize that chewing gum isn’t really anything exciting and just nix the habit all together.

*Disclaimer… I am allowing myself to have mints/mouthwash lol. No one likes coffee breath*

THINGS TO CHANGE
As I mentioned in my last post, I have had a lot of changes in my life over the course of the past several months. Despite the excitement, joy and fun that have come along with these changes, there has been a lot of stress involved as well. I have been thinking a lot over the past couple weeks about some personal adjustments that need to be made in my life, to make me the happiest, healthiest person that I can be. These changes are not something that can be done once, and everything will be perfect… I am talking about LIFESTYLE CHANGES!

Simple Change #1: Break the routine (again)
Some of the challenges I have dealt with over the past several years (I believe) have made me prone to become a creature of habit. I easily get comfortable, and just settle with what I am used to…whether it be good or bad for my well-being.

It is so easy to get stuck in your day-to-day routine. Every day I can pretty much pinpoint what I am going to do at different times during the day. From waking up, projects at work, meals, after work activities, going to bed…It gets old after awhile. Starting now, I am going to challenge myself to work on being open to new ideas, trying new things, going to new places, broadening my horizons. This is a lifestyle change that I am going to carry on beyond Lent. Obviously I understand that my life is not going to be filled with adventures every day… but even little things like trying a new recipe, taking the puppies on a new route for our walks, is a good place to start.

Think about: what minor changes can you make in your life that will make you a happier, healthier person? Is there something you would like to give up…a habit, an attitude, a certain “comfort zone”? Or is there something you would like to add back in to your life to make it more fulfilling?