Square One

Mental Health

marvin-ronsdorf-196913-unsplash

If you are an anxious person you might also find that you are an obsessive person. And probably obsessive about the things that make you anxious. That might mean you obsessively try to find solutions to what’s bothering you or maybe you obsessively try to avoid it.

I’ve blogged for 26 consecutive days on the topic of positive mindset and the power of visualization. Obviously, I’m the type of person who becomes obsessive about finding solutions. If I don’t have a problem that needs solving I will find one and if that doesn’t work I will make one.

It’s the only problem I can’t solve.

And yet, for some reason, every time I find myself slipping back into those anxious thoughts I become irritated, then angry, as if it’s a surprise.

I was able to hold my positivity, hopefulness, and high self-esteem in a death grip for approximately twenty days. That was twenty days of blogging, reflecting, listening to audio books every single time I’m in the car, exercising regularly, avoiding emotional eating, starting several DIY projects, not allowing myself to obsess over the amount of money in my bank account, etc.

I built up a lot of momentum very quickly.

This week I crashed. Now I’m trying to figure out why.

Is it because I’ve been back at work for three weeks and being in that familiar routine has stymied my hope for change? Is it because I need to buy a very expensive power tool to actually finish some of the DIY projects I started and my fear of scarcity and lack is preventing me from bringing closure to these activities? Is it because cedar season is hell on earth and I haven’t been able to breathe comfortably through my nose the past several days? Is it because I allowed myself to backslide into the destructive habit of obsessing over my budget?

The more I think about it the more I realize that it is actually all of these things. But…all of these things I just described aren’t especially devastating or even out of the ordinary. These things I just described are normal life.

What does it mean that the difficulties of normal life are enough to derail me? What does it mean about my progress towards enlightenment that I have to even ask such a question?

I think it means that I’m being ridiculous and overdramatic.

Feeling low energy or uninspired or anxious over these last few days does not mean that I’m starting back at square one. The fact that I can have this perspective at all is proof that I’ve made a lot more progress than I realize. Feeling like my old self doesn’t mean I can’t also be my new self. I have not failed until I stop trying. And I’m still trying, every day, to see the good, to do good, and to believe that as long as I am in pursuit of those things everything will be okay. I will be okay.

Advertisements

2

Mental Health

Before I can move forward on this journey I have to lighten the load I’ve been lugging around for the past three years. That means unpacking the things I’d rather not look at over even acknowledge, throwing things out that don’t serve me and slow me down. That means forgiving myself for being afraid.

I have lived in this body, with this mind for twenty-seven years. I know how I think, how I operate, how I navigate the world. Most of the decisions I make are based on avoiding discomfort at all costs. But no amount of tiptoeing can save you from life. It’s constantly changing, evolving, and it expects you to change along with it.

That’s the point of the human experience–to have a human experience. To feel pain and joy. To be struck by dreams and disappointment. You need both. Always.

When I avoided doing the things that scared me, I thought I was saving myself from something. Protecting myself from more heartache. But I was actually robbing myself of what waits on the other side–transformation. A chance to be a better, stronger version of myself.

At this point, it’s not productive to dwell on what I’ve lost or what I didn’t give myself a chance to gain. I can’t be angry with myself for doing what I thought was right. For making decisions that were really out of love. But what I can do is try to show myself that same love in a different way.

Instead of running from discomfort, I can ease myself into it. Instead of questioning my own greatness, I can remind myself of it every day. Instead of holding onto the thoughts and feelings that burden me, I can let them go.

I can let go.

I can forgive myself for my choices, my inaction, indecision, and doubt. Unpacking them; leaving them behind. I can stop using my fear as a compass and start using my heart instead.

1

Motivation & Inspiration

anton-darius-thesollers-1259439-unsplash

The Universe is already listening.

I set the intention to move full force in the direction of my dreams…three days ago.

THREE DAYS

Here’s how I demonstrated my faith:

1) I set a retirement date from my current career.

2) I created an 18-month escape plan of tasks and goals, both personal and business related, to help me get there.

3) I cleaned out my closet and got rid of a ton of stuff I’d been hoarding due to my fear of lack.

4) I bought myself a ticket to hear a 5 hour lecture and Q&A from one of my favorite authors.

Here’s what’s happened so far:

1) I crunched my January budget for the hundredth time and I found an extra $400 to go toward completing my Emergency Fund.

2) A graphic designer who I was certain was completely out of my league actually responded to my email. After 2 weeks of thinking I was a loser they shouldn’t even give the time of day.

3) My boyfriend found a portable recorder in with some of his equipment for the podcast I’ve been fantasizing about but have yet to mention to a single soul.

4) The migraine I’d had for three days suddenly disappeared.

It’s creepy awesome!

So here’s what I’m going to do for me and all of the other indies and creatives who are dreaming of leaving their day job behind, of finding their true purpose, of getting rich, and being brave–I’m going to blog diligently for the entire 18-month period to capture all of the miracles, big and small, that come my way.

Because I know in those moments when Doubt’s whispers become shouts I will need proof. I will need reminding that my thoughts are magic and that instead of wading out into that fear I can climb onto my life raft, the one I am building for myself one prayer, one promise at a time.

Writing from the Top of the Mountain

Mental Health, Motivation & Inspiration

benjamin-voros-575800-unsplash

For the past year I have been trying to figure out where it all went wrong. How did I go from being on the verge of having everything I wanted to feeling farther from my dreams than ever? When did I become a magnet for fear and doubt instead of a human rocket that uses them as fuel? Where exactly did I lose myself and how do I get her back?

If I retrace my steps, perfectly, honestly, I can actually pinpoint the moment when everything took a turn for the worse, when the wheels fell off, when I gave up on myself and my dreams, giving the universe permission to do the same.

I’ve written and reflected so much on the miracle of May 2015 when, seemingly overnight, my book sales skyrocketed. I’ve looked back on that time with awe and gratitude, with confusion and disbelief. I have looked back on that moment as luck finally meeting with all of my hard work. As the beginning of something great. But in the midst of that moment of greatness I did not choose to do something great, bold, or brave. Because I did not choose to leap.

Instead, I took the money that I’d made from writing fiction and I used it to apply to grad school. I used it to build a cocoon, to mitigate risk, to stomp out my fears of change and lack and failure. I used it to give up.

I didn’t realize at the time that I was giving up. But what else do you call turning your back on a gift that big and beautiful?

In my quest to understand where it all went wrong (and therefore, how to fix it) I’ve been reading a lot about mindset, the power of positive thinking, and the rules of universal intelligence. Basically, universal intelligence is…well, you. And me. And everything. Everything is connected. Our reality is a shifting, changing thing that bends to our desires, good or bad, brave or fearful.

On some level, I have always believed this–that I am always in control of much more than I appear to be. But I also have an anxious overactive brain that can funnel just as much negative energy into something as positive energy. In fact, it’s much easier for me to funnel negative energy into something because most of my day is spent swatting away negative thoughts. I’m an expert at creating them. I can do it in my sleep, and often do, which is why I have nightmares almost every night.

But this hyperactive, extremely powerful brain of mine, when it focuses on positive things, can make miracles happen. On some level, I have always believed this too. The problem is, the line between positive thoughts and negative thoughts is coated in vaseline. I vacillate between them like an olympic ping-pong player.

Everything is awesome. I’m so happy. Look at all the abundance that surrounds me. So much excess. Things I don’t need. Things I’ve greedily hoarded when there are people in the world who are homeless and starving!

See what I mean? It’s a problem.

But a problem that I had (somehow) temporarily solved in the summer of 2015, at least long enough for something completely miraculous to happen. I keep thinking about that time in my life, trying to figure out all the ways it was different; all the ways I was different.

Here’s what I know for sure: I was frustrated with my current job. I knew I didn’t want to work there forever. I knew I hated my boss. But I also knew, with extreme certainty and clarity, that it was temporary. I felt a pull to do something bigger, greater, better. Something that would give my life purpose and make the world a better place. I believed that I was meant for that kind of responsibility and that I had unique skills and abilities that qualified me for such a role. I wanted to make more money so that I could buy a new car with a working A/C unit that didn’t stall every time I ran the heater while idling at a stop light. So that I could shelter myself from the kind of financial struggles my parents went through. So I could do good things for others.

Three years later and every single one of those basic desires is the same. What isn’t the same, is me.

In 2015, when I was daydreaming about my future, I was writing like my life depended on it, planning like my life depended on it, dreaming like my life depended on it. The things I wanted and the work I was willing to do to get them was nonnegotiable. My day job was temporary and this was also nonnegotiable. All of these nonnegotiable things were promises I was making to myself and to the universe. These promises became prayers. Declarations and then manifestations.

I told the Universe that I wanted to make a living as a writer. I showed it that I was serious by writing every spare second I had–early in the morning and late into the night. I paid for cover designs and copy editing and threw money at this dream even though it wasn’t earning me a cent.

And then the Universe answered my prayers. It gave me exactly what I wanted. Money. An audience. Control. Freedom.

But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to quiet those dark and doubting voices in my head. It wasn’t enough to make me believe that I deserved these gifts I was being given. It wasn’t enough to make me leap into that great unknown that really isn’t unknown once you realize you’re the one constructing it. Brick by brick. Every thought with the power to summon something you desire or something you fear.

I chose fear. In the face of my dreams, of my destiny, I chose fear.

Instead of trusting that the universe would continue to provide, I stopped swatting those negative thoughts away and let myself dwell on them. What will I do when the money runs out? What if I can’t write another book? What if I lose it all? What if I sabotage everything?

And I did. It took three years but every fear that I let stop me from taking that leap, every fear that has been following me around, tying me in knots, stealing my sleep and good sense, has come to fruition. And I have no one to blame but myself.

But this is also good news. Because if I’m the only one to blame for creating this problem then I’m the only one who can possibly come up with the solution. Believing this is also the first step in repairing my relationship with the Universe because it operates on the assumption that if I can change what I believe, I can change, well, everything.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to get back in the driver’s seat of this human experience that could very well be the only one I ever get. I’m going to make it count by planning and dreaming and creating and trusting like my life depends on it. I’m going to claw my way out of that black hole and stand on the top of the mountain. I’m going to give myself all the gifts and I’m going to believe with everything in me that I deserve them.

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

Motivation & Inspiration

This seems to be a disturbing trend of my twenties and even though those who are older and wiser have told me that being scared and confused is what your twenties is all about…I just can’t accept it. I need to be in control. I need my plans to pan out. I need to know myself and what I want. And I don’t. Not completely.

For the past five years I’ve been driven by dreams and by my relentless fear of having an ordinary life. I thought school was the answer. I thought writing was the answer. I thought money was the answer. But none of those things have given me the kind of success or security I’d hoped for. And for a long time I decided to just wait it out, to work in another job that didn’t fulfill me spiritually and didn’t pay me what I deserved, and to just write as much as I possibly could until one day something stuck. But I’m six novels in and I’m still not earning enough to make writing my full-time career. And I’m tired of waiting.

Maybe I’m not supposed to have all the answers in my twenties but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be proactive about finding them. My dream is to be a novelist but from now on I won’t allow that to be my only dream. I am smart and I am capable and I am ready for a new challenge. I’m ready for a new life. So, while I’ll still write every day, I’ve also decided to go back to school to get my master’s degree in education. I love books and there is so much more I can be doing in this world to contribute to the spread of literacy and love of reading. Great stories save and our young people need that now more than ever. They need righteous examples of faith and strong will. They need to be exposed to ideas that both inspire and challenge. They need to read. They need to write. To organize their thoughts and analyze their emotions and form opinions that can’t be easily swayed. Reading breeds empathy but writing breeds independence and teens in today’s world desperately need both.

I’ve always tried to write with these things in mind and to approach each story as a means of making my readers feel connected and acknowledged but there is only so much I can do from behind my keyboard. Even with access to the internet the reach of my novels is still limited. If I really want to make a difference then I’m going to have to step outside my comfort zone and join the fight for literacy on the front lines. I’m not sure if I’ll be a great teacher, or even a good one, but I know I’ve got the passion to try. I know I’m meant to make a difference in the lives of young people, and whether that’s through my novels or through teaching, that’s exactly what I plan to do.