Stranger

Mental Health

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Lately, I’ve been so entrenched in the details of the reality I’m trying to manifest that the reality I’m currently living in has started to feel a little…strange. Or maybe I’m what’s strange. Either way something has changed and at first it was quite startling.

Yesterday, I talked some about how important my environment is to my creativity, and honestly, to my overall mental health. So obviously, my classroom is pretty cozy. There are lamps and twinkly lights everywhere. The wall space above my desk is covered in cool art and wall hangings and my windows are framed by some awesome geometric curtains.

I tried to create a space where I feel comfortable. Since I teach ESL, I receive new students all year long. I like to think that the environment I’ve created makes those newcomers feel comfortable too. I can only imagine how terrifying the first day of school in a different country can be. I try to use the design elements in my classroom to communicate as much positivity, security, and inclusivity as possible.

Usually, when I walk into my room, seeing those elements makes me happy. But yesterday, when I turned on my classroom lights after a long three-day weekend, I had this incredibly odd feeling. Like I was a stranger entering a space that didn’t belong to me.

I didn’t feel upset or angry or really any negative feelings at all. I felt detached, maybe even a little confused. Almost like waking up from amnesia.

It got me thinking about where my head’s been at for the past several weeks. My practice hasn’t been perfect. Those fears and doubts still creep in now and then. But I have been extremely dedicated to trying to stay positive and take action where I can to manifest the things I want.

And I’m starting to believe that’s how this whole thing works. I felt strange stepping into my classroom yesterday because my mind was already living in the future. In that reality I am a writer and full-time creative. In that reality I am content and stress-free. Teaching is the opposite of stress-free. In fact, the more overworked and overwhelmed you are the more you are rewarded–usually with more work.

Now I have these two realities, almost these two different people, yanking me around in this tug-of-war. Eventually, one of them is going to have to win. I want to be ready to make that decision. I want to be sure. If that means getting uncomfortable, I have to be willing to endure that too.

In the meantime, I am incredibly grateful that the work I do is meaningful and makes a difference. It might not be what I’m meant to do forever but my classroom is not a cage. It’s more of a…chrysalis. A place to grow and change. But also a place I’ll eventually have to break through if I want to discover my true potential.

Maybe that’s what comfort zones are for. Barriers we break through in order to fortify our minds and find our gifts. Maybe we should keep that in mind the next time we feel the urge to build a nest, whether that’s decorating our classroom to the nines or renovating our home. The purpose of the nest isn’t to protect us from all of the dangers of the outside world. The purpose is to provide us with temporary safety while we’re still learning to fly.

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DIY Your Life

Motivation & Inspiration

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I spent the day removing the popcorn ceilings from my bathroom. Well, a third of my bathroom. Then my arms got tired and the mess all over the floor, the walls, my bathtub, and my face still loomed in the distance. I decided to start cleaning up before I collapsed and then woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom only to discover that it was buried under a sopping mess of ceiling shavings.

At the beginning of the year I decided that instead of using every second of my weekends to write (which I’m already doing a good job of prioritizing during the week) I would use them for rest, planning, and a list of DIY projects that have been pinned to my Pinterest boards for months. So far we’ve (partially) built two nightstands, a headboard, and today I began the process of bringing our ceilings into the modern era.

One of the things that self-help gurus suggest doing in order to help you manifest the life you want is to make some changes to your environment in order to signal to the Universe that you’re ready for change. I think design can also signal to the Universe what kind of changes you’re ready for depending on how the space makes you feel.

Being a full-time writer means working from home and I want every space in my home to be conducive to creativity. I want to feel inspired in my home. I want to feel comfortable and safe.

I’ve spent a lot of time envisioning what each area of the house will look like when we’re finally finished renovating it. I’ve pictured myself at the kitchen banquette, writing on my laptop while I look out the window at my dog chasing butterflies in the yard. I’ve pictured myself reaching for the book on my nightstand, the soft glow of the Edison bulb table lamp washing the pages in gold as I read.

In order to make these dreams a reality I’m setting aside a small budget to put towards actually purchasing those items on my wishlist–pillows, curtains, power tools–and taking action by starting (and hopefully finishing) small projects that will create some manifesting momentum. By putting my energy towards these things, I am slowly transitioning my reality, and openly inviting the Universe to help me make meaningful progress toward my goals.

Whatever your goals are, ask yourself what you’re doing to invite those things into your life. Are you making room for them in your heart, in your home? Are you attracting it to you with your thoughts and actions?

Changing my environment is how I’m choosing to initiate this process but you can choose something else to focus on. Maybe you invest in yourself by taking a class or setting aside some time to study your craft by watching YouTube videos. Maybe you do some Marie Kondo-style tidying and actually open up the physical space for whatever it is you’re trying to manifest.

The point is, thinking about your desired reality is only half the work. You also have to take action in some tangible way that lets the Universe know you are ready. Even if the change you make is small, it’s still progress. One step towards the edge of the diving board. A few more steps and then all you have to do is take a deep breath and jump.