Monday, April 30, 2012

Of Bandages and Life

Sometimes you have to go through things in life that just plain hurt. No matter how much they hurt, they are something that have to happen, something that you have to work through. Like the pain in pulling a bandage off. You do it quickly enough the pain won't last as long, but you still have the tender spot underneath that hurts when you poke at it. You have to let time and air get to it and toughen it up. But if you had just left the bandage on, the wound would have festered.

The point is that some hurt is necessary. Feel it when it comes, be open to it and then make sure to let it go when you are done feeling it. Your skin will heal with time and air. Good often comes with the bad. Just know that life is full of bumps and bruises and we all make it out in the end. You have limited time on this Earth, live vividly without fear. Take all of the pain as lessons, take all of the joys as gifts. Just because you got hurt doesn't mean things are ending. As a great 90's band once played:

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Get Well by Eating Well

No thank you!
Almost 3 weeks ago I decided to kick my sugar addiction. It wasn't something that I planned too far in advance, but it was something that I suddenly realized I needed to do. After reading a few articles on the symptoms of sugar addiction, I realized that I fit squarely into that category. Addicted. Me. Addicted. I guess it makes sense.

My reasoning for wanting to quit sugar has more to do with the health benefits than the fact that I was so dependent upon the stuff. I realized that my chronic fatigue and sluggishness were caused by spikes and dips in my sugar levels, and the only way to get rid of them would be to constantly eat more sugar or to quit it all together. Also, I was having a handful of other health adversities (which you can certainly go on living without knowing about) all caused by this sugar intake!

So I quit sugar. Cold turkey. Or should I say cold cupcake? I had a few hiccups, times when I either forgot I wasn't eating fruit anymore or when I weighed free, expensive chocolates over my temporary health (happened twice). I am doing very well now. I am no longer having crazy sugar cravings. I still think about certain things longingly, but nothing is controlling me. I don't feel deprived. It is amazing. You know what rocks the most? I have much more energy, my acne has lessened (aside from when I got my period) and my health concerns have disappeared completely!

As of this past Tuesday, I have also quit animal products (some might call this Vegan, but I don't, necessarily). My reasoning has to do with research that I have read over the years, connecting meats and dairy to a whole host of health issues. I know that I don't need these things for protein or calcium (you can get both in healthily hearty supply from plants). I am trying to get back to the diet humans were designed to consume, as a species. We are scavengers. Yes we can eat anything, but it doesn't mean we have to all the time. Once I get these things cleared out of my system and my psyche, I will reintroduce them, but as treats instead of integral parts of my diet. I guess the biggest difference between what I am doing and what some Vegans do, is that I am no longer consuming processed foods at all. Whole foods. One ingredient foods. Raw if I can.

When preparing for dinner the other night, a friend asked me, "Can you have this? ... Can you have that?" After thinking of it again today, I have realized that the answer isn't merely yes or no. The answer is yes, I can have that, but I choose not to for health reasons. Or yes I can have that but I only want a little bit. I can eat whatever I want. This is not a temporary diet. This is a new way of eating.

If you are interested in learning more, check out these documentaries:

  • Forks Over Knives
  • Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
  • Hungry for Change
And these books:
  • The PH Miracle by Robert O. Young PhD
  • The Four Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss
If you have any other material to suggest to me, please feel free!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The One Choice You Can't Make

A few weeks ago an extended family member was diagnosed with cancer. She was living her life to the utmost, actively going about her day like nothing was wrong. Just three weeks after the diagnosis, she is bed-ridden and not expected to live much longer.

More than anything, this is a wake up call to me. I mean, I always thought that you would have some time between diagnosis and dying, time of health to enjoy those last crazy wonders. This family member didn't have that choice. Her body was immediately taxed. I mean, one of us could get hit by a drunk driver any day of the week! Our lives are finite. They end, and the ending isn't always after 70.

Am I happy with the life I am living as of right now? Am I creating excitement everyday for the many joys that life could hold? Am I actively doing all of the things I dreamed about? The answer is pretty close to no. I mean, my life could end without me ever really living beyond my day-to-day drudgery. Yes, I have a loving family and a decent job and an awesome town to live in. I am thankful for these gifts everyday! But have I traveled beyond the East Coast? Have I gone sky diving? Have I even tried to act or sing in front of a crowd? Have I created a legacy of wealth to invest and pass down to my children's children's children's children? No. And the kicker is, I haven't even started the plan for those things yet.

How will any dream ever get accomplished if I don't plan for it happening? Every day will continue to pass with my dreams never getting closer. Just putting in time doesn't mean that you will eventually gain your dream life! I know that I would die a whole lot happier if I knew, knew for sure, that I had done everything in my power to achieve my greatest dreams (whether realized or not).

Do me a favor? Think about one thing that you want to do more than anything. The thing that makes you want a longer life if only to achieve this one thing. Do me one more? Write out a plan, however fanciful, to working toward it and take the first step.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Let's Kick It

I am kicking sugar. In a big way.

This may cause some of you great surprise, to realize that sugar is not a healthy part of anyone's diet. Well, alright, perhaps you knew that much. I am only now realizing what a huge part it is playing in my own well-being. I am a different person because I seem to have a sugar addiction. I have minute health issues, that when looked at separately, they aren't a big deal. When they are considered collectively, they point to my acidic diet. Sugar is a huge part of this. I am taking one step at a time in becoming healthy again. First step, eliminate sugar and regain control. Second step, eliminate animal products.

In focusing on a solution for myself, I have felt empowered, and emboldened again. Picking up my momentum from Springs past. I started reading "The Four Hour Work Week" by Tim Ferriss, again this morning. I read it a few years ago, and it is so worth the re-read! I recommend it to anyone who isn't already independently wealthy and any one who can consider out of the box solutions. Also, the guy is a hilarious author, worth it just for his style of writing!

In reading this book, I have reignited that entrepreneurial and adventurous spark within me. I am ready for challenges and ready to step out of my comfort zone. I want to travel, in a moment's notice. I want to take classes for things when I feel the interest for it. I want to do all of those things in life that I have dreamed of doing, but never really put in my plan. It is time to stop settling for good enough. Good enough doesn't get you anywhere but where you already are! How can you stand knowing that you will never reach your dreams? That you will never experience all that life has to offer you? How can you live with never?

Do yourself a favor, be responsible for your own happiness. Stop blaming circumstances for your own ennui in life. Start finding your passion and follow it out the door. We only have so many years on this planet, and each one passes by faster than the last. Settling today will never grant you your dreams tomorrow.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stand Up and Fight

Challenges are there to be conquered. 

I laugh in the face of adversity! (and celebrate it with champagne?)
I am facing a challenge which had made me sad with failure. Then, I realized, the only way to fail is to give up. To give up is to say that your challenge isn't worth fighting for. My particular challenge is more than worth my efforts. The very quality of my future is at stake. I will not give up! I will not just lay down and succumb to the very forces that wish to conquer me!

As many of you already know, I believe in intuition. I believe that things happen for a reason. I believe that there is a lesson to learn in each challenge. These lessons are precious tools in creation of optimum situations. Once you learn from these valuable life lessons, you need not repeat them again. I believe that this challenge is happening to me for a reason. I only have a guess as to what the reason is, but something tells me it has to do with my future happiness and taking more responsibility for it everyday.
Encourage your life to bloom

This morning as I awoke, I found it impossible to ignore my obstacle to happiness. In my head, medieval war music played, the paint was applied to my face and a silent war cry sounded as I made up my mind to fight. This is my life. I am the only one with the ability to make it rock. There are supporting roles that certainly help, but by taking 100% responsibility of my life, I am the only one who can help me. It is up to me to conquer this challenge.

Don't take your challenges laying down. Stand up and fight for your life, your happiness, your love.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Relish the Fog

I am in a delightful fog. The only way to describe it is that I have no idea where I am going, what I am looking for, but I know something good is in this fog. I just have to keep walking through it, I can't run because I might trip. When finding one's way through the fog it is important to take steps slowly, reaching your hands out, trying to meet obstacles in a harmless manner. Feeling one's way through the fog, finding treasures, hidden somewhere.

Truly, the happiness should already reside within your grasp. The walk through the fog is a happy event in its own right, as it is something challenging, something you might learn from. Have you ever had a time in your life when you just had to stumble in a general direction, pleased by the prospect of your stumbling, but still unsure of where you were actually headed?

This is why having happiness at your core is so important. If it were merely dependent on your bumbling upon something nice, happiness would rarely occur for you. By having a core of happiness we are able to experience life, its emotions, its challenges, with a positive undercurrent. Something to fall back on, knowing that life generally leads to something good, we must only trust that this is going to happen for us. To embrace the little triumphs in your life.

While reaching through the fog you see this beautiful flower, with light dew on its petals, a sweet scent rising to your nostrils. In that moment it is just you and the flower within your vision in the fog. You can't see the challenges ahead, although you know they are coming. Enveloped in this sweet simplicity, you have found a moment to be grateful for, a moment to carry with you through trials of unsatisfactory conditions. You may get angry, but you still hold this flower, like a dream, in your mind. Even if you are not thankful for it today, you were thankful for it once, and that makes a difference.

Relish your journey through the fog, through unknown conditions. Let the little joys surround you, take you over when they come. Keep those joys for times of troubles, let your light lessen the dark.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Month of Learning

My life is constantly growing, changing, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Let me tell you a little bit about what has been going on over here for the past month. One who knows me, knows that I follow my intuition and I have only gotten better at doing so over time. About a month ago I was in the midst of making new friends, and feeling a bit bland about my own life. Everywhere I looked were people following their own dreams, people who were busy doing something with their lives. Upon self-reflection I noted that I had had an entire Summer to make something of my life, to seize opportunities and live louder. But I hadn't.

Every new person I have met has one thing in common with each other: they are on the right path to their success and happiness. I feel that every chance-meeting with another person was meant to be, for some reason or another. Running along this vein, I have to assume that I have met all of these unique and wonderful people not only to cure my social drought but to encourage me to gain success. To focus more clearly upon creating success in my own life. To yearn for it.

A month ago I had an urge to find a job, something to get me out of the house during the day and provide further income for our family. I checked Craigslist, Career Builder and local ads. Then, for whatever reason I thought, "I wonder if I could do anything at the radio station?" I checked the station site and sure enough, they were looking for me. In sales, not voice. "Hmmm, I think I could do that, although it is pretty vague about what they are looking for." I sent off a very simple email, attached my resume and waited. Two days later (I think) I got a call asking me in for an interview! I couldn't believe it, were they sure?? I didn't even know anything about the position yet, just that it was sales for the radio station.

Two interviews later and I nearly have the position. I know more about radio sales than I ever did, and I am passionate about scoring this job! I haven't ever felt this purely about a job, it is a career. It is something that I could see myself excelling at as I haven't anything prior. The rub? I have a third interview to go to today. Gulp.

Part of me is slightly ashamed to say that I am hoping to "work", as in for someone else. Especially after all of the entrepreneurial talk of earlier. The thing is though, this is getting me into the business world in a way I could never have managed on my own. There are things to learn here, about myself and about business. Perhaps this is my answer, my passion knocking on the door.

As hopeful and nervous as I am, I know that I have given it my all thus far. I have impressed myself, seeing what I am capable of, testing my knowledge out, finding new talents. I know that this opportunity has come to me for a reason, and whatever the reason, I intend on making the most of it. I will learn whatever I can from this, and know that because I gave it everything I have, gave it the very best of Amanda, the outcome doesn't matter. On the inside, I have already won something great.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Simple Truths

Your potential is amazing
Trust yourself. Have your best interests in mind. Love who you are. You are an amazing individual who deserves a full and plentiful life. You deserve all that life can give a person, but you need to accept it first. Know your limitations and push beyond them. True greatness is not easy to achieve, you have to fight for it.

Love yourself and fight for the life you have always dreamed of. You are greatness. Feel it. Own it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Breaking Through the Treetops

Climb above the tree line, witness the abundance of the world.

Happiness shines down on me like sunlight pouring through the openings of a leafy canopy. It feels glorious. You are the only one who can break through the underbrush, in search of that light.

As I learn what makes me content, I allow it into my life. The thing is, what makes me happy might be against societal standards. Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something that rings true to you, because of something someone else might think? We all have. The trick is to swallow that fear and just do what makes you shine.
Time to peek out of hiding...

Think of all of the things you have thought of doing, all of the things you considered, if only  for a moment. Then remember why you didn't do it. Much of what we deny ourselves is due to fear, whether fear of judgement of others or fear of danger, our fear is trapping us. We must overcome this fear, if only a little at a time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that society doesn't always know best. The paid experts don't always give the absolute truth, sometimes they give the truth that benefits them the most. Always question what you hear and learn, believe the part of it that rings true to you. I am breaking all of the rules I can, little by little. I started with disobeying my doctor, who wanted to control my body in ways that she knew were against my beliefs. Then I realized, doctors are not the police, we do not have to obey them. Medicine has its place, and these people do have expertise where I do not, but we have to understand that they all have their limits.

You are only partially there, open further and claim your bliss!
This isn't about bashing doctors, it is about listening to yourself and following your bliss. Trying to dissect your bliss from the opinion of the masses can be difficult. Start to look at everything you do and question whether you are doing it for yourself or not. There may not be much that you are doing outside of your blissful realm, but there may be that one thing that could make an undeniable difference. Something you have been denying yourself for years, maybe? Just step ahead into that fog of fear and make a leap. Worst outcome: You learn something about yourself. Best outcome: You find greater happiness and learn something about yourself.

Close your eyes and look inward at your perfect life. What does it look like? 
You can accomplish anything you truly want to do.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finding Your Dice

Have you ever been looking for something, feverishly, and can't seem to find it no matter where you look, so you quit. As soon as you do quit, the aforementioned lost item is sitting right in front of your face. It is so weird when this happens, isn't it? Happens to me all the time! This morning I was battling the edges of an emotional hangover when I looked (inward) and found something I had been feverishly searching out for months.

Any guesses? Yeah I guess it would be difficult to jump inside my head, so perhaps I should just tell you. I found a few things, motivation and passion being among them, but a new passion jumped out at me as well. As some of you know, I have a curbed passion for singing. I am not going to win an American Idol, but it is something that I enjoy doing and have always dreamed of doing it to help others. One doesn't need an AI voice to affect millions, one just needs to sing the right words, with accurate emotion, to the right crowd at the right time. Here comes the obvious epiphany: I could learn to write my own songs, telling stories to help others but portraying my abundant emotions accurately by singing the songs.

This challenge mocks me when I go to the lake, I will climb it!
Right in front of my face. Just move the ketchup bottle to the side and there it was, plain sight the entire time. The "ketchup bottle" in this instance was my own limiting beliefs. I had tried to write music, once. Once. Wow, what an impressive effort, right? I had told myself I wasn't cut out for it and moved on. Wait a minute. Why not? I can write this blog (and like 6 others), right? I can write crazy long emails to all of my friends, right? I can even wax on and on in my journal, expressing my emotions to myself. What is stopping me from creating songs with these words? Nothing.

I haven't made a goal yet, still working on that. But I have started the research process. I ordered books (from the library of course) on music writing and voice coaching. I have no disillusions about myself, I know that my voice is raw, but has potential and needs serious honing. I know that something like this is going to take arduous efforts, but what great things worth accomplishing in life come easy? Exactly.

Don't just let the waves move you, go your own way!
I am learning to cherish challenges. Life can get so boring when one lives a simple life, never venturing out of the circle of safety. This is as exciting as it is scary to me. To actually have to try at something that I have never done before, to put monumental effort into something like this seems a gamble, but the odds are not against me. It was once said of me in high school (by a girl who feared I would steal her boyfriend), "Amanda always gets what she wants." I think I mentioned this a few months ago, but it has really stuck with me, if not become my mantra in life. "Amanda always gets what she wants" That girl was more correct than she could have ever guessed. I know that I get whatever I truly want, as long as I know what I want. Indecision is dangerous, don't let it win and don't be afraid to go for what you desire.

I enjoy taking risks, it keeps life interesting. I am a master of communication, favoring completely open honesty over dancing around a topic. I feel this will really lend itself to song writing. I have so much to convey, so many experiences packed into (nearly) 27 years.

Speaking of 30 and getting what I want, exhibit one: My husband
Speaking of approaching 30, my birthday is approaching with surprising speed. September 3rd always seemed to take years to reach me as a child, now it feels like I celebrate my birth every month. I can only imagine how fast time will fly when I age past 90 (I plan on living to a ripe and healthy age of 125).

Age aside, let me leave you will a nugget of this post: Stop believing that negative, critical voice in your head. Look at your dreams as challenges, take them on with gusto and a competitive air. Take joy in knowing you are defeating the odds.

Just roll the dice.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Do You Believe in Fate?

I am one of those people who believes in fate. I believe that we all have choices in life but certain opportunities are represented to us for a reason. We have complete freedom to choose to take advantage of the "fated moment" or pass it by. I try to follow my intuition and take risks by betting it all on the "fated moments".

Ah, if only fate were so obvious! For more skeptical people it can be very difficult to recognize these instances. And what is the benefit of taking a path predestined for you? I know that people hate to feel controlled, and the choice is theirs. But if you follow fate, there is usually something distinct to learn there, which may benefit you later. Fate is s tricky animal, watch out! It is WAY too easy to misread fate's signs and turn down a different road. Perhaps something with little chance of happening, does, just at the right time and place, for you. That is fate, in its most obvious form. Perhaps you take advantage of it and it leads to a rougher road. You may wonder, "Was this really meant to happen? This certainly doesn't feel beneficial!". Like I seem to repeat incessantly (and please forgive me for that), challenges/failures are not the end of the road, they are the beginning of a better road. One that will lead somewhere interesting, often granting you priceless knowledge and experience to better handle the bumps.
Skipping down a rough road is more bearable than grumbling

Perhaps I am speaking to a very skeptical audience, people who think all of the preceding is just hog wash? That is perfectly cool, I love that people are diverse and the world thrives on different thought patterns. Perhaps your skeptical, logical nature benefits you more than it would me. You could just take it with a grain of salt and move on, I certainly do. I have learned that a little skepticism is a smart thing to have (downright necessary), but I don't let it own my life. Fate doesn't own my life either, I do.

We attract what we need and want in life. For whatever reason these often include lessons, things to learn before moving on. I encountered one today that I take complete responsibility for, even though it hurt, I realized that after the tears came knowledge and experience. Not to mention an opportunity that might have been the real thing that was fated. Like I said, fate is tricky, but it is usually right.

{Please excuse this brief interlude into a more spiritual line of thinking. I completely respect your beliefs and the way you live your life. My only purpose was to shine light on a topic that was nagging to sing.}

PS: Thanks Universe for sending me great friends, you really came through, U!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Are You Waiting For?


Is there something, some goal that you are just waiting for? Do you expect this gift to fall into your lap with little to no work on your part? Tough chance at that, just look at your results so far.

I find myself getting discouraged when I fall behind in achieving my goals. Yes, every one of us has our setbacks, obstacles, but it is what you do about them that decides your speed of achievement.

Is this sounding random to you? Please think of your lofty goals and look at how far you have come in the past year to achieving them. Little to no progress would point to lack of effort on your part. As annoying as it can be to hear, we are each 100% responsible for our own lives. It can actually be freeing to start taking responsibility for every part of your life, the good and the bad.

Once you start taking responsibility for your life, your goals will get closer because you have stopped using useless excuses. Do any of these sound familiar?
  • I am too old
  • I am too poor
  • I am too young
  • It's too late
  • I am not ready
  • I am not good enough
  • I am too fat
  • I have no will power
  • Things never work out for me
Not only are these just lame excuses, but they are exactly the kind of negative self talk that keeps you standing in stagnant water. Change those opinions (not facts), turn them on their ear, and you will start noticing the difference. You will feel more lively and free, no longer trapped by your own limiting beliefs. Sometimes the most unlikely people can do the most amazing things, just study up on history and celebrities. Most of them got to where they are by defeating crushing odds and turning a deaf ear to naysayers (including themselves).

Thomas Edison tried and "failed" to invent the lightbulb 10,000 times and he said this of his trials:

"If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward... I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work"

If you have a dream that you are passionate about, why are you not living it yet? What is holding you back? Don't fear analyzing your life and the results you may get. Some of the best feedback that you can receive is the "negative" kind. Don't look at things like that as failures, they are merely feedback for you to analyze and learn from.

Well worth the effort
A steep climb
Yes, the trip to greatness is a steep climb, but the view is that much sweeter when you work for it. Challenge is the spice of life, don't balk at it, accept it with competitive vigor. Remember, you are awesome, capable of everything and anything you have ever dared to dream of.

{Side note: I am not perfect. Some of my best advice comes from my own downfalls and lessons. If anyone needs this post the most, it is me.}

A good song for this post is Pink's F--in' Perfect.

"Change the voices, in your head. Make them like you instead."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tipping the Balance to Find Harmony

As far as I can tell, we were all put on this Earth to do a few things:
  • Learn
  • Love
  • Be Happy
Okay, maybe there are a few other things for us to do, but you get my drift. One must find harmony in their life, harmony between making yourself happy and creating it for others. If we all just set about to make ourselves happy, with no regard of the happiness of others, the world would be a mess. The same is true of the reverse.

Many people neglect creating their own happiness, instead they focus on pleasing others. What are you doing right now that doesn't make you happy? What would you be doing differently to make you happier? Is someone's opinion holding you back?

I agree that this can be a tricky topic and a balance is not that easily reached, as it is different for all of us. I have battled this one for most of my life, only recently uncovering my true self, discovering what makes Amanda happy, what she is passionate about and how she can follow her bliss in the most harmonious way possible.

We have all been there, when there is no harmonious way to get what we want. Like when you had to dump that guy/girl, even though you cared for them, just not in the right way. Life can be hard, obviously, but we all need to understand that sometimes we do have to tip the balance a little to change things up, to create harmony. What are you fearing that is keeping you from harmony? What can you do today to help create a happier and more harmonious future for tomorrow?

Please remember that the struggle can be worth it, as long as your heart is in the right place. Once you conquer your fears, you will find a truer sense of self. If you don't find this to be correct, perhaps your actions were incorrect. We are all here to learn, so readjust your tactics and plow ahead!

Embrace your unique characteristics that define you.