Welcome to Write Your Vision!

Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Shifting Gears

Now that Christmas has passed, the inevitable task of facing forward starts... For me, Christmas is about celebrating, creating memories and of course, remembering.

With all the presents put in their respective new homes in toy chests, jewelry boxes, and closets, we take down the ornaments and wreaths and tree for another year.  Once the tasks are complete, we all begin shifting gears to stare down the New Year.

The New Year - wow.  Another one.  Then the questions start:
  • What's this year going to be like?  
  • What am I going to learn?  
  • What am I going to impact?  
  • What am I going to change?

I began my day today by meeting my trainer for a surprise trek she'd mapped out through a canyon.  It was up a steep hill, then through leaf covered twigs and limestone rocks -- down and up, zig zagging, sprinting, jogging, hopping across a stream, then walking to recover only to come face to face with a little lake and a wooden dock where I was to do sit-ups, planks and mountain climbers.  This of course was followed by more running, jumping up to hit tree branches along the way, tricep dips on a bench, and last the hike straight up the rock hill to the car.  I've gotten used to something different every time with Erinn but this was the most fun.  I do love being outside verses in a stuffy, sweat-filled gym!

I survived another day with her.  (That's my only goal these days...)

Mentally at times I'd think she was going to kill me as my heart races wildly trying to understand this new routine called exercise.  I said that to her out loud one day and she just smiled and said,

"No, I'm not gonna kill you - we're going to CHANGE you."

...we're going to CHANGE you...

Suffice it to say, those few words have STUCK with me.

The thing about shifting gears after the holiday is that we are all mentally and physically preparing ourselves for the next phase... the next change.  We write our New Year's Resolutions outlining our goals.

Note:  Hmmm - wonder why we write them??  (Food for Thought)

Yea, okay, I know I have a one-track mind.  The point is that we make new mental notes and try to reframe what and sometimes who we are.  It's the time of year when we ALL think about what we WANT.

What do you WANT?

I know many have the usual lists saying they want to lose weight, spend more time with family, balance work with an actual life, maybe get a raise, start a business, plan a vacation, etc. etc. etc.

The thing to consider though are the DETAILS - the SPECIFICS about HOW and WHAT you actually truly want.  Not generalities.  If you're speaking or thinking in ambiguity, you'll never reach whatever goal you think you have.  [See Post:  Being Specific, part 1-2]

So DO shift gears - but challenge yourself to change at least one thing - and write down what that is!  Write down your vision for yourself specifically.  If it is to lose weight, say how much and by when; then outline your meal and exercise plan that is realistic for you, join a group or get a trainer - make the choice to set yourself up to be successful.  If it is to spend more time with your family, decide to get to work earlier so you can leave by four or five -- set your boundaries, make a plan, tell your spouse so s/he can hold you accountable.

Again, be specific!  Think about the details and WRITE them down...

At times, you may feel like the choices you've made that step you forward toward your Vision will kill you -- but the Truth is that it's not going to kill you, it's going to CHANGE you.

And THAT will be a beautiful thing!

Are you READY?

(Cue Rocky theme song for inspiration!)


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

It's the MOST Wonderful Time of the Year!!

There is no more special time of the year than Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah... people all over the world pause to celebrate with those they love.  

My wish for everyone is to have a happy, healthy holiday season and that we are all on our path to achieve our individual dreams in 2011.  Today, I am most grateful to the Lord for all the unbelievable blessings I've received and continue to receive this year.

Welcome to the King of Kings, EMMANUEL - God with us!

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" 

And Mary said:
    "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home (Luke 1:26-56).  [Jesus'] mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." 

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus (Matthew 1:19-24).

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
    "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." 

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:1-38). 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
    'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." 

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." 

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead." 

So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:1-23).

{Story reprinted from James Watkins}

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leaning In...

It's the time of year when most have a full heart - we give more, volunteer our time, cook, spend time with friends and enjoy family again... 

It's the time of year when we cherish the things and people we love SO much that we overlook the quirks that drive us nuts the rest of the year and tell ourselves how endearing it all is...  ;)

It's the time where the world collectively hopes for Peace on Earth and Good Will!

But it's ALSO the time of holiday blues because it's the time when we FEEL loss so acutely of those who are no longer with us.  And that's hard.  I like to tell myself sometimes that "Time heals all wounds" but the truth is some wounds simply don't heal.  Sometimes the loss is so great, it simply must be endured.  And THAT is okay.

The thing I've learned lately though is NOT to try to dismiss or bury those feelings.  Sometimes, the thing to do is to lean into the pain and allow it to wash over you - to FEEL it.  To cry... sob if necessary.  To allow the grief or hurt or loss to simply have its due...

When you DO that - when you actively choose to allow the pain - you give yourself permission to grieve and to experience life in its fullest sense.  I have found lately that our ability to EXPERIENCE profound JOY can and may be directly proportional to our ability to experience profound sadness or loss or anger also.  Hmmmm....

FEELINGS are what they are... and if you put a lid on any one, you may inadvertantly be putting a lid on them all restricting yourself to mediocre middle. 
Neither Hot, Nor Cold. 

When was the last time you allowed yourself to have a FULL ON BELLY LAUGH??  The kind that makes your eyes water uncontrollably and your ribs hurt?

When was the last time you allowed yourself to truly MISS someone you LOVED??  The kind that makes your eyes water uncontrollably and your heart hurt?

For me, lukewarm is not how I want to be. 
That's not a criticism of any one but rather a personal observation and goal.

This holiday season - allow yourself to LEAN IN to your emotions.  FEEL whatever you feel FULLY.  And if the emotion is one where you feel loss, then cry.  But follow that set of tears with the flood of HAPPY memories that is what caused you to feel the loss in the first place.
 REMEMBER those you've loved and lost this season, but make sure the last memory is a beautiful one because that's how THEY would want you to remember them.

I miss you, Gram. 
Every day.

Thank you for that... you made me who I am and helped shaped the heart I have.

All my love, always -

It's good to Lean In and Remember.
Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where's Your Place?

The cliche' goes that 'home is where the heart is... I believe that's absolutely true.  I think this time of year more than any other we all get nostalgic because we're reminded of the good, kind, and positive in all of us.

My Christmas Home will always be my grandparents basement.  Every year on Christmas Eve our entire family - aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends - would gather in the basement of my grandparents home.  My gram and Uncle D would start cooking around noon and the rest of us would travel up and down the creeky stairs, ducking at the low overhang just before the bottom step toting plates, bowls, serving utensils, and FOOD down to the serving table one by one by one...

Everyone arrived.  Hugs and Kisses... and presents!!!!!!!!!!!!

We'd finally eat all together around a HUGE table with Pap on one end and Gram on the other... then we'd open the mountain of gifts.  After the exchange, we'd eat again usually pie or cookies, etc.  Finally we'd all pack up, drop the gifts home, and then head as a clan to Midnight Mass at St. James Catholic Church.  The sky was always that incredible midnight Christmas blue with stars twinkling... and of course, SNOW!

After church, we would walk or go around to visit family friends until nearly 6 am... It was a beautiful, wonderful, magical tradition that I now cherish in my memories.  

Where's Your Place?  

I'd love to hear your favorite memory place.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

What Weighs You Down?

So, I've been getting up and working out most days with my new found hero - my trainer, Erinn.  Despite these efforts and the fact that I really do NOT eat a lot, I still find myself far above my BMI and far below my own self standards.

Recently, Erinn informed me that when you're working out, as you do, it can release a lot of emotions:  laughter, anger, etc. whatever is bottled up inside is gonna get stirred up.

Being the supremely logical person that I am - despite working in the behavioral health industry (ironic, I know) - I completely dismissed this whole emotional element thinking I could simply WILL my way through and conquer myself through appropriate diet (not dieting) and exercise.

Surprise. Surprise.  That's not been working...

The EMOTIONAL thing keeps surfacing.  So yesterday I got down right angry at the whole notion.  The internal and sometimes external self dialogue went something like this:
  • Maybe I don't want to remember certain things!
  • I dealt with all that junk years ago - what's the point of thinking about it now???
  • Just  L E T     M E     B E!
  • Enough already....................... nothing good will come of bringing up the past.
  • Stop
And THEN - like the proverbial flood when the gates start to buckle and ultimately break - the memories came back with full force in 3D, High Definition, and surround sound. 
The images and feelings...
The anxiety...
...and of course, the tears.

I realized that when I'm running and my trainer is running backwards in front of me, 
it reminded me of the first time someone I loved taught me to ski.  
He took me to Wintergreen.  The show-off skied backwards in front of me as I held onto his ski poles down the mountain.  The good memory mixed with the pain of loss...

The loss though was of more than just him... it was the loss of that life.  The loss of the entirety of that life - marriage, children, some semblence of what most consider 'normalcy' - and THAT was painful.

The truth is that I've never allowed myself to FEEL that loss.  I refused to let the painful circumstances of my life beat me... regardless of what event happened, whatever illness, whatever words spoken over/to me - I would simply ABSORB it and keep moving forward.

Time after Time.
Loss after Loss.

I never explained anything to anyone.  I stopped talking.  I created a mental wall around my being.  Self Protection 101 taken to the mental extreme.

I simply did whatever I felt I needed to do to stay alive... I would pray.  I would fortify my mind.  I would buffer my thoughts against the onslaught of emotions.

I refused to break.

Problem is, if all you ever do is ABSORB the pain, it stays with you.

It  Stays  With  You...
It  Stays  With  You...
It  Stays  With  You...

The truth is that unless you experience the emotions - allow yourself to FEEL what you're feeling, whatever it is - then all that pain, all that hurt, all those things you don't want to feel will lie in wait somewhere deep inside you.

It  Stays  With  You... until you LET IT OUT!!

What I've discovered is that no matter how strong you are, no matter how talented, how logical or formidable, no matter WHAT you do - at some point, you have to deal with your emotions. 
The Real Emotions...

And until you (or I) do, your journey toward your vision will continue to be just that - a journey - not a destination. 

You can't get to where you want to be without first dealing with where you actually are.

It's time for a cleansing... a release of what weighs you/me down.

I think I'm finally ready.  I'm certainly going to try!  I have no idea what it means or how to do it but I'm not going to run from it all or bury it any more.  I want to be free...

How about you?