#WhyIMarch

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

facebookquote_darknesscannotdriveoutdarkness_011617This Saturday, over 200,000 people are coming together in Washington DC to stand up for civil rights. The official march‘s website states their mission: We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

I will be there. Proudly. Read More »

Defining a Personal Mission for 2017

side-image_2017-missionThis time of year, everyone is obsessed with reflecting, re-evaluating, and making resolutions. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of resolutions — I’ve always felt like making them was somehow setting myself up for failure. Resolutions sound so, well… resolute. And while the idea of being unwavering in your goals is noble, we are only human, and we are bound to waver eventually.

That said, over this past year I have grown to value intentionality and self-improvement more than ever before. So, I knew that in order to feel true to myself, I should spend a bit of time reflecting on my “resolutions” — or, as I decided to call it — my 2017 mission and goals.Read More »

3 Tips for Increasing Productivity

Staying energized and productive during the winter months can sometimes feel like an upward battle. When daylight dwindles and temperatures drop, the desire to curl up and get cozy can be hard to resist.

As tempting as this urge to hibernate can be, I know that the happiness it will bring will only be temporary. And although periodically indulging in some relaxing moments is great for balance and self-care, I would hate if it got in the way of my productivity goals. So this November, I’ve put in a little extra effort and tried out some new systems — and the results have been really gratifying! Read More »

Today, I Vote For Kindness

Last night, I sat on my couch and turned on a live stream of the US election reporting. The volume was off, but red and blue light flickered in my periphery. I’d glance over every few minutes to absorb the updates, and as the results rolled in, my anxiety began to bubble up. All I could do was furiously type out my thoughts and feelings in silence, like a therapy.

I wrote and I wrote, and finally at 1am, I took a melatonin and forced myself to crawl into bed. I felt anxious, fearful, and depressed, but I knew that I couldn’t let the negative feelings percolate forever. I resolved that tomorrow, I’d wake and I’d bring a little positivity into the world. It took about an hour to fall asleep, and then nightmares danced around in my mind until morning.

While there is still a raw rumble of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, I am working on forming a feeling of hope in my heart.
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Know Yourself: What’s Your Love Language?

“Psychologists have concluded that the need to feel loved in a primary human emotional need. For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardship our lot in life.”
— Dr. Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages

tall-image_knowyourself_lovelanguagesTime and again, I return to the idea that our lives are defined by the meaningful relationships we cultivate. Call me a sap if you want to, but I believe it deeply. Both in times of despair and in moments of joy, I’ve always had one consistent underlying feeling: gratitude for the people I love, and for the people who love me.

Good, loving relationships require conscious work, and work can be hard. There are times you may not feel like making the effort — especially when your friend, partner or colleague doesn’t seem to be trying either. But when both parties become disengaged or resentful, whose job is it to put in the work then? Read More »

Book Review: The Power of Habit

“To modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines, and find alternatives. You must know you have control and be self-conscious enough to use it” — Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit

I often talk about the importance of mindfulness: living in the now, savoring new experiences, pulling yourself out of autopilot in order to be present in the current moment. Some people go so far as to claim that practicing mindfulness is the best approach for a happier life. Yet, others claim what seems like the opposite: that autopilot can be our friend, and that habits can make our lives simpler and happier.

My philosophy is currently floating somewhere in the middle. I think both mindfulness and routines are necessary for the pursuit of happiness. We can use our mindfulness practice to become more aware of our personal habits, which can help us eliminate unnecessary decisions and leave us more energy for things that will make us happier.

ThePowerOfHabitNew York Times investigative journalist Charles Duhigg agrees (although his point of view definitely focuses a bit more on the habits side of things). In his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Duhigg unpacks how harnessing our habits can transform our lives, businesses, and communities for the better.

The transformation starts with understanding the mechanics of a habit. The “habit loop” structure is pretty simple: First, there is a cue, which triggers a routine, which is validated by a reward.Read More »

The Balance Between Self-Care and Making Excuses

Recently I’ve been struggling to put words on the page. It’s the busiest season at work. I’ve been grieving the loss of a loved one. I’ve had some valid excuses. Stress and grief can both get in the way of creativity, and they drain you — so as you can imagine, I haven’t been feeling quite as creative as usual this month.

At first, I was proud of myself for taking a little break. I was prioritizing imperfection to make room for self-care, giving myself time to reboot and rebalance — all of the things I’ve touted as smart ways to take care of yourself.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve tried to sit down and work on some writing, but the more time passes between blog posts, the more the self-doubt starts to creep in. What if my writer’s block doesn’t let up? What if what I write isn’t “good enough”? 

When I realized that fear-based thinking was becoming the driving force for not writing — as opposed to intentional self-care — I knew I had to stop making excuses.

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Encountering Grief

Grief comes when the wind blows away something that you hold dear. You reach out, trying to grasp the beloved thing before it’s gone. You run after it, in denial, thinking you’ll manage to catch up — even though the wind blows it further and further away every second. And then it’s gone, and there’s a hole in your heart.Read More »

Share Seven Smiles… Take 2!

ShareSevenSmiles_tallimageA few weeks ago I suggested the idea of sharing seven smiles by giving a random gift every day for one week. I was really excited about the idea when I wrote the blog post… but then my week got so busy I didn’t even take it seriously myself!

This week is going to be another busy one: I am officiating my friends’ wedding a week from tomorrow (!), and the pace has picked up at work. So, I decided that it might be a good week to give myself a break from blogging and focus on preparing for my friends’ wedding in my free time. Instead of writing anything new next week, I plan to participate in the campaign to share (at least) seven smiles.

It would mean the world to me (and hopefully a lot to some people in your world, too!) if you joined me. Next week, I will be posting 7 shareable images to my blog’s Facebook page to spread the love. Here’s how you can participate:Read More »

Know Yourself: The Myers-Briggs Edition

 

tall-image_knowyourself_MBTIWe’ve all known ourselves since the day we were born. But how many of us really know ourselves? Despite spending every waking (and sleeping!) moment with ourselves, many of us mindlessly trudge through life, stumbling over emotions, stress, and frustrations and never stopping to ask ourselves why we stumbled in the first place.

There is a lot you can learn by flipping on the self-awareness switch. Recently, I’ve developed an interest in taking various personality tests to help me analyze my strengths, weaknesses, happiness triggers, and sadness stumbling blocks. I’ve tried to define aspects of my personality, learning to love the parts I know will never change and trying to work on the parts that might be more malleable.

Of all of the personality assessments out there, I find the Myers-Briggs personality test to be one of the most intriguing. Read More »