“Continuing down the road”. it brings up images of dirt roads, sunsets with flowers on the edges, dusty hazes, the grass line that grows in the middle because the RM doesn’t gravel it as it’s simply a summer access rather than a year round rout for traffic. (how’s that for an ear full or eye full or mouth full of a written description 😉 )
How many times have you walked down a quiet road to gain clarity? One you know you won’t be followed down, so your thoughts won’t be interrupted, yet you are able to keep the steady pace that tends to take you to places of deep reflection? I would say it’s one of my most favorite things to do as it brings you right down to the basics, to nature, to quiet and peace. A walk down a dirt road can take you closer to God and your own inner wisdom pretty easily…it can be a refuge in our chaotic world.
Gaining Clarity is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves as we journey through this life. Clarity on our goals, our beliefs, our loves, our missions. Clarity is seeing or hearing clearly and it makes it much easier to focus your intentions and actions towards a picture or goal. For some, their goals are set in stone and they have had clarity for the majority of their lives (I envy you by the way). For some, their idea of their goals may have adjusted due to life changing events or circumstances…and it takes time to make peace with that. And yet, for some, there isn’t much clarity. Life is lived day in and day out in a cycle or a routine dictated by their job, their tasks, their roles…but the sparkle in it has dulled…their life is lived in a sort of mundane trance. If you feel like this last description is you and it gives you a sort of scared or sad feeling…please know you can change this today. I have been in and out of the cycle of knowing and not knowing a lot in my life and I can tell you there is a distinct difference in how my days and nights are lived when I have clarity. I will also tell you, from what I have learned, clarity takes planning, and effort and dedication.
A large part of gaining clarity is knowing who you are, why and what you love. You need to dig a little deeper to to see why you tick, why you love certain things and why you can’t stand others. Your Why is what will drive your entire goals, dreams and efforts…it’s what keeps you going when you are ready to say “I’m done”.
There are three steps I would like to talk about today:
Please note: this is what has worked for me, I know there are many other steps and ideas that can be tossed into the picture, but in the grand scheme of things…as a creative person who has 1 000 000 thoughts rolling through my mind at all time, if I follow these steps and really dig deep, I am able to focus and bring clarity into my daily tasks.
- YOUR STORY – Each of us has our own story. Not one of us will have the same beginning, middle and end. There may be similarities, and it’s often what bonds us to others, but our stories are unique and it’s something we can definitely NOT ignore when trying to gain clarity on our big picture. Our story is determined by what we have lived and in turn has a way of shaping where we want to go and how to get there. Without our story we don’t know where we have begun; and without a start you can never have a finish. Grab a pen and paper and write out the story you would tell to summerize how you reached where you are today. Don’t leave out the not so great stuff, I invite you to actually write down your struggles so you can see how far you have come.
- YOUR DESTINATION – Your vision, your idea, your dream…where do you want to go? What would you love to see if you could wake up tomorrow in your ideal life? Who would you be? Where would you live? How would you live your days? All of these questions, if answered truthfully about your ideal situation, can lead you to your ideal future, a clear vision of where you want to go. Again, take that pen and write down how you would want to be living your ideal life. From them moment you wake up until the moment you lay your head on your pillow at night. What do you do? How does it make you feel? How many hours a day do you dedicate to work and how many do you dedicate to family, friends and leisure? This is so fun! There are so many things you can dream up and wish for! Don’t hold back!
- KNOWING HOW TO GET TO YOUR DESTINATION – This is where the magic happens. This is where you take your story, create your end goal and you break it down into manageable steps…so manageable you can begin to make the changes today, right now, so in 1, or 5 or maybe even 10 years you can wake up to your dream and find its a reality. This is your game plan. Take that pen and start with your end goal (say 5 years), then break it down to 1, then to 6 months, then three, then monthly, weekly, daily…until you reach the moment your pen touches your paper…right now.
There are hundreds of amazing self help books out there that can help you reach this destination. Thousands upon thousands likely. Its your job to decide if today is the day you make a change. It’s your job to decide yesterday is the last day you will live your life doing what is easy, or habitual or whatever it is that has you feeling a little scared or sad…or maybe even just bored. The only one who can make the changes for you is you, so please, consider joining me in making the conscious choice to make every day count…starting with today. There will be struggles, and there will be fears, but the only way to truly rise above and grow is to help lift each other. <3 I have been on a three week journey now of taking the steps (first post is HERE, second is HERE) to make my dreams come true. Through various activities to gain clarity, set goals and take care of me, I am slowly finding my steps are adding up to something bigger. The above three steps is a really REALLY rough guide to gaining some clarity in your life. If you MAKE or TAKE the time to sit down with a pen and paper (I choose to journal quite frequently now) and begin with your story, then your ideal goal (this will evolve and change as you grow) and finally break it down into manageable steps…you are on your way to your dreams. There is just one final and KEY component in it all…
TAKE ACTION, GET MOVING, GO TODAY!
Walking down a dirt road you can see where you are going yet on a smaller scale you are putting one foot in front of the other to get there. It’s exactly what we need to do to reach our goals. Step by step, day by day, one foot in front of the other. It takes time but if we continue, don’t stop, even when we really really want to…we will get there.
Inhibitions. They can stuff the real you right down to making you feel like the smallest quietest person on this planet. They come up constantly in social settings, they make their way in when trying something new, they can completely stop a person from taking the steps they have always wanted to take to accomplish a dream. Why? Where do they begin?
I am watching two beautiful little girls grow up right before my eyes. They are bright, funny, sweet, caring and always questioning how the world works. I love them to pieces and am so grateful for the lessons I have learned through them. I have watched them learn to talk, walk, run, play and just be kids. I have watched as they went from an infant and passed through the stages of toddler to little girl…it’s truly amazing. Something happens though…something inevitable I suppose, they develop what they call “shy”. Some children will be more reserved than others…our girls are a great example. A is far more outgoing, care free, and appears to be more comfortable in her skin. R is so conscious. So self conscious of the world and how they perceive her or really, how she see’s the world “seeing her”. I was much like her when I was her age. I was so worried about being liked, about doing the right thing to not draw attention to what I thought were my flaws and it can be exhausting. If I could sit her down and teach her how she doesn’t need to worry about the playground hierarchy which will turn into the hallway social clubs which will then move into the more intricate pecking order we become accustom to. Oh man, can we please just avoid that whole mess completely…*sigh*…I know, not possible.
SO, where and why and when do they begin? Okay, I don’t know if I really have an answer for that. I love to read self help and psychology books and from what I have read it’s a survival instinct. To be a part of a group and to be liked has long been a survival instinct of our species…so the fear of being disliked is linked to our survival in past generations. I find that interesting as it gives it a reason to cause fear…when it shouldn’t. We have evolved so far from where being liked, or not like, can have such a detrimental impact on our chance of survival…how does it still hold such a huge grip on how we express our true selves? I am sure there are some pretty great answers out there from some highly educated individuals who’s answers I would love to know one day, but right now all I can say is I know the impact it can have on our day to day lives. From my personal experience, inhibitions have held myself and those around me back from doing and saying a lot of things that we have really wanted to accomplish and express. It’s a work in progress and it has a lot to do with one of my favorite quotes “To be outstanding – get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” ~ Alrik Koudenburg. Even though we may feel we are in danger of extinction…yes, it can feel that strong sometimes, chances are if we express ourselves with the intentions of doing good and being a good person, we will likely go on to live another day…and we might feel kind of good doing it. I believe it’s good practice to try to stretch and grow and strive to live without them!
One thing is for sure, when we are little…like really little…inhibitions tend to be non existent.
One can freely express themselves at any given moment.
One can dance and laugh and cry and just be their true selves in that moment… and it’s BEAUTIFUL!
Bring in Miss N. OH my goodness gracious…does it get any better than one-year-old, in a tiara, or a diaper cover or some sweet little flower number? Is there anything more beautiful than watching a sweet baby girl be exactly who she is and not apologize for it for even a second? She doesn’t care who is watching or why, she doesn’t stop exploring because it might not be lady like, she doesn’t stop laughing because she’s worried someone might think she’s a little too eccentric. No, she does exactly what she wants to when she wants to and it’s so wonderful! This adorable, beautiful, amazing little girl is so full of energy and enthusiasm. She sparkles wherever she toddles and it’s captivating to watch. I had the honor of photographing her when she was brand new and now, a year later, the joy of photographing her as she begins to express her personality in the walking, babbling form of a one-year-old. Where will her beautiful personality blossom and bloom and where will it take her? She has her whole life ahead of her and I can tell from this short time we played together, she will not let a single thing stop her from where she wants to go.
Little Miss N, I hope you continue to sparkle and light up the world with your smile…oh that goofy sweet smile…and your clever way of doing things. I hope you continue to dance and chase bubbles and charm your way through this life, as I know you are meant to move mountains. I know you have the tenacity to conquer your dreams and all you are capable of imagining despite the way the world tends to try to make us smaller. I can tell by the way your eyes sparkle and you giggle with your wild little thoughts, you will find ways to rise above it and become someone capable of changing the world if you so choose. Whatever you do, whatever you dream, you will do it with enthusiasm and fire and your parents will watch with pride (and perhaps at times a bit of frustration) 😉 as you grow and learn. Every bit of what your mind is capable of dreaming is something capable of achieving. Miss N, you are a gift to the world from our creator and you are meant to be here to bring your own special light to our planet. I am so honored and blessed to be able to capture these milestones in your sweet little life and hope to be able to be a part of a few more as you grow up. Keep being you Miss N, and you will be just fine. I think we would all benefit from developing a big more of your care free, energetic and BEAUTIFUL way of life. Yes, I’m saying we should all try to think and act (within the scope and context of releasing some of our inhibitions) just the way a sweet baby does…forget those worries and just dance! Even when the world is watching!
Diaper Cover and Headpiece by Karma Baby Boutique in Melfort Sask. Her facebook page can be found HERE
I am writing this post on day 20 of my new commitment…however, through the magic of technology I am scheduling this post to show up tomorrow (Saturday) on day 21.
In the previous post HERE, I talked about some changes I have made for myself and my future…and I am so excited about them!
Some of which are:
These are all things I have wanted to incorporate in my life for YEARS! I have always known they would be key in getting me from where I was…to where I wanted to go. However, as human nature tends to go, I would put it off for another day, another week, another year.
Things changed. I got really serious about where I was and how I have not moved nearly as far or as fast in the direction I could see my life going as I had hoped at this point in my life. Maybe it was hitting 30, maybe it was having our third child, maybe it was just me tired of playing the same old lines in my head about how I’m not doing enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough…things I would never say to any other human being on this earth…things I would tell myself constantly. One day, I couldn’t stand hearing those words anymore.
The thing is, we are surrounded by successful people and successful people ALL started out at a point A and moved into their point B. Successful people are out there, doing these incredible things: Teaching, writing, learning, growing, and the AWESOME thing about them is they want to share how they got there! I have had some pretty incredible people come into my life, one of which is Cora Putz, an Executive Director with Tupperware USA Canada. This woman has gone further and faster in the short amount of time I have known her than any other person I have met. She’s caring, she’s funny, she’s smart, she’s determined and she started out from a point A (a place she was ok with but didn’t really wish to stay) and headed onto her point B, then her C and her D and I am so excited to watch her grow into her E,F,G,H and so forth. Seriously, she is amazing and accomplishes anything she puts her mind to and I just love her as a friend and as a mentor. One thing she taught me was to find someone who is doing exactly what you want to be doing, or more, and do what they do! Simple as that! There is no point in trying to figure it out on your own because these people have forged the path, done the work, and they are right there with the answers you need to get to where you want to go. Successful people surround you at every turn, and like I had mentioned previously, successful people tend to want to reach out a hand and help others get to where they are (at least my idea of successful individuals do).
Now before I continue, I just want to add, success is defined by each of us differently. For some, heading to the top of on of the most well known direct selling businesses in the world is PART of their idea of success. (I know her well, she is a multifaceted beautiful woman…family and friends are very important to her and come first). For others, success is creating a beautiful home environment for their family and allowing it to be the center of their world. For others, perhaps they would like to reach out to a group and start a non profit to bring hope and light into families who may not see the silver lining in a situation yet. Success is different for each of us, it’s up to you to decide what your idea of success is and start building your life around that.
Okay, so back to where things changed.
I read an amazing book called “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. It’s where I got those fun life changing ideas above and was able to put them into play. He calls them S.A.V.E.R.S. Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing. In his book, which I read in one day, he explains how starting the day with purpose and meaning leads to a day filled with purpose and meaning. I would love to go into further detail on this in the future, but I have talked a lot about this and am probably losing people here. He wrote the book from a point in his life where he was at an all time low. He was considering suicide and he couldn’t live his life the way it was for one more day. He woke up one day, bright and early, and began practicing S.A.V.E.R.S. It completely transformed his life.
SO I decided, this guy sounds like the kind of person I would like to be…so I am going to be a wild woman and get up at 5:30 every morning and practice these myself to see if it changes things. Um…yep, it changes things. I dare say, I went jogging this morning…yes, me…it’s been almost two years since I have attempted that.
Since this is my form of accountability, I am writing this post to stay on track. 7 days ago I couldn’t see myself stopping and on day 20 I am still feeling like this is the best decision I have ever made. I have never been so clear and focused on the direction I want to go and I can’t believe the amount of tasks I have had on my to do list for far too long that have been scratched off and I never have to worry about them again. I can see an incredible change in just 20 days (only 10 more to go to formally call them a habit…which he also speaks about in his book).
If you have read this far I really hope you do one thing today: Take the time to sit down with a pen and paper and write down what you would consider a successful life for you. Get it down on a piece of paper and really look at what you would like your future to look like. If you have an idea of where you want to go, all you have to do is figure out how to get there, and that part can be so much fun! I will write another post on day 27 to stay on this success bandwagon I am on. I am loving this, seriously, I have never been so kind to myself as I have in the past few weeks. It’s nice to wake up and look in the mirror and say nice things to me. 🙂
What does brave mean?
To my daughter, yesterday, brave meant walking down the street to her friend’s house to see if she was home. I watched her struggle with the idea, and her fears, and I did everything I could to encourage her she could do it. Slowly, but surely, she started down the street…at a snail’s pace…but man was I proud of her. I know, it doesn’t seem like much to some, but coming from a woman who was an extremely shy little girl, watching my daughter walk down the street and facing her fear made my heart swell with pride. She was brave.
I am that mom, I slipped on my boots and watched her go, watched her knock, and watched her come back home…but didn’t let her see I had witnessed her victory. When she returned, because her friend wasn’t home, she had a little smile on her face. I knew that feeling, that feeling of overcoming ones fears and knowing you have conquered them. I smiled and asked her how she felt, she didn’t get what I was doing…since she’s five…lol! In that moment of reflection I made sure she knew, what she had just done, was very brave.
Brave can mean many things, but to sum it up, the definition found on the Merriam – Webster Dictionary site is: feeling or showing no fear: not afraid
Feeling OR showing no fear.
Being brave doesn’t mean you don’t feel it. I would say, true meaning of being brave is feeling fear and stepping into it to do what you need or want to do.
Becoming a parent is, in the definition above, Brave.
it’s so very brave.
From making the decision to try for a child, to the fear and sometimes the reality of it failing. The pain, the uncertainty, the not knowing what next step, next day will be like. Going through this and following this path is so very brave.
Brave is driving to the hospital when you are in labor or for your scheduled Cesarean. Knowing, but not knowing. Feeling excited yet fighting through the nagging fear that comes forward when you are waiting to meet a new love of your life.
Brave is holding your baby, your perfectly PERFECT little human and having a “hiccup” in the story. Your perfect birth story you had envisioned doesn’t go exactly as you had planned. This can be anything from a two-day labor that turns into a surgery, or when baby isn’t feeling quite right and needs a little extra help, or when you are given a diagnosis that rocks your world. Being a parent is so so very brave. For some, being a parent can be more painful than anything they have ever imagined.
No matter how big or how small your fears are, no matter how warranted you may feel your bravery is…whether you feel it’s a viable reason or you feel it a bit silly…let me tell you, feeling or showing no fear in the face of such a life changing event is brave.
When given the blessing, the opportunity, the joy of photographing a beautiful family and their beautiful children I am taken to this place of feeling their bravery. I can see their love, their light, their courage it took to decide to go down this path. I am honored beyond words to be asked to photograph these moments in their lives. I had an incredible time talking with this family, listening to their story and seeing the pure joy in the completion of their family in this moment. I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to document this time in your lives. Something about your little one took me back to the times I became a mother for the first time…the second time and more recently a third. It made me think of how precious and what a miracle these little lives are, something I never take for granted, but I thank you for your time and how those moments made me reflect on that. Your children are absolutely beautiful, a true gift from our creator and I can feel and see in every way its a fact you are completely aware of and so grateful for. You are truly blessed, and I must say, being able to work with people like you and witnessing your special moments, so am I.