When I was in my early twenties a friend started a spark in my brain that changed my perspective on what was possible.  At the time I was married to the wrong person, had two small children and we weren’t even really making ends meet.  I had to go to the local food bank to make sure my kids were fed.  One day, my friend and I were driving up PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) through Newport Coast, one of the wealthiest areas of Orange County [read: in the U.S.].  To the right were beautiful homes perched on the hillside, overlooking the glittering pacific ocean.  I jokingly pointed to one of my favorites and said, “Oh there it is, hmm my landscaping is looking a little shabby.  I simply must talk to the gardener!”  We laughed for a moment, but then she honestly asked me, “Andrea, don’t you see yourself in a home like that one of these days?”  I said that I didn’t.  After all no one in my family had houses like that and for that matter no one I knew very well did either.  It seemed totally out of the range of anything I could ever hope for.  I also shared that I had been raised in an Evangelical Christian culture where wealth was pretty much looked down upon.  Where it was sinful to even think that you could/should have something that nice and it is a virtue to live in the humility of poverty.  I then asked her the same question back, and was astonished yet piqued by her answer.  She said that of course she saw herself in a house like that some day, why not?

It’s amazing how much what we think shapes our lives.  It’s really the only true place we can begin to change things.  We cannot change our lives or live our dreams without first changing our minds.

This friend was the first person in my life to open the door to giving myself permission to think big.  I’ve always thought life was too short and that I was meant for something bigger than the “norm,” but to actually think that I could live in a big home overlooking the beach, well that was another story.  To be honest, I don’t even want a house like that anymore.  But the things I want (like helping people on a BIG scale) are even more grandiose and exciting.  I’m still, to this day, retraining my brain to live in the possibilities rather than be limited by my fear, insecurities or leftover dogma, but at least I can SEE the possibility now.

I encourage you (as well as myself) to continue give yourself permission to think BIG this week (and on).  Start giving yourself permission to daydream about what it would feel and look like to be living your dreams.  Then write that s#*& down!  Start changing your mind and your life will start changing too!

Here’s a nice little blog post I came across today.  If you have extra time check it out:  http://www.maxingout.com/positive%20thought%20one.htm

-Andrea

It’s a busy life, but I try to carve out a little time each week for just me and a little open space.  Whether its a park or a nature preserve I need a little time to myself.  This is so essential to me.  When I don’t get it I start to wind up tightly.  We forget, in our modern lives, how to get back to the way things should be — surrounded by our natural way of life.

John Muir, whom I am pretty sure I would have had a big crush on if we were contemporaries, said it best:

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
-John Muir

I hope you can get a little space to just “be” this week.

 

 

I have to be honest.  I don’t feel much like writing tonight.  I’ve worked a lot this week already and slept less than I’d care to admit.  But ironically enough my tired brain thought perhaps an Ann Lamott quote would be good, maybe one about writing.  So I started looking through my copy of Bird by Bird (love), but then found this perfect-quote-of-the-moment online instead.  I hope your day has been fruitful.  Mine was busy, good and long.  Enjoy this quote from one of my favorite authors:

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”  ― Anne Lamott

Have you ever watched someone struggle with negativity and want to give up on their dreams?  You listen to their tirade of despair and you wish you could just infuse them with the confidence to pick themselves up and start all over again.  You wish that you could let them see themselves as you see them.  Maybe you’ve even been that person – I know I’ve been there before.  I experienced this recently with someone I care very deeply about.

 

My dear friend, although extremely talented, was lamenting how she would fail in a contest she was about to enter.  She cried about how she was doomed, how she didn’t even have  talent.  How “creative block” was robbing her of being able to produce anything meaningful.

I felt helpless in trying to bring positivity in and help boost her up, nothing I said to encourage her helped.  And then I started getting frustrated and a little short tempered when she wouldn’t listen or even let the positive thoughts in.  Real enlightened of me, huh?  Clearly I still have a lot to learn about inspiring people, he he.  And perhaps, the first lesson is that sometimes people aren’t in the right place to hear the encouragement.  Sometimes you need to give them a little time.  (And this was definitely the case – she totally perked up later & nailed it)

I’ve been there before – in that wallowing place, where I just wanted to stay pissed off and frustrated.  As if clinging  to my negativity and “woe-is-me” mentality as if it were a security blanket that would make it all right again.  But it’s interesting how we cuddle up in that blanket of warm loathing, feeling more secure in self-pity and failure than the risk of success.

This ill-fated circular exercise is a complete farce and I believe an act of desperation of Ego, a fear-induced ploy of an insecure mind, the voice of “the devil”/”monster” in your head, and the languish of the unenlightened/unrealized soul.  Pick all or whichever of the above resonates with you.  Whatever the reason is for you this line of thinking is pointless and damaging and it’s important to “call it out” so you can move on.

I believe with every fiber that we are made in God’s image, we have divinity within us and the biggest tragedy of our individual lives is not fully realizing that fact and using our unique god-given gifts to do what we were born to do.  It’s easier to believe we will fail because then we have nothing to lose, but in reality once we start opening our minds (& retraining) to believe that we can achieve success, the positive snowball starts to build and it becomes easier and easier to silence the monsters in our heads.

The following is one of Marianne Williamson’s most famous quotes, I LOVE it and it is Truuuuuuue! 😉  It very eloquently describes this phenomena.

Drink these words in and revisit them, because this is where we start to throw off the shackles and wounds of defeatist thinking.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

 

SHINE my friends, SHINE!!

 

Wow, I just have to share these images with you.  There’s something about places abandoned, long forgot that just sparks interest and intrigue.

One of my favorite things about Europe is exploring old, dilapidated places.  I just love to let my mind wander and imagine what used to happen in these places.  I hope this little slideshow brings some light into your day! (Click the photo to go to the slideshow)

abandonedplaces