21 Day Yoga Girl Challenge Day 8: Manifesting Dreams #yogagirlchallenge

Now that we’ve practiced having an attitude of gratitude, today’s challenge was to share something about our dreams.

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I’m working on these three yoga poses: grasshopper, scorpion, and royal pidgeon. Rachel taught us how to access the arm and forearm balances so now I can incorporate them into my practice. One day, I will be able to do them.

I am working hard on my core and hope to have six pack abs one day. Not just because they look good, but also because core strength is such an important component of overall fitness, posture, and ability to advance athletic performance.

Thinking about my next tattoo and loving the idea of a lotus flower. Not necessarily this one, but this one is cool especially with the om symbol (the symbol of universal vibrations). The lotus flower grows in the muddy water and blooms when it reaches the light.

I’m keeping Aruba and the lessons I learned there in my heart and dreaming my way back there. Definitely plan to return as soon as possible.

I’m focusing my energies on gratitude, love, and being myself. The law of attraction says that we attract what we think about. So, I’m thinking positive. I’m thinking that life and love are pretty darn awesome.

Following my passion for math and taking calculus this fall after years of wanting and wishing. Never took it in college, took college algebra (pre-requisite) in 2007 and trigonometry (pre-requisite) spring 2014. Finally making it happen at 46 years old!

Have been keeping up with previous days of the challenge as much as I can. In addition to focusing on manifesting dreams today, I started my day with hot lemon water, did a long yoga class with meditation, spent some time outdoors being grateful for the lovely weather, was on time for yoga class, and walked my dogs.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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Fiction Friday #18: Good Enough

debiehive.blogspot.com

debiehive.blogspot.com

My Friday Fiction Friends and I write different stories based on the same prompt. This week,Tammy Soong at World’s Worst Moms provided the prompt. This is episode eighteen in an ongoing series. If you missed the first seventeen episodes, here are links:

7. Love
__________

“Perfect”

Sometimes is never quite enough

If you’re flawless, then you’ll win my love

Don’t forget to win first place

Don’t forget to keep that smile on your face

Be a good boy

Try a little harder

You’ve got to measure up

And make me prouder

How long before you screw it up

How many times do I have to tell you to hurry up

With everything I do for you

The least you can do is keep quiet

Be a good girl

You’ve gotta try a little harder

That simply wasn’t good enough

To make us proud

I’ll live through you

I’ll make you what I never was

If you’re the best, then maybe so am I

Compared to him compared to her

I’m doing this for your own damn good

You’ll make up for what I blew

What’s the problem…why are you crying

Be a good boy

Push a little farther now

That wasn’t fast enough

To make us happy

We’ll love you just the way you are

If you’re perfect

Alanis morissette

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_1BQRAkcyc

Alanis sang the lyrics that took Amanda back to her childhood and the constant pressure to be better, to be perfect in her parents’ eyes. Despite being divorced and living in separate states, both her parents were disappointed with her for various reasons. First, she was born the wrong sex so that put her at a disadvantage in her father’s estimation from the beginning. First born sons get the respect in Korean culture. Second born children, especially girls are not as valuable to aging parents. Then she didn’t accept the right religion (her mom’s fundamentalist Christianity) or get accepted to the right college (where her father worked) because she didn’t get “good enough” grades. Instead, she rebelled against their advice and set out to create a family of her own that accepted her for who she was.

Looking in the mirror, she saw the same eyes of that young girl and mentally hugged her, saying her mantra to herself. You’re perfect the way you are. Written on a neon green sticky note with a black sharpie, it was hard to avoid seeing it as she went through her daily beauty rituals. Her eyes were the same, but everything else grew up over the years. Her worries, joys, and experiences all carved into wrinkles on her tan skin. Instead of looking for her flaws, she observed with her mind and kept her focus on her golden brown eyes. Another sticky note written by Richard told her, “You are beautiful.”

sticky note

She dabbed concealer under her eyes and on her other imperfections then brightened up her eyes and face with fresh color and black mascara on curled lashes. Careful not to overdo it, she preferred a natural healthy look, plus at this point it was difficult to find the energy to go through her routine. Her counselor suggested it as part of an overall self-care program, starting with basics like hygiene and appearance. So, she woke up early just to take a shower and do her hair and makeup before starting her day. She liked the effects of enhancing her natural beauty with feminine touches, but as with everything in life there is a law of diminishing returns. Too much concealing and too much color makes a woman look fake and desperate for attention. It calls more attention to the flaws instead.

If only it were so easy to conceal imperfections in our lives.

So many things weighed on her mind…Richard, Ella, Anderson, Richard’s affair, life as a single mom, her boys, her granddaughter, her mom in the hospital. Taking care of herself was literally the last thing on Amanda’s mental list, so it really did take effort. Mother’s Day was just a few days away, and she hadn’t had any contact with her mom since her suicide attempt.

Amanda was learning to let go of guilt, and she felt especially guilty that her mom was alone and suffering. Knowing the perfect daughter would fly into town and visit in the hospital with flowers, Amanda gave herself permission to be less than perfect, to be good to herself even if it meant staying away from her mom. Even though it was sad her mom did that, it was even sadder she blamed it on Amanda instead of accepting her problems as her own and attempting to work on those problems with professionals. She certainly wasn’t being and hadn’t been a perfect parent.

I will send her some flowers and a card. That’s something. Better than nothing.

She loved her mom but knew that engaging with her would be toxic, so she stayed away. It was not a utopian mother-daughter relationship. No sense falling prey to a nirvana fallacy. The more Amanda let her mom into her world, the worse she felt and the more stressed and upset she was. Being a mom to her own children took all her energy.

She was thankful for her life and her family and needed to try to stay in a positive place. It was her daily practice to let go of the negative and appreciate the positive. She knew life can change at any moment, and she learned the hard way to love fully while there is the opportunity. Her life was still full of love, and although it felt like the end of the road in many ways, she knew there was beauty in the world. Dwelling on the positive was the best way she knew to keep herself from sinking into deep depression and activating a stress response in her body.

GratitudeYellow

Richard and the boys always made Amanda queen for the day on Mother’s Day. This would be the first time she would celebrate it alone. This year, she would have to see the positive in celebrating it with her boys and her granddaughter. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be good enough. Keeping everything in perspective, at least she had three handsome sons and a gorgeous little granddaughter to celebrate.

People in the world are suffering way worse than I am. I am fortunate to have Cassidy and the boys. I am a proud mother and grandmother.

Because of her tense relationship with her mother, Amanda vowed to be a different kind of mother to her own children. And having Cassidy as her granddaughter felt like another opportunity to raise a little girl, one she missed out on when Ella’s life ended unexpectedly. She made it her priority to attend regular therapy and took medication for depression, unlike her mother. She told her boys all the things she loved about them and complimented them for qualities unique to their personalities. She encouraged them to follow their dreams and to believe in themselves. She and Richard tried not to fight in front of the children, and they showed affection in front of them. As far as the kids knew, everything was fine in their marriage except the grief. She tried to shield the kids from her troubles. And she never blamed them for anything going wrong in her life.

I am not perfect, but I’m perfect the way I am.

Feeling Good

____________

Here is the prompt:

Let your characters work through the old saying, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”
Visit my Friday Fiction Friends to see what they wrote with the same prompt:

http://www.clearlykristal.com/
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/
http://www.bulamamani.com/
http://www.susannenelson.wordpress.com/
http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com/
http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/
http://www.mollyfield.com

Follow us on Twitter:

@clearlykristal
@worldsworstmoms
@BuLaMamaNi
@SusanneNelson1
@DeBieHive
@neargenius
@MollyFieldGrassOil

Follow us on Facebook:

DeBie Hive
World’s Worst Moms
Susanne’s World
Bulamamani
Clearly Kristal

Near Genius
Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!
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Self Care Sunday: Things happy people do differently.

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I found this list and think it offers many ideas on how to take care of ourselves. A few points resonate with me as things I am working on these days.

1. Express gratitude: We can always find reasons to complain, but it’s more of a challenge to be thankful for everything we do have instead of always wanting more.

Looking back over the years since I became a stay home mom, this idea helps me to appreciate the opportunity to stay home instead of going to work and being stressed out all the time. When I have laundry and dishes to do, I feel happier when I look at the chores with gratitude. I am thankful to have a family to take care of and the time to do it. Many women wish they could have children but can’t. Many women wish they could stay home and not work. Although I feel pain most days, I’m thankful I can walk, talk, see, hear, swim and do yoga. Other people have physical problems way worse than mine.

3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparisons: Man, that’s a tough one for me. I’m definitely an over-thinker. And I’m definitely aware of social comparisons. Even when I try not to think that way, someone else will remind me how I am different from most people. And the over-thinking? Well that’s one reason I have a blog. It helps to get my thoughts out so they aren’t just bouncing around in my brain. I’m also a deep thinker, so on a daily basis I have to remind myself not to worry about the unexplainable mysteries of life and to try not to worry about all the horrible things that could happen to me, my husband, or my kids. I infer things when I probably shouldn’t. I get my feelings hurt easily. And once you’ve crossed me, things are never the same. (See #7.)

5. Nurture social relationships: I am a social being. I knew that a long time ago. Since I moved to Texas though, I’ve been suffering from square peg in a round hole syndrome, so to speak. Although it’s easy to isolate myself, I’ve been making a point recently to nurture more relationships with my girlfriends. Spending quality time with the few friends I do have is important to me and gives me things to look forward to.

7. Learn to forgive: It sounds easy in theory and always makes sense. Taking the high road is always the answer no matter what the problem. But there are certain relationships where I have difficulty walking the walk. I know I should forgive, but I have to work past my pride and hurt to do it. I have to learn to forgive although it doesn’t mean the other person was necessarily right. But I do see that holding on to grudges can be toxic, so I am trying one day at a time.

8. Increase flow experiences: I love this one. It’s so important. And I’m happy to report that I do find myself caught up in the flow with certain experiences. It doesn’t happen as much as I’d like it to, but hey one little step at a time, right? When do I experience going with the flow and get so immersed in the activity that I don’t think about anything else? When I’m playing guitar, riding my bike, doing yoga, meditating, and tutoring math. There is nothing like getting caught up in an activity that brings happiness.

11. Practice spirituality: I don’t really practice religion because it pushes buttons from my upbringing when I had Christianity shoved down my throat. But, over the years I’ve learned to appreciate other ways of thinking (like Eastern religions) and have developed a universal view to our existence. I do understand that we are tiny specks of life in a planet in a universe surrounded by space. I’m humbled by my place in the universe, and I do realize that while my life seems so important to me, that I am just a miniscule part of life in the bigger picture. Instead of professing that I know the answers to life and death, I’m learning to accept not knowing. I am learning to trust that life is a process that will continue long after I’m gone, and it brings me some peace to know it’s all part of a bigger picture that I have no control over. All I can do is focus on living my life one day at a time and hope to make some kind of difference in the world while I am here.

What items on this list resonate with you? How are you taking care of yourself today?

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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Friday Fiction #8: Home = Our Beliefs about Love

femmesfatales

It’s Fiction Friday and the last week of romance month.  Every Friday, the Fiction Friday Femmes Fatales post different fictional stories based on the same prompt (see below).  This is episode eight. If you missed the first seven episodes, the links are below.

______________________

Amanda sat down in a chair in her front yard with her laptop and her assignment. Just thinking about her childhood made her both angry and sad, but her counselor gave her online homework. If I want to start feeling better, I need to do this.. She told herself, even though she didn’t want to do it.

“Think about what it was like growing up. Are there specific feelings or situations that come to mind? Write them down and use a word to describe the feeling or situation (ex: mom was always angry: anxious).

Raised by a single mom.  I remember a lot of fighting, frustration, and angst.   Frustration.

Questions to ask yourself:
 Was there lots of affection in your home or was affection withheld?

There was affection from my mom.

Were you frequently criticized?

Yes I was. I felt like I was never doing well enough at anything. My father was Korean and preferred by brother, my mom told me, because of cultural reasons.  He didn’t want me because I’m a girl. And I never lived up to either parents‘ expectations-spiritually or academically.

Were your parents available to take care of you? Were your needs met?

My mom was for the most part, but she was very busy working three jobs to support us. My dad was not available. My physical needs were met, but not my emotional or spiritual needs.

How was anger expressed – or not?

Yelling, throwing things, fighting, crying, threats of suicide from my mom.

Were there addictions?

 Sugar-mom
Smoking-dad

What was your parent’s relationship like?

Non existent. Dad sent a monthly check and visited maybe once a year. They never talked as far as I knew.

Was love freely exchanged?

Same answer as above. We were told we were loved by my mom. Not between me and brother.

Did you feel a sense of stability?

No. I didn’t understand why my dad wasn’t around and other kids had dads. I didn’t understand it when my mom got so mad and sad that she would threaten suicide. I wondered if I would find her dead several times and that it would be my fault because we fought.

Did your family communicate about feelings?

Not very well. My dad was absent. My mom did the best job she could. She would try to reassure me when I was sad about not having my dad. She explained that Koreans favor the first-born son. She tried to love me enough for both of them, but it didn’t work. She didn’t really listen to me about anything I wanted to do when I became a teenager. She said no to everything so I just started lying and doing whatever I wanted anyway.

Did family members support one another?

My mom supported me to be a good student, to keep my eyes Asian and not have plastic surgery. She supported me through college. She supported me financially. Brother never supported me. Not sure that I supported him either.

How about fidelity?

My mom was single so I never had an example of faithful parents. I learned that my dad was cheating on my mom when she was pregnant with me. My mom said not to have sex until marriage because of the bible. But I didn’t listen to her. I cheated on all my boyfriends.

Did you feel “safe” or anxious in your home?

Anxious. I wanted out. I didn’t know why I was born into my family.

Key Words About Home
Write down 6 keywords about your home life growing up.

Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid

Positive examples might be:

safe
secure
loving
open
caring
fun
joy-filled
comfortable
inspiring
supportive
Negative examples:

scary
chaotic
critical
dishonest
not available
disregarding
shut down
betrayal
abandonment
violent
Take the six keywords you wrote about home:

Home = Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid

Now substitute the word home with LOVE = Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid

This may help you understand how you have formed your beliefs about love and relationship. It may also shed light on past or current partners you have chosen as we tend to repeat the familiar until we learn new patterns of relating.” – read more and take the online quiz by clicking here

*************
These were probing questions. The more she thought about it, the more upset she became until for some reason tears started erupting. She never realized how much of an effect her parents’ relationship had on her overall outlook on love. No wonder she had problems inside her own marriage. She didn’t trust the forever part of marriage even though that’s what she wanted more than anything in the whole world.

Her dad taught her to run from her problems, to abandon your children, and that because she was a girl, she was actually worth less than a boy. She spent her adolescence seeking male approval and the intimacy she lacked with her father. She blamed herself unconsciously, blaming herself just for being born. She didn’t know what to do or how to behave to gain his love.

Her mom taught her to be easily overwhelmed, to act out in times of stress. She taught her to be rigid and unreasonable. Amanda constantly fought off critical thoughts about how she didn’t measure up to expectations. Her mom was desperately depressed before Amanda was even born, yet when they fought, she would threaten suicide because Amanda was so cruel and hurtful. Amanda grew up with the irrational belief that she had power over someone else’s will to live. She wondered if she would find her mother dead from suicide and if it would be her fault because they had bad fights.

As a teenager, she started lying to her mother because she said no to everything. There was never an intelligent, rational discussion about life and how to live it. There were just angry lectures full of ‘shoulds’ and the only time she felt free was when she was away from her family.

She didn’t have a good example of marriage, love, or fidelity. To her, it was all pie in the sky. Yet she based her whole life on creating what she never had.

Amanda decided to write them a letter to let it go once and for all.  Perhaps letting it out would be beneficial to her progress.

Dear mom and dad,
Thank you for bringing me into this world. Thank you for my life. I now know why I am alive, and I am changing things in my life from this day forward. Say goodbye to the old Amanda. She’s dead.

I forgive you for abandoning me dad. I accept that your life, your culture, your personality made you behave the way you did, I believe that you loved me even though you didn’t know how to show it. I forgive you for cheating on mom. I forgive you for leaving us. I forgive you for setting me up to believe that all men will act like you did.

Mom, I forgive you for your angry past. I know you’ve had a rough life and have done the best job you could have given the circumstances. I forgive you for criticizing me and for being so angry you threatened to kill yourself. I know it wasn’t my fault that you got so angry. Know that the guilty feeling you gave me still lives inside of me. Two of my kids died because of decisions I made. I really was my fault. It’s ironic that our fighting never resulted in your suicide, but that a momentary lapse in judgement killed my two kids. I can never fix that. And I can never go back in time to fix what you said to me when I was a kid. All I can do now is forgive you and myself for everything that has happened.

Richard loves me. Steven, Brad, and Robert love me.  Richard weathers the storms with me. Richard and I have a life together despite all our ups and downs. We lost two kids, but we still have three who need us to be happy people and parents. I release you into the universe so I can live my life without a heavy cloud from the past hanging over my head. You tried the best you could, and you both really messed up. I refuse to let the past define me. And I refuse to use the past as an excuse not to fully appreciate and trust the relationship I do have.  I believe in love and fidelity, and intend to live my life accordingly.  From this day forward, I am vowing to life my life in a way that when my kids grow up and take this quiz or one like it, they will have different results and healthier beliefs about love.

Love,
Amanda

______________________________

Here is the prompt:  Your character has a certain deep-held belief about love and fidelity. This belief may be based on religion, on something s/he learned from her/his parents, or on her/his own experience. Decide what this belief is and where it came from. In your story, something happens to the character that seems incompatible with this belief. How does your character react? Write the story.

Visit the other  blogs to read what they wrote based on the same prompts:

http://www.clearlykristal.com/
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/
http://www.bulamamani.com/
http://www.itsadomelife.com/
http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com/
http://www.mollyfield.com/
http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/
http://the-suds-box.blogspot.ca/
http://www.quirkychrissy.com/

Follow us on Twitter:

Follow us on Twitter:
@clearlykristal
@worldsworstmoms
@BuLaMamaNi
@SusanneNelson1
@ItsADomeLife
@DeBieHive
@MollyFieldTweet
@monsterNbox
@chrissawoj
@Near_Genius

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!