Quotes for Moving On

I recently read Barbara Sher’s It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now, and while it was good for those in a mid-life crisis, it wasn’t really what I was looking for. However, nothing is wasted, and I found these six nuggets to ponder on. I think they apply to anyone who is making a change, moving on, or letting go.

Respect Reality. It’s bigger than you are.

A waste of Time is a waste of Talent.

Do your part and forget about the rest.

When you stop wanting the carrot, and the stick no longer hurts, you’re going to turn into a donkey with an opinion.

(This is a great one for breaking the negative cycle in your life. Dare to be a donkey with an opinion!)

Disapproval doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.

Be good only to the good people.

Do you have any favorite quotes that help you deal with the ups and downs of life? Please share them here. We need all we can get!

Why A Journal Doesn’t Heal Everything

I’ve been writing about my experience as the widow of an alcoholic and addict for several weeks now. I’d been doing it for years in the journal on my nightstand, so why go public? I’ve been accused of wanting attention or validation, or even manufacturing details to garner more followers. Of course, none of that is true, any more than you are vying for attention by posting your kid’s little league trophy or showing off your neon cast on a broken arm.

We share publicly because that is the social media culture we live in. We share because we want to connect with someone else. We share to distribute the weight of a burden, to multiply the joy we are feeling, to spread the laughter. Sometimes we share so that we can move on.

I’m a writer. I express myself with words. If I were a painter or dancer or marathon runner I would express myself that way. But I’m a writer, so I write.

I realized that the knowledge I was carrying had become a boulder in my path. I couldn’t go around it, through it, or over it. I had lots of ideas for new projects and many unfinished works and hobbies, but somehow I couldn’t get excited about them. It felt like I wasn’t “allowed” to enjoy those things because I kept coming back to this boulder.

Maybe it was a creativity block. Maybe it was a need to organize and prioritize before I could put some things away. All I know is that the boulder just kept getting bigger and covering more ground the longer I tried to ignore it.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

The difference between keeping a journal and keeping a blog is a big one. Keeping a journal tends to be about emotion. Writing a blog is more about thought. You pour out on the journal page all the things you can never say out loud – even to yourself. You wrestle with the same challenges over and over. And while journaling is an immense help, it is not always a solution. For a person who expresses themselves through writing, the printed word – even on a personal blog – is magic. Just seeing the words in typeset changes their value. The writer becomes more accountable, more precise, less lead by emotion.

To see something in print is to label it as fact. (Just look at all the things people think are true just because they are on the internet.) To write your own experience where someone else can read it means that you are telling a truth – your truth – and you cannot look away from it. You cannot say later, “Oh, I was upset. I didn’t know what I was saying.” Or, “It was stream-of-consciousness. I didn’t mean that at all.” You can’t discount print the way you do your own handwriting.

This is tremendously important when dealing with a topic that other people would rather just went away. Substance abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, racism, end-of-life decisions…these are realities most people just don’t want to know about. But if you are the victim or survivor of one (or more!) of these things, it’s a luxury you don’t have. You MUST face it, or risk being forever stunted, frozen at your worst moment.

If you’ve been helped by me sharing a few highlights of my life, I am honored. If you’ve gained some insight into another’s struggle, I’m pleased. If you’ve been made uncomfortable or angry, I’m glad – not because you’re hurt, but because that means you are being edged a little out of your comfort zone. Maybe you will start to ask some questions of yourself that help you shift your own obstacle a little more out of the path.

If you keep a journal, I encourage you to also write a blog. Don’t just copy your journal writing into a post. Review your writing and select the lessons that are buried there, the moments that grabbed your attention. Write about them again, but with a view to sharing it.

If you draw or paint or compose or dance – consider sharing what you’ve been creating for yourself. Letting people in can be scary. Not everyone is nice. Not everyone understands. But they are the minority. And the hearts you may touch are infinitely more precious than any passing criticism.

 

Growing Up, or Growing Down?

dollhouse

You don’t have to talk to me for very long before the subject of tiny houses comes up. I’ve seen every episode of every show devoted to living small. I’ve perused blueprints and Pinterest posts. Bought how-to books and even visited a tiny living community. What is the attraction?

At first glance, tiny houses are cute. It seems like a relief to live with only the essential items you need. It’s appealing to spend less money, be mortgage-free, afford luxury decor that becomes suddenly affordable in small quantities.

But for those who dig deeper, there’s a more profound attraction. A fundamental change in the foundation of who we are. Ryan Mitchell, in his book Tiny House Living, gets to the heart of this change. He believes that most people have a sense of being a hamster on the wheel, of wanting to change the status quo, but feel powerless to do so.

Why? Most of the reasons to avoid change are mental barriers. Not physical ones. We’re afraid of people questioning our choices, criticizing how we want to live, concerned about how we will achieve it. I believe these mental barriers exist for all change – not just going tiny.

We are at a tipping point in society where more people are waking up to the reality that there is no need to keep up with the Johnson’s because the Johnson’s are sitting in their over-priced, over-sized house with no furniture because they can’t afford any, and they aren’t looking at us anyway. Some are looking overseas and realizing that the majority of the world lives with less – and better – than we do. Others have done the math and discovered that smaller living leads to bigger adventures.

It’s called Growing Up, America. And it means it’s time to grow ourselves down to a more manageable, more meaningful size.

And this movement to downsize possessions has caught on to our psyche. Now we want to downsize our debt. Eliminate emotional clutter. Weed out toxic friends.

For the hundreds of people who actually live tiny, there are thousands who mentally yearn to incorporate those qualities in their lives – even if they never move from their current location.

And that is why we keep on this quest to pare down who it is we think we are, identify our needs and wants, work towards working less and looking inward more.

But beware. Knowing who you are has consequences. It brings a focus to your life that wasn’t there before. You gain confidence, energy, positivity. The ability to seize an opportunity when it happens your way. This will attract some people and repel others.

That’s okay. Any clearing out of closets and basements results in a re-ordering of your mind. You recognize that you have simply outgrown some things (or people), while others no longer serve their purpose. Gift them to someone else. Let them find their own path. They are not on your journey. They merely accompanied you for a little while.

Is it realistic to think that I could live in a tiny house with two teenagers? Well, not with these teenagers. And possibly not with my hobbies and interests. (I’ll take you on a tour of my Renaissance world sometime.) But I can take the best of the idea behind tiny living so I can live small and dream big.