Category Archives: motivation

Naturally Reflective: New Year’s Review and Reset

I am very happy to have today off!  Since it’s New Year’s Eve, a coworker asked me yesterday with a smirk if I was going to “party hard.”  The sarcasm stems from the fact that I am the only introvert in an office replete with extroverts.  It’s common knowledge at work that “partying hard” is clearly not in my wheelhouse.  In fact, I stopped trying to “fake it in order to make it” years ago.

I prefer to focus more on starting the New Year off on the right foot.  So, New Year’s Eve for me is a good time to reflect back over the last year.  I saw a great quote on Facebook the other day from the ageless and wise Mimi Kirk:

“2016- Life is like a garden, keep the things that worked last year and get rid of the things that didn’t.”

Oh how I love a good gardening analogy!  It seems like sage advice for non-diggers as well.  Removing clutter from our lives has become a popular theme in recent years, as the minimalist trend has gained momentum.  I applaud the idea of careful consumption and avoiding the accumulation of items that aren’t loved or needed.

What about habits and behaviors that don’t benefit us and keep us from living our dreams?  This is the question I will be pondering today.  New Year’s Eve is a good time to look back over the past year and see what worked and what didn’t.  I am going to follow Mimi’s advice to weed out what is not serving me.  I also want to recognize with gratitude what did and plan to cultivate those practices.

How are you spending New Year’s Eve?  Will you be spending time in reflection and gratitude?  Partying hard?  Little of both? Leave me a reply.  I would love to hear from you.

Happy New Year!  May 2016 be your best year ever, filled with love, happiness, prosperity, laughter and many beautiful blessings!

Many blessings,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

 

Naturally Motivated: Keeping the Faith

Did you see Julie and Julia? The movie about a blogger who records her experiences while cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking in one year? There is a scene where Julie has been writing for quite a while and is, momentarily, elated to see she has finally gotten her first comment; only to open it and read something like:

“Julie, this is your mother. It appears I am the only one who is reading your thing. Why are you doing this?”

Luckily, she didn’t get discouraged. She kept true to her vision, kept cooking and kept writing about it. Eventually, Julie’s audience found her. She completed her project on time and wrote a book about it. That book was adapted into the movie. Voila! The rest is history.

Sometimes, it seems like we are doing everything we can to make a difference in the world but no one is freakin’ listening. Worse yet, maybe the people who are listening are critical of us and tell us that we are wasting our time. If you have an idea for something that you believe can help make people’s lives better, brighter or happier in any way, I’d like to encourage YOU to keep going, regardless of what seems to be happening at this moment. Stay true to your vision and just keep doing the work!

It is very easy to constantly look to other people to see if we are on the right track. I suspect it’s because approval from other people helped us out early in life; when we were learning to do things we had never done before like walk and talk. We would have learned those things anyway from modeling other people but it’s certainly a lot more fun when someone is cheering you on at every step! Most of us find that our cheering committee seems to dwindle a bit, as we get older. ‘Attaboys and ‘attagirls are often replaced with comments about fears, worries or warnings to do things a certain way in order to be safe or respectable. While these comments are probably well meant, they certainly aren’t exactly motivating to the creative individual.

After letting this blog molder for several months, I really didn’t know what to expect in terms of readership. I’ve noticed something interesting. A lot more people read it than comment on it. When I first launched, I didn’t get stat reports on click-throughs from social media. The only way I knew if people were reading was when they were kind enough to leave me a comment or send me an email. Even though I know now that more people are reading than I had evidence for before; I don’t know what they think about it because they don’t directly engage with me.

Then the other day, I was blessed with an eye-opening email from Jodi:

Hi, loved your last post on veggie scraps. I commented away on that already! lol.

Did I mention I am well on my way to vegetarianism – even dare I say veganism??? Probably since February. And Garry is right there with me, sometimes ahead of me! He feels so good, his glucose numbers are normal (he tests every morning). He’s lost 30 pounds. It’s kind of been a process – but I figure every meal without meat, fish, or dairy saves or helps an animal, the planet & our health. The reason I wanted to mention it to you is because one of your blogs about being a Vegan & the whole thought process of being a snobby Vegan or a militant Vegan really made an impression on me. Also, that it was a process & took you a while to give up cheese. I never forgot that post – so remember that when you write, even if you don’t know it, you are making an impact on some people. I didn’t switch right away but it was stored away in my brain – not word for word but the gist of it! We are probably 98% there.

Wow! I wrote those posts on being a vegetarian, which Jodi so kindly refers to, well over two years ago! Last week, my best friend, who is not a commenter, sent me this text: “You are a really good writer Cindy. Did you ever consider writing a book?” I can’t tell you how moved I was by these wonderful and completely unexpected remarks!

Keep moving toward your dream. Keep doing the work. Keep going even when you feel like nothing you do matters because you may be making an impact on someone right now, who just hasn’t told you… yet!

Many blessings to all,

 

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Natural Gifts: Do You Know What Yours Are? What Would You Like To Be Doing?

My thriftiness was the inspiration that got me started making jewelry 13 years ago.  I was too cheap to pay $10 bucks for a bead change on my belly ring (Nope, I don’t have one anymore) at the tattoo place, when I could get a whole package for less than half that.  The only dilemma was what was I going to do with the rest of the beads?

I like to learn new things and since they string beads at kids’ summer camp, I figured making jewelry wasn’t beyond me.  So, I bought my first pair of pliers, some crimps, wire and catches and off I went.  First, I made an anklet, then earrings, then a necklace and bracelet.  I was hooked.  I learned how to bend wire (LOOOOVE bending wire and banging it into designs.) Very quickly, I outgrew the jewelry aisle at the craft store and began going to bead shops, mail order companies, metal companies and lapidaries for semi-precious stones and silver.  I made gifts for friends and eventually starting selling my one-of-a-kind pieces in 2006 under the name Chickyrhumba (a nickname my mom had for me when I was little.)

I closed the business in 2012 but I still enjoy making jewelry and I am proud of the work that I did.  The funny part is I am not sure I would have ever pursued it directly if it hadn’t been for my now defunct belly ring.  Honestly, I am just like that.  Life tends to have to inspire me to try new things indirectly or I need to ease into them somehow…slowly, sometimes VERY slowly.  I practiced yoga for several months on my own before I ever went to a class, just so I wouldn’t feel like a complete spaz doing it in public for the first time.

I suspect I am not alone when it comes to being a bit fearful about trying new things, even things I suspect I would enjoy.  Many of us are probably a bit nervous about looking foolish or fear that we may not be good at the chosen activity we admire or maybe, we don’t even know why we don’t make the effort.   Perhaps, there has just been an underlying current of subliminal messages in our minds telling us things like, “I don’t come from artistic people,” or “I have never been good at any sports.”  So, we stay stuck in our little safe box.

The cool thing is that if you manage to reach beyond your comfort zone, you just might amaze yourself with what you accomplish.  There are so many quotes about going beyond your comfort zone, it’s hard to know which came first.  I like Robert Allen’s “Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.”  (It just sounds so promising!)  More importantly, it’s a good way to take care of yourself.  You may find a new vocation that makes you successful beyond your wildest dreams or you may just find something you really enjoy doing.  Either way, it’s time well spent!

So, what have you always wanted to learn how to do that you have been putting off?  I would love to hear from you.

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Letting Go: Sorting Through My STUFF

I just watched the last piece of my Nana’s cherry wood set get hauled away.  I dragged that set with me from home to home for the last fourteen years and today, I let it go to an appreciative young man who was probably furnishing his first apartment.

I moved out of my parents’ house over 19 years ago.  Hurricane Sandy brought me back here temporarily.  My dental reconstruction is keeping me here a while longer.  Deciding it was better to have funds available to pay my various dentists than for storage fees, I cleared out my POD this weekend.

I am a fiercely independent person.  I do not enjoy asking for help.  However, this situation has required that I learn how to accept it and I am definitely grateful for the help that has been extended to me by friends and family.  I’d be lying if I said I was excited about the idea of sorting through all my crap and deciding what stays and what goes.  It’s a perfect beach weekend and that is where I would rather be.

Rather than dwell on the loss of my independence (and a good beach weekend) though; I’ve decided to view this as an opportunity to let go of what I don’t need and welcome a fresh start.  While I was looking through one box, I found a baseball card album filled with Steve Sax cards.  My boyfriend in college gave it to me as a birthday present one year.  I had remarked that Steve Sax had a cute tush and he thought it would be funny to give me all his cards.  It was funny but not funny enough to keep toting around decades after we broke up; especially when I never really wanted it in the first place.

The baseball card album was one of his better gifts too.  One year he gave me a toolbox filled with tools.  I didn’t want that either.  The nicest things one of my friends at the time said about it was “tell him next year, you want a jewelry box and to fill that up too.”  The rising chorus from my friends was “dump him” and eventually I did.  So, why do I still have this little album all these years later?  Who the fuck knows… I am a sentimental person but I think this is a good time to reevaluate what I want to keep in my life and what NEEDS to go.

I also have this sense that letting go of unnecessary stuff will make room for new and better things, opportunities and experiences in my life.  I think I will do a mental overhaul while I am at it and let go of accumulated fears, pains, frustrations and insecurities… I’m sure I have a book on that in one of these damn boxes…

What do you need to let go of?  Have you had a positive experience after letting go of items you no longer needed?  I would love to hear from you!

Love and blessings to all,

Cynthia

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Exercise: Do I really need to set a freakin’ goal?

I have a strange relationship with exercise.  I love it while I am doing it and it does me a lot of good physically, mentally and emotionally but I have struggled with a self-defeating habit of trying to get out of it.

Honestly, I don’t believe it is anything deeper than the fact that the free spirit inside me never wants to live the same day twice.  I already devote 40+ hours a week to working for someone else, at least 12 hours a week commuting to work for someone else, then there is cleaning and laundry, studying… having to be disciplined about one more thing can make ya want to run off and live in the woods Thoreau-style.  Except I want to stay fit physically, mentally and emotionally.  So, I am committed now to a daily yoga practice and walking the dogs most days (you know, weather permitting.)

I have been doing pretty well and have been pleased with the results thus far.  Then while I was the yoga mat recently, I got an idea!  I have a vision board hanging above the TV. So when I need to focus on something to keep my balance while practicing, I stare at something on my board.  I saw a photo of a woman who looks a bit like me in ustrasana or full camel pose.  I put it on my board to represent flexibility in general, not just in yoga or my physical body.  I found myself thinking that it might be fun to see if I could do it before the end of the year.

It is such a beautiful pose because it corrects most people’s natural (or unnatural depending on your perspective) tendency to curl into themselves in a protective or childlike way.  I tend to slouch with rigid, rounded shoulders.  I have noticed that the tightness in my neck, back and shoulders has been turning into creaks and crackles.  I want to avoid any kind of chronic backache or arthritis and working towards this pose just might be the ticket.

So, we’ll see how it goes.  It does feel more freeing to know I am working toward something that is opening me up and healing my body, mind and spirit rather than just dogmatically going through a routine.  Maybe I will post a photo of myself in this pose before the end of the year.

How do you stay motivated to exercise?  Please leave a comment or drop me a note.  I would love to hear from you.

Love and blessings to all,

Cynthia

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