Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What It Means to Me to Live Whole-heartedly

I live whole-heartedly in my heart. I feel it running throughout my being. I’ve been trying to put together, in words, the concept/belief so I can talk about it. It’s not a subject that can fit one page. It’s something to live, to work at, to learn to become. Some of these blog writings will cover this topic as I weave my way through the maze of thoughts and ideas that permeate my being.

First off, no one is totally perfect and to expect it to be so, sets us up for failure. I refuse to be a failure! Oh, I may have my downslides and I make many mistakes as I go through this life, but I am not a failure. I get up time and time again, striving to be better.

What does failure have to do with living whole-heartedly? It’s accepting there will be times when I fail at something. Admitting slip-ups is an act of bravery because I am willing to be open and vulnerable about it. It offers me the opportunity to learn and grow, and talking about the experience helps me release whatever it is that brings me down. Talking my truth creates a connection to others which allows support and advice and more chances to learn. 

The trick is knowing how long to allow myself to wallow in self-blame and self-pity. When is it time to jump right up and when is it OK to be in that down place. Sometimes staying there for a brief period allows the full experience. Sometimes it’s good to allow the gamut of emotions to run. It’s important, though, to not let myself get too mired. I have to crawl out of the hole because I am determined to be happy and live life whole-heartedly. 

Whole-hearted living means I pick myself up, dust myself off, and go on being the best person I can be. It means living the best I can for me (and best doesn’t mean perfect), believing that when I take better care of myself, then I am better able to love and care for those around me (and that includes loving myself). I care and love with my whole soul -- which is not a blind, obsessive love, but an open-minded, whole-hearted love.  

Whole-hearted living means living up to certain simple rules I’ve taken on for myself like: Do no harm, be kind to others, be polite, and do the best I can. I have an inner list of how I want to be in life that also includes: Being helpful when I can, knowing when to ask for help, knowing when to say “no,” staying true to who I am, and being true to myself. It’s also being adaptable to change. 

Living whole-heartedly means honoring myself. I am important. Just as others are important. It means recognizing who I am and celebrating my strengths. It’s accepting who I am, and although I will strive to be better (whatever better means in the moment), I can be good enough for now.

Being enough is a difficult concept for many. Society is full of not good enough, not pretty enough, not having enough, not fast enough, and not _____ enough, etc. Business marketing is based on the not enough beliefs. We spend billions of dollars trying to be “enough.” 

I am choosing in this moment to be and have enough! And while I may be enough today, I will work at being better tomorrow, at which time that will be enough. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Daring Greatly Outside the Comfort Zone

I like ruts. I like my comfort zone and it’s hard to get me out of it. So, it’s a good thing that life doesn’t let me get too mired in. I am challenged in one way or another; if not every day, then every other day. I am never allowed to stay on the easy road no matter how hard I try. Something always comes along to upset the proverbial apple cart.

That’s a good thing. If I never moved out of my comfort zone, there would be no growth. I’d stagnate – and stagnation is a precursor to death. The universe won’t let that happen to me (not now anyway). 

The end of 2016 introduced me to two concepts: Daring greatly and living whole-heartedly. I have taken these words to heart and I’m developing what this means to me. 

I wrote about daring greatly in my blog this past December (in “Living the Life of an Artist/Writer” blog before I divided my blogs into categories). It was a brief introduction of what it means to “dare greatly,” and since then, the act of daring greatly comes up more and more. Or rather, I am more aware of how often I dare greatly. I am learning to see challenges as opportunities to dare greatly and that lifts my spirits.

Still, I want my comfort zone and sometimes I feel I’m throwing a childish, inner temper tantrum when things don’t go smoothly. I can’t even stay home to avoid challenges! Life just dishes them up. I work steadily to be as positive about life as I can. Life isn’t perfect; crash and burns happen and I get what I call “freaky.” 

This is part of where the living whole-heartedly comes in. I take a deep breath and dive into the challenge. OK, I’ll admit there’s often frustrating tears, but I work through it! Sometimes it’s about figuring it out for myself or knowing when to ask for help. Other times I find answers by talking about the situation through writing, emailing, or posting on Facebook – just the fact that I’ve put it out there, offers mental relief from the downward spiral.

I take time to read my positive affirmations and I meditate and do Tai Chi daily. I go outside even if it’s just to walk around the yard to soak up the fresh air and nature. I watch the birds, play with the kitty, listen to comforting music, and remember to breathe in and breathe out. 

I dive back into my work with a clearer mindset.

I’ll be writing more about living whole-heartedly in upcoming postings.