Tag Archives: big questions

Be Nice, dammit!

Being honest with yourself can be one of the hardest things you can do. The ability to see who you are and sit with it in peace is something I believe few of us acheive in our lifetimes. Most of us who do not sit on mountain tops, get glimpses now and then generally try to avoid the less than ideal stuff that comes up.wpid-img_991120245608510.jpeg

Recently, I was thinking about how difficult I find people. I really want to play well with others, but sometimes I am so completely overwhelmed by how toxic people can be. How much they are willing to hurt others for some perceived gain. It disheartens me. It is not as though we can walk away from every person like this. We have to work with them, live with them if they are family, associate with them if they are in an organization we volunteer.

I find myself often very depressed and anxious around these people. They suck the life out of everything and seriously decrease my creativity and joy. To make matters worse, they aren’t responsive to communicating about the problem and often try to blame it on you. It’s a real cespool of our worst human traits.

Personally, I have a hard time letting go of the feelings that arise from this because I feel trapped and uncomfortable. I don’t trust them and feel treated during our interactions. It plain sucks. To make a bad situation worse, it takes a hit on my self-esteem because I feel like a failure for not being able to handle the situation and create peace and harmony. I feel like the other person is saying, I don’t think you’re worth it to make things work. I feel resentful and angry then on top of helpless to advocate for change. A recipe for depression.

I’m curious to know if others have had similar experiences and at what they did.

For me, this one of the most challenging aspects of myself. I feel deeply, my skin is far thinner than people realize, and I have a hard time finding a way to positively interact with those who are unkind in this way. It eats me alive and I obsess over the “why!?!”

So I wondered if there are fellow empaths out there who have advice for me on not having it consume me.frustration

I suppose because it is considered unfashionable to “need” anyone nowadays, I have even tried to divorce myself from my own needs inside in romantic relationships. Fact is I’d like to have someone to take care of me. Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only one looking out for myself. I have tried to make due with unloving men telling myself I can give that to myself and I don’t need that. That’s bullshit! You need to have both if you’re in a relationship. I miss feeling the safety of another person I can count on besides myself.

Nowadays it seems like everyone considers the other disposable. It is as if people try to pretend they need less connection than they really do. We all try to act like we’re ok when we’re lonely as hell and desperate for connection. Fewer and fewer people want to risk their own vulnerability. They keep people at arms length with texting and chatting electronically, but won’t expect themselves to act with courage towards one another.

Once upon a time, before technology became our life line to others, people actually faced challenges and people head on. Yeah it was tough, but it built character. You learned, by doing, what you could handle and as time went on you actually grew as a person. We talked things out and took for granted we’d be together, so the only two options were to be miserable together or work it out together.

The problem now is that now people don’t make that assumption and so their relationship is always on the line. You CANNOT build a relationship with someone when you are always willing walk away during challenges. No one could relax in this situation. With the constant threat of it ending, both people are not all in or committed. It is like being in a relationship that doesn’t exist.

Maybe it is nostalgia clouding my memories, but I remember it being easier to be in a relationship and to work things out with people. Now I just find myself digusted most of the time with how people treat one another.

Thoughts? Advice?

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Waiting for Closure: Don’t Put Your Life on Hold

When things end differently than we expect, especially when we’ve invested a lot, it can be really hard to move past the outcome.  The phrase most often heard to describe this is “needing closure”.  In some situations I believe closure can be achieved, in others not so much. Hanging on to getting it in these situations can put your whole life on hold.  And you deserve better than that, don’t you think?  I think you do 🙂

I’ve recently extricategood intentions vs characterd myself out of a really bad relationship that I’ve been hanging onto for about 1 year. It was one of those situations where you keep thinking it will get better because it is “not so hard to fix”. You believe that he will move beyond making promises and finally take action. You think the meanness will stop. I began to hold on to the few moments of happiness in between the pain thinking that the 10% could become 90% if we talked enough. You start asking yourself what you’re doing to cause it or if you’re imagining things because it seems so unreal. I’ve never done such mental gymnastics to be in a relationship in all my life.

it's not personalHe claimed he was here for me, but sabotaged every important moment in my life. He badmouthed me to his family to the point that they hated me and then invited me to drive 6 hrs. to spend Thanksgiving with them. He caused drama in an attempt to come between my best friend. Then, he’d buy me expensive”I’m sorry” gifts as if that should make it all better. He’d tell me how much he wanted to spend his life with me, but could never manage to get past his selfishness to actually include someone else.  As he often reminded me – “I just don’t think about you when you’re not around”. Nice. So, yeah he was here for me, but not in any way that you’d want to have someone around.

I just couldn’t understand how someone could be so consistently hurtful.  It is, after all, so easy to be nice and kind.  The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.  Particularly if you really want to spend your life with someone. I took so much crap from this man.  I didn’t like who I was around him.   He put on a good show in front of friends and family, but in private, I rarely smiled, cried a lot,  didn’t want to be intimate with him in any way.  I was completely unclear why I stayed or invited him back again and again.  Somehow he would always find a way back and it would always be worse the next time.

Finally he had done something so horrible to me while I was heavily turn the page or close the bookmedicated and sleeping, that I was done with giving out chances. But my mind still wanted answers for how someone could behave in such horrific ways. Why, why, why?

So, I wanted to share some thoughts with you that have been helping me move forward even though I have not gotten any answers or asked him to make sense of it for me.

First Lesson: Who Cares?wpid-20140625_161727.jpg
If a person cares about you they would never disrespect and humiliate you – EVER. If they do and you tell them and they don’t do better or feel remorse, this is a reflection of their shitty character.  It is not a judgement of who you are. People who care take care of you especially when you’re weak.

Second Lesson:  Invest Wisely
Sometimes we invest so heavily in someone that we feel we are owed a return on investment. But in fact, it is a lot like the stock market, there is NO guarantee.  Also, there are some “stocks”, like men, that are simply better performers.  They have shown what they’re made of over time. If I had taken his “portfolio” to heart, I’d have walked away from a man who was a serial cheater during his entire marriage, who blamed his ex-wife for his unhappiness, and also bad-mouthed her to his family while never revealing his misdeeds at any time.  After all he started to do the same things to me.  Every time we’d have a fight he was out on the online dating websites trolling for new women to stroke his ego, he’d bad mouth me to his family, and told me that if he ever killed himself, it would be my fault because I make him so unhappy.  Yeah.  Sometimes, you have to cut your losses ladies and admit that you put your trust, time and energy in an undeserving man. Just walk away and learn something that will make you invest more wisely next time.

Third Lesson:  Where’s the Apology…the Explanation?
Waiting for the apology that never comes can be infuriating. It is kind of a waste how much faith and belief I put into a man who has shown no integrity in his thoughts or deeds.  Even though he’s let you down more times than you have fingers and toes to count on, frustrationyou hold out hope that he will care enough about you to suddenly realize how “worth it” you are and rush in like a knight to prevent losing you. I assure you that you ARE worth it. He just is lacking the integrity present in decent human beings. Think of yourself like a placeholder more than a significant person to him and it will make a lot more sense. Anyone who stands in that spot gets that treatment. Trust me, I wanted an explanation for his despicable behavior towards me. An account of how he could bring himself to commit a crime against me. An apology. I didn’t get any of that. Not for days after. Not now. Nothing except complete denial as he walked out and slammed the door at me crying in a heap on the floor. Used and discarded like trash. Good men just don’t do this. Period.  


mean what you promiseIt takes time to get past all this sludge  because we want our hurt, our experience to matter to the one who does the hurting. We want them to feel bad about making us feel bad. We want them to make good on their promises. It is normal and healthy for people to interact in a caring way about people they care about and most people are decent.  For example, I hurt you. I apologize sincerely. I don’t do it again.  You accept.  We move on stronger and deeper. But some people really don’t give a shit about you or your needs or the fact that you are a person with feelings, let alone that you were in a relationship with them.

The thing is that the longer we hold on to our desire for “admission of wrongdoing” from the one who hurt us, the longer they are left in charge of our personal power.  And nobody should have access to that wheel except you should they? No. They shouldn’t. So, let’s just take that back, shall we?

What we really want is to just feel better. We want all the yuckiness to clear out so that we can feel good again. It is more of an internal/emotional shift that we are looking for from another person.turning point

Luckily that is a gift we can give ourselves, much like forgiveness. We have to do it all the time really when you think about it.   We know that the rest of the world, our coworkers, strangers, etc are not responsible for our feelings, right? So, if we apply that to relationship “closure” we don’t really need the other person to help us move on do we? No. We don’t 🙂

I would say instead of trying to deny it or drink, drug, or shop your way out of it……

Do this instead: 

  • Just acknowledge that something sucky happened. Don’t pretend you’re not hurt just so you look all “together”.  That’s just gonna mess you up for interacting with other humans. It doesn’t mean your weak, it means you’re human.
  • Get real about the feelings you have – name them. Are you sad, hurt, humiliated, betrayed, violated*. You get to decide what’s important and significant to you.  Nobody else can tell you what’s real for you or how bad it hurts. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Resist the need for outside approval. You don’t need others to validate your feelings.  Learn to accept and acknowledge your own state of being and consider it valuable. This way you can trust what you want and need for yourself. Use your own voice!
  • Learn something as you process this life moment. It will help you make different decisions next time. Nobody’s perfect or has all the answers and that’s ok because we’re designed that way.
  • Finally, give yourself the gift of closure by honoring yourself, remembering you are awesome, and that sometimes other people really suck and that’s not got a darn thing to do with you.

-with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

*If you feel that a crime has been committed against you, I would add to the list that you consider contacting authorities and taking appropriate legal action.

The Formula for Success

Pessimist vs OptimistDuring childhood we were read fairy tales to show us a world of possibilities; that we could do anything no matter what. We dreamed of the kind of person we would be someday.  Memories of those stories kept us motivated to carry on when the bullies came, the name calling started, the awkwardness of puberty set in. We knew that someday we’d be the hero/ine. We’d come out on top.

Funny how just when you’re old enough to be able to make fairytales come true, you’re told that you’re living in a fantasy world and it is time to grow up. As a result, you spend the next stage of your life coping with the disillusionment, certain you were cheated out of your shot at happiness, and trying to find workarounds.

It seems like the most successful people somehow manage to weave the two together.

Take Steve Jobs, who was quoted saying, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”  I interpret this to mean that it is great to have a dream, but the successful dreamer sticks with the dream until it is brought into reality.  This can be applied to more than our careers.  It is a way of life. A way of thinking.

Ask yourself this question.

When your optimism for achieving a goal runs out, what do you have left to get you there?

A lot of people will change the goal when their tolerance for waiting for “someday” fades out. They will say, oh well I guess it wasn’t meant to be. On to the next thing (which they hope will be easier to achieve). Successful people persevere with the same goal until it is reached. They dream big, take small steps and simply arrive.

For a long time in my life I thought that I was a very scattered person in terms of my goals. I felt like I had many things I wanted to achieve and they weren’t necessarily related. I often thought I was a failure because of this. I realized later that what you see on the surface is not necessarily the actual goal you are chasing. When I looked deeper, I saw the golden thread that weaved it all together.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean by inviting you on a journey though a part of my life – my college career.

I love to sing. I heard there were tryouts for the coveted spot of lead vocalist of the Big Band. I was a freshman and everyone told me not to bother auditioning because a freshman never gets selected. There were plenty of advanced musicians with more experience and know-how to choose from. I auditioned my heart and soul that day and poured years of pain and passion into every note as I sang a jazzy version of “Summertime” from the opera Porgy and Bess. A week later, I learned that I got the spot. I was the first freshman to do so and I led the way for the next ones.

I was proud but then I thought, what in the world did that have to do with being a Biology major?

The years went on and in my Senior year I wanted an independent study in the Biology dept., but my research idea was dropped by the lead researcher at the last minute due to changing priorities. I was now facing the new reality of failing out of school since that was my whole grade that semester. So, what did I do? I nagged the hell out of every department head in the Science building; Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, with the belief that someone had a project they wanted to get off the ground and were waiting for someone like me to come along and bring it to fruition. Finally, a Physical Chemistry professor took a bite and I said yes, even though I knew it would require some serious crash courses in advanced Microbiology and an understanding of laser technology even before I could begin! So, I found more professors willing to take a chance on me and teach me on the side what I needed to know. I asked for an extension and worked through the summer. I completed the project and not only did I successfully answer the research questions, but I also took it a step further and ended up creating a Biochemistry Lab that was used to help students understand more deeply how this enzyme worked for years to come.

So what’s the point of these examples? How do these seemingly unrelated goals relate to the core message of this post?

Here’s how…lying beneath everything I’ve done my whole life is a burning desire for answers and an unrelenting drive to use my potential to help others reach theirs. I believe this is my purpose. This is what motivates every decision I make and every goal I set. And in that way, no matter what I do on the surface, underneath the main goal remains the same.

Persevering each step of the way is from a commitment to arrive at the destination I’m driven towards. When I’m at my best I can feel the creative sparks flying everywhere. I am dreaming big AND I am making it happen even when people say it is impossible. This is sometimes called, Flow. It occurs every time our passion and purpose align in perfect harmony and we stop thinking and simply do.

You don’t have to compromise your dream of being the hero/ine in your own life just because you’re an adult and there are responsibilities. The greatest responsibility you have is to yourself.

Don’t let anyone ever convince you that growing up equals giving up.

— with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Top 11 Reasons to Bail on a Relationship: SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

turn the page or close the book

For a long time, I used to think that I was terrible at relationships because of my divorces, but the flip side of divorce can be a much greater understanding of what works in a relationship and what doesn’t. Of course the caveat is that you must actually take the time and make the effort to breakdown, grieve, get real with yourself and come out the other side with peace AND understanding.

So when I did this and then ventured back out into the dating world, I had a whole different view on myself, my needs, and my expectations in a relationship. I knew what values needed to be in place, the kind of emotional connection necessary, the humor, attitude, character, etc. that would work best for me.

I had learned to take care of myself which was terrifying at first, but became a source of great empowerment to me. I didn’t need someone to complete me. I discovered that I am already whole.

If you’re anything like me you love lists. So compact and to the point.  So here’s my list of the TOP 11 Reasons You Need to Bail on A Relationship. As a side note, this can of course apply to female partners as well, but I am writing from the perspective of a hetero female 😉

1. He doesn’t comfort you in your worst moments. He actually often makes it worse by arguing with you, laughing at you or showing no emotion or inappropriate emotion.

2. He thinks of himself first and leaves you what’s left or nothing at all.

3. He thinks that s/he can buy your love to make up for the lack of emotional intimacy.

4. You can’t imagine him caring for you if you were old, sick, or dying. In fact you might imagine him trying to get sympathy in public and treating like garbage behind closed doors.

5. He makes you feel worse about yourself when you’re together and brings out the worst in you. You are not growing emotionally or spiritually with him.

6. You spend more time talking about the relationship than enjoying being in one.

7. The bad times start to outweigh the good and hardly a day or two goes by without conflict.

8. Nothing ever gets resolved because he manipulates the situation with threats (suicide, leaving, withholding etc.), putdowns, avoidance, playing dumb (gaslighting), managing down your expectations by teaching you that fighting with him isn’t worth the trouble so you better start expecting less.

9. He’s over 30 and still afraid of what his family thinks about him, you or your relationship.  He puts more effort into making sure they are comfortable instead of you. He makes you look bad in front of his family. This man will not have your back (unless of course it suits him). He is not a reliable partner. Good time, yeah! Bad times….not so much.

10. He has a history of cheating while in a committed relationship. Whether or not he cheats on YOU sexually, I guarantee you that this kind of behavior is a whole mindset that is based on superficiality, entitlement and instant gratification. This is not a guy who goes the distance. He won’t keep promises he makes no matter how often he says so.

11. If his words don’t match his actions, judge the actions. That’s what counts.

Commitment is great, but make sure it is to someone who is really committed to your happiness too.

Would you add anything based on your experience?

with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Making Excuses Rather Than Decisions

Decided to take a break from Sunday chores and search the web for inspiration.  I ran into an article on the blog Marc and Angel Hack Life  about the 10 Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward. Maybe I’m just procrastinating from going back to chores, but I thought it was worth taking a moment to post some thoughts.

All of the points Marc makes are great, but one stood out to me in particular (#8).  I really can’t stand when people make excuses for why their life didn’t turn out the way they hoped for — as if it were completely out of their control.

# 8 Making excuses rather than decisions. – Life is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving.  A mistake doesn’t become a failure until you refuse to correct it. Thus, most long-term failures are the outcome of people who make excuses instead of decisions.

The last line is so important.  You have a choice about the outcome.  It is like that expression – “if you fail, try, try, try again”.  The moment you give up, you’ve made another choice and taken away all chances of success.  It is guaranteed failure.  

No matter what you decide, be willing to accept the consequences that come with it.  If you are successful due to your perseverance, don’t call it luck.  It was the result of YOUR efforts and determination.  Give yourself credit. Conversely, if you gave up, be honest about why you are not where you thought you’d be. Own it.

Intentions are great but as the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  Instead stop making excuses, decide to do what it takes, and do it consistently.

That’s the not so big secret to success.

Yeah, yeah, Ok….going back to the chores now….

with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

You’re Nobody’s Fool: Realistic Optimism

can or cant you're rightIn a culture whose mantra has become, “what you believe, you conceive”, we could use a cold bucket of reality to wake us up every once in a while. While I tend to look on the bright side of things, I wouldn’t consider myself an optimist.  Quite frankly, I think these definitions are too oversimplified to be helpful.

I think we can all agree that being a “Debby or Dan Downer” with things in life can be just as bad as expecting to shit out rainbows for breakfast everyday. Total realism, on the other hand, is like a dry piece toast; edible but not enjoyable. Extremes in any form are not healthy, no matter which way you slice it.

I like to think of myself as a Realistic Optimist which I define as, someone who goes into a situation filled with the hope of a good outcome, but who is realistic enough to know when enough evidence to the contrary says it is is time to walk away.

So, I find promoting the idea that “what we believe we can make true” without any caveatsOptimist-Pessimist-Realist-Quote is both irresponsible and untrue.  For example, no matter how much we may believe and conjure up all our will power, hope, and commitment towards changing someone, we cannot make an individual do something they don’t want to do.  We cannot make them change.  We cannot make someone care. We cannot force love. None of these things are possible through the power of thought.

You don’t need to put up with someone’s crap just because you want to show how positive you are. Or how kind you are. Or how loving. Here’s another newsflash, they are not going to change for you. They are an asshole despite you. You sticking around will only wear you out. It will not cause them to change.

I promise you that they will not wake up one day and say, WOW!! Because she’s/he’s stuck around all this time while I’ve busted up every boundary she/he has, taken all my shenanigans in stride, and given her/himself up for me, I’m TOTALLY READY TO SUDDENLY BECOME (WO)MAN OF HER/HIS DREAMS NOW.

Bengen_optimist_pessimist_realist
Translation: (L-R) My glass is half full. My glass is half empty. My glass is half past eight 🙂 Good German Humor..

It is fine to give someone chances, but have a time limit in mind.  Showing yourself less love will not make someone change unless you want that someone to be YOU. You have not been put on this earth to martyr yourself.  You don’t have to stay in a place that sucks. You can do better. It may not feel like it at first, but being alone is better than having your soul sucked out by someone else who means you and the relationship no good.

What do you think?

with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Empty promises, dangling carrots, and other forms of general assholery

empty-promisesI have been thinking a lot about people who promise you that they will change but keep stringing you along instead. This can be profoundly painful in romantic relationships.  While we as women love to talk a lot as a way to work through things, we sometimes end up with assclowns who talk up a storm too and never deliver.  One of the major differences between men and women is that men don’t talk  endlessly about what they are going to do. They just do it. When a man wants something, he goes and gets it.  If he says he’s going to make it right, he makes it right.

If you want to know the character of a man look at his ACTIONS. 

For example, if the two of you are still talking about the same issues months down the road that he promised to fix months ago and nothing has been resolved, there’s a bigger problem than you realize. You may be with the dreaded man-who-talks-too-much-and-doesn’t-follow-through. Are you at the point where you are exhausted trying to verbally communicate?  Maybe you can’t understand why he can’t understand. Maybe you’re even screaming at the top of your lungs thinking he’ll hear you better, or keeping yourself up late at night in pointless arguments until you’re too exhausted to speak, or taking some space to recuperate hoping he’ll start to value you more, etc., It’s all just a version of waiting and hoping he’ll give enough of a shit to suddenly turn into a caring, loving man and stop the nonsense.

To quote the great Natalie Lue in her article Even if They’ve Changed it Doesn’t Matter. You’ve Changed Too,

Stop the madness. This isn’t what ‘love’ feels or looks like. They’re just not that special and you’re not that desperate. Love involves a lot of ‘doing’ and without actions that reflect the love, it’s like being cloaked in hot air. Even if they do move on to someone else, this is not how you want love – trying to use an emotional battering ram to squeeze effort out of them that others do willingly.

That last line reallymean what you promise hits me.  “Trying to use an emotional battering ram to squeeze effort out of them that others do willingly“.

I mean if a man says he wants something, he’ll do it. Period. If he tells you, I’ll change this or that. He’ll change it if he values and respects you and doesn’t want to lose you. End of story.  If he doesn’t make good, then you have to value and respect yourself enough to call it quits and walk away.

If you stay when he doesn’t deliver and listen to the excuses and empty promises from men who talk too much, and don’t do enough, then you teach them that their shady behavior and half-assed efforts are good enough to keep you in place. They don’t have to change. They will do the bare minimum to keep you around.  An apology here and there. A promise of a bright future. Offer something they can do in lieu of what you want in order to keep you in a holding pattern.  It’s manipulation.  They hope you’ll think to yourself, “well he did do this nice thing, maybe he’s not that bad.”  Maybe I should hang in a little longer, give him another chance, find a new excuse for him. It also has the nice additional benefit of  ensuring that he keeps you off the market and all to himself. Of course this solidifies his position of bare minimum behavior, because you’re not going anywhere.

All you’re doing is compromising your own happiness by letting him get away with general assholery. Funny how you’re willing to make sacrifices for him that he’s not willing to make for you. 

good intentions vs characterYou deserve to be with a man who wants to do for you and DOES what he SAYS he’ll do.  Words must match actions.  Always look at the ACTIONS of a man. Even if there are NO WORDS. You deserve a man who will appreciate your giving, loving, caring nature.  But you are wasting your time if you’re trying to turn a cockroach into a prince. Let go of the fairytale and go find yourself the real deal.  Remember as the 90’s taught us ladies, you’re not an exception to any rule. He will not suddenly become a better person and your happiness shouldn’t depend on him being someone else. Go find someone else that actually has the characteristics you want.  A good man will have the character of someone who doesn’t play games or talk your ear off with empty promises. He’ll show up right and he wouldn’t risk doing anything that might make you leave. It’s WHO HE IS not who you hope he’ll become.

If he’s not that into you, I guarantee there is someone out there who is.  Release the beast that you’re with and free yourself up to meet your prince. Because if you stick around waiting for change, the only thing that’s going to change is your own self-esteem as you sink lower into a pit of despair and self-hate. You are fabulous and you deserve to be with someone who treats you like he thinks so too.

 

What do you think?

 

with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

 

Gratitude Challenge (Post Camino)

image

After having so many powerful experiences walking the Camino de Santiago, I wanted to set myself up for continued success now that I have returned.

One of the core lessons I FINALLY learned during this 800 km journey was HOW to stay present.  This is a well known key concept to inner peace and we’ve all read it or heard it from a hundred different sources. 

Despite my best attempts, I never really understood how it works, practically. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel at peace inside? Where do I sign up? Right?

So, how did I find it and how can you get some of that too? I’m glad you asked 😉

Faith.

Yup. Faith.

No. You don’t have to believe in God or be religious.

There are some things that at some point we all have to get real about if we hope to know inner peace.

I had to learn to have faith again. Without faith there is no peace. Ever. No shortcut.

Note that I don’t say “happiness”. Peace is different from happiness. Happiness is a fleeting emotion.  Inner peace is everlasting.

So here’s the trick.

To stay in the present you have to let go of the past because it is a burden and there’s not a damn thing you can do to change how it impacts you except letting it go. Do what you’ve got to do, but DO THIS. I had to walk 350 miles and lay down a rock from my childhood home at the Cruz de Ferro to symbolize laying down my past and my burdens. That’s what it took for me. What will it take for you?

Secondly, come to terms with the fact that you have no control over the future. Worrying isn’t DOING something to affect the outcome. You are not helping anyone. Your worry keeps no one safe. In fact, it is probably affecting your health negatively. STOP IT!

Take all that energy you’re wasting on worry and do something useful right now. It is the ONLY place your efforts and energy can make an impact anyway.

Besides faith that the future will take care of itself if you stay present, the best way to keep yourself grounded in the now is GRATITUDE. Go ahead and start rolling out a list of things or people you are grateful for. Here’s how I know this works…

I remember when I was walking and I had more blisters than feet. The sun is baking down on me in the Meseta. I have severe heat rash on my legs and scratching only makes the itching worse. My knee is still not completely healed from injury in the Pyranees and feels like a rubber band snapping as I walk. All I can feel is pain. All I could focus on was pain. Finally, I fell to the ground and laid flat on my back and cried.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I screamed out loud- God help me, please! What do you want from me? I was not religious. I needed help and no one on earth was coming to my aid. I needed to find something inside to keep me going.

Other pilgrims passed by and commented that they didn’t think I was going to make it.  It was one of my lowest hardest moments on my camino. I had to decide if I was going to press on or give up. One thing was for certain, I couldn’t stay there lying on the side of the road.

So, I decided to get up to see what felt right in my body so I could see what I could do to get myself to the next town. I thought to myself, well the right foot feels better than the left. I can lean more on that. I can take off a layer of socks on the swollen foot. My shoulders and back feel strong to carry the pack. It is not raining.  And so on. You get the idea.

I just kept walking and reminding myself what I was grateful for. Not only did I arrive at the next town, but I kept this up everyday and finally walked 500-miles eventually pain free.

And that’s what triggered my true understanding of gratitude. Basically it is like saying, yeah I know there are things that suck really bad right now, but what does work? How can I make it suck less.

Thinking like that. Staying in the moment helped me walk across an entire country with everything I needed on my back in a 6 kg pack for 35 days.

Your attitude is a choice. Faith is a choice. Letting go is a choice. Taking one more step — all choices.

So I want to keep it going now that I’m back home. I saw this 30 day gratitude challenge and I thought, ok let’s do it. Starting tomorrow – Day 1.

Would you like to join me? I posted the “challenge calendar” in this post. I will write a post for each day’s gratitude topic and you can add yours to the comments if you’d like. The more the merrier.

I’ll start a little early with a warmup…I am grateful that you make the time to read my posts. Thank you.

Inner peace – a choice and not free of effort. You’re going to use your energy somewhere everyday. It makes sense to put it to good use.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Why Bother Doing Difficult Things?

One of the questions I got when I returned from walking the Camino de Santiago was – “Why did you think it was a good idea to walk 800 km across a country?” Basically, what’s the point?

French Pyrenees - No guarantees what's ahead.
French Pyrenees – No guarantees what’s ahead.

I had a lot of reasons for walking the Camino, but I realized that for someone who asks this question, none of those reasons would justify a 500-mile walk.

I wanted to be able to reach people with an answer, regardless of where they are at in their understanding, when they ask me “Why?” There is some curiosity there to even bother asking at all.

I took some time to really think about how I could explain the “reward” of taking this journey.

In fact, why bother doing difficult things at all, really?

To be totally honest, the rewards of the Camino are not predictable, but the effort and pain and fatigue are guaranteed. And frankly, those rewards may not be in proportion to what you invest.

Roncevalles, ES
Roncevalles, ES

Some people can look at the pictures of the landscape and the historical buildings and think, “Wow! That looks cool!”. “I want to do that”. They say things like, “How was your vacation?” There is so much beauty, but they also don’t see or feel the wpid-20140625_161727.jpgphyscial, mental, and spiritual pain and exhaustion it takes to get to that rewarding vista.

You don’t get something amazing by doing no work. It is the willingness to do hard work itself that transforms you into a better person.

As I thought about answering the question, “Why bother?” it occured to me that you can substitute “marriage” or “parenting” or “my career” etc. for the word Camino in the above sentence and it reads just as honestly.

“The Camino” is a living breathing metaphor for the path we take in our lives towards anything we consider worthwhile.

The reward ? An absolute certainty that as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will get there. And that I won’t be the only one on the road. And there is great comfort in that.

Keep walking. Don't give up. You will arrive.
Keep walking. Don’t give up. You will arrive.

If you want to be a successful person in life and achieve your dreams and goals, then you have to persevere.

Never give up

Always move forward

Rise up to challenges and overcome them

One step at a time

…until you arrive.

 

— With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

No Time for Regret

…Regret is a funny thing. It either takes you to the past or the future…. …two places we have no power. This moment we’re living in right now is the only real place we can make a change. Don’t waste your time with regret. If you want something, you go get it. Otherwise, life can do an unfortunate thing. What’s that? …Pass you by
– excerpt from Don’t Pass Me By (2013)

Powerful stuff, right?

It made think about how often we stare at our own belly buttons wondering what we are going to get out of life.  But we go about it all wrong.  We think – Me, me, me.  We connive ways to get more, take more, have more.  We are given so much and think only about what else we are going to get.  Then we end up dissatisfied when we don’t get it.

But what have we given out?  Why does someone who has been given so much and gives so little to others deserve to be given more?

The right questions sound something like this — What am I here to do for others? What am I here to give? How can I serve?

Abundance comes from giving.  You want more abundance in your life? Give more. Stop being selfish. There is no time for regret when you are putting a smile on someones face.

Stay present. Give.

— With love from aneternaltraveler 😉