Someone once referred to me as “Michelle the Eternal Optimist”, in the context that it was said it was hurled at me intending to be an insult. Once I tripped the offender, tied them up with dirty socks and made them sniff dog farts they changed their mind and decided it was a compliment. I like being an Optimist, I think pessimism is a really unattractive quality and I prefer to be around hopeful people.
I put the above quote on the white board in my office and it has been so helpful to me. In doing this project and I think this applies to any lifestyle change; you will experience ups and downs and what can feel like two steps forward and three steps back at times. I went into this so excited and I made a bunch of changes immediately, kept up on my journal and then some things changed. Not all of it was bad, I am still proud of the changes I have made and honestly I am proud of where I am at. I started writing again, I started a book several years ago and I was inspired to pick it up again. It’s fiction which I have always loved. I love creating characters, giving them personalities, bringing them to life through their experiences and their struggles. The largest problem I have with writing fiction is that I tend to get pretty involved in the characters lives, if they are happy I am happy and if they are struggling I feel that stress. I set a goal this weekend of 10 000 words, which I am happy to say that I exceeded by 11 words. Some of it was pretty emotional and every night I was mentally exhausted by 8 pm. I need to complete this book, for myself. These characters mean something to me (which I know sounds silly), but several times over the years I have picked it back up. Maybe seeing them through their struggles is therapeutic for me, I can’t say for sure but I know that they are important to me and I feel that I need to give them closure someday.
I feel like spending all my free time writing has taken me from other things but one of the biggest things I have done for my mental health in the past 6 months is to change my expectations. I have tried to eliminate the expectations I have of others so that I am continually surprised pleasantly instead of disappointed. I feel I owed myself the very same courtesy. I don’t feel that I have failed myself, I just feel that things look differently this month then I set out for them to be.
One of my wise principles for this once was INSPIRE and something inspired me to write again and that is a beautiful thing. I remember 23 three days ago searching books and documentaries wanting so badly to feel inspired. Sometimes inspiration comes from unlikely places and may not look like you intended.
Worthy-I continue to treat myself like I am worthy by treating myself better, choosing food, activities and hobbies that are good for me and spending time with people that are a positive influence on me. I also take time for me when I need it. My kids continue to be mystified as to why I would want time to myself and they are very persuasive when they want ‘Mom’ time. I know that a day will come when I wish I could have them with me playing scrabble or curled up watching mindless TV so I am learning to put unimportant things aside and embrace the opportunities now to be with them. Being their Mom makes me feel extremely worthy!
Simplify- I have simplified by taking on less and only doing things that I truly want to do, saying ‘No’ more and enjoying my free time without guilt. I have also simplified by pre-prepping meals for the week and making shopping easier by buying mostly fresh. I spend of most my time in a circle at the outer edges of the grocery store. I always felt I bought convenience foods because they made my life easier but I am now positive that that is something that media leads us to believe. Fresh is easy, simple and the better choice.
Empower- I hope to touch even one person with this project, to empower them to make changes and lead a better, more mindful, more positive life. I started this project because I felt like everything was a chore, I was going through the motions without truly enjoying my life and it wasn’t a good feeling. I feel so much happier and much more fulfilled. There is not a perfect life, choosing to be happy does not mean everything is superb, it means you are grateful and appreciate what you have and make a conscious effort to lead a positive and fulfilling life.
In being more mindful I have learned to un-complicate things. There is a certain beauty in simplicity.
We never noticed the beauty because we were to busy trying to create it.
We are nearing the end of Fabulous February. Be W.I.S.E. Remember that you are worthy of happiness and a fulfilling life. Find inspiration in unlikely places. Save complicated for someone else and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Empower yourself and take a moment to share that power with others.
After I stopped trying to find inspiration, it fell in my lap in many different forms. I was at a Combat Crime evening with my daughter who was presenting for ‘Bright Ideas’ a text a buddy app to help youth who were being bullied, suffered depression or simply needed a friend. I was inspired to tears by her and all of the other youth leaders. I spent some time with an inspiring friend who runs a heart warming project called Love Letters 2 Strangers that never fails to remind me about the good in people.
I was sitting in my truck waiting for my daughter and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I saw that my friend Robb Scott had posted a video. Robb is a talented artist but he also has this insatiable need for attention. I always describe him as ‘sideways’ and I mean it in the best possible way. His antics have made me laugh till there are tears running down my cheeks. The video he posted that day was not funny, but it was one of the most honest and heartfelt things I have ever seen. I love the real emotion that he captured sitting in his vehicle telling the world about something very important to him, Down Syndrome. I cannot tell you how much his words touched my heart. The video has gone viral, as it should, it is a positive and uplifting message. I was sharing the video on twitter and what struck me when using the hashtag #DownSyndrome was how many people use that hastag to insult others. The ignorance is astounding. I read a post from a mother whose friend said “How’s your down’s girl?” Not, “how is your daughter or how is Bethany?” I can’t imagine how hurt I would be if someone said “How is your gay girl?” How ignorant to not see someone for their abilities, their strengths, their individuality. To look at someone and only see their differences or their limitations we have failed ourselves in my opinion.
This video has really opened my eyes wide and I hope that you will take a moment to watch it and please share it with others. In my opinion we are a society that is way to quick to share hate…spread some love and knowledge today.