Friday, December 28, 2018

Taking Stock

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How was your 2018? 

Even if it wasn't that hot, what good can you take away from it? 

As we get ready to close out one year and welcome the next, it's common to take stock of where we are now and where we are going. 

For me, it's been an incredible year: one full of hardships and success; sadness and joy; change and stillness; fear and peacefulness. 

Because that's how life is, right? It's a series of events, emotions, and states of being that are either good, bad, or neutral, and we often perceive things as "happening to" us. People also tend to take one or two bad things happening as a sign of how things will go. How many times have I seen on social media that "This year is fired!" before it's really even gotten under way? 

I challenge you not to do that to yourself this year.

The only thing that is guaranteed in 2019 is that both good and bad will happen, because that's life—but what you make of it is up to you. 2019 will also hold possibility, potential, opportunity, growth, and hope. Which way are you going to see things?

My hope for you as we enter 2019 is that you will consider what I wrote a couple of weeks ago and thank 2018, in some way, for contributing to who you are today. I also hope that you will greet 2019 with open eyes and open hearts to the possibilities that abound.

Photo by Oskars Sylwan on Unsplash

May your 2019 be filled with peace, hope, love, joy, and gratitude! 💛🐝

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, December 21, 2018

Fortune Cookie Friday: A Happy Event

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Well, here we are: the last Fortune Cookie Friday of 2018! Can you believe it? Where has this year gone?

This week's fortune was sent in by a reader, and it seems appropriate to the time of year:

A happy event will take place in your home.
I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, but the world does seem to take a break around the last two weeks of December. This seems like a good time of year to make plans. Hint: "plans" don't have to be formal, either!

So, with that in mind, I hope that you will take some time to have a happy event at some point over the next few weeks, and here are some ideas if you'd like! Set up a holiday hot chocolate bar and invite friends over for movies (have that endless debate about Die Hard while you're at it). You could host a New Year's party, or, if that's not your style, have a game night. Design a winter-themed brunch, or go on a post-Christmas discounted shopping spree. If you're feeling like hiding out for some well-deserved R&R, how about making some mimosas and waffles and binge-watching Netflix in your jimmy-jams? (This one sounds about my speed, LOL.)

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

My point is, anything you can think of that will soothe your soul and make you happy qualify as "happy events," to me. Take some time for yourself, decide to do something fun, and put your own spin on it. :)

So as you have these happy events these next few weeks, why don't you share them here? I feel like when people share the good stuff going on in their lives with each other, it's easy for the happiness to multiply. I'll share mine, below.

And since it is the Friday before Christmas: if you celebrate Christmas or the holiday season in any way, then from my family to yours, may you have a warm and wonderful holiday and many happy events to come! 💛🐝

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, December 14, 2018

Beautiful Destinations

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Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash
I was sitting here wondering what I would post about this week, and I had some music playing softly in the background. I was using one of those auto-generated playlists on Google's music service, but I wasn't paying too much attention to it. It was simply background noise.

But then, a lyric came flying out of the speakers at me and caught my ear:

I’m proud of every tear, yeah
'Cause they got me here 

That is from Rita Ora's "Grateful," and I immediately hit "rewind" (or the digital equivalent, these days), and listened to the whole thing. It's a great song, and it got me thinking about my life. 

I'm in my 40s, but I feel better about life now than I did in my 20s and 30s. Perhaps some of that comes with the wisdom we gain with age, but really, I think it's more about my mindset shift in recent years. I used to focus primarily on the bad things that happened to me, but now I focus more on good things. Yes, the bad things still happen and yeah, sometimes they are awful. Yes, I still have a good meltdown from time to time. (Ask my husband how yesterday went. *g*) But then that's it. I get back up and get on with things, because I have trained myself to see the good, even in the bad things. For me, the good that came from those bad things is ME. 

We aren't so different, you and I. Maybe we come from different backgrounds. Maybe we have different religions. Maybe we speak different languages. Or maybe our ways of dealing with things are different...but we have, every single one of us, traveled down some difficult roads, and some of those roads have similar features. We've hit roadblocks. Potholes have tried to swallow us whole. We've had detours. Our GPS can't connect. We lose our way from time to time.

Social status, family life, relationship status, or career—none of these matter. You could be the most privileged and successful person out there, but be miserable or lonely or have gone through a personal hell. You could be someone who doesn't have much, or has had bad health, or maybe you just failed freshman algebra, but you're basically happy, because you have a strong network of loved ones to support you through the tough times.

What I'm saying is, although the paths and backgrounds may be different, in some ways, we are all the same, no matter who we are

We all bleed red. 
We all suffer.
We all smile.
We all sleep.
We all eat. 
We all hurt. 
We all laugh. 
We all love.

Each of us, no matter what our experiences are in life, have had to get through some stuff to be where we are today. To be WHO we are today.

I know that for myself, I sometimes have regrets, but I try not to dwell on them. I choose to learn from them. Every single experience, every single mistake I've made, every disappointment I've had, every slight I've endured, and every failed relationship in my past—all of these things are why I am who I am today.

Who I am today is also someone who recognizes every good decision I've ever made, every friendship that I still have, everything that has ever made me laugh, every good memory I've created...because these are a part of me, too. And I'm happy with who I am. I have more to learn, sure, but I wouldn't change anything from the past.

I am grateful for these experiences.

So don't look at your life and dwell on the failures, disappointments, hurts, slights, losses, or misfortunes you've experienced. Look at your life and find the lessons from those experiences that have made you into the beautiful, brilliant soul you are, but that's it. Don't dwell. Look at who you are, your true self, and smile!

And when you're done looking inward, look up and look around: see that person next to you? They're just like you in so many ways, because they, too, are the sum of their experiences and have maybe even been through some the same things as you have, good and bad. And they are a brilliant, beautiful soul, too. If they're having trouble seeing that beauty within themselves, help them find it.

Below is the song that inspired this post. I hope it inspires you to embrace yourself wholly, with ALL that entails. Love yourself for who you are.

The road may sometimes be difficult, but you've come a long way along it to a more beautiful destination.
Destination: YOU. 💛🐝✨

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, December 7, 2018

Fortune Cookie Friday: Compel Yourself

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Greetings fellow fortune cookie lovers! I can't believe we are already solidly into December and also that we're already at another Fortune Cookie Friday! This week's fortune fell out at me from a shelf, and its appearance in my life was timely: 

Each day, compel yourself to do something you would rather not do. 

We all know what it's like to not want to do something, whether we're putting off paying the bills, or mowing the lawn, or whatever. 

But where does that get you in life? 

It gets you a late fee on your electric bill and a lawn that goes to seed, is what it does. Where's the fun in that?

In contrast, by doing things we don't really want to do, we are making sure we take care of ourselves, our surroundings, and the people around us, and living a higher quality of life, because we're not making things more difficult on ourselves. 

I mean, take an example from my own life: 

I'd rather not go out for a walk in the freezing cold, and I suppose I could get on a treadmill, instead, but really, it's better for me to to go outside to the park, take my hiking sticks, and get a full-body workout in. 

So this week, I've done a few things I would rather not do, including hiking in the freezing cold, because taking action was the best thing for me at the time. I've been putting some other things off, too (*ahem* laundry), but in the end, the fortune cookie is right: compelling myself to do something every day will help me out, in the long run.

But...WHY do we procrastinate? I wanted to get to the bottom of it, so I did some reading. Forbes has ideas on why we procrastinate and how to stop. Psychology Today has an article on how to avoid procrastination. And Lifehacker has an article on why procrastination is bad for your brain. I'm also going to throw you some book resources below that you can explore. (I've downloaded the free samples for this one and this other one, and this one is free at the time of this writing!!)

For myself, I know that when I procrastinate, my anxiety ramps up, and I can make myself ill. I start feeling all kinds of bad things and talk negatively to myself. And I don't deserve that!

The can be quickly reversed, though, with just one or two simple actions taken. When I just do the thing I've been avoiding, those negative feelings—such as shame, uselessness, and guilt—start falling away, and I feel good for having accomplished something. Inertia is the hardest thing to get over, but if I just start, the rest falls into place.

Also, in exploring why I put things off, I've discovered that it's often because I feel overwhelmed. I tackle that by making a list and then quickly taking care of some of the low-hanging fruit on that list. By accomplishing one or two small items, the good feelings start to rewire my brain to think more positively, which then helps me get on with the rest of the tasks on the list. I've also gotten okay with asking for help or paying someone to provide a service rather than doing it myself. For instance, I know that I hate doing taxes—HATE IT—so I'd put it off every single year. But when I met my husband, the first year we were together, he said, "Why don't you just let my tax guy do your taxes for you so you can stop stressing about it?" And I've had a tax guy ever since. Problem solved!

At any rate, it has been worth it to me to examine my levels of resistance to things. When we procrastinate, we are resisting something, so it's best to figure out what that is and then do something about it.

Okay, so now that you've read all that—what are you putting off? Why are you putting it off? And how are you going to stop doing that to yourself?

What are you going to compel yourself to do?

Let's talk: what works for you?

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Have a great weekend, and go get 'em! 🐝 

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Reflections on 2020

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See  Disclosures  for more info.  It’s finally...