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Carry Peace With You

Sometimes I just need to get lost. On these days I get together a picnic, throw on some tennis shoes, and either disappear into the woods or run through open fields.  When the world is moving too fast and humanity seems to be showing only its darkest bits nature is just like a good old friend – we pick right back up where we left off. The reverence and solitude soothe my soul and my tired mind. I feel free.

It’s all too easy to feel light and enlightened beneath an open sky; free to wander and wonder without the constraints of time or any obligation to serve the whims of the world.  My religion is love, the forest is my cathedral, the open meadows are my altar. There is no darkness to reflect with no one around me and so I feel only light. Life, love, and light swirl around me. I’m there, like, really there and present. It’s enough to let me forget for just a little while.

I pray. This is where I hear most clearly.
I pray to expand. 
I pray to reflect the light I see in others instead of the crap.
I pray to let go of A LOT. Pain. Clinging. Regret. Overwhelm. Bullshit in general.

I leave feeling renewed, in touch, and just plain ol’ good. I lay my pretty little head down on my pillows and have such sweet dreams. Ahhhhh, Zen.

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Live hard love hard, Kiera Dailey quote

Then the alarm clock rings and I’m right back in the thick of it. The job is calling, social media is churning, traffic is halted. Overloaded. Overwhelmed. Overstimulated. Crap, I forgot to let go of resentment!

Chants, affirmations, meditation, soul-finding road trips, getting lost in the woods – all for naught if you can’t find a way to carry that peace with you when you find your way back to the world. You need a spiritual tool set, not some pretty new age distractions.

Some moments will be harder than others to get through and you might lose it a little, but that’s okay. It’s a process and there is a learning curve.

When you’re unwinding or finding yourself or reminding yourself to return to love take a deep breath and really take stock of how you’re feeling in that moment (or hour or weekend). Return to that feeling when things are running amok.

What is your favorite way to unwind?

It is not what you give of yourself that depletes you, it is what you have to failed to give of yourself. Kiera Dailey

When “Learning to Say No” Doesn’t Work, Try This Instead

It is not what you give of yourself thatdepletes you, it is what you have failed to give to yourself. Healthy boundaries, alone time, sleep, a 100th second chance… because when you fail to recognize that you cannot keep filling up everyone else’s cup if you’re running on empty then no one wins.

We say no all of the time, but rarely to the benefit of ourselves. There’s no problem telling ourselves no all of the time, but heavens forbid we let someone else down. I used to be told constantly that I need to learn how to say no to people, but that felt so out of line with being useful. It feels so negative. Besides, what would I be doing with my time and resources that’s so useful ifi did learn to say no? Read? Take a hike?  I can do that anytime. Learning how to say no to others didn’t force me to say yes to myself,  it only made me feel lazy and selfish.

I know I’m not alone here, have you ever felt like, “I’m exhausted, but who am I helping if I’m taking a nap? I can push through, I mean there are people working 60 hour weeks for pennies an hour for crying out loud!”? I think you have. I think we all have.

Apathy is a huge issue (and a sore spot for me), but service under obligation is just as disheartening. Nothing gets solved if there’s residual resentment in offering help. We all want to be nice, good people though. We love our friends and family and would gladly bend over backwards for them. Certainly can’t say no, remember that time they were there for you – you owe them.

But this isn’t about being selfish,  this isn’t even about weighing in on where the giving is coming from, (love v. obligation) that’s for another post entirely. This is about saying yes to yourself and learning that sometimes this means saying no to the world.

What is the last truly nice thing you’ve done for yourself? What is the last thing you’ve done to fill your energy resources? So… if you’re not filling that well, who is?

FOMO, favors that feel more obligatory than obliging, cash giveawayfree-for-alls – all this does is drain you. I don’t believe in giving unless my whole heart is into it, I believe in sharing when the overall goodness (instead of lack and other yuck) is multiplied. By all means, if it’s put upon your heart then give.

If it sounds like I’m telling you not to give unless it aligns with your energetic bottom line, well I am.

Giving your time, money, and other resources only has a positive effect if you’re handing it over with love and that’s pretty difficult when you feel like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. We know where compulsive yes-ing lands us and we still continue to say yes to everyone but ourselves.

Don’t keep running around on empty; it is not only a disservice to yourself, but to the world. Taking care of yourself isn’t indulgent or selfish it is necessary to ensure that you’re in tippy-top shape to keep spreading your love and light.

What do you do when you feel yourself running on empty?
Don't spend your days waiting in dream purgatory. Live Hard Love Hard

Is Your Means To An End Mentality Keeping You In Dream Purgatory?

Means to an end. I loathe those words – they make me feel stuck. And that is, by far, my least favorite feeling. My father used to preach “means to an end” and it drove me crazy.

I’d rather find ways to fall in love with process. I’d rather find little things that make the journey pleasant because, if I’m honest, I don’t want it if it’s all strictly blood, sweat, and tears.

So often we start out full steam ahead and fizzle out slowly (sometimes not so slowly). If you’re like me, it’s frustrating. When you’re just not “there” it can be difficult to be honest about it. People think you’re lazy or complacent; you constantly mumble to yourself about being such a dumbass. Excuses, write-offs, unrealized dreams, and pink slips ensue.

But why? Where does the complacency and self shit talking come from?

It doesn’t matter if you’re pursuing your soul passions or biding time at a stepping stone. It doesn’t matter how in love you are with the end game. If you can’t fall in love with every bit of the process, you’re just going through motions until eventually you’re motionless.

I fell out of love with the process.

I like writing… I don’t love it. What I love is sharing my love with as many people as possible. What I love is rallying others toward passionate pursuits. What I love is inspiring people to be their most awesome, authentic selves.

Once upon a time I was in love with the process. When it was all new to me I could churn out content in rapid succession. I was all about keeping up with blogging and marketing trends to extend Live Hard Love Hard’s reach even further. I may have been far from the bloggers I admire, but the feedback was good and the content helped at least a few people.

Somehow, at some point, this became a means to an end. It’s a nice hobby, but what are you going to DO? Fear and self-doubt disguised as practicality. Yay.

I was stuck.

I found other things to do so I “never had the time”. Readership fell with the intermittent posting and, in turn,  the feedback. Everyone says it shouldn’t be about the feedback,  but it can be so nourishing when you’re growing and trying to get dreams off the ground. I whined. A lot. I threw my hands up in harumph. I gave my fearful projections breathing room and they just grew to fill the space.

So then what happens? Awareness means little without action.

Three not so little things are helping me to revive my dream.
  1. Clarify. Rediscover your end game and get very honest with yourself. Maybe,  just,  maybe you didn’t want it as much as you thought you did. Perhaps when you got what you wanted, it turned out to not be what you wanted after all. Things never quite clicked or that certain sense of ease everyone goes on about never set in. If it’s making you miserable, if it’s not where your heart is at, if you truly can’t find anything that makes it worth the hustle, then it’s not throwing in the towel, it’s closing up shop. There’s no shame in changing your mind. If you still get butterflies when you daydream about it then it’s time to play with your plan.
  2. Revise. Your plan needs some shaking up. The what if game gets a bad rap,  but used correctly it can be a powerful brainstorming tool. What if you tweaked this? What if you took that out entirely? What if you outsourced the things you couldn’t make peace with? What if you could make completing the most tedious tasks more like a game? How does the process look after you play with some things? Write it down, sketch it out, do whatever you need to do to get your plan on some paper, the computer, or hell even your wall.
  3. Do. Your game plan means nil if you won’t get off your ass to put it in motion. Now it’s time to begin… or start again. You can only plan so much before it becomes counterproductive. It seems we spend a lot of time waiting for the “right time”, but often we never really quite feel ready. Don’t spend your days waiting in dream purgatory. Begin with the smallest, easiest, or most desirable task.

Now you’re in the thick of it again. Take stock of things – How do you feel going through your to-dos? Is your plan moving you in the right direction? Are you moving at all? Is this still what gives you butterflies?

Wash, rinse, and repeat.

All of the best motivational seminars and self-help books won’t get you anywhere if you aren’t honest with yourself about what you do and don’t want AND about what you are and aren’t willing to do.
Please share with me what you do when you’re feeling stuck.
Love Always,
Me

Are You a Phobophobe? Get Over Trying To Be Fearless!

Everyone wants to be fearless, but it feels off the mark. It feels like missing the point. Irresponsible. Stagnant. Denial. Inauthentic.

Fear has become this blacklisted word and every magazine cover is plastered with shiny headlines touting a quick and easy 5 step (lightweight) process to living your fearless life now. It’s the latest obsession.

How do I get over my fears? How do I live a fearless life? Screw honoring those feelings, that’ll get me nowhere. Fears, what fears? Deny, deny, deny.

And so we spend our lives magnetized to the very things that we’re running from. Focus gives power; a vicious cycle is born and fearlessness breeds an unhealthy fear of fear. Phobophobia – it’s a thing.

There are better things, more realistic things to strive for – freedom, undaunted, unlimited. These acknowledge fear and the bash it in the face, hard. To live the life you want it isn’t necessary to dispense with fear and pretending it’s not a part of the human experience only inspires panic, overwhelm, and alienation. Really, how can we not feel like a failure when the woman on the cover of this magazine is living her fearless life now and, shit, she’s got it down to 3 simple steps.

No one wants to be held back from fear (it’s probably holding you back in ways you haven’t even realized) but those feelings still need to be heard and honored.

If you really want to rise above your fear:
-Learn to listen to it objectively
-Admit that it’s there. It’s okay.
-Honor the feeling. You can’t get through it, if you don’t go through it.
-Decide if it’s worth one (or any) of your *effs. It may be practical to pull back sometimes and other times fear may keep you from charging forward when you need to get off your ass and go. It’s all in the awareness.

Join up with me today to end the phobophobia. Be objective with your fear. Be undaunted. Be unlimited.

Where Forgiveness is Found

Where does a man go for redemption
Where does he take a broken heart
Shouldn’t there be some small exemption
If he does all that it takes
To admit to his mistakes
Til the truth batters and breaks his world apart
I could ask for my forgiveness
From the heavens high above
Tell myself my prayers are gonna somehow be enough

 -Kenny Chesney “Always Gonna Be You”

Where does true forgiveness lie? Etched in the pews of a modest country road church? Locked within the heart of the wronged? Hidden in the subtext of a love song, just waiting to strike out like an epiphany? In the hands of the divine, ready and always wanting to be given (if only we accept)? Buried somewhere beneath our guilt and Sacred Lies and ambivalence?

The answer comes in pieces.

Forgiveness from another is nice. It’s comfort. It’s catharsis. It can be closure. It is not, however, necessary to move on – in spite of what we tell ourselves. I’ve learned that often the best you can do is sincerely apologize (justifications can taint the sincerity), make amends (if possible), and then move it along. They’ll come around or they won’t.

Forgiveness from the divine is wholly attainable and, for me, wholly necessary. Simply ask, simply be ready to receive and it is ours. I believe in a great many things, a benevolent divining force is high on that list.

You could stop here, many do, but then you’re stopping short on that road to true peace of mind. Yes, apologize to the wronged and seek forgiveness from the divine, but ultimately this missing peace comes from somewhere a little closer to home.

So often we keep ourselves plied with guilt. Self-flagellation is an unfortunate hobby – and a popular one. We literally drive ourselves crazy holding onto guilt. We internalize OR side-step OR project and transform the issue at hand until barely recognizable OR disguise it as a never-ending grand quest to win the approval of God. Maybe it’s some amalgamation of all of the above. Everyone is different.

You may never get the forgiveness you seek wrapped in a neat little bow (or at all). You may never receive the final word from above that you’re good to go (trust me, you are). What you can do is take control of the person keeping you up nights, browbeating you, infringing upon (and projecting in) other relationships, because it’s you.

Forgive and forgive again. Forgive everyone and everything like it’s going out of style. Forgive hard and often until day by day (and then moment by moment) you begin to feel the weight of fear, guilt, regret, and ill-wishes slide off your shoulders and into the Earth to be neutralized and left behind.

This is the one ‘F’ word that will always end in joy. It may hurt at first, but remember…

“Being genuinely happy means you’re okay being unhappy”
-Gabby B
 
Is something weighing you down? What are you holding onto that is keeping you cycle of dwelling and guilt? 
What can you forgive yourself for? What can you let go of?
Leave a comment. Write a letter to yourself. Pray. Whatever you have to do to acknowledge and release it.
Love Always,
Me