Nov 2, 2012

3 Simple Resources on How to Reenergize Your Life Today

Last night, I walked in the door at almost 9:00 and literally slumped to the floor in exhaustion. It's just been one of those weeks where I let things in my life get completely out of balance. And I'm feeling the effects. So I'm dedicating this weekend to taking care of myself and spending some much-needed time reflecting and reevaluating things... And, of course, resting and recouping.

My mother taught me from a young age that if you can't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else. Thankfully, there's a lot of wonderful resources out there on how to recharge ourselves when the batteries are low.

To that end, here are a few good reads for your weekend. Many of these posts have been floating around cyberspace for a while, but they are well worth your time. May you find peace and serenity in the simplest of joys. Have a beautiful weekend, all.

A post from Tiny Buddha on 40 ways to give yourself a break.
Zen Habit's Post on Tea Rituals for Focus, Health, & Slowness
Melissa's Post from Peace and Projects about Joy Lists

Sep 19, 2012

The Journey Back...

There's nothing quite like a cross-country move, a new (smaller) house, and job changes all around to really bring this whole voluntary simplicity thing into focus, or not. Moving is expensive, culling through your belongings - when you already think you've simplified things - is exhausting, and change - for me at least - is unnerving.

And yet, the chance to start a new chapter of our lives in a new place - closer to my family - and to work on redefining myself professionally yet again is something that at once excites me and terrifies me beyond belief.

But that's what I'm learning about voluntary simplicity. It's not about perfection or ease. It's about balance, and progress, and some days being so heart-wrenchingly honest with yourself that you wake up next to the person you love more than anyone in the world and realize that you are about to tell him that the place you've been calling home doesn't feel that way the second you step beyond the comfort of your house and out into the world. And that you want to think about maybe, somehow, someway considering moving back home. And it's about the moment he says yes, even though you know how terrifying that might be for him to do.

And you move forward together, remembering that the journey is long and the road is windy, but that you're in it together and for that you are forever grateful.

Dec 2, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Days 9-30

Well, November ended up REALLY getting away from me. But because I have so, so much to be thankful for - and because I want to move onto a new blog topic for the month of December - I thought I better finish out this list. Here we go, in no particular order:

9. My brother - I'm thankful for the coolest little brother in the world and the amazing experience of watching him become a father for the first time.

10. My extended family - I'm so lucky to be surrounded by so many interesting, compassionate, and passionate people who I would CHOOSE to be around even if they weren't related to me.

11. My childhood home - It's amazing that I grew up in a space that has always welcomed family and friends with open arms, a clean bed, and some good company. I am especially grateful that I was also able to get married in this home just a couple weeks ago.

12. The written word - It sustains me, it makes me feel alive, it brings me peace.

13. Being able to enjoy nature on a regular basis.

14. Family vacations.

15. My nieces and nephews - I'm discovering that being an aunt is one of the most awesome roles I've ever had in life.

16. Old friends who love me no matter what.

17. New friends who keep me going when I'm living so far away from my family.

18. The roof over my head. It's something I really try to not take for granted.

19. Technology, especially its ability to keep me connected, informed, and inspired.

20. Having the freedom to marry the man I love. One day, I hope anyone in the world will be able to marry the person he or she loves. Period.

21. Airplanes. Seriously. Living so far away from my family is hard for me, but knowing that I can get on a plane and be home in 6 or 7 hours gives me a comfort that sustains me when I'm feeling most homesick.

22. My colleagues. I have the opportunity to work with so many incredible people.

23. Becoming a vegan. It's one of the best things I've done for my health and well-being in recent years. It also doesn't hurt that I'm helping out the planet and living out some important values - like compassion - in the process.

24. My car. Living on the outskirts of a sprawling metropolis makes me appreciate the freedom my car gives me. Ideally, I'd be able to ride my bike or walk everywhere I needed or wanted to, but until that happens, I'll take my little car.

25. My education. Today at the graduation ceremony for the college I work with, we were reminded that less than 30% of all Americans have a bachelor's degree and less than 3% have a doctorate degree. Education is a privilege many people never have the opportunity to pursue, and I work hard to live out the belief that with great privilege comes great responsibility.

26. Changing seasons. I grew up in a place where the seasons don't change that much and one of the things I love about where I live now is the way the seasons change. It reminds me that beauty comes in many different forms, that life is cyclical, and that sunshine always comes after the rain.

27. Forgiveness.

28. Gratitude.

29. Love.

30. All the other people, places, experiences, and ideas that enrich me, sustain me, and remind me that this life really is an incredible journey.

Nov 8, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day Eight - My Students

I've had the opportunity to teach so many incredible young people through the years. The lessons they've taught me, the humility and strength they've given me, and the undeniable ways in which they've changed me make me commited always to working in the educational field.

Today marks the five-year anniversary of one of their deaths. That day, five years ago, and the aftermath that followed, altered my world and forever impacted my perspective on the deep importance of doing meaningful work in this life. To that end, I thought I'd share a paragraph from the acknowledgements section of my first book on education that recognizes these young people:

And lastly, thank you to all the students throughout the years who have crossed my path and reminded me that this work matters. A special thanks goes out to all those students who, during a particularly difficult year of tragedy a few years back, proved to me time and time again the strength, resiliency, and compassion of our youth. You are my inspiration. You are my why.

Nov 7, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day Seven - My Love

I'll keep this brief and fairly vague because he doesn't like me writing about him online, but I'd be remiss if I didn't dedicate one day to the man I share my life with. His patience, gentleness, intelligence, humor, support, and love make me thankful a thousand times over each and every day. I know every morning when I wake up and every night when I fall asleep that I am blessed beyond measure to be walking through life beside him.