The Optimists Journal was born out of a particularly difficult time in my life, as my marriage was unraveling and I wanted to deeply understand the reasons for the patterns that I had created in my days. I am a feeler, and an above average processor, which is why I have been able to make a good dent on my healing process in a relatively short amount of time, but that has required some heavy internal work. To find this healing and make a mindful turn both for myself and my kids, I’ve had to get really comfortable with what scares me, my motivation in this life, and how to paint a new picture that is satisfying, productive, and healthy. Writing has been the key to letting go for me, and, until we let go, we don’t see what we gain on the other side. (hint: this is the subject for my next book).
Besides the healing and learning that my blog has provided, nothing beats the feeling when real people share their stories with me. Say the word connection and my whole face lights up (thanks Nicole Davis for that observation). With the courage I have found to heal myself and sink into the space that is mine, I feel it with every smile and opportunity I have to share and listen. Life is too short and precious for small talk, and I love getting to the meat of a good conversation quickly. Although social media these days is geared toward mega watt impact (I’ve been inspired by so many putting their amazing vibes out there…Yung Pueblo, Create the Love, The Holistic Pyschologist, Dr. Will Cole, Brianna Wiest, The Angry Therapist, to name a few) and I would like my words to reach as many humans as possible, I know that we are here to share our stories and learn from each other with each daily choice, conversation, and kindness that we extend.
Purpose is never about the audience, always about the intention.
I love this thought because it diffuses the pressures that I begin to feel from the outside world, and gives me space to feel and connect through my true self. The challenge for me, a girl who used to rush through a room without lifting her head, scared of the attention she could possibly receive, is feeling that connection that I have one on one with real stories and people, and translate that to a wider audience. But in any good life, there is always something to work on, and the trick is riding that razors edge between commitment to potential and contentment in the moment.
My blog, along with the hours I’ve spent listening to Finding Mastery, literally the most efficient path I have found to cut out the noise and seek the mindful life daily, after I shifted my focus from the 24 hour news cycle that was bringing me down, to expanding my own growth mindset, has helped me create a beautiful philosophy for my life.
To create calm and connection with every breath and movement.
Having a personal philosophy is a gift, because it gives us a simple filter to run our choices through. So, with every choice I make, and man there are a lot of them, I focus on these italicized words above. Since I learned to do this, life has become a deeply meaningful journey, where purpose is stronger than fear (most of the time) and if it’s not, I know how to reset and challenge my way through, with a little grace and time.
Create: I never thought I was creative. In grade school, I always cut on the wrong line and could have cared less how my project came out. My picture of an artist was someone who owned an easel and paints or who could wander the aisles of Michael’s craft store for hours on end. Definitely NOT ME! But what I have found through writing and meeting other people on their paths, is that we all have the capacity to create, we just have to discover the source of our joy, and the art comes from there. Our interests are not random, they are unique and leading us to our purpose, if we take the time to nurture them. The process of that discovery is our life’s work. I’ve learned not to ignore that which I thought was weird about myself (like what I have dubbed my “granola conservative” ways that find me adding country music to my yoga playlist and seeking out healing through acupuncture, energy healers and mediation). I embrace my uniqueness, and my creativity pours from there.
Calm: I was born with a pretty activated nervous system, I guess what the studies these days are calling “the anxious child”, so learning to calm that has been a work in progress my entire life. As it goes with genetics, God gave me children, with some of those same tendencies. But as the science has developed, we now know that our genes actually react differently based on the environment where we spend our days. Today, I always have the intention of creating calm for myself, my kids, and the people around me. I know how to observe my feelings without reaction, slow down my thoughts, and always remember that our feelings are like the waves of the ocean, they ebb and flow, even crash hard and then level out. I don’t let anything that is passing define me…and I’ve learned that everything is passing.
Connection: I’m convinced that it’s why we are here. Human beings are social creatures, and we crave connection and the support that it creates. It’s not an excuse to expect others to do the heavy lifting for us, self awareness is the key to our growth and response to our lives. But if we put less into relationships and take the path alone, we are missing out on the greatest gift of the human experience…deep and loving connection with people that we are brave enough to share our stories with. There is nothing like sharing your story with someone who deserves to hear it.
Breath: The breath circles back to the calm. It’s our stabilizer, our deactivator and our lifeline. It’s the most basic way to introduce calm to our system. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale and you will literally feel your parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) come online. I had no idea when I started my yoga practice to heal the physical injury in my body the connection I would find with my breath and the skills it would give me to calm myself and translate calm in this chaotic world.
Movement: Sports and physical movement have always been an avenue of inspiration and healing for me. If I’m addicted to anything, it’s endorphins. More that anything the lessons I have learned from a lifetime of volleyball and swimming have taught me about my own internal strength and ability to push through discomfort…even learning to compensate at times based on circumstances and injuries. There is technique and then there is our own way, and learning when to use each one is a life skill.
It’s no coincidence that I had conversations on all of these topics with like minded people in all of the arenas where I sold my book these last few weeks. From Dave’s Bookshop in Redondo Beach, to Pages - A Bookstore in Manhattan Beach, to Top Drawer in Fresno, I met energy healers, physical therapists, wine makers, writers, coaches, and therapists that have turned into meet ups and more conversation about how to expand the optimistic side of life. I know that my philosophy led me to this place…and it’s going to lead me on to many more moments, connecting, coaching, and telling stories. To the people who have trusted me with your stories, thank you. I carry them, they inspire me, and keep the running dialogue in my head that flows through my writing fresh and energized. They led me to my latest quote that I shared on my way out of Top Drawer on Thursday afternoon.
“Know your worth, speak your words, and you will be
good with any answer.”
What’s your life philosophy? Take a stab at it, share it with me. And thanks as always for the connection.