Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Keeping It All Organized: My Passion Planner

On my road to mindfulness and self-fulfillment, I've found I need a little guidance. My planner is the one thing that keeps me together and helps me to focus on what needs to get done in order to be the best possible version of myself.

I have used a myriad of planners over the years. From school-provided ones that have all the handbook information in it as well to petite ones you buy at the bookstore. They all had their pros and cons. Throughout all this experimentation I learned that there are several things I prefer in a planner:

  • I prefer lined pages, no graph or blank pages for me.
  • A vertical set-up works, but a horizontal one is better.
  • I need a weekly planner, with a month-view prior to the first week of each month.
  • My preferred size is around 5.5"x8". The big ones just overwhelm me & don't fit in my purse.
All that being said, I discovered my favorite planner last year. The Passion Planner is an incredible tool for guiding you along your pursuit of your passions. I didn't work it as well as I could last year, but this year I have found the way to succeed with the set-up.

Vertical layout of a daily planner with inspirational stickers and checklists

The vertical set-up through me off for the first few weeks because of how large my handwriting can be. Once I figured out that I didn't need to write everything out, just the basics to help me remember the important parts, things became a lot easier to sort.

Even better are the embellishments I use to keep it all organized. From washi tape to stickers, there is no shortage of wonderful tools at my disposal to get everything lined up how I need it to be so that I am on-time with my goals and responsibilities. 

If you haven't heard of a Passion Planner, feel free to check them out. They've recently become a buy one, give one company like Toms. If they're not your cup of tea you can always look into Filofax or Erin Condren Life Planners. Another blogger I follow, Riley at Fiveleveninety, has used these and gives her opinions as well as updates.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Inspirational Song of the Week: Ho Hey by The Lumineers

Weekly I like to share a song that has inspired or comforted me at some point in my life. Sometimes they work over and over again and other times they are simply played at the right moment in time.

I really find Ho Hey by The Lumineers to be a catchy song. No matter where or when I am in my day, I will stop to sing along with it if I hear it. I have definitely been caught dancing and or singing in a store more than once. One day when I stopped to look at the lyrics this part really jumped out at me:

So show me family
(Hey!) All the blood that I would bleed

(Ho!) I don't know where I belong
(Hey!) I don't know where I went wrong
(Ho!) But I can write a song

While I cannot actually write a song, I do understand the other sentiments being espoused. I feel like I have done so many things "wrong" in my life and that I don't really have a sense of belonging anywhere. It's taken me a long time to realize that all those "wrong" have landed me where I am and it's a pretty decent place to be. 

I'm not materialistically wealthy, but I have a lot more emotionally and socially than I ever thought I would. My basic needs, as well as some of my comfort needs, are being met on a daily basis. I am able to give back to others what wasn't given to me and that has made all the difference. So, while I get this song, I now mostly listen for just the beat.

Is there a song that you used to really identify with that has kind of fallen out of favor with you?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Where I'm Headed: Student Affairs and Higher Education

I am beyond ecstatic that after two and a half years of hard work, I will be graduating in May 2016 with a MA in Student Personnel Administration! To those not in the know, this is a generalist degree that will allow me to work directly with students on a college campus in advising, recruitment, activities, and other realms.

As I look forward to what the next few years holds for me, I like to look back on all that I have accomplished:

Woman standing in front of logo for NASPA 2015
  • several major research projects
  • two internships that increased my professional network & skills
  • made several wonderful friendships
  • traveled to my first ever professional conference (New Orleans was a blast!)
  • contributed to a permanent display
  • achieved a 4.0 GPA

This degree also opens the door to a PhD program. I may or may not take this approach, but I find it important that the option be available to me. My current employment position opened up the opportunity for me to pursue my MA and it will continue to offer me the opportunity to pursue a PhD if I chose to do so.

I am finding that my passion pursuit and need for a creative outlet is stimulated and supported in this particular field. I love working with young adults and education has been a theme throughout all the jobs I've held. Finding a career that can combine all these aspects of me was very fortunate and I am incredibly happy to finally feel like I am headed in the right direction.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Inspirational Song of the Week: Someone New by Hozier

Weekly I like to share a song that has inspired or comforted me at some point in my life. Sometimes they work over and over again and other times they are simply played at the right moment in time.

Hozier burst into my musical reverie with "Take Me to Church" & seems to continue in his orbit. Currently I am adoring "Someone New". Many of his songs are romantic or sexual in nature and while that alone is usually enough to pique my interest, the poetry of the lyrics is what really does it for me. From this one I love:

I fall in love just a little ol' little bit
Every day with someone new

There's an art to life's distractions
To somehow escape the burning weight
The art of scraping through

My husband and I have often joked during of the harder times in our lives that as long as we had each other, nothing else mattered. While it was mostly true, the distractions in life make it pass more smoothly without driving away your partner. Scraping through life had its charm at one time and I remember the immensity of the emotions whenever we got to experience something different than the hum-drum that got us from day to day.

What do you think about this song? 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Holiday Hope & Cheer

The holiday season is usually filled with joy & laughter, but some of us have a difficult time finding that spirit. I have been a Grinch for years, stemming from divorced parent holidays and losing an important person in my life right at Christmas. It all seemed to lose its magic.

What I have come to realize is that ONE day does not matter. You heard me right. You shouldn't scurry all over creation to see everyone on that ONE day. It's not about the gifts or food; it's all about time. It's a SEASON of love for me and I am slowly embracing that idea.

I send gifts out when convenient or cost-effective, I mail cards to a variety of personal friends and initiatives (like soldiers and nursing home), and I choose to make a special gift for someone who I think will really appreciate it. My time is my own and I get to decide how best to use it to make the most wonderful impact on my little corner of the world.

It's my hope that by brightening my own little corner, that others can brighten theirs as well until we all outshine some of the darker times that we know will knock at our doors. 

So build up your light and share your love and time with the people and causes you most support. Spread some hope and cheer this season.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Inspirational Song of the Week: Try by P!nk

Red rose on sheet music

Weekly I like to share a song that has inspired or comforted me at some point in my life. Sometimes they work over and over again and other times they are simply played at the right moment in time.

One of my longtime, favorite artists that I discovered myself (as opposed to music I grew up with played by others) is P!nk. I have been a fan since her first publicly popular song "There You Go." It's really fun to go back and listen to some of her older stuff compared to where she is now.

Hands down though, my favorite album is The Truth About Love. The songs on this album speak to me all the time. I had it on repeat for 4 or 5 months after it released! 

The song that keeps popping out at me though is "Try." While the video should come with a trigger warning for domestic/partner abuse survivors because it is very suggestive, it has beautiful choreography & P!nk's signature emotive performance. The chorus is my favorite part:

Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame, someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns, doesn't mean you're gonna die
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try

To me, I see this as a daily challenge. Life is tough & likes to take us down whenever it gets a chance. We just have to be willing to get up and rise above it all. The most important part about falling off a horse is getting back up on it. I find strength in the melody & hope in the lyrics of this song.

What do you hear?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Anger No Longer Serves a Purpose to Me

Foggy wooded path in the fall

I was so mad I was practically shaking. I was fuming! Maneuvering schedules to make appointments is not easy for many people and I am no exception. Being stood up twice for scheduled meetings is just unheard of!

After stomping back across the campus, pouting the whole way, I was in no better a mood. The black cloud above my head was growing with no signs of a break. A coworker happened by, saw my obviously angered face and asked out of care and concern what was wrong. 

I unleashed a torrent of venom and outrage that left me panting and left her shocked and aghast. What was worse was that I did not feel any better about my situation and felt terrible for dumping it on someone else.

Usually shared burdens create 1/2 the weight & shared joy creates double the happiness, but in this case it didn't. She talked with me a while and helped me think about it and talk it all out just to get it out of my system, but I knew it wasn't a good situation for her. 

She walked away for a bit and when she came back through I apologized. It wasn't that I was out of line, but more that I didn't see that it helped either of us to be so mean about the situation. I felt that my conduct was unhealthy and unproductive when we're usually pretty good about lifting each other up.

After apologizing I realized, my negativity about an uncontrollable situation had inadvertently hurt someone else and done nothing to ameliorate my problem. That understanding was the first time that I was actually seeing where I had strayed from the meditative, calming path I have been fostering in my life. I made a choice to behave as I did and it was not the best option available to me.

Life is really just about looking out for the lessons that come our way. Meditation, religion, reflection: none of them work if you don't work them even in your most trying of times. 

What is a situation that you faced that could have gone a better way based on your choices?