Monday, November 30, 2015

Feature: Inspirational Song of the Week

Inspirational song of the week
I truly believe that music has the power to change things. It can change your mood, change your opinion, and change your life if you hear the right thing at the right time. From listening in your car to hearing something performed live, music can speak across time, space, and language. Much like math, it's a universal thing that flows through everyone.

What I find particularly striking though is musical frisson. Here's where my nerdy comes out. I majored in French and International Studies (History focus) in undergrad a few moons back. I loved learning new words & ways to say things. 

The greatest challenge is translating from one language to another. Sometimes though, the definition of the word or idea can be experienced in the saying. One of my favorite experiences of this was with the word "frisson," which translates to "shiver." It just sounded like that is what it meant. 

Back to the subject at hand. Musical frisson is the chills or goosebumps you experience when you hear certain songs, chords, or melodies. The two biggest musical frisson triggers for me are: Hedwig's theme from Harry Potter and Rue's whistle from The Hunger Games.

In honor of musical frisson, and to provide some of my personal favorites, I will be featuring a song each week that has inspired me or helped me in some way. Some will be upbeat, some will be dulcet, and still others will be a bit melancholy. 

We experience a range of emotions and have thousands of thoughts every day. By allowing music to help us deal with these experiences, we can move through them and on to what we really want to do.

What songs or sounds give you inspiration?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Past: Acknowledging Where You Have Been

Acknowledging Where You Have Been

Living in the past is giving up any plans for the future. As a history major I know the importance of looking back from where we have come. That really is the best way to plan for where you want to go by means of avoiding past mistakes. What it does NOT mean is that we are doomed to repeat ourselves. Every single day is a new chance for us to make choices. I can choose to be negative about a situation or I can choose to look at it as an opportunity. I can choose to eat things out of emotion or I can choose to eat things that fuel and boost me.

However, with choice comes consequences. I am telling you, you have the power to make any choice in the world regarding most subjects. You are not free from the consequences of that choice. I'm sure you're thinking "but you just said that we can't live in the past...what if I'm experiences the consequences of a past action? Isn't that living there?" 

Honestly, the consequences of choices made can be short term or long term. Sometimes their length is up to you, other times it's not. What I am encouraging you to do is stop dwelling on those past choices. You cannot change them, no matter how much you want to. What you can do is make choices today and in the future that will mitigate or help counteract the consequences of previous choices.

You have the freedom to do what is necessary to make your life better and more brilliant than you ever imagined. The question is: are you willing to explore that freedom? I am working on my exploration every day and every day I feel like I am gaining ground. Care to join me?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

No Day but Today & Nowhere but Here

As cliche as it may sound, RENT is one of my all-time favorite stage shows. I found it via the 2005 movie and fell in love. I met my husband doing drama in high school, so we fully support the arts whenever possible. For our 7th anniversary, he took me to see a live performance and while he liked the movie, the live show gave him the good kind of chills.

"No day but today" is a refrain from one of the core songs talking about why a couple should even try because there was no way it was ever going to work out. One character was arguing that they should give up before starting and the other was arguing that we only get this one chance in life, so why not risk it? I've always loved that idea but struggled to put it into action in my own life.

I've gotten so caught up in working a job I'm decent at but don't enjoy, to pay bills that need to be taken care of, for things that I rarely get to enjoy. How much of a disappoint I am in comparison with my ideal. How did I get here? The same way everyone else did. I stopped dreaming as much, stopped being fearless, and stopped pursuing what I mattered to nourish my soul.

As disappointing as this sounds, don't lose hope. There is a way out! Starting where you are, a little at a time is all is takes to make a difference in your life. Nowhere but here. That's all that you have and where you are. Life isn't about making sweeping changes. The best and most effective changes happen incrementally, over time, at the right pace for a reason. They are sustainable and too important to rush through.

This is what I am focusing on now. My meditation app helps me focus on being present while I begin my search for my passion. I have so many things running around in my brain that are "cool" or "fun" but I'm not passionate about. I'm trying to hone in on that inner voice and work on starting where I am.

No Day but Today & Nowhere but Here

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Goals & Ideas Before the Big 3-0!

Blank notebook with pen and coffee mug

I mentioned last time some books that I have been working through and loving. It seems like the best way to keep myself accountable is to create a working list of goals and ideas. While my 30th birthday is not a hard deadline, there are a lot of changes coming up in the next year and that one seems like a decent marker.

I love making lists, although I rarely complete all the tasks listed. It helps me sort through my thoughts and ideas to write it all out. While I am a hardcore pen & paper gal, this format will work best for my blog and I think that is what's important. I may hand write it all out as a reminder to help keep me accountable.

To use my mindfulness app once a day
To be more present in my day
To be kinder to my body by focusing on exercise as nourishment, not punishment
To journal in my art journal once a week, moving up to once every 3 days as I get more comfortable
Blog two to three times a week
Be kinder to others
Be kinder to myself
Smile more
Cook at home three days a week (maybe more when classes change)
Hand-write one letter a month (birthday cards don't count)
Travel to a new city

Take a meditation/mindfulness class
Take an art class (college or store?)
Take a movement class (silks, aerial, pole, Zumba, something)
Create an arts/crafts mini-business for the next holiday season (make stuff all year, sell in the fall/winter)

How do you keep yourself accountable?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Getting started

It's been over a year since I last posted on my book review blog. As a matter of fact, it's closer to two years. Time has gotten away from me and I've lost myself. Not just in work and school, but I feel like I have lost my way in life. It's not the existential crisis it sounds like. It's more of a nagging sensation at the back of my mind that says I am not quite where or who I need to be. This blog is going to help me see my path a bit more clearly. It's going to be heartfelt & brutally honest because this life does not leave us with many other options.

Currently I am inspired by One Minute Mindfulness  by Donald Altman & The Crossroads of Should & Must by Elle Luna. I have so many more books at home that are helping me work through myself, but right now these two are the most profound. They are telling me the facts & truths that I have been working so hard to ignore or avoid.

I turn 30 in 298 days. It's not crucial or life-changing to be honest. It sounds daunting and yet I look forward to it. I have 298 days to start working towards a better me. A happier me. A healthier me. One that is ready to keep working at life. The struggle is what reminds us that we are still here and that there is still time.

I will persist until I succeed

Sunday, November 1, 2015