Landmarks in Life ~

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IMG_6835We are all part of Landmark events; the birth of a child, a wedding, the passing of a loved one, a success in life. Each waypoint becomes a memorable time in life waiting to be revisited when we feel the need. When we allow these moments in time to resurface, feelings emerge and we reflect on how each of them changed who we are. We connect our dots. They eventually define who we are as a whole. Each one of these Landmark events is part of what develops our core.

I recently added a dot to my journey in life. I feel as though I have a blank sheet of music that awaits the melody I will create. The people I meet along the way are the notes, those who are a constant in my life are that familiar chorus, the memories we make together will become the lyrics to my song. Each chord that is played will evoke a feeling that will resonate with me for years to come. Some verses in my song will haunt me, others will overflow with passion, some will bring a ((((smile)))), others may well a tear to the surface that will courageously take its own path and gently slip away.

As we walk along our path creating our music in life we will be joined by a select few who will walk with us for our entire journey. Others will joins us to teach us a lesson or two and then fade away off into the distance. Some will walk with us long enough to challenge who we are and may even change our path. There will be few who will feel like home that will unconditionally love who we are and accept all the musical genres we have created. They will fight for us. They will stand strong at our side no matter where we choose to go.

We all meet those who make their mark in our lives. We may not play with them as often as we would like, but they are instrumental in helping us write our song. We learn in time that when we need them to hum that familiar chorus they will, when the time is right. They are part of who we are, our internal compass, that finds us and brings us back home when we are lost amid the chaos in life.

T ~

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It’s Your Choice…if you can make it.

I was talking to a male friend of mine the other night about a number of different topics and something he said stayed with me. “Failure for me is not an option”. He doesn’t see anything ending in failure. He doesn’t allow himself to even go there visually. What a great attitude to have. There is no point in starting anything if you already see yourself failing at it. A positive attitude and hard work ethic is the key to success in life as far as I am concerned.

What ever you set out in life to do there will always be someone who is better. Not being the best doesn’t mean you failed. Just doing it is a part of succeeding. If you want to be the best you have to put in more than everyone else. Athletes are the perfect example of those who naturally visualize being the best. Competitive by nature they are born with the drive to win. We can all learn from those who are the best at what they do. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to achieve that title. If at first you do not succeed…try try again!

If what you are doing makes you unhappy each day at some point don’t you ask yourself why you’re doing it? Doesn’t it makes sense to create change instead of just going through the motions! It’s not always easy but nothing really worth while ever is. Sometimes baby steps are all we need to push us in the right direction.

There are also those who don’t need or strive to be the best. They enjoy their life regardless of what they do or where they fit in. It’s not always easy to reach for your goals or dreams. Sometimes life, responsibilities and obligations get in between our dreams and reality. As long as you wake up each day loving life, giving back and being a positive influence you are inspiring those around you. Have you ever met someone who makes you want to be a better person, that’s what I’m talking about. We all have our role in life and as long as whatever you do you do your personal best we all benefit in a positive way. I’ve tried to teach both my kids that it’s not what you do that matters as much as how well you do it. “If you can’t be good, be good at it” has come out of my mouth on more than one occasion. Attitude, hard work, enthusiasm and passion can change everything. And don’t forget to smile, they’re contagious! 🙂

We make choices every single day. Some we need to think about in great depth and some feel right as soon as the thought crosses our mind. In the end a choice is made in order to move forward. Choices are part of life. We can choose to work towards a goal or dreams or we can let our life unfold in front of us making choices along the way. Sometimes it is not us who makes the choice that changes our direction in life.

Life is ever changing, you never really know your path until you are walking it, and still then it’s not always your choice that changes its direction, most important is to just keep going! Tracy ~

Some of us know exactly what we want to do at an early age. A goal is set and steps are made to achieve it. Others take their time and change their path several times before they find what they are seeking. Believe me I know how hard choices can be. Since I was a very little girl I remember the struggle I had with choice. If I was given more than one I had such a difficult time deciding. Thankfully as we age we become much better at making choices. Life experience, wisdom and knowing who you are seems to help. I find too many thing in life interesting and worth exploring to be pressured to pick just one. I am working on it. 🙂 If I could just decide what I wanted…I’m certain I would get it! Oh and eenie meenie minie mo rarely works! lol

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Are You Listening?

Tracy

Do you ever feel like your not being heard.  You start to raise your voice thinking it will make a difference, but by then the people you are talking to think your angry.  It can be frustrating.  It makes you think either your really boring or people are so focused on themselves that they just don’t hear what you have to say.  Self importance can be a slippery slope!

I was told a funny story about when you are having a conversation with someone you are to say ( in your head) while they are talking, “you”.  When you speak or adds to the conversation you say (in your head) “me” and it goes from there.  It should be about equal, you-you-you, me-me-me, you-you-you, me-me-me, equal amounts of input to make the conversation flow and not one sided.  It makes me laugh every time I get into a conversation with someone who doesn’t let anyone else add to the conversation.  Me-me-me-me-me-me and so on.

There are also those who manipulate the conversation around what they are trying to talk about (self importance rears it’s ugly head) but it just doesn’t naturally go in their direction so they force the topic change.  Those who are listening exchange that puzzled looks to one another and the self important person is back in control!  It all comes down to “listening” skills.  There are basic listening skills and entire websites just to learn how to listen, so it must be an epidemic!

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have.  How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.
We listen to obtain information.
We listen to understand.
We listen for enjoyment.
We listen to learn.

listeningWith all the listening we do, you would think we’d be good at it!  In fact we’re not.  Apparently we remember a dismal 25-50% of what we hear.  That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they only really hear 2½-5 minutes of the conversation.  Well that’s just great isn’t it!  No wonder, it’s all starting to make sense to me.
So that must mean that when we are receiving directions or being presented with information, we aren’t hearing the whole message either.  Let’s hope the important parts are captured in your 25- 50%, but what if they’re not?  The dots are starting to be connected!
There is huge room for improvement here, so by becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate.   This will help avoid conflict and misunderstandings – all necessary for workplace success.

So I ask, Are you listening?

Here’s some tips:
Pay attention. (Duh)
Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message.
Eye Contact and head nods help the speaker be aware you ARE listening.
Put aside distracting thoughts. (God I’d like to reach out and kiss him right now~ not good)
Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. (what’s the smell?)

Body language can tell you heaps about someone, read them as they speak but don’t over analyse.  (his fingers are separated from his thumb on his chin, I just read that in a book, what’s the name again, it means either he is going to shoot me or… OMG he thinks I’m easy !)  Another distraction.

Allow the speaker to finish. (unless… your so totally bored and late to where your going, cut your losses and run)
Don’t interrupt, you will get your turn.  (At least you hope you do.  If you don’t, you’ll know for next time to say a quick hello and keep walking!)

Listening can sometimes be difficult depending on who is talking, but it is a respect we should all have for others.  If we become good listeners, maybe, just maybe it will rub off on those around us.  Lead by example~ If they see we are giving them our undivided attention when they have something to say it should be reciprocated!  We can only hope.

Share the air, you just might learn something.  Wadja say?

Tracy signiture

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Does Size Really Matter?

TracyOkay, get your mind out of the gutter. It’s way too early to be talking about that…I had another draft scheduled this morning but Jacquie’s post ‘Yup, Talking Body Image Again‘ hit a chord with me because I, too, can relate.  In the big picture, does size really matter?

I tuned into X-Weighted with Paul Plakas this morning and it really moved me.  Let me explain.  This beautiful overweight women Sharla signed up to be on TV to help motivate herself to lose weight.  She was 234lbs to start and her goal was to ride her bike 50k while towing her daughter Toni who suffers from Cerebral Palsy.  Sharla could not be successful at her current weight and fitness level.

When the layers were stripped off  why she had not been successful before (the part I love the most)  it was because she was hiding behind her child’s disability and feared failure.  To see this women come to that conclusion herself brought tears to my eyes.  She started out with the support of her friend and, because of her friend’s own fears, her friend quit and she had to go it alone.  She reached her goal and lost 50 lbs and looked fabulous!!  She is not a small women by designers standards, but very average in real standards, so I could relate.

She empowered herself by changing her mind set;  it was not about losing the weight but about losing the fear of failure.  When she no longer feared failure she was successful. And that’s the message I got out of the show.  It didn’t matter what size she was- I didn’t pay attention to that part- what mattered was that she was fulfilling herself and by doing that she found happiness within.  Her friend had fears of her own that she was now aware of and could start stripping the layers away herself in order to reach toward her own goals.

I was thin my entire life, almost too thin at times looking like a bobble head, eating popcorn for dinner, fitting into size 5 jeans.  After my first child my thyroid shut down (Hypothyroid).  I could run 30k a week and still not lose an ounce.  I was fat according to my standard and hid behind baggy shirts and tights.  I know what it does to your self esteem when you have a weight issue because I have been there and I couldn’t do a thing about it.  Having been so lean all my life it was one of the most difficult things to come to terms with.  But when put into perspective I was not dealing with cancer and I was alive.  I learned over the years as I dealt with my thyroid that those around me didn’t notice the weight because they saw me.  They loved me for me.  That’s a great feeling!  It was a great learning process.  I remember my doctor’s receptionist Angela saying to me as I struggled with regulating my weight “Tracy it doesn’t matter what size you are, what matters is that you are eating healthy and exercising”.  That stayed with me.  She was right, I was doing everything I could to be healthy and I eventually I regulated my thyroid through my Naturopathic doctor.  In the big picture size definitely doesn’t matter as long as you are living a healthy lifestyle.

Carri & Mike We are all different body shapes and sizes and as long as you are not neglecting your health and not afraid of failure you can do anything!

I have watched my girlfriend Carri work toward a goal for the past two years.  Rain or shine she put her shoes on and did the work required to meet her goal.  She never gave up, she made a decision to not fail.  Carri is happy within herself which can only benefit her gorgeous family, especially Mike ~ lol!  It wasn’t about the weight.  She looked great before.  It was about setting a goal and reaching it by not being afraid to fail.  Way to go, Carri, you look incredible and I admire you for sticking to a goal and not being afraid to fail!  Tracy signiture

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Procrastination!

Tracy

Never do today what you can put off for tomorrow. Better yet, never put off ’til tomorrow what you can avoid altogether!

While I was surfing the web looking at the reasons we all procrastinate from time to time I found this very funny video that nailed it for me~

Apparently I am not the only one who does this.  Phew!  I love the feeling of getting ‘my stuff done’ each day but there are some days, like today for instance, that it’s just not going to happen.

My list today is sitting right in front of me, glowing in fact, calling to me to look at it, but I am not going to, it can’t make me!!
I do procrastinate from time to time and I often wonder why?  Is there a Scientific answer?  Maybe it’s just the position of the Moon?  Here is what I found~

Contrary to popular belief, procrastinators generally aren’t perfectionists; (well that can’t be right?) instead, they’re more likely to delay tasks they’re not confident about, says researcher Piers Steel, Ph.D. (Ph.D Shmee h deee) Steel is an assistant professor in the human resources and organizational dynamics department of Canada’s University of Calgary. “Essentially, procrastinators have less confidence in themselves, less expectancy that they can actually complete a task,”  Steel says in a University of Calgary news release. 

“Perfectionism is not the culprit,” he continues. “In fact, perfectionists procrastinate less, but they worry about it more.”  Procrastination has been around ever since civilization began and “does not appear to be disappearing anytime soon,” writes Steel.

So he boiled procrastination down to a mathematical formula. (Just to confuse me personally!  On Tuesday procrastinators were given $1.00 if they did not procrastinate until noon on Wednesday, by the second Friday of the third week how many times did they procrastinate …Mathematical Trickery!)

The formula predicts procrastination based on a person’s expectation of finishing a task, the task’s importance, the person’s desire to complete the task, and how soon the task needs to be done. The formula suggests people are less likely to procrastinate if the task has to be done ASAP and they feel confident they are up to the task.  It suggests people are more likely to procrastinate if the task is less urgent, less appealing, or daunting to the person facing the task. (Yep that’s me, if it’s not captivating, or I don’t feel passionate about it, or there’s not a handsome guy to flirt with, I will go back and forth with my Monkey mind about whether it’s important enough to get done right away.)

Other factors may also be involved, Steel notes.

For example, he points out that rebellious people may tend to procrastinate tasks given by authority figures; and depressed people may procrastinate due to low energy. (Can’t it just be that we are feeling lazy today?)

More research is needed on procrastination, and the sooner, the better, Steel concludes. (His Professor asked him to conclude but he was feeling a little low energy so I will get an update soon, soon meaning sometime in the future, probably next month or next year, it really depends, I am super busy right now 🙂 )

Procrastination = Avoidance of Success. Next time you procrastinate, ask yourself why you’re avoiding success…

Tracy signiture

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Mistakes? I Never Make Mistakes

Bonnie Johnson's Post

“Past performance is not an indicator of future success.” Anonymous

Phew!  That’s a relief! What a dormant world we’d live in if that were not true.  If we never attempted anything new because we were paralyzed by past mistakes nothing would ever improve.  What if we still thought our very first crush was the “one” for our entire lives.  It may have actually been true for some but for me that would mean that I would be married to the cute Asian boy named Anthony in my kindergarten class.  (Come to think of it that may have been a better choice than many of my later relationships…hmm…No, I’m kidding…kind of).

Looking back now I realize that I’ve learned so much about myself thanks to all of my past “mistakes”.  When you look at it from this angle you really can’t call anything a mistake.  Let’s change the word “mistake” to “something-I’ve-done-that-taught-me-what-it-is-that-I-do-not-want-and-therefore-I-learned-what-it-is-that-I-do-want”.  Ok, maybe that’s too long but we should always remember that the longer version is behind that word.

stuck in mudI can look back from where I stand today and see how I got here.  I can see the steps I took that brought me to this point, and even though some of them felt like I was walking in mud up to my waist, I can finally be grateful for it all because the lessons learned are obvious now.  Those times when I was surrounded by mud I had a hard time believing in the path ahead and that would only make it harder to move out of.  The trick is to never look at your mistakes as failures but as valuable lessons that keep propelling you forward.

Tracy touched on this recently with her “Just Do It” post when she featured the Michael Jordon “Failure” Nike commercial.  I hope you will find inspiration from these other famous “failures”.

Here’s to growth, regardless of how ugly it looks sometimes.  Svaha!

Bonnie

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Envy. How do you deal with it?

Bonnie’s Take~

Bonnie's PostEnvy.  Listed as one of the seven deadly sins along with pride, greed, lust, gluttony, anger and sloth.  Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty and guilty!  (Not all at the same time but yes I’ve felt each of those during the course of my life.  Sloth is one of my favourites and I still like to take a day to revel in that sin now and again.)

I read somewhere that envy is a hidden emotion.  Hidden so well that you often don’t realize that it is the motivation behind your actions.  This struck a chord with me.  I had thought that envy was a wasted negative emotion and I was sure I never allowed myself to fall into that trap.  Then I realized that there have been many times that I’ve seen others obtain something that I’d like to have too.  For example the young lady that leads our Zumba class has a terrifically fit and athletic figure that you could say I’m envious for.  So in that case my envy motivates me to work harder on my own figure.  Huh!  Thanks envy!

The philosopher, Immanuel Kant wrote:  Envy is opposed to oneself because it disinclines us to see our own good overshadowed the by good of others.  Well doesn’t that sum it up perfectly! You can’t gain anything by being stuck in feelings of  negativity.  I also believe if you only focus on your lack of whatever it is that you want then you can only attract more lack.  Instead I choose to use those rare moments of envy as little signals telling me “hey, here’s something else you would like” and then working towards a goal of achieving them.

What do you think ladies?

Tracy’s 2 cent’s~

green-with-envy-smallEnvy~the feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.

Envy and jealousy are very close in meaning. Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another: to feel envy when a friend inherits a fortune. Jealousy, on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves: to feel jealousy when a coworker receives a promotion.

How do I deal with Envy?  I suppose I turn green like everyone else!  I couldn’t resist the picture.  Envy doesn’t have a negative feeling for me.  If you are passionate about what you are doing I think there is no room for envy.  If  someone is doing what I want to be doing and is successful at it I think of that person as a trail blazer before me.  I feel inspired by anyone who is reaching their goals they set for themselves.  If their goals are reached it tells me that it is possible for me so I should keep up the hard work.  I look at someone elses success as a resource for mine, it’s all in the name of research.  Here at Tara Cronica we are women inspiring, with our own spin on it.  There are lots of inspiring websites but this is what we have created.  No need to be envious of what we are doing,  read and take what you need to be inspired to create your own.  I have never been competitive amongst my peers I am always willing to share my knowledge with anyone who is heading down a path perhaps I have blazed already.  I compete with my self but not with anyone else.  I think there is room for everyone to have success in what they are passionate for because passion is the foundation to success…envy is not.  I do however envy anyone who can sing and carry a tune because I can’t.  If I had the time and passion for singing I am certain I would have recorded an album by now.

Jacquie’s thoughts~

post-insert-jacquie2I know the text book definition of envy, I know it’s one of the seven deadly sins and I know it’s not considered an attractive emotion to possess.  If I have to be perfectly honest with myself, and I do or what’s the point, I have to own up to feelings of envy now and then.   For sure I’d like to have some of the material advantages of some of my friends and relations.    Duh!  It’s that natural little twinge you get when you hear of someone’s great new job, or lottery win or amazing holiday they’ve planned.  For a split second you forget all the wonderful things going on in your own life because the focus is somewhere else.

When I get these little jolts of envy mixed cole slaw-style ( a little sugar, a titch of vinegar) with pleasant feelings, I recognize them for what they are and move on to thinking about something more productive over which I have control.   That’s where Tara comes in for me.

Green Tara, one of the 21 manifestations of the Goddess Arya Tara, is associated with the protection from fear as well as a number of obscurations.  These are obstacles, or disturbing attitudes we all have that prevent our becoming Enlightened.

The first step to becoming Enlightened would be to become Aware of your feelings and emotions.  This is so very Eckart Tolle it isn’t even funny!  Being in the ‘now’ ~  present.   Those who practice Tara Buddhism would add the repetition of mantras and meditation.   I just remind myself of all my blessings and what is truly important to me and then the feelings of envy evaporate.  This all happens in a nanosecond sometimes.  Other times it takes a tiny bit longer but it always works.

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha!

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If I could magically re-invent myself as anything I’d…

HAPPY EASTER EGG HUNTING !!

Bonnie’s take~

For some reason this stage in many peoples lives (mid forties) seems to be ripe for re-invention.  Maybe it’s because we realize “Whoa, we’re half way there/done.”  There are many other factors that could spark this too, like divorce, illness, spiritual awakenings, the economy etc., and really these can occur at any age.

The funny thing about this is that it’s truly possible.  We can all re-invent ourselves whenever we want to.   The only thing that ever holds us back from doing so is our own fears and skewed belief systems.  We all have ’em though, but let’s just pretend for a moment that we don’t.  The sky’s the limit.  You can be anything you want to be.    I’ll go first.

fairy-godmother1Poof!    The smoke slowly clears and what emerges is…well, still me I guess, but in perfect shape and health and looking radiantly happy.  I’m radiantly happy because I still have my loving family and friends but I also have a sense of real purpose in this world.   My career is incredibly fulfilling because I not only make ridiculous amounts of money (which I share happily because it never stops coming in) but also because I can see that what I’m doing is helping to make the world a better place.

None of that  is too far from what my life is now except the copious amounts of money and the large sense of  “making an important difference”.   I am working on this re-invention right now and I do believe it’s all possible.  Anything is possible.  So the first step is complete…belief in self…the rest should be easy.

Can’t wait to hear how you might re-invent yourself too.   ~Bonnie

Jacquie’s $0.02…

I’ve really had to think hard on this one, Bon!  If I say I’d like to be an actor, then I really should try to be one right now.  If I want to be a successful artist then I should be working on my skills.  I’m pretty OK with all the good and not so good in my life.  I would like to be more organized, though. Ultimately we’re in charge of our destiny.

But if I could click my heels and be a new me it would have to be as a mom of several more kids.  I’d love to have had at least a couple more but it just wouldn’t have been easy financially.  So I’d like to re-invent my life to include a huge inheritance or great paying job, enough to enable us to have bought a Walton’s style family home with lots of bedrooms.  And I’d want Wonder Woman’s taut tummy.  I’d take Angelina and Brad’s chateau in France off their hands if I could.  Believe me, I’d have help in the form of a chef and housekeeper, but I’d still be a great ‘hands on’ mom.

Yeah, I’ve had such a wonderful experience with my three brats that I think adding a few more, naturally or through adoption, would have just made life even more rewarding. ~ Jacquie

Tracy gets on the scale~

I am not sure I would  re-invent myself at all.  I like the twists and turns my life has taken so far.  I think we re-invent ourselves naturally every time our life takes a turn for the better or worse at that time.  Life experience creates change, one being in ourselves.

I believe I am heading in the direction of where I am meant to be, so I am good with my life for the basics.  If I were given the opportunity to wave that magic wand I would just want a peek of seeing myself living the success I imagine.  But that would mean I have fast forwarded past the hard work it takes to create something you are proud of, so I would hand the wand off to someone else who needed it more than I.  So I guess I would like to see the end result but still go through the challenges of getting there.  I agree with Bonnie that the sky is the limit and Jacquie that if you really wanted something, you would be doing it.  I think I am doing it, and it’s never too late.

I have faith that one day I will be acknowledged for my hard work in pursuing something I have passion for.  If you ask me what I see myself doing in 5 years however, perhaps that is another Sunday topic, I would be doing what I am doing now but with years of experience behind me. I would have thousands of articles in my back pocket that hopefully inspired someone else to live their life with passion and purpose.  I think we all are continually re-inventing ourselves each and every time we move forward in life and make a change that moves us to where we are meant to be.

~Tracy

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