Sunday, February 28, 2010

feel the sun warming up your second-hand heart. light swimming right across your face.

she felt different all at once and all the sudden. unsettled but content, looking forward while learning from her looking back. she smiled, looking forward to a new kind of life filled with new kinds of things, people and places. looking back over mistakes and everything she had never planned, she realized it didn't matter anymore. what matters now is now; what matters now is here. it took a while for her to get here - to be in this particular state of mind and to know, from an ending, comes a new beginning.

she looked at the sky in a new way now - looking onward to the moon but paying close attention to the many tiny stars along the way - knowing that bigger, better things were ahead, but keeping her heart and mind on the things that made up (that blessed) her every day.

"are you happy?" asked a friend.

"yes," she answered, without hesitation and without a thought in mind.

and there it was, on its own but with great purpose and promise. her answer was honest, but shortly after her "yes," the undeniable question came. she then asked herself, "am i really happy?"

in most moments, yes, she was happy, and more and more moments happened lately in which she was indeed happy. still, being fully happy seemed to be a goal she had yet to reach. after the year she had spent losing pieces, losing happiness, she realized those same pieces and an altogether different happiness were on their way - slowly at first, and then, lately, faster and faster. it was as if, once one piece of herself was found again, and once a part of her happiness had returned (old and new all at once), it then all began to fall into place, step by step, gradually over time.

so, when asked if she was happy, she could smile and genuinely respond, "yes," because in those particular passing moments, she was content in the sincerest of ways. her overall joy, she realized, would take more time to rebuild itself. the best part to her was seeing the pieces falling into place again - her overall happiness on its way back and in clear sight, as her everyday happiness grew from moment to moment, day to day. and a familiar quote came to mind as she thought about where she was and where she had yet to go: "i'm in repair. i'm not together, but i'm getting there."

commandment: leave the lights on. this commandment and this entry deal with optimism and keeping an open heart and mind. after going through the worst of times, i can still say with faith that the best of times are not only on their way, but they are here and happening now. it's as if something great is building, little by little. and, although i know i'm not completely "together," i also know i'm on my way to getting back (to getting myself back) and to finding more.

i'll leave the lights on as i go.

Friday, February 26, 2010

i'm only this far and only tomorrow leads my way.

with a free afternoon to spend as i want, i find myself wanting to write but not knowing exactly what to write about. funny, because there have been plenty of times lately when i have been busy and something will hit me. i have to hurry to write it down before the idea gets away from me. but, here i am, at 4 o'clock on a friday afternoon, with all the time in the world to write and with few ideas in mind. okay, that's not true. i almost always have a million ideas in mind. but, at the moment, no one idea seems like it will lead to a blog entry. so, instead, here are some random thoughts for today. we'll see where this goes.

i'm thinking that, if you wake up silly, you're in for a silly day all around (yes, today is one of those days).

i love cloudy days. i know that makes me sound like a dark, depressed person. i'm neither. but i do prefer cloudy, rainy days (yes, today is one of those days).

i enjoy learning new things about people (old friends and new) and myself. almost every day lately, i get to know (i get the opportunity to know) people (old and new) and myself a little better. sometimes, in the getting to know them, i find a little more of myself as well (yes, today is one of those days).

this one is no surprise but.. i like to laugh and i laugh a lot (i promise, it's genuine), and i find that, lately, my days are completely filled with laughter (yes, today is one of those days).

i'm realizing that more and more of my time and my days is/are spent in the moment - enjoying what i'm doing when i'm doing it (really being there and in it), without distraction, without worry (yes, today is one of those days).

so, today. a silly, cloudy day full of new opportunities and laughs, and i've enjoyed (i've lived) it all. today is full. i'd say that's a good day. the best part is, every day has been like this lately for one reason or another. every day has been full. i can say that sincerely. and, although it's only february (almost march), it has already been a beautiful year just two (almost three) months in.

looking forward to the rest of 2010. it's going to be a full year.

"the butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough.."

Monday, February 22, 2010

all i know is that the fear has got to go this time around.

if you've ever spent time with me, you've probably realized a pause or two that i take before answering your question or before speaking up. i think before i speak. almost always. and, more often than not, i put the words and sentences together in my head first before saying them out loud. it's like a self-edit.

i've known people in my life who talk their way through everything, especially when it comes to problems or issues they are up against. they talk and talk and talk, and eventually, they seem to, through their talking, reach some kind of conclusion about whatever the problem or issue may be. i, on the other hand, think my way through it. in fact, when i am faced with something, it's almost as if i physically can't talk about it right as it is happening, or right after it has happened, before thinking (and thinking and thinking) about it first. it's as if i have to get it straight in my mind first and go from there. once i do end up talking about a problem or issue, i tend to leave out half of what i originally thought - almost as if it doesn't matter or it doesn't need to be said aloud. i edit. i pick and choose. i weed out. and not only do i do it when dealing with a problem, i tend to edit almost everything i have to say.

one commandment i chose when i started this blog was edit less. by editing less, i'd like to think a more genuine version of myself would shine through. instead of over-thinking what i had yet to say, instead of worrying how it would sound, by editing less, i think the real me would become more and more apparent. sounds simple enough, right? just say what i have to say when i have to say it. but, for someone like me, it's anything but simple, and as silly as it may sound, it takes practice and getting used to.

i've watched myself become more comfortable lately with editing less. but i find i have to remind myself to do it. i have to tell myself, just try it. just say what comes to mind in each moment. and, while it has gotten easier, and while i find myself editing less more frequently lately, i still have those moments where i am stuck in my head. the funny part is, i've found lately that when i'm trying to think of something to say, i can't find the words. when i just open up and speak, no matter how random or silly it may be, i not only am able to find the words, i am also able, little by little, to find pieces of me.

instead of trying to work it out in my head first, lately i've found myself speaking up more and getting to my point and explaining myself out loud, no matter how jumbled up it may be initially, no matter how much sense it may not make at first. i seem to be talking my way through it more and more these days, and i am beginning to realize it's okay to not have the perfect words or the perfect way in which to say them. it's okay to put it out there. but, as i mentioned before, it takes practice and getting used to.
when i am able to get out of my head and just say whatever i need to say (or write whatever i want to write), when i just let it out without thinking, i have to say, i feel a lot more like me. i'm not editing. i'm not over-thinking it. i'm just getting it out there. i'm getting me out there. and, without that self-editing and that over-thinking, the whole me is able to get through.

maybe that's why it's so scary and so difficult for me. opening up in this way, without editing, means i'm out there for all to see. the whole me is out there - my words, my ideas, everything. and to have those words and ideas criticized or made fun of or under-appreciated means, essentially, that i too am being criticized or made fun of or under-appreciated. for years, i've struggled with this one, worrying myself to death about what other people thought. i can't say i'm over it, but what i can say is this - every day, it's getting easier being comfortable with me and editing less. i've realized i can only be me, who i am, and i can only be my true self by sticking to the commandment edit less.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

you should have listened. there is someone here inside.

i'm realizing lately, while i'm doing better with my commandment to listen to myself, there's still room for improvement here. what i've noticed most over the years is that my first instinct is usually right. the trouble is i have a hard time going with my gut without first thinking things through or without first, essentially, ignoring that feeling. it's as if i don't quite trust it just yet or i feel i can beat it, so to say.

here's a silly example. last week, i ate two pop tarts and drank a 16 oz. diet coke immediately before working out. i felt full and funny and unable to work out to the fullest. after telling myself i would never do that again, what did i do? i did it again. i told myself maybe it would be okay this time, maybe i could handle it this go 'round, only to find myself in the exact same state as last time.

so, what's my point? even with that instinct telling me, "don't do this" or "do this," i still question it every time and it seems as if i am trying to prove myself, and that gut feeling, wrong. i don't trust it so i test it. i test it out until i know for sure, even though, more often than not, i've known all along.

maybe it's the optimist in me. deep down, i know something may not be right for me, but i try it anyway. i jump in. at the same time, though, it seems a bit pessimistic of me to ignore that gut feeling, to not trust it and to try and prove that it is wrong. optimistic and pessimistic at the same time, i suppose.
sometimes, i want my instinct to be wrong, especially when it comes to people. i've had my share of bad feelings about people in the past, but i ignore those feelings and try and give people the benefit of the doubt - even if they prove my instinct right in the end. because, really, what's the harm? i'd rather put my faith in people and have it blow up in my face than not give it a shot at all. i'd rather put my trust in something completely than refuse to do it at all - regardless of that gut instinct.

this commandment, listen to myself, is going to take some practice. trusting that inner voice and going with it. at the same time, i've also learned enough about myself to know that, more often than not, my heart and head win over that inner voice. it seems to me i follow the following lyric more than anything - leap and the net will appear.
while this commandment started as a way to try and get myself to go with my gut, it seems it has taken on a new meaning lately. and, in listening to myself, i've realized the optimist inside me usually prevails. it's interesting, to me at least, to see some of these commandments taking on new meanings as time goes on. noticing these changes is another step in listening to myself. really listening. and i'm thankful to be in this spot, right here and now, with an open heart and open ears.
"it's nice today. the wait was so worth it."

Friday, February 12, 2010

i can't remember all the times i tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.

there was a moment in step class today at the gym (i have to admit, my mind was elsewhere today at times) when i thought to myself, i really love my life right now. i am surrounded daily by the best of family and friends who support me unconditionally, who keep the smile on my face and who help keep me in the moment, and i watch as my life continues to get better each and every day. one of my commandments, be here now, deals with being in the moment, being present and taking it one step at a time. lately, i've noticed a change in myself - instead of worrying and thinking about the past or the future so much, i've been present and living in the moment more and more (okay, i realize, by being in step class and letting my mind wander, i wasn't exactly "in the moment." but, in general, i am getting better about this).

as a worrier and an over-thinker, i've struggled with "getting out of my head" for years. i tried fighting it and i tried letting things go, but one day i realized, that the worrying and over-thinking is, like it or not, a part of me. what i've found lately, though, after i stopped fighting it, is that i am worrying less, over-thinking things less and, at the heart of it, am really learning to live in the here and now. and, i have to say, it's an amazing feeling.

even though i was in the middle of a class at the gym thinking to myself, in a way, and at the same time, i was right in the moment. because it hit me, i love my life, and i felt like i was out of it looking in and right in it feeling it at the exact same time.

this is getting a little too deep, huh?

basically, what i've learned lately is that, even though i will always be a worrier and an over-thinker, i can still, and am still, present and in each passing moment. in fact, that same over-thinking might even help put me in the moment more - when i'm most aware of the beautiful life i have around me.

as i mentioned in another entry, i've learned that, even if you think something should work out, that doesn't necessarily mean it will. i was always a big believer in planning ahead, and i always had to have an idea of what was up ahead. i realized finally that plans and promises are no guarantee. in other words, i can worry and think and plan all day long, but it doesn't change anything, and it certainly doesn't guarantee anything either. what does matter, though, is each day, each moment, right then and there.

this is what i know now.

"live each season as it passes.."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

and timing is everything and this time, there is plenty. i am balancing, careful and steady.

"we are all, at heart, gradualists - our expectations set by the steady passage of time."

after a year like 2009, there are parts of me i lost. you begin to wonder (i know i still do at times) whether or not you will ever get those pieces back and just how long it will take to be who you were once again. the truth of the matter is, i'll never be the same person again. this year's jennifer is much different than last year's, and i honestly feel i've gained just as many new pieces of me as i have lost.
one piece that still seems to be missing is trust. i've always been one to trust other people without question, genuinely believing in them and their places in my life. i've also always been one to give second and third chances no matter the circumstances. i never imagined any of this changing, and in thinking about it now, it hurts and angers me a little knowing that these particular characteristics of mine have in fact changed - knowing that i let them change.

my trust now is different than it was just a year ago. actually, the way in which i trust is different. i can't say i'm afraid of trusting people or situations, but what i can say is that i find myself being much more cautious of them. yes, i'll put my trust in this or that, but you better believe the questions, doubts and concerns are there right along with it. i have to say, i don't like this. call me careless, but i liked jumping in feet first - to whatever it might have been - completely believing in it. now, i can't get past it, i can't shake it.
the good new is, i still feel willing to trust, knowing that my way of trusting has changed.

call it a lesson learned (revisiting this commandment).

it's hard when you can literally feel that wall up and you know something inside is different, something inside is holding on until the right moment to let go again. that's where the quote comes in. gradually, you begin to feel the wall come down; gradually, the trust gets easier; gradually, you put more trust into it all. but it all happens little by little, as you "test out" each person and each situation first - your expectations in each person and each situation increasing or decreasing, depending on the amount of trust you can put in each of them. the easier it is to trust and to give trust, the higher the expectations and, hopefully, the easier it is to break down that wall. but it can't happen until that right moment, when you're ready for it. at least, i think this is the way it will go. one day.

with each piece that is lost, i feel i have gained three more. because with each lost part comes a greater lesson that, more than likely, leads you to other, greater pieces of yourself. so, even though i have "lost" the way i used to trust, i've learned now (i've gained) that i can still trust, and that when i do put my trust in someone or something, i know now, from those lessons i have learned, that it's a sure bet - because if i wasn't truly ready for it, it would never happen. i know now, when i'm truly ready to trust someone or something, i will have already "tested the waters"; i will know for sure; and i will feel that wall coming down and jump in.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

i know the heart of life is good.

every thursday evening after our step class at the gym, the girls and i go out for dinner. even though we see each other throughout the week, thursday nights seem to be the time for talk and the time for catching up, while quickly jumping from the most serious of issues to the silliest of topics. but, still and always, surrounded by laughter and genuine interest. it's never a fancy dinner and most of the time, we're still in our work-out clothes, tennis shoes and ponytails. but it's those kinds of "small" evenings, and those kinds of sincere moments, that have given us the biggest memories. and it's there where i find so much of me.

the dinner table at our house has always been the center of important conversations, random discussions and, of course, that same kind of laughter and genuine interest i mentioned before. and there we sit. my family and me. catching up on our days, making plans for the evening and enjoying the simple silliness that is our family. and, yet again, it's never a fancy dinner and more often than not, we're in old t-shirts and jeans. but in those "small," sincere moments, the biggest laughs and the most lasting memories are made. and i, once again, find myself in those moments and in the surrounding genuineness.

"our lives are made in these small hours."

with the newest of friends i have met lately, i find similar sincerity in those early getting-to-know-each-other moments. it's then, when you're asked questions about yourself and your life, that you're given the chance to really think about what makes up who you are. it seems to be a good time for new friends to get to know you while you yourself get to know who you are all over again. a breakdown, in other words, of yourself; the "small" pieces of you, in the newest of moments that, together, make up the sincere version of you.

i've talked about this commandment before - surround yourself. this entry, though, has to do with surrounding yourself with sincerity. sincere conversation. sincere laughter. and sincere concern and interest for and from your loved ones. i feel the most like myself, like the most sincere version of myself, when i'm surrounded by my family and friends. it's there, in those "small hours" with them and our soon-to-be memories, where i am reminded most of myself and where i feel those lost pieces of myself falling back into place one by one. it's a getting back, in other words, by surrounding myself with those who know, and who are getting to know, me.

surround yourself with people who encourage you to be yourself, who make you feel at ease in being you, who bring the you right out of you - even, and especially, in the "smallest" of hours. i'm blessed enough to be right in the center of all of this, surrounded with sincerity.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

i know there are little things about me that would sing in the silence.

commandment: get back to basics.

when i think about this commandment, a quote comes to mind from the movie big fish. you become what you always were - a very big fish. deep down, you're the same person all along. but you're still ever-changing, ever-growing into a better-defined version of that same person.

so, who am i? i'm the kind of girl who has 10 pairs of high heels in her closet but prefers to go out in a t-shirt, jeans and ballet flats; who works out for two hours at the gym and then follows it up with a double cheeseburger, fries and sweet tea; who has soft spots in her heart for puppies, musicians and sincerity; who over-thinks everything and can't let go of anything; who listens actively; who thinks music sounds best playing loudly in the car; who hates cats, clowns, coffee, cilantro and change (it just so happens they all begin with the letter "c"); who prefers rainy days to sunny days; who laughs (genuinely) all the time; who writes better and more than she talks; who believes strongly in prayer; who is thoughtful about the things she does and says; who is a big klutz at heart; who is a careful optimist and knows what is meant to be will be..

who am i not? i will never be the girl who enjoys talking on the phone; i will never be good at math or good with directions; i will never enjoy wine; i will never be the center of attention; i will never be one to learn my lesson easily or quickly..

for years, i tried to actively find myself, and i was constantly trying to figure out who i was and what made me me. recently, i've realized i've known me all along. i've always been here. but now is the time to get to the heart of it (the detail is in the fabric). this commandment, this getting back to basics, means knowing myself and what i like, learning more about that particular self as time goes on, and having the guts to stick to it all and put it out there.

in other words, getting back to basics means getting back to the real me - figuring out more and more what makes me happy, while keeping in mind what i've known all along.

"i used to think someday i'd relax a little and be more like you. then i realized how silly that thought was. i needed to stand in my own shoes.."

Recent News