Now that you know how I process things, I want to share with you a conversation I recently had with a friend and the back knowledge will help you understand my response to a question she asked.
My friend asked me if I had any suggestions on how she could mold her life into exactly what she is looking for. I couldn't exactly answer the question without knowing more, but the general answer to that question is this:
Set goals - make them specific, attainable and measurable. Visualize the life you want, put pictures up showing a similar life to what you want, and then go after it. Don't stop until you get it!
Knowing my friend as well as I do, I had to ask (because I knew she had something in mind already) "What exactly are you looking to achieve?" and she went on to explain that her ideal life would include time for yoga, mediation, whole food preparation and diet, reflection, and time for herself. I asked what was standing in her way right now and that boiled down to just two key issues: time and programming. She had been raised to be a 'good wife', someone who gives selflessly of themselves, someone who only does for themselves after everything has been done for others IF there's time in the day. I've never met her mother, but I would guess that the only thing she did for herself through the years was get her hair done (if that). My friend was programmed to feel guilty if she did things for herself. And of course, the time issue, we all understand ... there just aren't enough hours in the day, right?
People find time in their day for all sorts of things. We smoke, we read, we paint our nails, and we even take vacations sometimes or have coffee with a girlfriend. There's time. We may have to give up something else, but there most certainly IS time. The key about time is to start small. As my mother would say "Rome wasn't built in a day dear" and your lifestyle change will evolve over time. Meditation may be 5 minutes in the grocery store parking lot with the radio off, eyes shut, and hands in your lap. Eventually, mediation will look differently and you'll have a special room, candles, a yoga mat, or whatever else it is that trips your trigger. Similarly, eating whole foots today may mean you buy organic at the store and buy a food processor. This summer you'll plant some containers on the porch with tomatoes, next summer you may add a small garden in the backyard, and before you know it you'll be growing your own fruits and vegetables and upgrading to a larger and more efficient processor. If you were to plant an acre large garden tomorrow and buy a $500 processor, you would fail. So start small - especially when it comes to time.
What about the programming problem?
Repeat after me: "I must take care of myself to effectively care for others." Keep repeating that until you believe it. When you feel guilty, say it again and remember that guilt is a feeling YOU control. No one can make you feel guilty. I have young children, so I remind myself of this often. My children spent this weekend by grandma. I'm sure some people didn't think that shopping with my girlfriend, having fun at a bar until 2am, or eating at a grown-up restaurant were good using of my time. After all, I'm a mom. I should spend 525,600 minutes each year doing things for my children, right? WRONG AGAIN ... I didn't stop being Crystal when I earned the title of "MOM". If I don't take care of Crystal, Crystal cannot physically, emotionally, or spiritually take care of others. Whatever phase of life you are in, this will apply to you "I must take care of myself to effectively care for others"
Now, last but not least (and this probably should have come sooner as I'm not sure everyone wants to listen to me this long):
TALK TO OTHERS!
Get a mentor, accountability partner, friend, or something. Call it whatever you'd like. There has to be someone (or several someones) out there whose live's are similar to what you are looking for. Call them up (and don't tell me you can't find them ... this world is getting smaller every day ... social media? websites? blogs? etc... so pick up the phone and call the someone who is living your dream. Set up a time to either chat if they live far away, or set up a coffee/tea date or walk in the park to discuss things. The conversation will sound something like this:
"Hi, is this Sandy?"
"Sandy, you may not know me, but my name is Crystal Otto and I follow your blog. I admire where your life is and I want to be more like you. I was wondering if I could pick your brain and find out more about your journey so I have a bit more direction on my path to a healthier lifestyle. Would Tuesday afternoon or Thursday morning work better for you?"
of course at this point Sandy is flattered at your sincerity and you've already shown her that you're committed to your goal - you just called a stranger for heaven's sake! She agrees, you choose a time, and whala - you are nearly there. Everyone loves talking about themselves, and she will be happy to give you the keys to your dream world and I'm sure she'll help you with accountability. Best thing is, you probably just made a friend for life!
Now ... you've got all the keys ... so get out there and make your dream a reality! Then come back and tell us about your transformation, comments are truly appreciated!
May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and dreams!