Life List

When I was ready to live in my truth, it felt like home ~ Lisa J.

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I had something profound happen to me last night that seemed like the cherry on top of a lovely day. If you’ve kept up on my blog, I’m sure you’ve noticed an underlying theme. I enjoy writing about how I’m finding my way to my happiness, and now that I’ve revamped the definition of my happiness, my path to my truth. It is also my practice and my joy to inspire others to look from a different perspective, believe in who they are, and listen to their hearts and the quiet voice from within.

In an earlier post, “This is Me, This is My Why”, I gave a short summary of my crazy life, which was a small glimpse of my sometimes chaotic, rocky, dark and unsteady, but purposeful journey. During these years of my life, never did I realize I was developing awareness or learning lessons that would have led me to where I am now, and it is a common occasion when I don’t realize just how far I’ve come.

Last night, I stumbled upon a “Life List” I wrote back in 2006, and as the name implies, it is a list of 60 things I wanted to accomplish in this life. However, the profound and fascinating part to me is not necessarily the list, but that I truly don’t ever remember making this list, why I made this list, or even that it was here in this house. Last night it served as a giant reminder, sign, smack in the face, whatever you want to call it, as to how much I’ve grown and changed, but yet, not changed, in the last 12 years.

While the entire list is not completed, like visiting Australia or New York, many, many of them are, and I honestly didn’t realize I was checking them off. This is truly something extraordinary that makes me realize my true nature, even when I thought I lost it so many years ago, stayed with me through dark and light, good and bad, so when I was ready to live in that truth, it felt like home.

The entire list is lengthy, so I won’t name them all, but I will touch on the ones that are significant and eye opening to me. The truth is though, to truly understand why this is so profound, you must understand where I was in my life when I wrote it. With no question, I had no idea where, or what, my life purpose or meaning was, or even what I was doing with myself or how to live without drama or madness; however, the items on this list were as important to me then (which I didn’t realize) as they are now, and made it full circle to becoming the foundation of this blog that I only began in July of this year without consciously realizing.

The below consists of various practices I apparently had hoped to accomplish, and many achieved, and you can see, at different periods over the last 12 years, and those I did not even think to begin to practice until this past July:

Forgiveness (2018); Be more confident (ongoing); Quit smoking (2011); Positivity (2018); Meditate (2006 and then never again until 2018); Remove the negative and take control of my life (2017-18); Get my Bachelors (2020, I’ll be 41); Pray more (2018, which I never thought I would do again); Face my fears (2018); Stop worrying about getting everyone’s approval (2018); Start running/exercise (2013); Coach (2011-2014); Volunteer (started at the animal shelter 2010); Travel to places I’ve never been (2006-present); and Inspire (hopefully, 2018). I can say without a doubt, this list got lost never to be thought of again until last night, but MOST of them happened within the last 12 years, without me even realizing.

I continue to be in awe that these items were written so many years ago and although I consciously did not see them every day, I was subconsciously checking them off one by one. That in mind, and as powerful as this is to me, I’ve decided to make a new list, but this time around, I plan to make it visible every day:

1)   All the stuff from the first list that is ongoing, or I have not yet accomplished, like learning to Salsa;

2)   Get married;

3)   Write for a living;

4)   Co-Create with one of my closest friends;

5)   Own a business (this was also on list #1);

6)   Practice self-care (eat better, exercise, meditate);

7)   Appreciate and be grateful for everybody and everything, small and large in my life;

8)   Travel, and travel more;

9)   Walk with faith;

10)                Love lots…

Your mind is a beautiful, mysterious and incredible thing. What we desire in this life is attainable if we desire from a place of passion, truth and love. Sit down, have the thoughts, say them out loud, make a list, plant the seeds in your subconscious, and your true nature and path will reveal itself, even if it’s 12 years later.

Much Love,
Lisa J.

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoCathryn Lavery

Push Through and Just Keep Going

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The light, the gift, the true nature of our individual being is within each of us, and I believe it is our responsibility and our mission in this life to share these truths with the world. To find these gifts within ourselves may take many attempts that can lead to success, and to failure, but in these successes and in these failures, we learn lessons that teach us understanding, love, forgiveness and how fear can send us astray. If we are blessed with these lessons and have the strength and the ability to see inward and recognize our path, we must move to the direction of this truth.

While I truly believe sharing these blessings is our purpose in this life, there are many times that walking this path is exhausting and our minds tells us to stop. I have had many moments in my life where I just couldn’t or just didn’t want to anymore. My mind would tell me it wasn’t worth it, the time and energy were just too much. I would sink into the comfortable, drown in easy and sit back and wait, hoping what I desired would come to me with little or no effort, and curse when it didn’t. I would think to myself “if this is what I’m am meant to do, why is it so hard, why do I feel pain, or heartache, or disappointment”. These are the moments that I needed to dig deep, to shut out the games my mind would play and to move forward no matter the weight of what was holding me back.

I sat at the volunteer table at Mile 22 of the Chicago Marathon last week and these thoughts of my own life journey cluttered my head. As I cheered the thousands of tired, drenched and physically and mentally drained unique individuals on to the finish line, I didn’t make the connection to my own struggles until now. I had watched the agony on the faces of those who passed and the smiles of those who understood they were almost there. I could relate, maybe not physically in the moment, but mentally on my journey.

To push through, to stay strong, to keep going no matter what mental games you are playing will get you to your true path and purpose of this life. Even when we don’t feel like it, even when the effort seems to outweigh the reward, we must push forward. We must continue to share our gifts and our light for we may not see the rewards in the moment, they will be revealed in the end.

Believe in your truth, and even when it’s difficult to keep going, keep going. Let your heart be your guide and remember how it beats when you shine the light from within.

Much Love,

Lisa J

Honor Your Story

This was my first post after my last failed attempt at blogging. I post it as a reminder that we all have a story, we all have our struggles and we can overcome. Stay true to yourself and don’t ever give up, you are not alone.

It’s funny how things happen. How sometimes, a seamlessly, insignificant trip to the store can turn into an eye-opening event. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, well, it’s been almost a year, and it saddens me to think of all the time I’ve lost, but also makes me smile as I sit here understanding that the reason it’s been so long is the same reason I feel the need to begin again.

Your StoryWhen I started this blog back in August of last year I was on a path I knew was mine. I felt as if I was moving with the current of my life and that things were falling into place so effortlessly. I was back where I was meant to be, and there was nothing that would get in my way. What I wasn’t expecting was the same darkness that kept me from this path in the past would creep up once again. You see, not long after I began this most recent journey I had unexpected health issues that involved surgery, which put me out of commission for approximately six weeks. While surgery went smoothly, and physically, I fully recovered, I was completely unaware of what it would do to me mentally.

When I was younger, and in different times in my adulthood, I suffered from bouts of anxiety and depression. Back then, if you would have asked me, I would have said I was fine and that there was nothing wrong with how I acted, reacted, or led my life. I would say this because I truly and deeply felt that was the truth. I didn’t feel there was anything wrong with never smiling, hating the world, screaming my side of a story, crying for no reason, and having no energy to even lift a cigarette to my mouth. The panic attacks would make me nervous, but because they happened even on a good day, I believed it was just who I was. When confronted about the possibility that this was not normal, I would blame my situation or everyone around me. Never did I stop to think that something may actually be off with me.

That’s the thing about depression, when you’re in it, you don’t even know it, and when do know it, you have no idea how to get out of it, and sometimes no desire to. It can feel like the most comfortable place in the world to be, but also as if something has a hold of your insides and just won’t let go. This is teamed with intense anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts that overcome you even when you try your hardest to be rational, making even the most sane person feel crazy.

After years of not knowing where these feelings came from I now believe that hormones are my way. When I was younger, keeping busy helped, and as an adult I learned to recognize these bouts and would attempt to fight back, winning most battles, but it wasn’t until I was on medication did I get any true reprieve. Not saying this is the answer for everyone, it has been a very long time since I had these feelings. However, unfortunately, even at a peak of positivity in my life, to my dismay, I found myself back in this place after surgery. I stopped writing, running, engaging and even wanting to get out of bed. At first, I didn’t recognize this familiar darkness because it had been so long, but once I did, I realized I had to fight back, and started to make changes, and the first one was to talk about it. It’s taken months, but I can finally say, I’m feeling myself once more, and I’m ready to begin this journey once again.

I tell this story, not for pity, but for hope. Depression and anxiety are real, they are not made-up feelings to get attention. You may not suffer from it yourself, but I guarantee you know someone who does. If you met me, you may never have thought, and to many, this will come as a complete surprise. We have been taught to be ashamed of it, told to deal with it, or just plain get over it. If only it were that simple. I was able to overcome because someone listened when I recognized it in myself, someone was there when I made myself ask for help, and someone encouraged me to allow myself to be helped. I wasn’t always able to do this, and not everyone can, so they need support. Listen, don’t judge, and don’t assume you understand or have the answers, just be there. For those who do suffer, talk, don’t assume we know, ask for help, and you may be surprised how many are listening. There is light after the darkness and there is a path there, but sometimes it takes more than the will to overcome, you may need a strong soul or an army to have your back, but it is possible, I know.

After several months MIA, I wasn’t sure if I would be led back to writing again, and even if I was, I really didn’t know how I would pick back up. Thoughts of what I would say or if I should even attempt it, ran over and over in my head. It wasn’t until a seemingly, insignificant trip to the store did I realize that it was time to find my voice again. The pictured quote was written on a wooden plaque as I passed through looking for a card, and at first glance I continued to walk by, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. Before I left the store that day I bought it and hung it over my desk. Nothing spoke more truth to me at that moment. I needed to tell my story, and my story involved struggles, my story involved depression and anxiety, my story involved hope, my story involved real happiness, and my story mattered, and if I do nothing else, I’m going to honor it. So I’m back, and I’m looking forward to many more chapters.

Honor your story, whatever it may be, because you never know, one word, one moment or one seemingly insignificant trip, can change your course or even the course for someone else.

Lots of Love,

Lisa