Own your needs. Own what makes you come alive. Defend them.Stand by them.
Know yourself. Believe in yourself. Trust yourself.
Every human being has basic physical needs. Air, water, shelter and sustenance. These are physical needs we require to stay alive. But there is alive and then there is living. Our living needs are not that much more complicated or extensive. But they are important. Needs are very personal and different from one person to the next. Needs have to be met. Have to be. If they are not, than we need to figure out why and take steps to get them met.
Wants are a different animal. We all want for something. But the wants do not dictate our being alive nor our living. Our wants do not have to be met in order for us to be happy and content. Complete. Wants are the cherry on our sundae. We do not need the cherry but we want the cherry. We do not need a flat screen TV, we want one. We do not need to be wealthy, we want the freedom it allows. Wants vs. Needs. Identifying them helps you to avoid living in a constant state of craving and disappointment.
How many times have you said to yourself-- I will be happy when I_________ fill in the blank. Get a new job. Lose 20 pounds. Have more money. Husband cleans more. Wife stops nagging. The list of what we think we require to allow ourselves to be content; has a potential of being endless. When I. After I. If only I. Say you lose 20 pounds, then what? POOF! You are living the life you dreamed? Probably not. You may be happy for awhile then something else will be missing from your life and it will be back to the same on litany.. When I. After I. If only I...
We all have needs. Irrevocable needs. Aside from what it takes to be alive- what makes you come alive? What do you need to be content-to be happy? If your needs go by the wayside day after day with you doing nothing to correct it-- how will it ever get better?
You are the ONLY one responsible for your needs. Not your spouse. Not your children. Not your work. Just You. Never look to anyone or anything outside of your self to meet them. If you are in a relationship and your needs are consistently not being met and you have communicated clearly about them. Then it is up to you to stay or go based on that. If you make the decision to stay and nothing changes- the responsibility for this is on you. It is no longer their fault.
You must make a conscious decision to create the life you need.
The big thing in life is having a clear understanding of the difference between want and need. You do not need your husband to shower you in gifts and come home every night with flowers. You need him to pay more attention to you as a woman. You need to feel connected. Important. Same thing goes for your husbands ladies. They do not need for you to shower them in gifts- but they do need your undivided attention as well. Husbands need to feel important, wanted and connected too. This applies to all of your relationships. Friends, family and coworkers. If you are consistently not having your needs met in these relationships, then it is time to reassess. You are not required to sacrifice your happiness nor your needs in order to be a part of anything. It is OK to walk away. It is OK to stand up for yourself and say this is not healthy for me. This is not what I need.
Own your needs. Own what makes you come alive. Defend them. Stand by them. Know yourself. Believe in yourself. Trust yourself. Hard sometimes I know. But you are worth it.
Once your needs are met.. well then it is time to focus on getting that cherry on your sundae.
A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future.
You must break out of your current comfort zone
and become comfortable with the
unfamiliar and the unknown.
I remember in third grade my teacher took my mother aside and asked her if it would be possible to keep a couple of the stories I had written. She wanted to keep them so when I grew up to be a famous writer she could say she taught me. See once I learned that letters could form words and words could form thoughts I had in my head-- I was off. I wrote short stories daily and wrote in my journals every night. Words were my thing. But until I created Random Thoughts-- I never shared my writings. They were a part of me that I kept to myself. I stepped way out of my comfort zone with this blog and honestly haven't looked back.
A month ago I came across a writing competition. It is called Blogger Idol and I was intrigued immediately. Here I was standing on the edge of my new comfort zone and thinking about entering. I talked myself out of it about 10 times. Then talked myself back into it 11 more. I know I am my own worst critic, did I really want to open the door to others? Allow them into my world and let them judge my writing?
Turns out I did. So when auditions opened a couple weeks ago I sat down wrote mine out and submitted it before I talked myself out of it again. On Thursday they released the Top 13 finalists. I was among them! So, for the next 10 weeks there will be weekly assignments. We write about the topic assigned and not only will it be judged by a panel of bloggers-- it will also be judged by the fans and readers too.
Here is my plug: Voting Opens every Wednesday at Noon CST. If you like what I wrote I would love for you to vote for me. However, there are 12 other amazing writers and I want you to vote with your heart. If something one of them has written touches you or you feel drawn to-by all means vote for them! I would just love for all of you to support what each and every one of us is putting into this. OK- End of plug.
For those that have asked me here is what I submitted for "my audition".
Here it is:
All the roads I have travelled, all the life lessons I have learned, have led me to this moment. I stand ready in the wing awaiting my cue. My moment to shine is now. I take deep breaths to calm my nerves. Butterflies dance in my stomach. I gather my wits and walk onto the stage. I clutch my instruments to my chest and look out to judge’s panel, then sweep my gaze across the audience. A sea of faces looks up at me expectantly. As I sit down and place my instruments in front of me, calm descends. I am in my element. I open the lid, place my hands on the keys and perform. The magic that I weave is not heard. It is read. It is felt. It incites emotions. It causes a stir. I am a Maestro of Words. My keys are not made of ivory; they do not make music when played. But the magic that they weave, the lives that they touch is thrilling. A hush has fallen over the crowd, the judges look on expectantly, however I do not notice. I am lost in my words and the world that I am creating. My fingers fly across the keyboard.
All of a sudden out of nowhere a seagull lands next to my laptop and steals what is left of my bagel. I blink a few times and return to reality. There is no stage, no crowd and certainly no judges. I am sitting at a picnic table, next to the ocean. Remnants of my breakfast sit next to me. Steam is billowing up from my coffee and the sun is shining. I feel myself grinning and glance out to the ocean. Damn seagull, shattered my moment.
My big debut as the next Blogger Idol.
With my thoughts scattered for the moment, I reach for my coffee. I never really write about me as a person. My experiences, my life and my thoughts, yes. But me? What to write. I look for inspiration in my coffee cup.
I am a jaded, coffee drinking writer with a penchant for bluntness. A blogger that understands that life is not always sunshine and rainbows. That sometimes- it is anything but sunny. A writer that has her own form of gritty inspirational writing that touches people who are struggling. I write from my gut. It isn’t always pretty but it often makes people think. It reaches out to people in a way they can relate to.
I see the world differently than most. I have been to hell and back and am not afraid to write about it. Why? Because it touches people. It helps people. And in the process, helps me to. I love to inspire people to find their strength, their confidence and their ability to overcome everything they are facing.
That I can do this through my writing… well that just makes me a Rock Star.
Go "Like" The Official Facebook page and follow the competition !!
Life often mimics the ocean. A constant ebb and flow. High tides and low.
Sometimes volatile and stormy or covered in a blanket of fog.
But it always finds its calm eventually
There are moments in life when you need to take a step back to gain perspective. Sometimes it takes even more than just a step. Sometimes you need to run away. Away from all the distractions, the memories and the ghosts. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and throw everything into the wind. Sometimes you need to just walk away. Not forever. Just long enough for you to find the silence and the peace you need in order to hear the thoughts inside of your own mind.
I lasted 7 years.
I call it the 7 year chapter. Looking back from where I sit right now it felt like 20 but seems to have gone by in a blink. It wasn't all bad. I met and married my best friend. I became a step mother. I lived and I loved. There was some laughter and good times. But it was also to date--the longest stretch of time in my life. I know each and every one of you know the feeling. When the weight of the world lies squarely on your shoulders. When the pressure mounts and you have no choice but to pick up and carry on. A time in your life when you feel the walls closing in and all you want to do is hide. But you don't. You continue on step by step. Eyes always hopeful for that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Some days taking even the smallest of steps seems impossible.
It is easy at times to develop coping measures. Throwing your self into work. Taking mental escapes into books. Making your self so busy that you are too exhausted at the end of the day to even think about things. You master the art of busy work. Anything not to think. Really think. You zone out watching movies. You listen to music. Anything to stop your thoughts from going to places you really aren't ready to face. For me-- Well I work, I read, I write. I focus on everyone else that is going through a hard time and I help them. I listen. I offer my shoulder and a hand. I cope by taking care of others. Until recently when I realized something. It was time to take care of myself. I had stayed in my comfort zone long enough. I had run from one task to another and I was tired. So tired. No longer could I silence the thoughts in my head. I needed to give them room.
My 7 year chapter culminated this summer when there was a chance my husband would be diagnosed with cancer. For 5 months we went from doctor to doctor. 2 major surgeries and a hurry up and wait mentality. When we finally got the diagnosis that it was not cancer but another less scary issue, the weight of all that I had been carrying was just to much. I didn't break. But found that I could bend a lot more then I realized.
I scheduled some time off from work. I did not read a book, did not write anything and posted very little on the Random Fan Page. My husband and I packed our bags and just took off. No reservations. No clear path. Just away. I wanted peace and quiet and an ocean view. We ended up in Bar Harbor, Maine. Only 3 hours north of where we live but a world away. For 2 days we hiked in Acadia National Forest, we took a cruise around Frenchmen's bay and I let my thoughts go. I sat on our balcony and stared out to the ocean. It was in the early morning hours with the entire coast shrouded in dense fog that I felt something release inside of me. A calm descended in my scattered thoughts, my shoulders relaxed and I just let it all go. All the hurt. All the sadness. All the bad. It not longer deserves a place in my thoughts or my world. I just need the silence to hear it.
When the fog cleared and I could once more see the ocean again, I realized something. Life often mimics the ocean. A constant ebb and flow. High tides and low. Sometimes volatile and stormy or covered in a blanket of fog. But it always finds its calm eventually. Same thing goes for you and I. Life may have its share of storms and hard times. But it is a constant flow. We are not meant to stay safe on the shore and watch it pass us by. We were made to live it. All of it.
At some point our storms will pass and the fog will clear and we will eventually find our calm.
© J.V. Manning 09.19.12
Life can change for all of us in an instant.
I am always on the lookout for lessons. Always wondering what a chance encounter with a stranger is supposed to teach me. Always listening for little pearls of wisdom from children and the elderly. Always paying attention to each new person that enters my life- my little corner of the world, for when they share their experiences I often learn something new. Sometimes if I am lucky some random person will say something that sparks my thoughts and away I go.
Once or twice a month since his wife passed he comes to see me. He makes his way slowly down the hall to my office and appears at my door. Stooped slightly with brilliant white hair and carrying his checkbook, he always looks at me sheepishly. He claims to have a question on his billing statement. But he knows that I know, it is just a ruse to come see me. This man was a doctor in his day and still carries about him that air of confidence. It is embedded in his soul. Until he comes into my office and lets his guard down. I can feel his sadness roll off him in waves. He misses his wife. But it is more than that. He is lost without her, literally and figuratively. He spent 12 years earning his medical degree. Then decades building his practice and providing for his family. His wife ran the house, the children and all of the day to day tasks that he took for granted. With her gone now, he has no idea what to do. It confuses him, frightens him and makes him doubt himself. After a lifetime of healing others, to see a proud 78 year old man doubt himself gives me pause. So we talk.
This man -- a doctor. Performed complicated surgeries. Held the very lives of his patients in his hands. Yet cannot begin to figure out what to buy for groceries. How to run the "damn washing machine" nor figure out how to replicate the perfect starching of his collars. He looks at the bills that arrive in the mail with contempt and has all but given up on figuring out his checkbook. He is overwhelmed. So he comes to see me. I go over his billing statement and show him how to read it. Which leads to showing him how to record things into his checkbook and then on to what to buy at the grocery store. I will not allow him to call himself dumb. We talk about all he needs to learn and I give him a few pointers. Write little notes on his billing statement to help him remember next month and then I get him talking. About everything he knew. His practice, his travels around the world, his wife. I can watch his confidence return and he straightens a little. I know more about complicated heart surgery than ever before and he gets some of his confidence back.
The lesson in all of this became clear after his last visit. As he got ready to leave he asked if he could hug me and left me with this comment--"I wish I had paid more attention to all areas of my life. I wish that I not only focused on my work, but also on what goes into each day." His eyes grew wistful and he continued, "My wife and I had a fairy tale life. Our love and our bond got us through 50 years of marriage, 4 children and millions of memories. But the one thing I never paid attention to is what it took to have that life. The day to day things. Well until now."
After he left I sat there thinking. How well do you know your own life?
Being part of a marriage or partnership usually means shared responsibilities. Typically one spouse handles the money, the bills etc. and the generally day to day of life. Over time it just gets taken for granted that is how it is done. In my marriage I handle all the finances and the day to day of running our household. It occurred to me after spending so much time with this man, that if something should ever happen to me, my husband would be in the same predicament. If something should happen to your spouse or partner tomorrow would you know everything you needed to right away? Like where all of your money is? What your account numbers and insurance polices are? When the next round of bills were due or the interest rate of your mortgage?
Would you be able to run the day to day of your own life ?
My guess is after some soul searching and a good honest look, the answer is probably no for a lot of people. I know that my husband would be able to feed and clothe himself. But know what bills were due, what bills we even have and how to get to all of our accounts-- nope. What about you? The lesson this man taught me is that we all need to know how to run every single facet of our lives. The mundane tasks, like general house repairs, car maintenance, and laundry. As well as the big things; like household finances, accounts and bills. Just because it is something you have never done or had to worry about, doesn't mean you shouldn't learn it. I can't imagine what it would be like at 78 years old, after decades of performing heart surgery, and not be able to balance a checkbook or pay my bills. To not know how to fix a leaky faucet or get my vehicle fixed. These are all things we need to know.
We need to understand and grasp every single facet of our lives. This lesson isn't just for the older crowd either. Life can change for all of us in an instant. Regardless of how old you are or how long you have been together. Spend sometime looking at the day to day of your life. You will be a stronger person for it.
You will face life lessons. You will build your character from the very ground up
and you will be in control. Remember your strength, remember your
integrity and always remain true to the one person in the world
you can always count on- yourself.
Have you ever thought about going back in time and having a conversation with yourself at 18? What would say? What pearls of wisdom would you tell yourself? Would you issue warnings or draw a map of the future? Would you gloss over the bad and focus on the good? What would you say to you?
I thought a bit on this last night. I am coming to a transition period in life, a new chapter if you will. Thus, I have been strolling down memory lane. Mentally strolling along roads that I took to get to where I am today. Crossroads I met. Decisions I made. Trials I faced and happiness I experienced. The good, the bad and the ugly. I have had a lot of life lessons in the past 18 years. I am finding at the close of this chapter of my life; I am tired. Mentally tired. But excited at the possibilities. The other morning I was thinking that if there was a way to go back and talk with myself at 18-maybe I could have avoided some of it. But then I just shook my head when I realized a truth. I would love to sit down with myself back then. But not to give that girl a map to avoid life's pitfalls.
No, I would sit down with her and tell her this;
Nothing last forever. People will come in and out of your life. Some will hurt you, some will help you. Some will tear at the very fabric of your soul, while there will be a few to help you heal. You will laugh. You will cry. You will get angry. You will make right and wrong decisions. You will live with the consequences. You will discover in the process of living what you are made of. There will be times of great despair and times of great happiness. You will hit rock bottom and make your way to the top. You will be heartbroken and you will break hearts. You will be broke and you will be flush. Nothing last forever. Happy will fade to sad, sad to angry, angry to understanding. You will face life lessons. You will build your character from the very ground up and you will be in control. Remember your strength, remember your integrity and always remain true to the one person in the world you can always count on- yourself.
I would look myself directly in the eye and leave her with this:
Never be afraid to see things as they are. Never dull your shine. Take each lesson that life hands to you and learn it. Incorporate it into the fabric of your soul and know that someday, you will use them to help others. Never doubt your place in this world. Just remember it is completely up to you to make it. Be strong. Live first for yourself. Be right with you. Then be there for others. Second guessing yourself gets you no where. Trust your gut, trust your instincts. Never lose your fight. Be strong. You will get to exactly where you need to be. Trust in that.
We all have things we would have liked to have avoided. But look at it like this. Overspending taught you to budget. The guy you shouldn't have dated; taught you what to look for. Allowing one to control you; taught you the power of your voice when you stood up for yourself. All the bad, all the mistakes, all the life lessons- give you the one thing you weren't born with. Confidence. Confidence in yourself and the belief that you can overcome anything. Life teaches you lessons to get you to where you need to be. They hurt. They force you to see and feel things that you really didn't want to. But all of them got you to where you are today. And where you will be tomorrow.
So stop looking at your past as something you wish you could have avoided. Look to it instead for what it taught you. Now take those lessons and put them to use. If you are not happy- do something about it. If someone is taking advantage of you- find your voice and stand up for yourself. Take a life time of mistakes and lessons and own them. They are your story and a powerful one at that.
I am glad that I can't go back. I needed to learn and to grow. To make mistakes and bad decisions. Because as this new chapter of life begins, I am equipped. I know that nothing will break me. That nothing last forever. I appreciate what I have, what I have built and what I will do in the future. I understand me. I know that I did the best I could with what I had.
Looking back I wouldn't change a thing.
Read some pearls of wisdom others would tell their 18 year old selves.