“Victim” is NOT your color: Part Two – Why Do You Do It?

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Why do you allow yourself to be a victim?  That’s the million dollar question, ain’t it?  Believe it or not, I think it has a pretty simple answer when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it.  Just like the “pinball experience”, where we let life just bounce us to and fro, I believe we become victims when we neglect to stand up for ourselves.  No real epiphany there; the “ah-ha” moment comes when you admit to yourself why you don’t.  Often the “why” lies somewhere between “I didn’t realize I was doing that”, and “I don’t know how to not do it”.  Many times, through life experiences that begin when we’re children, we begin patterns of needing and wanting to please others that sets us up to be victimized somewhere along the way; actually, at just about every stop along the way.  What would happen if we sought to be motivated down our road of life versus manipulated?  There is a vast difference.  One comes from the outside; the other from the inside.  Which one is fueling you right now?

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Folks who are repeatedly victimized lack a good foundation; and by that I mean a good understanding of who they are and what they want for themselves; and notice I said repeatedly.  (For the purposes of this particular line of thought, I’m not considering those who have a “random” accident or incident where they are a victim of a crime or some similar event.)  Someone with a firm foundation, a strong sense of self and personal identity establishes early on the boundaries that keep predators at bay.  When you don’t have good boundaries, good “rules for engagement” if you will, you leave the door open for lots of heartache and confusion.  I heard Dr. Phil say once, “you teach people how to treat you”, and it really hit home with me.  I can look back on “friends” who lied, stole, or mistreated me, and I remember continuing the friendship only to have them do it again.  I could also count the numerous times I “forgave” a boyfriend for cheating and then chose to continue the relationship to give him a chance to prove he could do better.  WHAT??  Oh brother!  Things never got better, they got worse!  Why?  Because I “taught” those people that treating me poorly was an acceptable way to act!  They simply followed my lead!  Are you doing that with relationships in your life?  Have you taught those you engage with that it’s okay to treat you like crap?  Well, stop it!  Let today be the day that you stop it.

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There’s a big difference between being manipulated and being motivated.  Like I said, manipulation is what you allow from others; motivation is what you plant inside.  It’s the positive things you tell yourself from a firm foundation.  It’s the positive cues that you receive from people around you who want to see you succeed.  You have to learn to listen to you before you listen to anyone else.  Your inner dialogue has to be louder than all the noise coming at you from every direction.  When your inner voice is positive and strong, it will direct you towards people and things that will motivate you.

Honesty and sincerity motivate me.

People who admit when they’ve done something wrong, own up to it, and ask for help to move forward motivate me.

People who know my weaknesses and respect my views in spite of them motivate me.

People who still appreciate a sense of tolerance and fairness in this world motivate me.

And I’ve told you, once you begin this transition of mindset, be ready!  Your mindset isn’t the only thing that will change.  You wants will change.  Strong minded people want different things that weak-minded ones.  Your needs will change.  You’ll need to be around those who lift you up; you’ll crave information and insight from those who are where you want to be.  Your habits will change.  You may find that you don’t frequent some of the same places, or hang out with the same people; AND THAT’S OKAY.  If you’re not growing and evolving every single day, you’re not doing it right.  Challenge yourself.  Motivate yourself. Identify your “why” in this victim cycle and work towards making it a non-issue.

You can do it.  I’m rooting for you.

 

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“Victim” is NOT your color: Part One – The Pinball Experience

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Pinball.  You ever played it?  Ever seen a real-life pinball machine?  I ask because I realize that my audience is diverse, and these game machines aren’t as popular as they once were; replaced with the high-tech interactive games that kids and adults enjoy today.  So if this photo is foreign to you, let me try to explain the premise of the game.

To the right sits a pinball that you propel into play with a spring-loaded “trigger”, if you will.  The ball reaches the top of the table, and is then bounced and moved from one noisy lighted stimuli to another as you “work” to keep it moving about.  You have very little control over what’s happening to the ball, save for two “flippers” near the bottom of the table that can keep you from losing your ball down a black hole and ending your game.  Your heart beats fast as you watch your ball moving quickly about, bouncing around and collecting points based on where it lands.  It’s all a game of chance, though I can remember as a kid, watching older, stronger people attempt to physically “man-handle” the machine in an effort to move the ball in the direction they wanted.  That behavior usually resulted in a “tilt”; the machine’s way of saying, “hey, you can’t do that”, and you’d lose your turn, or even worse, end your game altogether.  It wasn’t until I began studying behavior patterns in people that I saw a beautiful parallel; many of you live your life just like that pinball.

You wake up each morning and propel yourself into play.  I’ve seen some of you in the mornings; not everyone’s “propel” is at the same furious pace…just sayin’.  You put yourself into the action, you join the day for whatever it has to bring.  You don’t really care what that is; you expect that it’s going to be much like the day before.  You’re bounced from stimulus to stimulus and you provide reaction after reaction.  You mindlessly depend on habit to navigate your way.  There’s no thought given to where you’re headed, and no control either.  You’re driven by adrenaline, and your “fight or flight” kicks in more often than it should.  You continue this way, and often don’t make a true decision until you’re pushed to a place of feeling forced to choose.  You engage your “flippers” as a last resort, and often end your day with a “tilted” feeling of your own.  Is this not a perfect illustration?  Thank you, I thought so too.

So how can you not live your life like a pinball?  I’m glad you asked!  You evolve from pinball to powerful, via choices.  Sometimes it means choosing to do something; sometimes it’s choosing not to do something.  You take back control of your life of chance when you exert your power of choice into the equation.  Easy, right?  Yes, and no.  It’s an easy premise that requires dedicated intention.  Choosing means that it’s necessary for you to be informed.  Choosing asks that you rise above many negative situations that try to suck you in.  Choosing identifies you as the one in charge and accountable.

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I used to have a boss who would tell me, “don’t bring me your problem, bring me your solution”; meaning, don’t come tell me what’s wrong, tell me how you’re going to fix it!  I learned that I was more respected as a problem solver than just a problem identifier.  Anyone can look at a situation and tell you what’s wrong with it; it’s the person with a vision for a solution, and the personal responsibility and desire to achieve it, who will overcome and solve it.

Nobody likes a whiner who constantly complains about the same problems day in and day out, right?  As a coach, I encounter folks who can tell me all about how they’ve been victimized in their lives, how it continues to this day, and how they’ve tried “everything”, but they’ve just resolved themselves to “this just must be how I’m supposed to live”.  Really?  So what have you tried, exactly?  How long did you implement this change into your life? It must not have been very long, or you wouldn’t have found yourself back at square one!  You will keep your credibility intact and the victim mindset far away when you not only recognize better choices, but implement them consistently.

Folks, power over your life isn’t something you do once, or just in the mornings, or just at work.  Living intentionally is a lifestyle choice.  See, there’s that word again.  CHOICE.  You start with baby steps of simple things like waking up in a good mood versus grumpy.  Being thankful for the pile of work you have, because it demonstrates that you’re useful and needed; enjoying a surprise treat from a friend rather than second guessing their motives.  It’s about using your energy for the things that benefit you and move you forward; not the things that keep you stagnant.  Don’t give your power away to people or things outside your control.

Stay present and stay positive.  When you begin to make better choices, you’ll find you get better results and you begin a momentum, a “sweet spot” that no longer leaves your valuable life to chance.

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“Victim” is NOT your color.

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If I ever found myself on the Miss Universe stage and they asked me, “what do you want for mankind?”, or however they word that predictable question, my answer would NOT be “world peace”.  It’s too big a concept.  It has too many moving parts and variables, and it’s not something that I, personally, see a viable path to.  My answer would be, “to empower my fellow humans to rid themselves of the crippling victim mindset.”  Yeah, I know.  I can just imagine Steve Harvey’s expression after I spit that one out.  You’d hear crickets chirping; uncomfortable silence followed by, “let’s hear it for Kim Gaughf, ladies and gentlemen”, as blank stares filled the audience.

That’s a fantasy scenario, of course, but on a small-scale, it happens that way regularly with those I encounter.  “Good news!  You have the power to change your situation!”  Silence.  Blank stare.  Confusion.  Disbelief.  More often than not, when coaching someone through a situation that’s not working for them, their explanations for why it’s not working quite often have nothing to do with themselves.  As they speak, it’s obvious they’re not including themselves as a powerful influence in their own experiences.

“Why are you unhappy in your situation?” is answered with “because he/she is doing ______ or not doing ____.”

“How did you get into this situation?” gets a response of “he/she promised ______ and that enticed me.”

“What would fix the situation?” is always a resounding “if he/she would just do (or stop doing) ______!”

Do you see the common denominator in all of those responses?  They stipulate that in order for this person to be happy, someone else must do or fix something.  That’s a horrible way of thinking and living that not only perpetuates a victim mindset, but greatly promotes it.

Most of us are raised to believe in right and wrong as it pertains to our cultural mores and folkways.  We all follow a certain path, guided by beliefs we feel strongly about.  But one person’s “right” isn’t always seen in the same way through the eyes of others; same goes for “wrongs”.  So what do you do when someone violates your beliefs or boundaries?  That’s the pivotal moment where you choose to participate; whether to become a victim or not.

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I know that many things contribute to the feeling of defeat or helplessness, and the momentum of it over time is tough to slow down, much less stop.  But if you had the tools to do it, wouldn’t you?  If there were steps, logical easy-to-follow steps, to lead you in the direction of strength and empowerment, would they interest you?  Would you choose them?  Believe it or not, the answer is often “yes”, but the actions that follow, or lack of actions, demonstrates a resounding “no”.  You get comfortable in your choices, you aren’t willing to do the work required to reap an improved result;  worst of all, you may even think you don’t deserve a better outcome.  I want to tell you, well not just tell you, but shout from the rooftops that there’s a better way to live.  You were not born to be a victim.  There’s no penance for you to pay.  You deserve all that life has to offer you; more than you could ever imagine.

Over a few blog posts, I want to examine 7 behavior changes that I believe are necessary if you want to rid yourself of the victim mindset, and I look forward to your feedback and sharing of your own testimonies should you feel led to do so.  I’ll take a look at:

  • Choosing to live by choice, not chance.
  • Choosing to be motivated, not manipulated.
  • Choosing to be useful, not used.
  • Choosing to make changes, not excuses.
  • Choosing to excel, not compete.
  • Choosing self-esteem, not self-pity.
  • Choosing to listen more to yourself, than to the random opinions of others.

Do you see the difference in those statements?  Shedding the victim mindset bases everything on your personal power, on your own choices; it has nothing to do with anyone else.  Isn’t that a relief?  Isn’t that good news?

Stay tuned for more.  This will be a good study.

 

5 Steps Towards Contentment In Your Life

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Boy, oh boy; raise your hand if you’re guilty of just not being satisfied with where you are in your life right now.  I see you.  You, too.  And those of you who are not being 100% true to yourself and not raising your hand, let me give you some food for thought.  Your words, your actions, your attitude tells on you.  Every time you assume, over analyze, prepare for the worst, or question the motives of others, your discontent is showing.  True contentment, call it satisfaction, even, comes from waking up each day and following the path you feel led to follow, with no regard for what anyone else is doing or how they’re doing it.  Sounds harsh?  No, it’s actually quite common-sensical (yes, I just made up that word); but in this “keeping up the Joneses” and “one-upping” social media world we live in now, many have drifted far away from what makes sense.  Let me explain what I mean.

I believe that the interactions shared on social media have given us all an unrealistic expectation of what our lives should look like, as well as how others live.  Let me speak to this first hand.  I choose very carefully the things I share on social media.  You will never find me discussing any personal or private information that me or my husband wouldn’t be comfortable sharing.  I would never, EVER, speak of my husband or my family in a hurtful way in a public forum.  I would never, EVER, air dirty laundry regarding a boss or co-worker on social media.  I would never, EVER, use a platform like Facebook to passive-aggressively call out someone I had a beef with.  So when you take all those potential posts out of my sharing “matrix”, you’re going to read my page and find day after day, month after month of positive and uplifting posts.  Does it mean that adverse things don’t happen to me?  Nope.  It means I deal with them privately.  It means that I don’t need 500 Facebook friends to insert their opinions into an issue that I’m meant to find a solution to within my own four walls.  Now the way that is often mis-interpreted is, “look at Kim over there, all sunshine and rainbows.  What does she know that we don’t?  Why is she trying to act like she’s happy all the time?  What’s she hiding?”  When the truth is, I’m not hiding, I’m using discretion.  Y’all remember discretion, huh?  It’s that thing that used to be rampant before “views”, and “likes” became the benchmarks we used to gauge our value.  But I digress…

Many of you have a tendency to compare your lives to the lives of others, even when you’ve not been given the full story!  And more important than finding out the whole story, is finding out the answer to this question:  “Why do you care?”

Have you imprisoned yourself, your mind, inside a fantasy world that’s making you feel less about who you are and where you are in your life?  How great would it feel to be content, to be satisfied, to be at peace with exactly where your life is this minute?  Have you ever had the pleasure of such a feeling?  Why not?

 

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What if I told you there were 5 simple concepts that would get you closer to “content” than you’ve ever been?  Would you apply them to your life?  Would you put your energy into improving your own outlook versus continuing to examine the circumstances of others?  I offer it as a challenge to you; right here, right now.  Let’s take a look:

  1. No more complaining.  What’s the point of complaining?  When you find yourself in a place that’s uncomfortable or upsetting, stop.  Breathe.  It’s not the end of the world.  I’ve told you before, every minute you give negative attention to something, you bring your vibe down more and more.  Every time you “re-tell” the story to someone else to vent it, you bring your vibe down and now you’ve potentially sucked them into your crappy vibe, depending on how strong their happy vibe is.  Gee thanks.  Some friend you are.  So cut complaining from your M.O.  That’s not what you want to be known for in your social circle, is it?
  2. Try a different perspective.  I’m going to share a Dr. Phil favorite here.  He has a saying that was an “ah-ha” moment for me one day.  He said, “Consider this.  What if things are happening for you, and not to you.”  Yeah.  What if?  And since hearing that, every time something unexpected or challenging crosses my path, I ask myself that question.  Get off the defensive in your life.  The world is not out to get you.  I’m not even sure your neighbor is out to get you.  What if you saw the “what is in this for me” side of something before assuming it was a “what is this going to do to me” thing?  Use it, I dare ya’.
  3. How about a “thank you”?  I know this will sound very cliché’, but how often do you stop in the course of a day and just say, whether out loud or to yourself, “thank you”?  Thank you to Mother Nature for a beautiful sunrise.  Thank you to traffic for moving smoothly during your commute.  Thank you to the fast food worker who did indeed get your food to you “fast”!  An attitude of gratitude makes it real difficult to be anything but content as you move through life.  People who are grateful are generally happy.  People who are happy are fun to be around.  People who are fun to be around generally have a contagious attitude; which means eventually you’ll be surrounded by shiny, happy people and all this other stuff will be a moot point.  “Thank you” is just the beginning of getting a whole lot of things right.
  4. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS.  Oh my goodness, this is one of those sayings I’d wear on a tee-shirt.  You’ve heard it said, “comparison is the thief of joy”?  There’s no truer statement.  When you are not content, satisfied, happy with where you are, because you aren’t somewhere that someone else is, you’re doing this life thing wrong.  You are always exactly where you should be, all day, every day.  If things are going well, you’re winning!  If they aren’t, you’re learning.  Everyone has a journey, and it’s a very personal one.  So all those social media posts you see, as well as the ones that aren’t posted for you to see; take ’em with a grain of salt.  We all have a journey, whether it’s public or not; and no one can fulfill your purpose except for you.  Don’t muddy your waters with other people’s dirt.  Set your own goals.  Stay quiet about them.  Shine your own light.
  5. Savor the little things.  Do you get so focused on the big picture, the road ahead, that you miss what’s on your path right in front of you?  It seems these days, folks get in such a hurry to get to the next thing, that they miss the current thing, whatever that is.  When you’re dating someone new, are you so lost in the day-dreaming of “is this the ONE?”, that you miss all the small moments that are building blocks of such a relationship?  Are you so worried about getting that promotion at work that you’re missing out on important knowledge and experience that can only be gained from being present exactly in the position you’re currently in?  Are you so wound up in your daily routine, that you don’t see anything outside your tunnel vision; you just go through the motions as a means to an end?  Guilty.  I’ve done that one.  I’m happy to report though, I’ve been cured!  No more buzzing through life missing the important clues that are being placed on my path.  What clues are you missing?

There’s something to be said for the peace that will come when you begin to take life at face value.  No assumptions.  No over thinking.  No worrying.  Be present.  Be open to what may be coming for you…notice, coming “FOR” you.  When you stop comparing, stop trying to manipulate outcomes, stop trying to control every little thing, you allow the world around you to perfectly synchronize the opportunities that are meant for you.  Often, the things that are “brewing” on our behalf are so much better than anything we could imagine; but we never find out because we impatiently try to conjure what we think should happen instead.

What if you let go of the reigns, just a little?  Reach for a place of contentment, one step at a time.  What do you have to lose?  Better yet, what do you stand to gain?

Make It Do What It Do!

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Do the do.  Or if you’re a soda fan you’ve seen, “Dew the Dew!”.  Everyday you’re asked to DO stuff.  Whether work stuff or home stuff, kid stuff, wife or husband stuff; there’s always stuff.  How well do you manage your “stuff”?  Or does your stuff manage you?

I can’t encourage you enough to begin your day with a “to-do” list of tasks.  No, creating a list doesn’t mean you’re old and forgetful; it just means that you wish to stay focused and end the day with measurable accomplishments!  For me, it’s quite rewarding to start the day with a list, and end it with a “checked-off” list.  Don’t you think that would bring a smile to your face at the end of the day too?

In addition to the tangible things on our lists, though, there are some important “intangibles” that we shouldn’t forget to bring along as well.  The graphic I chose today is a great mini-list of those:  counting your blessings, being kind, no “control-freaking”, listen to your heart (and I’m going to add gut to that), be productive in a calm spirit, and oh yeah, that most important one…BREATHE!

  • Count your blessings…please.  No matter what temporarily stressful thing comes your way, take a time out.  Put it in perspective.  Think of all the things that are going right in your life and say an audible “thank you!” for them.  Don’t let a problem or an obstacle make you lose sight of all the great things you’ve overcome already!  Everything is temporary.  Give your power to that strong, solution-finding self inside you; don’t give your power to the problem.
  • BE NICE.  Believe it or not, I flunk this one almost daily.  Not because I’m a mean person; I’m one of the most easy-going gals you’ll ever meet!  But I’m one of those quiet, misunderstood introvert types whose silence is perceived in all kind of crazy ways…often NONE of them true.  I have to make a concerted effort to not alienate those around me, who can be confused by my quiet moments.  Please make sure you offer a smile to those in your path; a sincere smile, even when coupled with nothing else, speaks volumes to your demeanor.  Like they say here in the South, “you’ll get more flies with honey than vinegar”; or something like that.  You get my point.  It’s worth it to be nice.
  • Stop freaking out.  Boy, oh boy, if I’d given that advice to someone who knew me, say, 10-11-12 or so years ago, they would have laughed in my face.  I used to be the QUEEN of freaking out…crown AND sash.  I was a yeller, a cusser, a completely out of control idiot when stress showed itself.  I absolutely thought I was exercising my control over the situation by throwing my weight around.  Yeah, right.  It was quite the opposite.  I was scared to death, out of answers, and drowning.  I was too proud to ask for help; too proud to look for alternative solutions.  Too stubborn to think there could be an easier, better way than any I could muster.  I put myself and those in my influence through so much unnecessary grief.  Are you guilty of the same behavior?  I can’t say it enough, there’s a better way.  There are great coping mechanisms that you can do right where you are, and you CAN do better.  I’m a “stress survivor”, and I am so much better at coping with tense situations than I believe I ever have been.  It took learning a whole new way of thinking and existing in this world, and it’s definitely an improved way to live.  I’m happy to chat with you about your individual struggles and how you can survive everyday stress…it’s THAT important.
  • Listen to what your heart AND GUT are saying.  I know this particular subject could be a single blog post unto itself.  This is one thing that gets lost in the shuffle.  We move at such a pace in our hectic modern world, that we forget to pause and process what’s happening “inside”.  It would be such a valuable skill to add to your wheel-house to be less reactive and more responsive.  There IS a difference.  Do you see that?  Reactive is what happens when you just go with your knee-jerk and often emotional reaction to something that is said, or asked of you.  Responsive is the result of thinking through what was said; processing what you’re being asked to do, and purposefully responding.  Your heart and your gut will always show you the way to go.  But you certainly won’t hear their whispers if you’re not even listening.
  • Calm productiveness.  This almost feels like an oxymoron!  When I have a heavy list of tasks before me, I move at 100 mph; at least until after lunch…HA!  But seriously though, I know the “struggle” of those of you who equate productive with fast, and know you’re welcome here.  I like to call myself “predictably efficient”!  Just because I’m moving fast though, shouldn’t send the message that I’m anything other than calm.  This takes us back to #1 on our list today:  have a defined path, a list of expectations for the day.  Once you know what you want to accomplish, where you want to end up at the end of the day, and how you plan to get there, your inner being can just coast through the experience, happily allowing your physical self to log more steps than a Zumba instructor.  CALM.  PRODUCTIVENESS.  Can you dig it?
  • Breathe.  It’s easy to forget this one, isn’t it.  Breathe.  Stop at some point and breathe.  You know that your brain needs oxygen to stay in its happy place.  You know that all that blood that’s moving through your body wants to stay a beautifully oxygenated red, and for that you must breathe.  If it’s not too much to ask, add some water into your day.  Not colored water, not flavored water; good ol’ plain clear nothing-in-it water.  Water helps move out all the other crap we’ve put in.  Water makes you pee, which will make you get up and move around a bit, and that’s good for you too.  Breathe, and drink.  It might be the easiest thing you’re asked to do all day.  Look at you, winning already!

See, this little list is quite magical.  Basic, yet hits on all the important stuff.  Would you add anything to it?  Is there one ingredient in your daily “secret sauce” that isn’t mentioned here?  I’d love to hear about it!  Y’all enjoy the day, and remember…just get happy!

 

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Ok, Brain. You Can Come Out Now.

2528686798c91a331a59595b98e6a3deIt’s so very easy to get caught up in the adrenaline rush of hurricane preparation.  There’s wall to wall weather reporting, shoppers marching in lock-step to get those items deemed “necessities”, and let’s not forget the “to evacuate or not evacuate” decision.  It used to be, in the days before the internet and constant inundation of information, we had about 24-36 hours to do the things needed to prepare for a destructive storm.  Today, though, we know about a storm from the moment of its inception, millions of miles away, and we find ourselves mentally and physically wore out by the time the first winds begin to show themselves on the local radar.

I’ll admit, I love every single piece of it; really I do.  I am a native “Coastian”; the Mississippi Gulf Coast to be exact.  My very first memory of a hurricane is Hurricane Frederick in 1979.  I was just 8 years old, and my mother evacuated us from Gulfport, MS to my grandmother’s apartment in Theodore, AL, about 60 miles east.  I believe her intention was to move us, us being me, my 6 month old baby brother, and herself to safer ground, and help look after my grandmother, all at the same time.  A win-win, right?  Nah.  Turns out we evacuated to the exact place that Frederick, as a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall.  Oops!  I don’t remember many details of the actual storm, but I do remember sleeping next to my brother on a blanket on the floor of a walk-in closet.  I remember the “staticky” sounds of the hand-held transistor radio my mother was clinging to as her only connection to what was going on outside.  And I wish I had a photo of it, but I remember that faced with a power outage, my super resourceful granny built a fire outside using pieces of wood from storm debris.  She topped it with what I think was the rack from inside the oven, rigging up a way to not only make her morning coffee, but cook us all something to eat too!  As a kid, I didn’t understand all the grown-up implications of a hurricane’s aftermath, but I was fascinated by the almost instant destruction I saw around me.  Basically, I went to bed in a town that was intact, and woke up to surroundings that I couldn’t readily escape using the same car I arrived in.  Whoa.

I rode out a couple more storms as a teenager, then came Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  You’ve read Katrina stories ad nauseam, I’m sure, and there’s nothing spectacular about mine.  I was one of the lucky ones.  I didn’t lose my home, nor my belongings, but I did have a front row seat to the recovery of my friends and family.  It was slow.  It was tedious.  But it certainly was fulfilling to watch every milestone of rebuilding, no matter how small.

Maybe that’s part of the fascination for me.  I know that things can go horribly wrong for those in the path of a storm; but I also know that there’s power and resilience in the recovery and rebuilding process.  I watch for the happy ending to the crazy story.  Much the same reason why I watch that “My 600 lb. Life” show…I love to see the person get their power back and regain control of their lives and their weight.  My husband thinks I’m nuts for watching it, but it’s a feel-good thing for me.  But I digress…

I tell you that long drawn out story to relate this…I’m tired now.  My brain has ridden the wave of “Hurricane Nate is almost here”, “Nate is REALLY almost here”, to finally getting a hint of windy rain and thinking, “is that all we’re getting??”  “Nate?  Nate??  Are you there??”.   I join in happily to all the hype and do my part to be diligently prepared, yet don’t even get the payoff of seeing at least a tree uprooted in the backyard…I feel robbed.  But it’s fine!  It’s fine!  I’m super thankful that my home didn’t sustain any damage from brief Hurricane Nate.  We spent about 15 minutes picking up broken limbs this morning, so Nate’s impact at Chez Gaughf now sits in a prickly pile by the road.  The news reports have disappeared from every blasted channel on the menu, and it’s just 15 minutes from kickoff of Sunday football.  Life is returning to normal, and I’m oh-so-good with it.

I’m going to do myself a big favor and give my brain the rest of the day off.  The most taxing thing I plan to do is “refresh” my fantasy football standings as I hope to win my game today.  Now THAT would be a great payoff for all my trouble this weekend.

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Lookout Weekend!

It’s Friday, hallelujah!  We’ll all be watching the clock soon, waiting for the magical hour that we’re released from captivity to enjoy 48 hours of whatever our hearts desire.  Do you have weekend plans?

Here locally, the big draw is an annual week-long classic cars show ~ I’ll give them a plug, sure why not.

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If you’re a resident or visitor to the Mississippi Gulf Coast this weekend to enjoy the “cruisin” festivities, rock on wit yo’ bad self.  Vroom vroom, even.

If you’re like me though, and thick exhaust smoke and traffic that moves at a snail’s pace isn’t your thing, how about some other plans?  Hunny and I have decided on dinner and cashing in some “free play” at the casino tonight; what’s on your agenda?  The weatherman even claims we’ll see some fall temperatures this weekend, which I think translates into “maybe it’s safe to put your swimsuit away since we’re finally inching into OCTOBER!”  Here’s to hoping that if we venture outdoors at all, we won’t sweat our faces off.  After all, we are just 90 days from Christmas…but you didn’t hear that from me.

If you’ve managed to make it to Friday without any definitive plans though, check out this precious list of things you can do ALL BY YO’SELF.  Can I tell ya’, it looks like an ideal way to spend some down time, for sure!

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The first treat I see is “turning OFF your phone”.  Now I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t do that, because if I’m home alone, it means my husband is off doing something “manly”.  I’d hate for my phone to be off while he’s playing at the gun range, or out on reserve duty on the water.  What I can commit to doing is NOT answering any call that I absolutely don’t want to take.  Heck, I do that everyday anyway, don’t you?

Bath.  Bath.  My new middle name is bath.  Y’all know I make bath stuff for a living, right?  Here, I’ll plug that too.  If you’re looking for awesome skin care that’s safe for sensitive skin, check us out:  http://www.marinacottage.com.  Or call me (228) 215-1250…we’ll chat!  After all, not much working goes on, on Friday.  But I digress…

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If you decide to enjoy a bath, do so without distraction.  Leave your phone in another room.  Grab your favorite beverage, turn on some music, and just soak.  Allow yourself to sit and soak and just enjoy the warm water on your skin. It’s good for the soul.

Cozy pajamas are next.  If you don’t own any, please invest.  It’s back to that “soul” thing.  I found a super soft pair of yoga pants last year at Sam’s, of all places.  I am so ready for the weather to be cool enough to wear them, simply because I love how they feel on my skin.  Yoga pants that make me happy.  It’s the little things.

Treat yourself to something yummy from the kitchen.  Now odds are, I’m not going to cook this thing myself, but if you’re that person, I say knock yourself out!  My favorite sweet treat is ice cream, so unless I just go all out and grab a piece of cake from the bakery to go with it, the “treat” part might just be adding an extra scoop since no one else is looking.  But you do you…if you dream of mac and cheese in a big bowl with a big spoon, then that’s what you do.  Treat yo’self.

Now here’s the one you might find challenging, so all the more reason for you to do it.  I’d even suggest doing it the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper.  There’s something powerful about writing words on paper.  The way you write them, how your handwriting gives life to them, and the opportunity to be spontaneously creative.  But here’s the list I want you to make:  Things I Love About Me.  Then jot them down.  Give them some thought.  It’s not a test and there are no wrong answers.  Then from that list of awesomeness, what is it you wish to achieve?   For example, here’s one that would top my list:

Thing I Love About Me:  I’ve used my past experiences to learn to do better, and I’m always educating myself to make my future path easier and clearer.

What Do I Want To Achieve:  With my experience and knowledge, I’m moving in a direction that will allow me to professionally coach others through their challenges, sooner rather than later!

Make several of these, and revel in your lists!  Follow them up with the things you’re dreaming of.  It’s always fun to dream, and after all, this whole life thing is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?

So if you’ve hit the end of your week, and staying in sounds like a good plan, set the intention to be good to yourself.  No plans can often be the BEST plans.

Have a Great Weekend!