Monday, February 25, 2013

focus, defined.

definitions of focus, adapted from merriam-webster online
  • a point of convergence of a beam of particles or rays
  • adjustment for distinct vision; also, the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image
  • a center of activity, attraction or attention; also, a point of concentration
  • directed attention
  • a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding

Thursday, February 21, 2013

(same same, but) different.

let me preface with this. this piece is a bit long, and a lot convoluted. i tried making it clearer, and perhaps in a while i will try again. but understanding how to interact with others isn't always clear, so maybe that explains the lack of a singular direction in these paragraphs. regardless, they come from a place of honesty and genuine effort within me, so...if you're so inclined, read on.

choosing love - that's an intentional thing. there is so much to it, but one incredibly important aspect of choosing love is accepting differences. we are all raised in different countries, in different cultures, in different regions, in different families. but even more than those clear differences, we are all influenced by personal experiences. even those people who grew up in the bedrooms next to me experienced moments - many, in fact - in which i had no part or presence. i have been shaped by experiences my loved ones did not encounter, as they have been shaped by lessons i have yet to learn. it is easy to accept that people are different. that is simply a fact, and acceptance of it can come without understanding. but acceptance without understanding can only take a person - a relationship - so far. and choosing love takes more than accepting facts. it takes accepting another person, whole and unique, without reservation. this is not simple, or immediate. but that doesn't mean it isn't at least worth trying. {do note that i don't mean to say that accepting without reservation means you necessarily remove any boundaries between their life and yours. rather, i think it means that you take them as they are, and frame their place in your life accordingly.}

choosing to love someone means, in part, understanding the beauty of their differences - learning and marveling at how their strengths cushion my shortcomings, at how their weaknesses are bolstered by my strengths. this is true to any degree, really - stronger for intensely personal relationships like lovers or sisters, of course, but still, present in any relationship where one engages in anything more than a cursory interaction. we all have similarities, and often find comfort in these, but i don't believe i can truly appreciate a person if all i understand of them is how they are similar to me.

but to understand, i must first listen, and listen deeply. listen enough. not the kind of listening done in a monday morning class, or with a stranger on an airplane, where the information comes halfway in before flowing back out. and not the kind of listening done at a cocktail party or when reading a blog, where judgments are made on everything heard or read without bothering to learn the story behind it first. i must be a listener of the kind where i set any other thoughts - the grocery lists and facebook posts and work emails - aside, and give everything i have to hearing what this person is telling me. i must, as the dictionary says, "make an effort to hear something."

this listening is not always easy. but it is always worth it. because once i am well and truly listening, it is amazing what can be learned. not just the what, but the why of a person. the impetus for their path, the emotions underlying their interactions. the invisible band-aids they wear next to imaginary medals, sometimes without even knowing they are carrying so much with them. sometimes, i even learn that - although perhaps earned differently - someone's emotional scars are remarkably similar to mine. and because i listened hard enough to find that moment of connection, i can appreciate just a little more the separate journeys traveled to reach that point, and the divergent or convergent paths taken from there. when i listen enough, i can begin to see, collected in the stories, the spoken thoughts, the silences even, a person, similar in some ways, but in others, so very different from any other person alive. and in all of that, i can appreciate the uniqueness of that person that much more. i can choose to love them for who they are.

Monday, February 18, 2013

quote: mumford & sons

in these bodies we will live,
in these bodies we will die.
where you invest your love,
you invest your life.
{mumford & sons}

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

gluten-free and food trucks

grabbed lunch today with a few other people from the office at the nearby food trucks. i wasn't sure whether i would be able to get much, or if i should even go, because i am giving up breads/gluten for the next forty days in an effort to reduce my overall dependence on breads in my diet. shouldn't have been too [wild boar] chili cheese [sweet potato] fries were not only gluten free but also seriously delicious.

besides, something i have always believed was important to remember in my journey to health is that - as with everything - there is a balance. in this particular case, a balance between eating a home-made, guaranteed healthy lunch, and feeding the spirit with a mostly healthy lunch away from the desk, in the sunshine, with other people. also, some really interesting reading for anyone seriously considering cutting their carb intake...[1, 2]

Monday, February 11, 2013

ten healthy basics.

choosing health is not a quick-fix choice. it takes effort - a lot, at first, but over time things that used to seem taxing and maybe even stressful begin to become part of the routine.  and as with everything, there is a balance between what is recommended - by doctors, by bloggers, by whoever your resources are - and what is best for you and your life.  a good place to start, and where i return to when in need of a refresher, is wellness mama's wellness lifestyle overview.  head over if you want to see more detail, but...the basics, summed up, are: 

drink pure water
eat real food
eat only when hungry
exercise, but not too much 
avoid toxins
optimize vitamin d
don't stress
have fun

Friday, February 8, 2013

choose challenge

i suppose i should explain the new challenge i've set for myself, now that the photo-a-day challenge has ended. i set five goals for myself this year, five mindsets to choose as often as i can remember to do so. so, to help myself along, each week will have at least one post that focuses on one of the mindsets, in a steady 5-week rotation, starting with this week's choose: joy post. {all the themed posts will be linked to on my "choose" sub-page.} i hope you will enjoy what i have to share as i continue to develop this blog into a place where i remind myself to celebrate life, and, to paraphrase the quote in my header, to see the flowers that blossom at my feet.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

snowy woods.

sometimes, instead of bemoaning the cold and fighting the icy path, a girl's best option is to choose joy: to open her eyes to the beauty, grab her fella's arm and slide along with a smile.

Monday, February 4, 2013

quote: unknown.

"it is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy."