31 August 2013

Insane Writing Challenges: Takes 3 and 4

Rise to the challenge of bringing your dreams to life!
Do not be discouraged by resistance, be nourished by it.
Success is the experience of rising to the level of your true greatness.
~ Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

In August, I’m participating in BlogHer’s Blogging Challenge.  The theme this month is: Hot.

nother blogging/writing challenge ends. And because I’m about one IQ point away from insanity, I signed up for not one, but two writing challenges.

I think I just saw my life flash before my eyes.

It’s not as impossible as it sounds.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  If my track record in July taught me anything, it’s that I need some external force pushing my hands to the keyboard or my pen to paper.  I’ll slack off otherwise.

Humiliation is a great teacher.

The first challenge I signed up for is Being a Wordsmith’s Even Day Challenge: you just blog on the even days of the month. Easy peasy!  Definitely not as tough as blogging every day for 31 days.  Kimberly gives us the prompts up front and we can follow them or not.  Should be fun!

But of course, as already stated, writing every other day isn’t a good idea for me.  If I skip a day, a big huge boulder lands on my pens, my notebooks, the keyboard, and my hands get tied behind my back.  Oh, and my brain goes “Uhhhh….” 

So of course, instead of just finding another 30 days blogging challenge, I decide to join a second writing challenge.  This one requires that I write two pages a day. Doesn’t say post it somewhere (mwhahahahaha!) but I do commit to writing two full pages a day. This challenge doesn’t last 30 days either.  Oh no! 

It lasts 122 freakin’ days!

Image Credit: Pinterest
Can’t. Wait.

The Blogher challenge has been fun and I’ve enjoyed “meeting” new writers.  Hope to see y’all on the other side!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

What challenges you?  How do you stay motivated and disciplined in whatever your passion is?

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30 August 2013

Top Five Friday: Find Peace Among the Pieces

A lot of the conflict you have in your life exists simply because you're not living in alignment; you're not being true to yourself.
~ Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

In August, I’m participating in BlogHer’s Blogging Challenge.  The theme this month is: Hot.

needed to get away.  Wrap myself in a security blanket of silence and solitude. 

For years, I thought that if I just lived in a another house, another city, made more money, or had a different job, then all the pieces of me that were missing or mangled, would magically realign.

Forget karma.  Truth can be a mis-spelled witch too.

Different Venue, Same Voices
I got my wish.  I went away for a week here, a few days there.  Finally, I could relax the emotional security system that is usually on 24/7.  I didn’t have to guard every word ~ there were no fragile psyches that would shatter under illusions and misinterpretations.  I didn’t have to school myself to ignore criticism and venom-dipped accusations ~ I just had to battle with the demon of self-criticism.

It was a battle I lost.

The old adage, “Wherever you go, there you are” is true.  The issues you are struggling with don’t stay behind when you change locations.  And if you change locations to somewhere quiet and distraction-free?  Well, those issues come out, take center stage, and do an agonizing song and dance for an audience of one.

At first, I was shocked:

I’m too smart for this ~ I should be able to think myself out of this. 

Then I was angry:
WTF?!  Can I get no peace!? She’s ruined me!

Then despair slouched in:
I’m doomed to have no peace, not even from myself.  I might as well give in and sleep.  Or watch whatever mindless marathon is on TV.  Or engage in (insert favorite self-destructive behavior here).
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…
Image Credit: Pinterest
It wasn’t until the second week of my “escapation” that I shook off the despondency.  This is me, this is who I am: a broken, mildly dysfunctional human being.  Ha!  Welcome to the world, babe.  You are just like everyone else.  Except. . .that there are tools at my disposal that can help ease the wherever-you-go blues, if not cure them.

Getting out with my close friends does wonders for the psyche.  Do they make any problems I’m grappling with go away?  No, but they remind me that I am lovable, capable, and worth the struggle.

A word of warning: some people will say they are your friends.  But in reality, you are just a stand in for the parental or other authority figure they currently hate/have issues with.  Friends are there to be supportive, loving, and accepting.  They are not meant to be a cheap substitute for a therapist.  That’s not healthy for either of you.

If I need to learn something, I have to write it down ~ the act of writing and seeing it in black and white triggers something in my brain.  The words on the page become part of my memory, and in turn, part of me.  Sometimes I write things down that seem dramatic and insane.  And when I go back and read it again, I see how petty or small the problem really is.

Journaling is a great tool for learning yourself.  And self-knowledge is one of the keys to self-actualization and healing.  As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Mother Nature
Even if you are a city slicker born and bred, there is something about getting out in the open air.  Parks are fine, but to really benefit from the healing properties of nature, it has to be a BIG park, where the trees and wildlife outnumber people.  I know I can’t be the only one who has gained strength by hiking or sitting near a waterfall.  The earth is constantly healing itself and I believe that some of that power transfers to us when we immerse ourselves in it.

We all long for something other.  Just look at how popular paranormal fiction has become in recent years.  Your desire for something greater than yourself may take different forms.  But the desire is there.  Address that Higher Power and let them have it.  Yell, scream, throw things, cry.  And then ask that Higher Power to fill the empty spaces and lead you to a better version of yourself.

I don’t know why so many people are afraid of shrinks.  We talk to our hair stylists, bartenders, friends, lovers, even our pets.  But we refuse to talk to someone trained to listen and help us work through issues?  You wouldn’t refuse to go get a broken leg set by a doctor ~ why are you refusing to get your broken life healed?

Granted, there are a lot of quacks out there.  I’ve known some therapists who ruined people or at the least, kept them in a state of brokenness.  But again, just because some doctors are guilty of malpractice doesn’t mean you sit at home with an infected appendix. 

Do some research, ask friend for referrals, and interview the doctor once you meet them, you can feel out whether they’re legit and a good fit for you.

Misery loves company ~ you’re not alone.  But the key is that we don’t have to stay miserable.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

How do you deal with stress?  Have you ever tried to alleviate emotional pain in any of these five ways?  Did it help?

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