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People Want To Know: Has All This Positive Thinking Actually Done Anything?

Dearest Friends,

I hope this post finds you well rested from the weekend and ready to start the week on a good foot. I have been in a bit of a whirlwind of activity. I recently moved, got a new job, and have been trying desperately to plan a vacation with a friend of mine to Playa del Carmen (SO EXCITED!!!).

I’m not going to lie, when mama gets busy this little blog gets set to the side. So, I’d like to apologize for the lack of original posts recently and thank everyone who takes the time to visit us.

A reader asked me to give an update on how I have been doing with the Experiment since its inception. Two words come to mind when trying to describe this journey: Roller Coaster.

I am a human being (I know, I know, many of you thought robot or alien, but I assure you, I’m a human). Being a human comes with lots of ups and downs in life. When looking at this journey, all I can see are all the wonderful things have come into my life since I became more aware of my thinking. Like everyone else I have dark days from time to time (not being able to see family, having issues at work, stressful moments with career decisions). However, now, I see the light at the end of the tunnel when I’m going through those periods. I am able to recognize my depressed patterns, and from that, I take comfort in knowing that it will all pass. I also have found myself surrounding myself with more like minded people, people who share in the pursuit for happiness and positive thinking. Since starting this experiment, I have also noticed that I have become healthier in my lifestyle and kinder to myself in regards to my self-image.

I genuinely believe that all the good fortune that has come my way has stemmed from me being able to handle circumstances in more positive ways.

I wish you all the best and hope all your positive efforts culminate in something magical this week 🙂

Changing My Mind

Joseph PIlates was crazy fit

I have a confession to make: I am addicted to Pilates. I’ve been an addict for three years.

Ok. I’ve said it. Phew, I’m glad we got that out of the way.

I love LOVE LURRRRVVV Pilates. I love the challenge of the exercises, the fact that no session is ever the same, the way it molds your body. Love it all.

With that being said, I have been with my trainer Natalie for forever (meaning three years). She was there when I started and she’s still around kicking my butt every week (God bless her).

During  my vacation, I was convinced that I was keeping up my fitness with my weight lifting routine of doing bicep curls with a croissant in each hand. Prancing around shops counts as exercise, right?

Since I’ve been back in the states, I’ve had a couple of sessions with Natalie. Let’s just say… I’ve had my ass handed to me every time I see her.

During my latest visit with Natalie I was drenched in sweat. Man, who would have thought that using your own body as resistance weight would be so freaking hard to do! We were about five minutes away from the end of our session and Natalie was not letting up. I believe we were about to start our fourth one minute plank (the one where you go into downward facing dog and then back down for what feels like a million times) when I thought that my arms might give out. Next thing I know, even before we start our last plank, I heard me saying these words out loud:

*A very sarcastic tone is being used here*

“Yeay. Another plank? A HARDER version of the plank? Oh, goodie! My favorite!”

This was then followed by:

“UGH! I don’t want to! UGH! I’m so out of shape! My body hates me!”

And that’s where I stopped right in my tracks as I was immediately struck by these questions:

How often do we mutter little complaints about our present situation during our day?

How often do these negative thoughts and sayings manifest into our future?

I turned to Natalie and apologized immediately. I then replaced what I had been saying earlier with this:

“I am grateful for the good health of my mind and my body. Thank you body for showing me how hard you work at keeping me healthy. You rock.”

If I have learned anything from doing this blog, it is the power of thought and spoken word. What I think and speak of today will become my future. Instead of collecting a chest full of negative thoughts and complaints, why not fill it with thoughts of compassion and gratitude?

I’m not going to lie, that last plank was a tough one to get through. But after, instead of thinking about how happy I was that it was over, I was proud of what I had accomplished in the past hour. Yes, it could have been sweat, but I’m pretty sure I was glowing from the inside out 🙂

1 Year Anniversary?!!?!?!?!?!?

I am riding a dino!

Holy shit balls people.

We are FOUR days away from celebrating the 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY of “The Positive Experiment!”

I remember the day the Experiment was born. I was in the first session of a class that was meant to help creative people take control of their careers. I had been in a funk with my work and while I had some success in my field, I wasn’t happy, satisfied or had any feeling of security with my work. I joined the class because not only did I like the teacher, but I also felt that the course could be the swift kick in the pants that I needed to get me towards my goals.

There were about ten of us in the room, each with a printed name tag and sheets of paper that held our homework we had been asked to complete before coming to class. The homework was to write down your goals, your dreams, and announce them to the class. So, one by one, we all got up in front of the room of strangers. We listed our names, where we were from, a brief odd fact about ourselves, and then read off our list of goals.

Now, I have always had a hard time dreaming big. I had been burned so many times by dreaming “big” that I learned to dream “small” so that I wouldn’t be disappointed if things didn’t work out. The week before my class I sat in front of my computer staring at a blank word document literally trying to wring goals out of my head. I would type something down and then end up erasing it. It was awful. I eventually resorted to scribbling down my goals on a piece of scrap paper a couple hours before the class.

My list looked something like this:

1. Take the next step in my career

2. Do “x” amount of jobs by “y” amount of time

3. Learn to network better

My goals were… a bit boring and a bit general but I couldn’t think of anything else to write.

So, back at class, my classmates are going up one by one, listing off their glorious well prepared goals and dreams. As each person went up, I became more and more insecure about my list. I began to feel that little monster named jealousy creep into my belly. All my peers had lovely, rich, beautiful dreams, delicious dreams. creative and fulfilling dreams. I began to question what I was doing here in this class with all these dreamers. AND THEN IT WAS MY TURN.

I remember getting up and clutching my little list in my hand, crinkling the paper so it made a noise. I remember apologizing for the noise and then taking a deep breath and going through all the motions.

“Hi, I’m Liz. I like Hello Kitty and Star Trek. Um…”

AND THIS IS WHERE IT GOT SUPER INTERESTING

“And… I want to change the way I think.”

WHAT THE F*CK!?!?!? That wasn’t on the list! That was no where NEAR anything on the list.

It was in that moment, that single moment, that my subconscious came up and vomited out what I really needed. I realized that I was sick and tired of feeling scared and frightened all the time. I was exhausted from always second guessing myself. I couldn’t take comparing myself to others anymore. I couldn’t deal with living in fear and regret. I didn’t want to let jealousy and insecurities rule my life anymore.

I needed to change.

I needed to change immediately.

As I drove home from class, I realized that the only way I would actually change my thinking would be to keep a record. Furthermore, I needed to be held accountable to my goal by as many people as possible. That night, I sat down at my computer, created a WordPress account, and started typing.

Thus, “The Positive Experiment” was born.

Originally “The Positive Experiment” was supposed to be a six week blog and, obviously, ended up being a year. So, what have a learned in this year? How much have I changed?

Am I super positive now?

Do I say namaste to strangers on the street?

Do flowers pop up out of the ground from where I have stepped?

Do puppies and rainbows follow my every move?!!

No. Of course not. Although, I wish puppies did follow my every move.

Over the course of this year I have learned so much about myself, others, and the power of positive thinking and action. I have learned that being human is a complicated and tricky thing. I have learned how to have honest conversations with myself. I have learned how to say “yes” and how to say “no.”  Most importantly, however, I have learned to be easier on myself.

Do I still have negative thoughts? YES. But instead of indulging in those thoughts for weeks, months, years, I find that I am able to let go of things faster and with an ease that surprises me.

Has it been easy? HELL NO. Writing a new blog post every week hurts my brain sometimes. But what is easy is knowing that I have wonderful supportive readers who have been kind enough to give me a helping hand when times have gotten rough.

And that leads me to my parting thought:

THANK YOU. Thank you to all my readers, followers, subscribers, friends, family, and supporters. I am indebted to the amount of love you have given me this year. I send you unicorn kisses and high fives for being so awesome.

Oh yeah…

Will I continue this blog?

Well…I guess, you’ll just have to tune into the video blog that I’m doing on the actual date of our one year anniversary (May 20th, 2011) to find out 😉

Oh, did I mention I’m doing a give away to celebrate our anniversary? It wouldn’t be a party without gifts and goodies.

Much love,

*liz

Who doesn’t love reunions? (yes, I’m being sarcastic)

I'm like Santa Clause! I love to hang out in fireplaces!

Peeps, this weekend not only did I celebrate Mother’s Day with my awesome 91 year old grandma (she’s a f*cking ROCKSTAR) but I also attended…the dreaded high school reunion (cue ominous music)… DUN DUN DUNNNNNN!!!

A lot of people say that Facebook has replaced the reunion, but we all know that’s not true. All the little tiny pieces of information we post online are just that, tiny pieces. Nothing can replace a face to face reunion.

Like a birthday, a reunion of any year (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 40, etc.) makes us do the same thing: they make us take inventory of our lives. Did we live up to our younger selves expectations? Did we reach our goals? How have we changed? How have we dealt with the curve balls life has thrown us?

One of the reasons why I used to dread birthdays and reunions was because of those introspective questions. It isn’t always easy to look into myself and see if I’ve lived up to certain expectations that I have put upon myself. In the past, I used to gear up for reunions of any kind with very mean thoughts. These thoughts  usually sounded something like this:

“Have you really done anything with your life that you’re proud of? REALLY?”

“So and so is a lawyer/doctor/high level executive/etc. while you’re just a ___________.”

“Everyone is going to be married. You’re not married. Great.”

“You got fat. You know that right? No one will recognize you because you’re a billion pounds heavier then you were back then.”

“Everyone is going to be judging you. EVERYONE.”

Awesome thoughts, right?

The funny thing with this reunion is that I didn’t have those thoughts. Alright, who are we kidding, of course those thoughts floated through my brain. But this time, I didn’t give them any of my energy. People, if this year of positive thinking has taught me anything, it’s that we ALWAYS have the power to chose what thoughts we give our energy to. Yes, there will always be those negative comments floating around in my head (hey, I’m human) but if I just let them be and focus on the positive, guess what? Liz is a much happier camper.

I had a great time at my reunion. I felt happy with who I have become and felt at ease with my past. I got to see people that I haven’t seen in years. I made friends with people that I wouldn’t have talked to back in the day. I had a wonderful time thanking teachers who helped me become the person I am today. I also ate a shit ton of desserts (it was a buffet!).

The reunion ended with everyone scurrying away when the clock struck 10 (lame, I know). But my boyfriend and I chose to stay late, dancing alone to the dj as he played one of my favorite songs of the moment: Born This Way by Lady Gaga.

Nothing could have been more perfect.

I’M BEAUTIFUL IN MY WAY
‘CAUSE GOD MAKES NO MISTAKES
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY
DON’T HIDE YOURSELF IN REGRET
JUST LOVE YOURSELF AND YOU’RE SET
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

Simple Small Things

I’m not going to lie, I was having a bit of a sucky day. I just couldn’t lift this little gray cloud that was sitting on my shoulders.

I was cleaning my bedroom and stopped to put away a small journal that I keep next to my bed. I call this little journal my “Success/Grateful Listy-Journal-y Book” (I know, it’s a very official name). Since starting the Positive Experiment, every night I write down three success that I’ve had during the day and five things that I’m grateful for. It looks like a tiny list of eight items. Big success, small wins, they are all recorded here.

Anyways, I was leafing through my journal and I noticed that I found myself smiling at my little lists. I was constantly surprised, page after page, about how much I had forgotten about the recent past. I had forgotten that this past week, I had been successful at prepping healthy snacks for myself for the whole week. I had forgotten that I had helped a friend with a job interview and he had great feedback. I had forgotten how hard I worked at learning a new language.

Under the “grateful” category, yes, I was grateful for having time to finish a book or being able to buy a make-up pallet for 20% off, but it was the repetition of family and friends’ names that really made me smile. Skimming through the pages made me realize the importance of surrounding yourself with people who love and support you. Without my family and friends, my “cheerleaders,” I would only be half the person I am today.

I’m not going to lie, that little gray cloud didn’t disappear from my shoulders, but tiny bursts of sunshine started making their way into my face. I recognized that I felt a little down but had to smile because I had so much to be happy about. It amazed me how much my mood could shift with just the simple change of a thought (you would have thought I would have figured that out by now). Yes, sometimes life isn’t perfect, but if we can take a moment to give ourselves a little pep in our step, a little smile in our souls, life suddenly doesn’t seem that dark.

I hope you take a minute today to just reflect briefly on what you have accomplished (big or small, it doesn’t matter, a success is a success 🙂 ) and what you are grateful for.

Wishing you unicorns and snowflake kisses, *liz

Mid Week Treat

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” –Ralph Marston

Mid Week Treat

Positive anything is better than negative nothing. –Elbert Hubbard

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