Negotiations With Myself; 10 Tactics to Stay the Course

It seems like the hardest negotiations I have to have are with myself. This realization came tonight while I was having a conversation with Adventure Sister, Emy. We are great at talking ourselves out of doing things, but talking ourselves into doing things is a whole nother story. What can we do to be successful in negotiations with ourselves?

I am a world champion justifier. If you are not good at justifying something let me take a swing at it. Maybe this gift is a part of my Susie Sunshine Personality, where I can find the good in anything. But like the grinch, it doesn’t matter if this is because my shoes are too tight or my head is not screwed on just right. Being able to justify my way out of everything down not help me embrace healthy habits. Right now I am busy justifying that I don’t need to get my 10,000 steps a day because it is cold outside.

I have negotiated things with others through out my life. Many of these negotiations have been quite successful. How can I use these techniques to negotiate healthy habits with myself?

1. Be firm and set the expectations. That inner couch potato will want to have it their own way. Having a firm line and setting the expectation with yourself will help when your mind starts making up excuses.

2. Have a prepared response. Since we are talking about negotiations with yourself, you probably have a pretty good idea what excuses you will come up with. Be prepared with reasons why these excuses are just not good enough to set your healthy habits aside

3. Keep the goal in mind. Having a clear picture of where you are heading makes it easier to stay the course. This is true no matter if the goal is weight, career, financial, romantic, or whatever.

4. Stay excited! Having a goal can be very exciting, especially when you see progress. Celebrate small successes along the way to help keep the excitement flowing.

5. Ask for a little bit more time. Your inner critic may try and tell you this isn’t working or that you aren’t benefitting from this initiative. Convince that inner critic to keep trying, just a little bit longer. A break through may be just around the corner.

6. Remind yourself that you are worth it. This is such an epidemic of people not feeling worthy. Remind yourself your are worthy have having what you are working toward. You are good enough, you are strong enough, and you deserve success.

7. Ask yourself for advise. When you start hearing the we don’t have to do this anymore voice in your head ask it what it needs to keep going. Sometime just acknowledging the voice will be enough to help you push on. Other times a little inner dialog about what inspiration is needed will give you the power to get over the hump.

8. Use logic. Remind yourself of all the good reasons why sticking with this will help you in the long run

9. Be aware of your emotions. Emotions can pop up when we least expect them. Especially when we are working toward a seemingly difficult goal. (Most goals are achievable with persistence). When those emotions pop up, acknowledge them. Do not try to minimize them. Once you have acknowledged them, allow them to move through you. Release them, do not hold onto them.

10. Push past objections. Sometimes there is no convincing the inner Negative Nelly. Sometimes you will just have to ignore that part of yourself and just keep going. You can do it!

Good luck winning those negotiations with yourself. I believe in you! You can achieve your goals and live the life of your dreams. Keep going.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you effortlessly continue to move in the direction of you dreams, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Zagreb, Croatia

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Busy for the Sake of Busyness

Do you ever feel like you are doing something just to be busy? Is it hard to find time to be still? This is definitely something I struggle with. On a nice day I will plan to go spend time outside in the hammock or on the Adirondack chair. I will get myself ready with a cup of tea and maybe bring a book or journal and plan to spend some peaceful time just relaxing. After about 10 minutes (if I make it that long) I will no longer be able to ignore all of the things that need to be done, that are jumping around in my head. I will get up and get busy getting something done. Am I doing things just for the sake of doing something? Why do I feel there is no value in resting and being quiet?

This is one of the things I appreciate about my trips to the BWCA with my Adventure Sister Emy. There were times when it was raining and there was nothing that needed to be done. We would sit under our tarp, listening to the rain, drinking tea and chat. After a couple of hours of this, there would be nothing more to talk or even journal about. All that was left was to sit peacefully and just be. Even in this beautiful, remote area this was very hard for me. I would feel anxious but then typically have a  bout of anxiety, followed by some kind of emotional breakthrough. Almost as if my subconscious was trying to protect me from the pain. As if it was trying to keep it pushed down deep inside and hidden away. I would get anxious and feel the need to do something, anything, rather than just sit peacefully and rest. There were times this feeling of anxiousness was so strong I felt I wanted to leave the Boundary Waters all together. Once I got past the anxiety though, a rush of bare emotions would flood up in me. These were not fun emotions but, by allowing them to come up, I was able to process them and eventually move past them.

This begs the question; is the constant busyness of our time really just a manifestation of emotional disconnect. When I have free time at home I am seldom able to just be quiet and let time pass. I always feel the need to be multitasking. When I am on the plane or the bus to the rental car center, I seldom just sit peacefully. Typically I am scanning emails or playing silly games on my phone. I heard Deepak recently refer to it as the “illusion we are doing something”. Why do we feel guilty when we do nothing? How often does this really happen? Even when we relax, it is typically in front of the TV. Take a look at your life and see if (like me) you find that you are always doing something.

So all of this begs the other question; how do we change it? It is safe to sit peacefully and do nothing sometimes? Is it even honorable? How do we get there? Currently I am trying meditation. I feel it helps me see that it is healthy for me to spend sometime quietly, just feeling the rise and fall of my chest while I breathe. I hope that from meditation I can move to a place where I can sit in quiet contemplation. It was so powerful when it happened organically, as it did, in the BWCA. Even having the chance for a once a year retreat to allow for some quiet, seems like an excellent idea. I certainly do not have all the answers here. In many ways this question is as individualized as we all are. There is power and awe in those quiet moments. They are worth looking for and fighting to protect.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find many peaceful moments throughout your life, as if by magic.

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Croatia; A Visual Journey Through a Country of Splendor

My husband, stepson, and I recently journeyed to Croatia. This country was such a surprise to me. I found a country full of rich heritage, natural beauty, and kindness. I had first heard of it a few years ago when another friend traveled there because of his family’s heritage. I had no idea what to expect. Through my blog, I would like to share some photos of this beautiful land. 

I must tell you, I thought writing an “photo” blog would be an easy short cut to get a blog done. This turned out to not be true. There are so many lovely photos to chose from and so much I want to share with you about Croatia, I will have to do a short series to share even a handful of the photos and the experiences with you.

Lets start by talking about the people of Croatia and the hospitality. Complete strangers opened their homes, restaurants, and kitchens to us.

Long lost relatives brought us grapes they had grown, bread they had baked, and salami they had made from animals they raised.

The generosity was overwhelming to me. Such a blessing.

Early one morning as we were traveling along the coast we stopped for breakfast. We did not really grasp that Croatia does not do breakfast in the way America does. A restaurant owner who was setting up for lunch welcomed us in. Her brought us a smorgasbord of food and cooked us eggs. Another blessing on our trip.

Next I want to share with you the landscape. Croatia is a relatively small geographically. The state of Minnesota (where I live) is 4 times larger than Croatia. The landscape of Croatia is diverse. As we drove across the country we would see the landscape change, and change again. It is a beautiful country.

There were coastlines, forests (of different types depending on region), mountains and valleys. We saw farmland and we saw land that would never be farmable. All of it was breathtaking.

Growing along the roadways we saw grapes, pears, apples, plums, sugarcane. There was a valley we drove through were you could se many diverse crops all growing in close proximity to one another. Honey was often offered in roadside stands.

The homes changed from area to area. In the North we notices lots of cute balconies adorned with flowers. There were brightly colored flowers everywhere we went.

There was such charm in the homes, it was easy to believe that this is a very happy place to live.

Business and churches also had a lot of charm. Often as we were driving down the road I would squeal in glee seeing a church that was so cute. We would have never made it around the country if we stopped to take a picture of everything that caught my eye.

This country is truly a country of slender. It starts with the people and their big, kind, generous hearts. It moves on to a beautiful landscape that covers all of the country as it moths and changes from area to area, and charming, homes, business, and places of worship are not to be forgotten.

I will be writing future photo blogs about our trip to Croatia. There is just too much to share for one blog to possible be enough to show you all that I want to here today.

Zagreb and Dubrovnik: Two Very Different Cities

The Roman Theater at Pula, Croatia

The Most Beautiful Place I Have Ever Been; Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life be filled with journey to places of splendor, as if by magic.

** Thank you to SydneysByDesign for doing photo editing to featured image on the blog. Your work is breathtaking!

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Give It Some Time – The Richness of Life Will Reward You

Last night I ate green curry for supper. It was very good but I couldn’t eat it all. This morning, I decided, why not eat the left overs for breakfast. I know, not your traditional breakfast food, but I am not a traditional girl. I came to some big realizations by eating this non-traditional breakfast. The first was that it tasted so much better today! Think about all the things in life we hurry along, but if we only had allowed them to simmer and get ready in their own time, perhaps they would be much better. We value youth but age (experience) has so much to teach us. We live in a world of instant gratification but, if we let things come around in their own time, they could be so much better. 

Let’s look at senior citizens. These amazing folks have lived through things that we have never experienced. We are unlikely to experience all the things they have. Look at the changes they have seen to civil rights, technology, travel, and the economy. The world today, is a very different place than the one they grew up in. They have lived through World Wars and the Great Depression; these are certainly things I hope to never experience but just imagine all they learned going through that. Look at the changes to Women’s Rights. In her day, my mother was fired from her job because (as a married woman) she got pregnant. That was completely normal and acceptable, not so very long ago. Growing up fast could not give us the knowledge and experience or form us into the people we are meant to be. Only time can work her magic in these situations. 

Let’s look at relationships. In the past I have rushed quickly into relationships. I did not give myself the time or freedom to date many people. I would meet someone and then make them my everything and eventual marry them. I did this twice. When I eventually decided I would like to try a romantic relationship again; I allowed myself to date many people. I did not rush anything. I allowed things to come about in their own time. I held enough respect for myself to walk away when it wasn’t right. This allowed me to find the man who would be my third and final husband. We are a nice match. We fit well together. If I had tried to rush one of the earlier relationships into being something it was not meant to be, I would never have gotten to this place, where I have a beautiful partnership with a man who is perfect to me. 

Another good example of taking time over instant gratification is books. Are you a reader? Do you like to read novels? Have you ever read a novel and then gone to see the movie they made of it? Were you disappointed? I have found that when I see a movie after I have read the book, that I am often disappointed, because so much of the meat of the story has to be left out. Sure it is a quicker way to experience the story. A couple hours verses a couple days or more to get through the book. Depending on how much time you have to read each day. I just feel frustrated by the changes they have to make in the story, for it fit into the movie’s allowed time. 

Don’t get me wrong. I still really enjoy movies, just as I really enjoyed the green curry last night. I love the life I have lived and do not wish it to be anything but what was. I am grateful for those brief and quick relationships and what they had to teach me. But sometimes, just sometimes, we need to realize the gift that giving something some more time, can be. No, time does not heal all things, but time can allow changes within ourselves to be able to face what we could not face before. Just like my mother’s lasagna, which was always better on the second day, time makes life more flavorful. 

 

I love you. Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life be full of the ‘flavor’ that time allows to permeate all things, as if by magic!

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Our Connections With Others

People are wonderful. They really are. I have met so many amazing people in my life time. Each interaction, changes me a little. I learn from them, I grow, and ultimately have a bigger (and better) understanding of the world around me. 

There is a group I facilitate once a month. We explore a number of topics and have rich discussions. We all learn from one another. Last night there were 13 of us in attendance. We have had bigger groups and we have had smaller groups. It is a very fluid collection of attendees. New members come and old members drop in from time to time. Some people come once and never return, while others join and become regulars. It is a group that welcomes everyone. The richness of the group is directly related to all the wonderful attendants. As I looked around at the people who were there last night, it made me think about the spider web of life. It made me reflect on how these various members had come to be present at our gatherings. There were those who were friends of mine, those who came because the were connected to the church where we hold the gathering, and still others who were friends of friends and had made their way to our little circle. It is a great representation of the wonderful diverse web of life. 

Because I have been gifted with a life of travel, I have friends in many different places. Some near and others very far away. I have learned from all of these people. As with my monthly gathering, these friends have come into my life from so many different sources. Connections from relatives, classes, and jobs. This is one of the reasons I feel social media is a blessing. It allows me to keep a connection with many of these people. Some I consider deep and intimate friends that I care very much for, but it would not be possible for me to keep up relationships with all of them, if not for social media. There are those that I get to have a meal with once or twice a year. Others, who are a random text message now and then. This doesn’t diminish the thoughts I have for them and the gratitude for their parts in my life, nor the blessings I wish for them. 

Someone told me once that people come into our life when we need them. When they have served their role in our life, the energies will change and they will slip away to a new part of their life. I like this concept. It makes me feel better to understand that those very dear friends, who are no longer active in my life, have moved on as is intended by Divine order. New people are coming into our lives all the time. Are you open to the messages and lessons they bring with them? 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of dear friends, as if by magic. 

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My Daughter’s Mother… Dotties Story (An Adoption Story continued)

My daughter’s mother passed away this weekend. She stepped out of her cancer riddled body and moved beyond the veil. She moved from the life of pain, she was living, into the peace of the world beyond this one. Her life seemed so short; she was much too young, but none of us get to decide the hour or time of our passing. Does it seem weird to you that I say my daughter’s mother? I suppose it might. If you read my earlier blog, A Story of Adoption… My Story, it is easier to understand why I say this.

Let me tell you a little about my daughter’s mother. She had a smile that was infectious.  It was so infectious it made you wanted to smile and laugh right along with her when she did. She was fun too! Never taking life too seriously. When I was young, long before any of my daughters where around, her husband (at that time) raced cars and I was part of the pit crew. One time, the car got banged up that it needed some metal repaired on the fender.  Dottie and I riveted a new piece of metal to car. Then we painted it to look like a bandaid, all the while laughing and joking about our little addition.

There were countless summer bonfires out at her house. It was a time in my life when I was carefree and my responsibilities were few. My biggest “to do” was to make it home in time for my curfew. She was “that” adult who listened to me and took me serious, when so many others dismissed me or told me how I was feeling, was wrong. She helped me see myself as important.

Today, I sometime speak to high school children about adoption as an option for unplanned pregnancies. As part of these talks my daughter provided a recording of what the experience was like for her. Her mother, Dottie, wrote a letter. I would like to share some of her words with you.

When she described the time, right after this beautiful little soul was born, she said; “They called me in and the mother was holding the baby. I was just dying to see what she looked like and she (the Mother) put her arms out to me with the baby; to give her to me. The baby was crying and crying and I said isn’t that beautiful? The sounds of a baby crying. They (the Mother) shake their head no. I’m holding the baby and the baby stops crying and I started crying. I did ask the Mom if this is what she really wanted to do, and she said yes. This baby girl was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on. She had so much hair and beautiful coloring and every finger and toe was there; she was just perfect to me. This Mom had produced the most beautiful angel I had ever seen; there was so much love between this baby and I. I could feel it.”

Dottie always let me and my family be part of her angle’s life. Her reasoning was simple, beautiful, and loving. “I cannot describe the love that I have for the Mom and Dad that gave up their rights to give me that child.  That Mom gave me the greatest gift you could give to anyone that cannot have a child. She (Mom) did not give this beautiful child because she did not love her; she gave her to me because she did love her and wanted her to have a good life with a loving Mother and Dad. Time went on, (the baby’s) Mom would come out and see the baby; I never stop her from doing that. That was okay with me because that baby was a part of her life too. I never stopped the baby from having any contact the Mom’s side of the family. Great Grandma and Great Grandpa just adored her. At the time, I was thinking that one day the baby would know she was adopted. So this would make it easier for her, because she would already know that side of the family”.

There was so much love in Dottie. She was so unselfish in allowing my family and I access to know and love this child. She sent pictures often. Dottie and I would have long conversations where she kept me up to date as to what was going on with this daughter, we shared, as she grew. As she grew into adulthood, these conversations decreased and then finally stopped. I will miss those conversations. Dottie always welcomed me, my visits, and my involvement. I see Leeah as daughter to both of us but I see Dottie as her mother. She is the person who did the work of being a mother. Staying up when Leeah was sick, going to her games, concerts, award ceremonies, disciplining her, and celebrating with this girl as she grew. I was only watching from the wings, happy that there could be so much love for her.

No mother/daughter relationship is perfect and Dottie and Leeah have had their differences through the years. It is those we love the most, who can make us the most angry. Fortunately,  love can heal all wounds in time. Dottie always shared love with me. As I kissed her cheek that last time and said farewell; I felt that her stepping out of this world would leave a hole, an emptiness, a void. May you be surrounded by peace and filled with love in the place behind the veil, Dottie. Thank you for raising the daughter I was not able too. I love you. I miss you.

I would like to conclude this blog with Dottie’s own words about having adopted the daughter we shared, “I have had nothing but joy, love, and happiness. What I have seen since she’s been growing up; she is so much like her mother and looks like her mother and has the same beautiful qualities as her mother: compassionate, giving, logical, and sympathetic to people’s needs. …So thank you too Leeah’s Mom for this gift from God to me.  I know you loved her then, you loved her as she was grown up, and love her now. That makes us all good Moms.”

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find peace in all of your relationships and your decisions, as if by magic.

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Common Ground, Can We Find It?

As I was scanning through Facebook this morning, I saw several people who felt the need to voice their opinion, on other people’s posts. Have you ever felt so angry or strongly disagreed with something a friend posted on FB, that you just had to reply? I bet we all have. But have you ever replied with a snarky comment in response to someone else’s post? This is what I witnessed this morning and have many times before. Someone feels so strongly, that they not only need to respond, but respond with a fairly negative comment. I have been told these people are called trolls.

I do not believe this is a healthy practice. First of all, many people rallied to support the person this “troll” was attacking. They were not kind to the “troll” thus becoming trolls themselves. (I do not like name calling and I think calling these people trolls probably hurts real troll’s feelings. They don’t want that kind of reputation- even if they did try to eat the 3 Billy Goats Gruff… it’s the circle of life after all!) I think expressing our opinions can be a positive thing, when it is done in the spirit of working to understand one another and find a middle ground. Then it is a beautiful and mature way to deal with our differences in opinions.

I really believe we need to allow others to have their own opinions. In this human experience, we are all having, we are all in the place we are perfectly meant to be. No one is better than someone else. From a spiritual stance there are probably some flaws in all of our opinions. Instead of trying to berate or change the opinions of others, what would happen if we just accepted others “as is”? Imagine if we all looked for our similarities, worked together, and just agreed to disagree on certain issues. I believe there is a way. Through loving our fellow voyagers in this human journey, we can work together. We do it all the time in our ordinary lives. I have co-workers who have a whole array of various opinions and beliefs. Some align with mine and some do not. Yet we still all manage to work together and are a wonderful team that, not only supports each other, but is very productive as well. My parents each have beliefs and opinions that are different than mine but I still love them like crazy and respect for them as they are.

I believe it is important that we allow others to have their own opinions and beliefs as a practice in love and acceptance. I also believe that doing so will bring us more peace. We can’t change others and when we are constantly trying to, it messes with our sense of peace and security. I am not suggesting we tolerate comments that are hurtful to ourselves or others. I only want to suggest we deal with them in such a way that we do not also become hurtful to others as well. Accept that this person is in a different place on their journey than you are. Kindly provide them with education if you can. Perhaps right now, some issues are so big, we can’t get to a middle ground. On the smaller issues, keep trying. On the bigger ones; try by looking for the good, the Divine, the Human behind the opinion.

Yes, I understand this is my usual happy Pollyanna attitude about life, but if we don’t start changing our approach to others, we’ll never get beyond the superficial. I feel we are so much more than our beliefs and opinions. I encourage you to let others have their opinions and look for the common ground. It is there! Sometimes it just takes more digging to find it in others. When you do I bet you find we have more in common than what makes us different.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you have a life of feeling loved and accepted, as if by magic! I love you!

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