Stephanie's topic is a good one. Taking the time to celebrate the positives in our life. It's all too easy to concentrate on all the negatives--things we didn't do, lists we didn't finish--that we forget all the things we have done. Life is not just a list of things to do and tallying check marks on things accomplished or big red X marks on those we haven't. It's also about giving ourselves permission to stop and smell the flowers. It's a cliche, I know, but true.
When was the last time you took a moment to appreciate the sound of laughter, kittens playing, or a song that makes you feel good? Even in writing, instead of beating yourself up over what haven't gotten done, or worrying yourself over the small wall you hit, why not look at how far you've come in the story? What you like about your characters or what made you want to write this story?
How do you accomplish that change of attitude? Stephanie has a few thoughts on that.
Stop right where you are.
Close your eyes.
Listen so closely, until you hear a sound you like.
It might be your daughter singing in the next room as she does her homework. It might be the silence of your car, letting you know that no one else is in there, and it's your time, your space, your world to think and be whoever you want to be. It might be the sound of wind rattling distant chimes. It might be the snoring of your dog as he chases tennis balls in his dreams. It might be the lady in line behind you, laughing as her baby gives her googly eyes. Whatever it is, there is something in your environment right in this moment that feels good, if you simply take a moment to identify it, and then enjoy it.
I have a confession to make. I'm one of those people who is always trying to push myself to the next level, to reach the next goal. I want to become a better writer. I want to write a more engaging scene. I want to be more clever in my writing. More unpredictable. I want to be a better tennis player. I want to be more fit. I'd really like to find a way to keep my house cleaner.
It's great and admirable to have goals. There are lots of workshops on how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals so that you're in the best position to vaunt your life forward by leaps and bounds. Aspire! Achieve! Mush, mush! Onward and upward! Hup, hup!
Yah, yah, that is all excellent and stuff… 'cept it's not. Not really. Not if you're like me.
See, I have this little problem. In my quest to accomplish all these things, I have a habit of dwelling on the "nots" instead of the "rock on!"
What I mean by that is, I'm never taking the time to stop and compliment myself on what I've done. I never take the time to look at myself and tell myself that I'm doing a good job. I never pause to simply enjoy what I've accomplished so far, or to notice the good stuff. Instead, I just see what I haven't done. I notice what I've screwed up. I obsess over how I've come up short yet again. I give myself grief for failing to be as outstanding as I want to be. And you know what? If you do that enough, you can become pretty darn good at making yourself feel like a pathetic underachiever with no hope of ever accomplishing anything worthwhile for the rest of your life, which then, of course, makes you feel not so hot. It's almost as if I think that the only way I will be motivated enough to keep working is if I sufficiently condemn where I am and what I've accomplished.
Recently, I decided that it was time to break the cycle. I want to feel GOOD. I want to skip down the hall, basking in the fact I wrote 3000 words, not berating myself for the fact I didn't write 4000. I want to spend time enjoying the good reviews I get, instead of worrying about writing that next book. I know that next book will get written. I know that kitchen will get clean before anyone of significance sees it. But when I enjoy the ride, instead of obsessing over it, then those words get written by someone who is happy, and oh, boy, do those words come out so much more beautifully when I'm feeling good. It feels magnificent to take the time to pat yourself on the back. It's marvelous to pause to enjoy the lovely song on the radio instead of gnashing your teeth at the traffic. Don't we all owe it to ourselves to learn to enjoy the ride a little more?
Hell, yeah, we do!
So, pause for a moment, sit back in your chair and think about three things you did or experienced today that were just great. Feel proud. Chuckle. Bask. And then, when you have thoroughly milked those three things for a good five minutes, notice that your heart feels a little lighter, your mind feels a little clearer, and suddenly the story you were so frustrated with seems to write a little easier. That's because everything is better when you feel better inside. It only takes a minute to slow down, look around, and find a few things that make you feel good.
Try it. Five minutes every two hours. See how your day unfolds. It'll be worth every minute.
Enjoy the ride.
Start now. Look around. Think about your day. Tell us about something in your life, something that you did or saw or experienced, that makes you feel good.
Will you start the ball rolling?
HE NEEDED A KILLER WOMAN...
Blaine Underhill was one lucky man. Having recently escaped a century and a half of imprisonment at the hands of an evil witch, he's determined to save his still-enslaved friend. But in order to do so, he'll need the help of one of the world's most lethal women.
SHE WAS DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, LITERALLY...
Once the light dawned, she immediately left behind "work" as the world defines it and went to "work" as she defines it, which means getting up every morning with a smile in her heart so she can spend the day doing that which makes her spirit sing.
Stephanie believes in learning to listen to your heart in order to figure out what your dreams are, and then opening yourself to the inspiration that will direct you there. She believes we all deserve the right to enjoy life, that the ride should be as easy as we want it to be, and that we all should accept nothing less than making our dreams come true. Stephanie lives in New England, and spends every day doing her best to fill it with people, observations and activities that uplift her soul, which include writing, tennis, friends, and her amazing family.
Visit Stephanie on the web at http://www.stephanierowe.com/.