Go Forward With Certainty

This week I learned how to go forward with certainty like the osprey. Seeing this powerful bird land on a cypress tree, take off and then glide forward right before my eyes, it reminded me how important it is to know where you are going.

Living in Uncertainty

I spent most of my life unsure which way to go, unable to sometimes make the simplest decisions. Or I made decisions that weren’t in my best interest. What do you think was the root cause of this?

The Root Cause

My loyalty was to my parents, my sister, my friends, my husband, or my children. However, there were little moments of clarity when I turned that loyalty toward myself. That’s when I flourished. I created beautiful works of art, stuck to an exercise program, or saw the beauty in everything. Then the guilt, worry, or fear would creep back into my thoughts.

What would they think?

You know who they are; your parents, siblings, friends, spouses, people at work, people at church, even your children.
The funny thing is, they don’t really think about you at all. Even when they don’t have all the attention you showered on them before, they are okay with that. And if they’re not okay with it, so what. Good relationships expect both parties to be happy.

How to Start Being Loyal to Yourself

Write down a list of things you like to do, but don’t do now. It can be short or long. Your goal is a list of five. Now pick one item and do it this coming week.

On your list, include small things like a 5 minute walk by yourself, or enjoying that favorite Milano cookie when the kids are napping. You can choose something a little bigger like a 30 minute bubble bath or a walk in a garden. Or go larger with lunch or dinner out.

There is only one rule.
You must be alone when you enjoy this activity.
You can be where other people are, but you can’t invite someone to do it with you.

Yes, this may be difficult

This sounds like an easy challenge and I hope it is. But if it’s making you nervous, remember your goal is a five item list. However, you only need one activity to start going forward without uncertainty.

You might wonder, why five items? You’ll want to do this every week. Yes, it is a beautiful habit you are starting now. Each time, you will add to your future mountain of loyalty to self with this one, simple act. You will start to go forward with certainty.

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Learn How to Give Thanks

Being a Southern girl, I was taught to always give thanks to those who help me. Some of the ways you’ve helped me are; opening my door, listening to my laments, signing up for my newsletter, giving me a difficult message, even literally saving my life. Thank you. There, I’ve lived up to my heritage’s expectation. But is that all there is to learn about giving thanks?

Why Bother Giving Thanks?

I believe everyone benefits from thanks; those who give, those who receive, and those bearing witness. Our energy is greatly affected by the energy that surrounds us. Like attracts like. Grateful feelings grow as they move from one person to the next. And gratitude is so easy to include in your life. Sometimes it shows up as a smile. Try smiling when you don’t have a reason. How does it make you feel? For me, tension leaves and lightness comes in.

When someone is nearby to receive my smile, it magnifies my joy. I have no way of knowing what they are feeling, but often I see their face change. Their eyes light up and their lips lift and broaden into an easy smile. The energy in the room goes up a notch for everyone.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, also remember to thank yourself too.

How do you give thanks to yourself?

Do something nice just for you. As in all things, this is particular to you. By learning to listen to yourself, specific ways you can thank yourself will show up. Think back on occasions when you were alone and happy. Chances are you were showing gratitude for yourself. Examples include window shopping, reading a good book in a cozy chair, stopping to smell a fragrant flower, taking a walk in a garden, choosing a colorful ink pen over utilitarian black, or treating yourself to a luxurious pedicure.

Today I choose to have a pedicure

The first task is selecting the nail polish. There was a wall of choices and the only thing I knew was that I wanted something neutral. I needed help to make such an ‘important’ decision, so I decided to call on my intuition. My gaze scanned through three displays and rested on an OPI bottle. I lifted it to feel the weight, turning it over to see the name, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. That cinched the decision.

Carrying my selection to the row of relaxing combination massage chair and pedicure sinks, I selected the next empty seat. The technician, Thi, handed me a menu of pedicure flavors; basic, VIP deluxe, or pearl powder. The high-end pearl powder called my name at first, but once again I checked in with my inner voice and selected the mid-range VIP deluxe. There was a long list of scents. The first choice, ‘High Seas’ seemed appropriate to honor my upcoming cruise.

Once Thi completed the tedious nail trimming, she applied a soothing cleanser, massaging my tired calves and feet. I drifted into a state of nirvana, lulled by the lilting Asian conversation in the background. Before I knew it, Thi was gently rousting me from my dreamlike state. She continued pampering me, treating me like a special person. The calmness in my heart during the pedicure stayed with me the rest of the day.

Once you start living in gratitude, almost everything tends to improve.

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An Inspiring Valedictorian Speech About Motivation

Her photo holding up strawberries in her cap and gown drew me into a story about a valedictorian speech about motivation.

I stopped reading the newspaper years ago. My husband, Wayne and Mother devour every word, everyday. They will occasionally show me a comic strip I just have to read, an obituary of a contemporary or an article that moved them. Today Wayne suggested I read a front page article in the Lakeland Ledger.

Some Stories Are Worth Reading

I liked the front page photo of Mulberry High School’s valedictorian, Brenda Alvarez-Lagunas holding a cardboard container of bright red strawberries. These berries are a symbol of the motivation she felt to become the first person in her family to graduate from high school. Furthermore, she isn’t the oldest child.

Her entire speech is printed inside the article about her. You can read the article and her speech here.

Why is her Speech Different?

A couple of things impressed me about her speech. Her words are interesting, insightful, bring you into the world of her family, show her compassion for others who have more advantages than her. You might say, “What advantages could this child of migrant workers have?”

Here are her advantages.

  • Her parents are hard working.
  • They encouraged her to make the most of the situation.
  • She worked alongside her parents in the fields.
  • School employees like Miss Danny saw her potential and helped.

Her parents provided her inspiration and they illustrated how difficult life is without an education. Brenda turned the sweat of her brow into motivation that earned her the valedictorian spot. Furthermore, her focus resulted in a full scholarship to Stanford, 3,000 miles from the small, rural town of Mulberry, Florida.

I applaud you, Brenda Alvarez-Lagunas. You make me proud to be an American where anything is still possible.