Category Archives: Life

The Road of Happy Destiny

“You have arrived at your destination,” my GPS stated last Saturday afternoon.  As I sat in my car in the parking lot of yet another shopping mall this simple phrase prompted elaborate thoughts about my journey and purpose in life.  The thoughts/words that came to mind were the following: Crossroads, Faith, and Being.

I have, like many others, come to a fork in the road a time or two in my life.  The first of which was going to college; leaving the comforts of home, the world in which I was coddled felt exciting.  Here was my opportunity to enjoy freedom and instead what I focused on what needing to excel, always looking toward the day when I would graduate and receive a piece of paper which told me “you’ve arrived!”   Then, I thought, only then, would I truly be free.

The time came.  I graduated college and moved into my first apartment.  I was satisfied but still not content.  The veil of graduation fell and I was looking toward the future, still unable to truly sit in the present.  I starting working a job that paid the bills but my mind was always on the future.  “When I have this or until I get that…” I need to push harder.

I received a Master’s Degree and started working in my dream career field.  Still, I was unsatisfied.  It wasn’t because I didn’t love my job or my life but because it’s always been so difficult for me to deal with being.

I find myself at another crossroads, thinking of my journey and what my conception of a “destination” is.  Maybe my GPS has a point, maybe each place I go to, and each time I “arrive” I should appreciate it more, be more in the present and, in all honesty, have a heck of a lot more gratitude for even “arriving.”

The question now becomes what am I going to do with this new-found knowledge (that I’m sure I’ve been taught hundreds of times before)?  I have a choice to stay the same path and continue to worry about a future I cannot control or I can do something different.  The opposite of fear is faith. I’m terrified (in a good way…if that makes sense) for the road ahead because my life is going to be changing over the next few months.  One thing for sure is that I will never know, so there is no use worrying about it.  Of course that is easier said than done and that’s where faith (and a lot of prayer) comes in handy.

I wake up every morning and pray.  I ask God to watch over me and my family and then I ask to be of service.  Living in the present is the only way to enjoy the journey because who knows, maybe the journey is the destination.

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When it Comes to Chocolate, Resistance is Futile

A while back one of my good friends forwarded my a chain mail (1990 much?) that her sister had sent her. It was called “7%” and I often go back to it when I’m feeling particularly uninspired or stuck. One of my favorite life lessons is the title of this post: When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile. I can think of that in the literal sense of chocolate or in the bigger sense of all the things I seem to struggle against.

I’m a fighter and I hate change. Sometimes my fight can be good, but what about when I’m fighting God? That’s my biggest struggle, knowing and seeing what God’s path is for me and then taking a sharp left turn because I’m too scared to trust Him.

Just let go I hear a little voice say, but still I resist. I hold tighter until my hands are red and chapped and with that everything starts to unravel. The art of letting go is truly that, an art, a gift that I have been given but have to work hard at keeping. It’s odd to me that by working hard I really mean not working.

I resist the chocolate; the wonderful beautiful gifts that God has in store for me because I think I can do better. It is only when I let go and embrace the chocolate that I am able to actually enjoy it, taste it, and appreciate it.

Resistance to God’s will, as it is to chocolate (for me) is futile and the more I resist, the move I crave it, need it and go crazy trying to get it. Letting go, releasing the chains on my heart and my life, taking a deep breath, stepping back, not resisting, that’s how I live in the present, open myself up to receive all the beautiful gifts that are in store for me.

Daily Charge: Today I will enjoy the gifts and not fight against them. I will take action to show I appreciate the gifts that have been given to me and I will live today (and each day) knowing the decision to fight can only be combated by my faith in the process.

20150223_153446 [This is my favorite mug. Drinking tea is one way I unwind and relax. While I’d prefer to use loose tea leaves, sometime’s I’ll take what I can get. This is Twinings “pure peppermint” with a little bit of honey]

Here are all 45 “Life Lessons”
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short – enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don’t worry, God never blinks.
16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19.. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

Social Media: The Escape From Reality

“The black hole” is what we call it at work. That moment you go on the internet to find a video, or an article, just one, harmless enough, and then you look up and an hour has flown by. You wonder “where did the time go, I just went on to this site to look at one thing?!” The black hole can be entertaining, comforting, and very dangerous. For me, the biggest myth of the black hole is that it’s adding meaning to my life, that it’s in some way adding value. Don’t get me wrong, it’s entertaining as heck but sometimes (read: most times) it’s just down right depressing. Not depressing because what I see is sad or lack-luster but because I fall victim to the disease that so many other do: Comparison.

I compare my life to others and all of a sudden this day time hobby turns into a pity party for poor ‘ol Rebecca. The reality is that my life is wonderful and had far exceeded my expectations for where I’d be at this age but the devil of comparison knocks at the door and I let him in. Not only do I let him in, but I bake him cookies.

For the last few months I’ve been stepping away from social media and phew is it freeing. Every other day my “friends” would be posting about their engagements, and babies, and extravagant trips they were taking. I was exhausted just trying to keep but when you add feeling sorry for myself in the mix, it was a full time job. So I stopped, I got off and only got on if I knew someone put up a post I wanted to see. For instance, my little brother posted photos from a trip that I wanted to take a look at. I had him text me when they were up and I jumped back on.

Let me interject a little story: I had a friend who was madly and deeply in love with her boyfriend. She would post pictures every other day of them together and all the activities they did. One day, the posts stopped. She didn’t post anything bashing him, the “good” posts just ended. I asked her what happened I said “I thought you two were so happy,” to which she replied “you can’t always believe what you see.” Behind her posts was a world of hurt and the way she dealt with it is by wearing a mask on social media, pretending that everything was OK to save face to a bunch of people she didn’t even know. It was that moment that I realized posting happy times isn’t bad if they are actually happy and you truly want to spread that joy with the world, but posting to cover up something is dangerous, not to everyone else, but to yourself. We’ve all done it, trying to boost the ego with “likes” and re tweets. There’s nothing wrong with that, do you, but for me, I want to live my life honest with myself.

Comparison can be good when it acts as motivation but what I had drifted to was so far from motivation, and just straight depression. Why as a society must we base our value off of what others think? Why must I show the world how good my life is to think or know it’s good. The real issue is with me, I know this, not those who post.

The take away for me is this: I can be happy for others and share in their joy but I must not compare. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

So as Valentine’s Day approaches I encourage you (and myself) to not compare your journey to someone else’s; no one knows what goes on behind closed doors, behind the 2 dozen roses. If you don’t have a Valentine make yourself your Valentine and remember, it’s never too late to be happy, but it’s all up to you and no one else.

*Steps off soapbox*

Nurturing Your Inner Child

Have you ever watched a child? I mean really watched them–play, run around, interact with other children. They are so free, so unafraid. I had an opportunity to do so recently and what I saw gave me incredible joy. I was staying at a family oriented indoor water park and there were kids everywhere. I mean everywhere. There was this little boy who would fill up a bucket of water and dump it on people’s heads as they walked underneath across a bridge; it was hilarious. Even when the people saw him, and knew it was coming all they could do was laugh. There was this little girl, running around hitting the water that was spurting from the ground. She must have hit the stream of water 100 times before getting tired and moving on to the next adventure. It warmed my heart, and got me thinking. As I sat there with my magazines, plotting my next home improvement extravaganza I began to think about my own childhood. Was I like that, did I run around unafraid? I don’t really know, but I don’t think so.

I remember when I was little, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I was an independent, stubborn kid [3 going on 30, my Grandpa used to say]. Looking back on it now I miss being a child, mainly because I miss the time when I should have felt free. Before the job, before the bills, before I knew that life could sometimes be painful. As I’ve grown up there’s been a transition (as there naturally is) away from the comforts that childhood brings but after watching these kids experience true joy I felt a yearning to properly nurture that little girl that still lives inside; when my 8 year old self cries out for love, what do I do?

Truth is, I’m a big kid at heart. After watching these kids play unafraid I jumped in the inner tube and experienced something I haven’t felt in quite some time freedom. It doesn’t mean that all my bills suddenly disappeared [I wish] but rather for those few hours I was able to laugh and reconnect with my inner child. Ask her what she wanted to do, and do it.

I’ve been a tap dancer ever since I was 3 years old but by the time I got to college I thought there were more important things to focus on and dancing took the back seat. In my adult years I’ve taken a class here and there but never committed to anything. As I slowly start to discover who Rebecca is and what she likes to do taking a tap class tops the list. Others on my list include taking a cooking class (which has already been scheduled!), getting massages (yes, plural), and getting back into arts and crafts. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, kids don’t cook and get massages. True, but connecting with my inner child is in essence developing a relationship with myself.

Sometimes all I want to do is lay in bed after a long day and watch a movie, eat some junk food, and go to sleep. Nurturing the relationship with myself is about cutting myself some slack, saying the world will not end if I don’t do X tonight. I’m not much for procrastination, but I’ve found that sometimes it can be beneficial. If my head isn’t in the right place then any work I produce won’t be as through. Allowing myself/yourself to relax can be a challenge so start small. Michael craft store is one of my favorite places to go [I’ve literally spent hours there] because that’s when my inner child can run free.

Discovering who I am has been like peeling back the layers of an onion; every time I think this must be it boom life reveals to me another layer. I’ve always believed life begins at the end of your comfort zone so challenge yourself to be uncomfortable and live life unafraid. 2015-01-31_11.30.30

Discovering self-worth

“YOU ARE WORTH THE JACKET,” my father sternly yet lovingly said to me at the end of a heated conversation about Christmas presents.  At the time I really didn’t understand what he was saying: how could the choice to buy a jacket be translated into a larger interpretation of how much or little I value myself?  I thought to myself “this is way too much of a leap, there is no way.”  Humility struck again and I must admit my father was right.  Lets Tarantino this (as Dane Cook would say) and I’ll take you back to the beginning…

My father, like most fathers, is a loving yet assertive man.  He’s an Army veteran who served during Vietnam and grew up the 3rd child of 4 with only sisters.  He put himself through school, and received his Ph.D in Psychology with no assistance from his family.  Yes, that’s right, growing up with a psychologist for a father was always interesting.  I talked about my feelings…a lot…and there were endless hugs (even if I didn’t want them).  I love my father, both my parent’s for that matter, but I have to admit, I’m a Daddy’s Girl.  Always have been and always will be.

This conversation started like any other “what would you like for Christmas, Rebecca?” Innocent enough, right? Wrong.  I told him I’d get back to him because I was at work and didn’t have the time to think about it at the moment.  A few hours later I get an e-mail from him saying there is a sale going on one of the stores he frequents and asked if maybe I’d like something from there.  Again, I was too caught up with work and responded with a quick “I’ll check when I get home.”

When I got home I looked through the site and found these absolutely adorable winter jackets.  I’m perpetually cold and they looked oh so warm.  I found 3.  I sent him the link to each, in my order of preference…sort of.  See, I’ve always been very cautious with my finances, to the point when I was a little girl and my family would do Sunday dinner’s at a restaurant my Grandma would complain that I ordered with the right side of my menu (where the prices were often located).  It’s true, spending money, mine or anyone else’s is difficult, but I never thought of it in the way my father was about to describe.  He called me when he got my e-mail and said something to the effect of: you put the most expensive coat at the bottom but in parentheses you wrote this is the one you really wanted, why did you put it [insert: yourself] at the bottom of the list?  It was at this moment he began to explain (as only a psychologist father can) that “this is part of a larger issue,” and that “you don’t think you are worth the jacket.”  There was a pause in the conversation, because truthfully I thought he’d like the fact that I was trying to save him money, and then he replied “YOU ARE WORTH THE JACKET.”

A week later I received the jacket in the mail and I absolutely LOVE it.  I wear it every day.
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I’m not saying go out and spend money you don’t have, please live within your means, but if there is something that is within your means, like this jacket is for my parents, go for it, treat yourself, enjoy the gifts of your hard work.  I mentioned magazines in  my previous post about vision boards and this is where it ties in.  The little things in life can make a huge difference.  What I’ve tried to do is one nice thing for myself every day, which may or may not have a monetary component.  I love nail polish (and I’m the furthest from girly but I still love it) so when I see one I like, if I haven’t done something nice for myself that day, I’ll buy it.  

Go to the gym, get a massage, plan a trip, sleep in, cuddle with God, give yourself a break.

The word of the month (and possibly year) is empowerment.  Let go of the control you think you have over your life and be empowered to accomplish your dreams.  Speak into existence the wonderful things you know you deserve (and even if you don’t know/think you deserve them, speak it anyway because I’m here to tell you, you do deserve it).

When I rest my head on the pillow, no matter how the day went, I want to be serene, relaxed, calm, and empowered to know that I did my best…and even if I didn’t God loves me anyway.  Imperfectly perfect.

Chasing the gold star: A search for validation

Remember when you were in nursery school or kindergarten and you would get a gold star or sticker when you did anything noteworthy? [Which at that time was something like making sure to tell the teacher when you had to go to the bathroom…which, full disclosure…I didn’t always do perfectly…but I digress…]  When did that all end?  I find myself thinking at times, where’s my gold star?

Alas, life isn’t (or shouldn’t be) all about the chase for the gold star. External validation is only temporary .

If I want recognition for a “job well done,” even if the “job” is as simple as getting up and out of bed, because, lets face it, some times I don’t even feel like doing that, then I need to be the one to tell myself good job. Why can’t I give myself the gold star?

I don’t need to wait for someone else to tell me I’m doing a good job when I know I am. More important than the gold star I’ve realized is showing myself compassion, love and comfort –I enjoy candles, chocolate and bubble baths (but what woman doesn’t?!). The big thing I did recently is build myself an office space in my apartment.

Let me back up…I live in a 615 sq. foot, one bedroom apartment. All the furniture I moved in with in 2009 was given to me by an elderly woman who was downsizing her home and very slowly (it took me a year of sleeping on an air mattress to buy an actual mattress) I’ve been changing out the furniture I was given for furniture I actually want. Part of this was due to budget and part of this is because it’s taken me a very long time to actually believe I’m worth this new furniture (but more about that in a later post).

Back to the topic at hand: an office space. For a while I had my laptop on a cart in my bedroom and was completely unmotivated to turn it on let alone write e-mails or do work from it. I believe that the bedroom should be a space of tranquility and having my laptop in there was far from tranquil. With that, I was off to Ikea and found the perfect desk for my space. 20150101_130305

2 hours later (and a near meltdown after jamming the drawer shut) I accomplished what I set out to: create a tranquil space to write, reflect, and answer the occasional e-mail. [Note: I put together a chair the next day which was purchased at Staples]

Now, to the decorating, and this is where the comfort piece comes into play. I found the wall hangings at Walmart for $4 a piece, the glass cylinders at A.C. Moore for $3 each, and the “angel babies” (as I’ve been calling them) at A.C. Moore for $3 as well.  [The angels are vinyl rub-on’s and very simple to transfer.  Great beginner project!]

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This is the finished space (I added the lillies after these photos were taken–thank you Harris Teeter).  I’ve also ordered a sunlight desk lamp (because working my schedule throws off my circadian rhythm) but haven’t received it yet. Taking care of my physical, mental and emotional well being, ✓

 

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The reason this space is important, and why I made it the focus of my article is because I did something for myself simply because I wanted to enhance my life. The space in which I live reflects the life I want to lead. My mind is very scattered and unorganized but through little acts such as this as well as daily meditation I’m starting to “put the monkey back in the cage,” quiet my mind and organize my surroundings. In turn I find that with a quiet mind I can allow a higher power to enter my life. With the freedom of my mind I accept myself just as I am, I show myself compassion, love, and in turn feel validation.

Welcome

First and foremost, hello and welcome! Welcome to the journey.  This blog is all about self discovery, and becoming my (your) best self.  First, a little explanation of who I am.  My name is Rebecca and I hail from Long Island, New York.  I currently reside in the outskirts of the nations Capitol and am 27 years old.  I’ve built a wonderful life and community for myself but in the process I lost sight of self.  I think too many woman have and that’s the point of this blog, to discover self and really be present for the journey of life.

I grew up in your typical upper middle class, graduated with a Master’s Degree from a prestigious University, started a great job, and a gathered a host of friends, family and loved ones.  One day I stopped and looked at all the outside “things” and realized I have no idea what I actually enjoy, what really makes Rebecca happy.

Now a little explanation for the title of this blog.  A caterpillar is not the most beautiful thing; it’s a weird shade of green or brown and just crawls around.  One day, the caterpillar says enough and goes into a cocoon and completely reconstructs itself, from the inside out, to emerge as a beautiful butterfly, who is able to explore the world uninhibited by it’s surroundings.  It flies .

I was a caterpillar Caterpillar2(see photo) and there was always something inside that said “you are worth more than the lack of credit you are giving yourself” but still I crawled around.  I never got my wings, I was unable to fly.

What I’m slowly realizing is that every woman has a butterfly within screaming to come out .  The work that’s required to let her fly, well that’s what I’m afraid of, but result, the ability to fly above all the circumstances and be at peace flying with her fellows, that’s what I want to achieve.

With that, come fly with me and experience life uninhibited.10th Birthday