What is your priority? What is your number one? Is it God, family, spouse, work, or something else. What is your number two and three priority? Why are these so important to you? When you think of them, how do you feel?
Now, consider this… what does your calendar say is your priority? Do your activities and appointments reflect your #one and #two?
Identifying and assessing your priorities is an important exercise in coordinating an intentional, well-balanced life. When your priorities and activities do not align, you lose the sense of self and find yourself more in a grind and less in a place of joy. Your energy outflows need to be replenished by the energy inflow of priority living. For example, if one of your top priorities is spending time with your spouse in a meaningful, connective way, yet your schedule does not reflect purposeful time together, how will you “find time” or “squeeze in” a dinner or date?
Life is fast and furious- the intentional time on the calendar beckons a deeper meaning and experience based on what is most important to your values. As with your spouse, you can choose to enjoy each other in a no-rush time of your selection, doing the activities you enjoy and building a stronger marriage and bond. Without the purposeful time, one or both of you can feel like an afterthought, losing love energy while forming resentful attitudes. The feelings of being underappreciated can potentially swell as you each adhere to the demands of life. Alternatively, when you make your spouse a priority, they know it, and so does you, which provides energy into your relationship. The realization of importance if felt and fuels a tighter bond.
If what feeds your soul is not making it onto your calendar, it is time to reevaluate your scheduling technique. Often, we think of a schedule as the work schedule and the home schedule, when in fact you are a whole person. By taking a broad view of the calendar you can gain perspective and lead a more intentional life-based on the priorities that you select.
Sometimes, people feel as though that keeping a calendar steals their freedom, they like to fly by the seat of their pants or make decisions as they come. However, the act of keeping a calendar can actually lead to more freedom as you are leading your life and choices in the direction of your intention. There is less procrastination, more accomplishment, and more time for the important things. You wonder less about where the day went simply because it went where you directed.
Here are a few key practices when working towards a more prioritized and purpose-filled life.
I hope these little steps make a big difference for you! I know that they did for me. The most important thing to remember while you are writing your story of life is to keep your main ideas aligned and practicing these efforts on a regular basis, you will make progress.
I began my day thinking about bookends. Yes, bookends.
One would use bookends on each side of their book collection to keep the books within straight and tall on the shelf (I actually have a cute set of bookends in my office that, if together, would form a bicycle). My thoughts, however, were taking me to a different form of bookend:
How do we bookend our day?
How is it that we begin and end each day? Do we start and finish each day by scrolling through Facebook, watching tv, writing a journal entry, prayer, meditation, scripture reading, gratitudes, stretching, planning our day….? Do we start and finish well?
Do you have a daily routine, or habit? Is it an intentional routine or one that has just come into play? Does it serve you well?
When I am being unintentional about my days, I drift into scrolling FB or TV doldrums. Whatever I see, fills my mind and enters my domain. If, however, I am intentional with my time, I get to choose what enters my mind, body, and spirit. Each morning I am filling my cup with something besides coffee! Let it be of my choosing! And each night, before I sleep I am setting the stage for dreams and a new dawn.
Do you have a bookend routine?
What if the acorn was afraid of change?
The tiny acorn does not fear the future. It knows that within itself there is greatness. The sapling does not ask, “Is this enough, can I stop growing now?” The ancient oak does not falter and say, “I am ready to retire, can I just be a tree and sway in the wind?”
The old oak tree does not complain, “Oh, I have been through so much! I have been tormented by mighty wind gusts so powerful that my roots were barely able to cling to the soil. I have endured the fiercest of lightning strikes, nearly splitting me in two. I have faced hail that beat at me in anger, and fire so hot that I was scorched from the flames. Torrential rain and floods have swamped me. I am only a tree and I am tired, may I quit being a tree? I don’t matter. I do not make a difference.”
No, the mighty oak never complains. Its rings tell a story of age, drought, rains, lightning and more. Its bark is marked with battles old and new. Its limbs in some places are deformed and awkward, but it continues to grow and become the tree it was meant to be.
When the mighty oak was just a little sapling, it learned to sway in the wind hoping to be mighty one day. Its roots clung to the soil as the gusts tested the young tree. When it was a little larger, birds would swoop in to use its limbs and leaves for shelter in the rain. As it continued to grow it became a home to varieties of birds and squirrels, each making nests and growing families in the safety of the oak’s sprawling limbs. It is a place of life and love. It is where, under its big canopy, children play and build dreams. It is shade for a picnic or passing animals. Its strong limbs hold swings that lift the spirits of children as their feet reach to touch the sky. In its tallest branches, the mighty oak holds the all-seeing owls and collects the sunlight for the world.
In its age, the mighty oak is a place of memories and reflection. It is a reminder of time and beauty. It holds secrets to the past that only the tree can hold. It is deeply rooted and strong. It provides comfort, shade, peace, and beauty to all who are in its presence.
The mighty oak doesn’t ask to stop growing, for it grows as long as it can. And in each stage, it reveals more of its truth and capacity for life. Even through tribulation and adversity, it grows. While the adversity may be part of its story, it is a story of victory and courage and a testimony that life goes on after the storm, and that there is still more to do in the life of a tree.
What if the acorn was afraid of change? Its purpose will never unfold unless it is watered, nourished and cracks open to release the sapling. It knows that to grow into its future, it must let go of its past. For the acorn knows its truth and purpose, and will continue to grow all the days of its life.
“To grow, you must be willing to let your present and your future to be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.” –Alan Cohen
Jim Rohn ponders, “Every life form seems to strive to its maximum except human beings. How tall will a tree grow? As tall as it possibly can. Human beings, on the other hand, have been given the dignity of choice. You can choose to be all you can be or, you can choose to be less. Why not stretch up to the full measure of the challenge and see what all you can do.”
How tall will you grow?
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When living an unmuted life, we have to seek to line up our values and priorities with our choices. We are not solely one thing. We are beyond our jobs, relationships, and hobbies. We are a mind-body-spirit that strives to live in harmony. As we begin our various journeys towards an unmuted life, we are faced with letting go of our shadowed self while we seek to live in the light. One area of renewal is health and weight.
I too have embarked on this journey many times over. Obsessing over food, always thinking about my weight or how I am making ‘bad’ choices. The more I obsessed I became, the worse I felt. After much personal growth and development, I found that there is a better way- and it starts in the mind. These are practices I put in place this past year. I have found success and harmony with these initiatives. I am certainly not perfect, but I have made progress.
As you read through these, remember that I am not a nutritionist or doctor, nor do I claim to be. However, if these practices help your “stinkin’ thinkin'” and build a resilient spirit that aligns you with better choices to assist you with your health/weight progress, then wonderful!
We need to consider that we must create an inner space for success on our weight journey. We focus heavily on the technicalities of weight loss- the pros, the cons, the what’s, the what not’s, the how’s, and how not’s… We have been inundated with information for decades in addition to being conditioned on what the perfect body looks like. Our minds have been morphed by comparison. You know HOW to do it. There is tons of information- everywhere. But, how do you break through your barrier? By realizing you are a whole person- mind-body-spirit and ALL of your needs to be nourished.
Look at these 3 tips as food for thought…
#1 What you focus on grows.
If you are focused on your weight, you will attract more. Your language and self-talk are very important in this application. Empower your mind-spirit-body connection through language that will resonate positive results. I am healthy. I am strong. I am youthful. I am inspiring my children. I am a work of beautiful art. I am a house of an eternal spirit. I am breath. I am body. I am graceful. I am energetic. I am awake. I am aware. I am clear. I am resolved. I am worth it!
Build beautiful words around yourself. Create and imagine you in the best version of yourself. Build a picture of your FULL self. What it feels like and looks like to be you. Write it down with a vivid description in current tense. Write your story! Claim your truth.
Let this become your new focus. Let these words of life work in your day-to-day. They will begin to serve you. Maybe slowly. We are seeking progress, not perfection. The truth in your story will appear in your day to day decisions. Your choices will begin to serve your vision.
#2 Release the Stuff.
It is time to move on from your baggage. Just as in our physical realm, we horde and cling onto things in our mental and spiritual realm. We fill our space with things. Your mind-body-soul has a similar relationship. For your health journey to have hope… let go. What is it you are hoarding and holding onto? Anger, grudges, shame, rejection…? How can your body find peace if your soul is in angst? You are a not a person in parts you are whole. All of you needs to be fed, nourished and encouraged.
Begin by practicing forgiveness. Forgive yourself. Step into love and speak kindly to yourself. If you have a day you eat poorly- forgive yourself and give you encouragement. Bring yourself into a place of peace. What are your eating triggers telling you? Listen in to yourself and unpack your boxes. Imagine that you are cleaning out your house. Evaluate and deal with the stuff in your boxes. Keep it or toss it? You decide. Even in your own environment, take a look around…is it time for a spring cleaning?
#3 Permission to Celebrate
Choose a lifestyle that feeds your mind-body-spirit. Live your every day in that lifestyle and pause to reflect on how your choices are serving you. However, I have a rule of celebration, give yourself permission to enjoy! When it is a holiday or birthday- indulge a little. Live in your moment. Find peace with yourself. Gluttony is an unbecoming service to the spirit, it is the exercise of habitual greed or an excess in eating. Key word= greed. In the practice of celebration exercise the habits related to joy, harmony, and love and treat your body thusly. Simply in creating a harmonious balance within you, your activities will then match your spirit. Celebration can then be a place of reasonable choices.
Good luck on your journey. YOU are worth it!
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!
*Excellence: the fact or state of excelling; superiority; eminence.
May the choices and actions you take each day lead you on a path to excellence.
Do not be lured by the status quo or average state of living. Strike back at mediocrity, a contagious illness of a state-of-being where you are neither succeeding or failing. Shield your mind and soul from ordinary. You were destined for more!
As mediocre is a disease of ordinary passed from one to another, excellence is the cure. Excellence is found in the one more step, the little bit more, the struggle to go beyond. As an oak tree grows, it does not ask how tall it can grow– it grows as tall as it can and then we gaze at it in awe and wonder. Why? Not because it is an average tree and it grew to be good enough, but because it is a magnificent tree and is an excellent display of creation and nature!
“God’s gift to you is potential, your gift to God is developing it.”- unknown
“I felt like if I couldn’t handle not being good at something, then how could I consider myself a successful person” —
For an inspiring story of success, determination and leadership, look no further than high school student, Gerald Hodges. He is a prime example of living an unmuted life! His wisdom to intentionally seek an experience outside of his norm highlights a young man seeking to live his potential!
Way to go Gerald! You are an inspiration!!
Check out this amazing story!
#geraldhodges #success #highschool #leadership #unmuted