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Friday, January 15, 2010

Life Makeovers

Things that made me happy today:
- an empty Walmart at 8am
- Tulips just for me
- a new daytimer/journal
- a positive attitude towards life
- Sunshine and warmth
- Ice cream with strawberries and blueberries

Love yourself first, and then everything else falls into line.
Lucille Ball

I am reading a book right now called Life Makeovers by Cheryl Richardson, and I highly recommend it to anyone who feels sort of "stuck" in life or as if life is just passing you by.  This is actually the second time I have read this book.  I read it once before about 7 years ago, which lead to me  to quit my job back then.  It was the right decision, one that I wanted, and everything she wrote inspired me to go forward with my decision.  Her main goal is to help you reach your inner self and to learn to take care of yourself first.   It's not arrogant, or self-absorbing or selfish.  It is a great book, and her first sentence starts out like this "How often do you daydream about living a better life....".  Believe me it only gets better.  She takes you on a journey - actually a set of weekly challenges - to find out where and what your priorities are and basically how to achieve them.  Each week she gives you some homework.  Writing down your best qualities,  and accomplishments, making a promise to spend an hour with yourself each week,  keeping a journal, and most importantly asking yourself what needs your immediate attention in your life and what you need to let go.  Very important.  She calls it her "Yes List", which you then post throughout the house.  It is supposed to remind you of your priorities at all times, so you learn to say "No" to other things.

She talks about things that "drain you".  Oh you know, the messy office, the room that needs to be cleaned, a pile of filing, phone calls you are avoiding, bills that need to be paid.   Alot of these energy drains have emotional attachments which cause anxiety for example.  She writes "I'd like you to focus on identifying and eliminating the energy drains....freeing up your energy and eliminating anxiety makes you more productive and effective at work.  Or your relationships grow stronger because you're able to be present for others.  And not only do you feel better, but you also make physical and mental space for great things to come into your life....." 

One of the most interesting chapters was about how overwhelmed most people feel  in today's modern world.  Most people feel "pressured to catch up, keep up, and stay ahead of the curve."  She claims that our society has met what she terms "adrenaline overload" and not information overload.  Very interesting.  In other words, we fuel our bodies with adrenaline, never giving ourselves any down time or rest.  We have learned to work and live at the same pace of our computers.  We have forgotten how to rest and relax, and adrenaline makes it harder to do just that.  I know that I stay awake at night with tons of thoughts and ideas about needs to get done tomorrow, and I often feel distracted throughout the entire day as if I cannot focus on anything or anyone.

That sums up my life in a nutshell.  I live on 5-6 hours of sleep.  I don't know what the word "Relax" means anymore.  I rarely ever sit in front of the tv and just do nothing.  I also realized that adrenaline has been a large problem of mine for years, and I mean that literally. I have been diagnosed with anxiety problems, and take medication for it.  So I think what she is trying to tell me is definitely worth reading.

The reason I am writing about this book is because today I wanted to go shopping by myself and relax.  I was determined to go to some more fabric stores, the mall and you know just have fun.   However I had a very very messy house.  Knowing that the house always gets me upset when it is so messy, I decided to skip the shopping.  I cleaned.  I did take the time at lunch to just sit down on the couch and relax for 30 minutes before Nicolas got off the bus, instead of not eating at all.  Hey it is a start.  A start to a new relationship with myself.  I also bought myself some lovely flowers, and although I did not finish cleaning my studio (a fancy word for sewing room/office) today, I came to realize that being a good housewife was very important to me.  I was happy with my decision.  Since financial stability is another one of my priorities, I know that I made a good decision.  Not to mention the fact that my fabric stash is somewhat of an "energy drain".  I love being able to shop in my own house, but it has gotten too big, and I am not sewing as much as I used to, which means it is not shrinking fast enough.    So of course, one of my goals is to focus on getting more sewing done.  To be continued......
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