May Day Blogging Challenge 2016

 

MDBC2016My friend and I got involved in the April A-Z blogging challenge and it motivated us to post 26 blogs. Now we find ourselves on April 30th worried that all of that momentum will go to waste. But fear not, we came up with a great idea- the May Day Blogging Challenge.

What is it?

A way to make sure we continue writing throughout the next month because we need to be held accountable.

How does it work?

Using http://www.onthisday.com/ find an event from history for each day of the month and use that for an inspiration for our daily post. It can be anything from History, Music, Film & TV, and Sports. And of course creative license is allowed- to tie back to the historical event in any way we find relevant.

Just be sure to include the date, year, and link.

In honor of Memorial Day, posts are not required on Mondays to allow a day to recharge.

What is the format?

It can be any length but should be fairly short. It can be a poem, story, an essay, a rant, and editorial, etc. Posts should use the hashtag #MDBC2016 on social media.

What happens if we don’t post?

Absolutely nothing, except we will be disappointed with ourselves and each of us is required to make the other feel bad if this occurs.

 

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Zoo

ZThe zoo is full of a variety of animals from different regions. Is our brain like a zoo? We have our family-life, friend-life, work-life, things we are reading, things we want to do, shopping lists, hobbies, technical information, things we wish we didn’t know…all running through our brains.

I started this A-Z challenge with the theme of wellness in mind, and I think indirectly I stuck with that; however, it definitely did not go the way I planned. I did not use most of the topics I wrote down to potentially write about in March.

Some days I had a bunch of words I would have liked to talked about and some days I struggled to come up with one word. It is interesting to me that my friend said her two favorite posts were Kite and Navigate. Those were words I had absolutely no idea to write about and read a few A to Z blogs while waiting for a word to come to me.

Yes, I would say it’s been a little like exploring a zoo.

 

This blog post is part of the April 2016 A-Z  Challenge which involves writing a blog post every day (except for Sunday) with a theme based on the letters of the alphabet (April 1-A, April 2-B, etc.). I will be focusing on wellness. 
You can click here to find other participants. Please feel free to leave a link to your blog with your comments so I can visit you too.

Year

YWe divide our lives into years. Our birthday marks a new year. January first often encourages us to establish new goals. Gretchen Rubin says that September, the beginning of a new school year, is also significant to her.  Sometimes I feel like a new month is a fresh start.

Is a year still the best way to mark our goals and accomplishments? Is this too long a time period? Too short? John Lee Dumas (Entrepreneur on Fire) created the Freedom Journal which sets you up to achieve a goal into 100 days. It generally takes four years to complete college and  nine months to have a baby. Obviously, the length of time needed to complete a goal depends on the project. Perhaps it’s not the length of time that matters but the consideration we put into carrying out the plans.

A good plan for achieving things is estimating how long it will take to accomplish. I find it helpful these days to set a timer. This helps me get started. I usually set the time for 10, 20, or 30 minutes. For example, I set 20 minutes to write my blog posts. If I am reading for school, I set 30 minutes. If I just need motivation to start I set the timer for ten minutes and usually reset it 2 or 3 times until I finish.

Perhaps we are just looking for ways to get ourselves started more than finishing.

X-Crossed Out

XGoing back to lists. I like to draw a line through items I accomplish and mark the things I didn’t accomplish with an X indicating it is carried over. However, if I was using an agenda book that displayed a week across two pages, when I did complete the task, I went back and crossed out all occurrences.

I think, just because it made me feel good. But now that I consider it more closely, it is a way to review the day and commit remind myself that this still needs to the done.

This blog post is part of the April 2016 A-Z  Challenge which involves writing a blog post every day (except for Sunday) with a theme based on the letters of the alphabet (April 1-A, April 2-B, etc.). I will be focusing on wellness. 
You can click here to find other participants. Please feel free to leave a link to your blog with your comments so I can visit you too.

Visionary

VDefinition of visionary

  • having or showing clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future
  • having or showing a powerful imagination
  • of or relating to something that is seen or imagined in a dream or vision (sense 3)

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

 

I’ve noticed I often have images of how things should be that other people don’t see. I can become frustrated by them not getting it. In some cases, it took time, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot of time, but people started coming around to what I imagined. In other cases, I had to let it go. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be, or I was wrong.

Writing requires great vision, particularly a novel, to have to stick with a concept and create a world and have the multiple characters act in a way that makes sense of it. It can be hard to discern what is good, what is bad, and what just needs more developing to make sense, but that is part of the process. Hopefully, one day I’ll figure it out.  🙂

This blog post is part of the April 2016 A-Z  Challenge which involves writing a blog post every day (except for Sunday) with a theme based on the letters of the alphabet (April 1-A, April 2-B, etc.). I will be focusing on wellness. 
You can click here to find other participants. Please feel free to leave a link to your blog with your comments so I can visit you too.

Wisdom

WWisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and is actually the highest of all the gifts which include understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

When God asked King Solomon (from the Old Testament from the bible) to ask him for anything and He would grant it, Solomon asked for Wisdom and God was so pleased He granted him way more than just that. It was wisdom that allowed Solomon to be a great ruler. When he was approached by two women fighting over custody of a baby, he suggested they cut the baby and half and share it. The real mother, who obviously cared about the baby more offered to give up the baby to protect it so Solomon knew who the real mother was and resolved the problem.

Sometimes in life we can make decisions based on faulty thinking. Perhaps we are tired or frustrated or just don’t really know enough about something to make a good decision, but we can ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. When I taught religious education to high schoolers, I told them to think of the Holy Spirit like a best friend who would help them with anything, they just had to ask. I made them repeat it multiple times to sink in.

I have a friend who also refers to a “White Light” when things are going bad or someone is giving her a hard time she sends the White Light to them, which she has alluded to as the Holy Spirit.

The help is there, we just need to take the time to seek it.

This blog post is part of the April 2016 A-Z  Challenge which involves writing a blog post every day (except for Sunday) with a theme based on the letters of the alphabet (April 1-A, April 2-B, etc.). I will be focusing on wellness. 
You can click here to find other participants. Please feel free to leave a link to your blog with your comments so I can visit you too.

The Ugly Phase

UWhen I took painting lessons (art not house) the instructor warned us there would be an ugly phase when we would just hate our painting. He reminded us not to give up on it, but not keep going then and ruin it. So I would take a break, go for a walk, and come back to it later. Most of the time I ended up with something I was pleased with.

There was one painting I remember as “The Broccoli” that I threw out eventually. Maybe I kept going when I should have stopped. The assignment was to draw the silhouette of a shadow and paint it in contrasting colors. The green part of my image looked like a head of broccoli against a red background. I don’t even remember what the object was that I traced. For my next attempt, I traced the outline of a plant and painted it yellow and purple. It turned out to be one of my favorite paintings from the class.

I imagine this could be applied to life. Are you on the borderline of the ugly phase of something? In the middle of it? Can you step away?

 

This blog post is part of the April 2016 A-Z  Challenge which involves writing a blog post every day (except for Sunday) with a theme based on the letters of the alphabet (April 1-A, April 2-B, etc.). I will be focusing on wellness. 
You can click here to find other participants. Please feel free to leave a link to your blog with your comments so I can visit you too.

 

 

Taoism +

Bear with me, I’m getting to it.

Occasionally on this blog I have shared some Buddhist ideas. I have been wanting to sprinkle in some of my own faith, Catholicism.

We may think of Catholicism as more about rules, formal rituals, and prayer which there is; but there is a meditative side to it that doesn’t get much publicity. One school of thought is based on the teachings of St. Ignatius. Ignatius was a Spanish soldier who lived during the 1500’s. He was injured and could no longer serve in the military. While he recuperated he read a lot and reflected on what he was learning.

He came to the conclusion that God was present in our everyday lives and by paying attention to what was going on we could learn to make good decisions.  There are retreats that you can attend to practice Ignatian Spirituality. They can be formal retreats at retreat sites or churches and you can even purchase books and do it on your own. There is also this website Ignatian Spirituality that you can visit for daily prompts.

They have a blog that I like to read and there was a recent post about Taoism (the T is pronounced like a D so it sounds more like “Dow-ism”). Taoism means “The Way” and is about living simply. I hope you will take a minute to read their post so to keep this short, I’m not going to expand on Taoism now.

If you would like to  know more about Taoism there is a great book called Tao of Pooh. The link will give a nice overview of how Pooh and his friends can show us how to enjoy our lives.

This blog post is part of the April 2016 A-Z  Challenge which involves writing a blog post every day (except for Sunday) with a theme based on the letters of the alphabet (April 1-A, April 2-B, etc.). I will be focusing on wellness. 
You can click here to find other participants. Please feel free to leave a link to your blog with your comments so I can visit you too.

Silence and Stillness

S

I think we need times for both silence and stillness.

I consider silence as quiet time when we’re not on the go.

Throughout the day we occupy ourselves with work, phones, TV, people, and whatever else. We don’t have time to just sit and think so when we try to go to bed we just start thinking and won’t allow ourselves to wind down and fall asleep. I used to do this all the time, but I’ve gotten a little better lately.

If we allow ourselves a little space to think we may come up with great ideas. Have you ever had what seems like a brilliant idea at night when you were trying to sleep?

silence-isnt-empty-its-full-of-answers-quote-1

Stillness, the way I am using it here, means doing nothing on purpose. In fact, if thoughts come into our head we need to not indulge in them…even great ideas. We just have to let them go if we are trying to be still. This is practically painful at first but if we do it for a few minutes every day, in time we will find it gets easier and we can be calmer throughout the day.

 

mj-fire-of-silence-quote-candle-pic
Allow the silence to burn away all that is not real- Michael Jeffreys

 

There is a great book called Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn to help achieve stillness. It has short mediations to help you learn to slow down. My favorite one is the following:

Breathing in: “I calm my mind”

Breathing out: “I am smiling”

Breathing in: “Present moment”

Breathing out: “Wonderful moment”

Practice this for 5, 10, 20 minutes daily and you will get there.

Did you ever read or see the movie Eat, Pray, Love and Ketut, the medicine man, tells Julia Robert’s character, Liz, to smile as her meditation? I always wondered how you just practice smiling, but I found this meditation helps with that.

When you realize your mind has wondered start thinking about your breath again and focus. I’ve found even when I’ve had sessions when my mind wondered the whole time I still feel calmer and focused throughout the day. I recommend this book highly.

This blog post is part of the April 2016 A-Z  Challenge which involves writing a blog post every day (except for Sunday) with a theme based on the letters of the alphabet (April 1-A, April 2-B, etc.). I will be focusing on wellness. 
You can click here to find other participants. Please feel free to leave a link to your blog with your comments so I can visit you too.

Revealing

RTo reveal is to share or expose something. Often times we hold back on revealing things for various reasons.

Maybe we really don’t want anyone to know.

Maybe we think no one will care.

Maybe we don’t think it’s significant in the grand scheme of things.

 

Maybe we just don’t want to argue or have to explain because sometimes explaining can take a lot of time and energy.

Maybe we think it won’t change things even if we share it.

But when we reveal things we may find others who feel the same, or they care because they care about you which makes it significant to them.

Or we find they care because they care about you, which makes it significant to them.

They may provide information you didn’t think of before that is helpful, or perhaps you’ll end up changing their mind.

Sometimes we find we were right to keep things to ourselves, but maybe there is something to learn about ourselves even in our frustration. By revealing things a little bit at a time we figure out who we can trust and we build relationships.

This blog post is part of the April 2016 A-Z  Challenge which involves writing a blog post every day (except for Sunday) with a theme based on the letters of the alphabet (April 1-A, April 2-B, etc.). I will be focusing on wellness. 

You can click here to find other participants. Please feel free to leave a link to your blog with your comments so I can visit you too.