staying present

I've learned a lot through years of practicing yoga. One lesson in particular has been awareness: feeling the ground beneath my feet.  So much of human life is spent running through autopilot -- going through the motions, "getting through" life.  Bearing it.  Enduring it. 

It's so easy to always be focusing on one step ahead. You're in a relationship? Dream of getting engaged. You're engaged? Dream of finally being married. You're married? Kids, dogs, house, career... everything has to be checked off a list ASAP and done in haste. Hurry up and die. 

I know I'm being dramatic, but really... think about it. Personally, I'm totally guilty of numbing myself to reality. I live in my head. Especially as a designer/creative/right-brained person, it makes sense to live the confines of my own imagination. But it comes at a cost -- you live in your head, you miss what's in front of your eyes. 

Sometimes having too many choices can feel absolutely paralyzing. (This is definitely true for couples planning a wedding. Can I get a hear, hear brides?)  Figuring out what to do with our lives, how to spend our time, how to spend our money (if we have money), how to plan-plan-plan our futures. It can get to be so much that we just shut down. We turn to drinking, to overeating, to shopping, to telling ourselves lies and trying to beat them (just to pass the time), whatever can fill that sinking feeling of sheer overwhelmingness. We turn off our brains and go through the motions, endure life without living it, and half-heartedly wish for the best. 

And then we're in old age, having wasted our whole lives hoping to just get through it. 

I don't want to live that way. 

I want to feel the ground beneath my feet (or the chair, in my case, since I sit all funny when I type). I want to smell fragrant flowers and notice when leaves are blooming. I want to feel my emotions and accept them, move through them. I want to be alive and not just pretend like I'm living.

Sometimes it's hard. Really hard. Sometimes the things we have to accept in our daily walks aren't fun, aren't easy, aren't quick to get over. We get hurt. We see sadness. But part of the beauty of life is its complexity. Negative feelings color the way we feel positive ones. 

God calls us to do more than to "get through life." Yes, it may be the easy way out. But as Bikram Choudhury says (paraphrased): There is no choice; you must do everything the right way. And the right way is the hard way.

Playing during a photo session with  Alyssa Joy . (In Lilly, no less.) Because, why take life so seriously? 

Playing during a photo session with Alyssa Joy. (In Lilly, no less.) Because, why take life so seriously? 

Why don't we apply that to all aspects of life? Business, planning major life events (ahem, weddings), relationships, keeping our homes?  CHALLENGE ALERT!

My challenge for you and me:  Stay present today. Or tomorrow. One day this week. Or an hour out of every day. Look around and see what's before you. Have you ever noticed the ceilings in your grocery store or coffee shop? Who's around you? What do you feel, smell, hear, taste? What are you eating? Do you even enjoy it? If not, why are you eating it?  LIVE LIFE TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't just scrape by.

 

Love and light, as my favorite Fahrenheit ladies say!
KD

musings on my ideal day

I've struggled a bit with thinking up and living my ideal day. It's hard for me to put to words exactly how I'd like to spend my days, and things rarely ever seem to go exactly how I'd want them to. Especially with my event planner schedule (SPORADIC!), two days are never identical. I could be writing blog posts for the week ahead, running errands for styled shoots, emailing vendors about events, tweaking elements of my website, planning for the future, going through business finances or legal documents, executing events, or meeting with potential clients. Even my workday can vary -- my set office hours are Monday - Thursday 9AM - 4PM (weekends reserved for event dates or precious family time), but rarely do I completely adhere to these.

Some days I would say things were as ideal as I could have them -- productive work hours, getting important things done, running vital errands, having difficult but necessary conversations. There are certain elements that definitely characterize a day as "ideal" (exercising -- particularly through hot yoga, eating healthy meals, taking walks, staying on task and focused, not sleeping in, etc). But defining a specific blueprint is HARD for me.

Sparkly things, pretty fabrics, gorgeous colors and textures, fresh flowers, emotional moments, animals, glamour, windows open, and candlelight are a few things that bring me joy. I can always wear a sparkly necklace, work on a lovely project that requires some sewing and construction, keep fresh flowers in the house, admire my pets, open windows, dress up and light candles... those are easy ways to make my life more "fired up" in the moment. 

Other things I might incorporate in my "ideal" day (while I'm trying to define exactly what it is)....

  • exercise, feeling ALIVE {hot yoga, dance class, going for walks, yoga with Drew, running, etc}
  • keeping a tidy home {cleaning up after my messes, staying more attuned to how things ACTUALLY are -- since I tend to live in my head and miss what's actually in front of me!}
  • maintaining a beautiful workspace {organizing things to functional usage, keeping inspirational photos or books or whatever at hand, taking care to surround myself with pretty things & collateral}
  • dressing up & looking presentable even when I'm home alone {swiping on some mascara and blush can do wonders for my motivation, and donning a pretty, professional-looking outfit not only looks good for video blogging, but makes me more productive!}
  • eating healthy, life-giving foods {natural, fresh, delicious foods give me more energy than sloppy, carb-rich junk}
  • reading books about faith {relationship, self-improvement, or just general informative spiritual books always lighten my load and remind me how to live!}
  • praying!!!!!!!!! {God is so good and faithful -- but we have to ask for the desires of our hearts and stay in tune with His vision!}
  • going outside for fresh air {does so much for the spirit!}
  • cuddling my cats {little pick-me-ups}
  • giving my husband my undivided attention when he's home {does so much for our relationship!}
  • making time for home-tending {ultimately, my first priority is to be a good and Godly wife, as well as the manager and "tender" of our household. I'm not as satisfied or happy when our house looks like a disaster and there's a mile-long to do list hovering over Drew & me. ...Not to mention he's not happy either.}
  • preparing for success {so much of action is in the groundwork laid before you take the action. I'm more likely to go work out if my clothes are laid out, my water bottle is filled, and my yoga mat or tennis shoes are by the door. Drew's more likely to get to work on time if we've ironed his shirt the night before, set out food for lunch, and gotten his things together in advance. I do better in client consultations when I've got everything I could possibly need with me, at the ready.}
  • making time to dream, to visualize, to think up amazing things {I LOVE working on creative projects, exercising my skill sets and honing new ones, and dreaming -- it fuels my creativity like none other, gives me something to work towards, challenges me to bring things to life, and makes my work better!}
  • cooking & learning new domestic skills {this goes hand-in-hand with home-tending, but creativity is ALSO fueled when I'm learning new things, exercising my imagination in new realms, and both Drew and I get to benefit from the end result in these endeavors! Be it learning how to sew Euro shams (something I've needed to tackle for months!), hang shelves, or roast a whole chicken (which I mastered for the second time last night -- woot woot!)... these things also challenge me and make me a better person all-around!}

I feel like that's a pretty good groundwork. It may not be a set schedule, detailed down to the very minute... but it does give me some ways to measure how my days are on the ideal-o-meter!!! What things do you want to incorporate into your life to make it ideal? Post in the comments below! :)