Fluffy life stuff

Your world is only created through you. So what kind of a world are you creating?

Our adult lives begin with a moment of stillness. When you’re not on a forced schedule. When someone is not telling you what to do and when to do it. Then you realize, it’s all up to you. It’s sweet and exciting until it gets hard and then in the back of our heads, we hear our parents’ voices telling us that ‘life is not meant to be easy’.

So we live the best way we know how.  We make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them. We get busy making a life for ourselves. It’s sometimes fun, sometimes hard and sometimes the joy drains out of us and sometimes we live a life that’s just content. I don’t want content.

Do you feel alive? Or are you just going through the motions of someone living?

Are you happy or sad? Satisfied or empty? Full of purpose or out there searching for meaning? Or do you feel stuck and unsure of what your life needs? Maybe something is missing? Does your life have meaning and purpose?

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Meaning and purpose are what make a life. Without these things, we have no story. Without a story, we do not exist.

Everyone has a story and everyone’s story matters, right? Although Sometimes I feel like if I just sat on the couch binge watching Netflix, who would care? But if I did that, then nothing would get done and at the end the day I would feel like I wasted it and my to-do list would still be waiting for me. Things piled up is a worse feeling for me because I get overwhelmed and more all I want to do is hide under the covers or binge watch Netflix.

So a day (or days) spent binge watching can leave you empty.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

In order to come alive, you need to serve something greater than yourself. You need to find that thing that makes your heart beat a little bit faster. What greater purpose are you serving? And are you really serving it? It’s important to be a part of a larger journey.

A life that matters, is a life that has MEANING.

Do something that you are passionate about every day. Every moment you stay longer in a place you shouldn’t be, you start to become extraordinarily ordinary. Because it keeps you from falling into your own truth.

Stand in your truth!

So how do you know you’re heading towards your own truth? Where do you belong? Well, I think your gut tells you. An evolution that lives inside all of us that leads us to where we belong. All those little inklings, those feelings that steer you around in life. God sends messages…your life is always speaking to you. The busy and chaos of today are so loud, distracting and noisy we often don’t hear or feel those messages. It’s only when we allow ourselves to sit still, then we might be able to feel it. God talks to us in the still and these still small voices come from within.

What is your life’s calling? What were you put on this earth to do? We all have one, something that only you can do. Something you came here to fulfill. Your treasure of true self that you already possess.

“Let your life speak”

Your life calling is your foundation.  It’s solid and keeps you grounded especially whenever your house starts to fall apart. You know when you feel not right and off balance. Your foundation is that thing that keeps you going and makes you feel you want to keep working at it no matter whats going on around you…that is your calling.

Be impactful. Where do you have the most impact?

What is your real work and who or what will you fight for? Doing something every day that you do not believe in gives you a scar across your collective soul. Don’t waste your life doing meaningless projects. Don’t talk about “one day” just get started. Do what you know you need to do. Do what you’ve been thinking about. Make that choice.

Be careful of the imposter syndrome…telling yourself “I’m not worthy of this” or “they are going to figure out I’m a fake”. You are in that room because you belong there. Don’t feed yourself cruel words that can barricade or put roadblocks up in your path. I usually know that I’m heading in the right direction when initially its hard or seems crazy or I’m constantly trying to talk myself out of it. But once I start on that path I quickly start to feel right inside and know I’m doing the right thing. Mistakes are all part of life. Even our worst decisions don’t separate us from humanity.

Don’t let people that don’t matter too much, matter too much. 

Your crown has been paid for and all you have to do is put it on your head. Understand the power from which you come from.

 

Figure out what inspires you and do that.

Start today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being American, Fluffy life stuff

Let’s chat about the ‘FATTY BOOMBA’ stage…you know what I’m talking about!

I eat one naughty treat because I ‘deserve it’, then that leads to another and before I know it I’m like a hoover inhaling every sweet thing I see. Then my clothes feel a bit tight and soon I can’t button my pants. It’s like it sneaks up on me. Like my body didn’t see me sneaking all those sweets and it’s not my fault that I can’t hide my muffin top anymore. Do you know what I’m saying?

My fatty boomba stage ALWAYS seems to happen after the holidays and the start of the cool season.

Christmas is bad but we do Febfast every year and it helps us to get back on track. Febfast is giving up either sugar, coffee, alcohol and/or technology for the whole month of February. My husband and I always give up sugar. I tell everyone I’m giving up sugar, coffee and alcohol. The people who know me well laugh and call me a cheater because they know I don’t drink alcohol or coffee anyway. But giving up sugar is a challenge. I don’t know how you give up technology for a month? Maybe you just give up social media or something.

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Photo by Baher Khairy on Unsplash

So Easter is the worst for me. We have so much chocolate in the house and the only way to get rid of it is to eat it, right? And so we do, I do. I overindulge. I sneak it when the kids are not looking. It calls my name from the pantry. It’s also the end of the warm weather here in Melbourne, so I feel like my body has this animal instinct to put on an extra layer.  Anyway, it’s hard to fight it with all that chocolate in the house. This is when my ‘Fat pants’ get a run.

Fat Pants

After I had my son it was really had to lose the weight I gained during the pregnancy. I didn’t want to buy myself anything new because I was determined to lose the weight and reward myself with a new outfit. Well, when my son turned three, I decided I needed to buy some fat pants. You know what I mean, jeans that look good but when you bend over to tie your shoes it doesn’t cut off your air supply.

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Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

When I was home for Thanksgiving one year, my sister-in-law and I went shopping for Black Friday. We walked past Lucky Jeans and they had a big sale sign in the window. We went in. I asked the lady who greeted us if she had any fatty boomba pants. She laughed and asked me to repeat myself. After explaining my situation, she had me try on a few different pairs of jeans. Stretchy jeans but still looked cool. I spent more money on my fatty boomba jeans than I spend on normal jeans. I figured that maybe I could cut them off into shorts and wear them with a belt or something when I lost the weight. Those fatty boomba pants have been my saving grace over the last 6 years. I hate that I can’t stay slim but I like my food. Food makes me happy especially sugar!

This Morning

So I’m at the gym. My last visit was six months ago. My doctor advised me to put my gym membership on hold after a hernia operation. A 36-year-old hernia, removed. Seriously. I remember going to the doctor when I was 10-years-old for it. They gave me a pamphlet titled ‘Your Hernia and You’. The ‘R’ in Hernia was pushing out like a hernia. That is the only reason I remember it.

As hubby and I were getting ready for bed last night, he asks if I’m going to the gym in the morning. I set my alarm but still hadn’t decided. The alarm goes off and I surprise myself when I get out of bed and throw my gym clothes on. It’s freezing but I get there in time for the 6.15am spin class.

Some of the usual suspects are there and recognize me. I smile. I’ve never had a conversation with them but I know them by the imaginary life I’ve made up for them. There’s the empty-nester who’s unnoticed by her husband and has nothing better to do but exercise. The divorced dad, who’s trying his best to jump back into the dating scene. Two mums that pretend to like each other but secretly compete and the bazaar trio, I can’t figure out which one is married to the guy they come with. This keeps my mind occupied rather than listening to my brain who’s telling me ok, you can stop now.

I was shocked I remembered how to adjust the bike let alone remember the settings that fit me. I get on, strap my feet in and yep, it’s like riding a bike. I start to peddle, check out the new faces and make up stories for them; Pretty girl, that’s crushing on the instructor judging from her full face of makeup, did I mention its a 6.15am class? Sisters who come with mum, the older one desperately trying to fit into that formal dress and the guy that seriously needs a haircut. He’s going to put his neck out by jerking his head left trying to get it out of his face. All is going well except I forgot about the mental checklist I use to go through. It came flooding back to me ten minutes after class started–too late to do anything about it now…

√ Don’t choose a bike next to waterfall man. (sweats so much it waterfalls down his bike–I know and he’s next to me).

√ Check the bike for any clunks before you strap in (I’m feeling a clunk each time my left foot hits the bottom–distracting and annoying).

√ Choose a bike near the fans (It’s freezing at the start but soon I’m dying of heat and ‘visor girl’ who always turns the fans on and then points them to herself, just turned the fans on and pointed them to herself–I don’t know why she always wears a visor, I can assure her the sun will not be getting in her eyes).

√ Don’t choose a bike right in front of the speaker (I’m being blasted out by the instructor who feels he must talk-shout the lyrics from the song to fill in the space-Urgh!).

Don’t overextend your left knee (I forgot about that old war injury. I don’t know why I have it or where it came from but it hurts whenever I overextend it and takes a few days to come good again).

√ GOAL: 18K (I try my best not to look at the other person’s screen but I have a competitive edge that comes out. I. Must. Ride. Further.)

At 6:40am (only 5 mins to go) my brain wins. Remember not to overdo it on your first day back, Kaylynn, you’ve done enough and my feet listen, the peddling slows to a stop. I get off the bike with a sore bum. I stretch then limp over to get a paper towel and spray it with cleaning product trying not to make eye contact with the instructor, if he talks to me it will blare out of the speakers, I then limp back and start cleaning the bike except I notice my water bottle is missing. What did I do with it? Nothing. I’m cleaning the wrong bike. What stories they must make up about me.

I get home to find hubby still laying in bed looking at his phone.

“How come you’re home so early?”

“I’m not.”

It was then I realized I left class 15 mins early. Oh well. I’ll try again after my bum and knee are not so sore anymore.

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Photo by William Felker on Unsplash

 

To anyone who’s in the fatty boomba stage:

Take back your power! Before you put anything in your mouth ask yourself…

  • Am I hungry?
  • Am I bored?
  • Why am I eating this?
  • Will this help me fit back into my skinny jeans?

Have a big drink of water and look at the time. Have you missed a meal? Or how close you are to your next meal? Think healthy! Buy fresh salads, fruit and nuts.

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Photo by Andy Tootell on Unsplash

Let’s make better choices for our immediate health, our future and the example we are setting to those that look up to us. Let’s make sure we are burning more calories then we are putting in…

Let us all avoid becoming this…

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Feature photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Fluffy life stuff

Find your place…a space that makes you smile and brings you back to you.

My smile space has always been books.

Books. Books. Books.

I’m obsessed with books, always have been but not for the reason you would think. Growing up in America people were constantly handing out these little colorful New Testaments. I regularly took one and my mom always said: “That’s not our bible.” And I always wondered what she meant by that. Later I learned that it was Gideon’s bible not the King James version. I took them not because I wanted to read it but because I wanted to touch the binding, see how well it was made, to look at it and hold it.

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It looked exactly like a big book but smaller. The perfect size for a small girl obsessed with small things too. These books were the perfect package.

I would carry that little book around with me. Putting it in my handbag of the moment, play with it until I lost interest and eventually it would disappear. Out of sight out of mind right.

Even though I’ve not thought about those little books until writing this post, the love and obsession I have for books remains. In fact, its grown.

Early school years were tricky for me. The things that seem to come naturally to the other children, I struggled with. It took me ages to learn how to read. Our teacher would have us take turns reading out loud a sentence each. I didn’t even understand what a sentence was. I only knew it was my turn when the person next to me stopped reading and everyone looked at me. I felt sick, nervous, and anxious. My whole body shook as well as my voice as I read aloud. I always mixed up the words or couldn’t pronounce them and it was only a matter of time before the kids snickered. I even caught the teachers exasperated expressions.

We didn’t really read at home but I remember my mom reading ‘The Monster at the End of this Book’ to me. I asked her to read it over and over. I loved it. Even though I knew what was coming, I lived each page as if it was the first time I’d heard it. I had her read it so much that I memorized it and could read it to myself. Maybe she thought I was really reading it?

   

I don’t remember taking books home from school to practice or even reading out loud to my parents at all. I remember trying to read about Jack and Jane and their dog Nip at school. “Run, Jack run”. “No, Nip no”. “Stop, Jane stop”. They were very simple with only a few words on each page. Easy for everyone to read I guess but I didn’t understand them. There was no story on the page. They were boring and uninteresting. I could sound out the simple words but I had a hard time with the vowels. Back then we didn’t learn with phonics and it was just all confusing to me. The words I knew how to pronounce correctly, I memorized. I was too little to understand that I needed to ask for help. I was too young to understand that I was behind the other kids. I was too young to realize how important reading was. I don’t even know if my teachers even talked to my parents. I was a kid left to her own devices.

I grew up knowing I was not smart. I grew up knowing I was different. I had a slow leak and my confidence secretly escaped undetected.  I was quiet and shy, I didn’t know how to make friends. The thoughts I had about myself kept me away from others. Everyone knew I was dumb. It’s as if I walked around with a huge billboard over me that read:

This is Kaylynn, she is dumb. Don’t be her friend or else you might catch what she has”.

Did I mention I was crap at sports too? Always the very last to be picked. But I was good at noticing the other kids who felt the same way about themselves and I started friending them and I learned from them. Some were smart but socially awkward. I learned how to fake confidence until one day I just was.

It wasn’t until year nine that I read my first full novel. It took me forever but I did it and I was very proud of myself. It was also then that I learned I struggled with dyslexia. The letters or words kept changing their order. As an adult, I would borrow books from the library but have to return them before I finished because I was such a slow reader. It was embarrassing.

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Photo by Glen Noble on Unsplash

So really books could have been something I ran from but there has always been a special feeling I get when I step into a library or a bookshop or a room with a big bookcase full of books. They call to my heart somehow and I come back to me. My heart settles and I feel right at home. It’s almost like these places knew something I didn’t know about myself. I held onto that feeling until I figured out a way to keep it. I always felt happy when I wrote. I didn’t know I was a writer. I never thought of myself as a writer. It was only two years ago that I started saying it out loud.

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Photo by Radu Marcusu on Unsplash

So what space makes you happy? Think back about when you were small. Do you remember what made you happy? And how do you recreate it as an adult? What takes your breath away with awe? What do you do just for you? For many years I struggled with what made me happy. I just didn’t know and stopped chasing it.

Create a space that makes you smile. Could it be an area in your house where the sun shines through the window on that comfortable chair that you can relax on? Is it a picture you inherited from your grandma that hangs on your wall? Is it going for a long drive alone with your music and your thoughts? What is it for you? And will you share it with me? I’d love to hear your comments. xoxo Kaylynn

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Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash
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Me this morning in my pj’s (haha-I love pj’s too) I have 3 book shelves, this is my favorite one.

Featured photo by Eugenio Mazzone on Unsplash

Fluffy life stuff, Growing pains

So what is your happiness?

We all want it. We want it for our children, loved ones, friends but mostly for ourselves. We strive for it but what does it actually look like? We each have our own definition of happiness but do you know what your happiness feels like? When do you know if you’ve achieved it? Are there different levels of happiness and do we stop once we get to the first level? Does your happiness even have levels? Is it a person(s)? Is it a day of the week? Friday? The weekend? Is it your home? Does happiness come after finishing a project? Or is it a feeling that stays with you?

happiness

noun  hap·pi·ness  \ ˈha-pē-nəs \
a state of well-being and contentment: 
joy a pleasurable or satisfying experience

 

If you don’t know what your happiness is, let’s start with unhappiness…

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Photo by Arwan Sutanto on Unsplash

I have two levels of unhappy.

I’m unhappy when my kids tease each other and that teasing turns to tears. I’m unhappy when I open my side of the wardrobe and it bangs into the other door because my husbands left his side open. I’m unhappy when I forgot to pull the meat out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner and it’s 5pm. But maybe all of that is more frustration than unhappiness.

The unhappiness I want to talk about is the one that can be crippling. The one that brings on tears for no reason or the unhappiness that makes you disengage from your life and spend your days in your head with your own private battle going on.

When I’m unhappy like that, I’ve got a nickname for it. A nickname I can say out loud. My close friends know it means “I’m Depressed” without having to say those ugly words. I say ‘I’ve lost my muchness’ and they know.

I started to become aware of my actions when I found myself in that space again and again. I paid attention to the things I do, or stop doing. I stop looking at social media. I stop serving others. I stop accepting invitations to go out. I stop smiling. I stop calling people. I stop answering my phone.  I stop appreciating my life. I just stop being me.

I become silent and crawl into myself. 

I sit at home and wish the time away by watching movies or playing way too much Plants vs Zombies—sometimes simultaneously. When I watch movies, it transports me into someone else’s life. Not a real life, but it helps me to get out of my head. My head is full of jumbled thoughts that are hard to string together. The thoughts are unkind toward me and they turn me into an empty vessel. I have to ride the dark wave until I find my smile again.

Exercise

I’ve never been a skinny person but I do enjoy going to the gym. Always have. I enjoy the classes. It’s fun, it’s social and my body feels so much better after. I’m a 6am girl. I’m so much better in the mornings at everything! So after the gym at 6am, I’ve got so much energy and before 9am, I’ve already put on two loads of washing, vacuumed the house, made breakfast for the kids, got them off to school and that’s just on a workday.

So the start of me going downhill is when I stop exercising. For whatever reason…too tired, too busy, no time…they are just excuses I feed myself. If I stop exercising, within three months I’ll be bottomed out swimming in depression.

It took me years to realize my trigger points. Exercise is my key to maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle.

How come exercise? Well, I’ve thought a lot about this…

No exercise  lack of energy→ eats more sugary foods→weight gain→ more eating because I’m filling a void that’s appeared and before I realize it, I’m saturated with yuck. I’m not happy. I’m not myself and I sink inside.

What are your triggers? I think we all have them… 

I think its really important to figure them out. Once I figured it out, I shared it with my husband so he could catch my fall in case I couldn’t.

Happiness…

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Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

You are in charge of your own happiness!

Happiness is the key to life. Happiness makes everything beautiful. I see the change of the seasons, the beautiful colors that surround us, I hear the birds singing, I want to hug everyone (and I do). When people who really know me see me coming, they just put their arms out because they know they are about to get a big hug. I’m a hugger…when I’m happy. I WANT TO HUG THE WORLD…when I’m happy. I spread good cheer. But I have learned which of my friends are not huggers and give them that space. When I’m happy, I brighten peoples days. I am a great listener and have time for everyone. When I pull away, I wonder if these people miss me (I don’t think twice about it when I’m low). When I’m happy, I can see those around me who need help and it makes me happy to go out of my way to help them. I want to make home improvements. I keep everything clean and organized. Nothing is too hard. I have energy galore and can do anything!

I feel happy when I find a cute bookshop or when I’m listening to music that makes my heart soar. I feel happy when my kids hug me. I always feel happy when I step into the State Library. I feel happy when my to-do list is finished. I feel happy to be sitting on the couch next to my husband after a busy day and I especially feel happy when he opens a bar of chocolate for us to share after the kids have gone to bed. There are lots of things that make me happy but when I’m unhappy I can’t find happiness anywhere.

When I was little, before I knew I was in charge of my own happiness, I could change my mood by thinking of a happy place. I went to Disneyland when I was seven–thinking about that always made me happy. It would change the current mood I was in and get on with my day.

As I grew up I could still use that strategy but of course, my happy places changed until one day even the happiest of my happiest places did not cheer me up. I knew then that I was in trouble. I felt lost and alone. I had to stop and think. Picturing me somewhere having fun was not enough anymore so I started to recreate the last happy feeling I had. I learned how to hold on to that feeling when I was down. It might have been how I felt after someone paid me a compliment or remembering a first kiss or what it feels like to fall in love. Then I would take that feeling and strive to recreate it. Happiness almost became drug-like to me as I was jonesing for the next fix, the next happy moment. But soon I stopped living in the moment. I was either looking too far ahead because I was chasing the happy or I was living in the past holding on to a happy memory trying to resurrect it. This was not good either.

So I’ve done a lot of work to be happy in the present moment. Live it, love it and not look back. I want to live the best life I can and I am done wasting present moments being stuck in the past. I have found happiness and balance with who I am today. I enjoy yoga, hanging out with positive people, being a good mother, going on dates with my husband, but mostly I am a writer that needs to write. This blog has been extremely healthy for me. I’m able to express myself and it has been well received. Thank you.

I wish you all much happiness and balance. It’s a good place to be. I love you all!

GROUP HUG! XOXO

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Photo by Enes Aktas on Unsplash

Featured Photo on top by Fernando Brasil

Fluffy life stuff

Awareness is a gift!

The other day I was sitting watching my daughter’s ice skating lessons through the cafe window—as it’s a much warmer place to be.  A few seats down there was a woman wearing a big black puffy jacket. She got up, passed behind me bumping me in the back as her big puffy jacket knocked my glasses case to the floor.  I turned to look at her as she walked away oblivious to what had just occurred. I leaned down to pick up my case and continued to watch my daughter. As she came back to sit down I got another bump in the back. I decided to move seats. Just as I did, a guy walked into the cafe, he stunk so bad I needed to put my sleeve over my nose. I looked around and everyone else smelled it too. It was suffocating.

Just as the lady had no idea she was bumping me, this nicotine saturated guy had no idea how bad he smelled. Both people lacked awareness. Just like that person who is talking loud on their phone on a quiet commuter train, possibly right now?

But what is awareness?

I knew the word, I used it in sentences, but it was not until my late thirties that I really started to understand what awareness was. I became aware of others. Aware of my true feelings. Aware of the consequences of my own actions. Aware of how others responded to me. But mostly I became aware of how I needed to change certain things about myself.

Awareness 

[uh-wair-nis]

noun

  1. the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness
  2. knowledge that something exists, or understanding of a situation or subject at the present time based on information or experience.

“Awareness is like the sun.

When it shines on things, they are transformed.”

                                                                                                          -Thich Nhat Hanh

So if that’s awareness then what is ‘un-awareness’? Disregard, ignorance, neglect, misunderstanding, unfamiliarity, insensitivity, unconsciousness—all words that I would not associate now with myself.

By the time my son was born in 2009, I was stuck almost full time in my head. I was totally consumed by thoughts from the past or worries about the future. My mind would only stay in the present for a short time before my runaway thoughts would steal me again. I was crippled with worry. I worried about everything.  I worried about where my life was going. If I was a good mother. I worried about my position at work. About wrong decisions, I’d made. It was exhausting living in my body.

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Photo by Aziz Acharki unsplash.com

My precious baby son was a gift. Of course, all babies are but he helped me to become more present and live in the now. Whenever I would drift off, he would demand my attention with a scream, a smile or diaper change and bring me back to the now. When he got a little older he brought me back with his wet kisses, showing me how he could kick the ball or reaching out with his arms saying “uppy”. He brought me back, to him, and I loved him all the more for it. I started becoming aware of just how much I drifted off and how I was always second guessing myself. I started putting my thoughts aside and made an effort to be more present. More involved. I listened to him with my whole self not just an appeasing nod as I half listened.

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Stop and think for a minute.

Are you aware of yourself right now? How are you sitting? Who is around you? Are you comfortable? How do you feel? How is your breathing? Do you feel stressed? Are you mindful of the stresses, worry, fear, doubt, uncertainty, suspicion, panic, unease, and other feelings that are constantly trying to take control? Do you not feel good enough?

Are you happy? Excited about something? In love? Do you remember what it felt like to be in love? Do you remember what brought you to your partner, husband or wife? Why are you with them? Do they bring you light?

How is your life? Are you a slave to it or are you in control? Is it just a rat race or do you find the little joys around you? Do you breathe deeply? Do you enjoy the breath? How does it make your body feel?

Is this the life you anticipated? Were your childhood dreams better? Is your life better than your dreams?

Are the leaves changing colors around you? When was the last time you went for a walk just to be alone with your thoughts? What are you thinking? Do you like who you are? Do you like the vibrations you put off to others?  Are you even aware what vibrations you put off to others? Do you go out of your way to make others smile?

Wake up. Make mindfulness a part of your everyday. Make awareness a gift and pass it on to those around you.

Make sure you engage in the moments you are given.

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Here’s an app (Smiling Mind) that can get you started with your awareness and mindfulness.

 

 

Fluffy life stuff, Growing pains

People pleasers need to stop sacrificing their excellence

I love people. It’s rare I don’t get along with someone. I find people very fascinating. What they do, what they say, what makes them interesting. But mostly I connect to what they don’t say, what their body tells me. I am a people person but it was during a conversation I had with my husband, some years ago (before he even was my husband), that something really sang out. I was upset about something that happened at work. I felt misunderstood. I was crying and felt my job (me) being threatened. My husband said, “We need to be liked by everyone”. That statement rang in my ears for weeks, months and as you can see years. Why had I never noticed it before? I am a people pleaser; yes I am and have been all of my life.

Now I’m seeing the same ‘people pleasing’ behaviors in my sweet daughter. I see it when she feels like she might get into trouble with her dad. I see it when she’s playing with her friends. I even notice her do it to me, of course, because I taught her this, didn’t I?  How do I help myself but more importantly help her? Why do we NEED to be liked by everyone? At what point do these behaviors start to self-harm?

“If your number one goal is to make sure that everyone likes and approves of you, then you risk sacrificing your uniqueness, and, therefore, your excellence.”

                                                                                                         ~Unknown

I’ve been sacrificing my excellence

FOR. YEARS.

…and I didn’t even know it.

Are you doing the same thing?

I bend over backward to help those around me putting my own needs last. But I can argue that this is part of my uniqueness as well. I’ve unknowingly given up bits of myself trying to gain approval. In the beginning, it’s innocent, you just want to help out and be nice, but what happens when these acts of kindness are not reciprocated and you keep trying to please the same people or type of person? They start to become ‘takers’.

Do people pleasers create takers or is it the other way around? Takers definitely feed on people pleasers that I know for sure. Living this way is proven to be unhealthy because it’s not sustainable, it catches up with you and breaks you down. Did it take seeing the same behaviors in my daughter to finally open my eyes? How do we help and serve those around us without falling into a ‘taker trap’?

As long as I can remember I’ve always tried to be liked by all. People are nice to people they like and I was (let’ be truthful, still am) never good with rejection or dislike directed at me. It started at home. I was one of five children, the middle child. I’m sure being one of five kids needing attention from my parents is where it started. I did my best to be the perfectly behaved one and became an overachiever in life or a perfectionist.

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Photo by Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash

My older brother already had the role of the one who did the wrong thing and got all my mother’s worries.  My little brother was the baby and my little sister played to role of the snoop and victim. My older sister paved the way for all of us, challenged my parents with all the firsts. I idolized my older sister. I loved everything about her and wanted to be just like her. I would follow her around the house annoying her with my obsession. Before she became a teenager, she always had time for her four younger siblings. Just because she didn’t want to spend time with us anymore didn’t mean I didn’t want to spend time with her. She started to resent me and wasn’t very nice. She started to change and the smallest of questions or comments got your head bitten off and soon she wasn’t any fun to be around. I lost my sister to teenage-pregnancy. She became a mother at eighteen and I became an aunt at twelve. It didn’t change how I felt about her. I just now had a sweet little niece to love and play house with. My sister ended up getting married very quickly to her boyfriend and moved to Italy where he was stationed in the Navy. I missed my sister and my little niece very much. I can trace my needing to be liked back to my older sister. I tried everything in my power to get her to like me again, but I didn’t understand all that she was going through at the time and I blamed myself. I wasn’t cool enough, I wasn’t tall enough, old enough. This seems to be my earliest memory of this type of behavior that will follow me throughout my life.

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

We all have different talents. That’s what makes us so unique and interesting in our own way. I have always been able to understand people’s feelings. It’s like I can look directly into their heart at times. I seem to be extra sensitive to people’s emotions. When I was young I thought everyone could feel this. Because of what I felt, I took on the responsibility of trying to make everyone around me happy from an early age.

My parents were divorced when I was eight-years-old. It was messy for all seven of us but I remember feeling that their divorce was my fault. Why did I feel this way? How could such a young child feel this? This seems very odd to me now that I am a mother myself. I would never want my children to feel the need to take on such responsibilities, such adult responsibilities that even as adults we don’t understand or choose to take on.

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Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

As I hit my 40’s things started to make a little more sense; a missing link was revealed. I was finally ready to learn and let it sink in. I discovered that the ‘wants’ and the ‘needs’ of people are blurred to me. It’s my job to ‘de-code’ the wants from the needs to then be able to understand someone’s true desires. For all of my young life, I have mistaken people’s desires and wants for needs. I feel I have been put on this earth to serve and help others. It brings me happiness. Most people I help just want my love, support & understanding. Everything I give to these people comes at no risk to me. In fact, helping them strengthens me. But when I give to the ‘takers’ I hurt myself in the process. They tear strips off me and over the years I’ve given too much of myself away, especially in those tender teenage years. I felt their desires but misread their wants for needs. I finally understand the difference and I need to help my daughter understand the difference.

Now how do I put this into practice?

I ask myself a simple question. Do they just want something from me or do they enjoying being in my space? I can usually tell by people’s behaviors, words, actions, body language, life morals, the stories they share with me and the most telling signs are the way they treat other people, especially the people they love.

What can be tricky for me is if I’ve just met someone, i’ll need to rely a lot on my gut. I trust my gut, however, this is where the battle within begins. When my gut instinct does not match what my head and heart are telling me. My head always wins over my gut and my heart usually wins over my head. My head is logic, my heart is emotions and my gut picks up on everything else. My gut picks up what my head and heart don’t see or choose not to see. That’s why it’s been so easy to get it wrong a lot.

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Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

I have felt so low about myself that I needed others to want and need me to feel any self-worth. It makes me sad to think about that heartbroken young Kaylynn with all her muchness draining out of her helpless to stop it and desperate for anything, even a band-aid fix.

I only want to see good in everyone, with me everyone starts out with greatness in their soul, a clean slate. I see my daughter giving everyone a clean slate too…and this is not a bad thing except when her excellence starts being sacrificed.

The world needs more random acts of kindness. Kindness changes hearts from both directions. This week do something for someone else. Something that can change a heart.

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Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

The world is full of selfish people. We can change hearts by showing gentleness toward each other and ourselves. Let’s lift and care for each other without tearing strips and hurting each other.

Kindness begins with me.

 

 

Feature photo by Spencer Pugh on Unsplash

 

Being Mormon, Fluffy life stuff

Are you living your life in a bubble?

It’s Kaylynn soapbox time…

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In my teens and early 20s, I walked around living life in a bubble. I was only concerned for the world I created and the world where only I mattered. I only realized I even did this years later when I noticed others doing it. You know the ones that care only about themselves. We all know some of these people and if you don’t know them, are you one of them?

We’ve all been there. Once upon a time, we were all teenagers. We stopped listening to our parents because they knew nothing about being in high school today. We would drown out their voices with our own thoughts, eye rolls and blaring our ‘rock’ music on clock radios (today in my house the only difference is its done with earbuds attached to an iPhone). Most of us thankfully grow out of this bubble, however, some don’t. There are adults still walking around inside those bubbles. They’ve created a life seeing only what they choose to see (I can think of some I know right now). They turn their heads when nothing is in it for them…it is outside the bubble. They choose not to see the needs of others around them and over time…well, practice makes perfect. They don’t even realize what they are missing out on.

When our focus is only on ourselves, we stop seeing the beauty around us and I think we stop growing into the person we are meant to be.

“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others .”                                                                                                  –Mandy Hale

 

Are you in a bubble?

Are you a Mormon living in a bubble?

Are you an active or passive church member? Are you engaged with your ward and its members or do you just go through the motions? When you do decide to come to church, do you sit in the back trying to be invisible? Do you arrive at church in a good mood smiling thinking ‘how can I share my light today’ or do you come with expectations of ‘what can they teach me’ or ‘I’ve heard this before’? Would you notice if there was someone new sitting there and would you go out of your way to say ‘hello’? Do you listen to the talks/lessons people have prepared all week, really listen and think about how you can apply what you’re hearing to your own life right now or are you tuned out watching the clock or possibly distracted by Facebook during your meetings? Do you take the time to thank them for their words? Have you fed the missionaries lately? Do you extend yourself in your calling or just barely do the minimum hoping your flying under the radar? Did you notice who wasn’t at church, are they ok? Should you give them a call later, visit them or send them a little text to let them know they were missed? Do you act on those little promptings? Do you invite the spirit in and feel its comfort whisperings or are you contemplating whether you even stick around for Sunday school because you can’t be bothered today? Do you really keep the Sabbath day holy? Is the temple a priority and part of your regular routine especially during this busy time in your life?

Even if you’re not Mormon ask yourself this…

Are you an active or passive person? Are you engaged in your life and the people around you or do you just go through the motions? Do you go out of your way to say hello or meet someone new? Do you notice when someone is struggling? Would you ask them if they are ok, or do you think ‘it’s none of my business?’ Do you arrive at work/school/gatherings in a good mood smiling thinking ‘how can I share my light today’ or do come with expectations of ‘I don’t want to be here’ or ‘How long will this last’? Do you listen to people, really listen and think about how you can apply what you’re hearing about to your own life right now or are you distracted by your phone? Do you follow up on some of the conversations? Check to see how their Dr visit went, how is the renovation going, wish them a happy birthday? Or do you just get on with it without another thought? Have you cooked for someone else besides your own family lately? Do you invite the positive energy in and feel its comfort whisperings or can’t you be bothered? Do you have a day where you take time out for you and unplug from the outside world?

You are a good person, right? You live your life by the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

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But what about that person that just gets under your skin? That person at work/church that gets under everyone’s skin.  Maybe they have treated you badly in the past and you can’t let it go? Forgive? Even to be in the same room with them gets you in a bad mood. I’m guilty of having my own nemesis in my time. The people who are takers– always asking you for favors and its hard to say no. For me, my nemesis was another mother. She was the perfect mother. House always clean, a great cook, she could even sew and to me, I felt she was always bragging about how great she was and how perfect her kids were. But when I think back on that time, she never really said that. I put us in a competition. Her vs me.  I shared my thoughts with other mothers to make myself feel better (gossip!). I wanted them to agree with me and be on my side. This poor mother had no idea there were even sides. It was my own insecurities as a mother that I projected onto her.  Once I realized it was my issue, I was able to let it go and see her for who she really was. A beautiful mother trying her best like all the rest of us. I stopped giving away my energy to something that was not even real. Energy I couldn’t afford to give away.

Now I’m not asking you to spend time with someone that makes you feel less because I’m

DEAD. SET. AGAINST. THAT.

I’m just asking you to reexamine why you might feel a certain negative way towards someone. And if they have done something, is it time to clear the air? Forgive?

Here is a challenge for all of us…can you try it for at least a day or even a week? Just see how this makes you feel.

  1. When you talk to people see the beauty within. Especially those that get under your skin. Help yourself to stop giving away your energy to something that may only be in your head.
  2. Have only ‘REAL’ conversations. Speak honestly about things that matter to you. Don’t waste your time on a ‘fake’ conversation. Be real. Don’t agree with things and concepts you don’t agree with and be mindful not to engage in gossip! Engage with people on an emotional level. Get beyond the superficial. That is where real conversations start and meaningful friendships are formed.
  3. Hand out compliments often. How many times have you thought of something nice about someone but kept it to yourself? TELL THEM! We all need to hear the good stuff about ourselves, the stuff we can’t always see. Tell that waiter what a great job they did, tell that random lady at the grocery store you like her dress, tell your children ‘thank you’ for using their manners. Compliments are no good to anyone when they are kept, give them away!
  4. Try and meet at least one new person a day. For some of us, this is easy because of the line of work that you’re in but this can be a hard challenge for some introverts out there. I often meet new people through introductions from friends but try and go and introduce yourself to someone new. Some of the best conversations I’ve had are with strangers that I’ve only met once. On an airplane, bus, walking the dog. Open yourself up to all the new possibilities and wonder that the people around you have to offer.
  5. Forgiveness. Don’t let it be a stranger. Explore this concept. Give yourself permission to forgive even if whatever happened was really nasty and has left a bad taste in your mouth for years. Clearing the space around you with forgiveness lightens the heavy load that you are carrying around in your whole body.
  6. Start your day with a prayer. Ask for the courage to do what you feel you can’t. Ask to cross paths with someone who needs your help today.                                          Or if you’re not a pray-er, start your day off with something positive that makes you smile. I like to listen to music in the morning. It changes the mood of crabby tired kids getting ready for school immediately. I play songs we all know. Soon I hear them singing as they get ready and kindness toward each other spills out —of course I still have to remind my youngest to get his shoes on 10 times, but I’m kinder, less yell-y when I remind him ;).

If all of us tried a bit more to come out of our bubbles, or better yet pop them for good, we would all be much better off. A stronger ward, a stronger community, a happier people.

Pay attention to the way you talk to people, be engaged in the now, let your heart listen to what’s going on around you, slow down, look for someone to share your light with today. After all, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Featured Photo above by Markus Spiske on Unsplash