April Loves

Hi there, and welcome to the first (of many!) posts about what resources have been making an impact on my life. From books, to TV shows, to apps, (and maybe the occasional recipe!) I’m hoping that what I’ve been finding useful and loving in my own life, will also be a great source of inspiration and well-being for you as well!

Books:

Badass

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Obviously, this had to be at the top of the list. It’s the whole reason for this blog, and a book that I think everyone would benefit from reading. Go buy it, download it, check it out of the library.)

You-Are-a-Badass-at-Making-Money

You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero

This was a great follow-up to Jen’s first book, and inspired me to take a good look at my financial situation. I find that Jen’s books are very motivational, in a fun, talking-with-your-girlfriend kind of way. She makes you want to go out and try things right then, as you’re reading them, and start changing your life NOW.  The more I read these books the more I’m becoming aware of the present and what you can do for your life in the moment. Making goals for the future and trying to get over things that happened in your past are important, but you can have a serious impact on your life by starting now.

As-a-Man-Thinketh-2

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

I loved that this book was really short. I guess sometimes I like my wisdom to be dealt to me in small doses 🙂 It is a powerhouse of a book though. It’s primary focus is on how powerful the way you think is ( I know you’d never guess that from the title!), and how your thoughts manifest what you get out of life. Positive thoughts=positive life and negative thoughts=negative life.

The Game of Life

The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn

Another book, like As a Man Thinketh, that was suggested by Jen in the resource section of her first book. While it focuses a lot on the religious, overall, this was a book that inspired me to have faith and trust in the Universe. It also provides you with a bunch of affirmations so that you can focus on channeling your desires to the Universe in the right way. While I found this to be helpful, I’m not sure that the Universe needs you to ask for things in such a specific way, but it was definitely excellent food for thought!

Apps:

Oprah Meditation

Oprah and Deepak’s 21 Day Meditation Sessions

To be honest, I have signed up for about 10 of these 21-day sessions in the past, and this is the first time I’ve really stuck with it. If you’re a first time meditator I think that it’s an invaluable resource and a great introduction into the practice. Oprah (!) introduces each session and inspires you with her wisdom, then Deepak speaks about the topic of the day, and then you meditate for about 10 minutes. It’s a total 20 minute time committment per day, it’s free, and something you can do just about anywhere. The only thing is the 21 day sessions only run every couple of months so keep your eye out for them!

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Bumble

I know, you’re thinking, “Really? A dating app?”. But guys, let me tell you, from someone who hates the thought of dating, having an app that at least lets you see what’s out there and chat with people if you feel like it, is a great first step. Plus, I think it’s slightly more respectable (I sound like a grandmother) than some other dating apps out there. *cough*tinder*cough*.

Online Resources:

yoga-with-adriene-library

Yoga with Adrienne

I love this woman and the way she teaches yoga. I want to be friends with her. Adrienne makes you want to practice yoga for the sheer fun of it, and for the connection that you cultivate with your own body. She has a variety of different videos on her YouTube channel from those that focus on the fundamentals of yoga, to yoga for anxiety and stress, yoga for runners, yoga for when you’re angry (!), yoga for loneliness, etc. I stumbled across her channel in April, and I have been going back to it again and again!

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Ok, so Chapter 1. For whatever reason, I have had a huge mental block or subconscious avoidance of writing this post. I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to do it. I think it’s because in my head, I thought that it would be hard, since what Jen asks us to do in Chapter 1 is to confront some of our limiting beliefs head on and really explore them. Sounds like fun, right?

“The first key to ridding yourself of limiting subconscious beliefs is to become aware of them. Because until you’re aware of what’s really going on, you’ll keep working with your conscious mind to solve a problem that’s buried far beneath it in your subconscious, which is an exercise in futility.”

The problem is, how do you differentiate between these two things (What’s going on in your conscious mind vs. what’s going on in your subconscious mind)? What if I’m not doing it right and I’m focusing on completely the wrong thing?

So here’s what I did: I took the things that I thought were less-desirable in my life from one of my earlier posts here, and I thought about what came to my mind when I thought about them.

  1. I am single and I’ve never really had any sort of long-term relationship.
  • I think I’m single because I’ve always felt less than. I’ve never had a relationship before and because of that, I think that I feel like I’ve missed out, and will never find someone who genuinely loves me. I compare myself to other people and wonder why someone would be with me when they could be with whomever else I may be with. I feel unworthy and awkward if a guy pays even the slightest attention to me. Why would they ever look at me?? This has also led me to question a lot of things about myself – am I a lesbian, am I asexual? I don’t think so, but I’ve never really explored those options either. I’ve pretty much created a gilded wall around myself to prevent myself from being hurt or rejected.

2. I have never had sex (the honest to goodness kind).

  • I’m not sure how this happened. It probably has something to do with points from my first less-than-impressive area, but also from a deep-rooted hatred of my body from when I was a teenager and young adult. I’m pretty sure I know every inch of my body and I wonder why anyone would ever find it attractive. I also think that maybe because it’s been so long, I will be unable of “performing” so to speak, or that I won’t know what to do, and I’ll end up looking like an idiot.

3. I used to have a job that provided me with almost six-figures worth of income each year, and I gave it up to start my own business. Now, I have less than $5000 to my name.

  • This probably has a whole lot to do with where I think I should be given that I’m in my thirtieth year of life on this earth. There are so many people around me who have stable jobs, houses, spouses, kids, and here I am, almost 30, with no savings, RRSP’s, tax-free savings accounts (what are those anyways?), etc. I’m not sure why I view this in such a negative light. I think it’s because I doubt myself. I doubt my decisions, and think that anything else would be better than this. Comparison can be a bitch.

4. Because of this rather dire financial situation I now live with my mother (which really isn’t doing anything for point number two, if you feel me).

  • Yeah. Then there’s this. Did I ever think in 10 million years that I would move back in with my mom. No. Am I particularly proud of it? No, and primarily because it’s another one of my shoulds. People who are 29 years old should not live with their mothers. They should be financially stable and be capable of taking care of themselves. Of course, if you’re going through some sort of life crisis and need to move back in with your parents temporarily for some stability that’s one thing, but for me, I don’t know when the end is. I have this business that I’m not sure is going to be successful, and if it’s not, at the end, I’ll have no money (and God-forbid maybe even some debt) and I’ll have to keep living here even longer. #fearoftheunkown #needsomefaith

5. I have been working a year full-time at my business and it hasn’t taken off yet.

  • My final point. I have been working at this business for a full year and it still hasn’t taken off. Have I completely wasted my time and money? Am I completely off my rocker for making such a rash decision? What about buying a house? Having kids? Even a puppy? How am I ever supposed to get to the adult part of my life? Enough said.

So the next step in Jen’s words is to,

“Practice stepping aside, notice what’s happening in the dysfunctional areas of your life and strengthen your almighty awareness muscle. Start waking up to the stories you’re working with in your subconscious.”

Ok. I think I’m consciously trying to make an effort to do this. I’ve been able to step aside and really analyze where some of my behaviours have been coming from and then change them (for the full write-up click here). But, like I said at the very beginning, how do I know if I’m even focusing on and exploring the right things, or if I’ve gone deep enough into my subconscious beliefs to begin to really battle my issues.

I’m sure that’s why there are a whole lot more chapters!

What we let ourselves do to ourselves.

Ok, guys. This has been an interesting week. My mission was to work on deciding to change my life (instead of just wanting to), and believing in a world of limitless possibilities.

I was on a roll, I was reading books on positive thinking (more about those later) and trying to meditate, and be more positive in my thoughts and actions, and then I totally had a melt down on Saturday. An ugly, negativity spiral, that resulted in me getting all hot and bothered, treating everyone around me like scum, and me generally hating life and not being very pleased with myself.

But you know what, whereas before I would have stewed on things and been self-righteous and self-pitying and definitely played the victim card, I was able to take a step back and look at things differently. This was key. While at the time there was nothing I could do to stop myself from spiralling out of control, after everything was over and I had removed myself from the situation, I was able to look back and see where maybe, I had been totally out-to-lunch. I had been thinking all these negative thoughts and they had become my reality because I had let them. I had let them. How crazy and powerful is that?

So you know what I did? I realized how I had behaved and that how I had treated other people was completely based on non-realities and so I apologized. And it felt amazing. They took it really well, understood, and we moved on. I also spent some time thinking about how I could avoid things spiralling out of control the next time that happened. Lucky for me, I got the chance to put some of my tactics into practice the next day!

Again I was thinking all these negative thoughts about myself, about what this other person thought of me, about everything they had that I didn’t and that life was totally unfair, and I could feel myself building up to a major melt-down. This time though, I took a step back and practiced what I had been working on. This is what I did: I asked myself if I was ok in that moment. Like actually ok, in the sense that all my basic needs were met, I wasn’t dying, nobody was torturing me or yelling at me, I wasn’t stressed out, etc. And you know what? I realized deep down I was ok, I was just fine. I was letting all these thoughts get the better of me and they were pulling me down into their deep dark negativity cave. Once I removed myself from the situation and allowed myself to check in with myself fully in the moment, I realized the irrelevance of these thoughts and was able to let them pass. It felt AMAZING. They didn’t disappear completely that’s for sure, but every time one bubbled to the surface I asked myself the question again: Are you ok? Plus, is this really what you want to be focusing on? And I just let the feeling pass, because those sort of feelings and thoughts are not wanted anymore.

Next step, Chapter 1. More to come on that soon!

Limitless Possibilities

All journeys begin with a first step. It makes sense in this case then, to start with the introduction of Jen’s book as the jumping off point for my adventure. She starts sharing her wisdom and advice early, and even the introduction of her book has points that make you stop, think, and reflect. She wants us to know that we need to go from wanting to change our lives to deciding to change our lives, and the first thing that she asks the reader to do is belive that we live in a world of limitless possibilities.

At first, these seem like some pretty easy things to do after all, we don’t even have to go out and actually do anything to complete these tasks, all we need to do is just think certain things. But like Jen says, these two tasks (especially the first one) require us to set aside our disbelief and truly believe. As it turns out, this is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds.

“You need to go from wanting to do change your life, to deciding to change your life. Deciding means jumping in all the way, doing whatever it takes, and going after your dreams with the tenacity of a dateless cheerleader a week before prom night.”

Wanting to do something and deciding to do it are completely different. Wanting can be done anywhere at anytime and is something that is done purely in the mind. Deciding to do something means that not only does one spend a lot of time thinking about doing something, but then you actually have to act on it. At least, that’s what  I get out of it! Deciding is about actioning and actually doing something about whatever it is you want to change, whereas you can want until the cows come home and nothing ever physically or mentally happens.

“The first thing I’m going to ask you to do is belive that we live in a world of limitless possibilities.”

When you start to think about living in a world with limitless possibilities it’s actually quite mind-blowing. I don’t think we realize how often we put limits on our own capabilities and desires until we start to examine what we truly want and why we’ve been telling ourselves, either consciously or subconsciously, that we can’t have them yet.

When I started to think of a world of limitless possibilities this is what happened. First, I was all, you know, I want to move out of my mom’s house, I want to have someone to come home to each night who loves me, I want to be successful, etc. You get the point. It was a complete downer and totally boring.

Then, I thought about it some more and I came up with this list: I want to have a beautiful family filled with wholehearted love and laughter and kids and pets. I want financial security not only for my own family, but for my mom, my sister, my grandparents. I want to have a second home in Europe. I want to be able to travel the world for pleasure and for work. I want to take my family and friends on vacation. I want to donate to, and be a patron of, the arts. I want to donate and sponsor causes that I really love. I want to be successful and fulfilled in my career whatever that may turn out to be. I want to meet new and interesting people and world influencers.

I’m sure there are a bunch of other things that I haven’t even thought of yet, but as you can imagine, it was so much more fun making the second list. There were no limits to the possibilities, and when that’s the case, I think it makes you take a look at what you really want. Like deep deep down, in the part of you that feels like it probably shouldn’t even bother because there’s absolutely no chance, because we need to be realistic after all –  that’s the part that you need to talk to. What do you want because you can have anything that you desire and will make you happy. Then, you need to believe that all of that is possible (ok, this might be the hardest part).

It’s amazing what you find down there. It’s also a bit scary, but how are you going to know what you’re changing your life for, if you don’t do some self-exploration ahead of time?

A.

What is this blog all about?

Elenaor Roosevelt Quote

Do you remember in the last post where I said that the half mattered in my age (I’m 29 and a half years old)…it’s because I intend on using the other half for a huge self-improvement campaign. For whatever reason, when the clock strikes midnight on a miletone birthday year, everything comes into sharper persepctive. Well, let’s be realistic, I’d like the next six months to be the foundation of a self-improvement campaign that I hope will end up being a life-long journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance (Do I sound cliche enough yet?).

The whole thing started rather unofficially when I decided to read the book You are a Bad Ass by Jen Sincero. It freaking blew my mind and sparked something in me that has been lying dormant for a long time. If you haven’t read it, you need to go out and find yourself a copy right now. Jen’s book was completely different from any other self-help book that I had read. She provides so many tools and ideas for you to use that I decided I needed a place to keep track of my progress and share how it’s going.

Badass

Her book inspired me to re-explore the shelves of books that I have lining my bookcases that I deemed not important enough to beat out other fiction-type books. Not anymore, along with trying to follow everything Jen has to say, I’ll be augmenting my journey with my own books (and sharing them with you!) and reading the resources that Jen provides at the back of her book.

So why do I think I need to do this? Why do I think that now is the perfect time to start this jouney? Well, let me tell you, but hold onto your seats folks because it’s a bumpy read:

  • I am single and I’ve never really had any sort of long-term relationship.
  • I have never had sex (the honest to goodness kind).
  • I used to have a job that provided me with almost six-figures worth of income each year and I gave it up to start my own business. Now, I have less than $5000 to my name.
  • Because of this rather dire financial situation I know live with my mother (which really isn’t doing anything for point number two, if you feel me).
  • I have been working a year full-time at my business and it hasn’t taken off yet.

That brings me to the quote at the top of the post by Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I stumbled across this while reading Jen’s book and it resonated with me, made me want to read it over and over, and made me simultaneously incredulous that someone could say something so completely relevant to my life right now and at the same time make me wonder why I’ve been dishing out so much consent recently. I know that I only speak for myself, and I speak as a single (Canadian!) woman in her twenties, but I feel like I let myself feel inferior way too often.

Feeling inferior is uncomfortable, but it’s really easy. You just let your belief that other people probably have better ideas, or life-plans, or opportunites than you make you feel like you are less than or not equal to them. It’s so easy to let yourself get overshadowed by feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt. I feel like I fight this fight on a daily, if not hourly basis, whether I’m by myself or amongst a group of friends.

Quote

Especially, given that I am a single, 29 year old woman, with no serious prospects on the horizon (let’s be real) this quote screamed at me. I’m not sure about you, but I know that my experience as a 29 year old single woman has been fraught with daily reminders of my solitude, spinsterhood, and biological-clock ticking. Can anyone identify? How do you find self-worth when you are constantly reminded of everything you have not achieved, even if you’re the smartest, most successful, kick ass boss lady there is? Basically, how do you become content and at peace with what is, or demand the universe for more?

Hence, the self-improvement journey. If you want to join me I’d love to have some company. Maybe we’ll stumbe across some great books along the way, gain some new perspective, and learn something about ourselves. I know we will.

A.

Hello!

This is obviously my very first post on this blog and therefore, slightly awkward because how does one really sum everything up that one wants to get across in one simple blog post? It stands to reason, that the best way to start would be to introduce both myself and what my objective is for this blog, so you dear reader, can make the decision about whether or not you’d like to keep reading or not. I hope I don’t disappoint!

I am a 29 and a half (the half matters) year old female living on the westcoast of Canada. I do not have any pets (although I am quite partial to puppies). I do have a university degree and own my own company, of which I hope not to talk very much about at all here. Selfishly, this blog is about me and what interests me, and most of all, what I’m thinking about. While sometimes there may be some crossover, I started this blog to provide an outlet for all the other things that I’m interested in that do not involve the business.

These include, but are not limited to: People, what people think, what I think about what other people are thinking, politics, dance, school, travelling, politics, baking, cooking, reading (!), self-improvement, enlightenment, ambition, feminism, culture, language, opinions, love, relationships, friends, being almost 30, most likely what it’s like to be in your 30’s, and maybe some figure skating for good measure.

I feel like that is a pretty broad and expansive list, but if you don’t see something there that doesn’t tickle your fancy, than I am by no means offended and hope that somewhere out in blog land there is the perfect blogger just waiting for you to read what they have read.

If you read something above that does peak your interest, I hope that you stay awhile, and that soon, I’ll have some more blog posts for you to read. In the meantime, thank you for reading my first post!

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