4min readSelf 03 September 2019
Vacations are meant to recharge us. We plan a specific time away, with specific people to relax, rest, and have a little fun. Most of us allow one or two weeks annually to escape our obligations for what we actually want and need daily - peace and harmony. So, we plan, pack, and set off for reprieve all the while knowing our life and all of its chaos will be there waiting when we return with a sunburned nose and sand in our luggage. We want a life we love, but we live a life we tolerate instead
Why is it that we believe we cannot have peace and harmony as part of our everyday lives? Moreover, when did we decide we deserve less than that? We grabbed this belief because someone handed it to us. Like a massive boulder, we assumed we had to hold on to it. We complain about how heavy it is to our co-workers as we book our flights for vacation twice a year. We have never considered trading it in for a better way or even questioned why we grabbed it in the first place! We have believed the old lie, and we have built our lives in support of it. I wanted something different, and I set out to create it since no one else knew how - not even Google.
Two years ago, when I became a professional coach, I set a huge goal for myself, which at the time seemed completely and utterly out of reach. The goal: to create a life I didn't need a vacation from, a life where I didn't feel like escaping everything and everyone.
At that time, I was in a very abusive relationship, and around me, all I could see was toxic drama and disappointment. I had no idea how to change it, and each day was more painful than the last. I was drowning and the boulder I was carrying made it impossible to float. Part of the reason I became a coach was my passion for helping others create a life they love. Isn't it always true what they say, "the mechanic's car is usually broken down!" My life was screaming for a significant change, and this vision became my inspiration.
I have helped many people change their lives for the better. I had become a certified yoga teacher, learned quantum healing techniques, and had even gathered quite a long list of students and clients - all creating a life they loved, with my guidance and support. It would make perfect sense that the Universe would require me to do this for my own experience, and I was ready.
However, life on the inside for me was hitting rock bottom. I didn't shy away from this at all; in fact, I often shared my painful experiences in my teachings. It wasn't that I lived a double life as much as I had to master this lesson for myself to become crucially aligned in my work. My personal life would need a deep detox and total overhaul for my life's purpose to reach its fullest potential. Now, I show others how to create a life they love, including the masterful integration of their personal and professional lives.
My personal life would need a deep detox and total overhaul for my life's purpose to reach its fullest potential.
I left my abusive marriage. I started over and put into place firm boundaries regarding whom and what I allowed into my new creation. Ultimately, this also meant ending a very toxic relationship with my mother, as well. As a mother of two children myself, I became resolute in my decisions regarding how we spent our time at home. For me, creating a life I loved included the following new guidelines and boundaries:
•Toxic people out - even relatives if necessary
•Less doing and more being
•Create fun (and functional) spiritual practices
•Guard your vision with fortitude
•Filter what doesn't fit your vision
•Let go of your old life - completely
•Trade victimhood for victory (and accountability) in every area
Creating a life you love sounds flowery, but taking action is anything but an easy process. There have been plenty of nights I have cried myself to sleep shedding the layers of my old self and coming to terms with the fact I had created a life I hated before I could create one I loved. Rebuilding my personal life and maintaining professional integrity (while being a single mother of two!) has been incredibly humbling, painful, and downright draining. So, why do I recommend it?
Because the alternative is far worse, and mere existence is a choice. A choice I would no longer tolerate. A life of peace and harmony was what I wanted and moreover what my children and I deserved. Through very specific choices, I chose to create a life I didn't need to vacate. It's glorious, and even the bumps in the road are far less treacherous.
My personal space is my sanctuary. My life is quite simple and drama-free. I am happier than I have ever been before. I don't 'need' a vacation from life because as my own life became more aligned with my professional mission, opportunities came rushing in to match this frequency. Now, I travel often (to incredible places) co-leading retreats and personal growth trainings to help others create this for themselves. Loving, empowering, and honest people surround me. I no longer feel any desire to escape, and I can honestly say - this is living. By embracing and claiming what I wanted, and doing the work, I changed everything.
Do not wait to claim what you want. Tell yourself the truth and see who stands next to you as you pursue it with all your heart. Those are your people, love them, thank them. As I look back, the only thing I question was why I didn't do it sooner. However, my answer to that is simple, each lesson had its unique timeline, and only when I had graduated one, I became prepared for the next. Divine timing and truth brought me to one hell of a fork in the road, and as the poem goes, I took the path less traveled, which has made all the difference. Living a life you truly love isn't out of reach unless you keep choosing to live a life you tolerate. Choose wisely.
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Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.