From Caterpillar to Butterfly, Embrace the Change

By Samantha McKenzie

When I learned the term metamorphosis in elementary school, it was my first introduction to the fascinating life of the caterpillar and the butterfly. It was only then did I stop being afraid of those fuzzy little creatures. I started studying their movement whenever I stumbled upon one crawling along outdoors. They were still very ugly to me, but I stopped stepping on them out of fear, because I cared more for their eventual transformation. I like, many of us, longed for the season of butterflies.

Who doesn’t admire the butterfly? Its beauty. Its fluttering. Its carefree way of moving through the world and brightening the day.

I started a new job this week and spent the days prior reflecting on the change that was getting ready to take place. It excited me. It made me flashback on all of my other jobs, my growth as a professional and my continued eagerness to learn more. This week I started feeling my own transformation.

It’s only day five, so there’s more stories to come, but I wanted to close out this Friday with a few words of encouragement. The only real consistent thing in life is change. It’s scary sometimes. It’s uncertain all of the times, but it’s the one thing you can count on. Embrace it. Change will definitely make you feel insecure, mostly because the feeling of security is rooted in what’s already known, while setting off into unchartered territory is filled with the opposite. Walk swiftly towards your new path anyway.

Like the caterpillar, we all must eventually come out of our cocoon and flutter our wings into the newness of life. Go forth. Rise to every occasion, ready or not. Welcome your new journey.

Be that butterfly. The world surely needs more of them.

 

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Go Catch Your Dreams!

“Dare to dream! If you did not have the capability to make your wildest wishes come true, your mind would not have the capacity to conjure such ideas in the first place. There is no limitation on what you can potentially achieve, except for the limitation you choose to impose on your own imagination. What you believe to be possible will always come to pass – to the extent that you deem it possible. It really is as simple as that.” – Anthon St. Maarten

Disney Dreams

By Dawn Onley

Five years ago, I took part in a life coach training class. In one of the exercises, the instructor gave us 60 seconds to jot down our wildest dreams. She wouldn’t allow us to think too long. Instead, she encouraged us to just write down whatever flowed out of our minds and onto the sheet of paper in front of us.

“What if it’s something we didn’t intend to write down, because we’re being rushed?” someone asked. The class laughed.

“If it’s something that you write down, chances are it’s something that you dream about, even if it’s in the deep recesses of your mind,” the instructor responded. “After all, it came from your mind.”

I thought this was a useful exercise as it tapped into our hidden longings. It made us consider that we may not even be fully aware of some of our dreams. The ones we focus on the most are generally the ones that rise to the surface (e.g. find lasting love, build a family, etc.), but what this exercise also revealed to me were the dormant dreams that we may not focus on with the same intensity every day, but that we still deeply desire. It was truly eye-opening.

These were on my list:

Be my own boss.

Live in Cape Town, South Africa or Paris for a period of time.

Learn a foreign language.

Leave a legacy.

Get certified as a life coach.

Launch a blog.

Run another marathon.

Travel extensively.

Write books.

Become a real estate investor.

Wait, what?

Huh?

Do I really want all of this? Apparently in my wildest dreams I do! It’s what I wrote down in that class five years ago, when I had only 60 seconds and couldn’t stop my pen from writing and writing on that blank piece of paper.

“How could I possibly know if I’d even like writing a book? I’ve never done it,” I thought when the time was up. “Life coach. Really? Run another marathon? When the first one took everything I had and then some?”

The funny thing about dreams is once we’re fully aware of them, they don’t go away. They nag at us until we start our own business, launch the blog, or travel to that bucket list locale. Suddenly, we see images of our dreams jump out at us from the TV, on the magazine pages, while we’re out walking, as the runner waves and goes about her merry way. Everywhere, we see what we dream of, as vivid as the stars against the deep, black, country sky.

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”– James Allen.

These seedlings are in our minds, just waiting to be born. If we’re not careful, these dreams may just find us getting a logo designed, scheduling meetings, and working on a new business Web site.

Do the exercise. Then, go catch your dreams!

Go the Distance, Make it Work

By Samantha McKenzie

There’s a formula in physics that defines work. It’s FORCE x DISTANCE = WORK. For something to be labeled “work,” it has to have both of these factors. Simply put, we have to DO something, and that something has to MOVE from one point to another. Merely participating in lots of activities and looking really busy isn’t enough.big-rock-to-get-rolling

We are that force. We are the action. We create the motion needed to move forward. How many of us spend all of our waking hours doing something? We are high-powered multi-taskers who take advantage of the daybreak. We spend a lot of time exerting energy, pushing, and forcing at all of life’s intervals – at work, at home and even in relationships. But sometimes all we have to show for it is sheer exhaustion.

On the contrary, we spend little to no time assessing how much distance we’ve made. Did we move the needle? What do we have to show for it? Did we get what we set out to accomplish? If the answer is yes to these questions, then you can count your efforts as real work. Our relationships should grow from year to year. Our results at work should lead to a brighter career.

Force x Distance = Work.

Track_and_FieldWe can see the distance just ahead. Under this formula, we can measure our labor and increase our successes. This is yet another opportunity to make sure that daily “elbow grease” that we give away so freely actually matriculates into something we desire.

Real, in living color, tangible, value-added work.

There are many ways to ensure that we are investing our energy in the right places. Set timelines. Use checklists. Create short and long term goals. Complete tasks. Use vision boards and find someone to hold you accountable. Read books that point to your path.

Measuring our progress benefits us in two ways: 1) it lets us take in small successes which builds the confidence we need to keep going and, 2) it allows us to tweak our plans when necessary and implement workarounds.

The real work lies ahead. Don’t release any more energy without making the distance count. Follow the formula. It works.

The Small Joys Make Life Great

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By Dawn Onley

I have always loved a good bath. Hot, sudsy water. Soaking salts. Bath bombs. Silky oils. Aromatherapy teas. Candles. Complete tranquility. A delight to my senses. It has become such an indulgence for me that I go all out in treating myself to luxurious bath products and creating a true oasis, even if it’s just for a moment.

It gives me joy to look out the window and see a radiant bluebird perched on a limb.

For lunch, I love fixing myself a salad, filled with organic goodness, thankful in advance for the love I’m feeding my body and mind. Or hydrating with the pure delicious taste of country well water.

I love that very first sip of coffee and the anticipation of trying out a new recipe.

These are a few of the small joys that are part of my routine that make a big difference in the quality of my life.

We all have things that we do that we enjoy. The key is to stay in that moment as long as we can.

The dirty laundry can wait another day. We can clean the windows and dust later. Yes, it’s important that the children get their time with us, but it’s equally important that we save some time for ourselves to do the things that we love.

Right now is the best time to read another chapter.

To sip on some homemade lemonade.

To walk barefoot through the grass.

To thank God for this lovely week.

Praying hands

The View from the Mountaintop

By Samantha McKenzie

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“If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go.”   Edmund Hillary

Climbing a mountain can be full of twists and unexpected turns. If you’ve ever taken on this challenge, you know there are many, many obstacles to overcome.

Sometimes there’s pain involved. There are objects that impede your path. Often times there are steep hills and slippery rocks to get over. If you’re not very careful, there will be accidental trips and falls. Sore muscles usually come with the territory.

But most people who take on this difficult task, move through the challenges and make it all the way to the top. They reach their peak, they make it to the summit, they arrive at their destination.

mountain-womenLife is quite the same. It is full of surprises and curve balls. With all of the best laid plans, things don’t always work out the way we wanted them to. Sometimes this causes a set back. Sometimes it causes you to scream. You consider quitting, but you don’t. Something inside of you just won’t.

When there’s a goal in mind, many of us rise to the challenge and face life’s obstacles head on.

Let’s admit too that the view from the mountaintop is breathtaking.

The reward from the life you live will be as well.

As you continue to move toward your goals, don’t be discouraged. If you fall down, get back up. If you get lost, find your compass. If you get tired, take a break, and then get back up and complete the journey.

On the way to your own personal summit, be sure to manage through the trials and see the journey to the end. The view from the mountaintop is breathtaking…and the reward is always greater.

Onward…

 

 

We Get to Decide…

“We are the ‘they’ we’ve been waiting for.” – Dawn Onley

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By Dawn Onley

We don’t need to wait for them.

And by “them” I mean anyone outside of ourselves.

To protest wrongful acts.

To stand (or kneel) for what we believe in.

To start a new thing.

To change.

Heck, to be happy.

Sure, it’d be nice to have the support of others to help us maneuver life’s rocky terrain. To be our cheerleaders. To help pick us up when we fail. Yes, it’d be great if we didn’t have to go at it alone — if we could galvanize people who feel exactly the same way we do and move forward in a unified front.

In fact, some of us have already been blessed to have this.

Still, it’s not required.

It’s never been about others.

It’s up to us to become the best version of ourselves. I complete me. You complete you. Anything extra is icing on the cake.

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We get to create our lives. We get to decide who we want to be, what we want to believe, who we’ll choose as friends, who we’ll love, where we’ll live and work, who has earned our vote, the causes we’ll support, etc. It’s one of the greatest gifts of being an American.

There is no need to wait for someone else to act before we act. I had to remind myself of this recently. I can avoid watching the NFL, as I have done since the season began and will continue to do until Colin Kaepernick is signed to a team. It is my way of standing up for his right to protest and for what the protest is about in the first place.

It doesn’t matter if I stand alone in turning off the TV for games or whether hundreds of thousands of people protest in this way — in the sense of whether or not I should do it.

I decided that what someone else does or doesn’t do is not really my concern. I can’t become so consumed with what “they” are failing to do at the expense of what I should be doing.

I have a whole list of things that I need to be doing – and I am, and I will.

It’s up to me to live a meaningful life. Beauty is, I get to define what that means. And so do you.

What’s In Your Head Space

By Samantha McKenzie

Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night with a mountain of things racing around in your head? Have you ever noticed that there are reoccurring thoughts that take up quite a bit of time in your mind? It happens when you’re casually walking down the street or when you find yourself dazing off during a conference call.

Related imageMaybe it’s a person who you can’t seem to get off your mind. Maybe it’s a past situation that went awry, and you keep replaying the conversation (like over and over again). It pops up, goes away and then returns without invitation or permission. It grips you. It shakes you up. It won’t let you go. Before you know it, worry sets in and you realize “it” has consumed a large part of your mental day.

Do a spring cleaning on your mind. Clean out your mental space as often as you can. If you find yourself thinking about a person, call them up and talk it out. If there is something that is unsettling in your life, find a way to resolve it. If you’re not ready to have a face-to-face, then write it down, get it out and let it go. Don’t allow your head space to be a drop off site for life’s crap or a repository for all things you don’t want to deal with.

Learn how to declutter your thoughts. Give your mind a break. Find ways to come to terms with your experiences and accept the decisions that are beyond your control.

Close out a few chapters, find clarity and set your sights on creating your own endings.

Get back your head space. What are you thinking about?Image result for declutter your mind