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A Life Full Of Passion

At 37, I am living a life I am passionate about. A life filled with creativity, love, friendship, and personal growth. I am most passionate about my writing and my family.

Passion powers a lifetime of dreams. It is an energy source for living an inspired life that is driven by purposeful action. In more specific terms, passion is your vision for your life based on your core values, strengths, skills, interests, and talents. With it, you can overcome obstacles , problem solve, and navigate the endless challenges that life throws your way. Without it, people often succumb to anger, frustration, disappointment and continuously get caught up in seemingly insurmountable problems.

Most 18 year olds heading off to college have no idea what they are truly passionate about, and if they do know most of those passions will not last a lifetime. How can you plan for your whole life at that age? I couldn’t. I wanted to be an artist. That lasted maybe a month in college.

Passion is often born from experience. It’s born from the act of trying new things and from broadening your horizons. In other words, it isn’t something that suddenly finds you while you’re sitting on your couch at home watching television. It is rather something that you must proactively pursue by venturing outside your comfort zone to gain the necessary experiences to trigger that “aha” moment that can change the course of your life forever. Instead of waiting for your passions, you must chase them down. The best way to do this, of course, is to go out into the world and try new things, experience as much as possible, learn and dabble in unique experiences, and interact with a variety of people who are pursuing their own passions. This is by far the best and quickest way to find what you’re truly most passionate about.

Passionate people are focused because they have clarity about what they want to do, be, have, and achieve in life. And because they have this clarity, this helps build self-confidence in their daily choices, decisions, and actions.

Above all else, with passion, life just becomes more satisfying and easier because you are doing what you love and living your life on your own terms. Yes, you will still experience heartbreak, setbacks and endless challenges. However, as a passionate person, you are in full control and take total and complete responsibility for making the necessary changes to improve your life. As such this gives you personal power and allows you to live with a definite purpose that propels you forward each and every day. In fact, often by following your passions, you will find that it helps enhance all other aspects of your life because passion is a state-of-mind. And as your mindset changes, your life is transformed as a result.

Hanging around people who are following their passions and making a difference in this world can potentially help trigger a burning desire within you for something you have been longing to pursue all these years. Their energy and enthusiasm can rub off on you in surprising ways. Just maybe you can even get behind a cause that others are fighting for. Yes, it might not initially be a cause that you’re completely passionate about, however being within an environment where other people are passionately pursuing this cause can very well help you gain some clarity about your own passions.

In no particular order, here are the qualities that the most passionate people possess: dedication, confidence, courage, single mindedness, determination, discipline, generosity, optimism, curiosity, flexibility, and a lighthearted approach.

Living a passionate life not only requires a mental shift, it also requires massive action. Yes, passionate people are massive action takers. They don’t procrastinate, and they certainly don’t succumb to their fears. They instead make an effort every single day to step outside their comfort zones. Moreover, they show a willingness to take chances and calculated risks that help move them forward. Most of all, passionate people view life as an experiment.

I am so proud I have found what makes me passionate and that I get to share my passion and my life with all of you, as the Suburban Goddess Mom.

I Live For Anticipation

I need something to look forward to. I always have. But especially this year. Above is a picture of our second snow of the week, in April. Yes, April. I need something to get through the snow, the monotony of parent life, and the grind of daily life in general. I’d give anything to have something to look forward to and get excited about.

We wait far too long for that once-a-year vacation or that special event. It just isn’t enough. Or perhaps it might be enough, but being successful is not about having just enough—it’s about abundance and happiness. 

Life can get us down in more ways than one, and one way to get through our troubles is by having something to look forward to. By looking ahead, we’re looking onward and upward towards our future, and we remind ourselves that better times are coming. 

Many experts agree that one of the keys to happiness is having something to look forward to. Anticipating something fun means that you get to enjoy the happy experience for longer. If you want to work on enjoying life more, there are steps you can take. Work on making future plans that you will enjoy and focus on cultivating a sense of anticipation. Watch for small pleasures in your day-to-day life so you can have something to look forward to on otherwise average days. Lastly, try to work on having a spontaneous spirit. If you’re able to loosen up and not stick to a rigid schedule, you’ll encounter more opportunities for fun and pleasure throughout the day.

While living in the present is a very beneficial thing-sometimes the present can feel a bit annoying, frustrating, tedious, or intolerable.  When we find ourselves in those “less than ideal” present moments, having something to look forward to in the future can give us the motivation and persistence to keep moving forward.

A healthy amount of anticipation implies a future reward-and in general, rewards can be very powerful motivators in life, especially in behavioral psychology.  The key idea is that by creating new rewards in your life or by actively searching for things to look forward to, you can build more discipline and motivation in any area of your life where you are lacking.  We can anticipate small and large rewards.  Both kinds of rewards can be healthy way to build anticipation and motivation in our lives.

So, I am going to make a list of things that I can look forward to in the coming spring and summer.  I’m starting with a much needed pedicure, a beach day, a camping trip weekend, at least one summer concert, exploring a new town in Maine, Cinco de Mayo party, bbq with friends and who knows what else.  This Suburban Goddess Mom is back in the business of having things to look forward to. Yay!

The Year Of No

A few years ago, I did the year of yes. I said yes to everything. And although there was a lot of fun new experiences, it was incredibly draining, physically and emotionally.  This year I am trying the year of no, kind of.

If you are constantly saying yes to other people, then you are constantly saying no to yourself and your goals. Ask yourself if what is being requested of you is in line with your goals. Will it benefit you in some way and bring you closer to your success, or will you simply be spending your time on someone else’s good opportunity?  You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to someone else’s projects and agendas. Saying no to others means you are saying yes to yourself, which is ultimately of even greater benefit to the ones you were saying no to.

It’s natural to want to help others. People matter, and we want to matter to people. But often we’re afraid we won’t be liked if we say no. We don’t want to deal with another person’s anger toward us, so we say yes and then we get irritated because we’re taking time away from the things we most want to do. Fear stops us. We also feel guilty, thinking we’re hurting someone by saying no. We want to avoid conflicts at any cost — don’t ruffle feathers — don’t create a bad situation with friends, colleagues at work or loved ones. Just say yes and deal with being stressed and overscheduled and resentful.

The people who are in the pattern of saying “yes” all the time seem to feel that if and when they say “no”, they must give an explanation. But unless someone asks for an explanation, no explanation needs to be given.

At times in my life, I have struggled with doing too much and not recognizing that saying yes, was an energy drain. Ultimately, my true talents were not fully being applied.  Learning to say no has been one of the best things I have done for myself. Not only has it challenged me to overcome my fear of rejection, it has helped me to feel in control. I don’t feel trapped, resentful, or guilty anymore. Instead, I feel empowered and free. If you want that same feeling of freedom and empowerment, then take control, challenge yourself, and learn to say no.

Be firm and do not apologize, which many “yes people” do. There is no need to apologize; you may be sympathetic, but as a human being there are only so many hours in the day. Do not over-schedule yourself, because this will only lead to a list of stress-induced behaviors. Another option is to politely decline, by sharing, “I have a conflict”. This is a true statement, since the conflict is time with yourself, to nurture yourself and your energy.

2019 is the year the Suburban Goddess Mom will say no.  Just say no!

 

My Warrior Goddess Tribe

The term tribe has been used for centuries but is now being used in a new way. Traditionally, the term refers to people closely associated in both geography and genealogy.  These days it is a slang to describe a group of friends, usually female, that would do just about anything for each other at any time.

After my divorce and move to Maine, building a tribe was incredibly important to me.  I knew very few people in Maine, so I craved the connection. Being with other women helps you to be a better mother; and the moral support, physical, emotional and mental support create a beautiful harmonious environment for the mother and children to thrive.

We are born wired for connection. Today, women are more isolated in their own homes and lives and more separate from each other. The opportunities for coming together are much more limited, and the time spent together in this way greatly reduced. Because of this, women miss the beautiful healing and nourishment that comes from being with others.

Most women will tell you that their friendships are among the most important relationships in their life. Whether they’re lifelong friends from childhood or a friend they met as an adult who lives around the corner, these relationships are essential to a woman’s well being. In fact, studies have shown that a large network of friends can increase a person’s overall health and longevity. Friends, it seems, not only make our lives better, but they can also make our lives longer.

Recently I was going through an extremely difficult time. And my tribe rallied around me day and night to not only support and love me but my kids as well. These woman ran into “battle” with me and for me. I realized those who love me wanted to show up, they wanted to be there, and they wanted to give me comfort. And I fucking needed them to, and I needed what they were giving. I would have not gotten through it without them. Each woman had her own distinct way she could help, and all combined it was one amazing supportive team. I am so thankful for them every day.

With these ladies, I have been through the best of times and the worst of times; divorces, dating, moving in with new loves, job promotions and firings, surgeries, being broke, and hundreds of other things. But we have always had each other’s backs, be it a phone call, text, visit, or coffee date.

As strong as I have become as the Suburban Goddess Mom, I couldn’t do all this and be this strong without my very own warrior goddess tribe. I love you girlies!!!!

Masterfully Surrender

If our lives are a journey, then this was the place in the journey where everything that once was and that once worked no longer did. Everything fell apart and all that was left and all that I could do was surrender.

My whole world fell apart with one decision. The decision to get divorced. If you have read any of my previous blogs then you know, I was in a very abusive and volatile marriage for ten years. Then one day I could not stand another second of it. I could not smile and act as if everything was okay. I could not shield my kids from the truth anymore. I could not cover for him. It had actually gotten so bad that a few months prior I tried to commit suicide. I could not live life like that anymore. Divorce was my escape, and I was doing it.

The divorce process was ugly, painful, miserable, exciting, depressing, expensive, and so much more. I was divorced the end of July, 2017. Finally. I moved and was starting a new, exciting, better life for me and my kids. Or so I thought.

Just three months later, I was having one of the most difficult times in my life. I cried constantly. I was miserable. I was lonely. I doubted myself and every decision I made.  I thought I was not only a horrible mother but also a horrible person. I was not showering. I was drinking too much, smoking pot a lot and having meaningless sex with strangers. Something important ended, and somehow I had to go on. But all I saw was darkness ahead and no path. I was left only with doubt and fear. I had lost my whole life and myself. It was terrifying, lonely and disorienting .

Looking back on this time period I am able to really see and understand better. It was such a complicated time and I did not give myself the time or tools I needed to work through it. During this period I had experienced three serious losses: losing what I now know was my “imaginary” self, losing faith and losing a sense of place and purpose. To succeed at my post-divorce, single mom life I needed to hit rock bottom and surrender to be open to transformation.  And I had certainly hit rock bottom (more accurately crashed into it.)

Thank G-d, a therapist I was seeing suggested I check out an intensive outpatient program in town. I needed help and I found help. The program changed my life. It connected me with providers, taught me skills, facilitated my transformation and built relationships with some of my closest friends. The program was my “interim place”. An interim place is the place between what was and what will be. Interim places are critical times for personal and spiritual development. It begins where our power ends, so we enter this phase through our vulnerability and woundedness, not strength. It felt like it would last forever, and the work was so hard. It was filled with lessons, most important for me was to live in the solitude and stillness and to look inward for what I needed.

I had to do the work and make new, harder, better choices. I could no longer work from a place of fear. All actions that originate from a place of fear invariably result over time in maintaining the status quo. I no longer wanted to be afraid, and I no longer could remain hidden from my true self. I slowly began to turn inward. I listened to the wisdom that came when I was quiet in body and mind. Transforming is silent work and is largely invisible to those around us. It is incredibly devalued in our culture. My heart wanted to open to the fullness of all of life’s experiences and to the beauty and also the struggles. In this opening I found fullness of a higher power within, my true essence and the start of new way to live.

I truly don’t recognize who I used to be. My real work at this time was to be present (no obsessing over the past and no future worrying), practice gratefulness and breathe. I had to stop the activity and the busyness of life and to attend to the real matters of life in a different way. After five months I was alive again. Not just alive but better. My story was still my story but I was the author and editor of it now. There were still a lot of challenges and hardships in this new life I was creating, but I knew that they could not break me. I had transformed into this version of myself which I now call the Suburban Goddess Mom.