What can you do today to add more beauty to your life?
That question was posed to me this morning while journaling. One of the ways I find beauty is through photographs. The photos below were taken early this foggy Autumn morning.
I love how the leaves burst with color. The fog provides an eerie glow in the background.
I am the first to admit that what I capture through the camera lens cannot compare with what I see with my eye. With a little editing using Adobe Lightroom, however, I can come close.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last nearly long enough and life gets to busy too really enjoy it. Now that it is November, there won’t be many more days before the weather turns cold and the leaves turn brown and drop.
I hope you find a little beauty in your life today, no matter where you are.
Today’s challenge is to write a letter describing my relationship with food. We have been together for a long time, a lifetime in fact. I want you to know how important you are to me. After all, without you, I would literally die. But you are more than just mere substance, a means to survival. You are a crutch that keeps me from dealing with stress and upsets. You fill me up so that I don’t have to feel empty inside.
I have to say, you are a loyal friend. You are always there for me when I am anxious or bored, frightened or worried. I never have to face darkness alone.
You are also there during celebrations and good times. No matter what emotion I might be feeling, you are there. Through good times and bad.
Do you know how needy I am? When I travel on a plane, I am afraid that if there are delays and I might go hungry. I always make sure I eat when I get a chance, just in case. Even at bedtime, I feel the need to eat just a little something to get me through the night.
And let’s face it, you are more tempting and alluring when you are full of calories.
I am getting older and my physical need for food is much less than when I was young. Yet my desire for you has not diminished with age. And that is the problem.
Which is why I have to be strong and learn to resist your temptations. I want to enjoy you, not covet you. We will always be companions until the end of my days, but our relationship needs to change. The healthier I am the longer our relationship will last. And that is best for both of us.
What do I want in life? How do I make sure I get it?
Michelangelo was once asked about the difficulties of carving his masterpiece statute David.
“It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”
That was how I approached this question. Michelangelo is describing vision and I am one who has a difficult time dealing in the abstract. I never had a clear path of what I wanted. I fell into my career, I followed the well-worn path of women in my generation (marriage, children). Even now, what I want is a vague sort-of longing of what I think will make me happy. As I pondered this question, however, my vision clarified just a bit and I was able to narrow my desire down into a few simple words: What I want is liberation from the restrictions that keep me from enjoying life, things like the following:
Too much worry, especially over things I cannot control
Feeling responsible for things that don’t belong to me. (Believe me, there are days I wonder how the world continues to spin on its axis without my help)
Too much drama, especially over unimportant things in life (at least unimportant to me)
What I want is freedom to do the things that are enjoyable and the start of that is good health.
This is really what the 30-day challenge is all about. Being healthy is the key to all achieving all that I want in life. When I am not feeling my best, when I am tired, achy, moody, or bitchy, I worry more about little things and drama seeps in. I don’t enjoy life because I am more irritable. I don’t do as much because it is too much of an effort. Unless I do something about it now, it will only get worse and be more difficult to change course later.
How do I liberate myself so I can get what I want from life? Here are my ideas:
Gradually increase the amount of exercise I get each day. No going from couch to 5K for me, but in time, a 5K can be in my future.
Make better food selections. I’m not starting a diet just yet because if I say the “D-word” too loudly, my inner-demons will take over and throw a chocolate craving on me. For now, it is about making better food choices and cutting back on snacking.
Don’t worry, be happy. Or at least try to have a better mental attitude. Being mindful of what I am grateful for is a good way to start
Experience new things. The genius of Leonardo di Vinci was his eagerness to try new things. The way to fully appreciate life is a willingness to step out of the shadows into the light, to risk an occasional disappointment in the hopes of expecting something grand
Keep learning as this keeps the mind young.
Get out of my own head. Stop thinking so much about things that have nothing to do with what is going on right now. Journaling helps me process all that stuff that gets in the way of living for the moment.
Dream big. The barriers in life are only tall when our dreams are small. I think about the things I have achieved in the past, some that seemed impossible at the time, and I realize there is no dream too big and no wish too wild.
At some point this need to be actionable, but for now it is a good goal list. This journey has only just started.