Divorce Your Excuses: 3 Ways I Made Room for My Ideal Life

On June 21, summer began. Many in the spiritual community honored Litha, or summer solstice – the longest day of the year. Yogis, like myself, celebrated the International Day of Yoga with sun salutations and great excitement. What this time of year represents is the peak energetic time to get moving on our personal goals. It is seen as another chance at a new beginning – just in case things haven’t quite worked out for you since January. To be honest, 2019 has not gone quite the way I imagined it would at this point.

In many ways, it has turned out to be so much better. Sure, I could have doubled-down on my weight loss and financial goals. Things may have been a bit less stressful had my husband not needed to be diagnosed with an incurable heart disease. However, as I reflect on everything that has happened so far, I feel pretty blessed. It just took a while for me to realize that I am.

In the whirlwind of drama that seemed to be my life when the year started, it was hard to see the bright side. Between the trips to the hospital, the emotional breakdowns, unexpected bills, workplace drama, sleep deprivation, time management failures and stress-induced binge eating, I felt like my goals became impossible as fast as I had set them. I never seemed to have the time, energy, or funds to carry out all the plans I had in mind. No matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t seem to gain control and create the life I wanted to live. Thankfully, right when I thought I should back-burner my entrepreneurial dreams, I had an epiphany: I have way too many damn excuses.

How I came to this conclusion you ask? Well, it just so happened that I was laying in to a couple of close loved ones (in my mind) about how they get in their own way when BOOM! I realized I was in the exact same boat. The hard truth is, I used my perceived lack of time, energy, and money as a crutch. When I finally got honest with myself (with the help of Gary Vee videos), it turned out that I have all the time in the world, I just don’t use it all productively. Same went for my finances. Sure, more is always nice, but it really boils down to what we choose to do with what we have.

When I look at the people I aspire to, I have to acknowledge that they work with the same amount of hours in a day as I do. In some cases, those people started out in a much more unfortunate financial situation as well. So what’s the difference between my struggle and theirs? That they have already made the choice to perceive the struggle in a useful way. No, this is not necessarily an easy feat and depending on where a person is in her process, there may be a lot of old ways that require sacrificing. However, the keyword in the solution is choice.

Changing my viewpoint changed everything. The lethargy and lack of motivation I had been experiencing really was my body’s way of saying that it was time for a routine change. So I added gym time back to my schedule which helped me better regulate my sleep and food cravings (which also helped me save money). The time restraints I felt turned out to be due to dedicating too much of it to things that were not aligned with my home and entrepreneurial goals. So, I started clocking out of my 9 to 5 on time. This freed up space for business planning as well as time for my dog son and my husband. It was difficult knowing that I couldn’t do anything to alter my husband’s diagnosis, but it ended up bringing us closer to each other than we ever have been. It took time, but now, we are better about planning our health goals together and supporting each other in following through. Instead of allowing my issues to send me down the path of another anxious-depressive episode, I just starting making different choices.

Yet, in order to make a choice, we must first understand that we really do have one in spite of the circumstances we cannot control. This is where our self-empowerment lies! Here are a few things that helped me shift my perception to realize the power I do have over my own life:

Practice gratitude.

It sounds virtuous but the reason why gratitude is something I practice is because it is actually a skill I needed to re-develop. So many of us in American society have been programmed to dwell on what we don’t have. This is how we are kept on the hamster wheel towards the next best thing.

Meanwhile, we damage ourselves and miss out on so much of life because we fail to take time for what’s right in front of us which is often everything we ever really need. No matter how much you attain, if you do not appreciate what you already have, it will not matter. Nothing will ever be enough.

Let go of the past.

It’s probably accurate that the majority of humans have had a traumatic experience at some point in their life. In fact, it’s pretty well accepted that hardship is inevitable and an important part of growth – although some ordeals are considered harder burdens to carry. However, we’ve seen proof time and time again of individuals who have undergone immense suffering and yet have triumphed in the face of the worst.

Although it is natural to feel pain in hard times (and even after), we cannot grow if we remain victims to these circumstances and allow them to debilitate us. Instead, we can choose to see the simple truth in these matters and allow it to teach us something. In the words of author and speaker, Steve Maraboli,

” The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. “

Petition for the future.

In my spiritual practice, there is an exercise referred to as petitioning. Put simply, petitioning is the writing down of a desired outcome as if it is already so. It is done in various forms be it vision boards and goal journals. It is also commonly done among those who, like myself, practice magic. The only thing you need is a pen and a piece of paper.

Although a seemingly simple task, it can be a challenge on several levels. When done regularly and intently, though, one can form a whole new relationship with her inner will to make things happen.

Although, I cannot control everything that happens to and around me, I find power in knowing that I have control over myself. I also realize that my growth in this is a process and I am still gaining understanding of my own full potential. I may not have all the riches and other material possessions I desire (yet) but the journey is what I live for. The millions of moments in between each milestone (this is where gratitude comes in). I see now that I am actually indeed wealthy, accomplished, loved and beautiful. And, it makes all the difference when I choose to notice all the ways in which I am already living my ideal life.

May you realize it for yourself as well. Namaste.

Reality Marriage

Love is an important factor when deciding on a partner but, honestly, it does not conquer all. If that were true the statistics wouldn’t look so grim. According to the American Psychological Association, over half of first-time marriages in the U.S. will end in divorce. This bears the question: What’s going wrong here? It has been polled that the top reasons for these failures are 1. Getting in for the wrong reasons, 2. Lack of individual identity, and 3. Becoming lost in roles. However, we’ve known this for a while which bears the next questions: why do we keep getting married? And when we do, how do we keep screwing it up? My theory is that people are actually marrying an idea, not a person.

Over a month ago, I married the man I consider my best friend – corny, I know – but it has not always been easy. In fact, most days are not but every hardship is totally worth the growth that occurs afterwards. The thing about our relationship is that it was like so many that fail, entered into with a crap-ton of baggage and riddled with terrible communication. We cohabited for 4 years before we decided to get engaged and an additional year before we actually got hitched. Today, I never want to know a life without my husband but things weren’t always so smooth. We’ve done many things that nearly screwed our chances into a statistical demise yet somehow we not only survived but are thriving together. This may sound rather presumptuous given the odds against us. After all, couples who co-habitate before marriage are over 30% more likely to face divorce, my marriage is still pretty fresh, and we’re under 30. What makes me certain was not always so but eventually came to be. What is it you ask? The answer is complex yet simple: Realism.

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It is common that realism is regarded as synonymous with pessimism but I couldn’t disagree more. Realism is about likelihoods which has varying degrees dictated by  certain factors and what is realistic for one may not be so for another. Is it really possible to have a problem-free marriage over decades and remain in love? Perhaps but not likely. Can you really make a relationship work for the long haul under unfortunate circumstances? Absolutely! It’s quite obvious what the differences are when listening to the stories of more seasoned married couples. The successful ones are almost always rooted in realistic values and there are steps a couple must take to achieve this; a big one being the ability to move forward anew.

Realistically, no relationship has a future when stifled by the past. This means digging deep to ask and answer hard questions about our identity for ourselves and each other. We must learn to forgive offenders and let go of preconceived expectations of what the relationship is supposed to be. These perceptions are usually formulated by our need to control things as we wish to avoid pain we’ve experienced before or to live up to some false narrative. Although we may learn to draw healthy boundaries when we are honest about who we are what we want, we cannot expect anyone to fill out voids. We can only do that for ourselves. Otherwise, we will only notice their shortcomings and remain incomplete regardless of our relationships status. We must come to grips with our weaknesses and strive for improvement – notice I did not say perfection.

Truth is, life is messy, love is messy and problems are inevitable at one point or another. However, we greatly improve our chances when we know ourselves well enough to make choices in our truth. This allows us to enter into partnerships well-informed so that when hardships do occur, we realize them as opportunities for growth instead of resorting to shame, blame, and self-pity. And to be true with yourself and the ones you love, what’s more real than that?