Who Stole My Zen?


The world is fast. Beautiful. Broken. Uplifting. Harsh. Everything at once. It can build us up & tear us down quickly. All it takes is one interaction – one word, one Tweet, one text, one fleeting moment to change the course of a day or a life.

If I think about the world & my place in it too much, things (sometimes) can feel overwhelming – in a beautiful way, mostly.

Mother. Partner. Daughter. Aunt. Friend. Colleague. Boss. Ex. Bestie. Stranger.

Most days I ask myself: Which part of me will I strengthen today? ¬†And, inversely, which part will I allow to crumble – if even just a little bit? ¬†Because, let’s face it, when you focus on one area of life, others can slip. And, I’m completely cool with that.

When it comes to making decisions though, I find that, sometimes, the best way to decide is not to decide on anything at all.

Huh?

Practicing silence, stillness, and focusing on the present is a great way to just “be”. Whether it be relationships at work, at home, or in the abstract – when moments arise where everything seems too much, I find a quiet space, a silent moment & look for my personal zen.

Personal zen? It’s that special, untouchable thing that helps me return to a calm, content, happy & driven being with an end goal of staring in wild wonder at the beauty of the world around me.

Over the years, I’ve learned (mostly through falling, failing & getting back up again) that balance is always achievable if you take the time to do you. To work on & build your inner resolve. Time, effort, & introspection are all integral to getting there with the balance thing.

But where does one start? I reckon a little bit of practice daily, & one big decision to take ownership of your own zen could look something like this:

  • PRIORITIZE
    Put yourself first. Seriously, do it. Because, weirdly enough, being your own Number-One is really hard for a lot of people – specifically working women. We’re taught from day-dot to make others happy. And that we can only ever be successful if we look the part while playing by rules written not in our own hand. Throw that bull$hit out the door & put yourself first. Find what makes you happy – be it exercise, time to reflect, or even meditation. Do you. First.
  • WORK, FAMILY, FUN
    Work & family are all intermingled these days, aren’t they? Shutting off is damn hard. So, finding a profession that you love & working with people you love mean that you’re able to find zen in the very place that pays the bills. Personally, my team at work are my family. While we might not share blood, we share laughs, love, kindness, drive, & shared objectives. Having fun is a must – & this means coming home is just as amazing as heading to the office on a Monday. #winning
  • AMBITION
    Don’t be afraid to kick butt & be good at what you do! As an American living in New Zealand, I do sometimes still struggle with the “tall poppy syndrome.” I was always taught that you’re not a great leader until you create other great leaders. Personally, I find so much joy in seeing my team at work, my child, & my loved ones succeed. Celebrating the success of others, & actively helping others to grow themselves is the best work any of us can do. My advice? Never, ever be afraid to be proud of your achievements. And, in the same vein, always let others know when you’re proud of their successes too!
  • MOVE YOUR BODY
    Exercise. It’s basically magic. The best kind of magic human beings could ever hope to master. When you’re feeling low, when your confidence is lacking… hit the road, the gym, or the pool. We humans were made to move. So, make time to do just that. Lose yourself in the sound of your beating heart. Make being comfortable with the state of feeling uncomfortable your new norm. And, if you can remember one thing about fitness let it be this: it’s easier to stay fit, than to get fit! So, make a habit of fitness. Mind, body, soul. Start moving. You’ll be amazed by how quickly you find your zen.
  • GET INTO THE GROOVE
    Music. It’s a common language across all of humanity. Minor chords, variations of the majors. They work to lift us up & bring us spiraling back down to earth. Find your groove, own it, & lose yourself in the words & chords that make you feel like yourself. Whether you’re blasting out Ryan Adams, swooning to Joe Jonas, or find yourself rolling through Cam Country… music heals, uplifts, & help us all find our center. Turn it on, turn it up, & do you.

Balance, confidence, & zen. However you find them…make your life your own. And, enjoy every breath you’re blessed with.

And, feel free to leave your tips on finding your zen in the comments. I’m keen to hear your thoughts.

 

Cass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning off ain’t all that sexy

Okay, I admit it. I can’t do it. Every time I go away I promise myself I’m going to shut down. Shut off. Shun technology. But here I am, at the ripe old age of 32, admitting my biggest fault – I’m unable to truly turn off.

I’m not sure what it is that drives me to click, scroll and share … Maybe it’s that untenable notion of always wanting to feel connected with the people I love who aren’t with me. To share the highs and lows as if we were together. Maybe it’s a simple addiction. Do the internet and dopamine work hand in hand to stifle my plans for letting go the reigns of modern technology?

I’m not sure. All I know is that the 2,200 photos I’ve taken across the USA and amongst family and friends in the past two weeks will serve as digital memories alongside the ones I may someday forget. This is a good thing, right?

In the end, I’m not sure why I’m feeling slightly guilty for logging on – I’m going to have to work on embracing this love of connecting instead of shunning it because people who write pervasive blog posts with catchy headlines tell me to!

Right, that’s enough for now. Time to put the phone down and play some basketball and hit up a rodeo. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back.

Soon.

Gratefully aware

Sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes at my computer screen. Okay, not just sometimes…often. I’m constantly shocked by how openly people complain/moan/whine/whinge online – about such trivial, boring things. I wonder, quite often, if these openly morose social media souls are like this in real life. And I hope they’re not. Because, my god they’d be insufferable!

What is it in today’s culture that makes people think that the world owes them anything? That waking up healthy and free isn’t the best gift of all – and that everything else you have is just icing on the cake? People who can’t see just how much they’ve got really get to me. Especially the ones with healthy kids, a roof over their heads, food in the fridge, and jobs they are able to go to and work hard at to earn a living.

Seriously…what’s with the negative nellies? What has changed in the age of technology and ADD/TMI Online sharing that make lots of folks think that the rest of their social world want to hear all of their complaints with the world? When did self-editing become extinct?

Thanks to the beauty of cyberspace, over the past three months I’ve been shaping my social media world to suit my own outlook on life. The boo-hooers and serial complainers are gone. Erased from all of my timelines and replaced by the folks who see silver linings in even the most ominous of rain clouds. I’d be lying if I said that having a positive place to visit online hasn’t made me an even happier person, because it has.

Practicing thoughtfulness when it comes positivity is worth the time it takes to wash your hands of friends online who only bring you down. That said, I’m not some heartless being who doesn’t believe there’s always room for true sadness and anger – real emotions – online. Of course people are allowed to share their lives honestly without fear of getting the social “chop”. But all of those repeat offenders of negativity are gone from my world – by choice. I choose the people who make my heart smile.

Go on, take 30 minutes. Clean out your timelines, your friends lists, and own your social media experience.

You’ll thank yourself.

Living Slowly – Moving Forward Without Moving Fast

Everything happens a break-neck speed these days.

Technology gives us the option to make everything fast. Easy. Streamlined. Available.

With so much information at our disposal, and only 24 hours in a day – all too often it seems as though there’s never enough time to get the basics done, let alone get ahead.

From the day I started school until recently I’ve bought into the notion that life should go in a certain order, and that it should be accomplished at a set speed, on another person’s hurried timeline. At almost 32 years old, I’ve called time on the standards set on my life, and how it should be lived, by others.

Instead of hurrying up, I’m slowing down.

Some of my earliest memories in life are of sunshine. Warmth on my skin, my family all around. Time seemed to stop in its tracks during long, golden California summers. I don’t remember hurrying. There was no rat-race when I was a kid. There was only today and the promise of another beautiful tomorrow.

Growing up the best times we had were the ambling days spent at the ballpark, at the beach, at the basketball gym, at the park…all days that started with nothing in particular in mind, but finished with memories enough to last a lifetime. My heart swells with happiness and fondness looking back…and looking forward, it is this same feeling I hope to recapture and recreate for my own child.

My first step in slowing down is literally doing just that. It’s been 15 days since I started this post. Granted, all up I would’ve spent 10 minutes writing. But it’s been the days in between – the sweet trickle of life and laughter that usually pass me by uncaring- that’s kept me away from the keyboard and busy living life instead.

I’m taking time to chill out after a day at the office. Reading books again – for pleasure! And, in 72 hours I’ll be on a big bird flying home from Winter in New Zealand to that endless summer I’ve always longed to recapture.

California, I’m coming for you. Let’s do this slow. Old school style.