Glass Half Full

As the end of the Jewish year approaches and a new one begins, I find myself without a clear mind. I have many thoughts and reflections on the past year and just about life in general. The one thought that I would like to focus on would be the idea of self-examination. Are you happy with whom you are right now at this point in your life?

This idea is a process that indicates one is ready to make an internal change—seeing oneself differently in the world, in your relationships, in your community; seeing the glass as half full if you’re normally a glass-half-empty kind of person; being able to enjoy life’s journey and make meaning out of it.

How can you see yourself differently in the world, in your relationships, in your community?

To quote Robert Byrne, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” We must strive to create lives that are filled with purpose and meaning. One way to approach this philosophy is to live a life with the glass-half-full mindset. Take a positive approach to all of life’s challenges, pains, losses, obstacles, etc…because, not to be negative, life is filled with them. That’s not always easy, but speaking from experience, trying to put a positive spin on negative occurrences goes a long way. You must gain the mindset and realize that whatever you’re going through could be worse, and chances are, someone else in the world does have it worse than you do.

Make meaning out of life’s journey—remember and reminisce about the past, celebrate the present, and plan for and be excited about your future.

These are just a few thoughts that are going through my head at this point in my life…and maybe some words of wisdom. Please share your thoughts with me!

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Music as My Life Coach

Gone – Jack Johnson

We are all consumed in materializations—our “fancy clothes…and cars and phones and diamond rings” (to quote the song). We must take the time to actually consider what’s really important—our new Steve Madden shoes or the footprints that we make with them to lead the way (be leaders) and make a path; texting on our iPhones (which I think lead to being anti-social) or social skills that will get us through many of life’s challenges—just to name a very few examples. Realize that there are more important things in life than our materials. Yes, maybe these “things” make life more enjoyable, but it is possible to survive them—think for a minute, what would you do if you couldn’t use your phone for a day? Chances are, most of us would be very unhappy. Life is all about prioritizing—what’s most important to you?

 

What Means the Most – Colbie Caillat

This song talks about romantic love, specifically, but I can relate it to any kind of love. Make sure the people that you love most know that you love them.

 

Laughed Until We Cried – Jason Aldean

Make the most out of all of life’s experiences and whatever gets thrown your way. In this song, the “narrator” reminisces about friends and high school memories, family and now his own baby. “Oh man we were livin’…we laughed until we cried.” I have my own memories and can’t wait to see what else my life has in store for me—our experiences shape us into the person that we are today and the person that we are still becoming.

*Note: Also, listen to the song Lessons Learned – Carrie Underwood.

 

You Get What You Give – The New Radicals

“Don’t give up / You’ve got a reason to live / Can’t forget / We only get what we give.” (to quote the song) Put forth an effort and don’t ever give up because “If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

* Note: Also, listen to the song Unstoppable – Rascal Flatts.

 

Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw

Overcome fears. Do the unthinkable. Live without any regrets. Live as if today was your last.

* Note: Also, listen to the song Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts.

Overcoming Fear of the Unknown

My best friend in the whole entire world, Sydney, was trying to teach me how to use Twitter today. I do have an account and I do use it from time to time, but I really, honestly have no idea what I’m doing. Sydney said, “The best way to learn how to use it is just to click some buttons and see what they do.” She then went on to say, “It’s kinda like anything in life—sometimes you just have to try it and see what happens.” Thanks for your wise words, Syd, 1) because they gave me some perspective and reiterated an essential life lesson and 2) because they gave me a blog idea!

How do you know if you like something until you try it? And the opposite is true as well—how do you know if you don’t like something until you try it? How will you learn new things if you don’t try (kind of like this whole Twitter situation)? The simple answer to all of these questions is, “You don’t.”

Lots of us thrive on routine and live in fear of change (fear of the unknown). I will admit I am one of those people. Change can be scary, but it can also be absolutely wonderful and can fully enrich your life—but how will you know until you try? We often seek comfort in things that are familiar to us, things that we already know we like. With trying new things comes growth, experience, and strength. It allows us to realize that while we are creatures of habit, we can still come out of our shells and be fine. How can you possibly grow by repeating the same habits over and over again? You can’t. You can only learn from trying new things and from having new experiences (and by going to school, of course, but that’s not my point). The best lessons in life are learned by experiencing, trust me on that one!

 

 

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

–Nora Roberts

I Hope You Dance

Ever heard Lee Ann Womack’s song titled I Hope You Dance? Listen to it here:

It sends out a great message to everyone and it is both beautifully song and written. Hope you enjoy!

“Say”
Take all of your wasted honor
Every little past frustration
Take all of your so-called problems,
Better put ’em in quotations

Say what you need to say [x8]

Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead,
If you could only . . .

Say what you need to say [x8]

Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You’d better know that in the end
Its better to say too much
Then never say what you need to say again

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open

Say what you need to say [x24]

 

These words are so true; I can’t stress it enough. If you feel like something is important enough to say, then say it.  If you don’t, you will live with regret and that’s never okay. Of course, timing is everything–I’m a big believer in that. And also, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Being articulate is super important and it will get you much further in life. The more courteous you are to people, the more courteous they will be to you. Also, some things are better left unsaid. You have to use your judgment.

Now, you may be thinking that there are so many rules. How can I say what I want to say while thinking about all of these other considerations as well?

If it’s important enough to you, then it should be important enough to the person listening. Don’t ever think that what you want to say is stupid or invalid, that’s something we’ve all learned since kindergarten. No question or comment is stupid. The only stupidity is not saying what you want to say. It’s essential to express yourself.

 

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” – Diane Ackerman

Here is some inspiration that I thought you may all enjoy.

You don’t just want to look back on your life and wonder where it went. You want to have memories, adventures, experiences with people that you love (and maybe even the ones you don’t). You want to learn and take away from each situation the most that you possibly can. This is your life–don’t just let it pass you by. Make it special and have no regrets. Live your life to your fullest potential because it will all be worth it in the end. It’s better to have a life of “oh wells” than to have a life of “what ifs.” Take chances and make mistakes because that is how you grow and learn. Believe in yourself. You can do anything that you set your mind to. I know it!

A Special Place in My Heart

My grandparents are some of the most important people in my life. They have always taught me the most valuable lessons like how to love and how to be loved; how to make the most of any situation; how to be grateful for what I have; how to cherish every moment; how to be proud without having a big ego; how to be compassionate and kind to others… and have helped shape me to become who I am today. Obviously I love all of my grandparents equally, but I would really like to focus this blog on the men in my life: my grandpas (Poppy and PopPop).

Poppy, my mom’s dad, is one of my favorite people ever! He passed away last year when he was almost 94 years old and I miss him terribly. Please bear with me because I’m getting a little teary-eyed as I sit here writing this. I always loved sharing with him about my life, current events, music, and much much more—and he always loved listening (and contributing, too)! He always said that we (my sister, my cousin, and I—his 3 grandchildren) are what kept him going, but really, I honestly feel that the lessons that we all learned from him are what will keep us going and aid us with success in our futures. Poppy always had a love for music and we always joked that he knew a song for every word. He always taught me to follow the music in my heart and to march to the beat of my own drum. I can’t thank him enough for all of these valuable lessons. I miss him so so much and would give anything to share one more moment with him!

PopPop, my dad’s dad, is one person I know I can always rely on—for a good laugh, to help me make a decision, to support me in all of my endeavors, to brag about me and show me off to all of his friends, to make me think, and just to give me a hug and kiss and tell me he loves me. His passions are his family, music (like Poppy!)—he walks around our office singing show tunes and other favorites, and food (he is Mr. Food, the television chef, after all). PopPop has always welcomed anyone into our family and has always made sure that everyone was included and never left out of anything (maybe that’s why all of our family gatherings are so large!). It is his warmth and inclusion that that have really taught me so much. Because of him, I have learned to accept everyone for who they are and not to make any preconceived judgments.

My two grandpas didn’t seem like in-laws to me, “Machutin,” which is Yiddish term of endearment that they always used to describe each other. They acted more like brothers than anything. They always embraced each other with a warm, enormous hug and were always so happy to see each other. I love my grandpas more than words can even describe.

Second Chances, Strength, and No Regrets

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

When I woke up this morning, my parents were watching CBS Sunday Morning. The cover story was about an ex-convict turned student, lawyer, and husband. He had been a successful high school student and football player who graduated with scholarships and planned to attend college. He couldn’t handle the stresses of college, dropped out after a semester, had a few jobs, married, had a child, and divorced. He then turned to drugs and alcohol and was convicted for several armed robberies. Sentenced to 20 years in prison, he thought his life was over. But, he turned things around for himself and took correspondence college courses in prison and was released 13 years early. He finished law school, got a job, and remarried. He is waiting to hear about his score on the BAR exam and he and his wife are expecting.

This story absolutely got me thinking about my life, second chances, and what wisdom I can impart on the blog world. We have to take each day as it comes and live life to the fullest because while this man did get a second chance, life may not always allow for that. A lesson that this man tries to teach everyone (especially those in prison—he goes and speaks to them about second chances) is that there are no excuses for not trying. He is the prime example of his lesson. There is no reason that an ex-con can’t make it because this man is proof positive that that’s just not true.

Life Tips:

  1. Second chances are rare but when given the opportunity, take advantage of them.
  2. Don’t live with regret because no matter how good or bad your experience is, you can always learn a lesson.
  3. Believe in your dreams and run with them—they will become your future.
  4. Find your niche in the world and set your mind, heart, and soul to anything that you think is worth accomplishing.
  5. Always make time for things that are important to you.

“The Important Things in Life Aren’t Things…”

I’m the kinda girl who wishes on 11:11 whenever I get the chance. I’m the kinda girl who throws a penny into a fountain and makes a wish. I’m the kinda girl who wishes on a shooting star (I’ve seen one once in the vast Negev Desert in Israel!). I’m the kinda girl who makes a wish when pulling a wishbone apart. I’m the kinda girl who wishes when my necklace clasp is spun around to the front. I’m the kinda girl who wishes on a loose eyelash that has fallen on my cheek. Get it? I like to make a lot of wishes, but I can’t tell you what they are. They’re my own secrets. Because if I told you, well, then, they wouldn’t come true. I guess I’m a little superstitious.

As I was driving home the other day after a torrential downpour, I noticed a vivid rainbow out of my car’s window. Stopped at a red light, I pulled out my camera and began taking pictures. It wasn’t until I got back home when I looked at the picture again (and showed it to everyone who was home—it was so beautiful!) and saw that it was actually a double rainbow! Curious about the significance of seeing a double rainbow, I googled (yes, it’s now a verb) it. Here’s what I found: “according to Feng Shui writer, Lillian Too, a double rainbow is a sign from the cosmic Universe that you are about to have something great fall into your lap, and that one good thing will lead to another.” Another source, The Osho Energy Transformation Institute, “says a double rainbow is the symbol of transformation.”

The definition of a wish is a desire or hope for something to happen. Now, you may be wondering what my wishing has to do with my seeing a double rainbow. Honestly, they’re not completely related. I’ll admit (but shhhh, don’t tell anyone!) that something great falling into my lap has been a wish of mine in the past, though. Having all of those wishes come true is pure luck. As is seeing a double rainbow. You have to be in the right place at the right time. I do believe that seeing that double rainbow is like having one of my wishes come true because of its strong significance. I’ve had to overcome a few challenges throughout my lifetime, but I still realize how privileged I am and that some people have experienced much worse than I have. So, having one good thing lead to another is something I (and most likely everyone else) always wish for.

Basic Beauty

Be yourself, follow your heart, and have a positive attitude: Do what you want to do and don’t let anybody stop you. Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” It’s all about your attitude—if you have a positive attitude, positive changes will occur. If you follow your heart and believe in yourself (Yeah, I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true!) other people will believe in you and respect you more.

Trust no one else as much as you trust yourself: Of course it is wonderful to have friends and family who you can rely on to help you whenever you need that extra little push to get past that bump in the road. But you must solely rely on yourself to take initiative. No one will feed you all of the answers and no one will always be there to pat you on the back every time you accomplish something. You are your best friend, but at the same time, you are your worst enemy. Trust your instincts.

Stay smart and think smart: It’s not only important to stay smart (by reading, doing crossword puzzles or playing games like Scrabble), but it’s important to think smart. In other words, have common sense. Don’t do something you know is stupid or that will hurt you in the long run. Enough said.

Be your best possible self: Strive for your version of perfection (there is no definition of the word; what I think is perfect, you may think is utterly repulsive)—just always try your hardest and always do your best! Make an effort and show that you care and are passionate about what you are doing, the people who are important to you—make sure they know you care about them and how much you love them (those 3 little words can go such a long way!)—and your past, present, and future. Don’t let memories fade, live in the moment, and plan ahead.

The natural look: Physical beauty is important as well. Everyone is beautiful—inside and out. Some people may have to dig a little deeper to find it, but I promise, it’s there. Outside—it’s easy for us girls to put on some makeup and straighten our hair. But why not be natural? Both my makeup and my flat iron can be my best friends, I have to admit, but no one ever said I had to cake it on. Enhance your natural beauty.

Eat right and stay fit: What more can I say? Seems pretty self-explanatory. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that exercising is important and that eating right is all about portion control and getting a balanced diet—check out the list of healthy foods on my listography page.