What are you listening to?

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There is a constant feed surrounding us. Sometimes is music, a conversation, the radio, or the TV. In all of these things are words. Words are a powerful thing. They can lift you up or tear you apart. A single word from someone can cause your whole day to be ruined or give you that breakthrough you’ve been looking for. The question is: What are you listening to?

You see we hear a lot of things throughout the day: gossip at work, an argument on the street, lyrics of a song, things people say to us, and things that people say about us. All of these things have words and words can bring life or death.

You see a lot of people say oh I don’t care if they talk to me like that I know they don’t mean it, or it’s just a song, or it’s just a show so it doesn’t matter, or their words can’t hurt me. But the thing is words have a way of burying deep inside of you, compounding and hiding in plain sight, until something happens and those words that have gotten inside of you suddenly come to life. And you’re left wondering how you got this way, where did things go wrong? Words.

The funny thing is, I can always trace a good outcome to the one moment something good was said to me but when it is a bad outcome isn’t usually one moment of bad words but several. I think that one good word out weighs several bad so for something to be so wrought inside of us it has to have been said not just once but several times. How many more times than will it take then for the good to come back and negate the bad?

So again, what are you listening to?

Are you listening to the person who tells you that you’re dumb and tear you down, are you listening to that song makes light of cheating and objectify the opposite sex, are you watching that TV show that promotes unhealthy relationships and stirs lust, “beauty” campaigns that tell you you have to look a certain way in order to be acceptable, and that random stranger or customer who treats you with serious lack of respect?

Or are you listening to people who lift you up, music that rises you up to the challenges of the day, show that make you laugh and hope, and brushing off those that get no say over you and your life? Words are a powerful thing but YOU can choose to listen to them, to let them get inside of you, to take you where you need to go. If nobody is saying the words you need to hear, than say them yourself, find music that says it too you, find a book that will encourage you, and find those people who do cherish your worth and in that same instance use your words to lift others up. Just as others have the power to tear someone down with their words YOU have the power to lift them up. So the question is:

What are you listening to?

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Are you Journaling? 5 Reasons why you should

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One of my bigger accomplishments of 2014 is that I kept a journal in which I wrote every night before bed. Each day I would do bullet points of happenings that day and at the bottom I would write tasks for tomorrow. No entry would be longer than a notebook page (in this case mine was 8×6) and each one was concise and summarized the day.

This year I will be doing the same again. If you are not journaling I urge you to on a routine business and if you are not sure why here are a few reasons:

1. It is a good way to evaluate in a timely fashion

Writing in it every night forced me to look back on my day and see just where I could have changed things or how I could have been more productive. It also helped me to reflect on things that happened relational, emotional, and spiritually. Why did I argue with that person? Hmmm I probably could have spent less time on social media. Wow, when I sum it up, I really didn’t do much of anything today. These are some thoughts I have at the end of the day when journaling and assessing how I acted during the day helps me make better decisions for tomorrow.

2. Keeps you on task

Part of my daily journaling is putting down the things that I had accomplished that day and things that I will need to do the next day. For instance when it comes to my writing, I would put what my progress was for the day and what I was expected to accomplish tomorrow. Also have you ever just gotten into bed and realized ALL the things you forgot to do that day? Yeah… now you have a place where you can write all those things down so you can remember to do them tomorrow.

3. Baggage lifter

Ever have something happen to you and you just need to get it off your chest. This is a good way to do that. “Never let the sun go down on your anger”. You don’t have to go into super details when writing about it, you can simply just write down that you are angry and frustrated. Just doing that can sometimes make you feel better.

4. Looking back

Going back now and rereading my journal entries allows me to see myself almost from the outside. I read entries of things I have gone through that seemed so consuming at the time but now I am over. There are events in it that I have forgotten have happened. And mostly there is a running theme of thoughts and actions that I didn’t notice before. It is like I am giving insight to myself. It is kind of like one of those look back videos they have on Facebook only this is far more detailed and personal.

5. It can be fun!

I use multicolored gel pens and alternate between them so at the end of the year it is like a rainbow of colors. Sometimes I will even paste something in it or doodle. At the front of the book I usually start it with a meaningful quote, then accomplishments for the past year, disappointments, and then what I am looking forward to this year. You can do whatever you like, get creative, it is your outlet.

So give it a try and start journaling, it is definitely worthwhile.

Also here are some tips for journaling:

  • Find the right kind of notebook whether it is spiral, leather-bound, or digital. Make it a format that will be readily accessible and comfortable to use. For instance I prefer a spiral or soft-bound notebook usually by the company miquelrius.
  • Make sure the notebook is thick enough. If you want to write everyday then you need a notebook that has about 400 pages/200 sheets.
  • If you are keeping a digital journal I suggest using a word processor (word or pages) and saving the entries to a special folder if you are doing separate documents. A great app to use for this would be Evernote or Day One . Check out this article for good iPhone apps and this one for android apps.
  • Put the date at the top of the page. I usually put the time, the day of the week, and the date.
  • Leave space at the bottom to put tasks for the next day. I will help you look forward to tomorrow and when you look back you can see how often those tasks were completed.
  • Do it everyday or just once a week but make sure you are consistent.
  • Be open. This is about you and you shouldn’t be closed off to yourself.

Happy journaling!

Hello to a New Year of Possibilities!

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015! I got to ring in the new year with an awesome church service and then spent the next day hanging out with friends. I hope you also had nice time ringing it in, even if it was just a relaxing evening at home.

There is something about a new year that brings with it the feeling that anything is possible. That your old slate of disappointments, hurts, and setbacks are behind you and before you is an open window of possibilities. That this year is going to be great. That this year is going to be better than the last. It is as if all of time is stretched before and your reach is infinite.

And yes 2015 can be this and so much more but don’t get ahead of yourself too quickly.

Take a moment to pause and reflect on last year and the things that have happened. Reflect on how you were in those moments of triumph and despair and think of what you have learned from them and how you have grown. And then think of how you can apply those lessons to this year.

Sure this year itself is a blank slate but we are a series of marked slates that have been stacked upon each other and even though we now have a new one, there are still the old ones underneath. These slates make you who are, and you may not always like what is written on them but congrats because you just got a new one. This new slate is blank and waiting for the possibility of what you will put on it.

What will you write on your slate this year? What are the possibilities you will reach for? And if you don’t think you have any, think again. Just by you being here today means that your possibilities are endless even if you can’t see them, even if you have no idea how to reach them. So pick up that blank slate and start writing.

Goodbye 2014

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HELLOOOOOOO! I hope you all had a great holiday season. I, for one, was glad to have the day off. I spent Christmas in my pajamas and curled up with my Tardis cup and blanket to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Yes, that’s right, I’m a Whovian.

So now it is officially three days before the new year! How are those resolutions coming? What do you have planned for 2015? So this year, for me, hasn’t been what I wanted it to be and you know what, that’s on me. BUT that also means next year is on me too so there is always a possibility of change but only if I go for it.

Sometimes you need the perspective of someone else to look at your life to see you, to tell you things that you don’t really want to admit to yourself, but you need to hear. I hope you have someone like that and if not, find someone, it’s a huge help.

Have you been keeping track? Every night I write in a journal just what took place that day. Currently I am rereading it and discovering/remembering things about myself. There is a running theme, not a good one, that I don’t want to carry over into the new year. If you haven’t kept a journal or a record of each day I challenge you to do so for next year. It doesn’t have to be long. I usually keep it to a page with bullet point notes and then at the bottom I write my tasks for the next day.

Well I hope you have a great New Year and that next year will even be better than this last!

The End of the Year is Near!

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There are officially 17 days until the end of the year. How are those resolutions coming?

I do have to say that I have made some serious headway on my resolutions this year. I may not have accomplished all of them but I have done more than I have in the past. For instance I have yet to learn how to play the guitar BUT I did purchase a guitar on Sunday so now I am one step closer. I haven’t fully reached my fitness goal BUT I have been more consistent in working out than I have ever been. It’s the little things that slowly build up to the big.

So if you haven’t reached your goal this year, and end up having to put it down again for next year, don’t worry about it. Focus on the little things you did that have moved you toward your end goal and I bet you’ll see that you’ve done more than you thought.