Thoughtful Thursday – The Magic of Autumn

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Photo taken by Maria Vidaurre

Summer is officially coming to an end on September 22nd as we welcome the Autumn Equinox. Here in South Florida, we don’t really experience a change in scenery. The weather cools a bit but there is no major change in season visually.

This was a photo I had taken while hiking 10 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia with my husband. The air was cool and crisp on the morning we embarked on our hike and the scent of wet leaves permeated the air. Mother nature had graciously painted a stunning canvas of yellow, red, orange and brown for us to enjoy. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking on the trail.

It was a magical hike where I found myself again and remembered what I was made of. There were parts of the trail where I had to dig deep to find courage and endurance to push on. One section had a small brook covered with leaves which were very slippery. Even though I was super careful, I ended up taking a fall but luckily it was nothing major and just ended up with a bruised knee.

The most treacherous part of the trail was a section that was covered with large boulders from an avalanche that wobbled and moved as we crossed them. This part slowed us down considerably and the sun was setting soon.

To say the least, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting stuck on the mountain, at night, out in the cold. I much preferred my warm bed that was calling my name back at the lodge. So with all the grit and determination I could muster, I forged on to reach the end of our hike.

As the sun started to set in the horizon, the temperature began to drop pretty fast and darkness was setting in. Just when I thought we wouldn’t make, we came to the end of the trail. I was so happy and soooo relieved. We did it 😅

Looking back on our hike I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. It was quite the adventure and I loved every minute I spent with my husband. Time on the trail renewed my energy and sense of wonder. It was a great recharge for my mind, body and soul.

We’re going on another hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail this fall but it will be at a different section of the trail and a shorter hike. Really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful colors again!

What do you like most about autumn?

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“Notice how autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” ~Freidrich Nietzsche

Photos taken by Maria Vidaurre

Thoughtful Thursday – Earl Nightingale on Goals

Quote of the Week: Earl Nightingale - Authentic Medicine
Earl Nightingale

I was listening to Brendon Burchard the other day when he recommended Earl Nightingale. I hadn’t heard of him before so I did a little research.

Earl was at Pearl Harbor on the Arizona during the attack which thankfully he survived. Shortly after the war, Earl was obsessed with learning how the mind works and how one person can create wealth while the next is penniless and stays that way. In 1956, Earl recorded one of the first ever life coaching sessions called “The Strangest Secret” which can be found on YouTube. There’s also a book on Amazon.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on Goals. The reason I bring this up again is because Earl makes an excellent reference in his recording about goals. Here’s a snippet of what he says:

“Have you ever noticed that a man who becomes successful tends to continue to become successful? And on the other hand, have you noticed how a man who’s a failure tends to continue to fail?

Well, it’s because of goals. Some of us have them; some don’t. People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.

Now think of a ship leaving a harbor and think of it with a complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and crew know exactly where it’s going and how long it will take. It has a definite goal. 9,999 times out of 10,000 it will get to where it started out to get.

Now let’s take another ship, just like the first, only let’s not put a crew on it, or a captain at the helm. Let’s give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go.

I think you’ll agree with me that if it gets out of the harbor at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach, a derelict. It can’t go any place because it has no destination and no guidance.”

Earl puts it in very simple terms but he’s 100% correct. Goals are the foundation of your life because without them, how do you know where you’re going? It’s so important to set your goals, focus on them and work towards reaching them however big or small they may be. You don’t want to spend 10 years of your life only to find that you’re still at the starting line and have gone nowhere in all that time.

Think about what it is that you really want out of life. What is your passion? What makes you come alive? What gets you excited and eager to start your day? Then set goals and work towards them. (If you need a little more help on goal setting, you can read my post on Goals and hopefully that will steer you in the right direction.)

Live your life with passion while expanding your mind and soul, and have fun in the process!

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“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” ~Buddha

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Thoughtful Thursday – Goals

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At the beginning of the year, most of us set goals, our New Year’s Resolutions. Hard to believe that the first half of the year is coming to a close in another week. Where do you stand on your goals? Are you on track, or did you lose sight of where you wanted to be by now?

Life has a tendency to throw you one curve ball after another. But that’s okay as long as you don’t lose sight of your goals. It can get pretty frustrating when you veer off track and if you go off too far, then you may quit. But I’m here to cheer you on! Don’t be so hard on yourself. There’s been so much going on in the world so staying on track towards your goals can be rather difficult.

I know for me, I’ve had my fair share of curve balls thrown my way. But I decided to go easy on myself, it is what it is and I am where I am. I can’t change the past, nor does it do me any good to cry over spilled milk as the expression goes. So I’m looking ahead and making a few changes to help get me back on track. Here are a few pointers:

  • Start by reassessing where you currently are with your goals and where you feel you should be by the end of the year. What do you still need to do?
  • Next break down your goals into smaller attainable monthly goals. Notice I used the word “attainable.” Be honest with yourself on what you can accomplish in the next 6 months. Don’t set yourself up for failure by piling too much on your plate. For example if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t plan on losing 30 pounds in a month. Realistically, women lose an average of 3 lbs a week (12 lbs p/month) while men lose 5 lbs a week (20 lbs p/month). So be realistic with your goals and set yourself up to win, but at the same time still challenge yourself.
  • Next, take it another step further and break down your monthly goals into “attainable” weekly goals and schedule those into your week. Try to schedule 1 hour every day, more or less to work on your goals.
  • Before starting your day, review your schedule and get your mind ready to tackle your goals and cross that finish line victoriously by the end of the day!
  • At the end of the week, you should have made some progress towards your goals. If you went off course, take a look at the why and take action for the next week so it hopefully won’t happen again.

Your schedule will change because that’s just the way life is. So adjust course and keep going. You’re stronger than you thought and you need to give yourself credit for the wins, however small they may be, they all count!!

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“The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in NOT reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” ~ Benjamin Mays

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Thoughtful Thursday

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY

Power of a Smile

Researchers have found that smiling, evokes a feeling of happiness and has many positive effects on our overall wellbeing. On my morning walks I’ve encountered many people on the road especially these days. But to my surprise, a lot of them were, well, grump misers. I would smile and give them a nice “Good Morning” a few would respond but a lot would just grunt and keep going.

My parents always told me stories of how I was the happiest baby, always laughing and smiling and I still am. Truth be told, it just makes you feel good. Sure, life isn’t perfect and things go wrong for all of us, but it comes down to what are you going to do with that curve ball life just threw your way. Are you going to be miserable or are you going to make the best of it and find something to smile about. Personally I prefer to find that silver lining in the cloud.

With all these morning grump misers, I thought I can’t let them be this unhappy, because happiness and positive energy is contagious. So I upped my game. I started giving everyone a big smile with a resounding “Good Morning!” And if that didn’t work, the next time I’d add in a twinkling little wave along with my big smile and greeting. I was determined to share the happy!

Funny thing started to happen, even the grumpiest people would get happy when they saw me coming their way. The happiness and positive energy has been so contagious, that they are now, seeking me out for that “Good Morning” smile and it’s just really nice to know that your smile and positive energy has the power to brighten someone else’s day.

We have unusual circumstances these days where many of us are in environments where we have to wear masks a lot but you can still see a smile in a person’s eyes and you feel the positive energy radiating from them. So don’t use that as an excuse not to smile and share the happy. Imagine how different the world could be if more people would share a smile and positive energy.

Who did you share your smile with today?

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Thanks for stopping by, Share the Happy!

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Thoughtful Thursday

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY

Fear

I read an interesting article written by Chip Gaines in the Summer 2020 issue of Magnolia Journal. In the article he posed a good question: “If fear wasn’t a part of the equation, how would your life look different?”

It really got me thinking. Fear always plays a pretty big role in all of our lives everyday. We don’t move forward with projects out of fear of failure. We hold back on meeting new people because we’re afraid of being rejected. We don’t sing, create art or dance to our hearts content because we’re afraid of being ridiculed or laughed at.

But ultimately, we end up hurting ourselves. We lose out on life, by sitting on the sidelines allowing fear to grip us tight and hold us back. I’m not saying that fear is bad, it’s also a good thing because fear keeps us safe. But often times we let it get out of control when it isn’t necessarily needed. We need fear but we also need to keep it in check. We need to be sensible but when it comes to living our lives and being in the present moment or sitting it out on the bench, please choose to enjoy life! It is so much more fulfilling and it’s one of the reasons we’re here. So live your life to the fullest everyday!

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” ~ Lewis Carroll

Thanks for stopping by, Share the Happy!

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Thoughtful Thursday

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY

Words of Wisdom

I am a collector of quotes. They inspire and motivate you and touch your heart and soul. These are a few of my favorites from “Inspirational Quotes illustrated” by Lesley Riley.

This book quickly became one of my favorites. Lesley did a magnificent job collecting 130 quotes and paired them with beautiful illustrations by various artists. The pages in the book are perforated so you can easily tear them out and frame them if you like.

Click on the above image to go directly to Amazon

“We are not human beings have a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~Helen Keller

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as the attitude you bring to life.” ~Khalil Gibrain

“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.” ~Emory Austin

“We have a tendency to obscure the forest of simple joys with the trees of problems.” ~Christiane Collange

What is your favorite quote?

Thanks for stopping by, Share the Happy!

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Thoughtful Thursday

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY

Confidence

Not sure if you read last week’s Thoughtful Thursday Post but I entered a virtual challenge for the week from Garmin, competing against 9 other runners. The goal was distance. It officially ended on Monday and I walked 33.9 miles and took 1st Place!! That was such a milestone for me. I was never able to do this when I was younger, much less win 1st Place but I was determined. I wanted to throw in the towel a few times but I had to reach down deep and find the courage and perseverance to keep going. Everything in my body was starting to hurt. But I really wanted to win.

I had no intention of walking this much but Jon, who was in 2nd Place was absolutely relentless. Every time I tried to put a little more distance between us he up’d his game and closed the gap. I am very thankful for Jon because he pushed me to do more and more. More than I ever thought I was capable of. Almost 34 miles in 1 week!!! It was unbelievably hard and I’m so glad it’s done because I’m exhausted.

After finishing this race, my confidence in myself definitely went up a few notches. I now know that that I have the drive and ability to tackle what may appear as a monumental task and come out victorious. Even if I don’t know how to go about it, I’m more than capable of figuring it out and that’s a very good feeling.

This wasn’t an official race. There were no trophies, no one cheering you along from the sidelines. It was just me and my Garmin, tracking my miles. But I’m very proud of my virtual win because for me this was so much more than just winning.

What area of your life do you need to boost your confidence in? Take on that monumental task and prove to yourself that you CAN do it!

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Thoughtful Thursday

I thought I would write a post, once a week about something other than art. I love creating with my whole heart, but if you’re not taking care of yourself, if you’re not happy, it’s a lot harder to get creative. 

One of my New Year’s Goals was to get in better shape so I decided I would go on a 2 mile walk every other day. I knew there would be times when this wouldn’t go according to plan so I promised I wouldn’t be too hard on myself. But I really wanted to stick with this plan as best as I could. 

When I first started going on these walks, my time was about 45 minutes for 2 miles. I was okay with that at first, but it didn’t take long and I wanted more. Over time I’ve become more and more competitive with myself, a part of me that I didn’t even know was there. I kept pushing myself and was able to get my 2 mile walk down to 27 minutes. Sometimes I’d even get into the 26-minute range. But that was it, I hit a plateau. 

To break the barrier, I added a few minutes of running and I was able to get my best time down to 24 minutes, 43 seconds so far. I don’t do a lot of running; it’s primarily walking because I’m so not a runner. Nevertheless, I feel victorious when I beat my best time, even if it’s only by 1 second! It still feels like I accomplished something extraordinary and I’m ready to shout it from the roof tops for all to hear!!! 

Bottom line is, to feel good about yourself or anything for that fact, you don’t need a big win. Sometimes it’s the smallest victories that feel like the biggest and have the most impact on your well being and state of mind. You are your own biggest fan when it comes to personal accomplishments.  So, what is your victory worth celebrating today?

Photo by Maria / Sunset in Key West, Florida