This Is Not the End, Merely A Fork in the Road…

fork in the road

Do you hear that? It is the sound of Christmas Carols and snow lightly falling across the hard, frozen ground. Winter has hit us, and fast, here in the mountains, and I did not see it coming. As a matter of fact, the last time I really remember stopping to look around, it was July.

It was July 1st to be exact, and we were all starting down a new path that was bright, green and full of life. Now, here we are nearly at the end of that path, and while it should still seem the same, I bet we are all looking at bare trees, gray skies and dormant nature. But that’s ok. It’s all about perspective, right? Because deep down, when this journey started six months ago, our visual senses may have told us that the view was bright and sunny on the outside, but inside I fear that maybe the bare path was where we really starting off.

Yet, over the last six months, those who have been walking this path have filled it with life… using their thoughts, vibrations, energies and intentions… causing enormous growth for each and every one of us. Feels good, right?

Right… so why stop here? Why limit ourselves to the list of goals that was set forth this past July. Life is all about the journey, because once you get there, what else is there to do but set your sights on another task or goal? Here’s my intention… to keep this community and vision going. To keep utilizing our group of enlighteners to help hold each other up, open each other’s minds to new ideas, thoughts and ways of growing that we may have never considered before.

round one,… complete

The first round of this challenge wasn’t exactly what I imagined it to be. Initially I imagined this as an experiement where maybe those who chose to participate would make a list of things they wanted to do. Over the course of six months, we could chip away at the goals, one by one crossing them off our lists.

Instead, what I found instead was a group of like minded people who wanted a place to discuss the hard times… a place where they know, no matter what confession they made, what thought passed through their minds, or what difficult circumstances were currently happening… they could stop by that page and receive a kind word, a prayer, or just a place to vent that is unbiased, and non-judgemental. A place where they could get support to live life a different way.

Goals were met, new challenges were placed. Some shared their experiences from the first post, some maybe only followed along silently. Whatever your roll was in this first incarnation of the challenge, I want to say thank you. Thank you for being brave enough to try something new, with people who may be complete strangers.

round two… starting again.

If you played along from July to December, maybe you will continue on the path with us from January to June. I know that the current challenge is not yet over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan ahead. Oddly enough, that philosophy is a bit out of line with my general thinking of, “Be Present. Be Here, in the now”, I can’t deny a little preparation is a bad thing.

While you are finishing up any of the goals you presented yourself in the first phase, go back and see which ones you haven’t completed. Reevaluate. Take some time to reflect on what you have learned, not only about life, but about yourself. Contine to carve out time for yourself to have these “zenful” moments of self-reflection. They will be crucial going forward.

dive deeper… think bigger.

Don’t let complancancy take over. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Let’s use this Challenge to our advantage. This time around, each week I would like to present a task for the those participating. It may be something simple and fun, or deep and even a bit difficult. A couple things you might find handy to keep close by – a notebook or journal, post-it-notes, and an open mind. The last one being of utmost importance.

Come stop by the Facebook Group where we really do most of our sharing, or, feel free to connect with everyone through this site. We have also started a Pintrest board for inspirational quotes, recipes, or really anything that may serve as a helpful tool for the Challenge.

A great man once said, “We are all just spirits, having a human experience.” Why not join our group and connect with other kindred spirits on the same journey as you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let the Challenge Begin!

10462557_10152256752096989_3916047989916604515_nWe have some really amazing people that have pledged to take the idea of the 6 Month Enlighten Yourself Challenge, truly embracing the spirit and camaraderie of the event. I call it an event because what we are doing is big. So big that it will encompass the next six months (and hopefully beyond) forever altering our perceptions of what life can be.

Remember, it is never too late to join the Challenge! If you want to participate, you can follow this blog, or join our Facebook group and we will update your list to this list to share with all the other members.

So, without further adieu, here are the remarkable lists that our members have created for themselves, and so graciously allowed me to post and share here on NavingatingThePath… Namaste!

 

Christine Freer-Kebeck
So I have thought about this list, I am going to title it my Summer Top 10:
To completely renovate my kitchen, alongside my husband (this has been a long time dream)
To make my first ever lighting fixture or maybe even 2…lol
To lose 30lbs by December (ok this is more than just summer but it didnt go on overnight ,though I’d like to think it did)
Learn how to cook 2 new and healthy dinners each month.
Exercise at least 3x week
Learn new and effective ways to handle a toddler tantrum in public. (Havent had one in a while but we know it’s out there)
Learn more creative ways to deal with and motivate a tweenage girl, ugh the hormones and the whining!
The joys of getting older, is that a grey hair….wth
Parenting the perfectionist child in todays school, this one will be interesting.
Find new ways to decrease stress. I dont know about everyone else but I tend to internalize stress and seem to keep the calm cool exterior and take it all in to the point of volcanic eruption. I cant be the only one like this…lol

 

Meghan Weger
July- Juice Two Times a day and eat a healthy dinner
August – Start mediating at least three times a week
Semptember – Plan something special for my 1 year anniversary with Eric
October – Weight lift at least three times a week or do yoga.
November – Write an anxiety journal to find out what causes me to have panic attacks.
Dececmber – Go to the Biltmore and see their Christmas decorations.

 

Kristin Mastantoni My Top Ten:
– eat healthy, every meal, every snack, every day!* *is for 1 meal once a week as a cheat meal.
– exercise 30-60 min/day and lift weights 5-6 days a week
– study for, take, and pass the PTCB (Pharmacy Tech certification)
– Get a better paying job in Pharmacy or otherwise
– meditate daily and get Piper involved in it too
– do at least 1 activity with Piper every day. No more mindless TV.
– lose 50-75 lbs
– clean up my credit report and save for a new car and/or house
– adopt another rescue dog as a companion for Piper
– less social media, more social life

 

Jen Sansevere

  • K.I.S.S. My Life – Keep it simple stupid. Stop over complicating things, then using as an excuse to procrastinate. Stop over complicating plans, tasks, daily chores, work, and interactions with the kids.
  • Be Healthier. Exercise more (at least 3x a week); Eat more balanced meals, making sure I am conscious of the nutritional choices and trying harder to include all the necessary food groups.
  • Learn new recipes that encourage and excite my kids to trying new foods.
  • Be more present. Stay mindful that the past is an anchor, the future is unknown. Just be, and enjoy the moment I am living in.
  • Edit my novel. I wrote a book. A story that lived in my head for years, was finally put down and I want to edit it and try and publish it. Again, procrastination has invaded and I keep putting it off with one excuse or another. But, I think it’s decent, and deserves some TLC, so I am going to put aside 3-4 hours a week to edit this monstrosity.
  • Keep in touch more. Call friends, email more, be more social with friends and family. Time is a fickle thing, and you never know how much you have.

 

Cyndie Corbin Van Bavel
I’ve put much thought into what I know I can accomplish in the next 6 months. I’ve whittled it down to this.
1. Worry less. Have faith in knowing that worry will only cause anxiety and more stress. My faith will grow as I submit more of myself to God and just let him drive.
2. Exercise more. As much as I’ve done well on my weight loss goals I still gave 40 more pounds to go. So is like to lose half that by the end of the year.
3. Finish reading Unglued by Lisa Terkuerst. I swear this woman wrote this book just for me!!
4. Re-consider and commit to getting my MBA

 

Christine Hartman
My list
* put my needs first and care for myself
* accept compliments and congratulations & Be proud of my accomplishments.
* finish my DIY projects.
* learn how to sew
* read the book that has been sitting on my nightstand for a month!
* lose weight with exercise and eating healthy

 

Natalja Manger
Here goes my list:
1. Make a decision about my education: will I go to grad school or not, where, and what degree?
2. Make a decision about Foreign Service – do I want to pursue it or not? Have an honest conversation with my husband and make a join decision
3. Pick up learning Arabic again – take a class at my college, give it all I have
4. Exercise with my husband at least 2 times per week
5. Dedicate to going to bed early and waking up early
6. Loose 10 Lb
7. Spend more quality time with my children, go on a fun adventure at least once per month
8. Save enough money for vacation this winter
9. Figure out a house organization/cleaning plan to make the house tidy and clean and alleviate the stress
10. Make a decision about moving or staying in the area

 

Natalie Jane
1) walk my dog more
2) Practice my new guitar and ukulele everyday for at least one hour (that’s gonna be easy)
3) Find a book on mindfulness and read a few pages every night
4) Exercise, exercise, exercise! (which includes eating healthier too and at home physical therapy)
5) Don’t leave more than 5 dishes in the sink. They must be washed and then put away!

 

CarolAnn Harkavy
I realized somewhere along the way I stopped doing things that make me happy; I got too involved with worrying about everyone else and trying to keep it together for them. I forgot to make myself important. I’m sure as time goes on this list will grow but for right now I miss:
1. Reading for fun, including books on tape in the car.
2. Taking pictures and updating my scrapbooks. I love them – they are the things I’d rescue in a fire; why did I let them collect dust?
3. Being creative in all ways – papercrafts, needlecrafts, painting
4. Baking…and sharing so I don’t eat it all!
5. Walking, driving to no place in particular, discovering new places…just getting out of the house!
6. Entertaining – filling the house with family, friends & laughter.

 

Chris Sansevere
Having given much thought, I have my list.
It’s short but, I think we all can agree.
1. No excuses

 

Adrienne Leary
Challenge accepted! While I do not FB, I would like to post that I have just started a challenging new job and one of my goals is to breach the learning curve over the next 6 months. There is a huge mountain of technical information I must learn, understand and apply in this new position. I am going to be brave, not get discouraged, and challenge myself to be the best I can be in this new career. This 6 month challenge has also inspired me to try and eat healthier, exercise more and to try and take life a lot less seriously 🙂 Better outlook = Better me! Here goes…………….!

Challenge Accepted!

challenge

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” -Gail Sheehy

I want to stop wasting time. I want to make better use of the minutes and hours in my day. I want to…

• Stop dwelling in the past

• Eat healthier

• Be more present for my children

These are just a few of the things I WANT to do. But the sad truth is, I am afraid to do them alone. Looking within and really seeing that there is room for improvement is not an easy task. Self evaluation is crucial to keeping a clear mind, soft heart and strong body. Being the very best version of yourself takes time and sometimes a little outside support.

I wanted to offer my Facebook friends to take this challenge with me, and when I saw how they responded, I opened it up to anyone who want to join. I am so happy with how many people have already commented that this idea was something they could really get behind. That idea is simple. For six months, set goals and do your very best to achieve them. As long as they will some how enrich, or enlighten your life, the challenge can be anything you want it to be.

Speaking from experience, wanting to change, and setting goals to do so has been an exhausting series of disappointments. With each milestone I failed to meet, I would sink further and further into a pit of self loathing. Sure, I was smiling and going about my life, but really, my mind was starting to turn on me. I knew, somewhere deep down I do have the ability to rise above it and accomplish some goals I set, but could I do it alone?

The answer I ultimately came to was, no.

So I, along with a number of others are pledging to take The 6 Month “Enlighten Yourself” Challenge. There’s a Facebook group set up for support and also an avenue that we can utilize to share experiences, stories and milestones. I want this to not only be fulfiling for yourself, but have some fun in the process. I encourage all participants to blog their stories, make videos of their achievements, and share, Share, SHARE!

We officially start July 1st, and the end date for this Challenge will be December 31, 2014.

Will YOU Challenge Yourself?

I “Like” You, Do You “Favorite” Me?

I had a sad moment today when I realized that I have not been enough of a friend to some people. Thanks to social media, we are more connected than ever to a variety of people from all moments in our lives. My whopping 107 facebook friends includes people I have know for more than twenty years, and some I have actually never met. We’ve all come together in this virtual place to share our lives, pictures, happy and sad moments. We all comment, or like these moments, but rarely do I see more than a surface connection being made.

In the past few months, I have had some very personal moments of ups and downs, and have went to facebook or other social site to share these only to stop myself. Realizing that no one would really give a shit or I would come off as whining, or boastful. Either of which would never be the intention. Sure, most of these moments are shared within my family and inner circle of friends, but to put them out in the cybersphere was too much of a gamble for me and my (most times fragile) psyche. Besides, maybe my FB friends don’t want to talk about MY spiritual growth or MY spiritual journey. So I write them here because, while the initial reason for this blog was to talk about my adventures in starting my own business, it has morphed into so much more.

For anyone that really knows me, they know that my spiritual growth and path through life has been a hard fought one to find. Even now, while I am finally on the path that I feel is right for me, I am running into downed trees and enormous overgrowth that I have to fight my way through. But when I am able to, the most glorious sight always lies on the other side. A bright, beautiful, flourishing path that I am happy to be traveling on. In other words, a light at the end of the tunnel. Its hard to NOT want to tell everyone all the time how to live, especially when you’ve found a way that makes life better overall. And this is something I want to shout to all my social media friends, all the time. Mostly when I see one of them is suffering in some way.

I have two friends in particular that I see struggle with one aspect or another. I read their posts, and my heart breaks for them because I want to be able to help. I want to reach out and say, “Don’t worry! It will be fine!” “Life has a plan,” “It’s you’re path”. But, let’s be honest. When you’re feeling low, isn’t that the last thing you really want to hear? I know that’s how I feel. Sometimes those word of encouragement ring empty, false… and when they come from someone you ‘kinda’ know, or maybe haven’t seen in a long while, they are just words with no real emotional backing. I was one of those people; offering sentiment because I thought it would help. Making myself feel better because I reached out, but then I could turn off the computer and go about my day. However, after encountering one person in particular, I knew that wasn’t enough.

When I first saw her posts earlier this fall, I knew there had to be something more I could do. While I had only met this person one time, I felt a great connection with them. I felt their suffering through the computer and knew that I could do something. I reached out to them through private message, and over the past couple months, I feel like I have gained a soul mate and co-conspirator to life’s mysteries. I hope for the end of their suffering during every meditation. I always try to keep them present in my positive thoughts and energies. And even though some time has passed since our last “chat” I know that we will always be connected.

SCUOp

No one should ever feel alone. It’s probably one of the hardest feelings to fight through. Doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by family and friends. If you don’t feel that connection to someone… that there is someone who TRULY understands the space where your heart and head resides… I think it makes it more difficult to pick yourself back up and move on. Even though I know in my heart I am never really alone, my head doesn’t always believe it. It is getting less and less frequent, and this is something I want to share with these friends. But, maybe they don’t want to hear it right now. I know I don’t when I am living in that space. But when you are ready, I am here to talk if that is what you want to do.

Another day, another rambling post. I guess the closest thing to a point I am trying to make is this: If you see someone’s struggling on a social media site or even in face to face life, don’t be afraid to really give of yourself. You may not have to utter a single word. Just listen. Maybe you have the best advice in the world because you went through just this thing in particular. Keep it to yourself for now. Just be there. Give them your full attention. Wait until they finish. Let them cry it out. Just be there.

I recently finished an amazing book called “Life’s That Way” by Jim Beaver. In a heartbreaking tale of loss, his message rang out loud and clear… don’t offer thoughts or comments that will make you comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. Just be there to offer a tender touch, an empathetic ear or a loving smile. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable or awkward. Giving someone your undivided attention, is one of the best and most important gifts of friendship you can give.

Namaste to you all. May your path be filled with less and less obstacles on your journey to the light.