Tag Archives: change

Transition to Spring: Lenten Inspiration

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With 17 days left until spring (hallelujah!) and 40 days of lent for those who follow the Catholic tradition, March is a time to prepare for positive change in our lives. Writing this from home with family in snowy northern Michigan, spring seems far away, but I am reminded to have faith that spring comes every year. Spring is a metaphor that new beginnings and positive changes are always ahead of us and should keep us motivated in this crazy thing called life.

I recently read an article from St. Peter’s Church in Columbia, South Carolina (originally from www.upperroom.org) that inspired me and how I would like to be during Lent and the upcoming spring. Regardless of our religious or non-religious traditions, we can look at the Lenten season, or the end of winter and the beginning of spring, as a time to soak up a few more days to bundle up indoors, reflect individually and with our loved ones, and make changes before starting the new spring season. Below I am sharing some Lenten inspiration from The Upper Room and adding some of my own thoughts for how we can be inspirNational and make positive changes over the next 40 days.

Ideas You Can Try for Lenten Season

  • “Try an electronic fast. Give up TV, Facebook, texting, tweeting, e-mail and all things electronic for one day every week (or everyday of Lent!). Use the time to read and pray (or reflect for those who are not religious). Learn more about fasts at http://devozine.upperroom.org/articles/unplugging.”
    • I am committing to spend at least one hour each day fully disconnected, setting my phone aside, and appreciating nature. I find that I come up with my greatest ideas and solutions to my challenges when I am disconnected and in nature. Perhaps this will inspire you to do the same!
  • “Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it (maybe even yourself). Study a book on forgiveness, such as The Forgiveness Book by Alice Camille and Rev. Paul Boudreau.”
    • We should constantly remember to let go of what no longer serves us. Holding grudges only hurts us more and prevents the healing process for us and for those around us. Practicing forgiveness will help us heal and continue to grow as people as the new spring season begins.
  • “Give up soft drinks, fast food, tea or coffee. Give the money you save to help folks in different parts of the world who are in crisis.”
    • Or donate to a charity of choice! We can save so much money by not buying a daily latte – I have found that avoiding extra expenses and making food and drinks at home helps me save so that I can give back in the future. As President of the Moore School of Business MBA Student Association, I am currently raising money for the Special Olympics as part of the Duke Fuqua MBA Games competition in April. Special Olympics is a non-profit organization offering training and competition in 19 Olympic-type sports to 40,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The MBA Games provide an opportunity for MBA programs throughout the United States to compete in field day style games while raising money for the Special Olympics. You can learn more about donating to my Moore Hands team here: https://www.firstgiving.com/team/343067.
  • “Create daily quite time. Spend 10 minutes a day in silence and prayer. See how it can help you add spiritual practice to your daily life beyond Lent.”
    • While prayer is part of my daily life, I also spend time reflecting through yoga, writing this blog, and relaxing in nature. We all have our own ways tospend quiet time and it is important to make it part of our daily routine.
  • “Cultivate a life of gratitude. Write someone a thank you letter each week and be aware of how many people have helped you along the way.”
    • While we may often feel grateful, it is easy to focus on the negative, such as the challenges we face each day or as we prepare for the future. By focusing on gratitude each day, we can feel a glimpse of hope and happiness as we go through challenges. We can also make others feel more appreciated by spending more time thanking them.
  • “Strengthen your faith.”
    • This reminds those of us who are not faith-focused to spend more time determining which form of spirituality heals our souls, helps us grow as people, and helps us contribute most to the world around us. It will make us stronger people and better able to face life’s adversities.
  • “Volunteer one hour or more each week with a local shelter, tutoring program, nursing home, prison, etc.”
    • This inspires me to be more active with volunteering again. As a graduate student with two jobs and school extracurriculars, it is easy to get wrapped in my own routine and forget what brings me the most joy and has the greatest positive impact on the world. I imagine others face a similar challenge. Over the next 40 days, I plan to volunteer for the Special Olympics as part of the Duke MBA Games and will continue to regularly volunteer to help the community.
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Source: themiddlepage.net

How will you make positive changes throughout the Lenten season as you prepare for spring? I hope these insights provide food for thought as you reflect on the winter and transition to spring!

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Delicious Ambiguity

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Earlier today I read Melibee Global‘s blog and came across a post about delicious ambiguity. For some reason, everyone in my life (including myself) is facing ambiguity. We are facing many changes, new beginnings, and uncertainties related to the future. As a planner similar to many of my loved ones, it is easy to feel anxious and constantly worried about what will happen next.

With summer vacations underway, longer days, and more opportunity for reflection, I wanted to pass along some Melibee Global words that strongly resonated with me.

“While we all go through shifts in our lives at home, they often seem to be even more difficult because we’re HOME. We are in our own culture and in the US culture, planning and forcing an outcome is our norm. We are goal setters. We live with the burden of constantly progressing. We forget about the fine art of BEEing sometimes.

When we are abroad, we are often more excited and open about embracing the ambiguity. Waking up in a new place and not knowing exactly what the day will bring, what will inspire, what will be learned (even if it means getting lost in the process) somehow holds value to us. It becomes a great traveler story for later!

But in our home culture not knowing can be excruciating. It causes us to lose sleep. To make poor decisions. To lose our composure. To cry. To be frustrated.

Yet somehow in those moments of uncertainty when we’re abroad, we learn how to embrace that delicious ambiguity.

Know that we all go through these moments in life where we want to resist change, myself included. Instead of beating ourselves up, we can ask ourselves what we’ve learned from the experience. There is always a lesson.

Choose to learn the lesson and to take the adventure. Life is so much more beautiful when we do.

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Source: theleadershipcontract.com

As you travel and return home, consider what grounds you and makes you feel comfortable with the changes you will face in the near and distant future. I have found that spending time in nature, reading, going to church, yoga, and most other forms of alone time help me feel grounded. I hope that we all will perceive our future changes as delicious ambiguity, the essence of life.

Learning Adaptability

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There is one word that can describe my experience over the last month: adaptability.

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Source: outpostcrossfit.wordpress.com

Since mid-April, I have spent time in Paris (France), Rochester (Michigan), Traverse City (Michigan), Bloomfield Hills (Michigan), Ann Arbor (Michigan), Cleveland (Ohio), Wytheville (Virginia), Columbia (South Carolina), Charleston (South Carolina), Asheville (North Carolina), and now Greenville (South Carolina). In each location I have stayed with different family or friends, in settings ranging from a homestay apartment in Paris to student housing in Greenville to a luxury hotel in Asheville. My daily life has transitioned from being a laid back French student, to vacation mode with family in the states, to now working in corporate life. To say I have experienced change is an understatement. I have had to transition and adapt in ways that some people never experience in an entire lifetime. At its face, it seems overwhelming, but I remind myself that I am going through the steps I signed up for as an International MBA student. I view it as part of my adventure to grow personally and professionally. Through each of these changes over the past month, and lots of travel time in between, I have had time to reflect about what it takes to be adaptable and to be happy while you are facing change. I wanted to share some of my recent reflections with my favorite inspirNational readers.

What have a I learned about adaptability?

Take care of your health, first. Change naturally stresses the body, so it is critical for us to get enough sleep, to eat healthy foods, and to exercise. Emphasizing health is more important in times of change since our stressed bodies are more prone to illness. Sleep has been my biggest culprit. I have noticed that I am waking up earlier, so I am working on going to bed earlier to ensure that I get my nightly 8 hours of sleep.

Spend time in nature. Go for a hike, ride your bike in your neighborhood, or have an outdoor picnic. Fresh air, sunshine, and natural sounds help calm us, especially when we are feeling anxious about the changes we are facing. I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit very nature-focused cities, including Traverse City, Asheville, and Greenville, which have enabled me to find inner peace while transitioning. Nature has reminded me that with change there is consistency, from day to night, and from season to season.

Slow down: pause and pamper. Remember that you do not need to be in a rush. Life takes time, decisions take time, transitions take time. The right answers do not always come to us immediately and sometimes we have to slow down to be able to notice the right answers and the right path for our lives. This is one of the hardest concepts for me to understand because I like to finish what I have started, figure out the solution to a problem, achieve one goal, and move on to the next goal as quickly as possible. I am learning to slow down, which is helping change become more comfortable for me. Also, while you take a pause, remember to reward yourself for all the moving and transitioning you are experiencing. Relax with a massage, get a manicure, or go for a haircut. I had a company offsite this week that included a massage, and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I also took a bath, which helped me pause, relax, and enjoy the warm water and bubbles. How often do we sit for a bath rather than a rushed shower? The pausing and pampering helps motivate us to keep going and have faith that stability will come.

Be yourself. While we are adapting, it is important to be open to new ideas and opportunities, but we also should not lose a sense of who we are. Stand up for who you are, your religious and political beliefs, your interests, and that little quirks that make you, “you.” Think about your childhood self, which is likely a realistic version of who you are and who you want to be, before societal expectations were enforced upon you. I saw a quote at an art gallery yesterday in Asheville that really stuck with me: “Discipline is never forgetting what you want.” Never forgetting what you want means you are never forgetting who you are and the little inner voice that encourages you everyday. I am taking this quote to heart and going to remember this in my daily life.

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Source: quotefancy.com

Find connections to what you love: your local church, your favorite comfort foods, your favorite music, your favorite sports, etc. By connecting with the new community where we live, we feel more comfortable with the changes we are facing. I have enjoyed listening to my favorite playlists everyday while moving and have made a point to enjoy some of my comfort foods: peanut butter, fresh berries, French toast, orange juice, ice cream, and more. I am in the process of finding a Catholic church for the summer that will keep me centered in my faith . I am also joining a yoga studio and local outdoor sports leagues, which have been my favorite ways to stay fit and meet new people as I have moved over the years. On the note of connection, also stay connected with loved ones on social media – you will feel less far way from them and will help make your next conversation at home feel like you just saw each other.

Be kind to everyone you meet. You never know when you will cross paths again, especially in new places where you move. I have had the exciting opportunity to get in touch with one of my high school cheerleading teammates who I have not seen since high school, who is also in Greenville now. It is so comforting to have a Rochester friend in the same place as me now. I experienced the same thing in Cleveland when I realized that one of my study abroad friends from Spain also lived in Cleveland, and she became one of my best friends. There truly are six degrees of separation, and we will run into those we meet throughout different phases in our lives. Kindness has always been one of my most important values, and its significance has only been enhanced as I have moved and met (or remet) friends!

I am continually learning and growing in this adaptation process, and am excited to have a summer where I can learn about corporate life and a new city in South Carolina before returning to graduate school in the fall. The most comforting part of adaptation is that we are all in life together and experiencing changes at different points in life. I hope that these ideas help you as you face changes now or in the future!

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Source: WhiteCellarDoor on Etsy

 

Spring Transitions

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Spring is in the air! I am finding that life in my 20’s seems to be a series of springs, with new beginnings and transitions occurring all the time. Those of us in our 20’s are constantly adapting to change as we are developing ourselves, our careers, and our relationships as we locate our place and determine our fit in the world. Watching myself and my friends in many transition phases, I have been dreaming about the wonders of stability. How comforting it seems to be older, established, stable, and settled in life. Just as people older than me often say “I wish as young again,” I often think “I wish I was stable.” I have been seeking inspiration for how to best respond to life’s many transitions.

In this month’s Oprah Magazine, Oprah features inspiring anecdotes of how women have reacted to change. She connects to those of us who struggle as we face change, and provides an interesting alternative:

“We understand that when change has its way with you, you can lose a lot – like the people and things you hold dear, or sight of who you are. But picture an even more painful scenario: You wake up day after day, and nothing is ever different, and so you have no opportunity to grow, to expand your humanity and the capacity of your heart. You miss out on the essential point of being alive, which is to experience experiences and feel feelings, to partake of the messy and marvelous things occurring all around you, to watch the powerful play go on and contribute your verse. And, at the end of it all, to look back and say that you lived.”

After first reading this, I paused and was in awe. I was reminded about the importance of change and how it helps us grow as people. It is comforting to know that we all face change, and it is the essence of life. With each change I face in the transitional lifestyle of the 20’s, I am creating the established woman I aspire to be in the future.

Source: Times Union

Source: Times Union

The Oprah Magazine also features a Transition Tool Kit, which I found especially helpful to understand the stages we face in transition and how we can respond to them.The logical approach to facing transitions makes them seem more manageable and relatable to those around us.

Like the predictability of spring arriving every year, we can anticipate that we will face transitions. With every spring, and every transition, we have the opportunity to renew ourselves and our surroundings. Along with nature, we begin a new season of our lives. I am inspired to have this mindset with each transition I face now and in the future.

Changing Our Perspective About Change

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Change. It seems to be the major theme of our mid-20’s. Or some may argue that change is the theme of life.

I can’t help but notice all the changes that have occurred over the past several years. How is it possible that so many life events can begin and end in such a short amount of time? How can we adapt to all the uncertainty in our day to day lives and predict the future?

As a person who thrives when there is structure and certainty, I’ve had to learn to adapt to change. While overall I have learned how to handle change well, becoming a working professional has forced me to adapt to change faster than ever. Common changes for those of us in our mid-20s:

  • Career (from high school to college to entering the workforce to graduate school)
  • Family (beginnings of relationships, ends of relationships, funerals, weddings, births)
  • Friends (new friends, old friends, roommates)
  • Relationships (single life, the dating scene, boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses)
  • Location (moving away from home, studying abroad, traveling the world, moving away from our home state or country, living in a dorm/apartment/house with and without roommates)
  • Technology (it’s hard to believe that just a few years of us most of us did not have smart phones)
  • Perspective (from thinking like an adolescent, to thinking like a young adult, and for some, to thinking like a husband/wife or mother/father)

While it can be challenging to accept all these changes and to continue moving forward, it is important for us to not forget that change is good. We shouldn’t fear it; everyone experiences change and it helps us develop into the people we are and will be.

Today, I came across this great quote, which changed my perspective about change. I came to realize that change is the best way for us grow as people and advance the world.

Source: NOOMA (drinknooma.com), a beverage company from Cleveland, which is an excellent (and tasty!) form of electrolyte hydration

Still not convinced? Here are more of my favorite inspirNational quotes that remind us to embrace change:

“Don’t be afraid of change. You may lose something good, but you may gain something even better.” -Anonymous

“Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.” -Jim Rohn

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” -George Bernard Shaw

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” -Maya Angelou

“Change your thoughts and you can change your world.” -Norman Vincent Peale

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi