One of the things I talk about pretty often is not believing in Happy Endings. While you may be aghast at the thought…let me shed some light on my thinking and why I’ve chosen to be a Student 4 Life.
I don’t believe in happy endings.
First, fairytale happy endings are not happy endings at all. All fairytale happy endings just stop when the going got good or hit a high point. It’s a happy moment, but not a happy ending. Life goes on and it will not always be a picturesque scene with the perfectly cued music in the background. Cinderella had to learn how to live with Prince Charming and manage a castle, after all.
Second, I believe that our spirit goes on forever…therefore there is no ending. I am an eternal being that will never reach the end so therefore I’m not waiting for my happy ending…I better figure it out right now. If I can’t be happy right now then what’s the point? This fosters the belief that it’s ok to be happy today and not save it for a tomorrow that might never come.
Third and last, I always want to be becoming or arriving. I don’t want to become or arrive because that denotes an ending. I want to enjoy the journey not just the destination. Tim Ferris talks about mini-retirements in his book, The 4-Hour WorkWeek because he doesn’t want to arrive at retirement. He wants to enjoy life in the here and now. I like that idea.
If yesterday is gone and can only be used as a learning tool and you can’t touch a tomorrow, what does that leave us?
If you aren’t happy today, then what’s the point? There is something to be grateful for and happy about every single day, period. Even when going through hard times, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for and happy about. (Yes, I’m pretty sure that was a PollyAnna moment right there.)
Because of all of this I would like to dub myself a Student 4 Life. I always want to be striving for and learning new things. I want to be in a constant state of becoming. At this point in my life I believe I’ve shed the caterpillar part of me and have become a butterfly, but my journey doesn’t stop there.
I want to add more color to my wings.
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By Lauri Mackey — 6 years agoAnalogies I Learned While Riding My Bike This MorningFancy’s Neptune’s Net Ride1) Enjoy the Moments My bike ride this morning took me through neighborhoods, long stretches of farmland where they were growing artichokes, bell peppers in yellow and red, celery, and acres of sod. It went past a naval station, a shooting range, hiking and camping areas, and miles of beach along the Pacific Ocean where people were walking their pets or out in the water surfin’ it up. Don’t forget to look up every once in awhile and enjoy your surroundings. We get so busy with life that we forget to look up and enjoy these little moments of beauty that surround us daily.2) Share the Road This morning found me on a lonely 30-mile ride and while it was beautiful, it’s much more fun to bring a buddy. I enjoy riding with my husband or friends or my daughter. Due to different levels of fitness, I highly recommend a tandem. It evens up the odds in a hurry and it’s easier to visit. While tandems are certainly fun, you have to work “in tandem” or it’s literally a train wreck. Which foot to have on the pedal when you start, which foot you will put down first when you stop, shifting your weight carefully so you don’t weeble-wobble and fall right over. Share your life. It is much more fun when you have a buddy to share the road or to simply go “in tandem”.3) Think Happy Thoughts Let’s face it, this life can be a cess pool of negativity. Here’s an example of that on my ride this morning…it was 46 degrees and I hate the cold. My Garmin wouldn’t work so I wasn’t able to see how far I went, how many calories I had burned, what time it was, and how my heart rate was doing. There was a horrible head-wind that made me work much harder on the way home. It took ten minutes longer than my ride out. My fingers were freezing and at one point I couldn’t feel my toes. Some of the drivers definitely are NOT observing the 3-foot rule and made me nervous coming so close. And some parts of the beach ride just smell plain fishy…and I don’t like fish! Why did I do this by myself? I should have just stayed home. Here’s what actually happened…I was cold for awhile, but reminded myself of how blazing hot it had been this summer and was glad for the change in season that finally appeared. My Garmin didn’t work so I decided to just enjoy the ride and not worry about my heart rate or how long it would take me to finish. I was cold during spots, but enjoyed the morning sunshine as it warmed me up to get through the next cold spell. The headwinds are a blessing in disguise as while I’m slower, they make me stronger. I was grateful for good health that allowed me the opportunity to ride my bike and for the quiet time it provided me to think of all these analogies!4) Embrace Your Own Journey While there were not a lot of other cyclists out as early as I was this morning, I passed a few. And then one passed me! My initial reaction is always, “Man, I’m slow” or “Speed up! Quick! Don’t let this guy pass you!” Why? Why do we compare ourselves to others so often? I’m enjoying my Garmin-Free bike ride over here moving like molasses through this headwind…I don’t need to compare myself to the rest of the world. Embrace your own journey in this life. There is no one else like you, period. So why would you want to take someone else’s journey? This is yours…own it.5) Always Another Hill My tooshie is sore after all the hills. I admit it. But there is always another hill. Those hills build character, strength, resolve, and tighten my rear end. That’s a huge benefit! I ride with a group of guys on Thursday afternoons and one hill in particular is called “Power Line”. It is insanely steep and it takes just plain power and grit to climb. A few weeks ago, one of the guys told me he’d never made it up so I climbed with him and became the best little cheerleader you could imagine (without pompoms of course). He made it! And you know what? Last week we went to that same hill and he did it again and it wasn’t as hard as the first time. Those hills make you stronger and give you the confidence to tackle it again. In life there is always another hill. I enjoy the downhill and the coasting, but I know that hills are just a part of my life. Just as in my bike riding (whether mountain or road), they are building muscles, creating experiences, and giving me confidence to tackle even bigger hills in the future.
By Lauri Mackey — 3 years ago
3 foolproof ways to make healthy eating really work for you
by: Samantha Russell with LiveTheWhole.com
Healthy eating is hard to stick to. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is against you, with birthday parties, food-centered holidays, and potluck parties every second weekend.
I recently did a bunch of interviews with hard-working and accomplished women who all struggle to eat in a way that feels good to them. The number 1 thing they identified as getting in their way the most was consistency.
They all have so much knowledge about health, nutrition, and the way the want to be eating – but feel like life just constantly throws them curve balls and encourages them to eat more cake, buy more ice cream, and make exceptions to their plan all the time.
So, how can you make healthy eating actually work for you in a consistent way? Here are 3 foolproof ways to make healthy food choices your automatic ‘go to’ every day.
Step 1: Set SMART goals
Goals are great – you probably have them for your career, and maybe even your relationship, but have you stopped to formulate some great food and eating goals as well?
Just like any other goals in your life, healthy eating goals need to be SMART, or
Resonates with you, and
This means you have to think hard about exactly what you want to do, how you’ll measure your success, how to make the goal realistic for you and fit into your life, and when you’re going to pause and assess how things are going.
The problem with most healthy eating goals is that they go something like “I’m going to start eating better”, or “I’m going to cut down on carbs”, or even “I’m quitting sugar from now on”. There’s nothing wrong with trying any of these, but you’re going to need a better plan if you want to succeed.
For example, a SMART goal for “I’m quitting sugar” is:
“For the next 2 weeks (time managed), I am not going to eat or drink any sugar or added sweetener (specific + measurable). Instead, I’ll have a piece of fruit and drink green tea if I feel I need a little something extra (resonates + attainable).”
Step 2: Plan your meals the night before
Meal planning is the most helpful action step you can take to make healthy food choices easy – because you’ve already made them.
Simply sit down for 5 minutes before you go to bed and write down exactly what you’re going to eat the next day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks.
Yes, even if it involves looking up the menu of a restaurant. By making food decisions when you’re relaxed, not hungry, and can give them your full attention, you’ll make way better decisions that are more in-line with your goals.
Now, with the food decisions already made, all you have to do is stick with them. If you feel like you’re going to struggle with that, this is where step 3 comes in.
Step 3: Have an emergency recovery plan
No matter how SMART your goals are, or how much planning you do, there are definitely going to be times when it’s still hard to make healthy choices. Consistency is really key when you’re habit building, so I like to use the superpowers of
- The bigger picture,
- Meditation, and
- Switching gears
To help stay on track.
No matter how dedicated you are to changing your eating, stress, tiredness, and social pressure (to name just a couple of things!) can all make some really convincing sounding arguments as to why you should choose fast food tonight and “start eating healthy again in the morning”. Sometimes that’s ok, but when it’s happening multiple times a week, you’re not going to reach your goals.
So, when you can feel temptation or stress getting the better of you, take a moment to think about the bigger picture of why you want to eat healthier. Is it to be a good role model for you kids? Feel better in your body and be confident you trust yourself with food? Or to avoid carrying on the family history of type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure? Thinking about this bigger picture helps keep you motivated and on-track.
Some Lauri’s Lemonade Stand Podcast episodes that are great for this:
Interview with Katie Arms – take a moment out of your day to find out how Katie took a massive life-curveball and made it work for her on every level.
Interview with me – learn more about my struggle with change, eating, and consistency and how I personally made lasting change.
Interview with Makeda Pennycooke – learn how to transform you fear and make yourself feel safe.
The second secret weapon is meditation. You’re not going to want to do it – but trust me, put an app like headspace on your phone and when you feel yourself going off track in a way you don’t like, pop in your earphones and take a 5 minute timeout. Sometimes that’s all you need to refocus and get on with your day (and stick to the food plan you made the night before).
And finally, when you feel cravings creeping up on you, try mentally switching gears. Research shows that taking a break and doing something totally different with your brain reduces the intensity of cravings. In fact, the research was done using the game ‘Tetris’, which you can put on your phone right now. Fun, and helps you stay healthy.
The process of making healthy eating a habit is really all about practice, but it’s also about being prepared. Don’t expect (or even aim for) perfection, but you can definitely make healthy eating easy and automatic if you follow the 3 steps outlined above. Every great choice you make creates a positive cycle of self-trust, momentum, and motivation that can move your forward each day – towards a happier, healthier you.
About The Author:
Samantha runs Live the Whole and is certified by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in the US, has a certificate in clinical and pastoral counseling from the University of Glasgow in the UK, and has a degree in psychology from Massey University in New Zealand.
Sam specializes in helping clients manage and heal their relationship with food, body, and self. She uses a blend of positive psychology and mind-body-nutrition connections, along with traditional coaching and counseling methodologies. She works together with clients to uncover the root causes of unwanted eating so they can feel happy, free, and in control.
We would love to hear your feedback so drop us a comment below – we read them ALL!
By Lauri Mackey — 6 years ago2013 FireOut of the Ashes We Can Find HopeThis story of hope begins in 2013, when our county experienced a terrible fire. We were evacuated from our homes on a moment’s notice. The picture you see below with billowing orange smoke bombs was taken from my friends camera as we stopped to look back, perhaps for the last time on our neighborhood. I remember calling my mom while sitting in the long line of cars trying to leave and telling her of the situation. She expressed concern and told me to stay safe, but when I sent her that picture, she freaked out! It’s a lesson learned on how pictures speak louder than words. My husband and I truly thought that our home would be gone and that we would be starting from scratch. At the time, it just didn’t matter. I had just driven out of there with flames on the side of the road consuming trees that were 100 feet tall. I was alive, he was alive, I had rescued our kitties and our daughter had been at school. All was well as far as I was concerned.This particular fire burned hot and fast. It consumed everything in its path and in the end burned over 24,000 acres from a little valley, crossing the mountain range and ending at the ocean. Everything was black, sad and black. The smell of smoke and ash would be our constant companion for weeks. Words could not describe what we saw. We had people come drive out to see us and not truly get what had happened until they saw it for themselves. It is now just over two years as I write this and our beautiful mountains still carry the scars of this fire.The firefighters were the true heroes of the day. They miraculously saved our entire housing community. They had used our hose as our house faces a hill that was burned. A tree was knocked down by a fire truck. Trees surrounding the outskirts of the neighborhood were singed and blackened from the fire, but every home was safe. How was that possible? I saw the fire as I left. I saw the crazy big flames and felt the heat so hot that I had to roll up my car windows to not feel like I was getting burned. I had zero hope.(Our housing surrounded by blackened hills)As I look back, I’ve likened this very physical and temporal experience to a spiritual battle I had in my own life. So much is the same. The darkness was real and hope was not on my radar. Not so much as a little blip on the screen. When I read the saying that someone had “temporarily turned the light off at the end of the tunnel”, I could completely relate. (Stay with me now, because I found that silly little light-switch to turn on my own light!)Now, unlike the fire, I have no one to blame but myself. I made choices that brought me to that tunnel without a supposed light and had removed myself so far out there that my radar was actually damaged and couldn’t see that blip that turns out, was just hiding, not gone. Part of my lesson was realizing that I didn’t know how dark things had become. When you make wrong choices, consistently over a long period of time, they become your reality. My tunnel light had not been turned off, but there was so much smoke I had created that it just wasn’t visible to me anymore.My dark choices will not be the same as yours. We all have our own enemies to fight so I won’t bore you with the details of my battles, but I did win this particular war. The only way to win the war is to do exactly the opposite of what got you there to begin with. In my case, that meant not making decisions on my own. If I had tried to battle our physical fire around our homes I would have lost! I did not have the skills or expertise in that field. Everyone would have suffered the loss of their homes. The firefighters were the experts. I needed an expert in life. That meant turning to my spiritual power of prayer and getting on my knees and begging God to help me. He was my firefighter and I needed all of his expertise and knowledge of life to help me fight. All of my choices had brought me to that place…dark, lonely, afraid, sorely sad, and just plain miserable. Surely God could help me make better decisions than the ones I had been making.And indeed he did. It took some time, but I am grateful for my experiences I have had in my life. They have made me who I am today. Just like our mountains, I carry the scars from those days, but I believe, “A mended heart is stronger”. They remind me see that if I can make it…anyone can! I truly mean that with all my heart and soul. Ladies, if I can make it…so can you!Some people see the fires that burn hot and fast, while others experience a slow burn, but my goal in writing this blog today is to give you hope. Hope that you can become a magical electrician and wire your own switch for a light at the end of your tunnel. Hope that you see the sun and feel the warmth on your skin and in your soul. Hope that you find a flashlight along the way. Hope that your friend can loan you a flashlight until you can locate yours. Hope that out of your darkness and ashes, you rise like the fabled Phoenix to start again, renewed and strengthened for your journey ahead. Because once you are on that path, you need to loan your flashlight to others who can’t see their light and help them on their journey.Yours in Hope and Positivity…#makelemonade