Mind, Body, and Soul Project

Being single has been a blessing in disguise. It’s a never ending quest for self-improvement each day. Without the distraction of a boy or a relationship to occupy my thoughts, I’ve had time to reflect and change the things about my life that make me unhappy. I’ve tried to distill my plan to a manageable set of ideas that I hope to achieve on a daily basis.

Each day I do something to better my mind, my body, and my spirit/soul.

And you know what? It’s really working.

I feel better and happier at every small accomplishment for myself. Instead of getting wrapped up in the dramatics of life, I step back and think about the little changes I can tweak to make it a happy day, every day.

Mind

Each morning I wake up and start my day with a TED Talk. If you haven’t been exposed to this wonderful site yet, it hosts videos from conferences around the world where speakers present innovative, funny, inspiring, and new ideas. Please check it out if you have even just 3 minutes to spare.

I actually do my homework. Because let’s face it, a lot of college kids take our education for granted. A reading is something we highlight and skim over in order to have a vague understanding in case the professor asks us a question over it. God forbid we actually learn.

I meditate. I try to think about my actions, I reflect on what I say to people. I’m mindful. I try to create my own internal happiness and I realize that I’m capable of anything I set my mind to, whether that’s compassion, forgiveness, or personal growth.

Body

When I went through a weight loss phase, I went to the gym religiously, counting down the minutes I would endure on the godforsaken treadmill. I would then come home and eat steamed vegetables or boiled egg whites, compulsively entering my calories into a food diary. I only drank water. By that I mean no alcohol. 

I literally and physically worked my ass off.

You can’t live like that forever. We’re meant to enjoy food in moderation. There are other ways to exercise without it feeling like torture. Now, I go to the gym each day and I run until I feel good. I smile while I’m there because I know that my body is meant to be used every day. I lift weights to foster a sense of strength, both internally and externally. I leave when I feel done, without the watchful eye of the clock looming over my workout.

And it all feels good because it’s no longer a chore.

happy

Soul

The greatest part about my project is all of the aspects are interconnected. Each workout fosters happiness and satisfaction. Each new item I learn makes me feel empowered and intelligent. So ultimately the other two could be the only things I did and I would still feel wonderful inside and out.

Instead, every day I do something that I want to do wholeheartedly. Yesterday it was reading a book and making espresso. Today it’s writing this blog at my favorite coffee shop. Tomorrow it might be yoga, making dinner with a friend, or just sitting in my room with incense and listening to music with the windows open. Last week I woke up every morning and danced around my room to this song.

Most of the time it’s ending the day with a good beer or a glass of red wine….or both.

These little things may seem so insignificant they could be considered a waste of time, but I look forward to them. These moments make waking up worthwhile. The drudgery of work, school, time commitments, and exhaustive conversations don’t have to define my day. I appreciate and enjoy those few seconds where I feel content with my choice to fulfill my desires. These inner victories give me a sense of accomplishment and provide the momentum to tackle the bigger dreams. Eventually it will be taking the steps to move to Austin, TX after graduation or finding a job that I look forward to doing every day.

But I still want to take the time to sit outside, breathe, and enjoy the sunshine. I enjoy everyone to do the same because it can change the course of your day.

Brick Walls

Brick Walls

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Don’t Let Your Dreams Be Dreams

I’m really fearful of letting go of my aspirations.

I’m scared of the judgement I hear in people’s voices when I tell them I’m going to move home when I graduate. I’m even more scared by their disdained faces when I tell them I’m saving up because I’m going to travel instead of getting a ‘real’ job.But what’s more terrifying is not following my dreams.

Okay, it may be unorthodox to backpack instead of going straight into the employment cycle without any real plan for afterwards, but what dictates employment as the norm? I understand I may be making a mistake by putting my career on hold for two years, but for me it doesn’t feel like a mistake. I have my whole life to work 40+ hours a week at the same desk in the same city doing the same job. I’m scared of monotony. I’m worried I won’t live an unforgettable life.

“The days are long but the years are short.” – Gretchen Rubin

The intoxicating idea of traveling anonymously through Europe. Following my heart instead of my head. Following feelings instead of a calendar. Meeting people instead of answering emails and phones. I’m anxious to explore and grow. I’m daunted by the idea of living an ordinary life instead of literally pushing the boundaries of my experience.

“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.” – Jack Johnson

I can’t let this go, no matter how many people advise me against it, no matter how many shitty jobs I’ll do, and no matter how many terrible customers I’ll deal with along the way, it’s going to be worth it to me.

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the dreams will come to you.” – Randy Pausch

My friends and my parents tell me if there’s one person who they know who could do this – move abroad and get out of America, lead a life they would be jealous of – it’s me. I just need to be strong enough to remind myself to do it in the face of adversity.

I also want to thank all the bloggers who are inspiring me to do this with my life. The writers who are brave enough to venture outside of their comfort zone and explain the terrors and the joys that come along with traveling. The photographers who capture the beauty in the ordinary that you find while you discover a new city. The few who stand up and choose to do something exceptionally inconceivable by so many. You are giving me the courage to live my life remarkably. Thank you.

“Travel is little beds …

“Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms. It’s old television sets and slow Internet connections. Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people. It’s waiters, gas station attendants, and housekeepers becoming the most interesting people in the world. It’s churches that are compelling enough to enter. It’s McDonald’s being a luxury. It’s the realization that you may have been born in the wrong century. Travel is a smile that leads to a conversation in broken English. It’s the epiphany that pretty girls smile the same way all over the world. Travel is tipping 10% and being embraced for it. Travel is the same white T-shirt again tomorrow. Travel is accented sex after good wine and too many unfiltered cigarettes. Travel is flowing in the back of a bus with giggly strangers. It’s a street full of bearded backpackers looking down at maps. Travel is wishing for one more bite of whatever that just was. It’s the rediscovery of walking somewhere. It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a new friend. Travel is “Maybe I don’t have to do it that way when I get back home.” It’s nostalgia for studying abroad that one semester. Travel is realizing that “age thirty” should be shed of its goddamn stigma.”

– Nick Miller, Isn’t It Pretty to Think So?

Taken from The Squeaky Robot’s post Exodus