by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Unexpected obstacles can be transformed into opportunities for new growth through your spirit to keep going. Continuing toward a goal despite setbacks is the key to victory.
The effort to continue also builds inner strength and wisdom. Everything has meaning. Every challenge becomes fuel for training as preparation for your next chapter.
Mastering Your Mind Is Like Climbing A Mountain
Overcoming each problem or reaching your goal is like climbing a mountain; each step forward takes you higher. Persevering gets you to the summit.
Enjoying the view along the way as well as savoring the joy of your efforts once you’ve reached the top are your treasures, should you embrace that mindset. Your entire journey becomes your unique book of golden memories. These memories are the twists and turns of your particular path, the backbone of your life legacy.
The real struggle is transforming your weakness. It's winning the battle in your mind against the lower worlds of negativity, like fear and doubt.
But mastering your mind is much like climbing the mountain.
The building blocks of your unshakable foundation are every step forward and every moment that you are fully present to savor the beauty of your dramatic story.
It is a tailored journey for you to develop trust in your capability.
Muster your determination to win over yourself. Challenge yourself to find the way, the answer, the right action.
Keep reaching for the skies of your dreams. Appreciate everything along the way as part of your beautiful life story.
Your Light Brightens The Way For Others
Protagonists don’t get to sit on the sidelines.
Heroes dive into the thick of the action, feel the fear and courageously try their best.
You are your life’s star player. Don’t forget that you light the way for others too. Your success shines a light on the pathway for others to see through to their victory, too.
This is why you must never give up on yourself or your dreams. Your painful experiences become your way to encourage others through their difficulties.
Your Self-Care Is Not A Luxury
Your success story inspires countless others. That is why you must take good care of your heart, mind, and body. Treasuring your potential to find your way forward becomes the hope for others to do the same.
Taking care of yourself as a precious treasure of great potential is critical for your happiness. Forging your inner state of life is the starting point to your perpetual growth and your ability to enjoy each moment.
Sometimes you need rest to refuel your creative energy. Sometimes you need to replenish your inner condition through self-care, study, or fusing with the compassionate power of the universe through prayer, meditation, or nature immersion.
When you lose hope in your potential, you have a setback. But as long as you don’t let yourself remain stuck, you can open a new way forward.
Always Keep Your Eye On The Prize; Your WHY
If you lose sight of your ultimate mission, unexpected difficulties can be painful and stop your progress.
But once you align with your purpose—to remain undefeated and become a beacon for others through your actions—you develop the fortitude to navigate your way through to your envisioned goal.
How I’ve Climbed My Mountains With These Steps
Let me share examples from my life to illustrate how I’ve used these ideas in action.
More than 40 years of family discord motivated my prayer to reflect on and polish myself, change my contributions to negative patterns, understand differing perspectives, improve my ability to listen. It also taught me to set healthy boundaries, stop enabling, and express my truth when appropriate.
Getting An Education
In my early 20s, my desire to get into college to study music and earn a degree encouraged me to practice daily with the focus to improve specific skills and apply for multiple ways for financial support. Once I got accepted into college, I made constant efforts to learn, improve and complete tasks.
Landing A Job & Moving To A New Home
When I wanted to get my first public school teaching job, I had to address many unknowns to increase my chances of getting hired. I had to find a way to attend an out-of-state job fair with no funds or place to stay.
I applied online, spread the word to friends, prayed for the wisdom to take the right action. I determined to pack, leave my current job on good terms, interview successfully, move out of state, find a place to live, and overcome a significant health issue. I successfully completed each goal.
Continued Professional Progress
Once I got the job, I faced new challenges like adjusting to a new structure, schedule, developing classroom management skills, meeting performance standards, and building coworker rapport.
Dealing With Loss
My experiences with losing loved ones fueled my determination to serve others, rise up to be a comforting presence, and give help where needed. I also resolved not to be crushed by my deep grief. I continually revisit my goal of transforming my suffering into a mission to help others through it.
In the romantic relationship department, I appreciate that my past relationships have helped me recognize and eliminate negative situations or patterns from my life, see my weaknesses and forge self-volition versus depending on someone for my happiness.
Having A Foundational Philosophy As A Guide
Through all these different aspects of my life, I used my daily Buddhist prayer and practice as my foundation. Practicing this daily philosophy expands my life state, overcomes pain or external obstacles, and taps my wisdom, creative energy, and compassion for transforming each challenge and setback.
I face each day with the determination to be my best self and to be a positive force in my environment. Staying focused on looking for ways to create value or positively contribute amid difficult circumstances enables me to stay in the game without fail.
How To View Failure Using The Big Picture
I may fail at certain things. But because I push myself to look forward, keep going, and create value, I’m already winning. Giving up or giving in to internal defeat would be failure.
The specifics of setbacks, challenges, or goals change or differ from person to person. These may even alter from one chapter of life to the next. But the way to use obstacles for ultimate victory is the same;
How To Use Obstacles For Your Ultimate Victory
You must polish your life and keep moving forward. When you practice believing in your ultimate potential and that of others, you will find it. As you continue this process, you will expand your capacity to experience and contribute joyful victory after victory.
This process of your unique personal development is the valuable purpose you have in the world around you. The more you achieve, the greater your influence on others to do the same.
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I had a great discussion (via the Zoom conferencing app) with friends recently that encouraged me. They reminded me that if I want to change my environment, I must first change my heart.
This year has challenged the best of us; pandemic restrictions and their toll on wellness, our nation’s clear divisiveness, and the economic and physical suffering for our entire planet have brought the reality of our shared troubles in this world front and center.
My discussion with friends illuminated my need for pausing to uncover what this situation is teaching me and how it can serve me to change something in my life, my perspective, and my actions. Taking responsibility is a strong catalyst for making things go more smoothly and improving or finding meaning in a problem.
We shared how our daily rhythm with self-care and personal growth efforts help us see solutions more readily when facing turmoil.
Our world mirrors us. It’s sending a clear signal we need more effort toward growing ourselves, overcoming our negative impulses, and taking care of our mind, body, and spirit. Taking care of ourselves allows us to be better for those we care about and build peaceful, prosperous communities.
A GOOD ENDING LEADS TO A GOOD START
How we end things this year will lead to what kind of start we’ll have in the new year. We cannot avoid the sufferings of our world. Burying our hearts and trying to ignore or deny the fierceness of our collective challenges creates nothing.
But we can make the causes for future victory and look forward to the new season of spring by facing ourselves and our challenges with courage and compassion. Doing this with perseverance brings hope into our hearts.
BEGIN WITH A SMALL SHIFT
It can happen with a seemingly small, insignificant shift in our hearts.
Facing relationship issues or communication problems?
Redirecting my heart toward finding an outcome best for everyone—can help move the dialogue in a more positive direction. When we strive to put aside our ego and our feelings for the greater good, a miracle happens: we create a bridge!
LOOK FOR A NEW WAY
In this weird holiday season when many of us are unable to hug our loved ones, especially heart-wrenching for our elders, those grieving a loss, and those struck with Covid-19, we’re given a beautiful opportunity to find the value and potential in this situation.
Creative solutions arise from limitations and even problems. Humans are innately creative. This skill or process is not reserved exclusively for artists. We each have the power within us to look outside the box to find a new way or a new perspective for this unique moment in history. This practice of gratitude lifts the heavy heart and brings its own reward.
When we can’t see eye to eye with someone, for example, we have the chance to look for the best in that person as valuable and good, instead of equating the worth of that person with their behavior in the moment or argument.
Difficulties—again—are mirroring exactly that we need to change something in our lives for the better. And to use them as a springboard with that intent.
REMEMBER THE KEY TO VICTORY
The point is that you and I can transform anything. Don’t get discouraged by this year’s depth of problems for us and the rest of the world. Instead, remember that how we face each moment right now becomes the cause for the seeds of our bright future.
Remember that the key to any struggle is perseverance. Let’s look to the new year of 2021 by first taking care of our spiritual wellness. Then, let’s set new goals and move forward toward our new victory.
Transforming our hearts first will lead us to improve ourselves, the situation, and encourage those around us to find hope. Our ability to win over our struggles becomes our mission for empowering others to do the same.
During this pandemic holiday season, I will be taking care of myself including mind, body, and soul. I'll be planning for the 2021 new year.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you.
This week, some of my group members gave video presentations about grief support during the holidays. Click here to join the group and see these comforting tips.
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
As a creator, I decided the best way I could serve you through the challenging coronavirus 19 pandemic would be sharing my creativity to encourage you.
Nurturing creativity and inspiration through the power of art and nature is my passion. These spiritually rejuvenating sources are scientifically proven to empower and fuel our inner strength and wisdom.
I share my creativity with the sincere intent that it brings you a bit of comfort and sparks courageous hope.
Below is the text for the poetry I shared with you through my earlier podcast, Creativity Brings Comfort, Courage, and Hope. They are in the order of appearance during that podcast episode.
LISTEN TO THAT PODCAST HERE.
Stop the banging, the racket, the jitters, the drums
that shake you, break you, run you in circles from
that lopsided spinning wheel barreling your mind
Leave that torturous neurotic noise behind
Use an image, like stuffing all your crazy
into an over-sized balloon that flies away
Or dump all that ugly, murky blackness in your head
into a dark, wide sea and sail your boat instead
The point is, your hell is created from inside,
so make it a world that is beautiful to find…
Whatever trips you up, wind it up another way;
Your darkness is treasure—in the light of day
Dull, dim clouds of grey blocking your sky?
You are a rainy season--who’s to question why
So let it pour, let it roar, let it thunder—storm--
Who’s to say, anyway, that is not your norm
Bad weather, like relentless weeds, has a place
Serves a purpose and a need to fill a space
Lesson learned, universal shift, and…
Suddenly those clouds will lift
Leaving something growing there,
Something brand new to appear,
Everything refreshed by the light coming through
this rising transformation that originates from you.
There is benefit, value, and hope in every trouble
so long as you are not defeated in the struggle.
A treasure greater than anything
lies nowhere outside but within.
Born of courage that you muster
in the face of challenge, loss, disaster--
a kind of strength forged deeply--
the basis for a joy that lives eternally.
For it is only in bravery that we will see
the path to take to become truly free
to reach the lofty noble state of life
in which our hearts are fully open wide.
And it is only through adversity that we can ever really be free.
Independent of any pain, we clearly stand to gain.
For, by dealing head-on with hardships,
we find the points we’ve missed;
Those inner places of our lives where darkness tends to thrive.
It is by facing ourselves this way that we begin to create change;
An inner transformation through self-realization
A process of evolution. A rather simple solution,
Yet the result is total freedom--
a completely positive outcome
a deeply lasting value
dependent solely on you.
Everything rests on your mindset
Your attitude determines what you get.
So if you regard everything you face
as a good influence to embrace,
you’re guaranteed to find your way
to a path that leads to a bright and happy day
Lions In My Dreams
Last night I dreamed of lions
There were lions everywhere
They were in the green meadow.
They were along the mountainside,
They were roaming the forests.
They were sleeping in silence.
They were rising with the sun as they raced about my bed.
They were on the beach.
They were on the highway.
They were leaping. They were roaring.
There were lions, lions, lions--for as far as I could see...
When I woke today, I noticed there were
courage, power, and audacity written all over me.
What’s in the Garden
Roses fading with every bloom
Pansies profusely shining like happy elves
Pampas grass flowing like a woman with a new hairstyle
Milkweed attracting too many aphids
Rosemary quadrupling in size
Tiny flower seeds popping up as greenery
Lavender sprouting like human limbs
Small trees losing their leaves for the winter
Sunlight floats like a balloon filling with helium
Glowing gradually like a musical crescendo
Rising above the horizon…
Then dropping like a silent ball in the ocean
Fire awakens with golden fury
Roaring like a vicious lion
Cackling, spitting and scratching the air
And whimpers like a child at the splash of a water bucket
Rain drizzles sporadically
Arriving like secret elves dancing on tippy-toes,
Then leaping and stomping on
rooftops, gardens, and streets everywhere.
And suddenly dribbles to a silent stop.
In the orchestra of my mind
Always moving my life
In the privacy of my heart
Lighting my way with wisdom
In the treasure house of my life
Let me rise up for you
Hold on to who you are
Hold on to hope
--even if there seems to be only darkness blocking your path
Hold on to the light burning in your heart
--even if no one sees it but you
Hold on to everything you dream of
--even if you've already dreamed it for years
Hold on to belief in yourself
--even if you can't see your potential clearly
Hold on to breaking through your struggle
--even when you want to sit down and quit.
Feel free to share your original and/or favorite creative works, links, or responses to this episode by leaving a comment below.
Thank you for showing your love of my content with a LIKE or by sharing this blog with others.
All poetry, photos and music content © 2020 Jenny Leigh Hodgins
How To Decrease Your Anxiety & Live More Mindfully; An Empathetic Perfectionist Helps You Balance Your Life
GET YOUR FREE COPY OF Dr. Tara Sanderson’s book, Too Much, Not Enough A guide to decreasing anxiety and finding balance through intentional choices!
A Book Review
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
In sync with my constant quest for more inspiration, creativity hacks and self-care strategies, I recently read Dr. Tara Sanderson’s new ebook, Too Much, Not Enough A guide to decreasing anxiety and finding balance through intentional choices. The book title captured my attention as something that would fit in with my current journey toward being more mindful.
I’m always open to new, positive ways to transform negative self-talk, doubt and fear. Aren’t you? So, along with adding meditations to my morning Buddhist chanting and exercise routines, I eagerly read through Sanderson’s book.
I was looking for tips or practices that could help me and TEAM YCC (YourCreativeChord, aka, you) deal with life’s inevitable challenges, that little inner critic, ways to improve rapport within relationships, and smooth out my perfectionist, overachieving tendencies. I found all these in Sanderson’s book and more.
The author begins and continues through to the last page of the book with blatant personal transparency, laying out intimate details of her personal struggles in a way that is immediately disarming. Her willingness to show her own vulnerability through every step of the way puts the reader at ease on the level field of humanity with this credentialed new author.
Sanderson is a “Licensed Psychologist, Author, and Clinical Supervisor in Oregon.” For more than 20 years, she has been “helping people learn the skills to live their best lives. Using tools from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, she specializes in working with clients who struggle with Perfectionism, Overachieving, Anxiety, and Depression. (from her website, https://www.drtarasanderson.com )
Sanderson dives right in to the core of issues. She shares inner feelings and life scenarios that are readily relatable. Though that may be awkward or troubling to note, she brings her wisdom and random humorous anecdotes just in the nick of time, comforting us enough to keep digging. She gently urges us to see that the big reward of continuing to sit through that discomfort, and along with it, grieve “the loss of our expectations” is that “experiencing difficult emotions makes us present.”
Sanderson’s advice resonates deeply with the benefit of practicing mindfulness; being present, sitting still with our thoughts and negative feelings. We learn that the more we sit with our discomfort, the more we can tune in to ourselves and what we need to transform our feelings and/or situation.
Just when we begin to feel what is most painful about ourselves, and as if she’s reading our minds that we want to walk away from this, Sanderson chimes in that “Broken-ness doesn’t have to be life ending. It can be a new beginning with a history,” bringing us peace of mind that we are okay despite our fragments and broken hearts.
She gives tools and reminders that our future has the hope of becoming a rich story based precisely on our struggles and endings, followed by new chapters of beginnings with our growing resilience that will come from doing the work Sanderson suggests we undertake.
She offers encouragement with the tools she practices professionally, such as reframing our situation or ourselves to see more options available to us than the extreme black and white areas of life that we often get stuck between. As an example, she doesn’t tell “clients they’re going to be a gold-laden bowl in 2 weeks. I am telling them we are ready to start picking up the pieces.”
She gently explains, “Sometimes we need to be broken in order to move forward in a new and different way. Brokenness isn’t final. It’s a thing that happens and we decide how to move on from it.”
Her soft power approach coaxes away the fears of endings or weaknesses, allowing the reader to breathe through the process of personal development. Sanderson’s professional skills come through her book, without overtly flashing those credentials in the reader’s face.
She walks us through various real-life scenarios, interspersing humor into her unadorned initial responses to paint a relatable picture of a problem state. She gets the reader down in the trenches of the typical emotional state of an overachiever, until we feel that problem or it brings up something parallel in our lives.
For those dealing with anxiety, Sanderson’s guiding voice compels the reader to let go of extremes to see the gray areas of life, and with those, the opportunities for releasing fears and finding hope. As a person with tendencies toward anxiety, I relaxed my brain to embrace her reminders that life is full of options, is never truly black and white, and that decision-making is a process that is not final. This may seem obvious to non-perfectionists. But Sanderson clearly speaks to her tribe.
A critical chapter in the book is for those from dysfunctional backgrounds who haven’t learned the art of training others to respect personal boundaries. Sanderson covers the issue of setting boundaries with the heart of a poet, reminding us of how important it is to treasure ourselves, and to teach others how to treasure our lives, too,
“Recognize your worth. You are a gift. When you have something valuable where do you keep it? You are valuable. You don’t just hand over your heart, your mind, your soul to whoever comes around. You keep it safe until you trust them. You deserve to be protected from those who might ignore your boundaries.”
This is where Sanderson segues into the importance of self-care as an important way of assuring we have enough to live our best lives. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Self-care is less about the value of the person and more about the fullness of the cup.”
Sanderson’s book shows us how critical it is to find ways to take care of ourselves, whether that’s solitude, listening to or playing music, exercising, spending time in nature, hanging out with friends or family, prayer, or good food. Sanderson makes it okay to treat yourself in the name of bringing your best to the situation and the people in your life.
Sanderson walks you through various situations that typically provoke negative emotions or friction within relationships. She voices the common responses that tend toward extremes of black and white options, then eases the reader to acknowledge a wealth of in-betweens that could be used to transform mindset, perspective, and ultimately the relationship or situation.
She brings the reader to an understanding that victim mentality is flimsy but taking full responsibility for one’s choices is empowering. She says, “Love it or change it,” working through potential negative feelings step by step to uncover alternative options that are feasible, and in bite-sized chunks that seem palatable.
The author guides you through levels of anxiety or knee-jerk reactions to find a space within your mind where you may practice new, healthier techniques. Sanderson reminds those of us who are anxiety-prone that our choices are valid and trustworthy. Even if rusty, shaky, or completely new to healthy, mindful practices, she offers you manageable methods for dealing with internal struggle, and leads you to create new habits of self-talk, communication with others, and the tools to find reasonable outcomes for challenging circumstances.
Sanderson, being a perfectionist, overachiever herself, knows the path to anxiety well enough to anticipate the typical objections from one anxious person to another. She repeatedly, gently and often humorously reminds the reader that these kinds of behavioral or life changes require time to acquire and practice to master.
In her words, “Being changeable is a good start, but making the change is another thing altogether. To make a change, we need another skill; we need to be willing to practice. We need to be willing to fail until we get it right.”
Welcoming failure as part of the legitimacy of practicing toward mastery is not an easy concept for the perfectionist. But Sanderson is always one step ahead, offering comfort and cheering you on through the process. Getting support and guidance from someone who is not only credentialed in the science of behavior and psychology, but more importantly—to many of us anxiety-ridden folks--knows that darkness from within her own mind, is just what it takes to gain the golden egg of trust.
If you’re someone who tends toward worrying, depression, OCD habits, or self-doubt, Sanderson’s book has the stuff to sway you to believe in your ability to make intentional choices that lead to a healthier, satisfying way of life. She knows you want to do everything yourself, yet need some help sometimes. Sanderson’s book is a strategy for you to learn how to believe in yourself, your capacity for handling everything you feel you must.
More than this, Sanderson brings you to find hope. For all who worry or doubt, including Sanderson herself, she knows, “Hope is a nightlight for our soul.”
Dr. Tara Sanderson’s book is FREE for 5 days starting TODAY, September 10, 2019! Get your copy Here!
Find Dr. Tara Sanderson at: DrTaraSanderson.com
I’d love to hear from you. It means a lot to me that my content is helpful and empowers you. Please take a moment to join the conversation below to let me know if you find this blog helpful or if you have questions or suggestions!
My Pinterest boards have more self-care ideas. Please check them out and let me know if you've found any of my ideas helpful.
You may also find some lovely nature photos & self-care mini-blogs at my Instagram account here.
Also connect with YourCreativeChord on:
Why Should You Dream Too Big & Harness Your Powerful Imagination?
Defeat Fear & Doubt with Your Courage & Capability
How To Deflect Negativity To Become Happier
Believing In The Positive
My Top Tips For Winning Over Your Insomnia
How To Live A Life of Joyful Creativity
COMING SOON: Watch this space for new ebooks, products and courses for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
In my INSPIRATION blogs, you’ll find ways to overcome obstacles, reach goals, and experience more joy in the moment with spiritual awareness and inner transformation.