Tag Archives: Pray

Time for a Change … Are You Up for It?

I don’t really even know where to begin this post, so I am just going to start and try to make it sound as coherent as possible.

The whole purpose of this blog was to initiate change; a huge change not only for me, but for the readers who follow it so faithfully.

We all are here because we are looking to make our lives better — whether it be by eating healthier foods (Eat), calling upon spirituality and holistic health (Pray), or getting up off our asses and going for a walk (Run).

WE WANNA MAKE A CHANGE.

But as of late, I have been feeling like I have been promoting so much change for others and ignoring the changes my own body is craving. In other words, I can dish it out, but I can’t take it. At least, that is how I feel today.

Well, I have been reading this fabulous book — The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Any Change (and Loving Your Life More) — as a result of my new job with the First30Days Web site, and I have got to tell you that it has really got me athinkin’. Mix that with my overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction with the way I have NOT been healthfully living and you gotchyourself a recipe for change!

So, I thought, “Why not share it with my readers at Eat, Pray, Run?”

Now, because the theme of the book and Web site is to commit to thirty days of change I have kicked off my personal challenge this morning. Throughout the next 30 days I am going to blog the steps I am taking to make my day a healthier one, and, hopefully, you can learn from it, too.

I think you will.

To make things easy, a list of things I would like to change:

1.) I want to be stronger. I don’t necessarily need to lose weight, but I would like to see an overall commitment to building physical strength. I want girly musk-les. So, you will begin to see more workouts from me — I mean, I am going to give ’em all a shot! I probably won’t be able to sit down on the toilet without holding onto the sides, but I am going to go all out anyway. Look for pictures, videos and workout reviews. I look really red-faced and silly when I exercise, but your going to get it all, right here.

2.) I want to eat more healthfully. I work and run around like a crazy girl a lot, and when I do sit down to eat, I don’t necessarily feel like cooking — or eating healthfully for that matter. Eating sporadically and not putting the best foods into my body is starting to wear on me. Therefore, I will begin to post what I am eating to keep me in check, and give you some healthy meal ideas. Lemme know if you have any other suggestions for this part of the 30-Day Challenge.

3.) I need more SLEEP. Again, I love what I do and, therefore, I put a lot of time toward making my writing life better each day. This is not a bad thing in the least bit, but when it begins to completely compromise your sleep and make you lean on coffee like it’s a prized gem, you may have a problem. I do. So, I am also going to begin to try to commit to more sleep. I think it will help me eliminate stress, mood swings and, of course, dark circles. I will log it in here, and I am counting on all of you to hold me accountable.

4.) I want to be more spiritual. I have so many fabulous spiritual resources and I feel like I don’t put them to good use. Look for more tips from experts, and reviews of books, CDs and classes. Come on, people, help me say, “Ommm….”

Now, I am going on vacation at the end of the week, so some of the meals might be pretty bo-ring. But I will try to jazz it up as much as I can . . . promise.

I am going to end this post here, but stay tuned for a few more separate posts today that will highlight what I am eating and a really interesting quiz.

In the mean time, check out the 9 Principles of Change located in the right sidebar of this page. You will see them there every day, and they will serve as a reminder of why we are here.

Wanna make a change? Keep checking Eat, Pray, Run for inspiration, and sign up for the free First 30 Days daily email program where you will get the tips you need to make a change today!

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7 Comments

Filed under Eat, June 2008, Pray, Run

Trying to Bee Positive

I have been a bit frustrated lately.

I try very hard not to subscribe to a negative way of thinking, but the difficult part is that I am not naturally a positive thinker; many of my instincts do in fact point toward initially focusing on the bad of a situation.

Instead, I have had to learn how to do the exact opposite of what my brain and feelings are otherwise urging me to do. My parents and other fabulous teachers throughout my life have always taught me to live with positive intention, and I work every day to do just that.

But sometimes that slips through the cracks. Sometimes I allow the negative thoughts to eek their way into my world.

This week has been rough. And while I hate — absolutely hate — any thoughts of the universe crashing down on me, sometimes, it feel like exactly that; like the universe is going to smack me in the face at any moment.

And I hate that. I know there are worse things, worse situations, worse collisions with the universe happening in this world at this very moment. When you are stuck in that place, however, where only your world feels like the only one that is being affected, it is hard for anyone to tell you to think differently.

But that’s not fair. It’s not fair for me to waste my precious time feeling bad about the, really, very minor — so small in this very large scheme of things — things that are happening in my life.

I am so fortunate.

My mom, my dad, my sister, my brothers, my fiancé, my extended family. How could I ask to be anymore blessed?

I have a job I love and a healthy body and the cutest kittens in the world . . . my life is really quite fabulous.

And when I am feeling moments of such a great “Poor me!” attitude, I try to remind myself of all of those things. I think of my health and the important people in my life and people who are in much more drastic situations than me, like Bekah, and still manage to think positively.

I recently watched A Bee Movie with my family, and I absolutely loved this introduction to the film:

“According to all laws of aviation,
there is no way that a bee should be able to fly.

Its wings are too small to get its fat little body
off the ground.

The bee, of course, flies anyway.

Because bees don’t care what humans think
is impossible.”

When I am feeling like I am this morning, I remind myself of the little bees and I smile. If a chubby bee can persevere, can do the “impossible,” then why can’t I?

There is no reason why I cannot, except for, of course, if I pay attention to the human being in me who tries to convince me that my world is falling apart or that everything really has become quite “impossible.”

And to that, I have no reply except …. buzz off.

7 Comments

Filed under April 2008, Pray

Paying Attention to a Miracle

fieldoflowers-2.jpgEvery now and then, a miracle happens.

Yesterday was one such case.

It was about 10 o’clock at night, and I was finishing up a story I was writing for Her Active Life, when I decided to take a break and check out Bekah’s blog. This is what I read:

“I sat in a fixed corner, across the room from my mothers as they looked out at the sights of Penn tower, and I connected eyes with my lovely nurse practitioner. She knew, as well as I, that we have been desperately waiting to hear this news. And quietly sat down next to me, discussing the results. And what they revealed. I gave her a hug and walked over to the two women who have literally carried me through the last two months of treatment. And watched me at my ultimate worst and weakest.

Looking at both of them, I repeated what was said in that lovely whisper.

I am cancer free.
There is no sign of any disease.
The PET is completely negative.

To be honest, I put my arms around both of my mothers, and cried. I couldn’t stop. With the help of both of them, and so many of you. I have beaten cancer for the second time. And I will hold onto this moment, in a deep place within me”

I was floored. Just absolutely shocked. I did not even realize that tears were falling down my face until I was at the end of reading this incredible entry from Bekah.

It’s not that I did not think she could and would beat this awful disease — I knew for sure that she would. I was just so amazed by her strength; she actually wrote, “For now please enjoy this news as much as I have. It is yours, as much as it is mine.

And I wonder, “How does this incredible woman — the one who has been the one fighting the disease and losing her hair and feeling the pain — have it in her to acknowledge the worry others have been feeling throughout her journey?! What a precious soul.”

But then, I realized: It is because Bekah is the miracle.

It is like I wrote to her on her blog, “Bekah, here is the coolest part about this journey you have taken: While we all knew and had faith that you would beat the cancer, YOU had the faith that made us all believe in you. You are so powerful — so much larger than that cancer.”

Bekah’s faith became the miracle; and that miracle came full circle — I am absolutely sure of that.

Author Paulo Coelho once said, “You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.

That is really all there is. Bekah could have become unaware of each day and allowed the cancer to become her only vision. But, instead, she chose to pay attention — to her mothers and friends and family and love and fresh bagels — very close attention.

And the universe paid attention . . . to her.

Note: Team Bekah: True Beauty, Never Hurries is now so excited to be participating in the Pittsburgh Race for the Cure with a reason to celebrate! Please see our site for more information about how YOU can help us honor Bekah and the many cancer patients who have and will join her in her fight!

4 Comments

Filed under March 2008, Pray

Why Prince Charming Will Not Be Saving My Life …

path1.jpg Taking the path less traveled never seems easy at the start. It is tough to shut out the naysayers, put on a brave face and continue forward. However, that path is also one that, when intended for your feet, will become more and more comfortable as you tread along.

I was reading through a book yesterday titled Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice by Christy Turlington, when I stumbled across the following poem by Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Mary Oliver:

The Journey

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This poem honestly took my breath away. Not only is it so beautifully and stylistically written, but I could not help feeling like someone had placed it right there in my life, especially for me.

Thus far during my journey to discover what it is that I want from my life, I have had so very many encounters with the voice of “reason” — that little voice telling me that this path is much more difficult than the one I was previously walking. Heck, my own voice falls into the mix more than I care to say!

But here is the thing: Would such an endeavor be called a journey if it did not cause one to put up a fight for the great adventure that lie ahead? Not a single hero ever went about saving a life without shedding a bit of sweat. Imagine if Prince Charming never had to chase down Cinderella and fight off her evil step family. Nothing about their tale would be a journey, but, instead, an ordinary, everyday love affair.

So, what makes any of us think that our lives deserve any less luster; any less of an adventure-packed, fight off a few dragons, fairytale ending?!

We all should be embarking on the road that feels the most well-suited beneath our feet. Yes, there are bound to be a few pebbles that get stuck in our shoes. But wouldn’t you rather bend over, remove them, and continue on, than live your life knowing that you never put on your walking shoes at all?

I would. And reading this poem helps me to remember the reason why I ever sought to begin on this journey at all. I am determined to save the only one life that I am abolutely positive how to go about rescuing . . .

My very own.

3 Comments

Filed under February 2008, Pray

As Luck May Have It

pganddaddy.jpg My dad sent me a pretty cool email today called, “Good Karma.” At first, I thought it may just be one of those stupid chain letter things that I hate to receive. You know the ones that say:

“Send this to: 1 – 5 people – You will have a little bit of luck; 6 – 10 people – Something great will happen to you; and 10 or more people – You will live forever.

And if you do not send this to anyone you will die.”

And even though, not one of us believe this crap, we send it to at least one person just in case someone out there really wants us dead.

But, as usual, I digress. The point is that while this was a chain email, it was actually inspiring. One statement that struck me read:

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”

At first, I hated it. It was every annoying thing that a good-intentioned person tries to say to you when you do not achieve something you really, really wanted – at least, at the time.

But then, I set irrationality aside and saw the coolness in this thought.

My mother always says she never prayed for any of her children to achieve something specific. She did not pray I would win the third grade spelling bee ( I did!) and she did not hope to the high heavens that I would make the cheer leading squad (I didn’t – thank the Lord!).

She always just prayed that it would work itself out – that everything would fall into place as the universe intended.

When I was younger and in the heat of a letdown, I would hate when she said, “Everything happens for a reason.” I disliked it almost as much as I hated when she coached me through a cross-country race, and all I wanted to do was hurl myself over a rock laid askew and break something on my body.

But exactly like at the end of the race, when I had time to collect my thoughts, I knew she was right. Just as she knew I was better off relaxing my face while running, she knew that the universe had a way of helping me put my life into place.

And, now, as I move forward in this new part of my life — so full of decisions and letdowns and heartbreak — I will try to remind myself of the many strokes of luck life has thrown my way.

I know it will not always be that easy, and many times I am sure I will want to quickly hang up from one of “those” conversations with my mom.

But in the end, I think I will be saying thank you …

to the universe and my mom.

pglaugh.jpg

1 Comment

Filed under January 2008, Pray

It’s Not the World’s Fault You Wanted to Be … You.

One of the greatest difficulties about doing what you love is doing just that — doing what you love.

Now, I know that sounds crazy, but let me explain.

My mother and I were talking today about some of my recent writing endeavors, and she asked, “So, how do you feel about that? Like, how do you feel about continually motivating yourself to do that work?”

This is such a great question because it is one that I often struggle to answer.

Here is an attempt:

I am motivated because it is what I love to do. I really do love, love, love it.

I am sometimes unmotivated because, like anything, it is tough for a job or relationship or anything to consistently feel fresh and exciting. What’s more, being a creative artist is, at times, completely draining to the brain. You think and you think and you create and you create and … you burnout.

But I am not complaining. Please don’t think this is a hear-Caroline-whine-about-her-life post.

It is not.

What I am trying express to you is that, — next to my family, significant other, friends, future children and maybe a good run — there is nothing except for writing that would be worth the sacrifice of sometimes feeling a little bit tired or void of motivation.

In Some Thoughts on Writing, Elizabeth Gilbert (the oh-so-talented writer of which this blog is inspired by) shares a story about her artist friend who begins to become uninspired, and even depressed, about his craft. She says:

“I have a friend who’s an Italian filmmaker of great artistic sensibility. After years of struggling to get his films made, he sent an anguished letter to his hero, the brilliant (and perhaps half-insane) German filmmaker Werner Herzog. My friend complained about how difficult it is these days to be an independent filmmaker, how hard it is to find government arts grants, how the audiences have all been ruined by Hollywood and how the world has lost its taste…etc, etc. Herzog wrote back a personal letter to my friend that essentially ran along these lines: “Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.” I repeat those words back to myself whenever I start to feel resentful, entitled, competitive or unappreciated with regard to my writing: “It’s not the world’s fault that you want to be an artist…now get back to work.” Always, at the end of the day, the important thing is only and always that: Get back to work. This is a path for the courageous and the faithful. You must find another reason to work, other than the desire for success or recognition. It must come from another place.”

I love those words: “It’s not the world’s fault you wanted to be an artist … now get back to work.”

How vital it is for anyone — not just the artist — to keep those words in mind?!

Nobody asked you to be the person you have become. Stop whining. If you can’t stop, do something else. You should not always feel the urge to complain, and the person you have chosen to be should never make you unhappy. If he or she does … FIND ANOTHER YOU.

And that’s it. That is how I answered my mother’s question — not in those exact words, but you know what I mean.

I don’t want to be another me. And when I feel — for even a glimmer of a second — like I might, I get back to work.

Because this is what I love to do.

It hasn’t always been that way, but it is now.

So, now, getting back to work, well, … I’m OK with that.

And that feels pretty darn good.

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My kitten, Cooper, stretching with me this morning. He is perfectly happy with the kitten he has become. (:

4 Comments

Filed under January 2008, Pray

Eat, Sleep, Eat … or something.

caroline1.jpg Hello! My name is Caroline Shannon.

Once upon a time in a land far far away, I was a runner. I was a health enthusiast and a positive thinker. I was a writer, a vegetable eater, a confident woman . . .

I was pretty dang cool.

I am not sure where my will to roll out of bed when it was still dark or my need to feel my hands on a keyboard were lost, but I think I have a few ideas. Thus, here follows the chain of events that lead to me eating cheese in excess and only using my yoga mat as padding under a sleeping bag when my younger brothers sleep over:

1.) I stopped pursuing my passion, writing. I left my position as a news reporter and took a desk job that I thought would help me make a bit more money. I thought the extra cash would then make me feel more secure when pursuing a full time freelance writing position. It sounded practical, but it turned out awfully. Turns out my desk job is extremely boring — for me — and unmotivating.

Who woulda thunk it.

2.) My counting down the minutes (milliseconds, nanoseconds!) until I have squeezed in enough hours to make a buck has caused me to go home and . . . uh . . . sit on my ass. My excuse is that I need to do mindless things, like watch The Hills, to take away the edge left over from the work day. The real reason that I needed to engage in such “activities” is because doing something like exercising or writing would cause me to think too much. And that would be painful.

3.) Sitting apparently requires eating, and I am not talking tofu and brown rice here, people.

My favorite strawberry print pj’s + a few episodes of good ol’ MTV =french vanilla ice cream with a dash of chocolate gelato, raviolis with meat sauce and an entire bag of holiday (Any holiday! Christopher Columbus Day!) candy.

4.) I have stopped running which, next to writing, is a huge part of my life. This could be due to my drugging myself with sugar before I go to bed, ergo diminishing my want to get up in the morning and exercise; or it could be a result of the fact that I am saving whatever scraps of motivation I have left in my soul to use during the work day.

One may never know.

What I have figured out, however, is that my lifestyle has become unacceptable. My life is begging me to engage in a complete overhaul.

And I am gonna listen this time.

This is not some wacky New Year’s resolution that I am going to forget about the next time I am head-to-head with a pint of chocolate swirl ice cream and a package of Nutter Butter cookies.

I am committing myself to getting back to the Old Caroline and it starts right now. No more “I’ll start tomorrow” talk. I am so sick of me that I am ready to kick the crap out of myself. It’s that bad.

I know I sound all preachy and you are probably rolling your eyes a bit right now. I know this because I am rolling my eyes at myself right now.

But I mean, who can’t use a little overhaul (If you can’t, I don’t like you…kidding, kidding…)? I am hoping that you, too, will learn from my experiences. I plan on sharing it all right here.

My writing, exercise tips, healthy recipes, inspiration, running, black toenails from running…

…you get it.

This is not a blog about how to lose weight or how to get a job or how to find God. This is about total life renewal — to be specific, MY total life renewal. So, live vicariously, and lean on me, and learn from me, and love me, and tell me to get my ass off of the couch!

I am excited to have each one of you on my side as I move forward. And, hopefully, each one of you who are in my shoes – -like, you can smell the stench of my kicks, that’s how much you understand what I am saying — will be challenging yourself to get your act together as well. Or even if you are the slightest, littlest, tiniest bit in need of a change, I hope you, too, will learn from my journey.

I am ready to rock. Are you?

13 Comments

Filed under Introduction, January 2008