Stuck in a Rut? 5 steps how to (well, I try to..) get out of it

THREE MONTHS!!! Three full months of not doing anything for this blog! Unfinished blog posts, unanswered emails and comments, unopened reader! I got busy, got caught up with other new things, and coupled with little bouts of doubt…Gaaaahhh!!!

Don’t worry, I would not try to narrate here the why and what I’ve been doing. But I’m sure you know that being in a rut is a hard place or situation to be in. It could get dragging, guilt-ful, or ironically, even so COMFY (like a nice bed with the softest sheets that you just wanna lie there all day..hmmm…. Getting out would take as much energy as getting started all over again.

Looking back in those three months of rut (hopefully I’m not anymore counting!), I’ve realized there are certain things that I’ve done that helped me..rather, that HAVE BEEN helping me to get back on track again. Well, I’m happy to be finally typing my thoughts down here again, at 4 AM in the morning, my “magic hour” or dawning, as I like to call it. Well, I’m sharing them here, and whatever RUT you may find yourself into – a job rut, relationship rut, passion rut – hope these little tips can also help you to get up and out of it.

  • Talk to someone. More often than not, we refuse to admit that we are in a rut. We make up excuses for ourselves. Admission is an important first step. And often, talking to someone may be the therapeutic act of admission that you need. Saying it out loud and sharing it to someone you trust is like having that loud wake-up call that would take you back to perspective. Of course, needless to say, that someone should be a person you trust and ideally, someone who has a broader perspective of your situation so he/she can give you a sound and objective advice, like a mentor or a trusted colleague.

I’ve had this sort of wake-up call by the end of my 2nd month of rut and I immediately e-mailed one of our #getblisstified coaches, Martine de Luna. We’re currently about to get on-board a personal blog coaching program, which will pave the way for the formal launch of Winsomehood! Yaasss!! I couldn’t be more excited!!

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  • Get yourself a nice pick-me-upper. Find a little tangible thing that will excite and inspire your soul and passion over and over again, especially when you feel you’re beginning to fall into that trap again. It could be anything, from a nice notebook, a little keychain, a meaningful bracelet, a chic mug for your coffee – anything that could be a reminder for you to get your act together again.

In my case, I didn’t realize I needed this until my aunt gave me a new planner. I wasn’t planning on getting one this year. Ever since I resigned from my corporate job, planners did not work for me anymore. Half of my previous year’s planner remained blank.  And well, I figured that’s probably why I’ve lost focus and got myself in a rut in the first place. So I’ve  made a resolution that this CBTL The Giving Journal, a Christmas gift from my aunt, will be my pick-me-upper whenever I find myself dwindling downward again.

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Oh! And I’ll hug my son anytime I need a double dose of inspiration! My ultimate pick-me-upper!

  • Re-draw your vision board.  I only started making my own vision board last year and admittedly, it helped me a lot in getting a clearer picture of what I want to achieve. I get cut-outs from magazines, inspo from Pinterest, write down favorite quotes, and print photos of my family and loved ones.

BUT having your own vision board is not always a guarantee. There can be a lot of distractions along the way that eventually even your own vision board can become an abstract visual to you (this was what happened to me!). So I’ve learned that it is very important to also COMMIT to your vision. Re-visit it always. Having a few tweaks here and there may be acceptable but always have a core that you would commit to carry on and follow through.

I’ve heard of a Vision Board Workshop early this month and I’m bummed that I didn’t get to attend it, but I would suggest that you attend these kinds of workshop at least once. It was a gathering organized and hosted by Make It Blissful in collaboration with Vision Board coach, Trixie B. Esguerra. Hopefully they’ll make another run. We can tune in to their website and social media pages for any announcement.

  • Don’t be afraid to indulge in your thoughts. Perhaps, this is one of the hardest part. In some cases, the rut you are in can become your comfort zone and going out of that comfort zone A.K.A rut is what can become your fear. Yes, it can take courage to jump out of it again, almost the same amount of courage that you needed to muster when you started in the first place, if not more. But you got to do it!

I’ve had this fear of opening my blog site during my rut because it was, obviously, a painful reminder of this rut I was in. But it’s amazing how once you’ve gone through it, inspiration can strike even more vigorously! As they say, magic happens outside your comfort zone!

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  • Forgive yourself. And lastly, yes, you have to forgive yourself. Cut yourself some slack. You didn’t intentionally get yourself into that rut. You want to start again and that’s what’s important.

 

And I personally think that the most important thing is that you also pray for it. Ask wisdom from God to know where He should be leading you. And when you get that wisdom, it would be hard to fall into another rut again.

Now, go get yourself some mint chocolate. 🙂

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I got BLISSTIFIED!

Bliss = pure happiness

In the past year, I always found my bliss from my family. I have told over and over how I was willing to give up everything for them – my corporate career, my professional skills and talents, my personal pursuits. And I did! Looking back now, I could say that was the best decision I made so far.

But bliss, as I have learned, must also come from within you. During the recent months that I have found myself more reflective through writing, I realized that I always sourced my bliss from others. Bliss of love from my husband, bliss of motherhood from my son, bliss of gratitude from my family. But what bliss can I find in myself? Writing is bliss for me, yes, but I still felt there was so much more that I could do.

So when I learned about the Get Blisstified workshop that Martine de Luna, one of the people I look up to not only in blogging but in personal branding as well and one who I think is a true ambassador of bliss, and Kimi Lu, a life coach, igniter of passion and a purveyor of bliss, are doing together I knew I just had to sign up. I missed the first run, but luckily, I got in the 2nd one which coincidentally happened 1 week before my birthday. Perfect timing! I knew I needed to gift this to myself!

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Martine and Kimi, ambassadors of bliss (Photo by Myra Ho)

 

 

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(Photo by Myra Ho)

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(Photo by Myra Ho)

In a nutshell, I could say that Get Blisstified was a commencement event for my passion project.  It was meant to inspire and to ignite that spark that I’ve probably been putting off for a while. And it did for me and for all of us, definitely! Every portion of the 4-hour event, for me, felt like a careful trail that led me to that state of bliss – when my passion was enkindled brighter than I have ever seen or felt it. From the warm welcome and mood of the venue at Earth Kitchen, to the soothing music, the moving stories from the people I met, and the heartfelt guidance and support from Kimi and Martine. Blisstified was a coined term but nothing else could have described the experience any better!

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(Photo by Nico Belasco)

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Beautiful set-up at Earth Kitchen BGC (Photo by Myra Ho)

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(Photo by Myra Ho)

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(Photo by Nico Belasco)

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(Photo by Nico Belasco)

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(Photo by Myra Ho)

One of my favorite part was when we started with a quick intro and sharing of the things that we were grateful for that day. Through this, I realized that to be in that state of bliss and have all that positive energies flow within you, one must feel gratitude and contentment. Then we got into an exercise of visualization that allowed us to envision, share, and plan in actionable and realistic steps our own passion projects. The personal branding exercise has always been a favorite, although it is still a work-in-progress for me. And lastly but definitely the most inspiring for us was the actual blisstification experience, which allowed our whole being – body, heart, mind, and spirit – to experience the fruition of our passion one year from now.

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The Grateful Jar that contained all the things we were grateful for that morning. (Photo by Nico Belasco)

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Kimi and Martine leading us into that blisstified state. It was truly amazing! (Photo by Nico Belasco)

The best part of Get Blisstified is that it doesn’t stop there. It’s only the beginning of an actual journey to turning our passion into reality. Bliss is something that you have to sustain and I’m thankful that through the group that we have formed in this event, we have a solid source of inspiration, support, and accountability for our passion, especially when one of us strays from that state of bliss.

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Make it happen, we will! (Photo by Myra Ho)

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Thank you Edenstreet for this motivational stationery and Wishlist Studio for our personalized journals. (Photo by Myra Ho)

For people who have decided to take on the passion path, may it be the first time for you like me or that you’ve been at it for quite some time but you’ve come across an intersection and you need a sense of direction, this experience is definitely for you. Thanks to Martine and Kimi for coming up with this idea and bringing it to life for us. The runs for this year may be done, but you may tune in to their IG accounts and social pages for announcements on when the next will be.

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Your blisstified ones love you, Kimi and Martine! (Photo by Myra Ho)

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Batch 2 Blisstified! (Photo by Myra Ho)

 

I couldn’t wait for the gathering of our batch one year from now and see that these wonderful women I met have indeed become what they are so passionate to become. Myself included.

Many thanks to the following:

Photos c/o Nico Belasco  and Myra Ho.

Our Blisstified goodies that included motivational stationery from edenstreet, handwritten calligraphy name cards by swirlsandstrokesph, personalized journal from wishliststudio, personal mood candle by bcscentstudio, giftpass from 360fitclub, too-pretty-to-eat biscuits from thelittlewhiskph, and the raffle prizes from gratefuljarph.

 

Oh my October: Pocketfull of learnings

It’s my birthday month! Yay!

I love celebrating my birthday. But so much has happened in the past year, so many turning points, that this particular birthday, my 31st, signifies so many things for me. And jumping on this once-a-year license to get all nostalgic and sentimental, I have decided to list down 31 things that I have learned and realized…about myself, about people, about life. Not much, perhaps the list will not even cover all. But this should be enough to give me a pocketful of hopes and wisdom for whatever’s next.

Oh, and by the way, I don’t intend to finish this list in one sitting. I plan to take this whole week or even month to try to remember and ponder the things that made up who I am now, big or small. I hope that you pick up something, anything out of this list.

  1. I learned how to read well. Not just words, but also situations and people. I still don’t know how it happens or even how to prove it, but most of the time my gut-feel about something or someone is always true and correct.
  2. Also, that I will never be a fast reader. I like to dwell on the words and sentences, to go back over and over until I get one or different meanings out of it.
  3. That one doesn’t have to know a lot of recipes to be a good cook. Sometimes, all you need to learn is how to make omelet and a mean pasta dish and at least one person on earth will think you are awesome at it.
  4. I realized that I can never escape writing. No matter what I do, I just keep coming back to it.
  5. That there are certain things that even if you try to hide or change, they will still come out. Like how probably, blue is really my favorite color, even if I try to deny it. Half of my closet is blue and I did not intend it to be. It just happened and I just noticed.
  6. That a Coke-less life is possible. Also a dessert-less life. A fastfood-free life is hard though but I’m working on it.
  7. That nothing else ever really changes a woman profoundly the way motherhood does. No other words can elaborate this.
  8. That a person comes out of age more than once in her life. I used to love reading coming -of-age fiction when I was in my teens and I thought that THAT important transition happens only once when you suddenly mature and turn into an “adult”. But having experienced “adulting”, I’ve come to know that even that takes different stages and levels. And you come out of each stage a different person. This thought, perhaps, is one of the greatest inspirations behind my blog.
  9. That people you meet are either posts or passersby. The posts stay with you forever, no matter the season, no matter the change. The passersby hang out for a while, then will set on foot again. Both kinds are brought into your life for a reason, and who’s meant to go will eventually go, who’s meant to stay will stay. It’s not their fault, it’s a natural cycle that makes the world round. Like how you are also a post to someone and just a passersby to others. Also, that you don’t need too many posts in your life. Just a few but strong ones and you’re good.
  10. That while motherhood may be the most magical thing to ever happen to a woman, it doesn’t and shouldn’t define her completely. That every woman is a mom and more. I almost kinda fell into this trap in my first year of motherhood. I love being Tino’s mom, and I love my son the most and I wouldn’t change the decisions I did for him if I had to. But eventually, I’ve come to realize that my baby will sooner or later turn to be his own person and what would be left of me? I cannot be just Tino’s mom, right? I’m still learning this and still trying to find myself again, but I do know it’s another learning process. I’m just glad this realization has set in.
  11. I’ve learned that a clutter-free life is waaaaaay better. I used to be a hoarder and a sentimental-junkie. I hated having to throw or give away stuff even if they’re just collecting dust, because I see those things with sentimental-colored glasses. But piled up, they become a baggage or clutter. And it’s hard to find a sense of order when there’s too much clutter. I mean these points in both the literal way and otherwise. Now, I’m a decluttering addict.
  12. I’ve realized that absolutely nothing in this life will ever make sense, until you relate back everything to GOD. That if you put HIM in every situation that you have, you’ll get the answers why things that happened happen. Amazingly, even if you don’t get the answers, it will still make sense to you because of HIM. Otherwise, life will just be a huge guessing game. And I think it’s not a fun way to take on life, just guessing.
  13. That life really is all about the choices you make. That everyday we are presented with so many different choices and options and how the day turns out is usually just a result of what choices we made.
  14. That choosing your own battle is a worthwhile exercise. Not just for your emotions but also for your total wellbeing – physically, mentally. Maybe this is also related to no. 15. Because part of choosing your own battle is knowing how much of you should you really say or do.
  15. That no matter what you do, other people will never really get to know the 100% you. Maybe they don’t see it enough, or maybe you don’t show it enough, or maybe it’s just because your current state or situation calls you to be a certain version of yourself. Doesn’t mean you’re being fake, because even if it’s just 50 or 35%, it’s still a percentage of who you really are.
  16. That thread count really does matter. Yes, thread count in bed. And as you grow older and wiser, you’ll only get more conscious of it. Only because you know you always always always deserve better.
  17. That traveling with a toddler is the real test of character. Seriously. And more often, it turns out to be the best journey you’ve ever had.
  18. I realized that sneakers are just the best shoes ever. I hated it in my 20s. But because comfort, check. Style, yes. Practical, yup. Comfort, definitely. Especially with a toddler. And comfort, did I say comfort already? Why didn’t I wear it before???

 

Quick thoughts: Build your armor

In reaching for your goals, they often say you have to be bullet-proof. Yes, it’s not easy. In fact, as I, myself, am in the process of reaching for my own goals, I’ve come to know that it’s almost impossible to be bullet-proof. Because we are not stones; we are humans who are naturally wired to feel.

Even if you have set yourself to be far stronger than any force, you’d still feel something – a nudge, a hit, a prick. If one tiny stone was thrown at you, it may not cause a dent. But imagine if endless tiny stones were thrown at you all at the same time? I imagine at one point, it would hurt.

So what I’ve decided to be the better way to go is not to be bullet-proof. Because really, I cannot be bullet-proof. For me, it’s to build your own armor. Find out what makes up that unbreakable and indestructible shield, so strong that not a single bullet or sword or arrow can pass through and hurt your core. Build its foundation, hone it and shape it so that it becomes sharp and smooth and clear and refined. It should fit nobody else but you.

Our armor can be a compound of different things, welded together. It can be your dreams, your goals, the people who believe in you and protect you.

So, what’s your armor made of?

Lessons on launching a passion project

After many months (almost a year, actually) of pondering whether to pursue this or not, and another couple of months or so of trying to build this site from ground up by myself (no blog coach, no co-writer or editor, no art director or designer for the site), I am finally ready–well, almost ready–to launch!

This blog has been one of the goals I’ve always prayed for and dreamed about so to say that I am excited to share this is probably an understatement. I am ecstatic, to say the least. So while I count the hours before I make that first announcement on my FB page, I’ve decided to reflect on and list the things I’ve experienced and learned so far as I worked on this passion project:

*Passion needs purpose. Writing is my passion. So I thought I’d write, put up a blog and that’s it, I had put my passion to good use! But no. Eventually I realized it wasn’t enough. I didn’t even know what to write about at first because my blog did not have a direction. Along the way, I came to ask myself what significance can my writing offer? Passion is such a strong emotion that I thought whatever you do out of it would be surefire successful. But unless you have a clear vision for it and a good sense of direction on where you want to take it, passion remains just a passive feeling that can fade away.

*Passion has its own timeline. You may think that it’s just there, lurking at the deep corners of your mind and heart and one tap it will automatically ignite. Like an autopilot. I’ve learned it’s not like that. It follows its own timeline. It’s there but you have to let it take its own course and you just have to be sensitive about where you stand with it for the moment. You cannot rush it when it’s (or you’re) not ready yet. But when it is the right time (and you’ll know it), you have to make sure you seize it before it gets lost. It also needs a deadline.  Take too long and the flame might run out before you know it.

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Calligraphy and photo not mine. Grabbed from @soniahime’s IG. Thanks Sonia! :-*

*Passion is not your end goal, it’s just your beginning. Launching your passion project is not the culmination. You think you’ve put so much effort already into the launch of your passion project that it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking it was your goal. Yes, this moment gives such a definitive high. But once it is ignited, where to next? Realizing that (launching your) passion is not the goal but only the fuel that will propel you is what will sustain your project for the long haul.

Whatever passion project you’re cooking up, hope this helps! 🙂

Stop, if you must, then GO!

Back in high school, I was not into Physics that much. But it is only when you start to go through life that you would really appreciate it as an applied science. One of my favorites are the laws of motion because I think they are the most practical. Because we are in constant motion, aren’t we? The world revolves and every morning you wake up and life goes on.

One thing that has always struck me is that any object at rest requires more energy to get it to move than something that is already in motion. Just think about it, it is always always harder to get up in the morning after a night’s rest, right? I do not drive, but I know this applies as well. And so, in life, I somehow try to avoid having to “stop”.

When I left my career, I didn’t think of it as a “stop”. I thought it was just a re-route, a change in direction. I thought I was still going to continue moving but on a different pace. But as it turned out, when you make a shift you have to make sure you have complete control of the reigns or else, that shift will overtake you. Suddenly, I was faced with a lot of other opportunities, of possibilities, and add to that, of new roles and responsibilities as a now full-time wife and mommy (which are more demanding on all aspects – physically, emotionally, spiritually). I enjoyed it for a while until I got so tangled and I completely lost my direction, my momentum, and eventually, my sense of self.

So, at some point I had to stop. I realized I had to take a deep breath, find my starting point, clearly visualize my end goal, and take that first step again. I had to ask myself what do I really want to do, for myself and for my family? Where do I want to go from here? How do I get there? In a way I also enjoyed this moment to take some rest.

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What’s ahead may seem all sorts of wonderful and tempting but sometimes, it’s better to slow down, go on a full stop even, rethink, refocus, and take the next step more deliberately.

That’s how I got to the conclude the things I want. I want to get back to writing again. I want to do this blog. I want to continue the business we’ve started and continue sharing the products (that are all amazing, by the way!). I want to become the best wife and mom. But I want to build my own brand of self in the process.

Then, came the harder part – taking the first step again. It could get a bit comfortable being in that state of rest, you know. Inertia can be quite strong. So you would need a stronger external push to get going again. For me, it was my family who have always believed I can still be more than I already am. My friends who ask me every now and then “so, what now?”. My best friend who I know is just quietly watching in the sidelines , waiting for my next move. Most of all, it’s my little boy  who also grows and moves so fast, I knew I just had to keep moving to keep up, and my husband who is always excited to hear about my day, even if I just stayed at home the whole day. I gotta start giving him different stories and versions of my day again, right? And lastly, the very same goals I had set for myself.

So yeah, stop, if you must. We all need to, once in a while. And then rev up and go. More definite and stronger. Make sure the red light doesn’t take too long to turn green again.

🙂