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positively present picks: week of september 24, 2012





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

Dalai Lama




7 Simple Habits for an Awesome Start to Your Day : YES!

Puppies! : Marc Johns' drawings always make me chuckle

Curious Gorilla Finds a Caterpillar : this made me smile

Lazy Oaf : just discovered this UK shop + I love it 

How to Be a Successful Creative : simple + simply brilliant

7 Habits of Extraordinary People : really love #5!

Wonderland Transit Map : so in love with this right now

Tristan Prettyman's new album : listen to it here!

DIY Colorblock Shoes : I got crafty + made my own here

10 Productivity Apps : some good ones on this list! 

Check out this week's Positively Present playlist on YouTube

"Begin Again"  –  Taylor Swift
"Broken Things"  –  Dave Matthews Band
"Closer"  –  Tegan and Sara
"Options"  –  Gomez
"A Simple Answer"  –  Grizzly Bear
"Die Young"  –  Ke$ha
"Say Anything"  –  Tristan Prettyman
"You Want Her"  –  Delicate Cutters
"Guest of the Government"  –  Admiral Fallow
"Wide Awake"  –  Katy Perry
"I Know You Care"  –  Ellie Goulding
"Broken Jaw"  –  Foster the People

The Power of Less
Leo Babauta

Riding Lessons
Sarah Gruen

back in the saddle : doing what you used to love again



“Today was the best day of my life! (I think.) I got up at 8:30 to go to my show (horses) at the new stable. Guess what? I won 1st place. It's my very first ribbon and it's gorgeous."

An excerpt from my journal (June 4, 1995)


When I was about nine or ten years old, I fell in love with horses. Head over heels in love. I thought (and wrote) about them constantly, and I couldn't wait until the day I could own my very own horse. As you can see from the journal excerpt above, a good day in a ring could seem like the best day of my life (though you have to love the "I think" part ... always hedging my bets!). I was one of those little girls in love with horses -- decorating my room with horse-related items, tracking dirt into the house with my riding boots, reading The Saddle Club and Thoroughbred books endlessly, and even latching my small dog to a lead line and encouraging her to jump over sticks in the backyard. For a few years, I was obsessed with horses.

And then, at the age fourteen, I found myself in high school. Things like boys and parties and making new friends started to seem a lot more interesting than spending hours jumping a horse in a ring. As much as I loved horses, I was drawn away from them by the trappings of teenage life. Short skirts and makeup and wild nights began dominating over jodhpurs and riding boots and dusty rings. And so, after about four years of riding, I stopped frequenting the stable. 

Though I'd left the act of riding behind with my childhood, my love of horses has always remained strong. Over the past fifteen years (!!!) since I last rode a horse, I've thought about them often, wondering what my life would have been like had I chosen ponies over parties. I know I can't go back -- but that doesn't mean I can't get back in the saddle. For years I've thought, "I'd love to go horseback riding again..." but I never took any action. This year, when I made my 29 Things to Do Before 30 list, I decided that I was going to make it happen. I was going to get back in the saddle. 

And yesterday I did! My friend Juliana took me to ride her mom's horse, and it was so exciting to be back up there in the saddle, holding the reins again. Though I did little more than walk (slowly) around an empty ring, I was thrilled to be back on horseback. (I didn't quite have the guts to kick it up a notch to a trot, which I was okay with.) Getting back in the saddle made me realize the many positive benefits of revisiting old hobbies and interests. I'm usually not a fan of going back to the past -- "Stay in the present!" I always say! -- but yesterday's horseback riding adventure made me see that sometimes going back to the past is actually a very positive thing...


5 Benefits of Doing What You Used to Love Again

1. It reconnects you with (the old) you. Simply walking into the barn -- smelling all those old familiar smells and hearing those old familiar sounds -- brought me right back to some of the best days of my childhood. I used to love being at the barn, tucked in the stall with one of my favorite horses, and going back into a barn reconnected me to those old feelings of comfort that I had felt as a child when I spent time with horses. Whatever you used to love to do, you loved it for a reason. When you go back to it again, you'll be reconnected with parts of yourself you might have forgotten about. 


2. It feels excitingly brand new... Even though I had spent years in barns and in riding rings, going back to a stable felt like a brand new experience for me yesterday. Of course, the memories came rushing back, but I also felt as if I were experiencing my former love of riding for the first time. I was nervous and uncertain around the horses -- something I hadn't been since back when I'd first started riding -- and so a lot of what I was doing (even though I remembered how to do a lot of it), felt brand new. Just like anything, if you don't do something for a long time, it will seem new again the next time you do it, which makes it exciting.


3. ... and yet it feels oddly familiar. Even though it felt like I was doing it all again for the first time, I also had some idea of what I was doing. The brushes and the bridle looked familiar. I remembered how to pick a hoof and how to curry the dirt in circular motions. So much of it came back to me and, even though it was a new place and a new horse and it had been years since I'd done any of these things, it was all oddly familiar. I think this is what I loved best about getting back in the saddle -- the feeling of familiarity blended with the excitement of something new. Going back to an old hobby provides an odd but awesome mix of familiarity and freshness. 


4. It helps you conquer fears. One of the reasons I hadn't been on a horse for so many years was fear. I missed horses and longed to ride one again, but my inner voice kept asking, "What if you don't remember how to ride? What if you get thrown off? What if you hate it?" And so I let that fear hold me back from getting back in the saddle for years. Yesterday I was definitely nervous, but it felt great to get back on the horse. I didn't get thrown off. I didn't forget how to ride. And I definitely didn't hate it. Trying something again for what feels like the first time might seem scary, but conquering that fear is an amazing feeling. 


5. It makes you more present. Oddly enough, in going back to something I used to love doing in the past, I found myself feeling more present. Even though I was familiar with the barn and the horses, it felt new to me in so many ways that I found myself being very aware of everything about the experience. I was very conscious of the feeling of the reins in my hands, the movement of the horse's ears, the smells and sounds of the barn. Doing something new -- even if it's something you used to do a lot -- really heightens your senses and makes you more aware of what's happening in the now. While revisiting what I used to love doing, I found myself very in the moment -- and loving it. 


I had such a great time getting back on a horse, and I'm so glad I added it to my to-do list for this year (without having it on a list I surely wouldn't have been motivated to actually do it...). Going back and revisiting an activity I used to love so much made me much happier than I'd expected it would. Being at the barn brought back a rush of memories, but there was also the thrill of doing something for the first time again. If there's something you loved doing that you haven't done in awhile, consider giving it a try again. You'll be surprised by the benefits that come along with getting back in the saddle. 

positively present picks: week of september 17, 2012



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 "Don't you love New York in the fall?
It makes me wanna buy school supplies.
I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils
if I knew your name and address." 

Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail



Linksilove copy

My Dog: The Paradox : thanks for sharing this, Juliana!

Finding Happiness in the Midst of Grief : good advice for a difficult task

Crop It Like It's Hot : the nerd in me desperately wants this tee

5 Reasons to Slow Down Today : just what I needed to read this week!

Bella's pawprint : she didn't love this activity, but I sure did

There's No Time Like the Present : super cute (free!) printable 

Will Your Passion Make You Money? : excellent infographic
(via the lovely In Spaces Between)

6-Year-Old Inspirational Speaker : she is just too cute! 

Time's 50 Best Websites list : found a lot of good sites via this list


Check out this week's Positively Present playlist on YouTube

"Try"  –  Pink
"Yet Again" –  Grizzly Bear
"Flesh and Bone" –  The Killers
"Paint" –  The Paper Kites
"Spirit Undestructable" –  Nelly Furtado
"Push and Shove" –  No Doubt
"Headlock" –  Imogen Heap
"Don't Work Yourself Up" –  Tristan Prettyman
"Think Bout You" –  Frank Ocean
"Triple Threat" –  Missy Elliott
"Beautiful Day" –  Marie & the redCat
"Stubborn Love" –  The Lumineers

The Blind Assassin
Margaret Atwood

Blog, Inc. 
Joy Deangdeelert Cho 

4 steps for falling in love with your flaws



"Most of us are taught to hide our flaws. To be embarrassed (or deathly afraid) of that which isn’t perfect about us, even though it is the very thing that makes us human and connects us to the world. Our flaws are the ground of our being, the very things that make us who we are. If we hide our flaws, if we run from them, we are denying our very being, that which makes us unique."

Alexis Yael


Like it or not, we're all flawed. Not a single one of us is perfect. And that's one of the great things about life. We all have so many wonderful things to offer -- and, yet, we're not always so wonderful. Not only do we have flaws, but each of us struggles with feeling flawed (which is, perhaps, a flaw in and of itself). But whether the flaws that plague you are emotional, mental, or physical flaws, the key to overcoming them is knowing how to accept them -- and ultimately fall in love with them. Because, as the Alexis Yael has so wisely stated, our flaws are what make us unique. They are what ground us. They are, in a sense, what keep us in the present. 

Of course we all know how difficult it is to accept (and love!) flaws. It's a difficult thing to do when it comes to other people and when it comes to ourselves, well, it's can seem nearly impossible. But, hard as it might seem, it is possible to love even the most flawed parts of yourself. And not only is it possible, it's essential to living a positively present life. To live positively in the present, you must love yourself for who you are -- and loving yourself means loving even the not-so-great parts of yourself. Learning to love your flaws might feel like a constant battle, but that acceptance, that love, is worth fighting for. Here's how to get started... 


How to Fall in Love with Your Flaws 


1. Decide if there's something you can do about it. 

First and foremost, you have to decide if the flaw that troubles you is something you can actually do something about. Some flaws -- like a bad temper or wicked impatience -- should not be accepted, but should instead be worked on. Loving your flaws is not the same thing as throwing up your hands and saying, "Oh well! That's just the way I am!" about a characteristic that's negatively impacting you and your life. Ask yourself: Does the flaw negatively impact others? Does it impact the amount of positive energy I'm giving off into the world? Is there anything I can do to change it?


2. Determine if you actually are going to do something about it. 

If you've determined that a flaw is, in fact, something you can (and should) change, now it's time to be brutally honest with yourself. You can change it, but will you? Just because you can change a flaw, doesn't mean you necessarily should (take, for example, a less-than-perfect nose or a sarcastic wit). Only you know (and you will know, deep down) whether or not the flaw that bugs you is something you really need to change -- and if it's something you actually will change. If you know it needs to be changed and you're going to put in the effort, awesome! Go for it! If it's something you can't or won't change... 


3. Imagine it from an objective point of view. 

Often our flaws are magnified by our own perception. We're so close to our flaws that they seem so much larger to us. In your mind, take a step back from the flaws you see and try to imagine what they would look like from an outsider's perspective. The things you see as horrible or offensive might not look so bad when you try seeing them from an outsider's point of view. When it comes to flaws, we imagine ours to be much bigger than others'. Consider your flaw and contemplate how you would react to it if you spotted it on someone else.

4. Accept it it for exactly what it is. 

Finally -- and most importantly -- you must accept your flaw for exactly what it is. Having imagined what it would look like from the outside, now it's time to take that concept one step further and simply accept it for what it is. Strip that flaw of all societal standards and internal judgments. Don't compare it to others or rate it on a scale of good/bad. Your flaw is what it is. Accept it for what it is and realize that it is a part of you. If it is something you cannot (or will not) change, acceptance is the only option for truly loving yourself (all of yourself). Your flaws make you who you are, so embrace them!


With these four steps, you should be on the road to either changing or loving your flaws. Only you will know which flaws you should probably work on -- and which ones you really need to accept and love. Remember: we are all flawed. Everyone has something (and maybe many things!) he or she feels is flawed. But only some people take those flaws and proactively choose to accept and love them. Be one of those people. Love your flaws! 

positively present picks: week of september 10, 2012



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 "Life starts all over again when it
gets crisp in the fall." 

F. Scott Fitzgerald



Linksilove copy

My Happy Place App : a place to curate happiness? yes, please!

Underachieve : great advice from Danielle LaPorte

BarkBox : monthly treats for your dog delivered right to your door 

Make Someone Happy : LOVE this video by Oh Joy!

Circus Baby Shower : it turned out amazing! see some pics here.
(all those that say "uploaded by user" are from my party!)

Nicole's Classes : just started one of these + I love it

DailyFeats : need help staying on track? use DailyFeats!

Punctuation Infographic : nerdy? yes. awesome + useful? double yes.

Half Full : cutest shopping back I've seen in a long time

September Mix Tapes : Gala Darling + Note to Self

90+ Tech Tools to Help You Manage Your Life : thanks, Jenny!

Sky Series photos : these are gorgeous


Check out this week's Positively Present playlist on YouTube

"The Theory of Relativity"   –  Stars
"Tiptoe"   –  Imagine Dragons
"I Believe in Everything"   –  Matchbox 20 (hey, 90s!)
"Girl on Fire"   –  Alicia Keys
"Next Year"   –  Two Door Cinema Club
"Flower"   –  Jewel
"Scattered Like Leaves"   –  Azure Ray 
"Ronan"   –  Taylor Swift (be prepared to cry!) 
"This Kiss"   –  Carly Rae Jepsen
"Breaking My Own Heart"   –  Sweet Talk Radio
"Fiction"   –  The xx 
"Want It Back"   –  Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra
"Free"   –  Graffiti6 

 Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn

Half-Empty, Half Full : 
Understanding the Psychological Roots of Optimism

Dr. Susan Vaughan

The Blind Assassin
Margaret Atwood