The Importance of Appreciation

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When I first graduated college, I started a string of subpar jobs. Admittedly, I’m still sort of embarrassed at how my “career” started. Not only was I underpaid, but I never appreciated my jobs either.  I worked as a Museum Manager,  a “Marketing Manager” for this sleazy man who eventually fired me (I was thrilled to be fired), and my last job was for an EMS company. My last job was the one that I liked the most of the three. Not because of the job: the role itself was undefined and strange, but because I had a boss who I actually admired and learned a lot from. To this day, I always cringe at the way I left. (when my ex and I broke up, there was no chance I was going to stay in Connecticut, so I just left and showed up at my parents doorstep with a dog and a duffel bag. I didn’t even quit the job- I just stopped showing up, sent an e-mail to my boss to which he replied ” you were meant to do so much more than this. Good luck out there, kid.”)

Each job for me started the same way; I was excited, enjoyed the “title” more than the job, and eventually would lose interest in the job and self sabotage in only the way I can. If you know me, at all, you know I’m not one to give up.  Throughout my time in Connecticut I just never felt like it was “enough”. In retrospect, a lot of that unsettled desire to quickly succeed at something was a sign of a deep rooted unhappiness that I just hadn’t discovered yet. There was also a boredom affiliated with the jobs for me. There was no incentive. I could do all my work on a Monday and the rest of the week float on through and still receive the same paycheck. Worse, the paychecks were so small that there was just no chance for me to ever get ahead. They became a way to pay the bills, but, frankly, they weren’t paying the bills anyway.

I moved home with only one bag, but a lot of baggage. I had $10,000 worth of debt to get myself out of, and no idea how I would. The morning after I showed up at my parents doorstep, I received a call from my dad. He said, “Come to Mac’s at 4:30. Wear all black. You’re going to make money while you figure out your next step.” That Tuesday night changed my life in two ways;

1. I spent the whole evening training with this really amazing waiter… who… you guessed it… is now my husband, Mark.

2. I walked out the door with half of my paycheck that I would receive in Connecticut. HALF. IN SIX HOURS.

That night, I bought a real apron, jotted down a “plan”, and started working towards it. The odds were stacked against me at work, but, that never deterred me. I had Mark, and a few allies throughout the staff that trained me on things I needed to know. Every mistake I made was ridiculed to the nth degree, but, that just motivated me to get better. I started selling wine, upping my average guest check, and was consistently making 25% each night in tips. Sure, I was the bosses daughter, but, I was doing better than everyone else. (except Mark. Don’t tell him, but he’s better than me. Even now, when he comes in to help us out on big nights, he outshines everyone) During the day, I wrote stories, articles, and more. I was consistently featured on a few popular sites. I was being offered contributor roles around the internet. And, I could do all of that and still make triple my income.

In four months, I was out of my debt and started to save my money. While that is a great end to this story, the truth is, that wasn’t even the biggest change that happened to me. Money no longer was an “obligation” to me. My job wasn’t an “obligation” to me anymore. I was finally grateful. I appreciated my money much more, and part of that is because I had to work so much harder for it. My mindset changed from “ I have to pay my bills with this money” to “I am so fortunate that I am able to take care of myself and Emmett with this money.”  Every dime I made was valued, and for once, it finally felt like “enough”.

Obviously, I didn’t leave Mac’s. I planned on it- I had a writing job lined up –  but, then the Catering Manager left, the job was offered to me, and that’s what I wanted to do when I graduated college so I took it. I failed miserably the first few months. After making a few tweaks for my type B brain, I finally have a nice flow to it. There are moments where I wonder if I should migrate to a “9-5” job. Actually, a month ago I was offered a 9-5 job. I considered it. But, then I reflected back on my time when I had a 9-5 job, and realized that I only succeed when there is an incentive, and politely declined the job.

While I realize the undertone of this post makes it seem like money drives happiness, that is certainly not my intention. The truth is, happiness is derived from appreciation. Appreciating the money that I earn (and, trust me… I earn it) redirected my thought process on money. Money is not an obligation to me- it is something I value, and in turn, allows me to value what I have because of it.

So, today.. while you read this post on your fancy iPhone, or computer, look around at all that you have. Yes, there are people that have more than you. However, you have clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and, mostly likely, you know when your next meal is. You have more than someone too. So, try to redirect your thought process today and value your paycheck. Value what you have because of it.

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Your Heart at the Center of Your Puzzle

soul is a puzzle

The following piece is a continuation from last weeks post, “The Soul is a Puzzle: An Introduction”.

Life is nothing if we don’t put ourselves out there.

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Your Heart at the Center of Your Puzzle

 Take a second to listen to your body. Take a deep breath in. Hold it. Now exhale, slowly. Repeat that process a few times. Take a deep breath in. Hold that breath. Now exhale again. As you repeat the process take a moment to listen to your body. Feel the blood seamlessly pumping through your body. Focus your mind on the expansion of your lungs each time. Visualize your inner body working.

 Feeling relaxed? Okay. Don’t fall asleep on me.

 Our bodies are controlled by our heart. Our heart requires a lot to continuously pump blood through our brains. First, it seeks oxygen from our lungs. Then, it works tirelessly to pump that oxygen through our body. From the center of body, to the tip our toes, all the way to our brain, it is our heart that keeps us alive. Even the smallest blockage can cause massive repercussions.

 While science has always focused on our brains as the puzzle that creates the whole, I enlist in a different theory. I believe it is our heart that is the piece that keeps us whole.

 There is plenty of empirical evidence supporting the Broken Heart Syndrome. The idea that while some of us are resilient enough to overcome a broken heart, there are plenty of cases where a broken heart can lead to heart complications. In fact, researchers say that 1 in 320 people who are at high risk for heart failure, and 1 in 1,400 people who are at low risk will experience increased heart problems due to some sort of heartbreak. (fact check me here) Even more specific, a grieving spouse is more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke, accounting for 53% of their deaths.

 So, why is it that the heart isn’t more closely considered when we think of our overall health. Sure, we are taught to eat less bacon, do our cardio,  and take care of our body.  But, what about the connection between our heart and our emotional health?

 Think of how your heart and body feel when you experience different emotions.  Happiness leads to a light heart, which tends to lead to an overall healthier body experience. Perhaps your joints hurt less, old injuries flare up less, and there is a certain aura about you that projects to those around you.

 When your stressed, your body has a tendency to feel tired or drained more often. Sadness can lead to a literal heartache, which can lead to loss of appetite and a myriad of other issues. (like belly fat. oh, the belly bulge)

 If we’re looking at our life as a puzzle piece, we must first focus on the heart as the center piece of that puzzle. While we are attune to the importance of maintaining our mental health, we must always remember that it is our heart that drives our mental health.

 The two are connected on a string. Like how we wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg, there is no clear start or beginning on which part of our body drives the other. Those more logical will insist that it is our mind that controls our body. Yes, it does control our motor functions, this theory is not here to argue that. Here, we are more focused on the emotional content. Those more intuitive will insist that it is our heart that drives our decisions. Rely on your “instinct”, “believe in an outcome”, us hopeless optimists will insist that the root of our existence is right in the center of our bodies.

If our soul is a puzzle  piece, the heart is its own individual puzzle on its’ own.

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Next Week: The Puzzle Pieces Directly Around Your Heart (and, how they impact your life)

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Five Revelations I Had During a Palm Reading

A few weeks ago, I caught wind that one of my co-workers reads palms and natal charts. Immediately fascinated, I wanted in. I always wanted the opportunity to go to a palm reading; the idea that your life is outlined in palm is something that always held a lot of interest to me. Yes, I know there are a lot of naysayers out there. Those who do not believe in it because there’s no “proof”. That could be true, but there’s also no proof that there’s a God, and yet we believe in that too.

(I’m getting a little defensive, can you tell?)

The fact of the matter is, to a lot of people who read palms or natal charts, it’s science. The answers are outlined right there,  it just requires someone to analyze it. To think that when you were born, all the different elements of the universe had an impact on you in that moment, is pretty incredible.

Erin was initially a little nervous to give me a reading. She’s found that there have been occasions where she tells someone something that they don’t want to hear. It’s a deeply personal moment, and quite intimate. I didn’t push, (just gentle reminders every so often… which, isn’t pushy for me…) and finally, one night after a glass of wine she just jumped right into it.

There was a lot that she revealed that she wouldn’t know about me. Erin knows me as her Manager, her coworker, and the person who decorates the restaurant. She doesn’t know me like my friends do. She doesn’t know about this blog, she doesn’t know my personal struggles with my career, and she most certainly doesn’t know much about my personal life. So, when she picked up my palm and started saying things that I’ve always felt or known, I immediately became a believer.

Here are Five Revelations I had During my Readings:

  1. I Have Two Destinies That Will Always Conflict

To quote the reading “when you were born there was never a clear path outlined for you. Your parents didn’t say you were going to be a lawyer or a doctor, but instead, they allowed you to formulate as you grew”. I asked my mom about this and she said “Yes, we never really put you on a path. You were always someone who wanted to do their own thing anyway.”

This one hit me particularly hard because for a long time I always felt like I was a hamster on a wheel going nowhere. I always felt misplaced in the world, and, there were moments… still are moments, actually… that I wondered why finding my path was so much harder for me. More than that, I always felt… still feel, actually… conflicted in following my passion, or doing something more traditional. As Erin saw it, I know what my two destinies are now, and I will always struggle balancing the two. She’s 100% correct. However, being given that insight assuages the anxiety about never feeling exactly “right”.

2. My Venus is an Aquarius
While I was born on March 8th, making me a “Pisces”, your natal chart reveals more about all of the planets and their alignment when you were born. Venus, in particular, represents your “Love”.  For me, my “Love” is most closely represented by Aquarius. I’m actually going to quote the entire reading on this one because it’s so perfectly accurate that it scares me:

Your love life takes you on adventures. You don’t go for conventional choices, you’re just drawn to things. It’s in the fourth house, which is in the house of cancer, so you’re very protective. You have a shell around you and when people mean something to you, you sort of extend that shell around them. But, you do it in the way of an Aquarius where people don’t realize it.

Aquarius and Cancer are a very weird combination. It’s sort of funny because cancer is this water  sign,  smart, intuitive, sensitive, and protective and is almost abrasive. Aquarius is this sign where you never know what they’re thinking. And, that’s your love life. Its all over the place, and no one ever knows what you’re truly thinking, but to you, its what you’re clinging to. It’s what you want to build your shell around and you’re very abrasive about it, in the sense that once you find that person, to you it’s “this is how it is, and this is who I’m building my shell around”.

I’ve always been one that doesn’t allow people in very easily unless I see a trait worthwhile, (it sounds precocious but in reality it’s just a way of insuring that I don’t get hurt) but, when I do let someone in, it’s very… well, intense and abrasive like she said. Even in friendships, I build a shell around people who positively impact my life, and I’m certainly learning the balance of that shell. Or, at least I’m trying to.

3. I have a Solid Love Line…  and, it formed around the time I met Mark

When Erin saw this line her reaction was so genuine. To quote: “your love line is strong and singular. You’re going to have a long love with one person and it looks like it formed a few years ago. Not everyone has this. Look, I don’t“, and she showed me her palm. I thought this was sweet, and I loved the romance of it. Sorry babe, you’re stuck with me.

4. I have Three Additional Loves… but, two are  coming later in life…

You can stop asking when I’m having children because according to this chart, not until my thirties. There’s definitely two very strong lines, and one little straggler. She said this could also be animals, so, we know one line is definitely Emmett.

5. I Exhibit a lot of Capricorn Traits

My Sun and Mercury are Pisces. My Moon is Leo, My Venus is Aquarius and my Ascendant (who I appear to be to others) is Libra. But, even though I’m all over the place, most of my signs lie in Capricorn, or the house of Capricorn. To quote:

For you, all of your planets, and your moon, are in either a house of Capricorn, or are in Capricorn, so you’re almost a Capricorn. You have such strong underlying Capricorn traits. You act like a Capricorn. It’s the oldest of the earth signs, so you’re going to be very, very grounded, occasionally level headed, and they have a strong sense of everyone around them. You’re watching other people, especially with your Pisces. So, youre a spectator where youre taking people into your life, watching them, and learning from them, but they don’t even know it. People don’t realize their impact on you. You build with them and around them, because you love surrounding yourself with people who will better you. You come from this very old sense of security and you know where that place is.

You’re chart is all centered on the bottom, which means you’re much more introverted than people think. Everything is hiding on the bottom, except your emotions. Those are at the top, and you cannot hide your emotions and that’s because they’re in Leo.

To me, this part was most humbling and most revealing. It’s always assumed that I’m an extrovert because of my ability to reveal my feelings (so Leo of me) and my love of being around people. Even on Myers Briggs, I always come up with ENTJ, but, that’s because those tests are mostly based on feelings. However, my favorite part is the part where she says I’m learning from people and they don’t even know it.

It’s my favorite because when she started, I didn’t see this nervous girl who desperately didn’t want to get fired. I saw someone with heart, passion, an ability to learn quickly and a drive to work hard. I watched her for weeks, and, eventually, when I realized she wasn’t going to leave if it got too hard, I started to train her. I taught her tricks that would make her life easier, and I worked with her to refine her skills. While I taught her, she was teaching me. Her love of art and reading sparked my interest again.  Maybe it’s because she’s fresh out of college so the world hasn’t jaded her perspective yet, but, having a conversation with her teaches me so much. Hell, just look at this blog post.

If my resolution for 2017 is to live life with more intention, this reading certainly helps give me much more perspective.

(Leanne Note: I directly transcribed her words from a recording so the quotes are very raw and conversational. Additionally, we all know I use commas when I pause… while I’m trying to get better at not misplacing my commas… I sort of feel like it adds to my unique voice. So, don’t judge it.)

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