Turning a New Page – Choosing Positivity & Starting a Blog (A Five Year Journey)

The world is full of different types of minds and we need all of them. I am a very analytical thinker, in fact, sometimes I have a tendency to overanalyze things.

I like to think my brain is a lot like Google or a website filled with videos, pictures, and search terms. On occasion, people try to use the wrong phrase and get a blank or confused face.

I’ve always loved writing and creating websites. A well-managed blog is the perfect way to share and receive information. I’m also very visual and enjoy creating databases, categorizing information with links and tags.

Many people don’t know this about me but back in high school, I took (and aced) college web-design classes. Growing up I was rarely an “A student” but my writing, computer, and music classes were easy A’s – ensuring my GPA never dropped below a 3.2 even while barely passing a few core classes.

A lot has happened since high school. I’ve tackled a few creative projects but for the most part, I allowed my web design and writing skills to lay dormant.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt like you could be doing more with your life?

Five years ago, just before my 25th birthday, I took a life inventory. My life was not bad, in fact, it was quite satisfactory, still, something was lacking. At the time I had no words or idea of what I was searching for, still,  I set out on a quest to find significance.

The body is the vessel carrying the mind. Getting my body healthy became my first priority. I like to tackle large tasks in small pieces, eating the elephant one bite at a time.

When I do something, I do it all or nothing. I had already been practicing yoga a few years (mostly a physical practice) and had started hitting the gym for two hours a day, obsessively training, working each and every muscle – focusing on the upper body, arms, and core.

My mind body connection and awareness was improving greatly as I carefully did each exercise. Counting down reps in my head became a moving (and very physical) meditation, constantly forcing my mind into the present moment. I began to long for the elated feeling that came during every focused workout.

Once I was feeling better physically shaping the mind became more of a priority. I began to read about Buddhism and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge was sparked.

I grew up in the Christian church, but Christianity never felt like “my religion”. As a child I had a tendency to think in a VERY literal way, this can make bible stories very confusing.

At a young age, I felt shame. Shame for not believing, shame for being different, shame in not being able to think like everyone else. I wanted to believe and spent a good portion of elementary school convinced that I was a bad child, doomed to hell because of my disbelief in the biblical teachings.

Buddhism is a very logical religion. It is full of practical instructions, lists, and easy to follow guidelines teaching the practitioner how to live a better life. Buddhism forces you to take responsibility for your own actions. It is the perfect religion for the self-motivated spiritual seeker.

Fast forward to the year 2014, at the age of 27 a new urge is stirring within me, a desire to do good in the world and help others. Laying awake in bed, staring at the ceiling,  the meaning of life was beginning to make itself apparent to me.

A seed had been planted, but the flowers growing in the soil of my mind needed time and fertilizer to grow. Something was still missing, I wanted to help but was unsure where to start.

I found my inspiration at the 2016 Texas Conference for Women. A full day of amazingly empowered women, sharing their stories of success. These women were passionate, did the best with what they had, and never gave up.

By the end of the day, I knew what I needed to do.

I truly believe that as humans, we are custodians of the earth. The meaning of life is leaving the world better than you found it. Our job is to figure out what our proficiencies are. We must grow our skill so we can give back to the world (without expecting anything in return).

The world needs more positivity and less judgment. We need better role models and fewer bullies; people who don’t shrink in the face of adversity and stand up for what is right.

So I’m here five years later, writing and sharing my experience with the world, hoping to somehow might make the world a little bit brighter.

Rebelling against a culture that values assimilation over individuality.

63 thoughts on “Turning a New Page – Choosing Positivity & Starting a Blog (A Five Year Journey)

  1. Inspiring post. And thanks for your heart on my NeuroTribes tweet today. I bet you’d also like the book Whistling Vivaldi by Claude Steele for your intention to have more positivity and less judgment. I found NeuroTribes so eye opening for me personally. Especially to better see how my own nerdiness and way of thinking differently was ok and not a problem, and an asset. And Whistling Vivaldi has had me thinking a lot about how I interact with others and how I have anxiety in how I’m perceived as a member of certain groups. Much more of a social insight, but it’s been just as powerful for me personally and inspiring for how to help different groups better interact and overcome stereotypes. Powerful survey of the research.

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, NeuroTribes is certainly a transformational piece of work. I hope more people read it. It is the essential neurodiversity book. I also love Carly’s Voice – we need more non-verbal writers. The Reason I Jump was also amazing. I’ve added your book to my shopping list – thank you for the recommendation. 🙂

      1. Thank you for those recommendations, added both to my list. Appreciate it! I’m just about to start in on “Far from the Tree” before take a diversion to the new Expanse sci-fi book just out Babylon’s Ashes for some diversion. Did you have any books on Buddhism that you’d recommend so far? There are a few I’ve liked but I’d need to dig through my closet to remember which I’d actually recommend.

        1. That is harder – The Buddha Walks Into the Office was pretty good and that author has a few more books now. I actually did a LOT of my Buddhist study online, and listened to a lot of talks and lectures all over.

          1. Oh, thanks for that recommendation. I’ve really appreciated Lodro but I haven’t read that book yet. He seems pragmatic and hip and sensitive to modern life issues. I was probably going to recommend two books by Lodro’s primary teacher, Sakyong Mipham: “Turning the Mind Into an Ally” and “Ruling Your World”. Unless you’re also a runner, he as a book about meditation and running as well.

          2. Thank you for the recommendations – not a runner but will add the other to titles to my list. Lordo is great at explaining things in a way that most people can understand. I also like the classics (Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh) but don’t recommend those since they are not always the easiest reads for some newer Buddhists. 🙂

  2. lots of interesting stuff here, I have practised Zen and Tibetan Buddhism for many years and then started to look at Christianity. I looked for the similarities and also to really understand what they were trying to say, which is fascinating, I’m still caught betwixt the two, but your blog is a great reminder to try and do some good.

  3. Enjoyed your post! I study all religions, and with Buddhism, probably enough to be dangerous, but I never could really go farther (absent recognizing and understanding its truths) based on the belief of no God. I am sorry you had that experience of shame with Christianity 🙁 To me, that is the hypocrites that practice the religion more than the religion itself…but I do find that can happen in any religion – it’s all about the people.

    1. I think that there are as many different religions on earth as there are people – because everyone has their own thinking style and way of interpreting things. I don’t think any of them are wrong – as long as you don’t force them on people. Being a good person, regardless of your religion is most important. Buddhism has no “god” which was easier for me to swallow. Funny how that works.

      1. I agree with you about religions being vast as there are number of people. There are many paths that ultimately lead to the same destination. I find nothing but wisdom from Buddha’s teachings. I like Buddhism’s concept of emptiness but often get confused on how that relates to nothingness? – is a Buddhist also an atheist – that probably is a dumb question but do you know off the top of your head? I see God everywhere in all things…I think Buddhism intimidates me because its focus is do nothing and I struggle with that so much! How long have you been a Buddhist?

        1. Hi Sarah – thank you for your questions. The concept of nothingness is one that would take a LOT of text to explain – and honestly I think it is one of those things that words don’t really accurately picture (however I will try). Nothingness has to do with the fact that if you scrub away all the karma / life experiences / cause and effect in life you are left with something pure and empty. It has been said that a goal of Buddhism is to live with no karma at all – making no impact on anything in the world despite our interconnectedness. Also realizing that we are empty, created from our experiences – so for example if you lose all of your memories in an accident you would no longer exist in the same capacity as the same person you were before – empty /reset. Still you are “you” as long as you are not overly attached to the definition of who “you” is. (Hope that helps.) Technically Buddhists are non-theistic which may be considered Atheism. I am not an expert on atheism, so I am not comfortable giving you a solid “yes” or “no”. I find beauty in everything and the world almost becomes like a higher power. I am always in awe of our connections to one another, nature, the animals, weather – all of it. When you connect so deeply with everything you appreciate the wonderful wold and want to protect it. . . or at least that is how I fee. 🙂 I’ve only been practicing for about 4 years – but those years have changed my life greatly. Others who have been practicing longer could probably provide additional insight.

          1. My apologies for interjecting but this topic is dear to me too. In the eastern Tibetan tradition emptiness is described as vivid and clear. One text says, “The limitless expanse of emptiness Is luminous with all pervading light, In clear mind sky, free from complexities, The rainbow of phenomena shines forth.”

            Put another way, you could say that the all pervading essence of everything is sacred and primordially pure. It’s only our confusion or misunderstanding that makes phenomena seem mundane and degraded. So what is empty? One approach says phenomena is empty of the things our mind adds to it that makes it appear mundane or profane. So to see emptiness is to see the inherent sacredness and vividness in our life, to always remember the magic in our experience. Not dissimilar perhaps to seeing God in everything? I suspect there is more in common in the core of spiritual traditions than we realize.

            That said, I often hear the Dalai Lama saying now is the time to act, e.g. against climate change or to help victims of natural disasters. So fair to say I think that Buddhism is not action-less.

          2. That was a very good answer, and made sense. It seems like the concept of emptiness and nothingness result in nothing being void and empty being free of “ego or desire” maybe? How does Buddhism rectify the self? It almost seems to echo the view that the freedom of liberation is sacrifice of self, but it to be free of emotion almost seems internally devoid? What were you before practicing?

          3. Sarah before practicing I was searching. My family has Christian and Catholic heritage but we also are of Native American descent a few generations back too (or so is said in family folklore). I have yet to test this information for myself but I do see these features in certain family member’s faces. In Texas becoming Catholic may not have been a choice back then. 😉

          4. I was an adult at that point and have always been a free thinker. I wanted to be Pagan / Wiccan in middle & high school – THAT really bothered my mother. I suppose after that anything was a relief to her.

          5. A pagan/wiccan – that is too funny…but you know if you don’t study the opposite sides of things you can never really know how they operate, or at least that is something I wish my mother understood growing up too. It always works out in the end!

  4. The more I read your blog, the more I feel that we have walked some similar paths. I can relate to many of your experiences and at times I sense a synergy between our perspectives. I’m looking forward to reading more. 🙂

  5. Great post. I think your Christian upbringing and later interest in Buddhist/Eastern teachings is a common thread amongst us Westerner’s (if that’s a word!?). I can relate, however find the study of both has led me to conclude at their heart, most – even the most exoterically disparate belief-systems – esoterically & experientially promote mirroring realization. In other words, it’s my opinion that a faithfully devoted Nun and a path-practicing Monk see & experience the Sacred in a similar way, only with different descriptive terms. If that makes sense 🙂

    1. “at their heart, most – even the most exoterically disparate belief-systems – esoterically & experientially promote mirroring realization” – yes. That is why I said in a comment to another reader – each person’s path is unique and not wrong. Just being a good human is the most important thing. Religions are tools to help us be better people.

  6. “I like to think my brain is a lot like Google or a website filled with videos, pictures, and search terms. On occasion people try to use the wrong phrase and get a blank or confused face.”

    Yes!! I can totally identify with this. Your blog is awesome! I’m following, but I often forget to check my reader, so I’m going to try to follow by email notification, too, so I don’t miss anything 😊❤️

    ~The Silent Wave Blog writer 😘

  7. Love your outlook on life, taking care of our bodies and the environment, and how we think about ourselves in the scheme of it all. And yes, gratitude is the single most important thing after love. ox

  8. Hi there! thanks for visiting my blog! I like what you said about being custodians of the earth and giving back. I wish more people would think that way. Any way good luck and thanks for visiting.

  9. By far the most enlightening blog I’ve ever came across.
    You seem like a very spiritual, humble, graceful person.

    Your right, Buddhism is the perfect Zen of all that is lively.

    I’m so glad and happy that we are both following each others blogs.
    And I hope we both can learn from one another.

    I look forward to reading, liking, & commenting on your upcoming post.
    Hope you return the favor as well.

    Mind you, if you read my poems. Heads up, be sure to have a dictionary near by. Trust me. 🙂

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    My names Charlie Zero, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

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