Category Archives: Gratitude & Journal Prompts

My quick thoughts throughout the day.

The End of an Interesting Year

Good afternoon Dear Reader,

2020 is coming to a close.

Despite all of the tragedy that has happened to the country and the world, I am personally able to find gratitude for some of the events that happened this year.

2020 has shown me how much I rely on social interaction as a way to escape my problems, which is a good thing because I was forced to face my demons. Now that I know what they look like, I can make peace with them in 2021. These months of forced down time have allowed me to see things that I wasn’t able to due to the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. In this time, I’ve been able to take stock of myself, my needs, my desires, my fears, my darkness-of all of me.

I realized that since I left home I’ve been in bad situation after the next and although initially I didn’t think it had effected me, it actually effected me a lot. Although my beloved nesting partner has helped me grow in so many ways, I have enough self-awareness to know that my true healing won’t happen until I live alone. So, this year I made the decision to live by myself, away from my nesting partner. I am very fortunate that he understands and is willing to let me experience this. Within the next few months I’ll be transitioning to my solitude, which is both scary and exciting all at once.

This year also saw the formation of a new dynamic with a beautiful man. I’m learning a lot not only about myself but also about how to be more communicative without fear. I am enjoying his energy but I also struggle with not losing myself in the heat of the excitement. I appreciate that he allows me to feel the love and appreciation but he has enough of a good head on his shoulders to not allow me to be too dependent on him.

Sadly, 2020 also saw the ending of an important dynamic. Although I am torn up about it, I understand that this is for the best. I need to stop holding onto things that no longer serve me and being quiet about it. A part of me feels like if I had been honest about how I felt when things came up, maybe I could have salvaged things…but the other part of me knows that that wouldn’t have changed things. I received what I needed from the relationship and I’m grateful for it but it’s time for me to let go (which is scary and it hurts).

In any case, I have a lot of gratitude and I hope I can keep this sort of energy in the coming year. I admittedly have a lot of fear. I fear failure. I fear success. I fear that once I do all this digging that I won’t find anything of substance underneath all the trauma… but despite the fear, I know it’s time to move. Moving forward is the only option and the only path to potential happiness. I’ll deal with whatever comes later but right now is the time for action, accountability, faith, and growth.

Happy New Year.

Much love and warm regards,

Shannon M.

Ambition Vs. Motivation

Good morning Dear Reader,

It’s interesting to think of ambition and motivation as separate things because before, I considered them being pretty similar. Over time though I realized that I have many ambitions. I dream big, I have a goal list a mile-long but it’s easy to dream. It’s hard to execute and stay on track. That’s where motivation comes in I think. Finding more things to motivate me extrinsically so that I can work on motivating myself intrinsically is the goal.

I had a very interesting Thanksgiving weekend. I spent it eating of course but also having an interesting conversation with my mother about my BDSM lifestyle.

For most people, explaining to your mother that you find being bound in rope therapeutic might be awkward. Or that having someone dictate to me tasks that I already know I’m supposed to do is helpful. Me however, it was very interesting to say the least.

I have been having a lot of conversations this week and weekend about what drives me, where my motivation and validation come from and that sort of thing. I suppose if I thought harder about it, I could trace things back to my childhood, adolescence, college years etc. that have led me to this path.

However, the “how I got here” is less important than the “why do I do this”, at least to me.

One thing I have been exploring is a concept I came across on Pinterest a few years ago. “Falling off the curve” wasn’t something I had come across before yet when I read that, it got me thinking. I was a straight A student for the most part up until college. I always felt like I was intelligent but somewhere in the last 10 years, the confidence of my intelligence and by extension my capability has wavered. I truly feel like I’ve fallen off the curve. I would see on TV the type of person who had their peak in high school and spent the rest of their life “reliving the glory days” and I was very afraid that would be me. I left home thinking “yes, now I can really grow, there’s nothing to hold me back” and yet since that moment, I felt like I worsened in terms of my physical health and mental endurance and too be honest: it sucks.

However, if nothing else, I’ve always been a problem solver. If I can isolate the key issues and solve them, I’ll be on my way to my full potential.

After picking apart my thought processes and actions I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t lack ambition or drive. I have big dreams and once I’m in the threshold of them I am able to complete many projects. However, my issue lies with my motivation. I’m not motivated to do the things I want to. That may be attributed to my depression.

In my school days I was would say that I was very intrinsically motivated. I was successful and creative and it felt like there was nothing I couldn’t do. However, as I realized later in life, I wasn’t intrinsically motivated at all. All of my motivation came extrinsically. As a child, the only way to get away from my problems was my art and academic success. I am a middle child and many times I would try to succeed as a means of getting a certain type of attention.

That does beg the question of whether I was every truly motivated or am I really a hard core escapist. But that’s a thought pattern for another day.

But I digress, now that I know where my motivation comes from I can do two things: utilize it or try to change it.

The issue now is: How do I use what I have inside me now to reach the place I want to be? Well one thing is I try to play upon my escapist nature. As opposed to success being the path to escapism, I now need to use escapism as a path to success. Being able to recycle that energy is challenging but not impossible.

Does it matter if motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic as long as action is being taken? I’m not sure.

That’s where BDSM comes in for me.

Having another person keep me on track by playing on the fact that my motivation is extrinsic is helpful beyond measure. People don’t realize how intimate BDSM relationships can be. To share your headspace, your vulnerability and have the person play upon and push you gently past your edges is something everyone who wants to truly grow should experience. Sometimes a simple “I need you to do this” or “you’re going to do this” from this specific, chosen, and dedicated person is enough. I’m not entirely certain why it makes a difference and it’s something I’ve been wondering. However, I suppose the method behind the madness isn’t as important if I’m being productive.

In anyway, this discovery is important to my next phase of growth. Rather than spinning my wheels wondering and berating myself, I can work on setting up methods to play upon this part of myself. At least until I have leveled up enough to develop intrinsic motivation.

Thank you for reading Dear Reader.

Much love and warm regards,

Shannon M.

I Hate Running

Good evening Dear Reader,

Firstly, I’m grateful for:

  1. I found inspiration to write more poetry.
  2. I learned something new about myself.
  3. Andrew gave me a big hug today.

That being said, recently I met a very amazing woman who is old enough to be my mother with a body better than mine. She agreed to become my fitness coach to help me reach my goals. The first thing she asked was if I ran.

Anyone who knows me knows that running does not mix well with me. I am a certified couch potato and I don’t even run for the bus.

She laughed and kindly informed me, running would be apart of my regimen. I thought ‘why not’. There are plenty of things I’ve tried. Despite hating running with a burning passion I figured I’ve never really given it an honest chance.

So 3 weeks ago I started my running journey. My coach wants me to run a mile a day. Now that may sound easy but to a cute couch potato, it’s intense. Because I haven’t ran since high school I figured I’d have to build my way up to that.

Week one: I did three runs

Week two: I did four runs

Week three: I did 5 runs and I was able to run the whole mile without stopping.

This week I plan on going on 6 runs.

I noticed a few things about myself while running. It’s not as bad and soul sucking as I thought. I felt very proud of myself by finishing. As well, it’s getting easier as time goes on.

During one of my runs, I found myself wanting to give up because I felt myself being weighed down with negative thoughts. Things like “I’m all alone” or “I can’t do this” etc. I wanted to stop and return home.

Instead there was a little click in my head. I thought that I’m never really alone because I can count on myself. That thought alone made me keep pushing forward. It gave me a little speck of peace which, going forward through this week has been helpful so far. The thought that I’ll always have myself and as long as I love and support me, that’s all that matters.

Sadly we come to this world and leave this world alone. You have to know yourself better than anyone else. So it’s better to make amends with your demons, and love yourself fully because it is the most sacred relationship you will ever have.

Now I’m not saying running is making me love myself. However, had I not went on that run at that time on that day, perhaps that particular thought wouldn’t have crossed my mind.

In any case, I hope you have a great evening dear reader.

Warm Regards,

Shannon M.

Journal Prompt: What do I need to let go of? (Fears, toxic energy, toxic relationships)

Good morning Dear Reader,

Firstly, I am grateful:

  1. I have the opportunity to do what I’m passionate about daily. 
  2. I was able to wake up early today and have some “me time”. 
  3. Music exists.

I realize I forgot to do a journal prompt last week, my apologies.

Journal Prompt: What do I need to let go of? (Fears, toxic energy, toxic relationships)

There is a lot I feel like I still need to let go of. Not only am I a clutter bug, but I am also an emotional clutter bug. I remember very deeply and strongly the way that things made me feel. I think what mostly holds me back is my negative view of myself. I am well beyond critical of myself and hold myself to an extremely high standard. I have very little patience with myself yet have the patience of a saint when it comes to others. 

I don’t know why too be honest. I don’t know when this kind of thing started. 

I remember as a child, I felt like everyone around me was above me and even then I questioned my existence. I never felt good enough. It wasn’t until college (after over 2 years of therapy) that I finally felt like I was equal to other human beings. Thinking back, I don’t know how I got to that conclusion. I’m sure when I’m older and have moved on from the things I’m thinking and feeling now, I’ll wonder the same thing. 

How did I get to the conclusion that my worth was so low? What makes me think I’m not enough?

It’s frustrating. Especially since if you meet me, I come off as very sure of myself. Which is also true. I am both confident and insecure all in one glorious package of contradiction. I’m shy yet bold. I am timid yet willing to try things most people don’t. I’m quiet yet will be the first person to speak up. It’s an odd existence, yet it’s mine so I must own it. 

In CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) they have a little exercise called “Thought Records”. I talk a little bit about it in my upcoming eBook (January 2020) but it’s an exercise that makes you question your negative thinking. So I am a very analytical person. Even though I ultimately make decisions based on my emotions (ENFP woop woop), there is a lot of analytical thinking that gets done initially and the final decision is how I’ll feel at the end. That being said, I like the fact that in the thought record, there is a part that asks you for supporting evidence to your thought. It can’t be an opinion, it has to be a cold hard fact. From there, you analyze each fact and ask whether that in itself confirms the negative thought. You then come up with other statements that are more balanced and what I like to call “anchoring truths”. 

I really really like this exercise for two reasons. Firstly, if you are someone with perfectionism and high functioning depression, it can become very easy to get caught up in a cycle. To go from, I did a thing to I didn’t do a thing to the thing I did is flawed and so am I is wild. From there it’s only a step away from a rabbit hole of negative self-talk that lands you into unhealthy coping mechanisms and tons of sleep. 

What “anchoring thoughts” do, is they keep you tethered above the rabbit hole. What tends to happen is the same thoughts, the same opinion- based so-called “evidence” pushes you deeper and deeper. If you pick apart each of those and replace them with anchoring thoughts, you won’t spiral as deep. 

For example, for many many years, I thought I was evil. Just riddled with evilness inside. Actually I only just let go of this thought this year. I was talking with a friend and shared this with them and they asked me a question: do you have pets? I was a bit surprised but said yes. They asked me if I got along with animals. Again, surprised, I said yes. Animals often liked me and cuddled up to me. He told me that animals can sense evil and if I was truly evil, there would be no way that I would have a strong relationship with animals. 

Now, it may sound silly but that made so much sense to me. I started to really think about it and the idea that “I’m not evil because animals love me” became my new anchoring thought. So when I get to my little spiral and I think “I’m just an evil little thing” comes into the swirl, I can combat it with my anchoring thought. Then it’s like “hey, that one thought isn’t true, maybe these other thoughts aren’t true” even if I don’t have an anchoring thought for those just yet. Then I can break the little spiral, have a bit of aftercare, then go on about my business. 

So overall, there are a couple more negative thoughts I need to let go of. As it stands, they hold me back and they’ve got to go. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day!

Warm regards,

Shannon M. 

If you’d like to read more journal prompts, check out this pin.

Journal Prompt: What do I need more of in my life?

Good morning Dear Reader,

Journal Prompt: What do I need more of in my life?

Right now, I need more self-loving and fluidity. I know for a fact that I do not cherish myself as I should. I have incredible strict and unattainable standards for myself. 

When I left home and high school I thought “Yes! I’m free! I’m gonna live up to my potential and nothing and nobody is gonna hold me back,” yet in the past 10 years, I’ve felt my “potential” get further and further away.

I know objectively, I’m doing okay but I feel like I could be doing more. I feel like I should be able to push further. I feel like I’m less capable of dealing with adversity than I was when I was 18. 

The hard pill to swallow is that the only thing standing in my way at this point is me. I’ve spent many years developing healthy boundaries between myself and others. I don’t allow myself to be talked to by others any kind of way. I don’t do anything that goes against my core. I don’t let anyone harm me in any capacity.

So, that means the only thing that’s stopping me from the promised land of “potential” is me at this point. And the “me” that’s in the way is the old me. The rigid, hard to please, fearful and perfectionist me. 

So what does that mean? How do I overcome myself?

I don’t know. But I do know, the answer isn’t trying to push her out of the way because at the end of the day, I am all my parts. The good and the bad. The answer is self-love and gentleness. 

Although I admit, I don’t know how to love myself fully, I am committed towards the journey. Taking the hand of that other me and loving her until rather than push back against me, she ushers me forward towards the promised land. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day!

Warm regards,

Shannon M. 

If you’d like to read more journal prompts, check out this pin.

Growing Pains

Good morning Dear Reader,

Firstly, I’m grateful:

1. I woke up before my alarm today.

2. I was able to talk to my mentor and refocus my goals.

3. Work hasn’t been stressful lately and I’ve been able to complete my checklists.

One thing I’ve noticed recently is that I’m in an awkward period of change. I feel like I’m almost at my goals. Like I can just taste them. I know if I push a little further everyday, I’m gonna get there.

The problem is that with growth comes a weird adjustment period. Everything hits you at once and it’s none too pleasant. That’s what I’ve been experiencing a majority of this year.

In order to overcome this period, I have been learning to practice self-compassion a little more. I’m learning to let go of my rigid expectations for myself and my self-sabotaging habits.

It’s a process and I’m learning to enjoy the ride.

I can do it. I just have to press onward.

Warm Regards,

Shannon M.

Manic Monday

Good morning Dear Reader,

Firstly I’m grateful for:

1. The fact I was was able to do my nighttime routine before bed.

2. I was able to push through and finish a difficult report at my day job.

3. I am resilient and no one can take that from me. 😊

So I had been in a little mini funk the past week or two. There are so many things I want to do that sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the steps I need to take.

Yesterday I decided I can recommit myself to my goals at anytime. As much as needed. Even if that’s everyday. But I shouldn’t and won’t stop.

So before bed I did my nighttime routine for the first time in months. I had some tea, had a nice nighttime walk, I meditated and thanked the heavens for the strength to make it through another day.

This morning I only snoozed twice and was able to get up 40 minutes earlier than usual. With the extra time, I meditated, did a yoga video and my calisthenics and cleaned before eating and heading out for my morning walk.

I felt such a rush. Such a high!

Although I usually fall on the depressed side of things, occassionally I have days where i feel so ecstatic that I believe I can do anything. It’s the one good thing about having such low lows: the amazing highs that follow.

I know that this is a temporary feeling but I’m going to relish in this energy and ride the wave as long as possible.

I hope you can also have an elevated day today.

Warm regards,

Shannon

Moving forward

Good morning Dear Reader,

Firstly, I’m grateful:

1. I woke up this morning.

2. I have a strong support system.

3. I have many gifts in a variety of fields.

I’ve been racking my brain on how to bridge the gorge between where I am and where I want to be.

I know what I don’t want. I can recognize what doesn’t serve me, but getting what does serve me is where I struggle.

I have made a lot of changes this year. At the same time, I’m afraid of reverting back to mediocrity. I never want to go back to the old me.

There’s so many paths to choose from though. I don’t know which is right. The only thing I know is staying stagnant will always be the wrong choice.

The other problem is that there are many areas of life where I want things to improve. How do I balance making positive changes in all the areas? Do I just laser focus my efforts to one area at a time?

I’ve heard a few times “you can’t do/have everything” and I call bullshit. It’s just a matter of finding out what works for you. I just need to find the right combination of things that’ll lead me to where I need to go.

I’ll figure it out.

Warm Regards,

Shannon

The Artisan

This week’s affirmation says” I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents. “

Recently, I’ve been struggling with the fact that there are so many pieces to put together. If I want to build my life, I need to not only have the right tools but also the right materials. Yet what tools do I choose? What materials do I choose?

I’ve spent so much time researching the things I’d like to do, how to do them, etc. that I feel like I’m surrounded by 10,000 puzzle pieces.

In times like this, I breathe. A few times and I’m remembering that It’s okay to not have the whole picture right away.

I am so used to having a clear picture of what I want or need to do. During a three week vacation overseas, I had everyday planned out. I felt so prepared.

I want to cultivate that kind of dedication and planning to my writing. I started writing down my daily and weekly goals. I know I can do it. It’s just a matter of taking action. ^_^

Recently I spoke at a panel on Publishing in the Digital Age. I was so nervous and excited to go. I’d never been a panelist before but I figured it would be a useful experience. I was correct. I was able to connect with others in my field as well as have a self-reflection moment. I felt proud that some of the students had follow-up questions. ^_^

A few takeaways/realizations I had recently:

-I need to start putting my work out more using the shotgun approach.

-I will be happier having designed my life by my own hands no matter how much of a struggle it is. I never realized how proud I am. That pride drives me to want to seize full control of my life and mold it to my specifications.

-I need to connect more. I’m more of an extroverted introvert. I need to let my extroverted side out a little more and make connections to people who can help me realize my dream. I’m a big believe in synergy and I’d like to think there are connections and opportunities for me to help someone with their dream while they help me with mine.

– In order to become a better version of myself, I need a more holistic approach. I need to work on many areas of my life so I can write comfortably.

Overall, I learned a lot over the past couple of days. I am so hopeful for the rest of this week. ^_^

The warmest of regards,

Shannon

Progress

Good morning Dear Reader,

This week didn’t go as planned yet again. However, what I did do was start a detailed notebook of my goals and progress.

One of my friends from kik showed me. I’m a perfectionist in the sense of if something isn’t how I imagined it to the letter, I either don’t do it or I lose steam.

This notebook idea is actually really helpful. It was a struggle to keep track of it all but I think I did okay.

Not sure if you’ll find it useful or not but here’s a bit of what it looks like:

As you can see, I didn’t hit every mark. But seeing it like this makes me want ti try harder this week. I want to see more green marks.

Things will get better gradully. I know it.

I hope things are well for yiu too dear reader.

Warm Regards.