Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Wildfire Metaphor

Yesterday I attended my baby cousin's high school graduation (time goes by so fast!). The ceremony was held in downtown Cleveland at Playhouse Square, and the event was very nicely done. Today I wanted to share something from one of the student's speeches that resonated with me. At one point, she likened the tribulations that we go through in life to wildfires.
She said that she had been fascinated by the concept of wildfires when she learned about them in science class. A wildfire is one of the most destructive forces on the earth. It can quickly tear through an area and destroy everything in it's path, leaving the land barren. However, what science teaches us is that during this destruction, the fire allows vegetation to release minerals back into the soil priming it for new growth. The graduate went on to say that she likes think about this effect of wildfires when she is going through a particularly hard time in her life. She said that people are like the ground and difficult times are like wildfires. They can rip through your life stripping you bare, but after this you are primed to grow as a person. This gives you an opportunity to tend to yourself and help yourself grow in ways you never were able to before.
I really like this metaphor. And I appreciate this wisdom coming from someone so young. I have to say it took me years to be able to view life and it's lessons with such maturity. I hope you can take something from this metaphor too and know that especially when times get hard, you will get a chance to grow from it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Mix Tape (Number 16 on my list: make a mix tape for someone)

mixed tape:
part of speech: n
definition: a compilation of songs recorded in a specific order on CD, DVD, etc.;
also called a mix tape

<i>...I used to rock them tapes...</i>

30 Songs in 30 Days

<a href="" rel="nofollow">The Nonce - Mixtapes</a>

This one is one from the Vault.  The Nonce is on...
Music is one of my passions. I cannot sing and I cannot play, but there is just something magical about listening to songs that touch you all the way to your core. I could literally sit and listen to music for hours. I have almost 4,000 songs on my ipod. So, naturally I've always wanted to make a mix tape for somebody. I have to say I loved Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. It was sweet and funny and prominently featured well thought-out mixed tapes. And a song that I just adore is Jack's Mannequin The Mixed Tape. With lyrics like:
"Where are you now?
As I'm swimming through the stereo
I'm writing you a symphony of sound
Where are you now?
As I rearrange the songs again
This mix could burn a hole in anyone
But it was you I was thinking of"
aren't you just dying to create you're own mix tape??!!

Despite my longing to make a mix tape, I've never really given one to anybody because I think I was always waiting for the right person to give it to. However, I realized when I put it on my bucket list, that there was no harm in making it and giving it to a friend instead. So I chose somebody who really doesn't listen to the same music that I do, in the hopes that all of the songs would be new to him. I carefully browsed through my collection of music and selected songs that were not just my favorite, but spoke to me in some way or revealed a little something about me that I haven't shared. I was very happy with the end result (see photo above)! So I packaged it up with a little note for explanatory purposes and gave it away. I do know that the recipient listened to the entire thing, but I have no idea if he liked it or not. But it really doesn't matter. The beauty was in crafting it; everything after that is unimportant. And this means I can move on to tackle another item on my list :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Art of Visualization

“Visualization is the process of creating pictures in your mind of yourself enjoying what you want. When you visualize, you generate powerful thoughts and feelings of having it now. The law of attraction then returns that reality to you, just as you saw it in your mind.”
~Rhonda Byrne from The Secret

I have always considered myself a firm believer in the law of attraction. Now I don't have wonderful success stories of how it's worked for me, but I think that is because I have a hard time actually getting myself to visualize the things that I want in my life. As I am taking steps to make positivity my number one priorty, it has become easier for me to positively think about the things I want. The one thing that I still find very difficult to imagine is probably the one thing that I want the most: to find my soul mate. I have never been on a date (even in high school) so I really have no experience with the idea of a relationship. Perhaps that is part of the reason why I have so much trouble visualizing it. Also, I've liked many guys but it has never been reciprocated, so I have trouble believing that it ever will be. So no matter how positive I try to be, there are always little moments when I become sad about not having a relationship in my life, and I would be lying if I didn't say that my biggest fear is remaining alone for the rest of my life.

Today in particular, I was feeling pretty down about my difficulty in finding someone. I did let myself really feel it for a bit, but then I made the decision to give the art of visualization another shot. I've always included love and relationships on any vision board that I've created to try to draw it to me. Here are two examples I've done in the past:

But I know it takes more than just pasting pictures on a board; I can honestly say I've never truly believed in what these pictures stand for before. So in order to see what the law of attraction really can do, I am committing to it 100% for the next thirty days. This means that I will be actively visualizing a relationship and not waivering from the idea that there is one out there for me. If I have doubts (like I usually do about this) I must shut them out. I am not saying that this definitively will work, but I am not saying that it won't work either. And at least in doing this I will be having only positive thoughts about it for the next thirty days, and hopefully by that time those thoughts will become second nature to me :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thank you notes

So today I made an effort to cross one item off of my bucket list. I know it has only been a day since I published it, but what better time to start than right now! I decided to go for something easy, but also something that I've wanted to do for a long time. I was particularly inspired after meeting with friends for happy hour this evening. No, I did not have a drink or indulge in amazing, but highly caloric, appetizers. But I did get to catch up with good friends, which made it a very successful "happy" hour! So when I got home tonight I decided to write little thank you notes to 10 of my closest friends.

I kept the notes short and sweet, which is a challenge for me because, as those who know me can attest to, I have a tendency to be very wordy. The gist of the notes (which in this day and age took the form of emails or facebook messages) was that I am so grateful to have wonderful, supportive friends in my life. Although I am doing what I can to live positively these days, I've had my share of depression. But I have friends that not only stayed by me during these times, but helped me get through. I will always love them for that, and I am so glad that I can now share the happy times with them too. So to all those who have been there for me in big or little ways, I say "thank you."

Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!
~ Amanda Bradley

Monday, May 30, 2011


My name is Christina and I am 30 years old. Four years ago I graduated from law school. Instead of working as a lawyer, I am currently doing data-entry for an online school. Because of my monumental school loans, I am living back at home with my parents. These are all facts, but this is not all of who I am. Recently, I realized that everything in life happens for a reason. So I am using my less than ideal circumstances as a spring board to learn everything there is to know about myself, and to take the knowledge to make myself a better person. This blog is about my journey to find "me" and to be more zen in the process.

I am calling this blog "The Next Best Thing" because a) although I am not currently living out my dream, I feel like I am living the next best thing and b) I am systematically trying out new things to enhance my life so I am searching out the next best thing for me. The main goal in my quest for self-improvement is get the things I want out of life, but I'm finding that there is happiness to be found in every step of the journey, and I am loving this unexpected side effect. So no matter where the ride takes me, I will enjoy every moment. I challenge every one of you to do the same!

Since this is my first post, I decided to make it about the things I would like to do (my "bucket list" so to speak, except that this list is more immediate). I have always been a more timid person who has trouble stepping out of the proverbial box. I have lived this way for the past 30 years and I have decided that I don't want to any more. So I have made a list of the things I would like to do in the near future, including both items of self-improvement and items to push me out of my comfort zone. Hopefully I will be including these items in my blog as I check them off my list!

(Thirty things, in no particular order)
  1. Read "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle
  2. Take a photography class
  3. Get my own apartment
  4. Run a 5k
  5. Volunteer
  6. Visit Alaska
  7. Get a puppy
  8. Fall in love
  9. Do yoga
10. Blog on a regular basis
11. Plant a garden
12. Meditate
13. Work as a lawyer
14. Travel to Europe
15. Lose 100 pounds
16. Make a mix tape for someone
17. Adopt a child
18. Take a latin dance class
19. Climb a mountain
20. Learn to cook
21. Join a CSA
22. Take a train cross country
23. Photograph a spectacular sunrise
24. Attend some type of Marshall Arts classes
25. Write thank you letters to my closest friends
26. Learn spanish
27. Finish "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoevsky
28. Teach a class
29. Hold someone's hand
30. Learn to love myself