The Book of Extraordinary Things

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"We do not need magic to transform the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have power to imagine better." - J.K. Rowling

I so, so excited to share with you a project that I have been working on for the past 6 months. I have actually been sharing a little over on Instagram and the LWW Facebook Community but I also wanted to make an official announcement here on the blog.

I have created a daily journal called “The Book of Extraordinary Things” (BET) with prompts to inspire self-awareness, positivity, and well-being. The BET was made for the introspective adventurer and was designed to evoke a sense of wonder about our daily lives. I was personally inspired by the fantasy tales of ordinary individuals accomplishing extraordinary feats and the books and scripts that hold these tales.

The Book is extraordinary because we, as humans, are extraordinary. The book is alive because we are alive. Each high and low, victory and defeat, and all the spaces in-between are opportunities for the author to decide how their story will be written.

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Journaling has always been a habit that I’ve wanted to include in my daily routine, but, even as a creative, I have been overwhelmed with how much time it may take. I personally wanted something that I could use that would have prompts built in and also include some free space. Structure for guidance and flexibility for creativity. It was also important that this project be aesthetically pleasing to my right brain- the result being something that you might find in a rare books collection, on a shelf at Hogwarts, or in the well-worn bag of an explorer. 

The first section of the BET is comprised of a set of exploratory questions which were designed to support the author in creating a detailed picture of where they are beginning their quest. There is also a blank space to bring visons, goals, and dreams to life. Following the self-reflective questions, there is a section for short, medium, and long-term goal setting. These questions ask the author to describe what they might like to be celebrating in three months, six months, and one year.

The daily journal pages are composed of three parts. First, there are a series of 5 prompts that are based around the PERMA model in positive psychology- Positivity, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement. Although there is not a specific prompt for Vitality, there is blank space to create a tracking method for physical metrics such as water intake or daily movement. Below the prompts is a space to track your mood. The daily journal pages are intended to last for three months. On a page facing the prompts there is a blank section entitled “Field Notes.” This space is for authors to use for drawing, writing, collaging, or tracking. Below the “Field Notes” there is a structured “To-Do” list. The “To-Do” list area is made up of the top three most important quests of the day and subsections for AM and PM tasks. The final section of the BET consists of several blank “Field Notes” pages for authors to use for notes, projects, artistic endeavors, to-do lists, or anything else for which they might need room to create.

I firmly believe that there is a kind of everyday magic in both the ordinary and extraordinary. I hope that the BET can be a container for this magic and a creative outlet for the authors who wield it.  

                                                                                                                                     the book of extraordinary things 1.0

                                                                                                                                     the book of extraordinary things 1.0

The book is currently in a prototype phase as I work on final content edits and layout adjustments. In addition to the journal, I am developing stickers to enhance creativity and Quest Cards- a deck of cards with small, additional quests to build courage, confidence, curiosity, hope, and resilience. The final version will have a black vegan leather or linen cover with gold foil. It will also include a ribbon and pocket in the back cover (perfect for holding your Quest cards, receipts, pictures, etc.) In order to bring the BET experience to life, I will be running a Kickstarter campaign sometime during the fall of this year (September/October). For more information and updates on the Book of Extraordinary Things, you can follow me over on Instagram, Facebook, or sign up for the Living Well and Wild Monthly Newsletter.

 

 

The Dark Cloud of Perfectionism

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The dark cloud of perfectionism has been looming overhead for most of my adult life. In my personal and professional life, decisions are always "maximized" and I'm harder on myself than anyone else has ever been. 

Entering the well-being space has made me more aware of my perfectionist tendencies than ever before. When I first started out, I was worried what people might think if they saw me eating french fries or drinking a beer. I don't have six pack abs and can't do an unassisted pull-up (yet).

I'm realizing lately that the maximizer mentality leaves little room for mindful gratitude, self-confidence, and when it comes to decision making- wastes valuable time.

Research professor, speaker, and author Brene Brown, PhD wrote

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

When I gave it some thought, I realized that the judgement piece is what resonated with me the most. In my life, perfectionism shows up as a dark cloud-dimming the light of achievement and decision making. I get so wrapped up in fear of judgement that I end up swimming in negative self-talk and paralyzed in decision making.

 I've decided that it's time to put down the shield, and leave the cloud behind me. Existence can't be about the pursuit of perfection anymore. There are many times when "good enough" is okay. "Good enough" are the words that keep me moving forward on small tasks so that I can achieve my bigger goals.

Are you a perfectionist? How has it impacted you? Where could you use "good enough?"

 

Getting Back on Track

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As a health and wellness professional, there is always a low-level of pressure that I put on myself to make sure that I'm "walking the walk" so to speak. I would say I try my hardest to live by example- making sure that I get enough movement during the day, eating fruits, veggies, and whole grains (promoting a vegan lifestyle), and allowing time for self-care.

Lately though, I've been feeling a little off track with my physical fitness. I'm lucky that I fence 2-3 times a week and walk with my dog every day which usually helps me meet my 10k steps. However, I set a goal at the beginning of the year to be consistent with a strength training program and there have been a lot of bumps in the road.

I've been giving it some thought over the past few days (thanks to my fellow CAPP-sters for coaching the coach) and I came to a few realizations.

  1. I'm very hard on myself. This is something I'm working on. I'm trying to appreciate my body in its current state and being thankful for all of the things it allows me to do.
  2. I keep trying to stick to a "program" of some sort instead of just allowing myself to do whatever works for me on a particular day/time. I already get a lot of cardio with fencing and walking with my dog so I really wanted to have a strength training routine to complement those things. The program I was doing at home used weights but wasn't the heavier lifting I was looking for.
  3. I need to spend a bit more time in the preparation stage- making sure my workout clothes are clean and laid out, having shoes that are comfortable, and keeping my workout area clean and tidy.

I know how important physical fitness is and I'm a pretty motivated person. I actually like working out if you can believe it. It was challenging to figure out what was getting in the way of my success and it was really helpful to pick apart the process. When all is said and done I don't care if I start and stop a hundred times with a hundred different workouts, as long as I never stop permanently.

The reason I'm sharing this is because the road to well-being is rarely a linear path. There may be bumps, curves, and obstacles that get in your way. The important thing is to never lose sight of where you are going. Pull over if you need to, re-orient yourself, and enjoy the journey.