Advantages of Traveling Solo

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Although there’s nothing wrong with traveling with others…family members, friends or colleagues…I believe everyone would benefit from at least one solo excursion in their lifetime.

I’ve experienced incredibly fun trips with family members and group tours. And I look forward to more of those. I’ve also discovered a passion for traveling on my own. My solitary weekend getaways transitioned to flying alone across the US and then solo explorations in beautiful cities.

The advantages of traveling solo inspire me to pack my carry on and head out on more adventures. Perhaps they will inspire you as well!

Advantages of Traveling Solo title meme

Advantages of Traveling Solo

Whether traveling alone or with a group, always plan out a trip and let others know where you will be, your accommodations with contact info and the flight schedule. That provides peace of mind for everyone. It’s good to check in often too with loved ones back home.

I believe travel of any kind is good for the soul. Exploration opens up life by exposing the traveler to different cultures, traditions, places, people and foods. We realize how beautiful the world is and how richly varied.

Solo travel brings additional advantages that can’t be experienced otherwise. Here are seven that I’ve discovered.

Meet New People

When traveling solo you notice other people more than when traveling with others. The focus is outward rather than on a companion.

So you notice the little family traveling with toddlers or the young couple on their honeymoon. It’s natural to smile at the older woman dining alone too in the same restaurant and to strike up a conversation with the young man sharing a seat on the hop on/hop off bus.

Maintaining an attitude of openness and friendliness, if that’s what you desire to do, draws others to you. Take time to get know the staff at your accommodations, the bus and cab drivers, the people in your city tour.

I knew absolutely no one when I arrived in Charleston on my own. And I left feeling like I made friends that I can call upon when I return. Do people express surprise when they find out you are traveling solo? Yes, especially if you are female. And some have opinions about it. Just remember, it’s your adventure. Don’t let someone’s fear about traveling solo sway your intentions.

When I joined a group tour to Magnolia Plantation, I was the only solitary person in the crowd. The rest were couples and families. I enjoyed chatting with some of the other group members. However, one woman took it upon herself to question me continually about why I want to travel solo. I politely answered her questions and then avoided her as best I could. Toward the end of the tour, she singled me out to take photos of her and her husband and chatted like we were old friends. She seemed to finally accept me and my desire for travelling solo.

Advantages of Traveling Solo meet new people
Advantages of Traveling Solo – meeting new people on the historical tour

Personalize Your Schedule

Exploring on your own gives you the freedom to create a schedule that fits you precisely. Want to sleep in? Wake up early? Visit every museum in the city? Hike? Walk historic neighborhoods? Find the best eats? You can do all of those things without concern about what others want to do.

If you are a planner, have fun creating an itinerary ideally suited to your interests. And if you are a spontaneous explorer, then head out, get a little lost and see where the path leads.

I LOVE this aspect of solo traveling. There are so many things I want to see and do. Before the trip, I create a personalized itinerary that includes all the places I want to see, the cafés I want to eat at and the photos I hope to capture. There’s no one except me to please, so I fully indulge my curiosity. And I include at least a couple of experiences that I might not normally do, just for the growth factor!

Advantages of Traveling Solo personalize schedule
Advantages of Traveling Solo – personalize your schedule

Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Solo travel provides many opportunities for going beyond your comfort zone. Flying or driving alone, staying in an Airbnb or a hotel by yourself, solitary dining, exploring on your own and figuring out how to navigate challenges all move you beyond that comfort zone, especially during the first solo adventure.

It’s so important to choose experiences that take you out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a step or two over the edge. Stepping out of your comfort zone keeps the brain alert and active. You learn and grow and adapt and gain confidence. And, it’s a key aspect of solo travel.

Choose at least one activity on your solitary adventure that takes you out of your comfort zone. It just might become your favorite memory of the trip.

During the first Charleston trip, I participated in a ghost tour. That part didn’t take me out of my comfort zone. However, experiencing the tour at night and not knowing how far from my accommodations it would end DID move beyond the edges. I knew I’d be walking back to Meeting Street Inn alone. I’m so glad I didn’t let mild discomfort prevent me from going on the ghost tour. It all worked out perfectly, with the tour ending two short blocks from the inn.

Advantages of Traveling Solo go beyond comfort zone
The Hatman features in a popular Charleston ghost story.

Learn More About Yourself

Exploring solo is a great way to build confidence and learn more about yourself and what you are capable of.

From planning the trip to arranging flights and/or rental cars to setting out into the wilderness, city or community on adventures, the experiences give opportunities for growth. You learn what you can handle. Plus you learn more about what you love…or don’t love, what brings you joy and what draws your curiosity.

Spending time alone gives time for reflection as well without the distractions of being with someone else. It’s the perfect time to journal, read, meditate, jot down big ideas, or create art. All of these expressions of yourself reveal more about who you are. Take advantage of the time alone to get to know you…in deeper and more meaningful ways.

One important thing that I learned about myself last year, due to solo travels, is that I prefer exploring cities rather than national parks or wilderness areas.

Advantages of Traveling Solo learn more about yourself
Advantages of Traveling Solo – learning more about myself at Culture Boutique Hotel in Springfield

Decision Making Skills Improve

Have you ever experienced this scenario on a shared trip?

“What do you want to do next?” “I dunno. What do you want to do?” And you spend precious time trying to decide where to go or what to do.

During solo travel YOU are the only one making the decisions about what to do next, which site to visit, when you want to take that tour and what restaurant to try.  If you don’t make decisions, it doesn’t happen. And if you change your mind and do something else, no one complains.

Better decision making skills develop better problem solving skills as well. And when something doesn’t work out, you learn to roll with it and move on to another experience, knowing that everything happens for a reason and all happens as it should, at the right time.

Although many people don’t like to dine alone, I find it a fun experience. Sometimes the place I want to try works out. Sometimes, after walking to the restaurant, I discover that it’s closed for an unexpected reason. Or a storm rolls into the area and I don’t make it to ANY of my chosen restaurants. When those things happen, I find another café or wait out the weather.

In Springfield I coordinated a reservation at Café Cusco with afternoon tea at Gilmore’s down the street. I love the feeling of accomplishment that I get when making those arrangements.

Advantages of Traveling Solo make decisions
Advantages of Traveling Solo – you learn to make decisions

Power of Anonymity

When traveling by yourself, you get to choose who you want to be…quiet and observant, outgoing and friendly or hysterically funny. No one knows you and there are no expectations about who you are. That kind of freedom can allow a side of you that few see to emerge. You can shine as your true self…or work on discovering who that true self is.

I tend toward friendly and observant. People watching while sitting on a park bench is fun for me. And while I’m not a chatterbox, I do enjoy meaningful conversations with locals and people from other parts of the US and other countries. It’s how we get to know each other and develop connections.

Advantages of Traveling Solo anonymity
Advantages of Traveling Solo – shine as yourself while exploring different parts of your personality

Empowering Experience

Solo travel brings fulfillment and empowerment. You learn to plan and execute a trip, meet challenges head on and make decisions. It’s an incredible way to build up confidence and grow as a person and of course, feel empowered to go on another solo trip.

My favorite kind of film is one where the characters’ lives are transformed by their journeys. Solo travel has that power to transform and create change. During my travels, I always leave a place different from the Cindy who arrived. I see the world differently. My life is more expansive and inclusive.

Do You Enjoy Solo Travel?

Do you go on solo adventures? If now doesn’t feel like the right time, don’t rule out the experience for another time in your life. Stay open to possibilities and opportunities. Which of the advantages above appeals most to you?

If you already enjoy solo travel, share with me your favorite experience so far! And have you discovered any other advantages from traveling on your own?

To more adventures, both shared and solo.

Advantages of Traveling Solo slave mart museum

 


 

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Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs

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Fives Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs is the final installment in the Going Beyond Series. Check out posts one and two, if you haven’t yet, and then dive into learning about moving beyond limiting beliefs. Of the three…fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs…this one is perhaps the most challenging to shift.

No worries though. I’ve got you!

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs title meme

What are Limiting Beliefs?

We all have beliefs. Many we acquire during childhood, passed on to us by others. Or beliefs develop due to an experience, usually a negative one. We hold onto those limiting beliefs…thoughts, convictions or opinions…as absolute truths even when they have a detrimental effect on us.

Common limiting beliefs include:

  • fear of success
  • fear of failure
  • not being good enough or not being enough
  • being unlovable
  • fear of rejection
  • negative associations with money
  • fear of greatness
  • unworthiness
  • believing we have to work very hard for financial gain
  • blaming others for our problems

Our brains work to protect us, at all times. Limiting beliefs do that by preventing pain in the future. When a child touches a hot surface, she learns that hot equals pain. She avoids touching anything hot in the future.

If that child has a parent who passes on a fear of swimming, or she has a bad experience while in a pool, the child carries the limiting belief that swimming and bodies of water are bad and cause pain. She avoids going into the water, even as an adult.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs logo

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs

Work through these steps for identifying and going beyond the beliefs that are keeping you stuck and keeping you from living the life you desire.

Identify Which Beliefs Hold You Back

The first step to going beyond limiting beliefs is to discover what they are. Once identified, you can overcome them.

Do you want to overcome them? Yes, if they are holding you back and keeping you caged. As I shared in the second post, your comfort zone becomes a cage, with the bars strengthened by limiting beliefs. Fear is the jailor. If you feel stuck, small, afraid or bored with life, it’s time to break out of that comfortable cage by destroying those bars. Fear will bow and step aside.

What are your thoughts about the world you live in? Circumstances seem out of your control. Bad things always happen to you. The world is against you. You don’t have enough time, enough money, enough talent.

What are your thoughts about other people? Does it matter to you what other people think about you? You feel you have to please others, not show up as your true self, hide, stay small. Do you believe that others are out to “get you”?

What are your thoughts about yourself? This is where deep limiting beliefs hide. Do you think you are incapable, unlovable, too old, too young, or that you can’t learn new things? What story do you tell yourself about who you are?

Grab a piece a paper and spend time identifying your thoughts/beliefs about the world, about other people, about yourself.

Real life example

You know that I grew up afraid of the dark. My belief told me scary things hid in the dark and I was not safe. That belief kept me from many adventures because I was afraid to go on sleepovers as a child and afraid to travel as an adult.

The truth is, there ARE things that hide in the dark. At least that is true for me as an intuitive. To overcome the belief that I was not safe, I acknowledged that my spirit visitors don’t hurt me. I am safe, even if I feel surprised or momentarily frightened. I also learned how to clear negative energy from structures and surround myself with divine, protective light. That shifted my fear and my belief with it.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs dark
Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs – identify the beliefs holding you back

Take Responsibility for Limiting Beliefs

When we choose to believe that life just happens to us, rather than for us, we fail to take responsibility for our lives and beliefs.

Believing that life happens for us, for our good, for our growth and development, we can own responsibility for making changes.

Look through the list of limiting beliefs. Where did each one come from? Find the source. Was the belief passed on to you? Did you have a bad experience that birthed it? Ask yourself, “Is this belief really true?”. If you shift that belief, what might happen?

If you wrote down the belief, “I am too old to do what I want to do” then you are allowing a circumstance beyond your control to dictate what you can do or not do. You’ve adopted a limiting belief. You are the age that you are. Accept that. Own it. And shift. “I am the perfect age to do what I want to do”.

Go through the limiting beliefs you wrote down and take back responsibility for them, one by one. Then you have the power to shift them.

Real life example

I dealt with the limiting belief, “I am too old” a few years ago. I began blogging at age 56. What began as a hobby quickly became something else. I wanted to monetize my blogs and social media sites. However, I lamented the fact that I was too old. Nonsense! I took responsibility for that belief. I am the age that I am and I bring lots of life experience to the brands, companies and organizations I work with. For them to believe in me, I must believe in me and make no apologies for my age.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs not too old
Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs – take responsibility for beliefs. Pictured, a campaign with Tough as a Mother jewelry

Develop an Alternative Belief

You’ve identified the limiting beliefs. And you’ve taken responsibility for them. Now you are ready to shift them by creating alternative beliefs.

“The world is against me” becomes “The world works for me, for my growth.” “I must work hard for my money” becomes “I fund the perfect life for me and live in abundance.”

Flip the belief. Write them down. Practice believing them by living as if you do. Life shifts, in magical ways, when you shift.

Take each limiting belief on your list and create an alternative one. Adopt it as your belief and put action with it. “I can’t afford to travel” becomes “I can afford to travel” or “I go on adventures”. Plan a trip, even if it’s to the neighboring city. Go on an adventure. Feel all the emotions of that fun trip. And then watch for more opportunities to show up, for more adventures.

Real life experience

I longed to visit Scotland, since early childhood. My first attempt to travel to Scotland cancelled because of my dad’s declining health. And that cancellation almost killed the desire to go, ever. I believed I “wasn’t supposed to travel to Scotland”. How sad.

When the second invitation to visit that beautiful country arrived, I almost didn’t accept it because it showed up in an unexpected way. I realized I needed to shift some beliefs, and quickly! I embraced the alternative belief, “I am traveling to Scotland”. And, “I deserve to visit Scotland.” My father had passed away and my Scottish heritage comes from him. A part of me didn’t believe I deserved to go to Scotland, since he was gone.

Three trips to Scotland later, I’m so grateful that I changed a belief that limited me. And I look forward to more Scottish adventures.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs edinburgh
Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs – develop an alternative belief

Shift Self Talk

One way that we reveal our limiting beliefs is through self talk. Self talk tends to dwell on the negatives. We tell ourselves, “I can’t” “I’m not supposed to” “I must not.”. The more we tell ourselves something, the more we accept that it’s true.

Do you have a constant, negative narrative running in your mind?

Shifting self talk begins with noticing that inner dialogue. Jot down repeating words or phrases that you say to yourself. And then shift those, just as you did with the list of limiting beliefs.

Change “I am stupid for doing that” to “I just learned something important”. Shift “I am not good enough” to “I am perfectly created and growing into my best self”. It might feel strange, but practice saying positive words to yourself in a mirror. Look deeply into your eyes and talk about your gifts, your abilities, your charms…all the good things.

And when you catch a negative conversation starting within, stop it. Undo it. Take it back. And then shift it to the positive and say that instead. Develop affirmations and mantras to counter your most common statements to yourself.

Real life example

I have perfectionist tendencies and hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else does. So a failure can really start the negative self talk. I’ve learned to catch those conversations early and stop them. Sometimes I have to stop them over and over before I can shift them. I see failure as lessons in growth now. And by reminding myself of the lesson or lessons I’m learning, I can halt the inner dialogue that tells me I’m not good enough. Asking myself, “What am I learning here?” is usually enough to shift that negativity.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs quiet
Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs – silencing negative self talk

Deal with New Limiting Beliefs Immediately

Finally, deal with any new limiting beliefs that pop up. And how do you know if they are limiting? Because they stop you from growing, from moving forward, from learning new things, from life itself. That’s how you know a sly new belief has taken root.

A new limiting belief is much easier to deal with then one that is deeply entrenched from childhood. Recognizing the new belief, identifying it and its source and shifting it is minor compared with uncovering and changing long-held beliefs. You have the tools now to shift and go beyond.

There’s so much freedom in living with beliefs that truly reflect who you are, how the world is and in realizing that other people’s thoughts and opinions about us don’t matter.

Real life example

I suffered injuries in a major car accident in 1995. The pain in my back, legs, feet and sternum was intense and unrelenting. After years of physical therapy and specialists, and no relief from pain, doctors told me that my condition would worsen in 20 years and I’d eventually lose mobility.

I believed them, adopting their beliefs about me as my own. And guess what? Exactly 20 years later, my condition and health began declining, to the point where I needed a cane to walk and was looking at using a wheelchair. An upcoming trip to Italy with my grandson motivated me to shift my beliefs. And ask for divine guidance. Both led to new ways of thinking, believing and being. I recovered, at last, from my injuries and pain. And my second blog, Journey with Healthy Me, came into reality along with improved health and wellness.

Living Life Beyond the Edges

Living life beyond the edges…of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs…leads to a more expansive, adventurous life. And while adventures might include exploring a country, extreme sports and daring deeds they also encompass inner exploration, extreme creativity and doing good deeds. A life lived beyond the edges opens up new possibilities and opportunities because you are unhindered by fears, free from limiting beliefs and continually stepping over the edge of comfort zones.

Are you going beyond?

Five Ways to Go Beyond Limiting Beliefs

 


 

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How to Be a Good Tourist

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With the first week in May designated as National Travel and Tourism Week, it seemed the perfect opportunity to write a post about how to be a good tourist. Additionally, May 6 is National Tourist Appreciation Day while May 7 is National Tourism Day.

Tourism and tourists are linked, of course. Tourists travel to places away from their homes, for pleasure. Tourism caters to and offers services to those travelers.

As travel cautiously opens back up, after two years of a world wide pandemic, it’s good to remember that we have a responsibility to the places we visit and the people that live there.

How to Be a Good Tourist title meme

How to Be a Good Tourist

Whether you call yourself a traveler, an adventurer or a tourist when journeying to a destination away from your hometown, it’s important to remember that you arrive as a guest.

Just as you’d mind your manners when visiting in the home of a new friend, being mindful while traveling creates good experiences for everyone.

On your next trip, use these tips to be a good tourist.

Show Respect

While in a different city or country, show respect for the people who live there and their culture and traditions. Before the trip, do thorough research. Follow curiosity. What customs differ from your city or country? Honor those.

Interact with the people there. Ask questions and then listen to their answers and stories. Stay open minded and willing to learn new things. And if a sign says “Don’t touch”, then don’t touch! Obey the rules. Leave prejudices, judgments and limiting beliefs at home.

Tip: Before you go, learn to correctly pronounce city and/or country names. A Scottish friend of mine gently corrected my pronunciation of Glasgow, in Scotland. (It’s glaz go.) I’m so grateful he did! Take the time to learn.

How to Be a Good Tourist respect
How to Be a Good Tourist – show respect to people, culture and traditions

Contribute to the Local Economy

While visiting your chosen destination, stay in local accommodations. Eat at local restaurants, shop local, visit area markets, use local tour guides. The money you spend supports the economy and those who work and live in the community.

Favor the independently owned establishments, over franchises and big box brands, when possible, to keep those dollars local.

Tip: Ask the locals where to eat and shop, to find amazing off the beaten path places.

How to Be a Good Tourist contribute to local economy
How to Be a Good Tourist – contribute to the local economy

Embrace Eco-Friendly Practices

Often, the desire to travel and the desire to take care of the planet wage war with each other, as travel can impact the earth economically, socially and environmentally. Some of those impacts are positive. And some, not so much.

Approximately 1.2 BILLION people travel internationally every year…when we are not in a global pandemic. And while travel and tourism contribute to the global economy, it often comes at the expense of the environment and local communities.

Eco-friendly travel encompasses more than just minimizing the impact on the environment. Sustainable travel seeks to create a balance between economic growth, environmental health and the wellbeing of people and communities.

It is possible to reduce the negative impact of tourism while maximizing the positive benefits for cultures, communities, the ecology and ultimately, the planet.

I wrote a post covering eco-friendly travel practices. Check those out HERE.

Tip: While in a city, walk as much as possible, to save fuel and really get to know the community. It’s great exercise for the visitor too. Use the hop on/hop off buses to get an overview of the city or rent bicycles and explore that way.

How to Be a Good Tourist eco friendly
How to Be a Good Tourist – embrace eco-friendly practices

Do No Harm to an Area

While exploring a city, a national park or a wildlife area, do no harm. Take out what you bring in. Don’t leave trash behind and better still, pick up any trash that you see.

Never take objects or pieces of structures for souvenirs. Visit a local shop for a wide selection of mementos to purchase and take home. Resist any urge to write or carve on a surface or tree. Don’t purchase endangered species products. And leave flowers and trees growing where they are. Not only is it illegal to transport plants out of a country, you also run the risk of introducing something into your environment at home that can kill native plants.

Tip: Take a photo to remember a beautiful plant or artifact by.

How to Be a Good Tourist do no harm
How to Be a Good Tourist – do no harm

Explore Less Crowded Areas

There’s nothing wrong with seeing the touristy places when traveling, especially when it’s the first time there. However, consider exploring less crowded, less popular areas too.

Overtourism occurs when popular places receive excessive numbers of tourists, creating harmful effects, especially for the locals. Venice, Amsterdam and Barcelona all experience overtourism, causing conflict for the people that live in those cities.

Exploring less crowded, less popular areas helps distribute visitors more evenly and offers new surprises and delights for the tourist.

Tip: Try visiting popular spots during off seasons or hours, if the site is important to you. And then move on to other interesting hidden or lesser known locations. Again, ask the locals for favorite places to explore that tourists don’t know about.

How to Be a Good Tourist visit less crowded areas
How to Be a Good Tourist – visit less crowded areas in popular destinations like Venice

Think of Yourself as a Temporary Local Rather Than a Tourist

I love doing this. Behave like a local, rather than doing the touristy things. Talk to people. Share a drink or a meal with locals. Ask lots of questions and really, REALLY listen to the responses. Hang out where the locals go to have fun or relax. People watch. Walk the city or countryside and get to know neighborhoods or the land. Take a class or attend a local festival.

Be mindful of local dress codes and follow them. Learn a few phrases of the language. Yes, no and thank you are good words to start with. And always ask permission before taking a photo of someone who lives in the area. It’s rude otherwise.

Tip: Talk to cab or bus drivers about the best places to hang with the locals. They know their cities well and offer great suggestions.

How to Be a Good Tourist temporary local
How to Be a Good Tourist – being a temporary local at a pub in Dublin, Ireland

Share Your Experiences

You don’t have to be a blogger to share your experiences when you return home. Use social media to promote the small businesses you visited. This encourages others to help out the local economy when they travel there. Leave positive reviews of those businesses on Tripadvisor and Google Maps. Share favorite non-touristy places that you discovered. Tell engaging stories about the people you met, the new experiences you tried, the way you grew as a person because of your travels.

And help people better understand the charm and beauty of your chosen destination. It’s a powerful way to educate people on different parts of the country and the world. Invite them to see the magic through your eyes, with your photos and words.

Tip: Carry along a travel journal to capture notes about your trip so you can share information easily once you return home. Or use the Notes feature in your smartphone.

How to Be a Good Tourist promote
I promote the places I visit through social media and blog posts, like this one on Vatican City.

Are You a Good Tourist?

Travel has become a passion for me, whether I’m visiting a new town, exploring a different state or flying across the ocean. And the more I travel, the more I grow and the more I learn about what a good tourist does.

Do you love to travel? Are you a good tourist? Share your favorite good tourist tip in the comments below.

Try new things when you travel
Try new experiences when you travel.

 


 

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Feel It All Playlist

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Last year, I began working through the companion journal to Glennon Doyle’s bestselling book, Untamed. Get Untamed the Journal is leading me deeper into who I am as I discover new aspects of myself.

One of the exercises in the write-in book is simple and yet profound. It connects me more strongly to my emotions and for me, that is a big deal.

The feel it all playlist is an ongoing activity that helps me to sort through emotions and also access them through the power of music. It’s such a valuable tool that I want to share it with you.

Feel It All Playlist title meme

Why Feel It All?

Psychologists agree that feeling and expressing all of the emotions is healthy. It’s an important part of letting those emotions pass on through instead of getting caught in the region of the heart, where we tend to replay them over and over…or stuff them away.

I learned in early childhood to suppress negative emotions. At the age of four, I decided crying was a waste of time and energy. So literally overnight, I turned off the tears.

The problem with that decision became apparent immediately. If I chose not to cry, I needed to avoid situations that triggered emotions that might lead to tears. I associated anger, frustration, grief, sorrow, pain and sadness with negativity because those emotions might result in crying.

Avoiding them meant that I also avoided watching sad movies. As a child I walked out of a movie theater when Bambi lost his mother in that classic Disney animation, a precedent for passing on future movies dealing with loss. I steered away from confrontations, books in which characters died, sorrowful music and I shied away from people dealing with grief.

As I grew older, I knew my avoidance of what I considered the negative emotions wasn’t healthy. But by the time I reached adulthood, I couldn’t cry if I wanted to. My body shut down the ability to weep and made attempts physically painful. Fear that I might not handle such raw energy caused me to further avoid my negative emotions.

Joy, happiness, excitement, playfulness, anticipation…these positive emotions I expressed fully. However with age, I discovered I needed my other feelings to grow as a person and empathize more strongly with others.

Connecting with Emotion

Fifteen years ago, the journey into all of my emotions began. I wish I could say that I connected with my feelings…both positive and negative…and grew immediately.

No. It’s still an ongoing journey as I move ever more deeply into those long buried emotions and learn that it’s okay to embrace them, experience them…and let them go.

So I was delighted to delve into the Feel it All, Use it All section of Getting Untamed.

Glennon writes:

“When I got pregnant and sober, I was so afraid that actually feeling all of the feelings I’d been numbing for so long would kill me. I needed to practice feeling in manageable bits. Each night after work, I’d lie in bed and play one Indigo Girls song. Nothing made me feel more deeply and widely than the music and poetry of Amy and Emily. I’d lie there, for one song, and listen, and feel and cry.”

Ah. I so identify with Glennon’s words. I used avoidance rather than alcohol, but the numbing effect was the same. And I realize music plays a similar role for me. It allows me to connect with my feelings in a way that bypasses the  safety boundaries I created.

Glennon shares her Feel It All playlist…and her reasons for choosing each particular song. And then she gives an assignment.

Feel It All Playlist get untamed
Feel It All Playlist, an exercise in Get Untamed, the Journal.

Create a Feel It All Playlist

Glennon suggests that good music helps us connect with emotions. I agree. Music is extremely important to me. Every day I listen to songs that move me in various ways.

She asks:

“What are the songs that make you Feel It All? Return to your achy, happy, sad, fiery playlist when you need to practice feeling your feelings.”

I love this fun and insightful activity. The journal provides space to list ten feel it all songs with blanks to fill in for each selection.

__(Name of Song)__ reminds me of ______________________________ and makes me feel__________________________________________.

I’m serious about the assignment and I’m taking my time selecting my songs. So far, eight landed on my playlist. The songs are recorded in the journal. And I created a Feel It All playlist on my iPhone’s music app.

Feel It All Playlist
I created an actual playlist with my selections and have it on my phone.

My Feel It All Playlist

Here they are, my eight songs with what they remind me of and what they make me feel:

All of Me by John Legend reminds me of the beauty and magic of intimate relationships and makes me feel sad that it’s difficult to give all of who I am to another and receive the same in return.

Beautiful by MercyMe reminds me of God’s unconditional love for me and that I’m made for so much more than any chaos going on in my life and makes me feel grateful to be so divinely loved.

How Far I’ll Go (Moana) by Auli’i Cravalho reminds me of my yearning to travel and explore and makes me feel determined to keep going toward the distant horizon.

This is Me (The Greatest Showman) by Keala Settle reminds me of the importance of being authentically who I am and makes me feel courageous and powerful in my own skin.

Easy on Me by Adele reminds me of the pain I felt as a young adult and makes me feel I didn’t get the chance to “feel the world around me” because I was so closed off.

Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts reminds me I’m living in my silver years and makes me feel determined to do what I want to do, NOW!

We Can Do Hard Things by Tish Melton reminds me of how strong I am and makes me feel expansive and committed to my adventurous life.

A Million Dreams (The Greatest Showman) by Hugh Jackman and Ziv Zaifman reminds me of the importance of my thoughts and dreams and makes me feel that I can envision and create the world I want to live in.

Feel It All Playlist songs
Songs on my list.

Create Your Own Feel It All Playlist

The purpose of the playlist is to listen to the songs often and connect with my emotions. I listen to my playlist almost every day. There’s room on my list for two more songs, although I can add as many as I wish. And I can always swap out songs if I feel another better connects with me.

Would you like to create your own playlist?

What songs are a lifeline to you, when you are drowning in a sea of conflicts? Which song lifts your spirits, every time you hear it? What’s your go to fight song? If your life had a soundtrack, what song best captures where you are in this moment? And when you are feeling life deeply and painfully, which song do you crank up and breathe in?

These are the songs that belong on your feel it all playlist. Keep the playlist on your phone or in Spotify, Amazon Music or YouTube. For added insight, grab a piece of paper and write down what each song reminds you of and what it makes you feel.

And if your current journey includes discovering more about who you are and the life you are here to create, purchase Get Untamed the Journal  by Glennon Doyle. It’s so worth the $13 investment to free yourself to live the life you desire to live.

So, tell me the name of a song that might go on your Feel It All playlist?

Feel It All Playlist me
Learning to feel all of my emotions.

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I just wrote a post on overcoming fear. Writing that piece, I thought about the things people are afraid of. While fears and phobias come in many shapes and forms, one that is common among many people is the fear of flying.

We all know people who refuse to fly. That intense fear literally keeps them on the ground and prevents them from exploring far off countries. A greater number of people experience mild to strong anxiety when it’s time to board that plane. They look forward to arriving at their destination. Excitement propels them to board when it’s time to depart. However, the fears are real.

I used to experience fear when flying, even though I love how quickly I arrive across country or over the ocean to a far away land. Thankfully, I’ve overcome that fear. You can too. If you develop sweaty palms, jittery nerves and a sense of dread while on a plane, check out these tips to combat flight anxiety.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety title meme

 

Tips to Combat Flying Anxiety

First of all, if you struggle with a fear of flying, know you aren’t alone. In fact, 25 million people experience some sort of flight anxiety, making aerophobia (fear of flying) the second biggest fear in the US, right after speaking in public.

If you or someone you knows feels dread over boarding a plane, try one or all of these tips, to restore calm and perhaps actually enjoy the flight.

Visualize a Smooth Trip

I love visualization. The imagination is a powerful tool. It helps us overcome problems…or it contributes to them. If you are going to visualize something happening on your upcoming flight, imagine good things happening rather than bad things.

Instead of playing a movie in your mind of the plane crashing or that you’ll feel sick because of extreme turbulence, create a positive sequence that begins with you leaving for the airport and ends with your arrival at your destination.

Spend time before departure imagining every detail of the flight…and if you really want to send ahead some good energy, every detail of your entire trip. Any time your thoughts stray to a worse case scenario rewrite the script and change it.

On the flight, replay that movie you’ve created in your mind as many times as needed, ALWAYS imaging a smooth flight and good outcomes. Visualization also reduces stress levels and enhances feelings of well being.

Create a Flight Routine

Take these steps before boarding the plane, to create familiarity around flying and reduce stress.

  • download airline app and put in flight confirmation number. 24 hours before scheduled flight, precheck on the app and download airline tickets.
  • avoid last minute packing. Do laundry, buy necessities and pack everything except final toiletries the night before the flight. See this post for tips on packing a carry on.
  • keep passport or other sources of identity in a safe, easily accessed place
  • arrive early to the airport, to give plenty of time to go through security
  • make security a breeze by wearing shoes that slip off easily. Avoid wearing lots of jewelry or other metal items. If using a carry on only, have clear plastic bag of toiletries in a luggage pocket for quick removal.
  • find departure gate and get familiar with the surrounding area. Locate restrooms, find a place to fill your water container and pick up snacks well ahead of departure time.
  • check arrival and departure boards to see if flight is on time or delayed

These simple steps prevent rushing and/or arriving late and in danger of missing your flight. Avoiding stress in these areas helps to set up a successful flight.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety airport
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – create a flight routine

Avoid Coffee and Wine Inflight

Coffee, wine and even sugary sodas can leave you feeling dehydrated during a flight. Caffeine and sugar aggravate anxiety. Plus alcohol makes it more difficult for the body to adjust to flying and contributes to jet lag.

Sip on water before and during the flight, to stay hydrated. And eat lightly to avoid motion sickness. Carry your own snacks and keep them simple. Apples, nuts or granola bars are good choices.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Some airports now provide therapy dogs to help ease passengers’ pre-flight jitters. The dogs’ handlers encourage people to approach and pet and talk to the dog.

At the gate before the flight relax, close your eyes and meditate. Play your visualization mind movie. Or picture arriving at your destination and engaging in fun activities. Take a moment to imagine a white bubble of protective light surrounding you, surrounding the plane and its pilots and flight attendants and surrounding all of the passengers. Anytime you feel anxiety during the flight, do a short meditation. Add deep breathing for increased soothing benefits.

Deep breathing calms anxiety, prevents hyperventilating and relaxes the body. Draw in a long, slow breath, filling your lungs. Hold your breath for 5 seconds. Then slowly exhale, breathing out as much air as possible. Repeat several times.

Keep the body relaxed inflight. Gripping the seat armrests heightens anxiety. Start at your feet and work your way up the body to the top of the head, relaxing all of the muscles.

Listen to soothing, relaxing music via earbuds.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety relax
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – relaxation techniques, including therapy dogs at airports

Distract Yourself

Airlines know that having the comforts of home around you helps to ease anxiety. They tuck magazines in the seat pockets and many flights, especially cross country or international ones, provide movie screens. Watch a long movie or re-watch a favorite one. Catch up on a television series. Read an engrossing book. Play games on your iPad or phone, in airplane mode. Or chat with your seatmate and get to know each other.

Distracting yourself takes your mind off of flying and convinces the body it is safe.

Release Anxious Thoughts and Replace Them

If anxious thoughts pop into your mind, stop entertaining them. Left to run wild, thoughts can quickly go into negative scenarios. When a troubling thought comes into your mind, acknowledge it and then release it. Acknowledge and release. And then replace.

Have affirmations ready to replace any negative thoughts. Some good ones:

  • I am safe
  • I am protected
  • all is well
  • I’m off on an adventure
  • I travel with ease
  • flying is fun
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety distract
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – distract yourself while flying. Mom and my niece Ashley on our flight to the UK. We all packed books to read. And we watched movies.

Understand Flight Noises

Know that airplanes, like cars, buses and trains, make noises as they travel. If you learn about those possible sounds before a flight, you’ll feel less anxious when you hear them midflight.

Upon take off there’s increased engine sounds as the plane prepares to lift up into the air. You may hear and feel the wheels come up into place in the belly of the plane. During descent the landing gear makes sounds as the wheels drop back down.

Carry on luggage can shift in the overhead compartments. And always there’s the steady hum of the engines while in flight.

Turbulence occurs when air currents interact with the aircraft. It’s perfectly normal and common. The pilot may announce upcoming turbulence over the speakers and ask for passengers to remain seated and wearing their seatbelts, to prevent stumbles.

Trust That You are Exactly Where You are Supposed to Be

I’ve learned much about trusting in the flow of life. I believe I’m exactly where I am supposed to be, when I stay in the flow and trust the Divine. That means, for me, that no matter what is happening, all is as it should be.

When I fly, I trust that I’ll arrive exactly as I should. If I don’t, I wasn’t meant to. It takes away the anxiety for me. Also, I have a mantra that I repeat, if anxiety shows up. “I am with El-le.” El-le is my name for God. I use sigh language to say the phrase as well, and that restores calm when I need it. Also, I ask for travel angels to accompany the flight.

Build up your trust. It’s a day by day trust in the journey that includes flying rather than something you only use when on an airplane.

On a flight to Scotland, my sister Debbie and I waited on the tarmac in New York City while weather delayed the flight for five hours. It proved a good delay. A mechanical problem developed that was easily corrected because we were still at the airport. That’s trust at work.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety stats
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – understand flight noises and build trust

Express Gratitude

Gratitude is big magic and I’m a huge believer in it. Expressing thankfulness and finding reasons to feel gratitude shift mindset in remarkable ways.

Express gratitude for every aspect of the flight, from the ease of moving through security to taking off on time…or experiencing a necessary delay…to thankfulness for movies to watch inflight to landing at your destination.

Thank the flight attendants for their cheerfulness and hard work. Let your seatmate know that you are glad to meet them and thank them for letting you by when you have to get up to go to the restroom. And tell the pilot thank you for a safe flight when you land.

Make a game of finding as many ways to express gratitude as possible.

Take Meds

I saved this tip until last, because use it as a last resort. Talk to your doctor, if flying makes you extremely anxious. She can prescribe anti-anxiety meds or suggest helpful over the counter options.

Sometimes sleep is the very best distraction during a flight. Use an eye mask, ear plugs, a travel pillow and cozy blanket to nest in your seat. Drink chamomile tea or take an antihistamine to help you fall asleep. Taking meds can affect how you feel when you arrive at your destination, make you dehydrated and increase the feeling of jet lag too.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety gratitude
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – express gratitude

Take Charge of Your Anxiety

Taking charge of your anxiety involves deliberate work. However, as I’ve learned from experience, it’s very possible to shift mindset and actually come to enjoy flying.

Instead of dread when I enter an airport, I’m now attuned to the energy of excitement that is so prevalent there. Using the tips above, I created a  routine that serves me well and ensures I have an enjoyable flight and arrive at my destination ready to explore. And instead of an object of fear, airplanes now represent adventure.

Are you a nervous flyer? Which tip seems most helpful to you? And as always, reach out to me if I can help you further in facing this fear.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety end photo
Airplanes represent adventure to me!

 


 

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Five Ways to Go Beyond Fear

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

When I came up with the blogging tagline, “Living life beyond the edges…of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs”, it served as a succinct statement of my new life. For many years I carefully stayed within my comfort zone. It became a cage, with the bars strengthened by my limiting beliefs. Fear was my jailor. Any desire to leave that cage was quickly squashed by fear.

To reframe my beliefs and leave my comfort zone, I first had to deal with fear.

In this second post in the Going Beyond Series, we look at five ways to go beyond fear. To read the first post, Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone, click HERE.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Fear title meme

The Intimidation of Fear

Fear is a powerful, unpleasant emotion. Typically it is a response to danger or a threat, real or imagined.

Fear produces physiological changes in the body as it goes into “fight, flight or freeze” mode. Breathing and heart rate accelerate, muscle tension increases including those attached to hair follicles, causing goosebumps. We break into a sweat and go into heightened alertness. These changes are important if we need to fight or flee. However, experiencing these changes frequently leads to anxiety or the development of phobias.

Fears can range from trepidation over things like spiders, dogs, dolls and heights to terror due to fear of rejection, failure, living life or death.

While fear can serve the purpose of keeping us safe, it also has the potential to limit life. To live in constant fear is to live a very small life indeed. To be more alive, we have to be less afraid.

"Five

Five Ways to Go Beyond Fear

I know much about fear. Since early childhood, it was my constant companion. Various fears kept me small and nearly invisible. It took confronting them and discovering my root fear to go beyond.

While there are a multitude of ways to overcome fear, these five recommendations helped me the most.

Acknowledge Fear

Acknowledging what you are feeling is the first step toward moving beyond fear. Stop dismissing it as childish or shameful or embarrassing. Sit with fear, invite it in and allow it to show you the deeper messages and truths you’ve avoided. Make fear your ally in the inner work you are doing.

When you feel the familiar fear response in your body, stop and ask “What is it that I’m afraid of?” As you discover what it is you fear, continue to ask what about that situation scares you. Keep asking and uncovering until you arrive at your root fear.

Real life example: I grew up terrified of the dark. It’s a common childhood fear however my feelings stemmed from the fact that I experienced what others in my circle of family and friends didn’t. My intuitive gifts made the veil between this world and the spirit world very thin. I sensed, saw, heard, felt and smelled spirits. That didn’t change as I grew up and my fear intensified.

Thirteen years ago, I decided to face my fear. That life changing journey began with acknowledging what I felt and asking questions. The process uncovered my fear of being different from others and ultimately my root fear…I was afraid of who I am and what I could sense.

Five Ways to Go Beyond fear doll
Five Ways to Go Beyond Fear – acknowledge what you feel and ask questions

Change Your Perspective

Once you’ve asked the questions to uncover the deeper fears, shift your perspective. Reframe those fears. Gather information to help you do that. Choose experiences that support that changing perspective.

Afraid of dogs? The deeper fear is physical harm or even death.

Has a dog ever caused harm beyond scaring you? Did an earlier experience frighten you as a child? Did an adult who fears dogs pass on the fear to you?

Learn about dogs. Watch documentaries and fun videos about dogs. The goal is freedom from fear and the negative responses it brings. Find experiences and situations that allow you to acknowledge, confront and change your perspective. You may never choose to own a dog. However, you may visit a friend who has one and learn to pet that dog or at least remain in the same room with her.

Real life example: After I acknowledged my fear and confronted it, I reframed my intuitive abilities as gifts. Part of creating a whole, courageous heart to live out of involved learning all I could about psychic abilities, ghost whisperers, hauntings and the paranormal. I read so many books. I attended a conference and met other people like me. And gradually I ceased to fear the dark and what I could sense and saw my abilities as just part of who I am. I accepted myself.

"Five

Follow Curiosity

This is one of my favorite ways of moving beyond fear. When fear pops up, learn to follow curiosity rather than reacting negatively.

Fear shuts down. Curiosity wants to know more. Fear freezes. Curiosity leads us to new understanding and realizations.

Afraid to speak in public? Fear causes the imagination to go into worse case scenarios. People might laugh. You’ll forget what to say. Your ideas aren’t interesting.

Curiosity leads the imagination into positive possibilities. From a place of calmness, follow curiosity. Watch YouTube or TicTok to see what others do. Imagine the speaking engagement in great detail and see it going well. Prepare. Practice. Give the talk and know you did your best.

Real life example: I’ve learned to follow curiosity when someone in spirit shows up. Yes, I can still feel startled. However,  when I allow curiosity to guide me rather than permitting fear to freeze me I respond differently. I ask “Who’s there? And what do you want with me?” That’s so different from my responses 13 years ago.

"Five

Use Tools to Combat Fear

Two useful practices, when faced with fear, are deep breathing and meditation.

Fear causes rapid, shallow breathing. Slow, deep breathing helps to reduce fear and change the body’s responses. Focus on the breath. Take a deep breath in, hold for several seconds and release the breath. Repeat several times, until fear feelings subside.

And meditation, coupled with deep breathing, is a powerful tool for reframing fear, calming the mind and relaxing the body. Find a comfortable place to sit, feet flat on the floor, hands resting in the lap. Close your eyes and take several long, deep breaths. Imagine you are in a peaceful, beautiful place. Create that place vividly in your mind. Keep the body relaxed, focus on the breath. Breathe slowly. If thoughts enter your mind, let them pass on through. Let the fear energy circling your heart pass on through as well. Feel it…and let it go. Feel it again…and let it go. When ready, take several deep breaths and slowly return to full awareness. Move arms and legs before standing, to prevent dizziness.

Real life example: Meditation and deep breathing became important tools in handling my fear. During meditation, I could release those fearful feelings swirling around my heart. In a relaxed state, realizations came as did deeper truths. The night I turned out the lights, sat in darkness and invited fear in was the turning point in my journey. I could do that after weeks of inner work that included deep breathing and meditation. Also, I learned during meditation to send light and energy throughout my surroundings, something I still practice, especially when I’m staying in a new environment for the first time.

"Five

Take Small Action Steps Beyond Fear

I’m a huge fan of taking action. Fear freezes and brings inaction. Going beyond fear, like going beyond comfort zones, is accomplished one step at a time.

Try these action steps.

Adopt the deep breathing and meditation practices. Journal through your feelings and realizations. Ask questions…of yourself, of others, of people who have faced fears and moved beyond. Read encouraging books. Research your particular fear. What have other people done, to conquer that fear? Seek out a qualified counselor or therapist for help. Pray and ask God for help. Build up trust and faith. Try new experiences. And do the things that scare you to bolster your courage and confidence.

Real life example: Actions are an important part of my fear conquering journey. I’ve felt afraid…and done the action step anyway. To overcome the fear of being alone, I stayed in Airbnbs and hotels, by myself. At home, I slept with the lights off and confronted my fear of the dark.

Journaling helps me uncover the deeper feelings, the hidden fears and the core truths. All of my big “ahas” around my fears came as a result of writing down my thoughts and feelings. The energy of words flowing onto paper is powerful and enlightening.

Are You Ready to Go Beyond Fear?

What are you afraid of? What fear is holding you back, keeping you small or stopping you from living the life you are meant to live?

I hope this post helps you take that first step beyond fear…and then the next one and the next one.

Reach out to me if you have questions or need to chat. Fear is debilitating when it keeps you caged. You deserve to live in freedom and joy.

"Five

Some of my favorite journals for inner work:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Spring in Southwest Missouri is unpredictable. It’s cold one day, warm the next, with thunderstorms rolling through one evening and freeze warnings the following night. This April seems colder than normal with lots of rain. So when abundant sunshine and warm temps showed up on Earth Day, I knew I wanted to celebrate by getting outside.

As I pondered possibilities the thought popped into my mind: “Earth Day Scavenger Hunt”. Yes! I loved the idea.

On my phone I quickly listed ten items to hunt for in the Joplin, Missouri area.

Check out the results!

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt title meme

What’s Earth Day?

Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin launched the first Earth Day April 22, 1970. Growing concerns about the environment, spurred by the alarming impact of pesticides, inspired 20 million Americans to participate in rallies and clean up campaigns across the US.

That first Earth Day birthed the environmental movement and led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Today Earth Day is celebrated each year by an estimated 1 billion people around the world.

My Earth Day Scavenger Hunt List

In a scavenger hunt,  the player or players look for a specific list of items. I created such hunts for my kids when they were young, often including rhyming clues to help them find the item.

I created the Earth Day scavenger hunt with the dual purpose of getting me outdoors and going on an adventure in my hometown of Joplin.

Here’s the list I came up with.

Find:

  • a river
  • a park
  • spring wildflowers
  • a garden center
  • eco-friendly item or items
  • a tree to hug
  • recycling bins
  • a bee
  • someplace outdoors to meditate for five minutes and send love and positive energy around the earth
  • trash to pick up and properly dispose of

I found all of the items on the list, although not in the order listed. And one item proved surprisingly difficult to locate. I took a photo of each of my finds, to document the hunt.

Find a River

I considered driving to Grand Falls to check off this item. However, with heavy rains yesterday morning I knew the rivers were at flood level. The chert formations around Grand Falls get very slick after a rain so instead I drove south of Joplin to another section of Shoal Creek.

The rain swollen river flowed swiftly beneath the old walking bridge, discolored by the dirt and silt stirred up by the churning water. I found it beautiful to behold, anyway.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt river
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – find a river

Find a Park

Joplin offers many parks, from wooded land with walking trails to memorial spaces to playgrounds for children.

I deliberately chose a small park in my neighborhood, Garvin Park. The fondness I feel for this green space with benches, a pavilion, playground equipment, a little stone bridge and a huge sculpture comes from the days of walking there with my kids and later my grandkids.

And I’ve always adored that fantastic sculpture of irises!

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt garvin park
I stopped by Garvin Park, in my neighborhood, to check this item off.

Find Spring Wildflowers

The wild phlox caught my eye as I walked toward the bridge over Shoal Creek. I passed it by, thinking I’d find a prettier patch of flowers later in the day. When I walked back by the phlox, I noticed how fiercely it grew in a rocky inhospitable area.

Its beauty and tenacity touched me. And I considered my search for spring wildflowers over.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt - spring wildflower
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – find spring wildflowers

Visit a Garden Center

This item was such an easy one for me that I probably should have chosen something more difficult to put on the list! Garden centers are one of my happy places.

While Joplin has several places to purchase plants, I chose Lowe’s Garden Center, primarily because those exact words hang above the entrance to the spacious outdoor area.

Although I didn’t buy any plants today, I will very soon. I did enjoy a stroll among the wide variety of annuals, shrubs, trees and perennials.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt garden center
One of my happy places, Lowe’s Garden Center.

Hug a Tree

As I drove and walked around Joplin, I considered a variety of trees to hug. Plus I have a relationship with Oak Tree, standing tall in Wildcat Park. It’s been a while since I hugged that rugged, ancient tree.

Ultimately, the tree I chose to hug stands in my own front yard. Redbud Tree barely survived the 2011 tornado that ravaged much of southern Joplin. The trunk is twisted and many branches bear scars, witness to the powerful storm that tore the other redbud tree from the ground and left this one broken.

Every winter, more branches die and need trimmed back. Every spring, I feel concern that it’s Redbud’s last one. This tree is so brave, so determined to survive. It budded out this month with the tree’s characteristic purple-pink flowers.

After arriving home, I wrapped my arms around Redbud, pressed my face against rough bark, and sent love and healing energy to the tree.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt - hug a tree
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – hug a tree

Find Eco-friendly Items

Leaving the house for this adventure, I realized I carried the eco-friendly items I sought.

After improving my own health and learning to take care of me to the best of my ability, I discovered that my desire to care for the planet increased as well.

Since embracing a plant based lifestyle, I’ve worked to lessen my carbon footprint while also adopting ecological practices. The health of the planet and our childrens’ and grandchildrens’ futures depend on how we care for the planet…or don’t.

I’ve steadily reduced plastic use and shifted in many other ways. For this adventure, I carried water in a metal container and apple slices in a small reusable tub.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt eco friendly
Using eco-friendly products for the benefit of the earth.

Find a Bee

The bee could easily serve as the poster child for Earth Day. As pollinators, bees are an important part of agriculture. More than a third of all crops require insect pollination. Lose the bees, and we lose vital crops that range from nuts to berries to vegetables.

And we are losing the bees. The number of hives in the US decreased from 6 million in the 1940s to 2.5 million today.

We can help by planting bee friendly plants and flowers in our yards and gardens. I include bee balm, lemon balm, catmint, lavender and a host of flowering plants in my garden, to attract and feed the bees. (Learn how to create a bee garden HERE.)

With the colder than normal month and all the rain, I wondered if I’d find an active bee today. When I opened my eyes, after a five minute meditation, the first thing I saw was a fat bumble bee, flitting from flower to flower in my garden. It’s the only bee I saw today, however I’m encouraged by that one’s early arrival.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt bee
Can you find the bee? It’s in the center of the photo!

Find a Recycling Bin

Another item that I thought might prove difficult to find, I stumbled on this one at my first stop. The city wisely placed these containers on the bridge over Shoal Creek. When I walked to the bridge to take a photo of the river, there stood recycling bins!

I’m glad to know the bins are there. Recycling is a wonderful way to prevent pollution, reduce the need for new raw materials, save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt recycle
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – find recycling bins

Meditate Outdoors for Five Minutes

Every place I visited today, I looked for a place to sit quietly for five minutes and meditate. The beautiful day drew many people outdoors, however. I couldn’t find a suitable place to sit….until I returned home.

My backyard garden contains a meditation area. And today it perfectly served as my peaceful spot for a time of sending positive, powerful energy around the earth.

As I mentioned above, I saw the bee immediately after completing my brief meditation. I’m glad I chose my own backyard for this experience.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt meditate
I found the perfect place for an Earth Day meditation in my own backyard.

Pick Up Trash and Properly Dispose of It

Surprisingly, this was the last item to check off of my list. I carried a container with me as I walked in different areas around Joplin, ready to pick up trash. Except…I couldn’t find any!

Southwest Missouri has experienced strong winds…with gusts up to 45 MPH…for days. I think those strong winds blew all the trash away! It’s a good thing or a bad thing, depending on where those bits of plastic and paper eventually end up.

Finally, at 7:00 this evening, I walked around my own house, looking for wayward pieces of debris. I found a small amount between my house and the neighbor’s house, trapped against the foundations. At last, I filled my container and emptied it into a large trash bin in the alleyway.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt trash
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – pick up trash

An Earth Day Scavenger Hunt that You Can Do Any Day!

I loved celebrating Earth Day by doing a scavenger hunt. And the truth is, I can do this activity any day. Or you can. Additionally, take any of the items on the list and turn it into a stand alone activity.

Pick up trash in your neighborhood. Appreciate a river near you. Watch for bees and create a garden for them. Use eco-friendly items daily. Check out this post on my other blog, for more Earth Day activities that you can do every day. May we all become guardians of the earth.

How did you spend Earth Day? What activities or celebrations did you participate in?

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt me
Happy Earth Day!

Check out these Earth Day finds from Amazon:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Rainy Day Journal Away

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

It’s adventure challenge time! This week I opened The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition book to a random page and selected an activity, without knowing at all what it was about.

As it happened, I landed on a page under the category Rainy Days. “Perfect,” I thought. “We have rain in the forecast for Tuesday.”

However, as my favorite local meteorologist likes to remind us, forecasts are based on weather models. And weather models aren’t always accurate.

What do I do, if the weather doesn’t cooperate?

This is Adventure Challenge #26, Rainy Day Journal Away.

Rainy Day Journal Away title meme

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition

The Adventure Challenge books contain scratch off adventures, suitable for adults, families and individuals. Each hardbound book contain 50 fun and unique challenges to experience with a partner, spouse, friends, family members or on your own.

The challenges encourage you to get off your phone and electrical devices and connect with each other…or more deeply with yourself. They are the perfect way to explore your city or the great outdoors, try something new, reconnect with your inner child or make new friends.

The keepsake book makes it easy to document the memories, with snapshots and a few words about the experience.

There’s a catch though. The challenges are hidden. You don’t know what the activity is, until you scratch it off. If you’ve followed me for very long, you KNOW I love playing games built around randomness. The Adventure Challenge books are like the games I play where I draw random slips of paper out of a jar and do the activity I select. There are no “do overs”, in those fun games I make up, or in The Adventure Challenge.

Rainy Day Journal Away

My instructions for the challenge I randomly selected:

“Time to bring out your inner Vincent Van Gogh. Go and get your favorite hot beverage and some art supplies. Today you are painting in the rain. (Not literally in the rain, that’d be kind of counter productive.

Open up your garage door, patio door or window, sit down and paint. As you paint have some music in the background that fits the theme of your painting. When finished painting, write a short story about the picture you created. You don’t have to paint what’s outside. The open doors and rain are for inspiration.”

With rain in the forecast, this activity seemed perfect! I love when things like this happen. I feel in the flow of life and empowered to create.

Except…what happens when the expected rain doesn’t arrive?

Rainy Day Journal Away buddha board
Rainy Day Journal Away – Buddha Board for art

Rain, Rain PLEASE Don’t Go Away

Rather than gather water colors to paint with, I decided to have fun with a Buddha Board.

These boards provide a relaxing, Zen-like experience for the artist. Inspired by the concept of living in the moment, you paint on the surface of the board with water, using a bamboo brush. The creation comes to life…and then slowly fades away as the water evaporates. You can paint again and again on the board, using water.

Art supplies selected, I waited for the rain.

Tuesday came and went, with no rain. And while the forecast for Wednesday initially included a high probability for rain, the percentages dwindled to zero as the day drew to a close. So far I was 0 for 2, for rainy days.

The thing about living in the flow and embracing randomness is that I’ve learned to trust, even when circumstances seem contrary to what I hope for or want. As I drifted off to sleep on Wednesday evening, I came up with a Plan B if the low chances for rain on Thursday resulted in another day without precipitation.

My plan? “Alexa…play thunderstorm sounds!”

Rainy Day Journal Away rain
Rainy Day Journal Away – heavy rain

Experiencing the Adventure

I awoke early this morning to a flash of lightning and the sharp crack of thunder. Moments later the rain started. And more than just rain, a downpour turned the world watery gray. Thunder continued to rumble. My opportunity arrived exactly when it was supposed to.

In a few minutes, cup of hot peppermint tea nearby, spa music softly playing in the background via Amazon Music, painting began. I loved using the Buddha Board and experiencing the impermanence of my artwork.

A bird graced the board first…and after it faded away a willow tree took its place. Then I knew exactly what I wanted to capture, on the board and with my camera. I painted the Chinese symbol for adventure.

Rather than create a short story around the symbol, I’m living it during this Year of Adventure. It’s my story I’m telling, guided by the adventures that show up in my life.

The rain ended an hour and a half later. My painting faded away. However, the experience lingers still, another wonderful memory tucked into The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition book.

Rainy Day Journal Away adventure
Rainy Day Journal Away – Adventure Symbol

Adventures Await

Do these adventures sound intriguing to you? What about the amazing life lessons that accompany each one?

Challenge books are available in solo, family and couples editions. Each book contains 50 scratch off challenges. Check out the various books and the camera/book kits HERE. Use my code GOINGBEYOND to save 10% off of your order.

You can also purchase the camera HERE, from Amazon. The instamatic photos add to the fun, plus there’s a spot to add them in the book as you document the challenges.

I’m enjoying the challenges. And just as much, I appreciate what I’m learning about myself and about life through them. I didn’t need a backup plan for this activity. Nope, I just needed to wait for everything to align perfectly. It did. And when it did, I was ready to seize…or paint…the moment. There’s a bigger lesson here that I needed to experience this week. I’m so grateful for that opportunity!

Rainy Day Journal Away water painting
Rainy Day Journal Away – painting with water

 

 

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Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I love when an activity in one area of my life results in unexpected benefits and explorations in another area.

In preparation for a Blue Zones 4 Week Challenge, that I’ll document on my Journey With Healthy Me blog, I am mapping my neighborhood. The idea behind that suggested activity is to establish places to eat, shop and enjoy nature within my own neighborhood…meaning within walking distance. With the Challenge beginning Monday, I’m using the weekend to check off some of the activities for Week One.

I love the mapping the neighborhood activity. Although I frequently walk in my neighborhood, I’m seeing it with different eyes as I look for specific places that I can visit. There’s a little fresh market nearby. And numerous fast food restaurants line Main Street, however they are not what I’m looking for. The Blue Zones Challenge encourages a plant based diet. That’s definitely not a problem for me as I already eat that way.

Rather, I spent time looking for a cute coffee shop within a mile of my home where I could grab a cup of hot herbal tea. I found it! And although it’s only three blocks away, I’ve never visited it before.

As I map out my neighborhood, I’ll share at least one other post about my “backyard explorations”. This is Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee.

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee title meme

Zinc Coffee

In November 2018 entrepreneurs Austin Daniel and Matt Johnson opened Zinc Coffee at 1825 S. Main Street in Joplin. Their intention, to offer superb coffees in a unique setting, led them to purchase commercial property…a former gas station…six months earlier.

Zinc Coffee offers a variety of coffees including classic brews, lattes, espressos, cappuccinos and Americanos. Plus a variety of teas are on the menu as well, along with smoothies, hot chocolate, Boylan soda, mineral water and locally made pastries and treats.

The name comes from the historical fact that Joplin began as a mining town. And while the discovery of lead established the town, zinc grew it. By 1900, Joplin was the lead and zinc capital of the world. Additionally, the mineral zinc possesses healing properties.

Zinc Coffee bears a name that acknowledges Joplin’s mining history and the owners strive to bring healing to their customers.

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee outdoor seating
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee outdoor seating
Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee former gas station
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – the building was formerly a gas station

Visiting Zinc Coffee

On a chilly but beautiful spring morning, Greg and I walked the short three blocks to Zinc Coffee.

I appreciate that the owners didn’t change the former gas station exterior too much. I love the industrial look. There’s an outdoor seating area, for when the weather warms up a bit.

Inside, the interior is clean, bright and spacious, with two rooms offering an assortment of tables, cozy groupings of sofas and chairs and a high bar with views out the window. The original overhead doors from the gas station remain, letting in lots of natural light. There’s a barber shop on site, with a barber available during the week. And a meeting room adjacent to the seating areas for special occasions.

Greg and I ordered hot teas…green jasmine for me and plum cinnamon for Greg…and small treats. I enjoyed a blueberry scone while Greg sampled a cookie. We found a couple of comfy chairs in a corner, with a small round table between them for our cups of hot tea.

The staff is extremely helpful, polite and attentive. The young man who took our order brought out our teas after they steeped for a few minutes.

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee treats
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – order counter
Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee interior
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – inviting interior

Happy to Find Zinc Coffee

We enjoyed a leisurely time sipping hot tea and looking around. Exposed beams in the ceiling, white painted brick walls, natural woods and concrete floors create an inviting space. Lots of green plants soften the industrial look. And the many windows are perfect for bringing in light and allowing views of South Main Street.

People sat with their laptops or clustered in groups of two or three for conversation. The environment is friendly, uplifting and soothing. I love it.

I’m so grateful for the activity in the Blue Zones Challenge that led me to Zinc Coffee. It’s exactly what I hoped to find in my neighborhood.

Although I’m a bit embarrassed that this lovely place existed for almost four years before I visited, I intend to remedy that. This is my new “go to” spot for a relaxing cup of hot tea or to meet a friend for conversation.

And I love that I can walk to Zinc Coffee. It’s good exercise and walking reduces my carbon footprint. I’m excited to see what else I discover, exploring my neighborhood!

Have you made such a discovery in your own neighborhood?

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee green jasmine tea
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – green jasmine tea

The Blue Zones 4 Week Challenge Book

Interested in the challenge? Pick up your book by clicking on the photo below. And watch for weekly challenge updates on Journey With Healthy Me.

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

When I began my blogging journey in 2014, my free WordPress site carried the name “Going Beyond”.  A few years later, as I began monetizing my blog and social media sites, the name changed to “Cindy Goes Beyond”. The idea of going beyond remained important to me, so much so that I added the tag line “Living life beyond the edges”. In my writing, I often include the longer version of that statement that reads “Living life beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs.”

My whole life journey is encapsulated in that statement. It’s in continually going beyond the edges that I learn, grow and experience the most freedom in a life that I love living. What does it mean to live that way? And why does it matter?

I decided to write a series of posts on ways to step over the edges and into a more expansive life. This is the first…five ways to go beyond your comfort zone.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone title meme

What is a Comfort Zone?

What is this comfort zone, that we want to go beyond?

By definition, a comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar. In that state, we feel at ease, with low levels of anxiety and stress, and we come to believe that we have some control over our environment.

Using that definition, a comfort zone doesn’t seem like a bad place to be. However, when we choose to stay in that space, we don’t grow. Our learning centers shut down.  We get into routines that become ruts. And instead of overcoming challenges by facing them and dealing with them, we find it easier to shrink back into our comfort zones, where it feels safe and predictable.

Eventually, that comfort zone becomes a cage. It constrains our growth and also our creativity, our dreams and our purpose in life. Often fears and comfort zones are connected. The longer we try to control life and keep it safe, the more fearful we become about trying new experiences and about what others think about us.

Although occasionally we take a huge leap beyond the edge, the best way to go beyond is one step at a time. This gradual way of expanding the zone helps to keep anxiety and stress at a manageable level. Every time we bump up against the edge of the comfort zone, we take a step beyond it rather than step back into comfort. How do you know when you are at the edge? You feel the discomfort that going farther brings.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone life begins
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Ready to live a more expansive life? Excited to discover more about who you are and what you can accomplish?

Try these five ways to go beyond your comfort zone.

Change Up Routines

There’s nothing wrong with creating routines. I have night time and morning skin care routines that I adhere to.

However, with routine comes a tendency to operate on auto pilot. We don’t have to think about what we are doing. The brain and the body get lazy. We’re not learning anything different or challenging ourselves.

Have you ever driven to a destination the same way so many times that you realize you’ve arrived and you don’t really remember anything about the journey? We can begin to travel through life the same way. Dullness and boredom set in.

Shake up your routines. Drive to the park a new way. Or better yet, get there a different way…walk, ride a bike, skateboard or jog. When you notice mindless activities, it’s time to break a routine. Doing so allows you to see things differently, learn something new or discover something fresh about yourself.

Real life example: When I started my blog I quickly settled into a routine of writing approximately 500 words and adding a photo or two. I had a formula that allowed me to write quickly and post. A mentor at the time gently encouraged me to add photos of myself. None of my early blog posts contained photos of me. The reason? I hated having my photo taken.

I learned to move beyond that feeling of discomfort by taking lots of selfies. It’s not such a painful process now. To keep growing in this area, I’m working on creating more Instagram Reels with me in them.

 

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone selfie
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – shake up routines. A recent selfie.

Shift One Situation that Bothers You

I know. It’s easier to complain about situations than to do anything about them. When I find myself bothered about something repetitively, that’s my signal to take action.

What bothers you? And…and what bothers you but makes you uncomfortable to take action concerning it? That’s the situation to shift. Find a way to do something positive and productive rather than complain from the safety of your comfort zone.

Do you dislike injustice? Weep over children in the foster care system? Hate that your local dog shelter is overcrowded? Feel protective of the elderly? Let that indignant energy fuel your actions and propel you out of your comfort zone and into action. And of course, you aren’t limited to shifting one situation. However, start with one and then shift another…and another.

Real life example: I’m very ecologically minded. And yet for many years I only worried about the earth’s resources and how badly we treat our planet while doing nothing. One of my first actions that moved me beyond was limiting the use of plastics. I started with swapping out plastic water bottles for a reusable metal container and eliminating the use of plastic straws at restaurants. I refuse them and simply sip water straight from the glass.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone plastics
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – shift one thing that bothers you

Do Something that Scares You

You don’t have to dive with great white sharks or bungee jump to go beyond your comfort zone, although go for it if these activities both scare you and excite you.

Many common experiences scare people. Speaking in public, singing in front of others, solo travel, going to a movie or a restaurant alone or sharing a poem you wrote all qualify…if doing any of these things makes you break out in a cold sweat.

Overwhelming, debilitating fear we will deal with in another post. For going beyond your comfort zone, make a list of things that you’d like to do or want to try…but they scare you a little. When we step over the edge of comfort the first thing we often encounter is fear. That’s normal. Keep going. Don’t let fear push you back into that small cage. I promise you, fear will step aside when you face it, acknowledge it and move beyond anyway.

You learn so much about yourself when you do something that scares you. Courage is born. And it becomes easier to go beyond the next time.

Real life example: I love to travel, however I only last year experienced solo travel in a bigger city that I’d never visited before. Yes, the night before my flight, I felt fear. A lot of “what ifs” crowded into my brain. I’m so grateful I did it in spite of the trepidations. I learned so much about my capabilities.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone solo
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – do something that scares you

Break Down a Big Goal into Small Steps

Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” It’s also an important step for going beyond your comfort zone.

I admit it. I’m a dreamer. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if ideas only stay in the dream state, nothing manifests into reality. Make a big goal. Think really big. It’s perfect if it scares you a little bit.

Now break down that goal into small steps. Work your way back to Step One. And then do it. Go beyond your comfort zone and take action. Want to visit Spain? Write down all the steps needed to reach that goal. Make a vision board. Research the costs. Study maps. Learn Spanish. Perhaps your first step becomes: Save $25 a week for Spain trip. Then take that step.

Real life example: Three years ago, I got serious about building my Instagram account. At that time I had 1,200 followers and didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I created a goal of reaching 10,000 followers AND of learning to use that platform as a way of earning income.  I found others to learn from. And I created action steps. Today I have 10,329 followers, an engaged audience and Instagram is the primary way that the brands that I work with find me. Bonus: there’s always something new to learn with IG.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone brands
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – break down a big goal into small steps

Do Something New

This is hands down my favorite way of continually going beyond my comfort zone. There are so many benefits from learning new skills and trying new experiences. It keeps the brain alert and active. We learn and grow and adapt and gain confidence. And, in my opinion, it’s a fun way to journey through life.

Doing something new every day in 2014 is what launched my blog. New experiences continue to bring me incredible joy.

What do you want to try but fear or discomfort holds you back? Do that. Don’t worry about perfection or what others think or how you will look doing the thing. Just go for it. Take a class. Create. Step up. Speak out. Ask yourself…”How will I feel if I don’t do this?” If regret comes from passing on this experience, then do it. It’s that important. As you try new things, opportunities come for doing more experiences. It’s just the way life works.

Real life example: This is the way I live my life, embracing new experiences. At this stage in going beyond, I often think about something new I’d like to do and the opportunity magically shows up. Most recently, I expressed the desire to experience the Charleston Tea Gardens after I missed seeing them on my last visit due to not having a car. Next month I’m back in the Charleston area and what is located a few miles from my hosted accommodations? The Charleston Tea Gardens. And, I’ll have a rental car this time.

Are You Ready to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone?

Living life beyond the edges is so much more than a tag line for me. It’s my purpose in life, helping others go beyond even as I continue to do so myself.

I hope these suggestions for going beyond prove helpful for you, if you are ready to leave your comfort zone behind and experience a more expansive life.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone podcast
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – do something new. First podcast.

 

Books that help me Go Beyond:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.