Dream Juice: Fueling Your Dreams with Hope

Just a little dream juice for this lovely Tuesday afternoon.

Don’t get frustrated. Never give up. Just keep on taking those little steps with a big heart full of even bigger goals, dreams, and faith, and you will get there.  At least that’s my story, and damn it, I’m sticking to it! Stick with me?

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Dream Juice: Fueling Your Dreams with Hope

Luck Needs Your Faithful Reminder Tonight

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve really become serious about making progress on what has evolved from one huge book with every life-improving/motivational topic under the sun to a much more digestible series of eBooks that will each cover one topic. One night a week I come to a Starbucks in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago because its open later than any other coffee shop I’ve seen. And, I write.

It’s a really great spot for writing. This location has an awesome set-up with a sort of counter-stool area that allows you to work while you look out onto the street. Watching people walk by and life happen while I write just helps me stay focused in a weird way. I am productive here. My creative juices just go buck wild.

Now this is also the neighborhood where I volunteer every other Saturday with what is mostly street-based youth. In the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been writing and watching life happen from this Starbucks window, I’ve seen several of the youth I volunteer with walking by. A few of them pace back and forth for the several hours I sit here, suitcases in hand, often looking lost and as if they are just passing the time, because well, they have nowhere to go. And it’s incredibly heartbreaking.

Here I sit drinking my $5 coffee, thinking of myself as unprivileged because of the circumstances I come from, constantly stressing out because of the mountainous debt that keeps me up at night,   and forever worrying about how and when I am going to get to where I want to be in my life with respect to career, love, family stability and everything else I worry about. When will I finish these books, when will I have financial stability, when will I truly get past the issues of my troubled childhood?

But then I see these kids, walking back and forth, with everything they own in one suitcase, trying to figure out where to sleep tonight, and I remember just how incredibly lucky I am. Suddenly, I focus less on everything I do not have, and focus more on all of the great things I sometimes take for granted in my life. I start to pay more attention to all the luck I do have, despite whatever misfortunes I might struggle with.

So I just thought I’d write a little note to encourage you to focus on everything that you have, and try and give less heart and brain space to all of the things you wish you had or you feel you’ve been cheated out of in life. Because if you have a roof over your head, health in your blood, and food in your stomach, you are already so much more fortunate than a lot of people out there in this troubled world. 

If you really try and focus on the fact that you are indeed very lucky just a little more often, I think you will find more HAPPY in your heart and more peace in your mind. So tonight, before I go to bed, and every night after that, I will say to myself, “You are very lucky,” and I hope you will give it a shot too.

With eternal love and hope,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Make it Count: How Being Nicer Makes a Huge Difference

Last week was rough. I just had a string of bad luck that ended in scratching the heck (excuse my French) out of my brand new, leased car’s bumper as well as that of a Mr. Joe’s, and fraud on my debit card (for like the fifth time this year! Get it together Bank of America!).

Anyways, already having had a stressful week where I swear it started to feel like the universe was trying to push me down to the ground, I got home from work on Thursday night excited to head to Starbucks and work on my motivational eBook series (writing makes me feel alive). I parked my car, and noticing it was a tight spot, decided to move it elsewhere so I wouldn’t get hit later on. I had no idea I was on top of car in front of me, and scraaaaaaaaaaaatch I went. Once re-parked, I got out and there it was – huge scratches all along the right side of my bumper. I guess this Florida girl is still having a little trouble with this parallel parking deal!

Now as you might recall from my post From STRESS to STRENGTH in 24 hours, this car is a stressor in and of itself because I had to lease it after my beloved 2006 Jetta went caput on me a few months ago. And now, I had defaced (OK, maybe defaced is a little exaggerated) the poor thing that I do not even own.  I was flustered and feeling defeated, and could not seem to spot the car I had hit, so I decided to just go to Starbucks to write and deal with it later.

When I returned home that night, I decided to peek around the street and see if I could more calmly point out the car. I remembered it was blue, and walked up and down the street until I thought I spotted it. I looked at the back, and there it was – a huge scratch on the back bumper of what also seemed to be a new car.

I was scared, but I went up to my apartment, dug out my little crate of random stationary cards and stickers (yes, I am that girl), and wrote this note, complete with sticker bouquet, and walked outside to place it on the car’s windshield.

Being Nicer Makes a Huge Difference

I imagined I’d get a very angry phone call, but I would want it done for me, so I did it anyway. I went to bed with a heavy mind, stressing about money more so than I do on any usual night (and that’s a lot). Two days passed, and there was no phone call. I thought maybe they had just let it go. Then yesterday I received a very nice voicemail from a Mr. Joe. He was incredibly appreciative of the card, thanked me for my honesty and asked that I please return his call to work it out.

When I called him back he was so understanding and said that card (because it wasn’t even just a piece of paper) was enough to make his day. I apologized again, and we decided on a plan of action.

So in light of hateful things like the recent outpouring of hate about an Indian-American Miss America, I urge you to be NICE, honest and collaborative. Because no matter what anyone says, I wholeheartedly believe being nicer makes a huge difference, and it really has done so in my life. If we could all just work to show each other a little more respect, love and kindness each day, imagine how much better off we could be. Take the time to connect with others. Put a little extra effort into your communication with folks. And don’t underestimate the power of a little stationary and sticker action – being just a little nicer and more creative about our interactions goes a long way my friends!

Sure I will have to spend money on fixing this gentleman’s car and that will undoubtedly stress me out, but I can sleep at night knowing I did the right thing, and we will get it done in a positive manner instead of through arguments and blame. Look at that. Just by being nicer, I was able to minimize his stress and my own.

Also, I realize I am lucky to even have a new car or a bank account to stress about. That is also something to keep in mind. When you’re having a bad time, take a minute to really put your problems in perspective. It really helps me simmer down, and I believe it can do the same for you.

And as I always like to say, let’s work together, not against each other. Just a little food for Monday thought.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

A Testament to the Power of a Positive Attitude

The Power of a Positive Attitude

I love positive people and positive attitudes. I really do. Every time I come across one, I feel reinvigorated to spread my Care Bears attitude around even more, and follow what I believe to be my calling as a motivator of the masses (well one day). Each time I meet an exceptionally positive person who I see CHOOSING to maintain a positive attitude, I also start to think maybe I am not crazy after all. Maybe there’s lots of people out there just like me trying to prove the devil is a liar, and smiling through life, trying to make the world a better place for themselves and for others.

This brings me to my Zumba instructor Wanda, someone who I believe is a true testament to the power of a positive attitude. Wanda teaches Zumba at the L.A. Fitness I go to in Evanston, IL on Tuesday evenings. She’s this vibrant, brightly dressed, petite woman with great, wild, curly hair, and a smile that is a bigger and more powerful than her whole person.

Most days, positive attitude and all, it’s hard for me to get to the gym after long, grueling days at work, but lately, Tuesdays are actually hard for me to miss. No matter what kind of day I’ve had, I know Wanda, her contagious smile and that life-line giving Zumba music will take my mood up a notch or maybe even 10. And it’s not just me.

At the beginning of every class, everyone looks tired, stressed and tense. Very little remnants of any positive attitude can be seen anywhere in the room. Those who are in class for the first time have frightened looks in their eyes. How hard will this class be? Will this woman be a tyrant and try to kill us all (through hardcore exercise of course)? But then, probably no more than five minutes into class, the faces around me start to soften and the smiles begin to get wide.

Wanda’s positive spirit and happy demeanor is incredibly contagious, and it helps everyone forget that their legs, feet and entire bodies are hurting from the intense workout. Sometimes, when the music player in the fitness studio doesn’t work, Wanda makes up her own songs and keeps us all on track. She too says the devil is a liar, and she can make her own way, and I totally agree with her. Now that is a great testament to the power of a positive attitude!

I am inspired by Wanda. She teaches Zumba and has been doing so for many years, but in my eyes, she does so much more than that. To me, she uses her talent to bring cheer to others, while also helping them to strengthen their bodies, and more than with her knowledge of fitness or all the latest Zumba moves, she accomplishes this through a positive attitude and outlook on life.

So today, let’s all try and be a little more like Wanda, and smile at each other, dance and sing to the beat of our own tune, and when something doesn’t work, let’s find a different way to get there. Pick up that positive attitude I know you have inside of you, and run like hell with it! 

Sonia, Word Share Junkie