Posts by Yogi Rhonda Williams

Take A Chance, No Regret

Posted on: March 1st, 2016 By:
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I watched a video yesterday of people writing on a chalkboard in the middle of a New York City park. The question at the top was Write Your Biggest Regret.

The responses were heartbreaking.

There are always parts of our lives we wish would have been different or goals we wish we had gone after. And as much as I try not to live with regret, it is always hard to avoid asking “what if”. The unknown can be crippling and being fearless in life is not always possible. But what about being so overwhelmed with fear it stops us from achieving the very things we are meant to do? What makes us think we are not good enough to accomplish the things we want the most? We assume it won’t work out, but truth be told, we don’t know the answer to that without trying. If we put ourselves out there and try for something with failure, that is the best way to learn and grow. There would be no “what if” anymore.

When I went to college at 18, after two years I just decided it wasn’t for me and I dropped all my classes. Years went by and before I knew it, I was married with a great job and had no intention of returning. It was something that weighed heavy on me and made me feel like I wasn’t smart enough. And the older I got, surely I could not be a college student at 25, 26, 27….years passed with no commitment from me. Finally after I got divorced, I decided I could at least try. So at the age of 30 I signed up for college. Two years later I graduated with straight A’s . Not only did I thrive in college, I truly enjoyed it. I was learning so much about myself and proud of being a full time student with my full time career. I thrived because I wanted it so bad. And to think I almost never went back out of fear. I envisioned failing and it stopped me dead in my tracks for years. Now I have my degree I never thought I would have and I am planning on getting my MFA in Writing, something else I never thought I could do. But I can. And I will.

In the video they point out the most important piece of everyone’s responses…the word “not”. Every one of those regrets started with something they didn’t do, not something they did.

Chances not taken, words not spoken, dreams never pursued.

We don’t regret the things we tried and failed with. We learn from every action and we shape our path based on actions in our lives, not the things that hold us back.

I have several things I can write on that chalkboard in New York City, as I am sure we all do. But my hope moving forward is that I can surpass the “should haves” and “could haves” by attempting everything I ache to do. Fear will be there but that does not mean I will fail.

Watch the video and see what you would write on that board. No regret.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R45HcYA8uRA

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Your Fresh Start

Posted on: January 3rd, 2016 By:
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Ahhhh. The New Year. A fresh start for everyone. Sure it’s just another day on the calendar. But when you reflect back on your life, you measure things in years. Good and bad. The year itself resembles a huge portion of your life. You can categorize a specific year simply by reflecting on the events. Those events are what make or break a year for you. For example…

  • In 2011, I got divorced. It was a dreadful, grief stricken year filled with feelings of hopelessness. When I think of 2011 I categorize it as a very difficult, heartbreaking year.
  • But in 2015, I not only completed my Bachelor’s degree, I also moved to Austin. It was a year filled with scary changes, huge accomplishments and growth. It was overall a life changing year and major turning point for me.

Each year we set out to make great changes. Having ideas in our head of what we want to do to make ourselves a better person, gives us purpose. I set my goals every year just like everyone else but we also have to make room for unexpected things. You may have things thrown your way that change your path. Big and small. It forces us to grow and figure out more suitable ways to find our purpose. These changes can push our goals in a different direction. We cannot plan out our path but we can adjust.

Growth is difficult. Change is hard. Without our glorious faults and desires for change, we wouldn’t be who we are. My ideas may be different from your ideas, but that just means we are pursuing our own personal paths. But no matter how different they are, fear can never be a part of our journey. Sure it will be there, but it cannot make your decisions. My hope for you as you begin this New Year with a fresh start, is that you do not let fear override your desires. What are you holding back from?

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What does my 2016 look like? I hope to grow more as person. I hope to put in more effort to helping others. I hope to find things I am so passionate about that I change my “normal” course to chase them. I want to move my body and feed it real foods. I want to feel confident. How will I accomplish these things? Charity, yoga, books, writing, hot tea and naps will be my starting point. Fear has no place in my life if I want to accomplish things and grow as a person.

What does your 2016 look like? How will you get there?

From Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest and greatest book Big Magic, this letter made me laugh when I first read it. But now I read and re-read it only hoping I can teach myself this concept of fear. I leave you with this to start out your New Year and hope you reach for things you simply think you cannot do.

Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting-and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still-your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you are not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on: December 13th, 2015 By:
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New Year’s Resolutions.

The dreaded words. Some people absolutely loathe the idea of setting New Year’s Resolutions. We attribute New Year’s resolutions to failure. We start the year off with high hopes and quickly feel defeated in the early months, possibly weeks, to come.

I talk about goal setting a lot. Why? Well because goals are important. You may never get to every single one, after all we are ever evolving, but you will get to some of them and that’s important. You set them because they mean something to you. And accomplishing even just one, is fulfilling.

One thing I typically do, is set goals for the next year WAY before New Year’s Eve (as discussed in my Mindfulness & Goal Setting post). I like to take my time to think about what is truly important to me and how I am going to make subtle changes. This year I am a little late but there is no deadline. Not even December 31st.

My New Year goal setting has changed dramatically over the years. I used to put things on there like “save your money” or “lose 5 pounds” or “go back to school”. Those are great goals but we need to dig a little deeper. We need to be more specific. Why are you saving? What are you losing weight for? What will going to school do for you? We need to be more mindful of how we want to change our ways. We need to evaluate what is important and how this will positively impact our life. We also need to think about how it will make us feel if we don’t accomplish them. Sometimes by looking at how we will feel if we don’t accomplish something, it will simply give you the motivation to work harder.

As I look back on my list of goals for this year, I accomplished some big ones. Ones that I probably jotted down more out of habit and not actually expecting to complete them. Space filler. I also had goals that I strive for every year that I am in the exact same spot with. As frustrating as it is, that’s ok. If I were to accomplish every single goal in my mind, I think that would be considered perfection and as we all know, none of us are perfect. I will still write the same goals down year to year in hopes one day I accomplish them. And it will happen. Three of my major goals I accomplished this year have been on my list since the beginning of time. And now they are complete. To say I am “happy” with myself for that is an understatement. I am ecstatic. Overjoyed. Proud. And what a great feeling that is. So if you are struggling with a couple in particular, keep putting them on your list. One day it will be the right time to set your sights on something you have long awaited for. And you will accomplish it.

Write it down, big and small. Revisit throughout the year and see how far you have come. And know that you are never failing.

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The Bustle of Holidays

Posted on: December 7th, 2015 By:
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My favorite season leads right into my favorite holidays….Thanksgiving and Christmas. I always feel like I have so much to be thankful for, especially during this time. I actually stop to pay more attention to all the wonderful things around me. Of course you have your scrooges, but I feel like most people are in a slightly better mood around this time.

One thing that happens more than normal around this time of year is family travel. Maybe you don’t live near your family and you go see them around the holidays or vice versa, they come to you. Whatever the case, there is a lot of necessary travel going on. In my mind, this is not really a vacation although it is great to spend time with loved ones.

Now that I no longer live right down the road from my family (they ALL live in St. Louis), I decided to make the trip home for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas so I would be able to take more time. This is all new territory for me. I have never left home so I have never needed to “go back home” for the holidays. Turns out, it’s a little more stressful than I imagined. Here are a few things I have learned from sharing my time back home for the holidays:

Give yourself enough time, but not too much time: How do you do that? Well I went home for 10 days and let’s just say, that was too long! Not in a terrible way. But visiting and running around to see people can be exhausting. Don’t wear yourself out. Make sure you find the balance of “just long enough” before you wear out your welcome.

Call people ahead of time: I made the mistake of waiting until I got to St. Louis to call a few people. Big mistake. Not only were their feelings hurt that I didn’t tell him ahead of time, we simply couldn’t make the scheduling work to see each other. Make sure you make it known ahead of time to those that are most important to see.

Schedule some downtime: Now that may seem crazy since you are there for a visit, but catching up with gobs of people is exhausting. You have different groups of friends, old work friends, high school friends and all your family…you are going to be eating too much, drinking too much and having the same conversations with each group. Give yourself a break to refocus. Go shopping by yourself, take a trip around the city, go out to lunch by yourself….just make sure you can regroup before entertaining again.

Leave room for changing plans: Most of my friends have families now. The kids are young and (in my mind) constantly sick! Moms need to be able to stay home with sick kiddos or heaven forbid, the babysitter falls through. Stuff happens. Try not to schedule a breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day just in case you need to change your original plans.

Add them to the list even if you don’t think they will come: Not everyone is great at keeping in touch once you move away. You know, the old best friend from kindergarten that never texts or calls, but maybe you comment on their pictures on Facebook “The family looks great! Miss you”. Those relationships still mean something they have just drifted due to distance, career and family obligations. Just invite them to the girls dinner. It doesn’t take much to get right back to where you left off. Friendship is awesome like that.

Visiting my hometown over Thanksgiving was exhausting but wonderful. I loved being able to catch up in person with some of my nearest and dearest. Those short trips just once or twice a year will be moments you never forget. Take full advantage of them.

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Travel to Refresh Your Outlook

Posted on: November 15th, 2015 By:
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Spending four days in New York City was exactly what I needed. It was exhilarating and completely rejuvenating. I came home to Austin feeling refreshed. Sometimes (ok all the time) the universe will put you on the exact path you need. I was feeling drained and overwhelmed with my day-to-day. I was just going through the motions and feeling like I was trapped in this revolving door of “normal” life. Then New York comes along. And just like that, my appreciation for the little things and zest for bigger things is right back in my mindset.

My trip could have gone horribly wrong…flight delays, bad weather and an unappealing apartment….but none of that happened. My flights got me in earlier than expected. The weather was gorgeous and sunny all weekend. My apartment was darling and exactly what I was looking for. I got to sit stage side at a venue that has been on my bucket list for years (The Bowery Ballroom) and see an amazing show. Everything was more than perfect.

Sometimes in life, we get so sucked into the normal day-to-day activities that we don’t pay attention to how bored we are. We carry on with our normal schedule every day and never really sit back to think about pulling ourselves out of it for adventure. Well New York City allowed me to do that. Travel is there for a purpose. It’s a positive escape to give ourselves time away from the normal and push us into something brand new. We all need that. Next time you think you hate your job or just simply wonder what you are doing with your life, travel for a bit. You may not hate your job as much as you think. You may not be as lost as you think you are either. You just need a break. Get some new perspective on this giant world. It will teach you more than you ever thought possible. And the universe will help bring everything together. It always does.

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Traveling Solo For Your Soul

Posted on: October 21st, 2015 By:
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Tomorrow morning, I leave for New York City. One of my all-time favorite cities. And New York in the fall….have you ever been? Ahhhhh so refreshing. The air, the people, the weather and the changing leaves in Central Park. It’s a perfect time of year.

Who am I going with you might ask? Well I am going alone of course. Isn’t that what most normal people do when they book a trip to New York City?

When I tell people this, their reaction is priceless. The look of shock and confusion are immediately visible across their face.

By yourself?! Gasp! Why would you do that? How do you know how to get around? What will you do all ALONE? Isn’t New York City dangerous?!

Going on a “vacation” in most of our minds is meant to be shared with others in order to be enjoyed. After all, the whole point of vacation is to disconnect and give ourselves a break from the hustle and bustle of our own lives. But who says that can’t be done by traveling alone?

Instead of staying in a swanky hotel like I did last year, I decided to rent an apartment in the East Village to get a really good feel of what it’s like to be a true New Yorker. You know….Carrie Bradshaw style. I’m just going to enjoy my little studio apartment, visit coffee shops, eat incredible food, people watch, go to concerts and breathe in the cool, crisp fall air of New York City. By myself.

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A few wonderful feelings I get from traveling alone:

Independence: You CAN do this and you will figure out how. You are not being thrown to the wolves. Maps are helpful, strangers are helpful, apps for the subways are amazing…we are more resilient than we will ever know. And being in new situations will show us exactly how resilient we are.

Fresh Perspective: I often get warned about the dangers of NYC. It is nice to see how friendly and pleasant the people can really be. Also, their way of life is much different than mine and I love being submersed in that, even for just a long weekend. Small things like the fact that people don’t have cars in the city. I am not used to that lifestyle and I love it.

Disconnection: Sure you can go to dinner alone and pull your phone out and stare at it the whole time. But I’m going to bet that’s not what you do. I enjoy my meal with no conversation, no social media and listen in on everything going on around me. How often do we go to dinner, alone, and just soak it in? Pay attention to your surroundings. It gives you an opportunity to truly be in the moment, something we don’t do often enough.

When I returned home from my last solo trip, I felt like I had accomplished something spectacular. And I had. Although it was just another vacation, I had disconnected and reconnected in a totally different way. Something I would not have been able to do at home or with others.

Travel alone. Even if it’s just a day. Book the trip. Be present. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. You never know what little things will spark even greater things.

Mindfulness & Goal-Setting

Posted on: October 4th, 2015 By:
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I often wonder if others are as guilty of this as I am…”on Monday I am going to cut out dairy, gluten and sugar. And even though I don’t currently workout, I am going to start working out 5-6 times a week. I am also going to read more books. Write more. Oh and stop drinking alcohol too. And I should probably cut back on coffee while I am at it.”

Whoa. Talk about pressure.

Most people love to set extreme goals (perfect example…New Year’s resolutions) and are often disappointed by the end of the very first month. When we set unrealistic goals for the wrong reasons, we beat ourselves up to complete them, then beat ourselves up once more when we fail. And every time we fail, we relate that with goal-setting. Therefore, it becomes a chore when it should be a chance to renew ourselves. Change takes time. But more importantly it takes thoughtfulness, positive energy and support.

What if we became more mindful about our goal-setting? I’m not talking about losing five pounds, organizing your purses and quitting smoking (although that is probably a good idea). What are you truly being pulled towards? What are you aching to do? What is no longer serving you in your life? Don’t ignore that. Your intuition is your guiding light and it is there to make a difference.

October is a great time for renewal. The trees are changing, the weather is cooling off, a new season is upon us and your spirit is refreshed. We are pulling out the boots, ordering pumpkin spice lattes and breathing in fresh, crisp air. Things are dying in preparation to be reborn again in the spring. This is the perfect opportunity to really think about habits you have created, good and bad. What needs to die off in order to help you grow?

Focusing on one thing may seem uneventful at first. Especially when you are used to picking 17 things at once like myself. But focusing on one thing not only gives you a better chance at accomplishing it, it also relieves the pressure of goal-setting. You now have time to enjoy this goal that means something to you. Imagine setting your mind to one simple task and actually following through.

Pick ONE thing this month and see what you can accomplish. Being able to focus on one thing and achieve improvement, will give you a great boost in confidence. No opportunity for failure. Just a small step in the right direction.

Mindful goal-setting helps with answering questions like these…
Are you surrounding yourself with people that make you happy or do you have friends that drain you? How can you fix that?
Do you have an activity you can do alone that brings you peace, awareness or pure joy? Where can you find that?
What is something you have always wanted to try? What has stopped you?

Being more self-aware of your feelings will bring you to revolutions in your life that will allow peace. Know that everything you are doing is getting you closer to where you want to be. If you fall off course, you did not fail in any way. You are simply living.

Be kind to yourself. Be inspired. Inspire others.