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In the Midst of Lessons this Summer - A blog about WHY - and a delicious recipe for Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa

Maybe change can be easier than we imagine....
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“Travel
and change of place
impart new vigor to the mind.”

– Seneca

How have things been in your world Blue?  Has the summer been treating you well? Though I hate to use this word to describe our summer, the first word that comes to mind is: BUSY.  JB's traveled 6 weeks this summer for work and I've tagged along for 3 of those weeks. Then, we had a week in Chicago with his family. He has a large extended family and a nephew's wedding was the trigger for a mini family reunion where the average dinner included 18 adults and 2 to 6 kiddos.

We arrived home late Monday evening and to be honest, I'm still in recovery / integration mode.

Travel of any sort - whether for business or pleasure - changes us. We leave one person and come back altered - sometimes in tiny ways and other times significantly. The earlier travel - both mine and time apart from JB was influencing how I want to bring forth my work in the world. Then, the extended time with JB's family - his mother, his sisters, his nieces and nephews, and his cousins -  has added it's influence.

This summer has shown me that the love and partnership we share continues to deepen and strengthen. I can't tell you how grateful and blessed I feel for love to show itself in that way because often couples grow apart as they inevitably shift individually.

Our relationship is like a port in the storm in many ways because for ME there are substantial personal shifts afoot. And, of course, it's gratifying to know that I am HIS port in the storm as his career is in the midst of change, too.

When I sit to write my weekly love note, I want to connect with you - be real, be vulnerable, share what I'm learning about love and creating a nourishing life. And if you are here, I consider that you've earned a right to be a witness to my lessons and vulnerability.

Today, the vulnerable truth is, I'm still in the midst of THIS part of my own story and haven't had the time to extrapolate my lessons yet. I've had an opportunity to connect to four of my closest friends by voice (and one by letter) in the last few days, which has been a great way to download how the travels this summer have sent my thoughts (and soul) in a whirl.

And am still working through what's happening in my head.

And, I do what I would tell any client: I take it to the page - both writing in my journal and writing letters to friends. I perform the soothing task of laundry. I get out of my head and into my body with bike rides and runs.

I clean (my office is spotless). I de-clutter.

And right now, even if you aren't aware of it, you are in the midst of your own story. Your life is unfolding before you and even if you are trying to keep status quo, you are changing.

So, I ask you, darling:  What stories are you telling yourself about the changes? Are you in a hurry to figure things out...or can you sit back and take the time to extrapolate the lessons you are learning? How has travel - or the choice to not travel - affected your growth and self-development?

Are you listening to the wisdom your body holds? Are you, like me, finding comfort in routines and rituals and physical movement, until your body and soul catches up?

Though I'm not visiting your in-box each week, know that I'm just an email away. I love hearing your stories and helping you find the resources you need to create a life you love.

With so much love...........






PS - See you in two weeks!!

Fresh from the blog: Five Shades of Why: Getting to the Real Truth  Want to know why I think so many folks struggle with finding happiness? Because they spend most of their time living on the surface of their own life. They focus on the stuff they want, but never quite get down to the reason WHY they are wanting it.

I hate to break it to you, sugar, but if you want to find true happiness, you must be willing to go deep. And by deep, I mean you have to be willing to look in the mirror to see who you are and be honest about what you really want.

And, most importantly, to get clear on why.

Why do we want to dive deeper? Why do we want to resurface from those depths having changed? Why are we so keen to change some aspect of ourselves or our lives?

Trust me when I tell you that I get it. Living on the surface can seem easier.  But let me be frank here, darling: you’re more likely to drown in your own life surviving in the shallows than you are if you go deep.

Living on the surface is how we settle. Living on the surface is how we prove to others we have a GREAT Life.

We can style those Instagram photos so you have lots of neat little squares lined up in a row that will prove our lives are Oh, So Perfect.  We can choose to settle in a million small ways until we’ve settled so much we don’t recognize who’s looking back in the mirror.

We insist that we are #blessed, and yes, we realize that life is good, but deep down we know something is missing.

And the truth is, we know that diving deeply into our desires could rock the boat and our life could change. And we humans, whether change is for the better or not, fear it.

Though my birthday posts have become a tradition for me as well as my readers, cataloging my lessons is what reminds me to look in the mirror and dive deeper into my own life.  It helps me take a good look at what’s working and what isn’t. It opens the doors to my fears and my vulnerabilities. Find the grace in the hard stuff and congratulate myself for being human and choosing to be ALL IN when it comes to my life.

One of the lessons I shared in my 2016 post was this:

I need to be willing to go deeper. Within myself, my work, and my relationships. It’s so easy to live on the surface of our own lives.  One of the big “ah-ha!” moments I’ve had this year is the creation of my theory “The Five Why’s for Truth”.

Oh, going DEEPER.

A scary prospect for most of us, because, let’s be honest: we live most of our lives in the shallows.

I regularly ask these questions time and again because they are critical to loving your life: What you want and what you need to live a more fulfilling life? What do you need to be more satisfied? What do you most desire?

Our desires lead us along the path to setting goals and taking action so that the things we desire in our life can be a part of our everyday ordinary life. Yet, even when we say we really WANT something, following through on those goals is hard.

To follow through on our goals…to keep motivated to not only take some action but take a lot of action means that we need to be clear on WHY our desire is leading us along that path.

Let me share an example: A common desire for a lot of folks is to lose weight. And so when asked WHY, the quickest answer is always: so I’ll be healthy.  Right?

But, let’s be honest here, sugar. That’s a throwaway answer. Yes, it’s a truth, but it’s only a shade of the truth. It’s one that’s easy to share, sounds politically correct and folks won’t try to argue with our desire. They won’t try to sabotage us…they won’t try to talk us out of our desires by saying: “Oh, you don’t want to be healthy”.

And the thing is, maybe health is a motivation to drop some pounds. Maybe your blood pressure is high or the doctor said: “Oh, you really need to lose some weight so that your cholesterol / blood sugar, (etc) is lower”.

So, sure, being healthy is a good motivation at first. Especially when we walk out of the doctor’s office. At least it motivates us for a little while.

Then, we get tired of salads and tired of getting up early to go on a walk. I mean, we won’t see the doctor again til next year, so there’s plenty of time to get back on the “wagon”.

I have come to understand that in order to really be motivated to our deepest desires, we have to get downright, vulnerably, bald-faced truthful with ourselves around the REAL Why behind our desires.

So, here’s the game I’ve begun playing with myself when I say I want something and then have motivation challenges.

After the 1st Why’s answer, I ask: “and what would that give me?” You do this at least 5 times.

You write this down. This little conversation with yourself.

And, in all honesty, it takes us about FIVE layers of that question to get to the REAL truth…at least the one that is rocking us way down deep in our soul and our heart…the ONE ANSWER that will help us with our motivation, especially when we’re tired or frustrated.

So, the 5 Why’s of Losing Weight May be something like this…

  1. Why? To be healthy.  What would that give me? Lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a less risk of heart disease.
  2. And…Why? Well, because I’m tired of the doctor always telling me I need to lose weight. What would that give me? I wouldn’t feel so shamed every time I need to go to the doctor.
  3. Why? Well, I’m tired of struggling with being “too big”. What would that give me? More ease in my life. Easier to fit in chairs at a café and, well, I just think people look at me like I’m FAT. I don’t want to be the Fat Girl in all the photos with my sisters-in-law.
  4. Ah…So Why do I want to lose weight? Because, I feel better about myself when I am a size 10 than I do when I’m a size 16. What would that give you? More confidence. Cute clothes make me feel confident and happy. I’d feel better about myself when I look in the mirror…
  5. I see. So, Why do I want to lose weight? I want to feel sexy. My husband loves me no matter what, but he was more attracted to me when I was smaller… What would that give me? I’d be happier in my relationship, feel more attractive, and have more sex. When I have more sex, I always feel happier…

Can you see how asking yourself WHY 5 times will help you find your REAL reasons rather than just the surface excuse? How it helps you go DEEPER into yourself, your life, your desires…? Can you see why staying motivated is more likely when you go deep?

All of these answers are truths, but you need all the truths to go deeper. And let me be perfectly clear, my darling: your deep why for a desire may not be pretty. It may seem shallow or selfish, but the fact is, no one but you needs to know it.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation of why you deeply desire what it is you desire, but the most important thing is that you get brutally honest and stop lying to yourself.

You owe it to yourself to dive into the depths of your desires.You owe it to your desires to dig into your “Why”. You owe it to your life to discover your real truths.

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” – Anaïs Nin

Oh my GOODNESS has it been hot! Though I've been using my grill more to make dinner to keep from heating up the house, I've been turning to my crock pot as well. It's still one of the easiest ways to start dinner before you head to work. Like this Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa recipe.

Before you head to bed, in a large zip lock bag, combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/4 cup orange juice, ½ tsp chili powder, ½ tsp cumin, 1 tsp of garlic powder, and a dash cayenne pepper, then add one chicken breast, chopped into bite sized chunks.  

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also add a healthy splash of tequila. Refrigerate.

When you rise in the morning, heavily spray your crock-pot with nonstick cooking spray.  Discard marinade and add chicken to the crock pot and then add 1/2 cup of orange juice and 1/2 cup of chicken stock (homemade or commercial, no salt added)

Let cook on “low” for eight hours.

When you get home from work, your chicken will be cooked.  Now it's time to make some mango salsa.

Combine 1 mango, seeded and cut into chunks (you can buy this already peeled at the store sometimes), 1/2 red bell pepper, diced, 1 avocado, diced, 1/3 of a red onion, and the juice of one lime. Gently mix together and then add 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Serve in flour or corn tortillas for soft tacos or else serve atop lettuce greens (or use those Boston Bibb Lettuce leaves as a "tortilla").  You can add shredded cheese and sour cream if you like.

The chicken is great leftover and the salsa will keep for about 48 hours. (The Lime Juice will help keep the avocado green)

Volume 6 -Issue 16

July 30, 2016

Love Notes Published Every-Other-Saturday
 
Thank you, darling for the precious in-box space! 

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About Debra

Debra Smouse is a writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle who is on a mission to help people fall in love with their lives.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Get social with Debra on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Sunday Sanctuary


Once a month, I share stories about creativity and keeping house over at Modern Creative Life.

My latest: Sunday Sanctuary: Hope, Perfection, and Learning to Let Go

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You do not have to settle for a life that is less than what you most deeply desire. You may have to break the rules, but creating a life that is loving and nourishing is worth the effort. Because you deserve to be happy and live a daily life you love.

Part self-help, part memoir, in Create a Life You Love: Straightforward Wisdom for Cultivating the Life of Your Dreams I share down-to-earth advice and practical wisdom on what it takes to shift your life from surviving to thriving.

Buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or order your copy directly from me.
 

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