Take Care of Yourself. Take Care of Your Gifts.

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Instagram memes: Hustlers never sleep! While you’re sleeping, I’m working! While you’re eating, I’m working! While you’re breathing, I’m working!

Immune systemKeep neglecting me and see where that gets you

 

I don’t believe in running yourself into the ground in order to make your dreams come true. I know this goes against what I call Instagram meme logic, which claims that you have the same 24 hours as Beyonce, therefore you have no excuse in pursuing your goals.

Never mind that Beyonce probably has assistants,nannies, and others who work for her in order to stretch those 24 hours.

I have discovered that being a workaholic is not only harmful to your health but also to your creativity. As I balanced school, work, and other obligations, I also tried to incorporate more writing into my routine. However, I quickly became frustrated as the words didn’t flow as eloquently as I had hoped. This caused me to question my gift, when in actuality I should have been nourishing it, and not forcing it.

From the constant hustle and bustle that life in New York fosters, I found myself both physically and emotionally sick. And even with an upper respiratory infection (for the third time this year), I was more frustrated at the fact that my body wouldn’t allow me to get back to work.

I needed time to rest. I needed time to truly be present and experience life in its fullness. That is where inspiration and creativity comes in. As dreamers we don’t just survive on this, we thrive on this.

Joyce Meyer once said, “I finally learned to say, ‘I’m not where I need to be, but thank God, I’m not where I used to be. I’m okay, and I’m on my way!’”

During my time of personal reflection, I realized that I don’t give myself enough credit. I tend to look at my current state and become disappointed that I am not where I want to be. This belittled how far I have come and the progress I have made.

I know I’m not alone in saying that I need to enjoy the journey. Rushing and forcing the process will not only fatigue you, but cause you to miss out on the valuable details of the triumphant underdog story that is your life.

And who knows? It may turn out to be a great screenplay.

Everything happens in due time. We will reach that goal. We will achieve that dream. Understand this won’t be true for us if we don’t take care of the vessels that get us there. Worrying ourselves sick is only counterproductive.

At the end of this life, two things will matter: what we were given (our lives and our talents), and what we did with it. Take care of yourself. Take care of your gifts.

 — Tara Pook

Why “Follow Your Heart” Is The Worst Advice I Ever Received

“Just follow your heart!

You hear it all the time in romantic comedies and Disney films. I would often receive this piece of advice from friends and follow it. After all, it seemed like the easiest solution to any problem. Simply give the heart what it wants, right?

Wrong.

It worked for Cinderella, but I have found that it often does not work in a reality where animals do not talk and a fairy godmother cannot wave your conflict away with her magic wand.

BIG QUOTELauryn Hill once sang, “What you want might make you cry. What you need might pass you by if you don’t catch it.”

Time and time again I’ve learned that what I wanted wasn’t always best for me, whether it was a relationship, job, financial decision; etc. Making decisions based on fleeting emotions often resulted in fleeting happiness as well.

And by neglecting better decisions, I probably missed out on better boyfriends, better jobs, and even a better credit score. Divine opportunities are not like buses or trains, where if you miss one, another will be along shortly thereafter. Some don’t return.

The Bible says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool (Prov. 28:26).” It is speaking of our souls – the seat of our emotions. And when we follow it we are choosing what feels good or what feels comfortable. Life truly begins outside the comfort zone and our hearts don’t steer us toward struggle and conflict. But as Oprah once said, “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”
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Small Moments of Self-Care

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We all need those brief escapes that give us peace of mind. Today’s world moves so fast that it can be hard to live in the moment. Especially for self-proclaimed dreamers, we are always thinking of our next move. Before you find yourself on the verge of crashing from anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation, etc., incorporate what I call small moments of self-care.

For those who hear the ‘self’ in self-care and automatically assume selfishness, an article from Psychology Today describes the difference best:

“Although people, especially women, often think of self-care as selfish, just the opposite is true. Being selfish is to be focused on one’s own needs regardless of the needs of others. Selfish acts come at the expense of others. Self-care, on the other hand, is intentionally taking time to do something that energizes you.”

-Laurie B. Mintz, Ph.D, The Unselfish Act of Self-Care, Psychology Today

For those who may be the “strong tower” for your friends and family, understand that you cannot be there for them if you’re all burned out. Though difficult for your inner Olivia Pope, at some point you have to give the constant fixer mentality a rest and exercise the power of no.
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Dream On

Dreams

My dreams were always hard to verbalize to others. The aspirations I have come to me in full vivid visions, and that can be hard to put into words. Often times I appear unsure or insecure as I try to explain to those who ask about my life goals, but it’s actually the opposite.

I am confident in my creativity. I am confident in my dreams. Whether you understand them or not is not my concern.

I continue to dream.

—Tara Pook

Spring Is Sure To Follow

 

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When people I meet find out that I moved back to New York from Florida, I’m often hit with the same question, “Why are you here?” 

Sarcastically I reply, “For the lovely weather, of course!” 

This winter has been quite the welcome back present. I’ve been fighting snow, bone chilling winds, and negative temperatures. Most days I walk out the door looking like the little brother from A Christmas Story. If it had not been for the Lord and my ankle-length down coat from Land’s End, I don’t know where I’d be.

Perhaps what’s getting me through this is that I know spring will be here soon.

Or I’ll be on a flight to South Florida. I don’t know. Whichever comes first.

During this winter I’ve also been dealing with an overwhelming schedule. A full course load, more than one job, and volunteer work require the energy and time management skills that I don’t have. I often turn to family to complain, in hopes of them somehow telling me about a distant relative who left me with a hefty inheritance so I can be void of responsibility.

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Don’t Forget Self-Love On Valentine’s Day

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It seems like so many are looking for love in clubs and cafés, while overlooking one of the most important places– the mirror.

This may be shrugged off this Valentine’s Day as you see countless Instagram posts of couples exclaiming their affection for each other. A romance between two people can be special, but as Oscar Wilde once wrote, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

The journey to self-love is not an easy one, but it is vital for a happier and more fulfilling life. For me the path was troublesome at times with harsh self-criticism, low self-confidence, and teenage acne. The only affirmation I received came from outside relationships.

One tough lesson I learned is that your validation should never lie in another human being. This was made clear to me after the end of a relationship. It wasn’t the nicest way to learn about self-love, but the message has been forever cemented in my spirit.

When you’re in love, you seek to please the object of your affection. And when this love is also directed towards yourself, the same applies. Since reaching a place of acceptance and love for myself, I make better decisions. This is reflected in my pursuit of goals, who I surround myself with, and how I carry myself. I choose to go after things that will make me happy; I choose to surround myself with those who are kind and inspire me; and I choose to walk with my head high, even on days when I’d rather just crawl back into bed.

If you consistently make poor decisions in life and love, what message are you sending yourself? You deserve to reap the benefits of healthy choices. This comes from self-love.
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