Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The 'U' Post

I just finished an UNBELIEVALBE memoir by Chynna Laird entitled White Elephants. Chynna had a childhood that was UNCONTROLLED, UNRULY, UNCERTAIN, AND UNPREDICTABLE at best.

Oh, there were times of happiness in between the UNHAPPY ones. But, for the most part, she grew up with an UNEASINESS that was very nearly a daily occurrence.   

As her story UNRAVELS, the reader quickly becomes caught up in Chynna's UNSETTLED life and tends to want to help her in her UPHILL battles with her mother.

After such an UNDERTAKING while growing up, it's amazing that Chynna emerged from her childhood seemingly UNSCATHED.

I am featuring a giveaway of White Elephants and a guest post from Chynna herself.

I think you'll find her post fits right in with my theme of health and fitness this month. After all, mental health is part of it, right?

Just let me know in the comment section if you're interested in a chance to win a copy of White Elephants!


Finding Motivation in Simplicity

What motivates you to go on after everything you’ve been through? This is a question I’ve been asked quite often. When I was younger, it was the refusal to become an addition to the statistic that children of abuse often fall into. In my early adult life, it was the refusal to become my mother. My motivation stemmed from anger, stubbornness and the need to prove that I was…okay. But these aren’t true motivations because they don’t come from a healthy place.
When a child is abused or neglected or suffers another form of trauma, it truly changes a part of her, knocking her off her life’s path just a little bit. It’s enough to make her look at the world and the people in it very differently. And it takes a very long time for her to trust what she sees or to be inspired by the goodness surrounding her.
After the birth of my first child, and soon after that realizing she had high needs, my motivations changed. Suddenly, I no longer felt strength from trying to prove I’d make it, or prove people wrong, but more from the need my child had for me. That’s very powerful.
Today I lead the simplest life I can, mostly because my younger years were filled with so much chaos. So what motivates, or inspires, may seem cheesy or small but it’s real and from that healthy place I couldn’t see so many years ago.
But here are some of the ways I stay try staying motivated:
Drawing from the innocence of children. Children have such a fresh way of seeing the world. They notice everything and they make us want to be better people so they are aspired to be. My children motivate me to keep going even on days I think I’m too exhausted to go on.
Seeing the world through a new perspective. I have two special needs children. The amazing gift they’ve given to me is the realization that there is no one set way of doing things. There is no ‘right’ way, just the best way we can.
Hearing about regular people doing extraordinary things. These stories are everywhere. You don’t have to be rich and famous to do something that matters, you just need to care enough to try making a difference. I work these people into my stories all the time.
Turning to a creative distraction. Despite anything, my mother was a multi-talented woman. And my brothers, sister and I were each blessed with sprinkles of her talent. Whether your creative distraction is music, art, painting, sculpting, dancing or writing, you need one. It’s a positive way to cope with things and to bring you back down on tougher days.
Focusing on the good. There is a lot of pain in my past but there are beautiful things that sprouted out and above those things that I still draw on now. I had loving grandparents, an uncle who supported me and a few close friends who believed in me. These people gave me some good memories and refused to give up on me, even when I wanted to give upon myself. Finding those good things, even if they are few and far between, is essential.
Having a Higher Power. This can mean different things to different people. Whether you call it God, Buddha, Messiah, an angel on earth or you speak to someone who means the world to you that has passed away, you must believe in something higher than yourself. Something that helps keep you grounded and makes you see the world outside of yourself.
Keeping my grandparents close. I just don’t have the words to express how important my grandparents were to me. Whenever I was with them, they gave me a taste of a childhood. They took care of me, they loved me, they nurtured me and none of these things hurt from them. The most important thing they gave to me, aside from unconditional love, was self-worth. They have both been gone for more than twenty years but they are never far away from me. I keep them closest to me on the days I’m having the most difficulty getting through. Feeling them with me keeps me on the path I’m supposed to be on because that’s where they’d want to see me…moving forward.
Accepting that I’m not perfect. What an onus it is to try being perfect. It’s an impossible feat because none of us are born perfect. Honestly, I don’t believe there is such a thing. We are human, naturally flawed. And you know what? That’s okay. We learn from our flaws and imperfections. They make us ‘real’. Trying to be perfect can kill you. Trust me on this one.
Meditation. I meditate everyday. It’s a way to cleanse the mind and unite it with body and spirit. We put ourselves through a lot each day. And much of it is internal. Think about all of the negative thoughts we keep in. Remember all the things we stop ourselves from blurting out. Recall those thoughtless things people can say or do that chip away at our self-esteem and self-worth. Those need to be released somehow because if you allow them to build up, it’s terribly unhealthy. Meditation is a great way to cleanse the soul so you’re ready for whatever life throws your way at any moment.
Exercise. A strong body is better able to hold the rest of you up. Whether it’s yoga, swimming, kick-boxing or whatever gets you going, exercise is essential. Personally, I am much more motivated after a good workout.
These are the things that I make sure are a part of every single day I get to enjoy. Just remember that what motivates you doesn’t have to be big, showy or flashy. The most important forms of motivation are the simplest things. We just need to see them and be strong enough to reach out to them.

This is the twenty-first day of the A-Z April Challenge. I thought I might try a theme this year and focus on my personal journey to health and fitness, including weight loss.

Today's letter is U and my words for the day are...well, you saw them. :)


  1. Hmmm....that sounds like an interesting book!

  2. Lisa- It was. I got so caught up in her plight. Now, she tries to put her story out there in the hopes that others can be helped from reading it.

  3. Wow, you certainly sewed up the letter U!! lol

    Sounds like an interesting read.

  4. Judy- I had to come up with something. LOL It was interesting!

  5. I'm trying to make a connection with the title and the book subject. White elephants are usually things that no one wants. I think I'd have to read it make the connection...yes, please.

  6. LP- It was a good read. Sad though, in parts.

    Stephanie- Right! You're in the drawing! Good Luck!

  7. What a fantastic 'U' post! You did a great job, Pam. LOL!

    @ Stephanie V: I clarify the connection in the Intro of the book. The analogy was given to me from a Christian counselor I saw in my early twenties. Essentially, it's the same idea as the elephant in the middle of the room. The counselor used the white elephant because they are beautiful, precious yet need alot of care that can often be very overwhelming...sort of like my mom.

    Good luck to all! And thank you for having me guest on your blog, Pam. You did a great job.



  8. I would love to read this book as I too am surprised (as was the counselor) that I made it through as well as I did. Sounds like I would embrace it!...:)JP

  9. She sounds like a wonderful person.
    I think the ability to see the good in your life is a great standby.
    I'd love to be in your draw, but if it's too expensive to ship to Ireland, leave me out.

  10. JP- I'll put your name in the pot! Good luck!

    Mimi- She is amazing! They didn't say US and Canada only or anything like that so I'm putting you in for the drawing!

  11. Wow, the book sounds great but I have three to read so I think to be fair I will let someone else go for the win:)

    I truly enjoyed this post on motivation and learned so much about you too!!

  12. I am intrigued by your description of the book, so please include me in the drawing.


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