Hi. My name is Dominique and I am a busy body. LOL! This isn’t news for anyone who knows me well. In fact, the overall consensus is that I often need to go sit down somewhere and get some rest. I plan to talk about this more in the near future (I promise) but I think a good friend put it best when she said, “The Army could’ve used you as a weapon of mass destruction. Their slogan is ‘we do more before 5am than most people do in a day.’ And I feel like you’d force them to recalculate that to like 3am.” I be doing too much sometimes is the point LOL! As I get older, I seem to be becoming even MORE of a busy body. But I’ve also decided that sitting down somewhere is important to me too. When 2016 began, I had a lot of PTO because I’d been at my job for 4 years (5 years at the end of November). I planned to take one personal day each month if I didn’t already have time off planned but I often ended up working from home to avoid falling behind in my work. By March, it was becoming pretty clear that I needed a vacation. I didn’t know where I wanted to go nor when but I knew I needed to relax! God agreed because just a few days into March, I found a deal for $67 flights to San Diego on Southwest! Not Spirit nor Frontier. SOUTHWEST! I usually don’t book flights with stops but for $133 roundtrip, I couldn’t NOT go! Since I’ve never been to San Diego, I started researching things to do and I kept an Evernote full of ideas and links. I got so excited about doing everything on my list that I almost forgot the point of the trip: to relax! So I cut activities based on cost, distance, length of time, and whether I’d have to make special accommodations because I wear glasses. By the time of my trip in April, I only had three timed activities planned: a whale watching tour (Groupon), a day trip to Tijuana, and brunch with a friend. The rest of my trip consisted of a “would be nice” list including Balboa Park, the beach, food, and resting. If it happened, great! If not, it’s San Diego and there would be more deals in the future! In the end, the trip was LIT! I slept, I wandered, I ate amazing food, and I got a lot of great memories out of it. By taking that trip to San Diego, I learned that letting go of control and going with the flow is not only possible but it is also something I need to do more often because it helped me to decide what was important to me. Keep reading for the 3 reasons I encourage you to decide what’s important to you too!
You Can Create Your Own Happiness.
San Diego was amazing and I believe that starting with the location (as opposed to an event) meant I wasn’t tied to a schedule. The focus of the trip became my needs and my interests. As I mentioned, I only scheduled three of the activities and aside from the flight itself (5am), none of them required me to be up with Jesus* so I was able to actually rest! I love water so I got a hotel near the beach and I went on a whale watching tour. I like to keep a budget so I used San Diego’s public transportation system and Lyft rather than rent a car. I made a point to avoid chain restaurants* so I’d try things I couldn’t get just anywhere. I even spent a day eating one of my favorite foods (more on that later). And I like to wander so I spent 2 days visiting Balboa Park*. Before it was over, I discovered that I really love flowers! Until that trip, I never considered myself much of a flower person which is funny to me considering I love botanical gardens and I’m obsessed with tulips and lavender. So much so that I went to a tulip festival in May and a lavender festival in July! Last year, I discovered that I love macro and close up photography* with most of my favorite shots being flowers.They don’t move much so they are some of the easiest practice subjects. At the last minute, I decided to take my camera and a lens I bought specifically for shooting macro* with me to practice: one of many great decisions I made in relation to my trip. I learned I specifically love roses. This is kind of a big because I was always indifferent to them until I visited the rose garden in the park. There were so many different types, colors, phases and sizes that I was overwhelmed…in a good way. I even went back to that same garden on the second day to get more photos after my camera batteries died! I improved my photography skills through lots of much needed practice WHILE enjoying myself AND found a new favorite thing!
Create your own happiness. Explore your interests. Be open to new and different things. Satisfy your needs. Make a list of things that make you happy. Do those things! If it makes you feel good, do it as much as possible. If it’s something far away (or expensive), find a way to bring it closer (or make it cheaper)!
You Can Explore Your Beliefs.
Although I didn’t go to church regularly throughout my childhood, I still (kind of) grew up Baptist. I haven’t been to church in years because I just stopped doing organized religion-based things in order to avoid certain types of people. You know the ones! I still believe in God and until I decide otherwise, I still identify as Christian. I also believe my relationship with God has improved significantly as I continue to open my mind to new types of spirituality*. I know some people believe that once you start believing other things (or become too accepting of other people) that you’re no longer following Jesus but I wholeheartedly disagree! I think God has tons of ways of talking to us but folks create little boxes of what [insert religion/denomination] means and God is like, “Girl, I got your answers but I guess.” In this year our Lord, God has been super chatty!
Before I went to San Diego, I had been saying I wanted to be able to book a last minute trip for a while. I receive emails from AirfareWatchdog but I didn’t see the flight deal there: I saw it on Twitter. And while I was researching things to do, I found a company that takes people on day tours to Tijuana. All of the recent and upcoming tours were either for a Friday or Saturday. I was set to arrive midday Saturday. But God wanted me to go to Tijuana because when I checked back for the weekend of my trip, the tour was on Sunday. Not only that, it was a Taco Tour! Sunday was perfect timing and I love tacos. To be clear, I don’t just love any taco and these weren’t just any tacos. These were AUTHENTIC MEXICAN TACOS in Mexico! Not only that, I finally got to try Horchata and I had some delicious, hand-churned ice cream*! During the tour, I found out that they rarely even do Sunday tours because less people attend those. God wanted me to enjoy tacos (and Horchata and ice cream) in Tijuana on THAT day! On a smaller note, I also said I wanted to read more. It took 15 minutes to get into Mexico and 2.5 hours to get back into the US….just enough time to allow me to finish reading a book I’d been reading off an on for over a year. Still more recently, I’ve noticed Him getting louder, more direct, and even tossing things in front of my face right after I wrote or spoke about it. Answering questions with more a obvious “Girl, you betta!” or “Chile. This ain’t it.” Leaving very little room for confusion.
Explore your beliefs. Ask yourself questions like why do you believe what you believe, what value do your beliefs bring you, do they still fit you, do you actually believe them, are they harmful to you and others? Be open to the answers what come to you. Be open to growing and expanding your beliefs. Be open to changing them as well.
You Can Be Fearless.
I love water. It’s beautiful, soothing, and mysterious and I’ve been obsessed with it in all its forms since I was a little girl. When I was in 6th grade, I joined the Weisbaden (American) Swim Team where I learned to swim and love water even more. Water is bae but I’m also deathly afraid of it. Give me a pool and watch me hang out in the deep end with no issue. Give me a river, lake, or ocean and you’re lucky if I go far enough out to let the water cover my hips. I’m only 5’ 1” so that ain’t far. At the end of 6th grade, I went on a field trip that began with a river cruise on the Rhein River. The boarding process freaked me out, I got motion sick from the choppiness of the river that day, and I lost it when I looked out of a window below deck and saw the water was at eye level. I decided boats and open water weren’t for me and decided to never do it again. I shared that because did you notice I said that I went on a whale watching tour while in San Diego?! As I planned my trip, I checked Groupon for entertainment deals and was not disappointed. One of the most appealing (and plentiful) deals was for whale watching tours. All my fears related to open water and boats came to mind as I realized I’d be in the Pacific Ocean for 3 hours. But you know what else came to mind? The fact that water is beautiful and relaxing. The fact that marine animals are really cool. And the fact that this was a chance to see if maybe I could handle going on a (non-river) cruise at some point. So I chose a date, bought the deal, and freaked out. But I knew that if I spent the money, I’d actually go because I don’t like to waste money. When I tell you I enjoyed myself, I need you to understand that if there is an option to do it again, I will be there! I saw a mama and baby fin whale, a huge group of bottlenose dolphins, and an even bigger group of common dolphins as they “played” alongside the boat. Despite being miles away from the coast, I didn’t get motion sick. AND I stayed calm enough the entire time allowing me to realize this was the perfect opportunity to play “Swag Surf” LOL!
Be fearless. Consider what you’re really afraid of: Is it a fear of the unknown, of failure, or of what you’ll do next? Stop holding yourself back. Start taking more risks. Learn from your mistakes. Speak up for yourself. Trust your own judgement. Take control of your life.
Take time to decide what’s important to you. You never know exactly what you’ll discover but you can bet that you will learn what brings you happiness, what you truly believe in, how to be more fearless, and how those things affect your overall well being and sense of self.
What’s important to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to make this message work harder for you? Discover how to love U with the “You Are Important” How to Love U Journal!
*I could have planned earlier things because I was stuck on east coast time. I went to bed between 8-9pm and woke up between 5-6am LOL!
**I did go to one chain restaurant called Tender Greens. They’re only in Southern California and I hadn’t been since I went to Santa Monica for a TV shoot.
***I have a point and shoot camera (Canon SX150) and a Little BigShot lens.
****Balboa Park is a large area full of museums, botanical gardens, and restaurants located near downtown.
*****I’ve been using gemstones, astrology, and meditation. I’m also starting to learn about chakras.
******I love ice cream but it’s often super heavy. This ice cream was light and served in small portions! Think the size of a melon ball.
Inspiration – Operation Love U – Love U List
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