Tag Archives: technology

Forever Forward, Never Back

iGnite - go forward, never back

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever find yourself living in the past?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

From September 3 through last Tuesday, September 15, I’ve had company staying with my family. Knowing that I was in a new city with children while my husband Russell was traveling, my father, stepmom, mother and sister all made special plans to come out and be with me on and around my birthday. And, unbeknownst to me, my dad, who is a total worker-bee and can’t sit still unless he’s quickly eating or watching a sporting event, had a specific agenda: to help get us out of boxes and settled into our new house. A.k.a. WORK!

It was wonderful to see my family, and I was so thankful to have them, but by Tuesday I was eager to get the kids and I back to a routine (a.k.a. CONTROL!). The time for exercise, uninterrupted time, responding to thirteen days worth of email and an opportunity to tackle my ever-growing personal and professional to-do list had finally come, and after dropping my children Durant and Malaine off at pre-school on Tuesday, it was MY time!

I planned to take a quick walk around the neighborhood near the kids’ preschool and then go to a yoga class. It was sprinkling outside, but the idea of walking in a light rain sounded delicious. Just before heading off, a dear friend called so I grabbed my phone to walk and talk.

The friend asked how I was doing with our recent move, and I told him I was struggling. I expressed that I was not questioning God’s plan, however the greatest challenge has been adjusting to no longer having an amazing community of family, friends, and support (CONTROL). And, having felt so purpose-filled in Austin, I was struggling with finding my purpose in San Diego, which was why I was clinging to my life in Austin. He listened intently and having moved a lot himself, he validated my feelings and gave me some helpful advice: take baby steps forward, take care of me, and don’t compare my life in San Diego to my life in Austin. It was a new time and I needed to work on slowing my brain down and releasing my expectations. I agreed with everything he suggested, and I proudly told him that today was the day that I was going to focus on Neissa — hence the walk and yoga class.

During my walk, the sprinkle turned into a solid rain—so much so that my eyes burned from the little bit of eyeliner I was wearing. I was totally fine with this because I had clothes to change into, it was MY DAY, and San Diego needs the rain. So, within twenty-five minutes I was back at my car to grab my yoga mat and a change of clothes when I realized my worst nightmare — my purse, wallet, and work bag with computer, day planner, mail, and work notebooks were all gone. They had been stolen! My driver’s license, expired passport, credit cards, check books….gone. It was ALL gone, including MY DAY! “My day” quickly turned into the misery of filing police reports, canceling bank accounts and credit cards, calling pawn shops and driving around with the hope of finding my things lying around the area.

As you would expect, “the day of me” and getting anything on my to-do list accomplished was no longer an option. I won’t bore you with the un-fun details of trying to get an California driver’s license when you have no form of ID except a paper copy of an expired driver’s license, a paper copy of your birth certificate and a Costco card, but what I do want to share is what I learned through the process, as I think it can be universally applied. I’ve had to find reason and some glimpse of positivity in this incredibly frustrating experience. Ultimately, I think it relates to our ability to shine throughout life, as I wrote about a couple weeks ago in It’s Time to Turn On Your Shine.

4 Things I’ve Learned the Hard Way:

  1. For starters, my work, technology and to-do lists have been and are my idols. They give me purpose and security and keep me distracted. Upon realizing that all of my things were taken, it became absolutely clear that God was telling me to let go, trust in Him and let Him take over. Do I think He made this happen? Of course not. Bad things happen to good people every single second of the day, but He knows that I am feeling completely out of control and have been clinging to every thing that makes me feel safe and secure. I shine when I find comfort, hope and security in God rather than things.
  2. Second, while it is a terrible and sad inconvenience, it’s actually nice to have my to-do list stolen! For the first time ever, I’m not busying myself with it and frantically trying to find time on my computer so I can respond to emails. And, you know what? Life is going on! I actually thought I was that important! Yes, I am skimming email on my phone, but I’m not checking email on my phone and computer. It’s actually liberating! Will I get another computer? Of course, and I pray I can recover everything I lost. But for the first time, I am giving myself a real break– because I don’t have any other choice. My poor kids actually get a focused mom. I shine when I am a present mom, wife, friend and person.
  3. Third, you must keep moving to survive. Always go forward, never back. I actually wrote down this quote weeks ago in a notebook…that was of course stolen from my work bag. I heard the words from the goofy kid movie “Shark Boy,” and for weeks I’ve thought about how perfect the advice is for our move from Austin to San Diego, and most recently, how I’ll deal with recovering my stolen items…and really for any of us who struggle with living in the past or comparing our present to our past! As for my recent move, it’s critical that I stop looking back and comparing my life in Austin to my life in San Diego. My spirit will not survive if I continue to do this. I have to move forward every day. Regarding my stolen possessions, I so badly want to live in the past and cry over what happened, dwell on it and talk about how unfair it is, but again, I won’t survive by doing that. I have to move forward, take baby steps and make progress in the recovery process. What’s done is done. I can’t change it and there’s no looking back. Just as with life in general, our past does not define us! Thank goodness we have evolved and aren’t the same people we once were. Most importantly, we will not survive nor thrive unless we focus on our future and on becoming who we need to become and are created to become. Our past has been given to us for memory’s sake and to give us wisdom — but not to live in. Sometimes our past can motivate us, but too often we get stuck in it and are unable to move forward and appreciate what we have right now. For women specifically, we are usually desperate to be the same weight as we were pre-children, on our wedding day or at some point when we were younger. I get that, but that’s no way to live and thrive. I think we would be better served and our bodies would respond in the ways we are hoping for if we treated it with more appreciation and gratitude. We beat ourselves up — thinking we need to look how we used to look. That is torture, and the antidote is to always look forward. We shine when we give thanks and appreciate what we have.
  4. Last, within one hour of the theft, iGnite leaders and dear friends Kathleen Parker and Catherine Sanderson randomly called. It was so comforting and calming to hear their voices. Then, I immediately texted the iGnite Team, informed them of what happened and asked for their love and prayers. Knowing they were praying and sending me love made a significant difference in my attitude and spirit. I knew this before, and I continue to be reminded of the importance of community. You can’t have enough community and supportive friends. We shine in community and are #strongertogetHER!

Action Item:
Remind yourself that your past has been given to your for memory’s sake and to give you wisdom — but not to live in. Look forward only. Appreciate and be present in the now.

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What Love Really Means

rock heart

“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions. ”
– Augusten Burroughs

Point to Ponder:
Who in my life could I love better?

Action Item:
Identify one person in your life that you could do a better job of loving.  Then, during your next interaction, focus on how you can better serve and love them in that moment.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about love, loving people and what that means and looks like. Sometimes I feel like I have it figured out, and other times I feel like I’ve failed miserably.  I also think about the negative effects that the convenience and instant gratification of technology has on our mindset, our relationships and our ability to love long-term and unconditionally.  On one hand, technology allows us to connect on unimaginable levels. It allows me to share this journal with you and for us learn from others around the world. On the other hand, it paints an irrational and unrealistic picture of the fortitude that must be present in our lives and relationships.  For example, with the click of a mouse or remote control, you can always find a better deal, a better date or a seemingly more happy, beautiful and successful person or relationship. It’s even possible that in the near future we can place an online order and have a drone deliver it to our doorstep in two hours flat! Maybe that’s convenient, but I’m old fashioned — I think this is insane and that type of instant gratification has a negative effect on our ‘love psyche.’  After all, instant gratification, impatience and convenience is the opposite design of love.

I could write on this topic for hours, but the best description of love came from a friend this week in the form of a quote. Not only did it leave me speechless, but it answered all of my questions about what it means to really love people. In fact, it actually showed me how much room I have to grow. The bottom line is that loving people can’t be about me and my feelings, rather it must be how I make that person feel when he or she is around me, despite the environment or circumstance.

Finally, with the holidays upon us and family gatherings in abundance, I feel that sharing this quote could be a holiday and relationship game-changer for many of us, so here you go:

The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws. That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’s sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.”
– Unknown

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Life is a Team Effort

Team Effort

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”- Marianne Williamson

Point to Ponder:
Do your surroundings influence your pace and dictate your personality and behavior?
Action Item:
Life is a team effort, so connect, share, and ask for help.

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

After graduating from UT, I decided that Texas was too small. I wanted to experience the “real world,” so I moved to the BIG APPLE!

I was impressed by the fast pace and fascinated by the around-the-clock harmonious honking of horns and the lifestyle of my 11 million new friends. To avoid looking like a tourist, I copied their behavior, rushing through the city with confidence, head down, and avoiding eye contact with anyone. No one was interested in connecting with me. So I became disinterested in connecting with them.

But just as quickly as Manhattan had allured me, so had it come to irritate me. I wanted to make eye contact, to exchange a smile, or to just say hello. I wanted an apology from the man who came within inches of hitting me with his car while I was legally crossing the street. I felt my spirit become cold and jaded. I became less confident and less tolerant. I began to view my 11 million new friends as competition. And I eventually joined their choir and impatiently went about my business.

Then one cold, overcast and gloomy winter day after emerging from the subway station, it became clear: Texas wasn’t too small after all. In fact, it was just right. So I moved back!

Much of my New York City experience was a result of my immaturity and naivety. I wasn’t experienced, strong or courageous enough to “be me” back then (and I was broke). I’d like to think that moving there today would be very different. But when I do visit, I notice the same things: everyone is on a cell phone, listening to an iPod, or otherwise disconnected from the sounds and the people around them.

Now, as Austin is growing, I very often see the same behavior; that everyone is virtually connected to something, somewhere, but unconnected to those immediately around them. What irony that we live in a wonderfully virtually connected world, but are less connected with each other than ever?!?!

I’ll be the first to admit that there are many times when I don’t want to talk, make eye contact, or be connected to more than the Internet allows, but I also notice that too little real connection is addictive and dangerous. I can quickly become absorbed in my own world, unaffected by situations that should move my spirit, and begin to rush through life with little tolerance for others. But once I finally connect, share, ask for help, and become accountable to more than just myself, life becomes so much sweeter, pleasant, and fulfilling. And that gives others the confidence to connect share and shine their brightest light. Life is a team effort.

Regardless of your goals, life obstacles, or celebrations, I encourage you to go about each of them with a connected and team spirit, as this is the BEST way to joyfully get where you want to go and abundantly live life.

Technology Overload May Be Adding to Your Stress — It’s Time to ‘Unplug!’

Going into what can become a stressful holiday season, it’s important that we know simple ways to de-stress. Jeffrey R. Ulery, D.C. of Austin Whole Body Health shares just how important “unplugging” can be:

by Jeffrey R. Ulery, D.C.

by Jeffrey R. Ulery, D.C.

Many studies show that constant stimulation from our smart phones and computers is creating huge amounts of stress. With every new experience or activity our brain shows new patterns of activity, and it is during downtime that we solidify them into a permanent memory of experience. When we stay constantly stimulated by television, smart phones and computers, we are preventing this process. Studies have shown that the constant stimulation we get while entertaining ourselves on our smart phones is actually taxing our brains, not relaxing them. Have trouble with your memory? This overstimulation stress could be a contributor, as it is well-documented that stress hormones have been shown to reduce short-term memory.

Because of our increasing addiction to information stimulation, there is a growing population of multitaskers who are unable to shut off their multi-tasking tendencies. This contributes to a variety of issues, particularly relational.

Armed with this information, it looks like we all need to work harder to pay attention to the people around us, exercise in a natural environment and take a break from technology so that our brains can process! We all need to remember, myself included, to turn our smart phones and computers off more.

To learn more about Dr. Ulery, visit http://austinwholebodyhealth.com.

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