The Aftermath of Inspiration

This is the diary of an extraordinarily ordinary person.

Also the diary of a person who has not worked consistently nor been in school for almost a month, so I’m just derping around, reflecting on life, wasting time, and finding things to do. Luckily, work starts on Monday.

Recently (not just during my post-school intermission, but even throughout this past semester), I’ve noticed that I have rarely felt passionate about the things in front of me, whether that’s school, relationships, activities, fitness goals, or just life in general.

Please do not take this the wrong way! It’s not that I’m not enjoying life, but I’ve been lacking some intrinsic “oomph” that drives me to set my heart on something.

The only thing that my heart is truly set on is pursuing a deeper relationship with God, which I guess is fine because that’s the foundation of everything else. But I still can’t help but feel frustrated that my disposition has been kind of bland and aimless recently.

It’s easy to be inspired to do great things (or small things with great love) through prayer, enlightening conversations, beautiful songs, thoughtful articles, and Facebook videos with heart-tugging montages (#honest). What’s not easy is facing the aftermath of inspiration. The aftermath that involves…doing normal, everyday things.

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The aftermath of inspiration that involves seeing and choosing to love the face in the mirror that has zits all over her forehead (including one particularly pesky and red one).

The aftermath of inspiration that involves emptying out the sink trap, my least favorite thing in the sanctuary that is the kitchen.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves re-studying notes from the past year at the dining room table.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves responding to emails.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves conversations that don’t inspire or excite you at all.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves sweeping the floors of the millions of hairs that three long-haired girls shed in their apartment (haha ew, but I know some of you can relate).

The aftermath of inspiration that involves NOT looking at inspiring things anymore and just doing what you need to do.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves dirt-ordinary things that are necessary in order to achieve greatness, to change lives, to become the men and women who we are created to be.

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I feel like I get on an inspiration high with so much consumption of social media. It’s obviously a great thing that there are so many uplifting, inspiring, loving people out there; I am grateful for everyone who puts out positivity in this world. There’s never enough of that. However, recently, that’s where the inspiration seems to stop for me.

I watch the inspiring videos, read the inspiring articles, and then go back to the tasks of life with very little passion. I really do believe that some people go forth with a “get after it” mindset 24/7, but I…just don’t. Like, I’m doing what I need to do and seeking opportunities to be better, but I’m not trying to “get after it.” I’m just doing what I ought to do.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t have many goals right now, and for the goals that are already set out for me (i.e. finish school with a doctorate in physical therapy), I’m kind of lackluster about them (except for the Spartan Race in August; I’m stoked for that). So I do what needs to be done, expecting it to either fulfill me in the moment or expecting myself to feel some sort of passion because, “This little task will pay off in the end when I reach my goal, right!?” … But nope. Neither of those things stirs in my heart.

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throwback to last year’s Spartan Race lol

That’s the problem though. I always want to feel like I am fulfilling some profound inspiration that budded in my heart at one moment, but the aftermath of inspiration involves emptiness sometimes. It might involve wandering. It might involve doing things cerebrally for a while instead of doing things emotionally. It might involve doing little things with great love but not feeling love at all, because love is a choice, after all.

(I do believe that you should be at peace with what you are doing; how you feel is so important and should not be forgotten!!)

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if you feel like 1-year-old post-nap Alison all the time, re-evaluate what you’re doing

Speaking of inspiration, I just read this in a Sisters of Life magazine, and I think it’s relevant to my situation:

“We have tried to learn the great art of being with others… It’s a way of receiving another — looking at the person before me, not as a project or a problem to be solved, but as a gift, a unique masterpiece of God’s love. It’s developing the habit of gazing at this person with the heart…” – Sr. Maris Stella

I think this can apply not only to people, but to every task that may or may not feel like it’s lending to my ultimate fulfillment.

So I guess the aftermath of inspiration isn’t really “aftermath” at all, but rather a true gift in and of itself. The dirt-ordinary task, the people in front of you right now, the opportunities and experiences you are given today — this is the greatness, the life-changer, the essence of becoming who we are created to be. And seeing it as such is a habit that needs to be developed, so maybe that’s what God is helping me to do now.

I think it’s time to let life inspire me as it happens rather than feeling the need to do everything because I am inspired. Does that make sense? And if passion for something does take over my heart one of these days, I will be all the more grateful.

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idk this is an old gif in my media library, but Beyonce is always a good choice

Have a great Thursday! God loves you. I love you.

So tell me:

THOUGHTS!?

 

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Recent Fun Facts

1) I turned 22 last Thursday.

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This past year being 21 was probably the most difficult year of my life, academically, spiritually, and emotionally. Makes me both terrified and AMPED for 22!!! I am grateful for this beautiful life. Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday through text, Facebook, Instagram comment, in person, or over the phone!

2) I have needed someone to roll me home after dinner this whole weekend. Figuratively, that is. But it would have been nice hilarious to have someone actually do that for me.

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My family and I went to Montreal this past weekend for my friend Monica’s graduation from McGill University, and we went all out with the food. Poutine, hand-pulled noodles, Montreal bagels, excessively expensive sushi… It was delightful and indulgent to say the least. But the main star of the show was this gal!! We are so proud of her.

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Rachel also took me out in Boston the night before my birthday to a place called Alden and Harlow, where we got the “Secret Burger” (a food bucket list item of ours!), among other delicious fare. The Secret Burger has a crispy freaking CHEESE DISK under the top bun. Good g r i e f.

 

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semolina pistachio cake with strawberry sauce of sorts + peanut brittle was also fabulous

3) I tried three weeks of a delivery meal service (the ones where the company sends you all the ingredients + recipe instructions and you make it yourself). One week of Hello Fresh for a free trial from my brother’s girlfriend, Elaine. One week of Hello Fresh that I paid for because I forgot to cancel the subscription after the free trial (*rolls eyes at self*). One week of Plated for a free trial from my friend Christie.

I typically would not buy these meal services for myself because your girl cannot afford that, but it was a blast getting to try it! It was fun exploring new recipes and using cooking techniques that I never would have tried on my own. It’s even more fun cooking and sharing the meals with another person. I recommend trying it at least once (i.e. asking a friend who subscribes for a free code hehe).

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Some recipes from Hello Fresh: balsamic onion jam burgers with arugula and aioli on brioche buns // pork tenderloin with crispy potatoes and roasted vegetables // chicken cheddar fajitas. One from Plated: spicy crunchy tuna bowl

There was not a recipe from either company that I didn’t like! It’s great that each recipe also takes less than an hour to cook. “Hangry” prevention is key.

4) I have not been sleeping enough despite having no work to do since finals ended. I am craving routine again. Work starts next week!

5) I have not done a workout more than 45 minutes in the past year it seems. That will need to change as my friend Ben and I are doing another Spartan Race in August, except this time it’s a Spartan Super (10-ish miles) instead of a Spartan Sprint (5 miles), which is what we did last year, and even that wiped me out. HAHA oh my word, I have zero endurance right now.

6) I peed while on the Tappan Zee Bridge.

…Because I was on a coach bus that had a bathroom on it 🙂 Did I freak you out??

7) I kind of want to do another vlog like this one (“half a week in the life”) from last year. That was so fun to make! A little bit of an unnecessary time sucker, but hey, #summer.

8) My talented friend John (← check out his portfolio!) took some fun graduation photos for me and my friends. These people make me so happy.

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eMoTiOnz.

Too bad I have two more years of school left.

9) I am newly obsessed with Sean Lew and Kaycee Rice, two incredibly talented nugget dancers who know more about life at the age of 15/16 than I do.

Hits my soul pretty deep and makes me want to be a better person, to be honest.

10) I made a friend over the age of 80 yesterday, and she made me cry with her sweet and beautiful words of faith, hope, and love. What a gift.

GOOD NIGHT (as I type this into the wee midnight hours).

So tell me:

Some recent fun facts about yourself!

Have you ever tried a Montreal bagel OR poutine?

What is something that has touched your heart recently? 

Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester

{Second Semester of Grad School}

It’s been another relatively long hiatus, but we BACK. Finals were stressful. This senior year of undergrad/first year of PT grad school was wild. But we did it; we finished undergrad!!

I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Health Studies this past weekend. People call it a “fake” degree, because it’s sort of just a dummy bachelor’s degree to acknowledge that we’ve received an undergraduate education, but the Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the end of this 6-year program is what we’re really here for. Two more years until that, God willing!

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Although I haven’t been blogging much at all in these past 9 months, I can’t neglect to do my traditional “what I learned” post at the end of the semester. I have no idea where this one is going to go, to be honest. I have learned truly countless lessons that cannot be exhaustively listed in this blog post. However, I’ll do my best to recount this grand ol’ journey in list form!

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1. Dairy probably makes me break out, but not enough to make me want to give it up for more than the 40 days of Lent.

2. I do laundry more often than most college students (I do it every 7-12 days), and it’s costing me a FORTUNE (especially since it’s $10+ for wash and dry at my laundromat!!!).

3. Alllllll about the lower extremity. Hip, knee, ankle problems? Let me have a look at it (with my non-professional student PT eyes)!

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4. Also a whole crap ton about neuroscience that I did not expect I would learn going into PT school. Even my neuroscience major BFF (Rachel) was impressed with how much we were learning.

5. The pain of doing God’s will.

6. The incomparable beauty of doing God’s will.

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7. How to do split screen on a Mac computer.

8. How to set aside time for people who mean a lot to me, despite a busy schedule.

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9. I like Shawn Mendes’ music (“Youth” is my JAM currently).

10. Curried tuna salad is a FANTASTIC Friday meal.

11. How to have a little less of a big mouth.

12. How to be less judgmental of others.

13. The discipline of not listening to music after 10pm (as I realize that it’s 10:30pm and I forgot to turn off my Spotify… whoops).

14. I can blog if I set aside a short time for it every day.

15. How to be okay with the mess.

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16. How to communicate better and to be honest with myself and others.

17. How to fall in love with God even more.

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18. Body shape-wise, I’m the roundest/fullest I’ve been in several years (or ever?), but I’m probably the happiest with my body and can do more physically than I ever have been able to do.

19. I have medial tibial stress syndrome (aka shin splints), and I don’t even run that much. The best/worst part is that I know how to help myself.

20. Long term acute care PT is right up my alley, and I could see myself working in that kind of setting.

21. I’m still into selfies.

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22. How to lead a retreat.

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23. Uncomfortableness is a very good thing sometimes.

24. How to reflect on all these things that God does in my heart, just like the Blessed Virgin Mary did throughout her life.

25. God is good. All the time.

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That’s what I have for now! Hopefully the first half of summer will lend to some more blogs (maybe VLOGS!?). I’ll be staying in Boston working as a gross anatomy teaching assistant again, and then I have clinical starting in July. It’ll be busy but good (hopefully)!

Thanks, Madre and Pop ♥

So tell me:

What are some things you’ve learned this year!? 

 

 

The Mess of Life

Hello.

Greetings from NY! I figured I should write a blog post while I’m on spring break. It’s sad and strange that I don’t automatically think to write a blog post in my spare time anymore. This blog means so much to me, but I feel it slipping through the cracks (JK it slipped through the cracks, like, 6 months ago).

This blog has evolved as I have evolved as a person. I still have great interest in food and fitness, but there are simply (or rather, less simply) more things to which I need to direct my attention and energy in this season of life.

One of those things is academics. Things are still busy, but now that the great learning curve of my first graduate semester has passed, PT school has become a bit more exciting, and I have yet to approach the brink of despair (*overdramatized for effect*) as I did last semester. I also completed a 6-week, part-time clinical in a long term acute care hospital, which I loved (not just because I got to wear scrubs aka the work-acceptable pajamas). It’s all still hard work, but I’d be worried if it wasn’t so.

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could be worse

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Academics is 50% of life. The other 50% is just this wild freakin’ ride that my heart and soul are on right now. It’s like one of those rickety wooden rollercoasters (actually my fave kind) that have superb thrill factor but could also snap and break at any moment.

There is only so much I am willing to share about this roller coaster of my life, but overall, I have learned a lot.

I’ve learned about what is too much for my heart to handle.

I’ve learned about what makes my heart truly joyful and at peace.

I’ve learned how to be honest with myself regarding both of those things.

I’ve learned that I make so many mistakes over and over again, despite having good intentions.

I’ve learned about my weaknesses and what I really need from others.

I’ve learned about my strengths and what I can give to others.

I’ve learned to find the good in others, but also to put down my foot when others are not good for me.

I’ve learned that it is better to find beauty in pain than to find pain in what seems beautiful on the surface.

I’ve learned to be okay with all of the above, because life is a MESS. A. Darn. Mess. That’s my word of the year so far, and I’m okay with that.

I’ve learned that God is here in this mess and that I don’t have to run away from it all. He never changes and reminds me always that He has never abandoned me and He never will. He is faithful, and He makes all things new.

And on top of all that/to change subject, my best friend is engaged (and she asked me to be her maid of honor AHHHH)!!!

Rachel visited NY for spring break earlier this week too! It was nice to spend time with the bride-to-be. Truly just having heart to heart conversations from morning ’til night.

I also co-directed the Catholic Center retreat this semester with my friend Austin, so that was a doozy. But more than anything, it was a wonderful and humbling experience. The theme was “beauty through humility and obedience,” which I suggested in the first place, but I didn’t realize how much I personally needed that message this semester until we were on retreat.

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hearts that are His #retreat #totustuus

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Me: “What’s something we both like to do?” ➔ Austin: “Uhhh, work out?” ➔ Me: “Okay, we shall flex.”

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the seniors ♥ 

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Sarah, a source of peace and joy

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sums up my friendship with Janice (so much love and appreciation for her)

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the killer retreat team

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“More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart…”

— Jeremiah 17: 9-10

^^^Too true.

Alive and well. Breathing and smiling. Failing and learning. Praying and growing.

My mess is minuscule compared to others’ messes, but it’s all one big Jackson Pollock painting — pretty cool in the end.

So tell me:

About the mess in your life.

Something new you did this past month!

 

The Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester {First Semester Grad School}

OooOooohohohoOooooOOOOh where to even BEGIN!?

I already gave a glimpse of this wild semester when I posted way back during Thanksgiving, but I must say again…it has been eventful. A plethora of thoughts and emotions stampede through my mind when I even begin to think about these past four months — so many, in fact, that I more often than not feel numb to everything and have to cerebrally reflect on how much I’ve experienced.

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With that, here’s my attempt at rehashing my first senior year / PT grad school semester.

  1. Grad school is hard. I was definitely expecting it to be different from my undergraduate experience, but I was not expecting such a steep learning curve.
  2. I still like physical therapy (praise the LORD).
  3. I very literally would not have made it if it were not for the support, encouragement, and joy of my friends in the PT program with me.IMG_0936
  4. I must study with other people in order to do well in PT school. I swore by self-studying for the past three years of college, but now it is an absolute necessity to study with others 80% of the time in order to succeed.IMG_1055
  5. Grades truly do not reflect one’s ability to be an excellent professional.
  6. Nor do grades reflect personal worth (I knew this before, but I was challenged to deeply believe it for myself this semester).
  7. Oh. so. much. about physical therapy. And we’ve only scraped the surface.IMG_0591
  8. I kind of like PT in an acute setting, even though the class that taught acute PT interventions was r o u g h at the start for me.
  9. I’ve discovered that I have poor motor control of my right thumb, potentially due to phone scrolling. Embarrassing.
  10. I used to run with poor foot strike form, but Janice helped me to run with a softer forefoot strike. (Hereafter, I stop talking about PT. Thanks. Sorry.)
  11. Janice also helped me to love running more and make me believe that I can be a decent runner if I wanted to be. Do I want to be though…? Question for another day.IMG_0488
  12. I need to improve my communication skills via text / email to avoid misinterpretation, disappointment, and unintended hurt.
  13. I can definitely eat overnight oats every day of my life and not get sick of them.
  14. Putting shredded zucchini in my overnight oats makes my friends cringe, but it’s now one of my favorite and easiest ways to eat more vegetables (it’s like spinach in a smoothie; ya can’t taste it, I swear).IMG_E0464
  15. Praying every day is as critical to my life as breathing is, and taking 30 minutes to attend daily Mass when possible is always worth it.
  16. If I am not intentional as heck (← stole that phrase from some lovely friends of mine) with seeing friends and talking to loved ones, it won’t happen in grad school. It either goes into the calendar the minute I want to make plans, or it never happens.IMG_0924
  17. Packing breakfast / lunch / dinner for the next day takes eons. How do mothers do this for their minivan full of children???
  18. Food and fitness have not been the least bit stressful to me this semester, probably because I’ve had no brain space to stress over it, and that is a beautiful thing. It’s been there for health, survival, and enjoyment, and that is it.IMG_0893an example of food for freakin’ enjoyment (that’s cheesecake on top of the milkshake @ Boston Burger Company)
  19. Keeping up to date with current events is a big weakness of mine that I want to improve.
  20. I am never alone. Every movement of the heart has been experienced by someone else and often by Jesus Christ Himself.IMG_1062
  21. I am terrible at saying what I mean.
  22. How to be a girlfriend. (!!)IMG_0631
  23. SO MANY darn things about patience, humility, how to receive love, and how to give love, heavily due to #22.IMG_1019
  24. How to learn from others. Yes, I learned how to learn from others. It’s called humility and openness to trying new things.IMG_1049
  25. How to answer difficult questions and use my brain until it almost physically hurts.
  26. How to utilize every last inch of a drying rack for my large loads of laundry.
  27. I don’t know how to keep myself from filling my backpack to the brim with stuff every day. It looks like I’m about to hike Everest on a daily basis.
  28. Best friends are faithful.IMG_0386
  29. We’re gonna freakin’ make it.
  30. Saying, “…but it’s a beautiful life,” in the midst of the most stressful moments is a good and helpful thing to do.DSC_3910
  31. God is faithful. When God tells us, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,” {Is 41:10} He means it. He allows hurt and painful growth, but He always helps.

There’s no way to avoid this sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech, but guatever…

Thank you to every single person who I’ve encountered this semester; every friend who has talked, studied, ate, laughed, cried, screamed, and prayed with me; every person who prayed for me; every moment that hurt me; every moment that made me feel on top of the world; every person who genuinely loved me; every person who did a random act of kindness for me or for someone else; you for reading this; my family; and the Author of Life, who gave me the privilege of experiencing it all for yet another semester.

So tell me: What have you learned these past four months!?