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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Create a Personal Renaissance Movement: Simple Advances Towards Growth

Oct 31, 2013 02:55PM ● By Mandy B. Fernandez

Life can become mundane at times. As busy individuals, we work, provide for our families and fall into a routine. As time drifts by, we may stop growing artistically in new ways. However, we can change that. We can have a more engaging, fulfilling life. Through personal challenges, stepping out of our comfort zones and trying new things, we can all rediscover ourselves and become better beings.

These are ways to create a Renaissance movement and tap into a more creative self.

Dedicate a month to literacy. Books enhance the mind and challenge people mentally. A great way to appreciate today’s current literature is to explore the classics. Titles such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye are some of America’s favorites. We can even write reviews of the titles we read. Another great tip is to study unfamiliar vocabulary words from the stories. Reading books is a wonderful way to learn new places, discover interesting types of people and even find values for everyday conflict and resolution.

Try a new physical activity. Our bodies need a challenge too. Try a new physical activity that may have seemed previously daunting. For example, running can be a turn-off for many people. They find it difficult to perfect the right stride and associated breathing techniques. Northwest Pensacola has many races and opportunities for individuals to take up running. There are clubs dedicated to teach even novices how to master the art. Signing up for a race with a friend or loved one is also a great bonding experience. When we push ourselves further, harder or faster through physical endurance, we leave a positive impact on our souls.
Eat strange, new foods. Our taste buds need diversity, too. Having a staple of regular recipes is wonderful, but mixing it up can be an enjoyable, fun experience. We tend to eat the same foods we grew up eating, so as adults, we need to branch out into new cuisines. If friends and colleagues talk about foods and recipes we don’t know, we should ask them to share with us. There are many types of foods that typical Americans are unfamiliar with—from the Mediterranean, Orient and other exotic places. Add a new spice like curry to the plate. Try that funny-looking vegetable that caught our eye from the farmers’ market. Cook with beets in place of tomatoes. By eating strange foods, we may discover just how amazing the variety is and what we were missing all these years. The palate needs variety to make it pleased, just like people do.

Reduce spending for a month. In today’s on-the-go, fast paced world, we may lose consciousness of our spending habits. Family’s budgets are tighter these days, and parents especially must find ways to cut corners. Vow for several weeks not to spend any unnecessary dollars. Acceptable items can be groceries, gas and utilities. Look for free family activities. Cook meals using only what is stocked in the pantry or freezer. Avoid eating out for a month. Promise not to spend money on drive-through coffee drinks or treats. When we simplify our routine and reduce spending habits, we put more money in our pockets and create more quality, creative time with our families. By not being frivolous, we can be more imaginative with our kids. Saving money may not be easy, but the hidden value is worth it.

Write love letters. Think of the positive people that impact the world around us, such as heroes, friends, colleagues and relatives that mean the most. Make a list of those amazing people and let each one know how special they are. Take time to write notes to each person and express love or appreciation. Mail the letters to surprise those people. The process of composing and sending each note is both spiritually and emotionally uplifting. This allows reflection on where we have been and where we are now as individuals. Letter writing is another creative way to express admiration to those influences around us.

Join a new group. Seek out a new group beyond the typical social circle. Decide on the best hobby, the most educated peers and who might inspire us. Find others that are like-minded and some that are completely different, for the best, most enlightening experience. Look for individuals that offer positive feedback and support. With today’s Internet resources, finding a group is easy. Search for leaders that compel. When we find the right activity and the specific people who fortify us, we take our passions to the next level.

Do something daring. To grow further, we should do something that both excites and frightens us. Find a bold task to do and complete it. That act doesn’t have to be a crazy mission like jumping out of an airplane (although it could be). It might be something simple like volunteering to lead a project in the community, speaking in public or making travel plans to foreign lands. Even a physical change such as altering a hairstyle or appearance can be courageous. Create a list of things to achieve. Write it down. Just the act of writing it is a step in the right direction.

Individuals are capable of more than they realize. When we fall into an ordinary way of thinking, we stop believing that we can achieve extraordinary things. We stop advancing. Be a Renaissance man or woman and add more vigor to life.

Mandy B. Fernandez is a freelance writer in Pensacola. Contact her at

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