Word of the Year ~ Mindfulness

In choosing my word for the year, I went back and forth a bit between the words love and mindfulness. For a few months, it was looking like the word love was going to be the word, because it is definitely something which I wish to foster more over the next 12 months. Last year could have easily been summed up into one word, and that word would have been – harsh.

2018 was filled with harsh lessons, health issues, and a good bit of general lack of direction for good measure. For the latter half of the year, I had found myself feeling quite lost. There were parts of myself which seemed to have all but disappeared, and I was on a mission to not only regain them, but to expand and improve them. So, when the time of year came to start choosing a word for this year I asked myself what word would encompass what I would need to foster the work that I was doing with all of the above.

The word love kept coming up, because one of the things which had seemed to change in me over the last year was my own feeling of love for the world at large…it had hardened a bit and there were a lot of feelings of mistrust for others and especially myself. Core parts of myself and my beliefs about things were rattled to their foundations. Then, I started to dig deeper and the word mindfulness just clicked into place as the word for 2019, because it encompasses not only a higher capacity for love, but many other things which will bring me closer to being the person I’ve always been at my deepest levels.

Definition of mindfulness 

1 : the quality or state of being mindful

2 : the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis also : such a state of awareness

I’ve been working with mindfulness for the past several months, and let me tell you, allowing myself to be more present with my state of being has been nothing short of amazing. The biggest thing I’ve noticed with this practice so far is that I’m becoming a lot less reactive. By being in the moment, acknowledging what is without judgement, or worse…overanalyzing things by diving into the past or trying to look to far ahead (which has always been hard for me), my life has begun to change in ways I’ve always wished for.

In just the last few months, I’ve seen a huge shift in my feelings about myself and the world. I am able to be much more of an observer of what is, and this has allowed me to be more appreciative and patient. The interesting thing about this is that at the same time, I am much more able to step back when needed, because my feelings of responsibility for and attachment to outcomes has done a complete turn around. This has been the most refreshing thing I’ve ever experienced, and that is not an exaggeration.

All of this has made it easier to transition back into a more creative state of being. This is something which I’m tremendously grateful for, because this was another one of the things that had taken a big hit over the past year or so, along with my sense of spirituality. Those two things are such an integral part of my core that it was literally painful to experience a prolonged period of time wondering if I’d find them again. Finding a mindfulness practice feels like it saved my life, perhaps literally.

Rather than staying stuck in the loop of trying to force myself to get back to “normal”, I learned to acknowledge and honor what was for a while. So, I spent a few months taking care of what absolutely needed to be done, checking in with how I was feeling, then sitting on my couch binge watching various shows on Netflix and Hulu. I learned to let go of my expectations of myself and others too. After a while, I had given myself permission to just be where I needed to be and enjoy the moment, instead of trying to rush myself through the process.

Before I go, I want to thank everyone who has stuck with me through this huge transition phase. 2018 taught me just how amazing some of the people in my life are. Here’s to a wonderful, and smoother 2019!

Much love ❤

 

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Choice

I was falling short of inspiration for today’s post, so I went on Pinterest, scouring for journaling prompts. Some of the most amazing ones that I found all came from the same site, Journaling Sage. It was difficult to pick one, because there are so many great ones on the site. The one that I finally selected was:

What choice can you make today to be more free?

This question is perfect for me right now. The feeling of freedom is something which I’ve been reaching out for more and more. I’ve been making a lot of choices in the name of freedom this year. Some of them haven’t been the easiest to do, yet all of them have been necessary in one way or another.

For today however, I’m choosing the freedom to choose. I choose to give myself permission to feel what I feel, to do what feeds the higher parts of myself, to stand tall in my right to not only give respect but to receive it, and to release guilt associated with doing what’s best or necessary for me even when it means saying no.

This may seem elementary to some of you, but for others of us it isn’t always so simple. When wading through these waters, there is a lot of self discovery which takes place. With some much appreciated help, I recently discovered that somewhere along the way I had given away some of my power in the area of how I permit others to treat and speak to me. While I know exactly where this loss occurred, there is no need to share that here because to do so would only serve to give a negative impression of people from the fairly distant past. Doing that is something which I do not desire to do, nor is it my job. They do/have done a fine enough job of that on their own.

Sometimes it is difficult to get to the bottom of our needs. I am always grateful when I am able to recognize areas of my life which need some adjustment in order for me to be lighter and happier. The choice has been made, and I feel better already just for being able to see what had been going on and knowing that it is perfectly within my power to change it. That’s one of the many beautiful things about life…that we always have a choice.

What choice will you make today?

 

 

 

Dignity

For the purposes of this post, I am only using a few of the possible meanings of the title word of this post. To see the entire definition of the word, please click below: Dictionary.com

noun, plural dignities.
1.

bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
2.

nobility or elevation of character; worthiness:

dignity of sentiments.

Dignity is one of those things which many of use do not give a whole lot of thought to for at least part of our lives. Either we do not think about it, or we hadn’t been taught the value of it. The hope is that at some point that we figure out how valuable it is, and how to restore it. We’ve all done things in our lives which may not have been in line with a sense of dignity. However, all things have the potential to lead us there.

The reason for that last line is that it would be very easy to feel so ashamed of things in the past that it feels as though we are not worthy of self-respect or a sense of dignity. Trust me, I get that. I also know that it is never too late. When we start putting the pieces of ourselves back together, all things are possible.

Perhaps we were taught or told as children that we weren’t worth much and we went through our lives believing this to one extent or another. That one is a tough nut to crack, yet with time and repetition, we can turn the volume of those ancient voices down or even hit the mute button. Once we realize that those negative messages were less about us and more about the person who planted them, it becomes simpler to let it all fade into the background. While working through all of that, it is key that we do not allow that realization to turn into anger, because that is not productive. Not only that, but we can turn it around and use those experiences to learn how to do better by ourselves and perhaps help others to do the same.

 Please try to remember that a desire to help others does not make their actions, or acceptance of the advice or example your responsibility. A few days ago, I read something to the effect of ‘caring is not the same as carrying’. I’m sure that it wasn’t worded exactly like that, and I do not remember where I read it, but the sentiment is one which automatically stuck with me.

Often, we can trace many of the things we’ve done of which we aren’t proud back to negative programming or events in our earlier years. This doesn’t give us a pass, but it does help us to understand the origins of our feelings and do something to avoid taking similar actions in the future. We should also be a little gentler on ourselves, or less harsh in our self judgements. Why? Because deeply holding onto guilt or shame over past actions or words does not propel us forward into reclaiming our dignity.

So how to we get to that place? Through a process of realizing the untruth in the old beliefs and messages which led to the loss or dimming of our dignity, and making a conscious decision to uncover who we really are. There may be things we’ve done for which there will always be a sense of shame. This doesn’t mean that there is no redemption, or that we are not worthy of having a better life.  Even though we cannot undo or unsay things, we can absolutely give ourselves permission to rise above them from here on out.

My Turn

First off, let me start by writing a little bit about why I have this blog and who I am as a person. The point of this blog is to put out expressions of personal thoughts, experiences, and even creative writing which are (for the most part) positive and moving or entertaining. There have been times in which I’ve come here and talked a little about the challenges in my life. With that being said, the point of those posts have always been to convey the valuable lessons I’ve been provided through the challenges or to demonstrate the truth that we always have the ability to choose how we handle and/or react to things.

In a nutshell, I show up here to give encouragement or to share my love for poetry and creative writing. This is meant to be a positive space-a place where people drop in to be reminded that life is largely what we make it and to gather perspective for those times when it might be a little more difficult to remember that we can choose. Now, I’ll get to the point of the post which is reflected in the title…my turn.

I understand that people face many challenges in their lives and that our experience on this planet is one of learning. We gather wisdom and perspective along the way, and learn throughout the course of our time here how to handle the challenges which we will all be presented with. Difficulty walks through the door of every one of our lives, as do joy and triumph. My job here is not to become a sounding board for how much someone’s life sucks.

Let me repeat that- My job here is not to be a repository for anyone’s negative thoughts or outlook. As a matter of fact, I am going to come right out and say it…leave that stuff somewhere else. While looking for the silver lining in everything may not be everyone’s cup of tea, that’s how I live my life and that’s what this entire blog is about. This is my creation of a space of upliftment, sharing experiences with a positive twist, and creative expression. Of course we all need encouragement from time to time…yes, even me.

If you find yourself here and wish to state your case for how life keeps kicking you in the ass and that you have absolutely no say in the matter, this is not the place for you. As a matter of fact, I’ve had people who have been discouraged from expressing themselves in a more positive way because someone negative had beat them to the punch in the comments section. So, I am claiming this space for its intended purpose and if need be, I will turn comment moderation back on in order to get things back on track.

To be clear, there is a big difference between asking for a little support and grumbling about how you view your life as worse than just about everyone’s, and we all know the difference. So here I am asking you to respect the rules of engagement here, which are simple. No overt negativity and no arguing your case for why things are always stacked against you. As a person with more than her fair share of challenges, I can manage to come here five days a week and very rarely mention said challenges in a way which sounds like a woe is me statement.

From here on out, any comments which are overtly negative will not be replied to and will likely be deleted.

Meeting Life Halfway

Lately, I’ve been thinking a good bit about how much of a role we play in helping the Universe to honor our requests. Some people may call this praying, others making a wish, and others still something else. No matter what we choose to call it, the concept is the same. We have all at one time or another asked for help with something. There are all sorts of things which people ask for.

Being willing and ready to be proactive in our lives and not see ourselves as being “at the mercy of” fate (or another word of your choice) is important. Think of it this way. If I were to repeatedly ask to meet my soul mate, and then lament the fact that it wasn’t happening…yet, I sat in my home all the time working…would it be fair of me to be angry with the powers that be? No. Of course it wouldn’t. If my desire were to meet my soul mate, I’d have to put myself in a position for the universe to allow us to cross paths.

It’s the same with all areas of our lives. While I do not believe that we are in control of absolutely everything, I do believe that we have a much bigger role in our circumstances than many of us acknowledge. The point that I’m making here is that believing in miracles is something that I am all for. At the same time, I also believe that we often play a role in helping those miracles to manifest. It starts with our attitude and continues with our actions.

Some of you may think that I am contradicting the idea of having faith. The opposite is true. There is a difference between having faith and throwing your hands up in the air in frustration and waiting for someone else to handle it. Faith is made of two parts. Part one is believing that all things are possible. Part two is doing our part to get things moving in the right direction with both our thoughts and our actions. It’s kind of like ordering takeout. I could stand by my door all day wishing for someone to bring a delicious meal. Unless I pick up the phone or go online to place an order, I’m going to get pretty hungry.

On the other hand, let’s look at a scenario in which we wish for a better job. If I were to wish for a better job and start looking, yet I believed that there weren’t any to be found or that no one would hire me for the type of job that I desired, what do you think would happen? My negative beliefs about my ability to get a better job aren’t going to help my case. We all wield a lot more power than many of us believe. While sometimes things are out of our control, and ups and downs happen in all of our lives, we still have a choice in how we are going to choose to deal with them. There’s a lot to be said for the power of our convictions.

 

Just How Cheeky Are You?

Before getting into the subject, I wish you all of you a lovely full moon and Summer solstice. On this longest day of the year and brightly illuminated night, which are perfect energetic times for love, knowledge, protection and illumination; a post about what love is and the wisdom of knowing our responsibilities seemed fitting.

The other night, there was a discussion with someone about the process of learning what it means to step into your power lovingly and strongly. We talked about the concepts of forgiveness, love and responsibility. This conversation was about people who feel a calling to be of service to others in one form or another, and both learning and practicing discernment. To finally learn the difference between loving people and carrying loads which aren’t yours to bear, as well as what true forgiveness is, brings such profound freedom.

You see, caring and service oriented individuals are often taught either by others, or their own egos, that they are responsible for the outcome of the decisions of others. They are also under the impression that forgiveness means allowing themselves to be mistreated or neglected time and time again. Even worse is that they are led to believe that this is what the journey to enlightenment looks like. Most of you have heard the old adage, from the Bible, of turning the other cheek when you are wronged.

There is a big difference between sticking around for more and not retaliating. So many have taken the old saying a bit too literally, in my opinion. Sooner or later a person runs out of cheeks to turn and a choice has to be made, because eventually the damage from an imbalanced relationship will sink in to a person’s psyche and inflict harm. No one is responsible for enduring betrayals, maltreatment, or abuse in the name of turning the other cheek. The simple act of walking away is the high road. It frees you, and allows the other party to have space and time to rethink their actions. The important thing is that the responsibility for that rethinking lies strictly with them.

Being of service to others can take on many forms. The one thing that you can be certain of is that taking on responsibilities which aren’t yours is not necessary. Many times, we will take the stance that we should continue to endure relationships which aren’t healthy because it’s the “right thing to do”. At the end of the day, that voice is usually the voice of fear talking. Fear of losing the relationship with the other person. Fear of disapproval of others who have little understanding of the situation. Fear of failing to help someone enough.

If we look at those fear statements, we can easily see that service and love are nowhere in them. Remember this when, not if, you reach a point where you have run out of cheeks to turn. Sometimes, the kindest and wisest thing to do is to part ways with the sincere wish in your heart that the other person’s life leads them to what is in their highest good as you seek out that which is in your own. No need for revenge or holding onto toxic anger. A simple desire for the highest good of everyone involved truly is an act of love.