posts in category peace

Friday, July 17, 2020

5 Things You Should Know About Life by 30







Life is fantastic. It is an emotional roller coaster filled with ups and downs and sometimes it simply feels too hard. I was walking the halls of the building I am working in, and found myself envying the position and opportunities other people have. And that's when I had to take myself in hand and get tough. Envy might be useful for just a brief moment, but Envyland is no place to live.

Fighting Tooth and Nail


There are so many things I wish I had learned early in life. Some people appear to be born with an inner sweetness and fortitude which helps them navigate the wilderness of life and they appear on top early and stay on top. Others of us had a lifetime of the wrong kind of training forming our brain patterns in ways which seemed beneficial at first, but eventually led us deeper into the fog and away from civilized life (meaning acceptable norms and behavior). 

I am from the second camp. I have used tooth and nail to drag myself (along with the quiet helpful hands of those who have guided me tenderly and forgivingly) out of the self-imposed wilderness into, well, maybe the edge of the woods.  Yes, my mistakes have been totally humiliating, but no, they aren't who I am. I am so much more than just the bad. So I wanted to share some of the thoughts on life I have been having. To some of you, they may seem blindingly obvious. To others, the lesson is still buried in your subconscious waiting for the right time to flip the switch on to self-realization. 






5 Things You Should Know About Life by 30 (or earlier)

Note: You'll notice I have 30 instead of the 40 in the infographic. After reflecting on it, I realized I may have learned the lessons late, but learning them early is, naturally, preferable.


1. Forgiveness is key to happiness- This is one  idea that has been brought up time and time again, but being able to forgive people is essential for a happy life. Forgiveness doesn't mean letting someone hurt you over and over again. You need to do what you need to do to set and enforce your own boundaries for safety and peace of mind. But forgiveness means allowing someone to make their own mistakes without letting the choices they made blacken your heart forever. It is hard not to hold a grudge. Sometimes not holding a grudge can feel like weakness. It can feel like you are letting people walk all over you. But holding a grudge is like a cancer, encroaching upon your heart, eating away at the happy possibilities for the future. Bitterness can feel very right, but bitterness is the language of the ego and the ego is a child. The ego doesn't necessarily have your best interest at heart, even though it will present itself as doing so. Like a pleading child, the ego will tug at your emotions, begging to you avenge wrongdoings against you. But as long as you listen to ego, and struggle to hold anger and hate close, you will be hurt. Learn to forgive.


2. You can't always get what you want- I know it is shocking. It is even more so when others seem to have a golden lighted path leading the way into greatness with strong hands lifting them up along the way. Life doesn't seem fair. Meanwhile you find yourself striving and stumbling, and that which you want just seems to be out of reach. Like grudges, this can lead to a deep and dark bitterness. Learning to visualize the bitterness and anger being washed away has been very helpful to me. When I feel the burden building up on my shoulders I like to imagine golden rays of sunshine lighting my head with warmth as turquoise foaming waves crash gently against my shoulders. Lifting my burden, I am left with all that truly matters. These external desires will all dissipate eventually. The world itself will some day disappear. Learning to find peace and joy with what is inside, with what is real, is the key. 

3. You get to determine your worth- Noone else gets to decide your greatness. Not your parents, not your boss, not your lover. If you are happy with who you are and what you have accomplished, you are a success. Maybe your parents dreamed of you walking the halls in a white coat with a stethoscope wrapped around your neck. But your heart lights up at the smiling faces of your preschool students each day. You are a winner! Perhaps your boss doesn't think you are worthy of her inner circle- but your job gives you time to go home and paint spectacular paintings which thrill your soul. Winner. Maybe your lover wants you to earn more money and bring up their lifestyle, but peace is your ultimate goal. You get to make that choice. This doesn't mean you should be a jerk and not listen to input from others or continue to be valuable in the jobs and family roles that you are responsible for. It means not allowing someone outside of you to dictate how you feel about who you are and the value you bring to this world. That's up to you. 

4. Life is incredibly short- It's really a blink of an eye in the eternities of time. Balance wisdom with childlike curiosity. Save for retirement as early as you can. If you are in your 20's, start now! Don't put it off one more year. Take that income tax refund, or next raise and start investing it right away. There are a myriad of books available to help you get started. At the same time, have fun! Take that vacation. If you are like most people you will have to choose between experiences and things. I can't make that choice for you. My husband and I have chosen an older home with a lower price tag so we have more money for traveling and experiencing the world. If your heart lies in aesthetics, you might prefer living in a beautifully decorated home more than taking a vacation. Only you can decide what your values are. Do some soul searching-discover your values-what matters to you-and start making choices which honor those values. Don't wait. You can always start planning for your amazing life today.

5. Make the effort- If you want to connect with someone, make the first move. Send a text, call, stop by and visit. The worst that can happen? Well, I guess they could go on a radio show and share your heartfelt attempts in a mocking manner, but is that likely? And are they worth your time if they mock you? Take a deep breath and reach out. You might be the light of someone's day. Make the effort in all that you do. Relationship, work, play, rest. Don't be afraid of failure, hiding behind mediocrity, excusing your flaws away. Love yourself immensely and enough to keep striving towards the best version of yourself. Remember number 4. When you have decided your values, go full-force into attaining them. If you screw up, remember number 1. Forgive yourself. We are all learning. We are all perfect in our imperfections. Then stand back up and try again. I won't promise you will reach some arbitrary goal, but I will promise if  you don't try for what you want, regret will sink deep into your bones.  

At some point, life is painful for all us. But it can also be very rich, very rewarding, and very, very good.


Monday, May 11, 2020

How Using a Mantra Helps Me

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash



Why a mantra?


Do you have a mantra? I have been using them pretty often this year to direct my thoughts and calm my spirit.
When I first heard the term "mantra" years ago, it seemed like this weird, new-agey thing, that you just had to be Californian, named Chloe or Zoe, and sit around in long flowy dresses, or yoga pants being zen. Not me, for sure. But I still used them over the years, from time to time, and since last fall have been using them much more frequently.

What is a mantra?
man·tra
/ˈmantrə/
noun
  1. 1.
    (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
  2. 2.
    a statement or slogan repeated frequently.
    "the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap"
~From Oxford






Now, to me, of course the first one would be used in meditation. I have been known to use those occasionally, because the mind loves to wander. But in this case, I am talking about the second. I use mantras to calm my spirit when I feel it bubbling over (in a not-so-positive way). For example, "All is Well," is very helpful when I feel anxiety starting to build. "God is in control," is another simple phrase which helps me regulate anxiety. 

I have a headful of dreams I want to accomplish and often feel I am spinning my wheels and never getting there. Since I put hours and hours of work into my business and blog, I find it frustrating to not be getting where I want to be. Most of my reading suggests I need to just lay off a bit with the stress and worry. "Ask and ye shall receive." "Let the Universe know what you want, and then sit back and listen." These are the ideas floating around which I hear often. 

Now, there are conflicted opinions on what this means. Some people say to be very specific  about what you want, then sit back and watch and wait. Others say, "Well, God didn't just make this whole Universe so he can hand you a fancy mansion." Okay, they probably do, I made up that particular awkward sentence. So I think the truth lies somewhere in between. You need to be communicating with God in order to get the guidance to go where you need to go. Once you have talked to God, poured your heart out, let you wishes be known, then you can sit back and watch the events unfold. The thing is, they don't always unfold exactly the way you want them to. Perhaps you are praying for a fancy sports car. You may find yourself placed in a situation where that does indeed happen for you. Alternately, you may find your own self and heart being changed by a chain of events which makes that sports car no longer so very desirable. It's okay to want and expect things, but one needs to be open to growth and possibilities which were never imagained. 

What this leads me to, when I am feeling so frustrated with my lack of worldly success (although, goodness knows I have plenty and more! I have been very blessed), when I feel I am losing focus, and wonder why I keep spinning my wheels and sharing these thoughts, which are so embarrassing to share, I find the simple morning mantra, "Show me the way," to be helpful and calming.

"Show me the way," acknowledges there is a plan, there is a path, which leads to greater things and fulfilling destinies. It acknowledges I want guidance from God to get to get there. These simple words acknowledge my strong desire to do and create more in a powerful way. And they help me to feel peace and trust that help is coming.

For me, choosing a daily mantra, is like choosing an ongoing prayer in a sentence which I want to communicate it with God. Sometimes it is a simple affirmation to soothe my nerves, but often is a prayer, asking for guidance. When I feel confusion or anxiety or concern rising, I can simple take to prayer with my simple phrase, "Show me the way."

And once I let go out of the desire for a specific outcome, and realize this help may lead me down paths I never imagined, I can go forth with peace and joy that God will guide my heart towards the highest path of growth.

Finding your Mantra


If you are interesting in find your own mantra, a simple web search should lead you to a variety of sites with advice.

This one on Oprah.com explains how to choose  a mantra which is personally meaningful to you. 


What is Your Personal Mantra is a site which has a fun quiz. Although the pictures are no longer the working, the quiz still does-you will just have to read the explanation below where the picture should have been to read the "advice."

If you are trying to choose a mantra to supplement your yoga practice here are some ideas:








Thursday, February 13, 2020

"You Had a Bad Day."


You know it is one of those days when Daniel Powter's Bad Day is running through your brain like your theme song. It started early. It was just off. My classes were fine. The kids were fantastic. We talked and laughed, they asked questions, I answered. Behaviors were great. Even the kids who challenged me had valid points, which was refreshing. I got enough sleep. I liked my outfit. My hair was a little questionable, but nothing is perfect, right? But everything felt off. Every offhand comment felt like a smudge, a swipe, a swat against who I am as a person. And I felt this creeping shame crawling over my skin, flushing my face and branding me as a misfit. I dreamed of a hot bath and a good cry, but nothing was really WRONG. So there are no tears.
There was this thing nagging at me and bugging me, until big girl Jill, came up, snorted, labeled it jealousy, and I had no choice but to deny it and build a story to fight against it, or acknowledge it and roll with it. Big girl Jill is actually pretty wise, so I listened to her.
Then Tierney had a phone call from an upset customer wanting to know where her things were. I get it-she sent us a lot of money-but she neglected to note the page said these were preorders and wouldn't begin shipping until mid-February. So I called her back and soothed her, but this flashing "Failure" sign was lighting up my brain.

I haven't had my morning time this week. People keep waking up early, early before 5:30 a.m. and breaking into my spiritual time. I haven't FELT like listening to deep thoughts this week from my ebooks, and just want to coast along on a romantic song and a cloud. But without that time, my fortitude is down. My emotions are raw rather than cared for. So, I came home, made some brownies, and decided to pull it together.

So! here is my have a better day mini-pack. You're welcome.

First some ideas  https://www.theodysseyonline.com/100-things-to-do-when-youve-had-bad-day

Make some brownies. Seriously. Brownie batter makes everything better. Just don't get salmonella.

Listen to some of my favorite songs (don't laugh at my song choices, I fear I am a simple cliche. That's okay, you know. The right people still love me).
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYjZBZyb8_3DaOm16CLfq4lRNcrXvZpLO

I often go out for a diet soda in the evening to listen to music, get a break from putting Alec to bed, and get my second wind. But I think I might just take a bath tonight and just soak (but I am restless, so I don't know how that will go. It's hard to lay in a hot tub when your nerves are hopping all over the place).

Finally before bed I will watch a favorite show with my husband. Our go-to is Zoolander, but there won't be enough time. We'll probably catch some of The Office. Who doesn't love that show?

And it will be better.

What do YOU do to cheer yourself up?


https://youtu.be/gH476CxJxfg







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