It was dark by 6 pm, but pitch black by 7 pm. At first I read a few pages of a book by flashlight. When that got exhausting I played with the flashlight by creating different shapes in the shadows with my one free hand and voices to go along. I amused myself for a while. This power outage brought into sharp focus how dependent we are on electricity – being without tv, smartphones/tablets, and especially the Internet is hard. As I relaxed in the dark I imagined what people did before the days of radio, tv, and Internet to entertain themselves.
After a while I caught myself smiling. Why did I feel so happy though I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything? I was brain exercising. I was reciting stories and songs I learned as a child; “What a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong came to mind so I belted it out loud as if I were back in the 5th grade in my elementary school auditorium with my music teacher on the piano; then I was in my neighborhood park jumping rope, swinging on metal swings with my friends, eating 50 cent ice pops. I thought of people I hadn’t seen in years, I wondered how they are? I thought of some people I need to check up on, send cards to, or visit. I made a mental list. Finally, I remembered a few good things that I have been blessed with. All these memories and thoughts brought me joy; that’s why I was smiling.
In the still of darkness I sat still long enough to remember the beauty of living. In spite of the daily chaos that comes with life, if you pause long enough and disconnect from the news, social media, tv shows…you may come to realize the beautiful moments you’ve lived through, the memories you’ve created, each person who left a footprint in your life. I’m sure there are some great ones you could share. Take time to do so. There’s nothing like the human connection.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
Have you ever felt you were running out of time? Have you felt a sense of urgency to get something done? How do you reign in the galloping horses in your mind and get to setting a plan to achieve your goal?
I have many thoughts and ideas but find it hard to concentrate on one thing. I work on this a little bit, that a little bit… but this isn’t always productive because it takes a long time to fully accomplish one thing. So I think what I will focus on doing now is setting goals and creating timelines of when I want to accomplish a task. I’ve been told for years the importance of setting goals; in my mind I set things I want to accomplish but rarely have I put them down in writing: to make it real, concrete.
For example, I want to publish a book. I haven’t decided if it will be a children’s book, a fictional novel, a first person documentary, etc. What I’ve been doing wrong is playing out stories in my mind but not putting them in writing, or starting on one story but not working it all the way through. So what I’m determined to do is create a writing schedule and make time to complete a book. This I know will make me happy.
What are some of your goals? What steps will you take to reach your goal? Where will you look for inspiration?
Can you imagine facing tragedy, heartbreak, or pain and not having anyone to support and comfort you? That would make the obstacle that much harder to get through. So can you be that friend, brother, sister, aunt, niece, cousin… that others can turn to for comfort and encouragement?
Recently a friend lost her mother, another lost her son, and another confided they’ve been battling depression and frightening thoughts. And still if you watch the news your heart surely aches for all the tragedy in the world. I know I can’t solve the world’s problems nor do I always have the right words of comfort, but I think what means most to the sufferer is my presence. Being genuine and understanding that they feel pain, and though I can’t remove it, I understand and I’m suffering with them. That’s what empathy is. Being able to feel what the other person is feeling then showing compassion. We were created with this divine quality so we could add color and love to one another’s lives in this cold, dark world. It helps makes trials bearable. We can face them with courage knowing that our loved ones encircle us ready to carry us through.
I hope you have empathetic friends in your circle. I hope you’re that empathetic friend in return.
If you don’t celebrate success it won’t celebrate you.
Sometimes we forget to be proud of ourselves, to celebrate our accomplishments. We get wrapped up in setting up/ meeting/ exceeding the next goal we forget to enjoy the present one. Or we focus on what we haven’t accomplished, what weighs us down, daily responsibilities…kill joys.
But I have so many friends who are achieving goals and I want them to know I celebrate them, I’m proud of them, and they inspire me. Some are taking charge of their health by meal planning, eating clean, exercising. Some have started their own businesses, while others have moved on from un-supportive employers to ones that meet their needs. Others have moved places to follow their dreams. Many are raising successful families – some as single parents; some have written books, while others courageously face the world each day despite illness and anxieties.
What I realize all of these people have in common is faith and the belief that they deserve happiness and peace. So they set goals and take action until they succeed. It’s such a good feeling when you attain a desire. This joy could be fleeting though if you don’t celebrate your accomplishment because you feel you must find something else to do right away. Of course it’s good to keep growing and learning and progressing. But it’s just as important to pause and reflect on your successes. You’ll feel a sense of gratitude, contentment, pride, and motivation to keep pushing forward. If not, it will be a never-ending rat-race that will sap your energy.
So take a moment and reflect on how you showed up and showed out. I bet you killed the game. Now I bet you’re beaming with pride.
The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that
Toughness. The ability to recover from difficulties. Resilience.
This is not always easy. Especially when the problem is challenging and long-lasting. You can feel defeated, hopeless, tired, and want to give up. But giving up should never be a first option. True, at one point you have to learn to let go, but that’s only after you’ve tried everything possible to make the situation work. Once none of your efforts pan out then maybe it’s time to consider a different option, another angle, a new strategy.
In the meantime find the strength to endure by praying for courage and to have the right attitude. Find a confidant and reveal your concerns, share ideas and solutions. Take time for self-care, to rest, have fun. Contemplate on all that you’ve overcome and survived, all your blessings. Sing a joyful song loudly, go on a nature walk and enjoy the magnificent creation around you. You’ll find a measure of peace and clarity.
Challenges don’t define us. But the lessons we learn and the characteristics we develop from them often do. So learn resilience. Don’t give up quickly or give others your power. Resilience will help you cope with life’s challenges with hope -eager expectation, expectation of good . This way you’ll always be victorious.
“always remember just how rare you are – there is no one quite like you.”
I like this thought. I am uniquely and divinely designed with love. I am the sole prototype of me, I cannot be duplicated. I am fine as I am, a rare treasure.
That’s true of you too.
Self-love is important. When we love ourselves we take time to improve our character, our health, our intelligence…; we try to be the best version of ourselves. We don’t compare ourselves – our accomplishments, failures, circumstances- to the next person. We don’t let who the next person is or has define our worth. We modestly accept that we’re unique – we accomplish impressive things, yet we never think we’re better than the next person- who to is a unique prototype.
We don’t let people talk down to us, belittle us, or make us feel worthless. Even failures don’t define us – instead we learn and grow; we don’t fit into just any mold. We were created with a variety of attributes and characteristics that makes us unique. Embrace them and shine brightly in your own space. Move over, there’s enough room.
I took the day off today and tomorrow. I feel so happy. I’m learning the importance of self-care and being in tune with my mental, physical, and emotional needs. I woke up early still but an instant smile and a light- heartedness over flowed within me when I remembered I could use each hour in the next 48 hours the way I choose. I could be productive, I could be lazy, I could do something halfway in between.
That’s exactly what I did. I took time to handle things that are important to me and I took time to rest- to let my mind wander, then caught it right on time before I started thinking of responsibilities and work. I must say I felt a little guilty laying around not doing anything. But why should I feel guilt? I think we’re so programmed to always be on the go that we find it difficult to relax, to not have to be busy doing something every waking hour.
So I’m really at peace today. So grateful for being able to take time for me, to de-stress, to enjoy the sunshine, to use time how I want. I’m very happy today. I hope the same for you. I hope you take time to do you.