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.
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.
I could never pick just one as my favorite because there’s something captivating about each. Yellow is fun and whimsical; pink is soft and nurturing; red is bold and feisty, purple is royal; green is natural and calming while blue is energetic; black is confident and strong while white is pure…at least that’s how I view them. So I tend to say my favorite color is in the berry family, like fuchsia or magenta. They’re Striking yet not over bearing. So beautiful. But truly I love most colors. Color adds texture to your personality.
What color would you use to describe how you’ve been feeling?
I’d say lately I’ve been a mashup of many colors. With the pace of life- trying to get to and balance each responsibility- with life constantly changing and having to make adjustments, it all can be overwhelming. I balance that by making time for the more important things which include taking care of me. If I’m constantly expending myself then one day I’ll be all used up. What’s that line from that Bill Withers song, “keep on using me till you use me up”? That doesn’t work for me. And it shouldn’t work for you either.
Because we’re industrious and compassionate many of us tend to give our best to everyone else, like our employers and family, and what we have left for ourselves is just the rest. Keep going like that and eventually you’ll have nothing for yourself or others.
So take time to enjoy the colors of life. “Taste the rainbow”. You’ll be happier, and since joy is contagious you’ll inspire others to be colorfully happy too.
“Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.” – Bob Marley
It’s all in your attitude. What your mind thinks your heart feels. What your heart feels reflects in your speech, demeanor, and health.
These past few weeks have been tough. I allowed myself to be filled with negative thinking and overwhelmed with anxiety. Some problems I created in my mind- situations that really didn’t even exist, or wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. I felt physically and emotionally drained, barely able to get on with my days. What I learned from this is the mind is very powerful, what we feed it will define what we get from it.
So to get over this slump I had to actively work at controlling my thoughts. Each time I was well up with anxious thoughts I prayed. I prayed for a calm heart and positive thoughts. Then I focused on something good, like the picture of my nephew being silly trying to eat his first cantaloupe 🍈. Other times I talked it out with a friend. Friends are blessings for sure. Exercising helps too, you release negative energy while taking care of your health. But I think what step must be taken is taking time to analyze the situation. Is it really as bad as you made it out to be? Oftentimes you’ll find the situation is workable. What can help you feel better is how you view it. If your thoughts are negative you’ll stress more and find you have little energy to make it through the situation. On the other hand if you put things in perspective you’ll find a bit of courage to carry on.
So don’t just get wet in the rain; feel it. Yes life is tough, but there are many blessings to be had if we appreciate the little things- like the rainbow that came out after the rain. Focusing only on bad things will rob you of joy. You can’t live fully without joy. Continue to count your blessings and make each day count.
It’s true if you’re discouraged your strength will be meager. Focusing on every problem that comes along and wallowing in it – then creating more problems in our minds that doesn’t even exist is not healthy. Stress kills. When it scares you to wake up each morning because you can’t mentally and emotionally face the day, or when you can’t quiet your thoughts at night to rest then you need to pause and examine what’s going on.
Do you need encouragement? Let your family and friends knows. A good word spoken at the right time is comforting.
Do you need some time off? Take it. “A live dog is better off than a dead lion”
Do you need professional help? Seek it. Mental and emotional health is as important as physical health. They work together.
Everyday we have to face life’s challenges, and it’s hard not to carry the weight of the world when we care. I find that turning off the news and all the negative stories on social media is sometimes necessary.
I caught a glimpse of the sun setting as I drove; Instantly I felt calmer because I saw the beauty in creation and remembered to be thankful for being able to experience it. I was at the beach and as we walked along the shore I felt awe at its majestic power. Where does the sea begin and where does it end? How much life is really down there? I felt so small in comparison, but thankful for its existence. How unimportant and futile some things seemed at the moment – like the $2000 purse I recently saw at a mall. There’s beauty in creation- so much knowledge to gain by studying it.
So I’m choosing to focus on these things. Yes, we have to deal with issues that arise, yes we have to problem solve and quench life’s fires, but we don’t have to dwell in negativity and lose joy, peace, or health. There may be truth to something I read: life is 20% what happens to you and 80% how you react. Training our minds to remain happy and hopeful despite trials can build resilience. Then we’ll be better prepared to cope with challenges.
I was driving home after the gym and a quick run to the grocery store – sort of distracted by the gummy bears I was savoring. Then I looked right and a lady was dancing merrily on the side-walk – eyes closed, hands in the air snapping, with the widest smile. She had no concern with who could be watching her; she was light hearted and happy. I wondered what she was celebrating. I laughed with her, danced as I drove away: mood instantly lifted.
I had to run another errand. Again I saw something captivating: a beautiful Indian family dressed in native garb sitting together on a bench under the shade of a luxuriant tree sharing an intimate conversation. It was the children, parents, and grand-parents- at least three generations. My first thought was how beautiful! Then I thought this is what living is!
See I’ve had a few disappointing experiences lately: some “Nos” Where I expected “Yeses”, so I was in my feelings somewhat. I had a pleasant day though. I worked and had music playing all day; I sang and danced along. But still there was a hint of disappointment lingering. But those two experiences reminded me there’s always a blessing to recount, celebrate. I had a pleasant day: a blessing! I spoke to some family and friends throughout the day: a blessing.
Some things we chase is like chasing the wind, of no real value – like riches and glory. Of what benefit are these things if we have no peace? If we have no one to share them with? If we’re never satisfied?
I’m grateful for the gift of music. I’m grateful for the gift of sound. I’m grateful to have family and friends that are family. I’m grateful for my feet, toes, legs so I could dance.
It’s important to take time to enjoy life. Let go of the day’s stresses by dancing – who cares who’s watching? You may inspire someone to be joyful and dance too. Make time for what’s most important: Family!
There’s something about warm weather that makes people kinder, happier. With the sun shining I am more open, more energized, more joyous.
I attended a wedding and the couple, dressed to impress, exchanged the most beautiful heartfelt vows. I teared up as I felt their love and remembered how beautiful love is. One thing for sure: the world is in a love deficit. I could hardly stand the horror reported on the news. After a few minutes I have to turn away.
To pull myself from the negative space the news put me in one day, I stepped outside and sat in the sun and listened to the bird’s songs. I saw a few cardinals and what I believed were blue jays flying fiercely and chasing after one another; I chuckled. My neighbors love to garden and have nurtured a great variety of flowers and plants, and even added bird feeders – what beauty they’ve added to our neighborhood! My heart felt peaceful . The beautiful things of life drowned the horrors 5 minutes of the news created. I remembered all the blessings we’ve been give: family, variety in species, the color spectrum, the gift of joy, but most importantly love.
Having love makes me happy . Sharing love keeps me alive. True the world is scary, but being guided by love keeps me self-less. Love is the antidote to hate. Having love makes us human. Showing care and concern for others, I believe, reduces the pain and suffering we often burden others with.
“If I have all the faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”