If you want a change of scenery, sometimes you need to take a different path. You’ve heard the saying right…insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Admitting I was completely insane was the first step in a new and different direction. I was overcome with so many feelings . I was falling, drowning in my own routine wondering why not a single bit of happiness was in sight. Then I answered my calling to go back to yoga. It felt strange to be back on my mat. Actually my mat was like an old familiar friend but the room and people were different from what I expected. I took yoga kinda seriously and it took some repeating the mantra, do not judge to overcome the oddity of the girl singing a long with the music on the mat beside me. The class was slower paced that I was used to. Do not judge I reminded myself. Afterwards I was feeling more like my old self than I had in a while. I was overcome by the kindness as each person in the class came over to meet me. This was more than just a yoga class. This was a yoga tribe that has been desperately missing from my everyday life. I am so grateful for the experience and I am looking forward to going back again on Friday. If you think a small gesture of kindness can’t make a difference, I am here to remind you that it absolutely can. Go out and spread your light. Someone has been in the dark too long. Show them how to shine.
Sometimes it infuriates me how easily some people are able to ignore their responsibilities. If they don’t feel like doing something than they just aren’t going to do it. Doesn’t seem to matter if the consequence will affect them negatively. It’s more important to live in the moment and just do what feels good. I can’t help but wonder how different my own kids lives would be if I just didn’t feel like being their mom the past 18 years. Maybe I should have slept when they wanted to eat or ignored when they needed their pants changed. I see this pattern with my youngest and it drives me nuts. I didn’t set this kind of example. I didn’t phone it in or slack off or take a personal vacation from parenting or anything else when I just didn’t feel like being responsible that day. Granted it has gotten better with maturity and time but these little missteps have grave consequences and can undo weeks and months of hard work by one decision to be lazy. Am I alone here or is anyone experiencing the same thing? Not doing my work was never an option. I wouldn’t dare. That is why I am so shocked and in disbelief that people have such a different mindset when it comes to work and responsibility. I guess I just needed to vent and reach out to see if I am alone in this.
Sometimes it’s hard to practice what you preach. I usually love November because it’s a time I actively focus on the things I am grateful for. However, this year the challenge was much greater than I could’ve imagined. I could come up with something I should be grateful for but the feelings didn’t accompany the words. I have been moving through life recently unenthused. It’s painful to admit the emptiness I have been consumed with lately. Depression has crept back into the shadows and left me feeling cold and dark. I used to say, there is always something to be grateful for and I believe those words ring true today. However, feeling grateful and listing things to be grateful for are very different from one another. I’ve come to the realization that the real struggle lies somewhere between our expectation of someone or something and the actual reality they bring to our lives. It’s hard to feel grateful and disappointed at the same time. Today I felt called to go back to yoga and I did. More on that story later but the first thing the instructor said to me was just don’t judge yourself. The words made me want to cry. I haven’t been practicing self love and the truth is I haven’t felt much love toward others. I have felt frustration, disappointment and even anger. I had shut down completely and built those walls so high around myself, I couldn’t even feel the wind less an ounce of gratitude. You can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge so even though it hurts to speak the truth, I look forward to allowing the healing to begin. What is something that is easier for you to preach and harder for you to practice?
I received the oddest package in the mail today. I cut open the box and pulled out a bag full of leaves. The memories came rushing back as the smell I’ve never forgotten filled the air. Oh how I missed fall. It’s just not the same here compared to where I grew up. Sure a few leaves fall to the ground but I miss the rustling sound under my feet. I still have the urge to run and jump as I picture a bunch of raked leaves set perfectly into a pile. That bag of leaves took me back for a moment to a time I am most fond of. I am so grateful to my brother in law who took the care and time to fill that bag and mail it to me so many miles away. I am tickled pink that he overheard my conversation telling my sister how homesick I often feel during the fall season. It was such a thoughtful surprise. A random act of kindness that completely made my day. I am beyond grateful for the thought. Those are the kind of deeds we must pay forward. When is the last time someone did something kind and unexpected just for you?
Today I am reminded to be happy right now in spite of what’s going on around me. In a day and age where there is constant talk of doom and gloom and purposeful language to bring others down, I have to remain above it. I cannot focus on negativity and be positive. I cannot allow my heart to harden because of anyone else’s fear or despair. We are given so many blessings yet the focus remains on all that is bad. Today, make a conscience choice to choose good thoughts. Choose happiness and focus your time actively looking for the good. It’s there. Sometimes we can’t recognize it anymore because our focus has been so targeted in the other direction. The glass is half full and half empty. Which way will you interpret it today? Be thankful. Be hopeful and do yourself a favor and mute the rest out. Don’t be the struggle. Be the difference. Happy Friday!
My niece came home for a surprise weekend visit from college last weekend. My mother was telling me the story of how excited she was that the house was clean and there were cookies baking in the oven. This was a reminder to me not to drag my kids into my chaos. Life is tough enough and when we can create and provide an environment of calm, our kids feel safe. Life is hard these days and HOME has to be the sanctuary we all desperately need. We need a safe place to fall and somewhere we can exhale and be free of judgement and expectations. A place where we look at each other lovingly and speak in a gentle, loving tone. A place where we all feel we are enough for who we are. I pray I will remember these words on the days I am angry and fed up with the nonsense of life. I hope I can find the self restraint to keep unkind words to myself, the mindfulness to enjoy each moment we have together and enough love to fill the emptiness in between until we can all be together again. I pray home will be a place my kids will always look forward to.
I used to rush through Thanksgiving season and try and fast forward to Christmas. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to pause and be thankful for the things in my life. I give thanks so many times a day now. In between feeling frustrated, discouraged and the other array of feelings that accompany everyday life, I find hope and strength in the things I am grateful for. Thanksgiving is now a time I purposely slow down. I love that my family all helps with preparing the food. I love that we bake together and break bread and spend time together at the table just being together. No presents, no rushing…just a moment of sitting quietly together in the passing of time. Every year I appreciate and love this time even more. How do you feel about Thanksgiving?
One thing I have focused on lately is my priorities. The outside world cannot reach in and distract me as long as I gently remind myself of the things that really matter. For me, the top two would be God and Family. When I do my best to live in the image of God, I am able to soften. I am tired of the bickering and watching people celebrate things like what color state they live in. I look around and I celebrate kindness, unity, self restraint. I no longer strive for tough love but am working to reach a new level of gentleness. Is there a God? The truth is I have no idea but as long as there’s a chance, I will continue to believe. We have replaced goodness, compassion, kindness and the desire to be one with things that make me feel ashamed just thinking about them. The things that bring people together today are conditions and illusions. Fighting and resisting against something or someone unites people more than believing in and working towards something. We bind together in negativity. It is destroying humanity and replacing civility. We embrace it and we celebrate the things that are insignificant to the spirit. Real unity doesn’t come from there. Happiness is fleeting when we base it on things like who is leading our government, our states. Who is leading the condition of the heart and spirit? When have we placed political leaders in the role of Gods and focused on the color of our state instead of the condition of our soul and mind? Have we once considered what kind of world we are creating for our children? We’ve become obsessed with making a stand for the latest trend but who is making a stand for what matters most? Winning doesn’t happen in the polls or in Washington D.C. Winning is when families and friends spend precious time breaking bread together and loving one another…wait for it….without conditions. When we choose political affiliation over people in our lives, something is very wrong. So many are lost today and I hope they examine their priorities and set them straight. Our purpose is to love and to make the most of our time here. It’s to leave the world better, not more bitter. Turn off the news. Put down your phone and remove the debilitating distractions. Be more focused and concerned with the people you are raising and the ones who raised you. Set your attention on the people who really matter. Unite there and then extend that love and unity into the world. At the very least, take an honest look at where you are investing time, emotion, focus and energy. Being honest might actually hurt but its the only way to start to heal.
A few weeks ago I went to see Revive Us 2 in the theatre. It’s hard to believe that as people we have become so divided. How do we find unity in all this chaos? They spoke about priorities and how everything got so out of sorts. One of the best points I heard is that strength starts in the family. When families become so easily divided, how do we not expect our country to be divided? How can we put politics or beliefs before another human being? How come we choose something that doesn’t really matter over the people who absolutely do matter? When we allow forces to pit us against one another, we end up on opposing sides. There are no sides, there are just people. Do we really believe someone’s worth and character comes down to a simple vote, a religion or belief? How could our priorities be so out of whack and why do we settle for such shallowness? At the end of the day, none of this nonsense matters. Is our need to control and have the world match our vision really more important than living with civility? What does matter is how we live our lives and how we treat other people. We are here to love, not to fight and divide. Love has become conditional and I too have fallen victim to its destruction. How do we get back to being unified? We start with our own families. We fix that and then we extend it into the world. More about that in my next post. Take time to re-examine your priorities. Keep them in order. That is the first step.
Fall is a time of change. With every leaf that falls from the tree, I think of days of my own life falling quietly away. I imagine them all there, lying at my feet as I rustle through them. Some are beautiful and others aren’t worth noticing but all of them make up my past. They make up a large pile of me. Who I was, who I am and who I am yet to become. I am reminded that life is a beautiful process and journey of transformation. I often pick a word to set an intention to guide me through this time so that I will come out of it a little bit different and hopefully a little better. I’ve chosen this word before but the time has come again to soften. It’s time to soften those rough edges of myself. Time to soften my words and the tone of my voice. Time to soften my thoughts and my expectations of myself and others. Time to soften my thoughts and the hardness I sometimes carry in my heart. My intention is to soften in the way I react. To use softer words when emotions are raging inside of me. To soften my face to look more loving and less angry. Today starts the unfolding of a softer, more patient, more loving version of myself. Today I will soften. What is your intention today?