Lend a Verbal Hug

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Move in day is over and done. I learned a very important lesson through the process of dropping my daughter off at college. It’s really simple but something that may not register until you experience it yourself. Don’t tell people how to feel. In a world where we think we have the right to tell people how to act and what to believe, it is even more dangerous to tell them how they should feel. If someone is sad or hurting, be supportive. Even if you don’t get it or you think someone’s reaction is a big time overreaction, just give them a verbal hug. We all react to everything that happens in our own individual way and some of us are tougher than others depending on what it is we are trying to get through. Let people hurt, cry or grieve and just be there to give an encouraging word. We all have the best of intentions but sometimes we think too little before we speak. This is a reminder to encourage, lend a hand, lift someone up. We could use so much more of that in these trying times where we are all just fighting hard to get by and survive. I am having a difficult time right now. I cried in the grocery store today when I almost picked up that fourth piece of corn. I cried at the dinner table last night when I stared across at the empty chair. My daughter is gone from my nest and I am excited for her but I am sad for myself. And you know what? It’s okay to be sad. It is normal to grieve. Time will heal my wounds and I will get used to her being away but for right now I will give myself a break. Just breathe. Today I will just start with that. 

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Could It Be That Simple?

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After some really hard work, my inner voice has taken on a brand new tone. As I sat back in my pool float today, I actually heard these words inside my own head. “Relax kid. Enjoy your life”.  So that is my mantra for the week. We spend years pondering our purpose in life. Perhaps it is more simple than we ever imagined. Love hard, speak easy, be kind and enjoy the precious life you’ve been given. Have a blessed day.

Be the Difference

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My lifeless form stood there tired and deflated. I had reached rock bottom and my heart was hurting as I replayed the day’s events over in my mind. I just couldn’t shake the ache. My physical body was present but the shell of emptiness inside of me had a presence that filled the entire arena. My husband surprised me with Florida Georgia Line tickets and I stood on that floor looking at the people around me. They were drinking beer and smiling and I was silently dying. I wanted the floor to swallow me up so I could disappear and find some comfort in sleep. 

Depression is a difficult thing. One minute you are fine and the next you are drowning underneath the stress life throws your way. It’s not just something you shake off like a bad mood or a bad day. It swallows you up, consumes you until you are frozen in time desperate for a way out but no energy to make your escape. I share these things because if I suffer in silence, I know others do too. I am blessed to have someone in my life who is patient with me. It isn’t easy for anyone. 

It took a while but slowly I felt a smile creep across my face. The breakthrough in that moment was palpable. I could feel the bass shake something inside of me. I could feel something again and I was grateful. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder that there is life inside the shell and the emptiness is only an illusion. These moments don’t always come but when they do you embrace each second, soak up the relief and move on.

Be kind to others around you. You have no idea the demons they face or their struggle to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes we need to feel peace and love and the constant fighting and aggression in the world takes a heavy toll. Sometimes all this meanness makes us want to retreat and disappear to someplace safe. Sometimes we need a happy place but depression makes that place impossible to find. Reach out to someone who looks like they are hurting. Have a conversation, invite someone for coffee. Make someone feel important. These little things go a long way. Be the difference someone needs today.

I Found Hope in Two Little Girls

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We expect so much out of life and the people around us. Today, be the unexpected. Be the smile, the kind voice, the helping hand that reaches out when no-one else does. Be kindness, offer motivation and be the reason someone feels a tiny sparkle of hope. You can change the world one small act of kindness at a time.

Before I pick my son up from school, I walk at the local YMCA. The track is located above the basketball courts where the after school program takes place. There are kids yelling and running and bouncing. To be honest, after coming directly from yoga, the noise and the movement really gets on my nerves. A week ago I walked into the restroom where two little girls insisted I go first. They were chatty and smiled at me through missing teeth. I smiled back half heartedly. Yesterday, they met me there again. They told me they watch for me so they can come and say hello. This time, I knelt down and I looked them both in the eyes. I am very happy to see you both today I said through a warm, inviting smile. See you tomorrow then?

It takes one person to warm your heart. One person to show a kindness you didn’t notice before. Look for the blessings. They are there waiting for you to notice. Those little girls made an enormous difference. I am so grateful for them.

On This Day

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Today is an important day to remember that you get back exactly what you give out. There is energy all around us, an ebb and flow of give and take. If you give off resistance, you invite resistance back into your life. If you offer respect and humility, that same humility and respect will be returned to you. We have to be very cautious and remember that what we focus on is what we get more of. We do have control over what we bring into this world. We shape it with our thoughts and actions but it is imperative to be painfully honest with ourselves. Do we fight for tolerance while at the same time being intolerant ourselves? There is no justification to skirt around this. The truth doesn’t change to fit your agenda. You cannot apply labels to someone else and excuse that same behavior for yourself  because your reasons are justified. From where I stand, I don’t see much tolerance or respect or even dignity as we stand across from each other pointing fingers. Unless you are truly willing to take an honest look at who you are, then don’t think you have the right to look at anyone else. Be bigger. Be better. Be real change and a leader who stands up for what is right period. Not for this group or that group but rather make a stand for behavior that portrays humility, kindness, respect and dignity. You can be part of the crowd or you can stand out alone and scream, follow me. I will show you a new way. On this day, choose peace not pride, unity over division, love over hate and hope over despair.

Shutting Down Your Inner Critic

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I love to evolve. Maybe even to the point that it’s painful. Seeing so many insults being flung among people lately, I have finally recognized how important it is to respond positively and respectfully. I’m not one to think before I speak. In fact, I am honest to the core and sometimes that can be extremely hurtful to anyone on the receiving end of my truth telling. But tonight, I have committed to a new gentleness in my speaking. I can choose to be critical or I can choose to be quiet. I can choose to make someone feel bad or I can say something that will make them smile. Don’t we all need to feel good these days? Don’t we want the people who make us feel special and tell us we do something right around us more than someone who always makes us feel like everything we do is wrong? Don’t we need to hear, of course you can rather than I don’t think you can? I did it tonight. I finally made the conscious choice to keep my criticism to myself. We need to give more compliments, more pats on the back and use more words to make someone smile. We can make little changes than can mean the world to the people we interact with. Let’s hope I can carry it through to day two.