Weekly Photo Challenge: #Dawn

Dawn

I took this photo on one of the beautiful mornings I had taken Hallie to school. These days are long gone now as she’s been driving for a few years, but I can reminisce.

Reflection and Contemplation

contemplation and quote

Been reflecting lately. That’s why the blog has been quiet. No one seems to be interested in this juicing and modified juicing challenge, so I’m offing it early. Hearing some God whispers. May take the blog in a new direction.

Cursed still in progress

Cursed series is still a #wip but my heart is saying the world does not need a book right now on a magical clan, vampires, and dragons, etc. So putting it on hold for a few weeks… Yes, I will get back to it eventually.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

In the song of Ms. Stacey Kent, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” Starting with self-love. It’s time for us to reclaim ourselves. It’s time to stop self-defeating behaviors and stop feeling lost.

Do you feel lost? Feel unlovable? Feeling unworthy of good things? Are you often feeling unhappy and like you’re just going through the motions, like a robot – even though you have blessings in your life? So then you feel guilty about not feeling happy?

I think I’ve already found step 1 in the journey and I shocked myself when I found it. Wanna know what it is? Can you guess?

Join me on this journey to self-love, forgiveness, and compassion

If you want to follow me on this journey, follow my Facebook writer page www.facebook.com/adjustingyourfocus since that’s where all the posts will be, starting in the coming days, Facebook videos and live feeds (OMG – I can’t believe I’m doing this – talk about OUT of my comfort zone!!!). Some things will be on the blog, some on Instagram, but most will probably be on the Facebook page.

#love #forgiveness #loving #compassion #friends #connect #connection

#self #service #selflove #sad #lonely #alone  #bliss #joy #happy

#happiness #lost

#found #listen #positivity #positive #confused

Two Days and Family

So for Sunday and Monday, here’s the scoop, just in case someone actually cares about meditation. I know some of you do. I’m not all alone here. So I’ll post in the thought that, if not only now, in the future, someone will need to know some benefits that daily meditation can bring.

And for those of you wh0 are reading this currently, thank you, and I hope you are gaining something from these posts.

So without further ado…

  1. Great sleep
  2. Boost endorphins
  3. Improve memory
  4. Mind-body connection
  5. Tolerance
  6. Consideration
  7. Be one with the universe
  8. Discovery life purpose

And that’s it for today, folks.

____

On another note, my family and I went on a photo shoot for Hallie’s senior casuals and some family shots about a week ago. The one I posted is my fave of the three of us, though there are about 500 to choose from. That’s me on the right, Mama on the left, and Hallie in the middle. These are the greatest loves of my life. And they are so beautiful inside and out. Thank God for these girls!!!! Just wanted to show you what family you are a part of.  😀  Welcome to my silly little family.

Love you, guys! Have a lovely evening.

xoxo

Sweet People, Life Lessons, and Meditation

Such a wonderfully fun day! Out early to go to this thing called Handworks, which is a holiday event filled with vendors from all over the U.S., bringing their wares, jellies, clothes, jewelry, pottery, toys, soups, fudge, art, most anything that can be made by hand, it’s there. I got some fun items for me and the kiddo and some nice treasures for gift giving for Christmas.

Then Mama and I went to eat lunch, grabbed some more school uniforms, and then off to get groceries. After that, home to chill with my dog. My babe had to work today, so we were missing her, but I know she’s happy to be earning some good moola for Christmas.

Don’t you just LOVE Saturdays? They have so much potential. There are so many possibilities! I mean, you get ALLLL day Saturday and then you have another day to look forward to. You get to sleep in if you want, go anywhere – I mean, the world is your oyster. Within reason, of course, but I just love the freedom, man! It rocks!

Except for those of you that work weekends. I know that sucks. I remember when I did it and I didn’t particularly care for it but you do what ya gotta do to pay the bills. Heck, I remember working on Thanksgiving Day when I was younger and that truly sucked but I remember not only my family bringing me a huge plate of food at lunch into the store, but I had different friends come in and bring me yummy food, too. See, even when you have to work on a holiday, things can still be great when you have love.

Love is the one cure for everything. Maybe not everything, but it even makes the hard things seem a little easier to deal with. With love, there is soooo much power and strength and it can make any place feel like home because love is home. I’m getting a bit mushy today, aren’t I?

Well, I’m just thinking of this sweet lady Mama and I met today. We were at the grocery store and Mama was going one way with her cart and I was going another way with my cart and I was looking at the reading glasses and I asked if she’d help me pick out a cute pair. This sweet lady just gave us both a huge compliment and then she shared a piece of her soul with us. She shared how her daughter passed away from cancer in 2009, and then she lost her husband in 2012, and lost her sister, and the years were all pretty close together. You’d think her heart would be broken and feeling lonely and pathetic. I know I would be. But she wasn’t broken.

She held a sweet light in her eyes. She teared up speaking about them and apologized for burdening us and we invited her to keep talking. She shared how she was best friends with her daughter just like me and Mama are. She talked about her boys who were still living and are so good to her and they take care of her and don’t live too far away, and her sweet grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She said she was 83 and explained that God must have something important left for her to do and she’s good with that. She said, “Not once have I asked, why me?” She said even when she was holding her daughter in her arms as she was dying at the youthful age of 49 (my age), even through her daughter’s suffering, not once did her daughter complain, “Why me?”

She had such a love in her heart and her eyes, this sweet woman, that I could feel the energy of it. Do you ever get that from people? Their power? The love they hold? Of course you do. I mean, we definitely feel people’s energy, good or bad, but the good, OH MY! I can just eat it up with a spoon! I LOVE when people share their hearts. It teaches me such a valuable lesson – or tons of lessons, in fact.

And then, at Handworks, this gentleman shared how his mother-in-law is in the hospital and she may not be here much longer. She’s 94 and so beloved by all who know her. She’s their rock. And he was explaining how she was telling him, “When God feels it’s my time, I’m good with that.” And he was sharing, with his pained heart, “We are not ready for that. Please hang on just a bit longer. Your new great grandbaby will soon be here and they have to know their Meemee.”

I can learn lessons from each of these people. Can’t you? The sweet lady in the grocery store, her daughter that passed, the man at Handworks, his mother-in-law. The main thing here is love. Love as much as you can, as many people as you can, as often as you can, everywhere you can, because life goes by in a blink. And all the while, even though we may suffer and struggle and experience tragedy and heartache, there is always, always, and yes, I’ll say it again, always something to be so thankful for, if only to have lived. To have lived on this planet is such a beautiful blessing. To experience the human existence is a beautiful thing. It’s a treasure, really, and you never know when it’s going to be over. So treat it like a treasure. I’m talking to me, too. Love. Love others, forgive them, love yourself, love your life, ’cause it’s the only one ya got, babe. Treasure your life. And share your heart, maybe even with strangers, because you never know how you may affect someone’s life with your story. And never, no matter how bad things get, never ask, “Why me?” I know I’ve complained waaaaaaaay too much and I’m gonna stop because life truly is a blessing to me and I LOVE my amazing family and we have been blessed with more than we deserve.

Just think about it.

Okay, so enough mush for today. On to more benefits from daily meditation. Oh, I didn’t do the med till 7pm, but it’s all good. At least I did it and that’s all that matters.

More benefits are:

  1. Help senior health
  2. Healing thoughts
  3. Better relationships
  4. Help Lightworkers

And one last thing before I sign off, my dear ones, I’m so much a better person for knowing you and I’m so blessed to have you in my life, even if it is in passing. For each of you that shares a piece of your soul and your story with me, thank you for enriching my life. You fill me with love and I love you for being you. Keep shining your light and never forget the power of sharing your love and your heart with a stranger, or even just listening. Sometimes that’s all a person needs. You don’t have to understand or always have something to say. Sometimes listening is enough. I love you, sweet babies.  xoxo

Day 3 – Stillness

Happy day! I hope you’re having a lovely day.

Today, I’m speaking on stillness. It’s about steadying your body, as well as your mind. The brain is alive and it’s only natural to have ongoing thought patterns not only consciously, but subconsciously. There is no way to clear 100% of the chatter, or else, well… you’d be dead. Even in sleep, our brain/mind stays busy, whether we remember the dreams or not. Simply focus on your breath if your mind strays. It will stray. Just bring it back to your breath or make up a mantra, like the word “Still”. Feel free to observe the thought as if a passing train, and then let it pass.

During meditation, you must find a quiet space, sitting up, preferably, with your head free. You can lean against something like a chair or wall or what have you but lying down is not a great idea, as you may fall asleep. Rest is great and everything but if you want to gain the positive aspects of meditation, you must stay awake to reap the benefits.

You want it to be a still, quiet place. If you’re on the floor, use soft pillows or a comfy mat. I prefer using my home office chair. It has a head rest but I don’t use that. I actually prefer 100% quiet, though the Chopra and Oprah meditations have music in them. I get more out of the quiet, because I can hear nature. I soooo relax more when I can hear the birds chirping, the frogs croaking in the rain, the crickets (if I’m meditating in the evening), the rain falling, the breeze blowing – you get the idea.

I think the best time of day to meditate is first thing in the morning. I find it’s a great way to start my day.

First, I give thanks for all our many blessings and praise the Lord for all his love, mercy, forgiveness and generous nature. I even thank him for what seems bad, only because I’ve learned there are valuable nuggets of wisdom and learning in those situations. I don’t always get the lesson in the moment but I usually do later, sometimes much later – like years later –  😛  but at least I eventually get it, and that’s what matters. It’s growth. It’s the “bad” stuff that makes me appreciate the “good” stuff even more.

Second, I start my coffee, and after Hallie has left for school or while she’s still asleep (if it’s early or the weekend) and go sit in my chair and get in my 20ish minutes of meditation. Right now, I’m doing the Deepak Chopra and Oprah meditations, as I spoke about earlier. I also like the Android App Mindfulness Meditations for Presence and Peace by Diviniti Publishing Ltd (fyi, I receive no money from anyone for advertising – I try to be helpful for free). I listen to the Mindfulness for Releasing Anxiety Free version, which is 23 minutes.

More benefits you’ll receive from meditation:

  1. Meditation can relieve pain.
  2. It helps you in harnessing Neurogenesis (change the adult brain through meditation). Wikipedia defines it as” Neurogenesis is the process of birth of neurons wherein neurons are generated from neural stem cells. Contrary to popular belief, neurogenesis continuously occurs in specific regions in the adult brain.
  3. Cure anxiety – I could use that! How ’bout you?
  4. Lucid dreaming – Wikipedia says a lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware of dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment. How cool would this be?! I don’t believe I’ve ever had a lucid dream. I hope to very soon, though.

More to come tomorrow. Let me know how it’s going for you. What’s your method? What are you listening to, if you are listening to anything? Also, please let me know if you have any questions. Always happy to help a friend out.  🙂

Y’all have an amazing day! Hugs!

-Carol xoxo

Are You Ready To Show Up Today?


Are you ready to show up today? I’m talking about being true to you. Do you listen to what your heart tells you to do, or what your mind tells you to do, or do you let others tell you what you should do? Are you willing to make a shift in your life and experience just a little bit of what it feels like to be free?

I’ve been going through a bit of a shift and I wanted to share this with you because I love you and I want you to love yourself. Heck, I want to love myself. I mean, I suppose I do love myself but I don’t feel it enough or see it enough to KNOW that I love me. Do ya feel me? I want to romance myself, appreciate myself, forgive myself, feel whatever it is I’m feeling and say that’s okay, I love it. So try and do something with me today, if you are up for it (it won’t be too strenuous, I promise) –

First, stop listening to anybody but your heart. I mean, this is your one life (unless we really are sent back into new lives – haven’t gotten the memo on that one, yet) and you are sent here with a purpose, or several actually.

I don’t know what all my purposes are, yet, and I’m learning to be okay with that. It’s an evolving process. It’s a journey. For each of us. But I can tell you some of our collective purposes – some things we are each/all sent here for:

(1) to love. Meaning to love others, to serve others (this can show up in many different ways for each person – each has to feel this in our gut), to be a safe haven for others, to be welcoming, forgiving, compassionate humans, to be gentle, to sometimes be fierce (when the occasion arises) and to believe in and have faith in other humans. It also means to love my self. All the quirky, angry, broken, mending, confusing, tragic, silly, funny, goofy, smart, not so smart, creative, blocked, beautiful hot mess that I am.

(2) to let life flow. Meaning to feel what I’m feeling and be okay with it, not to force things, to feel it and love it, because it’s moving me on to the next step, the next thing, but I have to feel the thing first. Feel it, be in that space, and then move on to the next thing. Do not stagnate. Do not try to fix it. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay that I don’t have all the answers. It’s okay if I’m confused and lost. I am opening myself for what is to come next. I am open to love myself and you and the thing that’s happening now, and opening myself to life and the next step in my journey. In its time. I will not force it. I am making room for something bigger than myself and something better that I could not have planned (and I am a huge planner but I’m not planning this). Sometimes I have to experience sadness, loss, anger, and hard times, because something else is trying to emerge – something better that I cannot even begin to imagine.

(3) stop looking for approval or acceptance externally. Meaning you are not here to live for others. You are here to live authentically as you. Stop seeking approval from others. Start being okay with yourself, how you look, how you feel about things, what you do. If you don’t feel that person is really your friend and they do not align with your best self, it’s time to cut ties. It might hurt but you know in your gut it’s the right thing. Just do it and move on. If it’s a relationship that can be healed or forgiven, then work on it, if it’s for your best. If it’s not good for you, say goodbye.

Even if your parents are beating you down with what you should do and what you should be, it’s time to ignore and listen to your own heart. You were not sent to live for them. You were sent to be authentically you. Start listening to what you are passionate about and go with it. Open yourself to creativity. It’s time to start living our truth and passions and then we can give more of our love and connectivity and align with others that are up there with us. As long as we stay beaten down, we will only align with those beaten down. Make sense? We attract like minds and vibrations. Ask yourself how you want to live. Do you want to be better? Do better? Feel happy and free? Open yourself to it. It’s scary, I know. But until you make space for it, it will not show up. You already have everything inside you that you need for your best life. Just open your heart and breathe yourself into it.

So the mission, if you choose to accept it – step out of your mind today, don’t have a plan (I don’t mean skip out on your already set plans if you need to keep those plans), just be okay with what is, and what’s to come, and be open to your heart and to what your heart tells you, and be open to others, smile and engage with others, be connected with them and offer love from every cell in your being, offer love to yourself and to them, do not force anything, be okay with what you feel today, feel it, then if it needs to be released, let it go. Cry if you need to. (If you can’t tell, I’ve been listening to Kyle Cease a lot lately and he’s really opening my eyes to my heart.)

Crying is the same as letting go. It’s very important to cry. Find some time to be still and silent, quiet your busy mind. Remember, the mind usually lies to us, because the mind is ego. The heart is what needs to be feeding us. So feel with your heart today. If you get a wild hair to do or say something, do it or say it (as long as it’s legal and does not infringe on someone else’s rights/will). Step out on faith. Talk to the stranger even if you’re nervous. Don’t spew stupidity. Be real (but be kind). If you want to speak to someone, start with a compliment, or just say “I want to say something to you but I feel a little nervous.” What would happen? Being authentic is the best place to start from.

Emulate Benjamin Mee when, guys, you see that woman that you just KNOW is your soul mate and say to them, “Why would an amazing woman like you even talk to someone like me?” Or speak from your soul – say something that’s just you. There’s no better place to start from. You could potentially be speaking to your future wife here. I mean, be real. Everything sparks from that first sentence. No pressure.  😀

If you feel something in your gut, please don’t ignore it. Maybe that’s the thing that’s trying to get through. Go with your heart.

That’s what I’m doing today. Let me know how it goes? If you want to share, I know we’d all love to hear your story, because we are all connected and we learn and grow from each other’s stories, not just our own. If you’re scared, share that too. Be real.

I love you. Now go out there and have the most awesome, inspired, magical day that you’ve ever had!!!

Carol xoxo

Plotting Along…

Hi y’all. As you know, I’ve attempted to be mostly off of social media for a bit. I’m still at that point but I may post to the blog a little more often than I have. I’ve had a few friends ask me about my blog and tell me they were missing it so I’ll schedule in time to post at least once every other week if not once a week. I must admit, I have missed speaking to you guys on a regular basis. I miss our engagement, our connection. Alas, the life of a writer is much a solitary one, and I admit to appreciating that also. Working from home is right up my alley, as I no longer have to deal with fake gossipy drama-mamas in the corporate setting. Thank You, Lord! Plus, it doesn’t hurt to love your job, working from home and the people you do work for.

Lately, I’ve been going through so many mood changes, and I’m presently experiencing a shift – hard to explain but I’ll try. The mood changes are mostly just a roller coaster of emotion, due to my daughter being a senior in high school, her being accepted to her college of choice, choosing her dorm roommate, planning her grad party and trip, her just turning 18. It’s exciting. It’s an adventure. It’s emotionally draining and bittersweet. As most of you know, Hallie and I have always been extremely close. Our nicknames for each other are Lorelai and Rory (you’ll understand if you’ve ever watched Gilmore Girls). And it sickens me to think of her moving to college next year and not living in this house – only to visit on weekends, holidays and summer break. I don’t even want to imagine what it’ll be like because I want to cry, and then, honestly, to throw up. I know I have to let go. I’m just not ready. It hurts my heart too much. I’m used to her going on trips for a week or two. I miss her, of course, but I take comfort in knowing she’ll be home, as I count down the days. Don’t misunderstand. I do have things on my ‘To Do’ list that I take pride in accomplishing while she’s gone and I do appreciate my alone time. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss my little love monkey. Maybe I can’t use the word “little” anymore, but she will always be my little one, my wee one, my baby, even after she’s 40. Thankfully, she doesn’t mind my nicknames for her. She has nicknames for me, too.  😉

The shift I’m undergoing is multi-faceted. I’ve been on a journey of exploration – not just for the self but being more mindful of others and taking in all of the possibilities for connection with others – looking out for like-minded people to associate myself with but also “trying” to be mindful of others in the sense that no matter their mood, I have to take into account they may be going through something I know nothing about. Such as the clerk at the grocery store or the clothing store we normally frequent. Many times, we think these people are there to serve us and be kind and high spirited while they do it. However, we must put ourselves in their shoes, if only for a moment. If we do this, we may consider that perhaps their grandpa that they were raised by just died, or they lost their best friend in a car accident, or it’s that horrid time of the month and they are in great pain. 

You never know what someone is going through. These people are not there to only serve us. We are here to serve them, as well. We can offer a smile, a kind word, something funny to say to maybe lift their spirits. If nothing else, we can offer our gentle understanding. They are just like us. They have to work to pay the bills. They have to work when they are sick because they have a child to feed and have to make the rent. I admit to sometimes being a harsh judge of people when they are hateful or rude and I have been rude as a retaliation. What sense does that make?! That’s easy. Why is it so easy to fight back with hardness and more difficult to reply with love and compassion? This is something I’ve been mindful of lately and I feel it’s changing me. Mind you, I do still have much work to do in this department, as I am still trying to rid myself of anger I strongly hold on to. I have no idea why I hang onto it.

Not only with others but within myself. I’ve always been my toughest critic, being more hard on myself and sabotaging myself rather than romancing myself, appreciating myself and my accomplishments. I tend to beat myself down over everything – every little thing. But lately, I’ve been watchful of my words, noticing how negative I tend to be on myself, trying to change the language I use. If it’s negative, I’m trying not to say it or change the wording I’d normally use. I’m trying to believe in myself, have faith in me and my abilities. I’m writing down all I’ve ever been good at, then and now, and everything I’ve accomplished. Turns out, I truly have been more of a success than a failure. Many of the things I’ve wanted to do and truly made an effort with have come to pass and I’m practicing daily gratitude for each of these things and in everything I have in my life that makes me thankful and happy.

Normally, I have resting-bitch-face – not because I’m feeling bitchy or depressed or irritable, but because I don’t think about how my face is resting. LOL! Often, I’m contemplating something and that’s how my face is – in contemplation mode, or I’m extremely tired because I walked the dog like 10 times during the night, got up at 4am to go to the gym, worked all day, worked on my book after that, had to go to a meeting or event after that and I’m feeling very DONE with the day.

Lately, I’m practicing mindfulness on the muscles in my face. I actually think I may have inherited my grandmother’s facial expressions. She even frowned in her sleep! I don’t want her facial expressions. So I’m focusing on a slight constant smile, just barely there, enough to lighten my forehead muscles. I’m focusing on every blessing I’ve been granted each day and I’m being actively thankful – meaning thanking the Lord daily, telling these special people how much I love them and how amazing they are, hugging and smooching and laughing at my silly dog, appreciating our home and land more, loving working from home and the jobs I do and the income to pay our bills and save for important things, appreciating going to a great gym and getting healthier, and just every special thing and person, even what may sound small to some – sometimes it’s the smallest blessings that make the biggest impact/difference, and I’m thankful for each one.

Another thing I’m trying to learn is to Let Go and Let God. Being a control freak, this is a hard one, but I’m learning little by little. I am letting go of things and people that no longer serve my life in a positive way. I actually just joined a group that I thought would strengthen my character and spirituality as well as offer friendship and connection but learned that group was not the answer so, after 2 meetings, I let that go. I no longer have space or time in my life for what does not assist me or help me grow in some way on my journey. Joining and leaving that group only helped to further teach me that lesson.

Another mood swing is the novel I’ve been working on since 2013. I cannot count the varied emotions I’ve been going through. I birthed this story with great enthusiasm and excitement, only to set it on a shelf because I had too many clients at different times, too many things going on and I did not have any further time to devote to it. I did have to pay the bills and that was more important. As time went on, I got better clients, bigger contracts, but didn’t want to face the book, because I let fear distract me – fear and lack of faith in myself.

So now, I’m happy to say that I am 95% finished with the book. I thought I was actually finished but am reworking chapter 6. I’m thinking I may even interweave it with chapter 5 or 7 or just leave it the smallest chapter in the book. I kept giving myself a deadline, which in many ways is helpful, while at the time was putting an obstacle in my path. The deadline was more stifling my writability and creativity than bolstering my motivation and ambition to get in touch with my muse. My muse heard DEADLINE and ran for cover! So I will work on my book daily, finish when I finish, revise, revise, revise, then query agents and publish. And then become a #1 New York Times bestselling author.

I am learning to have faith in myself. I am learning to trust myself, love myself, believe in my pursuits – my dreams – my goals. I’m learning to lift myself up to new heights and tell myself only good things and reaching, stretching for a higher plane of existence. There is nothing wrong in bettering myself. I have everything I have ever prayed for, except the one. And the one? It’s only a matter of divine timing, inspired action, and persistence.

What have you been up to lately? Share all your joys, your pursuits, your progress, your fears, your expectations, your news. I have missed you greatly and I only wish for you good things, always.

Love you!

Carol

(P.S. Oh, and that picture? I’m just dreaming of cool Fall weather, wishing for long-sock-wearing, gushy-sweater-wearing weather. Please, chilly Fall breezes – come to Mississippi?). And sorry for the very wordy post…

Be Gentle With Yourself

heart

We humans, or at least the majority, have a habit of repeating the negative self talk we received in our past. Not always received in words but also in actions or lack of attention/love.  Of course, we may know a few who always seem as if they are self-assured, self-confident, adore and love themselves. Whether that’s true or not, we perceive them to have it all together and perhaps that’s what they intentionally give off.

I have a lifelong practice of habitually sabotaging myself. Always beating myself up and tearing myself down for every little thing. The way I look, not liking this about me, not liking that. Not liking this aspect of my life, being self-critical of my talents or lack thereof.  Even if I receive positive reinforcement in the way of compliments and building up from others, it doesn’t go unappreciated, but it seems I reflect and focus on the negative about me. Why is it always easier to believe the bad stuff about ourselves?  I’m sick and tired of this limiting behavior.

Aren’t you?

I think it’s high time we learn how to reclaim our lives and in ways that is right for each of us. And I believe I have found the first few inches of this pathway into enlightenment or self-love or whatever you want to call it. Are you ready for it?

I am practicing being gentle with myself.

“What does this mean exactly?” you may ask.

For me, this meant taking a mental health day, which means a day for me, a vacation day, a day off from pretty much everything except for the fact of dealing with me. And I didn’t even really “deal” with me, but I did take time for me and with me and nurtured me and romanticized me and listened to me and talked to me. Yes, I talk to myself. Am I crazy? Well, the jury’s still out on that one, but I encourage you to talk to yourself, too. Positively.

 mirror kiss

 

james

And you don’t have to be super weird and make out with yourself in the mirror like James Franco or anything but telling yourself “I love you” is a good thing. Hugging yourself is a good thing.

This is what I did on my mental health day (if you need an example for yourself):

I cannot recall if I slept in on this particular day but I didn’t get up early. I know this. I did wake up with a smile (prob around 6/7/8), because I went to bed the night before whispering to myself to just practice happiness and be grateful for all I have in my life. Just mostly be grateful and happy for my blessings.

1. So, wake up with a smile and intention that today is going to be a free and gentle day and whatever happens, I am okay, and everything is going to be okay.

 

I downloaded an app on my phone months earlier, because I wanted to try something, and I read about it, but I’ve never been able to fully embrace it, because…well, partly, I felt it a bit new age-y and partly, because I cannot seem to still my mind long enough to fully appreciate  the benefits that this action brings. Some may call it ‘lack of action’ but without further ado, I’m talking about – meditation. On my day, I did it. And I LOVED IT!

2. Besides enjoying my coffee and biscotti, I laid on the couch, listening to the guided meditation and experienced a more relaxed head-space and presence of self that I hadn’t before. (Comment me for the free app and free meditation.)

 

I lit fragrant candles, fixed myself a long hot bath and poured in some yummy smelling bath beads I forgot I had. I turned my phone music app on to Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Etta James and the like, because that’s how I roll…or that was my mood at the time. I shaved my hairy legs. I soaked. I got carried away, not by Calgon (some of you may get this reference), but by fragrance, out of this world magical musical tones and closed eyes, allowing my mind to transport me to wherever the wings of my imagination wanted to fly. And I just breathed. And relaxed. And didn’t live by a clock or schedule, for once.

3. Soaked in a hot bath, full of fragrant bath salts, flickering candle close by, listened to mood music, daydreamed happy thoughts, listened, breathed, smelled, relaxed.

 

I took a walk outside. We live in the country so it’s peaceful most of the time, unless someone is out in their yard with a chainsaw or have a tree-cutting company hacking 3 or 4 trees for 2 or 3 days, which happened recently. It was peaceful on my mental health day, though, thankfully.

4. Walked in the grass, feeling grateful for grass. Sat in my new lazy tree swing with my feet up, staring up into the tree bark and leaves that were lovingly shading me, feeling grateful for beautiful strong trees, grateful for a family that I love, feeling grateful for me and focusing on the good stuff that I have done (and do) in my life. My intention was strictly positive, so nothing negative came to mind during this time – actually the whole day!

 

I had made a video, just because I’d never done this before, of myself. Call me insane, but I felt the need to tape myself a day or two before my mental health day, right in the middle of my funk. I wanted to address it. I wanted to say it out loud. I wanted myself to see it and hear it from my other self (if you get what I’m saying here – no, I do not have multiple personalities). I wanted to be real and authentic. Then, I watched it and listened to it as if it belonged to someone else and thought about how I’d feel for this person had it been a friend or stranger. I watched again. And really listened. And then I deleted it, because it took up too much memory on my phone and because I wanted it to remain private. On my special day, I wrote a letter. (If you’d like tips on what I covered in this video, so you can do one of your own for self-therapy, comment me.)

5. I  wrote this friend (because we all need to be friends with ourselves) a love letter, telling her how wonderful she is, how brave, how courageous, how proud I am of her for her accomplishments, how much she has to give, how much talent, how much love. I told her she’s beautiful, inside and out and how she can do anything and I am here for her and she has others that are here for her and to trust herself and go after what she wants but to also be happy in the journey, as each step on our paths are meant to teach us something about ourselves and our lives. And to be mindful of each moment and to forgive – others, as well as herself.

 

I read a lot of different things – parts of different books that inspire me, different articles that I was in the mood to hear on this day, things I wanted to know more about, things on meditation, things on forgiveness, things on how laughing is healthy. I watched funny videos. I watched inspiring videos. I watched happy videos with the AWWW! factor – with babies and fur-babies. I put on funky music (play that funky music white boy!!!) that made me want to dance and I moved my bootie to the music. You have to pick tunes that inspire you to get up and dance a happy dance – one where you have no choice but to groove to the music, ya know?

dance

And hey, it doesn’t have to be a pretty dance. If ya look like a big ole weirdo, so bit it, but I wouldn’t recommend dancin’ a jig on the freeway. And if you’re super uncoordinated like this white chick (meaning me, just to be clear), just take safety precautions, okay?

6. Read things that inspire me, watched videos that inspire me and make me laugh, that uplift me, that show me how to see things with different perspective, played funky music that made me get up and dance and sing, even if it was probably scary looking and made the dogs cry.

 

I love hot tea. I know it’s summer and believe me, Mississippi summers suck. It’s hot as hell here!!!  Well, I’m guessing. Probably not, but it’s super freakin’ hot!!

GIFSec.com
GIFSec.com

But when you have the a/c on and it’s nice and chill in your house, so much so that it makes you forget about summer heat lurking outside the door (or almost), you might wanna put a kettle on. This is a nice way to spoil yourself, or this is how I spoil me.

7. Put on a kettle of water and steep yourself a nice cup of hot tea in one of your favorite flavors with some nice raw honey, which is also healing for your body.

Did you know honey is nature’s antibiotic?

 

And, well, this post has gotten too long, so I’ll stop here, but you get the idea, right?  Have a Be Gentle With Yourself Day. Talk nicely to yourself. Focus on what you have. Focus on what you’ve done well, what you’ve accomplished. Tell yourself “I love you.” Talk loving things to yourself and just know you are awesome and you can do anything, and you still have time, and forgive yourself, try to enjoy the ride, look for the good things, the lessons, and know you will be okay.

Ciao for now. Love you!  Smooches!  xoxo

Thank you, Jesus

My second thank you letter in my 365 Thank You Letters project.

_____

My dear, sweet, loving Jesus,

jesus

How very special you are to me! I can never thank you enough for always being close by, guiding me, along with our Father’s help. Thank y’all for the employment of God’s many angels, for all our many blessings and most of all, for saving me from my sins so that I can be with you and my family in heaven one day, hopefully far, far from now. No offense. I surely will be so very happy to see you again. I just want to be around on the earth for a while so I can spend more time with my two favorite girls, witness my daughter graduate high school, then college, then her marrying the right guy, my playing ‘Nonnie’ (otherwise known as grandma) to my grandbabe(s), witness my mom turning a happy and healthy 110+, and witness so many more blessings.

Thank you for showing up at all the right times when I needed you most. I know that was you. I felt you sit on the edge of my bed and soothe the pain in my soul. You lulled me to sleep that night. Thank you for getting me out of all those bad decisions and almost bad decisions, for loving me in spite of my many weaknesses and stupidity and anger and meanness. Thank you for your forgiveness and for going to our Father on my behalf.

jesus2

When I think of what all you went through for me (for all of us), I can’t help but cry, sweet Jesus. To go through so much torture, cruelty and torment, it physically hurts my heart and body. I wish it could have gone a different way. I wish you could have saved us from our sins without going through such pain and suffering. But you did do it. And you did it for us. Because you love us. Because you’re strong and brave and your love has more courage, strength and power than any physical abuse you could have ever experienced. I know you are healed and feel no physical pain now, but my heart still aches when I think of those six hours you spent on the cross and the torture leading up to that.

Please forgive me for my sins. Please wash me as white as snow. Wash those sins away and renew me in you, sweet Brother. I belong to you and to our Father and I always will. Please help me to be more like you, fill me with your love and compassion and friendship and kindness so that I, too, can spread that love and goodness like you did and still do. Help me to be courageous and strong in spirit. Help me to have confidence so that I can do whatever it is you and our Father wish for me to do. And fill me with your strongest faith, Jesus. You are my truest hero and I will never love anyone as much as I so deeply and truly love you!!! Thank God and YOU for your beautiful soul!!

Love forever and ever till the end of time (if there is such a thing),

Carol

 

Images courtesy of http://www.akiane.com/ and photobucket.com

Living the Adventure to Completion

boots

Buried deep within the caves

The recesses of my mind

Taken there by worn tired weathered leather

And antique sheets wrapped with twine

bookandtwine

 

Past the echoes and whispers

Through the dark twisted figures

Evermore deeper still toward the dark

Torment and fear churn and shiver

darkscary

 

Not turning to whence I came

Facing the struggle and climb

Promise beckoning me adventure on

Completing the trek is mine

the end