Thoughtful Thursday

I usually post a quote on Thoughtful Thursday. Today, however, I feel compelled to write about a story I found on Long Reads. It was not only thought provoking, but heart wrenching and although terribly sad, inspiring to read such stories of courage from young ones. I have children of my own, as you may know, so this hit me especially hard and sparked a range of emotions. It was an interview the New York Times did of 18 young girl’s who were captured by Boko Haram in Nigeria and forced to be suicide bombers. I won’t begin to try and summarize the article, but will link it below:

New York Times Article

It is easy at times (at least for myself, as I lead a very busy life and rarely have time to even watch the news) to “forget” that there are other’s in the world whose worries far exceed our own. Those who on a regular basis are afraid for their lives, their children’s lives, and have endured things so horrific that just our reading about them is enough to make our stomach churn. Although I try for the most part to write about positive, uplifting things, I believe it is good at times to receive a healthy dose of “reality”. This article served as just that to me. A reminder to count my blessings on a daily basis, and practice gratitude for my current circumstances and those of my children.

Just last night I had a phone conversation with my friend about perspective (which tends to be a theme in my writing). She was telling me about a friend of hers who has battled cancer for 13 years and how watching her struggle from afar and observing her positive attitude serves as her own sort of attitude readjustment at times. Granted, much of life is “relative”. We gauge a “bad” day off of a “normal” day to us. Well, our normal is certainly not everyone’s normal. Taking a step back, however, can help us see the bigger picture and allow us, if only minimally, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. To practice, along with gratitude, empathy.

I hope you get time to read the article, and if not, then I hope at least this post has made you think about something in your life that can incite a thankful heart. If you have read any articles recently that you’ve found especially moving, please share in the comments below.

Happy (almost) Friday, all!

Thoughtful Thursday

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I love this, because although it would be pretty difficult for us to never think anything negative again, it is so very true that our thoughts are everything when it comes to the life we live and the life we want for ourselves moving forward. They control our actions, our energy, our overall mental well being. And the more positive our thoughts, the more we are able to help those around us (especially if we have children). Moving into the last couple months of the year, I hope to put this into practice a little more every day, every week.

Happy Thursday all, make it a good one!

Letting Go 


I slowly placed the lid over the top of the candle on the nightstand. As I sat back on the bed with tears streaming down my face, I watched as the flame flickered out. It felt oddly symbolic. Just five days before my 31st birthday, I was once again reminded of the weight of being an adult. Having to make decisions that hurt so bad in the moment, but the mature you knowing deep down it was right; right for future you, right for your children. So I took a deep breath and I let go. Physically, I let the tears go. Mentally and emotionally I freed myself of what was, what could’ve been, and I remembered this: there is never a better time to start anew than the present. So I closed my eyes and awaited the sunrise. The first sunrise of the rest of my life.

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow” ~ Caroline Moss

January Fog 

It’s another blurry winter morning in January. As I begin my climb up that all-too-familiar hill, I watch as a low layer of fog rolls through; steadily blanketing the atmosphere in between the mountains that encompass the heavily congested highways leading in and out of the Central Valley. Most days, the sun takes the place of the dreariness here, intensifying the colors of the rolling green slopes, freckled with yellow wildflowers. But as much as I love that view, the fog brings with it a curious calmness, as does the stillness of the wind turbines whose rotations never failed to hold my gaze as a child. Occasionally, when traffic is especially unbearable, I sneak through the back of the hills and catch a closer glimpse of the massive, well-known structures.


That time of year has come yet again, where most people have a very clear and concise idea of how they want to spend the next 12 months and what they want to have accomplished by the end of it. Not me. Just as I have come to love the fog as much as the sunshine in a physical sense, so I have come to embrace the periods of fogginess in my life. Realizing that although the lack of clarity may hinder my view of what’s ahead, the unknown is more magical than it is scary. Having more trust in the universe and my place in it then ever before.

With a new year ahead, I know that just as the texture and color on those hills and the air surrounding will continue to change with the season, so will I. Each phase being beautiful in it’s own way and somehow necessary to the next.

“Don’t stress so much about settling on a path for 2017. The division of time into years is a human invention, and fact is every moment of every day is another opportunity for resolution and growth. So when the fireworks fly, relax and enjoy the moment. The rest will come to you.” ~ Beau Taplin

Immersion

I have been reading a lot lately about the concept of immersion in relation to creative non-fiction writing. You find a subject of interest and then immerse yourself in that culture/trade/way of life, whatever it may be. In memoir style writing, YOU ARE the subject. You are essentially immersing yourself in your own life. Not in a “head in the sand” type of way (unaware of what’s going on in the world surrounding you, or uninterested, caring only for yourself). Rather, in this refreshing, self-enlightened kind of way, albeit incredibly vulnerable at times. You learn what made you, what moves you…tapping into memories, emotions, hesitations, and ambitions that shape you in one way or another.

water

When you lose someone close to you suddenly, you begin to think about all of the lingering questions you wish you would have asked them and the stories that were yet to be told. That was, in part, the reason for me to begin writing…the realization that there were many adventures and tales unique to my Father that died with him. Narratives I will never be privy to. I decided I didn’t want the same to be true of myself. And then, as if to cement that way of thinking, I came across the following piece of advice: “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.” – Neil Gaiman.

One definition of immersion is “deep mental involvement”. In a world that’s become obsessed with being “involved” in the lives of others (even those they’ve never met), the idea of developing a deep mental involvement in my own life, an awakened consciousness, is a concept I’ve welcomed with open arms. Something I truly hope sticks with me through the remainder of my life, whether that life includes a future in writing or not. It’s something I want my children to observe and to learn because what this world lacks greatly, is compassion. And I believe compassion cannot be shown without understanding, and understanding can’t be achieved without consciousness and recognition. We understand others when we can relate in some way, either with feelings or experiences, aspects of ourselves that we must learn to be in tune with if we wish to tap into them for the better good.

To write about something, actually, to write WELL about something, one must have a level of interest that mirrors passion. I have, through this process, become  increasingly passionate about my life…how, where, and with whom I spend it, and most importantly, how I view it. As my immersion deepens, I have found the following state of being to be less and less elusive:

sophrosyne

And that is what I wish for anyone that is reading this. Now, and for the coming New Year.

 

3 Day Quote Challenge – Day 2 

We’re half way through the week! And I’m here to share my quote for day 2…


I love these words because they are a reminder to me of how much personal growth I’ve achieved in the past year. It’s been said, until you learn how to have a healthy relationship with yourself, you’ll never be able to build healthy relationships with others. I’ve learned that you can’t rely on others to support you, or believe in you, or lead you in the direction you need to be going in life. You have to learn what’s best for you, what fulfills you in life, then act on it, whether other people are on the same page as you or not.Writing is a perfect example. You could spend hours pouring your heart out on paper, and you might very well be the only person that reads it or appreciates it. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t accomplish something. The more we focus on doing things simply because they’re good for us or they make us happy, rather than for instant gratification or attention, the more content we will be. 

Now the three bloggers I am nominating today are:

Ugly Forever Blog
Stories From My Diary
Loud Thoughts Voiced Out

The rules of the challenge are as follows:
1. Three quotes over three days
2. Thank the person who nominated you
3. Three nominees each day to complete the challenge
4. Inform the nominees