Reflection

It’s 11pm on a Tuesday night in late November. I lie wide awake with my mind whirling , as has become my norm in the past few weeks. The only thing quieting my frazzled thoughts is the subtle snore coming from my eight year old snuggled next to me. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be letting him sleep in my bed, but as I look at his little face, so soft and peaceful…I know these moments are few and fleeting and that soon enough they’ll be a thing of the past. In this moment I feel enveloped with gratitude, that I get to be his Mom; their Mom. That the one thing I’m doing right, is loving them.

On a personal level, this hasn’t been the best year. Not the worst year by any means….but certainly not the best. And the older I get, the more I recognize that stagnancy is almost worse than turmoil, than affliction. Because what often stems from the latter two is perspective; whereas the other tends to lead to a place of mediocrity of mind and soul.

I’ve so much healing yet to do and growing and brainstorming, it’s often overwhelming. But as this year comes to a close, I try to make peace with all of the things that didn’t come to fruition; with all of the times I misjudged and made decisions that didn’t flow with the current of my life, that led me upstream then back where I started…..and I forgive myself. Because sometimes that is truly all you can do. Love yourself enough to forgive.

This year has, however, brought me much closer to my boys; my heartbeats. Even on days I’ve felt like a complete failure, I closed my eyes at night knowing those little humans felt loved and happy and content. And that is everything. For them I am grateful and I am blessed.

In the coming year, my wish is to be the best version of myself not only for me, but for the little souls I’m guiding through this crazy thing called life.

Thoughtful Thursday

It’s been a challenging week for sure. I came down with a bad cold that sort of knocked me off my feet. Except, when you’re an adult and have children, you don’t have the option to be down very long. But after as much rest as I could possibly manage, I’m beginning to feel like my normal spunky self again…so I thought I’d jump on here quickly before the NyQuil kicks in (lol).

One thing that has increasingly been on my mind lately is CONTENTMENT.

Contentment is a mental or emotional state of satisfaction maybe drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind.

I used to primarily associate the idea of being content with material things. If a person is content, they’re less inclined to fill their lives with endless material things. That statement certainly carries some weight. However, I’ve come to realize contentment in more than a few areas of my life and it has brought me a great deal of peace. I no longer feel the need to be surrounded by people to fill any sort of void or uncomfortableness with being “alone”. I’m content with what I have to offer myself in the way of self love and encouragement; no longer yearning for affirmation in one way or another from others. I’m content with just trying my best each day and having faith in what my life has in store without constantly living for the next moment.

Our society thrives off of flaunting their accomplishments, and with the help of social media, provides many outlets on which to do so.  While that may serve as motivation to some, I’m learning the beauty in doing things a little quieter in life and how much satisfaction comes from recognizing areas of personal growth (even if those thoughts never leave my mind or heart).

And on that note, here’s a picture of me and my two biggest sources of contentment (and happiness) in life:

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!

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

Transition

“It’s the oldest story in the world. One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” – Anonymous

I’m not sure those words could reflect more accurately how I’ve been feeling as I approach my 30th birthday. Time has evaded me. Almost three decades on this intricate planet of ours and I still have an overwhelming amount of self-awareness to achieve. I would file the past three years in particular under “lessons learned” and “harsh realities”. Life changing for both the good and the bad. In that time, I have managed to experience some of the most exhilarating moments of my life; hit rock bottom (or what I certainly hope is my rock bottom), both emotionally and financially; seen some of the ugliest sides of life, as well as people (myself included); rebuilt some relationships and abandoned others completely; and struggled with a mountain of guilt, regret, and loss (not all in that order).

There have been times I didn’t think I could possibly feel more alone…imprisoned in my own whirling thoughts. Times I didn’t think I could feel more alive and enlightened. And times I truly didn’t know how or what to feel, so I sort of just stopped feeling. But that, I’ve come to understand and embrace, is life. The only thing predictable about it is it’s unwavering ability to be unpredictable.

This period of transition I find myself on the brink of is pivotal to my evolution. No, the earth won’t stop turning the day I turn 30; nor will life suddenly change in some sort of drastic or abrupt way. However, the opportunity presents itself to exhale the negative from the past decade of my life (a decade full of self doubt and self scrutiny, more rash decisions than I’d like to recall, and more hard losses than I was able to cope with) and to instead breathe in a new decade. One of potential, one where I focus on self love, personal growth, and strengthening my ability to be more patient and understanding of others, and most importantly, MYSELF.

photo

Clarity 

It’s Saturday morning in early September. A pretty perfect Saturday morning I might add. As I sit alone on the front porch, hair unbrushed, not a stitch of makeup on my face; I embrace the pureness of being me. Taking in my surroundings, I watch as the neighbors scurry about, busy with their weekend chores. I wince at the sun as it pokes through the overgrown trees in my yard and I feel the breeze against my bare arms. The foam from my second latte tingles against my top lip. I’d say I’m somewhat addicted to these things… one cup always leads to a second. The flavor is subtle, yet satisfying and the warmth brings a sort of indescribable comfort. I’m reminded of the first time I drank one of these particular lattes. Christmas day two years ago. Sitting on my mothers couch in a big warm polkadot robe. That was such a good day. Just the two of us, nowhere to be….pj’s, lattes, and movies.

Realistically, there are 100 different things I could or should be doing this morning… mopping floors, making beds, scrubbing toilets, sifting through that nagging pile of mail. But in this moment, I’ve chosen my mental well being over the to do list. In fact, the older I get the more I realize the value in allowing myself to be alone and uninterrupted in my thoughts. A concept that at one time seemed downright scary to me.

Truth is, I was anxious to crack open the book that arrived in a box on my doorstep yesterday. It’s a book that was recommended to me by a fellow blogger, one whose writing has become beyond inspirational to me. The book focuses on our ability to cope with life when things don’t go the way we planned and was written by an American Buddhist woman. Buddhist teachings are something that have increasingly gained my intrigue over the past few years. Sure enough, I finish the very first chapter (all of four and a half pages) and I realize it is exactly what I needed. Funny thing is, this happens to me more and more often lately. I read or hear something at the exact moment in time when I need to be inspired or put things into perspective. Maybe it’s because I’ve become more observant; maybe it’s because I’m searching harder with ears and eyes open wider than ever in my life. Either way, it’s a constant reminder to me of the value and power of words and the realization that we have so much to gain from others’ knowledge.

What I’m reading is about fear. How it’s inevitable in life and even the universe’s tiniest creatures experience it. How fear means that we are moving closer to the truth and when we run away from it we are doing ourselves a disservice by missing out on the present moment. She talks about our natural inclination to run from it, to escape. Her words resonate with me because I’ve been there so many times in the past few years, running without even realizing it. Coincidently, I was sitting at a party recently and as I looked around I noticed everyone was drinking and smoking heavily and my first thought was “what are they trying to escape from?” And in that moment it became clear to me yet again that not only did I not need an escape, I didn’t want one. Whether it’s fear, sadness, loss, joyfulness, peace, or any of the transient emotions we experience on a regular basis, they are all beautiful in their own right and worthy of being felt completely because they are an indication that we are not only alive, but that we are living.

Recently I learned a new term: Monachopsis. It means “The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.” That pretty accurately describes what I’ve felt in the past year. I believe it’s because of the aforementioned epiphany, the revelation that so many people around us are fearful of life and feeling and look for any means possible to escape. And that’s not a life that’s meant for me. I’m here to feel, and to feel deeply. To bask in the present moment whether it’s good or bad or just can’t be measured one way or another. Because the truth (albeit scary) is that I will never get that moment back and that moment, in the long run, will somehow shape me into the person I was meant to be all along.

So as I sit here, enjoying the simplicity and yet the profoundness of this moment of clarity in my mind, I feel at peace. Confident in the notion that whatever the rest of this year brings my way, I can face it head on and I will continue to evolve. Continue to grow and inspire and be inspired. Continue to feel, whatever that feeling may be, and to embrace it rather than escape from it. And maybe, just maybe, turn it into something beautiful.


“The future is completely open and we are writing it moment to moment.” ~ Pema Chodron