HAPPY THANKS-GIVING

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I have a lot of ideas brewing right now. I believe I have about four or five saved drafts for all of the various topics I want to explore with you. As I racked my brain for which topic really struck a chord this week, I remembered tomorrow is a holiday. This being said, I want to take a break and instead say thank you. Thank you, for being on WordPress and taking time to read my blog and also for having your own blogs. Thank you, for taking risks and sharing yourself and your thoughts with the world. It is not easy to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. Keep up the good work and enjoy your holiday. I hope you get to spend this time with loved ones or maybe even in solitude, appreciating what you have and being grateful that you are alive. Take care and hopefully, I will have hashed out my ideas into a new post by next week.

Lots of love,

~ Karen

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Finding The Good

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Recently, I decided to go back to church. This particular church is a non-traditional church, which focuses more on spirituality and personal growth. All are welcome regardless of your beliefs and there are no pre-requisites. 🙂 On Sunday, the speaker talked about the recent and horrific tragedies in Paris, and how he found it difficult to find the good in this situation, as his topic this Sunday was to be on gratitude. I listened as he spoke of his initial strong reactions to hearing about the events that occurred in Paris, this recent Friday night. He was angry, sad, frustrated, and enraged. “How could anyone do such a thing?” He spoke of the idea that even though an evil act was committed, he was determined to uncover any good that he could find. So he went to a trusted mentor to dive into this subject and work through it. As I listened, I was awed about how he shared his feelings toward humans and that he believed there is good in all of us and we always have a choice in our actions whether or not to choose to share this good. Even if people do not choose to do good acts, in his opinion, every person still possesses good in them. He believed that acts are evil, but not people. He then challenged us to try to find the good in every situation. So here I am, doing my best in my own small world, to find the good.

My own problems in relations to this huge devastation seem so miniscule in comparison. How can I even relate the two? When I think about it though, I can’t start to see the good in the bigger things, if I can’t manage to see the good in the smaller, everyday things. So here I am, trying. You see, it is not just a simple lesson that you learn; it is a shift in consciousness. As I mentioned in my recent post, when I engage in conversations, we all tend to share our negative emotions, often in the form of complaining. What if we, instead, chose to share the good? What if I am spreading positivity instead of negativity and peace instead of hate? Would we indeed attract more of the good into our lives and into the world? Would my entire outlook on life change for the better, if I choose to see the good, instead of what I don’t like?

I decided to begin this challenge with where I work, because most days I am left feeling less than enthusiastic about my job. It can be a very negative and energy sucking environment and has been a source of stress and frustration for me. So…what good can I find? I started out with myself. I decided that no matter what happened the day before that I would come to work with a fresh start, positive type attitude. Monday, and Tuesday were pretty rough, but I did notice a change in the way some people spoke to me (once I changed my own attitude). When previously, certain individuals  spoke in a more gruff and irritated tone , I noticed that they started to speak with more caution and care in their voices, as though they too were making the effort to improve the environment. I wish it was a consistent result, but still, I found some good, and it had to start with me. How can you expect change out of someone else, if you first do not change from within yourself? So this first example was really finding the good in myself and watching the result that comes from acting from that good. The next example would naturally be to see the good in others and try to understand more where they are coming from and what their story is. I found that some people, who I previously labeled as jerks or creeps, actually were most likely just burnt out from working the same job for so many years, while another was just picked on too much and decided it was only fair to “pass the buck”, so to speak. You see, it is much easier to have compassion for others, if you are coming from a place of love and understanding. Not only did I have to change my own behavior, but where that behavior stems from, which is my thinking. I may not change my work environment as a whole, but in time if I can keep this awareness at the forefront of my mind, I may come to find that I can learn to see some good every day, no matter what happens.

So if we are attempting to see the good in things, we must first realize the good in ourselves and share that good. Then, we must see the good in others, instead of what we dislike. Only then can our outside world begin to change. It is oddly coincidental that this has been on my mind for a while now and Erika Kind, who also has a blog post on WordPress, shared her thoughts about fulfilling her dreams and how she experienced a recent reminder and confirmation that in order to do this she must come from a place of love that is already within her. You see, we are all in this world together, trying to figure it out. We are all on different paths, but I believe we can all learn from one another and find support from all over the place. Even at my work, where people can be rude and thoughtless and very unaware of their own behaviors; I equally found there to be people who can be thoughtful and even grateful that you exist. I have recently made some friends out of strangers, who I now know have my back and help me laugh about the ridiculousness of our shared environment. One friend likes to remind me, quite often, that it could be worse and that I’m not alone. There is the good. We are not alone. We are all in this together. There is always good, if you look for it.

 

 

Let It Be

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What does it mean to “Let it be”? We have all heard this phrase at one time or another, but do we truly know and fully understand what it means? In my resent re-discovery of this phrase, I have found it to mean, to allow. When I think about letting it be, I think of no longer resisting what is. We are always pushing against something that we do not want, but by this active pushing we are constantly pouring our energy into things that we do not want, instead of allowing what we do want. We give attention to negativity and by doing this we attract more negativity into our lives. I am constantly hearing others complain about everything they dislike, while noticing that not very many people speak praise about what is going well in their lives.

When we are upset, a lot of people may tell us to just let it go and forget about it. This is not easy to do when you’re emotions are high and you are currently feeling hurt or angry. This is why to me it is more important to learn how to let things be. I am learning about mindfulness; and what it teaches me is how to sit with my emotions. It does not say to forget or neglect your feelings, quite the opposite, in fact. Mindfulness challenges us to understand why we are feeling what we are and to dig deeper into those emotions through objective observation. When we can separate ourselves from our feelings and turn into an observer, we can then come to a better understanding of why we feel what we do and how to be okay and sit in that uncomfortable awareness of what is and that which we cannot control. It is an amazing way to learn, grow, and transform your life. Mindfulness is a skill in which you can develop your ability to live your life with more clarity and awareness.

I challenge you to join me in practicing the act of letting it be. Going forward when you feel strong emotions coming on, do not ignore or fear your deep feelings. Instead, observe them and find out what is really going on. If you are in tune with your body, it will tell you what you need. So many times, I have ignored my own intuition or what my body was telling me and the result was that I was resisting what I truly needed for my life or for my health. I believe, that if we have something to learn in life, we cannot move forward until we learn that lesson. If our body is telling us it is in pain, we need to figure out why and how we can change and develop better habits. Letting it be does not mean to do nothing. Yes; we are sitting with our emotions in order to face reality, but mindfulness is an active tool that we use to LIVE our life, not run away from it or avoid it. I am not sure where you are presently or what is currently going on in your life, but I do know that by being mindful and allowing good things to happen in your life by letting the not so good things be. A large part of allowing and letting things be, is trust (or if you are spiritual, faith). You are choosing to trust that everything is as it should be. You are also choosing to trust yourself with how you are feeling and knowing that you can handle what comes your way, but you need to listen and observe.

I would love to hear updates on those of you that are taking up the challenge and practice of mindfulness and letting it be. Feel free to share your thoughts, comments, concerns, insights, etc. As always thanks for reading! 🙂

Facing The Mirror

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Often, in life, we are running so fast to the next thing that we forget to stop and look around where we currently are. Well, my life felt suddenly halted when my relationship ended. I was happy with whom I chose as my partner and I thought this person was going to be my partner for life. Though we had different ways of handling things and communicating, I wanted to work together to figure out our balance and work through our challenges as they arose. Well, it didn’t work out that way. They decided that I wasn’t the one they wanted to be with. In their eyes, it was more stress than happiness and it no longer served them to be with me. This is still not an easy truth for me to grasp, but it is out of my control. What is in my control is how I choose to handle this change in my life. I cannot change their mind or go back in time to make things right, so I am choosing to focus on me, right now, where I am.

Naturally, the necessary lesson I am learning right now, is acceptance. This is a tough one for me. I have often spent time looking behind me at what once was and / or looking forward to what I want or what could be (living in my head). If we are never in the moment, however; we cannot appreciate what is. I have been replaying the past in my mind and wishing that I could have made different choices or learned to respond and not react so that my relationship still existed. This is very unproductive and not reality. So I’ve decided it is time to snap out of it and realize that this is where I am at now. There is nothing I can do to take back what was said or done. All I can do is learn and grow today from whom I was yesterday. I am happy to report that I am learning how to really listen and then respond, instead of becoming defensive and reactive with my emotions. No one else really knows my real heart and my true intentions, so unless I can become a better communicator, then I will remain a mystery or someone that is often misunderstood. Another benefit of acceptance is that it forces me to deal with reality, as mentioned above. So this led me to step two, accepting myself.

Regardless, if you are in an intimate relationship or not, you need to love and accept yourself. When my relationship ended, I blamed myself for everything that went wrong, thinking if only I was different or better, but this only left me feeling worthless and depleted. It didn’t take me long to change those thoughts of “not being good enough” to feeling compassion and love for myself. No one else is going to fill me with love; it is up to me. I decided to be okay with my own flaws and stop comparing myself to others. I can only be better than I was yesterday and I don’t have to be what my partner needed me to be. I am me and there is nothing wrong with that. Even though, I accept myself and where I am at today, I still decided I wanted to look into the dark sides of me and learn how to grow without my partner needing me to. I’m doing it for myself, so that I am okay with or without anyone else, but if I do find a life partner one day, I want to be ready.

It is hard to admit ones flaws and shortcomings. I am taking a hard look at myself and my insecurities that arose in the relationship. One big thing for me is the fear of abandonment. Due to this fear, I have become attached to people in my life and thus have expectations from them. Though I am no longer co-dependent in my relationships (as I was in my 20s), I still lack trust in others due to my fear of them leaving. I question their motives, instead of accepting that it is their reality and realizing that other people’s choices are not about me, but really about them and their life. This concept is still hard for me to grasp. I must realize that my partner leaving was really about my partner, not about me. I felt crushed that they didn’t feel our relationship was worth fighting for, but that was only the story I told myself upon hearing the news. This is also how I felt when my mom left my dad. I was a baby (18 months old) and I grew up feeling like I didn’t have a mom, because she chose to leave us and didn’t feel it was worth the fight to have us in her life. So I developed a story in my head that says “everyone always leaves me” or “I’m not good enough to love” or “I have to earn love”. I am changing that story to “things change and nothing is permanent” and “it is not always about me”. I am learning to detach from things and rely on myself to be strong, to be loved, and to feel like I am enough.

The truth is, life goes on with or without you. I choose to live my life with gratitude, peace, and love in my heart. I don’t want to be bitter, angry, or resentful at the things in which I have no control over. I want to be better tomorrow than I was yesterday and to keep growing and evolving. I am spending a lot of time in solitude and really facing myself in the mirror and facing all of my fears head on. I don’t need others to make me happy, though they add joy to my life; it can only come from within. If you are also struggling with change, please know that you are loved and you are good enough and accept where you are at right now and know that nothing is permanent. Change is constant and your pain will heal if you can walk or even crawl through it. Choose compassion and love always and you will find peace again.