And blessings to you and yours. I sincerely wish you the best year of your life yet! ❤
Below is a list of the 10 things I’m going to do this year…I hope you consider them as well 🙂
The angel drawing below is one I’m currently working on. I hope to not only finish it, but also get it on canvas, and painted too! My niece said I should name it sun portal, and a friend named him Aaron, but since he’s an angel I had to add the -iel at the end, so he’s been named Aaroniel Guardian of the Sun Portal!
Ten things to do in 2017:
1. Take it a day at a time.
You don’t have to know what you’re doing the next day or even the next hour. I’ve learned that the more you think in the future, the shorter the day seems and the months fly past you and you’re left feeling discontent and unsatisfied. It’s almost like everything has been in a blur, and you find yourself saying, “the year went by so fast”, even though you haven’t accomplished much. So do everything in the moment of ‘now’, and cherish each minute like it’s the last minute you have.
2. Let it go.
You know nothing is going to change, because you can’t change people unless they truly want to and you can’t change the past either, and the sooner you realize this, you will spend more time being happy than in a constant battle with your mind and your heart. They need to rest too.
3. Take risks.
If you never take any, the moment that turned out for the worst could have turned out for the best. This works vice-versa as well, but either way, you will learn from these experiences. You won’t forget how rapidly your heart was beating in these moments and how electric you felt. It will be worth it in the end, trust me.
4. Call up that person that you didn’t spend enough time getting to know, simply because you were too distracted with somebody else or just didn’t feel like you’d become something more than acquaintances. Greet strangers and embrace the idea of diversity. Ask questions about different cultures, morals, ideas, beliefs; educate yourself as much as you can.
5. Go ahead and wear that outfit you keep telling yourself that it doesn’t look good on you.
You bought it because you liked it, yes? So, show it to the whole damn world. If you do it with a smile and confidently squared shoulders—even better. You are beautiful.
6. Instead of procrastinating and wallowing in self-pity, get up and do something.
Sitting around is not going to do much but make you feel horrible, and you’ll create scenarios that may not even exist or be as big in your head that will cause matters to become worse. You want this to be your year of explosive progress? Set goals and strive to achieve them. You want to look back at the end of the year and say, “I did good”.
7. Spend more time with your family or friends.
Build a support system so strong, that you will never feel lonely. In fact, this support system will lead you to feeling content even when you are alone, because you won’t feel the constant need to either be with someone or have somebody who loves you, because you know you’ll have people who love you and the more love you surround yourself with, the easier it becomes to love yourself too.
8. Be kind always and be angry when you need to be.
Stand up for the ideas that you believe in and don’t back down from them just because you have a different opinion. Learn to love the sound of your voice when it bounces off the walls of a classroom full of people, because your voice has the power to change a million minds. Remember, you are allowed to feel whatever it is you feel.
9. Go on more road trips or just take a few minutes to be outside by yourself.
Inhale and exhale the air around you. Watch the stars, the sunset, the sunrise, the birds flying in the sky, the cars passing by. Walk in the rain sometimes without an umbrella, instead of running. Let the sunlight soak your skin more often. God, isn’t the world itself beautiful?
10. Be faithful.
This is the year you hoped to be better. Don’t let anything stop you from achieving that, because you are limitless as long as you believe yourself to be.
I came across this article today, and I believe it is imperative we share this with everyone we can. …
For everyone’s emotional well being…
I am compelled to share it here, in its entirety only because so many times when I’ve shared a great read, so often it disappears and is lost.
So, I’ve posted the whole article here and hopefully won’t be lost…
After nearly seven years of personal experience surrounding loss, I can tell who is going to read, share and comment on this article and it’s not necessarily the audience I’ve intended. Those who have walked the horrific road of loss will shake their collective heads “Yes” at many of my points below and share with pleads for the rest of the Western World to read, learn, evolve and embrace these concepts. Unfortunately, my words will fall short for my intended audience because the premise does not yet apply to their lives…yet. In time, my words will resonate with every human on the face of this earth, but until a personal journey with loss takes place, my words will be passed over in exchange for articles about gorillas and fights over public bathroom usage.
There is nothing sexy or exciting about grief.
There is nothing that grabs a reader with no personal interest to open my words and take heed to my writing.
I’m here to say that the West has the concept of grieving all wrong.
I’d like to point out that we are a culture of emotionally stunted individuals who are scared of our mortality and have mastered the concept of stuffing our pain. Western society has created a neat little “grief box” where we place the grieving and wait for them to emerge fixed and whole again. The grief box is small and compact, and it comes full of expectations like that range from time frames to physical appearance. Everyone who has been pushed into the grief box understands it’s confining limitations, but all of our collective voices together can’t seem to change the intense indignation of a society too emotionally stifled to speak the truth. It’s become easier to hide our emotional depth than to reveal our vulnerability and risk harsh judgment. When asked if we are alright, it’s simpler to say yes and fake a smile then, to be honest, and show genuine human emotion.
Let me share below a few of the expectations and realities that surround grief for those who are open to listening. None of my concepts fit into societies grief box and despite the resounding amount of mutual support by the grieving for what I write below, many will discount my words and label us as “stuck” or “in need of good therapy.” I’m here to say those who are honest with the emotions that surround loss are the ones who are the least “stuck” and have received the best therapy around. You see, getting in touch with our true feelings, embracing the honest emotions of death only serve to expand the heart and allow us to move forward in a genuine and honest way. Death happens to us all so let’s turn the corner and embrace the truth behind life after loss.
Expectation: Grief looks a certain way in the early days. Tears, intense sadness, and hopelessness.
Reality: Grief looks different for every single person. Some people cry intensely, and some don’t cry at all. Some people break down, and others stand firm. There is no way to label what raw grief looks like as we all handle our loss in different ways due to different circumstances and various life backgrounds that shape who we are.
Expectation: The grieving need about a year to heal.
Reality: Sometimes grief does not even get started till after the first year. I’ve heard countless grieving people say year two is harder than year one. There is the shock, end of life arrangements and other business matters that often consume the first year and the grieving do not have the time actually to sit back and take the time to grieve. The reality is there is no acceptable time frame associated with grief.
Expectation: The grieving will need you most the first few weeks.
Reality: The grieving are flooded with offers of help the first few weeks. In many cases, helping the grieving six months or a year down the line can be far more helpful because everyone has returned to their lives and the grief stricken are left to figure it out alone.
Expectation: The grieving should bury the dead forever. After a year, it is uncomfortable for the grieving to speak of their lost loved one. If they continue to talk about them, they are stuck in their grief and need to “move on.”
Reality: The grieving should speak of the dead forever if that’s what they wish to do. When someone dies, that does not erase the memories you made, the love you shared and their place in your heart. It is not only okay to speak of the dead after they are gone, but it’s also a healthy and peaceful way to move forward.
Expectation: For the widowed – If you remarry you shouldn’t speak of your lost loved one otherwise you take away from your new spouse.
Reality: You never stop loving what came before, and that does not in any way lessen the love you have for what comes after. When you lose a friend – you don’t stop having friends, and you love them all uniquely. If you lose a child and have another, the next child does not replace or diminish the love you had for the first. If you lose a spouse, you are capable of loving what was and loving what is….one does not cancel out or minimize the next. Love expands the heart, and it’s okay to honor the past and embrace the future.
Expectation: Time heals all wounds.
Reality: Time softens the impact of the pain, but you are never completely healed. Rather than setting up false expectations of healing let’s talk about realistic expectations of growth and forward movement. Grief changes who you are at the deepest levels and while you may not forever be in an active mode of grief you will forever be shaped by the loss you have endured.
Expectation: If you reflect on loss beyond a year you are “stuck.”
Reality: Not a day goes by where I am not personally affected by my loss. Seeing my children play sports, looking at my son who is the carbon copy of his Dad or hearing a song on the radio or smell in the air. Loss because part of who you are and even though I don’t choose to dwell on grief it has a way of sneaking in now and again even when I’m most in love with life at the current moment. It’s not because we dwell or focus, and it’s not because we don’t make daily choices to move forward. It’s because we loved and we lost, and it touches us for the remainder of our days in the most profound ways.
Expectation: When you speak of the dead you make the griever sad, so it’s best not to bring them up.
Reality: When we talk about our lost loved one we are often happy and filled with joy. My loss was six and a half years ago and to this day, my late husband is one of my favorite people to talk and hear about. Hearing his name makes me smile and floods my mind with happy memories of a life well lived. It makes the grieving sadder when everyone around them refuses to say their name. Forgetting they existed is cruel and a perfect example of our stifled need to fix the unfixable.
Expectation: If you move forward you never loved them or conversely if you don’t move forward you never loved them.
Reality: The grieving need to do what is right for them, and nobody knows what that is except the person going through it.
Expectation: It’s time to “move on.”
Reality: There is no moving on – there is only moving forward. From the time death touches our lives we move forward, in fact, we are not given a choice but to move forward. However, we never get to a place where the words move on resonate. The words “move on” have a negative connotation to the grieving. They suggest a closure that is nonexistent and a fictitious door we pass through.
Expectation: Grief is a linear process and a series of steps to be taken. Each level is neatly defined and the order predetermined.
Reality: Grief is an ugly mess full of pitfalls, missteps, sinking, and swimming. Like a game of shoots and ladders, you never know when the board might pull you back and send you down the ladder screaming at the top of your lungs. Just when you think you’ve arrived at the finish, you draw a card that sends you back to start and just when it appears you’ve lost the game you jump ahead and come one step closer to the front of the line.
Expectation: The grieving should seek professional forms of counseling exclusively.
Reality: The grieving should seek professional forms of counseling but also the grieving should look strongly towards alternative modes of therapy like fitness, art, music, meditation, journaling and animal therapy. The grieving should take an “active” part in their grief process and understand that coping comes in many different forms for all the different people who walk this earth.
Expectation: The grieving either live in the past or the present. IT is not possible to have a multitude of emotions.
Reality: The grieving live their lives with intense moments of duality. Moments of incredible happiness mixed with feelings of deep sadness. There is a depth of emotion that forever accompany those who have lived with a loss. That duality can cause constant reflection, and a deeper appreciation of all life has to offer.
Expectation: The grieving should be able to handle business as usual within a few weeks.
Reality: The brain of a grieving person can be in a thick fog, especially for those who have experienced extreme shock, for more than a year. Expect forgetfulness, a reduced ability to handle stress and grayness to be commonplace after a loss.
I’ve just scratched the surface above on the many areas where grief is misunderstood in our society.
One hundred percent of the people who walk this earth will deal with death. Each of us will experience the passing of someone close that we love or our personal morality. It is about time we open up the discussion around death, dying and grief and stop the stigma that surrounds our common bond. Judgment, time frames, and neat little grief boxes have no place in the reality that surrounds loss. Western culture asks us to suppress our pain, stuff our emotions and restrain our cries. Social media has given many who grieve the opportunity to open up dialogue, be vulnerable on a large scale level and take the combined heat that comes with that honesty. As a whole, society does not want to hear or accept that grief stays with us in some capacity for the rest of our lives. Just like so many other aspects of our culture, we want to hear there is a quick fix, a cure-all, a pill or a healthy dose of “get over it” to be handed out discreetly and dealt with quietly.
The reality is you will grieve in some capacity for the rest of your life. Once loss touches you-you are forever changed despite what society tells you. Stop looking at the expectations of an emotionally numbed society as your threshold and measuring stick for success. Instead, turn inward and look at the vulnerable reality of a heart that knows the truth about loss. With your firsthand knowledge escape the grief box and run out screaming truth as you go. If we make enough noise maybe someday societies warped expectation will shift to align with reality.
We all know spring is a time for new beginnings, sprucing up, new growth, and renewal. But, not everyone is jumping with boundless joy everyday.
Sometimes we just don’t feel we have the energy to do that.
It could be that we are depressed, or hurting inside. Maybe it’s a darkness that won’t seem to leave, or a painful memory that won’t go away. Whatever it is that is bringing us down; we may just need a helping hand.
Sometimes we all need a bit of a boost to help get us going, or someone to tell us everything is going to be OK.
Sometimes spiritual guidance can get us through really tough times.
And sometimes we just need a really big hug.
One of the best poems I’ve ever read does just that;
Rumi embraces our souls,
gives us wings to fly,
and gives us the courage to try.
Know that you are truly loved…<3…<3…<3
The Guesthouse by Rumi
Here’s a little wisdom from the great Persian poet Rumi.
This being human is a guesthouse
Every morning a new arrival
A joy, a depression, a meanness
Some momentary awareness
Comes as an unexpected visitor
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture
Still treat each guest honorably
He may be cleaning you out
For some new delight!
The dark thought, the shame, the malice
Meet them at the door laughing
And invite them in
Be grateful for whoever comes
Because each has been sent
As a guide from the beyond
Translated by Coleman Barks
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi) was a 13th century Persian muslim poet, jurist, and theologian. His name literally means “Majesty of Religion”. He was born in Balkh (now part of Afghanistan) and died in present-day Turkey. His works are widely read in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and are in translation in Turkey, Azerbaijan, the U.S., and South Asia. He lived most of his life in, and produced his works under, the Seljuk Empire. Rumi’s importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders.
I can’t believe it’s that time again. I know I say it every year, but truly, time is speeding up more and more each instance I look at the calendar on December 1.
It seems to fly by faster and faster… I mean, geez, at this rate, before I’m 60 time will be going so fast I’ll probably be making Christmas cookies on Easter! lol.
At any rate, it’s likely, and most probable that we all will get a little stressed out during the holidays.
This is some of the best and most manageable advice from a trusted source, that we could all use to help with a variety of life issues, like;
give us a boost of energy when needed instead of grabbing a cup of coffee,
or to relax when stressed or if feeling panicky and/or anxious,
even for digestive disorders… (uhhh…especially after Thanksgiving, and pretty much during the entire holiday season)…ummmyeah.
And it’s all based on one of the most natural things we do all the time –mostly without even a thought about it — Breathing.
Yes, it’s just breathing. But it’s the way we do it that can have the desired effect. These breathing exercises will help a variety of issues.
And what’s better, these techniques will not only help during the holidays, but all year through.
It’s from Dr. Weil, and I, for one, trust Dr. Weil’s advice.
Dr. Weil is a well known Harvard trained physician, and successful author, spokesperson, and broadly described “guru” for holistic health and integrative medicine, he’s well trusted in the medical community and has some excellent advice for more natural therapies.
Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. I recommend three breathing exercises to help relax and reduce stress:
The Stimulating Breath, The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise (also called the Relaxing Breath), and Breath Counting.
Try each of these breathing techniques and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels.
The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath)
The Stimulating Breath is adapted from yogic breathing techniques. Its aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.
Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.
If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this diaphragmatic breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.
Exercise 2: The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
This breathing exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.
This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.
Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.
If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting, a deceptively simple technique much used in Zen practice.
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.
To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.
Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”
After reading this potent blog post, I just had to share it, today….immediately.
Stunning. Powerful. Moving.
Sometimes, often really, things break – irreparably. And it takes your breath away … straight away.
Sometimes things break. Sometimes we break them. It’s not the breaking that matters, the how or why. What matters is how we choose to respond to the broken-ness. Does it kill us? Does it throw us into a downward spiral of blame and punishment?
Do yourself a favor, whether you’re a parent or not, and read this blog post.
Just recently a good friend of mine came down with shingles. Aww man, I feel so bad for her. It must be horrible, and I wish there was more I could do for her to ease her suffering, so it prompted me to look it up in my article list. Sure enough, I found it was one of my orphaned articles from the old Yahoo Contributor Network / Associated Content library. I’m going to pass is on to her and hopefully have enough ingredients to make her my relief spray. She’s at the doc’s now, and hopefully they’ll give her something to alleviate the horrible symptoms.
Anyway, here’s the article from 2009 in it’s entirety:
There are so many natural and holistic remedies for all types of maladies these days that it is difficult to weed through all the bad or mis-information strewn across the web. This series of articles, “Natural Holistic Remedies” will address only the tried and true remedies and natural therapies, either through personal experience or gathered from trusted sources. I’ve been studying these types of holistic cures and aids for over over 20 years and have discovered many new concepts as well as debunking some older (and some newer ones too).
General Shingles Information
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection of the nerve roots. Shingles affects the nerve endings in the skin and results in pain and a rash. Shingles affects 750,000 Americans annually. It can strike at any age but is most common in people older than 40.
Possible Causes of Shingles
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox When a person has chicken pox, it lives dormant in the body. If it becomes active, it results in a case of the shingles, not another bout of the chicken pox. Approximately 90 percent of people who have chicken pox are at risk of developing shingles. Stress, cancer, use of anti-cancer drugs, spinal cord injuries, the common cold and immune system problems can trigger shingles. People who have never contracted chicken pox have very little chance of developing shingles.
Possible Symptoms of Shingles
The first signs of shingles appear as three or four days of chills, fever, body aches and sometimes pain in the affected area. Then tiny blisters with red rims appear, along with extreme pain and sensitivity at the site. Other symptoms of shingles include fatigue, numbness, depression, tingling, shooting pains, swollen lymph nodes, headache and fever. This phase usually lasts one week to 10 days, when the blisters dry up and fall off. In most cases, shingles lasts a few weeks, but some people can experience pain for months.
Possible Lifestyle Changes for Shingles
There is no way to prevent shingles, but people can avoid getting chicken pox by being immunized with the vermicelli vaccine. People who have never had chicken pox should avoid contact with anyone who has the disease. Avoid contact with anyone with shingles because the fluid from the blisters is extremely contagious. Pregnant women, infants, children and anyone with immune deficiencies should not be in contact with anyone with chicken pox or shingles. Also, things like meditation, Yoga, Pilates, or any naturally calming practices will help keep shingles to a minimum as stress makes shingles worse. Try to keep stress and anxiety to a minimum, whatever works for you!
Personal Experience: Shingles “Natural Remedy” Skeptics
If you’ve ever had shingles before, you know the pain that can be associated with it. Both a cousin and a friend of mine came down with shingles and were both in serious enough pain to ask me for help. While one was very skeptic of “natural cures”, the other was right away willing to try my natural remedy. Needless to say, after making them my “Shingles Relief Spray” and advising them of some dietary adjustments, they are both believers and ask me for all kinds of natural cures and advice now.
Beneficial Dietary & Herbal Aids
L-Lysine is important for healing and for fighting the virus that causes shingles.
Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids aids in fighting the shingles virus.
Vitamin B Complex is needed for nerve health and to counteract deficiencies.
Zinc enhances immunity and protects against infection.
Calcium and Magnesium for nerve function and healing.
Garlic is excellent for building the immune system.
SAMe aids in reducing pain and inflammation.
Cayenne relieves pain and aids healing.
Lemon Balm – This lemon scented herb helps the body fight viruses.
Licorice – The licorice has virus-fighting ingredients that can inhibit the herpes simplex virus. It appears to interfere with the growth of the virus. It also fights inflammation and can be used instead of products containing cortisone without the side effects. Taken internally, it can be used as a tea and is often blended with other herbs for taste. Do not take for longer than 6 weeks at a time, and do not take licorice if you have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease.
Alfalfa and Dandelion promotes healing.
Baikal Skullcap – This is an herb that has been used since ancient times in China. It fights bacteria and infections, so it is helpful in treating shingles as well as many other conditions. Used topically, you can make a paste using the ground root mixed with water. Apply the paste to the affected areas as needed.
Astragalus Root and Echinacea boosts immune function.
Bi phaya yaw (Clinacanthus nutans)- an herb used in traditional Thai medicine, has been shown in clinical studies to shorten the time it takes to recover from shingles in some cases. It is applied in cream form.
Olive leaf extract aids in fighting the virus of shingles. Eat plenty of foods that contain vitamin B6, including bananas, nuts, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
A combination of oat straw, St. John’s wort, and skullcap helps to reduce stress and itching. Mix equal amounts of oat straw, St. John’s wort, and skullcap tinctures together, and take one teaspoon of this mixture four times daily.
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