This is about having the courage in life to be authentic and create sustainability.
What does it mean to have courage? To be truly courageous? How can I step out of my comfort zone and make a difference in my life? Can I make a difference in the lives of others? I want to take the next step. And the next one after that. Are you ready to really break free and do something with your life? I am! How do we start?
Allow me to introduce you to some inspiring people who have shown how a little courage can transform not only their own life, but by sharing their stories and experiences touches the lives of countless others along the way. At some point while reading this – click on this link – and consider helping to ensure that these stories get told.
Here is What I Believe
In my heart of hearts I am fearless. I am an adventuress. I love to experience new things. In my mind I believe I can do it. I can do anything I set my sights on. I am bold. I am free. Reality sets in. I have to buy groceries. I should do some laundry. I am getting behind on my bills. I need to exercise. I digress. We tend to slip into old habits and just do what we can to finish the week. Who has time to make a difference? Madonna. She can do it. She has time. She has resources. Not me.
But, there are normal people, like me, who do amazing things and manage to still get their laundry done. There are courageous, adventurous people who make a difference in the lives of others and are facing the same daily challenges that I face, some much more challenging than mine. They inspire me. (Madonna inspires me too, she always has!)
“Help Humaira build her school! Education is not a luxury ! It’s a basic human right” -Madonna said at the Sound of Change concert in London on Saturday, June 1, 2013.
I may never have the intrepid boldness to take a stand, drop everything, and leave the country to help others – but I can support those who do.
My friend (and fellow blogger) nomadic minimalist, Raam Dev, suggests that we all come into this world a tourist. The challenge is to leave an explorer. When my son’s friend from school announced that he was going on a trip around the world with his family junior year, I was amazed and intrigued. I can’t even imagine how a person would start planning a trip like that. I could see myself and my family doing it, but I shake my head in disbelief because it would be so hard to execute such a plan. And the expense. The thought of it is overwhelming! I can only imagine the wealth of life experience my family would gain if we could ever embark on such a journey. Mark and Carrie Pullen had this pearl of wisdom for their children after broadening their horizons for nine months:
“You can live any life you choose.” ~ Carrie Pullen
Meet Jody Temple White. Meet her and her courageous family. If you have ever wondered what an ordinary person can do to make a change in the world, here is your answer. There is a documentary in the works about this bold family and their courageous travel adventure around the globe. You can help get it seen and help to inspire others. The Courage Vibe is a movement. It is inspiration. It is about transformation. It is about having the courage in life to be authentic and create sustainability; for ourselves, for others, for the World.
“When a seed of inspiration strikes, believe it is possible. It may take years to grow and become real, but some form of it is meant for you.” ~Jody Temple White
How can I find the meaning in my life?
Be a traveler.
What is the difference between being a tourist and being a traveler? Ask Jody, John, Riley and Allison White. They realized and lived the difference on their trip around the world when they were enriched as a family while helping others as they went. I often say I am an adventuress. I am an explorer. For now on, I consider myself a traveler. I am on a journey. It is the journey of my life. I am not just visiting. I am taking an active role. I am a traveler not a tourist.
For the White family being travelers means living simply in each place they visit, immersing themselves in the culture, and meeting and helping people and animals along the way. This experience has brought them joy and enriched their relationships with each other and is shaping their lives in a way unimaginable for most families.
“Be brave and face your fears. ~ Allison White
How can we find joy in helping others? Who can we help?
Keep it simple. Think about what is truly important to you. What gets your heart beating? Living simply means getting along with fewer complications. What are the top things you could not live without? Doesn’t everyone deserve to have these things? What can you do to help make that possible for others who are less fortunate than you?
Think about what you love doing and who you love being with. What better way to express your love than to share that joy with others? How lovely it would be to help someone else to experience that joy. What a beautiful gift it would be to care about someone else’s basic needs.
What are you good at?
Are you skilled at something that you might take for granted that someone else might benefit from learning? What do you want to learn about? Sharing knowledge and learning from our experiences is an invaluable step in life’s journey.
I hear my fears saying things to hold me back. . . “How can I possibly help when I need help? My family needs help. My life is hard. I have health challenges. I am in debt. I can barely make ends meet. My family is not that supportive. I care about the world and I want to make a difference, but I am struggling right now.”
Life is daunting at times. If you make a list of all the challenges you are facing it would be as long as the list of things you would do to change the world. Life is challenging. Getting along in this world is hard. It’s scary. That’s why it takes courage to tackle these issues. Facing our fears, dealing with the obstacles, and being willing to make a change despite the challenges is why it takes bravery and fortitude to embark on a journey like this. Giving of yourself in service to others is a sacrifice.
Why should you do it?
Going outside your comfort zone is not easy to do! It takes commitment. Breaking free and making a difference in your life involves spirit. If you strive for a better life, a better human condition, if you hope to make the world a better place for future generations, or if you just aren’t satisfied with the way things are then it is time for you to make a change. You might find that in helping others, you can help yourself. The very act of making a difference in the life of another person may be the very thing you need to make a positive impact in your own life.
Doing this takes faith. Faith in yourself and your abilities. It takes faith in humanity and in the human spirit. I am not just talking about big round the world trips and building schools and digging wells kind of commitments. Any change you are willing to take to make a positive difference in your life takes faith. Faith is the belief of the uncertain. It’s what you know in your heart.
Making a leap of faith to break your habits and face your fears takes hope. Hope for a better life. Hope for a positive outcome. Having a real desire in your heart to do something new and to make a difference is having hope. It’s the inspiration, the drive, the catalyst that will see you through. Never give up hope. Any little thing you do is important. Everything you do is valuable. Everything you do makes a difference.
Embracing the courage to make a change in your life takes love. If you start with love, the possibilities are endless. It starts with loving yourself. Believe in yourself. You can do this! Love grows and continues to grow forever. If you have love in your heart you can do anything.
Transforming your life takes perseverance. It may not happen overnight. If you were to take a trip around the world, putting your life on hold for a year, giving up all of life’s conveniences and comforts, it would take a tremendous amount of planning, time, money, and support. Any change takes time to happen.
“…courage as a muscle that you can begin exercising and slowly strengthen over time.” ~Marquita Herald
Thank you Dona Donato, and the owners and founders of Giggling Gorilla Productions, Inc. GGP is a company dedicated to creating media and live events that support enhanced living, wildlife conservation, sustainability and a holistic way of life. It is because of their belief in the courage of families who can make a difference that this blog post and others like it are being written. With their help, millions of people will be inspired and hopefully donate to the Living the Courage Vibe documentary project.
“I truly believe that we all have this kind of courage and bravery hiding somewhere inside us. And if you just take the time to look, you will find that you do too.” ~Chris Lemig
If you want to read more about my adventures, click here: The Next Step
Be an explorer of life. Be a traveler on your journey. Don’t just observe the world around you like a tourist. Get active and engage yourself. Immerse yourself along the way. Life is an adventure!
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would love to share with you what I did to make my recent road trip with my family fun for myself and how our family survived driving over 2500 miles through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and back to our ‘home sweet home’ in Southern California.
“Life incidents can have a significant effect on your states of mind. If something powerful happens then your belief in yourself is increased.” ~Ken Ward, from Mind Mastery
Let’s recap: We traveled through Six States in Seven Days and I experienced Nine States of Mind in the Process.
I set out to share my experience going on a road trip with my husband and three teen-aged boys and explain why it was so worthwhile that I would highly recommend that you do it at least once in your life. I ended up learning a lot about myself, my abilities, the unique family dynamics that I have taken for granted and how much it all means to me.
I wanted to parallel the “Six States” we visited with different “States of Mind” that one goes through when a) going on a road trip and b) making big life decisions like choosing a college and experiencing empty nest syndrome. I did some research on the differences of feelings versus states of mind. I had the idea when I realized that I had to be in a certain mindset to even tackle the concept of going on a road trip at this point in my life. Anyone who has been on a road trip knows what I mean.
There is a level of adventurism that is different when transporting oneself over long roads to get to a destination with many points in between over taking other modes of transportation.
There is a spirit of freedom that is involved. A sense of anything being possible ensues. I was in a special state of mind, going through cycles of many thoughts and feelings on my road trip. I have held off completing the “saga” and writing the “end” of the trip for many reasons.
Now it’s time to look at the effect the many states of mind had on me and my family:
The States of Mind
I felt like I was in a State of Dilemma when I was making the plans to go on a family vacation with little funds and very little interest from the family in terms of what to do, where to go, and how and if we should take this trip at all. Was it the right decision? After all, our son would most likely choose a California school, but he had been accepted to three out-of-state schools. Shouldn’t he at least visit them before he decided? What to do? What to do?
Even though making the trek and going on the long trip was a challenge it had many benefits. We mostly looked forward to getting to visit our beloved relatives. It is the one thing that we all wanted to do. We all enjoy visiting New Mexico and had wanted to go there for a while. We love everything about it, the hospitality of our relatives, the fun places to go, things to see, and especially the food we love to eat.
That is what made the trip worthwhile for the kids. I wish we could have spent more time there. The dilemma was in the work it took to make it all happen and the state of mind was a tough one because I added the stress of trying so hard to make everyone happy in the process.
Along the way, I observed some animals and birds that I considered to be omens. You might think that is strange, but it is just what came to mind when I saw these things and it added to the drama of the experience for me. When we were getting on the freeway for the first leg of the trip, I saw a black crow perched on a post on the corner at the on-ramp. I thought it might be a bad omen and I prayed that we would have a good trip. Later on after we had our first night in Nevada staying overnight with my mother in law, I felt better after seeing a doe running along the side of the road and that brought me a sense of peace. On the way to New Mexico driving through Colorado Springs, I saw a band of wild horses running through a range. It was quite a site to see and it was exhilarating. It was another omen, it was a good feeling that something was happening.
I felt like the true journey was just beginning and that I was on special mission. Through it all I felt like there was more I could be doing. Until we got to New Mexico and we were on the third college tour. Knowing that after this we could relax and just hang out with our family and then head home, we went to the gift shop.
Quote seen on a book in the New Mexico gift shop – after trying so hard to make everyone happy. . .
“If you want to be happy, just be.” ~Tolstoy
Is it really that easy? Can I just be? Be happy? Be content? Be satisfied.
Road Blocks and Obstacles
When things didn’t go well at the very start of the trip I felt like I was in a State of Despair. I was trying so hard to get things to work out as planned and I had to push myself hard in many directions. I needed to be assertive and calming at the same time. I was under an incredible amount of pressure. We had to be in Colorado at a certain time. All the college tours were scheduled appointments. We didn’t have any flexibility other than missing the tours and just seeing the colleges on our own.
It was interesting that the problems I had with Hertz were a matter of customer service and the failure of the company to meet my expectations. I had set high expectations for myself in planning and executing this trip. Hertz has a goal of providing a quality customer experience. My goal became to provide the best experience possible for my family. One thing I learned in this process was to expect the un-expected. I also learned that even when there is no flexibility, I am still capable of bending.
My Measure of Being a Good Mom Depends on the Level of Joy Experienced by My Least Happy Child
Being in a state of despair led me to being in a State of Confusion since I was having to make so many decisions that affected everyone and I was dealing with different attitudes and hormones while trying to make everyone comfortable and happy. I learned a lot about being prepared and having faith, in myself, in my family in our own abilities, as well in that which we cannot control.
When things went according to plan, I was in the State of Relief. This came about after being helped and receiving tender loving care and nurture from my mother in law on that first night.
I Can Always Depend on a Little Help From My Family
I relished in the comfort of knowing what to expect from our extended family. I loved being able to rely on certain things. I depended on it. I knew this trip was about visiting colleges – B-o-r-i-n-g!! We didn’t have the money or time to go to an amusement park, zip lining, fishing or river rafting while on the trip. I needed to make the connections with family be the attraction. They did not disappoint. I was relieved and enjoyed being in that state for a while. I think I am still there. Our family is awesome on both sides! The kids feel love and support from everyone. We are truly blessed. It’s never perfect, nothing ever is going to be perfect. But we appreciate who we are and where we came from.
This is How I Made the Trip FUN for Me!
One of the highlights of the trip for me was getting my nails done by my cousin, Shauni. She made a special appointment for me and while I was getting my nails done, her husband cut my son’s hair. They have a great shop, it is a nail salon and barber shop called Cool Claws and Hot Heads. Shauni has always made me feel welcomed and special when I am in town and it wouldn’t be a trip to New Mexico without a trip to see her. What I love most about getting my nails done by Shauni, is the chance to have one on one time to talk and catch up girl to girl on what is happening with the family. She is a busy working mom like me and we are doing many of the same things. We love to dish!
While we were there the whole family came over to my cousin’s house for dinner. That was about 30 people! I told the boys everyone would come to see them. It is an amazing show of support and solidarity when four generations of family show up to see you whenever you are in town. I used to think this kind of thing happened when my parents were visiting to show respect for them. They were very hospitable and when people came to California to visit they would stay at our home. I thought they planned these big dinners for special occasions. I expected maybe a handful of the close relatives to come, but I was overjoyed that everyone who lived in town and could make it came over to greet us. It is a big, affectionate, loving and supportive family. The love is deep and strong. We have been through a lot, we have lost a lot, and we celebrate with intention and gratitude when we are together.
Family support came in handy especially for our son in making his decision on what college to choose. Everyone in New Mexico wanted him to choose UNM. My cousin in Colorado, was encouraging about CUB. But they all gave him such positive and nurturing advice. They had his back and are proud of him no matter what he chose. It has to be his decision. Having family support is invaluable. I needed to be with them. I needed a big dose of that strength and fortitude. I think it will last for a while.
What Did I Learn From All of This?
The best take-away? I wasn’t in this alone – I had lots of help, mother-in-law, husband, kids, cousins, friends. I had the positive reinforcement that I needed. The purpose of the trip was to visit colleges and decide on which one our son would attend. I tried to be positive and guide him in making an informed decision without making the decision for him. It was completely successful on that front. I give the other boys credit for hanging in there purely for the ride. I think they got a lot out of it that will come into play later in their lives. For now, they showed their support for their brother. They showed respect to me and their Dad. The enjoyed the time spent with family. I still have the feeling that I owe them one. . . but I can always fall back on the guilt trip of labor pains and dirty diapers!
One of my regular states of being is the State of Awe and Wonderment. I am blessed every day that I can see the beauty in things. This was particularly evident the day we drove through the many different terrains and mountains. It was an amazing day. The sky was so clear and I will never forget how perfectly beautiful everything was and how impressed I was with the way the scenery changed so rapidly. It was like fast forwarding through my life. I felt like I was fast forwarding through life the past few years. Everything has changed so much since my parents passed on and my children have grown. I just needed to catch up. I was finally able to catch up on this trip.
Seeing the beauty in everything, I learned to appreciate nature and the feeling of being a small yet integral part of something so big. This became evident in my role in my family as well.
Some parts of the trip were heart-stopping and crazy and I found myself in a State of Excitement and Anticipation! This was the case during our Wild Rocky Mountain drive on the way to Fort Collins, Colorado. It was a quick ride much like the roller coaster of life with its ups and downs twists and turns, exhilaration, excitement, and even its let downs and disappointments. Through it all we discovered the thrill of adventure and teachable moments. I practiced patience and trust. My husband was my hero and I was reminded why I love him so much.
At the pinnacle of the ride, at the top of the Rocky Mountains, I was immersed in a State of Fear. We were driving through a snowstorm in Vail, Colorado and even though I was terrified on the inside, I remained calm on the outside. Our traverse through a difficult situation gave me the feeling of being able to conquer anything. I gained self-confidence and regained composure and respect for my partner in life and our kids. Our family as a unit stuck through it with grace. Getting over the mountain, seeing what is on the other side, the roller coaster ride, the snowstorm, are all metaphors for what is about to happen with our oldest son graduating from high school and going away to college, as well as our families adjustment to growing up and moving on in life.
Along the way I discovered a new mantra,
“I will wake to a new day.” I will. It is a new day.
After going through all of this I found myself in the perfect State of Enchantment and Bliss. I was pretty proud of myself for pulling it off, being able to spend the time with the family and eating our favorite foods, and for making the most of the situation. The good feelings started when we were in Boulder, Colorado. After settling in to a wonderful hotel and relaxing a bit, my hubby and I went on a tour of the Celestial Seasonings plant. It was the perfect place to unwind and re-energize!
Kicking back and hanging out in Boulder on Easter Sunday with the boys was another highlight of the trip. I enjoyed walking around town looking at shops, and taking in the ambiance of the little college town. The best part was going into the LUSH store and getting hand and wrist massages and learning about natural skin care products. Luckily the pretty college student was more than happy to help me and the three boys! I never get such great service when I go shopping alone. Hmmm, wonder why?
I think I managed to share with my family the best part of road trips. It’s the fun spontaneous side trips that are meant to be enjoyed just for the sake of having fun. Driving into New Mexico, I took some awesome pictures of the beautiful evening sky and sunset. For me, I had reached my destination at that point. That was a sight that I had on my list. There is nothing quite like it.
This leads me to where I ended up as a result of this undertaking, I am happy to finally reach this destination in the State of Contentment and Accomplishment. It wasn’t enough that our son was accepted at a college and was making the decision to accept an offer with support from loved ones, but it was in appreciating each other in the process and learning how much we love our home and its stable environment. We realized that appreciating the best qualities of each member of the family, recognizing that we take each other for granted at times, blessing the fact that we need each other and complement each other, loving the little things that makes us each unique and valuable is what we gained by taking this journey together. It took going away to realize that. To emphasize and instill that in the minds and hearts of my children meant the world to me.
It was worth every dime it took and every mile we drove to achieve that level of knowing and to settle in to that state of being.
I have always said if you can dream it, you can be it. If you can imagine it, you can make it happen. If you can see yourself in a place, you can go there. This trip was difficult because we went to different places to “try them on for size.” We went for the purpose of trying things out to see how it feels to be there, to see if our son could make a go of it there. Trying new things was the name of the game. We were breaking out of our comfort zone. We were all imagining ourselves in a new place. We were trying on a new learning environment and living space for our son and imagining a new family dynamic at home. It became a new rung on the ladder of development for me as a mother and a wife, for us as a family. I learned through this entire process that it is time to change my state of mind. Now I know how to do it. And I know what state of mind I have transitioned to. I am not afraid anymore. I am confident. I know I am not alone in this. I am compelled and excited about what is ahead. I can do it. I am open to new experiences. I have grown up a bit. It might not happen without bouts of dilemma and despair, fears and woe, wonder and awe, excitement and anticipation. It will be with a sense of relief, love, nurture, accomplishment, confidence, grace and contentment.
This is who I am. This is how I operate. It is all part of the journey. It is all part of a process.
It is my time to shine.
More on the States of Mind
If you want to learn more about ‘The very important difference between a feeling and a state of mind,” Here’s a great excerpt from a blog called Positive Juice:
“Feelings are temporary. They change and morph both gradually and quickly, often without us even realizing it. States of mind, however, are much longer-lasting and pervasive. You could consider a state of mind to be another kind of feeling, but there is a very important difference. Some examples of feelings versus states of mind:
* Joy versus contentment. * Anger versus resentment. * Sadness versus depression. * Love versus being in love. * Envy versus jealousy. * Delight versus appreciation. * Embarrassment versus shame. * Sureness versus faith. * Annoyance versus exasperation. * Urgency versus desperation. * Acceptance versus resignation. * Disgust versus hatred. * Relaxation versus peace of mind. * Hope versus optimism. * Desire versus longing. * Fear versus paranoia.
Feelings are part of life, both good and bad. They happen whether you like it or not, and you have very little control over them. States of mind are very different. They shape your longer-term outlook about what you are [and aren’t] supposed to do. The secret is that, while you don’t have much control over the feelings you have, you do have the ability to shape your state of mind.
The negative feelings will happen; in fact, as feelings, they are beneficial to experience–because they pass and you often learn something from them or gain a sense of perspective. But when negative feelings like anger and sadness turn into states of mind like resentment and depression, you’re in trouble.
A lot of the time, you can see when the transition from feeling to state of mind happens. If you become angry, for example, and then for days afterward, you anger is provoked much more easily than usual… that anger is becoming a lingering state of mind–a generalized resentment. Folks who suffer from this resentful state of mind [and there are quite a few out there] are the kind of people who act as though they want everybody else to have as bad a day as they are having. Their state of mind heavily influences all their interactions, and they respond to others from a place of resentment.
Some states of mind can be very good for a while. Appreciation, for example, is a very positive state of mind to have. Contentment is equally positive. Remember, these states of mind influence what you project to others… so a good state of mind is an awesome way to tap into positive energy. But even positive states of mind are good to change once in a while. You don’t want to project appreciation when someone has just had something horrible happen to them, for example.
Change is in the air that I breathe. It is in every single breath I take. It is just like the scent of orange blossoms and night-blooming jasmine. Change engulfs me as I breathe it in. There is no escaping it. It is in the air I breathe. Change is now within.
~Melissa Reyes 3-14-13
This is about healing.
This is about healing and moving on after experiencing the loss of a loved one. It is about love and joy and forgiveness. It is about letting go and moving forward. This is about taking care of myself. Healing myself. Forgiving myself for the sadness I feel.
“As far as taking care of myself, I try to do it through love and kindness. I now take time to forgive myself for mistakes, for not getting everything done, for taking a walk instead of finishing up client work if I need to and all the other little things I used to feel guilty for on a daily basis. I remind myself that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone or myself. But, I can still promise to do my best and that’s enough.” ~Naomi Niles
A shift in the balance of my world is happening.
My sister (who passed away in July 2011, 18 months ago) was married to a great man for 25 years. In fact she died on their anniversary. They were a very romantic couple and they have an amazing story. I am still very close to my brother-in-law. He is a dear friend, confidant, and brother in every sense. I trust him and care deeply for him. That is why I was happy when he told me he is getting remarried. Deep inside I am sad because I am still grieving the untimely death of my sister and sad over how things turned out and what could have been. That is the first shift that my heart bleeds over.
They call it a major life change.
Another bitter-sweet thing happening in my life is that my oldest son is graduating from high school and will be going away to college. Our home and family dynamics will be changing. One of my babies is about to fly off on his own and leave the nest. He is my most independent child. He has always been my little helper. I have every confidence that he will be fine on his own. He has become a fine young man and I am quite proud of him. But what will become of us? How will the two younger brothers get along? What will it be like with just the four of us. And in a few years, three? And then one day, just the two of us? Empty Nest Syndrome is hitting me hard. My heart is shaken. My mind is mush. My emotions are running high.
I am experiencing a new set of feelings. It’s not like anything I have been through before. It is excitement and joy mixed with equal parts sorrow and fear. All of the emotions are wrestling together and it is impossible to see who is winning. Which emotion is getting pinned, which one will come out on top. Should I cry? If I do cry will it be tears of happiness or sorrow? Or, both?
I am coping with the loss I feel. I miss my sister, my parents, the way things used to be when the kids were small. My biggest worries then were if I was spoiling my kids and if I was spending enough time with my family. No, it’s not possible to spoil a child. And no, I could never have spent enough time with my family. I wish I had some of those days back. Just one more Christmas or Easter. One more birthday. It’s so hard to move on and be happy. It is necessary. I know it is. I need to keep moving forward. I need to be happy about these changes. Because the people who are experiencing the change are doing the right things and they are moving on and they deserve to be happy.
“Challenges will continue to come. It is my choice to look for the joy or to let my spirit sink back into grief. I choose joy.” ~Donna Thomas, Author
I choose to be happy, too! I know it is a choice. I can get through it holding on to the past, gripping on tightly to the memories, dragging my feet trying desperately to not let go of the past because it was good and I loved it so much. Or, I can keep those memories safely in my heart where they can thrive inside of me, where I can embrace them joyfully as needed, and share the stories with my children and theirs someday of the remarkable and lovable family I have. I can skip happily forward, onward, and upward to better and more triumphant times.
“For everything there is a season. . . a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep; and a time to laugh; a time to mourn; and a time to dance. . . ” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
I want my family to look at me and see a gracious, graceful, peaceful woman who has been touched by love and who shines joyfully. I do not want pity nor do I want a cloud of sorrow over me because I have lost my loved ones. I live a blessed life. I was blessed to have amazing parents who loved me and a sister who inspired me. I am blessed to have a wonderful marriage and that my husband is my best friend. I am blessed to have great kids who make me proud.
These things will never ever change.
Love never dies. People live forever in our heart. Change is inevitable. Nothing is insurmountable. I can do this!
It’s time to shine!
If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one, a major break up, or you live with someone whose parent or sibling has passed away, you might benefit from reading more about the Stages of Grief. See my post: When Grief Revisits Me and Good Grief: 8 Stages of Grief.
I’ve been “in my head” a lot lately. Thinking about all of my responsibilities. Things that I am concerned about. I’ve learned how to remain calm and stay positive. I have learned how to “nurture the now.” When my thoughts drift to thinking about how I will pay my taxes and what will happen when my firstborn goes off to college, I calm myself by recalling that worrying and over-thinking does nothing but create stress.
Knowing that stress causes ailments to manifest and weaken me, I recall the goodness that surrounds me and I regain my strength. It is almost instant. My head lifts. I feel light. When I walk, I walk tall. When I speak, I speak with love.
“Learn to calm down the winds of your mind, and you will enjoy great inner peace.” ~Remez Sasson, Author of Peace of Mind in Daily Life @RemezSasson
When I think about the future, I do all I can to replace the worrisome thoughts that creep into my mind with thoughts of hope. I begin to dream about the wonderful possibilities. The beautiful memories of my youth and my life with my parents come to mind. I know I will build those memories with my own children. I imagine what it will be like to have grandchildren, to travel with my husband and to retire and have time to enjoy things like gardening and shopping. A huge smile is on my face!
When I dream hopeful thoughts, I think about the now. What am I feeling now. I am happy. I am feeling good. I love my family. I have friends. I have the capability of handling anything that comes my way. I have managed just fine so far. I am in my peaceful zone.
What are you worrying about ?
How can you create peace of mind for yourself right now?
Do you wonder about your life’s purpose? How do you become happy? How do you find inner peace?
For me, I have found that no matter what my focus is (let’s face it, being a mom, a wife, an employee, and so much more – I don’t always focus on or think about my life’s purpose) I am happiest when I am being creative. I love to make things and I love being productive. I will be the first to admit it – sometimes, I love being lazy! But, I usually have a few projects in the works.
Blogging has been particularly satisfying for me and has allowed me to be my best self whenever I feel like it. I have met amazing people and made some wonderful friends. I can express myself openly and honestly. I truly have found my voice! Through blogging (writing and posting information online) I have been able to explore and pursue all of my interests. I also have the opportunity at my fingertips to share what I experience and learn with others. That is the best part! What is the point of being passionate about something without sharing it with the world?
One way that I have been able express my creativity is by writing and sharing my poetry. I have posted some of my favorites on my blog, and I have even read my poetry at various open mic nights. My poem, Rain, which I read when I participated in the Velvet Guerilla Cabaret at the UnUrban Coffee House in Santa Monica last August is on my You Tube Channel.
This week I will be reading another of my original poems at a spoken word performance in Hollywood. The event is called Urban Desert Cabaret. It is a variety of artists who are brought together on a regular basis by Songwriter/musician Joe City Garcia. (Joe happens to be my cousin. That’s the reason I have this chance.) Most of the performers are professionals. Joe is passionate about this show and works hard to bring together a cohesive program that everyone will enjoy (its not an open mic night! I’m getting nervous!) But honestly, I have a sound heart as I prepare for my performance and I am completely open to the experience.
I put a lot of energy over the years into finding my life’s purpose and living to my life’s full potential. I know that having a joyful heart is what brings happiness to my life and the lives of those I touch. I love the confident feeling I have when I can express myself openly and my creativity shines through! It’s that creative force that brings joy, happiness and peace to my heart. This is what makes life worth living, this is what brings purpose and meaning to my life.
What makes your heart leap with joy? What makes you happy?
Years ago, I learned many of the principles that I continue to apply to my life now while watching The Oprah Winfrey Show. That is where I first encountered Gary Zukav. You can learn to find meaning in your life and start living it with the help of Gary Zukav by following his steps, he says:
“Discover your soul and its path.
Align your personality with your soul. Until that happens, you won’t be able to give the gifts you were meant to.
Remind yourself daily of the following:
• You are a soul first and a personality second.
• You are worthy. You are not on this Earth by accident. You have a reason to be here. There’s a difference between accepting that in your mind and accepting in your heart.
• It’s not an “it” that you’re looking for—it’s your life that you’re living.
• You are here to create an authentically empowered life. There is no guarantee you will do it. It’s up to you.”
I love praying the Rosary and I have a stong love for the tradition of the Rosary in my family. A friend of mine recently told me she was going to pray the Rosary at lunch break, sacrificing her lunch time and fasting for that meal. She said she had a lot to ask for. I can relate. Can’t we all?
I read this “Beginner’s Guide to Praying the Rosary” on Catholicity.com this morning. I was looking for a nice and easy guide to share on my blog. I was taken with the fact that anyone can say the Rosary and you don’t have to be Catholic. I have always wanted to share what I love about the Rosary with all my friends, but hesitated to do so because I felt it was “so Catholic.” There are many “rules” that go with it, but the best rule is – there are no actual rules! It can mean whatever you want it to mean. Symbolic, or simplistic, it is a way to meditate and reflect.
I must admit, it has been a very long time since I was in the practice of praying the Rosary regularly and with intention. But I have always known that it is powerful, meaningful, worthwhile and something I can return to.
This is what I connected with this morning as I read about praying the Rosary:
Ask for big and small gifts. Be bold! In this sense, the Rosary is an exchange of gifts between friends.
It is widely known that Our Lady answers seemingly impossible intentions to those who are first beginning to pray the Rosary. This is her way of drawing you closer to Her and to Jesus. If you are praying your first Rosary, or returning to the Rosary after years of not talking to Our Lady, ask for something big, spectacular, “impossible.” She’ll often surprise you.
I believe in the Virgin Mary as a mentor of motherhood and womanhood. The fact that she is referred to here as “Our Lady” is significant because she can inspire all women, all people, with the story of her life and the life of her Son.
Prayer and meditation play a big role in my life. I pray in many ways. I wish to share them with you now and then and would love to hear how prayer fits in to your life.
If you want to read more about Our Lady, check out my post on Fatima.
The Featured Image on this post is from the R.C. Gorman collection. R.C. Gorman is one of my favorite artists and this particular picture is one that I love to use in prayer. I feel that warmth of light shining on me when I pray.