Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe, mindfulness

Mindfulness and Love During Difficult Times

Using Mindfulness When Facing Challenges

I was thinking about how to apply mindfulness when facing a challenge and I came across this list of challenges I made years ago:

  1. Dealing with difficult people
  2. Being assertive without being labelled a “bitch”
  3. Managing stress
  4. Keeping up a positive image while managing perceptions
  5. Staying Organized
  6. Communication (communicating clearly with others)
  7. Multi-tasking and completing projects
  8. Self-sabotage, facing fears and following through
  9. Continued personal growth
  10. Letting go (of things that no longer matter)
  11. Saying “No” – prioritizing
  12. Continued professional development
  13. Reaching Goals, facing my fear of success
  14. Increasing efficiency
  15. Managing finances

I am still, and now realize that I always will be, dealing with these challenges to some degree. And more challenges – some worse, and sometimes less challenging but equally important things. I call that the “stuff of life.” It can be dizzying to think about. I know!

This is when mindfulness comes in. Making a list like this and thinking about all of these things at once is overwhelming. It is not a to do list. It is more of a mind dump. I like to just put those things down and walk away from them for a bit. I know I can always come back. I let my mind wander and think happy thoughts. You can train yourself to do this anytime you start feeling overwhelmed.

What is the most important thing?

I interviewed a man once who kept telling me, “The most important thing I learned was this, and the most important thing that happened was that, and the most important thing about it was….”

I asked him, “Okay. but what IS the most important thing to you? Is there one important thing that truly matters?”

Love

“In the end, just three things matter:

How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go”
― Jack Kornfield

If you could boil it down to just one thing that truly matters to you, what would it be?

For me, it’s love. To feel loved, to know that I love with all my heart, that I am able to love. Love makes me smile, it makes my heart sing with joy and fills me with happiness. Every cliche, catch phrase, and song that may be coming in to your mind right now – that is what I am talking about! I love that stuff. I live for it. It makes all the other stuff seem somehow less than. I don’t want to say pointless, or unimportant. Those things on my list have meaning. However, I can go on without them. I cannot live without love.

Growing up Catholic, I have always had a faith belief that God is love. I believe that at the root of hope and faith lies the true feelings of love and one’s belief in it. In his first epistle, John the Evangelist wrote:

“God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them. Love is made perfect in us in order that we may have courage on the Judgement day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ’s. There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.

We love because God first loved us. If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen. The commandment that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also.” 1 John 4: 16-21

Love gives me courage.

Love is perfect for me.

There is no fear in love.

Perfect love drives out fear.

Being loving means loving all people. (Even myself.)

This is me in August 2018, trying to smile while dealing with facial paralysis.

How does Mindfulness and Self-Care help Me?

According to Psych Central, “Mindfulness is the practice of bringing our awareness to what we are experiencing in the present, both internally and externally, without judgment (Kornfield, 2009). It is a wake-up call to become conscious of the ways we perceive and respond to life’s situations.”

You might ask yourself, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all go around just feeling happy and loving all the time? Why can’t we? Why are we so messed up and why do we want so much out of life? Why am I afraid? Why do I work so hard?” I know I ask myself these questions!

In her Musings and Affirmations, I am Resourceful and Resilient, Martina McGowan proposes that we can learn and grow from challenging circumstances. We can resolve to use resources that reminds us of our own strengths. She says, “My focus on learning enables me to be enormously resilient. I know that I can make it through any situation that comes my way. After all, I am already a survivor of every circumstance in my life so far and I continue to learn from each of them. So today also, I trust that I am resilient.”

I want to just be who I am and be satisfied with that. But something in me is always wanting more. I have a yearning desire to go out and do more, experience more, and learn more. With that comes opportunity as well as risk. All of this brings up fears and overwhelm. Should I or Shouldn’t I? What is keeping me from following my heart?

I worry a lot. Worry causes stress. Stress manifests itself in my body as tension. Tension builds and becomes pain. I begin to worry about the cause of the pain. Then I get sick with worry… There is a pattern here. I am aware of it. I know I need to handle this as soon as, if not before I recognize the signs. I would love to live a worry-free life. I have come a loooong way! I have taught myself to take a breath, to imagine a happy place, to let go, and to live with intention. Now, I aim to learn more about mindfulness and resilience.

“What is the worst thing that can happen?”  This is one of the questions Paige Burkes of Simple Mindfulness suggests we ask ourselves in The Mindful Approach to Facing Your Fears. 

It is part of our genetic design, it is human nature, to constantly seek information, try new things, and grow. While we are doing that we can’t forget about self-care. That’s how I handle so much. My list of 15 challenges, honestly is a partial list. It doesn’t even touch on my physical, medical, or emotional issues. I don’t even begin to list my worries about family, friends, grieving, financial, and relationship issues. We all have those. Instead of falling deeper into a hole of self-doubt and worry, I pick myself up and think about my “one thing.” I am always striving to boost my self-confidence and resilience. I am constantly self-nurturing. And, I do not mean just taking time to do some deep breathing and lighting a candle.

In Foster Mind-Body-Spirit Resilience Through Self-Care Marquita Herald examines the life-long practice of self-care:

“Authentic self-care is about becoming aware of what you want and need on the deepest level and then making it a priority to develop and consistently practice the rituals and habits that will nurture your well-being for the long-term, not just to get through the day.”

A self-care regimen:

  • Prevents disease and illness.
  • Shortens recovery time from illness or injury.
  • Enhances your sense of autonomy (control over your life).
  • Improves self-esteem and confidence.
  • Reduces stress and stress-related anxiety.
  • Helps you be more productive, engaged, and connected.
  • Makes it easier to manage your weight.
  • Helps to build stronger more meaningful relationships.
  • Improves both the length and quality of your life.

So, if self-care has the potential to make such a huge positive impact on our lives, why aren’t we doing it? -Marquita Herald, Emotionally Resilient Living

Just Be You

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All I want is to just be me and feel comfortable in my own skin. I have learned that I am pretty good at that. I like who I have become. I tried a lot of different things. I am at a point of re-becoming my favorite me. I don’t want to fight it anymore. I want to go to my happy place, my one thing that I know to be true, the root of it all. Simple Joys, my theme for this year says it all – I am mindful of the thing that people like about me. I am loving.

Can it really be that Simple?

“Always fall in love with what you are asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going. Not against: with.” ~Robert Frost

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change, rather than allowing it to master you.” ~Sri Ram

Yes it can! When you question everything, you are setting limits, doubting your gut instincts, going against what you believe to be true. Use mindfulness to combat limiting beliefs.

Choose to listen to the calming voice of reason. Remember to listen for your inner sweetheart! That’s the soft, nice voice telling you, “Yes, it is okay, and you are all right, and this all you need to do right now.” It is possible that the soft voice is your true self speaking at a regular constant volume. Those loud crazy thoughts and ideas could just be noise, distractions, and minutia that brings about the overwhelm.

Be the master of change. You are in charge of you. Changes are going to happen, like it or not. You can change or stay the same and go along with it. Remember what truly matters. Does this make you smile? Does it make your heart sing? Can you live with out it? Does it make you happy? You are the most important. Take care of you!

Just be you.

#SimpleJoys2019

Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

Re-becoming

I love my life right now! Said no one ever, right? Well, I did. And I do. Seriously, no matter how difficult things get, I am grateful for my life. I love it!

I started writing a post called, Living the Life I Want, in April 2013. Looking back at my drafts I found these quotes that apply perfectly to what I’m going through now.

Jean Shinoda Bolen says, “As soon as you recover or discover something that nourishes you and brings you joy, resolve to care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

Alice Walker says, “Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.”

“The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Your own positive future begins in this moment. Every goal is possible from here.” – Lai Tzu

In my post, “Peace of Mind, Imagine the Possibilities 3-7-13, I said, “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.

It has to do with following through.  I honor the practices of self-care.  I honor my core values.

“When your values are the source of your actions, even the lows become a positive experience.” –Sandi Amorin, Life Coach

So, how did I go from hard times to living my best life and loving it? It has to do with staying true to myself and to my ideals.

It’s 2019 and my theme for this year is Simple Joys. My plan is to really take it easy. It’s the no plan plan.

Of course, things are starting to come together and some events are in the works in the coming months. I’m traveling a bit here and there and my husband’s 50th birthday is happening soon. I also made a commitment to teach an art camp this summer. But these things are spread out throughout the year and I will try to remain true to my theme and allow the simple joys to be my focus.

Melissa Reyes, 2019 #SimpleJoys

This comes after a very difficult couple of years. I pushed myself to new limits and I was tested in unexpected ways. I spent my 49th year convinced that if I set my intention on action and activating my best self that I would be more successful than ever before and be able to reach new heights.

Ironically, one of the most symbolic things I could use to describe how that plan worked out is so cliche it’s a little embarrassing- – I actually got a treadmill and made videos on You Tube and Instagram hoping to inspire myself and others with my “take action” attitude. When in fact I spent all year literally running in place and not getting anywhere.

See one of my treadmill videos here:

To my defense, I weathered through some really tough crises with the help of my husband, family, and dearest friends and learned a lot about myself in the process. I gained a deeper perspective and I am at peace with it. I still love my treadmill as much as I love all the things I attempted during the past few years that didn’t take me as far as I had hoped.

Melissa Reyes, 2019 #SimpleJoys http://MizMeliz.wordpress.com
This is me – feeling hopeful!

I might not have successfully gotten a new business off the ground, made any money selling books, card decks, jewelry, or anything else, or become the superstar of my dreams – but I did take action. I tried. I worked my butt off and made the effort. Which is more than I ever did before. Doing that lead me to meeting people and going places that I otherwise never would have. More importantly, I went outside of my comfort zone and saw myself rise up and develop my abilities, hone my talents, and excel in unexpected ways.

All of it was extremely satisfying, just like knowing that I have walked the entire length of Italy (736 miles) and climbed over 2000 floors (which is the equivalent of the height of a hot air balloon in flight) during 2018 without even leaving California or being lifted off the ground.

So here it is, a new year, a new intention, a new focus. I like to take what I have learned and move forward in my life mindful that each moment has its own merit. I am a new person in many ways. I am also the best at being the me I like being too. I am going to relish that this year. I consider that the simple joy of living life.

I am the best at being the me I like.

As a life coach I often use “re-” words to help in the moving on or moving forward process. Review, recharge, refresh, renew. I heard a phrase today that really encompassed what I have been feeling. Re-become. I am so ready for that. I became who I want to be. I am fully vested. I tried a few things and that was good. Now I can re-become me. It’s that simple.

Melissa Reyes, 2019 #SimpleJoys Sunrise http://MizMeliz.wordpress.com
Re-becoming like a sunrise after a rainy day. Photo by MReyes 1-2019
photo credit Melissa Reyes copyright 2013 http://mizmeliz.com
Everything Miz Meliz

Managing Challenges using Mind-Mapping

Here are some of my challenges.  Make a list of the things that come to mind when you think of all the things you are taking on right now.  What is holding you back?

  1. Dealing with difficult people
  2. Being assertive without being labelled a “bitch”
  3. Managing stress
  4. Keeping up a positive image, managing perceptions
  5. Staying Organized
  6. Communication (communicating clearly with others)
  7. Multi-tasking and completing projects
  8. Self-sabootage, facing fears and following through
  9. Contintued personal growth
  10. Letting go (of things that no longer matter)
  11. Saying “No” – prioritizing
  12. Continued professional development
  13. Reaching Goals, facing my fear of success
  14. Increasing efficiency
  15. Managing finances

Whew!  That’s a lot!  It is not a check list.  It is a reality list.  I believe knowing the things that are tugging on the back of my mind can help me to set a clear path to what I want.  I use this technique to achieve my goals.  A list is a mind-dump.  It isn’t in any order.  It may not include everything.  It is just what I put on the list.  Mind-mapping is so much more.

If you are creative, like me, your thoughts and ideas don’t always come in the form of a list.  They don’t even fit on a calendar.  Sometimes it feels like the ideas flow through me and other times it feels like they are coming at me from all directions. Mind-mapping is a way to organize your thoughts in a creative way that uses both sides of your brain.  Yes! You can be organized and creative at the same time!

I will be giving a workshop on how to use mind-mapping for setting goals and improving your blog (or other projects) and applying these principles to maintain a balanced lifestyle.  If you have questions for me, please put them in the comments.  I will address these questions at the workshop and on the blog.

Keep an eye out for my next post on mindfulness.  I will be taking an in depth look at cognitive behavior therapy and how positivity impacts life balance.

If you want to attend the workshop – sign up here:  https://sclbworkshop.eventbrite.com/

For more details on the workshop and So Cal Lady Bloggers, see Melissa Dell’s blog, “A Bit of Everything

photo credit Melissa Reyes copyright 2013 http://mizmeliz.com
Where is your path leading you?