Be Kinder

Kindness needs to start with YOU.  

Being kind to others is nigh impossible if you have nothing positive to give yourself. . .

When you do find self-love, compassion, and appreciation. . .then you are like an inextinguishable candle that can light the world without losing in the process.

It’s okay if you aren’t there yet.  I get reminders often that I’m being too tough on me.  And I appreciate that, because it’s true.  I’m so thankful and blessed, and I love to give…but I need to remember that the fuller I am, the more I have to offer.

The world needs more of it anyway – positivity is contagious, just like laughter.  And who doesn’t want that?!

Imperfection

I sincerely, and truly believe this. . .

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“Perfection” feels so boring-Ken-and-Barbie-doll.  It’s a plastic word, and sadly one many of us strive for – to our detriment – with ferocity.  

But it’s the IMperfections that add the layers of depth to an otherwise mundane surface. . .and mundane just won’t do.  It is – without question – a matter of how we perceive our surroundings and reality, NOT the surroundings and reality themselves.

We get to choose how we see.  We get to choose the light in which we cast our experiences.  We get to choose “positive,” if we want it.

How beautiful is that?

One Of Many Resolutions

I’ve got a bunch of things that I’m working on – the New Year isn’t necessarily the starting point, I feel like “working on” is a lifetime pursuit of sorts.  But one of the things that I’m particularly (read: habitually) bad about is taking care of myself.  It sounds a little ridiculous, I know, but I have struggled with it my whole life.

In the past, my parents not only implored, but essentially had to fight me to go to the physical therapist when I had an injury (second ACL tear, meanwhile.)  They had to fight to get me to go to the chiropractor (which I nearly didn’t do, save that I actually couldn’t lie down without severe pain.)  They’ve fought me to go to the ER when I thought I could glue my own finger. They’ve had to tell me to take it easy when I don’t feel as up to my routine because I somehow tell myself I *should* still proceed ahead despite that I have a collapsed lung.

DUMB.

Yes, I know that our conversation with the Universe has a massive impact on our lives (I’ve seen it time and time again – good, bad, and ugly.) But I also feel it’s important to admit mistakes when necessary, as well as shortcomings.  And frankly. . .

I’m not smart sometimes!  

I push too hard, and I refuse – never for a great reason – to do the right thing for myself.

Take Jiu-Jitsu for example… Master Cycle is not just one jump up from Combatives.  It’s SEVERAL.  You learn more techniques, and build on the knowledge that got you to Blue Belt, but you also roll a lot more – free sparring means the injury level goes up.  Generally Blue Belts have learned some control, but it takes YEARS to become proficient enough to be smooth.  Injuries are going to happen at a high level too, but less so from lack of body control… Either way, you have to protect yourself – the element of possibility is always present.

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In the last few months I’ve had my nose fractured twice.  I’m blessed (and thankful!) that it wasn’t worse than it was…but it definitely makes you pause.  I wasn’t wearing a mouth guard and it would have been only an inch difference to have possibly lost teeth.  My husband has urged me to wear my mouthguard from the get go. “It’s uncomfortable,” I said.  “It’s harder to breathe.” 

“Would you rather lose teeth?!”

Of course I thought “NooOoo!” But. . .I still didn’t wear it.

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So I’ve decided that my obstinacy and bullshit stops six days ago.  It’s a perfect time for me to pull it together, and do the right thing to take care of myself.  Loved ones shouldn’t have to fight me over my self-care, for crying out loud – and they aren’t pushing me for any reason beyond that they want me healthy, happy, and able to do what I love.

My parents put up with it for nearly 40 years.  At almost 40, it’s fair (though possibly unfortunate) to say I’m pretty set in my ways.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t learn, that I don’t care, or that I won’t make an effort to be a better person.  We all have room to grow, and I do not consider myself unusually immutable.

For me, being a better person is a top priority – I feel distressed when I fall short of being anything but a positive influence on anyone in any regard (especially my family!)  Of course I will fall short – I forgive myself in advance, knowing I’m human.  But I do try – even if a little later in the game.

Better late than never, so they say, right? 

Or, better before I lose some teeth.

Taking a Moment With Mindfulness

Many years – moons ago, it seems –  I was introduced to the concept of “mindfulness.”  I’d been practicing mindfulness most of my life without realizing it…and I hadn’t realized, because I’d not always *quite* had the hang of it. Still, I was vastly more spiritual than I had words to explain, and my ever-wandering mind, and proclivity for all thing magical, led me – both knowingly and not – down the path.

After at least a decade and a half of Alexander Technique, Craniosacral and Somatic work, EMDR, Brainspotting, Martial Arts, and countless spiritual endeavors, I fumble a little bit less. . .  But I’m still learning, and have leagues yet to go – lifetime pursuit, as so many things are.

But it isn’t required that we are necessarily graceful with it.  Fluidity comes with consistency, and mindfulness is very much a way of life.  It is therefore a quotidian ritual of sorts that we evolve with, and as a result of –  to expect mastery instantly is almost an injustice, as the (sometimes clumsy!) journey is what facilitates learning at the deepest levels.  It’s not unlike meditation – widely known to be a challenge at first – as it becomes smoother with time.

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Life these days feels intensely hectic – I want to say more so than ever but I’ve only know this Earth, and time, for 38 years!  The influx (and imposition – *cough* *cough* social media!) of technology has created a reality in which “connectivity” is at the ultimate high. 24/7, to be exact.  There are many blessings born of such advances, but there are also massive changes afoot – ones which I daresay are reprogramming human beings at the most fundamental level.

We are all born with a magical capacityALL of us.  We all have the ability to tap into the same natural resources that have allowed us to survive as a species from the beginning of time.  But it feels frighteningly apparent that even children – generally more adept at awareness than overly-conditioned adults – are also losing the ability.  

It isn’t just about looking down at a phone while crossing the street – awareness out the window and then some!  It’s also in losing the ability to “read” others – the read the non-verbal cues, to FEEL, to SENSE… Children drown nearly as much in the virtual world these days, to the degree that even THEY don’t see the full picture anymore… 

Scary thought…

The good news?  That extra-sensory ability never truly goes away.  What’s happening is more that we are – byproduct of a civilized, modern society – conditioned OUT of our natural abilities.  Our senses become duller because who needs to be aware of danger when getting dinner involves takeout, or benign shopping aisles?!  

Oh, and that “6th” one?  It gets completely shrouded by all the noise.  Sadly, modern man somehow thinks a 6th sense is actually supernatural.  Ever notice that animals have it?  Right…well. . . *reminder* : we ARE animals.  We have it too.  Just —> noise, noise, noise! 

Enter mindfulness.  

The practice of mindfulness brings back the precise moment in time in which we find ourselves.  For me, it is seeing each letter as I type my words, hearing myself speak them as they form, seeing the pause of my fingertips, hearing the  music that is playing in the background…

Human beings have always projected ahead, and reflected on the past – for instance, planning a hunt to gather food, and drawing the hunt on the walls of a cave after the fact.  But nowadays, that practice is so multi-fold that stress tends to weasel its way in to the process, leaving us frazzled and forgetful of the moment we are actually IN.

When we DO take a deep breath…and take the moment in…our heart rate actually slows down with us.  Our very life force, how about that?

Mindfulness is the place in which perspective is purest, in which our emotions no longer control us (this is a wonderful practice for anger and the anxiety-prone), in which our innate magical abilities awaken.

It can have other great effects too – we might actually enjoy our food, eat less instead of devouring (I’m guilty of that!) It gives stress a swift kick for a time too (something we all need!) Mindfulness can catch us in the act of judging, or just before an argument that we needn’t have… It helps us to become better all around.

Mindfulness is like the free gift of wizardry!  We have the power to create, to subdue, to awaken, to affect, to manifest, and to see.  Our feelings are deeper, our heart unfolds, and suddenly. . ?  It’s like we are truly alive.

At a time of the year when life is particularly stressful – and focused on the superficial in many ways – take a moment (or, better…SEVERAL) and relax into your breath. 

Feel.  

Sense.  

BE.

The magic will do the rest.

Blessed be,

❤ 

You Are What You Eat

I’m sure you hear the phrase often enough – “you are what you eat,” so they say.

It doesn’t matter if you are an ectomorphic type, boasting a long and lean frame…if you eat french fries every day, it WILL show on your insides.  The surface is not always a fair indicator. . .so don’t be deceived.

I don’t have to write a lecture, or go on with some lengthy diatribe – we all have room for improvement, and we all know, deep down, in which those areas are.  

It’s okay to be flawed. It’s okay to enjoy ourselves.  But remember that you have one body this go round – be kind to it.  Remember to be mindful about how you treat it day in and day out.  If you are overtraining, take more breaks. If you are eating garbage, try to clean up a bit.  If you aren’t sleeping, try to get to bed a little bit earlier.  Your body will thank you.

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You don’t have to stop living your life and enjoying goodies along the way, just remember that our daily habits add up.  Maybe it shows, maybe it doesn’t – what’s important at the end of the day is HOW YOU FEEL.  Whether you have energy, or feel lethargic.  Whether you feel strong, or feeble.  What you take in as fuel will make a difference – it will either be helping you stay strong, healthy and disease-free…or it will do the reverse.  Personally, I’d rather take my chances with staying healthy as long as I can!

For more foodie stuff…

The Effects of the Narcissist’s Disappearing Act: Operant Conditioning and Learned Helplessness by Esteemology and Savannah Grey

I really appreciate this blog – Esteemology – and have for some years.  I turned to it during a time of (rather desperate) need, and found it not only enlightening, but incredibly comforting.  

This particular article touches on a subject that was, at one time in my life, my only reality – the act of disappearing was something I dealt with often with my then significant other.  Not once a week or once a month, but sometimes several times a day.  The situation as a whole was painful and terrifying – I don’t recall a single day without having a knot in my chest and fear in my belly.  It was, essential, like living in a perpetual state of flight-or-fright, panic mode.  If you have been there, you know how debilitating that is – the resultant dysfunction makes even simple daily tasks seemingly insurmountable. 

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The article talks about “learned helplessness,” a concept I am far too familiar with, and one that plagues codependents, empaths, and others in abusive situations – it is important to be discussed out in the open, as it is often misunderstood.

For me, the value of blogs like these is immense – they can, quite literally, change a person’s path for the better, when just about everything else has failed.  They provide a sense of community, understanding, and support when it feels like no one is listening, no one understands…or worse, like no one cares.  We don’t all have the luxury or money to be attached at the hip to a therapists – For me, I can safely say reading (blogs such as this) was a godsend.