Living through Tough Times

All this negative news and stress can be paralyzing and we can feel overwhelmed and sad. I know I have felt that. However, we can’t give in. We must remain beacons of light.

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Wow.  So many things, good but predominately bad, have been happening in the world today.  I have devoted this blog to being a place of light in all this darkness but I feel I would be doing any readers a disservice if I didn’t provide the information I have about how to make it through the day when all this is going on.

We don’t live under rocks and know matter how hard we try to look away from the suffering around us and stay positive, it will find us.

Whenever I think of that, I remember the story of the Buddha and the beggar at the gates. Suffering can’t be “ignored” we must see it, but we must also learn to live through it, making the world a better place.

All this negative news and stress can be paralyzing and we can feel overwhelmed and sad. I know I have felt that. However, we can’t give in.  We must remain beacons of light.  After all…

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” 

Below are 13 ways to get through the day and keep your light shining. 

(P.S. I’m no expert.  I just found some things to be really helpful and backed by some science.  I know this because I have anxiety disorder and these are some practices recommended to me quite frequently.  I also threw in some of the grounding/centering techniques I use in my spiritual practice, often as a way to help heal myself after some empathic fallout.)

  1. Think of all the positives in your life.

You made excellent time getting to work.  You ate a yummy dinner.  You’re getting closer to that house or promotion or wedding. Positives in life, no matter how tiny they may seem, keep us going. You’re in a great relationship and that person is always there for you. You end a bad chapter in life and get to look forward to a new one. You love going on walks or exercising, or sex, you love smelling the flowers, you love reading books, or you’re going traveling. These things, whatever motivates you, are tools in your arsenal in the fight to stay positive.

2. Seek out fun times.

Fun is absolutely vital.  Stream old episodes of your favorite childhood TV show or your favorite comedy.  Take a bad news vacation and set aside the social media for a bit.  Let yourself talk about something else, something positive, for a while.  Get out of your head and let go of worry for a bit.  Find an activity that you completely love and do it.  Read a book, paint, write, play a video game, go for a walk.  I love to be out in nature and the joy I get from the sun and the earth help me to ground after a particularly rough day.  Sitting under a tree and imagining your own roots reaching deep into the ground and your consciousness reaching up like branches is a tried and true grounding technique.  You can even try giving that old tree a big hug, if it seems willing.

3. Create more good.

Creating more good in this world is a great way to remind yourself that positivity and light are out there.  Plus, they create good!  The world can always use more of that. A gardening project or volunteering at a shelter will do something real and measurable to help those who need it. Go out there and get your hands dirty.

4. Do good works with your crew.

Reaching out to your friends and family to get them involved in projects can help to create even more change and give them a positivity boost too.  Great changes are made in small steps.  Everything we can do together to send out love and light will work to end the darkness.

5. Interact with those of a different background.

Solutions created when different people work together, with input from diverse communities, will be well-rounded, inclusive solutions. Representation is key.  Our voices are different and that is what makes each one of them important and beautiful.  By joining all these different notes together we can create massive symphonies of revolution and joy.  Plus, the ideas and solutions presented when we work together could never have been formed if we only ever listened to those of like mind. Stronger together, than alone, with flexibility, complexity, new growth, and tenacious vision.

6. Pursue new opportunities and friendships.

Relationships change. People often find themselves getting more and more uncomfortable in old relationships when those involved are growing in different directions.  These relationships can grow together and change to fit in new views, but sometimes they don’t.  I’ve had to do this myself and it’s never fun to move on out of a relationship with a close friend, or even partner.  In the long run though, this ending provides a new beginning and a place to find yourself engaging with people who truly understand you and don’t fill your day with negativity.  When there’s less to fight against each day to stay positive, you feel more refreshed and can use your energy for other things.  Keep in mind that all relationships require commitment and work to foster and maintain, but this is hard work that can be a lot of fun.

7. Choose your battles.

I want to do it all.  I want to right every wrong, have every discussion, battle every act of prejudice I see or hear about.  I want to change the world and I want to do it today.   This is not possible.  I only have so much time.  And so do you.  We can’t do it all, not in one day.  Maybe not in one lifetime.  So we need to choose the battles that mean the most, can cause the most good, and pursue those while leaving the others for another day.  I know I am often guilty of thinking, “how can I sit here in the office and be happy about getting a home or going to a movie when so many have so much less?”  But these moments of happiness were earned through hard work and keep me going.  I’m sure you can say the same.  You deserve happiness too.   So with the time and energy we have left in the day, we can go deep, instead of wide.   We can commit to one or a few tasks and do them completely and thoroughly.  And when we have done those, we can add more as we can handle it.

8. Only take on what you can actually do.

This goes hand in hand with number 7.  We only have so much energy and this is especially true if you have a physical or mental health condition which requires energy just to maintain it.  I personally feel this is very, very true for pain/invisible illnesses.  I have to go on with my day, even though I just had a panic attack a little bit ago.  Such is life.  People with fibromyalgia have to go to work even though they are dealing with a lot of pain.  These types of situations are also not perceivable and a great deal of energy is spent just being patient with yourself and those around you who can’t see that you are dealing with something.  This all takes energy and only so much is left over.  We shouldn’t take on more than that time which is left over, and truthfully even less than that because we need to leave time to heal ourselves and rest.  I said it before, I want to change the world now, but if I’m broken and tired I’m not going to change anything.  Leave time to rest and recuperate.  You are a priority too.  Heal yourself, than heal the world.

9. Self-care is essential.

Falling apart happens, a lot. Learning to let this go and not holding on to frustration and negativity can both reduce how often this happens and make it less severe when it does. Remind yourself why you are doing this hard work.   Remember the times when you succeeded.  Don’t hold in stress and anger.  Let it out in a healthy way instead of bottling it all up and waiting for it to explode.  Additionally, remember that your body needs love and time in order to keep performing at its best. Sleeping, eating, working or going to school, and tending to your relationships are musts, just as much as changing the world is. The healthier and better you are, the better your work out in the world, the more positivity you can create.  You must be strong enough to carry these tasks so feed your mind, body, and spirit to the fullest.

10. Your health isn’t just for you.

Your parents, siblings, lovers, friends, students, teachers, spouses, family need you and want you to do well.  If they’re worried about you it’s probably for a good reason.  If you can’t always put yourself first for your own reasons, do it for them.  Your circle of people will do better when you are at your best to support them.

11. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Occasionally, we fail, we fall down, we forget things we shouldn’t. Everybody working for change or a big cause has at one time let the cause come before their basic needs. That’s when we need help getting back to neutral.  This is not something to feel guilt or shame about.  These things happen.  We are after all only human.  Ask for help and take it gratefully when you get it.

12. Cultivate compassion.

Be understanding and compassionate to all those around you. To those who are on the other side, who haven’t woken up, or to those who just don’t want to know. To those who trying their hardest, maybe landing short of the mark.  Which by the way is everyone.  Express compassion often and don’t forget yourself.

13. Stay alive.

On some days and in some situations, this can be the only goal.  In these moments when staying alive seems like all the work in the world, know without a shadow of a doubt that waking up each day, still breathing, still fighting, is a triumphant victory.

If you need serious help, contact To Write Love On Her Arms or a local counselor.  Reaching out to members and followers of the Always Keep Fighting campaign, led by Jared Padalecki, can also provide a community of much needed support. Remember, getting help is not a sign of weakness.  Knowing yourself enough and contacting a professional is one of the most profound acts of sheer bravery you can ever perform.

 

As always,

Light and Love

Death Like Raindrops

Death like raindrops falls upon the Earth,

washing clean a surface of pain and degeneration.

Death like wind blows gently the waves of the ocean,

rushing toward far, yet familiar shores.

 

We will stand upon it. We will walk the pale

beaches of lost knowledge

and find again what once was laid deep

in our bones.

 

We will rest upon the foamy water line,

seaweed and life tangled in our hair.

Till we rise and walk down the horizon’s edge.

Sharp like a knife it will cut our lives apart.

Letting what should fall away

be cast down into the pool of the Creatrix.

To be made again with purpose and skill.

 

And if we find that we can balance,

on the wedge of the Great Womb’s Divide.

We will walk on to a new realm

of knowledge and communion.

 

If not,

we will teeter.

Back to the World’s Shore

and find again our chance,

our responsibility,

to cultivate our simple truths

and forget

the false anchors that fasten us.

 

Till we know again, as we always do.

That life breathes death breathes life.

The hoop of vast chaotic energy

of We.

A Full Moon Calls to Me

Rising bright and fair, it calls to me.

I must go running,

leaping into the night.

 

Wind rushing behind my heels.

Breathe life, freedom.

Power galloping through a monochrome landscape.

 

Freedom dance beneath a pale, white smile.

 

Run, breathe.

Run, breathe.

Fly.

Tagline

So as an activity for summing up a character and learning how to describe them both wholly and succinctly I was tasked with making character “taglines.” For example, Hope’s for the first part of her book before her growth as a character is “Not my fucking problem.” In doing this activity, I thought about what my own tagline would be and honestly the closest I’ve come is to is the first part of a line from Futurama. “You can’t give up hope just cuz it’s hopeless.” It’s a good sum up of how a feel. An idealist sure, but I understand there are fights I can’t win. I’m still going to fight them though. To me, that’s the point. I have to try, I have to fight the good fight, and if I end up losing or giving my life to the fight I will know that at least I can say I never gave up. So the R.E. Johnson tagline:
“You can’t give up hope just cuz it’s hopeless. Never Give Up. Never Surrender.”
Johnson out.

Women

As I began my work day today, I listened to Pandora. As I always do. Well, a new feature is the thumbprint radio station which allows you to listen to songs from all your stations which you have thumbed up. Today a song I hadn’t thought about in a while played. Bitch by Meredith Brooks.

This got the wheels in my head turning. I thought about all the things I love about women and how very different we all are. So, I thought I would share some love for my fellow women out there.

 

We are amazing.

Sometimes we are tall, sometimes short.

Thin and curvy. Straight hair, curly hair, crazy hair.

Fair skinned, olive skinned, dark skinned.

Book smart, street smart.

Athletic, introspective.

Outgoing, quiet.

Emotional, logical.

We sometimes experience lives of struggle and wanting.

Sometimes we have lives of excess and success.

We are mothers, alone and part of a unit, raising a new generation.

We are single, business women pursuing personal goals.

We are born in our bodies and we change our bodies to fit our hearts.

We love men, women, both, all, and none.

We are flawed. We are perfect.

We are amazing.

We are women.

Hear us Roar!

Sight Sensing

My eyes are brown.

Like moth wings

with awkward cream spots

floating around the center.

 

When I look close

at the edges and valleys.

I can see spires of rocky, brown landscapes.

Mountainous, spiraling curves which dip

and duck and flash

as I blink back

droplets of imperfection.

 

What would it be?

To live in my eyes.

To explore the crevices

and get lost in the black cracks

between bark-colored crags.

 

I do not know

the heart of my eyes.

I have never been there.

I see

them only from distance.

A meteor passing

by the foreign world

of my optical orbs.

 

I know what it is

to touch

a moth’s wing.

To have your hands

and fingers sullied

by the powdery, flight ash.

 

Would my eyes,

my own means to traverse the world,

also leave dust

upon woeful travelers?

Dusty remnants of unoccupied roads.

Found deep within

my moth-wing sight.

Seedling

Gray squares obstruct my light.

Dead and progressive slabs,

Cover my feet and block my path.

The light bounces furiously,

With no soft place to land.

Where once there were carpets of green,

Now only slate, hard, cold tiles.

Breaking, fighting my way free.

Reaching for Apollo’s face,

Green hands fly up.

One small triumph,

A step toward my Mother;

In a world of metallic giants.

Ganesha

I love elephants. I love Ganesha. So naturally I decided to make my bedroom’s theme be elephant, Ganesha, hippie, madness. Okay the madness part wasn’t planned but if it’s in my house there’s going to be madness. This is the image I painted and created for my room and it is one of the first big paintings I completed. I used acrylics and sealed it with clear gel medium. I am quite happy with it and I hope it hold up a long time under the hot, desert sun.

ganesha painting

Earth Mother

Dedicated to She who is bigger than name.

Her breath lies over me,

soft, firm, deep exhale.

The strength of her beauty

pushing, bending, not breaking the frail.

She carried the world inside,

protected in her womb.

She let it run free

yet always its guide.

Swift feet and faces that bloom.

They sing their praise

through hollowing and rain.

Through chirps and thunder.

Wondering creeks

each a vein.

In her embrace.

We are part of her,

neither below or above.

Walking Home NSFW

I walked down
a road of dirt and gravel.
The ground rattled
and my thumb curved toward County I.
The rusty smell of road kill
filtered through my nose.

Dry mud flaked
off my pants with each step.
Half a bottle of Jack,
a pack of Red Apple cigs,
and my lucky
black lighter.

I met a man in red flannel.
“Goin’ to join the hippies.”
His rough voice dragged
through my ears.
I shook my head,
took a sip of Jack.

It was ’92,
what hippies?
Must have had the IQ of a dishrag.
I wished for his innocence.

He wiped a tear
on his shirt.
“Gonna miss days like this.”
He was talking to the sun.
“Looks like God just stirred up the sky with a stick.”

Stick echoed in his throat,
as he squeezed the trigger.
Even after his blood hit my face,
I thought he was god.
The hammer of the gun
was the only sound for miles.