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.

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!

The World

My world crashed a bit. As things are returning to their proper axis, I have found that I don’t have quite as much time to just be as I would like. However, I am not complaining. After pursuing avenue after avenue for a position to support myself, I did it. I obtained a job so I can be a big kid and pay my bills. So life is great.

But…

What is happening outside of my little bubble of a world fills my soul with frustration. This blog is meant to be a place of light, love, and an escape from the darkness that surrounds us. I cannot however pretend that it is not there. What I can do is to shed some light. “Look for the helpers.” So many brave and wonderful souls are continuing to fight against this rising tide of violence and they each make this world a better place. Here’s to them.

Here’s to the helpers, the dreamers, the doers. All who are taking courageous steps forward and working to change the world. I stand proud with you. Together we can make this world a better place.

 

Restoring Faith in Humanity 2015

Friday Feels: A Dose of Cute!

For this Friday’s post of feel-goods, I have chosen a video of such sheer cuteness you may have to sit down. Now I have been under the weather lately so I felt I really needed something to boost my spirits. I figured many other people could probably use the boost too so here it is!

http://www.wkow.com/story/28152574/2015/02/19/cute-video-red-pandas-playing-in-the-snow

Check out the amazing video of Red Pandas playing in the snow to give you a cuteness overload!

Turned

I wanted to break the rules with this one. Most professors and poets and people will say that in a poem you should not use many adjectives. I dislike this rule. Adjectives are my favorite. So this was my way of saying, “I do what I want.” Also I like vampires, so there’s that in there too. Clichés and too many adjectives, take that poetry rules!

Burgundy, velvet drapes

dusted the ground

near the high round window.

Breathing cobwebs

hung in shadowed

corners.

Jumping water

echoed off the marble

floor.

Chocolate wood

lined the frozen

walls.

Each rhythmic ping

took longer

than the last.

My mind strained

to hear the next

expected

drop.

Sleeping lights

would not shed

their glow

on me.

Emerald eyes

stalked

in the distance.

Rough

breath scratched

on my throat.

My wet, bare feet

slid on fierce,

marble floors.

My drugged body

fought for safety

from the intoxicating

poison.

Cold, strong hands

grasped my unaided

arms and hurled

me into the dank,

solemn bedroom.

Short breaths escaped

from my lips

and icy sweat

dressed my brow.

Smooth canines

pierced the skin

by my clavicle

and strong lips

sucked out my blood.

Warm, liquid rubies

caressed my skin.

Cold no longer stung

my eyes.

The dripping water

trembled in my ears

and my arms went slack.

New vision filtered

my sight and ghostly

shapes took form.

No cold, no warmth.

Only the still

sound of water

on bloody, marble floors.

Necessity

An unsung song,

a piece of life that is still.

The unbridled flow and churn of its essence.

Needed

and birthed

by each flickering spirit.

The remedy to what ails

and cause of what burns.

Mother and child of pure, unadulterated joy.

A blooming son that reaches for the sky

with every breath.

Life like the hidden and buried earth

beneath layers of cold reality.

One in all,

all devoted to the One.

Needed.

I need it.

Mine, my very own.

Rising my day,

And setting my night.

I revolve around you,

my celestial center.

Needed.

Giving in to your grace.

Releasing into serenity.

Joyful,

anxious,

ready.

Needed.

I have it.

You.

Acts of Kindness

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi

 

It’s nothing new. Helping others, giving your love to the world, these things make you feel good.

The section of my blog is dedicated to the random acts of kindness that I experience and give out to the world. By sending my positivity out to the universe I am filling it with light and love and frankly we just don’t have enough of that. Share your own stories of kindness and look for the good in the world. It is out there.