Life Reflections

Don’t Give Up

I’m writing this post as much for myself as for you. Lately, I’ve felt as though I’d rather just give up. Even the best intentions can lead to failure. Sometimes a day starts off stormy, and then a heavy storm cloud hangs over my head for the rest of the day. Sometimes a day starts off sunny and bright, and then a storm cloud builds over me slowly…maybe I put it there myself, or maybe there’s an external cause beyond my control.

Whether the day starts off right or wrong, once the storm hits, how do you push through it instead of giving up and letting it defeat you? In a torrential downpour, I know all I want to do is find shelter and curl up with a blanket. Hide. Wait it out. But what if the storm won’t go away unless you stay in it? What if the answer is to let it rain on you, soaking you to the bone, making you cold and uncomfortable, until you’re numb to its effects? What if staying in it will make the sun come out again to dry your sorrow and shame and to recharge you with energy?

I’m not sure I’m making sense. Perhaps this extended metaphor got away from me. It happens. All I know is that hiding when it storms does not make me any better, and it does not make the storm pass any faster. So today I’m going to make an attempt to be brave, and I challenge you to do the same. Stay in the storm. Let it rain on your face. Embrace it. Persevere, even while you’re afraid, cold, shaking, ashamed, and soaking wet. The sun will come out in God’s perfect time. It always does. And until it does, empower yourself to push through the storm. Don’t let the storm defeat you. Be your own umbrella.

Meditations

Meditation: What is Holding You Back?

Find a quiet, peaceful place, and spend a few moments reflecting on your life. Where are you now in relation to where you’d like to be? What’s holding you back from reaching your goals or finding true happiness? Can you identify any specific fears, worries, or negative self-talk?

Picture this negativity taking form as a burning flame in a forest, building in intensity with all the negativity you absorb in your life each day. The more negativity you identify, the higher the flame grows. This fire is uncomfortable and unwelcome. It must be extinguished.

Now identify positive sources in your life…God’s love, peaceful moments with your family and friends, encouraging words, joyful memories, and hope. Picture this positivity taking form as a sweet, gentle rain. Let this healing rain fall on the fire, slowly quenching the flames that used to burn you. Imagine this rain falling on your face, shoulders, and back, cooling and soothing the burn of negativity throughout your entire body. Feel it cleanse you and make you new. Notice the forest around you healing and springing back to life.

It is a new beginning. Let positivity guide your thoughts this week. If you feel negative thoughts coming back, close your eyes, and imagine the rain washing them away.

Life Reflections

Reflection on 2014

This past year has been one of the best of my life, and I consider it the year of self-discovery. On January 1st, I learned I was a Myers-Briggs INFP (the idealist/dreamer/healer) and not an INFJ, as I had thought for over a decade. This revelation allowed me to give myself grace on my difficulty with focus. It also helped me embrace my spontaneity and flexibility as positive qualities rather than negative ones. Around that time, my therapist also helped me discover that I am an Enneagram 4 (the individualist), just like her, which explains why she’s such an amazing match for me.

Moving from the abstract to the concrete, I recently refreshed my wardrobe to reflect the way I feel on the inside, and I’ve found some peace in that congruence. I feel like a stranger who passes me in the street now would get a better sense of what I’m about. Perhaps I’m being silly or too analytical, but there’s something comforting in the thought of people getting a glimpse of your soul when they see you.

After what I learned in January and along the rest of 2014’s journey, it seems so fitting that the year should end with a life-changing diagnosis that echoes my January revelation. I have ADD. I’ve suspected as much for years, and the frustration with my inability to focus peaked when I realized I couldn’t make myself sit and rewrite my 11-year-old-and-counting novel, despite an editor-approved outline and the possibility of publication with a small press I adore. My frustration has built for years as I struggled with a dysfunctional schedule and equally dysfunctional mindset, all wrapped in chronic fatigue. Again and again, as I searched for an answer, all my troubles were blamed on anxiety. But then one day it clicked. My GAD was treated. So was the depression that lingered in the background for years. The remaining anxiety came from untreated ADD interfering with my life.

I’ve only been on treatment for ADD for a few weeks so far, but I instantly noticed a difference. It’s like I could finally navigate through a mind that once felt like mud. As I reflect now, I suspect there is some link between INFPs and individuals with ADD. Mostly, I just see ADD as a blessing of creativity at the cost of a scattered brain.

In the midst of reflection on these deep realizations I’ve come to about myself and my life in 2014, I cannot leave out the most significant part of the year. After waiting multiple years for the day to come, on April 7, 2014, I brought home a missing puzzle piece in my life…Charlotte the Therapy Cat. It’s amazing how much more joy and laughter she brings to our home, and I’m so glad to share her with others through Furry Friends Pet-Assisted Therapy. I had years to anticipate what it would be like to finally bring her home, and it’s been every bit as wonderful as I had hoped, while also being full of surprises and lessons…as life always is.

So now we wait for 2015. I feel like the theme of this coming year will be change. Positive change. I pray that I’ll have a clear mind to help me reach my goals, awareness of God’s guidance for my life, and the opportunity to put all I have learned in 2014 to good use for the greater good of others in 2015.

What do you hope for in 2015?

Happy New Year to you and yours. May it be your best year yet. ❤

Meditations

Meditation: The Present Moment

Life got busy and I began dwelling on the past and worrying about the future rather than living in the present moment. I avoided the present so much that I even stopped blogging. Now I’ve decided I need to focus on living in the present. I hope you will participate in this meditation along with me.

Please find a quiet, comfortable place to sit and meditate or pray for a few minutes. Focus on your present life…the feelings in your body, the temperature of the room, and the blessings and positives in your life at this very moment. Take time to become aware of where you are in your life, and trust that it is exactly where you are meant to be. Focus on feelings of gratitude for the present, rather than regrets or worries.

Blessings to you and yours. May you have a peaceful night! ❤

Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt: Inspiring Art

Reflect on art galleries or art festivals you’ve visited in your lifetime. Is there a particular piece of art that resonated deeply with you? Close your eyes and recall the experience. Then write about that work of art, describing the colors, the textures, the mood, and the subject matter, and how it inspired you. How does this piece of art make you feel? What does it inspire you to do?

Meditations

Meditation: Who Do You Want to Be?

Find a peaceful place and spend a few minutes meditating on your life. Let everyone’s opinions, expectations, and judgments fade away. Focus on your thoughts alone.

Who do you want to be? Picture that version of yourself.

What brings you joy? Envision yourself reaching your dreams.

What do you like about yourself as you are? Reflect on your positive qualities.

I invite you to finish with a prayer, thanking God for what you already have and what is to come, and asking God to guide your steps.

Life Reflections

The Need for Validation

Like many other individuals out there, I care way too much about what people think. I’ve been known to define my self worth based on how others view me and what value they see in me, if any, rather than how I view myself. Sometimes my mind is so polluted by the opinions of others that I honestly don’t know how I think or feel about myself or any given topic, because I’m stuck people pleasing, worrying, overanalyzing, and trying to control how I’m perceived.

The fact is…we can’t control how we’re perceived. Some people will love us, some people will hate us, and some people won’t care either way. I saw a quote this week that shook me to my core because it rang so true:

image

This quote is so wise. It forces me to think about the way I live my life. Why do I so desperately seek validation from others before I can see any of my own worth? Why do I ache to be loved by others before I can love myself? Why do I need to feel understood? Handled gently? The world, generally speaking, is not a loving, gentle place, but I’ve been blessed to cross paths with many kind-hearted, understanding people whom I love dearly and who love me back. Sometimes love comes in a brief connection with a stranger over a profound topic. Love builds us up.

But eventually, we crash and burn. A harsh word, a misinterpreted comment, an imagined slight, a moment of rudeness, an angry opinion, a mocking laugh…all these things can burn away the love that others give us, leaving us dark and empty.

So what are we to do? As a Christian, I first need to accept God’s unconditional love. But no matter what our beliefs, we need to learn to accept our own love. We need to be so filled with steadfast love that the ups and downs of the world won’t affect us. This is far easier said than done, and I’ve yet to achieve it, but I want to try. I hope you will try, too.

So before you go seeking validation for who you are and what you’re about, find it in yourself and in your faith. That is what will always remain, and that is all we truly need.

Peace be with you, dear friends. ❤