A Little Something to Reflect On

Before you speak, listen.

Before you write, think.

Before you spend, earn.

Before you invest, investigate.

Before you criticize, wait.

Before you pray, forgive.

Before you quit, try.

Before you retire, save.

Before you die, give.

       ~William Arthur Ward

I saw some version of this quote in a high school class room tonight. In a world where so much is available instantly, there are a lot of radical ideas in this quote. How many of these things do we just go through the motions of and do not even consider?

Before you speak, listen. This first line of the quote is so very profound. How often are we so busy telling everyone all the wonderful stuff that we know or have seen, that we never take the time to listen to what they have to share with us. Speaking without listening hinders learning. The people around us are full of interesting tidbits to share but if we are so busy talking and not listening, how can we learn from them?

Before you write, think. In a world where what we write, can be seen by others instantly, this is even more important. This goes for notes, emails, posts, and texts. So often, in the heat of a moment, we can hit the button and send words out into the world that we never really wanted there.

Before you spend, earn. Today credit cards are a way of life. They are a trap that I have fallen into over and over again. Living within your means is an important step to overall wellness. If you don’t have the cash, don’t do it. Taking a good hard look at “our” finances has taught us a lot about how to have a better overall financial health.

Before you criticize, wait. Judging someone is easy but not always accurate. Waiting will give the ‘other’ time to reveal themselves to you. You may learn the rest of the story which may change your viewpoint. That thing, that seemed worthy of you criticism, may turn out to have been a heroic and selfless act. It’s amazing what a little bit of time and distance from an event can teach us.

Before you quit, try. I can’t even count how many times people have said they are not going to try something because it won’t work out them anyway. They are assuming an outcome and quitting before they even get started.

Before you die, give. What does this one mean to you? What is the legacy you leave the world? How can you give? It may not be money or things that you are giving. It may be sharing information. Giving the gift of your time. So many wonderful organizations really need volunteers. Did you know hospices are required to have a certain percentage of volunteer hours? Children’s sports teams, pet rescues, shelters, community initiatives, and so many other groups would not be able to do the good work they do with out the gift of loving people’s time.

I felt like the words in this quote have so much to say to us as autumn turns to winter. Winter is a perfect time to reflect, learn, and grow. How can you better embrace these principles in your life? How can reflecting on these lines help you be the best version of yourself?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your mark on the world send ripples of hope to every corner, as if by magic.

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Find the Joy in Your Story, As Is

“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought it would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living” ~ Rachel Marle Martin

All of our lives, most of us have been told stories of the families we came from and have the expectations set for what we are to become. They may be others’ expectations or they may be ours. What will we do as a career? How will we live, pray, or even what recreational activities will we do? All of these things are expectations set for us early in life. Of course these change and shift as we move forward. Though often, when we do not meet these set expectations, there is disappointment. It may be our disappointment or that of others, who feel disappointed for us, but it is there all the same.

I really like the above quote because if we are to truly living in the now, we must accept this life we are living. For me this does not mean not to strive to improve myself and my life. It means that I need to find the joy, perfection, and peace in things as they are. It allows me to accept today, as is, while still manifesting the life of my dreams. Gratitude begets more to be grateful for. By finding the joy in my life, as is, more joy will be delivered to me as I step ever forward.

When I was growing up there was no doubt that I would go to college. It was the expectation as well as the legacy set down for me by my mother, who had  two bachelor degrees and two master degrees. When I dropped out of high school, I am sure she felt that her world was crumbling. I am sure it was crushing to her that I was not living up to the potential she saw in me, yet I eventually found my way and now have 2 degrees as well as several certifications. I did not get to this place all at once. I accepted each place I found myself as ok and where I was at that time.  I continued to manifest the future I wanted. I may not have always seen the joy in where I was as it took (and takes) time focusing on my wellness to get to that point. It took years of self-work to pull myself to the place I am, so that I can see the joy in today, right now. I still aspire to be more, do more and help more people. But for today I am joyful and I appreciate all the blessing in my life.

There are so many times in life when we paint a picture of what we think something should be like, when often it turns out to be quite different. Maybe it is your job. Maybe it is your relationship. Maybe it is your health. Maybe it is your faith. Maybe it is some other aspect of your life. It is okay to admit it’s not what you thought it was going to be. It is okay to accept it as is and find the joy in that. It is also okay to make plans to improve or change it and to move towards the life of your dreams.

Accept what is. Find the joy. Count your blessings and make plans to move toward the life of your dreams.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the joy in each and everyday in the things that are not what you expected, as if by magic.

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What is a Witch?

As Halloween grows near, we see many images of old women in pointy hats riding on brooms or leaning over bubbling cauldrons. It is all part of the fun, magical, and yes even scary imagery; that is part of this time of the year. My 4 year old granddaughter asked me the other day if bats and witches are real? I told her they are. She said she had never seen one so she didn’t think they were. If only she knew they walk amongst us. Ordinary people that you pass in the street, every day, may have a spiritual practice that you may refer to as Witchcraft, The Craft, or Wicca.

We have all heard of the past tragedies that were done to the young women in Salem, Europe, and many other places around the world because they were accused of witchcraft. So what is a Witch? Where does the fantasy end and the tradition begin. Past history has witches worshiping the Devil and practicing “Dark Magic”. Witches have been portrayed in movies like, The Wizard of Oz, Stardust, and The Witches of Eastwick, as well as TV shows like Bewitched. Some of the witches are good and some of them are bad in these shows.

I would say that is the same of real people as well, some are good and some are bad. Usually, those we considered bad, have damaged psyches, are going through some difficult experiences currently or have had very difficult things happen to them in their past. I would say, like with all people, most Witches are good.  They do not worship the Devil but rather the Earth and Nature; they see “spirit” in all things and understand that there is a balance to the way we interact with the world.

Most Witches, in the long ago past and still today; are healers. They use natural herbs in their magic, cooking, and potions. Like using some Lavender or Valerian to relax you or Echinacea to boost your immune system. Chamomile to help you sleep. They may practice various forms of energy healing; like Reiki or Hand on Healing. They may use crystals for their energetic properties. These Witches may also practice various forms of divination such as; reading tarot cards, mediumship or channel readings. They believe in the Power of Intention. Spell work is really just a way to put some ceremony behind their intentions.

There are many different types of Witches and belief systems among them. Some are solitary practitioners and others belong to groups who support each other through their spiritual growth. Some hold fast to ceremony’s past on from generation to generation and others make new ceremonies to suite their needs.

In the past, these woman, were the ones the people the village came to when someone was sick. Then they became prosecuted for being different. The others came to fear what they did not understand. Christianity started to paint the Witch as evil and dangerous. When in reality, these were mostly good hearted people who wanted to help their neighbors.

Think about the times you have turned to a nice cup of tea to calm your nerves, made some Chicken Noodle Soup to heal your sick family, or a time you called a friend who suddenly popped into your head. Only to find out they were going through something difficult and needed you. Call to mind the times you have set intentions for a positive outcome to a situation. We are all more similar than we are different.

So as the veil thins and Halloween approaches, keep in mind that witches walk among us. They are kind hearted ordinary people who see the sacredness in all things. Remember those things your grandmother passed down to you; to heal you family, keep you safe, and make life a bit more magical. After all, there is a little witch in all of us.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find your personal magical power, as if by magic.

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Caring For the Caregiver

No one knows how hard it is to care for someone until they do it. As a hospice nurse I often saw family members giving more than their all. To be able to care for someone they loved so much, it made it all worth it. It is important that those who care for others to also take care of themselves and be supported. I want to share with you some tips on “Caring for the Caregiver.”

If you know someone who is caring for a loved one, how can you best help them? This is a good question. Obviously, these are people who sacrifice their own needs to care for others and put them first. How can we help them get what they need to put the oxygen mask on themselves first? (what you always hear in the airplane instructions; put yours on before you do others) What types of things can we do to help them.

  1. Remind them of the good job they are doing. It is a hard job and often thankless job. It is easy to get caught up in the way you felt you should have handled things better or differently. Often caregivers really question themselves and if they are doing it “right”. Let them know they are doing a good job. Give them specific examples of how. This is important feedback these angels need.
  2. Offer them help where you can. Maybe it is just hanging out for a couple hours so they can get away. Maybe it is running to the store, doing another errand or perhaps just washing dishes. It will be different for everyone and maybe different from time to time. Sometimes even small things (like taking out the garbage) can be a huge help!
  3. Do not tell them what they “need” to do. We sometime can be overly zealous in our desire to help these sainted people who put others before themselves. We can be busy telling them they “need” to take a bubble bath and have a glass of wine. That they “need” to get out and go for a walk. By using the word “need” we are putting one more thing on their “To Do” list. Even something fun, can become a stressor, if it is one more thing you “have to do”.
  4. Accept that how they unwind maybe different from your method of relaxing and decompressing. My husband loves social interaction. When he gets really stressed, getting together for fun with friends, is the perfect way to let off some steam. For me, I want alone time. Sometimes maybe one on one time with someone close to me. A walk in the woods (Forest Bathing) is perfect for me, where my husband loves the hustle and bustle and color of a walk in a busy mall. We all have different things that help us cope. Accept that what they desire might be different that what you desire.
  5. Give them unexpected treats. Home baked goodies, a gift card to a coffee shop or a nice notecard sent in the mail. Just something to give them a little smile and let them know they are appreciated. Maybe even a handpicked bouquet of dandelions. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just a little something to make them smile and let them know they are appreciated.

If you know one of these angel caregivers, I hope this gives you some ideas about how you can provide them support. If you do not, please feel free to pass this on to others it may help. The Alzheimer’s Association used to have posters that showed caregivers as angels or super heroes. I always loved that imagery because that is what these people really and truly are!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you make the difference in the life of a caregiver, as if by magic. I love you!

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Common Ground, Can We Find It?

As I was scanning through Facebook this morning, I saw several people who felt the need to voice their opinion, on other people’s posts. Have you ever felt so angry or strongly disagreed with something a friend posted on FB, that you just had to reply? I bet we all have. But have you ever replied with a snarky comment in response to someone else’s post? This is what I witnessed this morning and have many times before. Someone feels so strongly, that they not only need to respond, but respond with a fairly negative comment. I have been told these people are called trolls.

I do not believe this is a healthy practice. First of all, many people rallied to support the person this “troll” was attacking. They were not kind to the “troll” thus becoming trolls themselves. (I do not like name calling and I think calling these people trolls probably hurts real troll’s feelings. They don’t want that kind of reputation- even if they did try to eat the 3 Billy Goats Gruff… it’s the circle of life after all!) I think expressing our opinions can be a positive thing, when it is done in the spirit of working to understand one another and find a middle ground. Then it is a beautiful and mature way to deal with our differences in opinions.

I really believe we need to allow others to have their own opinions. In this human experience, we are all having, we are all in the place we are perfectly meant to be. No one is better than someone else. From a spiritual stance there are probably some flaws in all of our opinions. Instead of trying to berate or change the opinions of others, what would happen if we just accepted others “as is”? Imagine if we all looked for our similarities, worked together, and just agreed to disagree on certain issues. I believe there is a way. Through loving our fellow voyagers in this human journey, we can work together. We do it all the time in our ordinary lives. I have co-workers who have a whole array of various opinions and beliefs. Some align with mine and some do not. Yet we still all manage to work together and are a wonderful team that, not only supports each other, but is very productive as well. My parents each have beliefs and opinions that are different than mine but I still love them like crazy and respect for them as they are.

I believe it is important that we allow others to have their own opinions and beliefs as a practice in love and acceptance. I also believe that doing so will bring us more peace. We can’t change others and when we are constantly trying to, it messes with our sense of peace and security. I am not suggesting we tolerate comments that are hurtful to ourselves or others. I only want to suggest we deal with them in such a way that we do not also become hurtful to others as well. Accept that this person is in a different place on their journey than you are. Kindly provide them with education if you can. Perhaps right now, some issues are so big, we can’t get to a middle ground. On the smaller issues, keep trying. On the bigger ones; try by looking for the good, the Divine, the Human behind the opinion.

Yes, I understand this is my usual happy Pollyanna attitude about life, but if we don’t start changing our approach to others, we’ll never get beyond the superficial. I feel we are so much more than our beliefs and opinions. I encourage you to let others have their opinions and look for the common ground. It is there! Sometimes it just takes more digging to find it in others. When you do I bet you find we have more in common than what makes us different.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you have a life of feeling loved and accepted, as if by magic! I love you!

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Symbolism is All Around Us!

As we dance through life we see things that appeal to us or notice things we may have missed before, such as animals making appearances. All of these things may have messages for us. They may be a way that God or Spirit is trying to speak to us.

How many times have you been walking down the street and all of a sudden you are seeing something repeatedly. Maybe it has been there when you have walked the same path in the past, but for whatever reason, today they are standing out to you. They may have a message or symbolism that is important for you in this time. For example, in the spring of this year, I was noticing tulips everywhere. They were growing in planters, in vases and painted in pictures. Ironically, I was traveling at the time and missed the blooming of my own tulips. It was a time when I was feeling a bit disconnected from spirit. When I looked up the meaning of tulips it spoke to connection with spirituality. It seemed I was noticing the tulips because my spirit was calling out for that connection.

Now, just because that’s what tulips meant to me at that time, does not mean that is what it means for everyone. Allowing others to find their own meanings in the symbols around us and allow their message to you to be unique. I know a woman who knows her deceased loved one is near whenever she sees an Eagle. Eagles hold a different meaning for me. For many others, Eagles can have patriotic symbolism. Another example, I have of this, is about a time when I was seeing deer. They were outside my hotel drinking from the pond. Standing next to the pharmacy in a good sized city. Grazing in the woods next to the road. I was seeing deer all over and in very unusual places. They were, for sure, trying to get my attention. There are many websites and books where you can look up the symbolism of animals and other things. I looked deer up in various books and websites and nothing they said seemed or felt right to me. I finally took sometime to meditate and allow the answer to come to me. Suddenly, one day, it came to me. All the deer were standing or slowly walking. None of them were running. Even though they were in places that may have been dangerous, they did not seem to be afraid. I was in a new situation where change was causing me some fear. The deer were a sign for me that I was safe and had no reason to be afraid. I trusted the message and it turned out to be very true.

Watch and notice things and events  around you. There may be messages you are receiving that you are not even aware of. Be open to what they may have to tell you. It can be important and might even bring you peace.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you live a life full of messages easily received, as if by magic.

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A Story of Remembering

I want to tell you a story. This might be a story of old or it might be the story of now. It is likely a story that has occurred countless times throughout history. It is a story of trust and a story of renewal, but most of all, it a story of remembering.

There was a young woman. She was a mother or she wasn’t. She had responsibilities as we all do. One day, as she was walking through the forest of life, she saw a path. This path was not into the light but rather was a path into the darkness. This path went deep into the forest and it looked very dangerous. It was jagged and had many curves. It would have been impossible to learn were the path would take her by simply looking. The darkness of this path called to her. It called to her and it pulled at her, although she knew pain and betrayal waited for her along this path, she felt oddly intrigued by it.

Now I have to tell you, this young woman had always been responsible. She had always done what had been asked of her, what was expected of her, and even more. Everyone in her tribe felt she was the perfect young woman. Every mother wanted to call her daughter. The older men all wanted to call her daughter and the younger men chased her to be their bride. She cared for the young and learned from the elderly. She was the definition of smart and responsible.

Despite her history, as such a stand up member of the community, the young woman felt she must walk this path. She had to voyage into the darkness, even though it meant walking away from her responsibilities. She had to risk being hurt and had to hurt those who had placed so much trust and pride in her. She stepped onto the path, dropping the baskets that she had brought into the forest, leaving them where they lay.

The path was arduous. She stumbled and fell many times. She met scary creatures who pretended to be her friends or help her, but in the end, they we leading her farther into the darkness. They hurt her, physically, emotionally, and separated her from the light. Sometimes she tried to find her way back but they kept pulling her deeper into the darkness. They kept pulling her further from who she had been. They caused her to feel like a completely different person. It did not take long before she forgot who she was. She forgot she was from the light and she believed she was a creature of the darkness.

This went on for many years. The village mourned her. They felt that she was lost to them forever. They feared she would never find her way back to the light. But one day, she stumbled into the village. She was wild and untamed. She was a mere shadow of the bright young woman who she had once been. The darkness hung all around her and her “friends” from there, watched from the shadows. They called to her and pulled at her.

There was something about the village that felt like home to her, although she could not really recall. The community did not trust her, they avoided her. They would not let her care for the young or spend time with the elderly. They did not want to claim her as they once did. When they tried to give her responsibilities she would wander off or never fulfill them. Even though she was back, they felt she was still lost. They still did not recognize her as the brave and ambitious woman she had once been.

One day the village wise woman (the witch) was working quietly on something. She had been watching all of this. She saw how the darkness pulled at the woman, but she also saw how the woman tried to resist the darkness. She knew something deep within the young woman wanted to live fully in the light again, but there was so much baggage from the darkness, she couldn’t seem to step away from it. It had become a part of her identity.

The witch touched her finger to the young woman’s brow. The place in front of where the third eye resides. “Remember” said the wise old woman, “remember who you are”. The young woman blinked at her elder. The darkness seemed to fall away. Her “friends” let go of their holds on her and slunk back onto the treacherous path. Light beamed all around the young woman and she suddenly did remember who she was.

From that day on she worked to gain the trust of her community. She became who she had been only better. She was wiser now. Having known the darkness and living among the darkness helped her better see how she belonged in the light. It helped her embrace and enjoy her responsibilities. She become one others looked to for wisdom, for she had lived what they could never imagine and returned to the light.

Time would pass and worlds would change. The young woman would become the witch in the future. The wise woman would become the young woman again. This story would continue to unfold throughout history over and over again. Is this your story? It is my story. It is many peoples’ story. Forgive yourself for the time in the darkness. It was a part of your journey. It is done or nearly done now. You are wiser for it. Remember who you are! Remember that you are of the light!

Thank you for ready no my blog today! May you remember your true nature, as if by magic!

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Week 8 of the Daily Meditation Adventure

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how week eight went for me.

What I have learned: This past week I have had multiple nights where I been challenged by insomnia. I tried to use various guided meditations, for sleep, to assist me through these periods. I learned, that for me, they give me a period of relaxation followed by a second wind. In the end they did not help me attain a restful nights sleep. 

Experiences during the week: I have been experimenting this week with different YouTube meditations. I had one especially powerful experience with a Yoga Nidra meditation. This is a type of meditation I have not experienced before. Upon doing some research I learned the Nidra is the Sanskrit word for sleep. Yoga Nidra is a way of using that stage just between wake and sleep to plant seeds of your intentions. I intend to experiment with this some more. 

My weight: My weight has decreased by 1.8lbs since starting the challenge. In full disclosure I did start intermittent fasting, so I cannot claim that meditation alone caused the weight loss. The meditation does help with the fasting when I feel hungry or tempted to eat. It also helps me feel calmer so I am less likely to partake in emotional eating.  

How I feel: Upon completion of a meditation I feel relaxed. I have been quite stressed lately; feeling all the pressure from multiple sources, bearing down on me. Of course, it is all self induced pressures. There are things I could choose not to participate in, others that I wouldn’t have to push so hard at, and still others that I could put up healthy boundaries around. I choose to continue to try and do it all and be it all. The meditation gives me a brief reprieve from the stress. 

How it is affecting my life: The affect on my life changes from moment to moment. Sometimes meditation is still a stressor – something I have to get done. Other times it gives me a tool to use when life feels out of control. This week I am going to make a conscious effort to find time to meditate when life feels out of control. When all of life pressures are causing me to feel uncomfortable, then I will turn to meditation as a moment of freedom from it all. 

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you found your preferred meditation style? Do you have a preferred meditation space? Is meditation helping enhance your life?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of healthy habits which settle themselves into your life as if by magic.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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90 Days of Daily Meditation -check in -week 2

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here is how the last week went for me.

Experiences during the week: This week’s meditation has been a struggle for me. I am disappointed in my meditation performance. I allowed my business of life to get in the way of my daily practice and there were even several nights when I laid down at the end of the day just to realize I had not meditated. When I would attempt to do so, while laying there, I would drift off to sleep. Though I did have one very profound meditation during the week. It happened when I meditated first thing in the morning. During my meditation I received a couple of great inspirations. One, was to rename a class I’m offering with a catchier name, occurred to me during the time I quieted my brain.

What I have learned: I have learned I need to schedule a time to start my meditation or I will try to do it at the end of the day when I lay down before I fall asleep.

My weight: I am still on the road and have no mechanism to measure if my weight has changed. I do not sense a change in how my clothing is fitting me.

How I feel: I feel motivated to do better this next week. I feel a need to put myself first again. My travels this week brought me from the eastern time zone to the pacific. Which I will be reversing tomorrow and then back the following week. Because these switches can be a bit challenging I will need the meditation more than ever, to help keep myself calm and centered.

How it is affecting my life: On the days I meditated early in the day, I found the meditation profound and a blessing to start my day. On the days I did it at the end of the day while laying in bed, I found it induced good sleep. I was exceptionally tired this week due to a demanding schedule and travels that took me to or through 9 different states from Thursday to Monday. Even though I had high hopes for more profound meditation experiences, in reflecting, I see that the meditation experiences I had were the ones I needed.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I am proud of you for the things you are doing and/or wanting to do to take care of yourself. Even baby steps count! I wish you a lifetime of meditations that are exactly what you need. Blessings!

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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Self Care: a series – part 4

In our series so far we have learned about keeping healthy boundaries, taking time for ourselves, and healthy self talk. Today lets dive into accepting our emotions. A lot of time we tell ourselves we should or shouldn’t feel a certain way. This causes excess stress and we judge ourselves to be “wrong” about our feelings.

Yes, we want to have positive emotions and keep our vibrations high. We are all human, however. No one is happy all of the time. Things happen to us and we “feel” things and in different ways. It is part of the grand experience of being human. When life is throwing a lot of stuff and responsibilities onto our plate we feel stressed, exasperated, worn out, maybe even depressed. However you are feeling, it’s not wrong. It is important that we do not wallow in low energy feelings without making an effort to change the vibration and energy, but that is not what we are talking about today. Today we are talking about when “those” emotions show up, that we accept them for what they are. We do not make them or us “wrong” for having them.

There are going to be times in your life when you feel angry. Life and circumstances happen that can cause us to feel frustrated; like that time your tire went flat and you were late. When people make choices that you do not agree with and you feel outrage. If someone betrays you or criticizes you, it is natural for you to have an negative emotional response to that. Accept how you are feeling. Do not make yourself feel further negative emotions by judging yourself by what comes up. Find a healthy way to cope with the emotion. Some examples are; going for a walk, creating some artwork, cleaning (this is what I do when I am mad), listening to music, or talk to a friend.

Sorrow is another natural emotion that we are going to experience in life. It is important that we honor this feeling when it comes up. The death of a pet or a loved one, a loss of any kind, disappointment, all of these things can cause us to feel sad. It is natural that we feel that way from time to time. Do not beat yourself up. It is okay. It is normal.

Be kind to yourself and accept yourself as you are. This does not mean we do not continue to try to improve ourself. The need for improvement does not indicate a reason to judge ourself lacking now, it’s just a higher goal to aim for.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of high vibrational emotions and acceptance of any lower vibrational emotions you happen to have. Accept yourself “as is” friends.

 

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