7 Important Traits of Friends

I feel I am blessed to have so many good friends. Interestingly, I have never been someone who sets out to make friends but somehow I’ve have always been blessed with the most amazing friends. My friends live in many different places and it is a blessing when life brings us to the same places at the same time. Time together is such a gift and as I have grown, I have learned some things about being a friend.

  1. Accept your friends for who they are. They are perfectly them, just as you are perfectly you. If you try to change them you will only feel frustrated and they may feel hurt. Accept them whole for just who they are, warts and all. It is what is inside that really matters. This concept is called unconditional love.
  2. Time together is the greatest thing you can give a friend. There is no need for extravagant gifts. Nothing could be better than spending time and sharing experiences. Last weekend Emy and I shared our retreat. I have another friend who introduced Marty and I to Kirtans and we often attend them together.
  3. Be fair. Equal exchange of energy is very important in life and even more so in relationships. I am blessed to have friends who are very generous with me. It is important that those kindnesses are repaid in some way but not necessarily tit for tat. Marty and I have a friend who lets us do laundry at her home and another who stores our vehicle, when we’re in Florida. Marty and I help with projects around their homes, as we can. There are many similar examples of how we can support each other by assisting with what each other needs, without having to feel a responsibility too. Just lend a hand when the opportunity arrises.
  4. Listen and really let your friend feel heard. One of the greatest gifts we can give another human being is to really listen to what they have to say and hear their stories. When I read tarot cards, it is one of the most important parts of the reading. Hearing what the other has to say and sharing ideas, is such a great way to connect as well. You just never know what may grow out of this exchange.
  5. Be honest with your friends and allow them to be honest with you. If a friend shares a deep dark secret with you, don’t judge them, just accept them for who they are. Hold a space for both of you to speak your truth. Sometimes we can feel pushed into something with friends. We get swept up in the excitement and before we know it we are carried away into something they want to do. Trust your friends to love you, even if what you want to do is not what they want to do.
  6. Encourage your friends. No matter how crazy the ideas may sound to us, having a friend who cheers us on, is a beautiful thing. Often family gets wrapped up in the fear, but a friend can really help us manifest our dreams so we can live our best life.  It is such a blessing to have a friend encouraging you to live the life of your dreams.
  7. Do not take them for granted. I appreciate my friends so much. I always share with them that I appreciate them and their time. I tell my friends I love them because we all need to hear it. I hug my friends. When our hearts meet in an embrace it is such a beautiful moment of warmth and connection.

What traits do you find important in friends? How do you bring your best foot forward in friendships? What traits are important to you when you are looking for friendship from others? We do not travel this life alone. Others join us, some for a large part of our life and other times for a shorter period of time. The length of our friendships does not lessen the impact they may have on us or us on them.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May all of your friendships be meaningful, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Rome, Italy

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Mindfulness as a Way to Heal

I am having a hungry day. Do you have days like that too? Do you find yourself having days when you just can’t seem to get enough food in you to feel full? When days like this happen to me, I often wonder what it is that I am really feeling. There is obviously some sort of emptiness that cannot seem to be filled or some corner of my mind looking for distraction.

I have eat an ample amount  of healthy and nutritious food today. I have kept my promise to myself to maintain my intermittent fasting. I have even felt tempted to drink alcohol or diet soda over this weekend, but stayed true to my healthy initiates. I even manage to get in 10,000 plus steps today and yesterday. I have not been complaint free. As the sun dips below the horizon and the stars start to blink into being, I am sipping a hot tea to stave off my hunger pains. Why is there this persistent need to eat today? Maybe I am hungrier because I walked the 10,000 steps and burned more calories? Perhaps as I sit alone in silence, watching the lights across the marina, I am board. These are both very valid explanations as to why I might be feeling the need to nibble on this and that.

There is also another possible explanation. I am just not good at quiet. I am extremely good at busyness. When I am being productive my mind is distracted. When I am sitting, quietly, it allows my past emotions and experiences to creep into the corners of my mind. I want to eat, drink, do something so that I do not have to acknowledge these uncomfortable things tickling my consciousness; as they slip and slide though the cobwebby recesses of my mind. Just dealing with them would make them go away and not seem so frightening anymore, but still my protective coping mechanisms say not today! Their time is coming though. They cannot creep through the shadows of my mind forever. I will not allow them to derail all the progress I am and have been making. Adventure Sister, Emy and I are planning our own private ‘silent’ retreat.

In the silence of 48 hours, which we are gifted ourselves, there will be no place for them to hide. The ability to run (as a distraction), to have to do this or that, will not be possible. I imagine there will be some very troublesome moments in the midst of this period of silence. I can guess that I will have a couple of very hungry days. I foresee growth coming to me though this; yet I know it will not all be easy. I know that much of it will feel very uncomfortable. I will just chalk it up to growing pains as I can feel my Spirit craving this experience. It just feels so right. When I come out on the other side, will I be markedly different? Probably not but I will be healthier!

These cravings and distractions seem to wave from the depths of me. They want to be noticed yet the protective part of myself is trying to keep them hidden away, like skeletons in the closets of my mind. Through silence and mindfulness, I will allow them to come into the light, because skeletons do not seem so frightening there.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the time and space to let those past hurts come to the surface and move on, as if by magic.

*Photo taken in Sanford, FL at the marina.

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12 Reasons to Get into Nature!

Where I live, you can see the change of season coming. Some of the leaves are already starting to turn bright colors. This is one of the signs that Summer is coming to an end as it does every year. So here comes Autumn! I love all of the seasons for different reasons but Autumn is truly my favorite. I love the crispness in the air, the crunch and smell of the leaves on the forest floor as you hike, and the beautiful colors that splash onto the canvas of the world. I enjoy getting out in the kayak or on the hiking trails in the Fall. Exploring what I have seen before, but now looks entirely different. In the Winter, when the temperatures here dip below zero, I often find it hard to get outside and be a part of Nature. But I still try. Last year it was dogsledding in Northern MN. Finally Spring, rebirth and return of the sun. Always appreciated. Here are some reasons for all of us to remember the importance of getting outside (and into Nature) no matter what the weather.

 

1.        It gives you room to breathe – Removing the walls and the ceiling around you can give you the opportunity to see the sky, relax and just breathe.IMG_9974

2.        It lowers stress – The sounds of the birds and rustle of the trees, the clean smell of the air, the sun on your face; it can all help reduce stress and anxiety.IMG_5938

3.        It helps to keep your clock set- The natural light of the outdoors can help to reset your internal clock. Your brain responds to the sun on your face. IMG_1088

4.        You realize you are part of something bigger – The web of life happens all around us, all the time. When we spend time in nature, we can see how we fit into this bigger world.IMG_2486

5.        There are amazing things to see – There are so many things waiting for you around the next turn. Beautiful things are available for your five senses in all seasons. You only have to get out there.IMG_9876

6.        Feel more alive – Have you ever sat on a covered front porch and watched a lightning storm? You feel so alive with the wind, the electricity in the air, splashes of light and booming thunder putting on a show. There are so many of these experiences in Nature!IMG_4515

7.        Be inspired – So many outdoor sights can be inspiring. Whether it is the bumble bee making its way from flower to flower, a beautiful waterfall, or breathtaking rock formation – from the small to the large, Nature can be very inspiring. IMG_1813

8.        You time – It gives you time to unwind and step away from all of the “to do’s” on your list. Laying in the sun, swimming in the surf, or walking through the forest; it gives you some space to honor yourself. IMG_8501

9.        Just full of analogies – I, have many times, been out in Nature and noticed something that I can see as an analogy for my life. For example, once I saw how a beaver had built his house. I thought about the hardworking beaver. He doesn’t complain. He just gets to work and gets it done. Then he can go for a swim and relax. IMG_1044

10.     Experiences – I think most of my favorite experiences have happened outside. After all, it was an impulsive BWCA trip that inspired this whole journey that led to blogging and Adventure Sister Emy! IMG_8513

11.     Bonding time – My grandmother used to take me on Nature walks to pick wild flowers. I took my own daughters on fairy hunting treks and my grandchildren have gone kayaking with me. Whether it is friends or family, time in Nature can be such a lovely bonding experience. IMG_2489

12.     Appreciation – Finding things to be grateful for attracts more blessings into our lives. When you look around outside, there is so much to be grateful for and appreciate. IMG_9500

 

I am sure there are many more reasons other than these 12. Get outside today! Enjoy the weather, as is, without wishing for it to be anything other than what it is. Take a moment to be thankful for all the beauty that the natural world gives us.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life be filled with opportunities to get out in Nature, as if by Magic!

***No Trees, insects, or birds were harmed in the making of the art on the featured image of this blog. All items were found on nature walks.

 

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I Am Proud of You!

I am Proud of you! Do you hear me? Yes, I’m talking to you! I am proud of all you have accomplished. Just think where you were at a few years ago. Now look at you! Look how far you have come. It may seem like baby steps to you, but every one of those steps forward is a step in the right direction. Even f you take 2 steps forward and 1 step back, that is still one step forward. It doesn’t matter if those steps have taken place in the last week or the last 20 years. The speed of your forward progress is up to you. It is not a race to the end. 

  • Think about the things you once struggled with but now you can cope with well. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about how you have matured in your response to those you do not agree with. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about all the magic things you have manifested in your life, even if they were small. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about how you have matured in your opinions. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the new ways you have found to take care of yourself, so that you will have the stamina to better help others. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the ways you have stood up for the underdog. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the ways you have brought improved order and peace into your life. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the meditation and/or exercise practices you have started and started again and maybe will start again. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the ways you have helped your community. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the smiles you have shared with strangers to brighten their days. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the ways you have shown your body, you love it, as is. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the times you have said what you meant with love. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the times you have excelled with determination. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the things you have done, that you once said you would or could never do. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the new adventures you have gone on and will go on next. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the ways you have heard Spirit talk to you and the ways in which you have answered. I am proud of you. 
  • Think of the all the times you have pushed on, even though you have felt very stressed or overwhelmed to do so at times. I am proud of you. 
  • Think of the ways you have supported your friends and family. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the healthy boundaries you have set, even if you have to reset them from time to time. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about how you have inspired someone else. Even if in a small way. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the things you have learned about yourself. I am proud of you. 
  • Think of the ways you have shown, expressed, and felt gratitude. I am proud of you. 
  • Think about the ways you have given and received love. I am proud of you.

You are doing great! Yes you are. There are always ways to continue to grow and  improve yourself. Just by you are reading this, you are making forward progress. You are walking your path to being your best version of you. Look back over the decisions you have made. See how you have progressed over the years, months, weeks, days. There is progress there to celebrate. You are moving toward living the life of your dreams and I am so very proud of you. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of success and many things to be proud of yourself for. I love you and I am proud of you! Blessings! 

Daily Meditation – week 1 check in

Here is my check in from my first week of daily meditation practice. With the first 7 days, of the 90 days of daily meditation behind me, I am excited to share my experiences with you.

Experiences during the week: My first week of daily meditation was full of business. The first few days I was trying the various apps but as the weekend approached, I had to pause, as I had a gathering and Mother’s Day to prepare for. When I meditated at first, it seemed that it was one more thing on my to do list that had to be taken care of. However, once I took the time to do it, I felt better. Even calmer and more centered. There were a couple of days where I laid down at night, only to realize I had not yet sat in peaceful meditation for that day. One those days I tried meditating in bed while laying down. I made a discovery; when I meditate laying down, I fall asleep! Probably not my best plan. Over the course of the week I tried the apps with their instructional meditation. I listened to several guided meditations and I also sat in quiet mindfulness meditation. I found I personally prefer the silent meditation. Although guided meditations can be quite powerful, at times I found them distracting. 

What I learned: My favorite time of day to meditate was first thing in the morning. I especially enjoyed it when I could do it near an open window, so the sound of birds and the wind chimes in the backyard would float in on the cool morning breeze. 

My weight: I am on the road for the next four weeks, so I do not have access to my scale. I will be unable to share a number with any weight changes as a result of this. After the first week, though,  I do not sense any changes in how my clothing is fitting. 

How I feel: As I write this morning, I feel calm. The to do list of tasks to get taken care of doesn’t seem to be pressing down on me the way it does some days. I feel hopeful in all situations (which would be a great mantra to meditate with). 

How it’s affected my life: On the morning of Mother’s Day, my husband and I went outside to discover that our fire-pit patio table had been stolen. Although it is  disappointing and frustrating, I felt as though I was able to maintain calm and sent out a plea that everyone send love and healing to the thief. People who have healthy balanced lives do not hurt others. This act is a reflection of pain and poor self-esteem of the perpetrator. When I have experienced previous violations like this, although I still sent loving kindness to the violator, I also had a fair amount of anger. On this occasion I had no anger. Is this a result of my daily meditation practice? I think so. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. How was week one for you? Please share your experiences with us. As I go forward I will stick with these same five areas. Are there any other areas you would like to see me include in my upcoming weekly check-ins? If so, let me know. I wish you a lifetime of hopefulness in all situations. 

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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