Capeesh?!

Life in a pandemic has taught us how very little control we have. For me, and perhaps many of you, feeling out of control can be very frustrating and induce a lot of stress. I have long heard that control is an illusion and truthfully the only thing we have control over is our reactions. I feel sometimes I don’t even have much control over my reactions. Being self aware and noticing how you are reacting and exploring where those reactions are coming from can be very helpful; but also very difficult to do in the heat of the moment.

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

Captain Jack Sparrow

I catch myself getting all wrapped up into what seems like the problem. I get stuck spiraling into unhelpful thoughts about what I think the problem is. But when I breathe, and take a minute to look at why I am feeling the way I am feeling, often there is a different cause. I am not saying that there are not problems. There are, everywhere. So unless we understand what triggers us to respond to these issues in the way that we do, we will be forever whipped around, a prisoner to our emotional response. Emotions can be very helpful in motivating us, but they also can be detrimental when we find ourself in a situation where the outcome we desire is not achievable.

There are things that I know trigger an emotional response in me. I like to be in control, so when I feel out of control, this can cause a lot of stress for me. When COVID first started I had a job where I experienced change on a weekly basis, sometime more often. Those changes were predictable changes. Once the Pandemic started, I was experiencing unpredictable changes. It cause me a lot more stress. I am flexible person. I enjoy change. Being fluid and in the moment, is how I do my best work. So I was surprised in how the unpredictability of life really got to me.

Awareness is the first step. When we examine the thoughts we have around the “problem” we can better understand why we are shaken when presented with the problem. Having this understanding gets us closer to being at peace; despite the situation we find ourselves within. Once we can see what is bring up our emotions and that it is really more about us than the perceived problem; we can start to work on this aspect of us.

It is important to have some strategies to get past these emotions or as Captain Jack Sparrow says, “…[our] attitude about the problem”.

  • Breathe – take a deep breath, center yourself, and just feel the emotion.
  • Acknowledge – emotions are not good or bad, they just are. Acknowledge what you are feeling. Give yourself permission to feel it.
  • Be Present – be present in the moment. Notice what is around you. What do you hear, see, smell, feel, taste? Notice that in this moment you are safe and everything is okay.
  • Understand – attempt to understand what is causing you to feel so …whatever you are feeling. If you can name what is behind the emotion it can be helpful in gaining understanding. For example: I feel frustrated at a lack of control because I have a fear of failure.
  • Calming ritual – create yourself with a calming ritual. What this is may differ on where you are and this will be very individualized to each person. Some ideas are:
    • cup of herb tea
    • lighting a candle
    • carry a “worry stone” that you can hold or rub your thumb against
    • take a series of slow, deep breaths
    • recite a poem, prayer, or mantra (out loud or internally)
    • have a mint or piece of gum
    • take a walk outside
    • rub some lotion on your hands
  • Carry on mindfully – once you have gained awareness you can carry on with your day. You will have a better understanding of why you were so upset and have taken some action to become present and understand you cannot change the problem – only your reaction.
  • Take action if it still seems necessary – once you have done all of this, depending on what the perceived problem was, there still may need to be action taken on your part. Now that your mind is clearer and you are not as caught up in the emotional response, you can attempt to make a plan.
  • Repeat as necessary – depending on what is going on you may find yourself needing to use these strategies over and over again. It will get easier as you practice.

I love the Serenity Prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 

courage to change the things I can, 

and wisdom to know the difference.

I think there is a lot of wisdom in this prayer. There are things we cannot change. Things we have no control over whatsoever. Then there are things we can change. Often that is us and how we deal with what we cannot change. Working on ourselves is some of the hardest work, but also the most beneficial work we can ever do. Knowing what things we can affect and what things we cannot affect will give us much more peace, rather than banging our heads against the wall trying to change the unchangeable.

I also believe in the benefit of planting seeds, but that is for another blog. Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find peace within the storm. May you find the calm pool of serenity within yourself.

Flexibility and Habits

I have been learning a lot about habit formation lately. It seems like it may be the key for me in putting my self-care and healthy habits front and center. Although, it may not seem to make sense, I am learning that some flexibility is required when creating habits. Let me explain what I mean.

A couple of the habits I am working on are daily meditation and daily physical activity. When it comes to my meditation practice, it has come along pretty easily, this time. Past attempts have not been as successful. I believe this to what I have learned about habit formation.

From my understanding there are 3 main parts to a habit. The trigger, the habit, and the reward. The trigger is the thing that lets your subconscious know it is time to do the habit. The reward is what you get for preforming the habit. When it comes to my meditation habit, my trigger is when I wake up in the morning. I go to my designated meditation space, light my meditation candle (a reward) and mediate for 20 minutes. At the end of my mediation, I track my mediation in my Adidas running app. (Side note: I love this app, it will track all kinds of activities and allows for live tracking as well as manual entries.) Tracking my meditation in the app is my reward. From what I have learned instant rewards are best. If we have to wait too long for a reward our brains won’t associate them with the habit.

So where does flexibility fit in? In order to create a habit you must do it consistently. I can’t say, “I don’t feel well” or “conditions are not perfect”, I have to find a way to get it done. For example: when I travel for work, I do not have my designated space or my candle with me. I have to allow for flexibility in my practice. I meditate with out theses things.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs I am working towards running a 5k. I am using the C25K app from Zenlabs. I love this app! It works great. I prefer to run outside. The fresh air and beautiful scenery are a part of my reward for running. This past week it has been cold and icy. I have severe osteoporosis and can’t afford to slip and fall on the ice. This past week I had to do my running on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill and running outside are not even close to the same experience. I am dedicated to creating a habit of daily activity and training towards the more far off reward of running a 5k again. I have to allow for the flexibility of running inside on a treadmill some days.

Another thing I have learned about habits, is that they are easier when stacked, habit on top on habit. For example: trigger – I wake up, habit – mediation, habit – run or yoga, habit – shower, habit – brush teeth, and then it is time to go to work. By stacking habits I am gaining momentum from things that I am doing anyway. When I choose a hike as my daily activity, I can’t get that done in the morning before work. It has to wait till the workday is done. I can not benefit from my morning habit stack. In this way, I must also allow for flexibility that on the days I am going to hike, it will not happen at the same time as my running or yoga will.

What healthy or self-care activities would you like to add to your life? What existing habits could you stack them onto? Where can you see the need for flexibility and grace in you habit formation? What will you choose as rewards?

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you develop many helpful habits that support you taking care of yourself.

Books to learn more about habit formation:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan

Hello Habits by Fumio Sasaki

Permission to Be Yourself

This morning as I started my run, the song This Is Me from the Greatest Showman soundtrack played. As I ran along the rural Wisconsin roads, in the cool 17 degree weather, I realized how scary it is to be blogging very publicly and running. How childhood trauma of other children making fun of me, as children will do to one another, still effects me as adult. In the deep recesses of my mind,where I put what i don’t want to acknowledge, it is still there. I turn 50 this month. My healthcare professional would label me as obese. Do I have any right to be out here running into the sunrise? I came to the realization that I still fear being judged for the choices I make. As my legs carried me along the rolling Wisconsin hills, I realized that a lot of people feel this same way.

Do you filter who you are to fit in with society at large? Do you express yourself as less than authentic in order to not stand out from the crowd? You do not need permission to be your truest self. But… if you would like permission, I give it to you. Your special form of “you” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does not need to be. If people read my blog and judge my words or even my right to be putting myself out there, it matters not. What does matter is that I show up for myself. I keep putting one foot in front of the other on my runs, despite my age or my weight. My actions in this life are for me alone. When I show up for myself I show myself that I matter and that I am worthy of living the life of my dreams.

This morning was only my second morning running, after years of believing I couldn’t run anymore. The C25K program includes a walk/run algorithm to help you slowly increase your endurance. I am very early in the program; about 22-26 runs remain to bring me to successful completion of a 5K. It is the journey that is important. This running journey has me feeling amazing! I smile more. I feel completely unstoppable. I feel radiant. Where I am running there is a good size hill that hits early on in the run. It is intimidating and I freaking love it. By the time I am cresting the top of the hill I know I will complete todays run, because the hardest part is behind me.

When I slip into my sneakers and secure my knee brace, I am doing it for me. I am doing it because I want to show up for me. I saw running as something I was doing for my physical health. As I dip my toe back into the running waters, I realize that for me, running is for my emotional health. Once the run is done I am glowing.

That glow has an amazing side effect. It is contagious! I see how my elevated mood effects those around me. My exuberance for life rubs off on my friends and family. Even my co-workers get caught up in it, even if they don’t know what they are caught up in. The affects goes beyond that. My work days have been more productive, passing with ease, flow, and contentment. All of this because I won’t let the naysayers in the dark corners of my mind talk me out of my self-care goals.

How easy it would have been to tell myself I was too old, or my knees too bad and talk myself out of this. I could have put it off until I lost some weight or the weather was better. I could have made up excuses about being to busy or needing better shoes. No one would have faulted me for any of these things. They would have agreed with me and nodded, feeling supportive. All of those things, for me, would have been giving in to the childhood taunts and fears. Isn’t it interesting that we have fears we don’t even know about or acknowledge? If asked, I would have said I don’t have fears related to being judged by others. I believed I had proceed and move beyond any childhood teasing. When you consider things you have wanted to do, but talked yourself out of, can you trace it back to a fear?

It is worth exploring what might be holding you back from setting off towards your dreams. When those fears are brought out of the mists, in which they hid, into the bright light of day, you can see them for what they are. They don’t necessarily slip away. It still takes a concerted effort to push beyond them, but at least I know what I am pushing beyond. It does not matters what anyone thinks of me, past or present. The mean kids in life reflect on themselves, not me, with any judgement they may pass. Why would I make myself small in fear of their judgement? If I had, I would have missed out on this feeling of invincibility. I would not have felt this glow that started in my solar plexus and spread golden light all throughout me, until it was spilling out into the world around me.

I get that running is not for everyone. This same truth holds true for whatever is calling to you. Painting, yoga, writing poetry, cooking, body building, collecting stamps, rebuilding motors, growing vegetables, raising fainting goats, it doesn’t matter what it is or if it makes sense to someone else. What matters is that it lights you up. You feel like “you” when you are doing it. Your glow will rub off on those around you. My grandmother was the type of woman who walked into a room and it lit up. I have always aspired to be like her in that. When I run, I am.

After my run this morning I texted a friend letting her know how ama-za-zing I was feeling. She told me she was so glad to experience me feeling great again after having been down for so long. Talk about a serious blind spot. I had no idea I had been “down”. Apparently those around me knew.

I enjoy being a bright and shiny, positive, being. I delight in the emotional zeal for life that courses through me. After a run, I look forward to writing a blog to share my morning’s insights. My vibration is higher, raising the vibration of those around me. For all of these reason I will run on. I am having the time of my life learning to take care of me. Who knew it could be so fun? Life looks rosy and I can’t wait to see how amazing my 50s will be!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find that thing that lights you up and do it, no matter what anyone else thinks! I love you.

Lessons from a Dandelion

During a recent Shamanic Journey I had the experience of being a Dandelion. I got to experience being in all it’s different phases of life and the non-attachment to how it turned out. It was a beautiful and peaceful experience. I learned so much that I hope to bring forward into my day to day life.

I am a Dandelion with a bright yellow head. The Sun is shining on me. I am blowing gently with the breeze. The Sun comes and the Sun goes. The Moon rises and then disappears behind the horizon. Time passes and I age. I change from having the bright yellow head to a fluffy white head. I am tall and proud but I am changing. The wind blows and my seeds release.

Now I am a seed floating peacefully on the wind. I have no destination. I have no time table to be where I need to be. I have no particular place I need to be. Drifting with the breeze is a beautiful feeling of weightlessness. There is a peacefulness that I can’t seem to describe; just being carried along without a care in the world.

I land in some nice soft soil. Winter comes and I sit beneath the Earth. Blanketed by my Mother Earth. Her protection keeps me safe and nestled away all through the Winter. When Spring comes I can feel the soil heating up. I can feel myself changing and growing. The urge to rise up starts to vibrate within me. I start pushing up, shoving against the dirt. Forcing my way through the soft Spring Earth. I am growing and changing.

I burst forth into the Sun. First my leaves grow to capture the sunlight. Then a tight green head starts to form and it reaches up to the Sun. All at once the green head burst open into yellow happiness. I am growing in a meadow with many of my brother and sisters.

Children come and play here. They giggle and laugh and roll around on us. They pick happy yellow bouquets and proudly present them to their Mothers. The Mammas smile and hug the children and happily accept the bright yellow bunches of happiness. The children make bracelets and necklaces from our bright yellow blooms. They hold us up under each other’s chins to look for our beauty reflected on their skin. It is joyful being a Dandelion.

As I continue to grow in the meadow, Bunnies and Deer come and eat my leaves. They use my nutrients to nourish their nursing babies. I feel purpose that my sacrifice will help others live and thrive. At the end of my life I die. My small plant body decays into the Earth. The trees and grass around me benefit from my death.

I am once again a seed floating on the breeze. There is no stress in being a Dandelion. I am free of any attachment to what happens to me. There is no concern about where I land. It matters not how long my life is. There is no fear if I live or die. When my first yellow head peaked up from the Earth, I smiled at the Sun. As I aged into a white headed elder, I danced in the moonlight. My seeds of wisdom travel far and wide. I will always go on. I am eternal and the seeds I spread will provide joy, nurturing, love, and nourishment too many.

There is no waste in my life. My purpose is to be and I will continue to be. There is no need for worry in the cycles of life.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. I love you!

Back Yard Spring Meditation

It is 55 degrees, calm and cloudy. It was raining earlier but had stopped now. The day is cool but warm enough to sit outside with a spring jacket. The deck I am sitting on is comfortable beneath my jeans. The air has a cool freshness. Birds are singing different songs and in the distance children are playing. I see the bright green of the day lilies’ leaves popping up amongst the brown and tans of dry leaves, stones, and twigs. The grass is slowly turning green. It is a deeper green than the day lilies. The black dirt smells  of preparation. It is readying itself for new life. The trees stand as silent sentinels over looking it all. They are not yet ready to open their leaves, giving the rest of life a chance to get started before they soak up the sun.

Spring is a slow evolution. It does not hurry. It trusts in Divine Timing. Some years one aspect maybe more successful than another, but that too is Divine. Not everything can flourish always. Everything has its own time and place.

The Day Lilies look as if bunnies have nibbled on them. We can’t make the bunnies wrong for doing what bunnies do. Nor should we make ourselves wrong for the choices of our past. They are what they are; just as nature is what nature is.

What is your nature?

What is my Nature?

How do the seasons change this?

2020: The Year of Health

I may sound cliche to start the new year focused on health and it certainly is not new for me, but it is different this time. Let me tell you why.

In the past my focus was to loose weight. I would make a New Year’s resolution to exercise and get thin but the motivation was really vanity. I didn’t understand how powerful mind, body and spirit wellness was back then. The resolution would last 2, maybe 3 months and then I would fade back into my old patterns of behavior. Today I no longer make resolutions; instead I make a list of new year’s manifestations. These manifestation can be anything I want to come into my life in the new year. I decided 2020 would be a year of health.

My year of health manifestation list has a lofty number of health related items I want to enhance my life. They are mind, body, and spirit related, for one cannot successfully be well without balance in all these areas.

It is day 4 in my year of health and I already feel a shift in my mood. I find myself making healthy decisions and I keep slowly incorporating items to bring about overall wellness.

On Jan 1st, I started the day hungover from a New Year’s Eve party I attended. I find this very embarrassing to admit to. So, my first healthy initiatives were to give up alcohol and sugar. Next I went back to intermittent fasting. This is an eating strategy that limits the time you can eat during the day. It has many health benefits but my primary use of it is weight loss. I have gained about 30 pounds in the last 4 years and it is affecting my energy level and ability to do things. Losing weight is not about vanity for me this time. It is about being comfortable hiking, having the energy to kayak and reclaiming my connection with my body as a divine being.

Then I decided to start tracking what I eat. This is about mindfulness. So now I know what I am putting into my body and why. I am using the “My Fitness Pal” app to do so; although there are so many apps that can help you with it. I have anemia, so it helps me track my iron intake, something that is important for me as a pescatarian. I also find that tracking what I eat, makes me less likely to do the mindless noshing that can occur when I am bored.

Yesterday I decided to start drinking 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water. I feel this is helping purify my body from all the toxic things I have put into her in the past. Also, yesterday I recommitted to moving my body. Getting at least 10,000 steps a day. I even started running a little again. I plan to improve my fitness condition in order to participate in 5K events. I really enjoyed these in the past. My daughter, Liz, and I have also done a couple 1/2 marathons together and we are toying with the idea of committing to do another one of these.

Today I am starting on my commitment of “52 Hikes” during 2020. I have seen others make a commitment to this in the past, but never got on board because of the frozen tundra where I live. I know I feel better when I get outside and be “in” nature, so this is another part of the mind and spirit commitment for me.

My husband and I continue our pursuit towards financial wellness. Yoga and meditation are on my list of items to incorporate. I find that adding (a little) something new daily is helping me stay motivated and not feel overwhelmed. I’m just slowly incorporating, the items I want, into my year of wellness.

I know it is only day 4 but I already feel clearer and  more upbeat. I am more connected with my body and the aches and pains are starting to subside. I have lost 4 pounds and even reclaimed my right to be a runner.

Would you like to join me on my journey into the year of health?

Come along! It won’t always be easy but it will be totally worth it!

I love you! May your year bring you every happiness.

Nature Is All Around Us

I live in the city even though I am a nature girl at heart. As I was driving through downtown Minneapolis, on my way to work this morning, I noticed the sunrise reflected on the glass of the downtown sky scrapers. It was stunning and it helped me to realize Nature is all around us.

As a girl who loves nature, I sometimes feel that living in the city keeps me away from my beloved forests, but then I take the time to notice there are wonderful ways for me to experience the outdoors without having to take a drive to the countryside. The trees and shrubs along the side of the road, showing off their autumn color,  are one way we are blessed with beauty. The squirrels, who are busy putting on their winter fat, are little bits of the wild that we can enjoy. If we just take the time to look around, there are so many amazing little gifts that the plants and animals offer us, even within the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.

Winter is coming to the Twin Cities, where I live. I find it difficult to get out into the natural world in the winter because the cold weather does not agree with me. I have purchased snow pants, good quality winter boots, hats and gloves; all with the intention of making sure I continue to get outside and experience the wild and fresh air all winter long. This must be a mindful decision on my part. It is not natural for me to want to venture out into the frosty cold. I have learned that when I push through and get out there, even if it is just to walk around the block, seeing the sky and feeling the wind on my cheeks makes me a better and happier person.

Are you like me? Do you feel better when you have more playtime with Mother Nature? How do you incorporate her into you everyday life? It is too easy to think that you need time to drive to the bluffs and go hiking, or take the kayaks to the river to get out there. Maybe just enjoying this gorgeous world we live in is as simple as noticing the sunrise or sunset. Maybe watching the fluffy clouds float by, or the even fluffier squirrel in the tree, can help sustain us until a deep journey into the wild is available.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the beauty you need in your everyday life.

 

 

 

Fostering a Love of Nature in the Younger Generation

This weekend my husband and I met our daughter and granddaughter on the North Shore of Lake Superior. There are so many lovely views along the way. Majestic Lake Superior, beautiful waterfalls, and forests all make for an enjoyable day surrounded by natural beauty. Our granddaughter is 5 years old and a smart little girl with a naturally inquisitive nature, that made this day even more special.

As we voyaged along the North Shore, we made many stops. The first was at Gooseberry falls and the last was at the Temperance River. The paths were covered with snow, slush and ice from the recent April blizzard we had. But that didn’t stop us. That little girl was always excited to get out of the vehicle to see what new experiences this stop would bring her, what new path to trot down and what new sights to see. It was such a joy to watch her as she darted here and there. I could see her falling in love with this area of the country that I love so much.

Our other grandchildren love the outdoors just as much. They enjoy playing outside every chance they get. They love to hike down paths through the woods, are excited about upcoming camping trips, and enjoy getting to see the wildlife that are part of these types of adventures. Fostering this type of love in our youngsters does a couple of things. It helps them and it helps the planet.

It helps them by giving them an escape, that we all need sometimes. They learn that the world has so much to offer. There is more to life than just the TV and tablets. They learn that fun, as well as peace, can be found by getting out into nature. Helping them develop a love of nature at a young age gives them an opportunity to develop several coping mechanisms as they age. Going hiking and camping, are parts of my life, that help me during tough times. Paddling a Kayak down river, after a stressful day, helps all the tension melt away. When we introduce children to these things at a young age, it gives them more for their tool box as they age.

It helps the world by producing more people who will want to protect it. They are less likely to take actions in the future that could cause harm to the planet, when they see how special the natural world is. When they fall in love with Mother Nature and all she has to offer them, they are more invested in taking care of her. They will not all become tree hugging hippies but they may become responsible with their trash, recycle, or choose products with packaging that is earth friendly.

IMG_5088

Just as our little granddaughter had a blast exploring the beauty around us, I enjoyed watching her fall in love with the earth. Do you have children in your life? what kinds of things do you do with them out in nature? I would love to hear about your adventures with little ones. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you enjoy the world of nature with any little ones in your life, as if by magic.

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10 Techniques to Raise Your Vibration

Keeping your vibration high is important for a number of reasons. It feels good, it attracts happier things into your life, and it makes you a light for others. These are just a few of the reasons to keep your vibration high. However, life happens and sometimes we just don’t feel great and our vibration dips. When these times happen, is there anything we can do to raise our vibration again? Luckily, there are many things we can do. Here are just a few.

1. Focus on the good – like in the song from the musical: Sound of Music, “When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad”. Focusing on the good will raise your vibration to match it.

2. Music – turn on some upbeat tunes and dance around or sing loudly in the car on your commute into work. Put in the earbuds while going for a stroll and just let the tunes erase your worries.

3. Exercises – when we move our bodies, it gets all those little happy, healthy endorphins flowing. This flow of hormones can really help you vibrate at a higher frequency.

4. Gratitude – make a list of what you are grateful for, call a friend or family member and thank them for the wonderful impact they have on your life. There are always so many things to be grateful for and changing your focus will help ramp up your vibration.

5. Yoga – yoga helps us feel aligned and centered. It can be a great game changer on a low vibrational day. Yoga also involves breath work. The Yogic breathing is also wonderful for increasing your vibrational frequency.

6. Energy Healing – there are a number of different types of energy healing but Reiki, Chi-gong and Hands on Healing are a few. They all help bring your vibrations up.

7. Meditation – take a mental break with a short meditation. Before starting, set the intention that you will bring in white light and raise your energy level.

8. Chants – In the Kundalini yoga I love, there is often chanting. The chants, or Mantras, are ancient spiritual seed sounds that carry higher vibrations. You can listen to these or chant along. Gregorian monks also chant.  I think either of these are beautiful to listen to and both can ramp up you vibrational speed.

9. Sound healing – the gong is the sound of creation but there are many other sound healing modalities out there. Drum showers, didgeridoo, and singing bowls are just a few of them. Look for a local sound healing concert, practitioner or pull up videos on the internet.

10. Visualize – picture in your mind’s eye something that makes you happy. Running through a grassy meadow on a sunny warm day, walking along the shoreline, driving on a country road, or playing with puppies; are some simple, happy things to visualize. Our brains are incredibly powerful and science has proven that the brain doesn’t know the difference between strong visualizations and actual events.

There are so many other things we can do to raise our vibrations but this list is a few to start with. You have the power within you to improve your life. Take the first step today by raising your vibration and then, using some of these various techniques, keep it up. No one is happy all of the time but happiness is a choice that you can make.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find your vibration remains high, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken along the MN/WI boarder.

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7 Tips to Help When You are in a Dark Place

I saw a meme that my niece posted on Facebook. It said, “When you are in a dark place you sometimes tend to think you have been buried. Perhaps you have been planted. Bloom!” When you think about that, I mean really think about it, that is so true. I believe this! Those dark places that life takes us to, causes us stress and pushed us to change! It helps us transform from who we were to who we are becoming. You may be saying that, this is all great in spirit, but going through this type of transformation is painful and really stinks. How can we nurture ourselves through these dark places? How do we keep putting that one foot in front of the other while we are moving through these times? What can we do to keep our spirits up while our world is falling apart? Here are some thoughts to help you keep looking for the silver lining in these difficult, sometimes even terrible situations.

  1.  Listen to upbeat and motivational music. Remember the song from the play Annie? The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow! Whether upbeat songs from musicals, pop culture, or your favorite local band; music can be a great way to change your mood, remind you of a brighter tomorrow, and just help you keep going.
  2. Meditation. When things are falling apart, it can be hard to imagine they will ever be whole again. It can be hard to imagine that you will ever be whole again. It can be easy to dwell on the past and imagine a dismal future. Meditation is about being “in the now.” Just staying present in this moment, can help you step back from past regrets and future fears, at least for a little while.
  3. Do kind deeds. Sometimes when things seem bleak in our own lives, we feel we need help and it is easy to get stuck in this feeling of need. By doing kind, random acts for others, whether they be strangers or friends, can help our self-esteem and give us a chance to feel valuable in the life of others.
  4. Pet Therapy. Play with puppies, pet a cat, or cuddle a bunny. I personally do not have any pets and I am very happy in my pet free existence. But there are few things as stress relieving as the unconditional love of an animal. When I go on walks, I will often ask to pet the dogs. My friends’ dogs are usually happy to see me come visit because they know I have lots of love to share with them. Studies have shown that animals help reduce stress, anxiety, pain and even blood pressure when interacted with. You don’t have to have your own pet. I bet you know someone who has one that you could share some love and affection (and scratching) with.
  5. Feel your emotions. Feel your emotions and realize you are safe to have these feelings. I think this is one of the hardest parts for me. Touching those painful emotions seems so scary. I wonder if I truly allow myself to feel them, will I ever be able to come back from that precipice. Remind yourself that you are safe! You can stick your toe into the river of emotions and feel the cool wet water without having to get washed away by it.
  6. Journal. There are many different journaling techniques.
    1. There is Free Writing, where you do not sensor, just let whatever comes, flow out of you and onto the pages.
    2.  There is a technique referred to as the Divine Witness Journalling. This is one of my favorites because you can see your own wisdom (the advice you give your friends) come back to you. In this type of journaling, you give your wise-self a name, then you write notes back and forth. You write your question or whatever you are struggling with, on one page to that wise part of yourself. Then on the next page you allow that wise person to respond to your note. You will be amazed at the the wisdom that pours out for you.
    3. Gratitude Journaling is another that can really help change your mood. It shifts your focus from what’s wrong to what’s right. There is always so much to be thankful for. Looking at the positive things in life can help shift you towards a more positive tomorrow.
  7. Get out into nature. There is just something about being in the forest, hearing the birds sing, and watching a creek gently meander amongst the trees; that is so refreshing. Depending on where you live, “nature” may look very different. It may be hiking up a mountain, riding your bike in the desert, walking on the beach, cross country skiing, or sitting on a park bench near some roses. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to be with nature. I remember driving through downtown Minneapolis one morning and seeing the sunrise reflected on all the skyscrapers. I realized then that nature is all around us. From the vegetation growing up through the cracks in the sidewalk and pigeons landing near the sidewalk bistro tables, to the squirrels racing up and down the trees along the street. Nature is always there for us, even in the city. We just have to notice her. Find a quiet corner of your city or a peaceful place in the country and allow nature to refresh your spirit.

If you are in a dark place right now, I am sorry you are experiencing this. I hope these ideas may help you push out of the darkness and force your beautiful, authentic self; up into the light. We all spend some time there, so know you are not alone. I love you and I am proud of you for continually moving forward, even on those days when it seems next to impossible. We are with you in spirit. You are not alone.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life be happy and joyous, as if by magic!

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