Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Days 11 - 16 Self-Compassion 101

Welcome to days 11-16 in my journey of Self Compassion 101 e-course by Becky at Raising Loveliness.

Day 11: Be Who You Are and Find Your Voice

"In what ways would your life change if you knew you were perfect as you are? What would you do differently? Where would you really shine?"
If I could totally accept myself as perfect just as I am, there would be no self judgments. I would be free, completely confident, and totally trusting of my intuition. If I was totally trusting of my intuition, I could find myself in a very different place right now because there would be no fear, just the instinct to act, and if combined with my stubbornness when I am determined to follow through with my gut, it could lead to my dreams of being a published author and professional artist come true. But alas, I do have fear, self-doubt, and I discourage easily when I have doubts about a project, so I give up and tell myself it isn't meant to be.

Day 12: Finding Self-compassion in the Reflection of Others

"Letting go is a vital part of making way for new opportunities. What gifts have you found in the process of letting go? How can you celebrate those gifts today?"
This question hit an emotional spot. In 2006 we said our final goodbyes to my Dad who was taken by lung cancer and made his peaceful transition in July. Letting him go was heartbreaking, but it brought me and Mom even closer together than we had been before. It led to me stepping up as the oldest daughter and becoming Mom's caregiver. She moved in with me and together we moved forward. I was there to hold her when she cried, and I was there during her first near deaths and intubations. We held tight to each other, and to my younger son Drew who was a teenager at the time.

One year ago on December 19th I had to say a very difficult emotional goodbye to my Mom. After Dad, a part of her didn't want to keep living; we all recognized this. Her health declined and yet she couldn't force herself to take control of her illnesses by taking care of herself. Mom struggled with COPD, Congestive Heart Failure, and uncontrolled Diabetes for six years. She had been intubated over a dozen times in those six years, but always pulled through, until Thanksgiving 2012. Immediately after our family dinner, she went into another episode, but this time she never recovered. She remained on life support for nearly a month until the doctors informed us she would never be able to get off the respirator. As her Power of Attorney it was my call to make, but I involved my sister and my sons (we all knew her wishes); so it was a family decision but I was the one to inform the doctor of our decision and to set the date. Although she was kept heavily sedated, her transition was not peaceful like Dad's. Her body struggled for a few hours after we took her off life support; it was awful and I think it will haunt me for the rest of my days. It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do, but as horrible and painful as it was, it did come with unexpected gifts.

As Mom's Executor of her estate, I had to remain calm and strong to carry out everything that needed to be done. I think that is probably what kept me going. In this process I learned and grew, becoming stronger and more independent. I faced some harsh realities, and a determination to survive and keep going was born. I am stronger because of these experiences, but I still struggle with the heartache.

A few short months later, my sister had to move away. It felt like just yesterday that I was packing up all Mom's belongings and there I was packing up my sister's too. In August we said our farewells and I felt like I was losing my sister along with my Mom. It was difficult for both of us. My determination and positive attitude really kicked in to help pull this last minute move together and get it done, while trying to help my sister see the positive side. It sure hurt to see her go though. I think this goodbye was another strength builder... for both of us.

Change is often hard, but I believe it is for our higher good.

Day 13: Ways to Change Your Mind With Compassion

"How can you love yourself more by raising awareness?"
The lesson for this day was to practice assertiveness and raise awareness in others helps them reflect on their behavior, as well as help me to love myself and stand up for myself in a positive way. Being assertive in this way has  always been a struggle. I tend to stuff my feelings rather than defend myself. Defending myself seems too confrontational and I hate conflict; I'm a peacemaker. Learning to be assertive in this manner will take some practice; even right now my self-talk is telling me "no."

This lesson also included an introductory to Emotion Freedom Technique for Self-Compassion (EFT). I learned EFT a few years ago to help with my headaches, but this method is to aid in self-compassion. Basically, you tap points of your head and face while saying a positive affirmation, such as "I love and accept myself." You can learn more about EFT here.

Day 14: Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

"Do you feel that your needs are being met in all areas? [Physical, Mental, Spiritual & Emotional]  ...What do you need to add to your life so that your needs are met?"
This question reminds me that living the life of a recluse has its downfalls; I sometimes feel lonely, so I'd have to say that my emotional needs are not always met. As for my physical needs, that is a HUGE negative.  I need some kind of exercise, but because of my health problems and my laziness, exercise is a great big turn off. I don't like it, it triggers my COPD and my back problems, and I avoid it. Spiritually, off an on. I need better self-discipline in this area, and Mentally, is a yes; I work on my mental well-being daily; I have to in order to beat the gloomies and stress.

Day 15: Compassion For Your Whole Self

"Are you able to feel compassion for your past?"
Mostly I look back with regret, but I'm learning to recognize that I was working through some serious issues and did the best I could at the time with my lack of coping skills. If I really want to be frank about it, I know that the past happened for a reason and there really is no purpose in me damning myself for something that ultimately played an important role in my life as well as the lives of others. I believe everything happens for a reason for a divine purpose, but I still need to work on my self-forgiveness regarding my past. I can't help but view my old self with disgust, heartache, and guilt.

Day 16: Your Feelings Are A Miracle

"What sensations do I notice in my body right now?"
Well considering I'm still fighting off this virus that I have, I will start with the obvious and my my way down from there. (1) I'm quite disgusted with this nagging cough and my throat is feeling a bit raw from all the hacking, (2) I'm currently experiencing a hot flash (sigh), (3) my foot has gone to sleep and my left should is aching so I need to change positions, (4) I'm rather enjoying these questions to help me delve into my thoughts, (5) I am proud of the steps I have taken and the progress I have made in my life, and (6) my stomach is reminding me it is past my dinner time and I need to eat, and with that I bid you adieu.

Day 6 - 10 of Self-Compassion 101

I have been sick and have fallen even further behind! Ugh! I'm combining posts to catch up. I know long blogs tend to discourage readers, but I feel like it's the only way to keep up right now. I will keep each segment short though.

Day 6: The Quest of a Passion Filled Life- Inner Child Work

"What was your child-self doing when you happened upon her? What was making her giggle? When was the last time you engaged in this same activity? Maybe it is time you did."

When I went inward seeking my inner child I found her coloring on the floor. She was concentrating very hard at her task and choosing her colors with care, as well as being oh-so-careful to outline her coloring before filling it in to make it look just right. After completing her masterpiece she held it up with a hopeful grin and bright eyes as she exclaimed, "Look what I made!" She was proud and wanted to share, as well as wanted my approval.

Finding my inner child deeply consumed in this task was not a surprise, as it was one of my favorite things to do growing up, and still is, although crayons and markers have evolved into pencil, watercolor, and more recently Microsoft Paint, but I will still brake out the crayons and color with my grandkids.

Art is my therapy as well as a favorite pastime; I still indulge in it, and I still like to share my work. I enjoy giving it as a gift, as well as creating positive messages with them to share some positivity with the world. Maybe I do so because I'm pleased with how something turns out, or maybe I am still seeking approval, but also because I want to somehow make a positive difference in the world.

Day 7: Validation Intervention- Examination

"When you do something exciting, is it your first reaction to share it on social media?"

Well, yes. Public media is my way of staying in touch with friends and family that I do not see or talk to on a regular basis. Is this a need for validation? Well honestly, I suppose it could be in part, maybe? But my first reaction is to to share for the simple act of updating my friends and family as to what is happening in my life. 

I don't view my sharing as seeking approval or trying to fit in. I have never felt like I fit in, and that's ok. I remain me. If people don't like me, that's their prerogative. I'm not here to fit in; I'm here to be the best me that I know how to be.

Day 8: When Life Feels Unrecognizable

"What things do I notice throughout my day that feel good in the moment?"
I have noticed that I get the most pleasure out of my day when I help someone in some way. It could be something as minor as assisting in proof reading at work, opening a door for someone, or helping to find an answer to a question. I like helping people and knowing that I can make a positive difference in someone's day, no matter how small.

I wasn't always like this though, and maybe that's why I enjoy it so much now. Growing up I was a self involved problem child, so absorbed in my own problems that I didn't take time out to recognize the struggles of my family and sometimes my friends. It was all about me and trying to make sense of my pain and feelings of confusion, fear, and displacement. My Mom said I was born angry at the world and was determined to make everyone as miserable as me. I was a child, confused and lost. I didn't want to be miserable; I just didn't know how to fix it, nor could I control my emotions.

Things didn't begin making sense to me until my late 30's and that was through my need to examine myself for the purpose of improving and growing.  So basically, I have turned a 180. My strong will lead to my pursuit to fight the depression and anxiety, which led me to the here and now, wanting to share and help others.

Day 9: Moving Forward with Self-Compassion

"What are some of the things in my life that show that I am moving forward? What can I put on  a list to help me recognize or remember all the things that I am accomplishing in a day?
Well, for starters, (1) the fact that I still participate in self-help courses to learn and grow. It seems to be I am ever looking to evolve into a better understanding of myself, which is good in my opinion (2) learning to trust my intuition, (3) helping others, (4) striving to stay positive even when life is difficult, (5) learning not to be so hard on myself, (6) how I recognize that I need cheering up and treat myself to something fun like going to the movies, and (7) learning positive self-talk to calm myself down.

Day 10: Is Anyone Home?

Today's exercise was mediation. I was encouraged to sit quietly and just be, then afterwards note the experience. I still struggle with this type of meditation; my thoughts run rampant and it's hard not to linger on one or more. However Becky gave some encouraging advice as to mediation; she said: 

"If you had difficulty, that’s cool. No judgment, please. Over time you’ll find that none of it is really important. What you learn as you sit in meditation is that there is really no end to your thoughts, what comes up now will come up later. The practice is in the sitting through it all, through the tears, the laughter, the pain. Stuff will come up and it will not kill you. Just sit, notice, acknowledge – and watch it float on by."
That concludes days 6-10, and now I'd like to leave you with this quote I found and love! I couldn't agree more!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Day 5: What Does Inner Self-Compassion Sound Like?

On day 5 of the Self-Compassion 101 e-course I was encouraged to investigate my inner self-trust and self-compassion.

What does my Self-Compassion sound like? 

What a strange question: what does self-compassion sound like. I can tell you what I see, but how do I explain what is sounds like? Perhaps it means what does self-compassion mean to me?

When I picture my self-compassion I see a little girl, with big soulful eyes wanting to make everyone happy. She puts everyone else's needs and feelings before her own. She is loving, compassionate, and very sensitive. She's happy to help and eager to share, and sometimes... she gets the poor-me's and tends to pout.

It's funny, because this inner child that I see is opposite of the child I used to be. I wonder what that means? This may require further exploration.

The adult me sees myself as a good, compassionate, and responsible person. I will reward myself by indulging in a good movie or an ice cream. I will also cheer myself up in the same manner when I am feeling down. This is my way of being kind and loving to myself.

Self-compassion comes from self-love; it is accepting who you are and being gentle on yourself. It is recognizing that you are only human and mistakes are ok. Self-compassion is forgiving yourself, treating yourself, taking care of yourself, and being kind to yourself. Self-compassion is showing yourself the same compassion you show others.

Where does Self-Compassion live?

Quite simply, self-compassion lives in my soul; it dwells in my heart and the core of my being. I don't know how else to describe it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having compassion for yourself, quite the opposite in fact. You should appreciate yourself and be grateful for you. Show yourself self-compassion; you are worth it!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 4: My Purpose

On day 4 of the Self-Compassion 101 ecourse I learned to explore how to trust myself, love myself, be myself, and recognize my true purpose.

"What do you feel deeply called to do in this life?"

Actually this was an easy question: I am deeply drawn to win the battle of depression and anxiety and to help others along the way. I want to do this by sharing my personal experiences, sharing resources, sharing my personal coping tools as well as ones I may discover elsewhere, promoting positive affirmations, and sharing my art.

I have struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life and believe very strongly that my life purpose is to defeat it. I am determined to win this battle, and if I can help other people along the way, well...that would be awesome! I would love to make a positive difference in people's lives! 

Speaking of sharing my art, here are some recent pieces I created using Microsoft Paint. I am having tons of fun with Paint; its been my medium of choice lately. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 3: Finding My Voice

On day 3 of the Self-Compassion 101 e-course I was encouraged to evaluate my self-talk, you know that little voice inside your head that constantly judges you and makes you second guess yourself?

"Make a list of times or situations when you find that you compare yourself to others. Think of a short affirmation you could tell yourself when this happens."

I actually do this often, especially when it pertains to physique and artistic talent. I find myself thinking: "I wish I had her figure and stamina"  or "I wish I could paint like that!"  The fact of the matter is, I am who and what I am. I was born with particular challenges, talents, and gifts for a purpose in accordance with this life's purpose; I know this, and I have made great strides in accepting Me, but every now and then that ugly little voice chimes in and makes me question my worth.

Well, pooh on you, little mean girl! Shoo! [mentally flicks tiny mean girl off shoulder and watches as she flies across the room]. Now with that being done, I have come up with the following not-so-short affirmation:

"I AM Enough. I love and accept myself fully, right now. I AM beautiful. I AM talented. I love me!"

I may not be everything I want to be, but I am everything I am meant to be right now at this present time, and that is all that truly matters. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Self Compassion E-Course: Days 1 - 2

I recently signed up for a free e-course: Self Compassion 101. As you  know I am a believer in finding ways to add more positive into your life. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to learn how to love and accept yourself. This e-course is perfect for strengthening your self-love and self-compassion! If this is something you would like to participate in, I encourage you to sign up here.

I am having difficulty prioritizing my down time, so I've fallen behind and playing catch up; therefore I am combining the daily lessons in my posts.  The e-course recommends a daily journal, but I have always struggled with daily routine outside of my jobs. When I have down time, I like to veg, and journaling is just not on my veg list LOL

Before I continue, I want to point out that although I may be sharing my progress in the e-course, there is much more available than what I am sharing here. My posts may contain hints of what is in the e-course, but there is much more, and out of respect I will not be sharing details. Becky has done an excellent job at putting this e-course together, and I want to encourage more people to participate by signing up for her course! She has great articles that inspire and encourage, as well as some thought provoking material, and links to other resources.

Day One 

(1) I was encouraged to think about what parts of myself do I constantly try to hide or change, why, and if I could see any possible positive factor or hidden gift in the these areas. Well the first thing that popped into my head was my weight, which is a constant struggle and frustration. Is there a hidden gift related to this struggle? Hmm it sometimes makes me more conscious as to what I am putting into my body, as well as the possible risk factors of not minding my eating: diabetes, and heart/artery disease, as well as the wear and tear on my knees, ankles, and feet from carrying the extra pounds. When I am being health conscious, this is a gift, but when I choose to ignore it... well, not so much; it is a self defeating behavior.

The second thing is my dark side. Yes, I admit that I have a dark side; we all do! My dark side includes negative self talk, pessimism, self defeating behaviors, stubbornness, jealousy, insecurity, and a bad temper if I let things build up for too long, my reclusive nature, and the ability go within myself. My dark side is most definitely is a gift, do you know why? Because it has led me to seeking inside myself and making the choice to change my life by changing my attitude (but you knew that was coming, didn't you?), but my dark side is also the thing that makes me strong. For example: (I) I am so stubborn, that once I make up my mind to do something, I do it. The thing is, is to use this aspect towards good choices, not negative ones! (II) My temper... which if used towards something other than destruction and mayhem can be a good thing; it makes for a great housecleaning motivator LOL as well as a good backbone-finder, and determination motivator, as long as I keep it under control. (III) My reclusive nature allows me to re-energize, search myself, and seek Me-Time; it enables me to pamper myself, as well as explore myself and spirituality.

I delved into my dark side years ago as another tool to accept myself, and by doing so I recognized areas that I needed to understand, and areas that could be beneficial if focused properly. My dark side is part of who and what I am. My choice to accept my Darkness along with my Light, aided my efforts to improve myself, and those efforts lead to growth, and positive change, so yay for me!

My dark side however, is also part of my depression and anxiety. As you know (if you have been following my posts) I have been working very hard on turning my negative thoughts around and being a more positive person, as well as encouraging others to do the same. Your attitude really does matter! As I am constantly preaching: what you put out, you get back, and I don't know about you, but I want more positive in my life, and I want to win my war against depression an anxiety, so there you have it. I choose Positive and Happiness!

(2) I was encouraged to make positive I AM statements, which led to the recognition that I have experienced growth in the last few years! I have been working on myself for several years now, and through this exercise I was able to recognize that I have come a long way from the person I used to be. Some of my I AM statements included: compassionate, artistic, adaptable, encouraging, honest, good, dependable, positive, strong, independent, determined, and self-sufficient. A few years ago, the words strong, positive, independent, determined, and self-sufficient were not on my list.  I saw myself as weak, co-dependent, and unable to support myself. Wow, the growth in six years! How encouraging is that! It makes me wonder what growth I will experience in the next few years.

Day Two

Day two encouraged me to look at how I show compassion with others vs. myself and ways that I can work on self-compassion. I can't tell you how many times I have put the happiness of others before myself, or have forgiven others but beat myself up over the most trivial things! I am my own worst enemy. Why can't I show myself the same compassion and forgiveness? Why am I so hard on myself? Why do I dwell on my past mistakes as well as my minor little glitches? Why do I feel the need to cuss myself and tear myself down? 

I can see this lesson is going to take more work!  I will begin with a promise to not take myself so seriously, and forgive my mistakes. I am only human after all! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Holiday Blues: Halloween and Onward

Halloween/Samhain was rough this year. I knew it would be but I wasn't expecting several days of mourning. I'm guessing it was a combination of honoring Mom along with Dad this year and knowing that the anniversary of Mom's passing is just around the corner. Her last ICU visit immediately followed our family Thanksgiving dinner last year, which led to her passing on December 19th. I can't believe it's been a year already; the realization hit me so hard that although I did honor her,  I couldn't honor her in the way I wanted to, but I know that she knew my heart and my intention.

I decorated their shrine for Autumn with just a touch of Halloween and was pleased with the result.
The Halloween items have since been removed, leaving it very appropriate for November.

Coping Methods for the Holiday Blues

  • Count Your Blessings. I've been doing this daily, and it really does help chase the blues away!
  • Spend Time in Nature:  I've been taking nature photos to remind me of the blessings all around me. Nature is a great healer! I encourage you to take walks, snap photos, and enjoy the peace and beauty around you.
  • Community Service: This Thanksgiving, I am volunteering at the local community Thanksgiving Dinner, but there are many ways you can give back to the community: volunteer at your local soup kitchen, food bank, or volunteer for story time at your local library or children's hospital, etc.
  • Secret Santa: pick one (or more) people to secretly gift at Christmas/Yule, or maybe an entire family. This is great fun!
  • Angel Tree: Make a child's Christmas and pick an angle off your local Angel Tree and donate the requested item. Doing this feels awesome!
  • Create a holiday altar for your lost loved one(s), complete with candle and photo. I keep an altar year round; it's my way of remembering and honoring my parents, and yes... I talk to them, and cry. Crying is part of the healing process and perfectly normal, so don't worry about allowing yourself to grieve.
  • Take care of yourself: meditate, do yoga, exercise, etc
  • Pamper Yourself: take yourself to a movie, have a spa day, have a nice dinner out, buy yourself a present. You are worth it and deserve your love and appreciation!
  • Decorate: Making your house festive for the holidays is a great mood lifter. If you have the house all to yourself, decorate anyway!
  • Treat your Neighbors or Co-Workers: bake up some pumpkin bread or other holiday treats to give your neighbors and/or co-workers. Of course if you are like me and hate to cook, store bought goodies work, too!
  • Counseling: don't be afraid to seek professional help if you need to

These are some of my photos, which were actually part of a recent project for Inner Goddess Revolutionaries). This project has helped me see the beauty all around me on a daily basis; it helped me move my thoughts from the depressing to the uplifting.

The holidays can be difficult, but stay positive, find uplifting activities to keep you busy, and practice giving. Giving back is an amazing experience! So chase those blues away and choose to make each day a good day!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Empowerment Through Self Gratitude and Sekhmet

This month we are working with Sekhmet in Soul Path Tribe. One of my recently completed assignments or challenges was quite emotional and empowering, so I though I would encourage you to give it go, too.

Write a gratitude letter to yourself. Do some soul searching and ask yourself what personal strengths, accomplishments, and attributes have helped you or others, have made a positive difference in your life for or someone else's, what is it about you that helps you get past your challenges, what are you secretly proud of? Write it all in a letter addressed to YOU expressing gratitude to YOU.

After completing your letter, take note of your emotions. How did this make you feel about yourself? Did it empower you, or free you? Did it bring you self acceptance and/or self love? Did it awaken something inside you? How did writing this letter effect your life?


To assist me in connecting to Sekhmet I sketched this Mountain Lion, thinking maybe I would paint it, but that hasn't happened as of yet. Right now, I seem to be satisfied with the sketch, but when the mood strikes. I might just break out the watercolors!

For anyone that is not familiar with Sekhmet, she is a lion-headed Egyptian Goddess, a warrior, protector and healer with fierce self-confidence and determination. Sekhmet is depicted with the face of an African Lion, but being as I connect more with Mountain Lions, I chose the Mountain Lion as my personal depiction of Sekhmet.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Painting, Writing, and Journaling, Oh My!

I've been extremely busy lately, and my blog has fallen to the wayside as a result. So much has been happening! (1) my article for Soul Path Magazine was published this month (2) I've been working on weekly challenges with my Inner Goddess Revolutionaries group (3) I've been working on additional art projects with other inspiring artists at Hawk's Art Projects (4) I joined Soul Path Tribe and have been journaling and working on my monthly steps for October, and (5) I still work both my jobs and occasionally babysit my grandkids while battling the gloomies.

Yep depression has been attempting a comeback, BUT although I do have my "down" days, I haven't sunk into a full blown depression, thanks to my artwork, which continues to be great therapy, and of course staying busy helps keep the negative thoughts away, too!

 I thought I would share my recent works with you:

Project from Inner Goddess Revolutionaries

I AM, the challenge was to create an I AM statement to aide in embracing my inner goddess using any medium of our choice; I chose watercolors, of course and opted to do a multi-color self-portrait with my I AM statement, and here is the result:

Hawk's Art Projects

We've done three projects thus far (1) a representation of the Element Water (2) create a tarot card for Samhain (3) our patron deity, and our most recent, (4) a representation of our life purpose:

Medium: Markers and Pens

 I incorporated my Raven Woman painting and a Microsoft Word template to create my tarot card. I chose the High Priestess, mainly because I thought Raven Woman fits this card well and it's a great card for Samhain. The text at the bottom of the card says: 
"Open yourself to the Mysteries. Use your intuition and let your inner voice guide you."

My Patron: Gaia
Medium: Watercolor

Life Purpose 
My life purpose is overcoming depression and being happy; 
this depicts me rising from the darkness. 
Medium: Watercolor

Side Projects

Watercolor: African American Woman

 Watercolor and Marker: Experiment

 Watercolor: Raven Woman

Watercolor: Redhead

 Watercolor: My Cat, Tigger

Watercolor: Amethyst Woman

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Walking Alone

Yesterday, in a moment of inspiration, I posted something on my Positive Warfare fb page, straight from my heart.  The more I read it the more I liked it, so much in fact, that I chose to add it to a pic of one of my sunflower paintings.

Why do I like it so much? Well, I'm a recluse, in a few different ways: (1) I'm single and don't date (2) I'm a homebody; when I'm not working, I mostly stay to myself, at home (2) my spiritual path and current circumstances led me to being a Solitary.

For some odd reason when I confess to (1) not having a social life, and (2) not dating and having no interest in dating or finding a partner, people just don't understand; they think I'm weird and some actually try to argue that I need a man in my life, and to convince me that I need to to date. My question is why? I'm happy being single and free from the complications of dating and/or a relationship. This is a personal choice for me; this is the path I have chosen and I would do it all over again. I am truly happy. 

This is a reminder that just because a person travels a different path, does not mean the path is wrong, or that the person is lost. Don't worry about what people may think of your path, do what is right for YOU. Be true to yourself.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Low Energy Days

"Low Energy Me"

Do you ever feel like you have just been drained of all energy? Today is that kind of day today; I feel sooo tired. I have often wondered what causes my low energy days. I got a decent amount of sleep last night, so you would think that I wouldn't be so darn tired. Granted, I do have health issues that sometimes causes fatigue, as well as depression that comes and goes (right now its on LOL), so this could be what is contributing to my lack of energy... and my diet; let's be honest here, I try to eat healthy but often slide back into the not so healthy pattern.

Other factors that may contribute to a lack of energy are: 

High Sugar Diet (sweets, pasta, bread, potatoes etc, including your energy drinks!) Carbohydrates turns to sugar, and too much sugar leads to insulin resistance, leading to Type 2 diabetes. Did you know that when you have too much sugar in your body, it thickens your blood to the consistency of ketchup, constricting your blood flow to and from your heart,  and damaging your arteries and your heart! ...and those energy drinks that some people are so fond of, are poison to your body; they are not healthy for you at all! Sure, they contain Vitamin B and Ginseng, but they also contain huge amounts of sugar and caffeine, as well as Taurine and Guarana. Our body naturally produces Taurine which helps regulate the heart, muscle contractions, and energy levels. It only makes sense that if you have too much Taurine in your system, it is going to cause irregularities. Guarana is even more dense in caffeine than coffee beans, which brings us to the second factor of low energy...

Too Much Caffeine Yep your endless coffee cup is a factor in your low energy days. Sorry guys, but too much coffee stresses and slows your adrenaline gland which in turn causes hormone depletion, which leads to fatigue.

A Fatty Diet We all know a fatty diet is bad for us. Too much fat equals high cholesterol, which leads to clogged arteries, heart disease, and strokes, but also fatigue because it causes our body to work harder, causing stress on our heart and lungs, which wears us down.

Lack of Exercise It is recommended that we exercise at least 30 minutes everyday, but even if we can manage 10 minutes each day, it's a plus! By exercise, it doesn't necessarily mean strenuous activity; take a walk, do yoga, do chair exercises, or go for a swim, just get your body moving! I'm blessed in this area because where I work, we have a diabetes program which includes an on-the-clock exercise program every day for 30 minutes. I don't always make it every day, but I also walk a little at work. My office sits 50 ft or more between two other buildings, which requires me to walk to the neighboring buildings to conduct job related duties. So I can honestly say, I get some sort of exercise 4/7 days.

Magnesium Deficiency our body needs magnesium to function properly. It aids in the healthy functioning of our muscles, heart, nerves, immune system, and strong bones, so if we are low on magnesium, our body feels depleted and fatigued.

Stress, Depression and/or Insomnia I lumped these three together because they tend to go hand-in-hand, and all three can factor in with fatigue.

Thyroid Disorder such as Hashimoto Disease (an autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid), Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) and Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). The thyroid regulates all your body functions. If your thyroid is out of whack, it throws off the hormones needed to regulate your heart, lungs, mood, skin, hair, eyes, reproductive system, bones, muscles, cholesterol, weight, and your energy.

Other health conditions such as Fybromalysia, Crohn's Disease, Adrenal Fatigue, etc also can cause fatigue. If  you are experiencing out of the ordinary ongoing fatigue, please see your doctor.


(1) whole wheat products in moderation (2) get moving! (3) limit your coffee to no more than three 12 oz cups a day (4) Eat 1 oz of nuts per day, such as unsalted natural almonds, walnuts, and Pistachios, but don't eat them in excess; moderation is the key! (4) drink more water! (5) incorporate Edamame (green soy beans), fresh Kale, Spinach, Kidney Beans, fruit (in moderation), and baked Halibit into your diet. If you are a woman, you should include iron rich foods into your diet as well, just because women are prone to anemia during menstrual years (6) stay away from fried, fatty, and salty foods (7) meditate; it not only calms your body and clears your head, it also increases your energy (8) aromatherapy with essential oils such as peppermint, lemon, and mandarin orange also helps combat fatigue.


Don't Forget to Smile!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Path to Self Discovery and Growth

The decision to change, to improve upon yourself, is momentous! If you have made the decision to begin such a journey, congrats, I applaud you! Whether you have been on this path for awhile, or you are brand new in the venture, just keep going. It is a life long journey beginning with the day of your initial decision, not something that you will complete within the year. It's a challenge that takes years of dedication and work; it will not happen over night, but it will happen. Your path will be long and rocky, and you might find yourself occasionally slipping backwards, but keep climbing that hill! You CAN DO IT, and the results are SO worth the effort!

I first made the conscious decision to embark on my journey, ohhh around 1996 or thereabouts. What prompted my decision? Well truthfully, I didn't like myself, nor did I like life. I was not a happy person, depression had a strong hold on me, and life was a real struggle.  I always felt like I never fit in; I just didn't belong, and I wanted nothing to do with my current life. It was like I fought against it every step of the way but I had no clue as to the reason why. I was confused, angry, and lost from birth to early thirties. It was not a nice place to be, and eventually... well, I got tired of it. Here I am 17 or so years later, and although I've made huge progress, I am still working towards my goal. I still struggle now and then, but wow, the changes I have made; positive changes that not only I have noticed, but other people have noticed too, and if I can do it, so can you!

Where do you start? Self help books (preferably with work book companions or work sessions inside them to aide you in really getting to know yourself), guided meditations, journaling, making Wish Boards, do more of the things you love whenever possible, and... you KNOW what I'm going to say next, don't you... positive affirmations! You can also do counseling if your budget will allow and it is something you would like to try.

Book Examples:

What is a Wish Board?

A Wish Board or Vision Board is a collection of images (a collage) made with a specific intention, to attract certain things into your life. Decide what you want to attract into your life, or what goal you want to achieve, then collect magazine clippings and/or photos that represent your intention as well as a photo of yourself. Arrange the clippings and photos on your board the way you want them, then glue them in place, but make sure you leave space to add quotes, words/phases, and positive affirmations, etc. Once it's finished, hang it someplace you can see it everyday. Make a point to view your board each day, truly focusing your intention on it, while reading/saying your affirmations out loud. Other suggested materials include: markers, scrapbook materials, scissors, and hodge podge glue.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Introducing Soul Path Magazine

Let me introduce you to Soul Path Magazine, founded by Lyn Thurman, who by the way is awesome! Lyn is inspirational, nurturing, and wise. It doesn't surprise me in the least that she founded such a wonderful e-magazine written by people just like you, including bloggers, healers, soul coaches, and more! I absolutely love this magazine! Go ahead and check it out; you will find articles on spirituality, pagan parenting, gardening, the goddess, seasonal correspondences, and so much more!

You can read more about Lyn here, as well as her husband Paul (an author in his own right, as well as the editor of Soul Path Magazine) here.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Don't Fret, Calm Your Monkeys!

"Do not  anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the Sunlight." ~Benjamin Frankin

In other words, keep your thoughts positive and don't dwell on a future that may or may not come to pass. Easier said than done, I know. I'm awful at worrying and fretting about the future. I can be my own worst enemy! Worrying doesn't solve your problems, or empty tomorrow of it's burdens; it robs you of today, and it's just not healthy. In my case, worrying usually resulting in the following:  (1) anxiety and/or a panic attack, or (2) Insomnia.

Worrying feeds my anxiety, which feds my fear. It's times like those that I turn to positive affirmations, but sometimes I can't seem to shut off those worrisome thoughts, you know? They can be stubborn like that, and when that happens, well... positive affirmations don't do diddly squat, and sometimes the anxiety leads to a panic attack. You know the feeling... your heart is racing, you begin to sweat, and get that nauseated feeling in the pit of your stomach, and fear settles in like a lead laced boulder of doom. If that's isn't enough, it is quickly followed by an inner alarm, screeching: "OMG, what the heck am I gonna do! Noooo! Oh no, oh no, oh no! I am so scr%@ed! OMGOMGOMG! Yeah, those... they are awful, aren't they? To make matters worse, once you get to that point, it's hard to get it under control. When this happens, I have found that practicing deep breathing can sooth the panic, and calm the heart rate. 

Take DEEP BREATHS, in and out, s-l-o-w,  l-o-n-g breaths, In through the nose, and out through the mouth. Just focus on your breathing for several minutes, then while breathing nice and slow, begin to calmly talk to your body. 

Tell yourself everything is going to be alright. You can tell yourself anything that soothes you. This is when positive affirmations can help you gain control once more. I like the following: "Everything is as it should be. I am not alone; my angels are watching over me. The Universe protects me, and provides for me. I am safe. All my needs are being met right now. I trust the process and all is well." Repeat this process for however long it takes to return your state of mind and your body back to normal. If possible, you can even follow this by treating yourself to a nice, long, very hot soak in the tub. Can you say, RELIEF?

Then there is the insomnia. I have nights when my mind goes into overdrive, and there is one crazy fiesta with thoughts flying and dancing around like crazed monkeys on speed!  ...which contributes to my insomnia, which in turn leads to stressing about not being able to sleep, knowing I have to get to work the following morning. It's a vicious circle! BUT, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve that have been a real blessing!

When I can't seem to shut out the party in my mind, I select a guided meditation on my ipod or on my cellphone, plug in my earphones, put on my eye mask, and follow the instructions. Most the time, these guided meditations work like a charm. 

I also try to keep over-the-counter Valarian Root capsules and Melatonin supplements on hand, and by 9:00 PM and I still feel wide awake with no hint of drowsiness, I reach for my handy dandy helpers; believe me these do wonders, or even a nice strong cup of chamomile tea, or perhaps warm milk with cinnamon and honey, maybe even combine your drink of choice with a long hot relaxing soak. Yes, long hot relaxing soaks are a fave of mine [grin] Hmm... me thinks a certain tub is calling my name.

What is your favorite remedy for Insomnia or Anxiety?

DISCLAIMER:  I recommend you talk to your doctor before taking any supplements to ensure that they will not counteract with any of your current medications and/or any health problems that you may have. I am not a doctor nor a professional herbalist, etc. Please, please, please consult your doctor FIRST! This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Never disregard or delay in seeking medical advice regarding something you have read.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Survival and Determination, but Where is the Balance?

Do you ever feel like you have bitten off more than you can chew, but yet you feel like you really have no other option, and you are flat exhausted for your efforts? Yeah, me too. In fact I've been feeling that alot lately, and I'm finding that my thoughts are dragging me down. So what to do in cases like this?

I have no choice but to keep pushing forward; the alternative is not an option; I am in survival mode, and this is basically what I do....
I force myself to keep going, and at the end of the day I can look back and say "I did it; I made it through another day. I CAN do this!" Yes, I'm worn out, but I feel good knowing that I am a survivor and I have the will and determination to make it. Then the next day, I begin anew.

Sometimes though, you are so focused on just surviving that it begins to take its toll. Things become so overwhelming that you (and by you, I mean me) find yourself shutting down and closing yourself  off, which can very quickly lead to sinking into a quagmire of negativity. I struggle with this because I am a recluse by nature, so withdrawing comes way too easily.

Along with feeling overwhelmed, you feel exhausted. You've got to find some balance in your life, but you just don't have the energy. All you want to do is hide out and recoup, but that isn't necessarily the right thing to do. Yes, you need your rest, but you also need a life outside of work and home. This is the time to reach out, and get out. If you are like me, you are uncomfortable in doing this, but seriously... if you don't, you will sink deeper.

Sonia Choquette describes it perfectly in her book Traveling at the Speed of Love. She wrote:

"When we are unable to open up, be vulnerable  and accept love 
and support from others and the Universe, we not only fail to soar, 
but we end up broken, exhausted, and limping along in life instead."  

So swallow that pride, reach out to a friend, talk about it, and get yourself out of your hidey-hole and do something fun! There has to be some kind of balance in your life. That saying all work and no play make so-and-so a dull boy or girl, is very true. I have been so busy working two jobs and babysitting my grandkids that I am wearing myself down. I've noticed I've gotten very grumpy and depressed. I've got to find some time to have some fun! Survival mode and determination are great to keep you going... to a point, but too much without any counterbalance is detrimental to your physical and mental health. Fun is just the ticket; they do say laughter is the best medicine, right? Nothing makes you feel better than laughing with your friends and family, and with that thought (and the tid bits to follow) I am signing off with a smile.

(ha ha ha!)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Believe in a Positive Outcome

Things may be scary and difficult, but I prefer to trust that some how, some way, everything will be ok. I'd much rather believe in a positive outcome, than choosing the opposite. How about you?

Don't give up :-)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Strength in Adversity


Life isn't easy, and sometimes it is so overwhelming and painful that you just want to go to bed and hide, but that's the worse thing you can do! When depression comes knocking, you've got to fight it!  Do not allow yourself to succumb. Fight with all you have one day at a time, or if it takes pushing forward in ten minute increments, then do it; focus on the present task, and when it's complete move to the next, but keep going!

Depression is deceiving, don't let the numbing fog swallow you; it can literally ruin your life. I have seen its ugly results not only in myself, but in the current severe case with someone near and dear to me, and it has broken my heart. Through this very difficult time, three new quotes appeared in my news feed on fb; I believe this was the work of my Angels, and no mere coincidence. They each struck a chord and delivered a special message to me:

For us both:

"New Beginnings are often disguised as Painful Endings."

For Her:

"It doesn't matter how you fall, only how you rise again."

    "No matter how many pieces you shatter in, I still believe in you!"