Constructive use of stress energy has become a way that I manage stresses that I face. When it happens to all come at once, it’s hard to face and can be overwhelming. Stress from the workplace that combines with stress at home that gets complicated by stress from news of a tragic death in the family means that the stress takes on new heights. It becomes more than one can typically manage.
I know how I react when this happens. I can act before I have thought out my actions and speak without considering the impact of my words. Sometimes its the irrational part of me that takes over, leading to added stress based upon my own actions. I have learned this about myself and try to take steps to minimize it.
I have also learned that physical movement helps me deal with the stress. Today, I took a long walk with my dog. I talked to my soul sister; the one who knows me inside out. I took on a new project that has been weighing on my mind and sitting on my to do list. The physical work of manual labor takes away some stress and clears my mind to a point where I feel capable of managing it once again. These are all therapies that help me when I feel out of control.
I’m not sure how I came to find this solution to my stress management. I wonder what will be the solution when I finally have all my home renovations complete. Perhaps I will need to take up a new hobby, maybe woodworking?
There are times when the noise in the world is just too much to handle. The stresses affect us all differently. Some need to talk to others. Some get angry. Others cry, or crawl into their shell. Or there can be a combination of things that happen.
Emotions are sometimes difficult to deal with. What we feel isn’t easily explainable all the time. Perhaps we can’t always understand it ourselves, especially when there is a perfect storm happening within us. Eventually though, the storm passes. The waves of emotion subside and the tears that fell like rain dry up. The sun peeks through the clouds of despair and hope emerges once again.
Nothing lasts forever. Everything is temporary. Ride out the storm. Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Let yourself feel what you need to feel without judgement or contempt. Life is never easy, but it is worth it.
Summer solstice has arrived. With her, she brought beautiful sunshine and warmth. Summer is easy to get lost in, with the luscious gardens teeming with fragrant blossoms and bountiful vegetable patches growing steadily day by day. The days are long, lasting well into the wee evening hours when we are fortunate enough to witness the beautiful and colourful displays at sunset as they bid farewell to the daylight for just a few hours.
Summer, while it feels like it will never end, also seems to go by so fast. Enjoy every moment as you live in the present. Take the time to put your nose to a peony bloom and inhale its perfume. Spend a lazy afternoon in a hammock with a book. Take a walk through the forest trails and breathe in the oak and moss as you enjoy the cool shade from the canopy. Sit patiently at the lakeside and wait for the dragonflies to come rest their weary wings as they visit for a moment.
Have gratitude for the gift of summer. This present in this very moment is worth more than gold. Savour the time spent in the here and now and store these precious memories for those cold winter days that will eventually be upon us. But for now, right now, be present here with Mother Nature in all her summer glory.
Take the time to take a walk in silence in nature. See with your senses. Smell the earthy aroma of the soil, the sweetness of the grass, the flowers, the muskiness of the trees. Breathe in the fresh air. Feel the tingle of the breeze against your arms, your hair as it dances with the tiny currents in the air; embrace its caress on your cheek. Notice the warmth of the sun on your skin as it plays hide and seek through the canopy of the trees. Notice the coolness of the shade when the sunshine ducks playfully behind the clouds.
See with your eyes the beauty that surrounds you as life carries on synergistically around you. Watch as the birds play amongst the branches. Observe the bees as they explore the blooms, dusting their tiny feet with pollen. Look for butterflies and dragonflies as they dance and with the wind to music that can only be heard with the heart.
Listen with your ears. Pay attention to the love songs amongst the birds and the frogs. Hear the rustle of leaves as the mice and little critters forage through the brush to find breakfast.
Feel the world with your intuition. Connect with the earth in an unseeing way. Give your compassion to Mother Nature and all her precious beings and let her return that love to you. Spend time in silence to discover all the things that go unnoticed in the busyness of life. Give yourself time to renew in the healing bond with nature and feel the serenity that lives amongst us in our busy world.
There are times when all we truly need is a good friend by our side. It’s more than just that they are our friend. It’s the years of trust that have been built in that relationship. The good memories and the hard times somehow solidify the structure of the friendship that allow us to simply be in each other’s presence.
When we have those particularly challenging days, most of us have that go-to friend that we can count on. It is a treasured thing, to know that someone always has your back; that you matter to them just as much as they matter to you. That friend who you can tell all your darkness to and still be loved, or just sit nestled up to, alone with your thoughts yet cradled in their love and compassion.
Friendship has the power to heal hurt. There are no conditions present, no keeping score on who has done more for whom. There is love and compassion. There are good times and sadness, yet all of it gets shared equally within that friendship. Perhaps that is what keeps a friendship alive; the ability to be completely and vulnerably yourself in the presence of the other person without fear of the power of friendship being abused.
Perhaps the power of friendship is that you are accepted, completely for who and what you are, and the ability to give the same back.
Love comes in many forms. Romantic, platonic, family, pets, and any other version you can think of. Many things I do in my life now are the result of love. I tend to my children with motherly love to give them the safe place they need to grow into the amazing humans they are. I spend time with my friends and cultivate those relationships, being mindful to ensure they know that they are loved and appreciated. And pets, well…it’s nearly impossible to not show a pet they are loved in my household, especially when they so easily give that love right back to you.
Love is a necessity for growth, no matter who or where you are. Love is one of those undeniable components that change life from survival mode to allowing one to flourish. Just as humans need a certain amount of hugs to survive versus to thrive, this is just another version of showing our love for one another.
Growing up and well in through the two decades that I was married, I found saying the words I love you to be very forced and painful. It seemed as if I didn’t really know how to say those words and truly feel the meaning of them. I know there is a lot of psychology and background history there that really isn’t something I care to delve into, but there came a time when I was going through my divorce that I discovered what love really is, and I felt as if I had never truly allowed love into my heart until that point. The interesting part is that it wasn’t a romantic love that changed me; it was the love of my true friends who stood with me and helped me through the divorce. They were the ones who showed me what love is and how to embrace those around me. I listened and I learned. I paid attention to their actions and saw how easy it was for them to give a piece of themselves to me. Somehow my heart softened and I could feel real love for the first time. I realized that real love didn’t have to be painful; it didn’t have to hurt. Real love comes without consequence, constraints or ultimatums. Real love just is.
Now that I know how love actually feels, it is easy for me to give that love freely to those near me. I can say those words now and truly mean them, and I do. My friends and family hear them routinely, and assuredly, they come straight from my heart. Don’t underestimate what can happen in a year. These changes happened over the course of the last six years, and I am a completely different person today than I was then. I owe a good deal of that change to those who stood with me and those who cried with me, and I reciprocate the love that I received from those dear friends right back and without reservation.
As a spiritual person, holding space tends to be rather intuitive. I’ve done it for years without analyzing or recognizing what it truly is. Holding space for someone is one of the most giving things a person can do because it removes the ego and allows you to fully give of yourself to the person you are seeking to support.
For me, holding space takes many forms and has been a recurring theme in my relationships. I often hold space for my dearest friend miles away when she is in emotional distress, and she will do the same for me. Intention and energy are sent along with support and acceptance for whatever the other person is feeling or experiencing. Holding space provides safety for the person needing support. Sometimes it means the physical support of holding hands or an embrace; a kiss on the forehead to show they are loved as they are. It means being that sounding board to let the other speak freely without judgement on their words, actions, or emotions. It is the eye contact to allow the other to look deeper and find your soul reaching out to them.
Regardless of how the space is held, there is a common thread through it all; holding space is done selflessly. It is done purely to support the other person regardless of personal feelings, opinions, or even the presence of self. Holding space means giving all of yourself to that person for the time needed to support them and to allow the other person the freedom to be themselves completely, without the pressures or stresses to change those parts of themselves that are thought to be undesirable or needing change. Holding space allows them to feel that they can just be; that they are enough as they are. We are all perfectly imperfect, and exactly as we should be.
Easter is often thought of as a religious holiday. This year, Passover occurs at the same time, giving many individuals reason to celebrate their given faiths concurrently.
I see Easter as more than a religious observance. Easter to me is the time of renewal for myself, Mother Nature, and the world in general. Living in North America, Easter falls at the start of spring. While we still have plenty of snow around today, it hardly feels like spring, but the attitude and expectations are still the same nonetheless. Spring brings about new life, and since Easter occurs during this season, the two are intertwined for me.
There are many times of the year where I feel the need to re-evaluate and refresh my goals and motivations. Naturally, Easter is one of them. I find with the days getting longer, and the sun feeling warmer as it shines through the windows, it is a good time to check in with my progress. I look to see which goals I am on my way to meeting, which ones I have met, and where I need to go from here.
I get motivation at Easter because there are new beginnings happening all around me. The snow is melting, the grass starts to grow and green up. Tulips and other flowers start to wake from their winter sleep. I see birds start nesting in their homes in my back yard, preparing for their new babies. It sets the tone for the next few months, as we gear up for summer, then prepare for autumn. Spring and Easter are one of my favourite times of the year.
I wish you all a wonderful spring, and I hope you choose to celebrate the season in whichever manner suits you best.
Is happiness a choice, or is it something that simply is? Do we get to decide if we are happy or not? Are we just a victim of our surroundings?
In my life, I believe we can choose to be happy. Yes, things happen in life that can be difficult, but when it comes down to it all, how we opt to deal with the things that have happened, its ultimately up to us whether we choose to remain sad or bitter about the events, or if we instead decide to still be happy.
Happiness is a much healthier option. I have seen people who seemingly have everything in life, yet they simply cannot be happy for themselves. Keep in mind, this is different from those exhibiting signs of depression, and I would not lump a mental health condition into the same category. I have also seen people who have had severely traumatic events happen in their lives who still chose to be grateful that they are still alive on this earth.
We all have days where the weight of the world brings us down. I try to remind myself that I am lucky to be where I am. I have gratitude for the friends and family I have, my living conditions, my job and my passions. I am grateful for having an able body which allows me to do things that others may not have the opportunity to do. This gratitude invariably leads me to happiness.
I look for the positives; for the good in the world. I avoid the news because happy news does not make money and therefore they do not play it. I cultivate my circle of friends to ones who reflect my inner light, and we bring each other up instead of drawing them down. I count my blessings.
Everyday, there is something new to be grateful for. Look for it and you will find happiness everywhere.
I spent yesterday evening thinking back to what the past five years has brought me, and how my life has changed. Yes, divorce will do that to you. But, there is more to it than that. I have realized when I look back at the past five years, I am amazed at how much I have done and how it has helped me grow as an individual.
Not only have I become free from a life (and marriage) that were strangling me, I have opened myself up and become more of who I truly am. I have taken courses and completed two certificates, with the third and fourth ones to be completed shortly. None of which have anything to do with my profession, I might add. They are simply because I enjoy them and choose to increase my knowledge in other areas that interest me. I have dramatically improved my photography skills through practice, mentorship, and coursework, and continue to do so. I have taken myself out of my comfort zone and explored places I would never have expected to go on my own before these five years. I have joined groups and met new friends that mean the world to me. I have plans and aspirations for the next five years that have spiralled off of what the previous five years have provided me.
Something that I didn’t realize when I was in the midst of it all, but when I look back, I can see how much the little bits have changed me over time. Tony Robbins says that people overestimate what they can do in a day but underestimate what they can do in a year. It’s true. I have seen it in myself, and I believe what he has said. I am grateful for my self-motivation to do more. I am glad I have not allowed my life to become passive, but instead, take an active role in what happens in my life. This is my journey, and I want to make the most of it!