I don't believe love is easy for anyone, despite what they may say otherwise. I think love is a complex emotion for most everyone. You either know it in your soul as a given, or you are on the other side where all of your life you fought to understand and accept it having it not come easy to you in any form. I am on the latter side. Allowing love sounds easy enough, but if you were raised in this world with an understanding that it had to be earned or value the easy nature is non-existent. How has your experience of love been on your journey? I encourage you to share your thoughts with a close person in your life. Opening the window into these emotions and experiences is part of a healing journey. Someone who has love come naturally could so easily help the person who struggles to understand acceptance of love freely. We are here to walk together hand in hand in order to live this life fully.
So, narcissism is a strong word, I know. But I have noticed a theme across social media of self-confidence, passion and embracing one's voice to be a disguise in the worst way of in fact narcissism. I am not saying by any means that everyone is a narcissist. I think everyone does have a little narcissism in them, however. It is human. But the key is how you use it. I am the first person to tell you to find your voice. But the pleas I have seen of late to 'go find less' are not exactly fair. Here is the thing; you can be passionate about life, but you have to be aware of the people around you. If your passion is hurting someone then that is not you being just 'more' that is you being narcissistic in a bad way. We can be passionate human beings going after our dreams, but we must remember the people in our path. If you are disregarding people, their feelings, and in many areas decisions that need more than one person's input on a situation be it with children or relationships, then there is a problem. Just something to think about. Go be more but be kind and compassionate along the way.
I saw this awhile back and have come back to the depth of its meaning more than once. Think about it. How many times have you just immersed yourself in anger allowing it to really infect your life without even considering the true emotion behind it? When I stopped to look at this situation in my own life recently with a different emotion came through strong, grief. It wasn't so much anger, but sadness and grief for the loss I experienced around the situation. While anger was true for me, it wasn't fair to put all the energy into that one emotion. I decided to sit with that grief for some time before I was able to let go. It was the freedom I needed and appreciated at that moment. Now, I ask the deeper questions around these emotions, to not get caught up again. Try it.
"The one who plants trees knowing that he or she will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life." -R.T.
The meaning behind this quote has been taken in many ways. It is personal to you. What will you consider when reading it?
To me planting trees is to look at the world outside of yourself.
What do you want to leave behind when you leave this earth?
What will it say about you, that which you are leaving?
I try to live my life in a way that exudes the gratitude I feel for being given the opportunity to breathe the air around me. How are you doing this?
We have but one chance, one life.
Will you take it for granted?
Or will you plant trees in someone else's shade?
You can be the difference in someone's life whom you don't even know. You may never see the rewards from that which you are planting, but knowing you left this earth better than you when you arrived says everything about a person.
How often are we rushing around in our lives, and we simply brush people off? We are all guilty of a lack of empathy or compassion in our hurried world. We brush off these times of situations for it is too time consuming or difficult to deal with. I am reminded so often that more people than not are facing these feelings on a daily basis. Our world is a very anxious place to live these days. There are those who deal with anxiety in a chronic manner and then those who have situational anxiety as they walk through different situations in their lives. The bottom line is pause, listen, embrace and be present to those people around you. A little kindness goes a long way for anyone feeling these big feelings daily.
Do you allow yourself self-compassion? We are reactive human beings. Some are better at taking a step back than others. Some just need the expression to a situation in order to create closure or healing. But more often than not, we wish we could take back what we may have said or done in a situation where we were just trying to get our voice heard. We need to forgive ourselves now for that person, those actions and walk away learning a bit about who we are and who we want to become. Life is hard. There is no how-to book. We must walk through each day doing the best we can. So come off the hill, remember you are human and try again for today.
It has been nearly two months since the year has taken off. Where are you on your intentions?
I struggle every year on the first of the year; it can be the most defining day for some and damaging in ways of lofty expectations that we and our culture put on ourselves.
One day is not going to change our life forever.
One day isn't going to have all the answers to fix every little thing that we thought was wrong with our journey previously.
This year, I was stunned how many people were hosting vision, collaging and intention workshops. I have been doing so for over 25 years; remembering it was like pulling teeth to get people interested enough to attend in those beginning years. Today, there are too many to count from that I actually decided against hosting. I was concerned in what I was seeing as an unrealistic buildup of this mystical answer to one's perceived problems.
So, today, I am writing to check in with folks. I am wondering how you are doing two months into the year?
Are your intentions guiding you in the direction you had hoped for?
Or are they continuing to put unrealistic pressures on you?
Have you found a middle ground that works for you and your path?
Or are you struggling to find a balance amidst expectations?
The bottom line is that you are not alone in whichever direction you are walking towards in your intentions. I don’t know a person on this path that could tell you everything is measuring out exactly how they planned for themselves in the new year. That is just not the norm. We as humans are meant to fail, to struggle, to constantly pick ourselves up and grow from the experiences we face day to day.
I am not saying that it is fail proof to set a goal and create a vision. Neither am I saying to walk through life blindly with no focus. I am just saying that it is wise to understand that you can re-set at any point as many times as you need to while walking through this life.
When we change our focus and mentality in this way, we are more likely to find the direction that is meant to fill our soul and guide us to our true path. We are breathing through the process, rather than rushing to a finish line.
This vision collage is our family collage. We as a family make a vision for the year, and then as individuals collage a mandala for our personal path. It tells a story with each person in the family's hopes, wishes and directions for the year ahead. But here is the thing; this isn't our only one. Every week my teens must make an affirmation card on an index card with the same format for their week ahead. They make collage and vision mandalas on their birthdays, at the beginning and end of the school year and often on other holidays as well. It is a practice, not a one-time thing. They have been doing this before they could read with images and once they could read with words. Sometimes the vision is so personal to talk about that this format allows for their inner most desires to shine through.
Let's get real, do they bitch and moan about it? Sure, they are teenagers. But if you were to see their private spaces in their room you would see all these collages stored in their sacred space that we each have. At times they will talk about them and even mention when they see some things coming to fruition. I am hoping that I am instilling a practice that will guide them for the journey when I am not there asking them how they are doing with what they have on their path.
Consider it. Consider making intentions a practice instead of a novelty. You have the power to re-set your journey as often as you need to. You are the author of your path and only you.
Who is holding your brush? I know am guilty of handing over my brush to someone else at times. It can be so easy to get caught up in others opinions of our personal journey. There is so much unsolicited advice in the world, especially since the social media explosion. At the end of the day, it is YOUR journey. It is YOUR canvas. You are your most important piece of artwork. How do you want to paint your journey with your own brush?
If you know me well, you know I love to travel. I love change. I love to go explore. This statement couldn't be truer to me. When I go out into the world, I always see something for the first time. It sparks light, energy, and story. I want to share with whomever will listen to the journey which crosses my path and most especially the stories, stories within people. Everyone is out there living life in their own culture, design and paths. No two journeys are ever the same. I have endless stories of people I have met in my 52 years from Israel to Europe to the US, and I am always in awe. I never expect for the wisdom and story to mold me in the richest ways through each encounter. When I come home, it is different in so many ways. I am able to appreciate what I have around me more and I am able to see the depth of color in the life I created that dulled before I left. It inspires me to appreciate where I stand in the present moment more and it encourages me remember the intertwined world out there that I can forget about when caught in the day to day. You don't have to travel the world, but you can travel to another town. You can go explore a street you have never walked before. You can go to a café that you have passed for years, but never walked into. Travel in the simplest of ways or the grander of ways, but travel. Be open to the story around you and the story within you waiting to be told!
I feel like every which way you turn we are encouraging people to meditate. The benefits are proven to be reflected in better health and peace of mind in what is a very intense world.
But, what about contemplate? Have you considered this word before?
What does contemplate upon mean? To look at or view with continued attention; observe or study thoughtfully; think fully or deeply about.
How do you contemplate?
Do you pause before life movements?
Do you give your life the full respect of thought it deserves before jumping into decisions?
The act of contemplation allows us to incorporate our values, beliefs and behaviors overall before leaping. Often there is so much more to the story of our lives than what we think we see before us. The next time someone or life is asking of you, take a moment to contemplate before a definitive answer. You may just be surprised.
This question can sting. Recently I found myself in this Catch-22. Deadlines are every day all the time, but our bodies don't really care. Illness can come, but we still have to work through them to make those deadlines. How can we balance rest in our lives so that it doesn't come to such hard choices? I know that I was good at practicing this at one point, but working for myself sometimes gets me caught up in the work. Is it my best work if I am not creating this balance? How can you incorporate rest into your day more, whether it be just 15 minutes of meditation, a walk, or a cup of tea. I don't think it has to be grand, but when we give our bodies a little break, it will balance out the pressure we are putting on ourselves in the long run.
Let's face it, stubbornness is most of our middle names. It is easy to let the world and its gifts pass us by, because we don't want to give up our own ideas or ways of thinking. We are nearly always certain that our way is the only way for us. But, just for a moment consider that it is not. Consider that there is an immeasurable amount of goodness out there in the world just waiting for us to take hold of when we let down our guard. Almost every unexpected gift I have ever received in my life has been received when I chose to take a step back and be open to something new. Consider it today...just one baby step backward with one thing in your day and watch what can be revealed to you for the journey!
How do you create Sanctuary?
Sanctuary can look like many different things. It can be a place you love to go where you find solitude; the woods, a walk along the ocean or even in a church. Or it can be a sacred corner of your home that you create which is yours alone. Better yet, when life is hard, full and stressful Sanctuary can be something you create around yourself to simply not let the stressors destroy your spirit. I know I practice all of these. Look around your life today and ask yourself, 'what is sanctuary to you? then go create it!
When someone reads this quote, their first instinct may be to turn away in thinking they aren't a healer. But I like to think the opposite. Aren't we all healers in one way or another?
Do you listen to other's pain who come to you for support?
Do you offer up your journey of pain in hopes of helping them ease or walk into their own healing and suffering?
Medicine can look like many things other than a pill.
Medicine can be experienced in ways that are not the traditional norm.
When you sit with someone in their most vulnerable moments, not judging, but just letting them be in their pain; you are offering them healing. You are reminding them that they hold the medicine and the strength within to heal.
When we embrace each other's pain with the awareness of learning from whatever that suffering is, we then honor the humility in the steps we walked for someone else.
When we embrace each other's pain with them, we are holding them and their pain so as to remind them healing is possible.
How have you been a healer in your life?
How can you better step into being a presence of healing towards others?
This really struck me. It was the most real definition of hope I have ever seen.
Hope is believing in the darkness.
Hope is keeping alive in the pain that never seems to pass.
Hope is trusting that there is more to this journey than the very moment you are fighting.
Hope isn't all flowers, light and laughter.
Hope is when we have crossed every avenue and have enough energy for just one more path to take.
That is hope.
If I were to ask you when the last time you were worried about what someone else thought of something you did or said, I am fairly certain you could easily name a specific incident without pause.
We are all guilty of this; it is human nature. We live in a world that is made up of judgement and competition. It makes it incredibly difficult to live our truth daily.
What if we decided to wake up and not care what anyone else thought about us?
What if we chose to wake up and do the one thing that brings us joy and not care about anyone else's opinion?
What if we took back our joy?
Imagine how free you would feel!
Life is short.
Life is hard.
Today, go sing loudly because it brings you joy! Go be free...
When I get sick, I often just go into my hole for a few days and do not say much. I am terrible at asking for help. I try daily to practice what I preach, but in these moments, it is humbling. It is harder for me to do than I realize some days. I suppose it was how I was raised, but this time around I really tried to listen to the lessons.
I may have over committed myself in the coming months, but I love my work so much and I know there is a summer reprieve coming. When people ask me to create, I just can't say no. This week my body said no for me and I caught my daughter's cold and then some. Instead of freaking out as I was doing the first day with so much to do, I decided to accept it. And I asked my kids to be kinder, considerate and help me along the way.
Last night in my Zoom meeting my daughter brought me a cup of tea, she knew I was rallying. That meant so much to me. It just helped me remember so many things. When my kids are having hard days, it doesn't mean they forget everything I taught them or even in the moment realize they do love me more than I think. Sometimes I have to release control and just be sick, rest and then start over. So, getting back on my feet slowly with this phrase really resonating for me.
How about you?
Our YouTube Channel
Andrea creates, builds, and offers her teachings and hands on life tools based on her journey healing her body image after a 14yr battle and life of trauma. Her vision always is to help others live a full life with the journey they are given.