Encourage Yourself.

Wow… when life gets tough, where do YOU turn? Encourage is my word I chose to follow for April of 2022. ( It’s been a long April for me, and it’s only half way there.)

It’s been a tough one , this month, with the war in Ukraine, seeing all its devastation, and the people having to leave their country, I cannot imagine what that’s like – leaving all you have ever known, and having to uproot and move from your family to thrive again. As a contemplator by nature, I have found some of the news from this Ukraine war to be very moving, and at times I struggle trying to understand why someone could be so hard hearted towards a people who have done no wrong. On top of this, and a few other personal concerns during the month of April, have caused me to think about my family, my personhood, and my friendships in such a way that I have not considered before. I have been trying my best to be mindful.

What I keep coming back to, again and again is how mindfulness centers me, when situations in life are chaotic. I am a therapist, by profession, a mental health therapist – who has taken a long break from professional therapy, very intentionally – to do some healing myself. It has been the best decision for me, I am finding. I learned a lot about mindfulness, and I don’t think I have shared very much on this blog, about it. That may change significantly.

I have a very peaceful way of finding sleep, when I am a bit restless at night. I usually begin to imagine myself as a pebble, and I am skipping across a pond. Once I hit the water, (as a pebble), I imagine myself falling… and as I am falling , the waters surrounding me are multi-colored and beautiful , glistening and I just fall, until I find sleep. I am very present to what is happening around me as I fall – the colors, the sounds, and the ambiance. I may have to throw the pebble three or four times, but most often the first time, is the charm…and I am asleep. Just like that. It amazes me every single time how quickly I find sleep. I suggest you try it, if you have the same trouble, sometimes.

Mindfulness is how I stay encouraged, and to be honest, it can be quite the task. It takes time to cultivate, and develop the routine of it. So …I am recommending a really good book that’s helped me this month to stay focused. It’s called The Light Maker’s Manifesto – by Karen Walrond. Karen gives several interviews on the book of people who are activists in their own right – who just have a cause they live for, and they discuss a myriad of ways they remain faithful to their call and use mindful listening even, to stay present to the call. I LOVE THIS. In fact, I love everything about this book. Karen is someone I have been following on her blog ( http://www.chookooloonks.com ) for several years, and I have sincerely gleaned a lot about life, photography and living – for quite a few years.

The Lightmaker’s Manifesto – By Karen Walrond

In one section she speaks of how to maintain rhythm and how to take care of yourself in such a way that you thrive. And since “Rhythm” was my word last month, and I didn’t write about it, I thought I would share.

Essentially, she says five factors exist:

  1. Cultivation of spirituality by leading a meaningful lifestyle. (And yes, that’s why I write this blog – to assist everyone that reads , in noticing what’s meaningful in life and sticking to your purpose within.)
  2. Taking care of yourself physically, and tapping into the connection between your mind and body so important. Tapping into the realization & connection between why my body was not aligned with my physicality over this past year – has been so enlightening and freeing for me. ( Mind you – I couldn’t do this alone- it took a bit of counseling to determine what I had to awaken to and acknowledge , in my own soul. )
  3. Intentional intellectual stimulation. ( I love this because one of my “strengthfinders” characteristics is “intellectualization”. Sometimes perspective can be so freeing. It’s how we evolve. Grow. I love sharing with others and working on adjusting my mindset and gleaning from others’ mindsets.
  4. Nurturing meaningful and constructive relationships within, and with others. I love that she says ‘within’ – so important to love yourself fully before you can love others.
  5. And lastly, not being afraid of our emotions. Not denying or suppressing them. It s so interesting how being present in this day and age with so many distractions surrounding us, is what saves us.

So, I am quite thankful for this book, ( & finding resolve through it) after a long bout with Covid, wrestling with myself and my needs as a person in a midlife situation, being in counseling – taking a break from work, being a wife and a spiritual mother to many – and caretaker of my parents. It brought a lot into focus.

Stay encouraged,

Jenn

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Shining… But Not Very Brightly.

Hello. October was all about the word Shine. So let me share what the mean it of the word emphasizes. To Shine means: To have significance: (the quality of being worthy of attention); the quality of being important. Synonyms of this special word are: to have heart, sense , understanding, force, or meaning.

I bet when you thought of Shining this wasn’t at the forefront of your mind, huh?

I chose a word that was a bit difficult to practice this month. Not because I couldn’t practice it, it was because I have to receive the word a bit differently. One of the things that caught me off guard was how much it takes to Shine… especially when you are not feeling the best.

Photography by You Are So Beautiful Photography
Me driving to work one morning.

Shining matters within, our personalities and out outer appearance, at times- and also on the outside of our lives: how we cherish moments with the special people in our lives. My momma always told me: “Actions speak louder than words.” The parts of our lives where no one notices – but you, your family and your children. It matters to them, it matters to God. That we let our “lights shine” no matter where we are, no matter what we are doing.

I’ve learned that wherever I am leaving a legacy of truth and discipline, hope, influence, purpose and good communication, those are places where I truly shine I also am shining where I am a positive and showing meaningful leadership. Where I care for others and remain positive, even when other around me, are not.

Where everyone in my life sped things up this weekend, I decided to slow it down. If I cannot hear myself for the sake of moving too fast, then I may need to turn the volume down. Am I taking time for that family member? Am I spending quality time with that loved one? Will this matter in five or ten years? Will it matter later this week? Just another positive way to think about whether “time” is mine, or it truly belongs to someone else.

Having had a birthday this past week, one of the things I am learning is to count the cost of everything… even the ones you miss. Sometimes the moments that matter most, are the ones you missed.

Why not slow it down, decided to do something different, make someone smile by choosing to do the one thing you normally would not have done, and bless them with the gift of time.

I am grateful for this month, because although I wasn’t feeling my best for most of the month, I took advantage of ‘ how I felt’, and instead of complaining , I made the most of it. And that involved shining, being grateful and giving thanks for what I have.

So when you slow it down this month, spend a little time reflecting on the Who, What, Where, Why and When… and even the “How” – ‘cause it all matters. Plan something very intentional, yet not work related. Take a Sabbath day. Change it up. Love on someone … Just because …and it will return unto you.

Share a few places where you’ve been shining lately very intentionally….

I took this on Lake Ontario, in Rochester NY