Happy New Year, 2016!

2016

Making New Year’s resolutions and staying committed to them can be a challenging thing for a lot of people. And even though I think it’s important to have a vision, a clear direction or goal before starting the New Year, all these New Year’s resolution lists can create a lot of stress and anxiety in people, causing them to feel disappointed when things don’t go as planned. And that’s the reason why I created this list of 15 New Year’s Resolutions Every Person Should Make. 

This is a different kind of New Year’s Resolutions List, a list that’s meant to help you do the things you want to do, while at the same time learning to be calm, flexible, open and receptive when things don’t go as planned. Because you and I know that life doesn’t always goes as planned, and that’s okay. Anyway, here are 15 New Year’s Resolutions Every Person Should Make.

Enjoy :)

1. Be open and receptive.

Be open and receptive to whatever life sends your way.

2. Allow.

Allow life to shape you and to mold you in a majestical and graceful way.

3. Surrender.

Surrender to what is.

4. Let go.

Let go of fixed plans and concepts and allow events to follow their natural course. 

5. Accept.

Accept life unconditionally and trust that it’s all happening for your highest good. 

6. Embrace.

Embrace with grace all that you face.

7. Be soft. 

Be soft, fluid and yielding, just like water is, and you will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. 

8. Trust.

Trust the wisdom of life more than your own wisdom. 

9. Treasure the moment. 

Treasure the moment. Don’t let it pass by you unnoticed. 

10. Be of good cheer.

Be of good cheer, there is always another way. 

11. Where there is no love, put love.

Follow the advice of St. John of the cross, and “Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love.” 

12. Give thanks for all things. 

Cultivate the habit of giving thanks for every experience and every interaction life sends your way, either good or bad, because all of them are meant to contribute to your growth and evolution. 

13. Speak from the heart. 

Speak with love, speak from the heart. Speak in such a way that people love to listen to you. And when people talk, listen with your heart. Listen in such a way that they all love to speak to you.

14. Work with love.

Whatever you do in life, work at it with all your heart. Work at it with love, passion and dedication, “as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” ~ (NIV) Colossians 3:23

15. Seek to become all that life created you to become.

Be who life created you to be, not who the world thinks you should be. “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” ~ Catherine of Siena

Purpose Fairy; Added by Luminita Saviuc on 30, December 2015
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Good Riddance; Letting Go and Moving Forward

With each year, as we approach the closing of the year, we begin to reflect on life reminiscing about the past years adventure, contemplating the things that we had hoped to experience, or move away from.  Every year is the same story – we have 365 days to try to get it right.  Some of us go full force with guns blazing, and others of us get sidetracked, or simply give up.  Unsuccessful, you learn to accept that some challenges were not met head on, and prioritize them into your current set of goals in the new year to come.

Every year I have the intention to work on “me” – convincing myself to let go of things that hurt or caused me to feel in a negative manner, and figure out better, more cathartic methods, of trying to overcome obstacles in my life.

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The past few years have been devoted to learning how to balance family, friends, and my career.  It has not been easy.  Each day I work through how to put 150% effort into each of these really important things in my life … there never seems to be a cut and dry answer, and sadly when I do have days when I feel like life is feeling balanced, and my efforts are evenly distributed amongst my family, friends, and career, I find that the one thing I do forget about is myself.

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My goals for the past year included finding a job that I dreamed of – being in an environment that I not only loved, but felt comfortable, challenged, and motivated.  I wanted a job I was passionate about, and not just a job that I would “settle” at.  

My family goals were to be a better mother, and wife – which, I am still not sure exactly what that means.  Does that mean I smile more so than not? or am I just never grumpy, or bitchy towards my husband? 

My friends goal was to weed out the manipulative, negative, and hurtful persons, and get closer to the ones that I felt had a more authentic, genuine, and loyal persona.  The biggest challenge over the past two years  was being disappointed in people’s expectations of me, and individuals lack of loyalty and respect towards the friendships that I shared with them.  I am sensitivite to things that are said to me, or behind my back.  I am an emotional being, as most of us are, and have let things take effect on me far more than they ever had the right to be in my world.  Slowly I am learning that i’ve kept far too many negative people in my life for much longer than they should have ever been there for.  It wasn’t “them” that was doing something to me, it was “me” allowing these individuals the “right” to be in my world.  Unlearning the rule of “be nice to everyone” was difficult because I felt that it was going against all of what I knew to be “right” – what God taught, what elders preached.

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Did I get it right last year?  when I sit here and write out my view on where I started, and ended in 2015 I feel like there was a progression.  But do I feel 100% satisfied?  No.  I think that goals are great, and working on creating a better, positive, and more fulfilling life, in general, is a healthy thing to desire.  There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself.  It is not selfish when you want the best version of your life – creating this will make you a better person in return.  There is always room for improvement, and that is one of the beautiful things about this life – we have the right to create our own choices – our own path, and our own destination.

Each year we have the chance to start over again, to move forward from the hurt, the lessons, the challenges, and try to do it right. Celebrate the accomplishments you made this year, and reevaluate where you would want to be a year from now.  Hold yourself accountable for what you want in your life, and make it happen.  In a few days you will be able to close the door on this chapter, and move forward into the next.  What you choose to bring with you is up to you – take life lightly, love with all of your will, and remember to make yourself a priority in 2016 xo

2016 New Year celebration display with the date outlined with fiery sparklers in green and blue on a black background

 

 

 

 

 

Faking The Funk: Authenticity At It’s Finest

Real.  What does that word mean to you?  I think tangible things are “real”, and I believe emotions I feel are “real” but what about friendships – are they real?  Are they authentic?

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It occurred to me one day that there are a lot of “non-authentic” people in this world.  I guess in other words one would describe them as “fake”, or “two-faced”.  WHY?  How can people not be real .  What causes a person to hide who they are, or not say what they mean, or even lie to your face saying one thing to you, and speaking a whole other version to someone else?.

We’ve all told white lies, or sugar-coated situations, but i’m talking about the individuals that are one way to your face and a completely different person behind your back.  Where you even question their loyalty to you as a friend, family member, or acquaintance.

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Keep toxic people in your life at arms length.  Do not give them the satisfaction, or power, to manipulate you.  Here a are a few ways that may guide you to determine if the friendship, relationships, etc… may be harmful to you in the long run – always keep in mind these “red flags”, and trust your gut instinct – most of the time you will have the right reasons to be hesitant … over time you will come to understand this, and learn that there is always a reason for the way that you feel.  Be responsible and love yourself enough to know that there are a billion, and one people on this earth – why waste your time on a person, or people that do not appreciate you, love you, respect you, and care for you the same way that you do for them?  Don’t fake the funk!  Be Authentic!

A person’s belief system is often a direct reflection of who they spend their time with. To ensure a positive social environment built for your success, make sure the people you trust the most aren’t guilty of these ten things true friends don’t do.

1. They don’t gossip behind your back.

True friends distance themselves from unnecessary drama. If a close one spreads rumors or shares secrets that you asked to be kept private, then they aren’t a true friend worthy of your trust.

2. They don’t resort to personal attacks.

True friends aren’t in the business of making you feel bad about yourself. They communicate with words of kindness, not cruelty. They focus on your similarities, not your differences. They speak of your qualities, not your shortcomings.

3. They don’t start pointless arguments.

True friends know that there is nothing less productive than starting an argument you can’t win. “Reading that status update sure made me rethink my entire existence,” said nobody, anywhere, ever. A true friend should be willing to accept a person as they are, whether they agree or not. This isn’t to say you can’t have friends you disagree with (in fact, I highly recommend it as it puts things in perspective). But if you’re going to argue, do so respectfully.

4. They don’t interrupt your every word.

True friends aren’t so obsessed with themselves that they aren’t interested in how you feel. A fair and balanced friendship can’t exist in a situation where one half does all of the talking and none of the listening.

5. They don’t discourage you from pursuing your goals.

True friends are willing to offer feedback without mincing words if they feel it is necessary for your personal development, but they don’t do so in a condescending or hateful fashion. Instead, they offer constructive, helpful advice that inspires you to become a better version of yourself.

6. They don’t look down on you for your past.

True friends aren’t concerned with your past, no matter how colorful it might be. If you’re courageous enough to reveal a few skeletons living in your closet, a true friend shouldn’t think any less of you; instead, they should offer you comfort and support, expressing an appreciation for your willingness to open up.

7. They don’t abandon you in social situations.

True friends are emotionally intelligent enough to know that bringing a friend to a party where they don’t know anyone, and then proceeding to throw them to the fishes, is a very inconsiderate thing to do (especially if said friend happens to be an introvert). 

8. They don’t get jealous of your success.

True friends don’t waste their time in a pit of jealousy when something good happens to another person. They know it is much more productive to be happy for other people’s success (and maybe even take some notes about how they did it), than it is to be pout and play the “Why didn’t they pick me?” game. Less complaining, more hustling.

9. They don’t judge you or try to “fix” you.

True friends know it’s silly to try to “fix” a person while their own inner-houses are in disorder. As Jesus Christ said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Recall that Jesus spent most of the Gospels hanging out with the very sinners people love to judge today instead of the moralizing Pharisees, who were so blinded by judgment that they couldn’t take an honest look at themselves and their own faults. True friends can admit that they themselves are far from perfect, so it’s a bit absurd to expect anything more from another person. You might not be perfect, but you are good enough, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

10. They don’t take your friendship for granted.

True friends don’t see a relationship as a short-term fling that can be tossed aside when it becomes inconvenient, but rather a long-term commitment of high importance. A friend worth having isn’t only interested in doing fun stuff like drinking Tequila shots, playing miniature golf, watching goofy videos on the Internet, riding roller coasters, lounging on the beach or dancing at the club; they are also willing to help you through difficult times by doing things like supporting you after a death in the family, and encouraging you to put yourself back together after a brutal break-up or unexpected job loss. Will Smith captured this top trait of true friends when he said,

“If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.”

Self Love; Making Yourself the Priority

I cannot tell you how many times I have let peoples opinions of me dictate my mood, my beliefs, my values and the way I see the outside world.  Constantly torn between standing up for my beliefs and opinions or keeping my mouth shut out of the goodness of my heart as to not hurt anyone else.

~ While I lacked the willpower to express my own ideas, I found myself in a state of annoyance and frustration from allowing others to indirectly control my life. Feeling helpless and unaware of who I really was took a toll on my mental well-being ~

As I reflect back on my relationships over the years I found myself feeling saddened by the continued lack of respect I had towards myself – allowing individuals to hurt me with their words, and actions.  Why couldn’t I stand up for myself?  I had a voice, and I should have used it – what was I so scared of?

I admired so deeply the friendships I had with strong and confident individuals – people that would stand up for themselves, and speak their opinions.  I craved acceptance of others, yet looking back I realize it was at my expense.  I lacked the willpower to be me.  I was not being authentic to myself and repressed the ability to be honest with myself and express my needs.

Over the years I have now realized that my opinion matters and the thoughts I have do have a right to be heard.  When I kept things inside I began to feel resentment, second guessing myself and beating myself up as I played out the different scenarios – the should haves and could haves – it would literally eat me alive!

When I think about the people who have hurt me over the years, by things that have been said, I know that there is aspect of truth to their words.  In order to express your words one must believe in what they are saying – it’s just from a different point of view.  How we receive other’s beliefs is in fact a reflection of us, and how we perceive ourselves.

I am sensitive by nature, and with all of the repressing, and suppressing of my needs that I did in the past you can only imagine how much chaos was whirling around in my mind – so when situations arose that would hurt me I was not well equipped to handle them in a mature, and understanding nature.  I would immediately feel defensive, and hurt.  I felt criticized, and unappreciated.

Over time I have begun to see that there are indeed the real, and the not so real friends.  The way that someone tells you their version of the truth can usually identify their intensions and can give you a red flag as to their mindset, and intensions towards you as a human being.  Don’t let empathy blind you, or confuse you.  Always make your feelings the priority.

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Harvard Study finds that Meditation Impacts DNA

by David R. Hamilton PhD

A Harvard University study published in 2008 found the first compelling evidence that the Relaxation Response (RR) – the physiological response to meditation, yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong or repetitive prayer – affects our genes.

Nineteen adults were long-term daily practitioners of various RR techniques, 20 were trained in RR eliciting techniques (breathing, mantra and mindfulness meditation) for 8 weeks, and 19 served as controls.

By analysis of blood samples, the study found that 2209 genes were differently expressed (switched on or off) between the long-term meditators and control group. Specifically, 1275 were up-regulated (their activity was increased) and 934 were down-regulated (their activity was reduced). It also found that 1561 genes were expressed differently between the group who did the 8 weeks meditation training, who were considered novice meditators, and the control group. Specifically, 874 were up-regulated and 687 were down-regulated.

In other words, meditation – short or long term – causes hundreds of genes to turn on or off.

Many of the genes were involved in cellular metabolism and in the body’s response to ‘oxidative stress’. Oxidative stress is one of the biological products of mental and emotional stress. It produces free radicals and is known to be involved in a host of disease processes, including atherosclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. It also accelerates aging at the cellular level. Ideally, we want a good response to oxidative stress so that we can prevent the negative effects.

In the study, blood analysis found significant changes in cellular metabolism and response to oxidative stress in the two meditation groups relative to the control group.

The scientists proposed that the Relaxation Response – whether it is induced through meditation, yoga or prayer – may counteract cellular damage due to chronic psychological stress.

People have meditated for years and enjoyed better health (and a slower aging process) but many others have been skeptical as to its benefits. Now, we have solid scientific proof of the positive genetic effects of meditation in that it affects genes that positively influence cell metabolism and the response to oxidative stress.

Here’s the link to the article. You can download the PDF free: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002576

She Was Done: A Magnificent Read by Adrienne Pieroth

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She was done not fully being herself.

She realized she was the only self she could be—and not being unapologetically true to herself was a disservice to her soul and the world.

She was done listening to the noise of the world. She realized the quiet voice of her own soul was the most beautiful sound.

She was done questioning her motives, her intentions, the call of her soul. She realized questions seek answers, and maybe she already knew the answers.

She was done striving, forcing, pushing through and staying on the hard path. She realized toughing things out might be a sign to pick another path.

She was done with friends that admonished her to be more light and breezy. She realized they didn’t understand she swam in the deep waters of life, she felt at home in their dark depths and died if she lived on the surface.

She was done with the distractions, the denials, the small addictions that pulled her away from the true desires of her soul. She realized that strength of character came from focus and commitment.

She was done not following the desires that yelled out in her soul every day. She realized if she did nothing about them, they died a quiet death that took a piece of her soul with them.

She was done with dinner parties and cocktail hours where conversations skimmed the surface of life. She realized the beverages created distortion and a temporary happiness that wasn’t real and disappeared in the light of the day.

She was done trying to please everyone. She realized it could never be done.

She was done questioning herself. She realized her heart knew the truth and she needed to follow it.

She was done analyzing all the options, weighing the pros and cons and trying to figure everything out before leaping. She realized that taking a leap implied not fully seeing where she landed.

She was done battling with herself, trying to change who she knew herself to be. She realized the world made it hard enough to fully be herself, so why add to the challenge.

She was done worrying, as if worry was the price she had to pay to make it all turn out okay. She realized worry didn’t need to be part of the process.

She was done apologizing and playing small to make others feel comfortable and fit in. She realized fitting in was overrated and shining her light made others brave enough to do the same.

She was done with the should’s, ought to’s and have to’s of the world. She realized the only must’s in her life came from things that beat so strong in her soul, she couldn’t not do them.

She was done with remorse and could have’s. She realized hindsight never applies because circumstances always look different in the rearview mirror and you experience life looking through the front window.

She was done with friendships based on shared history and past experiences. She realized if friends couldn’t grow together, or were no longer following the same path, it was okay to let them go.

She was done trying to fit in—be part of the popular crowd. She realized the price she had to pay to be included was too high and betrayed her soul.

She was done not trusting. She realized she had placed her trust in people that were untrustworthy—so she would start with the person she could trust the most—herself.

She was done being tired. She realized it came from spending her time doing things that didn’t bring her joy or feed her soul.

She was done trying to figure it all out, know the answers, plan everything and see all the possibilities before she began. She realized life was unfolding and that the detours and unexpected moments were some of the best parts.

She was done needing to be understood by anyone but herself. She realized she was the only person she would spend her whole with and understanding herself was more important than being understood by others.

She was done looking for love. She realized loving and accepting herself was the best kind of love and the seed from which all other love started.

She was done fighting, trying to change or not her accepting her body. She realized the body she came into the world with was the only one she had—there were no exchanges or returns—so love and acceptance was the only way.

She was done being tuned in, connected and up-to-date all the time. She realized the news and noise of the world was always there—a cacophony that never slowed or fell quiet and that listening to the silence of her soul was a better station to tune into.

She was done beating herself up and being so hard on herself as if either of these things led to changes or made her feel better. She realized kindness and compassion towards herself and others accomplished more.

She was done comparing and looking at other people’s lives as a mirror for her own. She realized holding her own mirror cast her in the best, most beautiful light.

She was done being quiet, unemotional and holding her tongue. She realized her voice and her emotions could be traced back to her deepest desires and longings. if she only followed their thread.

She was done having to be right. She realized everyone’s truth was relative and personal to themselves, so the only right that was required was the one that felt true for her.

She was done not feeling at home in the world. She realized she might never feel at home in the world, but that feeling at home in her soul was enough.

She was done being drained by others—by people who didn’t want to take the time for their own process and saw shortcuts though hers. She realized she could share her experience, but everyone needed to do the work themselves.

She was done thinking she had so much to learn. She realized she already knew so much, if she only listened.

She was done trying to change others or make them see things. She realized she could only lead by example and whether they saw or followed was up to them.

She was done with the inner critic. She realized its voice was not her own.

She was done racing and being discontent with where she was. She realized the present moment held all it needed to get her to the next moment. It wasn’t out there—it was right here.

She was done seeing hurt as something to be avoided, foreseen or somehow her fault. She realized hurt shaped her as much as joy and she needed both to learn and grow.

She was done judging. She realized judging assumed the presence of right and wrong—and that there was a difference between using information to inform and making someone else wrong.

She was done jumping to conclusions. She realized she only needed to ask.

She was done with regrets. She realized if she had known better she would have done better.

She was done being angry. She realized anger was just a flashlight that showed her what she was most scared of and once it illuminated what she needed to see, she no longer needed to hold on to it.

She was done being sad. She realized sorrow arose when she betrayed her own soul and made choices that weren’t true to herself.

She was done playing small. She realized if others couldn’t handle her light, it was because they were afraid of their own.

She was done with the facades and the pretending. She realized masks were suffocating and claustrophobic.

She was done with others’ criticism and complaints. She realized they told her nothing about herself—only informed her of their perspective.

She was done yelling above the noise of the world. She realized living out loud could be done quietly.

She was done needing permission, validation or the authority. She realized she was her her own authority.

She was done being something she was not. She realized the purpose of life was to be truly, happily who she was born to be,and if she paused long enough to remember, she recognized herself.