For the Love of Peace

For the Love of Peace

If I have learned anything in these first 50 years of my life is that you cannot have peace when you are at war–war with ourselves or war with others.

My dad’s favorite thing on his Christmas list each year when I was growing up–and well into my adulthood–was Peace.

We’d say: “What do you want for Christmas dad?”

And he would always say “Peace”.

It took me a long time to understand what he meant–but I did get it about 10 years ago. And from the moment I finally figured out what my dad meant, I wanted the same thing.

Our world today is filled with strife, anger and hatred.

There is no peace globally or politically or even among religious groups that you would think would be all about peace.

Yet there are people, families and community units that are peaceful. And peace is achievable.

Let me tell you how to achieve some peace in your life but first, let me define what I see as peace.

Peace means that you separate yourself (and your family) from negativity, chaos, worry, and deception.

That doesn’t mean these things are not all around us–but that you do not allow them to effect you.

Here’s how:

  1. Wake up each day and embrace the opportunities the day has for you. Be positive. If today is a difficult day, know that your contribution to the world is felt through the ripple effects you leave in your wake. Smile at someone today, thank someone today, go out of your way for someone else–it does have an impact.
    Remove toxic people from your life. I’ve written about this before because I believe it is so important. You do not have to associate with people who are toxic to you. Wish them well, block their phone number, remove them from your Social Media and stop, when possible, from spending unnecessary time with them.
  1. Mind your own business. Take care of yourself and those closest to you. Avoid getting involved in petty arguments or hard feelings with people that don’t matter in your life. Those people are “peace busters”. Don’t stir the pot, as my dad would say, it only brings the stink out of what is in the pot.
  1. Live with integrity and honesty. Do your job, pay your bills on time, be truthful and honest in your dealings with others, take care of your responsibilities. These things will keep a positive and protective aura around you.

Peace is achievable. Peace lets you sleep well at night, keeps you safe from harm in an uncertain world and can spread to those you love.

The choice is ours to make, peace is always there but each person must want it badly enough to turn away from the chaos.

For the love of peace–give yourself and those you love this gift. Thanks dad!

Lifestyle Blogging

Lifestyle Blogging

Without knowing it I have created a “lifestyle blog”–that means in part that I write about my personal interests and everyday life in my blog articles.  

What I found interesting, as I have been writing a while now and developing my blog’s “voice” are the actual things that have come out as my personal interest and the topics in my everyday life that are important.

This has been a great tool in my self discovery.  

For example,  My blog articles are all about family, home, God and country, food and nutrition, history and education and travel.  That pretty much sums up my life! Those are the things I love and thrive on and pretty much in that order.

I found this self reflection fascinating.  Especially when I started thinking about other blogs that I enjoy to read. Their authors–many of whom are also lifestyle bloggers–are very good writers about  what they do–Of course, because it is what they LOVE.

Wow! Huge light bulb moment!

Here are some thoughts for you, if you would like to start your own lifestyle blog, or if you are trying to discover more of yourself.

Write every day.

I know it seems obvious–but you really have to set aside some time each day to write.  Even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes. Journaling about thoughts that come to mind and events that occur in our lives will eventually show a pattern and that pattern will help you discover yourself.

Observe.

Although also obvious–observations about our lives and things going on around us is getting harder and harder to do.  There is so much white noise in the world now. To really observe, you need to turn everything off. Not just the TV or the radio–but also all our technology.  Tablets and phones, even if we are not observing them will ping at us–and disrupt our thoughts about what we are observing.

Let go.

I think this should have been my motto this year.  I have had to teach myself to let go of many things.  In decluttering my house (still a work in progress!) I have had to let go of many physical things that were weighing me down. In focusing more on me and my family, I have had to let go of commitments that were not serving me.  In trying to hone in on my own happiness I have had to let go of situations and people that were toxic to me. And when you are trying to discover yourself–whether you want to be a lifestyle blogger or not–you need to let go of old perceptions, opinions and mental constructs we have had from the past and be opeing to seeing things in a new light.

All of these things may–like they have for me–just help in directing our attention to the you you knew was always there–to the likes and desires, hopes and dreams you have had possibly buried for some time.  Or they may open up to you new possibilities that you never imagined you would want for yourself.

Once you decide to go for the search the road will open up before you and your true lifestyle will appear.  This gives you the opportunity to embrace your lifestyle and continue living the life you want or the opportunity to change it all to the lifestyle you truly crave.

Becoming a lifestyle blogger, I have to say, took a lot of courage for me–but it is one of the best gifts I have ever given myself.

Are you living the lifestyle you truly want to live?  What is holding you back?

Your Circle

Your Circle

Your circle of friends should want to see you win.

Your circle of friends should not be joyful when you are struggling.

Your circle should be quietly supporting and not critical of your life decisions.

Your circle should not spend their time trying to change you to be more like them.

Your circle of friends should recognize that you are unique and that in reality they are better for knowing you.

Those that are part of your circle should be helping build you up and not constantly breaking you down.

Who is in your circle?

Your circle belongs to you. You don’t have to let everyone in–you don’t have to let ANYONE in–that does not fit in with your goals, your lifestyle, your values and your priorities.

Life is challenging enough without having to surround ourselves with people who are not going in the same direction.

Others will define you based on who you surround yourself with.

And it is never too late to create your circle, modify your circle or remove yourself from a circle that is not aligned to your true self.

For those that don’t belong in your circle, that use their energy to being you down, or that only want to use you, wish them well and let them go.

No hard feelings are necessary, they just don’t belong with you.

Create your circle with people that will encourage you to be your best as you encourage them to be their best–those are the people that belong in your circle.

Steps to Letting Go of Old Limitations

Steps to Letting Go of Old Limitations

The hardest part so far of trying to determine what lies ahead for us in this empty nest chapter of our lives has been the slowing down.

I am coming to realize that I am having a hard time slowing down because I am having a hard time letting go of old limitations I have placed on my life.

Based on our values and expectations of life we have worked hard and we have done things “right”–at least the right we thought were right at the time.  And for the most part we were right the majority of the time and we did well for ourselves and are in a good place. However, the world has changed and changed drastically–and if we don’t change with it–by letting go of old limitations–we are going to stagnate.

First let me explain what a good place is.  My husband and I are in a good place because we do and have certain things that we feel are not negotiable not to do or have.  

These are the things we do:

1) We acknowledge that God exists and is very important in our lives. We both have always believed in God, but now, more importantly, we understand that God is first in our lives.

2) We work hard.

3) We are grateful for everything that comes into our lives.

These are all the things we have:

1) We, thankfully, have our health.

2) We are intelligent and honor knowledge, education, and drive to learn more-not just book smarts–but experience knowledge.

3) we have a family that we love and respect and that loves and respects us back.

So what am I talking about when I say old limitations?

Up until the empty nest time, our lives included raising kids, buying a home, acquiring dogs, cars, and numerous traveling experiences. It included going to kids birthday parties, hosting parties, attending school functions, parent teacher conferences and all the other functions and places that kept us going from place to place.

It also included working hard and long hours, having successes and failures at work but being rewarded with reasonable salaries, retirement plans, insurance protection and the things that our society deems important.

Before we knew it the children were grown and graduations were attended. Smiles and tears were shed, cars were packed, schools were chosen, dorms and apartments moved into and then we drove away with more tears and a whole lot of quiet.

And for a little while–about 6 months–we were adjusting to the the Empty Nest. Part of my adjustment is allowing myself to express my creativity through this blog and discovering what we want to do as we plan for the rest of our lives.

But although we are consciously seeking to slow down and create this life, we have not stopped doing everything the way in which we have always done it. The old limitations that I am not letting go of or am reluctant to let go of are the fears, anxieties, worry and other habits that are holding us back from living the fullest life we are meant to have.

Without knowing it, in search of “the plan” for the rest of our lives we have come face to face with many vulnerabilities. We are getting close to figuring this out–or we think we are getting close–who knows? we could be years from figuring it out!

We will not get close to figuring it out though if we don’t let go of old limitations.

All of our limitations are psychological–and what is holding me back only means something to me. What is holding you back only means something to you. Since the world has changed so much and is changing rapidly still we have to find the way to let go of the fears, anxieties, bad habits or even good habits that are not serving you.

These are a few things I am going to try to begin letting go, and I encourage you to try these steps or to define your own:

  1. Stop living our present lives by the limitations we placed on ourselves in the past. I have to leave the past in the past.
  2. No matter what is happening let go of imagined fears and find something to be grateful for, after all life is good!
  3. Remember that we all have a purpose and we owe it to ourselves to find that purpose and live it to the fullest!

So in letting go of old limitations I plan to learn to relax, after all what is going to happen is going to happen anyway and there is no way to control the unknown. I am going to take more pictures of sunrises and sunsets and everything in between!  I am going to enjoy the scenery of life. And I am going to keep searching for my purpose and continue planning the plan.

Life is a journey–not a destination so I don’t have to worry about getting to any particular place at a particular time! It’s impossible to be late!

Are you holding yourself back from being the best you, you can be? Are there any limitations you have placed on yourself or your life that is taking away from fully experiencing everything life has to offer? Comment below and share with me one thing you would change in order to live a fuller life!

As always, remember we only have one life!  Have fun with it!

Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul: Letting Go

Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul: Letting Go

This last post in the Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul series hits very close to home for me, because it is so fresh. It is a constant work I do with myself.

I want to talk to you about decluttering your soul and this is going to be hard.  As any new or experienced empty nester knows, one of the hardest things to do is let go.

Letting go of our children as they started their own lives was hard enough but letting go of some of the baggage we carry around in our soul is even harder!

Our soul, in my eyes, is where we carry our value systems and beliefs. It also houses our fears, anxieties and burdens.  It is a hard organ of the body to explain–since no doctor has ever found it, no person has ever given it to another, but we know its there by the pain and joy it causes.

In the end of it all–our soul is our essence.  And we should keep it as pure as we can, if possible–and of course I mean, decluttered.

As we declutter our physical world we have to find a way to declutter our soul as well. This is extremely hard because we can’t just fill up a box of stuff, put it in the back of our car, and drop it off at Goodwill.

Decluttering the soul takes hard work and will sometimes cause pain.  But we deserve a clean and light soul! We deserve it.

The hard work is internal.  It is a conversation and conviction we take on with ourselves and sometimes with a higher power. I call my higher power God, but you may think of it differently.

So here is what I have been doing to declutter my soul–it is an ongoing process–and one I will have to remind myself of to do continually as the soul clutters itself once again:

Step 1 :  Forgive

Forgive the people, the circumstances and memories, and your own errors in judgement that have hurt you. Easy to say, not easy to do.  It is painful because we are letting go of something strong that we have been holding onto tightly.

Sometimes we are so hurt by a person or situation and the other players involved are not even aware that they have caused you pain or discomfort. We carry this around in our soul building up fears and anxieties of it happening again–with the same person or with others.

It weighs us down and darkens our spirit, making it a cold and lonely place to carry.  But if we forgive–our soul feels a little brighter and lighter bit by bit.

Step 2:  Let Go

This is even harder than forgiving sometimes!  We have to let the pain and the discomfort go.  We have to believe that people do not hurt us intentionally and we need to move on from where we are with a clean soul and be open to new experiences.  

We need to know that the hurts we have endured have nothing to do with our worth! People do not hurt us because we are bad, we get hurt because our beliefs and value systems do not match those of the people that caused the hurt.

Note: This does not mean, and I certainly do not believe, that we should accept the hurts and abuses of others. It just simply means we should forgive them for thinking they can hurt us and I firmly believe we should separate ourselves from those folks (permanently, if possible).

Letting go also means forgiving yourself for the hurt and giving it to your higher power. The higher power will take care of it and you can begin to move on.

Once your soul is lighter you will begin to see things differently and it will open you up for better, stronger and more positive experiences to fill you up with!

So do the work–forgive, let go and love the person and the soul you are! You deserve it!

 

Have a wonderful weekend.  Like, comment or share if this is something that resonates with you!

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