Affirmations

Affirmations

Have you ever tried using affirmations as a means of self-help or self-improvement?

An affirmation is a positive statement that is repeated or written until it is believed to have manifested. They are quite helpful in decreasing negative thoughts, and every time that an affirmation is recited it helps to strengthen positive thinking.

My first experience with affirmations was less than favorable to say the least. In fact, the first time that I tried them I was instantly unimpressed and convinced that they were ineffective.

It seems I somehow formed the conclusion that they were just some type of “woo-woo” new age thing that didn’t offer any real inspiration or serve a viable purpose, (not that there is anything wrong with new age concepts…) I am not judging here. At that time it just felt wrong.

I remember I didn’t like the way that saying them made me feel when I recited them. They always left me feeling as though I was sad, incomplete and somewhat pitiful. Which was quite the opposite of how they were supposed to make me feel. Affirmations are supposed to leave you with a sense of empowerment. Why wasn’t I feeling empowered?

I later learned that affirmations, just like anything else that is created for the purpose of self-development and personal growth, work best “if” the person is ready, willing and open to receiving what the self-help task being performed is attempting to help you accomplish. I think sometimes when it comes to self-help activities we often expect them to work in an instant – like magic – at least that was the belief that I had at that time in my life. That is often not the case though. It took me a long time to realize that. Now I say say affirmations daily and I appreciate the gift of mental and spiritual inspiration that they give me each day.

What I like the most about affirmations, is that they work very similarly to gratitude in that they are personal, and they remind you of the positive life affirming aspects of your life. Every affirmation, once spoken, wraps you in your own personal strength and power; and prepares you for a day in which you will be prepared to take on any obstacle. To me, they are like daily “mental rainbows’ that provide you with little shots of extra resilience while also filling your heart with self-compassion and joy.

An affirmation as simple as “I am feeling stronger today” can help provide you with that little bit of encouragement needed to perhaps… get out of bed and face the day ahead when you are in a bereaved state; or experiencing some other type of loss.

In addition, reciting an affirmation such as ” I am feeling stronger today” is considered to be a better affirmation to use than something very simplistic like: “I am strong” because it is more reality based, a little more in-depth and considered to be easier to accept – and therefore apply. This works well for me, but feel free to try this for yourself to see if it works for you.

Other examples would include the following:

  • Using the affirmation statement “I will be kind to myself today and apply patience through all things that I encounter, ” instead of using a statement such as “I have an abundance of patience.”
  • “It is okay for me to laugh sometimes because laugher is a soul’s expression of joy. Appropriate laughter helps me breathe positive energy into the universe”, Instead of ” I will remember to laugh to foster a sense of joy.”
  • “I am present in my life and open to receiving love and support and good energy from others”, instead of ” I am open to socializing, and trying new things.”
  • “I trust that my ability to create a new story, (or add to the one I already have), is strong when things go wrong in my life, and I repel all doubt of my ability to do so”, instead of ” I can and will beat any adversity.”

A few ways that affirmations are useful include the following:

  • They help you draw on your ability to be open and receive positive energy from source or the universe.
  • They allow you to focus on applying courage because instead of denouncing your fears, they help you climb over them.
  • They help you apply patience, because they help you remain honest about your abilities and intentions.
  • They help with resilience because they make it easier to keep showing up during tough times.
  • They help you maintain your sense of humor and your ability to smile, laugh, not take life too seriously.

If you haven’t already done so, try creating your own daily affirmations, or if you’ve tried and had a bad first experience like I did, why not give it another try and see if it adds value to your life this time around. You’ve got nothing to lose, only something to (hopefully) gain. I wish you luck. Love and light to you.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + be well.

Contentment

Contentment

Hello and Happy September! In my last post I made a reference about how it is impossible for everyone to do something big or great. Well, I received a little feedback from some of my readers regarding that post and how it appears to denote a defeatist tone and may come off as uninspiring.

Before I go on, I would like to first apologize to anyone who may have found the content in that post offensive or otherwise. Secondly, I would like to say that I can see how the perspective in that post may have seemed counterproductive with regard to maintaining a postive outlook on life, or how it may have come of as being pessimistic. However, that is not the kind of message that I was trying to convey.

“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves.” – Pema Chodron

The main focus on that post was actually about practicing self-compassion, acceptance and more important…contentment. It was not intented, in any way, to share any likeness with self-pity or lacking.

It came from a place of understanding that is more modest that egocetric.

It also came from a place that engenders a less acquisitive perspective towards the achievement of goals and aspirations; while still celebrating one’s achievements, goals and aspirations…whatever those achievements goals and aspirations may be.

“I only seem negative to the fortunate. That is because I show the less fortunate that they aren’t less fortunate after all.” – Criss Jami

In short, that blog post was meant to inspire, encourage – but most of all empower. It was created to support those who may need to feel good about the way that they are choosing to show up and contribute to society, especially if to them – it may not seem like it is “enough”.

It’s no secret that some of us will become very well known and some of us will not. Most of us will not. Some of us will earn PhD’s and some of us will not. Some of us will form corporations. Some of us will not. Then there is the consideration of whether or not we actually want to take on a bigger responsibility and role. Sometimes it’s hard to understand and accept that others aren’t interested in the same things that we are interested in; and that doesn’t mean that something is wrong with them. We forget that as connected as we are, we still, as a society value individuality. It’s our differences that make us beautiful and more important…interesting. Just strive every day to be good at what it is that you do!

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, or how you choose to do it. The only thing that really matters is that you are trying to do something good – and that you’re not causing anyone any harm while doing so. If you are bringing something good into this universe of ours, then you are doing plenty! No matter how big or small. Besides… I am sure we can all agree that doing something is better than not doing anything at all when it comes to trying to make the world a better place… A more interesting and special place. Love and light to you!

Thanks for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + be well.

New Moon, New Opportunity

New Moon, New Opportunity

There is that old saying, “Every day is a new beginning!” which is just as inspiring as it is true, but did you know that every month we are offered a chance to begin anew as well?

This lesser known second chance is one that is gifted to us by our amazing universe every time that a new moon occurs, which is about every 28 – 30 days.

The new moon is an planetary (or astrological) moon phase that happens when the sun and moon become conjunct. This is also when a new lunar phase cycle begins.

Tomorrow, on July 2, 2019, at 3:16 p.m. EDT, a new moon in Cancer will occur – and with a solar eclipse! How exciting! Unfortunately, though, this occurrence will only be visible in South America – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t experience the healing and spiritual effects of the this event.

“A new moon teaches gradualness and deliberation and how one gives birth to oneself slowly. Patience with small details makes perfect a work, like the universe. – Rumi

Most people never pay much attention to our alignment with this energy force, but it is there for the taking if we’re open to receiving its offerings.

New moon events are prime times to set intentions, make life changes, start new goals or projects, etc. I, personally, like to think of these events as being special unconscious universal connections that help us to vibrate higher and grow spiritually.

If you’re wondering what to do during a new moon, and are interested in taking advantage of this celestial event I’ve listed a few simple ideas below.

Start a new venture.

Energy received from the new moon holds an abundance of possibility allowing you reap the rewards of the seeds you have sown in the form of set intentions prior to the new moon event. (It’s best to set intentions that will take place the day after the new moon – not on or before.)

For example, the new venture that I have set my intentions for is to successfully train for a 5k that I will be participating in this September. So, any training that I begin, in order for my intention to have the best chance for success, will begin on the day after the new moon.

You should also make sure that your intentions are as specific as possible. For instance, ” I want to complete the 5k in September in 35 minutes or less”, or ” I want to beat my score from last year’s 5k by 10 minutes.” The reason why you should be as clear as possible is because this helps the universe and divine intervention help you reach your specific goal without any ambiguity.

Start a healing ritual .

Thankfully, new moon energy is great for helping us learn to appreciate the calm after the storm or better yet, the light that brightens our days once again after the darkness ceases. A healing ritual can help you overcome grief, a job or relationship loss, or any other type of loss and it is as simple as drawing on divine intervention or the universe for comfort and solace. Being as specific as possible here is key as well. You might want to include, in your intention, when you would like to be healed; and note what what you would like to replace your loss or sadness with.

Create a sacred space.

A sacred space is an outdoor or indoor space that is created for the purpose of prayer, meditation, self-reflection or intention manifestation. Most sacred spaces are created within one’s home, and becomes a place that one uses to get away from everything or just commune with a higher power. It is a safe, quiet, comfortable space decorated with personally relaxing or soothing colors, preferred spiritual or religious relics, decorations and furnishings. Oftentimes a makeshift alter is also created within a sacred space and filled with candles, religious or spiritual beads, statues, crystals, rocks and other items that can help you connect with your higher power and enlist good positive healing energy.

I recently began working on creating a sacred space in my home. It isn’t quite where I would like it to be, but I will be working on it until it meets my satisfaction. Stay tuned for future updates on its progression – especially if you’d like some tips!

Candle lighting.

My tried and true… and my favorite means of preparing for a new moon is candle lighting. This method is done by lighting a candle, holding it in your hands and saying a prayer, mantra or asking your higher power to help you bring more love, happiness, gratitude, blessings and light into your life. It’s as easy as that. It is customary to let the candle go out on its own, but for safety’s sake… I would not do this. Please put the candle out in a safe manner once you have completed your candlelight new moon ritual.

I hope that you found this non-exhaustive list of new moon ritual ideas helpful, or at the very least interesting. Thank you for reading and Happy New Moon in Cancer!

Until the next post…

Take care + Be well!

What I learned about resilience from hiking in the desert

What I learned about resilience from hiking in the desert

I am always looking for ways to find similarities between life and nature whenever I am out hiking, taking nature photos or just out and about walking my dog.

One thing that I, and other outdoor enthusiasts, can probably agree on is that nature has this glorious way of teaching us about ourselves and life.

The only difference will likely be in perspective and opinion as everyone tends to see different things — and in different places — sometimes where others may not see anything at all…. such is the remarkableness of storytelling! Such is the splendor of our natural world.

When hiking a trail every landscape, for me, seems to have a plethora of lessons. Lessons that may or may not always be immediately noticeable. Sometimes a lesson will catch you off guard right after you just turned a corner or reached a phenomenal trail peak; and at other times it is found in a sunrise or sunset, a wild creature that has just crossed your path, or something as simple as the shape, texture or color of a plant, tree or rock.

The amount of inspiration is, in my opinion, limitless and I would like to share a few of the lessons that I have learned from the natural landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park desert with you on this Wellness Wednesday.

  • Life is hard, but regardless of the conditions and situations you may be faced to live with, you can survive them. [It is possible to survive just about anything]
  • Even though the conditions and situations may seem desolate, every now and then, (usually when you least expect it), a little bit of hope and possibility will rain down on you and give you just the break that you may need to make it to the end of your trail. [With or without hope… with a little patience good things will happen]
  • The rain is necessary! That is…if you want to be able to truly enjoy the full range of the beauty of the desert. [Balance is the key to joy and well-being]
  • Sometimes it will be the trail that you least expected to inspire you that you end up gaining the most from – so try not to pre-judge or worry about the trail that you are on. [Life is always full of surprises – if you’re open to receiving them]
  • Although the flora and fauna residing within the desert may seem strong, (because they have had to endure so much harsh weather), they are actually some of the most delicate, beautiful and treasured items and should be respected and handled with great care. [Strength can be found in many places and expressed in a variety of ways – not in just the most obvious things]
  • Every trip through the desert should be carefully thought out. [Acknowledge what you must face and face it best by preparing for the unexpected – because there is a good chance of something happening that will be unexpected- safety first…always and in all things.]
  • Stunning and amazing thing will spring up from the most unexpected spaces. [Life is full of surprises…Always be prepared for a plot twist]
  • You may have to carry heavy loads through rocky terrain and challenging elevations until you reach the top of the mountain or complete that strenuous trail; but every step you take is one step closer to removing the weight from your back and delighting in pure refreshment. [Allow yourself to be transformed by things that you may find difficult to manage because there will be a reward of some kind waiting for you at the end.]
  • You can journey through the desert trails alone and make it through, but that journey is often more interesting and special with a friend by your side to share it with. [Sometimes a little support can help ease your journey and make the time go by a lot faster.]
  • Just when you thing that you have had enough of the desert, something special will happen to change your mind and you will realize that your pilgrimage through the vast unknown was a gift from above; that is when you will feel as though there is no place that you would rather be. [Accepting all facets of life allows you to remain open to continually finding gratitude and joy!]

Thank you for reading.

Until the next post…

Take care + be well.

An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

Hello Everyone and Happy Thursday! I just returned home from a slightly extended, (and much needed), trip to one of my favorite places to visit in Southern California – Joshua Tree National Park.

It was exciting, relaxing and wonderful as usual – this was my third time visiting this national park.

I missed not going last year, tremendously, because I was deep in the throes of overcoming grief, and I didn’t realize exactly just how much I missed the desert until I was finally able to once again step foot onto the coppery, tawny hued hot sand and dirt of the very beautiful Mojave-Colorado desert inspired landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. You really have to visit this part of the earth to truly appreciate just how welcoming it is.

To back track a little bit, I didn’t go last year because it just didn’t feel right. I even made reservations twice last year, and cancelled them just as soon as I made them. So, I know deep down I wanted to go badly, but my need to hibernate at home and learn how to live without my youngest child was so much stronger. Sometimes I think that my son may have even had a hand in my not going because I was no where near ready to enjoy myself – as one should when on vacation.

My last visit was just a few months before my son’s death, so as you can probably imagine, this trip brought back so many memories of when he was still physically in my life.

This year though, I was more prepared for the adventures and physical exertion required for such a trip; as well as the opportunity to release some really heavy internal turmoil and manifest a hint of personally relevant rehabilitation. The desert offers many opportunities for reflection and healing and my heart and mind are now in a good place – a place of equanimity.

This trip was quite different from my previous trips to Joshua Tree National Park in that it was less about reaching a specific peak, enduring a strenuous trail, or taking a lot of pictures so that I could post them to Instagram. In fact, for the first time ever while traveling, I gave extra attention to avoiding my smartphone while away. I wanted to make sure that I would be fully immersed in my trip, and that required me to be fully present in every moment so that I could obtain the most from my experience with nature, and the culture of the area, while there. Trust me, it was by no means easy, and I was tempted to get on my phone a few times to post photos on social media and to create a post here on Salubrity and Soul, but I didn’t and I am glad that I was able to keep my promise to myself and to ensuring that I would be able to have the best possible connection to my trip experience.

I did take a few photos eventually though, because I had to have something to remind me of my trip besides the Joshua Tree t-shirt that I bought. I just made sure that capturing photos from my trip just so that I could let everyone know what I was up to at the moment was not my main focus – or a focus at all.

This trip was was less about physical activity and more about becoming one with nature, more specifically, the desert – and and allowing it to teach me about surviving, overcoming, adjusting to harsh conditions and thriving while in that state.

I love being in the desert and I figured if anything was going to propel me to another level of healing in my bereavement it would be within the lessons learned from watching the example of resilience from the delicate but oh-so-mighty desert.

One of the first things that I noticed was the abundance of plant life and wildlife at Joshua Tree National Park this year. It was obviously more green and more bright with colors from a variety of plant species that were dormant during my last visits – (and my 2017 visit was pretty exciting as far as seeing color and running into fauna was concerned, so that should give you a little hint to the eye-catching changes that left me in awe.) I concluded that my increased sightings of lizards, birds, insects, desert rats and rabbits were the result of the increased plant life which undoubtedly was the result of the fact that the desert had received quite a bit of rain earlier this year. This part of my trip was something that I enjoyed witnessing as it made my trip even more pleasurable and in a lot of ways – more spiritual.

Joshua Tree National Park emits such a deep, raw energy within its boundaries that I would describe as being very cleansing. Maybe it has something to do with it being a high desert, or maybe it is because when you are out there it is almost as though you are visiting another planet, or because the desert holds a great deal of “fire energy”, or perhaps it is due to it being a vast land once inhabited by ancient natives and still feels like it.

Whatever the reason, many people, myself included, love to visit this desert public land for the visual aesthetics, the physical activity offerings and the spiritually stimulating opportunities.

Had I decided to go last year, I know that I would not have enjoyed myself as much. It would have been a very solemn and mentally draining trip and I don’t believe that I would have been able to even entertain the thought of going out for a hike each day; or try new restaurants in the area like I was able to while on this trip. It feels very good to be able to open up myself up to new experiences once again – and in a place that fills me with so much joy and peacefulness.

Have you ever gone on vacation only to return home feeling as though you now need a vacation from your vacation? I have, but that never happens to me after visiting Joshua Tree.

I am grateful for every moment of mindfulness along the trails that I hiked and every awe-inspiring view that captured my attention and my heart. The connection that I receive with every visit here never fails me. This time is no different. Right now I feel transformed, invigorated and inspired to share the lessons of resilience that I learned from the desert.

Thanks for reading!

Until the next time,

Take care + be well

10 Ways That Suffering Can Help You Grow Spiritually

10 Ways That Suffering Can Help You Grow Spiritually

Well…we have survived yet another Monday my friends! Happy Tuesday! Today on “Talk-about-it-Tuesday” I would like to discuss spirituality and how suffering can contribute positively to personal growth.

“Don’t put your soul in the wrong hands, mindset, or environment.

– Lalah Delia

Spirituality means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and my intention with regard to this particular blog post is not to focus on the different types of spirituality or get into the topic of religion; but rather to look at how it (spirituality) can be beneficial in the instance of grief.

One thing that I have noticed is that all spirituality carries with it is the ability to bring us back to our “center.” Back to our “home base.” Back to a phenomenal place where we’re able to develop a deep connection with something that is many times greater than ourselves, and perform rituals that make our spiritual practice (whatever it may be) special and meaningful to us.

“Spirituality is a supreme inter-communication between you and everything.”

-Bryant McGill

Spirituality is often the thing that we’re reaching our for when we experience loss because that is a time in our lives when we tend to really seek answers to the most perplexing questions about life… and death.

I have found so much comfort in discovering and implementing the guidance that I’ve received from my spiritual practice(s). They have brought more peace, tranquility and inspiration into my life making it easier for me to heal.

Suffering can be as lonely as it is painful; and it feels wonderful to have something in my life that I can do to alleviate the pain and loneliness that can also be practiced in very personal and intimate way without infringing on anyone else’s personal comfort level. I can express what I am feeling without any worries because I know that I am in the company of a power that understands my grief, and who is ready to assist me in performing my soul work and growth.

“Part of the spiritual work is remembering who you are – when triggered.”

– Lalah Delia

I have compiled a list of 10 ways that suffering has helped me to grow spiritually. I believe that this list could help you too.

  • Suffering makes your appreciation for life more profound because you get to observe closely just how precious every single moment is. You get to see it’s worth up close and personal.
  • You learn that life comes with limitations – and you learn to accept that reality.
  • You learn that no matter how much you think that you have control over your life… you do not.
  • You gain a greater understanding of the gift of vulnerability and you become more fearless and courageous as a result.
  • It can help you open your heart and mind to the gift of “storytelling”, authenticity and self-expression.
  • It can help gain insight of your life purpose and find meaning in life.
  • It helps you remain focused on the important things in life and you become more grateful for everything.
  • It can help increase your interest in fostering an intimate relationship with a higher power.
  • It can help you prepare for and manage life’s ups and downs.
  • Suffering teaches you to have more compassion and empathy in all of your relationships.

If you have any thoughts about this post please share! I would love to hear all about it!

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + Be well

Take Care + Be Well

Take Care + Be Well

Hello and “Happy Friday” everyone! Let’s talk about wellness today! The title of this post will be familiar to those of you who have been following Salubrity and Soul for a while. Those are the words that I usually end each post with because I wanted to remind you, my readers, to be gentle with yourselves when facing difficult times, and to remember to take care of yourselves every day since those are probably two of the many, different and best ways to live a happy and fulfilling life no matter what.

I am curious? What do you think of when you hear the word “wellness?” If you are like me, then you might instantly get an image in your mind like the one featured in the header picture of this post of someone in a yoga pose. Or, maybe you’ll imagine someone wearing a facial mask, or getting a massage. There are so many images that come to mind for me for the word “wellness”, truthfully, and my favorite of all time, (which may seem a little strange), is the word “balance.” – Yes, that is correct, I said the “word” balance – only in my mind the word balance is in great big bold type lettering. Strange, right?

I think the word “balance” became synonymous with wellness for me when I took a health and wellness course in college and learned that in order for wellness to take effect the whole body should be in a state of equilibrium. The body may be well, but what if the mind isn’t? And – vice verse? This also reminds me of how dieting is less effective when the focus is placed solely on eating the right foods, but not exercising. And – vice verse. Which leads me to ask the question, “can we consider ourselves well if we only focus on one area or type of health and wellness?

“Wellness is both the quality and state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. It is also an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating disease. ”

Interestingly enough though, it will never be enough to just drink our green juice and do yoga. Or getting our regular medical check ups and taking our vitamins and minerals; or getting enough sleep and following the latest series of wellness fads.

No matter what, the mind will always be another aspect of wellness if we want to work on being as completely well as possible. Those other things I mentioned in the previous paragraph are important, but what about conditions such as grief or depression? How is wellness connected to those types of conditions?

Well, it’s as simple as this… It’s all about being able to adapt. Even if we are not able to adapt right away or immediately. The important thing is to just be able to do it at all. Because without being able to apply adjusting to life challenges the likelihood for change becomes slim and can result in stagnation.

Life changes all of the time and throughout our lives. So too, must we adjust to those changes. It’s the inability to adapt that will set the foundation for illness instead of wellness.

This can be somewhat of a slippery slope though, because you don’t want to be someone who shuts down emotionally and simply flows with nonchalant ease through every one of life’s difficult and challenging moments without allowing yourself to fully process what you’re experiencing during those difficult moments. Can it really be healthy to just push our true feelings way down deep inside of us and then plant an everlasting, (but inauthentic), smile on our faces – for any reason? How can that be healthy? You still want to and need to acknowledge, feel for and care about the people and things that mean a lot to you. – Just remember to adapt – when it’s time to.

However, we should also want to be committed to our lifelong growth and development. We should also be striving for equilibrium between the body and the mind since that is probably the best way to prepare ourselves to be in a state that will support our ability to have both the mental and physical strength to handle anything. Taking care of our mental health as well as our physical health – that is what wellness is – and taking care of just our physical health will not always contribute positively to our mental health. They are not always synonymous. Do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments section.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + Be well