“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw
Remember the childhood days of recess and going to the playground? Remember the excitement of having time to meet and just play with your friends? This was one of my favorite times of the day. I couldn’t wait to relax from learning multiplication and division and play with my friends. The playground seemed to be a magical place as a kid. The silly games we played and stories we told using our imaginations. It was a time to allow our minds to relax and enjoy life.
When was the last time you relaxed your mind? Or enjoyed your life? When was the last time you played? As adults we tend to forget to play and usually think it’s silly or we are too old to be playing. However, it’s never too late to bring it back. If animals and children can play then why can’t we?
I’m not saying you need to go to the playground and revisit your favorite past time games (unless of course you want to). What I am saying is to remember to incorporate it in your life more in whatever way feels right to you. Maybe it’s grabbing a drink or dinner with friends, going to an amusement park or watching a movie. It’s the beginning of summer which means plenty of opportunities to play, i.e. beach days, hiking, swimming, bbqing.
It’s time to take advantage of these opportunities now and remember playtime. We are never too old for playtime and deserve to relax and allow our minds to not be completely consumed by life. Not only does it make us feel good but also helps us to remember to keep our youthfulness alive.
When was the last time you felt deep pain? What emotions did you experience? How did you feel? In life we are constantly trying to avoid pain. We are usually socialized to be like hedonists, chasing our pleasures and avoiding pain at all costs. However there is something to learn from pain and the feelings that accompany it. The experience itself is utmost important because it can teach us some very powerful lessons.
How did you get through the pain you experienced? Some people find ways to manage their grief and pain by turning to loved ones for support. Others may express it through a creative outlet or physical exercise. Everyone has a different way of coping and dealing with life problems. I personally retreat into my own world of writing and creativity for a while to heal and process. We all approach pain differently but ultimately what can we learn from it?
What did you learn from your experience of deep pain? Did you approach your life differently or have a great epiphany? Perhaps the lesson was simple like smiling more or taking more chances. Whatever it was that you learned, did it help you grow into becoming a better version of your self, your highest self?
Currently, I am going through some deep pain dealing with some bad news about a close family member. One of the things that I am learning from the experience and pain is realizing what truly matters to me but also how I want my life story to be told when I pass. This realization is creating a sense of clarity into how I want my story to be told and what my next chapter will be about. I want to make an impact in this world, help others and truly live up to my potential. Without this experience perhaps I would still be questioning and soul-searching for the right answers. Pain may not be our best friend but in the end it may be helping us more than we know. If this is you, allow yourself to experience it, learn from it and take the best life lesson you can from it and grow into your highest self.
Things do fall apart sometimes. Our relationships, dreams and even ourselves may suddenly fall apart or move in a completely different direction than we had ever imagined. Ideally, I think many of us would like to somehow pick up all the broken pieces and fix it. Usually, we don’t want to give up but what if all the signs are pointing us somewhere else? What do you do then?
There seems to be this pressure in life that we need to have everything figured out by the age of 18. We need to know what our life purpose is and who we want to be when we grow up. But what if you don’t? People go through college and graduate programs still trying to figure out who they really are. It’s no wonder so many of us go through multiple career changes because we change and life changes.
Perhaps you are at a place in your life where it feels like you are hanging on by a thread. The unknown can be terrifying. What if you do fall apart? I found the above quote to be really inspiring because it resonated with me at a time when I felt completely broken. It spoke to the very essence of who I was and I realized that it’s okay to fall apart. It’s okay to start over and rebuild myself.
We can so caught up in what everyone else thinks or wants for us and forget about who we really are and what we want. Have you ever had an experience where everything you tried to accomplish wasn’t working? How did you overcome this obstacle? What strategies or actions did you take to rebuild yourself?
It’s difficult to start over especially from a place where you felt so certain about yourself and your life. But everything (I believe) happens for a reason and maybe this is an opportunity for you to get to know yourself better. Look deeply within and see what it is you want to bring out, enhance or rebuild about yourself without any limitations or expectations. A great unknown author once quoted, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself”.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you.” -Lewis Smedes
When is the right time to forgive someone? Is there even a right time? In some situations it’s easier to forgive than in others. Sometimes the pain caused is so deep that we can’t see past it. We can’t move forward and usually hold on to this pain like a security blanket unable to let go. But why? Why is it that we so often hold on to this pain, hurt, anger and resentment? What purpose does it serve us? The questions are much easier to ask than to answer them.
What are you holding on to? It could be a grudge against someone from the past or from a difficult relationship. Think about it for a moment. Is there anything or anyone holding you back from moving forward? What stops you from forgiving the person? Sometimes it takes people an entire lifetime to forgive someone and sometimes it takes a few hours. How much more time do you want to spend?
I recently read somewhere that forgiveness can easily be confused with approval. We can be afraid to forgive because then it could indicate to the person or to ourselves we approve of their actions. However this is not the case. Forgiveness is not approval. Forgiveness is simply letting go of that pain and moving on with your life. Forgiveness makes room for happiness to enter your life and can heal your soul.
There are many reasons as to why we don’t want to forgive so easily. It could be a sign of weakness, fear of getting hurt again, anger or revenge. Whatever the reason, is it worth holding you back from living a more enjoyable and happy life?
In the words of a wise person, “Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head”. Let this serve as a reminder for you and for me, forgiveness leads to freedom.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
It seems as though the concept of self-love today is perceived as being selfish, narcissistic and usually frowned upon than actually supported by many people. While the media and new types of philosophies, i.e. Law of Attraction are showing support in taking care of one’s self, people are still showing some resistance to it. It’s almost as if we are scared to express love for ourselves because we don’t want to criticized or judged by others as being too confident, selfish or narcissistic. So when is it OK to stop and pay attention to what we need rather than what everyone else needs? When do we allow ourselves the opportunity to tune in and tune out?
There are so many ways to be distracted from our emotions, thoughts and overall well-being through new technologies, social networks, career and family life. It’s actually much easier to tune ourselves out now and fill in silence with noise, chatter, and demands of our daily lives. Have you ever met someone who never stopped talking or actually know of someone who can’t stand silence? People are constantly searching for ways to fill in these gaps of silence or downtime. It’s almost as if we need these distractions to avoid tuning in to what we need or how we are feeling.
So I want to ask you, what is it that you need right now in your life? Take a look at the image above and observe what word you feel most drawn to. What is your soul or inner self trying to tell you? Is it time to start listening to yourself and nurture your own needs? I’m not saying to forget about the world and everyone else in your life. I’m simply encouraging you to become more aware of how to show yourself love even if it means ignoring anyone who may criticize or judge you for doing so. In the Buddha’s words, you as much as anyone else deserve your love and affection so allow that love to manifest in whatever way possible.
There are 24 hours, 86,400 seconds in a day. How do you spend them? Worrying, angry, confused, grateful, happy, living your life with a purpose? How do you spend your time? Do you even think about it? We often live our lives on auto-pilot, unaware of how we are feeling and what it is we are really doing with this precious thing called time.
It seems simple when you think about it and somewhat cliché but sometimes these simple concepts are what we need to be reminded of. Personally, I sometimes feel as though I’m not living to my highest potential or use my time as wisely as I could. More recently, I was feeling very unfulfilled and realized the reason why. I wasn’t using my time as best as I could to benefit myself, people around me or maximize my potential here. This realization had led me to develop new habits to fulfill my life purpose and use my time to benefit myself and those around me.
We aren’t going to have everything about life figured out just yet but keep in mind time is the one thing that will ever be free and available so take full advantage of it. You could do a lot in a day so use one of life’s little presents to make the best of yourself and your purpose here.
What happens when you go against the gut feeling you had? Or what happens when you do go with the gut feeling you had? Call it your gut feeling, instinct or intuition, it’s there for a reason. Those intuitive feelings are natural and come with us wherever we go in life. Some may be more intuitive than others but that’s no reason to completely ignore it. Have you ever experienced regret or disappointment for not following your intuition when you knew all along that you should have? I know I have many times. I’m not saying to throw logic out of the window completely but if you are feeling a certain way about something or someone in your life, sometimes it’s best to just trust that feeling.
For me personally, I grew up in a really dysfunctional and abusive home. I had to learn how to fully rely on my intuition and trust that there was a greater purpose for me despite my surrounding environment and difficult circumstances. Somehow I just knew I would be doing something better and greater with my life. My intuition not only helped me to survive in my childhood but it also helped me to navigate through my life until now. It has become my compass and trusty guide through practically everything. Being abused and witnessing violence for so many years are not easy things to deal with but relying on my intuition is what led me here today and helped me to survive some of the darkest moments in my life.
So when you are having those moments of doubt or despair, take a moment to breathe, pray, meditate or do whatever works for you and remember you also have a greater purpose here. Listen to your intuition, follow your heart and trust that you will get there.