compassion · health · renewal · self · spirituality

Rest You for the Best You

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

After the New Year, I wrote about promises. To ourselves and others. This month I focus on the promise of rest.

Remember being a kid during the summer? We would do nothing for hours or do something that felt like nothing because it was so undemanding. We would move through each day with play and fun or pass idle moments without a care. We did not fill every waking thought with to-do lists, and we would (gasp) complain of being bored.

We would relax. We would rest.

In a modern world of non-stop everything and endless responsibility, it becomes almost impossible to pause. Life and its demands do not stop for longer, sunnier, blue sky days.

We need to create pockets of downtime, force ourselves to rest.

For some, it is a few quiet moments reading at the end of the day when everyone else has gone to bed. For others, it may be found rocking in a chair with a hot cup of coffee while watching the sunrise. The good news? There is no wrong way and there are countless ways to find peace. To begin, discover what part needs the most attention.

The most obvious need comes from our physical selves. We know the signs of physical exhaustion and can easily solve it by getting much needed sleep. Of course the best solution is to follow a structured schedule where we routinely go to bed and rise at the same times each day. Doing this trains our bodies to adapt during the day without the need for naps, caffeine, sugar, or other temporary and unhealthy fixes. Make this the summer you get quality rest every night so you can make the best of every day.

Not sure how much sleep you need? Find the ideal amount at Sleep Needs.

It never stops. The notifications, the texts, the to-do’s and don’ts. Thanks to ever-present technology and daily demands, we cannot catch a break. Our brains are in overdrive due to excess information coming from our devices, work, family, home, school, church, and more. It is an easy trap to fall in:  the need to stay updated on everything and everyone. But the fear of missing out and desire to stay on top of every detail not only overwhelms but hurts our health. Make this the summer you rest your mind and shift focus to what matters. 

Wondering how to free your thoughts? Try these simple tasks at How to Settle the Mind.

To many, the spirit is elusive, a mysterious known yet unknown thing. It is in the difficulty of definition that we find it hard to give it the attention it needs. The answers are simple, however. For though the spirit is unique to all,  it is easy to pinpoint whatever brings the greatest joy. When we do something that feeds our spirit, we get a sense of feeling balanced, content, and perhaps even complete. It can come in any form – reading, gardening, prayer, mediation, music, dance, writing, etc.

When you have found yours, you will know it. And when you know it, engage in it. As often as possible.

For it is the spirit that does not necessarily need to rest but be reassured. It needs us to tend it and when we do, it will nourish every other part of our lives. Make this the summer you do more of whatever makes your heart happy.

Need some help? Learn how to Take Care of Your Spirit.

My go to? A simple 10 minute morning meditation. Meditation does not have to be some complicated, time consuming process. It can be as simple as tapping into our senses while sitting still in a quiet setting. I like it because it declutters my mind, pauses my body, and replenishes my spirit while leaving me focused and ready for the day.

The internet is full of information about the mind, body, and spirit. I encourage you to educate yourself with reputable and trusted sources. The options are endless! Find visual video techniques. Read tips and tricks on health sites. Discover a positivity blog like Inspired Me, Joyful Be :). There is something for everyone. Begin now and I guarantee that the ‘rest’ will fall into place.

P.S. – I am taking my own advice and getting away. There will be no July post as I road trip around the country with my little family. I look forward to reconnecting in August and wish you the happiest of summers!
compassion · generosity · kindness · love · relationships

Many Reasons To Love

After the New Year, I wrote about promises. To ourselves and others. This month I focus on the promise of love.

When we think of love, we often think about what it does for us, the way it makes us act and feel. But with the upcoming holiday celebrating the very concept of love I wonder – have we ever considered what our love can do for another? 

LOVE can …

Calm – It provides steadiness in a rocky world.
Lift – It offers support through hardship and trouble.
Soothe – Consistent affection offers peace to the soul.
Elevate – Everything is more enjoyable when shared with another.
Push – It encourages the achievement of goals and dreams.
Pull – It reminds us to interact on a deeper level.
Respect – Everyone needs to feel they are worthy.
Accept – It allows us to simply be ourselves without judgment.
Connect – It suggests we are better together than alone.
Humble – Opening ourselves to others requires compromise.
Reward – Giving a little gives us far more in return.
Trust – It builds confidence in other relationships and experiences.
Heal – The hurt, the pain, it can be eased, possibly erased.
Revive – It carries remarkable strength, energy, and life.

To love. To be loved. No matter how it is done, it is a special gift – one that should be given whenever possible.

Join me for A YEAR OF PROMISE!

Follow along as I focus on a different promise each month. This will not be some hard-core, paid program but a gentle exploration of changing how we view (and do) life. And in the end, maybe some parts will remain unchanged while others will be done in an entirely different way. The future is open, it is waiting, and it is all ours …

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Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

compassion · generosity · kindness

Hope In Things Unseen

Once again I have a scheduled topic to write about and Life intervenes instead as teacher, guide, and reminder.

This morning I dropped my son at basketball camp early (as in “too early for coffee” early). And although he attended last summer, I planned to stay until it officially kicked off before beginning my day.

This camp is on a mid-size university campus a bit far from our hometown and though he has done it before, I worry. I am a mother. I cannot help myself. When he is away for 7 hours each day of the week at a location where no adult knows who he is, I worry.

Today, however, my attention was drawn elsewhere. As I watched kids of all ages crowd beneath the baskets in hope of rebounding a ball, a small boy came to where I leaned against a wall. He was about six with blonde spiked hair, pale freckled skin, and sparkling blue eyes. He knelt down to his water jug and played with the spout. I continued watching the activity on the court while sneaking glances at him. He seemed to be upset so I guessed he was having trouble getting the cap off his jug.

Not seeing a parent around (most leave right after registration), I asked if he needed help. He looked to me with wide eyes and nodded. I crouched close to him on the floor and as I reached for his jug, he began to cry.

“That’s okay, we’ll figure it out,” I assured, still assuming he was upset about his water. As I noticed him pop open the drinking spout with ease, I quickly realized he did not need help with that. “Oh, honey. What’s wrong?”

“I can’t play basketball. I tried to shoot the ball and didn’t make any,” he sobbed. “And I don’t have any friends here. No one wants to play with me.”

Needless to say, my heart instantly cracked in two for this little boy. Not only for the fact he was scared and feeling alone but that he had the bravery to share it with me.

“Can I tell you a secret?” I asked. “When my son came to camp for his first year, he didn’t know anyone either. But they do something very cool here. They put you on a team and you stay on that team all week and by the end you become not just teammates, but friends.”

He seemed to consider this while fighting back tears. “But I can’t make a basket!”

“Well, that is why you are here, isn’t it?” I waved my hand toward the gym floor. “Every boy out there wants to learn how to play better. And the coaches will teach you that.”

“Okay,” he shrugged.

I asked if he wanted to join the others, but he shook his head.

And so it was that I planned to leave, but then I stayed. Along with my boy, I wanted to see this little guy start camp.

We fielded wayward balls from under the basket together and he glanced to where I was still standing a few feet away. “Where should I put these?” he asked, looking at his water jug and lunch.

“Upstairs on the balcony,” I pointed. “Do you want me to show you?”

He nodded, and we walked up the two flights of stairs. Once he found a spot he would remember at lunch time, we headed downstairs and during the final minutes of free-shooting, he sat against the wall, content to watch. And when the head coach instructed the campers to the center of the gym, he got up and began to walk in that direction.

As he passed by I told him to have a fun day. “And if you have any questions, just ask someone with a whistle.” There were over a dozen coaches and college players with whistles, and this was my equivalent to telling my son to look for a mommy with kids if he ever needed help and I was not there.

He nodded and maneuvered between boys twice his size to find a place to sit on the floor. After one final glance at my son and another at the little boy, I left to begin my day.

Even if we are not parenting our own children, we are responsible for parenting.

Whether we have children or not, adults have an important role to play. We have an unspoken duty to care for the children of this world. And when one of us is not there for our child, others need to step in if necessary to soothe, calm, cheer, or help in our absence.  Too often we leave it up to family, teachers, coaches, or clergy to guide a child. But in reality, it is up to all of us to display kindness, show compassion, be patient, and reach out to someone in need.

Of course I get the whole notion of stranger danger and overstepping bounds when it comes to helping another person’s child. I am in no way suggesting we should infringe, impose, or interfere in a situation that is none of our business. It is important to know when and how to help without leaving an impression of impropriety, endangerment, or misunderstanding.

But when the intent is innocent and the purpose is to ease the pain of growing up, I have no apologies.

I have hope. 

Hope that sweet boy goes home to his parents with a smile on his face, telling stories of a fun first day at camp.

Hope he realizes how brave he was to ask for help, accept it, and keep moving forward in the face of fear.

Hope he understands there is so much more good and love in this world than bad and hate.

Hope he remembers the kindness of a stranger and pays it forward one day.

Hope that if this had been my son in need, someone would have done the same for him…

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