Mindfulness Monday – Love

hearts-black-and-white

 

What is the difference between “I like you”
and “I love you”?

Beautifully answered by Buddha:
“When you like a flower, you just pluck it.
But when you love a flower, you water it daily.”

 

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.
When mindfulness embraces those we love,
they will bloom like flowers.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

All artwork shown on Picnic with Ants created by W. Holcombe, unless otherwise specified.  All rights reserved.  Please don’t use without permission.

Mindfulness Monday – 31 Rumi

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photo by S. Holcombe

“Do not worry that your life is turning upside down.
How do you know that the side you are used to
is better than the one to come?”

~Rumi

“If you only say one prayer in a day, make it
‘Thank you’.”

~Rumi

5 minutes

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w.holcombe

#MYMIGHTYMONTH  prompt
Set a timer for 5 minutes.How are you feeling right now?
Jot down your thoughts, and try to limit yourself to just 5 minutes.

5 minutes for me to write a blog post will be a miracle, but if I don’t count editing, maybe I can get something out that will mean something.

How do I feel right now?  Less dizzy than I have in a week.  I’ve had vertigo so much this week, especially on Monday, I didn’t get Mindfulness Monday out this week.  This is the first Monday I’ve missed in over 7 months.  I’m so disappointed.  I felt guilty at first, but I had no control over it, so I “just stopped”  🙂

I’ve been able to knit some when the spinning in my head would slow down, that’s been nice.  I’m making a blanket now for Project Linus.  They make blankets for kids who need one.  It can be a baby or an older child.  They could be sick in the hospital, or homeless, if they need a blanket, they get one.  It’s a great project and I’m excited to get involved.  I may not be able to make many blankets, but to be able to do anything, it’s wonderful.  To be able to volunteer doing something is giving me more of a sense of purpose.

Well, that’s 5 minutes.  and that’s okay because I really don’t have much more to say.   I haven’t been feeling well, don’t worry, it’s just my normal way of not feeling well.  I’m grateful I’m not sick-sick on top of it.  (knock on wood)  There are so many bugs going around I hope none of you are sick.

How’s your week going?  It’s supposed to snow here tonight.  It doesn’t snow often where I live in NC, so people aren’t used to it.  It will be pretty for a few minutes then people will go crazy on the roads, and I’ll be ready for it to go away.  Truthfully, I wish it never snowed.  As the weather changes my head is killing me.  As it gets colder, and it is, I ache more.  I really don’t like cold weather.

Do you like the snow?  Does it make your symptoms worse?  Or do you love the snow?

Just Stop

My theme for this year.  Just stop.

  • Just Stop and listen to my body more.
  • Just Stop and listen to others.
  • Just Stop and think before doing.
  • Just Stop and think before speaking.
  • Just Stop and get centered before moving.
  • Just Stop and think before putting that food in my mouth.
  • Just Stop trying too hard.
  • Just Stop feeling guilty for things I can’t change.
  • Just Stop and meditate.

Just Stop.

Mindfulness Monday 30 – Beginnings

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photo by S. Holcombe

“We turn not older with years
but newer every day.”

~ Emily Dickenson

 

“So I close my eyes to old ends
and open my heart to new beginnings.”

~Nick Frederickson

 

“There are far better things ahead
than any we leave behind.”

~C.S. Lewis

Death and Living

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On June 30th my father died.  Yesterday was his birthday.  I would have thought that I would be filled with sad emotions, instead I’ve been filled with a renewed lust for life.  All we know really is life and death, I’m thinking that his death made me realize just how lucky I am to be alive.  I may have a lot of hurdles to jump over every day, but I’m alive and I will thrive.

Often when you have a chronic illness life becomes so hard we don’t care to live any longer.  I know I’ve been suicidal, more often I’ve simply felt that I didn’t want to wake up.  I simply didn’t want to exist any more, it was just too hard.  Since my father’s death, I’ve realized that I’ve been wasting what life I’ve been given.  Yes, I’m sick and I can’t do a lot of things that a normal person can do, but there are a lot of things I can do, I just need to figure out my limits and live within those without wishing for things to be different.  Wishing for everything to be different makes life miserable.

Losing a parent can make you reevaluate your life.  For me it made me realize I haven’t been appreciating my life.  I realize I want to live.  I may not enjoy every moment of my life, my life may be hard, but it’s my life and I’m going to live it!

 

During this holiday season, I wish you all a life well lived.

 

**all images on Picnic With Ants created and owned by Wendy Holcombe unless otherwise noted.

Christmas My Way

christmas-treeWhen I was 30 Christmases as I had known them changed forever.  That was the year my mother died.  Everything changed that year.  When the matriarch of the family dies the traditions die with her.  We tried to keep things alive, we had Christmas at my sister’s house as she had the only grandchild, things weren’t the same, but they were still nice.

Then there was a falling out between me and my niece.  Well not a falling out really, she got mad at me and refuses to be in my presence.  There isn’t much I can do, not that I haven’t tried, I have.  I could speculate all day what has happened between the two of us, but at this point it doesn’t make much difference.  This has however, ruined many relationships for me in my family.  Family Christmases became a thing of the past.

After Stuart and I became a family we started having Christmas celebrations with friends, as Stuart’s family lives a long way away and they don’t do much for the holiday anyway, again they are without the matriarch.  We normally celebrated Christmas day alone, just us, but leading up to that time, we went to parties and had people over to our home to celebrate.  It was a joyous time.  Then I got sick, and things changed.  We no longer got invited to parties.  I no longer felt that I could throw a party.  Then we moved so there is no likelihood of rekindling that time.  Truthfully, we’ve all changed so much, I don’t think there could be any rekindling even if we do move back to our old city, or if I miraculously got better.  Let’s be honest, my old friends really are just that, old friends.  They aren’t a part of my current life.

The last few years I’ve tried to be okay with the holiday.  But truth be told, I’ve been very depressed.  Depression runs rampant during this time of year and I was not immune.  I tried hard not to feel bad that I wasn’t surrounded by people.  I’ve had the one person near me who means the most to me, why should I be depressed?  Because Christmas is a time for friends and family.  A time for gatherings.  It was the two of us, yet I felt lonely.  And I felt guilty that I didn’t feel that it was enough.  I was depressed and felt guilty for being depressed.

Over the past few years I haven’t cared about decorations, we had no tree.  Why hassle with it?  No one would see it.  No one would care.  We’d have a little celebration.  We’d try, but it all seemed like we were just going through the motions.  Christmas is for groups of people, not just the two of us, and we didn’t have a family.

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a little decorations making the holiday our own

This year has changed.  No we still don’t have a family, and we aren’t celebrating with any friends.  (We still don’t have any locally)  I changed.  I realized that Christmas really isn’t about family and friends.  It’s all about how you feel inside.  It’s not about giving the biggest gift it’s about giving to those in need.  It’s not about being with a bunch of people it’s about caring for those you are with.  It’s about caring for mankind.

This year I decided to decorate.  I never go all out like some people, that just isn’t me, but we put up a tree, and did a little decorating in the house.  It has made all the difference in our home.  We are in the spirit.  I understood just how much when my loving husband was looking through Amazon and found the National CASA Association Wish List, they provide Toys for Foster Kids, and told me that if I hadn’t purchased his presents yet he wanted the money to go to buying these kids presents.  How special is that?  So we took most of the money we planned to spend on our Christmas presents and bought Toys for Foster Kids.  Realize I did say most, I decided we needed a little gift exchange between the two of us, just a little something.

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this is the actual puzzle we put together

We also have other traditions we are going to make sure we revitalize.  We always watch, It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.  This has been a long standing tradition.  This year we are bringing back putting together the Charlie Brown Christmas puzzle, and our LEGO Christmas Train.  The train will be put together this weekend.  The puzzle goes together on Christmas day.  I don’t have a lot of traditions.  We cook a few little things as the time goes on, and health permits.  We’ve made some cookies so far, we’ll make spiced nuts to give to our neighbors, we’ll make a special breakfast on Christmas day….  The point is we are making this Holiday season ours.   And if at any time I can’t do something because I don’t feel like it we can postpone until later, or just decide not to do it.  All is good during our holiday celebration.

How can you make the season less depressing and more your own?  Remember that it really isn’t about family and friends, it’s about love and giving.  Love everyone and give to those in need.  Honor traditions you want to, we watch It’s a Wonderful Life.  Make new traditions, like putting together a themed puzzle on Christmas day.  Put up decorations if you want.  If you aren’t able to put up everything you want to, then either ask for help, or try to pick out your favorite decorations and put those out.  We have a small tree, and not all my ornaments fit, so I sit my favorites around as decorations.  The point is to make the holiday your holiday now.  Don’t try to make it what it was when you were well, or what it was when you were growing up, or any dream holiday you have been trying to live up to.  Make this holiday something special, on your own terms.

Sometimes no matter how much we try to make the holiday a pleasant thing for us, it just doesn’t work, depression takes over.  For those who get depressed during this time of year, remember that you are not alone.  If you need to reach out, please do so, there are numbers at the end of this post if you are in need.  If you need a friend to talk to please feel free to contact me.

  • U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255  If you are having thoughts of suicide, call this number immediately.
  • Kristin Brooks Hope Center Hopeline: 1-800-784-2433  This hotline can help you cope with a range of depressive feelings.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)  Responders understand the unique experiences of veterans.
  • United Way Helpline: 1-800-233-4357  They can aid you in locating a therapist, healthcare or basic necessities such as housing and food by directing you to local services.