Mindfulness Monday – Earth Day

image courtesy of pixabay


Love the world
as your own self;
then you can truly care
for all things. 

Lao Tzu

Just feel the magic in the air and the power in the breeze,
Feel the energy of the plants, the bushes and the trees,
Let yourself be surrounded by nature at its best,
Calm yourself, focus and let magic do the rest.

Sally Walker

In all things of nature
there is something of the
marvelous.

Aristotle

The days are so beautiful this time of year, urging us to come outside and linger, yet we often get so distracted by everything going on inside that we miss what mother nature is trying to tell us. My allergies are keeping me indoors more than I’d like, but I’m taking time to sit by my window each day and taking note of how my surrounding are changing, each day seems to bring a new bloom, a new color. The flora in the desert is much different than I’m used to on the east coast. there, there are so many blossoms it is hard to appreciate the individual plants, the individual blooms. Here flowers are often found alone, or in small groups, but the blossoms are often bright and beautiful and standing out in all their glory. I can look across a field and see a single flower blooming that I know was not there the day before, it is wondrous. The cactuses are starting to bloom and that is just amazing! I hope all of you can take some time and take a nature break.

A Mindful Monday

As I’ve wandered through the past couple of weeks I’ve realized how much I have strayed from my mindfulness practice and how much my Mindfulness Mondays helped keep me on track. Each Monday I was reminded how important mindfulness is and how to obtain it. It is time to refocus on this present moment with a few of my favorite quotes and a few photos from the desert.

Mindfulness isn’t difficult.
We just need to remember to do it.

Sharon Saltzberg

This quote is very meaningful for me right now as I remember how important mindfulness is, it is so easy to do, if only I remember to do it.

Mindfulness is simply
being aware of what is happening right now
without wishing it were different.
-Enjoying the pleasant without
holding on when it changes
(which it will)
-Being with the unpleasant without
fearing it will always be this way.
(which it won’t)

James Baraz

This quote by James Baraz is my all time favorite quote. Be with this day, whether it be pleasant or unpleasant, for it will always change.

Mindfulness means paying attention
in a particular way;
on purpose,
in the present moment,
and non-judgmentally.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

What I love most about this quote is the last word, “non-judmentally”. I am notorious for judging myself very harshly, and it has held me back in many ways. Another quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn, in part, says “Instead of ‘let it go’ we should probably say ‘let it be'”. I need to just let it be, and stay in the moment.

Mindfulness Monday – Changing.

I’ve decided to change things up a bit on my blog. I won’t be posting a Mindfulness Monday every Monday. I will still post once or twice a month, I’m hoping to blog more often with different topics. (health allowing) xo

Remember…

This is my favorite quotes. I hope you enjoy it, I know I’ve used it before. xo

**Image by W. Holcombe, please do not use without permission.

Mindfulness Monday: mindful miscellanea

“Turn your demons into art, your shadow into a friend, your fear into fuel, your failures into teachers, your weaknesses into reasons to keep fighting. Don’t waste your pain. Recycle your heart.”

Andrea Balt

Delving for Mindfulness Monday quotes is very therapeutic. I find new mantras, viewpoints, concepts and challenging thoughts to ponder. I have several “file folders” on my computer stuffed with “left-overs;” quotes that didn’t appear in the final draft of a post.

The new year: a time to declutter; to re-heat frozen left-overs from holiday feasts; to continue the spirit of giving and sharing.

To welcome a new mindfulness year, I’ve dipped into my cache of quotes. I hope you find one that resonates with you. 

“Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

[Anon]

 “If you get tired, learn to rest, not quit.”

[Anon]

“Start somewhere.”

[Anon]

 “Wonder is a bulky emotion. When you let if fill your heart and mind, there isn’t room for anxiety, distress, or anything else.”

Diane Ackerman

“Worry is a misuse of your imagination.”

Curiano

 “Into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.

[John Muir]

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

[FQL] 

“Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them . . . your smile, your hope, your courage.”

Doe Zantamata

I wish you a mindful, whimsical, playful, meaningful, exceptional, educational, experiential and hug-filled 2019.

Please remember:

“When it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars.”

Stacey Colegrove.

 “Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense.”

Robert Frost

Images: © Lorraine

Mindful New Year

“Do not wait until the conditions

are perfect to begin.

Beginning makes

the conditions perfect.”

~ Alan Cohen


**************************************************************

“Begin doing what you want

you want to do now.

We are not living in eternity.

We have only this moment.

sparkling like a star in

our hand and melting

like a snowflake.”

~ Marie Beynan Ray

**************************************************************

“Be mindful of how you

approach time.

Watching the clock

is not the same as

watching the sun rise.”

~ Sophia Bedford-Pierce


**************************************************************

“Although no one

can go back and

make a new start,

anyone can start

from now and make

a brand new ending.”

~Carl Bard



**I hope everyone finds more joy, health, love, and compassion in the upcoming year. I know it’s been a hard one for many of us. Just a few quotes to share today, more words from Wendy coming soon. 😉

Mindfulness Monday: on being mindful

“Be mindful even if your mind is full.”

James de la Vega

 “Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”

Sharon Salzberg

 This time of the year can heighten both joy and despair; laughter and tears; friendship and loneliness; comfort and pain. Being present in the moment among the presents and presences can ground us as the season swirls by. Mindfulness can act as anchor, guidepost, tao. Bringing us back inside, to quiet, stillness. Mindfulness can help us do what is so important: breathe, love, live.

 This week is a selection of quotes around the idea of mindfulness, grounding, coping. I hope these resonate with you.

 “Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.”

John Kabat-Zinn

“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.”

Amit Ray 

“When you look into a field of dandelions, you can either see a field of weeds or a field of wishes.”

Anon.

 “Regain your senses, call yourself back, and once again wake up. Now that you realize that only dreams were troubling you, view this ‘reality’ as you view your dreams.”

Marcus Aurelius

Wishing everyone all the best of this festive season, and in the new year to come. Charles Dickens wrote, “Christmas would not be Christmas, but for the exchange of our good wishes.”

 Image: google images/pininterest

Mindfulness Monday: pain

“Healing is an art. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes love.”

Maza Dohta

Being present, being in the moment can be difficult when in physical pain. To transcend that barrier; to be aware of breath and heartbeat over the noise of pain synapses. When the levels of my physical pain increase, as they have of late, I struggle to own my pain, rather than it owning me.

Helping Wendy with Mindfulness Mondays is therapeutic; choosing a topic; searching out the quotes; formulating the post – all help me focus, to remember to breath.

I hope this week’s Mindfulness Monday quotes help you be mindful of the pain and of the moment.

“Some people think that to be strong is to never feel pain. In reality, the strongest people are the ones who feel it, understand it, accept it.”

Anon

“Mindfulness can play a big role in transforming our experience with pain and other difficulties; it allows us to recognize the authenticity of the distress and yet not be overwhelmed by it.”

Susan Salzburg

“Chronic pain or other challenges are invitations; gifts that challenge us to learn how to manage the mind.”

Cheryl Richardson

image: (c) Lorraine

 

Mindful Monday – Mental Illness

Today’s Mindfulness Monday is not really quotes on mindfulness, they are mindful quotes on mental health.  There are more quotes than usual, I actually found over 30 that I liked and finally cut it down to these 7.  After each quote I will explain why I chose that particular quote.  I hope you will bare with me, as most of you know I’m working through a mental health crisis of my own, and working on this post has helped me feel not so alone.  ***Please note that this post contains a frank discussion on mental health issues including suicide ideation.

“Beautiful fake smile.

All it takes is a beautiful fake smile

 to hide an injured soul and

they will never notice how broken you really are.”

~Robin Williams

I chose this quote because we I often use a fake smile to get through the day.  Whether it be because of my physical or mental illnesses, that fake smile makes others believe I’m okay, and that makes dealing with the general public, and sometimes even those closest to me, easier.  I don’t have to explain, I don’t have to deal with the awkwardness…..the fake smile, is a shield I use to deflect the judgments from others.  

“Be proud of every step

you take towards stability,

no matter how big or small.”

~Jessica AnnHardy

I have been feeling like all the work I’ve been doing to overcome this crisis has shown little improvement.  I chose this quote because it reminded me that even the smallest steps toward my stability are worth being proud of.

“I’m still me no matter

my mental health”

~Niki McBain

Earlier today I texted a friend how afraid I am that this is my new normal, all the anger, and simply being a bitch all the time.  I’m no longer a nice person.  I told her, “I feel like I’ve lost Wendy”  I chose this quote simply because it reassured me that Wendy is still in there somewhere.

“It’s exhausting to fight a war

inside your head

every single day.”

~Mickie Ann

If you don’t have a mental illness I don’t think you can ever understand this quote, if you do, I doubt I have to explain why I included it.  This constant battle going on in my head is driving me insane….or perhaps I’m insane is why I have the battle in the first place….these are the kind of questions that bombard me all the time lately.  Every… Single….Day

“Surviving a psychiatric crisis is one thing.

Overcoming one is something completely different.”

~Chris Curry

I hope to somehow understand this, and hopefully so will my husband.  Right now we are in survival mode, overcoming it is going to be a long, hard process.  (I’m not sure it will ever happen completely)

“The bravest thing I ever did

was continuing my life

when I wanted to die.”

~Juliette Lewis

Okay, I’m admitting something here so other’s my hear my pain, and will perhaps not feel so alone.  Each day since this crisis began has been a fight for my life.  More than once I’ve thought it would be best if I were not here.  I’m not being selfish, of looking for the easy way out.  I’m hurting the person I love most, over, and over, and over again.  When I’m having the most severe emotions, rage, despair….and the psychosis (auditory hallucinations)  I cannot see that removing myself from this world would hurt him worse, I can only see that I’m causing him so much pain, and at that moment I believe that if I’m wasn’t here it would be better for him…and others I love.  I want to remove myself from the situation.  Actually, that’s exactly it, I am simply trying my hardest to get away from the war inside me, I simply need to escape.  The pain is just too great.  Please do not judge me, if you do, keep it to yourself, my psyche can’t handle it right now.  I am not in danger, my husband and my psychiatrist know about this and I’m being watched….like a child….I hate it.

”You know when you’re in a bad dream

and you’re trying to run, punch, kick, or scream,

 and your body just won’t move?

You open your mouth and nothing comes out.

You feel frozen or in slow motion,

 and no matter how hard you try to fight it,

nothing changes.

That’s how it feels to battle mental illness.”

~Evyenia

When I read this quote I thought….Yes!!  It is often like that.  I feel like I scream and scream and even when I’m making noise it makes no sense.  I’m stuck, I can’t get out.  I just want me back again!  There are so many people who feel like they aren’t themselves after they start their psychiatric medication, especially those who are bipolar I, like me.  I will admit, when I first started my meds I wondered if the changes in my moods were making me less….me.  I was losing part of who I identified as me, but after I was stable for a while I realized that the real me was the stable person.  I no longer had times of extreme mood swings, I no longer did so many dangerous things, I felt more in control.  Yes, I missed being able to pain for days on end, I don’t feel I’ve been as creative, and I miss the times I could read 2-3 books in one day, but I don’t miss buying a car I couldn’t afford, or having sex with someone and not remembering it, or losing days that I don’t remember.  That wasn’t me.  When I’d relapse, which has never been as bad as this crisis, I’d run to my doctor immediately for help.  I didn’t like that feeling at all, I was suddenly not me.  And suddenly after 20+ years, I’m having a severe crisis.  It scares the hell out of me.  I will say, I think I’m better today than I was 2 weeks ago, but I still have a long way to go.

I just want to be Wendy again.

***by the way, the photo above is a self portrait I took a few years ago.  I haven’t been in the mood to take many pictures lately, and I felt this photo was appropriate.  (all right’s reserved)

Mindfulness Monday: calmness

“Calm the winds of your thoughts, and there will be no waves on the ocean of your mind.”

Remez Sassoon

“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet, it is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there – buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.”

 Deepak Chopra

“Empty your mind of everything – let the mind become still.”

Lao Tzu

I create personalized “mindfulness” or “grounding” cards. On different coloured index cards, I print out a quote; a saying; a thought gleaned from elsewhere, or sometimes from somewhere inside me.

I carry two with me . . . always.

The first is a grounding exercise to use when I have a panxiety attack, feel like I’m drifting too far from shore, or to help be mindful of my surroundings by using all my senses. *

The other:

“Calm as a koi pond.”

Lorraine

* Borrowed from the “web of thoughts.” Can be modified to suit a person’s abilities and needs; I took the whole.

Look around you and find:

FIVE things you can SEE

FOUR things you can TOUCH

THREE things you can HEAR

TWO things you can SMELL

ONE thing you can TASTE

And, Wendy (who is taking a break from Mindfulness Monday today) gave me a wonderful set of 65 Power Thought Cards, beautifully written and richly, colorfully, and playfully illustrated by Louise Hay.

On one side is a saying; the reverse is a longer meditation on that specific thought/phrase/concept.

I carry around two:

“I am willing to change.”

“I express my creativity.”

Thanks to Wendy, (and Mindfulness Mondays), I am “working” on both!

image: © lorraine

Mindfully seeing

“The best way to capture moments

is to pay attention.

This is how we cultivate mindfulness.”

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

This week I decided to try to get back to the basics of my mindfulness practice.  When I first started learning about being mindful I would take time to really look at things up close and see all the little things about them. I tried to keep my attention on the object and discover as much as I could about it, is it smooth? bumpy? soft? scratchy? colorful? alive?…… just trying to mindfully seeing the world, one piece at a time.  At one point I took my camera and took a ton of pictures of one object, seeing it through the camera lens made me pay even more attention to it.  This week I did that same exercise.  I’d like to share some of the photos I took.  These are all objects you might see in day to day life, I just got up close and personal with them.  I’m only sharing one photo from each object I looked at instead of a ton of one item, I thought it’d be fun to see if you can guess what each object is?  **answers can be found at the bottom of this post

20181109_08550820181109_08523720181109_08521820181109_08515420181109_102757

I challenge you to go out in your world today and pay attention to the world around you, one piece at a time.

What did you see today?

 

I hope you liked this version of Mindfulness Monday.

**The photos above are of a Dust mop, a plastic bowl on my kitchen counter, the shutters in my living room, the metal grating on my front door (like a super duper screen door, but with heavy metal), and the refection of the pool shining on my ceiling dancing with the shadow of the fencing.  (I have to say the last one isn’t nearly as interesting as it is when you see it literally dancing on the ceiling.)

All photos are the sole property of W. Holcombe.  Please do not use without permission.