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Hangin' Tough: A Humorous Lesson in Patience
If you are an 80s child then the New Kids on the Block title reference will not be missed, if not then I am sorry for this three sentence rant that follows. I do suggest you Google "Hangin' Tough by New Kids on the Block" pronto. I will leave their musical genius and video below for nostalgic purposes. Back to the point of this post! What does "hangin' tough" mean and how does it pertain to difficult times? Let's go right to "hang in there man". That's what many people will say to you when you are going through difficult times. They say this because #1.) They have no idea what to say to you and #2.) Your shitty time will eventually pass as all things do....even the really shitty times.

Hangin' tough means waiting it out, having patience, and sobbing all over Mr. Whiskers. However, no one ever tells you how much time you will be waiting for emotional relief during and immediately following hard times. Someone should prepare you and perhaps send a short text message like: "Stock up on whisky" *smiley emoticon* or *crying emoticon* or *smiling-crying emoticon*. I am here to tell you this single truth: You will be waiting for what could be months and seemingly swimming to an open island called "nowhere". There you will get sun burnt until patience carries you through to your next happy moment. All jokes aside, hang in there man.

How do you conquer this patient time period? Patience would be nice, but let's say you have little patience to offer to the world. The next best thing is making plans to keep yourself busy. I am not talking about a business plan, just simply something to do. Travel, having dinner with friends, playing a game with your kids, or even taking a walk around the block. Pass the time. Start watching a new television series...anything other than twiddle your thumbs and thoughts. You will have a moment where you feel like you can breath again or that your chest isn't crushing inwards towards your internal organs. During that moment, you are coming off your island. Perhaps you are ready to come out of your cave and greet the world again. When you are ready, you will know...and don't let your therapist tell you any different! Laugh through the tears. It will get better, but you have to believe it will.





Finding Peace

Stark revelation today. Peace is not something that God gives you or anyone else. In order to get true peace in your life you must be willing to give it to yourself. As someone who is incredibly hard on themselves, this is easier said than done. At least, I made this revelation for myself. All it took was one little dove sitting on an electrical wire to remind me that PEACE is available to everyone and it is for the taking. So, why can't I just reach out an grab it? Huffing and puffing trying to extend my reach....I cannot get peace today. I feel anxiety in my chest like an anxious balloon filling the oxygen in my lungs. Time for a dose of ativan.

"In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you."
-Andrea Dykstra

And quite frankly, I do. I abhor the experiences that got me here. I need to make peace with those experiences before I can feel peace. I am not sure how exactly. The journey through my wretched emotions has only just begun. As I sift through the muck and extract the weeds, I must be patient with myself. However, I feel I must also make progress. The lack of progress in my life is disheartening. Where am I going? I have no clue, but I want to get there now. There goes patience....good bye.

Today, I saw a beautiful blue jay. I rarely see them and this one boldly fluttered right past us. Blue jays symbolize and teach the art of fearlessness, presence, and being in the moment. ShamanicJourney.com says, Blue jays are known for driving away much bigger prey to include owls and hawks. Blue jays may also be a sign that it is time to develop and use our inner wisdom. I also saw two Doves simultaneously flutter from our tree today. Doves symbolize peace. According to ShamanicJourney.com, the dove is also a spirit messenger between the worlds. The dove is what made me think about peace and my war-like relationship with it. Peace and I need to come together....or actually I need to come together with peace.

The number two has meaning here. I found this interpretation to be quite good at What's-Your-Sign.com:

"The symbolic meaning of number Two is kindness, balance, tact, equalization, and duality. The number Two reflects a quiet power of judgment, and the need for planning. Two beckons us to choose. The spiritual meaning of number Two also deals with exchanges made with others, partnerships (both in harmony and rivalry), and communication. Two urges us out of our indecision, calls us to unite with like-minds, and like-ideals. Two asks us to exert our natural flow of judgment to do what is best for our souls."
What does all of this mean? I have felt at a stalemate, roadblock, or impasse with my life. Now, it is time to make a decision and to go forward with my talents. Nursing is still really important to me and now I must take a refresher course to activate my license. My job right now is to be patient, but to feel like I am making progress with my goals of getting back to nursing. I am also looking forward to donating my time to some local charities that I am very fond of such as: One Love Loudoun, Friends of Loudoun, and Carried to Full-Term. It is my hope that you will give yourself peace each and everyday. I will work on it if you will! May peace be with you.









What a shame, what a shame. That's what people will say when you go through a hardship. A real hardship is something that affects the spirit and delves deep down to the core of your soul. Folks may say "What a shame" to your face, but they will most likely say it behind your back. When you go through a hardship like depression, major illness, chemo, financial poverty, death, etc...you have everyone seemingly analyzing your every single move. 

Dealing with my shame has been the most difficult part of my anxiety, depression, breakdown, psychosis, or late-onset of bipolar disorder. Whatever you call it, be sure that shame comes as an extra large side order. Shame that I have brought to myself and my entire family. More importantly than the acute "mental illness" shame, it is the fear of prolonged shame and never living down your mistakes. It isn't even a mistake, but something that simply happened as a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Short-term shame is manageable, but long-term shame is a hard pill to swallow. Many of my familial relationships will never be the same again. I will never be the same again.

Inspiration from Rising Strong by Brené Brown. "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;...who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worse, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." ~Theodore Roosevelt's  1910 "Man in the Arena" speech
With family members and friends that do not know me well, I shall see many head shakes and woeful glances. However, none of it matters. If I am to recognize these exchanges, then I am to give away my power. This is my battle, my struggle, but also my triumph. I will not let this bump in the road define my life. I must move forward and I must let go of this sludge called shame. Shame, you can no longer echo within the hollows of my mind. Your loneliness and sadness no longer play a major role in my life. I have learned the gift of vulnerability today thanks to author and inspiration Brené Brown. I also found renewed compassion for others through my struggles. This week I got to share my renewed compassion with a blog fan that sent me an e-mail during her hour of need.

I got a very poignant e-mail from a single mom who is struggling financially. I gave her money. My husband asked me why I gave her money. It was $5 and it was not about the money. It was about humanity. It was about reaching back out to someone who reached out to me for help. I get many soliciting e-mails, but something told me that this one was different and it was certainly sincere. Perhaps she is a good scammer you might say, but I don't think so. In fact, I wrote her back and told her that she and her daughter were in my thoughts and prayers. She wrote me back and seemed grateful for the positive exchange. Some words of encouragement and $5 can turn a life around, but more importantly it can instill and give renewed hope. With real empathy and compassion shame truly cannot survive.


How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
Floral arranging is a personal love affair of mine. For me, it is utterly relaxing and soothing to my soul. Home decor stores and floral shops can be outrageously expensive! I am always looking for new ways to decorate or enhance the ambiance of my humble abode. One day, I was staring at a vase full of store bought roses that were surrounded by baby's breath. I thought to myself, "baby's breath would sure look amazing in a different color." Light bulb moment here. Alas, I set out to naturally dye bucket loads of this textural wonder.

How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
A Google search turned out to be unhelpful. The methods suggested were ridden with chemicals aka floral dye or required the baby's breath to sit for several hours in a glass full of food coloring. The latter did not work at all. I let the baby's breath sit for 2 full days and it did not change color at all. I even trimmed the stems prior to placing it in the food coloring. Hence, I came up with an entirely new method. Dip, shake, dry, and hang.

How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
Get a very large metal or glass bowl. I used India Tree all-natural food colorings! Squirt 1 to 2 tsp of food coloring and mix with 1/4 cup of water. Take a small branch of baby's breath, dip, and swirl. Tap any excess water and dye back into the bowl. Dry your baby's breath lightly with a paper towel and hang upside down in a cool, dry area. That's all folks! So simple, but as you can see the results are stunning!

How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
How to naturally dye baby's breath #DIY
Dyed baby's breath makes for an amazing gift for loved ones and right now teacher's gifts! I also have bunches around the house in vases. India Tree dye is all-natural and very concentrated. It worked amazingly. See the YouTube video below to see my technique in action. Note that I did not use baby's breath in the video. I was feeling lazy and did not want to go to the store...so I used a weed instead!



The Importance of Staying Grounded: The Root Chakra
If you are on a spiritual or healing journey, it is important to "stay grounded". Being grounded means that you are completely in your body and in the present moment. After many days of meditation, I could not ground myself no matter how hard I tried....it was maddening! If you are not grounded, you feel like you are floating, dizzy, and moody. If you are not grounded, you are not fully experiencing life in the present moment. I tried a few different techniques to ground myself.

First, I desperately tried to use Reiki and flow energy from the earth and into my body...fail. Then, I tried standing with my bare feet on the Earth for some meditation. I still could not ground myself. Next, I tried eating some "grounding" junk food and that did not work either. After that, I tried clearing my chakras...in vain! Note: If you are not completely grounded, you cannot effectively clear your chakras! Finally...I went to yoga and felt much better, but not entirely.

Desperate to ground myself, I started doing research on "Grounding Techniques"(most of which, I already tried!). That is when I came back to it: meditation. Not just any meditation, however, a spectacular meditation video entitled "Very Powerful Root Chakra Healing". This video is a quick 20- minute meditation. I felt my root chakra open and then I felt energy going up to each of the seven chakras clearing them all! Persistence pays off and I definitely wanted to share this amazing root chakra healing video with you:

What else did I learn this week? To be patient, present, and persistent. Keeping my head in the clouds with existential thoughts was not helping me stay grounded. I stopped blogging for awhile and reading about metaphysical things. I stopped using crystals and tarot cards. Guess what? I felt grounded! If you are looking for some grounding crystals, I recommend Tibetan Quartz, Black Tourmaline, Obsidian, and Tigers Eye. I would love to hear about ways that you keep yourself grounded too! Any ideas, tips, or tricks? Please leave a comment below!

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