Tag Archive | growth

Honoring the present moment 🌸

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This is a beautiful blog and blog post by husband & wife, Marc & Angel. I love their wisdom. I recommend this blog post to all! I think it’s a reminder most of us can use now and again. 💗🌸🥀⚘🌱🌷🌼🌻🌺


“Admitting the Hard Truth, and Embracing It

Where you are and what you’re doing at any given moment is absolutely essential.

Because it is the only moment guaranteed to you.

You are not on your way somewhere else.

You are not progressing to a more important time or place.

The present is not just a stepping-stone: It is the ultimate destination, and you have already arrived.

This moment is where your greatest power lies.

This moment is your life!

It might seem obvious, but, again, I forget.  And I know you do too.

All day, every day, many of us feel like the present isn’t enough—like our life isn’t worthy of our full presence.”

“What if we admitted that life is slipping away right now, and saw the fleeting time we have as enough, without needing to share it on social media or capture it or alter it in any way?”

This is true. I have found a balance of both, treasuring the present moment while also capturing its beauty to share with others. I take in the beauty and if it’s still there after basking in the presence of it, I take a pic. When I’m standing under a cherry 🌸 blossom tree and there’s a butterfly or sparrow on one of its branches, I first allow myself to be in the moment and if it’s all still the same a few moments later and I can get a picture, that’s amazing, and if not, that’s great too! But experiencing it, fully, is more important than getting a picture and interrupting the full presence. Sometimes I look out a window and see a beautiful scene with traffic and people and I have an urge to run and get my phone for a picture to capture it exactly as it is thwn before it changes but I know if I turn to get my phone, it won’t be the same when I get back, so I just stand and accept the beauty as it is in that fleeting moment without a picture.

One Hard Thing You Must Admit Before Your Life Slips Away by Marc & Angel

I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever in the world you are! 💗

Xoxo Kim

Random Inspiration #15 {Struggles & Strength}

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” I got something to tell you
I got something to say
I’m gonna put this dream in motion
Never let nothing stand in my way “ ~ Billy Ocean

Here are some of my favorite quotes about how struggles can strengthen us if we let them and help us grow. And my pictures to go with the quotes!!!<3
😀

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”
~Edward Abbey

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“Sometimes when you lose your way, you find YOURSELF.” ~
Mandy Hale

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“Keep traveling, even if you don’t know where the road will end.” ~
Lailah Gifty Akita

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“I don’t need to go to heaven or hell. I have been both places and always wanted more. I will settle for somewhere in between, so eternity never becomes dull and every miracle is something I never take for granted.” ~
Shannon L. Alder

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“No one learns to be a good driver by driving along a straight road.”

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“Love, happiness, peace – these are not final destinations. They are in every moment, every breath, everything.” ~
Vironika Tugalev

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“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” ~
Barbara Hall

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“…and as for this little lady, the best thing I can wish her is a little misfortune.” ~ 
William Makepeace Thackeray
(The Rose and the Ring)

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Struggles, challenges, misfortune, mistakes, guilt, pain, any kind of obstacles can all serve as a catalyst for positive change. We can become even better than we were before. Difficult circumstances can be our inspiration to grow.
We don’t have to go out looking for trouble, it will appear on its own. And we can use it to our advantage.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going…when the going gets rough, the tough get rough…”

” I’m gonna get myself ‘cross the river
That’s the price I’m willing to pay” ~ Billy Ocean

I’m wishing you much love (and a little misfortune…lol jk ;-D)!! ❤

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Check out Billy Ocean’s When the Going Gets Tough:

Mobile:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=opMNboyz5Ng

Desktop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=opMNboyz5Ng

Xoxo Kim ❤

Serendipitous Strength

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(that’s fake blood on my face for a haunted house attraction for Halloween)

I love funny and silly surveys for blogs and Facebook, like a list of weird, stupid, funny questions…would you rather be ridiculously rich financially but butt ugly physically or amazingly gorgeous, beautiful beyond belief physically but dirt poor financially? Would you rather eat hair or lick a toilet seat? Would you rather be in a dark, creepy room alone or in a well lit room with Michael Jackson? lol They’re funny questions. I would choose to be poor and beautiful. And I would lick the toilet seat over eating hair any day. Loose hair is disgusting. Aack! And I like Michael Jackson but not creepy dark rooms alone so I would choose the lit up room with him. ;-D

But anyway….i came across this question

Would you rather be buried alive or stabbed to death?

Horrible thought, right?!

But I find it enlightening. It provoked me even more to think about the strength deep within me that I accidentally found and accidentally developed.

I would choose to be buried alive.

Not so long ago, I couldn’t even imagine saying that. I just couldn’t imagine.

First of all, if I am buried alive, maybe I can find a way out or someone can find me before it’s too late. Being stabbed is so violent!
There are rare(at least I hope being buried alive is rare!!!) cases where someone has been buried alive and somehow escaped or was found before it was too late.

I used to have an extreme fear of being closed in with or without others there with me. Closed in anywhere. Even a large room or building. I would avoid closed in places like the plague. Then my fear got somewhat better when I was eighteen years old in college. In this one building I wasn’t aware that we were allowed to use the stairs. It turns out, we actually were but I never knew til a long while later. Everyday I had to go in that building I had to desperately hope there were others waiting to go on the elevator when I was because I couldn’t bring myself to go on alone. I used to go early and just linger around the hall waiting for someone who was going on. (creepy, right?! :-O lol) I never said that I was waiting. Just when I saw someone going on, I would too. If the person got off before the floor I was going to, I would get off too then walk up the steps to the floor I was going.

Then I met a girl. When I was 18 years old. One who had the same class and we got talking to each other and I found that she had the same problem!
One day I got to the elevator and she was waiting too! And she told me she’s seriously afraid of small places and won’t get on without someone else! What are the chances?! I was embarrassed at first and wouldn’t really tell people but I opened up about it when I met her.

We conquered our fear together. 😀

I always thought of this fear as a weakness and never met anyone else that I knew of who has it this bad, my dad is like this but his never seemed as bad. Everyone I knew could get on with no problem, it seemed.

And when I met her, I was sooo happy! Lol Also, we were both very shy until getting to know someone better but we both had no problem with public speaking because it’s just something we had to do for class. We both loved meeting people we never met but were often too shy to initiate socialization first. But somehow we found each other! I haven’t seen or talked to her in many, many years. But the impact is everlasting. ❤

After that, I got more used to going in small places, elevators with people and I was mostly only panicked when I was closed in alone. I often had nightmares of being closed in or trapped somewhere alone.
I couldn’t even stand walking by elevators or being in the same building with one. This was always the only thing that scared me about hospitals. I would shake walking through narrow staircases even with people. I felt like my body was turning to jelly.

One day when I was a teenager I had to get on an elevator alone. I was in the US Constitution Center at some event and the only way to leave the building was to get on an elevator. They said I had no choice. There was no one else around and the security guard said I had to get on the elevator so I did. I went into a serious panic and I pressed my fingernails into the skin over my hip bone and just kept scratching until it bled and the doors opened. I was so scared, that was just what I did, unconsciously.

I never worked on this fear specifically but during my personal development journey, my quest to find healing, working on myself to help heal my depression and cope with tmjd “cluster headaches” without realizing it, I was conquering my fear of being closed in. With my personal development plan I teach myself and train my brain to know I can handle and conquer anything. To know I will always be free no matter what position I’m in in this life. To know life is a gift no matter what. To see positivity and opportunity in any situation no matter how dreadful. I trained my brain with meditation and quotes and music and songs and writing to stay calm and composed for the most part, in any situation no matter what, no matter how painful physically or emotionally. I still struggle with this a bit sometimes, especially with severe physical pain. I’m much better at handling deep emotional pain than very severe physical pain. A certain level of physical pain that I experience occasionally can still seem too much to bear.

It’s at a frightening level and it’s not common that people ever feel it to this extent. Not even prescription pain pills can touch it.
But I work on myself constantly and even when I’m freaking out aggressively over a tmjd cluster headache, I still keep telling myself I will survive.
I was trying to heal my depression and cope with it and cope with those head attacks.

And much to my amazement this was helping me all along with my fear! My phobia(i wasn’t actually diagnosed with a phobia but it may have met the criteria, I don’t know for sure) wasn’t destroying my life because I was just able to mostly avoid small places but there were some occasions I couldn’t and had to be closed in somewhere.

Some people have a phobia where they can’t avoid the thing they fear or even if they can they can’t help but dwell on it constantly and it runs their lives. That was never me but there are occasions I embarrassed myself in public, especially as a kid, when I had to go on elevators or narrow staircases. And occasions I was extremely fearful knowing I had to go in a large building where there’s elevators. Somewhat recently I went on a job interview. I did not get the job but I had to go on an elevator by myself, they wouldn’t let me on the stairs going up, I asked, I was told no. I wanted to run out but I had the interview scheduled and I knew it wouldn’t be good to have them waiting and I never show up, years ago I would have been out the door so fast with the interview the last thing on my mind. So I reluctantly got on the elevator, alone, and while my heart started to speed a bit because of being closed in and for a few seconds I was overwhelmed in immense fear, like panic, I handled it so well. No panic. No breakdown. Just staying calm. It was so surprising. And just as much of an accomplishment as getting a job! Maybe more?
It wasn’t a happenstance. I worked to get to this point. (though unknowingly lol) I am so strong now. In so many ways.

Then leaving the building I had a choice to take the stairs or the elevator. Just a couple years ago I would have taken the stairs without a second thought. Even last year. But on the interview I made the CHIOCE to take the elevator alone to get more practice and was even more calm than the first occasion going up! What a great accomplishment for me!
It may not seem that big to some people but for someone like me, it is a tremendous thing.

Also I don’t like closing doors to small rooms even in my own house but in the bathroom there are parakeets flying around and we have to close the door. I was getting a shower one day and had to close the door. The handle is broke and I got locked in! I went into a bit of a panic. Not a full blown panic, but an intense fear, I guess you can say. Not how people with panic attacks do. Not that bad. But I was pulling the door and banging on it hoping someone would hear. No one did. But I calmed down and reminded myself. Life is beautiful no matter what. I have the sunlight streaming in the window, I have my senses, the parakeets, meditation, Buddhism and Stoicism ….the window is too small for me to fit through so that wasn’t an option. And it’s on the second floor, it wouldn’t be safe to jump. I don’t want broken bones or whatever. But just some years ago I would have jumped if I could, risking injuries. I was there for like 20 minutes before I finally got the door open.

A couple nights ago I went to the Philadelphia Eastern State Penitentiary with my sister and my dad for the Haunted attraction. It’s a real abandoned prison that is in a state of semi-ruin, almost 200 years old. It’s said by ghost investigators to be truly haunted all year. Lol It’s open all year but the rest of the year is just a prison exhibit to learn of its history, which is very interesting.

For the Halloween attraction every October, we get to walk through the dark prison inside and out in the courtyards when it’s at night, in groups. It has lights flashing, people screaming, monsters walking around, “prisoners” trying to attack us through their cells, monsters, all kinds of creepy, scary stuff. There’s lock down, the infirmary, night watch, an abandoned bus in a junkyard and other attractions we walk through. Things randomly and unexpectedly jump out at us, sometimes screaming and with weapons! There’s 3D things and people jumping through walls at us. They come right up to us with weapons holding them over our heads or up to our faces. Lol Isn’t it insane that people actually take pleasure in this? But something about a certain kind of fear is quite thrilling for people. Like amusement park rides and sky diving. And scary movies & books.
Also, I think our brains are not aware of the difference of what is real and what is not. Seeing, hearing horror in movies and things, the human brain cannot distinguish the difference. We know it’s not real but some part of our brain does not know and it has a negative/fearful effect on is, even later. That’s why too much fake horror isn’t good for us. I used to have a psychiatrist who told me that and I noticed it too when I read too many horror books close together. It has an unpleasant effect. He advised me to avoid fake horror all together. It’s not good for anyone and especially those prone to anxiety or depressive conditions.

It’s fun. And scary. I’m not afraid of monsters and ghosts and stuff but it’s kind of startling to have people looking all dead with blood all over them, screaming and with weapons jumping out in the dark at me with just an eerie glow around the prison.

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(inside the prison – imagine walking up this long hallway knowing at any moment something or someone can and probably will jump out at you. Lol creepy!)

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(it was the perfect night for a haunted house – or prison – because there was a full Moon or almost full Moon and I kept seeing it when we walked in and out of the prison into the courtyards)

They’re not allowed to touch us and we are not allowed to touch them. But this year they had something different where the bravest of the brave can wear a bright pink glow necklace they give us and this gives the monsters (the actors working in the prison) permission to touch us, grab us, snatch us, hold us back, separate us so we lose our groups, toss us into secret passageways, and do other terrible stuff. I haven’t been there in a couple years until a couple nights ago. So this was new to me.

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I love haunted houses and stuff but my one fear has always been being separated and ending up in a small, dark place alone. This still scares me. I fear dark places as well but not as much as small or closed in places.

But I decided to be brave that night and wear the necklace. I was abducted, strangled, held back, got my hair pulled, forced by two monster dentists to sit in a dentists chair so they can pull out all my teeth…they put the loud thing all the way to my mouth then I escaped!

I was almost forced into a small cell and into a weird tunnel but I ran screaming. And the monsters laughed at me. Lol

Most people did not take the necklaces and some who did decided to take them off and toss them so the monsters could no longer touch them. Even my dad took his off and hid it.

Chicken shits. Lol ;-D

I was one of the brave few who kept mine on throughout the entire prison, not once taking it off. Yay me! Lol Although at one point the thought occurred to me but I sucked it up and kept going.

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(me with my medal of honor lol)

It took nerve. Especially when most people were not wearing them so there was not many choices for the monsters and so the few of us who were wearing them were the ones who kept getting all the attention. At one point I was the only one wearing a necklace where I was and two monsters came up and said since I was the only one wearing one right there, I was the “chosen one.” I was snatched while everyone around me ran away, even my dad and sister (thanks everyone! Lol) and had my hand held under some device that came down and was supposed to pierce my hand but when it touched me it was just rubber. Lol

I knew I could have been dragged and possibly tossed into a secret, small, dark place alone. But I took the chance. I would have NEVER ever been able to make that choice, probably even a year ago.

The thing that really inspired me to take and wear the necklace is in the beginning a monster said “you came here for fear so get all the fear you can get…” encouraging us to take the glow necklace. This also inspires me in general, to take advantage of every opportunity in life to live to the fullest, whatever “the fullest” is to me at that moment. To soak up all I can, all the thrills, the beauty, and feeling there is to feel.

Being alive is an opportunity to take in everything we can, to feel. To live. To experience. To grow. To love. To make mistakes. To learn. To feel pain and beauty, sorrow and joy. Misery and happiness. To take full advantage of our senses.

I been to this prison for the Halloween attraction a couple occasions years ago. The first day I went for the haunted attraction I was hugging, holding hands with, and clinging to people I did not know. Lol It was my first year in college, I was eighteen years old, and I went as a group with other college students, all girls and one boy. The boy wanted us to go first because he said he was the only boy. But we told him no, since he’s the boy he had to be in the front.
Lol we were holding onto each other like our lives depended on it.

It’s one of my favorite memories. And after the event was over and we were walking up the dark street outside the prison, a drunk person jumped out at us and we all screamed. He wasn’t trying to scare us and just looked at us like we were all nuts.

Now, being buried alive would be way, way more terrifying than going on an elevator for less than a minute! And being locked in a room.
And way more horrifying than a fun tour through a haunted prison for Halloween.

But I know now that I would survive emotionally as long as I survived physically. I would go into a deep meditation and have my Buddhist and stoic principles and my life philosophy and inner Truth, my authentic Self to help guide me til I become physically free. I would still be frightened and panicked at some points. And maybe feel as if I can’t go on but I know I can. I have my life philosophy that I work on every single day without fail. I can survive anything as long as I stay alive. As long as I’m free in my mind, I am free. Truly free. You can be free too if you’re not already, with lots of hard work and practice. We don’t have to allow anything or anyone to restrain us.

If you work to heal one aspect of yourself you can be strengthening yourself in deep ways you don’t even realize in other aspects as well.

I want this for everyone. Whatever pain, physical or emotional, whatever fear or problems, I want us all to find a way to conquer it. A way to cope.

I never ever thought my fear of being closed in could be vanquished but it is. It’s also not completely cured. My heart still races in small or narrow places, sometimes I still think there’s no way I can be closed in alone and survive with my sanity intact, I still avoid closed in spaces for the most part, but I conquered it and can handle it now. ME! I can’t even believe it!

If you are ever in a situation you are 100% convinced without a doubt you can’t or won’t survive, remember, it feels that way, it’s not true. I never knew I can ever survive the depression and tmjd cluster-like headaches but somehow I did. I survive each one. My conviction was deep, that I couldn’t survive but I do survive and now my conviction is even deeper that I can and will survive whatever comes my way.

And you can too, whatever it is. It can get better. <333 ❤ Much love, hope, & strength to you.

Xoxo Kim

The Beauty that Stalks the Darkness

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“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” 

I saw this quote today, attributed to Buddha. What a gem! It’s so true! This is a habit that can be developed. It may not always come so easily but it can be developed and ingrained deep into our brains. Every experience, pleasant, unpleasant, neural, trivial seeming, fun and light, can teach us something! There’s a little spark hidden somewhere in each of our experiences, that can be ignited to enlighten us, teach us a lesson, strength, wisdom, greater empathy and understanding for others, and inspire us.

There is potential for some kind of growth in every occasion.

Maybe you’ll learn who you want to be or don’t want to be, how strong you really are, ways to teach or help others….maybe you’ll learn something you can’t really put into words, just a feeling of deep knowing, true enlightenment. The lessons and wisdom and things we learn and come to know won’t be the same for all of us. Only you can really know what your experiences are capable of teaching you and how receptive or in tune you can be to the messages. Some people can help guide you along the way but it’s ultimately up to you to pay close attention.

It’s helpful, while experiencing an unpleasant or difficult situation of any sort, or even a pleasant, positive one, to stop in the midst of it and think “What is this teaching me? What skills or wisdom or knowledge am I being equipped with by experiencing this?” It may not come to you right away, maybe not even until the situation is long over. But it’s great to ask yourself those questions. It will get your brain in gear and directed at finding answers.

Sometimes your only lesson may just be developing deeper compassion to help others later in a similar situation or inspiring others by sharing what you have come to know. And that’s beautiful! 

Your situation can even just be reading a book or a poem or mindfully listening to a song. It can be wildly entertaining and fun but underneath there’s always some beautiful lesson to be learned.

I think this is what it means to “live life to the fullest.” You know that old cliche, right?! 

When I think of that I often think of people skydiving, partying it up, traveling the world, bungee jumping and shit but “living life to the fullest” is another thing that’s different for each person. To some people that stuff is boring and “living life to the fullest” is sitting on a sofa every night watching funny TV shows. And that’s great too as long as you’re getting the most out of your own life and not interfering with others.

To me, living to the fullest, is being in tune with the life all around me, living in the moment, seeing what it’s teaching me, savoring the splendor I am blessed to experience. 

It’s truly being alive and active “listening” to life, not just mindlessly floating through each day.  

Everyday I keep myself in tune to the wisdom all around and within me, I try to learn as much as I can and I meditate upon it and write about it and share with anyone who wants to know about it! I find wisdom and beauty in books, poetry, songs, blogs, essays, and everywhere. 

Xoxo Kim

P.s. I found love today in my backyard with my dogs:

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;-D

Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’

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Risk
“To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. 
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams in front of a crowd is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair, to try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greates risk in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, and becomes nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love and live. Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave, he has forfeited his freedom.
Only the person who risks is truly free.”
-Janet Rand

I came across this poem recently and I agree with almost the entire thing. The only part I do not agree with is the “…and becomes nothing.” part. I get the gist of it but I would never call someone “nothing” no matter what. We are all someone.  

I always say that I find inspiration and beauty everywhere. And it’s true.   Many things inspire me deeply. But sometimes, on more seldom occasions, I find something that pulls on my insides. Like this poem. It’s a physical tugging feeling inside, like it’s literally pulling on me. These words speak to me so much and I know they will inspire me and guide me in all the days to come. Moments when I’m tempted to hold back. Hesitate and contemplate not reaching out or speaking up or not allowing myself to fill with hope out of fear of losing, falling, rejection, stumbling, someone not appreciating something I say/do……

But I will keep remembering to reach out anyway, love deeply anyway, be happy anyway, hope anyway, risk stumbling and falling, risk rejection, risk the indifference of someone I have much gratitude for, risk appearing stupid in front of others, risk people using things against me later that I reveal now, risk it all for love. Love for others, for the world, for myself, for life, for raw honesty and openness and sharing….

Risk it all to live deeply and truly. Risk it all to be fully alive. Pain, indifference, rejection, painful criticism, appearing to be something negative to others…all of these things feel unpleasant but they are part of living truly and deeply. They are sometimes the result of taking risks and I believe they are worth it.

We can close ourselves off to the world, shut up and shut down to avoid loss and rejection and other unpleasant things and we may succeed in that for the most part. But we will also succeed in not getting the most out of the gift of life. If we don’t allow ourselves to experience the depth of relationships with ourselves, others, life, and the world, we’re less likely to feel true loss and rejection but also less likely to experience the joy and depth of true love. If we don’t reach out to people we can often avoid rejection but at the price of avoiding true connection. Is it really worth the cost?

If we don’t share our opinions and stories with others, we will be less likely to be ridiculed and criticized but also be less likely to inspire and impact people and allow people to get to know us.  

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Repressing love, emotions, and our true selves accomplishes those things but at the price of not being fully alive.

And reminders now and then like this poem are so pleasant and joyous.

The painful struggles that come with taking risks can be used to our advantage. To help us grow and learn, teach others, and identify with others.

” Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin'” ~ LeeAnn Womack

Xoxo Kim

Life Lessons to my five year old self & every girl <3

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(me – about three years old)

This One’s For The Girls 
Who’ve ever had a broken heart 
Who’ve wished upon a shooting star 
Your beautiful the way you are 
This One’s For The Girls 
Who love without holding back 
Who dream with everything they have 
All around the world 
This One’s For The Girls” ~ Martina McBride

What advice would you give the ‘5 year old you’?

“I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud” ~ Jim Croce

I saw this question and think it’s fascinating and here are twenty-one little gems my adult self would love to tell my little self all those years ago. I would love to equip my little self and any little baby girl & every woman at any age with these life lessons. (And some of these are good for men too)

1.) always keep your sense of self – flawlessness. Little girls often have no sense of imperfection when they look at themselves. They’re proud & want to show off everything they are and know. They like to jump in pictures, be the center of attention.   They KNOW they’re beautiful & not afraid to flaunt it. They don’t deny compliments; they proudly accept.   They’re confident & comfortable in their own skin.  Sadly, probably for almost every girl, this sense of self imperfection gets buried, tattered, kicked to pieces, shattered to seemingly no repair the older they get. And it appears to happen younger and younger. We have 9 year olds obsessed with their own body weight, 5 year olds afraid of what other kids will think of their scars, their looks, their body weight. Look at some old little kid pictures of you. Weren’t you so cute? So perfect? So gorgeous? So un-tainted, a clean blank slate with endless possibilities & new beginnings. Feel the love & warmth for that innocent, sweet, beautiful child in that picture.   Now look at yourself as you are right this moment. That’s still you. And now you have even more experience, knowledge, & wisdom.  I want every little girl & every woman to always feel beautiful.

2.) Get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger – As LeeAnn Womack says in her song, “I Hope You Dance”. Be grateful for all you currently have & are but never settle and became stagnant. Always find motivation & inspiration to learn, explore, experience, love, & grow, and keep on going.

3.) Build and maintain an unwavering, strong, solid foundation of unconditional self love to always fall back on. Through the years you will encounter heartache, heartbreak, rejection & abandonment, loss & grief, pain, a sense of failure & falling.   You will be criticized by people with good intentions & people with malicious intentions. You’ll lose friends, be gossiped about, experience betrayal by people you never imagined could do this to you but as painful as it will be, you will be strong enough to rise above, to bounce back, to use these painful experiences to your advantage, to learn & to grow. And as long as you keep your sense of love for yourself alive, you will always feel loved. Always be loved.

4.) You don’t need everyone to love & accept you. Whenever you feel lonely remember there will always be someone somewhere who can love you. You may not know these people yet but they exist.  The way that you are, there are people who can love someone just like you.  Also, love yourself.  

5.) build others up, don’t ever drag them down – no one is better than anyone else. We all have good things & bad things. Tearing others down will never bring you up, it only serves to show more about you than the one you’re trying to destroy.

6.) always strive to see the good in people – even the kindest people may not always be kind. the most loving people still get angry sometimes. When people are hurt or numb they may act in ways that aren’t truly who they are.   Bless others by acknowledging the goodness in them and not just seeing or magnifying the bad. 

7.) Accept/tolerate people for who they are. You may have opposing views, different color skin, religions, opinions, ways of thinking, different appearances, cultures, or customs, sexual orientation, gender…but we are all equal, no one is less valuable. 

8.) always know your worth. You are more than a size on your clothing, a number on a scale, the image you see in a mirror…These things say nothing about who you truly are or how beautiful you really are. You can work to make healthy changes for yourself but you are already worth so much.

9.) Know that you are and always will be “good enough”. No matter what mistakes you make, what things you don’t succeed at, no matter what anyone tells you or says about you. You are good enough just the way you are. And if someone cannot see that, that person doesn’t belong in your life.

10.) always be honest, at least with yourself, about who you are. Don’t change for people who won’t accept the real you. Know your deep inner self, your needs, your desires, your loves, your longings, what you don’t like, what you never want to be…

11.) at one point you may feel that your life has not turned out to look exactly like your peers’ lives. It may seem like everyone around you has it good, better than you do. Maybe they’re independent with their own house, job, money, maybe they’re married with kids or in a happy romantic relationship, maybe they have lots of friends and seem to have it all. Don’t compare yourself to them. Everyone lives at their own pace, their own way. Your life doesn’t have to look like theirs to be just as beautiful. And as long as you are alive & still going, you can accomplish things & realize your dreams. You may not do everything you thought you would do by now or at all in this life but you can do other things and still be happy.  Just being you is a great accomplishment.

12.) always celebrate life. Don’t wait for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, promotions or any other “reasons “. Life itself is reason enough to celebrate. Wear your favorite earrings, that pretty lipstick, that sexy dress that shows off your lovely curves, buy yourself flowers, take yourself to see a movie, SMILE! :-D. Keep that sense of wonder & awe. Bask in the beauty surrounding you. Be mindful of your senses and body & all they allow you to experience. Whatever you’re putting off doing until that “perfect ” occasion to celebrate, whatever you’re putting your happiness on hold for, let go & do that now, be happy now.  Cherish the simple joys of living. 

13.) follow your own dreams, plans, and goals and at your own pace. Don’t succumb to the demands or expectations or desires of family, friends, society, or others who try to get in your way. Many may have good intentions for you.   Kindly listen to what they have to say, thank them for their input, and then go on your own way, following your own path.

14.) Be happy anyway. 😀

15.) Always keep your hope alive. No matter what pain you are currently experiencing and how difficult it seems, as long as you have hope, you will feel the will to keep going.

16.) Whenever you do not succeed how you wanted or planned, even if you feel like you failed, still be proud that you had the motivation to try, be proud that you ever had a dream. Take Jim Croce’s message: “I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud” ~ Jim Croce 

17. ) always acknowledge the true gift you are – you are a true & rare gift to this world. You, just like every other person, have something positive to contribute to the world around you. You can fill a space no one else can. Again as LeeAnn Womack says, “When you come close to selling out, reconsider.”. Never give up on yourself. There will always be people better at things than you and worse at things than you, people will have more & people will have less but there will never, ever be another you. Never forget that.

18.) “Always be a little kinder than necessary.” ~ James M. Barrie  <3. To yourself & others.   Treat yourself how you would treat your best friend or someone else you love. Remember you are just as much of a person as all those people you love. Go easy on yourself, forgive yourself, be gentle with you, set realistic goals for yourself, don't hold yourself to impossible standards and then feel low for not achieving them. Let yourself feel happy and allow yourself to feel sad when you do & express it in healthy ways. Nurture yourself. 
 

19.) Always know that you have choices, the choice to practice controlling your own attitude & that your attitude about something and how you react are important for how happy & peaceful you feel and think of yourself as a strong survivor,not a helpless victim.

20.) Be all that you can be. Always be the best you that you can be. This doesn’t mean trying to achieve perfection in everything you do, it means being as loving, as happy, as kind, as joyous, as forgiving, as caring about yourself and others, as compassionate as you can be.

21.) Love & laugh without holding back. Laugh out loud! Love with everything you are. You may be hurt but it’s a chance worth taking.   Bless everyone with your smile. 😀

So here are some of my lessons to myself, and every girl & woman. Of course if I was talking to an actual five year old I would say these things in more age-appropriate ways but I seriously doubt there are any five year olds reading this and older people probably don’t want to read something here written in a language for a five year old! Lol ;-D

These, I believe, are valuable lessons for everyone. Maybe we haven’t all learned all of these lessons growing up. Maybe we learned them the hard way, as adults, maybe we have yet to learn & really truly  apply & live some of these but it’s never too late as long as we’re living.

You may know these things intellectually but do you really truly feel them with your emotion, deep in the heart of your heart?

Whether you’re 5 years old, 10 years old, 16 years, 28 years, 35 years, 40..50..60..70..80..90..100 & beyond…

Always remember, you’re good enough as you are. You’re more than a number & an appearance and so much more than the painful words & concepts people, society, & the media throw at you.

You don’t ever have to be anyone else’s definition of beautiful, successful, perfect, or happy.
Be your own kind of beautiful.
Your own kind of successful.
Your own kind of perfect.
Do what makes YOU truly happy.

Don’t let anyone but YOU define you. Not your lover, your friends, your family, your society, your peers, your media.   You define you. 

Focus on your own strengths, your interests, your dreams/goals your unique beauty, your interesting and difficult challenges, look at the ways in which you have grown so much and acknowledge your potential and all of your opportunities to grow some more. Nourish yourself & cherish every moment you have been given.

This is what I want for you. 
For me.
For all of us.

I absolutely loved thinking about & writing this blog post. I put everything I have into it and it felt so weird but amazing writing these things to/about myself. And like I said this is to everyone who can benefit,not just me. I encourage anyone to write a post like this. I find it to be a beautiful experience.  I would love to read other people’s life lessons to their young selves. If you write a post like this, I would love to know!

Blessings & love & hope & laughter to you all!

“To be one woman, truly, wholly, is to be all women.” ~ Kate Braverman

Xoxo Kim 😀

“All around the world
This one’s for the girls

Yeah, we’re all the same inside (same inside)
From 1 to 99″ ~ Martina McBridE

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(me – four or five years old)

An Inspiring Conversation

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” I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU. “~Mayor John Pappas (City Hall, 1996)

About a year ago, I had a conversation with someone at work one night. At first, I found this conversation to be very unpleasant but shortly after the conversation ended, I felt energized, inspired, uplifted, and so hopeful.

This conversation is one of the things which has had the greatest, positive impact on me in my journey to recover my suicidal depression.

A person was talking to me about drug addiction and people who struggle and have struggled with addiction. She had a very negative view of people who have suffered substance addiction, even the ones who have overcome it and no longer consume illegal/recreational drugs.

She basically held the view that drug addicted people are lost causes who are bound to go nowhere in life. And even when they recover or heal, they will always be “druggies”. “Druggies” who even after recovering will never find redemption or worth.

I couldn’t have disagreed with this girl more. I see so much potential and hope and light in almost everyone I look at. People are remarkably strong and resilient and can overcome and move forward even when it’s hard. Even when it’s painful and all seems hopeless. Even when it seems impossible. Even when it’s all just so dark. 

There can always be light. When I look at a person, even a troubled, difficult, broken person with great obstacles and challenges, I don’t see an addiction or an illness or a mere label or a “lost cause”. I see a person.   A light. Possibility and hope. Hope for healing.   Hope for change.  

Everyone has something to contribute to this world and everyone around us whether or not they realize it and even when it feels impossible.   You may feel so empty, so broken, so devoid of life, so hopeless but you are not beyond healing or hope or love.

A person who has struggled with addiction and has overcome or healed that addiction and no longer takes drugs/alcohol has acheived an incredible accomplishment. It takes great strength and courage and dedication to pick up the broken pieces, the shattered parts of self and put them together again and become whole. There may always be scars, cracks, breaks, pain..but it’s possible to move forward and find true happiness, true joy in existence.

Why judge someone negatively for previous mistakes or a health condition or a choice that got out of control?

I have never struggled with addiction of any sort and cannot possibly know what it’s like.   All I can know is that it is painful, devastating, heartbreaking and difficult for the person who is addicted and everyone around that person and that it IS possible, with help & support of various kinds, to get better enough to live and be happy living. Whether or not the person is completely recovered with no more urges or still has urges that are difficult to resist. Even someone who relapses now and then.

It’s not always easy for an addicted person to know this or to ask for help or to not relapse.   And people struggling with addiction deserve empathy, understanding, compassion, love, encouragement.   They aren’t monsters. Many of them may steal and assault people and become unrecognizable to those who knew them before the tragedy of addiction but they are not all bad people . Underneath the devastation and the addiction is an amazing person who can find hope and healing.

After this girl I had the conversation with left me that night I started to think about our contrasting views. She viewed people who struggle with addiction as some of the lowest people on Earth, worthless, bad, taking up space in a world they don’t deserve.

And I view them as the people they are. Worthy of love, empathy, care, acceptance, compassion…

And I started to think about how we need more people in this world with my view. We need people with better understanding and compassion.

I thought of my own struggle with suicidal depression, which back then, a year ago, was not as healed as it is today, right now.

I thought of all the moments I wanted to kill myself in this life, feeling as if I had nothing to live for and never ever would , as if I was worthless, empty, nothing, as if the pain was just too much to bear, weighing too heavy on my life, to go on.

And I realized if I ever kill myself, I kill my compassion for others, my love, my empathy, my understanding, my acceptance, my open mindedness. If I kill myself, I kill all the chances I will ever have to help another, before those chances even begin. If I kill me, I kill the opportunity to tell someone s/he is not a lost cause, not an addiction, not a loser, not deserving of callousness and abusive insults and cruelty. I kill the chance to tell someone there is hope.

I’m not an expert on addiction. I don’t know exactly how to handle an addicted person, especially one who is acting out. They may need firmness every now and then and not all sap and gentleness, I don’t know. But that’s not my point anyway; my point is that we need more people with compassion and positive views of troubled people. We need people who will not destructively criticize and tell people there’s no hope for them.

This goes for any troubled person or anyone who has made mistakes with serious consequences, not just addicted people. 

And that if you ever kill yourself, you kill every positive aspect of yourself, your opportunity to eventually be fulfilled and healed and find or create a sense of purpose, and your opportunity for growth and your opportunity to impact the world and maybe even just one life for the better.

You’re under no obligation to live for others, it’s yourself you should live for. But there are people who need you to live, you may not have met them yet and maybe won’t meet them for many years, maybe you never will but your life will somehow touch theirs.  Someone, somewhere needs YOU to LIVE.  And eventually you will find or create a sense of purpose for your own existence.

Live for yourself and your own empathy and care and love. And live for all of your good qualities and possibilities.

I vowed to myself that night after that conversation which at first I believed to be unpleasant, that I will never take my own life. We should all live for ourselves. But when I used to get suicidal, I did not want to live for me. I saw nothing in me worth living for. But that night I vowed to never, ever end my own life even if I feel like it because if nothing else, there’s  one thing in me worth surviving for, my concern and care for others.   My empathy, my ability to see beyond illnesses and difficulties and troubles and mistakes, my desire, my longing to help heal and console in any way I can. This fulfills me.  I know those aren’t my only reasons for living, my reason is just to be,  but when I’m contemplating suicide I usually see nothing to go on for.  But this view is something I will always believe in. Helping others, also helps me. We are all connected.

I don’t live to be a “slave” and used by others, I allow myself to be fulfilled by helping and positively impacting anyone I can.

There are many, many people like me who feel this way about people, that they can heal and are deserving of compassion and love. And if I kill myself there will be one less of us.

(No one should kill themselves even if they aren’t compassionate or empathetic or caring.

Since that night, I haven’t seriously contemplated ending my own life. And if I ever do again, I have a sweet reminder of something worth living for.

And there’s also another lesson to be learned here, anyone can be our teacher even those who are unpleasant, even unpleasant encounters can be inspiring and teach us valuable lessons. This young woman who I debated with that night, this at first seemingly unpleasant encounter, provided me with the chance to think about things which have filled me with hope & inspiration. 

And here I am today, still inspired, still hopeful, still going strong.

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Xox Much love, blessings, & hope to you all.

~Kim

“Don’t judge me by my past, I don’t live there anymore.”

“Possibilities are everywhere.”

“Always go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”

“Your past is a gift to guide you, it doesn’t have to imprison you.”

27 Lessons Learned

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In May, this year, I turned 27 years old. I have learned much in my 27 years, inside of school and out of school. I find that many of the most important lessons are ones learned through experience (good & bad) , adversity , challenges, blessings, and some even through reading or hearing about or witnessing other people’s experiences and techniques. I decided to create a list of 27 of the most valuable life lessons I have learned in my 27 years. Here is in honor of the 27 years I have been blessed to know!

1.) Attitude & a strong  and pleasant life Philosophy  is just about everything. It usually doesn’t matter what happens to us, it’s how we respond and react to and view the situation or event, that contributes to or results in our happiness, joy, & peace of mind or suffering and chaos. We cannot always control every thought, every emotion, or our attitude at literally every second but with practice we can become good at basically & generally choosing how to respond and what thoughts and emotions we dwell on.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

2.) True, pure love is selfless. If I truly love someone, whether it’s in a platonic or romantic way, I want that person to be happy & healthy, & fulfilled with or without me no matter how painful it is to me. I won’t try to stand in the way, sabotage, or drag people down for leaving me or living their own lives even if I don’t agree or like it and even if the person’s plans don’t include me. “True love doesn’t have a happy ending; true love has no ending.”

3.) We all have things that someone else doesn’t have and we all lack things that others do not and we may want. We all possess certain characteristics or material possessions  that others won’t. No matter what I have there is someone who has more and someone who has less. Someone who has better and someone who has worse. Someone who is more skilled and someone who is less skilled. Someone who can do the job better and someone who will do worse.   And this fact will never change.   But instead of dwelling on lack, I will dwell on abundance and gratitude, and blessing, for all that I do in fact possess and everything I am. Why focus on lack?   We all lack something and always will. We all have something amazing and always will that we can focus on instead. And it’s a choice to see in terms of lack and loss or to see in terms of prosperity & abundance. It is best for me to fill my head with positive  thoughts of abundance and gratitude, and blessings. We can just look around and look within and count our blessings. It may take some practice to begin to generally and frequently *feel* blessed and gratitude but if we develop the habit of looking and taking notice of the positive, we are likely to start feeling blessed and not just making lists of our blessings without truly feeling it.  No one can replace YOU as the person you are. No one can be better at being you than you. If the grass appears to be greener on the other side, water your own grass.

““You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

4.)  This world is full of ugliness, craziness, greed, tragedy, bad people, discrimination, inequality,  and heartache.   But it is also filled with beauty, love, perseverance, growth, friendship, kindness, blessings, consolation, lessons learned, hospitality, healing, hope, strength, and great, incredible, good people.  When a tragedy occurs and it’s blown up in the media, we see strangers reach out in love and kindness to strangers willing and eager to help heal and allay the pain. We can focus on and dwell on the ugliness or learn to dwell on the beauty and healing instead. This is never to say we should ignore and deny pain and tragedy, we should definitely acknowledge it and make true attempts to help in any way we can but never let it drag us down and keep us there, seeing the world through negative, dark lenses. We will on occasion experience difficulty and be overwhelmed by what we witness and feel and experience and this is ok but we can muster up the strength and passion to go on positively and keep going and find joy in being alive.

When it rains it pours but soon the sun shines again.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” -Martin Luther quotes

5.) When you’re at your lowest point and can get no lower, the only way now is up. When you’re lower than your lowest depths of despair, there is a light above waiting to be seized and held. When it feels as if there’s no way out other than to stop existing, to stop breathing, there is new air, new life, and new opportunities to be felt and taken. No matter how low you are, you CAN get better. I know.   “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill 

6.) No matter who you are or what you are, no matter how good or bad or average, there will ALWAYS be someone to want to drag you down,  reject you, make fun of you,  negatively gossip about you, make you feel low, point out only your flaws, magnify your imperfections, see you fall, laugh in your face, want you to lose, not like you and even loathe you. And there will be lots of people like this, the more people you meet and the more successful you become, the more likely you are to encounter negative people & rejection(and positive people too & acceptance). You cannot please or satisfy or be loved or liked by everyone. It’s not happening. And that is ok.  When someone does not like you that is that person’s problem, don’t let it be yours!   Be true to yourself. Love yourself. Live your dreams and plan your goals how YOU want, not how anyone else wants.   And if you change to please a person who doesn’t like you now, then you’ll have someone else not like you. Trying to please everyone is not only detrimental to you, it’s not practical. It’s a physical impossibility.   And you are under no obligation to dedicate your life to please anyone else at the expense of yourself.   Be you. Love you. 

“While it is natural to feel some degree of
need for the approval of others, be careful.
If you find yourself unwilling to
take actions that others disapprove of,
you have lost control of your own life
and have given your destiny to others.
An excessive need-for-approval
is a sign of low self-esteem,
and in severe cases, a condition termed co-dependency.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

7.) You’re never too old. It’s never too late as long as you’re living. You can wear cartoon characters on your clothes if you want, You can wear bright clownish/ parrot -like makeup as a middle aged or old woman if that’s what draws you.   You can read children’s books and sleep with stuffed animals and that’s ok no matter what people say or think.    As long as you’re mature enough to care for yourself and not hurt or interfere with others, it’s ok to be youthful and child-like and find wonder in every breath. Child-like is not the same as childish or immaturity. There are no 7 wonders in the eyes of a child; there are 700, 000 +.   Go to college if you want, take fun classes, hold hands and giggle out in public, jump rope outside, wear those cupcake earrings….do what you want! Don’t let your age or what people think of it restrain you. “As long as you’re living no matter how long you have been traveling down the wrong road it’s never too late to turn around and start over.’ ~Unknown

8.) Kindness even to people we feel may not deserve it is a strength and not a weakness. We are not always kind and we do not always feel like being kind. Maybe sometimes we want to be vicious, even cruel but that accomplishes nothing but putting more pain out into a world where there is already too much. Avoiding this is a great strength. “Don’t treat people as bad as they are; treat them as good as you are. “. This is not being fake, it’s being mature enough to know that kindness and being civilized is better than drama and negative arguing and uncalled for negative encounters.

“The Old Ones have always said that no matter who despises or ignores you, no matter who keeps you from entering their circles, it is right to pray for them because they are like us, too.”. ~ Larry Aitken

“When you are in an upsetting situation, try loving everyone involved and pray for them, hard as they may be. Loving doesn’t mean sentimentality but rather a rational esteem for them as persons.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

9.) Money & material possessions and even a great job are not the only or ultimate successes. They are great and can bring us some senses, often fleeting, of happiness or thrill or make us happy about those specific things but they will likely not make us truly, genuinely happy in the truest, purest general sense.  Love can do that, self- love and unconditional love for life itself.  .   Life -satisfaction as a whole can make us happy but material possessions often will not. We never need big things or lots of things to be truly happy.   The simple and beautiful things can be enough if we let them. Look at the beauty of the sky. Soak in the beauty and richness of this life. The sunlight, the moonlight, the stars, your senses….we never need a reason to celebrate. No birthdays or anniversaries, LIFE itself is reason enough to jump for joy and celebrate! Sweet simplicity.

“Oh the wild joys of living! The leaping from rock to rock … the cool silver shock of the plunge in a pool’s living waters.” 
Robert Browning

10.). You are the one ultimately in charge of your happiness and well being.   Others can help greatly along the way but you are the one who has to work the hardest for yourself.   Therapy can help but cannot, itself, cure you, most likely.   Therapists can help, friends & family can help but you are ultimately responsible for yourself.

11.)  I have the power to choose. I may not always feel like I am responsible for my circumstance but, ultimately, I am. Even the choice to do nothing is a choice. When I look at where I am right now and truly think about it, I will realize I play or have played a significant part in it. I may not have realized all along that I was making choices to get where I currently am but I was. This thought empowers me because I am aware that I can get where I want to be. If I am ultimately responsible for my pain, suffering, and unhappiness then I am also responsible for my happiness, joy, and fulfillment.   I do not choose everything that happens to me but I choose how to respond and I have more control than I may sometimes think. Often, if I’m in a situation I do not like, I can think back and see how I was/am in some ways, responsible and I can now make more positive choices to change it. If I have a victim mentality that life merely happens to me, then I have no control but when I have a “life architect” mentality, that life responds to me and I have the ability to choose and proact, then I am empowered and in control. 
I can’t choose and control everything but I can choose and control enough. 

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” 
― William Jennings Bryan
12.) Many of us live in a stressful, fast paced, demanding society which pressures us into thinking we should live a certain way or we’re not living “right”. We’re expected to overwork ourselves or we’re “lazy” or “dependent” , to have families of our own by a certain age or we’re “old spinsters” or outcasts or “alone” or going against tradition.  We are pressured to obtain advanced school degrees or have impressive jobs to bring purpose to our lives….but There is no one specific meaning or purpose of life. There is not a reason out there waiting to be grasped. We each create our own purpose and meaning. There is no “one size fits all”.    Maybe it’s to have a job helping people, healing with compassion and kindness or being a stay at home mom, basking in the joys of being a mom or daddy, or maybe yours is a specific hobby like drawing or sculpting, or maybe you dedicate your life to research of some sort. Or maybe your purpose is simply to live, to be, to breath.   Maybe you live for the simple moments, the beauty around you, to help people every chance you get, to inspire and to be happy just to be, to be the best you that you can be. Whatever you choose, that is ok. That is great. Find your purpose and embrace it. Live it. Love it.

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.” 
― Joseph Campbell

13.) It’s ok if people don’t like you or appreciate you. It’s ok to be disliked by people, even ones who you really like. You CAN go on living. You CAN still succeed. If you like or love people who don’t like or love you back, it will hurt, but you can move forward and heal. Or stay stuck and dwelling on the fact and that is detrimental and will interfere with your growth. It’s healthy and it’s normal to want to be accepted and included.   Humans are social creatures and have a need, a longing to belong but we do not need everyone to love us or accept us.  Like yourself. That’s all that matters. And for all the people not liking you, there’s so many more who can and will, and already do like you.

14.) We don’t need a new year to start anew. How many people do you know who have goals and dreams they plan to achieve and realize at the start of a new year? They can’t wait for the current year to hurry up and end already.  They get pumped and inspired and energized at the mere thought of a new year about to begin. And they make resolutions they plan to start on Jan. 1st.  But imagine feeling that inspiration at ANY part of the year?! New Year is good & symbolic of new beginnings but new beginnings can happen anywhere, any place, any time.  How about now?

15.) Everyone has pain and struggles and they all deserve love and compassion and empathy even when someone else’s problems seem worse. Just because a person has or seems to have a worse problem or greater pain than another, it doesn’t take away the person’s pain who seems to have a less severe problem. Everyone can benefit by kindness and empathy and having a loving, caring, active listener. There should never be a “pain contest or competition ” to see who has worse problems and pain and judge people negatively. What doesn’t seem so bad to you may be to someone else. 

16.) About friends. Quality over quantity. One true friend is better than 20 or more acquaintances. And blood doesn’t really have to be “thicker than water”. True friends are better than family who doesn’t even care about or even think of you. 

17.) Kindness & compassion should be bestowed in general, not just to people we know & love. We don’t have to like or love everyone equally, that is unrealistic anyway, but we can still be kind and empathetic in general. Remember each person you meet has a life and a story and a breath, pleasure & pain, needs & desires just like you and the ones you love.

18.) My intense, extreme empathy is a gift and a blessing to me and to others even when it feels like a curse.   It’s good to care and have the true ability to deeply understand. I have the tendency to literally feel pain when someone else does. Feeling immense pain at the knowledge of someone suffering is often agonizing and sometimes despairing.   But it helps me connect with people and provides me with more depth and the ability to identify with another even when I haven’t exactly experienced it myself.    I would never say “I know how you feel.”. I don’t know how someone else feels and never will but I can understand to some degree and experience much compassion. But I would never overstep my boundaries and assume I know more than I do. That is pure arrogance.   Some things I can never even begin to imagine but can still be understanding and compassionate.  While I take on the world’s pain, I also have the ability of taking on the world ‘s pleasure and basking in the success and happiness of others even when I, myself am not feeling happy or successful. When one wins, we all win.

19.) The past can be a gift to guide us and doesn’t have to imprison us or hold us back. It can be our teacher. Let the bad strengthen us and the good bless us with sweet memories to cherish forever.

20.) Every person, young & old can teach us something valuable. No matter how pleasant or unpleasant that person or our encounter with that person is, we can learn something.   Inspiration is everywhere.

21.) Life is a gift. It doesn’t have to be taken so seriously. Let small things slide.   It can be painful and unpleasant but that is the price we pay for being blessed with a gift so priceless. If someone gives you a beautiful gift you were never entitled to to begin with (or even if you are) and it is an unexpected and truly incredible gift that just is shockingly beautiful but isn’t perfect, you likely would not complain about its flaws. You weren’t expecting it anyway. It wasn’t something that had to be given to you in the first place.  So you would probably bask in it and cherish it and embrace or accept its flaws.   Life is that gift.

 22.) Other people are just as important as me even if we have strong opposing views. They are as convinced as I am. Their conviction, their compassion is as strong as mine is. And often, even their longing and attempts to do what is right and their sense of justice is as passionate as mine. They frequently have good intentions. And it’s wise to step outside of ourselves often and attempt to see how and why people do the things they do and feel the way they do even when it’s hard and startling.   I may disagree with people, even get angry at them or their views but they deserve a chance and my respect. It’s ok to have differences.   You don’t have to change your views but it’s good to make genuine attempts to understand a view other than your own.

23.)  People are often misunderstood but well- intentioned. They often aren’t trying to be assholes or cruel even when it seems that way. Sometimes it’s thoughtlessness or differing points of views. It’s hard sometimes, to think about things and the world employing a perspective other than our own. I try to understand people as best as I can and give them a chance.  I believe that people in general are basically good with good, selfless intentions but often seem cold, selfish, arrogant, and uncaring. Many people or their actions are just misunderstood and misinterpreted or miscommunicated. I try my absolute best to understand people and give them a chance.

24.). The present moment is the only moment.   It is priceless and great. It is all we have right now. If you learn to live in the present you will be amazed. Let the past teach you and cherish your memories and plan appropriately for the future but LIVE for now. Then you won’t constantly mourn or be destroyed by your previous experiences and won’t fret or overly anticipate your future experiences.

25.)  Pain can strengthen us and make us more whole than we were previously.   Underneath my wholeness lies a broke- ness  that has led me to where I am NOW. Beautifully WHOLE.  

26.) People don’t have to be like me, think like me, look like me, live like me, or breathe like me to be beautiful like me.

27.) Age doesn’t matter as long as you’re alive.   There’s no reason to wish to be younger or lie about or conceal your age. You don’t have to feel the desire to keep it a secret. Shout it off the roof tops! You are blessed, truly blessed to be your age.  Every age has its blessing. However old you are now, you know more than when you were younger. You have likely evolved in ways that was not true before now.   So why want to regress back to a less developed age? And if you want to be younger but know all you know now, what’s the point then anyway? It would be the same as now but just with a different numerical label. And maybe you look older now but so what? It’s part of the blessings of living. Your “flaws” are reminders of all you have survived and learned. You can feel young, BE young, at any age! Cherish it! Embrace it! Many people die tragically young. You are still here, allowed to live this long! Beauty deepens with age. It’s better to be over the hill than under it!! :-D. You are a survivor.

These lessons I find to be true to me; I do not attempt to force any of them upon anyone. You may disagree with me on some or all of them and that’s ok. Different people have different views.   I hope you can find light & inspiration  in some of them.    

X0xo Kim

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