Tag Archive | habits

The power of positive thinking

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“Although extraordinary valor was displayed by the entire corps of Spartans and Thespians, yet bravest of all was declared the Spartan, Dienekes. It is said that on the eve of battle, he was told by a native of Trachis that the Persian archers were so numerous that, their arrows would block out the sun. Dienekes, however, undaunted by this prospect, remarked with a laugh, ‘Good. Then we will fight in the shade.'”

I don’t like wars and other violence but I see much beauty and inspiration in this quote here.

The concept of not giving up when there are obstacles, not to succumb to negative thinking.

There’s almost always a bright side and if not, we can still be positive about it.

Just this strong conviction of mine is liberating and deeply inspiring.

Even when I don’t currently feel it, I always believe it.

We cannot always choose our circumstances or even always choose our emotions at this moment, but we can choose positive thoughts and actions that become a habit or strengthen our already optimistic/positive nature.
We can empower ourself with positivity!

Thank you to anyone who has written me comments recently! I will get to them shortly! I appreciate every single one! I’m at work now working two shifts!

❤ 😀

Much love & light,

xoxo Kim

Courage to overcome

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“Find courage to overcome the circumstance.” ~
Lailah Gifty Akita

This is a great reminder that we cannot always choose our circumstances but we can choose to react in a positive way. 
Even if we cannot currently choose our emotions, we can choose to think and react positively even if we aren’t truly feeling it just yet.
“Fake it til’ you make it.”
If we act in positive ways and choose positive thoughts, we are more likely to begin to feel and live in positive ways, strengthening and developing positive habits. 
This isn’t always easy, it can be so tempting , so easy to give in and succumb to unpleasant situations, emotions, and negativity.  
But it’s worth the work it takes to become and remain positive. Even if we’re naturally, generally positive, there’s usually always room to evolve and be even better.
We can choose to do something as simple as stopping to take a few deep breaths instead of reacting in unpleasant ways, reading uplifting quotes, going outside for a walk or to look at the beautiful sky…

Our teacher in Buddhist class tells us to stop after an unpleasant encounter and before reacting, take a deep breath and ask “What would Buddha do?” 
We don’t have to be a Buddhist to adhere to this wisdom. Buddha is a symbol of peace, calm, love & compassion….

Even if we don’t know for sure what Buddha would do, we can be certain of what he would not do. He would never react with violence or bitterness or give up and quit his life of compassion, he would never allow problems to wear him out.  

I saw this quote today and decided to share here! It can apply to the most minor problems like being stuck in traffic, someone looking at us in unpleasant ways or saying something we don’t like and to more serious problems like depression, physical illnesses, grief, and other difficult situations.

What a great reminder!

😀

Much love & light to you,

xoxo Kim ❤

One word.

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“…maybe if we are surrounded in beauty
Someday we will become what we see.”
~Jewel

I’m Sensitive – Jewel – mobile

I’m Sensitive – desktop

This post is longer than I want it to be but I’m much better, in general, with keeping my posts, messages, comments to people….shorter. Who wants to read like 20 pages of a blog post or e-mail or comment?! Lol But I still tend to get carried away now & again!

;-D   

For the last few years I heard about the one word challenge where we choose one word for the new year and decide to live up to and honor it any way we can the whole year.

I never felt compelled to participate in this because I felt there’s too many words I want to live each day, not just one. It seemed uninteresting to choose one word to live & breathe each day for just one year. And many words or concepts are interconnected. So how do we choose which aspect to focus on? And I used to think, when the year ends, what happens to our word? It gets chucked out the window, kicked to the curb, forgotten, abandoned? 

I remember at the end of 2013, I was having a horrible cluster of severe headaches and it was terrible. The word I clung to is “hope.” Hope that my headaches would soon end or that I would learn to live with the blinding, burning, aching agony, somehow learn to live with it. I bought a few things including a candle holder and notebook with the word “hope” on it.  I was so hurt and the end of 2013 is one of the most desperate, agonizing, traumatic, but beautiful seasons of this life of mine. Even though I still feel the trauma of it while remembering, it really showed me my strength and how desperate but hopeful I can be. It showed me what I’m made of and how a single word can do so much, be so much, be so inspiring, so empowering. The memory, while painful, is also beautiful in my mind. It really tested my life philosophy that life is so beautiful and is worth holding onto, worth each battle, even with very severe pain, both emotional & physical.  

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My experience with headaches piqued my interest in the one word challenge but not too much. But I wrote here that if I were to choose a word for 2014, it would be “hope.” I wanted to go into 2014 with more hope and a conscious, intentional determination to find & feel hope. I still did not engage in the one word challenge very consciously but I did better keep hope alive. 

You can read my December 2013 post here:

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/and-then-a-hero-comes-along-with-the-strength-to-carry-on/

This year though, I received an e-mail, a subscription e-mail, suggesting I try the one word thing as an alternative to new year resolutions and for some reason I felt so inspired and compelled to participate the moment I began reading the e-mail and the word “beauty” was already in my head. I did not even have to search for or contemplate my word; it was just here in my head. I think it’s because my wisdom is deeper now than it was every other year that this challenge now inspires me enough to participate. Not that those who aren’t interested in this challenge are not as wise or even more wise than I am! 

It’s just that I now see the wisdom of focusing on just one word. Or just one thing. It doesn’t mean we can’t also honor other words or incorporate them into our days. Or that once the year ends so does our focus on the concept of our chosen word. I won’t stop seeing beauty when it turns 2017.  It’s just that the simplicity of focusing more on just one word for this challenge is very effective and organized. And we can take the skills it equips us with into the new year while choosing a new word to put more focus on.

Sometimes if we have multiple things to give much attention to, it can be distracting or not as clear. 

For example, when I have multiple books out or multiple books on my Kindle’s home screen, I often don’t know where to start or start with one book then keep switching. I love reading two books or even three on the same days but having too many isn’t always good because I don’t focus on the couple I try to. It’s good to give attention to one or two then when they’re through, move on to the next. I have had good books I tossed aside and never read yet because I had too many out at once and kept getting distracted so gave up on them all for a while.

It can be the same with college classes or utility bills that we are in debt with, if there’s too many, we may not know where to begin or how to get organized. 

One word for this activity brings clarity and organization. 

My word is “beauty.” I vow to see and look for beauty in each day, every situation, every person, no matter what goes on. I see/feel beauty naturally and when it doesn’t come naturally some occasions, I make it a point to look & find. 

But this year, I will focus even more on the beauty of life each day. When I say “see” I’m not just referring to visual beauty but all forms of physical and non physical beauty. We can use all the senses we are blessed with, however many we have. It’s often said we have five senses. Some say we have more. And some people have less than five. But no matter how many we have, we can use them to bask in all the beauty they receive. Beauty of all forms can engage our senses.

But beauty isn’t just physical. Haven’t you ever just felt the beauty of something or someone or your own beauty or beautiful feelings? I can often feel beauty, not just with my senses but feel it deep within. It can’t even be explained in words. 

“Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are.” ~ Markus Zusak

There are many practical steps we can take to participate in this activity. We can use journals, calendars, arts & crafts, social media, lists, various outlets….

I focus on and see and feel so much beauty but this year I want to make it more intentional and even more conscious. 

One of my first steps to living in beauty will be better organizing my room. I am horribly disorganized in a physical way. My room is always a mess. I live with my mom, dad, and sister and my sister said my room is like a teenage boy’s room. Lol

I have food and candy wrappers around, clothes and books scattered around, soda cans, stuff just out of place. I disagree with a lot of people who say the condition of our room or house says who we are or a lot about who we are. Sorry but no my messy room will not tell you too much of who I really am within. All my room says about me is that I’m disorganized. Someone may interpret it as me being careless or apathetic or emotionally imbalanced but I’m not, I’m just a slob is all. Lol 

In elementary school, I loved school and my schoolbooks and class but my desk was one of the worst! I crumpled up paper and folders and just shoved them in my desk. I had broken crayons and pencils scattered about. ( I miss those desks now that I think about it!)

In high school, which I also loved, in eleventh grade English class, my teacher held up my folder and notebook which were overstuffed, falling apart, crumpled up, to the class as an example of what not to do. Lol Awkward! 

I have a beautiful mind and am passionate about the beauty of life and I love my books and things even though they are thrown around.

But it’s definitely more pleasant to walk into a beautiful room. Especially if we are someone who struggles with depression. 

My disorganization doesn’t depress me but organization and a beautiful room can be uplifting to someone who is in an episode already. And when we’re already deeply depressed, I’m sure clutter and things out of place, can drag us down a bit more. 

So I plan on organizing and beautifying my room completely! Not just clearing the junk but setting out more pretty things that stimulate the senses and emotions in a positive way, candles, knick knacks, decorations, flowers, pretty colors….  There’s also things I want to get rid of because they contribute to not just taking up space they aren’t worth but they contribute to negative energy or are somewhat draining to me.  

One thing I have laying around my room are celebrity gossip magazines. Eww. I do not read those. EVER! But my sister and me sometimes cut stuff out of magazines to glue into notebooks and stuff and we have a bunch of various kinds or magazines laying around the house. The one magazine I cannot stand to have near me is the celebrity gossip magazine. No thank you. I don’t think it’s ok to trash talk celebrities or stalk them or harass them at every street corner or air out their dirty laundry without them wanting us to, or make up and perpetuate lies about them just because they chose a job that comes with fame and fortune. They are not different than I am. I would never want gossip magazines or blogs or things about me and people constantly on my ass watching my every move then reporting it to the media or others. That would suck! Also, I do not judge people who read them. When I was young I used to read them myself. I used to try to sneak around in stores reading them without getting caught because we’re not supposed to read without buying. Sometimes they still catch my eye, rarely but still happens. I wasn’t horrible for getting into celebrity gossip. My sister loves celebrity gossip and my grandmom does. It’s just not my cup of tea anymore. I like stuff that others think is terrible to love. (like fiction horror stuff! And some people can’t stand horror books and movies/dvds just being near them like me with the magazines. It doesn’t mean they think less of me for loving it.)  

But that’s beside the point here anyway. My point is those magazines do not aid in my Beauty/one word challenge. They actually go against it. They don’t take up much space but they contribute to unpleasant feelings when I glance at them. I usually throw something on top of them so I don’t have to see them. But soon I will get rid of them completely! Things have an effect on our energy whether or not we fully or consciously realize it. Something that affects my energy or vibration a certain way may not have the same effect on others. It’s important to tune in and see how things affect us. Something that I find exhilarating(like being around lots of people, for example) may be life draining to someone else. It’s important to go deep within the self, pay attention, and see how things affect our energy. 

http://oneword365.com/

On the website (above) for the one word challenge they give seven ideas to effectively integrate our word into our everyday using a calendar. I probably won’t be using a calendar but I will be using a journal and put the date on each page, hopefully at least once a day. My handwriting is terrible though and it so frequently contributes to me giving up on journaling. I write like a 1st grader but worse. But as part of my beauty challenge I know I will find beauty even through my horrific handwriting. 

On the website they suggest a paper calendar or planner but also mention that most tips will work with a digital one. They also suggest maybe dedicating a specific planner or journal to our word, which I will be doing. 

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Here are their seven tips and my thoughts about them.

“1. Make a list of actions you can do daily, weekly or monthly that focus on your word and help you integrate it into your life. Then schedule them into your calendar.”

This is really good for staying motivated. I’m horrible with keeping up with things. I get so wrapped up into doing other things and then my goals get kicked to the curb. By scheduling them into each day, incorporating our word into our life each day, not only are we more likely to not give up on it but it will be more threaded throughout life each day, maybe having a deeper effect. 

“2. Collect quotes and sayings about your word and write them down in the daily or weekly section of your planner.”

This is one of my favorite ones because I love quotes & sayings & clichés! They are so powerful, quick, and uplifting! They are brief but say so much in just a few breaths. I think I will try to find a quote or song each day or week about beauty of some sort and write it in my beauty/one word journal as well as share here sometimes. 

The song I shared above, I’m Sensitive by Jewel is a great song about inner beauty and surrounding our own selves and each other in beauty. It’s about being kind to each other. It’s a beautiful song.

“3. Create a simple bookmark with your word. Take a piece of cardstock or scrapbook paper and write your word onto it with a sharpie. Punch a hole at the top and attach a ribbon. Use the bookmark in your planner to mark the current day.”

This sounds really fun! I think I will!

Maybe I’ll use these!

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(the little nose is my dog, Woody’s. Lol He was interested in my circles.)

I got them at Target a couple years ago but never really used them much.

“4. Write, doodle, draw or paint your word on your daily or weekly pages, or assign a fixed spot to write it down in your monthly overview.”

This is really good for maintaining our focus on our chosen word. Allow it to seep into even our daydreams and lazy thoughts. 

“5. Keep a record of things that happened relating to your word. Did it teach you something? Did it surprise you? Write it down!”

Yes, our experiences each day can strengthen our focus on our word and our determination to honor that word can help us stay positive in situations that may tempt us to succumb to unhappiness or other unpleasant feelings. I have an example already. I had a psychiatric appointment recently that  I did not feel much like going to just because. Sometimes I have to wait hours in the waiting room when my appointment should have been over in fifteen minutes. The people there are not always pleasant to interact with. The workers often treat us like we’re nothing just because we are financially struggling and mentally ill(at least I suspect that’s why – they don’t treat each other or the doctors in this manner, that I know of). They act in a very condescending, rude, abrupt manner, sometimes. Not all of them but enough of them. Not the nurse I talk to, she’s sweet, or the peer specialists who are also mental patients but very advanced in recovery. They are very friendly.  It’s a free mental health clinic and I am very blessed and thankful I have access to it. It’s not always a walk in the park having to deal with it but there are so many opportunities to find beauty like on my walk there, the air on my skin, things I can take pictures of, even glimpses of beauty seen in the people who act in rude ways(they still have good things about them!)…., the other patients I sometimes talk to, the people I meet on the way sometimes. Broken people attract other broken people. We often just sense each other. So I’m always finding someone new to talk to whether another patient or someone hanging around the clinic or neighborhood or at the busstop. There’s a couple busstops near the clinic. I usually walk the half hour instead since I love walking. It’s good to keep a list or book of our inner experiences of how this activity goes for us. It helps organize our thoughts, see what’s working well, what isn’t, and we’ll always have it to look back on. 

“6. Take a look at your to-do list: can you use your word as a guide to tackle your tasks? If you for example chose “Simplify” and you have 35 items on today’s list, you know what to do… :)”

Yeah this is similar to the above answer. Just incorporating it into our everyday tasks. This will have more of an impact. Our everyday chores, tasks, encounters are great opportunities to get in the habit of living up to our chosen word. And it can make these tasks more interesting if we incorporate our word’s concept into them.  In my case, it will be more mindfully finding beauty in each mundane encounter or situation, even the more unpleasant ones. Finding beauty or creating beauty in ugliness or dullness. Using our word to tackle tasks can stimulate our creativity. We can find new ways to integrate our word in each day, thread it throughout our everyday. Maybe your word is even creativity or creative and this activity itself honors that word. If your word is “calm” or “peace,” you can make it a point to do mindful exercises while doing each mundane task you have to do. If you are often late for work or somewhere else important, you probably aren’t very calm on your way there almost being late! That’s so distressing! So you can either start leaving earlier to be more calm or still be late but focus on breathing (and driving! If you drive to work or wherever it is) to calm your nerves.  Those are just some examples. 

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“7. Cross off or circle the dates in the calendar to indicate that your word has been present that day. A year-at-a-glance calendar can serve as a tracker for the whole year.”

Yeah this is really good for getting us in the habit of actively “using” our word each day. If you are a calendar user already (I’m not) then it’s probably even more effective than a journal keeping you on track because you already use it. With the journal, it’s a new activity I have to remember and find motivation to keep up with, challenging but fun! Also, marking the days that our word is present, we can keep track of and look back on our progress and better maintain our one word goal. 

While this activity can be practical like with journals and physical actions taken, it can also be an experience in our heads, just to honor our chosen word in our inner world, summoning feelings and images that relate to it.

I want to find beauty everywhere and share it with others through photos, quotes, blog posts, Facebook posts, conversations on and offline….I do this anyway but this year, I will be even more mindful. 

I will also live in love, compassion, kindness, inspiration….and other lovely words…but beauty is my word for this challenge. And beauty includes love and inspiration and other concepts. Compassion, kindness, & love are beautiful and when I engage in or feel them, I will also be honoring my chosen word, “Beauty.”

If you are also doing this challenge, I would love to know your word and/or how you plan to honor it each day! So let me know! You can write it in the comments here, write me an e-mail @ kimberlyjm52@gmail.com or write your own post on it and send me the link! I hope to think of some more creative ways to live in Beauty! ❤ 😀

Got any ideas? If you have anything to add, like creative ways we can incorporate the concept of our word into our everyday, let me know! I love knowing people's ideas! 

Even if you haven't chosen your word yet, you can now! Or whenever you want! I just decided to engage in this fun & inspiring activity a couple days ago!  And my mind is already even more in the habit of seeing beauty in mundane and unpleasant situations. It's never too late as long as we're alive!

😀

Here are some ideas I thought of: serenity, inspiration, love, patience, gratitude, peace, kindness, creativity, light, motivation, astute, organization, beauty, alive, truth, acceptance, wonder, awe, confidence, clarity, discernment, tranquility, play, playful, , humor, laughter, lighthearted, health, enthusiasm, positivity, optimism, forbearance, magnanimity, humbleness, humility, independence, joy, openness, receptive, passion, tolerance, bold, assertiveness, fierce, gentleness, nurture, strength, wisdom, tact, spirit, attitude, persistence, compassion, hope, Earth, oneness, heart, sky, fun, mindfulness, music, song, minimalism, simplicity, growth, happiness, zen, balance…

Maybe you want to choose a word that already resonates with you in a deep way or maybe you want it to be a bit more challenging and choose a word or concept you struggle with. Either way is fantastic!  

When we choose a word, we can still live all these other words too but our focus for the challenge will most directly be on the one we chose for it. There are so many, many creative ways we can come up with to live the word we choose. 

Check this out for more fun & inspiring ideas for this new year! They are alternatives to the new year resolutions. 

10 Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions

Thank you!! 

Xoxo Kim 

Space

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“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. “ ~ Viktor E. Frankl

This is a quote I found in a book about addiction & mindfulness. But it’s a great concept that can apply to any situation. We have the power to choose how to respond to whatever provokes us. It may feel like we have no choice and no control over a situation but the reaction is always in our control even if we cannot yet choose our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. In this space, we can refine our ability to proact,. This space is empowering and it’s true our response can either contribute to evolving or to destruction. The more we choose to respond with positivity, love, grace, gratitude, and optimism, the more we evolve. 

We are truly liberated when we learn to always or frequently respond in a productive or positive way to people and situations that potentially tempt us to lash out or respond negatively in some way. When we have or cultivate a pro-active attitude and strengthen/maintain it, no matter what happens, no one and nothing gets over on us. 

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This is me today at work.

I hope your day/night is going beautifully! I was at work all day trying to work on blog posts and things but had no Internet connection. It wasn’t a really busy day but busier than it has been. But when I was not tending to customers and doing work related things and bloggy things, I read books on my Kindle app. It was frustrating at some points because the wifi would come on and I would begin writing things then trying to send them and it would go off before going through and sometimes I would lose what I wrote.
So I decided to see what quotes I have saved in my phone and found this! Great quote for the situation! 😀

Much love, ❤

Xoxo Kim 

Minute by Minute

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“Life is not lost by dying 
Life is lost minute by minute 
Day by dragging day 
In all the small and uncaring ways.”
~ Stephen Vincent Benet

All the “little” things we do or don’t do, not paying attention, not caring, acting mindlessly or absent-mindedly, just drifting through each day not soaking up each moment or gem of beauty…all adds up to days lost, days and occasions we’ll never get back. Living to “the fullest” to me means making each moment, no matter what, the best we can. Whether we are sick or in pain, sad or happy, financially stable, poor, or rich, living our dream or not, have a great job, a dead-end job, or none at all, anxious or depressed…we can “bloom where we’re planted.” Make the most of what we have and where we are NOW.

Each moment won’t be the best but we can choose to make it as great as possible. It’s an amazing goal and habit we can develop.

Let’s pay attention to the simple beauty around us, the leaves, the cool breeze, the city lights, a heated room in the Winter, the deep blue of the sky, the twinkling stars in a midnight sky, the fragrance of flowers in the Spring, the taste of food we love, the sound of cars in the street, rain tapping on a roof, the softness of a blanket that comforts us through the night, the scent of cold air, the look in someone’s eyes, the softness of feathers or fur on a pet…

These are things so often overlooked by us each day. If we stop and pay attention to a single leaf, the crispness or greenness, an individual flower petal, the pastel softness, if we feel, truly mindfully feel the air carassing our skin while outside…it’s like a whole new world! A beauty that can make us go weak at the knees, make our breath catch, make us come alive, make our insides quiver, make us want to jump for joy! We can feel this feeling everyday!

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I saw this tree recently which still has green Springy/Summery leaves and not Fall ones yet and I looked at each leaf individually, not litterally every single one, but many. Instead of seeing it as a whole tree as one and all the leaves together like I usually do, I looked at each one separately, the vibrant green, the light tan/brown bark, the narrow trunk and branches, the way it looked against the sunset sky…and was (and still am!) astounded by the beauty. There’s so much we’re missing!!

All we have to do is look, open our minds and receive.

Our idea of living to the fullest may mean having our dream job, doing fun things like sky-diving, having a family, having lots of money…but while we’re working for those things, we can still live to the fullest! By tuning into each moment no matter what we’re doing! Being mindful, giving it our all, giving our whole self to whatever we’re doing.

This quote above is a wonderful reminder!

Lots of love to you! 😀

xoxo Kim ❤

A Varied Source

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“For sentient beings, poor and destitute, May I become a treasure ever plentiful, And lie before them closely in their reach, A varied source of all that they might need.” ~ Shantideva 

This is an amazing concept. To be “a varied source” of all that someone, anyone may need. Be a source of happiness and riches, not just material, monetary riches but rich in love and joy, generous and comforting to anyone in need. Be a source of inspiration, a source of light, be a friend and a protector, give a helping hand, a warm hug.  

There’s a blog called “Waking up with Ryan” by a man who loves to help and inspire people! Just my kind of man!

http://www.wakingupwithryan.com/

(and he’s cute too! Go check him out! ;-D)

Ryan’s everyday morning e-mails, which are about positivity, love, and inspiration, resonate with me so often. His messages each day can apply to people in general. And so often when I’m thinking about a certain topic or concept or something, his e-mail seems to be about that very issue! 

He asks:

“How do you show up for the people all around you?”

This is a fantastic question, one that is of great importance and is good to ask ourselves each day. 

The possibilities are infinite. There’s so much we can do for others whether or not the people realize we are doing anything to help them. Simple things they may not realize we did but would notice if it wasn’t done. Like doing extra work so our coworker doesn’t have to. Moving stuff out of the way if we see it in a street or the middle of a pavement where someone can trip over it or cars can crash. Feeding pigeons on a pavement. Sharing our snacks with a squirrel. Showing love to a homeless person. Even if it’s just eye contact or a sweet smile to show that person’s existence is something, is important, is valued. Saving insects when we can instead of crushing them. We too often overlook certain kinds of people and other sentient beings. Texting our mom just to say hello. Buying our friend coffee or tea. Putting things on hold to help someone else. Creating a blog/e-mail subscription system to send out inspiring messages to millions of people or just one who may see it, write positive messages to people on social media whether we know them or not, compliment a stranger, share an uplifting quote or song, let someone else have the last available seat on a bus or in a waiting room, or the last product in a store even if we need it, warmly reach out to an acquaintance who seems to be struggling even if just to say hello, when we feel like being judgmental instead of acting on that, seek to understand…

Ryan writes(in his June 23rd subscription e-mail):

“It’s too easy to lose ourselves in the day’s activities. We forget to consider the impact we have on each other.

Let’s slow down today and consider that every single interaction is an opportunity to add a little more hope to someone’s life.”

Isn’t this beautiful?

This is so profound. Think about it. Imagine if our every interaction each day, every mundane encounter, every random encounter, every planned encounter, at home, at work, out and about, driving, on a bus or train or plane, with other sentient beings is grasped as an opportunity to bring hope, love, light, and inspiration to that living being. 

Imagine if we all make the choice every single day throughout the day to lavish love onto each other and the world in every way we can. The world would change dramatically. And even if just one of us does this and the rest of the world doesn’t, the world around us will be better for those we touch. Not everyone will be interested in receiving our love and the love we send out to the world won’t always be returned to us but that’s ok! It’s not about what we get but what we give. 

Truly listen when someone wants to talk, listen to understand, not merely to respond in a mechanical, automatic way just to converse or satisfy social expectations, hold our tongue when we feel like lashing out in anger, encourage when someone needs inspiration, hug the hurt, comfort the sick, befriend the lonely, smile at those who are frowning, love the lost, guide them with your love and light, show compassion to those who seem to be lacking it, help the broken heal, be a varied source of all someone may need. 

We won’t always be able to be what everyone wants and needs and that’s ok. Maybe someone needs money you just don’t have to give, maybe someone wants to hear words you can’t bring yourself to say, needs your time when you really have somewhere else to be and can’t give it right then…

We can’t always be everything to everyone. But as long as our intentions are good, our heart is pure, our energy is loving….it’s all that matters. What we have to give, we can give. Let it be enough for now. And it’s a beautiful way to live. 

This quote attributed to Shantideva, inspires me so deeply. To be the best me I can be for whoever needs me. I won’t always succeed but I can do my best in general. 

I hope you have a varied source of all that you need but more importantly, I hope you will be that varied source to others in need. ❤

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I hope you are having a beautiful night or day wherever in the world you are. I’m sending my loving energy to you and wishing you the best. ❤ ❤ ❤ 😀

Ordinary Angels – mobile link to song

Ordinary Angels – desktop link

Xoxo Kim ❤

Stepping out of our ruts

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I was working on a blog post today about positive thinking and handling difficult situations and it turned out much longer and more disorganized than I intended.

So I decided to save it for a while and do a different post today.
I have a book of positive quotes, one for each day of the year. I decided to look at March 7th since that’s today and guess what?!

It’s about the very topic I was attempting to write about today! What a coincidence! There it goes again that law of attraction at play! Lol ;-D

So here’s the quote:

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” ~ M. Scott Peck

Did you know that a problem, even a tragic, devastating one can lead us to something better than if we never had that problem? 

It’s true!

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“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” ~
Elliott Erwitt

One example I have is my depressive condition. My depressive disorder is the catalyst for positive change and I am much better, in general, than I would have been if I never experienced the disorder. While I still plummet to the lowest depths of despair, I believe in the middle of episodes, I am better than I would have been if I never knew such pain. I work on myself constantly and have equipped myself with skills to help in any situation that seems unpleasant. I learned about meditation, gratitude lists, appreciative living techniques, and other things that can help anyone, not just depressed people. And that’s how I got this blog!  I wouldn’t have discovered all this if not for my quest to heal my depression I would still be happy but just not like this. Depression sucks but all we can do is cope with it and be even better for it!

Another example is my currently incurable
 pain disorder which causes wretched cluster-like headaches and other horrible physical pain. These headaches, no one can ever imagine the terrible pain involved like being burned alive and the terrible ache involved. I would take a kidney stone and a million broken bones anyday over this. But like my depression, these “headaches” have inspired me to notice the beauty all around me in a deeper way than before. Right before a headache gets to the point it’s unbearable, I begin to notice beauty in a way I never did before the headaches. They start out almost unbearable then escalate to literally unbearable. And before they get to be unbearable, I see the smallest simplest things most of us never notice. Like reflections bouncing off of objects, little beads of moisture on soda or water bottles, or someone’s shoulder in the scorching summer sun.
Sunlight dancing upon someone’s beautiful hair, the sounds of water drops….i can’t take as much pleasure as if I wasn’t having a headache but I wouldn’t have noticed these things as deeply as if I never had the recurrent headaches and it took a few for me to realize.
Then when they end I am still aware of the beauty and can take full pleasure. Even on days I don’t have these headaches of horror, I see simple beauty in a deep way. 

“Suddenly – life has new meaning to me.
There’s beauty up above and things we never take notice of
You wake up and suddenly you’re in love.” ~ Billy Ocean

There’s so much beauty we take for granted. Cliche and oh so very true. 

One warm summer day some years ago a headache hit me so hard and suddenly, unexpectedly as they usually do. I fell back onto my bed in my bedroom, clutching the side of my face. I was destroyed. My life was over, or so it felt.  I knew it was going to get much worse as I have had many before. I couldn’t believe the terror that was and that horror that was to come. And I looked up at my soda bottle. I saw something I have seen countless moments before, year after year after year and thought nothing of. But this moment, it struck me. The beauty of it, I almost had to shield my eyes against the startling beauty. I was awestruck and struck with remorse for overlooking it all these years.

Little beads of moisture streaming down the bottle, glistening and screaming, pounding into my brain and piercing the pupils of my eyes. As if to scream at me “Look at us! We’re here!” Pretty soon the headache completely took over and everything around me completely disappeared. I was engulfed by mind blasting shots of physical agony piercing my very essence. 

Then when I woke up, I was changed. 
I was reborn. I began to see a forgotten world of astounding beauty I have never truly laid eyes on before. Or I have and did not know it.  I still have those headaches and each one is a reminder to acknowledge the beauty, overlooked and ignored. The simplest of all the pleasures in this life.

Here is my post on the suicide/cluster/cluster-like headaches if anyone is interested in it. It’s very long, you can just skim through it if you want. It took a lot of strength to write. 

 https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/on-pain-suicide-headaches-prevailing/

And here is a post about my goal each day:

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/small-things-forgotten/

Think of all your problems no matter how seemingly serious or seemingly trivial. List them all. What can they teach you? How can they strengthen you? How can you use them to your advantage to awaken the wisdom in you? And if you can’t yet think of anything, make something up! Create something.

Let’s take a very trivial but annoying problem for example, being stuck in traffic. It can teach you patience, compassion for others who annoy you, you can practice meditation while not driving…and if not then you can make it a point to go home later and do something positive to “make up” for that minor but really annoying inconvenience even if that positive thing has nothing to do with it. Like donate money to a positive organization to help others, exercise, make it a point to warmly smile at someone you wouldn’t usually.
Don’t let those problems be in vain! Get creative!

;-D

Much love to you,

Xoxo Kim  ❤

A Note of Thanks <3

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WordPress notified me about a week ago, I think, that my blog here has been getting some unusual attention lately! I was informed that typically the average views each hour that my blog gets is 0 (lol) but then the average views an hour was 28!! Twenty-eight!! Whaaaatt?!

Lol Some Internet celebrity must have shared my blog or something!  

Thank You so much Internet celebrity!  
And Thank You so much to everyone who “likes” & likes, shares, comments, reblogs, lurks, follows….I’m so humbled and grateful!!

You have no idea! The happiness and joy that surges through me to know someone is somehow inspired, uplifted, or helped in some way by my content!

So I’m just writing a little thank you note here to all of you who read/like/comment/share/reblog….

Much love to you! 

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In honor of this amazing news I’m going to share some gratitude quotes!

😀

1.) “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” ~Author Unknown

This is so true! Sometimes we may feel that we want, need, deserve more than what we have and whether or not that’s true, focusing on this kind of thinking more than focusing on the positivity of what we do already have, is draining and limiting. There’s nothing at all wrong with wanting and striving for more but it’s not good to overlook all of our current blessings just because we want more. I noticed that no matter how much I really want something, taking inventory of all the great things I already have, even the most simplest, mundane things, like the air that I breathe, is an incredible way to feel that right
 now is enough. This moment is enough. 
I can still work for more and want more sometimes but without ignoring all that I currently have. It’s especially uplifting to write down a gratitude list. 

2.) “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” ~G.B. Stern
 
I definitely disagree with this quote. “Silent gratitude” helps the person experiencing it. The very feeling is beautiful, uplifting, exhilarating. So the person experiencing it is helped. But also, I believe feeling gratitude emits positive vibrations out into the universe which touches others. And a grateful person starts to act grateful and just be more positive and happy and loving, which positively affects others.  But I get the gist of this message, that expressing gratitude out loud or in writing or in some other way, is a fantastic thing and helps people know they and whatever they do for us, are appreciated. 

3.) Gratitude is the memory of the heart. ~Jean Baptiste Massieui

4.) The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. Southard

Mmm hmmm…! I used to often be a fan of revenge when I felt people did me wrong. Sometimes if someone said something negative to or about me, I would be sure to say something worse back. When I found people were gossiping about me, I spread worse gossip. Equal revenge wasn’t even good enough for me often. I had to “get ’em worse than they got me.” Sweet revenge was something I felt compelled to pursue, whether in a subtle way without them knowing or in a more explicit way.  I realized that’s not the way I really want to be and I began resisting the urges to seek revenge until eventually they became almost non existent. Now I can’t even imagine being that way. I’m so so thankful I came to my senses and outgrew those trivial little games. 

Now I don’t get even, I get even more fabulous! Lol 

5.) Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture. ~Kak Sri

We can learn to view pain, negativity, struggles…as amazing opportunities to get better, get stronger, learn life lessons, and help others. We don’t have to go out looking for pain and bringing it on ourselves and hoping for it but it’s inevitable as long as we’re alive so we can use it to our advantage. 

6.) If you have lived, take thankfully the past. ~John Dryden

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7.) As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. ~Terri Guillemets

8.) I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton

9.) You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink. ~G.K. Chesterton

Yes, let’s be thankful for everything! Every little thing!  

10.) For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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11.) If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get. ~Frank A. Clark

I have found this to often be true. Some people, it seems the more they get the more they want. And gratitude while being a fleeting feeling most of us probably experience at some points can also be a general attitude. An attitude that can be developed, strengthened, and maintained. 
Just as gratitude can be a habit, so can ingratitude. And if a person is ungrateful then when the person gets whatever that person wanted, that habit of ingratitude is likely to carry over. 
I have a natural inclination to be thankful that I have strengthened, with appreciative living techniques, to be even more, consciously grateful in general. But there are some occasions I am being and acting ungrateful when I want something “more” or “better” and I stop and remind myself that an unwavering, underlying, general, foundation of gratitude is better than the fleeting sense that comes with each specific thing someone wants and gets. 
And if I’m not giving thanks for what I already have, why should I get more?  
Gratitude as an attitude can be developed with practice! Even if you are currently not a very grateful person. 

12.) “Praise the bridge that carried you over.” ~George Colman

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! ❤

I hope you’re having a beautiful night or day wherever you are!

Xoxo Kim ❤ 

Fear & Hunger

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(me then & now)

“Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.”

It seems that some emotions or feelings such as fear of death or fear of anything really, and desire for things or people we can’t or shouldn’t have are viewed negatively by many people. Viewed as a weakness, a flaw, something to avoid at all costs. There are self-help books and teachings designed to help us not be afraid and to not desire. Not to fear death or how to overcome the fear of death, not just overcoming an unhealthy phobia but even just any natural, primitive fear of death. Not to feel desire, to not want things we do not have, to just be content with what we already have or to be happy with very little. To not want more. To not want material things because material things are bad and desire is reprehensible. To not feel disappointed if we can’t get more.

It’s like a rebellion against the media, advertising, commercialism, and consumerism.

These are good things. We don’t want fear taking over our lives or being too frequent. And it’s not good to ignore our current blessings just to want more, more, more.

Too much restlessness and ungratefulness are not good.

We often think of disappointment, the feelings we have after not succeeding or getting what we want, wanting what we can’t have, as a bad thing. Sometimes we may feel guilty for acting or feeling ungrateful.

Maybe we feel wimpy for being afraid.

But fear, hunger, and desire are beautiful things. They are not bad. They are not an indication that we are bad or wrong or ungrateful or that we need fixing. We don’t need self help books or anything to help us completely obliterate fear & desire.

It’s fantastic to be happy with very little or with everything we already have but there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging those things with gratitude while also desiring other things now & then.

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I see things in a way that I would never have if I never suffered with depression. I see through a lens of depression, even when I’m not depressed. (it’s a good thing) I see through depression tinted glasses. Even when I’m very happy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

No matter how happy I am, no matter how healed I am in general, I will never lose touch with my depressed self and the deep wisdom it has shown me. And I don’t ever want to lose touch with that part of me.

There are lessons and observations and truths bubbling in my core, ingrained into me, resting in the crevices of my brain, that I would not have come to realize any other way.

For many, many years I suffered with depression and often, very little to no desire, hunger, or fear. Many days, I did not want anything. I did not fear anything. I did not care about anything. There was no hunger for life. No hunger to win. No hunger to get better.

I often did not care if I lived or died. This was not always true. My depression would always lift after a while and I would be happy again. And often, even with depression, I would still have desire, hunger, fear. Often, I would see a carnival or amusement park or jewelry and just have to have it, even as an adult and even while depressed, I would experience joy at seeing an amusement park and run to ask my dad to take my sister and me. Even with depression, I felt the joy. But there was also that other kind of depression that would come and go and I would not have any desire at all. This depression would occur too often but was not the most common. Then all depression would leave me and I would be happy.

When I was a little girl I wanted everything. I wanted every toy in every store. I wanted to go out and play with my friends. I looked up at the sky and I hungered for more. I hungrily devoured the scents, the feels, the sights and sounds, the tastes of Nature. The taste of salt water as the strong Ocean’s waves washed over me, the feel of the dirt that got under my fingernails as I rolled around in the lot my friends and me played in. The blueness of the sky that pierced my matching oceanic blue eyes as I stared innocently into the sun until it blinded me and all I saw were specks of unknown galaxies and dark black shadows of mystery. Mysteries lost in the whites of my eyes, sparkling amidst the invisible spaces of my corneas.

Mysteries I longed to know. But loved the obscurity of.

My immense love for water bugs, roaches, and my wonder at maggots turning into flies almost matched my love for caterpillars, butterflies, songbirds, and the
colorful flowers that bloomed into Spring. This seemed to baffle most of those around me, both the other kids as well as adults. How could anyone love such ugly, repulsive things? The other kids would run screaming at the first sight of a big brown roach while I would drop to my knees in awe and watch closely as one would turn over and play dead. Then I would playfully imitate the scene, lying on my back with my arms and legs crumpled up, tongue sticking out, trying hard not to laugh. I loved the disgust on the faces of those in my audience.

Or I would watch a white maggot squirm and wonder what they’re made of. What makes them white? What gives them the ability to move? Do they have insides like people? Like me? Does a maggot have a heart? My innocent, curious little girl thoughts swirled around inside my head. There was no Internet I was aware of. I couldn’t easily look it up like I can now. So I wondered. I contemplated. I entertained an infinity of ideas, in my little girl ways.

The Internet is a great gift to the world but the absence of the Internet in childhood is also a great, valuable gift. I am happy I had no Internet.

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Bumble bees never scared me like they scared the other kids, even after I was painfully stung by one in the neck and my mom had to remove the stinger as I yelled in anguish and confusion. I would chase them just to catch a glimpse of that yellow fuzz that decorates their bodies, getting as close as I can, feeling a deep connection to another living, beautiful creature. Not very unlike myself. I wanted to run my finger along that fuzz. I never killed insects or bugs out of fear, dislike, or to capture that magical green glow of fireflies in my hands, on a hot Summer night.

I knew that would be one of the worst offenses anyone can commit in this life, like stealing a star out of the sky and keeping it all to myself or taking a jellyfish out of the ocean just to see through that thick clear gelatinous body
all the way through to the spineless depths of her being.

I would look up at a navy, starless midnight sky and just know somewhere deep inside there were no stars because they all burned out, not being able to stand the heaviness and constancy of my endless, annoying wishes. I felt that they had secrets I was never meant to know. I felt both sadness and awe. Awe, a feeling of great wonder, deep inspiration, and a strange kind of fear and respect.

I couldn’t think in these words or concepts at such a young, innocent age. But I felt it in my bones. I felt it venturing throughout my veins and electrifying with each pulsation of my beautiful heart that pounds through my chest. The rhythm of life pounding through me.

I still feel it.

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As a little girl, my friends and me would build tents out of sleeping bags and sheets and blankets and beach towels, building tents to huddle in and play house together, and pretending as if these tents were our hideouts deep into some lost, secluded woods where we were being chased by a big bad wolf or a deranged stranger, I noticed the rough and smooth sounds of the sheets and nylon sleeping bags as they gently brushed together. I was struck by the infinite beauty of something so simple. Time stood still.

Listen to that! It’s like music!

Kim, you’re just crazy!

Maybe.

I would eat fun-dip candy until my tongue bled and stung, like catching a mini falling star on the tip of my tongue as if it were a snowflake. I would stare at the white stick streaked with my blood, my beautiful life sustaining fluid, in awe. There was something wondrous about eating delicious colored powder until my little tongue started leaking pink-red blood onto white. There was something thrilling about that sting. The coppery, metallic taste in combination with the sweetness of powder. I loved the burn in my chest. I would happily run to inform my mom, as if it were my greatest accomplishment. Holding up the white stick to show her this magic I discovered. But my wonder was never met with satisfaction and praise as I always hoped. Instead my mom would tell me to quit eating the candy.

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Unlike most kids I knew, I happily anticipated going back to school when Summer ended and shopping with my mom for school supplies, shoes, and clothes. I couldn’t sleep the night before my first day back. Happy, grateful thoughts raced across my mind. I wanted to get up and dance. I wondered who I would meet. What would I learn? Even now the memory of that feeling thrills me. The great potential of meeting new friends, seeing old friends, the thrill of new teachers, and learning new things I would run home to proudly share with my mom and dad. Wondering what desk I would sit at, what kids I would be grouped with, who would my work partners and playmates be…

I loved shopping not just to get the stuff but the whole feel of shopping for it with my mom, seeing all the other shoppers, the feel of the back to school spirit all around me, the endless commercials advertising impressive things for going back to school. The scent of new, blank notebooks with white, lined pages just waiting to be filled and freshly sharpened pencils and broken crayons in a multitude of fascinating colors with fascinating names. “Tickle me pink.”

The big fruit scented markers in a disarray of colors and soft, squishy pencil erasers that felt like rubbery cement upon my fingertips. The various shapes of pencil sharpeners. I even loved the idea of white-out and couldn’t wait to make mistakes just to get to white it out. I loved the containers it always came in, the little bottles and then the other kind that came out, no longer like liquidy liquid but a little sponge that smoothly glides across the paper.

I always loved how it smelled mixed with paper and ink as it wafted up to tickle the scilia in my nose. In school we were not usually permitted to use pens so I had no use for white-out so my mom and dad would buy me it for home. I cherished the opportunity to give out valentine’s day and Christmas cards with paper hearts and candy canes taped on and would usually make one up for every kid in class. It felt so beautiful making them all happy with a sweet little card and I always had some to bring home too with sweet little messages of friendship.

I loved the feel of being in school surrounded by other kids, cared for by teachers. Immersed in the glow of the whole environment. My hungry curiosity soaking up all the information my little brain could hold. I took in all the fragrances of the classroom, the smell of food, pencil lead and shavings, washable, markers, non toxic paint, clay…,the chatter, the laughter, and all the emotions swirling about, through the air. People, children & adults alike, always told my mom how “crazy” it is a girl can love school so much.

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Each day after school, I couldn’t wait til my friends came out and we ran through the streets and the abandoned lots. We snuck up onto the railroad and secretly climbed the gates to trespass into people’s backyards with the possibility of getting caught hanging over our heads, both thrilling us and frightening us.

As I sit here and write this, I can smell the fragrance of the green grass that filled my nose and lungs in the Summers all those years ago, I can smell the sundrenched metal on my hands after climbing the fence surrounding the big lot we played in, I can feel the richness of the soil we buried treasures in and searched for wiggly worms in with our bare hands and little fingers, I can taste the magic of the glistening snowflakes as they landed on my tongue in the dead of Winter, I feel the crisp Fall air as it caressed my skin, I feel the rainy mist and the floral beauty of Spring as it bloomed into my essence after that long, cold slumber finally ended. I hear the childish screams and laughter, the innocent taunts “takes one to know one! Last one there is a chicken brain…! I’m rubber you’re glue whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you! Traitor! Dirtball! Kimbo Bimbo!!

I can still hear the songs we listened to as our small bodies happily danced up and down the street, the songs that skipped and stopped and started back up as a result of my scratched up CD’s I never took good care of. I can feel the sunlight dancing upon the rain puddles after a heavy storm and the bruises and burns of the scrapes, like little sun beams, that adorned my knees as I did somersaults, went tumbling endlessly down the hills we used to play upon near the railroad, only to smack hard into the low concrete walls that surrounded the sandy, rocky spaciousness when I reached the end, and burst out laughing.

My Earth colored hair soaked in mud and sweat and grit as it tangled into an unrecognizable mass of chaos and beautiful destruction.

I can taste it today.

I sit here and my head overflows like cauldrons of emotion, nostalgia, longing, joy, happiness, pain, a deep ache way deep inside in some mysterious place of me I can’t quite identify, crackling and sizzling to the brim, on an old stove as brilliant purple and orange flames swallow it up. I see colors and stars and thousands of burning suns and glowing moons, everywhere.

It reminds me of a line in LeeAnn Womack’s song, “I Hope You Dance”. One I reference often.

“…get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger.”

I was satisfied with the beauty all around me but I always wanted more. I got my fill but I kept that hunger. Each day I couldn’t wait to go outside and play in the dirt, the snow, the grass, the rain and oily, muddy puddles my feet loved to dance in, the leaves, the worms and rolly pollies….I was astounded by the beauty in every form it came to me. My senses passionately, greedily devoured every bit of it. I was filled with wonder & awe. And I was very aware of this wonder and awe that always breathed in my lungs and flowed with my blood like a starry serenade.

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I desired things I couldn’t always have. I wanted every toy, every book, every pair of shoes the instant I saw them and I would throw brief conniptions Sometimes on the rare occasions I was told no. I thought it was the worst thing to want and not get.

I also felt fear. I feared my own death even though I was too young to truly understand the full concept. I feared getting lost. I feared getting sick. I feared deeply. Fear did not take over my life but I experienced a healthy dose.

But then I gradually developed mild depression and I saw beauty still but not to the same depth. I couldn’t quite feel it as much. But it was still there. Then my lowgrade depression turned to severe, unbearable depression that consumed me in its darkness, pulling me into the secret black waters of its depths, I was submerged in despair, hit like a bag of bricks, with this thick, heavy darkness, and I saw beauty but almost never felt it as deeply. It jumped out at me and I noticed it to some degree, still noticing the simplest things it seemed no one else noticed or cared for, like the taste of cold air, the sounds of crickets, the smoothness of floor tiles, the cars and trucks sloshing through the rain in the flooded streets, the soles of shoes squeeking on bright white floors, the light reflections bouncing off of metal, the smell of hospitals and medicine and healing, the salty taste of longing, the way my soft hands feel in warm weather as they softly stroke utility poles and the wood of public benches, in fact, I seemed to notice it even more now…but it was shadowed by gray and darkness. I wanted to want it. But I just couldn’t to the extent I once hungered for it. And on some of those instances I paid too much attention and I did begin to really feel beauty again, I would shield myself against it, feeling as if I don’t deserve it, that this world is too beautiful for someone as ugly as me.

I noticed the city lights softly bathing the pavements and streets, the sounds of trains rolling across the tracks, the Beauty of the

soft rhythms of car horns in the distance late into the night while most of the world around me remained asleep, laughter out in the streets, the starlight illuminating the night, music notes riding the air as neighbors played love songs all night long, the wind that danced through my long hair. The scent of soil after the rain, the taste of cold air, the feel of soft fleece against my delicate, sensitive skin that brought me a sense of comfort, the sense of unity that surrounded me during the holidays, the creaking of floorboards beneath my feet, the green glow of fireflies, the gentle creases on people’s faces, the laughlines and the wisdom, the curve of shoulders, the little hairs in the big, dark, moles on the face of the girl I used to see on a bus often, the things I have always known are beautiful that others believe are ugly or not worth noticing. And it was all incredibly beautiful but too often I closed myself off to it.

I forced myself not to notice it. I wanted that beauty but I did not want to want it. I believed I wasn’t deserving and it hurt me. I have always been blessed with an ability to notice, acknowledge, and appreciate things, incredibly simple and mundane things, in a way it seems most around me almost never do or never notice and appreciate in the same way I always did. I have always loved simplicity and monotony. And not just the things themselves but the fact of experiencing them, the whole experience itself. And I have always lived in gratitude and some degree of mindfulness even before it became my intentional way of life. Even before I knew what gratitude or mindfulness even is.

I was never quite able to put it into words.

I was not brought up this way. It just lives in me. It always has. It always will.

Most children are more mindful and grateful than adults I believe, it’s a child’s nature, but mine seemed on fire and still is to this day. As we’re growing up, we often lose that sense of childish wonder to some extent, just getting caught up in the obligations and expectations and stresses of everyday life. Mine was hindered by depression but then brought back to life by depression way more intense than it was before depression.

Now even in the throes of a deep, deep depression, I don’t shield myself against that beauty. Instead, I cling to it for my life.

When I’m depressed, I can’t feel it to the same depth usually, as when I’m not depressed but I still easily notice it and can feel it to some degree. And I seize it and hold on tight.

Like a lifeboat out on some distant shore waiting for my grasp, promising to save me if only I reach out.

That wonder never left me completely.

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Even in a psychiatric hospital under suicide watch for weeks, as a young woman, when I got my hands on a pen without anyone knowing (mental patients weren’t allowed to have pens) I was thrilled beyond belief. A doctor accidentally left it on a table and the second he walked away I snatched it up and it hid it and when we had to sign in for a group therapy session I was just the coolest thing around, signing my name with a pen in big bold, blue, letters, while every other patient had to use a pencil. ;-D

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And the day I found a paperclip in the visiting room and hid it because it was just the most amazing thing to have a prohibited and somewhat sharp object in my possession while under suicide watch. I got both the pen and the clip taken off me when they saw me strolling the halls with them in my hands.

:-/

My mind drifts back now
to that moment my sense of taste returned while in the cafeteria, after what seemed like an eternity.

I am sitting around a small table with my friends who are not my friends but intimate strangers, all held together by some kind of lonely bond. No laces in our shoes, plastic forks and spoons, strings removed out of our hoods, plastic bracelet around my slender wrist bearing my name that then seemed
anomalous to me.

Struck by the sharp taste of the potatoes, struck in a delicious way, like meteor showers.
blasting through my whole being. Still so deeply and heavily depressed but

holding onto that moment as if my life depends on it. A moment surrounded by people who understand my pain and bizarre thoughts.

When they took me to the court of mental heath and I was the star of the show, I was fascinated. It felt so bizarre and so intriguing to be the center of attention, everyone talking about me but not to me. I wasn’t allowed to speak unless spoken to and no one spoke to me til the end when my lawyer and me lost the case and I was involuntarily hospitalized even longer. I sat in a zombified state, lifeless, sedated not by medication but deep emotional pain. But some moments my hunger returned. My hunger for knowledge, my fascination for how laws and courtrooms operate. Even in the midst of depression, there were always moments of joy, life, zest, beauty…Often, my depression was deep pain but on less common occasions, it was numb, lifelessness. This was even worse but especially made everything more beautiful when it would lift.

Even in my deepest, blackest despair in a mental hospital I stood with a young man, another sick patient, as we marveled at the vibrancy and color of the life in the courtyards outside the windows, just beyond our reach.
Tantalizing and beautiful. And heartbreaking. And breathtaking. We stood in breathless wonder, even while held in the agonizing bondage of our sickness, invisible fetters keeping us chained in darkness and psychosis.

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He brought my attention to it, bringing a small spark of life back into me, a thin sliver of feeling to my zombefied state when he showed me the solitary flower that seemed to blossom just for the two of us, reminding me that life still exists beyond the pain as he showed me a bright red flower bathing in the golden, fiery, sunlight. Even the thin sliver of life, that

sparkle of electricity that surged through my body was enough in that moment. Just enough. This reminded me and continues to remind me to grasp and embrace whatever gems of beauty are before me, surrounding me, within me, in any form they exist. No matter how much it hurts or how lifeless or hopeless it feels. There is always something to hold. Something to move forward for. Even if it’s just a tattered thread blowing in the bitter
cold winds of despair.

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I think of the nights we are kept awake by the sound of each other’s insomnia and the silent but screaming tears the night weeps onto our surface and into our core, and those moments we are able to laugh with one another as if we were never sick, as if we never knew the lifelessness and horror of depression and psychosis. Laughing uncontrollably without holding back, everything else is pushed aside for a moment, all the despair, the hallucinatory voices & figures that
stalk
the
nights, the suffocating loneliness, the paranoid delusions, the puddles of emotional sickness, we laugh relentlessly in raw joy and all is momentarily Ok.

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I recall the day a group of us got together and decided to trick the psychiatric technicians and pretend we were talking to people who weren’t really there. She knew we were faking and laughed with us playfully warning us “just wait til the doctors get here and see if you get to go home any time soon, you’ll never get out of here!” We quit real fast!

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And the day I was going to be discharged to go home which happened to be the day they were having an ice cream party but not until later, after a couple of us had to leave. I wanted ice cream and to sit around with the others and I seriously, very briefly considered telling them I was still suicidal. I wasn’t. But it was almost worth it to pretend. Just weeks before I would not even get out of bed for breakfast. My hunger got stronger each day.

I have always known a certain awareness that most others I know or encounter seem oblivious to.

There are moments I have felt lonely in my ability to see and appreciate the things it seems many or most overlook. It reminds me of a scene in Edith Wharton’s, Ethan Frome.

“He had always been more sensitive than the people about him to the appeal of natural beauty. His unfinished studies had given form to this sensibility and even in his unhappiest moments field and sky spoke to him with a deep and powerful persuasion. But hitherto the emotion had remained in him as a silent ache, veiling with sadness the beauty that evoked it. He did not even know whether any one else in the world felt as he did, or whether he was the sole victim of this mournful privilege. Then he learned that one other spirit had trembled with the same touch of wonder: that at his side, living under his roof and eating his bread, was a creature to whom he could say: ‘That’s Orion down yonder; the big fellow to the right is Aldebaran, and the bunch of little ones – like bees swarming – they’re the Pleiades…’ or whom he could hold entranced before a ledge of granite thrusting up through the fern while he unrolled the huge panorama of the ice age, and the long dim stretches of succeeding time. The fact that admiration for his learning mingled with Mattie’s wonder at what he taught was not the least part of his pleasure. And there were other sensations, less definable but more exquisite, which drew them together with a shock of silent joy: the cold red of sunset behind winter hills, the flight of cloud-flocks over slopes of golden stubble, or the intensely blue shadows of hemlocks on sunlit snow. When she said to him once: ‘It looks just as if it was painted!’ it seemed to Ethan that the art of definition could go no farther, and that words had at last been found to utter his secret soul….” (pp. 24)

I was shocked the moment I first read those beautiful lines. Pleasantly shocked. I feel myself in those words and in the small but profound spaces in the middle of each little lexeme.

It can be frustrating and also beautiful to feel as if those around me cannot or won’t share in my sense of wonder at the simple beauty all around us. The forgotten. The ignored. The abandoned.

The things I make it a point each day to reclaim.

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(I STILL do this when I get happy, thrilled, overwhelmed in joy!) 😀

It’s one reason I love poetry and photography and novels. They have the potential to capture beauty, ugliness, pain, and ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Shedding light on dark, abandoned places and spaces. Places and spaces I have always longed to color with the beauty of my Truth.

And it’s beautiful.

They have a way of replicating wonder and awe and fossilizing them. Bringing them to life. Bringing them to the surface of consciousness. Threading them throughout eternity like a beautiful tapestry of gold and red, fire and ice.

I have always had a poetic way of seeing things. My head spins the world into poetry and song.

It doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes it’s incomprehensible even to me. But it’s always wonderful.

So even in my desperation, my depression, my despair, and lifelessness, I often noticed and wanted these beautiful things but I closed my heart to them, shut it off as if encased in thick cement.

Sometimes I wanted to want things and couldn’t.

Other occasions I wanted things I did not want to want.

Still, other occasions I wanted nothing and did not want to want anything but to vanish into nothingness or die a horrible violent death to match the horrible violent feelings inside me. This was rare.

This went on for years and years, and more years, off and on with genuine happiness thrown into the mix here & there. Until I finally decided to get myself better. I asked for help. I work on myself relentlessly to be the best me I can be(not a perfectionist).

Now I feel beauty everywhere, every day. And I feel fear more. Fear for myself.

Have you ever been crossing a street or standing at a curb on a pavement and a car seems to be coming too close to you and a bolt of fear runs though you? Or have you ever been in a car and another car almost hits the one you’re in or actually hits it and you feel a bit shaken for a while after and you feel it’s a bad thing? I don’t think most people have true near death experiences but I think many/most of us have experienced at least one of those mundane occurrences like with cars coming a bit too close, maybe an encounter with a creepy stranger, walking up a dark street alone and hearing footsteps or seeing/hearing something that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. Or a person driving a car you’re in a little too fast and you fear for others but also yourself.

All these experiences may shake you up a bit but that is an amazing thing!

It shows that you are healthy. You’re meant to be afraid when you think you’re in danger.

Desire.

Have you ever walked through a store and saw expensive things you strongly desired but couldn’t have? Jewelry? Designer clothes? Beautiful furniture? Antiques? A lovely handbag? A gorgeous dress? Ever laid eyes on a beautiful house you couldn’t buy?
And then you felt low for not being able to buy them…for not having them…

Have you ever wanted to win a game so badly or a competition of some sort? Ever wanted to be accepted to a certain school and graduate? Or applied for a job you desperately wanted?

And it did not turn out how you wanted it to and you felt devastated…

This too is a great thing! It’s healthy to want, to need, to hunger….and to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out.

Just like when a very physically ill person is too sick to eat or even want food then the person begins getting better and appetite and physical hunger returns and the person’s doctor or mom says how great it is. Because it’s healthy to want to eat.

Have you ever shielded yourself against beauty and things you want, feeling as if it’s wrong to want them or feeling as if you deserve none of it?

I encourage you to embrace the beauty around you and within you. Embrace your hunger, your fear, your desire. Whether or not you act on it.

It’s healthy to want.

Wanting is more important than getting.

Desiring, itself, is to be cherished, valued for all that it stands for. For all that it is.

It shows you are an active participant in life.

I had this epiphany, I guess you can say, in greater depth one day recently walking through Target. I saw so much jewelry, real and fake, I wanted but could not get. I felt disappointed. The way I wanted it was more than desire. It was hunger. The bracelets, the earrings, the necklaces, the bags that can make a girl go weak at the knees!…and then I remembered various occasions years ago walking through that very same store, seeing all that jewelry but not caring to have it even though I loved it, or wanting it but not with the same enthusiasm I would now, because of being depressed, or wanting it and becoming more depressed for not being able to have it. (There were definitely occasions back then when I was not depressed at all and wanted it all but depression was frequent back then.)

That’s when I realized more how great it is and feels to desire what I love. Even when I cannot have it. I don’t always desire material objects like that even when I’m not depressed; generally I’m so happy with just the things I already have. I can often walk through stores without wanting everything I lay eyes on. And that’s a good thing too. But it’s not good to have no interests because depression or guilt saps it all away. Some people have reached a certain level of spirituality where they want almost nothing and do not fear death even when it’s currently staring them in the face but not because of an illness, because they have trained their brains to not be concerned with material things or external factors. They are happy this way. They are not numb. They are alive. This is a good thing. Most of us, though, are not spiritual like this or to this extent. So when we have desire and fear, it’s good.

I think it’s hard for non depressed people and maybe even some depressed people to realize this. It’s ok to want and not get and then be temporarily devastated or angry or disappointed. It’s healthy to a certain point.

After years of pain, numbness, and lifelessness, off and on, I realize this. I was stuck and stagnant. I was half dead.
This was not always, I definitely experienced happy intervals along with depressed episodes and waves but it was too frequent.

When I used to think I was going to die, I was sometimes either happy or indifferent.

Seeing a speeding truck coming at me only provoked my concern for others, not myself.

When depression lifts completely or layers lift…

I realize how beautiful it feels to want to paint my nails, to want to put makeup on because it’s fun, to want to walk through a store and buy things even when I don’t have the money.

I wanted these things sometimes even when I was depressed but not to the same extent. They often felt like hassles or obligations. Or just tainted in gray. Dull gray. Or the color of vomit. A faded kind of green. A lifeless shade of green-gray.

Often, when depressed, I would see things I wanted to want or see things I knew I would want if I wasn’t lost in a vicious kind of darkness tearing me to pieces, choking me, swallowing me whole.

When not depressed, or even less depressed,
I want to paint my nails. I want to choose eye shadow of various pretty colors to complement the vibrancy of the blue of my eyes. I want to wear pretty clothes that look amazing on my beautiful physique.

I want things I can’t have and it hurts.

And it’s beautiful.

I still get depressed and am consumed by the dark pain or I get the other kind of depression, the kind that numbs me and I feel nothing, which sometimes feels worse than the unbearable pain. Before, it was not constant but it was frequent. My happiness was genuine when it would lift and my happiness would stay a while but that depression would always come back and sometimes quickly or it would come and go quickly off and on.

It is less frequent now. And I realize more and more the deep, primitive beauty of hunger & fear.

When I come out of a severe depression, when it starts to lift, I am hungry. Ravenous. Not hungry for food but hungry for life and everything in it. Hungry for the colors in the wind, the textures, the tastes, the sounds, the feelings and fragrances. Food tastes better than I can ever remember, an out of this world kind of deliciousness.. Music and songs are beautiful in an unfathomable way, my mind feels clear and hope is restored. This is how it has always been for me since I was 13 years old and a depressive episode would lift. It was never mania, just true happiness that really stands out after so much darkness and pain.

My judgment can be trusted.

I become ravenous, rapacious, like a starved, wild animal. My eyes, my mind devour anything they can.
It’s like I can’t get enough.
It reminds me of a blind person who was blind his/her whole life then all of a sudden can see and it’s overwhelming. Everything jumps out at once, the sensory input is too much to bear at once, dizziness, confusion, clashing, mind-blowing.
But it’s beautiful because the person can see.

I was blind but now I see.

It reminds me of the novel “The Secret Garden,” a beautiful story of growth, hope, and rebirth.

It reminds me of when I had emergency surgery on my kidney when I was a girl of twenty-one years. I couldn’t eat for days, I was in pain and had an IV drip for a couple days. When I got a little bit better, I was starved. I was hungry.
I craved food like never before.
And pizza fries and Coca Cola never tasted so good. I was so happy. At 21 years old, like at most other ages, I experienced deep depression off and on but also, deep, deep happiness.

I feel the entire universe inside me in all its perfections and flaws, all its beauty and pain. Its joy and misery, happiness, and despair. And I am born again.

When I look up at the sky or at a bumblebee or at thin blades of green grass or weeds, I see poetry and music and paintings. When I’m in a dark room and I look at a door, ajar with just a streak of light seeping in through the narrow crack, I see photography. When I look at strangers on a bus or walking up the street, when I see traffic speeding in the rain on a dreary gray day, I see novels flash across my mind. When I think of my pain, I feel a story. A story to be written and told again and again to reach out and touch someone else for the better.

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I’m not manic. I know what mania is. I don’t have it. It’s an illness and the people struck with it can’t think clearly even when they think they can and have clouded judgment. I can remain and think in a calm manner even when I think and feel this way. I know I am not invincible. My judgment is sound and I am not delusional in this case I mention here. And I know there are reasonable limits and rules I must adhere to and I do. Mine is not dangerous like mania can be. But what I describe here may resemble that illness. It’s not to be confused with it. Mine is an awakening, an awareness triggered by an illness of the mind, one that has ravaged my brain for years. It’s not an illness itself. I don’t always feel this ecstacy when I’m happy. Sometimes it’s more of a calm serenity, a quiet joy. But it’s just as fierce.

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If you want something you don’t have, it’s ok. It’s best not to let it take over your life and make you miss out on all the goodness you do have and it’s usually best I believe, not to feel our worth is dependent upon external factors but it’s ok to desire, to hunger. And it’s ok to be angry, disappointed, devastated for a while, that we can’t have it yet or ever. Even if it’s something trivial like jewelry or a fun vacation. Bask in the beauty of that hunger to be better, to have more, to get away…bask in that desire and the disappointment.

Sit with it.

Then remember all the greatness you possess and are and let that disappointment And desire dissolve.

And be happy now.

Did you ever think of disappointment as a good thing?

I’m here to open you up to another perspective.

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You don’t have to be someone with longterm depression like me to get an idea of what I write of. That’s one reason why we write, to help others understand and discover wisdom without ever experiencing what we have. And to let those with similar experiences know they are never alone.

The worst thing is not to want and not get. The worst thing is to be dead. And half dead. To not want at all because you are too lifeless to care. Or too lifeless to have the energy to even begin to desire or fear. And it’s ok to be half dead. If you are half dead then you are half alive. And you can awaken that other half.

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When you have a brush with death and your body turns to jelly, bask in the beauty of that fear. Embrace it. Keep tasting it. You’re alive. And you want to be alive.

Revel in the wonder of that trembling.

Trembling in awe. Trembling in fear.

Trembling.

Don’t shield yourself against the beauty you know. Try not to mask your desire and fear with feelings of guilt because we’re taught it’s wrong to want, to need, to fear, to get.

Let’s be happy, thrilled, overjoyed with the simplest of all the beauty around us. And nOt too

disappointed too long when we don’t get what we want. And let us keep reaching for the stars. I have always been naturally inclined to notice and love the simple beauty but I learned to strengthen my nature, make it more conscious, intentional.

Keep wanting more, keep desiring, keep trying, keep fearing.

Get your fill to eat. But always, always, keep that hunger.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nICs–86Vng

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw&app=m&persist_app=1
😀

Read “The Secret Garden” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/113/113-h/113-h.htm

Read “Ethan Frome” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4517/4517-h/4517-h.htm

Xoxo Kim

Rainbows & Stars

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

So, I stumbled upon this lovely quote today! And it happens to be dark, dreary, and rainy as I write this. Lol My very favorite kind of day!

To me, chilled, dark rainy days are not gloomy and depressing as many seem to feel. I LOVE these kinds of days. They awaken something lovely inside me. I also love sunny, warm, days with clear blue skies and fluffy white clouds! I love it all. All four seasons I am blessed to know all year long.

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I complain about the weather on occasion, I confess. Lol I don’t care much to admit it but I do.  I wish I can say I *never* complain about something as stupid as the weather and I can  say that!  But it would be a lie. Lol And since that truth is kind of relevant to this post, I am here to admit it! ;-D And I’m generally very open and honest about myself. 

There are days it’s hot and I wish it were cold. There’s cold days I wish it were hot or warm(although rarely!). I don’t think there’s ever a rainy day I wish it weren’t raining though! Bring on the rain any day! It’s the same with snow! I love it! I love diversity though so it’s great that all days aren’t rainy or snowy.

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But, this quote is a beautiful and simple reminder to appreciate the things that are going well even in the midst of negativity and pain. Some situations in this life seem overwhelming and unbearable and sometimes it may seem that even if there’s good things, the bad things are currently outweighing the good. But we can’t always change our current situation immediately.

Even if the unpleasant things seem to be more deeper or prominent or frequent than the pleasant things, we can still make a conscious decision to focus more on them when we can’t change the negativity or pain or unpleasantness right away.

This develops and strengthens our habit of appreciating everything we have no matter how big or small or simple. 

This ability is like a muscle. The more we work at it, the stronger it becomes. And even after it’s developed, it must be maintained so it doesn’t diminish. We have to practice, practice, practice even when we don’t feel much like it. Just like if you build your muscles. You can’t do all that work, develop a six pack, then stop and expect it to stay! It has to become your way of life.

It’s the same with positive mental habits. And negative ones too. The more you give in and complain and over-focus on the negativity, the stronger your negative habit becomes and the stronger the hold is it has over you. 

But negative habits can be replaced and overcome!

Of course, we have to tend to and think about unpleasant things and healthy venting is often necessary but we don’t have to dwell on it. 

Even in the throes of tragedy, depression, physical illness, pain of any kind, grief and loss, serious distress, this habit can be cultivated and maintained. It will not cure our problems, take away all of the pain, but it will help us cope and see the sunny side of things or at least see the sunlight seeping through the dark rain clouds even when the situation itself has no sunny side. Metaphors, I love them! Lol 😀

It was also raining a few days ago and I got some photos of the rain! As best as I can with just a phone’s (and a broken phone 😦 ) camera.

I have been feeling my creativity blooming again. I get these “things” every now and again where I’m so incredibly inspired to do something but don’t know what or how. It seems to come more when I meditate more frequently. Or read certain things. Sometimes it just comes out of the blue. I’m currently reading a novel (mystery) about a mysterious painter. I have a feeling it’s inspiring me on some unconscious level! 

I want to create create create! Photos, paintings, poetry, writing….anything!

My wonderful phone (even though these phones break so easily and quickly like inside for seemingly no reason, they are still wonderful phones, blackberry z10) has amazing photo apps which allow me to use bokeh effects, various other effects, and text on pictures, and much more and this sparks my creativity even more. I never thought of myself as creative but I think we are all creative to some extent, in some way, some more than others and some people are more in touch with their creative side. For some it comes so naturally and so easily, it’s ridiculous. (jealous) lol! 😀

But some of us have to struggle hard to find even just a thin sliver of our creativity. (That’s usually me) oh well!   🙂

But I’m so thrilled when I get fun ideas and plans and actually execute them even when they aren’t the most beautiful creations. Creativity is another “muscle” we must keep nourishing to keep it strengthened and maintained.

Even if you don’t feel very creative or have many ideas, you can just put pen or paint to paper or take photos and see what happens! It can become easier and easier and more conscious. And creativity isn’t just for artistic stuff, it can be cresting or finding solutions to problems or anything!

I hope this quote is a sweet reminder for you to look around, look within, look up and always see, feel those rainbows and stars even through the hazy fog and darkness. 

Xoxo Kim 😀