Be All There

I see a lot of my parents in me. My dad was loyal, forgiving and compassionate, and my mom was loving, kind and supportive. What I’ve learned in the past 10 months is how to be all of these things to MYSELF.

As some of you may know, I lost my dad suddenly in August and experienced several months of debilitating grief. As I look back on this sad time, I will be forever grateful for what I have learned.

A big part of my grief was the realization that I was no longer a daughter, a role I had known my entire life, since both of my parents were now gone. I was confused and I felt lost. I had to rebuild who I was.

What actually happened was better than I could have ever imagined. Instead of rebuilding who I WAS, I became who I wanted to be, the best version of myself.

Since I was working with a blank slate, I only put back the pieces of myself that I wanted and put aside the rest. This left a LOT of open space for me to Be All There. I continuously strive for this presence each day.

Here are some of the things I’ve found that make me feel happy and healthy and like the best version of myself……so far! Since I’ve written about all of them in previous posts, I’ll just list them here. Please feel free to comment and ask questions on any of these if you’d like more details.

  1. Minimalism
  2. Yoga
  3. Meditation
  4. Nutrition
  5. Fitness
  6. Nature
  7. Positivity
  8. Creativity
  9. Gratitude
  10. Intention

Are you the best version of yourself? If so, that’s awesome! I’d love to hear about what works for you!

If not, it’s never too late (and so worth the effort) to retool who you are, and I seriously don’t think you have to experience what I did to get started. I’d love to use my experience to help you if I can, so please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you on your journey!

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Be All There!

Jeanne

1984

A few days ago my husband and I watched our wedding video that he transferred onto a DVD. Two things came to mind almost immediately.

First, I can’t believe we actually paid someone for it; the quality and editing were horrible! Actually, I think the quality and editing were good and that my standards for movie viewing have changed substantially in 30 years!

The other thing I became aware of the moment we started watching our wedding DVD was the huge rush of emotions that it triggered. It was instantaneous. I saw myself in a wedding gown at my parents’ house, with my parents, my sisters and my friends (and my two Aunts who had come to see me in my dress), and I immediately felt sadness, grief, longing, regret, loss, loneliness, and sentimentality.

As I continued watching, I also felt love, contentment, security and happiness as we exchanged our vows, and then joy, freedom and pride while seeing our families and our friends dance, party and toast us at the reception (also, shock, at how many people were smoking cigarettes). We had a great time!

As the DVD ended and I was left with this surge of emotions, I was lured by an old “friend” to crawl into a hole of despair where I could dwell on feeling depressed about the past and anxious about the future. I’ve been there before and, actually, the familiarity of it was quite tempting.

After acknowledging my feelings and accepting them (yup, there they are and this is me!), I made a decision NOT to dwell in them, not to go down that all too familiar path of depression and anxiety, BUT to use what I had been practicing for months:

Presence

What a game changer! I’ve been practicing yoga, meditating and journaling now for several months. I find that writing down what I’m grateful for each day and setting an intention for the day sets a positive, purposeful vibe for my day. My new habits paid off and my old defaults of depression and anxiety have been reset to mindfulness in the present moment, which creates peace!

Part of my journey in the last few months has been self-love and what a gift I’ve given myself!

I’ve gotten to this point with just a few simple things added to my day that don’t cost a thing and take very little time. They make me feel more centered, but honestly I didn’t think they could possibly have such a huge impact on regulating some of my deeply rooted emotions.

To read more about adding these things to your day read my previous post https://intomyfifties.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/my-cup-of-tea/. In addition to these habits, I think my diet impacts how I feel. I mainly eat a plant-based diet and limit my carb and sugar intake. I am nowhere close to eating a perfect diet (I love my coffee), but I’ve found that this way of eating helps me sustain my energy throughout the day. I feel more balanced. Finally, I have a lot of support from a few people in my life who I know genuinely care about me and accept me unconditionally. For them, I am truly grateful!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to Into My Fifties, comment (I’d love to hear from you) & share.

Peace and Love,

Jeanne

My Cup of Tea

 

tea cup collection

I have a small collection of tea cups. They represent something more to me than just sipping a cup of coffee or tea. It’s what happens while drinking a hot beverage with a family member, good friend or acquaintance that appeals to me. The slower pace, limited distractions and simplistic act of drinking a hot beverage usually foster a relaxed conversation that can range from the superficial to some pretty deep stuff.

Until recently, I didn’t realize that I was just as fragile as one of the cups in my collection. I’ve always been an emotional person, and I’ve had some major changes in my life the past few years. At times, I haven’t felt very confident, loveable or stable, but I always thought that I hid my feelings behind a “put together” façade.

I learned this wasn’t the case as I was having a cup of coffee with a friend and she commented on how far I’ve come in terms of my personal development. She said in the past she’d censored what she said to me because she didn’t want to upset me.

My initial reaction was sadness. I felt bad that my good friend couldn’t be herself around me. My thoughts quickly changed to pride. The point my friend was making (and which I’m very grateful for) was that I’m not that person anymore, that I’m a better version of myself.

I’m proud of where I am today. I’m physically and emotionally stronger than I’ve ever been! Here are a few things that have helped me along the way:

1. Meditation: I don’t do anything special, I just sit still and focus on my breath. When my thoughts become intrusive, I try to refocus on my breath. Counting backwards from 100 has been helpful and I always set a timer so I don’t get distracted by wondering how much more time is left in my session. I started with 5 minutes and I’m currently meditating for 8 minutes every day. Check out Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s free meditation series:

https://chopracentermeditation.com/

2. Writing: I write very day. Usually after I meditate, I write down one or two things that I’m grateful for and I also write my intention for the day. These things aren’t always earth shattering. For example, I’ve been grateful one or two times for a much-needed nap! I have a pretty red journal that I like, but anything will do. I’ve accumulated a stack of journals over the years and there are a few marble composition notebooks in the heap. Although I don’t have this one yet, I hear The Desire Map Day Planner, by Danielle LaPorte is pretty cool.

I also write here, on my blog. This public format has actually been very helpful in two specific areas, confidence building and authenticity. I am open and honest in my posts and I’ve gotten some positive feedback on both the content and quality of my writing.

journey cup of tea

3. Yoga: I do my own thing, at home with either a DVD or a YouTube video. I just finished day 11 of the YouTube series,  “30 Days of Yoga With Adriene.” I set up a little space in my house where I  practice yoga. It’s simple, my mat is nearby, along with a Happy Buddha statue  and my aromatherapy diffuser. I have a blanket that I roll up for support when I need it but I want to get a yoga block soon.

buddha

 

4. Decluttering and Minimalism: This has been an amazing part of my journey! I first noticed Courtney Carver’s, Be More With Less blog on Facebook and began to read her posts about the benefits of consuming and owning less. Creating a paired down living space (and an emotional space) have obvious benefits. What I didn’t expect were the secondary gains. When I started to reduce and remove things (clothes, household items, relationships, social media) that didn’t provide joy and meaning, I had more room for the things I truly loved. This has become a new mindset for my husband and me, which is addicting! I started with this simple rule: For a new article of clothing or household item to come into my house, I have to get rid of one item. This way, at least I could get a handle on what I already owned and keep that number from growing.

If you don’t know where to start, look up Courtney’s blog http://bemorewithless.com/author/admin/

and Joshua Becker’s blog on Minimalism http://www.becomingminimalist.com/about-us/.

I’m so grateful to those of you who have supported me throughout one of the most challenging periods of my life, for you have truly sustained me and I continue to learn from you. I’ve even developed closer relationships with some of you as I’ve focused on becoming more authentic! Thank you!

I’ve shed the unrealistic need for everyone to like me, and so, if I’m not your cup of tea, it’s really OK, make room for someone who is.

 

 Cup of tea

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~Jeanne