The Stars Within

She stepped barefoot through the wet grass,

Green flecks sticking to her toes.

The wind pushed back her hair like invisible fingers,

Tracing the outline of her features.

She held a cross-body bag close to her hip,

Her hand clinging to the top zipper,

Fearful that its’ precious contents would spill out.

She gently undid the top of the bag,

Wedged her hand inside and grasped a small book.

It was drenched in stardust,

Trickling onto the ground and her skirt; sticking to her palms,

There was a trail of wet, dewy stars trailing behind her.

She carried a tiny, infinite universe within her bag,

It held endless possibilities and it was up to her to dream and create them.

She wrote and drew all of her wishes, hopes, and desires in her star-kissed book.

Every time she did, she created more stars, nebulas, and everlasting life and light.

Anything and everything she wanted,

All she had to do was visualize and she instantly created it.

 

She was grateful for her gifts and abilities,

However, there was a loneliness inside her heart,

She yearned for someone extraordinary to share her creations with.

She began to write down all of the qualities she would like in another,

She was detailed in her wishes and a small nebula started to form.

It was tucked away in the corner of her universe, between two planets.

She waited patiently but the nebula did not expand as quickly as others had before,

It seemed suspended in its’ growing state.

She continued on, designing more and more of her unbounded universe,

And soon she put the beautiful, odd nebula out of her starry head.

 

With every dream and star she created,

Another piece of her was unmasked,

Gathered from the lush and vaporous universe.

Soon, her whole heart was revealed as she gazed at her cosmos, satisfied with her innovations.

In the corner of her eye, the unusual nebula began to spread out,

Clouds of colors and light start to form until an immense orb of light shoots out into the vastness.

She shields her eyes.

When she regains her vision, the nebula is gone.

All that remains is the night sky and stars in the distance.

 

Perplexed by the strange occurrence, she scoops up her bag and continues walking.

Tiny droplets start to fall from the clouds up above,

Beads cling to her cheeks and eyelashes as she starts to jog out of the rain.

Puddles form on the ground and she realizes that they are full of stardust.

She looks up at the clouds and they emulate the nebula mist she saw in her universe.

 

She sees something up ahead through the starry haze and her breath is taken away.

On the path, there’s a bright figure of glimmering fog floating in her direction,

As the silhouette glides closer, she senses a sparkling energy in the air, pulsing from the tiny, electrifying cloud.

Distance starts to close in and a feeling of familiarity and intimacy rush and warm through her heart, radiating outwards.

Her legs pull towards the cloud like a magnet,

As she approaches, reaching her fingers out, the mist envelops her in its’ stunning, warm light.

It seeps into her skin, flowing through her body, filling and saturating her.

All at once, she feels full, whole and light as an angel’s feather.

Her eyes are shimmering more than ever before.

She is the most brilliant and radiant star in her sky.

She is complete –filled with all of the love she has given to every starry fragment.

She is her ultimate creation; she is her universe.

 

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I’ve been working on this short story for a few weeks now. I kept going back to it, changing and revising it because I never felt like it was complete. In the beginning, I had planned to have her meet the love of her life in the ending but it just didn’t feel right after it was all laid out on paper –something was off. It seemed like one of those Disney fairytales where the princess cannot be truly happy or whole until the prince comes to rescue her. In my feminist habits, this is absolutely furthest from the message that I wanted to convey.

However, writing this has been a journey all on its’ own for my own realization that the only true love that you should be looking for is the one with yourself. You know in your heart that you deserve more than the relationships that you’ve had in the past, so why don’t you act with that purpose? Knowing is one thing but acting with that knowledge is true wisdom.

You can only find your better whole when you’ve created yourself first. That’s one of the major lessons of life –we’re uncovering so many different pieces of ourselves along the way. Sometimes our path gets shrouded with missteps and we end up following our emotions rather than what our heart is really trying to tell us. I feel it’s rather simple but we overcomplicate it so much that we lose the true meaning of life and of love.

Create yourself and I don’t mean in the way that you need to make up who you are. You already are who you are –give as much love as you can to every piece of yourself; you’ll unfold and blossom. Use that passion to build yourself up, never tear yourself down; learn what works and what doesn’t; take time to heal when another’s actions harm you –your scars are lessons that make you resilient. But truly, once you find that passion within, it’s like you unveil all of the parts of yourself that you never realized were there. Your own creativity and your love will move the mountains that you place in your own way. And once you fully act with love, there’s no reason for your true self to be covered up anymore. And maybe that’s when you’ll find someone that sees that beauty and loves every piece of you.

 

Mind Reading and Writing

“So if you don’t ask questions, how do you think you’re going to find out what you want to know? I’m not a mind-reader,”

After he said this I felt like I was crazy woman because as I always do, I overanalyze everything to the point where it becomes some huge thing made up in my mind. Yet, when you sit down to communicate your feelings, you realize that it’s not as complicated as it was built up in your head. But really…men should just be mind-readers…it would be easier.

When something is bothering me I reflect on it and then my feelings bubble up and get mixed into the equation. Then my worries and anxieties start to take over:

“This could happen and he probably means this and he’s thinking this! GASP!”

You would think with as much advice as I provide, I would actually take my own. Yet, sometimes, I completely contradict myself.

I’m a very methodical person –I like to write things out and organize them to comprehend them more easily. Sometimes you have to borrow other approaches from different parts of your life and find out if they work for you in other aspects.

Feelings and thoughts can get complicated, so if you feel it will work for you, write it out, make lists, attempt to make sense of the lustrous thoughts in your head. Once it’s on paper or you speak out loud, it becomes concrete and tangible and you’re able to easily make more sense of it.

We become confused because we let our emotions take over. Learning to separate it is important and lets us communicate more effectively.

While on the subject of written word, try writing down your wants, your needs, and wishes. Writing by hand greatly affects your brain:

When you are writing something down with a pen and paper, you are stimulating a collection of cells in the base of your brain known as the reticular activating system. The RAS is the filter for all of the information your brain needs to process and it gives more attention to what you are currently focusing on. The physical act of writing brings the information to the forefront and triggers your brain to pay close attention.1

Communication is the most important piece of human interaction –not only with others but for yourself as well. Speak and write what’s on your mind and make it real and tangible. The more observable your thoughts and feelings become, the more effectively you’re able to convey them.

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  1.                 http://dailyinfographic.com/how-does-writing-affect-your-brain-infographic

 

Just Learn to Breathe

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Just Learn to Breathe

Spring Ahead and Grow!

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Spring Ahead and Grow!

How Your Outlook on Life Helps You Realize Who You Are

There is a saying from Stoic ancient philosophy, “There is no good or bad, there is only perception. ” I feel that this statement can be accurate when describing different outlooks. Life happens all around us and despite our convictions, it does not stop or slow down. So how do we preserve our character? –we change our perspective. It is our choice whether to look at life positively or negatively and once we choose, that is what we seek.

In high school, I was a predictable moody teenager; yet depression and anxiety became an ever-growing setback. Unfortunately, depression runs in my family so that gloominess stuck around me for quite a few years. It was hard to shake off but there was a succession of days and weeks where my outlook slowly started to transform. I began to reflect being negative and despondent was absolutely exhausting and pointless. Picking out the bad only brought upon more negative because I was searching for it –I was familiar with it. Our minds are endlessly fluctuating by means of our environment, the people around us, and most of all, our attitude. Human beings are an amazing species because we alone can change our viewpoint on the world. We can choose whether to be ignorant, informed, optimistic, or pessimistic. We can decide to look at things in a certain hue –once this occurs, we start to seek out this color in everything we experience.

Being positive definitely does not mean that you are happy and carefree one-hundred percent of the time. Having a positive outlook means that you are able to look for the good in everything that you see and experience –it means that you perceive things differently. In every day that passes, you prefer to explore the good even when depraved things occur. Like attracts like. Those that inflict pain and hurt in others are only breaking themselves apart. You cannot expect good things to come into your life if you do not first create good and positive feelings in yourself and in those around you.

Being positive leaves you with more of an open mind and you tend to make clearer choices. You are able to let go of the strong emotions that are connected to certain situations and can view it objectively. You see a path cut out for you and can perceive your future fearlessly. Your anxieties and nagging fears stray away because you know that everything has a purpose. Your self-esteem and confidence are ignited. You feel as if you can do anything -you are limitless. You find that there is no point to regret or be depressed about what has already been. Being anxious about the future is useless. When you are living in the moment, you are truly at peace. Of course you can have bad moods and feel melancholy at times, but the difference is that you know that this passes.

Do you continually have problems with that unpleasant voice in your head? –stop and tell yourself something positive. For every negative thought passing through:

“You’re fat,” “Why would you do that!?” “You’re not good enough”;

tell yourself something positive that you love:

“Being fit doesn’t happen overnight -I’m working on it,” “I can’t change what already happened so I’m moving on and I can only go up from here,” “I will always be great and enough! I am ME and there is no one in the world exactly like me”

This is a lifestyle change and an improvement that I myself strive to work on daily. You have to make an effort to retain positivity. Instead of saying “I have to,” to something that’s not favorable (I.e. chores, homework, work, etc.), start saying to yourself “I get to,” and it will slowly change the way you think about it. Remember, not everyone has the life that you do so be grateful for yourself.

Being positive shouldn’t be looked at as a chore –it’s a standard of living and it gets easier to acclimate yourself so that it comes as second nature. It becomes simpler to let go of things that do not better you. This makes you realize your goals and how to pursue them and gives you the ability to let go of your fears regarding them. You become more accepting of criticism because you know that you can always do better.

Some people have approached me telling me that because of my bubbly and optimistic outlook on life, I am therefore naïve and have “obviously not had hardship in my life.” Quite ignorantly said and furthest from the truth. Every one of us goes through our own journey –we should never compare ourselves in regards to our path in life –there is NO COMPARISON. It is absolutely silly to assess because we are all so different and we are meant to learn various lessons. The reason that I am this way is because I’ve embraced who I truly am. I look for the good in life because I believe that that is what I am meant to search for. When you are going through hardship, it is easier to accept when you look at all of the beauty around you. Sometimes not everyone can see or be aware of it so they need someone to point it out to them. And, yes, of course there is death and suffering in the world, but as with everything, there is balance. Once you get through the tough times, you become so much more grateful for the good in your life.

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In the Present

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In the Present

Difference of Opinion

I’ve realized how difficult it is to accept who someone is wholeheartedly -not just in dating, but in everyday social interactions. Accepting a person means understanding your differences and similarities; but it also involves acknowledging and loving them past the ideas that you may disagree on. This is something that extends to everything –our life lessons and experiences. As with most human interaction, there are just some things that we will never fully comprehend but we can start.

Being casual and romantically involved with someone is a little bit more intricate and stressful than I bargained for. I am naturally a very monogamous person –it makes me anxious flirting with multiple guys at the same time, let alone dating them. I’ve accepted this and I’m trying to just relax, enjoy my life, and go with the flow. Along this path, I’ve found some very intellectual and interesting people with whom I have undeniably connected. However, I’ve never realized how my opinionated personality is observed by others until I sat across from someone that is just as assertive as I am. Nonetheless, when you are faced with people that resemble your particular qualities, it helps you learn more about yourself and how others perceive you.

There are certain viewpoints and perspectives that I favor and am looking for in a mate –it’s not an uncommon request: religion, social issues, politics, etc. I would like to have someone in my life that can mutually agree on these top ideas. As I’ve gotten older, these qualities have become more important to me than they used to be. But where do I draw the line on shutting someone out because they don’t meet my “requirements”?

I’ve enjoyed their company, they’re funny, they make me smile; yet these big subjects are always in the back of my mind. He’s great but we don’t agree on certain social issues; our philosophical views on life are conflicting; and on top of all of the other matters, he’s just like me – stubborn and adamant about what he’s passionate about. So when it really comes down to it, what qualities do you prefer to can lead to a successful relationship? When do you look past the differences and accept them into your life? Or do you walk away?

You’re never going to find someone who is exactly like you –that’s the beauty of social interactions and being unique. We’re all snowflakes –perfect and different in our own way. Various environments, interactions, experiences, and genes have molded us into who we are. Our differences can teach us distinctive lessons and help shape us into well-rounded individuals. There is no right or wrong in regards to dissimilarity –there is only perception and perspective.

If you feel that these differences between you and another overwhelm your similarities and it causes more frustration than happiness, then it’s time to move on. In my current situation, these contrasts aren’t so much causing aggravations but they are otherwise opening up my eyes to distinct outlooks. It’s interesting examining the world through another’s eyes. You do not have to agree but if you listen and be open and respectful to another’s perspective, you’re able to understand in new and exciting ways. As long as these individuals do not try to strongly influence you in changing your views, variations can be fruitful and fulfilling. However, this all depends on what you decide to take from it. If you are open and wishing to grow from your experiences, then you are more willing to accept those that come into your life. Learn to gather the most that you can from the differences in those around you –be open-minded, absorb and discover as much as you can. The only way we can grow and overcome difference of opinion is to begin to accept others for who they are –different.

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Embrace Your Inner Child

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Embrace Your Inner Child

Embrace Your Lessons

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Embrace Your Lessons

Take A Chance

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Take A Chance

11 Ways to Become a Resilient and Better Friend

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11 Ways to Become a Resilient and Better Friend

Let light in and out

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Let light in and out

11 Ways to Become a Resilient and Great Friend

Friendship is different for everyone. The qualities and ideals that we look for in others may depend on how much we value and respect ourselves, our family, our education, and so on. I’ve narrowed it down to eleven concepts I believe are most important in being a resilient and great friend:

1.       Learn to love yourself.

If you’ve been reading my blog thus far, you have heard me say before that all of your relationships stem from the one that you have with yourself. If you love and respect yourself, you know how to love and respect others equally. Before you can be a good friend to someone else, you have to be your own best friend first. Self-love improves and forms the love that we are able to have for others. This process really does begin within and if you cannot acquire love for yourself, it’s not possible to love another from a positive and sincere place. First and foremost, if you want to be a good friend, you need to have an authentic and confident state of well-being.

2.       Listen.

In order to be a good friend, you have to be an excellent listener. Be authentic and actually listen to what another is saying. There is a difference between someone being there and hearing what you say and when someone actually pays attention and focuses on you.

Don’t interrupt. You may want to share something but wait until the appropriate moment to chime in –no one can stand being spoken over. You’d be surprised with how many people don’t realize this.

Put down your cellphone and put your full awareness on the conversation. I’ve been trying to work on this when I’m with friends –I give myself a no phone rule –keep it in your purse or pocket until you’ve left. This shows that you care more about the person in front of you than the Internet or someone that is not present. Give full attention and awareness –it shows how much you value them.

3.       Speak from the heart.

Being true and upfront about your feelings is so important. I’ve found that by just being honest with those in your life, it is less stressful than tiptoeing around and being careful not to offend anyone. Why would you want to be friends with anyone that isn’t being one-hundred percent truthful with you? It’s a lot of wasted time and energy when you’re not being straightforward. Did your friend say or do something that upset you or made you really happy? Tell them and don’t be afraid to express yourself –that’s what friends are for! There is also a way to be direct that is both respectful and does not come off as callous –be wary of how your audience is reacting. If they’re starting to get defensive, probably a good idea to be a bit gentler in your approach –not everyone is used to others being so forthright.

Give genuine advice. Are you not a fan of your friend’s most recent conquest? Is your friend being unreasonable about something? Do you feel they were in the wrong in a situation? Be direct and supportive with your advice. If you are asking for advice, chances are you want the truth; so be sincere and speak from the heart. Sincerity attracts the like.

4.       Be supportive.

You do not always have to hang out or see someone in person to be supportive –instead, you can encourage your friends emotionally. Especially with various outlets of communication, you can always make time to be a reassuring friend. Being supportive can have various meanings, but to me it is to be a good listener and be dependable. This can be done in different ways depending on who you are as a person. I’m definitely not the type of person that is able to stop whatever I’m doing to visit a friend in need –I’m in my late twenties and that’s just not feasible any longer. However, if one of my friends needs to vent or needs advice, I am always willing to take a few minutes to be there for them. Take a step back, be empathetic, be aware of what your friend needs, and follow your instincts.

5.       Be conscientious.

Nothing is worse than having a friend that doesn’t understand boundaries. This just goes back to the fundamental basics of human contact. Just because you are close to someone, does not mean that limitations and etiquette no longer exist. Be polite! Speak with your friends, do not talk at them. Share time speaking and ask questions –a conversation is never one sided. No one wants to hear your voice the whole time they are with you.

Respectfully ask when someone would like to hang out and if they are available –do not tell them or be insistent. Feel the water and be aware of what type of person your friend is and respect who they are –you may not agree with everything, but that’s okay. The older that you get, the less free time we have; so treasure and value the time you get to spend together and take what you can get.  There are some friends that I only get to see once in a blue moon, but I appreciate every moment spent with them.

6.       Build trust.

Trust is the rich, lush soil for any relationship –it needs a solid foundation for it to grow. If you rely on someone, you feel safe and comfortable with them. In order for any secrets to be shared or any fondness to develop, a sense of security must be put in place. You’re not going to want to be around someone that makes you feel uncomfortable. Building confidence in others is effortless by listening and being respectful. If you’re loyal, keep secrets, and mutually share, you’re in the process of building trust. Just be yourself and the more natural you feel, the better the communication will be!

7.       Remember birthdays and special dates.

When certain people remembered my birthday (outside of Facebook) last week, I was ecstatic. I’m pretty big on birthdays, but even if you’re not, having someone acknowledge the day you came into the world feels pretty fantastic. You don’t have to be Leslie Knope (from Parks and Recs) and celebrate the first time you shared waffles together, but just be mindful and attentive to the important moments in your friend’s lives –they will appreciate you more for it.

8.       Be respectful.

Everyone is not going to think or believe the same way that you do. It’s okay for others to have different beliefs and differences in opinion. It is possible to be friends and care for someone that has opposite views. I have had a friend for fourteen years and he and I could not be more different in politics, religion, and everything in between. He is still one of my very best friends and just because I do not agree with him on everything, does not mean I do not respect his outlook. To be fair, the opinions that we feel strongly about we normally avoid the subject completely because we both know that we will fight till the death on them. Just be considerate and respectful of those around you and never try and change who they are. You can disagree fully while still accepting who your friend is as a person.

9.       Forgive.

You don’t necessarily have to forget, but you must always forgive. Never hold grudges. I’ve realized that forgiveness can be fussy and you really have no control over it. The way to forgive is for your love for another person or yourself to overlap the anger or hurt. It’s easier said than done and it definitely does not happen overnight. Though, the more thought and intent you put into forgiving rather than holding onto anger and hurt, the simpler it becomes. Holding a grudge is like putting a huge boulder in the way of your path –it’s just blocking your way and it doesn’t let you move past until you break it apart and walk over it. I wouldn’t say that you should forget –learn your lesson about why something that someone said or did made you upset and discover that about yourself. You and your relationships can become deeper because of it.

10.   Laugh.

There is nothing more important than laughter. Laughter can form friendships, mend fences, and strengthen love. Make sure to laugh and have fun with one another. If you can joke and tease and not sweat the small stuff, you can always get through the challenging moments. Always remember to smile and in turn, make those around you glow as well.

11.   Share your life.

The whole purpose of friendship is to have someone to share your thoughts, your dreams, and your fears with. So ultimately, you have to find somebody that you have a natural connection with. Personally, I have a lot of acquaintances but for me to actually open up to someone, you have to be an extremely special person. As you share your dreams, goals, and viewpoints, your friendship grows richer and more rewarding because you cheer each other on and encourage each other’s growth. It’s wonderful having these friends that support you all the way. If I didn’t reveal a special part of me, we wouldn’t be such great friends. So share a part of yourself with another –more often than not, you will be accepted unquestionably and loved all the more for it.

All of these ideas are interconnected –they usually go hand in hand with one another in any relationship. Be genuinely yourself and the rest comes naturally. Friendship is similar to a puzzle –the more pieces of yourself that you share, the more pieces you get in return, and when you step back after years of creating, you realize it’s become this beautiful masterpiece that you share with another like-minded individual –and you cannot get anything better than that.Image

How To Find Resilient Friendships

Meeting new people and making new friends is just as challenging and as difficult a process as dating. Basically it’s platonic dating without the enjoyable and exciting pieces. In college, it was so effortless to make friends. “Aren’t you in my philosophy class?” “How do you like Professor Whatshisname?” “Can we meet up and compare notes before the midterm?” You have so much common ground with the people surrounding you that it’s like a big lively forest of possible new friendships.

You graduate from college, get a grown up job, and learn not to mix your personal life with your professional life. While all of this is happening, all of your college buddies start to have long term relationships, start moving away to fun and exciting places, get married, have babies (not necessarily in that order). And then there’s you –working full time, growing into an old lady or man with a set bedtime, multiple dogs or cats that you prefer to hang out with more than people, and declining going out for a drink past 9pm because you know how beyond grumpy you’ll be in the morning –hasn’t anyone heard of making plans on weekends!? So where do you go from here?

I have never been one to have a huge, concrete group of friends that has stuck by me throughout the years –this was never my path in life. I have had friends come into my life and just as easily we grow apart. Nonetheless, everyone comes into our lives for a reason and at exactly the right time. I think there is a purpose as to why I haven’t had consistent companionship in my life. Instead, I have a handful of true best friends that are all over the world. These are the types of friends that no matter how much time has passed, no matter what little tiffs have transpired over the years, we can start chatting with one another as if we had just spoken yesterday. Those are the kinds of friends I keep–the resilient ones that have the adaptability to endure our ever-changing surroundings.

So how do you find these certain individuals? –you look for the signs that are all around you. If you find someone interesting, and you do not know what to say, start asking questions–what do they like to do, what’s their favorite food, have they ever traveled, etc. Finding a foundation for shared interests is the start to a good conversation and this can lead to a great friendship. As with dating, if you have to push it and the conversation is obviously not flowing naturally, don’t sweat it –it’s not you, it’s not them –just some people do not mix well together. Look for those that you are drawn to based on your passions and your interests.

When I was thirteen years old, I was sent to a private high school where I only knew one other girl from my previous school. I was very nervous and uneasy about not knowing anyone, especially since everyone was familiar with one another beforehand. My good acquaintance had told me to find a girl she knew whom would also be attending my high school. I kept this thought in the back of my mind, and finally a few months later, I found her –curls of thick golden hair, a big bright smile, and a tremendous welcoming demeanor –she was exactly who I needed in my life at that time. We instantly bonded and became best friends and about a year later, her family decided to move to Nevada for work. Funny thing is, she is still one of my best friends today. We do not have to speak every day, or tell each other everything, but we have that friendship that is unspoken and irrepressible. For these types of friends, you have to be aware of the hints and indications in your life that try and steer you towards them. Chances are, you will learn your biggest and best lessons from them, so pay attention!

Just as with the soul mates that come into our lives (read my previous article for more info :) ), you are pulled and nudged in the right directions when meeting new people –there’s always illuminating clues that predict if a person is meant to stay in your life. The universe gives you exactly what you need at that time, so be cautious with what you ask for. Be passionate, be genuine, be completely and irrevocably yourself, and those that are like-minded will start appearing more and more in your life –you just have to look for them.

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