Creating Serenity for Yourself

taking time for you

During a relaxing hot bath, I began reading the first passage of “The Radiance Sutras” and it ended with:

“…exhaling, breath is released and flows out.

There is a pulse as it turns to flow in.

In that turn, you are empty.

Enter that emptiness as the source of all life.

Inhaling, breath flows in, filling, nourishing.

Just as it turns to flow out,

There is a flash of pure joy —

Life is renewed.”

 

What better time for me to symbolically renew my life than now? So I breathed in deeply and exhaled, underwater. I was completely submerged and it felt so exhilarating. I love being in the water– even if it’s just a bath, I find it so cleanings. It makes my heart warm, the water gives me a flushing feeling like I’m really alive. Right now, you’re one of the one of hte most important elements– water. I dunked myself 3 times, for no specific reason other than it felt good. I got water up my nose and that was clearly an issue. So I sat up, swayed my head side to side to get out any left over cricks and sucked down the cold water that sat beside me.

What started as a relaxing nighttime bath, turned into something that left me renewed and refreshsed to start this new week and also start on the new beginning that began last week.

Same journey, different path.

Enjoy the little things in life– make simple gestures to honor yourself and your life.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

p.s. wanted to show my beautiful oil burner– it’s one of my favorite purchases in the past year!

oil burner

 

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Practicing Patience

patience

Last week when Mike and I were at the beach, we bought our lunches ahead of time and packed them in our cooler. As I got our my sushi (weird beach meal, I know), and had just finished pouring out the soy sauce and opening the wasabi, I looked down to pick my first piece and with that, a little girl grabbed her shovel and proceeded to throw the sand back right towards me and all over my lunch. UGH. I couldn’t be mad though as she was probably 5 or 6. How does she know better? But then her mother looked at me and didn’t think an apology was necessary. Instead she grabbed the girl and said lets go down to the water. Annoyed? I was beyond. About a half an hour later, a VERY large family decided to plant themselves practically on top of us. So much so that Mike literally couldn’t put his chair back all the way without hitting our newfound neighbors. This would’ve been a little acceptable if there had been no spots left on the beach but at this point it was later in the day and so there were plenty of spots available if they had just walked about 50 feet to the left. As this happened, we both looked at each other, giving a “what the hell?” type of face. I quickly moved onto our towel to try to get as far away from them as possible. They were talking so loudly and, in my mind, I kept thinking that they were “ruining” our relaxation time. I was thinking of myself, my happiness, my day off, I was acting in my head as if it was my beach. With that, I took out a book I’m reading and as luck would have it, I was beginning a news chapter called patience. PATIENCE!!! Just when I had about no patience left in me. As I read, it talked about difficult moments and how we react to them. It suggested saying the phrase “Only I can destroy my peace and I choose not to do so” as a way to sink into a place of peace and calm. So I tried it, saying that phrase in my head over and over. And you know what? It helped. It didn’t get rid of all my frustrations but it began to put things in perspective— that although this family was sitting too close to our liking that it really ends up being my choice to let them aggravate me. I can choose to let them affect my time at the beach or I can choose to stay calm and continue to enjoy my day. So I chose to continue to enjoy my day.

There are so many times during any given day that our patience is tested. Driving, for example. For many people, it’s the first thing they do in the morning. I get up, make my smoothie and hop in the car. Only to feel like I’m in a rat race with people driving around, seemingly to me, like maniacs. People cut you off, flip you off (happens to me quite often!) and people piss you off. Other people can really do a number our inner peace but we should try not to let them. I’ve found that reminding myself that I too have cut people off, I too have flipped people off and God knows, I too have pissed people off. So instead of letting anger arise inside of you during these moments, it’s helpful to remind yourself that there’s a human inside that car, someone with a family, someone that’s trying to get to work on time too— I think often when we get so angry at people for little things like cutting us off on the road, we dehumanize them and act like they’re not a person just like us. I do it all the time, whenever someone cuts me off or is driving too slow for my liking, I cuss “at them” in the car and talk to myself about how annoying they are. But if we were out of the car, and I could see them face to face, would I ever tell them what an ass clown they were being? No, probably not. As soon as I was met with the actual human inside the car, I’d probably end up telling them “no big deal.” That’s because, for the most part, when you humanize people and realize they too make mistakes, just like you do, it’s easier to be less upset about whatever wrongdoing they did to you.

There is a legend that tells of a king who challenges his wise men to create a phrase that would always be true no matter what the time, place or conditions. They contemplated over this for many hours and meditated for weeks. Finally, they presented the king with a tablet inscribed with the words, “this too shall pass.” Ever since, these words have humbled the prideful and offered hope to the afflicted. These words can help in such a big or small way. They help in the moments when people cut you off. Yes, I had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting the person. But guess what? I’m not in an accident and I didn’t hit them so that feeling needs to pass. That moment did so now I’m going to let it go — no need to hold on to anger over something that’s over and done with. This phrase can also be used for much bigger things. Like tough times in your life. I’ve said this phrase many times since being diagnosed… this too shall pass. It’s helped me when I’m in the rut of the day. It brings you hope when you need it. It allows you to shift your mindset to believe that better is coming.

Truly having patience is something that comes with much practice and mindfulness but in the end, being patient with others brings a much important sense of peace to yourself. It may not always be easy (or possible) to remind yourself of some of these things in the day to day moments, but it’s certainly worth the effort.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Grateful for the Now

So much of our lives are spent wishing for the next thing. When you don’t have a boyfriend, you wish you were in a relationship. When you have a boyfriend, you wish you were engaged. When you’re engaged you can’t wait to get married and have all that stressful planning done and over with! It’s always on-to-the-next and I’m fully guilty of this. Certainly, I am guilty of this lately — I think almost daily about how much I can’t wait for this time period of my life to be over. How I can’t wait until I’m “normal” again. I can’t wait until I can have drinks again. I can’t wait until I don’t have chemo treatments every week. I can’t wait until this damn port is out of my chest. I can’t wait to have a dog. I can’t wait to get rid of my commute.
I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.
I’m literally wishing away my life because it’s “hard” right now. Then I sit and think about it and I realize that it’s always going to be hard. Life is always going to have bumps in the road and obstacles to get over… you don’t go over one big wave and then have smooth sailing the rest of the ride. Navigating those rocky waves is part of being human. So although my hope is that this time in my life is particularly difficult, I need to stop pretending like this is the only difficult thing that I will experience in my life. What I really need to do is start living in the now and appreciating the day in front of me. I feel like this expression, “life in the moment,” is so overused and rarely ever acted upon but it’s the only way to say it. You truly have to embrace each day and feel grateful to be in it. Because as wonderful as tomorrow looks today, who knows if you’ll ever get there? That sounds bleak but it’s the truth. Tomorrow isn’t promised so if you spend all of today looking forward to tomorrow, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine that’s beating down on you RIGHT NOW.
Saying this and living this are two different things. It takes practice and a lot of actual effort to truly feel happy, to whole-heartedly embrace the day. I’ve realized that being happy isn’t something that just happens, you have to make a conscious effort to attain it. I believe that having gratitude for the things in your life and being grateful for the many blessings that you have, really helps in feeling that true joy we’re all looking for. I’ve been putting a conscious effort to act on this lately and have found that a few easy practices, have helped me take on each day with a better mindset.
that I have found helpful is meditating for a few minutes in the morning before I get out of bed. My type of meditating doesn’t consist of any “om-ing” or special rituals that take a considerable amount of time. Rather for just a few minutes before getting out of bed in the morning, I sit up straight with my legs crossed, close my eyes and think about how grateful I am for this day, how grateful I am for my life and the people in my life. Doing this starts the day off on a positive note– it is a reminder to feel thankful for simply being alive and getting to live this day.
Another thing I’ve been trying to do more often is to take deep breaths. I know this sounds so simple but it can be so impactful. It physically calms your body down when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. Breathing deeply in through your nose and slowly out through your nose, can help reduce anxiety, which I think we all so desperately can use. While I’m doing this, I often say to myself, “I am strong. I am loved and I will get through this.” These three sentences have sort of become my mantra that I’ve been saying in my head since about February 21, 2014 but yours can be whatever you want. Whatever makes you feel more at ease, gives you confidence and makes you feel like you can get through whatever life is handing you. And the beauty about pairing deep breathing with a personal affirmation is that it can be done anytime, anywhere.
The last thing that I’ve found helps to ground you and bring your mind to the present moment is to look up at the sky. Really look. Throw your head back and look up at its beautiful openness. See how big it is. Think about how small you are in the world compared to it. It’s a humbling feeling and I find that it helps to give you a sense of much-needed perspective.
That being said, I don’t want to act like I don’t see the importance of planning ahead or being excited for the future. Being excited for what’s to come is what motivates us and gets us to push ourselves to be the best we can be so our tomorrow can be even better than today! It’s just important to remember to be grateful for the now, TOO. Be grateful for THIS moment. Even if it’s a hard moment, be grateful for it. It might be tough but it’s making you stronger. Be grateful for that. Simply said, be grateful for your life — it’s a beautiful one.
So, just like my gorgeous little Leni bear, I hope that every day you stop and take time to smell the flowers blooming right outside your window.
IMG_5941
Lots of love and light,
Jessy
p.s. I’ll probably have to reread this tomorrow when I’m sitting at work, wishing for the weekend. But hey! It’s all about making the effort.