Quick Thought

Wherever you are right now wondering what’s going on in the world, trust me, not many people have the answers. What I can say is that you need to find some kind of faith. Faith that after all is said and done, this all will have meaning. Take time now to open your heart to #faith. Take time now to believe in something greater.

A Short Guide to Spring Cleaning Your HEART

Every year there are tons of articles and guides to “Spring Cleaning.” I guess the whole point of Spring cleaning is to organize your environment in order to prepare for both the literal and figurative growth that is quickly approaching on the winds of spring and summer. People throw out old clothes, dust behind furniture, purchase bright colored accessories and accent pieces, and re-commit to exercise in hopes of getting the prized summer abs and buns.

As I anticipated how and when I will tackle my own spring cleaning checklist, I started to wonder why I have to go through this process every year. I mean, why can’t we just keep things clean all year, not collect unnecessary items, and throw things away as time passes in order to virtually eliminate the need to have to spring clean every year?  Well, I have yet to find the answer as to why spring cleaning has to exist, but I have admitted to myself that the process it necessary. It is a kind of symbolic refresh button. It is our yearly detox of all things unnecessary. It is a time of reflection and goal setting. And, it is a time of hope and anticipation of something different, new, re-purposed  or renewed.

Environmental cleansing and organizing are important as they effect how you feel internally. However, it works the opposite way as well; how you feel internally will effect your environment. As I thought about this concept a little further, my first thought was to conclude that we just simply need to keep our environment and heart clean at all times in order to maintain our overall internal-external balance. But then, I thought about how much time I realistically have and how realistic my life changes with time, and therefore deemed the “state of clean” virtually impossible. Dust simply accumulates whether you like it or not, and whether you clean everyday or not. There is always something to clean and polish. Nevertheless, cleaning is important, especially internal cleaning because it is the most controllable indicator and predictor of your environment. So, in all your spring cleaning efforts, don’t forget to spring clean your heart. 

Here is a short guide to help with your Heart Spring Cleaning:

1. Throw away “old” stuff you have stored away in your heart (hurts, disappointment, unforgiveness, etc). You know the things that you have been “saving” but don’t need anymore. Yes, you will need to go throw those stored boxes and get rid of some stuff. You may have forgotten about it, but it’s still there contributing to the clutter. Ever wonder why maybe there is less room for new thoughts, new happiness, new habits, and new love? Go through it and  decide what you need to keep. Obviously, it is very difficult to forget the things that have happened in our past, but you will be deciding this Spring which of those things you want to let control your emotions and actions. Choose wisely!

2. CleanOnce you have decided what stays and where it goes, wipe it down. This is the time to renew your mind and recommit to the positive aspects of your life. Write out some affirmations and read them out loud to yourself. Look in the mirror and speak positively into your life. Tell the people you love those special three words… I love you. Spend some time to re-energize your heart and mind by whichever means works for you (spa day, new hair cut, exercise, vacation, read a positive book, meditate, etc.)

3. Paint, Seal, Glue, Repair. One last important step. There are some things in our heart that are not negative and are essential but will be worn-out, cracked, and broken. No need to worry, they just need a little sprucing up. These are things like good habits that have weakened a bit, great friendships and relationships that have been a bit neglected, compromised sleep or health (yes, sleep affects our heart and emotions), lost/weakened motivation and effort toward a positive goal, etc. You can use inspiration, meditation, objective criticism, a good heart-to-heart, therapy session, a relevant book, or quality time to help with this step. Once this step is done your heart will feel a little brighter and lighter. Get working!

So, whether you are starting a new phase of life or working on the present phase, take some time to do a mental and emotional inventory and Spring cleaning  that big ol’ heart.

Happy Hearts everyone!

Negative Feelings? Own It. Process It. Release It.

It is impossible to be happy, positive, inspired, and fully productive for every moment of every day without significant effort. Even the most positive people on the planet have their moments of disappointment, discouragement, hurt, or emotional response to a challenge.

For a significant portion of my life, I secretly had this warped thought that if I felt sad, discouraged, faint, uninterested in being positive, tired, fearful, anxious, hurt, or insecure that I was not an overall positive, motivated, determined, strong, spiritual, confident individual. Somehow I came to believe that possessing those feelings for more than a “moment” meant that I was an artificial version of a successful person, and therefore needed to hid those feelings from other people behind smiles, laughs, and conversation. If you dared insinuate that I was sad, hurt, insecure about something, fearful, anxious, or pessimistic, I would charismatically become defensive, deny it, or denounce any affiliation with such corrupt ideas or feelings, fully convinced that my actions would make them disappear.

One day as I randomly watched ‘behind the scenes’ footage of a famous singer, I found my freedom. She said that she allows herself a day to be sad, cry, or “bum” around when she feels negative, disappointed, hurt, or is experiencing other “foreign” feelings. After which, she tells herself “it’s time to move on.”

I am not telling you that every feeling deserves time to be “processed.” Some feelings you just need to immediately correct. However, for mental health purposes, there is a time and place to embrace your honest emotions. For one reason or another, many of us are not taught how to deal with these emotions. Or worse, we are taught that having them are signs of weakness or a lack of emotional, mental, or spiritual maturity. Life has taught me the exact opposite. The inability to control the emotion’s influence on you for an extended period of time is the sign of immaturity, not simply feeling them.

Today I grant you the freedom to be openly realistic about your feelings. They may not always be the “right” feelings to have, but the truth is, you have them and they are real to you. So, in those moments…

Own It. Be honest with yourself and the people around you. “Yes, I feel this way right now. But, I’ll let it go tomorrow.”

Process It. Determine a short amount of time to allow yourself to “feel” whatever you feel. Then, take some time, in your own way, to work through those emotions. Take a bath, listen to sad music, exercise, watch a movie, write in a journal, cry, turn off your phone, go to bed early, or just stare at the wall. Whatever it is, think though the emotions and always let positive logic prevail.

Release It. After you’ve taken your time to process, it’s time to let it go…or better said, let it’s influence on you go…

You Are Not Alone

In this life, I have learned that in more ways than one, I am not alone and unique in my experiences and feelings. Yet, there have been maybe times when my mind convinced me that it is impossible for someone to understand my experiences, thoughts, or struggles.

Somewhere in this life, we internalized this notion that the best way to deal with something is to keep it to ourselves and “figure it out” alone. It’s as if exposing our weakness, pain, confusion, or struggle in turn makes us weak, insecure, trivial, or incompetent. While I was out to dinner with a friend late last week, we reminisced about our high school years together, our college days apart, our passions, and our concerns about the areas of blindness that exist in our future. At various points in the conversation, we discovered that we surprisingly experienced many of the same questions, emotions, struggles, and concerns throughout our lives. I found myself thinking that if we weren’t so afraid of sharing this stuff earlier in life, we would have felt less secretly overwhelmed and had less of the “no one will understand me” delusion.

Stories change, but principles stay the same. Everyone deals with having to find personal identity and purpose, success, loss, hurt, pain, isolation, abrupt change, and uncertainty. We tend to think that a person cannot understand us unless they have had the same exact experience. I guarantee there is at least one person that you can find within your reach that can understand the emotions behind your struggle.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we are not alone. Your challenges are not solely a result of something you did wrong, but rather a result of LIFE. Yes, you can thank life for everyone having their portion of challenge. So set a dinner date, order something yummy, bring one or two people you trust (and possess wisdom and the ability reciprocate vulnerability), and start sharing your story… I guarantee someone with say, they’ve dealt with that too. And if not, you can always talk to me.  😉