My Perfect Day

Today was a perfect day. Perfectly ordinary and yet it didn’t feel ordinary to me. I woke up looking forward to seeing two of my dearest friends. We took a walk in a beautiful park nearby. Walking in this crisp autumn day was just what we all needed. We talked, we walked and we laughed. We came upon these amazing Dahlias, such a beautiful sight to see.

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20151001_10083320151001_10064420151001_10014920151001_100850Dahlias bloom from mid summer until frost. We were ecstatic to see the gorgeous colors of the flowers and just the beauty of life. In a couple of weeks these beauties will die and the ground will be covered with frost. For right now, we enjoyed them and admired them. Seeing them and being with friends that allow me to be myself made me giddy! You see I’m on the path of enjoying my life, moment by moment, day by day. Sometimes I get off the path, I mean really lose my way. Somehow I keep getting back on track.

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Later in the afternoon I got to pick up my beautiful little girl from school, hug her and  take in just how lucky I am to have her. I wrapped up my evening having dinner with a family member I hadn’t seen for a long time. We discussed our lives and all the ups and downs that we have gone through. I left dinner feeling blessed. Thankful for all the wonderful people in my life. Thankful for this perfect day.

Tomorrow will be another perfect day, at least that’s what I’m aiming for.

I hope you wake up to your perfect day.

Learning to Meditate

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I’ve been on a journey of spirituality for quite some time. It’s slowly helping me learn to be calmer, happier and feel more in control of my life. Things that would normally push me over the edge I can now manage to overcome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not there yet, I have my really bad days but I’m getting there. Whenever things don’t go right in life my initial reaction has been to lose it. I get sick to my stomach and feel helpless and out of control. Now when things go wrong as is the case with life I just don’t focus on the negative. Instead, I’ve made it a habit to count my blessings. I try to look at the glass half full instead of half empty and it makes me feel better every time. I’m determined to keep adding positive tools into my life. I need to be OK in order to raise a healthy and happy child. I am the person she is mirroring. That is just one of  the reasons why I’m trying to make meditation a habit.

I have a lot of trouble keeping my mind clear of worries and thoughts during meditation. My goal is to conquer it because I know that it’s a great way to reduce stress, improve focus and help balance my life. God knows I can use all the help I can get!

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I know a lot of people who would like to meditate, but like me, they have a difficult time doing it. Over the years, I’ve tried meditating many times. I always find my mind wandering, my body becomes uncomfortable and achy. I get fidgety and even claustrophobic!

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This month I’ve made the decision to conquer meditation once and for all! I need to stop focusing on all things digital! I look at my cell phone way too many times. I’m always texting, tweeting or on Facebook communicating and connecting with friends. Too many digital interactions makes me a very jittery person! I much prefer seeing friends and family in person and speaking on the phone instead of texting. For me, I think connecting with people I care about is crucial to my happiness. I need to have people I trust and love in my circle. I need to spend time face to face with them. That takes time and sometimes our busy lives prevent us from doing that. So I plan on making the time because it’s important to me. I also spend very little time sitting still and just living in the present. It’s something I really want to do.

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Like most of you, I have so much going on with my life. Achieving “inner peace” is something that takes effort. So every day I force myself to sit and meditate, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I find that visualization really helps me get in the zone and it’s also important for me to be in the right space during my meditation. I have to have an organized clutter free space and the right scents, which is why I always use essential oils. Lavender is my scent of choice.

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At first I began meditating 5 minutes a day. You would think it would be easy to sit still for 5 minutes well, think again! It was such a difficult thing for me to do. Once I was able to sit for 5 minutes for a few days I realized I was becoming more calm so I extended it to 10 minutes. Now I can go as long as 15 minutes comfortably and 30 minutes not so comfortably. It’s still difficult for me to keep my thoughts at bay. Every time I have a thought come into my head during meditation I just push it aside. I acknowledge it but then I move it aside and try to stay focused on how peaceful I feel. I’m hoping the more I practice, the more comfortable I will become with my practice.

Last week, I recruited a wonderful friend of mine to join me. We meet once a week, every week to meditate together.  It’s a great way to get together for a positive step into our lives. We chat and drink tea for a bit then we sit together in silence and help one another achieve our goal of finding peace. It’s time well spent.

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Here are some great tips to help you Meditate-

1.Find a quiet place, either lie down on your back with your feet on the floor or sit comfortably.

2. Set a timer for 2 minutes at first, then increasing as you become more comfortable and your ability to focus grows.  Take your time, and just do what you can.

3. Relax your body and listen to your breath.  Don’t do anything to try to control your breath, simply observe.

4.  Now, bring in some visualization.  As you exhale, picture being on the beach.  As you inhale, see the waves rolling out of the sea.  With every inhale and exhale, watch the waves go in and out– the sound of your breath is the soundtrack to these waves going in and out, and will set the pace.

5.  If your mind wanders, bring yourself back to the sound of your breathing and the images of the waves.  Again, do not try to change your breathing in any way– simply match the motion of the waves to the sound of your breath.

I hope you find your way to a peaceful life.

Namaste

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What are you thinking?

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What is your mind on, do you know? How many times have you caught yourself just thinking about the things that are going wrong with your life? Did you ever stop and really focus on what it is you are preoccupied with? It can be a conversation you had with your spouse or your friend. You may be going over what you said and what you should have said instead. You maybe thinking about everything that is wrong with your body or just criticizing your parenting skills. What would happen if you just stop the negative thinking?

Believe it or not, the things you think about shape your life. Philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts. Color it with a run of thoughts like these:

1)Anywhere you can lead your life, you can lead a good one.

2) Things gravitate toward what they were intended for. What things gravitate toward is their goal.

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Basically, it means that the more you concentrate on the positive things in your life the more you attract them. It may seem frivolous but it’s something that has been taught by so many of the worlds spiritual gurus and philosophers. In every religious book it says that we should count our blessings. So even when things go wrong in life, we have to focus on all that is going right. That is the key to happiness.

I hope you keep your minds on all that is good in your life.

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The glass half full

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If all is going wrong in your life, the worst thing to do is to dwell on it. Give yourself a little time to cry and feel your sadness and then move on.

That’s life, we all come across difficulties but we must make the best of the life we have been given. Death, illness, rejection, depression, a friendship or marriage that ends, they are all part of life. There is also so much beauty and glimpses of happiness in life. A new love, seeing your child for the first time, having a wonderful laugh with a friend. Our relationships with our family, our friends, that’s always been the key to happiness for me. Years ago, an important friendship that spanned over twenty-five years to someone I considered a sister came to a shocking end. It threw me into a deep depression. I wasted years dwelling on it and other unfortunate situations. Now if I encounter something that makes me feel depressed, I have the tools to help myself.

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How do I do it?  I guess you can say I’ve become an optimistic person. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. I look for the best in any situation and expect good things to happen. It’s my faith in God. I think certain unpleasant things happen to help us grow and push us into places we wouldn’t normally go to on our own.

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New research shows that there’s a positive impact that optimism has on both mental and physical health. Finding happiness all boils down to the way we talk to ourselves. Having a deep connection with our source and believing that everything happens for a reason.

The Quran and the Life of ExcellenceA book that really has helped me shape my positive attitude is “The Quran and the Life of Excellence” by Sultan Abdulhameed. The book literally changed the direction of my life. This inspirational book is a great read for anyone that has faith in God. I consider the author a mentor and a friend. He has helped me and many others see the power that is within us to live a life of excellence.

imageOne of the ways I have tapped into the power within me is to practice gratitude. I’ve blogged about the importance of gratitude before. I know from my own experience that if we take time to notice and reflect upon the things that we are thankful for, we experience more positive emotions, sleep better and even have stronger immune systems. I keep both a gratitude jar and a gratitude journal. Writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.

I also try to spend time doing what I love to do. It helps me find joy in my life. I love reading good books and poetry. I love to travel and learn about other cultures. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do that but I still want to see more. I enjoy going to the movies, shopping, dinning in fine restaurants and taking in the beauty of nature. I love spending time with my family and friends.

I love helping people. That’s the direction I am taking now, to work on things that give me the ability to help others. It’s a selfish act because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel fulfilled. I hope someone reading this can benefit from my practice in their own life.

If you are interested in the book I recommended, “The Quran and the Life of Excellence” you can buy it on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day

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My mother is my wings. She keeps me in flight.
My mother is my guard, my security, that soft place in the night.
My mother is my strength to go on with any fight.
She’s my best friend, my mentor, my heart.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you beautiful women who love and nurture your children.
I always knew my mom loved me, but not until I had my own child did I really understand.
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So now on this day that we honor our mothers I think of all those who no longer have their moms.
How much they must miss the beautiful hand that always held their hand. What they wouldn’t give to speak, to seek advice, to listen to the voice of their mothers. I think of my husband and his loving mom. Her glistening blue eyes, her laugh, her words of comfort to him. I see the pain in his eyes, that missing piece in his heart. I think of my cousin who always keeps his heart in the cold, but oh how it pains me to see it warm with tears for his mother. I think of my three sweet friends who have lost their champion, a second mother to me, she was an angel who walked among us on earth.
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Her smiling Irish eyes always filled with love and kindness. How I miss our weekly talks, so how are they able to bear her loss? Then somehow I know, she will bring them strength to get through this first Mother’s Day without her. My friend Jaime, she sees her beloved in butterflies, and still she speaks her heart knowing that her mother is listening.
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To you and to all of them I say, keep her and your memories together in your heart. To those of us fortunate enough to have our mothers, I say cherish her and your time together. Seek her advice, talk, listen and love.
Happy Mother’s Day. May we all love and be loved.
I love you mom.

Feeling Thankful.

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Today I woke up and felt thankful for everything I have in my life. I am thankful for my comfortable bed, my home and the fact that I am secure. I don’t have to worry about being homeless or hungry. I lack nothing when it comes to comfort and love. I am blessed with a wonderful husband and a beautiful little girl. I have amazing parents who have always supported me and loved me unconditionally. I have wonderful siblings and in-laws that love me. I also have a very tight relationship with my extended family. That includes my aunts, uncles and cousins. Who needs friends when I have such an abundance of love within my family? Well, I do. I always have. Friends are an important part of my life. I am lucky enough to be blessed with friends who care for me. That’s a bonus!
This all stems from just having a birthday and feeling a little blue about turning a year older. It’s true that I’m not where I should be physically. I’ve gained a lot of weight since having my daughter. I also don’t feel like I’ve found complete fulfillment, but who has?
The first text I got early on my birthday was from my sister. She suggested that I list fortysomething things that I am grateful for. The fortysomething is my age. You can keep guessing! I’m not telling! I thought that was ridiculous! It also highlights just how old I am. Then I thought about it and decided my sister was right, as usual….how annoying! It’s easy to find fault in everything in life. Perhaps for someone like myself that’s just what we are programmed to do naturally. The more difficult task is to see past all that is “wrong” and look at what’s “right”.
We all have things that we may want to change. It’s easy to focus on that. I am consciously choosing to focus on what’s right. It may not be in my nature but it sure beats feeling blue. Plus, with every hardship comes ease.
I’m thankful to have a chance at another year of life. I’m grateful for all that God has given me. I plan on making the best out of my life and reaching for the stars! I will continue to make goals and try to achieve them. I will make mistakes and learn from them. I will replace every negative thought with a positive thought. I hope you do the same.
Finally, I’m thankful that you are reading my blog!