Living on The Brightest Side

Love yourself enough brightest side

I’ve been feeling a bit sick from the vertigo of transition. The forked snake tongue on the road ahead feels daunting as the deep dark forest just after dusk. The feelings of obligation overwhelm my waking hours and the guilt that I feel pushes down on my shoulders and keeps my pace like a snail.

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Change and transition is when the real magic of life happens. The varied opportunities that lie ahead excite me to my soul bone and I’m throwing myself down the path and feeling open to wherever it may lead. The solace I have gifted myself has made my own authentic voice more confident to speak up and be heard. I am grateful and hopeful for what is to come.

It’s all about how you look at it. Attitude is everything.

After a lifetime of negativity and toxic truths, I decided to take a leap of faith and start living on The Brightest Side. It took strength, confidence and self-love to let go of the personal dogma engrained so deep in my habitually chaotic brain. So, I sat with the questions instead of demanding the answers. I focused on solutions instead of problems. I reevaluated all the varied doctrine I had held tight for so long. The process of trying to empty myself of programmed mental and emotional responses and open up to new, authentic thought came from a place of pure self love. Pure self love comes from a realization that you really want to be happy and tend mindfully to yourself. The key to my happiness has been consistently letting go of expectations and outcomes and letting it all unravel one glorious moment at a time.

Letting things be what they are and not what I am expecting or hoping for has been a labor of love and worth every effort.

So, after 4+ years of writing this blog I am transitioning my effort and energy to living permanently on The Brightest Side where I will continue to write about my journey, but also write about how others can make their own promise to live life with positivity and kindness both to themselves and others.

I hope you will join me and together we can enjoy being at peace with our lives paths. 

Sending love to my dear Desiree who took the above photo of me during a weekend on the beach

Lifestyle Medicine

guy on rock

Prevention is truly the best medicine. Taking our health seriously and making steps toward wellness before there is a real reason to worry is the smartest way to go. To indulge and ignore is risky, to be proactive and educated can save your health and maybe your life. Your lifestyle can be your best medicine.

Lifestyle medicine means making choices that lessen your risk of illness and disease. The basics of using lifestyle intervention may include nutrition, stress reduction, toxin awareness, and physical activity. The process of incorporating positive choices in all of these areas give you the best chance at preventing many of the chronic diseases that are common in our culture today.

Evaluating and adjusting risky behavior is your first line of defense. To make good decisions you must have the right information, but you also need to be sure about where your facts are coming from. Don’t just reach for what you have been told are healthy foods, research the sources of that food being labeled healthy. Amp up your general wellness competence by making decisions based in scientific research, not big business sponsored mass marketing messages.  We need to address the gap between what we know and what we think we know.

A perfect example of this is the need for education and lifestyle management related to Osteoporosis. Did you know…

Osteoporosis_Facts (1)

So the question “What do I do now?” tends to be posed after a person is diagnosed with Osteoporosis, when we could be living a lifestyle which manages our risk and lessens our chances of developing this dangerous condition way before we are at risk of becoming one of it’s casualties.

When assessing your options to create and support a healthy lifestyle, here are three lifestyle choices to consider that may significantly impact your chances of developing Osteoporosis later in life:

1.   Calcium Intake

Are you getting enough calcium in your daily diet? Some healthy sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, orange juice. It’s not just about drinking milk and consuming dairy although healthy servings of milk can also reduce your risk.  (mayoclinic.org)

2.   Exercise

Beginning to exercise when you are young and continuing your active lifestyle as you age can be the best way to build strong bones. Combining strength training and weight bearing physical activity is the best way to avoid Osteoporosis. (mayoclinic.org)

3.   Avoid alcohol and cigarettes

Excessive drinking has been linked to increased risk of bone loss and smoking doubles your chance of bone loss. (webmd.com)

For a long time I thought drinking carbonated beverages caused bone loss, but in doing research for this post I have found evidence that does not support that assumption. Since I’m not completely convinced I removed it from my list and will have to look into it further. So, in addition to making positive change, begin to second guess what you have always assumed about diseases such as this. And please, check my sources and find credible ones of your own because not every medical myth you hear has complete truth to it. Begin to evaluate your life choices, but don’t be hasty until you think them through. For example, many people think that coffee causes osteoporosis. But does it? “Because coffee and caffeine consumption slightly decreases the absorption of calcium by about 4 – 6 mg per cup, coffee has been blamed for causing osteoporosis. In a hypothetical world, this reduction in calcium would lead to bone loss and osteoporosis. Fortunately, in the real world, adding one tablespoon of milk to each cup of coffee consumed would offset any calcium loss caused by the caffeine, preventing an effect on bone quality. By ensuring adequate calcium intake and drinking coffee in moderation, studies show that there will be no increased risk of fractures or osteoporosis.” (www.isagenixhealth.net)

Be smart enough to know which life choices are truly smart and which ones are cultural lore.

So, what else do you think you know for sure? Are you trusting credible sources when gathering your knowledge on wellness? Are you sure?

thanks to where_ever_I_am on morgue file.com for the lovely photo above 

thanks to The American Recall Center for the Osteoporosis graphic above 

Friend of the Forest

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“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what things ought to be.” -William Hazlitt

An animal is born in a forest.  It has everything it needs and all it will ever use from that moment until the day it dies.  I don’t think a squirrel ever sits back at dusk and thinks about what it could’ve done with it’s life or all the opportunities it may have missed.  It simply enjoys the day.  Sometimes I envy that squirrel, but other days I don’t.  My thoughts go back and forth when I think of what my life would be without all of this responsibility, all of this abundance.  There are days when I want to freeze my life and just take a day to stop it all from happening.  Who doesn’t?  A squirrel, that’s who doesn’t.  But will a squirrel know some of the amazing experiences I have known or will know later in my life?  No.

There are days when I float through my existence feeling happy to be alive and enjoy running from one responsibility to the next.  I can even brush past traffic jams or small bumps in the road that used to make me pause in frustration.  I feel the growth.  All this hard work has taken me far.  But still, I don’t know if I am truly enjoying this life the way it should be enjoyed.  My perspective has changed, my attitude has improved and my momentum is good.  This promise to be my best self is in full swing and I feel good about where I am standing when I look behind me.  But life throws you curve balls and just when you think you have things under control, the universe will try and teach you a lesson that you are not always ready to receive.

At this point, now that my eyes are wide shut and my mind is widening, I’m able to extract more lessons from life.  There are signs and significance all around us, the trick is to open your mind to let them in.  How we receive information, and more importantly what we do and how we act upon what we learn, is what sets us apart from our animal friends.  When a squirrel runs into traffic only to run back when it realizes it will never make it across alive, it is demonstrating a smart choice.  If a squirrel had the thought pattern of some people, I think we would see more dead squirrels.  They have two choices: run or go back.  I feel pretty confident in saying that they don’t over think the process.  Humans on the other hand, have mastered the art of over thinking.  So, what are YOUR thoughts on being a squirrel?

“It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his perceptions.” -Mark Twain

I would never call a squirrel dumb.  Those smart little things have it made in the shade.

I love this life and I enjoy the abundance I have been granted.  I will continue to enjoy the goodness that I have been handed and be thankful for my life everyday.  But, that is not to say I don’t often pause and wonder what some of these lessons are about that my life seems to be throwing me.  Am I on the right path?  Have I made good decisions?   Will I continue to honor myself and make decisions that will lead me down the best path?

Life is a journey we take alone, but there is nothing that impacts us more than those we meet along the way.  There is nothing more important that spending time with the ones we love.  Even a squirrel would agree with that.

“All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it.” -Samuel Butler

Sense and Sensibility

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Strong, confident mothers make me happy.  Watching mothers drench themselves in their children’s enchantment delights me.  Mothers with a diligent commitment to their children’s well-being are a gift to this world and it is a mother’s natural intuition that sets the stage for the path down which we lead our children.  Good intentions and sensibility doesn’t guarantee a good result, but it does provide us with the promise of a mother’s love.

I believe in my own intuition and that I usually know when to trust my gut and when to look beyond my wisdom and seek the advice of others.  Who is to say what is right, what is wrong, and what makes sense for your family?  In the end, we are all perfectly imperfect.  Mother nature shows us the beauty of imperfection all around us.  A wild, natural field of systematic equal lines and measures would be awkward and unnerving.  Nature tells us that magnificence means random splendor and haphazard protocol.

Every mother is born with intuition; that feeling in your gut that speaks to your heart and guides your hands and feet.  We all have it, but with so many “experts” with so many different theories, do we ever have an opportunity to exercise it?  Always being told exactly how to handle every scenario doesn’t leave much room for going with our motherly guts.  Are some of us missing the connection to our own innate mother’s wisdom due to lack of self confidence?  Modern mothers often seem to fear drawing their own conclusions.  Maybe we are just simply afraid of being wrong.  We are constantly turning to the “experts” on our children to solve even the most mild issues, or non-issues.  I wish more mother’s would trust their instincts before consulting a professional; listen to their heart before listening to anyone else.  Why should a doctor’s diagnosis always be more important than a mother’s intuition?

YOU are the expert on your child.  Whether you gave birth, adopted, or inherited the child you are caring for, it is you, and only you, that knows your child better than anyone else in the world.  Making a decision takes time and consideration.  Sometimes your intuition tells you to consult with someone you trust.  If it’s a friend, make sure you want their opinion.  If you speak to a professional and your intuition tells you something is off, consult another.  Take time to come to a conclusion, don’t jump to a label or course of action because you feel bullied.  There is value in professional advice or advice from a loved one, and they have a lot of it.  Make sure you weigh it against what your gut tells you is right.

Mothers, let your intuition guide you.  Don’t be afraid to listen to the unexplainable, often visceral, voice that speaks from your gut and longs to guide your heart.  Trust what your Mother gave you.

On Being Right and Wrong

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It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong.  It’s humbling and uncomfortable to eat crow.  People avoid it at all cost even to the point of driving a dead end point to it’s nonsensical conclusion to avoid being wrong at times.  Wouldn’t it feel better to just give yourself license to be wrong sometimes?  It takes true character to admit defeat, even if only in silence, and create a moment to learn and grow.  It takes confidence and wisdom to concede being right and give way to being kind.  There is more happiness to be found even in the most basic, daily interactions.  I’d like to see what happens when I surrender being right and try listening more openly to what others have to say without feeling the compulsion to counterpoint.  Sometimes the Devil doesn’t need an advocate.

It’s staggering how much your thoughts show up on your face.  (I’m sometimes bothered by how my thoughts translate and can be felt by those around me even if that is not my intention.  I clearly need to work on my poker face)  What is lost in being tenacious about debating your stance?  What is gained in letting it go and allowing yourself to relinquish control?  Which leads to more happiness?  Even the look on your face will change along with your thoughts, but no one controls those thoughts but you.  “You haven’t lost your smile at all, it’s right under your nose. You just forgot it was there” – Unknown

Change the way you process and respond, and the people around you will respond back in a new way.  It’s easier to go with the flow and be open to other’s point of view when you feel engaged and supported by those around you instead of feeling strife and turbulence.  When you change yourself, you change the world around you.

“Be kind to unkind people. They need it the most.” ― Ashleigh Brilliant

Beginning the journey

I have a vision for myself.  I see a peaceful, engaged family doing things together and enjoying it.  I also had a realization.  I’m not as happy as I’d like to be, and if I want to have a happy family I need to start with myself.  Being a Mom is a stressful job, but I’m dedicated to enjoying as much of my daughters’ childhood as possible while at the same time providing them with everything they need.  Before I became a Mom I hoped I’d be great at it, but until you become a parent there is no way to understand how hard it can be.  It’s hard to be happy when you’re sleep deprived and putting the rest of your family’s needs ahead of your own.  As much as I want the rest of my family’s happiness to lead to my own, I’m learning that I actually need to focus on my own to actually achieve it.  Before I had children, every minute of my day was ME time, but now I have to actually schedule it if I want to even have a chance of having any.  So, I’ve started to think about the things that make me happy and the things in my life that need adjusting.  It’s hard to know where to start, and where the choices I make will lead me.  So, I’ve decided to create this blog as a roadmap to where I’ve been along this journey.

myhappypromise

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