Thankful Thursday: Serendipitous Moments

Thankful Thursdays on Food4ThoughtNYC

“Whether we name divine presence synchronicity, serendipity, or graced moment matters little. What matters is the reality that our hearts have been understood. Nothing is as real as a healthy dose of magic which restores our spirits.”
Nancy Long

The last line of Long’s quote resonates profoundly for me, especially this week. I never gave serendipity much thought before, simply because I wrote those moments off as coincidence.

As I gave myself over to mindfulness and developed a deeper awareness of the signs around me, I realized that sometimes the universe unexpectedly opens a door. It might not be where I thought I was headed, but it’s always directed me where I needed to go.

Each time I experience serendipity, I feel what can only be described as wonder at what a bit of faith and time can yield in light of a desperate situation.  It’s profoundly humbling.  And magical too.

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Have you ever felt serendipitous moments?

What are you thankful for this week?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or on FB and Twitter.

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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Thankful Thursday: The Word Vomit

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Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.                                                          -Cheryl Strayed

I stood there, in front of the fridge, holding the door wide open, completely lost in thought. I forgot what I was looking for several minutes ago.  It wasn’t until the increasingly ripe romaine I’d left on the bottom shelf hit my nostrils (note to self: throw it away!), that I dropped my gaze and allowed my eyes to refocus on the contents on the fridge. Dinner? Oh right, dinner.

Dinner turned out to be a bowl of cereal with the almond milk my eyes landed on once I came out of my dream state. I just couldn’t be bothered.

I found myself thinking about where I’d gotten lost. Because that’s what it’s felt like lately. The world, as I knew it, had tilted. Up became down. Left became right. And I’ve been wobbling along trying to regain my center of gravity in an unknown, foggy landscape.

What do you do when change throws you off course? And I’m not just talking about changing jobs or changing an address. I’m talking about the heavy stuff. Like when you find that things that used to resonate with you down to the core, suddenly ring hollow? Or when the people you’ve grown close to, suddenly seem so far away? Or finding yourself in the other person’s shoes in a relationship?

Apparently, what I do is I stand in front of the fridge with my gym clothes on and stare at a carton of almond milk until my legs start to break out in goosebumps from the cold.

In all fairness, I’ve sidestepped a lot of these issues, allowing them to quietly churn the insides of my mind until it decided it needed more room to churn, and then it downshifted to my heart. That’s where I feel it; right there, smack dab in the middle of my chest. Pretty soon it’ll beat it’s way up my esophagus, through my throat, until it finds my larynx, and Opa! here comes the word vomit!

This may surprise you, lucky reader (s? maybe more than one of you will read this rambling post? maybe not?) , but I tend to bottle up a lot of what I’m feeling. Since I started blogging, and especially since I segued into the magical age of 30, I see the value in expressing what you feel in a way that’s both honest and constructive. That second word is key here, as I had no trouble expressing myself in the past, but usually with little thought given to how all that talk could actually lead to anything productive. But I make a conscious choice to work through the endless parade of perpetually conflicting ideas going through my brain at all hours of the day before I end up word vomiting all over you.

The problem is that I keep so much of it in that it usually ends pretty messy. I’m having a lot more of these stand-in-front-of-the-fridge-lost-in-la-la-land moments than I used to, and to be quite honest, it makes me want to shrug off the very notion of gratitude. What’s there to be grateful for when I can barely complete a simple task (dinner? oh right, dinner), without letting these huge questions about the changes in life bring me to the brink of….I dunno, is it the word vomit thing again or maybe it’s just tears? Maybe both? Sigh.

I begin way too many thoughts and conversations with that phrase, “I don’t know…” because that’s what this all boils down to in the end. I have no clue what I’m doing in any part of my life at least 99% of the time (I attribute the 1% to sleeping, which I believe I know how to do pretty well). Worse yet, I’ve lost the words to articulate exactly what it is I’m experiencing.

All you wise birds out there reading this (again, assuming anyone other than myself lays eyes on this thing), are probably clucking your tongues, going, “Oh, you’re just in it, and soon this won’t be so bad. Change happens, love, and you’ll learn to embrace it.” True. I can roll with that. In fact, I have been rolling with that, fairly bumpy road and all. But does it have to hurt so damn much?

Yes, I suppose it does. Change isn’t meant to be easy. Nor, I’d argue, are we really built for the emotional upheaval that comes with change, nevermind our inherent survival instincts. All that adrenaline fades at some point, and what you’re left with is a pile of unresolved issues that you dropped when you were running from one thing to the next. Maybe I’ve just been running for too long and it’s all catching up with me. Maybe I need to keep on running. I don’t know (Ah, there it is again).

So I ask, what is there to be grateful for? Ah all sort of things of course. But let me not pretend to pull a one-eighty here and tidy this all up with a nice little bow at the end. Things are far from tidy in my world these days.

I suppose what I can offer up to the universe right now is that I’m grateful for this. This moment. Or let me take it one step further. Every single moment I’ve found myself standing in front of a fridge, or mid-step to my bedroom, or at the crosswalk waiting for the light to change, or at my desk with blurred eyes staring at my computer screen. Each of those moments are packed with introspection; a quiet observation of who I am and where I am.

Some of those moments carry the lightness of wonder and imagination where I transport myself beyond the limits of my circumstances,where I dare to color outside of the box. Other moments bring me to the dark corners that force me to bend to the will of fear and self-doubt. And then there are those incredible moments where all I feel is the warm embrace of love and hope in a more peaceful existence, not just for myself but for the world around me.

The mind and the heart are tricky things. We carry a world of lies and truths in both, each and every single day and sometimes it’s a struggle to suss out which is which as changes happen and our paths branch out. What I’ll continue to tell myself and maybe you, lucky reader (s?) can also find helpful, is that it’s okay to feel that burden sometimes. Allow yourself to go through it and do what needs to be done to let it out in a way that’s going to make you stronger in the end.

Thank you for reading. And uh…sorry for word vomiting all over you.

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Have something to be thankful for? Or maybe a comment you’d like to share? Feel free to post them in the comments below or go ahead and post on FB or Twitter. Whatever floats your boat.

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy. 🙂

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Thankful Thursdays: No (Wo)Man is an Island

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Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,

“I will try again tomorrow.”

– Mary Anne Radmacher

 

 

It’s impossible to go through life without taking others into consideration. In the wise words of John Donne, ‘no man is an island.’ As much as I’d like to consider myself a trailblazer, walking down the road of life alone, without stopping to muse on what others might think about me, I’m human. I can’t help but wonder how the world perceives me.

Don’t compromise who you are and what you’re doing for the sake of others. That’s usually the advice I get when I start to get bogged down by negative thoughts. My confidence takes a nosedive and I find myself frozen, too scared to move forward or back because I worry about what my peers might think.

I’m a failure. My writing is terrible. I’m lazy. If I gain weight, I’ll be alone. Wasted potential. No substance….Loser.

Terrible line of thinking, isn’t it?

The reality is that when we preoccupy ourselves with what we think others are thinking about us, what we’re really doing is cutting ourselves down all on our own. We allow our fears to bully us into dark corners where we’re left powerless and immobilized. And the worst part is that it’s all our own doing.

I realize how depressing this sounds. Trust me, my goal is not to come here each week and be a downer for all of you. But it was important for me to reflect on some of the challenges I still experience  on my journey to wellness. It was a particularly dark week for me as I struggled past some of my deepest insecurities. 2014 hasn’t been very kind to me so far, and I’m often choosing between two difficult and unsavory options on an ongoing basis. And I imagine that many of you are in similar struggles.

We can be independent and driven as we strive to reach our goals, but it’s naive to think that we can block out the world in the process. Everything we do ripples out and affects those around us whether we realize it or not. Even when I’m feeling at my lowest and I’ve hidden myself away, I’m putting out an energy and that impacts my environment, for better or worse.

I’m grateful that when I have those days when all I’m doing is questioning all that I am, I can manage to look out and see love around me. Those moments offer an extraordinary opportunity to recalibrate. It’s a sucky process, no doubt about it. But a necessary one.

Take it one step at a time and forgive yourself for the little stumbles along the way. Don’t be scared to ask the hard questions and don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the answers right away. I know I forget that sometimes and that’s alright. We’ve all been there.

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What do you do to get yourself out of a funk?

What are you grateful for this week? Please feel free to share!

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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