Joyful Thanks!

“It’s a Beautiful Day!”

From the first time I heard this song and still now, I feel joyful and appreciative for the blessing of waking up to a beautiful day! And my intention reminds me – make the most of it!

Since I’m a word girl and lyrics get butchered all the time,😄 I picked this video which showcases the impactful words of “Beautiful Day.” 

 

 

It sounds like such a simple thing to do but so easy to forget. Each day, each moment is a gift. I know for me, next time I question what’s up with time, I’ll have to reflect on my own sense of appreciation.

 

 

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS: A ROADMAP TO A FULFILLING LIFE

Don Miguel Ruiz✌🏼🤌🏼☀️🌈💫🌺

One of my favorite spiritual guides is author ​Don Miguel Ruiz​, and his New York Times bestseller ​“The Four Agreements.”​ I’ve read and re-read this book and it always brings me clarity and a deeper understanding of how we interact with others and view ourselves. The book is based on the teachings of ancient Toltec wisdom and serves as a refocusing of how to limit self defeating thoughts and suffering so we can enjoy a life of fulfillment and happiness.

Agreement 1:

“Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity, say only what you mean.

Believing in yourself is where it all starts. Waking up in the morning feeling blessed and sure that something wonderful is going to happen. The mind is incredibly powerful and shapes the life we live and the world we understand.

It’s so easy to find ourselves falling into the trap of walking around complaining about the usual crap and not recognizing that we create our reality by our viewpoint and attitude towards what we experience.

Agreement 2:
“Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you.”

Surviving cancer has proven to be an amazing awakening to how I live my life. I have a new appreciation for the quote “Tomorrow is not promised” since 2015 when I was diagnosed with both Breast and Colon Cancer. Now I make it a point to relish each moment.

The 3rd Agreement is my favorite:

“Don’t Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.”

Fortunately​ ​I’d re-read “The Four Agreements” before my cancer diagnosis and Agreement Number Three – “Don’t Make Assumptions”proved to be a lifesaver; instead of freaking out upon hearing the news, I applied the principle, had faith and promised myself to live one day at a time.

Agreement 4:

“Always Do Your Best. Doing your best means enjoying the action without expecting a reward.”

I highly recommend reading “The Four Agreements” as an inspiring roadmap for living a more joyous and fulfilling life.

Inky Johnson – “Be a Blessing in Someone Else’s Life

After watching a YouTube video of inspirational speaker Inky Johnson, I had to collect myself as tears streamed down my face in response to his incredible story. I then asked myself, how are you going to write about this amazing young man but then thought, what did Inky say? “It’s not about you but how you can be a blessing in someone else’s life.” I felt the importance of sharing Inky’s story of triumph and determination and what his experience may mean in uplifting another person’s moment of crisis.


Inquoris D. Johnson (better known as Inky Johnson) is a motivational speaker, author, and former football player for the University of Tennessee who rose from a life of adversity to becoming a shining example of the very best in us. Inky grew up in poverty surrounded by crime and drugs. But, for Inky, this hostile environment planted a seed of greatness that Inky nurtured within his spirit as he set forth in life with an unrelenting goal of making life better for his family through sheer will and commitment.

His early understanding of how the decisions we make affect everyone around us shaped his philosophy that quitting when the going gets tough or when we don’t like the situation becomes a habit which will eventually catch up with us.


From the age of 7 years, Inky trained religiously for his lifelong dream of becoming a professional football player. Starting as a child, doing extra training on the practice field late at night in the headlights of his mother’s beat up car. Her loving eyes serving as an unwavering source of inspiration and pride.


“When you work from the inside-out you understand your WHY, you understand your HOW, and you understand your WHAT.”
Inky Johnson

Inky Johnson was born on February 12, 1986 in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in the rough Kirkwood neighborhood in a 2-bedroom house with his mother and 13 other family members. He slept on a pallet on the floor and recalls arriving at the bus stop early to shake out his backpack to make sure there were no roaches or rats inside. In true Inky Johnson fashion, when given the opportunity to transfer from his failing school to one of the top in the city, he refused noting that he wanted to be an example to his siblings on how they could make it out of their violent and drug infested neighborhood. Even then he knew it wasn’t about him but others.


Inky’s opportunity to advance out of his surroundings arose one night when a coach walking down the street came across Inky and his cousins playing. The coach signed them up to play organized sports. Inky played football and baseball.  
Graduating from one of the underserved public schools in Georgia, Inky’s talents on the field earned him a college scholarship to the University of Tennessee playing football. His noticeable skills earned him a shot at making it into the NFL draft. But, to his horror, it was not to be. A life altering accident at Neyland Stadium made Inky ponder:


“When we fail to achieve our lifelong dreams, we must ask, “Am I Failing, or is God prevailing?” Inky Johnson


September 9, 2006 in a game against Air Force, Johnson went for a tackle and jammed his shoulder into the body of the Air Force running back. The hit caused permanent nerve damage in Inky’s right shoulder and left him fighting for his life. His right arm was paralyzed; ending his lifelong dream of lifting his family out of poverty as a player in the NFL. For most people this unbelievable turn of events would have brought them to their knees, but not Inky. He reached into his soul and drew on a power that had been growing in him his entire life. He saw the dream crushing accident as an opportunity to share his life experiences with others because he knew God had a plan for him.

Inky tours the country and shares his inspiring words with audiences as well as on his website, Facebook, and Twitter. Inky speaks from his soul with a compassion and strength that makes you reflect on your life and strive to be a blessing in someone else’s. Hearing Inky’s story for just a few short minutes gives you a bucket full of motivation to uplift and inspire you to do your best every day.


On his website – http://www.inkyjohnson.com/ you can download little tidbits of daily reflections and reminders of your goals.

“We Become What We Feed” is a wonderful parable spoken by Johnson infused with mellow Jazz meditation music adding to the richness of the story. He encourages you to download and “marinate on that.” Inky Johnson


“You Become What You Feed” and other Inspirations


http://www.inkyjohnson.com/inkspiration/

What Are You Thankful For?

Sharing a Thanksgiving meal with loved ones is truly a blessing. Having food on the table and a roof overhead is a luxury not everyone can afford.

As we enjoy our traditional turkey and pumpkin pie, let’s remember those without. Reaching out and sharing should be part of our consciousness as I believe we are our brother’s keeper.

As a cancer survivor I am keenly aware that tomorrow is not promised, appreciative of the fact that no matter how bleak the world may seem, we are only here as flesh and blood for a second in the Universe of time. We should not take for granted that we, as well as friends and family, will always be here.

As a child, I remember Sunday family dinners being a time to catch up on our week and just enjoy each other’s company. No TV, No Phones, but quality time to bond and appreciate these special moments.

Merely hanging out with our cohorts is a precious gift we should treasure and make time for in our busy lives. Enjoying these riches is a blessing we should value and appreciate; treating these simple but special occasions with tender loving care.

This Thanksgiving and every day, embrace each moment with mindful purpose and positive energy; understanding the importance of spending time and enjoying one another.

Let’s make it our mission to spread love and compassion. As the Dalai Lama said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

When we lose the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we lose touch with our humanity; devaluing the reality that just because it won’t affect us doesn’t lessen its impact on others.

Make it a point to lend a helping hand not only during the holidays but daily; praying for grace and mercy for all.

I am forever thankful and grateful to my beautiful family and friends. My cup runneth over with joy as I celebrate the blessings the Lord has given.

Happy Holidays!





In Times As These

After this is over

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Last week I was feeling extremely stressed and in a fatalistic mood. I didn’t even feel like this when I had cancer. My emotions have been running the gamut of mad, sad, empathetic, scared, and grateful for those incredible souls on the frontlines who are working 24/7 to assist and save as many patients as possible.

So, I wrote a dark, end of the world, melancholy opus to fit my hopeless state of mind. After reading it to my husband and accepting my feelings; I shook myself and said “you can’t publish this. It’s okay to live in your emotions for a short while but, you must pick yourself up and put events into perspective. Creating the reality you want to see.

We’re all sad, frightened and hyper-sensitive of the ground shifting moment by moment on this roller-coaster ride that is Covid-19. “After all this…” is a reminder to refocus our minds and embrace the implications that are woven into Humanity.

I Am You and You Are Me. We Are Our Brothers and Sisters Keeper!

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Cultivating Well-Being With Mindfulness Meditation🌞🙏

Mindfulness and Well-Being Techniques to build Compassion and Empathy

empathy

What’s Your Emotional Style?

Being diagnosed with both Colon and Breast Cancer at the same time heightened my self-awareness big time! It slapped me in the face and said, “girl, you better appreciate each precious moment you’re given because this fight is fluid as is life.”

I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone but facing your mortality can be seen as a blessing. It affords you a second chance to treasure your life, family, and friends, like never before.

 

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Since then, I’ve made it a priority to cherish the time spent. Heck, I even named this blog, Livinginthemoment2015, marking my year of living with cancer and its impact.

However, you don’t have to wait for some tragedy or moment of truth to start living a mindful and conscious life. Take advantage of this post and the current series – “Mindfulness and Meditation” by Dr. Richard J. Davidson and use it as an opportunity to learn to appreciate the silence in meditation and the awareness it brings.

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Make it a practice to live in the here and now, not the past or the future. Realize that NOW is the only reality there is.

 

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“Certain meditation exercises have been proven to lower stress, anxiety, and depression. They have also been shown to change the self-awareness, attention, and resilience dimensions of emotional style.” Dr. Richard J. Davidson

The goals of Dr. Davidson’s meditation techniques are:

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° To foster a routine of daily practice for cultivating well-being.

° Establish a simple meditation process taking a few minutes a day.

° Recognition that one size does not fit all.

° Making meditation work for you.

This lesson focuses on the technique of “Mindfulness Breathing Meditation”

 

 “If we can pay attention to our breathing, we can pay attention to almost anything.”

Guided Meditation

Led by Beverly Hays Center for HealthyMinds University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Sit comfortably, spine straight and strong but not rigid, body relaxed. Release any tension in your jaw, shoulders, neck or anywhere that you may have the habit of holding stress. 

  • Breathing through your nose, take a gentle but deep inhale. And as you release the exhale, allow your eyes to drift closed, or if you prefer, just lower and soften your gaze. Begin to turn your attention inward, taking a moment to notice your inner landscape, the state of your mind.

 

 

  • Are there emotions present? Are you sleepy or energized? Mind buzzing or calm? Without forming an opinion or passing judgment, just notice this.

  • Now, with a deep inhale, imagine that you are gathering in any mental residue from your day. Any problem or unfinished business that is tugging at your attention. And with a complete exhale, release it, and see it all drop away.

  • Notice your breath as you set your intention to be present for this meditation.

  • Letting the breath come to you, without attempting to change or control it. Just notice as it falls into a natural rhythm.

  • Breathe in, breathe out. When thoughts arise, which they will just notice them, and let them pass away.

  • Gently return your attention to breathing. Calming, centering, constant. There is only this moment, this breath; connecting mind and body.

  • When you’re ready, take a deep, intentional inhale, and with your exhale, release your attention to the breath, and open your eyes.

“As you move through your day, it may be helpful to remember that breath is always with you and can be used, in the moment, as a method to calm and focus your mind.”

 

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I use this Breathing Meditation to take myself out of my surroundings and re-focus on feeling centered and present. Taking a body scan is also an effective way to gauge your emotions. Do I feel anxious, tension, pain? Being aware of your emotions helps with empathy and compassion. Often times we lash out at others when feeling anxiety or anger. Recognizing this internal state can allow us to halt the impulse and take a breath.

 

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Why are we feeling this way? A lot of times our anger has nothing to do with the moment or the person on the receiving end. I know I’ve been guilty of holding onto anger until finally exploding over something that has nothing to do with the current situation.

 

Just a Thought…

Often we forget that life is a series of experiences meant to challenge and develop our will.

“Fall and Get Back Up” was a skill we had to develop to learn to walk, taking the first steps into our vast new world.

So, maybe the next time we fall we should remember that it’s the “Fall and Get Back Up” that sets our course and shapes our will as we enter an infinite new horizon.

Image result for fall down is part of life getting back up is living

I Am A Determined Woman!

Chumbawamba – “Tubthumping”

I loved this song when it first came out and I love it even more today! The lyrics still inspire and the rhythm excites and pumps me up. “I get knocked down, but I get up again” are definitely great words to live by and it’s a perfect rallying cry for a fierce, kick butt attitude! The song so inspired me that I put together this little slideshow. Hope you enjoy.

Director: A Determined Woman!

Music: Chumbawamba – Tubthumping” (1997)

 

 

 

 

 

New Attitude

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, shaping our lives and image of ourselves based on outside input and descriptions others have deemed to be true. From birth, we take on the totality of remarks and declarations outright or subtly put in our heads. Whether it’s from parents uttering – “oh, you’re so pretty” maybe trying to build up our self-esteem or to teachers concluding “you don’t really have a head for numbers” in an effort to shield us from what they perceive as a possible failure.

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These early definitions paint a picture we add to as we approach life and try to sort out how we fit in and what we’re capable of accomplishing. We are socialized by our peers, teachers, and loves. What we hear we sometimes assimilate to and believe.

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I used to call myself a late bloomer, but a therapist corrected me saying “No, you come into things in your own time.” That perspective totally changed the way I thought of myself and opened my eyes to the fact that I was basing my definition of self on what others deemed as “appropriate” timing or behavior. I had been primarily judging myself by letting society dictate, on some level, my worthiness.

Maybe, if we stop letting others define who we are, we might just find the person we were meant to be.