​It’s OK To Not Be OK

We are living in a generation that is obsessed with finding happiness. The self-help industry is larger than ever, with people searching for more meaning and a better quality of life. Mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude journals are the new cool.

But it also appears that people are becoming lonelier, sadder, and more depressed. What’s worse is that depression gets such bad press and so much stigma surrounding it.

There is no doubt that sadness or grief can be extremely uncomfortable and intense, but perhaps the idea of sadness that society has created makes it more unbearable to welcome than what it actually is to feel. We have no skills to deal with challenging times other than what we learn over time by experiencing life and gaining wisdom. There is a difference between sadness and depression, but if sadness is not dealt with in a healthy way, it can lead to depression. If you want a healthy self, then you need to heal thyself.

Society has taught us to believe that showing “negative emotions” such as sadness is a sign of weakness. It’s crazy to think how much stigma exists around the idea of being sad or depressed. It drives you to wonder if we all live on the same planet or not. The truth is nobody is exempt from suffering and nobody, no matter how rich or successful, is above depression.

Our world is a hectic place filled with connections, possibilities, ideas, and theories. Our world is also energizing and inspiring, but a lot of times it can be exhausting and confusing. It is our duty to equip ourselves with survival skills and to program our mindsets to complement a healthy way of living, thinking, and acting in order to thrive. We must gain the ability to release our thoughts and embrace stillness and conquer calmness in times of turmoil. This involves learning to recognize self-destructive thoughts and ideas and mentally organize them as to what is true and what is false.

It’s time to accept that it’s OK to not be OK. Sadness serves a purpose. It brings excellent information about your life. It’s a natural response to an event or experience in your life. It’s nothing to fear.
The intention of sadness is to tell you something is not right and you need to make changes in your life or perhaps let someone you love go. The idea is to welcome the emotion like you would with any other feeling, invite it and ask it questions, like “what do I need to learn here” and “can I change something about this situation or not?” Breathe. Exhale. Let go.
Do not make the situation worse by torturing yourself with anger and shame for messing up or feeling not good enough. Under all your loud, crazy, false beliefs you are more than perfect.
We simply cannot control every event in the universe. We cannot control other people’s behavior, but we can control ourselves and how we respond to the situation, and the best way to respond is with compassion. Accept the feeling and forgive yourself for being a human being that feels too much and loves too much. Forgive yourself for not being a robot that can simply ignore undesirable moments and events. Being sad is part of life. Treat your feelings with respect and love yourself enough to not use alcohol, drugs, food, or people as therapy. This will make you feel worse. The yucky feelings will not magically disappear by burying them; they will only fester.
You can choose to share your thoughts and feelings with others but don’t expect others to totally understand, because people are all different and pain is incomparable, every situation is handled differently. The only person that truly understands the depths of your feelings is you, and for this reason you must express yourself as much as you like and don’t feel like you need to fight it, this will start a huge inner conflict.
The idea is to acknowledge sadness as a normal emotion just like happiness. Do the inner work and let it go. All of our emotions lead us to knowing understanding ourselves better.
Also, just like our emotions have a valuable purpose, crying also serves us. The emotional tears we shed help the body recover from stressful events by excreting excess hormones such as the old stress hormone and help you to detoxify emotionally. So crying makes you feel better. Now you have every reason to cry it out.

I hope this helped many of you.

Be Still My Soul

Nothing stays the same—this is what I’ve discovered in growing up. And of course I knew this, but I continually fight it. I want to understand. I want to make sense of what is happening around me. I want to know where I’m headed and see beyond the present. I want to go and go and go and rush and take everything in, taste it, spin it around in my mind until I get dizzy.

 

But something I’m learning is how to slow down.
Something I’m learning is how to be still.

I’m learning to quiet the rushing thoughts in my head. I’m learning to close my eyes and breathe deeply, smell the earth, the sky, the hint of flowery perfume, the bagel shop down the street, the cotton of clean clothes, the sticky-sweet fruit from the outdoor market.

I’m learning to let life happen—to me and around me—and smile, even through the storm. I’m learning that you cannot have answers held in the palm of your hand or written somewhere on a sheet of scrap paper, ready to be pulled from your pocket and read when life seems to stray from its path.

I’m learning that sometimes what you know will drastically change, and you will only exhaust yourself trying to keep up, trying to run when you’re only meant to walk, trying to make people love you when they’re meant to be set free.

I’m learning to be still.

I’m learning to close my eyes and slow down time, make a moment stay, instead of letting it so quickly fade into a memory. I’m learning to relish in the present, to hold onto it for as long as I can and quit looking ahead to the next adventure, next thing, next item on my list.

I’m learning that I cannot rush—my decisions, God’s plans, or the feelings written on someone else’s heart. I do not have control of this; I must trust, let go, and let life play out.

I am a character in the movie, not a director, not the one who can rewrite the script or know what’s coming, no matter how hard I try to. And I am learning to trust in this.

I’m learning to stand on solid ground and quit fighting the natural course of events, quit being so damn stubborn when what I think should happen doesn’t, or when what does doesn’t match up with my pre-written plan in the slightest.

I’m learning that stillness doesn’t mean a perfect life, but it does give me peace. And I’m learning that when I stop running wild, stop letting myself be pulled in three different directions, stop thinking I have to know everything—I am in-tune with the people around me, stronger in my faith, and more focused on the people and things that really matter.

I’m learning that when I am still I am not static, but strong. I am prepared. I am whole and have regained my sense of self. I’m learning that when I am still, I am not looking at what’s to come, but celebrating what is, and ready for whatever God has planned for me next.

I am learning that life is even more beautiful when I stop trying to have the answers, when I stop trying to write my own path, when I stop trying to continually be something, be somewhere, and instead just be.

I’m learning to be still. 

 

 

In the Words of Charlie Chaplin:

img_20170302_124739_285.jpgI’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another.

Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind.
We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.
The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder.

 

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

 

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you!
You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

 

Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!

 

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”

A Prayer For The Days You Feel Broken Beyond Repair

Dear God,

I come to you with every part of myself shattered. I come to you with the person I used to be so far gone, I can hardly remember him. I come to you with honestly, nothing.

Because I not only have lost my way, but I’ve lost myself.

Today I looked in the mirror and I didn’t recognize the reflection. There is an ache that I can see in my face, in the lines around what used to be my smile, in the hollowness of my eyes.

Father, I’m sad. I’ve been betrayed. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hard on myself. I used to be so strong. I used to be so happy. Life used to bring me down, but never this far. I always had the strength to rise again.

But now, I don’t know what happened.

Maybe I’ve strayed too far from your light. Maybe I let people pull me away from your mercy. Maybe I’ve trusted my own feet to guide me, when I should have been following your footsteps all along.

Maybe I’ve been trying to do this all alone, when what I really need to do is let go and give this pain to you.

See, God, I’ve been aching for too long now. My heart feels broken. My eyes feel heavy. My legs are like dead weight, dragging behind me with every step. I’ve started to see the world differently. I don’t open my eyes and smile into the sunshine. I don’t laugh easily at the silly jokes of life. I don’t look at strangers, or listen to the birds, or pet puppies when they pass by me on the street.

I’ve just been ho-humming through my days. I’ve just been wishing every second away. I’ve just been dreading, and plugging, and existing. I haven’t been living. And I want this to change.

Lord, I need you. I need your grace. I need your forgiveness. I need your love to lift this heavy weight from my shoulders and help me begin again.

For too long I’ve been carrying this burden. For too long I’ve been letting my heartache determine my fate. For too long I’ve been looking in this mirror and only seeing the cracks, the brokenness, the faults, the flaws.

And I need to see you again.

Lord, I ask that you come back into my life, that you flood me with your holiness and happiness. I ask that you come to me in my brokenness, in my undeserving, sinful nature, and remind me that I am always forgiven, always loved.

Please remind me who I am. Please remind me I am yours.

Please take these shattered pieces of my heart, these tired hands, these crying eyes, this lonely heart and turn my face to you, Lord. Show me how your forgiveness has healed me, and will continue to heal me, every single day. Show me how your mercy will lift me from this place of despair.

Show me that I do not have to live like this anymore.

And brighten my days, bring a smile to my face. Teach me that when I feel irreparably broken, I can always turn to you and you will make me whole again.

Remind me that I am never alone.

And remind me, when I look in the mirror, that I need not look for negativity, for faults, for all the pieces of me that are imperfect. Help me to see happiness again. Help me to see a Son of Christ, beautiful because of His love for me.

Amen. 

Valentine’s Day

​How did Valentine’s Day begin and who was St. Valentine? The real story, facts and history behind February 14

Many of us associate the ‘most romantic day of the year’ with flowers and cards, but what’s the real reason we celebrate?

It’s renowned for being the ‘most romantic day of the year’.

And many of us use it as an opportunity to show affection for our loved ones with cards, flowers or chocolates.
But why exactly do we celebrate Valentine’s Day and why does it fall on February 14?

Well I’ve trawled through the history books to find out the real reasons so you don’t have to – and the background casts a very different light on the holiday.
How did Valentine’s Day begin?


Valentine’s Day chocolate treats

Valentine’s Day is an old tradition thought to have originated from a Roman Festival known as Lupercalia, according to History.com.
It was held on February 15 as a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture.
During the celebrations boys would draw names of girls from a box and the pair would be partners during the festival.
These matches often led to marriage.
The festival survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed at the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St Valentine’s Day.
Chaucer may have actually made it all up Geoffrey Chaucer might not look it but he’s Mr Lover Man, sort of Chaucer, as in The Canterbury Tales writer, may have actually been behind Valentine’s Day. The medieval English poet took quite a few liberties with history. He’d drop his poetic characters into real-life historical events leaving readers wondering if that’s what really happened.
There is no actual record of Valentine’s Day before Chaucer’s poem in 1375. It’s in Parliament of Foules that he links the tradition of courtly love to the St Valentine’s feast day – the tradition didn’t exist until after his poem.
The poem refers to February 14 as the day of birds coming together to find a mate. “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he wrote and maybe invented Valentine’s Day as we now know it.

Who was St Valentine?


Saint Valentine

The St Valentine that inspired the holiday may have been more than one man.

The saint officially recognised by the Roman Catholic Church was a real person who died around AD 270.

An account from 1400s describes Valentine as a priest who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed.

The emperor had banned marriage as he thought single men made better soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair so he celebrated marriages in secret. When the emperor found out he was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.

St. Valentine the international man of mystery

He may also have been Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. There are similarities between the priest’s and bishop’s stories, which leads people to believe they are the same man.

There’s so much confusion around St Valentine that the Church stopped veneration of him in 1969 – though he is still listed as an official saint.

“Valentinus” is from the Latin word for worthy, strong or powerful, and was a popular name between the second and eighth centuries AD meaning there are several martyrs with the same name. There are actually a dozen Valentines listed and there’s even a Pope Valentine. The actual day we celebrate is known as St Valentine of Rome to set him apart.
What does he really have to do with love?

Valentine did help marry couples in secret, which is arguably very romantic. He is the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy among other things..like the plague, fainting and travelling. That doesn’t stop people calling on his help for those romantically involved. He’s now also patron of engaged couples and happy marriages.
Why is his skull kept in Rome?

Yes, that’s right. St Valentine’s skull is housed and adorned in flowers in Rome. It’s actually on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
It was found when people were excavating a catacomb near Rome in the early 1800s. The skeletal remains and other relics now associated with St Valentine were dug up. It’s the norm for these to be split and distributed to reliquaries – places that keep relics – around the world. If you wanted to see other parts of the saint, he’s on display in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, England and France.
Why do we give Valentine’s cards?

Another idea is that when he was sent to prison, he sent a letter to a young girl he had fallen in love with and signed it “From your Valentine”.
It’s thought this was the first ever Valentine’s Day greeting.

35 Valentine’s Day cards and funny quotes you might not want to read on February 14th
Why is always celebrated on February 14?

Some believe that Valentine’s Day’s is celebrated mid-February to mark the anniversary of St Valentine’s death.
It’s thought to have happened in the middle of the month around 270 AD.
Others maintain that the Christian church decided to place St Valentine’s feast day at this time of the year in an effort to ‘Christianise’ the pagan festival of Lupercalia.

Why are roses associated with Valentine’s Day?


Roses have been the symbol of love since the early 1700s when Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art known as the “language of flowers” to Europe.

Throughout the 18th century, ladies loved their floral dictionaries, which listed the symbolic meanings of different flowers, according to YourTango.com.

The red rose was believed to be the flower favoured by Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love, and has therefore come to represent that.

Why cupid?

Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, affection and attraction. He is the son of Venus, goddess of love, and war god Mars. Cupid in Latin is ‘amor’, which means love.
When did Valentine’s Day become commercial?

This is so not who I wanted a card from…

It wasn’t until the 18th century that Valentine’s Day took off in England. Lovers began to send trinkets, cards and flowers to their loved ones. A huge amount of printed cards would get sold, then in 1913 Hallmark Cards in Kansas City began mass producing specific Valentine’s Day cards. Now about a billion cards are sold every year and it’s the second biggest card sending time of the whole year.
Why do we sign cards anonymously?
It was the Victorian that started sending roses – thanks guys

Apart from the embarrassment, there was an actual tradition started by the Victorians. They thought it was bad luck to sign the cards with their actual names. It was also the Victorians that sent roses as they were Venus’ favourite flower.
Happy Valentine’s Day 2017

I Still Care About You Deeply, This Is Why I Ask You Not To Close The Book

“You and me got a whole lot of history (oh)

We could be the greatest team that the world has ever seen

You and me got a whole lot of history (oh)

So don’t let it go, we can make some more, we can live forever” – One Direction

You and I have an extensive history. We had great times. Me being the hopeless romantic I am, I am still the one who adores you. I go through my days thinking about you. I go through goals that I accomplish and I wish you could be there. I go through sleepless nights and thinking to myself, “What if she comes back? I know it won’t be tomorrow or next month, but eventually, what if She does?”
Well, what if you do? I would definitely be shocked, but even more grateful.  I would embrace you with open arms and an open heart. Right now, you turned the page – away from us. But please remember this page. You and I have memories, smiles, laughter, plans, goals and aspirations that YOU AND I made together. You and I – our stories – were popular with my friends.

You know I talked about you. How could I not? When you are so important to me, I could go on and on about you. You made me smile, laugh, you made me thrive. You were my reason to grow. I grew into the confident young guy.

Friends told me, “Oh, she is not worth it. Do not worry about it. she is missing out.” I disagree with PART of that.

You ARE worth it.

I worry about it. I worry day in and day out. You stood by me through hard times. But now, no one gets me like you do; no one compares to you. So yes, I worry.

I do agree, however, that YOU ARE missing out.

I cared about you. I loved you. I supported you. I was there for you through anything and everything. You are missing out on how much I care. I highly doubt you will find someone who cares for you more than I do.

I have plans of my own that will go with me to my grave. Will you know these plans? When the time is right, then yes, you will. You are you. You will always know what is up with me and my life. I cannot leave you behind, like you left me.
YES, I JUST SAID THAT. You left me. You gave up. And as I type this, I am crying tears flowing back . Saying that out loud is absolutely heartbreaking. Admitting to myself and coming to terms with the fact that you gave up . . . it is like a thousand needles piercing my heart.

See . . . I cannot give up on you. I refuse to give up. You know why?

Out of all my friends, ONE supports you and I. And it is he, who gives me that reminder to follow my heart. My heart says to hold onto our memories because they will one day flourish once again. My friend roots for you.He thinks we would go perfect together. He was like, “Don’t give up. I can see you two together. I support you two.” HE SUPPORTS US. HE ROOTS FOR US. I swear he got the chills when I told him about “us”.
I CARE ABOUT YOU. Always have, always will. I believe in you and I. That is why I ask you to not close the book. Do not close it, simply bookmark it. You know I will always be here.
“Please don’t tell me

It’s the end of the story

Don’t close the book on me

Oh don’t you close the book on me

We’ve gone our separate ways

We’ll meet up on another page

Don’t close the book on me

Oh don’t you close the book on me

You bookmark this page

In time you will see

If you have no to turn

You can turn back to me

You can turn back to me

Turn back to me” – Honor Society
You and I were C-Squared. THAT is what I hold onto. So go live your life, please do. I will live mine. But NO ONE can ever take YOUR place. So, when I am still single, if and when you turn back to our page, then do not be surprised. I will live my life. I will go after my dreams, my goals, and my ambitions. And if and when you come back, then I will happily welcome you with open arms, an open heart . . . and open doors to our empire. 

WHEN YOU TRULY LIKE SOMEONE

When you truly like someone, they might not know you do. At least not vocally. Not so soon yet. Because you’re not going to throw your words around like it doesn’t mean a thing. It does mean a lot to you and that’s why you want it to mean everything when you can say it to that someone face to face, knowing you’re capable of taking responsibility for your own words and you’re in a place to deliver the promises those words entail. In the meantime, you will make sure your feelings for them, without asking for anything in return, will only add positivity to their life like the positivity they’ve added to yours.

When you truly want someone, it’s not something you can just easily switch on and off. Of course you can lie to yourself however you want but every time you meet their eyes, this rush of joy spreading all over your body, making you feel alive and your plain world turn into full color, doesn’t. It’s clear that you have failed miserably. And you don’t even want to try and deny it any more. Because without that person and without this unanticipated power they have over your heart for no particular reason, you would never ever realize what truly liking someone is not. As you recall all the times you thought you were feeling, it turns out that you were really just lonely, horny, seeking troubles, involving yourself with all the people you had no genuine interest in.

When you truly want someone, at times you can and will be selfish. You will want them all for yourself and you will be envious of anyone that has ever had a piece of them. You might even seem aloof and act carelessly, not showing a single sign that your body is electrified by their slightest touch but it doesn’t mean it’s not true. You do that because it can get too much and if you must be honest, you’re scared. You’re scared of your own feelings, of what if it knows no limit and of losing them one day and ruining the little something right now between you two. But because you truly like that person, you will not let fear hold you back. You will not stop being there for them when they need you the most because sincerity is what your heart is about.

And so, when you truly like someone, you’re serious about it. Not the kind of half-arsed waiting for universe signs to decide what you’re going to do. Or telling them for whatever reason you’re unable to be with them right now. No. You will be committed to your feelings. You will do your best. You will try all what’s in your power to make them happy even if it means not having your feelings reciprocated. Although it’s true that such desire to have your feelings reciprocated is inevitable, your liking them doesn’t begin or end there. When you truly like someone, you like them for the person they are. You like them for the rawness and realness when they’re with you. You’re grateful for their ever being born into this world and crossing your path, for being a spark in your dark days and teaching you so much about life and love.

Truly liking someone might mean different things to different people but you’re sure they will agree with you that it’s a damn good teacher. It teaches you to be patient, tolerant, and go beyond yourself. It teaches you that if you want to like someone and care for them, you need to like yourself and care for yourself first. More importantly, you need to trust that they are capable of liking and caring for themselves too and let they do so in their own time. You also need to believe that they deserve happiness and the personal choices they make. That’s how you will gain the strength to keep on going, to find your own happiness, to have a place for them in your heart without bitterness or pain no matter what answer they will have for you.

You know you truly like someone when that person, and only that person, is the first word and also this last one…