simplyenjoy


It is

It is coffee

6 a.m.

Morning stretches with me

lengthening across the sky

muddy periwinkle horizon

early on a Saturday.

Awake

deep breaths

of autumn air

we’re searching for the same things

truth and feathers and a spark

to warm us.

Always striving, looking, reaching

while others reinvent the wheel

to relabel the truth

and analyse how they feel

It is all here

under this veil

Coffee at 6 a.m.

It is.



Still searching…

 

1 Corinthians 13:12

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.


Stress responses.
It’s Not Stress That Kills You: It’s How You Handle It
BY CAROL KLINE
SEPTEMBER 20, 2013 5:00 AM EDT

Most wellness specialists agree that stress is on a par with smoking as far as health is concerned. You may even occasionally see stories about stressed-out workaholics who suddenly leave it all behind. But most people don’t want to live on the streets or off the grid.

Until recently, researchers have viewed stress in much the same way as Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. Dr. Sapolsky says all primates release hormones, such as adrenaline and glucocorticoids, when threatened by predators. The likelihood of being eaten by a crocodile raises the heart rate and prepares the body to fight or flee.

In the modern world, we’ve been conditioned to react to psychosocial “crocodiles.” We get stressed at the fear of being passed over for a promotion. Or at the prospect of meeting a lover’s parents at Thanksgiving. We try not to think too much about what chronic stress does to our minds and bodies.

Stress is not to be ignored or despised. In a recent Ted talk, Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal said she is embarrassed to realize that she characterized stress as “the enemy” to students and clients for years.

Treating stress as an enemy, she says, creates fear. Fear makes the blood vessels around the heart contract, which is not good. Dr. McGonigal points out that envisioning stress as a kind of partner that helps us prepare to meet a challenge can change the body’s response so profoundly that the blood vessels remain open, just as they do when we experience joy or courage. She suggests we respond to stress by first noticing we’re in its grip and then by telling ourselves, “This energy can help me rise to the challenge,” instead of, “Stress is killing me!”

Dr. McGonigal says it isn’t actually stress that kills people, anyway. It’s how we handle it. One study demonstrated that encouraging a positive view toward stress reduced the production of cortisol in people placed in stressful situations.

Another study, out of the University of Buffalo, did not surprise researchers this year when they noticed a 30% increase in people’s risk of dying for every major stressful experience, such as financial difficulties and family crises. But those same researchers were shocked to discover that people who respond to such crises with the desire to care for others don’t just reduce their risk of dying. Instead, their risk drops to 0%. Caring, says Dr. McGonigal, creates resilience, the ability to meet with life’s crises with creativity, hope, and connection

Dr. McGonigal adds that the stress hormone oxytocin can have a valuable role in helping people use stress in a positive way. This neurohormone primes people to seek out and link up with one another, to feel and express compassion and a caring attitude. When oxytocin is released into the body, we are motivated to connect and become, as she says, “fully human.” Oxytocin encourages us to surround ourselves with other people who care about us, rather than run off into isolation, licking our wounds and building walls around our hearts and minds. And even though it’s a hormone released during stress, oxytocin has another benefit: it protects the cardiovascular system from the effects of stress.

When we choose to view stress as helpful, she adds, we create the biology of courage. With courage, we can trust ourselves to handle life’s challenges. Dr. McGonigal suggests we can all use a more positive approach to retrain our thought processes. We can crank up our curiosity and ask, “What can I learn from this? How can I make my life richer and fuller by embracing this moment instead of trying to kick it to the curb?”



Worn

 



Taking courage.

Today thousands of people  are reflecting with still heavy hearts on this date, though a dozen years have passed since 9/11/2001. The loss and sacrifices of so many civilians, responders and emergency personnel is etched in hearts and minds. But we move forward, as we always do. And in these days when still more decisions are being made about our country’s involvement in conflict and international affairs, there are no easy answers.

There are no simple cliches of consolation that can erase the day.

Simplicity seems lost in these days of foreign interests and terror.

How do we see so much hurting, remember the pain and shock, and still feel hope?

Today I’m praying for continued healing and praying for our leaders in these complicated times.

Every day we have to remember how fragile our world is.

But I choose to remember how great God is and how vast His knowledge.

And these words are all I have today.

Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

I lift up my eyes to the mountains —

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121: 1-2

 



Grace to balance, courage to stumble.

little itty bitty tips

to untangle complication

sip coffee and smile

don’t spend more than you make… it doesn’t make sense.

it’s ok to be alone

it’s ok to reach out, too…

it’s ok to just be.

it’s safe to smile

it’s safe to ask for help

little by little

slow and steady wins the race

patience is a virtue

good things take time and yadda yadda yadda

and that’s alright, darlin’

ain’t no thang but a chicken wang

are you in a hurry?

be fruitful, not frantic.

CAM01648-1.jpg

Some artwork I painted in my office.

Painting helps me slow down… and reflect.

The creative arts are also a great way to achieve better brain balance.

(Courtesy of Google Images)

The left brain: I am the left brain. I am a scientist, a mathematician, I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate and linear. Analytic and strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.

The right brain: I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. Movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.

What are some ways you search for balance in your life? Is it working for you? How do you define balance?



TGIF (The Goal is FOrWARD.)

This is one of the most empowering and up-lifting tunes! Perfect Friday song.

Ain’t no other direction to go except forward.

Get rid of emotional hindrances…

self-pity

shame

depression

being thin-skinned

easily offended

unforgiving.

We may feel these things from time to time, but that doesn’t mean we have to believe these things.

Today I simply choose peace.

I choose life!

I choose to move forward.

What can you leave behind today?

“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends,

let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit,

perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

2 Corinthians 7:1

 



Just for today…

Just for today, I will choose to let go of the negative people, events and circumstances in my life that I cannot control or change.

Just for today, I will thank God for my blessings and continue to ask him to light my way according to His will.

Just for today, I will breathe in and be grateful for the life that I have been given.

Just for today, I will greet all with a smile and do my best with the talents I’ve been given.

Just for today, I will nourish myself with exercise and wholesome food, thanking God for the vessel He has given me.

Just for today, I will listen without judgement and answer with kindness to those who would seek counsel.

Just for today, I will accept who I am, where I am and that the God of the universe loves me unconditionally.

(All images courtesy of Google images.)

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations

of life that no man can sincerely try

to help another without helping himself.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson –

 



True thankfulness.

“True thankfulness is no other than the exercise

of love to God on occasion of his goodness to us.”

– Jonathan Edwards –

Sometimes what stands in the way

of a good day and a great day

or a bad mood and a better mood

is just a simple

prayer of thankfulness.

Just saying thank you and cultivating a sense of gratitude for your blessings increases your positive feelings and positively changes your brain and body.

Make a list.

Keep a journal.

Take mental notes!

We may face problems, obstacles and challenges in life, but there is always something GOOD to be THANKFUL for!

Happy Friday 🙂



Products of environment.

It is a great deal

better to live a holy life

than to talk about it.

Lighthouses do not ring bells

and fire cannons to call attention

to their shining –

they just shine.

– Dwight L. Moody –

Pigeon Point lighthouse

Photo by Ian Chamberlain via Environmentalgraffiti.com

Our first teachers in life are the adults around us. We learn by example. We watch how they behave, how they treat us and how they treat each other.

Still, as adults, we’re strongly influenced by the people around us.

We are a product of our environments.

Unless you are a robot or totally emotionally impenetrable, the fact is, we are influenced by the people around us. Just try to sit at a table with a group of people, place a basket full of hot rolls and butter in the center of the group and see what happens.

When we strive for positive change, taking an inventory of our environment, our relationships and our daily interactions with others is key.

This week, in an effort to gain greater self-discipline, I began a kickboxing class at a local martial arts school. I’ve been to two classes so far and am feeling muscles that have been long inactive.

To say I was intimidated to begin this class is an understatement. I walked in to find this powerhouse of a woman (maybe about 5’2″ and 125 pounds soaking wet) throwing fast jabs and hook punches at our teacher’s gloves. She sidestepped around him swiftly, releasing a powerful cry with each punch. This was not soothing restorative yoga practice. This was tough, gritty, dig-deep exertion.

Some beliefs from the school’s “Student Creed” that mirror the principles of behavioral science:

1. I will develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or my physical health.

2. I will develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others.

3. I will use what I learn in class constructively and defensively to help myself and others, and never to be abusive or offensive.

4. We are a Black Belt School: We are motivated. We are dedicated. We are on a quest to be our best. Asa!

This student creed, along with a list of other Black Belt principles; Modesty, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit, are repeated out loud after and during every class, reinforcing the mission of the school.

“How do we lead?” the teacher asks.

“By example!” the students cry back in unison.

1 Corinthians 33-34

“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. 

Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning;

for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.”

 




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