Morning Management: 5 simple things to mentally prepare for the day.

Many of us know by the time we wake up, what daily tasks are ahead of us and how much we are (not) looking forward to tackling them.  We do our daily mechanical tasks to prepare for the day but do we really take hold and manage our mornings?

Why is Morning Management Important?

It sets the tone for the day.  Duh!…  Not just in a “time” and “task” oriented way, but psychologically and emotionally.  Imagine yourself like a computer… When you turn a computer on.. it does what?  It img_8520needs a few moments to boot up, right?  You’re not that much different from a computer in that regard.  No one springs out of bed and into their daily routine like a Jack-In-the- Box!

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed….

img_8526Waking up after half a dozen snooze button taps, scratching your head, butt, while yawning and trying to recall that strange dream before showering and guzzling coffee to facilitate the energy to chase a (school) bus or to battle traffic isn’t exactly morning management.  It’s almost lunchtime before you gain your wits about you if you you follow this routine regularly.

 

    1. Gratitude

As soon as you plant both feet on the floor and before you push off your bed to stand up, think img_8521of 5 things you are grateful for:  say them out loud if it doesn’t disturb anyone else.  Who says Thanksgiving is an annual thing?  Why not give thanks for each day?  Whether it is health, family, friends, career… or simply waking up to see another day…  5 things off the top of your head…  Puts things in perspective.  For those who are religious, thank God for the day.  It’s a short prayer but effective prayer.

     2.  Compliment Yourself

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I know this may sound silly to some, but complimenting yourself… or having some daily affirmations go a long way.  It helps to feel good about yourself.   Find at least one good thing to say yourself:  Self, I find that really awesome about you!  Do this daily.  When you feel good, it’s contagious.  Raise your vibration before leaving the house.  It could be anything like “wow what nice teeth you have” while brushing them, or “you are a fantastic cook” while making breakfast… whatever you fancy.. acknowledge yourself.

    3.  Stretch and Breathe

img_8525I’m not saying go full downward dog or anything but raise your hands to sky and bend over and touch your toes a couple times.  Take a couple deep breaths to get the blood circulating and the oxygen flowing through the lungs and to the brain so that morning fogginess clears up fast and you can think clearer.  You can do this while watching the weather or the news headlines…  Got kids?  Do it with them.  It’s a quick quality time exercise that is a good habit to instill in them.  Hook `em while they’re young!

    4.  Say I Love you

img_8523We all feel it, but do we say it?  Let a loved one know you love them in the morning and wish them a good day.  If you live alone, text a loved one, a BFF, or wave and wish a neighbor or the deli clerk a good day.  Sounds insignificant but smiles and good vibes are contagious  if you let your guard down and are open to them.  If possible, get into the habit of talking to a positive and motivating person every morning. An exchange positivity goes along way throughout the day. It just makes the manic mornings a bit more… manageable.

 

     5.  Listen to Positive Music / Speakers or Silence..

Not every tune with a catchy beat should be played at all hours of the day.  If you’re in traffic and you’re in the Trap House, it may produce and entirely different vibe img_8524and reaction to the traffic pattern than listening to lyrics that wouldn’t make your eyes pop out of your head of a 5 year old repeated the lyrics.

Another alternative is to listen to a good motivational speaker or sermon in the morning.

Taking for 15 minutes in the morning without music at all to clear my head.  Puts you in a neutral disposition and prepares you to take on the day and whatever comes your way without the influence of some catchy tune that might influence your disposition in not-so-positive way.

Do you manage your mornings?  Or do you just follow a routine?  Let us know!

 

 

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Sexy Vs Beauty

This conversation comes up quite frequently among the younger generation in my img_7702family.  With some of the young women, it can quickly turn into a spirited debate. Somewhere amidst the barrage of hypsersexualized Barbie ™ body types, comic book super hero body types, and the motion picture special effects make up application techniques, beauty has become convoluted.

Sexy is intended to affect desire; where as, pretty is all encompassing.   While one can be both beautiful and sexy, hypersexualization can eclipse aspects of beauty because it can incite primal reactions and responses.  Hypersexualization can cause the reptile brain to kick in.

 ˈsek-sē
sexier; sexiest

Definition of sexy

1 : sexually suggestive or stimulating : erotic

Woman Pencil Drawing and Beautiful Pencil Drawing Sketch Wipa‚ù§Woman {'sweet Dreams Should

Is being sexy a bad thing? No. However, it’s imperative to make the distinction that sexy and beautiful are not one and the same – no matter what your social media feed and feedback may imply.

Beauty is all encompassing. Beauty is multidimensional.  A beautiful person’s spirit shines through their eyes and their energy can cause people to yearn to be in their presence.  It is not a sexual yearning.  Beauty comes from the inside and makes others feel good on the inside.  Beauty is not based on appearance alone.

beau·​ty | \ ˈbyü-tē
plural beauties

Definition of beauty img_7704

1 : the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness

 

It all boils down to personal preference of what kind of attention one would like to garner.   While there is nothing wrong with either, there is an absolute distinction that far too many people are unaware of.

You Are Here

Have you ever ended up at a place in life that makes you legitimately ask yourself out loud, “Self, how did I get here?”  While it seems like a rhetorical question, a part of you wishes that somehow a Jiminey Cricket™ of sorts will pop up out of thin air with the answer, and some sort of allegory that helps you turn your life around so you do not end up in the same place again.cricket

For those of us who were born human and not a Disney character, it is up to us to answer the question on our own. 

When you find yourself in a position where you are asking yourself this question, you already know why.  Accepting the reason and taking accountability can be painful so it’s easier to avoid the answer; it is easier still, to blame another person or circumstance.  So, what do you do?  Where do you start?

These three very simple, yet challenging things can change things around:

Take accountability.

“Own it!”  When people say this, it just sounds like a scolding; I get it.  On the contrary, taking accountability or “owning it” is such a powerful thing because taking accountability places you back the driver’s seat of your life and you can begin to call the shots again.

Figure out what you want.img_5535

This is one of the hardest things and most avoided question for many.  What do I want?  What do I want to be?  Who am I? How do I become happy?

 Switch your focus.

Focusing on the past will perpetuate it and you will find yourself feeling like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.  Whenever you get in the space of “how did I get here?” …  it is easy to feel trapped in a trine of inner conflict that you cannot break free from.  By taking accountability, figuring out what you want and switching your focus, you can break free of circular pattern of thinking and being. 

Any thoughts?  You are always welcome to share.  Drop a comment or message me direct. 

Be Well.

Parental Guidance is Advised

Nowadays, parents must have a couple crucial conversations that may prove to be just as (if not more) awkward than the Birds and the Bees.  While many do not realize it, it is paramount to discuss seemingly uncomfortable topics to circumvent being in an unfortunate situation that is unimaginable until you find yourself in it with your child.

The talk that I am referring to generally took place right before we went off to college in my hay day. However, it seems in this millennial age, the talk to should occur just around the when the rite of passage of cell phones occur with a few circumstances and consequences that didn’t exist back then before Google was invented.

Cellphones

Cellphones have proven to be quite dangerous and detrimental to people’s lives.  A simple tweet could ruin you.  A meme can brand you and scar you.  A photo can completely bar you.  Perception is reality and in today’s world virtual reality is reality.  It is a big responsibility and it is important that children learn this early on because if they don’t they can be charged with crimes they didn’t realize were crimes.  Activities such as sexting and trading racy photos can result in charges like possession of child pornography (even if both parties involved are minors).   Please click here to find out what you must know about minors sexting, revenge porn, and how to discuss these topics with your children.

Parties

It is imperative that adolescents get thoroughly educated on some basic practical skills that keep them safe.   The sooner these skills are instilled in them, the better.  Two of the most basic cardinal rules when going to parties are:

No one left behind.

No drink unattended.

As simple as these two cardinal rules are, they are often broken yielding some unfortunate and tragic consequences.  Naturally, choice of friends and interests play a big part, however, equipping children with the basic expectation that they are responsible for one another and that they need to have each others’ backs is a must.  If you a drink goes unattended, get another one.  *Go with a stranger or an acquaintance to fetch a drink.  If at a bar, take the drink directly from the bartender.  These basic rules of engagement circumvent a myriad of scenarios.  At which point it may be a good idea to add, always have cab money in case of emergencies and don’t leave the house without your phone being fully charged.  What is mentioned here is just a few important bullet points in addition to what we were taught when we were once teenagers – in addition to any and all other safety habits you would like to instill in your age appropriate child.

Social Media


Aside from the epidemic of cyber-bullying, there are all sorts of dangers lurking on social media like body image complexes, depression and sex trafficking.  Yes, sex trafficking.  Recruiters have become quite savvy using social media platforms to promote, glamorize, and recruit for prostitution. It’s going on more often then we would like to think.  Just one more thing to be aware of, and to have a conversation with your child about; most recruiters aren’t creepy old men, but classmates with nice fancy and shiny things.  Please click here for more information on sex trafficking.

In terms of bullying, a good practice is to Google your children every now and then to see their activity.  It can give a good glimpse of your child through the eyes of,… well… the world wide web.  This practice can reveal whether your child is a bully or bring bullied.  It’s important to let your children know the importance of not expressing their anger for another person online and if your child is being bullied – make sure they know they are not alone.  If a child feels alone, loses hope and feel despair… nothing good can come from that.  Click here for information. Talk to them.  Regularly. 

Making Out/Getting Intimate

“No means no” is more than just a slogan.  The nuances get misread by the inexperienced youth who subscribe to the philosophies of their misguided peers or reference pop culture (which has an extremely skewed view altogether). If your children should take any queues on that topic from any source, it should come from you.  So it is imperative to start the conversation and engage them.  At any time anyone can change their minds. Anyone can agree to one activity and decline another.  If one person is intoxicated, it’s best to wait until they are not.  Someone’s behavior or their clothing is not a clear indication of consent.  Consent is consent.  Click here for some more information for this conversation.

Purging: it’s absolutely necessary!

Purging your personal quarters is crucial to your existence.  I know, this sounds dramatic but it is just as true.  Letting go of things that take up space for no other reason than they happen to belong to you can be harmful and can hinder your ability to grow as a person or move on toward the future.P1000270

Hanging onto items often facilitates hanging onto memories and the emotions attached to them.  Some emotions may be good; and others, not so much.  Every now and again we must sift through the accumulated contents in our environment and release some of these “vibes” in order to make room for new ones.

It may sound symbolic at face value, but it is much more than that.  Just as a song can bring you back to the moment you first heard it, or a fragrance can summon memories of a person, place or thing,..  The accumulation of items in your environment can keep you stagnant emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Give it away, give it away, give it away,… NOW!

We tend to hang onto clothing for years at a time – even when it has not fit us in years.  Clothes can be sentimental but tend to be the easiest of items to purge.  There are people out there who messy_closet__2have no clothing, who are less fortunate, and who would appreciate the clothing you are storing for the potentially hungry moths.  If you have not worn it in a year – chances are you will not wear it any time soon, if it all.  Why not free up the space and invite the good vibes and blessings brought on by charitable contributions?

 

A few of your favorite things….

Items that were once your favorite can sometimes be upcycled or revamped.  A stud earring that lost its mate could become a pendant.  The storage trunk could double as a nice furniture piece in your den.  If  you cannot let it go, polish it up and work it into your environment.  If there is absolutely no place for it,… perhaps its place is on eBay.

Things that make you go “Boo Hoo”…

We all have an item or two that provoke tears even after all these years.  Purging these items are hardest of all.  If these items are the proverbial salt in a perpetually gaping wound, and youDSCF1876 feel you cannot purge.  Going through these items may take time.  You may have to do it in increments.  You may also have to arrange for back up with some loved ones as you sift through these items.  Go at your own pace.  Just because you get rid of tangible items, does not mean you get rid of the memory.  If its too much to bear, you can always prepare a special place for it.  Like storage.

As the old pun goes…. the when past, the present and the future meet, it’s pretty tense!  Tense is not the kind of vibe suitable for a dwelling space.  Tense is not good for health, creativity, or personal happiness..  When our bodies are tense we get a massage – which you could pay for with the profit you make from eBay after purging the clutter.

 

 

The Fleetwood Mac Epiphany

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

The Fleetwood Mac ballad Landslide is a beautiful song with existential tones and ideas that were cryptic and abstract in my understanding as I was growing up.  If I were to make a movie about the wonder years of being 30 something, this song would definitely be in the soundtrack.  It’s an illustration of the cycle of life; we should all take heed to it.

When you climb a mountain and you turn around…

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Photo by Carlo Barlo

If we are fortunate to have our parents with us throughout our adult life, they get to witness us come into our own.  They witness us develop into adults striving to achieve our goals caring for us, supporting us and guiding us all the way.  Somewhere amidst all that, we reach a pivotal moment where we reckon our roles become reversed.  We find that we must care for the ones who cared for us our whole lives.  We must protect them, support them and sometimes provide for them.

Can you sail through the changing ocean tides…

Often times this pivotal moment is not so obvious.  It can be gradual and inconspicuous.  Other times it can be instantaneous.  It can be brought on by a death or sudden affliction of illness like a stroke or dementia.

Can you handle the seasons of your life…

As much as we do not like to think about these situations coming to pass, they are likely and inevitable. When situations like these come to pass, it is usually without warning and without relief from the mundane duties of professional and personal life.  Finding a balance while managing time and stress can be challenging which is why it is important to think about being prepared.

Time makes you bolder, even children get older…

If you have siblings, start a dialogue of how you would manage in these scenarios so that everyone can gauge their ability to help if need be.  Talk to your significant other and extended family.  Develop a plan and an understanding among you.

The landslide will bring it down…

If you find yourself in this situation, frustrated and scared, remember that you are not the only one.  Your parent maybe feeling the same way while trying to grapple with the reality that he or she has to be dependent (or a burden) upon you, the person whose diaper he or she used to change.  It is a difficult circumstance when your mind is sharp as a tack but your body can no longer keep up and you need help to complete the simplest tasks.  Patience and understanding can go a long way to get through together.

If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.  There are many resources available – even if it is just to talk to someone and process your feelings.

 

REFERENCES:

Nicks, S. (1975). Landslide.
On Fleetwood Mac [record]. California: Reprise.

Peek-A-Blog!

I took another really long break from writing.  I thought perhaps I would live a little more in real time and spend less time staring at a computer screen.  On the contrary, I became a monotonous drone living vicariously through the social media feeds of others on a variety of screens – hand held included.

By the time I realized I was in the sand trap, a year had passed and here I am, dusting the lackluster off my passion and jumping back in the saddle.  Let’s do this, shall we?

Ghosting: The Psychological Bird Flip

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Photo by Elias Tucker

You meet someone and sparks fly.  You talk every day and do things together.  You two are building the foundation of a relationship or friendship; whatever the type of ship it may be, all of a sudden, this ship has sunk because this person checked out and stopped all forms of communication with you unexpectedly.

Maybe he or she enlisted in the Witness Protection Program or maybe aliens abducted him or her.  As absurd as these theories may sound, they may be plausible because you two were having a great a time up until this point.  At least you thought he or she was having as good a time as you.  In the words of the great and late philosopher Whitney Houston, “how will I know”?

In today’s world, no answer is an answer.  For those of you who do not know what ghosting is, it is the act of abruptly ceasing communication of any kind without warning or explanation with someone you were cultivating a relationship with or had a relationship with.  It is easy to hide behind the blanket excuse of “I’ve been so busy,”  but even the Leader of the Free World has time to make multiple posts that 150 characters are less in a day!   So what gives?  Ghosting has become the most common and convenient way to bail on a relationship.

It’s not you, it’s me….

Are people not even worth a cliché anymore?   Giving someone the Casper treatment is rather disrespectful.  Here is why.  Disappearing without an explanation breeds a lot of confusion, speculation and worry.  It brings about far more intense feelings than the feeling of rejection that comes from being up front with someone and saying, “You are a great person and I enjoy the time we spent together; I don’t want to pursue a relationship with you.”   Yes, of course, you run the risk of having a conversation that might be uncomfortable but it is the last conversation you will have with this person on this topic.  It actually beats “ghosting” him or her only to randomly bump into him or her without any place to take cover thus being forced to have an even more awkward and potentially embarrassing conversation– in public, no less!

Ghosting to spare someone’s feeling is a piping hot pile of steaming dung.

Anyone who ghosts someone else is cowardly sparing himself or herself the daunting task of having to admit they are not into this friendship/relationship and having a conversation about why.  It is okay to want out of a relationship for no other reason than you do not want to be in one with that person.  Sometimes that happens.  Not everyone we come across is a crazy creep.  Sometimes sparks fly and fizzle out for no particular reason.  Just because someone is amazing and he or she has the right qualities does not mean he or she is right for you.

If you should find yourself in the situation where you want to call it quits, choose to treat this person with kindness and respect them enough to have that conversation with them.  Be brave.  Don’t be a cruel ghoul and ghost.

Bleeding Hearts

 

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Photo by Aaron Moeller

The bleeding heart type is always willing to self sacrifice or engage in martyrdom only to later remind you of all that they have done for you.  You must be indebted to them because they were there for you.  Gratitude is seldom enough.  Their help will be incessantly brought up to you like a specter at the feast to secure their entitlement to your time, attention and efforts.The bleeding heart type is not be confused with a person who wears their heart on their sleeve.  That is an entirely different type of person.  Bleeding hearts are those who will do anything for you with durable invisible strings attached to the deed;  whereas, someone who wears their heart on their sleeve is someone who does not hide their emotions to others.  They exhibit empathy and sincerity to others and may be out to help but they help for the sake of helping – not for the sake of getting something in return like recognition, or favors.

If you are helping someone and expecting something in return, you’re doing businessNOT kindness.

Bleeding hearts expect something in return and when they do not get what they are expecting, they become hurt and often vilify the perceived perpetrator as a calculated user who took advantage of them and their kindness.  Somehow, this is the recurring theme in their lives.

Bleeding hearts bleed because there is a hole in their heart that needs to be filled.  It cannot be filled by offering things and favors to garner acceptance, love, attention, recognition or affection, etc.  This method is a slippery toxic slope that causes the hole in the heart to turn into a cosmic black hole.  The gravity of the debt is as boundless as the dark rendering it virtually impossible for anyone to plug it up.  This vicious cycle is emotionally painful and psychologically exhausting as it brings with it strife and dissension.   In extreme cases, manipulation and abuse (not necessarily physical) tactics are used against the person who had not given what was expected in return.

People who interact with others like bleeding hearts are not likely to be able to successfully maintain a healthy fulfilling relationship whether it be platonic or otherwise.

At this Conflict Juncture…

When a relationship becomes more serious and all the idiosyncrasies that were once cute lose their luster, and in comes the bickering and resentment, you may feel like you have boarded the Express Train to Splitsville. Your relationship is full speed ahead towards the same old and all the energy spent fighting over the same things repeatedly can leave you so emotionally drained that you yearn for something different.

Anything different is better

Today we take the “anything different is better” mentality and interpret it as “anyone different is better” without ever really considering “any thought/action different is better.” Who says once you’re on that train that there are no stops? Is it possible to pull an emergency break, get off and take a different route? Simple answer is yes! It doesn’t have to end in a train wreck!  You may have to build the track… TOGETHER! It will take some hard work but it is not impossible.

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Photo by Aaron Moeller

Many times we have a very myopic scope of our relationships and laser focus on our own needs and how they are not being met by our partner. Being unable to see the full picture and understand what you’re looking at makes it extremely difficult to move forward.  Ask anyone who wears glasses or contacts!   In terms of a relationship we cannot see where we may be coming up short on delivering for our partners.  Couple that myopic view point with continual arguments with phrases like, “you always” and “you never” and we can almost see city limits of Splitsville on the horizon.
With the raw materials like love for one another, the desire to be together and the will to make a change then you are already ahead of the game, my friend! When we get caught in that vicious cycle of arguing about the same thing over and over again, there are two things we become experts on: how the topic makes us feel and how our partner will respond.

Can we talk…?

We have to laser focus on what is being said to us. Although we may not agree with everything that is being said to us, we must make a choice of trying to understand the message that is being conveyed to us and accept that it is important to the person we love. Because the person we love is important to us, we cannot always bombard them with our own needs and points of view. It is easy to recognize when we have begun bulldozing our partners during a difference of opinion when every other complete though begins with “I feel,” or “I think” … And every other statement ends in “to me,” or “about me.”
Opening lines of communications with open ended questions creates a dialogue that can help get to the root of the problem. Many times we get caught up in arguing about an issue and never addressing the real problem; when we do that, the problem reemerges in a form of another issue and we are back on the hamster wheel reacting off one another. Someone needs to take initiative and just listen for a moment: listening intently without thinking in your mind what to next while someone is speaking is a sure fire way to finally “get them.”

Not really sure what I think about it

Just because someone is speaking does not mean you are obligated to respond right away. Every now and then we get thrown a hay-maker in a conversation and don’t know what to say. It is okay not know and maybe ponder on what is being said to you until it resonates with you enough to form your own thoughts and feelings. We are not computers! It can take time to process information and let our heads catch up to our hearts. Immediate responses are not always appropriate. Keeping in mind that immediate responses are not always appropriate keeps us from saying or doing things we don’t actually mean and end up having to apologize later.
Someone has to take the first step and be the catalyst and lead by example.  Who is it going to be, at this juncture?