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Spring Break!

Happy Spring again, everyone!

I am hesitant to take a spring break from TWJ, to be honest. I just started That Writer Jenna’s podcast, I’ve seen a few more followers on my blog, and part of me feels like I need to keep up the momentum and keep going with my schedule as is.

But I’ve been feeling burnt out lately. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with life and stressed, to the point where I spent the first six hours of my day earlier this week crying on/off. And I know this storm will pass and I’m fine (my basic life needs are being met), underneath the feelings I need to go through to heal…I feel like I need to step back and take a break. I’m also planning on cutting back on social media all together for a month, but I feel like this will be good.

Even if halfway through April I decide I want to come back early, or I change my mind tomorrow…right now, this feels like an easy decision that I can make that makes me feel better.

So I will be back in May! Comment below if there’s any topics you want me to write about, and thanks for understanding!

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Winter Tidings of Mindfulness

Happy Winter Solstice! Merry Christmas! Happy Yule and all other holidays!

I had the plan to write out a post explaining the Pagan origins of the Christmas holiday many of us celebrate and also include how Christianity adopted it as their own. But honestly? That’s not where my heart is at right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and learning more about the traditions and all. But something that feels more prevalent is the topic of mindfulness.

To be mindful is to be aware of the present moment. Not thinking about what you need to do later today or what you should have done yesterday, etc. Just being 100% present in this moment.

This is tough, honestly. It’s a lesson I have been learning for years, and only most recently do I feel like I’m truly understanding. And understand that I truly struggle with this lesson.

As someone with anxiety, a lot of my unsupervised mind is focused on “what ifs” and the future. As someone with depression, a lot of my unsupervised mind is either focused on the past or on my flaws. For many years, I was only living life through my unsupervised mind’s eye. Practicing mindfulness teaches me to let go of the future, the hypotheticals, the shoulds and should-nots, and teaches me to just be. That’s it, to just be.

Let me emphasize the fact that this is hard. Like, really fucking difficult at times. Because it is SO damn easy to start daydreaming about my goals, which then turns into me comparing my life now to what I want it to be, which then just snowballs into me being overwhelmed with anxiety (if not also anger).

πŸŽ„

This holiday season looks different for each and every one of us (in America, at least, where COVID is still very relevant). And it is all too easy for me to think about how I wish it looked like and how I want it to look next year and what I’m going to get everyone next year and how I need to plan ahead better and…yeah, it’s exhausting. And unhelpful!

A therapist I had years ago had tried to work with me on mindfulness. We did exercises during our sessions, but it felt very difficult to implement this. I was in a point of my life where my conscious mind was asleep. I was living on auto-pilot, and that auto-pilot flew me right into a shitstorm of feeling unsettled, to say the least.

Now I don’t want to come across like being mindful is unattainable, because it is very attainable. I personally think being mindful is the key to living a truly happy life. Think about kids, for example. There are not many 4-year-olds thinking about yesterday or tomorrow (unless it’s Christmas or their birthday). They are just in this moment, and that’s it. It’s so refreshing when I get to see my fiancΓ©’s nieces, ages 9 and 4 (almost 5). They’re the sweetest girls, and just so present.

That childlike oblivion to everything isn’t necessarily always realistic, because we do have to pay bills and honor responsibilities and all that. But, be honest with yourself. How often are you doing something and you’re not really present with it?

Probably a lot.

And that’s fine! We are having this human experience, and being preoccupied with all the external factors that come with this life are going to happen. But. We also owe it to ourselves to really drop in to what truly matters to us and what we can actually do right now.

Without going into too much detail, my fiancΓ© and I had a little disagreement a few weeks ago. On the surface, I felt unsupported and unheard. I felt like he was casting off what was important to me because it didn’t matter to him. After some sleep and some honest tough-love self-talk, I realized that I was not being present and I was being impatient.

Y’all don’t have to agree with me about this next point, but I sometimes forget that the circumstances of my life are unfolding the way that they are meant to. I do have control of my destiny and I am the creator of my reality, but I also can’t build Rome in a day. I can’t *snap* have the life I see in my dreams, I need to give it some time. I need to take the steps to get there. I can’t just jump the whole damn staircase, I have to go in order. (I know that’s vague, but hopefully you get what I’m saying).

Bringing that back to mindfulness: It will feel aggravating and frustrating and anger-inducing, but be honest with yourself about what you can actually do about a situation in this present moment. Most likely, there’s not much you can do about the big-picture in 1 day. You can make an effort to move in the direction of what you want, but more often than not, you need to let go of what you think things should be and just make the most of the way they are. And understand this is how they are for now

πŸŽ„

Your holiday traditions probably look different this year. With the risk of COVID-19 still rising, family gatherings for the holidays might not be happening. And it sucks. But, this will pass. We live in a wonderful age of technology, where Zoom/Google Meet/any other video chats can still bring people together. And it’s not the same, videochatting is not the tradition that many of us know, but stressing out about how we think things should look like is not doing anything other than stressing us out and wasting our energy.
Or maybe you want to get your degree, but financially can’t swing going back to school right now. Or maybe you want to move somewhere, or change jobs, or get a new car, or whatever. You can take conscious steps to help you move towards what you want, but it’s important to remember that if you’re not happy along the way, you won’t be happy long-term once you get whatever it is that you want.

76 Most Powerful Mindfulness Quotes: Your Daily Dose of Inspiration

As we embark on this new holiday season, I wish you and your family good health, tidings of joy, and also a peace of mind that this storm will pass.

Allow yourself to have bad days, but make it a point to not wallow in the negative.

Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, and Happy Holidays! β€πŸ’š

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Welcoming Winter

Happy December!

This time of year can be hard for some people, especially for people who find themselves experiencing SADD. Seasonal Affective Depression Disorder affects a lot of people! Essentially, it is when people experience depression during the winter months. Part of this is caused by the decreased Vitamin D accompanying the lack of sunlight, and sometimes also the holidays are hard for people.

2020 has already been an intense year, to say the least. And if you are finding yourself feeling depressed (or more depressed than your usual amount) during this, you’re not alone.

So what can you do about it? Especially during this time of stay-at-home orders?

Give yourself a fucking break.

Seriously. Put off for tomorrow what does not need to get done today. Let yourself have an extra 30 minutes of laying in bed. Eat what you feel like having. We are literally living through a pandemic, y’all. Our normalcy is being rearranged – and depression (seasonal or not) has a metaphysical reason for demanding rest.

Something I’ve read about briefly is ayurvedic medicine. Within this medicine is the idea of your body being closely aligned with the sun, that our bodies naturally need less sleep in the summer and more in the winter. Our eating habits change seasonally as well.

This is not me saying “depression during the winter is natural, just deal with it”. BUT I am saying that one of the healthiest things we can do is listen to our body. Give yourself the grace and give yourself the space to do your best every day, no matter what that looks like.

Sometimes my best is waking up early and doing yoga and exercising before the sun rises. Other times it’s waking up at 9:30am and eating cookies for breakfast. Life is all about balance, and it’s important that we hold space for ourselves.

So what are some winter activities to do during this time?

❄ Drive around and look at Christmas lights

❄ Make hot chocolate at home and have a game night

❄ Sit in front of a fireplace (in real life or on YouTube) and cozy up under a bunch of blankets

❄ Watch Christmas movies

❄ See if there’s any local Christmas light “events” (In New Jersey, the PNC Bank Arts Center has a drive-thru Christmas light show and they charge a small entry fee per car)

❄ Read one of your favorite chapter books from when you were a kid. (The Inkheart trilogy is my go-to)

❄ Have a movie night (Harry Potter is my go-to!)

❄ Do your favorite winter activities safely!

Remember, you are entitled to your feelings. Right now does suck. But this stork will pass. It might pass like a fucking kidney stone, but this too shall pass.

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Checking in – State of My Union

Growing up, I also had a love/hate relationship for Social Studies. A class that mixed History and Geography, it was always something that I was decent at but didn’t really like. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I took an Advanced Placement History class that I really fell in love with history. I loved learning about the making of the country, the Revolutionary War, and what was going on in the world in the beginning of America’s life. I specifically liked the early president’s State of The Union addresses, so that same idea is applied here.

This is the State of My Union.

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I have been feeling off for awhile now, and this past week I have really been out of sorts. I’m not sure if it’s part of the spiritual process or if it’s my depression or if it’s anxiety or if it’s good ol’ fashion stress (or if it’s Maybelline), but I have not been feeling myself.

In the thick of feeling off, I didn’t feel motivated or inspired to do anything. I did the bare minimum every single day and that was it. I had the thought of “I should meditate. I should journal” and instead, I watched hours of TikToks or Netflix. And don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing either of these apps at all. But ignoring my feelings was not, and is not, constructive.

Physically I’ve also been feeling off. I wound up going to urgent care last week and while I failed my strep test, the doctor still prescribed me the medicine for strep. This weekend I have been taking it easy and making an effort to only do the things I need to do or the things that make me happy.

And I have not been feeling very inspired to share. I want to be transparent and authentic with you guys, but I also don’t want to be negative and complain. Because I hate those people, myself! The ones who are always complaining no matter what is going on in their lives. But the thing here is, I’m not complaining. Things have actually been hard for me these past few weeks.

🌼

Moving forward, I plan on giving myself time to rest. I plan on honoring my body when I need rest, before my body demands rest. I plan on coming up with a schedule for writing that energizes me yet also keeps me disciplined. I can’t schedule inspiration, and working a full-time job doesn’t often leave time for other things; but if I can spend hours on social media or watching Netflix, then I can find the time to put in the work on my dreams.

Looking at the week ahead, I hope you all finish out September in a reflective, heartwarming, and peaceful manner ✌

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Let’s Talk About Toxic Positivity

Welcome, August! 2020 is f l y i n g by, and I am here for it. This has been a year that I think no one was quite ready for, and in the midst of all the negative things that have happened – it’s actually been a quite beautiful year.

For one thing, Mother Nature has had time to heal. Countless species of animals returned to their old neighborhoods within mere weeks of less humans walking around, less carbon emissions during quarantine, etc. People have become more focused on small businesses, taking care of themselves holistically, etc. Communities have banded together in times of the COVID-19 crisis, in protest with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. There has been a lot of good that has happened this year.

However, there has also been a lot of negative things too. Division, hate, exclusion, violence, death.

So what does all of this have to do with toxic positivity?

By definition, “toxic positivity” is a phrase typically used when someone portrays themselves as happy no matter what.

I have found myself to fall into the trap of being toxically positive.

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Growing up, I was raised Catholic and had to go to mass every Sunday. Church was boring most of the time, but I had to go. My father, the lovely man he is, started a game with me where I tried to come up with one good thing about being there. And it was from this practice that we eventually applied this to life in general.

Looking for the positives in less-than-stellar situations is a great tool! This has been something that has become almost second nature.

The problem lies when someone only sees the positive in any/all situations, and does not hold space for the negativity.

Real life example. You hear from a friend that their elderly and ill relative has passed away. Telling them “At least they’re not suffering anymore” is a toxic-positive thing to say. Because yeah, it’s true, they aren’t suffering anymore, but a statement like that doesn’t leave room for their grief.

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Toxic positivity has been on my mind lately because it’s something I’m working on un-learning. Being taught to look for the silver lining is important but for some of us (πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ), this became only holding space for the silver lining.

This is something that is super prevalent in the spiritual community. Those of us who ONLY accept #loveandlight and don’t allow for anything else, is where the issues come. Because while we should not wallow in the negative side of things, we can’t ignore it either. We cannot accept the good without the bad.

Yin and yang : im14andthisisdeep

This above concept is something a lot of people forget about. I think they get so focused on positivity only because they know that what they focus on is what they’ll attract (Law of Attraction 101)…but this mindset is similar to when kids throw all their toys under their bed or in their closet when they clean their rooms. Yeah, it looks pretty, but it’s not actually clean.

A friend recently has been going through a bit of a rough patch with their depression. And I kept finding myself not knowing what to say, because my first thought was to list out every good quality about her. I was going to say every positive thing I could think of, until I realized that that actually is not as helpful as I want it to be.

Because in this moment, I am making her struggle about me. What I want to do is make her feel better, so I’m going to say what I think she needs to hear. But who am “I” to decide what she needs? She knows what she needs. So all I should do in that instance, is hold space for her. Allow her the time to be as she is. Let her know that I am here for her, and that’s it.

And this, folks, is important. It’s important to be honest about the “why” behind our actions. It’s important to have the self-awareness, and the accountability, to question ourselves of our intent. Most times, concerning people who are unknowingly being toxically positive, it can be a reflection of their own trauma. Maybe, as a child, they were not allowed to show negative emotions. Maybe you’re saying something triggering to them and they process things by deflecting. And these scenarios are on them, but still.

In summary – everyone is doing the best they can with all things and we should not push them to feel differently than they do. And looking for the silver lining is just one of many things that can be done to process and deal with a kinda-shitty-situation

🌼

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IG Post RE Cancer New Moon Spread

Hi all! It’s been a bit since I’ve shared on here. To get things started again, this is my spread from last night for the second New Moon in Cancer ✨. Card #1: What’s rising up in you? Card #2: The main message this new moon Card #3: The final Outcome And I pulled an animal card from my Spiritsong tarot deck! (Nine of Shells, which is the equivalent to Nine of Cup. Happy New Moon! πŸŒ‘πŸ¦€ https://www.instagram.com/p/CC5uu4enD2A/?igshid=165le0z3ta3z2

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Patience is a Virtue…and a Struggle

Hi y’all.

I am writing this in some real-time impulsiveness. I am not, by nature, a patient person. I want things now, I want things done now, and I don’t want to wait a second. My inner child, my default setting, all of those things, is a lot like Veruca Salt.

However, in my adult life and my growth, I am always working to better myself. I am working on letting go of the need for now, and just living with the natural progression of how things turn out.

When it comes to emotions, this has been tough. Sometimes I wish I could just press fast-forward through the pain, struggle, obstacles and just m a g i c a l l y become the patient, loving, amazing person I know I will be. All of the middle I would be fast-forwarding through is where the change comes in, so this would actually be counterproductive long-term.

One thing that I am having a bit of a hard time with is being patient with the emotions of other people. It’s been tough for me to rise above the reaction I want to provide to them to just try and fix it, rather than let go and just let it be.

So, some context. A friend of mine recently told me that they feel insecure and they don’t like the way they look, that they want to start working out. I’ve know that insecurity is something that they’ve struggled with for awhile, but it felt heavier this time they spoke about it. And so I tried my best to hold space. I told them I’d be there for them and will help them through it. I told them they are valid and worthy as they are. I also told them that they need to learn to love themselves now, or else any physical changes won’t matter in the long run. I then told them how I was able to stop hating myself.

Do you see where I went wrong? Because I do.

To truly hold space for someone, you cannot force them to feel differently than they do. And sometimes, such as this instance, knowing what to do about the problem is not much of a help. It does not matter that the solution to wanting a better body is to eat healthy and exercise, because even if they got that body they would still feel unhappy in their own skin. You cannot rush away depression, or insecurity, or low self-worth. What you can do, and what I should have done in this instance, was just be. Just be there for them. They do not need a shpeal about the coulds and shoulds of their situation, they just need support and love.

To this person, I see you. You are good and worthy and valid. I love you.

Let this serve as a reminder to truly be there for those around you.

🌼

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My Heart Still Feels Heavy

My heart feels heavy today because in this day and age of modern technology, modern advances in medicine and science…human decency is nowhere to be found.

My heart feels heavy today because conversations cannot be had without the divide of politics blinding those speaking.

My heart feels heavy today because society is not satisfied until they are #1. Striving for perfection will leave you endlessly unhappy.

My heart feels heavy today because Anxiety is visiting my mind with Paranoia lurking in the corner, and I just want to be alone.

My heart feels heavy today because money clouds judgement in business, and this chase never leads to satisfaction.

My heart feels heavy that Mama Earth is hurting and for some reason being eco-friendly is treated with mockery rather than revelry.

My heart feels heavy with overwhelm because I want to do so much good in the world. There is so much change to be made that I want to be apart of and it feels suffocating rather than inspiring.

My heart feels heavy today thinking about the world we’re creating for our children. I want to be a mother in the future, but I don’t want to bring life into a world full of fear, hate, and darkness. (I will create an environment of love, support, acceptance and happiness within my home, but some days I feel uneasy at the thought of my daughter or son growing up).

My heart feels heavy today because people are cruel. There is a lot of good in the world, but there is still too much toxicity.

My heart feels heavy today because higher education and debt should not be synonymous.

My heart feels heavy today because the world is suffering a global pandemic, and society only cares about getting hair cuts and their nails done.

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My heart feels heavy today.

My heart feels heavy today because George Floyd died a horrific death. Black people keep dying horrific deaths, and it sickens me.

My heart feels heavy today because in this day and age of modern technology, modern advances in medicine and science…human decency is nowhere to be found.

My heart feels heavy today because conversations cannot be had without the divide of politics blinding those speaking.

My heart feels heavy today because I’m worried about all of my black and mixed friends.

My heart feels heavy for the mamas of black boys and men who have reason to worry more than mamas already do.

My heart feels heavy today thinking about the months it took for Ahmaud Arbery’s story to be shared. Black people should not have to change their fitness routines in fear of being killed.

My heart feels heavy today because people are cruel. There is a lot of good in the world, but there is still too much toxicity.

My heart feels heavy today because my black friends and family are scared, and suffering…but they are not alone ✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

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Happy Friday, y’all!

I use the Happy Color app every day. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, and checking my phone has become second nature. Rather than scrolling social media, I found that coloring a cute picture has been better for my mental health.

Just a reminder that it’s okay to be tired but inspired. It’s okay to have big dreams for your future that feel so real you can smell the room you’ll be in when it happens…but to be thinking about that in slipper socks while watching TV. It’s okay to be inspired and have ambition without always being motivated. As long as you don’t let go of your dreams, as long as you still chase them (whether by actions or thought), then you’re doing great.

Please also remember to be kind to yourself. Even though the weather is getting warmer, and there is talk of states reopening and all of that, we are still living through a traumatic time. We’re in a pandemic!! This is a history in the making period right now. It’s okay if you, in fact, did not write the books you thought you were going to (it me), or if you didn’t do xyz…it’s okay. You’re human. Count your blessings and remind yourself everything you have to be grateful for. And keep in mind a saying I tell myself: “Don’t do today what you can do tomorrow”. Don’t overwhelm yourself! The dishes, laundry, whatever will be there, but today only happens once!!

It’s okay to be tired but inspired ❀ Have a great weekend!