How to Avoid Criticism

Criticism

 There is only one way to avoid criticism:

do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.

–Aristotle

Life is full of twists and turns.  Don’t be a lump.  Do what you feel is right in your heart and allow the naysayers to chatter.  Hold your head up high.  Be kind.  Be loving.  Be you, loving beautiful you!

Shine On!

xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Franklin Was Right!

benjaminfranklinquote

“While we may not be able to control all that happens to us,

we can control what happens inside us.”

—Benjamin Franklin

Just a little pick me up reminder for us all ~ Happy Thursday to all of you!

Shine On!

xo

Through the Eyes of A Caregiver

alzheimers

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I learned all about it, from researching, googling, reading, talking with others and experiencing the illness through my body, mind and spirit.  I know more about breast cancer and its effects on women and families than I ever wanted to know.  But it has made me who I am today and for that, I am grateful.  I learned much about myself and the inner strength that I have come to rely on in my life.

Now that I have two family members battling Alzheimer’s and Dementia, my research has begun again in earnest.  This time it’s not so much about the body, but more about the mind and as the caregiver this time and not the patient, my brain works overtime as does my patience.

The mind baffles me with its twists and turns with these diseases.  In my research, I came upon the video below which brought me to tears and humbleness.  As caregivers, we may lose our patience when asked for the umpteenth time the same question or when we are unsuccessfully trying to reassure an anxiety-ridden loved one whose brain is captured by a riddle.  But we never know what they are enduring as their brains muddle through moment to moment, grasping and disconnecting at will.  Their brains only deal with the present moment and that is their reality which changes.  Talk about truly living in the present and working on finding peace in every single moment!

Perhaps this will give you a little insight as it did me.  If you are a caregiver or love someone with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, please connect with me.  Just as it helped me when I endured breast cancer, I believe that as always our connections only make us stronger.

Shine On!

xo

I Wish You Happiness

happiness

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned,
worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual
experience of living every minute with love, grace,
and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley

I wish you happiness today and always.

Shine On!

xo

Roses For You!

roses

“Don’t strew me with roses after I’m dead. 

When Death claims the light of my brow

no flowers of life will cheer me;

instead you may give me my roses now!”

~ Thomas F. Healey

I’ve always said that I’d prefer my flowers now and not on my casket.  So let me take this moment to tell you all in writing how I feel.  Not that I’m going anywhere soon (as far as I know), but when I found this rose photo and then the quote above, well, I just thought it was time to talk about it.

How do you feel about flowers?  Would you prefer to have some fresh flowers around the house now ~ cut flowers in a pretty vase or in your garden to enjoy while you’re alive ~ or flowers strewn across your casket after you are gone?  I am not trying to take away from anyone else’s traditions, this is just my own point of view here.

I want to enjoy the fragrance of sweet roses, lilacs, gardenias and honeysuckle now while I’m alive and able to smell their heavenly fragrance instead of having them go to waste when I’m dead.  I want to delight in the springtime daffodils, tulips and crocus as they brave the beginnings of the Springtime thaw from Winter.  I delight in the beauty and aroma of all flowers (with the exception of lilies whose smell makes me feel a bit sick).

How do you feel about flowers after you are gone?  Would you prefer to enjoy them while you are alive?  And/or do you imagine a casket festooned with flowers to go onto the next chapter of your journey?

What’s your favorite flower?

Just wondering…

Shine On!

xo

P.S.  Just an FYI, a small bouquet of fragrant pink roses for me will be fine after I’m gone.

P. P. S.  I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon though! ♥

We Are More Than Our Scars

scars

“I am more than my scars.”
― Andrew Davidson

Having traveled this breast cancer journey for 14 years, I have learned a lot about myself and others.  I love the quote above for in it I find fortitude even in my darkest hours.  My scars bear witness to the horrors I’ve endured.  My body, mind and soul, along with my heart, have been ravaged and yet I still am here, cancer free.  True, my physical appearance has changed.  Some may not find me attractive and that’s ok for me.  For I feel as if the light that has brought me through the toughest of times, still burns brightly inside my heart.  Though I have aged, my heart is filled with light, hope, positivity and love for which I am truly grateful.  My soul shines, my challenges have changed me, making me stronger, more self-assured and not so frightened anymore.

I allow others to be whom they choose without resentment nor anger.  It does not serve me.  I still speak my truth with kindness.  I am finding the me that was lost on this journey.  Growing confidence with every step of independence and connecting with others as we walk each other home towards our end.  Scars may damage us.  However, when you change the way you see them, you remember that they simply show how strong we are to have braved atrocities to our physical bodies.  Wear them proudly, a badge of honor that you have been able to dig deep inside to grow, to learn, to be tested and to surpass the expectations of ourselves and others.

It is not easy to become accepting of our scars, whether others can see them or not.  In such a physical world where first we are judged by our looks, it is often disappointing to not be seen for whom our souls are and be found worthy.  To be seen, but not heard is a challenge that we must overcome.  And it starts with you.

Compassion for ourselves is the first step.  To love ourselves, scars and all.  To treat ourselves with loving kindness and to embrace self-love so that others may see our loving selves.  To look at others with the same loving eyes is the next step.  To see the good in every single person.  To forgive ourselves and others for what has trespassed and to empathize with our good hearts and find the goodness in each soul with whom we come into contact.  To forgive what we deem unforgivable and to move onwards and upwards towards the light in life.

Some scars do not show on the physical body.  We hide them in our hearts, minds and souls.  Past hurts and regressions can tear at our core selves, shredding even the strongest souls, breaking hearts, belief systems and our self-esteem.  Rebuilding, baby step by baby step, requires the heart, mind and soul to open with trembling vulnerability to find a new normal.  We need to embrace the changes that scarred us and empty our beings of regret.  Stand in our power and release what no longer serves us.  To take the scars which broke us and heal ourselves and others.  To love even those who scarred us.  To observe their scars and see within their hearts that they are broken as well.  To embrace a compassionate life and shine our little heartlights filled with love.

So as you go about your day today, smile.  Be the loving energy that I know you are and embrace your loving heartlight so that you shine from within, thus brightening your world and connecting your light to others.  You never know how a simple smile, a kind word and a loving embrace can change you and others.

Embrace your scars, love yourself and let love be your guide as you go about your day.

Shine On!

xo

Do You Fear Death?

death

Do You Fear Death?

This is probably a loaded question for a Monday morning, but on the heels of Easter, I thought I’d ask.  For you see, I’ve been thinking a lot about death these days since I’ve been taking care of a few family members who are older and plagued with dementia and I have recently had another one pass away.

Honestly, I do not fear death.  But, let me explain myself.  More than 20 years ago, I had a dream that I died.  As the old saying goes, ‘if you dream that you died, you will die’, but let me allay your fears as I am still here.  However, the dream is still as vivid as it was the morning I awoke from it, even after 15 surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation etc.  The peace I felt in the place I believe was Heaven stays within my heart, soul and mind.

The beauty that surrounded me was astounding in my dream.  I was in Heaven, with fields of colorful tulips as far as my eye could see, standing on the puffiest, softest white clouds imaginable.  In my dream, I knew I had passed away and had arrived in Heaven.  It was ethereal as you can imagine.  There was not a cloud in the sky, but a beautiful bright light emanated everywhere, surrounding me with such an incredible loving embrace and a true sense of peace.  I felt love deep within my soul like I have never felt before nor since in my life.  A innate sense of serenity and tranquility filled my being like never before and I remember smiling in wonder at the feeling.  I was standing still, taking in the entire scene and the beauty filled my soul.  I saw no one.  I just felt innately that I was where I belonged.  There was no regret in being there.  I felt no loss for having left Earth nor my family.  I simply felt that I was where I was supposed to be at that moment.  It was special.  It was life-altering.  The experience gave me such an utter peace in my soul that I continue to carry to this day and I feel blessed, honored and grateful to have experienced what I believe was a heavenly dream.

Why did I dream this?  I have no earthly idea as to the reason.  There was nothing wrong with me or any of my family so I don’t believe that it was a processing of a fear-based emotion.  Many years down the road, I was fighting for my life against breast cancer, but I’ve since healed and even though I’m never quite out of the woods per se, I am still here, cancer free for which I am grateful.

I would love to know how you feel about death.  Do you fear death?  Have you ever had a dream that you passed away?  Have you ever experienced anything similar?  Please share your stories and connect with me.

Shine On!

xo