The Paradox of Positive Thinking

positive thinking

It’s everywhere, isn’t it? The power of positive thinking.

It will solve all of our problems, it seems to say. We are told to, “Look on the bright side,” “Think positively,” “Cultivate gratitude,”…

While these can be helpful to help us correct gross imbalances of negativity, it isn’t actually the whole answer to a life well-lived.  Continue reading

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Girl Power for Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and I am hoping to empower some of my female readers today – with song.

Women in America have had the tendency to sacrifice heart and health for others. We often feel our worth in every one else’s successes, and stand back proudly to support them in every way they require. While that sounds great in theory, we have forgotten one vital part – we are an individual, too. And spending all of our time supporting someone else often opens us up to being abused by those close to us. Some of us have endured, while others, battered and broken, have rediscovered their own power and stand twice as tall. And some of those latter women tell their stories to inspire others to do the same.

And song is a perfect medium.

I find it funny to examine women in pop culture music over the last few decades, and the transformation that female empowerment has undergone. From the free-spirited, independent party girls of the 1980s Madonna (Material Girl) and Cindi Lauper (Girls just Wanna Have Fun) to the angry grunge chick tunes like Bitch (Meridith Brooks) and just about anything by Alannis Morrisette at the time, women have tried to assert their individuality and the power of their gender. We’ve even seen some echoes of the 90s with latecomer to the party, Pink, with her in-your-face, fought-through-pain-and-now-on-top tunes, or hardcore I-don’t-give-a-sh*t, sassy, day-at-a-time pop punker Avril Lavigne.

But we are starting to see a rather interesting change.

I think women have begun to see that anger doesn’t empower or solve our problems as women. In fact, it’s rather counterproductive. Today, we are seeing more positive, reinforcing messages to young and mature women alike. We’re celebrating who we are. Our femininity. Our individuality. Our varied personalities, shapes, and sizes. And on top of it all, women have begun to allow themselves to dare to chase after their dreams.

My top favorite current girlpower songs are the following:

Brave – Sara Bareulis

I can’t get enough of this song – or Sara, for that matter. She’s strong, got a mind of her own, and wants to get us to drop the baggage holding us back (bad people, our past, our fears) and bring us all along with her.

Born This Way – Lady Gaga

This song is geared toward an open audience, but is still a very empowering song to dance wildly to in the privacy of your own living room and honor yourself as you were born.

Pocketful Of Sunshine and Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield

Natasha has a beautiful way of exploring femininity, its beauty and potential, and letting us know that life is amazing and our story is never written in stone. It’s never too late to become the women we always wanted to be. She preaches being kind to ourselves, and that we’re beholden to no one in our quest for happiness.

Firework – Katy Perry

Although her credibility as a female role model may be a bit questionable (singing about kissing girls, her scanty clothing – if any at all – in her videos, and do we all remember the Elmo clip controversy?), she has become the poster child for empowering messages for young girls.

Catch My Breath, and Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

Kelly has a unique storytelling side. I had once allowed some negative people into my life, and her songs carried me through these bad relationships where, as we woman are wont to do, we give everything even when we get nothing in return. But we learn, and realize our worth is greater than that. And we only accept those into our lives who believe the same.

Raise Your GlassPink

Although geared toward an open audience, Pink’s videos provide powerful imagery showing women her undaunted spirit, and inspire us all to be a little stronger, a little bolder, and a lot more confident. And she clearly tells us that we are not alone.

Do you like you? This song by Colbie Caillat directly challenges not only the beauty standards set by hollywood or movie making industry, but the fact that she has to come home loving her natural self and love who she is despite how she’s represented in many of her music videos. I love her message here, as she strips away the photoshopping, hair extensions, makeup, and stands nakedly natural, encouraging us to love ourselves and not feel we have to live up to those standards. Thank you, Colbie.

Although this video has gotten its criticism (as women who say they love themselves do), it’s an anthem for women to “wake up feeling” good about themselves no matter what, and “not need nobody else.” Feeling low? I’ll bet you anything, walking around with the mantra “If I were you I’d want to be me too” would clear that up in no time!

Proactive Positivity: Make your 2017 ‘Goodie Jar’

Well, I went ahead and did it: I made a “Goodie Jar” for 2017.

You see all these great ideas floating around the internet around the New Year in order to inspire gratitude and positivity for the next 12 months. Most reshare these ideas on Facebook and they recirculate a few times around your social circle, and then everyone forgets about it. Well, most of them do. I am usually one of them.

Like a jar to store bits of paper you write about happy, good things that happened over the year to dump out and read some New Year’s eve next year.

2013memoryjarnewyears

Like this one I found floating around Google.

Initially, though it was a cute idea, I scoffed.

“I don’t need a jar to help remind me to be grateful and positive and happy with my life,” I shrugged.

But yet, something about it appealed to me. It’s a project that I can work on and make beautiful throughout the year. Plus, I love glass mason jars and writing. I already have about five mason jars in a variety of sizes full of stuff from seeds, to seashells to dried flower arrangements on my shelves.

Inspired, I rummaged through our pantry for a good sized mason jar to start with. Perhaps eventually I will change to a prettier, more elaborate one. Maybe I might run out of room for happy colored strips of paper and need a bigger jar. Who knows!

For now, it’s as simple as it gets: A plain piece of white paper to label it, and small pieces of paper cut up just large enough to write a brief thought or event.

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Believe it or not, this positivity thing is actually quite addicting.

I only just started today, but I’ve found four somethings that made me happy in the last four days. I could actually come up with more. But let’s give me something to do for the next 360 days!

Want to start your own?

Let’s do it! Remember, this is for you. Your eyes only. It doesn’t have to be pretty or fancy. It doesn’t even have to be a jar. Use whatever receptacle you think will work! Coffee can, colored vase, an old teapot you don’t use.

Google “memory jars” or try Pinterest and get ideas. I still plan on adding some crochet to crown mine, and perhaps some appliques to decorate the jar. Not only will I fill the jar, but I will make this jar my own over the next 12 months.

Also, be sure to place it somewhere you will see everyday to remember to add to it. I have mine next to where I charge my cell phone every night.

Then, cut up small bits of paper, large enough to write on and fold it for the jar. Personally, I write two pieces of paper a day: Something good that happened to me, and one thing that I are grateful for each day. I even write the date, but I am a hardcore chronicler. You may decide you don’t want to. Also, don’t feel like you have to be stingy with adding to the jar, either. If you had several good things happen to you or find more than one thing to express gratitude for that day, go for it! It’s your goodie jar.

You may decide to have different color paper every day, or just one. You may want to write in a different language, use a calligraphy pen or a typewriter, or maybe print out a small picture instead of using words. Use your imagination and follow your heart.

Remember the more we train ourselves to focus on the positive each day, the more joy and abundance we will attract. Because what we truly focus on in life is what we drive toward on this journey.

May you truly have a Happy New Year in 2017.

Love, acceptance, and our “hair-down-there”

Down there.woman-1401617_1280

Such a personal place. And when it comes to our hairstyle preferences, especially down there, SOCIAL TABOO gets stamped all over it. But I’m going to bust that wide open for a few minutes. Because when our hair down there gets between us and love and self-acceptance, we need to talk about it.

So a few weeks ago, a friend and I were sitting on my couch, giggling and chatting as good girlfriends tend to do. Somehow we ended up on the subject of the twisted public image of women’s bodies. And as things go, we brushed up against the subject of sexual expectations.

She then told me a story about her, her hair, a play and an ex-boyfriend.

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Can meditation reverse anxiety and low self-esteem?

meditate blog

Breathing can help prolong your life. Well, especially when you combine it with meditation.

In an age where we are constantly multi-tasking, plugged in, inundated with images, facts and emails and enduring constant over-stimulation, it’s no wonder we’re exhausted and a little frayed at the edges each day.

And when you have added stress, it can affect your body in many ways both physically and mentally. So whether you are going through a difficult time in your life or are struggling with an ongoing mental health issue, adopting mindfulness could be just what the doctor ordered.

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