Single, Unemployed … and Kind of Grateful

Using life’s upheavals to find yourself and peace

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Well, my friends, life has sent me another curve ball. I’ve recently been laid off from my job. It’s the first time since I was 17 years old that I am unemployed. At first it was a shock to my system. Panic. Anger. Sadness. All the normal feelings came up. But now that I’ve had a few days to wrap my arms around it, I’m at peace with it … at least for the time being.

That is why I recommend yoga, exercise, journaling and meditation. I truly do. All the things that I have done over this past year to improve myself has actually made dealing with this situation much easier than I think it would have been if I was the same person I was last year. It gives some structure to my day. Let’s me focus on myself rather than any challenges I may be facing. It allows me to let go of the negative feelings.

Lesson 1: When life throws you a curve ball, your daily self-care routine grounds you.

I’m practical, as I’ve said many times on here, so I’m still pursuing roles in my current profession. But, I’m also opening myself up to a lot of other possibilities. I don’t think I would be in that mindset if I hadn’t been practicing self-care over the past year or so.

Everything happens for a reason. It usually drives us in some better direction — even if we can’t see that right away.

Gratitude journaling helped me over the hump of this perhaps more than anything. I didn’t do it the same night I found out that I was being laid off. I wasn’t feeling very grateful that day, I’ll admit. But, I started a couple of days later. I basically forced myself to look at the positive side of this situation. Sometimes we have to do that. Sometimes it’s just a choice we have to make.

I wasn’t happy in my role, so I was grateful for not having to get up and go into a job that I didn’t love. It made me realize how much I wanted a job that I do love. You start to realize how much time you put toward things that don’t bring you joy, and that’s not the way life should be lived.

But back to the gratitude journaling. I give thanks for the things that are positive about the situation — the release of stress from dealing with some folks, the free time to look inside and determine what I want to do. More time to take care of myself. I can be much more conscious of what I eat — choosing lower-cost fruits and vegetables rather than more costly items or going out to eat. Those are all good things and they are all part of getting laid off.

Lesson 2: Gratitude journaling forces you to look at the positive regardless of the situation. Try it … that’s all I’m saying.

When I do gratitude journaling, I also incorporate some visualization. I’m just starting to hone in on some key components of my dream life. This helps me let go of the emotions around being laid off and move toward something more meaningful in my life. There are all kinds of tips out there for gratitude journaling. Here are a few articles that may help you start this ritual, but if you Google it, you’ll find tons more:

I don’t know where I’m going right now, but I know I’m going to start down a new path. This situation and the journaling that followed has led me to the realization that I don’t want to spend my life doing what I’m doing any more.

Now, I’m not going to look back at all the time I have spent doing it in the past, because that doesn’t serve me.

If you believe in messages and signs, the world has been filled with them today. Almost every post I’ve seen on social media is about life being a dream and we are the creators of that dream. How can you deny that kind of message? Especially when you’ve seen it at least 10 times in the same day.

In fact, I just finished a book last night that I will recommend to everyone here that kind of coincides with everything I’m talking about here. The book is called Love The Beat Goes On  by Lynda Filler.

She was diagnosed a with a form of heart disease that is usually fatal. She was told to get her affairs in order. Talk about putting my lay off into perspective — that certainly did. I’m out of a job … she was on the verge of dying. Big difference. I think I got that book just when I needed it. I believe in synchronicity if you can’t tell.

Back to the story. Basically, she refused to die. She used positive thinking, shaman work, journaling, gratitude — all of the same things to heal herself and beat the odds of this disease. It’s inspirational, but it also has some tips at the end to help you live the life you want. She’s not perfect and she doesn’t have everything she wants, but she believes these things will come her way. In my opinion, she’s living in Puerto Vallarta writing poetry and taking photos, so she seems to be doing something right. And more power to her.

The funny thing is that she also mentioned dreaming your life — you know using vision boards. Creative visualization. Positive thinking. Manifestation. Whatever you want to call it, she’s an example of how this can work. I’ve done it before and made things happen. I think I will try to do it again.

Just today I’ve been thinking of my own passions. Yoga and music and somehow wanting to combine the two. Then I was followed by a group called Yoga Vida Festival. Their theme? Uniting people through yoga and music. What are the chances, right?

There is something about putting vibes out into the universe. I’ve seen it happen. Magic can happen.

Lesson 3: Magic does exist. It’s inside us. Be positive and focus on what you want. Dreams can become reality. 

And would I be feeling this way or seeing these things syncing up if I was going to that same job, complaining about the same things, and doing the same work I’ve been doing for the past three years? No. I would be working and complaining and coming home to veg out like I normally do. Where I may let a bit of panic enter my being when I think of finances from time to time (damn that practical side of me), I’m not focusing on it and I’m feeling pretty good and hopeful.

I think I’m even going to start painting and maybe do more amateur photography and poetry. I might even share some of it on here. Hell, maybe I’ll throw that into my dream life/career, too. Why not? If life is but a dream, might as well make it a good one, right?

Peace y’all. Make magic happen.

Tuning In for Peace of Mind

Using music mindfully to improve your mental well-being

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Occasionally on here I may do a book review if I come across something that I think may benefit readers of this blog. I recently read a book that may do just that. I received Tune In: Use Music Intentionally to Curb Stress, Boost Morale, and Restore Health. A Music Therapy Approach to Life in exchange for an honest review.

This book reminded me just how much music means to me and how I’ve used it to cope throughout life. This book is a guide to help you be more mindful of your music consumption and to begin to listen with intention.

From the time I finished reading the first “true story” in the book, I thought about how I wanted to review it. This book touched me so — ever step of the way — that I wanted to do it justice.

Like the author, I grew up a latch-key kid, and there were things about my family life that we’ll just say were less than perfect. Music, though, was the one healer. The one connector. The everything that was good. One of the few things my family could agree on was listening to music in some form or fashion.

Music has always been a significant part of my life, especially when I was home alone as a kid and teenager. Music was my friend, my confidant, my counselor. I know how music impacts me, and I have seen how it touches other.

And music affects the brain in very positive ways. John Hopkins Medicine said that “music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.” They’re not alone in their thinking. If you Google it, you’ll see article after article that supports this idea.

Think of going to a concert. Doesn’t matter the genre of music, there’s always a moment when the whole place joins together to sing a song. I don’t know about you, but I get goosebumps every time that happens. Music connects people like nothing else. It heals them. It makes the world a better place. I wholeheartedly believe that.

So I highly recommend this book if you are a music lover and want to use music as part of your self-care regimen. It offers checklists to help you incorporate music into your life with intention and purpose. The stories show real-life examples of how music can reconnect you to people from which you have drifted away. It helps you develop listening lists to cope with different feelings — sadness, anxiety, etc.

In addition to the step-by-step guide for using music as a self-care tool, the real-life stories are extremely uplifting. The stories show how music can help connect families, help rehabilitate, and perhaps the most heart-wrenching, help to say goodbye to loved ones. This book celebrates music as life and as a way to connect us and help us in times of stress.

I would especially recommend this for anyone dealing with aging or dying family members or family with diseases that affect mental abilities. The book highlights the positive impact that music can have on the ill and dying. But more importantly, it shows you how music can re-connect to that person and celebrate their life through the music that made them who they are.

If you love music, trust me, I’m not doing this book justice. Read it. You’ll know what I mean. The stories and the impact of music on these people are amazing. It’s a non-fiction, how-to book with some great real life stories to support the recommendations. So if you’re looking for a great escape, this may not be it. If you want to improve your mood and mental health through music, then this is a good place to start.