Flowers

flowers“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.” – Maya Angelou

Three weeks ago, on an otherwise beautiful Sunday autumn morning, I received some of the most jarring news I had ever heard: my dear mother had suffered a stroke and was in the hospital. My father, who had driven her to the emergency room in the middle of the night, quickly assured me, over the phone, that she would be fine but that the doctors wanted to keep her overnight for observation.

I’m not sure how that conversation with my father ended. I don’t remember putting down the phone. I only remember the complete and utter shock I felt as I tried to wrap my mind around the situation. I had yet to live through either of my parents having a major illness, and frankly, I did not know how I was supposed to react.

My mind eventually settled on taking care of immediate practical issues. I cooked, cleaned and dusted. I talked to my sister and arranged times for us to take turns watching my brother, who has autism. I went grocery shopping, and on the way home picked up a big bouquet of flowers that I hoped would bring a smile to my mother’s face when she got home the next day.

Unfortunately, she didn’t end up coming home the next day. What was initially supposed to be 24-48 hours of observation, turned into a week in the hospital and another week in an in-patient rehabilitation center. Although I saw her getting stronger and more upbeat every day, the stress of balancing full-time work with care of my brother, maintenance of the house and most importantly, making sure my mother was cared for, began to wear on me, physically and emotionally. And apparently, it showed.

One afternoon, as I sat by my mother’s side, she gently encouraged me to start going to yoga classes again – something I had put on hiatus while she was recovering. Before I could even object to the suggestion she assured me that she would be okay and that my brother would be taken care of.

Even though I was too afraid to admit it at the time, I desperately needed a break and a release. Once I actually took the time for yoga, prayer and meditation, I realized that my need for respite was not a sign of weakness but instead a way to build mental and spiritual strength. This need to recharge, was not, as I previously felt, a reflection of selfish tendencies or an attempt to shirk my responsbilities, but my body and soul’s natural response to stress and exhaustion. Once I allowed myself the chance to breathe and relax, I became stronger and more resilient. I was not only better at helping my mother in her recovery but also in mine.

Affirmation: My holistic well-being is important. It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. It’s okay to need a break.

Call to Action: Take time to stop and smell the flowers, both literally and figuratively.

Thank you to our guest contributor for the post and picture!

Glue

the_entourage_entourage

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie Stepanek

Approximately 3 years ago the idea that eventually became this website was hatched. You can read about the beginning here. 3 of the 4 guys that night eventually came together to write and maintain this website. When we first started the website our only goal was to add some positivity to the internet every Friday. Our lives have all gone in very different directions, but we have stayed in touch, and CYLF has had a lot to do with that.

When we started, my guess was we would make it maybe 4 months, and as I post this we have posted for 34 months. I have no idea what we have added to the Internet, but I do know this has been a sort of friendship glue. I am grateful for what it has added to my life, and how the ebb and flow of our inspiration and contribution has been different at different times, but someone has always showed up.

Do you have any things in your life that keeps you connected to friends, family, and others you love? If not, what might that look like? I challenge you to create something new in your life that will bring any number of people together.

Affirmation: I am connected to all that are in my life. People may appear to come and go, but we stay connected.

Call to Action: How do you stay connected with those you love? Please share those ideas with the CYLF community.

 

2 Answers

“Growth is how nature keeps things alive.”

For years a good friend of mine would parrot a sentence as a reminder to himself and those around him that there is only one direction to go in life.  “There is only one way you can coast and that is downhill.”  Last week two questions were posed in the beginning of the post which was just a passageway for several more to come.  You should know that I was not the one to write last week and I did not read it until this morning, while reading it I was so touched by the words because that word “complacency” stuck out to me in a big way.

I have not become complacent in all parts of my life but I have certainly had a shift in what is important and where my focus goes.  What this shift has done is taken me away from some of the same things that my dear friend wrote about a week ago.  Things that are not “needed” to survive day-to-day but they are NEEDED if I want to thrive year to year.  I believe this at my core that without a focus on soul work I will crumble.  That is why we made this blog almost three years ago.  To be honest it has become a seeming burden because of coasting away from those things that connect me at my core.

So here I am with two paragraphs of problem, 10 hours, 34 min after post time…ready for a solution and those answers.  How does it get any better than this?  Right now, this moment, is the greatest moment of my life.  It is my choice to continue doing the work that allows me to feel the beauty of now more often each day. I know this because I have seen it work time and time again in myself and in the men I surround myself with.  What else is possible?  Anything!  I have seen miracles happen in front of me and sometimes I forget that.  The man who wrote last weeks post in my eyes is a walking miracle, it is men like him that give me a boost when I am stagnant and for that I am grateful.

Affirmation: Growth is how nature keeps things alive. I grow and live life to the fullest.

Call to Action:  I can not do this alone.  At some point in the past several years I lived with a few men that helped me stay accountable to focus on Soul work.  I need help to focus and stay accountable and invite the support.  Anyone interested in rebuilding this community.  I love you guys and thanks to the D for being a great example for me today and a message of accountability.

Use these questions at least once today, and let us know in the comments how it goes.

2 Questions

“How does it get any better than this?”
“What else is possible?”
– Ricky Williams

Earlier this week I was listening to a TED talk by Ricky Williams, and he ended the talk with the two questions above. I shared them with people, and turned to the internal to reflect on them. My thought process around these questions focused on how I could include these in my life and why I might incorporate them into my life.

Starting today, I am going to include these questions into one event that unfolds in my life everyday. I have been incredibly blessed over the last year of my life, and during the same time frame I have slacked in certain areas that were positive in my life. I have not ate as healthy, I meditate less on a daily basis, and in general have just become extremely comforatable. I do not want to just be comfortable, but I want to excel on a day-to-day basis.

This brings me to the why. My life has become full of things that bring me happiness, and through this experience complacency has crept into my active life. The importance of incorporating these into my life is to encourage growth and expansion, not only in “bad” experiences, and more importantly the “good.” I truly belive when you are coasting you are going down hill. My goal today is to use these questions to stop me from coasting.

Affirmation: Growth is how nature keeps things alive. I grow and live life to the fullest.

Call to Action: Use these questions at least once today, and let us know in the comments how it goes.