Creating your meditation habit

Another week brings a chance for us to interact. I hope you’ve been well and got some time to go through our previous posts. Today I’ll be guiding you as you create a personalized meditation habit. I mentioned before that there’s no way to completely shut out your mind; have no thoughts running through your mind. Though I’ve been watching some comedy videos and turns out men can do this 😀 .. I’ll do some consultation and maybe, I’ll share the hack. The point of meditation though, is to slow down the thoughts and get a chance to basically analyze them to know what’s going on in there.

Meditation is a very robust practice and there are many types for meditation. Mindfulness is one of the biggest ones where you focus on being intensely aware of what is going on around and within you. There are more progressive types of meditation where the focus is on improving one self. Use of mantras or focusing on a particular element such as rest or discipline. Sometimes the focus could be on spiritual nourishment which would be similar to prayer. Contrary to common belief, meditation does not have to from a stationary point. Movement meditation just means you are present as you carry out different activities in your day; could be walking, gardening, yoga… Loving and kindness can also be amplified by meditation, this type of meditation can be used to strengthen feelings of compassion, kindness and acceptance towards ourselves and others.

Now bringing it down to creating your own meditation habit. I’d like to start by saying the types of meditation I have mentioned are extremely fluid; you don’t have to pick one and stick with it, borrowing from each idea will help you come up with a beautiful hybrid that serves you just right. And just like everything else, this is a continuous process, so you’ll definitely be improving it as you go by. So for meditation to be success, you have to set your ambiance right. This includes looking for a quite place with as few distractions as possible. Because you are already trying to silence a rowdy place, it is important to ensure there’s nothing else to add to the mess. You basically pick a happy place which shouldn’t be anything that brings up negative energy in you. It could be a garden or maybe a forest, a nature trail or a certain room you like to relax in. Doesn’t really matter where it is, you know you best and I’m sure there’s a place that has come to mind. One of my happy places is my room, I really enjoy being here. I love nature walks too. And sometimes it’s the silence of a dark curfew night or the sound of the morning and glimpses of a new day.

Silence is usually preferred for meditation though for some of us, silence is really loud and trying to focus in silence is impossible. In that case, a sound track for your thoughts would be really nice. For songs, instrumentals are preferred because if you are anything like me, you’d be lost in the lyrics trying to apply them in your own circumstances. There are a wide variety of soothing and calming instrumentals on YouTube. They are also really helpful with timing your meditation because doing it for too long could get you drifting. Podcasts are also a beautiful sound tracks to your thought especially when practicing progressive meditation. Find podcasts that are encouraging in whatever area you are working on. The whole point of this is for you to feel comfortable enough to allow your thoughts to flow.

Up next I’ll talk about your meditation position. When I think of meditation, the first image that comes to mind is of someone with crossed legs and hands laid out, with a palm forming an O. This is the most common meditation position but I feel like in a way it makes meditation feel like it’s made for fit people or just a specific kind of people. As you select your position, you need to make sure it’s comfortable and relaxing. You also need to be alert in this position so slouching positions are highly discouraged. Sitting in an upright position usually keeps you alert, you could always stretch out your legs or fold them as you like. You could also lie down but be very careful with this because a calm mind can very easily fall asleep. For movement meditation, it is preferred that the activity is not too intensive, that’s why yoga is preferred to a workout for meditation. Walking or jogging rather than running and simple pruning rather than ploughing.

Another part of meditation is how you slow down your mind and bring it to a calm state. I usually do this by breathing and counting. Another reason being upright is important is because you get to comfortably take deep breathes and calm down. Deep breathes have been known to reduce heartbeat, lower blood pressure and stress levels. This is the state that you would like your body to be in as you start your meditation session. I have done this many times and I know its true. The counting helps you center your thoughts and focus on one at a time. This may not come easily the first few times but you’ll definitely get a hang of it with time. I would also advice, for any form of meditation where you are stationary, that you close your eyes, helps with avoiding distractions especially if you are in an open space. It’s just naturally hard to let yourself go how meditation requires you to. Sometimes it feels scary to be left alone with your thoughts. It gets fun though!

Last but definitely not the least, I’d like to talk about the thoughts. I like to think of meditation as someone going to see a shrink. Yeah I know it’s funny and I hope this doesn’t change your perspective on the whole practice. I’ll explain the similarities I see. With meditation, as you sit there in silence, picking out your thoughts one at a time, you have a little thought that you expound on and the further you go, you may find it’s source and effect it has on you. Just like you’d carry an object to the shrink and they would see things they would then draw a conclusion of your future from. So for the thoughts in your mind during meditation, think them through, try and find their origin and effect on your life. A personal example is how for a long time, I didn’t like being tall. I just always felt like God dealt me the wrong cards on this one. I was just getting through puberty and as if that wasn’t bad enough, I was taller than almost everyone I knew. I came to find out, this is embarrassing but I’ll say it anyway, I only hated being tall because almost of the cute guys I knew weren’t tall. From all the Disney movies I’d watched, I needed someone I could look up to. This really affected my self esteem and other little choices I made. Thank God I figured it out though, coz I actually really like being tall. 😉

Meditation is such an interesting practice. I really love it. I have really personalized my habit and I have gained a lot from this. I love getting glimpses of my mind when its not just a hot mess drifting in the wind. Meditation gives me this and much more. If you haven’t found a reason to meditate and haven’t read the Why Meditate? post, I have so many reasons brought up there. I’m so glad to share more about meditation because I believe it’s an excellent practice that shines a light reminding us who we are and allowing us to see through the clutter of our daily lives and emotions. Our minds are very beautiful spaces and it’s a shame that it’s easier to choose escape rather than resolve.

I hope you find this helpful and you know I’m down to hear all about your meditation habits. I hope you at least try to tap into this ‘promised land’ that I keep telling you about and I really hope it helps with your mindfulness and journey towards self awareness. Catch me right here next week as I continue to share from my overflowing cup of gold.

Guess who’s back??

Guess who is finally back! It has been quite a while since we last had a chance to chat sharing these life hacks and trying to figure out how to be our best selves. I’d really missed being in this space. Sharing my thoughts and baring out my heart to you. What I like most are the responses I always get because they always remind me that we are all just humans trying to do what we think is right for us and sometimes those around us. I really missed you guys and I hope the wait did nothing to turn you away. Rather, I hope you have taken some time to try out at least one of the self care habits that I had shared with y’all earlier.

I’m glad to be back here to share self care habits that I practice, or at least try to as often as possible. I’ll admit part of the wait was based off self judgement for the break. It’s interesting what goes on in our heads. It’s even more interesting what happens when you listen in and believe what your mind tells you. I find it hard to create that balance between keeping myself accountable and being too hard on myself. Slowly though I’m learning some tricks, tricks I will definitely be dropping here under different topics.

I keep reminding myself that “I am the girl for the job” so even on days that feel like this might not really ever get better, I keep moving forward. Consistency is everything, I remind myself. I pat myself on the back, I tell myself I’m doing great. And sometimes, on days like today, all the pats pay off, things seem to be finally working out. I was very proud of myself earlier today when I thought, “good times don’t last”, then quickly dismissed it with “I’ll enjoy this one before it ends then” smiled and kept doing what I was doing.

My sister, she’s really cool! Always got my back. Always reminding me that I am the girl for the job. I like her encouraging words, they warm my heart. I hope my words warm yours too. You should know they are always straight from my heart. I like to say I love humans. Though sometimes they hurt me or ain’t the best, when they are being warmly human, they spread the best vibes. That’s my greatest intention with the blog. To be a place you come to feel encouraged and loved. I keep referring to “you are the girl for the job” as it is my current read, written by Jess Connolly. I would highly recommend it for all my Christian sisters. She has a way of calling you to be better than you ever thought you were. I like her, she is also really human with the way she writes. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. 🙂

Today, I just wanted to remind you of this place that you may have started to call home then it grew cold. I’d like to reassure you that I’m back and with a bang. In the past few months I have learnt a thing or two and I am excited to share with you. We left things hanging with the Why Meditate? post. You could always swing by and read it through as we wait to meet again next week when I will post the sequel “How to create your own meditation habits.” I missed you guys a lot and I hope you did too. Drop a comment, tell me something; your expectations, anything you have adopted from previous posts.. tell me even how you feel. Life is about to be even more colorful coz Marisela is back!! 😉

Just a little bit longer

I write this at a time that I feel my patience tested more and more each day, at a time I have a lot to hope for but not as much to tangibly cling to. Each day I wake up and convince myself, we just have to wait a little bit longer and it will all work out, and there and then I have the confidence to start the day, believing that my patience will suffice. It won’t be long before the thoughts start to creep back in and the day’s situations deal me blows to my face, then I have to remind myself again and again, just a little bit longer.

What does patience mean to you? Take a minute or 2 and actually think about it. Some time ago, I read a quote that said “Patience is not only waiting for a final outcome but what you do while you wait.” This really stuck with because before I read this, I wasn’t keen at all on how I waited, didn’t watch my state of mind while I waited. To be honest I was probably driving myself crazy waiting each day for whatever it is I was waiting for to pan out. Then one day, a thought came to mind, it went a little like this: If I was told to I jump off the Eiffel tower, with a promise that I would be caught before I touched down. At some point x that isn’t told to me before I jumped, would I jump? For me the answer was a confident yes. Then I went on to think, what would I be doing as I fell? Would I be thinking each moment, “maybe now is when He will catch me” and if it didn’t happen at that moment, pick up the same thought the next moment? That would really be depressing I thought. So I decided that I’d just enjoy the fall, maybe learn to fly in the process, say hi to a few birds, enjoy the view .. anything but obsess about the end result! This might not be so relatable for all of you or all circumstances but I hope you get the drift.

Patience by definition is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. The mental fortitude or strength to keep going, waiting calmly in the face of frustration or adversity. Situations that require patience vary in intensity and urgency. At times it’s slow internet, my personal worst, or maybe waiting in line for a service or the traffic jam. Situations you can’t control yet strip off your sanity little by little. Some times it’s something more intense like waiting for a loved one to get better or for your career to build into something you have always wanted, sometimes it’s the pace at which your dreams are coming true. In all this cases, you just have to wait till the time elapses and you reach your destination.

Learning patience has a wide variety of benefits to us starting with enjoying better mental wellness where it helps you deal with anxiety issues easing your mind of this mental stress. With better mental health, there is always better physical health. Patience creates a better environment for you to achieve your goals and helps you make rational decisions though your journey. In this journey of life I have also found patience to make better stories in the long run, at the time it may seem like suffering and pain, but eventually, when you look back, you get to see the stars aligning and it’s just beautiful. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? It also helps us appreciate what we already have and if you tune your focus just right, you are able to see it’s all coming together. Patience also makes you easier to interact with for your friends and family as well as anyone who you network with in any situation, no one likes a big ball of anxiety coz we all have our own anxieties that we’d rather not focus on too much.

Impatience normally feels like wanting everything to happen right now, but if you took your time and asked yourself “then what?” you would probably find out there’s not much that happens after that. This may not apply for the pettier examples like slow internet, but for more long term things like our dreams and careers, if you have it all now, then what? Think of these journeys like climbing a tall mountain, if you take your time going up the mountain you get to discover beautiful scenes along the paths, maybe a rare plant that only exists at a certain height, a good hiding spot incase of an animal attack.. you just get to learn a lot about the terrain. Feel the atmosphere change with every zone and the body gets to adjust itself with every stage. Imagine the victory you feel when you finally get to the top!! Oh the joy in your heart the stories you can tell of your voyage. Would be nothing compared to taking a lift to the top, would it?

Greatness takes time and little things can grow into marvelous things if only you patiently continue working towards a certain goal. Each day we have the choice to settle for a short term reward or continue working harder for a long term, more valuable reward. Sometimes seeing all the way ahead, to that future greater reward may not be easy but we need to “turn our full lights on.” A friend and I came up with this analogy where we are all drivers on the highway, some of us have no lights on at all, some only have their fog lights on, others are working with the dim lights and then there is those of us that have our full lights on. I hope you have your full lights on so you can see as far as is possible for you and not settle for the smaller reward, rather, make some sacrifices that will earn you the more valuable long term reward. Because when you focus on the right things, you will see it all coming together and will realize there is a lot of beauty in the waiting too. It is sad that sometimes we loose our patience because we focus on other people’s journeys and wonder why ours is not like theirs. Comparison has killed so many great things, don’t let it kill yours too.

Relax and take a deep breath, even though it doesn’t seem to be working right now, just breath and continue to give it your all. Build your foundation to be as strong as it needs to be, now add onto that and continue to pick up lessons and memories that are the beauty of your journey. The rest, with time, will all fall into place. Letting things happen slowly even gives you time to figure out if that’s the direction you really want to go in. It gives you a chance to know much more and create your own perfect experience. Train your mind to be patient with small things and it will spill over to the larger things too. Be mindful about what makes you impatient and work on it. It could mean setting better boundaries or maybe getting rid of these things all together, all in all, put yourself first and choose what works for you. Then keep doing that everyday. This is a continuous process and you will definitely not have it all figured out at a go because even the challenges evolve, so evolve with them. And when the push comes to shove, ask yourself, what will I loose for choosing not to wait, and is it worth it?

I hope you enjoyed this read and it encouraged you to be a little more patient with whatever comes to mind when you think of patience. I am learning each day to be a little more patient, but to be honest, some days are better than others. All I do is try to stay encouraged and hope that eventually it will make sense. You know you can never connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them when you look back, so we have to trust that they are all adding up to create a beautiful picture!! Don’t forget to like, leave a comment and share this if it brought some joy & hope into your heart.

Why Meditate?

I remember the first time I ever tried meditation. I had gone to the only place I know to find everything, Google, and found a quick technique to meditate. The post said I look for a calm place, preferably silent and serene; so I sat in my campus bedsitter, I was usually by myself there. Then I was to close my eyes and try silence my thoughts then slowly in equal intervals count from 1 to whatever number I could get to without loosing my concentration, all this and still was supposed to take deep breaths. It seemed so complicated as I read the instructions but I was very idle that day so I decided to try it out.

Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness thus achieving a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Meditation is a practice that you progressively grow into as you continue to set out time for it. It may seem complicated in the beginning but with time you are able to create your own style and enjoy its benefits. Before I go further, I think it is a good time to also define mindfulness; it’s paying attention in a certain way to a particular thing, here in relation to meditation, the thing would be your thoughts and emotions. Meditation to many may seem impossible because we think we need our minds to be blank to make it work. There is absolutely no way to stop your mind from thinking. Trying to do that will either get you thinking even more or having a massive headache. We can however focus our minds on certain things helping us clear our minds, focus our attention and eliminate jumbled up thoughts that may be crowding up our minds.

There are a variety of types of meditation depending on what you may want to work on, and you do not have to stick to one. All these self care habits are fluid and dynamic. There is a whole lot of benefits to meditation that span across all boards and I’m here to tell you why it is so important to add this ancient practice to your regular routine. First and according to me one of the most important is that it brings with it the feeling of calm and peace. The world is a busy place and if you are not mindful of your days you may find yourself feeling like a rogue rollercoaster. Taking a few minutes a day to ground yourself and letting the world move in slow motion helps you focus more on the things that really matter to you and helps you deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed. Meditation has been proven to be a simple and fast way to reduce stress and to be honest a lot of us experience internal and external stress everyday. Meditation can help us clear the cloud and find working solutions to the things that are bringing us stress by gaining new perspective on these situations. During meditation we could also build skills to manage stress because once you know the root cause of a problem it is easier to deal with it.

There’s a beautiful balance that exists once you accept your past traumas and are hopeful about the future without the need to control the outcome. You get to keep your focus in the moment thus making you a lot more productive. It also helps you better understand yourself thus increasing self awareness. There is no limit to your self awareness and the more you uncover, the more there is to discover and learn about yourself. I have come to really enjoy doing this through meditation because of the calm and harmony that I find as I carry out this practice, I must say it is really beautiful. Self awareness is an esteem booster in so many ways especially because it helps you see all your good qualities and strengths, this without blinding you from the few weaknesses that you may have. Knowing both sides of the coin is extreme power. Originally, meditation was used to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life, this I believe is the reason why it helps us tap into our deeper selves so well. There is a level of consciousness that we achieve when we let our minds freely leap out of our ordinary routines.

Meditation really improves your imagination and creativity. I think with a calm mind, we are able to silence all the noise and get to see life from an entirely different perspective. It makes us more open minded to the possibility of there being more to life than we see everyday. We get to experience life in our minds and for whatever talent you may possess, you get to venture deeper into levels that you may never have known existed. Even for those of us who really don’t know our talents or passions; those who wonder where their lives are going or seeking motivation or inspiration, this sacred practice has been seen to produce very positive results in these areas. Tapping into your inner being also helps you attain higher levels of tolerance with others, compassion towards those around us and the general attitude of loving and kindness. We get to realize that we are all different and it is the differences that make the world beautiful.

So on that day, as I sat there, my eyes closed counting my numbers, 1.. 2.. 3.. 4… I didn’t notice it but at some point, I barely got to ten, I lost count and my mind started to roam. I wish I could remember what was on my mind. But it felt calm and peaceful in there. Then I caught myself thinking so I went back to the counting. Again, I stopped to count and thought through some issues that were in my mind. The problems seemed clearer because I was dealing with them one at a time. Every time I caught myself thinking, I stopped and started counting all over again. I just kept repeating this for a while till I felt more calm, maybe 15 minutes later, then I stopped. I do remember feeling great afterward and I knew I had to do this again. Nowadays, I use calming music or sometimes I sit in the serene outdoors and get this wonderful me time. Sometimes I just lay in bed and do a 5 minute meditation before I sleep, other times it’s just a few deep breaths as I recite my mantras in my mind.

There is a whole range of benefits that arise from meditation and I have enjoyed them for a while now and I really recommend it to anyone and everyone. It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, it doesn’t matter if the advantages I have stated above relate to you or not. I’m pretty sure there is something to discover in your mind. Join me next time as I take you through how to start and maintain a helpful meditation practice. Until then, spread peace, love and unity to those around you. And don’t worry, we are all in this together and some days will be better than others but always remember not to give up on either day!

Just Enough

When you think of peace, what do you think about? Do you see a pool of still water or a tranquil forest. Do you think of a certain country or a certain person who you think has a very smooth sailing life? Do you think of a crowd of people, happy and enjoying themselves like in a concert? What really does peace feel like? Now bring that closer into your mind… How does peace feel for you? Does it mean a life free from all the trouble, disagreement and strife? Well I hope that’s not it because you’ll never achieve that. Today I’m here to tell you about inner peace. This like all the other Heartfelt journeys is very personal and keeps evolving as you put your mind to it. For me, I hold my peace very close to heart because I have lived in days that I have felt everything slip away and the ground below me disintegrate yet still be required to keep moving forward. You know they say, time waits for no man! and I have come to know it’s true for women too.

Peace is one of those things that when it’s there, no one really pays any attention on how to maintain it, we barely even recognize that it is there. We go about just living enjoying the fruits of a tree we know nothing about. Once we loose it though, it feels like our lives have been turned upside down, it is a mess, we feel weak and defeated wondering what exactly happened. We loose control!

The dictionary defines peace as freedom from disturbance, tranquility. Inner peace however, is a bit more complicated because you can never really be free from disturbance. Inner peace is the deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors that arise in our everyday lives. What this means is that your peace depends entirely on the choices that you make each day; to either protect or loose that tranquility.

So how do we find this seemingly elusive peace? It begins with being brutally honest and true to yourself so that you can look within and begin to see the things that steal your peace. I should mention now that the mere fact that we are human is one of the biggest thieves of our peace. Our need to control the outcomes of situations leaves us feeling disappointed and down. Attachment to things or people could also lead to the same feelings since we have no control over the things that happen around us. So the first step to leaving a peaceful life would probably be to let go of all the things you can not control and focus on what you can. I have also noticed that vices like jealousy and pride work against our quest towards a peaceful life. Be happy for that person who made it before you for we only make it further by standing on the shoulders of those that came before us. Don’t let your ego deny you peace by not letting you see beyond your own faults and weaknesses.

We have to focus on finding peace to find it, what you spend most of your time thinking about is what you become. Practicing mindfulness in what we consume; in food, entertainment or friendships, plays a big role in living a peaceful life. It is important to take time each day to take note of how different experiences made us feel. I know, the food you consume doesn’t seem like it could have any direct effect on your mental peace but it does. If you eat well you have enough energy to carry out all that you need to do, that way, you end the day feeling fulfilled. That way you relax at the end of the day not stressing about how your day could have gone. Peaceful ain’t it? And on the point of letting things go, it’s okay to have a bad day, don’t let it get to you. We try again tomorrow!

Life is an interesting journey and through it we evolve and become better people, sometimes you will outgrow things or even people you once liked, don’t loose your peace trying to hold on to them. Allow yourself to evolve without need to explain yourself. Avoid trying to change others to fit into the new you because they probably won’t and that will end up being a burden on you. It also helps to be assertive with who you are becoming and not swaying with whatever others want you to be. Build a team of good company that allows you, actually encourages you, to be who you want to be, while holding you accountable incase you slip off the plan.

The basic virtues like gratitude go a long way. The more grateful you are the more you realize that even if the day seemed bad there are a couple things that went quite alright and that’s more than enough. I have noticed that your perspective going around your days holds a great power over you. There is always a different way to see things and I encourage you to see the better side and live a hope filled life. Being good in a world where things usually don’t go your way just because you are good may seem counter productive but I must say that it is very important to do and be good. Do this without expecting anything in return and you’ll see the difference. Your desires too must be aligned to your goodness.

Our peace is fragile and I honestly can’t confess to a day that I went around with my peace intact without the creeping in of negative thoughts and “what ifs”. It’s normal to loose it but its your job to train your mind to protect it. It starts by evaluating your thoughts and arresting them before you loose the train into negativity. You need to find what triggers any negativity and build boundaries to protect your “boarders”. It could be against people or experiences but that’s for you to honestly find out and work on. Spending time in nature calms us down and could help clear your mind enough to find the peace you desire. Regular exercise has also been proven to have the same effect. Meditation is just the best to calm your mind and deal with the thoughts that keep popping up, this way you can realize the thieves of your joy and work to protect yourself from them.

Yeah, life doesn’t always go how we want it to go, so let’s just learn to accept that it has the upper hand and work with whatever life throws at us; be it lemons or candy canes. Always remember you are not a finished product and enjoy whoever you are right now. If you wait till you are perfect to be happy, you’ll wait forever. Live each day knowing you have no assurance for the next, so don’t worry too much about the details and let life flow. There’s a little rule I use “if it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend 5 minutes worrying about it”. Most importantly you should know that there are very few things more disconnecting than living a life you weren’t meant to live, so just make sure to stick to your lane.

Peace for me feels like the beats to a chill pop song like Saturday nights by Khalid, flowing slowly and calmly in the background. A predictable sequence of instruments that sooth my mind & body. I think like this mostly because of how much I love music, I think I can describe all my feelings with a song or at least a beat. Now how does peace feel for you? You describe it with whatever feels right and fight to keep it with all you have coz you deserve it as much as I do.

How to keep a journal

You may have read this title and wondered why on earth would I even want to have a journal, leave alone want to learn how to keep one. That’s because you’ve not checked out my previous post; Why have a journal? Go on now, check that out and we’ll be here waiting for you.

Now that we are all together, we could start on how to keep a journal. In this article I shall guide you through the process of starting your journaling journey and how to continue it. Honestly it is usually quite exciting to get started on something new, especially when you feel like you need it. With time though, you may need more motivation to keep up the routine than just the fact that “you need it” or “that it is a fun thing to do.” A big part of it will require your genuine and constant dedication to the whole idea. It also requires an understanding of the benefits and purpose of the whole exercise because once you have your why defined clearly, it’s always easier to hold yourself accountable.

That said, I feel like it’s time for us to dive right into the different aspects we can tackle, focus on and ultimately improve with journaling. My favourite reason to journal is for self reflection. This usually requires that you pour out your thoughts and step back and analyze the things that you have written down trying to figure out what prompted the thoughts and how exactly they make you feel then resolving any negative energy that comes with it and appreciating all the positivity around you. Focusing on the positive things could go a long way in improving your mood and mental wellness. Having a gratitude journal helps you dedicate time to this aspect fully. You could also journal to help yourself get more organized and a planner kind of journal would work very well in this case. It could be a project or dream you are working on and the journal can help you break the project into bite sized steps that you can keep yourself accountable for. You could also journal your interests, this helps a lot with finding our passions and purpose. It helps you tune into your creativity and the things that make you come alive.

There are many different styles to journaling and each one of them produces a beautiful effect on you. Your journaling style could be more visual, more written or a synergy of both, visuals usually include pictures or drawings. I’ll start off with bullet journaling; here you just jot down points without much explanation of what happened, you just give a statement mostly saying how something made you feel. An example could be; the pandemic got me feeling frustrated. or Today I really liked how it felt to run the meeting. You could have as many points per entry as you like. This is quite similar to another style; the one line a day. Here you will need a more inclusive statement that describes the whole day. An example would be, Although there is a lot more I could improve on, I feel satisfied with how far I have come with my blog. For these short entries, it is advisable that after you are done writing, you take some time to internalize the statement and shading more light to it. List making is also a very helpful journaling style and helps a lot when it comes to getting organized. There is also the classic kind of journal where you recount you day on paper expressing your feelings and emotions through the day. This is usually really nice especially if you are trying to work through your emotions or deal with trauma & tragedy. For visual journaling, you could have a scrap book full of memories and statements that remind you of the days. This is honestly the most fun way to journal but it requires a lot of dedication so make sure your why is strong enough.

Now that we know different styles and aspects of journaling, it is time to get some tips & tricks on how to keep the consistency and make it fun. The best way is to begin is to get a beautiful book that will encourage you to do it. Supermarkets nowadays have wonderful notebooks that are affordable. If you would like to take the high road and buy a custom book, there is a lot available online. Personalize the book as much as you like, it always encourages you to keep the habit. Now create a relaxing routine around the whole exercise, it could involve some meditation or good music. Anything that makes you comfortable and at ease. It is necessary to note that you do not have to journal everyday but do it as often as seems good for you. This is especially true for scrap booking and the classic style journals. Writing everyday may take away the whole experience. You could pick two days a week that work well for you and work with that. Always remember that this is work in progress and it doesn’t have to be perfect, you keep evolving till you find works for you. Keep your entries simple and short to avoid monotony and ambiguity. Sometimes, an empty page can seem intimidating making it hard for you to get started. In this case, you can use some prompt questions to help tackle the stale mate. The image attached to this post has a few prompts you can use and the internet has a whole lot of them.

With all this said, I hope you feel confident now that you know how to get around keeping a journal. I hope this is the beginning of a new interesting journey for you. I’m always here to help through your journey so feel free to shoot your questions at me on the comments or my DMs ♥️

More than a smile

I love being happy, most of my friends say I smile too much. Others always wonder what I’m hiding behind the smile; some deep seated secret that I wouldn’t want to ever get out. Sometimes when it comes up too many times, I tend to doubt if the joy is real. I’m getting over it though, because I’m getting to define it more clearly and finding a deeper grounding on the whole concept of joy.

So what really is joy? Is it a feeling or a mood? Should it sway with each change in emotion? Is it the smile on your face when you bump into a friend you’ve not seen in a while? Or is it that tingly feeling you get when you are in your lovers arms? Maybe the external bubbliness when any good thing happens! What does it really mean to have joy in your life? I think joy is an internal feeling of satisfaction and acceptance. That whatever is going on now, good or bad, with time will pass and a new season will come. Joy is an attitude that comes from the decision within to accept that not everyday has to be amazing for my life to be amazing, rather it’s a beautiful journey full of ups and downs. It’s deciding that you will hold on to the hope that the outcome will be good even when the current events don’t look like they can bear any good fruit.

As I said before, we have to accept that life is as it is and sometimes it doesn’t make sense, but that’s not our burden to carry. All we have to do is make do with what we have and expect that life will flip in our favour. Living like this lightens your load giving you time to focus on the important things. This way you start to see the problems fade away and solutions start to surface. Always remember, a clear mind makes the best decisions and joy is one of the most refreshing feelings there is.

Joy is consistent and cultivated internally. It comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are who and how you are. Starting from a point of satisfaction or contentment, where you are happy to be who you are and even if you are not where you want to be eventually, you lack nothing in the present. Then you have to choose to focus on the positive outcomes rather than the bad days. I’m definitely not suggesting that we should ignore the bad days, we should actually take time to process them then work on healing from whatever damaged they caused. All this while keeping our joy. We should work on letting things go and learning from the experiences because life is an adventure and you can’t stay back striking that tree that hit you, you just have to “forgive it” and carry on with your journey. You also need to let go of the need to control every situation and let things fall into place. This is often not easy because of the hurt one feels at the time of the occurrence but we have to learn to keep our heads above the waves. We have to be grateful for all that we have, the simple things usually are the ones we miss the most when they are gone. Something as simple as how the air feels or the sound of the highway are things we’ll never appreciate till we can’t leave the house anymore. Adding gratitude to our daily routines will spark a certain satisfaction in you that can’t be compared to anything.

There are things that we do naturally that usually steal our joy. We may do them subconsciously but the effects are very real to our conscious selves. The first of these is comparison and coveting. Every time you see something you feel bad for not having it and this triggers your mind to believe that until you get that thing, you can’t be happy and since we obviously can never have it all, you will never find happiness. Our need to control every outcome also comes in between us and joy. Just let life be and focus on what’s going on well rather than what’s not. You give your power to the things that you give space for in you. We should also embrace humility in our lives. I have come to see the truth in the saying that pride comes before a fall! Often when the fall comes, it takes away the joy you found in overvaluing yourself. This is not to say that you should undervalue yourself but rather understand that not all days will have you feeling like the queen and that’s alright. We should always remember that we do not need anything to be happy; this is especially hard for us who have been brought up in this consumer culture where happiness is sold to us in form of trips overseas, stacks of money and pretty ladies dancing all around us. Fight to resist this thief and break free from it’s bondage.

Joy has a really great effect in our lives, it gives you that lightness in your mood and hop in your step as you run your daily schedules. It’s that continuous hope that it will all be alright at the end of it all. There’s a lot of positive effects of joy for your physical, emotional and phycological well being. Your stress levels reduce while your self confidence shoots up, because now you believe you are worthy of whatever it is you set your mind to. This attitude also supports the bigger picture planning and allows you to build big dreams and not give up at every setback. You also get to live in the present more, discovering what makes you happier and what steals your joy. With all these benefits, we should be up in arms defending our joy from all it’s thieves. My three simple steps of this are; awareness, where you should be mindful about how you feel and what makes you feel that way, notice the thoughts that steal your joy. Next you have to stand up against whatever it is that is causing the pain. It may require you to figure out the source and deal with it and heal from the experience. Lastly, you will need to replace the hopeless thoughts with a hope filled attitude that brings a lightness to your existence.

Living a life of joy requires practice and dedication. First you have to decide to choose joy each time even when the going gets tough. I don’t mean that you pretend that whatever is happening is not but rather hold on to the hope for better days. You have to be vulnerable enough also to experience joy. It’s funny that it’s not easy for the mind to allow you to feel joy, to hold on to a positive attitude. The narrative always starts with “wow today is a good day, I made it to work on time and my presentation went great” next thing you know, the devil on your shoulder whispers in your ear “this day is about to go terribly wrong then, it’s too good to be true!” There and then you start to worry about what bad thing could happen; as Dr. Brene Brown puts it, we try to beat vulnerability to it. As if worrying about a tragedy that may or may not happen will have any effect on how the world chooses to go round. All I can say is, let go of the burden of how each day should turn out, rather do all that is in your power to make the good for you and all those that are around you and let the rest be. This way life will seem simpler and each time an obstacle comes up, you will know that it is not because of who you are, rather it was just meant to be!

Go on out now! With that broad smile on your face and confidence in your step, don’t let the world decide how your heart should feel, let your heart walk in joy because joy is much more than just that smile on your face. See you next time.

Why have a journal?

I really love my old journals, they are like a gateway to my past self. The way I thought, acted and what I believed in are all stored there in beautiful pieces. One of the first things I noticed when going through my old journals is that over the years my mindset and personality have been continuously growing, never really changing. My hopes and dreams remain the same but with a bit more clarity with every flip of the year. Well that’s not even the most important part of keeping a journal. This is barely an example of what a treasure a journal can be. It produces big magic from within and helps one get away from the rush of life and take sometime to look into one’s mind, sorting out emotions and thinking more clearly.

A journal is a consistent collection or record of the thoughts and feelings surrounding your life. There’s a difference between a journal and a ordinary diary. The first comes from the contents of the two, a diary contains a record of events with a little touch of feeling that surround the happenings of a certain day or week. A journal on the other hand contains mostly thoughts and the feelings surrounding the thoughts. The second difference of the two is the mindfulness involved while writing; for a journal one should be absolutely conscious, ensuring to analyze the thoughts and feelings trying to find solutions to problems or discover yourself.

The practice of mindful journaling is very useful in our urban lives, it should feel like an escape from the daily rush and need to get things done; an allowance of peace and relaxation in our lives. For starters, it helps you clear your head. Writing down what you think and feel helps you separate these thoughts and find their causes, that way you don’t go around feeling like you have a bad life but rather you know why your mood was bad and work to fix the problem. It also helps organize the events in your mind allowing you to make important connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Studies have shown that mindful journaling can actually buffer/reduce the effects of mental illness and also make sense of trauma and your reactions.

Did you know, when you write something down, your mind lets go of the thought and allows your logical part of the brain to deal with it. Journaling helps us free our minds from processing the jumbled up thoughts and feelings thus resulting in us getting better sleep and this interestingly improves our physical health. This will definitely improve your productivity. A clear mind makes it easier to make the right decisions since the mind has space to think of the right things. A clear mind thinks smart. It takes a step back to find the solution that will easily and quickly solve the problem rather than that which will just solve the problem. An analogy is used that refers to two lumberjacks who want to cut a tree using an axe. One decides that he will hit the tree as hard as he can with his axe, land as many hits per minute as he can, until the tree comes down. This solution does cut the tree in good time but the lumberjack is so tired he can’t do anymore work that day. The second lumberjack takes time to sharpen the axe and in record time, his tree is down leaving the lumberjack with enough time and energy to do anything else. This is true for us too, if we take some time to clear our minds, we are more likely to achieve our goals in the most sustainable ways.

A journal is a very important tool in the journey of self discovery. It is a healthy way to get through your emotions and it encourages healing; this is by allowing you to process the emotions brought up by a certain event and see clearly that it is not because you are less than enough that certain things happen to you. This also builds your confidence because you start to discover how dope you are and how sane the advice you give yourself is. You get to know parts of you that you may not have known existed. As you continue to make it a routine, you connect with yourself more making it easier to choose yourself over others every time. Journaling could also be a very helpful meditation tool. While I find the space of meditation in my mind to be very serene and beautiful, it might be hard for most logical thinkers to let their minds roam in the way meditation allows. Using your journal you can meditate upon your thoughts and feelings giving you the same effect as any other form of meditation. This kind of ‘me time’ is rare and very beneficial to the mind.

In many ways, journaling is like creating a gateway to your mind, a safe space where you allow logic to go ahead of feelings. It gives you a space to rant while getting solutions rather than dampen your spirit as gossip would. You notice that I do not advocate that anyone keeps their feelings bottled up inside, but there are more beneficial ways to deal with it rather than causing a scene. The best thing about journaling according to me is how much personalization can be done to it. As you continue to discover what makes you tick inside, you could always edit how you take your records. Another thing about it is that it is very freeing and it seems to expand your world and boost morale. It slows you down to think of your thoughts, emotions and goals and how best to deal with what life throws your way. It brings up some beautiful stillness that we require every now and then.

There are many ways to keep a journal, many ways to trigger the mind to self analyze and produce meaningful results. Starting with how often one should journal, to what to write in the journal and how to practice mindfulness when journaling, it might seem like rocket science. This however is not the case and with practice it all comes together very easily. Join me next time as I take you through the “how” on all matters journaling . It will be an in-depth look at how to start and be consistent in your journal keeping. I will also suggest a few prompt questions to help in the journey of self discovery as well as some to deal with negativity or failure and others on goal setting. Until then, spread the love, share this link and let this knowledge sip into your soul. See you then!

Who do you love?

Love is ; playing hard to get. This is a definition written on a tee I had growing up. I never put much thought into it, maybe I should have. I barely follow the quote in my love life and time and again it has led to the inevitable. This is not the kind of love I’m preaching about today though. Today I’m on a more selfish mission, I’m here to talk about self love. This kind of love fills you up from the inside out, always overflowing to those around you. There has been a lot of talk around this topic and a wide variety of opinions shared. Just like anything else handed to us, it has had it’s fair share of misinterpretation that sometimes leads us astray and we wonder how this life giving practice could have made life this tough, or made living this dull?

So what exactly is this self love? What does it mean to love yourself? Growing up, I don’t think I gave any attention to this, I’m not sure I even heard the phrase. More often, I was taught to share, to care for others, to finish my food because “why would you waste food yet there are kids in Turkana dying of hunger?” While all these are good to learn, I wouldn’t imagine a life without this virtues, I wish I was taught more than simply that the opposite of this was being selfish. Now, all grown up I know that self love means having high regard of my own wellbeing and happiness. It is taking care of my own needs and not sacrificing my own well being to please others. It is not settling for less than I deserve. None of this is in any way or form is selfish!

The journey to self love is both liberating and scary. It may feel lonely sometimes, but that’s only because you are the only one who truly understands what’s going on. Looking back from this other side, having the hindsight I have now, it is a really beautiful journey. While I travelled though, it seemed like unending uncertainty. Always wondering if all this turmoil would amount to anything; the days of facing my demons and accepting them, then to trying to change them to serve for my benefit rather than my downfall.

This journey that I have come to learn and love starts with acceptance. Accepting that your past is the past and how ever cringed your heart feels when you think of the things that loom back there, you give space to forgive yourself and whoever was a part of it that didn’t serve you. It is important to let go of the things that hurt you and believe that they served a purpose that you may never figure out. Only after you really forgive yourself will you be able to answer the next question. May I add at this point that forgiving yourself won’t be a like flipping a magic switch, then everything will be okay, it may take some time; be compassionate through the process. We often are too hard on ourselves so please keep reminding yourself that you deserve the forgiveness too.

Now ask yourself, if I truly and deeply loved myself, who would I be? What would I do? How would I behave? If I truly and deeply loved myself, how would my life look like!

Self love is like a jello bubble, somewhere you are secure from external harm. You will have to build up this barrier and make sure that the barrier in it self isn’t self-destructive. What I mean by this is, there are some rules to the game such that the love is pure and wholesome, so that it never turns selfish. Start from a point of gratitude. Believe that all you have now is all that you need at this time. Now believe that you can do more to get what you want and desire. Remember, we have to take responsibility for all that we are, our actions and reactions, our attitudes and thoughts. You must know that you are in control and you are the only one who truly has any power to steer your ship. We have to take time and go within – tap into your inner being – and connect. This is where you find out who you truly are and want to be, finding out your true sources of joy. Let it be known that there are no mistakes in this journey and you are allowed to switched up any time, because as your mindset shifts so does your lifestyle. Take care of yourself, mind your well-being and put yourself first more often than not. It may seem weird at first but don’t worry, just like any muscle, if you keep working on it, it becomes stronger, it becomes easier to choose you! Then all you’ll have to do is keep vibrating higher, seeking more and dedicating more time to your own power.

Always keep in mind that it all begins and ends with you! And if you continue feeding your bubble just right, you’ll start to see life shift and the days being a lot brighter, life will be full of colour. Your smile will come naturally and you feel more beautiful – handsome too, don’t feel shy. Others opinions will not matter as much and you’ll end up feeling more confident in yourself and your ideas. Your relationships and friendships will grow, or be outgrown because now, you’re living a different lifestyle and believing you deserve better, because you are giving a whole lot better. Your body will feel healthier and your spirit free! Each day, you’ll wake up more driven and motivated to be the best version of yourself and to try make the world a better place. And that right there, is living life in colour!

My mum is the most self loving person I know. She lives freely and happily each day even with all the responsibility bestowed upon her! She’s a lot I must say, serving as a school principal, a mum, a wife, a friend to many, a sibling … And far much more. She never forgets herself though, sneaking in time to listen to her body and know when to rest and recharge, when to push herself a little harder. She makes me happy when she notices a bad habit creeping in and works hard to get rid of it. That’s just beautiful! I strive each day to be more like her. The most important thing I have learnt from her is the fact that this is a journey and it takes time and effort. The ways to love your self change with time, sometimes with the situation. All you need to know is how you feel, then show yourself the love you need. She always emphasises that she’s doesn’t always have it under control, but she works her way around it, always!

I hope it has been a good read and you’ve learnt a thing or two. Don’t be shy to drop a comment down below, quote a line that moved you. Show some love with the like button and tell me whatever is on you mind. Always feel free to reach out, all details are on my contact page. If you need any help to go further through your self love journey I would propose the book by Kamal Ravikant, “Love yourself like your life depends on it” I really loved it and enjoyed reading it. He has such an interesting way of calling you to the journey, I’m sure you’ll enjoy!. Until next time spread that love ♥️

Tell me

This is the third and final category of my blog; Tell me. It will have two segments, Tell me why and Tell me how.

A few years into my self care journey, I have come to learn there are essential practices I need to infuse into my daily or weekly routines to better care for myself. Some require great dedication while others are very easy to get into the system. At times, especially when you need them most, it’s easy to remember to use these tools; to live in the bubble of care. It’s when times are good and life seems to be flowing easy, when the world seems to be working for you, that we often tend to coast and forget our practices.

This may have very dire effects on our lives because when tragedy strikes; we all know it always comes without warning, it hits hard. It finds us at a time that we have forgotten to take care of ourselves, sometimes forgotten the worth of the practice. We don’t know how and where to let out the pressure that seems to be continuously building up inside us and we crush. A crush that would easily be avoided had we held on to our self care habits. Good thing about having known the habits is there’s a chance for redemption. You could always, after the crush, pick yourself up and be strong again, relearning how to love and care for yourself all over again. That too is beautiful.

In this section I’ll be explaining why even bother picking up different self-care habits and infusing them into your routines. The first habit I ever took up for myself was journaling. I must say this idea was met with a lot of rebellion from my conscious self. In my younger days, I always thought of journaling as a very girlish and petty practice. From the cartoons I had watched over the years; where I learnt about any of this, a diary was a point of weakness. Always prone to be exposed and spark a frenzy of gossip and embarrassment. In school, the ones I went to at least, it was illegal and the secrets it held could very easily get you punished. With time though, I came to discover what a journal should be and how it helps in caring for oneself. I’ll admit, after the initial self discovery journey, I let go of it for a long time but I’m now back at it and life feels real good.

In addition to the why, I will not let you fumble with figuring out how to do these things. The second part will be on how we get to add these habits into our daily lives and how to fully benefit from them. I’ll share the research I do for each topic and share the best ways to get started and stay consistent with your self-care practices. I believe that self-care is far more than just a trend or a passing wave and I’m here to inform you and shift your mindset to see it as it is and how to apply it in your life.

I’m sure this will have a positive impact on you and those around you. What I love most about self care is the fact that it’s ripple effect is endless. It starts with you but never ends there because you see people and life differently, which makes you live a certain way and treat others nicely. I look forward to helping you create a beautiful space in your mind that you wouldn’t rather escape from, instead be a place you enjoy to get lost in as you discover more and more about yourself.

Join me here on Wednesdays to get your dose of the dos and don’ts of self care and why it is important.