Last Day of 2018

This year feels like it did not happen.

2018. The year my life changed.

Those who know me know that I am constantly changing and finding new interests mostly because I’m a naturally curious person but this year was different. I found purpose.

I don’t usually like to write about myself, but here is what happened in 2018:

– I dove deeper into my major and made great relationships with my professors

– I made new friends who continue inspire me

– I created my blog extremely spontaneously and fell in love with it

– I became genuinely happy. Yes there were ups and downs but through bad relationships and experiences I found out how to truly take care of myself

– I became closer to my sister which has been one of the greatest blessings to me

So this is the time of the year where we look back at the year, reflect, then decide on resolutions, right? I keep thinking of the habits I have already implemented and think these “resolutions” are an addition to everything I’ve already added to my life.

So, 2019… I want it to look something like this:

Focus on growth and giving

– Volunteer once a month

– Eat one vegetable a day. Sounds kind of silly I know. Some weeks go by and I’m like when’s the last time I ate a vegetable? So even if it’s just one carrot or even a piece of an avocado this is my goal.

– Read daily. Hard copy. It can be one page but I do need to read more.

– Have a solid morning routine and learn to enjoy working out in the morning. Read, journal, and exercise. I keep hearing that the most productive days are when you get the hardest thing done first.

– Cook more. I am guilty of buying the same foods every time I grocery shop and not making real food. In 2019 I want to learn new recipes and cook one proper meal a week.

– Blog weekly!

-Love more

What’s your resolution?

Why Being Kind Can Mean Being Vulnerable

Does everyone suffer from some kind of social anxiety?

Or am I the only one who feels awkward when I am alone in a hallway with someone walking the opposite direction and can’t decide where to look and when it’s okay to make eye contact and basically over-think everything?I know in my heart the kind thing to do is look at the person and smile or even say hi, but sometimes I just decide to look down and keep walking.

Being kind can actually be kind of scary sometimes. It can take us out of our comfort zones.

So, story time: A few months ago, I took a trip to California. I checked into my flight before I left- window seat. Score! I got on the plane and the person sitting in my row was a guy in his early 20’s. He had red hair and looked like a slightly bigger version of Ed Sheran. I sat down next to him and immediately put in my headphones; it was a 6am flight and I was tired. Five minutes into the flight, he tapped on my shoulder, “you can just punch me if I’m asleep and you need to use the bathroom.” We both chuckled and then I put in my headphones again. We both fell asleep shortly after.

I woke back up and saw him jamming out. He was head nodding and aggressively playing the air guitar with his iPhone. It was hilarious. Clearly, he did not care if anyone was watching.

I didn’t mention this earlier, but for some reason I was feeling extremely anxious on this flight which is rare because I love flying. I stared out the window and took deep breaths in attempts to rid myself of the nervous feelings. I shut my eyes briefly and then he tapped on my shoulder again, “hey can I share some music with you?”

Is this guy trying to sell me his music? I thought to myself, but I didn’t question him. I put in one ear bud and he had the other one in. Before he started to play it, he told me that he had been listening to this song when he was jamming out earlier and he wanted to share the experience with me. The music started playing and it turned out to not be his music, but religious music.

So this guy went out of his way just to share a feeling he received from this song with me- pure joy. For the first time during this flight I felt some peace. 

Moral of the story?

Go out of your way to be kind. You really do not know what other people are going through. One small gesture can make that difference for them. Your actions affect people more than you think. Be vulnerable and be kind. It matters.

8 Easy Ways to Make Someone Else’s Day

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Greet them excitedly when they enter a room

There’s no better feeling than being warmly greeted when you enter a new space. Acknowledge someone else’s presence!

Ask them how they are and dig deeper

“How are you?” “I’m okay, how are you?”  Ask why they are just okay! “What’s going on in your life?” It feels good to know someone cares.

Just smile

It’s funny the power that a smile can have. I can say that my days have been turned around simply by having a stranger smile at me. BE THAT STRANGER.

Notice and remember the small things

People feel good when they feel noticed. Point out small things and they’ll be surprised you actually pay attention to them. Make sure they are positive things though lol.

Show endless gratitude

No matter how small of a favor someone did for you, you need to remember that no one owes you anything. So appreciate the fact that someone went out of their way to do something for you. It will make them happy that they did.

Check-in

Send random texts to see how your loved ones are. You never know how their day is going and it can make the difference. It doesn’t have to be serious- send them a funny meme or cute gif. Its nice to know someone is thinking of you.

Listen

Get off your phone, be present. What is this person communicating to you and why? How are they feeling in this moment? What can you do to show that you are really truly listening? Do it. We all want to be heard.

Be encouraging!

Be the voice of excitement and positivity in their day. Support their wild dreams, let them know they can get through their battles. Believe in them.

 

It is crazy how little effort on your end can make a huge difference on someone else’s day.  Not only does it make them feel good, but it can impact your day for the better as well. 

Diving Deeper into: Love and Kindness Meditation

Love and Kindness

In my “Curious About Guided Meditation? Here was my Experience .” blog post, I talked about how impactful the love & kindness practice portion felt- at one point it even had me in tears.

Since this day, I’ve been eager to learn more about this whole Love & Kindness Meditation thing: what it is, the benefits, and how to practice it on my own time. So here is what I’ve found-

What is LKM?

“Put most simply, Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM) is the practice of cultivating the feeling of universal love – love for all beings, as opposed to personal or romantic love. This is typically done by directing well-wishes towards yourself and others. In Buddhism this is known as Metta, or compassion meditation.” Source here. 

Benefits:

Increases energy

Increases positive emotions & decreases negative emotions

Decreases migraines

Decreases PTSD

Activates & increase empathy

Increases compassion & social awareness

Curbs self-criticism

Better sleep habits

A calmer mind

Brightens complexion

Source 2 + Source 3

How to practice Love & Kindness Meditation in daily life

Here’s one method.

Begin by finding a quiet place, close your eyes, and begin by picturing yourself and say the following-

  1. May I be happy.
  2. May I be safe.
  3. May I be healthy, peaceful, and strong.
  4. May I give and receive appreciation today.

Once you have done this, think of someone you love. picture them in you mind’s eye, and say (in your head or out loud) the following-

  1. May you be happy.
  2. May you be safe.
  3. May you be healthy, peaceful, and strong.
  4. May you give and receive appreciation today.

Repeat this step for everyone you have ever loved, then for someone you feel neutral towards, then someone you don’t particularly like, and end this meditation with picturing the world and do the same.

More information about how to perform meditation here.

 

I hope you learned something new from this post.

This is definitely something I will be putting into practice in my daily life.

Thanks! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Curious About Guided-Meditation? Here Was My Experience.

I walked from the chilling outdoors into a warm, welcoming house. Candles were lit, tea was made, fuzzy blankets were laid out for anybody who wanted one. I was greeted with kindness and a smile when I stepped inside. 

There were three people in the class other than the instructor and me.

We all picked a chair for our relaxation practice. I picked a red chair- one of those that you can rest your head on the sides of. I grabbed a soft purple blanket and reclined my chair. 

The meditation began. It was delivered in three different sections: guided relaxation, imagery, and love and kindness.

Guided Relaxation

In this section, the class was instructed to tighten parts of our body and release them. We started from our toes ending at the top of our heads.

“you may feel like you are melting into your chair” “release all the tension, let go”, our instructor told us gently.

Although worries about my day and future came in and out of my mind, I felt very relaxed. Deep breathing, heavy body. I don’t know if I could’ve gotten out of my chair at that point.

Guided Imagery

In this part, the instructor read a story to us and guided us through it.

In this process, a lot of the story’s details were up to us. It was a guided imagery that had us envision our inner self.

“What colors do you see?”

“What is being said?”

“ What do the people look like?”

This was the hardest one for me. I kept switching what I was seeing because I kept overthinking what I was supposed to be seeing instead of just letting the images flow. I think this part takes a lot of practice. 

Love and Kindness

The was the last part..now this part made me very emotional.

The instructor guided us to imagine two people on either side of us: it could be a family member who you know loves you unconditionally, a trusted friend, or a spiritual being who you know protects you. 

You imagine them sending you love and then you send them love back. This overwhelmed me with emotion. I’m not sure why.

Afterwards, she guided us to picture all of our loved ones (past and present) surrounding us and doing the same thing- getting their love and sending love to them.

We also had to do this with two other groups of people in our lives- people we felt neutral about and someone we didn’t particularly like.

At the end, she had us picturing the world and giving it a hug and wishing everyone love and happiness. I can’t describe how I felt in this moment- almost as though a weight had been lifted but again it was indescribable.

What do I think about guided meditation?

I think everyone should definitely give it a try. It feels really good and even if you try once it can give you tools to practice meditation on your own.

My favorite by far was the love and kindness at the end. This is one I want to put into my daily practice. I think depending on what you want to work on in your meditation one type might resonate with you more than others.

If you have any questions about the process definitely ask and if you have done one yourself I would love to hear what your experience was like!