Discovering Strength, Inspiration, Life

Life’s Unexpected Travels

Lately, I’ve been needing to remind myself that some of the turns and twists that I am faced with in life, are not just to fault me, or disrupt my feeling of balance. But these twists and turns are an invitation to discover something else about myself…

How do you make sense of unexpected disruptions in your life?

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All Rights Reserved.
Please also visit my photography site: Photography by Bella Bleue

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Discovering Strength, Healing, Inspiration

HopeFull Healing

Fill yourself with hope, and abundance will overflow within you.

What does being hopeful feel like within you?

For me it’s like an ocean flowing within me, and each time I think of something I am hopeful for a beautiful drop of water falls into my ocean, making a splash, sending ripples , and connecting other drops of hope together. It’s like filling myself up with goodness and peace. And the feeling is so full that  I have to connect to things outside myself, and share this wonderful energy with all that surrounds me. This sharing comes from the healthy longing I have for something good, something wonderful…

I call hope a healthy longing, because being hopeful, actually does make us healthier. For example: Have you ever reflected on when you’ve been sick with a cold? Most of us, when we are sick, may be frustrated that our cold is getting in our way. We may do things to take care of ourselves like, resting, getting our vitamin C, and drinking hot tea with honey. We do these things because they are good for us, but have you ever realized maybe you are doing these things also because you are hopeful that you will get better?  This HOPE to get better, motivates you to take care of yourself because you want to be well.  And within this HOPE is also your ability to imagine…you are able to imagine what you will feel like when you are better. Imagining something wonderful and good for you, fills your body with HOPE.  And this HOPE flows within you, filling your body with goodness, healing energy and love. Hope allows your body to rest, by filling your cells with positive energy; i.e., your body isn’t fighting something off instead it is creating balance, equilibrium.

Hope also creates a wonderful energy within our spirit. I often imagine hope is like a flame that keeps burning even when the oil has run out. This kind of hope ignites our spirit…invites us, and even forces us to move forward in a positive way. It creates a longing within our hearts that makes all that is good within us blossom within us. Hope removes our fear and disappointment and fills us with “confident expectations”  that what we want in life will truly happen for us.

I know that being hopeful has brought me through experiences and circumstances in my life, that I would not have gotten through without it. When I was depressed it was very challenging to be hopeful. But it was the one thing that did keep me going. I don’t know how I would have made it without some kind of hope. That is why I deeply believe that “hope is a flame that keeps burning even when the oil has run out.” I kept believing that one day things would be better, even in the midst of my “valley of tears.’ And it did. It is hope that continues to keep me moving forward—and in difficult times, it is the remembering of when I have been hopeful and life has brought me into the light of goodness that gives me strength.

What has hope done for you in your life?

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All rights reserved.

Connecting to the wonder we are, Discovering Strength

Take a Step Back from Your Challenges

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All Rights Reserved.

Please also visit my photography site: Naturescapes, Flowerscapes & Cityscapes

Connecting to the wonder we are, Life

When Love Hurts: Keep on Loving and Living Anyway

It’s inevitable that love and pain will dance together in our lives, no matter how hard we try to keep them apart.

A really beautiful woman, who I have been blessed to have in my life, now has Stage 4 Cancer. She  is a woman “full of grace” and absolutely amazing.  She is a warrior queen who rages against her battle with a softness and love for life, that breaks all boundaries of the kingdom of the “Big C,” and day by day she gently and powerfully conquers with another day of living life.  She often dresses up with a colorful scarf atop her head, that draws out the beautiful colors of her eyes, that sparkle every time she smiles. She reminds me that every day life is worth smiling about, even when it really sucks. And even more importantly, she has taught me: that even when life seems like it is trying to close its door on you, keep reaching out in open arms and gently say to it, “I’m still here. And I’m ready to receive you and accept you, even if what you are placing in front of me is not what I want because I WANT TO LIVE.”

And this is why Love and pain will always dance together. They dance together in this deeply real image of  my beautiful friend (our beautiful friends) moving in perfect rhythm to the music of life, while death keeps stepping on her toes and throwing her off balance every once in a while until it wins [in the literal sense]. It’s the deeper reality for those of us watching this happen: that at times Love Really Hurts.

Loving my friend brings with it a deep hurt: I know deep down inside that she is going to die: there will be an emptiness inside me when she is gone, and it hurts right now because her inevitable death seems so unfair because she is so good and she wants to keep LIVING.

And because I love her,  deep down inside my heart is that painful question of,”WHY?”

“Why if she is soooo good, and sooo loved, does she need to suffer? Why did she have to get sick? Why does she have to die at such a young age? Why….and the questions keep coming.

I know that I can answer these questions in a very spiritual manner…and connect to an understanding of spiritual, emotional and bodily suffering as a part of life, and a Creator and the Beloved who suffers with me, with her… and at times brings me great comfort…

But…that’s an answer that may only fulfill me, or still may not be enough…

And so I look deep inside myself and I feel it…and I listen to it. The sadness deep in my heart. The part of me that feels the grief. The inevitable knowing that one day, she won’t be here. The anticipatory awareness that others too are going to hurt. In other words, the parts of me that Love her. The parts of me that are LOVE.

And then the tears come slowly, but deeply. And then the quiet sobs, that make you hold your breath, because your body just hurts too much.

Then you get yourself back together. And you put your feet back down on the solid ground below you, and you move forward again.

And you remind yourself. She’s not dead yet. She’s still here.  And that she’s living life. And you’ve got to do the exact same thing: LIVE.

And the question is no longer Why, but HOW.

As I return to Love as a powerful force for living rather than for pain, I am able to learn from my friend. She is teaching me how to live my life by the way she shares  her love and welcomes and receives my love; and she teaches me to love life more fully by the way that she lives…

LIVING:

  • Embracing your own fragility,
  •  Being comfortable with questions that don’t have the perfect answer, or maybe even an answer at all.
  • Breathing & Smiling even when life gives you a hurricane when all you asked for was a little rain
  • Loving yourself even when your body is failing you
  • Loving others even when death is knocking on their door
  • Letting your body, mind and spirit weep from the pain with a good cry every once in a while
  • Connecting to your spiritual roots, and allowing them to nourish your spirit
  • Seeking out others to accompany on their journey, and inviting others to accompany you on your journey too

What would you add?

And Living and Loving is what makes you more fully YOU: When you LOVE: and allow all that is LOVE to touch your life, then you LIVE, and by LIVING a deeper more meaningful life—one that doesn’t stop loving because of fear of the pain—you become more fully who you truly are: you become more fully and deeply human.

—This is what I realize now that I have been able to step back from the pain, and going forward can embrace the beautiful reality of how my friend celebrates life through her ability to Love  Life and all that it is.

Below is the message I wrote to my beautiful friend, that I want to share with you.

*

May you always be blessed to know LOVE and to become more fully yourself each and every day by giving yourself the gift of Living life.

Blessings AlwaysErin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All Rights Reserved.

* If any of you would ever like me to write something for someone you love, or even for yourself with one of my images, I would always be honored.

Life, Spirituality

Please: Just Try to be Patient with ME!

It was one of those days. The kind of day when everyone needs you, kind of day. All you hear from the ends of every corner you try to hide in: “I need you, Mama!” And every time you get a moment of “alone-time” (which really is a figment of you imagination) the dog or cat come find you–and of course need to be pet or taken outside. So you literally want to scream! and of course catch the first plane to a secluded island of paradise, but you regain your senses and you grab a hold of the reins of your life: and you patiently respond: “Here I am. What do you need? How can I help you?”

I’m sure we’ve all had days and moments when it seems like no matter where we turn someone needs us or life is making us wait for something we hope will be better.  Whatever these moments are like they require our patience. Patience: that ‘wonderful’ virtue that life tells us to work at each day…well that is if we want to.

“Patience (or forbearing) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.”    —Wikipedia

So as the day went on I did try and work at not being negative: I smiled, let my son climb all over me while I tried to type, played games, made dinner and all the usual housewife stuff with out getting angry at all…

Well, I guess I did show some frustration and raised my voice, a couple times. But I did wait it out until I got to boiling point—(which totally defeats the logic behind being patient). And then as quickly as I let it out, I put all those feelings of negativity and frustration aside and smiled again.

How are you with patience? Is it something easy or challenging for you?

When I used to go to work daily, I was really good at patience. I believed patience was defining of my character and I had to be flawless. No matter how rough or intense the situation was at work, I remained calm and serene.  I credited myself for this virtue. And people affirmed my ability to be patient.

But the problem was, I was so patient at work, i.e., I had a really high endurance for staying positive and calm even when I was frustrated or overwhelmed, that I didn’t release any of these feelings (frustration, etc.) during the day. So the negative feelings would show up at home when I felt annoyed about a house chore or responsibility; and these feelings would be released in the communication between my husband and I.  Which of course did not do wonders for our relationship.

Now that I have been away from my work environment for 8 months, I realize that although being patient at work was a virtue I prided myself on…I was not good at taking care of myself because I didn’t have a healthy outlet to release my exhaustion, frustration, or negativity that sometimes was welling up inside me while I was being patient. And I am reminded  that I am still not really taking care of myself because I experience these negative feelings when I’m at home from time to time, and I’m still not always good at creating an outlet to release them.

Do you have a way to take care of yourself when you feel exhausted from being patient?

Today I’ve come to realize that I can offer patience over and over, and continue to put on my smile for everyone, but if I am not taking care of myself while being patient, then I am doing no one a service. When I start feeling frustrated or I get impatient: wanting things to change right then and there, I get down on myself. For example, I often get the idea that I should be able to be all these things: a patient worker, a patient mother, a patient wife, a patient caregiver, a patient believer, a patient follower, etc.

But as I’ve been writing this I realize I’m doing the best I can, right? So if I have the patience for other people to be imperfect and I have the patience to wait for them to figure things out shouldn’t I offer the same kind of patience to myself? WHY OF COURSE I SHOULD. So there’s a bit of wisdom I’ve discovered. Now I just need to act on it.

What about you? Are you good at being patient with yourself when life isn’t going exactly the way you want it to, or when you just can’t seem to get life right? Are you able to provide yourself with compassion and patience while you are working on healing or recovery?  I’m going to work on all these things starting today.

We all deserve to love ourselves and one of the ways to do this is to offer ourselves the gift of patience. A gift of patience that says: “I’m not perfect, and there’s no way I can be. I am always healing, always learning, always growing…Learning to love myself and my life is an ongoing process every day.”

I truly believe that when we are patient with each other, and patient with ourselves: by allowing healing to take the time it needs to, by allowing ourselves to feel different emotions, and by allowing ourselves to take as much time to grow and develop as we need to, we will all be happier, healthier people. And Life in general will be a much more pleasant experience for us all.

So offer yourself the gift of patience.  And be well.

…and as I finish this post my son is running around the house and playing his drums…breathe…”Patience is a Virtue.” Breathe again. Smile. Amen. 

He finally went to sleep. Now I get to edit. And the house is quiet. I really worked at being patient with myself and my son today, and it seems to be paying off. And my husband was patient with me tonight too, and said, “Go ahead and work on your post” while I clean up after dinner. Wow! What a gift. I guess being patient does pay off sometimes!

Blessings, Erin, Bella Bleue

Related articles:
Be Patient with Yourself by Steve Pavlina
How to be Patient

©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™ All rights reserved.

Healing, Health

I’m Grieving and I’m Healing

Last week I wrote about how to deal with unexpected change. I was blessed with some very supportive answers from fellow bloggers…and an underlying message was to take some time and listen…which I did. I discovered that deep down I was anticipating the grief: the sadness, and pain, I was going to feel because of the change I would be undergoing.  And this anticipatory grief was getting in my way—my feelings were not being tended to, and I couldn’t make any choices because I was ignoring what I was really feeling. It was hard to discover my true feelings because what was going to happen was something good, and yet, I was feeling sad.

When I did my residency at the hospital years ago, I used to talk about anticipatory grief often with my colleagues. I worked in the ICU and Transplant Units and could often tell when death was near and I knew when I was feeling sad about losing my patient and watching the family grieve as well. I understood this grief. It made sense. I could call it by its name. Grieving death was normal…something to be expected—and the people I worked with understood it too. They created a safe place to talk about grief. 

BUT! Grief isn’t just an experience before or after someone dies—Grief  is also very normal in the every day dealings of life. Every Day Grief can happen when: we have a baby & everything in life changes, or the kind of grief we have when we finish college, or the kind of grief we have when we move out of state, or the kind of grief we have when we realize we aren’t living the life we had hoped for and so on. [This kind of] grief  is not something we usually want to talk about in our culture. Consequently, when I say, I’m grieving about some future event or something I’m going through, I notice I often get the expected response: “It will be okay. Don’t worry so much.” Yet, the response I really need is a good LISTENING EAR, that is comfortable with my feelings…that says, “I hear what you are saying, and if you need anything, I’m here for you.”

I believe that  if we, as a culture, were more comfortable with grief, we all might be a lot happier & healthier in life: We could talk about what we feel—and feel listened to—and be able to move through our grief more naturally and comfortably.

  • We wouldn’t be hiding our feelings: Our grief wouldn’t be a hidden experience in our lives that keeps us feeling down—we would be dealing with what we were feeling and give ourselves the chance to understand what we really need at that time
  • We would be dealing with our feelings while they were happening: We would be able to be in the moment instead of  misunderstanding our feelings for something else.
  • We wouldn’t be as reactive to people who are close to us: Sometimes when we don’t understand our grief we may be more reactive towards  people we are close to. For example, we may get angry with our spouse because he or she says the wrong thing, when the real reason we are angry is because we don’t feel like we are being cared for—
  • We would be able to ask for help or care more easily when we know that we are grieving—if grieving is an accepted part of life–people won’t feel shamed for their feelings or experience of grief and thus, be more in tune with themselves and what they need when feeling this way.

Do you recognize when you are grieving?
Are you comfortable about feeling grief?
Are you able to talk openly about your grief? Whether it be about death, change, loss of self or identity, etc.?
 

It is always amazing to me how so many of us talk about wanting to be happy and positive all the time, but in doing so we often forget how important it is that we allow ourselves to feel sadness, anger, loss, etc. because by allowing ourselves to be open about our feelings we actually are allowing ourselves to heal—and the healing invites the positive, happy, joyful feelings to naturally arise.

Give yourself the gift of being tender with you, and let yourself grieve when you need to. Grief comes and goes whenever it wants to show up so don’t be hard on yourself and say, “What’s wrong with me?…Just let it be: accept it and love yourself enough to say, “It’s okay that I feel this way today.” And trust that there will be better days ahead when the time is right!

But also remember that being consumed with grief that leads to depression or grief that begins to interfere with your life, is not healthy— and you should seek help when you need it! You deserve to be well!

Blessings,Erin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™

*photo from Wikpedia: Angel of Grief