How to Heal in 365 Ways

Good morning to whomever may be reading, I hope today finds you well. Yesterday (Wednesday), I took the opportunity to post some of my current sentiments on my blog’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MelissasMorningMusings/) after learning of upsetting and emotional developments the day prior. (Tuesday)  For those of you who may not follow or view my blog’s Facebook page, I thought I would share my thoughts here on the blog, as I feel they are imperative ones to mention:

Yesterday’s Facebook Post:

Yesterday, around 4pm, I casually clicked over to my social media pages not expecting to see or notice anything particularly significant. It had only been roughly 2 hours or so since I last checked and yet, with the click of a button, I quickly noticed something dramatic and heart-wrenching.

Several years ago, I noticed a new book that sparked by interest by the name of – Staying Strong 365 Days a Year. It surprised me at first to see who the author was – none other than singer/performer, Demi Lovato. Not previously a big fan of hers, I was intrigued by her book as I flipped through the pages. Each page is dedicated to a specific day of the year, packed with motivational quotes, thoughts and ideas. After reading the book and noticing how forthcoming Demi was in her personal struggles, often using them to motivate, encourage and connect with others, I began to see her in a new light.

Demi Book Page

For me, I admired her bravery and candid conversations. She didn’t shy away detailing her struggles, but rather openly shared them, perhaps providing a platform for others to do the same.

Yesterday, that grave news I noted discovering, was Demi’s relapse. Today I read several pages of her book and settled on today’s lesson on personal passion and now we can use it to not only help ourselves, but others, as well. With that being said, I wish Demi an emotional and physical healing, hoping that she can embrace her own motivational words and concepts she speaks of in this very book.

Demi book

After I posted my memories and thoughts on my blog’s Facebook page, I continued my reflections on Demi. My thoughts wandered back to just months ago when my mom and I watched her YouTube documentary together. The entire two hours or so documentary was captivating and honest, leaving me shocked at some points, but thankful for her honesty and candid nature. It’s often easy for me and perhaps others to see a celebrity on the screen or hear them on the radio and believe their lives are near faultless or in a way “easier” in a sense than the average civilian. However, Demi’s relapse and several other stars tragic circumstances as of late is evidence and reason enough to believe we are all only human and none of us are truly immune. We are not faultless, but I believe we all possess the strength and ability within us to overcome the challenges and personal struggles faced. With that being said, it isn’t typically easy by any means, but Demi has proved herself, time and time again, she can weather the pain and anguish living deep within her and use those struggles as a platform to heal not only herself, but others. During one’s own personal struggle, it can be easy to isolate or feel they are the only ones afflicted, but when people like Demi are honest and transparent about their challenges, sometimes even to the extent where some might find it uncomfortable or difficult to hear/watch, it can empower others to take the first step towards positive change and healing.

Recovery is not linear. To further explain this statement, the way I perceive recovery is similar to the weather. One minute outside it can be abundant sunshine with azure skies, but the next moment, a torrential downpour and thunder/lightening can overtake. Situations in recovery and albeit the weather, can come without warning. What I feel is most important to focus on during these times, is healing and kindness towards oneself, recognizing faults do not define anyone, they are part of a process, part of a battle and part of the journey to recovery from whatever affliction it may be (drugs, mental illness, physical ailments, etc). To that end, I’d like to share a poem which I feel resonates with any type of personal struggle and how the process of healing is just that.. a process; one requiring patience, kindness, awareness and insight:

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson:

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

If you’re currently healing, hoping to heal, hoping for another to heal, or simply thinking of healing, remember:

Healing Quote

Today’s post is dedicated to Demi Lovato others like her who may be fighting a silent, loud or constant battle. You are seen and worthy of healing.

Demi Lovato

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Unwritten Pages

Happy New Year! A new year is now upon us and has been for the past several hours. The next minutes, days and months ahead are all unwritten pages, waiting to be colored by our choices, chances, decisions, actions, thoughts and beliefs. It is filled with chance and possibility; anything can happen at any moment – this I believe is true, as it was proved me numerous times this past year. Reflecting back, much of 2017 was painful, losing Oliver, not simply a dog, but my family. He is still very much a missing piece to the puzzle that is me. I still sit here looking at the places where he used to lay, wondering if he’ll be back, I still keep the furniture in the same place, thinking he’ll try to crawl between the small spaces, as the inquisitive mind he was. He still lives within me though, encouraging me to continue on, to keep loving animals and dogs like him as much as I can, to go after my goals and my dreams and to simply keep going in spite of the pain of his absence. I know someday the spot where he lay will be filled again with another grateful dog to love, but until then, I’m keeping the spot warm for him/her.

New Year Quote 3

Another truth I learned this past year is we don’t meet people by accident. I’d heard this quote mentioned to me many times in the past, but I never believed it to be true until these past weeks. We meet others for a reason – sometimes I feel it is a lesson, maybe it teaches something about ourselves, perhaps it is a reminder of how far we’ve come or vice versa. Maybe it gives us a new perspective or lease on life, maybe it is a gentle reminder of how insightful we’ve become, or maybe it lets us know that we’re truly doing okay or will be okay. Regardless of the reason, we meet others at a time when we need to and whether we learn the reason why or not, our lives are still impacted, no matter how long it takes us to realize it.

I’d like to conclude this brief post with a quote and sentiment I recently stumbled upon while reading a magazine. It was in the editor’s note to readers and the words she stated were some of the most poignant I ever read, therefore, I couldn’t let it go unmentioned. Here is what she said:

“Years ago, I applied for an internship at the US Supreme Court. During my interview – when asked if prisoners ought to be taught technical and life skills while serving time – I repeated something my mom used to tell me: The ideal way to grow people is the same way you grow tomatoes. A tomato plant can nourish itself with water, air and sun, but without the right support system (like room to grow and a trellis), most tomato varieties won’t survive. In the same way, even though everyone has a personal responsibility, it’s our duty as citizens to set up an environment where people can acquire the skills they need to thrive in a community. When we do this, we all benefit; when we don’t, we all stand to lose.”

She finishes this thought with a statement from Jean Nidetch: “We all have the power within ourselves to create positive change in our lives; once we do, it is our duty to help others find power and strength so they can live the life they want to live.”

For me, when I hear/read these sentiments, they deeply resonate with me. We can’t always help others in the way we want to, but when we seek to guide, advocate and support others, the most important part in this is our intention – whether they choose to accept our words, help and guidance is ultimately their choice, but they can’t choose if we don’t give them the choice. So this year, it’s my goal to be open, to tell my truth and to help others tell or find theirs; lastly, don’t wait for others to be kind, show them.”

New Year Quote 2

Happy New Year!

An Insatiable Longing

It’s been several days and I feel the loss as though it is continuing to happen again and again. Sometimes, the thought of you is still there, but will fall deeper into my mind, but other times, it will arise with a vengeance and often without warning, summoning tears to flood from my eyes. My entire 29-years of life I don’t believe I’ve ever felt a loss as profound as this, the void seeming to grow larger each day. Where I often sit at home, in the living room with my laptop, I’ll look to the right, expecting to see your dog bed sitting there, with you inside, sleeping or relaxing. Other times, I’ll look up across the room at the other sofa, half-expecting to see you sleeping on the arm on the sofa, as you did years prior. Every time I look at your usual spots, however, it’s not you, but the memory of you I see, a memory I carry so deeply in my heart and mind. The longing sometimes increases with such intensity and I can think of little to quell it.

Grieving Quote

These days, some of the only things providing me solace are the several quotes I’ve found in relation to grieving, such as these:

“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”

More so than anything, I hope for my loved ones to heal; watching them hurt and me not being able to take away their pain is one of the hardest parts. Grieving is a process, an individual one for all of us, but I hope they know I’m recognizing their pain and hoping for a healing for all of us and that our Oliver knows how truly loved he was and will always be.

Dog Grief

 

Every Healing Has a Paw

That day stands out to me like no other. It was May 20, 1997, a warm, humid day, in late Spring. As a newly-minted 9-year-old, it was customary for me to ask the same question each day after school as I approached my mom, who would be waiting for me at the end of the hallway in the school building at just about 3:30pm; how is Grandmom? Since the preceding October, my maternal Grandmother diagnosed with Leukemia, was in and out of the hospital, receiving chemotherapy, shortly going into remission in the Winter, only to experience a relapse in early Spring. Her prognosis was grave, but we were still hopeful as she underwent another round of treatment. The early activities of the day are blurry to me, but I remember arriving home and sitting at the kitchen table with my sister, as we so often did, but this day, the room was filled with silence instead of music radiating from MTV’s Total Request Live. It was a sunny day, the sky a pristine blue, with a gentle warmth in the air, but sadness and fear engulfed my family and I. I remember thinking it was strange, seeing my dad home during the afternoon, watching him sitting at the table, expressionless. We all sat there at the table for awhile, until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a flash of golden fur from outside, catching it reflecting off the sliding door.

Dog Healing

Merely minutes later, I came to know his name was Darby, a young Yellow Labrador Retriever, owned by a young couple who were fairly new to the neighborhood and unbeknownst to us, living directly behind us.  Before meeting and becoming accustomed to Darby, I hadn’t known much about dogs, except the fact that I believed them to be cute and friendly. My extent of experience with dogs had been reading Clifford books or watching them on TV. In person, I’d never so much as played or pet any dogs – until this moment, that is. That particular day, I was filled with a sadness I’d never truly known, and was unsure how to silence it, or at least alleviate it. Seeing Darby, I asked both my parents, if it would be okay if Hope (my sister) and I went outside to play with him. With their approval, we made our way outside and asked his owners if it would be okay for us to play with him. Within minutes, Darby, Hope and I were running together through our respective backyards with frisbees, laughing and delighting in the cool breeze, our worries quickly slipping away. Sometimes, I’d stop to run my small fingers through his soft, golden mane, or to let him happily lick my arms and face. Seeing his happy, carefree smile filled me with a joy I’d never truly experienced before until that moment; the moment my love of dogs was cultivated. From that moment on, I knew I was meant to be a dog owner. Though I didn’t become one until my 14th birthday, Darby created for me, the ability to love another, canine and human, igniting a healing from a pain no 9-year-old child should ever have to experience.

Dog Quotes             Dog Quotes 2

Looking back, I owe Darby a lot for that day. While he might have only shown up, by doing so, he helped me heal and taught me the meaning of selflessness, of taking life one moment, one laugh and one smile at a time. I’m grateful for that day, because no matter how painful it was, it taught me that “We don’t always need advice. Sometimes all we need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart that understands. Sometimes all we need is a dog.”

Paw Prints Heart

 

Enough As You Are

Good Thursday morning, to you! As I’ve mentioned in the past, I follow several journalists and TV anchors who often post motivational or inspirational quotes, many of which deeply resonate with me, more often than not. Today, no exception:

This morning, I awakened to a quote posted by one of my favorite journalists/TV anchor’s, Hoda Kotb, which reads:

“You are enough, not because you did or said or thought or bought or became or created something special, but because you always were.”

This quote resonated with me, because so often I find myself questioning my worth: Did do enough? Did I contribute enough? Did I help in the way I should have? Could I have done more? What am I doing to help others? These thoughts often ruminate inside my mind, but this quote places these worries into perspective: just by being here, we are enough. We’ll never know the magnitude we might have on someone or on their life. It can be solely by our presence, a hug, a squeeze of the hand, a loving smile, a laugh, an acknowledgement in some way, no matter how small. Sometimes, we can comfort others simply by our ability to sit quietly beside someone who might be hurting, or other times, a simple hello or how are you, can brighten someone’s day.

So, if you ever find yourself questioning: am I enough? Always remember, the answer is yes, because even if you might not always see your worth, you are needed and MORE than enough.

You Are Enough

A Sunday Synopsis

It’s been awhile since I last checked in, so I figured what better day than a rainy Sunday morning to do a brief check-in and snapshot of some of my latest happenings.

Sunday quoute

A couple weeks ago, I decided to finally take the leap and craft a Facebook page for Melissa’s Morning Musings! I’d held off for awhile for my own silly reasons, but ultimately felt it was a good choice to go ahead and create one. Since creating one, I’ve posted numerous photos, quotes and thoughts, so if you’d be so kind, please head on over to the Melissa’s Morning Musings Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MelissasMorningMusings/), take a look and if you’d be interested in doing so, consider “liking” it, so you can instantly see my latest updates!

Quote 2

In other news, over the past week or so, I finally noticed the beginnings of the Fall foliage transpiring. In my local area (suburbs of Philadelphia, PA), some trees are starting to show pleasant golden hues of yellow, red and orange, while others are still fairly green. In an area not far from me (about 25 minutes depending upon traffic) in Princeton, NJ, the Fall foliage is a bit more abundant. In fact, the other evening as my sister, mom, niece and I drove through the town, we were greeted by a vibrant glow of yellow hues radiating from the changing trees. At one point, I was so overcome with the beauty we saw, I could barely place it into words.

Autumn quote

With that being said, for me, Autumn has always signaled new beginnings or turning over a new leaf (how appropriate!). Still, I can’t help but sometimes feel a bit defeated when I think about all the dreams and goals I still have yet to reach. Thankfully, I’ve stumbled across numerous quotes motivating and propelling me towards perseverance and strength. Therefore, the following are some of them, which I hope may resonate with some of you who may be reading, as well:

Autumn Quote 2

Quotes:

“There is nothing wrong with who you are in-between smiles.”

“Carve a tunnel of hope through a mountain of disappointment.”

“Love is not about how much you say I love you, but how much you prove that it’s true.”

“When someone really loves you, they believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.”

“Always leave people better than you found them. Hug the hurt. Kiss the broken. Befriend the lost. Love the lonely.”

Lighting the way for others illuminates your own in return.”

“It’s okay to wait for the love you deserve, do not compromise or settle because of loneliness.”

“Behind every picture is a story. Don’t be afraid to share yours.”

Fall in love with someone who doesn’t make you think love is hard.

Leaves quote

 

 

Aging Gracefully

As I’ve noted numerous times in prior posts, since the months leading to and subsequent to my 29th birthday this past May, I’ve struggled considerably with growing older. Perhaps it’s really not the age or number itself I fear, but rather all I feel should go along with it. In my life, there are often a lot of “shoulds,” “I wish,” or reflections upon situations I could have handled differently. Too often, I compare myself to others of a similar age, longing for the “characteristic” life I feel they have or portray, without acknowledging their own struggles or hardships. It’s similar to celebrity singer and actress, Selena Gomez, who appears in ads, concerts, and magazines flaunting her pristine hair, makeup and clothing, but privately struggling and ultimately undergoing a lifesaving kidney transplant. From looking at her, I, myself, never would have guessed she was in kidney failure, or even ill with lupus. That’s the thing, though, people so often look at someone and based off their appearance deem them healthy or not. Shiny hair, pristine makeup and clothing, a bubbly personality – none of that is an indicator of health, or at least certainly not always. What appears on the outside is not always indicative of what’s unraveling inside.

With that being said, I recently started to contemplate a news story I heard and was intrigued by. One of the magazines I closely followed and read in the past, Allure Magazine, proudly declared last month they would no longer use the term “Anti-Aging.” So often, I’ve read seemingly countless articles instructing women and even men, on all the latest products and techniques specifically formulated to “combat all signs of aging.” In these articles, without so many words, it suggests aging is something to be feared, or to be disguised and avoided at all costs. A wrinkle around your eye area? Lines around your mouth? Sagging skin? All of these aforementioned supposed, “signs of aging,” come with specifically-formulated products to help avoid, disguise and discourage and are often touted in magazines and store shelves.

Growing Older Quote

Feeling as though they’d finally had enough, Allure Magazine took the first steps towards what I see as progress and a notion I wish I embraced many years ago, but most specifically in the months leading to and after my most recent birthday. In their words in last month’s issue of Allure, they stated, (via – https://www.allure.com/story/allure-magazine-phasing-out-the-word-anti-aging)

Allure Magazine – August 2017:

“This issue is the long-awaited, utterly necessary celebration of growing into your own skin – wrinkles and all. No one is suggesting giving up retinol. But changing the way we think about aging starts with changing the way we TALK about aging. With that in mind, starting with this issue, we are making a resolution to stop using the term, “anti-aging.” Whether we know it or not, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that aging is a condition we need to battle.”

If there’s one inevitability in life, it’s that we’re getting older. Every minute. Every second. We produced a video recently that featured 64-year-old gray-haired Jo Johnson, who made the poignant observation that aging should be appreciated because “some of us don’t get an opportunity to age.” Repeat after me: Growing older is a wonderful thing because it means that we get a chance, every day, to live a full, happy life.

Language matters. When talking about a woman over, say, 40, people tend to add qualifiers: “She looks great…for her age” or “She’s beautiful…for an older woman.” Catch yourself next time and consider what would happen if you just said, “She looks great.” Yes, Americans put youth on a pedestal. But let’s agree that appreciating the dewy rosiness of youth doesn’t mean we become suddenly hideous as years go by.”

Courage to Grow Up

After reading this statement and their stance on aging, I couldn’t be happier or more proud. Throughout the years, I’ve been an on/off reader of Allure, but after reading their declaration, their concept resonates with me beyond words. It summons a quote I read not long ago, which read: “Do not fear growing older, it is a privilege denied to many.”

Growing Older Quote 2

Isn’t it true though, when thinking about it? Countless infants, children, teens, young adults, even adults in middle-age, have succumbed to accidents, illnesses, and beyond; ultimately denied the opportunity to age. Instead of fearing aging, it can be seen as a chance to “ripen,” to gain knowledge and understanding. Instead of fearing aging, it can be embraced, wise words can be shared with younger generations and even our own generations. We all have stories to tell, experiences waiting to be recounted, and growing older gives us this opportunity.