Category Archives: Inspiration

Inspiring Quotes: 6 to Help You Grieve

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As part of loss, we grieve.   Grief is the feelings that are inside of us.

We can feel silly grieving if it doesn’t involve the loss of a loved one. We may think that we should buck up, keep a stiff upper lip, and that we should carry on as if nothing happened.

But the loss of a job–even one we hated–or the break-up of a marriage, or any other transition–even ones we’ve longed for such as finally getting out on your own or finally retiring–can trigger grief.

It is perfectly normal to grieve your loss. Here are a few quotes to help you through:

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. ~Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

I remember my aunt telling me however I chose to handle this would be the right way.   There isn’t a handbook or a script.   You just take it as it comes, one day at a time. ~Kayla

 

Loss and heartache do not define you. They are only one part of your story. ~Unknown

 

The deeper that sorrow cares into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the up that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? ~Kahlil Gibran

 

The darker the night, the brighter the stars; the deeper the grief, the closer is God!   ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

What feels like the end is often a new beginning. ~Unknown

 

A reminder: when you are dealing with a grief, reach out to others.   Counselors, religious leaders, and other professionals are trained to help. Also, friends and loved ones can offer comfort and support.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

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Inspiring Poem: If All the Skies by Henry van Dyke

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This little poem reminds us that without sadness, we won’t understand or fully appreciate joy; without periods of lack, we wouldn’t appreciate abundance. It’s through the contrasts that Life presents to us that we are able to be fully human.

Enjoy the poem!

If All the Skies

If all the skies were sunshine,
Our faces would be fain
To feel once more upon them
The cooling splash of rain.

If all the world were music,
Our hearts would often long
For one sweet strain of silence,
To break the endless song.

If life were always merry,
Our souls would seek relief,
And rest from weary laughter
In the quiet arms of grief.

~Henry van Dyke.

In the comments below, let me know what you thought of the poem. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Lauren

Inspiring Poems: Alone by Edgar A. Guest

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I chose this poem for today because it describes the experience and the benefits of spending time alone.   Whether you call it prayer time or meditation time or alone time, it’s powerful to spend quiet time by yourself ever day.

Enjoy the following poem:

Alone

Strange thoughts come to the man alone;’

Tis then, if ever, he talks with God,

And views himself as a single clod

In the soil of life where the souls are grown.

‘Tis then he questions the why and where,

The start and end of his years and days,

And what is blame and what is praise,

And what is ugly and what is fair.

 

When a man has drawn from the busy throng

To the sweet retreat of the silent hours,

Low voices whisper of higher powers.

He catches the strain of some far-off song,

And the sham fades out and his eyes can see,

Not the man he is in the day’s hot strife

And the greed and grind of a selfish life,

But the soul of the man he is to be.

 

He feels the throbbing of life divine,

And catches a glimpse of the greater plan;

He questions the purpose and work of man.

In the hours of silence his mind grows fine;

He seeks to learn what is kept unknown;

He turns from self and its garb of clay

And dwells on the soul and the higher way.

Strange thoughts come when a man’s alone.

~Edgar A. Guest

 

Let me know what you think of this poem. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Top Post #10: Start the Week off Right: Get Up When Your Alarm First Rings

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This post was originally published earlier this year on May 7, 2017. Lately, I’ve revisited this topic of morning routines and have discovered a few astonishing facts.  I’m preparing posts now and they’ll appear in the new year.  Stay tuned!

One fact that I’ve discovered is that people who are living soul-prospering lives—those who are fully immersed in their passions and purpose—have very specific morning routines and they treat this time as sacrosanct.  They awake early, keep their environment quiet and have subdued lighting, and they don’t immediately check emails, social media, or start making phone calls.

Also, they allow their creative mind time to play. They may do this through meditation, contemplation, or prayer, or they may daydream or do some form of light, relaxed exercise.  Some people enjoy journaling or doodling as a way to let their creative mind have some fun.

As I said, we’ll be delving into this topic in 2018 and for now, please let the following post whet your appetite—and give you something to think about!

Enjoy!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Start the Week off Right: Get Up When Your Alarm First Rings

 

 

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I was listening to James Allen’s Byways to Blessedness, a Librivox recording.  The first section of the book talks about beginnings.

James Allen states that there are beginnings we have no control over, for instance we may have been laid off from work and now we’re facing the beginning of unemployment and the process of looking for a new job.  He advises to not focus on these beginnings, aside from taking care of our responsibilities, but rather to focus on the beginnings we have total and complete control over.  He says that these types of beginnings are of vital importance because they create the complex web of results that then make up our life.  He went on to say that these beginnings are controlled by our thoughts and mental attitudes, and the resulting daily conduct and actions we take.

According to James Allen, the first beginning to focus on—the easiest one to take control of—is the start of a new day, namely when your alarm clock first rings. He suggests answering these questions because “…much happiness or unhappiness depends upon the right or wrong beginning of the day…”:

~At what time does the alarm go off?

~Do we immediately get up?

~In what frame of mind do we enter the sacredness of a new day?

~How do we go about getting ready for the day?

 

One of his suggestions is to rise at an early hour, even if we don’t have to because this will help “…start the day strongly by shaking off indolence.”

 

Then this statement jumped out at me: “…How are you to develop strength of will in mind and body if you begin every day by yielding to weakness?”

 

He’s telling us to stop hitting the snooze button and to get up when our alarm first goes off. 

 

I get his point that by hitting the snooze alarm, we aren’t really getting a few extra Zzzz’s—in fact researchers have shown that hitting the snooze alarm does not help; the “extra sleep” you get is not restful.  James Allen is saying that when we hit the snooze alarm what we’re actually doing is telling our mind and body that it’s okay to procrastinate, it’s okay to indulge ourselves, it’s okay to go for instant gratification.

James Allen goes on to say:  “Self-indulgence is always followed by unhappiness.  People who lie abed until a late hour are never bright and cheerful and fresh but are the prey of irritabilities, depressions…and all unhappy moods.”

He then goes on to say that hitting the snooze alarm is like an alcoholic taking a nip in order to brace him/herself and steady his/her nerves for the upcoming issues in the day.

 

It’s our self-indulgence in hitting the snooze alarm that creates indolence and avoidance that is creating the issues–it’s our weaknesses and our pandering to our moods and emotions that are at the root cause of the issues that we’re avoiding!

 

James Allen adds:  :…Men and women are totally unaware of the great losses which they entail by this common indolence (hitting the snooze alarm):  loss of strength of both mind and body, loss of prosperity, loss of knowledge, and loss of happiness.

James Allen isn’t the only one who urges getting up early and getting up right away.  Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer and other successful people join him in this.  One of James Allen suggestions for this “extra time” is to take a gentle walk in Nature.  Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer, and others advise filling the time with studying sacred and/or inspirational writings, studying the industry in which we work, and pursuing other avenues of self-development and education.

Wow.

Usually I get up the first time the alarm rings.  Occasionally, though, I’ve let myself sleep a little later, commonly on the weekends.  I have noticed that James Allen’s statement is true:  I seem to be a little less focused and less productive on the days I allow myself to catch up on my sleep.  In fact, I had been wondering if it wouldn’t be better to get up at my normal time and take a short nap during the day if I need it.  I guess James Allen’s answer would be YES!!!

This week’s challenge is to get up on time—when the alarm first rings. Let me know the differences you notice in your week. Feel free to leave your comments below. Thanks!

Please pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Pilgrimage: From the Comfort of Your Cozy Armchair

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Perhaps you find yourself in circumstances that don’t allow you to go anywhere for a pilgrimage.

No worries! You can enjoy one from the comfort of your cozy armchair!

Your library or favorite bookstore is loaded with memoirs with the theme of “A Year of…” These are a few that I’ve enjoyed:

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock,
365 Thank Yous by John Kralik
Thrive by Arianna Huffington
Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower by Tom Krattenmaker
Holy Rover by Lori Erickson

The Internet is filled with images of Holy Sites, Shrines, as well as photos and videos of the wonders of the natural world. Here are a few websites to check out:

American Religious Sites

Huffington Post’s suggestions 

BBC’s suggestions

National Park Foundation

National Parks in the USA 

 

Also, you can refresh yourself with an afternoon of surfing sites related to activities and hobbies you enjoy. Here is one I’ve enjoyed surfing:

YouTube.com

Let me know the interesting pilgrimages you’ve taken from the comfort of your favorite cozy armchair! Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Lauren

Self Care: Pilgrimages

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Think of the act of self caring as making a pilgrimage to feed and nurture that part of you–those parts of you–that gets dismissed and trampled by every day Life.

The pilgrimage doesn’t have to be traveling to a Holy Site, a basilica in a far-off country complete with a centuries-dead saint’s relics; the pilgrimage only has to be holy to you. This is what elevates self-indulgence to an act of self-care.

A pilgrimage of self-care is a form of honoring, connecting with, and even consecrating the place within you that is deep, rich, and eternal.  

Sometimes I need to sit on my deck at night or in the early morning and gaze at the stars in astonished wonder at the exquisite magnificence of the heavens. Other times I need the camaraderie of my family or my very good friends. At another time, I may need the nurturing comfort of a bowl of soup that I’ve made from scratch or the sustenance of a freshly baked batch of cookies made from a recipe handed down from my mother.

Then there are times when all I need is to take a breather by gazing out my window and daydreaming, or pulling out my bottle of bubbles and filling the air with shimmering, iridescent bubbles.

My pilgrimage of self-care morphs and shifts to what I need in the moment. It’s all good!

For instance, my pilgrimage today is reading. I’m reading a book about an autistic person’s experience and fascination with language, and another book on a person’s spiritual journey.

Of course there are those who would say that nothing good will come of this reading: these aren’t books to choose if you’re looking for entertainment; they aren’t books that I can somehow use to further my career by making my skills and knowledge more marketable.

But they’re feeding me and nurturing that part of me that’s feeling pushed to the side and overlooked.

They make me see the world from another’s point of view. My mind considers ideas I wouldn’t have had on my own. As I go about my other tasks today, I ponder a sentence, a phrase, or a whole thought from each of the books. I know I’ll continue to do this in the weeks and months to come. I know this pondering and considering will lead to insights that will smooth some of the rough spots on my path or show me beauty and goodness I would have otherwise been blind to.

So, if eating gourmet chocolate while sipping a fine wine is an activity that restores calm, peace, and balance in your life; if it fills you with hope and reinforces your belief that beauty, love, and goodness in all forms out-weigh the negative in the world, then I say you’re on the right track.

What self-care pilgrimage are you currently on? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Spirituality: What I’ve Discovered

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I came across a the summary of the most recent Pew Research Survey on Religion and Spirituality in America. What the researchers discovered is something I’ve noticed in my own corner of the world: my friends, my family, and my own views. The report states that religiosity is declining in America but spirituality is increasing.

This is something I’ve found to be true in my own sphere. While my friends and family have developed–and are continuing to deepen–a reverence for life and they accept that there is a spark of the divine in all of us, they are not regularly attending Worship Services of any kind.

My friends’ interest in reading Holy Books, inspired writings, and of attending centering prayer circles and the like has increased. And, my friends are much more apt to talk about feelings of awe, wonder, and gratitude from a spiritual perspective–one that accepts there is some sort of Consciousness that supports and nurtures us all.

An interesting note to the research is that the people who claim affiliation with a religious belief system is stable. The reason there is a decrease in religiosity and increase is spirituality is not because of people leaving organized religion but rather that as the older generation, who make up the majority of people claiming affiliation, pass away, the younger generations, who generally are the unaffiliated, are not stepping into those now vacant positions.

Whether it’s because of the strong views of the affiliated or the growing spiritualism, I’ve observed in my corner of the world that, overall, people are becoming more respectful of others’ belief systems and more accepting of the idea that there’s more than one path to the Divine. And that’s a good thing!

What have you noticed regarding the spirituality and/or religiosity of your friends and family over the years? Whether you live in the United States or not, I’m interested to know if you’ve noticed the same trends in your country or region of the United States.

Thanks for sharing in the comments below!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren