“If you make your internal life a priority, then everything else you need on the outside will be given to you and it will be extremely clear what the next step is.”
— Gabrielle Bernstein
During the peak of the pandemic, I began doing my first ever morning routine. I had gone into a deep depression, and just getting out of bed each day took monumental effort. Feeling hopeless about everything, I knew I needed something to get me going each morning. So I gave myself three things to do:
If you've read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, you'll know that the 3 pages of journaling are referred to as "Morning Pages." It's a way to empty out of your brain everything you carried over from the day before. It's just a mental dump, so you can start the new day free and clear.
Although I'd read The Artist's Way awhile back, I had never been able to get the 3 pages of journaling to stick. But seeing as I was in such a deep rut, my motivation to get out of said rut pushed me into finally making the habit stick.
By the time I'd finish exercising and meditating, I was so ready for my cup of morning coffee! Having this little thing to look forward to really helped with lifting my spirits each day. I loved watching the coffee brew, soaking up this beautiful self-love ritual.
As I'd sit and journal, sipping on my coffee, my worries would pour out of me onto the page. After several months of doing this, I began to see patterns in my thinking. I could see that I was focusing completely on my despair and frustration, and I slowly began introducing hope and positivity into my morning reflection.
After almost 2 years of this routine, I felt my equilibrium coming back. I began to feel like myself again. And thus I changed my routine once again. I now create a daily meditation in the morning, and while I edit it, I sip on my coffee from my favorite mug (pictured above). If you'd like to follow along with this new series of daily meditation breaks, click here!
And if you are also in a rut, struggling to get your good vibes back, you may be interested in my 30 Day Vibration Raising Journey. It's a special journey that involves 30 daily guided meditations that will lift your spirits, soothe your soul, and bring you back into harmony and wholeness. It also includes 30 daily journal prompts that will really help to shift and awaken you! Click the button below to learn more!
Last night, I watched Michelle Obama's "Becoming" on Netflix. It centers around the time she did her book tour for her memoir of the same name (late 2018 into early 2019), which took place a year after she moved out of the White House. There were so many amazing quotes in this film. I've listed some below and why they stood out to me. If you have a favorite quote yourself, share it in the comments!
When Michelle met with a group of teenage girls, one of them asked her how she feels about transitioning back to her normal life. How would Michelle navigate the leap from First Lady back to the life she was living before? How would she get back on track?
I love this quote because so many of us are currently in a place of transition. Due to the current circumstances, many of us are facing the reality that we cannot do, or don't want to do, what we've been doing. We're also acknowledging that life won't be like it was before, and we have to create a new track. Considering what it would be like to go from the all-consuming role as First Lady onto a completely new, unknown role, inspired me to embrace the unknown and the new with courage and integrity.
In a later group meeting with young black women (Michelle speaks often in the film about her passion for working with the youth), Rayven asked a powerful question:
"I just want to know, how did you, as a black woman, persevere through invisibility?"
One thing I loved about this film was how open Michelle was about racial inequality in this country. It's something she wasn't able to speak so directly to while she was First Lady. And I also love how she empowered each one of those women with her words. She didn't ask them to wait for something outside of them to change. She asked them to change their circumstances within while at the same time acknowledging we are not on an even playing field. This is so important because I see so many people who say the first part - change begins within. But they don't do the second part, which is to validate the affect that oppression and bias has.
"I have high expectations of young people. It's the same expectations my family had of me. My grandfather, Dandy, expected us to be great. But he went through life being underestimated. Growing up, he was a brilliant young man, somebody that loved to read books, to delve into things in a deep and meaningful way. He could have been a professor. He could have been a doctor. But because of race and class, he couldn't get into colleges. He didn't have the money or the resources. And imagine walking around with all this ability and the world telling you, "No. No, you're not good enough. No, you're not ready." Watching people half your intelligence being promoted past you. Watching opportunities slip away, Not because you're not able, but because nobody thinks you deserve it.That caused him a lot of disappointment and anger. That made him push us to be better." - Michelle Obama, Becoming
Of all the quotes in the movie, this one stood out to me the most. It struck me not only because of the anger I would feel if I was Dandy's granddaughter, but because this is still the world we live in. We still promote people based on the fact that they fit an inner ideal of what we think a successful person should look like. Until we tear down all our prejudices, we will continue to all lose out on the brilliance and ingenuity of so many of our fellow citizens.
"I ended up going to Princeton. I was one of a handful of minority students. It was the first time in my life where I stood out like that. I learned that one of my roommates moved out because her mother was horrified that I was black. She felt her daughter was in danger. I wasn't prepared for that." - Michelle Obama, Becoming
This quote also stood out to me above all the others. If someone couldn't live with me because my skin color made them afraid, and I was a young girl, finding my place in the world, I wouldn't know what to do. Can you imagine the impact that would have on a young, developing psyche? And as with the quote above, this is still the reality of the world we live in. No one should have to question their worthiness or their humanity because of the ignorance of another person.
"The energy that's out there is much better than what we see. I wish people didn't feel badly, because this country is good. People are good. People are decent... One of the things we do miss about Barack Obama is that he would get out into the country and he would campaign around hope, and he would fill arenas." - Michelle Obama, Becoming
This was one of the last quotes I noted. I had about six other quotes highlighted, which I cut because I wanted to end with this one. What stands out to me about this quote is the reminder that Obama filled arenas on hope. It's such a powerful reminder because I so often see our current president filling arenas based on anger, division, and bullying. I had forgotten that not long ago, hundreds of thousands of people also filled arenas, and on a message of hope and unity. Those people are still out there. And if, after all she's been through, Michelle can still believe in the goodness of people and this country, then I can too.
I wish I could have put down all the quotes from the film I'd saved. There were so many moments I paused, reflected on her words, and thought about the class and gracefulness she brought to everything she did and does. But the thing that really surprised me was how funny Michelle is. We all know she has a brilliant mind and an inspiring, forward thinking spirit. What I had never seen before was how funny and charismatic she is.
Becoming is available to stream on Netflix. I hope you get a chance to see it also! And now I'm off to download the audio book because I love hearing author's tell me their story in their own voice.
I am currently reading The Artists Way and on chapter 6. This chapter is all about rediscovering a sense of abundance. Two of the tasks were to find five flowers or leaves I loved, and then to find five stones or pebbles.
I really thought this sounded silly and was putting it off. I didnt believe I would feel more abundant by going through the yard and picking up leaves.
But as I went around this morning, drinking my coffee, admiring how the light changes with the rising sun, listening to the birds, I felt quite happy. I loved noticing all the colors and how each little bud really is a gift from nature. I felt a genuine sense of delight as I bent over the soil and looked for abundance in the earth around me.
As I collected my garden treasures I thought of how the author says we will often think a task we are given is silly and pointless. This is because we are so conditioned to disregard the delicate joys of life and to focus on the big, heavy problems at hand.
I now have my colorful collection of leaves and rocks on my desk. I cannot say this solved any problems for me or changed my situation at all. But for a moment this morning, I did forget everything and held a soft pink petal as the wind caressed my face. Small miracles. That's all I got right now.
I am wishing you your own small miracle today and everyday for the rest of this week.
I recently downloaded the audiobook Endurance by Scott Kelly. It's about his year living aboard the International Space Station. Kelly agreed to embark upon this mission for the purposes of studying long duration space missions. More precisely, to study the physical and psychological obstacles astronauts will face during the extensive travel to Mars. For example, the lack of gravity for long periods alters astronauts' vision. This is due to the fact that cerebral spinal fluid pools around the eyes when our bodies are weightless for months on end.
I bought this book because I had followed Kelly's mission while it was unfolding. I was fascinated by the isolation, the disconnect, and the sacrifice he was willing to make for the greater good of human knowledge. What I hadn't considered when I bought the book was it was an uncanny parallel to where we are now. If there was ever a book to capture the spirit of quarantine, this is it.
What I love most about this book is it's accessible to all people. I've played it on long drives with my 71 year old dad in the car. I've played it while working in my family's garden with family members around. I've played it with all types of people who quickly became engrossed in the saga. It's a captivating story about Kelly's journey to being an astronaut, the science of space travel, and what astronauts actually do all day.
If you're looking for something you can listen to with kids, spouses, or roommates, this book might be something everyone can agree on. There are some f-bombs and other occasional curse words, but other than that, it's family friendly, entertaining, educational, and a spirited adventure that might make your quarantine a little more tolerable.
“Some parts of the world, especially in Asia, are so blanketed by air pollution that they appear sick, in need of treatment or at least a chance to heal. The line of our atmosphere at the horizon looks as thin as a contact lens over an eye, and its fragility seems to demand our protection.” - Scott Kelly, Endurance
"Embracing the vulnerability it takes to rise up from a fall and grow stronger makes us a little dangerous. People who don't stay down after they fall or are tripped are often troublemakers. Hard to control. Which is the best kind of dangerous possible. They are the artists, the innovators, the change makers."
- Brene Brown, Rising Strong
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