Inner Renovations, Poetry & Musings

broken forgiveness.

forgiveness

I struggle with forgiveness.

It’s easy to talk about letting go and letting God.

But doing so is one of my greatest challenges.

Giving up control is an almost impossible feat for a control freak.

Letting go is a tall order when I am used to holding on to everything for dear life.

Loving with a broken heart, trusting through broken faith,

smiling through pain is difficult for even the most well put together of us.

Some of us have mastered the art of falling apart

and putting ourselves back together again before anyone notices.

Put back together so well that you have to get up close and personal to notice the cracks –

this being the reason for my distance.

It comes easy for some; saying the right thing, feeling the right way,

even knowing what’s right in the first place.

Often times, I can’t tell.

I express what’s in my heart, say what’s on my mind,

and have too many feelings at one time to know what is right.

Often, I am wrong.

People struggle to forgive me.

They talk about letting go and letting God.

But doing so is one their greatest challenges.

 

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Reclaiming Your Proverbial Sunshine

troubled-waters

Storms happen.  One moment you’re sailing on peaceful waters, then all of a sudden the sky turns gray and it seems like you’re being swallowed whole by crashing waves, with nary a life raft.  And yet, you’re expected to keep smiling, keep the faith, and know that the sun will shine tomorrow.  That’s all nice and dandy, and sure looks good in encouraging “thinking of you” cards, but in real life it is the most difficult thing to keep a smile on your face when your main goal is to simply keep your head above water.  But somehow, you must.

If you ever have the same contemplation as the sage Grandmaster Flash, and find yourself wondering how you keep from going under, it is helpful to identify the specific things in your life that keep you afloat.  We can restore hope within ourselves by reconnecting with people, values, memories, and goals that propel us to keep going.  To beat being pulled under, and find your way back to the surface of safe waters, try these hope-restoring methods.

  • THINK OF THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE THE MOST AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR YOU TO REMAIN A PART OF THEIR LIVES. This is an instant answer to that devious voice in our head that asks, “why bother?”  Practicing this method arms you with clear answers for why you should bother – because your children need you, because your mother would be lost without you, because your friends depend on you, because there are people who you love and want to protect.
  • REMEMBER WHAT YOU ARE MADE OF. You’ve made it this far, and I’m sure you’ve done more than just cry your way through life.  There have been challenges that you’ve overcome that are far tougher than what you’re facing now.  And when you thought you couldn’t take anymore challenges in the past, you did it – you survived.  You’re made of good stuff. Remind yourself of that.
  • CONJURE UP POSITIVE MEMORIES. Some things just made us really happy.  There are memories stored in our minds that pop up every once in a while and bring a smile to our faces.  Did you know that you can intentionally recall those same memories to shift your current mood?  If you feel like you’re being overtaken by the waves of life, at any moment you can intentionally connect with a positive memory and immerse yourself in the scene with all of your senses and your mind will actually believe it is there. Every once in a while, it’s okay to transport yourself to a better place until you actually feel better.
  • DREAM UP LOFTY GOALS. Do you know what you want in life?  Can you experience passion for what you want to do?  When you feel like you’re drowning in the deep blue, it can help to think on what you personally want to accomplish, giving yourself no limits, and not worrying about whether or not they’re realistic dreams at the moment. Just ‘go there,’ allowing yourself to have the wildest, most imaginative goals to let your brain get busy exercising some creative thought.

It may rain, but your life doesn’t have to be flooded with unwanted emotions.  By remembering that major storms only last a season, you will be able to keep yourself afloat through self-encouragement, connecting with the power that lives in you, and practicing methods that allow you to kick your way back to the top of the waters to again witness that proverbial sunshine.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Nothing to Fear

Nothing to Fear

It is too much energy to be afraid.  Hiding from others, hiding from our problems, and hiding from ourselves is exhausting work.  When we think about it, what is so intimidating about facing reality?  The worst thing that can happen to us is that we expose our vulnerabilities; the best thing that can happen to us is that we expose our vulnerabilities.  Once we are past the ego and the perceived harm that will come to it if others know our truth or if we admit the truth to ourselves, then there is nothing left to be afraid of.  We come to a place of knowing that we have already stared down our fears and admitted our faults, which resulted in our strength – so why should we be afraid?

Those that are aware of the Presence of the All Powerful have even more confidence to boldly unfold into the greatest version of themselves without concern about past misgivings short-circuiting their future.  They know that what they have experienced, and even seeming mistakes that were made, were not really mistakes at all, but part of the Divine Plan.  What has happened is a part of what has made you who you are.  What you are created from, is who you are.  We are created from Love, because we are created by God.  God is Love.  It takes too much energy to be afraid. And anyway, there is nothing to fear. The light of love and truth shines boldly into the darkness and illuminates the closets and under the beds where our secrets lie, to reveal that what we feared were only ever illusions anyway.

~ CCB

Heart & Spiritual Wellness, Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

Personal Peace is a Super Power


There are a lot of things that we are taught during the early years of our lives under the guise that they are important to know for our success as human beings. However, I can’t remember the last time an algebraic formula saved my life. I would have appreciated a class on “How to Maintain Peace in the Face of Challenge,” or a cognitive-behavioral based course titled “You are Not Your Thoughts” offered around the 4th grade. A ‘How-To Survive Life with Your Sanity’ style curriculum starting in kindergarten would probably have reduced the individual instances of mental health conditions and contributed to a more stable society as a whole. Yes, I know… reading, writing and arithmetic – but that could’ve been covered in the span of a year with the remainder of our youth education being focused on life skills, interpersonal effectiveness, dealing with emotion, loving ourselves, and having a healthy relationship with God. But, dreams.

In reality, it takes for us to get to a certain point in life where we notice our own dysfunctional patterns and decide to do something about it. One of the main commodities that we reach for is peace. Which really isn’t a “commodity” at all but when we don’t experience it, we do view it as a thing to attain. The truth is, it’s really a state that exists within us that’s been there the entire time. And on an even deeper level, we realize that peace is our essential nature – supporting the inferences that everything we need is already inside of us and the “Kingdom of God is within” per Jesus.

Prayer, meditation, and visualization are means of moving into a state of consciousness that puts us more in tune with our source of peace. Prayer allows us to speak to God. Meditation allows us to hear from God. And visualization is how we co-create our experience which is a blend of our free will and God’s will for us (as a sidenote, we ultimately want to get to a place where we use our free will to stay in the will of God).

Our journey will have many challenges. We may create unnecessary complexities. Life will continue to throw intense situations our way. There may be unexpected circumstances beyond our control. What we can control is our approach. By taking an approach of peace – peace of mind and spirit which comes from trusting that all things have a purpose and somehow come together in mysterious ways for the glory of God – we are able to survive with our sanity, and actually enjoy this gift of life we’ve been given.

~ CCB

 

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Heart Be Healed. From Pain to Empowered.

Growth from Broken Heart
photo credit:  aseb.org

You are stronger now and you can choose not to hurt anymore. Whatever it is that you’ve been through doesn’t have power over you as of now. Decide that this is the moment that you will embrace the freshness of the day, and allow your heart, spirit and mind to be healed by a Power Greater Than yourself. There are no guarantees that you will never feel pain again. But there is the promise that if you keep your trust and faith in God, that you will be brought through that pain and make it safely to the other side. Alongside you will be newfound strength, deeper understanding, and compassion for others who you notice going through similar trials. The victory is the Lord’s and you are a living testimony that nothing can stop His work in progress because you are still here. You are still trying and you believe in something. If this were not so, you would have stopped by now. But your heart is strong, and your spirit wills you to continue putting one foot in front of the other as you allow your steps to be ordered by the Lord. In whatever way you perceive your Higher Power, and however you draw strength from Its love is more important than what others tell you to believe. At the end of the day, as it was in the beginning, it’s about YOUR relationship with your Creator. And at the end of this life, as it was in the beginning, it is still about the same relationship. You don’t have to hurt anymore. Because the sensations that you are feeling have advanced into power that propels you forward while keeping you grounded all at the same time. These are blessings. You have lived to love another day. You are blessed.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations

Juice Cleanse and Detox: Mind, Spirit, and Body Refresher

It’s amazing the clarity that comes during a juice cleanse and detox. Today is the final day, and although it was a brief detox, a lot happened over the past three days. There were plenty of times that I thought I was hungry (since there is no solid food during this time). Then I realized that I was actually getting all of the nutrients that I need, so it wasn’t that I was physically hungry – I’m just in the habit of eating.

Juice Cleanse and Detox

My 13 Top Reasons for Eating (none of which are hunger)

I eat to cheer myself up.

I eat to calm myself down.

I eat to celebrate.

I eat because other people are eating.

I eat because something looks good.

I eat because something smells good.

I eat because it’s offered to me.

I eat because it just seems like it’s time to eat.

I eat when I’m bored.

I eat to keep my hands busy while I’m watching T.V.

I eat to keep from falling asleep.

I eat to wake myself up.

I – JUST – EAT.

Luckily, I am a health and wellness enthusiast, so I exercise regularly and try to make wise choices about what I eat (most of the time). If I didn’t, there’s no telling what sort of health concerns I’d be facing right now.

Benefits to Mental Health and Physical Health

The experience has helped me to develop a better a relationship with my body and an understanding of the areas that I need I need more discipline in. While I attended a cookout, accompanied people enjoying their great-smelling fastfood breakfast, and turned down the most delicious chocolate chip cookie-dough cupcakes I’ve ever seen (all while guzzling down my beet, carrot, and kale blend juices), I realized that the level of discipline that I am cultivating will optimize my behaviors in more than just the health realm but in several other areas of my life too.

In general, making smart food choices and focusing more on wellness has many other benefits:

  • Improves decision-making skills
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Increases self-awareness and body-awareness
  • Improves ability to stay present in the moment
  • Develops ability to set goals and accomplish with birds eye view
  • Helps spiritual cultivation through fasting and prayer (to name a few).

This Is About More Than Food

What I realized during VIVA-RAW’S 3-DAY RAW FOOD JUICE CLEANSE is that RARELY DO I EAT BECAUSE I’M SIMPLY HUNGRY. My patterns and reasons for eating teetered more on the social and psychological side than the physical. Though I have practiced mindfulness regularly for many years, during this detox I realized that I also need to be practicing mindful eating.

I thought the idea of applying mindfulness methods to my food choices and eating patterns was revolutionary and original – but as I googled the concept, I quickly realized that it was not. Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers has built her body of work around the subject and offers some amazing ideas and resources to Eating Mindfully (which consequently is the actual name of her website and project).  The Awareness Checklist and other great resources are available on her site.  Works out great for me because it’s less I have to research and write about and more that I can just learn and apply. Find out more about what the doctor has to say on the subject. I know I will be!

From Dr. Susan Anders www.eatingmindfully.com

A holistic approach to wellness requires that we address all aspects of our being, meaning that we are engaging in activities and behaviors that foster great health on all levels of our multidimensional selves.  Just as we learn to choose wisely what we take into our bodies, we learn to do the same with what we accept into our hearts, spirits, and minds.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Tapping Into Your Energy Reserve

“Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty;

Open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.”

~Proverbs 20:13

Running Uphill

The day drags on and it seems as if you don’t have another ounce of energy to give. Even breathing seems to take too much of an effort. Every blink burns with the desire to keep the eyes closed. Sleep is the most attractive thing on Earth to you right now. But you know sleep is the last thing you’ll get. With more work to do than hours in the day, and without the luxury of handmaids, manservants, and assistants – the success or failure of your projects are all… on… you.

The smartest thing we can do is stay connected to a power greater than ourselves. We are people of great faith, but sometimes even that falters. We need to be understood and forgiven in our times of weakness, and for doors to still be opened to us even when we experience a period of doubt. Our minds and bodies are incredible systems that have accomplished tremendous psychological and physical feats, but sometimes it feels like it can’t go another step without some rejuvenation. This is when we need something more powerful than us to energize our spirits and help us see things through in miraculous ways. Skill, talent, and ability mean little if there is no sense of direction or motivation; and until we understand that all things should be used for the glory of God, we are aimless.

Remaining on track, remembering all of the things that need to be done to stay ahead, and keeping the faith can be exhausting. But we must keep going. We must love our destiny more than we love sleep. We must love opportunities in our children’s futures more than we love rest. We must believe in the power and favor of our Lord more than we believe in the possibility of our failure. Living by the P.U.S.H. philosophy, we Pray Until Something Happens. This way of life is not an easy one and is not for the faint at heart. It is for those who somehow find that extra bit of energy when they thought they had nothing left to give, who ran a couple of more miles after they considered stopping after mile one, and who know that if they just keep putting one foot in front of the other God will make a way to reach their destination.

Being too tired to fulfill our dreams and God’s intended purpose for us leaves us poor in spirit and poor in life. But opening our hearts and eyes to His unlimited power propels us forward from within, feeding our spirits with the bread of life, and turning His highest vision for us into our reality.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Poetry & Musings

youth.

It was under there the whole time.

I took it for dead, not looking past the wooden casing that symbolized

that its work had been done, its battle had been won. But not the war.

Maybe a part of me wanted it to be over, to lay it to rest.

I was exhausted and so was my youth.

But no sooner had I made peace with our last days together,

did the thunder clap a rhythm that brought us back to life

like a cosmic defibrillator.

It wasn’t over. There was still more to love. Still more to war.

I’ll mistake you for dead again, my youth.

I’ll believe the murmuring of the crowd and the mirror’s lies,

long enough to accept it as truth.

But you won’t let me.

For another hundred years tiny rocks will sneak into my sandals

as my calves ache and my thighs burn from the climb.

And you’ll tell me that I love it.

I’ll vehemently deny you, and bury you

and attempt to prove that I can’t take another step.

Until I am waking up to us dancing to that eternal rhythm,

telling you that I love it.

Grateful that you are always there.