Saturday, September 28, 2013

Self-Love Lesson #9: I is for Invigorate

By definition invigorate means to fill with life and energy; energize.  Being the writer I am I like to click the thesaurus button and these words popped up: refresh, revitalize, stimulate, enliven, galvanize (good word) and fortify (another fabulous word).  

As you know by now I am on a healing journey through grief as we all are on a similar journey in some shape or form.  Loss is loss whether it is the loss of a loved one, a friend, a job, a marriage/relationship or dream.  Everything is relative. I don’t play that game of my pain, loss, grief, experience and/or trauma is worse than yours, which we human beings engage in all too often.  

I think if we were more conscious and receptive to each other’s losses we would all be the better for it. All of that said I do believe, whatever your trauma, it is your responsibility to work your way through it.  And work it is, because nothing happens just because we want it to and nothing worth having comes easy.

If you have been reading my blog you also know I believe in doing what is good for your spiritual, mental and physical health no matter what anyone else says or feels as long it doesn’t break the law or hurt children.   Some of my favorite quotes that keep me on the path of healing are: 

·        Whatever is good for your soul, do that.  ~Anon
·        If it doesn’t nourish your soul, get rid of it. ~Anon
·        You decide how your soul grows. ~Dodinsky

Whatever you like to do, do it!  Doing what invigorates, fortifies, stimulates, and revitalizes you, will carry you through the moments when those special-made-just-for-you clouds drift into your world.  Think of invigorating yourself as taking a daily spiritual vitamin that will prevent you from completely succumbing to the darkness and make the trips to sad-land much shorter.

Some of my invigorating tools (I know you but I shall restate): reading, spending time with children, any type of pampering activity, eating chocolate, drinking a nice glass of wine with no distractions so you can savor the taste, loud laughing – you know the kind you do with family and friends – just straight up hollering laughing or that deep from the spirit laughing that sounds likes hysterical hissing, dancing by yourself – busting moves you might NOT try outside your house,  singing in the mirror with the proverbial hairbrush mic, and binge watching a series that you never got around to watching on its regular night.  As the song goes, these are a few of my favorite things.

We all have stuff/shit/issues to deal with so figure out the best and most satisfying way to make it through. Whatever makes you smile, cry tears of joy, laugh with your heart and just plain old feel good: DO IT!

Cheers to invigorating yourself!

Peace, Love & Light on your Journey ~

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Self-Love Lesson #8: H is for Healing

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the attack on NY.  That beautiful Fall day quickly turned into one of confusion, tragedy, loss and anger.  The Twin Towers coming down was surreal, unspeakable and scary and now twelve years later the events of that day are still surreal, unspeakable and scary.  I think the most frightening thing about 9/11 was the scope of the loss.  2,996 people killed in one incident is mind and soul numbing.    

As a nation, we Americans, don’t deal well with death; as a rule, we don’t talk about it, we don’t prepare for it and in those rare instances when we dare to speak of it, we gloss over the soul crushing consequences of losing someone you love by saying they are in a better place. For some that may work but it didn’t work for me on 12/31/11 when my sister died.  And I still struggle with that concept.  I love the truth of a quote by Rose Kennedy, who knew a thing or two about loss and grief herself.
“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain.  In time,
the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.  
But it is never gone.”   Rose Kennedy

The truth that connects those words is mind-blowing.   I have and believe I will continue to have those days when it feels like a veil has been lifted and the fact that Daryl is gone just overcomes me with such intensity that I feel like I have lost my mind.  So I believe 100% that our mind does protect us to prevent insanity from enveloping our existence.  Just as soon as it comes like a crazy-ass wave crashing down on me, it’s gone in a split second and all I am left with is silence before I instinctively say out loud: It’s going to be okay.

So healing for me has become a conscious practice.  I see it as the path to getting better and learning how to carry this new load I have been left with in the wake of Daryl’s passing.  This recovery, my hunt for peace and sanity will not just happen I have to work at it.  And only I can decide what constitutes healed.  And since I don’t know what it will feel like I’m not sure when I can pronounce myself healed. I’ve read or in some instances attempted to read books about healing, grief, losing a sibling, when your loved ones leave, you get the point and the one thing I know for sure: No book, no grief manual, no religious tome, can tell you how to heal.  Or what healed is.  You just keep on walking until you find that place of peace that is necessary for your sanity.   

In the midst of pain it’s not always easy to figure out how to do it so I’m going to share some of the stuff I’ve been doing in my quest to heal:

  • ·Writing works for me – I give thanks for all my gifts even the ones I don’t’ recognize as gifts, yet. I’ll make a list of things I am grateful for like: the internet because I can make plane reservations to my favorite places on the planet, DVR capability on my television so I can watch what I want when I want, Crumbs cupcakes because they’re cupcakes no extra explanation needed, J caller ID, my Mom’s special blend of craziness – hell-low, memories, daydreaming, music, music, music and more music (see post below) and whatever is floating through my mind at the moment I am writing down my blessings.       
  • Therapy – in my case grief counseling.  In the beginning I used to just sit and cry for 50 minutes. Now I talk more and cry less.   
  • Listen to music. Music washing over me is always good.  Different music for different moods. When I want to go down memory lane I put on some Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and remember the time we saw them at the Beacon Theater in the city or I pop Maxwell in and remember the year Daryl took me to Radio City Music Hall to see him for my birthday.  And when my spirit won’t let me rest I select ocean waves on my mp3 player and drift off to sleep.
  • Spend time with people who are okay with me not being okay.
  •  Take time to feel physically good, which for me means getting massages. I say, do whatever makes you feel alive, safe, relaxed, and yummy.  Do it!
  • Meditation – Taking 5, 10 or 15 minutes to try and clear my mind is beneficial. If you notice I wrote ‘try’ because I’ve just never been good at clearing my mind.  How do people do that? Well I have gotten better with the help of Deepak & Oprah’s meditation challenges. One reason it has gotten better is I don’t sweat it when I realize I am thinking of something versus nothing. I just go with the flow.
  • Conscious breathing – I sometimes find myself holding my breath, what is up with that? Remedy, I take deliberate, deep breaths and slow myself down. In through my nose, out through my mouth. With noise. The sound of my breath entering and leaving my body relaxes and comforts me.  
I wish you well on your journey to healing because we all deserve to patch ourselves up, live in peace and reconcile, in our own time, the events in our lives.  

Heal, heal and then heal some more. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Self-Love Lesson #7: G is for Gratefulness & Gratitude

I practice gratitude and being grateful because it helps me feel good and see my world in a better light.  I believe it aids my physical health as well as my mental outlook.  The conscious ritual of practicing gratitude, be it speaking out loud, praying, or writing it down forces me to take time to be with me and with my God. 

I notice the more grateful I am the more I have to be grateful for.  Some days I make sure I find at least three things to appreciate and then some days I’ll fill an entire page in my journal and still other times it is just a prayer spoken from my heart. And yes some days when it is all just too much I humbly say a simple Thank You and know my God is fine with that.  

I give thanks for a lot of things some serious most not: the new day, my ability to hear, see, think, smell, laugh, book a vacation trip, my Mom and her special blend of crazy, medical researchers and drug companies for finding cures, healings and balms every day, my Mom’s example of faith, the loving people in my life, Daryl who was always was a light and seeker of knowledge, the ‘winks’ she sends my way, my sister, Brenda, the strength of my dad James W. Davis, Sr., my cable DVR, Robin Thicke’s new jam, ‘Blurred Lines,’ Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, Facebook because it allows me to check in on folks I care about but don’t get to see often, my new favorite wine, Sirius from the Sakonnet Winery in Little Compton, Rhode Island, the sound of laughter gurgling out of my friend Julia’s new grand-babies, Kacidee Daryl & Keyon Denzel Parker, and lazy Sunday afternoons, to name just a few.   

Gratitude and being grateful makes a difference in my life.   

I am glad I do it. Give it a try!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Self-Love Lesson #6: F is for Flowers

I don’t know about you but whenever I see flowers I smile.  Yes I do!

And why wouldn’t I? They are beautiful and their fragrance can be so soothing. Flowers also boost morale and improve your mood and drumroll please flowers possess phytochemicals that aid in helping our bodies heal. 

A few examples: 

Lavender: Promotes relaxation and induces sleep when inhaled.  The oil exerts anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects when applied topically to the skin.

Chamomile: The bright right yellow flower heads contain numerous glycoside flavonoids and other compounds that have demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.   Tea made from chamomile flowers helps to ease indigestion, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal complaints.

Echinacea:  Known as purple coneflower, is a North American native with a long history of use in medicine. Various Native American tribes noticed that elk purposely look for this plant when sick or injured, earning the herb the nickname “elk root.” The Lakota used the plant to treat inflammation and pain, while the Kiowa and Cheyenne used it to ease cough and sore throat.  Preparations made from the flowers, as well as the root, help to thwart viral invasions when taken internally at the first sign of cold or flu symptoms.

As I type this post the song I Feel Pretty* from West Side Story in bouncing around in my head:

I feel pretty, Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright,
And I pity Any girl who isn't me tonight.

I digress but I do love to do that.  So where was I? Oh yeah, flowers and how they make me feel pretty, smiley and happy.  And they make me sing and sometimes actually convince me I can actually sing, which is a good enough reason to buy them every day because I CANNOT sing.  Not one note.  Even, if you gave me a suitcase I would not be able to carry a tune.  Daryl used to tell me everyone can learn how to sing and suggested I take some voice lessons, God Bless her beautiful spirit.  Just believe me when I say I cannot sing.  

So get yourself a bouquet of flowers, inhale the delightful aroma, drift off, feel better, smile and sing a little tune whether you can sing or not. 


* Music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim