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Day 1! Let’s begin… 📝

Day 1! Let’s begin… 📝

Day 1! Let's begin... 📝 28 Days of Journaling with Vienda Maria
 
As the days get longer here on this side of the sphere — today we celebrate the return of the warmth and the increasing power of the Sun with Imbolc — I want to invite you to join me for my 28-day journaling challenge. We begin right now and it’s free, with a new guided journaling practice released every day for the entire month of February at 6 am GMT on YouTube:
 
28 Days of Journaling with Vienda Maria.
 
When things are unsettled and uncertain around me as they have been I always return to my daily non-negotiables. Journaling is one of them.
 
Journaling informs so much of my life. As well as my creative writing, the way I run my business, how I relate to others — everything really! But it’s not a daily tracking system. Instead, it’s a way to connect the mind, body and soul and to discover what’s really going on beneath the superficial surface layers. Journaling helps me to find clarity, create resolution and make better decisions for a sweeter, kinder, more meaningful life.
 
There have been times in my life when I couldn’t afford therapy though I really needed it. Journaling filled that space and allowed me a way to hold those necessary painful conversations in a safe space. This is where journaling came into its own for me.
 
In this 28-day journaling challenge, we will be using a psychology-based structure of enquiry known as reflective writing beginning today with the fundamentals and 3 big questions that you have 3 minutes each to answer. And on day 7 on Sunday I will guide you on how to journal using tarot cards to identify what’s really going on which is so fun and fascinating. Here’s what you can expect for the week ahead:
 
Day 1. Fundamentals of journaling.
Day 2. Peaceful morning journaling.
Day 3. Find your centre journaling.
Day 4. Gentle evening journaling.
Day 5. 7-minute menstrual cycle journaling.
Day 6. Clear and focused journaling.
Day 7. Journal with tarot.
 
A few things as we get started:

 
I can’t wait to spend every day this month with you taking you through a range of different journaling practices. Please tell me how you go with them!
 
Enjoy!
Vienda xo
 
P.S. Here’s that link for Day 1 again: https://youtu.be/b1M0ZgVRIdA 
 

Make your own christmas advent calendar with me!

Make your own christmas advent calendar with me!

Make your own christmas advent calendar with me!
 
Overnight, despite all odds and lockdown measures, a sense of Christmas has crept in. The lights are up, people’s noses are pink from the cold and there’s a feeling of grace and awe and togetherness. While I don’t celebrate Christmas in a traditional way having had a very non-conventional life I do love the idea that it is another opportunity to celebrate love in all its forms and to make certain those we love, know it.
 
This weekend I’ve handmade a very sweet little Christmas tree from foraged branches covered in moss, holly and pinecones and turned it into an advent calendar with tiny chocolate parcels, love letters, as a surprise for someone special, and you asked me to show you how, so here we go:
 

Make your own christmas advent calendar with me!
PREPERATION:
A week earlier I went for a long walk with my friend Nadia and together we foraged for twigs, pine cones and holly from the nearby parks and wilds. Finding things in nature is literally the most satisfying thing so that part in itself was so fun.
That same weekend I ordered red and white twine and little cardboard pillow boxes from Amazon in anticipation of my advent calendar project. I also went to my favourite bulk whole foods place The Source Brighton and collected 8 different types of nuts, chocolates and fun treats to fill the boxes with.
 
 
THEN:
STEP 1. Organise twigs in a triangle shape.
STEP 2. Measure out the length of the twine.
STEP 3. Tie and knot it around each twig.
 
Make your own christmas advent calendar with me!
Make your own christmas advent calendar with me!
STEP 4. Place the 24 gifts and parcels across the twigs as you want them and number them. Something helpful to consider if they vary in contents (like mine do) is to spread the weight out across the twig tree so it is balanced when it hangs.
STEP 5. This is the most time consuming, fun and precarious part! Tying all the little parcels to the tree. I mixed in a few watercolour cards with handwritten notes on the back to make it more interesting and add a little colour.
STEP 6. Decorate with pinecones and holly. I found it easier to decorate by hanging the entire advent calendar tree up so I could see how things hung and balanced to get a good idea where the additional trimmings could go.
 
Enjoy! x
 
N.B. Do you remember last year when I lived in Mexico I made Ojo de Dios for Christmas for all my friends? You can make them with me here.
Make your own christmas advent calendar with me!
Make your own christmas advent calendar with me!
Make your own christmas advent calendar with me!

How to do a self-portrait photoshoot 📷 (when you have to stay home)

How to do a self-portrait photo shoot 📷 (when you have to stay home)
One of the best parts (in my opinion) of the COVID-19 pandemic in which we don’t really know which way is up, is the space and time that has opened doors into deepening creativity.
 
A few days ago, when I was writing my latest personal update, I wanted to be able to post some pictures of what life “at home” looks like and since Danger hasn’t quite got this in his skill set, decided to do a little impromptu self-portrait photoshoot.
 
I received SO MANY DM’s asking how I did it, so here we go.
 
What you need:

  • a tripod
  • a camera phone or camera
  • a window with bright but indirect light

 
I used my iPhone X set up on my normal camera tripod (specifically this one) with a phone clip.
 
You want to position the tripod right up against the window, facing you because natural light is the most flattering and will get rid of any imperfections and weird shadows. In this set of photos, I just sat on my sofa as it’s facing enormous french doors so bring in lots of light.
 
And then, play!
How to do a self-portrait photoshoot (when you have to stay home)
 
I did my self-portrait photoshoot in two ways:
 

  1. In the first set of photos, at the top of this article, I used Instagram. I selected the hands-free mode, then chose a filter that I like and pressed play. For those 15 seconds, I moved around in fun ways that I thought I might like to capture, with a glass of wine in hand as a prop. Then I saved the video and picked out frames that I like and screenshot them to save them to my photos. You can actually see the various video frames at the bottom of some of those photos.
  2. The second set of photos that you can, I used the good old iPhone timer. I’d set it up to 3 or 10 seconds, press “go” and then run into position. Afterwards, I deleted the ones I didn’t like and edited them in the Tezza app.

 
That’s it! Easy, breezy, beautiful self-portrait photoshoot.
 
Do’s and don’ts:

  • Don’t’ shoot in direct sunlight as this will create harsh shadows unless of course, you are being creative, and want that kind of contrast in your pictures.
  • Do take as many photos as possible and then delete the ones you don’t like. The more you have to choose from, the better the results.
  • Don’t overthink it. This is supposed to be fun.
  • Do use props and have outfit changes ready. The more playful and experimental you get the more photos you will take that can feel proud of and show to the public.

 

55 of my favourite quotes, stories & poems on love, life, creativity & more…


 
ON LOVE + RELATIONSHIPS
And when you appear all the rivers sound in my body, bells shake the sky, and a hymn fills the world. | PABLO NERUDA
 
The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along. | RUMI
 
This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love: the more they give, the more they possess. | RAINER MARIA RILKE
 
Love – not dim and blind but so far-seeing that it can glimpse around corners, around bends and twists and illusion; instead of overlooking faults love sees through them to the secret inside. | VERA NAZARIAN
 
We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present. | MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
 
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. 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
 
Love brings you face to face with your self. It’s impossible to love another if you cannot love yourself. | JOHN PIERRAKOS
 
When I’m being love, I don’t get drained, and I don’t need people to behave a certain way in order to feel cared for or to share my magnificence with them. They’re automatically getting my love as a result of me being my true self. | ANITA MORJANI
 
Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us. | MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
 
There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind.  The other is an outpouring of everything good in you – of kindness and consideration and respect – not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had. | JOHN STEINBECK
 
The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realisation is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvellous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky. | RAINER MARIA RILKE
 
Each time something in our life ends, it creates room for a new experience. Within each new experience is a stepping-stone. Some are little tiny pebbles and others are big boulders. Some are fun and some are exhausting but with each passing day we learn why we are here, what our mission is and why different individuals come in and out of our lives.
Each time a relationship ends or we leave a relationship we must examine ourselves, our hearts, our souls. What brought us to this person to begin with? How did we attract them into our lives? How did they bring us into their reality and why?
Each step is part of the journey to going within and finding out who we really are, why we were brought here, and why we go through misery and pain sometimes. We must first work on the inside and the outside will follow. Think about it? What is truly your life’s mission? Do all that you can to create it. It’s a journey… take the adventure.
You have gone through many rough periods in your life and many wonderful times too. You’ve helped people through their rough periods. You know what to do.
Focus on the solutions always. Stay focused on what you want, not what you don’t want. You have hurt others as they did you. You are a spiritual being who has not yet come into her own.
You keep on getting right to the finish line and then you stop. Keep going this time, cross that line. You are deserving, capable and able. Sometimes if we just work on getting rid of anger, everything else will flow.
You are loved, dear one. This is the beginning of a beautiful future filled with abundance. Someone loves you and will be there for you…always remember that. We are never alone! | MARION LICCHIELLO
 
 
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” | ORIAH
 
 
You and I are in a relationship, which I value and want to keep. Yet each of us is a separate person with unique needs and the right to meet those needs.
When you are having problems meeting your needs I will listen with genuine acceptance so as to facilitate your finding your own solutions instead of depending on mine. I also will respect your right to choose your own beliefs and develop your own values, different though they may be from mine.
However, when your behaviour interferes with what I must do to get my own needs met, I will tell you openly and honestly how your behaviour affects me, trusting that you respect my needs and feelings enough to try to change the behaviour that is unacceptable to me. Also, whenever some behaviour of mine is unacceptable to you, I hope you will tell me openly and honestly so I can change my behaviour.
At those times when one of us cannot change to meet the other’s needs, let us acknowledge that we have a conflict and commit ourselves to resolve each such conflict without either of us resorting to the use of power to win at the expense of the other’s losing. I respect your needs, but I also must respect my own. So let us always strive to search for a solution that will be acceptable to both of us. Your needs will be met, and so will mine – neither will lose, both will win.
In this way, you can continue to develop as a person through satisfying your needs, and so can I. Thus, ours can be a healthy relationship in which both of us can strive to become what we are capable of being. And we can continue to relate to each other with mutual respect, love and peace. | Dr. THOMAS GORDON
 
To ‘let go’ does not mean to stop caring;
it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To ‘let go’ is not to cut myself off;
it is the realisation that
I must not control another.
To ‘let go’ is not to fix;
but to be supportive.
To ‘let go’ is not to be in the middle
arranging all the outcomes;
but to allow others to effect their destinies.
To ‘let go’ is not to be protective;
it is to permit another to face reality.
To ‘let go’ is not to regret the past;
but to grow and live for the future.
To ‘let go’ is to fear less
and love more.” | ANON
 
ON LIFE
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it is over, I don’t want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world. | MARY OLIVER
 
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. | STEVE JOBS
 
Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always. | RAINER MARIA RILKE
 
Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond. | MARK NEPO
 
Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something. | H. JACKSON BROWN JR.
 
Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers. | RAINER MARIA RILKE
 
The bad news: there is no key to the universe. The good news: it was never locked. | SWAMI BEYONDANANDA
 
Don’t step into lives that aren’t yours, make choices that aren’t nourishing, or dance stiffly for years with the wrong partner, or parts of yourself. | SARK
 
To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go. | MARY OLIVER  
 
We convince ourselves that life will be better once we are married, have a baby, then another. Then we get frustrated because our children are not old enough, and that all will be well when they are older. Then we are frustrated because they reach adolescence and we must deal with them. Surely we’ll be happier when they grow out of the teen years. We tell ourselves our life will be better when our spouse gets his/her act together, when we have a nicer car when we can take a vacation when we finally retire. The truth is that there is no better time to be happy than right now. If not, then when?
Your life will always be full of challenges. It is better to admit as much and to decide to be happy in spite of it all. For the longest time, it seemed that life was about to start. Real life.
But there was always some obstacle along the way, an ordeal to get through, some work to be finished, some time to be given, a bill to be paid. Then life would start. I finally came to understand that those obstacles were life. That point of view helped me see that there isn’t any road to happiness. Happiness IS the road. So, enjoy every moment.
Stop waiting for school to end, for a return to school, to lose ten pounds, to gain ten pounds, for work to begin, to get married, for Friday evening, for Sunday morning, waiting for a new car, for your mortgage to be paid off, for spring, for summer, for fall, for winter, for the first or the fifteenth of the month, for your song to be played on the radio, to die, to be reborn… before deciding to be happy. Happiness is a voyage, not a destination. There is no better time to be happy than… NOW! Live and enjoy the moment. | ANON
 
May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you’re meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just as you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. — UNKNOWN
 
ON TRUTH, BEAUTY + EMPOWERMENT
Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. | ALLEN GINSBERG
 
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. | MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
 
The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new. | PEMA CHODRON 
 
Whatever truth we feel compelled to withhold, no matter how unthinkable it is to imagine ourselves telling it, not to is a way of spiritually holding our breath. You can only do it for so long. | MARK NEPO
 
I can’t stop pointing to the beauty. | RUMI
 
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. | MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
 
All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you. | RAINER MARIA RILKE
 
Mysteriously, as elusive as it is, this moment – where the eye is what it sees, where the heart is what it feels – this moment shows us that what is real is sacred. | MARK NEPO
 
A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. | MAHATMA GANDHI
 
Everyone has this giant, luminous being that is their true self… Everyone is a sleeping giant, so to speak, waiting to hear the call, waiting to surrender to it, waiting to act on it. We’ve gotten caught up in thinking we are what we look like, the physical, the exterior. We think we’re the lamp shade. We’ve forgotten that we are the light—the electricity and the luminosity that lights up every man, woman, and child. The light is who we truly are. | MICHAEL BERNARD BECKWITH
 
Nourish your eye and spirit with inspiring things. They will bloom with your tending. | SARK
 
There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts. | ELIZABETH GILBERT
 
There comes a time in your life when you finally get it … When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.” And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes, you begin to look at the world from a new perspective.
……….This is your awakening.
You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :
– how you should look and how much you should weigh,
– what you should wear and where you should shop, 
– where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
– who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
– who you should marry and why you should stay,
– the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family,
Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practised, to begin with.
You accept the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK… they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a “perfect 10″… Or a perfect human being for that matter… and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And, you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.
And, you stop manoeuvring through life merely as a “consumer” hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in “giving” that we receive, and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of “creating” and “contributing” rather than “obtaining” and “accumulating.”
And you give thanks for the simple things you’ve been blessed with, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about – a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, the freedom of choice and the opportunity to pursue your own dreams.
And you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviours, including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you’ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.
Then you learn about love and relationships – how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally, and that not everyone will always come through… and interestingly enough, it’s not always about you. So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren’t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns – anger, jealousy and resentment.
You learn how to say “I was wrong” and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture. And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things. And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake. Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to Say NO. You learn that you don’t know all the answers, it’s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.
Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships, and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given. And suddenly you realize that it’s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet “your” standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that “alone” does not mean “lonely” and you begin to discover the joy of spending time “with yourself” and “on yourself.” Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know – Self Love. And so it comes to pass that, through understanding, your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.
Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn’t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead, you set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.
You learn that life isn’t always fair and you don’t always get what you think you deserve, and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God… but merely a random act of fate.
And you stop looking for guarantees because you’ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you’ll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time – FEAR itself.  So you learn to step right into and through your fears because to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.
Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY… the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognise the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. And a sense of power is born of self-reliance. And you live with honour and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.
Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you TAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.
A word about the Power of Prayer: In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed, not for the answers to my prayers or for material things, but for my “God” to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.
Remember this:- You are an expression of the almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you.” | SONNY CARROLL

 
ON FALLING DOWN…. + GETTING UP AGAIN
Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. | HENRY FORD 
 
Here’s what I think,” I say and my voice is stronger and thoughts are coming, thoughts that trickle into my noise like whispers of truth. “I think maybe everybody falls,” I say. “I think maybe we all do. And I don’t think that’s the asking.”  I pull on her arms gently to make sure she’s listening. “I think the asking is whether we get back up again. | PATRICK NESS
 
Emotional discomfort, when accepted, rises, crests and falls in a series of waves. Each wave washes a part of us away and deposits treasures we never imagined. Out goes naivete, in comes wisdom; out goes anger, in comes discernment; out goes despair, in comes kindness. No one would call it easy, but the rhythm of emotional pain that we learn to tolerate is natural, constructive and expansive… The pain leaves you healthier than it found you. | MARTHA BECK
 
 Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others.
It is because we are different that each of us are special. Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only do what is best for you.
Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.
Don’t let life slip through your fingers by living in the past or in the future. By living one day at a time you live all days of your life.
Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is the fragile thread that binds us to each other.
Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it is impossible. The fastest way to lose love is to hold to it tightly, and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
Don’t dismiss your dreams. To be without dreams is to be without hope, to be without hope is to be without purpose.
Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you have been, but also where you are going. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured each step of the way.” | NANCY SIMS
 
ON GIVING + GRATITUDE
There shall be an eternal summer in the grateful heart. | CELIA THAXTER
 
The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. | DALAI LAMA
 
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. | MAHATMA GANDHI
 
Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields and into the faces of the tulips and the nodding morning glories, and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety – best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens to be where you are in the universe to keep us from ever-darkness, to ease us with warm touching, to hold us in the great hands of light – good morning, good morning, good morning. Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness. | MARY OLIVER
 
My Dear, I am writing this to remind you of your ‘essence beauty.’ This is the part of you that has nothing to do with age, occupation, weight, history, or pain. This is the soft, untouched, indelible you. You can love yourself in this moment, no matter what you have, or haven’t done or been.   See past any masks, devices, or inventions that obscure your essence. Remember your true purpose, which is only Love. If you cannot see or feel love, lie down now and cry; it will cleanse your vision and free your heart. I love you; I am you. | SARK
 
In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices. | ELIZABETH GILBERT
 
ON WRITING
All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. | ERNEST HEMINGWAY
 
The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear. | STEPHEN KING
 
Writing brings us back to the uniqueness of our own minds and an acceptance of it. We all have wild dreams, fantasies, and ordinary thoughts. Let us to feel the texture of them and not be afraid of them. Writing is still the wildest thing I know. | NATALIE GOLDBERG
 
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. | ANTON CHEKHOV
 
Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship. | ANNE LAMOTT
 
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. | ANAIS NIN

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