Live :: Optimistically :: Through :: Universal :: Struggles
Happy LOVE day!
I don't want to say Happy Valentine's Day as that tends to have the connotation for intimate partner love. Valentine's Day tends to be the one day of the year that people shower their loved ones with flowers, gifts and chocolates. I am all for spreading the love to all your loved ones, but why only today.
Instead of wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day, I will wish you a happy LOVE day! I hope today and everyday you feel the love from those around you. Feeling the love can come in small or large doses. Today at work, I was pleasantly surprised with little acts of kindness and love: an adult client who has Autism baked me a cookie, a trio of siblings bought me a cupcake from their school's bake sale, other clients brought in homemade goodies and kids wrote me little Valentine's cards attached with candy. I noticed how these small acts of love brightened my day. These gifts had no monetary value, instead the thoughtfulness and sentiment behind the gifts were priceless. Taking time and thought into something to give to another person is far more valuable then the price of the item.
My hope for you this year is to spread the love all year round. You don't have to spend money to spread the love, you can shoot someone a text, make them a card or just do a lil something for them to make them feel extra special! Love comes in all shapes and forms and wouldn't it be nice to celebrate love everyday!
What did you do today to show someone you cared about them?
What is a bullet journal?
The Bullet Journal was created by Ryder Carroll. After many years of journaling himself, he created a short cut to journaling, that can be personalized. With a bullet journal there is no need to spend lots of money on a fancy planner, now you can buy a blank planner and create it to fit into your life. The simplest way to describe it is an all in one planner: to do list, planner, and journal. And the best part is that it can be personalized to an individual's needs. As you personally create a page, you can customize it to fit your lifestyle. Whether you track what you are eating, your sleep patterns or use it to keep on schedule and routine, it can be a helpful tool to help mediate your mood and increase your productivity.
One of the benefits of my job is that I have the opportunity to learn from all of my clients. In 2017, a few of my clients started to bullet journal and boy what a difference it made in their life. It gave them a way to track their behaviors, habits and goals and kept them accountable. I saw a dramatic change in their mood and energy levels. they were motivated to be on track, fill out their habit trackers and continue on working on their goals.
This blog is dedicated to those clients who introduced me to bullet journaling. You know who you are!
REASONS TO BULLET JOURNAL
1 - Keep Organized
A bullet journal is a place you can keep everything in one place. To do lists, monthly calendar, shopping lists, chore chart, you can put all these things in one journal and create it to your liking. The main reason why people usually use a planner is to keep organized. Writing lists, keeping track of appointments, and being able to see your week and month spread are all ways to keep organized. Traditionally bujo (bullet journal's nick name) consists of yearly, monthly and weekly spreads.
2 - Stay on track (...and get things done)
Habit Trackers. One of my favorite things about the bujo is that you can track certain habits or behaviors. As a psychologist, I feel that it is important to be able to have insight into what is going on. The best way to figure out what is going on is often tracking a behavior. When clients come into my office and I ask how their sleep has been or how their mood is, they do their best to give me an overall summary. Tracking your behaviors or moods can help find patterns that worsen or improve your symptoms. Maybe we never realized before that mid week we are more moody. If we know this, we can implement more coping skills during the middle of the week. Or that our sleep is not as restful or long on Sunday nights as we are getting off our weekend vibes.
3 - Keeps you positive
Most bujo templates includes a gratitude log. A gratitude log is a perfect way to practice positive thinking. To end your day with identifying something positive that happened everyday. This is particularly helpful for people who are experiencing mood symptoms as when they think negatively, they feel negative and behave negatively.
4 - Increases Behavioral Activation
Behavioral Activation is the act of doing things, whether it is getting out and doing things or completing tasks. Behavioral activation improves our mood as we stay active and focused. It helps us get out of that slum. Bujo allows personalization of daily schedules, it could be for a portion of your day like a morning or bedtime routine. Schedules can be created for multiple things like when's the last time you cleaned the bathroom or breaking down a large task into a smaller task, like decluttering my house!
5 - Brain Dump
Brain dump is the bujo concept where you write down anything that is on your brain. This helps clear your mind and reduce anxiety, it helps to improve concentration and help you to accomplish said tasks. It's like keeping a notebook by your bedside to write things down before you sleep. It's one of the best ways to clear your mind and not forget what you have to do the next day. A brain dump is similar to that, but it is not a specific list. Anything goes! (cravings, items to buy, places to see, thoughts or tasks to do, the options are endless).
6 - Inspiration
One of my favorite things to add to my collections are quotes. Quotes kill two birds with one stone. They help keep you inspired and motivated and allow you to be creative. I sample new fonts or different lettering, I doodle and draw pictures. This helps drown out racing thoughts you may have and keeps you focused on something positive.
7 - Bucket list it out
A bucket list is a list of things or experiences that you'd like to do before you die. But bucket lists don't need to lifetime ones. You can create a bucket list for an upcoming trip, or a time frame (18 before 18). One of my favorite list/pages I like to make is a bucket list. I think about what I want to do and what I would regret if I didn't do and write it down. Creating a bucket list in my bujo not only keeps me on track with living my life without any regrets but it also allows me to have a creative outlet to doodle, draw and create the experiences I hope and wish for. These visualizations inspire me to check things off even more.
8 - Process
Journaling is one of my most recommended coping skills. There is something very therapeutic about writing down your inner most thoughts and feelings. Journaling helps a person to open up and process their feelings without being judged. I personally premake pages for special events to encourage me to write and commemorate that experience.
9 - Unplug
Focusing on the paper and pen in front of you, helps you tune out the world and all your stressors. Creating logs, spread and trachers allows you to stay focused on goals rather then being distracted by social media, youtube or the newest episode of your favorite show.
10 - No judgment
There is no right and wrong way to bullet journal. Your lettering, drawings or pages don't have to be perfect. In fact it's great if it isn't perfect. Imperfection is a great way to practice living and coping with the lemons that life hands us. Instead of getting stuck on the imperfection, transform it to a positive. Create a doodle, turn it into a piece of art. Or leave it as it is. Our bujo's are just like us, no one and no bujo are perfect.
For more information refer to www.bulletjournal.com or Pinterest away (just remember don't compare your journal to someone else's)
Jump on the bujo bandwagon! I did! I promise you'll like it!
Yesterday I was introduced to "word for the year." While talking to my best friend, who lives in San Fransisco, she shared that she and her friends created their dream boards last night. She processed their event and then stated that both herself and her husband have picked a word of the year. Word of the what?< I have never heard of picking a word of the year. Little did I know, this is just another way to set your intention and keep motivated to work on manifesting your goals. The difference is that it combines all your goals for the year and summarizes it in one word. How genius?!
Like with anything that I just find out about, I researched and asked around about this awesome idea. I mean, come on, summarizing all of your goals into one word and letting the world know what your word is brilliant! Luckily, picking a word was easier then I thought as I had just completed my dream board as well as started tracking and breaking down my goals in my bullet journal. As I was talking to my best friend, we shared our years goals and aspirations. After the conversation one word that resonated with me was CREATE. It seemed to be a common theme of my goals; a word that tied all my aspirations together.
CREATE a peaceful and welcoming space (declutter)
CREATE behaviors with intention rather then being distracted with technology (unplug)
CREATE ways for me to track and be accountable of reaching my goals (bullet journal more)
CREATE new connections and relationships (network)
CREATE my tribe - #yourvibeattractsyourtribe (surround myself with like minded individuals)
CREATE time for myself (more self care)
Be CREATIVE (draw, doodle, write, paint, calligraphy)
Having one word to sum up my intentions for the year, was pretty moving. I immediately included it in my bullet journal and set goals on different ways I can be creative. Selecting, visualizing and sharing my word of the year was invigorating and motivation.
What will your word of the year be? I can't wait to find out!
Last week I. unfortunately, got hit with the flu. I can't honestly recall the last time, I had the flu. But trust me, I won't forget about this experience. One minute I am fine and dandy and then BAAMM! It hits me - body aches, fever, coughing, headaches, nausea and sinus pressure. I was devastated, I immediately cancelled my weekend plans and loaded up on all possible cures (OTC meds, orange juice, cuties, ingredients to make soup and bags of cough drops). I was motivated to push through and get this flu in and out! Well little did I know that the flu would feel like death. My body literally was playing for a different team and no matter how much I wanted to be productive or at least binge watch a Netflix series, my body had it's own ideas! How rude! I felt useless! My mood was sour, I neglected my hygiene; I was definitely in the "woe is me" stage. It reminded me of how someone feels when they are going through a depressive episode. I had all the symptoms: sadness, social isolation, fear that it will not get better, a sense of feeling stuck, lack of energy, fatigue, loss of appetite, and sleep disturbances. It's official I had the FLU BLUES!
After 2 days of having the flu blues, I made the conscious decision to turn my frown upside down and try to make the best of my day! I decided to use the time I spent at home to focus on self-care. I made myself a cup of Elderberry Echinacea tea and diffused OnGuard essential oil and holed myself in my home office. It was time to get rid of the flu blues and focus on what I do have control over. Hmm, what could I do that doesn't require physical effort. As I sat at my desk, I thought about all the things I want to accomplish during the year. And then it hit me, being stuck at home was perfect time to dedicate my day to bullet journaling! It was freeing and healing to focus on setting goals, tracking habits and keeping motivated for the year. I turned my flu blues into something productive! I realized how powerful behavioral activation is when you have the blues. After a few hours of being creative, I felt productive, energized and focused! Flu blues I got rid of you!
*see a follow up blog, on the benefits of Bullet Journaling.
Some of our biggest blunders end up being the best learning experiences. On January 13, 2018 at 8:07am HST, Hawaii residents received an Emergency Alert that stated that a ballistic missile was inbound to Hawaii and recommended that you seek immediate shelter. Was the missile going to hit, did it get blown out of the sky or was this all a really bad mistake? For 38 minutes, the state of Hawaii was in limbo. People were going 100mph to get home to their families, a dad was seen putting kids his kids in a storm drain, and a video showed UH students running in fear around campus. Amidst the chaos, we received the official alert that it was a false alarm. Luckily, there was no ballistic missile headed towards Hawaii. In fact, it appeared to have been a mistake, someone pressed the wrong button! Relief, anger, and confusion were just some of the emotions that went through Hawaii residents.
Everyone in Hawaii, will always remember where they were the minute they received that alert. To be honest, I panicked for a quick second. I searched the internet looking for some sign if this was really happening and googling what to do when a ballistic missile landed. And then I stopped and took a breath, I asked myself “What can you control right now?” I realized that no matter how much I wish I could telepathically reroute a missile, there was absolutely no way I can control it.
Like with every situation, it’s important to stay positive and focus on what you can control. And in crisis situations it is vital that you STAY CALM! I know I know, it’s hard to stay calm when there is a possible ballistic missile heading your way; however, going crazy worrying doesn’t alter the course of its path, doesn’t keep you safe, it just doesn’t help!
These past few days friends, family and clients have processed their perspective on the event. All of their experiences are justified and most found the situation very traumatizing. How is one to explain to their young children that a possible ballistic missile could be landing in a few minutes?! The stories that I heard and read were heartbreaking and I wished that these families could have been spared from this trauma. As much as we'd like to rewind time and prevent this mistake from happening, there was something positive that came out from this false alarm. Because of the false alert, every person in Hawaii is now aware of what to expect if an alarm goes off, the importance of seeking shelter and how to shield yourself from the fallout.
Overall the 3 lessons Hawaii learned from this false alarm:
Regardless of how Saturday’s false alarm impacted everyone in Hawaii, each of us (adults and kids) are walking away from this experience with more knowledge and hopefully a better idea of what to do if a missile were launched. Please refer to the following pdf, which is a memo sent from the Hawaii State Department of Education detailing what to do, how to prepare and FAQ’s.
Happy New Year! As we begin this new year, I encourage you to take some time and create goals for yourself. I am sure you have created some new years resolutions before. Often times, resolutions are unsuccessful as we keep them to ourselves. Sometimes we may be embarrassed by sharing our goal or fear that we may fail so chose not to share our resolutions. I encourage you to be transparent about your goals. Write them down, tell someone about it or create a dream board. Sharing your goals and aspirations helps you keep accountable and increases your success rate.
What is a dream board? A dream board is a visual creation of one's goals and aspirations. Dream boards have been known to help manifest goals. By creating a dream board you are putting your intentions out in the world. The act of creating a dream board helps us identify goals we would like to achieve. Not only do we identify goals, but creating a board allows us to visualize our goals. It can be done in many different ways, there is no right or wrong way to do it. You can create a collage, use drawings, paste photographs and use inspirational words and quotes. The most important thing is place it in a area that you will see it daily. Let it be a daily reminder for you to work towards your hopes and dreams.
This weekend a few of my friends got together to start the year off with creating goals and intentions. We started by sharing the lessons we learned in 2017 and identifying aspirations for 2018. By sharing our aspirations with each other, we are become each other's accountability partners and can help and support each other in achieving our individual goals. My friends have made this an annual event and this was actually my first time creating a dream board. As we perused the same magazines, it amazed me that different images, words and quotes stuck out to each of us. Each of our boards were different and uniquely a direct reflection of ourselves and our aspirations. One of the most special parts of our event was sharing our current fears and insecurities and dreams and aspirations with each other. Collaboratively, we cheered each other one, gave each other insight and ideas and offered encouragement and reassurance that our goals will be achieved.
I encourage you to take some time this month and create a dream board of your own.
Dream :: Seek :: Achieve
It has been a while since I returned home for Bali and honestly, I needed some time to process the trip and readjust back to life. Bali is everything everyone says it is. There are mountains and beaches, temples and resorts, surfing and yoga. Anyone can enjoy the beauty, culture and nature that Bali has to offer. And boy was I ready to take it all in!
But we all know that sometimes our hopes and dreams don't play out the way we planned. My Bali trip was rough. As soon as I got there I was faced with two sacks of lemons - a threatening volcano that could cause an island wide evacuation and a sudden and unexpected loss of a family member. My automatic answer was to go home! It made sense, it's not a good idea to be stuck on a small island with a threat of a volcano erupting and I already had two weeks off to help my family. Being a psychologist and a natural nurturer, my instinct is to help others, which sometimes means that my needs come second. My loving family encouraged me to stay and enjoy my trip. I was not convinced. It was uncomfortable for me to put myself first, I felt guilty and uneasy about engaging in self care and enjoying myself while my family was suffering and grieving.
If you were to see my pictures from the trip, it looks like I am having a blast and don't get me wrong I had some great times. But honestly, my trip had its highs and its low lows. There were days that the guilt and distance of being away from my family had me staying in bed and the grief of losing a loved one overwhelmed me with unstoppable tears. In these lows, I found it difficult to practice what I preach - think positively, make the best out of the situation and focus on what you can control. I found myself making excuses to go home. It took a lot for me to take myself out of the situation and ask myself what I would encourage someone in the same situation to do. I decided to make conscious efforts to do what I could to support my family and honor my loved one's life in Bali. I revised my game plan and found myself gravitating to temples, giving offerings for my family's health and sending peaceful and loving vibes back home. My previous fears of traveling solo was no longer detectable on my radar. I was now motivated to enjoy every minute that I have in this lifetime, to live without regrets and to rejuvenate myself so when I got home I would be there for my family.
My Bali trip went from completing a Bali adventure bucket list to learning to cope with the lemons life hands you thousand of miles away from home. Making Balinese lemonade was not an easy task. It was not what I expected or planned for and yet it was a great learning experience. I learned a lot about myself and most importantly, I realized that it is okay to put myself first for once, to take time to refuel myself so that I could help others. It was refreshing and weird for me to do. Sitting solo at a restaurant became the norm, having the ability to completely make my own choices without having to worry about accommodating anyone else was oddly empowering. Being able to wake up and be spontaneous without having to consider anyone else's feelings, judgements or opinions was refreshing. I found myself waking up early, soaking in flower bathes, and choosing dining options that allowed me to enjoy the beauty of Bali. I watched sunsets on the beach, swam with manta rays, walked in rice paddies, played with monkeys, and took a Balinese cooking class. I did sun salutations in front of a volcano at sunrise, meditated daily, participated in fire rituals and holy water temples and released things that were no longer useful to my greater good. I ended each night with journaling and processing the days events, allowing my emotions that rose to the surface to be acknowledged. My journey was not what I expected it to be, but all in all, it was undeniably one of the greatest learning experiences I have had thus far. I would never expect that I could find enjoyment in making Balinese lemonade, but it was overall surprisingly invigorating.
Lemonade Lesson - When you take care of yourself, you are better prepared to take care of others.
Suksma Bali for your love, positive vibes and life lessons.
Part of my job as a psychologist is to support and encourage my clients to take a leap of faith, to trust in the process, to try something new and step out of their comfort zone. I encourage, validate and admit that the unknown can be a scary place. What better way to set an example and model behavior by stepping out of my comfort zone. Ghandi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world,” right?
It has always been a dream of mine to take my gypsy travels to the next level with a solo trip. I added it to my bucket list, read blogs about solo female travels and shared it with my inner circle. After all, once we say something out loud and put it out there in the world, it makes it a little more real right?
My solo adventure has been on the top of my bucket list and I have to admit I have started to plan multiple solo trips and when friends find out I am going on an adventure and want to come, I say, YAASS! I mean since when is a girls’ trip not a good idea? I have had the greatest adventures with my besties!
Well it’s important that I practice what I preach and today’s blog is about stepping out of your comfort zone. As you read this, I am on a plane (thank you automated post feature) traveling across the world by myself to spend 18 days ALONE in BALI! Yes alone! I would love to tell you that it will be just me and my backpack with no plans; that I will just be going with the flow and being a legit gypsy. BUT, I am traveling alone and safety is always the most important thing. So it will be me, my backpack, my bujo, camera, a rented pocket wifi (to stay in touch with everyone back home and in Bali), and a confirmed accommodation for my first few nights. And to end this epic journey I will be attending a week long yoga retreat (with an entire day of silence, eek). I am feeling EXCITED!, hopeful, spontaneous and honestly, a little fearful. I have no idea how it will turn out? But, I am confident that no matter what adventures this journey brings me, I hope to inspire others to step out of their comfort zone, try something new, face a fear and grow in the process. How does an outgoing social butterfly survive on her own in an unfamiliar surrounding? Will it be everything I thought it would be and more? Well I am not sure, but stay tuned to find out.
What’s one of your greatest fears? And what steps are you making to overcome it?
September 11 holds many memories for all Americans.
Since 2001, I have used the events of September 11 as a way to explain differences in perspective and susceptibility of trauma. I think all Americans can remember that traumatic experience and recall exactly what we were doing at that exact time we found out. According to where we were in life, how close proximally or emotionally we were to WTC, and if we were connected to someone who directly experienced the traumatic event impacted how traumatized we are. We can all experience the same situation, depending on how we experience and process it impacts the situation's overall effect on us.
Today, in the midst of multiple back to back natural disasters (Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Jose), the 16th anniversary of the Twin Towers crash and 25th year anniversary of Hurricane Iniki; my perspective on remembering this day has changed. We could look at today as historically being tragic OR we can CHOOSE to look at the blessings that these days represent. Today I had the opportunity to talk to all my clients about their experiences on the day. I found that along with tragedy, there are reasons to celebrate and be grateful. Today I am especially grateful that my sister in Florida and her family got the gift of electricity. We often forget how lucky and blessed we are by the little things. We can't always control our situation, yet we have the power in changing the way we think about the situation. Instead of worrying about my sister not having electricity due to Hurricane Irma, I focused on being thankful that they were all safe, together and able to notify us that they were okay! What a blessing!
The unintentional theme throughout my sessions today was GRATITUDE.
In one session today, my client and I created a new game - gratitude ball. This client was excited to share a new game her teacher had taught them - silent ball. Where everyone had to be completely silent and see how many passes around the circle were completed (how brilliant is this teacher! What a great way to quiet down her classroom and work on cooperation and team building!) We put our own spin to the game and on every toss, we shared one thing we are grateful for. I used this theme of being grateful across all of my sessions today. For some clients - their homework is to end the night with identifying 3 things they are grateful for, to start a gratitude log or to share with their partner one reason they are grateful to have them in their life.
The hustle and bustle of life in itself can be a whirlwind and it is important that in the midst of chaos we take time to look at the bigger picture and pay homage to our blessings. We all have so many blessings in our life! What are you thankful for?
“Yoga is the light which once lit never dims, the better the practice the brighter the flame.” – B.K.S. Lyenagar
Some people drink, some people smoke, I yoga. For the last 2 years I have been a self appointed yogi. It’s my addiction. I crave and jones for bikram. Now let me be honest, it took me a while to reap the benefits of the practice. After all, its 90 minutes in a super humid, crazy hot, brightly lit room with a class full of sweaty stinky yogis. At first I would compare myself to others in the room and wonder why my body was not as flexible as theirs, my mind busy with to do lists or a running rolodex of events of my day. My body was exhausted and tired, I slept better and I must’ve been detoxing right as my towel was soaked. As the months went by, the sweat rolled off, I found myself being able to clear my mind, to compartmentalize my stress and focus on me and my body. The other people in the room became blurred, the focus remained on me and my practice. And the results, wooo what a difference. Was I burning any more calories? Nope. Had my flexibility significantly improved? Not really But the result the class had on my mind and stress levels was unexplainable. I craved the sweaty, clear headed, euphoric feeling that each class resulted in. The more I was able to focus on me, drown out my thoughts and other people in the room, the more powerful my practice became.
I am not perfect and I am definitely the most flexible in class, yet when I challenge myself to do the best that I can for that day, in that moment, I am a winner. I reap the most benefits – mind, body and spirit. Yoga is my addiction, what is a healthy coping skill that you have become addicted to?