I pen this poem of hope:I will rise Though, life struggles may get me down And the burden and strife May bend me to the ground I will rise, if only but slowly From the pain of life blows Dealt on my mind and my body Life wounds I bear, but only God Knows I will rise, even when my body seems Not to obey what my spirit is saying The self-defeating thoughts that creep In, the tricks my fickle mind is playing I will rise, from the depths of my misery Despite the struggles, I will overcome How I do it amazes even me For, it is not I who is responsible for my victory I will rise, because I refuse to be A victim of circumstances or society I will rise because I, with the strength of the Almighty, have been rescued from what I should not be
Are you truly living your life? On the other hand, do you just exist? To answer this question, one must ask themselves many questions including, “What have I done lately, outside of my normal job and family responsibilities? What have I done for fun? What have I done to help someone else? When was the last time I had a great conversation with someone just for the pleasure of connecting? Am I able to find a balance between all of my commitments and responsibilities?
There was a time when I thought I had to accomplish my professional goals in order to really live, and be happy. I thought I had to have a certain amount of money in my bank account in order to do fun things. I could not see myself taking a break to go on a vacation, or simply going for a swim when I had so much work to do. I hardly found time to have a good conversation. For a time, doing schoolwork while traveling was unthinkable. It was not until the pressure got so bad, I realized I had to find a way to balance my life in order to live and not just exist. If you wish to join me on the journey of finding a balance between life and work, here are a few things I did in those busy periods of my life.
Find Your Purpose and Do Something You Enjoy Doing Each Day
I know it is hard to find time to fit in something you love to do in to your busy life while raising kids, family responsibilities, and work. We often hear we should work in a job we enjoy; however, we know how difficult this can be in today’s difficult job market. While working at what you do, I urge you to spend time contemplating your purpose in life. Keep searching for the one thing, which will bring you joy even when you are in difficult situations. What is it you would like to do or become in this life?
Meanwhile you are waiting for your dream job, why not take a few minutes of your busy schedule to read the book you borrowed from the library six months ago but never read? Perhaps, you may like to consider going for an evening walk on a Sunday instead of sitting at home, and grieving about how you hate working on Mondays? Why not find some time to have meaningful conversations (with your older relative, a friend, or your children) because you really wish to converse with other human beings? Here is a link to an article containing some of the philosophies by a Jim Rohn, which I found very enlightening http://www.success.com/mobile/article/rohn-a-good-life-contains-these-6-essentials.
My daughter loves hearing about the Tom Sawyer-Like adventures I had, when I was little, and I love telling them to her. Sometimes, I will pause from what I was doing and repeat one of these favorite stories to my daughter. Her favorite stories are when I fell from a tree, and my fight with a boy named T… No, I do not encourage her to get in to fights; to her these are just tales.
Consider Taking Vacation at Least Once a Year
Most of us work in stressful environments;however, each person’s level of stress will differ. Regardless to the level of stress you experience, there are times when taking a break is the answer to distressing. Have you ever found something you were trying to figure out difficult and when you took a break then had another go at it you easily figured out the problem? This is how I view the workplace. I believe that regardless to the level of stress you feel, taking vacation time away can help you see things clearly. During your downtime, you are able to relax, have fun, and reflect on your way forward.
Sometimes, all we need is a brief change of pace, a different environment, and different people. Seeing and experiencing the same environment and people every day without a break is bound to be stressful, especially if there is conflict. Even if you do not have money to travel outside of your country, going to another place within the country, and talking to different people outside your workplace can be very beneficial.
I recall not too long ago, when I was studying online, working full-time, and taking care of my young daughter, I thought I could not take a vacation because of my obligations. One day, I realized that I can take a vacation if I planned it properly. Instead of waiting until the last minute, I planned for my vacation 2 years in advance.
I took a few weeks off and stayed at home during that two-year period. When my time came to travel, I was able to take two weeks away from work, had my son fly up to meet us, then went on a vacation while my school’s semester was in full swing. I did not need to defer the course, or neglect any aspect of my life once I made my plans. After this initial vacation, having a vacation became easier than I could have imagined.Here are Nine Steps to Planning an Enjoyable Vacation
Make it a Priority to Address Your Financial Health
One of the biggest contributors to stress in life is money. Almost everything we do involves some sort of money. While some people have become very successful, to the point where they do not have financial problems, some of us live from paycheck to paycheck. In addition, some of us are unemployed and have no clue where our next meal is coming from. If you are unemployed, I feel for you and encourage you to get up and seek; do not just sit and think that our superior being will provide. Unless we help ourselves, we will not get the help we need. You know the saying, “Faith without works is dead.” What are you doing to improve your circumstances?
If you are working, then you should make it a priority to develop good health financially. For, if you are not healthy in your financial affairs, it will eventually spill over into physical health problems. My father asks me all the time, “How do you survive after being unemployed for almost two years? My answer is always, ”It is by the grace of God.” The truth is, while I was working, I made it a priority to be healthy in my finances; just as I am in my physical and spiritual being.
I did not lavish my money on every popular trend. I bought brand clothing when they were on sale. I rented hotel rooms at discounted prices, I shopped around online for the cheapest flights, and I avoided regular nightlife, which can make you spend more than you have. I saved the same sum of money,when I get paid, on a monthly basis. I ate healthy, which saved me on doctor’s appointments. I bought groceries and cooked my own meals instead of eating out. I sought financial counseling, and I read every article I could find on how to manage one’s personal finances. The list of things I did to become financially healthy is numerous. I promise I will do a separate article on how to become financially healthy. The key is to live within your means, and invest in things, which can be assets in the case of a financial emergency.
Make it a Priority to Address Your Physical Health
Even though most of us will agree that our health is our wealth, some of us find it difficult to put this phrase in to practice. Rather than eating healthy, exercising, and finding helpful methods to distress, we do the opposite of what we know will work.
As a rule, I make it a priority to learn a few health benefits of every food I eat, or every drink I have. Even while unemployed, I still manage to eat healthy. For me, moderation is key.There are times when I may stray and have a little of the unhealthy stuff like cakes, ice creams, fried chicken, and Ju-c, but the majority of times, I pay attention to what I put in my body. I may not get to exercise daily, but I walk instead of riding a van on a frequent basis.
Do not let physical activity and what you eat be all about just losing weight. Sometimes, we may not see the evidence we wish, but it does not mean we are being healthful in vain. Overtime, we reap what we sow. I may feel stressed at times, but I know when to quit worrying; I remind myself I need to live in the present instead of looking back or fast-forwarding too much.
Embrace the Spiritual Aspects of Life
Regardless of how much we try to cope with the stresses in our daily lives we all have moments when we feel as if we have had enough. Sometimes, coping is simply not enough: especially when ordinary things we do for fun fail to make us feel at peace. Have you ever felt stressed and decided to go to a party, or drink some alcohol in hopes of feeling better? You went out but after the moment of joy passed you found yourself back where you were before doing that fun thing…totally stressed out.
I remember the days when I loved partying until dawn. I was unemployed at the time and was often worried about my situation. Every Friday night, I would go to a party, but then during the week my stressful feelings returned. Eventually, I had a job but there was still stress to deal with. You see, some of us believe that stress is absent after we have achieved our heart’s desire. However, after having what we craved, we find something else to stress about.And so, the pattern of stress continues. Go here if you want to Learn How to Cope and Maintain Inner Peace In Difficult Times
After realizing that no amount of fulfilled desire was going to make me stress-free, I decided to seek solace in something other than what this physical world had to offer. I decided to take a more serious approach to the spiritual world. To seek wisdom from many of the books, which teach us about the spiritual aspects of our lives. I will read bible verses and reflect on the lives of those who lived before us. I especially love the period when Jesus walked the earth. I also enjoy reading daily from a book written By Juan O. Perla: Always Joyful: Experiencing God’s Love. These books help me view life beyond what the material aspects of life offer. I am able to find meaning, hope, and solace when I reflect on life from a spiritual perspective. When I do this on a regular basis, I feel more at peace, content, and balanced. Personally, the spiritual aspect of my life is the most important. Without this, I feel as if I am in a constant state of off-balance.
In everything we do, the key is moderation…striking that balance between all that we do. Sometimes, I find it difficult to create that balance, but each time I stray, I try my best to get back in to the rhythm where I feel satisfied that I did not just live for myself, but for others as well. What do you do to help you live a fulfilling life? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below. You can also check out this short inspiring video, dying to live.
Soothing our soul is a must
When things around are affecting us
Our experiences which cause us pain
And make us realize there is nothing to gain
Music, one of the most powerful gifts in life
It inspires, it uplifts, it makes us thrive
Woke up this morning with this song on my mind
Cornerstone, a powerful song by Hillsong, so sublime
The true rhythm of this music is
As soothing as a mother’s kiss
The softness it creates inside
Makes us realize that we will abide
There is nothing more blissful
Than a soothing song
That shelters our souls from the cruel
And makes us persevere and realize we are strong
Figure out the Confusion and Find Direction in Life. As I reflect on my past, I must acknowledge that the most challenging periods of my life were late childhood, teenage, and early adulthood. At this age, I was faced with confusion and had so many challenges and so little resources to help me figure them out. In my late teen years, after I became a teenage mother I decided to associate with the people who lived on the streets. No to do what they were doing, but to learn how they lived. I realized there was so much I did not know.
Even though I realized that there was no way that a person can absolutely avoid difficult periods in life, I knew there were ways in which a person can overcome them. All I needed to do was find out what I the confusion was all about. Through experience and observing others, I have come up with five tips to help you figure out the confusion and find direction in life. .
Know You Are Worthy Regardless of Your Financial Status
I used to attach my self-worth to material things. I grew up thinking that in order for me to be recognized as somebody I had to have material things such as car, money, house, land, a career and be associated with people who were popular. And though I thought all of these things, I decided to myself that if I were to own any of these things it will be by the sweat of my brow. Nevertheless, I wish someone had told me I did not need these things in order to be worthy. That I was worthy from the day I was born.
In order to escape from reality, I would turn inward and find solace in my own world. A world I created for myself. A world where I was a princess, I had everything, and was loved for who I am. Even at that age, I knew what was missing in my life. And, as difficult as it was to get by each day, my realization that there was more to life than what I was experiencing kept me pushing through those painful moments.
Whenever you find yourself feeling low in confidence and self-worth, always remember that you are a unique being. You may lack all the material comforts that others have, but it does not make you a lesser person. While material comforts are great to have, it should not be attached to how you feel about yourself. You are who you are with or without the riches. So, concentrate on being the best you there can be.
Some of the most beautiful people I have met have a history of being poor, deprived, and from broken homes. It is through their experiences that they became successful. Through their experiences that they made treating people with kindness and dignity a priority over material things.
Be Strong Enough to Say No
One of the best things that can happen to us is when we develop the ability to say no without feeling guilty about doing so. Until we learn to say no, we will always be a puppet and dance to other people’s tune. When you say no, be prepared to meet resistance and name calling from those you said no to. Don’t worry, after saying no for the first time, you will find it easier to say the next time around. And you know what? Nothing anyone says will override your decision unless you have a genuine change of heart of your own accord.
While some people are easily swayed by the people they associate with. I have always had a mind of my own. I do not allow myself to be swayed unless I feel the need to. It does not matter how much name calling or ridicule come my way, I would not be budged into making a choice based on what others think. When I make a decision, it is because I have analyzed every aspect of the issues involved and see that it is the best interest of those involved, including myself…I found this article from The Muse, while on twitter,it makes for a very interesting read: 5 Habits to Help You Feel in Control of Your Life.
I can recall at 20 years old being offered $3000 dollars to transport marijuana to another country. I did not have a penny to my name, but with an inner sense of responsibility, integrity, and my great sense of wrong from right, I refused. I said to the person “I have never traveled in a plane before and I am not going to make my first trip transporting illegal drugs.”
Remember The Guiding Principles
As I reflect on my past, I realized that I was a lost soul back then. Lack of proper parenting during my teen years, growing up in a dysfunctional home with a stepfather who drank alcohol, and my real father missing in my life was not an easy thing for me. My mother only taught me about the good things, she never taught me about the negative things which can happen to me. Don’t get me wrong though, I do not think that this omission was deliberate, but rather a lack of knowledge on my mother’s part.
To give credit to my mother, she taught me the basic principles on which I have built my foundation today. She taught me to pray before I sleep, to say thank you when someone was kind to me, to share even when I had very little, to be kind and helpful to others, to greet others when I pass them by, to be honest, never steal, and to always tell the truth. She was poor, but it never stopped her from ensuring that we lived by these Godly principles.
I Made prayer a habitual part of my life so that when I felt hopeless I found comfort in reading passages from the bible.
Even as I grew older, these principles have been the key to my survival and how I relate to others. It is these principles that kept me afloat while I struggle through the pain, darkness, and hard times.
Figure Out the Confusion by Seeking Wisdom
While some parents believe in sheltering their children from the ugly things which happen around us, I am of the view that as a child grows we ought to teach them based on their level of understanding. For if we do not teach them about the bad things which can happen to them and how to deal with certain situations our children run the risk of suffering more than they would have, if they were educated beforehand.
Young people, I say to you, education is not just about academics. You’ve got to be educated about what is happening in the environment around you. To help you figure out the confusion, learn to socialize with others outside of your immediate environment.
Everyone has a story you just never know what you might learn. Embrace the elders in your community, they too have valuable lessons to teach. Listen to the news regularly and take time to read books, articles, blogs, and anything that is readable. Sometimes you do not need to have a real experience to be informed about it. Reading broadens your horizons and help you develop your thinking and analytical skills.
When ever there is confusion, always remember to reflect before acting out. Just because someone else smokes or drinks alcohol does not mean you have to do the same thing. Just because someone steals or bullies others it does not mean that you have to. And, even though your friends are all sexually active it does not mean that something is wrong with you if you have never had sexual intercourse. Whenever you encounter a conflicting situation reflect on the principles which your parent(s) taught you. Imagine the worst case scenario and whether you are prepared to live with the consequences of your actions.
Be Easy On Yourself
Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves when we make mistakes. But I am here to tell you that while it is good if we all can avoid making mistakes, it is not the end of the world if you do. I can tell you from my own experiences that when you make a mistake you might face ridicule from others, you may cry your heart out, you may even feel as if your whole life has ended. But, guess what? You really do not have the luxury of lying down and die. After you have made your mistake your only option should be picking up the pieces and moving on. For Christ’s sake, what is wrong with you? You have so much life to live…stop being hard on yourself.
Whatever situation you are facing in your life, know that you are not alone. Someone out there may have faced or is currently experiencing a similar situation. Know when to seek help and advice from others. Sometimes talking to someone can give you another perspective than the one you have. All you need to do is reach out, be patient, and walk steadily through those difficult periods. Every journey has an end as long as you don’t quit…