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Vows are powerful statements for our lives. Which become powerful actions. According to physician and Zen teacher Jan Chozen Bays, M.D., in her thoughtful, practical book The Vow-Powered Life: A Simple Method for Living with Purpose: "Vows are the forces that weave together the fabric of our life and all of life. Without vows, without purposeful action, life would cease to exist."
Below is a selection of powerful quotes from The Coloring Book of Mindfulness: 50 Quotes and Designs to Help You Focus, Slow Down, De-Stress, illustrated by Holly MacDonald. I hope these quotes remind you to be more present and to savor each moment---because we naturally and inevitably forget, too wrapped up in our mind's chatter, too focused on our to-do lists. Which is OK, because we can simply refocus on what's unraveling right before us. We can start using our senses fully, refocusing on what we're seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, tasting.
When I used to struggle and go through tough times, I didn't really know how to handle it. I didn't know what to do. Because what do you do during a painful situation? Years ago, I'd try to eat it away. I'd berate myself for having certain feelings and get even more upset. I'd withdraw and spend a lot of time on the couch, flipping channels and feeling empty. I'd also feel hopeless and helpless and alone. I'd feel restless and lost and very uncomfortable in my own body.
We tend to look at our "negative" emotions as a nuisance at best or with anger at worst. We judge ourselves for feeling sad or lonely. We judge ourselves for feeling anxious. Often we just want these feelings to go away. Often we pretend they don't exist in the first place. This is understandable. Maybe we weren't taught to process our emotions. Maybe we'd simply rather feel good instead of heavy, weighed down and hurt. Again, totally understandable. And that's hard. Because these feelings don't dissipate. They don't go away.
We talk to ourselves all the time. Maybe not out loud per se. But every second of the day, our thoughts are swirling. And for many of us those thoughts can get pretty negative. This is why I like the idea of memorizing mantras---something simple and poignant, which we can say to ourselves, whether it's every day or as an important reminder when we need it.
How often do you say, "Where did the time go?" or a similar version, lamenting that there isn't enough time for everything you want and need to do. Part of the problem might be that we don't realize just how we spend our time and, honestly, how sometimes we squander it (me absolutely included!). Of course, some activities take longer than we think. We run into new and tricky challenges. And sometimes we're surprised by illnesses and other things. Sometimes, we simply have a bad day. After all, we aren't robots.
The great thing about the word "no" is that behind it there's always a "yes." That is, when you say no to something that you really don't want to do, you say yes to something that you do. You say yes to a nourishing activity, meaningful time with loved ones, meaningful time with yourself.
Self-care comes in all shapes and sizes. How we take care of ourselves depends on what we need at the time, and what's available to us. In The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Workbook authors Melisa Robichaud, PhD, and Michel J. Dugas, PhD, suggest keeping a list of self-care activities we can turn to (and scheduling them, just like we would a dental appointment). They share these three categories and some examples:
On my creativity blog, I've been sharing interviews with some of the people who've generously contributed to my forthcoming book Make a Mess: Daily Prompts and Projects for Rediscovering Your Creativity and Living a More Playful Life. I ask each person the same questions. One of my favorites is: "Why is connecting to our creativity so important?"
Most of us use labels to talk about our concerns. I am stressed. I am sooo overwhelmed. I can't sleep. I am worn out. I am exhausted. According to author Sherianna Boyle in her latest book Choosing Love: Discover How to Connect to the Universal Power of Love--and Live a Full, Fearless, and Authentic Life! what's more helpful is to focus on our experiences. She writes: