Forgiveness, The Mew Way is simply this:
1. If our tail gets stepped on, we squawk for a second and then immediately let it go (no lasting grudges or resentments need apply).
2. Look through the lens of unconditional love, always. The loved one who accidentally pushed me off the couch still loves me. No hurt intended.
3. Do not take anything personally. There are times when people want their newspapers without 20 pounds of black fur ball on them.
4. Do not get upset in the first place.
Thank you, Mew. That truly is it, isn’t it?
It is worth repeating:
Do not get upset in the first place.
Thank you, Dear friend, for your perpetual and universal wisdom. No wonder you are loved by people all around the world.
Debra and Mew
Being ourselves and living a life of integrity goes a long way towards living an anxiety free life and sleeping well at night.
How do we live a life integrity?
1. By being ourselves. If we are being phony or stuck in our people pleasing ways – we will not have peace within ourselves as a result. Hello sleepless nights!
2. Do what we say we are going to do. This is easier to do if we have not over committed ourselves in the first place.
3. Have love, honesty, and faith guide our compass.
4. Take responsibility for our actions. No blame game. A certain amount of peace comes when we mature enough to realize that we are in charge of our own lives. Blaming parents, spouses, jobs, the economy, etc. for our circumstances sets us up for disappointment, resentment, bitterness, rigidity, and terrible nights.
Thank you for looking out for me last night. I am safe. My family is safe. I thank you.
I appreciate so many things right now such as this quiet time I have this morning, my warm cup of coffee, and the comfort of my plush couch
and my favorite bathrobe I have on.
I know in just a short while I will be out there in the world again giving the tasks of the day my all.
Please help me to keep in sight the important things:
taking care of myself and family, being a strong and positive leader to my young students, and an encouraging face for someone who meets me in the hallway or on the street.
May I never get so caught up in the fatigue of the day that I take for granted this beautiful thing that is my life.
It doesn’t matter how comfy your mattress, linens, and pillows are.. or how early you turn in at night, if you are not right with your relationships.
We are social beings. I believe the most important life purpose we have is to be in relationship. If something is not right with our most important relationships, we will not sleep well; guaranteed!
Here at The Warm Milk Journal our wish for you is to sleep well at night!
So, tonight I offer you ideas to get right with your relationships so you can rest peacefully tonight (and every night)!
The important relationships:
1. Relationship with God.
If my faith is wobbly and wavering, I suffer from incredible anxiety and sleepless nights. I think Joel Osteen says it well when he speaks about our faith and our mountains (aka our challenges or “problems). He quotes Jesus in Mark 11:23 (kjv)”Whoever will say to this mountain, be removed, and does not doubt in his heart, he will have whatever he says”. Source: I Declare 31 Promises to Speak Over your Life by Joel Osteen, p.161
2. Relationship with spouse
This is so huge for me. If I go to bed after an argument with my husband John, I am quite literally in hell all night. I can not sleep until I know there is harmony between me and my husband. Our marriages are the most sacred and important relationships we will ever have. Put them first. All else will fall into place.
An absolutely wonderful site is Fawn Weaver’s Happy Wives Club.It’s a blog celebrating loving our husbands. It is very life affirming and I highly recommend it! What is more important than love?
3. Relationship with self
This is another big one. I spent years of my life beating myself up, torturing myself with self doubt and fear and pity. If we are not right with ourselves we are setting ourselves up for anxiety and many sleepless nights. We need to accept and love ourselves. Be gentle. Accept. Love. Know we are doing our best. Forgive and let go of the past. Quit our people pleasing ways… Try imagining your four year old self. Really center on this image. You were this beautiful innocent little person once who just needed to be loved and accepted… guess what? You are still that person!
Begin now to unconditionally love yourself. Self berating and perfectionism and pleasing need to go out with yesterday’s newspaper. Got it?!
4. Relationship with parents
My Jewish background makes it very clear about this: we are to honor our parents. They gave us life. If we are holding onto grudges from the past, it is time to let them go. Our parents did their best raising us (just as we are doing our best raising our own children). Focus on the good they did. The rest? Let it go! Love them. If your parents are getting older and they don’t live near you: call them, write them thank you notes (Facebook and texting don’t count). Visit them. Cherish them now. What a gift they gave us and what a gift life and God has given us if they are still here. If they are not, pray and love them and know they are in a good place!
5. Relationship with community.
Agape, love of all mankind and the world is so important. If we choose to be kind, gentle, and non violent in our society… so much good will come from this. Each individual has great power to influence the whole. Something simple such as letting the car on the highway in your lane or smiling at the stranger in your grocery store… we never really know exactly how our behavior (if centered in love) can affect others. But we can be sure that it does in same way… how do we want to affect others and our community)?
6. Relationship with our children
A few things I will say about this all important relationship… children are our future- they need our unconditional love, support, guidance, firm boundaries and discipline. Our kids don’t need us to be their best friends or to earn trophies that they really did not earn. Our kids need to learn the boost of confidence that comes from hard work and good character. They need the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. They need to see mom and dad who make their marriage a priority and grow up in secure and solid homes as opposed to stress and (possibly) divorced homes because parents made the kids the entire focus of the home at the expense of the marriage.
7. Relationship with profession: (employer, colleagues, clients, customers).
Integrity! Do what you say you are going to do. Deliver value. Be a problem solver rather than a whiner.
Get these seven relationships right and you will sleep well at night. I promise!
There is nothing wimpy about commitment. If you are making a commitment to something, you care deeply about it.
This evening I offer you a simple but powerful journal writing prompt.
In your journal, write the question: “What am I committed to?” Or, if you prefer to make a declaration: simply, declare: “I Am committed to…” then begin to write. Just see what comes out.
I like this exercise because it quickly galvanizes my brain to focus on the stuff that is very important to me. In a world of limitless distractions (see prior post), I appreciate getting clear from time to time on what really matters to me.
Ready to get started? As I often do, I will start my entry and then it will be your turn!
I Am committed to:
1. My marriage: keeping our love alive, being supportive, remaining best friends…
2. My kids: encouraging them to make good choices, loving them…
3. My students: being positive, providing meaningful instruction (in academics and in life)…
4. My health: working out, eating good foods, drinking more water, spending time outside, getting “quality me time”…
5. My faith: knowing God loves me and that life works with me.
6. My community: being a good neighbor, a friendly person, and in service as a public school teacher (I work right where I live).
7. My character: working on improving myself always. We are never too old to learn new things!
8. The Warm Milk Journal: Continuing to grow and improve this site so that it remains valuable and a source of support for everyone who wants to live a well balanced life by day and sleep restfully at night.
9. Creating wealth: being a an excellent steward of money, creating an income that will afford my family the life I want for us (which includes a lot of travel and giving back to the community).
If it’s not on this list, I’m not going to sweat it or lose sleep about it. It is gone.
Your turn, friends.
I rock along quite happily when I am focused on something (as in one thing).
There are times, however when I just feel like there is too much going on or too much to do. Then my brain gets a bit fuzzy… I lose my focus, I physically begin to feel restless, and I start getting that anxious feeling. From there it can go down hill very fast. My mind gets tempted to go into negative thought patterns such as: “I can’t______”, “I will never______”, or “I’m just no good”.
Our brains are best wired to performing one task at a time. All of this multi-tasking that we do in today’s world is not setting us up to have the most productive and happy life.
How can we counteract that overwhelmed feeling that we can so easily get (and avoid anxiety to remain productive and happy)?
Here are a few things I find help me:
1. Get rid of physical clutter in my environment. That means, tidy up my desk and classroom at work. At home, getting rid of the magazines that I never seem to have time to read and are piling up…
2. Use my journal to help me prioritize. I am not saying to write an endless to-do list. What we can do, however, is get clear on the few things that are most important. Then we can happily go about doing those things and let the rest go for that day.
3. Turn that smartphone off or put it away! More than anything, I think my iPhone that I got last May has done more to distract me than anything else. I absolutely love it, of course! It is, however, just too easy to check email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumblupon, take pictures with the camera and then share them with the world by posting them to all of the above via Instagram, play Words With Friends, etc.
I am getting anxious just reviewing this! Doing all of these things are great for when you are a passenger on a long road trip or just killing time waiting in the doctor’s room, but not if you are trying to get things done.
I recommend scheduling a few times during your day that you will use your smartphone. Set yourself up some clear rules and stick with them. For example, put the phone away and don’t bring it into the restaurant with you when you are having date night with your hubby… Put the phone away when you are working at your desk, etc.
4. Do your best with any given day. Do one or two things that you deemed most important. If you get them done, congratulations!
5. If your brain is really unfocused, go for a walk or take a trip to the gym. I find exercise and time spent outdoors does a lot to settle my mind down. Often, I get clarity on things or new ideas pop into my head when I am taking a break from work.
6. Don’t beat yourself if no matter what you do, you are not being productive. Some days are meant for being lazy and Facebooking and playing Words with friends. Accept it and enjoy your day. There will be plenty more days to be organized and productive.
These are a few things I never ever want to take for granted:
1. What I have right now. Life is not static. Nothing is permanent. Change is inevitable. With this knowledge each present moment becomes very precious.
2. My wonderful husband. Having my best friend to go through life’s ups and downs with. We’ve got each others’ backs. Love is sublime…
3. My good health
4. Nutritious food and clean water
5. Our beautiful home
6. Having a job that is meaningful
8. The beauty of the outdoors
9. My freedom
10. Friends and family.
11. Being a member of my beautiful community.
12. Every breath I take.
Every day and everything we have right now is a gift. Enjoy!
Some of my worst nights I have ever had are nights when I have gone to bed upset with my spouse. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened too much recently. I have learned that the most important thing for my “beauty sleep” and over all well being is to have a loving and peaceful marriage. I can handle a lot: ups and downs on the job, challenging world events, etc. But if my husband is upset with me, I will not sleep. That is just a fact.
I have learned to make it a priority to have harmony in our home. One thing I love to do is to focus on what I love about my husband.
What we appreciate, appreciates. What we focus on grows.
Why not focus on what we love about our sweethearts rather than the things that are annoying us?
This makes a wonderful journal writing exercise!
What do I adore about my husband?
1. The way he looks and smiles at me.
4. Even during challenging times, he always stays positive and grounded.
5. His strength.
Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. ~Peter Ustinov
What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
A special thanks to Fawn Weaver over at The Happy Wives Club where she dedicates her site to the importance of love and having a happy marriage. Awesome!
When we were kids and we had a scraped knee, we’d have mom clean and kiss our “boo boo”, have a little milk and cookies, and all would be well with the world again.
This January night I would like to look at what comforts us. In your journals I invite you to write a list of anything that comforts you. This will be a list sure to warm you tonight…
My cozy list of comfort tonight might look like this:
1. My favorite blanket I’ve had since college. Yes, it is still with me…
2. Our comfortable living room couch (made even more cozy with cats, daughter, and husband on it with me)…
3. My morning cup of coffee
4. My afternoon cup of tea
5. My evening glass of wine (yes my beverages are a great source of comfort. Is it any wonder this site’s name is Warm Milk Journal)? lol
6. My comfy clothes: yoga pants, sweatshirt or flannel jammies and green fleece bathrobe.
7. Watching a great movie at night
8. Good food! Salad, soup, a nice hearty baguette.
9. My journal
10. My cat
11. My husband: how he holds my hand and hugs me and encourages me to be and do my best in all things.
12. My mom and dad
13. The knowledge that I am giving out love and good stuff to others as a mom, wife, friend, teacher, and blogger.
14. My home here in Atlantic Beach, Florida ( it is just the best place on the entire planet)!
15. Smiles and kindness from strangers, colleagues, and neighbors.
17. Fire in a fireplace or a campfire
18. My socks
19. Gooey chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven!
20. Various inspirational reading I have on my nightstand (such as I Declare by Joel Osteen or poetry by Rumi)
21. A hot bath
22. My wonderful bed and pillows and plush linens and warm husband at bedtime…
I will keep going in my private journal. This is a wonderful exercise to tap into feelings of warmth, love, and gratitude.