Doing what you want by your own rules….

Nothing in the world can bother you as much as your own mind.  I tell you.  In fact, others seem to bother you, but it is not others, it is your own mind. – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.vanilla Clouds

If we could only learn to control our minds and where our minds go when left unattended, we could quite possibly learn one of the most important ways to keep our peace on the inside.vanilla Clouds

The past few weeks, I was struggling with trying to relax.  I’ve had endless nights of tossing and turning and in some sort of dream/awake zone. I find myself going into some strange reenactment of a scene in my life and have no clue how or why I’m there.  It is so incredibly frustrating that I’ve almost dreaded going to sleep some nights.  Then one day last week, I heard this quote in a Buddhist lecture I was listening to and something clicked.

Separate the mind from the difficulty that surrounds it.Vanilla Clouds

There is a fine line between caring and immersing yourself into something that you cannot change or affect.   Finding that fine line is the key.  I placed this quote on a sticky and it’s now stuck to my monitor so I see it every day and it reminds me that stressing or worrying too much takes me to a place I don’t want to be.  I always thought being sensitive and intuitive to things and people was a great quality, but there is a healthy balance to everything. Sometimes, we are too sensitive and lose our strength in the ability to make rational and healthy decisions.Vanilla Clouds

Anything you want to change, requires a constant conditioning. But it’s ok, you are in good company, as we all have our little challenges we are trying to overcome 🙂

I got super creative and decided to do a self portrait sequence(above).  I’m at the age where I really feel comfortable expressing my creative ideas and not feeling self conscious about what others think. One other great benefit of getting older and wiser 🙂 Here’s to hoping you too find your inner power to do what you want by your own rules! xo

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What’s meant to be is not what’s meant to be. What’s meant to be is what you make it be!

How incredibly paralyzing is the statement, “What’s mean to be is what’s meant to be“?  When I hear someone say that, what I hear is, I don’t deserve to get what I want or worse, I’m too afraid to go after what I want, and so, I’ll just be complacent and hope no one notices. I will tell everyone that I actually believe I have no control over my fate and I hope they believe it because the thought of taking fate into my own hands terrifies me.  Sound familiar?  The next time you hear someone say that, you be sure to tell them….Vanilla Clouds

Nothing is meant to be, you make it be, your fate is not scribbled on some ledger.  Don’t accept patterns in your life that make you unhappy.  And don’t settle for living vicariously through other peoples happy lives.Vanilla Clouds

Find the strength to go through the ugly moments when you feel alone, hopeless and you feel like maybe you took things one step too far,…it’s when you get over that summit, that you realize that you have been settling this whole time and you will kick yourself for not taking charge sooner.  When you embark on the unknown, there is always fear, that is perfectly normal, but don’t let fear stop you. Vanilla Clouds

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No one is born perfect, we all have strengths and weaknesses, but the question is, what are you doing with what you got? VANILLA CLOUDSSONY DSC
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Photo’s above are a bunch of random pictures I took at this beach this past weekend!  I’m officially a creeper at the beach with my zoom lens :-p

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I pray that I never forget how good it makes me feel to champion others.

Planted goodness is the only thing that you can take with you wherever you go.  No one can take the good deeds you do away from your heart.  Let them enrich you.

The other day while I was in this Barre Toning class that I recently became obsessed with, I remember feeling out of sorts.  Working out is one of  my favorite stress releases and unfortunately, the weather has kept me trapped inside as my only mode of transportation to the gym I belong to, is my bike at the moment.  And my golden rule is, when the temperature drops below 45 degrees, it’s officially too cold for this lady to ride her bike!  Actually, it’s not even the temperature that is the issue, it’s really the wind against my face that becomes intolerable.Vanilla Clouds Note Card

Anyhow,…I digress.  The new studio I enrolled in just for these classes, happens to be about 50 feet from my apartment, so, it’s quite convenient.

I actually haven’t taken a class in while.  I am ok doing free style dance moves but when you ask me to count and move and step at the same time, something in my body goes wrong.  So, as usual,  my uncoordinated butt was having a hard time following the routines and to boot, I’m blessed with the sweat gene, meaning I sweat more than anyone in the class within the first 5 minutes of even starting. Lovely!Vanilla Clouds The Fall NC

Despite what seems like me complaining, I actually really enjoyed the class and it certainly kicked my butt.  I kept to myself since I really didn’t know anyone and as I walked out, this older woman who was way more coordinated than I was, tapped my shoulder and said, your hair looks so beautiful, I couldn’t help but stare at it since I was sitting behind you.  Meanwhile, my hair was in a bun but the Buddhist teacher I listen to says, never deny a compliment, you do yourself a disservice.  So, compliment registered, check.Vanilla CloudsTransform Adversities NC

Now I know you’re thinking, that that little compliment doesn’t seem like a big deal but the thing is, even the strongest person has bad days and although they shield it with a smile or a grimace, many people are suffering inside.  I’m certainly not the strongest, actually, I’m a wimp and sometimes, I need a little boost just like everyone else who doesn’t like to admit it does.  This simple moment just reminded me that sometimes all it takes is a kind gesture to make someone’s day. It may require you to leave your comfort zone for a bit but it’s such an honorable thing to do.  So this blog post is about kindness.

I pray that I never forget how good it makes me feel to champion others.  I pray that I always remember how it pleases my heart to know that I made someone’s day just a little bit better.

Post cards above can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/VanillaClouds?section_id=16512533&ref=shopsection_leftnav_7

 

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One day you will figure out what you really enjoy doing, and you will kick yourself for not doing it sooner.

Life is funny.  You grow up simply being drawn to what you enjoy and don’t think much of it.  You may do it every day all day and never tire of it.  Then you hit the point in age where you start caring too much about what others think of you, and you desparately try to fit in.  It’s during this time, that you forget who you really are and what the real you truly enjoys doing.  You bury inside, what you need to be happy.  You forget it, it gets lost… Then because we replaced who we really are with this false persona, we attract all the wrong people and can’t figure out how we ended down this road.Vanilla Clouds

One day, it hits you, that something is missing…and you find yourself craving the things you used to do, like reading romance novels, painting with gouache, playing volleyball, running, doing makeup, writing, photography, etc.  You find that when you are doing these things, you are intrinsically happy, hours go by and you haven’t noticed, you feel revived, worthy, you have a sense of purpose, even if you are not that good at it, you don’t care.Vanilla Clouds

The hardest part about this realization is, you think to yourself, if doing this makes me so happy and content, why didn’t I start sooner?I am not sure my younger self would have listened had someone shared this wisdom with me, but I certainly would have wished I had.
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We spend so much time chasing falsities in life when we could be living our truths.  So, if you are that person who buried your interests away and have now re-discovered them, bravo! better late than never.  But if you are that person trying really hard to fit in and compromising who you are and what you are, then wake up and smell the coffee because living this way will never truly deep down inside, lead you back to that path of happiness. xoVanilla Clouds

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Life happens in those in between moments….

I was listening to a lecture the other day and the speaker touched on how we all rush through things, multi task, whether it’s the smart phone, the tv, the radio, the computer.  It’s like we need a constant distraction in the in between moments.  We don’t realize that we are living our lives by simply rushing from one thing to another avoiding the present moment.  There is always a plan and a goal to get to, but we tend to forget that how we get there is probably the most important part of it.  Allowing ourselves to being present to the moment, whether that is enjoying dinner with a friend, a love or not needing to answer a million emails while you walk to the park.  Having that little quiet time, is so important to keeping our internal peace.In between moments Vanilla Clouds

It’s not the path, it’s the journey.

Now we have all heard this saying a million times, but do we really understand what it means.  It really is in the details.   While we are so anxious to get to our next meeting, class, or the supermarket, we sometimes rush through the most meaningful parts of our journey because we forget to be present in the moment.  Sometimes when I leave my apt to ride my bike to the supermarket, I see my favorite orange kitty strolling along the parking lot.  Whenever I see her, I stop and walk over and give her a little cuddle.  She graciously accepts it and I just feel so happy when I get on my way.  It can be as simple as that.  Animals of all things, teach us compassion.  If a little cuddle makes orange kitty happy, that’s such a little gesture with such a big reward, in my opinion.

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For you, it may be something else, perhaps you stop and grab a coffee and you overhear a conversation about someone who is going through a similar situation as you and it helps you carry on your day. Or you bump into someone, who really needed a friend to talk to, so, instead of rushing your hello’s, you stop and ask them, how they are doing. Sometimes, all someone needs is a kind gesture, a concern to help them get through something.  You may even overhear a job opportunity or a concert you have been wanting to see, while you sit and enjoy your coffee. Vanilla Clouds Vanilla Clouds Vanilla Clouds

When I remember, while I ride my bike,  I remind myself to be in the moment; notice the trees changing, the new buds, the new establishments, the wood burning smell :). You really do need to remind yourself, because it is very easy to get caught up in the “goal”. SONY DSC Vanilla Clouds

The images on this post are of the The Retreat Golf Course on St. Simons Island.  The beautiful colors made it super pleasant and easy to shoot 🙂

and here she is…could you resist her 🙂Orange Kitty

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Why sappy lyrics move me….

Anyone who knows me, will probably attest to the fact that a song will come into my head and I will sing it and play it until you either love it as much as I do, or hate it ferociously.  I am positive that I made my friend Melanie hate the cd Monster Ballads 1999 because I played it every time we took a ride in my truck the summer we worked together as camp counselors.  Leaving the camp was our escape, however for poor Melanie, there was a  rite of passage each time she entered my car and we left those gates. I also exhausted the highly addictive More Than Words track by Extreme because I was desperately trying to learn how to play it on my new guitar.  Poor Melanie again 🙁SONY DSC

Either way, I’m a total lyric and harmony person and I love ballads. Some people hate ballads because they tend to be sad but I feel the opposite way when I hear ballads. SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

Ballads remind you that you’re not alone.  They are the words that keep you company when you feel ashamed to admit what you’re feeling around others. You feel like crap, sometimes you know what you’re feeling makes no sense, but you feel it and you don’t want to appear weak.  Ballads have a way of pulling the emotion out of you and spelling it out in words, so that you can finally release the pain.

I remember the comforting feeling that I felt when I heard the song Cry, by Faith Hill.

…. Could you cry a little
Lie just a little
Pretend that you’re feeling a little more pain
I gave, now I ‘m wanting
Something in return
So cry just a little for me

When I heard these lyrics, I thought, yes…yes, .. I need him to cry a little, lie,..just something to tell me that what I thought we had wasn’t an illusion. Please give me a sign that tells me he feels some pain too. Only then, for some strange reason could all this be tolerable.SONY DSC SONY DSC

and sometimes, it’s just a lyric, one line in the song that gets to you. Ahem…for example, I just love that song by Bon Jovi, Thank you for Loving Me, and it’s probably that one line that gets to me but I find myself singing this verse a lot.

Thank you for loving me
For being my eyes
When I couldn’t see
For parting my lips
When I couldn’t breathe
Thank you for loving me

It’s something that you hope one day, you get to say to someone. Not that you should be grateful that someone finally loved a sappy soul like you, but because it’s just a beautiful thing to humbly say to someone,…that you think so highly of them, and that you are so appreciative that you get to hang with them.  I won’t even get into my serious Sarah Mclachlan phase or coming into my sexy self, John Mayer phase.  Songs kind of carry you through a portion of your life, they motivate you when you need that “power song” as my ipod calls it when I’m trying to get through my last mile.  It helps you fall asleep sometimes.  Keeps you company on a bumpy plane ride or boring train ride.  Young gals are so lucky to have Taylor Swift these days, because I certainly would have rocked out or cried to a few of her tunes way back when.  Music rocks!SONY DSC SONY DSC
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So, fast forward to my obsession this month.  This song by the Irish Rock Pop band, The Script, called  It’s Not Right For You.  It makes me want to hold a “boom box” up in the air and blast this, for me, for you, for everyone to hear!  and in this case, it’s the entire song that I connect with, rather than one line, or a verse.

My head, my head is full of things I should’ve done
My heart, my heart is heavy, here it sinks like a stone
She said, is this the life you’ve been dreaming of
Spinning half through the way from the things you love

It’s not too late, to do something new
She said, it’s not enough trying to live your life
But not following your dreams makes you dead inside
If you don’t love what you do

It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you even have to think about it
It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you really have to think about it
You got one life, got much to do

My hands, my hands are scarred by things I should’ve done
My feet, my feet are weary from all the miles that I’ve run
She said, open your mind take a look within

Are you happy with the world that you’re living in

If not, you gotta change what you do
She said, and lately I don’t see you smiling love
Are you happy here with me and the things we’ve got
If you can’t say that it’s true

It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you even have to think about it
It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you really have to think about it
You got one life, got much to do

If we don’t do something now then
We’ll never know
If we stay here too long then we’ll, we’ll never grown old
So before it’s too late and it’s killing you yeah
We’ve only one life to live
So love what you do

It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you even have to think about it
It’s not right, it’s not right for you
If you really have to think about it
You got one life, got much to do

I’m sure if you think about it, there is that special song that when you hear it, takes you to another place, another moment.    Images in this pictorial are of a day trip to Savannah, GA.  If you haven’t been, you must go check it out. There is a lot of rich history there and the streets are lined with tons of beautiful colonial homes.  Definitely wear comfy shoes though, because you will be walking a lot! xo

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It’s in those moments of peace, that we find clarity.

The other day, while I lay down on my comfy bed, as it does on most nights, my mind began to wander.  Sometimes the wandering is not a good wander, a consequence of perhaps eating too late, too heavy or indulging on too much wine.  But, sometimes my mind is still and in these still moments, I get a bit of clarity that I didn’t realize I needed.SONY DSC

I don’t necessarily think that these resolutions are obvious at first, it’s when you are lucky enough to have remembered them the next morning, that they become apparent.SONY DSC

Personally for me, my life has changed a lot in the last 6 months. Less then a year ago, I was still signing single on applications and was completely independent, selfish, frivolous and working a super intense New York City job.  There are and will always be some aspects of that, that I will love, but there are certainly many aspects of that, that I do not miss.SONY DSC

Saying good bye to your single life is kind of a tricky thing when you are older,..in a sense this is something you have kind of looked forward to your whole life, yet when it comes, it requires you to change and compromise and that is something your independent, selfish, single for most of your life persona, resists and can find very offensive.SONY DSC SONY DSC

I believe it’s during this time of change, that it’s super important to have those moments of peace and stillness because that is when you can receive the  most clarity.  I think everyone has fears that culminated from a prior experience and those experiences come to haunt you when there is a chance for you to finally be happy.SONY DSC SONY DSC

Going back to my moment of clarity the other night… I had sort of a foggy memory of a scenario with someone I cared for deeply many years ago.  I remember being in a park and waiting.. feeling uncertain as to whether he would return to meet me.  I remember thinking how awful it would be if he abandoned me, if he didn’t return.SONY DSC

It’s so interesting how something like this can have an emotional affect on you, years later.  Then all of a sudden, it made sense.  My subconscious is trying to tell me something.  If I don’t trust and believe that I deserve what is in front of me, who will?  Developing healthy and loving feelings about ourselves is so important to succeed in life.SONY DSC

We protect ourselves, put guards up, create walls and barriers because we don’t want to get hurt.  It’s a way of protecting ourselves but it’s also self sabotage.  So, find those moments of peace, so that you can get clarity to help you appreciate, enjoy and honor what is around you.  I am the happiest I have ever been and that little bit of clarity is what I needed to remind me of that. 🙂

Images above are of my mini photo shoot for my “Thank You” note cards.

You can find here:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/215338239/thank-you-cards-in-an-unconventional-way?ref=shop_home_active_3

 

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The Power of Silence

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The power of silence is priceless.  Over the past few weeks, I have been seeking inspiration and hope.  I was reading through my notes taken while listening to past lectures and books I’ve read and I came across a section called “the power of silence“.   I thought to myself, how can one find the strength to be silent when you are angry and have so much to say.  How can you hold your tongue when you hear someone speaking completely lacking empathy, compassion, kindness.  The truth is, sometimes, it is impossible to hold back your emotions but at times, being silent is the best response.

I love this quote by Ajahn Brahm, ” it’s the empty things that make noise, would you rather be a babbling brook or a great river that flows silently, majestically through your life? Vanilla Clouds

Sometimes the best, most powerful and peaceful answer is silence.  I would never wish anything bad on someone because I understand that people who are negative and express hateful and mean words are suffering and only projecting what is inside of them.  I feel pity for them because they have to live with themselves and their negative minds. So instead, it’s important for our own health and peace of mind to relinquish control and allow Karma to take it’s course.  Vanilla Clouds

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