A Life that Loves You

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This saying popped into my head as I was writing a note to my niece about how proud I was of her going for her dreams. Sometimes it takes some swerves and curves to figure out what our dreams are. Sometimes they change or are fulfilled, so we wonder what’s next.

A great deal of my life is influenced by my purpose what drives and fulfills me. When I thought about how I lived my life, I asked myself if I’m living my life in a way that is loving to myself, that is good for me, and is supporting my purpose and dreams.

Those are big questions to ask, and I don’t think it can be a yes or no answer or black and white. So what does living a life that loves you mean to me?

  1. Fueling my body properly: What I put into my body has a direct correlation to how I physically feel, how creative I am, and how much energy I have. I’m really good when I plan out meals and have good food on hand. I’m an emotional eater, so when life isn’t loving me so much, I don’t show myself love with food. I’ll reach for that chocolate bar or some type of comfort food. That may be fine once in a while, but instead of placing food that makes me feel crappy in my body, I ask how will this food show love to me. What kind of life do I want to live and does what I’m eating move me forward toward that life or pull me back?
  2. How I spend my time: I am a really good time waster. I can skirt around what I should be doing and not get anything done. When I finally sat down and journaled about why I did this, I realized I was prioritizing what I thought I should be doing instead of what fulfilled me or led toward living my dreams. I credit the change in how I spend my time on some deep soul searching and writing through why I’m here. How do I want to make an impact on the world and what is my purpose? After I was clear on my purpose and the fact that writing is my passion, I began to clear out what no longer served me. Don’t get me wrong. I still waste time, but I have clear goals that are stepping stones to my dreams.
  3. People in my life: Living the life that loves me also includes being surrounded by people who love me. It’s people who believe in me and vice versa. We lift each other up and celebrate our successes with true joy. I will have separation anxiety if I don’t see my tribe enough, so I plan gatherings, outings, and tribe dates. Spending quality time with my husband and son is equally important if not more so. I love being around people who accept me as I am.
  4. Get moving: Exercise has always been a part of my life. I remember waking up at 6am in high school and doing aerobics in the living room of my family home. My brother would scream at me in the basement because my pounding woke him up. Working out is my stress reliever. Bringing yoga into my life balanced out the physical and mental strengthening.
  5. Be where you are: I recently tore my ACL and will have surgery next week. This has changed my exercise regimen, but I’m doing what is best for my body as it is now. My injury has forced me to slow down and be fine with not pushing my body or my schedule where I don’t want it to go. Living the life that loves me right now means letting go of my expectations and doing what serves me best.

Living a life that loves you is an endless checks and balance. Checking in to see how life is feeling. And I mean that literally. We can move so fast that a whole month goes by, and we don’t remember what we did.

Take a moment to pause and answer this question in your journal–What does living a life that loves you mean? Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially. Feel free to use the headings I chose or create your own. What matters most is that you love yourself first,check in and begin again.

I’m Ready

My journal entries are often inspired by authors whose words resonate with me. I completely agree that you will connect with a book in different ways depending on where you are in your life. I picked up Cheryl Richardson’s book, Waking Up in Winter, because of the sub-title: In Search of What Really Matters in Mid-life. I figured I could connect to some of it. Plus it was written in journal form, and since I’m working on a book about journaling. I thought I could get some insight.

 

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On page 23, she writes about how saying no after always saying yes can rock the boat of life. For those who start saying no, it can be very positive, but those “around them get upset and start questioning the new behavior because change feels scary and unsettling to the safe and familiar tribe.” (23)

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I have taken to opening a page daily in Melody Beattie’s book, Journey to the Heart. This morning I read a passage called, Are You Ready, Willing, & Able? (283) It’s dated for October 1. Significant month for me. I read it out loud to my dogs. They need daily inspiration as well! When I finished, Dakota my 105 pound rescue placed his paw on the book and stared at me. “OK!” I said. “I am ready, willing, and able!”

Melody’s entry was about being ready to get what I want. Once I know what I want I have to tell a friend, shout it out to the world, and probably let my dogs know. Then watch how I feel about it, observe what obstacles jump in my path, the fears, doubts, and distractions that prevent me from being ready.

Hmm. When two books collide to push me along my path, I have to listen. I have written about my amazing tribe. Some might clamor for me to say ‘no’ more while others might wonder what is wrong with me.

Even as I write this, huge blocks are being thrown in my way. It’s because I’m a people pleaser. I hate to disappoint even if my soul’s purpose is dying on the side of the road. The one word I would change in Melody’s passage is ‘want.’ It’s not about getting what I want. It’s about getting what I ‘need.’

Through the many years of journaling, yoga, and deep soul searching, I have learned my path is led by my words. I was meant to be a writer, to share my stories, to entertain, to offer hope. In addition, I need to share my craft with others, so that they can find their own voice, healing, and purpose.

I was on that path 10 years ago when my son became ill. Yes, I have continued to write, publish, and teach, but I need to do it more. I need to jump in and submerge myself in this world of words to follow the path I veered from 10 years ago.

Ironically, the foundation that my husband and I started in memory of Nick is in line with my passion to write. My words have helped families battling cancer. I have written about the inspiring stories that move me. I can still do this, but I have to make space for more of it.

Don’t worry, Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation is still here. But we are changing some of our focus based on what the children, young adults and families need emotionally when facing a cancer diagnosis or to heal from losing a child. How fortunate for me that my gift of expression can fulfill my mission to help children with cancer and beyond.

But to do this, I have to say no to other opportunities within the foundation, within my life, and people’s expectations of me. I know I will disappoint some and that is a block I am learning to set aside. Remember my prompt on Emotional Strength? If you need training on how to remove a block, check that one out.

Sharing that I am growing my writing and teaching career is scary, but it’s so exciting. I have characters and worlds in me clawing to get out. I have a support system that lifts me daily and urges me to follow this journey. If you notice this shift, know that nothing is wrong. Just like my husband and I encouraged our boys to live fulfilling lives, I am doing the same.

Letting go of other’s expectations of me and following my heart is truly the greatest gift I can give to myself and the world.

What are you ready, willing, and able to do now?

What have you recently said yes to that made your stomach twist? What would you have liked to say?

When can you say no, in order to create space for what you need to do?

How would you feel?

What is blocking you? Why?

Start small and build up that NO muscle. It gets easier the more you say it and the more you fill your space with what nourishes you.

Words Have Power

Last night was my monthly journal workshop at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. It was a large group despite the cold weather. Some seasoned and some new people ventured in to see what was on the agenda for the night.

I have been enjoying my December Gifts to Gratitude. Check out my previous blog on the steps involved with this. I shared it with the group and had them write letters of gratitude to someone they loved. I have been choosing one word to describe the people in my life and words like Vibrant, Strong, True, and Joy have come up for me.

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Mary’s word for her loved one.

Words have power. They can lift someone up when they have nothing to look forward to and knock the wind out of you when flung in anger and pain. Words can be a weapon, but they also can be a balm and source of love.

I was very impressed by the letters that everyone decorated to give to someone. There was a peaceful and festive feeling to the room as everyone put their heart into the work. Their gifts of gratitude will have a major impact.

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The card that went with strength. 

The power of positive memories can give us strength when we need it most. Letting people know what they mean to us is a great gift. I know I don’t do it often enough. I have enjoyed receiving surprised texts from my family and friends when they get their letter. One friend said that she gives me the gift of laughter, but she cried reading her letter. It was a good cry!

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Paula’s letter says it all

Some of the letters didn’t need anything more than the picture on the front page. The happy and positive feeling of this card said it all.

Next, we began journaling on our dreams for 2018 and beyond. I call them dreams instead of goals, because they encompass our purpose and who we are.

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This is my template that I will use to work on my dreams for 2018. Everything I do is instilled with hope. That is my mission, and how I decide to spend my time. Stay tuned for another post to explain this process.

I have truly enjoyed meeting new people, being inspired by their journaling techniques and creativity. I look forward to another year of journaling together.

Mark your calendars for the 2018 workshops at The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library:

January 10, February 7, March 14, April 11

Sign up for my mailing list at www.janinedetilliocammarata.com to keep updated on all my events.

December Gifts to Gratitude

Oh December! As much as I love this month of holiday giving, shopping, baking, decorating, and constant chaos, I miss the simpleness of being with those I love. It’s been tough getting excited for Christmas, and I think it’s because of the commercialism, the stressfulness of finding gifts for people who may not need anything, but there is that sense of obligation to buy gifts because it is that time of year. Boy do I sound grumpy!

I reflected back to October when I shared my daily gratitude journal. That month made me realize what I have in my life and how much people give me every day.  I don’t mean gifts in the physical sense, but what they have given me from their heart. I’m talking about what they have taught me and how I am a better person because they are in my life. For December I am focusing on what people have given me and how grateful I am for that.

My gift to them? I want to let them know. So each day I am sending a letter to someone in my tribe with a word that describes them to me. So far I have come up with courage, determination, laughter, honorable, and enduring. Sitting down and thinking about what my friends and family bring to my life is the best gift I can receive.

If you’d like to join in with my December Gifts to Gratitude, here is what I’m doing.

First, I write a letter to that person. Yes, a written letter addressed and mailed to them! Personal mail is a pleasure to receive, especially when we are inundated with catalogs! I’m personalizing them with some fun stickers and the word I associate with that person. Then I write a letter to them explaining the gift they have given to me, what they mean to me, and why I am grateful to have them in my life.

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Letter with the ornament I write the person’s name and word on.

Next, I write their name on an ornament that I purchased at Michael’s (which are half price right now). I write their name on one side, then their special word on the other. I want them to remember why they are special to me, and it can be displayed in their home if they like.

Finally, in order for me to keep perspective this month and remember why I am grateful, I am writing their name on my own ornaments and placing them on the tree in my library. This tree is topped by an angel that my son, Nick, made so it’s a special tree that also reminds me of the amazing gifts he has given him.

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Another option is to cut out a tree or Menorah from paper or write in the people who have given the the greatest gifts of their time, their heart, and their love. Decorate in your tradition. Ornaments could be strung from lights with people’s names or photos. What an amazing visual that would be!

No matter what we believe or how we celebrate the holidays, it all comes down to sharing your love with others and letting them know how much you care every day of the year. That is the greatest gift and makes me grateful.

Colleen–Gratitude Day 27

I am grateful that 17 years ago, Nick and Connor brought Colleen and me together. Our boys met on the bus and lived right around the corner from each other. In addition to playing together, Connor joined Nick in karate and our families bonded.

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Colleen is a powerhouse of vitality, integrity, grit, and perseverance. Whatever she does, she does with intention and full-charged energy.

If you ever need someone in your corner and to cover your back, Colleen is the Charlie’s Angel of our tribe. She has always supported me in any crazy plan I come up with, loves with all her heart, and sees the good in others. She is one of the biggest supporters and volunteers behind Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation. When Nick was ill, Colleen took the initiative and started a fund knowing we would need financial support for his transplant. When we lost him, she came to the funeral home and helped us with all the arrangements. A sister of my heart, she has supported me in some of the hardest tasks in my life. We could not have done it without her. It takes a damn strong woman and friend to take on those tasks.

She stands true to what she believes in and is an inspiring warrior. She isn’t afraid to speak her truth and fight for others. For the past 10 months, Colleen has been battling her own fight against breast cancer. Colleen took this disease with a vengeance and intensity that she brings to every day of her life. She has shown that a positive attitude is one of the biggest healers.

Nick must have known I would need a tribe of amazing women to get me through life. Colleen is certainly one of them. For her 50th birthday, I wish her love, endless joy, and strength in her purpose.

Happy Birthday! Love you!