Live Life to the Fullest

How long do you have to wait before you begin to enjoy your life and live it to the fullest? 12 affirmations to get you started.

I knew Lindsay would be there when I arrived. She always was; either behind her desk in the reception area or in the consult room helping Dr. J with a procedure. Wherever she was, once those bells on the door jangled, she’d sing out, “I’ll be with you in a moment.”

Over the years Lindsay became a friend and I looked forward to seeing her and catching up. The fact that I was there for another dreaded dental appointment became a distant secondary event.

Enjoy the journey of life for it is as much about how you get where you are going as it is where you go.

There will always be opportunities to take joy in life and with an open mind, we learn to find them.

We have the control to make every day a special day, regardless of whatever else may be going on.

Here are 12 reminders to keep you on the joyful track.

Remember as usual, if viewing on a mobile device, you may need to zoom out to see the full posters.

posters created by livinginthesunshine.net. Photo credit: Charles D. Waterman.

Living in 3D: A Beginner’s Guide

3 simple practices that could add depth to your life.

I was smiling because the sun was shining on my toes . . . and it felt so good! That’s the truth. There was nothing else to smile about – not that I can remember – only the bright sunlight and the warmth on my toes sticking out from under the blankets.

Maybe I should start at the beginning of the story.

So I was in the critical care unit at the hospital – one of those fish-bowl like cubicles with the curtain partially drawn. Just thirty minutes earlier, Nurse Terrie had piled on a third blanket because my toes were so cold. (Actually, my toes are always cold but I didn’t bother her with that confession. I was just glad for the temporary warmth of another blanket.)

Oh, in case you are wondering why I was in critical care – let’s just  say that complications from my transplant got very complicated.

Ok, back to the sun on my toes. I hadn’t even realized that my cubicle had a window until that moment, and for that moment, nothing else existed. Just a bright-yellow diagonal slice of sun across the edge of my bed. Beyond that, zilch, nada, nugatory.feet-in-sunlight-1

I was totally in-the-moment with a great big smile on my face: a couple seconds of feeling like I was in a world of virtual reality, sensory stimuli and all. I know it sounds crazy but I swear, there was no “happy juice” flowing through my PICC line  – made me think of 3D movies.

Now I have to go back and fill you in on my 3D inclination.

My 3D Habit

Over the years, my husband and I have fallen into the habit of dinner and a movie on Friday evenings. Dinner can be anywhere but not any old movie will do – has to be in 3D, and if IMAX, even better.

So we usually go to the newest movie house just around the corner (actually a few corners) from home – the one with plush leather reclining seats and 70-foot projection screen. The review boasts a 4K digital projection system, 3D projection capabilities and digital surround sound: Dolby Atmos. I barely know what it all means, but I can tell you the experience for me is awesome.

3d-cinema

The lights go down, we lay back and fall like Alice down the rabbit hole, into in a make-believe world; a virtual representation of real life.

Let me be sure you get this straight: we live in the real 3 dimensional world, yet pay to go to a place where we can experience a virtual representation of the real 3D world we live in, because our real world does not seem to be real enough for us.

Paradox? Sounds about right.

But now you know why the experience of the sun on my toes was so incredibly rad. It was like a 3D projection on a 40-foot screen and I wasn’t just watching, I was a part of it!

Then the ‘what-if’s’ started.

What if my days had more ‘sunshine moments’ like this one?

What if I was missing out on a whole lot more of these 3D moments? I only caught this one by accident.

What if I could live more of my life as colorful, as large, as detailed as in cinematic 3D?

What if I could figure out how to make it happen – on purpose?

Now that would be epic.

science-center-2
Children’ Interactive Exhibit at Liberty Science Center, New Jersey

What it means to have a 3D moment

When making 3D movies, stenographers have to use colored filters to create the illusion of depth that immerses you in the excitement of the scene.

In our 3 dimensional world, depth is not an illusion and yet we constantly miss out on it. We get distracted.

Our world is often too loud, too bright and busy for us to notice the significance of details that add much of the meaning and richness to life.

Like using a flashlight to look at an object in broad daylight, all the shadows disappear, and with them the depth. That third dimension vanishes.

Living in 3D means fully experiencing the life in and around you. A 3D moment is that instant in time when you feel the magic of the sunshine on your toes, wonder at the miracle of a breath-taking sunset, or thrill at the sound of . . . I don’t know, you fill in the blank. It’s that moment in time when you stop being just a spectator in your own life.

 What made up my 3D Moment

First, there were no distractions; only me in the room. Cell phone off, TV off, unsettling thoughts off.

Second, there was a single focal point; my toes in the sunlight. If there was an elephant in the room I don’t think I would have noticed. (Well, an elephant? I probably would, being such a tight fit and all, but you get my drift.)

Third, was the atypical view point – looking down the length of my body to my toes in the sunlight; a light at the end of a trail of shadows.

So let me use this as a blue print for creating future 3-D moments.

 Creating your 3D Moments

Disconnect. Schedule short periods of “alone time” into your day. Eliminate the daily distractions and set you mind free to pleasantly wander. Give logic a rest. Don’t ponder the state of the union and certainly don’t start thinking about how annoyed you’ll be if the package you ordered two weeks ago isn’t sitting on your front step when you get home.

wet-leaf-1

Details. Take note of the details that add so much texture and brilliance to life, and for a few moments let them fill your thoughts. Day-dream. It’s not a waste of time.

drawer pull

Open your mind to the possibilities around you. An ordinary drawer pull may become a work of art – a masterpiece of form and symmetry.

 

This practice may help you to see all of your world so much more clearly. And get outdoors; experience all the empty spaces beautifully carved into the patterns of nature.

palm tree

Diverse thinking. Try standing at the base of a tree and looking up at the branches. I guarantee a captivating perspective. Even the most mundane things become extraordinary if you look at them from a different view-point.

 

What I learned in that small cubicle with my toes in the sun: sometimes we have to climb into the small dark spaces to appreciate the real beauty of our lives.

 

 

 

 

Petals of Love

10 compelling affirmations that inspire a healthy self-love.

When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me, every freckle on my face is where its supposed to be, and I know my creator didn’t make no mistakes on me, my feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes – I’m loving what I see.

Because I Am A Queen – India Arie.

Loving yourselves is being thankful for what God made. Not loving yourself is an offense to God since we are his most precious creation.

I found that if I looked at it this way, self-love became more of a duty than an indulgence.

Regardless,there will be times when we find ourselves slipping back into old habits and need encouragement – gentle reminders of our duty to love ourselves.

Remember as usual, if viewing on a mobile device, you may need to zoom out to see the full posters.

posters created by livinginthesunshine.net

 

Be Your Valentine

Does your name top your valentine list? Should it? Learning to love yourself.

Valentine’s Day wasn’t going to sneak up on me again this year. I was determined.

So a couple weeks ago I started making my “list” –  names of all the people I really love. My intention (get this), was to send each person on my list a personal note, handwritten of course, in my most elaborate script; penned with my one-of-a-kind handcrafted glass quill, on rolled parchment paper (specially ordered).

But wait! There’s more! I would stamp each note with an appropriately colored rose – red, pink, white or yellow.

Sounds so romantic doesn’t it? Real fairy-tale stuff. Well that was my intention – until I found myself broadsided.

Continue reading “Be Your Valentine”

A Garden of Hope and Healing

A collection of quotes to embrace and inspire.

Life is a tough deal. You don’t get a rehearsal and there’re no do-overs; there’s no personalized instructional manual, you get only one chance and you never know when the game is going to end.

That is why we have to take what we have ‘here and now’, and make it count for everything, whatever the situation. Hope is the key.

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear the hardship of today.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.” ~ Christopher Reeves.

And that means healing is always possible. Sometimes you just need to tweak your perspective – change your glasses.

“Healing doesn’t mean that the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.” ~ unknown.

And yes, healing takes courage, but “we all have courage, even when we have to dig a little to find it.” ~ Tori Amos.

So when the going gets tough, remember “you were given this life because you’re strong enough to live it.” ~ unknown.

So have HOPE.

“Hold On, Pain Ends.”

“Have Only Positive Expectations.”

Remember as usual, if viewing on a mobile device, you may need to zoom out to see the full posters.

posters created by livinginthesunshine.net

Pink Blanket

Wrap yourself in warm, healing thoughts.

I bet you’re wondering why there’d been no new posts since November 2016. Well, the truth is, I went home for the holidays . . . to my homeland Barbados. You know, The Great “There’s-no-place-like-home-for-the-holidays” Migration.

GAIA
I went home for the holidays: Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados

Okay, that’s not be the complete truth – even though I think it would have been a darn good excuse. But it wasn’t the tedious preparations for the trip that distracted me. Continue reading “Pink Blanket”

Don’t Be Afraid

12 bible verses to remind you that you’re not alone when the going gets tough.

When I found out my mother was dying of cancer I was terrified. For 26 years she had watched over me when I was sick (and that was a lot of the time) and encouraged, not with words but a silent expectation that I would do what was necessary to get back on my feet, brush myself off and carry on without complaint. The thought of trying to do it without her made me weak in the knees – literally shaking in my shoes.

Then I wondered, does she know she’s dying? And if not, how do I tell her?

“Julie, am I going to die?” Continue reading “Don’t Be Afraid”

Desiderata

If ever there was an instructional manual for life, this prose poem takes one of the top places.

An inspired timepiece with an ageless message – Lindsay Planer.

With all that has happened this week, I feel a major boost is in order. You know a good old ‘shot in the arm’ to balance things out a bit. Oh! I almost forgot, you may not know about everything that has happened.

Well, let me fill you in. A new president was elected, my rose bush lost its last flower, I had to make my way to the ER – all last Tuesday. And guess what? They kept me – at the ER, I mean – said they were unwilling to part with my smile. I fell for it. Continue reading “Desiderata”

Sustained Happiness: A gallery of Quotes

12 Inspirational quotes for sustained happiness

This week, my biology is totally ‘out-of-wack.’ Seriously! Not one single molecular scale in this whole body of muscular, epithelial, connective or nervous tissue, seems to want to find balance with me right now! So I need your help.

I’ve got some captivating inspirational quotes based on the habits I mentioned in my last post:

  • smiling
  • connecting
  • giving

but I don’t want them to stay stagnant on the page this time. Please tell me about the one that means the most to you or introduce me to one that I didn’t mention.

Right now, I am personally concentrating on perspective. . .

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

. . . looking high and low for every manner of rosebush I can find (figuratively). I know there must be other spins on this: optimism vs pessimism. I’m all eyes and ears. So drop me some comments.

Remember as usual, if viewing on a mobile device, you may need to zoom out to see the full poster.

 

Feature photograph by Bajan Photos

Posters created by livinginthesunshine.net

More Happily Ever After

Habits for your Happy-Ever-After: Part 2

When it comes to living happily ever after, there’s good news and there’s not-so-good news. The good news – happily ever after is possible – at least that’s what I believe.

The not-so-good news – we’ve got to put in some effort; there’s no yellow brick road guaranteed to lead us there and Emerald City does not hold the answers.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road???
Follow The Yellow Brick Road?

Dorothy, the cowardly lion and the rest of them already tried – treking all the way to Emerald City only to find that Oz, the Great and Powerful didn’t have what they thought they needed to be happy. They had it all along!

It’s the same with us. Continue reading “More Happily Ever After”