Personal Responsibility

I was inspired to write this today after watching the presidential inauguration today. I really didn’t appreciate much of the commentary remarks by the reporters. I just wanted to “see” what was going on. It’s all pretty obvious though isn’t it? I mean, if you look at the scenes, some were happy and others were down right angry! The most profound thing was when President Trump talked about giving the country back to the people. I heard him say that we are each responsible and not the government! The government really can only do so much as the people allow it to lead anyway. We the people are responsible.

I remember years ago, a member of a church asked the Pastor why they didn’t have a surplus of food for those who were hungry. The Pastor said it was because the government has programs and resources for the poor. I was a bit outraged by this mentality. Someone comes to your church hungry and you’ve got nothing for them but some scriptures? How does that work? Why relinquish this to the government? Is the government more powerful than God, or anyone, for that matter, who is able to help someone in need?

I am personally responsible for how I behave and conduct myself, not the government, not my family, not my community, not anyone else! It’s up to me to live my core values based on what I have chosen for myself and not to try to force them upon someone else for my own level of comfort. It’s always an individual choice. Look at mob mentality, many people join together as a mob to protest and sometimes do damage, some join the act just because they were there and have no idea how they really feel about the situation. However, the mob mentality works the other way, too. The mob mentality can be used to get people to also join together for good and peace. It doesn’t always have to be about an angry outburst, wrecklessness and destruction. Everyone can stop and decide for themselves to behave in peaceful and constructive ways.

I am challenged this year to be a little more compassionate, less judgmental, more forgiving and loving to myself and others. I am doing this regardless of who is in Office right now. It’s always an individual decision! It’s my personal choice. It’s not because of God, religion, social mores, or standards of conduct, but it’s how I feel inside. I choose to present myself with integrity and honor because it just feels good! It makes my heart happy. I lead by the heart. It feels good to my body, my mind and my soul to be a nice and considerate person. Love and compassion is a choice!

Aha Moments

A few days ago, I went to the store to find some aerobic dance shoes. I needed some shoes that would help me glide as I dance. Within minutes at the store, I heard over the speakers, the song, Just Dance by Lady Gaga. I laughed inside for the coincidence or synchronicity of it! I just notice these things all of the time! Everyday, I see numbers, signs, words, people engaging in various activities which relate to what I’m doing! Have you every noticed it? The things that are on our minds and hearts tend to show up! It’s not always the case, but it does happen to me a lot. I see it as a bit of divine inspiration. I also see it as my reason to make a conscious effort to watch my thoughts, and make intentional choices everyday to do what I know in order to achieve my goals, desires of my heart, and aspirations.

There are signs in creation and all around us everyday that inspire our daily lives. If I open my eyes and my heart to notice, I’ll know that I am never alone and there is always hope. Life is easy and never a reason to worry or fear. If it sounds like I’m in a bubble, you’re right! I’m in a bubble of belief and support that everything good always comes my way, I’m loved and all is well!!! Look for those synchronicities and have your own aha moments! When I started seeing them, I realized the beauty, love, and magic of life! Life is magical!

Wild Compassion

This year, I’m focusing my attention and energy on more compassion for myself and others. The other title for this blog post was going to be “cut the bullsh*t!” I’ve been cutting out all kinds of BS from my life and belief system lately. I just don’t believe the “I have to”, “need to”, and “should” messages anymore. It’s just that in this world there is judgment, lack of empathy, and impatience towards others and ourselves. If we’re not where we wanted to be or where we think someone else “should” be, it’s easy to be harsh, critical and judgmental. I don’t believe it’s my place to do this for anyone, including myself. It’s my responsibility to love myself, and to love others.

Wild compassion is forgiving others, letting them off the hook, being kind, gracious, and loving because I’ve received compassion, patience, forgiveness, kindness, grace, and love. It’s letting people be who they are without trying to fix them. It’s letting people grow and learn in their own time and in their own way. It’s being there when someone asks for help, but not insisting on my way. It’s letting people have their own belief system and not judging it. It’s recognizing we’re all at different stages of growth and evolution.

I used to be so hard on myself. I was critical, judgmental, and easily frustrated because I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I didn’t achieve my goals, and perceived myself to be a failure or sinner bound for hell. That’s just a bunch of bullsh*t and doesn’t help me to grow, but wallow in pity and helplessness. I was so miserable, sad, depressed, angry and unforgiving towards myself and others. I had no dignity for myself. Now I know better. I know to lighten up, be easy on myself, gracious, merciful, forgiving, patient, compassionate, and loving. Now I love myself. I love all of me, all of my flaws and imperfections. It’s okay to be human. I love my mind and body by giving myself unlimited and unconditional wild compassion.

Letting Go of 2016

This is my last blog post of the year.  The end of the year is here! I find myself reflecting on all that transpired over the past 365 days. I laugh and I cry as I remember. I had many ups and downs and turn arounds. I released old fears, out dated beliefs, and habits. I’ve striven to live in peace with all and when I couldn’t, I prayed, meditated and reflected on my part. I gave the best from my heart. Where I failed, I apologized, and I forgave myself.

I’m taking the opportunity now to release all that no longer supports my personal and spiritual growth. Letting go is really easy!  Forgiving myself for my mistakes is very easy!  Giving myself the grace and compassion to let go of all the obstacles that have been in my way is easy peasy!As of now, I affirm, I  let go of the old and bring in the new. I let go of anger, hate and bitterness. I let go of unforgiveness and criticism. I let go of shame, doubt, fear mongering, and guilt.

I am free and clear of all people, energies, and items that no longer serve my highest good. I release the old and welcome the new! It’s a brand new day. I choose to live without the fear of the unknown.   I receive the health, love, success, and positive opportunities coming my way in 2017.  I give myself compassion as much as I give to others.  I give love to myself as I would give to another.   I live in peace, love and harmony with all of creation. I love myself!

I chose the featured song because I believe we are all innocent…Shine on!!!

Peaceful meditation

When I first began to meditate, I was just curious about all the hoopla about it. So many people talked about the wonders of it, I felt like I was missing out! I had to find out! I wondered if it could really help me be more at peace with myself. I certainly wanted a lot more peace. I wanted to know if it would help me to sleep at night. I wanted to know if I could really shut down all the anxiety producing thoughts that were constantly running through my mind. The very first time, I concentrated on an LED light and I ended up falling asleep. I did it again and again. At the time, I had extreme anxiety and PTSD. I had inside and outer voices going on. I was coming out of a major depressive disorder. It worked wonders.

At some point, I was able to stay awake during the meditation time. When I’m awake while meditating, I am able to just observe my thoughts without judgment. I can see what is capable of changing. I see my knee jerk reactions, my sorrow, my happiness, and joy. I accept them all. Being in a meditative state brings about clarity. It’s calmness in the storm. It’s looking at life from a bird’s eye view and knowing it’s going to be okay. It’s letting go of all the “I have to”, “I need to”, and “I should”. It’s allowing life to happen at a natural flow. It’s going with the flow. It’s knowing what I can control, which is me, and what I can’t. Meditation has helped me to face my feelings. It has helped me to look at them and understand where they come from.

In the early days of learning to meditate, I was able to forgive lots of people, including myself. I let go of all the anger and unforgiveness by forgiving those who hurt me. I also forgave myself for those I hurt. I let others off the hook and I let myself off the hook. It’s a win-win situation. I let go of feeling guilt and shame for my past transgressions. I allowed forgiveness into my heart. It’s as easy as that! It doesn’t have to be hard or difficult.

I let go of the fear of what’s going to happen in the future. I accept that there are many unknowns and deal with what’s right in front of me. I can plan and take steps towards the future I desire, but I don’t have to have all the details worked out. I work with what’s available to me at this time while knowing and believing it’s all going to work out. If it doesn’t work out the way I planned, it’s okay. I’ll do something different! It’s okay to not have all the answers or have everything figured out. I’m at peace with myself and the world. I choose peace. I choose to be a peacemaker. I choose to live with the people in my life to the best of my ability with peace and love in my heart. I do what I can each day, then I go to bed in peace, knowing I did my best, and will carry on the next day.

I’ve made meditation a regular part of my life now. It is my number one stress reliever. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Sometimes, it’s just taking a deep breath in, and exhaling. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. I can do it anywhere and anytime. I used to hear people say, “peace is just a breath away”, now I know what it means!  I breathe in peace, exhale stress!  Meditation is healing for the mind and body!

Gift to Readers

amazon.com/author/sophiasimo

I’ve got the “f” word on my mind!  F is for family, friends, fans, and most importantly free!  This holiday season, the kindle version of my book, Dear Sophia, Love Yourself! is free to download from December 23-26 on amazon.   My  book is full of short stories about dealing with mental illness, and healing.  I had depression with psychotic features.   It’s my commentary of the mental health system, friends, and family who helped me through a dark period in my life.  It’s inspirational and a primer to think differently about mental health issues.

From the back cover:  Since I was a teenager, and for much of my adult life, I have been in and out of the mental health system, and have had various physical conditions for which I needed assistance.  This book is a compilation of stories about what I have overcome and how I did it.  These stories are my commentary on the help, or non-help, I received and various life experiences from which I learned valuable lessons that I want to share with the world.   I hope to inspire others who feel like there is no way out of a seemingly hopeless situation, or who just want to take positive steps to change the direction of their life.

Enjoy!

Christmas gifts

Many years ago, my family had all been very sick right before Christmas. Someone had strep, another had the flu and I had a bit of a cold. Another had pneumonia. We were sick and the only time I left the house was to get food or medication. We all managed to go to Christmas Eve service. Afterwards, we stopped at the only open store, Walgreen’s. We only had a few little presents for each other. Looking at all the cutesy gifts and Christmas candy, I passed by a woman several times. She had a cart full of games, toys, and other little stocking stuffers. I tried to smile at her or say Merry Christmas but she avoided eye contact. Looking back, she actually looked worried, nervous and afraid.

Later, we heard a loud commotion coming from the front of the store. As I walked over to see what was going on, the manager came inside the store out of breath. He said the woman ran out of the store without paying for the things in her cart. He had run outside to get her license plate number.

I felt really terrible for the lady. I could tell she loved her children. She wanted to get them all something special for Christmas, but didn’t have the money. If she had asked, I would have made a contribution. I’m sure any of the people in the store would have helped out. The store may have even helped. I just know running out of the store without paying wasn’t a great solution because the police would be searching for her and she would end up in jail. I imagined the look of shock on her kids’ faces as the police took away their Mommy in handcuffs!

It left quite an impression on my mind as I thought about how I hadn’t done much of any shopping either. My kids already knew the situation and were totally okay with it. I didn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to not have anything for them. I still loved them! When I was growing up, Santa Claus didn’t come to our house. I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know who Santa Claus was. We were poor. I didn’t look forward to Christmas because I didn’t know about it! It doesn’t mean I missed out on anything though. It just wasn’t my reality.

Many stores invest lots in advertising at Christmas time to get people to buy. Still, I wish people would not pressure themselves to buy their kids expensive gifts they cannot really afford for their children. I wish they would simply say, “I love you” and spend time having fun with their families. It doesn’t have to be the huge thing our society has turned it into. I wish it was more about celebrating one another, being kind to one another and just loving on each other rather than buying expensive gifts. Giving gifts are nice but the reality is that not everyone is going to get one and that’s just the way it is. We should tell the kids the truth that Santa Claus is not real! Some say, “Oh it’s fun though!” It’s fun to tell kids a lie? I don’t think so! The truth will set you free!

Let yourself off the hook if you don’t have the money! It’s okay. No one is going to jail if you don’t have a Christmas present for anyone. We lose the joy of Christmas time by stressing out over buying the perfect gift. If you want to give, give out of the love in your heart and what you have. It is nice giving and receiving gifts, but it’s unnecessary. When people are stealing and fighting in the stores over gifts, we’ve forgotten the true meaning of gift giving and Christmas time.

Self Help

Self help isn’t just a classification of books! For me, it’s about helping myself instead of waiting on someone else. I have read many books on self help, spirituality, scriptures, reinventing the self, motivation, and inspiring stories. None of these will ever help if you don’t take the information and do something about your life. It took me a very long time to realize this. Okay, I was slow to learn! It wasn’t until I questioned my beliefs about myself and life that I began to pay attention.

I let go of false beliefs and questionable theology more so than adopting new beliefs. Of course, it was easier to accept new beliefs and practices once I had an open minnd and let go of rigid belief systems. I went to lots of therapy, which helped tremendouly, but in helping myself, I was able to grow by leaps in bounds just by meditating, and getting honest with myself.

I had to get seriously honest with myself. I had to tell myself the truth of how I had messed up my own life. I also had to stop waiting on someone else to come save me from myself. No, I had to acknowledge the truth of where I had strayed, and where I had adopted others’ beliefs without question. However, I found that once I stopped believing dogmatic messages, I found I wasn’t so bad after all. I did more of what lifts me up. I hung out with positive people. I started taking charge of my own health and mental well being. I did things that were good for me without asking permission of anyone.

I’m allowed to make changes and adjustments in life that I see fit and that are good for me. And you know, when I did this, not only did I get better mentally, physically and spiritually, but it changed the dynamics of my relationships, too. I would say the best self help is to stop waiting on someone else to tell me what to do or how to live and just get very honest with myself!

Other people, who are not objective, will tell you how to fix your problems based upon their perception of your problem or how they solve their own problems. They can offer suggestions, but really at the end of the day, I have to decide for myself what’s good and right for me. I’m a good and kindhearted person. I can trust me to make good decisions. I can help myself. I can consult with others or ask for advice, but in the end it’s up to me what I choose to do. I’m in charge of myself.

When I am honest with myself, I check myself to see if I am living in integrity with my core belief systems or whether they need to be altered or released. And since I check myself, if I make a mistake, I don’t wallow in guilt, shame, blame, or fear. I correct it. I forgive myself. Self help is loving yourself!

My blog posts, and my book, Dear Sophia, Love Yourself, are primer’s to get people to start thinking about issues differently. To look at them from a different perspective to learn, grow, or change mindset. They are especially written to spark an “aha” moment! It’s works for me! Comments are always welcome.

I like to inspire others to take actively participate in their own healing.

Changing & Loving Myself

These are exciting times for me because I’m continually changing or evolving. There’s only one constant thing and that is change. We’re either getting better, or we’re not, but change is subtly taking place. Our actions dictate what’s going to happen next or not. But things are changing. I’m getting older and dealing with habits I developed a long time ago differently if only because I’m older. I understand more. I am able to see clearly what action steps to take next in order to shift my life. Even if it seems the same, the fact that I can look at it and notice, means it’s slightly different.

People really do change. I used to not believe it, but then I changed. I used to be chronically suicidal. I was very depressed and had PTSD. But I healed and I changed. I changed my mindset, too. I changed how I think about life and how I deal with life. I realize I was stuck believing I would always be ill, but here I am now healed. I changed how I deal with problems. Instead of spiraling down into chaos, I deal with whatever is presenting itself to me. I have a wide range of emotions, I am no longer afraid to feel nor express them. I allow myself to feel sad because I know I won’t cry forever. I allow myself to get angry without being destructive. I allow myself to be happy! I allow myself to be in the present, right now, and no longer look back at my painful and chaotic past. If I do take a glimpse, and I smile knowing I survived! I conquered! I lived to tell about it!

Some people believe change is hard. It’s only hard if you resist it. Go with the flow. Make the necessary adjustments and you’ll see how easy it can be! Our resistance is what makes it hard! Change is constant and it’s good for us. Not too many years ago, I would constantly check in with myself to make sure I was in touch with reality. I no longer do that because I am no longer in that state. I changed. Now I meditate, I sing, I laugh, I cry, I dance, I exercise, I read, I write, I spend time outdoors, I talk to people, I write blogs, and lots of stuff I enjoy, or, that is good for my mental health! I take care of myself. I honor myself. I sleep when I’m tired. I eat when I’m hungry. I take care of my mind and body. I love myself!

I want to reiterate, I wasn’t this way before, for I was in a constant state of turmoil, depression. suicidal ideation, and chaos. I was on lot of psychotropic medications that only dulled my senses. The medication didn’t change my mindset about life, and dealing with mental illness. I no longer have the symptoms of mental illness. However, I will not venture to say I’m “normal.” What the hell is normal anyway? There’s no such thing! I’m simply me. I am a sensitive person though and it took me a long time to realize this! When I realized it, I was able to see that I’m different from others and I am unique. I didn’t need to strive to be like someone else. I merely wanted to be comfortable with me in my own skin!

There are some people who are very different from others, and because they don’t think like them nor act like them, they think there is something wrong with them! And you know what else? Those other people think there is something wrong with them, too! But no, there is nothing wrong with being different! Do not change yourself to fit into someone else’s view of you or to fit in! Be yourself. Love yourself! If you want to change something about yourself, that’s fine, but do it for you and no one else! I have learned to just love and appreciate myself just the way I am and things have a way of sorting themselves out.

It’s easy to change when you love yourself. I eat healthy foods because I love myself. I exercise my body because I love myself. I sleep at night because I love myself. I drink lots of water because I love myself. I meditate daily because I love myself. I take a break when I’m tired because I love myself. I spend time with others because I love myself. I give generously to others because I love others, and I love myself. I am compassionate to me and others because I love myself. I clean my home because I love myself. Everything I do is out of love for life, others, and myself.

I’m just as important as others. I am worthy. I am lovable. I am loved. I love. I love myself. I’m not just changing though, I am releasing or letting go of things that are no longer good for me. I love myself so I don’t abuse my body. I don’t talk badly about myself. I don’t berate myself. I talk lovingly to myself. I ask for help when I need it. If I fall short of my best self, I forgive myself, and keep on loving myself. I am the key to changing myself. I am at peace with myself because I love myself. I am free to be myself because I love me! I love who I am today and who I am becoming! I love myself!

Truthing

“…the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” It’s the oath we make when we’re in court. But what about everyday truth? Who do I bear allegiance to then? Usually it’s me! We all have different versions of truth. When I’m talking about something and someone absolutely cannot see it happening or refuses to believe it, it doesn’t change my truth and I don’t change it to make them feel better! Or do I?

Many times, I’ve watered down something to help someone accept what I’m trying to say because they just could not hear it! However, I found this to eat away at my core. It bothered my conscience. I would feel empty inside and misunderstood. I couldn’t tell the whole truth! It’s very uncomfortable. It’s not authentic. I have learned to be careful with who I’m sharing my truth with. I don’t just tell anyone because not all are ready for it. It’s okay. It’s not for everyone either.

Everyone all around the world have different versions of truth. I believe everyone has the innate ability to hear, discern, and know truth. There’s an internal guidance system called our intuition. It really depends upon our early teachings, our impressions, and what we personally believe that leads to interpretations of truth. This is an undeniable fact. So many people hear the exact same story, but based on their filters and personal beliefs will interpret it in their own way that makes sense to them. Whatever you hear me NOT saying or between the lines has more to do with you than me! Think about it…

It is good for your mental health to question truth every now and then!  What are you believing or telling yourself?  Is it really true?  Is it true today, right now, or is it something from the past?  Is it your belief or someone else’s?  Do you water it down for  someone else?  Do you exaggerate it?   It is written, “the truth will set you free.”  What is truth?

My blog posts, and my book, Dear Sophia, Love Yourself, are primer’s to get people to start thinking about issues differently. To look at them from a different perspective to learn, grow, or change mindset. They are especially written to spark an “aha” moment! It’s works for me! Comments are always welcome.