Don’t be afraid to reflect its the path to healing

My best buddy Peanut

Dear Readers, blogger Colleen (Colleenconversation.com) inspires today’s topic Reset, regroup, refocus. Colleen’s blog inspired me to encourage others to think about their lives and contemplate if it is time to reset, regroup, and refocus

There are 4-5 months until the holiday season and a New Year. I know people are thinking hey slow down It is still summer, and you are thinking too far ahead. I say why wait for a New Year to make changes. The only difference about waiting for a New Year is for a new number to change. Have you been listening to that voice in the back of your head nagging you about reset, regroup, and refocus areas of your life that you have been in denial that needs to be changed.

Let us be honest with ourselves, people make excuses about taking time for self-reflection, busy because of marriage, kids, job, school, finances, and lack of resources. I believe the reason people do not reflect on life is because of fear and having to put effort into changing. I think that people have become comfortable with being stuck or pushing the reset, regroup, and refocus mode means that their relationship or your family dynamics may change, not wanting to hurt other people; they remain stuck and unhappy. 

3 years ago, when the world was sheltered in place I was forced into the mindset of reset, regrouping my life. Before the pandemic I was like millions of people just going about my busy life, I was stuck and was not aware of how I arrived at being trapped in a pattern of running on the hamster wheel. 

When I took the time to refocus my life, I discovered clarity and the awareness of how I was living an unfulfilled life. I went to a job where I was overworked, underpaid, overwhelmed and angry, but at the same time I thought that was all I was worth. I was living in a rut and moving like a robot. There were days I felt hopeless, but instead of acknowledging my feelings I suppressed them and kept moving. 

Presently, there are other distractions to blame for our less than happy life and more excuses not to take time for self-reflection. People are focused on inflation, gas prices, new viruses, and politics. The insanity does not seem to stop, all this other stuff adds to people’s stress, panic, fear and numbs people, causing them to become distracted from thinking about what I call WIN what is important now. People say they do not have time, but the truth is they avoid reflecting about life because they may not like what is brought to their attention or the emotions that will surface.

Reset, regroup, and refocus means reorganizing, planning, deep thinking and this takes time. Question, when was the last time you prioritize your life in order of importance? People should stop packing their schedules with unnecessary activities that take them away from goals. Sometimes being busy does not mean being productive, especially when you do not see the desired results. It is time to revisit the goals and visions that you had but along life’s path your dreams got lost.

I know that is what happened to me. When I reflect how I allowed the events in my life to take over casing me to put myself last. People say life happens, I say, yes life happens but people need to learn the skill and practice of consistently and constantly evaluating their life. I use various methods to evaluate whether I am on the right track or if I am just being busy and nothing is getting done. I use vision boards, journals, every time I accomplish a goal, I write it on a post stick, put it in a jar and every three months I read them to make sure that I am staying on track.

Resting, regrouping, and refocusing my life revealed how much I was neglecting myself (no real self-care) and the quality of my life was nonexistent. I have learned to put what is important to me first, I consistently prioritize, down time is especially important to my mental, physical, and emotional well-being. I feel free, light, and experience more joy out of life. 

Thank you for stopping by Dragthepen

WHO SAID YOU HAVE TO CHANGE?

dragthepen aka conversations with J. R. Floyd

Dear Readers, 

It is not your responsibility to change someone or make them into someone different. People are capable of change, but that should be their decision. When we encounter people, the choice is to either accept them for who they are or move on. I know that it is not easy learning to deal with other people’s pet peeves, faults, and what we see as habits. Ladies there is no prince charming so get your head out of the fairy tales, and rethink revising that long wish list of requirements for what you think will be the perfect mate. Men stop fantasizing about Beyonce or Kim Kardashian. Those are plastic Barbie dolls surgical enhanced superficial women who will not look twice at your sagging belly and receding hairline. People snap out of your daydreams and look at the person in front of you growing with disappointment because you wish she or he would change. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be with a physically attractive person, however sometimes beautiful people come with ugly souls and bad characteristics. It is not our responsibility to nag people into becoming the ideal mate according to the impossible Standards of beauty and materialistic needs. I have learned from years of bad choices and reading and believing self-help relationship books about ” how to have the man of my dreams” for years I worked out and starved myself to create a body that men would like, only to be ignored and ill-treated. Do not feel sorry for me this was my fault, why, because the men I encountered did not asked me to change. If they were getting their needs met, they did not care about changing me because I was already what they wanted weak and desperate.

I spent thousands on clothes, hair, make up, lingerie and time and energy to improve myself to be better, so when my prince arrived there would be nothing about me that needed to change or improve. Oh, how shallow was my thinking. I was preoccupied with my outer appearance that I was not paying attention to the fact that I was suffering from low self-worth. When people struggle with low self-esteem and self-worth that is when others prey upon them because people who struggle with lack of self-confidence will allow people to change them because of the desperation to be like, love and belong.

I strived and arrived at the age of fifty-eight. Learned many lessons through difficult experiences that did make me stronger, wiser, and proceeding with caution. I do not wish for people to change to suit me because I have learned to let people be who they are and keep checking on who I am. Remember the saying, ” be careful what you wish for because you just might get it”. When you create the monster, you must learn to live with what you created.

Are You in Over Your Head?

Dear Readers,

Photo by Rifqi Ramadhan on Pexels.com

Balance is a simple word. It means to distribute weight evenly. Recently I forced myself to slow down by rearranging my schedule due to feeling overwhelmed.  Each passing day I began to declutter my schedule and gain a better perspective on how to solve the issue of rushing, and not getting enough rest.  The rest I am referring to isn’t about the recommended 7-8 of sleep. I mean resting from that never ending To Do List. 

The last two years I’ve examined the quality of activities in my life, and made some changes. First, I do not volunteer my time for anything unless I am benefiting from the activity. I no longer say yes to any requests unless I review my calendar. I stopped cramming my calendar with activities. In other words, what I did not need in my schedule is more activities, instead take the activities I do have an add Balance. 

I am preparing for retirement and I need the time to explore and research my plan to relocate and build a tiny house. At this stage of my life I no longer feel the need or have the energy to Grind. I have noticed as I am advancing in age my mind and body are no longer willing to cooperate with me working 16 hour days. What I need more of is Balance and Consistency in making the quality of my life a priority. 

I do not need to add more tasks to my To Do List. I need to practice Balance. Being busy doesn’t mean productivity. Have you ever stopped to question what you’re busy doing and why? I have recreated my To Do List into five areas of my life: health, worship, finances, rest, and retirement. The goal is to  prioritize these five areas and Balance my time to give equality and quality to the goals I want to achieve in these areas. For example, in the area of Rest, I have been traveling more and taking weekend mental breaks by staying at an airbnb. The more I take weekend breaks from the same routines I feel energized, refreshed and I have more clarity. 

It’s so easy to lose sight of the demands we place on these human bodies. When was the last time you paid attention to how mentally and emotionally drained your feelings? Society tells us to be positive, push through, be strong and that multitasking is good. What I observe is a population of people who are exhausted, angry, eating poorly, rushing from one activity to the next, not enough quality time spent at home, and taking less and less time for mental breaks and vacations. 

Declutter your schedule, home and workspace. Throw out that never ending To Do List. Cancel the bucket list. Create a Life List. Take time to critically think why you’re feeling overwhelmed. How do you rest?  How is your mental and emotional health? Don’t you think it’s worth taking time to slow down and practice Balance, Consistency and adding some peace and joy into your life. 

Thank you for stopping by Dragthepen

What Just Happened?

Dear Readers, 

Have you ever been engaged in a conversation with another person about problems that you’re experiencing, but the other person completely disregards your concerns and makes the conversation about them? I was talking to a sister friend about my decision to join a gym to  focus on my mental and emotional health and at the same time addressing my physical health. I made this choice after several sessions with my therapist who helped me to understand that I have been suffering from pandemic fatigue, a term unknown to me. I thought I was experiencing simple depression, and with the threat of another virus I’ve become  increasingly concerned about the quality of my life. My therapist helped me to understand that this was brought on by the pandemic. I missed working out and homeworks is not helping as much. So, I put my fear aside and joined a gym.

Anyway, out of my excitement I called a close friend of mine to meet me at my favorite coffee lounge to share my good news. However, during our conversation she completely caught me off guard by her lack of compassion and listening skills. It seemed to me that she was condemning me for the choices that I made to regain some balance in my life, and she dumped all of her issues on me. The Conversation went something like this. . 

Me: Thanks for meeting me for coffee. I needed to get out of the house and just breathe.

Sister friend: I felt the same way glad you called.

Me: Since the cold weather is setting in there aren’t many places I am willing to go in doors.

Sister friend: Indoors or outdoors no place is safe. 

Me: Well, that’s true, but at least here they are checking for vaccine cards and the staff wears masks. I did feel better during the summer when people could spread out. I enjoyed the outside dining. 

Sister friend: Inside or outside, if the virus is going to get you it won’t matter where you were.

Me: Sipping my coffee in silence.

Sister friend: What have you been up to?

Me: Doing my best to be productive, positive and stay safe.

Sister friend: Stay safe, stay safe I am so tired of hearing people say that.

Me: What else do you expect people to say, and with the news of yet another variant of this virus people don’t even know if what they are already doing is keeping them safe.

Silence..

Sister friend: Anyway, is anything new happening? 

Me: Yes, I am so excited! I stopped procrastinating and joined the gym. I am done with the pandemic weight. I needed another place to connect to people. So, ready to get my workout on.

Sister friend: Girl are you crazy? You talking about staying safe and you’re going to a gym? 

Me: Yes. I thought about it. I need to start rebuilding my health. I’ve been feeling off balance. I did my research, the gym is near my house, they only allow 25 percent capacity, fully vaccinated people only, they take your temp, there is a mask mandate, and it is clean.

Sister Friend: Girl, I wouldn’t dare go in a place where there is so much sweat and germs, people breathing out God knows what. And what do you mean your off balance? 

Me: Before I could answer-

Sister friend: From where I sit you’re doing great. I’ve been dealing with creditors calling me, still behind on my rent, squeezing pennies to buy food, and I might not have cable next month. To make matters worse, Christmas will be here soon and I don’t have money to buy gifts, so this means I won’t be getting anything. You know how some people are if you don’t give, you don’t get. And it’s been a long time since I had a professional mani-pedi. And the only thing you’re worried about is a few extra pounds? Here is a suggestion that will save you the gym membership, stop eating. ( laughing ). Girl you know I am only kidding.

Me: Smiling.  

After that rant I didnt go into details about my conversation with my therapist, and how I’ve been feeling depressed more than usual, and my fears about going through the winter shut indoors alone. I wanted to ask her about all the unemployment money she received on top of the stimulus checks. I dare not go there. I left the coffee lounge feeling like the bad girl who’d  been chastised for getting caught with my hands in the cookie jar.

Thank you for stopping by dragthepen

Coffee In Bed

Dear Readers, 

This is one of those days that I am grateful for singlehood. I live in New York City, it’s Saturday, rainy, chilly and cloudy. The small apartment complex I reside in is unusually peaceful. I slept late ( 12 noon). I woke up to my cat, Hamlet angry 😡 cries for food. I decided this is the perfect day to spend in my bedroom. I prepared my coffee tray, grabbed the laptop, bottles of water, and positioned myself in the middle of my bed. 

Oh, the joy of peace, coffee in bed, and living alone affords me the space and quiet time to recover from the wear and tears from the outside world. At 57, I would appreciate a partner who understands how to benefit from quiet time. I’ve experienced marriage once and it didn’t afford me quiet time. I’ve lived with roommates and don’t care to revisit those horror stories. My last relationship two years ago, I was engaged and lived with my fiance for 30 days. I realized it wasn’t going to work. 

He did not understand quiet time. He had big screened Tvs in every room except the bathroom. He woke up making noise, talking, talking, he was 6 feet 2 and had a loud voice. He misunderstood my need for silence as anger, I moved out in a hurry into a roommate situation. It was a spacious apartment, clean and bright. But my roommate a tall handsome man in his 60s and a retired carpenter, was an early riser  7 days a week, and he was VERY noisy. I endured living there for a year, over time he caught onto my need for quiet time and toned down the noise.

Dec 13, 2019, I moved into my own space. The apartment complex has three floors and unfortunately for me I am on the first floor. I have noisy neighbors who walk like beasts. My landlord has done an amazing job of helping to keep the peace, so on the rare days of silence I enjoy coffee in bed and movies. 

After the fiasco with the last relationship, I’ve been paying attention to how I enjoy living something I’ve never done previously. Here’s what I learned. I like being alone 75 percent and the other 25 percent,  I like to cook and entertain friends and family, and after two years of being free,  I don’t want any males in my living space, and there are no plans for dating in the near future. I’ve rediscovered the joys of sleeping alone, the benefits of having my own bathroom, and the delight of coming home to silence.

This has been a great weekend starting with Friday, the weather was amazing, warm, sunny and all the snow has melted. I cooked and cleaned, and  I had a visitor who brought me my first house warming gift, a glass chess set. The food, wine and company was just what I needed to end such a glorious day. So, here I am in the glory of a beautiful, mellow, silent Saturday, now this is what it means by living in the moment.  

I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

A Saturday Reflection

Dear Readers,

In an ideal world I would have loved to wake up to the warm body of the man I love and a breakfast tray brought to my bed. I grind hard and would enjoy spending this perfect cozy, lazy Saturday with my partner who appreciates me and the effort I put into life and making our partnership a priority. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. I woke up along, but praise God for the warm bed and roof over my head. I made my own breakfast tray and enjoy resting in bed before heading out to complete the business of the day. Life would be made easier with a help mate who truly understand that a relationship is a partnership with a balance of two people sharing the daily tasks of life. I am blessed that I am able to take care of myself, but this isn’t the way the creature planned for a man and woman to be alone. Most people like myself choose singleness over settling . I haven’t given up on love I choose to love me and wait until the man who is truly right for me to enters my life. Love yourself you are worth it💖