Friday, April 26, 2019

Fortune Cookie Friday: 9 Great Ways to Create a Happy Space

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 



Hello! It’s time for another Fortune Cookie Friday, and with that, I’d like to discuss something before we get to our fortune for today. 

I love giving my own takes on fortune cookie messages, and I know you all like them, too. I’ve been doing a schedule of every other week, but having a set schedule is not always where my inspiration is, so I’d like to make some adjustments.

I’ll post them when inspired, but I’m sure you’ll get at least one per month. You might even get two in a row some weeks! The good side of this is it gives me the flexibility to share inspiring stories, articles, fortune cookies, and other content that I really enjoy writing, without making it about a schedule.

TL;DR: you’ll still get fortunes, they just won’t be on a set schedule! Win for everyone! :)

Okay, so I picked today’s fortune cookie message because it really jumped out at me:
Each bird likes his own nest best. 
As usual, this can be taken a few ways:

Is it encouraging you to get out the house or your comfort zone more? To spread your wings and fly?

Or is it talking about taking care of house and home first because that’s where your nest is?

Or maybe something else? Drop me a comment below and let me know your take!

What this fortune did for me was make me think of the topic of “nesting,” which many people use in terms of pregnancy: a pregnant mom spends time getting “the nest” ready: cleaning, organizing, setting up the nursery, etc., so that everything is ready for her baby. That was the first way in which I’d heard the word used.

But then over the years, I’ve heard the word adopted by others who are not pregnant, so I did a little research. It turns out there are several dictionary definitions using the term in a more global way. To quote one of them, nesting is “the tendency to arrange one's immediate surroundings, such as a work station, to create a place where one feels secure, comfortable, or in control.”

As you know, this blog is about disrupting negativity. We can start with our own spaces, first, right? So the theme of today’s Fortune Cookie Friday will be

* 9 Ways to Create a Happy Space *

Our environments often represent our states of mind, emotions, and/or health. Clutter, chaos, dirt, and disorganization fall into a bit of a chicken and egg scenario: Do they cause us to feel low energy, ill, or depressed, or are they symptomatic of these conditions?

Either way, doing something about your space will help, even if you take tiny steps. Since it’s spring, a bit of spring cleaning in your “nest” seems like just the thing! You can implement these in your home, your office, or your patio and have a bit of a happiness reset.

1. Open a window, especially during a rain storm

Fresh air is great at clearing out a space, and there’s something so fresh and renewing about a rain storm. Whenever it rains in spring and summer, my husband and I throw the windows in the front and back of the house open so some cross-breezes can get through and whoosh! all the stale air out. This is especially effective in spring, when the house has been more closed up over the winter.

2. Organize a drawer, a closet, or a shelf

Put away winter clothes and blankets and bring out your spring/summer stuff. Clear off that coffee table. Go through that junk drawer. Some people love the idea of decluttering or organizing and start with enthusiasm, but then get disheartened if the task seems bigger. Don’t be! Any improvement is going to make you feel better, so don’t make it about the end result; take pleasure in the process of doing just one thing. You can even Marie Kondo it, if her techniques resonate with you. I always take things in small chunks and give myself one small task in a session. Today it was to get my winter/summer clothes & shoes switched out. Ahhhh—I feel better already!

3. Let go of things that no longer serve you.

Hey, when you’re going through things, why not set up a couple of small boxes and have one for donate and one for sell? Anything that is truly trash, I throw out, but if it’s in good shape and I think it’ll appeal to someone, I’ll put it up on eBay. Anything else that’s still in good condition but I don’t think will sell, I put in a donate box. Though a small side note: please don’t put in stained/torn clothes and broken items; that doesn’t help the organization you’re donating to, no matter how much “life” you think an item still has.

Additionally, I know getting rid of books can be a bit of a controversial subject, but I will speak from my own experience: I had stacks and stacks of books taking up space because I treasured each one. They were getting dusty and looking cluttered, and I realized I wasn’t really happy with the situation. I assessed which had a particular memory attached versus what I just enjoyed reading. I ended up selling or donating many of my books, keeping only enough super-special ones to fit on one bookcase. I do most of my new reading electronically, now. Since the advent of e-books, you can get a great deal on an e-reader or a tablet and store your hundreds (thousands?) of books in the cloud or on the device, reduce your clutter, and still enjoy reading them over and over again.

4. Do one small household cleaning task. 

Can I tell you how much satisfaction and freedom I feel in my space when I do something simple like run the dust mop over my floors or clean the bathroom mirror? I am no June Cleaver. I like to live “comfortably” (which may be a bit more disorganized than some of your homes, but I’m okay with it). But I do value cleanliness, so wiping down the counters, putting the dishes away, cleaning a mirror, or running through the house with a mop—each of these tasks takes maybe 10-15 minutes. I feel better, something is cleaner, it’s a win-win and I can breathe a bit more easily.

Literally, actually. With allergies to dust, mold, and chemicals, I only use products that don't make us sick when I clean.

Another simple, quick space fix is to change the sheets and fluff up the couch cushions! I bought myself a new, pretty duvet cover for Spring. My bedroom looks much cheerier! Don’t forget your outdoor space, too: the other day I hosed off my porch and porch furniture and then put the outdoor furniture cushions on so my husband and I can enjoy sitting on our porch and taking a breather.

5. Place photos, meaningful mementos, posters, or affirmations around your home or work space.

When I worked in a traditional role, I often decorated my desk with photos of friends and loved ones, meaningful quotes, posters, and tiny mementos. For affirmations and posters, you can buy them in any home decor store, or you can even make affirmation signs yourself! It’s very easy and affordable: find a quote or affirmation you like, then use free design software like Canva to create a pretty design with the quote. Buy a photo frame, print out your design, stick it in the frame, and voila! Easy DIY affirmation/inspiration!

6. Buy some fresh flowers or a house plant

Fresh-cut bouquets have both a visual and olfactory component to them: they look happy and pretty, and smell great, too! A houseplant brightens up your space, and has the added benefit of releasing a little oxygen back into your home. If you have a brown thumb or not much space to work with, why not try succulents, bamboo, and air plants?

7. Light a candle or hang lights up. 

The light of a candle can act as a focal point for a meditation or provide a cozy atmosphere. This is particularly nice in winter and fall, when we don’t open our windows as much and it gets dark outside too quickly. If you don’t like fire in your space, they make really nice-looking battery-operated candles these days. If you’re in a college dorm, this is especially important, or you can use string lights to brighten your space. My former office mates and I once hung string lights when our desk space was basically in a closet, and it made all the difference in the world to how we felt about our work space.

8. Burn sage or light some incense. 

Smudging with sage is an indigenous practice and is to be respected as part of many cultures’ spiritual work. I was interested to learn, however, that there are some studies that show smudging with sage can reduce airborne bacteria. Many cultures also use incense as a part of their spiritual practice (growing up Catholic, my favorite services were the ones where the priest broke out the incense!), and according to one source, incense can help reset your emotional state, soothe you, or inspire you.

9. Use sound to your advantage! 

Play some uplifting, happy music. Music can affect the brain in positive ways, which will help uplift your space. Let good memories take over with those songs. Do you play an instrument? Start strumming, drumming, or letting your fingers wander over those piano keys—the tones will transform your space and your mood. Watch a comedy and laugh. When was the last time you had a full belly laugh? Try it—the sound of laughter is so healing!

Want to know my daily sound trick? I ring a bell! I use this one every single day. It sits in my office and when I enter, I take a moment, take a deep breath, hit the bell with the little mallet, and then let myself stand in the wash of its harmonic tones. It’s an amazing way to start the work day: it clears a space instantly, and I highly recommend it for raising your vibes!

Conclusion

So there you go: if you want to like your nest best like the bird in the fortune, I hope these tips inspire you in your nesting goals. By all means, try one of them or all of them, but don’t take this as the end-all, be-all list, and don’t feel overwhelmed and like you have to do them all. Even doing one of the things on this list will help lift your mood and clear the energy in your space.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite ways to create a happy space, too. I’m sure some of you will inspire me, so drop me a line and share!

Until next week, be happy! πŸ’›πŸ







 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, April 19, 2019

3 Good Things That Happened During and After The Notre Dame Fire

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 



It's Good Friday, and if you’re familiar with my posting patterns, you may be expecting a fortune cookie today, but it seems more important to address something that happened earlier this week: the fire that nearly destroyed Notre Dame.

I know you must be wondering: what positive things could possibly have happened during and after a devastating fire? I'll get to that.

I took Notre Dame’s fire pretty badly. Such an iconic structure—one I’d always hoped to visit some day—up in flames just like that (*snaps fingers*), and during Holy Week, no less. Whether you're a person of faith or not, it is SUCH a part of history, of Paris—a place of beautiful art and architecture. Watching the iconic spire go crashing through the roof was just gutting!

To give a sense of the amount of time Notre Dame has been part of the Paris landscape, construction started over 800 years ago and was largely complete by about 1260. Beams were made from oak trees cut down in the 12th century. The entire wooden interior was lost, and two-thirds of the roof is gone. I found myself wondering, how old were those trees when the lumber was hewn for the construction? Was the wood in those beams a thousand years old? More?

As I watched the flames, I felt Notre Dame's, Paris', and the world's pain viscerally. I literally ached with the loss.

Maybe my feelings of loss are amplified by the fact that for the past week or so, several friends of mine and I have sat vigil for a friend dying of glioblastoma. She passed last night.

Suffice to say: everything hurts a ton right now.

But I started this blog because I wanted to find better coping techniques and shift how I think about things, to find a better way to live life more positively, and then share it with you.

To that end, I started looking for the silver lining in this event. What, if any, good news surrounds the loss of such a recognizable Paris icon?

Well, it turns out, there's enough good out there for me to hold onto. I hope the following points help you as you process the news, too.

3 Good Things That Happened During and After 

the Fire at Notre Dame

1. No one died in the fire.

There were construction workers laboring that day, involved in a restoration of the Cathedral’s roof. Having a fire start on a roof during a job is a roofer’s worst nightmare. Not only can a structure go up in flames within minutes, it’s very dangerous for the workers. But everyone got out alive. Not only that, but no firefighters or civilians were killed, either. Although one firefighter was injured, I’m grateful to hear that no other serious injuries occurred. (Prayers for that firefighter as they recover!) Credit can also be given to the giant robot, Colossus, that helped save lives by going in and spraying water where firefighters couldn't, taming the flames while firefighters had to fall back. These efforts saved lives while still allowing the bell towers to be saved. Which leads me to #2...

2. Precious art and artifacts were saved.

While the spire, beams, and stained glass were lost, other precious art was saved. Indeed, plans were already in place in case of emergency, so volunteers were able to mobilize quickly to save what could be saved from within the church. While a building can be rebuilt, what was inside was priceless and irreplaceable: the three 13th century Rose windows, the crucifix, the golden altar, the crown of thorns, the Saint-Louis tunic, and more—were saved! While some items remain unaccounted for, most of what was treasured inside was rescued as the building burned. In addition, the two iconic towers were not destroyed, either, keeping the building's structure intact. While restoration may be expensive, long, and difficult, it *can* be done.

3. The rebuilding effort is already underway at an amazing pace.

Donations are already rolling in for a restoration that could cost billions of dollars. It hasn’t even been a week, and the last figure I read said $1B has been raised so far. That’s incredible! Donations are coming from French citizens and companies, organizations in other countries, and individual donors from around the world. It’s good to hear that people are banding together in the face of the near-loss of one of France's national treasures.

Conclusion

While tragedy can really create a hiccup in our emotional state, leading to any number of negative side-effects, perhaps by looking for the silver linings—the helpers, the heroes, etc.—we can disrupt at least some of that negativity, ease our suffering, find zen again, and get through it together.

If you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful Easter.  πŸ•Š

-Beth

BONUS ROUND!! Right before posting this, I found out that people had an impromptu vigil singing Ave Maria as they watched Notre Dame burn, so I’ll share it here. Have you ever seen complete strangers do something like this, in harmony, no less? Very touching, indeed. Here's the video:











 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Sources
Vox
Metro UK
NY Post
People
Fox News
CNN

Friday, April 12, 2019

1 Piece of Inspiration For Your Week

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 


Today I'm going to share one piece of inspiration for your week. Take this message home with you and let it be a guide if you wish!

I have a calendar that hangs above my shelves in the bedroom. Each month features a phrase or saying against a bright graphic of some kind. It’s very basic, but still impactful.

The first two months were nice, but they didn’t really catch my eye. This month’s saying, though, is one of those that I can’t stop looking at and smiling.

I tried to take a picture of it, but just can’t get the lighting right, so instead, I’ve created something similar to it:


It's something so simple, and yet I think when we're feeling weary, we sometimes forget to do what it says. So, my beautiful, bright friends, this is just a reminder to:

🌟LET YOUR SOUL SHINE!🌟

Let people see it—all your beauty, light, fun, and happiness. Don’t let a bad day or a bad week squelch that within you. Don’t let people who are negative cause you not to shine!

How about we light this world up? Do something nice for someone, be a good leader to your team, help someone learn a new skill, color with the kids, spend time with friends, create new memories, laugh, love, joke around, play music, play some games... Go do anything that makes your soul happy and lets you share that with the world. Whatever you do, have fun. Be lighthearted and joyful.

With that, I wish you all an amazing week, and I'll see you next Friday! Mwah! πŸ’›πŸ



JOANN Stores


Things Remembered



 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, April 5, 2019

Fortune Cookie Friday: 5 Tips For When Opportunity Knocks

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures

Hello, fellow fortune seekers!  

I think you’re going to like this week’s fortune:






So tell me: are you ready to open the door and invite Opportunity in? Or, like me, have you ever been caught unaware when an amazing opportunity comes knocking and not known what to do? If Opportunity knocks, how prepared are you to say “YES!” to it?

I admit, I’ve missed out on some spectacular things because I wasn’t organized or confident enough to say “yes” to them or welcome them into my life. I may have even felt intimidated, overwhelmed, or unworthy, at times.

The thing is, though, when Opportunity comes knocking, we need to make sure we’re ready to open the door and welcome it in.

Think of it this way: let’s say you’re a company that is just dying to get a celebrity's sponsorship to boost sales of your new, spectacular widget. What would you do if that celeb just dropped in at your facility to see your operation? If you had to scramble around getting things ready for them, then you’ve already failed to be ready for the opportunity. If, however, you’re ready for their visit at any time, then you have a smoothly running operation and can be open for that sponsorship deal any time the opportunity may arise.

Now, I hate it when people just drop by my house unannounced, precisely because I am no June Cleaver, but when it comes to my internal state of being, I'm ready for the unannounced drop-ins. I’ve been doing a bit of “spring cleaning,” as it were—spiritual and mental housecleaning, basically. I am making sure this “house” is tidied up and ready for Opportunity to show up at any time. (Side note: did you know “Beth” means “house”? Yep, I’m gonna run with this metaphor!)

So what do I mean by this? Simply put: I am keeping myself open to opportunities by mentally and emotionally preparing myself for them. Let's get our mindset in gear for saying a big, fat "YES" to Opportunity, shall we?

Beth's Top 5 Tips for Being Opportunity-Ready

1. Act as if it’s already yours.

I’ve been working in advance for the types of opportunities I want to have available to me, such as drafting certain pieces of writing and creative endeavors so that if I see a call for submissions, I can be ready. It may mean creating a variety of contract templates for the types of projects or clients that I want to be able to take on in the future, so that I can have an easy time of onboarding instead of having to scramble. Last week, I learned it means making sure I have some yellow yarn on hand because I make bee-themed things on my Etsy shop to complement this blog, and wouldn't you know, someone suddenly placed a special order for bee-themed items to be made in a bright yellow. Lesson learned; yarn stocked. These are just a few examples of the business development endeavors taking my focus, lately.

2. Find some Zen.

A few weeks ago, I started meditating first thing every morning (before breakfast), and again in the middle of the day. By starting my day with an energy-boosting meditation while I sip on some warm lemon water, I’ve been feeling so refreshed and capable of doing anything! It puts me in the right frame of mind to tackle my day and get myself ready for opportunities. 

Additionally, by meditating in the middle of the day, I am making sure to take a break, stop working, clear my head, reset, and refresh. 

I know sometimes people say, “Oh, I don’t have time in the day to meditate.” But did you know you could meditate for 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes … any amount of time that you have? And there are so many easy ways to do it, from something as simple to listening to yourself breathe to using books/audiobooks/Audible or or using phone apps that make it easy for you to do. There really are no excuses for not getting still for even a few moments every day. 

It also means making a better effort to eat right and sleep more, so that I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally in great shape to be able to act on opportunities when they come. When you’re overtired, overstressed, or feeling blah, how can you be ready? That’s something I’ve been asking myself, and realizing that I need to make changes to match how I want to feel.

It seems that by engaging in some self-care, I’m getting some space back in my day, resulting in a much better frame of mind to respond to things when they show up.

3. Don’t Become Attached to The Outcome

I used to really focus on what the outcome would be: "if this, then that," but I don’t become as as attached to outcomes, any more. I just put my best foot forward, then let the chips fall where they may. I can only control my own actions and mindset, but not the actions and mindset of others, so why stress myself out? In addition, when you become attached to an outcome, you may miss out on other, better opportunities (see #4), so what I now try to do is take the steps I need to take, then bless and release, as a friend of mine would say! 

4. Don’t Have Blinders On

If you’re focusing too much on a specific outcome, you may completely miss another opportunity staring you in the face.

I have a great example of this, actually, from my own life: 

Many, many moons ago, I really, really, really, REALLY wanted to work at a particular place, in a particular role. I thought I was a great fit for it and put all my energy into getting that position. It was my “dream job” yadda yadda, and I put in 200% towards getting it. 

Thing is, I completely missed other opportunities that were coming my way because I was so hyper-focused. Friends had even warned me that I was being too closed-minded to the rest of the world's offerings, but I didn’t listen. But they were right. When I realized it, it felt like I was taking blinders off, and I somewhat regretted being so single-minded.

The below video is a really interesting—have you ever seen it? It clearly demonstrates how if you focus too much one on thing, you miss other details. Take a moment to watch it; it's short, and it's fascinating:


This phenomenon is called “inattentional blindness,” and it’s something we all do at some point.

So, what are you missing out on because you’re too focused on something else?

 5. Don’t Prejudge—Get The Whole Picture

I used to set a lot of theoretical rules up in my own head about what opportunities mean. I'd hear about something and make a snap judgment without truly examining it realistically, usually to my detriment because I would shut the door in Opportunity's face instead of considering it. 

Now, though, I just try to be open, period. I don’t get ahead of myself and predetermine how things will be, and it doesn't mean that I will take every single opportunity presented just because it's there. You can still be discerning, but actually discern. Don't just close the door because of some made-up rule like "Oh, that type of career sounds like something I'd enjoy, but that type of work always so _________." Insert whatever adjective you like. Doesn't really matter what it is...it's probably not the whole picture. Don't make assumptions without getting all the information and assessing things realistically. I'd rather take each opportunity and examine it at face value for what it is and also for what it is not, and once I have all the data, let my intuition guide me in the way to go. 

Additionally, I try not to prejudge my own worthiness of those opportunities. I’ve had a lot of stuff come my way these past few weeks that a year ago I would have wondered, “Can I?” or “Am I good enough?” but the fact is: I am very good at what I do, and I work hard. Having a high degree of self-awareness helps in this endeavor. If I examine the opportunity and also realistically examine myself, I’ll know which endeavors are right for me and which are not. Or whether the timing is now or later. Either way: I am deserving and worthy of opportunities that come. 

…and so are you!

Conclusion

So how about it? You ready? 

Shoot me a comment and let’s talk about what you’re doing to get yourself ready to open that door when Opportunity comes a’knockin’!

Photo by Catarina Carvalho on Unsplash
 I hope you'll consider opening the door! 

Until next week, take care! πŸ’›πŸ


 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Guest Blog Post at Skinner Self-Publishing Services (Self-Care Tips You Can Sink Your Teeth Into)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See  Disclosures  for more info.  Happy Hallow...