Remembering Who You Are; Part Three

I have been thinking over and over again about how I would like to write this article. I was mostly thinking about how grateful I am; you know, counting my blessings. When I realized that what I really want to say is so much more than just gratitude even though that is a major part of it. I’ve learned so much this year that I cant help but share it! Not only does this keep it fresh in my mind, but when you share love, love comes back to you. Remembering who I am and where I came from has had a profound effect on my life, and how I see myself and my circumstances and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Spending a lot of quality time with family earlier in October reminded me of where a lot of these gifts came from. I am so grateful to God for showing me so much about my life that I couldn’t live without. Literally. Practices that keep me at my best, practices that have prevented me from falling further into depression, God has taught me through my family. It is because of the lessons that my family has taught me that I was able to build my own strong family of friends. People who support me in all aspects of my life. I couldn’t be more grateful for the quality relationships that I have been able to establish throughout my life. The fact that I have many people who take the time to think about me at all is amazing! It fills my heart with so much joy to know the love that exists in my life and I’m so grateful that I’ve learned to take the time to appreciate it all because it is so easy to forget when we get caught up in the daily grind of life. You can easily get swept away in the tidal waves of emotions that a single person can experience in one day.

However, it is through the very humbling experience of learning how to properly take care of all aspects of my well-being that  I was able to recognize these gifts and implement them into my life. My Nonno Dino on my Dad’s side of the family is to me, a symbol of what it means to take care of yourself. He taught me a lot about what it means to be the best version of yourself every single day. I am so proud that he is my Grandfather. Our relationship wasn’t always perfect but he has given me a tremendous gift, and I am forever grateful. Nonno Dino is a leader, someone who walks the walk, and leads by example. I went with my Father to visit my grandparents during the Thanksgiving weekend. I’m glad that all things considered, they are relatively healthy, and happy. However, my Nonno recently turned 87, and his health is significantly better than the health of my Nonna who is 82. Nonna, who has always been your typical 1950s house wife of Italian decent, was always taking care of and putting everyone else’s well-being above her own. A lot of people confuse “well being” with physical safety. A lot of people think that if you’re not currently experiencing a mortal threat, then you aren’t in danger. Reading this, I’m sure you know that, that is not true. You need to pay attention to the warning signs before they get to an unavoidable situation.

However, it is never too late! Obviously, the sooner the better, but I will never deny someone who needs to be healed, because I know that every person who comes to you in pain is an opportunity to heal both you and them. That is why I take this blog so seriously. My grandmother has Dementia, and she has literally lost the ability to take care of herself. My grandfather who has always made a practice of self-care is in relatively good health. Other than a pacemaker, he still exercises everyday and does his best to take care of my grandmother in any way he can. He’s even learned how to do simple cooking and cleaning. The only reason he was able to learn these new skills so late in life is because he has very strong habits built into his everyday life. Skills that he’s learned at a very young age. For my entire life, my grandfather has always exercised. Every day, he does some sort of physical activity. He has always been active his whole life. He played soccer, skied, he lifted weights, gardened, rode his bike, or at the very least he would go on a walk with Nonna every day after dinner. He still gardens, goes for walks, completes household chores. He’s in excellent shape for an 87 year old man.

My grandfather would keep his mind active, he was always working on something. I remember as kids, my grandfather had a huge garden. He grew grapes, he had apple and pear trees, a tomato garden, he grew so many different types of vegetables! He made his own wine and moonshine. He would fix his own car, he had many habits, hobbies and skills. He would always say things like, “if you don’t use it, you loose it.” He’s right. My grandmother spent the majority of her life, thinking and worry about other people. She didn’t take much time for herself to pursue her hobbies. She didn’t exercise as much as my grandfather did. I’m not blaming my grandmother. Her circumstances were completely different. She didn’t have the same freedoms and societal expectations as my grandfather. However, it is because of the sacrifices that my entire family has made, that I am able to grow up in a situation where I can look back and see the difference. I have the choice. Thank you God for helping me to see these important gifts that both my grandparents have given me, and my entire family. Thank you for helping recognize the importance of choice, and how much power I have over my own well being.

In reality, my grandparents are the reason why I live in Canada. My grandparents on both sides of my family made huge sacrifices. Left Italy and everything they knew to start over in Canada. Yes, their siblings came with them, but at the end of the day all they really had were one another. It was because of them that I have the amazing parents that I have, and the life that I have. It’s not just the importance of self-care that I’ve learned from my grandparents but all of the greatest life lessons have come from them. If they can come to a new country, learn a new language, find jobs, build a family and a home from nothing, there is nothing that I cannot do. My nonni (grandparents) inspire me every single day when I think back and realize all that they have done for me, I don’t think I know of a greater love.

Photo of Nonno Dino Rinaldo, Nonna Maria Rinaldo and Nonna Maria Battaglia

My Grandparents celebrating “Grandparent’s Day” (my Mom’s idea). Missing Nonno Battaglia who passed away before this photo was taken.


A letter to One of My Biggest Heroes; A Warrior for Love <3

 

Dear Nonna Battaglia,

I think this will be the last blog piece that I write in letter form (for now) and it’s to the most influential person in my life. I never fully understood just how powerful of a person you are for me, my Mom, and so many other people. As you know, I have been doing a lot of self-healing lately through various practices, music, meditation, yoga, journals; you know because you’ve been there with me the entire time. I don’t need to tell you, but I will anyway. Last Wednesday I was listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations Podcast with Cheryl Strayed. For some reason the title and description of this podcast struck me, and that’s how I started my day while I made breakfast. Last Wednesday also happened to be the anniversary of your death. Cheryl Strayed is a New York Times Best Selling Author who had lost her mother at a young age to cancer. My Mom also lost you at a very young age but I didn’t think too much about that when I decided to listen to her podcast with Oprah. While listening Cheryl said something that for me was so powerful, I had to pause the podcast because I was overcome with emotion. It was as if she was speaking to my soul when she said, “are you brave enough to break your own heart?” Immediately after I was finished listening to her podcast I decided that I needed to buy all three of her books that day, and that my mother had to listen to this podcast as well. That’s how moved I was. I called my mother in that moment and told her that on our way to the cemetary to visit you, we needed to stop by the bookstore so that I can buy some books. Coles Notes: once I got into the car with my mom at the train station I put the same podcast on and I made my mom listen to it, then we went to the bookstore where I bought the books Wild, Brave Enough and Tiny Beautiful Things. I gave the book Wild to my mother as a gift, and I kept the other two to myself.

When we arrived at the cemetery to see you, the mausoleum doors to your crypt were all locked. It was weird because it wasn’t closing time, but there was no one around so we got back in the car and went to my mother’s house. My client had canceled her session with me, so I decided to start reading Brave Enough and I was encouraging my mother strongly to read her book Wild. So much so, that eventually she got upset and said, “What? You want me to read this book because you think I have a problem?” Immediately I realized my own arrogance and I apologized, “Mom, I’m so sorry that I gave you that impression. I only want you to read the book because I was so moved by the author in the podcast. And I thought if Oprah who seems to ‘have it all’ can get something from this book, and Reese Witherspoon, who also seems to ‘have it all’ can make a movie about it because she loved it so much, then there must be something in it for us. Especially since the book is about this woman’s healing process after the death of her mother. I thought you would be able to relate to the author and therefore finally find a book you’d enjoy.” She agreed and we ended up watching the movie Wild that night on Netflix with my Dad. My mom even start reading the book too!

That day I started and finished the book Brave Enough and then I began reading Tiny Beautiful Things. However, ever since that day the words “are you brave enough to break your own heart?” Were burned into my brain, and I could not let them go. Something changed for me that day, because it is a big reason why I wrote my first heart breaking letter this past Saturday and it is a big reason why I have been reflecting and meditating on this letter as well. This letter is the heaviest for sure. I think after I send this out into the universe I will feel so very light, and I can ride that high during my entire birthday weekend. So here it goes, some painful heart breaking truths about your life, death, and the legacy that you’ve left behind.

First of all you knew that you were going to pass, you knew in your heart; because you said it to my mother many times in the coming days before your death. You knew that your younger sister was very sick, and you did NOT want to be around to watch her die. You made that very clear to my mother. You also attended someone’s else’s funeral two weeks before you died and you said to my mom at the funeral home, “I like it here. Bring me here when I die.” Obviously, my mom would respond just like how most people would respond to something like that, in complete disbelief that you would even think about something like that. Fast forward to the night you went to sleep and never woke up. Here’s a rendition of what happened that night written by my mother in her own words (I only fixed most grammar errors and spelling):

MY LAST CONSERVATION WITH MY BELOVED MOTHER!

So it was Thursday February 20, 1987 at 11:30 as ritual I would give a good night call to my mother.

My mother would often call myself during the day to check up on her grandchildren if they were fed, loved and taken care of. These things were extremely important to her.

That evening the phone rang are little longer than usual. Her tone was mean and angered as she was not feeling well! Every winter especially in February she would come down with a horrible cold due to the fact that she was highly subjected to bronchitis!

Knowing this ,I was always cautious and reminded her to be careful not to catch a cold.

She told me how rude & disrespectful I was for calling so late! She states that she was in a deep sleep and she is not feeling well!

I could sense something and not knowing well what I was sensing made me uncomfortable!

My mother asks me the following,

-what time is it?

-how are my babies? are they sleping?

-where is your husband Norm? 

My reply ,

-11:40 by now cause cp24 was doing the weather

-the kids are fine, they are sleeping

-norm is in bed- sleeping

now at this moment she instructs me the following:

Go be with your husband, your place is next to him! I will not need you anymore and don’t worry about me and just look after your kids!

I started to cry since I got frightened and uncomfortable! I told her I shall be over right after I drop off Alexandra at kindergarten! 

NO, DON’T BROTHER ! I’M NOT GOING TO NEED ANYTHING! 

GOODNIGHT!

our phone call was over by 11:45-11:50

the corner called the time of death around 11:45-midnight

That good night was GOOD BYE FOREVER!

You knew that your job as a mother was over, and so, you could leave this earth in peace and die in your sleep. You have been in a way training my mother for this day your entire life and you didn’t even know you were doing it until that day came. In a way you broke your own heart by realizing that truth. You broke your heart because you knew that your death would break your daughter’s heart. However, you had faith that in that process. She would become the woman you had always raised her to be. I do believe that the power of mothers can transcend generations, for better or worse. Your power as a mother has transcended generations and I’m going to explain how. Without you, my life wouldn’t exist. Not because you birthed my mother, but because you chose my mother and gave her a life she never dreamed possible. You and your husband immigrated to Canada and came to the harsh reality that you were not able, for whatever reason to bear your own children. I can only imagine the pain and guilt associated with that as a very traditional Italian woman. However, you decided to be brave. You knew your soul’s purpose was to be a mother, and so you became one anyway, and adopted my mother. You were your highest version when it came to being a mother to my Mom or at least you did your very best to be. You did your very best to love my mother with deep compassion, generosity, and integrity. The biggest secret that you ever kept from my mother was the fact that she was adopted. I’m sure that guilt must have weighed very heavy on your heart, and that cross became too heavy to bear the day you died. I’m sure you never wanted to tell my mom that she was adopted while you were alive, because you never wanted her to doubt that YOU were her mother. I’m here to tell you that she always had an idea that she was adopted and she may have questioned things, but in the end she always came back to the fact that you ARE in fact her mother. You’re the woman who raised her and made her into the strong woman that she is today. She honors you as her mother by holding on to all of your most prized possessions, all your lessons, your hand written recipes, and your memory.

My mother talks about you often. She talks about all the things you used to do for us, for her, and for our family. It was through your bravery that you inspired two other women in our family to become mothers as well through the process of adoption. It’s strange but for one of these women, their first adopted son just so happens to be born the same day you died. February 21st. This could mean nothing or it could mean everything. I definitely see this as a sign from the universe or the divine, and you Nonna are a part of the divine. You transcended into the divine when you died, and you became a guardian angel to my mother, and to me. I’m beginning to really understand our connection more now than ever before. Through your death my Mom realized who she always was. She realized the harsh truth that she was not really your daughter, but she was also very much your daughter at the same time. Even though this truth broke her heart, she decided to be brave and become the mother to her kids the way you taught her to be since day one. You taught her to be the type of independent woman who worked through out high school at a grocery store. Who learned to drive. Who bought herself a car. Who put herself through college, and who helped take care of you when your husband died (my mom was 21). She was also the type of woman who found her life partner, made her own family and became the best Mom she could be. ALL BECAUSE OF YOU! THANK YOU NONNA! GRAZIE PER TUTTI!!

In university, I found my lifelong friends. I found a family outside of blood relation and I would always say that family does not include only the people who are related to you by blood. In fact, your family is anyone who loves you unconditionally, and encourages you to be your highest version. Now I know that in reality, I first learned that lesson when you died. You taught me that lesson. Because when you died my mom learned about her adoption, but she also learned that, that doesn’t define her. In fact, you were her family. She knew in her heart that she was an Italian Canadian, and the family that surrounded her; all her cousins were her brothers and sisters. This was her tribe. This is where she has always belonged. I will never forget that. I know the importance of family, of finding your tribe, and blood relation has absolutely nothing to do with that! So THANK YOU for teaching me that!

Another indirect lesson that I’ve learned in the wake of your death, is the power of music. I’ve been raised Catholic, but to be honest my family almost never went to Church unless we had to. However, I realized that music was my religion, and it was music that was always the thing that brought me and my family together. Especially my sisters and I. Some of my happiest memories involve music and my sisters. We would scream sing lyrics in the car, we would have dance parties ALL THE TIME in our massive foyer. We would put on dance productions for my parents. All our lives we’ve shared music, and we will always have a passion for music. Now, let me make this clear, I do believe in God. However, I consider myself more spiritual than religious. Church never felt right to me. But I would always pray, and now I pray through meditation and music. You died on February 21st 1997 11 days before my 8th birthday on March 4th 1997. The Notorious B.I.G died 5 days after my birthday on March 9th 1997. Later that same year the song inspired by the death of Biggie Smalls, became the song that would ALWAYS remind me of you. That song is I’ll be missing you by Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans and 112. EVERY SINGLE TIME I WOULD HEAR THAT SONG I WOULD CRY BECAUSE IT REMINDED ME OF YOU. It reminded me of the grief I felt, the grief my mom felt, the grief my sisters felt, even though my sisters and I were all too young to fully understand it. One of my favorite quotes from this song will always remind me of some of my fondest memories of us shopping on St. Clair Avenue in Little Italy, Toronto for dress shoes and clothes. “Us in the six, shopping for new clothes and kicks.” Whenever this song would come on I would sing it and cry. These past few days I listened to it over and over and over again until I was no longer crying. I know all the words to that song. In fact, I know a lot of the words to many, many songs, but none are as important to me as this one.

I love all types of music. I’m very open-minded, but nothing speaks to me more than hip hop. I LOVE hip hop and this song definitely ignited that passion for me. I now understand on so many levels why this song and this type of music means so much to me. Hip Hop has spiritual importance to me because it talks about pain, suffering, grief, sin, violence, and turns these negative things into art. Hip Hop artists, the ones who are most profound are the ones who can speak about their pain and suffering so candidly and not only make something out of it but inspire hope for a better future. A lot of hip hop also has many references to God, heaven, forgiveness, love, compassion, and generosity. They teach us to reach deep within ourselves to look past our pain, to see the lesson in our suffering, so that we may be able to become higher versions of ourselves. I know Nonna that you don’t particularly understand hip hop because you were of a different generation, but I do know you understand it’s importance to me and my healing. I’m grateful for this song, and for my love of music. Without it, I don’t think I would be the same person.

Lastly, I want to thank you Nonna for my Mother. Without her, there would be no me. You left a legacy in her that is now being passed down to me. I was in your presence for just about 8 years of my life and I learned so much from you. I learned about what it means to love. I also learned that being so much like my mother is an honor. My entire life I’ve been told how much I look like my mother, how much I act like my mother, how much I sound like my mother, I can go on. I used to get so frustrated by this, and I would try to deny it. Now, I know that you didn’t birth my mom, so I did not inherit my looks from you, but everything else was passed down from you onto her, and then onto me. My mother and I are both excellent cooks, and bakers because of you. We are both strong and independent women who are honored to be in the service of our loved ones because of you. I now know even more so than before, how important it is to honor where you come from because it informs us of who we might then become. I am a proud Italian Canadian but I never forget that my mom was adopted. That cross that you bore as a mother who could not bear children was passed down to my mother who found out she was adopted, but neither of you let that define you or stop you from following your soul’s purpose. One day I know that I will be ready for that call to be a mother and I do believe that is my ultimate purpose. I do believe that I will also build a career and a life for myself outside of motherhood, but being a mother speaks to my soul more than anything else in the world. It broke my heart to pieces when I came across the opportunity to be a mother, but I was not ready to answer the call. I had to break my heart and accept that it wasn’t the right time. I then understood that I had to kill the parts of Alex that were no longer serving me and my soul’s purpose of becoming a mother if I ever want that part of me to be realized. And so here I am. I know that I need to be able to become the highest version of myself and then strive to be that person everyday so that I then therefore be ready for the highest honor of motherhood. With your guidance and strength I know that I can be just that. I have seen it happen for two of my closest friends who have been through similar experiences, just like me, they have both been training to be mothers their entire lives. One of them has already realized this dream, and another will someday soon (she literally talks about her burning sensation to be a mom every time I see her). I don’t know when this will happen for me, but I do know that if I continue on this path of love, compassion, generosity, and gratitude my soul’s purpose will someday be realized. I know I have a purposed in fitness and wellness, as well as motherhood, and I do believe with all my heart that they are connected. If I hold the same values that a mother should hold to her child; love, understanding, generosity, compassion, and integrity to my clients and everyone I come across, then I would be able to create a truly holistic approach to health and wellness.

Thank you Nonna for absolutely everything. My life would not be my life if it wasn’t for you and the woman you raised to be my mother. Now I also know why my birthday has always meant so much to me. It’s because you would always make a big deal about our birthday. You would buy us our birthday dress. You and my mom would make all the food for the party. You and my mom would invite anyone who loved us to our party and make it a celebration to be remembered. My Mom continued these traditions in your honor. She bought us birthday outfits every year for our birthdays up until our early twenties. She would always make a big deal about our birthday, and make a point to celebrate it each year. I carry out this tradition as well. I never forget the birthdays of my loved ones and I do my best to honor their birthday just like you have always honored mine.

Love you and Thank you!

Alexandra Rinaldo

"Seven Year Old Girl's Family Birthday Photo"


Do you ever feel inadequate?

I’ve realized that feeling inadequate is a perfectly normal and a very human thing to feel, even though many of us are not able to easily admit to feeling this way. The reality is, we have all felt inadequate in some way. We may not feel this way all the time, or we are unconscious to how inadequate we actually feel; but at the end of the day, at some point in our development we have felt like we just don’t quite measure up. This may be in one specific area of your life, or in more of a general sense. The point is, no matter how much we try not to compare ourselves to other people, we just can’t seem to help ourselves. You will do it less often when you’re generally happy with how things are going in your life, but at some point you will do a check in to see how other people are doing just so you can get a sense of where you are in life… Whatever that’s supposed to mean. The thing is, there is nothing wrong with wanting to know how people are doing, it can be a very positive thing, when you genuinely want to know how things are going in someone’s  life and THAT’S IT. The thing is, you need to be mindful of your intentions behind checking up on someone. You need to be mindful as to WHY you care about whatever that person is doing right now in their lives.

Generally speaking, if you truly cared about someone and how they were doing, you would most likely ask them directly. Whatever we see on our social media platforms only gives us a small idea of how people are actually doing. We all know that whatever most people are posting, are either their ideal selves, or the parts of themselves that they are most comfortable sharing. Social media was meant to connect us, but in a lot of ways it has been used to separate us from one another. Instead of having more genuine conversations with one another, where we talk about what’s really going on in our lives, we look to social media as a way of finding that information out. It takes a lot less effort to scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed to keep tabs on the people in your life, then to engage in a meaningful conversation. It is much easier to watch someone’s “story” Snapchat or Instagram. If we know for a fact that most people are only sharing parts of themselves on social media and not the whole picture, why do we constantly look at our “news feeds” on these platforms as a means of measuring our own personal success? Why do we punish ourselves like this, and feed our feelings of inadequacy? Even when we are talking with our friends and family, are we really being honest about our fears? Are we secretly afraid of being judged? Or are we afraid of becoming someone else’s problem? I know a lot of us never want to feel like a burden to someone else. This is a big reason why it is so much easier to pretend on social media, and have superficial connections. The nitty gritty isn’t pretty, and it doesn’t feel nice. It’s also very hard to admit. It is very hard to admit to yourself that you are deeply afraid, let alone to anyone else.

Where do these fears and feelings of inadequacy come from? From my experience it comes from a lack of trust. It comes from a lack of trust within yourself, and a lack of trust in God/the universe, whatever you want to call it. Because of this lack of trust, you therefore become hyper aware of the supposed “success” of others. Their lives seem much easier, happier, and more fulfilling than your own. You don’t actually know this for a fact, it’s a story that you have told yourself to explain your own unhappiness. For whatever reason, you have chosen to believe that you aren’t enough (good enough, smart enough whatever), that you don’t have enough, and you are aren’t doing enough.  There never seems to be enough, and therefore you are never satisfied, and you are never happy. Instead of living a life of abundance and gratitude, you end up living a life of scarcity. In our egocentric, capitalist society, there is always an element of scarcity. You can never have enough things, enough money, enough fame, enough success. There’s never enough. This is a story we tell ourselves, and it leaves us feeling left behind. What about me?! Well you wouldn’t be worried about that, if you felt as though you would be taken care of; if you felt as if you could take care of yourself, and that the universe or God was always looking out for you.

The person asking the question “what about me?” Is your ego talking. It is the small me. It is the small version of ourselves that we sometimes confuse for our actual selves. It is the part of ourselves that is always measuring up to others. It is the part of ourselves that is always trying to define itself by separating itself from others either in a positive light, or in a negative light. It is the part of ourselves that doesn’t see past our own self, it is the part of ourselves that is only truly concerned about ourselves. Our ego may trick us into thinking we aren’t selfish because we seem to care about our friends and family. However, a lot of times these people are seen as an extension of ourselves. If we stop concerning ourselves with ourselves, we might actually be happier. If we stop worrying about our lives, and start living our lives we would be a lot happier.

Below are some questions that I found in this book called Big Magic, that really got me thinking about what speaks to my soul. It got me thinking about the things that bring me such joy. The kind of joy that makes me want to shout from the hilltops and share it with the rest of the world. That feeling, is the feeling that you need to chase, no matter how challenging it may seem, because it’s not always going to be easy but it will always feel right. A quote from the happiness project, “happiness is feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right.” You need to know what it feels like to feel “bad,” so that you know what to avoid so that you feel good, but sometimes even the things that make you the happiest don’t always make you feel good, but they always feel right, and that’s super important. When things feel right, they are in line with your values, they are in alignment with your purpose, and ultimately they are in line with your being. You just need to trust in that feeling, in things feeling right, even though it may be difficult at times. Keeping all of that in mind, reflect on the following questions and how they relate to you. What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail? What do you love so much that the words failure and success eventually become irrelevant? What do you love more than you love your own ego? Why should I go through all the trouble to make something if the outcome might be nothing? Well the answer to the last question should be, because it’s fun right? What else are you going to do with your time here on earth, not make things? Not do interesting stuff? Not follow your love and curiosity?

Think about all that and how it applies to your life. We don’t know how long we have on this earth, and we should never take that for granted even though most of us do, because literally anything could happen to you. So with that in mind, how do you want to spend your time here on earth? How would you fill your life with happiness? You know the answers to these questions deep in your heart, you just need to quiet the thoughts in your mind long enough so that you can come to understand it, and believe in it.

Image result for energy flows where attention goes

 

 

 


Gratitude… It’s so important to helping you reach your goals!

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day to everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful day yesterday filled with love ❤  I personally think Valentine’s Day is great! There are a lot of people who hate Valentine’s Day, or think it’s stupid, but I don’t. I think it’s great to celebrate love. If anything, most holidays are an excuse to celebrate some form of love. Whether it be to celebrate the love for your God, or religion, the love of your family and friends. Either way, Valentine’s day is another holiday to spread love, gratitude, and joy. Even if you don’t have a partner to spend Valentine’s Day with, it doesn’t mean you’re alone, and it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t celebrate either! In fact, I think Valentines Day is a great day to be thankful for the love that is in your life, and to spread a little love to those who you think might need it.

Now, a lot of people use the excuse “Valentine’s Day should be everyday, why do we need a day to show the people in our lives that we care?” This is their reasoning for not wanting to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and if you do a great job showing the people you love, how much you love them everyday? Then good for you! Because I know most of us don’t. Generally speaking, I find that holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Valentine’s day remind us to be grateful for the things that we have. They bring us together. A lot of times, we tend to focus on the things that are lacking in our lives. We are always trying to be better, to do more, to have more, and so on. Even though I think self-improvement is very positive, and I think we should all have goals, but we must also be mindful of the things that we already have!

We should never forget our strengths, and our values. We should never forget the people, and the things that make us who we are, because that is what gives us strength to carry on each day and conquer our dreams. Love gives us strength. Dreams come from the heart, as Cinderella sings in the animated Disney version “a dream is a wish your heart makes…” And because of this, your intentions for yourself and for the world are positive and good. This is because they were made with love. People who are really good at what they do, generally love what they do also. It is a passion of theirs, and because they are passionate about what they do and who they are, that energy spreads like wildfire, and inspires others to do the same for themselves. Whatever your goals, and dreams may be, never forget why these things are important to you. This is because every time you remind yourself of the “why” behind all that you do, it will also remind you of the love behind all that you do.

I was inspired to write this piece not only because it was Valentine’s Day yesterday, but because one of my client’s had told me about their bed time ritual, where everyday in their personal journal they would write down the things they were most grateful for, the things they accomplished that day, and the things that they would like to accomplish tomorrow. I thought this was a great way to not only keep yourself motivated, but to remind you of the positive things in your life. Sometimes, when we’re working so hard towards a goal it can sometimes feel hopeless. Like you’re getting nowhere fast. But that’s mostly because we have forgotten how far we’ve come! It takes a lot of courage to pursue your hopes and dreams for yourself, whether it be for your health, your career, or whatever your goals may be! This is why I think it’s so important to be grateful for the things you do have, and for how far you have come, so that you can then have the strength to keep moving forward. Valentine’s day, is a holiday that we made to remind us of this. To remind us to be grateful to those we love, because it is the people and things that we love that keep us pushing forward in life!

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