February…Oh, dear February…You are the most difficult month for me. I am a beach girl. I love sunshine, sand, warm ocean breezes, flip-flops and bathing suits. By the time you roll around, I am so tired of the cold. Although you are the shortest month of the year, you seem like an eternity to me. And while I appreciate the quiet, nourishing, contemplative time you offer, I am ready for spring!!
The upside to February is that it is the month of L-O-V-E. Let me clarify. Every minute, of every day, of every month should be about love. I believe Valentine’s Day to be a Hallmark created holiday. I also feel that anything that gives you an excuse to express how you feel is a good thing. But what about those of us who don’t have that special someone to bring them flowers or candy? What’s a girl (or guy) to do??
I have a suggestion…take advantage of all the qualities that February offers combined with the theme of love and start creating a daily Self Care practice.
Many of us spend significant portions of our lives caring for others, trying to please others and, in that process, we neglect ourselves. This can happen on an emotional, physical or spiritual level. Energetically, we are limited. It is similar to your bank account. You can only withdraw what you have deposited. The part of the analogy that doesn’t fit is that, unlike money, the Universe offers us free refills of energy…available anywhere and at any time. We simply have to remember to refill.
There is another scenario. The one where we wait for other people to make us happy or to take care of us. I am here to tell you, and read this TWICE (three times if you think it doesn’t apply to you)
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN HAPPINESS.
When we rely on other people for our happiness, we give away our personal power. We forfeit our chance to create a life we love living. We also set ourselves up for disappointment. No one will know how to make you happy, if you aren’t capable of doing that yourself.
I decided to move in the direction of right action. I started a challenge on our Instagram page. I want everyone to do one thing a day that makes their hearts smile. It can be anything - no rules, no judgment. Maybe a bath, a book, a beer…whatever makes you feel nurtured, loved, happy, empowered or any other feelings you are desiring in your life. One thing a day!!!! You deserve AT LEAST THAT!! This is how we expand into the best version of ourselves in baby steps. Strong and Soulful will be posting some motivational reminders every day to keep you on track. (Just in case you fall back into the habit of forgetting just how much you deserve your own love and attention.)
Post the pic, tag @strongandsoulfulnj, tell us what you did and how it made you feel. Easy Peasy….Best part….Wait for it!!! YOU CAN WIN A PRIZE!!!!! A Strong and Soulful T-shirt (they are pretty cool, if I do say so myself) along with a jar of organic, handmade bath salts created by Tohi Collection. (For every product they sell, one is sent to a child in need). The real prize will be how you feel at the end of the 28 days. It will be transformational, I promise. You will feel Strong and Soulful, not to mention deeply loved and valuable - to yourself, the only one that matters. Even if you don't want to take part on IG, please try to incorporate this into your own life. Be unreasonable with loving yourself...
I leave you with this. It is one of my favorite poems. I stumbled upon it in high school. That was a time when I thought my happiness depended on being validated by others. It spoke to me. It empowered me. It reminded me that I am the only one, the ONLY one, who knows what really makes me happy deep in my soul, and that it is my responsibility to take the steps necessary to create a life that lights me up….it lifted my young, rebellious, strong-willed heart. I began planting my own garden and decorating my own soul.
It came back into my life after my husband died. That was a time when the thought of being happy ever again eluded me. It again spoke to me. It empowered me. It reminded me that I am the ONLY one who had the ability to bring soul deep happiness back into my life. It soothed my broken, rebellious, strong-willed heart.
Once again, I began planting my own garden and decorating my own soul. I invite you to do the same. Then share all the beauty you reap with everyone around you.
February- I got you beat this year!!!
Comes The Dawn
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn...
With every goodbye you learn.
Author: Veronica Shoffstall