My Top Four Wellness Tools

I have this habit. It’s not a good one. In keeping with my “all-or-nothing” personality, I tend to have difficulty doing life at a slow pace. I run full speed ahead, charging at life with my sword drawn. Have you ever seen a movie or TV show with Scottish Highlanders running into battle, screaming like a banshee (side note: any Outlander fans? Are you not completely obsessed? My husband reads this, so I probably shouldn’t share my thoughts about Jamie. But let me just say: Oh. My.)? That’s pretty much my approach to life.

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The Problem With Meditation

I have a love/hate relationship with meditation. I don’t think I’m the only one. I strongly suspect there are others like me, who love the benefits of meditation, but force themselves to sit on their cushions because they could easily put it off forever if they didn’t make themselves do it. To put it simply, it’s much easier to SAY I have a meditation practice than it is to ACTUALLY HAVE a meditation practice.

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The Truth About Anxiety

My name is MacKenzie and I have anxiety. I was asked to write a guest blog post for my dear friend Amy about my journey discovering, understanding, and coping with my anxiety and I must say, the thought triggered the very issue itself. But, if my story can help someone else understand the things that they are going through or make them feel as if they are not alone in their struggle, it is well worth the anxiousness. I want to preface with the fact that I am in no way an expert on the subject. I am not a certified mental health care provider, I hold no official degree or any kind of expertise in the field of mental heath. I cannot tell you what you should do, or how you should cope if you or someone you love has issues with anxiety. All I can tell you is my own personal experience. So here it is.

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The Bridge

**This is not an easy read. This deals with trauma, abuse and depression.

When I was a kid, my world completely fell apart. My adopted sister was spiraling down a deep black hole. She was violent, she was doing drugs, she stole thousands of dollars, and she hoped in and out of lock-up facilities. She was terrified of being in a permanent family after years of being bounced around foster homes, combined with all the abuse she suffered in her birth home. Turns out she was a violent sociopath, meaning she had no conscience, no awareness of or concern for the feelings of others. This was the result of experiencing physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of her biological family. She was never shown love, and so she had no idea what love was. To her, love was the scariest thing in the world. Fear and anger and violence were all she knew. By the time we figured this out, she was already in our home, and officially adopted. By the time I was 11 years old, she was not allowed to live with us because she was threatening to kill us.

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Learning to Have Patience Takes Too Long

The other day, my son asked for my help finding a video online (parental confession number 1 for this post: my kids watch too many videos on YouTube. I'm okay with it. It prevents Mommy from spiking her coffee). I explained I would be happy to help him, but it might take a little patience. He looks thoughtful and says "That's okay, maybe Dad can do it", to which I insisted "I can do it! I can be patient! I swear!" He considers this for a moment and then replies "You know what, maybe I'll just do it." He's pretty smart, that one. 

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Being Bullied Changed My Life

When I was in middle school, a classmate of mine started a rumor about me. This is not unusual. It happens in middle schools all around the world, every day.  While this particular rumor appeared to be about me, it actually said quite a bit about the person who started it. This is also not unusual.  My classmate told a few people that I was staring at her in class, apparently with great longing and desire. I wasn’t, but that is beside the point. By the end of the day, half the school was whispering that I must be a lesbian. 

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Unconditional Craziness

So, usually our house is complete and utter chaos. It kind of resembles a three-ring circus, only without the ringmaster holding everything together. I think I am supposed to be the ringmaster, but since I am an introvert I am usually hiding out in my room, so there goes the whole "managing the chaos" gig. Just to demonstrate what I mean by chaos, one day my status update on Facebook was that at the particular moment my daughter was on the computer asking Google how to potty-train a hamster, my middle child was running naked around the house and screaming at the top of his lungs, and my youngest was happily engaged in drowning his stuffed animals in the tub. Because that's not concerning AT ALL. And I was sitting in the middle of it and blocking it all out with social media. So yeah. And for the record, that was not an unusual day. For some reason, I just felt like sharing our normal madness with the world that day.

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Everyday Miracles

There are moments, everyday-nothing-special moments, that stick in my memory.  I don't know why those moments stay with me and other things, bigger things, don't. But one morning, several weeks ago, I woke up and in that transition between asleep and awake, I suddenly remembered a moment from 26 years ago.  And then I started to cry, when I realized how that one everyday-nothing-special moment has shaped my life. 

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Cherishing Yourself. Just Because.

I have this friend who has recently become a single mom. Whenever we talk, one of the things I encourage her to do is to take care of herself.  I kinda lecture and nag her about it, to be honest. To be clear, I don't feel she should take care of herself because she's a mom and her kids need her. She is, and they do. But that's not my main reason. From my view point, I want her to take care of herself because I love her, and in my eyes she is so worthy of being cherished, and that includes cherishing herself.  I firmly believe we are all inherently worthy, and therefore we should all take care of ourselves. And yet...

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Balance is Overrated

My life for the past two months has been completely out of whack.   I have not been getting enough sleep. I have not exactly been eating properly, unless you consider snack mix a healthy breakfast. We are not even going to talk about the state of my house. My role as a graduate school student has been overriding nearly all of my other roles. But that's the way it needed to be. Now I'm on a short break, and I am happily focusing on the things that have been neglected. I have been spending time with my husband. I am playing in the backyard with my kids. I am reacquainting myself with vegetables. And sleep. Oh baby. I am sleeping like it's my job. 

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When You Can't Find the Beauty in Your Life

There are days when I marvel at the beauty around me. When the sun is shining and it’s a perfect 75 degrees outside. The flowers are blooming. A friend texts me a thoughtful message of love. I’m rocking my skinny jeans. My coffee is delicious. Birds flutter around my head and a rainbow follows me everywhere I go. The other 363 days of the year, I get out of bed and stub my toe on the shoes I didn’t put away yesterday. The sky is cloudy. There are no thoughtful messages on my phone and I wonder if all my friends forgot about me. I dream about putting on sweatpants. There are toys all over the house and my preteen son’s room is starting to emit a smell. Some days, finding the beauty in your life feels straight up impossible.

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It's Really Okay To Be A Mess

   My husband told me something one day that completely changed my perspective. I was going through a challenging time, and I told him I felt like no one was supporting me. He told me that since I am normally so strong, and work so hard on making it look like I have it all under control, that he forgets that sometimes I don't actually have it all under control. That I'm actually having a really hard time, and I'm just not showing it.  The implication was clear--for me to get the support I need, I have to be honest about the fact that I need support.     

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The Broken Vase

     Perfection. We want it. We admire it. We aspire to it.  If we purchase something that is broken, we return it. If something we already have breaks, we fix it or throw it out. And according to some social media profiles, some of us appear to have achieved perfect lives.  Everywhere we look, there is the assumption that if something is flawed, it is unworthy. So what does that say about us? If we are not perfect, are we unworthy?

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If Life is Laundry

    I'm currently reading the book Hand Wash Cold. In it, the author, Karen Maezen Miller, makes the point that laundry is life. Literally. Life is also dishes. And all those other things that we often try to rush through or avoid. Your life is not an ideal "someday". It isn't a perfect vacation. It isn't waiting for you to get the perfect job, or the right career.  Your life is the everyday details you currently deal with all the time. Like laundry.  And there is an incredible amount of beauty to be found in the sheer realities of life.  While reading her book, I found myself thinking about how much a pile of laundry says about your life. The words below just tumbled out of my head and heart. Perhaps they will remind you of the gorgeous details to be found in your own life.

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