Forgiving Me

Dear Librans,

I’m starting to journal/blog more as part of my self-care practice. Last year, for many of us, was very difficult to say the least. Between the general election, COVID, self-quarantine, social justice and so much more, the shit hit the fan – multiple times.

A good thing that came from 2020 for me was the fact that I couldn’t distract myself from my healing journey. I needed to think of different ways to continue on my path. Part of that is journaling.

My Prompt is, “What do you forgive yourself for?”

Just typing those words make me tear up – not because I’m sad but because I realize how much work I’ve put into myself over the past few years.

In a nutshell, I’ve forgiven myself for just being able to survive without having the tools to enjoy life.

I was stuck in a pattern of limiting beliefs – even though I didn’t know what that was at the time – and living in a Ground Hog Day pattern. Things just kept happening over and over and over again and I didn’t have confidence. On the outside, the world thought I was fine but inside I was a hurt and unfulfilled mess.

Once I began taking part in counseling and working through my emotional turmoil, I felt as though weights were being lifted from my shoulders. This is still a process I’m working through but I’m so much further down my road of healing now!

Yes, I get sad and disappointed – I’m human – but now I’m able to share with trusted folks that I need help or comfort. I try really hard not to play into the old gender role of, “Me man, me strong,” and grunting like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor from Home Improvement.

The world seems like a brand new place because I chose to invest in myself and forgive me. Now I celebrate me as much as possible – because I’m worth it!!

Love and Light!

P.S. Have you ever needed to forgive yourself before? What was that process like for you? I hope you join me in the comments in “celebrating self!”

Tips for Finding Your Purpose

It can feel like we’re always trying to search for something in life, and never really finding it. We become distracted by things like work and family and smaller goals, but never feel like we achieve our purpose. If you’re currently on a journey to finding your purpose, doing a life reset can be really helpful. Here are a few tips for finding your purpose through the reset process.

Do a Brain Dump

This is one of those strategies that is often overlooked, but can completely change your life. A brain dump is a great method for releasing anything you might have been bottling up.

Think of it as a way to transfer all your thoughts, ideas, and feelings from your mind, onto paper. Just start writing the very first thing that pops in your head, then keep writing. Don’t worry about how many different topics or ideas come to you – write them all down.

You know you’re done when you begin slowing down or are just repeating what you have already thought about.

What Makes You Feel Excited and Hopeful?

Once you have done your brain dump, you can keep writing in that journal about what makes you the most excited, or brings the sense of hope and fulfillment to your life. Not just mundane activities you are used to doing, but the ones that exhilarate you and put a huge smile on your face. The ones that light you up from the inside.

What Do You Spend Your Free Time Doing?

If you’re stuck on what you enjoy doing, think about what you tend to do when you have free time. This makes it a little easier to figure out what your interests and passions are, which is bound to lead to your purpose.

It can be anything from reading and doing craft projects, to volunteering or spending time with friends. Every detail about your life, especially your personal choices, can say a lot about you and what you’re here to do.

What Books Do You Love to Read?

It can also help to think about what genres of activities you enjoy the most. When you pick up a book, what genre do you prefer reading? When you choose a television show to watch, what type of show is your favorite? All of these little details matter when it comes to finding your purpose.

What is your purpose? Do you have any tips to help others find their purpose? I would love you to join the conversation and put your thoughts in the comments.

Love and Light!

Using Essential Oils on Your Pets

Dear Librans,

Can you believe it’s Thursday and day 4 of my blog writing challenge?!?! I already messed up a bit but instead of moaning and feeling like a failure because I’m not perfect, I’m continuing on with the task! Yay me!!!

But I digress…

I’m really getting into essential oils in a big way. They have a long list of benefits for adults and even kids, but don’t forget you can also use them on your pets. Since I have a fur baby over here, I’ve been doing some extra research. You just need to use the right oils and be extra careful with your dogs and cats to ensure you are practicing safety.

Safe Oils for Your Pets

There are some essential oils known to be safe for most animals, including cats and dogs. You should always test a small area of your dog’s fur with a diluted oil before using it on them or with their bed and other toy furnishings. However, the following oils tend to be good for most cats and dogs:

Lavender – This is an amazing oil for relaxing your pets, reducing anxiety in the car, and helping with health issues like allergies and insomnia.

– Frankincense is often used with dogs who have early signs of cancer, tumors, or stomach ulcers.

Cardamom – A holistic vet might recommend using cardamom if your pet is having trouble eating, has nausea or heartburn, or is dealing with a bad cough.

Spearmint – Spearmint is great for helping your dog or cat to lose weight, but can also be used for nausea and diarrhea.

No Citrus for Cats

There are some specific oils that breeds don’t like or might make them ill. For cats, this includes any of the citrus oils. Avoid using citrus like grapefruit, lemon, or orange with your cat, as it could affect their liver and how it detoxes of toxins. Some others that don’t particularly like are oregano, tea tree, birch, cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, and thyme.

Oils to Avoid for Dogs

Dogs also have some specific oils that are good or bad for them. The previous list of acceptable oils should all be fine for your dog, unless they have an allergy to these scents or plants. However, there are some known to be toxic or unhealthy for dogs in general, especially for dogs with sensitive skin or allergies. These include:

Clove
Wintergreen
Juniper
Thyme
Anise

As with humans, you want to dilute essential oils properly for pets and test a small area of their skin before using them. Ask your vet if you have any questions or concerns about using essential oils on your pets. Only a very small amount should be needed, so don’t add a large amount of drops to their shampoo or rub it on their skin, as it is likely not necessary and might be harmful.

Are you an essential oil user and have pets? Let me know in the comments your tips and tricks and how you’ve used oils with your fur babies. I just may have to check out your suggestion for this little black lab that I call, “pocket dog…”

Have an awesome day today! Love and light!

The Nicest Compliment

Dear Librans,

I can’t Believe it’s already Wednesday!! Where did the week go? 😕

I just got off of work and I’ve been thinking about one of the nicest complements I’ve ever received. The one that has come up mini times and again only a few days ago was — kind. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Now of course, I’m not kind 24/7 — I would be boring then — but I do try to treat people with understanding, empathy and love. I guess it goes back to my belief that none of us simply do things to just do them… There’s always an underlying reason behind every action or thought we have. I’m genuinely curious about those reasons.

Over the past almost year, I’ve been doing lots of social justice talks and having difficult conversations based on what’s been going on in the world around us. many times, I don’t agree with the person/people I’m having difficult talks with but I try really hard to see where they’re coming from. at the end of most of those conversations, we’ve been able to, “Agree to disagree” or come to some type of understanding.

As I sit here on my iPhone writing this short entry, I realize that I’m grateful. grateful for the fact that among all of the wonderful things and accomplishments over the years, I’m most proud of the simple, yet profound, complement of “kind.” 😇

Is there a complement that you’ve received that on the surface was so simple yet it meant the world to you? Would you mind sharing it in the comments?

Love and Light!

Why I Created the Libra’s Balance

Dear Librans,

I hope this is a fabulous Tuesday morning and Groundhog Day for you! I thought I would try something different today and right before I started my workday; especially because I have a busy evening today with my bootcamp Group and hosting a Zoom call for a nonprofit I am affiliated with.

One of the questions I am often asked is, “Will, why did you start your blog?”

I used to love writing creatively and did it just about every day… Until I grew up and became entrenched in the legal field. I slowly began writing and the style for pleadings, legal correspondence, contracts and such. I zapped my creative mindset away slowly but surely. Now I’m trying to regain my footing with this blog.

At The same time, I’ve been on a journey of re-discovery and healing so I married my two goals together — hence The Libra’s Balance. In The age of social media, I have way too much to say for a simple Facebook post and I’d love having more thoughtful conversation with a range of people. It’s my hope that this little insignificant piece of the Internet can lead to breakthroughs, especially in the climate we find ourselves here in America and across the world.

So my reasons for creating this space aren’t super complicated at all — just a search to connect with people all over the world — even during the time of COVID. I hope you stick around and if I say something that interests you, that you’ll chime in with your thoughts.

Love and Light! ☺️

The Importance of Positive Self Talk

The way that you treat yourself in your own mind has a lot more significance than most people give it credit for. There are times when people might self-abuse or say nasty mean things to themselves out of habit, but the consequences of this are much farther reaching than they believe. In the next few paragraphs, you’ll be reading about the importance of positive self-talk.

It Can Help You to See Yourself

When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you tell yourself? This might be the first time you’ve really ever had to think about that question, but it’s one that you should be aware of, and how you answer will make a difference to yourself on a daily basis. Whenever you tell yourself something really negative, you’re repeating powerful mantras that can influence everything about your self-esteem and how you see yourself in the world.

Unfortunately, it’s generally going to be a skewed view if it’s always bathed in negativity. This makes it impossible for you to be able to be aware of yourself completely and it blocks you from being open to others.

When you spend your time saying uplifting things about yourself, you’re going to get a more complete picture of who you are. This isn’t saying that’s should avoid dealing with things you consider to be faults. It just means you see a lot more than those things alone.

It Gives You More Confidence

Allowing yourself to see yourself completely helps to boost your confidence. That’s because you are directly acknowledging the things that are good about you instead of focusing on the areas where you feel that you fall short. If you like, you can actually write them into a physical list. Reflect on each aspect, and think about the times in your life where those attributes have helped you to overcome something or solve a problem.

You’ll probably be amazed how many ways you’ve been able to get past things using your own natural talents. If you’ve come this far on what you know now, then imagine how well things can go when you’ve continued to learn and improve yourself. Try to see where you will be in the future based on these positive things you’ve discovered.

It Helps You See a Positive Future

Now that you know that you have some great qualities, you can see how they might be able to help you in the future. Are you a fast learner? Do you solve problems quickly? Having a better outlook will always make it easier for you to see yourself making accomplishments in the future. As you go through life, meet the objection of your inner critic with confident self-talk. Tell that part of your mind to be quiet. Do whatever you need to do to move past monetary doubts.
Another great exercise you can do is to make a vision board. It helps to have visual representations of the things that you want to attain at some point. A new career, home, or vacation can be a long-term goal that you work towards. Just be sure to write down that you know you can get to those things somewhere along the way.

It Helps Reduce Stress

Positive self-talk is also really important because it helps you to keep your stress under control. Stress can be paralyzing, but it doesn’t have to be. When you start to feel overwhelmed, pull out a sheet of paper and write down the things you want. Put in a few easier goals that you know you can achieve in the short term, and put all of your energy into crushing those goals. Make sure that you are realistic in the ones that you select.

Getting a few little things done and crossed off of your list can do wonders for how you feel about attainability of your goals. Just know that you have to take it all one day at a time. Cross 2 – 3 things of your list, and return to some of your bigger goals. You’ll find yourself to be more relaxed, and feeling ready to tackle bigger goals.

It Helps You Maintain Control Over Emotions

It’s also important to remember that things won’t always be perfect. There can be all kinds of little snags that can push back your timeline for completing things. It’s important to stay level headed though, because when you spin out of control emotionally, things will begin to suffer. Use positive self-talk to remind yourself of how resilient you truly are. Find inspiration in the progress that you’ve made to date. The more practice you have learning to control your emotions, the more success you will have. Just be sure to remain patient and kind to yourself, and you will get there.

How has positive self talk helped you? I would love to read your thoughts.

Love and Light!

Signs You Need More Self Love

Relationships with others can be highly complex and confusing, but the strangest part is that you don’t even need another person to have a difficult experience in a relationship. With the numerous pressures from the modern world crashing down onto people, it’s no surprise that a lot of people are finding that they need more self-love. If this isn’t something you’ve really thought about, you might wonder about what might be signs that you need more self-love.

You Don’t Have as Much Interest

Do you have hobbies and interests that just don’t seem to really excite you or make you feel good anymore? If you’ve recently experienced a major change in attitude towards the things that used to get you out of bed in a day, then it’s pretty possible that you need more self-love. When you don’t take care of your emotional needs and allow stress to rule multiple aspects of your life, the things that you once loved won’t feel the same.

Symptoms like those are found in depression as well. Depression can be a natural effect caused by unfulfillment in life. Possibly a job that grates on you, or an environment that you used to enjoy has become oppressive. These things can also be signs of a type of burnout. The responsible, self-loving thing to do would be to allow yourself to have more time to relax. It’s important to work, but it’s also important to be balanced.

When that balance gets murky, you can and most likely will get tired of the constant pressure. It might not be a threat at the moment, but things can change quickly, and suddenly you become overwhelmed. Stay balanced, and you’ll be less likely to fry yourself.

You Don’t Forgive Minor Trespasses

Have you caught yourself observing people and muttering unpleasant things under your breath? Misunderstandings happen, and sometimes those things can seem like much bigger issues than they really are in the grand scheme. When you aren’t feeling love for yourself, it’s a lot easier to get caught in a pattern of criticizing others. This habit of fault finding is different than talking to a friend in a calm way about a troublesome path they’ve chosen.

That kind of talk comes out of concern, where fault finding is more rooted in a person’s need to put down others so they can avoid looking at their own faults. When people make mistakes, it’s important to remember that people are incapable of being perfect, so it’s healthier to extend the same kind of forgiveness that you would want to have. It does nothing to hold onto grudges other than load your body down with stress as well.

Spend some time thinking about how little many of these minor issues will affect your life. If you know that they won’t do any lasting damage, then it’s probably sufficient to say what you need to say to the person involved and move on. If not for them, it should be for your mental health.

You Feel You Are an Impostor

One thing that hasn’t been touched on so far in this entry, is the internal voice that each and every person has inside of themselves. Sometimes your inner voice can play tricks on you and make you doubt yourself. The voice in your head might even attack and ridicule you randomly through the day. If this is the case, it would be a good idea to concentrate on positive things about yourself more often.

If you don’t love yourself enough, it can lead to cyclical bad behavior. Telling yourself that you might be fooling everyone around you and actually living in fear of that discovery is probably a lot less reasonable to accept when you look at the breadth of your actual achievements. Practice positive self-talk for a period of time, and it could help you to gain a more realistic view of yourself.

Less Assertiveness

If you find yourself taking a back seat to things in life more often, in that you don’t stand up for yourself or make your thoughts heard, that can be a massive sign that you need more self-love. Doing more healthy things for yourself will help you to feel better and be more in touch with your body. When you’re comfortable in life, you’ll be naturally more confident.

You Haven’t Been Bathing as Often

One of the biggest signs that you need to care for yourself more is that you haven’t been bathing enough. Lack of hygiene is a strong sign of depression and other related emotional disturbances. Make sure that you create a routine to keep yourself bathed. If you go without basic cleanliness, it can be easy to feel like nothing matters as much. Go out of your way to make yourself feel better and healthy. That along could be a massive boost to your attitude.

Did I overlook any signs that you would like to share? If so, be sure to place them in the comments.

P.S. The world seems like a scary place right now but I want to help. Be sure to subscribe as I’ll be posting more entries about “self-love” this week. It’s perfectly normal to feel ill-at-ease but try not to stay in that space. If you’re needing help, and you can get it, please talk to a professional. You matter…

Love and Light!

February Book Club Discussion

Hi there,

You’re invited to an upcoming book club discussion on February 20, 2021 at 3:00 PM Eastern, 2:00 PM Central,1:00 PM Mountain and 12:00 PM Pacific (US and Canada)

The Prophets
By: Robert Jones Jr
Synopsis
A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.

Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man—a fellow slave—seeks to gain favor by preaching the master’s gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel’s love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation’s harmony.

With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr. fiercely summons the voices of slaver and the enslaved alike to tell the story of these two men; from Amos the preacher to the calculating slave-master himself to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders. As tensions build and the weight of centuries—of ancestors and future generations to come—culminate in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.

Search for The Prophets on Amazon

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcode2urTojEtKKJlI3hC2a_iKsnLqUJ7UD

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting and the ability to save to your calendar of choice.

Please Note: This novel contains a trigger warning for those who have survived sexual assault.

Feeling a Little Blue

Dear Librans,

Today is such a weird day for me…

On one hand, I’ve been getting some interesting cases at work that will allow me to think outside the box for my clients; I’ve been finding some really great books to add to my “Want to Read” list for this year and I’m going to participate in a 6-week training course that I’ve been eager to take part in.

But on the other hand, today I started to feel very lonely.

I’m having such a lack of human contact that it feels as though I’m being crushed by it. Ordinarily, I hold myself out to be an introvert. With the self-quarantine though, sometimes it gets to me.

I’m tired of talking on the phone and over Zoom and looking at the four walls. I feel a bit sad today.

Logically, I know that everyday can’t be peaches and cream but when this feeling hits, especially during this pandemic, it really hits.

This is not going to be a long post today. I just want to ask, “Do you deal with pandemic loneliness? If so, what are some practical things you do to get over that hump?

I’m eager to hear from you. Love and Light!