Archives for posts with tag: happiness

Set your heart on fire

Seek those who fan your flames

Rumi

Credit J Fries 2018

There is beauty in the ashes of a heart that burned for what it loved

Ariana

One loving heart sets another on fire

St Agustine

Love is friendship set on fire

Look a little closer in those delicate eyes, her heart’s a wild creature and her soul’s on fire

– NR Hart

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire

-Ferdinand Foch

Create what sets your heart on fire

It will illuminate the path ahead

©️2018 J Fries/Rise Like Air

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We have now officially ushered out 2017 and introduced ourselves to 2018.

I’m not sure how old i was when I remember I expected to feel something different when I woke up after my birthday, or on New Year’s Day. After all something defining had occurred right? Another year older, another year past.

I realized then it wasn’t the magic of the clock turning to a new day, there wasn’t a wham bang sudden change. I grew another year older day by day and 2017 passed day by day like every other year. Today is just the day after yesterday. Just like every other day. It’s what we choose to do with that extraordinarily ordinary day that matters. Every one of them.

Some of us are bounding in to 2018 with smiles, hope, plans and attitude. Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Sometimes it seems there is only hardship and sadness on the road ahead of us. But, in amongst the challenges life puts in front of each of us right now, may we also find our way to see the beauty, feel the joy, hear the music and be touched by the love hidden in each day that dawns before us.

And I say to you as well,

Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Wishing you a blessed 2018! Every extraordinarily ordinary day of it.

©️2018 JFries/Rise Like Air

I love sitting in my reading nook under the stairs. I feel a bit like a glorified Harry Potter. Except I chose to make this my space. I didn’t get cast away under the stairs. Quite a difference there. Really, it’s all I have energy for right now with this lousy cold in my nose. Grateful that’s the worst of it. At least it’s not in my chest.

Feeling a little sorry for myself. Needed and wanted this week off so badly and then to be sick sorta sucks.

But I’m one of those annoying people that actually believes everything happens for a reason even if I don’t ever see the big picture. I really do. So I’m grateful for my cold even tho I don’t see the purpose and maybe never will. For one thing it’s giving me the perfect reason to do nothing except enjoy my new nook. Maybe that’s as simple as the purpose needs to be. Else I know I’d be running around

Which, by the way, my niece tried out the nook on her own over Christmas and liked! Made my day. So much better than the disorganized messy storage area it was before. It only took me about 12 years to get it ready. Some projects take a little extra love and time. And sometimes you just have to get off your butt and make it happen. A thought to take you out of 2017 and into 2018.

Happy Wednesday! Take time for you. Find your own nook and make it yours if you haven’t already.

©️2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

Originally published December 2014

I am one of those people who hate waking up in the dark.  I am a sunny morning  kind of person.  If dawn hasn’t cracked and the sun hasn’t risen, then neither should I, especially if it’s cold outside.  And let’s face it; where I live, it’s dark and cold for a good number of months.

©2014 JFries

©2014 JFries

The exception to my usual disposition is the month of December.  December is special in this regard and I actually look forward to waking up in the dark.  Yes, I said it, “I look forward to it.”  I pull on warm fuzzy clothes to ward off the early morning chill, tip toe down the darkened hallway and stairs, flip a couple of switches and am greeted with the soft coloured lights welcoming me on the staircase where the stockings are all hung with care waiting for the Christmas Eve magic that never grows old.   I step into the parlour which is bathed in warm colours from the glowing Christmas tree, it’s branches spreading protectively over the gaily coloured packages carefully wrapped and placed there over the last few days.

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The stillness of the house is still intact as I make my way to the living room where the villagers are just starting to wake up.   The early risers are already at the bakery choosing their delicacies for their own celebrations.

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On a regular day I would throw on all the lights I could to drive the darkness away, but instead, in December I shuffle my way to the kitchen and make a cup of tea.  Deeply I inhale the rich aroma of bergamot and settle myself in a cozy chair with a view to the East.  This morning I’m in no rush for the sun to chase away the darkness.  Instead I am ready to welcome it with patience and wonder, amongst the softly glowing lights that twinkle here and there, much like the last stars slowly blinking their good night as they take their turn to rest.  I marvel at the beauty as the sun paints the sky with brilliant pinks, reds, and purples, welcoming the new day with all the beauty and all the magic it holds, just waiting for me to discover all it has to offer.

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And now, the adventure begins.

It’s All Good, it really is just how you choose to look at things.

©2014/2017 Rise Like Air  J. Fries

Photos are ©2014 J.Fries

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I am honoured to share this essay by an amazing, bright, witty, kind, thoughtful, talented, strong, funny young woman who navigates her beautiful yet challenging path living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I am so proud to know Corey and if you think “everyone is a little OCD” she will kindly begin your education on the subject.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.

Most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have “some OCD.” In order for a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder to be made, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.  – International OCD Foundation

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image courtesy of The Mighty

In the essay, OCD and Me, Corey describes life with OCD as her constant companion.

A mental illness’ strong grasp unfortunately can easily grab hold of someone and never let go. Living in their head every waking moment for the rest of their life. The world of mental illness is a dark and scary place that many people have to experience. Unluckily for me, I drew the short end of the stick and have had to live every second of my life since I was in the fifth grade battling against my own brain with the constant voice of obsessive compulsive disorder. For me, always having an outrageous fear in my head and wanting to hide away from the world have become major aspects of my life and are my version of normal. These voices control every thought, feeling and movement that I have, slowly destroying the world around me that took so long to create. OCD has shown me the struggles that everyone can go through and the different battles we all are fighting.

At the age of eleven I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. At that time I knew very little about it, but I soon came to learn about the extreme stigma and stereotypes around it. The people around me most often would say things to me such as “just stop” or “we all have a little bit of OCD,” however it seemed that no matter how hard I tried I could not just stop the OCD in my head. This realization was what truly made me understand that not everyone had OCD and that not everyone was the same.

OCD deals with severe obsessions and compulsions that often are referred to as rituals. My rituals often consist of counting things, not being able to write with one hand, having to jump over cracks and click my heels together and much more. One of my most harmful rituals involves looking at the sun or lights depending on where I am. Although I know the danger that many of my rituals put me in, I can not stop doing them. There is a constant fear in my head that if I stop doing them, something even worse will happen. I know that this is silly but the thing with OCD is that, even if you know that your rituals cannot change certain events in life, the voice that is trapped inside your head screaming at you, refuses to leave.

As of now, I don’t often realize that I’m doing a ritual and it just seems like everyday life. In the past six years since being diagnosed, I have taken over six thousand pills to help manage my symptoms. However, even if the medication helps with my rituals they often bring other side effects as well. I’ve had to go to the hospital several times due to medication problems, and they have worsened some of my other mental conditions.

In the past years OCD has changed me a lot. It has taught me to keep my head down and to be quiet, and to avoid certain situations, people and places whenever I can. However, OCD has also taught m that we all have our own struggles, and that mine are just located directly behind my eyes.

©2017 Corey

To learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from everyday people living and succeeding with OCD every day.

 

 

 

 

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Today and everyday, we celebrate everyday people, just like Corey, living their lives, following their paths and facing their challenges as they grow into the amazing awesome people they are.

With love, support and determination, we are able to choreograph each step and stumble into our own beautiful and graceful unique dance.

©2017 J Fries/Rise Like Air

I’ve been taking stock, realizing that while I’ve got a great life, I want more. Not so much Get More, but Grow More. I don’t want to stagnate. Experience awaits.

And cue life gets in the way. And that’s okay! For awhile anyway. Sometimes at least. Until….

Until life simply becomes and excuse…

So about a month ago Brian Canavan a coach I highly respect and have worked with, posted a challenge on Facebook called Pause Reset Go! A free intensive five day boot camp to help get you moving and grooving to where you want and need to be. I’m going to say right up front it was worth it. The boot in the backside I needed.

The “common sense secret” is its about more than setting goals – it’s about far more than that. Setting goals, well that’s a pretty tiny part on one hand. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a critically important tiny part, the lynch pin so to speak. But you can have the best goals, exactly the “kind you need” goals – but you better have a pretty good idea of how to get there. Actually a better than good idea. You need a plan. Crap. There’s always a hitch.

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Ok, easy enough, I can do this. But wait one minute. You need the tools to make that very important plan become a successful reality.  And… don’t forget I have my own arsenal of talents, skills and more that are important to making this dream aka goal a reality. Yep, all this in five days.  Ok, after five days I hadn’t met my ultimate goal. BUT. And this is a very big BUT….

I knew where I AM right now.  I knew where I wanted to be/what I wanted to do. I had inventoried my arsenal. I had a plan of how to put it together in manageable flexible steps. I had an accountability partner ready to help me stay on track . Most importantly I had the confidence to begin and the motivation to continue.

Baby steps. Second Guess.

An article I read on The Thought Catalogue by Brianna West helped me come to see this process as self care, doing what I need to do to be “me”. But I have to admit, I’ve always thought of self care as the warm fuzzy kind relax and kick back type of thing.  This is a very different kind of self care. It’s the tough love self care. It’s the I don’t want to adult today but I’m going to put on my big girl panties and rock and roll (or whatever metaphor works for you) kind of self care. It’s hard and awkward and scary. AND WORTH IT! Every gut wrenching, mind spinning, self doubting moment of it.

It’s the taking classes, budgeting, saying no to the hard things, yes to the right things, letting go of what doesn’t serve and letting in what does. It’s the risk taking, soul searching, mistake making moments.

A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to not build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.

And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.

The Thought Catalogue – This Is What Self-Care Really Looks Like, Brianna West

It comes down to what I want and what I’m ready and willing to do to get it. To get what I want. It’s time.

On your Mark…

Get Set…

GOAL!

(and do all the things that go into making that goal a successful reality).

©️ 2017 J Fries/Rise Like Air

It’s Sunday!!  We have made it through another week and another one is beckoning us. Take a moment for a deep breath and a personal high five!

For some of us it was an amazingly fantastic week. For some of us it was hell on wheels. Some were able to Rise Like Air and others teetered on the precipice edge.

There were tears of joy, success and happiness. Tears of frustration, pain and fear.

That’s what life is. Amazing ups and downs and lessons and perspective. It’s about choices and learning and trying.  It encompasses falling down, crawling and getting back up. But today I think it’s most about simply living and loving and liberating.

Today I’m making one choice. To smile. Maybe it will make a little difference. Maybe a big difference. Maybe someone else will notice, maybe they won’t. But I will notice.

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Have a fantastic Sunday. Make it yours. Do it your way.  No regrets, no apologies. No shame, no blame, no guilt. Just love, light and living.  And of course….

Rise

Like 

Air…

See 

Beautiful…

It’s

All 

Good…

 

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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As 2016 winds down I thought I’d share a story that warmed my heart as a mother and as a human being. Sometimes our kids just do that.

My son works at a hardware store and one of the things he does is cut keys and rekey locks.  The old keys get thrown in a discard bin. So one day when a woman came in requesting to buy new keys for a craft project my son offered to give her an ample supply of discarded keys free of charge.

…And being the typical 19 year old he thought absolutely no more of it.

The next day the same woman arrived back at the store seeking him out. She had a thank you gift for him, a necklace. The key was now stamped with the word HOPE  and an accompanying tag stamped YOU MATTER.

She was on a mission to spread an important message – there is hope and we all matter – every one of us. No matter our past, our present or our future – we all matter. And there is always hope.

My son was fairly blasé about the whole affair.  He came home and shared the story with a somewhat puzzled look on his face. He said he really didn’t understand why she felt the need to thank him (sigh) and while the idea was sorta neat, he didn’t really  think he’d ever wear it. And then this look dawned upon his face and he turned to me. “Mom, this is more like something you’d like…” I graciously accepted the pay it forward gift with a very big smile.

I’m far from perfect, I have to embrace my “flawsome” every single day. Somedays there seems to be more flaw than awesome, but I embrace my humanness as best I can always. Because, after all, that is what I am, human – designed, created or a fluke of nature – unique and human is all I can guarantee. And I always keep a smidgeon of hope tucked away for those days where I’ve misplaced all the rest.

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Today, I pulled the necklace out again, knowing that I would finally take a few minutes to sit down to tell the story.  My daughter noted it with an air of admiration and interest.  She knows sometimes we need to be reminded we matter and there is hope. Some of the best reminders are a little rough around the edges.

With the Pentatonix “Hallelujah” playing in the background my eyes are searching for a place where this necklace can be constant reminder of this oh so important message that strangely, so many forget at this time of year of celebration. I realized today that this necklace isn’t really mine, it’s meant for anyone who needs a little extra reminder that YOU MATTER and that there is most certainly HOPE. So like the other sets of keys in this house, it will hang accessible to anyone who may need use of it at any given moment.

Don’t ever forget….

YOU MATTER

and there is

HOPE

I promise

Don’t ever forget….

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I love Marcel Proust quotes and this morning seemed a good day to remind myself of a few of my favourites.  While curled up waiting for my tea to steep I thought that just maybe someone else would enjoy his wisdom on this Tuesday as well.

 

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

My personal favourite. I have never ceased to be amazed at how  a different perspective can literally change my world.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Is there a better feeling than experiencing a soul blossoming?

If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.

So many argue this point, but those I know who have given up on dreaming seem to have given up on the joy of life too.

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.

Probably the hardest lesson I am still learning. And what a journey it is.  I am honoured to a part of so many wonderful people’s journey.

We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full.

Being a procrastinator and avoider I argued this one for a very long time and still like to put my fingers in my ears and go “lalalalala” but, yes, “what you resist persists” And boy oh boy, does it ever……

Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

Sigh, need we really say more….

Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.

Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING but…… you have to admit there does seem to be a possible connection…. maybe…

Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.

Still mulling this one, but I have to admit there is something about those aha moments….

Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.

I really really want to argue this one but there is at least some truth in it for far too many of us.

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.

Oh to have the days of childhood and endless reading.

 

So there you have it, some of my favourite Marcel Proust quotes to ponder this terrific Tuesday.  And if it’s not so terrific?  I have a suggestion….. go back to quote #1 and give it a shot.  Change up your eyes and shift that perspective.  You might just be amazed.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I went to the lake for three days. On my own. Because I said I wanted to. Apparently, this raised some eyebrows, caused some speculation.

Though I owe no one an explanation I’ll tell you. I only hope you can handle the truth and it is all you thought it would be.

I had a most delicious rendezvous with an old love. And oh my, shhhhh, but it really was delicious. Time stood still and disappeared all at once.

Now I admit that at first I felt more than a little trepidation, but it disappeared when I caught my first glimpse of them. It was like no time had passed at all.

It was cold so we curled up in blankets, sipped whiskey and water while we read books together, taking turns flipping the pages. We laughed and reminisced, finishing each other’s sentences. We went for walks hand in hand, telling each other stories. And when we got back we shared our thoughts and feelings, our dreams and relationships and our regrets because we genuinely wanted to. We played our favourite music and danced with abandon, laughing until our sides ached and tears ran down our cheeks. And when we couldn’t laugh anymore, we drank in each other’s spirit, curling up to sleep peacefully each night. We cherished each other unabashedly and it was divine and peacefully beautiful.

As the end drew near we looked into each other’s sparkling eyes and promised we would never let time or distraction separate us again. We hugged until we melted into each other and then it was time to leave. We never said good bye, because it wasn’t. It was hello.

When I arrived home I felt no guilt or shame as I walked by the mirror. Pausing, I recognized the smile. I winked, and my re-found love winked back at me. “Hello,” I grinned. Delicious.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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