Burning Bowl Ceremony – Make a Positive Change!

The Inspiring Blogger Award

I posted this article a few years ago.  It is a great way to start out the New Year.  Let’s make 2015 a better year  with a positive outlook!

Someone asked me about burning bowl rituals the other day, what they were and what the purpose is.

I actually love burning bowl rituals.  What a great way to let go of things that are bothering or hindering us.  It’s a great way to clear negative thoughts and energy and make way for a new, positive start.  What better time than the start of a New Year!

I started doing burning bowl rituals at a young age, though it wasn’t initially with a bowl, just a candle.  It’s really quiet simple and something that is generic to any belief system according to how you make it.  I liked the idea of something I didn’t need in my life anymore burning and going up in smoke.

 Find a bowl preferably metal or glass (you don’t have to have one, but it makes it nice and neater), fill it up a third of the way with rock salt or salt, and stand a white candle in the middle.

 Simply take two sheets of paper – on one sheet write all the things like bad habits you want to get rid of, excuses for things you haven’t done, weaknesses, temptations, things that are bothering you or you would like to be gone in your life; including negative ways of talking to yourself, or beating yourself up for things that go wrong.

 On the second sheet of paper write down all the things you want to take place of the things you are getting rid of in your life.  If you are getting rid of negative ways of talking to yourself, then write that you will find daily affirmations that will work for you.  If you often beat yourself up when something goes wrong, write that you will celebrate when things go right.   Once you have this list written, fold it and put it in an envelope and attach it to a month on your calendar – say December since that is the end of the year.

 There is no right or wrong way to do this, it is totally up to you what you are making a point of letting go of in your life whether it be emotions or specific things.  Take some time to really contemplate this, then either roll the paper, or tear it into pieces and feed it to the flame and let the paper burn out on the salt by the candle.   (NEVER leave a candle unattended).

 As the paper is burning see and visualize the things you wrote down going up in smoke, take a moment to meditate and say a prayer of gratitude and forgiveness.  Recognize that you are letting go of the things that are clogging your creativity and holding you back from who you want to be, and where you want to be.  Choose to be thankful that these things no longer have a place in your life and you are making a point of letting them go and deciding on another direction right now.  It can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make it.

 Have fun releasing all the bad things and things that just seem to linger and never really do any good.  Feel the stress go up in smoke, when the air clears breathe in the fresh new start. Remember to write down and set your goals, take small steps to reach them each day.

Later in the year, check your calendar and in the month that you attached the other envelope or reminder – take out the other list and see how successful you were at implementing the changes you wanted in your life.  The important thing is to move forward.  You will be pleasantly surprised how small acts of faith can make things happen.

 Cherry Coley ©

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A New Beginning

IMG_0100Here, at the end of 2014, there is a chance to begin again.  We make our own decisions, create our own opportunities, and our own obstacles.  We decide whether to begin again, or to keep going down the same path and in the same direction.  Sometimes a break, a time to stop and get our bearings is necessary.  A time to reflect and sort through the events and actions that brought us to the place we are now.  Taking a break, a time of reflection, is beneficial and important to assess the situation before deciding which way to proceed.  Just don’t take too long a break or you will find yourself becoming complacent and settling for less than you want or intend.

Major life changes such as losing a loved one, losing a job, ending a relationship, changing residence, or making a career change can leave us feeling lost and uncertain.  It is at those moments it’s important to remember the things we’ve already come through.  Life offers a variety of challenges along the way.  Our ability to navigate and survive is directly related to our perspective, our attitude, our wits, and our faith.   However, we are not meant to survive this world alone.  We were designed to socialize and interact with others.  Choosing our friends wisely is important.

Why not make plans this year to get out of your comfort zone? Why not make 2015 the year you reach for more in yourself and expand your horizons?  Do something you’ve never tried before, like painting, or learning to play the guitar, or learning to drive a motorcycle.  Why not extend a hand of friendship to someone new and see what happens along the way?

In just a few days we will be saying goodbye to 2014 forever.  It’s important to remember that not only does the year-end, but time passes, moments pass and they can never be regained once they are gone.  So stop rushing about and wasting precious time.  Think about your days, hours, minutes and how you are spending that time.  What can you do different this year?  What actions can you take starting now to make a difference in where you are compared to where you want to be?  Don’t settle. Don’t fumble your way through and go with the flow.  Instead make your steps and actions deliberate and take charge of your own path.  Set goals that are reasonable and attainable, then plan the steps to reach those goals and set up a time line.  Most important find a buddy to work on your goals with you.  We all need a helping hand at some point, someone to encourage us and to hold us accountable.  Reaching goals is easier with a buddy to offer a little push to keep going and to keep us from beating ourselves up if we get off track.

Let’s say goodbye to 2014 on a positive note and look forward to 2015!

Cherry Coley (c)

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Save One

I love animals.  My daughters and I used to volunteer with Kittico Cat Rescue to help cats find homes.  At any given time it seems there’s a surplus of animals and not enough homes to go around.  It makes me sad.

My dad was a big animal lover.  I guess I get my love of animals from him.  I brought home cats and there was the occasional dog that would follow me home growing up.  He didn’t turn them away, though he probably should have.  He wound up feeding a lot of stray cats in the neighborhood.  It was an expensive chore, but I loved him for it.

pic by Cherry

pic by Cherry

Back in May I stopped and picked up a puppy that was trotting along on a busy street in our neighborhood.  I couldn’t let it go, he was so pretty and by himself.  I didn’t want to see him get ran over.  So, I picked up the little guy and brought him home.  He is a husky – great Pyrenees mix.  He looked tired and hungry.

We named him Scout though I have often thought I should have named him Forrest because he reminds me of Forrest Gump.  He is a big baby that thrives on gentle love.  He hates to get in trouble and doesn’t respond well to harsh discipline.

He has sky blue eyes, but his left eye is brown on top and blue on the bottom.  Scout howls now and then and even says a few mumbled words.    He has grown into quiet a character and a wonderful addition to our family.  I am glad no one ever claimed him.

Through the years I have loved on many pets and only actually paid for one dog for my daughter.  Other than that they have been the cast offs and strays that I have found along the way.  Cats, dogs, one bird, and once a few hamsters.  Animals are simple creatures to figure out.  They need love, food, water and protection.

Here is a picture of Scout now at approximately a year old.  IMG_2143[1]He’s a great big boy at 85 pounds.

I used to have the same philosophy with people.  I thought people were generally good at heart, circumstances and events happen that sometimes change them over time.  I thought it was my role to help and save them.   People and animals must want to be saved in order to be helped.  You cannot force an animal to trust you.  If they have been hurt or abused, trust will take time and patience and there’s the real possibility that you will never be fully trusted and will be permanently kept at a distance though tolerated.

People are the same way, if they have had bad life experiences, others that have betrayed their trust, hurt or abused them, then trust is proven and grown over time with the real possibility that you may never get as close as you wish.

The important thing to remember is we each have opportunities that are specific to us and our environment.  You can think about someone you know and tell yourself that “someone” should help them, but they are in your reach – you may be the someone who needs to act.

Take the time to appreciate the people and animals in your life.  Take a moment to notice those around you that need you, reach out, you may be the person that can save one more life today.  Every human touch of kindness counts no matter how small.

Cherry Coley

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Spring Forward

clock    It’s time to move the clock forward again.  We watch the sunrise many times on the way to work in the morning now.  Bright hues of orange  and yellow streak the sky as the sun comes up and signals the start of another day.

I love this time of year.  Even though I like winter with the cold and snow blanketing things in white and adding an icy coat to the trees and streets, I love it when spring comes bringing sunshine and warmth to wake up the sleeping trees and plants.

I look forward to Spring this year.  It’s a time for renewal, a new beginning.  A perfect time to start writing again.

I welcome this new phase in life.  This year is proving to be more challenging in some ways and more fulfilling in others.  Each year we live is filled with different experiences and opportunities waiting to be taken advantage of if we have the courage to step forward and the willingness to try.  I am thankful there are new things to learn.

So tonight, don’t forget to set the clock forward.  Take advantage of the longer daylight hours to come.  Time is a precious resource, once it’s spent you cannot replace it or relive it.  Spend your time wisely.

Cherry Coley

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“Lift” A Great Little App for your Phone

IMG_1288[1]The world of smart phones has come a long way in a short time.  I confess to being fairly new to smart phones and their tricks and uses.  I have an iphone and have been enjoying finding new, creative and useful apps each week.

I download and explore a lot of the free apps, though I do have a few that I liked so much I upgraded to the paid version.

One of my favorite apps I just started using is called “Lift.”  They have a website you can check out at  https://lift.do/

Lift is designed to be like a coach in your pocket.  It is a designed to help people build and keep track of better habits.  There are 3 simple steps:  Set Goals, See your progress, and Get support.

There is a list of goals to choose from, but you have the option to add your own as well.  Once you set that up, it moves the goal to a list for you.  On the list you “check in” daily when you complete your goal.  A Frequency chart appears beside the Check in button that keeps track of your progress.

Lift

Lift

Wait! There’s more!  When you “check in” it is posted on a status board showing how many times you’ve checked in and you can (if you like) put notes on your check in describing a bit more of what you are working on.

For instance: on the board for checking into “reading” you could put a note about which book you are reading.  Others on the board will see your “check in” and note (if you put one) and have the option to offer “props” with a thumb’s up sign, or to comment on your note.  I must say, it’s pretty cool to “check in” then have others come behind you with “props.”  It’s like getting a pat on the back or an “atta girl.”

Lift also offers 21 day habit training.  These are goals that are designed to help you form good habits.  The 21 day challenges come with instructions and inspiring quotes to encourage you along the way.

With Lift you can choose your goals and tasks, you can add people to follow and gain followers, invite your friends and have fun meeting your goals and encouraging others.

As an added benefit there are groups you can join like “Daily Good Deed Challenge”, complete with instructions for doing good deeds, what it means, suggestions for what to do, interesting tidbits of information and daily challenges.

Finally, on the web you have the option to export your progress to an excel or google spreadsheet for better tracking purposes.Lift

So, if you’re looking for a free and easy to use app to keep track of goals and act as a mini-coach, I recommend “Lift.”  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cherry Coley ©

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The Smell of Fall

cherrys iphone 008I love the smells of fall.  The smell of pumpkin bread baking, chocolate chip cookies, and cakes.  I love baking when the weather gets cooler.

Fall brings with it the prettiest colors.  My favorite colors decorate the trees: orange, red, brown, yellow, and even some lingering greens all grace the trees around the area.

The leaves shimmy and rustle in the wind, there’s a chill to the air that wasn’t there not long ago.  The air smells different, cooler days are coming.

This morning I went outside while it was still dark. The air was crisp and the sky was clear.  The stars twinkled brightly in the darkness above.  There’s something so comforting about watching the sun come up.  The day has started again and with it comes the promise of new opportunities, another chance to change or make a difference.

I love the smells of fall the most, both inside and outside.  There’s something in the air that is different.

Cherry Coley (c)

 

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Book Review for Emotional Intelligence

Cover of "Emotional Intelligence"

Cover of Emotional Intelligence

 

I read a variety of books from fiction, psychology, business, self-help, romance, young adult, and even some investment and “how to” type books.

 

I just finished reading “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman.

 

Product Details

 

http://http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51jlGW0%2BpgL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_.jpg

 

Emotional Intelligence is not a new book.  It was orginally published in 1995, but the information is still as accurate and vital as it was then.  This book is an eye opening book about the effect our emotions have on our lives, relationships, and the choices we make.  Daniel Goleman is not alone in thinking that emotional intelligence is more important than IQ.  The book is a good read both for the psychologist or therapist wanting to increase their knowledge about the subject, and the average person wanting to learn more about how emotions affect how we relate to each other and our abilities to respond and handle the events in our lives.

 

I enjoyed reading Emotional Intelligence because it helped me learn better ways to relate to my teenager, to understand how my responses, reactions and expressions I used as I talked or listened to her would directly impact how she would respond and react to me.

 

I’ve put much of the information I took from this book to good use in relating to friends and family.  If you like good non-fiction books then you might enjoy Emotional Intelligence.

 

Cherry Coley (c)

 

 

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Journaling A Past Time, A Legacy, A way to stay Sane!

journalsJournals, blank books, are one of my favorite things to get as a gift, to buy at the store, and to give to a fellow journal writer.

They have so many different journals to choose from now.  There are leather bound journals, silk bound journals, painted journals, journals with flowers, dragons, landscapes, designs, and just about anything you can think of.

There are big journals, small journals. pocket sized journals, journals with lines and without.  There are journals with questions to help you think of what to write, to write down your memories, or dreams.  I love journals.

This year has been really hard.  I have felt quiet lost at times, missing my parents so much it hurt.  I fell into a deep depression for a time.  It took awhile and a lot of effort to get back up out of the darkness that was threatening to swallow me up.  My journals helped to save me.  I could write whatever I wanted and not worry I would offend or upset anyone.

For the first year after my parents died I kept a journal where I wrote letters to my mom everyday, sometimes several times a day.  I had been so close to her, I was used to talking to her everyday, and it was a way for me to keep talking to her, to gradually accept that she was gone, but would never be forgotten.

I shared many things in my journal written to her.  I told her a lot of the things I wish I had had the time to tell her when she was here.  I apologized for some stupid mistakes.  I shared some new experiences with her.  Then as the year drew to a close and my journal was almost full, I realized it was time to let go.  I was okay with that.  My journal had allowed me to hold her close for awhile longer as I grieved.

There’s not a day when I don’t still miss my parents and wish I could talk to them, but I’m better prepared to face a future now, and I know that they are somehow watching over me.

If you’ve never tried writing in a journal then I encourage you to give it a try.  Keep it safe, keep it private.  Unless, you are journaling with a friend or spouse where you each take a turn writing a page. Free your mind – learn to journal, try it, you might like it.

Cherry Coley (c)

Side note*  there is an App for smartphones called “Momento”  it is a daily journal.  You can even set a reminder and it will ask you – “how was your day?”  It’s a great way to start keeping track of your memories and the moments in your life.

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Fall is Here

cherrys iphone 031October is my favorite month.  The cooler temperatures, the fall decorations and pumpkins all around.  I love the smell of pumpkin spice and cranberry candles.

I love the fall decorations, and the change in the air.  Although, I love Halloween, the dressing up, the fun and games, the spooky stories, roasting marshmallows and drinking hot cocoa by the fire.

We are having cooler temperatures here already.  I love that too.  It also means that my favorite holiday will be here soon.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It’s a time of family, friends and togetherness.  A time to get together and enjoy each others company and good food.

I love fall.

Cherry Coley (c)

 

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Comfort From A Furry Friend

Lindsey Keal

Lindsey Keal

Today our black cat reminded me how comforting the presence of an animal is.  I had asthma as a child and spent many hours in bed with a vaporizer.  My cat Mitten (who I was not allergic to) would cuddle up with me and purr.

Many nights I went to sleep to the comforting sound of singing and purring of my cat.  Batman, our black cat, reminded me this morning how comforting that sound can be.  It brought back warm memories of long ago when the sound calmed me, comforted and helped me breath at a slower rhythm.

Animals add so many wonderful things to our lives.  They add entertainment and companionship, acceptance and unquestioning love.  I thankful for the furry family members I’ve known over the years, they’ve added their share of smiles and tears to my memories and will never be forgotten

Cherry Coley (c).

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