“A Rose by any Other Name”… And Other Important Words

There are some people that have a deep affection for words and quotes. However, I am not one of them. It took me a long time to find value in the impressive meaning of others’ words and more importantly, the incredible significance in a word itself. There are a great deal of words in today’s language that have lost their relevance. There are arguments that by decreasing the sensitivity, then we decrease the power. Others say that by empowering the word, we dissociate from the meaning. The side you take is yours to choose. I choose my words by what it means to me and how it can be interpreted by you.

I have chosen few, select words in which to have a love affair. If you have known me since the age of 17, you know that my first mister was ‘adore.’ It bred from a beautiful song by my favorite artist of the time. Adore [verb] to love and respect someone deeply. Ahhh… love AND respect. That was the ultimate in my time; and still, pretty idyllic.

Some five years later the enchanting word, ‘Bliss’ became the most romantic word in my vocabulary (hence the supreme significance of Blissful Mind Wellness). You see my name is Brook and for years I hated the strong sound of the letter B. All words with ‘B’ were ugly to me. Then I discovered the sweet flow and lightness of ‘Bliss.’ Now you accompany this word by its most wonderful meaning, [noun] perfect happiness. This is obviously a temporary state because there is no such thing as lasting, perfect happiness. Nonetheless, what an amazing thing to strive for and dream of.

No word since then has made my short list. The word ‘integrity’ was dangerously close. I appreciate the meaning very deeply. However, the sound, the flow… it just never stuck. I have been wanting the word ‘patience’ to fully envelop me, but even if you have only just met me, you know this is not one of my purest virtues. Ugh.

However, there is one recent word that seems to flow within my soul. It has become one of my deepest values and a supreme part of my personal growth. Coincidentally, it is marked by our upcoming holiday. Gratitude. Come on say it with me. Gratitude [noun] the quality of being thankful. This seems a melodic combination of Grace and Attitude.

You see it is very easy and very common to talk about giving thanks. It is also easy to criticize others for not being grateful. However, it is more complex to embrace a Graceful Attitude. This is not only to demonstrate thanks in your own life and for all which you have been graced; this is also to demonstrate grace in all that you are; to be grace. Finally, it’s to be gracious for all that you don’t understand.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you experience adoration, bliss, and gratitude.

Feast or Famine

My boyfriend, Chuck is in real estate and entered this career during what has been rumored the worst real estate market of our time. This industry is often categorized as Feast or Famine and we have experienced some grueling financial battles. Right before this recent upswing, I caught a true glimpse at what famine could look like. Healthy food was the last thing that I would negotiate on when we were making cuts from our life. I always wanted to make sure that we had a supplement of nutritious food in the house. However, in those final weeks, we were extremely close to only natural peanut butter and whole wheat bread. Contrary to popular belief, therapists don’t make the big bucks when our debt to income ratio is offset by graduate student loans.

This time of famine has given me a whole new perspective as we enter this country’s most celebrated feast, Thanksgiving. For the past couple of years I have been gradually replacing outdated family recipes with Heart Disease and Diabetes as the main course with more whole foods and natural ingredients. However, I always felt it necessary to make it a large Feast! We needed enough food to have 3 servings a piece and leftovers for days. Hmmm… maybe a little unnecessary, especially when I see clients who consistently know the meaning of famine and may not have any resemblance of this feast.

During our time of famine, I have learned greater restraint and what we really need to live happy, healthy lives. I don’t need regular trips to the mall or biweekly pedicures (although bimonthly wouldn’t be bad). I don’t need fancy dinners out and expensive gatherings with friends. I am not entitled to bigger, better, greater.

Our black and white thinking is often the most self-destructive. It is all or nothing, good or bad, rich or poor, feast or famine. This thinking can interfere with how we think of ourselves, how we feel about our partners, and how successful we are in a healthy lifestyle. Countless times I hear stories about clients that cheated on their diet so they gave it up for the week. They “failed” once so why not give up on trying. There are also the stories of “I have no money anyway so I blew what I did have.” Or sometimes the most devastating, “my partner disappointed me, so they are not the person I thought they were.” All of these lead to additional, unnecessary angst.

Seeing the shades of grey by building our tolerance of ourselves and others is how we can practice mindfulness, non-judgement, and peaceful thinking. Life doesn’t have to be one or the other. Sometimes it requires creativity, simplification, and acceptance, but none of those have to be negative. So as you enter into your holiday season, remember that your menu doesn’t have to be healthy or unhealthy. You don’t have to give in to gluttony through the whole weekend if you overeat on the big day. And if this is a holiday that you are without family or a partner, this doesn’t have to be the worst holiday or the only chance to have family over the holiday.

I have come to learn that you can never have enough money or time. For us, we are trying to learn how to be grateful for what we have when we have it. Creating a balanced life is a life worth living.

Here are some ideas for a balanced holiday:

  • Sign up for a Turkey Trot in your community for Thanksgiving morning
  • Add a healthy, low-cal veggie to the menu such as baked squash or a seasonal salad
  • Plan a fun game night with friends during the days off
  • Plan your menu, cut the estimated serving down by 1/4 and donate the money you saved to your community experiencing famine
  • If you shop on Black Friday, try it leisurely and patiently, without rigidity or expectation.
  • Practice gratitude in your thoughts, actions, and words.