What Is Metamorphosis If Not This?

Awake, fresh eyes crack. It hurts for just a second as dawn’s light washes me.

After a long, walking sleep, I’m relieved to see the sun again. Felt like night forever,” I say to her with a bittersweet mix of thanks and regret. “Thank you for waking me.”

The monsters lurking in my room transform before me. They were but a coat flung carelessly over a chair. A house plant. A stack of magazines. It all seemed so real.

Yesterday’s story fades into hazy memory, only its fingerprints remain. I wipe them from the mirror and comb bits of eggshell from my hair.

Prisms in my window take apart the light and present me with every color. They speak to me of metamorphosis.

And what is metamorphosis if not that? Taking apart who you thought you were and building something more, using the very same pieces you started with.

My new story begins today. I will tell it through the words of love until the world reflects love back to me. Then, I will tell it again. @ralph_leslie (Click to Tweet!)

Even as I leave the warmth of this cocoon, I will not be lost easy. I will envelope myself with the peace that stirs inside me now.

I place a hand over my heart and feel it tap a beat for my gentle, lilting step.

Bending, I release the ache of stiff, sleeping limbs. I give my eyes time to remember how to see in the light. And, balanced on tattered toes, I point myself to Venus and Mercury just before they disappear into the blue sky. My wings unfurl around me.

What if I sank smiling when doubt said I should? I wonder.

Tenderly, I remind myself that clear transcends obsession.

But who am I to speak these words in the face of ought and overthought? What is truth and what I dare?

Human, I suppose. That’s got to be enough by now.

Leslie Ralph is a psychologist, writer, and artist who hopes to leave the world a little brighter than she found it. Her people are creative, sensitive spirits who crave love and peace, inside and out. Leslie is the author of There, I Might Find Peace: Poetry and Prose, Mantras and Meditations for Peace, Love, and Strength. Download her free gift, a ritual for receiving, a daily ritual for bringing more love and light, clarity and confidence, meaning and connection to your life. You can follow Leslie on Facebook or Instagram.

Image courtesy of Jessica Felicio.

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Why language is humanity’s greatest invention | David Peterson

Civilization rests upon the existence of language, says language creator David Peterson. In a talk that's equal parts passionate and hilarious, he shows how studying, preserving and inventing new languages helps us understand our collective humanity — and gives a quick lesson on High Valyrian, one of two languages he created for "Game of Thrones" (along with Dothraki). "Language is not merely a tool," he says. "It is our legacy, it's our way of conveying what it means to be human."
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Things I Learned from Babysitting My Toddler Niece

“Becoming an aunt is absolutely out of your control. There is no prior life planning or thought behind it; it just happens, and the event changes your life. Though not the fruit of your womb, the baby in your arms becomes a reason for celebrating.”

It is often said that an aunt is a unique combination of a mother and a friend for a niece. I am an aunt to my cute little toddler niece. We’ve bonded well together so far and I hope to be a prominent part of her life in the future as well.

Sometimes, I do wish that someone had created a “how-to-always-be-a-cool-aunt” guide for first-time aunts like me. But, relationships are not mechanical. They will never come with a one-size-fits-all solution like a TV repair manual.

You just have to trust your instincts, make your own rules, indulge in fun activities, and do what it takes to keep your bond solid. This is the key takeaway from my time with my little niece.

Apart from this, I learned a few other important life lessons while spending quality time with her that I’m keen on sharing with everyone.

So here goes!

1. Prioritize Having Fun and Making Memories

For me, one of the best things about spending time with my niece is to watch her laugh or smile at the funny things I do. It’s a sign that she trusts me and finds my company to be fun.

Being the reason behind someone’s smile always reflects well on you.

Having fun leads to another beautiful thing: you end up making wonderful memories of the joyful times together. Making and cherishing amazing memories leave lasting imprints on your mind, and are signs of a life well lived. So, how about clicking a few amusing selfies with your cute-as-a-button toddler?

2. Be Adaptive

My niece enjoys playing and being around those who will let her do things her way. Her parents may be busy with other things or might have become a repeated face for her, which is where I step in and turn myself the coolest person she’s ever met! I love playing ball with her or taking her out for an ice cream. In return I get loads of hugs, kisses, and heartfelt love.

Many a time, life requires us to mirror it. Our behaviors and responses are shaped by the kind of life situations we’re in. This is great because successfully adapting to such situations means you always come out a winner!

3. It Helps to Stick to the Basics

When babysitting, I need to remember a few important things about my sweet niece. She does these four basic things: move, eat, burp, and poop. We all know little children convey most of their messages by crying or screaming. As caretakers, it is our responsibility to use our knowledge of the basics, put two and two together, and fulfill the child’s needs.

In the same way, when it comes to tackling the problems life may throw at us, you may want to revisit your basics and find simple but logical solutions to deal with them. They’re often the most effective!

4. Identify What Works and Do More of It

Less food and sleep can make my niece super fussy. A fussy toddler means that I spend most of my time calming her, which leaves me with little or no time to do my own work.

On most days, she eats a bowl full of vegetables, but I’ve realized that when I feed her slightly more than that, she sleeps sooner and better. This allows me to do other things.

It makes perfect sense to identify the things that are working for us and take that route more often. This lesson can very well apply to everyday life as well.

5. Follow the Rules

As a doting aunt, I cannot help but spoil my niece by fulfilling all her wishes and doing crazy kiddy things with her. However, I’m careful not to break the discipline rules her parents have set for her, especially with respect to her food and bed time. This helps shape her behavior to become a well-rounded individual as she grows.

Following rules is a great thing. It is only when our kids see us abiding by them, that they will respect them too. Rules ensure that everyone is safe, healthy, and happy.

6. Try to Make Others Feel Comfortable around You

Babies and toddlers need comforting. My niece is no different. And while her mother is the best source of comfort and support, I do my bit by keeping her as comfy as I possibly can in my care. For example, I make it a point to dress her according to the weather. I also set the room temperature accordingly with a little help from my trusty air conditioning guide, of course. The result is pure love and delight!

You’re going to meet many people in your life. As a good person, you should not hesitate in being kind and making them feel comfortable around you in your own special way. Even a simple gesture like offering them some water or lending your phone charger can go a long way in strengthening your veracity.

7. Keep Your Promises

This one’s pretty easy, really. Simply don’t say what you can’t or won’t do. I wouldn’t ever promise my niece to take her to the park when I know I’d be busy with something else.

Do not make promises to a child only to forget about them and hurt their feelings. Our little ones are sensitive, and will surely remember how you broke their trust! The kid’s parents won’t appreciate it either.

Be a person of your word to uphold your credibility and retain the trust of those around you, regardless of their age. Keep your integrity intact if you want people to take you seriously.

8. Look After Yourself

Don’t get me wrong, I love my niece and would do anything for her. But one cannot serve from an empty cup. It is, therefore, crucial that we look after ourselves or we will not be able to give our best to our loved ones.

Wake up a little early in the morning to make time for yourself. Use this time to meditate, swim, go for a jog, listen to music, or read if that’s what energizes you for the day ahead. When you feel good, it will show in everything you do.

The aunt-niece relationship is more than just a technical association that binds two people by blood. It is a bond, a promise! It may not be a parent-child relationship, but it comes pretty close to that and is a special connection. And if you think it is only the aunts who will teach their nieces about some of the coolest things in life, you need to think again. You may be surprised, just as I was, to realize that your niece is already influencing you to be a better person!

Lori Wagoner is a marketing & business consultant and helps small businesses with their online presence. Lori is also a prolific blogger; she writes for Tweak Your Biz, Project Eve, Small Biz Daily, and many other business publications. You can follow her on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Simon Rae.

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Holding Others to a Higher Standard

You can give people grace and still hold them to a higher standard.

You can acknowledge other people’s beliefs, blocks, and traumas and still ask them to do the work to heal and grow. You can feel empathy for their experience and still set boundaries, even walking away entirely. You can have deep understanding and still be angry, hurt, or upset.⁣

There’s room for both.⁣

Always.⁣

But you have to take yourself to the chopping block first before you can ask more of others. You have to be willing to do your own work, despite the debilitating fear or discomfort. You have to be willing to bring awareness to what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how it’s affecting you, your life, your work, and your relationships. You have to be willing to own your stories, admit to your deepest fears and wounds, feel your feelings fully, and untangle yourself from the strategies and ways of being that have keep you safe, secure, and successful all your life.⁣⁣

You have to be able to give yourself grace while holding yourself to a higher standard. You have to be committed wholeheartedly to your own work… your own growth and healing… before you can ask that of another.⁣

You have to be able to stand steady inside the messy duality that is living this life and having both a human and spiritual experience. And you have to understand that there is a way to demand something better or different without invalidating someone else’s truth and experience. If you’re unable to do that, you have to ask yourself where you’re not able to hold the wholeness of your own truth and experience.⁣⁣

There’s room for both.⁣
In every situation.⁣
Always.⁣

Hold yourself and others to a higher standard, but do it with all the love, compassion, and understanding you can muster. We’re all in need of a little more grace, as well as more soft, safe spaces to do our work.⁣ @StephenieZ (Click to Tweet!)

Stephenie Zamora is an author and life coach, business and marketing strategist, and founder of CallOfTheVoid.tv., where she merges the worlds of personal development, energy healing, intuitive coaching, writing, and mixed media art to help individuals rise up and come back from the darkest, hardest chapters of life. She guides her clients through the challenging process of re-orienting to their lives, relationships, and work in a way that’s fully aligned with who they’ve become in the aftermath of loss, trauma, depression, and big life changes. After struggling with PTSD, grief, and anxiety from a sudden and traumatic loss, she navigated her own difficult healing journey, and has set out to help others find the purpose of their own path using The Hero’s Journey as a framework. She is also the founder of Stephenie Zamora Media, the author of Awesome Life Tips®, creator of Journey Mapping Sessions™, and is currently working on a second book, Unravel. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Yahoo Shine, Elite Daily, Positively Positive, and many other publications over the years. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or at www.CallOfTheVoid.tv.

Image courtesy of Noah Silliman.

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