Anxiety

Beauty Happens Every Night – All Around the World – Guest Post by Charlotte

Another Twitter connection. Another delightful person working bravely to write, create, and appreciate gifts right under her nose. Check out this sensory guest post from Charlotte Underwood. I love how she reminds us we don’t have to venture far to find experiences that please the senses.

Author: Charlotte Underwood
Blog: www.charlotteunderwoodauthor.com

Her Favorite Quote: “Time passes, people move. Like a river’s flow, it never ends. A childish mind will turn to noble ambition. Young love will become deep affection. The clear water’s surface reflects growth. Now listen to the Serenade of water to reflect upon yourself.” – Sheik

Nature is a gift that we receive every day and yet seem to ignore and maybe even act ungrateful for. It’s easy to forget that in our ever-increasing urban lifestyle, that we are on the doorstep of some of earths most beautiful creations.

I have always been infatuated with the beauty of nature and the little gems that the world provides us, memories of me playing in the mud, dancing under blossom trees and going on adventures through woods and dipping my toes in the hidden lakes of my hometown; these are the ones that showed me true happiness, love and awe, it reminded me of life.

Now, I must admit that as an adult with severe anxiety, I do tend to ignore the world that I crave all too much. I want nothing more than to pack up and travel the world, to see each of the wonders of the world and to experience every culture known to man; but for now, that is but a dream but one that I will achieve.

Until I am able to jet off, it doesn’t mean that I can’t make the most of my local area, we all seem for forget that our own towns and neighborhoods contain some truly beautiful sights. Be it the park that has contains a pond full of rainbow fish or a building that fills your mind with curiosity, when was the last time you actually took the moment to look and to ponder, to let that imagination flow.
My old garden and the memories of it has become my happy place when things start to get hard for me, because the environment it gave filled me with such warmth and safety; I’ll never forget it. I used to lie on top of my trampoline in the evening, with the sun glistening through the trees the enveloped my garden and caressed my cheek, I could hear the birds sing and the trees sway in the wind that was tickling my toes, this was happiness.

I can no longer sit in that garden but the memory will last a lifetime and also, right now, like you, I am surrounded by opportunity that will surely leave me breathless and thankful. A short drive away from my home is my local beach and while it is not the prettiest, have you ever sat and watched the sunset on a beach? Where the sun shines a golden coat across the coast and then folds into a hypnotic shade of purple before darkness fades in? This happens every night, all around the world and yet so many of us, even those who literally live on the doorstep will miss out – why?

Mother nature is an artist with the most precious and fine creations that not one person could ever mimic, with no cost or trap to experience the beauty and lust of these masterpieces, it seems almost wasteful that we do not spend more time appreciating what is right under our noses.


Hunstanton

Charlotte Underwood is a young 22 year old from Norfolk, UK. She is a growing mental health advocate and likes to use writing to inform and support.

You can follow her blog,  where she posts a lot about mental health, depression, anxiety and suicide. She hopes to raise awareness as well as end the stigma. You can follow her on Twitter.

Advertisements

A Beautiful Moment is Enough – Guest Post by Ruth

Twitter. A mysterious, magical thing that connects me to readers and writers all over the globe. I’ve been following the #bloggerswanted for awhile now and throw my name and my website into all kinds of hats to see if I can write for bloggers. So when Ruth tweeted one of her goals for her blog was a guest post, I was happy to send her my guest blogging requirements.

She’s right, sometimes a beautiful moment is more than enough.

Take it away!

Author:  Ruth of the blog Ruth in Revolt

Favorite Quote: “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” – William Shakespeare

It was spring 2018. Spring – a time for new life. A time for hope.

There I was, not feeling much of anything at all. At best, I was lost. At worst, I was empty.
I had been on a slippery slope for a few weeks. The stress of work, the stabbing ache for home and the constant fear I wasn’t good enough were consuming me. I was being sucked into a black hole. I needed something to hold onto.

The sun was shining, but there was a cool breeze. It was the perfect day for a trip to the beach. So, that’s where I decided to go. Strange, indeed, how I needed solid ground, but I sought a body of water.

I set off in search of relief. All I wanted was a moment of clarity.

My legs were shaky as I walked. There was a tightness in my chest and butterflies furiously flapping their wings inside my stomach. Anxiety had its fingers wrapped around my heart. In spite of it, I took strides forward. I turned my music up, desperately trying to drown out the thoughts in my head. I could see the sea in the distance. It drew me in. I told myself that if I could make it there, I would feel better. A sense of determination washed over me. My legs moved quickly now, until I reached the esplanade.

There were people everywhere. We had all had the same idea, but I imagined they were here for very different reasons. They were smiling. I was barely holding it together.
There were children, laughing as they played in the sand. There were couples holding hands. There were dogs, chasing balls and splashing in the sea. There was a photographer or two, trying to capture the magic of it all. It was a hive of activity. It was full of life and for a moment, I was, too.

I noticed an elderly man, sitting alone and eating ice cream. He must have faced troubles in his life, but he looked content.

freestocks-org-314560-unsplash.jpg

I decided I wasn’t leaving the beach until I felt it. I knew it would come. It had to.

The air seemed clearer here; lighter. For what seemed like the first time in weeks, I felt like I could breathe. I took deep breaths to ensure the air reached the depths of my lungs. My chest rose and fell, mimicking the tide sweeping in and drifting out. I turned off my music. I could hear it all now – the talking, the laughter, the sweet sound of memories being made. The delicate sounds of the waves kissing the sand was playing on repeat in the background. It felt like a hundred sounds reaching my ears at once, yet so peaceful.

As the waves came down, the grip of anxiety loosened. I let myself relax. Something about being here made it seem easy. All the problems slipped away, like grains of sand in my hand. I couldn’t tell you how good it felt.

Staring out at the sea, I knew I was bigger than my problems. I could conquer them. I could do anything. I was more alive than ever before. I knew it couldn’t last forever, but it was a beautiful moment.

And, sometimes, a beautiful moment is enough.


 

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 8.30.57 PM

Ruth is 27 years old and lives in Aberdeen, UK. She writes about everything and anything. Loves bourbon biscuits, typewriters, cats and music. Collects notebooks and Dr Martens. Happiest by the sea.

You can find new posts on her blog Ruth in Revolt every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Send her an email at hello@ruthinrevolt.com or follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

 

Beam of Light – Bailey D.

Bailey D.

I am a twenty something, “freshly wed” living in Northern Colorado. I love animals, cooking, being in nature, and have a natural talent for procrastination;)

69E77A58-0CEA-4269-8B56-D316FC7D762C.jpg

Life can sometimes, actually quite often, make me feel like a crazy person. I struggle with stress, insecurity, FOMO (fear of missing out), doubt, and a general sense of failing to do it all “right.” From time to time, I stumble upon a  “love note moment” that gently brings my spiraling mind back to the grounding truth.  Seeing a rosebud blooming in the midst of its own leaves changing color. Watching massive flocks of geese head south in the crisp winter air, so confident in their natural sense of direction. My extremely moody cat choosing to curl up in the crook of my knees and purr as I drift off to sleep. A beautiful piece of latte art that makes my coffee an experience rather than just a means to an end. The sense of awareness that accompanies such plain and simple moments, makes them extraordinary in their own light. And then it becomes a little easier to see myself as less “lacking” and a touch more extraordinary in my own light.

 

 

If you are interested in giving your own light, click here to learn more about how you can enter the Give Light Giveaway. I’m accepting submissions through December 31st. 

Ink

I made the mistake of scrolling through Twitter while having my morning coffee. Anxiety-inducing caffeine mixed with anxiety-inducing messages about how health care changes are going to influence us all swirl like the cinnamon in my cup. Today’s choice makes my stomach hurt – health care, not my coffee.

I’ve got to stop starting my day on social media.

Coffee time needs to be for Jesus, for devotionals, for lists of gratitude and prayers and hopes.

So I write, to calm my anxiety, and to ground myself in the good again. Putting words on ‘paper’ often times is the only thing that makes sense.

The phrase ‘pen to paper’ really seems to lose its romance when you think about how people write their thoughts these days. ‘Put your fingers to the keyboard’ has none of the glamour. No images of writers struggling are conjured with the act of typing. Click click click on a keyboard – the nostalgia is gone. You can’t smell typing like you can a ball point pen. The beautiful smell of ink coming out of a ball point pen.

Ink.

Pre-death, I always said I would only get a tattoo if I had something big to remember. If I went through something tragic, or lost someone.

Damn. I have lived through both.

I wrote a letter to my dad on the year anniversary of his death. In my ramblings, and through my tears, I wrote about how proud he would have been of my brother who has lots of tattoos:

You should see Sam, Dad. His long hair and big muscles and tattoos to remember you by. How we ink our skin in hopes of putting you and your legacy back into our bodies, to absorb you yet again into our blood. I want one, a tattoo to remember you by. I’m kind of scared though. Needles and me don’t get along. That’s something we had in common too. What would you get? Your handwriting on my arm? That chicken scratch scrawl that used to drive me nuts.

I went back and forth, for that fear of needles is real for me. Could I be brave enough to make such a permanent choice?

A few weeks later I was reading the handwritten speech Dad gave at my wedding. At the bottom of the paper he had scrawled his favorite phrase of adoration, ‘love you much.’

“Do it”, he whispered through those words on paper, “mix my words with your blood and carry me with you permanently.” 

And so I did. I met a beautiful tattoo artist who accepted my whole family into his studio with compassion. My mom embarrassed me exclaiming to Jordan, “but you are just so normal!” He laughed her words right off his shoulders.

Jordan took Dad’s handwriting and made it beautiful.  Figured out how to transfer the letters onto my skin. Held my arm, made sure the words were straight, transferred Dad’s legacy onto my skin and deeper into my blood. Words and love made permanent through ink.

Here it is:

IMG_5093

Needle to skin has shimmers of beauty too. Writing stories on our skin. Ink.

 

For more information on the studio Heart & Skin visit their website.

It’s Your Turn and Yes, I Love Croissants

Hey you! Yes! You!

37b79b50ef7f0508fadc1a5756144c89

Do I have your attention? One of the most beautiful experiences that has come of this blog is the chance to connect with other writers, creatives, inspirational folks fully living life, who are also seeking beauty in their every day to day ordinaries. I have reached a point where I want my ideas expressed here to inspire others. I am excited to announce that I am now accepting guest submissions to be included here on my blog. If you have had a poignant example of choosing to experience the beauty in your every day life, I want to hear about it, and to share it on this space. If you are interested in being a guest contributor please email me the following to 52beautifulthings@gmail.com:

A post between 500-800 words about your experience with beautiful things

A picture of yourself and your favorite quote

Any social media connections you want to promote – Twitter, Instagram, your blog or website

If you think we may be in alignment, I can’t wait to host your beautiful encounter here.

And now on to this week’s experience with a beautiful thing…..

When I was in college, I vividly remember sitting on the back porch of my bible study leader’s house with four young women who had walked the four year journey with me. It was the week before graduation, and nothing was set in stone. One out of the five of us, one had a job lined up. One was staying in Boulder, one going to DC, and the rest of us were moving home. As the sun set over the Flatirons, our conversation wafted out into the summer night as we shared hopes and dreams, and anxieties about what was next – what wonderful adventures would fill our lives as our bank accounts quivered in fear of “self-sustainability.”

This weekend, I got to spend a full day with two of these women, and my heart was full to the brim. I was amazed to think back to that hot summer night, and to watch in awe at how God’s hand continues to direct each of us on our paths to, I don’t know, the beautiful something or someones rather, that we are meant to be. One friend is living in Manhattan using her amazing skills to sew costumes and alter the beautiful clothes of the rich and the famous. One friend is living in Denver, working her way through the advertising field, gaining skills and supporting companies as they grow and change and morph. I continue to walk my way through the non-profit field, learning new things and finding new ways to connect caring individuals to causes they feel passionate about. The whole group could not be with us in our mini reunion because one woman is in Africa doing missions work. The other in Japan with her husband in the AirForce.

I wanted to turn, as I walked with my friends in the sun, and whisper back to those anxious 22 year olds, it’s ok, you are going to continue to discover more about who you are and what makes you tick. You will continue to learn to stand up for yourself, and what you believe in, and navigate some gain and some loss. You are more beautiful now than you were then, because life and all of its roller coasters bring you more beauty if you let it.

IMG_2695

That’s what growth is – you can’t see it while it’s happening. When you stop to look around though, you’ve got more fruit in your hands than you’ve ever imagined. I miss my weekly encounters with those women, and long to create new community where I have been planted. If you are in your mid-twenties, raise your hand if you have been lonely in the loss of friendship as we all start to divide, to separate, to march into our own territory? I’m realizing, this week, that much like the separation from family is necessary to grow, the willingness to accept your friends coming in and out of your life is a blessing. No, I don’t see my circles of friends each week, each month, and now even as frequently as each year. I do, however, treasure the time I get to spend with those who still peek their way into my life. Thank you for shaping me, and continuing to support me as I start shaping myself.

And, let’s talk about bakeries. Nothing is better than a pastry and a coffee while you wait for brunch. NOTHING! I love me some carbs and coffee. If there are sprinkles, even better. I got to spend my Saturday morning here and the smells of sweet dough mixed with floating flour made my heart happy. Look at those pastries! SO BEAUTIFUL?

IMG_2689

Biscotti: None – but does this bakery count

Essie Nail Polish: got a pedicure instead

Plan to Be Surprised

The tagline up at the top reads “An imperfect attempt to find some beauty the world has to offer. One week at a time.” I’ve been dwelling on my own mantra for the blog this week. Do I try, ever so gently, to embrace the imperfections within myself and within our situation? I know, without a doubt, that I am blessed and experience immense privilege. My family is healthy, I have a roof over my head, I get along with my mom, I live in a state that has beautiful weather, and sunshine, and mountains. This running list of blessings and opportunities to grow are perhaps where I should extend my focus.

However, I shift gears this week to find the beauty in imperfection. Practice what you preach right? So, here we go (with the disclaimer that I’m a little insecure about what will flow from these words because honesty in your experience always open the doors to scrutiny from outside audiences.) Here are the messy parts of me that I’m trying to reclaim as imperfectly beautiful.

1) Healthy choices haunt me. I love eating little kid snacks. At times that means carrots and ranch, or snap peas and hummus. At other times, like tonight, a balanced meal consists of pigs in a blanket and brussel sprouts. With a handful of Cadbury candy coated eggs. Sugary, delicious, refreshing lemonade too. Everyone deserves a good hot dog now and then right? I choose water frequently, but Diet Coke is also delightful. I once had a wise woman tell me, “Everything in moderation. Even moderation.” I love that phrase. I will try to choose the pea pods more frequently. There are anti-oxidants in walnuts right?

IMG_2557

2)  I am an anxious person – I worry about our jobs, and when our landlord will sell the house we live in, and how to create a five year plan that is bullet proof. Baz Luhrman says that worrying is as effective as solving a math equation by chewing bubble gum. I know it’s not a productive use of my time, but I do, I worry. I’ve got several people who love me working on this with me. I say hello to my anxiety in the morning, and ask it to pass through my body, acknowledging its presence, and politely request it moves on. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I say goodnight to it, and sometimes, I let it sit until a moment of peace arises in my heart and I catch myself laughing.

3) I am messy. When you walk in the garage door into our house you will see four pairs of Dylan’s shoes lined up nicely on the door mat. When you stand on that very same mat, and look from the garage into the living room, and down the hall, you will see discarded pairs of shoes that mark my journey into the house that ultimately leads to relaxation for my bare tootsies. I discard my shoes, my keys, my mail, until we do a weekly round up on Saturdays. Dylan and I have separate closets because I leave my clothes on the floor, and don’t hang up my towel in the morning unless he reminds me to grab the potentially soppy mess. That mess is a part of me, so I lovingly embrace it.

4) I’ve been known to be sarcastically sassy. I snip when I’m under stress and when I’m hurting, or unsure of my space in this big, bold world. I like to think that I have a great sense of humor, but when I’m processing change or transition, I draw into myself and I snip. Sorry if you have been on the receiving end of that lately. When I’m aware of my own defense mechanisms, my reactions provide me chances to retry and regroup.

5) We commute. Both of us drive over a half hour to get to work. I bitch about it, and the driving, at times, eats into our evenings and our positive attitudes. Hallelujah for two cars and money for gas. Again, I know not everyone can utilize these luxuries. Negotiating how to change this concept of balancing where we live to where we work, or accept the things we can not control means analyzing how we can take personal responsibility here. And trust God that we are right where we need to be. That maybe, he, or she, has circled this place for us on a map.

6) I don’t have a five year plan. I stress out and jealously compare my dreams and pace of career to my friends who have said since the age of seven, “I’m going to be a doctor” and they are now doing it. I plan to dabble, and try things, and commit to learning. Have you seen that movie with Steve Carrel, “Dan in Real Life”? At the end of the movie he is giving advice and he says, “Plan to be surprised.”

That is entirely what I plan to do.

Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. Agree or disagree?

Biscotti: None

Essie: I need a color for a wedding I’m going to this weekend. Any suggestions?

Hopes & Healing in Boxes

This time two years ago I moved out of my parents’ home for the first time. I was in a city with people I didn’t know, and spent many evenings during the week home alone, or with Dylan, reading books and wallowing in anxiety of how to even get this thing called life started. In December of 2012 I moved with anticipation and anxiety of what being an adult actually looks like – away from home, away from my friends. Towards what I wasn’t quite sure. All of my belongings could fit in the back of my SUV. One load.

In December 2013 I moved back to my hometown with a hope of a return to normal, to community, to a proper sense of grounding. This time, the move took three trips in a truck and I brought a man back with me. I was disappointed and shocked to find that while my hometown hadn’t changed too much, perhaps I had. I wasn’t the same Katie that walked those streets and halls and through the nostalgic memories. The realization that perhaps the job, or the location was not the problem, but rather was something within me took quite a bit of therapy to admit. This move gave me the opportunity to say yes to new opportunities in relationship and fully walk towards the promise and commitment of marriage. I had to come home to move forward.

Here we are in December of 2014, once again moving, with wedding gifts, and hopes, and compromises that come with having a life partner. This move required a U-haul. I’m not quite sure what will be next, but know that it is so wonderful to be moving towards things with another person at my side. Excuse the self promotion here, but I am thrilled by the healing that I have carried with me this year. Usually, the moving of my physical belongings, and the disruption of my connection to place throws me completely off my center. I know I probably wasn’t the most fun to be with over the last week – moving makes me really crabby. This time, though, the past few years experiences have made me realize I’m going to be ok. I already am ok. Perhaps I’m even grand. I’m not waking up with stomach gripping fear that literally makes me gag. I’m not losing weight from stress. I’m breathing and trusting, and healing. I’m healing. And I’m thankful.

Remember, that return to community that was so important to me in December of 2013? God has answered that prayer tenfold and I’ve found wonderful opportunities to reconnect with old friends. Friends who were traveling, friends who are in school, friends who have also found their way home, back to their roots. Friends who seek out groundedness and peace and giving and look at the world through a critical lens. Friends who come over to help move, or bring dinner to share, or tell me to wipe a tear from my eye. I am not sure where we will go as a group, as dreams take all individuals in a multitude of directions. For now, though, there is so much beauty in connection with others. Look at this motley crew of people who showed up to help us move, because they care about me and they care about Dylan and they invest in friendship. They breathe fresh hope for human connection into my heart. For all those friends not pictured here, you, too, know who you are.

IMG_2052

I’m ecstatic about the beauty of healing, of progress, and the opportunity to reflect about growth. You don’t know what blossoms in that painful experience of sprouting new shoots until the flower has bloomed. Have I bloomed? I’m not quite sure.

What gives you anxiety? How about affirmations of healing?