Dear Future Husband, What Is Love?

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#DearFutureHusband,

Today someone said “Focus on the things that are within your control” and again someone said “There comes a time where you will have to learn patience.”

Got me thinking. What was I waiting for from you that I didn’t already have in my life?

What was the main focus on you appearing into my life that was so important to me?

The answer is your love.

I am surrounded by love all the time, but somehow I have only held on the picture of love to be romance instead of everlastingI looked forward to seeing it, feeling it and hearing it from you. I’ve now come to know that love is not packaged or categorized but lives within us and around us. I see love every day, I feel love every moment and I hear it every second. However, I happened to overlooked that, even though I knew it, in waiting for you and being focused on how I’d know you love me, see how you love me, feel and hear your love. I played the scenes back and forth in my mind- how I would love you, show you love and make you feel loved by me. The funny thing is I don’t even know you yet, but somehow I just know that love would bring us together.

So I asked myself- what is your version of love? Not what others have told me love is or what it looks, feels and sounds like.

Silence.

I don’t know what love is.

For me to figure it out I had to go back to God and asked Him about love.

“Oh Beloved Father, please reveal to me what love is. Please show me what love looks like, feels like and sounds like. Please help me understand the truth about love and what it is that makes it so important to us. Teach me how to love myself so I can love You back and love others as I love myself.

He has sent me back to 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. This verse I have read over many times and seemed to have not understood it well. As I am reading the verse over again it hits me that I have no control over love, how it feels, looks and sounds. It may live within me and around me, but it’s an on-going thing.

Verse 8 says, “Love never ends”. Verse 4 says, “love is patient”. Love may be what brings us together, but our interpretations may be different. The lesson here is I have no control of what brings us together, but who does?

God is love. He is everlasting. He is patient. He is kind. He has been waiting for me just like I have been waiting for you. It’s about time I pursued Him and His love. His love will bring us together and that will be because you have been pursuing Him too. I will soon discover the love I have been waiting for.

This is one thing that is within my control, to know what love is.

Your beloved,

Harmony

#DearFutureHusband notes started last year (2014) as love notes to my Future Husband.  God has not brought him my way yet, but I am still believing in Him for my gift.  Putting the notes on social media was a way of hopefully grabbing his attention. I was basically making conversation and in doing so, inspiring other women to empower and encourage their Future Husbands before meeting them, to see the good in a man and want the best for him.  It later became a platform to inspire and encourage Future Husbands and already Husbands to be the best they can be. Some of the posts are personal and for my #DearFutureHusband and some are for #DearFutureHusbands and Husbands out there.

About The Author: 

10428640_10205536827637733_491797516647396958_nHarmony Zenande Botya is an inspirational writer from Western Cape, South Africa. She is a first year student at The Aleit Academy and aspiring Events Coordinator. She loves good books, good food, good music and being surround by people with good conversation and energy. One other thing she loves is sending words of love, encouragement and empowerment to others. Says Harmony, “God is my first and last love, desire and focus.  I am who I am today because of His love, grace and blessings.”

(Author’s photo used with author’s permission)

Editor: Asa-Mari Thompson 

Photo credit: google images

Choose Your Thoughts Carefully.

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Last week I had an unfortunate run in with a friend over social media. This friend, while I love her dearly, has a tendency to be a “Negative Nancy”, and I (as wonderful as I can be!) am the opposite, if only by intention. I will admit, I have a tendency to be a bit scathing in my delivery sometimes, and I am working on that- after all, we are all works in progress if nothing else.​ So her “FML!” moment (because she has cancer) was met with my soliloquy on a soapbox about ​being positive and not giving in to the want of feeding her disease with negative energy.

This turned into a trolling frenzy.

I’m not saying I was right to try to tell her who to be, or what to feel, or how to vent. ​Admittedly, in trying to point this out I only made myself look like an ass-hat, because who tells a cancer patient who thinks she is dying that she shouldn’t rail against the heavens? I mean- what kind of friend am I? Well, I honestly thought I was being the good kind…but I digress.

​I’m a firm believer that t​he universe does not discriminate between positive and negative energy. I​t only gives us what we give it.

​Over my life, I’ve played with this idea several times and seen myself manifest numerous things simply through the power of intention- my first apartment being yellow, living in Rosedale (a.k.a my best friend’s backyard), the fact that I am a single mother​ and both my children are on the autism spectrum…all these things are things I contemplated heavily before they came to pass in real life. It is as if I specifically asked the universe to hand me these things…and it did. Were all of them things I wanted? Of course not. But I focused on them so much that they manifested themselves regardless of whether I wanted or didn’t want them.

I​t’s not that I didn’t want my friend to vent- like I said, defaulting to “fml” is her thing; it’s a knee jerk reaction if for no other reason than she’s practiced it for so long she doesn’t realize there are other ways to deal with loss or pain or frustration. And it’s hard for me to know she is in pain and setting herself up for more. On the other hand, I’ve worked in facilities where I’ve seen the elderly and formerly destitute, those who are amputees, cancer patients and survivors, and others with multiple medical diagnoses who live day in and day out with nothing less than a smile, whose response to “How are you today?” is always anywhere from “Hanging in there!” to “Couldn’t be better!” or my personal favorite, “I’m alive-can’t complain!”

It occurred to me after a couple years of coaching others to be responsible for their own lives that I ought to do the same for me, otherwise I am nothing but a hypocrite. “You Are A Creator- Your Words Create Your World”, I’d said, time and time again. For the sake of the outcome of my own life, I’ve had to learn to be responsible with my thoughts. ​I owe it to myself to be such.

Even in the midst of our suffering, if we shake our fists and shout to the heavens “F*CK MY LIFE!”, the universe hears us and says, “Okay- no problem!”- and brings us exactly what we do not want…because we asked for it! Pushing through the desire to be negative and transmuting that energy into something positive is the type of inner alchemy of which miracles are made.

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​There’s a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking. If we head into every day affirming that the universe is, indeed, collaborating with us to make our dreams come true, we will see this truth manifest in our lives. It is possible, if we train our minds to do this by everyday practice. For some of us, this practice is not just necessary everyday but on a moment by moment basis, depending on what we have trained our personalities to agree is acceptable. Statistically, and especially among cancer patients, those with positive attitudes and expectations are more likely to have positive outcomes. One can practice mindfulness through a number of ways- stillness, prayer and meditation are excellent, ancient practices for training the mind and spirit. There are many different types of yoga one can try. Some people go for de-cluttering walks, others prefer to exercise, with or without music.

Personally, I enjoy reading personal development books and articles. I read anything I can get my hands on and I annotate while I read. And I pay attention to what’s coming out of my mouth. I set daily intentions for myself and keep a gratitude list so I can be mindful and present about the direction of my day, what I would like to achieve and how I’m going to achieve it.

Words carry power. They enchant, entice, incite, excite. Words are magic. My thoughts control the words that are coming out of my mouth. If I can control my thoughts- if I can catch them and hold them there and take a good look at them before they have the chance to escape my mouth and create havoc, I may yet have a chance.

I’ve come a long way. I didn’t mean to be mean to my friend but I can see how I came off as arrogant and lacking empathy.

If I could take it back, I’d explain to her that I watched my mom die of cancer but that after she was diagnosed with stage IV cervical cancer, she taught her kindergarten class and traveled and planned picnics and events for the neighborhood and decided she wasn’t going to let her diagnosis slow her down, and she lived seven years longer than the doctors said she would.

I’d tell her that one of my other really good friends is also presently in a nursing home, living as vibrantly as possible with the same diagnosis she has- stage IV colo-rectal cancer; her tumors are decomposing. The doctors don’t know what’s keeping her alive and in such great shape, but every time I see her, she’s smiling and at 6′ 3″, she is as loud as she is tall!

If I could start over, I’d begin by reminding her that she is not alone, that she is loved and surrounded by love, and even though I know she is in pain, she can draw from that loving energy around her and surround herself with peace and calm, happiness, love and light. And I’d encourage her to think and speak and live as though she were preparing to live, not as though she were preparing to die.

I’m not perfect, and I don’t know everything, but what I do know is, regardless the circumstances, we always have the power to choose.

“Whenever you suffer, next time don’t complain, don’t create an anguish out of it. Rather, watch it, feel it, see it, look at it from all possible angles. Make it a meditation and see what happens: the energy that was moving into the disease, the energy that was creating suffering, is transformed, the quality changes. The same energy becomes your awareness, because there are not two energies in you, the energy is one. You can make it sex, you can transform it and make it into love; you can transform it still higher and make it into prayer, and you can transform it still higher and make it into awareness—the energy is the same.”~ Osho

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Blessings & Affirmations

Find the practice that works for you and allow yourself to enter your quiet space. 

Acknowledge that the universe is a vast, infinite source of energy.

Tap into that energy and let that energy flow through you.

Release your negativity- pain, fear, worry, misunderstandings, feelings of lack and insecurity- and allow the goodness of the universe to flow through you.

Choose your thoughts carefully and embrace what is yours.

I have permission to create my future. 

The Universe wants me to succeed.

Money is flowing to me easily and effortlessly and I trust the Universe to take care of all my financial needs.

I am going to let myself participate in life and enjoy it. 

I can choose love. I am love.

I can choose peace. I am peace.

I can choose calm. I am calm. 

I can choose surrender. I have surrendered.

I choose blessings. I am a blessing.

I can choose abundance. I am abundant.

I can choose prosperity. I am prosperous.

Namasté .

For The Free Spirited Females With Fiercely Sensitive Hearts.

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This is for the gentle goddesses with watery, empathic hearts, who ooze with oodles of compassion, eager to soothe another’s suffering.

This is for the luscious ladies with restless spirits who can’t stay in one place for long, because our souls are winged, always longing for adventure.

Yes, this is just for us:

The free-spirited females with fiercely sensitive hearts.

We are a balmy breeze, casually caressing arms lovingly, suddenly here, suddenly there, then suddenly gone.

We are a thousand grains of precious pink sand, slowly slipping through soft fingertips, one by one.

We can never be contained because we aren’t meant to be.

We are born to ride the wild winds of passion, surf the turbulent oceans of despair, and relentlessly explore the great vastness of this crazy world—until our bodies collapse in ecstatic exhaustion.

We understand deeply that life is a heartbreakingly beautiful series of goodbyes, hellos, triumphs and disappointments and we feel most alive in the midst of transformation, courageously shedding our old skin to be birthed again, raw and new.

We are are well-versed in letting go, able to boldly exhale and swiftly set fire to the past, painstakingly gathering the ashen wisdom to build a more abundant future.

We are phoenixes, falcons, eagles and butterflies.

We are light and airy, yet never lacking depth.

We are carefree and sparkly, but our effervescence actually emanates from caring so deeply, from feeling the world’s pain, happiness, love, sadness and struggle wildly pulsate within our chests, day in and day out.

We are spongy emotional barometers, picking up on another’s mood immediately, sensing anxiety, anger, grief, frustration and jealousy. Feeling it so damn intensely that we sometimes suffocate.

We crave alone time, solo adventures, secret places and quiet spaces because the world can seem so scary and overwhelming that we wonder if it could, in fact, swallow us entirely in one single gulp.

We love wholly, compassionately and completely—but never possessively.

We have to fly away sometimes, darting out in the velvety black of night because we know that by setting ourselves free, we can set others free too.

We deeply respect our femininity, listening closely to the whispering wisdom of our intuition, the mystical murmurs of our ancestors and the primal pulse of nature.

We feel most alive outside, wings fully spanned, feeling the firm ground beneath our feet, welcoming the fiercest winds to whirl through our wispy hair.

We are fierce warriors, forces to be reckoned with—precisely because we are so sensitive.

My gentle and free-spirited sisters, I hear your feathery roar.

Let us spread our wings and soar.

Let us fly long and fast and hard.

Let us fly unapologetically.

Into the incredible lives we are meant to live.

Let us vow now.

To never turn our backs on the wise contents.

Of our fabulously free-spirited.

And fantastically sensitive souls.

Written by : Sarah Harvey is an enthusiastic truth-seeker who loves chocolate and tea. She believes that life is art, communication is all we have, and that sharing all the craziness and chaos inside us is incredibly empowering. She believes in creativity, passion, and self-expression above all else. She believes that life is the craziest thing there is—and she’s learning (a.k.a. struggling) to go with the flow.

This piece appears in its entirety on elephant journal at http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/01/for-the-free-spirited-females-with-fiercely-sensitive-hearts/

Thoughts Of A Goddess: “Make The Shift”

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Last week’s lesson, Be Strong gave way to several breakthroughs and much needed karmic cleansing. Words that needed to be said were finally said. There were tears and kisses. There were confessions and forgiveness. There was the realization that everything in life happens for our highest good.

There is no such thing as failure. 

Nothing is ever going wrong. These moments are clarifying moments.

Learn from it what you must, then let it go and move on.

Know that when you have a dream, when you are charged with giving birth to a vision, you will experience resistance. Know too that the force of this resistance is in direct proportion to the measure of the dream that you will birth.

Great dreams encounter great resistance. Do not give in; do not give up. Push through and see your dream into reality; the universe wants you to succeed.

It is time for us to Get Ready, to Clean House.

 Make The Shift.

Fighting back when your food tries to kill you

I don’t have celiac disease but gluten-sensitivity is real. 

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For the past few months I’ve been dealing with hypothroidism and gluten sensitivity which has literally forced me to pay attention to the food I’ve been eating and switch to a high protein, gluten-free diet.

For anyone who is rolling their eyes, I’m telling you this gluten sensitivity thing is real. No one naturally gains five or more pounds overnight. The bloating, joint pain, swollen face and legs, muscle aches, and aggravated respiratory distress is not imaginary. I’d like to be able to breathe when I eat! While I don’t carry the genetic marker for celiac disease, the stress on my body when I eat certain foods is very real. What causes it is a mystery to many- I grew up eating a carb-heavy diet- rice, bread, pasta, flour tortillas are among my favorite foods- but I’ve never experienced anything like I have in the past seven months.

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Since eliminating wheat products from my diet, I’ve seen a turnaround. I am breathing easier and rely on steroids less frequently on a daily basis; my body feels lighter even without having lost the extra weight. Drinking green smoothies and including anti-inflammatory aids such as pineapple, ginger, turmeric and carrots has reduced my daily need for NSAID pain relievers. I feel stronger. My mind is clearer. Most recently, I added Shakeology (a Beachbody product) to my diet as well, and haven’t had to consume the seven-plus vitamin and mineral supplements I had been taking (each of which cost over $15.00 per bottle) to maintain my health for the day.

All things considered, I feel great! Now to lose these pounds and snap my body back into shape!

If you want to join me on this journey, you can check out my progress on the beachbody website- http://beachbodycoach.com/thundercat79.

Workout buddies of all fitness levels are most welcome- we’re all champions here!

Interested in Shakeology (what is it made of? what does it taste like? where can I get some?)? Leave me a note in the comment section-let’s chat! ❤

(Photos used do not belong to the author)

Love Conquers All

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They spent all night in each other’s arms, talking, laughing, pontificating, snoring, cuddling.

By the time the sun came up, she realized what a fool she’d been. She’d spent all this time broken and angry- so broken and angry that she couldn’t see the good in what was being given to her. She’d instead projected all her pain upon him, labelled and judged him and blamed him for things that were not his fault. And through it all, he still chose to love her the best he could, the best she would let him, even though he knew she couldn’t see it.

The morning sun’s rays cracked through the dark as she lay her head on his chest and broke into sobs, tears running across his skin and onto his sheets. He already knew she was “crazy”, and he didn’t mind. This may have sealed the deal. This time she wasn’t crying because of him. She was crying because of herself.

The Gift Of Emptiness

Seeing the good in what is left when everything you have has been taken away. 

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For centuries humans have recognized the benefit of stillness and quietness in forms of meditation and spiritual practice. For some of us, we already practice stillness and mindfulness in our daily rituals of prayer, meditation, yoga, journaling and decluttering walks. For others of us, it is not so easy. Life inundates us with lists of things to do. Now that we are “connected” all day to newsfeeds and tickers, pings, dings and rings, disconnecting is even more difficult to do, for fear of missing out! I usually say that “God sends people to the desert when he really wants to talk to them because the reception is really good out there.” I think there’s some truth to this. Barrenness and stillness is where we are most connected with the soul of the world.

One thing that we need to remember is this: where there is emptiness and barrenness, there is potential for miracles.

Sometimes the universe will deal us a heavy blow if for no other reason than to get our attention. One day everything is going smoothly. The next, we’ve lost our job, our house burns down, there is a divorce or a loved one passes away- in the blink of an eye the entire world has changed.

Sometimes the storms of life happen if for no reason but to bring us back to these places of nothingness so we can build again.

Sometimes life breaks us so we can be rebuilt from the pieces into something even more beautiful.

For some of us, the shock and grief of losing everything can throw us into quite the tailspin from which we have a difficult time trying to recover. Our pain comes not from our brokenness, but from our unwillingness to be broken. We have to learn to let go and be okay with being broken.

To understand what I am saying, one needs only to look at nature. None of the seasons last forever. There is the time for sowing seeds and time for harvesting, and then there are times when the land lies fallow, whether intentionally as a result of an individual, or due to corporate activity around it as in the wild. In and of itself, that land does not lose its worth. Farmers (Mother Nature included!) understand that leaving land unseeded for a while allows it to build up it’s nutrient resources before sowing seeds for harvest once more.

In wintertime there is snow covering the ground and the trees look dead, but we know for sure that when springtime rolls around the snow will thaw and the leaves and grass, flowers and animal life will all be back. So too, when life razes us and we feel like there is nothing left, right there in that moment is potential for growth- finding one’s self, hearing one’s soul; there is opportunity for rebirth among the ashes. We must remember first that this too is temporary- no season lasts forever; no storm lasts forever. We must not lose hope. We must look forward to the next season, and we must do it today.

 

Practicing mindfulness on a daily basis makes this recovery much easier. I’m not saying this to seem harsh or uncaring but quite the opposite- the self love and self care that goes into building this habit into our daily routine often pays off in the face of disaster. If our ear is already pressed to the soul of the world, then we are attuned to what the universe has to say even when, to the natural eye, everything has gone wrong. If we can find the strength in the midst of the storm to be still, we will find the strength to endure the storm. When we are removed from the noise, we can hear what the universe- what our souls- are trying to tell us. We can hear all the things that the busy-ness and business of life drowns out by keeping us distracted. God, as you understand him, is always there.

If you are facing emptiness and barrenness in any area of your life today, I want to encourage you to embrace it. This too is a gift.

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I’ve decided to call this series Lessons From The Lighthouse, in homage to the imagery found in the film, Life Of Pi. These lessons have served as an inspiration to me in my personal growth and development in the past year and half, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I hope that they are instrumental in helping you find your inner ability to create miracles in your own life.

Light & Love!

To find the entire series, click here.

A Grateful Heart Is A Happy Heart

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“…the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying,
“Give thanks to the LORD Almighty,
for the LORD is good;
his love endures forever.”
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 33:11, NIV)

The hand of the LORD was heavy upon His people, molding them, shaping them, purifying them into the people He knew He created them to be. In the face of their sinfulness, He had no choice but to deal with them according to their ways. That meant destruction and famine, homelessness and waste, sickness and death. But greater than His anger, was His love for them. For even among the darkness, God sent them a messenger who spoke to them words of hope.

Praising God is always the right thing to do, whether you are having a good day, but especially when you are not. God loves a cheerful heart, one that is full of faith and is willing and able to declare His name boldly in times of trouble. If we reflect, we can easily call to mind the times when God delivered us from some thing or other; times when we thought our backs were against the wall and we thought surely we were about to die! But if we remember clearly, God did not abandon us then. He came through, just at the right time, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

The reason why God loves a cheerful heart such as this is that the heart that remembers His faithfulness will always be faithful to Him. When we get in the practice of praising God, we get to the point where we are unstoppable—the obstacles don’t matter, and the disappointments don’t faze us—because our hearts are focused on the promises of God. Our faith, then, is built on the personal history we have with Him, a first hand knowledge that God is powerful and all-mighty and able to do what He said He would do. God calls us to be a powerful people such as this, a people who believe with their heart and worship Him in spirit and in truth. Purpose yourself to praise Him continuously, and watch the circumstances of your life transform into your most powerful testimony!