Guardian

Guardian

Jacob Vinson

Turn your third eye to the sky
Take a deep breath
And fly

Grab the reigns of your soul
And thrust it upwards
Towards the stars
And breathe in deeply

Never again question the past
Never question the future
Take aim to the heavens
And never look back

Ignite the wick that is your hope
And look through a different scope
A kaleidoscope of unique joy
A myriad of shapes and pieces-
Lost fragments of time and memory
All within view

Put together the pieces
One by one
Each is a voyage
On a finely written page

Write the story of your life while dreaming
In this unknown place full of unseen feelings
Each chapter with beautiful prose, gleaming

Close the finished tale
Smile and breathe out a revelation
A new world of your creation
Your last chance at salvation

Awake renewed, my child
Like a newly sowed seed, ready to sprout
Saved from fear and cleansed from doubt
Your desolate world has been turned inside out
You are now at peace
In a garment, woven with soft fleece
Garnished with gold, silver, and jewel
Your soul has met its final renewal

You may rest, my child
No more nightmares of the cruel and wild
Just my voice in your palace of white
Where there is never a bad night
Where happiness is always in sight
You’ll never again be alone or scared
My arms are around you
A perfect life is ours to be shared
I am your guardian
I am prepared

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Reading – The Great Escape from Stress

Reading – The Great Escape from Stress

I just finished the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer and I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  I had shied away from books for a while, but since Twilight is such a big teen pop-culture breakthrough, I finally read the books- and I’m glad I did because now I want to read more often.  Here are some facts about reading:

It can take us to exotic lands, with powdery white beaches and clear azure skies.  It can take us back in time—even to prehistoric days—or forward to the Big Brother world of the 25th century.  It can fill our eyes with tears or make us laugh aloud.  Reading opens a window to the world, giving us a vision of things we never dreamed possible.  But, though you might not realize it, reading can also reduce your stress level.

For one thing, reading can help with problem-solving, which, in and of itself, can relieve stress.   Say you are overweight, and that is contributing to your stress. It seems that the more weight you gain, the more stressed out you become, and the more you eat.

By reading books about good nutrition, you can learn to plan meals that are low-cal and low-fat.  As a result, your weight problem might disappear—and your stress level will be greatly improved.

Reading can also be relaxing.  When you curl up with a good book, you put the rest of the world at bay.  You take time out to travel to distant worlds, to learn about different time periods, and to expose yourself to out-of-this-world philosophies.  You are essentially taking a vacation of the mind—but one that can be relatively cost-free, especially if you live near a library.

Reading can be a source of great hope, which can also help to relieve your stress.  Through biographies, you can read about famous people and learn how they overcame their struggles.  These stories of triumph might inspire you to seek ways to overcome the challenges in your own life.  Inspirational books can send your spirit soaring, enabling you to accomplish things you never dreamed possible.

Of course, there are instances when reading can raise your stress level.  For instance, if you are studying for a test, or reading about tragedies in your local newspaper, you might find your stress level skyrocketing.  That is why it is important to be choosy when it comes to your reading material.  If you’re feeling stressed, pick up a book that will relax you—perhaps a travel book, a cookbook, or a book of poetry.  Resist the urge to read something that could simply make you feel more troubled.

Self-help books are particularly effective in helping to reduce stress.  They allow you to explore your feelings and the triggers that lead to stress.  And they recommend such techniques as listening to soothing music, playing a musical instrument, playing cards, or engaging in deep breathing in order to deal with stressful situations.

Or you might buy a book to learn about a hobby that can further reduce your stress.  Perhaps it’s needlepoint, woodworking, or crochet.  It may be origami, calligraphy, or stenciling.  You can learn how to refinish furniture, paint, renovate your kitchen, or redecorate your bathroom.  You can either build upon a skill you already have, or learn a new one from scratch.

It has been shown that reading novels can relieve depression, so it should come as no surprise that such an activity can also reduce your stress.  When you read a novel, you travel to a distant place, metaphorically speaking.  This allows you to use your imagination freely as you try to picture characters and settings.  It’s a wonderful escape from the pressures of everyday living, and can allow you to return to your life feeling more refreshed.

Reading also forces you to concentrate—concentration which might be otherwise lost due to stress.  As a result, you learn to exercise your mind—an exercise that can bear much fruit.  Thanks to your reading, you may notice you find it easier to remember things which can, in turn, reduce your stress level.

If you find that you don’t like to read, you might start with graphic novels.  These comic book-like creations might appeal to you because of their interesting pictures.  Or you might simply start with glossy magazines.  In the long run, it doesn’t matter so much what you read as how much you read.  Read in the grocery line, at the bank, or while pedaling your stationary bike.  You’ll quickly find that the more you read, the more you will want to read, and the less stress you will feel.

Staying Positive in Tough Times

Optimism

Staying Positive in Tough Times
By Roland D. Nolen

We all know that the economy is bad and things are tough! Many people are out of work and many more are afraid they will loose the job they have. Given this poor economic environment, it is crucial that you keep a positive attitude. The last thing you want to do now is get a negative attitude or become “paralyzed” by fear! Don’t be like the woman, who although she was doing well on her job, became so preoccupied with the thought of being laid off that it started to affect her performance. She stopped performing at her best level. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy; her “fear paralysis” did indeed lead to her being laid off.

How do you stay positive and motivated? Simply thinking and saying “I’m going to be positive and have a great attitude” doesn’t do it. Motivational quotes, posters, or notes on your computer or desk help, but they alone can’t keep you motivated. You have to work at staying positive and motivated … every day. It’s not easy. You have to take deliberate action to have a positive attitude. You can’t just think about being positive, you have to act!

10 Action Steps to Keep a Positive Attitude:

1. Don’t fall into the “misery loves company” syndrome: If you find yourself participating in a “pity party” at work, politely excuse yourself. These parties are a fantastic drain on your time and energy, and they don’t solve any problems.

2. Avoid “poison” people: You know who they are! They are the ones who are always complaining, being negative, or are quick to criticize your ideas. Since you may not want to totally eliminate them from your life, just arrange things so you only have to deal with them in small “doses.”

3. Don’t watch too much TV: When you’re stressed or feeling down, a planned few minutes of watching TV can turn into hours.

4. Spend time with your kids, family, and friends: Instead of spending hours with the TV, rearrange your schedule and give some of that time to family and friends. I have young kids who think I am the “human crane.” Pick them up, carry them, and twirl them, you name it, I do it. I must admit there were times when all I really wanted to do was just sit on the sofa, but my kids wouldn’t let me. The amazing part, though, was that I always felt better each time after being exhausted.

5. Take a half-hour to an hour a day to motivate yourself: Read motivational books or listen to motivational tapes. I highly recommend the following:
a. What Makes the Great Great by Dennis Kimbro
b. Over the Top by Zig Ziglar
c. The Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield & Mark V. Hansen
d. The Power of Focus by Canfield, Hansen, Hewitt
e. Live Your Dreams by Les Brown
f. If It’s Going To Be, It’s Up To Me by Robert Schuller
g. The Bible: Even if you don’t believe in Christianity, there is a lot of morality to learn within the Bible.

6. Take an hour a day to become an expert: I got this idea from one Jack Canfield’s tapes, where he talks about how you can take one hour a day to become an expert in your area or develop other marketable skills. You don’t have to exhaust yourself trying to “cram” in new skills or expertise. An hour a day will get you where you want to be quicker than you think.

7. Try new things: Overcome the fear (i.e., fear of failure, rejection, or pain)! When you’re learning or doing a new sport or hobby, you don’t think about what’s bothering you. Last year, I tried snow skiing for the first time, and now I am hooked! Believe me, when I let one of my daughters (who had taken lessons) talk me into going down a “blue” hill on my first day, I wasn’t thinking about my “problems” while I was tumbling down half the mountain! My daughter later told the whole family how she had never seen anyone fall the way Daddy did.

8. Exercise: We all know about the physical benefits of exercising, but to me that’s just a side benefit. The real payoff of exercise is the mental stress relief. When you’re “gasping for air,” your thoughts are very simple. Most important, regardless of how badly you may feel when you start exercising, you will always feel better when you’re done.

9. Pray: It doesn’t matter what your religion is or beliefs are, you need to pray to ask for the help and guidance you need. I’m not an expert in this area, but I know it works!

10. Reward Yourself: Set small goals or steps, and reward yourself on each accomplishment. Don’t constantly worry or “burn-out,” take time to relax and “smell the roses.”

The key is to get your mind off your problems, and give yourself time to re-energize. The single biggest discovery I’ve made about staying positive is that you have to take action at your worst moments. When you feel so miserable that all you want to do is crawl under a rock, stare at the TV, eat ice cream, or sleep, that is the precise moment you either read (or listen to) something motivational, exercise, or spend time with your kids, family, or friends. Shortly after making this discovery, I was at church and as part of his sermon, our minister said “you may be having problems in your life, like financial or marital problems, that are overwhelming you, but when you are feeling your worst, that is time you need to pray and read your bible.” At that moment, I knew I was on the right track. There have been times when I had to force myself to exercise or read, and no matter how badly I felt when I started, it helped. Did doing these things solve all my problems immediately? Of course not, but they helped me to maintain the positive attitude I needed to keep trying. Above all else, remember that “this, too, shall pass.”

Author’s Bio

 

Roland D. Nolen is an author and motivational speaker on career success and diversity issues. He is the author of the book, Beyond Performance: What Employees Really Need to Know to Climb the Success Ladder. He can be reached at 630-665-4797, rnolen@core.com, or you can visit his website: http://www.rnolen.com.

 

Beyond the Storm


I smell lingering freshwater from the rain that once drenched my head. I can hear the distant thunder rumbling as the wind gently pushes the storm to a new destination. It is headed to some other unfortunate soul, and I can only be glad that it no longer tortures me. The only unsettling thing is that I still see no sign of the clouds letting up, and they are as dark as ever now and even darker in the distance- a sign that my destiny remains unknown, and I still may have to face great perils and dangers on my quest to find my purpose.

The wind is blowing leaves all about, shaking trees and vines- howling tauntingly at me. To try to resist nature would certainly be the end of me. So I go on, trying to ride the rampant flow of time. What else can I do? I have tried to fight for greater things, yet I only ended up worse in the long run. It is almost like I’m not in control of my own life, like there is some higher being dwelling over me and making sure that nothing goes the right way.

All I can do is go along with this infernal plan that has been made out for me, and look for a sign of truth that things will get better. Everything is shifting shapes and turning out to be something different that what I originally thought it to be. I don’t know what to believe in anymore. The only other option would be to give up, and I’ve already tried that before- to no avail.

It’s hard to be strong in this world – this rotting wasteland that is corrupting more and more every day – where there are fewer heroes and numerous thieves and murderers. Hope fades as a dark aura shifts and grows across the world like an ending sunset- marking the dawn of something truly wicked. Look around you now, the clouds are twirling and red. Ah, the storm is not gone at all. It has just begun.

What I thought was a storm before was just a precursor to the real thing. Hellish and looming, the inferno is destroying all in sight and seems to be expanding outward in every direction. I cannot run away anymore. If this is meant to be the end, then so be it. I will fight until every last breath has left my lungs, until all of my blood has been spilled, even until my body is used to the point beyond repair.

I must survive where I can seek the answers to finding the path of greatness and happiness, where I can finally have a true purpose, and where I can teach others that they can also fight for a worthy cause- to never give up and to always believe. That is a cause well worthy of fighting for, and if I die, I would not have it any other way than doing it fighting for the only thing I have left, the only thing that keeps me alive – hope.

The Last Autumn Leaf


I sit alone, intertwined into music. When I’m here, I am one with the unknown, I am unharmed, and I am free- Free to imagine my desires and free to forget what happens in the real world- the world that I fail to see with none other than a blind eye.

*Silence* The sound-waves have slowly faded, and now I’m left to find other means to repress my suffering. I feel a sort of emptiness- a shallowness that leaves me wondering: “what is this disease that ails me?” When I’m in my imaginary realm I don’t feel so weak or powerless; there is no emptiness, yet there is that unmistakable feeling that lingers throughout the realm, filling my mind and reminding me that it’s not real, and as soon as I open my eyes I will be struck with the ever familiar depressing truths of reality. It seemed as though I had to choose between feeling hollow and useless in the real world, or full of angst in my own, imaginary, world.

I wondered which one was better for the longest time, until I began to think in an entirely different aspect. If I had the ability to look upon myself from the sky and observe my demeaning ways, I would certainly be disappointed at myself. I waste my time wallowing in the uncertainty of my fears- taking every setback and making the situations worse so I can have something to feel bad about and finding some reason to turn on my depressing songs and surge into that unknown realm yet again. There is definitely something wrong with that picture.

I made a very important realization: It’s time for me to wake up. This is no game- this is my life. To get anywhere I’m going to have to end my pessimism and go for my dreams without fear slowing me down. It takes a risk to move forward, but why be afraid? The fears of the unknown must be destroyed with the endless possibilities that I can create.

Why parachute out of an airplane when your mind senses the danger of falling to your death? It just proves that if I am too scared to fall, then I am doomed to remain motionless, to never move forward, and to never reach my full potential. I must stop at nothing to destroy my fear and shoot for the stars.

My eyes are finally beginning to focus. I now can see the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves drifting to the ground below. I see this spectacle as a mark of truth- Truth that things change, people fall, lives wither away, and beyond that a new age is being born with new lives, new dreams, and new hopes. Just do your best to be that last autumn leaf- the one that stands firm, believes, and overcomes all of the obstacles that lay in its path.

There will, of course, be a time when the leaf is old and withered, yet it only adds to the beauty of life. Even though your days are numbered at this point, don’t let that stop you from making a positive mark in time. When you can’t hold on anymore, let go and strike the ground with such a force that the whole world will be in awe of your existence.

Time is Fleeting

Time is quite possibly the most powerful thing in the universe. “Tick, Tock…” Time is running out and you need to find the best way to utilize what time you have left, because you never know when it’s going to be over for you. Sure, the watch on your wrist will keep ticking, but will your heart? When everything else seems motionless, time is always looming in the background.

Though it sounds scary, you shouldn’t fear. Be happy that there is still time for you – time to make things right – time to make peace with the world and yourself. Depression is known to slow down the thinking process, so if you are dwelling on something that is depressing, you’re only wasting your time. Studies show that racing through happy thoughts makes you more productive and ultimately happier. I know it is not easy to just throw what depresses you aside, but you can control some of your thoughts.

Instead of hanging onto a breakup or a gone loved-one, pan through your future plans and goals. Regardless of what has happened, you can still control what happens in your future. Time can’t stop you and you can’t stop time, they both end at the same time, and you don’t know when that’s going to be. Whether it is the Ragnarok, Tribulation, Armageddon, or whatever you believe it’s going to be, there is still time for you to achieve greatness. Don’t throw your ideas and goals aside just to later be sitting on the front-porch-swing looking back on your life and wishing you could change it.

Now is the time for you to make the pivotal choices that shape your future. Don’t procrastinate, and do not rely on anyone else to do it for you. If you can read this, then that means that you’re still alive, and there is still time for you.

As I said, you can’t control time as a whole, but you can control your future.


“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”

-Carl Sandburg


What are you waiting for?