Sleep Hack: Get the ZZZZ’s to Remember

Not only, for example, do “you need sleep after learning to essentially hit the save button on those new memories so that you don’t forget,” you also “need sleep before learning to actually prepare your brain, almost like a dry sponge ready to initially soak up new information.”

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Grieving is Tough, I Was Becoming Stronger

M told me she could see me becoming stronger each day. She asked me to write four letters to Babe. I was to write each letter in the present tense as if Babe were still alive. I frequently paused while I wrote these letters to compose myself. It was a very emotional experience, but, it was a liberating experience that strengthened my will to go on. Here is an excerpt from my love letter to Babe in Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“Dear Babe,

You’re my first thought when I awaken and the last thought before I fall asleep. When I awaken in the middle of the night and I whisper, “Babe, I love you. I’ll love you forever.” Did you know, I trace the sign of the cross on your shoulder while you are sleeping? I do it every time I wake up in the night. When I trace it, I ask God to bless you and watch over you. The first words you utter after you open your eyes are, “I love you, Bun.” I touch you and say, “I love you, too.”

Each day, your joy of life lights a fire within me. When you open your eyes and turn to me in bed, I see the sparks of joy, life, and love. I know in that moment all is right, all is good, and it will be a great day. You ignite the flames of love, hope, and joy within me. You teach me to lighten up, have fun, and enjoy life’s gifts. “It’s not all serious and it’s not all work,” you tell me.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright

Time ~ Poem by Kahlil Gibran

And an astronomer said, “Master, what of Time?” 

And he answered: 

You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable. 

You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons. 

Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing. 

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness, 

And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream. 

And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space. 

Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless? 

And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not form love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds? 

And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless? 

But if in you thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons, 

And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.

Something to Think About

“I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don’t understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.” ~ Sophia Loren

 

Our experiences and how we react to them shape who we are and what we are becoming. We’ve all have had painful experiences that left scars. We’ve all had wonderful experiences filled with joy, love, and happiness that lifted us up.

One of my personal tenets is, if I love myself, I will love all my experiences because I am who I am because of what I experienced.  To me, it simply means I’ve taken the painful times and made something good come from them. I’ve taken the good experiences to strengthen me and build confidence to go on.

A few questions for self reflection:

How do I feel about yourself?

How have I transformed the negative experiences in my life and made something good from them?

How have my good experiences built me up and given me  the confidence to face the toughest challenges?

Music Touches The Soul

Without music life would be a mistake. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

I have always enjoyed music. Music touches the deepest part of my soul. It rouses memories, stirs emotions, and connects me to the deeply spiritual source within me. Music can make me cry and shout for joy. When Babe went into the hospital, I stopped playing music. Making the decision to being to listen to music was difficult for me. It was nearly two months after Babe’s passing before I let music reenter my life. It was a good decision to start to listen to music again.

Yes, some songs still flood my eyes with tears and my soul with emotions. That’s okay. Music is therapeutic for me. It is good medicine. I sing along with the performer (glad no one hears me). I even feel the beat down into my feet again. It is a good feeling.

If, you, like me, are grieving and music stirs your deepest emotions, don’t fear to listen to music. The joys it brings far outweigh anything else. Now, when songs play and remind me of Babe, I am filled with good memories and heartfelt gratitude.

I feel like singing. I think I’ll play some of my favorite tunes.

Couple Walking on Beach

I Can’t Stop From Singing

I have an outdoor herb garden. A real herb gardener will laugh at me. I have enough rosemary and basil to share with all the neighbors. They’re joined by three tomato plants, a blackberry bush, and a fig tree. No rhyme nor reason as to what I choose to plant. I added mint to the group this year. Why did I add mint? It smells nice. That’s the best reason I can give you. I have one large leafy green plant in the house, started by Babe years ago. She’s shared cuttings with daughters and neighbors. She loved the plant. Each time I water it, I know she’s nodding her loving approval from Heaven.

The leafy plant sits alone, no other plants with whom to commune. Everyone needs a friend. I thought another easy to care for green plant might make a good friend for the leafy plant company and brighten up the house as well. Today, I bought a mint plant. I repotted it and now it sits in the living room flirting with the leafy plant.

Plants and springtime are signs of life to me. It’s my favorite of the five seasons. Whoa, five seasons?  In Texas, football is a righteous season of its own. Spring offers new life in flowers, birds singing, warmer temperatures. I’m like the mint plant I repotted today. I’ve had a tough stretch, it’s time for me to be repotted. Like the mint plant I repotted, my roots are balled into the soil, in my case memories.

My springtime awaits, as does yours. It’s time to open the windows to let hope flow in freely, unfettered to smother me. I can’t stop from smiling. I can’t stop from singing.

 

Look Back With Kindly Eyes

 Look back on Time, with kindly eyes —
He doubtless did his best —
How softly sinks that trembling sun
In Human Nature’s West — by Emily Dickinson
Now that I am dancing alone, when I pack for a flight, I try to keep it light and simple. I take all I need in one carry-on and my backpack. When my carry-on is full, it’s full and that’s it. Everything else stays behind. It’s easier that way. I don’t have to check baggage. I easily pass through TSA. Okay, I get a pat down now and then. I have to remove my shoes and belt. You all know the drill. After I pass through security, I go to Starbucks, get a coffee and head to the gate. I’m relaxed and ready to enjoy my flight and destination. Traveling alone is a teacher.
I’m learning to “Look back on Time, with kindly eyes.” The poet Emily Dickinson had it right. I’m learning to pack only good memories, and consider the rest excess baggage. I can look back and know, “He doubtless did his best.” I think knowing I did my best is a good thing. All the would have’s and could have’s and should have’s are excess baggage I’ve discarded. Here’s hoping you “Look back on Time, with kindly eyes,” too.