Good morning and Happy Sunday January 5, 2020
I wish you all a blessed and prosperous New Year! Here we are, already five days into 2020. What will the new year bring for you? How will you make great things happen? The year is yours to mold and the opportunities are endless. I know it will be an amazing year; we only need to open ourselves to the possibilities. I never envisioned myself writing a weekly blog, yet here I am on my eighth post. It is fun, fulfilling and insightful for me, not only to write for you, but for me to learn more about myself. When I began my journey to opening and healing, I knew I wanted to share it with all of you. Thank you for taking the time to read my words and follow my life. My dream is that sharing my story may help someone along their path. Whether you gain some insight, find new strength or pass this on to someone who can use it, then my dream becomes a reality.
My life’s journey has been a long road, filled with twists and turns. When I graduated from college, I did not have a vision for my life, what it would be like or where it might take me. As life goes, it has not been without pitfalls and trauma. It has also been filled with lots of goodness and happiness. My career in law enforcement was amazing and fulfilling in so many ways. I know I touched many lives along my path; not only people in the community I served, but within the police ranks as well. In the grand scheme of the world, I believe my contributions were small. I know my words helped comfort, console, mentor, boost, energize, facilitate, build, empower and change lives. I was extremely lucky to have some amazing people and mentors in my life, beginning with my Dad. He shared and instilled in me great qualities and character traits. I learned many lessons along the way and crossed paths with people that would impact my life. Some offered words of wisdom and insight, while others helped pull me back up when I was down. Those are the times that create vibrant hope. Those situations gave me the strength to see beyond where I was and know I could overcome those feelings of helplessness or frustration.
My career offered me the opportunity to work alongside some great officers and supervisors. There were several supervisors that went above and beyond in mentoring me. They shared insight, training, expertise and encouragement. They went out of their way to help me develop and grow. Their efforts energized me to build and believe in my skills. When I became a supervisor, I wanted to return the favor. I had the rare privilege of working with and leading some amazing men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department. Their dedication and service go beyond measure. Working long hours, under all conditions and often in dangerous situations, never hindered their desire or strength to complete our mission. Their resilience, loyalty and passion invigorated my fortitude and drive. As a leader, I was there to support them; ensuring they were physically and mentally prepared. I managed their duties, but facilitated their development, safety and mental well-being. I wanted them to reach for their dreams, while looking out for them too. I understand how the demands and stress of work can tear you down. Law enforcement, first responders and our military have a difficult job; to say the least. They believe in and represent the forefront of our freedom. They risk their lives so we can live in a safe and free society.
I know and understand how the stress of these and other professions impact our daily lives. These particular professions are integrated into our life 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You never really turn them off and are free. Your family becomes part of that life every time you walk out the door together. You have talks about what to do and how to stay safe in a critical situation. The job creates stress, can bring on depression and induce negativity. You learn how to manage it, while you internalize the stress and trauma, so you can keep fighting every day. I lived that life for nearly 34 years.
I know stress and anxiety have a way of invading all of our lives for a variety of reasons. I know because I have felt the grip of anxiety. I have felt powerless; using alcohol as a temporary fix. I was so happy when I felt the urgency to break that spell and realize I was in control. It is easy for those that are not experiencing anxiety or depression to say, “Just be happy. Feel better. Get yourself together”, or so many other meaningless phrases. Words only take us so far. They can provide comfort, but not the help we actually require. For those of us who have dealt with anxiety or depression, and for those of you fighting it now, you know there is not a simple fix. It is a true daily struggle. As much as we need to put in the work and effort to help ourselves, we often need the help of others to pull us up.
The New Year brings with it wonderful opportunities and possibilities. Now is the time to empower yourself. I know coming into the new year can create fear. This is really anxiety and uncertainty for the future. The problem is, there will always be an amount of fear in your life. The positive is being able to set it aside or remove that perceived threat and the anxiety it creates. Do not surrender yourself, allowing negativity to creep into your mind. The more you can eliminate it from your thoughts, the better your life becomes. This is the time you can set the standard for making positive change. You are in control of your thoughts. Sometimes it takes a conscience effort to maintain positivity. I share that struggle. Once you condition your mind it becomes easier. Take the necessary steps to prevent or stop those thoughts that can paralyze you.
Build habits that move you forward in a positive direction. Let me share a few of mine that help keep me focused and healthy. The first is meditation. I typically meditate for approximately five minutes every morning as soon as I roll out of bed. This quiets my mind and helps set the tone for the day. This practice is excellent for controlling your thoughts. It will help free your mind from anxiety and fear. Meditation is wonderful for easing stress and bring calmness to you physically, mentally and spiritually. It is something you can do nearly anywhere or anytime of day. If you feel stress or anxiety creeping in, meditation and controlled breathing can bring relief.
My next habit is exercise. It can be as simple as doing a stretching routine, walking, going to the gym, out for a run or hiking. I have always found great benefits from getting some sort of physical exercise first thing in the morning. I have read several health studies that detail the positive effects, physically and mentally, of morning exercise. Get up, get out and get your blood flowing, enjoy the release of endorphins and energize yourself for the day. This is also a great way to start a routine and build those habits. Research shows it takes approximately two months (depending on the person) to create a new habit. This is when that new routine transforms into automatic behavior. If I do not follow my meditation or workout routine, I just feel like I missed a big part of my day. I always feel better after a workout. It sets the tone and prepares me for a fabulous day.
Journaling or writing down your goals, dreams or desires has great benefits, too. It is a great way to clear space in your mind. Goal setting is, for the new year or your future, so important to designing your path. Goals (especially written ones) provide direction and encouragement. Write down your fears, too. When you put them on paper, they can become clear and easier to understand. When I put them on paper they often do not seem as big or unsolvable. The visualization can assist in ways to resolve them as well. Process them and know that you can achieve success without fear. Think about what you want to accomplish in the first month, middle of the year and by end of the year. Then build a plan for how you will reach each goal. There is always time to re-evaluate along the way; that is okay. Do not give up. If you need help, ask. There are so many resources out there willing to help, including family and friends. Encourage and push yourself. Tell yourself, “I can do this.” Unless there is a huge hungry predator standing between you and your dream, you can do it. If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.
We all experience adversity and pain. It is an unescapable part of our journey. Resolving issues, dealing with sadness, pain and trauma allows us to appreciate all the great things in life. Yes, we will have to face fear and grief along the way. We all will have pain. The question is how much time will you spend suffering. Face your challenges, do not fear them. Allow yourself to move forward, even if you begin with small steps. If you need help, ask for it. Get out there and live! Life is yours to experience and cherish. Start with gratitude and add a dose of thankfulness. We are in control of our own happiness.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! I will continue the discussion on balancing all aspects of the healthy life puzzle.
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!