Tag: Spirituality

Health & Wellness

Part 3: Nourishing my Soul with a Balanced Life

file-sep-07-7-37-09-pmWhile at early faith formation classes, I discovered a book entitled, I like me! by Nancy Carlson. It is now my favorite one. We also crafted personal daily affirmations and I am reminded that‪ God loves me and God loves you just the way we are. So you might ask, “Why are you on this weightloss journey?” I’m taking small steps to live longer in the temple God gave me. I only have one and need to take care of it to continue being here for my sons. I want to embrace life with energy, passion, and commitment and that is what I’m showing my sons. Bottomline.

Taking care of your self is an important part of the journey. I’m embracing things I enjoy doing. I love being a mom, a coach, a mentor, teaching the little ones about their faith, hiking, trail running, running long distances, writing, meditating, painting, creating, tending a garden, watching movies at home, cooking, making cocktails, and so much more. I take time to do self-care activities. Whatever it is for you is what’s encouraged. Practice one thing daily.

file-sep-07-7-38-23-pmMy son asked, “Mom, why do you take pictures of your food?” Doing so is one mindful activity. Taking a moment to capture it gives me pause to appreciate what God has provided. It prepares me for sitting down and realizing that the choice I make at this very moment affects me later, as is the case in so much of our lives. A lesson I’m teaching my sons. And posting the picture on MissGuidedMom’s Instagram and Facebook page holds me accountable. We may not know each other, but the struggle and obstacles are still real in our journey. To know someone else who has the same challenges and is an ordinary person helps us stand together stronger.

What also helps is changing our perspective on how we see things. “Meet the Robinsons” is one of my favorite movies. Not only do I love it because Lewis, the main character, was an orphan and I work at a foster care charity, but Lewis never let that stop him from achieving his dream. Although he encountered obstacles and many times he wanted to go back in time to find his mother, he kept moving forward. So much of what keeps us from achieving our dream is the negative messages and habits from the past as well as the comfort of the present. Sometimes we have to change our perspective, let go of the past, and get uncomfortable from what we know to live the dream.

Going on this journey doesn’t mean you have to make sacrifices all the time. You don’t even have to make sacrifices if you change your perspective. I thought the Whole30 would be about giving up some food to detox my body, but instead it became a period where I gained so much more. I gained a healthier sense of self, a renewal of the spirit, and a restoration of the body. While I still enjoyed dinners at restaurants and birthday celebrations, I prepared myself. I would review the restaurant menu prior to going out to get my mind ready for what was to come. Taking this small yet significant step was a sign of becoming more disciplined one meal at a time, one day at a time.

file-sep-07-7-42-51-pmOn other occasions, I have experienced unexpected situations. Plans don’t always go as expected and when that happens I have learned to quickly adapt. Staying nimble is key to moving forward with creativity in workout goals or any of life’s goals. My advice: empower yourself with words that inspire you, moments you can hold on to, and motivations to change your life. Know your purpose and enjoy your journey, even with the ups and downs and roller coaster rides. These spiraling times change our lives and make us stronger. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that in the darkness I have tapped into my faith, learned my purpose, and regained a sense of identity. During these times, the darkness shows me a glimmer of light and with light there is new life.

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Follow Marisol Barrios, also known as “Eve,” on Instagram and on Facebook @MissGuidedMom. I will be sharing my weightloss journey, reflecting on what I’m learning and how #fitbyGRACE (God Reveals As Coach Eternal) is working in my life.

In case you missed Part 1: How I Became Committed to This Health and Wellness Journey: Feeding my mind spiritually  and  Part 2: Taking Care of my Temple

 

Career

Second week of Advent: How to Prepare for a Fearless Journey with God

Faithful, journey, God, grace, Lord, working momWhile the first week of Advent called on us to watch and be alert for the coming of Jesus Christ, the second week asked us to be prepare for the way of the Lord. The Advent season reminds me of my journey with God. Although it began before I was born, in the past 25 years I have had a profound calling by God to be ready. I have known that he has chosen me to do his will in a way that requires a great responsibility–one that I have feared.

I have watched, and at times, tried to shun the prompting of the spirit within me. Although I’ve tried to extinguish the flame, the spark has ignited at different stages of my life. In the past five years, I have been alert as is asked of us in the first week of advent.

Today, I know that God has prepared me in my journey to come home to him. I am paving the way for not just myself, but for others to be witness to God’s love. Whether we get divorced, find ourselves depressed, see no end to a thankless job, or searching for love, there is hope in God. We must be faithful in our journey by watching, being alert, and preparing the way for the Lord. He is there with open arms, ready to take us in his embrace and welcome us home.

I fear no more and am ready for what God has asked of me.

Guiding Lesson:

God, silence, grace, spiritualityEve, how does one prepare?  What does it mean in the spiritual life to get ready?  How will you know if you are ready?

Let’s make a comparison.  If you were to find out that someone special is coming over, what would you do?  You would probably begin cleaning, cooking, and getting things in order.  By doing this, you will be able to focus on the visit, wanting your guest to relax in the environment you worked hard to clean just for them.

Well, for the spiritual life, getting ready means looking at your internal and external life.  This requires you to sit in quiet, to reflect, and determine what changes you would like to make to live more congruently (internally and externally).  This takes time and commitment.  It also takes great humility and gentleness.  This is not about being judgmental or critical of yourself.  It is about coming back to who you are in the eyes of God . . . and that is simply his beloved daughter.  From his lens, you will begin to see obstacles, detours, and potholes that have steered you away from your identity and from your relationship with God.  It wakes you up to the decisions you made that did not draw you closer to him, who is so deserving of your love above all things.

If you look at the angel Gabriel’s greeting . . . “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”  To be God’s favored one, to have the Lord with her, she must have sat in quiet, been reflective and become aware of the life she was choosing and called to live.  Based on this greeting, she was filled with grace.  Her being was connected to God like no other human could or will ever be in order to have received Jesus in her womb.  She could not have received Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, without preparation . . . she just didn’t know that she was working with God every time she entered into this state.

This is offered to all of us.  We receive more of God in the silence.  This is what we are ultimately called to and then we can listen for the second calling on how God will ask us to share Jesus in the world.  Mary was chosen to do this as his mother.  You may be asked to do it as a writer, an artist, a mother to your children, a wife, etc.  Don’t rush or focus on the second calling without hearing and bathing in the first.  Otherwise, you may be rushing down the wrong aisle, accepting the wrong job, making decisions for the wrong reasons.  And, then I must add, that even if you do say “yes” to the wrong thing, God uses everything and creates with you knowing you had the right intention just a little low on stillness and patience.  Remember, waiting on God is part of the preparation where clarity happens.

So here is something you can do every day to prepare and not just wait for Advent.  It’s called the Daily Examen that St. Ignatius of Loyola developed to help you become self-aware and open yourself up to be ready to say “Yes” to God.

This is done every night before you go to bed.

  1. Stillness – Recalling God’s Presence
  2. Gratitude – Express Thankfulness
  3. Reflection – Looking back on Your Day
  4. Sorrow – Asking for Forgiveness
  5. Hopefulness – Resolve to Grow

You can read more about this at loyolapress.com and look up “Prayfully Reviewing Your Day”  (The Daily Examen).

As the night draws near, it is time for me to review my day and become more filled with grace.

Love,
Grace

Career

Why focusing on this is key during silence

career, silence, retreat, listen, God, spiritualityOh, Grace, I decided to participate in a self-directed silent retreat. I’ve always wanted to go on one and I was inspired to seek and find. I’m making the time to go on a three-day retreat at the Immaculate Heart Center for Spiritual Renewal in Montecito. Based on the website, the outdoors atmosphere is just what I enjoy—trees, trails, and gardens.

Some of my co-workers can’t imagine me silent. When the time is right, you can’t argue with it. And I’m ready to be silent, to open my ears, and listen to God’s voice. So wish me luck or should I be asking you to pray for me?

Guiding Lesson:

breathing, silent retreat, spirituality, GodEve,

I love it!  I am so excited even though I don’t equate silence with you – LOL!  However, what a great gift you are giving yourself.  Imagine what you’ll discover as you turn off all the distraction of the outer world and tune in to your internal world where God is waiting.  I’ll be doing more than praying, I’ll be right there with you in silence. 

The first thing about entering into this mystical and enchanting space is to clear your mind.  You’re probably saying, “How the heck do you do that?”  Well, it starts with your breath, of course!  It’s the very thing that you have access every second of every day.  God is the giver of each breath and each one is priceless.  It’s the pathway to union with God where he breathes into you and you breathe out God’s spirit into the world around you. 

You’re probably thinking, “If everyone is breathing in and out, then why is God’s spirit of love, peace, joy, etc. not felt and experienced more?”  Well, you see, not everyone takes time for God’s breath to mean anything to them.  God never ceases on trying to find an opening and space to pour his love into us.  This can’t happen when we are rushing and not even aware of our breathing.  As a Western society, researchers found that not many people actually take in a full breath.  Shallow breathing is what people are used to.  To take deep breaths requires mindfulness, stillness, and silence–it’s really waking up to life and taking it all in. 

So go on your retreat and begin by breathing.  Appreciating each breath.  Allowing each one to help you arrive to God’s presence and abundance.  Making space for him as you allow your breath to let go of all that holds you prison.  Your breath is the key to silence, union, and abundance.  Try it.  You don’t lose anything but mere words that don’t need to be said in the presence of a True Lover – Your God.  

Let it go, let it out, let it be . . . Be still and know that I am God.

Love,
Grace