“How you doing?”

When we hear this phrase, a lot of us probably think of Wendy Williams or maybe even Joey from Friends. Perhaps we even think of a close friend who is always quick to ask us how we’re handling this thing called life. But how often do we actually ask ourselves this question? How often do we set aside time to be introspective and really be honest with ourselves about how we are feeling and why we are feeling that way?

Well, if you’re like me, the answer is definitely not often enough! This past week, once again was pretty hectic for me, and after having a successful book reading event at my church, I finally found the time to acknowledge all I had been “too busy” to feel during the past 7 days. Now I’m not about to delve into all of my feelings and everything I discovered about myself, because let’s be honest: I’d be here for days and could write a whole other book on it!

But for one thing, I was tired: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I honestly wanted to sleep for 3 days straight, but knew that wasn’t about to happen. So when a friend I haven’t seen in awhile asked if I wanted to go to the beach early Saturday morning, I figured that would have to do! After writing on letting go and saying no last week, I decided I needed to honor my feelings once again and simply cancel dance class for Saturday, especially with my teaching partner still away on vacation. I realized, that I did in fact need even a short break as well.

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Of course, I’m not saying to cancel your whole life and shirk all your responsibilities & commitments. Nor am I saying to sit on your bed for hours each day to think about your feelings and wallow in them. However, I do think it is very important for our personal growth, health and relationships to have self-care check-ins daily— even if it is just for a few minutes.

So to help you get started, I figured I’d compile a short list of questions you can ask yourself daily (or at least weekly) to check-in on your physical, mental/emotional and spiritual health.

Physical Health:

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How is my body feeling?

  • Have I stretched/exercised lately?
  • Have I been drinking (enough) water?
  • What have I been eating? Have I been cognizant or careless about what I’m putting in my body?
  • Have I been over exerting myself or expending a lot more energy than usual?
  • What have I done today/this week to treat myself? (i.e. Taking a long bath, drinking herbal tea, going for a walk, deep conditioning hair, facial/mask, trip to the spa, etc)

Mental/Emotional Health:

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How am I feeling?

  • Have I been feeling a lot lately or a little? Have I been holding in anything or very expressive & emotional? Why?
  • Have I laughed a lot lately? Have I been crying often? Why?
  • Did anything triggering/traumatic happen this week? Did anything exciting or motivating happen?
  • How stressful or overwhelming has today/this week been?
  • What coping strategies have I been implementing to combat this stress, anxiety or depression? (Are these healthy strategies?)
  • How have I celebrated myself, my small victories or accomplishments today/this week?

Spiritual Health:

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How close do I feel to God?

  • Have I prayed much lately? What have I consistently been praying for? (Am I praying & worrying at the same time?)
  • How much time have I spent in worship/praise?
  • Have I had any fellowship time with friends, family or even strangers?
  • How have I served others this week? Do I feel drained or restored afterwards?
  • Have I been moving with an attitude of gratitude?
  • Have I been reading my Bible? Have I been watching/listening to any sermons/inspirational talks?

BONUS:

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Have I taken time to breathe today?

As simple of a question this might be, it actually ties into physical, mental/emotional and spiritual health. Taking time to just breathe or meditate throughout the day can be such a game changer to our mind, body and spirit if we just remember to do it!

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“Remember.” An excerpt from my poetry book,  Awakenings.

So today, and this coming week, please remember to breathe.

Remember to take just a few moments, and ask yourself:

“How you doing?”

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WhitMcWrites😘

#WhitsWisdom

 

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“Today, I said ‘no.’

A rush of adrenaline overwhelmed me.

I may try it again tomorrow.”

-An excerpt from Awakenings by Whitney McNulty

How often do we say no?

For some people, that seems to be their favorite word. They have no trouble clearing their throat and shouting very loudly: NO! However, for those of you out there who are like me, who was raised as a “yes man” and a people pleaser, “no” feels like such a dirty word. But I’ve been learning day by day how important that one little word can be in your self-love journey.

For the past few years, people have been constantly telling me, “just let it go.” Whether it was work related, a personal loss or had to do with relationships, they’d continue to yell this advice at me time and time again. Meanwhile, in my head I’m screaming “this isn’t Frozen, it’s not that easy!” Maybe it’s just me, but “just letting it go” proved to be quite a difficult task for me. Of course I wanted to (who wants to walk around with all that weight on their shoulders, right?) but I didn’t even know where to begin. But this past week, it finally clicked: in order to let go, I have to start saying no.

Last week was really hectic for me. It felt like I had a billion things to do and not enough time to do it. There was a particular event I had agreed to participate in, even though from the very beginning I knew that it would be a real inconvenience for me with everything else going on. However, after much back and forth, I said yes, once again putting others wants before mine. Fast forward to the day of the event, and needless to say my body gave out on me. Even though my back, knees, and shoulders said, “nah, we need a break,” my mind said otherwise. Even though one of my best friends told me I needed to slow down and take care of myself instead, I wouldn’t hear it.

It wasn’t until my mother said the same thing, but added in, “oh I forget, you never say no anyone,” that I actually considered canceling. That statement triggered something in me and reminded me that as much as I’ve grown and claim to love myself, I don’t always make the best decisions with myself in mind. So for once, I decided to put my physical health, mental and emotional well being first and cancelled. At first, my anxiety was overwhelming. But then a few moments later, I just breathed, accepted the decision I had made, and suddenly felt overcome with relief.

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I chose me.

I chose to say no to a situation that was disturbing my peace.

I chose to say no to something that was going to put my health at risk.

I chose to say no to letting my anxiety get the best of me.

Yes, I chose to let go of the spiraling thoughts concerning what people might say or think as a result of my action.

I chose to let go of all expectations– self-imposed and otherwise.

I chose to value me.

So what does it really take to let go? I’d say it simply takes the willingness to make that decision. It requires actively and intentionally putting your well-being first. It requires being able to close your eyes, cancel out the noise and find peace in the chaos long enough to actually make self-serving decisions. I’m not saying to only ever think of yourself. But, I think in some way we always have to consider ourselves. And it takes time. It takes practice. It takes trial and error. Letting go is an art, and maybe you won’t master it overnight– but that is okay. Just like any new lifestyle change, it requires being consistent to create a new habit until it can become a way of life.

But it’s time.

It’s time that we start seeing ourselves as worthy of our own love.

It’s time that we start making the conscious decision to let go of all that extra baggage weighing us down.

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It’s time that we release ourselves from our pasts, our mistakes, society’s standards, negative self-talk, limited thinking, toxic people/spaces, the mindset of lack, and fear.

Yes, it’s time that we start moving forward, fearlessly.

It’s time that we start saying no.

It’s time that we start letting go.

 

WhitMcWrites😘

#WhitsWisdom

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“You gotta shift your perspective.”

How often have we heard that phrase? Maybe you heard it in a sermon from your favorite preacher, read it in a book, or even were given this advice from a friend. As cliche as it may sound, it’s true. A few weeks ago, I was in a really bad funk. My depression was creeping back up on me, meanwhile my anxiety was running rampant like a wildfire. My catchphrase for the time was probably, “I’m over it.” And I really was. I was so over feeling less than. I was over feeling powerless over my future. I was over feeling helpless over my circumstances. I was over being broke and feeling broken. I was tired of crying and even more tired of being too tired to cry. I was frustrated and tired of asking friends for prayer because I didn’t feel strong enough to pray for myself. I was exhausted from mustering up the little bit of strength that I could find to fervently pray for a breakthrough I low key didn’t believe was coming any longer. I was weak. But that’s the thing with weakness: it pushes you to be honest with yourself on a level deep enough to access your strength. I suddenly remembered one of my favorite scriptures that says:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12: 8-10

So, with tears in my eyes, I prayed again, this time knowing He wasn’t going to just take the “thorn” away. I prayed again, this time, admitting my weakness. This time, admitting that I truly needed help and needed a human vessel for Him to speak through so that I could receive the message (because clearly I wasn’t getting it on my own). A few minutes later, I hopped on a call with one of my sister-friends I had asked to pray for me. And funny enough, one of the very first things she said to me was: “You gotta change your perspective.” She reminded me, very bluntly (and lovingly) that I have to do the work and shift my mindset. She reminded me that nothing in my life would change until my mindset changed and until I actually, fully and wholeheartedly believed that breakthrough was going to happen.

I knew immediately that she was 1000% right. Speaking with her, I realized that for such a long time, I had adopted a defeatist attitude. I unintentionally spoke negative things (i.e. Being broke, unemployed, lost, lonely, a mess etc.) over my life and consequently gave that negativity a home. But it was time to put that mentality to rest.  I was once again reminded by my friend that fear and faith could not coexist; I’d have to choose. As she shared more pieces of her testimony with me and poured buckets of life into me, I became filled with a feeling of peace and an overwhelming knowing that it was all going to be okay. It became very clear to me that I can be uncertain of my future, but assured of His favor. Never, in all of these 24 years of my life has God left me hanging. Sure, there have been plenty of times that things didn’t go according to (my) plan, but I am still here. And that is all that truly matters, because that in itself is evidence of His grace and my resilience. He will never give us more than we can bear. So why fear? After all:

He

Brushed off the dust from the pile of bones

Breathed the breath of life into me

Saying

Definitively

“My daughter, I have made you whole”

Again.

So march on

Towards Zion

With an upwards drawn crown

Feet firmly planted on the ground

[After all, He only builds on a firm foundation].

And if I fall,

It will be into His Almighty hands.

-An excerpt from Awakenings, by Whitney McNulty

I dare you to have faith.

I dare you to start again.

I dare you to let go and fly.

I dare you to dream bigger.

I dare you to try.

I dare you to take the limits off of yourself.

I dare you, to receive the favor and set fear aside.

I dare you to choose freedom.

I dare you to shift your perspective.

I dare you to

CHANGE

YOUR

MIND.

 

WhitMcWrites😘 

#WhitsWisdom

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Friday afternoon, I was coming home from work and passed the nearby park. In the grass, I spotted tons of rust colored, fallen leaves. I was filled with frustration and thought, “It is August! Why won’t fall just let us be great and wait a few more weeks?” I thought to myself, “It can’t be time yet, I’m not ready for the change of season.” I wanted summer to stay. I wanted the long carefree days, the sunshine, late sunsets and (semi) comfortable space I had been living in. I wasn’t ready.

But the thing is: Change happens. When we least expect it and when we’re least ready for it. It pops up unexpectedly. Just after we’ve already prepared for its arrival at a later date, at a more stable time, leaves begin to fall weeks ahead of schedule. Before the calendar says so, they change. They let go. They adapt. Without warning. But, the tree survives.The tree survives. It does its very own self-pruning and survives. Releasing what no longer serves a purpose to prepare to nourish the new growth that swells within. Somehow, thinking about these leaves I began to realize: I can’t live as someone who hasn’t changed. Who resists change. Who refuses to leave the cocoon; the safe place. Who refuses to emerge as a beautiful, liberated butterfly. You see, the butterfly’s life was already predestined. Thus, so was her flight. So I refuse to stay concealed and suffocate. Not anymore. Not when I was born to rise. Not when I was born to be alive.

No longer will I choose to run away. Fight or flight isn’t just a response; it is a choice. I may not necessarily be able to choose whether I am afraid, but I can surely choose what I do after I acknowledge that I am scared. I can choose to feel the fear and then trap it. I can refuse to let it take control. I can decide to consciously close that window of opportunity for doubt to creep out and cripple me. I can choose to walk away and towards my destiny; towards who I was created to be. I can choose to be me. I can choose to be free. I am a healer. A lover and a healer; by birth and by choice. Sometimes reminiscent of the Giver. Always reminiscent of the Creator. Forever made in His image. Forever made to be whole. So yes, I can spare a little change. It serves the soul well.

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