A Cool Mona Masterpiece: Check Something Out At The Cat Library

Your boss is weird? The school called again?

Weekly Masterpiece iconWhat you need is the Cat Library. Look at this creative way to get rid of some stress.

http://bit.ly/1JvuZtM

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A Cool Mona Recipe: A Summertime Watermelon Margarita

watermelon margThis is possibly the ultimate summertime sipper.

  • Ingredients: tequila, triple sec, lime juice, watermelon
  • Served: blended
  • Rim: optional

So you’ll want to remove all of the seeds in the watermelon. It works best if you give the watermelon a quick round in the blender before adding the other ingredients. Also, if you want to get a little wild, you could turn this into a Melon Margarita by cutting some of the watermelon and adding canteloupe, muskmelon or your favorite melon variety. It’s the ultimate summer cocktail any way you do it.  http://bit.ly/1yaN5Nv

  1. Pour the ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour contents into a chilled margarita glass.
  4. Garnish with a watermelon wedge.
  5. Turn up Jackson Browne’s early stuff really loud.
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11 Things To Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough (Part 2)

from the days when I cared

from the days when I cared

I think like this when I’m tired, feeling overwhelmed or hurt. Life is harder because I compare I myself to others. It’s very easy to fall into the traps: we try to help others in need and then the to-do list doubles, others find work when we can’t, they don’t call back even though we were a perfectly delightful dinner date.

The best preventive medicine is to acknowledge it when you see it coming. When your thoughts go southward, here are a few reminders to discuss with yourself.

Be sure to read 1-5 first… http://bit.ly/1Lz35j3

6. Remember you are exactly where you need to be right now.

It may not seem like it, but the entire Universe has orchestrated itself to create your life where it is right now.  It may not be where you want to be but sometimes you have to go through a bit of bramble to get to the clover field.

So when you feel like you’ve failed or that you’ll never reach your goals, remind yourself that the Universe didn’t say no, it just said not yet. Continually remind yourself that you are in the perfect place right now and continue moving forward in faith.

7. Be kind and gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.

You don’t have to beat yourself up over not “getting there” fast enough or as fast as the people you wish to be like. As long as you can come away at the end of the day knowing you gave it your all, that’s all anyone can truly do.  Your light is shining, no matter how small the flame.  Even if your flame is the smallest in the world, it will still cut through the darkest night.

You could even think of a flower garden.  Each flower blooms at it’s own pace and shows it’s unique beauty as it does so.  Continue reaching for the light, allowing yourself to be nurtured.  Much like the flower, your life will come into bloom as well.

8. You deserve your own unconditional love and forgiveness.

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”- Max Ehrmann

Begrudging yourself or holding on to negative thoughts about yourself will not bring you justice – the grief and pain will only end up affecting you.

Let go of the bitterness and resentment towards yourself or your situation. Let go of the negative feelings and remove the focus and attention to the unwanted. Forgiving yourself for making a mistake and allowing yourself to “love YOU no matter what” is wonderful. It will lead you to even more positive feelings of understanding, compassion and empathy, allowing you to grow into a better experience.

9. There’s always a solution, keep looking!

Sometimes you might feel like you’ve reached the end of the road. Lucky for you, there’s always a small dirt path called faith that you can continue to follow when times get tough.

Follow a path of positive faith and just watch new solutions appear. It may be a simple solution and it may only be a part of the solution that you need to put together. The puzzle pieces are always there – it’s up to you to put the picture in place.

10. The only comparing and competing you should be doing is with yourself.

As mentioned multiple times throughout this post, there’s no need to try to compete or catch up with those who are in your field.  Be the best version of YOU.  Be the change you want to see in YOURSELF.  Allow the future vision of YOU to be your hero.

11. You can’t always change things, but you can ALWAYS change the way you look at things.

The present moment was created as a collective manifestation of your past thoughts, words and actions.  Sometimes, this can be so tough that you may feel like you’re not good enough to get through it, and if you’re reflecting on the reality that you’ve created, it may even make you feel like you’re not good enough to handle your co-creative ability.

The bottom line is that times can get tough – but there’s nothing wrong with believing you’re tougher.  Because when you believe you ARE good enough to create the life you desire, and you believe that YOU ARE good enough to make it through any situation.  When this happens, the way you look at things suddenly change and before you know it, your reality positively changes with it.

Peace.

 

 

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11 Things To Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough

catfishI think like this when I’m tired, feeling overwhelmed or hurt. Life is harder because I compare I myself to others. It’s very easy to fall into the traps: we try to help others in need and then the to-do list doubles, others find work when we can’t, they don’t call back even though we were a perfectly delightful dinner date.

The best preventive medicine is to acknowledge it when you see it coming. When your thoughts go southward, here are a few reminders to discuss with yourself.

1. Life is about progress, not perfection. Strive for excellence!

Life is perfectly imperfect. Striving for perfection is not necessarily a bad thing – it makes you reach higher and work harder. However, it’s a goal that can be rather unattainable and you will always be working on being “perfect”. This may leave you feeling like you are “not good enough”, especially in a world where the race toward “perfectionism” usually involves losing who you truly are to emulate what others think you should be.

Instead, strive for excellence. Excellence is far superior and you can create the level of personal excellence that works for you and where you are.  Most of us are juggling so many tasks in so many areas that we cannot possibly perfect in every area and still be happy, but we attain excellence and it’s far more rewarding!

2. What you do right NOW can create a better outcome.

Nothing is written in stone, unless it’s in the past. Even then we can change the way we perceive it. We can’t truly predict the future, because it’s ever changing based on what we do right now.

The best way to move forward is to be present and put our full focus on the now in a positive manner. When we feel good about the things that are going well and display gratitude for what we have we allow for more of those good things to come to us.

The same is true when we focus on negative, however. Positive thinking is much more powerful and reigns supreme. In fact, some say it is 1000x stronger. So, no matter what happened, be grateful you are still here to correct it and move forward. Take this time, even if it’s an eensy-weensy minute, and take a deep breath, focus on the good and allow yourself the ability to help create a better outcome.

3. Positive thinking is your birthright.

No matter what situation you are in, positive thinking can and will always come to your rescue if you allow it. The power of positivity is a gift to us from divine energy. Divine energy is nothing BUT positive energy.

If you want things to turn around for your highest good you must keep your faith, release fear, and keep your focus on solutions. Positive thinking is your birthright. It can always improve any situation, no matter how dire it may appear.

4. There is more RIGHT with you than wrong with you.

Even during your struggles, don’t forget to focus on your strengths. Too often our culture looks at each other’s “weaknesses” and wants to put focus on improving them. While having a balanced mind, body and soul is important some of our weaknesses exist to balance some of our greatest strengths.

When we switch our focus to what is right about ourselves, we could probably write down a long list. In fact, if you need to do that exercise, do it! Focus on your strengths and what you do well. In the areas that you could improve, be reasonable with yourself and if it’s an area you truly believe you need to improve create action steps to do so. Either way, there IS more right with you than wrong with you. I mean, I wouldn’t be hanging out with you if you had THAT much wrong with you.

5. Everyone makes mistakes!

The positive perspective and the real truth about mistakes are that they are an opportunity to teach us something and allow us to grow.  At times they can also point out our weaknesses so that we can grow stronger in that area. We are students here and mistakes are evidence we are trying and doing the best we can.

When we continually learn and grow from our mistakes we begin to see bigger success in our life, more fulfillment and true and lasting happiness. Success takes work and mistakes are part of that.

Cool Mona Note: Check out tomorrow’s post for the rest of the 11. I now proclaim you oh so good enough.  http://bit.ly/1jtk7NC

 

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A Cool Mona Book Review: The White Tiger

Marg_5 iconThe White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Debut novel and winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize. The author’s voice is clever and humorous, penetrating life in current day India.

Balram Halwai is the main character…servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer. Over 7 days and nights he writes a letter to the Chinese Premier (who is coming to India), outlining how he escaped the Darkness and can live a most comfortable life in Bangalore. He offers himself as an expert in entrepreneurship because as he says, he represents “tomorrow”.

The poor are known to be living in the Darkness, while the wealthy are in the Light. If you are born in the Darkness, you rarely leave it.  (The insiders refer to this as the Great Rooster Coop of Indian society.) Your life is one of servitude, hoping to get enough to eat, trying to keep yourself clean without water or plumbing. You swat the flies and cockroaches away until you fall asleep and then you don’t care.

The other characters are richly described: his westernized master who is getting a divorce from his American wife “Pinkie Madame”, the master’s insensitive and vile father and brother, his grandmother who lives with the poor and 2 Pomeranians, Cuddles and Puddles.

When the book won the Man Booker, many in India lambasted it as a Western conspiracy to deny the country’s economic progress. There was an uprising you could say. But it fazed not the author because perhaps he is like Balram Halwai, a White Tiger.

Adiga is a former correspondent for Time and now lives in Mumbai. The White Tiger is a most excellent read and in the Cool Mona rating system, I award it 5 margaritas.

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A Cool Mona Masterpiece: The Homeless Now Leading Tours In Barcelona

meet juan

meet juan

I just discovered this very interesting company that totally gives back. Hidden City Tours. Part social work, part travel Weekly Masterpiece iconagency. 3 times a day, rain or shine, homeless people are your trusty guides. As the company motto asserts, who better to show you around the streets of Barcelona than someone who has lived on those very streets?

The unemployment rate in Spain is now reported to be 36%. When I was in Barcelona last year, my conventional guide stated it as 50%. Many, many struggling folks.

Like Juan, for instance, who’s now a guide for Hidden City Tours. He knows Barcelona’s downtown very well; he spent 4 years sleeping on its streets. An incident with drugs brought about his deportation from Germany, where he was subsequently banned from living or working for a decade. “My parents and sister were still in Germany, ” he says. “So the plan was to stay here for a while and then move to the Netherlands, where I would at least be a three-hour car ride away from them. But then I ran out of money.”

The clientele is not your regular tourist who’s into guided tours. The guide books won’t give you what Juan has. In the Barrio Gótico (Gothic Quarter), he points out architectural details plus introduces random stories. “In this corner over here there used to be a hole where I would leave my bag so I didn’t have to carry it the entire day long, but it’s been covered up. Over here is one of the biggest soup kitchens in Barcelona,” he says, strolling through the Raval,

Cool. Inspiring. Hopeful.

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Cool Mona Community: Hi From Kathy And Richie In Louisiana

richieDear Mona –

Hello! I enjoy reading other letters from community members and thought I would add one of my own. My husband passed away a year ago. The two of us lived on a farm and it was very lonely being out there by myself. A little dog came up to the door one day, I think someone dropped him off, not wanting him any more.  I barely paid attention to him but I did feed him.

I just moved into the neighboring town and Richie came with me. He now has a fenced-in yard, a beautiful dog house and loves to play in the yard sprinkler. I share my story with you because miracles come in the strangest ways and packages. For all the love and company Richie gives me, my miracle came in Richie.

I hope you have a great day! I enjoy reading all of your wonderful stories.

Love,

Kathy

 

 

 

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The 10 Commandments On Global Warming

home

home

I like a guy who stands up for his beliefs and so it seems with this latest pope, Pope Francis, as he warns of global warming. “I would like to enter a dialogue with all people about our common home. The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” Just a minute. Let me put down my margarita and applaud.

His recently released 10 Commandments On Climate Change.

  1. Think of future generations. What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?
  2. Embrace alternative energy sources. We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal but also oil and to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay.
  3. Consider pollution’s effect on the poor. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.
  4. Take the bus! Many specialists agree on the need to give priority to public transportation.
  5. Be humble. We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us.
  6. Don’t become a slave to your phone. True wisdom…is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution.
  7. Don’t trade online relationships for real ones. Real relationships…now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim. Cool Mona Note: He’s not talking about Tinder so no worries.
  8. Turn off the lights, recycle and don’t waste food. Environmental responsibility can significantly affect the world around us, such as avoiding the use of paper and plastic, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what  can be reasonably be consumed…planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights.
  9. Educate yourself. There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.
  10. Believe you can make a difference. We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.

Cool Mona Note: Live a vocal life. You’ll be much happier for it. http://bit.ly/JfWOeS

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8 Ways To Support A Partner Living With Depression

glass by chihuly

glass by chihuly

There isn’t enough written about having a relationship with someone living with depression. I know from personal experience how heartbreaking it can be to watch the person you love struggling with an illness that destroys the very fabric of who they are. As someone who has experienced depression, I want to offer some advice to anyone trying to support his or her partner through this illness. It ain’t easy but you’re not alone.

1. Understand the devastation that depression can cause.

Depression is an awful illness and, because it can lead to suicide, it’s also potentially fatal. It tries to convince us we are useless, stupid and worthless. It can destroy our sense of self, erode our memory and destroy our ability to concentrate on even the simplest of tasks. People who experience depression can become short-tempered and our emotions can escalate rapidly. When depression hits me the hardest, I feel trapped inside my own mind, under attack from my own thoughts and feelings.

The partners of people experiencing depression should do some reading on the subject and educate yourself as much as possible about this illness. But most of all, you just need to be there, offer unconditional love and understand your partner is seriously ill. Ask them what you can do to help and make them aware that you’re there to listen whenever they need you.

2. Allow your partner as much space as possible. Recovering from depression is not a straightforward process and everyone’s personal experience is unique. Space is essential. Depression has peaks and troughs; one good day, week or even month doesn’t necessarily mean a full recovery. Likewise, at the really low points, remember you are loved, wanted and needed, even if it seems like you aren’t.

3. Allow your partner as much time as possible. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years to recover fully from depression, so avoid putting pressure on your partner to get back to normal if they’ve had a couple of good weeks. Most of the time, I look well, but inside I’m going through hell. Sometimes people are good at hiding their depression.

The main thing is that you’re there, ready for a hug or to talk whenever we want.

4. Relieve some of the day-to-day pressure. These days, there is always stuff that needs to be done, bills that need to be paid, plumbers that need to be called, shopping that needs to be happen… If possible, try to take away as much of this stress from us as you can.

5. Don’t assume we necessarily need to be occupied at all times. Giving us little tasks might feel like a good idea and at times it is, but at other times, even the most menial of chores can feel intimidating. Also, understand that if we do agree to do something, we can’t always be relied upon to complete the task. Try not to get angry with us if this happens; just remember that depression can sometimes make us forgetful and disorganized.

6. Don’t be critical. Criticism, no matter how trivial, really hurts. This is one of the most important things to remember. Living with someone suffering from depression is frustrating, but please try to avoid reminding us how much we frustrate you. Remember, we might already feel worthless, stupid and useless. Telling us we’ve used the wrong mug, forgotten to do something or taken the wrong turning just reinforces those feelings. Emotions can escalate quickly and one badly-timed push can open the floodgates, allowing all kinds of negativity to rush in.

7. Help create a positive environment at home. Make some time to enjoy one another’s company, free from the pressures of life. My wife and I enjoy walking together and I find that’s when we’re at our happiest; all of those negative thoughts and emotions pause, albeit temporarily.

Provide some gentle encouragement to do the things you both enjoy, which in my case includes socializing, exercising and cooking. Had a tough day at work? Talk to us about it, but please keep a sense of perspective about what we’re experiencing as well.

Don’t push too hard though and remember that tough love does not work. We need to do the things we enjoy on our own terms, and saying, “Pull yourself together” is, in my opinion, one of the worst things you can do.

8. Remember to create some space for yourself.

Watching someone you love live with a potentially fatal illness is stressful and takes its toll on everyone. Remember that you, too, need some space to switch off, so be sure to keep doing the things you enjoy. Make sure you see your friends, have someone to talk to, and exercise.

Just let your partner know you love them and are there with a hug whenever they need one. Everything else follows from that.

Cool Mona Note: Don’t go anywhere. We need good people like you on the planet. 1-800-273-TALK.

 

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Here’s How Emotions Affect Our Bodies. Think Glitter.

leo's paw prints in the sand

leo’s paw prints in the sand

Children explain how emotions affect our bodies and what to do when we need to calm down. Think glitter.

This classroom of savvy children shows how measured breathing can restore us all back to feeling calm.  http://bit.ly/1Ifpfnr

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