Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Overcoming Emotional Atrophy

"What if you just spent this year loving yourself?"

I saw that phrase in a meme in January and it really resonated with me. I was 34 1/2 and I had left yet another toxic relationship. I had just started a new job and I was living apart from the individual that I had aligned myself with. I was feeling better about myself, but from self-assessment I came to the realization that I was not in the right headspace to be involving anyone else in my world.

Something was missing, in me, like regular human emotions and a healthier perspective of myself. I battle thoughts of self-loathing, guilt, shame, and insecurity. Mostly though, I came to the conclusion that I was dealing with emotional atrophy as a result of being in survival mode for so long.

I have to confess that emotional numbness was my default. Battling anxiety and depression had left me just finding an emotional equilibrium. I would experience fleeting moments of feeling positive emotions and then they would fade away leaving me to just feel empty inside. Granted, I would not be experiencing depression or anxiety symptoms, but I would only have a fleeting feeling love when I visited my son.

I read The Four Agreements with the intention of benefiting from a psychological approach and I came away with much more than just tenants for grounding myself in good mental input.

“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn't walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don't need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”
Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

After evaluating the choices that led me to get involved in my

previous relationship, I realized that I did not have a center and that it had been a long time since I had felt positive emotions. I had got used to shutting out negative, because loving people had become too painful.  
I decided to consciously cultivate inner peace. I chose to focus on the positive affirmations that streamed through my Instagram feed and come into agreement with them.

Energy & Inner Peace

What is my recipe for inner peace?
I give myself a fighting chance my taking my prescriptions for my mental health issues. Emotions are energy, so I also employ holistic wellness methods such as crystals, oils, meditation and supplements.

I decided that emptiness was not something that I enjoyed, so I went to my local Apothecary, A Gypsy's Whimsy in Astoria, Oregon and asked Vicki about what I should do. I got a GABA-calm supplement for anxiety attacks,  a flower essence tincture, lavender oil and some crystals/stones.

Lavender oil is my go to for dealing with anxiety. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-depressant, antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It also has antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying, hypotensive and sedative effects.  Lavender oil resonates at a frequency of 118 megahertz. The human body has a frequency range of between 62-68 megahertz. 

In my crocheted medicine pouch I put the following crystals and stones.

Amethyst: has healing powers to help with physical ailments, emotional issues, crystal therapies are primarily associated with physical ailments of the nervous system, the curing of nightmares and insomnia, and balancing the crown chakra.

Blue Kyanite: helps ground spiritual energy, develop intuition, creates an energetic shield around the aura, restores energy balance in all chakras, and assists in self-healing.

Tiger Eye: encourages proper function of the endocrine system, great for centering, grounding and balancing, boosts self-confidence, brings clear thinking and insight.

Black Tourmaline transmutes negative energy into positive energy, helps to release one of negativity and self-doubts, Balances right and left hemispheres of the brain, and Promotes clear rational thoughts. 

(Crystalpedia is the reference I used for crystal and stone properties and is a great resource.)

I also take a tincture of flower essence called Self-Heal (Prunella Vulgaris), it moves your body into resonance with the Earth’s electromagnetic fields, lowers blood pressure, and supports aligning of the chakras.

Here is a chakra and crystal chart

I have felt a marked improvement in my energy. I am able to feel more positive feelings and alternately I am more energetically grounded. The thing with stimulating feelings in the energy centers of the body, is that every feeling becomes more tangible, the good and the bad. For me this meant crying for the first time in months.
Actually dealing with feelings of pain within myself, allowing the pain to wash over me instead of ignoring it, has become a new healthy practice for me.

Meditation & Visualization

Quieting my mind to be able to focus is something that I struggled with. I like life hacks, so I found a guided meditation that has helped me to achieve my goal of balancing my energy. All I have to do is shut down my thinking and listen and visualize what the speaker is saying.

This chakra activating and balancing guided meditation helps me to visualize the energy flowing through my body. As a person who would be categorized as an intuitive empath, I came to the conclusion that I needed to have my internal energy balanced in order to be able to handle the energies of the world around me.

As a positive side effect to acquiring and implementing energy balancing methods, I have found myself taking more walks. I have found that I do my best thinking, formulating, and problem solving when I am walking. My home is just a couple of blocks from the beach, so I also get the benefits of negative ions from the ocean when I walk along the shore.

Keeping A Log

I bought myself a journal, my old one I trashed because it just had bad memories, relationship fails, and reminders of my previously very scattered self. I decided that I would approach my new journal as a log book focused on my positive accomplishments. I write the date, Wednesday, June 1st 2017, and time, 11:03am and then what is on my mind. I write down definitions of words, desires, accomplishments, frustrations, and my feelings.

It is good to have a private outlet for my perspective on things. It is also healthy psychologically to process your thoughts by writing them down. I find it a helpful practice.

What do you do to handle your emotions in a healthy manner?


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Social Sustainability

Social sustainability is the premise of the grassroots movement. A grassroots movement is one driven by the community. Grassroots movements are often at the local level, as many volunteers give their time to support environmentally sound, counter culture minded, socially economical solutions.

Nobody is going to clean up our mess but us, no the EPA, not commissions or councils, not state conservation agencies, individuals.
no one can prevent further pollution but us as well.
Here are a few issues that are affecting our society here in America and proposed solutions.

Reclamation Versus Consumerism

In a society that has consumerism as the basis for our global economy; buy, use, discard is the cycle that we have become benignly accustomed to, but from the very ecologically embarassing presence of landfills, we know that this mentality has an unsustainable outcome-pollution.

Different organizations exist with the mission to bring awareness about the need for recycling, but the ad campaigns for consumer products far outweight the publicity for affirmative ecological action. 

The ads we see in media are for brand new clothes, which are an ecological travesty. The textile industry is a huge polluter, but what other options do we have?

How about a clothing company that makes new and usable clothing items from out of season and discarded clothing items? Outer wear, to be more precise For used shoes, spray some athletes foot disinfectant and you are good to go. Underwear is something that should be purchased in sealed packages.

Reclamation can be the new fashion, where creativity and cleverness are celebrated. We see houses in third world countries where the walls are made out of glass soda bottles.

Shelter for the Homeless

The homeless don't vote. Approximately 2,000,000 people that don't matter to our politicians, therefore they don't matter to the media, and therefore they don't matter to the American public.

The mentality of most capitalists is that, "God helps those who help themselves."

So why does the man with the most resources and influence turn a blind eye to 2 million people, or about 0.6% of the U.S. population?

We the people voted a television personality and businessman into office. We have a capitalist in office right now, and businessmen focus on the bottom line rather than tedious philanthropic work with a demographic that cannot help themselves to become profitable for global business.

"People are homeless because they chose that lifestyle, and we should not give in to their pan handling to promote their parasitic existence in our society."

If you truly think this way, then you don't understand what happens to make people homeless, and I am sure that you have no clue how to help 2 million people anyway.

If our president will do nothing to help then we the people need to, the old fashioned way, by getting our hands dirty, volunteering our time, and giving of ourselves.

If I can come up with a cheap and sustainable solution for the homeless, you can read here about my proposed plans for self-sustaining eco-villages, where food is grown and more.

I don't understand why any government related agency has not constructed a working solution, but a single mom who has been homeless several times figures out a way where others have not.

All that is needed is land, donations and volunteers...

Accessible food for the poor and disabled

I am not talking about creating more food banks, or having more grocery stores give their past due date food items to food banks, although that would be a great move in the right direction.

Why? Because seeds are cheap, sunlight is free and water is available. If you look around for a recycling center, you may be able to come up with inexpensive topsoil.
You can get seeds with TANF, or "food stamps".

I am talking about urban gardening and urban gardens.
Gardening requires volunteers, people to share their yards and property. This would foster communication and relationships.

Urban gardens utilize unconventional means, often recycled/upcycled items to provide maximum growth from the space available. Recycled items include using old milk jugs, suspended by a rod through the handled and then anchored by wooden sides. Regardless of the items used, urban gardening encourages creativity and imbues a sense of pride in one's creation. Pinterest and Instagram are great resources to find ideas.

There are several videos on you tube about urban gardening, from stories of successful gardeners to how-to instructions. They are great for ideas.

Bringing Back Bartering

Bartering is a means of the exchange of goods and services through trade as opposed to the exchange of currency.
With the value of an item or service determined it easy to then work out a fair exchange that benefits all parties involved.

The person who can do physical work can trade their time and energy for eggs from someone who has chickens, chopped wood for homemade biscuits, handmade clothing items for cleaning services, etc;

Yes, that could be considered socialistic ideology and is not in the best interests of the current capitalist regime, but it would meet the needs of those who cannot meet their own. 

Do you have any ideas that could help your community?
Please share in the comments.

Amy Jo Smith

Friday, May 12, 2017

Selfcare for the Single Life

If you are single and adulting on your own, good job!
In my experience it is a mixed blessing to be flying solo in life. I don't have to answer to anyone, but then I don't have anyone to help me out, like a partner.
And boy, doing everything yourself can be stressful and exhausting, especially if you do not have family around, or you are a single parent.


Not everyone gets the benefit of a healthy family and positive home life growing up. Whether you have aggressive, abusive, or overly permissive parents, an imbalanced relationship between parent and child can leave

Since not everyone can afford a spa day, or a month long sabbatical to clear your head, here are some tips that I have found helpful for living a life-style of mindful self-care.

Self-parenting means being able to tell yourself, "No" when you need to. Like not buying fast food because your budget allows for groceries and bills.

If self-parenting is a foreign concept to you, I recommend taking a parenting class. I found the classes that I attended to not only be informative, but very cathartic in my reconciliation with my very difficult child hood.

One concept I learned is that feelings are neither good nor bad, right nor wrong, they just are.
This statement gave me the assurance that I am allowed to feel and in turn I had more confidence in myself.


My best friend uses a Bullet Journal Planner to organize her life. She has her days, weeks, and months planned out. It is a great visual aid to remember your commitments, when bills are due, and to schedule self-care time. Also, she meal plans which helps with her grocery budget.

Living on a schedule takes the stress out of trying to remember what obligations you have to fulfill and when.
If you find that scheduling on your e-calendar to be a helpful tool, great! So long as you have what's going on manageable.

Plan Ahead

I am constantly thanking my past self for making preparations for my future self. Planning ahead for an eventuality is one way to limit stress in your life and a way to show self-love.

In addition to scheduling, here are some other ways to be prepared.
Budgeting; writing down your bills-rent, electric, car payment, insurance, savings, etc;
Meal prepping and writing a grocery list.
Keeping a list of what personal toiletry items, household items, and odds and ends that you need.
Choose your clothes for the next day before you go to bed, or even plan your outfits a week at a time.
Keep on top of your laundry by washing a load as soon as your hamper/basket is full.
Fill up your gas tank after work, so that you have a full tank on your way to work.


"A place for everything and everything in it's place."

I owe a lot of my inner peace and sanity to organizing many areas in my life.

I have developed the habit of putting my keys and purse in the same place when I get home so that I don't have to go searching for either one when I am heading out the door.

My kitchen is organized by different types of food items, dishes, utensils and so on.

I have my clothes hung up in my closet and my shoes lined up.

Containers are great to tidy up a messy space like a bathroom. My makeup is in a drawer, my hair products are in a cupboard and my hair appliances are in a drawer as well. Even my tooth brush and toothpaste are in a cupboard out of sight and safe from random airborne bacteria.

It gives me soooo much peace of mind to have my possessions not cluttering up my home.

Pamper Yourself

It is easy to do little things on a tight budget. One of the most relaxing things that you can do is take a bath with Epsom salts. You can add baking soda and essential oils as well. Light some candles and turn off the lights, maybe play some music.

Stretching and yoga have been very helpful for me. Intentionally moving your body and breathing are fantastic for grounding ones self.
Benefits of yoga:
  • Increased muscle strength and tone.
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality.
  • Coordination, balance and increased flexibility.
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism.
  • Weight reduction.
  • Cardio and circulatory health.
  • Improved athletic performance.

  • If it's in your budget a pedicure and manicure a favorite of mine for perking up my tires spirit. Getting my hair done is relaxing. Having a massage is so great and good for you too.

    Me Time

    I live 3 blocks from the beach and I love walking there. I lived near the mountains before and loved to go hiking. Walking is a great way to get your brain to process all of the little things that may be plaguing you. Walking by yourself is a great opportunity for you to focus on introspection and get to know yourself better.

    Writing in a journal is another great way to process what is going on in your life. The very act of using your hands to scrawl on paper what is in your head, has been proven to be therapeutic and even cathartic.


    My hobbies are crocheting, sketching, reading, and writing. I enjoy baking and cooking as well and find respite in the process of creation.

    Giving yourself the opportunity to exercise your creativity is so good for the spirit and mind. It also opens up the possibility of sharing your creations with others to inspire.

    Remember, when you take good care of yourself, then you feel better and you have more to give to others.

    If you have any comments, suggestions, or input, please do comment below.