Along the Delaware Bay

I love to stare at waves rolling onto a sandy beach. The motion and soft sounds usually lull me into a state of deep relaxation. Here are two videos I took earlier in June this year in the area of Cape May, NJ. Perhaps you’d like to share a peaceful moment with me now…

The above video was take at Sunset Beach in Cape May Point. If you look closely you will see a sunken concrete ship, the S.S. Atlantus, at the end of the video. You can read more about the ship HERE.

This video is taken at the more rural Higbee Beach in North Cape May. The morning was cloudy and windy, but the waves and slight howling of the wind still did the trick for me. Here is a LINK to the colorful history of this beach.

A few more looks at waves…

Sunset Beach
Higbee Beach
Higbee Beach

What Are You Grateful For Today?

There’s always something to appreciate if you think about it. Even on dark, gloomy mornings, the fact that you woke up to see it, is a blessing. Life is something to be thankful for, and as tough as it may seem now, things change and the road levels off.

I find my own life goes more smoothly if I focus on gratitude at least once a day. Before going to bed is an excellent time to be reflective of the day just lived. I know, some days you’d like to forget. We all have those days. Bad things often happen to make room for new opportunities and growth.

If you can’t find the silver lining in that day, then look around at the people in your life. No doubt many of them love you more than you will ever realize. Love is always something to be grateful for. If there are no friends or loved-ones there, it’s an invitation to step outside your comfort zone—join a group or get involved in a charity or church group. Reach out to a neighbor, co-worker or a stranger who needs help. There are plenty of them around.

Some people keep a gratitude journal. While that doesn’t work for all (me included), it’s easy enough to say outloud five things (events, people, objects, feelings, etc.) you are grateful for each day. Be sure to actually feel the gratitude as you think about each one. Can’t do five? Start with three.

We frequently take people and things for granted. Remember to search for the joy in whatever and whoever is in your life. As the saying goes, tomorrow is promised to no one. Make the best of each day and remember that the more you appreciate your life and the people in it, the easier it will be for more good things to come your way.

Yikes! Retrograde Mercury

This is an updated reprint of an article I wrote seven years ago…

It’s the uh-oh time of the year, astrologically speaking that is. Three or four times every year the planet Mercury slows down in its journey around the Sun and appears from the Earth to be moving backward. Actually, it still is moving forward, but this three-week change in motion can create a bit of havoc with life on Earth.

Mercury rules mental processes and communications. You may find that appointments get cancelled at the last minute or you forget that you have one. Letters may get lost in the mail or you may finally receive one that was mailed to you three months ago. Cars and other equipment break down more easily or old problems may resurface.

The bottom line is that things are more likely to go wrong or get confused. Naturally, life goes on and you can’t avoid living through these aggravating periods. However, if you can, avoid planning a trip because something may come up that prevents you from taking it. Try not to buy anything new, especially a car, because the odds are increased that you will later regret your purchase. Don’t sign a contract, but if you must, make sure you or your attorney examine it thoroughly.

On the positive side, it is a great time to finish up something from the past. Clean out that closet you dug into a while back or finish writing those letters or emails you left uncompleted. It’s fun when you run into someone you haven’t seen in a while or when an old friend contacts you to get together. It’s also a favorable time for writers because the mental processes are affected in a way that enhances creativity.

We are currently in one of these retrograde Mercury periods. The good news is that the current one which began February 17th is over on March 10, 2020. Other periods to watch out for during 2020 are: June 18-July 12 and October 14-November 3.

For several years, I worked as a professional astrologer. Although I encountered some persons who were skeptical, once they began following these cycles of Mercury, there were few left to deny the mischievous effects of retrograde Mercury.

So how about you? Have any of you found the last week stressful because of mixed communications or things breaking down? Or perhaps, something lost or delayed returned from the past? So far for me, I was delighted to finally receive an email list of like-minded women I met last July at a writing workshop.

Coping with the C-Word

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Coping with the C-Word

             Shirley P. Sorbello, MSW

“The biopsy results showed cancer cells,” Dr. Wilson said to me matter-of-factly.   I glazed over upon hearing those words, that took me to a level of reality where I had never ventured.

“Oh, no,” I said, thinking at the same time this couldn’t be happening to me. No one ever believes it could happen to them.  People think that somehow it’s everyone else who gets cancer.

At least one in three people in the United States will hear this diagnosis at some time in their lives. Even though advances in early detection and treatment have lessened cancer’s effect as a death sentence, a diagnosis of cancer can still rock anyone’s world as it did mine.

Here are some tips that might help you or a loved-one cope more effectively.

Share Your Diagnosis with Those People Closest to You:  It’s normal to feel shock, numbness and denial at first. While you are trying to get your bearings, you need to share some information with people who love you.  It’s important for you to feel their love and support as you begin to navigate through this crisis.

Although it can be extremely helpful to talk about your feelings, be cautious about sharing this information with everyone.  You may get some unwanted advice and hear horror stories as well.  Be aware that not everyone will react to your news in a similar way.  If it’s not the reaction you were expecting or hoping for, it probably says more about their hang-ups than how they feel about you.  Don’t be hurt or discouraged by it. You will find that most people will offer a listening ear and physical support.  You may even be lucky enough to have a friend who went through what you are going through.  His or her input can be extremely reassuring. If you have any serious questions or concerns, don’t ask your friends, ask your doctor.

Remember, however, that while interacting with others can be helpful, you are your own strongest support. If you can’t talk about it, perhaps you can write about your thoughts or feelings in a notebook or journal.

Make Necessary Appointments:  Whether you need to see an oncologist, surgeon, radiologist, or need more testing, don’t wait to do it.  Sometimes it takes a while to get an appointment.  Procrastination can increase your anxiety. Looking back, you will be glad you didn’t delay. Follow your gut feelings when it comes to getting a second opinion or making decisions about treatment.  Something inside of you knows what is best for you.

Take someone with you when you first go to a surgeon or oncologist. That way, you won’t feel as alone as I did when a bald patient came out of the office shaking her head. I could only imagine the scary news she must have received, and then I worried more about what I was going to hear about myself.

Be Kind to Yourself:  It’s important to nurture and take care of yourself at this time. Do the things that make you feel happy.  Go for that massage you’ve been wanting, see a movie you’ve been thinking about, or buy a new purse or book that will perk up your spirits.  Get your sleep, eat healthy and spend more time with people you enjoy being with.  Remember it’s your turn now to put yourself first.

Continue with Your Normal Routine:   Doing normal things keeps you from obsessing or worrying about what’s ahead for you.  As much as possible, adhere to your regular schedule or go ahead with any special plans you have.  I had been looking forward to a short trip before I was diagnosed.  I choose to go through with it even though it meant I didn’t return until the day before my surgery.  Looking back, I am glad that I went, as it helped to occupy my time with enjoyable moments.  I undoubtedly went into surgery with a more relaxed, positive attitude than I would have if I had been sitting at home worrying.

Stay in the Present Moment:  As much as possible, refrain from “what if’s.”  Take one day at a time.  Tomorrow is promised to no one. Worrying about things that may never happen is useless and will stress you out.

Seek Spiritual Comfort:  If you are religiously or spiritually inclined, you may find comfort in speaking with your priest, pastor or a friend who shares your spiritual perspective.  If your present spiritual perspective does not seem to be serving you adequately, perhaps it’s time to explore some new avenues.  Visit your local bookstore and see what attracts your attention.

Both meditation and guided imagery are spiritually-related practices that are excellent for your health.  If you’ve never meditated before, this is probably not the time to begin as it does require practice and concentration.  If you have meditated before, then you might benefit from returning to a regular practice.  With guided imagery, you need only to sit back, relax and listen to a calming voice on a CD or the internet that leads you on a healing journey of images and positive feelings.  I found that listening to guided healing imagery on the internet prior to my surgery helped me stay calmer and more centered than I would have otherwise been.

It’s Okay to be Afraid: It is normal to feel some degree of fear or anxiety when facing a diagnosis of cancer.  It’s okay to cry.  Acknowledge your feelings, for they are genuinely your own, but don’t neglect to look for that pillar of strength that resides inside of you.  You’ve been through tough times in the past.  What sustained you then?  It’s still there.  Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and you will feel your strength deep inside.  I promise you it’s there.

Think Positive Thoughts: People with the most positive outlooks generally do better with cancer treatment and recovery.  Think about your life.  What are you thankful for?  Perhaps it’s a relationship, your children or your career.  Being thankful for the good things in your life has been shown to decrease depression and elevate mood. Make a habit of thinking of everything you are thankful for and feeling a sense of appreciation about it at least once a day.

Affirmations can be helpful too.  They are positive statements about “what is.” Look into your mirror in the morning and at nighttime, and say a few times out loud something positive like, “I am radiantly healthy and cancer free.”   Or, make up something that is meaningful to you.  The important thing to remember is to speak as if it is already happening now, not as a future event.

Creative visualization is another useful tool.  Sit down, relax and take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes and picture yourself healthy and doing well in life.  Imagine a neighbor saying to you, “You look well,” and you replying with a smile, “I feel great.”  Picture a visit to your doctor.  He is saying, “You are doing really well.  I am really pleased with your test results.  Keep up the good work.”  Feel the joy!

Most importantly, use this whole experience to look at where you are in your life.  What matters to you?  What is working and not working?  What is it time to let go of?  What haven’t you done, that you’ve wanted to do?  This glimpse of your own mortality can lead you to a richer, more fulfilling life…one that you truly value and love.

www.shirleysorbello.com

Kindness: a Rare Commodity?

We aren’t as nice as we used to be—or so it seems. The anonymity of the internet has made it easier to judge, and to hate. Stress levels in today’s world frequently push the buttons of violence.

Hurting or bullying someone else may may heal a wounded ego for a moment, but this action for the perpetrator reveals judgment of self…of the insecurities, fears or feelings of powerlessness that lie beneath the action. Sadly, for the victim, the results can be everlasting.

The need to be right, or retaliate, may lead to violence. Violence never stops violence, nor proves anything without consequences…what we do to another, we do to ourselves. We are all in this together…we are all one.

Why is it that tragedies or disasters often draw out the best in people? Is this God’s or the Universe’s way of bringing us back to the wisdom of the innocent child who entered this world, loving himself or herself, as well as everyone around them?

Kindness needs no words, nor translation. A smile or simple gesture goes a long way to creating a loving society where we can all flourish. It only takes a second to be kind…but the results can be amazing.

Change

     The necessity of change is difficult for many of us to accept. There is no doubt that sudden unexpected change such as the death of a loved one is devastating. Some are able to integrate loving memories of their dear one into a life that moves ahead. Others lead limited lives by failing to accept the unwanted change in circumstances.

     It’s often easier to accept less tragic, more gradual change, especially if you are younger. If you’ve lived more than a few decades you’ve seen numerous shifts in culture, ways of thinking and lifestyles. When we are young it seems easier to flow with these changes. As we age, however, flowing with change tends to become more difficult. When we get older, we sometimes nurture a desire to return to the safety or “sanity” of the childhood years, or the beauty and agility of our younger glory days. Too many past thoughts blind us to the present, and we fail to see and appreciate all that’s worthwhile right in front of us.

     A fully lived life necessitates a reasonable degree of adaptability. Accept the idea that nothing stays the same. It’s the only thing that’s certain in life. Learn to accept what you can’t change. If you have no control over the circumstances, there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t change other people, only the way you react to them. Moreover, if you are unhappy, take the necessary steps to make the changes you can control. Don’t allow anxiety and fear to dominate your actions.

     If you seek more peace and fulfillment in your life, remember to live in the present moment. Every second is precious; don’t waste time reliving the past or dreaming too much about the future. Being grateful for all the good things in your life presently, will bring you even more reasons to be grateful down the road. Flow through the rough spots and live each day fully. You can’t move ahead, or live your best life, with your head stuck in the past.

Photo Friday – Ascona

A lovely photo from a trip to southern Switzerland and beautiful Lake Maggiore in 2007. It is the second largest lake in Italy and the largest in southern Switzerland. Lake Maggiore and its shoreline are divided between the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy and the Swiss canton of Ticino. The lake travels 41 miles and gets more beautiful with each twist and turn through the mountains. One of my favorite places on earth!

Creativity: The Doorway to the Soul

Do you have a hobby, or better yet, a profession, that you can joyfully lose yourself in for hours? The keyword here is “joyful,” as in follow your bliss. Something you enjoy that takes you out of your left brain, conscious mind and puts you in contact with the right brain, unconscious mind, invites soul communication.

The soul speaks to us through dreams, strong emotions, gut feelings, music, beauty in all forms, intuition and symbols. When we disengage, even partially, from our conscious mind, it allows us to open the channel to the soul as we put the right brain to work, occupying our time with an activity we love or are inspired by.

It doesn’t matter whether it is art, music, photography, or poetry. The road to the soul is one that stimulates the imagination and takes you out of your logical, left brain. Watching a colorful sunset, sitting in a wooded forest next to a babbling brook or even reading great fiction while it paints pictures in your mind are all soulful activities.

Why is communicating with the soul important? The more you tune into what your soul wants to share, the sooner your life experience changes from back and white into shades of color. You are utilizing both sides of your brain for a richer life experience. Your soul knows what’s best for you and so will you.