Jane Arie Baldwin

Personal Tools for Living at the Highest Levels of You

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Max Baldwin guest blogs: On the Importance of Friendship

As this is a time of great change it seems, in every facet of life, so too in our house where about a year ago Ruby changed her name and asked to be called Max. Now that Max is thirteen our quiet introvert has socialized, developing bonds of connection outside the family nucleus in the uncharted terrain of experiences to be had, lessons to be learned and wisdom to be gained.

In English class the other day, Max’s teacher asked the class to write an essay on the importance of friendship. her response blew me away. I’d like to share it here today:

Sometimes at night when the sea is very still, you can see the stars in its surface. The tremors of a breeze mix with the twinkle of an entire galaxy in the sky. More times than not, this sight can be so captivating that sometimes people forget to remember the ocean underneath. I am this ocean.

Because where some people may be busy appreciating the sky that I reflect, others might look deeper and see the still water underneath. 

My friends are the ones who waited long enough for the dawn. Waited for the stars to pass so that I could show my true self. They understand how my waves flow, how the fish inside of me swim, how I always fight against the storms that pass over me. How I can be still or I can be hectic, beautiful or terrifying. They stuck around through my stars and my moon to see my sun and my sky.

This is why friends are important. They will appreciate all of your beauties. They will take more than a glance and say more than, “Oh how pretty”. They will paint a picture of you in an angle that you have never thought to pay attention to. They will bring out not only your constellations but your clouds, too. Your tornados, your singing birds, your boats and your whales. They will take you for what you are an love you unconditionally.

So I will show my brightest stars and my prettiest planets for the whole world to see. But I will also disclose the shapes in my clouds and the rays of my sun to those who will take the time to notice it.

And I implore you, dear reader, to spot the people in life who not only discover your daytime but love it too, and hold onto them as if you will never let go.



5 Steps to Finding Gratitude Fast

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase Get Rich or Die Tryin'

It gives a whole new meaning to Get Rich or Die Tryin’

There are times when I need a quick boost. Here are my five go-to tangibles that provide a reboot and plug me back into the miracle of every day.

  1. My breath – Remember how your mother used to tell you to count to 10 when you were angry and how hard it was until you got to around number eight? Ugh! Back then I found it so hard to let go of my anger, she was trying to trick me…Nine!…Ten. Exhale and – “What was I mad about?” While this is a slight simplification, inhaling and exhaling shifts the focus from microcosm to macrocosm in a heartbeat, which brings me to number two.
  2. My heart – Becoming aware of your heartbeat has profound effects on the body. Focusing attention on a singular object focuses prana or life force energy. When you add those two things together – your heartbeat + your life force energy = it can hit you in all the feels, as Ruby would say.
  3. My eyes – Seeing with the eyes of an artist has profound effects on the brain and perspective. The artist sees beauty in all of life whether it’s the rose on the thorny bush or the dead leaves of a plant that didn’t survive the August heat.
  4. Nature – We live on this vast ball of pulsating life – ebbing and flowing, regenerating and fading – in constant motion. Nothing has put the life cycle so in my face as gardening. I get so attached to plants, like the gorgeous eggplant bush I had a few years ago that produced more eggplants than the entire neighborhood could eat. On the night of the first chill in November I wrapped it tight with blankets. In the morning she was gone, dried up and brittle. The following spring the gardening store had a fresh new batch of plants. It wasn’t until then, many months later I could pull away from my microcosm and see the bigger picture that we are in constant motion and that is what makes every moment so special.
  5. Nurture – Teddy bears, cats and dogs, and most of all my family – whether related by blood, commitment ceremony or close friendship – my go-to support network brings my gratitude back into perspective. Isolation and feeling left out are mind tricks that reinforce old patterns of not being good enough. Then judgment sets in and it’s like the opposite of the cycle of life. Yes, it’s more like the cycle of death. That’s when I’ve got to suck it up and take a page out of Stewart Smiley’s affirmation book, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” When I’m saying that I know it’s time to throw judgment out the window and let love in.
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