Saturday, October 3, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Hit the Reset Button

Well, I haven't blogged in weeks, and I'm guessing you know why. Med school has completely taken over. Which, is not a bad thing by any means, but I am still a huge proponent of balance. I guess I've just been balancing in other ways. Like I went one full work-week working out every morning. It was great! But, then I kind of stopped that streak...but then I made A LOT of healthy meals the following week, so there's that. In the midst of all the attempts of maintaining balance outside of med school, I've also been trying to figure out how I best study in this environment. And, I think that I have figured it out. It took me hitting my own personal reset button.

Pretty sunrises - perks to waking up early to work out 
There was a day about two weeks ago, when out of the blue, I just got so unbelievably overwhelmed with everything. Nothing in particular happened, but it felt like being encapsulated by a wave of emotion. Now, if you read my blog, these moments are not really new to me haha But, the thing is, I always glean new insight from them. That's what I want to share with you today.

On that day, I took a moment to reset. I was not tired, I had been sleeping pretty consistently (see this blog post, I learned my lesson). So, I didn't take a nap. I literally just sat. And, I breathed. I didn't make a plan or a to-do list or go for a run. I did nothing. For about 15-20 minutes. I just sat. Okay, granted, I sat in the jacuzzi in my apartment complex - but nothing more! No talking, no thinking, just breathing. I highly recommend taking some time to simply stop.

If this is a concept I got from some show like Grey's Anatomy, I apologize that it's not original, but it's the best analogy I can think of right now. It's like when you're on a high-speed train. You can't simply jump off the track. It's going, and you are on it, you are going. And, sometimes amidst the hustle and bustle of the fast-moving train, you might forget to catch your breath. The good news is, the solution is simple. Just breathe. Just breathe.

I know, I know, this is TOTAL Grey's Anatomy territory, I am not doing this on purpose just because I am in medical school, now. Grey's Anatomy premiered and soared when I was in high school, so I practically grew up with the show, along with a handful of others, even when I didn't watch a season all the way through. I am a product of my generation, so sue me. But, I cannot think of any better song to reiterate this point than Anna Nalick's "Breathe (2 AM)". And, that's why it's today's pick. It's a fairly melancholy song with a somber theme, BUT it conveys a solid point with my favorite line.

Anna Nalick's " Breathe (2 AM)"
Favorite Lines
"There's a light at the end of this tunnel...
You're just as far in, as you'll ever be out

***
Breathe, just breathe"

For me, these lines in particular encourage trudging forward in spite of a rough patch. Maybe you get hit by a wave of overwhelming emotion. Breathe, move forward. Maybe you get hit by a disappoint. Breathe, keep walking through. Actually, let's do it right now. Stop reading. Take a deep breath. In and out. 

Okay, start reading again. You can always begin again. Start fresh, start anew. Just take a minute to reset, and, really, just give yourself a break every now and then. Until next time, (**cough, cough** after the test **cough, cough**), my friends! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Thrive Academically

As I mentioned last week, we had our first exams last week as first-year medical students. I was just so happy to merely survive it. I immediately hung out with my classmates and took lots of pics to celebrate getting over that hump.

Snapshots of Pure Bliss 

Coming back to the next wave of material made me consider how often in school I have striven to just merely get by. As if I were just trying to stay afloat, trying not to get swept away by the undertow. These past few weeks have been no different. But, I know there is a better way. It's just a matter of finding a way that works best for you to thrive rather than struggling to survive in school, or in any life endeavor, for that matter.

Dr. John Pelley is a Professor of Medical Education at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine (aka my school!). He and others at the institution have developed the Expert Skills Program in which they promote action and sleep as a way of enhancing learning. Take a watch at the TED Talk below!

Dr. Pelley's  2014 TEDxTexasTechUniversity Talk

If you've been following me for a while, you know how much of a fan I am of TED Talks, so it was very exciting to have the opportunity to interview someone who has given one. In our conversation, we discuss this idea of thriving in school rather than struggling to get by. Sometimes a fresh new perspective facilitates a brand new approach to life-long learning. Hopefully you'll find some of the nuggets of wisdom helpful! 


Friday, September 11, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Cultivate Aequanimitas

Hey guys! Good news - I survived my first big-girl med school exams this week! Even better news - I've gained great insight into my study habits and approach to school this past week. Now, I'm ready to move upward and onward. You've got to keep looking forward and trudging ahead, no matter what. And, it's a beauty of life to be able to do so.

And now, I present to you a very special segment of Fridays with Friends. I got the awesome opportunity to interview the dean of the TTUHSC School of Medicine, Dr. Steven Berk yesterday! He shared wise words regarding, aequinimitas (the quality of remaining calm in intense situations) and mindfulness. I, personally, always enjoy reminders on remaining present in the moment. Hopefully, this quick video can inspire you, too!

Fridays with Friends: Dr. Steven Berk, TTUHSC SOM Dean

Happy Friday, my friends!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Get Restful Sleep and Let the Fever Run Its Course

Hey guys! Here we are again for a Music Monday on a Tuesday. Yes, yes, I'm considering officially switching it to Tuesday's Tune...Nahh I don't like it! We'll see!

Anyhoo, as the blog title reads, I endured a surprise fever this weekend. THIS weekend of all weekends. I have my first big-girl medical school exams Wednesday and Friday, and believe you, me, I was ready for a weekend full of intense review. I got caught up with all the material on Thursday, marked out tasks in my planner, and reserved a study room for Friday through Monday night. Yeah, I was on top of things alright. I even went out to brunch with my lab partners before starting the 'big review' proud of having set up such a sweet deal.

The Hot Cocoa I got at brunch early Friday afternoon when I felt a SLIGHT tinge in my throat. Little did I know what would come next...
Then, as I was casually studying in said study room on Friday night, I could not help but notice the irritation in my throat and the stuffiness in my nose. I thought it was just some sort of placebo effect from having dissected and studied the Nasal Cavity and Pharynx just days before. But, then the sneezing happened. And, then the chills. And, then, I knew I had no choice but to go get medicine and go home to get some sleep.

Speaking of sleep. Remember that little line I said about sleep being something that should never be neglected? Welp, I was a hypocrite last week, and I severely shortened my sleep daily to ensure I had sufficiently covered everything by Friday. Did I mentioned I have my FIRST big-girl med school exams Wednesday and Friday, though?! As it turns out, sleep deprivation + (admittedly) mild stress over the aforementioned big-girl exams = a fever. A good ol' fashioned, run its course fever. I couldn't positive-think my way out of the sore throat, sinus congestion, body aches, and general discomfort that lasted a full 48 hours.

So, why tell you this tale of the weekend of super-studying that never was? To reiterate the fact that sleep really should never be neglected. And, this time, I mean it! One of my final papers in grad school was about the health benefits of sleep; I should have known better. But,then again, don't we all know better? I also tell you this to remind you that sometimes you just really can't stop the inevitable. You've got to let certain things run its course, and go with the flow of life without fretting.

The day that I started feeling a little better, Sunday, I actually got a lot done. I woke up - too late and too groggy to make it to church, unfortunately. But, after I showered, I felt it was time to clean up. Like, deep clean. I took all my recyclable items to get recycled. And, I spared my washer and dryer and went to the laundromat to wash all my sheets and comforter and towels all at once. Shout out to the nice older gentlemen who helped a sista out with getting a laundry card!. 'Preciated that. Unfortunately there are no pictures of these adventures since my phone was dying.

Nevertheless, when I got back and folded up all my clothes and linens and laid in a fresh bed. I literally felt the fever leaving my body, having run its course. Having taught me an important lesson. One must be sure to tend to their physical and mental well-being first, and then proceed to rock an awesome study plan. A reasonable sleep schedule should not feel like a luxury that I could do without, but rather a necessity that enables me to do the very best I can. Similarly, clearing the clutter from my apartment bedroom also helped to clear the mental clutter. I encourage anyone to do this. Also, it's remarkable how disorganized a closet can get even when all you wear everyday is scrubs.... Having a clear space to rest, and resting fully, is what healed me. Well, that and the electrolytes in Gatorade, the comfort of throat-soothing soup, and TheraFlu. Nevertheless, I want to remind y'all to create an environment conducive for not just sleep, but for rest, as well.

My Weekend: Soup, Gatorade, Tissues, Netter's Atlas. The total exam preparation package. 
 Another healing aspect of this weekend was getting checked in on by my classmates who are along this crazy journey with me. Sometimes sickness socially isolates you, so thank goodness for text messaging. Lastly, some good acoustic music helped mellow me out, too. And, there is this acoustic cover that I am currently obsessed with, so it deserves to be this week's Music Monday.

Boyce Avenue's rendition of "Demons" by Imagine Dragons
Favorite Lines
"Don't get too close,
It's dark inside.
It's where my demons hide.
It'w where my demons hide."

***********************

Your eyes they shine so bright,
I wanna save that light.
I can't escape this now, 
Unless you show me how"

Was that not one of the most beautifully done covers you have ever heard? If not, go listen to the original, appreciate that, then listen to this one, and LOVE IT. Or, don't, it's really not that big of a deal. :-) The other thing I love, besides their artistic ability to remix the beat and beautifully harmonize, are the lyrics. After perusing some internet opinion, I came to the conclusion that this song is basically a plea from one person to the other with whom they are in relationship to look away from their "demons", their flaws. It's like the one person is trying to push the other away before those flaws are revealed. This is melancholy, at first. But, then, they say. "I can't escape this now, unless you show me how." And, that, my friends, is the power of genuine relationships. We all have flaws that we would rather keep from those we want to get close to. Flaws make you vulnerable. It's uncomfortable, disconcerting. Yet, we need each other to bring out the best in us by helping us get through the messes of us. If that makes sense. I just really wanted to rhyme. But, I hope you get the point. Be open, be vulnerable.

This post was full of a lengthy string of thoughts. So, to put it all together: get restful sleep to heal and replenish, go with the flow of life and don't fret, and boldly share your vulnerability with those you care about and who care about you, too. Happy Tuesday, my friends. :-D

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Finding a Better Way to...Believe

When did you first stop believing? When was it that you halted yourself from fully giving in to a hope or desire? Was it when someone said something like "great romantic relationships only exist in fairy tales"? Or, was it when you studied all week - day and night - for an exam and ended up with a C? Did a lab partner understand the material better than you? How about when you joked with your friends, "maybe he's just not that in to me, whatever, I'm over him anyway"? Did you have a meeting with a professor who told you to reconsider your career aspirations to become a doctor? Did a friendship turn out to be not at all what you thought it would be? When did you first stop believing, stop hoping, for a dream to come to fruition?

I have countless examples from my own experience and observances of others' of moments when a bubble was burst in some area of life. None of us are strangers to the disappointments or unexpected twists along this path of life. But, how often do we muster up the courage to believe again? To trust that even though one experience went awry before, that doesn't taint the experience from there on out. I've been in medical school for a solid month now - by the way - have you noticed that time moves at warp speed? Especially when studying & taking a blog break? Is it just me? I digress. As I was saying, I've been in medical school for a month now, which is so bizarre. I remember when I did get a poor grade on all the exams and had to retake a class. I remember when I did have that conversation with a professor about not becoming a doctor, after all. I remember when I first stop believing that I could become an effective physician to my future patients. But, then, I remembered when I decided to believe again.

I recalled the energy that came with the determination to diligently pursue the dream that just wouldn't go away -- no matter how many other career paths I considered. I also recalled refusing to deny the part of me that is creative and talkative and interdisciplinary, who wanted to integrate all my life interests into a rewarding and fulfilling vocation. I recalled when I believed again.

This aforementioned mental tangent made me wonder. How many times in life do we let hopes and dream pass us by for fear that it won't actually happen? Or from fear that we will get disappointed yet again? But, what of this fear? Why does IT get a say in how we think or feel? I briefly glanced at this article, and instantly loved the following quote:

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be"  Lao Tzu
That pretty much sums it up. Release those fears that prevent you for progressing forward. I encourage you to believe, to hope, to dream, again and always. And, trust yourself to do so. It's the beauty of being human. Of being alive. As long as I breathe, I hope.

Now, technically this post was written on Monday during a study break, sooo we agree that this can be tagged as a Music Monday post, right? Tuesday's Tune? Both? Great! I think you saw this song choice coming...

Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"

"Don't stop believin', hold on to that feeling." 

I have belted this song out on a karaoke bar stage more than once, and I'll do it again! You should, too. Peace easy, my friends!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Be More Resilient

Rule #2 of medical school (and life) - be sure that you always bounce back.

Here's what I mean. Sometimes, no, a lot of the time, you can experience setbacks. It could be in personal growth. Maybe you thought some things wouldn't bother you as much as they used to until you react poorly to an old trigger. Or, maybe it's with health goals. You haven't worked out in TWO weeks and you. are. feeling. it. And, but of course, this is a familiar quandary with academic progress. You don't cover as much material as you planned to in the time you set aside to study for the weekend. I've personally experienced all of these scenarios of late, and I had an epiphany on Saturday.

You've got to bounce back from the minor setbacks and keep moving along. Don't remain stagnant or wallow longer than you need to in a negative state of mind. Recognize it, relax and respond. As I've probably mentioned, my time is severely limited these days - I'm rushing through this blog post just so I can continue reviewing and get to sleep at a decent hour! (Because sleep should be neglected for nothing...I'll blog about that later...) Thus, there just simply isn't time to get frustrated about feeling behind or not achieving everything on your personal to-do lists. There is only now. Only time to move forward. So, with that brief but hopefully helpful thought, I leave you with one of my favorite songs to run to - 'Move Along' by All American Rejects.


Favorite Lines
"When all you gotta keep is strong,
Move along, move along, like I know you do.
Even when your hope is gone, 
Move along, move along, 
Just to make it through"

Also, just for kicks and giggles, check out the super quick video below. I TOTALLY played the first few keys (chords? idk...) of Alicia Key's "If I Ain't Got You". Yes, yes, I am unofficially learning how to play the piano from one of my very talented new friends. My album drop soon! I'm kidding. K bye! Happy Monday friends!

video

Monday, August 17, 2015

Finding a Better Way to... Not Panic (aka Music Monday #27)

Oh hey guys! Welp, survived the first two weeks of medical school - woo hoo! So, the biggest lesson I've learned thus far (besides how to draw the Brachial Plexus in 17 seconds, of course) is that I first must not panic. Let me explain what I mean.

One can become easily overwhelmed when presented with mountains of information in a short period of time. However, I'm thinking that panicking about it only leads to paralysis which leads to procrastination. That's the pattern for me, anyway. The thing about that domino effect is - there is actually no time to waste. Solution? Cut it at its source! First, do not panic. I think this is a practical approach to life, as well. Inevitably, we're going to be presented with a number of variables in any phase of life which we will have to adjust to accordingly. I'm not advocating throwing caution to the wind. I consider myself fairly cautious, actually. But if we can take two deep breaths...and then take two more...and then think clearly to how to approach the new challenges, I think it might be more effective. I've also learned that I literally cannot verbalize the phrase, "I am behind". I've heard a lot of my classmates say this and I dare not utter the words. Dramatic? Yes. But, I feel that it's a psychological thing for me. If I say, with conviction, "I am behind" or "I'm feeling overwhelmed", my subconscious takes over and is like,"okay here we go, let's stress out and fret and not actually absorb the information!" But, that's just me. Everyone has a different study/motivation style, so to thine own self be true. But, whatever you do, don't panic.

Today's song choice might be a big cliche, but it is no less effective if you take the chorus to heart.

Bob Marley, "Three Little Birds"

Favorite Line...obviously...
Don't worry about a thing,
'Cuz every little thing, gonna be alright

I have been constantly reminding (and sometimes plain ol' convincing) myself that every little AND big thing is going to be alright. I know that's easier said than believed, but it might be easier to believe than we think. If that makes sense. My point is this - it all works out in the end. There's intricacies in between, but take it one step at a time. 


What I wake up seeing everyday :-)
What you would see!




Meanwhile, take a moment to look at some of the wall art around my apartment. These reminders help me stay true to the words above. You should find what works for you too! Oh! And, just for kicks and giggles, vote on your favorite quote in the poll to the right! Happy Monday, folks. 


On the door to my bathroom, clever eh? Shout out to my mama! 


Monday, August 10, 2015

Finding a Better Way - Starting Medical School! (also Music Monday #26)

White Coat Ceremony Day
Last Monday, I began a journey that will surely shape me professionally and personally for the rest of my life. I began my training to become a medical doctor. I wrote in a get-to-know-me essay that I have no doubt that this experience will make me a more compassionate and patient individual. I'm anxious to delve into to the delicious self-discovery, the challenges and triumphs, and everything in between.

I was in my apartment recreating my own version of Chipotle's Chicken Bowl when Hoku's "Perfect Day" start playing from my YouTube Relentless Positive Thinking Playlist. When she sang the line below, I felt it fitting for today's Music Monday choice.

Hoku "Perfect Day"

"I'm in the race, but I've already won
And getting there can be half the fun."

Now, besides the fact that this song was essential on the soundtrack of one of my all-time favorite movies, Legally Blonde, this line also delivers a poignant message (as does the movie, by the way). It perfectly summed up how I felt after assembling bar stools for my apartment, submitting my first official assignment, and making dinner. I'm easing nicely into this new phase in life, and I can already tell the journey is going to be just as rewarding and exciting as the destination: MD Island. 

A Note about Home Decor...btw..


Spray-painting my desk
Final Product 
Besides getting to know the awesome people I'll be on this roller coaster ride with for the next four years, it's also been an awesome experience turning this apartment into my little haven of serenity. I went for a beach/nautical theme. I finally understood why Pinterest is amazing, and I can't wait to add little knick-knacks along the way.



 The headboard made of wooden
and an anchor, courtesy of
Hobby Lobby.



The bar stools, courtesy of Wayfair, that I assembled all by myself! 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Think about Traveling

My friend Titus Hamlett recently embarked upon a nature trip where he visited a number of national parks and Lake Tahoe. You can read all about his reflections on his trip here. Now, he's been traveling on a cross-country road trip from Los Angeles to Baltimore, and he swung by Texas to chat with me about being in nature and getting recharged -- see the interview below!

(Pardon the busy intersection noise -- believe it or not the loudest sounds were edited out! If anyone would like to contribute to getting me state of the art equipment, email me!)

Talking with Titus got me thinking about how important it is to find your own method of traveling away from the chaos of daily life to a sense of serenity. You do not necessarily need to travel far to do this. Simply walking around the sidewalk of your home can give you a figurative and literal breath of fresh air. Let the nuggets of wisdom shared in the video be an inspiration to you all!


Sitting atop the jeep that's seen so many miles!




Titus M. Hamlett is a professional psychologist and will be working as a US Navy Officer at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. He is also a travel blogger. To connect with Titus, follow him through www.tituswalden.blogspot.com. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Transition to a New Phase in Life (Music Monday #25)

LIFE UPDATE


Car packed and ready to roll!
Lowe's: Where a Young Adult can be a kid
The past week has been such as whirlwind as I packed up everything from home and moved out westward to go to medical school! It is so nice to drive towards a new destination. It allows you to really take it all in. Would you believe that I've been meaning to finish this post ever since last Monday when I started it?! Time surely flies. Especially when you get inspired to DIY with your new apartment and visit dozens of stores from Lowe's to local furniture shops! Maybe there will be a home decor post once I'm all done...stay tuned,,,

As I officially embark upon this new phase in life, I have been reflecting on what's uniquely different this time. This time, I truly feel a bit wiser. Remember my Quarter Life Culmination concept? It's happening. The thing is becoming wiser, as it turns out, doesn't necessarily come with age, That's the common misconception. It is a choice to become wiser, not  a default. To allow past situations and observations to make you a better person as a result of having gone through them is a daily choice.

When I first left home home to go to college, it was more of a going-through the motions of life. Do not get me wrong, I loved my undergrad experience - the good, the bad, and the organic chemistry - as much as the next person. However, I just feel that there can be so much power in taking time to contemplate a life path before embarking upon it. That's what I have done here. The decision to pursue medical school took a lot of consideration, and now I'm mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepared to allow this new experience to continue to mold me into the person I'm meant to be. Not just a physician, but a more patient, more compassionate, more faithful individual. Oh, what you didn't know that all those things came with the MD degree? Well, I'm not sure that's the case for everyone going through my program, but I have no doubt that's on the curriculum for my life.

(On an academic side note, for my young scholars out there - if you're going to take a year off, and you have the opportunity to pursue a master's degree in a related field in the meantime, I'd do it. Also, for my young scholars out there, if you have any questions about your academic path/timeline, feel free to contact me! jasmin.aldridge@alumni.duke.edu.) 

Music Choice for this Monday


A friend of mine once said, "with change comes excitement, new friends, and new journeys." (Can you quote someone before asking them? I kinda just went with it. I'll ask him later...) But this simple yet powerful phrase speaks volume to life's transitional experiences. It is such a mix of excitement and natural apprehension, of new friends and old, of an uncharted, yet familiar journey. So, here begins the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wayfare of how Jasmin becomes a patient, compassionate and faithful physician. So many glorious lessons and blessings behind, as well as before me. I have a clear space for growth. Which brings me to my song selection for today: Dixie Chicks 'Wide Open Spaces'. I used to sing this song at the top of my lungs when I was 9, and as I traveled last week, I sang it in my head. It wasn't a solo road trip - I don't subject people to my unique singing voice in confined spaces.


This song for me paints a vivid picture of setting out on your own for a new phase in life. My favorite line pretty much sums up how I'm feeling about my own:

"It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed"

~Glow and Tell Challenge Update~


Day 14
Post Day 21
Lastly, I wanted to give a final report the Glow and Tell Challenge I participated in. (Pardon the puffy eyes in the pics! In my defense, a) it was late each time they were taken, and b) IT HAPPENS)

It's been 21+ days of using Mary Kay's Botanical Effects day and night, and I can honestly say my skin feels so soft! As we do get older, it is important to take more tender care of not only our minds and souls, but also our bodies - from within with the foods we eat to without with the products we apply. I encourage anyone to find what works well with them and their unique body. Learn how to properly love the skin and body you're in, and, embrace the wellness! 

Well, until next time, my friends, be well and always vote for peace and love :-)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Smile (Music Monday #24)

Practicing yoga in nature,
old pic - not from this morning's class
Hello blog-o-sphere! First off can I please just say how incredible it feels to do yoga in the morning?! Words cannot describe. I forgot the feeling! I ended up going to the morning session today rather my usual Monday early evening session because a dinner got switched from Saturday to Monday. It wasn't until after I confirmed my attendance at the newly set day that I realized this change would mean I would miss my last yoga session at the studio before I move! Naturally, I was bummed. For like, 24 full hours. Then, I remembered the Monday morning sessions that I usually didn't intend.And, like I said - it's just a different feeling doing yoga in the morning versus the evening. Even though it wasn't what I originally planned on, it was an invigorating change, once I welcomed it.

Which got me thinking about "things not going according to plan". It's easy for me to go with the flow of change with things like yoga sessions or even having to defer entering into medical school, like I did last year. But, with some other things - not so much. Not literally but quite figuratively I feel like I leave a comfort zone kicking and screaming in other areas of my life - especially when it comes to personal growth, relationships, and such like. We often hear that God opens doors for us. Over the past couple of months, it has become abundantly clear to me that He also emphatically closes - nay, SHUTS, doors, too. Which is not as fun as an open door, trust me. So, what do make of these disappointments or unexpected setbacks? What do you do when you feel discouraged or in a rut? I've not quite figured it out, and something tells me navigating through those waters is different for everybody. So, why not just smile? What else are you gonna do?

I'm not advocating smiling to hide your pain. I think repressing painful emotions is a sure way to have them erupt at the most inconvenient times. Conversely, smiling in spite of the pain requires a subtle strength that facilitates personal growth. I'm convinced that smiling is a better way of coping. So, smile. And enjoy TWO song suggestions for today.

Kirk Franklin's "Smile"

Favorite Lines
I know God is working, so I smile
Even though I've been here for a while, I smile
*******************
Sure would hate to see you give up now
You look so much better when you smile, so smile 

And, here's another one. Which, I may or may not have already used on a Music Monday post before...feel free to check, I'm not going to at this moment. 


 Vitamin C's "Smile"

Favorite Lines:
But, you get what you give in this life that we live
And all that you do come back to you
Life, it ain't easy, it's so tough, it ain't easy,
So, whatcha wanna do, whatcha wanna do
Put a smile on your face!

It's plain and simple, but not easy. Takes practice and diligence. So, what puts a smile on your face? 

Lastly, speaking of smiling. Here's my Love the Skin You're In (aka Glow & Tell Challenge) Update:

I have been using Mary Kay's Botanical Effects skin care products for 12 days now, and I do think there's a bit of a glow there! Maybe it's the lighting. You be the judge. But, I can definitely say that my skin feels SO much softer and smooth! It's just very refreshing to have a skin care regimen with products where you can almost immediately tell the difference. Morning & Night - cleanser, toner, moisturizer. Twice a week - skin mask! It's takes 5 minutes, tops, and it's just so refreshing. 
That's my health & wellness tip for the week. Whatever products you choose, just stay consistent! 

And, don't forget friends, smile :-)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Finding a better way to... Loved the skin you're in!

Hey guys! I am participating in the Mary Kay Glow & Tell Challenge. That means for the next 21 days I will be using their Botanical Effects skin care products day and night. I'm so excited to embark on this journey! It's got me the about how much we should all continuously find innovative ways to love the skin we're in!


Introductory Video 

Basically Day 1 Before Photo

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finding a Better Way to... Live in the Moment (Music Monday #23)

I know today is technically Tuesday, but I kind of like the idea keeping track of all the Music Monday posts, so here we are.

Today's tune comes from the ever-thoughtful curbside prophet himself, Jason Mraz. I first heard this song sometime this Spring semester while working on my thesis. It was an instant gem added to my "Relentless Positive Thinking" YouTube playlist. (By the way, I highly recommend having "Relentless Positive Thinking" YouTube playlists that you listen to...relentlessly.)

I revisited this song yesterday as I began to reflect on transitioning into a new month with a new perspective. I just love starting anew and new beginnings. It's like the sunrise of each day, a fresh start. I get this momentum of transition each time the first of the month rolls around. I'm moving later on in July - so that will be a major transition for me in and of itself. As I begin to finalize the details of my move and tie up loose ends here and there, naturally, I begin to feeling completely overwhelmed. How to deal? Take every task one step at a time. Lamenting time past and fretting over the future warrants nothing more than more lamentation and frustration. Thus, I present to you a beautiful reminder of how to "live in the moment"...


Jason Mraz "Living in the Moment"

Favorite Verse:

I'm letting myself off the hook for things I've done
I let my past go past
And now I'm having more fun
I'm letting go of the thoughts 
That do not do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone


And there are plenty more nuggets of wisdom embedded in this song. I have to remind myself to discard non-supportive thoughts about the past, present or future at any given circumstance in life. It's definitely a lot more fun that way. Besides, isn't life meant to be more abundant? In hot yoga yesterday, I recognized a poster that said, "Presence heals." True words. After all, the a present is a gift! ;-) PUN INTENDED and RELISHED. Live in the moment, my friends. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Have a Quarter Life Crisis

I turned 25 yesterday, and let me tell ya - the months leading up to this have been one of the most emotionally challenging points of my life - filled with uninvited transitions in a couple of my relationships, newfound doubts and fears about my future plans and old insecurities rearing their ugly heads. The scene was set perfectly for a quarter-life crisis. A complete meltdown hinging at the depths of despair and hopelessness in every area of life.

For more on quarter-life crises, see Paul Angone and Jenny Blake's take on the concept.

On June 25th, I just bawled my eyes out. On the day before turning 25, I entertained the most negative, defeating thoughts one could ever conjure about the status of my future and my lack of personal development progress. It.was.bad. But, then, I listen to Rod Stewart's "Forever Young". And, the one line that resonated with me the most at that moment said the following:

 "Down whichever road you choose, 
I'm right beside you, win or lose, 
forever young." 

And, for the first time since hearing this song years ago, this line really made me think about God.

When I was younger I have always considered this song to be a letter from a parent to a child, which I still think it is. But, having gone through some of these tough life lessons, I learn more and more about how being a child of God means just that. This is my parent, my Heavenly Father, saying to me no matter what happens in life, I'll never truly be alone because He's always with me. He can send people into your life to convey this sense of love and connectedness, too, when your eyes are open to it. Sometimes with your actual patents, or friends, or even yoga instructors. And, if you happen to be someone who doesn't have a relationship with God or doesn't believe in God, please ascribe this to that undeniable higher power that we all can sense and feel. There's nothing worse than feeling completely alone in the world. For a brief moment on the eve of my 25th birthday, that's how I felt. But, then I was reminded in the most intriguing way that in fact, I am never alone.

That's when it hit me: what if the "Quarter-Life Crisis" could actually be a Quarter-Life Culmination? A comprehensive compilation of all the lessons and blessings you've accumulated over the years. I liked the idea so much I made a video about it. See below!


Culmination means a compilation of everything up until a certain point. So, I intend on sharing all the things I've learned up until this point in life with all of you. Throughout this season of transition and new beginnings and stepping out into the unknown, I invite you to join me on that journey! What have you learned along this road of life so far? Please share!

Oh, and as promised, "professional photos"! hahaha
Would you buy real estate from me?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Be Brave (Music Monday #22)

I was reading through an old journal post of mine, and it said the following: "A broken heart grows back stronger, not harder, but more resilient, more able to love extravagantly and to withstand love more powerful than you can imagine. Because when you allow your heart to heal properly, you're also nourishing its growth." I know right?? So deep!

As I've been going to through my own season of healing this past semester, I've come across some really poignant messages of encouragement along the way. It is so interesting how love and relationships are the common ground upon which all humankind can meet. We all can relate to what it feels like to love and what love lost feels like, too. It binds us altogether in this human experience. We were created for relationships. Of course this extends beyond romantic relationships, but those are no less important in our daily lives though sometimes I think they can get a bad rap. What is it that makes us so cynical towards the idea of being vulnerable in relationships? What is it that makes us so afraid to keep trudging forward and to try again? I'm not judging because I've harbored such feelings, as well. But, at what expense?

Sociologist Brene Brown (link to her iconic TED talk is above!) has done extensive research in this area. Also, recently I was recommended this book  discussing how to love deeper and well. I think our apprehension and discouragement comes from a widespread societal fear that is bred by the media. Negative expectations bring about negative experience, and vice versa. Which brings us to the ever elusive conundrum of "which comes first?" It could even be rooted in a primal self-preserving instinct to not get hurt. I don't know that there's a clear "answer", but it's worth the mental exercise to figure out what your own particular hangups and tendencies might be.

If there's one thing I've learned about myself throughout these relational trials, it's that I'm the type of person who takes the risk to fall in love and to love deeply. That might be a way to also hurt deeply if love isn't reciprocated, but I'm finding that you "cannot selectively numb". I feel it all. The joy, the excitement but also the pain and despair. And, then again, the hope and the love. You can't feel some emotions and not the others. God gave us this full, diverse spectrum of emotions to truly experience life. To dare to feel is to dare to live fully.

So, with that super long prelude, I encourage you to jam out to one of my personal all-time favorites, "Brave" by Sara Bareilles.
My favorite line is, "Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in."

I listened to this song on the way to a second date once, and trust me it is very fitting for pumping yourself up for allowing romantic relationships. (It is also very effective for running that last mile - I can attest to this!) So, go boldly towards whatever it is that you're wanting but might be afraid of. Whether it be telling someone how you feel, or ushering in a season of singleness to move past hurt and embrace self-discovery, or some beautiful combination of both, or something different altogether - I wanna see you be brave!

Join me in this spirit of hope, faith and love. What helps you be brave? 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Allow: Music Monday #21

The impetus of change can feel overwhelming - especially when you're finding it hard to go with the wave of change. A long time ago, I wrote a blog post entitled "The Art of Letting Go". It wasn't until recently, however, that I have been learning The Art of Allowing. I truly have come to understand what this means in my life. Sometimes we make decisions that takes us into the unknown; sometimes others make decisions that impact us greatly. Regardless the source, in order to allow something new, we've got to learn how to peacefully let go of the old. And to release with gratitude seems to be a powerful way to allow the new.

I heard this song a couple of weeks ago. This wasn't my first time hearing it, but this time, the last chorus really resonated with me:

Thank you Providence
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you, thank you silence

Earlier this semester, when my stress levels were peaking trying to balance work, school and life's daily challenges, I made a point to walk. Now, usually I prefer to run to work out - especially that nice time of year in Dallas where the weather isn't totally sizzling hot (It's called AprMay, I'm pretty sure and it only lasts about two weeks, in total...). However, around this time, I felt the need to slow down. Slow everything down. My pattern of speaking, my racing thoughts, even my workout. Walking through this trail near my house, I took it one step further and turned off my music (...or maybe I was listening to some talk on YouTube...or maybe an audio book, but I digress); I made a point to get completely silent. And, I realized that it is in those silent, meditative moments of nothingness that we can receive clarity. Clarity of thought, clarity in decisions. (But I admit, I wasn't completely "unplugged" and I took these photos - see below!)


  


This silent walk and many after it have helped me to regain perspective. Sometimes we get disappointed with how things turn out in life - or at least how they currently seem to be turning out. Dreams unfulfilled can really make us feel disillusioned. Nevertheless, we can be thankful because these events have the potential to yield a serene feeling of knowing that everything happens the way they're supposed to - it's Providence. You never know which one of life's little miracles are at the next step. Sure, when you're stuck in between, you can feel a little hesitant, unsure, doubtful. But, just wait. Be silent. Proceed on. And, above all, be grateful for life's beautiful journey.


Alanis Morissette's "Thank U" Lyric Video


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Finding a Better Way to ... Just Go For It!

Helloooo blog-o-sphere! I'm back! As I've mentioned previously - and to any and everyone I've come in contact with in the past few weeks - I had to take a hiatus from blogging while I finished up grad school. I'm officially a Master of Public Health! (I'm pretty sure that's the correct title, but don't quote me on that.) Nevertheless, I have learned so much about myself and about life over the past few months, and I just can't wait to share the insights with you all.

But, first, I have an exciting surprise!

A little bit over a year ago, a friend of mine posted this video on my wall. About a year after that we showed this same video at an annual event encouraging young girls at my church. This past semester, I've really delved into these spoken word videos for much needed inspiration. Last month, I got the opportunity to interview the spoken word artist himself! Allow me to introduce to some and present to others, writer, actor, spoken word artist Jon Jorgenson! Jon is pretty awesome, and he shares tons of inspirational content on his blog that can help you find your own inner awesomeness. And, he along with others share really encouraging videos via The Anima Series YouTube channel. In our brief chat, he discusses the notion of taking chances and making moves in your life. Listen to an audio of Fridays with Friends interview below!


So, the long and the short of it is, just go for it! Like when I took the chance as a hopeful fan to email Jon for an interview, for example. Whatever it  happens to be in your life at the moment, try it, act, I dare you to move! Action is how we find out what we're good at and how we nourish our God-given talents and gifts. What inspires you towards action? Please share in the comments - I want to hear your thoughts!

Special thanks to Jon Jorgenson!
Jon blogs about learning from the past, noticing the present, and creating the future. Find more from Jon, including to book him for an event at www.jonjorgensonblog.com. And, ping him on Twitter @jonjorgenson!

Welp, until next time, guys!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Finding a Better Way to Start the New Year

Hello and welcome to 2015 my friends! You want to know what is so crazy? Well, besides the fact that I haven't posted a video or blog post in SO LONG, it's crazy that we have now entered into the "into the future" time frame presented in movies. You know how like in Click with Adam Sandler, the "future" is 2017? That's only two years from now! I find that interesting.

Anyhoo, this is one of my most favorite times of the year. NOT because of this dreadful wintry weather, mind you, but because it represents a new beginning. A chance for reflection and for starting anew. Last year, a few friends and I were having dinner and started discussing the effectiveness of setting a one-word New Year's resolution. The idea is to choose just one word that will define your year and all of your goals and aspirations associated with it. Last year, my word was flow. I really tried to go with the flow of everything that was happening in my life, as it was happening. And, believe me, A LOT of change occurred in my life during 2014. Most totally awesome, some not so much, but all for the better.

So, what will it be for you this year? A New Year's resolution? Or a New Year word? (See the poll to your right, just for kicks!)

I've been really contemplating what I want my word to be for this year. And, after much reflection and after having a breathing meditation with a few very important people in my life yesterday, I have concluded what Jasmin's 2015 shall be all about: intention.

I want to be intentional in my thoughts, words and actions. In how I relate to others and myself. In everything that I do, I want my intentions to be clear to myself and others. I'm just beginning to embark upon what this means for me in all of the important areas of my life. I encourage you to do the same. And, once you figure our your word, please share it with this community in the comments below. It's helpful to have a cyber support system, trust me! I'm so excited for what 2015 will hold.

So, to kick us off, I want to present to you all my latest Fridays with Friends video. I got the wonderful opportunity to interview an old friend and upcoming actor, poet and trainer (talk about talent), James "Fluid" Bradley. In this short video he shares with us his concept behind his "Mind. Body. Fluid" motto, and it's just so wonderful - watch it for yourself! Just three minutes of your time! 


As soon as I get them, I will give you more links to connect with James and everything he's doing with his brand. Can't wait!

Well, guys, it's been nice catching up. I promise I won't be a stranger to this blog this year. In fact, I intend to post weekly - even if just a picture, just one thing. (See what I did there? With my word, and everything? haha so clever) So, 2015 is here, are you ready for it?