Lately, I’ve been on a “Melissa” kick.  As I’ve struggled with my stomach issues this past year, I’ve come to the realization that I need to relax more and take time to nourish my soul instead of being so “balls to the wall” all the time.  I’ve been making leaps and bounds of personal progress in the relaxation department – for me, at least.  I still have a long ways to go before I’m in a better, less anxious place, but hey, progress is progress, right?  I’ve started meditating in the mornings, getting back to the gym (even if I’m only able to walk or stretch while I’m there), have been reading books for enjoyment versus learning, sitting pool-side whenever I have a spare hour, and trying out some new hobbies.

However, despite all these awesome life changes I’ve been making, I was still feeling as though something was missing.  But what was it?  As I’ve been learning the art of meditation and mindfulness, one of the main teachings encourages you to really become mindful of your feelings and getting to the root of why you feel that way, instead of just letting the feeling pass or covering it up with a short-term enjoyment.  Something was eating at me, and I was having trouble figuring it out.

On several different occasions, I sat myself down, closed my eyes, and listened to myself to see if I could figure out what I felt was missing.  By digging deep and thinking through the feelings I was having, I determined that I was feeling lonely.  Why was I feeling lonely?  I have plenty of friends, including a bunch of new ones we’ve made since moving, love hanging out with John, and have Boots as my constant companion at home when I’m alone.  So what was it?

10398937_1011030280247_7148_nAs I sat there one morning, listening to my body and thinking about things, a memory drifted into my mind.  It was a flashback right to my college days – freshman year to be exact.  I wasn’t alone in my memory, but instead, I saw the smiling, giggling faces of two of my best friends, Lindsey and Erin.  We were sitting in the tent they’d expertly build (pictured) in their freshman dorm room, drinking boxed wine, laughing, and sharing gossipy girl talk secrets.  As soon as I was back in this happy place, a warm and comforting feeling came over me.  I was so startled at the overwhelmingness of the feeling that the moment quickly passed, leaving me sitting there atop my meditation pillows, eyes now wide open.

Could I be missing girl talk?  The need to drink wine and sit around laughing about boyfriend blunders, who was hooking up with who, and the god-awful curse of periods?  I wasn’t sure if it was that simple, but I was certainly willing to give it a try!  I’ve met some wonderful women here in San Diego, and I certainly don’t see them enough, so what did I have to lose?  Obviously nothing except the weird lonely ache I was feeling that I so desperately wanted to be rid of anyways.

I decided to designate a night to my new-found idea, and told John that I was naming Tuesday my girls night.  “Sounds good,” he said, while concentrating his focus more on the video game he was playing than the conversation we were having, “I can play soccer with JJ on Tuesdays.”  That was all I needed, it sounded good to me!

I decided that for my first girls night, I’d do one of those Groupon Paint Nights – easy, fun, and relatively cheap.  I was pumped.  I sent an email out to all the lovely ladies in my life, and eagerly awaited their responses.  Although everyone wasn’t able to join, three of my friends were free, and as the date approached I became more and more excited!

IMG_1981Finally, after several days of impatience, it was girls night, and we gathered at my house to walk over to the bar together since it was located right downtown.  Almost immediately, within moments of them arriving, that warm and comforting feeling I’d felt while meditating was back in full force.  I’d figured out the cure to what ailed me!  It was just some much needed girl time!  Phew; The sense of relief that washed over me as I sipped on my drink and laughed over girl talk was like a breath of fresh air.  I laughed so much that the next day my abs were sore (granted I haven’t done ab exercises in a while, but hey, sore is sore).  We were hysterical over painting blunders, drunk people around us, and the instructor that seemed to have an attitude problem.

As the night came to a close, the four of us girls planned our next two girls nights that I’m already way too overly excited for.  Next week we’ll be looking at Jess’ wedding pictures and the following week, we’re doing Tie Dye!  When I got home, I was on cloud nine.  And that, my friends, is how a simple paint night rejuvenated my soul.  Just from taking the time to tune into myself, and actually listen to my feelings of discomfort, I was able to uncover a self-improvement that will definitely be contributing to better health and future happiness.

When was the last time you listened to YOURself?  Are there unexplained feelings that have been bothering you?  It might be time to schedule some time for yourself and have a date with your feelings.  Some advice?  Don’t listen to what your rational mind is telling you, or what you think you should be feeling.  Just listen to what your heart has to say and you may uncover a beautiful new way to be enlightened.  There’s nothing more fulfilling than self love, and believe me, you won’t know unless you try.


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