30 May 2016
Tags: balance, change, choices, Desiree, doctrine, dogma, energy, faith, grateful, gratitude, happiness, happy, healthy-living, journey, kindness, life, love, magic, mindfulness, obligation, overwhelm, path, peace, peaceful, personal reflection, promise, solutions, the brightest side, transformation, transition, vertigo, wellness, zen
I’ve been feeling a bit sick from the vertigo of transition. The forked snake tongue on the road ahead feels daunting as the deep dark forest just after dusk. The feelings of obligation overwhelm my waking hours and the guilt that I feel pushes down on my shoulders and keeps my pace like a snail.
Change and transition is when the real magic of life happens. The varied opportunities that lie ahead excite me to my soul bone and I’m throwing myself down the path and feeling open to wherever it may lead. The solace I have gifted myself has made my own authentic voice more confident to speak up and be heard. I am grateful and hopeful for what is to come.
It’s all about how you look at it. Attitude is everything.
After a lifetime of negativity and toxic truths, I decided to take a leap of faith and start living on The Brightest Side. It took strength, confidence and self-love to let go of the personal dogma engrained so deep in my habitually chaotic brain. So, I sat with the questions instead of demanding the answers. I focused on solutions instead of problems. I reevaluated all the varied doctrine I had held tight for so long. The process of trying to empty myself of programmed mental and emotional responses and open up to new, authentic thought came from a place of pure self love. Pure self love comes from a realization that you really want to be happy and tend mindfully to yourself. The key to my happiness has been consistently letting go of expectations and outcomes and letting it all unravel one glorious moment at a time.
Letting things be what they are and not what I am expecting or hoping for has been a labor of love and worth every effort.
So, after 4+ years of writing this blog I am transitioning my effort and energy to living permanently on The Brightest Side where I will continue to write about my journey, but also write about how others can make their own promise to live life with positivity and kindness both to themselves and others.
I hope you will join me and together we can enjoy being at peace with our lives paths.
Sending love to my dear Desiree who took the above photo of me during a weekend on the beach
28 Apr 2016
Tags: blog, energy, grateful, gratitude, happy, help, journey, knife, labrum, pain, reiki, surgery, therapy, yoga, zen
At first I thought awakening my spiritual energy would help me become more calm and zen. So, I dove in head first, took courses in healing, began focusing on my nutrition and did my first 48-hour cleanse, became a yoga teacher, got certified in Reiki, bought a Reiki table and started writing a blog about my journey.
I learned a lot, but I wouldn’t say I automatically became an enlightened being. After I took a breath, I realized I may not ever actually teach yoga. I sold the Reiki table. I decided that all of this was great for me personally, but was not going to be my new career path, at least not in the way that I had imagined it.
We are all born with everything we need to live a happy life. Imagine that. It’s inside you right now. You have every tool necessary. So, what is holding me back? What is holding you back?
Life. Circumstances. Obligation. Responsibility. Injuries. Pain. Fear. Guilt. All of it is holding me back, but now I acknowledge it. So, now it becomes about how to undo and let go of those things. But, getting to this point of naming and understanding the shackles binding me was an important process. And, the more I learn, the more I understand how much more I have to learn….
What have I done? What did I start? This whole journey has shown me just as much heartbreak as it has healing. This has become a process of unlearning, relearning and learning it all over again.
…over and over and over and SNAP!
I tore my labrum right off the bone and the cycle that I had been living in suddenly changed. I went to Urgent Care, had an X-ray, saw an Orthopedic doctor, had an MRI, took some time off work, found out I had to have surgery, filed for Medical Leave from work, had surgery, went home to heal, got lots of help and here I am. It feels like it all just happened in a fog, one thing after another, and now here I am 5 weeks post-op and in the thick of painful physical therapy, sitting around with ice packs and popping big horse pills to help dull the pain.
But even in times like this we have a choice. We can chose how to heal, and while choosing how to heal I found some things to be grateful for.
Without the last 5 years of intense introspection and this mindful poking at my spiritual energy, I may have crumbled under all of this physical pain and struggling. Without the mind-body-spirit connection I have started, I may have suffered from overwhelming emotional pain along with the physical. But that’s not how I chose to heal. My body knows just what to do if I let it, but it was my pride that was struggling through this healing process, so I gave it some space to try and figure out why.
Instead of feeling deflated that I had to ask for help (which I certainly did), I realized the validating side of it. I recognized that it takes a lot of effort for people to replace what I was doing to keep my family healthy, safe and clean. Validation often comes in interesting forms. I was able to see that even the little things that I do each day (that may seem monotonous and meaningless) are important to those two sweet little girls that depend on me and my ability to do each one of those menial tasks. Put all of those tasks together and you see my life, my responsibilities, and my joy.
I took a moment.
I took several moments laying there in my bed as a patient with wounds and meds and ice packs. I thought about the human-ness of it all and how this is just part of my journey. I made more of the moments in-between and I let gratitude for all of the love being shown to me absorb into who I am.
I throw a lot of energy into feeling pride of accomplishment and the thrill of independence. I believe the Universe sent me this lesson to slow me down and make me re-evaluate my connection with others. I had to go under the knife to rise above just a little bit higher. And for that I am grateful.
13 Mar 2016
Tags: habits, happy, healthy, hotblack, inspire, journey, love, preparing, unknown
Preparing for a journey into the unknown is not easy to do. What do you pack? What do you expect? Well, that’s the thing about the unknown, you just don’t know.
So, bring a positive attitude, dress comfortably and just start walking. This is your journey and these are your choices. Walk with a purpose and dream with intention. Venture into the unknown with the child-like anticipation that it will all turn out exactly the way it is supposed to.
Preparing for your journey…
What makes you happy? Bring that or do more of that.
Who do you love? Bring them or call them often.
What keeps you healthy? Do that more.
What calms you down? Bring some of that or keep doing that.
Who inspires you? Call them often or bring their book to read.
What makes you feel bad? Stop doing that.
What stresses you out? Stop doing that.
What unhealthy habits do you have? Stop doing that.
It’s doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, it just has to be.
Don’t master the things you don’t enjoy and don’t neglect the things that you do.
Gratitude to hotblack on morguefile.com for the photo above of a little girl just beginning her amazing journey
05 Mar 2016
Tags: awakening, calm, change, discovery, happy, imperfection, journey, patchwork life, peace, promise
It was four years ago today that I decided to make positive change in my life in an effort to become the best version of myself. I’m grateful for my journey and I’m hopeful for what is to come. If the time has come for you to start your own journey, it may be comforting to have a roadmap to follow. I have created a 3 step outline of how my own journey has unfolded and I hope these steps will help you begin to define and discover how to navigate your own journey. I only claim to be an expert on myself, and I encourage you to become an expert on yourself. My hope is that what has worked for me will inspire you to design a roadmap that reflects your own journey.
1. The Awakening
The realization happens that change is necessary. You may or may not experience the beginning of a breakthrough. The signs showing up around you can be anywhere from violent to subtle. You make a decision to make change. The decision can just be to get started. The focus on exactly what needs attention possibly comes clear, but may unfold in time. The most important thing to do in this stage is be open to whatever comes next. You may feel a surge of energy and a strong desire to explore and learn, or you may just begin to feel calm and open. Be mindful and accepting of your feelings.
2. The Discovery
You begin to pinpoint the areas of your life that need changing. You begin to develop a stronger focus on how to approach them. You begin to explore and learn which vehicle(s) will suit your needs: mindfulness, yoga, piano, music, hiking, art, kindness…. as you begin adjusting to change. Your senses begin to take in and process information in a new way. Colors are bolder, music is sweeter, smells spark vivid memories, you may feel hyper sensitive in every way. Now is a good time to begin to be even more mindful of your thoughts and feelings in an effort to discover how to make positive change. Stay open to change and unattached to outcomes. The less expectations you place on yourself and your experiences, the easier this process will flow, and although it may not be easy, it will be worth it.
3. Finding Your Calm
It is now time to adopt a new normal, incorporate new habits, and accept imperfection. It’s time to live life happier and keep awakening and rediscovering in each moment. The more kindness and love you show yourself, the more love and kindness you will be able to show your loved ones. There is no finish line, so don’t search for it, but instead enjoy the feeling of a new beginning.
Every journey is unique.
Appreciate your own, distinct patchwork life.
Find your peace.
Enjoy your calm.
13 Feb 2016
Tags: Anna Funder, brave, catastrophizing, expectations, grateful, Henry Kissinger, humility, lesson, magnificentizing, mess, narcissism, occhiolism, process, rainbows, selfconcerned, storms, strong
Plot twist: My story isn’t always calm. But, it’s my story to tell, and in my own way.
The key to my own happiness has been consistently and mindfully letting go of expectations and outcomes and letting it all unravel one glorious moment at a time. Letting things be what they are and not what I’m expecting or hoping for has been a labor of love and worth every effort. Being grateful and seeing the glass half full leads to feelings of peace, pleasure and calm. But, instead of finding the strength to be grateful, often we settle into feelings of entitlement which leads to bitterness, sadness, or frustration. Both of these ends of the human experience spectrum can be born from both chaos or calm, the reaction is always in the hands of the person enduring the circumstance. Even if the pain and the struggle are real, we all process emotion and produce the resulting behavior according to our inner process, motives and our needs in the moment. And that is human.
We all find a different lesson in the same mess. So, what’s YOUR process?
One choice is catastrophozing (an irrational thought process leading us to believe that something is far worse or much more intense than it actually is) a situation or outcome and I wonder if this behavior serves people well or if it is simply a negative attention-getting strategy. We often create a happy-chaos or good-madness just to be surrounded by drama. Some people exist better in crisis mode, or at least feel more relevant or needed when there is a problem to solve.
The opposite of catastrophizing is occhiolism (the awareness of the smallness of your perspective) which may help you stay more grounded and capable of navigating the authentic storms when they pass through your life. Or maybe the opposite of catastrophizing is magnificentizing… it all depends, and it’s all ok, just let it go. It’s really not about you, no matter how much it feels like it is. Too much self-concern can overwhelm a person to the point of having no room left for humility. Too much narrow focus on your own problems creates a warped vision and experience of reality. (Google synonyms of “selfconcerned” for a more detailed list of the mean and negative words that this practice can lead to… spoiler alert: narcissism)
“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure” Henry Kissinger. So what becomes of the coal that cannot stand the pressure? It becomes dust, even though it had the natural potential to be a diamond. It’s not always easy to stay present and let go of the urge to fall apart and catastophize, but think of the potential for that little piece of coal that was able to grin and bear it… it becomes something that cannot be broken… But, sometimes being broken is human. “She was brave and strong and broken all at once” -Anna Funder
So, imagine yourself happy and let go of expectations. What is your current process? If you begin to be mindful and more aware of your process, will that lead to more moments of calm? There will always be storms and there will always be rainbows. The key is to find the lesson in the mess.
31 Jan 2016
Tags: dream, gift, now, present, promise, simple, storyteller
The gross anticipation of a new year may be a false promise of a new start.
The holiday season may fill you with a child-like anticipation of opening up a new gift. Will it be what I asked for? But, before you unwrap this new, exciting gift, it sits like a beautifully wrapped promise under the tree with a big shiny bow and the hope of a dream fulfilled. Maybe you’ve worked all year to secure your place on “the nice list” with the hope of enjoying your reward and now the anticipation of opening it and making it yours is almost too much.
You toast with champagne on new years eve and feel the buzz as you anticipate the countdown to a whole new year filled with promise and new beginnings, but then you wake up hungover to the same life you left the night before realizing that you are only one day older and the same old effort is not somehow all of a sudden enough just because the calendar has flipped.
I have yet to see a task too simple for people to complicate. I see people putting a lot of energy into making things hard instead of letting them be simple.
I do think this new year is a gift. When you open a gift, if you think whatever is contained in that box is going to change your life, then you have already set yourself up for failure. My problem is that gifting all of this “stuff” is not a gift at all. Maybe this year we can consider gifting time and experience instead. But why wait? Why does the calendar have to dictate when we decide to make a fresh start and give each other a gift? I would rather receive a thoughtful gift on a random Thursday that has deep meaning and love than a diamond necklace on a holiday, but that’s just me. I would much rather be given the gift of my loved ones being present.
We are the ones who give meaning to our lives, we shape our own reality. This year, take control and get better at making your life good. Become a master Storyteller of your own story. Whatever you do, just be, right now.
photographic reminder above courtesy of pippalou from morguefile.com
10 Dec 2015
Tags: expectation, heart, John Mayer, Mary Oliver, mindful, revitalize, sorrow, triad
Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No, it won’t all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good
– The Heart of Life, John Mayer
They say bad things tend to happen in threes. As ominous as that may sound, I’ve experienced these superstitious threesomes on more than a few occasions. But, I wonder, do bad things really happen three in a row, or do we get caught up in negative thought patterns and seek out more bad after the first one appears? What if we changed that?
What if we simply let ourselves focus on one sad occurrence and show it proper respect on it’s own? What if we could be open to feeling our feelings and discover what purpose that feeling is meant to serve us? I believe the energy that you put out there attracts more of the same back to you. So instead of saying, “When it rains, it pours”, actively and mindfully notice the “rain” and dance in it. Endure the experience with the strength and fortitude that is your birth right. Before you say “I can’t…” maybe try a new way. Before you blame a self instigated negative pattern on an emotion, pause to question how that is serving you and remember that “the heart of life is good”.
Our human experience allows us to feel and revel in so many different emotions that we often miss the opportunity to actually be aware and sensitive to those perceptions. So many missed opportunities to feel our feelings without judgement (good, bad or otherwise) because we are too caught up in forcing culturally learned thought and behavior patterns attached to those emotions. Why do we not question some of these norms that spin us off into a negative divergence? These are the opportunities for small changes that can have major impact on your overall wellbeing. Gather your strength and create more positivity.
So, for my dear friends who have been hurt and saddened by the heartbreak of my recent triad of sorrow, I wrap my loving arms around you and hope you can find peace. I will see them each as a separate loss, feel a bit somber, reflect on my relationship with you, and wish there was more that I could do knowing full well you all have to deal with your own grief in your own way. I’m here with an open heart and two willing ears should you need to vent, cry or just chat with a friend.
Instead of just accepting every melancholy cultural expectation attached to loss, I challenge you to get in touch with your own human emotions and sort through them in your own way and in your own time. Allow yourself to feel, don’t think, just feel. These experiences do not define the person you are, they are a part of the story that you create for yourself everyday.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” -Mary Oliver
gratitude to StefaninLA from morguefile.com for the beautiful yet somber photo above that fits so well with my message today. Namaste.
06 Dec 2015
Tags: assumption, expectation, intention, promises, snake
It was all just one big misunderstanding. I really just didn’t know, or at least that’s what I tell my middle aged self that is just trying to be as happy as possible without making anyone else miserable.
There were so many things I didn’t know that I didn’t know about getting older. I did a lot of assuming along the way, maybe had a little too much faith in some things and disguised it to myself as hope that everything would turn out like the end of a tear-jerking, problem-solving, life-lesson-learning movie. But real life is not lived in 2 hour movie chunks and “half the promises people say were never kept, were never made.” ~Edgar Watson Howe.
You know what people say about making an assumption….
So here we are, mid-life. I may be a bit wiser than I was a decade ago, but I don’t feel much smarter. Maybe I have a little more patience, or maybe I just have a higher tolerance for ignorance. When you are force fed the same drivel and balderdash for half a lifetime it’s possible to develop a tolerance to it, like a daily dose of serum to counteract the inevitable bite of a poisonous snake. You do what you have to do. But, what do I know?
What I do have is permission. It’s a gift I have given myself. I have granted myself the permission to make myself happy even in the midst of all of the unhappiness and intolerance I often feel around me. I have allowed myself the time and space to sort through half a life of perceptual errors and mountains of guilt given to me directly or indirectly by a life lived hard. Years of trying to do the right thing and please the wrong people has given me quite the pile of sorting to do. It seems that each time I climb up to a peak on Guilt Mountain, I see another off in the distance that beckons me forward.
It was all just one big misunderstanding. You don’t arrive at mid-life knowing what you want and feeling ready to take on all the responsibilities, even if you were sure you would. You fumble through your days with good intentions, feeling sometimes exhausted and unsure of the decisions you’ve made. It seems we all endeavor to make it seem that we are exactly where we want to be, doing it all with ease and, of course, flawlessly…. but if you are looking at someone else’s life through a lense of expectations and assumptions, then you are not seeing them clearly. It’s like constantly photoshopping reality. It may look prettier, but it’s just not natural.
If you know the snake will inevitably bite, then it’s smart to drink the serum. It’s smarter to get the hell away from the snake. But what do I know?
gratitude to paulabflat from morguefile.com for the above photo
03 Dec 2015
Tags: Helen Keller, hike, home, mountains, nature, path, prairie dogs, ridge, wander
I went on a nice hike today. I got bundled up and took a long walk down a beautiful path leading up to a ridge off in the distance. I made the decision to make it to that spot before turning back. Along the way, I had time to take in the breathtaking mountain range in front of me and listen to the rustling of the hundreds of prairie dogs making themselves busy all around me.
Most of the time when I hike or spend outside where the mountains are in such plain view, I focus on their majesty and let my mind wander and dream. But today, I was far more focused on what was immediately surrounding me and all that was happening along this nature’s path. Being new to Colorado, I’m not very used to coexisting with prairie dogs and I started to think about how amazing these creatures actually are. They symbolize an invigorating community spirit and how much can be achieved by working together. They instinctively know what takes many people years to learn, if they ever do at all. They know somewhere in their little doggie guts that there is strength in numbers and they are most likely happiest and feel safest when they are surrounded by others like them. I love to see them standing together in the sun or kissing, cuddling and grooming their little furry loved ones as they come up from their cozy homes to get some fresh air.
Their underground wonderland that I will never see makes me realize how much can lie right under the surface even if you never know it’s there. I imagined them scurrying through their elaborate tunnels beneath my feet preparing their next meal or caring for their young. I imagine they take great pride in their surroundings and take the time to do the maintenance necessary to accommodate for their extended family so everyone feels comfortable. They seem to understand that a strong sense of family and a bit of self-nurturing and hard work can be rejuvenating for the soul.
Eventually, I had walked long enough to reach the ridge only to realize that there was another ridge beyond it off in the distance, but instead of worrying about what was over the next ridge, I decided to turn back and spend some more time with my little friends on the prairie as I walked back down the path.
During my hike I felt surrounded by so much beauty and love. Today I got out of the house to remind myself what I wanted more of at home.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
29 Nov 2015
Tags: authentic, doctrine, dogma, enlightenment, happy, judgement, justifications, mindfully, rationalizations, raw, risk, self love, self-reflection, Spiritual Gangsta, vulnerability
I’m letting go of the personal dogma engrained so deep in my habitually chaotic brain. I’m sitting with the questions instead of demanding the answers. I’m reevaluating the doctrine I’ve held so tight for so long. The process of trying to empty yourself of programmed mental and emotional response and open up to new, authentic thought comes from a place of pure self love. Pure self love comes from a realization that you really want to be happy and tend mindfully to yourself.
I’m sorting through the figurative boxes of old, abandoned trinkets that I saved all these years for some reason or another. These are the parts of ourselves that we never put out on the shelves for visitors to see, the sacred bits and pieces that may stay secret from even our most intimate partners in life, and the raw justifications that we create and censor.
There is a level of spiritual vulnerability that we can approach within ourselves yet may never reveal to others. Some things are only meant for self-reflection. I don’t want to know how some people feel about some of the parts of me. It takes a true Spiritual Gangsta to let that stuff be taken out and tossed around in front of another person. You risk judgement of your enshrined inner truths and stories that you tell yourself over and over so convincingly. But, with the right person and the courage to reveal these exclusive rationalizations, you may receive rescue, not ridicule. The choice to reveal should not be taken lightly. The decision of whether or not you sort through those inner junk drawers of doctrine in a meaningful way and with pure healing intention is ultimately yours. The gifts of self-reflection and enlightenment should be treasured instead of measured.
gratitude to keencarleen on morguefile.com for the above photo
26 Oct 2015
Tags: breathe, Dalai Lama, Eat, kind, list, mindful, no, now, play, self-kindness, sleep, top 10, unplug, vote, water
As the Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” I believe he was not just talking about being kind to others, I believe he was talking about being kind to yourself. Kindness has been very much on my mind lately and I’m trying to live what I’m learning and practice what I’m preaching. I’m trying.
Lately life has been a strategic game of priorities vs. enjoyment. I’m trying to get all the important stuff done while still including some fun for myself, not always an easy task. Truth be told, none of this is possible if the self that you use to perform all of these life tasks is not functioning at optimal levels. We need to keep self-kindness at the forefront in order to accomplish anything else. So, for that reason, consider the things that you do to take care of yourself. I try very hard to not allow the self-care items on my daily to-do list be the things that get ignored when time is running short. Always make time for yourself. Always.
So what do you do to show yourself love? Here are some simple things that I do to show kindness to myself that make a big impact on my ability to feel at peace. Because when I feel angry, sad or disappointed, I’m not as likely to show myself any kindness. It’s an ongoing circle and balancing act of kindness, responsibility and effort.
Here are the top 10 things that I try and do for myself everyday…
1. I drink water. I try to drink as much water as I can everyday. The days that I don’t make it a priority, my body feels different and I always regret it.
2. I breathe. I never hesitate to take a moment and just breathe for a bit. I stop what I’m doing, fill my lungs with air and let it out slowly. Breathe.
3. I play. Whether it’s with my dog, my kids or just being silly with a friend, I always feel better when I let loose and just play for a while.
4. I say no. I don’t let guilt get in the way of allowing myself to say no if I feel like it. I don’t always have to have a good reason, I just have to give myself permission to not do everything.
5. I unplug. I like to put my phone on silent and turn it over so I’m not tempted to check it. Unplugging leads to being present, and being present leads to enjoying the moment.
6. I sleep. 7-8 hours. Every night. Period.
7. I say thank you. When someone does something nice for me, whether it’s big or small, I make sure and say thank you. I make sure and show that I am grateful.
8. I speak my truth. I’m not one to mince words, I tell it like it is. Speaking my truth makes me feel good.
9. I eat mindfully. I pay attention to when and what I’m eating and I make a major effort to be as healthy as possible. It often takes a bit of extra effort, and sometimes self-control, but in the end it’s worth it to pay attention to what I put in my body.
10. I vote with my feet. When I am present it means I want to be there and it shows people that I care enough to make an effort. I show up. Excuses are easy, but when I know it really matters, I make an effort to be there.
What’s on your list? Have you done any of them today? There is still time, but now is the best time. Now.
gratitude to 5demayo for the perfect photo from morguefile.com to show how lucky we are to be able to vote with our feet
19 Oct 2015
Tags: change, comfort, control, interwoven, lifetime, moments, patchwork, quilt, quilter, story
I am a Quilter. I am creating my connected moments one at a time, weaving them together to create a beautiful and intricate story representing people and places and moments that come together to resemble the story of my life. My patchwork will show varied times of balance and divergence and then the piece when I find center. These are all moments stitched together into one big interwoven quilt: my lifetime.
Peace comes when you can create and string together more moments of calm and begin to brush away the times of aversion. It’s about learning to create your own reality in a space where you can quiet the chaos that life brings us regardless of how many calm moments we can stitch together and enjoy in a row. Life can be messy, life can be beautiful. Look to nature to see that often even the moments that seem vile and disgusting are usually necessary to bring about change. But, it’s the varied colors, stitches, patterns and binding that create interest and make your story your own.
Imagine your quilt with all of the moments of your life strung together and interwoven into a beautiful flowing adornment of comfort that tells the story of you and the ones you love. The people closest to you will have significant presence on your quilt and the places you go will be pictured there as well. This is what keeps you warm on cold nights and protects you from the chill.
What experiences are you wrapping yourself up in? Do you like the look of your life’s quilt? Does it represent what your heart calls out for? Are there changes that need to be made as you create the next piece of your patchwork? You are in control. You are the Quilter.
gratitude to ronnieb on morguefile.com for the above photo of the quilt
11 Oct 2015
Tags: acceptance, calm, compassion, ego, empathy, journey, kindness, manifest, Michael Pollen, needs, organic, Oscar Wilde, peace, radical
What if we all practiced radical empathy? What if we could understand and share the feelings of another on an organic, fundamental level and we allowed ourselves to show profound appreciation, compassion and kindness in every way possible? What if we could take that extreme level of compassion and apply it to our lives? Three ways of manifesting and expressing this kindness would be toward yourself, kindness to others and kindness to the earth. How closely could you align to this idea? Keep in mind that part of this process would be showing kindness to yourself, so there is no need to be perfect. “Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Oscar Wilde
With a deep acceptance of the state of the world in general and the ability to have sage perspective of concepts like ego, we can achieve kindness to the self. On so many levels, kindness expressed to yourself can liberate feelings of anxiety, guilt or obligation and beyond. Enjoying self empathy is so much more than taking a break, a vacation or even getting a massage. At so many points we get in our own way of feeling calm and enjoying a feeling of peace. We convince ourselves that we are not strong enough or capable enough and opportunities to be happy or enjoy life simply slip by. Being kind to yourself includes accepting things the way they are and letting go of the outcome. The tighter we cling to controlling an outcome, the further away it seems to slip. If we can learn to truly let go, we can show ourselves the most organic, radical kindness. At the same time, inserting the radical part of this equation means understanding how to create a foundation of love for yourself and getting primal about satisfying your needs and desires. When you marry these ideas, you can reach a deep level of self-care.
Kindness is the act of showing the love you feel. Showing kindness to others becomes easier when you lay a strong foundation of self love. When you genuinely feel good and can let go of the guilt often attached to enjoying a calm state, you can begin to show kindness more easily to the people around you. Showing kindness is elemental really. We are how we treat each other. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama
Are you always as kind as possible? If you express kindness in even the most basic everyday interactions, it not only feels better and helps you enjoy a flow state of calm, but it gets passed forward to those on the other end of your gentle kindness. But, I don’t practice kindness so it will come back to me, I enjoy the gentle look on people’s faces when they receive it. Seeing people happy and relaxed makes me happy and gives me hope. Try making your everyday acts a bit more kind and see how it effects you maybe even more than others.
It’s amazing how many times during each day we have the opportunity to be kind to the earth. So many of the choices we make throughout the day a chance to express your values. From the products you put on your body to what you chose to put on your plate three times each day, we have so many chances to show our morality. We have so much power over our actions which is ever present in the compassionate activism related to our food, our practices, and our world. “The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.” – Michael Pollen The choices we make demonstrate how we exist within our environment. Imagine what else is possible with kindness.
Practice kindness, make mindful choices, own your journey. What if radical empathy was the new black?
children know radical empathy, thank you Tori for showing me what it looks like in the photo above
21 Sep 2015
Tags: Aristotle, calm, Dalai Lama, happiness, happy, kindness, peace, self-care, self-kindness
When did liking yourself become a rebellious act? When did taking care of yourself become something to feel guilty about? How can we possibly take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves? How can we ever be a proper role model if we don’t model how important it is to value yourself?
We all play our own unique role in this grand village raising our kids. We all teach them different ways to live and the many different paths to follow. But, for me, of all the lessons I am capable of teaching, how to love yourself and stand strong and brave are the lessons that my heart and soul are best suited to teach. I want to teach my children to be kind by showing them how I am kind. I want them to internalize the importance of being nice to yourself just as they are learning to be kind to others so it becomes something they value throughout their lifetime.
So why do some people find it so hard to show kindness to themselves? Those who know and understand their needs and can swiftly and adeptly cater to them should be revered! What a wonderful trait it is to know yourself well and understand what makes you happy. How beautiful a mind that can take it all in and sift through to make their own distinctions and then respond accordingly. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristolte I find that those who can take it all in, know what they need and then act on it are the happier people I know and I believe that is because they understand the importance of self-kindness. Whether it be an evening walk in the crisp fall air, a massage or not accepting a thought that gives you pause, knowing what your body and soul need to feel calm and at peace has become a rare, hidden talent in today’s world. Being kind to yourself is the kindest kind of kindness and we need to become experts at it as well as make time and space for it.
Just as the meaning of life has always been vague, the definition of happiness is purposefully left cloudy so each person can reimagine it for themselves. For me, kindness is a major component of happiness. I enjoy being kind to others and living as a kind citizen of the world. This means being mindful of myself and my environmental footprint as well as trying to satisfy my needs while reaching toward my dreams. That’s a tall order and somedays happiness seems like a lot of work. But, just as with everything, a bit of forethought, planning and creativity seems to be worth it when you get to enjoy the spoils of your efforts.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” -Dalai Lama
Gratitude to hotblack on morguefile.com for the beautiful photo above
05 Sep 2015
Tags: blame, chakra, emerge, everyday, excuses, grow, happy, heal, journey, life, lotus, meditation, peaceful, perpective, reiki, smudging, yoga
What I think…
Happy is better. But, happy can be complicated.
I’m going to find my happy no matter how many bumps I find in the road. I’m learning new ideas and starting to feel them sinking in more and more deeply as the journey goes on. Most importantly, I’m internalizing that happiness is an inside job.
All of the “if I only had …. then I’d be happy” and the “it’s really his/her fault that I’m not happy” are not real. Reexamine those.
Using excuses and blaming other people or situations is futile. It’s all about perspective. It’s all about accepting your path and your reality. No matter what you believe in this moment, you hold the reigns and you control the outcome. Or maybe you believe in fate, but the framework of what fate means to you still grows from your conscious. It’s all up to you.
You may frame a less-than-desirable outcome as a disaster to linger and fester over OR you can see it as an opportunity to grow and a chance to take a step toward a better future. The only one who suffers from your anguish and funk is you. The person (or place or thing) that may have contributed to your state of being in this moment is far more focused on themselves and their own funk. Let them exist in it, you have the beautiful opportunity to create your own reality. You have the choice to create your own happy.
What I will become…
Peaceful. I long to create a life that feels peaceful and calm. I want to feel love flowing through my house and my relationships. I want to master the tools that work for me, but never stop learning and growing. I am and always will be a Seeker. I want to die hungry and curious because there is too much to ever learn or know in one lifetime.
What I know…
Life is magnificent. Life is to be enjoyed.
Happy is possible. I deserve to be happy.
What I am…
I am a Wellness Coach. I’ve studied many of the healing arts such as yoga, meditation, Reiki, smudging, chakra balancing, and so on, but I am not a Healer. I guide and empower people to heal themselves. Healing is an inside job. As much as I would like to help others or take on their pain, each person has to learn how to heal and grow in their own way and in their own time. I have a passion for guiding people to discover what will work for them, but everyone has to do the work for themselves. Roll up your sleeves people, there’s work to be done.
The photo above (by mrmac04 from morguefile.com) of the lotus flower reminds me that even a beautiful flower can emerge from muddy water… everyday.
14 Aug 2015
Tags: accepting, attitude, be, boundaries, breathe, control, expectation, flow, judgement, moment, multitasking, observer, observing, outcome, peace, power, present, relax, respect, skill, triggers
Being present means living in the moment. Being present means enjoying right now instead of replaying past events or role playing possible future scenarios. There is a time for each of these to take place, but when it’s time to be present, it’s good to be able to relax into the moment at hand. It’s a skill worth mastering.
Our ability to be present depends a lot on having good boundaries. Your boundaries should be intentional and unapologetic. Keeping good control and understanding of what you want and need helps you to stay “in the moment” and enjoy more. Having weak or undefined boundaries makes you more likely to be passive or let others define them for you. Taking responsibility for yourself avoids the opportunity for others to take control of us. At the same time, respecting other’s boundaries will demonstrate how you want to be treated. This means often letting go of our attachment to outcomes and need to control each result. Inner peace comes from letting the outcomes naturally play out in each moment without judgement or attachment. Being present means paying attention to yourself and whether you are trying to alter the moment and outcome instead of just observing and accepting it.
When you add judgment, comparison, or competition to the present moment, you are no longer being present. If you can let go of what you think “should” be happening or what “might have been” then you can more easily let go and enjoy being present. There will be enough time to lick your past wounds later. Trust that you can handle this moment, you deserve to enjoy what’s happening now and you will be capable of juggling whatever is thrown your way next. “Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure” -author unknown
Do you have a mind that constantly races in every direction? One way to bring yourself into the present is to learn how to quiet your mind and focus on what matters right now. Taking yourself out of the moment and becoming an observer when you begin to feel anxious or fearful may help you to gain insight into whether or not this moment really requires that response. Fully experience this moment until it’s time to move on to the next. Being an observer of yourself may help you learn more about what triggers those moments of fear and anxiety. Knowledge is power. Observe and breathe…
The moments are going to keep happening. Fighting against the moment does not make it go slower. Each moment comes when it is supposed to come. Take a big, deep breath in. Now let it out slowly. You either took the time and felt present enough to enjoy that breath, or you rushed through it to see what was next. Each breath happens, quick or slow is an illusion and a judgement that you put on those moments. Time never speeds up, time never slows down. Even if you fight against the present moment it will still happen and still move at the same speed. Change will happen, change keeps coming. No matter how hard you try, you can only breath in OR out… never both at the same time. Each breath comes when it is time.
Staying present means realizing that you can only do one thing at a time. Whether it be work, pleasure, obligation or otherwise, multi-tasking with either your body or mind is just not possible. Being able to do several things in quick succession with great ease should not be confused with multi-tasking. Complete one thing, then move on to the next.
Let time move and change and flow while just being within the movement of each moment. The less expectation of the next moment, the more you can fully enjoy the present. Reflection has it’s time and the process of learning involves thinking beyond the moment at hand and there will be time for all that too. But, when you can live and breathe in the now….. just be.
15 Jul 2015
Tags: authentic, Colorado, happy, peaceful, the brightest side
It’s not about someone else discovering you, it’s about you discovering yourself. It’s not about getting noticed, it’s about noticing. The world starts to feel different when you let go of stressors that don’t serve you like judgement, obligation and guilt. You don’t just start to see the brighter side of things when you make the decision to be genuinely happier, you see the brightest side. It’s a truly conscious decision that you have to make over and over consistently, and with absolute confidence. Being decisively committed to your own happiness allows your inner light to shine.
I made an authentic decision to create positive change in my life. After years of hard work, growth, discovery and deep reflection, I feel confidently optimistic about the path I have put myself on. I knew that in order to build a life filled with things that make me happy, I had to first dismantle my existing life to the point where I felt lighter and better able to become who I wanted to discover. So, I sold my house and most of my belongings and moved to a place that I had always wanted to live, Colorado.
It was a complicated couple months as we sorted through belongings deciding what had value, served a purpose or felt sentimental. We held an estate sale, garage sale and sold several items online. In the end, we were left with the essentials and packed our lives into a 16 foot rental truck.
It’s been 2 weeks since I became a resident of Colorado. I’m not sure if it’s the crisp mountain air, the light refreshing afternoon rains, or the new zen patio I set up the minute I got the keys to my new place, but I’ve never felt so calm and peaceful. The easygoing lifestyle combined with the welcoming, friendly people have made me feel very at home. With a lighter schedule and beautiful sunny weather, my girls and I have been able to spend long summer days exploring our new home and surroundings. We’ve been enjoying each other in a whole new way. My girls and I have truly savored this gift of time with each other and I know they are appreciating their more relaxed and happy mom.
Instead of struggling through stressful, less-than-ideal days and feeling stagnant in my life, I decided to take a leap of faith and look on the brightest side, and I’m so glad that I did.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself” – George Bernard Shaw
gratitude to koan for the beatiful photo above from morguefile.com
08 Jun 2015
Tags: believe, Boulder, change, Chicago, Denver, happy, journey, memories, normal, Phoenix
I’m not leaving because of something you did wrong. It’s not you, it’s me. From your beautiful summer nights to the birth of my two daughters, I leave here with so many beautiful memories, too many to list. And, I’ll be back to make more memories as a visitor, for at least a while. I’m not moving away from something as much as moving on and trying to let go of who I have been here. This journey to find my happy place has vividly pointed out what doesn’t make me happy. I’m still working on figuring out exactly what does.
I deserve to be happy, feel comfortable and grow. I deserve to reconfigure my normal. You can’t go back, but you can go forward. The only way to change is to change the way. It’s all about the journey.
When we met 25 years ago, I had no idea that I would never be able to stop thinking about you. I considered coming here for college and was accepted to the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1994 as a transfer student looking to make big changes and relocate to somewhere exciting. Even though I chose Phoenix at the time, I always wondered what it would have been like if I had made a different move. I’ve been back several times over the years, and it always feels more like home than anywhere else.
The pull to give you a try has now taken me over and I’ll see you in a few weeks to start my next chapter. Now, I know you have a lot going on and a lot of people here to please, all I’m asking is that you show me kindness and support. I’m not in a hurry, but I would like to see if my future is here. I’m feeling confident that you will give me a sign and show me the way, not let me wander too much from what could bring me happiness. I believe in you.
See you soon,
gratitude to dharder on morguefile.com for the above photo
19 May 2015
Tags: agree, alone, park, play, seesaw, together
Jewel and Joy are sisters. They love to play together. It’s fun having a play mate right in your own house, but sometimes Jewel and Joy want to do different things. It’s hard to always agree on what to play.
One day, Jewel went to her mom and asked to spend some time alone at the park. She was tired of playing with her sister all the time.
So Jewel went to the park without Joy. She spotted the seesaw and jumped on! But the seesaw is not as much fun by yourself. As she sat on the seesaw unable to make it move, she wished her sister was there with her.
Just as Jewel wanted some time alone, so did Joy. The next day, Joy wanted to go to the park without Jewel.
When Joy got to the park she ran and hopped on her favorite piece of equipment, the seesaw. But as she sat on one end staring up into the sky at the empty end of the see saw, she realized that the park was much more fun with her sister there.
The next day, Jewel and Joy decided to go to the park, together. The both ran and hopped on the seesaw and enjoyed how it went up and down and up and down! They laughed and smiled as they flew up and then down enjoying the beautiful day, together.
Sometimes together is better, but sometimes you have to be alone to figure that out.
18 May 2015
Tags: choices, health, lifestyle, medicine, nutrition, osteoporosis, positive, prevention, risk, stress, toxins, wellness
Prevention is truly the best medicine. Taking our health seriously and making steps toward wellness before there is a real reason to worry is the smartest way to go. To indulge and ignore is risky, to be proactive and educated can save your health and maybe your life. Your lifestyle can be your best medicine.
Lifestyle medicine means making choices that lessen your risk of illness and disease. The basics of using lifestyle intervention may include nutrition, stress reduction, toxin awareness, and physical activity. The process of incorporating positive choices in all of these areas give you the best chance at preventing many of the chronic diseases that are common in our culture today.
Evaluating and adjusting risky behavior is your first line of defense. To make good decisions you must have the right information, but you also need to be sure about where your facts are coming from. Don’t just reach for what you have been told are healthy foods, research the sources of that food being labeled healthy. Amp up your general wellness competence by making decisions based in scientific research, not big business sponsored mass marketing messages. We need to address the gap between what we know and what we think we know.
A perfect example of this is the need for education and lifestyle management related to Osteoporosis. Did you know…
So the question “What do I do now?” tends to be posed after a person is diagnosed with Osteoporosis, when we could be living a lifestyle which manages our risk and lessens our chances of developing this dangerous condition way before we are at risk of becoming one of it’s casualties.
When assessing your options to create and support a healthy lifestyle, here are three lifestyle choices to consider that may significantly impact your chances of developing Osteoporosis later in life:
1. Calcium Intake
Are you getting enough calcium in your daily diet? Some healthy sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, orange juice. It’s not just about drinking milk and consuming dairy although healthy servings of milk can also reduce your risk. (mayoclinic.org)
Beginning to exercise when you are young and continuing your active lifestyle as you age can be the best way to build strong bones. Combining strength training and weight bearing physical activity is the best way to avoid Osteoporosis. (mayoclinic.org)
3. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
Excessive drinking has been linked to increased risk of bone loss and smoking doubles your chance of bone loss. (webmd.com)
For a long time I thought drinking carbonated beverages caused bone loss, but in doing research for this post I have found evidence that does not support that assumption. Since I’m not completely convinced I removed it from my list and will have to look into it further. So, in addition to making positive change, begin to second guess what you have always assumed about diseases such as this. And please, check my sources and find credible ones of your own because not every medical myth you hear has complete truth to it. Begin to evaluate your life choices, but don’t be hasty until you think them through. For example, many people think that coffee causes osteoporosis. But does it? “Because coffee and caffeine consumption slightly decreases the absorption of calcium by about 4 – 6 mg per cup, coffee has been blamed for causing osteoporosis. In a hypothetical world, this reduction in calcium would lead to bone loss and osteoporosis. Fortunately, in the real world, adding one tablespoon of milk to each cup of coffee consumed would offset any calcium loss caused by the caffeine, preventing an effect on bone quality. By ensuring adequate calcium intake and drinking coffee in moderation, studies show that there will be no increased risk of fractures or osteoporosis.” (www.isagenixhealth.net)
Be smart enough to know which life choices are truly smart and which ones are cultural lore.
So, what else do you think you know for sure? Are you trusting credible sources when gathering your knowledge on wellness? Are you sure?
thanks to where_ever_I_am on morgue file.com for the lovely photo above
thanks to The American Recall Center for the Osteoporosis graphic above
01 May 2015
Tags: balance, coffee, donuts, enlightenment, intuition, journey, spiritual awakening, wake up
So how exactly do I know if I’m having a spiritual awakening? Will I feel it? Will I know what to do? There is no way to measure or verify an exact moment when an awakening begins, or even how it will unfold, so I’m trusting my intuition and going with the flow.
Some people are morning people and some people are not. People are complex and diverse and every spiritual awakening looks different. Some experience their eyes popping open to a brand new revelation and begin their new journey instantly and full steam ahead while others have to rub their eyes and slowly adjust to the light of a new day. But, any way you “wake up”, the important thing is to begin the process when it is presented to you.
When I open my eyes every morning, I have a noticeable transition between the beautiful world of my dreams (which used to be nightmares) and my reality flooding in. I take a deep breath and try to choose a mantra for the day such as:
“Today is a good day to have a good day”
“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”
“Time to make the donuts”
Depends on my mood.
At first, it takes me a moment to get moving, but the two little girls staring at me and breathing their morning breath into my face are not always sympathetic to that. It’s just me and the girls most mornings, so I have to hop to it as soon as duty calls.
I normally have to patiently breathe through those first few moments, set my intention quietly, and rise up before I’m ready. Stumbling for the bathroom, I hear the demands, the whining, the complaining beginning pretty immediately. I remind myself that my girls have just woken up as well and it’s even harder to manage those early morning feelings when you’re only a little girl.
I take a lot of deep breaths in the morning.
And then it occurred to me. This waking up I do everyday is a mirror of the awakening I have been experiencing for the last few years. My awakening is happening a little bit at a time, and I have to work with what I have here in my life. I don’t always have control over when I wake up, when I go to sleep, or whether or not I sleep through the night. So, I have to adapt, adjust, and roll with it without losing sight of my “why” and how much all of this means. There is a lesson in all of this and I trust that I’m learning it in the right time. I’m exactly where I need to be. During an awakening, you may learn things that take your life in new directions. Learning to let go and peacefully flowing with that momentum can be comforting. We only get to do this life once and regret is the worst thing to own.
So even with a few steps backwards along the way and little sufferings peppered in with the beautiful moments, I’m slowly rubbing my eyes and opening them to new possibilities and the idea that I can become a more peaceful and balanced person. I believe the capacity for enlightenment is the same for all people although not everyone is capable of recognizing it. I also think that our degree of feeling awake changes in different moments and states that we experience, and that’s ok.
As with most things spiritual, the act and result of experiencing an awakening is unmeasurable and unverifiable. It’s up to each of us to label and define our own journey. So, whether your eyes pop open in a revelation or you have to slowly adjust to the light, roll with your awakening and be grateful for another day to enjoy it.
Every day is a good day to have a good day, but it’s up to you to make it good.
27 Mar 2015
Tags: breath, future, grateful, healthy, little sufferings, Peter F Drucker, stress
Being healthy can be stressful.
Making an effort to get rid of the stress in my life is really stressing me out.
There are days I think making all these changes to become my best self may be the actual thing making it all harder. It’s easy to sink back into old habits that were keeping me stagnant.
But then I take a breath and reflect on how much good all these changes have brought to me, and how much better the future looks because of all these shifts. The little sufferings along the way teach me valuable lessons and help me grow. And that’s all they are, little.
I believe my future is as bright as my attitude about today. I’m grateful for the past and I’m ready for the future.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it”. -Peter F Drucker
Gratitude to Dedulo Photos on morguefile.com for the beautiful photo above
12 Feb 2015
Tags: control, empowered, expectations, happiness, heartache, honor, kindness, love
Sometimes I see other people having nice, sweet relationships and I think that’s what I should have too. But you can’t always get what you want. Truth be told, several of my most cherished relationships have been tested lately. It has taken a lot of energy to process how I feel about all this. I feel shocked. I’ve experienced some disappointment. But, I also feel empowered. When the supports that you count on, or thought you could depend on, start to fall away one by one, you begin to realize that you can exist despite it all. No matter what my relationships were supposed to afford me (purely by society’s definition of their role) they never cease to surprise me.
People will basically tell you just about anything to serve their own needs if it means enough to them. What I don’t understand is how people can treat the ones closest to them with blatant disregard. I believe every person, no matter who they are, will ultimately do things solely to serve themselves. As I carry on further down this path, I hope to keep becoming the kind of person who can see beyond that type of self serving behavior and honor myself, as well as those who mean the most to me, by making a valiant effort to think of others as well as myself. If I want to be treated with loving kindness then that is what I need to be giving others. Sometimes when others are not showing you kindness is when they need to be receiving it most. I need to consider other’s feelings as much as my own, even if others are not doing the same. I am willing to love the bad as well as the good from those I care about. I am willing to consider how my actions and words will affect the ones I love, but not everyone is strong enough to do that.
I feel like expectations have been the worst things I could have. “Expectation is the root of all heartache” – William Shakespeare As I reflect on my experiences over the last few months, it is my own expectations that have let me down, not the people around me. In the end, it is me who has complete control over how I feel and ultimately how I let things affect me. It will serve me best to simply love what is, not fight against it. I can’t make someone feel differently about me and I can’t force anyone to feel obligated to show me kindness.
And so, I continue down this road, learning more and more about myself, my relationships and ultimately what I want and don’t want for myself. I am in complete control of my own happiness.
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time” -Maya Angelou
photo courtesy of hotblack on morgue file.com
01 Feb 2015
Tags: accomplishment, change, finish line, goal, life, marathon, path, perspective, plan, pride, proud, race, run, Wayne Dyer
Two men stand next to each other at the starting line of a race.
One has been rigidly training everyday at dawn following a set plan of action to achieve a certain time for this race. Each practice run was meticulously timed and outlined. That final number is set in his head, anything less is unacceptable. He jumps up and down anxiously warming up, checking his watch to make sure his technology is ready to track his progress. This is it, he has to do this in a certain amount of time. That finish line is everything to him right now.
The other man stands with his hands on his hips looking up at the beautiful blue sky and takes a deep breath thinking about how nice this run will be on this bright sunny day. Feeling proud of the training he has done in preparation for this race, he thinks about all those other nice, long runs he took on other days similar to this. What a pleasure it has been to set this goal and get outside and run. He’s feeling good about getting back in shape and spending his time doing something positive for himself. The finish line will appear when he is ready.
The race begins. The first man explodes down the path in anticipation. The second man begins to run and smiles at how good it feels to get moving. The race continues on and on while both men have two very different experiences. The first man didn’t notice the beautiful scenery and the quiet calm of listening to your feet create a soothing rhythm as you run. The second man noticed this and more.
The first man crossed the finish line in a hurried frenzy breaking his own record and pumping his fist in the air with pride. His goal was reached and exceeded and this high will last him a while. He gathers his data and heads home.
The second man forgets to notice the clock as he glides past the finish line feeling grateful for the time spent running that day. He takes a few moments to enjoy his accomplishments and shake a few hands of other proud runners around him also basking in the glory of seeing through their intention.
Both men enjoyed the benefits of setting a goal, carrying out a plan and feeling the accomplishment of a job well done and both finished in the same amount of time. But even though they ran the exact same race, they each ran down very different paths. Neither path is right or wrong. Neither path should be judged. But which way would you rather run through life?
Life takes planning, preparation, commitment and discipline. Life is a marathon. You can choose to run that marathon any way you want.
It’s all about perspective.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer
18 Jan 2015
Tags: be, breath, breathe, change, connection, energy, expectations, George Bernard Shaw, imperfect, intention, journey, learn, love, master class, Maya Angelou, mistakes, negative, obligation, perfect, positive, potential, progress, relaxation, story, tension
At so many times during my first 40 years I’ve wasted energy feeling like no matter what I was doing, it was just never enough. We are all human, we crave connection and validation so we often fall into traps of guilt or obligation to satisfy what others need from us. At your core, no matter how much confidence, ability and talent you possess, you have the desire to be loved and feel safe and accepted and will often go against instinct to achieve it. Maybe that’s human nature. But, action should come from a place of love, not a place of obligation. We are all born with potential that we may not recognize initially. It’s time for me to turn off this tap that spews energy in the wrong direction. It’s time to stop pouring myself into the expectations of others and begin to cultivate that energy and direct it inward to myself.
Why do we struggle? We look around to see how others are perceiving us and what they are demanding from us, when at the end of it all, it was only us who created our own story. The minute you stop paddling so vigorously against the current and let go, it will all flow. “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are” – Chinese Proverb
The only constant, the only thing we all have every moment of our lives is breath. Breathing in and out is a universal constant if you want to sustain life. Another universal constant is change. One day, the breathing will stop and your story will be over. Before you get there, change will happen over and over and you will be there to see it all. You are not now the same person you were when you woke up this morning nor will you be this person when you wake up tomorrow. That is life. That is living. Why would you waste a single breath, in or out, taking in or giving away energy that doesn’t align with your true life intention? Do what creates what you believe to be the greatest version of yourself, not what others think will bring you to such ends. Breathe every breath.
Are you becoming who you are meant to be? Or are you letting yourself become what other people need you to be? Can you let go of the negative path to perfection, and start to accept and relish the perfectly imperfect life that is yours to enjoy? “If this is what you are doing with the negative, imagine what you could do with the positive” – Maya Angelou
When you embrace the idea that you will never be perfect, and accept that you will be the perfect version of you, life will begin to flow. Pour your energy into yourself and who you want to become. “Strive for progress, not perfection” – Unknown And, when you have learned all that you can and grown as much as possible from someone or somewhere, it’s time to move on to your life’s next master class. There is so much left to learn, so many mistakes to learn from.
“I want to be all used up when I die” – George Bernard Shaw
Be who you are.
I am again grateful for my friend Shannon and her pretty toes showing us how to truly let it flow
05 Jan 2015
Tags: affirmation, devotion, evolution, inspired, John Lennon, life, love, manifesting, path, perserverance, positive, potential, promising, resolve, wonderment, yes, Yoko Ono
I have another new word to embrace this year. YES! I would like to say YES to more coveted benevolence this year and hold a more positive vibe longer and stronger than I have in the past. Maintaining an upswing of positive intention should be just as easy as resting on a low hum in the more challenging times. In the past, I have resonated in a more negative space, but this promising path I am on is leading me toward more positive things and that takes enduring, steady effort to maintain. I aim to make the effort feel lighter and let the goodness flow around me and through me. Perseverance is well worth the reward and I plan to keep it going.
The word yes has yielded other goodness in the past. The story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono all began with the word yes. Their story is about a young artist named Yoko who had one John Lennon visit her art exhibit in New York City. The exhibit asked observers to climb a ladder and read a word mounted on the ceiling. Only when you ascended the ladder could you make out the word. I imagine John climbing that ladder, seeing the word YES and becoming inspired by this being the peace-loving creature that he was. He met the artist of the installation and the rest is history.
A simple climb representing so much. The trip down the ladder must have been very different than the trip up because you climbed back down with a stunning affirmation in your head. Such a meaningful and inspired work, I can understand why it intrigued John all those years ago.
And the word yes set off a love affair for the ages. Misunderstood by many but cherished by many as well, they were a creative force that significantly impacted our culture. I wonder if they would have had the same result if the word had been negative. Most likely not.
John was an artist himself. He had a beautiful childish whimsy feel to his work. I love his art and hope to one day own a piece of it, but for now I will adore pieces like this from afar….
Love is an astounding phenomenon that intrigues and inspires us all in so many ways. It’s beautiful to think of a love affair beginning on such a positive stride. I want to emulate that beauty and positivity in my own life and find that kind of love within myself.
“We need to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” – John Lennon
I always have been and always will be inspired by these two creative, fascinating lovers. I hope to create that kind of tenderness within my own being. I believe they had such a fondness for each other because they had a deep devotion to themselves individually. Enchanting rapture may only exist in fairy tales, but I believe I can create a marveling wonderment within myself if I stay positive and continue to appreciate a loving and steady resolve that I know I am capable of manifesting.
above photos via bing.com
01 Jan 2015
Tags: abundance, alignment, belief, committment, create, energy, love, new year, path, strategy, yoga
ABUNDANCE!! I proclaim 2015 to be the year of abundance. Abundant energy, love, strength, power, change, and belief! I love a fresh start, it gives you the opportunity to do better, and we can always do better. Each day gives us the chance to begin again, but a new day at the start of a new year gives us the opportunity to completely refresh our agendas and recommit on a new level.
Who’s with me? Let’s create and attract epic abundance! What can you do to begin this new year on an optimistic upswing with a sustainable rising surge of goodness? What are the real, reachable goals you can set for yourself? Name it, make a plan and go for it. Don’t just hope for good change and cross your fingers, map out a strategy to get there, and then get moving!
I have recently committed to getting my certification to be a yoga instructor. Mid-January I will begin an intense 5 month course and by June I will be certified to teach others how to incorporate a practice of yoga into their life. To me, yoga is a progressive and peaceful way to focus on a combined healthy mind and heathy body. As my body begins to change and reform through a committed and dedicated yoga practice, I envision my mind and spirit growing stronger as well.
This commitment for me marks the beginning of more changes in an effort to continue on this path of momentum, strength and growth. I live courageously for myself. I have defined reasons why. Momentum demands action and brings progress. I have goals and I have a plan to achieve those goals, but I also have a mind open to what these new actions will bring. I move forward feeling brave and ready. I crave radical achievement and I am worthy of the goodness I feel it will bring into my life.
I intend on bringing in abundance. I imagine myself bringing in great bounty and satisfaction. I envision copious amounts of progressive triumph.
“The most effective way to do it, is to do it”. – Amelia Earhart
“What if I fail? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” EH
Project the path you are on right now in front of you and imagine where it is leading. If that path is not in alignment with what you want and need then what do you need to do to make change? Shift your focus from trying to find yourself to actively creating yourself. Create abundance, actualize progress, manifest joy.
Happy abundant new year to you all!
above photo courtesy of ManicMorFF on morgue file.com
21 Dec 2014
Tags: brave, buddha, choice, grow, Hero, lessons, opportunity, tragedy
Life is amazingly persistent at teaching us salient lessons along the way. We may not always clearly recognize them, but, if you slow down, be still and let go during times that have something to teach you, there is much to be learned.
“The problem is you think you have time” -Buddha
Sometimes it takes a tragic major life event to shake things up and break the routine just enough to help us rethink our world. What seems like tragedy may actually be an opportunity. Growing and making the best in the aftermath of a terrible loss will not change what has already happened. Using a dark time as a springboard into better times will pay homage and honor those who have been hurt or lost. When faced with any type of personal tragedy you always have a choice.
Often the most essential lessons about ourselves are presented in the most somber times. These are times when we stop and reevaluate our lives, our purpose and our plan. We feel heavy and burdened, not ready to take on any of life’s obligations. And just like learning, we all grieve in different ways. There is no right or wrong way to experience a loss just as their is no right or wrong way to learn a lesson. Life has a way of being gently abrasive. Life will find a way, but we all have the choice to absorb it independently, in our own way. The point is always to just internalize it in the end. Whatever you think the lesson is, it is. Being able to see the opportunity for growth means you are on the right track.
Troubling or challenging times is the perfect juncture to question dogma. Be brave and grow in the face of hardship. Experience profound movement in times of struggle. No need to be a hero, just be one for yourself, quietly, in your private moments.
15 Dec 2014
Tags: challenge, forward, happy, health, impact, movement, new year, outdoors, questions, tomorrow, wealth
I challenge you to ask yourself some tough questions.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” -Fred DeVito
Sit with yourself and have a conversation. Take your life’s temperature, see what you find. As we approach the new year, consider how you want this one to be different. Just changing a few small things can make a big impact. If you really want things to be different then make it happen. Here’s a few ideas to get you started, but you may want to add a few of your own.
What do you think about more… your wealth or your health?
Health, cared for and adored, can lead to wealth, but abundant wealth on it’s own seldom leads to health. Which do you spend more time thinking about? Which occupies more space in your thoughts? Which do you feel is more important? Are you happy with your answer?
Can you find more time to enjoy healthy activities in the great outdoors?
Fresh air and movement. That’s what you need. The stale air of the gym and riding a bike that never gets anywhere is not my ideal way to get in my exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to take a spin class, but I much prefer to get outside and go for a walk or ride my street bike. Spending time outdoors can be refreshing, meditative and rejuvenating. How can you devote more time to getting yourself out there? Just decide you want to and you will.
Are you constantly trying to morph into something or someone else or are you taking the time to enjoy the body and mind that you have right now?
If you are reading this that tells me a few things. You are alive. You know how to read. You have access to a computer and the internet. You have free time and you use it wisely.
Does it really matter whether or not your measurements match up to societies definition of beauty? Isn’t it more important to be healthy? I challenge you to let go of your finish line and enjoy more present moments. Live happily and satisfied in the body you own right now. That body needs to be healthy, but it doesn’t need to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount to make you happy. Focus on your health, and happiness will find you.
You may not know exactly where you’re going, just keep going… Life never stops or slows down, but you can. We work so hard to create space where we feel comfortable, now find a way to enjoy it. Forward movement is good, just don’t forget to take a breath, look around and enjoy the view. Challenge yourself to make a few changes today so you can enjoy more of tomorrow. The moment you stop accepting challenges is the moment you stop moving forward.
28 Nov 2014
Tags: awakening, Carl Jung, choice, comparison, control, courage, Dorothy, energy, Facebook, happy, heavy, heroes, light, lion, momentum, opportunity, ruby slippers, strength, strong, struggle, Theodore Roosevelt, Twitter
This is the part of your story when you slow down and get real. This is when you choose how you spend your energy. This is your opportunity to live on the other side of suffering.
Under the same force, two people may respond contradictory. Are you a good witch or a bad witch? We have a choice to make each time we come up against struggle and strife. And, we have a new opportunity to respond in each new moment. When you start to tally up favorable, positive moments and feel them happening in succession, gather the strength to keep that momentum going. At the same time, remember your strength and use it if you revert back to old responses. Be forgiving of yourself and show loving kindness to your heart, but demand the strength you know you possess or no one else will. Because if you’re not feeling strong when you move around in the world then it’s time to get strong and stay that way. It’s time to stop making excuses and it’s time to be in control. Are you a hero or a victim? Are you a heavy or a light? Are you strong or….
It’s time to assess and conquer…. inside. I’m not talking about a strong body, I’m talking about a strong spirit and a clever soul. “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” -Carl Jung Being awake can take great strength, so wake up and smell the crossroad. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and handle it.
These are not inner battles we post on social media or overthink and discuss at length with our close friends. Stop getting sucked into the abyss of competition and curiosity. Be on your own journey. Close your eyes, breathe and be still. If you went inside and checked your inner self highlight reel or your soul expressions with the frequency that you check your Facebook account and your Twitter updates then you may be able to pry off the compulsion to struggle through your every moment. It’s ok to take a moment, it’s natural to relax and rejuvenate. It’s healthy to unwind and feel pleasure and it’s even ok if no one else is doing the same or knows about it. Just do it. Let go of self-judgement, conquer the monster of comparison and stand capable in your own stability. “Comparison is the thief of joy”- Theodore Roosevelt
These inner battles are the struggles that we must process over time… silently, with great resolve and commitment. Cultivate discipline, access fortitude. Gather strength and enjoy solid valor. You have it, you just have to decide to access it. Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers or the lion and his courage…. “You’ve always had the power, my dear, but you had to learn it for yourself” -The Good Witch. Just decide you are strong and you are strong.
I believe being happy takes great strength. I know that finding happiness will continue to take courage. I think that being happy and satisfied is nothing to hide or be ashamed of. There is no worthy prize for proving you are the one who suffers the most or has the hardest life. Complaining and bellyaching, sour moods and melancholy are the tools of the powerless. We should never forget or cease to respect how fragile we all are, but no one in the world is going to be as concerned about your moment-to-moment indulgent negative whimsy as you are yourself. And honestly, it’s usually the strongest spirits who experience the most suffering that seem to show the bravest and most unbroken fortitude. They are my heroes and the only ones I will look to for guidance.
If you want to be in my thoughts then make them better, not worse.
27 Nov 2014
Tags: grateful, simple
Sometimes less is more, so just keep it simple today.
There is always something to be grateful for.
Enough is a feast. – Buddhist Proverb
Today I am grateful.
photo courtesy of a2jc4life on morguefile.com
01 Nov 2014
Tags: American Girl, birthday, daughter, dolls, gift, inspiration, Mom, wisdom
Six years ago today my life changed for the better. My identity was redefined and I became a new kind of person. Six years ago today my oldest daughter was born and never before had I felt the kind of love that I now enjoy everyday of my life. Grateful doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel about being a Mom.
So we celebrated! My girls and I got all dolled up and headed down to The American Girl store to have a day of sweetness and suspended disbelief. They each brought their treasured doll along (all four of them in matching outfits) and we treated them to a day of beauty, shopping and fancy dining. Oh yeah, we totally did. We made hair appointments for the dolls, bought matching pajamas for my girls and their dolls and had dinner in the cafe where they have highchairs and table settings for the dolls. It was ridiculously indulgent and my girls were so happy it looked like their cheeks may have been sore from smiling so much. That store is genius. The level of cuteness and happiness was off the charts and that’s a Mom-win.
While I was there, I began to notice the messages that were not-so-subtly being shared. I looked around at the displays of historical dolls positioned in installations of inspiration and noticed how empowering this experience can be for little girls. Written all over the walls were words of wisdom and historical significance such as….
‘Today I’ll use my heart to heal others’
‘Hope keeps my chin up. Family keeps my heart strong.’
‘Good friends are worth more than anything money can buy.’
‘Women fight for the right to vote’
‘Celebrating girls of yesterday and tomorrow’
Between these lovely messages,the dolls arranged in scenes of positive connotation, and the priceless hours of imaginative play that I knew would be born from this experience, I felt like I was in Mom heaven!
And as we left the store, I rode down the escalator with a daughter on each side of me and passed a huge message on the wall that read:
You can do anything!
When I read it aloud to my girls, I felt like this day had been as much of a gift to me as it was to my daughter for her birthday. I’m grateful that I can give my dolls a day of fun and insight that establishes a hopeful outlook and continued playful fantasy well after we bring our treasures home. What a wonderful gift.
Happy birthday Sweetheart, you make my life better.
30 Oct 2014
Tags: alignment, bliss, children, collective, dreams, entropy, individual, passion, reality, walls
How do we stand out as an individual when we are truly a member of a collective? The ones who stand out from the crowd have a mad, insatiable passion to define themselves and live their bliss. These creative beings see potential and magic in the ordinary. They defy entropy and live as though they will enjoy the bliss they manifest with no limits.
Turn down the volume of the world. Just reach in and turn it down. Let go and hear your true inner voice. You will feel the magic, discover your desires and enjoy the bliss.
Those of us who feel an unconditional, radical connection to our children may catch a glimpse of that innocent, authentic patience with life that they are lucky enough to enjoy at that stage and maybe we can find that permission to be so gentle, even carefree, with ourselves. When you surrender to a childlike state, time loses meaning and the stressors of this created life disappear. Who are you in that moment? Is this the quintessential ‘you’ that feels in alignment with your bliss. As we grow we may put up walls, learn self-defeating behavior and trade our playtime for responsibility and obligation. Is this what we want to happen to our children? There has to be a better way.
Now imagine how you would feel if others in your life could hear your inner thoughts about your bliss. Bringing your guarded, private blissful desires into alignment with what you show the world makes an authentic connection between your dreams and your reality. But, what holds us back from truly making this our reality?
What if we could feel certain and confident about standing out from the crowd and living our life of bliss? What would be different if you could exist unencumbered by limits and regulations.
What does your bliss really look like?
photo courtesy of Oleander on morgue file.com
13 Oct 2014
Tags: awareness, capable, dependance, girl, gratitude, inspiration, launch, manifested, power, propel, push, strong, swing
Sometimes I get to a point where I feel like I need a push. Like sitting on a swing waiting for someone to come from behind and give me a big underdog push so I can start enjoying the park more. The little girl in me sneaks out and pouts.
But then…. But then I remember…. I don’t need anyone to push me, I don’t even want to need someone to push me. So, instead I need to shift my focus to the swing, the beautiful day, the warm air rushing past me backwards and forwards, the feeling of pure freedom as I float back and forth and back and forth. If you haven’t been on a swing in a while, go find one and get on it.
I have the power and awareness to create my reality no matter what is happening around me. Dependence is a dangerous crutch. Don’t wait for someone else to push you when you can propel yourself just fine. Being dependent on something or someone will never serve your highest good. You are capable, you are strong.
The lessons keep coming in their own time, one after another. I welcome each one and keep moving forward by my own momentum, no push necessary. I’m moving right along all on my own.
But, that’s not to say you shouldn’t draw inspiration from the ones who touch you along the way. Let the love and kind words of others wash over you while you sit on that swing and feel your own legs begin to launch you. Pretty soon you’ll be swinging all on your own and feel the pride of being independently strong. Feel the gratitude run through you and the pride of creating your own momentum from your own or another’s inspiration.
I’ve manifested all the things in my life that don’t serve me and I have the power to change all of them.
photo courtesy of LCosgrove from morguefile.com
05 Oct 2014
Tags: believe, energy, happiness, Henry Ford, joy, love, manifestation, peace, quest, smile, visualize, wonderful
Life should be wonderful. That’s what I want to say.
Because people have such an amazing capacity for happiness and because it feels so much better in my body than pain, I believe we are meant to experience and dwell in happiness. Happiness feels better than sadness. Happiness is healthier than sadness.
We come in and go out of this world alone, but in between…. In between we get to make choices and design a life. Some get it right on the first try and others have to shape and mold and learn and grow to build a life that they can love.
This is your universe. It created you, now you create it. You are not a visitor here, you are from this earth… body, mind and spirit. If you work with it, and within it’s laws, you can manifest the life and the feelings that you crave. Visualize your universe shifting and molding into what you want.
Manifestation is a strong and capable beast. If you are living a life that doesn’t suit you, the first thing you need to change is your mind. Release the details of how that change will become your new reality and just believe in your real, genuine heart that you can change your situation. Your mind takes the first steps and your body follows. Throw yourself down a path toward happiness, your feet will catch up.
Energy goes where the attention flows.
You can’t change the world, but you can find joy and be at peace with the world you have created for yourself. If you don’t feel at peace in the place you’ve created then it’s your soul’s obligation to visualize and bring in the change needed to become at peace with your life’s path. It’s that simple. Start seeing the happiness that you want as your quest.
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way you are right” -Henry Ford
Feel in your body where you experience stress, pain and sadness. Now clear that slate and recognize where you feel joy, hope and love. Note your results and move forward toward the one that makes you feel more empowered and happy. Feel your body, relax your mind and guide your thoughts toward the things that make you smile. Doing that will change your life for the better, so keep doing it.
I could say that I have a dream to be happy, because I do, but more than that I have a plan.
Here’s my plan:
- Keep remembering that life is wonderful and I deserve to be happy.
- Visualize a blissful situation where I am happy that I would like to manifest.
- Do those again. And again. And again.
And in between I will keep living, keep loving and keep finding ways to bring in more happiness, because life should be wonderful.
photo above courtesy of Scarletina on morgue file.com
02 Oct 2014
Tags: grateful, happy, job, joy, lucky, motherhood, peaceful, smiles, wish, work-at-home mom
When I wake up in the morning, I think about the ones in my life that make my heart smile and that thought catapults me contentedly into my day. I look forward to discovering what I can do to make them happy that day and wonder what they will do to make me smile. The opportunity to feel good motivates me. I like being happy, and I like knowing that I will most likely have some lovely peaceful moments coming my way.
I enjoy making breakfast for my girls and getting us all ready for the day ahead. I pack lunches, organize backpacks and put on little shoes. We say goodbye to our dog and hurry out the door. We listen to music and sing in the car after we discuss the day’s schedule. I do all of these things for my girls, but I also do them for myself.
I consider being a work-at-home mom a gift. It’s a gift for me and it’s a gift for my family. I enjoy being the one who is available to drive kids here and pick them up there. I arrange doctor appointments, activities, holidays and chaperone school outings. I can bring a forgotten special show-and-tell item to school at a moment’s notice and I can be the first mom standing outside the door when the school bell rings. I can take a little girl out for a special lunch for no special reason on any given day of the week and I can grocery shop at off peak hours to make the trip a little easier. I am the depositor of checks in the bank and the filler of prescriptions. I am the 24-hour sick care nurse, the wiper of tears and the Director of The Complaint Department.
How did I get this lucky?
My personal life and my professional life both revolve a lot around making sure people’s needs are met. Having no set work schedule and no office to go to means that I can also cater to my own needs as well. I enjoy being the one who can help out and I’m grateful that I have the time and freedom to do it.
As you revolve around your loved ones, what is your mindset? I could have named all of these activities I do all day long as chores that bring me aggravation and stress, and there are some days that it all does seem like a bit too much. But, even though my days are filled with surprises and life can be messy and unpredictable, I feel a general gratefulness to be doing what I’m doing with my life. There are far more moments of joy than moments of anguish and there are so many reasons to be grateful for this life that I lead.
The best part about my role is that I’m getting better at it as I go. Mothering is a practice. You could say it is the original and most important job in the world. The fascinating part of mothering is that we all do it differently and still do it well. My wish is that more mothers would shift their perspective and take pride in their mothering role and feel less guilt about “staying home” because that is so far from what we do. There is so much joy to be found in practicing Motherhood and I will continue to find ways to bring smiles to the faces that I love so much, it’s just part of my job.
29 Sep 2014
Tags: brave, Fear, goal, habits, happy, media, my happy promise, news
I never watch the news. The news is sad and scary and someone else’s inflated, alarming opinion of what is happening in the world. Since I was a kid I had wished for a HAPPY news report instead of the horrible, depressing broadcast that my father watched every night at 10pm, but unfortunately there was no such show airing. Why did everyone want to know every detail of the heartache and tragedy happening around us? Why do we like to work each other into a frenzy of “poor them” and “what-if”? I care about what is happening in my community and I am concerned with the state of the nation, but I don’t like being bombarded with daily doses of overblown breakdowns of the worst misfortune media could hunt down before their deadline. I also can’t stand scary movies or anything that has Zombies. I’ve spent more than a few nights awake and terrified with horrible Hollywood images in my head and it doesn’t serve me.
I know there is pain and sickness all around me, and I know danger lurks everywhere and I need to be careful and warned. I just enjoy thinking about goodness and beauty more. I enjoy hearing stories about other people’s success and triumph! Even small victories and menial tenderness holds my attention better than bad fortune and struggle. I want to feel brave and free, not scared and confined.
Before I made my happy promise, I was an avid watcher of murder mysteries and cop shows. I loved a good whodunnit and would study the facts and try to solve the mystery. They fascinated me. At the same time, I was experiencing horrible nightmares and bouts of fear. I realized these shows, although mostly fictional, were having a deeper impact than I knew. This terror and uneasiness consumed my thoughts and the cycle had to end. I created scenarios in my head, every situation had a foreboding tone and a bad possible ending. But, when I took a step back and manifested my goal to be happy and feel more at peace, I started to feel change happening. One of those changes included watching far less television. I needed to get other people’s thoughts and images out of my head and start designing my own. I needed to give others less control over my mind space.
When I started filing my time with rethinking my situation, writing my blog, and collecting research from reliable, intelligent sources, I started to feel less fearful. I started to feel more empowered and my momentum fired up and propelled me forward. I felt brave! I noticed my dreams were getting better and my anxious moments were disappearing. I stopped letting others fill my head with scary images and nonsense. I became far more interested in things based in reality and my new perception of what mattered.
Looking back over the last few years since I’ve experienced major shifts in my mind, body and spirit, I feel proud, peaceful and strong. Change takes time and conquering any blockage is demanding. The people around you that truly want to see you happy will step aside and let you hunt down and conquer that happiness by whatever means necessary. Chase your bliss and be suspicious of anyone who tries to keep you from it. If you feel like shifting some basic habits can have major positive ripple effects in all areas of your life, then trust that instinct no matter what others think or say. Believe me, I used to have to justify not watching the news or scary television or movies, but now I just don’t even engage in conversation about it. I changed a simple behavior, enjoy feeling the benefits and refuse to apologize for that. I still manage to know what is happening in the world. I am aware of issues that exist in our society and I manage to form my own thoughts about how they make me feel. I no longer watch the news or any late night cop shows (or zombie movies) and I’m managing just fine.
Habits can be shifted and the results can be sweet.
photo courtesy of pablogv2004 on morgue file.com
25 Sep 2014
Tags: attitude, cycle, gratitude, happiness, joy, mindless, my happy promise, patterns, peace, reprogram, roadblacks, unlearning
Life often feels like a series of repeating patterns that move us along on a conveyor belt. We keep duplicating these echoes until the act is so familiar that it becomes mindless. Our days may feel as though they are made up of a series of many menial, mindless, apathetic actions. The repetition is not the cause for my concern, it’s the mindlessness that worries me. We are proficient learners of things that we believe serve us, and we create intentional roadblocks in front of the things we fear. We settle into habit and become the hamster on the wheel either oblivious of the stagnation or frozen in fear of the unknown. What if the unknown is better? What if the unknown is amazing…
Is this cycle of repetition ok with you? Are you doing what you love? Are you loving what you do? This includes the way you begin and end your day, the way you interact with people, and even the basic structure of your life. Have you taken a step back from this routine to consider whether it’s learned, reproduced behavior being repeated out of ingrained habit, or is it how you truly want to move through your day? Could you unlearn this structure and pattern to create more happiness and peace?
Even more important is the perspective you hold on these repetitive actions. Attitude can turn resentment into gratitude. Point of view can change your perception. Unlearning an automatic response can open possibilities of finding joy in something that has felt like a long time chore.
When I made my happy promise, I began to see the small stuff as integral instead of menial, mindless tasks. When I went from feeling heavy obligation to finding bits of joy throughout my day, I found far more than a happy thought, I found more peaceful moments. I began the process of my unlearning.
There are still plenty of ways that I contribute to my own struggle, my hope is to begin shining a light on those blocks I have put up for myself and begin to unlearn my methods that are not serving me. When I come up against something that causes me frustration or pain, it serves me better to stop and consider the real reason behind that root feeling. If I can extract that cause I may be able to examine, process and unlearn the behavior. I can learn to reprogram.
Unlearning is not just about reconsidering and changing, it’s about completely abandoning a behavior. I need to stop planning what I want to learn and leave space to just be open to what comes my way. I have to be willing to be empty in order to fill myself up with goodness. I realize now that ‘letting go’ is not enough, I have to completely unlearn what I know. I often focus on my ability to let go and get to a calm place, but finding happiness is about releasing the instigating act before it takes hold of me. I want to be able to unclench before a thought or feeling infiltrates my peaceful space. Mindfully examining what part of me responds negatively helps me detach from those feelings. I believe unlearning is the true method that leads to a peaceful mind.
A peaceful mind creates a peaceful world to live in.
We are all born with the capacity to feel love, happiness and peace and the ability to learn and change. Our natural skill to learn comes from the same place within ourselves where we pull the unlearning. Unlearn what no longer serves you and be open to what could possibly fill the wonderfully empty space.
above photo from MichelleBulgaria on morgue file.com
13 Sep 2014
Tags: connected, grandmother, mood, music, piano, pledge
No matter how I’m feeling, there is always a piece of music to fit my mood. I feel very connected to music, it can calm me, excite me, or soothe me depending on what I need in the moment. I love to make my own music, but I haven’t done that consistently for a long time.
I inherited my Grandmother’s piano eight years ago and it’s been sitting quiet most of the time since then. It was the piano I learned on as a little girl and I’m happy to have it in my life. There have been days that I sit down and play all of my familiar tunes or a visiting friend tickles the ivories for a bit, but for the most part it remains a showpiece in my living room.
My daughters enjoy playing our piano too. I’ve started teaching them the basics and I hear them crafting their own tunes quite often. Piano lessons are imminent. I would love for my girls to connect to music the way I do. Music is revitalizing and inspirational and can be a beautifully supportive tool.
As the seasons start to change, I see an opportunity to recharge, refresh and revitalize! I am reaffirming my commitment to kindness and self-care. I have to be healthy, strong and happy to make sure my kids are as well. And, I see the chance to make a new, exciting pledge to get back to making music, so I picked a new song and sat down in front of the piano and began to play. I’m planning to put more piano into my life as a way to soothe myself and be a good model for my girls. While they watch me learn a new song by reading the music and practicing, I’m hoping they will be attracted to the process. This time I chose a song that I can sing and play at the same time and I feel like that act will be a nice way to unwind and relax myself and the girls. Hopefully I can build a nice, new repertoire.
Finding happiness isn’t always about discovering something new, sometimes it’s about rediscovering what you already knew you had.
photo is of my Grandmother’s piano in my living room
10 Sep 2014
Tags: align, awakening, happy, identity, love, manifest, purpose
A strong identity emerges not only from conscious contemplation of your life’s purpose, but also from successfully resolving the developmental challenges that characterize your formative years. Identity may emerge in it’s own time. It may show itself to you while you’re busy following your heart, creating opportunities to enjoy life and manifesting positivity.
So how do you begin the process of understanding who you are and what will ultimately make you happy? Celebrate what you do know about who you are and who you want to become while excavating deeper to discover more that you may not understand yet.
If you are strong enough to be asking these questions, then chances are you have developed a deep rooted belief that you are worth this time and effort. For that, I applaud you. Go easy on yourself as you learn, absorb each discovery and be ready to accept what you find. Use your findings to spring forward and be open to the beautiful things possible when you continue to grow.
The meaning of life is to live. Finding your identity means you can live it in a way that allows your soul to align with every moment. Defining your identity successfully means feeling complete. Feeling complete means strength of character and spirit.
The person who I have been in recent years is having a tough time being completely happy. I’ve learned a lot about what was making me unhappy and I seem to enjoy more peaceful moments these days. I’ve explored my spiritual existence and I’ve learned to meditate. I enjoy journaling and I have a better idea of what kind of mother I want to be. These are all big wins. But I still feel slammed against a glass ceiling and trapped inside an identity that feels tight and restrictive. Maybe I’ve been focusing and working on the wrong parts. Maybe it’s my worn out, misfitting identity that needs adjusting. I’ve moved forward, learned lessons and felt significant growth, but I haven’t redefined myself. I haven’t considered how all of this will inevitably change my identity.
Who am I anyway?
I am what I do.
I am who I love.
I am what I think.
I’ve slowly changed a lot about what I do and how I spend my time so maybe I’m growing out of my identity and should be shopping for a shiny new one. If I redefine who I am, some of these changes and all of this hard work may settle better into place. If conquering an identity crisis is difficult for you, remember that you are possibly doing work that involves resolving deep prior issues of trust, confidence and self-sufficiency. Go easy on yourself and be kind during this consuming process.
For some, the idea of having an identity crisis will denote negativity simply because it’s called an identity CRISIS. However, I think the quest to uncover who you truly are in an effort to align your body, mind and spirit is a noble task and should be commended.
03 Sep 2014
Tags: absorb, anticipation, flow, gift, growth, imagine, inspiration, integrate, journey, kind, majestic splendor, parallel, plateau, receive, reflect, rest, road blocks, spiritual plateau, sunset, taking a moment, tennis, test, twilight
I love sunsets. I love that time of day when the energy and hurried rush of the day begin to calm, the sun drops down in the sky and light begins to fade. It’s that nightly curtain call that gives me time to take a breath and delight in the majestic splendor of the sky as it changes colors and dims. This is my favorite time of day to be outside. I love being able to sit quietly as the sun sets and let my mind wander as I revel in it’s beauty and let go for a while. I like to slip into my thoughts and recommit to being kind to myself. I enjoy listening to music, sitting in deep thought and letting the light disappear around me.
It’s been a while since I sat and enjoyed this time of day the way I like to. Last night, I happen to be outside at twilight and I realized how long it had been since I took a moment to enjoy this opportunity, reflect and slow down. So I did.
As I looked at the sky of purple and orange clouds, I realized that I have slowed down on my journey, even hit a plateau. I longed to feel lifted and inspired. I started to think about what this could mean for me and why I may be feeling this way. There could be a lesson here for me. A spiritual plateau is a place to rest. Or, it may be a test. It can be a time to stabilize, absorb, collect, receive and integrate all that I have learned.
I’m hoping to catch my breath and push farther for greater growth after this rest. But rest is also important. I want to keep growing, use the tools and be in the moment. Resting doesn’t have to mean slipping backwards, it presents a chance to practice what we have cultivated.
Feeling a spiritual plateau can present a great opportunity to take a look around. Maybe you are coming up against something you have dealt with before and have never been able to push through. Are you feeling stagnant against familiar road blocks? Maybe now you have more power to break them down. The journey continues, so break them down or move them aside this time. See the opportunity and push forward, don’t let it pull you under. Your hardest challenges present your biggest opportunities for growth.
And then I started to imagine myself on the other side of this plateau. Where am I going and what is next for me? I started to feel a bit of inspiration and anticipation… could just recognizing the plateau be enough to move past it?
Today I played tennis for the first time in a few weeks. I’ve been taking lessons for a year now and today was the first day of the new session. It was good to feel my strong legs under me after not playing for a while. Last year when I started to learn the game I felt nervous and clumsy, but today I felt strong and ready to play. At the end of last session I was feeling frustrated, like I had hit a plateau. So, as I started to volley, I recalled my thoughts from the night before about how I was feeling spiritually stagnant. I started to realize the parallel between my physical game and my mental game. So I took a moment to visualize myself playing well and set an intention to use thoughtful and mindful swings and volleys. I took my time and followed through each shot. The lessons I had learned over the past year all seemed to click and flow and I played the best tennis of my life. I’m still a beginner, but I felt a confidence today that I haven’t felt since I started playing.
I broke right through my plateau.
So I’m riding the wave after my tennis lesson today, it was a nice little boost for me. I needed that. And now I’m feeling more open to receiving what is next for me on my journey. It’s up to us to see the possibilities available and only you can create opportunities to see things in a plateau busting way. When you feel stuck or stale, like you need some inspiration, just look around and see it… it’s all around you waiting to be discovered.
Every evening gives you an opportunity to reflect. Every day is a new chance to renew a promise or redefine your path. And, every morning is a gift. Tear off the wrapping and get excited to see what’s in store! How would your life be different if you started each day as if it was going to be nothing short of amazing?!
30 Aug 2014
Tags: change, cleansing, EMOs, emotionally modified organisms, evolution, genetically modified, GMOs, greed, manifest, nutrition, power, wellbeing, wellness
I am a voice in the crowd. As I learn more about the world around me and issues that effect my family and loved ones, I see more of the big picture and I am connecting certain issues to try and gain a better, more thorough understanding of our general wellbeing. Most recently I have been thinking a lot about what I am feeding my family and whether their nutritional needs are being met. Keeping my family healthy is very high on my “To Do List”. It was almost 3 years ago that I started to take a longer, harder look at my nutrition, my body and what I was putting in the mouths of my children. I started with myself. Just like being on an airplane when the flight attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting the children with their masks, I had to make sure I was healthy and had a healthy understanding of all of this before I started doing the same with my children. I needed to be healthy and strong to make them healthy and strong.
What I found was that everything I didn’t know about food was keeping me unhealthy. I had been unable to lose the lingering weight after I had my children and despite my best efforts using the information that I had, nothing was working and I was getting more unhealthy instead of closer to my goal of getting myself and my family more healthy. I was so busy with my life and the details that needed attention that getting truly educated about this never made my “To Do List”. It wasn’t until I began learning about nutritional cleansing, the true nutritional value of our food and the dangers of many of the foods on the market that I took for granted as being healthy that I started down the path of educating myself to a healthier state.
One of the scariest topics I have come across is the debate over GMOs in our food and the political battle over labeling them in our products here in the US. I’ve come to learn that the powers-that-be are profiting from people growing and consuming food that has been genetically modified to the point that it resembles something closer to poison than food. People are working hard at their jobs to earn money to be able to visit the grocery store and mindlessly fill their cart with food that is either poisonous or contains little to no nutritional value. It’s fair to say that a significant amount of people have no idea that the food we have been eating for well over the last decade has been significantly altered by science.
Who are we to decide the direction of evolution in this way? For a race of people that like to make their own choices and act on their own volition, this issue seems like a giant step backwards. So, as a member of the collective, the biggest piece of this puzzle for me is that I am not being given the choice of whether or not to consume this altered food. My power, in this regard, has been stripped from me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also pretty upset about the whole process of how this all came to fruition from bullying farmers to get on board to thinking about the long term effects on our precious soil, environment and the integrity of our water supply….. It all has me riled up and has called me to action in many, many ways.
But, as I look at the giant companies involved in this happening and evaluate their obsession with money and securing that money for the future, I see a dangerous trend toward greed, born naturally from our emotional range as people. This greed has become genetically altered to fit the world we live in. This form of emotional evolution is just as frightening and unsettling to me as the issue of GMOs. People are becoming emotionally modified as a result of the world we live in and the experiences we have to navigate through. Our emotions and visceral responses to our environment have been altered through technology and evolution just the same as that first pea’s genetic makeup was altered by the hands of an Austrian Monk. The masses of children desensitized to things like violence because of technology, television, movies and video games is to me as much of a threat as the GMOs that are infiltrating their bodies. Is this modern world nurturing our children’s gentle and kind natures or are they being emotionally modified by the world around them?
Although I am scared for the future health situation because of the missing regulation, sensitivity and outrage in the world of GMOs, I am equally terrified by the omission of sensitivity to violence and the overwhelming inability for people to feel happily engaged in their life. There is an epidemic of EMOs (Emotionally Modified Organisms) and we are the Organisms. This seemingly pandemic disengagement terrifies and saddens me. Put the two initiatives together and you get a world wide epidemic threatening health, wellbeing and wellness in general.
What will you do to balance all of the fears presented by this life we lead, start creating more time for fun, and at the same time act responsibly for the benefit of the next generation? It’s a lot to do, we all have a lot on our plate these days.
Well, I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to learn all that I can while keeping a healthy perspective about the amount of power I have over how I live. I will continue to take a look at my own emotions and understand what the world and my immediate environment has done to modify me. Armed with that information and understanding I can become a better version of myself.
You are strong! You have power! You can make change! You have as much power over your actions and emotions as you do over the food you put in your body and the bodies of those you love. “Whatever you believe about yourself on the inside is what you will manifest on the outside” -Unknown
I believe these concerns are all connected and deserve the same amount of respect and attention. Do your part to make the world a better place for our children, but don’t forget that all of those changes start with you….. every part of you.
picture courtesy of morgue file.com
29 Aug 2014
Tags: grateful, grief, life, loss, sadness, shifts, support, transition
Over the last week, I have watched five of my dear friends lose either a parent or grandparent. It’s hard to hear such news, and it’s even harder to see it in such mass. The idea of transition as we begin a new school year and approach the end of summer always brings about all kinds of change and feelings of uncertainty for what is to come. But this year, the idea of transition has meant major life changes and adjustments for several people whom I hold dear. I thought it strange at first when the news kept rolling in one after the other of these deaths, but I began to understand that life works in mysterious cycles and it is not for me to question these things.
With endings come new beginnings and with new beginnings come possibilities for renewal and new found confidence and certainty that when we can stand strong during times of great change and struggle, we can find ourselves even more powerful and capable than before. As I move through funerals and shivas and showing my support and love to those who need it, I feel grateful. I feel grateful to have so many blessings in my life and I feel grateful to be able to have the strength to show my love to these people who need it right now.
When I was 18, three of my friends mothers and three of my dear friends passed away within months of each other. Six people. It seemed like a thousand. It wasn’t my first experience with loss, but when the waves of sad news kept coming it seemed to be too much to bare these sorrow feelings for all of these people and families. I remember attending funerals and shedding tears with the ones left to pick up the pieces. At that age, it’s hard to process the world changing so much and so rapidly. But now, even though the sadness still lingers after a loss, I know from experience that life will go on and change and flow for those left behind. We accept the love offered to us and feel the emotions as it happens around us. We learn about love and we reminisce.
After a loss, families and friends gather, eat, talk, love, cry, hug…. This goes on for days and the support is necessary and beautiful. And as the wave of sadness subsides, the masses scatter and the loss changes, transitions and settles. Life shifts and people go on. I don’t think we ever accept the mortality of our loved ones, but we naturally gather the feelings, make them a part of who we are and the loss becomes part of our identity.
I hope for you that grief is an emotion that leaves you stiff and sore the next day because that would mean it is not exercised very often. Feeling true sadness reminds us just how human we have become. Moving forward when that soreness fades doesn’t mean we let go of the grief, it means we have become stronger and can more easily carry it with us along our way.
photo courtesy of morguefile.com
16 Aug 2014
Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day… make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.
beautiful words from the movie Jack starring Robin Williams