My Self-Love Top 10

votewithmyfeet

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

Plateau Busting Purple and Orange Clouds

sunset greyerbaby

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?!

Live Simply, Think Gently

horse woman TheresaOtero

“Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Wisdom of Confucius

I like to be barefoot, I like to take it slow.  I enjoy riding a bike, and I enjoy being near the water.  I like finding beauty in my life where I hadn’t noticed it before.  I like to have time to think before I speak and I like to feel connected to the ones I love.  I like to spend time with horses and I like to walk my dog.  I like to live simply.

I’m moving more toward a simpler life as I continue on this journey.  I have been moved to clean out my entire house this summer and shed myself of anything that has no purpose or meaning.  I’ve shed the clutter in my house as I’ve tried to clear out the negative thoughts that clutter my head.  With less “stuff” to worry about, I find it easier to live mindfully in the moment and create space to really connect with my friends and family.

I want to feel light, I want to feel fresh.  I want to hear wind chimes and birds singing when I step outside into the cool morning air.  I want to feel unencumbered by technology and start my day with my own thoughts.  I like the smell of hot coffee and the feel of warm morning sun as I start my day.  I want to live simply, but I also want to think gently.

This pull toward a simpler existence has spun my mind in directions it’s not used to.  With a life cluttered with tasks and too much “stuff”, I found my mind was constantly on high volume and there were several thoughts competing for my attention at once.  Living simply is not just about my surroundings and my belongings, it’s about living with more ease on the inside as well.  Being kind and gentle with myself involves an effort in my body, mind and spirit.  Quieting the alarms that have been pre-set for ages has not been easy.  Slowing down and trying to think one thought at a time has been a way to start.  Deep breath, look at the sky, close your eyes.  Exhale.  Move on.

I do love the hardly bearable feeling of craving something that I want so badly that I can barely stand still, but I enjoy the calming, soothing feeling of swinging on a hammock in the afternoon more.  I appreciate the feeling of yugen which is to awaken an array of inner thoughts through mere suggestion.  It is an intense, breathless feeling of inspiration and beauty.  But, a feeling such as yugen is meant to be enjoyed in small doses.  You can’t live in a state that takes your breath away, but you can revel in it for a moment, appreciate it, and find joy.  Thinking gently is about finding a state of mind that you can enjoy and still be a productive, functioning member of your life.

hammock blondieb38

Find balance, seek peace, crave joy.

When you learn to think gently, the volume is lowered and the level of intensity becomes manageable.  If you are kind to yourself and treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love, you may begin to notice more calm feelings and find more space for relaxing in your life.  Gone are the days of feeling guilty for taking a moment to myself.  I’ve reached the age of permission and I’ve earned my right to feel happy just by being born.

We deserve to be happy.  So I’m choosing to live simply and think gently.

 

photos from morguefile.com

Leaning In

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When you bill yourself as a spiritual kind of person you open yourself up to a world of interesting feedback.  This is nothing new for me, I have been this way since I was a kid, always defending even the nerdiest of nerds to the coolest of cool kids even at the risk of social suicide.  I held strong in my convictions even as a pony tailed little pip squeak with hands on hips shaking my finger at the playground wrongdoers blissfully unaware that I was developing my hippie tendencies into a full blown John Lennon, Give Peace A Chance, Birkenstock wearing adulthood.  I was a peaceful warrior from the get go.

You either have the ability to consider other people and their needs in your field of vision or you don’t.  I truly believe it’s something you are either born with or not.  I like to believe I am tuned in to what others are feeling and that I am capable of becoming even better at anticipating what I can do to reach out to them as I would hope they would reach back to me.  Being in tune often makes me wonder how others can live so off key.

I love that I have found a community of other like-minded, spiritual people that I can feel comfortable around who also live a positive, happy existence.  At the same time, I’m confused by people who have adverse reactions to my positive choices and attraction to paying it forward directly into my karmic bank account, and into the goodness and kindness of mankind in general.

I lean into pay it forward opportunities.  I know it’s the right thing to do and I want my daughters to learn the same way.  Whether it’s as small as holding a door open for someone or as important as returning a found wallet completely intact, there are opportunities everyday to do the right thing and even more opportunities to just be kind.

I have found that being happy begins with being balanced and being balanced requires a spiritual understanding of yourself.  Although I have always found it important to be kind to others, I’m finally truly seeing the importance of being kind to myself.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible” – Dalai Lama

On Being Right and Wrong

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It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong.  It’s humbling and uncomfortable to eat crow.  People avoid it at all cost even to the point of driving a dead end point to it’s nonsensical conclusion to avoid being wrong at times.  Wouldn’t it feel better to just give yourself license to be wrong sometimes?  It takes true character to admit defeat, even if only in silence, and create a moment to learn and grow.  It takes confidence and wisdom to concede being right and give way to being kind.  There is more happiness to be found even in the most basic, daily interactions.  I’d like to see what happens when I surrender being right and try listening more openly to what others have to say without feeling the compulsion to counterpoint.  Sometimes the Devil doesn’t need an advocate.

It’s staggering how much your thoughts show up on your face.  (I’m sometimes bothered by how my thoughts translate and can be felt by those around me even if that is not my intention.  I clearly need to work on my poker face)  What is lost in being tenacious about debating your stance?  What is gained in letting it go and allowing yourself to relinquish control?  Which leads to more happiness?  Even the look on your face will change along with your thoughts, but no one controls those thoughts but you.  “You haven’t lost your smile at all, it’s right under your nose. You just forgot it was there” – Unknown

Change the way you process and respond, and the people around you will respond back in a new way.  It’s easier to go with the flow and be open to other’s point of view when you feel engaged and supported by those around you instead of feeling strife and turbulence.  When you change yourself, you change the world around you.

“Be kind to unkind people. They need it the most.” ― Ashleigh Brilliant

myhappypromise

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