Taming The Beast

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The moment I asked to receive gentler messages is the moment the nightmares stopped. I sat up in bed one night a few years ago after another horrible scene passed through my head and demanded that there must be a more gentle way for my subconscious to relay these messages to me as I sleep. The nightmares lived in my head for years, scary images and intimidating possibilities ran wild while I slept. I was sick and tired of feeling overtaken by these cloudy ideas that would linger in my consciousness. I became angry. There was no other choice, I needed the nightmares to stop. Whether it was my inner being that took serious notice and finally internalized that message or a universal energy or entity that heard my plea is not important. I had enough of that feeling of terror and sadness in the middle of the night and I needed it to stop.

And it did. I haven’t had a nightmare since that night.   

That was when I realized how much power I had over my body and mind. That was when I knew I could make significant change all on my own. When you play the victim you attract attackers, but when you stand up straight and strong, aware and capable, the attackers move along to find a more willing victim. I chose to stand strong. As I tell my children now when they are afraid, “any monster that would come into this house should be far more afraid of me than I would ever be of it”. And I don’t just say it, I believe it wholeheartedly.

It only takes a person to recognize their own power to be able to achieve this kind of shift, this kind of life changing revelation. It’s something that you may have to reiterate to your heart and soul each day like a mantra, but the power and ability is within you to not only ask for kinder, gentler messages but also to receive them. You create the framework within your head, no one else can control what happens in that space. You are responsible for every thought, excuse, missed opportunity or achievement because it was born inside your own mind. Taking the reigns and learning to tame the animal within you is one of life’s major struggles. When you recognize that the animal inside CAN be tamed, the journey becomes more about what you put out into the world and less about all of the things holding you down and keeping you from moving forward. When you recognize the power of the body and mind you have been given and use those powers wisely, you discover that you are, in fact, a superhero.   

After Max visited the land of the Wild Things and deconstructed the myth of monsters and reframed how we live inside our own rooms, fears and families, we see that everyone has hopes and fears and everyone has the beast within who tries to control how we frame our surroundings and our lives. But, when you open your eyes to the possibility that we have complete control over how we manage those beasts and how we teach our children to manage their own beasts, we see that the monsters are within us to make us stronger, more human and more fierce than we ever thought possible. Once you figure out the science behind harnessing strength, change happens. 

So “let the wild rumpus start” (Maurice Sendak) and begin to tame and understand your beast within. Let the power of monsters give you strength to fight for a wonderful life, not keep you in chains from the beauty and peace that you deserve.

If you want the nightmares to stop, just ask. 

gratitude and photo credit to http://wallpoper.com/ for the above photo from the movie Where The Wild Things Are based on the amazing and empowering children’s book written by Maurice Sendak

Open Eyes See More

Once your eyes are opened and you learn to fully understand when your heart speaks to you, there is no more ignoring that delicate, distinct heart-mind connection. You can’t unlearn and you can’t unfeel. Inside your being there is a whole new conversation going on. This is a capability we can achieve by being human, by being evolved and wise. The ones close to you who recognize that type of subtle shift in your personal evolution and encourage you to explore it are the ones with whom you know true loving kindness. When you stumble upon others who have discovered this inner bond as well, be grateful, join hands and move forward with them. This is an instinct that is inside us all but is only enjoyed by some.

In your mind, you sort through thoughts and observations. Our mind allows us to gather knowledge, gain intellect and review evidence. Inside our head we can observe reality with objectivity and then our hearts help draw conclusions. Our brains examine, observe, and inspect material to be processed by the heart. This process can be fluid and gentle or it can be burdensome and problematic. The choice is ultimately yours. The bridge between the heart and mind is both tender and profound.

The Kabbalah says that the mind is cool like water and the heart is hot like fire. The mind is a calm investigator and the heart is a passionate, living soul.  This yin and yang within each of us creates a constant struggle to find the balance necessary to be at peace. Each of us has a masculine (mind) and feminine (heart) side to negotiate life’s experiences. When you discover the bridge between these two parts of yourself, it is much like finding your soulmate. These two sides can come together and compliment one another in harmony if this bridge is constructed with love and understanding within yourself. And finding your soulmate is one of life’s miracles. If you believe there can be a coming together within your self that is equal to experiencing the love that lives in fairy tales, then there is hope for you to truly fall in love with yourself and enjoy peace. When you understand that a balanced connection between your heart and mind is essential to becoming your best, most peaceful self, then your soul is ready to flourish. Just as a truly loving relationship can bring you comfort, a sincere heart-mind connection can lead to inner peace.

The process of learning to negotiate matters between your heart and mind can be demanding. The journey to grow and discover yourself can be unpredictable. But, I will never look back and I will always be grateful for having the strength to begin a journey to find more happiness. I didn’t know I needed to take the journey until I was on it.

“Wake Me Up”

By Avicii

 

Feeling my way through the darkness

Guided by a beating heart

I can’t tell where the journey will end

But I know where to start

They tell me I’m too young to understand

They say I’m caught up in a dream

Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes

Well that’s fine by me

So wake me up when it’s all over

When I’m wiser and I’m older

All this time I was finding myself

And I didn’t know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world

But I only have two hands

Hope I get a chance to travel the world

But I don’t have any plans

Wish that I could stay forever this young

Not afraid to close my eyes

Life’s a game made for everyone

And love is the prize

Just because the lesson is clear, and even important, doesn’t mean everyone in the class will succeed. But, the lesson remains accessible to anyone who chooses to pay attention. The journey itself is up to you.

Positive Habits for the New Healthy

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We all want to live a happy, healthy life, and these days it’s becoming possible to live healthier and happier even longer than ever before.  Making changes in our daily habits can make all the difference, but that may mean stepping outside of our mental comfort zones.  I remember watching my Grandfather “Papa Roger” as he got older.  He lived to 93, but it was very clear that he became pretty uncomfortable in the last part of his life.  I wish that he could’ve had more years of comfort and better function.  If he had changed his habits early in his life, he may have been able to get some more life out of all those years.  The choices we make early in life and the habits we create will decide the quality of our later years.

Often we have to make change to develop positive habits and change is transformation.  Everything we do moves us closer to or farther away from our goals and ultimately the person we want to become.  Stop to consider whether a habit is serving your highest good.  When you commit to making change you are in essence parenting yourself in a meaningful, conscious way.  Be supportive, patient and nurturing with yourself, but hold yourself accountable and know that you are capable of change.  If you are completely committed then there will be no parts of you left to self-sabotage.  Move at a reasonable pace and make realistic choices.  “It is better to make many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb

Have some self-compassion.  There is no such thing as perfect, so give yourself a break.  Don’t speak meanly to yourself, it’s important to love yourself and remember that self-sabotage is toxic.  At the same time, be sure to feel your emotions and know that talking about your feelings is like detoxing your spirit.

The new healthy embodies a wholeness of mind, body and spirit working together to create and support your best self.  Finding balance and sustaining it can be delicate and satisfying yet grueling work.  Your self-talk creates your reality and your body knows how to heal itself.  The greatest habit you can adopt is learning to relax into your body and get out of it’s way.  We all have a lot of freedom and with that freedom comes the responsibility to make positive choices.  Ultimately life is beyond our control and constantly changing.  Learning to adapt to the new idea of healthy is a good habit to develop and nurture.

photo above is of my Papa Roger in his 90’s

10 Easy Changes That Lead to a Happier, Healthier Life!

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Now, who wouldn’t want that?  I speak from experience on this.  I have spent the last two years trying to better myself body, mind and spirit.  I realized after getting deep into this journey that I still have a long road to travel, but I have actually accomplished a few things so far.  I have picked up a lot of momentum along the way and when I stop for a breather and look back to see my progress, I’m satisfied.  I’m satisfied and motivated for more change!  So, here are 10 changes I have made that I think are quite easy to integrate into almost any lifestyle.  And here I am a happier, healthier person for having made these very changes!

  1. Drink more water!  Drink half your body weight in ounces of water everyday.  Yes, you read that right.  Try it for a week and see how much better you feel.  Better yet, try it for 30 days because that that is how long it takes to incorporate new behavior into your life.  Drinking plenty of water helps keep you hydrated inside and out.  So, if you’re looking for a way to shed that water weight and/or those fine lines and wrinkles, no magic lotions, potions or diets necessary, it’s as easy as drinking enough water everyday.
  2. Eat your breakfast!  Every morning I have to get myself and 2 children ready for school before 9am so it would be very easy to dream up an excuse for not eating breakfast.  Well, I stopped doing that and I started having a nutritionally dense protein shake every morning.  It takes me 52 seconds to prepare and even less than that to drink it and I feel much more satisfied than I used to feel leaving the house on an empty stomach.  In fact, I feel VERY satisfied!  It’s a delicious and it’s chocolate!
  3. Take your vitamins!  Even with our best efforts to eat a healthy diet, most of us do not get the necessary nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from our food.  And don’t get me started on processed foods and GMOs!  It’s very important to include the right vitamins and supplements into your diet everyday.  And, now that I’m starting my day with a protein shake full of the vitamins and minerals that my body needs, I can effectively absorb these vitamins I’m taking.
  4. Eat more organic food and use less toxic products!  I’ve seen plenty of studies showing that organic food has more nutrients and less toxins.  It’s as simple as that.  It’s all about what you value, and I value the health of my family.  I choose to spend a few extra dollars on buying certain foods organic and figure out ways to save a few dollars on other household needs.  Everyone has different priorities and that is for each family to decide.  What I put in my family’s bodies and what I use to clean our house, clothing and toys are very important to me.  I don’t mind spending a little more money on that.  It’s worth it.
  5. Stop drinking soda!  Soda is sugar water that has no nutritional value and leads to obesity and diabetes among other things.  Even drinking DIET soda doesn’t keep you safe from the many dangerous effects.  Some of the many scary side effects include an increase in fat around your liver, heart and kidney issues, muscle loss, cavities, memory loss, nerve disorders, behavioral problems, infertility, osteoporosis, accelerated aging, and worse.  And, if that’s not enough just Google all the things you can clean and dissolve with Coke.  That’s just more than enough about that.
  6. Swap your coffee for tea!  This one will ruffle some feathers, so if you insist on sticking with your coffee ritual consider switching to an organic, instant coffee and enjoying one cup with less toxins rather than a pot full of coffee that may contain toxic chemicals.  But for a moment, consider that coffee is a stimulant and effects the hormone serotonin in our brains which controls sleep, mood and appetite.  When you put a chemical into your body that regulates these things, you impede the body’s natural ability to do so.  It will also effect your hunger signals and contribute to that late afternoon slump.  So, take all of this into consideration when you decide how important coffee is to your daily routine and remember that Starbucks also sells tea.
  7. Discover adaptogens!  Stress on your body and your mind has become a regular part of life in today’s world.  The fight or flight instinct that we all have has become overused and worn thin.  We all experience stress and we all search for a way to successfully manage it.  Adaptagenic herbs help your body balance stress related demands such as impatience, anxiety and irritability.  Calm your nerves and reduce the impact of stress with drinks that have these properties.  The ones that have worked for me are Ionix Supreme and t+Chai both made by Isagenix.
  8. Keep snacking!  Keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable and stop yourself from eating too much at your main meals by consuming small amounts throughout the day.  Remember to keep your calorie intake at a reasonable level.  Eating more often doesn’t mean that you should eat MORE.  Grazing throughout the day should be in a mindful way and with regulation.  Done properly, a balanced day of eating can lead to a healthier diet and leaner body.
  9. Forget perfection!  If you strive to be perfect you are doomed to fail.  Give yourself a break.  I do my best to eat healthy, organic meals and live a healthy lifestyle, but nobody is perfect.  I live by the 80% good and 20% not-so-perfect rule.  If I’m tempted by something I don’t have to beat myself up for saying yes.  Everything in moderation.
  10. Think happy thoughts!  When you join The Optimist’s Club you will enjoy less depression, better coping skills, increased life span, greater resistance to the common cold, and lower levels of distress.  Gain a better understanding of positive self-talk and change your world!  Self-talk is the stream of chatter that runs through your head.  Make your thoughts more positive and enjoy a more positive outlook on life.  Reduce stress with more positivity to yield amazing health benefits.  It’s that easy and you have complete control over your thoughts.  Give it a try!  To successfully incorporate all of these things into your life all you need is the desire and motivation to be well!  I have been able to achieve this and I know you can to!  Get in touch with me to learn more about getting well and staying well!!      drakejamie@mac.com 

My Mind is a Playground

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My mind is a playground and sometimes I just let it play and I don’t write things down. It runs and skips and splashes in puddles. It giggles and does cartwheels and flying penny drops.
Other times my mind paddles a heavy canoe down a long murky lagoon and gets tired.
Some days my mind lays in the grass basking in the warm sun enjoying the nothingness…
There are times after I have let my mind wander that I wish I had written more things down. I know I had some good thoughts. Thoughts that made me pause and consider, grow and ruminate. But, like any growing pain, it’s the ultimate growth and change that matters. You don’t really remember the pain exactly, only that it happened.
The difference now is that I am thankful for the growth, and even the pain. Every romp on the playground, row in the boat and time spent in the nothingness are steps taken in the right direction toward a better, happier me. And that, in the end, is the reason for my promise.

This is my mind space and that is your mind space.  The thoughts I hold in my head are my responsibility and the only one they hurt, or benefit, is myself.  The only person who can control, and clear, my mind space is myself.

I worry a lot and it doesn’t serve me well.  My worries are my training wheels and I’ve never been able to take them off.  Our problems and stressors make up who we are as much as our individual quirks and unique pasts.  Why do we cling to our problems and let them create who we are?  Is pain a crutch too easy to lean on that we can’t even consider letting go out of fear we will not be able to stand without them?  If I stop worrying about something will that alone make it happen?  Why is it so hard to let go and just be happy in the moment?

I’m ready to let it go.  I’m ready to be happy.  I want to take off my training wheels and I’m finally open to learning how to do it.  The first step was learning to calm and clear my mind.  Any time a negative thought, or any thought that I don’t want, sneaks into my head, I now mentally bat it to the side like I’ve reached the end of a line on an old typewriter.  Ding!  I let it go.  I visualize that thought flying out of my head and enjoy the peace that replaces it.  This works well in a quiet room by myself or in a state similar to meditation, but the next step is being able to put this into play during the chaos that makes up my daily life.  Although I haven’t quite mastered that part of it, I’m better off for having put this practice into play.  I’m able to enjoy a quiet mind more often and THAT is a win.

So once you leave the calm and serenity of your own physical space, the trick is to covet and protect your mind space in the same way.  Something I can take with me that has a lot of power over my thoughts is music.   Certain songs have the power to immediately change my thoughts.  Sometimes I know exactly which song I need to hear and other times I surf my favorite radio stations, but either way music has the power to clear and change my mind space.  Another thing that can propel me out of a moment quickly is a certain smell.  I’ve started to learn more about Aromatherapy lately.  I know now that it goes beyond that chance fleeting whiff of a cologne that reminds you of your high school boyfriend and being whisked away in your mind to those feelings
of teenage puppy love.  Different smells elicit different memories and feelings.  Some smells can actually have a strong effect on how we feel by tapping into the part of the brain responsible for regulating feelings, emotions, memory, learning, and physical drives.  The result can be sedating, relaxing, stimulating, or euphoric in effect.  A great place to learn more about Aromatherapy is Karma Healing Solutions.

I want to let go of my worries and start to move easier down this path toward being happy.  “If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.”  Ajahn Chah

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