Spiritual Dark Side…3 Signs You Might Notice.

I will never forget the first time I told someone that I felt more spiritual than religious.  They looked at me like I had just taken the path straight to hell.  In fact, I think that was a time in my life that became a true test to what I believed.

Let me break this down though.  I didn’t wake up thinking I was better than anyone else in this world, no.  I actually felt more connected to others.  I mean spirit is your essence, right?  I felt connected to the true self of others and just realized that I didn’t have to react to everything that was being said around me.  I could take a pause and look to the inside of a person and realize that what they pointed out in others was often what they were afraid of in themselves.  Aha.  I was waking up.

As I started “waking up” I noticed that others were, to use a Star Wars reference (which technically was also Jungian), going to the dark side after proclaiming being “spiritual”.  So what did that mean exactly?

I started noticing yoga teachers who were stuck in ego, people who claimed to be “heart centered” proclaiming how bad others in their field were and to come to them, as well as many other noticeable signs that these people were in fact full of crap.  Like counting followers.  Here are a few ways to notice on your own.

Spiritual Dark Side Flags:

  1. Acting superior to other people…as if it is their job.  Let me break this down for you.  No one, and I do mean no one on this earth, has the job title “supreme spiritual guru”.  Why would someone else pick on you or call you out to others if their job is to be a guide here for growth?  I can think of only one reason and that’s to make themselves feel better.  This type of thinking is from the ego kids (exaggerated sense of self-importance).  A true guide speaks from the heart and does it in a way that is a win-win for all, not a win-humiliate.  What is the point of that?  Truly.  Speaking from ego doesn’t result in growth.  Period.  If you feel this way, try to enforce your boundaries.
  2. They are working through their own stuff, but instead, prefer to constantly help others instead of doing their own work.  This one screams help to me.  They are always giving advice on every feed, platform, and portal around.  It screams “see me”.  Look at me.  I have my shit together, and I can advise you.  They seem to be looking for a crowd to advise because they just “know” how it is, but they are starting “new” spiritual practices all the time and jumping from thing to thing.  When do they have time to do the “work”?  Like really?  I prefer the teacher, guide, mentor or what have you who says they need some time off.  It’s very important to notice those people.  They are putting in the time to do the work.
  3. They have graduated from doing the spiritual work.  This one also screams no.  If someone tells you that they have reached the final enlightenment stage, run (because they must be a ghost).  You don’t stop learning and growing until you die.  I really believe that.  This is a great adventure.  “You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien  The shadow parts teach us how to walk in the light, and yes, they will be there until the end.  It is part of life and we must embrace all that life teaches us.  Some days are going to be hard and we’re not going to feel like doing the work, and you know what, it’s okay.  There are good days and bad days and we all have them my friends.

I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay, small acts of kindness and love. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

To live is the greatest adventure of all, and to live wholeheartedly takes courage.  Admitting that you make mistakes is okay.  Being a leader who makes mistakes is human.  Don’t forget to find those people.  Those are your kind of people.

Want help in an authentic way?  Feel free to find people just like you here.  Head|Heart|Health Club

5 Money Beliefs You Need to Leave Behind

A long time ago, I worked in the projects.  You actually don’t understand poverty until you have seen people who really do live in areas considered “below the poverty line”.  I know that doesn’t help you right now, but it needed to be said.

On the flip side of this, if you actually do have money, do you feel like you aren’t entitled to it?  Do you feel bad for having it?  You see, for a long time, I felt really bad about money after seeing children from poverty.

I was a teacher, yes.  I struggled just like everyone else to make ends meet.  To be honest though, I never struggled as badly with little money as I did when I had more money, and then suddenly didn’t have as much.  Life’s funny that way.

What lessons did money really teach me then?

  1. I was not as poor as I imagined.  I didn’t have any idea how to use food stamps.  I could actually pay for gas for my car and did not have to use public transportation.  My belief was that I was really struggling.  And while I was, it was not at a level that some people are currently facing.  Money showed me that lesson and in turn, I thanked God for my current situation.  I became a mentor and took children out in their neighborhood to places they wouldn’t have been able to go without my help.
  2. I was not as rich as I imagined either.  Money is hilarious.  It taunts you to spend it and spend it you do.  Then that funny guy called Visa calls on you one day and you owe $20,000.  For house remodeling…that you did to save money.  Oops.  My belief was that I could always make more…that is until the day I got really sick.  I had not learned the save for a rainy day lesson.  I was out that day.  Sick.  I needed to have a savings, so lesson learned.
  3. I was “always” going to be in debt.  You think there is absolutely nothing you can do, but you are wrong.  You can actually call credit cards and reduce your rates, work to pay off the least amount or the highest interest rate, and continue to visualize your debt being paid off.  Here is the part where I start to lose you.  I did good things.  I paid for things, donated, and such…even when I had not as much as others, and more than some.  I tried very hard to get out of this fear mentality that debt wants you to be in.  I knew that it was not going to be forever and I was right.  The belief that it was going to get worse held me back.  It almost stopped me in my tracks, but I made a plan.  This is the hardest of the steps I think.
  4. Others seem to have it “easy”.  There were times I would look at other people’s posts and think wow!  What a nice vacation.  But you know, they split it 3 ways maybe and I didn’t know that.  Or you might see the “I did a great job and got a raise” post.  They don’t mention it took them 5 years of hard work.  Don’t always think that the grass is greener because you know I say it’s Astro-turf.  Some people just make things appear as if it was handed to them, and it’s okay.  You know you are a hard worker and there’s no shame in being real.
  5. Throwing in the towel by saying “I can’t afford that.”  When I was driving my mini-van into the ground…with the oil leaking, the tires deflating and fixed more times than I can count, the hood looking like hail had beat it to death, and the hub caps rusting, anyway, I thought “I will not be able to afford a new car anytime soon…but I have to”.  I started changing the way I thought that year.  I had used that car to get me to more doctor’s appointments than I could count and it had been a good car, but it was time to move on.  So I wrote about it as if it happened.  Over and over again.  Each month.  And then it happened.  We donated our car to a good cause and I bought a vehicle I had long since wanted because one of my illnesses left me with really sensitive hands to cold…and the vehicle came with a warm steering wheel control as well as butt warmers!!!  I thought it was heaven.  I still do.

Money is energy.  I see that now, and I also know that I actually have more control over my actions with it than I previously realized.  I don’t use it as an excuse, I don’t hide behind it, but I don’t need to lie about it either.  When I want to go after something now, I just work harder, and put more energy into my plan.  I don’t if you believe this, but try it sometime.  Don’t let money control your thoughts…control your thoughts and therefore control the flow of money.  ~Aimee

Money beliefs

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Hacking failure…and using it to your advantage.

Failure sucks.  Yup.  We’ve all been there, done that.  You tried and failed miserably.  But what did you do with that knowledge?  Did you give up?  Go on to make more improvements in your life?  Change something about what you did and repeat it to achieve success?  I know that I have failed trying to do a yoga pose and actually fell on my nose…I luckily didn’t break it as I saw the fall coming, but I knew that I had to get stronger or I was not going to be able to hold myself up.

And that my friends, is what failure does for me.  It makes me want to get stronger.  I remember hearing this once about Thomas Edison when asked by a reporter if he should give up on the lightbulb: “Why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitely over 9,000 ways an electric lightbulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.” 

As difficult as it is to remember this lesson, other approaches to what you are working on might work better.  If you feel like you need a fresh set of eyes on something, ask a friend for some objective help.  From personal experience, I know that I didn’t start off knowing how to play soccer.  I had to be knocked down quite a bit in the beginning.  And mountain biking.  Whosh.  I will never forget how ermmm it felt like I had ridden a horse for days in the saddle when I was done with a ride once.  I was like oh.  That’s why people wear padded pants.  Note taken.  And then the bruises and scrapes from falling, but I got back up.

3 lessons I learned from failure:

  1. You get back up and try again.  Okay, so maybe your ego takes a beating.  That does occasionally happen in life.  My ego went to the backseat as I was wrestling with invisible diseases.  Things that had once been easy for me, like eating, became very complicated.  Walking tired me out, so I had to learn new ways to get exercise in.  I came back to yoga and couldn’t do things that I once had a better grasp on.  I knew that it was time for me to get serious about moving forward and that I was really going to experience set-backs, but that no matter what, I couldn’t give up on what I wanted to accomplish.  I was going to complete yoga teacher training even if I soaked in a hot bath with salts every single night.  Even if it hurt to move…because one day, it wouldn’t hurt as much.
  2. There is more than one way to do something.  I started dissecting what was happening to me.  Most of you know that I am fascinated with research and the holistic approach to healing.  I knew that I had to think, act, and imagine the goal being accomplished.  I had to immerse myself in the experience of what I wanted…and I also had to think backwards.  I would take a yoga pose and go slowly.  If my hip was tight, I would have to work on hips for a while.  If I didn’t feel strong, I would have to work on my core again, which side note, ummm had been cut to save my baby (emergency c-section).  I couldn’t compare my progress to anyone’s in the room.  Comparison makes you feel like a failure.  <<< Do not do that to yourself.  You only have to better than you were the day before and that is the root of my progress.  I was not looking at where others were going.  I only looked to myself.
  3. Failure was teaching me how to set myself up for success.  I knew that throughout history, people have failed.  I didn’t own it like it was my shame to fail.  I didn’t think that inventors had woken up one day and said “Hey Wilbur, I think we should build this and fly.”  Poof.  They flew.  Nope.  The crashing part sets you up for that awesome day when you really do learn to fly.  So sticking my crow pose, in yoga this was my nemesis for a while, well, getting into that and holding it for longer than a second takes work.  I am still working, trust me, but the day I did it, I knew that I was making progress in many areas.  Not just the pose or the form, but the act of not giving up.  The act of perseverance and sticking to my goal.

hacking failure

Want to know more about my Head|Heart|Health Club and how you can hack into your own success?  >>> I need support <<<     

It didn’t go as planned…the story of life.

It didn't go as plannedIt didn’t go as planned…what truly ever does?

Do you remember your first day of school?  I don’t really.  I just have a recollection that I was in a dress with a tin lunchbox and it was Mickey Mouse.  I think I picked it out because I watched The Mickey Mouse Club, but I could be wrong and it was all they had.  It’s doubtful I had a plan that first day other than go to school, learn/play, and apparently throw a tantrum over being forced to nap <<< that has since changed.  I will throw a tantrum over not having enough sleep.

I went through school not really having a plan as I wasn’t aware I needed one until I got to high school and was told to pick out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  THE REST of my LIFE?  I was 15 years old.  I wanted to throw on my mix tapes, and listen to some singles of Heavy D and the Boyz, sing along to my Sir Mix-a-lot Swass tape and eat Taco Bell and drive my doo-doo brown car.  I really didn’t have a plan.  I went to soccer practice and got out my frustrations about teenage bitchy girls and how they could be so gossipy and wrong about things, and where did I fit in with this crazy universe.

So when I got to college and finally thought I had things figured out because, by the way, I was one of those kids who didn’t like homework and tests and refused to actually take the SAT, yup, shocking, I went to a 2 year community college where it actually clicked that I needed to work my butt off…and so I graduated Summa Cum Laude…but only because I wanted to.  No one could make me.  <<< and that’s the thing.  You have to decide for yourself what you are going to do and what is worth working for.

So if you don’t know my story by now, just as I was getting my stuff together to be a teacher, I worked really hard at the 4 year college I transferred to, I started to feel awful.  Like physically beat down.  I would sleep more during the day…and have to take later classes.  My skin started acting funny, and the rest is history which you can read here, then continue here.  << Note, if you want to keep reading those, hit the next button at the bottom of the post.  So by 2010, I had been diagnosed with around 7 invisible diseases.  But the thing is this, was that the plan all along?  I actually believe it was so if you didn’t see me speak on this during my Live chat, here it is.  <<<

I have been through more than most and less than others.  I have changed my “plans” to suit those pitfalls and I have tried to hang on for dear life when things get too crazy.  I honestly have to believe this was meant for my highest good.

So my friends, if your life sentence really is “it didn’t go as planned” I want you to think long and hard about whether it really did…because if you ask me, it did.  It was up to me how I navigated those changes to my path, and it is truly up to you how you navigate yours.  Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ~Ferris Bueller

If you enjoyed this message, I would love to have you read more about my group coaching here for times such as these.  When life doesn’t go as planned…just click the “I need support” button.  Thank you my friends.

Feeling Lost? Are You Open for Help?

Are you open for help?

I was thinking about how hard it is to ask others for help.  Maybe this isn’t the case with you, but if you clicked on this, I think you were meant to read it.  You see I like to help others, I really do.  The weird thing is, I tend to isolate myself when I need help.

Why is being open for help so hard?

I think one of the reasons it is hard to ask others for help is because we assume society is going to see us as something less.  Truly.  Here is a wee example of a similar mindset.  My youngest has inherited my luck at finding faithful and true friends.  They are out there, and I do have my Unicorn (the one friend you can always call on no matter what), but right now, being a teenager is hard for her.  I went through this as well.

Scenario:  I have to be partners with x mom.  I know she left me out about 3 times, but I am okay with this.  Okay?  Don’t say anything.  I am fine.  <<< Not really, but okay.

So what advice would you give your teenage self if you could go back?

Don’t be the freaking Martyr. Seriously.  I told her to suffer in silence as this person continues to blow her off is not okay.  That is good advice for a teen and good advice for adults as well.  Be open and honest about the fact that being used is definitely not okay.

It is okay to not be okay.  Why do we have to say “No really.  I’m fine.”  If you aren’t fine, you aren’t fine.  No shame attached.  People who make you feel shame have had that passed down to them.  They were told to stuff it so often that they truly have stuffed their feelings inside.  Don’t let that be you.

Sit with it a while.  As the mom of not one, but two teenage daughters, I realize that occasionally I want to put on my armor and run into battle for them.  I need to sit down.  They need to sit down.  We all need to sit down.  Just be for a moment and see what happens.

Write about it.  I give everyone a journal.  I tell everyone to journal.  Ever since my red plastic Hello Kitty Diary days with the locking mechanism that got stuck, I journal.  I was around 6…seriously.  I also remember writing something that made me feel bad for the first time ever.  I “heated” someone I wrote.  Whew.  They had made me feel bad, made fun of me, and hit me.   So I heated them right back…and that made me feel bad.  That was the first time I can remember that I knew that wasn’t the answer to my problems.

Talk it out.  Now comes the time when we really need a good talking to.  NOT a private message.  NOT a series of short texts my people.  A chat.  A sit down.  People.  Don’t isolate if the problem is not going away.  The first thing I say to my girls is “Did you really talk?  Not a text??”  We can read into the words what we feel.  Not how they are intended.

Seek help.  If the situation hasn’t magically improved by doing the work above, it really is okay to say that you need some help or ideas in learning how to handle your problems.  Especially if it leads into the area of depression or thoughts of harm.  Have a list of trusted people.  Don’t have one?  Private Message or call a friend you trust especially if you know they have seen a mental health professional in your area.  Don’t want to do that because you want to stay private?  Use your friend “Google” and read the testimonials of the folks or reviews.

In the end, of course there are things we would all do differently, but today here is your most valuable lesson.  You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time, and now you might have different thoughts, but it is time to let it go.  If you need help moving on, ask.

Are you open for help?

Interested in monthly content that can help shift your thoughts and move you to a new direction?  Want to change old patterns of thought?  Looking for a safe environment geared to your needs?  >>> Learn More <<<

The Quickstart Guide to a Decluttered Home

A guest post by Leo Babauta

One of my favorite habits that I’ve created since I changed my life 9 years ago is having a decluttered home.

I now realize that I always disliked the clutter, but I put off thinking about it because it was unpleasant.

The thought of having to deal with all that clutter was overwhelming, and I had too much to do, or I was too tired, so I procrastinated.

Clutter, it turns out, is procrastination.

But I learned to deal with that procrastination one small chunk at a time, and I cleared it out. That was truly amazing.

Amazing because I didn’t really believe I could do it until I did it. I didn’t believe in myself. And amazing because when it was done, there was a background noise that was removed from my life, a distraction, an irritation.

Decluttering my home has meant a more peaceful, minimal life. It’s meant I spend less time cleaning, maintaining my stuff, looking for things. Less money buying things, storing things. Less emotional attachment to things.

For anyone looking to begin decluttering, I’d like to offer a short guide on getting started. Know that this guide isn’t comprehensive, and it can take months to really get down to a decluttered home … but if you do it right, the process is fun and liberating and empowering, each step of the way.

  1. Start small. Clutter can be overwhelming, and so we put it off. The best thing I did was to just focus on one small space to start with. A kitchen counter (just part of it) is a good example. Or a dining table, or a shelf. Clear everything off that space, and only put back what you really need. Put it back neatly. Get rid of the rest — give it away, sell it on Craigslist, donate it, recycle it. The clearing and sorting will take 10 minutes, while you can give stuff away later when you have the time.
  2. Work in chunks. If you start small, you’ll feel good about it, but there’s still a whole home full of stuff to deal with. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (Not literally — I’m vegan.) So just like you did one small area to start with, keep doing that, just 10 minutes a day, maybe more if you feel really enthusiastic. If you have a free day on the weekend, spend an afternoon doing a huge chunk. Spend the whole weekend if you feel like it. Or just do one small piece at a time — there’s no need to rush, but keep the progress going.
  3. Follow a simple method. For each small chunk you do, clear out the area in question and put everything in one pile. Pick up the first thing off the pile (no putting it aside to decide later) and force yourself to make a decision. Ask yourself: do I love and use this? If not, get rid of it. If the answer is yes, find a place for it — I call it a “home”. If you really love and use something, it deserves a home that you designate and where you put it back each time you’re done with it. Then go to the next thing and make the same decision. Working quickly and making quick decisions, you can sort through a pile in about 10 minutes (depending on the size of the pile).
  4. Put stuff in your trunk. Once you’ve collected stuff to donate or give away, put them in boxes or grocery bags and put them in the trunk of your car (if you don’t have a car, somewhere near the door). Choose a time to deliver them. Enjoy getting them out of your life.
  5. Talk to anyone involved. If you have a significant other, kids, or other people living with you, they’ll be affected if you start decluttering the home. You should talk to them now, before you get started, so they’ll understand why you want to do this, and get them involved in the decision-making process. Ask them what they think of this. Send them this article to consider. Ask if they can support you wanting to declutter, at least your own stuff or some of the kitchen or living room, to see what it’s like. Don’t be pushy, don’t try to force, but have the conversation. Be OK if they resist. Try to change the things that you can control (your personal possessions, for example) and see if that example doesn’t inspire them to consider further change.
  6. Notice your resistance. There will be a lot of items that you either don’t want to get rid of (even if you don’t really use them), or you don’t feel like tackling. This resistance is important to watch — it’s your mind wanting to run from discomfort or rationalize things. You can give in to the resistance, but at least pay attention to it. See it happening. The truth is, we put a lot of emotional attachment into objects. A photo of a loved one, a gift from a family member, a memento from a wedding or travel, a treasured item from a dead grandfather. These items don’t actually contain the memories or love that we think are in them, and practicing letting go of the items while holding onto the love is a good practice. And practicing tackling clutter that you dread tackling is also an amazing practice.
  7. Enjoy the process. The danger is to start seeing decluttering as yet another chore on your to-do list. Once you start doing that, it becomes something you’ll put off. Instead, reframe it to a liberating practice of mindfulness. Smile as you do it. Focus on your breathe, on your body, on the motions of moving items around, on your feelings about the objects. This is a beautiful practice, and I recommend it.

These steps won’t get your home decluttered in a weekend. But you can enjoy the first step, and then the second, and before you know it you’ve taken 30 steps and your home is transformed. You’ll love this change as much as I have.

Are You Keeping it Alight?

Are You Keeping It Alight?

Guest post

You know that situation, the one that feels uncomfortable, the one you’d love to disappear?

It may be hard to hear this, but it could be YOU that’s keeping it alight!

I come across lots of situations like this, and my favourite way to explain them is to liken them to beautiful, roaring campfire.

Continue to add logs to the dancing orange flames, fuel it with attention and the fire will keep raging.  Stop adding fuel to the fire and it will fizzle out. Without energy and attention, the fire will naturally come to an end.

So let’s go back to the situation that’s making you feel super uncomfortable – are you adding fuel to it?  Now you’re aware that putting time, energy and attention into something, anything, makes it continue to thrive, do you think it might be time to stop adding the logs?

We don’t mean to fuel these negative situations or circumstances.  And most of the time we aren’t actively seeking out drama, it simply comes knocking at our door, and often brings out the worst in us.

You know that saying, “ah, well, they couldn’t let it lie”? That usually comes after a situation has escalated out of control, because people have kept on popping energy and attention into it.

 

So how can we let the fire fizzle out?

#1        Detachment

Sometimes the very best way to protect ourselves is to detach from these situations.  Remove the energy and attention.  After all, our energy is a precious commodity.  We need to use it wisely!

#2        Raise Our Awareness

Instead of attaching our thoughts and efforts to negative and angsty situations (which will draw in more of the same) it’s better to raise our awareness. If we can catch ourselves in this downward spiral before it gets out of hand, we won’t get lost in the flames.

#3        Apply Some Momentum

We need to focus on how we can move forward, and avoid being sucked in by the drama. Without positive momentum, the negativity will seep its way into all aspects of our lives.

#4        Focus on Positivity

Once our momentum’s up and running, we can look at the bigger picture from a different place.  We can see more objectively and appreciate how that situation could have depleted our energy, had we not made a conscious choice to rise above it and use it more productively.

#5        Channel Your Energy in a Way That Serves You Best

What have you been neglecting to fuel lately? Are there things you’d love to do? This is where your logs (energy, time and attention) are best spent.

It’s time to step out of the drama and make a choice as to where the logs need to be placed.  Choose your fire wisely and it will serve you well.

 

 

 

Emma Holmes is CEO & Founder of Coaching Rockstars – best described as a ‘hatchery’ for entrepreneurs with soul!

Coaching Rockstars helps heart-centred and soulful entrepreneurs to build big businesses without the icky, pushy tactics that come with most strategy and advice.www.coachingrockstars.com

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Energy Right Now!

Like a battery, you feel completely drained.  Depending on what’s going on around you, you feel like you haven’t the energy you once possessed.  Could you be getting sick?  It’s possible.  But I want you to take a look at a few things first.

Have you ever noticed that being in the presence of someone truly and miraculously seems to lift you up?  After spending time with that person, you come home humming, or want to do things you might normally not even think about doing?  Just think for a moment if there is such a person like this who is your lift force.  I have spoken about this before during my talks and written about it before, but if you have your journal, you can even take a page and think for a moment about all the supportive people you have around you.

Likewise, we are now going to draw our attention to something that energetically feels so draining that we can’t wait to escape their presence.  The drag force.  When I speak of this during my talks, I actually have to roll my shoulders as my back gets tight.

There was once a time I felt well, except that I constantly felt drained by someone’s presence.  I would go to work happy and content, and then this person would tell me every one of her problems…repeatedly.  There was never a solution that worked or a way out…or so it seemed. How did I find a way out of the draining cycle?

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Energy:

  1. It sounds like a cliché, I know, but your vibe really does attract your tribe.  Yogananda called this phenomenon “the law of invisible vibratory exchange.”  It is vitally important that you understand this principle to be true as you start building up your “lift force” around you.  Make your list in your private journal of who really lifts you up.  Once you become aware of the energy, you can start to see a pattern where you have dips or energy loss after being near someone who is more of a drag force, or negative influence on you.  ** See the note at the end!
  2. It is important that if you have to come in contact with a negative force, you get grounded before and after the visit.  As you center your thoughts, you can imagine being protected as you come in contact with that person.  Read more on the above link as well, but make sure that you keep your contact to as short a time as possible.  What happens if you live with a negative force?  Enroll in yoga, meditation, or a group activity where the people around you have a like-minded goal.  There is more under my Head|Heart|Health tab for an online community as well where keeping our heads clear and our hearts on how we want to feel is the end goal to overall wellness.
  3. Listen to music that moves your soul and uplifts your heart.  On one of my other talks, I showed the difference between me normally when I come on the FB Live show, and me after listening to the Bee Gees.  <<< yes.  I love to sing with them.  But seriously, think about the song “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys.  Ever thought about it?  It really does raise your vibration with the right tune.
  4. Be conscious of what you put in your body.  During my 4 Weeks to Wellness class, I talk about nutrition and the effects of sugar on the body.  I know people are going to be coming after me when I take away their sweets, but that’s why I train you to look for the hidden ingredients and do it for yourself.  This has to be done on your own time and it has to be something you want in order to move forward and feel better.
  5. Know how you want to feel.  Again, this one might sound simple, but do you know how you want to feel each day?  What are your weekly goals and how are you working to create a life that is working FOR you…not against you.  With a few small tweaks to your everyday routine, you can learn to block the energy of others by focusing more on what you want each day.  Getting clear on your thoughts before coming in contact with someone who might try to dis-rail your progress is imperative in strengthening your energy.

Do you need more uplifting folks in your life?  Come find us at any time!  >>> I need to raise my energy! <<<

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6 Practices You Need to Start (Even through grief).

As we go forth with our lives, there are lists and lists of “Things we must do”.  Most of the time, the things we must do, are the things that honestly pay the bills.  We all are very aware of that.  But what if the things that don’t seem to make any difference at all, are really the things that make the most difference to our lives after all?

Just bear with me a minute.  This weekend I attended the service of a friend who quite simply, is gone too soon.  To say that it came as a shock to everyone who loves him, is an understatement.  Note I did not use past tense on the word love.  As we shared stories about our friend, I thought of all the wonderful things people were saying and I thought this.  This is how you want to be remembered.

The practices that you enact in your life daily, that might just seem to be part of your nature, are really what is shaping the whole of your life.  As I pondered the life of my friend, I thought back over his modesty, his great big bear hugs, and the genuine warmth I felt from not only him, but his whole family.  What did he do differently that seemed to make us all so connected?  How can I honor him?

I can enact these 6 core principles in my life and repeat these acts daily.

6 Practices to Start:

1. Smile to release endorphins…the biochemist, Sondra Barrett, says that when you let go of tension, an outcome that can be achieved through smiling, your cells let go of their rigidness.  I have a ginormous smile, but I also can go from happy to sad in a matter of seconds.  I prefer happy as sad takes me a very long time to shake off, but it is important not to block your feelings…or feel bad about being able to smile through sadness.

2. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones…using a journal, list the negative thoughts that immediately come to mind.  Notice when you begin having them and begin to replace them with positive thoughts.  Find the connection to the root cause through this helpful article.  Finding the positive through pain has been my life’s work, so feel free to use the search button on the blog for “positive thoughts”.

3. Practice gratitude…as we celebrated the life of my friend, he gave the pastor who came to visit him a word of thanks and a thumbs up.  I am going to use that mental thumbs up to practice gratitude as much as I can even in the most difficult of situations as this one surely is.  I asked my private gratitude group to share with me some thoughts about finding ways to be grateful even through loss, and they showed me there truly is a way.  As they mentioned grandmothers, sisters, husbands, and children they have lost, they are still able to work through their collective pain, and for that, there is a quiet sense of hope as we know our loved ones are here with us through this process.  Gratitude is truly a healing practice.

4. Laugh with friends.  As we shared stories and laughter, for a minute I thought my heart was going to burst.  How can we share laughter through pain?  I can tell you this my friends, it is quite simply the only thing that kept me sane through the years of invisible diseases and pain I experienced myself.  Why do we need to laugh?  More than just brightening up your day, sharing a good laugh can actually improve your health. The sound of laughter draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, strengthen your immune system, and diminish pain. As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults life tends to be more serious and laughter more infrequent. By seeking out more opportunities for humor and laughter, though, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness—and even add years to your life.  Read more on this at Laughter is The Best Medicine.

5. Express your love.  So it’s no secret that brain research always makes me happy…as if I needed to know the reasons behind everything.  So when you bond with someone, oxytocin plays a big part in that.  The brain signals can actually be helped by a hug or a touch…so my friend was always connecting to others with his big hugs.  Continue on with the expression of love and connection to others…try not to hermit.  << this is coming from someone who hermits, but knows that it is important not to shut down during loss.

6. Don’t stop dreaming about the future.  So I can tell you from experience that loss makes the time stand still.  It is almost like a scene from the Matrix.  But knowing my friends and family, we have to keep moving.  That thing you wanted to do?  Go do it.  Time waits for no one.  My girlfriend who is battling cancer for the second time, her hashtag is #wedontwait and it has shown me so much the past few years.  We can stay in this spot for but a moment, and then we have to move forward.  I love and appreciate all the gifts that pain has taught me, but I think these 6 gifts are the hardest of all to remember through pain.  I hope this has helped you in some small way today.

6 practices

Ways to Spread Kindness Around.

Don’t let the headlines fool you friends.  Kindness exists out there in the world just waiting for you to start the ripples.  I have been a passionate supporter of kindness for many years, but even I drop the ball.

I was going through the archives here, that is the button on the side of the blog that lets you pull up past months, and I found in November I usually give you guys lots of ideas on how to spread kindness.

What exactly is kindness?

Kindness is the spirit of being friendly, generous and considerate.

Can I show kindness even if I don’t like people?

Yes you can.  Even if you prefer not to talk to others, there are many ways you can practice just being kind in everyday life and see what happens; however, is you don’t really like going out or even interacting with others verbally, I still have some idea for you to try.

What do you mean by “ripple effect”?

The results of your effort or action will ripple out and continue on long after you have done your good deed or kind action.

Okay, I am willing to try it.  How do I get involved?

  1. Operation Gratitude would love to have your help.  They actually like to include at least 5 letters in these care packages that they send to deployed troops, new recruits and Veterans.  They have been told these hand written letters of thanks, kindness and love are some of the most treasured items that the people who receive them get.
  2. I really like the above idea ^^^, but I want to send letters to someone who is really down in the dumps.  In fact, I want to nominate someone to get letters!  <<< yes.  That’s a great idea.  How do I do that?  This site is really amazing and they read through the nominations and pick several to post for a 2 week period.  So keep checking back on the site or write to someone who has been nominated already.  The World Needs More Love Letters.
  3. Scan your day for 3 small things you have done to help someone else.  Quite simply, smile at strangers, hold the door for someone, or say thank you by looking someone directly in the eye.  Ask them how their day is, and mean it when you listen.  You might be the only one to ask them that today.  It can be the difference in something thinking no one notices them, to someone realizing they are worthy of notice.
  4. Give a “Shout Out” to one new person daily.  On social media, through e-mail, or a hand written note on a desk without your name if you prefer.  Tell them they are doing a good job and you notice their efforts at x.  If you see a co-worker do something good when no one was looking, surprise them with a coffee or a gift card the next day.  It really does create ripples.
  5. Pay attention to your mind, what you are sharing and what you are promoting out there.  Do NOT mindlessly promote what you hate.  Promote what you love.  It really can be that simple my friends.

kind