Want to walk away from drama? Here’s how.

here's how to walk away from dramaLook.  I get it.  You’re a grown-up.  And so am I, but sometimes things have a way of following us around. As the mother of two teenage girls, I want to practice what I preach.  A few years ago, I was suffering from friendships that seemed to belong back in high school, and to be honest, I kept letting them happen.

I never saw it coming.  I always thought of myself as a strong person, but somewhere deep down inside, I knew I just wanted to be like “everyone else”.  I had convinced myself that other adults were having these fabulous girl’s nights out, and going off with other couples and even going on vacation together (did I like someone enough for that??).

So at one of my many “this is the year I am going to…” moments, I decided to reach out and make a new friend.  The problem was and still is, things come with warning signs.  Many, many, many warning signs.  And if you are so desperate for friendship that you ignore some of your own standards, it goes to hell in a handbag really quickly.  << Southernism.

You see, the toxic, drama-filled friendship was full of stop signs, skull and crossbones type warnings, and red flags.  I ignored them all.  I honestly looked for the good in the friendship and for whatever reason, thought this person couldn’t help it (note, that is bullshit).  So I had attracted a narcissistic type relationship yet again.

What’s the good news in this?

I recognized the signs one day when I realized my friend wasn’t happy about the success I was having in healing, moving on, and getting better in my life.  Want to learn more?  Check this out later: Coping when a Dysfunctional Friendship Ends

How to walk away from drama:

  1. Acknowledge that you deserve better.  This is a huge step.  You are a magnificent human being.  Say that out loud.  Your past does not define you, and your past mistakes do not mean that you are no longer worthy and deserving of a great friendship, job, partner, or whatever it is that is causing you drama.
  2. Stop creating it if it’s you.  So this part might be difficult, but acknowledge your part.  Are you poking the bear?  Do you just love arguing?  Notice and reflect on areas where you might be the catalyst and start to step away from people and situations that feel like you are deliberately needing the attention or the last word.  Yes.  This is hard advice, but truly notice that having the last word with someone who loves drama will not change their mind…nor will it change yours.
  3. Gossip needs legs.  I worked with this woman once who would literally grab anyone who walked by her room, pull them inside and show them someone’s FB page just to joke on their recent photos.  It was like a Venus Fly Trap of gossip up in there.  Don’t be fooled.  Avoid, if at all possible, the water cooler type conversations where people can and will overhear.  Where Venus can run on back and grab more people saying that you, yes you, were the one that started this rumor knowing all along it’s not true.  However, people did see the two of you talking.  The perfect set-up.
  4. Set the boundaries.  I waited too long to tell someone I wished she hadn’t told me about all the back-stabbing and sleeping around every time I met one of her “friends”.  Because guess what?  If she’s ready to tell all about their business, she certainly will talk about mine.  You better believe this fact.  I didn’t want to be in that type of friendship.  It was draining to hide what I knew and draining to listen to it.  It was a loop.
  5. Accept it, learn from it, and go on with life. ~Vincent Neerings
    I could also quote good ole’ Kenny rogers and so I shall: You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.  Know when to walk away, and know when to run.  I learned a hard lesson.  And for a long time, I wasn’t sure if I could trust myself to make new friends.  Then one evening, I met a new person who was so full of life she was a joy to be around.  She only saw the best in other people and we talked about everything, and never once has the conversation veered into any areas that made me feel awful, drained, or lowered in any way.

I started surrounding myself with only people who lifted me up, and I continued to heal.  I felt better about myself and life and knew that there were actually people out there who were meant to stay in my life.  I also started teaching others how to attract the types of relationship into their lives that were good for them, and how to work on healing their own lives through my journal therapy, yoga, and affirmation exercises.  If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to have you.  >> I need support. <<

The Steps I took to Change my Life

 

Sometimes, my mind starts to wander and I think back to the year that my skin was on fire night and day.  I have tried very hard to block those memories out, so maybe you have no idea why this blog is called “The Burned Hand”.  I remember getting the incurable disease and thinking that my life was completely over at just 23 years old.  I feel like Ygritte whispering that I know nothing at that age.  And I didn’t.

I think back to the years that I had my children, and knew that I was so extremely fatigued it wasn’t normal and that I was not “bouncing back” from childbirth.  Then the second blood test and the news I had one more incurable disease, okay.  Not shocking, I already knew.  And more phlebotomies yearly would be needed.

I think back to the year my career as a teacher really started taking off and I was known as Mrs. Happy.  I had finally done it!  I changed my outlook on life and working with invisible diseases wasn’t going to stop me.  And then I started getting violently ill after eating.  I couldn’t look at food.  I looked pregnant all the time and my stomach was distended.  I started having severe allergy attacks, and I had vertigo for 3 weeks.  I spiraled down into a place of pain.  No one could touch my skin again, only this time was worse.  The base of my neck to the sitting bone was on fire.  I felt every single vertebrae as if it was on fire and begging to be put out like a living, breathing thing.

My shoulder went out.  My hip went out.  I couldn’t walk and I took a leave of absence from teaching, for presumably, a year.  I told everyone that, but I knew I was never going back.  I knew.  I actually thought that I was going to stay in that place of pain for a very long time, if not forever. 

I was diagnosed then with an autoimmune disease (just barely they said) and “fibromyalgia” due to the 18 points of pain that were in my body.  Didn’t I want to take pain meds for the rest of my life?  No.  No, I didn’t because I already had one disease that could mess with my liver and I wasn’t going to chance this.  It was at this point, that I realized I was screwed.  I had two options.  Get better or become something I didn’t recognize anymore…wait!  I already was.

The post will continue, but you can open these in new tabs if you are interested for later:

So life beats you down folks.  It does.  And it will over and over again if you let it.  What you do after this is up to you.  So here’s the point in my story that I don’t share much, but I was sitting on the couch in those early years, which yes, I wrote through the pain in 2013, but it barely scratched the surface, anyway, and I knew that I had a choice to make.  Get up and live.  Other people surely had as many diseases as I did, okay, I didn’t know anyone at the time, but surely they existed.  So I would live and change my life for them and show them that it could really be done.  I could do it.

One more test would come back in this puzzle that explained that on a purely cellular level I was not processing things correctly, but at that point, I didn’t care anymore.  I already knew I was different, and I was going to move forward.  So here comes the point where I tell you the steps I took.

The Steps I took To Change My Life:

  1. I decided I was going to change.  <<< This is the biggest one that you have to learn.  No one, and I do mean no one, can force you to change.  Period.  If you are waiting for your sign and this post is speaking to you, please write down on your calendar “Day I decided to change and live my life.”  <<<  Seriously.  You’ve got this.
  2. Stop making excuses and lying to yourself.  I will get out of the house tomorrow.  I will join the gym in a few months.  I will try yoga next month.  I will eat better after the “holidays”.  I will…yup.  Said them all.  Been there done that.  I made a plan, and then I stuck to it.  I called it 4 Weeks to Wellness and when each week was over, I would start back again.  Slowly and surely repeating the things I needed to change.  Fitness, I had to move.  Nutrition, I learned what was causing all that pain, balance, what was that anyway? and finally, self-care which was really lacking.
  3. I learned to be thankful for what I already had.  This one was hard.  Not that I wasn’t thankful, but I was so angry.  I was mad at the universe for giving me this life…never really thinking I had that much control over it all, but I was so very wrong.  I was wrong.  I woke up and started a gratitude practice even in my darkest hours.  I couldn’t sleep, but I would roll over and pull myself off.  I would not think of the pain, if it came in I shut it down with these words “Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”  I almost crawled to the bathroom with my eyes shut tight and said I will not insert the F word, think about this F word pain.  When i opened them on my bathroom mirror was the mantra “I am healing”.  Then I would say that to myself every single day.  Also, side note, my girls started to use dry-erase marker like I taught them and left mama messages to read on the mirror.  I was living for them and my husband and I was going to succeed.
  4. I started back to yoga.  I am thankful that someone took the lead in this and initiated my Yoga Teacher Training.  Can you imagine hardly being to move and going to yoga?  I almost said no a thousand times.  I almost quit a thousand times.  I would soak in the tub and almost cry out from pain at doing it, but I would not give up.  I would walk slowly and I would do the best I could, but I would finish that damn training.  I would and I did in June of 2015.  I went on to become certified as well in yoga for arthritis and pain.
  5. I started helping others.  I already had my FB page, but it just wasn’t enough.  How could I connect with others who could change their lives just by thinking about it, writing about it through my new journal therapy, starting a gratitude practice, and with sheer grit, take control of their heads, hearts and health?  I took some money and invested in a platform to build an online community.  I called it the Head|Heart|Health Club and I was going to make it work.  In January of 2017, I opened my doors to everyone who might want help, and I haven’t really looked back.

So if you are new here to the blog, welcome.  I really wanted you to know who I was before, who I am now, and what I am hoping to accomplish for the future of healing yourself.  I know you can do it.  Please stay in touch with me here <<< and get my monthly updates by newsletter if you’d like.  ~Aimee

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Mindfully Free of Wanting People to Be a Certain Way

Mindfully Free of Wanting People to Be a Certain Way

Guest post by Leo Babauta

One of the biggest sources of difficulties for every single human being is the desire for people to be a certain way.

We can’t seem to help it: we want the world to be the way we want it. Unfortunately, reality always has different plans, and people behave in less-than-ideal ways.

The problem isn’t other people. It’s our ideals.

Yes, I think it would be great if people stopped killing animals for food and fashion, and became vegan instead. But that’s not the reality I’m faced with, and it’s not going to happen for quite some time, if ever.

Yes, I think it would be great if my kids behaved perfectly all the time, but that’s not the reality of kids. Or any human beings, for that matter.

Yes, it would be great if my wife always agreed with me, but that’s not going to happen.

So the problem is:

  • We have ideals about how people should act, or ways we’d like them to be.
  • People don’t act in those ideal ways, or aren’t the way we’d like them to be.
  • We get bothered by that reality. Frustrated, angry, sad, disappointed, stressed.
  • This makes us unhappy, and damages our relationships with others.

This is obviously not great.

We have a couple of options:

  1. Stick rigidly to the way we want people to be, and be upset when they don’t meet those ideals.
  2. Stick rigidly to the way we want people to be, and try really hard to make them be that way. (This pretty much never works.)
  3. Let go of the ideals and be happier and less frustrated.

When we think about it this way, it’s obvious that option 3 is the best route. We’ll talk about this option soon, but let’s talk about a couple of objections first.

Objections to Letting Go

When people are confronted with the idea of letting go of their ideals about other people, they usually have a few objections:

  • Objection: But then people get away with bad behavior. There’s a difference between wanting someone to behave a certain way (and getting upset when they don’t) … and accepting that a person is acting a certain way, and then compassionately finding an appropriate response. In the first case, you are angry at them for their behavior, and your response out of anger is likely to make things worse. In the second case, you aren’t bothered too much, but can see that their behavior is harmful and want to help them not harm. You can’t actually control them, but you can try to help. If you try to help but need them to accept your help, then it will be continued frustration. Help but let go of the ideal outcome you’d like from your offered help.
  • Objection: But what about abusive behavior? There’s a difference between being agonized about the abuse, and accepting that the person is abusive and taking appropriate action. Letting go of your ideals about how the abusive person should act doesn’t mean you let them abuse you. It just means you accept that they are an abuser, while taking the appropriate action of getting away from them, and reporting them or seeking help for them if it’s appropriate. Don’t leave yourself in a place where you’re being harmed, but that doesn’t mean you have to be afflicted by someone else’s actions.
  • Objection: But then we don’t make the world a better place. If people behave in less-than-ideal ways, you can agonize about it while trying to change them, or you can accept that the world is not ideal … but calmly and compassionately work to help others. In both cases, you’re trying to do good … but in the second case, you’re not agonizing about how things are.

So these objections are all about wanting to change people’s bad behavior. This article is about inner acceptance of “bad” behavior (or what I think of as “not ideal”) … but once you have inner acceptance, you can take appropriate external action. That might be helping, being compassionate, getting to safety, talking calmly and lovingly to someone, reporting abusive behavior, getting counseling, or many more appropriate actions that come from a place of love, compassion and understanding rather than frustration and anger.

Letting Go of Ideals

So how do you let go of wanting people to be a certain way?

First, reflect on how these ideals are harming you and others. This wanting your way, this wanting a specific version of reality … is making you frustrated, unhappy, angry. It’s harming your relationship. It’s likely making the other person unhappy as well. This is all caused by an attachment to expectations and ideals.

Next, reflect on wanting yourself and others to be happy. If the ideals and expectations are harming yourself and others … wouldn’t it be nice to stop harming yourself? Wouldn’t it be nice to be happy instead of frustrated? Think about the desire to have a better relationship with other people as well, and for them to be happier in their relationship with you. This is your intention, and it is one of love.

Third, notice the ideals and frustrations as they arise. See when someone else is frustrating you, and reflect on what ideal you’re holding for them. How do you want them to behave instead? Don’t get caught up in your story of why they should behave that way, but instead just take note of the ideal. See that this ideal is harming you. Decide that it’s not useful to you.

Also notice your mental pattern of resentment when someone doesn’t meet your expectations, and decide to try to catch it early. It’s a pattern you can be aware of and catch early, and decide to change your pattern.

Next, mindfully observe the tightness. Turn your attention to your body, the tightness that comes from holding on to this ideal. Pay attention to how it feels, the quality of the energy in your body, where it’s located, how it changes. In this moment of observing, you are awake, rather than being stuck in the daydream of your story about why this person should be behaving differently.

At this point, you can decide to try a different pattern.

A Different Way

So now, you can practice a different way of being.

Here are some ideas I’ve found useful:

  • Instead of fixing on one way this person (or situation) should be, be open to other possibilities. Open yourself to lots of different ways this person or situation can be.
  • Try to understand the person, rather than judging them based on limited information. Try to understand why they’d act this way — perhaps they are afraid. Perhaps they’re suffering in some way. Perhaps this is their strategy for protecting themselves.
  • Try to see the good-hearted nature of their actions, rather than one where they are a bad person. For example, you might see that they are tender-hearted and afraid, and so are acting out of fear. Or they just want to be happy, and this is their strategy for being happy. Or maybe they have good intentions and want to help, but are misguided. We all have a good heart deep down inside, but it might take several layers to see that. Anger can stem from jealousy which stems from insecurities and fear, which stems from a tender-hearted worry that we’re not good enough. The angry action isn’t justified, but there is still a good heart at the core.
  • See their suffering that causes their actions and know that you have suffered in the same way. Remember how that suffering feels, so you can see what they’re going through. Compassionately wish for an end to their suffering.
  • Tell yourself that you don’t know how people should act. Honestly, I don’t always know how I should act … I am fooling myself if I think I know how other people should act. Instead, I might be curious about their actions.
  • See the other person as a teacher. They are helping you practice mindfulness, and let go of your old patterns. They are teaching you about reality vs. ideals, about how humans act.
  • Relax. Seriously, see the tightness you’re holding, and just relax. Smile. Be happy in this present moment.
  • Practice see the goodness in the other person, in yourself, and in the present moment. There is always an underlying goodness in this moment, if you choose to notice. Trust in this goodness, and you’ll be afraid less and happier more.

These are some practices. Try them, practice them over and over. I think you’ll be happier for it, and every relationship will be better.

Do you need more mindful living in your life?  Check out the Head|Heart|Health Club.

Low Vibration Energy and How to Raise It!

As a Scorpio empath, I don’t mean to peek into your energy when you come into my life; however, I have never been able to turn it off.  It’s like hearing, eyesight, sense of smell, touch, taste is for most people.  They don’t even think about it.  It’s just always been there.  The difference is, your five senses probably don’t piss people off.  Well, maybe if you tell people they smell bad, but you get the picture.

As people come to me for healing work, I dig way deep down into the feelings, the vibrations and the energies they are throwing out there, and I try to help them make sense of what it is they are projecting out there in the real world.

Because the truth is, most people might not even realize that they are really throwing out some low vibrational signs.

As I began to work with my small group of women friends to teach them why it was difficult for me to be around them during certain times, I started noticing the energy really rise.  Consciously, my friends were soaking up what I had to say and they were doing the work.  If there were weeks when they didn’t put as much effort into controlling their thoughts, that might have been a week when I could tell just through messages that it wasn’t a good time for me to visit.

I did my journal therapy with them for a whole year before I launched my Head|Heart|Health Club because I saw drastic changes.  They were making huge shifts in their lives and I wasn’t sure if they could even see that HOW they were now being was different, but I could.  I was very pleased when my friend sent me a photo of her journal completely taking responsibility for falling out of her good habits.  It was really a good entry complete with flames and then a WTF?? <<< drawn off to the side.  She knew she had slipped.

But what does this have to do with changing our energy?  Oh everything darling.  Everything. 

It has long been proven by Sheldon, well Quantum Physics, that everything has energy.  Okay, so that’s easy to grasp.  Your electromagnetic vibrations can be raised or lowered by your thoughts, beliefs, everything really that you do on a day-to-day basis.  Following me so far?  Okay.  I don’t have the white board, but I think we’re doing good.

So I have been running a test on my page for a while now to see what words people are throwing out there.  The bottom line is this, when you are in a low vibrational state, you answer with really low vibrations.  You wear low vibrational colors.  You don’t feel you can change your life.  You aren’t happy about most things, etc.  You get it.  It becomes a snowball into all other areas of your thoughts…and thus your life.

If someone else is using low vibrational words, that is their energy and we have a choice.  We can choose to interact, thus lowering our energy, or we can choose to pull our energy away from them.  This is not a crime or something to be ashamed of, we simply want to keep ourselves balanced.  It is especially important to remember this right now.

Now what happens when we come in contact with others who are vibrating at a high frequency?  Can that help us?  YES.  YES.  Those are our people.  Find them and hang on.  Remember that old adage about the 5 people you spend the most time around.  It is true.  It is based on all of this sciencey Sheldon stuff.  So why do you think that I work very hard at protecting my energy?  Because I want to be one of those 5 people for everyone in my club.

It is time to shift your limiting beliefs.

What you focus on is what you attract more of.  It is plain and simple.  If you answer someone’s question about “Are you having a good day?” and you go into a tale of why you are not, you are repeating that energy path…maybe even setting it up for the next day.

Tips to Shift your Low Vibrational Thoughts:

  1. Don’t think “Woe is me.”  Turn it into “Wow!  It’s me!”  Yes, I just made that up, but really think about it.  Most people in my yoga classes now know that I am teaching with a knee brace for a few weeks.  Each day I wake up and choose to shift my thoughts away from the accident that caused the pain (Sledding with my child.  Yup.), and I choose to focus on the fact that it wasn’t worse.
  2. Be a Proactive force in your life…not Reactive!  Again, more things I have talked about in my group, but you really can be the shift.  See what I did there?  Be the change…be the shift.
  3. Self-reflection is your key to success.  This is where my healing gift really works best with my friends.  Perhaps I sense the answer in their energy or their feelings, but it is not me who needs to make the shift.  I lead them through a series of questions designed to help them make this shift thus making it even more powerful than it could have been if I had just said, “Do this.”  You have to put in the work (energy) to change the low energy you have around you.
  4. You are able to de-clutter your life and your space with ease.  You don’t cling to things in the past or material possessions that do not serve you or your home anymore.  This also lightens and frees you up to attract more good.
  5. You are willing to let go of past mistakes and turn it into a lesson…not a life sentence.  This one will repeat itself my friends as it’s a doozy.  It takes a very strong person to let go and forgive.

In the end, a low vibration energy is linked to stress, health issues, anxiety, and more.  A positive vibration is linked to a clear head, a passion for knowing what you want in your heart, and overall wellness of health.

We would love to have you in the Head|Heart|Health Club this month if you are ready to shift.  The only way to know is if you are really ready to do the work, you are tired of being stuck in your old patterns, and you think that you can work really hard to let go of your past stories.

Thank you again for being here.  And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to pin it! Want more than this?  Check out the Empath’s Journaling Guide.

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5 Signs You are Shifting Unsettled Thoughts.

The waves of energy from you guys, my readers on the fan page for the blog, have been almost knocking me over.  This leaves me feeling some energy that I would like to calm right now.  It is a feeling of general “unsettledness”…which might not really be a word, but basically it is a feeling of unease.

What the heck is going on??

I can tell you.  It is a new year and with that comes the desire that is so strong to change ourselves and leave this old nonsense behind.  We are done.  DONE with blocks to our future.  We are DONE with this past nonsense that tries to come back to haunt us like Jacob Marley.  Not Bob, that would be okay.  We are DONE trying to make sense of what is happening in the future. And the truth is, all of this is okay.  We need to learn to be content with where we are.

Old wounds do, from time to time, split open.  THAT my friends, is the place where growth happens.  It’s messy and sticky and uncomfortable.  We want to put the band-aid back on our souls, my God we do.  But what if it is bleeding so much we can’t use a band-aid right now?  What if we need to clean it up a little, find the source of the pain, and then start to heal?  <<< that is where we are right now.  And I feel it so close to the surface for so many people right now I am about to burst wide open myself.  But guess what?  It’s exciting!

We are shifting into our purpose, so get ready.

AS we shift, that energy is messy.  It makes us feel unsettled and we might bounce from idea to idea or topic to topic until the right one clicks into place.  It’s like we are breaking into our soul vault and we don’t know the combination.  That is why we are feeling this way.  We are getting closer to the correct combination.  Heck, maybe we only are one number away.  But we have to be willing to stick this out my friends.

5 signs you are making the shift:

  1. Your past is trying to haunt you.  Jacob and his chains are all over.  I know that they make a lot of noise, but in reality, they can’t hurt you.  They are merely trying to get your attention that it is time to move on from that.
  2. Signs keep coming up that show help is near.  The perfect article on what you are feeling is right there.  The friend you have been thinking about calls.  The feather in your path might signify heavenly help is near.  Rainbows appear.  The numbers change to 11:11 or 3:33.  11 is a powerful number of dreams, intuitive illumination, and connection with Spirit.
  3. You are a bit moody.  Look out!  You might feel weepy, angry, unworthy and just plain over it right now.  It is normal, but let’s help this part pass.  In my Head|Heart|Health Club, we are working on really shifting into the feeling we want, and getting clear on what makes us happy.  I want you to practice that too.  So when you are in a mood, get clear on the exact emotional trigger that caused it.  Use a thesaurus if you need to and write down the opposite of that word and then write out what makes you feel supported and ________.  <<< the opposite of how you feel now.
  4. You are ready to pick a fight with anyone who will listen…including yourself.  This is the build up of energy and it needs a place to go.  Have you gone on a walk, gotten out of the house, taken a nice epsom salt bath or re-charged with your favorite things lately?  What are you doing for you??  Seriously.  Use the search button on side here and read more about self-care or explore my online catalog if you’d like to try your hand at my Gratitude E-book Self-guided Journal.  Find ways to shift this energy into thankfulness for the good in your life.
  5. Your about to make a big break-through and then your heater goes out and money is due here, here and here.  We have to let go of this feeling of lack.  This happened because we needed to shift into the thinking that everything is going to truly be okay and everything we need will be provided for us.  Sure, not everyone feels this way.  This leads to scarcity feelings and it leads us to panic.  It is normal.  Totally normal to have a flip out just as you thought your life was coming together and something bizarre happens.  <<< I have had so many of these things happen it is not funny.  I should make you a list to make you feel better…you probably wouldn’t believe the amount of stuff that happens to me like this.  BUT, I am not going to dwell on it right now.  I had to write out a big check the other day, and I just said with gratitude that I was happy to be giving this man my money to fix my heat.

Trust me on this, you are not alone.  If you have been reading my blog for a while you know there are years that take from me, and years that give.  We have to accept a few truths.  We can’t go back.  We are not always going to feel the same way and there are times none of this makes a bit of sense to us.  Trust me on this, but in the end, the pieces are really going to fit together and you will be surprised at the whole picture.  The dust will settle and the outlook will really be much better.  Let’s work on shifting into a comfortable flow this year.  The work on the inside will lead you to greater results on the outside.

Speak to you soon.  ~Aimee

What You Allow Will Continue

I do not know who first said this quote.

“What you allow is what will continue.” ~Unknown

Sometimes, by stating the truth, you make people mad.  This is one of those quotes.  Yesterday I did a FB Live talk about our emotional triggers and so this quote really describes the essence of being triggered.

I think it’s past time we took back control of our lives, and I don’t need to allow certain behaviors in my life anymore.  It is that simple.  Why do we complicate things?

Keep this in mind as you are reading this:  I am independent of the good or bad opinions of others.

You see, I want to expand the minds of others so that we can see that emotional triggers happen when we react.  <<< this happens lots and lots on Fakebook.  Someone posts a photo of the glorious vacation, their new car, their raise, their deal, their business thing, the friend they like better than you, the night they all went out without you, or the hashtag they created and use as a team, but you weren’t included.  Whew.  The feelings around all this suck.

The bad feelings suck a big ass.  Can I say that to you?  Well I did.  No one wants to feel like this.  But here it is.  The feelings we want to create instead are more likely to be accepted, respected, to be treated fair, included, to be understood and of course, to be right.  Unfortunately, everyone else wants to feel this way too.

What can you do to create more of what you want?

  1. Instead of reacting when certain needs aren’t met, become an observer of your thoughts.
  2. As we observe for a minute, what is it really telling us??  What is the feeling that is triggering this emotional response?  Is it lack?  Jealousy?  Just wanting something different today?  Think about it for a while.
  3. As we shift, we become more present in our “stuff”, not theirs.  Who knows what they have going on, but you can be sure they have bad days too.
  4. Center yourself.  Get really still and begin to focus on your breathing.  Sit up straight and put your feet flat on the floor.  Shift into feeling.  Put your hand on your stomach below your navel and just inhale and exhale as you feel your belly expand and then contract as you breathe.
  5. Find the opposite feeling of your emotional trigger and connect with that thought.  Here is an example.  Anxiety might be a trigger so the response you might actually want to create for yourself is calmness.  Connect to the energy of calm by playing relaxing music, coloring or journaling.

My wish for you this year is that you create more of what you want and that your self-respect continues to grow in this manner.  If we continue to allow the wrong things to bother us without putting up clear and healthy boundaries, I think we will find that more of what we don’t want will follow.

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5 Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Life

There are many times we get in our own way.  Each of us has our own stories to tell and our own problems; however does that make it any easier to deal with in the moment?

Finances, frustration at your job, feeling powerless over losing weight, blaming yourself for not going to the gym, replaying that argument over and over, procrastinating and then agonizing at last-minute woes…the list goes on and on.  Truly.  Think for just a second at something you need help with in your life right now.  Now think to yourself, how have I tried to solve this problem lately?  And how have I made it worse?

No blame.   No judgment.  Just be honest with yourself right now.  Take a deep breath.  Have you made a plan to help yourself out of this situation or are you stuck in a loop?  Chances are, you are mid-loop right this very minute.  I was once there as well.  Note, if you suffer from health issues, here is my note about the time I was stuck.  << you can circle back around to this. 

As I found my way out of my loop, I would like to help you make your way out as well.  But I can only be your guide.  I know that you have thought to yourself at least once before that you might be your own worst enemy, so let’s get you to be your own best advocate for change.

5 Ways to Stop the Sabotage:

  1. Identify the habit and the trigger that causes it to continue.  Do you have a behavior you are trying to change?  Mine was dropping the need for sugar, gluten and inflammatory foods as well as not putting yoga on the back burner.  If I woke up and it was cold, I had a habit of shutting down because I knew that cold made my joints hurt.  If I had a bad day, I wanted cookies.  None of this was serving the new me.  I was trapped in the pattern of “comfort food” which did NOT comfort.  Where did it come from?  The women in my family cooked and used food as a way to help themselves.  Only it never actually helped.  NOT a single person had ever used exercise, getting outside or doing something different to heal.  Hmm.
  2. After you have found your why, work on your HOW!  I knew why I did this.  It was evident that I had surrounded myself with people who literally loved to complain and not change a damn thing.  Excuses were the preferred method of “change”.  If you take an inventory around you, who do you spend most of your time with?   That might need to change.  If you answered yourself, that still might need to change.  But tread carefully.  The energy of others truly has the power to propel you forward or drag you down.  I let go of people who didn’t have the capacity to change.
  3. Create the boundaries you need right now.  Finances.  What are you spending your money on?  What is a non-negotiable in that area?  Food.  What are you eating like currently?  What can you change?  What can you let go of?  People.  Who lifts you up?  Who drags you down?  What things can be put on your list of keep, and what can put on your list of I need some boundaries over here <<< like pronto!  Refer to linked word later to help you with boundaries.  Get paper and pen or your journal and write this down.  It is not enough to say it out loud.
  4. Keep goals in front of you…on your planner or calendar.  One way to get to the gym or yoga is to put it in front of you.  Make a date.  Schedule the event.  Enact change in your life.  Get serious about this.  Put a list on your fridge if you want to plan out meals, and clear away what you don’t need.  Be purposeful in your thoughts and deeds.
  5. Stay in the present!  Lastly, if you made a mistake yesterday, please, please let it go.  As I read once, if you get a flat tire, you fix it.  You don’t slash the other four.  So don’t say to yourself, damn.  That cupcake jumped in my mouth.  I might as well eat one daily now.  I will start over next week.  Cheat days do not work…seriously.  They turn into cheat weeks, which turn into cheat months.  You get my drift because you have done this.  Journal it out.  Let it go.  Stay in the present.  Make a I forgive myself list nightly and wake up to your affirmation of “I will have a great day today.”  Then proceed to act as if the best news ever will be heard today.  You can do this.  I believe in you because I was once where you are.

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4 Ways to Let Go of Your Past Mistakes

Coming to the close of a year is sometimes difficult for people.  Looking back over the year might bring regrets, or worry.  There could be lists of things you haven’t accomplished yet, or things you really wanted to do.  But the truth is, none of that matters except for the present moment.  I know.  It’s shocking.  All that worry for nothing.

We can’t go back and change anything.  Not a damn thing.  All we can do is move forward. 

Each year, I get a shiny new journal and I am ready to start my new goals.  I never say resolutions…nope.  My goals are constantly changing.  My past cannot change.  It really is what it is no matter what.

So how can I move forward even if I know I have made some mistakes or didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to?  Here are a few pointers for you on doing just that.

Let Go of Your Past Mistakes:

  1. Decide to let it go at this very minute.  You have to consciously MAKE this decision in the present moment.  Write it down on a piece of paper, say it to yourself in the mirror, but do it.
  2. It’s okay to express your regret as long as you know your responsibility in the matter.  Take responsibility for what you put out there.
  3. Don’t be the victim.  Please, please, please stop placing blame.  I was talking to someone earlier who might be related to me and was in the same story yet again because blame was being placed everywhere else.  **Sigh**  Here are 3 Tips for Turning Pity into Self-care.  For later…not now.
  4. Learn to focus on the present through mindfulness.  Mindfulness is the here and now.  When we are not here, we are trapped in a story of our past or future worry.  The true way to move forward is with mindfulness.  It is really powerful.

How Can You Be Mindful?

  1. Practice Mindful Breathing by putting your hand on your belly and breathing into your hand feeling it rise and fall.  In your mind just mentally repeat I am breathing in, I am breathing out.  Feel the air expand and contract.
  2. Become aware of your body.  I notice when I am not present or grounded.  My husband will tell me this entire story and I will mumble along.  Ha.  Then he never learns to look at my eyes and see if I am “here”.  I make sure if it’s important I ask him to stop and look at me.  You are most powerful when you are present, but we all zone out.  Learn to be powerful in your conversations by making eye contact and making sure the other person is present as well.
  3. Do a brief body scan and notice where you are holding tension.  Mine is always my jaw.  Ugh.  I clench and I know it.  I try to relax it throughout the day and give myself a break from working to stand up and stretch.
  4. Forgive yourself and stay in the present.  Don’t beat yourself up if you float into the clouds or are trying to practice that breathing exercise, and start to zone out.  Just bring yourself back to the present moment over and over and over.  It is a work in progress that gets more powerful and easier to do the longer you stick with it.

When you learn to be more conscious, you can learn to let go.  When you let go, it opens up new doors to the future you are truly ready to create.  ~Aimee

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7 Ways to Spend Less Money and Have More.

Over the weekend, I tried to clear out my junk mail folder, but more e-mails kept appearing with things I needed that were on sale.  I am going to be honest, what I like to spend money on now is not necessarily more clutter, it is less.  I am buying very introspective gifts, and I am loving it.

I am doing this because I have found in really thinking about the things I want more of, it’s not necessarily more items, it happens to be more of the feeling associated with the item.  Catch my drift?

Last year, I was worried about money.  Worry begets more worry.  This year, I am not worried about money, but I am learning to have a much better relationship with it…so it can last longer and perhaps do that thing in my bank account called multiply.  No matter where you are in your money journey, this lesson is for you.

7 Ways to Spend Less (and really have more):

  1. If money was no object, make a list of things you’d really want.  Seriously.  Now look at that list, and think about what you really need.  Go back and circle those items.  Of the ones circled is there a pattern you can identify?  Like clothes?  Food?  Things to keep you warm?  Do you have lots of things on your list that are far-fetched or is there a feeling behind them that you are trying to reproduce?  Write down the feeling if the word comes to you.  Just let it sit there and marinate for a while.
  2. Look around your house.  What is truly enough for you? Do you have plenty of food in the refrigerator?  Do you have plenty of clothes?  I read the other day that we, in the United States, have so many clothes donated that yearly clothes are being thrown away in landfills…and they don’t magically go away.  It’s not like they are biodegradable.  I know that I am a clothes hoarder, so I listened to what it said about maybe just buying the higher quality items that last a while longer instead of the cheaply made things.  I also thought about all the ways you can reuse items.  If you are crafty, you know those pins where you magically turn your shirt into a vest or a scarf?  I love those ideas in theory, but I am just sticking to buying less.
  3. Save the dough.  There are a few theories about paying for things in cash.  I personally have been paying off credit cards, and trying to get my husband on board with this no credit card thing.  Sadly, he isn’t as on board with this idea, so I make him turn around and pay it right off.  He never looked at the interest really…he was a minimum monthly payment guy.  I said look, there is no point in couponing the heck out of everything when you can save money just by actually using cash.  Seriously.  I mean if you have mad couponing skills, go ahead with your bad self.  I am lucky if they take the one off the package that I buy specifically because it had that coupon attached.  And that’s okay.  Don’t feel guilty, just shop smarter on big purchases if you can.
  4. Bargain hunt…your gyms, yoga, exercise classes.  I admit that it’s probably easier to stay at one place, but how often do you buy a contract for ohhh say $60 a month and not go?  I stopped doing that after I realized I was wasting money.  I even stopped my $10 gym contract.  I now only buy what I need.  Groupon for a month on my local yoga studio is half the price.  Special offers, I will take that.  New people get a week free, oh sign me up.  But the best kept secret is the places that offer 10 class passes as they are cheaper and you are sure to use the number of classes.  Read all the fine print and the expiration date.  Let’s be honest.  In January you are going to think you “need” to join a gym.  Ask for a 10 pack of classes somewhere for your Christmas gift or birthday.  Also, ask for your friend to ask for the same thing so you have an accountability partner.
  5. Create mostly free night outs with your friends.  Do you like to journal, color, or just chat after a long week over some wine?  Well, invite everyone to your house and make it half the price as going out.  Likewise, get your friends in on the deal.  It really can be a nice way to spend time without paying lots of money.  Set up monthly rotations if you want to, but it really does save money!
  6. Circle back around to your list from up top.  Identify where you spend money to feel better.  I used to shop mindlessly because new clothes made me feel better.  Now, I buy a few online courses for around $10 and work on quiet practices.  I buy my friends books off of Kindle when they go for sale for like .99 cents.  If I am feeling restless, I head out the door on a walk or I do yoga outside or at a studio.  I have identified the problems that were making me want to spend money on things I didn’t need.  One of the first things I notice is have I been on the computer too much?  Why is this a problem?  That brings me to my last point.
  7. You are enough.  Your friend is posting about her new car, clothes, expensive bag, trip, hat <<< whatever.  What feelings rise to the surface as soon as you see it?  Observe these feelings for a minute and then be happy for your friend, but know that you are enough.  You have enough.  There is no one out there like you, and that is true.  Comparison, in my opinion, is the root of many woes.  We see the glossy surface of the person…the trips…the selfies they upload every single day, but in reality, it tells you nothing about what is going on underneath it all.  It is just the highs and trust me, everyone equally has their fair share of lows.

In the end, you know that money doesn’t truly make you happy…okay, fine.  It does help.  However, paying it forward to someone in need, donating gently used clothes to a family, collecting food, donating your time to the soup kitchens and making the homeless blessing bags.

Let Alone

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