Easing into peace. 6 tips to use right now!

Easing into Peace.  6 tips to use right now.The world is a stressful, hectic place.  You get up early and run around.  You look for your keys, the lost shoe, the lunch you hurriedly packed or your microwave meal because you gave up, and then you fly out the door.  Did you remember to kiss the kids?  Lock the door?  When is the meeting?  What do you have first thing on your plate?  Are you running late?  Hurry.  Hurry.  Hurry.  Get to the next moment as quickly as you can.  Then the next.  Then wish for lunch.  And wish for the meeting, the boring meeting, to be over.  Then wish you were home.  Then do it all again the next day.

Just typing this out made me stressed to be honest.  I remember that my days consisted of being miserable at work, not with the ones I loved, the kids, but the way I had to go about it.  The lack of “mental aloneness” I had.  The way that each and every moment was a carefully orchestrated dance between being “fappy”, << another of my made up words, and being “real”.  How could I live my life and do this when my heart wasn’t in it anymore?  How could I create more peace in my life?

As I talked to a friend of mine yesterday, I realized that this is still going on in the world today.  Maybe you love your job, but maybe you don’t.  Either way, you might not be creating opportunities for peace in your daily life.  I gave a talk today about that and you are welcome to >> watch my video, << but it all comes down to these 6 points.

6 tips to use daily to ease into peace:

  1. Have some go-to music!!  On my video chat, I mentioned that I like to play Native American Flute Music.  It calms my soul like a balm and it wraps around me like a thick fur as I start to feel the music.  I immediately feel at home and at peace within my body as that music plays.  It is how I start most of my yoga classes for that very reason.  I don’t know if my soul is recognizing some deep pull, but I don’t question it.  I just let it flow over my like water and relax into the moment.  The present moment.
  2. Center yourself daily.  When I ask people if they have dropped into their body lately, I usually get funny looks.  Where are they spending their time?  In their heads.  The mind chatter is unreal…or the digital chatter.  Either way, new people in my classes are not present…at first.  All it takes is one class with me (usually) and I can tell the next time how they are ready to do the work on the inside.  A friend recently came to one of my classes and she said “Aimee, I didn’t want to come out tonight because I was so stressed, and so tired from work, but I knew I needed it.  I am so glad I came out and did your class as I feel so much better.”  Sometimes the work is hard, and that’s okay.  But you will feel better once you start.
  3. Candles, salt lamps and water features…oh my!  If you work in an office that allows you to spruce up your desk, what are you waiting for?  Have some things you can turn on that are visible reminders of staying present in this moment, and teach you to relax.  Check these out as they come in different themes!!  Super cute gift idea.

4. The sense of smell…aromatherapy, can be beneficial to bringing your mood to a balanced state.  I have a >> necklace like this << that I use on my desk.  But it is up to you how much you want to have around you.  If you have the space, I also like >> this set that comes complete << with everything you need.  Many people have tried to convince me to use certain kinds, but I look for the ones that say 100% essential oils and I read up on them.  I have used many different types, and you will find your favorites as well.
5. Yoga, yoga, and chair yoga at your desk.  I can’t really put this in perspective as I think people around me forget how I couldn’t really function in my day-to-day life in 2013.  If you go back and read my archives on the side >> and jump to any year from 2011-2014, you will read a different me.  When I started yoga, I couldn’t even hold down dog as it hurt my wrists way too much.  I didn’t think I was going to be able to make a recovery from joint pain, fibromyalgia, autoimmune and more.  But I did.  Use the search under any of those tags and you can read how bad off I was.  I took my knowledge of yoga for pain and arthritis and I put it to good use in my >> Head|Heart|Health Club, << which currently is a great deal at only $9.99 a month.  I put my heart and soul into my lessons for my members and include over 8 yoga poses that are broken down for beginners.  I would love to have you try it out and see what you think.
6. Meditation and calming mudras.  Meditation can be anything to be honest.  Try>> this one I recorded live, << and yes, I know it looks like I go through a snow storm during part of it, but seriously, you can hear me and it’s a new word I created yet again.  It is a coffee “graditation” and it helps me remember what a blessing it is to even have coffee and hot water.  Just sit quietly at your desk and repeat a mantra, or healing phrase, as needed like “I am in the present moment.” and breathe deeply for a round of 3.  It can be that simple.  Bring your hands to heart center and use prayer hands or Anjali mudra to just offer yourself that time of peace and tranquility your mind craves.

Want a bit more?  Check out:

 

How to Love Your Job (10 tips on how to make it easy)!

Love your job with these 10 tips.

Dear Aimee,

I really need to learn how to love my job.  What advice do you have for me today?

Dear reader,

I used to be in your shoes.  I remember feeling very exhausted, under-appreciated and having zero balance on my personal time and my work schedule.  I felt I had no say at work and nothing changed.  I felt back-stabbed by co-workers who constantly gossiped and I wondered for the thousandth time…why oh why did I become…a teacher.  Then one day something changed.

I decided to love my job.  Here’s how:

  1. I started posting morning mantras << on my personal page for everyone, including the co-workers who followed me.
  2. I took a more active role in meetings and volunteered to head up committees.  As a chair, they had to listen to my ideas.
  3. I did not do 5 things at once.  << This one took some time as I thought I worked better that way, but I really didn’t.
  4. I made sure I was clear on what was in my job description and what time constraints looked like and where my job ended.  Seriously.  I didn’t want to be taken advantage of over and over.
  5. I did not stay late anymore…where I once worked so hard I made myself ill.
  6. I gave myself breaks.  There was actually time to go to the bathroom in my damn and I made sure everyone was aware that breaks were important.
  7. I created a “let’s not talk shop” lunch policy with my close friends.  Let’s talk life.
  8. I started doing brain techniques, meditation << and mini-yoga breaks at work…with my tiny people.
  9. I had everything picked out the night before down to my shoes and didn’t rush in the morning.
  10. I decided to have a great day and give it my all, and when that appeared to not be good enough after doing all of this, I would leave if need be or change schools.

That was the year was one of my best years ever.  I really put everything I had into loving my job dear reader.  Was the job the thing I had romanticized in my head?  No, it was not.  Was the job harder than I thought?  Yes.  Yes it was.  I just knew that I had made a commitment and I was going to do my best to change my way of thinking and see what followed.

If you are interested in learning more about what we are covering in the Club << this month (by the way, it will help you with your feelings around your job as well as life), here is my video.

>>> We would love to have you in the Club this month for our theme of Letting Go with Peace.  <<< Learn more here!

30 Frugal Gift Ideas to Show You Appreciate Someone

A Guest Post by Leo Babauta

What do you get someone if you want to show you appreciate them, but if you don’t have a lot of money to spend?

If you have a lot of money, you can buy just about anything for that person. But for those of us with limited budgets, you’ll have to show that appreciation with a little creativity.

Australian reader Victory recently asked:

I’m in my final year of high school and in about a fortnight we graduate before heading off to exams (in Australia for those who live in Victoria) and so I was wondering if you could perhaps make a post about Teacher gifts. I’m a little low on ideas for showing gratitude to my teachers but I know they deserve something decent for helping me getting into university and such so perhaps you could offer frugal but tasteful advice on gifts other than the usual wine/beer/chocolate?

It’s a great question. Teachers are some of the most selfless people I know, and the work they do benefits us individually and as a society. However, I thought I’d broaden the topic for those who aren’t in school … and talk about frugal gift ideas for showing your appreciation to someone.

Let’s first identify what’s essential: that we show the person who has done something nice for us how much we appreciate them. It’s not essential that the gift be big, or expensive, or anything like that. It’s a token of our appreciation … and let me tell you, no matter how small, the person will likely appreciate the gesture.

The gift should also be appropriate to the person — if it’s personal, it’s likely to mean more. So while wine is always a nice gift, if the person is into other types of drinks (such as coffee), that would make a better gift. So take a moment to consider the person, what they like, and the times you’ve spent together.

So, let’s look at some ideas … some obvious, perhaps, but this list is meant only to spark your own ideas. Also, the definition of “frugal” is broad here … some ideas cost more than others, and some can be made for very little.

  1. Frame a picture of you with them.
  2. Lotions or bath oils.
  3. Journal. A nice journal can be beautiful. It’s one of my favorite gifts.
  4. Gourmet coffee with a personalized mug.
  5. A nice pen.
  6. Photo album or scrapbook, with memories already included.
  7. Homemade cookies you bake yourself.
  8. Or brownies.
  9. Spice gift basket. Get some small jars and fill them with exotic spices.
  10. Gift certificate for the person’s favorite hobby store.
  11. A burned CD with all the person’s favorite songs.
  12. A letter, hand-written on nice paper, from you. Make it heart-felt, with all the reasons you appreciate the person.
  13. A small plant.
  14. A movie pass and a small container of gourmet popcorn kernels.
  15. Soup mixes or cookie mixes in nice clear jars.
  16. Personalized T-shirt.
  17. Stationery and stamps.
  18. IOU booklets, with whatever services you are willing to perform. Obviously only good for someone you know really well.
  19. Knit or crochet something for someone (I can’t do this, but I know people who can).
  20. An “I appreciate you because” jar. Fill a nice jar with slips of different colored paper, each with a reason you appreciate (or love) someone.
  21. Jams and jellies.
  22. Good bread (home-made works great).
  23. Books (my favorite).
  24. A blank recipe book … write some of your favorite recipes on the first few pages.
  25. A keepsake DVD with a video of special moments, edited (and captioned) by you. A slide show presentation with music burned on a DVD works too.
  26. Create your own art (and put it on nice stationery or in a frame). By “art”, I mean a sketch, painting, poem, short story, whatever.
  27. Scented candles.
  28. Make-up set.
  29. Shaving kit.
  30. Box of good tea and a teacup.

Editor’s Note:  Not sure where to start journaling or what it does for you?  Here are 7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life.  <<

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of StressLife in unpredictable.  As surely as you are singing along with Frank Sinatra, about “That’s Life”, you will find that you are either riding high or feel shot down just like in his lyrics.

That’s life (that’s life) that’s what people say
You’re riding high in April
Shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June

I said, that’s life (that’s life) and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks
Stompin’ on a dream
But I don’t let it, let it get me down
‘Cause this fine old world it keeps spinnin’ around

This fine old world keeps going though, doesn’t it?  I have been noticing more people reaching out to me during my live talks on my page, so I know that you need to hear this right now.

I am going to cut right to the heart of it for you.  I understand living stressed, pay check to pay check, with illness, wondering how in the hell you are going to get through the latest thing that life threw at you.  That moment where you look up and you say “Really?”  That moment where you ask why me, why now?  I have been there when the despair threaten to pull me under, but on that last gulp of air, as I came up from the bottom, I said not this girl.  Not now, not ever.

And that’s where the magic happens.  On that gulp as you decide this isn’t how it’s going to play out.  I am offering you a few extra gulps of air here so you can make it to the raft.  You can do this.

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress:

  1. Find your center.  In yoga, there is a point in the class when the teacher directs your attention inward.  I want you to do that in times of great stress.  It does take awareness to detect when you are not yourself and therefore need to re-center.  I like to connect to the emotional center and calm myself by placing my hand over my heart.  If I am barefoot, I stretch my toes and spread through all four corners of my feet.  I imagine my heart radiating the pink light of love and then washing over me to calm my soul.  There are many ways to find your center, but just visualize you are calm and take three deep breaths.
  2. Stay present with the breath.  This is one of the best tools in your almost empty tool-box.  I talked about your tool-box in length last week, and I want to give you something else to put in there.  Observe the breath.  Is it shallow?  Then start to slow it down and breathe deeply for a full round of three.  Say to yourself “I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.”  If you want to breathe deep into your belly, put your hand over your navel area and breathe into your hand.  Feel it rise and fall.  Just be present in this moment.
  3. Call in the mantra or affirmation.  In my Club, we have a focus for each month.  This month is positivity, gratitude and raising the vibration of energy that we can tap into when it is needed.  Our goal is to maintain our own energy source without being depleted by outside sources.  The best mantra when you are having a rough time is “This thought is a choice.”  You then direct your thought to a positive choice if you were going down a path that made you think negative thoughts.  Another great one is “It all works out and it will get done.” That is for those days you have taken on too much.  To make your own mantra right now, tap into what is causing you stress, then think about the exact opposite feeling you wish to create and call that in with a mantra.  “I am healing.” is the one I used for over a year when I was in pain 24/7.  One day, I woke up after doing yoga the night before and I began to realize that there was little to no pain left in my body.  Mantras can be a powerful force to direct your thoughts.
  4. Journal your way into gratitude.  When I was at my lowest point, and the pain was greater almost than my will, notice I said almost as that was when I resurfaced and took a large gulp to get to the life raft, anyway, that was when I started my mental butt-kicking with journaling.  Many of you know that I turned that into my program to teach others how to do the same thing called the Head|Heart|Health Club.  I was going to save as many people as I could who needed that extra gulp.  I began to notice all of the good in my life at one of the most excruciating times ever that I had personally faced.  It was literally a life changing process. Gratitude is one of the most medicinal emotions we can feel. It elevates our moods and fills us with joy. ~Sara Avant Stover
  5. I did the yoga.  On days I wanted to sit in my pajamas and never come out…on days I wanted to curl up in the fetal position, I switched to child’s pose instead.  The benefits of yoga truly changed my level of appreciation for my body and all that it was capable of doing even in the darkest moments of pain.  And so I gifted myself with continued studies and learned yoga for arthritis and pain.  I began to teach others who were in pain and by sharing my gifts, I lightened my darkest hours.  I also did the hard stuff and recorded myself teaching 8 beginning yoga poses as well as chair modifications for my Club and the benefits of doing these poses daily.

Articles that you might like to go with this:

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress

Practicing the Pause Before You Speak.

Social Media can either uplift, inspire, amplify, influence, or shift your moods in the most positive ways; likewise, it can show division, hate, disrespect, ignorance, greed, falsifications, and ways that people think they are living in a much better way than their fellow-man by putting others down. Using words like “all” and “everyone who ever did this__”, and hashtags folks have found which are derogatory, so they feel better in that one moment maybe being part of the mean hashtag club.  In light of many recent events, I just encourage you to practice the pause right now brothers and sisters. The pause is important.

Are you alienating people you once broke bread with? Are your words in hate and anger more important the human being?  Do you feel better arguing on social media or perhaps by doing so you are becoming the very thing you are so vehemently denying?

I spoke to you guys this week on my page about a few things and people commented that I looked a bit tired…maybe sad even.  The leaders/clergy/healers of the world have a lot on their shoulders right now and they aren’t perfect either.  Whatever religion, beliefs, or views you have, I want you to think about a few things before getting into a debate with others on social media.

3 Ways to Practice the Pause:

Is it True?  (How would you know for sure) Is it Necessary? (Is it adding value to your feed) Is it Kind? (if the answer is no…)  This is actually pretty interesting as it comes from a book of Victorian Poems called Miscellaneous Poems by Mary Ann Pietzker published in 1872.  Here is an excerpt:

Is It True? Is It Necessary? Is It Kind?

Oh! Stay, dear child, one moment stay,

Before a word you speak,

That can do harm in any way

To the poor, or to the weak;

And never say of any one

What you’d not have said of you,

Ere you ask yourself the question,

“Is the accusation true?”

And if ’tis true, for I suppose

You would not tell a lie;

Before the failings you expose

Of friend or enemy:

Yet even then be careful, very;

Pause and your words well weigh,

And ask it be necessary,

What you’re about to say.

And should it necessary be,

At least you deem it so,

Yet speak not unadvisedly

Of friend or even foe,

Till in your secret soul you seek

For some excuse to find;

And ere the thoughtless word you speak,

Ask yourself, “Is it kind?”

 

So, my thought is this.  If you are out there shouting the words of someone who does not practice the pause, and deliberately provoking people you once considered a friend, how are you being different from what you are shouting about?  To be honest, I expect those of you reading this do, in fact, practice the pause.  We can only work to change ourselves and most often I have found those who are actively working to change themselves, will reflect on this and think about it in more than one aspect.

Because I want you to have more than one take away here, especially if this brought to mind certain people in your life, I was doing research on how anger affects the brain (for my Club content), and this wonderful PDF is free so while I wanted to share this with my Club, I also want you to have it today.

In a nutshell, the research from The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine outlines how stress hormones affect your body.  Those of you with heart problems acting in anger will elevate your heart rate, blood pressure will rise, arterial tension rises, blood glucose level and blood fatty acid levels will rise as well.  I don’t want you to basically have a stroke over your anger and reactivity.  I also don’t want your headaches to increase (have you noticed that), your stomach to be upset, and your immune system to be weakened all because of how you are reacting to stress.

If this helped you in any way, here are a few tips on how to practice a simple meditation.  <<  Thank you my friends.  I wish you good health.

The Balanced Empath…7 Tools You Need Today!

The Balanced Empath...7 Tools You Need Today!As I scan my feed for just a second, something comes into my line of sight that potentially has energy attached to it that could disrupt my mood.  There are posts about pain, hurting people, animal cruelty and more, but whichever post gets my attention, I know that I have the power to choose how I am going to stay balanced.  It wasn’t always this way though.

I know that I can pick up on the vibrations, moods, auras, energy or however you want to explain it of other people.  What I didn’t realize long ago was that those energies can also be projected through social media and other forms of communication.  Prior to social media being the big thing, I think people had an easier time staying balanced.  However, let’s face it, we have to learn to adjust to the changing times.

Being an empath is hard enough as it is, but becoming one that stays in balance, well, at one time that seemed like a far off dream.  I would fluctuate between happiness, sadness, anger, peace, and calm all in one hour it would seem.  Maybe it was a little bit longer than that, but I know that three years ago, moods came on me like a heavy blanket trying to smother a raging fire.  What I was doing was being swept away in the blaze, and the little bit of control I had seemed non-existent.

I was suffering from anxiety, depression, pain and illness, and 2013 was the catalyst to me letting everything get out of control.  The final straw was in November of that year and by 2014, I had vowed to change everything I was doing.  I was the only one capable of changing things.

The 7 tools I used to create balance in my life:

  1. I started with my mental body (thoughts), and learned how to recognize what was not really mine.  I did this through a variety of ways, but the first thing I tried was meditation.  I wasn’t all that great in the beginning, but I kept at it and even found a local woman who would later become one of my dearest friends who taught guided meditation in a group.  I am so thankful for her guidance during that time.
  2. I learned more about how to stay in the present moment with mindfulnessIt sounds like a buzz word.  I know.  But I started to realize how much time I was spending in moments that would never change.  Time lost to sadness over things I could never possibly go back and fix.  National tragedies, curing cancer, animal cruelty, all those things, well, I could only start with the present moment and love the ones I had now, fix the ones I can, and help those who let me.  << Who let me.  I could not stay in the moment of unbearable sadness and mourn the loss of friends or family who passed too soon.  It was robbing me of this present moment.  Hell, even looking out the window at my daughter’s playhouse was robbing me of the present moment as I was getting sad thinking of times long gone.  So I started to change the way I was thinking and thank those moments and move into the present.  The playhouse disappeared with my blessing (as well as my daughters) and is becoming a new yoga shed.
  3. The mental body was in need of repair.  The pain and suffering of my illnesses had taken a toll on my physical body.  I decided to start restorative yoga, and then gradually move to Vinyasa yoga.  I still wasn’t convinced that it was going to be my thing, but then the decision was made for me and I became a yoga teacher after 200 hours of hard-core training.  I kicked in and gave it all I had, and spent many nights soaking in a tub with new pains, of my own making this time, and the weirdest thing happened.  The pains from the past 5 years started lessening.  I then became certified in yoga for arthritis and pain…and started teaching others that there was a new way to live.
  4. I learned how to ground and stay centered…which was something no one tells you about.  I connected to the breath, the earth and my center.  Centering is literally connecting to your core.  To your essence and really getting focused on your body.  So many times I had felt “floaty” or only half here.  I started using wonderful affirmations, visualization techniques and core rooting that really helped guide me through difficult times.
  5. I learned how to let go of energy that was not mine.  This was a freaking HARD lesson and it was a huge one baby.  You know that angry driver that cuts you off, the office worker who always lies, the boss who tells you what you want to hear?  Poof.  That’s theirs.  The things in the news feed that are evil, angry, and just plain not true?  I started learning how to rise above that kind of mentality and what it meant to truly call upon my own energy and release all the other stuff.  I was in control of what I allowed in.  << Huge lesson.
  6. I gave myself plenty of time to be human…and to forgive.  I was going to occasionally drop my newly created boundaries at times, and things were going to slip.  But I knew that within was a greater power to start back up again…kind of like that tire analogy.  Do you know the one?  Where they say if you have one flat tire, you aren’t going to get angry and slash the other four, right?  Right.  You start back over fixing the one that’s flat.  So I would do energy check-ins and see what had worn me down that day…or week.  Where did I have a leak and what did I need to fix?  What was working in my life?  What wasn’t working?  Same concepts I teach in my Club.
  7. I journaled about nearly everything I could and didn’t stop.  I learned how to dig deeper than I ever thought, how to rephrase the mind, how to shield and protect my energy, and best of all, how to let go of things.  I worked on my emotional well-being with this newly created form of journal therapy.  I worked on the inside and really concentrated on understanding my gifts.  If you are in need of some journal therapy and this post resonated with you, here is something you will love >>> Journaling for Empaths <<<

Highly Sensitive people really have to make an effort every day to realign to the present moment, so I hope these tips help you.  I really expand on them in the Journal for Empaths, and I know that it will be of great benefit to you personally.  Thank you again friends.  ~Aimee

Life Goals…5 steps to create them

Think about your life goalsLife Goals…5 steps to create them

By Leo Babauta

There’s never a good time to sit down and think about what you want to accomplish in life. We have busy lives, and even when we’re not busy, we might just feel more like vegging in front of the TV or checking our feeds than thinking about the rest of our lives.

Do it today, if you haven’t yet. It could take as little as 10 or 20 minutes, and it could make all the difference in the world.

And it’s not that hard. You probably already have a good idea of what you want to do, but you may not have it written down. Or maybe you’ve done this exercise before, but you haven’t updated your goals for a while. Now’s the time to do it.

1. How to start? First, think about what you’d like people to say about you at your funeral. This comes from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — the habit called “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s also very effective. Imagine you are at the end of your life, looking back. What would you like to have accomplished? What kind of person would you like to have been?

Now here’s the key: start living your life so that you will eventually get to that point.

2. Now that you’ve given that a little thought, jot down some ideas for life goals you’d like to achieve before you die.  ^^ Links to why writing is a great practice.

They can be in many areas, but here are a few to start with: professional, education, family, spiritual, travel, recreation, hobbies, community, charity. You can probably think of more, and you don’t need to have goals in all of these areas. Just some topics to get you started.

3. Refine your list, or expand it. After your initial brainstorm, you may want to trim it down. But you may also want to expand: sometimes it’s fun, and worthwhile, to dream big.

4. Now break it down. What should you accomplish in the next 10 years for each of these goals? How about 5 years? How about two years? One year? And this month?

Once you’ve planned out each goal for 10-year, 5-year, 2-year, 1-year and 1-month periods, you’ve got yourself a pretty solid plan.

5. Take action! I like to take my monthly goals, and make a to-do list for this week. What can I do today to further my goals? And if I can get just one thing done, I’ve done a lot to make those dreams a reality!  >> Need a bit more around procrastination? << Check this out.

Take a step towards your dreams today by writing them down, and making a plan.  Want more accountability in this area?  >>> Head|Heart|Health Club <<< is making it happen with prompts daily, action steps, and tutorials that are really helping people move forward!

How to Practice the Lost Art of Being Present

The Lost Art of Being Present“Mom!!  Can so and so have a ride, and such and such.  And can I go over to this person’s house later?  But first I need some new cleats…okay?  Oh and 40 snacks.  Like right now to take into band.  And I forgot to tell you we have to have people over to finish tie-dying these shirts.  And then can you take Person X back home because they don’t have a ride?”

Ohmmmm.  That was just one of my teens on one particular day this week.  I know that it sounds a bit frantic, and it can be, but so can grocery store shopping if you let the overwhelm get to you.  >> Check out my latest video on staying balanced over here <<< 

So the days of doing nothing, not having a cell phone, not having to feel connected to a device are long gone (perhaps).  However, you can inject mindful moments into your day by practicing being present.

This might be a typical experience in your mind Present moment thought. Past. Past. Past. FUTURE! FUTURE! Present moment thought.  It’s kind of like scrolling through your feed, right?  Checking your social media, and then deciding what you want to click the like or love on.  I would like you to practice the lost art of being present consistently, for one week, before you scroll onto something else.

How?  Your mind screams.  Why should I?  Your mind also thinks.  This is the kind of stuff those “yoga” people do.  I just don’t know if I can do it.  Well, before I was one of those yoga people, I was trapped in so many patterns of over thinking that my thoughts were just like ping-pong balls.  I was exhausted from over thinking because I was time traveling everyday without the Tardis.  Seriously.  If you don’t believe me, try this.

There is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time that we have any power.  Leo Tolstoy

How to Practice Being Present:

  1. Take out your tiny notebook and write P for past, N for now, and then F for future.  Using little tick marks, start tallying your thoughts.  Yes, it might be a lot of work to do in one day, but try it for one day.  Which column had the highest score?  You are going to be very surprised.  You spend more time in other moments even if you start thinking about paying a bill in the future, what are you going to cook for dinner, what do you need from the store, I can’t believe that guy just cut me off in traffic, my boss is a ___ for treating me ___ in the meeting, I have to get 40 snacks, and so on.
  2. Notice your activities.  This might surprise you, but you struggle because you also are judging yourself.  So don’t judge how you are being in your activities, just start to notice what you are doing.  As you garden, start to notice the dirt shifting around your hand or garden spade.  As you come into a new yoga class, don’t notice what anyone else is doing, just focus on the way your body feels on the mat.  As you are walking, start to notice the way your foot moves on the path, and how you are breathing.  Are you breathing shallowly because you are overthinking?  Notice, observe and shift back into the present moment.
  3. The present moment has arrived.  There is no guess work as to what is happening right now.  We already know it.  So practice during one of your normal routines like eating lunch.  Just notice the way you make your sandwich or even your kids sandwiches.  Put music on and listen as you work.  Be fully present so much so that other people’s energy does not throw you off.  That becomes the key which only you hold.  There is only room for your energy as you stay present.  What other people are doing with their frantic thoughts, which then spirals out, can’t really bother you if you are staying present.  You start to become an observer of what is happening. 
  4. Triggers will become apparent in this way.  As you notice your energy, you will start to observe which friend, colleague, child, neighbor, etc, are using old mechanisms to trigger you.  They have learned that behavior as well, particularly anyone who wants to ruffle your feathers.  I will use myself as an example.  I value honesty as one of the top qualities a person can have.  Dishonesty triggers a wave of energy that will result in anger if I don’t ride it out and then breathe deeply.  This includes using tactics of “omission” from my darling kids.  So I have discussed full examples of this so that “Hulk Mom” doesn’t come out.  Instead of worrying, I proactively explained what will happen.  This helps work around a possible trigger.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.  Buddha

If you are interested in learning more about staying present, learning how to focus on your own energy, and harness your inner power, I invite you to try my Club out for a month >>> The Club with Soul.  <<<

How to Practice the Lost Art of Being Present

 

 

Lies that keep you from moving forward.

Lies that keep you from moving forwardOccasionally, someone has to be the bad guy.  You know that one friend who really wants you to succeed so they tell you something you really don’t want to hear.  Well, that’s me today.

Life is going to be a million different things for you.  It’s going to be beautiful and brilliant one moment and the next is going to suck big time.  You’re going to be up one moment only to be smacked down again a minute later.  You’re going to be minding your own business going to your “routine” doctor’s appointment and then you get told that a few more tests are needed.  So you panic…and go from point A to Z in your head in a matter of minutes.  But the bottom line is, it’s your reaction that counts. It’s what you do in those terrible moments that define you.  

I remember getting the news that I had a few incurable diseases.  If not treated, they could have killed me, yes.  But I was 23 years old so you know, I probably had the same amount of time as others ahead of me.  That was before I was even married, before I even really thought about being a mom, before I said yes to my first real job and before I had ever even bought a house, experienced the joy of paying bills and taxes and whatever being an adult encompassed.

Some of you have heard this part before, but for those who want to learn more here are a few posts from the early days, and the rest of you can keep reading after this:

So, I do get it folks.  I do.  In full disclosure…I don’t mind pissing people off with the truth. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it’s liberating, sometimes it’s messy and ugly and then you wake up the next day and you feel amazing! Why? Because maybe you weren’t fully being honest with yourself about who you are and maybe you were hiding living in your truth. So that “courage” it took you to finally speak your truth feels better. Like you are finally living in your own skin. Well, it’s time for you to stop telling yourself these things.

Lies that keep you from moving forward:

  1. I will never _____.   The truth is, if you start something off with that, you won’t.  Period.  I will never find a person who loves me (says your mind, or your status).  I will never get that promotion.  Oh that can never be me.  It won’t.  Not with that attitude.  So what does one do with this?  You take baby steps with your mind.  Okay, right now the situation seems out of my control.  So what can I control?  My reaction.  My thoughts.  My ability to change me.  I will one day feel amazing again.  I just know it.  <<< So that was my head after 5 years of pain.  Straight and constant pain daily had almost gotten me to I will never…and I realized that I had to do something drastic.  I had to start saying “One day I will….” and I got there.
  2. They are just lucky.  You have convinced yourself that someone else is more entitled to a share of luck than you are.  You are therefore not as lucky and will never have whatever it is.  What you don’t know is that “they” have worked their ass off for whatever it is.  They have felt defeat so many times it wasn’t funny.  They were trying their best one day and were on the 50th time of trying to get ahead when it finally happened for them.  So what can you do?  Start small again.  This is exactly what I teach my Club.  Look, I never knew the word “manifestation”.  I didn’t watch the “Secret” and I don’t care what that secret was because I know I have it figured out.  I believed that “it” whatever it was, was going to happen for me.  So in the beginning, it was just to live without pain.  That was enough for me because it would mean I had my life back again.  I was going to create my own luck and that is exactly what I teach.
  3. The past or future is better than right now.  Achoo bullshit.  Sorry.  I call it like I see it.  I miss the past too sometimes.  And yes, there’s grief for people I lost, but I know for a fact they wouldn’t want me to live that way.  I did take an entire year to grieve once and I don’t regret it.  But then it was time to pick myself up and keep moving forward.  Of course, shortly after that I was diagnosed with my first disease, but I did keep moving forward.  So what can you do?  Create Mindful Moments.  If it is very hard to live in this moment right now, try to notice when and where your thoughts wander.  Gently pull them back to the present moment.  I am not saying yoga cures everything, but it does actually change you.  I brought myself to my mat and practiced what I needed to do.  Time and time again until it became less practice and more second nature.  If my mind strayed to the pain, I would then focus on the way my hand was pressing into the mat.  The way the next day, it was easier to hold a position for a few seconds longer than the day before.  Until one day, I did something I worked on for an entire year and I will never forget the way my buddy smiled at me as I said hey, look at me!!  I did it.  There was this internal glow that I created all for myself and I had that power within me…so do you my friend.

I’m not saying that I have all the answers because I don’t.  I just know that you are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.  Over the course of my 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training, I doubted myself more times than I can count.  I would come home and soak in the tub and be in immense pain.  I would look up at the heavens and ask why me.  But the answer was always the same “why not me?” and so I learned to stop telling myself lies.  I really could do this.

If you’d like more information on my journal therapy/yoga mindset/learning to live your truth Club, here it is >>> Head|Heart|Health Club <<< Click there.

Overthinking 101: Learning How to Postpone “Worry”

Look, I get it.  I worry with the best of them.  In fact, I come from a long line of “worriers”.  Things like Don’t push the trash down with your hand or you will get cut. Or If you go snow skiing, you will probably fly off the mountain.  Recently it was A shark might eat you if you swim in the ocean and if that doesn’t happen a rip tide will get you. 

I actually love swimming in the ocean and taught my daughters to jump waves as well as my niece with my brother…while the worrier was watching.  We all came back in one piece.  So what does this type of habitual practice do to your brain?  Well, I probably should have been in therapy, in fact I tried it once, but she just there listening to me saying “umm hmm” so that made me wonder what was going on in her head and that was worse to be honest.

Anyway, I discovered yoga years ago, but I didn’t actually “get it” at first.  I love this article on it because it was like this.  I started to think if a freaking neuroscientist thought just like me at first, then perhaps I am not the only one noticing that some people do go to “yoga” and in fact are not doing yoga at all.

So what did I start teaching that was different in my own yoga classes (and in real life, including my HHH Club)?  I started teaching yoga-like thoughts and being aware of the absence of thought, even if it’s just a minute.  Now, what if you worry about all of the above mentioned things, plus many others that never ever come to pass?  Here are a few tips for you.

Overthinking 101 notes:

  1. Postpone worry.  On your calendar, write out a time that you worry.  I know, it’s crazy.  But seriously.  As you are working, if worry starts to come into your head while you are busy doing something else, just stop, write worry at 5p.m. today, and keep going.  If it gets really bad, set a timer as well so you can worry about the sky falling for exactly 15 minutes and if you start to think about it longer, you are reminded you devoted enough time to that thought, now it’s up.  Like an appointment.  Meet back there in your head tomorrow at a different time if it still lingers, but don’t think about it anymore.  This actually allows you that slight bit of control that we need.
  2. Obsessive thoughts can be faced.  So imagine for a minute you are Sheldon Cooper.  What happens if he doesn’t knock the third time?  Can he go a whole day without that?  So if you don’t get this, Sheldon is a character I love on a T.V. show.  He has to knock three times and say his neighbor’s name.  But let’s put this in perspective again.  My dad uses antibacterial squirty stuff like it’s going out of style.  What if a germ actually gets on him?  To test this theory and face not using the anti-bac, he would have to touch something and then not use it.  See if he can last after being in public. Each time maybe go a bit longer.  Again, you get the drift here.  Each time try to go a little bit longer without feeling like you have to do the obsessive behavior and see what happens.  Are you okay?  Can you make it from one task to another without reaching for the anti-bac or knocking on the door a third time?
  3. Use a mantra to relax.  As you begin to feel stressed, say “I am in control of my thoughts.”  Then breathe in and hold at the top of a breath just a sec and focus on that feeling, then release and breathe out.  Keep breathing in and out for a full round of three.  Start to notice the tension in your body releasing.  Notice the set of your jaw, and unclench the teeth.  Let the shoulders relax, and just be aware of being in your body.  Notice how you control the rise and fall of your chest by breathing deeper, not shallow, short breaths, but deep, controlled breaths.  You are in control.  You are able to breathe deeply and focus on the now.

As I have been working on my practice of teaching others how to control their thoughts, I am reminded again and again that just like anything we do, the power of now must be practiced.  We mindlessly go through our days sometimes and that is really not healthy.  Flex that muscle and learn to practice the power of now through tiny activities like washing the dishes, going on a walk, gardening, yoga and meditation.  Each of your tasks can be a mini-meditation in itself.  Like riding a bike, but just practice staying present.

Want to learn more?  >>> Head|Heart|Health Club <<<

 

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