The Art of Doing Nothing

The Art of Doing Nothing

The Art of Doing Nothing

Guest post by: Leo Babauta

Sure, we all know how to do nothing. We all know how to lay around and waste time. But many of us are too busy to do it much, and when we do it, our minds are often on other things. We cannot relax and enjoy the nothingness.

Doing nothing can be a waste of time, or it can be an art form. Here’s how to become a master, and in the process, improve your life, melt away the stress and make yourself more productive when you actually do work.

Start small
Doing nothing, in the true sense of the word, can be overwhelming if you attempt to do too much nothing at once. Do small nothings at first. Focus on 5-10 minutes at a time, and start your practice sessions in a safe place — at home, not at work or in a busy public place. You may also not be ready to do nothing in the middle of nature, so do it in your bedroom or living room. Find a time and place where there are not many distractions, not much noise, not a lot of people to bother you.

Shut off all distractions — TV, computer, cell phones, regular phones, Blackberries, and the like. Doing nothing is hard when our communications gadgets are calling at us to do something.

Now, close your eyes, and do nothing. Yes, the smart-asses out there will say you’re doing something — you’re sitting there or laying there, closing your eyes. But we mean doing nothing in the sense that if someone were to call us up and ask what we’re doing, we say “Oh, nothing.” Don’t let them call you up, though. They are trying to distract you.

After 5-10 minutes of doing, nothing, you can quit, and go do something. But try to do this every day, or as much as possible, because it is not possible to become a master without practice.

Breathing
The first place to start in the quest for mastery over this art is in your breathing. If this sounds suspiciously like meditation, well, cast those suspicions out of your mind. We are not here to do suspicion — we are doing nothing.

Start first by breathing slowly in, and then slowly out. Now closely monitor your breath as it enters your body, through your nose, and goes down into your lungs, and fills your lungs. Now feel it as it goes out of your body, through your mouth, and feel the satisfying emptying of your lungs.

Do this for 5-10 minutes, if you can. Practice this as you can. When you start thinking about other things, such as how great that darn Zen Habits blog is, well, stop that! Don’t beat yourself up about it, but bring your thoughts back to your breathing every time.

Relaxing
An important part of doing nothing is being able to completely relax. If we are tense, then the doing of the nothing is really for naught. Relaxing starts by finding a comfortable place to do your nothing — a soft chair, a plush couch, a well-made, clean bed. Once you’ve found this spot, lie in it, and wiggle around to make it fit your body better. Think of how a cat lies down, and makes itself comfortable. Cats are very, very good at doing nothing. You may never approach their level of mastery, but they make for great inspiration.

Next, try the breathing technique. If you are not completely relaxed by now (and a short nap would be a great indication of relaxation), then try self massage. Yes, massage is much better when administered by other hands, but self massage is great too. Start with your shoulders and neck. Work your way up to your head and even your face. Also do your back, and legs and arms. Avoid any areas that might lead to doing something (although that can be relaxing too).

Yet another great way of relaxing is an exercise where you tense each muscle in your body, one body part at a time, and then let the tensed muscle relax. Start with your feet, then your legs, and work your way up to your eyebrows. If you can do the top of your head, you may be too advanced for this article.

Once you are relaxed, see if you can relax even more. Try not to relax so much that you lose control of your bodily fluids.

Bathing – an advanced stage
Those who are in the beginning stages of the Art of Doing Nothing should not attempt this stage. But once you’ve become proficient at the above steps, the stage of the Bath can be pretty great.

The bath must be nice and hot. Not lukewarm, but hot. Bubbles are also required, even if you are a man who is too manly for this. Just don’t tell any of your guy friends. Other bath accessories, such as a loofah sponge, or bath gels, or potpourri, are very optional (editor’s note: think hilarious Friends episode).

Again, you must have all distractions shut off. Bathing is also best done if you are alone in the house, but if not, everyone else in the house must know that you CANNOT be disturbed, even if the house is burning down. If they break this sacred rule, you must turn upon them with the Wrath of Hell(tm).

Step into your bath, one foot at a time, very slowly. If your bath is properly hot, it is best if you get into it an inch at a time. For more sensitive body parts, such as the crotchal area, it is best to squeeze your eyes shut tight and slowly lower yourself into the steaming water despite all instincts to flee. Once you are fully immersed (and you should go completely under, head included, at first), close your eyes, and feel the heat penetrating your body.

You may begin to sweat. This is a good thing. Allow the sweat to flow. You may need a glass of water as the sweat could dehydrate you. A good book is another great way to enjoy your bath. Allow your muscles to be penetrated by the heat, to be relaxed completely, and feel all your worries and stresses and aches and inner turmoil flow out of your body into the water.

A hot bath is even more awesome if followed by a bracing cold shower. Either way, get out of the bath once the water is no longer warm and your skin is very raisin-like.

Tasting and feeling
Doing nothing is also great when accompanied by very good beverages or food. Good tea or coffee, wine, hot cocoa, and other sensual beverages go very well with the Art. It’s best to take these beverages by themselves, with no food, and without a book or other distractions. Focus on the liquid as you sip it slowly, savoring every bit of the flavor and texture and temperature in your mouth before swallowing, and feeling the swallow completely. Close your eyes as you do this. Truly enjoy this drink.

Foods are also great: berries, rich desserts, freshly made bread, the best … soup … ever, or whatever it is that you love. Be sure you eat it slowly, savoring every bite. Chew slowly, and close your eyes as you enjoy the food. Feel the texture in your mouth. It is bliss!

Doing nothing in nature

Once you’ve passed the above stages, it is time to practice this gentle art out in nature. Find a peaceful place — in your front yard if that’s peaceful, a park, the woods, at the beach, a river, a lake — places with water are excellent. Places out of reach of the sounds of traffic and city life are best.

Out here in nature, you can practice the art for 20 minutes, an hour, or even longer. There are fewer distractions, and you can really shut yourself off from the stresses of life. Don’t just let your mind wander everywhere — focus on the natural surroundings around you. Look closely at the plants, at the water, at the wildlife. Truly appreciate the majesty of nature, the miracle of life.

Incorporating the Art in daily life
This is the final stage of mastering this Art. Don’t attempt it until you’ve practiced and become competent at the above stages.

Start by doing nothing while you are waiting in line, at the doctor’s office, on a bus, or for a plane. Wait, without reading a newspaper or magazine, without talking on the phone, without checking your email, without writing out your to-do list, without doing any work, without worrying about what you need to do later. Wait, and do nothing. Concentrate on your breathing, or try one of the relaxation techniques above. Concentrate on those around you — watch them, try to understand them, listen to their conversations.

Next, try doing nothing when you drive. Yes, you must drive, but try to do nothing else. Don’t listen to music or news or an audiotape. Don’t multi-task. Don’t talk on your cell phone, don’t eat, and don’t do your makeup. Just drive. Concentrate on your driving, look at the things you are passing, and feel your breathing. Relax yourself, and don’t worry about the other drivers (but don’t crash into them!). Drive slowly, going easy on the gas and brake pedals. This technique has a great side-effect: better gas mileage.

Last, try doing nothing in the middle of chaos, in your workplace or other stressful environment. Just shut everything out, close your eyes, and think about your breathing. Try a relaxation technique. Do this for 5-10 minutes at a time, building up to 20-30 minutes. If you can do this, in the middle of a stressful day at work or with the kids, you will allow yourself to focus more fully on the task at hand. You will be relaxed and ready to concentrate, to bring yourself into a state of flow. (Warning: Doing nothing could get you in trouble with your boss, so be careful! But if it makes you more productive, you boss might not mind.)

Finally, the Art of Doing Nothing cannot be mastered overnight. It will take hours and hours of practice, of hard work (doing nothing isn’t easy!). But you will enjoy every minute of it! Try it today.

Want more tips on staying focused in your life?  See “Minutes of Mindfulness” every Monday.

The Red Flags of Passive-Aggressive Behavior and How to Deal.

Dealing with passive-aggressive folksIt’s lunch time and you try to avoid seeing anyone in the break room as you know what’s going on in there.  The sharks are circling and trying to get any bit of juicy gossip they can feast on…in order to draw more sharks in.

It’s possible you might not even be aware of what is happening as snide comments are masked, and you are left feeling like you were just complimented and insulted at the same time.  Maybe they even said “Relax.  I’m just kidding.” Like that takes away the sting of their hostility.  The truth is, it doesn’t.  They know that what they said was carefully crafted to hurt.  These people have spent years acting this way and to be honest, might have been raised in a home that used tactics in passive-aggressive warfare. 

Passive-aggressive behavior is actually masked in sarcasm, silent treatment, withholding praise, being critical yet complimentary at the same time, arriving late, procrastinating or avoiding responsibility altogether, and basically sugar-coating mean remarks and hostility.

You can be sure of one thing.  This is open hostility towards you. 

If you noticed any of the above red flags of passive-aggressive co-workers, friends, or even family, it might be hard to deal with.  As a matter of fact, you might just want to shut down, but that’s exactly what they are after so I am going to give you a few tips on how to handle this.

5 Ways to Deal with Passive-aggressive Folks:

  1. Name it for exactly what it is.  Do NOT let them make excuses for why they treat you this way.  “Oh you can’t take a joke.  I was only playing.”  In order to make you think it’s your fault.  The truth is, they can feel when their behavior is wrong.  If someone is using shaming tactics, being unreasonable, making you feel uncomfortable deliberately, trust me, they know.  This is a repeated pattern.
  2. Shore your boundaries.  You can’t change them; however, you can change how you interact with them and how much.  Notice where they hang out and who they hang with.  That says loads about them.  Look them in the eye if they are speaking down to you, and stand up straighter.  Give visual and body language clues by making sure your shoulders are back and your head is held high that you are having none of their crap today.  Or any other day.  You don’t want or need that “energetic pooh” in your life.  << That links to my clean energy tips and what “energy pooh” really is.
  3. Notice how you are being and what triggers them.  If you are having a great day, got a great review, the boss patted you on the back or you got special notice, chances are, they’re probably jealous.  Yup.  Triggers their insecurities and bitterness.  I jokingly said today on my FB Live chat “Mama always liked you best” from the Smother’s Brothers, but it is a true trigger for some people.  Whether or not it happens to be true, the person who uses hostile words masked as “fun” is feeling left out or unloved.
  4. Maintain your composure during the “dig”.  Now is the time to practice RBF…resting bitch face.  Only the eyebrows move up a notch, but you just look at them and say nothing.  You aren’t going to change them, but staring at them for a minute usually makes them say more.  If all else fails, you can use humor, or simply walk away.  Want a bit more on what they are trying to do here?  You can read 5 Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator.  Or if guilt seems to be used try reading When Guilt is a Weapon<< opens in new tab.
  5. Be mindful of yourself.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of silly little games, but your weapon can be mindfulness.  How is arguing with them going to help?  What are they trying to gain from this?  Making you look bad.  If you engage, they are trying to poke the bear so to speak.  Oh look at what so and so said to me…can you believe it?  They will conveniently leave out all indication they said anything at all.  Just remember that words can be twisted but if you simply look at them and walk away, they have nothing to use against you.

Looking for a supportive group to build yourself up?  Find out more here.  << Click on I need support.

4 Ways to use Moon Energy

4 Ways to use Moon EnergyMany of you already know how to read energy and can feel the subtle differences when things are just “off”.  I asked my closed group to help me lock into what they are feeling right now, and it’s all over the place.  The group is a smaller representation of people who are interested in learning how to control their thoughts, energy, empath abilities and so much more from my readers like you.

Getting back to basics, here’s what we know.  There are have been stories spanning many years and many continents about how the energy of the moon seems to affect people’s behavior.  I know you have heard “Oh it must be a full moon.” when people try to explain why someone has done something.  Have you ever wondered if there is any truth to that?

Here’s an interesting fact.  People have been looking for clean energy sources for a long time.  So we know that the moon is a powerful force and can be used to help our planet.  So taking it to the other side of this, there are tangible and intangible frequencies that are emanating from the sky.

So when the moon is full or new, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun combine in a way that is powerful.

4 ways to use moon energy:

  1. This is a time of reflection.  What is working in your life?  What is not working?  What have you been avoiding?  Not the same as procrastination because it might be something internally telling you to pause, but look at what you are avoiding completely and reflect on why you are doing this.
  2. Communication needs to be face to face.  The written word can be read into.  What you need to say to someone, if at all possible, can be done on Skype so you can see the facial cues, or in person.  Breathe deeply and don’t over react to words that are sent in a text, e-mail, or some other message.  Get clarification first.
  3. Positive affirmations are needed at this time.  I habitually repeat affirmations during times of need, and I felt like this month my Head|Heart|Health Club was going to need some extra love.  I will share a few for you if you have not used them before.  I am healing.  This was very powerful for me in my journey of coming back from pain.  I took a negative thought, and turned it around to work for me in the positive.  I am worthy.  This is a great one if you are feeling insecure around anything at this time.  I always succeed.  This might be a good one for work.  So, in our club this month, I felt that courage was needed and we are working around stepping into that.  You can use the affirmations however you want, but make it a positive habit.
  4. Breathe and pause.  Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier and remember to focus on your breathing.  Write out how your day is going to go in the positive or sit and meditate.  Everyone thinks of meditation as this long, drawn-out process.  It doesn’t have to be.  It can simply be reflecting or visualizing while focusing on your breath on how you want the day to go.  It can also be thinking about the good in your life therefore creating that gratitude mentality.

All in all, remind yourself there are going to be good days and bad days at any time of the month, but taking measures to be proactive in the way you approach your thoughts, feelings, and physical body will surely help you get through anything that crosses your path.  Want to learn more?  See the right hand side of this blog and sign-up for the newsletter over there or click on the get this blog e-mailed to me area.  Speak to you soon on the weekly chat

Save

Save

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

Save

9 Steps to Achieving Flow (and Happiness) in Your Work

9 steps to achieving flow

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

A Guest Post by Leo Babauta

Have your ever lost yourself in your work, so much so that you lost track of time? Being consumed by a task like that, while it can be rare for most people, is a state of being called Flow.

In my experience, it’s one of the keys to happiness at work, and a nice side benefit is that it not only reduces stress but increases your productivity. Not bad, huh?

When I wrote about the Magical Power of Focus, I promised to write more about how to achieve Flow, a concept that is very much in vogue right now and something most of us have experienced at one time or another.

Today we’ll take a look at what Flow is, why it’s important, and how to achieve it on a regular basis for increased productivity and happiness at work.

What is Flow?

Put simply, it’s a state of mind you achieve when you’re fully immersed in a task, forgetting about the outside world. It’s a concept proposed by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, and these days you’re likely to read about it on blogs and in all kinds of magazines.

When you’re in the state of Flow, you:

  • are completely focused on the task at hand;
  • forget about yourself, about others, about the world around you;
  • lose track of time;
  • feel happy and in control; and
  • become creative and productive.

One thing I love about Flow is that it takes the very Zen concept of being completely in the moment, and applies it to work tasks. It’s a concept I’ve talked a lot about on Zen Habits — being in the moment, focusing completely on a single task, and finding a sense of calm and happiness in your work. Flow is exactly that.

Why is Flow Important?

I believe the ability to single-task (as opposed to multi-task) is one of the keys to true productivity. Not the kind of productivity where you knock off 20 items from your to-do list (although that can be satisfying), where you’re switching between tasks all day long and keep busy all the time.

The true productivity I mean is the kind where you actually achieve your goals, where you accomplish important and long-lasting things. As a writer, that might mean writing one or two important and memorable articles rather than 20 or 50 unimportant ones that people will forget 5 minutes after reading them. It means getting key projects done rather than answering a bunch of emails, making a lot of phone calls, attending a bunch of meetings, and shuffling paperwork all day long. It means closing key deals. It means quality instead of quantity.

And once you’ve learned to focus on those kinds of important projects and tasks, Flow is how you get them done. You lose yourself in those important and challenging tasks, and instead of being constantly interrupted by minor things (calls, emails, IMs, coworkers, etc.), you are able to focus on the tasks long enough to actually complete them.

And by losing yourself in them, you enjoy yourself more. You reduce stress while increasing quality output. You get important stuff done instead of just getting things done. You achieve things rather than just keeping busy.

Flow is one of the keys to all of that.

How to Achieve Flow and Happiness in Your Work

So how do you achieve this mystical state of being? Do you need to meditate or chant anything? No, you don’t (although meditation can improve your ability to concentrate). And Flow is anything but mystical — it’s very practical, and achieving it isn’t mysterious.

It can take practice, but you’ll get better at it. Here are the key steps to achieving and benefiting from Flow:

  1. Choose work you love. If you dread a task, you’ll have a hard time losing yourself in it. If your job is made up of stuff you hate, you might want to consider finding another job. Or consider seeking projects you love to do within your current job. At any rate, be sure that whatever task you choose is something you can be passionate about.
  2. Choose an important task. There’s work you love that’s easy and unimportant, and then there’s work you love that will make a long-term impact on your career and life. Choose the latter, as it will be a much better use of your time, and of Flow.
  3. Make sure it’s challenging, but not too hard. If a task is too easy, you will be able to complete it without much thought or effort. A task should be challenging enough to require your full concentration. However, if it is too hard, you will find it difficult to lose yourself in it, as you will spend most of your concentration just trying to figure out how to do it — either that, or you’ll end up discouraged. It may take some trial and error to find tasks of the appropriate level of difficulty.
  4. Find your quiet, peak time. This is actually two steps grouped into one. First, you’ll want to find a time that’s quiet, or you’ll never be able to focus. For me, that’s mornings, before the hustle of everyday life builds to a dull roar. That might be early morning, when you just wake, or early in the work day, when most people haven’t arrived yet or are still getting their coffee and settling down. Or you might try the lunch hour, when people are usually out of the office. Evenings work well too for many people. Or, if you’re lucky, you can do it at any time of the day if you can find a quiet spot to work in. Whatever time you choose, it should also be a peak energy time for you. Some people get tired after lunch — that’s not a good time to go for Flow. Find a time when you have lots of energy and can concentrate.
  5. Clear away distractions. Aside from finding a quiet time and place to work, you’ll want to clear away all other distractions. That means turning off distracting music (unless you find music that helps you focus), turning off phones, email and IM/PM notifications, Twitter, and anything else that might pop up or make noise to interrupt your thoughts. I also find it helpful to clear my desk, even if that means sweeping miscellaneous papers into a folder to be sorted through later. Of course, these days there isn’t anything on my desk, but I didn’t always work like this. A clear desk helps immensely.
  6. Learn to focus on that task for as long as possible. This takes practice. You need to start on your chosen task and keep your focus on it for as long as you can. At first, many people will have difficulty, if they’re used to constantly switching between tasks. But keep trying, and keep bringing your focus back to your task. You’ll get better. And if you can keep your focus on that task, with no distractions, and if your task has been chosen well (something you love, something important, and something challenging), you should lose yourself in Flow.
  7. Enjoy yourself. Losing yourself in Flow is an amazing thing, in my experience. It feels great to be able to really pour yourself into something worthwhile, to make great progress on a project or important task, to do something you’re passionate about. Take the time to appreciate this feeling (perhaps after the fact — it’s hard to appreciate it while you’re in Flow).
  8. Keep practicing. Again, this takes practice. Each step will take some practice, from finding a quiet, peak time for yourself, to clearing distractions, to choosing the right task. And especially keeping your focus on a task for a long time. But each time you fail, try to learn from it. Each time you succeed, you should also learn from it — what did you do right? And the more you practice, the better you’ll get.
  9. Reap the rewards. Aside from the pleasure of getting into Flow, you’ll also be happier with your work overall. You’ll get important stuff done. You’ll complete stuff more often, rather than starting and stopping frequently. All of this is hugely satisfying and rewarding. Take the time to appreciate this, and to continue to practice it every day.

“To be able to concentrate for a considerable time is essential to difficult achievement.” – Bertrand Russell

Dear Reader, we are working on uncovering our gifts this month in the Head|Heart|Health Club and using Flow to our advantage as we step into our power.  Want to try it out for a month and see how your life changes?  Feel free to join us!  Just click on “I need support” to read more.  <<<

Save

Raise Your Energy Right Now With These 3 Tips!

3 tips to raise energyI know you feel it too.  Some wonky, stagnant, possibly influenced by Mercury Retrograde, weird vibes.  The downdraft of negative energy is flowing around your T.V., other people, and your cell phone.  Anytime you see a headline of something negative, you feel yourself being pulled down.  Every click-baity headline designed to grab your energy is doing just that.

It is more vital than ever to surround yourself by those types of energies you really want to attract and protect yourself from the ones you wish you could repel.  So how exactly do we repel the bad stuff?

We raise our energy!

We work each and every day to detoxify our heads, hearts and improve our overall health by clearing ourselves of the energetic gunk that is trying to drag us down.  Our programming, our limiting beliefs, and much more that feels “heavy” and not in true alignment with who we want to be has got to be shed like a snake skin.

Great!  How do we do this?

  1. Stop.  Drop.  And meditate or sit in easy pose (sukhasana).  I am going to give you a tip from my Club this month.  I knew that people would need support during this time, so I wanted to introduce easy and accessible yoga poses to my Head|Heart|Health Club.  I want you to begin your practice seated…anywhere, but outside in the sun is great as well.  Close your eyes and feel the earth beneath you.  Feel every part of your body and visualize the earth supporting you.  You are at peace.  Take a deep breath in through your nose and as you let out a long exhale, feel your feet, legs and pelvis releasing a bit further into the ground.  As you begin to surrender to the pose, notice how you feel without resistance.  The spine naturally feels better and more light.  The crown of the head is nice and level.  You feel a good connection to the ground beneath you and you are at ease.  Thus easy pose has already helped stabilize your mood.
  2. Express gratitude for the world around you.  Do not spend this time yearning for the things you do not have.  Instead, appreciate the good in your life and it will come back to you ten-fold.  This practice begins to increase the abundance in life and I have personally noticed a huge shift upon repeating my 30 day Gratitude Journal exercises.  If you need more support on this, feel free to visit my E-book link.  The science of being thankful for what we already have in our lives was the true basis of how I learned to heal what I once perceived as a broken body.  Shifting my perspective to what I could do versus what I could not do continues to help me through life as well as through my yoga practice.  I am so very grateful that I can move again without crying because I can remember a time when this was one of the hardest things I ever did.  Making it from the bed to the bathroom.  Little by little, that practice of waking up and saying thank you with each step healed my soul.
  3. Learn to eat more mindfully.  This one can be a difficult task for lots of people.  I am teaching in my Club this month that eating Mindfully does not mean starvation.  It simply means being more aware of what certain types of food do to your moods, how you feel after you eat, and what actually makes you feel amazing versus what makes you feel regret and guilt.  Mindful eating also involves higher vibrational foods such as clean eating.  One ingredient good ole’ vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other things you can actually pronounce.  As well as upping the water intake daily.  It really can be that simple to start raising your vibration and blocking the energy drain.

I hope you enjoyed these tips today and if you want more information on anything that I teach, please see my brand new online portal.  When you click I need support, it takes you to read about the Club and what we have to offer you!

Tips to Raise energy

Save

7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life

7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life

I’ll never forget the night I sat down and decided that there was much more to keeping a journal than 30 days of Gratitude.  Don’t get me wrong, that is absolutely what started my goal of journaling for an entire year.  In 30 days, I saw more progress in my outside world than I had in a long time.  Starting a daily journal practice absolutely will change your life…if you commit to getting to know your subconscious mind. 

The thoughts.

There was a chasm, a freaking chasm, between who I wanted to be and what my thoughts were telling me.  I was not living up to my full potential and the 18 years of living with invisible diseases had worn away the once shiny coat I saw of life.  It was dull and bitter.  This wasn’t what I saw my life looking like, I would think through the hazy fog of pain.  Why bother getting out of my pajamas?  My subconscious would tease me.  Get under these blankets and rest.  You deserve it.  You have 7 invisible diseases.  No one blames you for sitting here.  You are just trying to survive.  And that’s when it hit me.

The goal.

I wanted to live, not merely survive.  I wanted to change my thoughts, my world and help others like me.  I wanted to be an inspiration to my children and I wanted my husband to stop feeling so helpless about the physical pain I was in.  I wanted my dad to stop looking at me like he broke me by passing on the genes that made me different.  And one night, it all came to me on how to help others with this.

7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life:

  1. Journaling clears your head.  As you begin the “getting ready for bed” routine, your brain has probably been on some sort of tech.  Your brain still thinks it’s play time actually, so it’s time to start clearing our heads, and start putting our brains to bed so to speak.  It is time to reduce the scattered thoughts that so much information available to us at one time (the internet) provides us.  As we get ready for bed, it is time to increase our focus on a few specific things and start to recharge.  We are now providing the bridge between our subconscious and our conscious waking thoughts.  So much information can just flow if we let go!
  2. Your intentions become more clear.  A few weeks ago, you would have thought I asked people to throw away their phones.  I simply suggested getting an old-fashioned alarm clock and stop relying so much on your phones to wake you up in the morning.  I merely pointed out that the tone with which you start your day stays with you (and that link is even a few years old, it is much greater now as it points out in the study).  So if you take 5-10 minutes to think about what your wrote the night before, and how to utilize the first 10 minutes of waking up as pure visualization, gratitude practice, and goal setting, you will start to see tiny changes in your productivity during the day.  New opportunities will arise.
  3. Abundance in your life will increase by your ability to be very specific with what you want.  Last year, I paid off a very high credit card bill because I wrote about my monthly goals every single month until that thing was paid off.  I was not in a good place financially at the time due to me leaving work to have my “sabbatical” of healing.  This is a true story.  I was driving a mini-van that was falling apart, and I knew that I wanted a new vehicle.  The funds came in for me to pay off the credit card bills, and have money left-over to get the vehicle without worry or fear.  I also renewed my passport and traveled overseas where I had been invited to speak at a conference.  It was exactly what I had written out.  I was specific on some things I wanted to get done and each month as I started a new month, I would plan out that month’s goals.  I got very clear and things changed.
  4. How do you want to feel each day?  Why is it so frustrating that as we live our lives, we focus so much on what we DON’T want to attract??  Why is it that we don’t ever take a minute to connect to how we actually want to feel?  To live?  What do we really want to experience on a daily basis?  I am by no means saying that there aren’t wonderful people out there who can help you figure this out in therapy, but I was spending my co-pay ($25 a visit at the time…now up to $30), trying to get “unstuck” from the depression caused by the diseases when I finally had the Epiphany that if I wrote just a little bit each day on how I wanted to feel, and what I wanted to create, that I could make more progress through the mental jungle in my head than the lady sitting there listening to me could.  I was holding back what I told her anyway (note, you can also use this in addition to, so just letting you know. There are many ways to use journaling).
  5. Gratitude starts to increase as you notice the good in your life.  Do you ever think that someone in your life could use more thoughts of gratitude?  I did too.  But trying to change another person is like changing a light bulb using the Force (unless you truly are a Jedi and I am mistaken).  You can mentally torture yourself about this other situation that you can’t change, or you can start focusing on the good you already have in your life.  As we think about the good in our lives, and we seriously raise our vibration to one of thankfulness and gratitude, things start to take on a whole new perspective.  Trust me, I know.  I will never forget the day I got to stock up my refrigerator with good food because surprisingly, gluten-free items are way more expensive than things with gluten…as well as things that don’t have additives.   I was so very thankful that I lived in a time when I could find the food I needed without getting sick.
  6. Comparison starts to melt away.  I was once friend with someone who always wanted what other people had.  Nothing in life made her happy.  At all.  This kind of stuff melts away as you focus on your monthly goals, your monthly intentions, your happiness and what you have.  Who cares what person x “appears” to have?  Truth bomb.  They are faking it too sister.  Yup.  Marriage might be rocky, job might be stressful, and they never have time to just breathe.  Don’t focus on their fappiness.  <<< My word for Fake-happy I made up one day.  That’s another story before the healing process…read later if you are there.
  7. Journaling gets you closer to self.  Head is where your thoughts are and they are things you really don’t want others to know.  Heart is actually where your self lives.  The two don’t always agree.  In fact, they often argue.  Your head is like “Let’s be practical with this money.”  Your heart is like “Oh my gosh.  I need a pick-me-up today.  Going to shop.”  This is just my example as I couldn’t put 2 thoughts together the other day as it was a bad news day for 2 friends, so I listened to my heart and stopped working and left the house.  AS I let go of that fear though, and learn to write about it, I actually visualize things working out.  Not just for me, but for others in my life as well.  Self is my essence and I know that it distinguishes me from others.  In this instance, I am not talking about the ego.  I am talking about who I was before I let all the labels of disease try to take over that essence.  For me personally, I had to find my way back there and that journey will look different for each and every one of you, but whether you write two lines on a page, draw art therapy photos under quotes, bullet journal, or just jot down monthly goals and intentions, you can find your way back.  Trust the process.

For more information on what came to me one night while I was journaling, see this link on my Mindful Coaching.  If you want some guidance on this process, with no strings attached, you can leave at anytime, click on the word support on that page and find me in my closed group.  The Head|Heart|Health Club would love to see you this month!

Who are you choosing to be?

How to Handle the “Knowing” When Your Intuition is High.

Intuition

It happened again.  Someone just lied straight to your face.  And you had a split second to decide what to do.  So you just numbly nod your head and move on.  The other choice is confrontation and how can you prove you know they lied You can’t just say “well I felt it…” or can you?  What if they think you are crazy?  How do you handle this?  Help!

Well, the interesting thing is this, the more tuned in you are with this person, the stronger the “knowing” is.  Sometimes, you want to dismiss it because it would make your life easier.  But I think it is being developed in our conscious mind for a reason.  So how do we move on from here?

How to handle the “Knowing”:

  1. Trust your intuition.   If you know in your gut you are right, you are probably on the right thought.  The thought comes without reaching for it.  Much like our reaction when we pull our hand away from a hot surface, shiver when we are cold, or our bellies growl when we are hungry.  It is simply just there and many people don’t understand this.
  2. Breathe deeply.  What was the first thing you thought?  The first impression is often the most accurate.  We then start to second guess ourselves about the thought.  Breathe deeply again.  Trust your gut reaction.
  3.  Think about how you feel when you ignore it.  So you know it’s there and it’s going to wake you up in the middle of the night.  Can you stop your friend/co-worker from lying from you?  No.  You can’t do that.  But what is your intention going to be if you do, in fact, tip them off you know something fishy is going on?  Don’t point the finger, but instead see if there is a way for you to later re-visit this with your intention clear.
  4. Weight the consequences and energy output.  Supposedly people are more likely to lie when they are stressed or put on the spot.  So consider asking important things when someone has had time to relax or maybe isn’t in a room full of people if it’s at work.  I know, to some of us who just want the truth, this seems like lots of effort, but the energy spent trying to catch the person in the lie isn’t worth it either.
  5. Have the conversation about what your moral code is and what you do and do not expect from a friend, co-worker, or even your boss.  Of course this takes courage, but maybe they will think twice about who you really are in a world full of people wearing masks.  Saying you don’t have time for that kind of life and you don’t tolerate it in your relationships can attract just the right people to your circle.  Obviously, I would be careful if it’s your boss, but seriously, if a leadership figure is lying to you all the time, why work for him or her?  I mean, you know, once you have your next job lined up.  I am being realistic and know that honesty doesn’t pay the bills.

How can you handle liars?

What are we working on in the Head|Heart|Health Club this month that helps highly sensitive people?  Come on over and find out.  <<< Don’t forget to read my new about section.  Feel free to follow this blog using the e-mail sign-up too!

Mental Badassery: Becoming Aware of the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Mental AwarenessMental Badassery: Becoming Aware of the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Guest Post By Leo Babauta

There’s a hidden mechanism that creates unhappiness, difficulty changing habits, relationship problems, frustration, anger and disappointment.

Barely anyone is aware of this hidden mechanism, even though it’s happening all the time, in all of us.

It’s the stories we tell ourselves.

We do it all day long: we tell ourselves a story about what’s happening in our lives, about other people, about ourselves. When I call them “stories” … that doesn’t mean they’re false, or that they aren’t based on the truth. It just means we’ve constructed a narrative based on our experiences, a perspective on the world around us, an interpretation of facts as we see them. Not false, but not necessarily the entire truth — just one perspective.

A different person could look at the same situation and tell a very different situation.

A few examples:

  1. You might have a story about how your boss is very supportive and praises you a lot, which means you are doing a good job and like your work environment, and this story makes you happy. Another person might look at the same situation and tell a story about how the work area is messy and people are always interrupting him and he’s tired and the clients are rude and smelly.
  2. You might be upset with your spouse because she was rude to you or didn’t clean up her messes for the last few days. Another person might have the same experience but tell themselves a story about how his spouse has been working hard at her job, has gone out of her way to cook a nice meal for you, and is tired and needs some comforting.
  3. You might have a story about how you keep procrastinating, keep failing at being disciplined, never stick to a workout routine. Another perspective might be that you have gotten some great things done despite getting distracted, you’ve been passionate about learning something and that’s taken a priority over work tasks you’re dreading, and you are tired and need some rest before you can tackle exercise with vigor.

Each of these examples have very different stories about the same situations — it’s about which details you pay attention to, and how you shape the narrative of those details.

Now, telling ourselves stories is natural — we all do it, all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it. But if we’re not aware of the stories we tell ourselves, we can’t understand how they shape our happiness, relationships, moods, and more.

Becoming Aware of Your Stories

Throughout the day, you’re telling yourself stories about what’s going on, about how wrong other people are to do what they do, about how good or bad you are at things.

My challenge to you is to start to notice what you’re telling yourself about everything.

It’s important to be aware of what those stories are, and how they’re affecting your happiness. If a story is making you happy, and you’re aware of that, then great! If you’re not aware of it, it’s not such a big problem if it’s making you happy, but what happens if the story starts to make you unhappy with your life? Then if you’re not aware, you have difficulties.

So start to become aware of your stories, good and bad. Notice them throughout the day.

Notice when you’re getting stuck in the story, spinning it around and around in your head. So and so shouldn’t have done this, and on and on, making you frustrated and unhappy with the person.

When we get hooked on a story, it’s hard to break away from it. But becoming aware of being hooked is the most important step.

What We Can Do

So what can we do if we’re hooked on a story? It can be very difficult to break out of that trap. I know, because it happens to me all the time — I see the story I’m telling myself, but it seems so solid and real that I can’t just let it go.

The first thing you can do is regard it as a dream. That doesn’t mean it’s false, it just means it’s not so solid. It’s something you’re playing out in your head, just like a dream, with very real emotional results. See it as a dream, not solid, and see if you can come out of the dream to the physical reality of the world around you in this moment. What sensations are happening right now, as opposed to in this dream?

The next thing you can do is not act on the story. Even if you’re caught up in it, that doesn’t mean you have to lash out at someone, or run away to distraction or comfort. Just sit with the story, notice how it’s making you feel, notice the physical sensations in your body. Notice that you’re caught up. But don’t act, just stay with your awareness.

There is another way of being: where you don’t cling to the stories but instead drop below them, and are just aware of the moment as it is, without interpretations, judgements, preconceptions. Stories will still come up, but you can notice them and not get caught up. Or if you do get caught up, notice that and don’t hold so tightly to it, coming back to the present moment.

However, this is a pretty advanced skill, and most of us can’t stay in this mode of being for very long. For now, just focus on awareness of your story, regarding it as a dream, and not acting on the story as much as we normally do.

In this way, you’ll be less caught up in whatever is causing unhappiness and frustration, and more present in the current moment.

 

Feel free to start changing your story today…

Are You Keeping it Alight?

Are You Keeping It Alight?

Guest post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

So how can we let the fire fizzle out?

#1        Detachment

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

#2        Raise Our Awareness

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

#3        Apply Some Momentum

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

#4        Focus on Positivity

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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