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

The Steps I took to Change my Life

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Steps I took To Change My Life:

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

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

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Top 20 Motivation Tips

top 20 motivation tipsGuest Post By Leo Babauta

This article is a list of tips and tricks that, if used in combination, are a nearly sure way to achieve your goals.

Achieving goals is not a matter of having “discipline”. It’s a matter of motivating yourself, and keeping your focus on your goal. Follow these tips, or any combination of them that works for you, and you should have the motivation and focus you need.

Here are the top 20 Motivation Tips:

1. Chart Your Progress. Recently I posted about how I created a chart to track my progress with each of my goals. This chart is not just for information purposes, for me to look back and see how I’m doing. It’s to motivate me to keep up with my goals. If I’m diligent about checking my chart every day, and marking dots or “x”s, then I will want to make sure I fill it with dots. I will think to myself, “I better do this today if I want to mark a dot.” Well, that’s a small motivation, but it helps, trust me. Some people prefer to use gold stars. Others have a training log, which works just as well. Or try Joe’s Goals. However you do it, track your progress, and allow yourself a bit of pride each time you give yourself a good mark.

Now, you will have some bad marks on your chart. That’s OK. Don’t let a few bad marks stop you from continuing. Strive instead to get the good marks next time.

2. Hold Yourself Back. When I start with a new exercise program, or any new goal really, I am rarin’ to go. I am full of excitement, and my enthusiasm knows no boundaries. Nor does my sense of self-limitation. I think I can do anything. It’s not long before I learn that I do have limitations, and my enthusiasm begins to wane.

Well, a great motivator that I’ve learned is that when you have so much energy at the beginning of a program, and want to go all out — HOLD BACK. Don’t let yourself do everything you want to do. Only let yourself do 50-75 percent of what you want to do. And plan out a course of action where you slowly increase over time. For example, if I want to go running, I might think I can run 3 miles at first. But instead of letting myself do that, I start by only running a mile. When I’m doing that mile, I’ll be telling myself that I can do more! But I don’t let myself. After that workout, I’ll be looking forward to the next workout, when I’ll let myself do 1.5 miles. I keep that energy reined in, harness it, so that I can ride it even further.

3. Join an online (or off-line) group to help keep you focused and motivated.  Editor’s note, join an online community by searching for what you love near you.  If it is daily motivation you are searching for with an online community and a closed group, check this link here and click on “I Need Support”.

Each time I joined a forum, it helped keep me on track. Not only did I meet a bunch of other people who were either going through what I was going through or who had already been through it, I would report my progress (and failures) as I went along. They were there for great advice, for moral support, to help keep me going when I wanted to stop.

4. Post a picture of your goal someplace visible — near your desk or on your refrigerator, for example. Visualizing your goal, exactly how you think it will be when you’ve achieved it, whether it’s financial goals like traveling to Rome or building a dream house, or physical goals like finishing a marathon or getting a flat stomach, is a great motivator and one of the best ways of actualizing your goals.

Find a magazine photo or a picture online and post it somewhere where you can see it not only daily, but hourly if possible. Put it as your desktop photo, or your home page. Use the power of your visual sense to keep you focused on your goal. Because that focus is what will keep you motivated over the long-term — once you lose focus, you lose motivation, so having something to keep bringing your focus back to your goal will help keep that motivation.

5. Get a workout partner or goal buddy. Staying motivated on your own is tough. But if you find someone with similar goals (running, dieting, finances, etc.), see if they’d like to partner with you. Or partner with your spouse, sibling or best friend on whatever goals they’re trying to achieve. You don’t have to be going after the same goals — as long as you are both pushing and encouraging each other to succeed.

6. Just get started. There are some days when you don’t feel like heading out the door for a run, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start.

I have a rule (not an original one) that I just have to put on my running shoes and close the door behind me. After that, it all flows naturally. It’s when you’re sitting in your house, thinking about running and feeling tired, that it seems hard. Once you start, it is never as hard as you thought it would be. This tip works for me every time.

7. Make it a pleasure. One reason we might put off something that will help us achieve our goal, such as exercise for example, is because it seems like hard work. Well, this might be true, but the key is to find a way to make it fun or pleasurable. If your goal activity becomes a treat, you actually look forward to it. And that’s a good thing.

8. Give it time, be patient. I know, this is easier said than done. But the problem with many of us is that we expect quick results. When you think about your goals, think long term. If you want to lose weight, you may see some quick initial losses, but it will take a long time to lose the rest. If you want to run a marathon, you won’t be able to do it overnight. If you don’t see the results you want soon, don’t give up … give it time. In the meantime, be happy with your progress so far, and with your ability to stick with your goals. The results will come if you give it time.

9. Break it into smaller, mini goals. Sometimes large or longer-term goals can be overwhelming. After a couple of weeks, we may lose motivation, because we still have several months or a year or more left to accomplish the goal. It’s hard to maintain motivation for a single goal for such a long time. Solution: have smaller goals along the way.

10. Reward yourself. Often. And not just for longer-term goals, either. Above, I talked about breaking larger goals into smaller, mini goals. Well, each of those mini goals should have a reward attached to it. Make a list of your goals, with mini goals, and next to each, write down an appropriate reward. By appropriate, I mean 1) it’s proportionate to the size of the goal (don’t reward going on a 1-mile run with a luxury cruise in the Bahamas); and 2) it doesn’t ruin your goal — if you are trying to lose weight, don’t reward a day of healthy eating with a dessert binge. It’s self-defeating.

11. Find inspiration, on a daily basis. Inspiration is one of the best motivators, and it can be found everywhere. Every day, seek inspiration, and it will help sustain motivation over the long-term. Sources of inspiration can include: blogs, online success stories, forums, friends and family, magazines, books, quotes, music, photos, people you meet.

12. Get a coach or take a class. These will motivate you to at least show up, and to take action. It can be applied to any goal. This might be one of the more expensive ways of motivating yourself, but it works. And if you do some research, you might find some cheap classes in your area, or you might know a friend who will provide coaching or counseling for free.

13. Have powerful reasons. Write them down. Know your reasons. Give them some thought … and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.

14. Become aware of your urges to quit, and be prepared for them. We all have urges to stop, but they are mostly unconscious. One of the most powerful things you can do is to start being more conscious of those urges. A good exercise is to go through the day with a little piece of paper and put a tally mark for each time you get an urge. It simply makes you aware of the urges. Then have a plan for when those urges hit, and plan for it beforehand, and write down your plan, because once those urges hit, you will not feel like coming up with a plan.

15. Make it a rule never to skip two days in a row. This rule takes into account our natural tendency to miss days now and then. We are not perfect. So, you missed one day … now the second day is upon you and you are feeling lazy … tell yourself NO! You will not miss two days in a row! Zen Habits says so! And just get started. You’ll thank yourself later.

16. Visualize your goal clearly, on a daily basis, for at least 5-10 minutes. Visualize your successful outcome in great detail. Close your eyes, and think about exactly how your successful outcome will look, will feel, will smell and taste and sound like. Where are you when you become successful? How do you look? What are you wearing? Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Now here’s the next key: do it every day. For at least a few minutes each day. This is the only way to keep that motivation going over a long period of time.

17. Keep a daily journal of your goal. If you are consistent about keeping a journal, it can be a great motivator. A journal should have not only what you did for the day, but your thoughts about how it went, how you felt, what mistakes you made, what you could do to improve. To be consistent about keeping a journal, do it right after you do your goal task each day. Make keeping a journal a sensory pleasure.

18. Create a friendly, mutually-supportive competition. We are all competitive in nature, at least a little. Some more than others. Take advantage of this part of our human nature by using it to fuel your goals. If you have a workout partner or goal buddy, you’ve got all you need for a friendly competition. See who can log more miles, or save more dollars, each week or month. See who can do more pushups or pullups. See who can lose the most weight or have the best abs or lose the most inches on their waist. Make sure the goals are weighted so that the competition is fairly equal. And mutually support each other in your goals.

19. Make a big public commitment. Be fully committed. This will do the trick every time. Create a blog and announce to the world that you are going to achieve a certain goal by a certain date. Commit yourself to the hilt.

20. Always think positive. Monitor your thoughts. Be aware of your self-talk. We all talk to ourselves, a lot, but we are not always aware of these thoughts. Start listening. If you hear negative thoughts, stop them, push them out, and replace them with positive thoughts. Positive thinking can be amazingly powerful.

Motivation Tips

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?

Mindfully Free of Wanting People to Be a Certain Way

Mindfully Free of Wanting People to Be a Certain Way

Guest post by Leo Babauta

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

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

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

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

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

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

So the problem is:

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

This is obviously not great.

We have a couple of options:

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

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

Objections to Letting Go

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

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

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

Letting Go of Ideals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Different Way

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

Here are some ideas I’ve found useful:

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

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

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

Low Vibration Energy and How to Raise It!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is time to shift your limiting beliefs.

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

Tips to Shift your Low Vibrational Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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What You Allow Will Continue

I do not know who first said this quote.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our content in the >>>  Head|Heart|Health Club <<< allows you to explore your inner most thoughts a bit deeper.  Check us out!

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5 Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Life

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

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

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

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

5 Ways to Stop the Sabotage:

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

For more about me, click on the linked word About Me.

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4 Ways to Let Go of Your Past Mistakes

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

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

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

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

Let Go of Your Past Mistakes:

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

How Can You Be Mindful?

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

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

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7 Ways to Spend Less Money and Have More.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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