30 Frugal Gift Ideas to Show You Appreciate Someone

A Guest Post by Leo Babauta

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

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

Australian reader Victory recently asked:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using Negativity to Practice Gratitude

Upset

This week, some things have tried to jump out, tackle me, and take me down.  In the overall grand scheme of life, they are NOT the big things.  I am sitting here right now asking myself why I let these small, but not nice, things get under my skin?  Why do we, human, react first and sometimes think later…or maybe we don’t think at all?  How can I be a leader, a mentor, and a yoga instructor if I let negative people influence my feelings?  I guess it’s because I am human and just trying to do the best I can at any given moment just like everyone else.

So what did I learn this week?  What lesson did I take away from having a bully type teacher take things out on my child in subtle, but nasty ways?  What did I learn from the woman who didn’t get any facts straight, but called me to say some nasty gossip out of the blue just because she wanted to instill some doubt in my thoughts about the high school where my daughters go and it’s safety?  Did I lean into fear, negativity, worry, doubt and anger for a bit?  Yes.  It was like my impulse where my children are concerned.  Did I then take a step back and breathe?  Yes.  But why wasn’t the breathing part first this week?  It was a reminder that like all good skills, you have to practice.

I hadn’t been stretching my gratitude muscle as much as I thought.  

As I sat with this and tried to put it in perspective, I thought about how sad these two people are in their lives.  I also thought about how the school still needed to know to possibly look into things, so after cooling off, I did send my nice e-mail which was received and made me feel better.  I was able to articulate from the former teacher perspective and still be thoughtful as the parent.  I did feel better when I addressed the concerns.  Now it was time to shift into gratitude.

Using Negativity to Practice Gratitude:

  1. I asked myself what was true about what I heard.  I then turned it around to what can I learn from this?  There were so many lessons to be learned there.  So many.  How did this make me feel?  Could I teach my daughter to stand up for herself in a way that wasn’t rude or disrespectful?  How could I show her that sometimes even authority figures get it wrong?  But in a way that is helpful to teenagers and won’t hurt them in school.
  2. What benefits could I pass on from this?  I am going to be honest, when I get in “seeing red” mode, I think of zero benefits and that helps me zero as well.  Was there a calm way I could think outside the box?  Yes.  I learned that I could let go and move on as my daughter did and she said she had it under control and would be fine.  The benefit is trusting that it will work out in the best possible way and provide growth to us all.
  3. I then asked what I could be grateful for from these situations.  It could always be worse.  << This statement, while it feels unfair perhaps, is true.  Sometimes we are so mired down in our own “stuff” that things feel like an attack on our well-being.  It feels like a personal and quite unnecessary way to show us things that need our attention.  That was what this showed me.  I am grateful for my relationship with both of my daughters.  I am grateful they come to me with things.  I am grateful that I have support from my family as well.  What do I need to praise more in this situation?  And I knew that it was the trust in my children to make the right decisions.

If you liked this post, you might like my 30 Days of Gratitude that you can use immediately. >>>  Here is the E-book link.  <<<

Finding the Light in Dark Times.

Find the lightI feel your need this week my friends and I am going to bring you as much light as I can right now.  Over the years, I have faced illness, betrayal by a friend, difficult work environments (to say the least), having literally $5 left in my account, car break downs and various other “disasters” that cost me literally thousands of dollars when I didn’t have it to my name, and that time I couldn’t move at all and considered what the point of life was if you were going to be in pain 24/7 and living as if you were dead.  << Yes.  That was me.

What is the one thing that I held on to during those times?   The thought that life had a purpose for me….that I was being tested and measured…and that I really was going to come out on the other side of this stronger than before.

I had faith that there was a plan.  Did I know the plan?  Hell no.  I was apparently going to be the last to know.  But I sensed there was something greater than me at work and through me, things were going to change.

How I found the Light:

  1. I began my new morning ritual with gratitude.  I can not even began to describe the pain level to you at this moment.  It was beyond my skin feeling like it was on fire (it prickled and burned even when no one was touching me), my bones ached to the very core, and I couldn’t sleep at all.  There was no position to sleep in that didn’t bring me more pain.  My gut was distended from autoimmune, and my brain never stopped registering a pain response.  What did I have to be thankful for?  Lots.  LOTS.  So I started there.   Thank you for this new day.  Then I would put one foot over the bed and as the pain flared through my hip, I would step down and utter thanks to the heavens.  I continued this daily…no matter what.
  2. I began to focus on what I had….not what was missing.  <<< This was huge.  I worked my mind to abundance thinking, which was new to me.  I will never forget the day someone used that word.  As in my cup runneth over.  I am full of bountiful blessings.  You see this person who said that to me, made incredible amounts of money.  I literally had like $5 because I had to leave my job, teaching, due to my pain level and autoimmune responses being off the chart.  So I began to think about what I had.  I would list it in my head.  Then I would think about what I could do with the “gifts” I had.  And I gave as much as I could to others.
  3. I stayed as present as possible.  This was the opposite of what me, fantasy world living girl, wanted to do.  I wanted to escape in my head or in my books, where things were easy.   I started paying attention to little things.  Leaves.  Sunlight filtering in.  Tucking my kids in.  My husband’s strong hug when he was just as scared as I was.  Coffee.  The warmth of the cup.  My parents.  Knowing that I could call them, but trying not to cry if things were bad.  Just simply putting one foot in front of the other until that was all I could do.  And lastly, the day that I found the breath.  Through yoga.  I learned how to stay present through the haze of pain in yoga.
  4. I learned how to fall apart…better.  There are tantrums.  There are crying spells.  And then there are “why me” moments.  The silent, soul racking sobs that make you think your entire world is ending and you can’t control what is happening.  The truth is, you can’t control what is happening and you never could.  Not even when things were great.  So this is no different.  I learned to get through those moments and then say to myself “snap out of it” <<< Yes.  I imagined Cher slapping me.  Then I would say what tiny thing CAN I control right now?  usually it was getting out of my damn pajamas and struggling to take a shower.  When that was over, I would feel better and I would see what reserve energy I had left to go to the store.  If I manged those two small things, I felt better.  I could have tea and then write.  This is all in the early days of this blog, but the moments were there when I learned how to “life” better.  I learned to lean into it.
  5. I could control who I was around.  If I had to look at pitying eyes one more time I was going to slap someone.  And if anyone said that it happened for a reason I wanted to stab them.  << Note, no one was actually harmed.  I did however, cut some people off instead.  Anger was a huge part of who I was.  At that time.  And yoga helped me learn to control that to the best of my ability.  I started being around people who could lift me up and meet me where I was that day.  If I didn’t have those people, I searched for them.  I made my own world.  And I didn’t regret the choices I had to make when people were not able to support me.  When people were too busy condemning or judging how I got through this, they went into the boundary holding area Most of them never came back from that area.  The ones who did admitted they were sorry…and a few more later went through difficult experiences and admitted they had no idea until they too were tested.
  6. I created my own feelings of happiness and peace.  I prayed, I read, I meditated, I did the yoga, but it was entirely up to me to be the one to move forward.  No one could do that for me.  I was given the ability to be stronger than my problems, and no one else could turn that key.  No one except for me.  I didn’t wait for a doctor to magically cure me as there was no cure for my incurable diseases…but I also didn’t settle for that answer.  I made my own way.
  7. I used my lessons to teach others.   You can ask my yoga brothers and sisters.  I couldn’t hold myself up in downdog for more than a few seconds when I first started Yoga Teacher Training.  How was I going to get through 200 hours?  Scorpio hard-headed power activate.  I learn to use the word “modify” in a sentence.  It meant for me to do what I could with the pose and use props, blankets, blocks and take a child’s pose as needed.  I finished my 200 hours and went on to take yoga for arthritis and pain.  I then combined every single lesson I had ever learned last year, at this very time, and take some money I had saved and invest in my business to help others.  I launched the 30 Days of Gratitude Group, which then became the foundation for my Head|Heart|Health Club.  I learned how to help others through their own “pain”, whether it was mental or physical, and take one day at a time. 

Need more help?  Use the search bar on the right and type in the word you are looking for.  Want to watch my videos?  << Go there.

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Articles that you might like to go with this:

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress

5 Ways Hurt People Project Their Feelings (and how you can cope)

5 Ways Hurt People Project Their FeelingsWhen people who are unhappy, have low self-esteem, and generally feel “damaged” inside hurt you, your first response is probably to hurt them right back.  I know that is my initial reaction as someone uses ugly, demeaning words against me in a pattern that is meant to make me feel bad.  The words they use over and over again, throughout the years of my life are meant to belittle me and make me feel guilt or shame.  They are in no way, shape, or form meant to uplift me, make me feel good about myself or build up my confidence.  They are said for one reason and one reason only.  To hurt me.

Once you recognize the pattern, it is time to find the trigger.  When does this happen to you?  Are you doing something particularly awful and foul or are you just trying to have a good time?  Chances are, you are enjoying yourself and having a good time.  That’s usually the trigger my friends.  The thing is, you have probably tried to speak to them about this type of thing before, and how you are just doing your best to be happy in your own skin, live your life, and teach others how to do the same, but they actually don’t care about your feelings.  It is quite evident in the repeated behavior pattern.

Hurt people hurt people. We are not being judgmental by separating ourselves from such people. But we should do so with compassion. Compassion is defined as a “keen awareness of the suffering of another coupled with a desire to see it relieved.” People hurt others as a result of their own inner strife and pain. Avoid the reactive response of believing they are bad; they already think so and are acting that way. They aren’t bad; they are damaged and they deserve compassion. Note that compassion is an internal process, an understanding of the painful and troubled road trod by another. It is not trying to change or fix that person.  ~Will Bowen

How in the hell do you separate yourself, with compassion mind you, from someone trying to hurt you?  That’s a tall order right there.  I have decided to narrow it down to 5 ways these people are projecting their feelings and give you a bit of advice around that behavior.

5 Ways Hurt People Project Their Feelings (and how you can cope):

  1. Hurt people take it out on those who are often closest to them.  Why?  There are lots of reasons, but the easiest answer here is because they think you will either let it slide (multiple times, even if you have asked them to stop) or because they think you will forgive them over and over again.  How do you cope?  Quite honestly, it’s easier to put space between you and build up stronger boundaries than to get them to ever admit when they are wrong.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.  They are transferring either some rage they have onto you or feel jealous about something you have.  See it for what it is.  Take the pause here if you can.
  2. Hurt people see every word, or action, as something that was done TO them.  Not for them, not to help, but done to lash out through their narrow vision of pain haze.  Why?  They are not rational and think that everyone is “out to get them”.  Everything is a trap and meant to set them up in some way.  If you don’t answer the door fast enough, you might be avoiding them.  If you suggest they eat healthier, you might have just implied they are Jabba the Hutt.  If you say you like something they are wearing, that might have meant you don’t like how they look normally.  I can go on and on around this, but you are already nodding your head.  How do you cope?  You become a Mime.  Just kidding.  You’d probably mime the middle finger accidentally of course.  Resist the urge though.  Try very hard to put yourself in their shoes.  What do you know about their life right now?  What do you know about how they were raised?  Is there a reason for this type of distrust?  If we act as they do, it will only cause more pain in the end.  It takes massive strength to step back and remind yourself their actions and reactions are all about them.  Not about you at all.
  3. Hurt people often have no real life beyond the hurt.  Why?  They have alienated the people who once tried to help them.  They carry grudges so deep and so wide, that the Grand Canyon is jealous of them.  Remember Ebenezer Scrooge?  When his nephew tries to invite him over and then later he is peeking through with the Ghost of Christmas Present, but they are saying how they feel sorry for him.  It’s just like that.  Only this person presumably doesn’t have the ghosts to show them what the future will look like if they don’t stop pushing people away.  How do you cope?  Recognize that their reaction to pushing people away stems from preconceived notions they firmly believe as truth.  The mind has a funny way of remembering things.  You might extend the olive branch if they are dear to you and know that they will not change.  It is up to you to be the peace maker.
  4. Hurt people are always the ones who are the victim.  Why?  You have seen them never take responsibility for anything in their own lives over the many years of being around them.  They want short cuts, easy ways out, and no responsibility.  They know what they need to do, but they don’t really feel like it.  They are almost certain it is the responsibility of someone else to come save them from their mistakes.  How do you cope?  Don’t enable if you can.  To enable means that you give their thoughts power or you help them self-sabotage.  Simply say nothing if they say they “can’t” do something.  It’s better than agreeing with it.  I mean, to point out that Helen Keller earned a college degree, Stephen Hawking beat his life expectancy against ALS,  is still alive, and one of the world’s leading physicists, and my personal hero, Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs, but later taught himself how to skateboard and surf, to point these things out would fall on deaf ears.  They rationalize their actions and their victim mentality until they decide, not us, that they are ready to change it.
  5. Hurt people don’t recognize your pain.  To say these people lack empathy is an understatement.  They simply fail to see that they are hurting you.  Why?   Any number of reasons, but they like to medicate themselves, drink excessively, or become addicted to false lives.  They don’t seem to be fully present as they continually hurt you.  How do you cope?  If you have read all this and you think it’s time to try to have the courageous conversation with them, you can.  If you have already had that conversation and the behavior is still going on, then you might want to meditate, do yoga, and surround yourself with others who lift you up after being in contact with these people.  When all else fails and you have tried your best, perhaps even going to therapy for you, not them, you get to decide if the contact is worth the pain it is causing you.  Their own self-loathing behavior is constantly being projected at you and your loved ones and it’s time for you to either make peace with the idea that you can’t change them…so give yourself lots of space.

The bottom line is that this is someone who is not at peace with themselves or their relationships.  They cause suffering because they aren’t able to cope with their own emotions.  Do they need therapy?  Yes.  But chances are, they are not going to do the work on themselves.  When we do the work on ourselves, our own inner work, we start to heal these deep wounds.  I know how hard this is my friends, and if you need support and want to work on your own “stuff”, come see me.  >> Learn more here <<

5 Ways Hurt People Project Their Feelings (and how you can cope)

 

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.

Spiritual Dark Side…3 Signs You Might Notice.

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

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

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

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

Spiritual Dark Side Flags:

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

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

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

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

How to Recover From Being Lied to.

If anyone knows me, they know that I am in essence a lie detector…and I have to tell you, it stinks.  Deception, small or large, bothers me.  Lies of omission, where only part of the truth is told, or a version of the truth, are included in this.

When someone lies to me, first I check in with the gut feeling I get.  I always ask myself these questions:

  • Is it something I have done?  Yes/no?
  • Why wouldn’t they just tell me the truth?
  • Why did they feel the need to lie?

Here’s the truth.  The lie was never about me in any of the cases, but it still hurts just the same.  They obviously felt like they couldn’t tell me the truth because maybe this is always their default pattern.  Again, not my pattern, but theirs.  The reason they felt the need to lie is something that is in them…and that’s actually where my recovery process starts.

How to Recover From Being Lied to:

  1. In the moment, you have a quick decision to make.  Do you know them well enough to call them out on it and what is that going to do to your relationship?  Chances are, if you are reading this, you are just trying to move on with your life because it hurts and you know that calling them out on it isn’t going to change the behavior.  The only behavior we can truly change is our own and our reactions.
  2. Being taken advantage of actually means you are honest…and yes, it still hurts.  I treat people the way I want to be treated.  I would want people to tell me the truth and therefore I think others feel the same way.  This is actually not the case as I have learned over and over again.  Would it change the way I treat others?  No…it just has to change the way I handle that particular person.
  3. I let myself be angry.  I have a friend that I trust and not many fit that list.  I will go to that friend and that friend only to discuss the event.  It helps me to know that I am not alone.  They usually have a story to tell me about something that relates and our personalities are similar so I trust them.  Trust means a whole hell of a lot to me.  It is not something I take lightly.
  4. Lying is a vicious cycle that will catch up to them.  I had a narcissist friend for many years.  The lies were so thick that I think she actually thought she had fooled someone, but it wasn’t me.  Maybe it worked on other people, but I know that one day it will all come out.  It doesn’t matter if I am around or not, it will come out.  This includes co-workers, your boss, friends, partners, business folks, you name them, if they keep it up, they will get caught.
  5. Keep being real.  It really does hurt.  I know this.  Especially if you see evidence in social media right in front of your face numerous times.  You can lower your vibration by stooping to their level or you can rise above.  Countless times I have seen people who have cheated on their spouse, lied about where they are, tagged such in such in a photo proclaiming love, said they were too broke to go out with you then went somewhere else with someone else, you name it.  You know who you are and that’s all that matters.  Why they are doing this is their karma.

If you can move away from the situation over time, it really will help you heal.  Check out these articles for a little bit more:

Demystifying Yoga and Why You Need to Try it.

I remember the first moment I walked into a class known as “hot yoga”.  Yes, it was hotter than hell or so I imagined.  The class was heated to around 102 degrees with about 40% humidity.  I managed to last, but honestly wondered how many people passed out, threw up or went to the bathroom and never came back.

I pondered all of those things in the space of 5 minutes.  The people were all slim, seriously.  There was a mirror on the wall in front of me and I wondered why, whyyyy, would they do that to people wearing next to nothing.  And to top it off, a man walked in wearing what seriously was the smallest erm covering ever and put his mat in front of me (More on that later if you want to click the link).

Here’s the thing.  I was brand new and it wasn’t about any of these things, but if this was my first experience, I had nothing else to compare it to.  So, for those of you who are either nodding your heads, or wondering what happened next, I will help clear some things up.

This particular studio caters to the college students.  I didn’t realize that when I signed up as it was close to me and I wanted to see what all the “fuss” was about.  The people were very serious in this class and very much unforgiving that particular day.  It is not like this everywhere and just to be clear, it is not like this in every class there.  The phrase that I later discovered “your vibe attracts your tribe” is also true for yoga studios. 

Since I was a beginner, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  I tried it again years later at this studio and found that it still seemed not quite the right fit for me personally.  I wanted to connect with my body and my breath and I personally couldn’t do that while staring at a mirror.  It was way too distracting in this class.

I didn’t want the mirror to be my focus and I found the students body language as well as the instructors seemed to imply that if I didn’t do the pose a certain way, that I was less than somehow and the mirror was just confirmation.

The next place I tried offered Restorative Yoga Well, the few times I went I really enjoyed it…until I took a friend who couldn’t sit still at all, but that’s another story that I linked here.  You have to understand that I was mentally and physically in pain at the time, but I had come to the conclusion that it absolutely couldn’t get any worse (which was actually half right) and that to do nothing was insane (which was 100% correct).  So, the art of restoring my body back to the original factory settings appealed to me highly. 

We got to use bolsters, which are like pillows, blankets, blocks, straps and pretty much anything we had available to us at the time.  I felt very good about the process.  After a while of finding my place in this class, I finally decided to take what would become my greatest passion.

The Vinyasa “flow” Class.  What fresh hell was this my body whispered?  Why are we doing this?  My wrists said to me.  My brain said “Aww F-this.  No.  Noooo.”  But I sat on the mat with no mirror in front of me and listened as the teacher centered us.  I began to move and thought that if I needed a rest surely yoga was the place to find it, right?  Well, again.  Not all classes are created the same and they shouldn’t be.  So, in this flow, it was exactly that.  We literally flowed from pose to pose to pose, and I felt like we never stopped.

Again, my body was in the greatest pain it had ever been in at this time anyway, so I felt as if I had nothing to lose and everything to gain…if I could last.  It was literally like being on Survivor I thought.  I had to pace my thoughts so that I could make it 60 minutes.  Could I do this?

The first few weeks, were hard.  Down Dog was not my favorite.  I actually secretly despised it.  Planking.  WHY was that ever created in the first place when you could plop down on the damn mat.  Why did I want to actually hold myself up?  Why?  Anyway, all this moaning was only in my head.  At least for the most part.  I might have told my husband I wasn’t cut out for it.

Then the day happened when my wrists didn’t hurt quite as much, and in a moment of weakness I said yes to signing up for Yoga Teacher Training.  So, the truth is, I get it.  I really do.

I am not slim…I am curvy, but prefer not to put that label on my style of teaching as that’s just ridiculous.  I want to teach yoga that is truly available to every body.  Every size, shape, color or anything else you think is holding you back.  Are you in pain?  I understand.  Do you think you are too big busted?  I got you covered with modifications and ways to move those girls out-of-the-way.  Don’t want to wear yoga pants?  Fine, then wear what makes you happy…and ermm covered.

After 200 hours, and days I almost cried from the pain, I graduated from my yoga teacher training.  I couldn’t hold myself up at first.  Seriously, and had to modify by coming to my knees in down dog, one of the most used poses there seemed to be ever.  I had such poor wrists that I couldn’t side plank.  And I tried for a year to hold myself up in a pose called crow.  I want you to believe me when I say “trust the process”.  I additionally became certified in teaching yoga for arthritis and pain.  I am now a mindful coach who specializes in getting through this minute to the next, and the next and the next and learning to let go of the things that are holding you back.

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I would love to be able to help you with getting control of your thoughts, practicing visualization techniques, and creating affirmations that can help you move ahead with your life.

Available to you here >> Head|Heart|Health Club <<

5 Things to Start in a New Month to Re-charge!

5 things to start in a new month to re-chargeI don’t know about you, but I am very thankful to see the start of a new month.  I feel bogged down by all of that old month’s nonsense somehow.  Like “get it out of here already” and let’s begin fresh.  Although to be perfectly honest, it could have to do with looking at your bank account at the end of the month and seeing how many “friends” you have in there and wanting them to invite more friends over there so you know, it’s not lonely.

So whee, start of a new month. I feel re-charged with the first day in a new month.  Like it has its own energy and I am going to plug into that.  So I wanted to share with you my tips on how you can use this in your own life.

For inquiring minds, it doesn’t matter if you are single, have kids, don’t have kids, have pets, have no pets except for dust bunnies, whatever.  This really relies on you.  I need you to get that concept like you need air to breathe.  The start of changing and re-charging is always up to you and it can be done at anytime you choose.  So with that in mind…here we go.

5 Things to Start to Re-charge:

  1. Embrace the morning.  Look.  I get it.  I actually do considering I have the Vampire disease and I really am a night person, but I have been setting my alarm clock back 5, 10, then 15 minutes earlier.  Why?  What does this do for you?  First, please use a real alarm clock.  Everyone who watches my videos knows I say this.  It gives back the power and takes it away from your phone.  Any number of things can and do go wrong with technology anyway, but the worst is checking out what everyone else is doing before you check in with yourself.  << Busted.  Seriously.  The urge to check-in on social media is an addiction that only you can start to change when you get fully centered in your own routines that don’t involve the phone being the first thing you check.
  2. Start with gratitudeSo this morning, as the sleepiness was wearing off, and I stretched in bed, I was thankful for my favorite flannel sheets that I use no matter what the temperature is outside.  I embraced my eyes opening, and said thank you for today.  I did a body scan quickly, and told my body how I wanted it to act today.  << This is something I teach in my club about the power of positive thinking and using it to manifest the desires we wish to see come true in our lives.  It’s kind of a long story about how I used to feel when I woke up, but for those of you who are new here, feel free to read this later >> About me <<.  I continued to say thank you for the blessings in my life as I got out of bed.
  3. Have a plan for your meals.  I start this off when school starts again in the fall because in the summer, its fresh veggies and fend for yourself.  However, there’s strength in planning as you don’t see the worst foods in your fridge and grab those…well if you do, it’s at least because you wanted it instead of there was nothing to eat.  I am certified in sports nutrition, but even I struggle with staying on track.  Because I am gluten intolerant and do still have autoimmune disease, I get that life isn’t always fair.  So in order to go around that thinking, I have everything that supports me fully in front of me.  Like 5 foods to boost my mood <<< Read later:)  A new month means a new plan for my fridge, which oddly enough, makes me feel so good!
  4. Move your body!  People who are not used to exercise are often drawn to my style of group coaching.  Why?  Because I get that you don’t want to move when you are in pain, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.  So this summer, I started a new program for myself and I was in some pain of my own making.  And you know what?  That actually feels freaking amazing compared to the pain of dis-ease.  My youngest daughter started to run cross-country as well and her results have been amazing.  Her entire energy changed.  She came home full of those great “runner’s high” endorphins and her entire mood was different.  She was doing things she didn’t think she could do so naturally this boosted her head, heart and health.  Get your friends, fam and anyone else out there walking with you.  No one said you have to start big, and if you need help, check out my baby steps program >>> 4 Weeks to Wellness <<< for a great start to your month.
  5. End your day with journaling.  The research on this alone is astounding as some of you know that I am a former teacher who loves brain based research.  Since starting my own personal journal practice in 2015, my life has changed for the better.  when thoughts struggle to overtake me, I do my yoga breathing, get centered and journal it all out.  I create my world based on how I want it to be and I start to remove my own blocks on paper.  The research on this is that we are using language more and thinking about how to remove these blocks thus improving our immune function as well.  << Seriously.  Writing also has critical connections to speaking, and your communication improves from the “dumbing down” we have seen due to technology and using abbreviations.  << Don’t be mad, it’s not my research, but it is true.  You can use this technique with your entire family if you want and measure the results in as little as 3 months.  Memory starts to improve, comprehension, and more. 

If you are interested in learning more about how journaling changed my life and continues to be my constant go to as I obtain clarity, sort through things that come up in a completely different way, capture inspiration and really sort through my emotions to achieve happiness, find out more here.

>> The Club with Soul <<

I really hope this inspires you to start living your best life right now.  I know that if I can do it, and turn my life around, so can you.  ~Aimee