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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5 Money Beliefs You Need to Leave Behind

A long time ago, I worked in the projects.  You actually don’t understand poverty until you have seen people who really do live in areas considered “below the poverty line”.  I know that doesn’t help you right now, but it needed to be said.

On the flip side of this, if you actually do have money, do you feel like you aren’t entitled to it?  Do you feel bad for having it?  You see, for a long time, I felt really bad about money after seeing children from poverty.

I was a teacher, yes.  I struggled just like everyone else to make ends meet.  To be honest though, I never struggled as badly with little money as I did when I had more money, and then suddenly didn’t have as much.  Life’s funny that way.

What lessons did money really teach me then?

  1. I was not as poor as I imagined.  I didn’t have any idea how to use food stamps.  I could actually pay for gas for my car and did not have to use public transportation.  My belief was that I was really struggling.  And while I was, it was not at a level that some people are currently facing.  Money showed me that lesson and in turn, I thanked God for my current situation.  I became a mentor and took children out in their neighborhood to places they wouldn’t have been able to go without my help.
  2. I was not as rich as I imagined either.  Money is hilarious.  It taunts you to spend it and spend it you do.  Then that funny guy called Visa calls on you one day and you owe $20,000.  For house remodeling…that you did to save money.  Oops.  My belief was that I could always make more…that is until the day I got really sick.  I had not learned the save for a rainy day lesson.  I was out that day.  Sick.  I needed to have a savings, so lesson learned.
  3. I was “always” going to be in debt.  You think there is absolutely nothing you can do, but you are wrong.  You can actually call credit cards and reduce your rates, work to pay off the least amount or the highest interest rate, and continue to visualize your debt being paid off.  Here is the part where I start to lose you.  I did good things.  I paid for things, donated, and such…even when I had not as much as others, and more than some.  I tried very hard to get out of this fear mentality that debt wants you to be in.  I knew that it was not going to be forever and I was right.  The belief that it was going to get worse held me back.  It almost stopped me in my tracks, but I made a plan.  This is the hardest of the steps I think.
  4. Others seem to have it “easy”.  There were times I would look at other people’s posts and think wow!  What a nice vacation.  But you know, they split it 3 ways maybe and I didn’t know that.  Or you might see the “I did a great job and got a raise” post.  They don’t mention it took them 5 years of hard work.  Don’t always think that the grass is greener because you know I say it’s Astro-turf.  Some people just make things appear as if it was handed to them, and it’s okay.  You know you are a hard worker and there’s no shame in being real.
  5. Throwing in the towel by saying “I can’t afford that.”  When I was driving my mini-van into the ground…with the oil leaking, the tires deflating and fixed more times than I can count, the hood looking like hail had beat it to death, and the hub caps rusting, anyway, I thought “I will not be able to afford a new car anytime soon…but I have to”.  I started changing the way I thought that year.  I had used that car to get me to more doctor’s appointments than I could count and it had been a good car, but it was time to move on.  So I wrote about it as if it happened.  Over and over again.  Each month.  And then it happened.  We donated our car to a good cause and I bought a vehicle I had long since wanted because one of my illnesses left me with really sensitive hands to cold…and the vehicle came with a warm steering wheel control as well as butt warmers!!!  I thought it was heaven.  I still do.

Money is energy.  I see that now, and I also know that I actually have more control over my actions with it than I previously realized.  I don’t use it as an excuse, I don’t hide behind it, but I don’t need to lie about it either.  When I want to go after something now, I just work harder, and put more energy into my plan.  I don’t if you believe this, but try it sometime.  Don’t let money control your thoughts…control your thoughts and therefore control the flow of money.  ~Aimee

Money beliefs

Want to learn more about my journal therapy?  See the work with me tab here on the page.

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

9 steps to achieving flow

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

A Guest Post by Leo Babauta

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

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

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

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

What is Flow?

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

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

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

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

Why is Flow Important?

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

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

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

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

Flow is one of the keys to all of that.

How to Achieve Flow and Happiness in Your Work

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

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

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

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

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

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How NOT to Multitask – Work Simpler and Saner

MultitaskGuest post by Leo Babauta

You’re working on two projects at once, while your boss has placed two new demands on your desk. You’re on the phone while three new emails come in. You are trying to get out the door on time so you can pick up a few groceries on the way home for dinner. Your Blackberry is going off and so is your cell phone. Your co-worker stops by with a request for info and your Google Reader is filled with 100+ messages to read.

You are juggling tasks with a speed worthy of Ringling Bros. Congratulations, multitasker.

In this age of instant technology, we are bombarded with an overload of information and demands of our time. This is part of the reason GTD is so popular in the information world — it’s a system designed for quick decisions and for keeping all the demands of your life in order. But even if we are using GTD, sometimes we are so overwhelmed with things to do that our system begins to fall apart.

Life Hack recently posted How to Multi-task, and it’s a good article on the nature of multi-tasking and how to do it while still focusing on one task at a time.

This post is How NOT to Multi-task — a guide to working as simply as possible for your mental health.

First, a few quick reasons not to multi-task:

  1. Multi-tasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears for each new task, and the switch back again.
  2. Multi-tasking is more complicated, and thus more prone to stress and errors.
  3. Multi-tasking can be crazy, and in this already chaotic world, we need to reign in the terror and find a little oasis of sanity and calm.

Here are some tips on how NOT to multi-task:

  1. First set up to-do lists for different contexts (i.e. calls, computer, errands, home, waiting-for, etc.) depending on your situation.
  2. Have a capture tool (such as a notebook) for instant notes on what needs to be done.
  3. Have a physical and email inbox (as few inboxes as possible) so that all incoming stuff is gathered together in one place (one for paper stuff, one for digital).
  4. Plan your day in blocks, with open blocks in between for urgent stuff that comes up. You might try one-hour blocks, or half-hour blocks, depending on what works for you. Or try this: 40 minute blocks, with 20 minutes in between them for miscellaneous tasks.
  5. First thing in the morning, work on your Most Important Task. Don’t do anything else until this is done. Give yourself a short break, and then start on your next Most Important Task. If you can get 2-3 of these done in the morning, the rest of the day is gravy.
  6. When you are working on a task in a time block, turn off all other distractions. Shut off email, and the Internet if possible. Shut off your cell phone. Try not to answer your phone if possible. Focus on that one task, and try to get it done without worrying about other stuff.
  7. If you feel the urge to check your email or switch to another task, stop yourself. Breathe deeply. Re-focus yourself. Get back to the task at hand.
  8. If other things come in while you’re working, put them in the inbox, or take a note of them in your capture system. Get back to the task at hand.
  9. Every now and then, when you’ve completed the task at hand, process your notes and inbox, adding the tasks to your to-do lists and re-figuring your schedule if necessary. Process your email and other inboxes at regular and pre-determined intervals.
  10. There are times when an interruption is so urgent that you cannot put it off until you’re done with the task at hand. In that case, try to make a note of where you are (writing down notes if you have time) with the task at hand, and put all the documents or notes for that task together and aside (perhaps in an “action” folder or project folder). Then, when you come back to that task, you can pull out your folder and look at your notes to see where you left off.
  11. Take deep breaths, stretch, and take breaks now and then. Enjoy life. Go outside, and appreciate nature. Keep yourself sane.
 

3 Ways to Harness Inner Change

Inner Change

Life is always changing…yet inwardly, we resist.  Do you find change to be a scary process?  Especially if you are trying to harness inner change?  I know that at times, I do.  I am facing something right now that could be a very simple change, yet I am finding it hard to consider.

Moving.  Changing addresses.  I feel like that is a really hard thing for many people.  It’s just a house, right?  No.  Not to many people.  It’s memories, feelings, neighbors and more.  So why the resistance to change?

Resistance can show itself in many ways.

The “what ifs” start to surface.  It is this area of uncertainty that drives us mad.  We know the reality we are living in, correct.  We don’t know this scary possibility over here.  So let’s just stay in the reality we know.

We have no control over the change.  It’s like this, does the caterpillar start to freak out as soon as it goes in the cocoon?  Everything happens as it should once it gets in there…and then the butterfly emerges and flies merrily away.  None the wiser I suspect about all the little close calls it might have faced while in that cocoon.  But we start to question what will happen as we set this in motion..never stopping to think that it could just take its natural course and everything will turn out the way it should…or maybe always was going to anyway no matter what we did.

Nothing looks familiar over here!  I went to sleep thinking about the possibility of a new house.  Insert whatever you are thinking of here.  I have a little routine down right now and it works wonderfully.  What if my routine is interrupted?  What if moving messes up my business for a bit as I get settled (I work from home).  I need to remember the important things, and the things that are going to take some time getting used to.  Not focus so much on all the differences.

3 Ways to Harness Inner Change

  1. Get very clear on why you are even considering this change in the first place.  What are the benefits of doing something new, taking a new job, moving, making new friends or doing something that you might consider equally scary right now?  Do you have support should you wish to make a change?  A sounding board that really has no vested interest in your decision other than for you to be happy?  If not, consider joining us in my closed group, <<< but you really do need supportive people around you.
  2. Uncover the block to this change.  This one is really a big step.  If you haven’t journaled around this idea, might I suggest drawing a giant boulder in the center of a page, and then putting all the reasons around this “block” until you have exhausted this, and honing in on the one reason you really think might be the biggest block of all.  It will probably stem from fear, but you do the work and see if that is where it leads you.
  3. Don’t give up.  If the change is scary, worth it, and you know you can do it, make it your mission to succeed.  Put reminders everywhere (fridge if it’s food related, mirror for self-esteem, on the scale if you are wanting to lose weight, etc.), and affirm to yourself that this inner change is worth a few months of discomfort if it is what you truly want.  New thought patterns can be created, and soon those new patterns will become your fall back.  The old paths will become overgrown, and you will feel much better for making that commitment to yourself as you learn to harness inner change.

Here comes the part where you really get real with yourself.  Is this inner change worth the discomfort?  Yes as long as it is within your alignment of what you want for path.  Breathe in and take 3 deep breaths.  Imagine this change has already happened and everything went well.  How do you feel now?  You have your answer.

For more monthly guidance on getting out of your head, aligning with your heart and helping your overall health, join us in the Head|Heart|Health Club.

Harness Inner Change

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Mental Badassery: Becoming Aware of the Stories We Tell Ourselves

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

Guest Post By Leo Babauta

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

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

It’s the stories we tell ourselves.

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

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

A few examples:

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

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

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

Becoming Aware of Your Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

What We Can Do

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Feel free to start changing your story today…

Why worry strips you of POWER (and what to do about it)!

Worry strips power

Worry.  Worry is one of the most useless habits that I have.  Worry strips power.  It changes nothing at all, and yet I physically feel drained.  It doesn’t help me in any way, shape or form, and yet it is still there.  Trying to get my attention.

This could go wrong, it screams in my head.  You have busted your knee up for good girl, screams the voice.  You made so much progress, but it’s all gone now.  UGH.  None of this is helping me at all.  So yesterday, I told it where it could go.  And it stayed there all day long.  It really did.

I know that in practicing yoga and creating lasting mindful habits, I am happier.  I know that wearing a knee brace and worrying that my MCL is not healing correctly is ruminating and I get that from certain family members.  It hasn’t helped them either by the way.  Let me explain.  I have been to the doctor.  I have had it checked out.  I am following what he said to do.  However; every other day a person named “dad” calls me to “worry” about my knee with me.

I have two daughters, so I get it.  I really do.  But worry doesn’t prevent anything from happening UNLESS you were actually using it to create some plan of attack on the battlefield or something.  Maybe it was designed to help us at one point way in the past.  However, my dad must be planning an attack on everything in his life.  Whew, it’s exhausting.  And he knows this, so I finally had to say if my knee comes up one more time, he had to give me money.  HAHAHAHA.  One thing that will keep him quiet…money.

How to take back your Power:

  1. Name the worry.  Acknowledge it.  Say hi to it, then put it in time-out.  I did that yesterday.  I created a how-to video for yoga on modifications with an MCL injury.  I was very, very careful and know that I am getting a re-check today anyway.
  2. Staying present took its power away.  I mindfully cleaned my living room.  Thinking about each task.  Didn’t go to past or future, but stayed in the present moment on purpose.  I didn’t day dream…for once.  I made sure I started my day by grounding with 3 deep breaths.
  3. Emotions are just that.  They pass.  Anger, shame, guilt, and worry.  All pass.  This will pass.  This anxiety will pass.  This feeling will pass.  I know it as I have lived through other “worries” that never came to pass.
  4. Don’t encourage it.  I didn’t want to be rude to dad, but I also didn’t want to talk about the same thing each and every day without it going anywhere.  That’s like the old saying about worry being like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere.  I don’t feel like being that person anymore.  I am creating boundaries around this that it can’t get through.
  5. Be real.  Okay, so it’s natural to worry a bit.  As long as you don’t stay there.  What can you do instead though?  Everyone in my Head|Heart|Health Club knows that I am going to ask you if you are putting the work into what you DO want to happen and take it away from what you don’t want to happen.  How you manage life is up to you.  If you start to notice this pattern, remember that it is truly up to you to change.  Redirect this energy to Empower.

Still need more help in this area?  Want to practice taking back your power on a regular basis?  Join us!

Inhale confidence.

 

5 Things People Who Value Their Self-Worth Do Differently

As you drift off to sleep each night, you begin to dread the next day and it hasn’t even happened yet.  You wonder if anyone would even notice if you didn’t show up for work.  You are tired of going through the motions when it seems other people are out there living.  What are they doing differently??  You ask yourself this question for the hundredth time.  How are they making it look so damn easy when each and every day is a struggle just to get out of bed…

5 Things People Who Value Their Self-Worth Are Doing:

  1. Secure people are making time for their self-care routines.  That doesn’t mean they are ignoring everyone else, it just means they know how important it is to put the oxygen mask on first in order to help others.  This is a huge block for most people.  You feel selfish.  The opposite of that is actually caring.  you are caring for yourself like no one else will, and you better believe you have every right to feel good.
  2. Confident people set firm boundariesNo means no.  They don’t say things like “I’m sorry, but…” and then explain why because that might leave a hole for some wiggle room.  I said no to someone recently based on my own self-care and then got a but what if.  Umm.  No.  I said no, I mean no.  Don’t let the other person make you feel guilty for taking care of yourself.  If this were reversed surely they wouldn’t feel guilty, right?  So don’t feel the need to explain yourself.  Again, only you can set your limits.
  3. Courageous people accept responsibility for their own lives.  In my talk today, I used a quote from Brené Brown “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”  When we stand in our own glorious mess, we don’t project or deflect the blame.  We step up and say here I am.  This is my life and I am entirely responsible for HOW I am being.  How I am showing up, and what I am throwing down.  Can I get an amen or a right on sister here?  This is such a vital lesson that many don’t learn their whole lives.
  4. Brave people let go of past guilt.  This is so hard.  Everything up until this moment has been a choice and just like I said today in my talk, if you could have done better back then, you really would have.  You were doing the best that you could, so let that shit go.  Yup (pooh doesn’t have the same effect).  Guilt is just another block on the path to accepting yourself so you can use it as a paver or stepping stone.  See it, acknowledge it, but lay it on down.
  5. Positive people don’t stay around negative influences.  They know when it’s time to move on.  This can be at work, avoiding those gossiping ladies, or even in a relationship that just isn’t working out for you anymore.  Whatever it is, know when it’s time to move on down the road.  Sing the song “Moving On Up” in your head as you get away from these situations.  Seriously.  The Jefferson’s approve.  Higher vibrations are much better for you anyway.

If you are interested in the whole FB Live chat, see this link here.  Next month, in the Head|Heart|Health Club we are going to be removing the blocks to worthiness, letting go of guilt, and working on replacing these old patterns of thought with new ones.  I am super excited about the content and can’t wait to have you join us!!  We will be diving really deep into the cycle of negative thoughts, setting up new boundaries and testing for weaknesses, and creating affirmations on self-love which will lead us to a more confident outlook on life.

Head|Heart|Health Club members area

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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Can You Change from Being Reactive to Proactive?

The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it.  ~Stephen Covey

If you aren’t sure if you are proactive or reactive, think about this quote for a minute.  Covey goes on to say that our behavior is determined by three main factors, and unfortunately, they start to look like a “Pavlov reaction” soon enough.

  • Genes: Did you inherit this character from your family?
  • Nurture: You got your character and ideas from how your parents brought you up.
  • Environment: The people and places around you are starting to influence your behavior.

So now that we have determined the basis for being proactive and reactive, it is likely you just decided that you might be just a wee bit reactive.

I don’t mind joking on myself to make a great point, and you can probably see this coming, but I was raised by very reactive people.  It makes for funny stories, it really does, but it makes it difficult to break out of such a cycle.  Here is where it is necessary to start though.   It is time to take off the gauntlets, and start learning your own set of skills for enacting change in your life.  After all…it is YOUR life. 

At some point in your life, it is likely that you have gotten drawn into the “I am going to have the last word” argument.  If you are someone who usually loves to have the last word, then this part will be difficult for you, but you have to try.  What can you do when every form of logic they are speaking just makes no sense, but they keep talking anyway???  <<< try not to flip out.

Here are a few tips for this situation.

  • They really just want you to come back and argue more in this situation…and nothing you say will actually change their mind.
  • Try this “I am not interested in having this debate with you…so I am going to do something more productive with my time.”
  • Stay silent and just look at them.  How often has this worked for you?  The key to your empowerment is to actually NOT have the last word…thus sending the message that there really is nothing to discuss.

When we are in the reactive state of mind, they control our reactions.  I repeat.  They are in control and usually know this by continuing to bait you. 

Here’s another one for you to think about.  You are at work and that co-worker who plucks your last nerve is spouting off at the meeting, the copy room or the lunch area.  You are minding your own business until they insert something that they claimed they did, but it was your idea first.  It could even be that PTA lady at your kid’s school, but it doesn’t matter.  They are being loud in order to get reactions from people.  They want praise and encouragement to continue this line of thinking.  How are you going to handle this?

  • Look them straight in the eye and congratulate them.  This is one way to handle it, but keep it simple.  Nothing more.
  • You have the choice to explore a different route now…and make your original idea much better.  After going down this route, then present it to your boss.  There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you have tweaked it.
  • Enlist in the support of others if you want to make a bigger impact with your idea.  If you really want to get over this person trying to control the situation, you could even ask them to help you with how to execute this plan.  It’s all in how you phrase it.

As we learn not to be reactive, and turn more towards the proactive way of thinking, we learn not to be stuck in this victim mentality that so many people are using each and everyday.  These reactive people exhibit the following signs.

Signs of reactive thinking:

  1. Failure to accept any responsibility.  It is always someone’s fault…except for theirs.
  2. Everyone in the nearest vicinity is at fault.  Blame never gets caught in their own two hands.  It’s like the game of hot potato…and they throw that thing away before you can see it stopped on them.
  3. They rationalize their destructive habits.
  4. They focus only on the problems...never wanting to move to a solution.
  5. They might live in the past or the “what if” land.  What if things had been different??  But they aren’t.  So here you have it.

Signs of proactive thinking:

  1. The buck stops hereIt is your responsibility to get things done.
  2. You are accountable.  Your goals are clearly defined and you know what you need to do in order to reach them.
  3. You have good problem solving skills or seek out others who can help you create the skills you need in order to accomplish the change you want to see in your life.  It does not have to be business related, it can be completely personal goals.  For example: losing weight.  You have been struggling, so you seek out ways to make it happen with a plan.
  4. They are consistent.  Slow and steady really does work for keeping your eye on the change you want to create in your life.
  5. They aren’t worried about reaching out to the right people in order to succeed.  I have been running a closed group of motivated people from all over the world.  On days we need to remember that our goal is mastering our thoughts, we put in the work, ask the questions in the group, and start back at our monthly goals.  We have surrounded ourselves with like minds in order to really focus on creating this lasting change for ourselves.

In the end, being honest with yourself is best.  If you think it is time to do the work on the inside in order to get results on the outside, we would love to have you in our group.  Being reactive throughout life didn’t really yield any personal satisfaction when I was in my worst pain.  However taking control of those thoughts, and taking control of my Head|Heart|Health, has given me an entirely new outlook on life.

I went from pain of hardly being able to move, to completing 200 hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher training.  I then continued on to get certified in yoga for pain and arthritis.  I left a job that was taking a toll on my health and I learned how to heal myself naturally, and then continued on to get sports nutrition certification.  I started counseling others how to do the same and this year, was proud to announce the new online catalog that includes different options to really take back control of your life.