Where are YOU on the List?
In previous writings I shared with you how to begin creating your goals for your year ahead and told you one of my goals is Adventure!!
As we close the month of January in a new year my goal stays the same -- adventure with a twist --rooted in DEEP INFINITE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
Today I encourage you to stay committed to YOURSELF, no matter who, and no matter what you are currently facing.
PS: Why do you think I will continue to plan retreats?
SO....Why is this my message today?
In my life and my work I continue to support loved ones and clients with all types of extremely difficult challenges from addictions and abuse, to anxiety, depression and overall lack of clarity.
Upon reflection, I notice there is one thread that runs through all of the struggle. And it is this thread that will determine their ability to "overcome".
The thread you ask? The ability to put themselves first.
I trust many of you who are reading this understand what I mean...even if you have not yet mastered this feat.
Think of the oxygen mask on the airplane.
You must have oxygen for yourself first, before you are able to help the other. Without your own source of oxygen, you will both...end up dead.
Same with life. Yet we RESIST we RESIST we RESIST! And guess what? Whatever is trying to get our attention, whatever is asking us for love, PERSISTS.
Unless we uncover, honor, advocate and then act for the life WE want (OUR own oxygen supply)-WE will end up with whatever WE get. A slow and painful death indeed.
Based on personal experience, the ability to save ourselves first is an on-going practice.
Perhaps hard at first because we've been told it's "selfish" and therefore lack the tools/support required.
In fact, not taking care of ourselves is selfish!!!
With practice, saving our self first becomes a way of life. As such, it gets easier.
Eventually, we realize there is simply no other way to live.
We must save our self first because the other way is hell on Earth.
Ready for my Reclaiming Joy Retreat now? I am!!!
Last week I spoke about the emotional aspects of mindfulness. I shared ways to manage your emotions in a way that allows you to stay in control of your energy.
This week I want to talk about the physical aspects of mindfulness.
To keep it simple, I am breaking it down to 3 major areas of our physical health and well-being, as I see it:
In my experience, the quality of foods we eat and beverages we drink impact our physical health more than anything. Again, I speak of this in more detail on page 16 of my book Reclaiming Joy. Meantime, as it relates to mindfulness, we really are what we eat. The quality of food we put into our body directly impacts everything from our thoughts and our ability to think clearly to the energy we have to enjoy life.
Nutrition Mindfulness Tip: Have at least one meal per day slowly and in silence. Pay attention to how you feel during & after you eat. What was the experience like? Did you enjoy the food more? Taste it more? Is the food "right" for you? How much is "enough"?
Most of us are sleep deprived. We are turned on, and unable to sleep even when we are exhausted. Did you know it takes energy to get restful sleep? What I will say about sleep, as with food, is that it is the foundation to all aspects of our well-being. Without consistent adequate rest we are causing harm to our physical body. When we sleep, our body recovers from the day. Think about when you are sick-- your body naturally wants to rest. Same is true on a daily basis as our body undergoes the stress of living...we need to give it time to recover.
How much sleep do you need? For me, 8 hours per night, sometimes 9 is what I need.
Sleep Mindfulness Tip: How much sleep do you require? Be honest... Work toward it if you aren't there already, and notice what improves? Are you making better food choices because you don't feel so tired? Having more fun? More energy to exercise?
PS: One of my intentions after the Tulum Retreat is to create a deep sleep retreat :)
Think about it. One of the best ways to "move" stress/anxious energy, relax our mind, and keep our body strong is movement. There is no way around this so it's best to find what works for you. Over the years I went from a gym rat to someone who does almost everything I can outside: bike, run, swim, walk, yoga, hula hoop, whatever. If it's way too cold, I do yoga or dance indoors. Move your body 5 times per week!!!
Movement Mindfulness Tip: Notice how you manage stress when you commit to consistent movement. Do you feel happier and more energized? Maybe more positive? Find ways to have fun with movement.
New Workshops & Programs Next Month!!!
Stay tuned for my new upcoming workshops & programs that integrate body, mind, and spirit. They will include nutrition for body, mind, and spirit to help you prepare to bring in 2018 ready to THRIVE!!! If you want to be informed, email me here.
Last week I spoke about how to create a diet of mindfulness in your life and focused on the mental aspects.
This week I will focus on the emotional aspects of mindfulness.
Why? In my experience, inability to regulate our emotions is the number one reason we don't achieve success (however we define success) in our life.
Quite simply, our emotions are far too powerful and will usually win out. I speak about this in more detail on pages 56-58 of my book, Reclaiming Joy.
So, what are the emotional aspects of mindfulness?
They are our feelings and how we relate to the world around us!!
Examples: happy, sad, peaceful, anxious, patient, frustrated, etc.
How can I practice a diet of emotional mindfulness?
Know your triggers. Meaning, what people/situations cause you to lose yourself in your emotions? By lose yourself I mean your emotions take over. There is no rational thought. It's as if you have been possessed!!
Note: this isn't only "unpleasant" emotions. I am also talking about those exhilarating emotions that at times seem addicting.
How do I manage/balance my emotions in order to live mindfully?
Meditation of course! And also by learning about your triggers. As with the mental aspects, once you have awareness/knowledge, you will be able to take the second step which is to find ways to manage your emotions in a way that allows you to stay in control of your energy.
A formula I use and have found very helpful for this is what I call D4:
Disengage- When you find yourself caught up in the emotion, take a few steps back. Give mental and sometimes physical space to whatever is going on. Take as much time as you need to return to balance.
Discern- The gift of taking space reveals wisdom to us about "what is really going on". This helps us return to a clearer perspective.
Decide- With a clearer perspective, you will be better able to make decisions.
Do- Take action steps in support of your decision.
Trigger- Feeling taken advantage of. You are a generous person. Someone in your life who you love often makes you feel like they are always taking from you and not giving back!!
Here's how the formula works:
Disengage- Take space from thinking about how you are feeling. Often we continue to run the mental tape of thinking which then keeps us on the emotional roller coaster.
Discern- In the space taken, you realize you "over-give" and some people come to expect this. As well, you often expect something in return when you give. Meaning, you are attached to the outcome of your giving. You realize this attachment keeps you on the roller coaster!
Decide- You realize you have to pull back on giving so much of yourself in general. You decide you will set firmer boundaries, and do a better job of managing the energy you give out.
Do- Based on the above decisions, next time you engage with this person, try something different/opposite of what you would usually do. Be compassionate with yourself.
Try it and tell me what are you noticing?
A final thought by one of my favorites, Mark Nepo, "The emotional patterns of our lives are very strong. They often come into being because we've needed them to survive, but sooner or later, we all arrive at moments where the very thing that has saved us is killing us, keeping us from truly living...and... there is, after all, a difference between helping someone because if you don't you will lose their love or some sense of your own image as a caring person, and helping someone because your impulse of heart moves you to their aid."
Last week I spoke about rising up and how our perspective influences our life by telling you the story of the 2 wolves.
This week I want to continue encouraging you to stay true to what matters to you especially when faced with challenges. More specifically, I invite you to lean in to these challenges or that which seems to have "power" over you.
My shamanic practice has taught me to respect power. We all have it- power that is. How we use power (to harm or heal) results in our experience of life. And-- so often, we unknowingly give away our power and therefore the direction of our life.
One way is by avoiding/minimizing the sometimes chaotic/highly emotional energy that comes from the uncertainty that arises when faced with big life choices/changes. And blaming others is also a form of avoidance/minimizing :)
Avoiding/minimizing happens because we are afraid to engage honestly with the feelings that arise from uncertainty: confusion, fear, anger, sadness, etc.
What to do instead?
Lean In and become masterful at managing your emotional energy!!!
1. Accept what you are feeling with compassion (you don't have to like it)
2. Ask yourself what is at the root of the feeling (i.e. anger from feeling taken advantage of)
3. Action- do something about it!! (i.e. speak up, say no, set boundaries, get support)
Life is short. What we can't be with, won't allow us to be. The path to peace comes from owning our power and leaning into that which is trying to get our attention so it can be "healed". And yes, often it comes in the form of a "challenge" we are facing.
Try it! Let me know what you notice.
Last week I gave you simple wisdom for returning to a state of peace.
This week I want to acknowledge that even "the best" of us struggle.
What separates those who prevail, and even come out "better" on the other side, from those who do not?
I've said this many times and in many ways...we become what we think. And what we think IS our perspective. So in effect, we become our perspective.
Another way to understand this is to think about the story of the 2 wolves.
Have you heard it? Here it is in brief:
There are 2 wolves.
One wolf is full of despair and darkness.
The other wolf is full of hope and light.
Which wolf succeeds?
The one who gets fed.
Got it? Which one are you feeding?
Let me know what you notice :))))
Last week I spoke about suffering being inevitable and how to live joyfully in the face of it.
This week I want to share a perspective that helps me during those times of suffering: Life is a marathon...not a sprint...
What do I mean?
I will use a running analogy. When I use to run, I gravitated toward distance running rather than sprinting. I often wondered, why distance? Then one day it hit me.
I like the distance running because it feels spacious and doable...comforting almost. The focus on running distance, over speed, suits my personality and my nervous system!! To thyself be known and then be true to you.
Distance running requires the ability to see the end, no matter how far off. Because all I had to focus on was "finishing", it took the pressure off of having to do it "fast".
And what I know about myself now is that fast makes me anxious.
Distance running taught me how to let go of "how fast" in order to focus on completion instead...a valuable life lesson as it relates to living the life of our dreams.
In the process of running to finish I also learned: how to breathe, how to pace myself, and most importantly, the belief that I would make it, no matter how long it took.
There is a peace filled sweetness that washes over us when we realize we choose our beliefs. As such our beliefs have the power to uplift and inspire us. Or not depending on what beliefs you choose.
The perspective of seeing and then living life as a marathon is comforting- especially these days when everything moves too darn fast for me.
This perspective has gifted me 3 pillars that guide my life...all of which I have written about to you countless times in different ways:
1. Be Real
There will be times of suffering, it's inevitable. Best to accept this with non judgmental compassionate awareness. Then get busy living again.
2. Practice, Patience, Pacing
Nobody starts off running a marathon on their first run.
In order to succeed you must...
Practice: Quite simply making the time to do the "work" because whatever "it" is, is that important to you. The excuse, "I have no time", simply means I have not chosen to make this a priority. In which case, reassess. Life is precious and short. Time is the only commodity we don't retrieve so invest wisely. Death reminds us of this. Use death to motivate.
Patience: Understand what patience is and what it is not. True. Rome wasn't built in a day. Some things take time. We are impatient. Yet sometimes we are being slowed down for a reason, we don't yet see. And still others times we are so painfully patient. We use the excuse, "I am being patient" when the truth is, we are afraid to take the massive action we need to in order to move ahead. Hiding behind impatience or patience is still hiding. Pay attention. Discern. Decide. Life = Short.
Pacing: Since energy is our #1 asset we must learn how to pace ourselves by caring so deeply for our physical, mental and emotional health so we don't burn out.
Physical- Balance your days with effort (working/having fun) and ease (relaxation/rest)
Mental- Commit to daily meditation to cultivate mental discipline and move beyond "I can't/I quit" and all the other stories the monkey mind creates.
Emotional- Accept feelings will come and go. Some days will simply suck...Practice non-attachment to the voice that alternately says, "I hate running/work/life/! I feel awful." and also says, "I love running/work/life! I feel amazing."
3. Faith- Your faith in your ability to run the distance/live the life of your dreams must be bigger than your feelings at any one time.
Faith in your dreams translates to your belief in yourself. Your "big" faith will carry you through times of suffering when feelings are at an all time low and you want to quit.
When we adopt the view that life is a marathon and not a sprint we give ourselves permission to live slow and deep...to pace ourselves so we enjoy the journey rather than rush to an "end". We practice deepening our faith that we will make it...we give ourselves permission to believe.
And maybe when we arrive at the end- death- it will be with less sadness and regret, and a ton more joy and ease...
arriving with a sweetness that says yes, our very own dreams have come true- because we BELIEVED.
Last week I shared that we all have something we struggle with, and how we choose to see the struggle- as a curse or blessing - impacts our ability to overcome. By seeing our struggles as blessings, we are able to feel more comfortable in the discomfort of life and move forward.
This week I want to share 3 ways to deal with the drama that often comes when we are in discomfort/struggle. In my experience, when discomfort arises bringing with it a multitude of emotions, many of us resist. We search our mind for answers and solutions, anything to help the emotions go away! Yet, the paradox remains- no amount of thinking or analyzing will make us feel better.
Why? Because the whole point is to feel! We need to feel the emotions and recognize they are simply energy. When we resist our feelings, we create more drama for our self and those around us.
What can we do? We need to feel our feelings and then move/shift/release the energy. When we move/shift/release the energy, our emotions become more manageable and we are less likely to get stuck in the drama.
My top 3 ways to move/shift/release energy are:
1. Get Moving, Preferably Outside - We are physical beings. The fastest way to move energy is to move our body. Walk, skip, bike, it doesn't matter. We literally need to move the emotional energy through our body.
2. Get a Mentor - Being able to process how you are feeling with someone who is able to be objective and also teach you skills to navigate is invaluable. Working with a mentor will help you gain perspective and provide a "safe" outlet to release. We are not meant to do "it/life" alone. As I said last week, wisdom is a result of knowledge, intuition and experience. A mentor is someone who has more knowledge and experience than you do. As such, they will be able to support you by adding their wisdom to yours :)
3. Be Still, Reflect and Listen- Find and commit to an on-going practice such as meditation, prayer, or writing that enables you to stop (be still), look (reflect) and listen. As I've said countless times, all change and movement starts with slowing down long enough to cultivate awareness.
You may be asking, which of the above 3 is the "best" way to shift energy? There is no right answer. What I will say is to try all of it. Even better, when you do all 3 in combination, on a regular basis...WOW...No More Drama!!
I am here to support you.
Last week I invited you to carve out one hour to connect, reflect and redirect.
What did you come up with?
This week the process continues. Perhaps you have gained clarity about what areas you want to focus on. Perhaps not, and you need more time. Awesome!!
In addition to giving you the next steps, I want to share with you that committing to clarity requires courage. Often when we start to "see" what needs to change, it's scary. Let's face it, staying with the familiar is easy. Yet for many of us, not sustainable. There comes a time when we need to face the music and make change.
So, here are the next steps.
1. Review your notes from the reflection exercise.
2. Decide on which area you want to focus on...health, relationship, career/life purpose, money...
3. Commit to taking action to create what you desire. For example, let's say you want to improve your health and well-being by managing your stress. Begin exploring ways you want to do this - yoga class, meditation, exercise, more fun! Whatever you choose, commit to taking one of these actions consistently over the next 30 days. Feel free to be flexible. Maybe you try yoga and it's not for you. Stay open, explore and have fun!!
If you want to share or need support, please email me.
Share the love-- forward this blog to a friend, thank you!
Last week Kamesh spoke about what it means to have abundant health, practice radical self care and enjoy the awesome adventure of life! Did you do the practice? What did you notice?
This week I invite you to continue the process by daring to dream.
Why? In my experience of life, there are occasions when it would seem so logical to stay where we are, when we are unhappy. The truth is, we are meant for so much more.
When we begin to understand that it is fear of: loss, the unknown, what others may think or say, etc that keeps us stuck, we are at a critical choice point. We either choose to take responsibility for the direction our life, or not. If we don't take responsibility, fear will control our life and keep us unhappy. If however, we choose to take responsibility for our life, we admit we have had enough. We commit to take control back by learning from our fears. Learning fuels us and we begin to allow ourselves to dream.
At this stage of my life, there is simply no other way for me to live. As many of you know, I have dedicated my life to helping others THRIVE. That's my medicine, my life purpose, why I am here!! This wisdom is what keeps me on the path, even when I want so badly to be asleep and not feel. I bet some of you are nodding yes? Great, let us stick together please!
It's funny really. Over the years people have watched me Reclaim Joy. Some have said, "You are lucky/special/old soul/wise". While it is well meaning, thank you, it agitates me. Guess what? I am not! I am dedicated to living my truth. That truth includes the reality that we teach what we most need to learn. I am not lucky. I am teaching and learning, like you.
Here's what I will say. When you dare to dream, you open yourself to new possibility. With support, you stay the on the path. When you get to the end of your life, you will look back, and have no regrets. To me, this is the gift of being alive. And everyday is a new day to begin again. No matter what your age or stage.
At the Sanctuary I co-founded Our Mission is to provide the space for all beings to thrive. Our services, events, staff, and yes, those yummy snacks are all here to support you to be your best.
We are all unique and require different support- pampering with a Massage or Facial; balancing energy with Reiki or Acupuncture; easing the mind with Meditation; connecting with others in a Full Moon Ceremony on Jan 12th. And sometimes, we are at a major crossroads in life and need deeper, more consistent support with private mentoring. Whatever it is, I support you! Feel free to email me with questions or comments.
Back to school, back to work, back to life…back to reality!! Along our path there are times when we are in transition or we simply lose our way. We may feel depressed, overwhelmed, tired, confused, afraid...anything but relaxed! As I talk about in Chapter Two of my book Reclaiming JOY, often when these emotions appear it keeps us on an emotional roller coaster. This simple practice, called BRFWA helps bring us back to a relaxed state so we are able to ride the emotional wave and get back to peace...freedom...JOY.
Breathe: As a wave of emotion comes over you,slow down your breath. Allow your breath to flow freely in and out.
Relax: As you slow down your breath, your mind and body will begin to relax. Soften your muscles, let go of mental and physical tension.
Feel: As you relax, you are able to soften into what you are feeling. Stay open to the sensations and emotions moving through you in this moment.
Watch: While feeling, you watch your experience closely, neither grasping what is pleasant nor pushing away what is painful.
Allow: As you watch, you allow the process to unfold. You accept yourself and your experience exactly as it is, dropping the need to change it in any way.
By giving your feelings the space to flow, they come and go without being all consuming. This is the practice of being present. This practice is available to us at anytime. With practice, it becomes easier. Commit to the practice of BRFWA and your life will improve!