What If This Is Heaven by Anita Moorjani

I recently finished reading What If This Is Heaven? by Anita Moorjani. I learned a few things that I would like to share.

Loving Yourself is the Most Important Thing

We aren’t taught a whole lot about self-love. We are taught how to survive in the “real world” and to be a good person and be good to other people. The importance of being good to ourselves or even how to be good to ourselves isn’t stressed as an essential part of being human in our society. Even though it is the most important thing. continue…

Five Quotes About Smiling

Almost a year ago, my husband, Michael, & I became the owners of an orthodontic practice in the West Valley of Phoenix. Our business is called Share More Smiles, so naturally we are interested in collecting quotes about smiling. continue…

Half Birthdays & Weekends

Today is my half birthday! I’m 34.5.

For the past several years, July 15th has caught my attention because it signifies the halfway point between the vision I had for myself at my last birthday and my designated deadline for said goals.

July 15th still gives me the luxurious cushion of six more months to go to translate my dream vision into my reality. continue…

Opening the Channels for Inspired Ideas

I have been taking my energy more seriously over the past few weeks. By energy, I mean whether I am predominantly feeling positive or negative. Good or bad.

As I have been caring about how I feel as my primary goal in life, I am noticing that my mind is more open and receptive. I can see how in an uplifted state my mind is much more likely to receive an inspired idea than when in the depressed state. continue…

The Real Meaning of the Word Intend

I haven’t looked this up. I’m not sure if this has been said before. But the other day I was driving and thinking about what I am intending to bring in to my life, and it hit me what the word “intend” really means.

I am majorly into feeling as if things in my life are already happening the way I want them to. I completely believe in the power of our emotions, even more so than the power of our thoughts (which are also intensely strong – it’s just that without emotions to back up those thoughts, their power is significantly diminished).

The Power of Words

Ever since I read How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield 10 years ago, I have struggled with getting the words to introduce my goals just right. I am slightly paranoid that if I say in my head “I want to go to Hawaii” I will forever be stuck in the state of wanting to go to Hawaii.

I learned from this book the power of stating things we are wanting in the present tense, as if they are already happening. So I could say “I am going to Hawaii” or, even better, “I am in Hawaii.”

Just because I’m sitting at my kitchen table in Arizona, who says I can’t feel as if I’m sitting at a table in a villa in Hawaii, or lounging on the beach sipping a frozen beverage?

I can be in Hawaii in my mind anytime I want. No one can take that away from me.

Since I am so particular about the tense (i.e., past, present, or future) of my affirmations, goals, dreams, etc., the idea of “intentions” has always slightly tripped me up. I wonder, if I am intending something, doesn’t that mean I’m acknowledging that it doesn’t already exist in my present reality? Wouldn’t it be better to forget the word intention altogether and focus on the emotional reality that it already exists? continue…

No Good Thought Is Wasted

It can be hard to believe that our thoughts have any impact on our lives, especially when things don’t seem to work out, even if we were thinking positively. So why bother? continue…

How Do You Know When a Dream Comes True?

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

This past year has been filled with long-time dreams come true. We got married, traveled to Europe for the first time together, and now own two orthodontic practices (husband being the orthodontist). Still, I felt that my dreams had not yet “happened”.

This weekend my sweet husband took me back to the resort where we got married in Sedona and we enjoyed a very peaceful, serene, reflective weekend together (I will be posting pictures on our website this week for anyone who is interested). My plan was to spend time thinking about what I would need to do in the upcoming year to make my dreams into my reality. continue…

How Hard Is It to Feel Good?

Who doesn’t want to feel good? And why do so many of us go around choosing the alternative? This is a question I have been seriously asking myself lately.

I’m working more on watching what my thoughts are about and categorizing if they are geared towards things I want in my life or things I don’t want. More than the thoughts, I’m focusing on identifying the feelings the thoughts are creating.

Because it’s really about the feelings. The reason we want anything in life is because we believe we will feel better once that is our new reality.

So, if it’s all about how we will feel in the future, why not feel that way now? I often find myself caving in to the saying “easier said than done”. But is it? continue…

Release the Need to Judge and to Be Judged

I don’t know about you, but for as much time as I get to be alone, my mind is a revolving door of what I’m thinking other people might be thinking about me.

I work from home and absolutely love it. The being at home part. I probably need to get out more, but I’m truly happiest relaxing at home. Yet I find my mind going in circles throughout the day with thoughts of what other people think about me.

I partially blame Facebook. It reminds me of people who I might not have seen in years or who I might only be acquainted with and their thoughts about the world and other people. And then my mind starts to wonder: what do they think about me, then?

This sounds pretty selfish, now that I’m writing it out. Because clearly these people aren’t going around thinking about me all the time, if ever. But still, my ego insists on begging the question – just what do they think of me? continue…

An Intention for Better Health

Health is a tricky thing. Who wouldn’t like to be healthier? It’s making the constant choices to get there that gets in the way sometimes. And it’s not even like we ever arrive at our perfect health.

Health is a choice that we make everyday. And even if we choose health today, or chose it yesterday, there are still plenty of health choices to be made in the future.

One of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors, Adriene (of Yoga with Adriene), says in her Detox Yoga video to set an intention for the practice. She gives a few examples that start with “I choose to…”. I like this intro to any intention.

You can write an intention at any moment of the day in your mind. Go ahead. Start with “I choose” and end with “whatever it is that you want in your life”. continue…

A Mantra To Let Go of Recurring Thoughts

You know the ones. Those thoughts that you know aren’t helping anyone but that you can’t seem to shake anyway.

They are super annoying, these thoughts of things we do not want. They are pesky little mosquitoes that just won’t leave us alone.

They are the suckers of our positive energy, the bringers of negative energy. Even if it doesn’t feel all that negative, it definitely doesn’t feel good.

It doesn’t feel good to not feel good. So why the thoughts? Of the things we don’t want. continue…

My To-Do List Is a Junk Pile

For YEARS my to-do list has been my Everest. I just cannot let it go.

I have read productivity books like Getting Things Done by David Allen and Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern, and experimented with all different kinds of planners from Franklin Covey to The Hipster.

So far, I have come very close to my vision of getting this thing cleared off by the end of the day, or at the latest, the end of the week. I know it is possible, no matter what anyone says. Which is always some version of that doesn’t sound very realistic whenever I tell people about my dream of a beautiful, emptied to-do list on a regular basis.

I know there will always be things to do. That isn’t my problem. My point is having a list that doesn’t contain things that were due yesterday, or from 2 months ago.

I want to wake up in the morning, knowing that I will have the time I need to do all the things I want to do that day, AND get done whatever else needs to get done. Not working until 7 p.m., not skipping out on my walk because I’m too busy. Not sleeping less than 7 hours (I realize whenever I have a baby that last one might be negotiable, but you get the point).

My To-Do List Is Cluttering My Life

It dawned on my yesterday that my to-do list of unfinished, overdue tasks is creating clutter in my life. Not only is having this list of unfinished stuff like having junk piles all over my house, but by taking up time that I could spend dealing with physical clutter, it is literally contributing to the clutter in my life and my days. continue…

Meditation Mondays: A Mantra to Let Go of Negative Thoughts

I wish I had taken yoga more seriously 10 years ago. I wish I had taken better care of myself last year, or even last week.

These are thoughts I often catch myself thinking, wishing I had done something differently in the past so that my present would be better.

Last night I was thinking about things I wish I had done, as I often do. And then I thought about future me. I can’t go back 10 years or 10 days to do things differently. But it’s not too late to do some of the things I wish I had done in the past that the version of me five years from now will thank me for.

Consider Future You

A year from now is going to happen, whether we do good things for ourselves now or not. I know that a year from now I will feel happy if I am looking back on time that I took good care of myself and did the things that took me millimeters closer to my vision for myself each day.

But sometimes those ugly thoughts creep in. And they can completely take our good intentions down.

They are sneaky, these insidious thoughts of regret. They take up so much mental space and energy that before you know it the version of yourself that felt motivated to do yoga or clean out a drawer is dozing off for a nap.

I don’t like it when my mind replays things without the consent of the happiest version of me. Really…how rude!

So I try to think of words or phrases that I can think to remind myself that those thoughts are not welcome. Me a year from now will totally thank me. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Meditation Time is Me Time

I noticed the other day that the word “meditation” starts with the word “me”. Not to be all there is no I in team but there is a me about it, but I couldn’t help but notice how meditation time really is me time.

Self-Care Required

The idea of me time has become more and more accepted in recent times. Our culture, or at least some people in it, used to be all judgy of those who took care of themselves. I mean, how dare she take time away from her children to go to the gym?

I think as we evolve a bit, more and more people are finding that self-care is not only not selfish, but more like essential to survival. Inherent in taking care of ourselves is taking a little bit of me time. More if we can manage. continue…

Meditation Mondays: How to Deal with Interruptions

You are in your happy place. You are one with the world. Eyes closed, breathing deeply, mind finally empty. And your cell phone rings. Or someone walks in the room.

Meditation Time is Me Time

Meditation time is the epitome of me time. It is one of my favorite times all day. Usually I don’t get interrupted because I meditate before everyone else wakes up and it’s early enough that the phone isn’t ringing yet.

But occasionally the memo that I am meditating doesn’t go out into the universe and I might get interrupted. As much as I know it’s the opposite of peaceful to become annoyed at such a time, I used to be disappointed when I got interrupted, feeling like my few precious moments of meditation were ruined for the day. continue…

Book Nook Review: Co-creating at Its Best

“You are powerful creators, you see. You’re not facers of reality. You’re creators of reality.” – Co-creating at its Best by Wayne Dyer and Esther Hicks

I jump at any opportunity to read a Wayne Dyer book. Co-creating at Its Best: A Conversation Between Master Teachers by Wayne Dyer and Esther Hicks is a transcript of a live event that they held in Anaheim, CA in 2013. The book is very short, less than 200 pages.

This book is a conversation between Wayne Dyer and “Abraham” of Esther and Jerry Hicks fame. For those who are unfamiliar, Esther Hicks is a channel for a collection of entities referred to as “Abraham” who speak through her.

After reading my first book by Esther Hicks, Ask and It Is Given (also Teachings of Abraham), I was excited to finally understand what this whole Abraham thing is all about. While some may find it “weird”, I find it quite pleasant and comforting. I was very excited to read a collaboration between two major spiritual influencers on the planet today. continue…

Gratitude Tuesday: Good Things That Happened Last Week

Check back this coming Monday for the launch of a related series called “Everyday Miracle Monday Weekly Recap Series,” in which I recap my everyday miracles from the previous week.

Gabby Bernstein introduced me to the concept of an everyday miracle. According to Gabby’s work, largely based on the teachings from A Course in Miracles, a miracle can be simply a shift in perception. When you are in a bad mood and have an epiphany that it doesn’t have to be so hard, that could be your miracle that day.

Last year, I randomly found out Tara Stiles would be teaching a yoga class down the road from my house, and was able to attend and even meet her that day at her book signing! It was right around that time that I started noticing the little and sometimes big good things that happened in my life everyday.

We have access to experience a miracle everyday. It might be a little tiny shift in perspective, or the universe might come in and hit us with a lucky stick. The exciting thing is that we never know what this day will bring. Who knows? You might get to meet your favorite author later today! Or get a perfect parking spot at the store. Or an unexpected opportunity might sail right into your life at 3:06 p.m. It could happen!

Weekly Miracle Recap

I have had this idea of recapping my own everyday miracles on a weekly basis for a while now. My “Everyday Miracle” series will be a recap of one good thing from each day during the previous week that I identify as being my “miracle” for that day. Some days it will be something that I could never have dreamed of, others it will be something relatively small but still good.

While I haven’t kept a gratitude journal before, I feel that this aligns with the idea of keeping a gratitude journal in my own way. I also want to inspire other people to look for their own little or big miracle everyday. I believe that by expecting good things to happen each day, we are more likely to attract them into our lives.

This past week, I forgot to keep track of my everyday miracles until Thursday, when a big one happened for me. That’s when I realized I really have to start keeping track of these and do this blog post series. So here goes, my everyday miracles from this past Thursday to Sunday (next week will include the full week): continue…

Feel Good Through Breakfast

I recently started reading Co-creating at Its Best: A Conversation Between Master Teachers by Dr. Wayne Dyer and Esther Hicks. One of the points that has come up several times in this book is the importance of feeling good immediately when waking up in the morning, and then sustaining the good feeling for as long as possible through the day.

Feel Good Little by Little

One suggestion in the book is to work our way up to feeling good all day in increments of time. Focus on feeling good for the first minutes, then hour of the day. Work on feeling good through breakfast at first, then work on extending the feeling through lunch, and eventually through the entire day.

The idea of feeling good through breakfast at first makes the idea of converting from a person who feels good only part of the time to one who feels good the majority of the time seem much less overwhelming. There is a momentum of our thoughts and feelings. Good feelings make it easier to have more good feelings, while not-so-good thoughts and feelings tend to lead us down the path of more not-so-good thoughts and feelings. continue…

Book Nook Review: The Quantum Prayer

You might be asking yourself: what is a Quantum Prayer? I know I was when I first got this book. The following three sentences from the book perfectly define Quantum Prayer from the author’s perspective:

  • ”For the purpose of this book, the term ‘Quantum’ refers to the metaphysical theory that if something is in your consciousness, it can exist.”
  • “My own definition of ‘Prayer’ just refers to the consciousness of placing one’s intent into the light of all creation.”
  • “So if tasked to define Quantum Prayer, I would simply say that it is creating with our intentions through awareness of our infinite nature.”

The Quantum Prayer: An Inspiring Guide to Love, Healing, and Creating the Best Life Possible is about the author’s spiritual transformation. Dr. Kai shares what he has discovered on his journey from living an unawakened life to one full of infinite possibilities and healing.

“… when something doesn’t work out the way you may have hoped, it’s because the Universe is making room for something better (more in alignment with your Higher-Self).”

Unexpectedly abandoned by his wife, Dr. Kai made the inspiring decision to take one year to focus on himself and get very clear about what he wanted for his life. He hauled all the junk and clutter out of his life, and cleared his physical as well as spiritual spaces.

He cleared up his debts, made his home a place he truly enjoyed by clearing out and sprucing up his surroundings, and started to contemplate whether his current corporate career was truly spiritually aligned with the new person he was becoming (spoiler alert: it wasn’t). continue…

Give Yourself Permission to Take an Opposite Day

I can’t remember where the idea of opposite day came from as a kid. Was it a show on Nickelodeon? Or something that was done at school? Or just something ridiculous kids did and thought was funny? Not sure, but this morning this idea of Opposite Day came to me as I was waking up and starting to think about all the things I had to do today (which I do every morning).

I try to stay on alert for self-defeating thoughts in my mind throughout the day. I know that I slip a lot and think thoughts that bring what I don’t want (opposite: It’s easy for me to think thoughts about only what I want).

Well, there you go – an example of what I mean by Opposite Day. This morning the thought “how will I get this all done?” popped into my head (like everyday). Then I thought: why not think the opposite when thoughts come to me that are about exactly what I don’t want? continue…

Book Nook Review: Ask and It Is Given

“Pay attention to the way you feel, and deliberately choose thoughts – about everything – that feel good to you when you think them.” – Ask and It Is Given, by Esther and Jerry Hicks

If you have ever felt a negative emotion and wished there was a way to train yourself to get out of that place, and either enjoy or at least tolerate metaphysical discussion, this book is certainly for you!

Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Esther and Jerry Hicks (The Teachings of Abraham) was sitting on a shelf in an adorable little bookstore called Kate’s Books in Jerome, Arizona. This shop is basically an attic turned used bookstore, and the owner was peacefully crocheting squares for an afghan when we visited.

We were in Jerome for my birthday weekend in January, and it seemed like the perfect book to enjoy in the bathtub (which I did for a good part of the next day!).

At the time, I had only cursory awareness of Ester and Jerry Hicks and “The Teachings of Abraham.” What does that even mean? I had heard about Esther Hicks from a friend several years ago, so I had watched a few videos of her on YouTube. I still didn’t get it.

I will keep this explanation brief and let you decide for yourself: Esther Hicks claims to be a channel for “Abraham” which is an entity from the “beyond” that speaks through her.

And that is all I am going to say, because I don’t think I can really explain it without sounding crazy myself (which I assure you I am not). Regardless, I loved the book and am excited to share all the positive messages. Here we go! continue…

Today I Will Be Mindful

Do you ever find that you just finished lunch and don’t remember even chewing? Or catch yourself on Facebook or in your email inbox for no apparent reason?

I am on the last few pages of Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. I revived my reading of this book the other day when I desperately needed the guidance to allow rather than resist.

This morning I was thinking about the advice in the book that it is all about feeling as if what you want is already here in your life experience. All we need to do is allow. To be open to what we want to happen in our lives as real possibilities.

How many of us want something and then immediately block it with the thoughts and energy that it couldn’t happen, or feeling down about our current situation? continue…

Creating for the Sake of Creating

Do you consider yourself to be a creative person? What do you like to create? Have you been creating lately?

I have been following Alex Beadon for a little while, and she recently started posting personal vlogs. She has been saying in her vlogs that after getting into vlogging, she realized that she missed the act of creating for the sake of creating ever since she let her photography business go.

This got me thinking: I love writing for the sake of writing. I get so caught up in how I might turn doing what I love doing into how I generate income, sometimes I forget that it is purely joyful for me.

I am in no way talented at painting, singing, or other forms of art. Nor do I want to be. But writing is the form of creation that I love.

The Cycle of Creativity

Kids are encouraged to create to develop their minds and just to have fun. As adults, we can get caught up in making a living and making everything work and forget to just do things because they are fun. And even if they are fun, it feels like they have to be associated with achieving some goal or getting something out of it. Otherwise, what’s the point? continue…

One Way To Decide What To Do Next

How do you know if what you are about to do next is what you are supposed to do? The thing that will be for your highest good, propel you towards the life of your dreams? Or at least not result in catastrophe or other unpleasant outcomes.

This morning I woke up remembering that there was a free yoga in the park event today at 9 a.m. I hadn’t signed up for it yet, but it was in my calendar and I told myself yesterday that if I got up in time, I might try to make it.

I didn’t set my alarm or anything, since these days I am all about getting the maximum amount of sleep (I slept for nine hours last night – go me!). But I woke up a little more than an hour before the event.

Getting excited that I could possibly make it (the town is only about 15 minutes away), I hopped on the website to see if I could sign up. I did, and then got a message that they would be contacting me shortly.

Unfortunately there wasn’t an automatic email message, and the exact address of the park wasn’t included in the event information. I called the studio, but no answer (not surprising, since the first class wasn’t until 9 a.m.).

So, I sat there. My phone telling me if I left at that moment I would arrive at 8:51 a.m. But I still wasn’t ready. And I still didn’t know at which park exactly the outdoor yoga would be taking place.

I had a choice to make. I could try to rush around, brushing my teeth, washing my face, throwing on yoga clothes, grabbing my yoga mat. Only to arrive with probably no minutes to spare, and the possibility that the location I was thinking was right was actually wrong. continue…

Dreams Really Do Come True

This post is about the show Glee. You’ve been warned!

I was devastated when I found out about Cory Monteith’s (who played Finn Hudson on Glee) passing over a year ago. I know that sounds weird, because I obviously didn’t know him or anyone he knew personally.

But I was so moved and inspired by Glee. I was a major Glee re-watcher, and would re-watch episodes from previous seasons while the current season was on hiatus.

Since the real person who played Finn Hudson left this world, I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back and re-watch any pre-tragedy episodes. continue…

Meditation Mondays: What is Yoga Nidra?

There are so many different types of yoga to choose from: hatha, Bikram, ashtanga, kundalini, restorative. And many more!

I have been gravitating to the more relaxing yoga styles lately, such as restorative yoga. I actually didn’t know this type of yoga was a thing until recently, when I started doing the 10 minute restorative yoga video on YouTube by Sarah Beth.

Since then, I discovered that my local yoga studio, Ignite Yoga, offers a restorative yoga class on a regular basis. If you are in the mood to relax, get a good stretch, but not be out of breath and sweaty, this is a great type of yoga to try.

After reading the descriptions of offered classes on the studio’s website when a restorative class wasn’t available, I decided to give Yoga Nidra a try.

I had no idea what to expect, but figured it would be some type of relaxing class, based on the description. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Yoga Nidra is actually a meditation class!

continue…

Next Time You Feel Envious, Remember This

Envy is an ugly word. No one ever wants to admit they feel it. But sometimes it is irresistible, even if we don’t talk about it to others.

Especially with social media blaring how wonderful and perfect everyone else’s life is, it can be easy to slip into the feeling that our lives might be better if we were someone else.

Sometimes I struggle with this when looking at other bloggers who have “made it.” I think: what have I been doing for the past three years while all these other people have been building successful businesses?

Just Stop

Then I remember my one golden weapon against envy: continue…

Be Unapologetic About What You Want

I thought I wanted to be a writer. According to everything I have read, by the act of writing I am a writer. I don’t even have to be any good at writing, apparently. As long as I want to be a writer and I write, then I am a writer.

But I have apologized with every inch of my being for wanting to be a writer ever since I first was told that math and science are where the money and value are – not reading and writing. I have grown and come to terms with my writer ways over the years. But not without apology.

I often feel guilty telling people that I have a blog when asked what I do. I usually tell them the “real” thing that I do, as in the thing that actually produces an income. Then I slip in at the end (nervously) that I have a blog. Talking about myself as a writer makes me feel super apologetic. Like I haven’t earned the right to call myself a writer, or a blogger.

A Little Bit of Inspiration

I will be attending Alt Summit Summer this year. Alt Summit is a design and blogging conference held twice a year (January and June) in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have known about it for several years now but could never bring myself to attend a conference for bloggers, not feeling like a “real” blogger myself.

Fortunately one of my favorite vloggers, Jennifer Ross, pushed me over the edge this year with her vlogs and blog posts from the January conference. I am so excited to finally be going!

I received an email recently with links to the keynote speaker presentations from the January session. One was by Lisa Congdon, the other by Dallas Clayton. Both are amazing and I would definitely recommend checking them out.

Lisa Congdon talked about the path she took to get where she is as a creator of lots of different amazing things. She talked about being unapologetic about what you want, and that got me thinking. continue…

Do This next Time You Feel Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed has almost become the accepted normal state of being, unfortunately. It seems to have gotten worse in recent times.

Email (many times multiple email accounts), tasks, mundane tasks, household tasks, social media, keeping up with everything on the internet, staying fit and healthy. All that on top of trying to enjoy life and relax every once in a while. And sometimes sleep.

Self-Care First, to-Do List (and Everything Else) Second

I am reading You Can Create An Exceptional Life by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson. The book is written in first person by Cheryl, but chronicles a series of meetings between Cheryl and Louise regarding how to live a peaceful life (which seems to be somewhat of an exception in our culture).

Cheryl: “For too many years I was in a perpetual battle with my to-do list, desperately racing to get things done so I could finally relax and enjoy my life. Now I relax and enjoy my life first.”

Louise: “I try to give myself two hours before I face people. I like to be able to do things in a leisurely way.”

The version of myself several years ago would have argued that I didn’t have time for self-care because I had too much to do. Now I know better. continue…

It’s Now: What Are You Manifesting?

Ever notice yourself going to that funky place of funky thoughts, thinking that nothing is going your way and you feel like you are going no where fast, faster than anyone else you know in real life or online?

Hello, thoughts, you tricky tricksters you.

Now, do you ever notice when you are feeling good, you feel, well, good? About everything in your life, like you know good things will happen. You believe they will. So they do.

You know how The Secret depicts (somewhat cheesily) a woman staring at a necklace, and then receiving that exact necklace, or the little boy with the picture of the bike, and then that bike is literally delivered to him?

While I firmly believe that such things are possible (because no one can say they aren’t possible, because we aren’t fortune tellers…well, unless you are), I was thinking the other day, with some relief, about how it isn’t so important what the specifics are. continue…

A Moment of Clarity: Seeing How the Pieces Fit Together

Have you ever done an exercise in a book where you were asked to brainstorm or choose from a list of words to capture your one word or phrase that best describes your theme for the next phase in your life?

I have seen this in several self-help books. The one that jumps out at me is SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern. In the past, every time I have done one of these exercises, my word or phrase has been inner peace.

Inner Peace & Transformation

In the past, I was pretty much constantly in a state of some combination of anxiety, panic, and worrying, so inner peace made sense for me as the thing that I most needed. I couldn’t imagine wanting anything else, like adventure, creativity, or any of the other theme words that were on the lists. Inner peace seemed like the best place to start.

And it was! I am so happy to now be able to say that, for the most part, I have it. After a long journey of developing a regular practice of yoga and meditation, I feel pretty peaceful most of the time. And I am starting to take back control of my own life that I used to so freely give away to the demands and whims of others. Yay!

Realizing that I have come to the place I wanted to be for so long is a great thing. I was driving the other night, and this idea came to me: what if one day I looked up to notice that my life totally transformed and I didn’t even realize it?

Isn’t that a cool idea? That your life could totally change without you even knowing it because you are so focused on feeling good in the moment? continue…

How to Choose a Mentor for Your Dream

Who is the one person in the world you are absolutely fascinated by? You look at their accomplishments with awe, and think that if you could only achieve a fraction of their success, you would be ecstatic.

When I set out to lose about ten pounds almost ten years ago, I chose Oprah. I have never met Oprah or corresponded with her on any personal level, but that didn’t stop me from mentally channeling her positive energy and sound advice in every single moment that I was tempted to eat a cookie or sleep in and skip the treadmill.

I read everything on the internet that she had written about weight loss, soaked up her whole philosophy about the emotional component of weight gain and weight loss, and followed her trainer’s (Bob Greene’s) weight loss plan, which they freely shared online, to the letter. I heard her voice in my mind every day as I battled all the messages from the world to buy a candy bar or eat yet another a piece of birthday cake at the office.

At the time, I didn’t think of her as a “mentor.” I always thought a mentor was a person who physically met with their mentee at regular intervals, providing advice, going out to lunch on occasion, maybe attending an awards ceremony of some sort. At least someone who provides direct correspondence via Skype, phone, or email. Right?

A Different Kind of Mentor

This morning I was noticing thoughts coming into my mind that I didn’t want, but I was struggling batting them away and thought about how nice it would be to have a person in my mind with advice that I could choose to focus on instead.

I decided it was worth a shot, and I made a list of the people who I currently admire as I work on my writing dream. Here is the list I came up with: continue…

What Expansive Feels Like

I have come across the term expansive here and there over the past few years in my unending quest for continued personal development. The most recent example I have is in the book Money, A Love Story by Kate Northrup.

There are several exercises in the book asking the reader to decide whether a certain purchase or money decision makes you feel expansive or contracted. For example, you might take out your credit card statement from last month and highlight in pink the purchases that make you feel expansive, and highlight in yellow those that make you feel contracted.

I got the concept: one feels good, the other, not so much. But I also wanted to get the physical sensation along with the logical thought process. continue…

To-Do Lists & Dreams: Is There Enough Time for Everything?

I am obsessed with getting my to-do list to zero. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I totally understand that I am not going to get my to-do list to zero and it is just going to stay like that forever. That isn’t my goal. My goal is to clear out my to-do list on a regular basis, keeping it clear to allow space for new things to come into my life without the weight of old tasks from like three months ago. Or even three weeks ago.

Reading through Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks has helped me more clearly shape my perspective on clearing my to-do list while allowing ideas of new things to do to come into my life.

What My To-Do List Means To Me

My to-do list used to be a thing of complete dread, shackling me from enjoying life because I felt so behind all the time. I couldn’t see getting out from under the pile of stuff, no matter what I did. Not a good thing.

Today I am still working at chipping away at a few remaining tasks from several months ago, but I can see that my dream of having a regularly cleared to-do list is within reach. I am so excited about that every day!

I see my various to-do lists as simply a system of reminding myself what to do next, so I don’t have to store all that information in my brain. To-do lists are meant to liberate us from the constant cycle of remembering and forgetting things that still need to be done.

My goal for my to-do list is for it to eventually hold only items to do that I feel purposefully passionate about. I want my life to transform so that everything I do feels on purpose and exciting. I get all tingly just thinking about that! continue…

Your Dream Is a Radio Station: What Station Are You On?

I’m constantly working on monitoring my thoughts: trying to maintain focus on feeling as if I am already where I want to be, while fending off pesky thoughts of what I don’t want. Anyone who has ever tried to do this knows it is very challenging, but can be fun with the right approach.

The Importance of Feeling Good

You know the feeling: you had a tense conversation with a co-worker earlier that day (or week), or received a tense email, and can’t help yourself from replaying it and what you might have said or will say next time over and over in your mind. If asked, you might admit that more tense situations aren’t exactly what you want to experience, but, even so, continue to replay similar scenarios over and over in monkey mind format.

I was fortunate to pick up a copy of Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks last week. I first learned about Esther Hicks several years ago from a friend who was hooked on her YouTube videos. The Hicks’ teachings can be thought of as a prequel to “The Secret,” with a twist that I can only suspect most people today would find unbelievable. I honestly didn’t get it, and found it to be kind of “weird,” even though I am usually into that sort of thing. So I never really pursued the videos very far nor had I read any the Hicks’ many books.

The book starts out with an overview of how Esther Hicks got where she is. After reading, I kinda get it. I will leave it at that, because I understand that it is probably seen as uber weird, and I don’t want to seem like more of a weirdo than I already do! I recommend checking out one of their books or looking them up online to see for yourself.

Weirdness aside, the book is amazing! It is helping me to reel in any negative emotions at once, as soon as they start, because that is simply not what I want to create in my future (or present, for that matter). I haven’t finished the book, but I can safely say that the biggest lesson I have learned is that feeling good is the most important thing I can do.

I know that might seem selfish, but I don’t think so. By being a person who is highly focused on feeling good, you are able to help the people around you feel good, and are far more likely to help distant people feel good than if you were feeling bad, not to mention that feeling good is more likely to lead to choices that activate more positive situations for others as well. What could be selfish about that? continue…

What’s Your Definition of Personal Freedom?

I have been thinking a lot about Personal Freedom lately, particularly since reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard. Personal freedom can mean many things, and the cool thing is that we each get to decide what it means to us individually. Here are a few things that come to my mind when I hear the term Personal Freedom:

Plenty of Sleep & No Alarm Clock

For me, Personal Freedom doesn’t mean sleeping in late, however, it does mean having the freedom to choose when I will get up in the morning… sans alarm clock. That might be 4 a.m., 7 a.m., or 10 a.m. It’s about having options, and responsibly choosing what is best for my life and purpose at the time, no matter what day of the week.

It’s popping up out of bed in the morning like a piece of toast from a toaster, excited about what I get to do that day, versus dragging myself out of bed in an obligatory manner.

More Space To Live Purposefully

It’s about having the time, resources, and space to live purposefully each day. It’s living in line with my core values, making choices and decisions based on these values rather than getting swept up into someone else’s (conflicting) value system or lack thereof.

Personal freedom means not having to do things, but wanting to do them. It means getting to do the things that I find exciting, that I am passionate about, and that I find purposeful.

Living Minimally To Live More Fully

It’s taking control of what I allow into my life, whether that is the stuff in my house, the food in my fridge, or the volume of email I receive, and empowering myself to let go of anything that conflicts with my core values without guilt or regret.

Another facet of personal freedom for me is the freedom from a backlog of stuff and the feeling of being behind. The freedom to simply do what I want when I want, without the crushing weight of a to-do list that never seems to let up.

There are probably many people who have no problem with a long list of stuff to do, and who wouldn’t even consider making that a component of their definition of Personal Freedom because it isn’t one of their values. I would imagine you can value being a person who gets things done on time without being obsessed with what else there is to do.

But for me, I am obsessed. Happily, I might add. I am excited to get out of bed in the morning thinking about how much closer I will get today to my dream of having a truly functional personal productivity system that works just for me, and allows me to call it quits waaaay before 11 p.m. That makes me happy, because not working late into the night means I can have time to read, take a bath, or go to bed early.

This is my version of Personal Freedom. What’s yours?

Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

Who do you want to be?

“Rather than think you need to go on an archaeological dig into your personal history, just look at your life in the present moment to see what your past beliefs have created.” — Christiane Northrup, MD, Hay House New Year New You Webinar 2014

While meditating this morning, this thought occurred to me: how I feel is who I am. Meditation has a way of clarifying and simplifying the already clear and simple.

When you get out of bed in the morning, how do you feel? Dreading something that is planned that day? Some meeting, having to deal with a particular person or situation?

This is how I have spent most of my mornings, at least as an adult, at least on the weekdays. At this point, I don’t particularly wake up dreading the day like I used to, but I still wake up thinking about and feeling what is about to happen that day. And so I am. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Refuse to Be Overwhelmed

Today is the day many people return to work after the holidays. Today, I refuse to be overwhelmed.

I refuse to be overwhelmed by my multiple email inboxes, and any new task that comes my way. I refuse to be overwhelmed by requests from others, or the feeling that there isn’t enough time to get it all done.

Been there, done that, no thank you.

Today, I firmly choose to remain calm in the face of whatever drama I might come across. It is my choice, and no one can make me feel anything other than calm except me.

I simply refuse to entangle myself with any sense that everything isn’t going to be okay. I just can’t. continue…

Organize Your Life

When you think of getting organized, what comes to mind? A planner, pretty containers from The Container Store, perfectly lined up shoes?

These are the things I typically think about, but while reading last night, I realized it is about so much more. I am reading Money, A Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want by Kate Northrup, which is a book about personal finance from a spiritual perspective (I am loving it, and hope to post my review by the end of the week).

Money, A Love Story is about way more than the numbers, focusing on us as whole people and what we actually want to be doing with our lives and discovering ways to allow money to facilitate our dreams rather than work against us. I am near the end of the book, and it is all starting to come together.

“Focus on how you want to feel, organize your life to feel that way more often, and then sit back and watch how it all comes to pass…”

So far, this sentence has had the greatest impact for me. You mean I can actually organize my life, as it is right now, to feel the way I want to feel so the things I want in life will happen more readily? Yes, that is exactly the idea. continue…

Book Nook Review: Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard

Ever feel like you need someone to sit you down and give you a pep talk to supercharge your life into action? Reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard is kind of like that. Squared. Cubed, even.

“We must ask if our desires to feel safe and accepted are in fact enslaving us to popular opinion—and to boredom.”

If you ever felt like you were destined for a greater existence but felt conflicted or overwhelmed about taking the necessary actions, this book is so for you. You might want to stop reading here and go get a copy to see for yourself. It is that good. continue…

Meditation Mondays: How To Change How You Feel in Any Moment

Life is feelings. Our lives are built on our feelings. When I tap in to my real feelings, I feel a light, buzzing feeling under my skin, and I am and more aware of the present moment. That is when I know I am on the right track.

How do you feel?

Right in this moment, do you feel how you want to feel? How about an hour ago, or three hours ago? How are you anticipating that you will feel in the next few hours? Is it where you want to be?

Are the feelings you identified the feelings you would feel if everything in your life were exactly as you would like it to be in this moment?

When I am feeling upset, frustrated, negative, gross, angry, exhausted, frazzled…I know I am off track. There are so many surface feelings designed to protect our egos that cause major problems. Letting go of them and allowing the real feelings to come to the surface allows us to live our real lives that we are meant for; not the ones that are designed to protect our egos. continue…

Book Nook Review: Walking with Elijah

“The life journeys of humans are not random.” – Elijah, in Walking with Elijah: The Fable of a Life Journey and a Fulfilled Soul by Doobie Shemer

Shamanism is one of those practices with which most people are unfamiliar. I was one of them before reading Walking with Elijah by Doobie Shemer.

Doobie Shemer is a corporate computer software engineer-turned-shaman after an Introduction to Shamanism workshop. What is shamanism, you ask? continue…

Amazing Yoga Class by Goyogaco & Tara Siles: An Everyday Miracle

On November 13, 2014, Goyogaco hosted the finale class of their Free Flow Lets Go yoga series at the W Hotel in Scottsdale. The instructor? None other than Tara Stiles!

I was ecstatic from the moment I found out Tara Stiles was teaching a class in Scottsdale that very night… for free! I have heard Tara speak on various Hay House webinars, watched her inspiring YouTube videos, and practiced her unique Strala yoga routines in the comfort of my own home.

Never did I think I would get to partake in a yoga class led by the awesome Ms. Stiles myself – until I someday traveled to NYC to visit her studio. Even then, it has got to be difficult to get into one of her classes, right? continue…

How to Experience a Miracle Everyday

“To me, every cubic inch of space is a miracle.”

– Walt Whitman

Traditionally, miracles have been portrayed as experiences reserved only for the deserving, lucky few. Not the regular people (like me – or so I thought).

I used to think miracles only happened to other people, far removed from my plain existence: travelers to some holy land, attendees of televised events where the preacher hits someone on the head and they are suddenly healed from their debilitating illness, or rare stories of far away people who overcame cancer or some other life-threatening disease. Not for me or anyone I knew. And certainly not for the everyday experience.

I started watching Gabby Bernstein’s YouTube videos a few weeks ago, and slowly started to absorb her message of everyday miracles. Not long after the concept of the miracle mindset entered into my awareness, I started noticing my own everyday miracles. continue…

You Are in Charge of You

Do you sometimes feel like a victim of others, and the life circumstances you somehow ended up with? This is the opposite of living the life of your dreams. It can be too easy to slip into this lower energy thinking. Read on for a few tips to stay in the mindset of being empowered to take charge of your own life. continue…

Try This Next Time Someone Says Something Negative

I used to think there are negative people and positive people, good people and bad people, people who deserve to be loved and those who aren’t contributing anything positive, so why should they deserve good things?

I am so grateful to have learned that it doesn’t have to be this way. And that it simply isn’t. What a relief to give ourselves permission to stop thinking there are people out there that we have to position as our enemies! Having enemies is exhausting.

I have come to realize that there aren’t negative people. I try not to outright call someone “a negative person” anymore for several reasons: I know this to be a false statement, and I know that by putting that out there, I am not only calling out my own negativities but also attracting more of that stuff back into my life. No thanks!

No one is perfect. We all have our negative moments. We all say things that we think will feel good, but then they either end up not feeling good to us or they end up dragging down others.

Having recognized that there are not completely negative people, just negative moments, it is essential to our inner peace to learn how to deal with the negative moments. I learned the following trick for dealing with negativity from one of Gabby Bernstein’s You Tube videos. This was a totally new concept to me, but when I tried it, I was hooked. continue…

Five Steps to Overcome Resentment

Do you ever wonder how to make significant life changes, to get yourself out of a rut, and to once and for all leave behind the aspects of your life that you feel no longer serve you? What is holding you back?

Resentment Redefined

Here is my new definition of resentment:

To re-send back into our lives.

If you want to take it a step further, next time you are resenting someone or something, think about this:

I meant to re-send you back into my life again in the future.

Now how much do you want to continually make that person or thing your focus?

Maybe this is a bit of a stretch on re-interpreting the English language, but this new definition captures what resentment is capable of producing in our lives. Let’s say there is someone you work with who you resent. Maybe she sends snarky emails, doesn’t give you the praise you feel you deserve, or just plain drives you crazy with her opinions. You can’t stand it, and you resent her, or at least her actions.

I believe that what you resist persists, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to those things we resent. Resenting something absolutely is just like saying a prayer that it will keep showing up in your life.

So how do you get out of this cycle and move on to a more peaceful existence? Read on my friend! continue…

Be Yourself to Be Successful

It is no secret that Lea Michele has made a permanent name for herself over the past few years. Sure, you could attribute her success to luck and being in the right place at the right time. Or, you could choose to believe that she has achieved her success in life based on her dedication to remaining true to herself and her dreams despite the disappointments, non-believers, and self-doubt that are inevitable along any path to success.

Being a self-proclaimed Gleek, I was ecstatic when I saw that Lea Michele had a book out. It was an extra indulgent treat to listen to her read her own words in her upbeat voice on Audible.

Brunette Ambition starts out with a brief look at a young, pre-Glee Lea Michele and a glimpse into her home life. The beginning few chapters of the book are full of inspirational messages about being ourselves and embracing our uniqueness rather than trying to washout and be like everyone else. continue…

Change Your Thoughts to Get Things Done

I am no stranger to feeling overwhelmed. If you often find yourself in a similar boat, continue reading for a simple trick to help you get things done.

Getting Things Done Effortlessly

When the bed isn’t made, the whole bedroom feels like a disaster area to me. I like everything to be put away and tidy because it makes me feel peaceful. Dirty clothes everywhere and a messed up bed nag at me and call my name to fix them.

As much as I want to be a person who hops out of bed in the morning, taking the 15 seconds it takes to make the bed, this does not happen all the time. Maybe somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of the time, but no where near 100. An unmade bed is not my biggest problem in life, but it’s just as good as any example of something that can easily be neglected (like an email inbox, among other things).

The other day I was about to take a shower in the afternoon (I like to have the bed made before my shower, because, well, who doesn’t?), and I was looking at the bed thinking, “ugh, I wish that bed was made!” but not motivated enough to actually do it in the moment.

I am certain I picked this trick up from one of the countless self-help books or You Tube videos I have read or recently watched, but the thought came to my mind that I could choose to be grateful that the bed was already made.

I thought about the many glorious days I go to take a shower and the bed is already made. Why couldn’t this day be one of those, if not in the physical world, then in my mind?

I went on to the shower, not lifting a finger (I wasn’t planning on lifting one anyway). I knew that the bed would eventually, once again, be made and pretty and tidy. And feeling bad about not having it done wasn’t going to help the situation; those thoughts could only make it worse. continue…

Five Quotes to Remind You That You Can Do It!

We all have dreams. Things we want to do in life. For ourselves, for others, for the world. But sometimes it feels impossible. Everything we have to do can seem overwhelming, and fool us into thinking that we don’t have time.

But good news. We have something better than time. And it’s called a choice. I recently started watching Alex Beadon’s videos on You Tube, and the other day she said something that I have never heard before:

“Remember that this is your life, and that you are 100% in control of it, and that you don’t have to let it overwhelm you.”

As a person who has felt overwhelmed for years, this little gem came as quite a relief! I never thought of feeling overwhelmed as a choice before. I have felt victimized by the many demands on my time, preventing me from living the life I dream could one day be for me. continue…

What does zero have to do with achieving your dreams?

As kids, we all learned how to spell “good” and “God.” Wayne Dyer often likes to ask his live audiences: “What is the difference between good and God?” He then proceeds to hold up his hand, making a “zero” with his thumb and fingers.

It’s a pretty simple concept, but something that gets all mixed up in beliefs of how things should be. Speaking of how people think things should be, today’s post will be about one of my favorite topics: feeling the physical feelings of having already achieved whatever goal or dream you are working towards, as opposed to feeling down for not being further along. continue…

Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You

“When we hide who we really are in order to fit in or belong, we are suffocating our souls.” Serena Dyer

Would you like to start leading a more meaningful life today, but sometimes struggle with balancing “real life” and following the seemingly complex spiritual principles out there? If so, Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You: My Experience Growing Up with Spiritual Parents by Serena Dyer is for you!

Spiritual Technology

Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You is Serena Dyer’s recount of what it was like to grow up under the spiritual parenting of Marcelene and Wayne Dyer. Serena shares spiritual principles we read in Wayne Dyer’s books from her own perspective.

If Serena’s goal with this book was to take many of the spiritual teachings we have learned from her dad and relate them in a very practical way that we can incorporate into our lives immediately, she certainly succeeded! There is a light, easiness to reading her voice, and she breaks down the concept of living a life on purpose into its simplest components.

The main message I received from this book was to feel the feeling of what you want in your life as if you were already there. It can feel very confusing to do this, because what you want inside does not match what is outside (yet). continue…

How to Go on a Mini-sabbatical This Week

A few weeks ago I started getting up at 4 a.m. I tried this a few years ago, but felt like I couldn’t sustain the insanely early hours, so it didn’t stick. This time around, I feel completely different about it.

I have gone back and forth about what to do with this time. The two hours before I have to start my job is just about enough time to get in 20 minutes of yoga, 20 minutes of meditation, and about 40 minutes of walking.

How early is too early?

I also would like to have a good hour or two in the mornings for my writing. I attempted to get up at 3 a.m. one Monday a few weeks ago. I was very excited about the idea of getting in three extra morning hours to work on my dreams.

Getting up at 3 a.m. didn’t seem to work as well as 4 a.m. has, at least for me at this time in my life. I know there are people out there who do it, so who knows? Maybe someday. I found that I had a hard time sleeping because I was so preoccupied with waking up on time, and then later in the day my whole body felt off and very tired. So for now, 4 a.m. it is.

I haven’t run into the same issues with getting up at 4 a.m. In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that I have more energy all day after getting up at 4 a.m., even if I got to bed late the night before, than if I got out of bed with hardly any “me time” to spare during the weekday mornings.

Turning Early Morning Hours Into an Ongoing Sabbatical

Have I mentioned my obsession with the idea of a sabbatical? If I could do anything in life that I wanted, I would go to Europe for one year to write my first book, à la Emily Giffin. As it is, I have other things that call my attention away from writing, and taking a year for my writing is not exactly in my foreseeable future at the moment. continue…

What Gratitude Can Do for You & a Few Meditation Resources

I have continued to enjoy the Oprah and Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience during week two, although I must admit I have not been meditating every day. I noticed that I am more likely to skip meditation on the weekends if I sleep in late. During the week, as long as I get up in time, I can keep up with the routine better.

Week Two Recap & a Reminder to Be Grateful

Week two of the 21-Day Meditation Experience has built on the inner calm created in week one. This week has been all about expanding happiness. As expected, there has been more of an emphasis on sharing happiness with others. Week two has focused on topics such as kindness and laughter. Other daily themes have included joy, contentment, and living with purpose, which are ways of life that lead to automatic expansion of happiness that extends to others.

My favorite meditation this week was the one all about gratitude. I actually just finished it as I am still a day behind. Oprah says the single most important thing she has ever done has been to feel gratitude. I have heard and read so many times the importance of gratitude, but am constantly in need of a reminder. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Week 1 Recap of the 21-Day Meditation Experience

I started the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience one day late, on August 12th. I also missed yesterday, so I am currently two meditations behind. Fortunately, the meditations are available for five days after their original release date to catch up on missed days or go back and review the material.

The purpose of this meditation experience is to expand and deepen our own experience of happiness so that we can share a joyful energy with the world. Each day, a meditation lasting approximately 20 minutes is emailed to participants. Oprah kicks off each session by providing an introduction to the day’s meditation, and then Deepak provides his own short introduction and moves into a guided meditation.

I have enjoyed every meditation so far. Each day is focused on recognizing that we have what it takes within ourselves to be happy, and we have had it all along. Our happiness does not depend on external factors as our culture would have us believe, such as achievements, praise, or pleasing others. Both Oprah and Deepak are working to help us realize that happiness is our true nature. continue…

Why Exercise is Essential, Found Time, & a Blogust Status Update

Over the past few days, I have revisited creative ways to find the time to go for walks and get in reading on even the busiest of days. I was inspired by Robin Sharma’s video on You Tube the other day in a moment of desperation for a glimmer of hope and insight into how I might get on top of my life.

Why Making Time to Exercise Matters

He mentioned the power of exercise. These days I am not big into exercise that requires excessive amounts of exertion and sweating, but I do enjoy light yoga and moderately paced walking. The idea of getting up even earlier popped into my mind, and I have been doing it ever since. continue…

I Am Not Getting a Sabbatical Anytime Soon, & I Have to Accept That

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

I remember when I was younger thinking that older people who took sabbaticals were really boring. Ha! What I wouldn’t give for a sabbatical!

I have dreamed of taking a sabbatical for years now. I’m not even really sure what the official sabbatical duration is, but I am guessing it’s at least a few months. I actually took my own mini-sabbatical this past January.

I loved it. I loved every second of it. I took a nice long walk almost every day, I woke up early just because I was excited to have the whole day to do whatever I wanted, and I did yoga and meditated almost everyday. During the day I got to spend time reading and writing, and had the time to take care of the house and get things done. And felt relaxed!

Yesterday, I fell slightly ill and ended up sleeping for pretty much the whole day. Mostly feeling depressed about all of my nagging tasks and wondering how I would ever get them all done. Hence the first Blogust fail.

Why I Want a Sabbatical

I want to feel like I have time to write my book, make my blog a success, take walks, do yoga, meditate, and take care of all of my personal tasks (including planning a wedding). Not to mention crocheting. I love to crochet! When does a working girl have time to crochet? I would like to know? There are winter hats to be made, people! continue…

A Glass of Wine in the Bathtub and a Mid-week Pick-Me-Up

“All I want to do right now is have a glass of wine in the bathtub, pay a cleaning service to clean the kitchen, then order pizza and eat cookies all night.” – me, about ten minutes ago

The middle of the week is my Monday. I know this. I have observed it about myself in the past, yet somehow I am still blindsided by the overwhelming feeling that I will never get caught up that often hits me on Wednesdays and Thursdays. So far, I have eaten four cookies over the past two days. Um, and several handfuls of M & M’s. Not my shining moments of self-control. And I still want to order pizza. The cleaning service is a bit ridiculous, I will admit. But the glass of wine in the bathtub might win.

Taking 100% Responsibility

I am pretty sure the times I feel overwhelmed I am not taking 100% responsibility. I learned about taking 100% responsibility from chapter one of Jack Canfield’s book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Jack Canfield says to take 100% responsibility for everything in our lives. Whether or not we think we are responsible for everything in our lives is irrelevant. Take responsibility for it anyway. Taking responsibility for everything that happens in our lives means we are coming from a place of being empowered rather than the place of playing the victim.

Oh and have I played the victim! In the moment, it feels easier to try to blame everyone and everything outside of myself for my present moment misery. Too many things on my to-do list? Not enough time to get it all done? Why not repeat over and over in my mind how everyone but me is responsible for it, rather than just doing it? continue…

10 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Follow Your Dreams

When I set out to lose weight over five years ago, one of my strategies to keep me mentally on track throughout the day and prevent afternoon vending machine binges was to write out a different quote for each day of the week on a piece of paper that I kept with me at all times. Anytime I felt the urge to get up for a vending machine break at my job, especially around 2 p.m., I read my quote and most of the time it was enough to keep me from going off track that day.

I decided to use a different quote each day because I didn’t want to become immune to the inspirational effects of reading the same quote over and over everyday. Also, there are so many inspiring quotes out there, who can choose just one? I rotated through about seven to ten quotes that made me want to lose weight more than I wanted to eat a chocolate bar for a period of about two months.

Collecting & Storing Quotes

I collect quotes from random places. I first experienced the joy of quotes in high school, when my best friend started writing down quotes. Ever since then, I have dreamed of creating an organized collection of quotes that have inspired me to refer back to. Currently I have a notebook in Evernote that isn’t very organized, but is my go-to place for storing quotes.

There are so many times I come across an inspiring quote on a TV show, TV commercial, movie, or even a billboard. I try to get them down in the moment, otherwise it is hard to go back to the middle of a movie to capture the inspiring words. I also try to write down quote originals from people in my personal life when someone says something particularly inspiring or memorable.

The Power of Quotes

The right quote can have the power to, at a moment’s notice, pull you back on the track of the more disciplined version of yourself you envisioned on Sunday night when you were planning out your future.  You know, the thin, glowing, happy version of yourself. Her. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Overview of the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience

When I got the email in my inbox for the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience, Expanding Your Happiness, I considered ignoring it. My first thought was that it would be something I would have to pay to participate in, and that I already have my own meditation regimen going on.

I am so glad I decided to click the link and learn more about the program! First of all, the 21-Day Meditation Experience is free. They have put on similar events in the past, which I have probably seen ads for or heard about, but never paid too much attention to. I listened to the introduction to learn more about it, and discovered that it would fit in perfectly with my current meditation routine.

Inspired by Oprah & Deepak Chopra

I started reading books by Deepak Chopra in 2006 when I discovered that the public library had a pretty substantial self-help book collection. This also led me to my love of Wayne Dyer’s books. I found Dr. Chopra’s books to be intriguing, but sometimes way too heavy and I would get lost trying to follow his ideas.

My favorite books by Deepak Chopra are The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit. I read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success first, which led me to The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. Both books are short and to the point, and could probably be read in a day each. If you are looking for a quick inspirational guide to life, the first one is it!

I LOVE Oprah. She inspires me, and millions of other people. If Oprah and Deepak are providing a free meditation experience, I am not sure how much better you can get than that! continue…

How Not Taking Action Towards Our Dreams Is Selfish

Recently it dawned on me that our inspired ideas, or our dreams, are our way of receiving guidance to make other people’s lives better. I am not really talking about sleeping dreams, although they could be too. I am talking about the ideas that won’t leave us alone and keep nagging at us to get up and do something.

For me, this is writing. I have felt called to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Following a more traditional career path, I got lost in the time it took to pursue other goals, neglecting what I am pretty sure I am supposed to be doing with my life. I feel that I have the capacity to help other people through written words. And this idea will not let me go or leave me alone.

Our Dreams Are Our Guides to Help Other People

Sometimes I wonder: what if everyone (myself included) did the things that came to their minds as exciting ideas, that could likely help others? Beyond writing, I have had a few others on my list for several years now that I just have not taken action on. The reasons are all similar: not enough time, what if no one likes it.

I have heard people talk about self care actions such as taking time to exercise as selfish, but have you ever considered that not setting aside time to pursue a dream could be just as, if not more damaging than neglecting self-care? It took me a long time to debunk the judgment that exercise is selfish, and today I would like to share why I think it is selfish to not follow our dreams. continue…

Giving Up Something Rather than Giving Up

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.” – Paulo Coehlo

While writing early the other morning, it occurred to me that anyone who has written a book almost certainly had to do a substantial amount of unpaid, self-motivated work before being rewarded or even recognized for their efforts. This doesn’t just apply to authors. There is no question that people who have managed to turn their passion into a living had to seriously give up a few things along the way. continue…

A New Way to View Health, Life, & Beyond

“People are starving for love, not knowing their heart is a magical kitchen. Open your heart. Open your magical kitchen and refuse to walk around the world begging for love. In your heart is all the love you need. Your heart can create any amount of love, not just for yourself, but for the whole world.” Miguel Ruiz

I was first introduced to Anita Moorjani at an I Can Do It, Ignite! conference in San Jose, CA in February 2013. Wayne Dyer introduced her, and there was an obvious buzz in the room from the people who had already heard her story.

Her presence on the stage was peaceful yet powerful. Instantly I was endeared to her unique British accent with something else mixed in, and her wonderfully descriptive explanation of life as she now knows it after her near death experience (NDE).

Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing is the story of Anita Moorjani’s NDE, her life leading up to it, and her new life now that she “knows better” than the old version of herself. The story begins with Anita as a child, and we get a brief glimpse into her upbringing in Hong Kong. From the sound of it, her upbringing in Hong Kong was not all that different from that of a brother-sister pair in the US.

She loved to play and have fun, and she also learned at a young age that girls are looked upon by some as inferior to boys. She loved yet feared her father, and aimed to please her parents even if to her own detriment. She loved her older brother, and was teased by seemingly mean-spirited kids in elementary school for being different.

The Struggle to Please & Live

Anita then moves onto her somewhat unique struggle of having to deal with the sentence of an arranged marriage. Being of Indian descent, Anita’s culture expected her to marry based on the man who was chosen for her, not the one she truly loved. It is at this part of the book where the consequences of people-pleasing start to become apparent. continue…

Meditation Mondays: All the Words Are Already Written

Yesterday I had the best meditation I can remember in a while. I know we aren’t supposed to judge our meditation sessions as being either good or bad, but sometimes they feel more luxurious, probably more likely on the weekends. An ideal meditation session for me is 20 minutes, with the first half spent going through in my mind what I am grateful for and then my intentions, and the second half spent melting into the floor and the space of nothing.

Yesterday I realized that I could simplify the first half even further, going though anything I want in my life as if it were already here. I do this a lot, but realized there is no need to separate what I want from what is already here during meditation. Why not act as if already?

Meditating for Creativity

That part was fun, but the really great part was the second half. I have read many times that one of the great benefits of meditation is the creation of increased receptivity for creative ideas. The nothingness portion of meditation is where creative ideas might come to us. Or, by creating a bit of space between the constant recurring thoughts, we might increase our chances of receiving creative ideas at other times throughout the day.

During my meditation time, I suddenly felt very content that the creative ideas I hope for are already out there somewhere, I just have to tap into them. I realized that any words I might dream of one day writing are already written. There is no need to strive or fret that creativity might never touch us. It is out there, waiting to connect with us and be used for the greater good. continue…

A Year Ago on Awaken & Begin

A year (and three days) ago, the first post was published on Awaken & Begin. Starting a blog was a dream come to life in itself, and continues to be part of a much larger dream.

So far, Awaken & Begin hasn’t produced a penny of income, has attracted less than 50 likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter, and less than 10 subscribers. And I am still smiling. continue…

The First Step Counts

“Some will. Some won’t. So what…someone’s waiting.” (SWSWSWSW) – Jack Canfield

Time is on our side. In the dimension of dream pursuit, there is nothing but time. Within all that time that patience buys is a stacking effect. It may not always be obvious, but it is there, waiting to work in our favor.

A person who enjoys any amount of success had to work for it over a period of time. The amount of time it takes to get there varies on an individual basis, but the principles of patience and “one by one” were almost certainly involved. A self-made millionaire had to save their first dollar, a popular blogger had to get their first subscriber, and a person who has worked for significant weight loss had to lose pound number one.

One by One

What if the millionaire decided a dollar wasn’t enough to save, or the blogger gave up because they didn’t have a thousand subscribers, or the weight loss person got frustrated by having lost only one pound? The first dollar, subscriber, and pound count as much as the millionth, thousandth, or tenth, if not more. You can’t get to a million without first passing one. continue…

Is It Selfish to Pursue a Dream?

Sometimes I look around at the good others are doing in the world and I think I am not doing enough. At least this is one of my derailing thoughts when I am focusing on pursuing a goal.

There I am, happily affirming that which I dream to see in my life, and suddenly I feel selfish. I get the idea in my mind that it is frivolous and almost irresponsible to be chasing lofty dreams when there are people who are already helping kids and other people who need help now.

I then have to remind myself that the simple act of mentally focusing on what I hope to one day create doesn’t harm or detract from anyone. Perhaps someday I will be able to write a book that will change someone’s life. What if all (or even one of) the authors who have inspired us gave up before organizing and sharing their ideas?

Rearranging Thoughts & Transformation

We can completely transform our lives by choosing different thoughts. First, we have to become aware of the recurring thoughts, and understand their flaws.

The reason I know this is because I have tried it on for personal use on several occasions. The most tangible result was a 10 pound weight loss about eight years ago. continue…

The Most Powerful Way to Realize a Dream

When it comes to pursuing our dreams, there is a certain without a doubt knowing that must take hold. This supersedes all of the logical reasons it won’t work out, which well-meaning others may intentionally or inadvertently pass along to us.

It doesn’t matter if someone else has an opinion that you are not qualified, or that it is just not likely. And how, exactly, are they so well-versed in fortune-telling? I would like to know.

The opinions of others cannot hold us back. They might be a convenient scapegoat, along with other excuses of not enough time or money (all excuses I have used). But the real doubter, the only doubter who even has a say in the matter, is ourselves. continue…

How to Remain Centered While Traveling

Yoga is my movement of choice. More than any other activity, this exercise takes into account the complete person. Not only does yoga perfectly address the body’s physical needs for health and well-being, it also considers the need for balance of the mind and spirit.

After falling out of regular yoga practice for several years, I have noticed tremendous benefits from getting back into a practice in my own home. I currently don’t regularly attend classes at a yoga studio (although I plan to get back into that habit soon!). I have been keeping it simple with at-home videos, primarily those available on Hulu (Yoga Zone is my favorite).

Traveling Yoga Mat

Earlier this year I got the idea to start traveling with my thinnest yoga mat folded up in the bottom of my suitcase so I could maintain my morning routine of yoga and meditation away from home. It worked quite nicely, and got me thinking about taking it a step further and seeking out yoga studios at travel destinations on a regular basis. continue…

Daring Greatly: How To Overcome Not Enough Time

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown writes about the theme of scarcity in our culture. The aspect of scarcity that I (and I suspect many others) identify with most is scarcity of time.

Not enough time to write, not enough time to read, not enough time to sleep. Not enough time is often the go-to excuse for just about whatever isn’t getting done: exercise, eating right, following our dreams.

I use the not enough time excuse anytime I am feeling sorry for myself for not being as awesome as I aspire to be. As aware as I am of the fact that this is nothing more than an excuse, and that I have the ability to overcome this perceived scarcity, it’s just too easy to fall back on.

Antidotes to Time Scarcity

One of my affirmations in my core value category of abundance is “I am enjoying an abundance of time each day.”  I am getting better on my journey towards this eventual reality. I am starting to realize that just because I don’t find the time one day to work on one of my projects doesn’t mean it won’t be there tomorrow. I am learning to take advantage of pockets of time in the day as they present themselves, and to let go of the time when other activities inevitably come up.

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown mentions that she believes it’s not that we need an abundance of time, but enough time. I do believe she is on to something with the whole “enough” philosophy, although I don’t see anything wrong with my affirmation for an abundance of time. It may just be a matter of semantics. In my mind, enough time is as good as an abundance of time.

Here are a few ideas (inspired by Daring Greatly) for overcoming the issue of scarcity of time: continue…

Daring Greatly: Giving Up Perfectionism for Creativity

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

I have been listening to Daring Greatly by Brené Brown over the past few weeks. Brené Brown is famous for her TED Talks on vulnerability and shame, which is how I came to know of her. I previously read her book The Gifts of Imperfection, which had my name all over it!

When I saw that Daring Greatly was available through my library as an audio book, I was ecstatic. I have been listening to her words on shame, vulnerability, scarcity culture, perfectionism, and other topics that affect our ability and willingness to dare greatly over the past few weeks, and was inspired to write about a couple of these topics that I identify with in my own life.

Rather than write one review post on the whole book, I will be writing a short series of Daring Greatly posts inspired by Brené Brown’s research and book of the same name. continue…

Motivation to Get Up On Time

I have struggled with getting up on time forever. This week, I managed to get up on time on Monday, and told myself I was going to do the same the rest of the week. Today, I share my feelings on the whole issue of getting up in the morning.

What Does On Time Mean?

Determining what time I need and want to get up in the mornings during the week has been a constant issue for me for the past several years that I have worked from home with a login time of 6 a.m. For the most part, I have aimed to get up at 5 a.m., but have also gone through phases of convincing myself that 5:30 a.m. would give me more time to rest, and others where I attempted to get up at 4 a.m. to have time in the mornings to write.

I don’t want to get up early just because I have to go to work. I want to get up because I am ready to start my day. Many mornings in the past I have stayed in bed beyond my appointed wake-up time out of dread for the upcoming day. That is no way to start any day. continue…

Book Nook Review: I Can See Clearly Now by Wayne Dyer

“My life is my message.” – Gandhi

Ever feel like you don’t belong on the path your life seems to be on? Like there is a different path you’d rather hop on to? I Can See Clearly Now is Dr. Wayne Dyer’s personal reflection on the pivotal moments in his life that shaped him into the influential spiritual teacher he has been for many years. These moments were not all glamorous, but Dr. Dyer reflects on his past with nothing but gratitude for the lessons he takes away from even the most difficult situations. continue…

Seasonal Review: Mid-Season Check-in

It’s not quite time for my summer seasonal review, but I have been thinking a lot about where I am in my goals for spring and thought it might be a good time to do a mid-season review. Spring is a great time for changes and there are certainly many good changes in my life this time around.

Shortly after I moved to Arizona I developed the daily ritual of starting to read my affirmations as soon as I get out of bed in the mornings. By the time I’m doing mouthwash, I’m wrapping them up. It takes less than three minutes to read through these 15 or 20 items, but before I hadn’t been referring to them on a daily basis. I am happy to have finally found a method that works for me. It makes sense to start the day with positive thoughts and reminders about what my goals are, and to review these before practicing yoga and meditation in the mornings.

Based on my core values, here is a brief look at where I am in my personal goals so far for spring: continue…

Meditation Mondays: Review of a Meditation Massage

Now that I live less than two hours away from Sedona, land of spas and tranquility, a quick Sedona weekend getaway is within the realm of possibilities. This past weekend, I was lucky to spend time at the Sedona Hilton Resort and Spa.

Resort & Spa Experience

The Sedona Hilton Resort and Spa is very nice, and pet-friendly! All the rooms have gas fireplaces and either a patio or balcony. The property offers three pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, and beautiful views of the Sedona Red Rocks. There is a nice restaurant and poolside bar and grill onsite, as well as several restaurants within walking distance.

Being somewhat of a spa newbie, I didn’t realize before arriving that the spa offers fitness classes (including yoga), a steam room, and a sauna all included in the price of staying at the resort. Unfortunately we arrived just after the last yoga class of the weekend. Major bummer! Next time I will plan to arrive in time to enjoy a yoga class.

I haven’t indulged in a professional massage in over a year, so I talked myself into splurging a bit. When I saw the menu of spa services, I was deciding between the Meditation massage, Sedona Stone massage, and the Sedona massage. The Sedona massage is a traditional Swedish massage. Wanting to venture out and try something new, I debated over trying either the Meditation or Sedona Stone massage. continue…

Mondays vs. Fridays: Which Day of the Week is the Best One?

There are seven days in the week and someday isn’t one of them.

I often wonder: how do other people do it all? I didn’t used to. I used to think everyone else had it all together and I was the only one who couldn’t figure out how to get everything done, but now I know better.

The Friday Curse

Pretty much every Friday I enter into the weekend with the hopes that this weekend will be the one that I finally get it all together. The one where I finally have a breakthrough and make actual progress towards my goals. This mentality is dangerous and has caused me to not enjoy a lot of weekend activities in the past, because I always wanted to be getting something done.

I have definitely gotten better about it, but I still hold onto a modicum of hope that This Weekend will be The Weekend. The one to beat all the others out, because it is the one where I finally figure out how to manage my life while pursuing my personal goals.

And then Sunday happens. I have gotten much better about Sundays, but there was a time when all I wanted to do was cry on Sunday around 5 p.m., because it meant Monday morning was right around the corner. And I still hadn’t figured out what to do with my life. continue…

Meditation Mondays: An App to Keep Your Mind on Track

“You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it. ” – Pamela Bruner

I love using the Meditation Timer app on my phone each time I meditate these days. I used to use the regular timer on my phone, which annoyed me because it was like waking up to an alarm. The benefit of using the app is that the alert sounds are very peaceful, and also turn off on their own (as opposed to an alarm that requires you to physically turn it off). The Meditation Timer app allows you to set as few or as many minutes as you would like to spend meditating. I even use it as a timer for daytime naps now too!

I use the timer because it is very easy to fall asleep during meditation, and usually I don’t want to spend more than about 20 minutes meditating. On the other hand, it helps me to know I am getting my 20 minutes in, because it is also easy to feel like 20 minutes of meditation is an eternity. Some days there isn’t a full 20 minutes in sight to lay down and “do nothing”, and the timer comes in handy at these times as well. You can choose to time 5, 10, or any amount of minutes for a meditation session.

Breaking Up a Meditation Session

The way I have come to think of a meditation session is broken into two parts: the first half I spend going through what I am grateful for, and then my core values and any related affirmations/dreams/goals/intentions. Some days I go through everything, and other days I just want to focus on one thing, like “I am living in our new house.”

About halfway through, I recite in my mind “I release my intentions out into the universe. I trust in the infinite organizing power of the universe.” This signifies the start of the second half of my session, which is where I focus on having no thoughts at all, only breathing.

Sometimes I will think the words “in” and “out” corresponding with my breath just to block out other thoughts. I also sometimes substitute other words like “let” (inhale) “go” (exhale), or “peace” (inhale) “love” (exhale). I attempt to have a completely empty mind, but when thoughts inevitably enter, having specific words to focus on really helps. continue…

Meditation Mondays: A Trick to Stay Focused During Meditation

I love silence. Give me silence, and I am a happy camper. I could totally go to some meditation retreat and not speak for a month. Like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love.

When first starting a meditation practice, the silence might be uncomfortable or even overwhelming. Or, some days silence might just not feel right. Also, meditating while traveling can be challenging, particularly if there is unpleasant background noise where you are staying that is beyond your control.

The Beauty of Controlled Background Noise

I love the rain. Living in the desert, the rain is that much more welcome. Since the rain happens so rarely where I live, I have gotten accustomed to going to sleep with the sound of rain or a thunderstorm from an app on my phone. I love it.

I use the Ambiance app. There are plenty of other options for background noise if rain or thunder aren’t your cup of tea, including traditional static noises, an air conditioner, driving in the rain or snow, and even a “calm football crowd”. The app also provides sounds from specific locations all over the world, including a London street market, Barcelona City Walk, and LA traffic. You can go to the sounds of practically anywhere in the world with this app. It’s amazing!

The app will run all night long if you like (which I do). One morning it was just so nice to pretend there was a huge thunderstorm going on outside that I decided to let it play all through my yoga time, and then even into my meditation time. continue…

Believe in Someday

The other morning I woke up with the most wonderful thought: I am in control of the choices I am making that are shaping my life. I know I am not completely in control of what happens outside of myself, but I can certainly take control of my thoughts and choices.

It all starts with thoughts. After my sudden epiphany, I realized that within 30 minutes of being awake I had probably already had about 50 to 100 thoughts about things I don’t even want in my life. This was all during my yoga time, which I intend to be a time for focusing on only what I want.

We Can Choose our Thoughts

Thinking thoughts only of what we want is not the most natural state of mind for many of us. Controlling our thoughts is a constant practice that requires constant correction. It takes some extra effort, but I believe it is possible to carve a path dominated by good thoughts. continue…

Book Nook Review: Assertiveness for Earth Angels by Doreen Virtue

“Your need for other people’s approval puts them in control of your happiness. No one deserves that power over you.”

Have you ever caught yourself using the word “sorry” excessively, talking too quickly so you don’t take up someone’s else’s precious time, or being a people-pleaser? When I first read the table of contents of Assertiveness for Earth Angels: How to Be Loving Instead of “Too Nice” by Doreen Virtue, I was tempted to skip ahead to a few of the chapters with my name on them. Not too far into the book I was wondering: how does Doreen Virtue know me so well? continue…

A Day To Celebrate Love Begins Within

“I learned that life must be lived fearlessly. When you don’t love yourself, you live in fear.” – Anita Moorjani at I Can Do It! 2013, San Jose

What if Valentine’s Day weren’t just a day to celebrate romantic love, but a day to celebrate loving ourselves? Our world could use a whole lot more emphasis on self-love.

More Emphasis on Self-Love

Our culture doesn’t exactly focus on the importance loving ourselves. We learn to conform to the acceptance of others, and many of us become experts in people pleasing. It makes others happy on the surface, after all, so what’s so bad about staying in line?

I would have to argue: everything! How can we learn anything new or get inspired if everyone is just the same as everyone else? If every time someone else complains, judges, or is negative, we just silently bob our heads in unison? Or when someone’s opinion makes absolutely no logical sense, to stay mute?

I bring up these points primarily because this is how I have lived my life for far too long. Silently appearing to agree with every negative external force, screaming on the inside that something is terribly wrong here. How can there be so much anger? continue…

Meditation Mondays: Travel Yoga & Meditation

Staying healthy while traveling can be a challenge. Traveling for any reason usually catches us off guard and causes at least one, if not all, of our healthy daily habits to go out the window. I recently packed for a road trip and decided to try a few new things this time. One of them was to bring my yoga mat along for the ride in my suitcase.

Newly Prioritized Travel Items

Usually there is an option to take a yoga class at any travel destination. There are also hotels and even airports that cater to this world’s need for more yoga. I was especially excited about the “yoga channel” offered at The Argonaut in San Francisco. In fact, I went to the hotel’s website to see if they were still offering their “yoga baskets”, and I discovered that Kimpton Hotels offer yoga mats in some of their hotels. Click here to find other yoga-friendly hotels.

I had never thought to bring my own yoga mat on trips with me until I recently got the idea from listening to an author speak specifically about how to stay healthy while traveling. She was reviewing what you would find in her suitcase, and a folded up travel yoga mat was at the top of the list. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Morning Candlelight Yoga & Meditation

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

I went to a yoga class with a friend the other week called “Candlelight Yoga & Meditation”. I was so excited for the class, because I had never been to nor heard of a candlelight yoga class before, and many times yoga classes will include only a few minutes of meditation at the very end of class.

The class was great, and the meditation component was amazing. It didn’t hurt that the teacher was new to the studio and accidentally gave us an extra ten minutes in meditation. I didn’t mind one bit!

A Morning Ritual

After attending the class, I started thinking about my own morning yoga and meditation practice. This is an absolutely essential part of my day, especially days that I work. Taking this time in the mornings sets me up to feel in control of my day and activities. If I don’t give myself this time, I feel victimized by tending to the needs of others and not having any time for myself until late in the afternoon when I am worn out and sometimes frazzled.

This past week I started lighting a candle in my room before I start yoga in the morning. I realized that I can have my own candlelight yoga and meditation session everyday right in my own home! It is still dark out during this time of day. I turn off the light, and do yoga by candlelight for about 20 minutes, followed by meditation by candlelight for about 20 minutes. It is really nice to open my eyes after I meditate to the peace of a flickering candle. continue…

Letting Go of the Bad Stuff and Welcoming in the Good Stuff

“When is he and all of his energy going to vacate the crevices of my mind? The answer came the day I heard my mind respond ‘When you can see the good that came from your relationship and how it prepared you for where you are today.'” – written by Almasi Wilcots in Forgiveness by Iyanla Vanzant

I always thought forgiveness was one of those things you do because you are “supposed to”; because it is the right thing to do. I am now learning that it is not only a good thing to do for oneself, it is an absolutely essential prerequisite to experiencing real healing and transformation. continue…

I Should…I Mean I Choose

“Communicating in ‘have-to’s’ and ‘shoulds’ are ineffective self-leadership.” – The Now Habit by Neil Fiore, Ph.D.

I should do yoga. I should have gotten up earlier. I shouldn’t have said that, or done that. I should read more. I should do more. I should be a better person.

Does anyone else talk to themselves in shoulds as much as I do? I am willing to bet I am not alone in the should department. As I am writing, I am even trying to restrain myself from either thinking or typing the word should on auto-pilot. continue…

How to Deal with Negativity from Others

“The love I invest in my relationships returns to me multiplied many times over.” – Alan Cohen

Sometimes when I am meditating, a negative thought or two will sneak into my mind. The majority of the time, I am able to send these little unpleasantries out of my realm of consciousness, and continue to enjoy my blissfully undisturbed twenty minutes of me time. But what about the other 23 hours and 40 minutes of the day? continue…

Am I Doing Positive Thinking Right?

“The way ahead is clear and free. I give myself permission to move out of the past with gratitude into a joyous new day.” – Louise L. Hay

After listening to Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life audiobook the other day, I decided to do an experiment. I wanted to see if there were any immediate physical effects I could feel from thinking negative versus positive thoughts. What I discovered actually had nothing to do with what I was looking for, but was pretty eye-opening! continue…

Book Review: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

“I am as close to changing my life as my current positive thought.” – Louise Hay

Love yourself. Easier said than done, but that is the basic call to action you will be left with after reading You Can Heal Your Life.

Life really is so simple, claims Louise Hay. We overcomplicate the whole thing, even when we set about the seemingly simplistic task of attempting to love ourselves.

The premise of You Can Heal Your Life is that our outer lives are a direct reflection of our thoughts. This was the big message of the movie The Secret, and permeates the genre of self-help books. Ms. Hay teaches that loving ourselves and the willingness to forgive are essential prerequisites to seeing the changes we imagine in our lives. continue…

Everything In It’s Own Time

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale

I am majorly into planning and organizing. Sometimes I fear that that means there is something psychologically wrong with me, like I have control issues. Actually, it is more that I fear other people might think that about me. I feel like I know the difference between trying to control everything and letting go.

Or so I think. This week I am listening to the Hay House Start the New You Now webinar, and I am so grateful to have the time each day to do some soul-searching. I am discovering that in order for me to accomplish the things I have planned, there are many more changes I must create within myself first. Namely, my constant thought track. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Feel Good

“I am realistic – I expect miracles.” – Wayne Dyer

When I am trying to focus during meditation, I think of the word “in” as I breathe in, and “out” as I breathe out. This helps control my thoughts. Beyond the in/out mantra, I have experimented with other simple words to focus on to overcome the monkey mind during meditation. Today, I have a new one. continue…

The Power of Little Things

One time while eating a mango chicken salad at a restaurant called Costa Vida in Memphis, I told the manager that the salad changed my life. I felt weird saying it, but felt that I had to express how great the salad was to someone in power. He seemed to take me seriously, and asked me “How so?”. I didn’t feel like I had a well-articulated answer for him at the time, and again felt ridiculous for making such a proclamation about a chain restaurant’s salad.

The other day this came up in conversation, and I was asked again what I meant by that. I have also said the same thing about the sticky toffee pudding at Gordon Ramsay Steak here in Las Vegas (which is served with ice cream in the shape of a perfect stick of butter). I finally figured out what it is.

Things Can Be Better

The mango chicken salad and the sticky toffee pudding both made me believe that things can be better than they are. Sure, any restaurant can serve up their own version of either of these dishes (we were eating a sticky toffee pudding at a local chain restaurant and reminiscing about the one at Steak when this conversation topic came up). But we all know when someone has gone above and beyond what is commonly considered acceptable and crossed over to the level of unnecessarily amazing. continue…

New Year, New You

Last year, my boyfriend Michael and I traveled to Los Gatos, CA for a weekend getaway over Valentine’s Day weekend. We traveled to a beachside restaurant one afternoon for lunch, and I happened to notice a picture of Wayne Dyer on the front of one of those free magazines in the restaurant waiting area.

Wayne Dyer is My Hero

I have been addicted to the self-help section at Barnes and Noble ever since I was in college, which is where I first found Wayne Dyer. He has helped me and so many people learn how to lead more calm and purposeful lives. The magazine was advertising the “I Can Do It! Ignite” conference to be held in San Jose, CA the following month.

I had never attended such an event, but was in such a stressed out place I figured it couldn’t hurt. As soon as we got back to the hotel room I went online to register for the “I Can Do It” conference (hosted by Hay House). While on the website, I came across the “Writing from Your Soul” conference to be held in Denver in April, also featuring Wayne Dyer. I went ahead and signed up for that one too. continue…

The Illusion of Being Trapped

As humans with the power to be free, we do a pretty good job of treating ourselves like those poor animals behind bars at the zoo. We have not been trapped by anyone but ourselves. Those bars that surround us? The key to the door? We have the key.

Not to be super negative. Life is not all that bad, after all. But, everyone would like at least something about their life to be different, better. Some have bigger changes to make than others.

Releasing the Limits

We often live as if we have boundaries, as if there are limits to the amount of awesome our lives can become. Sometimes this way of living can seem easier. It might seem easier to stay in the cage, playing it safe.

But really, I have to ask, is it really easier? Is it really so hard to inch a toe out there? It is scary for sure, but harder than remaining unchanged in a less than desirable situation? Hm, I would have to think twice about that.

The hardest part is allowing ourselves to believe it is possible, to believe that the boundaries we have been told our whole lives are there don’t actually exist. Those bars? They have a door built right in, and to walk through that door, to unlatch it with a simple “click”, much easier than it seems. continue…

There is Time

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

If you couldn’t already tell, I am kind of obsessed with personal productivity. Ever since I read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done several years ago, I have felt hopeful that it is actually possible to get on top of things and live a calm, peaceful life, free of the burdens of running late, losing things, overdue tasks, and unrealized dreams.

I have felt “on the cusp” of this state of awesomeness for several years now. Whenever I bring it up, other people tell me there is no such thing. I don’t buy it though. I know it is possible. It just takes dedication and time.

Time

I believe that thinking there isn’t enough time is a surefire way to run out of time. I am pretty much always in a constant state of mind that there isn’t enough time.

I worry that I can never get it all done, because I have to stop working on my project to make dinner, wash the dog, or socialize, to name a few interruptions I have slightly resented for taking away the time I could work on my dream to get it all done.

I know that I can’t get everything ever all done, but I also know that I can get caught up and stay caught up for the rest of my life. I am very certain this is a possibility. continue…

Awaken, Begin, and Continue: The ABCs of Getting Things Done

Right now I have a drawer next to me filled with mail to go through, scans to process, and projects to complete, not to mention a to-do list with multiple tasks and projects I am dying to complete. I get distracted sometimes during the afternoons though, and the piles and lists seem to sit there untouched, day after day.

The Significance of Continue

The “continue” is silent in Awaken & Begin. As challenging as it is to get out of bed in the morning excited to start a new day, or to get up the motivation to work on something new or old, it is even more challenging to persist in our efforts towards our dreams or the completion of a project. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Book Nook Review of Love Your Enemies

I came across a book that seemed interesting, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book could not be more fitting for a Meditation Monday!

“You can become conscious of what you were formerly unconscious of.” – Love Your Enemies, by Sharon Salzberg and Tenzin Robert Thurman

Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier by Sharon Salzberg and Tenzin Robert Thurman reaffirms that we hold within us the power to create our own happiness. Loving our enemies is about more than finding a way to feel love for bullies. It is about wishing love and happiness for everyone, including ourselves. continue…

Hi, This is Your Natural Energy Cycle

Our schedules do everything in their power to fight our natural energy cycles. Sadly, this innate part of our existence often gets ignored.

When I set out on my mini-sabbatical just a few days ago, I proclaimed that I would attempt to get out of bed at 6 a.m. each day by my alarm, with few exceptions for special occasions.

As a special treat, I decided to not set my alarm clock for the first day, and ended up getting out of bed around 7:30 a.m. By that evening, I decided to do away with my alarm clock altogether for the duration of the month. I certainly want to get up early each day so I can get a jump start on all the things I want to get done, but I decided to ease up a bit on all the pressure to stick to such a regimented schedule.

Rather than use an alarm clock, I am experimenting with my ability to set an intention for the time I would like to wake up the next morning right before going to sleep. I have read about this technique, but never got into trying it. I would be too afraid not to set an alarm clock if I have to work, and on the weekends I have tried to give myself a break and just sleep in. continue…

This Time of Year

Christmas is upon us! Merry Christmas Eve! ‘Tis the season of joy, giving, and feeling overwhelmed and majorly stressed.

Things never seem to be just perfect at Christmastime, as much as we might like them to be. I know I do. This time last year I could not begin to get a grip on relaxation. Fast forward one year, and there is no comparison for me. I have still felt behind on my Christmas preparations, but this time I am continually reminding myself to relax and it is actually working.

Prepare to be Calm

I attribute this feeling to a few habits I have been working to develop over the past several months. This past fall I sat down and converted all of my goals and tasks into a personalized system (my hipster) that I created to suit my unique needs (based on recommendations in productivity books). For so many years I could never get a grip on my to-do lists, especially my work-related to-do lists.

Over the past few months, working from my new system and a renewed sense of self-worth, I am proud to say that I was able to truly get my work-related task lists down to zero before my month long mini-sabbatical that I am currently enjoying. It is an amazing feeling to know that I have done everything I needed to, and to be completely free from the worry that overflowing task lists and inboxes can induce.

Exactly one year ago, I had arranged to have a week off over Christmas, but ended up not enjoying the time at all because I had so many unfinished work tasks that I unfortunately spent my whole vacation worrying about. Never again! continue…

Sleep Drama

My first alarm goes off, I am rudely awakened in cozy pitch black. Do I really want to get out of bed, I ask myself? Maybe I will just lay here for ten or fifteen more minutes, then I will get started with this day that is like the others. Ten or fifteen minutes go by, and I continually pop my head up to check the time on my phone, each time recalculating how much time I have left and re-deciding if I should just skip yoga and meditation today and stay under the covers until the last possible second.

I am usually okay on Mondays, I guess because I have a renewed sense of energy after getting rested up over the weekend. But the remaining days of the working week typically go something like this, unfortunately. Some days I am good and just force myself to get out of bed right away, but I am sad to say that more often than not I cannot seem to get it together enough to want to get up at 5 AM. continue…

Reflections on Blooktober

There are still four days left on October, but I figured I would go ahead and get put my thoughts on Blooktober out there, since today is the due date of the book proposal contest that I was entered into.

I slowly started to accept over the past week that I was not going to be a contest participant, even though I wrote at least two posts about my determination to do so. I guess I could be slightly embarrassed since I said I would but now I am not, but more than anything I just feel relieved. continue…