Can’t Life Be Easy?

One of my five personal core values is inner & outer peace. Every morning when I meditate, I run through these five areas of my life. When I get to number three, I say this affirmation in my mind:

“Everything in our lives is taken care of with effortless ease.”

(Especially since I got married, I have been affirming for two. I figure it can’t hurt!)

The concept of effortless ease stems from the teachings of Louise Hay. It totally goes against everything we have been taught – that life is hard, nothing comes easy, be realistic, you have to work really hard and even then you might not get what you want…at least that is the prevailing vibe I have picked up on from our society in general.

When I started listening to Louise Hay’s books, I too had the resistance of wait a minute, life isn’t easy. What is she talking about?

But what if life is easy? And we just don’t realize it or tap into it.

Is an easy life a lazy life?

Sometimes I don’t really feel things, but I throw them into my meditation affirmation mix anyway with the hope that by some mystical force of the universe they will one day be true for me. I also feel very strongly that this cannot hurt anything.

So I envision my ideal day first thing in the morning, and then I go about my day as I normally would. Ideal or not so ideal.

This past week I was sick and totally exhausted. I slept in until 10:30 Saturday morning, after getting 12 hours of sleep, and it was glorious. Then I slept in until 9:30 on Sunday morning. Also glorious.

Since I was so tired all week, I was “lazy” and stayed in bed until the last possible second and took naps when I felt like it. And I didn’t feel bad about the extra sleep. I just acknowledged that that was what my body needed and enjoyed the extra rest.

Yesterday while driving, I was thinking about how I usually get up early to get a jump start on the day, and how I usually power through the afternoon tired feeling and skip naps that I would love. And then I thought about all the extra sleep last week and how my life was still okay and on track despite the supposed lost hours of productivity.

Effortless Productivity Just Might Exist

And then, I remembered my effortless ease affirmation. And realized how true it is for me. Even now. Even when my to-do list is no where near empty and my ideal day of productivity remains just out of reach.

I have complete faith that one day my to-do list will be a beautiful blank page, and that I will reach 2 p.m. knowing that everything that needed to get done that day has been taken care of.

And on the path to those and other goals, there will be naps. There will be breaks. There will be weekends of sleeping in ridiculously late just because. There will be days of missed yoga and meditation. There will be movies watched without other tasks getting done simultaneously.

Just because we are working towards greater things, that doesn’t mean we can’t be great, and feel great, right now. Wayne Dyer said on numerous occasions that we aren’t the ones doing the doing, but that we are being done. At a time when I had a work to-do list with 80 or more tasks at any given time and a sense that there was no light at the end of the tunnel, I couldn’t fathom what this man could possibly mean by not doing the doing.

But I am kind of starting to get it. Yes, I have plenty to do and I get my work done and still have more things to do, but I am realizing that it doesn’t have to be that hard. It can be effortless. It can be easy. If we let it.

So I continue to choose effortless ease as my primary filter through which I view my life and its many activities. Choosing to believe things are difficult doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Why not expect things to be effortless and easy? It doesn’t take any extra effort, after all.

Do you think life can be effortlessly easy? Please share your thoughts!

You Can Do Anything…If You Do It.

Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough motivation. Not enough will power.

What if these go-to phrases were meaningless, and no matter how much time, money, motivation, or will power was or wasn’t available, anything was possible? Saying anything is possible is easier said than done. But doing anything is completely doable.

This is not a post to pump you up about how you can do anything if you put your mind to it. This post is about the reality of following our dreams. 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…

Need a super quick yoga routine?

Do you do want to practice yoga, but struggle to find the time to get to a yoga studio? While studios are great and live instructors invaluable for teaching proper technique and making pose adjustments, I think of yoga studios as supplemental to my  yoga practice at home.

I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years. I am by no means an expert. I started going to yoga at the gym in college just once a week. I played around with some of the poses at home occasionally, but didn’t have the confidence or resources to develop a true at-home practice.

Over the years, I continued to go to studios here and there, and probably have stretches of years where I didn’t step a toe in a studio. I also haven’t had a regular practice of daily at-home yoga until recent years.

Hulu and YouTube revived my yoga practice! For the longest time I did 20 minute videos by Yoga Zone on Hulu. They were my favorite. They don’t seem to be on Hulu anymore, but you can still find them on YouTube.

One of my greatest barriers to ensuring I do yoga just about everyday has been time. Some days 20 minutes for yoga just doesn’t seem feasible, especially when I really love my 20 minutes of meditation. Given the choice between practicing yoga or meditation, I will probably choose to meditate for 20 minutes and skip yoga that day.

Until now. 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…

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

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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: 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…

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…

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…

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…

Thoughts On Getting Up Early

“When that alarm goes off every morning…what you decide to do will define who you are.” – Chris on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss, episode “Krista”

I work from home, which really in itself is a dream come true for me, because whenever I went to an office everyday I would wish and hope that someday I could be at home. I LOVE being at home, and would have absolutely no problem with being a stay at home mom (someday). I would never get bored or tired of being at home.

I also live in the Pacific time zone and work in the Central time zone, so I must login to my work computers by 6 AM. I have been living in Henderson, NV for three years, and have been starting my job at 6 AM during all 3 years. Before I moved here, I thought for sure that I would be able to spring up out of bed at 5 AM to go for a walk, do yoga, journal, make breakfast, etc. But it has actually been a major challenge, especially since no one I know starts work at 6 AM, so other people tend to want to stay up much later than I should – and of course I want to join them! continue…