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…

Meditation Mondays: A Guided Meditation To Help You Sleep

Sometimes sleep happens naturally, other times our minds don’t want to turn off. Whether we are worried or excited about the upcoming day or still worrying about the past, if our mind isn’t shutting down, it makes it hard to drift off to sleep.

I don’t always meditate before bed, but sometimes I need a reminder that it’s okay to let my mind turn off for the night. When I do, I turn to this bedtime meditation: continue…

A Guided Meditation for Beginners

I like to meditate in silence, with my meditation timer app keeping track of the time. But if you have never meditated before, starting out in silence can feel overwhelming.

Last night I happened to be looking for a new meditation on YouTube, and I came across Louise Hay’s Your Healing Light Meditation.

If you are not familiar with Louise Hay, she is one of the most amazing women on the planet. And she recently turned 90 years young! A high school dropout, she discovered the mind-body connection later in her life, and went on to found the self-help publishing house Hay House in her sixties.

I have listened to many of her books on audio from the library, and always love hearing her voice. The self-confidence, self-assurance, and most importantly, self-love, ooze from her voice.

The Healing Light Meditation is simply beautiful. This meditation would be great for someone who has never meditated before but is curious about what meditation is all about. continue…

A Renewed Perspective

“What’s my motivation?” – that Sprite commercial from the 90’s with the diva actor as basketball player. Remember?

We are enjoying a weekend getaway in beautiful, crisp northern Arizona in celebration of my husband’s birthday. We are loving the adorable cabin we get to stay in, and the cool evening air!

Something about birthdays (apparently not just my own) makes me feel the need to reflect on my life and where it is going.  continue…

If You Want Someone Else To Change, Be Like the Sun

Tidying is naturally contagious, but if you try to force it on someone else, you’ll only be met with harsh resistance.” – Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

In Spark Joy by Marie Kondo, there is section about how to influence household members to be more tidy:

“Recall Aesop’s fable about the north wind and the sun: the wind failed to blow off the traveler’s coat while the sun got him to remove it simply by shining. It is far more effective to be like the sun.”

We can all point to a list of ways we would like the people around us to act differently from time to time. The nearest conversation will point out that everyone wants someone to be different in someway. It’s practically like breathing.

But what if the only way to get them to change is to change ourselves? And what if changing ourselves isn’t a guarantee that anyone else will change? Would it still be worth the trouble? 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…

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!

The Christmas Tree Timeline: Is It Too Soon?

When I was growing up, we almost always had a real tree, even when we lived in Florida. I insisted on it.

When I lived in my first apartment, I went to a Christmas tree lot and got a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree, even though I was going home for Christmas.

O Faux Christmas Tree

I resisted getting a fake for a while, but now I embrace it. Especially since we are usually traveling for at least one of the major holidays in November or December, it’s nice to be able to enjoy our tree in our home for more than just a few weeks. continue…

Tackling the Freezer Organization

“Kitchen, you are my nourishment center, I appreciate you!”

— Louise Hay in Loving Yourself to Great Health

I have been “meaning to” clean out the freezer ever since we moved into our house and got our new refrigerator, about a year and a half ago. I have never really felt like I had an organized freezer in all the places I have lived over the years.

I’ve cleaned out my freezers, but I have never thought about the freezer as being a place that can be organized into different areas like a drawer with dividers or a filing cabinet.

I cannot remember a time when I felt truly satisfied with the organization of my freezer. The freezer has always been more of an ice cold junk drawer than a place that brings me joy.

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of joy as it relates to the items in my life. I decided that the contents of the freezer are as much items as socks and books.

They are different because they are more temporary. Or are they? Who doesn’t have a piece of mystery meat in the freezer that has been waiting to be eaten for longer than anyone can remember? continue…

Try This Relaxing Bedtime Ritual

Last night, I managed to make time to soak in an epsom salt bath, do a bedtime yoga video on YouTube, and meditate before bed. If asked to describe my ideal day, this is exactly how it would end. 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…

The KonMari Method of Tidying Books

I love books. My favorite job ever was a student job working in the library at the University of Rhode Island (probably because I never worked a shift more than a few hours long), and my favorite task was taking a cart of books to be filed on the peaceful upper floors.

I still love going to bookstores and libraries, even though I usually get books online now. The library has seriously come a long way in a few short years in their ebook and audiobook offerings.

Still, it’s nice to keep a small collection of books that were purchased during the years of reading books not on electronic devices. I am not a huge re-reader of books, so the bookcase is more for decoration and the happy feeling it gives me to look over at it than functional. continue…

Travel Yoga: Kundalini in Nashville

Every conscious breath is a meditation.” Yoga instructor Bethany at Kundalini Rising Yoga

I had been hearing about kundalini yoga from a friend for at least a year before I went to my first class. During a weekend getaway to Nashville this past June, a few weeks before my wedding, I took time Monday morning to go to Kundalini Rising Yoga.

The studio is a short Uber ride outside of downtown, where I was staying. I figured since there was a kundalini studio nearby, it was the perfect time to give it a shot. continue…

Travel Yoga: Flagstaff and Las Vegas

 “Remember: You are your own fire keeper.”

– Rachel at The Yoga Experience, Flagstaff, AZ

A year or so ago I set a goal to start going to a new yoga studio each time I traveled. Sadly, I only sporadically kept this promise to myself and hadn’t been living up to my full travel yoga potential until recently.

There are so many great things about going to a yoga studio while traveling. Depending on the style of yoga, you will get at least some level of exercise. Whether it’s a strenuous class or a class meant for relaxation, there are physical benefits that are certainly welcome with the change in routine that comes with travel.

Every time I have gone to a yoga studio while traveling, I have been so glad I did. There is a serene ambiance at a yoga studio that you don’t exactly get at the airport or the gas station.

When I think back to the times I have gone to yoga studios while out of town, I can remember how the studios looked and, more importantly, how they made me feel. Each studio is fresh in my mind no matter how much time has passed.

While I have missed out on travel yoga opportunities over the past year, I am happy to report that I got to attend yoga class in both Flagstaff, AZ and Las Vegas over the past few weeks during weekend getaways. 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Yoga Is the New Club

This past weekend, Ignite Yoga celebrated their two year anniversary with a series of special free classes at their studio in Goodyear, Arizona.

Ever since moving to the area, one of my goals was to find a local yoga studio that I could go to on a weekly basis as a way to expand my current yoga practice beyond Hulu and YouTube, and hopefully make a few yoga friends.

The studio in Goodyear opened up a few months ago, but the company has been in business for two years, starting out of a room in the owner’s house (how could anyone not be inspired by that!?).

There are a few other studios in the area that I had driven by but didn’t feel crazy inspired to visit. When I saw Ignite this past month within walking distance of our house, I was so excited!

Glow in the Dark Yoga

yoga-party

The weekend kicked off with free “Glow in the Dark Yoga” on Friday night. After seeing a picture and reading the description on their website, I figured it looked fun and signed up.

I would describe glow in the dark yoga as cosmic bowling, but way more awesome. There were blacklights overhead in place of the usual yoga studio lighting, glow in the dark balloons, and glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets and paint were passed around.

Next to taking class from Tara Stiles at The W Hotel pool deck in Scottsdale several months ago, this was my coolest yoga experience ever! The music had a cool, lounge-y, club-y vibe. While the essential spiritual elements of a yoga class were still there, the class had a lighthearted, fun feel to it. We even played a bit of yoga volleyball with the glow in the dark balloons at one point!

I would love to do glow in the dark / cosmic yoga again, and I think it would be so cool to have this class as an option every Friday evening. Such a fun, upbeat, yet relaxing way to kick off the weekend on the right foot.

After class, red wine and red velvet birthday cake were served to mark the two year studio anniversary.

Yoga for Kids & Restorative Yoga

yoga-om-sweet-om

On Saturday morning there was an event for kids which I didn’t attend, but I love that Ignite Yoga addresses the need for yoga from a young age through their kids room, after school yoga program, and other events. Yoga Ignite believes that yoga is for all ages, and I couldn’t agree more! 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…

Create a Yoga Room in Your Home

The appearance of a space affects how we feel. External clutter makes me feel unsettled, knowing that things are out of place and have not yet been dealt with. Clutter or junk in a space represents unfinished tasks and forces our brains to constantly reconsider and recalculate when we will deal with them. Ugh!

Organized Space

Organized spaces. Ah. An organized space makes me feel like I can take a big deep breath. I might as well be relaxing on the beach in an organized room.

One of my someday dreams is to have a ballet studio type room, like the one Hannah has in the movie Troop Beverly Hills; not for  dance or gymnastics, but as dedicated space to do yoga, meditate, and any other activities of wellness someone might want to do. Feeling zen all the while.

The room would have hardwood floors, a mirrored wall, yoga mats, and some yoga props. Very uncluttered. Very zen.

Undefined Space

I grew up in a house with an “extra” room. This room didn’t have one specific purpose, other than to be the room I slept in sometimes if we had a guest, who we would give my room to (because it was more accomodating than said “extra” room).

From my own experience, I can only suspect that there are a good number of households with such an “extra” room, or other type of “extra” space that isn’t exactly defined in its purpose.

The problem with not defining the purpose of a space is that it can become a catch-all for the clutter in the house that hasn’t yet been dealt with. Especially when it comes time for company to come over. Kind of like the garage. No time to deal with this pile of stuff now. Let’s just put it in the extra room for now.

Dedicated Space

Our “yoga room” is my favorite room in the house (well, besides the kitchen). I don’t quite have the complete in-home yoga studio, but it is close enough for me! The room has a very simple layout with a few essentials: continue…

Stop Saying This Phrase for a More Peaceful Life

Ever catch yourself saying “I’m busy”, and wonder if there will ever be a time again that this phrase doesn’t apply to your life?

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much my thoughts contribute to the overall feel of my life, particularly the feeling that there is never enough time and always too many tasks. It is not only thoughts, but also the spoken words those thoughts generate, that are creating our realities.

The popular phrases that come to mind are:

“‘I’m busy.”

“I’m too busy for/to [blank].”

“I was too busy to get around to it.”

Sound familiar? 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…

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…

How To Handle An Adult Bully

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. There will be plenty of programs with an emphasis on prevention of bullying in schools. But what about the adult bullies among us?

Kids look to adults to be their role models. If kids see grown-ups engaging in bullying behaviors, they may be inclined to model that behavior. Even worse, adults might model bullying behaviors of other adults in efforts to be accepted or fit in with their colleagues, friends, or families. Today, I would like to address bullying behaviors in adults. continue…

Stop Right There: Do Less, Accomplish More

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
― Confucius

We are busy. We have bottomless to-do lists and nonstop days. How’s a girl supposed to get it all done?

Ever think about how there might be pockets of time in the day that go unaccounted for? We work so hard to get it all done and be perfectly on time, all the while appearing fabulous. But what if we didn’t have to try so hard? What if, by choosing to do fewer things, we could achieve more, and have a few minutes to spare?

 

In this post, I will share 3 things you can give yourself permission to stop doing right now, giving you more time to be the awesome, sparkling goddess you always knew you could be. 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…

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…

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…

How I Set Goals for Summer: Seasonal Review

The summer seasonal review will round out my first year of doing seasonal reviews. I have really enjoyed the process of reviewing my goals roughly every three months, corresponding with the changing seasons. I feel much more in touch with my goals than I did with the concept of New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t feel overwhelmed by a too frequent review such as weekly or monthly.

As with each of my seasonal reviews, I will be reviewing my affirmations by my core value categories. If you are interested in establishing your own core values (highly recommended!) I would suggest Tina Su’s Discover You Now ebook. There is an exercise in this book that led me to establishing my own core values. This was the first step in defining what my goals are, because I had to figure out my major life categories before determining specific goals.

I only write affirmations at this point. I write about 3 to 5 in each core value category, and I read through them immediately when I wake up in the morning most days. I quickly scroll through them on the Evernote app on my phone. Any actionable steps related to achieving something in one of my core value categories go on my reminders or rituals lists. If you want to read more about my use of affirmations, click here.

Of note, my life has gone through a few dramatic (good) changes over the past few weeks and months, with a recent household move and engagement! These are all exciting changes, but have also caused my many lists to explode and call for the creation of a few new lists. I am still working on catching up to everything, as I have fallen out of some of my routines while we figure out where to put everything in the house and now where to have a wedding. I hope to stay on track with my personal goals while remaining flexible with the many upcoming changes.  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…

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…

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…

Guest Bathroom Organization

I believe that the bathroom is a sanctuary. There, I said it. It is the place we go to get ready to go out and face the world and to restore ourselves after a long day. Why not make the surroundings pleasant?

I have wanted to organize the upstairs bathroom in my parents’ house every time I have visited. I searched for the right containers at Bed Bath & Beyond but couldn’t find the just-right sized containers I was looking for.

This bathroom is spacious and gets used primarily when there are guests staying in the upstairs, which consists of 3 bedrooms and a loft living area. Quite a few guests come to stay throughout the year, especially since they are located near Disney!

Organizing the Mess Under the Sink

guest-bathroom-organization

I personally have issues with stuff just being thrown in the bathroom cabinet. It makes me crazy to have to sort through disposable razors and bottles of hair products to get to a bottle of lotion.

Most of the products in this bathroom have been left behind by guests for the next person to use, and some things are just there in case someone forgets something. There wasn’t a whole lot to organize, but I still wanted to get some containers to shape up the place. continue…

Spring Seasonal Review: How I Planned Out My Goals for Spring

I am so excited that my long-awaited spring seasonal review is finally here! The seasonal review is my new system of goal-setting and reviewing that I came up with this year, in which I review the goals I set for the previous season, and look forward to changes I would like to make in the upcoming three months. This is my alternative to setting annual New Year’s resolutions. If you would like to read more about my thought process behind my seasonal review, click here. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Trading in Thoughts

“He calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” – Romans 4:17

Lately I have been consciously trading in some of my constant recurring thoughts for some better ones. I have relied on my meditation time as the primary pocket of good thoughts during the day to bring about my dreams, despite predominantly negative thoughts, or thoughts of what I don’t want, throughout the rest of the day.

This is not good enough. Just twenty minutes a day or less of uninterrupted peace is no longer enough for me. I need constant peace. And it starts with my thoughts.

Thinking About Not Living the Dream Kind of Seals the Deal

My constant recurring thoughts for the past five to ten years have been primarily about things I didn’t want. Although I have a lot of good things in my life right now, there are still some results from my past limiting beliefs and thoughts in my present reality.

I recently listened to one of Wayne Dyer’s latest books, Wishes Fulfilled. After reading Wayne Dyer’s books over the years, I have noticed that one of the common themes to his message is that thinking about what you don’t want is pretty much a recipe for continually getting what you don’t want.

It seems so obvious. But why would anyone think about things they don’t want to keep entering into their life? 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: 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…

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…

Turn Your Home into Your Own Spa

It is really nice to go to a spa, but also really expensive. Day to day life can get stressful, and going to a spa once every few years, if that, isn’t gonna cut it.

Who says you have to pay a ton of money to feel relaxed? Here are a few around the house ideas to kick off a relaxing weekend, or break a stressful day: continue…

Hipster Series: Turning Goals into Dreams into Reality

“All our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

I have read a lot of books that talk about how to write and achieve goals. I have kept goals on 3 x 5 index cards and on 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper in a 3-ring binder. Once again, one of the biggest limiting factors for me has been having a portable list of goals.

A 3-ring binder is just not practical for me to carry around everywhere I go. A small stack of 3 x 5 index cards can be handy, but what if you have 15 goals and then an additional 15 affirmations to carry around? I always liked the idea of giving each goal its own 3 x 5 card or notebook-sized sheet of paper. I liked the space that giving a goal its own sheet of paper creates. I didn’t want to just cram all my goals onto one or a few sheets of paper. I wanted them to be able to breathe. continue…

Meditation Mondays: How to Find Time to Meditate

It is difficult to find time everyday to meditate. Our culture doesn’t exactly place high importance on “doing nothing”. With packed schedules, taking even two minutes to “do nothing” might seem impossible, nonproductive, or even selfish.

It is none of these. On the days that I meditate, especially in the mornings, I feel more calm throughout the whole day than on days when I do not make the time to meditate. Meditation makes me a better person. I am happier, more easy-going, and better equipped to deal with stressful situations. I can actually feel myself breathing better the rest of the day after I have meditated.

I am convinced of the many benefits of meditation. Besides health benefits, meditation fosters creativity and facilitates the motivation and courage required to pursue our dreams. Just as physical activity is beneficial for physical health, meditation is an exercise for the mind and spirit (and also produces physical benefits). The problem is actually finding the uninterrupted time to dedicate to such a daily practice. Actually, I take that back. The problem is not finding the time; it is making the time. Just as I can find all kinds of excuses to not exercise for 20 minutes a day, the excuses conveniently present themselves when it comes to finding even 5 minutes to meditate each day. continue…

Reflections on Blogust

Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.  – posted at 60 Empowering Quotes to Help You Get Things Done

Today is August 31. I am so proud to say that I made it through Blogust! I honestly have no idea what I am doing, but I have started and that is an accomplishment in itself.

For the past year, I have tried to get inspired, motivated, and disciplined enough to post to this blog everyday and get it going, but I just could find the magic formula to get myself to do it. I am so glad that I got the idea to do Blogust, because at least for the month of August, that did the trick!

I absolutely love writing, and have been writing for myself, to myself, for the past several years, but was too afraid to share my ideas. I know that I have A LOT to learn about blogging and writing in general, but I have to remind myself that just doing something puts me so far ahead of the version of myself that just did nothing. continue…

Planning Projects – Part 2

After thinking about how I would like to manage the projects in my life, I have come to the conclusion that the managing and actual getting things done will stem from actually planning out what my approach to the project will be.

Following the model I have created for my reminders and rituals, I have decided that I will add new, incoming tasks to my reminders lists, but as soon as I establish that it will become a recurring task, it can be moved over to my rituals list.

In the past, I have said yes to requests on my time without really giving much attention to how I would complete whatever project I just agreed to. I was afraid to say no, because I was afraid the person making the request on my time would be disappointed in me if I did not agree to do whatever it was. This bad habit has caused me more distress over the long term than any other. I did not respect my own time enough to say no, or to ask for time to think about how I would even accomplish said project. Even if I did ask for a day or two to think it over, I wouldn’t really think about the consequences of saying yes, because I couldn’t fathom disappointing someone by saying no. continue…

Clearing Out the Queues of Our Lives

“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace.” – fortune cookie

I have read (or at least partially read) plenty of books on productivity, usually out of desperation for a miracle. I can’t stand the plethora of stuff that comes into my life piling up, but in recent years I have often felt powerless to even make a dent in the growing list of tasks requiring my attention.

For the past few years, I have felt like I was on the cusp of realizing my dream of having my life under control, but it was just out of reach for so long. Actually, there have been many days where I have felt absolutely buried, unable to deal with even the simple tasks as there was such a large list of big, overwhelming tasks and projects requiring my attention.

We Are Not Alone

I can’t be the only one who feels this way. But sometimes I do feel alone in my crushing to-do list mode. I look around at other people, and sometimes it seems like they all have it all together. I am sure this isn’t true, and maybe it couldn’t be farther from the truth, but it is easy to feel isolated. continue…