The Day I Stopped Being Passive

I have never been “into” politics. It is not a sport to me. I never felt incredibly passionate about one party or the other. In fact, I silently resented the predominantly two party system of the U.S., feeling societal pressure to pick sides when I have always felt it is so much more complex than that. 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…

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…

Book Nook Review: Loving Yourself to Great Health

“Everything is thoughts and food.”

Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw vegan, low carb, gluten free…which diet is THE ONE?

Did you ever consider your thoughts to be equally as important as diet and exercise in the equation of your optimal health? Loving Yourself to Great Health: Thoughts & Food–The Ultimate Diet by Louise Hay, Ahlea Khadro, & Heather Dane teaches that our health hinges on our thoughts. I couldn’t agree more.

If this is all too metaphysical for you, no one can deny that before doing anything we almost always think a thought (or a string of thoughts) first. Before going for a walk, eating a piece of pizza, making a green smoothie, drinking a coffee…there is a thought that precedes the action. From a very practical standpoint, it makes perfect sense that our thoughts influence how we look and feel.

The first part of the book spends a lot of time on the subject of loving ourselves, something that isn’t exactly emphasized in our culture as the most important, most basic component of our human power. Although it certainly is!

“Most of us have not been taught to listen to our bodies and inner wisdom, so we don’t trust it.”

I never really understood what intuition was, not believing that I could have some supernatural power to predict the future or know if the decision I made was right or wrong. I have a feeling that taking the time to develop a strong sense of personal intuition at a young age would spare a lot of people a lot of pain and heartache. Not to mention save a lot of time spent doing things that don’t feel right.

Listening to our bodies, asking our bodies what they need and then really listening, is a foreign concept for most. Some might say it is downright kooky. But that is exactly what this book calls us to do. 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…

Wedding Planning Wednesdays: A New, Calm, Less Stress Approach

Over the past few weeks, I have calmed down a bit on the feeling that I am not on task with wedding planning. This is partly due to a recent revelation that we might be able to hold the wedding weekend at one location that is experienced in hosting weddings, rather than trying to coordinate multiple venues.

Last week we were contacted by the location where we got engaged. I told myself I would check into it, even though I figured it would be way too expensive.

After speaking with the catering sales manager at L’auberge, I was starting to feel much more content about the idea of working with one single location that has already crafted wedding packages, and that we know will do an over-the-top amazing job with every detail they touch based on our experience with our engagement weekend (oh, and did I mention they have free yoga?).

Planning Progress Status Update

Here are the items from my to-do list last Wedding Planning Wednesday and my progress so far: 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…

Wedding Planning Wednesdays: Where to Start?

It’s after 8 p.m. on my first Wedding Planning Wednesday, and after a long day of attempting to get things done from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., still not a single step forward on wedding planning has been made. Unless listening to my “Wedding – Pre-ceremony” playlist on Spotify counts? At least it is a relaxing list (think Relaxing Instrumental Jazz Ensamble).

Do I even want to have a wedding?

This question keeps entering my mind as it goes in circles about where to start. Yes, I definitely want to get married. But the months of planning? Not sure I am up for the challenge.

The biggest advice I seem to be getting from people is either to to get a wedding planner or to elope. The ones who recommend the planner are deadly serious, while the ones recommending eloping are (mostly…i think) joking. We aren’t interested in eloping, so hire a wedding planner it is!

My answer is yes. I do want to have a wedding…but I want someone else to make all the decisions! continue…

Be Unwilling to Disappoint Yourself

For as long as I can remember, at least since I made the decision of what I would major in in college, I have been desperate not to disappoint other people. To my own detriment. I do my best to do what I am supposed to do to make sure I am meeting the needs and expectations of the people around me.

I have expectations for myself as well, but unfortunately they are largely trumped by those of other people. I want to be considered responsible, yet fun. Even if that means staying up too late and then getting out of bed the next morning so as not to disappoint anyone at my job by being late. Forget about disappointing myself by not making time to meditate. Well, at least put it secondary to what I perceive others expect.

Living from a Place of Fear

I would estimate that the majority of the time I am living from fear. I fear being late for work, saying the wrong thing, making a mistake, disappointing someone, being criticized, and mostly, not following my dreams. I fear, constantly, that I will never get the courage to write my book or make my blog a success, while simultaneously fearing that I am not doing enough to deliver on what other people expect of me.

It’s exhausting, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Which is why I share. The fear has improved, otherwise I wouldn’t even be sharing my thoughts today. We all have fears, but living from them day after day is not the recipe for a healthy life.

In my extreme unwillingness to disappoint other people, I have, unfortunately, become comfortable with disappointing myself. If I feel that someone else or some task needs to be tended to, then I likely take care of that need and skip my writing for the day.

Time is tricky. I can say I don’t have time to write, but I would have to carefully remind myself that if I believe everyone has the ability to make time to exercise, then I must also have the ability to make time to write. It isn’t lack of time that prevents me from moving forward (although I often cite that as the defining reason), but fear and a willingness to disappoint myself. continue…

How to Meet the Neighbors

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
Desmond Tutu

After buying a house about a month ago, it was time to meet the neighbors. It seems to be common for people to not know their neighbors, or worse, for neighbors to be feuding over some trivial detail from 10 years ago.

I have not really been a person to get to know my neighbors in the past, and certainly not the one to take the first step in introducing myself to others. That all changed over the past few weeks.

The Reverse Welcome Wagon has been an idea of ours for several years now. Having rented a house for the previous three years, it was one of those things that we always wanted to do but never got around to. This time, we made the effort to make it happen and are so glad we did.

The Reverse Welcome Wagon

reverse-welcome-wagonI don’t know that I have ever witnessed a real life Welcome Wagon. It seems to be one of those things from the 1950s or TV shows and movies re-enacting that era, or at least some idealistic form of small town American charm. It is certainly a lost art form, and one that we were hoping to somewhat revive as the newest members of the neighborhood.

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…

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: 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Review of The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone by Michael Chase

Dogs have a unique way of communicating directly with out hearts and souls. The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone by Michael J. Chase is a personal account of one man’s spiritual journey toward enlightenment, guided by his mischievous yet wise poodle, Mollie. continue…