What is Mommy and Baby Yoga?

Claire and I went to our first mommy and baby yoga class the other weekend. We loved it!

I had no idea if mom and baby yoga was a thing, but if it was, I wanted to try it. Claire is now about 2 and a half months old. A few weeks ago I searched on YouTube for a video we could try but didn’t find anything that interested me. I recently found out that there is a place in Scottsdale that offers mom and baby yoga and decided to give it a try. continue…

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…

Why Being Lazy Is Good for You

All our lives, “lazy” has been mostly a negative term. Sometimes we can get away with a lazy day here and there, but in general it has a derogatory connotation. But what if that were different? continue…

How To Empty Your To-Do List Each Day

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your massive to-do list? This has been my primary state of being for as long as I can remember. Always feeling behind and like there has been way more assigned to me than I could ever possibly get done.

A Streamlined List Is a Streamlined Life

My dream has been to live a streamlined life. For a long time I have known this is a possibility for me, but not how to make it happen.

Since watching a few Esther Hicks videos during the recent 2016 Hay House World Summit, I have been reinvigorated to follow the principles of the Law of Attraction. I’m focusing on how I’m feeling as my main concern in life as the way to getting my life to match the dream in my mind. 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!

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…

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…

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…

Feel Good Through Breakfast

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

Feel Good Little by Little

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

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

Do you have enough time to sleep enough?

How much sleep do you get each night? How much do you wish you could get? How much do you think you need?

I have been listening to Thrive by Arianna Huffington on audio book. I could have used this book about three years ago. But as it is, I found it after I already found my way out of an overwhelmed existence. There is only one word that comes to mind as I listen to Arianna’s insights into the downfalls of the chronic stress so many people find themselves buried under: validating.

I thought it was just me. I thought I was the only one who felt they had too much to do and not enough time to do it all. Not even if I stopped sleeping altogether (which I seriously entertained as a temporary option).

Somehow, over a period of time, with a big thanks to meditation, I developed a more balanced approach to my life. I started to realize that I was not the only one who could do all the things I felt obligated to. And that I could let some things go and make my world a much better place in the process.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far there has been a substantial focus on the importance of mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and sleep.

I have a pretty good grip on my yoga and meditation practice. Unfortunately, I have viewed sleep as a more optional component of a healthy lifestyle. 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…

What Does 2 p.m. Feel Like for You?

How do you know when it’s time to stop working? Do you start to feel the need to nap around two or three in the afternoon? Or is that when your energy starts to kick in?

I recently finished reading Loving Yourself to Great Health by Louise Hay, Ahlea Khadro, and Heather Dane. One of the main themes of this book was developing a strong sense of intuition; learning to listen to what our bodies are telling us. This line in the book jumped out at me:

Ask your body when it’s ready to stop working for the day.

I was immediately excited by the prospect of actually doing this in my own life. You mean I have the power to quit when my body has had enough?

This book is the antithesis to what so many of us have been taught or coerced into by all kinds of outside forces all our lives. We are called by marketers to buy products that we don’t actually need to solve problems that don’t really exist or have more simple solutions, by our employers to push ourselves past the point of healthy work-life balance, and by ourselves to prove to everyone that we are better and can take on more than humanly possible.

Stop working when we feel like it? Is that even an option? 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…

4 Free Apps That Will Motivate You to Be Healthier

It’s exciting that there are so many ways for us to choose to be healthy, and probably just as many corresponding apps to track everything. Everyone has their own personal health and wellness goals. Having a plan is what makes those goals attainable.

My personal health and wellness plan rests on the foundation of daily yoga, meditation, and drinking lots of water. I continue to work at incorporating daily walking into my routine. Whether you have already developed your chosen healthy habits or are looking to step up your game, it’s probably a safe bet that a free app already exists to both motivate you and help track your progress.

Today I share my favorite health and wellness apps and a few more that might be interesting to try. 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…

How to Choose a Mentor for Your Dream

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

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

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

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

A Different Kind of Mentor

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

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

What Expansive Feels Like

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

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

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

Who do you want to be?

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

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

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

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

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…

Meditation Mondays: Refuse to Be Overwhelmed

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

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

Been there, done that, no thank you.

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

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

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

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

How do you feel?

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

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

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

Review of Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles & Giveaway

Yoga, meditation, and healthy eating are the foundation of complete mind and body well-being.  Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles focuses on these three areas as essential for living a fulfilled and joyful life. I was lucky to unexpectedly meet Tara Stiles at her book signing after taking her Free Flow Lets Go yoga class sponsored by Goyogaco and W Hotels in Scottsdale, AZ. It was cool to get a hug from her, and then to read in her book how much she values the joy of hugging! At first, I thought Make Your Own Rules Diet would be primarily about recipes and healthy eating. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it is so much more, offering motivation to cultivate daily at home yoga and meditation practices, and a glimpse into Tara’s history with food – the healthy and the unhealthy.

Create Space & Sensitize

The first part of the book spends time convincing us of the importance of getting back to the necessity of feeling. We are so programmed to put what everyone else thinks and what advertising tells us we should want before how we feel. It is too easy to get caught up in doing the things we think we are supposed to do because everyone else is, and to ignore all the signals our bodies send us about what is right and what is not. Tara Stiles sends a gentle yet powerful wake-up call that there is a better way through her latest book. She calls us to create space in our lives, remembering to breathe and allow our power to know whether something is on the path to our greatest life or not to shine above everything else. continue…

Why It’s Up to You to Follow Your Dream

Do you wonder what your purpose is, if you have a greater purpose, and if so, when will you ever find the time to fulfill it with the mundane tasks and responsibilities calling your name at every turn?

It’s You

While meditating this morning, I was asking these very questions. I feel called to function a certain way in my life, as a writer, but I constantly struggle with whether this is a true calling or if it is something I just made up. Secondary to that struggle is my battle with time, and where to find the time to carry out these crazy quests of my soul.

The phrase “it’s you” popped into my head. As in, it’s on you, your responsibility, to live out your dream. It’s your responsibility to the world to do whatever it is you are called to do that will help others.

No one else can do it for you. Whatever unique gift you have to share with the world, even if you are unsure of the specifics (like me), you are the only one who can deliver that one specific idea.

I think about Glee, and what if Glee never existed. What if the people who created Glee just didn’t bother, and went on with whatever else they were doing or were going to do. You might think of Dr. Seuss, Steve Jobs, a favorite author, or whoever else you see as a figure who has changed the world by being brave enough to share their ideas and gifts. continue…

Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You

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

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

Spiritual Technology

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

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

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

How to Go on a Mini-sabbatical This Week

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

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

How early is too early?

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

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

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

Turning Early Morning Hours Into an Ongoing Sabbatical

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

What Gratitude Can Do for You & a Few Meditation Resources

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

Week Two Recap & a Reminder to Be Grateful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Making Time to Exercise Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I Want a Sabbatical

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

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

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

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

Taking 100% Responsibility

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

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

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

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…

Giving Up Something Rather than Giving Up

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

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

A New Way to View Health, Life, & Beyond

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

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

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

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

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

The Struggle to Please & Live

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

Meditation Mondays: All the Words Are Already Written

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

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

Meditating for Creativity

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

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

The Most Powerful Way to Realize a Dream

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

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

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

How to Remain Centered While Traveling

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

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

Traveling Yoga Mat

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

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…

Meditation Mondays: A Trick to Stay Focused During Meditation

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

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

The Beauty of Controlled Background Noise

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

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

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

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…

Meditation Mondays: Travel Yoga & Meditation

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

Newly Prioritized Travel Items

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

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

Meditation Mondays: Morning Candlelight Yoga & Meditation

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

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

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

A Morning Ritual

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

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

I Should…I Mean I Choose

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

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

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

How to Deal with Negativity from Others

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

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

Book Review: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

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

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

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

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

How to Find More Time to Read

It amazes me to think that we could never be bored with so many books out there to read. Overwhelmed? Yes, perhaps. But certainly not bored. With such busy schedules, the secret to getting more of these friends into our lives may not necessarily be through our eyes, but through our ears. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Feel Good

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

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

Meditation Mondays: Book Nook Review of Love Your Enemies

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

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

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

Hi, This is Your Natural Energy Cycle

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

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

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

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

This Time of Year

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

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

Prepare to be Calm

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

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

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

Meditation Mondays: How much time a day should I spend meditating?

If you are brand new to meditation, start here.

This is a question I have asked myself for years. I don’t think there is one right answer that will serve everyone, but rather, it is based on personal preferences and current lifestyle. I have read many different opinions on the subject, and it seems that anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes a day are recommended.

A Personal Preference

I have found that 20 minutes a day seems to be the optimal amount of meditation time for me. Twenty minutes is a period of time in which I can really feel the benefits of meditation, but also feels accessible. Twenty minutes doesn’t take away too much from the time available in the day to get things done. continue…

A Mini-Sabbatical

Today is officially day 1 of my 30 day mini-sabbatical. Although I wasn’t planning on posting anything until Monday, I figured I would outline my plans for my time since it is so heavily on my mind and I am so excited about it.

First of all, I have to say that this is truly a dream come true for me. I can’t even count the number of times I have wished that I could get a month off to focus on myself and my direction in life. I know I am so lucky to get this chance, and I do not take it lightly. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Beginning Yoga

I first learned about meditation through yoga, and in many ways yoga is its own form of meditation. Since yoga and meditation are so closely linked, I decided to make this week’s Meditation Mondays post about getting into yoga, and hopefully meditation as well!

It can be intimidating to start anything new. I am still surprised when someone tells me they have never done yoga before. Yoga has done so much for me, so I am always eager to get other people involved with the hope that it will help them as much as it has helped me.

I have been wanting to review the Introduction to Yoga video from Yoga Zone on Hulu for a while. I have never watched this video before, primarily due to length (this video is about an hour). I was lucky to have a yoga newbie with me the other day (my mom!) so we figured we would give it a shot. 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…

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…

A Trick to Start Good Habits

Some things that are good for us aren’t particularly fun. I don’t love taking vitamins or flossing my teeth, and even though I enjoy yoga and walking, many days I don’t feel like it. But I almost always feel better afterwards.

It takes work to maintain health and peaceful surroundings, but once the work is done, there are generous rewards to those who put in the effort. continue…

Meditation Mondays (On Tuesday!): Things to Bring to Meditation

I totally failed to post yesterday! First Blogtober fail. So I am making it up by posting twice today. Hopefully the Blogtober gods will forgive me.

I like to keep things as simple as possible. One of the reasons I really like to do yoga, walks, and meditation as part of my personal health and well-being plan is because they require very little, if any, equipment, and can be done just about anywhere you go. I usually do yoga in my pajamas in the morning, followed by as much meditation as possible (20 minutes is the ideal amount of time for me), also in pajamas.

I really have no excuse not to meditate, but just like everything else, it can get neglected, despite how easily accessible it is to take just a few minutes to calm the mind. Although you really don’t need anything to meditate, here are a few things I have found help enhance the experience for me. continue…

Hipster Series: Affirmations

I find writing affirmations to be easier than writing goals. I first learned about writing affirmations from the same book that introduced me to writing goals, Jack Canfield’s How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Not only does it seem easier to me to write affirmations, but it also seems easier to go through them. The reason affirmations make me feel so warm and fuzzy is because they use the concept of “acting as if”. While I generally start my goals with the statement “I intend to…” I start my affirmations with “I am…”, implying that I have already achieved whatever great dream I am thinking about in the moment. No matter how unrealistic the dream, affirming it with a statement that it is already happening automatically makes it feel not so impossible. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Review of Yoga Zone Meditation Videos

The Hipster Series will resume tomorrow, but I wanted to revisit Meditation Mondays with a review of a few videos. I have primarily been researching audio guided meditations, but it recently occurred to me to checkout the meditation videos I have come across on Hulu.

I never watched the meditation videos from Yoga Zone, primarily because I felt like I didn’t really need to have a video to help me meditate since I first learned how to in a yoga class over 10 years ago. When I was selecting my yoga video the other day, I figured I would try them out for the sake of Meditation Mondays. 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…

Meditation Mondays: How I Learned To Meditate

Meditation Mondays will be themed weekly posts on the topic of Meditation.

Meditation means different things to different people. To me, meditation is a way to reduce stress, have a much calmer day, be healthier, and to bring to reality the goals and dreams I am working towards. The benefits are endless. Today I would like to go through how I was introduced to meditation.

Before I even really knew about the benefits of meditation, I became interested in yoga. I attended a yoga class at the gym at the University of Rhode Island on Thursday nights. The class was an hour and a half, and I loved every second of it. continue…