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…

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…

To Be Perfect, or Not to Be Perfect

I had a goal. More like 50 goals simultaneously, and it was hard to ever focus on one thing because I wanted all 50 of them to have been done about 3 months ago.

I tried to be perfect. To have the perfect planning system, the perfectly organized home and garage, the perfectly checked off to-do list, and perfectly emptied out email inbox.

I still aspire to all these things, just not quite so perfectly. And now for my own personal satisfaction, rather than to prove to others that it can be done.

Releasing the need to become perfect has created space for me to be me. Which is so nice.

It is liberating to allow myself to continue to discover what I am good at and what I am not good at, and to accept those things the way they are. continue…

Half Birthdays & Weekends

Today is my half birthday! I’m 34.5.

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

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

Release the Need to Judge and to Be Judged

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

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

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

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

Tackling the Freezer Organization

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

— Louise Hay in Loving Yourself to Great Health

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

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

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

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

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

Try This Relaxing Bedtime Ritual

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

Paper Organization, KonMari Style

After I graduated college and got a job in 2006, I got a two drawer filing cabinet for my apartment, determined to make sense of the piles of papers I had thrown into a hall closet to be dealt with at an undefined future date.

I read books about getting organized, my favorite of which was Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern. I labored over what the right categories would be for all my personal papers.

I’m sure I got rid of a lot, but I still held on to plenty of papers unnecessarily. I was confused and uninformed. I didn’t know what was essential and what wasn’t essential. I held on to things because I thought I was supposed to. Out of fear that if I got rid of them that there would be regrets and consequences. continue…

Let Go To Make Space for Something New

“I promise you: whatever you let go will come back in exactly the same amount, but only when it feels the desire to return to you.” – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The other day I was thinking a lot about my recurring not-so-positive thoughts, and how they were not only annoying and driving me crazy, but holding me back from moving forward. This was spurred on by something I heard Esther Hicks say on her YouTube channel the day before.

I am always so focused on trying to think about what I want, I sometimes forget how detrimental it can be to let my thoughts spiral and dwell on things I don’t want. Abraham/Hicks was saying that you want to stop thinking about things you don’t want because that creates space for what you do want to come into your life.

I liked this perspective, because it takes the pressure off of trying to stay so focused on things that don’t appear to exist just yet. Rather than working so hard to trick myself all the time into thinking I’m already future me (which can also be fun), sometimes all that needs to be done is putting a stop to anything that is not that, or that goes against that.

A much simpler concept. Let go of what is not wanted first. continue…

The KonMari Method of Tidying Books

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

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

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

My To-Do List Is a Junk Pile

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

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

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

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

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

My To-Do List Is Cluttering My Life

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

The Life-Changing Magic of a Tidy Home

Having a completely organized life is one of my big dreams that has seemed just out of reach for years. I actually thought I was pretty organized when it came to physical items, and most people who visit my home would probably say that I am.

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, I finally get it. Being organized isn’t about organizing. It’s about learning to let go of the things that no longer bring us joy. The rest falls into place.

Marie Kondo refers to this process as tidying. This book is different from other books about organizing because it asks us to make decisions about the stuff in our homes based on one simple question: does it bring me joy? continue…

What Do a Mirror, a Camera, and a Bridge Have to Do with Your Dreams?

Where you are now was once in your mind. Do you believe that statement? Is it true for you?

It certainly is for me. All the things I like and dislike about my life are things I have thought about in the past. It makes playing the victim kind of difficult.

Whether I wanted to or not, I applied to pharmacy schools, went to one, graduated, got jobs, and everything I did led me to my current job. I created my current, and past, life circumstances. I look around at my house, and I think of the me only a few years ago, and am astounded that I am now living in a beautiful dream house. I am married – something I dreamed of for years. I have acne, still, after like 20 years of dealing with acne. I don’t have to tell anyone how often I have thought about acne over the past 20 years.

When I look at my life, and look around my current environment, I can tell you how I attracted each and every thing into my life, either initially or how I have kept it going in my life for however long it has been here.

It’s interesting to think of the law of attraction from this retrospective point of view. It makes it a little bit more believable for a skeptic because the proof of the power of thought is already physically visible. When we talk about the law of attraction and the future, it can seem like “yeah right” sometimes.

But looking backwards, we kind of can’t argue with the fact that we did certain things that led to our current circumstances. and all those actions were preceded by thoughts. Hence, manifestation.

After looking into the past to see what we have created, we can then look into the future and decide what we would like to create differently. And create change. continue…

Book Nook Review: Co-creating at Its Best

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

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

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

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

Feel Good Through Breakfast

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

Feel Good Little by Little

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

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

Book Nook Review: Ask and It Is Given

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today I Will Be Mindful

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

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

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

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

Creating for the Sake of Creating

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

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

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

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

The Cycle of Creativity

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

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…

A Healthy Smoothie for Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie Fanatics

Do you LOVE Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies and wish you could make a healthy smoothie that tastes just as yummy? You can!

I make a healthy peanut butter banana-based smoothie almost every afternoon when I’m home. It’s like the highlight of my afternoon.

In Tara Stiles’ book Make Your Own Rules Diet, she shares her version of a Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie smoothie. Today, I share mine. 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…

How to Take Control of Your Kitchen Part 2: Dishes & Refrigerator

The other week I mentioned that I noticed a renewed sense of clarity on keeping the kitchen cleaned & organized on a regular basis. Part 1 of this series focused on cleared countertops. Today, part 2 will focus on maintaining a clean, organized kitchen with specific attention to the status of the dishwasher and refrigerator contents.

A System for the Dishes

I feel like I have finally figured out my system for maintaining the dishes in a constant state of being washed or about to be washed without having the sink overflowing with dirty dishes. It might sound really simple, but sometimes it takes a lot of work to get to simple.

I have been obsessed with a rule of doing only my most important task first thing in the morning (after yoga and meditation) ever since I read Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less and other productivity books like Never Check E-Mail In the Morning by Julie Morgenstern. I don’t want to sacrifice that magical time when I might be able to write a blog post before the interruptions of the day inevitably set in.

But, there is a period of about 15 minutes first thing in the morning that I am in the kitchen making my tea, sometimes making coffee, and most recently making smoothies for the day. Over the past week, I started noticing that I can use the time in between making tea, coffee, and smoothies to empty out the dishwasher. continue…

Do This next Time You Feel Overwhelmed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Now: What Are You Manifesting?

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

Hello, thoughts, you tricky tricksters you.

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

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

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

A Moment of Clarity: Seeing How the Pieces Fit Together

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

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

Inner Peace & Transformation

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

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

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

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

Why It’s Essential To Give Away Your Gifts

What is the one thing you would do all day because you love it, even if you weren’t paid to do it?

I recently finished listening to Super Rich on audio book by Russell Simmons. This book is very inspiring, and I would recommend anyone with an open mind and love of self-help (and yoga!) to check it out.

Russell emphasizes the importance of sharing our gifts with the world, even if no one is paying at first. It can be scary to put ourselves out there, to offer our gifts to the world and wonder if they will ever be valued, monetarily or otherwise, by others. So scary that we might hold ourselves back over it. continue…

How to Choose a Mentor for Your Dream

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

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

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

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

A Different Kind of Mentor

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

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

What Expansive Feels Like

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What My To-Do List Means To Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Feeling Good

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

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

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

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

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

2015 Reading Challenge

I haven’t signed up for reading challenges in the past, but I was recently inspired by another blogger to bite the bullet and go for it this year! I get so super excited when it comes time to choose a new book. I almost get more enjoyment out of browsing through the countless books available to read than the actual reading. The possibilities are endless! I am particularly stoked about the ridiculous amount of books available in eBook and audiobook format through the library. I used to love going to Barnes & Noble and browsing the shelves (and still do!), but now with so many digital titles available at my fingertips for free, I can have as much fun spending a whole evening in the comfort of my own home, plotting out my reading list for eternity.

My 2015 Reading Plan

I am aiming to read about one nonfiction (most likely self-help) and one fiction book per month in 2015, with a goal of reading 25 books (because it sounded better than 24). I participate in the Hay House Book Nook Blogger program, where I receive free new release self-help books in exchange for my honest reviews of the books. I haven’t participated as much as I would have liked in the past, so I hope to up my game in 2015! This is a perfect program for self-help book lovers if anyone is interested. I still entertain the idea of writing young adult fiction at some point, so I will probably plan to read a mix of young adult fiction and other types of fiction.

Audiobooks

I am not currently a member of Audible, but have been in the past and would join to buy an audiobook if it weren’t available at the library. I love having the OverDrive app on my phone to listen to audiobooks for free through the library. I’m not sure about other library systems, but mine has over 11,000 audiobooks available for free…insane! I am wrapping up The One and Only by Emily Giffin via library audio, which was a new release in 2014. Definitely check your local library to see what you can get before buying a book, you might be surprised what they have to offer! I can’t say enough good things about audiobooks. Having the audio reading option is largely what is giving me the confidence to even take on a reading challenge this year. Twenty-five isn’t really a ton of books, but I figure if I end up reading fifty I will feel better about myself than if I said fifty and read twenty. continue…

To-Do Lists Are My Life

I dream about to-do lists like I imagine people who like sports or guns dream about their hobbies. This is my thing. The thing that I get excited to get out of bed over.

I have lived somewhat oppressed by my to-do list for years; perhaps this is why I am so intrigued. It has been my challenge to conquer – “getting it all together,” or at least kinda, for the most part. Nothing is perfect, after all.

But to not be buried under 80 tasks, crushed by the weight of hundreds of things I don’t even really want to do – now that is a breath of fresh air! The fresh air that I am proud to now breathe, and I can say, with conviction, that I will NEVER allow myself to go back to that buried state. I simply refuse.

I set out yesterday with the motivation of my Birthday Eve. My own personal new year upon me, I reflected on my life over the past year and the direction I would like to take in the next. Most of the time, I feel like I am just about to have my life completely organized and to be living the lifestyle I envision, but I allow some major project that I have been avoiding to loom, holding myself back from truly moving forward.

I know this is no way to live, and I don’t want to constantly feel this way anymore. I want to really live! Looking back I don’t feel like I have made much progress on my goals over the past year. I feel like someone looking at my life would tell me to give myself a break. I do have an amazing life and I am so grateful, but I have personal goals and when I’m not making progress towards them, I feel more like I’m sinking and suffocating than fully living.

Sometimes I feel paralyzed – unable to move forward, unsure of what to do next. Yesterday around noon I decided to clear the rest of the day to “get my life together.” I started with 26 things to do on my personal to-do list, which I keep in Evernote. I was able to easily to sort the items from oldest to newest, and force myself to start with the oldest, most neglected task (from May 2014!).

My List

I want to really get my life organized, and share how I did it to help other people who struggle with stress and feeling overwhelmed. That is one of the main reasons why I have this blog.

I have read a ton of productivity and self-help books, and I want to take what I have learned and share the system I came up with that works for me with the world. And help people develop and stick to their own systems that will work for them.

I want to have a cleared to-do list at the end of each week, not having things remaining unnecessarily past one week. I want to help keep myself and my husband-to-be on target for achieving our dreams.

The only way these things will happen is if I actually do them. So I had to ask myself – do I sit down and clear the decks, doing all the little tasks that I have been putting off over the past year? It didn’t take me very long to decide that, without a doubt, yes! – I start by clearing the decks.

Letting go of the old makes room for the new, and if I want to help other people with getting their lists in order, I have to first figure out how to take control of mine. So I did. continue…

A Mantra for Greater Productivity

I’m always looking for new ways to motivate myself to get on top of everything in my life. Whether it’s more efficiently getting through email, staying on top of household chores, or getting my to-do list to zero, I am motivated by the feeling of not being bbackhind/overwhelmed. I’m going for the opposite of overwhelmed/nervous breakdown.

As I was clearing out my email on Friday for the weekend, I was about to leave five to ten in my inbox to deal with Monday morning, and then I was reminded of this phrase:

How you do anything in your life is how you do everything in your life.

I have been hearing this here and there for years (unsure of the original author), but never felt like I had enough space in my life to take the time to truly consider doing everything in my life in line with my values. I was kind of just scraping by, which isn’t exactly the picture of joy and inner peace. continue…

What’s Your Definition of Personal Freedom?

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

Plenty of Sleep & No Alarm Clock

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

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

More Space To Live Purposefully

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

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

Living Minimally To Live More Fully

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

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

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

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

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

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Feel Good Financial Planning: Money, A Love Story by Kate Northrup

“To have a good relationship with money, you must know who you are and what your purpose is in this world.” – Money, a Love Story by Kate Northrup

Organize your life. Sounds like it should be so simple, right? But to reclaim our own attention and time for long enough to make progress in the areas that we feel called to can be more challenging than it sounds.

Money, A Love Story by Kate Northrup takes a spiritual approach to deal with the practical aspects of achieving personal freedom. I read this book concurrently with The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard (as much as I try to read only one book at a time, sometimes I just can’t help myself!).

This was a perfect self-help book pairing. The Motivation Manifesto gears us up to claim our personal freedom, while Kate Northup provides practical tips for taking steps to ensure that the financial foundation is in place to live a truly free life.

Spiritual Finances

This book approaches personal finance from a spiritual perspective. Kate Northrup takes the spiritual principles we have read about in other self-help books, and applies them specifically to the process of creating financial freedom.

Money, A Love Story demystifies the whole concept of money that we humans have come up with. In its simplest form, money is a symbol of trading value for value. When we present our earned money to the world, we are exchanging it for something that we are assigning value to. Likewise, when we earn money, we are being valued for the services we provide to the world.

Kate Northrup authentically opens up about her own financial path of going into credit card debt and finding her way out through the spiritual process she shares in this book.

What You Will Learn

This book taught me to provide value to the world in a way that makes me feel good while helping other people. I learned that working in a stressed out, frantic, chaotic manner, something I once mistakenly believed others value, is not making the world a better place. So, what’s the point? I now refuse to provide value while feeling stressed out or devalued. I simply refuse!

Here are a few more money lessons: continue…

Organize Your Life

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

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

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

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

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

7 Tips to Stay Motivated

“And so mature adults realize that motivation is not an accident, not so much a feeling as it is a conscious commitment to a motive, a choice toward something, a deeply held reason to act. It is an energy that results from thought. We feel motivated because we choose to, not because the sun happens to shine on our side of the street.” – The Motivation Manifestoby Brendon Burchard

Motivation is tricky. It appears to be a fickle friend at best, coming and going as it pleases on whims that we haven’t quite figured out yet.

What if motivation weren’t something that magically woke us up at 3 a.m. one morning, an aha moment slapping us in the face, but something that could be earned by anyone who chose it, at any moment?

After reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard, I have gained a renewed sense of what motivation is and what it isn’t. Here are seven tips for staying motivated in the pursuit of any dream, even when motivation doesn’t feel like your BFF: continue…

Book Nook Review: Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard

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

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

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

Why Conquering Setbqacks is Essential

Ever sit down at your computer to happily pick up a project where you left off, only to find that your progress mysteriously didn’t save? Or finish cleaning the floors, only to drop and shatter a light bulb? Killed yourself at the gym, only to gain a few pounds?

E + R = O

I love this equation, from Po Bronson’s book What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question. The E stands for Event. There are many events that we cannot control, such as the weather and external circumstances. We also cannot control things that have already happened. We might be able to change our behavior in the future, such as using a more reliable system of saving files, being more careful, or making dietary modifications, but we cannot change the past. We will assume for the purposes of this equation that the E has already happened.

The R stands for Response. Events beyond our control (or even within our control in the past) have happened. Now we get to choose how to respond. Do we get angry or give up? Or do we, in the words of Clark W. Griswold, press on?

Finally, the O stands for Outcome. This simple equation sums up how we are truly products of our choices. There is one piece of that equation that we have true control over. Which piece, you ask? 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…

Book Nook Review: Walking with Elijah

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

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

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

You Are in Charge of You

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

Be Yourself to Be Successful

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

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

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

How To Handle An Adult Bully

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

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

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 Not Think About What You Don’t Want

“I was taught that we become what we think about, like it or not.” — Serena Dyer

I have been reading Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You: My Experience Growing Up with Spiritual Parents by Serena Dyer (Wayne Dyer’s daughter) and loving it. I am about two-thirds done, and one of the main focuses has been on the major impact our thoughts have on whether things in our lives change to what we want or stay the same. 

While walking this morning, I was trying to focus on feeling the feelings of what I want, as if all my dreams had already come true. While working on switching gears when thoughts of things I don’t want started creeping in, suddenly it hit me that I don’t go around thinking about those things that I used to wish would go away that have already gone away. continue…

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

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

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

Inspired by Oprah & Deepak Chopra

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

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

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

A New Way to View Health, Life, & Beyond

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

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

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

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

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

The Struggle to Please & Live

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

Book Nook Review: Angels of Abundance by Doreen Virtue & Grant Virtue

“Positivity is the language of heaven.” – Angels of Abundance by Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue

I have long believed that living life on purpose is the way to go. After reading countless self-help books, one thing is crystal clear: each individual person has a unique purpose in life that is waiting to be fulfilled.

I have struggled with anything that hasn’t felt purposeful. But I have also come to realize that we get to choose to assign purpose and meaning to those things that previously didn’t feel super purpose-filled, on the path towards living our dreams.

Doreen & Grant Virtue’s book Angels of Abundance: Heaven’s 11 Messages to Help You Manifest Support, Supply, and Every Form of Abundance is an excellent, practical guide on what it takes to live a life that was previously only imaginable. The thing I admire most about Doreen Virtue is that she doesn’t sugarcoat it; she never for one second pretends that it doesn’t take hard work and sacrifice to pull it off. continue…

Daring Greatly: How To Overcome Not Enough Time

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

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

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

Antidotes to Time Scarcity

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

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

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

Daring Greatly: Giving Up Perfectionism for Creativity

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

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

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

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

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

“My life is my message.” – Gandhi

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

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…

Anyone Can Learn Anything

I have been hearing the advice for years to read everything you can get your hands on if you want to be a writer. I have been a casual reader, but didn’t really grasp the intention behind this advice until recently.

Setting out to accomplish any large project is usually majorly overwhelming, and the largeness of a project can be what sinks us before we even start. I am a person who wants to write a book, but how do you write a whole book? I still have no idea. There is plenty of logical advice out there, but when it comes down to it, every time I have tried to start I have gotten overwhelmed by the thought of writing a book and quit before giving it a fighting chance.

I get excited that maybe I will read three books in my genre and then I will have a grip on what it is to write a young adult series book. Ya, right. Just to finish one book typically takes me at least a week. I also get discouraged that I want to have written a book like last year already. Why bother starting again if I couldn’t get it done before now?

These are the questions that trap me into thinking I’m better off not bothering. continue…

How To Choose What To Do Next

“Don’t force it.” – one of my friends

In any given moment, we are faced with countless choices: what to wear, what to eat, what to drink, what to say, what to think, what to do… and on and on. Having a regular schedule and goals are great, but if something on the menu of choices doesn’t excite and energize, then it is time to find new options.

Do What Energizes You

I have recently been experimenting with choosing my next task based on what I am most excited in the moment to work on. For example, if my choices are to work on my blog, read a book, and wash the dog, I am trying to stop and think about which one I am most excited about working on/completing in the moment. Some days the idea of having a clean dog is the one that makes me feel most energized, while others it might be the idea of completing a blog post.

This is a much more fun way to live than in the “I have to” state of mind, as in, “I have to wash the dog” even though I want to lay down and read a book. Even better is when I can find some kind of creative compromise between the thing I have to do and the thing I want to do. Some days the idea of washing the dog while listening to an audio book sounds like the perfect plan. continue…

Book Nook Review of Forgiveness by Iyanla Vanzant

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I hadn’t thought of forgiveness as an essential component of moving forward until I read Forgiveness by Iyanla Vanzant. Since I selected this book to read, I have been hearing about the importance of forgiveness from other authors concurrent with my reading.

Iyanla Vanzant calls us to recognize all the places in our lives that we need to bring forgiveness to, beginning with ourselves. The book is intended to be worked in exercises to be completed during 30 to 60 minutes on each of 21 days. The work of each day focuses on extending forgiveness to practically every type of relationship we could possibly have.

Each chapter starts out with a “forgiveness story” written by either Iyanla Vanzant or a guest writer. These stories provide personal examples from the writers’ own lives, describing how they came to realize their need to forgive others who they had spent energy resenting. Following each chapter’s forgiveness story are the forgiveness exercises.

The forgiveness exercises begin with a forgiveness prayer, followed by an exercise of writing personalized forgiveness statements tailored to the individual reader’s unique forgiveness needs in their own relationships, all leading up to the tapping sequences. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT, or tapping)  can be thought of as acupuncture sans-needles, according to Vanzant. The idea in this case is to tap (with your fingers) on specific meridian points to clear out blocked energy attributed to negative thoughts born of unforgiveness. 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…

There is Time

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

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

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

Time

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

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

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

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…