Are you Judgy?

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Day 13-15

I’ll admit that I have a tendency to judge others. In this political climate I have found that some friends and acquaintances and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of issues. And now with all of us posting our stances and feelings on social media (and I don’t have a problem with that because I do it on a regular basis) I am confronted with differing opinions from my own on a daily basis. Deepak says “When you judge another human, you are denying that we are the same.” He explains a practice of visualizing the person you are judging with a parental attitude. Loose the grip on our grudges and find compassion. He goes on to say that empathy links you to everyone on earth. Well, that was just mind blowing to me. Of course it does! My favorite quote of Deepak’s from this session was “Step down from the judge’s chair”. Yes, Mona, step down. And stay down and post it this all over your house so you remember!

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Next I made a list of people who I have judged or continue to judge and found things we both value or something I value and respect about them. Without listing names of course, I came up with the following;

Friend/Acquaintance #1 – She is extremely giving with her time and her kids.
Friend/Acquaintance #2 – She is a good mother.
Friend/Acquaintance #3 – We both want the best for our kids. We both are book lovers.

When you start looking at others this way it’s much easier to “step down from the judges chair” and stop the internal battle of “I’m right.” Which I do struggle with. I’ve found this little exercise can help me get through and not necessarily cut these people out of my life just because I disagree with something they did/said or believe. This is NOT the same as me removing toxic people from my life! (see previous post) That is different and necessary!

Have you found yourself judging others? Take some time this week to try the visualization I described above. Let me know how it goes in the comments! Thanks for being here!

You are Worthy

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Day 10-12

“When you believe you are worthy you will attract abundance into your life and success starts to line up for you.” These were the words that caught my attention on Day 12 of my Meditation Experience. Deepak says “Life should be a rising arch of abundance.”

I had a lot to think about here. My journal notes from this day are hard for me to read but it is my truth at the time so here we go. I wrote:

“I wasn’t brave. I was afraid of everything and everyone. I had no purpose other than motherhood. And even that I could have done better. Never as kind as I could have been.”

It makes me so sad to read these words. But this is how I felt and the realization that I made. Things are so different now. I’ve overcome most of my fears. Because now I know everything I want in life is on the other side of it. And I know that feeling the fear is normal. You just have to move forward anyway. “Feel the fear and do it anyway” is basically my life mantra. I was afraid to start yoga, I was afraid to take a leadership roll with my current volunteer group, I was afraid to start this blog, I was afraid to write a book, I was afraid to look for a job, I was afraid to go back to school and it just goes on and on. The reason why I could do all those things is because I didn’t let the fear define me. I moved ahead despite the fear.

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I was so wrapped up in myself that I rarely reached out to others in need. I make a point to reassess myself constantly. Have I checked in on that friend who is going through a hard time? Am I giving back? Am I making the changes in the world I want to see? I am kind to everyone? These are questions I ask myself often. I always will work on this during meditation. There are guided meditations for EVERYTHING!

Do you feel worthy of abundance? Do you see the law of attraction working in your life? Once you start asking these questions you may see things in a new light!

Please leave a comment below! Thanks for being here!

Stories We Tell Ourselves

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Day 7-9

As much progress as I’d made to this point, I would occasionally have thoughts like what could have been if I hadn’t been hurt. This is not a good road to venture down. For so long I was only focused on the negative. I was consumed with pain. It was a constant battle to focus on the positive and move forward, but I did it. I realized too, that I should have been much more in charge of my own health. I don’t necessarily follow all of what a doctor will tell me these days. I use my common sense as well as I listen to what I’m told. The difference is when I was younger I would follow the doctor’s instructions to a tee, even if inside it didn’t feel right. Never questioning.

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It’s hard I think for some people to understand what a gift I was given with these events occurring in my life. You hear people say this after a tragedy occurs, and you think that can’t possibly be how they feel. But it is. Every single part of my life is better because of what happen to me. Just to name a few.. I fixed my diet, I did another Happiness Project, I learned how to meditate, I learned how to exercise with correct form, I learned yoga and made a ton of new friends. And as you know, if you have been reading this blog, each of those areas ricochet into many more areas of improvement. A big self improvement, self healing journey. I guarantee you NONE of that would have had happen if my life hadn’t been stopped in it’s tracks.

Deepak says no two people see reality the same way. Reality is personal (the stories you tell yourself). This was a big AHA moment for me. The fact that there even could be stories I was telling myself was a new idea. What do you mean? You mean every thought in my head isn’t based on facts? Ha! I catch myself in this one ALL THE TIME. Am I making up a story in my head? Or is this something based in facts that I know is true? Life changing when you are aware of this. Deepak says “we are the author of our life story”. I love that so much. I’m just going to keep living my truth. I hope you will too.

Do you feel like you are telling yourself a story about what is happening in your life? Or is it based on actual facts? It’s a good question to ask yourself. Often. Once you start asking you can see where you can let go of a lot of anxiety and worry. Please comment below! I can’t wait to hear from you! Thanks for being here!

Facing Obstacles

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Day 6

Facing Obstacles was not something I handled well for most of my life. Avoid, avoid, avoid.. that was my answer. Especially with money. I just kept pushing the problems further down the road and prayed they would figure themselves out. In my new way at looking at life, I now viewed my money worries as a chance to change. I could see our spending habits and I could now see a way to make improvements. Which we did! As I’ve said before, we are living debt free. Total freedom! I’m SO on top of our financial situation it’s actually fun.

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Another area where I constantly would and still do hit obstacles is my neck and back issues. I see these obstacles as reminders to exercise in the correct way. This is really about discipline for me. As an Upholder, I tend to “tighten” (see previous posts regarding the Four Tendencies). Which means I make rules beyond the rules. I can and have taken things to the extreme. My current battle with this is with my yoga practice. I LOVE yoga. So, so much. The upholder in me wants to practice every single day, perfect the poses I can do and learn to do the more difficult poses, attend every workshop and go off on yoga retreats with my studio. And if I actually did all those things my neck and back would flare up pretty badly. Yoga is FANTASTIC for my spine issues, however, too much of a good thing is not a good thing. I have to balance it. On my calendar I have 2 days carved out for strengthening of some kind. Kettlebells or other strength training. I have 4 days dedicated to yoga and one day for a hike or indoor track walk. It’s always an internal battle on those strength days. My head is saying “go to yoga again!” But, I have to remember it’s the strengthening that helped me get out of pain and keeps me going. Yoga has helped with the pain too, but in a different way. And 100% of the time, when I’m in my strengthening class I feel great and realize I should probably be doing it more.

The third area where I hit obstacles is with my kids. Don’t we all!! The bottom line is my kids are learning to be adults now. They are 17 and 20. I can’t save them from everything. The lessons learned at this age are big ones. Big kids, big issues. I’ve learned to be in the flow. I don’t work myself up about them like I used to. I’m not saying I don’t worry about them. I do. But it’s more of guiding them through than sitting back and worrying if that makes sense.

Deepak says that we should actually open ourselves up to obstacles. He says “There is a gift in every moment. Obstacles are not your enemy. Take a fresh look at the situation.” That is what I did with every one of those issues above.

This week take a look at any obstacles in your own life. How could you reframe them to see the grace and gifts they provide you?

Please comment below! Thanks for being here!


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Day 5

Let’s talk about consumerism for a minute. I’m a product of the 70’s and 80’s. My teen years were spent in the 80’s in Southern California during the height of consumerism. We wanted everything and the best of everything at that. Everything was BIG and MORE. How many earrings can you fit on one ear? As many as possible. This way of thinking never really left me. In the 90’s I was life-building. I got married, had children, bought a home, bought another larger home and then yet another larger home after that. We had luxury cars and our kids never went without. I shopped for sport. Buying new wardrobes for myself and the kids every season. We went on multiple, expensive vacations every year. I remember one summer in particular when we went to Disney World, Hilton Head and New York. Excessive to say the least. And this spending just continued for years and years. Until one day it was time to send our oldest to college.

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At the same time I was getting our finances in order I was reading about minimalism and basically our throw away society. I was also becoming much more aware of the environment, plastic pollution and climate change. All of this together suddenly made me rethink how I was living. Also, the meditation work I was doing was leading me down this path of where true happiness lies. And let me tell you it’s not in the stuff. I no longer shop for sport. I shop when I actually need something. Not when I want it. Seasonally, there will be a few things I’ll need to replace and I will. But I no longer spend recklessly. And I never, ever, pay full price for anything. Not necessary with all the cool apps to help you with codes and cashback! If you want to read more about rejecting consumerism please click here for more information.

The best way to describe it is that it was a mindset shift that happen over time. Deepak says “Nothing is enough when not in the present moment. We are never satisfied. When we express thanks, we are aligned with the universe.” More reasons to STAY PRESENT.

I also suggest reading Cait Flanders book A Year of Less. I loved this book and it really made me look at my own life, how to get out of debt and reject consumerism.

Thanks for being here!

Building My Tribe!

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Day 4
At this point in my journey I had found myself involved in several new adventures. I was attending my new yoga studio regularly and had gotten to know the teachers and other students. It was another new group. I was also getting involved in local politics, becoming an activist without even realizing it. I began see friends on a regular basis. Lunches, movies, book signings, coffee, you name it.

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My tribe was building. And it felt amazing. Suddenly I had the group I had wanted and needed in my life. It’s all about making the effort. I’ve talked before about taking action when it came to all the changes I was making in my life and this was no different. Every area of my “wellness wheel” (see previous post) had action steps. Nothing happens if you just look at a post it with a slogan on it every day. That will not change your life. It’s about knowing what you need to do and then taking steps, even tiny ones, every single day towards your end goals. Suddenly life just gets better.

Deepak says this is grace working in our lives. According to Deepak, when we express gratitude, grace responds. Suddenly you are in the flow and moving forward in your life. Things become effortless, he says. It’s a shift that I felt and still feel 100%.

Are you feeling the grace in your life? If so please share it below. I’d love to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!

It’s the Little Things

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Day 3

I’m always saying “It’s the little things.” Because it truly is. Gratitude can come from the most simple things. It’s the multitude of these little things adding up to the whole that create happiness.

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This week I was to list a few simple things that made me happy. Here we go:

Seeing the birds at my feeders
Walks in the warm sunshine
Hot baths

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When I have a day that hits all of those things, I’m generally very happy. They are mood boosters in the most simple way. I’m grateful for them.

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Next, I was to think of a recent experience that I enjoyed. For me it was a concert my husband and I attended. I’ve talked about the fact that we are both music lovers and see a lot of shows. One of my favorite was seeing U2 a few years ago. I’ve been a fan for 32 years!! But this was my first time seeing them. I absolutely LOVE being in the presence of the artists I love so much and appreciate. And sharing that with thousands of other people is such a communal experience. Few things make as happy as going to a show. It can be transcending.

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I am a big morning person. No surprise there, but during this time in my life I became utterly obsessed with sunrises. I was taking pictures just about every morning. If you were following my Instagram at that time you would see I was constantly posting pictures of the sunrise! The absolute stunning beauty of the sunrise floored me. And sunrises are so peaceful. I just love the combination of the early morning, the quiet and the beauty. This is something to be grateful for!

This week think about what are the small things you are grateful for. Make a list and then continue to use a gratitude notebook to record this simple pleasures. Before you know you will have an entire year’s worth of things to look back upon and see the richness of your life.

Can’t wait to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!

Elevate Yourself

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Day 2

Taking the gratitude notebook practice to the next level was what I got out of the next day’s practice. Not only was I to list 3-5 things I was grateful for, but then to say thank you for them. This is where the grace happens. We are changing pathways in our brains, according to Deepak Chopra. This daily practice will elevate your gratitude practice into something you can feel and experience.

The day of this particular meditation I wrote the following:

Today’s three good things:

My family
A nourishing meal
The birds at the feeder

Simple gratitude. Taking the time to recognize these things was the change for me. Really visualize the thankfulness. To have it in my life.

Next I was to recall a time when I told someone how much I appreciated them. That was easy. It was when I told my personal trainer, Carrie how much I appreciated her. I tried to tell her as often as I could. (see my previous posts for more on how much Carrie has helped me in the past). When I told her, instead of just a blanket “thank you”, she told me how much she appreciated that I trust her. Oh, I didn’t expect that! See what happens when you start sharing your gratitude? It comes right back at you!

A few take-aways for me from these exercises was to not just write down five things I’m grateful for each night. I needed to express my gratitude to those I was maybe taking for granted or someone who should KNOW how much I appreciate them. I decided to do the following:

Be more considerate of what my husband Mike wants.
Write a note or give a small gift to A.
Don’t be bitchy around Carrie because of the changes she made to her program.

Yes, I got very upset when I heard that Carrie was making changes to the program I loved so much! I saw it as the end of my progress, but honestly, it was just the beginning. Carrie was just trying to move forward in her business and I took it extremely personally. Mistake! The truth is, the changes led me down another path where I increased my yoga (which I so desperately needed to do) AND allowed me to try different strength classes at my local rec center. Now I’m taking classes I NEVER would have considered myself ready for and guess what? I’m just fine! And getting stronger all the time!! I was ready but needed a BIG push. This is the universe at work again. Every time I think I’ve hit a wall or something has happen that I find devastated and I fall to tears, I find it results in bigger and better things in my life. Every time. Sometimes we can’t see how the universe is working but it always is.

This week try a gratitude practice that includes a thank you visualization. Let yourself feel the emotions that come with that practice. Then let me know how it goes!! I can’t wait to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!

Life Changing Gratitude

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Day 1

Today I’m going to dive back into Deepak’s 21 Day Meditation series. This time the subject was Manifesting Grace through Gratitude. Deepak explains that gratitude makes a connection to grace. It’s actually physical change.

It’s hard to be unhappy when you are focused on gratitude. Instead of spending time wanting more and more (more clothes, more furniture, better cars, more trips), learn how to be TRULY grateful for what we have. After going through the horror of my pain experiences, I was and still am so grateful for all the small things. Because when all the small things are taken from you they become the big things. As I was doing more, the more grateful I became for being able to drive again, to could use my computer and the ability to read for 10 minutes a day. I was incredibly grateful when I could start taking pain free walks and being out in nature… the list goes on and on. These are things I didn’t think twice about before the pain. Even when I was still not fully functional I would do my nightly gratitude practice. It’s not easy when you feel awful, but here is an example of a couple of my gratitude notebook entries in 2018.

January 27th

A complement from an old friend
Sitting in the sun reading
Finished a wonderful book
A nice dinner out
A really good night’s sleep

February 13th

Good visit with Dr. B
Fun exercise classes. Everyone was happy today.
Tippy is feeling better
Enjoying the Olympics
A laugh with a stranger on an elevator

See, these are not big things. But I was GRATEFUL for each and every one of them. So grateful.

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This week I was to make a list of the people I was most grateful for and why. (Only using first initials for their privacy) Here we go:

M for loving me.
M for her point of view and support.
M for always being there for me.
N for being real.
D for his guidance.
My physical therapists for helping me feel better.
N for his heart.
O for her kindness.
C for seeing my strength when I couldn’t.
A for being an example of what I want to be.
S for understanding me.

There are personal stories behind each and every one of these people, but the point is when I list them I can see how each one has had such a huge impact in my life and I’m certainly grateful for them all.

Do you have a gratitude practice? All it takes is a dollar store notebook and pen! Start today!

Goal Setting Part 3

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At this point I was discovering so many teachers and really a new way of life. One podcast led to a book, that led to a program, that led to a class, that led to new friends. Life was rolling along and I was learning everything I could along the way, seeing improvements in myself, my life and everything around me.

During this time I had heard Mel Robbins speak on one of the many podcasts I listen to. I started following her and in January 2019 I completed her Mindset Reset program. Mel is someone who doesn’t beat around the bush. She’s up front and honest. So, her program and approach woke me up and got me moving on a lot of things that were just swimming ideas in my head. For Mel, it’s all about taking action. And I had learned just what taking action could do for me, now I was going to take it to another level.

Getting back to goals. Mel says you must do a visualization exercise for every goal you have. If you haven’t done visualization before, you basically imagine yourself doing the very thing you are aiming to achieve. Not only are you picture it, but you need to feel the positive emotions that come with the visualization. Because your brain doesn’t know the difference between real memories and visualization. She suggests doing this practice for 30 seconds every day. This way you are developing the skill as if you were actually doing it. Wow! That’s amazing! If you want to know more about how visualization works to help achieve your goals you can learn more here

I have a morning routine that includes my meditation time and reading, among other things, so I decided to add in visualization time. What I love about this process is the overall impact has when I’m only dedicating a small amount of my time to the practice.

Have you done a visualization exercise to help achieve your goals? Give it try! Let me know how it goes! Thanks for being here!