Don’t Impose

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There is a fine line between helping others and imposing our path onto them. I walk this line all the time because I’m SO PASSIONATE about what I’m doing and what I’ve learned. It’s the whole reason I write this blog. I suddenly, after never wanting to discuss what happen to me, I wanted to scream it from the rooftops to everyone I know. And at first that’s exactly what I did. I BOMBARDED my family and friends with “Did you know.. blah, blah, blah” Basically, “everything you’re doing is wrong” is what most people heard me saying I’m sure. I just get very excited about new things and the science is there to back it all up so I just felt the need to share. And I’m still doing that, the difference is I’m letting the people who want to know find me, instead of me telling everyone around me whether they want to hear it or not.

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I recently overheard a conversation between two people, congratulating themselves, while eating peanuts, on what healthy snack choice they made. Inside I was bursting at the seams wanting to say, “Peanuts are are not nuts, they are legumes and they are inflammatory! Also, what kind of oil are those cooked in? Mostly likely canola, which is a processed oil known for causing heart attacks!” My brain was spinning, but I didn’t say anything. Because, it’s not my place. Deepak says we don’t know what other people’s path entails. We need to let nature take it’s course. I needed to let go of ego control and judgement! Whew, that resonated with me!!! As an Upholder (see Gretchen Rubin), I’m just programmed to do what is “right” and follow the “rules”. So, when I read about a way to improve my health and well being that maybe isn’t widely known yet, I just jump aboard and do it. I needed to stop trying to “fix” everyone. On the other hand, helping people is what I’d signed up to do! The difference is when I’m asked, or if it comes up in conversation with me directly, I will speak up, but I will not jump into a conversation just to tell someone they are wrong. Deepak says we should “envision that everyone’s mind/body state is perfect just as they are.” That’s so important to remember. And one that I work on constantly.

Do you feel like you try to control others actions? Do you feel like you are judgmental? Try reframing these feelings and tell yourself that others are on their own path and are right were they need to be. Once we release ego control we become more relaxed. I would love to hear your comments below! Thanks for being here!


AHA MOMENT!

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Day 13/14

Did you ever have a true aha moment? A true epiphany where you literally stop in your tracks and are in awe of what is in front of you? This is what happen to me on Day 14 of my meditation experience. As you know, the focus of this particular experience was manifestation. Even the Centering Thought of the day made me smile. “Fulfilling my dreams fulfills my spirit.” Deepak explains that fulfilling desires are spiritual. When we allow our desires to become alive we have a sense of love and joy. When we are in touch with our true selves, we discover who we really are. This awakening happens in meditation. He explains that our soul is eager to connect with us.

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When I am practicing transcendental meditation, I sometimes have what I call an outer body experience. I truly “leave” myself. It’s pretty incredible. It’s not always long lasting, but when it does happen there are no thoughts. This is as close to our true selves as we can get. I believe this is the time to connect with our soul and the best time to listen.

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As I went through the journaling for this day, I wrote “Spiritual Values”, underlined it and then wrote the following. “Helping others in my desire to have a career in either health and wellness/advocacy or volunteer field.” And secondly wrote, “My desire to be pain free will help me help my family.” I also wrote, “Figuring out my true desires. They are evolving as I go through this program. Getting closer to my true self.” This was an important moment. My head was so clear from meditation, I was forced to really dig down and find what I REALLY desired and that’s what I came up with. It was in me and now it was in words. It set off my whole path of what was to come. These notes translated into a trip to the library to get the book “What Color is My Parachute” which enabled me to further narrow down what I wanted for myself. I started researching Holistic Health Coaching Programs, and third I started strategizing a way to pay for it! Because credit cards and loans were off limits. And within a year, I figured it all out and went back to school and got my certification. Which then led to this blog and writing a book. All because I decided to focus on myself in every pillar of my life. And the results are showing. I have one more note I wrote in my notebook on Day 14 with a big star next to it. It says “The key to the whole program. I figured it out! Decision made!” It just makes me smile to read that.

Have you given any thought to your deepest desires? I suggest the following. Take some time to meditate to clear your mind and get close to your true self. This takes time. It’s not a one shot deal! Begin to ask yourself what you really want. You will be surprised at what comes out!


I Just Have Jet Lag

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Day 3/4

Here’s something that I know to be true. When you want something to happen in your life, instead of worry and anxiety taking over, you let it go. Deepak says when you become detached, you become open to whatever happens. This was a big lesson for me. I liked to CONTROL everything that happen to me as much as possible. This way of living causes so much stress and we all know what stress does to the body. I can see how much more I’m in the flow now. But, even before I learned this lesson, there was a time in my life where this was working in my life and was crystal clear.

When my husband and I decided to start a family we thought once I went off the pill, I would immediately get pregnant. Isn’t that why I took the pill for so long? Because it’s so easy to get pregnant! Well, that was not the case for us. Month after month, nothing. My ob/gyn had me charting and taking my temperature and was taking medication all to help the process along. But, after a certain amount of time, she sat us down and told us she’s done all she could and was referring us to a fertility specialist. I was shocked. Why couldn’t I get pregnant? We moved forward and made an appointment with the specialist. In the meantime, I decided to “let it go”. I could not let it consume me. Shortly before our scheduled appointment, my husband and I took a trip to Colorado for a family reunion. When we got back and I went back to work, I remember being tired. Really tired. I was actually fighting to keep my eyes open on the way home from work at five in the afternoon. I thought, “wow, this is some serious jet lag I have!” On day two of feeling this way, I mentioned to my girlfriend at work how I was feeling. She knew my fertility issues and said “maybe you’re pregnant.” Honestly, I did not even consider this to be a possibility. But, I had still been taking my medication and doing all my tracking, so that day on the way home from work, I bought a pregnancy test. My husband was home, chatting on the phone with his brother while I slipped away to take the test. And there it was. I was pregnant!! I didn’t even wait for my husband to hang up the phone! I just yelled out “I’m pregnant!”

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I truly believe the act of letting go helped tremendously in me getting pregnant. I left it up to the universe and the universe responded. Once the worry and control were gone, things happened the way they were supposed to.

Have you ever had a moment in your life where you let go? What was the outcome? I’d love to hear about it! Please comment below! Thank you for being here!


21 Day Meditation Experience Round 2

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Now it was time for another 21 Day Meditation Experience with Deepak Chopra! This time the topic was desire and manifestation. Very much like the law of attraction, Deepak explains that we are always sending out vibrations of energy and what we put out comes back to us. Always. Like attracts like and you attract who you are! So if you change your intention, you change your path. Life changing information here. He goes on to say that our inner intentions lead to outer results. Our thoughts are so powerful!

Before I get into what I learned in this lesson, let me just start by saying that this experience was life changing for me. There was SO MUCH self discovery for me in these lessons. Every day I was inching closer to what I wanted and the path to get there was coming into focus. Especially when I look back at my notes now, I see this is where so much of my future began. Here we go.

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I first made a list of my hopes and desires for the 21 Day Experience. Here was my list in the summer of 2018.

To be less fearful (conquer fears)
To go after what I want
To be kind and giving and mean it
To find part time work that works with my health priorities
Go back to school in some form
To be as pain free as possible

Reading this list now makes me so emotional. I actual completed all of these things. It took a lot of work, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Action steps are the key. If you don’t take action nothing will happen. And putting out the energy I want to receive really works. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. I think you will be surprised!

Next was to list my daily desires.

Love (being kind to others)
Alone time (just what is needed)
Connection and friendship (say yes and be open)
Rest
Improvement of my home life
Planning (don’t over do it)

I really had to be careful with alone time and planning because I literally could do that all day. And have. Planning, planning, planning, by myself for hours. That’s my Upholder personality on steroids. I need both of those things in my life, but now I’m aware of the trap of falling too deep and get carried away into my default behavior. Being self aware always me to see my personality traits in action and put a stop to it when I need to. Especially when I know it’s not going to benefit me, and could possibly be a negative in my life.

This week take minute and think about your hopes and desires. Then make a list to remind yourself of what you want your life to look like. Next, begin to act they way you want to feel. I’ve heard Gretchen Rubin say this too, and it also applies to the Law of Attraction. You will attract the energy you want to receive. Like attracts like!!! Please comment your experience below! Thanks for being here!


I am

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Day 14

Stream of Consciousness with the prompt “I am.”


I am:

A mother, a wife, a daughter. A reader, an activist. I’m a health coach, a library aide. I’m caring. I’m a seeker. A music lover. A patron of the arts. History lover. Admirer of Gretchen Rubin, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Mark Hyman, Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Oprah. I am an animal lover. I am pretty, strong and smart. I’m a doer. I have a lot to give and get out. I feel something big. Don’t know what yet. I am a writer. I am an author of books. I am an influencer.

The goal was to just write and let if all flow.

It’s funny what comes out when you are prompted this way. If I was to do it on my own, in my own time, the list would be much longer. I shocked at the amount of things I left out as I am definitely more than this. But I think it’s revealing that this is what came out first. On that particular day. At that particular time. It’s funny to see Gretchen Rubin and Oprah lumped in with Mick, Keith and Freddie! But that’s just where my brain was at the moment. It’s like a little poem of me.

I did feel something in me that needed to get out and it’s this blog. One day I just felt the need to get it out of my body. That’s where the “I have a lot to give and get out” comes from. It’s here and I need to get it out to the world. And I’ve talked about this before, but that wasn’t something I ever wanted to do even a few months prior. I was absolutely cringe when someone would talk about how far I’d come. Whether it was my doctor or a family member. They would start with “remember when you…” and my body would just shut down. I couldn’t and wouldn’t hear it. It was like reliving my pain. And one day that just left me and it was replaced with this sudden need to talk about it all the time and get my story out to the world. Unexplainable to me.

Try it! Share your “I am” free flow in the comments! Thanks for being here!


A New Chapter

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After completing my second Happiness Project, I spent some time listening to Mel Robbins. Mel Robbins is a motivational speaker, who recently started her own talk show. When I found her, she was being interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts. A lot of what she says resonates with me and put some things about my life into perspective.

When I thought about what I wanted my life to look like two or three years ahead as she suggests, I saw the following:

Pursue a job that had meaning and purpose

Surround myself with positive, uplifting friends

Be active without pain

Be free of money worries

Become an activist

Substantially increase my reading

Become mindful and optimistic

These were BIG picture goals. If I’ve learned nothing else it’s that ACTION is key to every single change you want to make in your life. Period. The end. You can put up slogans and quotes all day but there is NO MEANING behind them without the work. I see the difference. I would read quotes like “be yourself”. And think “that’s nice, yes, be yourself”. But now it screams at me! Be authentic! Fill your life with what makes you happy! When you are actually feeling the affects of taking action, something like “be yourself” becomes extremely powerful and a huge motivator. These were my new eyes looking at the world.

Mel also talks about using our problems to not take responsibility. Whoa. Guilty, guilty, guilty. I could just hear all the “I can’t’s” coming out of my mouth over the years. She suggests naming the old chapter in your life and then naming your new chapter in your life. So, I decided my old chapter would be called “Fearful, Self-Centered Mona” and my new chapter would be called “Giving, Loving, Brave Mona”. That pretty much sums it up nicely! And a really CLEAR way to see how I was behaving and how I wanted to live going forward.

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I had decided to live in a “growth mindset” from now on. I had a past full of bad experiences that brought me to where I was and in a lot of ways I’m thankful for all the trauma I’d been through recently, because if I hadn’t gone through this I would not have tackled all these other areas in my life. Even if I had resolved my pain issue, I still would have been eating all the wrong foods, drinking, living stressed out, throwing money away, etc. My “why” was abundantly clear. I would have continued with things happening to me, instead of taking control. Mel explains that our mindset is fixed in childhood. I’ve already talked about some of the issues of my childhood and the remnants left on me, but here she wakes me up to the fact that I could be repeating negative self talk all the way back to childhood. Looking back on how much I survived, it’s possible there’s a little post traumatic stress disorder there. I never thought about these episodes carrying over to my adult life, but they certainly do. How many adults are part of the walking wounded? Without any resolution? A lot of us is my guess.

If you want to learn more about Mel Robbins you can find her at http://melrobbins.com. Do you have a name for an old chapter of your life? How about your new chapter? Share them below! And thanks for being here!


“What do you want to grow in yourself? Dwell there.”

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Taking part in Mindful Living Week by the Awake Network (https://www.theawakenetwork.com/) was one of the most beneficial things I have ever done for myself. This was an online program that I participated in back in May of 2017. Right when I was revving up to start making corrections in my life and start living better than before. The presenters were top notch and just full of useful, practical information and tips that I applied in my life immediately.

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Starting on Day One with Mindfulness, Calm and Happiness, Dr. Rick Hanson talks about how meditation works in your real life. He uses the example of when you work out physically, it makes your muscles stronger. It’s the same with mediation. When you are meditating and return to the breath, you learn control, and that carries over into your real life. I saw this happen in my own life, which I have talked about before. There is a calm that takes over. What a pleasant way to live! It’s fascinating to me that every time you get a little lost in meditation then come back to the breath you are having a “mini-awakening” at that moment, as Dr. Hanson calls it. That’s SO important. The coming back is the brain training. So, it doesn’t matter how many times you get lost, coming back is the exercise. Over time, you actually change and thicken the cortex of your brain. You are making structural change that will impact your life, becoming more empathic and less agitated. This is absolutely true for me. When I heard all of this for the first time I was so excited! It felt like someone let me in on some sort of secret! “Why isn’t everyone doing this?!” I thought. Just the idea that doing something as SIMPLE as meditating could have such an enormous change in my brain and body! Dr. Hanson says “you become what you think about”. If you live in a state of worry, as I did for so many years, the accumulation of wear and tear of stress and anxiety is something you not only experience, it’s what you become. This all made perfect sense to me as I looked back on the previous year or two. My state of mind was so destructive. A “state- to -trait” if you will, as Dr. Hanson says so well. If you want to learn more, watch the following Ted Talk by Dr. Hanson. https://youtu.be/jpuDyGgIeh0 My favorite quote from Dr. Hanson during his presentation was “What do you want to grow in yourself? Dwell there.” Yes, dwell there. SO POWERFUL. We are growing these muscles for life. And I couldn’t wait to get started.

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Dr. Hanson also focused on how we need to note the small moments of joy that occur every day. When those little small doses of joy happen for us we need to savor them. And really absorb them. For me it could be the birds at my bird feeders, sitting in the warm sunshine or spending time with my kitty. There is so much happiness there. Don’t let those moments float by!

Another way to bring joy into our lives is to wish someone else happiness two times a day. This does not need to be said to the other person, just a a personal wish of our own, maybe during meditation or just taking a few minutes a day to think about someone else. Wishing someone else was happy automatically makes you happy, according to Dr. Hanson. I have to say a agree with this. I did a little experiment with this tip and I did find that it brought me more happiness. It brought me out of my own head which is always useful.

This week think about starting a meditation practice if you haven’t already. You could also try the following:

Wish happiness on someone else two times a day!

Notice the small moments during the day, and savor them.

I’d love to hear your feedback! Please comment below! Thank you for being here!


The Wholeness of Time

Day 17/18

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Everything is designed for wholeness. Especially in nature. Deepak says “not to measure your life in bits and pieces. The true nature of yourself is the wholeness of the universe.” Maybe that’s a little woo-woo for you. I believe we are all part of something bigger which in turn makes us feel whole. For me I feel this way clearly when I’m meditating and secondly, when I’m in nature.

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Being in nature is a very new thing for me. I’ve never, ever been outdoorsy. I’ve only camped a handful of times most of which were with the Girl Scouts when I was very young and then once in my twenties. It was not my favorite thing to do. I didn’t enjoy the bugs, the dirt or the discomfort of being outside. I was a city girl. Raised in the city of Pittsburgh until I was 11 then moved to Southern California and from there to Northern Virginia just outside DC. The only thing I did outside was go to the beach. Which I loved but not for the reasons I love being in nature now.

Many studies show the health gains for those in contact with nature. Read more about the studies here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180706102842.htm Which then made me take it more seriously. Later it became part of my goals, vision board and 18 for 18 which I will explain later!! But I can see in my notes from this meditation experience I wrote “I feel whole when at a national park – do more often”. That was the beginning. My first thoughts of getting out in nature with purpose. Which I do regularly now and LOVE! I will have a lot to say on the subject when I talk about my vision board for 2018. But for now, I’ll say that I appreciate being outside more than I ever have before in my life. I feel like I’ve uncovered some sort of secret world in the parks I’ve been visiting! Of course, there is an entire community of people in on this world of nature. I’m just a newbie. I feel like a little kid taking pictures of all the creatures and beauty around me. I notice everything now. I’m being mindful.

How about you? Where do you feel most whole? Try the following:

List experiences that make you feel whole and present. This could be while meditating, hiking, yoga, etc.

Take a look at your list and pick one or two things to bring into your life more often.

Your overall happiness will increase when you begin to start seeing yourself as part of the wholeness of the universe.

Can’t wait to hear your feedback! Please comment below! Thanks for being here!


Improving My Home life (Happiness Project)

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This month was really about habit change.  Our environments really do influence our productivity and mood.  My favorite Gretchen Rubin quote ever is “Outer order leads to inner calm.”  So true.  Many people talk about the small act of making a bed having a big impact on their day.  We feel it.  I certainly do.  When did I stop making my bed? And why?  It takes almost no time and is incredibly satisfying.  I feel like the day is starting off well.  One accomplishment done. 

When I was stuck in my cycle of pain the last thing I felt like doing was chores around the house.  Everything got done, trust me and to an outsider it probably wasn’t noticeable.  But I noticed and I didn’t like it.  So this month’s resolution would be Improving My Home Life.  Which looked like this:

Improving My Home Life

My Quotation: “Being organized isn’t about getting rid of everything you own or trying to become a different person, it’s about living the way you want, but better.”

Daily/Weekly Actions:

Take Care of Dishes Immediately

Take Care of Trash Immediately

Make My Bed Everyday

These may seem like small things but they had a big impact when I actually put them in motion. Clutter affects your mind and your stress levels.  Read more about that here.  https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/how-decluttering-your-space-could-make-you-healthier-and-happier/art-20390064

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Never having dishes in the sink makes the entire kitchen look clean and gives me a happiness boost. Maybe you don’t have a lot of dishes being used everyday, but I actually run my dishwasher three times a day. I cook a lot and I have two teenagers who are constantly eating and one who enjoys cooking herself. The dishes get out of control quickly. My goal was to take care of them immediately. Same with the trash. In our house trash needs to be taken down a flight of stairs to go out, so it’s a little inconvenient. I got a little lazy about it. “I’ll take it later” I’d say to myself. And you might be asking why isn’t anyone else in my household doing this chore? Well, to be honest I’m the one that is here most of the time during the day. They are not. It doesn’t make sense to wait around for someone else to do a chore when I can just get it done myself.

And I already talked about making the bed. I love a made bed!! It just screams “I’m ready for the day!” Overall I just needed to get my house back in order after ignoring it for so long. Like I said, it was always clean but just not organized the way it had been in the past and I missed that. The goal here was happiness and the way things were looking around my house was not making me happy. These resolutions were not difficult, but important to my overall happiness. And I’m still working on this all the time. I have a home project notebook that has all my organizing ideas and repairs that need to be done around the house. There is always SOMETHING to improve at home. The other day I decided to redecorate with items I already I have. This is one of my favorite things to do when I get the shopping bug or the urge to do big redecorating. I will move some furniture around, hang pictures or move existing pictures to other parts of the house. Or I’ll rearrange knick-knacks, and bring things out of closets and cabinets to let them see light of day and find a place for them to bring life into our home. It always does the trick for me. When I’m done I stand back and smile.

Are you thinking about decluttering your home?  Try the following:

If you don’t already, make your bed every day and see how it makes you feel.

Keep living areas decluttered by taking care of messes as they happen.  Don’t’ procrastinate!  You will be surprised at how little time this takes.  Another little tip is to listen to an audio book or podcast when doing these types of chores.

I’d love to hear how your decluttering goes!  Please comment below.  Thanks for being here!