Living in an Atmosphere of Growth

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If I had to describe my journey in two parts I would say the first part was the physical recovery and the second was mental recovery. That’s lumping a lot of areas together, but in the end that is what I was doing. One thing truly did lead to another. I would begin a course, or hear a talk on subject I was interested in and it would inevitably send me off in another direction of personal growth. Gretchen Rubin calls this “living in an atmosphere of growth.” It would have been nice had I decided to one day just start working on all these areas in my life instead of having something so devastating happen to me, but that is not my story. And I think it’s true for many people. Unfortunately it usually takes some horrific event to awaken us to how we should or could be living. To people I’m meeting for the first time, I can seem extreme. This is partially my Upholder personality, which has always been there, it was just focused on other things instead of growth. Like I’ve said in earlier posts, I live this way because it was a WAY OUT of how I was feeling. And I never want to feel that way again. So when someone says to me “don’t you miss cookies” , the answer is always no. My “why” is crystal clear and keeps me moving forward.

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I say all this because the next step in my wellness journey was a class I stumbled upon given by Elisha Goldstein. It was an online Mindful Living Course that I did over four or five days. I’m going to share some of my revelations I unearthed while taking this class. You can find out more about Elisha here. https://elishagoldstein.com/

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Did you know our brains are wired to survive, not to be happy? Our brain fears the unknown so when we try to make changes our brains start to object. It’s a survival instinct. When we relax, we calm the nervous system. This jumped out at me because if there was anything I needed to do it was to relax my nervous system! According to Elisha, the benefits of relaxation are the following:

Less Worry
Slows Heart Rate
Boosts Memory
Better Decision Making
Less Stress Eating
Protects Mental Health
Protects Your Brain

All super important. Why would I not want all of those benefits? Sign me up! One of tips he suggests, which I have used in my own life are recognizing when you tense up. What people or time of day does this happen? When it happens, we should breathe and stretch to relax. On my Insight Time app, there are many 1 minute meditations for exactly this purpose. If you are bracing you need an antidote!

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Another tip was to practice single tasking. I’ve posted before about the fact that there is no such thing as multi-tasking, you are just doing two or more tasks more poorly than you would have doing one at a time. The biggest change in single tasking for me came with my walks. A couple times a week, I walk at our local nature preserve. I’m so fortunate to have this beautiful piece of nature in my neighborhood. When I walk, I do nothing else. I don’t listen to anything. No audio books, no podcasts, no music. I love all three of those things, but my focus is on the world around me. I do some GREAT thinking during these walks. Decisions get made because my brain can relax and wander. My decision to write a book, start a blog, take a part time job all came out of these walks.

This week think if you find yourself “bracing” and what you can do when that happens. Try relaxing by breathing, meditating or stretching. Also, try single-tasking. See if it makes a difference. It did for me! I can’t wait to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!


Manifestation

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Day 3

Today’s lesson was all about getting closer to your true self, which we can achieve in meditation. Deepak says when we get closer to our true selves we can attract our desires into our life and to really let our soul be our guide. When I heard this it reminded me that I had heard an interview on a podcast where the discussion was all about soul writing. If you haven’t heard of soul writing it’s when you spend time in a quiet space writing in a free form. Whatever comes to mind, you just fill the page with it. I’ve heard people say they have had some of their absolute best ideas come from this form of writing. I have to admit, this has been on my “to do list” for a at least a year. My plan is for it to go on my 2020 Vision Board! (more on vision boards to come!)

My notes from Day 3 are so telling of my state of mind at the time. I could not see things manifesting in my life and I have to say two of the three have happened and the least important one did not. Not yet. I’m on my way. And I also think that’s the universe telling me to get my priorities in order! Which does happen with a little more work in the future.

So, here are my notes from this lesson.

Question 1
Name 3 things you truly wish you could have in your life and believe to be unattainable, so much so that you resigned yourself to not having them.

My answers are so telling here.

1 To be pain free.
2 To not be afraid of the medical community.
3 To redecorate the house. (SIDE NOTE: I still can’t believe with all I had going on that I listed this as a “wish”, but there is it. I’m not editing. Being honest in all it’s glory!)

Question 2
Reasons why they will not manifest

1 Too much damage to my body.
2 I don’t know how to begin to trust doctors again.
3 Not enough money.

Question 3
Ways nature could arrange for me to get desires. (Imagine it!)

1 Yoga works. I get injections. I continue physical therapy. My brain settles down.
2 Work on ABCDE problem solving. Dispute my thoughts. Keep working on coping skills.
3 I get a part-time job.

It’s funny, when I wrote out that I wanted to be pain free, it truly felt like a wish and not at all attainable. But when I read my answer on how to get what I desire, I was on the right track, even then. This just proves to me that the law of attraction works and was working in my life. Yoga has been a HUGE healer. Yoga gives me strength, flexibility, relieves my muscle tension, reduces my stress and forces me to practice mindfulness. It’s the best part of my day for sure.

Problem solving is another key and something I’ve talked about already here. At the time, again, I can see by knowing I needed to keep up this strategy in my life I was going to make it happen.

Part time work! Yes, after 20 years of being a stay at home mom I finally came to the realization that if my husband and I were going to send our kids off to college debt free (meaning them AND us) then more money needed to come into the house. In addition to budgeting and really getting a hold of our personal finances. Which I did and still do. Again, huge stress reliever! Later in this program, I will actually discover what I want as I get in touch with my true self. Spoiler alert, I AM working a part-time job now, but I’ll save the details for a little later.

This week think about your desires and go through the questions above. I think it can be a very eye-opening exercise!


Hanging On

Day 15-21

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As I finished my last 21- Day Meditation Experience I began to reflect on the reasons I wrote this blog in the first place. On the last day of the Experience Deepak said “Letting go is a choice. If you can forgive, you can trust. Clinging to the past is your separate self.” And the most powerful statement to me.. “Forgiveness is the natural state of a self aware person no longer burdened by the past.” Forgiveness does not come easily to me. I tend to hang on to grudges until they eat me alive. Deepak says “When remembering the past, you relive it again. If you are present that won’t happen. Old hurts feel toxic in our expanded awareness. Forgiveness stops being a problem because there is nothing left to forgive.” It took me such a long time to figure out that when I stayed angry at someone for something they did, I wasn’t hurting or affecting them in any way. It just ate at me, not them. This is something I work on all the time. I tend to be highly emotional so everything I feel is at a very high level. The good, the bad and the ugly. I don’t hide emotions well. If I’m feeling it then pretty much everyone around me is clued into how I feel. When I realized I could learn to “let go” of those past hurts that really opened me up to how much better I could feel. And isn’t THAT what this journey of mine is all about? Feeling the best I can and living my life! Why would I want to hang on to all that STUFF? Do you ever notice how you feel when you relive a moment from your past? It’s like I’m there all over again. The pain, the tears, a knot in my stomach. It’s awful. There are positive outcomes to these events. I know that my ability to be self-sufficient and have a strong work ethic all came out of how early I was making decisions for myself. Which was about 18 years old. I didn’t have any financial ties to my parents so I was making all the decisions regarding college, where I lived, my healthcare, where I went and what I did, everything. Most decisions were not good by the way! Ha! BUT I know that my work ethic is 100% from how I grew up. So, there is good that comes from every situation! The point is not to dwell on the hurts of our past, but to forgive and look for the good that may have come out of it.

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Do you find it difficult to forgive? Try to let go of those feelings and see how it feels. I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Thanks for being here!


Do you hear me?

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Day 13

I used to think I was a good listener. Like, a really good listener. I’m not sure why I thought this other than maybe I just seemed to be one. And people tended to unload on me and I didn’t stop them. But newsflash I wasn’t! Deepak explains that there are three levels to Deep Listening that allows us to be heard.

Listen with our ears
Listen with our minds
Listen to hear with complete awareness and intimacy

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So, clearly I was not doing all of that. But I notice now, I find it much easier to really listen when people talk to me. I’m no longer half listening and waiting to speak. There is a HUGE difference. I actually ask questions now. Before I would have just started talking when it was my turn with no recognition for what the other person just said. There is no love in that. I have to say this came naturally with the clarity that overcame me in my journey. This wasn’t something that happen right away when I started meditating, or stopped drinking, or right when I began to feel better or any of the other things I did to better my life. It was probably a year or so into feeling good. I was driving on the highway on my way to my yoga class and I just had a moment of pure clarity when I realized I could feel and see everything differently. I felt very alive. The music I was listening to, the clouds in the sky, the sun shining, all of it felt very different. Not only that but it was like I was seeing life with new eyes. I was calm, happy and clear. I wondered in that moment if most people live that way on a daily basis and I was just not aware for a very long time. I don’t know. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m so “clean” now. The no alcohol, no caffeine, etc. combined with the meditation, yoga, volunteering, friendships that all came together to make that happen. I’m not sure. But it was a moment of awareness that I’ll never forget.

In my notes from this day I wrote the following:

I need to pay closer attention when family members talks to me. Sometimes when they are talking a lot I tune her out.

The second part of my journaling was notes about a friend who was truly a good listener. I could learn a lot from her.

She listens, asks questions and follows up with questions days later. Shows she cares.

And third I wrote.

I want more. I have energy. I’m ready.

That’s powerful.

This week ask yourself if you are fully present when in conversation with others. What could you do to be more present for those around you? I’d love to hear your comments. Thank you for being here!


Dynamic Life vs Active Life

Day 11/12

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I’ve talked before about Emotional Contagion, and in some ways the energy you bring into a room take on the same contagiousness. Deepak says “When you walk into a room, you bring your energy with you. Everyone can feel it. We choose what we send into the world.” Deepak explains the difference between a Dynamic Life vs an Active Life. A lot of us have Active Lives (mental activities and rushing around and ending up feeling empty). In a Dynamic Life there is a purpose to your energy.

This got me thinking of my own life before and after my injury. I most definitely had the Active life prior to my injury.. rushing, rushing, rushing with no meaning. Very self-centered. Now I have a much more Dynamic Life which I have built over the last few years to include all the things that have meaning and give me joy. It’s a completely different life.

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How was I choosing to show up? What kind of energy was I bringing into the room. We have to own that. We are responsible for it. When someone unleashes their negative energy you can feel it. So, next I was to make a list of how I wanted to show up from now on. Here we go.

Open
Warm
Friendly
Kind
Asking Questions
Talking to Everyone
Be Involved
Be Authentic to Who I am
Engaging
Positive
Complimentary

I try to run through a version of this list before I walk into an exercise class, meeting up with friends, going to events, talking on the phone and even just going grocery shopping! ANYWHERE I will be seeing people. Even in my own home. If I don’t, it’s so easy to fall into being with myself only and cutting everyone off. I can even feel when my energy is like that so I KNOW others around me are feeling it and that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid.

This week try making a list of how you would like to show up in your life. Keep it somewhere you will see it until it becomes a habit to run through it mentally before engaging with others! I would love to see your lists! Thank you for being here!


You Can’t Attract What You Don’t Have

Day 9/10

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What I learned about the Law of Attraction is that “you can’t attract what you don’t have.” As Oprah would say. It took me a while to figure this one out. If you look at this through the eyes of relationships, as I was at this time in my Meditation Experience, then for me to have what I want out of my relationships which was support, listening, being open minded to new ideas and different ways of thinking, kindness, deep conversations and someone to share all my favorite things.

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Deepak says “ You attract what you are.” There’s so much there. What are you? How do you behave? If I wanted people in my life to behave as I stated above then I would need to behave that way too so I could attract it into my life. Deepak also says “We radiate what we want to bring into our lives and what we seek out is seeking you.” I’ve talked about the Law of Attraction in earlier posts, but here I’m specifically talking about relationships. If I don’t show the people in my life the kind of love and support I want than why should I expect it back? This is a great reminder when I may get irritated with someone in my family for not supporting me or not listening. But when I turn that back on myself, I can ask, have I been supportive to them? Have I been listening?

Once we understand this we can see the Law of Attraction working in our lives. If you want to know more about the Law of Attraction you can read more here https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-law-of-attraction-exp_b_8430270.

This week think about what you want to attract into the relationships in your life and ask yourself if you are what you want to attract. What could you do differently to attract what you want in your relationships?


Like a Roadmap to My Life

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Day 5/6

“Fear of accepting that I’m just not as “book-smart” as some others.” This was what I wrote about myself on Day 5. Not having a degree would sometimes make me feel like an outcast in social situations where I live, as we have the most degreed population in the country. It gets very uncomfortable. Especially depending on the crowd I’m around at the moment. Deepak says “true self esteem means to rest in the self.” Our self image is built over the years and to the ego our self image is everything.

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Next I was to make a list of positive attributes about myself. Don’t judge! This is just the feelings I had at the time and based on my life experiences.

Motivated
Organized
Honest
Caring
Green Eyes
Pretty/Nice Figure
Reader
Varied Interests
Take Good Care of Myself
Good Mother
Responsible
Empathetic

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Making a list like that was not something I’d ever done before (or since!) It does make you quite uncomfortable to start. What great things can I say about myself?! Not something I do! But why not? Just looking at the list I feel proud of who I am. Ok, so I don’t have my degree. But that does not mean I’m not intelligent. Life circumstances stopped me in my tracks while I was in college and I never finished. Life changed again and a few years ago I did earn my Holistic Health Certification and I’m really proud of that. When I finished my certification I was overwhelmed with ideas of what I wanted to do. I wanted and still want to do it ALL!Should I pursue a job working for a doctor? Should I do one-on-one coaching? Should I do group coaching? Seminars? Or online coaching? The list goes on and on. Then during this mediation series I had an a-ha moment where I decided what I wanted to do first was write a book and tell my story. I wrote in my notebook:

“I feel the need to get it all out there to help others. I dream of being an author and someone that can help others with my story. I have no experience in writing but I’m doing it anyway. I just have this pull to do it and get all the words out. There is a story there. Write a book and share it on my blog.”

Well, there is it. I had my answer of what I was going to do! These meditation experiences have been revolutionary and truly life changing. It’s made me think through every problem or opportunity in my life. Working through the journaling at the end of each session really got to the core of my BEING. And the words would flow out like a roadmap to my life. I really believe that.

This week try making a list of all of your positive attributes and see how it feels! I’d love to hear how it goes! Don’t forget to comment! Thanks for being here!


Spiritual Friendships

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Day 5

The last day of my Meditation Workshop was all about relationships. Specifically friendships and romantic relationships. Similarly to building your tribe, but more focused on actually pursuing the relationships and friendships you want in your life.

Because of this idea, I notice I’m always “on alert” when meeting new people. I’m looking for signs that we have similarities. It could be social justice or mindfulness or any one of many things. I recently met a woman at work who I connected with INSTANTLY. And not because I knew so much about her, but she matched my energy. Which is rare. I feel like I have a ton of energy, I talk a lot and I’m a doer. So, when I find someone who speaks animatedly like I do, I’m like a moth to a flame! And after talking for only a few minutes, we were exchanging contact information. I don’t see her often, but when I do, we greet each other with hugs and begin talking so much we lose track of what else is going on around us. THIS is a spiritual friendship. Just one example of one though. Another lightening bolt friendship happened while I was attending an event for an organization I volunteer with when I got to talking to a woman I’ve only talked to in passing once or twice. Again, she matched my energy immediately, but this time it turns out we are incredibly alike. Maybe more alike than any other friend I’ve made in many, many years. We became good friends shortly after! These are the people to surround yourself with. I’m aware that I cannot and should not be pushy. Friendships either happen or they don’t, but engaging is key. You will not curate your tribe if you don’t get out there and meet people and then talk to them, with meaning. So, what I do now, that I NEVER would have done before, is start to invite these people I’ve met to get together as soon as I see or hear of something I know they would be interested in. Or just lunch, as soon as possible! I can’t tell you how rewarding this is. These kinds of friendships are SO DIFFERENT from the friends you make because you both have kids on the same sports team or in the same classroom. Maybe that’s all you have in common! The question to ask yourself is “Who do I want to bring into my life as a friend who shares similar values?” Life changing.

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I’m not expert on romance or intimacy but there were a few nuggets to take here. The idea is that most couples feel disconnected in some way and they want to be closer. We are connected but separate. If you want more connection you have to act that way. There’s a revelation! Yes, this is something Gretchen Rubin says about with happiness or confidence, etc. She says “Act the way you want to feel.” By the way, this REALLY works. If you haven’t tried it, I say give it a go. It’s kind of like fake it til you make it. Eventually, you will truly catch up to feel like what you were doing to “fake it.” A couple of other takeaways I found helpful were the following.

Precision – Pay attention to the other person. Have good manners. Be thoughtful and honest.

Openness – Equal importance is given to you and the other person.

Romance – Romance ends. But you can increase intimacy. It has no end.

I have to say these are ALL works in progress for me. I’ve been married to a great guy for 24 years and in that time I may have lapsed on a couple of these to say the least. I also think just that fact that our kids are older now and we can start spending some time away together resolves a lot of these issues. We can now plan a hike or movie without thinking about who am I driving where today. Because they all drive themselves! My life is not their life anymore. In some ways, that makes me want to cry! On the other hand, life is changing and our relationship is changing too. And that’s a good thing.

Have you built spiritual friendships? Are you wanting to connect in your romantic relationships? Try the following;

Seek out friendships with people with similar values, who enjoy the things you enjoy and align yourself with those people.

Take the initiative to meet up with these new friends. Don’t wait!

In your romantic relationships, try paying attention to the other person, being honest and thoughtful.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for being here!


Mind, Body, Spirit

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Day 3/4

We have all seen the positive slogans. They abound everywhere. You have these slogans on your phone, on your water bottle, on your clothes, just about anywhere. But, unless you have done the work behind the slogan, what does it really mean? Not a heck of a lot. If you stare at a post-it note on your mirror that says “Be Grateful”. Are you really going to be more grateful? I would think not. But if you have a daily gratitude practice and then you see your post-it on the mirror, the reminder has much more significance. You can feel it, not just read it.

Deepak says if we take care of our mind, body and spirit everyday our relationships will blossom. I find that to be so true. This was a reminder to me to pay attention to the intentions I set for myself and re-evaluate. I set the following self-care goals for myself:

Extend my meditation practice to 15 minutes a day

Stay hydrated – track again

Monitor sleep habits – get 7 hours/night

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At this point I was meditating regularly in the morning for about 5-10 minutes. I had done a few longer sessions, but now I wanted to progress my practice. This took a little longer to get comfortable with. I bounced around with different guided mediations, I tried just music, until I eventually found a few I really enjoyed. Now I’d say my practice flows between 15-20 minutes depending on the day.

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Staying hydrated was a goal that I was tracking in my planner. Somewhere along the line I stopped, so in this case, it was obvious to me that I needed to track it to accomplish it. I still do this daily. Between my morning hot green tea, cold green tea after my workout and water in the afternoon, I get it all in.

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I’ve never been one to have much trouble getting to or staying asleep. Only when I was in pain did I have trouble. But because I’m an early riser I need to stay on track with my bedtime. If I stay up past 9:30 I feel it the next day. I have a daily alarm set for 4:45am which gives me just over 7 hours of sleep. I know my body doesn’t need more than that because I couldn’t sleep much longer even if I wanted to. My body likes to be up doing in the morning! Before I started monitoring my sleep I was in the 7 hour range, but I had noticed I had too many nights where I was at 5 hours. I can function, but not well. I become irritable and I make mistakes. Having a clear bedtime made this all much easier.

This week take a look at your self-care routine. Do you have one? If not think about what you could do for yourself. If you already have one, maybe revisit it and see where you can jump back in or tweak it someway. Thanks for being here!


True Self

Day 1/2

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I began my fourth Meditation Experience in July of 2019. This was my forth go around and was excited to get started. This time the focus was on relationships. I needed to work in some of these area more than others. And to be clear, relationships were an area that needed some work for sure.

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Deepak says “We are not our feelings. Our true selves are always fully awake”. I’ve heard this before explained as “we are not our thoughts.” Being authentic has been a focus for me ever since I started learning from Brene Brown, Deepak Chopra and Gretchen Rubin. How much time did I waste not being authentic? And surrounding myself with those who I truly had no connection with and not really enjoying the things that I loved and made me happy?

There was a time when I would meet someone new and I would hear myself edit my conversation as I’m speaking! Maybe not tell the entirety of my story. And for what? What does not being authentic do for me? I think I’m meeting someone new, I’m looking for that bond or I’m thinking this could be a new friendship so don’t scare them away! Ha! When I stopped doing that, suddenly I had the best friendships I’d had in a long time. The right people just fell into my life. If I fall in that trap I stop and correct it, being my true self instead. There are places where I’m ALWAYS my true self. With my family, when writing, at yoga, and with my new friends. And it goes hand in hand with feeling my best.

Do you feel like you are your authentic self when meeting new people? This week try and catch yourself when you hear yourself not being authentic. You will be so happy with the results and the people you attract into your life! Thanks for being here!