Favorite and Life Changing Podcasts

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Are you a podcast listener? I LOVE podcasts. My addiction started slow, but once I found ones I loved I became hooked. There are podcasts for any niche thing you are into. I find I would much rather spend time listening to something that really resonates with me or be learning something over most (not all) of the mindless shows on television.

I have many favorites that have either helped me in some way, or I’ve learned something from or I just flat out find them entertaining! I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

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Personal Development/Health and Wellness

Happier with Gretchen Rubin/Happier in Hollywood
Goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of her work. This show has all three of things I was talking about. I learn little tips and tricks to use in my life, it’s helped me to focus on what is important and it’s super entertaining. It’s where I began my second Happiness Project that sent everything in motion for me and how I started my “18 for 2018” lists and every year after.

Happier in Hollywood is Gretchen’s sister Elizabeth’s podcast that she does with her TV writing partner Sara Fain. In the same vein as Happier but with the twist of life in LA as TV writers.

Balanced Bites
This one is no longer producing new episodes but you can still access all the previous years of content. This was PERFECT for me when I began my paleo lifestyle. Diane SanFilippo and Liz Wolfe are just a fountain of knowledge when it comes to clean eating.

The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Mark Hyman
This took my knowledge of wellness and food to a whole other level. His guests are top-notch! He goes beyond just “what should we eat”. He dives into climate change, farming, mindfulness, mental illness, social justice and list goes on. He has truly opened my eyes to the BIGGER picture and has inspired me to get involved with food advocacy. Future project!

Infinite Potential with Deepak Chopra
Another teacher/mentor I have learned so much from . With all of his 21-day Meditation Experiences I did, this was a no brainer. Every week Deepak interviews a guest to discuss everything mind, body, spirit and beyond.

Ten Percent Happier
If you are familiar with Dan Harris from ABC News you are probably already aware of this podcast. Every week he interviews a mediation teacher or leader. I always come away inspired and motivated and I learn something new every single time.

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
It’s Oprah! What’s not to love? I’m a fan of SuperSoul Conversations on TV but if I miss the episodes, I can always find them here.

The Sheri and Nancy Show
If you are a woman 40+ I guarantee you will find this show not only relatable but entertaining! Sheri spent most of her career as Oprah’s producer and now with her friend Nancy they are working on their “pillars” for all of us to hear and learn from. This show is great. It’s all about the second half of life. Sheri is 60 and has no intention of slowing into retirement. What keeps you alive are all the things I talk about on my blog and on this show they are sharing what happens as they work on all of those things. This show gave me a total mindset shift. When I was approaching 50, I kept thinking, I can’t believe I finally figured out how to live and it’s almost over. I was sad about that for a while, but after listening to this podcast I have a whole new attitude. When I tell people my age I also add that “I’m only half way” and that’s how I view it. I’m in the second HALF. When I reframed it, I now think, “ wow, there’s SO much I want to do and I have the time to do it. Life is good”. But it doesn’t magically happen on it’s own. If you don’t work on all aspects of your life you won’t get there or if you do you probably won’t feel so great and will be force to stop “living”. See my post on my Wellness Wheel to see the areas I’m working on for longevity. Another way I’ve heard it described is “training for the centurion olympics”. I love that. If you want to get to 100 AND feel good you absolutely must train NOW. Ok, that was a lot on one podcast! Update: This podcast is no longer producing new episodes, but the old ones are there for you.

Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson
Think of Dr. Hanson as a kind of Mr. Rogers for adults. He is SO CALMING. And extremely knowledgeable. His show focuses on mindfulness, compassion and happiness and all the science behind it. I find it fascinating.

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Personal Finance

HerMoney with Jean Chatzky
You may know Jean Chatzky from the Today show or Oprah. When I decided to truly get our finances in order I began listening to MANY personal finance podcasts. Some stuck and some didn’t. This one stuck. It’s informative and practical and she always has interesting guests. I needed a lot of help in this area. I knew NOTHING about personal finance and money in general. I was starting at ground zero. I’m so much more literate now. This podcast was only a very small part of my learning. I went to our local library and checked out every basic personal finance book and read them all. I found a budgeting method that works for me and now I work on our finances every single day. But the podcast keeps it in the forefront of my mind.

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Music (aka podcasts that makes me happy)

Disgraceland
Stories of rock stars behaving badly told by Jake Brennan. Not for the faint of heart. Some of these stories are just outrageous. But that’s what it is to be a rock star. Personally, I can’t get enough.

My Favorite Album with Jeremy Dylan
Great concept for a music podcast. Jeremy invites a musician to discuss their favorite album song by song. A lot of fun to hear what these artists favorite albums are and why.

27 Club
Another darker podcast from Jake Brennan. This focuses an entire season to one artist that passed away at 27 years old. I love a podcast that takes a deep dive and this one definitely does.

Rolling Stone Music Now
From Rolling Stone magazine. The best interviews and music journalists in one place. I love their conversations and find myself laughing all the time.

80’s Music Exposed
This is a fun one! Especially if you grew up in the 80’s like me. This is a monthly podcast where they discuss the albums that came out in the 80’s in order by month. It’s really fun to hear some of this music again and to hear the critiques. The two guys are musicians and also around my age so I like hearing their opinions about what they liked then and now and what holds up and what doesn’t.

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Random

You Must Remember This
Probably the most well done, entertaining, informative podcast I listen to. Karina Longworth hosts this podcast about old classic Hollywood. These stories are FASCINATING! The best part about this podcast and what makes it unique is that she doesn’t just pick random stories. She selects a subject and then goes deep. Truly better than anything on TV. This podcast along with Disgraceland have won a couple of awards and you can tell why when you start listening. They are just on a different level and it’s obvious the work that went into them.

The Librarian is In
The New York Public Library has a podcast of book recommendations and what I love about this podcast is how it’s relaxed, but intelligent. I’ve tried other book related podcasts and they are either stuffy or just someone reading a list of recommendations and info off the book jacket. These are two employees of the library who come to discuss one book that each of them read. The conversation always takes a turn into something else. It’s just conversation. I love it. It’s funny, emotional and educational. And very New York.

Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda
I’ve always liked Alan Alda. Smart and funny, just seems like a great guy. And loved watching him on MASH. I didn’t know until recently about his interview podcast. All the guest are well know and when Alda interviews them, it’s a sincere, thoughtful and intelligent conversation. Reminds me of BBC’s Desert Island Discs if you’ve ever listened to that podcast.

Lost at the Smithsonian
Assif Mandvi takes us to the Smithsonian Museum to explain the importance of one object in the museum per episode. He interviews the staff as well and those who are knowledgeable about the history of the object. This one is so fun to listen to partly because Assif is so funny. One of my favorites was Henry Winkler’s Fonzi jacket from Happy Days. His interview with Henry Winkler was just heart warming. Another favorite was Dorothy’s red ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Give it a try!

Listening to podcasts about things you are interested in or want to learn from can help you achieve all your goals. By listening regularly you will keep everything that is important to you at the forefront of your mind and help you stay on track. Win-win.

I’d love to hear your podcast recommendations! Thanks for being here!


What I learned

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Day 16-21

Wrapping up my 21-Day Meditation Experience these last few days I realized how much I had learned and grown in my practice. Being grateful was so much more than writing down five things every night. That part of my practice is solid and the base of everything else, but what I’ve learned is to “sit in those feelings” when they are happening. Take the time to really feel the joy and gratitude when things are going well. If you don’t feel it and you are just writing things down, it won’t have the same effect on your brain. And I do have memories from the past that are so good and so vivid that I can still feel them. Events big and small. Big events like when my children were born of course or that feeling of falling in love when my husband and I were dating. But small things too. I vividly remember a day in my early twenties. At this time I was living close to the beach and occasionally I would ride my bike from my apartment to the beach and bike along the strand to the next beach town and back to my apartment. This day in particular is a great memory for me and I can’t explain why other than I remember feeling extremely independent and free. I can still remember how the sun felt so warm that day and I also remembering feeling strong. I was working out regularly but biking was new for me. I LOVED it.

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There were many lessons for me in this meditation experience, but it also made me glaringly aware of how much I judge. (see last week’s post) Awareness is key. This is something I’m now working on more than ever. I’m an enneagram one, the Reformer, so by nature I like to “fix things”. That includes myself and others. If you aren’t familiar with the enneagram, it’s not exactly a personality test, it’s more your true nature. I’m all about self knowledge! If you want to know more about the enneagram, you can read more here.
https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions

One of my favorite quotes from Deepak during these last few sessions was “I am consciousness that accepts life with wisdom”. It was time to take what I learned into my life!

I’d love to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!


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!


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!


My Time, Your Time, and Our Time

Day 12

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According to Deepak Chopra, we all have our own rhythm. We can’t and shouldn’t expect others to be in our rhythm. The ego tells us “our time is better” but we do need to respect each other’s styles. And when we come together those differences go away and the attention needs to be on “us”, not “me.”

In my notebook I have a three things listed under My Time:

Sketching
Reading
Meditating

We all know what happen with sketching! (see previous post) My intentions were good. I tried it and it didn’t stick. That’s ok. If I was to do this exercise today I would replace sketching with yoga or journaling.

Reading is a mainstay in my life and a BIG priority. It gets A LOT of my free time because I get so much happiness from reading and everything to do with reading. Like, browsing the library, reading book reviews, going to author talks and signings, going to books stores, talking to others about books.. it goes on and on.

And the last area I wrote in my notebook to under My Time was meditation. Another non-negotiable. I make sure I have my meditation time early in the morning when no one else is awake and there are no distractions. It’s by far my favorite part of my day. I know I’m doing so much good for myself. Changing those pathways in my brain!!!

For Your Time, I couldn’t choose what my husband does with his free time, I just know that he needs to choose that for himself. Most of the time he will choose golf. He enjoys it because he’s in outdoors in nature, walking, and playing a sport he loves. If not golfing, the other activity he chooses for his free time is running. As long as he has his time to do his thing, all is good.

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Then there is Our Time. I’ve talked about this before too, but our dates mostly consist of seeing concerts and other musical events. We are BIG music people. I didn’t realize how big until recently. I thought, “doesn’t everyone want to go to as many concerts as possible?!” No, they don’t, actually. Ha! Well, these are our dates most of the time. He enjoys eating out way more than I do. When restaurants catch up to what healthy eating consists of, I’ll venture out again. There are a few places doing it right, but not many. I like knowing what’s in my food these days.

Do you have scheduled time to yourself? Try the following:

Make a list of three or four things you want to do with YOUR time.

If you are in a relationship, what are the things you could or want to do with OUR time?

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


21 Day Meditation Experience Round 3 – Energize Your Life

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At this point I was ready to dive into my next 21 Day Meditation Experience with Deepak Chopra. I had gained SO MUCH insight into my own self I was excited to keep going. This session’s topic was called Energize Your Life – Secrets to a Youthful Spirit. When we think of energy we typically think of food fueling us up to give us energy. But Deepak explains there are actually four types of energy. They are; Physical (moving), Mental (understanding), Emotional (caring) and Spiritual (meditation).

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I am a pretty enthusiastic, high energy person. That’s because I’ve learned to put things in place in my life that give me energy, not deplete it. For example, I’ve already talked many times about finding my tribe and taking toxic people out of my life. After I’ve met up with girlfriends for lunch or a movie or whatever, my energy is through the roof. Literally. I feel like I’ve had 10 cups of coffee, I’m smiling and I feel like I can take on anything. I try to maintain some type of connection with my friends once a week. I’ll send a quick text and see if someone wants to meet up or if I see an event I want to go to I immediately think of which friends in my life would most enjoy it and start contacting them to get it on the calendar!

I always had this tendency, but ever since I began this journey and started working on myself I’ve discovered I’m overflowing with energy. Even though, I’m an Upholder (see previous posts about The Four Tendencies), I did not always want or do the right things to maintain the energy I wanted in my life.

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According to Deepak, meditation increases and renews our energy. There are a couple of places in my life where I practice meditation and all of them clear my head in a way that gives me spiritual energy. First is my morning meditation at home, second is my yoga practice and third is my soul writing (more to come on that later!). All three of these practices makes it possible for me to move through my day without stress and worry.

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On the other hand, there are a few things that challenge my energy levels. First is cloudy weather. I know that sounds like a small thing, but more now than ever, the weather has a huge impact on how I feel. If I wake up to a warm sunny day I feel a surge of energy and happiness. I’m happy just to go to the grocery store!! Just to be out in the bright, warm sun feels so good to me! But an overcast day can kill my mood, so best bet for me to counteract this is to meet up with a friend or go exercise in some form, preferably outside. One thing I haven’t done yet but want to, is to purchase a sun lamp for home. I feel like it would be good to have during our cold Northern Virginia winters.

How are your energy levels? Start noting what depletes and energizes you. Try the following:

Meet up with friends that raise your energy level, not deplete it.

Exercise. Preferably outdoors.

Meditation regularly.


Say Yes to Life!

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Today focuses on playful manifestation. Deepak talks about “saying yes”, which is one of my happiness goals that I wrote about earlier. Here I got a much better understanding of why this is so important.

According to Deepak, “To be carefree is to trust the universe to take care of everything.” For an Upholder like me this seems to be an impossible task. I like controlling situations. Being “carefree” was not in my vocabulary. To be honest, I spent my whole life up to this point doing the exact opposite. Never in the flow, always worrying and trying to control outcomes. Desperate and uptight = disappointment. There’s a slogan for your fridge! And a good reminder!

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Deepak says when we let go of resistance to life it amplifies the law of attraction. I find this to be true. Letting go is a constant struggle for me, although I am MUCH improved. For example, as I write this my 19 year old son is planning his 4 month study abroad trip to Prague. The old me would be literally SICK with worry. All of the horrific scenarios worked up and spinning through my head on a daily basis. I would have been losing sleep, researching the area intently and constantly “talking” it over with my husband. I have done NONE of that. I’m trusting that things will be just fine. Because, if I was to apply my ABCDE strategies here, I would come to the conclusion that the facts would be on my side and I didn’t have much to worry about. That being said, as we get closer, I will have a talk with him about safety and we will be sure he has everything he needs. And then I will let go! Life is so much better this way. Both physically and mentally!

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Are you someone who is naturally carefree? Do you aspire to be so? Try saying yes to whatever comes your way and see how your life opens up and the law of attraction starts working. Try letting go of controlling outcomes and situations. Let me know how it goes! Thanks for being here!


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!


Are your beliefs serving you?

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Day 8-12

Living Manifestation! I LOVED this lesson. So much to dive into here! Deepak says if we live our lives with anxiety and depression, flow doesn’t happen. He says “If you believe life is stacked against you, you will create an inner conflict” Basically, you get more of what you focus on… law of attraction. He says we should “choose a lifestyle that is open, low stress, humble, conscious and self aware.” I love that. Being that I was depressed from my situation, I had a serious blockage. There was no way that I was sending out the kind of energy that was going to bring me what I truly wanted. I had to choose a lifestyle that reflected what I wanted.

My focus was to make good lifestyle choices going forward. Having INTENTION. So important. So, to get it out of the way because I don’t like focusing on the negative, here is what I listed as my “bad” lifestyle choices at the time:

  • Wasting time
  • Too much time of my phone

Not getting up as early as I should (Remember, getting up “late” for me is like 7am. So, to put this in perspective, I NOW get up at 5am everyday. Occasionally, I’ll swing 30 minutes one way or the other depending on the day.)

My “good” lifestyle choices at the time were the following:

  • Eating well
  • Meditating
  • Reading
  • Exercise
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All good choices I continue to the this day. These are built into my daily schedule. I make it happen as a part of life now. There is time. You may think you don’t have time, but it’s amazing what can happen when we cut out or down the time killers. TV, phone, sleeping late for example. The first few hours of my day are SO productive. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Are you feeling like some area of your lifestyle is causing a “blockage?” If so, try looking areas you are doing well and what area’s you feel like could be causing that blockage. And most importantly LET GO of beliefs that are no longer serving you!

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