Category Archives: awareness

5 Things I’m Doing For Myself

1- Use only the most helpful and positive technology.  Last month I downloaded the Insight Timer, an app for meditation.  It’s become very important to me that I do some group meditations now and again.  Through the Insight Timer app, I joined a Global Meditation Group that periodically meditates for planetary peace and well-being.  Plus I’ve created a few meditation presets with and without background sound, with varying time limits.  And, I’m connecting with people all over the world.  Technology is here and I’m good with technology if we can use it to support ourselves.  https://insighttimer.com/

2-Join groups for support.  There are a few meditation groups in my area and I’ve been sitting in on their group meditations, in-person (not virtually, as with the app I just mentioned).  I found all of these meditation groups on Meetup.  And all are based on mindfulness meditation practices.  Most of these groups have someone who leads the meditation, offers a message that we can then offer our response to.  We share how we feel and, from listening, we can become more clear.  Plus, I just like the connection I feel from a group meditation.  https://www.meetup.com/

3-Play.  I just finished an art class in pastels, a new medium for me to learn.  Every time I play with art I have to learn that it’s not about striving for more talent in an effort to become an accomplished artist, but more to let go, have fun and play.  This is a good way to feel about art because it takes me away from comparisons, from negative self-talk and instead, I learn to see something beautiful in what I create.  Self-deprecation is not a friend.  Humility is an admirable characteristic, but only to a point.  I’m all in favor of looking at our art, our music, whatever our passion is, and to recognize the awesomeness of what we’re creating, regardless of how it compares to others.

Speaking of creating…

4-From dawdling to prioritizing.  When I doubt myself, get scared, I can procrastinate which way the hair blows down the back of a gnat’s ass.  However, what I really want is to continue taking steps to create my dreams and ideas.  I have a habit of first cleaning the house, then cooking, maybe paying bills, running errands, and then, if there’s time, working on my ideas.  Rather, on a good day, when I prioritize first what my passion is, I’m sending a message to both the universe and to myself that my dream is important.  The more I prioritize my dreams, the more I open to the next steps to act on my ideas.  I begin to receive assistance in all kinds of ways.  And, I’ve asked for assistance when stuck in procrastination mode.  Even as I’m dawdling, I’ll ask for assistance for moving forward, and an opportunity will show up gently encouraging me forward.

5-Practice awareness.  Becoming aware of how assistance is coming through for me.  Becoming aware of my self-talk and thoughts.  Especially becoming aware of my heart as I meditate, as I meet with someone, even as I’m out doing something as mundane as grocery shopping.  Ok, I’m human so I’m not aware all the time, but I am more and more, and it’s making a positive difference in my life from the way I hold myself to the connection I feel.  This past week, I was at a holiday party for a wonderful non-profit, and as their volunteers were being recognized, I stood there watching and thinking “May everyone feel peace, love, support, and a sense of cooperation, and collaboration”.   To me, they’ve been creating exactly that, peace, love, support, cooperation, and collaboration.  It was kind of a metta (loving kindness) meditation while standing in a room full of people.  And then a funny thing happened, my raffle ticket won the big raffle prize and I was shaken out of my reverie big time.  In the next moment I was thanking people, shaking hands, and having my photo taken and walked away with a high-end sailing jacket.  For a long minute (maybe two hours or so), I felt guilty for winning that jacket because I only volunteered one to three times for that organization.  My husband had to talk me off the ledge by reminding me it was a raffle ticket that anyone was able to win, any active volunteer like himself, or a non-volunteer, anyone who attended the party.  I kicked my guilt to the curb, allowed myself to be thankful for winning the lovely gift, shut-up, and enjoyed the moment.

One more thing, and this brings it to six, not five, but who’s counting?

6-Watch less TV!  My husband and I have really gotten into a rut of watching TV.  Granted, they’re not violent shows, but there’s usually something upsetting happening at some point.  night-television-tv-theme-machinesHere’s the deal.  My brain or body doesn’t know the difference between real life and the make-believe lives on TV.  So when I watch a TV show and get attached to the characters and the story lines, it’s like it’s really happening.  The emotions I feel, the tension in my body, are a result of watching the show.  What’s worse, later on I may still think about it as I fall asleep, or when I wake up.  That’s why I watch the news almost not at all.  It stays with me and revisits me, visually and emotionally, until I feel dis-empowered, depressed, and hopeless and then I’m no good to anyone.  It’s important to remember that everything has an energy,  and what we take into our bodies affects us visually, emotionally, and physically.  In our world, when my husband and I watch TV, one of us isn’t playing guitar, the other isn’t painting, we’re not sitting in front of the fire listening to music, or talking to each other.  TV is a time suck and we have too many interests for time sucks.  It rarely adds to my life, and it’s addictive.  pexels-photo-688019So, in an effort to get back to a good balance, we just finished eating our chili in front of the fire, and I’m now writing this post in front of the fire.  The TV is in the other room, and it’s off.

 

Our moods have a lot to do with how we are being and what we’re creating.  Can you think about how you’re supporting yourself (or not) by your patterns and habits?  It’s so worth a look.  Little steps can make a huge difference in our lives.  It’s fun to learn how we can create big change in our lives, from taking small positive steps.

 

 

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I recently met Joy

Do you ever feel that you’re all in your head, thinking about this or that?  Oh, I sure do.  I wonder about and consider things so much, that I tend to go seriously serious.  Granted, while a lot of what I’m considering is fascinating and worthy of much consideration, it’s not my intention, but my “thinkiness” holds me back and dampens my mood.  It’s impossible for me to be both analytical and joyful at the same time.  Knowing this, I head off to my favorite local hiking trail to enjoy myself.  IMG_9188 copy

Still pondering universal naval fluff, I focused on my breathing and on navigating my way around the newer trails.  On my return route I saw a man and his puppy heading my way.  The minute I saw the puppy I felt my heart jump.  He was happy to see me too.  He jumped up licking my hand, did a couple of pirouettes, jumped up and licked my hand again.  It was a love fest.  I chatted for a couple of minutes with his person while I petted this adorable puppy.  It was time to continue in our opposite directions.  After a couple of steps, I looked back and saw the puppy had stopped and was looking at me.  He seemed to be wondering “you’re not coming with us”?  I said goodbye and turned back to my walk.  I never asked his person what the puppy’s name was, but I would have named him Joy.  Imagine people asking what’s your dog’s name and answering “this is Joy”!   Joy showed up at just the right time, excitedly encouraging me to get out of my head and to choose lightheartedness.

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We Contribute, One Thought at a Time

In spite of all the tragedies, natural disasters, polarization, political controversies, including corporate, political, and personal abuse, I still believe each of us everyday, seemingly ordinary human beings, are bringing about more peace, love, and light, in the world.

I don’t own a major company, and most people don’t even know I’m on the planet, but I feel I’m doing my part.  I certainly didn’t wow the educational system or set the corporate world on fire, but in my own way I know I’m contributing.  I have a small following, but I’m still making my impact.   Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to find the most eloquent words to write or to speak, but still I believe I’m able to make a difference.  Everyone makes a difference in the world.  Everyone.

I really believe we beneficially contribute to the world even more so through feeding our spirit by doing what brings us joy, and living from lighter and higher emotions.  As each of us create avenues for positive change in ourselves, all of humanity benefits as well.

Every time we laugh we make a contribution to the collective consciousness.  Every time we’re inspired by a work of art, a book, a film, a conversation, our resulting inspired thoughts and feelings ripple out to all.  When we choose to think a beautiful thought, among so many other kinds of thoughts we could choose to think, we’re contributing to mankind.  When I cook one of my vegan meals and my husband opts in and valiantly eats every bite out of love, he’s contributing because he’s melting my heart with every bite.  No moment is too silly or insignificant.

Most everyone knows that kindness towards someone else, directly contributes to whom the kindness is directed to.  But it’s easy to forget to be kind to ourselves, especially when things get tough.  Self-kindness is a gift to ourselves.  It’s also a gift to others because the beneficial feelings ripple out to all.  How we feel as we go about our day, touches many.  How we’re spending our time.  Joyful, fun, interesting, rewarding?  Or, do we feel constricted?  What are our feelings telling us?  What kinds of thoughts are we holding?  Are they positive or negative thoughts?  What kinds of words are we using?  Lighthearted, humorous, or inspiring, or negative, self-deprecating, or limiting?  Are we taking action on our dreams?   What kinds of habits do we have?

As we become aware of ourselves, open to our light and personal strength, we can’t help but consciously create a more loving, compassionate, joyful experience for ourselves, and the world.  Each of us becomes a light for each other.

For me, the higher I take my feelings by honoring myself with better thoughts and habits, the less I want to name-call any name-callers, or hate the haters.  It also seems especially counter-intuitive to me, to tear down those that tear down others.

I can’t think of a better time for more and more of us to realize our self-worth, our strength, our personal power.  We hold back and hope that someone more qualified, more awesome, more special, more divine, will improve things.  But we’re all already that.  The solution isn’t with an elected official, world leader, or famous what’s-her/his-name, it’s everyone, the collective us.   We’re positively impacting the world as we

  • Lead with our best effort in more moments
  • Create positive messages and take positive actions
  • Act on our own beneficial ideas and solutions
  • Collaborate
  • Support one another
  • Believe in better possibilities

How we are being, how we are taking care of ourselves, is how we evolve our communities, our world governments, corporations, financial systems, educational institutions, healthcare, our world, our hearts, our consciousness, our humanity.

While each of us is having our own individual life experience, we are one spirit and one humanity.

two kids humanityWhatever experiences we’re in the midst of, whether we’re lighthearted, sad, confused, or joyful, we still connect with each other.  We transform ourselves and the world, one beneficial thought at a time, and through even the smallest human gesture.

What do you think?  Do you see yourself individually and collectively, contributing?

When It’s Time To Stop Trying So Hard

If we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be amazing, we will need to learn to let go of trying to “do” it right and learn how to have more fun in any and all ways possible.  I see this a lot now in my fun work.  Some have said to me how are you doing this?  What is it that you’re doing to make this happen?  I don’t want to annoy them but the truth is I’m enjoying myself and that’s why and how it’s all coming together.

I see that people are pushing and pushing to be seen, to have the best social media practices to bring visibility to themselves by networking, and emailing lists, creating videos because they’ve heard that works, or learning the latest and greatest social media sites.  To me it’s all contributing to more noise and if everyone is doing the same thing…you getting where I’m going with this?  Then you’re just like everyone else and don’t stand out at all.

I do some best practices too and I’m trying to learn a couple of social media thing-a-ma-bobbers.  But mastering all “the correct and proven steps”, well maybe that works for others, but for me, it sucks the joy right out of my fun work and then things get stuck.  So I keep it simple and just. have. fun.

pexels-photo-258330You want to know my best practices?  It’s hiking, going for a walk in the woods, painting, editing my photos, writing, hanging out with my husband, sailing, watching a great movie, reading a good book, listening to music.

It’s very old-school but if you so desire, there are best practices for everything, from social media, promoting ourselves, growing our business, even how to approach one’s spiritual practice.  I’ve heard more rules from people than I can shake a stick at.  There’s always someone to help us get caught up in doing it better, right, doing whatever it is more correctly, more successfully.

If we’re in alignment with our purpose it’s all working out fine, trust me.

My belief is from personal experience, that everything, from any particular area of our spiritual growth, meaning our work, relationships, art, everyday experiences, will all flourish and bloom in releasing our need to control or force things into place just so and instead enjoy life.

When we’re truly following our heart, we’ll be successful, however success shows up for us on our path.

This week my challenge is my beautiful website photos are cut off, in half, on a PC.  The banner photos weren’t even close to looking like the photos I took.  I went into full-out stress mode trying different aspect ratios, moving the focal point around, trying other photos, emailing my website’s customer service, and spending time on user experience on a PC laptop and a MAC laptop.

Watching myself slouch into this is not enjoyable mode I encouraged my husband to take a break with me from his projects. So we went to our favorite lunch spot, we ate outside, talked with some locals, visited a couple of art galleries, took a photo to be framed, and enjoyed a farmer’s market. e1d81-1502570672679

And when I switch to something lighter I allow for the best ideas and my creativity to blossom, and answers and solutions show up.

My intuition is assisting me all the time in learning to pay attention to how I feel in more and more moments and to strike a nice balance.  It doesn’t have to be OMG this is SO AMAAAAZINGGGG EXCITING kind of feeling because that’s impossible to maintain all the time, but sometimes it’s just a feeling of I’m in the zone, this feels nice.  And if something doesn’t feel right, I know not to push through it and keep hammering away but instead take a break and do something else.  As an ex-uber-do-er, it’s so worth it for me to practice this balance because I feel better and everything works better.  I guess you could say I’m more successful when I stop trying so hard.

My experience is if we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be even better than what we can imagine, we will need to learn to let go of trying to do it right and learn how to enjoy life in any and all ways possible.

 

We’re all in this together

I’ve said this a million times, each of us is unique.  We grew up differently, look different from each other, sound different, dress differently, have totally different life experiences.  Our lives might look as though we’re on completely opposite ends of the spectrum.  Still, we’re all here and we’re all in this together.  diff folksEvery single one of us has a heart that at times is bursting with love or feels utterly broken or something in-between.  Each of us, at some point, want something better for ourselves.  “More” can be everything from better health, more money, healthier relationships, fulfilling work, joy, love, or an end to struggle.

As I put myself out in the world and look to create possibilities with others I’m very aware of our mutual evaluations.  Let’s go with the word evaluation rather than judgment.  We all evaluate each other.  Sometimes it’s all light and an opening is created.  Sometimes it goes the other way, for good reason or because one of us made a snappy judgment, oops I mean evaluation.  Everybody evaluates before making a decision and sometimes it’s based on going with our gut or criteria we need to meet.  I do it.  I consider my feelings around a group, cause, organization, based on their website content, or what I’ve heard about them, what their mission and vision is.  Do I align with them?  Is this something I feel strongly about?  Is there a good possibility my skills could be useful?  And then I make my decision and either reach out or not.

Sometimes, I’m just sayin’, we go overboard on keeping others out for very little reason or based on our own assumptions created by seeing through our own experiences.  I just spent three days with my best friend.  We couldn’t be more different when it comes to our personal habits, beliefs, interests, and how we approach life and interact with the world.  And yet, we’ve managed to have a relationship that’s lasted, and we’ve enjoyed and hugely benefited from, since we were three years old.  From her I’m learning about accepting others as they are and how to not care what others think.  Perhaps from me she’s learning how to stand up for her own needs and to let go of being a people-pleaser.

The way I experience life is that we’re all in this together.  It may look like we’re too different from each other to find common ground.  But that kind of thinking prevents the possibility of a beneficial connection.  And anyway, we always share similar basic needs and heartfelt desires…either in the midst of enormous struggle or when things just aren’t sitting right or if we’re fortunate enough to live joyful, creative lives.  Some of what we evaluate each other on doesn’t really matter.  It doesn’t really matter what our back story is but rather what we’ve done in spite of it, and learned from it.  It doesn’t so much matter what we look like, or where we live.  Instead, wouldn’t it be great to focus on cooperating and creating together?  To learn from each other.  To release our quick to surface dismissive thoughts and, instead, open to possibilities.  There’s no better time in the world for this than now.

Cringe and Learn

So I’m noodling around with a workshop I’ll be contributing to in a few weeks.  My section is about setting and working towards our vision of our best, pertaining to finding and aligning with our purpose.  It’s no accident that I’m leading the section where we discuss concrete steps we might take to stay in alignment with our vision.  Because this is exactly where I am in my own life.

As we align with our purpose we all need assistance.  Initially, I thought I could do it all myself.  But I need assistance with legalities, forms, and fresh eyes looking at my content, among many other things.

The perfect person always shows up at the perfect time.  Even the ones who don’t seem so perfect.  There’s all kinds of support.  Beautiful support from who I can’t so much see but I’m tremendously benefiting from as opportunities and people are sent my way.

Then there’s the support from people who unknowingly are challenging me and teaching me to stand up for myself or whatever the lesson may be.   Those are the most surprising and often uncomfortable relationships, they pop into my life for only a short time until I get what they’re showing me.  And it can take me a while to figure out what it is they’re showing me.  At first I might even go kicking and screaming into the what’s there for me to learn.  But I don’t want to speak up.   I’m comfortable with my people pleasing inauthentic behavior.  It’s more difficult to share my truth and be myself.  And I look away until it becomes so uncomfortable that I have to pay attention.  Ok, what is this about?!

All I can say is, if something doesn’t feel right, it’s a good idea to take a minute to try to figure out why because it’s there to learn from, however uncomfortable it feels.

Speaking up in the moment has always been a challenge for me, so how great is it that in moving forward into my purpose someone pops up to teach me to speak up?

For example, one person I recently hired was with the intention of receiving help to become more succinct on my website.   I soon learned our business relationship was more about teaching me to speak up for myself, though she has no idea she’s teaching me this.  This person is reminding me to pay attention to my feelings and to my intuition asking myself…does this person’s suggestions align with my vision or not?  I’m learning to manage our business agreement…are we still focused on the initial goal?  Am I getting what I paid for?

I used to fold and follow from both a lack of confidence and worry I might hurt someone’s feelings if I disagreed with them or worry they might not like me.  But things are way different now, and this is not the time to fall back into my old habits.

As I listened to our recorded meetings I was very surprised that what I was saying and projecting outwardly, was not how I really felt.   I heard myself agree when I disagreed.  I heard myself say “yeah”, “ok”, lot’s of “yups”, and “thank you’s” when instead I was feeling “no”, “why are we talking about this?”, or “I don’t feel this is working out for me”.   I was cringing when I listened to the recordings.

Turns out a little cringing was worth it because I got it.  Speaking up to get what I pay for is a valuable skill to learn as my vision grows and as I hire more people to assist me in my vision.  So a big thank you to this person and to my guides for the opportunity.  I need to bring more authenticity and confidence to my business dealings and to every relationship.

 

Standing in our own personal power

It was a simple meeting…

How was it that afterwards, when I came home and had lunch with my husband, I cried?  As I tried to express myself between tears I kept saying Why do I feel this way?  What exactly happened?  My husband was also asking, how could you get so upset over a casual meeting with someone?  I don’t know why I feel this way, I blubbered into my salad while spilling dressing all over myself.  And I really didn’t.  I needed a minute (it took a week or so).  I was so done, sniffle, sniffle.

Embracing our differences

 

This experience was not really about a disconnection with someone or an awkward meeting I’d had the best of intentions for.  This was an opportunity for me to learn something about myself.

We’d met the previous week at her event and from what we both shared there, it seemed we were on the same wavelength.  While she didn’t intend for this, I felt deflated by her first question…so tell me, I know there’s more to your story.  There isn’t really much more I thought and all of a sudden I felt ordinary around someone who clearly was exuding ‘special’ and ‘expert’ as she shared all her highly unusual metaphysical experiences.  I felt like a duck out of water and no longer stood in my personal power.

Not a fun meeting and I take complete responsibility for feeling smaller.  I compared myself to someone else and fell into an old pattern of coming up short.  Watching an old belief pop up over a simple interaction, allowing old assumptions about myself to resurface, the more constricted I felt.

If this experience taught me anything it’s that I have my own lane, to embrace it, and to confidently stand in it.