Category Archives: Lighten up

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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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.

 

Habits That Create The Best Possibilities (for me)

Here are some things I practice to be aware of.  We all have our own ways to be at our best and attract our best possibilities and these may or may not work for you.  It’s whatever supports you and empowers you.  For me, with so many experiences that I’m having just about every day now, it’s helpful to remember and practice whatever feels right at the time.  It’s pretty ordinary yet offering a beautiful shift in my day.

  • Practicing self-kindness by doing all the things I enjoy every day such as yoga and meditation, making time for exercise, and time for art.IMG_1843I’m not at my best when I let these things slide and, at this writing, some of these have been sliding off the scale. So off I go to walk on my favorite nature trail.
  • Watching my self-talk and turning it around when it goes south
  • Being my real-deal self.  You’re great too, but I don’t want to be you.
  • Remember that it’s nearly impossible to make a difference by playing it safe, or be a people pleaser.
  • Build a small community of support and let the unsupportive relationships fade
  • Allow others to assist me and remember to ask how I can assist them
  • Cultivate lightheartedness no matter what.  Lightheartedness brings opportunities.
  • Notice when I play smaller because of fear, insecurity, or some other lower emotion.  Remember it’s not the truth, and get back to being my magnificent self.
  • Gratefulness for pretty much everything
  • Being good with sometimes feeling uncomfortably stretched, and therefore vulnerable, and standing out for unusual ideas.  It’s a game…wonder what I’ll do today that will be a stretch for me?  But this is not to be confused with pushing ahead on something that’s not in my best interest.
  • Use my imagination and imagine me already doing that which I want to do and the opportunities show up to assist me.
  • Take a stand for the seemingly impossible possibilities
  • Create incremental changes and look back once in a while just to appreciate how far I’ve come
  • Enjoy a relationship with my awesomely mind-blowing amazing guidance that’s always there within me, always encouraging, supporting, assisting, loving me
  • Be both uncomfortably stretched and happy at the same time.  See those feelings that seem to be at odds, as success.

Aligning With Our Purpose – It Isn’t Possible…

…to make a mistake.  All it takes is a dance.  To realize our dreams takes perseverance, action, letting go of total control, and experiencing joy.  It isn’t an intimidating dance, just a series of steps.  When I dance I have some unique moves, especially when driving.  In the car I sing and dance but I still hold back when I pull up to traffic lights.

My desire is to take those joyful feelings when I dance and sing in my car, and to also feel them in everything I do.  And, from what I’ve experienced, aligning with our purpose takes a good amount of lightheartedness.  We create our best expression of ourselves by aligning with that which brings us joy.

Do you believe you need to learn more, figure it all out before taking steps, or be more perfect first?  You know yourself better than anyone.  Sometimes there’s a handy dandy excuse to play smaller and hold back.  But sometimes you may want to wait for a good reason.  But there’s probably some step you can take.  It’s only for you to know.  All the friends, family, self-help gurus, coaches, counselors, advisors, leaders, will not know you like you know you.  You can run your considerations by those you trust, but at the end of the day, it’s how you feel.  Learning to read how we feel and making decisions from our own feelings is a good place to be.  You’ll figure it out, it’s you learning you.  You can’t make a mistake.

There’s lots of thoughts and feelings that help light the way.  CreateLearning to pay attention to them is very helpful.  If there’s excitement around the action you’re taking, that’s awesome.  From your actions, you’ll receive what you need, even if it’s not necessarily what you think you need.  Making decisions out of fear or worry, doesn’t result in the most terrific of possibilities.  However, feeling genuinely excited and joyful, creates our best opportunities.  We might even find our best opportunities challenge us…in a good way.

My analyzing and perfecting sucked the joy out of a moment faster than I could sneeze.  I had to learn what living joyfully meant.  Duh right?  I was waiting for it to happen as a result of doing certain things. I learned it’s about cultivating a lighter state of mind, anytime.

Seems to me we have more than one purpose in our lifetime, some we share with all of humanity, plus those that are unique to each of us.  Perhaps one of the purposes we share with humanity is learning to release our heaviness and to live more joyfully.  Also seems like a good path towards experiencing unconditional love.  Cultivating lightheartedness.

When the glitter wore off

My husband is an expert gift wrapper.  No detail is left undone…the edges are crisp, the bows are perfect, you don’t see any tape because he hides it and there’s not one ounce of ugly.  I however, am a disaster, and the final product looks as though I left my glasses in another room while I wrapped it.  One Christmas, back when we were dating, I wanted to impress him and wrapped his presents in thick gold glitter paper and silver glitter paper.  Tasteful not tacky, I promise.  I bought the paper at a lovely stationary store but they neglected to tell me that it’s best to use special tape because the paper is really really thick and the regular tape won’t stick to glitter.  Yup, the wrapping popped open, many many times before the official gift opening. Between the gifts unwrapping themselves and the teensy weensy little glitter falling all over my floor, furniture, and getting stuck to my face…the novelty wore off.  I still have that paper tucked away in a closet and I tried it once more for a wedding present.  And you know what?  My husband always chuckles when he sees my wrapping jobs, he thinks it’s cute…I didn’t need the glitter, he loves my kid-like wrapping.

My interest in spirituality began with looking for the glitter, not that it registered as that at the time.  I searched high and low for information, answers, the best teachers, and the more woo-woo the more glittery they were to me, and the more interested I was.  Even though I spent a lot of time with the glitter I don’t feel I wasted my time because it led me to learning that wasn’t what I was looking for after all.  It took many years but I found what I was looking for and it’s way simple.

 

It’s different for everyone.  What one person needs, another doesn’t.  What another person resonates with, someone else may feel empty with.  One person’s unfulfilling glitter experience might be a life changing experience for another.  The important thing is remembering that as we look around to enjoy ourselves, don’t take it too seriously because lightheartedness assists us more than anything and, anyway, we already have what we’re looking for we just have to open to it.

I Know More Than Squat Now

I didn’t know squat before about managing my awareness, my energy, or about how I was creating (usually creating what I didn’t want to experience).  There was me controlling things by making them happen because I could….Miss Organized.  And there was the philosophy of things just happen.  Life happens.  Well I feel totally differently now as experienced by everything I’m learning.  I’m learning to use my intuition rather than take a velvet hammer to my life and pound it into it’s organized place.  I’m learning to catch myself before I go down the various rabbit holes of discouragement.  Then there’s creating.  Had zero knowledge that I create what I experience from my thoughts and habits, among other things.

There are ideas I’m creating and working on, there are interesting people I’m meeting, and my every moments, large and small, are lovely.  I can’t wait to walk down the hall to my office every morning to get to work on some of my ideas.  What’s funny is I’m waaaayyy more open and lighthearted.  I’m effusive but hopefully not annoyingly so.  If I really like a business I’m dealing with I send them an email and tell them all the things I like about them and thank them profusely.  Then I wonder if it might not be a good time to ground myself.  I wrote two thank you notes two times last week and wasn’t the least bit embarrassed for myself.  One of the “gushees” even sent me a nice extra discount for future use.  More reason to gush.

My feeling is that lightheartedness is contagious.  img_9122Yesterday I watched my husband walk over to the paint person at Lowes and told her how nicely stocked the paint can aisles looked and asked her if she did it.  Ok random example he might wish I didn’t share, but point being, she lit up with a big smile. Yesterday I went to a vegan class at Whole Foods (yes friends my face will get even thinner…again…bite me…this time I’m sticking with it) and a woman asked me you probably get this all the time, has anyone told you that you look like Jill Biden?  Happily I said, only one other person. THANK YOU, I LOVE Jill Biden and then I added and Joe, and Michelle and Barack.   And then I thanked her for not telling me I looked like Steffy Graff as the checkout person at Safeway told me.  Steffy is awesome I just don’t think I look like her.  You’re looking at my photo aren’t you and thinking I don’t think she looks like Jill Biden.  Whatever.  I don’t think I look like Jill either but how nice of the woman to say so.

I have no idea where I’m going with this other to say that I believe the world shifts one tiny moment at a time.  When we feel nice we behave nicely.  I’m personally experiencing joy and inspiration as a result of what I choose to focus on, where I place my thoughts.  I know way more than squat now and I’m enormously benefiting from it.