The Top 6 Christmas Wishes

Top 6 WishesHey guys, it’s Aimee.  Surprise!  I recorded a new Live video << around The Top 6 Christmas Wishes, but I wanted to write this out for you in case you missed it.  You can watch it later if you want a bit of humor even if you are struggling.  I want you to know that I have always used humor to help me through hard times.

Some time ago, I asked the readers of this blog on the page, what would they change or want if they could have a wish granted for the holidays?  The truth is, I think the top 6 wishes apply to life, not just the holidays, but I wanted to get them out to you right now so you can think about ways to move forward today.

Coming from pain, it was very hard to want anything else except to live a life that would be as close to pain-free as possible.  If you go back through the archives here, you know how difficult some years were.  So today, I want to think back on this year and be thankful for what it has taught me.

The Top 6 Wishes:
  1. Health.  Now apparently, there are lots of fake Buddha quotes out there, but this one I used to say to myself because you have to understand my humor.  “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us be thankful.” Supposedly, it was a Buddhist Monk who said this, but not the Buddha.  I want you to remember that we are learning through our trials, and we still have lots to be thankful for.  I know I do.
  2. Love.  “The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”   ~Victor Hugo~  Today I spoke of the love we have not just for our spouses, partners, family, but for ourselves.  I really hit on the phrase “in spite of ourselves” as we can do some really shitty things to people sometimes and we feel we are unworthy and not deserving of love.  Love doesn’t come with clauses and loopholes.  Remember that.  You are loved for yourself and that means even if you mess up in a big way.  If someone holds that against you, well, they need a reminder of this quote too.
  3. Belonging. “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~Brené Brown~  Repeat this to yourself.  Embracing vulnerabilities is risky….yes, yes it is.  But not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy.  <<  Do not give up my friends, because as I have told you, even in my darkest hours, sitting with my deepest pain, I knew deep down inside I was worthy of joy.  I was worthy of belonging, even if I felt different from everyone in the entire world, and I damn sure wasn’t giving up on love.  I had found it and I was going to work through my pain to come back to me again.   Check this out later>>  Want to Make Friends After 40? <<
  4. Family Drama…to be healed.  “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”  ~Richard Bach~  Again today I repeated “but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”  You know, some of my family didn’t respect my choices to heal.  And that was okay, but it wasn’t my job to show them why I had to take the paths I did.  It was not my job.  Period.  My job was to pour everything I had into living and being the best freaking mom I knew how while living with pain and invisible diseases.  So some of the “family” I ended up with were not blood, and that’s totally okay too.  I had to go where my choices were respected.  Honor yourself my friends.  Honor your intuition with this one.
  5. Vacations. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”  ~Gustave Flaubert~  To me, people telling me they just need to get away, means that something is missing from their everyday life and they want to create that feeling of relaxation.  As I tell my Club, what can you do to create that emotion at your desk?  Let’s say you are struggling to go to work.  How can we re-frame that?  Can you wear a Hawaiian shirt, bring in a water feature, and play waves at your desk?  Sure.  Remember, you can create that feeling anywhere if you want to escape.  If travel is truly what you crave though, that is something different.  Book the trip.  Go for it right now!  Just decided if it’s escape (maybe partly) or adventure you are after.
  6. Dream Home.  Laura Ingalls Wilder said “Home is the nicest word there is.”  Do you crave more room?  Have you decluttered lately?  Do you crave a bigger place?  Again, what are you holding on to that you could get rid of right this moment?  Do you really just want the financial freedom to buy nice things?? << Yes.  Yes.  And not feel guilty.  This was the extra quote I almost said today, so you get it here.  “Too many people spend money they earned…to buy things they don’t want…to impress people they don’t like.” ~Will Rogers~  So I thought that was funny because you know some of these people.  If you are quietly just craving a new home because you really want to change places, states or retire and have been planning for it, go for it!  But if it is because your soul is itchy, I just ask that you check in and do the work before you up and move.  Put in the time in your journal, or check in with your feelings and think about what it is you want that home to feel like.  What is it that would be different?  What are you truly craving?

That leads me to my last point on a method I teach to my Club called Manifest Journaling.  It is where we actually step into the life we want to create and it is very powerful.  If you want to get this month’s class, as well as over 8 centering and grounding yoga poses, content on creating peace and learning to let go of things that are holding you back as well as other goodies, have a look here at the >> Head|Heart|Health Club <<

5 Toxic Habits That Get in the Way of Your Happiness!

5 Toxic Habits that get in the way of your happinessBefore you count this article out, I want you to read it with an open mind.  Take a step back and know that it is written without judgement (I don’t know you, right?), and I am not snatching people up out of their homes questioning them on these 5 toxic habits.  Then how do I know about them?  If I don’t put in the work on my thoughts almost daily, I too can suffer from a few of these habits.

I am human after all and someone who has lived with invisible disease for so long that excuses (or habits…call it what you will) flew from my lips effortlessly at one time.  I think the truth is, perhaps, just maybe,  I was scared to think that I could actually be happy again one day.  I used to worry about things that never happened, and that made me more ill.  I used to sit and ponder what ifs until I was blue in the face…and it didn’t help me…I wasn’t a Smurf after all.

I have told you about the rock bottom day on my videos before on the page, but if you haven’t heard, you are welcome to join me or watch a replay of one called “being present with invisible diseases”.

Check this out later if you haven’t read about my >> diseases <<.

So what 5 habits got in the way of my happiness almost daily at one time?  I will share.
  1. Constantly making an excuse to do things at a later time, date, or when I “felt better”.  I am not talking about a cold here, I am talking about real pain for 24/7 for 5 straight years.  It wasn’t, at that time, in my mind that I was actually going to feel better the next day.  Or on day x, etc.  I was not capable of seeing the larger picture.  I saw the dis-eases.  They were real and seemed to come out of no where and that was all I could see.  When I stepped back and saw a bit more, I saw that I had to try my hardest to get out of negative thinking as I was still young when my last diagnosis occurred and I had to try something new.  Certainly what I was doing hadn’t helped me so far. 
  2. I struggled against what was happening.  I was so freaking stuck in quicksand at one point, that all I could do was sink and struggle.  What do they say about quicksand?  I have heard that when you struggle you sink faster.  Ahhh.  What if you go with it?  You start to get unstuck…or so I have been told.  Once, when I was a kid, the closest I came to this was in a swampy area with thick mud.  I won’t forget that day as we had gone off in a part of our woods we had never been in before…alone, as we “explored” back then, and found ourselves stuck.  I told her to stop struggling and let me think.  There were cypress knees growing and if we kind of hopped closer to them, we could get traction and we made it out.  I have learned to stop struggling now, and think like my younger self.  Go with it and make a plan. 
  3. Staying stagnant and still, not exercising or even moving.  Pick your poison.  Because staying still will surely be part of your decay.  You have seen it in the lives of others around you, and I know you have.  I had seen it in older relatives.  I just never thought that at 36 years old, I was going to start losing movement.  So I used that as my excuse.  I had a working theory though…and luckily for me I am always curious.  I did have to hit rock bottom of the worst pain before I decided to try out my theory, so hopefully this helps you as a wake-up call maybe, but I knew I needed to move my lymphatic system so that my immune system could start back up again and hopefully remember more about what it was supposed to really do, and perhaps stop attacking me.  Again, I am not a doctor, just someone who really wanted to find peace and happiness again.  Everyone has heard exercise releases endorphins, and that of course can help boost your happy.
  4. Becoming bitter over how other people were living.  Let’s pretend for a second that you are in immense pain (maybe you are, or you might be depressed), and you look at your feed of very happy, well-rounded looking “friends”.  Do you think “It must be nice?”  I had this one friend from college and I would look at her photos occasionally.  I realized seeing her exercising, pain-free, and smiling all the time in every photo, made me…well…not happy.  I can admit that now, and I know that I was doing the best I could at the time so seeing those photos just didn’t help my state of mind at that particular time.  Now?  Totally different place.  But I want you to observe what comes up for you when you scan your feed.  Are you subconsciously doing something that makes you unhappy?  Are you comparing yourself?  Unfollow those folks for a while just until you can take a step back.  Focus only on your life and taking baby steps.  It’s what I advise my Club friends.
  5. I forgot what I already had…just for a little bit.  You have heard me say before that when I couldn’t move, I tried to crawl basically.  So I would use my good side to try to push out of bed slowly.  And before the first thought of “Why do I have to get out of bed” could resurface, I would change what I thought.  “Thank you.”  I whispered as the pain shot down my legs.  “Thank you.” I whispered.  As occasionally my eyes would well up from sleeping only 2 hours, and feeling exhausted yet again…upon waking.  “Thank you.” I whispered the final time.  And using the same methods I teach my Club, I would make it to the bathroom mirror where in dry erase marker, I had written I am healing.  And my girls, my precious girls, had written little tiny love quotes on my mirror and I had my grateful messages right where I could see them.

This article might have surprised you at first because you thought it was going to be the same as all the others…telling you to just push through it.  But I am not telling you that.  I am telling you that I have been there and if you would like to learn more about what I do or my >> Head|Heart|Health Club, << I would love to share more baby steps with you on the road to wellness.  It starts with your thoughts my friends and the rest will follow.

 

Easing into peace. 6 tips to use right now!

Easing into Peace.  6 tips to use right now.The world is a stressful, hectic place.  You get up early and run around.  You look for your keys, the lost shoe, the lunch you hurriedly packed or your microwave meal because you gave up, and then you fly out the door.  Did you remember to kiss the kids?  Lock the door?  When is the meeting?  What do you have first thing on your plate?  Are you running late?  Hurry.  Hurry.  Hurry.  Get to the next moment as quickly as you can.  Then the next.  Then wish for lunch.  And wish for the meeting, the boring meeting, to be over.  Then wish you were home.  Then do it all again the next day.

Just typing this out made me stressed to be honest.  I remember that my days consisted of being miserable at work, not with the ones I loved, the kids, but the way I had to go about it.  The lack of “mental aloneness” I had.  The way that each and every moment was a carefully orchestrated dance between being “fappy”, << another of my made up words, and being “real”.  How could I live my life and do this when my heart wasn’t in it anymore?  How could I create more peace in my life?

As I talked to a friend of mine yesterday, I realized that this is still going on in the world today.  Maybe you love your job, but maybe you don’t.  Either way, you might not be creating opportunities for peace in your daily life.  I gave a talk today about that and you are welcome to >> watch my video, << but it all comes down to these 6 points.

6 tips to use daily to ease into peace:

  1. Have some go-to music!!  On my video chat, I mentioned that I like to play Native American Flute Music.  It calms my soul like a balm and it wraps around me like a thick fur as I start to feel the music.  I immediately feel at home and at peace within my body as that music plays.  It is how I start most of my yoga classes for that very reason.  I don’t know if my soul is recognizing some deep pull, but I don’t question it.  I just let it flow over my like water and relax into the moment.  The present moment.
  2. Center yourself daily.  When I ask people if they have dropped into their body lately, I usually get funny looks.  Where are they spending their time?  In their heads.  The mind chatter is unreal…or the digital chatter.  Either way, new people in my classes are not present…at first.  All it takes is one class with me (usually) and I can tell the next time how they are ready to do the work on the inside.  A friend recently came to one of my classes and she said “Aimee, I didn’t want to come out tonight because I was so stressed, and so tired from work, but I knew I needed it.  I am so glad I came out and did your class as I feel so much better.”  Sometimes the work is hard, and that’s okay.  But you will feel better once you start.
  3. Candles, salt lamps and water features…oh my!  If you work in an office that allows you to spruce up your desk, what are you waiting for?  Have some things you can turn on that are visible reminders of staying present in this moment, and teach you to relax.  Check these out as they come in different themes!!  Super cute gift idea.

4. The sense of smell…aromatherapy, can be beneficial to bringing your mood to a balanced state.  I have a >> necklace like this << that I use on my desk.  But it is up to you how much you want to have around you.  If you have the space, I also like >> this set that comes complete << with everything you need.  Many people have tried to convince me to use certain kinds, but I look for the ones that say 100% essential oils and I read up on them.  I have used many different types, and you will find your favorites as well.
5. Yoga, yoga, and chair yoga at your desk.  I can’t really put this in perspective as I think people around me forget how I couldn’t really function in my day-to-day life in 2013.  If you go back and read my archives on the side >> and jump to any year from 2011-2014, you will read a different me.  When I started yoga, I couldn’t even hold down dog as it hurt my wrists way too much.  I didn’t think I was going to be able to make a recovery from joint pain, fibromyalgia, autoimmune and more.  But I did.  Use the search under any of those tags and you can read how bad off I was.  I took my knowledge of yoga for pain and arthritis and I put it to good use in my >> Head|Heart|Health Club, << which currently is a great deal at only $9.99 a month.  I put my heart and soul into my lessons for my members and include over 8 yoga poses that are broken down for beginners.  I would love to have you try it out and see what you think.
6. Meditation and calming mudras.  Meditation can be anything to be honest.  Try>> this one I recorded live, << and yes, I know it looks like I go through a snow storm during part of it, but seriously, you can hear me and it’s a new word I created yet again.  It is a coffee “graditation” and it helps me remember what a blessing it is to even have coffee and hot water.  Just sit quietly at your desk and repeat a mantra, or healing phrase, as needed like “I am in the present moment.” and breathe deeply for a round of 3.  It can be that simple.  Bring your hands to heart center and use prayer hands or Anjali mudra to just offer yourself that time of peace and tranquility your mind craves.

Want a bit more?  Check out:

 

How to Love Your Job (10 tips on how to make it easy)!

Love your job with these 10 tips.

Dear Aimee,

I really need to learn how to love my job.  What advice do you have for me today?

Dear reader,

I used to be in your shoes.  I remember feeling very exhausted, under-appreciated and having zero balance on my personal time and my work schedule.  I felt I had no say at work and nothing changed.  I felt back-stabbed by co-workers who constantly gossiped and I wondered for the thousandth time…why oh why did I become…a teacher.  Then one day something changed.

I decided to love my job.  Here’s how:

  1. I started posting morning mantras << on my personal page for everyone, including the co-workers who followed me.
  2. I took a more active role in meetings and volunteered to head up committees.  As a chair, they had to listen to my ideas.
  3. I did not do 5 things at once.  << This one took some time as I thought I worked better that way, but I really didn’t.
  4. I made sure I was clear on what was in my job description and what time constraints looked like and where my job ended.  Seriously.  I didn’t want to be taken advantage of over and over.
  5. I did not stay late anymore…where I once worked so hard I made myself ill.
  6. I gave myself breaks.  There was actually time to go to the bathroom in my damn and I made sure everyone was aware that breaks were important.
  7. I created a “let’s not talk shop” lunch policy with my close friends.  Let’s talk life.
  8. I started doing brain techniques, meditation << and mini-yoga breaks at work…with my tiny people.
  9. I had everything picked out the night before down to my shoes and didn’t rush in the morning.
  10. I decided to have a great day and give it my all, and when that appeared to not be good enough after doing all of this, I would leave if need be or change schools.

That was the year was one of my best years ever.  I really put everything I had into loving my job dear reader.  Was the job the thing I had romanticized in my head?  No, it was not.  Was the job harder than I thought?  Yes.  Yes it was.  I just knew that I had made a commitment and I was going to do my best to change my way of thinking and see what followed.

If you are interested in learning more about what we are covering in the Club << this month (by the way, it will help you with your feelings around your job as well as life), here is my video.

>>> We would love to have you in the Club this month for our theme of Letting Go with Peace.  <<< Learn more here!

The Power of Acceptance…What Letting Go Teaches.

I could start this post off with any of the thousands quotes about letting go.  But I am not.  Instead I am going to ask that you center yourself for just a minute.  Sit and breathe deeply.  Unclench your jaw.  And just be.  As the thoughts of what went wrong comes to you, let it pass by.  As you drift into thinking about a past situation or grudge, notice where your attention is going and then come back to the breath of this present moment.  Breathe deeply for a full round of 3.  You just did it.  You let go for those breaths.  Now think about this for just a minute.  What if nothing is wrong?  What if you are exactly where you are meant to be?

We are now going to explore the word acceptance for a moment.  Acceptance is the mental attitude that something is believable and should be accepted as true.  Do you believe the following statement:  The past is over?  It has a question mark because I asked you if you believe it, but if you are not sure, write it out in your journal like this:  The Past IS Over.

I think it is safe to say that at some point in life, everyone has been hurt, everyone has made some mistakes, and everyone carries around thoughts of “if only I had…”.  Those thoughts do not change the past, so what we are going to do right now, is start with where we are.  This is the same concept I teach in the Head|Heart|Health Club and I am very grateful for the opportunity to help so many people start where they are.

What letting go can teach us:

  1. When we hold on to things, we do not feel any better.  In fact, we feel worse and start pointing fingers.  Letting go of the need to place blame and assuming the responsibility for your own actions teaches us that we do have control over how we react…not what another person says or does, but how we react.  Let go of the need to hold on.
  2. You are not the victim any longer.  As we begin to let go of past resentments, grudges, and lingering issues, we realize that acceptance of the situation makes us feel lighter.  Okay, this is how it is.  It is currently this way right now, but guess what?  It doesn’t have to stay that way.  You are in control of your options and what you decide to do next so that moves you out of victim mentality, which does not ever help you.  Be honest here with yourself.  No amount of thinking about it over and over again or lamenting has ever helped fix a past situation.
  3. Forgiveness is for you.  Sometimes, we stay stuck in pain because we feel like we deserve it.  We wallow in it.  We lay around in it and then we think we are about over it and sometimes makes it fresh again.  Forgiveness can help you wipe the emotional slate clean.  It doesn’t mean you ever are excusing a person’s actions, but the truth is, we all make mistakes.  Are some worse than others?  Hell yes, but replaying it in your mind causes more pain, stress and occasionally, it warps the details of what really happened to include feelings that were not there.  Stop replaying and move on.
  4. Focus only on what you can do at this moment to start living and moving forward.  In the Club, we work on baby steps.  Why do I teach that way?  When you were born, did you know how to do everything at once?  No.  When you look at a mountain, can you blink and be up to the top?  No…not unless you are on a Science Fiction show.  If you want to correct say a mistake that was years in the making, can change happen overnight?  Not usually.  Focus on what you can overcome and change right now in this moment.  Set yourself up for winning, not failing.  Do not say I want to lose 50 pounds.  Instead rephrase with I want to start eating healthier.  Then I want to get to the gym at least 2 days a week, then move it to 3.  Then say I want to lose 5 pounds this month.  Apply this to whatever it is you are working on.
  5. Enlist in some support.  I do not know why certain things happen to certain people, but I try very hard not to think about the “luck” other people have.  It is very important that I focus on my own life, but when I need a helping hand, I have certain friends and trusted advisors that have no judgement and can be objective as they listen.  Even though I am hard-headed, and don’t like to be , I do reach out when things get “sticky” and I need to move on as well.  Yoga, journaling, meditation, and more are my tools.  I teach people letting go is a form of strength as well as asking for help in doing the work.

For more help on this subject see the following posts:

5 Ways to Protect and Heal Your Inner Child

6 Things No One Else Controls Except You!

Suffering is Optional

30 Frugal Gift Ideas to Show You Appreciate Someone

A Guest Post by Leo Babauta

What do you get someone if you want to show you appreciate them, but if you don’t have a lot of money to spend?

If you have a lot of money, you can buy just about anything for that person. But for those of us with limited budgets, you’ll have to show that appreciation with a little creativity.

Australian reader Victory recently asked:

I’m in my final year of high school and in about a fortnight we graduate before heading off to exams (in Australia for those who live in Victoria) and so I was wondering if you could perhaps make a post about Teacher gifts. I’m a little low on ideas for showing gratitude to my teachers but I know they deserve something decent for helping me getting into university and such so perhaps you could offer frugal but tasteful advice on gifts other than the usual wine/beer/chocolate?

It’s a great question. Teachers are some of the most selfless people I know, and the work they do benefits us individually and as a society. However, I thought I’d broaden the topic for those who aren’t in school … and talk about frugal gift ideas for showing your appreciation to someone.

Let’s first identify what’s essential: that we show the person who has done something nice for us how much we appreciate them. It’s not essential that the gift be big, or expensive, or anything like that. It’s a token of our appreciation … and let me tell you, no matter how small, the person will likely appreciate the gesture.

The gift should also be appropriate to the person — if it’s personal, it’s likely to mean more. So while wine is always a nice gift, if the person is into other types of drinks (such as coffee), that would make a better gift. So take a moment to consider the person, what they like, and the times you’ve spent together.

So, let’s look at some ideas … some obvious, perhaps, but this list is meant only to spark your own ideas. Also, the definition of “frugal” is broad here … some ideas cost more than others, and some can be made for very little.

  1. Frame a picture of you with them.
  2. Lotions or bath oils.
  3. Journal. A nice journal can be beautiful. It’s one of my favorite gifts.
  4. Gourmet coffee with a personalized mug.
  5. A nice pen.
  6. Photo album or scrapbook, with memories already included.
  7. Homemade cookies you bake yourself.
  8. Or brownies.
  9. Spice gift basket. Get some small jars and fill them with exotic spices.
  10. Gift certificate for the person’s favorite hobby store.
  11. A burned CD with all the person’s favorite songs.
  12. A letter, hand-written on nice paper, from you. Make it heart-felt, with all the reasons you appreciate the person.
  13. A small plant.
  14. A movie pass and a small container of gourmet popcorn kernels.
  15. Soup mixes or cookie mixes in nice clear jars.
  16. Personalized T-shirt.
  17. Stationery and stamps.
  18. IOU booklets, with whatever services you are willing to perform. Obviously only good for someone you know really well.
  19. Knit or crochet something for someone (I can’t do this, but I know people who can).
  20. An “I appreciate you because” jar. Fill a nice jar with slips of different colored paper, each with a reason you appreciate (or love) someone.
  21. Jams and jellies.
  22. Good bread (home-made works great).
  23. Books (my favorite).
  24. A blank recipe book … write some of your favorite recipes on the first few pages.
  25. A keepsake DVD with a video of special moments, edited (and captioned) by you. A slide show presentation with music burned on a DVD works too.
  26. Create your own art (and put it on nice stationery or in a frame). By “art”, I mean a sketch, painting, poem, short story, whatever.
  27. Scented candles.
  28. Make-up set.
  29. Shaving kit.
  30. Box of good tea and a teacup.

Editor’s Note:  Not sure where to start journaling or what it does for you?  Here are 7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life.  <<

Using Negativity to Practice Gratitude

Upset

This week, some things have tried to jump out, tackle me, and take me down.  In the overall grand scheme of life, they are NOT the big things.  I am sitting here right now asking myself why I let these small, but not nice, things get under my skin?  Why do we, human, react first and sometimes think later…or maybe we don’t think at all?  How can I be a leader, a mentor, and a yoga instructor if I let negative people influence my feelings?  I guess it’s because I am human and just trying to do the best I can at any given moment just like everyone else.

So what did I learn this week?  What lesson did I take away from having a bully type teacher take things out on my child in subtle, but nasty ways?  What did I learn from the woman who didn’t get any facts straight, but called me to say some nasty gossip out of the blue just because she wanted to instill some doubt in my thoughts about the high school where my daughters go and it’s safety?  Did I lean into fear, negativity, worry, doubt and anger for a bit?  Yes.  It was like my impulse where my children are concerned.  Did I then take a step back and breathe?  Yes.  But why wasn’t the breathing part first this week?  It was a reminder that like all good skills, you have to practice.

I hadn’t been stretching my gratitude muscle as much as I thought.  

As I sat with this and tried to put it in perspective, I thought about how sad these two people are in their lives.  I also thought about how the school still needed to know to possibly look into things, so after cooling off, I did send my nice e-mail which was received and made me feel better.  I was able to articulate from the former teacher perspective and still be thoughtful as the parent.  I did feel better when I addressed the concerns.  Now it was time to shift into gratitude.

Using Negativity to Practice Gratitude:

  1. I asked myself what was true about what I heard.  I then turned it around to what can I learn from this?  There were so many lessons to be learned there.  So many.  How did this make me feel?  Could I teach my daughter to stand up for herself in a way that wasn’t rude or disrespectful?  How could I show her that sometimes even authority figures get it wrong?  But in a way that is helpful to teenagers and won’t hurt them in school.
  2. What benefits could I pass on from this?  I am going to be honest, when I get in “seeing red” mode, I think of zero benefits and that helps me zero as well.  Was there a calm way I could think outside the box?  Yes.  I learned that I could let go and move on as my daughter did and she said she had it under control and would be fine.  The benefit is trusting that it will work out in the best possible way and provide growth to us all.
  3. I then asked what I could be grateful for from these situations.  It could always be worse.  << This statement, while it feels unfair perhaps, is true.  Sometimes we are so mired down in our own “stuff” that things feel like an attack on our well-being.  It feels like a personal and quite unnecessary way to show us things that need our attention.  That was what this showed me.  I am grateful for my relationship with both of my daughters.  I am grateful they come to me with things.  I am grateful that I have support from my family as well.  What do I need to praise more in this situation?  And I knew that it was the trust in my children to make the right decisions.

If you liked this post, you might like my 30 Days of Gratitude that you can use immediately. >>>  Here is the E-book link.  <<<

Where is the Mid-Life Crisis Guidebook?

Where is the Mid-Life Crisis Guidebook?The other night I was staring at the clock.  11p.m. (that is an early bedtime to be honest).  Midnight (the cool ideas start coming in and I have to either write them, or sleep).  Then the minutes slowly clicked by for what seemed like an eternity.  I started saying things to myself like, “If I fall asleep now, I can get like 4 hours of sleep”, and later I thought about giving up and going to write.

Can you take a guess as to what was keeping me up?  I bet you can.  The old “What the hell am I doing with my life”? Thought came up out of nowhere.  Well, seemingly nowhere.  You see, I turned another year older and I bet I am not the only one who occasionally has these thoughts.

I started to make a mental list…a sort of mid-life crisis checklist if you will.  Here is what went on it.

  1. What do I love, like absolutely love, about where I am now?  I want you to list in your journal or on your planner, somewhere by hand, what it is you love about your life and/or job right this moment.  If nothing changed, what is the best thing about your life, job and where you are?
  2. What would I change about where I am right now?  Usually this one is a whole lot easier, right?  We have lists that have lists and sections, and letters and points from A to Z on this.  But narrow it down to your top 3 things if you can here.
  3. Where would I go if I had the means, the freedom, and no one to judge me?  This is kind of like your bucket list perhaps.  I started thinking about travel here, and retreats that I would like to go on.  You can list anything you want here.  Including new jobs or new places to live.
  4. If someone had to say what I am passionate about, could they?  This one is huge.  If something happened to you, or if someone had to narrow down what you would fight for or what really makes you alive, could someone say that about you because it is so evident?  Here is where I said yes.  Yes.  I am doing the things I am passionate about and people could say what they are.
  5. Where does the doubt come from and what triggers it?  I already knew the answer to this one for myself, but do you?  I encourage you to think about your triggers, what stays in your mind all night and what you think about.  If you have a hard time with this, try my S.O.S. video tips << from the other day.  <<  Ignore the beginning where I talk about the internet to myself.  haha.

In the end, this checklist answered my own doubts and I knew what was the next step for me after thinking about this half the night.  I know that I love, more than anything, my readers.  I don’t get to connect to as many on some platforms, but I do get to connect to my Head|Heart|Health Club << and that is where I am making the biggest difference.  I am seeing the changes in the energy of the Club members, seeing how different they react to what is going on in their lives, and how connecting with their inner most thoughts through a combination of journal therapy, mindfulness and centering through basic yoga poses is working for them.  This is what I am most passionate about...  Helping others recover from poor lifestyle choices and learning that there is a new treatment plan that doesn’t merely ignore your emotional body, but really addresses those needs as well.

Finding the Light in Dark Times.

Find the lightI feel your need this week my friends and I am going to bring you as much light as I can right now.  Over the years, I have faced illness, betrayal by a friend, difficult work environments (to say the least), having literally $5 left in my account, car break downs and various other “disasters” that cost me literally thousands of dollars when I didn’t have it to my name, and that time I couldn’t move at all and considered what the point of life was if you were going to be in pain 24/7 and living as if you were dead.  << Yes.  That was me.

What is the one thing that I held on to during those times?   The thought that life had a purpose for me….that I was being tested and measured…and that I really was going to come out on the other side of this stronger than before.

I had faith that there was a plan.  Did I know the plan?  Hell no.  I was apparently going to be the last to know.  But I sensed there was something greater than me at work and through me, things were going to change.

How I found the Light:

  1. I began my new morning ritual with gratitude.  I can not even began to describe the pain level to you at this moment.  It was beyond my skin feeling like it was on fire (it prickled and burned even when no one was touching me), my bones ached to the very core, and I couldn’t sleep at all.  There was no position to sleep in that didn’t bring me more pain.  My gut was distended from autoimmune, and my brain never stopped registering a pain response.  What did I have to be thankful for?  Lots.  LOTS.  So I started there.   Thank you for this new day.  Then I would put one foot over the bed and as the pain flared through my hip, I would step down and utter thanks to the heavens.  I continued this daily…no matter what.
  2. I began to focus on what I had….not what was missing.  <<< This was huge.  I worked my mind to abundance thinking, which was new to me.  I will never forget the day someone used that word.  As in my cup runneth over.  I am full of bountiful blessings.  You see this person who said that to me, made incredible amounts of money.  I literally had like $5 because I had to leave my job, teaching, due to my pain level and autoimmune responses being off the chart.  So I began to think about what I had.  I would list it in my head.  Then I would think about what I could do with the “gifts” I had.  And I gave as much as I could to others.
  3. I stayed as present as possible.  This was the opposite of what me, fantasy world living girl, wanted to do.  I wanted to escape in my head or in my books, where things were easy.   I started paying attention to little things.  Leaves.  Sunlight filtering in.  Tucking my kids in.  My husband’s strong hug when he was just as scared as I was.  Coffee.  The warmth of the cup.  My parents.  Knowing that I could call them, but trying not to cry if things were bad.  Just simply putting one foot in front of the other until that was all I could do.  And lastly, the day that I found the breath.  Through yoga.  I learned how to stay present through the haze of pain in yoga.
  4. I learned how to fall apart…better.  There are tantrums.  There are crying spells.  And then there are “why me” moments.  The silent, soul racking sobs that make you think your entire world is ending and you can’t control what is happening.  The truth is, you can’t control what is happening and you never could.  Not even when things were great.  So this is no different.  I learned to get through those moments and then say to myself “snap out of it” <<< Yes.  I imagined Cher slapping me.  Then I would say what tiny thing CAN I control right now?  usually it was getting out of my damn pajamas and struggling to take a shower.  When that was over, I would feel better and I would see what reserve energy I had left to go to the store.  If I manged those two small things, I felt better.  I could have tea and then write.  This is all in the early days of this blog, but the moments were there when I learned how to “life” better.  I learned to lean into it.
  5. I could control who I was around.  If I had to look at pitying eyes one more time I was going to slap someone.  And if anyone said that it happened for a reason I wanted to stab them.  << Note, no one was actually harmed.  I did however, cut some people off instead.  Anger was a huge part of who I was.  At that time.  And yoga helped me learn to control that to the best of my ability.  I started being around people who could lift me up and meet me where I was that day.  If I didn’t have those people, I searched for them.  I made my own world.  And I didn’t regret the choices I had to make when people were not able to support me.  When people were too busy condemning or judging how I got through this, they went into the boundary holding area Most of them never came back from that area.  The ones who did admitted they were sorry…and a few more later went through difficult experiences and admitted they had no idea until they too were tested.
  6. I created my own feelings of happiness and peace.  I prayed, I read, I meditated, I did the yoga, but it was entirely up to me to be the one to move forward.  No one could do that for me.  I was given the ability to be stronger than my problems, and no one else could turn that key.  No one except for me.  I didn’t wait for a doctor to magically cure me as there was no cure for my incurable diseases…but I also didn’t settle for that answer.  I made my own way.
  7. I used my lessons to teach others.   You can ask my yoga brothers and sisters.  I couldn’t hold myself up in downdog for more than a few seconds when I first started Yoga Teacher Training.  How was I going to get through 200 hours?  Scorpio hard-headed power activate.  I learn to use the word “modify” in a sentence.  It meant for me to do what I could with the pose and use props, blankets, blocks and take a child’s pose as needed.  I finished my 200 hours and went on to take yoga for arthritis and pain.  I then combined every single lesson I had ever learned last year, at this very time, and take some money I had saved and invest in my business to help others.  I launched the 30 Days of Gratitude Group, which then became the foundation for my Head|Heart|Health Club.  I learned how to help others through their own “pain”, whether it was mental or physical, and take one day at a time. 

Need more help?  Use the search bar on the right and type in the word you are looking for.  Want to watch my videos?  << Go there.

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of StressLife in unpredictable.  As surely as you are singing along with Frank Sinatra, about “That’s Life”, you will find that you are either riding high or feel shot down just like in his lyrics.

That’s life (that’s life) that’s what people say
You’re riding high in April
Shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June

I said, that’s life (that’s life) and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks
Stompin’ on a dream
But I don’t let it, let it get me down
‘Cause this fine old world it keeps spinnin’ around

This fine old world keeps going though, doesn’t it?  I have been noticing more people reaching out to me during my live talks on my page, so I know that you need to hear this right now.

I am going to cut right to the heart of it for you.  I understand living stressed, pay check to pay check, with illness, wondering how in the hell you are going to get through the latest thing that life threw at you.  That moment where you look up and you say “Really?”  That moment where you ask why me, why now?  I have been there when the despair threaten to pull me under, but on that last gulp of air, as I came up from the bottom, I said not this girl.  Not now, not ever.

And that’s where the magic happens.  On that gulp as you decide this isn’t how it’s going to play out.  I am offering you a few extra gulps of air here so you can make it to the raft.  You can do this.

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress:

  1. Find your center.  In yoga, there is a point in the class when the teacher directs your attention inward.  I want you to do that in times of great stress.  It does take awareness to detect when you are not yourself and therefore need to re-center.  I like to connect to the emotional center and calm myself by placing my hand over my heart.  If I am barefoot, I stretch my toes and spread through all four corners of my feet.  I imagine my heart radiating the pink light of love and then washing over me to calm my soul.  There are many ways to find your center, but just visualize you are calm and take three deep breaths.
  2. Stay present with the breath.  This is one of the best tools in your almost empty tool-box.  I talked about your tool-box in length last week, and I want to give you something else to put in there.  Observe the breath.  Is it shallow?  Then start to slow it down and breathe deeply for a full round of three.  Say to yourself “I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.”  If you want to breathe deep into your belly, put your hand over your navel area and breathe into your hand.  Feel it rise and fall.  Just be present in this moment.
  3. Call in the mantra or affirmation.  In my Club, we have a focus for each month.  This month is positivity, gratitude and raising the vibration of energy that we can tap into when it is needed.  Our goal is to maintain our own energy source without being depleted by outside sources.  The best mantra when you are having a rough time is “This thought is a choice.”  You then direct your thought to a positive choice if you were going down a path that made you think negative thoughts.  Another great one is “It all works out and it will get done.” That is for those days you have taken on too much.  To make your own mantra right now, tap into what is causing you stress, then think about the exact opposite feeling you wish to create and call that in with a mantra.  “I am healing.” is the one I used for over a year when I was in pain 24/7.  One day, I woke up after doing yoga the night before and I began to realize that there was little to no pain left in my body.  Mantras can be a powerful force to direct your thoughts.
  4. Journal your way into gratitude.  When I was at my lowest point, and the pain was greater almost than my will, notice I said almost as that was when I resurfaced and took a large gulp to get to the life raft, anyway, that was when I started my mental butt-kicking with journaling.  Many of you know that I turned that into my program to teach others how to do the same thing called the Head|Heart|Health Club.  I was going to save as many people as I could who needed that extra gulp.  I began to notice all of the good in my life at one of the most excruciating times ever that I had personally faced.  It was literally a life changing process. Gratitude is one of the most medicinal emotions we can feel. It elevates our moods and fills us with joy. ~Sara Avant Stover
  5. I did the yoga.  On days I wanted to sit in my pajamas and never come out…on days I wanted to curl up in the fetal position, I switched to child’s pose instead.  The benefits of yoga truly changed my level of appreciation for my body and all that it was capable of doing even in the darkest moments of pain.  And so I gifted myself with continued studies and learned yoga for arthritis and pain.  I began to teach others who were in pain and by sharing my gifts, I lightened my darkest hours.  I also did the hard stuff and recorded myself teaching 8 beginning yoga poses as well as chair modifications for my Club and the benefits of doing these poses daily.

Articles that you might like to go with this:

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress