Category Archives: Wellness

Bring Your Life into Balance

The ability to find and maintain balance in your life is a skill. Some people may be more or less skilled at keeping up with all the responsibilities in their lives than you are. If you already feel pretty good about this, you probably can share this article with someone who may need it more than you. If you feel overwhelmed, and not sure how to keep it all running smoothly, then you’re in luck. Finding and maintaining balance is a skill, and because it’s a skill, you can learn or improve it. It’s also a habit. and once you learn a new habit, it gets easier and easier to keep it up. Ready?

beamazingSimplifying life is the easiest way to find and maintain balance. This means finding ways to streamline all areas of your life, so you are not using all your time and energy in only one or two areas to the detriment of others. For instance, you may be working long hours at work, and continuing to work once you get home. As a result, your relationships with family, friends, and your physical health may start to suffer.

It’s like the Plate Spinner at the circus. Perhaps he is capable of successfully spinning 6 plates at once. He starts with one, gets it going smoothly and adds another, and another until all 6 are aloft. Each requires minimal periodic attention to keep it going.

If he skips a plate, or spends more time on another than necessary, the others start to wobble, and eventually fall. Life is like spinning plates. You have your work, your home, your relationships, your physical needs, your spiritual needs, your social responsibilites, and perhaps others.

Take a quick look at how you utilize your time each day, and week to get a glimpse of how many plates you successfully have spinning. This is not to make you feel inadequate if you have only one or two up in the air. It is just to help you determine if some of the plates-or life areas- which aren’t spinning are keeping you off-balance. You’ll notice if you find yourself getting frustrated or angry about situations which you wouldn’t have before, or are feeling tired, out of shape, lonely or unhappy with work or life in general.

Simplifying life then is to find a way to include the missing relationships or needs. To find a way to spin a couple more plates will require you to spend less energy on the one that demands too much time. This could mean finding ways to delegate responsibilities, or saying no to nonessential requests, or combining activities that can spin plates in more than one area. For instance, taking a walk with a spouse or friend  adds relationship and physical value to your life. Enlisting help at work can be social as well as working. Make a list of some activities commitments you can drop, and some ways to combine your life areas.

Simplifying life is like cleaning out your closet. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need and doesn’t suit or fit you. Keep only the things which you love. You and your closet will have more space to fill with the activities which make you feel fulfilled and happy.

 Get simplified, and enjoy more…life.


Get Out of Your Way, and Be Awesome

 

You are your own worst critic.

Do you believe this to be true for you? If you aren’t sure, take a day or two and pay attention to the voice inside your head and what it says about you. See if any of these sound familiar for you. “Why did you do that?” “Don’t look in the mirror, it’s disgusting”. “Idiot, why didn’t you speak up?” On and on, right?

Chances are you’ve been saying these things to yourself for so long you may not even pay attention to the voice any more. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, happily piling on the bad feelings and guilt for you to swallow and to confirm, yet again, that you indeed are not special, or beautiful, or talented, or smart, or whatever you feel you may be lacking. Ugh, does it have to be like this?

…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!
…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!

No it doesn’t. Do you know what’s great about this? You can also be your biggest fan. You don’t have to believe everything you hear about yourself, even if it comes from your own mind. Chances are it started out somewhere else. Perhaps you had a dream of becoming a world-class athlete, but those around you told you it wasn’t possible; you were too clumsy, or undisciplined, or tall, or short, or whatever they thought you were lacking to be successful. And over time you started to believe it; these people know better than you do, after all.

But do they? Who could possible know what you, in your heart of hearts, want to do with your life better than you? Nobody. Yet somewhere along the way, you may have let their opinions hijack your own dreams. Good news is it’s not too late to take back control of your own preferred life. Does that sound exciting? Or are you skeptical?

All it takes is a concerted effort to listen for the voice in your head, and when you hear the criticisms and put-downs, take a moment to stop, and do something different. It’s really only the breaking of a bad habit (talking negatively to yourself) and replacing it with a new, better habit (talking more positively to yourself).

As an example, let’s say you wanted to stop chewing your fingernails. In order to be successful, you could find something else to do instead of biting them, whenever the urge arises. For instance, you may chew on a piece of gum, or a hard candy, so your mouth is already busy, until the urge passes. Or, you could find a way to make the habit less desirable. Others have tried painting their nails, or even having fake nails attached to discourage the satisfaction of biting. Or, you could apply a pepper or vinegar or other un-tasty flavor either on or under your nails. Eventually, if you aren’t feeling rewarded for your behavior, you will stop desiring it, and ultimately no longer indulge.

Let’s apply this strategy to combat the negative voices in your head. Here are a variety of options. Pick one, or more, that works for you.

  • Start by listening to what you say to yourself, pay attention, and start catching the negative comments by saying “NO” whenever you hear them. The first step is finding the problem and acknowledging it. Write them down in a notebook throughout the day.
  • When you do hear one, take a moment to counter them with positive, encouraging statements. For instance, when you hear the voice tell you, “you might as well finish the ice cream, it’ll just be calling you the rest of the night”, you can say, “NO, I only need a taste to feel good. I can save the rest for another day.”
  • Write down the opposite statements. Every time you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, stop and write it down. Then think of an opposite, better thought and say it out loud (or in your head if you’re in public). When you write the thoughts down, they are exposed, and you can see clearly how they are hindering your happiness and growth. You may keep a notebook filled with them and watch how they will change over time as you eliminate them.
  • You don’t have to be perfect. When you knock yourself down for being inferior, counter with, “I am doing the best I can, and learn to do this better every time.” Even Thomas Edison touted his successful inventions only came after thousands of failed attempts.
  • Find examples of past successes. When you hear yourself say you are ‘always this’ or ‘never do that’, stop and think about, or write down times in the past where you were successful at this, or something similar. You already know how to be better, reawaken this belief and find the criticism shrink away.
  • Start with your strengths. If you are unsure about your strengths, ask a few people whom you trust and have your best interests at heart. Armed with what they tell you are your amazing qualities, you can move ahead knowing that your thoughts are wrong. After all, if your best friend, who cares about you, believes that you are a fantastic problem-solver, and get along with anyone, who are you to disagree? Own it, and quiet the dissenting voices with a reminder when you hear them.

These are just a few ways to replace the critics in your head with tried and true fans. Try them all, or pick one and focus on success, until you feel good about you. I highly recommend writing down your experience, whichever strategies you use, because when you can see the change happening, you will be encouraged to keep going. You will be just as awesome as you thought you were as a kid.  Next, perhaps work on that habit of turning on the TV or you-tube, when you want to avoid doing something…Old habits are hard to break, but luckily not impossible.

 

 


Do You Feel Lucky?

doublesixIt’s March, and considering that I’m part Irish, the topic I’ve chosen to explore is LUCK. But really it’s about making your own luck. It’s also about believing you have good luck, as what you believe and expect is what you will get.

A lot of people swear that they have bad luck, and can prove it. They will regale me with stories of misfortune and pain ad infinitum. There are also those who don’t believe in luck of any kind.  And there are those who believe they are “lucky”, most likely in the good luck category.

Let’s start with a definition of Luck from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

a: a force that brings good fortune or adversity

b: the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual

c: favoring chance; also: success <had great luck growing orchids>

 Let’s look at definition A. a (unnamed) force that brings good fortune or adversity. Interesting. There are so many ways to interpret this. Is this force a benevolent one which brings us what we need at any given time? Is it akin to Fate in that it’s what is written for our lives, but seems not to have logical circumstances? Or, could it be the result of our plans and dreams and actions that spur the behind the scenes activity which appear to bring us good fortune or adversity?

I used to spend quite a bit of time with my grandmother. She considered herself very lucky.  I would go with her to play Bingo and she would win at least once. Me, not so much. She had a weekly date with lottery scratch-off tickets. It was exciting to watch her scratch and reveal her winnings. She seemed to break even or better most of the time. As I grew older I noticed that she referred to herself as lucky, a winner. And it was true- especially in relation to others (myself included) who considered themselves unlucky.

Definition B: the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual. Similar to the first definition in that the operation of these circumstances and events is by some unknown force. Could we turn this around and say, An individual in the midst of events which operate for (good luck) or against (bad luck) them. And this can and does change constantly- from circumstance to circumstance. Now, we can see how we have some control over our luck. We can do things which help to bring about events that work for us- like introducing ourselves to someone in the field we would love to work, which leads to an interview for an opening that would be a perfect fit. Or, by not having our vehicle serviced regularly and having a breakdown on the way to an important meeting. We call it luck, but is it really so out of our control?

Definition C: : favoring chance; also : successAh, here’s a new wrinkle, success. Defined as:

A: degree or measure of succeeding

B: favorable or desired outcome; also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

The example in this definition uses luck and success interchangeably as related to growing orchids. I suggest it can be used in relation to anything we want to have, be or do. We still have to take care of the orchids, to do those things that will ensure their growth: water, appropriate light, drainage, etc. But when we do we find success, or have good luck.

I used to consider myself unlucky, as if the universe didn’t like me enough to share its abundance with me. Over the years I have changed my paradigm on this issue. I know more about what I want and will follow my instincts to move in that direction. My kids will tell you that I am lucky; I win things all the time. And it’s true, over the past year or so I have won concert tickets, ballet tickets, gift cards, a beautiful hand-carved bench, and more because I believe that I can and will win. These are things I love and enjoy experiencing.

This version is also tossed around when people describe others who become very successful, sometimes ‘overnight’. You may hear their success described as being ‘lucky” or ‘being in the right place at the right time”. The idea being that this success was somehow beyond their reach without the luck factor.

I sometimes wonder if we use the term luck to take the responsibility of success off ourselves and onto fate, or some other unnamed source. I prefer to think of this luck as something I create for myself, whether good or bad. Either way, my successes or failures are mine, duly earned by my thoughts and actions regarding the situation.

So, I ask you now. What type of luck are you making for yourself? How do you see yourself, lucky or unlucky? How can you get to a place of good luck-success in your life?

Think about it. Now is not too late to have the success you’ve always wanted. In fact, you can make it happen, just believe it can, and take a step in that direction. Before you know it, you may hear others referring to you as ‘lucky’. But you’ll know better. Good Luck…


Making Your Plan For Success

 

Most people will pause at the start of a new year to think about the upcoming months and what they would like to accomplish. Many people approach a new year with a list of Resolutions, those big items that can be life-changing if completed. Too often they are not.

It makes sense to first take stock of what you have already completed from your list of goals. Actually, reviewing and updating your goals should be done at regular intervals, say quarterly or monthly, depending on the length of time needed to complete your goals. This process helps you see where you are right now in relation to where you want to be. And we all know that having a map won’t help you get where you want to go if you don’t know where your starting point is.

Once you have reviewed your progress and where you are now, you can begin the fun part of goal setting. Yes, the FUN part! This is where you get to brainstorm and think BIG about what it is you want in your life. Do not censor your ideas, just take out some paper and ask yourself this:

What do I want my life to look like in 5 years? In 3 years? In 2, or 1 year? And just write down everything that comes to mind. Here are some examples:

  • Live in a house with an ocean view
  • Successfully support myself working from home
  • Be 30 pounds lighter
  • Travel to Machu Picchu
  • Attend Wimbledon with 3rd Row seats
  • Be a published author

These are some of mine, off the top of my head. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to get out all the big dreams that are covered in cobwebs, as well as the continuing goals you already have.

Now, look over your list. Pretend that this list is in the present. If your life is now everything you have on your list, how would you feel about it? If you aren’t dancing or jumping up and down or at least smiling, you need to add some bigger, better stuff to your list. If you are, then you are ready to take the first step to making it all reality.

Remember that there are various areas of your life that you may want to set goals in. These areas are:

  • Career/Financial – how you earn, spend and invest money
  • Social – your relationship with friends, family, community
  • Personal – your mental health, self-esteem, happiness
  • Intellectual – stimulating your mind, learning, trying new things
  • Physical – health, exercise, eating habits, medical care
  • Spiritual – your values, beliefs, life purpose

Let’s start by putting your list items into each of these categories. It is important to be happy and healthy in each area, as problems in your work, for example, can spill over and wreak havoc in your relationships or your health. All of these parts of your life are interdependent, so it is recommended to have goals in each of them.

Next, pick the most important items from your list and write them as goal statements. This means writing it in a way that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed (this is the SMART way to set goals). As an example, here are a couple of mine:

  • Have my finished Happiness eBook for sale on Amazon by March 30 (Career/Personal)
  • Lose 30 pounds by June 30 (Physical)
  • Save $100 or more each month in my Machu Picchu fund (Spiritual/Intellectual)

These are SMART goals. These are the statements you should write up and hang on your refrigerator, or computer and see them every day. They can still seem bigger than necessary to ensure your success. For instance, Lose 30 pounds by June 30 is a goal statement that meets all the SMART criteria, but it may make more sense to set mini-goals to reach it.

  • Walk/Gazelle for 20+ minutes 5 times each week
  • Eat 5-7 servings of fruits/vegetables each day
  • Have a protein shake each night at 8 pm- then brush teeth
  • Yoga stretch for 10 min in AM/PM 5 or more days/week

Now there are more specific goal steps which will make the larger goal easier to achieve. I know what to do, and I can keep track of when and how often I do them. Do this for any goals which will benefit from breaking it down into smaller, easier steps.

Use these goals and mini goals to keep track of your progress. You may want to reward yourself when you meet mini milestones along the way. This will do wonders for your confidence and motivation to keep going.

Lastly, having accountability to yourself and your success can make all the difference in the achievement of your important goals. The moment you commit to anything, the moment you believe you can do something, things in the world start to happen to help you along. But, you have to take a step, do something every day to make it happen. You are the winner, the beneficiary of the benefits of completing your goals, so make a promise to yourself that you are worth the time and energy required to enjoy the rewards waiting for you. You are also the one who loses out when you don’t reach your goal. How will you feel next year when you do this again, and have the same goals? Either they aren’t what you really want, or you do not think you deserve them.

And you’d better believe that you are capable and deserving of much more than you can even imagine. So, start today to make your ideal life your reality. Here’s to your massive success!


You, In Review

 

Here we are, at the end of another year. It’s the perfect time to take stock of what you’ve done, and not done over the last twelve months. Is this idea scary to you? Or fun?

Whichever way you look at it, it pays to take a look at what you’ve accomplished. It helps you see where you are on your path to your big goals. Now, if you don’t have those figured out yet, that’s OK. Most likely you still have ideas and plans rolling around in your head that you keep track of, right?

Today we will look at what you’ve done this past year, and next time we will go through the exciting process of setting your plans and goals for next year. Did you know that the act of putting ideas and goals down on paper gives them more power? It makes them more real to you, and subsequently makes you more committed to your successful accomplishment of them.

It’s alright if you feel less than thrilled with your success for this past year right now. By the time we’re done you will be able to pat yourself on the back for the work you have complete, so read on. It may also help you clarify what you want to tackle for next year.

First, let’s take a moment, and look at the areas of your life that you will want to review.

  • Career/Financial: This includes how you earn money, spend it, and invest it. It also covers how you feel about your work, or plans you may have to change careers or get a promotion. What were your financial goals, and which ones did you meet?
  • Social: This is all about your relationship to your friends, family and the community at large. What did you do to improve, or initiate relationships, or to help others? How also did you care for your surrounding environment?
  • Personal Growth: This covers your inward mental health; self-esteem, confidence, happiness, and the like. How did you work to improve yourself?
  • Intellectual: Stimulating your mind, learning new things, trying new things is part of this.  This is an important way to keep you young. What courses, activities, and books did you tackle to learn something new?
  • Physical: Here we include your eating habits, exercise, and medical care, everything that helps you keep your body healthy. What accomplishments do you have in this area?
  • Spiritual: This includes any work or clarifying of your values, beliefs or life purpose you may have done. Do you know how you fit in to the big picture of life, and what your gift is to the world? What have you done to explore or understand this?

Now let’s start reviewing these areas. If you have your goals you set for this year, or for the longer term, you may want to use them as a reference. If you don’t, that’s fine; you just may need to think a bit harder about what you’ve completed.

Take out a clean sheet of paper, or open a new word document. Label the top: My Accomplishments for the Year 20__. Next, start with the first category, Career/Financial, and just jot down everything you have done this year in this category. Nothing is too small- -paid off first credit card, saved up for a new computer, got a bonus at work. You get the idea. Only write down what you have actually done this year.

When you start to come up blank, move on to the next category until you have completed all six, Career, Social, Personal, Intellectual, Physical and Spiritual. You can always come back to one whenever an idea pops into your mind. Don’t worry about putting your successes in the right category either. They are just guides to help you cover the major areas.

Give yourself as long as needed to pull out as much as you can. If you like, you may take out a highlighter and color up your results with the successes that you are MOST proud of.

There you have it. The year in review, based only on the positive steps you made. Are you surprised by how many there are? That happens a lot. If you want to remind yourself of how well you did, hang it on your refrigerator or by your computer- it will spur you on to do even more next year.

For next year, we will start with this accomplished list and set some new goals. It‘ll be fun. But first, do something to celebrate having a great year.

Well done, YOU!


How to Break the Boredom Rut

 

Another day, same things going on. Day in, day out.  What does it all mean?  While consistency and routine are comforting, it can become monotonous. This can lead to dissatisfaction with your life.

To find out if you are comfortable or restless, ask yourself these questions:
Do I feel like something is missing in my life? 
Do I feel stuck, and am not sure what to do? 
Do I find myself using all my free time in activities that don’t bring me joy?

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, than you are in the boredom rut. The simple answer to all of these questions is this: You need change. The longer answer is that in order to feel more alive, happy and meaningful, you need to find out what you can do differently to break out of the restless rut in which you now reside.

As comfortable as routine can be, change brings even more discomfort for most people. Think about it. When you get a request to work at a non-scheduled time, or get invited to en event during your usual workout/TV/wash your hair time, do you get that immediate reaction that says, “But that’s when I do (insert activity)…”?

No matter how small the change may be, there will probably be a twinge of reluctance to adjusting your schedule. Some people have more well-defined routines, and thus more twinges, but if you pay attention, you will notice the feeling, even if only fleeting. This is actually a good thing. You now know where your boundaries are. The process of change requires pushing those boundaries out.

Go back to the questions above and determine, if you can, what areas of your life have holes, or where you may feel stuck. Do you dread going to work every day? Do you neglect to do anything that you love? Are you lacking in friend-time? These areas are the ones with the clearest boundaries, but also the easiest to expand, because doing so will make your life better.

What would it be like instead to wake up every morning excited to face the day, ready to make a difference in your corner of the world? To learn that new skill or language, to go to those places you’ve always wanted? To spend more quality time with the people who get you and accept and inspire you? Amazing, right?

So, wouldn’t doing something uncomfortable be worth it to get these well-deserved  rewards? The first step is always the hardest. But it also leads the way to the second, third and so on, until success is reached.  If you had to pick one thing you’d like to change about your life, what would it be?

Take some time to thoroughly consider this question. It may take you days, or mere minutes. Once you have your answer, it’s time to take action. What is the most important first step you can take right now to get closer to your new reality? You may want to write a quick list of all the things you can think of that need to be done, and then pick the logical first step.

You know what comes next. Do what will make you uncomfortable, but will bring you immense joy once completed. Then celebrate, you deserve it. You deserve all that your heart desires and believing this gives you a motivational head start. To your success!


Personal Wellness 101

 

 

        

You may hear the words wellness, holistic wellness, personal wellness and other similar descriptors tossed around. What do they mean, and are they all the same thing?

Maybe. Professionals in various fields use them, and usually take a slightly different view of the definition. Physician’s may generally be interested in your physical health. Counselors and therapists are looking at your emotional or social health. Pastors, yoga instructors and the like are concerned with your spiritual health. Bankers, loan offers and credit card companies look at your financial health, and so on.

Today what we are talking about is your whole health, the sum total of the seven areas represented on the Wellness Wheel illustrated above. There are also a variety of options you may find on a wellness wheel, but generally these seven categories are found on most if not all of them. Let’s look at them individually:

Emotional Health: Wellness in this area means maintaining good mental health, a positive attitude, high self-esteem, and a strong self-image. It includes  the ability to respond appropriately to emotional states in life every day.

Intellectual Health: Means you actively strive to expand and challenge your mind with creative endeavors. It is responding to challenges and opportunities to grow, making plans, developing strategies, and solving problems. Always being a student of life.

Physical Health: Physical Wellness encourages consumption and activities which contribute to high level wellness, including medical self-care and appropriate use of the medical system. It means eating and engaging in physical activity which encourage your body to be at its best.

Social Health: Social wellness is having positive relationships  and enjoying being with others. It means becoming more aware of your importance in society as well as the impact you have in your community. It is recognizing the need for leisure and recreation and making time to include those activities.

Environmental Health: Wellness here means it is important to lead a lifestyle that is respectful of our environment. This includes respecting not only nature but also those species living in it. Respect for others living in our environment is just as necessary as respect for the physical environment itself.

Financial Health: Financial wellness is having an understanding of your financial situation and taking care of it in such a way that you are prepared for financial changes. The mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of money for you work together in a way that you feel positive about your financial life. What you do to earn money falls into this category.

Spiritual Health: This dimension of wellness involves seeking your own meaning and purpose in this human existence. Being well means your actions, how you live, becomes more consistent with your beliefs and values.

Since total “Wellness” is multi-dimensional, it means that while the dimensions seem separate, they are all inter-dependent. When you feel stressed at work (Financial Wellness) it will affect other areas. You may not be able to sleep well (Physical Wellness), you may get angry with family quickly (Emotional Wellness) and may withdraw from friends and activities (Social Wellness). You can see that one seemingly small problem can have a ripple affect.

By the same principle, when you work to improve one or more areas of your life, it improves the others as well. Eating better or going for a walk at lunch (Physical Wellness) can mean you have more energy to play with your kids (Social Wellness) and more clarity to solve problems at work (Financial Wellness).

Making a habit of taking stock of how you feel about each of the dimensions of wellness, can keep you on top of your overall health before it gets out of sync. Making small changes in each area can in turn have a profound improvement in many areas. Got you thinking? Great, it’s a start!

To practice improving your wellness, do the Think Outside Challenge to the right. And for more information and tips on improving any dimension of wellness check out the Wellness pages on our site.

To your Wellness!


Time Out to Find Some Peace

 

Life has become increasingly busy and fast-paced. It is so easy to lose focus on the more essential things. In exchange for working to get our earthly external needs met, we tend to neglect the importance of our internal needs, namely feeling peace and calm. This lack of internal peace can make us feel confused, exhausted and unfulfilled no matter how many achievements we may earn.

Peace is the main focus of meditation. It allows us to watch the flow of our thoughts as we retire to the inner world of the senses.
And more significantly, meditation infuses new energy into the monotony of our daily routine.

Meditation is most beneficial when you make it part of your everyday routine. In its simplest form, the practice of meditation brings satisfaction and renewal of spirit. During the little time that meditation requires each day, you learn more about yourself. This understanding can lead you to exciting achievements not only in your spiritual life, but also in your relationships with others.

While you learn to focus and concentrate, meditation brings you a clearer sense of direction, and often answers to questions that plague you. When you make a daily practice of meditation, you will begin to notice how it changes your life, perception and purpose.

How do you meditate? It may seem mystical and unnatural, but is in fact a practice that has been around for thousands of years.If you are a beginner, here is a simple meditation technique that will nurture your consciousness to expand beyond the realms that you experience during the normal course of a day.

The entire process can be as short as 5 minutes to an hour or more. You may wish to set a timer if you have a limited period available.
Here are the steps to take:

Step 1:  Find a quiet and comfortable place good for reflection. Sit in a comfortable position. You can sit cross-leged on a carpet/towel or mat, or sit in a chair. The exact seated position of meditation doesn’t matter, as long as you feel relaxed and focused.

Step 2:  Gently close your eyes. This is an essential requirement to shut out the chaos of the world. Closing your eyes directs  your attention to your internal awareness, a major goal of meditation. It is because the sense of sight greatly diminishes your other senses ability to focus. There are open-eyed meditations, however for a beginner you will have a much better experience, and more insight with your eyes closed.

Step 3:  Relax. This is a vital step when meditating. One way to do this is by taking deep breaths, say to a count of 7. Hold for 5 counts, and then exhale for 7. As you exhale, release any discomfort in your body.Letting go of tension in your muscles helps to let go of the stress accumulated throughout the day. Beneath your eyelids, watch the space and the darkness and the colors that may pass. Put your attention on the flow of your thoughts as they pass through your mind, without dwelling on any of them. Just Watch how these thoughts rise and fall. As you do this, your subconscious becomes more vibrant and aware.

Step 4:  You may repeat a mantra. This will help keep you focused. An effective mantra is the Sanskrit Sloka, amaram hum madhuram hum.
This means “I am immortal, I am blissful”. However, you can use any word or sound that doesn’t have an emotional meaning to you. The first time I meditated, I repeated “relax” over and over as I exhaled.

Step 5:  When your time is up, or you feel it is time to move on, rub your two hands together and then lay them on your face to give it warmth.
This will help you return to your other activities feeling refreshed and relaxed. For the easiest plan that will get you results, do this meditation for at least ten minutes, twice a day. Preferably, at the start and at the end of the day.

Easy enough? Don’t worry if it is difficult to ignore the thoughts and to-do items that keep intruding your mind. Just let them pass. Before you know it, you will look forward to this quiet time to recharge your spirit through meditation. You will find yourself coming up with answers to questions that baffled you. You will feel more centered in your dealings with others, and you will feel ready to tackle more challenges in your life.

Meditation can be a cornerstone of Spiritual Wellness, but you can also see how it will spill over into your Emotional, and Physical Wellness realms.


How Do You Present Yourself to the World? Part 2

 

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

~ Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit

This classic children’s book shows us what it’s like to be real. Like the Velveteen Rabbit and Pinnochio,  this real self is something we strive to attain. We make mistakes along the way, but when we learn from them and improve, we inch closer to our authentic selves.

With age comes wisdom, they say. There is a lot of truth in that; but there is as much truth in this: with experience comes wisdom.

Have you met a young person who seemed wise for their years? Sure, some call these special people ‘old souls’ as they seem to have accumulated wisdom generally found in someone much older.

It is not a requirement to be older to live authentically; most of us just don’t use our life experiences to move forward like we could. Often we are more concerned with how others perceive us than how we really feel. Sound familiar?

The beauty of life and how we live it is that when we become aware of a situation that is not working for our benefit, we can change it. Maybe it is a job that we feel stifled doing, or a person who makes us feel inadequate or brings us down, or an idea we hold that prevents us from doing something we really want to do.

Once you know what is holding you back, you are obligated to do something to change it in order to move forward and live your real life. It may be hard at first, but every time you honor that part of you which holds your purpose, you are rewarded more than you could imagine.

What would it be like to look forward to going to work every day, for YOU?

What would if feel like to be surrounded by people who inspire the best in YOU?

What could YOU do if you weren’t holding YOURSELF back?

Spend some time on these questions. You may be surprised by how different some areas of your life would be if you were to live them authentically.

You might even be inspired. If you are, share your inspiration with someone, because it isn’t real until you put it out in the world. Share your dream with us by leaving a comment, or by supporting another in their quest.

Whatever you do, if it comes from the authentic part of you, it will feel right.

“This above all; to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
~William Shakespeare

How Do You Present Yourself to the World? Part 1

 

This is not something we generally think about. Or even think that we need to consider. But it is a critical question to spend some time on.

You may have heard others talk about people in terms of their ‘business persona’ or their ‘outside of work persona’, which may be radically different. Or you may also have heard people describe the masks or the hats that they wear in reference to their different roles and the face to the world that each may require. Does it seem strange to you that there should be a difference?

I used to feel that there was a clear shift in my demeanor when I put my mom hat on, versus when I was away from my family. When my kids were younger, I didn’t put much thought into this, but as they got older I started to wonder why I would choose to act so differently. With my kids, I felt as if I had to be ‘on’ and in charge of making sure everything got done and nobody got lost, or hurt. I felt like I was missing the enjoyment I allowed myself when I wasn’t wearing my mom hat.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy doing things with my kids, but that always in the back of my mind was the feeling that I had to remain vigilant, and not let myself relax in the moment. Looking back, I realize this perhaps  robbed me of some of the joy of raising three fantastic kids.So, somewhere about twelve years into the process I decided not to be so strict with myself. Obviously as a parent I worry that I am doing my best, but I do not want to worry so much as to not live and enjoy the rest of my life. I was wearing my mom hat almost exclusively.

Having multiple hats or masks to wear and keep straight can be exhausting, and really when you think about it, not very authentic. Part of the energy drain comes from trying to juggle all the hats and keep straight the behaviors, vocabulary, and presentation that each one calls for.At work, it isn’t always best to share personal stories, and most people talk and act very differently there than at home or when hanging out with friends. At home, it may be OK to drink out of the milk carton (except at my house), but not at a friend’s house. Seems pretty simple, but is it? Consider this…

Have you ever met someone who seems so real, authentic and comfortable in their skin that it flows into all that they do. When you work with them, or meet them outside work you get the same person? And you feel safe, that whatever they say or do is because they meant to do or say it? How awesome does it feel to be around someone who greets life from who they are inside?I know I am inspired when I spend time with people like this. It doesn’t always mean we agree on everything, but that as a person, we are both respected and acknowledged. This is a person who has hung up the hats and put away the masks. And has so much less clutter in life as a result. This is a person who will say no if the request isn’t right, and you are appreciative of their honesty.This is a person who can command the attention of a room without saying a word, because they live and speak from the place within that is their truth. This person would naturally do the same thing no matter where or with whom they are.

Personas, then, seem necessary when we are not sure who we want to be, or when what we spend our time doing does not mesh with who we really are. This leads to feelings of discontent and longing for something else, even if we can’t quite put our finger on what that is. If that is you right now, it may be time to do some soul searching for those activities and people who make you feel alive and useful. It’s the way we were created, to do something in the world which means something- if even only to ourselves.

For now, let your thoughts run wild as you consider what it means to be YOU. Next time, we will follow up with what to do to help you clear your vision and combine some of your hats.