3 Ways to Bring Back Balance!

Last week I talked about the issues with work~life balance and how that imbalance is unhealthy for us. This week I am going to give you some tips on how to create that balance for yourself.

Prioritize.

Make creating balance a priority. If you do not set balance as a priority you will easily fall back into familiar patterns and let your work take over your life. There are a few ways you can do this:

 

Set a schedule to help yourself build a new habit. Make a weekly schedule every Sunday for the upcoming week. Schedule in your work time and then schedule in the rest of life. Put in hobbies, family time, you time and anything else that you want to include outside of work. By scheduling it, you are committing to doing it, and showing how important it is to you.

3 ways to bring back balance

Make a priority list. Write a list of all the things that you want to do, all the things that you have put off because there are “not enough hours in the day”, and start working on the list. Commit to yourself to do at least 5 things on the list a week. Make sure your list is not just a list of chores but fun things too!

 

Clock Out.

When you leave work, clock your mind out too! Practice mindfulness and be aware when you are thinking about work out of work time, and gently bring your mind back to the activity at hand. Whatever you are doing stay in the present with your attention focused on the activity. Even if that is just watching TV, do it wholeheartedly! This will also be a good time to notice how often your thoughts are straying to work. If you find you are starting to think about work, remind yourself that you want balance; bring your thoughts back to the present activity. If something really important comes to mind and you are unable to refocus yourself, then write yourself a note to look at tomorrow on work time, then go back to the present activity.

Start Re-Defining Yourself Outside of your Career.

Do some soul searching and look at all the things you are outside of your career. What other parts of you are there in the shadows that are not part of “work” you. This is a great time to look at hobbies that interest you, social groups, or classes that spark your curiosity. Do things that have nothing to do with “work” you. For example in my ‘spare’ time I used to read books on psychology, or social programs that had to do with “work” me. Now my hobby is my photography which has nothing to do with coaching, but lights my soul up.

Also, try playing with your communication, when people ask you what you do? Try answering with something other than work or at the very least put work last. Instead of I am a social worker, nurse, accountant, executive, lawyer etc,  try answering with “I am a mother, daughter, wife, photographer, artist, musician (or other hobby), then end the sentence with “and a social worker, nurse, accountant, executive, lawyer etc. This may feel really hard and you may get some looks. By changing our language, we change the message we send to ourselves, this simple step helps you realize you are more than your career. You have many roles start highlighting some of those!

 

3 ways to bring back balance

This can be challenging, a lot of us love our jobs, but the thing is we are more than that one role. We need to start defining ourselves as all of who we are, not just our careers. I know since I have found balance and made these changes I feel more complete. I no longer define myself by my career and that feels amazing!

I completely understand that many of you have important jobs and when you are reading this you might be skeptical, you might be saying “my career is important”, “I need my job to live” and those are probably true, but YOU are also important. Your job may come and go, if you restrict the definition of who you are to your career, then you are missing out on all the other wonderful aspects that are a part of you, too! Not to mention if there comes a time when you want to make changes, if you have completely defined yourself by your career then you won’t be able to see beyond that; to other possibilities and opportunities. We are all constantly growing, and life is ever changing we need to be able to be all of who we are not just a single aspect!

 

Work~Life Balance-What’s That?

This is something that I hear a lot about. Many organizations, in the human services world especially, promote a healthy work-life balance, but what exactly is it? And do you have it?

Most people I come across do not have good work-life balance. Instead, they have a work-life and an exhausted-just-surviving-life balance. So many of us over identify with our careers and we feel that this is the way to a happy life. Now is the time to get the promotion, get the raise, get the accolades, then later when you retire or take a holiday, you can have the life balance. The thing is, this is not healthy. We cannot put our lives on hold or just survive in our lives for the sake of our careers.

Our lives are lopsided with a ton of our energy going to our jobs and that means there is little energy left for all the other areas of life. As a result, relationships, family, ourselves, all suffer for the sake of our careers.

When we put our lives on the back burner we tend to cause ourselves a lot of grief.

Work~Life Balance-What's That?

 

TOP 3 WAYS WE CAUSE OURSELVES GRIEF

Guilt

We feel guilty because we are not totally there for our family, friends or ourselves.  We feel guilty and we shame ourselves about not being a good mom, not having a clean house, being a sucky friend, being a distant wife, being a busy Aunt. We feel guilty and we say things like “there is not enough time in the day”. We try to placate ourselves stating “Things will get better, I just need to do (this) to get ahead, to get the promotion, or get the raise, then I will have time.” This doesn’t usually do too much to quiet the voice in our heads that is telling us we are sucking at life outside of work, that we should be more social, should be a better mother, daughter, wife, should be a better friend!

It’s a vicious cycle really. The more guilty we feel, the more we turn to our careers because at least there you don’t feel so inadequate. At least there you are not feeling so guilty and shameful!

Work~Life Balance-What's That?

Over Identify with our Career

It is no longer a career, it becomes who you are. I know, I am guilty of that! In the past, I was Tara who was a human services worker not Tara who worked in the human services. Can you relate?

We are not our jobs! Yet so many of us feel we are. I think we get this way because we pour so much of our energy into our jobs that we feel it is who we are. Now I am not saying that it is bad if you love your job but when you are your job then that is unhealthy. If you sit and ask yourself ‘Who am I?’ and all you can come up with is your career, then that is unhealthy. You are so much more than that! The more we over identify with our career the more we feel we need to push ourselves to do better. Because now it defines us, so we better do a good job. This is when we work longer hours, we take our work home with us (maybe not literally but mentally), we focus all of our energy on work. This puts us in a very risky place. If, for some reason, we lose our job, or can no longer do it, we are faced with an identity crisis! Who am I if I am not a nurse, accountant, social worker, therapist, etc. The thing is, you are more than that, but you have created this imbalance and your life is work!

Work~Life Balance-What's That?

Stress

When we do not create a balance between life and work we do not give ourselves time to decompress. We are stressed all the time. We feel overwhelmed and exhausted because we are not giving ourselves the time we need to relax and enjoy life. Instead we work 8 hours or more, then come home and our mind is still working – not to mention the guilt that I already spoke about is causing even more stress. When we do take time for self-care (if we do) it is half-hearted and there is guilt that we should be doing something else. This is incredibly stressful and takes a toll on our health both physically and psychologically. We need balance to be healthy, we need balance to thrive in life!

 

Are you recognizing yourself in some of these? If so, you are not alone. Our culture focuses on our careers. What is one of the first questions you are asked when you meet someone? Usually it’s “What do you do?” We are taught that there is value in certain careers and that our careers are important. The thing is, that is only a part of who we are. I challenge you this week to honestly look at your life and ask yourself “Do I have a work-life balance?” Or is my life lopsided?

Tune in next week for some healthy ways to bring balance to your life.
Flower Power

Flower Power

I have had a lot of enquiries about the flower essence readings lately, so I thought I would write about my experiences with them.

I got started doing flower essences with a couple of spiritual advisors that I was working with for my personal growth and holistic well-being. When I first started doing them, I just trusted in the process and didn’t really care about what that process was! I just knew I felt better, so I felt I didn’t even really need to understand why they worked, I just knew that they did.

 

Flower Power

 

When Woody (my husband) got sick, we worked with these spiritual advisors to help with Woody’s healing and, although it did not heal him physically (sometimes things are just written), it did help with his overall well-being! I learned from this experience that healing the body is one thing, but there are so many levels of healing: spiritual, emotional and psychological. These levels of healing are just as important as the physical healing. I have always believed that we cannot just look at the physical when we have issues we need to look beyond. I believe our physical health is a manifestation of what is going with us internally, and working with the flower essences has confirmed this for me. To heal then, we need to heal the internal aspects and that is what the flower essences do. They are a subtle yet powerful way to move energy and receive support from the Universe. This is what I witnessed with Woody, he may not have healed physically but he did emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. I witnessed him moving from a very narrow view of health and well-being to one that was holistic, and in the end, he experienced a sense of peace and calm that he had never felt before. I feel that was in a large part to the work he did with the flower essences. This is also true from my personal experience with the essences, this is exactly what they have done for me – provided me with clarity and an overall sense of well-being.

When to Use Them

I turn to flower essences when I feel “off”. What does that mean? Well, it is very personal. For me, I feel like my thinking is chaotic, or I am fixated on something or keep ruminating on an issue. The more in tune I get with myself and my body, the more I realize when I am “off”. Also, I use them when I am working through something on my journey to wholeness, whether that is a belief, a pattern of behavior or an old story (that I tell myself), and I want the added support or clarification with the issue I am facing. Generally, I just don’t feel like things are right, and that is showing up in my thinking and in my body!

My clients have come to me mainly out of curiosity (which I believe is the Universe providing the clues), or they feel stuck, or feel like they have moved through something in their personal growth and this is the finale of that issue.

Flower Power

 

Really there is no bad time to use the flower essences for support, and what I have noticed is that if you are feeling a strong curiosity or keep thinking about it, then it is probably something you could use.

What Happens

When I do a reading for myself or others, I ask if there are flower essences that will assist. Sometimes, if there is something specific going on then I will specify, like are there flower essences that will assist me with my career, my health, my relationship…etc. Whatever it is, I ask. If there are flower essences (which in most cases, there are) I ask how many and then go to work figuring out which ones will be beneficial. I go through the “areas of interest” in the Bach Flower Essence Reference book to figure out which flower essences are relevant. The areas of interest are vast. There are approximately 100 of them and each area of interest has different flower essences that will help. It never ceases to amaze me, the flower essences that come up are exactly what I need! There are literally hundreds of options but the ones that come up for myself and my clients are perfect at that time!

 

Flower Power

 

For example, one reading I did for myself, what came up was under the area of interest of abandonment. This was incredibly helpful for me because I knew something was going on, but I couldn’t figure it out. When I read abandonment It just clicked, “YES, that is exactly what was going on!” in this case I was feeling abandoned and fearing that and that is why I was “off”. Before doing the reading, I couldn’t understand why my thoughts were fixating and why I was ruminating.

 

This feeling of being understood has happened for my clients also, I have had the pleasure of witnessing clients weeping at the relief of being understood and knowing that what was going on for them was not just a creation of their mind. I have heard more than once (and experienced it myself) the relief that finally now there was a word that summed up how they were feeling. There really is something comforting about being understood.

What Happens Next

The next step is asking the flower essence to assist you, and energetically feel it come into your body. The feeling is different for everyone but most report a tingling in their body or a wave, whatever the feeling, they all feel the energy, even the skeptics. It really is quite an amazing experience to feel the energy either leave or enter your body depending on what you are asking for. For me, I usually feel a wave moving either up or down my shoulders, it is warm and comforting.

Flower Power

After the session, I usually notice a difference within a couple days. I will notice my thoughts changing or my overall well-being improving. I would explain it as feeling grounded and centered. For my clients they too notice changes in their behaviors, thoughts and feelings. There are no hard, fast rules and usually the effects depend on what they are working on. After my reading when I was able to pinpoint the feeling of abandonment, I felt a sense of calm and my thoughts were not fueled by fear. From this space I was better able to move through the issue and resolve it.

Intrigued?

I realize it is something that seems a little different to a lot of you who may be just starting out on your spiritual journey, that was how it was for my husband, who at first was skeptical. But even he could not dismiss the accuracy of the flower essences that came up. He used to say, “there is no way you could just pick one that was that perfect”.

All I can say if there is curiosity and you are intrigued then listen to your intuition. It really is an amazing experience! I absolutely believe that if it is right for you, you will know!

Ready? … Book your reading here.

 

SHHH! It’s Quiet Time!

I have been wracking my brain for the last couple of weeks trying to come up with a blog to write, but when it finally hit me, it was clear that this is the blog I needed to write.

When I write my blogs, they are very much about what is going on in the present moment. It is much like coaching when I ask my clients what is most alive for them right now. For me, I struggle to write when I make a logical decision. I can only write when things are in flow and that means I need to be inspired. Lately I have not been feeling any inspiration on a topic. Don’t get me wrong, things have been good, but I am just not feeling inspired to write. If I had to explain it, I would say I am in a calm place not feeling bothered or inspired by much. I have been in a place of feeling uninspired before, but in those times, I was in some deep processing about my life and was working through a life lesson. This time it is different I feel stable where I am, like I have hit a resting spot on the journey. Like I am in a place to start relaxing rather than pushing to learn and grow (not that that means I will stop, I believe you never stop), but rather I am taking a break and enjoying the scenery of life.

 

SHHH! It's Quiet Time!

This realization came to me after trying to push an inspiration and write something. That is when it hit me that where I am is exactly where I need to be, and that is perfectly OK!

I think a lot of us get to this point. It is like after things have been really crazy busy in your life and you finally have a minute to breathe. You collapse on your couch and then you feel kind of anxious that you are not stressed and busy. I decided I was not going to do that this time. I decided I was going to find the joy in the present, quiet moment and enjoy the peace. That is when this blog came to me.

I think too often in life we don’t know what to do in the calm because we are used to a level of stress and busyness, so then we fear the quiet and the boredom. The thing that I found is that if you embrace this, rather than spending the time judging it, you may find that it is enjoyable. For me, in this space I found I was really drawn to work on my photography (a hobby business I have). I have spent the past couple of days going through pictures that I have wanted to edit for a while. Taking this time, I was able to complete editing over 50 pictures, which is a lot, and I completely enjoyed the hours it took me to do this. I was not in a rush, did not feel any pressure, I really just embraced the creative process. Enjoying the moment really allowed me to reconnect with the pictures I was working on, spending the time with each one remembering the experience of actually being there when I took the picture. What a blessing this was. Instead of just focusing on getting the picture completed so I could upload it I embraced every memory and story behind the photo and thoroughly enjoyed them all! So much so that I found it hard to go to bed.

 

SHHH! It's Quiet Time!

 

While I am writing this, I am reminded of the quote “Life is lived in the pauses not the events”, and I feel like I completely embraced that and understand it at a deeper level now. I think that too many times in my life (and I’m sure many others) when we have reached a resting spot in our journey, our minds are too busy with should haves, need tos and judgments that prevent us from taking the time to breathe and take it in. Life really is lived in the pauses and those pauses are meant to be enjoyed and savored rather than just viewed as a quick pit stop or a necessary, inconvenient break.

 

SHHH! It's Quiet Time!

 

So, with a shorter than normal blog, I leave you with this:

Enjoy the quiet calm times, really embrace them as they are just as much a part of life as the busy productive ones…maybe even more!

 

SHHH! It's Quiet Time!

Life Lessons from a Wasp?

I witnessed an interesting thing in my car today that got me thinking about life.

There was a wasp in my car and it looked like it was desperately trying to get out of the hot car. It continually kept flying against the closed window hitting the glass. I opened the car door to let the wasp out. To my surprise he did not fly away he just kept flying against the closed window. This continued for a couple minutes. Feeling sad for the wasp, I tried using my car key to get him to fly away I continued to try to move him towards the open door and away from the glass but the more I tried to help him the more he desperately kept fling himself at the window; desperate to escape. I tried for a couple minutes to shoo him to freedom, no matter how hard I tried to get him to turn away from the window towards freedom he would try harder to push against the window convinced that was his only way out. After several minutes, he finally realized that freedom lay just beside his narrow view.  As I watched him fly away I realized that we too are like this wasp. We too often believe with all our hearts that we are doing what we need to do to have a happy life, but it turns out that if we stopped took a minute to look around, we would realize that everything we want is right there! My lesson from the wasp, instead of banging our heads against the glass we just need to choose a new path and we can have all that we want.

Life Lessons from a Wasp?

I know in my own life I have done this. I was in a career that, don’t get me wrong, I loved…well I thought I did. I had convinced myself that it was perfect, and I definitely did like it but there was always this voice inside that I eventually learned to ignore, that was saying there is more. For me, this was a career that suited all of who I am, not just a part of me. Despite the voice (and looking back all the signs that were there) I put on my blinders convinced that my career choice was the only way I could help people. I, like the wasp kept banging my head against the glass, trying to make this path work, I would come up against roadblocks (especially when dealing with bureaucracies and office politics) and frustrations that would set me back but instead of looking at it, I put my head down and continued flinging myself against the glass hoping that I would find my happy life but making little headway. Honestly, I am not saying I regret any of my time working in the human services, the skills I gained and the people I worked with were a great foundation for the path I am on now, but the thing is it took the complete upheaval of my life to get me to listen my intuition. The one that had always been trying to tell me there was something more for me. There was freedom and the happy life that I had been working for, if only I had the foresight to turn around! I was like the wasp pushing against the glass desperately trying for my happy life but all I was really doing was banging my head against the glass. I was blind to all the other possibilities around me that would (eventually) lead to that happy life I had been striving for.

I see the same thing in many of my clients. They are in a relationship, or a job, or a life that they are not completely happy with but despite their intuition telling them that there is more out there for them, they continue to fling themselves desperately at the glass, trying to get to that happy life. They put the blinders on and keep pushing forward. It is through our time together that they start to tune into their wisdom that eventually shows them the open door that has been beside them the whole time!

Life Lessons from a Wasp?

It is more common than I think a lot of us want to admit.

We get into this situation because we believe the messages from society. We buy into the myths that there is “no happily ever after”, that “relationships are meant to be hard work” and that “work is work, and no one really loves their jobs anyway”. We believe we should work our butts off to get to retirement so finally we can enjoy life. This is not true!

We absolutely can have an amazing relationship, we can have a job that we love, we don’t have to wait for our retirement to really enjoy life. We can have it all, and more over we deserve it… all of us do! These messages of sucking it up and pushing through are common place in the media which just serve to reinforce the above myths. We believe that the only path to happiness is through the closed window.  Why when there are so many paths to happiness?

Why wait for a happy life? Why not live a happy life now and later? Doesn’t that sound better?

I think that for a lot of us we have chosen a career path because we are interested in it or a part of us love it or we believe it is the “smart” choice, the same goes for relationships we think we need to have a partner, need to get married, need to have the white picket fence with 2.5 children. But the longer we do it the more we realize it is not all it is cracked up to be! We suppress that voice inside because we feel we need to stay where we are, that it is our only chance for happiness. So, we stay, getting a little more miserable every day and feeling more and more defeated. We dread Monday mornings and live for the weekend, we countdown to holidays or to time away from our partners. Like the wasp we keep flinging ourselves at the closed window, hoping it will lead us to the happy life we crave. Losing energy and motivation every time we desperately throw ourselves at the glass. The result, there are a whole lot of us who are absolutely exhausted and truly unhappy at our core.

Life Lessons from a Wasp?

Sound familiar?

Then I guess you have some questions to answer: Am I on the right path? Am I able to see beyond my blinders? Do I want to be like the wasp, and keep flinging myself against the glass?

If the answers are no… it’s time to make some changes!

Life Lessons from a Wasp?

 

 

Is your Reality Really Real?

The more I learn about our minds, the more I understand the statement “We create our reality”. This may make you scratch your head, but really, everything we see and do in this life is filtered through our minds and, our minds although built the same, are our own unique filters to the world.

Think about this…

Have you ever had a disagreement with a friend or spouse because there was a “miscommunication”? They say something, and you hear or interpret something else? This is exactly what I am talking about. All of the information that is taken into our minds, like in the example what our friend said, is filtered through our incredible, individual minds. So we interpret the message, including the words, we hear the tone of voice, the hidden meaning, the connotation and the overall interpretation in our minds. Which means what they really said and what we actually understand can be two separate things.

Is your Reality Really Real?

 

Another example, say you are out in public and someone looks at you. Many of us start conjuring up a story in our heads that they are staring at us because there is something wrong with us. We start checking our teeth with our tongue, we maybe rub our face to make sure there is nothing on it, we adjust our clothes to make sure they are straight. All the while, there is a monologue running through our head. Your monologue could be any version of these (or maybe something a little different) “they are staring at me because I am dressed like a slob today”, “I look fat”, “they think I am loser”, “they are wondering why I am all alone”, “they think I am an idiot looking at the menu so long”, “they think I am ugly”, “they think why is she not working now”. On and on our story goes in our minds, our particular version of the story depends on our individual filters but what is common is that we all are making up a story. What really happened… this person looked in your direction, that’s it! Everything else you filled in with your mind, you created a whole story around one simple action. The thing is, we know nothing other than they looked in our direction. But because we have created this story, we operate in our world as our story is the truth. It may be true, but it just as likely not! We convince ourselves our story is reality. We say to our friends “There was this person at the coffee shop and they stared at me and gave me a look like….” We continue with our perception saying, “they are a jerk” and “how can they judge me”. WOW! We have now created a whole lot of anxiety and really all we know for sure is that this person looked in your direction, we are not even sure they were looking at us!

Does this sound familiar? This is how our mind works! It takes the information we receive and filters it, fills in the blanks and creates stories from what it perceives, all of which may or may not be true.

Is your Reality Really Real?

 

Is this a bad thing?

Not necessarily, but when we are not aware that we are on autopilot and that we are in a story, we are convinced that our version is truth and we operate as if it was true. We judge ourselves, close ourselves off to opportunities and cause ourselves a lot of unneeded stress, all for nothing! We are letting our minds run the show and we are just accepting that what it observed and created is actual fact. When we are on autopilot we miss all the other possibilities and because we are in our own heads we can completely misunderstand a situation. This is how our thoughts create our reality, we really do create our own reality based on the filters in our mind.

When we learn to come off of autopilot and we understand how our mind filters information. We have true power to either accept the stories it is feeding us or question them and get a different perspective. Ultimately, we have a choice! When we stop living on autopilot we are more aware and, therefore, empowered to choose our behaviors and actions out of awareness rather than living in the shadows of our mind.
This may sound a little foreign to you and maybe a little unbelievable but take a minute to really think about it. Have you ever watched a movie or show or read a book and then when you talked about it with someone else and they had a different understanding or remembered parts that you can’t recall or had a completely different take on it? That’s because your filters are unique to you and theirs are unique to them and what REALLY happened in the movie, show or book was filtered through two different minds.

 

 

Why is this important to understand?

 

Is your Reality Really Real?

The thing is, these filters can cause us a lot of anxiety, confusion, and frustration. When we believe our version of reality is the true version, anyone who does not see it the same is either arguing with us or not understanding. Not to mention the fact that like in the above scenario, we cause ourselves a lot of stress … for no reason at all.

I have personally been on this journey of coming off autopilot and it has been an eye-opening one. There are so many things that I just accepted as fact about myself and my world, I never questioned the validity of these stories. Having the tools I have now, I am defining who I am on my own terms, it is no longer my mind that dictates who I “need to”, “have to” or “should be” or the stories that I listen to. It is me who makes the choice and I make the choice based on what is best for me, authentically, not what my mind is telling me, and that is empowering! Don’t get me wrong, I still have the filters. The difference now is they are not running in the shadows controlling how I show up in my life, rather, I make conscious choices on how I want to view and operate in my world. That to me is true power and the start of living an authentic life!

 

 

 

Interested in coming off autopilot? Or just want more information, check out the ReDefine You! On Your Terms! self-guided program.

And remember….

Is your Reality Really Real?

finally...happy birthday to me

Finally…Happy Birthday to Me!

Just over a week ago, I celebrated my birthday and this year was completely different than it had been from other birthdays. I would have to say that this was probably the first time since I was a child that I felt like I wanted to celebrate me because I am worth it! That is new and a reflection of the work I have been doing on myself over the past years, and man does it feel good!

Finally...Happy Birthday to Me!

 

 

I am sure I am not the only one out there who on their birthday feels like it’s not that big of a deal or they minimize it in some other way. Most of my friends are that way, well, all accept one. She is the friend who refers to her birthday as her “princess day” and, to be honest, I never really could relate to that. I would think often think “Come on, we are adults!” But now I finally get it! This “princess day”, I actually felt the excitement that a child feels on their birthday. The biggest difference this year is that I believe and have embraced that I am a good person who has talents and strengths and am a unique individual and who deserves to be celebrated (we all do)!

 

 

 

When you look at kids, they are so ecstatic about their birthdays. They feel special on their day and they really do celebrate themselves. Why does this change? At what age do we start to accept that we are not really that special and that our birthday just means we are another year older? What is it that makes us feel that we do not deserve or are not that big of a deal that we should not celebrate who we are?

 

I think that the difference is that we start to develop versions of ourselves that are not authentically us, as we get older. We begin to take on the expected behaviors that we observe in the world around us. We start to learn that we are not alright and that we need to do, be, or act better. For me, this is the beginning of us feeling that we are not good enough and start believing that we need to be better. If we feel we need to be better and that we need to step up our game because we are not good enough, then why would we celebrate our mediocrity?

 

Finally...Happy Birthday to Me!

 

This couldn’t be further from the truth! We are all good enough in our own ways and these internalized versions of how we need to be better are just that –  they are stories that we tell ourselves that keep us chasing the carrot. There is far too much information on how this happens to go into in this short blog, but to prove it does happen, look at a child and see their pure joy! For example, my niece and nephew dance, play, run and laugh freely. They don’t stifle their laugh because they have been told it is “too loud” or “obnoxious”. They don’t worry about what their dancing looks like because someone has told them they are doing it wrong or that people don’t dance that way or that they look silly dancing. They just dance freely! They play and create games that don’t always make sense, but they are having fun nonetheless. I think we have got it all backwards. Kids are the prime example of what it means to live freely and authentically, but the older they get, the more they buy into the stories/lessons that they are being taught by society and then they start to lose their authentic selves, like most of us have. They start to believe that they laugh too loud, they dance too silly, that their games and imaginations don’t make sense, and they start to hide away these pieces of themselves that do not fit the mold. And after years of hiding them away, as adults, they feel like who they are is not good enough and that they don’t measure up. This creates the scenario where they no longer celebrate themselves because, again, why would you celebrate someone who is not good enough and doesn’t measure up?!

So, I say celebrate yourself! Celebrate your birthday this year because it is a special day. You, unlike anyone else, were born into this world with a unique set of gifts, talents, quirks, and beauty, so why would we not celebrate something that rare?! There is no one else like you and that is something to celebrate, you’re one of a kind! In other areas of life we certainly celebrate rareness, so why not with ourselves?

 

Finally...Happy Birthday to Me!

 

So, no matter when your birthday is this year, Happy Birthday! Celebrate the wonderfulness that is you! If your birthday has passed, have a do-over, you deserve it! You may even feel like I did this year – happy to be celebrating and grateful for all those people who celebrated who I am with me!

Clean Out the Closets of Your Mind

Spring is such a beautiful time of year! Nature is bursting with life, the trees are blooming, baby animals running around, birds are singing, and flowers are popping up all over. It really is a season full of life! I notice people emerging from their winter hibernation, my neighbourhood is again filled with kids playing, birds singing and neighbours chatting. With this emergence from hibernation many of us are inspired to start our spring cleaning. We are starting to clean up outdoor spaces and also giving our indoor space a good decluttering and cleaning. I know that is how I feel!

Clean Out the Closets of Your Mind

Your Outer World is a Reflection of your Inner world

While doing my spring cleaning this year, I am reminded how much our outer world reflects our inner world. I think about what Louise Hay, author of Heal Your Life and numerous other great books, says about cleaning out the clutter of our mind. She suggests that when you clean your exterior environment you repeat the affirmation “I am cleaning out the closets of my mind”.

I agree that our outside world does reflect our internal and I have experienced it many times. For example, when my house is in disorganization and chaos, it is a warning signal to me that my mind is disorganized and my thinking chaotic. Usually, at these times, I struggle to connect thoughts and there is a flurry of activity with the numerous projects I have on the go. My solution to this is to clean my outer environment and simultaneously my inner world becomes more organized; I gain clarity. The same plays out the other way, when I am stuck in my head over a project or problem, my house starts to get disorganized and messy. My cure for this is to start by cleaning the outer environment which opens up space for me both physically and within my mind. It is like when I organize my house magically my mind gets organized as well!

 

Clean Out the Closets of Your Mind

What Else Needs Organization?

 

When you are doing your spring cleaning this year consider what else might need a little more organization. Notice how you keep your environment and how that is reflected in your life.

Do you like to hide clutter in drawers? This may mirror hiding things away that you are not ready or wanting to deal with. Or do you have an immaculate house on appearance but become obsessed over little messes? Is that mirroring how you may get stressed when things aren’t just right in your life and, as a result, fixate on the negative? Or maybe you hang on to things that are no longer useful because you don’t want to let go? This could be mirroring your willingness to hang on to grudges, stories or beliefs that are not serving you.

Try this…

There are no clear, hard fast rules to this but I would bet if you do your spring cleaning with mindfulness and curiosity, you may get some insights! While cleaning ask yourself how is this playing out in my thinking and in my life? Then be present and listen for the answers. If you do find there are things that arise that you are ready to clear out then set the intention “I clear out the closet, or disorganization from my mind.”

Clean Out the Closets of Your Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

I leave you with the warmest wishes for this beautiful season!

 

Time for Connection?

Lately the word connection has been popping up for me, so I thought I would write about it. We, by nature, are wired for connection. Our very survival is dependent on it, so why is it so many of us struggle to feel connected? Why is it that we tend to close off and retreat into a world of our own minds? Or why is it that for most of us we restrict this for only our very close friends or family (if we even feel connected at all!)?

This thought was sparked while I was participating in a class at the Y. It was a class called Centergy and the reason this is important is that I often participate in yoga (which I love), but when I am in yoga I use that time to be with my mind, like a moving meditation. Because of this, I rarely pay attention to others in the class. But in this class, it is a little faster paced and there are more moves. So, in this class, I do not focus inside as much. This allowed me to have this new perspective! As the whole class was moving through poses, especially when we were looking backward or in a flowing motion, I couldn’t help but notice the other people in my class. It was in that moment that I saw and felt this beautiful connection between everyone in the class. We were all in sync and moving together in a beautiful flow to music … connected in the moment. It struck me how easy it was to feel connected! It was a great feeling and almost brought a tear to my eye.

 

Time for Connection?

 

This brought on contemplation on the feeling of connection, how good it feels and how it is so easy to access. If this is the case, why is it that most of us, myself included, tend to isolate ourselves? Even if we are with others, a lot of us keep to ourselves and don’t allow ourselves to feel that connection. Why?

As I said before we are wired for connection, so why do we spend so much of our time searching for it? And why do we retreat from it when we are given the opportunity to connect? I think that this comes down to a couple of things.

Is your Heart Open?

First, I think that so many of us spend so much time in our heads that we don’t allow our hearts to open up to feel connected. I think we may participate in activities with others, but true connection comes from allowing our hearts to connect with others in that moment.  We may join a group or spend time with others but a lot of the time we aren’t present in the moment. We are judging ourselves, judging the conversation, planning ahead, or feeling shame or guilt for what we should be doing instead! This works in direct contradiction to the connection that we are seeking, rather than being connected in that moment when we are in our minds. We might as well be alone. Rather, if we took some time to really be in the moment to be mindful and feel into the situation, we would get the feeling of connection that we were looking for in the beginning. It really is that simple!

 

Time for Connection?

 

Is There Fear?

Another reason I think that we don’t connect is that we have fears around feeling connected to others. Some may have a belief that by connecting to others we risk losing our independence or that feeling a need to connect is a sign of weakness. This couldn’t be further from the truth! When we feel connected, our independence is not at risk and, if you are brave enough to reach out and feel in a world that pushes for independence, how could that be weakness?

Some may fear that when we connect we are vulnerable. It is true, it can feel vulnerable, but that does not mean that others will take advantage of that vulnerability and harm us in some way. Or that we will be viewed as weak and therefore become a target because we chose to open our hearts. There are way more good people in this world than ones who are out to get us, and if we are willing to risk opening our hearts, it encourages others to also do the same!

The beautiful moment that I had in my class was empowering, encouraging and supportive. All of which are positive, because I opened my heart to feel. I didn’t need to spend time getting to know the other participants or even know their names, all I needed was to allow myself to feel into the moment.

 

This week I encourage you to be brave and to feel into connection. Allow yourself to feel the nurturing, supportive, intuitive wonderfulness that being connected with others can provide!

 

 

Time for Connection?Here are some suggestions:

  • Schedule a coffee date with friends and put your phone away, be there fully!

 

  • Fully participate in a class.

 

  • Spend your family dinner time not talking about the past (what happened today), or present (what you need to do) but actually in the moment.

 

  • Smile and make eye contact with people on the street. Even greet them!

 

  • Get engaged in a conversation with coworkers.

 

  • Have a spontaneous conversation with a salesperson and truly be involved in the conversation.

 

  • Make an effort to meet someone new.

 

Whatever it is that you try, be present in the moment, and open your heart up to the connection. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome of your efforts.

Excited About a Root Canal…WHAT?!?

I have taken the last couple of weeks off because I have been nurturing a tooth abscess. When I was told I needed a root canal at first, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Why is this you ask? Well it’s simple I have worked really hard and earned this root canal and I was ready for it!

It all started a couple of weeks ago, I had a pain in my jaw and ear. I went to see my applied kinesiologist for an adjustment. At first, I thought nothing of it, just a usual adjustment for my jaw. After the adjustment, I was confident that the pain would go away within a day. This did not happen, in fact, the pain worsened. It literally started throbbing, it had its own heartbeat! That was when I realized this was not a typical jaw out of alignment. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, so I made an appointment with my dentist.

Not really convinced this was a problem with my tooth, while I waited for my dentist appointment, I started my usual protocol of oil of oregano. I thought that maybe it was just an ear infection, I mean we have had some really cold weather and I had been walking my dog, so maybe that’s all it was. I waited a couple of days, but it really didn’t seem to be helping. So, as I usually do, I consulted my Louise Hay “Heal Your Body” app on my phone.

Excited About a Root Canal...WHAT?!?

For those of you who have never heard of it, Louise Hay believes that we can heal our bodies and when our bodies are manifesting dis-ease, then we need to look at what is happening in our lives and our thinking. As she (and I) believe, this is what is creating the suffering. This book is like my go-to, I always reference it when something is going on. In the book (and app) she lists numerous ailments alphabetically, everything from abdominal cramps to yeast infections and, under each problem, she lists the probable cause of the ailment and then a new thought pattern to adopt to help fix the problem.

I consulted my app and looked up earache and the probable cause was “Anger. Not wanting to hear. Too much turmoil. Parents arguing.” I thought about it and that didn’t really fit for me, so I continued searching.

I looked up jaw problems and again it said “Anger. Resentment. Desire for revenge.” Again, I reflected on this and checked in with myself, no this didn’t fit either. I continued to look. I next looked up Teeth and it said, “Represent decisions”, I thought ‘ok this could be’, but still didn’t totally feel quite right. I looked deeper into teeth I started scrolling and root canal popped into my head. To be honest, at this point I was not even sure what a root canal was but it was in the list, so I looked at it. I read “Probable cause – Can’t bite into anything anymore. Root beliefs being destroyed.” YUP! I thought “This could be it!” I have spent the last year or so working on some pretty core beliefs and I was feeling like I had gotten a handle on them. I was practicing awareness and was counteracting these limiting negative beliefs when they would arise. It felt like these beliefs were finally letting go. They were still showing up occasionally, but not nearly as often, and very rarely were they slipping under the radar causing an onslaught of negative self-talk. When I read “root beliefs being destroyed”, I thought this is exactly what I have been working towards. I eagerly awaited my dentist appointment, feeling sure that she was going to say I needed a root canal.

As I sat in the dentist chair they did x-rays and the dentist walked in and said, “You clearly have an abscess, I could tell from across the room.” Ok, one mystery solved, that’s why the pain. She looked in my mouth and at the x-ray and quickly determined I needed…wait for it… a root canal! I couldn’t help but chuckle. YUP! I needed these root beliefs to be removed completely once and for all! The prospect of physically getting these infected dead “roots” removed was exciting. I felt like I had done the work of removing them from influencing my life and this was the last step to actually physically remove them. To me that was great news, not to mention an end to the pain, both literally and physically that these “roots” were causing!

When I left the dentist, I re-read the “new thought pattern”. What I realized is that I had worked so hard at eliminating the old sabotaging beliefs, but I had not spent the time replacing them with new self-serving beliefs. I was ready for the new, I just needed to set what these new beliefs were. Over the next couple of weeks while waiting for my dentist appointment, I took time to really contemplate what beliefs I wanted to create my strong foundation with. I determined that I wanted trust, surrender and self-love.

 

Excited About a Root Canal...WHAT?!?

 

When I returned to the dentist a couple of weeks later to have the root canal, I went in with a feeling of gratitude for all that I had learned from these beliefs and a willingness to finally let them go. My self-talk was “I release these old beliefs and I create a new strong foundation on the beliefs of trust, surrender and self-love.” I was ready!  The root canal went well and within a couple of days the pain had mainly subsided, and the tooth was healing.

I have embraced my new beliefs and feel that the old self-sabotaging beliefs have been finally been removed completely from me. It is such a rewarding feeling to know that I have worked through some pretty core beliefs that were holding me back in many areas of my life.

I practice in my life looking at things holistically and this is just one example of how we can really get answers to what is going on with us, when we are open to looking at the whole picture from an aware space. Once we understand, we have a choice. It’s only when things are in the dark that they have control over us.

 

Excited About a Root Canal...WHAT?!?

 

For some of you, this may seem a little bizarre, but I challenge you to get the “Heal your Body” book (I can’t find the app anymore). Look up any ailments you are experiencing in your body and be open to the wisdom.  I do it whenever something arises, and it is always (whether I am ready to admit it or not) a good perspective on what is going on!