Week 10 Check In; Starting again – Daily Meditation Adventure

If you have not already joined our Daily Meditation Adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how the last couple of weeks went for me.

Experiences during the week: I have fallen off the meditation wagon. Why is taking time to take care of myself such a hard task?! Why, when the day is busy and there is much to do, do I put meditation to the bottom of the list? After so many weeks of (mostly) daily meditation, how could I suddenly stop all together? It is has been about 2 weeks since I have meditated faithfully. Today, I will once again recommit to me and begin my (at least) daily meditation practice again. I will give it new focus and place it higher on the priority list. I will attempt to find a rhythm or routine in my days, that I can make meditation a standard part of this. 

My weight: My weight has decreased by 4.6lbs since starting the challenge. I do have to credit  intermittent fasting with the majority of the weight loss.  I have lost 7.2 lbs with the intermittent fasting in about 3.5 weeks. Although, before I started that, I had begun to loose some weight just by meditating. 

How I feel: I feel disappointed in myself for falling away from something that I believe is a helpful and healthy practice for me. I feel ashamed for not following through on my commitment to you of 90 days of daily meditation. I feel hopeful that today is a new day and a new opportunity to start again. 

How it is affecting my life: I will let you know next week. 

What I have learned: I have learned that it is never to late to begin again. That not following through and failing are not the same things. I have learned that each new day presents us with the opportunity to put ourselves first and to find the rhythm of our lives that encourage us to continue on. I have learned that it is okay to love myself even in my imperfection. 

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you fallen off the meditation wagon? Have you maintained daily meditation? Have you enjoyed this adventure? Is meditation helping enhance your life?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of loving yourself as is, imperfections and all, as if by magic.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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My experience with a decision that could have jeopardized a relationship.

Emy and I are The Adventure Sisters but we are not biological sisters, we weren’t even raised together. We met at a class several years ago and were friends before we knew we were friends. Our friendship goes so much deeper than a typical friendship. We are soul sisters. There is a familiarity between us that hints at past lives of being princesses together. A soul connection that calls to past history of dancing through lives together. I am completely myself with Emy. Her presence brings out a deeper part of me. I feel safe in her love; safe in the knowledge that I can be me and she will not judge or walk away from me.

Emy and I have had an annual trip to the BWCA for awhile now. It has been something we both look forward to; at least until a couple years ago. For some reason, I have become more resistant to this trip. I know how much Emy loves it and how it feeds her soul; so I keep trying to push through to make it happen for her. This year, only about 3 weeks prior to the trip that has been planned for 6 months, I started to feel anxious about going. I am not an anxious person; typically I can push through whatever hang ups I may have to do what needs to be done. I spent a week, trying to work through it, seeking guidance and even talking to Emy about making modifications to the trip. In the end, just over 2 weeks prior to the date of the trip, I told Emy I wasn’t going this year. I still needed to feed my spirit but I needed to do it in a different way. I needed alone time to go deep within myself. I needed time to recharge my own batteries. I advise people all the time to take care of themselves first but relized I had not been following that same advise.

I knew Emy would be upset, disappointed, and angry with me. I imagined she would feel abandoned and maybe even disrespected. I reflected on how I would feel if the places were switched around. I also trusted that Emy loves me just like I love her. No two blood relatives could have a stronger connection than we do. I knew she would understand why I needed to back out and would support that decision, even if it wasn’t what she wanted. Emy did not disappoint me. She showed me what a strong, nurturing, and amazing woman she is. She modeled how I would hope to respond in a similar situation. She expressed how she felt, honestly, to me. She had reflected on what the lessons might be for her in this situation. She shared love and support with me. She is a beautiful soul! She encompasses so many powerful, nurturing qualities. I am proud and so very blessed to have her as my adventure sister!

This year we will still have an adventure but different than it has ever been before. She will voyage in one direction and I in another. I am setting off into a forest to spend time in nature searching for parts of myself that seem to have gotten lost in caring for others. She is taking her personal trip to discover her own lessons.

I love helping others; I feel it is a part of my mission. But, as they say on the airplane, I have to put the oxygen mask on myself first. I appreciate it so much that Emy understands and support me in this. I appreciate those wise friends who helped me dig deep for guidance. They supported and encouraged me through making a challenging decision, a decision that could have jeopardized a relationship that I hold close and so very dear.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish all of you will find your soul siblings, as if by magic. I love you and I am proud of you!

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Week 8 of the Daily Meditation Adventure

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how week eight went for me.

What I have learned: This past week I have had multiple nights where I been challenged by insomnia. I tried to use various guided meditations, for sleep, to assist me through these periods. I learned, that for me, they give me a period of relaxation followed by a second wind. In the end they did not help me attain a restful nights sleep. 

Experiences during the week: I have been experimenting this week with different YouTube meditations. I had one especially powerful experience with a Yoga Nidra meditation. This is a type of meditation I have not experienced before. Upon doing some research I learned the Nidra is the Sanskrit word for sleep. Yoga Nidra is a way of using that stage just between wake and sleep to plant seeds of your intentions. I intend to experiment with this some more. 

My weight: My weight has decreased by 1.8lbs since starting the challenge. In full disclosure I did start intermittent fasting, so I cannot claim that meditation alone caused the weight loss. The meditation does help with the fasting when I feel hungry or tempted to eat. It also helps me feel calmer so I am less likely to partake in emotional eating.  

How I feel: Upon completion of a meditation I feel relaxed. I have been quite stressed lately; feeling all the pressure from multiple sources, bearing down on me. Of course, it is all self induced pressures. There are things I could choose not to participate in, others that I wouldn’t have to push so hard at, and still others that I could put up healthy boundaries around. I choose to continue to try and do it all and be it all. The meditation gives me a brief reprieve from the stress. 

How it is affecting my life: The affect on my life changes from moment to moment. Sometimes meditation is still a stressor – something I have to get done. Other times it gives me a tool to use when life feels out of control. This week I am going to make a conscious effort to find time to meditate when life feels out of control. When all of life pressures are causing me to feel uncomfortable, then I will turn to meditation as a moment of freedom from it all. 

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you found your preferred meditation style? Do you have a preferred meditation space? Is meditation helping enhance your life?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of healthy habits which settle themselves into your life as if by magic.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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Moving Toward a Healthier Diet Through Understanding Myself

It seems like the up and down (often more up than down) of my weight has been a life long journey for me. I had gastric bypass surgery in 2008. It worked like a charm for me. I lost 113.5 lbs. I had a little initial rebound weight gain, which is normal but very scary when it is happening. After that initial rebound I maintained my weight loss effortlessly for 8 years. Then the weight started to slowly creep back on. I am now in the process of learning about myself, why I eat, what is causing the weight gain and how can I most naturally, once again, release the weight.

Those of you who follow the daily meditation adventure know that I started 90 days of daily meditation to see if reducing stress and cortisone, would help stop my insidious weight gain and hopefully even help me lose some weight. Last Friday I decided to try something that was recommended to me by a friend, intermittent fasting. I read some articles and saw that studies have been done on this concept. The idea is that you fast for a specific number of hours each day. Of course most of us do fast, for a specific number of hours each day, while we are sleeping. This stretches that out a bit longer. One study I read proposed a 16/8 split. People would eat only between 10am and 6pm and then fast the rest of the time. I have decided to try a 18/6 split.

I am eating only between noon and 6pm. I feel hungry but my “wanting to eat” is more instinct or habitual than an actual need. I am really liking the fasting. I feel I am making healthier choices about what I put in my body instead of mindless noshing. I feel that I am again appreciating food (like I used to do after my surgery). It was 8 years of my weight being maintained before I started gaining. When I look back at what changed, it occurred to me I started eating just because I needed to eat instead of making good choices for tasty food. I was just filling a hole instead of selecting something I would enjoy and nourish my body.

I used to be really good about being selective about what I would put in my body. I knew I could only eat so much and so I made really good tasting and healthy choices. That has changed over the past couple of years. I still am a vegetarian (truly pescatarian) and I avoid highly processed foods with lots of preservatives, as well as processed sugar.  I often eat just because it is meal time and I just need to fill myself with something. I eat, but not what I really want or need and then eat more later to compensate. Some of that is being a part of a family, I got married 2 years ago (the same time the weight started to reappear). When I was single it was easy to eat what I wanted when I wanted. Now as a part of a family, it not just about me. Compromises have to be made about when, where, and how meals occur. My boss told me once my weight gain was because I was married now. I could not at first understand how that would contribute to weight gain. This experiment in fasting has given me the opportunity to step back and study my eating and see what really did change. IMG_6045

The other thing that has affected my eating is being busier. It seems I am always on the run. Instead of making a good choice that will satisfy me, I just grab something quick to get by and then eat more later.  It has started a vicious cycle of eating second breakfast and snacking or grazing.

I enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, sometimes two. I know that my wine intake is also a part of my weight gain but not the whole story. I have had other times, when I was maintaining my weight, where my wine intake was about what it is now. One of the rules of post gastric bypass surgery is no fluids with calories. Wine should be off the menu. Beverages with calories are also a sneaky way for your body to slowly gain weight, because it is easy to intake more calories than you realize you are ingesting, without feeling full.

I have noticed, since starting the intermittent fasting, that I am chasing more and more veggies. I really crave them. I am limiting the amount of carbs I eat and when I do eat them, trying to choose complex carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice. One of the side effects I have from my gastric bypass is if I eat to many carbs, my blood sugar drops and I feel horrible, so I focus on getting protein with my meals. With the decreased carbohydrates I have not had problems with the usual fluctuations in my blood sugar that I had prior to starting to eat in this way.

I have not even been doing the intermittent fasting for a week yet, but it has given me some very interesting insight into myself and my eating behavior. I hope to continue to learn about myself in order to make healthier and healthier choices.

Thank you for Reading my blog today. May you learn how to eat nutritious, healthy food, that makes you feel happy, healthy and nourished, as if by magic.

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Muddling Towards Enlightenment

I have seen Spiritual teachers, leaders, and athletes be put up on pedestals, when in truth, they are all just human beings muddling through this life, best they know how. Once they fall off that pedestal though, society judges them harshly. How do we all be the best version of us, without putting ourselves or each other, up on those pedestals and resulting judgment? One way, I hope to accomplish this, is through my blog, books, and intentions. I want my words to encourage others to do what they thought they couldn’t do. I want everyone to be able to live their dreams. I feel so blessed to have a magical life and want to help my fellow voyagers, in this journey called life, to find that same power within themselves.

I have been asking myself these questions lately:

  • Do I practice what I preach?
  • Do I seek to understand?
  • Do I jump to conclusions?
  • Do I judge things with without knowing the whole story?
  • Do I follow my own advice?
  • Do I judge when I should instead send love?

A couple recent situations have caused me to look inside myself (deeply) at how do “I” make sure “I” am being the best me I can be. Let me share them with you.

The first happened when my very wise daughter brought something to my attention. I have taught my daughters and they are, in their own right, very wise souls. We were traveling together recently and I received some very frustrating and concerning news that could have had some very poor outcomes. I immediately began to worry about all the “worst” case scenarios. Stressed and talking about what I “thought” was going to happen. In all, I was painting the picture of what I didn’t want to happen. I was talking about it over and over again. My daughter calmly said to me, “Well, I am going to keep my thoughts positive”. “I am going to imagine it working out”. She had to tell me this a couple of different times along the journey to remind me to follow the same advice I so readily dish out. I am grateful that she was brave and wise enough to call me out on my negative thought pattern. It can be very difficult to bring this to someone’s attention when they are being negative. I am so glad she practices what I preach. It was a good reminder to work on myself continually. It is important to keep positive and paint the mental image of what we want to happen. In the end it all worked out.

The other situation happened this morning. I read a post written by one of the EMTs working along the Mexican border. He shared a very different view about the people who are working there and separating child from adults. Yes, I think the act of taking children from their parents along the border is horrific. It hurts me to the deepest level of my being. I am shaken by the thought of the horrors those child have and may in the future see.  But… is there 2 sides to every story? Yes! Does the truth lay somewhere in the middle? Yes! My mom used to say there are always at least 3 versions of the truth. My version, your version, and then the truth. Do I jump on the bandwagon of the popular thought without studying and learning what is really happening in order to form my own opinion?  It is frustrating that we cannot trust our news to bring us unbiased reporting. We cannot even be sure that some agenda is not being pushed or that some story is being used as a distraction to hide something else that is going on. I do not think there are any straight answers to some of these hard questions. All I can do is follow my own advice and send the purest, highest intentions to the children and their families who are so desperate for a better life that they are willing to risk everything to cross the border. I would like to see the suffering of all people end. I seek to try and understand others motives for doing the things they do. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” ~ Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. People may have very good reasons and the purest intentions for doing the things they do but that doesn’t always make them right. Still it is not my job to judge them but rather to send them love. It is my job to be the best “me” I can be and to send love to the whole world, not judgment.

I appreciate everyone who has and is walking this journey with me. I appreciate those who are not afraid to tell me when I am not following my own advice. Let’s all try and be the best version ourselves today.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you be the best version of yourself, as if by magic! I love you!!

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“Week 7” check in – Weekly Meditation Adventure

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how week seven went for me.

What I have learned: I have learned that if you wait for the ideal time to meditate it might never come. Sometimes you have to meditate in the midsts of everything that is going on around you. In the image (above) on this blog I was at the lake with my grandchildren. It was nonstop talking and action. There was no quiet moment to sneak away. My infant grandson was happy to sit next to me while I meditated and my 4 year old granddaughter was intrigued enough with the process; that she decided to sit down and try it. She didn’t stay long but long enough that I was able to get my meditation in even with all of the activity around me. 

Experiences during the week: Sitting outside, while practicing meditation, was delightful. The sound of the birds, the feel of the breeze on my skin, and the warmth of the Sun with the smell of the grass, all served to enhance my experience. This has been my best week of meditation since the challenge began. I have stuck to my Kundalini Yoga mediations as my preferred technique. I find that it really helps me keep my focus. I still have a mind that wanders from time to time but the combination of mantra, mudras (hand positions), and intention; really improves my experience and decreases my frustration.

My weight: I weighed myself on Friday morning and I lost 0.6lbs since the last time I weighed about 10 days before. Could this be a reflection of really getting into the grove and having a commitment of daily meditation? I would like to believe so. 

How I feel: I feel proud of keeping my commitment to myself and completing daily meditations this week. There were even a couple of days that I got in 2 daily meditations. I feel a deep sense of calm on the days when I meditate in the morning and the evening. I plan to make this the goal for the next week. 

How it is affecting my life: This week the daily meditation enhanced my life. While on the road I made it a point to do meditation in the morning before leaving the hotel room. I feel my thoughts are clearer and my calm stays with me more often throughout the day. I find that I am less stressed by the idea of daily meditation. Where the previous week, it was something that was on my “to do” list, this week it was something I looked forward to. I feel that this shift in my daily meditation experience has the potential to make sustainable improvement in my life.

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you found your preferred meditation style? Do you have a preferred meditation space?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of finding the perfect time even when not sure there is a perfect time to meditate.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters

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Navigating the Changes of Now – Part 2

In part 1 we talked about discovering how we respond to changes and possibly exploring why we react in the ways we do. Today we will explore tips and techniques we can use when the pressure of change is causing us stress. Here are 9 things you can do to help you float through change more easily.

  1. Take a deep breath – Often times we breath into our shoulders. Breathing into our shoulders can increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Instead, take a deep belly breath; feeling that inspiration go all the way down into your lower abdomen, deeper than your belly button. During a couple of these deep breaths, allow the breath to slowly fill your lungs and then slowly leave your lungs over the course of 20 seconds.
  2. Visuals a happy outcome – Instead of worrying about the outcome you are worried about, visualize a happy outcome. Take a minute, get yourself into a quiet space, close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, and then spend sometime painting a picture of how you see the situation working out.
  3. Recognize your lack of control – This is a great time to remember what you have control over. You do not have control over the things going on around you. All you can control is your reaction to the events unfolding in your life. If you remember this, you can release a lot of the feelings of stress related to the need to “make things workout”. You can’t “make” them anything. All you can do is work to control how you react to them.
  4. Make a plan – Things are changing and you need to be able to roll with the punches. A great tip is to make a plan. A great plan starts with a goal. Once you make a goal related to this area of change; you can set steps or interventions to take to help you work towards that goal.
  5. Remain flexible – Of course I am talking about remaining flexible in you actions , your plan, and your response to change. However Yoga is also a great way to remain flexible as well as to remain centered. So stay centered and be willing to adjust your plan when the changing times call for it.
  6. Talk about it – Talk about your feelings with a close friend, confident, or Therapist. Sometimes saying it out loud can help you process it better. It gives you opportunity to hear your feelings spoken and this can decrease their power. It also gives you a chance to feel heard by someone. If talking about it doesn’t seem like a possibility for you , then journal about it. Keep a notebook, journal, or even app on your phone handy to give you a place to express yourself. There are some very cool journaling apps now, some even let you add photos or music to your entry.
  7. Look for the positives – There is good and bad in all situations, Yin and Yang. Even though change can be very difficult there are positives in it for you. Look for them and you will surely see them. It becomes easy to focus on the things you perceive as negative. When you shift that to looking forward to the good things about the change, it can change your whole opinion on the upcoming changes.
  8. Remember our exercise from part 1– You made your list of recent changes, you wrote down your reaction, and then you wrote about the outcomes. Exam those outcomes. Often change puts us into a better place. Just acknowledging that change can get you to a better place can help reduce your stress in dealing with new changes.
  9. Acknowledge your feelings – Don’t shame yourself for feeling fearful or stressed about changes that are coming. Many people have these same feelings. It is okay to be afraid or to feel stressed. What is important is to not get stuck in the stress of it. Don’t let it paralyze you. Take a deep breath and take a step forward into your future.

What things do you do to help you overcome nervousness about fear? Have you used any of these tips and techniques? How did they work for you?

Thank you for reading my blog today. May all your changes happen with ease and bring you to an even better place in your life. I love you.

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