Flexibility and Habits

I have been learning a lot about habit formation lately. It seems like it may be the key for me in putting my self-care and healthy habits front and center. Although, it may not seem to make sense, I am learning that some flexibility is required when creating habits. Let me explain what I mean.

A couple of the habits I am working on are daily meditation and daily physical activity. When it comes to my meditation practice, it has come along pretty easily, this time. Past attempts have not been as successful. I believe this to what I have learned about habit formation.

From my understanding there are 3 main parts to a habit. The trigger, the habit, and the reward. The trigger is the thing that lets your subconscious know it is time to do the habit. The reward is what you get for preforming the habit. When it comes to my meditation habit, my trigger is when I wake up in the morning. I go to my designated meditation space, light my meditation candle (a reward) and mediate for 20 minutes. At the end of my mediation, I track my mediation in my Adidas running app. (Side note: I love this app, it will track all kinds of activities and allows for live tracking as well as manual entries.) Tracking my meditation in the app is my reward. From what I have learned instant rewards are best. If we have to wait too long for a reward our brains won’t associate them with the habit.

So where does flexibility fit in? In order to create a habit you must do it consistently. I can’t say, “I don’t feel well” or “conditions are not perfect”, I have to find a way to get it done. For example: when I travel for work, I do not have my designated space or my candle with me. I have to allow for flexibility in my practice. I meditate with out theses things.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs I am working towards running a 5k. I am using the C25K app from Zenlabs. I love this app! It works great. I prefer to run outside. The fresh air and beautiful scenery are a part of my reward for running. This past week it has been cold and icy. I have severe osteoporosis and can’t afford to slip and fall on the ice. This past week I had to do my running on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill and running outside are not even close to the same experience. I am dedicated to creating a habit of daily activity and training towards the more far off reward of running a 5k again. I have to allow for the flexibility of running inside on a treadmill some days.

Another thing I have learned about habits, is that they are easier when stacked, habit on top on habit. For example: trigger – I wake up, habit – mediation, habit – run or yoga, habit – shower, habit – brush teeth, and then it is time to go to work. By stacking habits I am gaining momentum from things that I am doing anyway. When I choose a hike as my daily activity, I can’t get that done in the morning before work. It has to wait till the workday is done. I can not benefit from my morning habit stack. In this way, I must also allow for flexibility that on the days I am going to hike, it will not happen at the same time as my running or yoga will.

What healthy or self-care activities would you like to add to your life? What existing habits could you stack them onto? Where can you see the need for flexibility and grace in you habit formation? What will you choose as rewards?

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you develop many helpful habits that support you taking care of yourself.

Books to learn more about habit formation:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan

Hello Habits by Fumio Sasaki

Don’t Judge Yourself by Others

With today’s social media it is easy to see what is going on with friends, family, acquaintances, and even total strangers. It is so easy to look at what everyone else is doing and feel discouraged about your own progress. How we judge our progress, our life, our success, or our value needs to be compared only to what we did in the past up to now. If we are making progress by our own measures, against our own past performance, or even according to our own goals, then we are a success. We will always do better than some and not as well as others.

My husband and I joined a Spring Fling Trail Challenge. The goal is to hike 75 miles from March through May. With this there is a Facebook page for everyone to post and share their hikes. People all over the United States have been excitedly showing their progress. People are posting that they just did a “short” 4.5 mile hike. There are a lot of people who are sharing 7+ mile hikes. Some post only pictures and no mileage and still other are posting hikes just over a mile. It is easy to understand how those who are clocking shorter hikes could feel less successful than those who are marching away on much longer treks. In light of this the only person any of us should be comparing ourselves too, is ourself. It is the only true gauge of our progress or success.

What really matters for Marty and I is that we are getting outside and enjoying the beauty of nature. The challenge keeps us motivated to get out there. We are improving our bodies strength and endurance with each hiking trail we complete and we are getting to see some of the most beautiful scenery. The State Parks near us look very different in the snow, then they did in the bright light of summer. Slowly but surely we are making gains. In December we didn’t hiking. January we only did 3 hikes with less than 3 miles logged. February, we got out there 15 times for almost 20 miles. Now in March, 5 hikes has us just under 7.5 miles. We could compare ourselves to those individuals who have done in one hike, what it took us 5, or we could look at how much we have progressed since December and celebrate our success. We’ll celebrate us.

Another thing to look at, with all of this, is the amount of effort. A hike along a flat clear trail, is not the same as a hike with multiple elevation changes and rough terrain. This is true of all areas of your life where you may be making progress. Everyone is different and just looking at one aspect of something, like mileage, does not tell the whole story when it comes to effort put forth. If my goal was to cook a homemade lasagna dinner, that is great. Though there are many of things that play into this. Is homemade, to you, defined as putting it from the freezer into your oven at home? Is it using boxed noodles and sauce and assembling at home? Are you making the sauce by simmering it for hours? What about the noodles, homemade or store bought? Did you raise the meat and vegetables? You see that not all home cooked lasagna meals are created equal. Also, if I have been making lasagna for 30 years the effort for me will not be the same as someone who has only cooked a few things from scratch. This is why it is important to only judge your improvement based on yourself. Otherwise the comparison is just not fair. Have you seen the posts on social media of the cool looking cakes and then someone posts what theirs turned out like when they tried to make it? It wasn’t an apples to apples comparison because the original cake maker has likely made hundreds of cute cakes.

There will always be someone able to do more, have more, have a better life, be more fit, have a more seemingly glamorous career. It is important to remember the things we see on social media are snapshots in time. They do not tell us the whole story about someone else’s journey through life. Trying to compare our life against theirs is not fair to us or them. It is not a good measure of the progress we are making and have made. It does not help our happiness. A wise young woman shared with me that she decided to leave social media and since doing so she is so much happier. She is no longer inundated with everyones perfect appearing lives.

You are amazing! You make progress and grow everyday. Look at where you were last week, last month, 3 years ago! There may be areas of your life where you have lost some ground, but that is okay. It means there are areas of opportunity for improvement. What are the areas you want to improve? Take small bites at progress towards your outcomes, it makes for an easier time. Pick one area or maybe a few small areas, look realistically at where you are, were you have been and then where you want to go. Then set a realistic goal. For example, it is realistic that I can hike 75 miles between March first and the end of May. It would not be realistic for me to log 15 miles of hiking every weekend, although that is perfectly realistic for others. So your goal needs to fit you.

Know yourself, be true to yourself, and judge yourself on your own progress and no one else. Be proud of where you are, compared to where you have been. Set realistic goals for yourself. Remember that 3 steps forward and 2 steps back is still a step ahead of where you were. Slow and steady wins the race. You can do this. The only race that is worth it in the end is the race against your self. Your journey does not need to look like anyone else’s. Your journey is your journey. Be proud of your progress! Share it on social media if you like, because it is something to be proud of. Share and celebrate other peoples’ success! What a beautiful world it is when we all celebrate each other but not judge ourself against them. A rose and a daisy are both beautiful flowers. No point in comparing them. Just enjoy the beauty of each of them doing their own thing.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you have many successes to celebrate, that feel good to you. Your success is for you and you alone.

Permission to Be Yourself

This morning as I started my run, the song This Is Me from the Greatest Showman soundtrack played. As I ran along the rural Wisconsin roads, in the cool 17 degree weather, I realized how scary it is to be blogging very publicly and running. How childhood trauma of other children making fun of me, as children will do to one another, still effects me as adult. In the deep recesses of my mind,where I put what i don’t want to acknowledge, it is still there. I turn 50 this month. My healthcare professional would label me as obese. Do I have any right to be out here running into the sunrise? I came to the realization that I still fear being judged for the choices I make. As my legs carried me along the rolling Wisconsin hills, I realized that a lot of people feel this same way.

Do you filter who you are to fit in with society at large? Do you express yourself as less than authentic in order to not stand out from the crowd? You do not need permission to be your truest self. But… if you would like permission, I give it to you. Your special form of “you” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does not need to be. If people read my blog and judge my words or even my right to be putting myself out there, it matters not. What does matter is that I show up for myself. I keep putting one foot in front of the other on my runs, despite my age or my weight. My actions in this life are for me alone. When I show up for myself I show myself that I matter and that I am worthy of living the life of my dreams.

This morning was only my second morning running, after years of believing I couldn’t run anymore. The C25K program includes a walk/run algorithm to help you slowly increase your endurance. I am very early in the program; about 22-26 runs remain to bring me to successful completion of a 5K. It is the journey that is important. This running journey has me feeling amazing! I smile more. I feel completely unstoppable. I feel radiant. Where I am running there is a good size hill that hits early on in the run. It is intimidating and I freaking love it. By the time I am cresting the top of the hill I know I will complete todays run, because the hardest part is behind me.

When I slip into my sneakers and secure my knee brace, I am doing it for me. I am doing it because I want to show up for me. I saw running as something I was doing for my physical health. As I dip my toe back into the running waters, I realize that for me, running is for my emotional health. Once the run is done I am glowing.

That glow has an amazing side effect. It is contagious! I see how my elevated mood effects those around me. My exuberance for life rubs off on my friends and family. Even my co-workers get caught up in it, even if they don’t know what they are caught up in. The affects goes beyond that. My work days have been more productive, passing with ease, flow, and contentment. All of this because I won’t let the naysayers in the dark corners of my mind talk me out of my self-care goals.

How easy it would have been to tell myself I was too old, or my knees too bad and talk myself out of this. I could have put it off until I lost some weight or the weather was better. I could have made up excuses about being to busy or needing better shoes. No one would have faulted me for any of these things. They would have agreed with me and nodded, feeling supportive. All of those things, for me, would have been giving in to the childhood taunts and fears. Isn’t it interesting that we have fears we don’t even know about or acknowledge? If asked, I would have said I don’t have fears related to being judged by others. I believed I had proceed and move beyond any childhood teasing. When you consider things you have wanted to do, but talked yourself out of, can you trace it back to a fear?

It is worth exploring what might be holding you back from setting off towards your dreams. When those fears are brought out of the mists, in which they hid, into the bright light of day, you can see them for what they are. They don’t necessarily slip away. It still takes a concerted effort to push beyond them, but at least I know what I am pushing beyond. It does not matters what anyone thinks of me, past or present. The mean kids in life reflect on themselves, not me, with any judgement they may pass. Why would I make myself small in fear of their judgement? If I had, I would have missed out on this feeling of invincibility. I would not have felt this glow that started in my solar plexus and spread golden light all throughout me, until it was spilling out into the world around me.

I get that running is not for everyone. This same truth holds true for whatever is calling to you. Painting, yoga, writing poetry, cooking, body building, collecting stamps, rebuilding motors, growing vegetables, raising fainting goats, it doesn’t matter what it is or if it makes sense to someone else. What matters is that it lights you up. You feel like “you” when you are doing it. Your glow will rub off on those around you. My grandmother was the type of woman who walked into a room and it lit up. I have always aspired to be like her in that. When I run, I am.

After my run this morning I texted a friend letting her know how ama-za-zing I was feeling. She told me she was so glad to experience me feeling great again after having been down for so long. Talk about a serious blind spot. I had no idea I had been “down”. Apparently those around me knew.

I enjoy being a bright and shiny, positive, being. I delight in the emotional zeal for life that courses through me. After a run, I look forward to writing a blog to share my morning’s insights. My vibration is higher, raising the vibration of those around me. For all of these reason I will run on. I am having the time of my life learning to take care of me. Who knew it could be so fun? Life looks rosy and I can’t wait to see how amazing my 50s will be!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find that thing that lights you up and do it, no matter what anyone else thinks! I love you.

Self Care in 2022

I had claimed 2020 as my year of health. Ironically COVID hit the US that year as it continued to expand across the planet. I ended up working on shadow aspects of myself. My health took a back burner. Over the next two years, COVID became my scape goat for everything. My health deteriorated and my self-care was virtually nonexistent. 2022 has become the year I will reclaim my health. Let me share with you how. 

In 2022 I felt a new found hope. Simultaneously various self-care activities started to drift into my consciousness. I came to a deeper understanding of how taking care of myself, really and truly, allows me to be a better wife, mother, grandmother, friend, coworker and employee. Some personal medical health concerns along with a desire to be a better version of myself have driven me to really strive to take care of me and lovingly put my health first. When I say health, I am not just speaking about my physical being. I am talking about true mind, body, and spirit health. I have also include the component of financial health into that overall wellness. Anyone who has had financial difficulties understands how that can affect overall health.  I have healthy initiatives well underway in all these realms. Most started to slowly pop into practice the end of January and throughout February. Now as March begins, I feel I am well on my way to reclaiming my year of health and overall wellness. 

So, what am I doing? First let’s talk about financial wellness. I started budgeting and using the phrase, “It is not in the budget” to decrease unnecessary spending. This works well because I am not putting energy toward whether or not I can afford it. It is simply something I chose not to put in my budget this month.  Doing this relieves the stress or feelings that I can’t have it in the future, because I can choose to put it in next months budget, if I still want it at that time. The budget becomes a negotiation between my husband and myself. It really helps us prevent wasteful spending and relieves so much stress. 

For my body wellness I have a couple things going. First, since I have been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis, I am following the advise of my healthcare providers. I am taking my prescribed medication and supplements. I am attending follow up appointments and getting lab work as ordered. Because my weight has crept up over the last few years I am working to bring that under control. After reading a couple of books, Atomic Habits by James Clear and Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan, I came to the understanding that habits could really help me cement my health and overall wellness goals. So I heroically set off on a journey of habit formation. I am using the habit setting in many areas, but specifically in relation to my body; my husband and I are doing intermittent fasting. This works well for our weight loss and allows it to be slow and steady. We start our fast after supper (which we try to eat by 6pm) until around 10am the next day. The goal is 16 hours of fasting. Because we are looking at overall wellness, we do not get stressed if life happens and we eat supper at 7:30pm. We simply start our fast after that and carry on. The other things we are doing is focusing on eating a lot of veggies. Oonagh Duncan in her book advocates for half of your plate in veggies. Some meals; almost our whole plate is veggies, other meals we are adding extra veggies to what we would ordinarily have ate. Once again, this is not about perfections. Which brings us to our emotional wellbeing. 

I ask for grace. I know I am not a perfect person, so I must understand that my initiatives will also not be perfect. In the past I have tried to over do it. If 30 minutes is good than 60 minutes is great. I would burn out on what I was doing. Now, I am allowing myself the Grace to do the program as written and not having to over do it or try to out think it. This morning I started the C25K program. This is a running program that gets you from the couch to a 5K in 8-9 weeks. I am using the app by Zenlabs and it works really well. I have not run consistently since April of 2015. This year I am reclaiming that ability. I feel so great and energized after my first time out this morning; why would I not want to continue?! 

Wellness for my spirit is the final area I am working on. This encompasses so much and I feel it really helps with all other areas. I am meditating for 20 minutes every morning. Affording myself grace in the mornings and rewarding myself with beautiful candles that I burn with intention while I am working and while I meditate. The other major self-care item that my husband and I are doing is hiking. Getting out in nature… even though it has still been winter and the cold and snow have to be overcome, we are still doing it. We are still pushing through and getting out there. We hiked about 20 miles in February and now we joined a challenge for Spring that has a goal of 75 miles between March through May. Hiking is amazing for my spirit. I feel the best out among the trees. Also, we are looking forward to spring when the natural world wakes up and comes to life around us. Having the goal of the challenge, friends and my dear sweet husband to march along side me through the snow, has been so inspiring. I feel as if I am coming back to myself. I feel after years of self neglect I am finally learning to lovingly put me first. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find the beauty and healing in caring for yourself. 

Fostering a Love of Nature in the Younger Generation

This weekend my husband and I met our daughter and granddaughter on the North Shore of Lake Superior. There are so many lovely views along the way. Majestic Lake Superior, beautiful waterfalls, and forests all make for an enjoyable day surrounded by natural beauty. Our granddaughter is 5 years old and a smart little girl with a naturally inquisitive nature, that made this day even more special.

As we voyaged along the North Shore, we made many stops. The first was at Gooseberry falls and the last was at the Temperance River. The paths were covered with snow, slush and ice from the recent April blizzard we had. But that didn’t stop us. That little girl was always excited to get out of the vehicle to see what new experiences this stop would bring her, what new path to trot down and what new sights to see. It was such a joy to watch her as she darted here and there. I could see her falling in love with this area of the country that I love so much.

Our other grandchildren love the outdoors just as much. They enjoy playing outside every chance they get. They love to hike down paths through the woods, are excited about upcoming camping trips, and enjoy getting to see the wildlife that are part of these types of adventures. Fostering this type of love in our youngsters does a couple of things. It helps them and it helps the planet.

It helps them by giving them an escape, that we all need sometimes. They learn that the world has so much to offer. There is more to life than just the TV and tablets. They learn that fun, as well as peace, can be found by getting out into nature. Helping them develop a love of nature at a young age gives them an opportunity to develop several coping mechanisms as they age. Going hiking and camping, are parts of my life, that help me during tough times. Paddling a Kayak down river, after a stressful day, helps all the tension melt away. When we introduce children to these things at a young age, it gives them more for their tool box as they age.

It helps the world by producing more people who will want to protect it. They are less likely to take actions in the future that could cause harm to the planet, when they see how special the natural world is. When they fall in love with Mother Nature and all she has to offer them, they are more invested in taking care of her. They will not all become tree hugging hippies but they may become responsible with their trash, recycle, or choose products with packaging that is earth friendly.

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Just as our little granddaughter had a blast exploring the beauty around us, I enjoyed watching her fall in love with the earth. Do you have children in your life? what kinds of things do you do with them out in nature? I would love to hear about your adventures with little ones. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you enjoy the world of nature with any little ones in your life, as if by magic.

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Let’s Talk About Desire; 7 questions to help you explore yours.

I was raised Catholic and I remember getting the distinct impression that desire was a bad thing. That is was a sin, something to be avoided and resisted. I remember believing that weak people gave into their desires. Through studying wise teachers and texts, as well as meditation and seeking guidance; I have come to understand that this way of thinking is wrong. Let us explore the notion of desires and understand why they are often our friends.

During a meditation, Deepak Chopra introduced a centering thought that started to shift my perception of my desires. It was “My life moves forward through my desires”. What a freeing thought. That I have these desires because they are moving me forward. When you really think about it we strive for things, work hard, get education and all because we desire something. It is these desires that keep us reaching to be better, do better, accomplish more.

There is so much in this life we can accomplish. It may be personal goals, like being calmer and more centered. It can also be professional goals, like starting a business that improves the world at large. One person who has done this is Sage Lavine. In her book Women Rocking Business she also talks about desires being a positive thing. She provides a quote from Janet Attwood which says, “Your desires aren’t necessarily your destiny. Your desires are stepping stones on the path to your destiny”. I really like this imagine of following my desires like a path into the unknown; bringing me face to face with my life purpose. Sage says, “…Source is using your desires to communicate what you need to do”. Looking at our desires as messages or directions from God, changes everything.

I do think it is important to differentiate between desires and distractions though. Sometimes I want to drink wine until I am comfortably numb. This I would not classify as a desire leading me to my destiny, but rather a distraction to avoid feeling something. By allowing that feeling, I can acknowledge it and move past it.  Activities such as shopping, eating, drinking, and staying busy could fall into this category of distraction.

Other things that can appear to be desire is looking to gain someones approval. This may be because you are wanting to live up to someone elses expectation of you. Are you chasing that next promotion because it will make your parents proud?  Do you want a new vehicle because the neighbors have one? These types of things maybe more connected to your self esteem. When our self esteem is low, we are more likely to give our power away to things that others want or want for us. So it is important that we take a look at those things we are wanting to discern if they are true desires, or something we are doing for another reason. Having people be proud of us may be the underlying desire but is that the reason for your actions. There maybe a way to accomplish this that is more in alignment with our true nature.

Here are some questions to help you look at your desires to see if they are true to yourself and have your best interests in mind.

  1. Are you using this to avoid something?
  2. Are you doing this to “keep up with the Jones”?
  3. Is your drive behind this to make someone else proud?
  4. Are you fooling yourself about one of the previous answers?
  5. Why do you want/desire this?
  6. How long have you wanted this?
  7. If this has been calling to you for a long time why have you not acted yet?

Be honest with yourself. It is easy for “justifications” to get in the way of the deeper truth. I am an expert justifier. I can make myself believe all kinds of false truths that do not help me dig down to the truth of what is under the surface. Have fun exploring your desires! May they bring you face to face with your destiny!  “This above all, to thine own self be true…”, William Shakespeare.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find your desires leading you in the direction of your dreams, as if by magic!

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Making Time for Your Priorities: 6 questions to ask yourself

What are the things that are most important to you? What are the things in life that you wish you had more time for? Life is so full of the push and pull to do various things, that finding balance amongst all of these, is one of the challenges we all face. I used to look at people who were retired, or didn’t work for one reason or another, and thought they must have it made. They have all the time they need to do whatever they want. As I have paid more attention to this perceived abundance of theirs; it seems not having a job does not mean that there is plenty of time to do it all. These people are still very busy and vocalize having a lot on their plate to get accomplished.

So, I had a couple thoughts about priorities during a meditation this week.

The other morning, as I sat in meditation and my husband scurried around cleaning up the kitchen, it struck me that we make time for the things that are priorities in our life. If we feel that there is no time for our priorities, we need to take a look at our life and see how we are really spending our time. What things have crept into our life that are not priorities, but we just treat them as if they are? I am blessed to have a husband who shares the household duties with me.  He never suggests that I am not carrying my fair share of the load or that I should be doing more and this helps allow for more time. Working a full-time job, that often requires more than full time hours and almost weekly travel, makes the time to pursue things like blogging, planning retreats, offering classes, sharing inspiration, and my own personal development quite sparse. I have changed things in my life to be able to have time for the things I feel are priorities. Here are some things to ask yourself. I have and continue to reevaluate these as life marches on.

  1. Where does time go? By looking at how we spend time, it is possible to find some extra space in the day to do more. Things that steal time for me are playing games on my phone, procrastination (where I stay busy to avoid something else) and the occasionally TV binge.
  2. Is it really important? About 25 years ago, I made a conscious decision that the TV would not be in the main room of the house. When there it steals our time. It is easy to fall into the trap of coming home and plunking down in front of it. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of really great things to watch on TV. Just be mindful about what you are watching and how much of your time it is truly taking. Is it really the priority? Our Tv (at home) is in a family room in the basement. So that it is not in the center of attention when meals and conversations are had.
  3. Is there another way to accomplish it? We all know that living in a sanitary way is important for health. I am not a germaphobe and my house does not have to be perfect, but It does need to be tidy. Also, according to Feng Shui, a cluttered environment causes a cluttered mind. Your space needs to be a priority, but maybe you make a chore list to share with others in your house? Can you hire a housekeeper? Are there efficiencies you can add like cleaning the shower as you get out of it in the morning once a week? We have worked out a trade deal with one daughter so she comes and cleans our house in exchange for us helping her with things she needs. Be creative!
  4. Is there times when you can multitask? I love audio books! I listen to them while I commute, exercise, cook, etc. It is a nice way to fit in some learning or self development while doing other things that I have to accomplish anyway.
  5. Could you start your day differently? I am a morning person and getting up early to get things done, before the demands for the day start closing in, works well for me. Even if you are not a morning person, is there a way you can make a morning routine more supportive of the things you want to be priorities in your life? I recently started daily meditation again as well as another 40 day yoga practice. I have found that if I get up a little earlier in the morning I have time to meditate, do my yoga, and often even blog, before I have to go to work. Having this routine has been very positive for me feeling more centered and finding balance in my life.
  6. Check your attitude. How is your mood or your tude? In March, I had a tough month. I couldn’t seem to find the energy or desire to blog or commit to other healthy habits. I was eating poorly, vegging out in front of the TV, and I was uncharacteristically crabby. Then I started “shoulding” all over myself, which made it worse. I felt guilty for the choices I was making but yet I seemed incapable of changing them that month. On April 1st, I decided enough was enough. I made intentional changes to take control of my life again. I got my diet back into check, stopped the sugar and restarted intermittent fasting. I stopped zoning out in front of the TV. I started the daily meditation and the 40 day yoga practice. My mood shifted the first day. It is very empowering to take control of your life.

I hope these questions will help you to make your priorities, priorities. Remember that you are a priority and not to give all of yourself away. You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you will have what you need to be there for the others you hold dear.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your priorities fall into place, as if by magic.

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Messages From Angels

I believe when a message comes to us from God, the Universe, our Higher Self, Creator, or whatever word you might use to describe our Source; there may be many different ways that we may receive it. One way is repeating numbers. Do you always seem to look at the clock at 3:33 or 11:11? Another is when animals come to us with messages. Particularly if we see them all the time or in unusual places. There was a time in my life were I was seeing deer all the time, even seeing within the city, but that is a story for another time. Maybe they speak to you in your dreams. A Lot of people have meaningful dreams that they remember and receive important messages from. But sometimes, in very special moments and when the message is really important, an angel will show up in human form.

Emy and I have been visited by these angels twice. The first time was in the BWCA during a blue moon (meaning the second full moon within a month). This was the year that the water was so rough we could not make it to our destination. In fact we did not get very far at all, before the white caps prevented us from being able to move forward and we began taking on water. We quickly turned to shore and found a clearing to set up camp, but it was not a recognized campsite so there was no pit toilet. Luckily we were not far from the boat landing where there was outhouse. A couple times a day we would paddle over for nature’s call. The one time we went over, there was this lady and she was on the dock with her dog. She was telling us about her cabin and how it was a dream come true for her. She said “Once in a blue moon dreams really do come true”. I cannot tell you what Emy was trying to manifest at the time but I was looking for a meaningful, romantic relationship. When I got home from that trip, I started dating my husband. He has been a dream come true.

The second time it happened was more recently. Before Emy and I started the retreat, we went to the beach. It was cool and quite windy but not wanting to miss the opportunity to stroll along the beach, we decided to bundle up and go for a walk. Being the intelligent woman we are; we decided to walk into the wind so we could return with it at our backs. We walked quite a long way and then turned around and started back.  We had avoided the water until now, because of the chill in the air. But as we strolled along we noticed this man walking and splashing happily in the surf as he came towards us. We decided if he could do it, so could we. As the distance between us shrank, we noticed he was an elderly man, despite the fact that he moved with the joy of a young boy. When our paths finally crossed, I told him that he had inspired us to walk in the water. He smiled and said to us, “but you are going the wrong way.” Indicating that we should be walking into the wind. We told him that we had already gone that way and were now on our way back. “Oh, Okay.” he said with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. Off he went with the waves kissing his ankles. As Emy and I continued on our way, I turned and told Emy, he just gave us permission for it to be easy. We had already done it the hard way and walked the challenging path. Now we get to go with wind at our backs. And so it is. The Adventure Sisters will adventure on but with all of the Universe pushing us in the direction of our dreams.

Have you ever had a message from an angel? How does Source speak to you? We would love to hear your stories in the comment section.

Thank your reading my blog today. I love you. May your life be full of easy to interpret messages, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken at Notre Dame in Paris, France.

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Recent Retreat Experiences

I recently shared that Adventure Sisters, Emy and I, were going on a private retreat of our own making. I would like to share some of my experiences and insights from this with you. As it turned out, it was all about finding the Joy. That we not only hold in our heart, but are.

We had a schedule, we had a plan, we shopped for groceries, and prepared our space. We were excited to be together, to be in Florida and out of the snow and extreme cold. We even both expressed a bit of anxiety about the upcoming long period of silence.

As I have expressed in previous blogs; Emy and I have our sun signs across from each other in the zodiac. We often have very different perceptions about things, other times it is like we are of one mind, anticipating what the other is thinking before she even says it. The retreat was full of such dualities. What I needed, was not always what Emy needed and vise versa. When these things came up though, we navigated them with ease and love. We accepted the other for what she needed or her perspective. We allowed and loved our differences.

Silence was broken after only about 17.5 hours. We decided eating our breakfast in the morning sun would be lovely. A couple of our neighbors in the marina came over and chatted with us. We broke silence to avoid rudeness and heard some very interesting tales from neighbor retirees. Their experiences and perspectives gave us even more to reflect on and we decided that our continued silence was not really necessary.

We allowed the wind to blow us where it might. We floated without resistance on the marina waters. We took liberties with the schedule; doing the various activities as we felt called to. We had so many “ah ha” moments. Like pausing the video to discuss a concept that was lay out before us.

One of my favorite take homes, from the retreat, was the message to live in Joy! For this, Emy and I picked a symbol. Every time we see that symbol it is a reminder to be in the joy of the moment. We have been seeing it everywhere and sharing it with each other. I would encourage you to pick your own symbol to remind you to see the Joy in the present moment.

Being back in the everyday world now has been a call to be more mindful of Joy, regardless of what is happening around us. It was easy to remain joyful during the retreat. We were focused on self development and growth. We were mostly out of touch with the outside world and it’s issues. We were together. Enjoying sharing and experiencing all that was there for us, in the richness of the retreat.

The Nabhi Kriya yoga set we did, so moved us, that we have even decided to take on a 40 day practice of it. I had been feeling called to this prior to the retreat. In fact, the teachers manual, with the Kriya’s pages marked, is sitting on my bedside table at home. Patiently waiting for me to hear the call and take it on an adventure. Please feel free to join us. In the Kundalini Yoga tradition of: you miss a day you start over on day 1. Be committed to you! Remember to modify the exercises to keep yourself safe and visualize yourself doing the movements as instructed. Because the brain doesn’t know the difference between actual or powerful visualization.

Overall the retreat was lovely and joyous! It was just not what we originally expected or planned but so much more.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find life offering you experiences, which are so much more, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Cassadaga, FL

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A Retreat With The Adventure Sisters!

I have felt guided to attend a silent retreat lately. When I checked into them, many were quite pricey, required travel, and a substantial amount of time off from work. It was simply not in the budget! However, the impulse to go on one still remained very strong for me. I decided I needed to do this. So I spoke to Adventure Sister Emy and we decided we could do our own silent retreat. So, would you like to come along, virtually?

We have an agenda all laid out with links to different types of meditation as well as instructions from different teachers. We are headed to the boat in Florida. It will be a nice quiet place for our retreat, but we could have just as easily done it at her house or mine. Our bags our packed and intentions set.

Below is our retreat schedule. Feel free to join us! Set your intention, raise your vibration, and dig down deep inside yourself to remove what no longer serves you so you may move forward into all the glory that is meant for you. Please feel free to adjust the times to suite your needs. Also, if you need more time in silence and less time listening to instructions, feel free to do that too. I was worried about spending the whole weekend in silence, so I planned lots of different links to help my monkey mind stay busy. I figured either Emy or I could walk away from the space where it was playing and find a quiet place if that is what we needed. It is meant to be structured enough but free flowing enough to offer you what you need.

I recommend, prior to your set start time, planning your meals and prep anything you can to make cooking as simple as possible.  Also prepare your space or spaces. Where will you spend your time during the retreat? What items will you need for comfort. Plan your clothing too. It should be comfortable clothing with layers so you can adjust according to temperature.

We look forward to sharing this experience with you if you join us. We will see you in the ether. If you cannot join us, we have blogs scheduled to post and memes for our FB page. We look forward to sharing our experiences after the weekend.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find what you need, as if by magic.

Silent Retreat Schedule 

Set intention for retreat, prior to beginning.

Friday

  • 4:00 – 5:00pm Dalai Lama https://youtu.be/lTLe5TFTh24 basic techniques of meditation 
  • 5:00 – 6:00pm Kundalini Yoga https://youtu.be/Q3lU1rRyoW4 Nabhi Kriya For Courage, Confidence, Power
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Dinner prepared and eaten and cleaned up after; mindfully 
  • 7:00 – 8:00  Meditation for Connection https://youtu.be/PkVvpfld7DQ
  • 8:00 – 8:30 Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 8:30 – 9:00 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful night sleep

Saturday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:30 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/L4Z7lix6Qao
  • 8:30 – 9:30 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:30 – 10:00 Your Destiny Is Waiting For You ~ Michael Bernard Beckwith https://youtu.be/zViQiX2T2rQ
  • 10:00– 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Hypnosis for Letting Go of the Fear of Success  https://youtu.be/yh-V9q93XC8
  • 11:45 – 12:00  Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 12:00 – 1:00  Yoga Nidra for emotional healing https://youtu.be/lBx7crrZw3A
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 3:30 Inspirational reading and journaling (Deepak’s 7 Spiritual laws for success or any spiritual or mindful text you have been meaning to get to)
  • 3:30 – 4:00 Walking Mindfully / Free Time
  • 4:00 – 5:00 Kundalini yoga for expansion and elevation https://youtu.be/vwpm0F8L820
  • 5:00 – 6:00 Dinner mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Becoming Limitless ~ Wayne Dyer https://youtu.be/gNZ1JqvXeN0
  • 7:00 – 7:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 7:30 –  8:00 Free Time 
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Guided Loving Kindness Meditation https://youtu.be/c2iCoEluq8A
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful nights sleep

Sunday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/9ZZa4psFcpk
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Kundalini yoga https://youtu.be/IX5vn7rAsuU
  • 10:00 – 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Lisa Nichol’s Step into your lives purpose https://youtu.be/40LXbK94lxY
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm Crystal Jungle Meditation https://youtu.be/Zp3pZee34fo
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 2:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 2:30 – 3:00 Mathew McConaughey Speech on Finding Yourself https://youtu.be/p0p1fjLPjYQ
  • 3:00 – 3:30 Closing ceremony (not silent but something you have prepared that feels good to you) 

 

*Photo was taken in the BWCA

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