Peace, Love, and Joy

Many years ago an idea occurred to me and as I have observed my life, it has proven to me to be true. I have noticed my motivation behind doing things, purchasing things, and making other life decisions, based against this hypothesis, have held up. Perhaps you will find it to be truth for you as well. I believe that everything we do is to attain at least one of three basic things: peace, love, and joy. Look at the decisions you make in life. Why did you do what you did? Examine what it was you were hoping to attain. Let’s look at some examples from my life.

An easy example is when I started to date again. Obviously, I was looking for love. How about when I buy new clothes. This could be love as well? Maybe, I feel if I look cute enough, people will love me?  Now, of course, we do not have to look cute to be worthy of love. But the ego often tells us we are more lovable when we dress nicely, so this cannot be ignored as a possible motivator. I may get compliments and that will bring me joy. Another possibility is that the clothes will fit comfortably and this will be a type of peace.

Another example to look at is the boat my husband and I bought in Florida. Of course, the boat allows us to visit our friends who live there more often, so love is definitely one of the motivators. Along with the fact that it allows us to have a get away, where we can spend time together; more love. It definitely brings us joy, allowing us to have our ‘mini’ weekend getaways. Also, I am planning a retreat on the boat with Adventure Sister, Emy and in that way, it will also bring peace.

At various times in my life I have changed jobs. Now I have changed for different reasons. One reason might be job satisfaction. This, of course, would be joy. I love a challenge, so sometimes I have changed jobs to take on a new challenge. This is also more joy. If you consider the ego’s involvement; being successful could be a way of gaining love. In my family, success is valued and I have certainly felt more loved during times of success. This again does not make me more worthy of love. For I am enough and worthy despite any level of successes. We all are. Truthfully it is a motivator. Other times, I have taken new jobs to make more money. True, that money cannot buy happiness, but it can “buy me a boat” as the song by Chris Janson says. We associate things with happiness. Also having more money to buy necessities and pay bills is also a form of peace. Trust me, as someone who is working on Financial Wellness, there is peace to be had by having enough resources to support your lifestyle.

At one point, I wondered if I should add ‘Adventure’ to the list of motivators, but then I realized, adventure is just another word for joy. Emy and my trips to the boundary waters bring us joy. Travel also brings my husband and I a lot of joy because it allows us to deepen our relationship through shared experiences.

Look at the various aspects of your life; getting an education, making purchases, taking trips, deepening relationships. Look deep down, below the surface reason you tell yourself for making the decision you did, find what is really underneath. Does this hypothesis hold true for you? Are Peace, Love, and Joy the reasons for doing what you do?

Thank you for reading my blog today, I love you. May you find all the peace, joy, and love that you need, as if by magic.

 

*Picture taken at Franconia Artist Park in Franconia MN.

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Stepping into the Keto Diet

My husband decided to join one of those weight loss contests that pop up at work after the New Year. They had set a pretty aggressive amount of weight to lose by 28 days. I had heard people were having great success on the Keto Diet and thought that this, along with the fasting we were already doing, might work best for him. So I suggested he give it try. Then I set off to learn as much about it as I could so I could help him. I was amazed by what I learned.

To start, I began looking for recipes. Keto friendly things I could make and have in the freezer, so he would have yummy, healthy food to eat while I am on the road. There are a tremendous amount of recipes available out there. The premise behind keto is high fat, moderate protein and very low carbs. It forces your body into a ketogenic state or ketosis, which causes it to use fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. According to Wikipedia; this diet was first developed in the 20s for treatment of childhood seizures.

This way of eating is in sharp contrast to the “Stop the Insanity” low fat diets from the 90s.

There is a documentary (which is available to watch on Netflix) called ‘The Magic Pill.’ Watching this documentary inspired me to also try the ketogenic diet as well. Sure I would love the weight loss but the health benefits demonstrated in the movie were my real motivation. This show follows several people for a few weeks as they switch to this way of eating. The results they had were miraculous. Cancer, Autism, Diabetes, and Asthma were all demonstrated life changing improvements because of it; not to mention weight management. One of the ‘ah ha’ moments for me was right at the start of the documentary. When they said; “Every animal controls its weight naturally, other than humans and animals fed by humans”. My goodness! I never stopped to think that there are no obese deer or even pump lazy sloths.

As a pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish) the idea of going on a diet, without the American staple of carbs, seemed like a difficult choice. It takes away so many of the things I am able to eat on the road. I also have difficulty with my blood sugar, that can dip to low and cause me to not feel well, if I do not eat the right thing or go to long without eating. This has made me believe I need a high protein diet. I was about to learn that was not true! As I stepped off into the world of ketogenic eating, my first challenge came when I went to a German restaurant with friends. Their vegetarian dish was pasta and the fish/seafood dishes were with pasta or breaded. Hmmm… what to have? I elected for the green beans with almonds and a cucumber salad. I also ate a few pieces of cheese off a friend’s appetizer plate. I was full. Challenge accepted and completed. Next morning, eggs and veggies are a very normal breakfast for me, so that did not even require a change. Lunch was riced cauliflower made into fried rice with eggs and plenty of olive oil. Yummy!

Do you know what I discovered? My blood sugar has remained stable. I have not had the shaky or woozy feeling that I often get when I don’t eat enough protein. Here, all this time, my need for high protein was a result of a diet high in carbs. I am on my third day of this new way of eating and I feel great. I am also doing this in conjunction with the intermittent fasting I have been doing since June. The two seem to work well together.

With the combination of intermittent fasting and Keto Diet, my husband has lost 11 pounds in 6 days. Isn’t that amazing? One of his favorite treats on the Keto Diet is the Fat Bombs. They are a nice little treat but also help to keep the consumption of fat, good and high, as required for ketosis. There are lots of fat bomb recipes but the ones he likes are made with natural unsweetened peanut butter, cream cheese, a tiny bit of stevia, and rolled in semisweet or dark chocolate. They are rolled in balls about a quarter’s diameter and are delicious. You only need to eat one to feel like you had a treat and quite satisfied. After all, that is what eating fat does. It helps us feel satiated.

Whether you are curious about the ketogenic diet or planning to try it yourself, there seems to be potential benefit for amazing results. If you enjoy documentaries, I recommend you check out ‘The Magic Pill.’ It is very interesting.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find healthy eating that works for you, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Palermo, Sicily

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Finding Peace and Joy in the Ordinary Moments

Have you been so in the flow of consciousness that you can feel the now. There is no struggle with moments of the past, jumping back into your mind or worry for the future. I have had a few blessed moments like this. One such moment happened while my husband and I were driving home from the airport.

As the truck rolled down the city streets, I noticed that my attention landed on nothing in particular. Instead I noticed it all without judgement. The vehicle rolled steadily down the road. The homes flowed past the window. For once, I did not wonder if the people living inside them were happy. I had no feeling of preference over one type of a house or another. I did not worry about whether the occupants were capable of shoveling the snow in their yards. I was not planning what needed to get done when I got home or even anxiously awaiting our arrival at our driveway. I just sat peacefully in the truck and watched the ever changing neighborhoods outside the window. I did not judge it to be good or bad. It all just was. I was in the flow of consciousness. Daily mediation has been happening more often than not for me lately and, although my meditations are not always the perfection of what I think they should be, I feel they are helping me connect more readily with consciousness.

Blissful moments of being completely in the “now” only happen to me rarely. When they do, I grab hold of them and allow them to last however long they may. Eventually (and it is usually not long) a thought or a person will demand my attention. This is life. This is the world we all live in. But these moments of presence are here for us. Washing the dishes, watching children at the park, walking down the street, waiting for public transportation, or even waiting for the computer to boot up; are all little bits of space we have to just allow. There is no need for judgement of the thoughts that rise up. They will rise up. No need for the attachment to the sensations in our body, just notice them and allow. You do not have to sit crisscross applesauce or close your eyes. Just be; notice it all without judgement. Do not attach your attention to any one item or activity. Do not make up stories about the people passing by. Allow them to just pass like smoke from a campfire. Flowing gently along. There is no need to hold on to this moment. You are safe in just allowing.

As you go about your day, look for the little bits of time that will permit you to be fully present. All that thinking does not serve you. It actually sweeps away your happiness. The more you are able to stay in the now, the more you are able to find your joy. I want you to find your joy. I want you to have peace in your life. Do you want these things too? I bet you do.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your find peace and joy, as if by magic.

Previous blogs on this subject that you may find interesting:

What Comes After the 90 Meditation Adventure?

Meditation: A Beautiful Experience

*Photo taken in St. Croix Falls, WI

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Meditation: A Beautiful Experience

My meditation experience yesterday was so beautiful, that I would like to share it with all of you. Although I had a beautiful backdrop to begin meditation, it is still possible to do it anywhere and at anytime. There are no ideal settings or circumstances, all you need is you.

Yesterday I was blessed to have the opportunity to do my meditation on the beach. It was a beautiful day in the high 60’s and the sun was fully out. Yet it was still January and the beach was not at all crowded. I found myself a quiet spot on the sand near enough to the water to hear the waves but not so close to the action. I settled in on my soft blanket in easy pose (crisscross applesauce) and allowed my eyes to gently close.

More often than not, as I begin my meditations, my monkey mind gets busy making “to do” lists for me and will try to document the experience for a blog or journal entry. I tried to reassure the never stopping thinker, that it was okay just be quiet, but of course that was more thinking. Slowly, as the minutes slipped away, I got into the sweet spot in meditation. That spot where you notice the sights and sounds around you without judgement or a running commentary about them.

I heard steps going past me. They would start in the distance and grow in their volume as they neared. Then fade again as they went past. This is just how the thoughts that come up in meditation should be handled. It is okay to notice them but also allow them to pass. Yet, so often my mind will try to hold on to these random fingers of thought. Afraid they might slip away before they could be captured.  Why is it that my ever present narrator thinks everything it has to say is so darn important to jot down. The ego is fully involved with this thinking part of me.

As I sat there with the warm sun on my back, sounds became more distinctive. I noticed them but did not attach any importance to them. The waves washing on the shore, the call of the sea gulls and the sounds of traffic on the road behind the beach; were all a part of the music I sat with. Partway into my meditation, a large family came and stood beside me. They were excited to be at the beach and chattered happily with one another. I am grateful for the buddhist monk who taught me that quiet is not necessary for meditation. He used the example that we do not get frustrated or angry with the birds who sing during our meditations. We only get that way with people because we think we can control them. I do not need quiet to meditate since this lesson. I now can allow the noises that people make as a part of the experience of being in the now, part of remaining present.

Each moment in life is perfect, if directed into only the present moment. When we live in the flow of consciousness we are happier. Meditation is a way for us to better get in touch with our true nature. Find the little moments in your life where you can be present for a few minutes and just notice. I have a future blog coming, that will talk about how one such moments occur for me without even trying.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find peace in everyday moments, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken by my sweet husband on New Smyrna Beach, FL.

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Here I go again! (An Update on the Complaint Free Adventure)

Today I start again on the 21 days complaint free adventure. This time though,  I set an intention before I even rolled out of bed. Positive statements only! Many complaints came to mind but I did not let them cross my lips. There were aches and pains in my body but why focus on that. I am in Florida. The weather is beautiful, birds are singing, sun is shining and it is 60 some degrees. I love my life. My husband is kind, loving and dutiful. Why wouldn’t I focus on the innumerable blessings in my magical life.

Due to changing my focus this morning, the sun is shining a little brighter, the world feels peaceful, and my body feels calm and content. As I start day 1, for about the 210th time, I feel more hopeful. What has changed? I decided to do something different to start my day. Obviously, what I had been doing in the past was not working, so I picked a different path for today. Wish me luck! If you have started on this path too, I wish you luck as well!

Today is Day 1 of 21!… (again); Twenty-One Plus Helpful Tips

I Am Determined to Make 21 Days Complaint Free

OMG! Read This Book! It will take you places you didn’t know you need to go. (An update on my Complaint Free Adventure)

Can You Go 21 Days in a Row Without Complaining?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your world be bright and sunny, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Sand Key Park, FL

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Today is Day 1 of 21!… (again); Twenty-One Plus Helpful Tips

Did you join me on the 21 days without complaining adventure? Are you wondering how I am doing because I am interested in knowing how you are doing? I have made it to day 2 about 3 times. I was a few hours from day 3 when I fell back into my old habits and complained. This is way more challenging than I expected it to be. It leaves me to wonder what steps can I take to get beyond today and how to start a habit to only talk about the bright side of life.

Well, since there are 21 days to get past, let’s come up with 21 tips (or more) to help us move past the old habits of habitually complaining. (This is my fourth blog on this adventure. The links above will take you to the previous blogs). I am currently re-reading Will’s Bowen’s book to refocus my efforts. Below are several ideas to help us all move forward to success. Many of these ideas have come from Will’s book, A Complaint Free World.

  1. Stop making excuses for why complaining is okay or justified.
  2. Look for the positive in all situations.
  3. Embrace silence.
  4. Don’t give up, just change your bracelet and start again.
  5. Have faith – you can do this!
  6. Practice mindfulness.
  7. Pause before speaking.
  8. See the joy in all situations.
  9. Laugh as much as possible.
  10. Read Will Bowen’s book or read it again.
  11. Start the day with a positive thought to set the energy for the day.
  12. Remember why you started on this adventure in the first place.
  13. Forgive yourself if you slip and start again with new resolve.
  14. Think about the four gates of communication from the Sufi tradition. (Is it truthful? Is it necessary? Is now the time for it? Is it Kind?)
  15. Remove yourself from negative situations and people. (when possible)
  16. Find friends and family to support you.
  17. Talk about ideas and concepts instead of other people.
  18. Bear in mind, what you think about you bring about.
  19. Keep in mind, Will’s wise words; “Those who hurt are hurting.”
  20. Look for positive ways to connect with people.
  21. It is healthier to stay positive. Per Will’s book, according to doctors, 67% of illnesses are caused by our thoughts. Per Louis L. Hay; 100% are.
  22. Keep in mind that the things we dislike in others, are often traits we also have.
  23. Realize that complaining does not fix anything.
  24. Complaining about the past only holds you there, so talk about what you want to manifest.
  25. Instead of complaining say, “I am not going to move my bracelet.”

Good luck on your challenge. Please share in the comment section; how you are doing and what things you have found helpful in moving you along on your complaint free adventure.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your thoughts and words be positive, as if by magic!

*Photo taken somewhere over Kentucky, USA

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Perseverance and Resilience

This morning, my husband Marty, was reading an article about millionaires and how they got to be financially abundant. Perseverance and resilience were the two things the author found they all had in common. Marty says his CEO likes to refer to this as “Grit.” This got me thinking. What does perseverance and resilience look like in our lives? How can these things help us get to the next level and transform ourselves?

As we were having the discussion about when it is time to transform ourselves; I felt pretty solid that we are in the process of doing that in our household. We are making healthier choices in many regards with healthier food, more activity, healthier thoughts (maintaining positive thinking), financial health (with our focus on budgeting and paying off debt), and finding spiritual events to attend that make us feel good and feel like a good fit for us. We are transforming ourselves. Then Marty brought up work. When it comes to our careers, are we making ourselves over or are we just doing what we have always done? This gave me pause. Am I continuing to transform myself when it comes to my career? How am I moving my work to the next level? When I focus specifically on my writing and speaking career, I know I am doing what I have always done. I have stretched a little and tried some new things, but in many ways, I am stagnant. As the year is drawing to a close, I need to ask myself how I can step it up. What changes can I make to help me move to that next level?

I think it is good for us to examine different parts of our lives from time to time. Look at those parts of your life where things have not changed for a while. Do you desire a change in this area or are you happy with the status quo? If you are happy and feel it needs no improvement, then no problem. But if you desire more; what will you do to move the ball forward, raise the bar, and push yourself into a new way of being? How will you step into the new year pushing yourself to be the best you? I am not talking New Year’s Resolutions. When have those ever worked for you? I am talking about becoming newly engaged in a certain part of your life. Newly committed to push past where you have been into being who you can be.

As we come into the next year, next month, next week, or next day, look at how you can embrace some perseverance and resilience to actively transform some part of your life that has been stagnant. Some part of your life that the status quo is no longer acceptable to you and will benefit from a fresh look or some new ideas. Go ahead, I dare you! You may be amazed what positive changes lay ahead for you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you attain great things, as if by magic!

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