Uniquely Me

You are unique. There is none like you. As we move through life we start out secure in who we are. As we grow older, how people react to us starts to form how freely we express that very personal individuality. Then, as we age, we come back to ourselves.

When you are a very young child you are free in this uniqueness. Adults even praise and give positive feedback to young children, when they express themselves in odd and quirky ways. When I watch my grandchild put on something silly and dance around the house, I am impressed by their freedom. They feel safe in their play. Then adolescence happens.

During adolescence we want nothing more than to “fit in” with our peers. We don’t mind being different from adults, but heaven forbid if we stand out form those around us. This is our first step in conforming. We want to dress like everyone else, listen to the same music, and even use the same terminology that the “cool kids” are using. Of course, there are always some free spirits who don’t mind being different and stand out like a daisy in the rose garden.

The next step happens as young adults. Suddenly we see the wisdom of our parents and other adults. We decide we want to be like those role model “grownups ” who made a difference for us. We work the jobs, decorate our homes, even drive the cars that are socially expected. We go on through life, not quite ourselves. Until that one day we take a risk.

We feel some kind of itch in the back of our consciousness. When we act on it and express our true nature, how others respond to us, will have a big impact on if we do it again or not. The more people age the more they feel comfortable expressing their unique nature. The poem, When I am Old, by Jenny Joseph, expresses this desire to be an individual. She talks about all she will do to “… make up for the sobriety of her youth”. How comfortable people feel moving towards their true and marvelous self, has all kinds of baggage tied to it. How people have responded in the past, what validation or lack of it did they receive as children, their self esteem or lack of, and how much they value fitting in; all play into how free they feel to be themselves.

I don’t mind expressing my uniqueness. Working a professional job, reading Tarot on the side, pursuing self improvement, playing hard, passionate about travel, practicing my individual spirituality and seeing the world just a little bit differently; are all aspects of who I am. These things are among a few of the flavors of me. As Doctor Seuss said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Express this nature! Feel the tickle at the back of your mind that says it’s okay to pump your arms in the air when you’re excited, ride on the grocery cart in the parking lot, or paint pictures that no one but you loves. Feel safe to dress in the quirky outfits, listen to eclectic music, and explore interests that call to you, even if those around you do not “get it”.

I call to you! Feel safe in saying, “I am Uniquely Me!” Express yourself more freely each day. You may find that others are impressed by your example. You will likely find that you like yourself more than you ever realized was possible.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you feel safe being uniquely you, as if by magic.

*Photo taken in Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Dipping a Toe into Consciousness

What is consciousness or, more importantly, what isn’t it? Is it about the question or encompassed in the answer? Have you explored consciousness? Do you know who you are? Do you feel more connected to the narrator, the speaker, or the observer? What steps do you take to increase the mindfulness in your life? There are so many deep questions we could ask about consciousness. 

Mindful meditation is taught by the buddhists, but in recent years, the practice of meditation and mindfulness has become much more mainstream. I recently read a book by Dan Harris called 10% Happier. In his book, Dan describes his own reluctant journey into a meditation practice. Gurus, such as, Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra offer a place for seekers to begin to learn about consciousness. One of the first books I read about consciousness was The Untethered Soul. I have since read it twice and still feel that I could benefit from a third reading.

Our minds our very busy things and if you take the time to notice, there are several versions of “us” that the mind portrays to us. There is the speaker. This is the guy who is always thinking what to say ‘next’ in the conversation. This fella is pretty sure that he always has the most interesting tidbits to share. This is also the same guy giving me trouble getting past day one on my “21 days complaint free” adventure. Then there is the narrator. This joker is the one who feels the need to tell us what we are doing. Like I don’t know I am walking down the hall, planning my next move, or reading an interesting blog. The narrator feels it is necessary to tell me everything I am doing. My favorite though, is the observer. It is great when you can identify with the observer. This part of me (and this is the true me) is quiet and sits in the background. This “me” just notices. I was getting upset with something that happened to me in a relationship one day. The observer sat back and noticed that I felt triggered by the interaction. The observer had no connection to the frustration or hurt that the situation caused. The observer only noticed it. Once the observer noticed it the narrator got really intrigued about it and took it from there. It is the observer portion of us that meditation can help better connect to.

Daily meditation, noticing these different parts of our mind, reading books and watching videos by the gurus; are some of the ways we can become more conscious. Is this a part of your journey right now? I would love to hear how consciousness affects your life. What works for you? What would you like to improve? I feel a need to connect more fully with my consciousness and therefore am planning a silent retreat with Adventure Sister Emy. Little steps can have big impacts when it comes to consciousness. If you have not already done so, why not dip your toe into the water.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your journey into consciousness be fulfilling and profound, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken on Mt Baker, WA

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Mindfulness as a Way to Heal

I am having a hungry day. Do you have days like that too? Do you find yourself having days when you just can’t seem to get enough food in you to feel full? When days like this happen to me, I often wonder what it is that I am really feeling. There is obviously some sort of emptiness that cannot seem to be filled or some corner of my mind looking for distraction.

I have eat an ample amount  of healthy and nutritious food today. I have kept my promise to myself to maintain my intermittent fasting. I have even felt tempted to drink alcohol or diet soda over this weekend, but stayed true to my healthy initiates. I even manage to get in 10,000 plus steps today and yesterday. I have not been complaint free. As the sun dips below the horizon and the stars start to blink into being, I am sipping a hot tea to stave off my hunger pains. Why is there this persistent need to eat today? Maybe I am hungrier because I walked the 10,000 steps and burned more calories? Perhaps as I sit alone in silence, watching the lights across the marina, I am board. These are both very valid explanations as to why I might be feeling the need to nibble on this and that.

There is also another possible explanation. I am just not good at quiet. I am extremely good at busyness. When I am being productive my mind is distracted. When I am sitting, quietly, it allows my past emotions and experiences to creep into the corners of my mind. I want to eat, drink, do something so that I do not have to acknowledge these uncomfortable things tickling my consciousness; as they slip and slide though the cobwebby recesses of my mind. Just dealing with them would make them go away and not seem so frightening anymore, but still my protective coping mechanisms say not today! Their time is coming though. They cannot creep through the shadows of my mind forever. I will not allow them to derail all the progress I am and have been making. Adventure Sister, Emy and I are planning our own private ‘silent’ retreat.

In the silence of 48 hours, which we are gifted ourselves, there will be no place for them to hide. The ability to run (as a distraction), to have to do this or that, will not be possible. I imagine there will be some very troublesome moments in the midst of this period of silence. I can guess that I will have a couple of very hungry days. I foresee growth coming to me though this; yet I know it will not all be easy. I know that much of it will feel very uncomfortable. I will just chalk it up to growing pains as I can feel my Spirit craving this experience. It just feels so right. When I come out on the other side, will I be markedly different? Probably not but I will be healthier!

These cravings and distractions seem to wave from the depths of me. They want to be noticed yet the protective part of myself is trying to keep them hidden away, like skeletons in the closets of my mind. Through silence and mindfulness, I will allow them to come into the light, because skeletons do not seem so frightening there.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the time and space to let those past hurts come to the surface and move on, as if by magic.

*Photo taken in Sanford, FL at the marina.

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You Are Complete, You Are Whole

I am complete; the Universe exists within me”. This was the centering thought in a meditation I recently did; put out by Deepak Chopra. What a profound statement. “I am complete” is profound in and of itself but adding; “The Universe exists within in me”, causes it takes on a much deeper meaning. Thinking about this and taking it into our consciousness, can have a profound effect of how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with others. For if this is true of us, then it is also true of all others. Let’s look at this bit by bit. 

I am complete –This is another way of saying; “I am enough”. It is a beautiful sentiment. How much time do we spend judging ourselves and feeling like we are not worthy or not enough. Just acknowledging that we are complete can start you to feel things shift within. You may not even believe it is true at first but slowly, if you keep reminding yourself, you can start to see how you really are complete. You are worthy. You are enough. You do not have to strive to be better. You do not have to feel like a failure. You are complete. Your journey through this life is not over and you most likely will have many more experiences. You may even be actively working on self improvement. All of this does not change the fact that you are complete. You are beautiful. You are whole. 

The Universe exists within me – This part, to the centering thought, is also quite profound. I use the word Universe synonymously with God. So to me, this means that God lives within me. Much like the greeting ‘Namaste’ which has many translations, but the one I hear the most is, “The Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you”. This greeting acknowledges that God lives in all of us. The Kundalini Yoga tradition I follow uses the Mantra; “Sat Nam”, which means “I am truth”. If God lives within me how can I be anything but truth. In the Bible 1 Corinthians 3:16 says; “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” It is commonly accepted in India what we are God. God is within us all, connecting us all.

If this is true for you then it is also true for others. So if you are complete, then others are also complete. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they are on their soul’s journey. They are complete. The doctor, homeless person, college student, veteran, or anyone else you can think of; they are all complete. They are whole. They are worthy. They are enough. We do not need to judge them. We can hold the space for them to have the experience they came here to have and accept them as is. It is not our job to fix them. The Universe lives within them as well. They are a bit of the God consciousness. We are all connected in this way. We are all Divine. We are all perfect because of that Divine light which we hold within us. 

When you start to judge another person, remember that they are complete and the Universe exists within them. When you start to judge yourself, remember that you are complete and that the Universe exists within you also. Be patient with yourself and others. Be kind to yourself and others. Share love with all you meet. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you understand your Divine and complete nature, as if by magic. 

*Photo taken in the mountains in Oregon.

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What Does This Time of Year Mean To You?

During this time of year, between Thanksgiving and the New Year, there are many different holidays that are celebrated depending on your faith or your family heritage. What does this time of year mean to you? Do you like it or does it make you feel stressed out? Do you have a strong sense of community or do you feel more alone than the rest of the year? Does it bring back fond childhood memories or does it bring feelings of sorrow and loss? I think over the years I have felt all of these various emotions at sometime or another during December.

If you go way back before the birth of Christianity; people celebrated holidays according to what they called the wheel of the year. Winter Solstice, which happens on approximately December 21st, was a celebration of the light returning. The days getting longer again. The wheel of the year was based on the farming year. This time of year was considered a time for rest and reflection. It was not a time to start new things, but rather a time to evaluate how the last year went and what to do differently when the Spring Equinox rolled around again and it was time to start preparing to plant the crops. That being said, many of our ancestors used this as a time to go inward. It is in such contrast to the busy hustle and bustle of the holiday season of today. For many this is the bushiest time of the year. Many people pick up seasonal jobs to pay for the gifts they have to buy. Holiday parties and get-togethers fill up all of your free time. There is shopping and baking to be done. Lists to make and check twice. Children are in holiday plays or other performances. It is all very busy and much more focused on community and others, rather than that inward journey.

Please be aware that if you are feeling like it is all too much, this just might be the ancestral roots within you. They may be calling to you to say; “shhhh, just be quiet for a bit now”. They may be asking that you rest, gather your strength, and prepare for the spring. Having clear communication with others, when it gets to much, can help you set boundaries for yourself around this. Have a dialog to clearly express what you need during this busy season. Perhaps you want to delay that get-together until after the first of the year, when your calendar is open. Maybe it is setting limits on gift giving or, as I said on a friends post, “giving the gift of not having to exchange gifts” with someone. You are not alone. Many people are feeling the stress and expectations this season places upon us. My hope for you is that with clear communication and firm boundaries, some of the stress of the holiday season can subside and you can return to reflecting on what does this season really mean to you. How do you best want to enjoy this season?  There is much beauty in this time of year. Find the peace to be able to enjoy it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May the peace of this holiday season infuse you to the core, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in our back yard

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Financial Wellness: An Interesting Side Effect We Discovered

My husband and I recently decided to work on our financial wellness. You may be thinking that finances have nothing to do with your overall wellness, but I strongly disagree. Our finances have a profound affect on us. They allow us to pay for important healthcare; such as acupuncture, massage, or even a visit to the doctor.  Having adequate resources allows us to buy healthy and nutritious food. Money even supports some self care activities such as going on a retreat, vacations, or yoga classes. Even without all the things that having some coin in our pockets can do for us, there is the stress that not having enough cash causes. When the bills seem to out number your income or creditors all calling, the stress level can get out of control fast. High stress levels are not good for us. They can cause anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and other illnesses including unhealthy weight problems. Gaining control of your funds is an important step to your overall wellness.

As my husband and I set out on our journey to financial wellness, we first had to get on the same page. We are grateful for the book, Total Money Makeover; by Dave Ramsey. Dave doesn’t believe in manifestation or the Law of Attraction. Interestingly, I feel it was my focus on manifesting financial abundance, that caused the Universe to bring Dave and his books to my attention. I am happy to agree to disagree with Dave on this point. Total Money Makeover inspired Marty and I to get serious about our finances and we started working on the steps Dave laid out in his book.

All of this was a new to me. I have done spreadsheets for bills and payments due but never made a plan for how to spend the rest of the money. It just never seemed like there was enough of it to worry about. However, not worrying about how to spend the rest caused overspending. This just made matters worse and financial stress higher. We downloaded the app, that has been developed to support Dave’s principles. It is called Every Dollar. Dave wants you to give every dollar coming into your household a home so you know where every dollar is spent. When we initially logged our October spending, we were shocked to see some of the ways that money was escaping from our pockets. There were a lot of little things we were spending money on that, quite frankly, were a waste. Money was dribbling away from us in little insidious ways. It was not big purchases that were doing damage to our bottom line. It was the few dollar here and a couple of bucks there.

Next, we developed a November budget and set forth to follow it as close as possible. It was the first time either of us had ever really budgeted that tightly. There were things that came up that we had to adjust another spot in the budget to expense them from. Everything needed to add up to zero at the end. There were a couple places where we placed too much money and a couple others where we did not plan enough.  In the end, we made it through our first month of budgeting. When we talked about how we felt during this first month of budgeting, we both agreed that we felt more in control of our finances and less stressed. The interesting side effect was, when we got to the end of the month and the next payday, we had some money leftover. It seems crazy but true. Somehow being on a budget, giving everything a home and watching where things were going; not only gave us the feeling of having more money but actually more money.

I am very grateful that my husband is the type of man who is willing to walk this process with me. It is truly a team effort. If you decide to start on a road of finance wellness, I wish you every success. That are many money gurus out there. Maybe Dave is right for you or maybe it is someone else whose process just seems to make sense and be the right tool you need to feel financial well.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! I wish you a lifetime of finding the right financial tools for your personnel wellness, as if by magic. Just as mine came to me.

*Photo taken in Rome, Italy

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Silliness is Always a Good Idea: 7+ Ways I Have Added it to My Life

Do you like to be silly? It can feel very vulnerable to be playful and silly but it can also feed your soul and support your inner child. Let’s face it, there is a little kid hidden deep inside all of us. Here are some examples of how I have added some more play to my life. Trust me, even if it feels awkward at first, before long you will be laughing and not giving a darn what others think when they see you being goofy.

1. A friend and I recently drove up Mt Baker in Washington State. Along the way there was a big silhouette of Sasquatch. I excitedly ran up to him to shake his hand. My friend was not there to judge me but did manage to grab a shot for Facebook. Perhaps the cars driving by thought my behavior was a bit odd, but what they think of me does not impact me in the least. It was fun and we had some much needed laughs.

2. I invited a friend over for supper and decided to make it a theme meal. We had an inner child party; complete with sticky alien party favors, corndogs, and dreamsickles for dessert. It was a fun way to spend time with a friend while letting our inner children play and feel nourished.

3. Yet another friend and I went to a theme park together. It was busy time of year, when there seemed to be more work than hours in the day. There were big tubes for the kids to crawl through, on, and over. We got down on our hands and knees and crawled around in the play area like children; giggling and released a lot of the stress that had built up.

4. We try to have a family dinner once a week. For a recent family dinner we decided to have a tea party, complete with crustless sandwiches and fancy china. The kids had a great time but so did the three grown men around the table. They sipped their tea, held their pinky out, and laughed big belly laughs. They were a great example to the teenaged boy and younger children at the table that it is okay to be vulnerable and yourself.

5. When going for a walk, if I happen across a child chalk hopscotch game on the side walk, I cannot pass by with out hop, skipping, and jumping my way through it. It’s just plain and simple, feels great to be a kid at heart.

6. When my kids were teenagers we lived in a small rural community. There was not a lot to do. One night we just decided to crank up the music and dance the night away in the basement. Dance is a wonderful way to release pent up energy and be as silly as you want too. Those around you may get a good laugh and you will have some disco disco fun!

7. When Emy and I go the the BWCA, we bring kid’s blowup tubes. We push them down around our middles like pink and blue tutus and float in the clean cool lakes. We chat and play in the water like carefree little girls. It feels great to be so free for a little while.

The amount of silliness you can allow into your life is only hampered by your imagination and bravery. Play Clue by candle light, wear something fun like a big floppy hat, pop silly poses with statues, go to the park and swing as high as you dare, finger paint, or anything else your imagination suggests. It is a great way to have fun, release stress, and get some great big belly laughs going.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with laughter, as if by magic!

*photo was taken at our kitchen table

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