Muddling Towards Enlightenment

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

I have been asking myself these questions lately:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Week 7” check in – Weekly Meditation Adventure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Navigating the Changes of Now – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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Navigating the Changes of Now – part 1

I have heard that now, more so than any other time in history, we are combated with multiple changes. Big changes and small changes are happening to us all the time. When I had my holistic healing business, this was one of the main things I wanted to help people through. Change can be so challenging for most of us as adults. Some people seem to effortlessly bob through the river of life, going with the flow, while others are like a rock slowly being changed and moved by the current. Which type of person are you? Are you somewhere in between? I am sure you can think of people in your life who meet both descriptions. Let’s explore why there is so much change right now and what we can do to navigate it more easily.

Why so much change right now? If you look at it from an astrological stand point; look toward what Uranus is doing. He is the planet of change and is associated with originality, progressiveness, and ingenuity. Pluto is another planet of change. He has to do with destruction, upheaval, and control issues. To learn more about the planets you can go to Cafe Astrology .com. If you want to learn more about how the planets affect you directly, you could consult an astrologist. I believe that the rapid changes in technology are another reason why we are having so much change. Few generations have seen the rapid advancement in technology that we are currently experiencing.

Whether change is related to technology, astrology, or something else we need to learn to navigate it. How do you feel when change is occurring? Does it make you feel sweaty? Does your heart race? Do you get angry or fearful and want to run the other way? Do you feel excited and look forward to its approach? Does change inspire you and cause you to set new goals? What is your relationship with change? Before you can make improvements to your navigation of change; dig deeply into how and why you react the way you do to change.

Understanding your response to change: Make 3 columns on a slip of paper. Table the first column change, the second my reaction, and the third outcome. Take some time and make a list of seven recent changes you have experienced in column 1. Think about how you reacted to each and put your reaction in column 2. Now think about how it all worked out in the end. Place that in column 3.  This will give you some insight into how you react to change. Screen Shot 2018-06-24 at 10.27.47 AM

Once you understand how you reacted to past changes, think about the fear that was behind the reaction. Why did you have that fear? What kind of beliefs are behind that fear?

In Part 2 we will discuss some tips to help navigate the changes and deal with difficult reaction to and fear around change.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May all your changes are positive in outcome.

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Summertime

Summertime in MN is an amazing time. We suffer through the cold winters of ice and snow and when summer comes, it feels like the whole world comes alive. The days are longer and it just seems like there is more time to enjoy the day. There are those who love the Minnesota winter and I must admit that the snow, when it falls soft and fluffy, is beautiful. The peaceful white snow covers the world like a serene blanket. For me though, Summertime is supreme.

I had lived in FL for 10 years and it felt like summer all year long. At the holidays I would plant poinsettias and red and white petunias in the flower beds. Sure, there were times of year that were less hot, but there was no snow or bitter cold. When I moved to Minnesota from Florida, I rediscovered the beauty of all seasons.

In the Autumn, I love the change of colors of the leaves. I love going hiking and feeling the crunch under my feet and the smell of autumn in the air, which I can not adequately described. It is the time of year when the crops are harvested. All the fruits of our labor are fresh and available.  Ripe for the picking.

The Spring slowly awakens after the long slumber of Winter. She stretches herself toward the rising sun and the days get longer. Splashes of color begin to make the world bright again. The promise of warmer days provides hopefulness.

I love them all and always look forward the the newness of the change. None of them can make my soul sing like the summer though. The sparkle of the sun on the lake water. The bright green of the grass. The peacefulness of kayaking down a quiet waterway.  Camping in the forest and sitting around a crackling fire in the evening. All of these things are part of the experience of Summer that I love so much.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you find things in all season of the year and a season of life to love.

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The Longest Day of the Year!

Today is Summer Solstice.  This has a lot of different meaning for different people. It is the day when the sun remains in the the sky the longest during the year. Tonight, children will beg their parents to stay up later. They will tell their folks; it is not dark yet so surely bedtime has not arrived.

The long awaited first day of summer is what I remember from my childhood. Although summer weather often arrived well before summer’s official first day; it felt official when this day appeared on the calendar. Originally this was a pagan holiday celebrating the sun. In ancient time, when the sun meant life and survival it is easy to see how this was an important part in the wheel of the year. For me it is a time of great hope. The world around me is green and alive. Those things planted in the spring are starting to flourish. It is a time of hope and looking to the future for when the fruits of your labors are there for you. Life seems bright and happy. The weather is warm and being outside is welcoming. Anything seems possible. Today, the multiple projects on my plate do not seem to weigh me down but rather pick me up.

“There is a time in your life when the world is on your side” ~ Spencer Lee; “Still I Fly”

I intend to embrace and celebrate this solar energy to drive me forward. To help me jump ahead to the next stage of my life. What a lovely idea to have a little ceremony this month; to honor this energy of life and set intentions for what you hope to have in the Autumn of your life. This ceremony can look anyway you like. It could be quiet time outside listening to nature. It could involve writing your intentions on a piece of paper to burn in a fire. You can put your intentions on a leaf or a piece of bark and release it into the water. It may even involve walking or laying in the sun and feeling it’s warmth wash over you. Perhaps you have your own unique idea of how to commemorate this day. I would love to hear what you intend to do!

However you decide to set your intention, honoring this day or enjoy the extra hours of daylight, I hope you enjoy this magical day of hope.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you!

I wish you a lifetime of hope.

Week 6 check in – Daily Meditation Adventure

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

What I have learned:Because of the struggles I have had with calming my monkey mind to meditate, I have gone back to what I know best. I went back to Kundalini Yoga Meditation. This has been much more effective for me. I more easily get into a calm state. I have learned that when I feel anxious and have a lot on my plate, this is the meditation that works best for me. I think because it includes mantra and often movement. It gives the monkey mind something to focus on to keep it present and not off trying to plan the rest of my life. 

Experiences during the week:I found a nice deep sense of calm in the midst of the meditation. During one, I had visions of color swirling and clouds moving. This morning, I was feeling quite anxious. I needed to get my blog written, coordinate with family at home, find time to meditate and get to work on time. I was working feverishly to get it all done. Then I stopped and did my meditation. I chose one with the mantra “Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung”. It had a very calming affect on me and allowed me to see that it will all get done in Divine Timing. This is a very healing mantra and pulls the energies of the Sun, Moon, Earth, and Universe into our bodies. It can be interpreted to mean “God is within me”. It is a nice way to find some morning calm and let some of the anxiety of everything on the “to do” list go. 

My weight: I forgot to weigh on Monday morning and I am in Nashville this week so the update on my weight will have to wait till next week. I do feel as if I am swollen, perhaps from the heat and humidity. My rings are tight on my fingers.

How I feel: My back pain is resolved. I found that the Kundalini Yoga Meditation was very helpful in controlling my back pain.Acupuncture resolved it totally. I feel a sense of calm after my Kundalini meditations that is not a typical part of my day. I feel more centered. 

How it is affecting my life:

You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb.

 I have struggled to get once a day meditation in; so now I am working to increase it to twice a day meditation. This has helped me be more successful in making sure I get it in at least once a day. I find when I am home with family it is harder to make time for myself and I “poo poo” the importance of it. I need to recommit to me. I need to understand that it is not selfish for me to take 15 – 20 minutes twice a day to find my own inner calm. It allows me to be better with the world around me. 

I would love to hear your experiences with this. I hope you are having a more profound lift with shifting experiences. If you are snuggling a bit, like I am, it’s ok! Don’t give up! We’ll get there!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of finding the calm amidst the storm.

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

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