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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I Used To Think She Had To Like Me But I Was Wrong

I used to think it was important for her to like me, but then I finally realized that it is only important for me to like myself. We all struggle with acceptance from others. We are all concerned with being judged by others. We are all guilty of being on both sides of this. Worried about being judged and judging others. Wayne Dyer once said, “Their opinion of me is none of my business”.

Have you ever felt anxious about going to a gathering or meeting someone new, because you were worried how they might feel about you? Of course, we all have! Job interviews, big gatherings, first dates, or even joining a new group are all examples of this. Situations, where we are thrown together, with other people who we do not know or have not spent a lot of time with. It is easy to feel nervous and intimidated going into these events. By holding that light inside yourself and knowing that your are safe and perfect the way you are, can help reduce the stress and allow you to put your best foot forward.

Here is a little meditation you can do before entering into one of these environments to help you remember it is only your opinion of you that really matters.

Take a deep breath and feel where you body makes contact with the earth or any object that is supporting you. Just take a few minutes to feel that breath enter your body and flow down deep into your abdomen. Visualize a white light within yourself. That white light is your true nature. That white light is purity, love, divinity, and beauty. This exists within you. Feel its warmth spreading throughout every cell in your body. Know you are safe. Know that no-one and nothing can diminish this light inside of you. You are perfect just as you are. You are wonderfully and uniquely you. You are worthy of love and admiration. See this white light forming a force field around you. This force field will protect you from anyone’s judgement. Remember that you are worthy of love. Take a few more deep breaths and when you are ready, open your eyes. 

This meditation can be done quickly wherever you are. If you need a minute to center before entering a gathering, just do some version of this. You can even record yourself saying this and listen to it prior to any situation where you might feel uneasy.

Remember that you are “right” just as you are. No judgement from another can cause this to change. No one’s opinion of how you should be, behave, dress, or look diminishes the beauty and divinity within you. Namaste my friends. Which means the Divine in me sees the Divine in you. Please see the Divine in yourself as well.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you love and appreciate yourself, as if by magic.

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Get a Massage! It’s Good for You – No Need to Feel Guilty

So, I need a massage! I really do. I can feel it in every cell in my being. Maybe you are thinking, “Stacy, a massage is a nice way to pamper yourself but saying you need it is a bit much, don’t you know.” But need is what I mean to say. Massages are part of my healthcare. I focus on holistic modalities whenever possible and massages are an important part of that tool chest. They have many health benefits, of course there are the usual benefits that everyone thinks of:

  1. It feels great!
  2. It is so Relaxing.
  3. Massage can relieve pain and tension. 
  4. It is a great way to practice good self-care and remind yourself that you are worthy.

But, did you know, there have been lots of studies that show there are many more health benefits then you might realize?

  1. As a hospice nurse, I have seen the benefits first hand, that massage has at end of life. It helps relieve the symptoms that patients face as a result of their illnesses, medications, and the process of dying.
  2. Massage has been found to be beneficial for certain diagnoses. The Mayo Clinic says that research shows massage as proven to help with conditions such as fibromyalgia and digestive problems. WebMD also reports that studies have shown its benefits against back pain, headaches, and even depression. 
  3. It increases circulation. This just makes sense that the process of massaging the body would help move the blood through the vessels and keep it flowing smoothly.  
  4. Massage boosts your immune system according to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. This is the precise reason why getting a massage during cold and flu season is even more important.
  5. Massages are great at decreasing tension both emotional and physical. So often emotional tension shows up physically in the body. For me it settles into my upper back, shoulders, and neck. The massage therapists who work with me, typically spend the majority of their time focusing on these locations. In a 90 minute full body massage, the rest of my body may only get a quick 15 minutes.
  6. Massages have been shown to promote calm and decrease clinical anxiety. According to the American Massage Therapy Association; decreased anxiety is one of the benefits of massage. Every massage therapist works a little differently. Some have a space with dim lighting and relaxing music but I have also had massages in the practitioners living room. For me, when you can get a massage outside, that is the best! I have had them on beaches and in forests. No matter what the location, massage has a way of letting my mind relax and the worries of tomorrow drop away. 
  7. They also, lowers Blood Pressure. According to Body and Mind Massage in Chelmsford, MA, it not only lowers blood pressure but also decreases cortisol,  the stress hormone. Reduction in cortisol can prevent weight gain. I do not know how often you would need to get massage to loose weight but it could be added to your health plan, along with other modalities, to help you on your journey.

Massages are not for everyone, but if you have never experienced one or if it has been a long time since you did, I highly encourage you to go get a massage. Go ahead, you deserve it and it is good for you!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your world be full of healthy habits that help you feel great, as if by magic.

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What Comes After the 90 Meditation Adventure?

It has been 90 days, plus some, since I started my daily meditation blogging adventure and it has been an adventure full of learning. Meditation did not always happen daily for me, even though I would like to start a daily practice of meditation. I know that when I did meditated, my days were enhanced, my mood was calmer, my writings were more inspired.  I feel some of the best blogs I have written, were written after a session of meditation. For example; A Story of Remembering, was written after a meditation on creativity. I feel it was Divinely inspired. 

So now what? I want to continue to meditate daily. Do I continue to write a weekly blog about it? Do I admit to the number of days that mediation does not happen? Maybe It should be a year long adventure but It is so easy to put everything else before my meditation. Time with family and friends, work, even blogging and preparing the Meme’s for the Adventure Sisters’ FB page. 

I also wonder if the meditation check-in blogs are helpful to anyone. Does it help you to know that I too struggle with incorporating this into a daily practice? I wouldn’t go about my day without brushing my teeth; shouldn’t meditation be just as important? It is like food for the soul; a dipping of my toe in to the ethereal bounty of the collective consciousness. 

I especially like meditation outdoors! I feel a part of the world around me and fully present. I hear the birds’ songs, crackle of the fire, rustle of the leaves, something moving further out in the forest, and the sound of other campers packing up this morning; as I sit in quiet meditation at my campsite in a Wisconsin State Park. There is a peacefulness that falls over me like a blanket as a result of this quiet time. I feeling that all is right with the world. It seems my psyche steps away from the everyday anxieties that can be a part of life in the world today. 

While I am in meditation, if feels safe to gently touch the emotions that I am uncomfortable experience in normal life. I can slowly accept them rather than the constant pushing down or pushing off, that are my typical ways of dealing with them. 

My thoughts seem clearer, words flow more easily, and the bigger picture becomes obvious. Everyday annoyances take their place as little things that do not contribute to or enhance the vibration I wish to bring to the world. All of this after only a couple of minutes of quiet meditation. Imagine if I was meditating 20 minutes or an hour a day. What would be possible then? I will continue with working toward a committed meditation practice. Why? Because committing to me is important. It will help me show up as the type of person I truly want to be. It will help me shine my little light so that others can see it and find within themselves their own light to shine. 

I will continue to blog about my experiences. I can’t say if it will be a weekly blog. I am guessing sometimes it will and sometimes it will not. That is okay. There is Divinity in the breaking of patterns. What is needed today will not be the same as what is needed tomorrow. I will flow easily where Spirit guides me and wish the same for you. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life flow easily in the direction of your dreams, as if by magic. 

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

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A Story of Remembering

I want to tell you a story. This might be a story of old or it might be the story of now. It is likely a story that has occurred countless times throughout history. It is a story of trust and a story of renewal, but most of all, it a story of remembering.

There was a young woman. She was a mother or she wasn’t. She had responsibilities as we all do. One day, as she was walking through the forest of life, she saw a path. This path was not into the light but rather was a path into the darkness. This path went deep into the forest and it looked very dangerous. It was jagged and had many curves. It would have been impossible to learn were the path would take her by simply looking. The darkness of this path called to her. It called to her and it pulled at her, although she knew pain and betrayal waited for her along this path, she felt oddly intrigued by it.

Now I have to tell you, this young woman had always been responsible. She had always done what had been asked of her, what was expected of her, and even more. Everyone in her tribe felt she was the perfect young woman. Every mother wanted to call her daughter. The older men all wanted to call her daughter and the younger men chased her to be their bride. She cared for the young and learned from the elderly. She was the definition of smart and responsible.

Despite her history, as such a stand up member of the community, the young woman felt she must walk this path. She had to voyage into the darkness, even though it meant walking away from her responsibilities. She had to risk being hurt and had to hurt those who had placed so much trust and pride in her. She stepped onto the path, dropping the baskets that she had brought into the forest, leaving them where they lay.

The path was arduous. She stumbled and fell many times. She met scary creatures who pretended to be her friends or help her, but in the end, they we leading her farther into the darkness. They hurt her, physically, emotionally, and separated her from the light. Sometimes she tried to find her way back but they kept pulling her deeper into the darkness. They kept pulling her further from who she had been. They caused her to feel like a completely different person. It did not take long before she forgot who she was. She forgot she was from the light and she believed she was a creature of the darkness.

This went on for many years. The village mourned her. They felt that she was lost to them forever. They feared she would never find her way back to the light. But one day, she stumbled into the village. She was wild and untamed. She was a mere shadow of the bright young woman who she had once been. The darkness hung all around her and her “friends” from there, watched from the shadows. They called to her and pulled at her.

There was something about the village that felt like home to her, although she could not really recall. The community did not trust her, they avoided her. They would not let her care for the young or spend time with the elderly. They did not want to claim her as they once did. When they tried to give her responsibilities she would wander off or never fulfill them. Even though she was back, they felt she was still lost. They still did not recognize her as the brave and ambitious woman she had once been.

One day the village wise woman (the witch) was working quietly on something. She had been watching all of this. She saw how the darkness pulled at the woman, but she also saw how the woman tried to resist the darkness. She knew something deep within the young woman wanted to live fully in the light again, but there was so much baggage from the darkness, she couldn’t seem to step away from it. It had become a part of her identity.

The witch touched her finger to the young woman’s brow. The place in front of where the third eye resides. “Remember” said the wise old woman, “remember who you are”. The young woman blinked at her elder. The darkness seemed to fall away. Her “friends” let go of their holds on her and slunk back onto the treacherous path. Light beamed all around the young woman and she suddenly did remember who she was.

From that day on she worked to gain the trust of her community. She became who she had been only better. She was wiser now. Having known the darkness and living among the darkness helped her better see how she belonged in the light. It helped her embrace and enjoy her responsibilities. She become one others looked to for wisdom, for she had lived what they could never imagine and returned to the light.

Time would pass and worlds would change. The young woman would become the witch in the future. The wise woman would become the young woman again. This story would continue to unfold throughout history over and over again. Is this your story? It is my story. It is many peoples’ story. Forgive yourself for the time in the darkness. It was a part of your journey. It is done or nearly done now. You are wiser for it. Remember who you are! Remember that you are of the light!

Thank you for ready no my blog today! May you remember your true nature, as if by magic!

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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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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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