Success: Where does it come from and why is it important?

During this mornings meditation with Deepak, he spoke about Success as it relates to our Ego and Gratitude. As I slipped into the peaceful space of meditation, I contemplated this truth. Success is important to many of us, but why is that? Where does success derive from? The principles of manifestation would say gratitude. My upbringing and pride though, would say just hard work.

I am not saying that hard work is not important or helps us a realize our dreams. It is certainly a part of the recipe, just not the main ingredient, as our ego would have us believe. Our ego wants to take credit for everything. It needs the constant praise and appreciation that comes with accomplishments in order to feel worthy. Getting to a deep place changes everything. A place where you can step aside from the ego. A place where the observer can watch and see how the ego pumps out it’s chest and struts around taking credit for it all.

When you change the way you look at your “work”. Whether it’s your career, the stuff you do around the house, or whatever “feels” like work to you; the words we use can help to shift our energy. If we say, “I get to…” instead of, “I have to…” it can help us focus on gratitude. Gratitude can bring our dreams into reality. Try it on for size. Instead of, “I have to get this project done”, say, “I get to work on this project and bring it into being”. Notice how the energy shifts from one of dread to one of gratitude. The more gratitude in our hearts, the more the Universe will conspire to bring us an abundance of items to be grateful for.

It can seem like it is unpopular to be grateful. Think how often you have conversations with others where you complain about things, even though deep down you are grateful for them. This has become the way we relate to one another. Somehow the ego thinks if we work really hard, then people will love us. If we are working hard at something we love, the ego tries to take points away from us. By shifting back to a space of gratitude, for the work we get to do, it takes away that martyr energy. Ego wants others to see all the sacrifices you are making. You are not making sacrifices. You are exercising your free will and making choices.

Let me share an example from my own life with you. I make inspirational memes for the Adventures Sisters Facebook page. I will often hear myself saying, “I need to…” or “I have to get memes made and posted.” Sure it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to take the pictures, select the quotes, edit the pictures, and get them posted with hashtags and links. But, what I really mean to say is, “I get to make inspiration artistic pieces that I share with the world. This task allows me to use my love of photography and love of inspirational quotes to combine them in a way that lets me use my artistic abilities and inspires others. By using this artistic outlet, I get to raise the vibration of the planet and serve my life purpose of spreading joy.” Isn’t that a very different energy from the “I have to get this done” comment.  How many times in your life do you express yourself in a way that pleases the ego but does little to bring more gratitude into your life?

As you go about your day today. I challenge you to notice how you say things like, “I have to…” and shift it and find the “I get to…” in it. They are there. Pay attention to how that shifts the way you feel about the things you are doing. That’s it for now! I get to go back to work at my amazing job that allows me to travel and provide education that improves patients care.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find the shift to gratitude happens naturally, as if by magic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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21 Days Without Complaining: I Am Gratitude.

During this morning’s meditation, Deepak told me that my true self sees only gratitude. This got me thinking. How would this view change the world if we saw only gratitude in all situations? Along this line of thought, Adventure Sister Emy recently inspired me. After a March where I just couldn’t seem to get going, Emy inspired me to use April to refocus on myself. By going back to all the healthy initiatives that I had been working so hard on recently. Daily meditation, avoiding refined sugar, financial wellness, 40 day yoga practice, and 21 days without complaining. Then it hit me! How does gratitude change these things?

Of all of the health initiatives listed above; the 21 days without complaining has been the hardest for me. I believe what you think about you bring about. So it makes sense that if I was focusing on not complaining what I was actually attracting was more and more complaining. What if, instead of 21 days complaint free, I work on 21 days of gratitude? When a situation arises that I may be tempted to complain about, I will instead look for something within it to be grateful for. Find the underlying blessing or lesson in each situation. This is not a new idea or concept, just a new way to focus on my life, in order to live it to the best of my ability. To be the best person I know how to be. I do not want to be that person who drones on and on about things I am not pleased with. I want to be grateful.

Last night, I once again placed my purple bracelet on my wrist. This morning is day number 2! I will flow through the next 21 days with gratitude in my heart. I will change the way I see the world. I will know that life loves and supports me while I love and support others. I will know that when something or someone pushes my buttons; there is always something to be grateful for. Noticing these opportunities to embrace my deep and true nature, will propel me forward to success in this endeavor.

Many of you have reached out to me to let me know you would join me on the 21 day adventure to a more positive mind set.  Are you still with me? What success have you had? What things helped you stay the course and get you to new days without moving your bracelet? For those of you that are new to this adventure, please click on the embedded links to learn more. I would truly love updates on how you are doing on this path to a world were gratitude rules.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find all the blessings in your life, as if by magic.

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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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Quality of Life; How To Find It and What It Means for You

As a hospice nurse, quality of life verse quantity of life, was something that often came up in discussion with patients and families. How do you want to live your life? What is an important focus for the time you have left here? You may not think this questions is relevant to you at this time, after all you are not dying, but this question is relevant to all of us. None of us know how much time we have left here. Even more importantly, sometimes quality of life and quantity of life are not the same thing.

According to Deepak Chopra, research shows that people who age well have 7 things in common.

They are:

  1. Meditation
  2. Wide social support systems
  3. Close relationships with family and friends
  4. Daily Multivitamin and mineral
  5. Good sleep and daily activity
  6. Life long curiosity
  7. Take on new challenges

Deepak goes on to say that most of these things are about quality of life. Therefore having a good quality of life equates to having more quantity of life too. I have seen this first hand in hospice. Patients on hospice, on average, live about 30 days longer than similar patients with the same diagnoses. Shifting the focus from curative to quality of life, actually extends life.

So what makes quality of life so important? It makes life worth living. What is the point in having a long life if you are miserable? Do I think that this means you should eat everything you want, party, and abuse your body? No, absolutely not. Although those things may give you pleasure in the moment, the abuse to your body is likely not going to contribute to healthy quality of life over the long haul. These types of abuses to the body take a toll on it, which could potentially cause disease and frustration.

A better quality of life can be found by:

  1. Working through you baggage
  2. Forgiving others and more importantly yourself
  3. Learning to truly love yourself
  4. Making healthy choices for your body
  5. Finding hope
  6. Having balance
  7. Surrounding yourself with people who respect you and make you feel heard
  8. Trusting the flow of the Universe to support you
  9. Awareness of yourself as an eternal being
  10. Remaining positive whenever possible but also acknowledging your emotions

How do you feel your quality life is? What steps do you need to take to attain and maintain a healthy, happy, quality of life? Remember that happiness is an inside job! No one can “make” us feel happy. It is a choice we make in every moment and with each interaction. Live your best life now. Don’t wait for tomorrow.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you have an amazing quality of life, as if by magic.

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Busy for the Sake of Busyness

Do you ever feel like you are doing something just to be busy? Is it hard to find time to be still? This is definitely something I struggle with. On a nice day I will plan to go spend time outside in the hammock or on the Adirondack chair. I will get myself ready with a cup of tea and maybe bring a book or journal and plan to spend some peaceful time just relaxing. After about 10 minutes (if I make it that long) I will no longer be able to ignore all of the things that need to be done, that are jumping around in my head. I will get up and get busy getting something done. Am I doing things just for the sake of doing something? Why do I feel there is no value in resting and being quiet?

This is one of the things I appreciate about my trips to the BWCA with my Adventure Sister Emy. There were times when it was raining and there was nothing that needed to be done. We would sit under our tarp, listening to the rain, drinking tea and chat. After a couple of hours of this, there would be nothing more to talk or even journal about. All that was left was to sit peacefully and just be. Even in this beautiful, remote area this was very hard for me. I would feel anxious but then typically have a  bout of anxiety, followed by some kind of emotional breakthrough. Almost as if my subconscious was trying to protect me from the pain. As if it was trying to keep it pushed down deep inside and hidden away. I would get anxious and feel the need to do something, anything, rather than just sit peacefully and rest. There were times this feeling of anxiousness was so strong I felt I wanted to leave the Boundary Waters all together. Once I got past the anxiety though, a rush of bare emotions would flood up in me. These were not fun emotions but, by allowing them to come up, I was able to process them and eventually move past them.

This begs the question; is the constant busyness of our time really just a manifestation of emotional disconnect. When I have free time at home I am seldom able to just be quiet and let time pass. I always feel the need to be multitasking. When I am on the plane or the bus to the rental car center, I seldom just sit peacefully. Typically I am scanning emails or playing silly games on my phone. I heard Deepak recently refer to it as the “illusion we are doing something”. Why do we feel guilty when we do nothing? How often does this really happen? Even when we relax, it is typically in front of the TV. Take a look at your life and see if (like me) you find that you are always doing something.

So all of this begs the other question; how do we change it? It is safe to sit peacefully and do nothing sometimes? Is it even honorable? How do we get there? Currently I am trying meditation. I feel it helps me see that it is healthy for me to spend sometime quietly, just feeling the rise and fall of my chest while I breathe. I hope that from meditation I can move to a place where I can sit in quiet contemplation. It was so powerful when it happened organically, as it did, in the BWCA. Even having the chance for a once a year retreat to allow for some quiet, seems like an excellent idea. I certainly do not have all the answers here. In many ways this question is as individualized as we all are. There is power and awe in those quiet moments. They are worth looking for and fighting to protect.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find many peaceful moments throughout your life, as if by magic.

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Daily Meditation Adventure – Week 11

If you have not already joined our Daily Meditation Adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how the last week went for me.

Experiences during the week: I notice that I am (more able) to get into a meditative state. I also notice that I am able to settle into longer and longer meditations. I went from 10 minutes one day to 20 minutes the next day and the 20 minute meditation actually felt shorter than the 10. 

My weight:   Intermittent fasting   has sprang my weight loss forward. I have lost about 7 lbs since starting it. I find it very helpful. The meditations certainly help me stick to the hours of fasting but are not the soul cause of my weight loss. 

How I feel: I feel more connected. I find that I am manifesting situations and experiences more quickly since starting my meditation practice. Even if my practice has not been perfect and I have missed days (even weeks) at one point, the constant return and true desire to have a daily practice seems to be enhancing my life. 

How it is affecting my life: One day I chose a guided meditation for creativity. I felt very inspired after the meditation and wrote short story. I feel that at this point the meditation is more of a beneficial presence in my life rather than the stressor that it was when I first started doing it. 

What I have learned: I have learned to never give up. To try try again and I will be successful. What a Lessons that is! There are so many times in life when our first attempt at something does not yield the results we would like. But we can be successful We WILL be successful if only we believed continue to try! 

Oprah and Deepak are offering a free 21 day meditation series. There is an app you download and you can listen to a new lesson and meditation everyday that builds on the previous day or can stand alone. This series is the Energy of Attraction. In the past I joined a series that was related to Time. They are definitely worth checking them out.

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you fallen off the meditation wagon? Have you maintained daily meditation? Have you enjoyed this adventure? Is meditation helping enhance your life?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of achieving goals and the drive to keep going to get to limited-less success, 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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