Purpose Driven Life

A friend recently reached out to me, to ask if she could interview me for a class she was taking. The class is from the U of M: Center for Spirituality and Healing called “Living on Purpose.”  She told me; “I chose to interview you as I feel you live your purpose and play the role of mentor for many of us in our group, whether or not this is a conscious decision or just comes naturally”.  I want to share this interview, as I feel a purpose driven life is something many of us want and struggle with. It has been especially challenging for me after my daughter was shot. I felt lost but this interview help me remember to live a purpose driven life. You may even want to answer these questions for yourselves.

1)  How would you describe a purpose-filled or purpose-driven life, in general?

Everyday we have choices to make. Choices about how we show up. Do we walk into work cranky or do we come in with an intention to light up the space we occupy? We have choices about how we care for our body. Do we fill it up with processed food (full of sugar) or do we consume whole fresh foods? We have choices about how we spend our “so very” valuable time. Do we get home in the evening and just veg out in front of the TV or do we do mindful practices, Like enjoy friends and family or work on creative projects? I think living a purposeful life is about making choices and not just doing what might be easy or routine, something which we all become accustomed to, from time to time. Somedays you will fall into routine or make choices that are not in alignment with your purpose. Other days you will make choices that make your soul sing! 

2)   Share 2-3 examples of parts of your life that are very satisfying, give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment.  This could be related to family, work, leisure, hobby or anything that you are passionate about.  What’s the history behind this part of your life?  How does this make you feel when you are engaged in this aspect of your life?

I feel great purpose in teaching and sharing information. This makes its way into many aspects of my life. Time with my grandchildren, my work, and my holistic practices. As you know, I facilitate the gathering once a month. Additionally I volunteer as a speaker, at a public high school, to share what holistic healing is with the students there. I was asked to speak specifically about Reiki and the Chakras, but the kids have so many great questions, that we talked about a lot of different things in the course of the class. When opportunities arise with friends and family; I will share knowledge, wisdom, or practices with them, that I think may be helpful. Recently a friend was telling me about some hip, leg, and foot pain she was having. I asked if she had any type of mediation or relaxation practice. She said she did not, although she felt mediation might be helpful but didn’t really know how to mediate. I facilitated a progressive relaxation with her. We started with some yogic breathing; taking deep belly breaths. She later told me she had never breathed like that and found it very helpful. We then progressively relaxed the muscles of her body, starting at the top of the head and worked down her body. She shared that she found it a helpful practice and has continued to do it. 

A coworker recently shared that she had a lot of work and personal stress going on in her life. I shared a free 21 day mediation experience with her that Deepak Chopra was offering. 

I think there is a a fear of the unknown. When I see little opportunities to share bits of knowledge, various mindful techniques, or a more natural or healthy practice that can improve health; I will take the chance to share and see if the person might be open or willing to learn about a different way of being. If they are not open, I drop it. It is not my intention to force things on others or make them uncomfortable. But there are people out there who are hungry for information. I was once that person who stumbled onto a book which started an awakening in me; from that day forward I was seeking teachers, knowledge, and my whole world changed in ways I could not have anticipated. 

Another area, that I feel strongly is a part of my purpose, is to bring joy and leave spaces a little brighter than they were before I arrived. I watched how my grandmother would enter a room and leave the room brighter than when she had entered. She just lit up the whole space. I have aspired to be like her in that way. I want to share a smile with a stranger, leave any group a bit happier than they were when I arrived, provide calm when I enter a stressed environment, and just make the world I touch a little brighter. There are days I fail at this but there are other days that I hope I create a chain reaction. Sharing joy with this person who shares joy with the next, and so on. 

3)  Is there anything you do on a regular basis to help you be more purposeful in your life?  If so, please describe.

I look for signs and messages. Whether this is a blue jay on my garden gate, drawing a tarot card, seeing a star (which reminds me to see the joy in my life right now), hearing a song, or having something be brought up 3 times; I am always on the lookout for ways in which the Divine is keeping me on my path. 

Mediation is something I always aspire to keep a part of my daily practice. There have been times in my life where mindfulness has not played as large a role as I would like. But today, is a new day, and an opportunity to begin again. 

Acceptance is another purposeful action. Accept others for who they are and where they are at in their journey. This has to also be acceptance for myself. I work to not “should” myself. I am not perfect and everyday I am not going to be the perfect version of what I aspire to be. I have to accept my humanness without getting stuck there. I have to accept that some days I could do better and continue to live forward, trying to be a better version of myself each day. 

4)  What is your recommendation to me for creating a more meaningful and purpose-filled life, both in general and on a day-to-day basis?

Set an intention for each day or practice in your life. Maybe it is just an intention to find more peace in this day or start a daily practice (whether it be drumming, yoga, self reiki, or jogging) with the intention of being more mindful. Intentions are powerful and they increase the power in anything we are already doing. 

Do not be hard on yourself. Know that no day is going to be perfect. Some days you will do better and other days you not be the person you aspire to be. That is okay. We learn from those times we fail. Think about a child learning to spell, it is the words they get wrong and have to practice again and again, that will become the most firmly planted into their mind. It is the same for us when trying to live a purposeful life. Those areas that we struggle with are the ones we will embrace (and know) the best. 

Share your wisdom with those who need to hear it. What we teach, we learn on a deeper level. When you see others who could benefit from something you have been through, offer them some tidbit from your experience. Then be willing to accept if they are able to hear what you have to share or not.

5)  Is there anything else you would like to add?

Trust your soul to guide you. When you feel that push, listen. You have a beautiful light! Your gifts will benefit many people. Fear can be crippling, especially when you live differently from the norm. You don’t have to share everything about yourself with others to be authentic or live a purposeful life. You can let out little glimpses of yourself to people who you feel it may help or you feel safe with.  

Not everyone you meet is a support person for you. Know who those support people are. Those whom you can be fully authentic with. The others are people on your path who may benefit by seeing you live your purpose filled life and getting a peek at the bright light that is you. 

 

I hope that this has inspired you to live your own purpose driven life. I love you!

Introspection: 5 possible approaches

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a conflict and you’re not really sure how you got there? This has happened with me this week. I find myself in a conflict I would have never predicted and I don’t really know how we got here. It hurts my heart. I do not like conflict and typically work very hard to avoid it. All the same, here I am. I have been trying to use an introspective approach to determine what steps I can take in the future to avoid this same situation. After all, life is about moving forward.

The Oxford Dictionary defines introspection as: “the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional process.”  This seems like a good approach to heal this situation and avoid future ones. What could I have done differently? What within me caused me to react in the manner in which I did? What parts of myself do I need to heal in order to move forward without a similar future situation, like this,  rearing its ugly head? Introspection is about looking deeply within yourself. We can only control our own reactions and responses to situations.

There are many ways to approach introspection. Here are 5 of my favorites.

1. Journaling – journaling is a great way to let the words just flow. It is a safe space to say everything you want to say, and you never know what wisdom may flow onto the pages. There can be many “ah ha” moments while journaling.

2. Meditation – mediation allows you to step away from the circling thoughts and find a few moments of peace. This is a great space to set an intention of having clear guidance and insight flow to you. I find this a powerful process.

3. Therapy – Meeting with a good psychotherapist is a great way to have someone hold space for you to get beyond any issues at hand. This person can often help you identify blind spots or actions you do see, that can cause pain.

4. Exercise – Going for a walk, running, or yoga can also be a great way to go inside. There is something about this process that is not only healing but helpful in gaining insight into who we are and the type of actions we take.

5. Tarot – This one may seem weird to you but I find, working with either tarot cards or oracle cards, is a great way to dig into the subconscious. Our subconscious often has a different agenda than our thinking mind. Even if you do not know what a card means, looking at the symbolism you notice and thinking deeply about its message for you, can be a great source of insight.

Introspection is a great tool. Whether you are currently within a situation that brings a need to look at your own actions and intentions, or you are just on a journey to be the best version of yourself. We all have shadowy areas within ourselves. It never hurts to go in and clear out the cobwebs.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you have introspective insight when you need it, 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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Today is Day 1 of 21!… (again); Twenty-One Plus Helpful Tips

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

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

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

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

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

*Photo taken somewhere over Kentucky, USA

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Stay the Course, Even When Confronted With the Seemingly Negative.

When we start down a new road whether it is a healthy initiative, financial planning, career advancement, a self-help strategy, or a creative project; we are energized by the plan and the hope it brings. Our dreams for success our high on our minds and we are energized by the hope for the future. We dance through the first few days or weeks of our plan and path, happily thinking about the outcome waiting for us on the other end. Then sometimes something happens along this path that seems negative and suddenly all our plans come tumbling down. How can we avoid this pitfall from happening and stay the course?

It’s easy to stay on track when everything is going according to plan. But when the unexpected happens (or maybe even the expected but hoped it wouldn’t happen thing), that is when we falter. It is during these times of trouble that we risk falling from our path, but I am here to cheer you on. Do not just throw in the towel easily! Sometimes those things that seem so negative are really just blessings in disguise. We just have to give them the time they need to reveal to us their hidden blessings. Sometimes they are not a big problem but a little chance to make a misstep. It is in these times that we must stay strong, we must remember why we are doing what we are doing and keep the faith that it will all be worth it in the end. In these times we must remember that we are strong enough to keep going, in spite of the challenge, and that you are stronger than you think you are!

Do not let those seemingly random negative happenstances pull you from your path. Do not let the expected, but undesired circumstances, dissuade you from continuing to put one foot in front of the other. It may not be easy right now, but it will be worth it in the end. Go back and remember why you dreamt the dream in the first place and what is at the end of the finish line. Keep in mind how you will feel once you achieve what you are after and walk your path to the end. You may have to climb over some rockslides, voyage around mud puddles, and even find your way when the path is unclear. But it will be worth it the day you stroll out of that dense wilderness and feel the sun on you face. Success is yours. It will be worth it when others are singing your praises. Stay on your path, even when you find it difficult or discouraging; your dreams will thank you for it.

The last days of your journey to this goal will be every bit (maybe even a little more) exciting as the first days. Stay the course when negative things strike! Keep on keeping on when you feel hopeless. Keep striving! Don’t let negativity pull you from your path. You can do this! You are worth the trouble. I am proud of you and you will be too.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find it easy to stay the course, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken outside of Golden, CO.

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Introvert vs Extravert; How to Find a Healthy Balance

How do you get your energy? What do you do when your batteries are down and need to be recharged? When your Life has been stressful and you just need some down time, what do you plan? Would it surprise you to know that how you answer these questions will vary depending on your “extravert” verses “introvert” tendencies?

I am an introvert and I know this about myself, that when my batteries need to be recharged, I need time alone. How very “peopley” the world is makes me tired. The idea of going to a crowded place seems exhausting to me. (This is probably made worse by the fact that I am also an Empath, but that is for another blog). My husband, on the other hand, is an extravert. He needs people and social time to get him charged up. Getting together with friends, always sounds like a good idea to him. He is a happy, “the more the merrier” type of guy. He has never met a stranger and authentically loves people.

Because of this I sometimes think introverts get a bad rap. People imagine introverts to be socially awkward, shy, and not very friendly. This is simply not true. Those attributes can belong to introverts or extraverts. Whether you are an introvert or an extravert really has more to do with where we get our energy from. I am a very social person. I enjoy public speaking and have lots of friends. I enjoy doing things with my friends and lead a monthly discussion group/class. However, when I get tired, more time with others will only cause me to feel more worn out. It takes a lot of effort for me when I am being social. It doesn’t mean I don’t need these social event or don’t have fun when I am at them. The opposite is true; I do need and want them. But it’s all about the balance.

If you have friends and family that are the opposite of you, it is always important to respect and understand their needs. If being at the mall around lots of people feeds you and makes you feel energized, understand and respect that for your buddy, it may be different. Just as I have to remember that my husband’s needs are different than mine. I work to help ensure that, in our time together, we strike a healthy balance between being social and spending quiet time alone. I have to remember that my need for quiet time should not stifle his need for social time and visa versa. We both need to be fed energetically just in different ways. So listen to what your friends and loved ones have to say about what and how they need to recharge their batteries.

So the next time you feel like you want to plan a way to reward yourself for a busy week, think if that is a night-in binge watching your favorite show or a night out at the local pub celebrating with a large group of people. Think about your friends and family members and how they seem to recharge. Finally, in your personal relationship, try an strike a healthy balance so that you both are getting what you need.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of finding the perfect ways to recharge, as if by magic.

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My Experience with “36 Questions to Fall in Love”

Have you heard of the 36 questions to fall in love study? Here is the way I remember it. A psychologist, Arthur Aron, proposed that he could cause 2 people to fall in love by asking progressively intimate questions of each other and then have them stare silently into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes. The study was published in the late 90s but became popular during the time when I was online dating. The TV show, The Big Bang Theory, even did an episode about the questions. As the story was told to me, the two people who were used in the initial study actually did fall in love. Since I was looking for true love and intimacy in the online world, I thought I might as well give it a try.

I remember sitting across the table at a restaurant from the man I was currently dating. “Want to play a game?” I asked him. His eyebrow went up and he asked what kind of game? I explained to him about the 36 questions. He was skeptical but agreed to play along. We began taking turns asking each other the questions. We pushed my phone back and forth across the table asking each other questions. Alternating who asked the question first. I have to admit it was a fun way to get to know each other and to deepen the relationship. In the end, he and I dated for about 6 months but did not fall in love. I did do the questions with a couple other of the men I dated.

One of the men I did the questions with became my husband. We did the questions while driving to go on our first camping trip together. Again the questions were a great way to get to know each other. I think the key was that the conversation was going on during the long drive and initiated many side conversations. This time the questions revealed a whole new experience. This time the questions deepened a closeness that was already forming. The questions took us a couple of days to get through because we didn’t rush them and we allowed them to take us down bunny trails and into other conversations. I am sure this was not the intention during the study but we’re not scientists, just two people getting to know each other on a deeper level. When it came time for the 4 minutes of gazing into each others eyes, it was magical. It was almost like a meditative experience.

In the end, did the 36 Questions cause my husband and I to fall in love? No, we already were in love (although we had not expressed this to each other yet) when we asked each other the questions. I believe true love is really about a soul connection. The questions did help us to know each other better. Our relationship was brought to the next level and the questions prompted deep and meaningful conversations over the course of the weekend. It was on that same weekend that we did profess our love to each other. Did the intimacy, spun out of asking the questions, allow for our comfort in saying the words? Maybe.  We just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of deep and meaningful intimacy.

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