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!

Nature Is All Around Us

I live in the city even though I am a nature girl at heart. As I was driving through downtown Minneapolis, on my way to work this morning, I noticed the sunrise reflected on the glass of the downtown sky scrapers. It was stunning and it helped me to realize Nature is all around us.

As a girl who loves nature, I sometimes feel that living in the city keeps me away from my beloved forests, but then I take the time to notice there are wonderful ways for me to experience the outdoors without having to take a drive to the countryside. The trees and shrubs along the side of the road, showing off their autumn color,  are one way we are blessed with beauty. The squirrels, who are busy putting on their winter fat, are little bits of the wild that we can enjoy. If we just take the time to look around, there are so many amazing little gifts that the plants and animals offer us, even within the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.

Winter is coming to the Twin Cities, where I live. I find it difficult to get out into the natural world in the winter because the cold weather does not agree with me. I have purchased snow pants, good quality winter boots, hats and gloves; all with the intention of making sure I continue to get outside and experience the wild and fresh air all winter long. This must be a mindful decision on my part. It is not natural for me to want to venture out into the frosty cold. I have learned that when I push through and get out there, even if it is just to walk around the block, seeing the sky and feeling the wind on my cheeks makes me a better and happier person.

Are you like me? Do you feel better when you have more playtime with Mother Nature? How do you incorporate her into you everyday life? It is too easy to think that you need time to drive to the bluffs and go hiking, or take the kayaks to the river to get out there. Maybe just enjoying this gorgeous world we live in is as simple as noticing the sunrise or sunset. Maybe watching the fluffy clouds float by, or the even fluffier squirrel in the tree, can help sustain us until a deep journey into the wild is available.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the beauty you need in your everyday life.

 

 

 

3 Reasons to Not Point Fingers

Recently, a generous person with a lot of money, offered a considerable donation to rebuild Notre Dame. Quickly, all kinds of controversy started about where they should donate their money and how it should be used. I do not watch the news, because I do not want all the negativity and fear that is broadcast there, to seep into my life. What I know about this situation is simply what I have heard others talking about and it got me thinking about finger-pointing.

When you point your finger at others (whether they see it or not) 3 fingers are pointed back at you. I see this as an invitation to look at myself. In regards to a donation, where am I putting my resources and time? In response to others behavior, how am I behaving? If something really gets my goat, why is it that it is pushing my buttons so?

It is not my job to judge how others are living their lives, nor is it up to me to decide where others should or shouldn’t put their money. It is my job to just love my neighbor, be grateful for the blessings in my life, and to notice all, that others, have to offer to this crazy voyage we call life. Like with the rule of threes, if I am going to have three fingers pointed back at myself, I want to be sure they are pointed with the highest vibrational energy possible.

Notice the good that people do, see the creativity that other posses, observe the wisdom shared by those around you. Raising our vibration to one of love and appreciation will have a magical effect in our own life and likely others around you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be full of appreciation for others, as if by magic.

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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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I Met God Today

Today I  meditated on compassion and not judging people, but just accepting them as is, including myself. My meditations are always a bit ADHD with thoughts coming and going. Images popping up before me and dissipating like smoke. I have learned not to fight what happens during meditation. I just stay present and accept what comes. I ignore my mind, which is constantly trying to narrate and document everything that is happening. I focus on my breathing, or a mantra, when the mind gets to insistent and just let it float to the background.

Today was no different. I was meditating, as usual, when suddenly there was this white light before my mind’s eye. It was a bright light and grew in intensity as it came closer. I grew to realize that this was God. I sat with him and just accepted the Divinity of this moment. My mind screamed at me to write it down and document it. I ignored the mind and allowed the observer part of myself to enjoy this extraordinary experience. Then it changed. The bright white light changed into an inky purplish black color. It was no longer a concentrated sun as the white light had been. It spread and filled the area of my vision, nebulous and changing. I came to understand that this was also God. She explained to me that God is all things; light and shadow. Duality is a necessary part of all things. She said just as I do not judge the moon, the negative charge of electrons or femininity, as bad, nor is the dark side of God or anyone. It just is.

This is a hard concept to wrap one’s head around. In the Taoist philosophy there is the Yin/Yang. This is the symbol we often see where the white and black swirls meet to form a perfect circle with a little spot of the opposite color on each side. It shows the nature of both being necessary for the whole and that each contains a bit of the other. Yin is feminine and the dark side. Yang is masculine and the light side. Neither is good or bad. But both are necessary for the formation of life. We could not continue the human race without both. A battery does not work if the charges are not aligned correctly. Night and day are both required for nature to exist in harmony. We must work and we must sleep. Why should it be shocking that God contains balance, duality within the Divinity of our source?

We have put so much negative connotation to the shadow side, that perhaps some of its true nature has been lost. Darth Vader tries to get Luke to come to the Dark Side and the movies make it all very evil. If you have ever watched the Disney movie Maleficent with Angelina Jolie, you know that a story can be told in a very different way, in which the villain’s story looks less like a villain and more human. Someone who is doing the best they can in the time and space they are in. What if we say that God is in all people? What if we noticed the duality and knew they were doing the best they could in the time and space they are currently in; to balance the duality within themselves? Know that they are doing their very best possible, to express the divinity from which they come. It does shift how we see each other, doesn’t it? I feel this makes it a bit easier to have compassion, rather than judgement, when experiencing others along this path called life.

Spend some time with this concept. Let it float around in your mind and in your dreams. Try it on and see how it feels. Find your own truth within it. I hope it helps you find more compassion for yourself as well as for others.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find compassion over judgement naturally, as if by magic.

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5 Reasons Self Care & Your Purpose Are Connected

You have a purpose in this life! Yes, you! Even if you do not know what that purpose is, it is there, pushing you forward. This is precisely why it is important to take care of yourself! Here are 5 good reasons how self care and your purpose are connected.

1. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first! They say it on every airplane ride. If someone needs assistance, put the mask on yourself first before you help them with their mask. If you pass out from lack of oxygen, then you cannot possibly help that person who needs your assistance. It may seem like the noble thing to give to others first, but once your cup is empty, you will not have anything left to fill others.

2. You set a good example for others! When your children, family members, and those who admire you, see you caring for yourself, you set a good example. They begin to understand that self care is not selfish. They see how it provides you the much needed balance. By caring for ourselves, and therefore having the energy to care for others, those watching will learn that it is okay to take the time they need to recharge their own batteries. Isn’t that what you would want for those you love? That they feel they deserve to take care of themselves too? Of course it is. So be a good example to them.

3. Allow for creativity! If we are always busy with this or that, running from point A to B, how can we possibly have time for our creative juices to flow? Creativity needs some space. Taking time for meditation, art, exercise, and other self care activities give us time for inspiration to hit. Even if you do not consider yourself a creative person, in the midst of these self care activities, you may find yourself coming up with solutions to problems. Inspiration can hit while you are walking in nature, sitting in silence, or expressing yourself with paint on a canvas. You just never know when it’ll strike.

4. Define your purpose! Self care allows you to explore different activities and interests that may help you learn about your true purpose. Personnel development classes or retreats are self care options that can help lead you down the path toward your purpose, as is just trying something out. Maybe you think your purpose is to carry on the family business, by working in the tire shop that has been passed from father to son, you may come to understand that now it’s your turn. Perhaps that is a part of your purpose or not. Caring for yourself can help you feel the tug towards where the Divine is leading you. It can give you the space or help you develop new skills that can help you define your purpose.

5. Find the fun again! Self care can help you find the fun. As the proverb goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. According to Wikipedia this proverb was recorded as early as 1659. That’s at least 360 years of encouraging you to let your hair down. Dancing, laughing, playing are all great self care activities that will help you “Feel joy and share it”, as my friend Nancy says. Without some fun in your life, you may find that your purpose can start to feel like a burden. Life is meant to be joyous! Find the fun!

Whether you know what your purpose is or not, self care is important. Even if you do not believe you have a life purpose, life is too short to not take care of yourself and enjoy this adventure! I beg you to find at least a couple self care activities that feel good and feed your soul!

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find self care a part of your routine, as if by magic!

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Making Time for Your Priorities: 6 questions to ask yourself

What are the things that are most important to you? What are the things in life that you wish you had more time for? Life is so full of the push and pull to do various things, that finding balance amongst all of these, is one of the challenges we all face. I used to look at people who were retired, or didn’t work for one reason or another, and thought they must have it made. They have all the time they need to do whatever they want. As I have paid more attention to this perceived abundance of theirs; it seems not having a job does not mean that there is plenty of time to do it all. These people are still very busy and vocalize having a lot on their plate to get accomplished.

So, I had a couple thoughts about priorities during a meditation this week.

The other morning, as I sat in meditation and my husband scurried around cleaning up the kitchen, it struck me that we make time for the things that are priorities in our life. If we feel that there is no time for our priorities, we need to take a look at our life and see how we are really spending our time. What things have crept into our life that are not priorities, but we just treat them as if they are? I am blessed to have a husband who shares the household duties with me.  He never suggests that I am not carrying my fair share of the load or that I should be doing more and this helps allow for more time. Working a full-time job, that often requires more than full time hours and almost weekly travel, makes the time to pursue things like blogging, planning retreats, offering classes, sharing inspiration, and my own personal development quite sparse. I have changed things in my life to be able to have time for the things I feel are priorities. Here are some things to ask yourself. I have and continue to reevaluate these as life marches on.

  1. Where does time go? By looking at how we spend time, it is possible to find some extra space in the day to do more. Things that steal time for me are playing games on my phone, procrastination (where I stay busy to avoid something else) and the occasionally TV binge.
  2. Is it really important? About 25 years ago, I made a conscious decision that the TV would not be in the main room of the house. When there it steals our time. It is easy to fall into the trap of coming home and plunking down in front of it. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of really great things to watch on TV. Just be mindful about what you are watching and how much of your time it is truly taking. Is it really the priority? Our Tv (at home) is in a family room in the basement. So that it is not in the center of attention when meals and conversations are had.
  3. Is there another way to accomplish it? We all know that living in a sanitary way is important for health. I am not a germaphobe and my house does not have to be perfect, but It does need to be tidy. Also, according to Feng Shui, a cluttered environment causes a cluttered mind. Your space needs to be a priority, but maybe you make a chore list to share with others in your house? Can you hire a housekeeper? Are there efficiencies you can add like cleaning the shower as you get out of it in the morning once a week? We have worked out a trade deal with one daughter so she comes and cleans our house in exchange for us helping her with things she needs. Be creative!
  4. Is there times when you can multitask? I love audio books! I listen to them while I commute, exercise, cook, etc. It is a nice way to fit in some learning or self development while doing other things that I have to accomplish anyway.
  5. Could you start your day differently? I am a morning person and getting up early to get things done, before the demands for the day start closing in, works well for me. Even if you are not a morning person, is there a way you can make a morning routine more supportive of the things you want to be priorities in your life? I recently started daily meditation again as well as another 40 day yoga practice. I have found that if I get up a little earlier in the morning I have time to meditate, do my yoga, and often even blog, before I have to go to work. Having this routine has been very positive for me feeling more centered and finding balance in my life.
  6. Check your attitude. How is your mood or your tude? In March, I had a tough month. I couldn’t seem to find the energy or desire to blog or commit to other healthy habits. I was eating poorly, vegging out in front of the TV, and I was uncharacteristically crabby. Then I started “shoulding” all over myself, which made it worse. I felt guilty for the choices I was making but yet I seemed incapable of changing them that month. On April 1st, I decided enough was enough. I made intentional changes to take control of my life again. I got my diet back into check, stopped the sugar and restarted intermittent fasting. I stopped zoning out in front of the TV. I started the daily meditation and the 40 day yoga practice. My mood shifted the first day. It is very empowering to take control of your life.

I hope these questions will help you to make your priorities, priorities. Remember that you are a priority and not to give all of yourself away. You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you will have what you need to be there for the others you hold dear.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your priorities fall into place, as if by magic.

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