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!

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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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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Raising the Vibration of the Planet

Our happiness raises the vibration of the whole world. Think about that. When we vibrate with joy and happiness we actually affect the world around us. By raising our own vibration we actually improve the world. When you think about it that way, it is easy to see how your joy is important. It is more than that. Your joy is also not a egocentric. When you are pursuing joy in your life this is not self-centered. When you are taking care of yourself, this is not selfish. Because we are all connected, therefore, your joy affects all of us. 

Raise your vibration to raise the vibration the world! Embrace your joy in order to spread more joy to those you interact with. When the people you interact with see your joy, how can they help but smile? They will see your joy but also feel your joy. The vibration of it. In turn their joy will increase. Then what happens? Well when they interact with people their joy will spread. Like the giant spiderweb that we all are, one person being joyful will affect many and it will continue to move out like ripples on a pond.

In 2000 there was a movie called Pay It Forward. It was a brilliant concept. Person number 1 helps 3 people. In exchange each of these 3 people have to help 3 other people, and so on. Everyone who is touched has to do 3 random acts of kindness for 3 other people. It is the same concept but without having to do anything more than feel joyful. Don’t try to hide it.

I often find that people don’t want to know you are joyful. They may make sarcastic comments or respond with complaints. Then our reaction is to put a cover over our joy. We dim it so our joyfulness does not shine on this other person and make them feel uncomfortable. I have caught myself doing it. Even voicing complaints of my own to fit my vibration to theirs. It does not make sense does it? But we all do it.

Let’s try and be aware of these moments in the future and instead of lowering our vibration lets continue to shine brightly and see if we can’t pull that other person up to vibrate joy with us. You may just surprise yourself when you see how much power you really do have after all.

Our happiness, our joy, it can change the world. It can make the world a bright place and shine light into the shadows. Keep smiling and keep spreading joy! I believe in you!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you radiate joy, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in the mountains of Oregon.

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Messy Emotions; How to better understand yours!

Emy and I returned from our retreat with such Joy in our hearts. We decided to set an intention to keep this Joy, regardless of what life through at us. We had no idea how much we were going to be tested. A series of random concerns and annoyances turned into opportunities to learn how to hold Joy firmly in our heart.

The Joy was overflowing from my heart while on our retreat. I couldn’t stop smiling. Having had the space and time to just be and work on myself was such a beautiful gift. Then we stepped back into our lives and it was life. Things were being thrown into our path to see if we could really continue to navigate with Joy. What a test it was! When I was having an especially hard day, Emy reminded me what Wayne Dyer had said. He told us that, when we are squeezed, all that can come out is what we truly are. If I am Joy then only Joy can be squeezed out of me. So as stressful situations and heartbreaking circumstances popped up, I purposely sent Love (Joy) into the world and to the other parties involved. Hate (Fear) serves no purpose. It only hurts everyone.

I do not mean to say that I am perfect and that I didn’t feel frustrated, fearful, or even angry at some of the things going on. I just didn’t allow myself to stay in those lower vibrational feelings. I believe that ultimately there are 2 emotions and everything else are just ranges along that continuum. There is Love. This is Divinity and our true nature. Love is the energy that creates all of the beauty and blessings we are surrounded by. On the far, other side of the spectrum is Fear.

Fear holds a much lower vibration and is a place where we can get stuck. Look at a situation in your life that brings up negative emotions and then ask yourself why you feel that emotion. Keep digging away and going deeper into that emotion. Keep asking yourself what is underneath it or what is bringing this emotion up. I bet as you peel back the layers you will find Fear deep in the core. You are also likely to find Love there too.

Let’s look at an example. Say you have a friend that has some unhealthy habits. You get so frustrated with this friend; because they just continue to make these poor choices. You try to talk to them or help them but ultimately nothing changes. You may even feel angry with them or even disgusted at this point. Why? Because you love your friend and you want to see them have a happy and successful life. You are fearful that they are going to get hurt or their choices are going to cause them problems that they cannot recover from.

Try this with scenarios in your own life and see what is deep down there. Understanding where the emotions are coming from may not change how you feel but it may make it easier for you to send Love to the person or situation, rather than Fear.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find understanding of your emotions and acceptance of yourself, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Ybor City, FL

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Recent Retreat Experiences

I recently shared that Adventure Sisters, Emy and I, were going on a private retreat of our own making. I would like to share some of my experiences and insights from this with you. As it turned out, it was all about finding the Joy. That we not only hold in our heart, but are.

We had a schedule, we had a plan, we shopped for groceries, and prepared our space. We were excited to be together, to be in Florida and out of the snow and extreme cold. We even both expressed a bit of anxiety about the upcoming long period of silence.

As I have expressed in previous blogs; Emy and I have our sun signs across from each other in the zodiac. We often have very different perceptions about things, other times it is like we are of one mind, anticipating what the other is thinking before she even says it. The retreat was full of such dualities. What I needed, was not always what Emy needed and vise versa. When these things came up though, we navigated them with ease and love. We accepted the other for what she needed or her perspective. We allowed and loved our differences.

Silence was broken after only about 17.5 hours. We decided eating our breakfast in the morning sun would be lovely. A couple of our neighbors in the marina came over and chatted with us. We broke silence to avoid rudeness and heard some very interesting tales from neighbor retirees. Their experiences and perspectives gave us even more to reflect on and we decided that our continued silence was not really necessary.

We allowed the wind to blow us where it might. We floated without resistance on the marina waters. We took liberties with the schedule; doing the various activities as we felt called to. We had so many “ah ha” moments. Like pausing the video to discuss a concept that was lay out before us.

One of my favorite take homes, from the retreat, was the message to live in Joy! For this, Emy and I picked a symbol. Every time we see that symbol it is a reminder to be in the joy of the moment. We have been seeing it everywhere and sharing it with each other. I would encourage you to pick your own symbol to remind you to see the Joy in the present moment.

Being back in the everyday world now has been a call to be more mindful of Joy, regardless of what is happening around us. It was easy to remain joyful during the retreat. We were focused on self development and growth. We were mostly out of touch with the outside world and it’s issues. We were together. Enjoying sharing and experiencing all that was there for us, in the richness of the retreat.

The Nabhi Kriya yoga set we did, so moved us, that we have even decided to take on a 40 day practice of it. I had been feeling called to this prior to the retreat. In fact, the teachers manual, with the Kriya’s pages marked, is sitting on my bedside table at home. Patiently waiting for me to hear the call and take it on an adventure. Please feel free to join us. In the Kundalini Yoga tradition of: you miss a day you start over on day 1. Be committed to you! Remember to modify the exercises to keep yourself safe and visualize yourself doing the movements as instructed. Because the brain doesn’t know the difference between actual or powerful visualization.

Overall the retreat was lovely and joyous! It was just not what we originally expected or planned but so much more.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find life offering you experiences, which are so much more, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Cassadaga, FL

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Are You Happy? An Examination of What is Really Beneath Our Unhappiness

Are you happy? It is a question you may not ask yourself very often. Most people usual answer with fine. If you are unhappy in some area of your life though, I bet you tell people all about how dissatisfied you are with that aspect of your life. After all, we are very good at focussing on what is not going well, but embarrassed to talk about what is going right. It is like we should be ashamed of being happy. Let’s take a deeper look at happiness and how to find it more of the time.

When I was a teenager, I was not a very happy girl. My grandmother, who was always so wise, gave me a little plaque to hang in my bedroom. It had a poem on it about happiness. It hung in my home until just a few years ago when it got packed away for a move and never reemerged from the box. I do not know who wrote the poem but it was titled simply Happiness. The basis of the poem was that happiness is a choice we make. It is not someone else’s responsibility. It is up to us, individually, to decide to be happy. So, I ask you, do you choose to be happy? If not, what is getting in your way?

Dissatisfaction could be the culprit. I was listening to my yogi playlist on random while working today. In the midst of the meditative yoga music the Yoga Niyamas started to play as taught by some very wise Yoga Guru. The Niyamas are basically a code of behavior or principles for life. I was just getting ready to hit the skip button when he started talking about happiness. He then said something that hit me as very profound. He said it is not whatever we are dissatisfied about that is making us unhappy. He gave some examples of this as our job or spouse. He then goes on to say; they are not the cause of our unhappiness. What is actually making us unhappy is our dissatisfaction. Really think about that. If I am dissatisfied with some aspect of my life because it doesn’t look like someone else’s life, it is not that aspect that is making me unhappy. It is my dissatisfaction.

Let’s look at a fictitious scenario that I have heard many times over. My friend Jane comes to me and complains about her husband Tom. She is upset with Tom because he doesn’t help out around the house. This has made her very dissatisfied with her marriage. She compares Tom to my husband Marty who does dishes and laundry with a smile. Because Tom is not measuring up to Marty, Jane is unhappy with her marriage. Marriage is a big part of life, when you are married. Jane’s unhappiness flows over into her overall feelings about life. If you ask Jane if she is happy, she will tell you she is not. Is Tom making Jane unhappy? No, he is not. It is Jane’s dissatisfaction that is causing her unhappiness. She compared Tom to someone else and felt he did not measure up. She set an expectation for Tom that he is unwilling or unable to achieve, if he even knows about it at all.

Now let’s say Jane talks to a wise friend; does some deep self work or gets some therapy. Slowly her perspective starts to shift. She starts to focus on the things in her life she does like. Then she starts to notice the things about Tom that she genuinely appreciates. Suddenly her dissatisfaction with the fact that he doesn’t push the vacuum cleaner around the house disappears; as her focus shifts to what a great provider Tom is. Perhaps it is even simpler than that; maybe Jane just decides to be happy. She starts ignoring the things she is dissatisfied with and makes a choice to be happy even if everything in her life is not perfect.

We see examples of people who choose happiness everyday. The person who is going through cancer treatment with a smile on her face. The guy who looses his job and sees it as an opportunity to try something new. The person who has a parent, who picks at them all the time and just shrugs their shoulders. Saying that is how that person has always been so why let it upset them. Happiness is a choice. It is a choice we get to make every day; in every situation and relationship. I am so grateful for my wise grandmother. Who, in her loving way, helped me to realized I was causing my own misery.  I hope you can look past your dissatisfaction on the things that don’t meet your expectations and choose to be happy anyway.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find happiness an easy choice to make, as if by magic.

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