Hard Work: Is It Holding You Back?

From the time we are very small, we are told we have to work hard. Whether it is at home, at our job, or during our creative aspirations; hard work is rewarded in our culture. I was raised in North Dakota. My grandfather was a farmer, my mother a principal and my father owned his own masonry company. We were taught to work hard right from the start.

We lived in a rural area and had 8 acres of land, so there was lots to do to keep everything looking ship shape and running well. Then on weekends we would travel to the lake, where we worked hard again. My folks purchased an empty lake lot and there was lots of work; from leveling the earth, to building not one, but two cabins over the years. So we worked all week and then on the weekends we worked some more, for fun.

I remember my grandmother telling my mother that they had taught her to work but had never taught her how to rest. The legacy continues with my brother and I. We know how to work. Really resting and understanding how to relax just seems to slip away, as a nebulous idea, that we cannot quite understand. I will work hard! I will conquer what is put in front of me and I will not take a nap!

My folks are stoic people that never complain. They are retired not but still manage to work hard and stay busy. We value hard work above all else. In fact, when I was a young woman and seeking to gain my parents approval, it was done through working hard and achieving goals.

Now hard work is engrained deep into who I am, but I know on some level, this belief holds me back. When you look at the principles of manifestation, the Universe gives you what you speak and think about. I believe I have to work hard to achieve things. So I do.

The principals of manifestation say we only have to match our vibration, to what we what, in order to have what we want. In a YouTube video, I watch recently by Abraham Hicks, Abraham says what we want is already here. We just have to match our vibration to it.

So how do we do that? How do we change our vibration in such a way that it matches what we want, instead of what we have always believed? We start by just believing in the possibilities. We say what we want and feel the emotions of already having it. Even when it doesn’t seem true or possible, just keep believing.

I am not saying anything is wrong with hard work. I think there is a lot of therapeutic value in hard work and I believe it makes us feel proud of ourselves while helping us raise our vibrations. Follow your inner guidance. There is nothing wrong with hard work but we must involve consciousness in the equation as well and feel the success we will surly achieve.

Keep going in the direction of your dreams. With a combination of hard work and principles of manifestation, you will achieve what you are feeling compelled to achieve.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find yourself moving steadily in the direction of your dreams, as if by magic.

*photo was taken at Valley Forge PA

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Meditation: A Beautiful Experience

My meditation experience yesterday was so beautiful, that I would like to share it with all of you. Although I had a beautiful backdrop to begin meditation, it is still possible to do it anywhere and at anytime. There are no ideal settings or circumstances, all you need is you.

Yesterday I was blessed to have the opportunity to do my meditation on the beach. It was a beautiful day in the high 60’s and the sun was fully out. Yet it was still January and the beach was not at all crowded. I found myself a quiet spot on the sand near enough to the water to hear the waves but not so close to the action. I settled in on my soft blanket in easy pose (crisscross applesauce) and allowed my eyes to gently close.

More often than not, as I begin my meditations, my monkey mind gets busy making “to do” lists for me and will try to document the experience for a blog or journal entry. I tried to reassure the never stopping thinker, that it was okay just be quiet, but of course that was more thinking. Slowly, as the minutes slipped away, I got into the sweet spot in meditation. That spot where you notice the sights and sounds around you without judgement or a running commentary about them.

I heard steps going past me. They would start in the distance and grow in their volume as they neared. Then fade again as they went past. This is just how the thoughts that come up in meditation should be handled. It is okay to notice them but also allow them to pass. Yet, so often my mind will try to hold on to these random fingers of thought. Afraid they might slip away before they could be captured.  Why is it that my ever present narrator thinks everything it has to say is so darn important to jot down. The ego is fully involved with this thinking part of me.

As I sat there with the warm sun on my back, sounds became more distinctive. I noticed them but did not attach any importance to them. The waves washing on the shore, the call of the sea gulls and the sounds of traffic on the road behind the beach; were all a part of the music I sat with. Partway into my meditation, a large family came and stood beside me. They were excited to be at the beach and chattered happily with one another. I am grateful for the buddhist monk who taught me that quiet is not necessary for meditation. He used the example that we do not get frustrated or angry with the birds who sing during our meditations. We only get that way with people because we think we can control them. I do not need quiet to meditate since this lesson. I now can allow the noises that people make as a part of the experience of being in the now, part of remaining present.

Each moment in life is perfect, if directed into only the present moment. When we live in the flow of consciousness we are happier. Meditation is a way for us to better get in touch with our true nature. Find the little moments in your life where you can be present for a few minutes and just notice. I have a future blog coming, that will talk about how one such moments occur for me without even trying.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find peace in everyday moments, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken by my sweet husband on New Smyrna Beach, FL.

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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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Perseverance and Resilience

This morning, my husband Marty, was reading an article about millionaires and how they got to be financially abundant. Perseverance and resilience were the two things the author found they all had in common. Marty says his CEO likes to refer to this as “Grit.” This got me thinking. What does perseverance and resilience look like in our lives? How can these things help us get to the next level and transform ourselves?

As we were having the discussion about when it is time to transform ourselves; I felt pretty solid that we are in the process of doing that in our household. We are making healthier choices in many regards with healthier food, more activity, healthier thoughts (maintaining positive thinking), financial health (with our focus on budgeting and paying off debt), and finding spiritual events to attend that make us feel good and feel like a good fit for us. We are transforming ourselves. Then Marty brought up work. When it comes to our careers, are we making ourselves over or are we just doing what we have always done? This gave me pause. Am I continuing to transform myself when it comes to my career? How am I moving my work to the next level? When I focus specifically on my writing and speaking career, I know I am doing what I have always done. I have stretched a little and tried some new things, but in many ways, I am stagnant. As the year is drawing to a close, I need to ask myself how I can step it up. What changes can I make to help me move to that next level?

I think it is good for us to examine different parts of our lives from time to time. Look at those parts of your life where things have not changed for a while. Do you desire a change in this area or are you happy with the status quo? If you are happy and feel it needs no improvement, then no problem. But if you desire more; what will you do to move the ball forward, raise the bar, and push yourself into a new way of being? How will you step into the new year pushing yourself to be the best you? I am not talking New Year’s Resolutions. When have those ever worked for you? I am talking about becoming newly engaged in a certain part of your life. Newly committed to push past where you have been into being who you can be.

As we come into the next year, next month, next week, or next day, look at how you can embrace some perseverance and resilience to actively transform some part of your life that has been stagnant. Some part of your life that the status quo is no longer acceptable to you and will benefit from a fresh look or some new ideas. Go ahead, I dare you! You may be amazed what positive changes lay ahead for you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you attain great things, as if by magic!

*Photo was taken at Pula, Croatia

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Letting Go of Darkness

The full moon is in a transformative time that comes every 28 days. It is all about letting go of the old, while the new moon is about manifesting or bringing in the new. These energies of the moon start about 4 days prior to the actual event and last for about four days after, according the Susan Miller: Astrologer. This transformative time gives us wonderful opportunities to think about what no longer serves us and what we would like to see come into our lives.

Last night was the full moon. My husband and I attended a Kirtan. These are becoming the favorite feel good events of ours to go to. This full moon Kirtan was a beautiful event and attended by many sweet souls. This, once again, made our souls sing along with our voices; as the call and response of the mantras progressed throughout the night.

When attending an event like this or starting a meditation, going to a yoga class or retreat; it is always a great idea to set the intention for what you hope to achieve or experience. I learned this many years ago from a wise teacher and have found it to powerfully enhance my experiences as well as help me along my path of healing and health. Knowing that there was a full moon shining overhead, I set an intention to let go of any darkness in my heart. To let any anger, fear, jealousy, hate, distrust, sadness, or need to complain flow gently out of my heart and into the earth. There it could become fertilizer to grow something beautiful. I intended for all darkness to leave my heart so only love would reside there. My great grandmother said, “Those who sing, pray twice”. Singing or chanting is a beautiful form of prayer.

As Chi Johnson lead us skillfully through the various chants. We came to the one that was so very perfect for a full moon Kirtan: “Nataraj, Nataraja, Jai Shiva Shankara Nataraja”. (One part of this powerful mantra) Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction and transformation. He is also called Lord of the Dance. This is basically asking Shiva to dance through our lives and destroy what no longer serves us, so that we can transform into who we truly are. As we sang this chant I asked Shiva to remove any darkness from my heart. No, not just remove, but destroy anything other than the love that was residing there. “Music in the soul can be heard by the Universe”, Lao Tzu.

When we are hurt, darkness can take hold in our heart center and it can come out in a variety of ways. It has a purpose though; it is trying to protect us. There is purpose is all things, even when we cannot see it or know what it is. The complication is, that sometimes we hold onto these things much longer than we need too. My heart’s fear of being hurt, served me well, as I was healing from the acute pain of a broken relationship. It no longer serves me though. I have held onto it much longer than I needed too. Now is the time to release any darkness in my heart to make room for unending love. Love for all people and things. Love and respect so that I can more fully live in the flow of life. By doing this I can open up to appreciation and gratitude for all the beauty around me.

I am grateful for the Full Moon Kirtan. I am grateful for Shiva dancing through my heart, so that I can release that which no longer serves it. I appreciate all of you who walk your journeys along side mine. When you are ready, know that you are safe to release those things that once protected you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you easily let go of the darkness that has taken up residence in your heart, as if by magic.

* Photo was taken on the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh, India.

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Negotiations With Myself; 10 Tactics to Stay the Course

It seems like the hardest negotiations I have to have are with myself. This realization came tonight while I was having a conversation with Adventure Sister, Emy. We are great at talking ourselves out of doing things, but talking ourselves into doing things is a whole nother story. What can we do to be successful in negotiations with ourselves?

I am a world champion justifier. If you are not good at justifying something let me take a swing at it. Maybe this gift is a part of my Susie Sunshine Personality, where I can find the good in anything. But like the grinch, it doesn’t matter if this is because my shoes are too tight or my head is not screwed on just right. Being able to justify my way out of everything down not help me embrace healthy habits. Right now I am busy justifying that I don’t need to get my 10,000 steps a day because it is cold outside.

I have negotiated things with others through out my life. Many of these negotiations have been quite successful. How can I use these techniques to negotiate healthy habits with myself?

1. Be firm and set the expectations. That inner couch potato will want to have it their own way. Having a firm line and setting the expectation with yourself will help when your mind starts making up excuses.

2. Have a prepared response. Since we are talking about negotiations with yourself, you probably have a pretty good idea what excuses you will come up with. Be prepared with reasons why these excuses are just not good enough to set your healthy habits aside

3. Keep the goal in mind. Having a clear picture of where you are heading makes it easier to stay the course. This is true no matter if the goal is weight, career, financial, romantic, or whatever.

4. Stay excited! Having a goal can be very exciting, especially when you see progress. Celebrate small successes along the way to help keep the excitement flowing.

5. Ask for a little bit more time. Your inner critic may try and tell you this isn’t working or that you aren’t benefitting from this initiative. Convince that inner critic to keep trying, just a little bit longer. A break through may be just around the corner.

6. Remind yourself that you are worth it. This is such an epidemic of people not feeling worthy. Remind yourself your are worthy have having what you are working toward. You are good enough, you are strong enough, and you deserve success.

7. Ask yourself for advise. When you start hearing the we don’t have to do this anymore voice in your head ask it what it needs to keep going. Sometime just acknowledging the voice will be enough to help you push on. Other times a little inner dialog about what inspiration is needed will give you the power to get over the hump.

8. Use logic. Remind yourself of all the good reasons why sticking with this will help you in the long run

9. Be aware of your emotions. Emotions can pop up when we least expect them. Especially when we are working toward a seemingly difficult goal. (Most goals are achievable with persistence). When those emotions pop up, acknowledge them. Do not try to minimize them. Once you have acknowledged them, allow them to move through you. Release them, do not hold onto them.

10. Push past objections. Sometimes there is no convincing the inner Negative Nelly. Sometimes you will just have to ignore that part of yourself and just keep going. You can do it!

Good luck winning those negotiations with yourself. I believe in you! You can achieve your goals and live the life of your dreams. Keep going.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you effortlessly continue to move in the direction of you dreams, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Zagreb, Croatia

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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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