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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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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10 Techniques to Raise Your Vibration

Keeping your vibration high is important for a number of reasons. It feels good, it attracts happier things into your life, and it makes you a light for others. These are just a few of the reasons to keep your vibration high. However, life happens and sometimes we just don’t feel great and our vibration dips. When these times happen, is there anything we can do to raise our vibration again? Luckily, there are many things we can do. Here are just a few.

1. Focus on the good – like in the song from the musical: Sound of Music, “When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad”. Focusing on the good will raise your vibration to match it.

2. Music – turn on some upbeat tunes and dance around or sing loudly in the car on your commute into work. Put in the earbuds while going for a stroll and just let the tunes erase your worries.

3. Exercises – when we move our bodies, it gets all those little happy, healthy endorphins flowing. This flow of hormones can really help you vibrate at a higher frequency.

4. Gratitude – make a list of what you are grateful for, call a friend or family member and thank them for the wonderful impact they have on your life. There are always so many things to be grateful for and changing your focus will help ramp up your vibration.

5. Yoga – yoga helps us feel aligned and centered. It can be a great game changer on a low vibrational day. Yoga also involves breath work. The Yogic breathing is also wonderful for increasing your vibrational frequency.

6. Energy Healing – there are a number of different types of energy healing but Reiki, Chi-gong and Hands on Healing are a few. They all help bring your vibrations up.

7. Meditation – take a mental break with a short meditation. Before starting, set the intention that you will bring in white light and raise your energy level.

8. Chants – In the Kundalini yoga I love, there is often chanting. The chants, or Mantras, are ancient spiritual seed sounds that carry higher vibrations. You can listen to these or chant along. Gregorian monks also chant.  I think either of these are beautiful to listen to and both can ramp up you vibrational speed.

9. Sound healing – the gong is the sound of creation but there are many other sound healing modalities out there. Drum showers, didgeridoo, and singing bowls are just a few of them. Look for a local sound healing concert, practitioner or pull up videos on the internet.

10. Visualize – picture in your mind’s eye something that makes you happy. Running through a grassy meadow on a sunny warm day, walking along the shoreline, driving on a country road, or playing with puppies; are some simple, happy things to visualize. Our brains are incredibly powerful and science has proven that the brain doesn’t know the difference between strong visualizations and actual events.

There are so many other things we can do to raise our vibrations but this list is a few to start with. You have the power within you to improve your life. Take the first step today by raising your vibration and then, using some of these various techniques, keep it up. No one is happy all of the time but happiness is a choice that you can make.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find your vibration remains high, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken along the MN/WI boarder.

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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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What Is It you Most Want?

As Emy and I prepare to begin our retreat, I find myself wondering what it is I most want. What is it that I am hoping to gain from this experience? How will I grow as a result of going so deeply internal? What guidance will I receive? What will Spirit have to share with me? What should my intentions be?

I know I want to be more fully me. I want to step more completely into being the person I was born to be.  When we live our lives most authentically, then the magic happens. When you live authentically you will feel happier and things fall into place more naturally.

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards:
they try to have more things, or more money,
in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier.
The way it actually works is the reverse.
You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do,
in order to have what you want.

~ Margaret Young ~

The trick is to find the authenticity. We spend so much of our life being told who to be and how to act, that we get lost. As we move into and out of relationships (work, friendships, and romantic) we show different faces of ourselves. We mold ourselves (at least to some degree) to connect with these people. Think about the people who are close to you. Do any of them really know you or do they all know a different aspect of you? How well do you really know yourself? Getting to know ourselves, on a deeper level, is a great gift we can give ourselves.

No matter how you go internal and give yourself the space to learn your true nature, it can be a wonderful process. You never know what might come up. It maybe even be painful at times. Sometimes very painful past emotions will pop up and need to be felt and processed. Allow them to come; don’t push them down. Feel them! Then bless them and release them and know that your are safe in this process.

Authenticity will set you free! This will lead you into living the life of your dreams. Perhaps your dreams are not even what you think they are and will evolve as you get to know yourself better. Blessings to you on this journey!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you have an enjoyable journey finding your authentic self, as if by magic.

*photo was taken of Reflection Lake in Washington State.

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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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Silliness is Always a Good Idea: 7+ Ways I Have Added it to My Life

Do you like to be silly? It can feel very vulnerable to be playful and silly but it can also feed your soul and support your inner child. Let’s face it, there is a little kid hidden deep inside all of us. Here are some examples of how I have added some more play to my life. Trust me, even if it feels awkward at first, before long you will be laughing and not giving a darn what others think when they see you being goofy.

1. A friend and I recently drove up Mt Baker in Washington State. Along the way there was a big silhouette of Sasquatch. I excitedly ran up to him to shake his hand. My friend was not there to judge me but did manage to grab a shot for Facebook. Perhaps the cars driving by thought my behavior was a bit odd, but what they think of me does not impact me in the least. It was fun and we had some much needed laughs.

2. I invited a friend over for supper and decided to make it a theme meal. We had an inner child party; complete with sticky alien party favors, corndogs, and dreamsickles for dessert. It was a fun way to spend time with a friend while letting our inner children play and feel nourished.

3. Yet another friend and I went to a theme park together. It was busy time of year, when there seemed to be more work than hours in the day. There were big tubes for the kids to crawl through, on, and over. We got down on our hands and knees and crawled around in the play area like children; giggling and released a lot of the stress that had built up.

4. We try to have a family dinner once a week. For a recent family dinner we decided to have a tea party, complete with crustless sandwiches and fancy china. The kids had a great time but so did the three grown men around the table. They sipped their tea, held their pinky out, and laughed big belly laughs. They were a great example to the teenaged boy and younger children at the table that it is okay to be vulnerable and yourself.

5. When going for a walk, if I happen across a child chalk hopscotch game on the side walk, I cannot pass by with out hop, skipping, and jumping my way through it. It’s just plain and simple, feels great to be a kid at heart.

6. When my kids were teenagers we lived in a small rural community. There was not a lot to do. One night we just decided to crank up the music and dance the night away in the basement. Dance is a wonderful way to release pent up energy and be as silly as you want too. Those around you may get a good laugh and you will have some disco disco fun!

7. When Emy and I go the the BWCA, we bring kid’s blowup tubes. We push them down around our middles like pink and blue tutus and float in the clean cool lakes. We chat and play in the water like carefree little girls. It feels great to be so free for a little while.

The amount of silliness you can allow into your life is only hampered by your imagination and bravery. Play Clue by candle light, wear something fun like a big floppy hat, pop silly poses with statues, go to the park and swing as high as you dare, finger paint, or anything else your imagination suggests. It is a great way to have fun, release stress, and get some great big belly laughs going.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with laughter, as if by magic!

*photo was taken at our kitchen table

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