9 tips and tricks to stop being so busy!

I have recently been repeating the mantra “I am so busy” and “I have no time.”  I finally realized what I was doing when other members of my Toastmasters group started saying to me, “Wow, you have had a busy week” or “I am busy too”. We are all busy right?! Why do I think I am so special, that my particular type of busy is worse than anyone else’s? And furthermore, why do I want to manifest being too busy? It was quite the eye opener for me to realize how I sounded. So, how do we change our use of time into something more healthy?

1. Change your thoughts and change your world ~ Norman Vincent Peale. Instead of reminding yourself how busy you are, try this mantra on for size; “I have plenty of time and endless energy”.

2. Make time for yourself. My husband and I were talking this weekend about how easy it is to be busy. You can always find some project, chore, or task that needs to be worked on. Luckily, you get to choose how you spend your time, so make some time for you on your ‘to do’ list. The chores will still be there after you spend some lazy time in the hammock.

3. Less multitasking. An article shared by one of my Toastmasters friends suggests that multitasking is part of the problem. It says rest time should be that also. Don’t use your “me” time to get a couple more things done.

4. Watch out for time stealers. I spend lots and lots of time on airplanes. In the past I have used the time scrolling through FB or playing games on my phone. These activities are time stealers. The time spent doing things like this can be shifted to other activities. Reading a book, completing some work, researching something, or taking a nap (reenergize!) can replace them and help you have more time when it really counts!

5. Appreciate the moments you do get. This weekend my husband and I were working on projects and getting things accomplished. Most of Saturday was used in getting things done. Saturday night we drove out of town (not far, just far enough to get out of the city lights). We laid in the grass and watched the meteor shower together. I so appreciated this quiet time, just lying there, looking at the sky. There are so many little moments like this when we get a break and have room to breath. We only need to recognize that we have them.

6. Look at your busyness in a different way. What is it you are spending your time doing? I spend time getting together with friends, making improvements to our homes, traveling, and blogging, in addition to working (a job I love) of course. In addition there are the Toastmasters groups, books we are writing, and spending time with family. What of these would I be willing to cut out of my life to be less busy? None! These are the things that make my life glorious and blessed!

7. Stay in the now. I often remind people when they feel overwhelmed, “How do you eat an elephant?” (not that I would want to as a vegetarian) “One bite at a time!” It is easy to get caught up thinking about all we have to do. By just staying present, the stress and pressure of all the other “to do’s” will not seem so looming. Lao Tzu said; “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

8. Make a list! I am a list making person. I love watching my progress as I cross things off. Using an orange marker to cross off items is my go to color, because orange makes you feel more productive. Another great thing about a list is you don’t have to think about what you need to do. Once it is written down you can forget about it until you finish that task. Otherwise it will be there waiting for you until you do.

9. Meditate! A Zen proverb says, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you are too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” It’s a great way to become more present, reduce stress, find some space, and connect with source.

I hope these tips and tricks will help your life feel more manageable. They may not change what you need to do or how much is on your plate but hopefully you can slow down and take life one bite at a time. Don’t just chew through it quickly, trying to rush to the next bite to get done. Take your time and savor it. Life is magical!

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you have plenty of time and endless energy, as if by magic.

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Daily Meditation Adventure: Week 12, 13, and 14

If you have not already joined our Daily Meditation Adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how the last few weeks went for me.

Experiences during the week: Over the last three weeks my experiences have been varied. From drumming meditations to Deepak’s mantra meditations.

What I have learned: I have learned that the drumming meditations seem to resonate a lot with me but drumming is not always convenient. As when in a hotel room with neighbors.

My weight:   Intermittent fasting has proven to be a successful weight loss tool for me! I have lost 10 lbs. I give the meditation some credit as well, as it has helped with my stress management and stopped me from eating to comfort myself.

How I feel: I feel as if I am still searching for balance in my life. I feel as if I am still looking for a way to make it all fit into my schedule. I am searching for a way to organize my day so that there is time to do and be it all. I know there is a way to find this alchemy of balance, time, space, and connection. So I pull myself up and I journey on, still trying to be true to myself and respect what I need.

How it is affecting my life: There are times this meditation journey is a stressor and I feel blessed having not succeeded as I would have liked to by this phase in the journey. But then there are times the meditation adventure enhances my life. I have magical experiences and I find a peace and connection I would not, without it.

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you had magical experiences? Have you maintained daily meditation? Have you enjoyed this adventure? Is meditation helping enhance your life?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of peace, as if by magic.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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A Story of Remembering

I want to tell you a story. This might be a story of old or it might be the story of now. It is likely a story that has occurred countless times throughout history. It is a story of trust and a story of renewal, but most of all, it a story of remembering.

There was a young woman. She was a mother or she wasn’t. She had responsibilities as we all do. One day, as she was walking through the forest of life, she saw a path. This path was not into the light but rather was a path into the darkness. This path went deep into the forest and it looked very dangerous. It was jagged and had many curves. It would have been impossible to learn were the path would take her by simply looking. The darkness of this path called to her. It called to her and it pulled at her, although she knew pain and betrayal waited for her along this path, she felt oddly intrigued by it.

Now I have to tell you, this young woman had always been responsible. She had always done what had been asked of her, what was expected of her, and even more. Everyone in her tribe felt she was the perfect young woman. Every mother wanted to call her daughter. The older men all wanted to call her daughter and the younger men chased her to be their bride. She cared for the young and learned from the elderly. She was the definition of smart and responsible.

Despite her history, as such a stand up member of the community, the young woman felt she must walk this path. She had to voyage into the darkness, even though it meant walking away from her responsibilities. She had to risk being hurt and had to hurt those who had placed so much trust and pride in her. She stepped onto the path, dropping the baskets that she had brought into the forest, leaving them where they lay.

The path was arduous. She stumbled and fell many times. She met scary creatures who pretended to be her friends or help her, but in the end, they we leading her farther into the darkness. They hurt her, physically, emotionally, and separated her from the light. Sometimes she tried to find her way back but they kept pulling her deeper into the darkness. They kept pulling her further from who she had been. They caused her to feel like a completely different person. It did not take long before she forgot who she was. She forgot she was from the light and she believed she was a creature of the darkness.

This went on for many years. The village mourned her. They felt that she was lost to them forever. They feared she would never find her way back to the light. But one day, she stumbled into the village. She was wild and untamed. She was a mere shadow of the bright young woman who she had once been. The darkness hung all around her and her “friends” from there, watched from the shadows. They called to her and pulled at her.

There was something about the village that felt like home to her, although she could not really recall. The community did not trust her, they avoided her. They would not let her care for the young or spend time with the elderly. They did not want to claim her as they once did. When they tried to give her responsibilities she would wander off or never fulfill them. Even though she was back, they felt she was still lost. They still did not recognize her as the brave and ambitious woman she had once been.

One day the village wise woman (the witch) was working quietly on something. She had been watching all of this. She saw how the darkness pulled at the woman, but she also saw how the woman tried to resist the darkness. She knew something deep within the young woman wanted to live fully in the light again, but there was so much baggage from the darkness, she couldn’t seem to step away from it. It had become a part of her identity.

The witch touched her finger to the young woman’s brow. The place in front of where the third eye resides. “Remember” said the wise old woman, “remember who you are”. The young woman blinked at her elder. The darkness seemed to fall away. Her “friends” let go of their holds on her and slunk back onto the treacherous path. Light beamed all around the young woman and she suddenly did remember who she was.

From that day on she worked to gain the trust of her community. She became who she had been only better. She was wiser now. Having known the darkness and living among the darkness helped her better see how she belonged in the light. It helped her embrace and enjoy her responsibilities. She become one others looked to for wisdom, for she had lived what they could never imagine and returned to the light.

Time would pass and worlds would change. The young woman would become the witch in the future. The wise woman would become the young woman again. This story would continue to unfold throughout history over and over again. Is this your story? It is my story. It is many peoples’ story. Forgive yourself for the time in the darkness. It was a part of your journey. It is done or nearly done now. You are wiser for it. Remember who you are! Remember that you are of the light!

Thank you for ready no my blog today! May you remember your true nature, as if by magic!

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Week 8 of the Daily Meditation Adventure

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how week eight went for me.

What I have learned: This past week I have had multiple nights where I been challenged by insomnia. I tried to use various guided meditations, for sleep, to assist me through these periods. I learned, that for me, they give me a period of relaxation followed by a second wind. In the end they did not help me attain a restful nights sleep. 

Experiences during the week: I have been experimenting this week with different YouTube meditations. I had one especially powerful experience with a Yoga Nidra meditation. This is a type of meditation I have not experienced before. Upon doing some research I learned the Nidra is the Sanskrit word for sleep. Yoga Nidra is a way of using that stage just between wake and sleep to plant seeds of your intentions. I intend to experiment with this some more. 

My weight: My weight has decreased by 1.8lbs since starting the challenge. In full disclosure I did start intermittent fasting, so I cannot claim that meditation alone caused the weight loss. The meditation does help with the fasting when I feel hungry or tempted to eat. It also helps me feel calmer so I am less likely to partake in emotional eating.  

How I feel: Upon completion of a meditation I feel relaxed. I have been quite stressed lately; feeling all the pressure from multiple sources, bearing down on me. Of course, it is all self induced pressures. There are things I could choose not to participate in, others that I wouldn’t have to push so hard at, and still others that I could put up healthy boundaries around. I choose to continue to try and do it all and be it all. The meditation gives me a brief reprieve from the stress. 

How it is affecting my life: The affect on my life changes from moment to moment. Sometimes meditation is still a stressor – something I have to get done. Other times it gives me a tool to use when life feels out of control. This week I am going to make a conscious effort to find time to meditate when life feels out of control. When all of life pressures are causing me to feel uncomfortable, then I will turn to meditation as a moment of freedom from it all. 

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you found your preferred meditation style? Do you have a preferred meditation space? Is meditation helping enhance your life?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of healthy habits which settle themselves into your life as if by magic.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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Navigating the Changes of Now – Part 2

In part 1 we talked about discovering how we respond to changes and possibly exploring why we react in the ways we do. Today we will explore tips and techniques we can use when the pressure of change is causing us stress. Here are 9 things you can do to help you float through change more easily.

  1. Take a deep breath – Often times we breath into our shoulders. Breathing into our shoulders can increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Instead, take a deep belly breath; feeling that inspiration go all the way down into your lower abdomen, deeper than your belly button. During a couple of these deep breaths, allow the breath to slowly fill your lungs and then slowly leave your lungs over the course of 20 seconds.
  2. Visuals a happy outcome – Instead of worrying about the outcome you are worried about, visualize a happy outcome. Take a minute, get yourself into a quiet space, close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, and then spend sometime painting a picture of how you see the situation working out.
  3. Recognize your lack of control – This is a great time to remember what you have control over. You do not have control over the things going on around you. All you can control is your reaction to the events unfolding in your life. If you remember this, you can release a lot of the feelings of stress related to the need to “make things workout”. You can’t “make” them anything. All you can do is work to control how you react to them.
  4. Make a plan – Things are changing and you need to be able to roll with the punches. A great tip is to make a plan. A great plan starts with a goal. Once you make a goal related to this area of change; you can set steps or interventions to take to help you work towards that goal.
  5. Remain flexible – Of course I am talking about remaining flexible in you actions , your plan, and your response to change. However Yoga is also a great way to remain flexible as well as to remain centered. So stay centered and be willing to adjust your plan when the changing times call for it.
  6. Talk about it – Talk about your feelings with a close friend, confident, or Therapist. Sometimes saying it out loud can help you process it better. It gives you opportunity to hear your feelings spoken and this can decrease their power. It also gives you a chance to feel heard by someone. If talking about it doesn’t seem like a possibility for you , then journal about it. Keep a notebook, journal, or even app on your phone handy to give you a place to express yourself. There are some very cool journaling apps now, some even let you add photos or music to your entry.
  7. Look for the positives – There is good and bad in all situations, Yin and Yang. Even though change can be very difficult there are positives in it for you. Look for them and you will surely see them. It becomes easy to focus on the things you perceive as negative. When you shift that to looking forward to the good things about the change, it can change your whole opinion on the upcoming changes.
  8. Remember our exercise from part 1– You made your list of recent changes, you wrote down your reaction, and then you wrote about the outcomes. Exam those outcomes. Often change puts us into a better place. Just acknowledging that change can get you to a better place can help reduce your stress in dealing with new changes.
  9. Acknowledge your feelings – Don’t shame yourself for feeling fearful or stressed about changes that are coming. Many people have these same feelings. It is okay to be afraid or to feel stressed. What is important is to not get stuck in the stress of it. Don’t let it paralyze you. Take a deep breath and take a step forward into your future.

What things do you do to help you overcome nervousness about fear? Have you used any of these tips and techniques? How did they work for you?

Thank you for reading my blog today. May all your changes happen with ease and bring you to an even better place in your life. I love you.

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Summertime

Summertime in MN is an amazing time. We suffer through the cold winters of ice and snow and when summer comes, it feels like the whole world comes alive. The days are longer and it just seems like there is more time to enjoy the day. There are those who love the Minnesota winter and I must admit that the snow, when it falls soft and fluffy, is beautiful. The peaceful white snow covers the world like a serene blanket. For me though, Summertime is supreme.

I had lived in FL for 10 years and it felt like summer all year long. At the holidays I would plant poinsettias and red and white petunias in the flower beds. Sure, there were times of year that were less hot, but there was no snow or bitter cold. When I moved to Minnesota from Florida, I rediscovered the beauty of all seasons.

In the Autumn, I love the change of colors of the leaves. I love going hiking and feeling the crunch under my feet and the smell of autumn in the air, which I can not adequately described. It is the time of year when the crops are harvested. All the fruits of our labor are fresh and available.  Ripe for the picking.

The Spring slowly awakens after the long slumber of Winter. She stretches herself toward the rising sun and the days get longer. Splashes of color begin to make the world bright again. The promise of warmer days provides hopefulness.

I love them all and always look forward the the newness of the change. None of them can make my soul sing like the summer though. The sparkle of the sun on the lake water. The bright green of the grass. The peacefulness of kayaking down a quiet waterway.  Camping in the forest and sitting around a crackling fire in the evening. All of these things are part of the experience of Summer that I love so much.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you find things in all season of the year and a season of life to love.

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Always Reaching

As I watched my 6 month old grandson play on the floor, I noticed that, even when other some toys maybe closer to him, he was always reaching for the ones that were further away. This got me thinking. We see things that are just out of our reach and we decide we want them. What we don’t have seems to be better than what we do have. Although the grass is seldom actually greener on the otherwise of the the fence, I believe this aspect of the human condition keeps us moving forward.

How does wanting what we don’t have keep us moving forward? Well, if go back to the analogy of babies, that is why they learn to crawl and eventually walk. They want what is out of reach. It is what has driven me to complete various degrees and keep learning new skills; so I can get to that next level of my contributions to society. It is what inspired Adventure Sister, Emy, to run for the MN House of Representatives. She wanted our beautiful BWCA to remain safe and protected. It is what has driven Emy and I to write 3 books and continue to submit them to different publishers; we want to be able to help a larger number of people. Wanting what is currently out of reach pushes us to do what we haven’t done before.

As we have discussed, reaching can be very good for us, but it can become unhealthy when it is done in a competitive fashion. Often referred to as keeping up with the Jones. For example, if you never wanted a fishing boat but then your neighbor gets a brand new shiny bass boat and suddenly you find yourself wanting a fishing boat also. Another example: you have never really been into designer handbags, until you notice all of your friends are carrying a certain designer bag, suddenly you feel like you need one as well. This is when reaching can become unhealthy. Remember to stay true to who you really are. Make sure the things you are spending your energy and resources to reach toward, are things that are in line with your life goals.

Keep reaching for the stars! Strive to be better, learn more, and live the life of your dreams! Just be sure it is your dream life and not the dream life of someone else or what society says you should want. Staying true to yourself helps ensure that when you do reach that next level or goal, that you are satisfied and proud of your accomplishment. By doing so you will be living in line with your truest, deepest self. You then can set the next goal and began reaching again. Reach on my friends!

Thank you or reading my blog today. May your life be filled with dreams fulfilled. I love you!

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Daily Meditation – Week 4 check in

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here is how the last week went for me.

Experiences during the week: I am still on the road with co-workers. This always complicates my ability to make time for myself. I love my co-workers. They are amazing, smart, and experienced people. I enjoy their company and have fun spending the evenings chatting with them. This has complicated my life, however. I know they would be supportive if I told them I needed to sneak away to blog or meditate, but I enjoy them, so I make the choice to stay.

What I have learned: I have learned that making the choice to not make time for myself causes it not to happen. Not only did I miss meditating certain days over the last week, I also missed writing the week 3 check in. I let myself down and also let you down. This is a wonderful illustration of why it is important to make time for ourselves. This morning, while I meditated, my monkey mind tried to tell me all the other things I needed to get done. I decided mantra was the best way to quiet that monkey mind. I started with “I am thin and beautiful. My fit body supports my active life.”That mantra felt good. I then switched to “I release what does not serve me and keep only what I need”. With this I was able to have a profound experience. I saw a volcano all orange and red. It made me realize that the process of releasing, what no longer serves us, creates change. Although change may be scary at the time it is happening, it does serve a purpose and things will be okay in the end.

My weight: I am still on the road and have no mechanism to measure if my weight has changed. I do not sense a change in how my clothing is fitting me.

How I feel: After my meditation this morning I feel grounded and more connected. I feel that my senses are more tuned in. I hear the birds chirping and cooing. There are so many different bird songs making a morning symphony. I smell the Arizona air and the occasional scent of someone smoking weed on their balcony. I feel the dry heat of the dessert building despite the early hour of the day. I see the filtered sunlight sneaking through the leaves on the tree in front of my balcony. The taste of my black tea washes through me, helping me be fully present in this beautiful day.

How it is affecting my life: It is challenging me to be better. Teaching me that “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again” was a very profound quote by William Edward Hickerson. So despite a shaky couple of weeks, I am still committed to the 90 days meditation challenge. If you have tried and struggled, please don’t give up. It is never too late to start again.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I wish you a lifetime of trying again when the first pass does not provide the desired outcome. I wish you a lifetime of goals met and feeling good about yourself. I love you.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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Cockeyed Optimist!

I have been accused of being a Pollyanna or of wearing rose colored glasses. People say I am not a realist and that I should share my magical miracle wand. So I ask you, is optimism a super power or is it kryptonite?

I believe that my tomorrow is going to be even better than today. I believe that my life is magical and blessed. Things have a way of always working out for me. Does this make me wrong. Am I not a realist if I believe that everything is going to work out? What does it say about me that I can always see the silver lining in a situation?

When things do not turn out the way I hoped or believed they were going to work out, I believe there is a purpose in this. It is the Universe’s way of leading me to a better option or better situation. My dreams will still come true. In fact, they will not only come true, but will surpass my wildest expectations. And so it is!

Emy and I entered our books into a contest where 3 participants would have the opportunity to get their books published. We were sure we were going to win. It didn’t happen – at least not yet. I will tell you this though, our books will be published! We have since submitted them to another publisher. We will continue to do whatever it takes to see our books in print. We will continue to believe that our dream of helping hundreds of thousands of people through this series of books will be realized.

Many may say that I am not being realistic. They may say my feet are not on the ground but I am a driven individual who will not be dissuaded from forging on toward what I know will be realized. Lisa Nichols, who wrote Abundance Now, says that manifestation and visualization are useless without action. That action is the fuel on the fire to bring what you want into reality. I want to help people grow, like I have, from a scared child into an adult who knows I deserve to live my dream life.

You too deserve to live your dream life. It is there for you. Even when it feels like it is not. Keep believing in the dream! Keep pushing forward! Do not let anyone tell you it can’t or won’t happen! It is worth the extra effort to live a magical life! You can do it! You will do it… if only you believe!

Thank you for reading my blog today! I wish you a lifetime of endless energy and resources to move your dreams forward into reality! I love you!

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Go Beyond Your Fears

Alligators, snakes, and turtles, oh my! I love to kayak! This is a love I share with my Adventure Sister, Emy, as well as with my husband. It is an activity that is infectious and when I share it with others, I soon hear they are shopping for a kayak themselves. It is a lovely way to experience nature by gliding smoothly through the water. I feel as one with the kayak and close to the nature all around me when out paddling. Now that I am spending more time in Florida, I want to be able to practice this peaceful activity all year round. After all, kayaking season in Minnesota is a bit short. 

One day, as my husband and I were traveling the backroads in Florida, I was looking longingly at all the little streams and rivers that were just waiting for us to kayak through them. I looked at the grassy banks and thought, I wonder if the Alligators bother the kayakers. Hmmm, I had not considered that this prehistoric looking critter might pose a treat. I calmly did , what I do when I have a question like that, I pulled out my trusty phone and researched it. It turns out that if you don’t bother them while kayaking, they wont bother you. What a relief! 

So what else might pose a threat? Well, another possible problem with kayaking in Florida is the snakes. There are 4 poisons snakes here and unlike Minnesota snakes, they don’t stay on the ground. They get up into the trees. I have heard stories of them dropping out of the trees into boats. Ick! Although I am sure they fall out of the trees at times, perhaps due to a strong wind, I am guessing they do not intend to fall into boats. It really seems like it would be a bad plan on their part. I wonder if these stories are more for the “thill” factor of watching the listener’s eyes widen than anything. 

So my husband and I purchased a second hand tandem kayak. We tested it by paddling down a stream with overhanging trees. It was a lovely paddle. Everything was so green and there were beautiful purple flowers along the shoreline. We did see some reptiles on our paddle in this lovely place but it was just was a big turtle and a baby turtle, sunning on log. 

So often in life we hear stories or thoughts occur to us of all the: “what if’s”.  What if the snakes would have been raining from the trees? What if they gators were hungry and aggressive? I read in a book once, many years ago, “Why walk, we might fall?”. We can stop ourselves from doing anything if we let our fears become larger than our dreams. If you truly want to live the life of your dreams, you must boldly push beyond your fears. I am not saying be careless, but do some research. Check the facts. Have a plan to counteract the “what if’s”. And then go fo it! After all, the only reptile on your battle may be turtles! 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. I wish you the life of your dreams, today and everyday. 

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