Wisdom From An Ancestor

My great grandmother had a saying; “You will never be truly happy until you think more about others than you do yourself” – Ura McGurran. When you make choices in life, do you consider how they affect others? Maybe too much. Maybe so much that you are living your life for others and not taking care of yourself. So how do you strike a healthy balance? There is so much emphasis today on self care and putting ourself first. How can my great grandmother’s words still be relevant now? Let’s take a look at some self care activities and selfless acts and see where the common ground lies.

Do you feel guilty when you participate in self care activities? There is no real reason to feel guilty for caring for yourself. Do your self care activities hurt anyone? One really wonderful thing about self care, is that by doing it, you set a good example for others. A recent conversation I had with a friend, was about her feeling conflicted because something she needed to do for herself, was being viewed as selfish by her daughter. I encouraged her to go ahead and do it anyhow because, by doing so, she was setting an example for her daughter about taking care of herself and following her dreams. Her actions didn’t hurt anyone. In fact her actions help recharge her to further help others. Even when we take care of ourselves we can still be thinking of others and the example we are setting.

Selfless acts can also be a form of self care. My husband helps a friend rake his leaves, every year. He has never been asked to do this. There is no expectation that he does it. He just does it because he cares about his friend. The really good feeling he gets in his heart from helping out his buddy is a form of self care also. Selfless acts can also be a form of self care. Does this idea surprise you? It is possible to think more about others and still find happiness and balance in your life.

When we think about people who have inspired us as a world, we see that their acts brought them both happiness and purpose. People like Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama; show us how caring for others is also caring for ourselves. I assure you, that new outfit will help you feel great, but there is no greater joy than helping another and seeing the true appreciation in their eyes. When we help others do something they could not have done for themselves, a ripple goes out into the world. The movie “Pay It Forward” taught us this. It entertained us while sending a message that “random acts of kindness” are a form of self care. They help us feel good and shift the energy of the world higher.

By thinking more of others than we do ourselves, as my great grandmother so wisely shared with her children generations ago, we are also taking care of ourselves. By lending a hand to those in need, we can find happiness, change the world, and set an example for future generations.

Yes, please care for yourself. Treat yourself to quiet walk in a pretty place or take a nap when you are tired. But remember, true happiness can also come from helping others.

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

 

 

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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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90 Days of Daily Meditation -check in -week 2

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: This week’s meditation has been a struggle for me. I am disappointed in my meditation performance. I allowed my business of life to get in the way of my daily practice and there were even several nights when I laid down at the end of the day just to realize I had not meditated. When I would attempt to do so, while laying there, I would drift off to sleep. Though I did have one very profound meditation during the week. It happened when I meditated first thing in the morning. During my meditation I received a couple of great inspirations. One, was to rename a class I’m offering with a catchier name, occurred to me during the time I quieted my brain.

What I have learned: I have learned I need to schedule a time to start my meditation or I will try to do it at the end of the day when I lay down before I fall asleep.

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: I feel motivated to do better this next week. I feel a need to put myself first again. My travels this week brought me from the eastern time zone to the pacific. Which I will be reversing tomorrow and then back the following week. Because these switches can be a bit challenging I will need the meditation more than ever, to help keep myself calm and centered.

How it is affecting my life: On the days I meditated early in the day, I found the meditation profound and a blessing to start my day. On the days I did it at the end of the day while laying in bed, I found it induced good sleep. I was exceptionally tired this week due to a demanding schedule and travels that took me to or through 9 different states from Thursday to Monday. Even though I had high hopes for more profound meditation experiences, in reflecting, I see that the meditation experiences I had were the ones I needed.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I am proud of you for the things you are doing and/or wanting to do to take care of yourself. Even baby steps count! I wish you a lifetime of meditations that are exactly what you need. Blessings!

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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What Do You Regret?

I like to listen to music while I work. It helps me concentrate. Your Side of the Bed by Little Big Town was playing. In that song they ask “Are you sleeping with your own regrets?” It got me thinking about regrets. I have always tried to live a regret free existence. I have always felt that we do the best we can in the time and place we are in. Even with this philosophy, there have been a couple things in my life that I have struggled with. Sharing these regrets makes me very nervous. They are things I do not talk about. What is interesting to me as I reflect on this is that I don’t mind sharing with strangers but I am very nervous to have people who know me aware of them. I guess I fear being judged.
One of those things was related to my first husband’s daughter. She ended up in foster care. I, for a long time, regretted that I didn’t try and get custody of her. At that time in my life, I had two children that I was raising as a single mother. I felt I was not in a place to be able to take on another child. After this girl became an adult, I was able to make contact with her. I told her I was sorry that I did not fight to get custody of her. She was very gracious and said that she was just fine and that she has gone on to get a degree in social services. Perhaps her childhood was related to her calling in life. Perhaps that is why the Universe conspired for me to feel I could not take on raising her. Maybe her upbringing turned out to be better for her than anything I could have provided her with.
Do you believe in soul contracts? The idea that we come into this life with set experiences we are meant to have. When I first heard about the idea, I was not so sure about it. Now I find it is a good fit for my belief system. It makes sense to me. If I had saved her from foster care would I have cheated her out of one of her soul contracts? Or would I have cheated myself out of the experience of regret and trying to make amends? Do soul contracts mean we do not try to help others? I do not think so. Helping others could likely be one of our soul contracts. Do you think regret serves a purpose? Does the avoidance of regret help us make better choices?
Another time in my life, I regretted, was when I was a teenager. I was depressed and was going to commit suicide. One of my friends realized what I intended to do. She told the counselor who drove out to my house. The close call made me re-evaluate the importance of life and I have never been suicidal since. My friend saved my life and I am eternally grateful for the action she took. My regret is in the action I took after the counselor was alerted. I lied. I told the counselor, my mother, everyone, that my friend was wrong. It made her look foolish. We were never friends again after that day. I lost my best friend as a result of that lie. I have since contacted her and expressed my gratitude, as well as, apologized for lying. She forgave me.
I recently wrote a blog called Beneficial Forgiveness.  Dealing with these regrets is a perfect place to practice forgiving yourself. Remind yourself that you did do the best you could, in the time and place you were in then.
How have regrets shaped your life? Do you have regrets? Are there some you can’t seem to move past? How can you work on forgiving yourself for these things?

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5 Hints to Find Peace in a Noisy World

I am in the airport waiting for my next flight. There is music playing over the speaker system, airpot announcements, a man talking on his cell phone, a TV playing the news, a women watching something on her iPad, people chatting, someones cell phone ringing, and the electric cart zipping around making its beeping noise to warn unobservant travelers. Have you ever noticed how much noise seems to be around us all the time? At night I like to sleep with a fan because it’s noise downs out some of the other noise. So how can we find peace in a world that is always buzzing and beeping?
1. Recognize that peace lives inside of us. This may be easier said than done. If you choose to focus inward, the busy world can fad into the background.
2. Use ear buds to listen to something of your choosing or white noise to block out other distractions. I like to match music to my mood: Yoga music for meditation, Running playlist to get things done and “how I feel” playlist music when I am more emotional. If you have your playlists set, you are always ready to tune out the outside.
3. Understand that even in a quiet forest there is noise. It is just noise we find more acceptable. When we think we can make the noise stop, we feel frustrated when we can’t. By understanding that noise just is, and we have no control over it, we fight against it less. After all, “What we resist persists” ~ Carl Jung.
4. Use Mantra. Repeating a mantra silently in your head can help you go within and stop noticing all the exterior noises. In Kundalini Yoga we use Sat Nam, which means I am truth. You can use any mantra that works for you. Even the name of Jesus or a favorite saint or goddess can be used.
5. Exercise! Working up a sweat will help you find that inner peace and sweat out your demons. Whether you are a runner, walker, biker, or dancer you can use moving your body, as a way to feel better and find inner peace.
I hope you have good luck finding your inner peace today. Happy Monday and Peace to you!
What do you do to find quiet in a noisy world? What suggestions do you have for others who are distracted by the noisy world around them?

Thank you for reading my blog today! I wish you a day of peace and as productive as you would like it to be.

 

 

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Do You Feel Alone? Do You Think You Are the Only One?

Do you feel alone in your mistakes? Do you ever think you are the only one who has made a poor parenting decision, eaten or drank too much, or spent money foolishly, racking up massive debt? In her book: I Thought It Was Just Me(but it isn’t), Brené Brown says, “I don’t tell anyone the things I have gone through”. This is how Emy and I stumbled upon the idea for our book, Lessons Through Forgiveness. Emy wrote a heart felt chapter for another book. In this chapter she share a story from her life. It was full of regret for choices she had made in the past. It was so raw that it touched me in a way that few stories ever have. We all have these moments in our life that few, if any, know about. We are all not perfect.
Just think about all the things you are or ever have beat yourself up for. What mistakes have you made in the past that you feel are unforgivable or that you would never want to see the light of day? Do you judge yourself a failure for these things? What is so taboo to talk about; so we all most suffer alone in silence?
Parenting – Nothing can hurt you like your children. I have found that parenting has been the most painful experience. There is joy too, but everyone shares the joy. Few of us can really talk about the way we feel we have failed our children.
Sex – Sex is so often used for the wrong reasons. So many of us think sex will bring us love or boost our self esteem. I am sure there are many people out there who feel they slept with the “wrong” person. It might have been a poor choice in a partner or maybe they cheated on a relationship. Did you know that 25% of Americans have an incurable sexually transmitted disease (hivplusmag.com)? Yet no one talks about this.
Substance abuse – 23.5 million Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol according to drugabuse.gov. Unless you are attending a recovery program you are unlikely to hear anyone share these stories.
Eating disorders – I am an emotional eater. Others forego eating when they are stressed. Depending on the website you look at it is estimated anywhere from 8 – 30 million Americans have an eating disorder. I can think of many painful stories related to my dysfunctional relationship with food that I have NEVER shared with anyone. When I have felt safe enough to share some stories with others, I learned that my stories were not all that unique.
Mental health – Even today, when we know so much more, there can still be such a stigma around mental health. 1 in 5 adults in this country has a mental health illness. The rate is about the same amongst teens. So many people are afraid to share when they are experiencing mental health issues. There are even those who are afraid to seek treatment for fear of what others will think.
Financial issues – Money troubles, crippling debt, gambling addictions, bankruptcies, Stockmarket missteps, foreclosures, even the good old “retail therapy” are ways that financial woes can creep into our lives. Many are busy beating themselves up for a history of poor or impulsive decisions related to money.
So many ways we judge ourselves and others. I am not saying you should run out and share all your stories. What I am saying is you should forgive yourself for your missteps. Know that you are not alone. Love yourself even if you feel like you have made mistakes, even if you think those mistakes are unforgivable.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I wish you a life filled with self acceptance.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters:
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