Are You Positive?

What do you practice daily? This question showed up in my facebook news feed as a video by a young boy. I was so impressed with the wisdom of this youngster. I shared the video to our Adventure Sisters Facebook page. He was asking people if they had a daily practice. He went on to tell them that, whatever they practiced daily, they would become expert at. He gave example like; joy, anger, and complaining. He gave example of how practicing complaints and anger could make you very skilled at these things. It was really amazing insight for such a young person. Obviously an old soul resides in that young body. You can see his video on the Adventure Sisters Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/BWCAdventureSisters

So what do you practice everyday? I think it is a good thing for us to look at and really talk about. Our brains are predisposed to see the negative around us. When you think about it from a survival stand point it makes sense. If you are always looking for the danger (aka the negative) you will be able to flee to safety. The habit forming potential of negative thinking is probably something we have all experienced. So how do we shift our focus? I consider myself a pretty positive person. Am I really, though? If I sit back and watch myself, do I complain as much or more then I express joy and delight? It is winter where I live. I do not tolerate the cold as well as I do the heat. I think I probably complain more in the winter then I do in the summer. Winter is beautiful. I love the way the fluffy white snow sits on the prickly branches of the evergreen trees. There is a simple serenity in the the near black and white color palate of winter in the north. So why do I spend my time bitching about the cold?

Others expect negativity from us as well. Have you every been excitedly telling someone about the positive things in your life and you get a sense of disapproval from them? So you throw in a couple negative aspects. The other person will accept you now. If I told you: I love my job, I work for a great company. I have supportive collaborative teammates. My boss has my back and helps mentor me to further success. I get paid well. My benefits are good. I get plenty of vacation time and my job perks are out of this world. Would you feel jealous? Would you feel I was bragging? Would you think I was trying to convince you or me that my job was great? Would your eyes glaze over and would you secretly be plotting my death? Would I notice this look in your eyes and feel the need to think of a couple of negative things about my job in order to feel a little less like a crazy person?

Do we not want our friends and family to be happy and have lots of blessings in their life? We say that we do. What is it that makes us not want to trust happiness, joy, good fortune, and miracles? Of course nothing is perfect. Given the opportunity, we can find something to complain about in any situation. But the opposite is true too. Given the opportunity we can find something good to talk about in any situation. I challenge you to be Pollyanna. (Do you know who that is?) Look for the silver lining. Turn that frown upside down. Make a decision to be the happiest person in the room. Embrace the madness of a positive attitude. “It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed” ~ Thomas Moore.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your daily practice bring you joy!

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11 Reasons to Exercise

We hear all the time how exercise is good for us and important to a healthy life style. Those of us who struggle with our weight can spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince ourself to exercise. When we do not exercise we beat ourselves up and feel pretty poorly about ourselves. What if we looked at exercise in a new way. Instead of something we “should” do or something we “must” do? What if we had reason to “want” to exercise? What if exercise became more than just about the battle of the bulge? Here are 11 reason to exercise to benefit and care for you!

  1. It feels great – Going for an early morning run or walk. The fresh air on your face as the sun makes his appearance for the day. As your body moves briskly along your route you can feel all your muscles coming to life. I have always said the hardest part of running is getting from the bed to the pavement. Once I am on my way it really does feel great.
  2. Meditative – Exercise can be a very meditative experience. Whether you are dance to music, doing a plank challenge, or going for a hike, it helps you stay in the now. The usual whirlwind of thoughts seems to quiet while you and your body become one and focus on the task at hand.
  3. Your body loves it – Your body really does love to exercise. It can get your heart pumping and your lung capacity improved. Bone can become denser and muscle grow stronger. Your body will thank you.
  4. Improved endurance – You will see that your ability to go longer and farther will improve as your commitment to working out increases. When I travel, I love to be able to climb the winding stair cases to the top of bell towers and see the panoramic views. Whether it is dancing, love making, or canoeing, you will find your ability to keep going better.
  5. Self esteem – Think how proud you feel when you complete something. Every time you complete a sweat session, your self esteem will be boosted. As you see other improvements in your body, your self-esteem will continue to climb.
  6. Creativity – During Yoga classes I have written children’s books in my mind. On hikes I have planned creative projects. While doing strength training, I have gotten writing ideas. There is just something about using your body that allows creativity to flow.
  7. Metal Health – All those feel good endorphins are more wonderful than any anxieties or antidepressants. Put the endorphins and your improving self esteem together and you may just find that smiling comes easier with a pep in your step.
  8. Self worth – When you don’t feel good about your self it is easy to put yourself down. While you are putting yourself down, the next thing that can happen is you allow others to put you down as well. When you put energy into caring for yourself you can learn to love yourself again. Other people who do not show you the love and respect you deserve better watch out. You may put them in their place or send them packing.
  9. Energy – I am always looking to manifest endless energy and plenty of time. This is one of the ways to improve energy. With improved energy, I am more likely to use my time to get something accomplished rather than plopping down in front of the boob tube. Thus getting more energy and more time.
  10. You time – I am an introvert by nature. I need time to myself. This is a great way to get it, while also doing something that truly benefits me in so many ways. Going for a brisk walk around a lake is an amazing way to get a little space for myself.
  11. It gets easier – The more you do things to care for your body, the more your body responds. It gets stronger and your endurance improves. You remember how much you love being active. Young children play and run without any thoughts to it being something they “have to do”. You can embrace your inner child and let them out to play.

I hope you find these reasons motivating. My intention is, that in at least some small way, they make the hardest part of exercise easier. The dreaded walk from the bed to the trail. May your life improve with your body.

What do you love about exercise, no matter how small? What would you tell others to help them feel more motivated?

Blessings! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Please follow me at StacyCrep.com and/or @BWCAdventureSisters on FaceBook. Have a great day!

Bringing Hidden Emotions to the Surface

Recently Emy and I started planning our next BWCA trip. We were debating how many days we should stay. Because there is usually no cell service and you have to arrange for an outfitter to drop you off and pick you up, once you are there, you are there for the duration. I have noticed that when I am “stuck” somewhere, without some distraction, my emotions move.

There was one year that it rained, a lot! Emy and I passed the time sitting under a tarp, drinking tea, journaling, and talking. There is no electricity so using your phone for entertainment is not an option. After hours of sitting under our shelter I felt this desire to leave. I didn’t want to be there anymore. It was like my “fight/flight” response was in full swing and I wanted to run! Of course there was no way and no where to run to. I had to just sit. Then a breakthrough happened. My emotions broke free. I had a revelation. I became aware of some old thoughts about myself that I was holding as true. I realized that I did not believe I was lovable. I broke into tears and cried (something I seldom do). Because of this solitude and sanctuary of the forest, I was able to process this emotion.

Another year, it was the day before we were scheduled to leave, a beautiful sunny day had us lounging in the sun. I could feel the anxiety building in me. Our scheduled pick up time on the next day seemed so late in the day to me. We had a long drive to Emy’s home and then I had an additional hour to my house. I needed to unpack from the BWCA trip. I was scheduled on an early morning flight the next day for work and needed to pack for that trip. Laying there, on a warm rock, next to a sparkling lake, I once again felt that “fight/flight” instinct kick in and I wanted to run. I needed to get home and get stuff done! With nowhere to go and nothing I could do, I asked myself why I was feeling this way. Digging into those emotions and explored their root cause, helped me realized it was about not speaking up for myself. When we were arranging our pickup time, I knew I needed to leave early. When Emy suggested a later pickup time to the outfitter, I didn’t explain to her my perceived need to leave early because of pressure to get ready for a work trip. I just passively let her pick the time. Here it was four or five days later and it was causing me discomfort. Being in a place where I could allow my emotions to surface without the distractions the modern world offers us, gave me the time and space to allow the emotions to surface. I had the ability to dig into them and see what was causing them. I then knew how to prevent feeling like this in the future and advocate for myself.

So often in life we use distractions so that we do not have to deal with our emotions. TV, alcohol, games on our phones, housework, and so many other things to “be busy” and not have to deal with or process our emotions. Give yourself time and space to just be. Even though, at times, it may be uncomfortable it will allow those old emotions to break free. Then you can deal with them and release them.

What types of things do you do to “be busy” and not feel? How do you find space to let these emotions surface?

10 tricks to stop negative energy and refocus it to the positive.

Today’s blog is written by my beautiful, smart, daughter, Liz Lamoureux. She makes me so proud!

Sometimes life likes to challenge us by giving us what we think is more than we can handle. Unfortunately, when we feel this way there is nothing we can do but carry on anyways. So here are some techniques to help you when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed.

Count your blessings. A very important thing to remember when you’re feeling sorry for yourself is that someone always has it worse than you. One reason we may have to encounter difficult times in our lives is to remind us of all the things we should be grateful for. For every negative comment, find three positive blessings to replace it.

Reach out to your support system. Having a support system is not only something to be grateful for but very helpful when you think you’ve been dealt more than you can handle. Reaching out to someone to vent to or a group that has been in similar situations, can be very beneficial. Just keep in mind that someone may not always be available to you so you might need to find another form of release.

Count to 10. When you are at your prime “freak-out” moment, STOP! These are the times to just breathe and count to 10. Giving yourself 10 seconds to cool down can be the difference of giving yourself over to further destructions or just accepting your current fate.

Go for a walk, Going for a walk or exercising is a great way to release the negative energy or tension built up. Many people even find it helpful to just pace around.

Laugh about it. Sometimes life is just so ridiculously unbelievable all you can do is laugh about. Ever heard the expression “laugh to keep from crying?” That is exactly it. While crying is a healthy way to express emotion; laughing can be just as, if not more, beneficial. So next time just try laughing about that spilt milk.

Distraction. Finding ways to distract yourself can really help ease the negative emotions you are feelings. It is a little escape to bake your favorite dish, mold your favorite project or play that great game. It’s a nice little break for yourself.

Deal with it. Sometimes what is going on may not be able to be pushed off. This is the time to put your “big kid pants” on and deal with it. Procrastinating these types of situations may only further your struggles and facing your situation head-on will feel like a weight lifted off your shoulders in the end.

Be Creative. Reaching out to our creative side at these times is a good way to out that energy into something great. It could be listening to music and dancing it off, writing about it or maybe you’re a painter and the times with true emotion is the times great art is born.

Essential oils/calming tea. If you’re feeling overly energized with whatever is going on in your life maybe you need to have a drink! A drink of herbal tea, that is. Great relaxing teas are those that contain chamomile or lavender. Herbal teas have very calming effects as do essential oils. Chamomile and lavender oils are on the list,of course, but some other ones to try are ylang ylang, cinnamon, rose and sandalwood. Rub a couple drops on your wrists or neck, and behold a calming effect.

Take a nap, A wise man once told me tomorrow is a new day. Sometimes you just have to take a rest, let your body and mind process everything and re energize. More times than not you find yourself feeling 100x better when you wake up and maybe some new ideas on how to cope with whatever you are being challenged with.

~Liz Lamoureux