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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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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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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Common Ground, Can We Find It?

As I was scanning through Facebook this morning, I saw several people who felt the need to voice their opinion, on other people’s posts. Have you ever felt so angry or strongly disagreed with something a friend posted on FB, that you just had to reply? I bet we all have. But have you ever replied with a snarky comment in response to someone else’s post? This is what I witnessed this morning and have many times before. Someone feels so strongly, that they not only need to respond, but respond with a fairly negative comment. I have been told these people are called trolls.

I do not believe this is a healthy practice. First of all, many people rallied to support the person this “troll” was attacking. They were not kind to the “troll” thus becoming trolls themselves. (I do not like name calling and I think calling these people trolls probably hurts real troll’s feelings. They don’t want that kind of reputation- even if they did try to eat the 3 Billy Goats Gruff… it’s the circle of life after all!) I think expressing our opinions can be a positive thing, when it is done in the spirit of working to understand one another and find a middle ground. Then it is a beautiful and mature way to deal with our differences in opinions.

I really believe we need to allow others to have their own opinions. In this human experience, we are all having, we are all in the place we are perfectly meant to be. No one is better than someone else. From a spiritual stance there are probably some flaws in all of our opinions. Instead of trying to berate or change the opinions of others, what would happen if we just accepted others “as is”? Imagine if we all looked for our similarities, worked together, and just agreed to disagree on certain issues. I believe there is a way. Through loving our fellow voyagers in this human journey, we can work together. We do it all the time in our ordinary lives. I have co-workers who have a whole array of various opinions and beliefs. Some align with mine and some do not. Yet we still all manage to work together and are a wonderful team that, not only supports each other, but is very productive as well. My parents each have beliefs and opinions that are different than mine but I still love them like crazy and respect for them as they are.

I believe it is important that we allow others to have their own opinions and beliefs as a practice in love and acceptance. I also believe that doing so will bring us more peace. We can’t change others and when we are constantly trying to, it messes with our sense of peace and security. I am not suggesting we tolerate comments that are hurtful to ourselves or others. I only want to suggest we deal with them in such a way that we do not also become hurtful to others as well. Accept that this person is in a different place on their journey than you are. Kindly provide them with education if you can. Perhaps right now, some issues are so big, we can’t get to a middle ground. On the smaller issues, keep trying. On the bigger ones; try by looking for the good, the Divine, the Human behind the opinion.

Yes, I understand this is my usual happy Pollyanna attitude about life, but if we don’t start changing our approach to others, we’ll never get beyond the superficial. I feel we are so much more than our beliefs and opinions. I encourage you to let others have their opinions and look for the common ground. It is there! Sometimes it just takes more digging to find it in others. When you do I bet you find we have more in common than what makes us different.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you have a life of feeling loved and accepted, as if by magic! I love you!

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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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“Week 7” check in – Weekly Meditation Adventure

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

What I have learned: I have learned that if you wait for the ideal time to meditate it might never come. Sometimes you have to meditate in the midsts of everything that is going on around you. In the image (above) on this blog I was at the lake with my grandchildren. It was nonstop talking and action. There was no quiet moment to sneak away. My infant grandson was happy to sit next to me while I meditated and my 4 year old granddaughter was intrigued enough with the process; that she decided to sit down and try it. She didn’t stay long but long enough that I was able to get my meditation in even with all of the activity around me. 

Experiences during the week: Sitting outside, while practicing meditation, was delightful. The sound of the birds, the feel of the breeze on my skin, and the warmth of the Sun with the smell of the grass, all served to enhance my experience. This has been my best week of meditation since the challenge began. I have stuck to my Kundalini Yoga mediations as my preferred technique. I find that it really helps me keep my focus. I still have a mind that wanders from time to time but the combination of mantra, mudras (hand positions), and intention; really improves my experience and decreases my frustration.

My weight: I weighed myself on Friday morning and I lost 0.6lbs since the last time I weighed about 10 days before. Could this be a reflection of really getting into the grove and having a commitment of daily meditation? I would like to believe so. 

How I feel: I feel proud of keeping my commitment to myself and completing daily meditations this week. There were even a couple of days that I got in 2 daily meditations. I feel a deep sense of calm on the days when I meditate in the morning and the evening. I plan to make this the goal for the next week. 

How it is affecting my life: This week the daily meditation enhanced my life. While on the road I made it a point to do meditation in the morning before leaving the hotel room. I feel my thoughts are clearer and my calm stays with me more often throughout the day. I find that I am less stressed by the idea of daily meditation. Where the previous week, it was something that was on my “to do” list, this week it was something I looked forward to. I feel that this shift in my daily meditation experience has the potential to make sustainable improvement in my life.

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

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of finding the perfect time even when not sure there is a perfect time to meditate.

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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