Self-Sabotage?

Over and over again in life, I will be plugging away at some goal or some dream, when it suddenly falls all apart. It feels like a failure. It is frustrating to see all that hard work end up being for nothing, or so it seems. How anytime in our lives can we look back and see this same pattern? We have almost touched the finish line, after striving for so long and so hard, then we trip and never get across it. In reflection on my own history I can’t help but wonder if some of these instances were self-sabotage. Were there feelings of not being “good enough” or “worthy” that cause excuses to come up and block progress. Let’s look at some examples and dig a little deeper into this idea.

Weight loss: How many times have I been making great progress losing weight. I am working out, eating right, and the pounds are coming off. Then all of a sudden I completely binge on something and all bets are off. The diet is out the window and I am putting the weight back on. If I was successful for so long, why am I all of a sudden no longer capable? I have heard the idea that people may keep extra weight on as a type of protection. Could I be using weight as a way to feel safe? Could I be using it to hide from whom I am meant to be?

Running: I have thought, over the years, of running a half marathon in each of the 50 states. I have had goals of running a full marathon. I successfully trained and finished 3 half marathons. My time was not fast, but I was only in it, to do it. The joy of running and participating in a road race is amazing. It is fun and invigorating. I have done multiple 5Ks and a few 10Ks and even a 10 miler, over the years. I love doing them. The last half marathon and 5K I did were in 2015. I had been running for several years at that point but I hurt my knee and that was it. I believed that I couldn’t do it any more. I would feel the urge, year after year. Usually the autumn would call me to the running trails (as that was the start of the running season when I lived in Florida). It didn’t work so well for me to get back to running in the North country. I would use the Snow, the cold, my knee pain, my busy schedule, and every other excuse not to run anymore. Even at one point saying I was too old and that part of my life was over. Now, 7 years later, I am signed up to do a 5K the end of April. My training is going well. There is nothing in my body that “can’t” do it. The only thing that has been holding me back is my head.

These examples are both related to the physical body and fitness, but this could hold true to all kinds of goals. Career, gardening, education, meditation, spiritual or religious aspirations, home renovations could all be affected by our own self-sabotage. Any goal we set for ourselves, could be subconsciously derailed by our “protective” mechanisms. Somewhere deep inside we believe that we should not achieve that goal because we are not worthy, not capable, not enough, don’t have the right skills or attributes. I remember once when I was a child I over heard my grandmother and my mother talking. We were all in the garden picking weeds and my mother said to my grandmother, “Stacy is a strong starter, but she doesn’t finish things”. On some level my child brain took that in as a “truth” and held on to it. For the next 3 decades (or so), I held on to the belief that I started things but never finished them. I was reading the book Worthy by Nancy Levin and there is an exercise she has you do in the book that helped me became aware that I had this belief about myself. My own self-sabotage was helping to keep this belief true while sacrificing my goals. I did not realized this on a conscious level, at the time it was happening.

If you reflect on the goals you have fallen short of, do you see any hints that what stood in your way was actually you? It is much easier and more comfortable to blame it on exterior factors. I didn’t have time to do the training. My stress was too high to focus on committing to that goal. I am not the kind of person that achieves those results. The truth is we are capable. We can do it. We are the type of people who achieve those results. I watched a documentary the other night about an overweight young adult who grew up on a hog farm, who became vegan and ran an ultra marathon. That is 100 miles in 30 hours. Human beings are capable of amazing things! The documentary is Once is Enough. It is on Prime Video, if you are interested in checking it out. He didn’t fit in the box of what an Ultra Marathoner looked like but He didn’t let that stop him.

When road blocks pop up to prevent me from taking care of myself, I plan to reflect on what is really going on. Am I blocking my progress? Is this self-sabotage? Do I have a belief about myself that is not in alignment with what I am about to accomplish? Being aware is the first step to overcoming.

We can do this! We are the people who will cross the finish line! We are the type of people who do amazing things! We will push on despite being busy, stressed, overloaded, insecure, and/or being completely in over our heads in unmapped territory. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do the thing or be the person, because you can. Don’t let anyone else set your course for you. It is not too late. You are amazing! You are capable. I am proud of you. Believe in yourself. And in those quiet moments when you hear the whispers of the subconscious, holding you back, tell it that you can and will cross the finish line!

Thank you for reading my blog. May you accomplish what you set out after, because you are the type of person who lives the life of their dreams. Believe!

Meditation “Practice”

For years I have been attempting to perfect my meditation practice. I have tried several different types of mediation: Buddhist, Kundalini, walking, guided, yoga Nidra, etc. After all of these I have still felt like an amateur when I sit on my cushion. This morning I realized, it is “practice”. I don’t have to be perfect at it. There are days when I sit on my cushion and the 20 minutes passes easily with myself in the zone. There are other days when I check my timer, twice, sure I must have forgotten to start it. Some days I sit and spend the whole 20 minute thinking. Other days I am listening to the sounds in the house. It does not have to be perfect to be beneficial. I just have to keep practicing.

Some of the helpful things I have learned about mediation are:

  • We only get upset at noises we think we should be able to control. We don’t get upset at birds or wind, but family members or our pets, we think should stay quiet for us. Meditation is about being able to still quiet our mind despite someone doing the dishes, watching TV, or barking at the delivery driver.
  • The mind will think, that is what it does. It is not my job to stop it from thinking but rather to notice that it is thinking. Meditation helps us be aware of how our mind works and to notice what it is doing. By practicing with it, in a calm environment, we better understand it and can notice what it is doing in stressful situations.
  • Giving the mind something to do can help you meditate. Kundalini meditations, involve chanting mantras and sometimes performing certain movements. This can be very helpful because the mind is busy focusing on the mantra and/or the movement. It allows you to get to the mediative space.
  • No one is good at mediation when they first start doing it. It takes practice and commitment. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
  • For all the imperfect meditations I have, the ones that work are worth all the ones that don’t.
  • You have to find the mediation that is right for you. I have had amazing experiences with many different types of mediation but my favorite is sitting silent mediation. It is not necessarily the easiest but it is the one that I have the riches experiences with.
  • There are many layers to your mind. I have identified a thinker, a narrater (who thinks they have to tell me what I am doing and what I am thinking like I am not there experiencing it), there is a watcher, a judge (who scold when it thinks I am not doing it right), and back behind all these other layers, somewhere deep within, is me.
  • Making a nonnegotiable habit makes it much easier. I get up in the morning and I mediate for 20 minutes every day. There is no option to do it later. When I get up, it is time. I go and sit.
  • I feel more ground, connected, and at peace now that I have established a meditative practice.
  • Meditating daily helps with other commitments. I know that a temptation will pass and am better able to stick to my other self-care initiatives.

If you have ever considered doing mediation, do it! It is worth it. Be gentle with yourself. Practice is practice. Anything else you were practicing you would not expect yourself to be perfect. Let meditation have the same grace. Notice that the mind is thinking and come back to your breath, your mantra, or focusing on the flicker of a candle flame. Be willing to experiment with different types of mediation till you find the one that works for you. Wether you have a deep experience during mediation, you find it easier to pass on the candy bowl, or you notice how you are reacting in a stressful situation, you will know that the effort of your practice has been worth it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find the perfect way to make meditation a beautiful part of your self-care practices. You are worth it.

Other blogs on Meditation:

9 Ways to Improve Mediation

Mediations: A Beautiful Experience

7 Mediation Myths

11 Types of Meditation

There is an App for That: A review of Mediation Apps

Permission to Be Yourself

This morning as I started my run, the song This Is Me from the Greatest Showman soundtrack played. As I ran along the rural Wisconsin roads, in the cool 17 degree weather, I realized how scary it is to be blogging very publicly and running. How childhood trauma of other children making fun of me, as children will do to one another, still effects me as adult. In the deep recesses of my mind,where I put what i don’t want to acknowledge, it is still there. I turn 50 this month. My healthcare professional would label me as obese. Do I have any right to be out here running into the sunrise? I came to the realization that I still fear being judged for the choices I make. As my legs carried me along the rolling Wisconsin hills, I realized that a lot of people feel this same way.

Do you filter who you are to fit in with society at large? Do you express yourself as less than authentic in order to not stand out from the crowd? You do not need permission to be your truest self. But… if you would like permission, I give it to you. Your special form of “you” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does not need to be. If people read my blog and judge my words or even my right to be putting myself out there, it matters not. What does matter is that I show up for myself. I keep putting one foot in front of the other on my runs, despite my age or my weight. My actions in this life are for me alone. When I show up for myself I show myself that I matter and that I am worthy of living the life of my dreams.

This morning was only my second morning running, after years of believing I couldn’t run anymore. The C25K program includes a walk/run algorithm to help you slowly increase your endurance. I am very early in the program; about 22-26 runs remain to bring me to successful completion of a 5K. It is the journey that is important. This running journey has me feeling amazing! I smile more. I feel completely unstoppable. I feel radiant. Where I am running there is a good size hill that hits early on in the run. It is intimidating and I freaking love it. By the time I am cresting the top of the hill I know I will complete todays run, because the hardest part is behind me.

When I slip into my sneakers and secure my knee brace, I am doing it for me. I am doing it because I want to show up for me. I saw running as something I was doing for my physical health. As I dip my toe back into the running waters, I realize that for me, running is for my emotional health. Once the run is done I am glowing.

That glow has an amazing side effect. It is contagious! I see how my elevated mood effects those around me. My exuberance for life rubs off on my friends and family. Even my co-workers get caught up in it, even if they don’t know what they are caught up in. The affects goes beyond that. My work days have been more productive, passing with ease, flow, and contentment. All of this because I won’t let the naysayers in the dark corners of my mind talk me out of my self-care goals.

How easy it would have been to tell myself I was too old, or my knees too bad and talk myself out of this. I could have put it off until I lost some weight or the weather was better. I could have made up excuses about being to busy or needing better shoes. No one would have faulted me for any of these things. They would have agreed with me and nodded, feeling supportive. All of those things, for me, would have been giving in to the childhood taunts and fears. Isn’t it interesting that we have fears we don’t even know about or acknowledge? If asked, I would have said I don’t have fears related to being judged by others. I believed I had proceed and move beyond any childhood teasing. When you consider things you have wanted to do, but talked yourself out of, can you trace it back to a fear?

It is worth exploring what might be holding you back from setting off towards your dreams. When those fears are brought out of the mists, in which they hid, into the bright light of day, you can see them for what they are. They don’t necessarily slip away. It still takes a concerted effort to push beyond them, but at least I know what I am pushing beyond. It does not matters what anyone thinks of me, past or present. The mean kids in life reflect on themselves, not me, with any judgement they may pass. Why would I make myself small in fear of their judgement? If I had, I would have missed out on this feeling of invincibility. I would not have felt this glow that started in my solar plexus and spread golden light all throughout me, until it was spilling out into the world around me.

I get that running is not for everyone. This same truth holds true for whatever is calling to you. Painting, yoga, writing poetry, cooking, body building, collecting stamps, rebuilding motors, growing vegetables, raising fainting goats, it doesn’t matter what it is or if it makes sense to someone else. What matters is that it lights you up. You feel like “you” when you are doing it. Your glow will rub off on those around you. My grandmother was the type of woman who walked into a room and it lit up. I have always aspired to be like her in that. When I run, I am.

After my run this morning I texted a friend letting her know how ama-za-zing I was feeling. She told me she was so glad to experience me feeling great again after having been down for so long. Talk about a serious blind spot. I had no idea I had been “down”. Apparently those around me knew.

I enjoy being a bright and shiny, positive, being. I delight in the emotional zeal for life that courses through me. After a run, I look forward to writing a blog to share my morning’s insights. My vibration is higher, raising the vibration of those around me. For all of these reason I will run on. I am having the time of my life learning to take care of me. Who knew it could be so fun? Life looks rosy and I can’t wait to see how amazing my 50s will be!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find that thing that lights you up and do it, no matter what anyone else thinks! I love you.

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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I Met God Today

Today I  meditated on compassion and not judging people, but just accepting them as is, including myself. My meditations are always a bit ADHD with thoughts coming and going. Images popping up before me and dissipating like smoke. I have learned not to fight what happens during meditation. I just stay present and accept what comes. I ignore my mind, which is constantly trying to narrate and document everything that is happening. I focus on my breathing, or a mantra, when the mind gets to insistent and just let it float to the background.

Today was no different. I was meditating, as usual, when suddenly there was this white light before my mind’s eye. It was a bright light and grew in intensity as it came closer. I grew to realize that this was God. I sat with him and just accepted the Divinity of this moment. My mind screamed at me to write it down and document it. I ignored the mind and allowed the observer part of myself to enjoy this extraordinary experience. Then it changed. The bright white light changed into an inky purplish black color. It was no longer a concentrated sun as the white light had been. It spread and filled the area of my vision, nebulous and changing. I came to understand that this was also God. She explained to me that God is all things; light and shadow. Duality is a necessary part of all things. She said just as I do not judge the moon, the negative charge of electrons or femininity, as bad, nor is the dark side of God or anyone. It just is.

This is a hard concept to wrap one’s head around. In the Taoist philosophy there is the Yin/Yang. This is the symbol we often see where the white and black swirls meet to form a perfect circle with a little spot of the opposite color on each side. It shows the nature of both being necessary for the whole and that each contains a bit of the other. Yin is feminine and the dark side. Yang is masculine and the light side. Neither is good or bad. But both are necessary for the formation of life. We could not continue the human race without both. A battery does not work if the charges are not aligned correctly. Night and day are both required for nature to exist in harmony. We must work and we must sleep. Why should it be shocking that God contains balance, duality within the Divinity of our source?

We have put so much negative connotation to the shadow side, that perhaps some of its true nature has been lost. Darth Vader tries to get Luke to come to the Dark Side and the movies make it all very evil. If you have ever watched the Disney movie Maleficent with Angelina Jolie, you know that a story can be told in a very different way, in which the villain’s story looks less like a villain and more human. Someone who is doing the best they can in the time and space they are in. What if we say that God is in all people? What if we noticed the duality and knew they were doing the best they could in the time and space they are currently in; to balance the duality within themselves? Know that they are doing their very best possible, to express the divinity from which they come. It does shift how we see each other, doesn’t it? I feel this makes it a bit easier to have compassion, rather than judgement, when experiencing others along this path called life.

Spend some time with this concept. Let it float around in your mind and in your dreams. Try it on and see how it feels. Find your own truth within it. I hope it helps you find more compassion for yourself as well as for others.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find compassion over judgement naturally, 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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6 Tips to Decrease Procrastination

I have long been a procrastinator. Are you? My dad always said, “Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow”. I guess I took his funny little statement to heart because I would put everything off until the last possible moment. Telling myself that I work best under pressure. Let’s explore procrastination and see how it fits into our overall wellness.

People who are prone to procrastination tend to procrastinate until it becomes more painful to “not” do something than to do it. It is all about stress and pressure. We may think by avoiding doing something, we can avoid the stress and pressure of it. However, the stress and pressure of not doing it will be come worse by avoiding it and then we will eventually submit and dig in and get it done. When I was young I often quoted Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With The Wind. “I can’t think about that today. I will think about that tomorrow”.

As I have gotten older I have come to realize that not doing things till the last minute does not actually give me any more peace. It actually just gives me, as my daughter would say, “Low key stress”. Instead of avoiding the stress, it just simmers under the surface, causing a little bit of subconscious pressure, until the task is completed. I even feel a little guilty about those things I put off, along with a bit of anxiety that I may miss a deadline or forget about it all together.

Over the past few years I have made a real effort to decrease my procrastination. Here are some of the techniques I have been using:

  1. Just Do It – When I need to write reports at work I start them and keep adding information to them as I go, so I can turn them in when my site visit is done, rather than having them hanging over my head.
  2. Use Natural Rhythms – I know morning is my most productive time of the day, so I work to jump out of bed and keep the momentum going. Using times that I know work for me, helps me to check the boxes and get things done.
  3. Make a List – I love to work from a checklist.  I use an orange highlighter to cross off what is done, because orange is the color that makes us feel most productive. Checking things off a list is also a nice visual way to see what you have accomplished.
  4. Notice How Good It Feels –  Notice the big relief you feel when you have everything done and nothing is hanging over your head.
  5. Rewards! – I like to give myself little rewards. I get to go for a walk if I get XYZ done on my “to do” list.
  6. Start With The Easy Stuff – Dave Ramsey suggests a debt snowball starting with the smallest debts first so you can feel that first success early and quickly. It is the same with procrastination. Do the easy stuff first so you can feel the success of getting stuff done.

I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I would say I procrastinate 50-60% less than I used too. I definitely feel less stressed in life by getting things done as they arise (at least a little more often).

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find tasks easy to complete timely, 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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What Does This Time of Year Mean To You?

During this time of year, between Thanksgiving and the New Year, there are many different holidays that are celebrated depending on your faith or your family heritage. What does this time of year mean to you? Do you like it or does it make you feel stressed out? Do you have a strong sense of community or do you feel more alone than the rest of the year? Does it bring back fond childhood memories or does it bring feelings of sorrow and loss? I think over the years I have felt all of these various emotions at sometime or another during December.

If you go way back before the birth of Christianity; people celebrated holidays according to what they called the wheel of the year. Winter Solstice, which happens on approximately December 21st, was a celebration of the light returning. The days getting longer again. The wheel of the year was based on the farming year. This time of year was considered a time for rest and reflection. It was not a time to start new things, but rather a time to evaluate how the last year went and what to do differently when the Spring Equinox rolled around again and it was time to start preparing to plant the crops. That being said, many of our ancestors used this as a time to go inward. It is in such contrast to the busy hustle and bustle of the holiday season of today. For many this is the bushiest time of the year. Many people pick up seasonal jobs to pay for the gifts they have to buy. Holiday parties and get-togethers fill up all of your free time. There is shopping and baking to be done. Lists to make and check twice. Children are in holiday plays or other performances. It is all very busy and much more focused on community and others, rather than that inward journey.

Please be aware that if you are feeling like it is all too much, this just might be the ancestral roots within you. They may be calling to you to say; “shhhh, just be quiet for a bit now”. They may be asking that you rest, gather your strength, and prepare for the spring. Having clear communication with others, when it gets to much, can help you set boundaries for yourself around this. Have a dialog to clearly express what you need during this busy season. Perhaps you want to delay that get-together until after the first of the year, when your calendar is open. Maybe it is setting limits on gift giving or, as I said on a friends post, “giving the gift of not having to exchange gifts” with someone. You are not alone. Many people are feeling the stress and expectations this season places upon us. My hope for you is that with clear communication and firm boundaries, some of the stress of the holiday season can subside and you can return to reflecting on what does this season really mean to you. How do you best want to enjoy this season?  There is much beauty in this time of year. Find the peace to be able to enjoy it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May the peace of this holiday season infuse you to the core, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in our back yard

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Financial Wellness: An Interesting Side Effect We Discovered

My husband and I recently decided to work on our financial wellness. You may be thinking that finances have nothing to do with your overall wellness, but I strongly disagree. Our finances have a profound affect on us. They allow us to pay for important healthcare; such as acupuncture, massage, or even a visit to the doctor.  Having adequate resources allows us to buy healthy and nutritious food. Money even supports some self care activities such as going on a retreat, vacations, or yoga classes. Even without all the things that having some coin in our pockets can do for us, there is the stress that not having enough cash causes. When the bills seem to out number your income or creditors all calling, the stress level can get out of control fast. High stress levels are not good for us. They can cause anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and other illnesses including unhealthy weight problems. Gaining control of your funds is an important step to your overall wellness.

As my husband and I set out on our journey to financial wellness, we first had to get on the same page. We are grateful for the book, Total Money Makeover; by Dave Ramsey. Dave doesn’t believe in manifestation or the Law of Attraction. Interestingly, I feel it was my focus on manifesting financial abundance, that caused the Universe to bring Dave and his books to my attention. I am happy to agree to disagree with Dave on this point. Total Money Makeover inspired Marty and I to get serious about our finances and we started working on the steps Dave laid out in his book.

All of this was a new to me. I have done spreadsheets for bills and payments due but never made a plan for how to spend the rest of the money. It just never seemed like there was enough of it to worry about. However, not worrying about how to spend the rest caused overspending. This just made matters worse and financial stress higher. We downloaded the app, that has been developed to support Dave’s principles. It is called Every Dollar. Dave wants you to give every dollar coming into your household a home so you know where every dollar is spent. When we initially logged our October spending, we were shocked to see some of the ways that money was escaping from our pockets. There were a lot of little things we were spending money on that, quite frankly, were a waste. Money was dribbling away from us in little insidious ways. It was not big purchases that were doing damage to our bottom line. It was the few dollar here and a couple of bucks there.

Next, we developed a November budget and set forth to follow it as close as possible. It was the first time either of us had ever really budgeted that tightly. There were things that came up that we had to adjust another spot in the budget to expense them from. Everything needed to add up to zero at the end. There were a couple places where we placed too much money and a couple others where we did not plan enough.  In the end, we made it through our first month of budgeting. When we talked about how we felt during this first month of budgeting, we both agreed that we felt more in control of our finances and less stressed. The interesting side effect was, when we got to the end of the month and the next payday, we had some money leftover. It seems crazy but true. Somehow being on a budget, giving everything a home and watching where things were going; not only gave us the feeling of having more money but actually more money.

I am very grateful that my husband is the type of man who is willing to walk this process with me. It is truly a team effort. If you decide to start on a road of finance wellness, I wish you every success. That are many money gurus out there. Maybe Dave is right for you or maybe it is someone else whose process just seems to make sense and be the right tool you need to feel financial well.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! I wish you a lifetime of finding the right financial tools for your personnel wellness, as if by magic. Just as mine came to me.

*Photo taken in Rome, Italy

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