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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Family Roots

Having placed a child for adoption, changed my life and changed me. It formed the way I think about things during a very formative part of my life. Maybe changed isn’t even the right word; maybe germinated things inside me is a better way to say it. I think, as a young person, it was not something I thought about a lot. Family was family.

It has given me new insight as I watch my daughter figure out who she is and explore her roots. The stories that I have heard my whole life about my ancestors, were not taken for granted by her. She, in fact, has a whole group of ancestors not even related to her by blood but rather by the heart. Because she has ancestral stories from the family who raised her as well. This does not makes these stories any less powerful or any less important on her journey.

I was recently having a discussion with a relative, where I stated people who are adopted need to find their roots. She shared with me that she was adopted. I had never known this about her. She told me she had completely bonded with her adopted family and felt no need to look for her birth family. I am so grateful that she shared this with me. It has taught me that the need to know blood ancestral stories is completely individualized. She does not have that yearning, that so many other people I have spoken to seem to have.

Since I grew up with my birth family, I cannot even begin to guess how I would feel. My grandmother used to talk about the importance of blood and family. I do know though, that family is much more than blood. There are soul families, who are not blood in this lifetime but may have been in past lifetimes. There are friends who feel like family. There are non-blood relatives like aunts, stepchildren and adopted parents that are every bit a part of who we are, without the blood connection. The face of what family looks like today is constantly changing and evolving. Who shows up to holiday meals can be a wonderful, changing, eclectic group of people that we call our family.

Family roots ground us. They hold us deeply to the earth. They can be like a blanket telling us who we are. However family roots, whether blood or not, do not define us. Allow yourself to be more than your story. Your story formed you but it is not you. Your story contributes to your view of the world through the experiences you have had, but allow that view to be ever changing.

I am blessed in my family heritage stories. They are full of examples of strength, comedy, and lots of love. They are not without their share of times of struggle, but it is that pressure that makes us into diamonds. As the parent of a child placed for adoption, I have spoken to many other birth parents over the years and it has been my experience that placing a child for adoption is a gift of love. Myself and other birth parents think about that little soul out there in the world. We send them love, wish them every happiness, and wonder how they are doing often.

However you define your family or who you chose to claim as your people, remember that those stories are a part of who you are, but you are much more than your family roots. Just as the roots of the tree hold it to the earth, nourish it, and allow it to grow; so do our roots. However, a tree is so much more than it’s roots and is shaped by so many things that have nothing to do with the dirt in which it’s planted.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your roots give you comfort, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Bellingham, WA

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My Dance with Suicide

Suicide has been in the news so much more lately. It seems that I run into people quite often now, that a suicide has touched their life. I do not know if this is because it is more prevalent or if the stigma related to it has just gone away. Either way, I feel guided to share my own personal experience with suicide. This is a story I seldom share with anyone but I have decided to now, hoping that it will help someone in some way.

First off, I have never been diagnosed as depressed or with any psychiatric illness. I have also never taken medications for mood or psychiatric issues, not that there is anything wrong if someone does have psychiatric issues or needs psychiatric medications. These are true conditions and illnesses that many people struggle with daily. These medications are life changing for many and there should be no stigma associated with these diagnoses or medications. I just say this to simply let you know that this was not a part of my story. I also was not using drugs or drinking. None of the usual suspects contribute to my journey down this dark road.

This took place when I was a teenager. I was angry. I felt alone, although I was not. I felt unloved, although many people loved me. I cannot say if it was because of the hormonal surges that all teenagers go through or perhaps just related to the fact that I focused on all the bad (in my life) and ignored the good. I wrapped the drama of everything around me like a protective cloak. What we think about we bring about, so this quickly became a downward spiral for me.

All of this darkness, anger, and very low vibration continued until I finally came to the point that I wanted to take my life. I was in high school and I wrote a note to my best friend. Just thanking her for being a wonderful friend. I left school early and went home. My parents were both at work. At home, alone, I gathered the supplies to execute my plan. I had decided to take a bottle of aspirin and cut my wrists. I didn’t want to risk that I might not be successful in executing my plan. I wrote my note. I do not remember what was going through my head while I was writing the note, but I do still have it tucked away.

As I was getting ready, the phone rang and I answered it. I can’t say why I answered the phone, but I did. The school counselor had been alerted by my best friend, who had figured out what I was going to do from the note I had left her. I spoke to my mother and the counselor came out to the house to speak with me. I lied and told everyone that it was never my plan to commit suicide. Privately I was very glad that my plan had been foiled and I suddenly looked forward to the next day. Perhaps I just needed the confirmation that people did indeed care. Perhaps I needed the chance to see there was more to life than the darkness that had enveloped me. Whatever the reason, I have never had thoughts of ending my life since. My friendship totally fell apart and this dance with suicide caused the loss of my best friend.

Fast forward to now. I live a blessed life. I am a happy and positive person. It is hard to look back and even realize that I was that same angsty, suicidal teenager. I have since found my high school best friend and apologized to her for my lie. I truly felt horrible for this lie. Perhaps this is why I believe that lies are among the worst thing you can do and why I do not tell lies. I told this dear woman that she did, in fact, save my life and I was very grateful for her intervention. I love life. At that time I could not have anticipated the twists and turns my life was going to take, nor could I have begun to guess how magical and full of blessings my life would be.

I wish back then I could have known that the darkness that so easily settles in your soul can be shed by changing your focus. It does not happen over night but by counting blessing and looking for the silver lining it can begin to shift. I wish I had known that I had the power to take control of my life. I wish I would have realized that I was not alone. I wish I had know that it was safe to talk to adults about how I was feeling. I wish I would have realized that the hormones that were raging through my body could have been contributing to how I was feeling. I wish I would have known that what I was experiencing many others also experience. That I was normal. I wish I could have realized how many people really care even if they way they showed it was kind of messed up.

If you are in a dark or low place. Please get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. You do not know what blessings are waiting for you in the future. There are more lives that are touched by yours than you can even imagine. If your life has been touched by someone’s suicide, I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you have been impacted by. I send kind and loving intentions to all of you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you see all the blessings in your life, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken at Blue Springs, FL

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10 Techniques to Raise Your Vibration

Keeping your vibration high is important for a number of reasons. It feels good, it attracts happier things into your life, and it makes you a light for others. These are just a few of the reasons to keep your vibration high. However, life happens and sometimes we just don’t feel great and our vibration dips. When these times happen, is there anything we can do to raise our vibration again? Luckily, there are many things we can do. Here are just a few.

1. Focus on the good – like in the song from the musical: Sound of Music, “When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad”. Focusing on the good will raise your vibration to match it.

2. Music – turn on some upbeat tunes and dance around or sing loudly in the car on your commute into work. Put in the earbuds while going for a stroll and just let the tunes erase your worries.

3. Exercises – when we move our bodies, it gets all those little happy, healthy endorphins flowing. This flow of hormones can really help you vibrate at a higher frequency.

4. Gratitude – make a list of what you are grateful for, call a friend or family member and thank them for the wonderful impact they have on your life. There are always so many things to be grateful for and changing your focus will help ramp up your vibration.

5. Yoga – yoga helps us feel aligned and centered. It can be a great game changer on a low vibrational day. Yoga also involves breath work. The Yogic breathing is also wonderful for increasing your vibrational frequency.

6. Energy Healing – there are a number of different types of energy healing but Reiki, Chi-gong and Hands on Healing are a few. They all help bring your vibrations up.

7. Meditation – take a mental break with a short meditation. Before starting, set the intention that you will bring in white light and raise your energy level.

8. Chants – In the Kundalini yoga I love, there is often chanting. The chants, or Mantras, are ancient spiritual seed sounds that carry higher vibrations. You can listen to these or chant along. Gregorian monks also chant.  I think either of these are beautiful to listen to and both can ramp up you vibrational speed.

9. Sound healing – the gong is the sound of creation but there are many other sound healing modalities out there. Drum showers, didgeridoo, and singing bowls are just a few of them. Look for a local sound healing concert, practitioner or pull up videos on the internet.

10. Visualize – picture in your mind’s eye something that makes you happy. Running through a grassy meadow on a sunny warm day, walking along the shoreline, driving on a country road, or playing with puppies; are some simple, happy things to visualize. Our brains are incredibly powerful and science has proven that the brain doesn’t know the difference between strong visualizations and actual events.

There are so many other things we can do to raise our vibrations but this list is a few to start with. You have the power within you to improve your life. Take the first step today by raising your vibration and then, using some of these various techniques, keep it up. No one is happy all of the time but happiness is a choice that you can make.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find your vibration remains high, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken along the MN/WI boarder.

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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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