10 Healthy Things I’m Thankful For

We have arrived at the start of the holiday season. Regardless of spiritual beliefs this is a time of introspection and reflection. A time to assess what you have, where you are, and dream about what comes next in your life. Research shows when we are thankful we invite more of those blessings into our lives. Here’s a short list of things I’m thankful for. Maybe you’ll resonate with some and quite possibly add your own. 

Comment on our Facebook Page to add your gratitude items. Community is a great place to share our gratitude and we all reap the benefits of reading others’ thankful prayers.

  1. My body & its health
  2. My mind’s ability to challenge me (in a variety of ways – at least I stay on my toes)
  3. Family (including my dog)
  4. Friends
  5. Meaningful Work
  6. Yoga
  7. The smell of snow in the air – means I’ll be hitting the slopes soon!
  8. Good (healthy) and tasty food that nourishes my body as well as my soul
  9. Tea – I love it anytime of the day!
  10.  A good book to snuggle with on these longer winter days

And your gratitude list …. ?

The Power of Mindfulness – Build Your Brain

So today on this longest day of the year – just for the next 30 minutes – commit to Mindfulness. Just to see what happens. Just to notice if something is different in your regular routine after you try it. Just get curious. Just see…

This isn’t about a new age-y trip or about religion or yoga. This is actually about building your brain circuits. So why not try it out. See what happens in your brain when you become mindful for a short time. Just notice, see what is different than before. Maybe nothing … but I’ll bet something shifts for you.

This isn’t about a new age-y trip or about religion or yoga. This is actually about building your brain circuits. So why not try it out. See what happens in your brain when you become mindful for a short time. Just notice, see what is different than before. Maybe nothing … but I’ll bet something shifts for you.

Begin by noticing how your body feels, your posture, your hands, fingers, feet, and toes. How are you breathing? How are you holding yourself. Make a commitment to return to noticing as needed.

Then allow yourself to become immersed in whatever project you are doing. Turn off music, put away any distractions, tell your co-worker to be quiet (nicely). Allow yourself to connect with each detail of your project. What are the colors? Textures? Sights? Smells? Sounds? of what you are doing.

Finally, each time you find you are thinking about the future or the past note it as thinking and allow those thoughts to move through and out. If it helps you can tell yourself you won’t forget anything important that needs your attention – but for now you are focused on this project and will come back to those important thoughts once you are finished here.

No judgement – this is a practice for a reason. It’s not easy. So just give it a whirl and notice how it impacts your day. Commit to yourself for just 30 mins – Go On, Give it a try.

Let us know how it worked for you and read other’s comments by adding your story on our Facebook page under this post.

5 Things to Think About Before Summer Chores or Play

It’s finally summertime! When I think of summertime I think of play. I think of lazy fun. And I think of easy days. I think I romanticize it a bit, don’t you?

Summertime is full of work, too! We’ve got gardening, lawn care, maintenance around our homes and land. There’s a possible painting job and maybe a big project like building a garage or home. All this activity takes a toll on the body. We often don’t think about our “work” the same way we think about taking care of our bodies during exercise but it still matters. Here are 5 things to do think about and do before doing summertime chores or play dates.
  1. Think about stretching. Move the body gently and stretch any muscles you will be working.
  2. Make sure you are strong enough to lift that bag, carry that cooler, move that log. If not get help. Use proper lifting techniques – keep the item close to your body, use your legs, and center the weight.
  3. Pay attention to your joints. Pay attention to the direction of your knees – they go in the same direction as your toes and nose. Trying to make them bend sideways ends up with a torn ACL. Shoulders are our most vulnerable joint. Care for it by making sure you aren’t over-extending or overloading it while lifting out and to the side or behind you.
  4. Your feet matter. It’s important to wear appropriate shoes for the activity. Going to be in the river? Make sure your feet aren’t slipping all over the place putting you at risk for a knee, ankle, or back injury.
  5. Hydrate! It’s important to drink enough liquids – the kind that aren’t diuretics (like alcohol) in the summer. The added heat and humidity drains us and our bodies need water to work well. Drink up often throughout your play or work.

And maybe we need a 6th – Don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy the long, lazy, dog days of summer this year!

Healthy Finances

Your financial health has a big impact on your physical and emotional health. Finances have been in the news a lot to say the least. Where do you stand with yours? Are you financially healthy?  Could you be more comfortable dealing with money? Does it bring up ideas of love, shame, guilt? What does it represent and mean in your life?Last night I went to an author’s discussion at a local bookstore on the book Emotional Currency by Dr. Kate Levinson. I have been reading and working through this book over the last month. Her basic idea is that money is not just a rational logical tool we use objectively. She states money has so many different meanings and we must understand our emotional ties to money before we’ll be able to logically and rationally deal with it.

For me working through the book took my associations with money from ick, greedy, ugly, and a variety of other negative words to much more positive and open words. This change surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to find the peace I did with money in just a month. I am curious to see how this work continues to play out in my life. Although, the sub title of this book is A woman’s guide to building a healthy relationship with money, men at the lecture said it was helpful for them, as well, and I can see why.

Another important point Dr. Levinson makes is that we need to have healthy dialog about money. Many of us, especially women, have been disenfranchised from the discussion and management of money. She says this is a huge part of our discomfort in dealing with it. For many money is, and I don’t know anyone for whom it isn’t in my personal life, a loaded word.

Whether you pick up this book (and I get no kickbacks from this posting/book) or another – pick up something and start looking closely at your emotional ties to money. How does it control, direct, consume, allow, help, hurt your life? What keeps you from using money wisely? What does money represent to you? Who did you learn your money behaviors from? These are some of the questions and paths you’ll explore as you work through Emotional Currency.

As we learn more about the interconnections of the brain, body, and behaviors it makes sense (no pun intended) that we ought to cultivate a healthy relationship to money. Begin your positive money path today.

Slow Down, Focus, & Finish Strong

I had a lot to do today. I am feeling a little scattered. I started by getting the kids off to school, then working with my dog on the leash – so she doesn’t break my arm when she pulls, then  I went to work in my home office, which can be harder than leaving my house to work because, then I started to take the dishes out of the dishwasher, started to clean the counters, started to check my email, started to look up the local yoga studio schedule. AND I wasn’t finishing anything I started.

This becomes a problem. I had to complete something or my day would be full of starts and no finishes. That never leaves me in a good mood. So I sat down, took a few deep long breaths to help re-set my system and began again. I looked at my to do list and focused on one thing I could do right now. Finished it, crossed it off, and focused on the next thing, finished it, crossed it off. Now I usually do my blog at the end of my other things to do – hence the lack of postings while I am in mid-semester – so the very fact that I am writing now is a testament to the power of my breath to keep me focused.

What helps you calm your system and focus? What allows you to stop the mental chatter in your mind long enough to feel successful getting one thing done? What will you do today to slow down, focus, and finish strong?

Working out isn’t just about the Body – It’s also in your Mind.

The Art of Giving Freely

Usually at this time of year I write about New Year’s Resolutions. This year I thought I’d do something else. I was reading a translation of the yoga sutras and this morning’s discussion centered on giving without obligation. Giving freely.

As I finished my practice I began thinking about how one might give freely to themselves. How can I give to me without obligations? As this idea continued to grow in my brain I began thinking of how this concept could be applied to my fitness, my exercise, my free time, my family, my friends, and so on.

What if I gave myself freely to my exercise? This means no “I worked out today so I get to eat anything I want” no push – pull with my body and its shape, no deals made with myself regarding what I will get for “making” myself workout.

What if I just exercised because it feels better when I do? What if instead of bargaining the time so I can “make myself do it” I just enjoyed moving? What if I let go of all the numbers – my weight, how much I lift, how many minutes “I should” continue and just did what felt good for that day at that time? I know some of you are wondering how in the hell would I reach my goals or get clients to workout if there wasn’t some carrot at the end of a stick. I wonder, too and I am open to the possibilities it presents. We’ll have to see how it unfolds.

In the Sutra the focus was on giving for the sake of giving. Not for greed or expectation of something in return. It was giving for the goodness of it. Were you able to practice this over the holiday season with friends and family or were your gifts tied to invisible strings you’ll pull in someday? Interesting idea to give and not expect. Be honest with yourself and notice who you gave freely to and who you didn’t. Then take the next step and let go of your expectation of return and favors tied to your invisible strings.

The art of giving is really a selfish act. We feel better when we give freely and aren’t all tangled in those invisible strings – both those we have given and those we’ve received. Isn’t it time to be free?

Find the Essence of Life

How do your days go? Do you move through the days looking for something, anything to light you up or do you find yourself loving your life experience? Many of us can probably relate to both experiences with one being more dominate in our lives. In addition, many of us tend to “go through the motions” of life rather than fully experience each moment as it passes. Have you ever thought of trying to get more out of life? Would you like to learn to live yours differently? You can. For many just the process of doing their daily tasks is too much. It sucks the life and our joy right out of us so we need to be vigilant and have an understanding of what makes us happy. If I let my planner get too full of all the things “I have to do” rather than balance between the have-tos and want-tos of course I’m going to be crabby!

You can make small and simple shifts in the way you think that can bring balance back to your life and your life will naturally become filled with essence. Begin by noticing where your attention goes all day. Who saps your energy, who brings your more, what tasks do you cringe at doing, and which ones can you let go of and delegate to others? Just begin to notice without trying to change anything. Jot your findings down if you’d like. Also, begin to notice what brings you joy, energy, happiness, and contentment. Who are you with, what are you doing, can you repeat these experiences? Again, just notice, write it down only if that feels like a good idea.

As you begin to notice what brings you joy, happiness, and contentment begin to notice not only the emotion but also your posture, physical feelings, actions, thoughts, and facial expressions. How do you change with your whole body? How do you send those positive feelings out into the world? Do you smile at people you don’t know, do you say kind words, do you let trivial things pass? These simple things have the power to change the world and they all begin with you living your life to the fullest and experiencing your essence each day.

Think it is too simple to work? Don’t underestimate simplicity. Try it for 5 days and notice what shifts for you. Notice your thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms, and how you treat yourself and others when you are living life more fully. Only begin to shift your activities when you feel ready to do so. Sometimes all it takes is slowing our thoughts down enough to get off auto pilot. At that point the pain of staying the same becomes to great to continue living the way we have been and we can begin the process of small changes toward creating the life we want.  A life full of essence – yours.

5 Steps To Creating Your Own Time

 

woman jogging

I’m back on-line after a computer fix and a vacation. As I was thinking about this unexpected break earlier today I contemplated the beauty of finding our own time rhythm. Rather than being a slave to another person’s time needs what if you followed your own? Now, I would bet you are thinking no way – it can’t happen. But think about these 5 steps and see what comes up.

1) What is your natural rhythm? Are you an early bird or a night owl?
2) If given the opportunity when would you schedule work, household chores, leisure time, and exercise?
3) Do you prefer fast or slow pace to your day?
4) Can you be realistic about what you pack into your day? i.e. Many of us put as much as we can on our to do list but never get it done.
5) Are you willing to delegate and let some things go?

Think about the above ideas and see what comes up for you. For many of us we have been conditioned to think that frantically busy means we are important, taking care of everyone else’s needs first means we are not selfish, or we must produce to be worth anything. I invite you to evaluate how you feel about those concepts, as well as, how you might be able to live more according to your natural rhythm. Begin today. Enjoy

Be Free This 4th of July

The fourth of July is here once again. Last year I asked you to let go of all that was no longer serving you and celebrate your freedom. Did you do it? What was successful? What was difficult? What will you let go of this year?

We’ve been talking each week for more than two years now. How have our online conversations changed you? How have you evolved? I would love to know. When I am out and about I hear many stories about your lives and would love to hear your story. Change is hard. When we support each other and believe we can make our goals happen. You could be the support another community member is looking for. Amazing things happen when we work together.

Today I want you to think about what you are free from. What have you left behind? Negative thoughts? Excess weight? Belief that you weren’t strong enough? Your slow race time? People who didn’t support you? As you look back on on the past two years what did you start with that you are now free from? Celebrate your emancipation! Celebrate your ability to accomplish a goal. Congratulations! You did it. Celebrate You.

The person you want to be is achievable. It happens moment by moment in the choices you make. As you think about what you left behind and where you are going next ask yourself if you are living now as the person you want to be. We are the only ones who control our behaviors. We may like to think others do, but it really is about you and your choices. Free yourself from blaming and begin in this moment, right now, living like the person you want to be. Start making choices which free you from being stuck and wishing to be different. Be different know.

Free your thoughts to direct your behaviors toward the person you want to be. Stop wasting space acting in patterns which no longer serve you and free up your thoughts to act in ways which do. Once your thoughts are in place to move in a new direction your actions have no choice but to follow. Free yourself to make the change.

Free up your mind and let go of all those thoughts that keep repeating in your head. Let go of worry and anxiety; just be. The 4th of July is all about just being. Relax and let go of all shoulds and coulds and free up your schedule. Feel your skin relax and rest as you free your body and allow space for all parts of you to relax. Don’t worry about places you would like to change or see differently in the mirror, toss the ideal and free your expectations and just begin doing. Accept who you are today for all your greatness. Tomorrow you will be great, too.

Sounds good, I know. Sounds easy, not really. This process isn’t easy. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. Its not easy, but you can do it. Free yourself from the voice that says you can’t. Practice selective hearing and hear only; you can. To begin practically take the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge This week. Free yourself from constraint and begin your new healthy life today. Free You – Be You.

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge:

Begin by letting go. For the day practice being present to the moment. In each moment throughout the day you have a choice to do this or that. Decide which one leads you closer to the person you want to be and choose that choice. Each time you realize you are not paying attention just decide to pay attention again and repeat as often as necessary throughout your day. Goals are just the end result of many little choices made all day long over weeks, months, and years. Easy, no…doable, yes.

 

Take Time To Breathe

So many of us run from one thing to another while life passes us by so quickly we can’t keep up. Today take time to breathe, slow down, and notice. Here are 5 ideas to heighten your awareness.

1) Stop – right now, whatever you are doing and notice how your body feels
2) Take 5 deep breaths – allow your belly to rise and fall and notice how it feels to breathe deeply
3) Notice all the colors around you – what do you see? Describe it in detail
4) Watch the clouds moving by – just notice and don’t focus too hard on any one
5) Pick three and try them at least 2x each today

By taking time each day to notice how we are connected to things around us, our life becomes richer. In addition, we begin to see the small ways life is beautiful, perfect, and mystical. Enjoy!