Top 4 Ways to Love Yourself

“Hold up your cup here is some positive tea that I want to pour out for you”.   Are you ready to love yourself? If you can't love yourself, you're going to have a hard time truly loving the world around you and enjoying the life you're living. Are you ready to take responsibility for your experience and begin to lead a happy, full life? Here are 4 important ways that can help you love yourself!   1. Eliminate Negative Self-Talk - Utilize the Power of Positive Talk Negative self-talk limits you, increases stress, and hurts your self-concept. Here’s a tip, as you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind. You can stop your thought mid-stream by saying to yourself, “Stop.” Saying this aloud will be more powerful, and having to say it aloud will make you more aware of how many times you are stopping negative thoughts. Replace it with Positive Affirmations like: I ENJOY THE VARIETY OF LIFE. I SEE AND VALUE MY UNIQUENESS. I AM EASY ON MYSELF. I KNOW I AM DOING THE BEST I CAN. I GO FOR THAT WHICH MAKES ME FEEL GOOD. I FEEL ALIVE. I AM CREATING A GOOD LIFE FOR MYSELF. I LOVE WHERE I COME FROM. I LOVE WHERE I AM. I LOVE WHERE I AM GOING. I AM HAPPY TO BE ME. I AM TOTALLY FREE. If you are ready to change your life then you must first change the way you talk to yourself.   2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others - Focus on You If you struggle with issues of self-esteem and insecurity, the worst possible thing you can do to yourself is to compare yourself to someone else. There is a plethora of ways to compare yourself to others, and all of them lead to feeling bad about yourself:  grades, sports, job title, income, career advancement, social media followers, etc. When you compare yourself to others, the worst thing you can do is bank on your limitations. People often concentrate on what they’re not good at and they spend their time wishing they could be better.  “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton Compare yourself to your goals. Compare yourself to your values. Compare yourself to where you were. Just leave other people out of the comparisons and you’ll do fine. “Learn to love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you.” - John Spence   3. Distance Yourself from Those Who Bring You Down - Toxic People Toxic people aren’t actually interested in you and your life. Being in no relationship is better than being in a wrong one. Don’t worry too much about folks who don’t worry about you. Know your worth!  When you give yourself to those who disrespect you, you lose. Toxic folks will insult you, humiliate you, give you backhanded compliments, and make you feel like you deserve this crappy relationship. Get rid of them before [...]

2019-02-15T17:00:08+00:00 By |

Why We Procrastinate and How to Finally Do What You’ve Been Putting Off

“Low key change helps the human mind circumnavigate the fear that blocks success and creativity.” ~Robert Maurer   I’m currently working on my doctoral dissertation. It’s something I’ve been working on for many years. It’s something that I deeply believe in and want to complete, but I’m also the mom of two small kids and I run my own business. Making time for to work on my thesis is low down on my priorities. And for years I’ve been able to justify it to myself that I don’t work on it as much as I should because I don’t have the time. That may well have been partly true while my children were younger. But now as they’re getting a bit older, I realize that my procrastination is also about something else. It’s about all the stories in my head that make working on this project unpleasant. It’s about the fear, the self-doubt, the worry about not being good enough, the doubt about whether I’ll ever be able to finish, and the expectation that it’s going to be a really hard and frustrating process. Because I do have time. I have time to read and work on other projects that interest me. In fact, I make sure I create the time because I enjoy working on them. This is something that I’ve only recently realized. Recognizing it has been so empowering. Because I do want to finish it. I’ve dedicated so much time and energy to it, it would feel really good to complete. Since recognizing this and recommitting to the project, I’ve been experimenting with an idea that so far has been really helpful, and I’m excited about its potential. Sneaking Past Fear the Kaizen Way The idea comes from the Japanese art of Kaizen. In his great book One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, Robert Maurer describes it as a gentle and elegant strategy to maintain excellence and realize dreams. He explains how when we try to do big things and make big changes, it triggers our stress response and makes us avoid. So the solution is to make tiny, incremental changes, so imperceptibly small that you don’t activate your stress response. All kaizen asks is that you take small steps for continual improvement. As I was reading this I could immediately see where I was going wrong. Each time I sat down to work on a paper I’m writing I was thinking about how I could make this a brilliant paper that would make the biggest impact and so do justice to the participants of my research. Wow, the weight of the pressure. No wonder that felt like a big ask and made me avoid it. The two strategies I have been working with involve asking small questions and thinking small thoughts. 1. Ask small questions to dispel fear and inspire creativity. Big questions, such as “How can I quit my job and find my purpose?” tend to overwhelm [...]

2018-11-19T15:24:01+00:00 By |

A Spoonful of Sugar: How to Transform Work Into Play

Chit chatting this morning over the water cooler, a colleague said to me, “We spend the first ten years of our lives having fun. It’s all responsibilities from there.” I was taken aback. Really? Is that true? I walked away wondering why I could not relate to the comment. What is it that I’m doing that makes work and responsibilities so fun? In pondering the question, I recognized several very meaningful ways to approach work that have the power to transform it from responsibility to play.   1. Be curious. My children love Curious George. If you too have watched or read any of his tales, you know that Curious George gets into a LOT of trouble. He starts with a question and it leads him into a wild adventure of sorts. It always ends well, but not before making tremendous errors that cause the characters in his story to panic. Be like George, not like his friends. When you approach life with curiosity and a willingness to explore, no matter what the consequences, you will find yourself always growing. Whatever you do, don’t be like George’s friends; don’t let your failures get you down. Get up and find solutions.   2. Find purpose. In every sector, in every business, there is a purpose of some sort. A service being offered that people want, a benefit to someone or some group in some way. Align your work with your own sense of purpose. If you can, seek out sectors or companies with missions that enliven you. There is an ocean of possibilities, never let yourself feel trapped. If you do feel stuck, take small steps that will lead you down a new and different path. Notice what you love and begin to cultivate that passion. Patiently, knock on doors until the right one opens.   3. Notice energy. No matter how inspiring the mission you work for is, you will inevitably bump into other human beings or situations that test you. The key to working with people or projects is to step back and notice energy, rather than words or deeds. Become the observer of things and people. The practices of mindfulness are all about this. The more you can observe the energy behind a behavior or even behind a project, rather than react, the more you learn to navigate interpersonal challenges skillfully and move projects forward.   4.  Seek solutions. When you identify a problem, spend as little time as possible on it. Once you have clarity about the problem, focus on the solutions. Here’s an example: you have a new business process to implement and a timeline to keep. But, thanks to resistance from staff and technical mistakes, the project is well behind schedule. Take a pause. Notice the resistance of staff and ask the question, “why?” Perhaps it is fear of change? Perhaps it’s a lack of aptitude? And what about the technical failures? Take each concern, people and things, and consider [...]

2019-01-14T19:29:48+00:00 By |

2019 Rule Your Mind

“Hold up your cup here is some positive tea that I want to pour out for you.”   Remember the old phrase "garbage in, garbage out"? Imagine if next time you took out the garbage, rather than carry it outside to the bin, you develop a habit to empty the smelly, disgusting contents all over your yard. Funny right! But this is exactly what some of us do with our mind. We have a habit each year to dump unnecessary stuff or trash in our mind. We refuse to put the trashy thoughts in their rightful place, “out of our mind”. Our thoughts drive our emotions, which drive our behaviors, and ultimately determine our actions — what kind of life we live. The human mind is an amazing creation of God. Nothing on earth can match its capabilities or creativity. It controls feelings, thoughts, words, attitudes, and behavior. Do you know that we are what we believe we are? Someone once said, “It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you if you allow it.” Dr. Caroline Leaf says this in her book Switch On Your Brain, “As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain. As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts.”    “2019 Rule Your Mind” In 2019 push out toxic thinking and replace it with positive thoughts. Let’s start the beginning of the year by taking authority over our thoughts. Get to the mirror and say, “I’m not afraid anymore, whatever it is I’ve been running from, whatever situation that’s been holding me back, pulling me back from my blessing. Today I’m getting ready to fight this thing to the end. I’m getting my mind back on track. Yes, my checkbook may not say I’m rich. The economy doesn’t say I’m wealthy. The medical report doesn’t say I’m healed. But God of universe, I believe you will supply all of my needs. I believe for some unexpected money to appear in my life. God, I believe that I’m healed. I believe an unexpected healing will occur in my life.  God, I believe you’ll give me my heart’s desire. I believe my dream will happen sooner than later.” Look folks, you have to believe it before you’ll ever see it. Something has to change within your mind. Something has to change psychologically. Take authority over your mind, remind yourself not to focus on the negativity, and instead, try to focus on something positive. Control your thoughts before they control you. By controlling your thoughts, you are in control of your mind. Wow! By letting go, you can actually control your mind instead of having your mind control you. Lastly, there are 3 things you can do this year to keep your mind under your rulership. Keep Positive Company If you can't get troublesome feelings out of your mind, it may [...]

2019-01-15T19:38:47+00:00 By |

The Meaning of Namaste

For dedicated yogis, namaste is likely a familiar concept. The term is commonly used to conclude a yoga class, as a way for teachers and students to express gratitude for each other. However, there is much more to namaste than what is presented in class. Beyond the yoga mat, namaste has a rich history and profound spiritual significance, rooted in the recognition of a deep connection between two individuals that is far more intricate than typical Western greetings.     The Definition and Use  Namaste is a spiritually significant ancient Sanskrit greeting and farewell within the Hindu custom. It is used within India, but is also present in other areas of south-east Asia where Hinduism is less prevalent. It is a common, everyday greeting used amongst strangers and friends alike.    In Sanskrit, namas means “bowing” (or “obeisance”) and te means “you.” Therefore, the word roughly translates to “I bow to you.” It represents the recognition of the divine life within the person one is greeting, and serves to diminish the presence of ego within the greeter.      The Spiritual Meaning  Unlike typical Western greetings, namaste has a specific spiritual significance. In addition to the etymology mentioned above, namah can be translated to “not me”, which represents the surrendering of one’s ego in the presence of the individual they are greeting. In Hinduism, namaste represents the idea that “the divine self is the same in you and me.” By saying namaste, along with the gesture, the soul of one person is bowing to and recognizing the divine life force in the person they are greeting.    The Gesture   Namaste is accompanied by a gesture, known as the anjali mudra. To make the gesture, one places their palms together at their chest with their thumbs against their heart, closes their eyes, and slightly bows their head. The gesture, along with the word, represents a recognition of the life force present within everyone with whom we connect.  In Western culture, the word namaste is typically verbalized along with the gesture. However, in India, the gesture itself symbolizes namaste, and does not necessarily need to be spoken along with it.  It is acceptable to do the gesture with or without verbalizing namaste.   The physical gesture is fairly straightforward, but there are a few things to keep in mind while doing namaste.   First, the eyes should remain closed while doing namaste. This allows for one to see within, rather than being distracted by their physical surroundings, and lets them focus on and recognize the soul of the person they are greeting. Secondly, one’s hands should be completely free of any objects, allowing the palms to lightly touch. Holding an object will prevent the fingers from being completely straight, compromising the position. Lastly, the intention behind doing namaste is just as important as the act of doing it. One should perform namaste with a positive energy, with a true intention of paying obeisance to the soul they are greeting. The spiritual connection [...]

2019-01-07T19:41:50+00:00 By |

9 Amazing Benefits of a Meditation Practice

 A regular meditation practice has incredible, life-changing effects on both the body and mind. In meditation, brainwave patterns move into an alpha state, in which the mind and body become deeply relaxed and enter a space of rest that we don’t often experience. Meditation allows you to turn your focus inward and connect with your inner-self, and turn yourself away from external stimuli. Upon entering this state of heightened awareness, you begin to improve your overall well-being. The benefits you can experience from the practice are plentiful, but these are some of the top advantages of working meditation into your routine.   1. Increases Self-Awareness: It’s rare that we find the time to focus on just ourselves and nothing else, but meditation allows you to do just that. With consistent practice, you will start to know yourself on a deeper, more profound level.   2. Reduces Stress: By taking a moment to turn away from the outside world, you can do the necessary work to let go of stress. In meditation, you can cope with the stress you are currently experiencing, as well as learn to better handle it as it arises in the future.   3. Lowers Anxiety: The link between meditation and anxiety has been studied time and time again. Researchers have found that regular meditation helps people lower their levels of anxiety, and cope with the symptoms.   4. Improves Sleep Quality: Naturally, the reduction of stress and anxiety that comes with meditation, as well as the deep state of relaxation, makes the practice an excellent tool for improving your quality of sleep. Studies have found that those who meditate are able to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer than those who don’t meditate.   5. Decreases Blood Pressure: For those who suffer from high blood pressure, regular meditation can help maintain blood pressure levels. A study found that participants were able to reduce their blood pressure by five points on average with regular meditation.   6. Boosts Immune System: Along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, meditation can help you fight off any sickness that comes your way. The practice has been shown to boost your immune system, making you stronger against illnesses.   7. Helps Control Pain Levels: Sufferers from chronic pain may be able to find some release through meditation, particularly if the pain is tension related. Meditation has been shown to decrease perception of levels of pain, as well as help people cope with it.    8. Increases Energy Levels: If you are looking to get an energy boost without another cup of coffee, meditation may be your answer. When you enter a deep restorative and relaxing state in meditation, you are able to come out with more energy and focus.   9. Improves Mood: Meditation has been linked to an increase of serotonin, which is referred to as the “happy hormone.” This means an improvement in your levels of happiness and joy.     Meditation is an incredible form of self-care that improves and maintains the [...]

2019-01-02T15:53:46+00:00 By |

Move Your Body, Calm Your Mind: 5 Practices That Help Ease Anxiety

“Get out of your head and get into your body. Think less and feel more.” ~Osho   Do you want to meditate but the idea of sitting with your thoughts for twenty minutes gives you anxiety? Or maybe meditation seems like one more task you have to add to your ever growing to-do list, so you take a pass? As a working mother of three, I’m no stranger to daily stress and routine overwhelm. Life in the twenty-first century can be pretty hectic, especially for busy moms, and so many of us search for practical ways to minimize the stress and anxiety that are so common in our society. Meditation seems like a perfect solution. It’s “easy,” accessible, and it’s good for our health, both mental and physical. It reduces stress and improves emotional regulation, concentration, and sleep. It helps us develop more kindness and compassion, for others and ourselves. Sounds like a perfect cure. Except it’s hard. It can feel like a chore or a time thief. And it often triggers our fears and anxieties, especially if we have a history of trauma we’re still healing.  So why not adjust the traditional meditation practice to reflect our modern lifestyle and constrictions? Why not mimic the practice of mindfulness while moving your body? Instead of sitting still, why not focus on gentle, repetitive movements that are enjoyable, all while reaping the benefits of mindfulness? Believe me, you can have it both ways. I am a Type A person. I am driven, full of energy and ambition. I’m competitive, over-scheduled, and always on the go. And I don’t have much patience, or time to kill. Sitting still for twenty minutes is often the last thing I want to do. Another hurdle for me was anxiety, which often peaked when I opened up to my internal world of thoughts and feelings, as one does while sitting in meditation. I do better now, but in the first year of practice I often felt triggered and overwhelmed—precisely the opposite of what I was going for. This is common for people with trauma or chronic pain. We tend to numb, distract, or ignore distressing sensations in order to make it through the day. Mindfulness requires the opposite of such disassociation. When sitting in meditation, I was to focus on and “befriend” my body, along with the residue of trauma still lodged in it. Despite my best intentions I would become fidgety and agitated instead. Noticing my pain, both physical and emotional, seemed to increase it. I’d find myself trying to resist it, run from it, beat myself up for not being able to just “observe” my experience, and then criticize myself for beating myself up. It was a vicious cycle. I understood that the goal was to learn to be with my experience, and it did get easier over time, but often it was too much to handle. Needless to say, I’ve searched for alternative ways to meditate, ones that [...]

2018-11-15T19:05:38+00:00 By |

What Really Makes Us Happy, and Why

“Whatever you do, make sure it makes you happy.” ~Unknown   Like many of us, I live paycheck to paycheck. Which is okay. We aren’t alone. CNN reported nearly 76 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. I want to give a quick shout out to all the hardworking folks out there who budget every week to see how much they can spend on groceries. We got this. So back to that 76 percent number, for the sake of simple math that means that three out of every four people are living paycheck to paycheck, which sounds about right in my experience. I guess I have rich friends, though, because they all have big savings accounts, houses, and nice cars. Am I a little jealous? You bet. I am sitting over here hoping my car makes it another six months. I drive a 2002 Acura RSX, with over 150,000 miles on it. Some people might be thinking, there’s plenty of life left in that car; what are you talking about? This might be true, but it’s starting to give me problems, and not being a car guy, I’m left trying to figure out what is worth fixing and what can be put off and paid for at a later time. Not the most reassuring thoughts when commuting. You might be thinking, oh great, another one of these “woe is me” posts. But bear with me; you might be surprised what I learned by the end of this. More to the point, I have always wanted a truck, for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into right now. So my plan was to start saving for one. I started reading about ways to save money and put together a plan. Here are the quick highlights of what I did to save up enough for the down payment. I called Comcast and cancelled my cable (saved $80/month) I refinanced one of my credit cards (saved $20/month) I opened a ROTH IRA and put $35 a month in there because I can make better returns than it sitting in savings, and it helps me not spend it frivolously ($35/month) I started tracking my beer consumption and cut it way back ($30ish/month) I cancelled my Audible subscription ($15/month) I priced out my grocery budget and realized I could save money by ordering from a meal service ($20/month) I started saving everything I could from each paycheck ($100+/month) Total savings: $300/month It took a while, but I was able to finally save up enough. I was so pumped to start shopping for my new truck. (I had my heart set on a Toyota Tacoma 4×4.) I started looking on AutoTrader, Craigslist, and Cars.com, and would Google every dealership I drove by. I even test drove one and had a huge smile on my face the entire time. Dealers were calling and emailing me every day (which was annoying, but I secretly liked the attention). They were out [...]

2018-11-14T13:14:38+00:00 By |

The First Steps Toward Creating a Life You Love

“My goal is to build a life I don’t need a vacation from.” ~Rob Hill Sr. The other day I had an interesting conversation with a friend, who asked me the question “Who is the happiest person you know?” Ask yourself this question now. It’s difficult to answer, isn’t it? There are certainly people around me who seem to be happy, but the happiest person I know? I couldn’t easily come up with an answer. The conversation with my friend proceeded with him saying, “You seem happy, but it’s so easy for you; you live in Cornwall by the sea, you work for yourself, and you have all the freedom in the world because you’re single.” It made me smile to think about how people perceive others’ lives. If you ask the next person they might say the absolute opposite: “It must be hard for you living so far away from anything, starting a heart-centered business from scratch with nothing. You must be so lonely being single and doing it all on your own.” And the truth is, all the above is true. I feel each and every variation of the above on occasions because I’m human! I think and dream just like a regular employed person, I love just like a married person, and feel and breathe just like a city dweller. We are all the same. But the conversation made me reflect on my own happiness. What does it mean to be happy? I feel the happiest I’ve ever been right now, whether I look at my life with glass-half-full or half-empty eyes. I asked myself why, and the only answer I could think of is, right now I feel authentic. I wake up each morning and my work feels like a joyful adventure, so I don’t have to drag myself through days, questioning the point of what I’m doing. Feeling complete deep down for the first time in my life soothes the loneliness of not being in a loving partnership right now, and walking the beach with my dog every morning watching the sunrise, instead of being on a packed London commuter train, makes my heart burst with happiness. This isn’t a recipe for happiness in any shape or form. These are just my things. My choices leading to the life I am creating for myself, from a place of authenticity. I have started to understand and accept that my life is up to me—my choices, my creation. The life I am living right now resulted from the choices I made before now, and yet they are no longer important; only the choices I make right now are. Right now I am free from the past but have a choice in creating my future. So often we look outward and feel trapped by things that aren’t real. For me it was my past, my CV, other people’s perceptions, my own fears, and those pesky little shoulds, from myself and others. Or we think that we’re slaves to the choices we made in the [...]

2018-11-05T18:20:25+00:00 By |