Love and Be Loved

11 May

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Thoughts Inspired from reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

You can only be loved so much as you love yourself. And you can only love yourself so much as you have explored the darkness and light that is within.

By allowing ourselves to be seen in our beautiful imperfections- the humanness of it all.

We allow others to do the same.

Realizing that we don’t need to be loved by everyone, nor do we need to love everyone.

Feeling the freedom to acknowledge you are proud of who you are, and want to be loved for this growing and evolving person — not for an imagine one portrays in order to gain the false acceptance and love of another which will inevitably leave us feeling empty and misunderstood.

Explore, accept, evolve, connect, laugh, find freedom. Find freedom. Shine bright.

Birthday Mission

8 May

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On my  birthday I decided to take some time and reflect upon what I wanted for this coming year.

Here’s what I came up with:

May I laugh every day.

May I allow myself to connect to infinite gratitude.

May I have thoughts, words, and actions that support a happy, whole, and healthy me.

May I allow myself to become comfortable with uncertainty.

May I have wisdom and courage to go after what I want, stand up for what I believe in, and let go of old habits that previously held me back.

There comes a time when we become connected to a purpose higher than ourselves, and we no longer have time for things that don’t serve us.

And each time I fall (because I will fall) may I be proud that I have the courage to keep on going (because I will keep going).

Recognizing that success and failure is an endless loop. And it’s healthy to make mistakes. (it means you are working for something!)

May I allow others and myself to feel “I am enough” without attaching it to outside measures- status, wealth, beauty, possessions, perfection.

On this journey may I continue to stay curious, compassionate, and hilarious.

May I have the confidence and faith follow what makes me come alive!

I have found there are two ways to live- either life is hard because you are living a life you don’t want or life is hard because you are working hard to live a life you love.

Love it.

____________________

I am curious to know- what do you want in your life? And after you write them down, how many can you create in the current situation or environment you are in?

How do you balance the pressures of the outside world (bills, work, family, etc.) with what you personally want in your life?

Post in the comments below! Would love to hear!

Keep Shining Super Stars!

Flourish in your Weirdness

25 Apr

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After of series of Youtube videos, I had a bit of an epiphany.

Flourish in your Weirdness.

This Weirdness

This Weirdness

This Weirdness

I realize that many people we look up to are people that are paving paths, opening doors, going into places that we haven’t explored yet, letting us know that it is safe to be there.

That it is safe to express yourself in this way, and to explore these realms.

Having an example of someone who has gone before you, gives you the confidence of what is possible.

For example I have a friend who just got a job as a manager for a retreat centre in Indonesia. BAM! Imagination exploded, that’s something I could do! I also just met a co-worker who rode on a bike 8 hours a day for 90 days across southern parts of United States to promote affordable housing. BAM! Another inserted possibility.

These are examples of doing your weirdness. Which is great, and sometimes overwhelming to know all of the possibilities that are out there. Remember, it’s not the choice that makes that option the best, it’s the effort you put into making it the best option that makes the choice a good one.

But I want to speak more about being your weirdness.

I realize that the more that I accept my weirdness, and step into my authentic self. The more I allow others to do the same.

The more that I stay within myself, and hide my thoughts, feelings, desires from people the more I am encouraging others to do the same. It is as if by hiding myself I am articulating to others, “Don’t show yourself, don’t live an authentic life, it is scary to be real, it is unsafe, you are going to get hurt, people aren’t going to understand, and you will be lonely.”

Being an outsider without a community is one of the hardest things people face. So of course it would be a huge obstacles to jump over when wanting to truly show up. This dirty little fear monster whispers in your ear, “The thoughts you have, the person you are, will not be accepted by others. If they really knew who you were, you would never be understood, and you will be lonely.”

But you know what the funny thing is.

So many people have these same fears. And are probably thinking the same weird outlandish thoughts that you do, they just haven’t had the time to reflect or have cultivated the courage to articulate it yet.

And maybe once you start showing up, the crowd you are running with doesn’t fully understand, maybe you will have numerous conversations about different subjects that expand your mind and the minds of those around you. Maybe you realize, the thoughts and actions you have aren’t benefiting you, or bringing you in the direction of your desires, so they must be evaluated and revised.

And that’s ok. Its ok to change, to disagree, to figure out what works and doesn’t work for you and those around you. I just heard a great podcast about two people who were on different sides of the spectrum for gay marriage, and how their thoughts evolved when they became friends.

It can be hard for others too because once you start showing up, this encourages them to do the same and maybe they aren’t ready for that. There are still fears that are holding them back from being fully themselves. So remember to be gentle, to yourself and others.

Accept the process of the unfolding.

Become comfortable with uncertainty and exploration.

Another option is maybe others don’t understand your new way of thinking, and they aren’t interested in understanding. This will be hard.

But the good news is. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE WHO GETS IT.

Trust.

And the only way for you to find out is to have the courage to be seen.

To step out and say, this is me, what about you? Standing up for a belief that you would rather be loved for who you are, than loved by people who only love an imagine you portray. Allowing tenderness towards our weakness and vulnerabilities so that we may expand our compassionate hearts.

You might end up like this for a little bit, but that’s ok. It’s all part of the process.

huckabees

Even as I write this, I have a voice that says, no, you can’t write that. You can’t reveal those thoughts to people. They are going to think you are crazy, unstable, and will grow up to have lots of cats with a house that smells like kitty litter when you walk into the door. But still I write because I know the doors it will open.

Writing helps me better understand myself, and shares a perspective to others who might be dealing with similar situations. I realize I don’t have all the answers, but I am dedicated to the exploration. And maybe a small part of my discovery helps you to have a discovery too! (which of course you must share with me after)

I know authenticity and vulnerability are huge topics and I would love to learn more about how people approach these subjects in their own lives.

How do you show up and be seen?

How do you stop hiding behind walls of perfection and be confident and grounded in the soul that resides within you?

Keep shining super stars, and spread the joy!

Power of Beliefs

21 Apr

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The majority of our lives are based off of the beliefs we have.

I have to thank Ruth Lera who inspired this thought: Our external world is merely a representation of our internal world. The external world impacts our internal world, and our internal world retracts to creates our external world. This dance that is played is one we can take ownership over. How we react, how we think, how we engage in our lives, where we direct our attention, becoming responsible for the imports and exports of our being.

For example, in April I sent in a resume and cover letter to an organization I was interested in working for. As time went by I saw the posting for an Assistant Manger position. Once I read through the position I thought, I can’t do that, I’m not going to apply for that job, I’m going to wait until the next position comes up.

But I emailed the Executive Director anyway to ask if she had received my resume, and if there were any interviews coming up. She said yes and that she wanted to bring me in for an interview. Long story short, I got the job! And it is one of those dream jobs where my passion connects to my work, and I have a good salary!

If I had stuck with my original belief, I would have never applied to the job and the following situation would have happened:

Belief: I can’t do that

Action: I won’t apply or put effort to move in that direction

Outcome: I didn’t get the position, and will continue looking for jobs where I believe I have the skills. Being unsatisfied with the position I get because I didn’t really try.

Can you see how our beliefs create our realities? We will only start to achieve what we believe is possible, and then sometimes life surprises us when the impossible happens. =) 

And of course, this doesn’t mean that once you believe you will achieve, but it does mean that once we start believing in our self worth, in the direction of our desires, we start moving in that direction and doors will open when the time is right. Intention, Intention, Intention. Allow yourself commitment, compassion, patience and joy for your journey. These will be great allies of yours.

Thus, start to notice your beliefs. Start to question them to see if they support the lifestyle you want.

Sometimes it is scary to challenge our beliefs because than we go into the realm of uncertainty, to realm of making possible mistakes. Explore your thoughts and continue to evolve as you find better beliefs to support your emerging realities. What beliefs supported you to getting to this point, might not be helping you to move into your next chapter.

We must thank them for what they have given us, and allow them to move on to create space for better possibilities. Also your belief system has been engrained over years of habits, so they might be difficult to undue, but TRUST you’ll never look back and think, “Man, I wish I stuck with those negative thought patterns, I’m so glad I never put effort into improving myself.” Imagine what freedom feels like, and recognize this is where your energy is directed towards. You can achieve this!

Our beliefs aren’t meant to harm us, often times they are there to keep us safe and secure, thus when challenging them we might feel a sense of lack of safety and security until we find a belief that supports a more whole, happy, and healthy us. We may be wondering– am I doing this right? Is this the right belief I should have? But time will tell.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself. Do I feel better about my situation? Am I proud of the life I am living? Am I moving towards a direction I am pleased with? Do I find myself enjoying life more? Am I able to open up and love more freely, to myself and others?  Am I choosing thoughts, actions, activities, friends, food, that nourish a happy, whole, and healthy me?

Beliefs impact so many different aspects of our lives, thus, get curious and creative with the questions you ask yourself, opening yourself up to a whole world of answers and solutions!  Explore what resonates with you, play in your imagination to see the realm of possibilities.

See if you can find a buddy, a support group, a community (an online community) anything to help you with this process. There are many out there who are feeling these same things, pursuing these same expeditions. You are never alone. Find the others, and connect to the beautiful support that only a community can give you. 

The changing of old unsupportive thoughts for new thoughts always takes effort, but it is one of the most important gifts we can give ourselves.

I relate this process to someone who eats McDonalds everyday. Explaining to this person, if they shifted their eating habits to things that are healthier, the rest of their life would be so much easier. But the person will complain, but that is so hard, it takes so much effort to buy groceries, to plan meals, to learn about healthy foods. That’s too hard for me, I am going to keep with McDonalds, it tastes good, it’s easy, and I know where all of the locations are.

Yes, it might take effort in the beginning to shift beliefs, but if you take baby steps towards a life you find more fulfillment in, it will become easier. It may be hard at the beginning to decide at the grocery store what to buy and what recipes to make, but soon this becomes second nature. It just takes time, commitment, compassion, joy and patience. 

Thus, allow the thought  “it’s too hard” to switch to–> I can do this! What small steps can I take to move in this direction? What direction do I want my habits, thoughts, and words to be? What small things could I do to make my life more enjoyable? If I believed I had thoughts that supported me, what would that look like? What beliefs aren’t serving me right now? What beliefs could I let go of in order to have space for more wholesome thoughts? Over time you will become instantly aware of thoughts that aren’t supportive and can become a master at reframing beliefs. Like a funky recycling center, old used up waste come in, and BEEP BEEP BOOP, you change them into shiny new pieces of art work. 

And by taking care of yourself, by exercising and eating healthy, it’s going to make the other things in your life easier– not harder– in the beginning– yes there will be more effort– but I can’t stress it enough- it will be worth it.

Now get out there, become in tune with yourself (yoga, running, qigong, meditation, journaling, voice memos), become curious about how you can practice supportive beliefs (journaling, mindfulness), find a supportive community, and feel the love and support that is all around us. 

I would love to hear your comments below about how you interact with your beliefs. Any articles or videos you have found helpful? Feel free to share!

Keep shining super stars so that your light may send sparks of joy into the world.

The Affects of Positive Thinking

1 Apr

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I have been thinking some great thoughts, and writing some great journals. But I haven’t been posting because I had this little thing called self-doubt creep in. I listened to a podcast a while back, and they had the best of intentions when they were talking about authenticity but it made me question myself.

On the podcast they were saying how people these days are being to authentic, being too vulnerable, and it comes across more so as a need for attention, rather than a courageous act of sharing. Which got me thinking.

Do I know what I am talking about? Is what I am writing about actually helpful? Am I being honest with myself? Am I doing this for attention or because I feel like what I have to share might help others who are in similar situations. There are so many other articles out there already, do I have any original ideas to contribute?

And after stopping at these thought obstacles for a while– I realized that indeed– these were thoughts. Thoughts are not facts, they are opinions, and can used to help or hinder. And this is exactly where I needed to start to transform my life from living to thriving.

Because of the wonders of meditation, I have allowed my mind to quiet down to a point where I can notice the varying levels of thoughts and question their place in my mind.

I often wake up with an overwhelming wave of anxious thoughts that demand me to answer Who, What, Where, When, and How Life questions. Berating me about what I am currently doing, and how I plan to get to where I want to go.

And I have allowed this to go on for far too long. Thinking that, this criticism is good, it is making me a better person, it is keeping me on track.

When really it is just cutting down my self-esteem, causing me to constantly be future thinking, and filled with anxiety and fear.

Now, I like to greet those critical thoughts with a good dose of self-compassion:

“Hey there thoughts, slow down, I really want to think thoughts that are supportive and encouraging because I love myself and I want to support my wellbeing. I realize how important it is to have positive thoughts because they affect my actions, and my words.

I know you are trying to look out for me, but it’s not working.

Let me be in joy, peace, and presence. Let me be positive light to those around me and myself. Let my thoughts show love and support. Allow me to let go of fear and stress and let in laughter and love. Allow me to show up in creativity, play, and authenticity. Now that we have that covered, let’s focus on these thoughts as they support a happy, whole, and healthy me. One step at a time.”

Sometimes I have to give myself a long speech, sometimes I only need to pause ask a short question like, “Wait, is this thought supporting me?”

And it doesn’t really matter how many times I have to divert my thoughts, just that I keep on going. Kind of like exercising, but you don’t get to the results of a six-pack. (But who really gets six packs anyways. People who know how to Photoshop, that’s who.)

Gandhi says it best:

Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.

But I want to know about you!

What pep talk helps you to divert your critical thoughts when they get the best of you?

What thoughts do you want to guide your life?

What thoughts have become obstacles to stepping into a fuller life of joy, peace, and presence?

On my bathroom mirror I posted this quote:

I ground myself in that which resides in all things and in me. I put faith in the unfolding of the path, with each step I am given an opportunity to learn how I can listen, how I can love, how I can be in my authentic self, how I can open my heart to joy, peace, and presence.

Allow me space for light and laughter, so I may allow others to do the same. Grant me courage and wisdom to see experiences as opportunities to expand my capacity for love and gratitude for all that is.

Breath In Being

Breath Out Being

Stay calm so you may listen to your heart that leads you.

Hope this helps! Comment below to let me know what other things you do to keep your thoughts positive and supportive.

Keep on shining on!

 

Reflection and Renewal based in Self Compassion.

26 Jan

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In the theme of reflecting on the New Year I started an activity inspired by Giselle Theriault and Drew Dudley. Last year I went to a 3-hour yoga event that granted myself time to review the past year and write intentions for the upcoming year. This gathering allowed me to define what I desired for the following year and giving me clarity to identify and seize these opportunities when they arise.

It’s like going to the grocery store with a shopping list. You are able to easily define what you are looking for, and get those things in your shopping cart!

These reflections and renewal exercises come in four parts, reflecting on the past, renewing desires for the future, putting action to events you want to accomplish, and putting action to emotions you want to cultivate.

Part One- Reflecting on the Past

I first started to review the year that had past. Thinking of all the things that had happened in the span of a year. I thought about the courses I completed, graduating from yoga teacher training, conferences I attended, vacations I enjoyed, jobs I started, and jobs I ended. Some points were stressful, other points were joyful, but in the end everything worked out.

Side note: There was a study done on students who were applying to different universities. The researcher would ask which university they wanted to attend more, and checked back in from time to time to see what actually happened and what their reaction was. Throughout the study the research found that no matter what university the student entered, the one they wanted or the one they didn’t want or if they didn’t get into any universities at all, 6 months after the choice was made, the participant felt happy about the situation they were in.

Which makes me want to give a high five to the power of being adaptable in situations and learning how to make the most of it. Making decisions can be hard, and there are many different tactics on how to go about it. You can read my other blog on making choices here. Reflecting on my year, I am proud of the lessons I learned, and so grateful to know in the darkest of my moments there was always a light that sparked a way.

Part Two- Renewing desires for the future.

The next phase of the activity, I asked myself what I wanted to let in for 2015. I wrote down things I wanted to accomplish like blogging, reading books, teaching yoga, meditating, facilitating Spoons workshops, and completing my website for Spoons. Intermingled in this list were emotions I wanted to cultivate. Emotions like joy, faith, confidence, compassion, humour, and presence. Similar to a blog I previously wrote about the divide between who I was being and what I was doing, I noticed the theme of the two divides were there.

I wonder if a better question to “What did you do today?” would be “How were you being today?” Putting the focus on how we were being with ourselves and others in the present moment, rather than the activities we accomplished.

Part Three: Putting action to events you want to accomplish

 

I took another crisp clean white paper and folded it in two. On the top of one side I wrote Event, and the other I wrote Action to Support.

Event Action to Support
Reading/Writing Reading each week for 30 minutes/writing a blog each week
Yoga Doing yoga 5 times a week
Meditation Meditating for 20 minutes a day

By doing this exercise I was able to take my desired accomplishment, break it down into an action that I could commit to. I gave myself a simple step that described the action needed for supporting the event I wanted to accomplish.

If you are interested in taking this further, I would suggest reading Danielle Laporte’s book, the Desire Map, which talks about asking yourself what emotions you want to feel by accomplishing your goals.

For example; my desired feelings are peace, presence, and joy; thus, I am pursuing goals that include meditation, yoga, reading, and writing. These types of practices help to ground goals into something that has a stronger purpose, a stronger “Why” for why you should stick to this goal. This also allows you to be aware if the goal you are making is not actually getting you the emotion you desire, and it allows you to see a different route you can take to accomplish this desired feeling. Really interesting! Check out her book to learn more. Also check out Simon Sinek for the power of why!

If you are interested in taking this one step further, print out a calendar, write out the events you want to accomplish, make a start date and an end date and track progress on your goals. Please be compassionate with yourself through this journey. There are days when you will do everything on the list and days when you do nothing. But in the end, please be gentle, change takes time, and mastery is in the practice. The most important thing is that you are loving yourself as you are, and as who you are becoming. If you could wake up each day with words of love and support towards yourself, thinking about things you are grateful for in your life, that would be beautiful. Check out this amazing Ted Talk for the power of finding happiness in our present situation.

Part Four: Putting action to emotions you want to accomplish

This event is pretty similar to the Part Three. I folded a lovely white sheet of paper in two, wrote the emotions I wanted to accomplish on the left hand side and what actions I was going to do to support this emotion on the right. I wrote things like:

Emotion Action to Support
Laughter and Joy Smiling, and finding/creating moments of play.
Faith Being aware of thoughts of doubt and switching them to thoughts of faith. And journaling to be aware of these thoughts.
Compassion Meditating on Loving Kindness, and reducing stress in my life.

From here I did two things, one, on the same calendar I had before I decided I wanted to focus on one emotion for two weeks, instead of trying to cultivate all the emotions at once.

I suggest focusing one at a time, and if two weeks is too short or too long for you, change the length for something that works for your soul and wellbeing.

The last activity I did, as inspired by Drew Dudley. Was to write out questions that if I answered them, I knew I was supporting that emotion I wanted to cultivate.

Emotion Question to support
Laughter and Joy Did I smile today? Did I find time to play? Did I make a joke? Did I find humour in a hard situation? Did I dance?
Faith Did I pray today? Do I trust in the process? Do I believe in myself and my abilities? Do I know I can overcome obstacles that come my way? Do I believe that the universe is here to support me?
Compassion Was I kind to myself? Was I kind to others? Did I help someone in need? Did I listen without judgement? Did I compliment someone?

In Drew’s method, he creates alarms on his phone and writes the question in the alarm label part of his phone, so that every three or four hours his phone goes off to remind himself of the emotion/value he wants to cultivate. In that moment when the alarm goes off with the question posted on his phone, it brings him awareness of the habits/thoughts he is supporting.

Another idea would be to have these questions posted on your bathroom mirror, or put them in your journal to reflect upon before bed. Which ever works best for yourself. As we are all individuals, try different situations out and see what works best for you.

The exercise really helped me to reflect on all the things I was doing and the growing interest to explore who I was being. It also presented me with some clarity of what I wanted to focus on.

Living in Toronto and being surrounded by innovators and entrepreneurs, the amount of causes to get attached to are endless. This process helped me identify the projects I want to pursue for the long term, and create well balance schedule that supports peace, presence, and joy. My mantra has been, I can’t do everything right now, but I choose a small number of things to do really well.

Throughout the journey of self-improvement and exploration, please be gentle. One cannot pull on a plant’s leaves to grow, instead it takes a healthy curiosity, self-compassion, and perseverance to create change.

But I believe in you. =)

If you have a reflection process that you enjoyed,  please leave it in the comments below! Would love to hear from you!

What Qualities are needed to be Fully Embraced

30 Jul

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What qualities are needed to be fully embraced
Without ego
Without control
Without desire for approval

Trust
Courage
Laughter
Admiration
Exploration
Compassion

I want to embrace you, everything of you, the pearls, the eels.
And I –
I want to be embraced

By the wind, the earth, by the fire, by my soul, by you, by what is real
Not because I need, but because I am
I am love
We are love
It is our highest nature

Sometimes I find myself trying to prove myself to you
Trying to change you for me
As if becoming this more perfect self will make you deserve my love more
Or that if I become a more perfect self
I will deserve love.

When did I make being perfect necessary for giving and receiving love?

Let go
Let go
Let Love