Archive | April, 2014

The Showdown! Being vs. Doing

25 Apr

24

There was a stage in my life where I validated myself through doing.

I thought that I could create my value through accomplishment.

Working two jobs, going to school full time, planning/organizing events, president of the Social Justice Club, creating a recycling system for the three dorms of Thompson Rivers University, and planning a trip to Guatemala.

I was constantly on the go, constantly getting sick, constantly ignoring my body so that I could achieve recognition for everything I was doing. Saying yes so that people would appreciate me thinking that could fill this validation void I had.

Like a bucket with a hole, I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel whole. 

Then came the stage where I did nothing, where I was so burnt out that I said no to almost everything except school and work. However, that isolated me because I wasn’t part of a community, nor was I feeling passionate about life.

Along comes my study aboard in Italy. Sweeping me away all the expectations of things I thought I needed to do, the people I thought I needed to please, and the self induced stress of uncertain success.

Italy gave me the lesson of love and how to find pleasure in life.

I learned the art of creating moments of simplistic joy found on a park bench with a cup of gelato.

From there I learned how to go from loving what is in life, to loving myself.

I started focusing on who I was being while I was doing things in my life.

By focusing on being I could connect to what I needed in life, how I was interacting with people, and make what I was doing, meaningful.

I am now able to recognize when I am doing something for external validation.

I am proud to be able to find value in myself through knowing I being the person I am proud to be.

Questions on Being:

1. What do I need in my life to be healthy?

2. What does a healthy schedule look like for me? (This creates a foundation for your growth)

3. Who is someone I look up to? What impresses me about them?

4. What are personal characteristics that I am proud of? (You can write them down, make a vision board, or make a scrap book of things you love about yourself)

5. What do I want to improve? What small step can I take each day to improving one item on this list? (Remember to have patience, and compassion for yourself- loving who you are and who you are becoming)

6. How can I connect to gratitude, presence, and joy in myself and with others?

 

Life is a Series of Beautiful Stages

25 Apr

IMG_9075

I had an epiphany the other day. It was a Sunday night at around midnight, I had a beer in hand, no work the next day and was reflecting on the recent days before when stress was getting the better of me. Stressed about where I was and where I thought I should be.

But Sunday, this Sunday, I had spent it in the present, doing nothing related to all the work that needed to be done. Smiling at what currently is.

In this moment, I realized that life is done in stages.

There is a stage for childhood a stage for your teenage years, a stage for adulthood. And in each of these stages I looked forward to the next stage, without enjoying the joys of this current stage.

For example, when I was 10 I couldn’t wait until I was a teenager, when I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to drive, when I was in high school I couldn’t wait to be in University, when I was in University I couldn’t wait to get a job, you can see where this is going.

But in each of these stages there are such beautiful things to be grateful for.

When I was 10 I could play in the forest until it got dark, making pretend scenarios of trolls and goblins. Then I came home and enjoyed fabulous meals prepared by my mom.

When I was a teenager I got to explore the realms of what it meant to be me, trying out different character traits to see what fit.

When I learned to drive I spent late nights jumping in puddles on a rainy day, sharing music that soothed the soul, or talking till the wee hours of the morning about love, fear, and desire.

When I was in University there was so much to discover, so many countries to travel, anything was possible. Like detectives my friends and I investigated the riddles life presented before us, debated thoughts from essay we were exploring, and comforted each other in relationships we were trying to figure out.

It is true, I don’t have a house, a career, a loving husband, but what I do have is what I need in this stage of life.

I am grateful to be able to take naps on a random weekday, and take time off to visit my family in Tacoma.

I am grateful for the time to teach yoga on Mondays, and go out on a Thursday night to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

I am grateful to have the time to learn what I need to be healthy, happy, and present.

I am grateful to know 5 different ways to make a sandwich, and 10 different ways to make pasta.

I am grateful for the opportunity to live with three outstanding women.

I have faith, determination, and patience, that what I am working towards will come to fruition, but in the mean time, wow, this is a beautiful life.

Questions:

What things will we miss if we keep on thinking of what we don’t have, what we want, what is currently not in our stage?

What are you grateful to have in your current stage in life?

How will you appreciate the present?

How will you cultivate patience, simplicity, and presence so you can connect with abundance?

8 Tips to More Energy

25 Apr

photo 1

How can I have a more positive energy?

Here are a couple of my ideas.

1. Exercise at least three times a week.

This is so important in so many ways. If this is the only thing I commit myself to: my sleep, my mood, and my thoughts will improve.

2. Journal at night time.

Recording Highs/Lows/Lessons and will help me digest my thoughts for the day, helping me become aware about my thoughts and emotions.

3. Treat yourself Day.

I am going to give myself a day once a month to focus on questions I need to ask myself, things that I want to explore, a recovery day. A day where I wake up in the morning, do yoga, go to a coffee shop, think, explore write. If I don’t schedule out this time for myself, I feel drained, as if I am doing all these things for other people and not giving myself the time I need to recharge.

4. Go for the Healthy Option.

You are what you eat, food is the fuel of your life! I am becoming more aware of what I am eating. I always thought I was a healthy eater because I knew what was healthy, without putting action what I know. Recently I have been on auto drive, eating things that were convenient rather than what would be the healthiest choice. I still will allow myself comfort food every now and again, but I like to imagine, “What will I feel like after I eat this?” It tends to help encourage me to go for the healthy choice rather than instant gratification.

5. Set up a good morning routine.

It does suck to wake up early, but I feel so proud when I started my day off well, and I am the first one at work. If I wake up now or 30 minutes from now, I will still be tired. But if I wake up now, I have time to do meditation and yoga stretches which will start my day off on a good foundation.

6. Getting enough sleep.

This is a crazy idea, getting to bed on time. But sleep affects so much of a person’s life. Inadequate sleep can affect mood, metabolism, immune system, and energy levels. If I want to live the best life, I need to take care of my body. Yes, there are some days when I will go to bed at 1 or 2 am, but let’s try to make those the exceptions.

7. Let go of negative thoughts.

It isn’t surprising how much our thoughts affect our mood, relations with others, and energy levels. I expanded in another post about tips how curbing the negativity.

Meditation is a great way to improve supportive and compassionate thoughts. There are many different ways to meditate. Find out which way works for you!

Another way to improve positive thoughts is to focus on gratitude. At nighttime I have a gratitude journal that I write down five things I was thankful for during the day.

8. Connecting with Presence: 

I am currently working on trying to enjoy the first bite, the first drink, the first breath, the first hello — giving myself presence, and gratitude for what currently is, and what will be. Jack Cornfield wrote an inspiring and eye opening book called A Path with Heart. 

“When we let go of our battles and open our heart to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment. This is the beginning and the end of spiritual practice. Only in this moment can we discover that which is timeless. Only here can we find the love that we seek. Love in the past is simply memory, and love in the future is fantasy. Only in the reality of the present can we love, can we awaken, can we find peace and understanding and connection with ourselves and the world.” 

Having a good life isn’t easy, but it sure beats the alternative!

Now go cultivate some positive energy like a curious and adventurous carrot farmer!

You’re too Lovely to let Negative Thoughts get to you.

25 Apr

macro-photography-snails-vyacheslav-mishchenko-4

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Shakespeare

The Overview of Negative Thoughts

Thoughts are like different packs of wolves. One pack for negative thoughts, another for supportive thoughts, another for creative thoughts, etc.  At first they are puppies, small and harmless, but these mind wolves feed on the number of times you think about them. The more you think about them, the more you feed them, the stronger they get.

Soon one pack of unruly terrors will have full control of your brain, affecting your decisions, relationships, and energy level.

BUT DON’T WORRY! There is hope! Through acknowledging you have these thoughts, being aware of them when they happen, and deciding to think in a different manner, habits can be formed that reduces the negative spiral.

What the bleep do we know is a great movie that explains about how our thoughts create mental path ways in our brains. If one continues to feed critical thoughts, their default setting will be set on criticism. It take patience and determination to improve our thoughts, but it is attainable and worth it!

Feed what serves you, acknowledge that not all your thoughts are your own, and send compassion and support to yourself during this journey.

Small Steps to Creating Better Thought Habits

Being conscious of something is the first step to change.

Often I find myself thinking about past conversations (good/bad/boring) I had with people. When I am able to notice this I refrain from beating myself up about what I was thinking and become curious. “Huh, funny I am thinking about that. What is something more interesting/positive I could think about?” or “Huh, odd that came up, what would give me presence, joy and gratitude right now?” This helps for thoughts I don’t care to have that don’t need a lot of problem solving to resolve.

By working on this, it leaves my  mind open for supportive and compassionate thoughts to enter, giving myself more time and energy.

Ask your Thoughts Questions

Another great resource can be found through Kate Byron who encourages us to ask four questions to ourselves when we notice a thought is bothering us.

1.) Is it True (Yes or no. If no, move to 3)

2.) Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)

3.) How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4.) Who would you be without the thought?

It is important to be aware that by focusing on positive thoughts we are not A.) ignoring larger problems that need our attention to resolve or B.) beating ourselves up for thinking a negative thought.

When dealing with the mind, things are hard to define in the black and white, figure out what tools work for you to make your life more enjoyable.

Lastly Mary Hynes from Tapestry did a great interview with Daniel Smith has a great book out called “Monkey Mind: A Memoir on Anxiety.” Where he uses similar techniques to Kate Byron to ask yourself questions about if your thoughts are true, if they serve you, and how they can be improved.

Best of luck on your adventures and may you find the sun shining in your face even on cold windy days! 

Questions for Personal Awesomeness

25 Apr

11160575_10101329982805801_2114190122701589532_n

“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates 

Sometimes have a good question unlocks the answer. I found these following questions helpful when I was trying to figure out what I wanted in my life. These are taken from various people through great conversations. Take some time to treat yourself with a little reflection, creating the path you desire. Your life will thank you. =)

1. Are you living your best life?

2. What does your best life look like?

3. Are you being your best self?

4. What does your best self look like?

———

5. When have you felt most alive? What were you doing? Who were you around?

6. Can you incorporate any of those activities or people into your current life?

From Coach Billy http://madeyouthink.ca/

———

7. Make a list of characteristics you admire in someone.

8. Highlight the top three you value.

9. What are steps you can take to make those characteristics a habit. Start with one characteristic, and go from there.

10. Make a list of your own values and next to those values make a question that when you answer it, you will know you are living that value. Example: I value integrity. Question: Am I proud of everything I did today? Example: I value showing appreciation. Question: Have I told someone a compliment to their face today? Example: I value being grateful. Question: what are five things to be grateful for today?

From Drew Dudley http://nuanceleadership.ca/

———-

11. What is your purpose in life? Try to make a statement saying My purpose in life is to—– so that—-. Example My purpose in life is to strive towards living my best life, so that I can help others to do the same.

From Stephen Shedletzky http://www.inspiraction.ca/

——–

12. Where will I be in five years? Sit down and think about where you will be in five years. Divide a paper in four parts : Health/Wealth/Social/Career. Close your eyes and imagine all of these factors- a place where everything is possible.

After you have thought holistically about all of these factors, open your eyes and start writing down your thoughts, in the different sections.

Next- make a plan- If this is your five year dream, work backwards to see what you need to do in 4 years, 3 years, 2 years, 1 year, right now to reach where you would like to be in five years. Break down the large goal into small steps that you can do each day.

From Matt Corker http://www.mattcorker.com/blog/

“You are going to live the next five years of your life anyways, might as well live it working in the direction of your dreams.
Having a good life is not easy, it takes a lot of work, both mentally and physically. The other option is to be unsatisfied with your life. Thus, out of these options, let’s build up the strength and see how great your life can become.”

Later if you are a visual person (or just like arts and crafts) you can create a vision board of what you are moving towards as a reminder that this hard work is worth it. Put focus on the actions you are taking towards this dream, rather than believing that if I dream something it will happen. The habits you make today impact the destiny of your future.

In all this change, in all this improvement, please remember to be gentle. Try to avoid destroying yourself into perfection. Focus on loving yourself for who you are, and who you are becoming.

Best of luck on this grand adventure!