Category Archives: Journaling

Be You.

In today’s world it is often difficult to know who we really are.  Every day we are being told what we should like, what we should want and who we should be.  We are pulled in many different directions and try to live up to many different expectations, whether we put them on ourselves or are from those around us.  Society as a whole has created molds of what a successful life should look like and many of us struggle to fit into this mold.  Even when we do, often times we are not content with it.  Because of these various influences, we can lose ourselves and have a hard time understanding who we actually are.

Many of us do not take the time to question if the life we are living is true to who we are rather than a manifestation of expectations and fears.  When we do take a moment to reflect on this, often it is after many years of unhappiness and frustration.  The reasons for this vary but ultimately fear surrounds most of them.  It takes a large amount of courage and confidence to decide that you are not what others would like you to be and to live your truth.  However, the risk is worth it.  The only way to true purpose and happiness is to be who you truly are, not what you believe you should be.

If you feel that this applies to your life, that maybe you are not living your whole truth, than there are steps you can take to move in that direction.

1-   Stop Judging.  This applies to judging yourself as well as those around you.  When we judge others it is generally because there is insecurity within us.  Also, the simple act of judging others causes us to fear being judged.  It is extremely difficult to stand up for who you are if you are afraid of others judgments and if you are not accepting of who you are.  Next time you catch your thoughts drifting to judgments quickly assess the root cause and replace the judgment with acceptance and love.

2-   Listen to yourself.  If you don’t ask yourself who you really are, what you really want and who you would like to become than you will never know.  The key here is to be completely honest with yourself and listen to your gut.  If you head says “I want to be a doctor” but your gut cringes, it is most likely someone else’s dream for you that you are repeating.  Remove everyone’s expectations and just listen.

3-   Meditate or Journal regularly.  Getting in touch with who you are requires you to spend time alone getting to know yourself.  When you meet a new friend you have to spend time with them to know what they like, what they don’t like, what their values are, etc.  If you are disconnected to who you are then you have to reintroduce yourself.  Meditation or journaling is the best way to be completely honest with yourself without fear and judgment.

These are three steps to start with.  Although they may sound simple, they are not easy and take time and dedication. You will never find true peace or happiness if you are not living your truth.   So go ahead, take some time to get to know yourself and start being the beautiful person you truly are.

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Staying Connected

Most of us have had a moment when we feel like we have been living on auto-pilot.  Suddenly you feel completely disconnected from your own life and don’t really recognize it.  Some call this mid-life crisis, some go into career changes, and some watch this moment pass by and continue to live in misery.  Regardless of when you have this realization, it is a sad moment when suddenly you look in the mirror and aren’t sure who you are anymore.  Not sure how you got to this place you are in your life.  Not sure the last time you truly felt joy.   This moment is likely to cause complete panic.  Suddenly life feels short and there is a sense that we are suffocating.  This is not a great place and it doesn’t necessarily come only once in a lifetime.  The secret is to take control of your life before you get to this place.  Wake yourself up now and integrate the changes necessary to avoid this.

Although this may not sound easy, avoiding this moment in your life really doesn’t take very complicated steps.  Here are some suggestions you can integrate into your life daily to keep awareness and happiness the center of your life.

  1. Honor your passions–  This is key in staying connected to who you are.  We all have passions that range from huge things that we can make careers of, to small things that bring moments of joy.  These passions can be as simple as watching sunsets or as extensive as volunteering with an organization that your heart feels connected to.  Every time there is something that peaks your interest or makes you smile, you owe it to yourself to explore it further.  A good place to start is making a list.  Think of things you enjoy or did when you were a kid.  Build in a routine to experience these things as often as possible.  If you feel like you don’t have time, start with the small things.  Playing with the dog, taking a walk, smelling flowers.  We all have small things that feed our passions and integrating them will help you stay connected to who you are.
  2. Take a moment– Every day, take just a moment to take a few deep breaths and reflect on what you love in your life.  Slowing down for just this moment every day will help keep the balance.  This can be while you are in the shower, while you are driving or right when you wake up or go to bed.  Whatever fits into your life, taking a moment to reflect on all the gifts you have helps in making sure you are being present in your life.
  3. Prioritize your time– Usually when we turn on auto-pilot it is because we are no longer in control of our lives, instead it has taken control of us.  It is easy to get into this trap with over committing, not managing our time, not building in breaks, etc.  We don’t see that we have a choice, and get into the trap of “I have to…”.  Having the courage to prioritize what you are spending your time on and say no to the things you can’t fit in will be important in keeping control of your choices.

Start with these three steps and you will begin to feel more connected to who you are.  Remember to slow down and enjoy your life! 🙂

My Travel ABC’s

This won’t be a typical posting for me.  The below survey was passed on to me from another blogger.  I decided to do it because when we take the time to retrieve memories like this it is a form of journaling in a very fun way.  I couldn’t go through this without smiling and getting an incredible feeling of happiness with recalling some great experiences I am grateful to have had.  I went through with answering the first thing that comes to my mind.  Because of that, you will see some of the same places pop up because the places held incredible moments for me.   You will also see more photo’s than I typically post- I am not a photographer but love taking pictures so figured this is the perfect time to share.

I encourage all of you to take this whether you are an avid traveler or not.  It is a great way to smile and remember all the great things you have seen in your life.

A: Age you went on your first international trip: It was Canada and age is hard to say.  If I had to guess I would say 7 or 8, but I thought it was beautiful…even if some of it looked similar to my home in NY.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: Mountain Goat and I was around Melbourne Australia.  It is this great brewery that only locals really know about since it doesn’t even have a sign.

C: Cuisine (favorite): Without question I will say Pizza.  Majority of my diet is very healthy and light but I find it very important to balance so every now and then I allow myself an amazing piece of good NY style pizza.

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why: Not incredibly exotic but one of my favorite places to go is Sedona, AZ.  There is such an incredible peacefulness in the landscape that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.  I can immediately feed on the energy and life seems simple and serene.  Least favorite is L.A. (Sorry CA folks!).  I don’t really love cities in general; I am much more of a nature girl.  I also believe very much in keeping my life simple without too many things.  L.A. seems to be the very opposite of those two things, more so than anywhere else I have ever been.

A Taste of Sedona

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: In a rainforest in southern Australia.  Walking through it was so green, beautiful and untouched.  The age of the plants really put life in perspective.

F: Favorite mode of transportation: I don’t get to do it often enough but I love trains/lightrails/trams.  Watching the landscape and being able just enjoy is peaceful to me.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: The excitement taking it all in.  Just standing around looking at things you have never seen before in awe is something I will never get tired of.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: More like living in but the hottest is my current home- Phoenix, AZ.  A couple summers ago reaching that 117+ was hottest I have had.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where: Nothing in particular stands out.  I will keep thinking on this one but as a general theme sometimes the smallest towns have the little hidden places that are so grateful to have you.  I always love that.

J: Journey that took the longest: Flying back to NY from Australia.  Going from Melbourne to LA is a long leg, then cross the country to NY felt like it would never end.  I did get to read a ton though which I always appreciate.

K: Keepsake from your travels: I usually buy a journal if I can find one when I go somewhere.  Keeps the memory and is something I can use.  I have some stunning ones; the best are handmade 🙂

L: Let-down sight, why and where:  Sorry if this is lame but I got nothing for this one.  I try really hard to look at everything with no expectations and finding beauty in everything, so there is never a let-down.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:  I can’t pinpoint the exact time but growing up we were always on a car ride somewhere.  My father was a dog handler so we were always in the car on the weekends going to some city for a dog show.  May be unusual travel to most kids but I got to see a lot.  I still love road trips the best.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: Honestly I haven’t stayed in any really nice hotels.  I generally end up crashing wherever I can find within budget.  I do love staying in anything with a mountain view.

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling? Sunrises and sunsets.  I don’t even have to be traveling.  I have my phone and camera filled with beautiful ones I have seen on my way to work or walking the dog.  I could stand for hours looking at the colors- it is even better if I can get a mountain or tree in it.

Here is a photo from my phone at an airport. Amazing Sunrise!

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? Just got a new passport so starting at none…I will work on that though.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:  I don’t search for these things so it was on accident, but in a small town in Northern AZ on my way north there is a plaza with what claims to be the World’s Largest Kokopelli statue…It is a Native American deity that is very common here in the southwest.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: Scuba diving…. anywhere really but if you can get on a shark feeding it is amazing!

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: This would be really situational for me but if I think it is an experience I will never get a chance to do again I will happily pay for it.  Hot air balloon ride, skydiving, scuba diving, a show, etc.  If I think I will never get a chance to do that again in that location I will justify it.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: Probably the typical Grand Canyon ride around to all the view spots.  I usually try to not just experience things as a typical tourist but I was limited on time.  I did go back and hike down it a couple times so I would get more out of the location.

A friend we ran into hiking down the Grand Canyon

U: Unforgettable travel memory: I was able to go to a Picasso exhibit while in Melbourne.  He has always been my favorite artist and I was lucky they were having his work displayed at the same time I was there.

V: Visas, how many and for where? I have only traveled to Australia long enough to need a visa, and I got two.  I really try to avoid them if I can.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? I don’t know enough about wine to really do this question justice.  I can say I never liked Red wine until I had an amazing glass of Merlot in Canada.

X: eXcellent view and from where? From a hot air balloon in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  The sunrise was amazing and it looked like endless mountains with a touch of snow.  I have never seen anything so serene.

A View From A Balloon! 🙂

Y: Years spent traveling? This is really hard to answer.  It would be impossible to add up completely and I haven’t been able to spend a substantial amount of time traveling at once…yet. 🙂

Z: Zealous sports fans and where I was very fortunate to be in Melbourne downtown while they were playing in the World Cup.  It was an incredibly fun experience with the game playing through gigantic projectors on screens.  The amount of pride was amazing.

I’m supposed to pass this on to five other travel bloggers.  Since I am newer to this world, I don’t know five travel bloggers, or really know five total bloggers (especially if I take out the one that sent to me).  With that said I would like to pass on to any of the bloggers that follow me- but also to everyone that reads it.  As I said, it is a great exercise in recalling happy memories and that is critical in holistic wellness.

Keeping Your Resolutions #1

We are now 4 days in; how is it going keeping your new years resolutions?  When I say those three words to people I usually get one of two reactions.  People will either begin to state the commitments they have made to themselves or they will go into an explanation why they never make them because they don’t stick.  I actually love the idea of resolutions and always make them.  Whether it is as typical as “exercise more” or something that is really personal to the core of me as a person I set the intention.  I believe it is always good when I get a chance to evaluate my life and find ways to be a better person tomorrow than I am today.

With that said, as optimistic as you may be about the benefit you can get from resolutions, there has to be some level of acknowledgement to the fact that they often don’t last.  In looking at our challenges in maintaining change and creating new habits, there are common pitfalls that we run into.  If you are truly looking to make real change in your life, addressing some of these issues may help.  There are ways to work through the typical detailers that may be keeping you from your goal and I would like to use my next few posts to address some of these.   Although this is all focused on new years, this information can help with any change you try to make, any time of the year.

Why this matters so much

When we make commitments to ourselves and don’t keep them we cause significant damage to our self-esteem.  You might not realize it, but everybody has an inner critic.  That little voice inside that recognizes the flaws you may have and feeds on them.  It is the voice of your fears.  It is that voice that consistently calls out your failures and exploits them.  It holds on to every voice from the past that gives confirmation to every negative thing you see in yourself and makes sure to bring it up as often as possible.  No matter how healthy your self-esteem is or how much you love yourself, this judgement exists on some level.  Keeping it under control is a challenge and it can be detrimental to every improvement you try to make in your life if you give it the power.

When you break a commitment to yourself the critic will bring it up every time you try to make another change in your life.  It is very powerful ammunition that it will use whenever possible.  In regards to new years this fact is really important to understand and acknowledge.  The changes that we turn into “resolutions” tend to be connected to some of our deepest insecurities so it is even more damaging when we don’t follow through.  Being as committed to yourself as you would be to others is important in helping your self-esteem and in making change sustainable in your life.

So why do we break these commitments to ourselves, particularly at this time of the year? There are a many reasons for this but some tend to be more common than others.  Here is a short list of typical reasons that I will be addressing through the next few blogs:

  • We don’t work through the emotional energy tied to the bad habit
  • We struggle to keep it positive and can’t sustain the initial motivation
  • We try to make gigantic changes with one big leap and they should really be taken in small steps
  • We build up to “the day” and the minute we stumble after that we give up hope and let go

Any of these resonate with you?  If so my next few posts may help you.  To get started, think through your resolutions.  Answer these few questions (works best if you write them down) then watch for my next blog for next steps!

  • Why is this change important to you?
  • What is the steps you have committed to take?
  • Why has this been a struggle for you in the past?
  • What is the end result you are looking for?

Happy new years to all!!!! 

Trusting Yourself

We spend a good portion of our lives making decisions.  We make small ones constantly regarding what we eat and how to dress.  We make several huge ones throughout our life including what we do with our lives, whether we will get married or have children.  In all of this deciding, there is a tendency look externally for answers.  We research and read articles.  We ask friend and family their thoughts.  We find experts and hang on their every word hoping there will be a magic answer.  As we slowly unravel life’s moments we tend to reach out for any guidance we can find.

Although researching and getting others thoughts and opinions isn’t by any means a bad thing, the risk of losing our inner voice should be acknowledged.  The more we allow outside influences to take part in our decision-making processes, the less we listen to our instincts.  Why do we do this?  When it comes to decisions in our lives we don’t always trust ourselves.  We don’t listen to the nagging feeling or little voice in our head.  We ignore the feeling of anxiety or panic that is beginning to creep up.  We ask others often- “What do you think I should do?”  We ignore everything screaming inside of us and default to the “I can’t make a decision” or “I don’t know what to do”.

The simple fact is, we already know everything we need to know.  The answer is right inside of us.  When we allow ourselves to be consumed by others opinions we disconnect from what our bodies and feelings tell us.  We rationalize until we no longer feel.  We allow out intellect to block those precious moments when the answer just comes to us.  Having confidence in our decisions, true confidence, can only come if it is something that internally resonates with us.  It is critical we reconnect with ourselves to find the answers instead of searching for it anywhere else.

The next time you have to make a decision or a change in your life, try some of these techniques BEFORE you go asking around for everyone’s opinions:

Meditate on it.  I know there are still many people that cringe at the thought, but lets face it, sitting by yourself in silence is the best way to hear what is going on inside.  Sit with your eyes closed and take a few deep breaths.   Ask the question and wait.  Notice any feeling, thought or movement you might experience.  They are all pieces to the puzzle and should be listened to.

Journal.  Often one of the simplest things is to write the question down and then write everything that comes to mind after that.  Don’t judge it or think it over.  Just write.  No one ever has to see this paper but you and if you let it all come out you may be surprised at how freeing and calming the process can be.   You may find yourself working through many different possibilities and it is important to get it all out; no matter how impossible or foolish your inner critic may say it is.  Then you can read through it all to find that right answer for you.

Look for Support.  For some people, talking it through is the best way to have that moment of- “Wow, did I just say that?”  The key here is to do this with someone that won’t give you the answer or their opinion, but help you talk through the problem and dig into your feelings on it.  A close friend, a spouse, a professional coach or counselors are all great options.

See what comes up for you.  Then take that information and well thought out plans to make things happen.  You have the answers inside of you; the key is finding a way to let them out.  Once you give yourself time to process and hear the inner voice, it may be easier to trust and have confidence in what comes out.  Believe in the simple fact that you know what is the right thing for you.

Allowing Creativity

This is the perfect time of year to stretch your creativity and fulfill a long dormant part of yourself.  Whether it is decorating for the holidays or making a personal gift for someone special now is the time to find your inner artist.

Why is this important?  Creating things is a great way to express our spirit and get back in touch with ourselves.  In today’s world we tend to get disconnected so easily with technology, the business of day to day life and the demands being put on us to be everywhere at once.  Giving yourself some time to reconnect is so important; and what better way the a little bit of decoration or crafts.  The more cynical side of you is saying that you aren’t an artist.  That you maybe don’t have a creative bone in your body.  Well, I don’t agree.  Every child loves to color, paint, glue and mold.  This is instinctual and something that brings great joy.  Think back to those days before you felt judged or criticized…you were creative and that talent is still inside you.  Acknowledge that child inside that wants to come out and be expressive.  Let go of the fears and allow the creative energy flow!

What now?  Well- here are some ideas to get you moving…

Decorate- If it isn’t for the holidays; you can still leverage the inspiration of the season and pick a part of your home you have been meaning to rearrange or paint.  Take advantage of the sales out there and get something that you see as pure beauty and make room in your home for it.

Write- You can send someone a letter; write your child a silly poem; leave notes in hidden places expressing your love to your spouse; journal about your favorite art project when you were a child

Crafts- There are many great holiday decorations you can make and to get inspired all you need is to type into your browser.  On many sites online you can find easy directions for home made masterpieces you can do solo, with friends or with your kids.

Make a gift- In a time when we are standing in line for days to get Black Friday deals it would be great nourishment to your spirit to give a gift with love.  You can make a photo collage; decorate a frame with a heartfelt quote in it; decorate a beautiful box you can fill with pieces of papers titled “100 reasons why I love you”; etc.!  The possibilities are endless!

Feeling inspired yet? Start jotting down ideas and let it the brainstorming take over.  If you still aren’t sure solicit help from close friends, go walk around a craft store or poke around online.  Something brilliant will come and your spirit will do the rest! 🙂

Forgiveness

“The hatred you’re carrying is a live coal in your heart- far more damaging to yourself than to them.” ~ Lawana Blackwell 

I have found the word forgiveness has come up again and again in the last few months.    As a society we are evolving.  We are beginning to see that fulfillment and happiness comes from a deep place of spirituality.  In order to evolve this aspect of ourselves we must release from the past and shift to the present.  One key component of this is forgiving others as well as ourselves.

Often when this topic comes up with clients there are a few things that happen.  Often there is the denial of thinking- I have moved on, I have let that go.  Next, our resentful side of ego comes out and we begin to think- they don’t deserve our forgiveness.  We get angry at even the thought.  Lastly, the pain begins to come up and the defensive walls we cling to begin to rise.  As we continue to dig deeper one key message that I continue to state is- “not forgiving is hurting the other person far less than it is hurting you.”  This is especially true with those that have passed on or we don’t speak to anymore.  Our grudge isn’t affecting them in the slightest.  But it is affecting us.  We are continuing to punish ourselves for others actions.  When it is looked at in that perspective; it seems insane.  Someone hurts us and we do more damage by holding on to the pain and not forgiving.  That tension in your neck, the fearful reactions you have, the frustration you are holding in your heart- all symptoms of needing to forgive and set yourself free.

Regardless of the pain it may cause, we struggle to forgive.  Our anger and ego keeps us focused on the fact that they don’t deserve it.  Regardless of what was done to you, forgiveness is possible.  It is something you can choose and work on so that you don’t continue to hurt yourself.

Here are some simple exercises you can use that will help release you from this pain:

Journaling– Sit and write.  Just write.  Think about the situation or person and write whatever comes to mind, without judgement.  This will help to energetically release the pain.

Write a letter– Write down everything you want to say to that person in a letter.  It doesn’t matter if you send it, it is getting it written so you can move through the process of releasing.  If you chose not to send it, burn it to avoid the temptation to revisit.

Meditation– So much of our emotions can be handled by living it out in our minds.  Envision yourself saying to that person everything you want to say.  If it is a childhood trauma, picture yourself as that child releasing everything you have held on to

Affirmations– This is an easy and powerful technique that allows you to affirm your intent and shift the focus of your energy.  Examples may be- “I forgive those that hurt me and enter into a state of peace” ; “I am a being of forgiveness and send love to those that have hurt me” ; “I love and forgive all around me without reservation”.  Say your affirmation to yourself often throughout the day.  If you can’t remember leave it written in places you will see it often or set reminders on your cell phone.

All of these techniques allow you to release and forgive without involving the other person.  It is necessary in times when the person isn’t around but ideally talking it through is the most effective method.  All these methods can also be used to forgive yourself.  Although it may be temporarily painful to visit this memory- it is much less damaging to yourself than if you continue to move through life with the negative energy attached to grudges.