Tag Archives: change

The Funny Thing About Time…

Around 10 am this morning I was sitting on my couch, enjoying an iced coffee, and feeling very grateful for a relaxing Sunday morning. As I reflected on the morning I thought about all I had accomplished, yet felt very calm and content throughout the whole morning.

hourglassBy this time I had meditated, cuddled with my daughter for a bit, fed my daughter breakfast and two snacks, ate breakfast, got my daughter and myself dressed and ready for the day, went on a hike and took photos, did a few sun salutations and yoga poses, read 2 chapters in Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East, changed a few diapers, drove through a car wash, vacuumed and cleaned the inside of my car, went grocery shopping, fed the dogs, completed some households tasks (washing and putting away dishes, washed a load of laundry, picked up toys, etc.), and sat and read to my daughter.

Considering that I can easily remember a time when I wasn’t even out of bed by this time, I would count this as a very productive morning. I also can remember many mornings when I did much less and felt stressed, rushed and frustrated. So what was the difference with this morning, when I did quite a bit, but felt relaxed and calm?

My state of mind.

Time is a tricky thing. Often we feel it is limited and probably use it as one reason we can’t get to things we want to do. When we look at our long to-do list, and focus too much on the past or future, time seems to shrink. It moves quickly, keeping us hurried and scattered, trying desperately to get as much crammed in as possible.

In today’s world we often feel hurried and overwhelmed by all that we “have to do”. This perspective leaves us moving through minutes, hours, days, month and years at a rapid pace. The tragedy in this is that we miss truly experiencing so much and never seem to do what we want to do.

However, we can make time expand by changing the way we think. When we focus on this current moment and simply glide from one activity to the next without looking too far ahead or letting our mind get too focused on the past, time seems to move much slower. We can accomplish more than we ever thought we could and truly enjoy it.

Time also feels different when we prioritize the things we want to do. While we may have to clean the house, we can take a moment to do something we find enjoyable like reading, creating or sitting with those we love. Many hobbies or activities we truly enjoy can be done around the things that are our responsibility but not our favorites. Even if it is just a few moments, sprinkling in the activities that inspire us can truly pull us back into the moment and make time move a little slower.

The way we perceive and approach time makes a difference in how it feels to us. Using a practice of present moment awareness can create a feeling of endlessness to the moment we are in. This will ultimately lead to being more productive and can give room to add in the things we love.

Advertisements

Are you missing the conversation?

I recently heard this incredibly beautiful poem from Ingrid Goff-Maidoff that caused me to stop and see how I was living.

God spoke today in flowers,

and I, who was waiting on words,

almost missed the conversation.

Aside from the beauty in the sheer simplicity of this poem, the stunning truth shook me to the core. She has captured here the tragedy we live so much of our life in – not seeing the beauty in what is because of what we are expecting.

Our tendency to miss much in life is centered on our expectations of how things “should” be. We wait and wait for things to show up in our desired form and become more and more frustrated that they haven’t come. All the while there is beauty and perfection all around us that we are not seeing.

We, of course, do this with God often. We pray and get frustrated when our requests don’t come when we want them to. Often, we are so tied to “how” we want our prayers answered that we don’t see the possibility in what is coming our way. We are waiting for God to speak to give us peace, instead of seeing the message in the flowers. The divine plan, however, is much more beautiful and complex than the human brain can comprehend.

I often sit in awe reflecting on even the most minuet details in my life and seeing how different everything would have been if things were shifted just slightly.   Every aspect of my life has lead to this exact second to be unfolding exactly how it is, especially those moments I didn’t like so much. I wanted certain things and have them, but never would have expected them to come the way they did. This is the beauty of being open to possibility and seeing what is in our path, instead of trying to design every minute.

We don’t only do this with God, however, we also do this with people in our lives. We are always trying to get someone to react the way we want them to or see things our way. One of my favorite lines in the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi is that we ask ”Grant that I may not so much seek… to be understood, as to understand”. We sometimes forget that no one on this earth perceives things exactly like we do. We all have different experiences that lead to how we think and act. We may find many that agree with us, but they don’t see it “exactly” as we do. Instead of trying to understand them, we want them to understand (and act) as we do. The world would be a very boring place if this wish came true.

Unfortunately our partners and family often get the brunt of this. How often do we get upset with a partner because they didn’t show us love in a particular way? The gift wasn’t thoughtful enough, they didn’t respond right to our concern, or they weren’t making us feel loved. All the while, we miss the subtle ways that they show us love, in their way. We are so busy looking at how we feel, we miss seeing how they are giving.

The shift from seeing the possibility of what is, versus living in our head of expectations can create a brand new world for us. It takes really no time, just awareness of our thoughts and the intent of seeing things as they are, while letting go as we expect them to be.

Be open to what is now – a simple, yet beautiful practice that will ensure we do not miss the conversation.

My Thoughts on this Presidential Election (and they may surprise you)

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and remembered why I avoid it during “political high times.” I got so frustrated. I shut my computer off and declared, “That’s it. I’m leaving Facebook till December!” I realize this is not productive or necessary since I am simply allowing what I saw affect me.  But it caused my heart to hurt and I truly wanted it to stop.

What did I see? Hate – and lots of it. I saw dozens of posts that were referring to the election and only one was referring to a candidate that the individual supported. All the other posts were mocking or throwing anger towards the candidates that they didn’t support.

While I understand this isn’t new in politics, or human behavior for that matter, I feel as though social media is a powerful tool we are abusing. Before these tools, we had to wait till we saw a neighbor or a coworker to share our frustrations with presidential candidates and it stayed within our social circle. Now we can create hurtful images and it touches thousands. Basically, we have become uncontrolled bullies on the playground while sitting at home in our pajamas.

I have gotten caught up in it myself. While I don’t typically post about politics, I have had my share of laughs at a comedian mocking a candidate or silently cheered when I see someone post something I agree with, even when it was hateful.

I have thought a lot about why this bothers me so much and it boils down to three things. First, I believe each and every candidate is a person and whether we agree with them or not, they share common humanity and deserve our compassion for that reason alone. We can state that we disagree with them in a loving way without personally attacking them as people. We want to teach our children kindness and effective ways to handle disagreement; this is a perfect time to lead by example. When we give into hateful thoughts, we not only cause suffering in others by our words, but also ourselves. This isn’t necessary and we do not need to cause so much pain. Even if the candidates are doing this to each other, we don’t have to participate.

Believe

The second reason is that we, as a society, have no idea how powerful we are. We have a tendency to push hard against what we don’t want, not realizing we are powerful creators.   The things we focus on, whether we like them or not, will come. Hate has powerful energy behind it and using it as a tool to “stop” something isn’t effective. We need to steer our focus towards what we do believe in if we want to see a positive change in this world. We feel better when we look at what we like, instead of what we don’t and this is amplified if we share in a positive way.

The third reason is very personal. I haven’t yet determined who I am voting for and am doing thorough research on the candidates. I would absolutely love to hear my friends, families and those I follow tell me who they believe is the right candidate and why. The truth is, I have no idea. For many of them I know who they don’t want and why, but that doesn’t tell me who will make the changes they want to see. Others mocking a candidate won’t sway my opinion, but I may be convinced if I hear a reasonable reason to support one. If anything seeing this hate causes me to feel compassion to each candidate because, no matter how thick their skin is, words hurt and can cause suffering.

We can do this differently. Please take this as an invitation. Use this blog post, or my Facebook page to share who you support and why. If you aren’t sure, do some research and share views that you agree with for each candidate. I will not allow any negative comments directed towards others or the candidates.

Lets see if we can shift the political tendencies and approach this election and love and compassion instead of hate and anger.

So you didn’t win the lottery…Here’s the good news

This time last week lottery pandemonium was taking hold of us. As the pot was now estimated to be at it’s largest ever, most people jumped at the chance to play their luck. It was on the news, radio and on the tip of everyone’s tongue. We all knew the odds but somebody had to win.

The excited energy was in the air and we all were breathing it in. The best part for me wasn’t the chance at an extremely large amount of money or the fact that somebody (or several somebodies) life would change. The best part was the dreaming.

The hope of millions of dollars gave everyone the ability to dream without restrictions. As my husband said “You are just limited to anything you’ve ever wanted.” Peop
le all around took this opportunity to dream, and dream big.Conversations about quitting jobs, giving money to family, buying a dream home and helping the community was everywhere you looked.   Faces light up at the glimmer of hope when they opened their mind to this opportunity.

It was beautiful to share in this mass dreaming. The there was a light, hopeful energy and it was intoxicating. Then Thursday morning the majority went back to their daily lives with a sting of disappointment.

dream big

While most of us (myself included) didn’t get any money, we did gain something even more valuable. We gained a clear understanding of what we truly want. Without any restrictions, we explored how our lives would be different. We know where we truly want to spend our time, our energy and our attention.

Just because this didn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t mean it can never happen. We can choose to look at the world with an unrestricted, hopeful perspective; keeping each and every lottery dream alive. It may start smaller but you can still work towards these dreams and feel the same satisfaction.

For example, if you wanted to help your family you can start with giving your sister gas money instead of the car you dreamt of. If you wanted to quit your job so you have more time with your family, make a point to be completely present when you are with them or give them just 5 more minutes a day. It may sound silly to start so small, but momentum will build.

So I challenge you to not let this opportunity pass. Write them down, keep them in your thoughts and let your dreams come to you however they can.

A New Year, A New Kind of Resolution

The New Year brings such energy and excitement. While I am a firm believer that you can change anything in your life at any moment, there is something about everyone getting a fresh start at the same time. We can choose what to bring with us from the previous year and what to leave. We hear about everyone’s desires for this year to be the best yet, while they reflect on the previous year. The energy of the whole world doing this in unison is undeniable and a great time to make changes.

I spent this year similar to others. I spend New Years Eve thinking about the previous year. I celebrate some of the major and exciting changes and I consider the things that no longer serve me. Before that clock strikes twelve, I put little thought into the upcoming year and instead, use it as an opportunity to release. New Years day is all about moving forward. As with most, my resolutions typically have been goals that I want to achieve. Exercise more, lose weight, get a new job, start a new program, walk the dogs more, finally finish the growing pile of books I want to read, etc. This year though, I am doing something different.

This year isn’t going to be about what I am going to do. This year is about who am I going to be on a day-to-day basis.

Each of us has the benefit of having an internal guide letting us know we are being true to who we really are. Our souls can guide us from major decisions to everyday interactions, if we let it. When we open to the possibility that we have all the answers we need, then we can begin listening to our internal self. Following our hearts and instincts, we are opened to a world where we respect and love ourselves fully. We don’t act in ways that are aimed at pleasing others, but rather at what is right for us.

We have all had that taste of freedom, love, and passion that comes from following our true self. It is when our lives have effortlessly worked out. It is when we have been excited to move forward. It is when we have felt compassion for ourselves. When done consistently, all of these things benefit everyone around us and it can’t help but be contagious. And what the world truly needs right now are people who love deeply, have compassion for themselves and others and treat themselves like the divine creation they are.  This can only come if we each follow our souls guidance and act in a way that is aligned with our true selves.

So this year, my resolution is not a list of goals but one simple sentence: I am going allow myself to be my true self, in all moments and all interactions.

Will you join me?

With immense love and gratitude – April

Why I can’t remember my age…

With my birthday a few weeks away I am often answering the question “How old are you going to be?” Each time I find myself having to calculate it just as I usually do when I am asked about my age. I find peoples reaction to this very interesting, as many people don’t understand how it is possible for me not to know it immediately. To be honest, I haven’t known my age for a long time and the reason is very simple.

I don’t really care how old I am. 

Age has truly no meaning to me. It doesn’t define me, explain anything about who I am or give any insight into my worth as a person. I also care very little how old others are. In truth, I actually look forward to getting older. Looking at my life now compared to when I was younger, I wouldn’t trade it.

I love the knowledge and experience I have gained over the years. I am more empowered, courageous and confident than I was even last year, let alone ten or more years ago. Too often we look to aging like it is a time bomb, ticking away to our last day. In actuality aging is a beautiful process of growth if we choose to see it that way.

We can have less limits to chasing our dreams as we get older, not more. We generally have more financial stability, more understanding of who we truly are and what we want. We may have more responsibility but we are also much more equipped to handle it. Our relationships and loyalties are richer and more fulfilling. I know so many people shifting careers, starting school or beginning families much later in life than “typical” and each one of them are doing it from a place of excitement and being true to their spirit which is sometimes lacking when we are younger.

The number one concern people tend to mention about age is the perception of our body’s deterioration. I have found that my knowledge on how to take care of my body is stronger than it has ever been, giving me potential of physical perfection that I could never have had before. While my body may have appeared to be thinner, have less grey hair or be less wrinkled when I was younger, I am far healthier now.

I know enough now to listen to my body when it talks to me. When my knees creak, when I am low on energy or when I see my skin looking tired, it is a sign of needing to take better care of myself, not a sign of “getting old.” I am grateful my body yells at me to stretch, eat better, and drink more water in the only language it knows, physical sensation. These things happen to us at any age, we often miss listening to it in our youth so as we age the signs become clearer.  Most physical ailments as we get older are a side affect of choices our younger selves made not some guarantee of body deterioration.

When we are young we look forward to our birthdays and getting older with excitement but somewhere along the way there is a shift when people begin to dread it. It is possible to still have that excitement for your birthday at any age if you chose to see the process as an exciting journey. I still think birthdays are worth celebrating but tying it to an age seems unnecessary to me.  We should celebrate stepping into a new year, not grieving for the past or feeling fear of the future.

Look forward with excitement for the potential it has instead of towards the past with regret and I assure you, you won’t remember your age either!

6 Spiritual Lessons from Our Children

young

Throughout the years I have dedicated a significant amount of time on my personal spiritual growth.  I have spent countless hours poring over development books, researched various religions and spoke with many spiritual leaders.  I have attended trainings and workshops on a wide range of topics and approaches in cultivating inner peace.  Throughout this process I have learned a lot, especially regarding those practices that tend to be common themes and “secrets” for achieving sustainable joy in life.  It is a constant growth process since all of these things require continued practice and while I have understood much of it logically, some areas have been difficult for me to feel.

As I have expanded my concept of “spiritual teachers” to include everyone in my life, knowing that each and every person has something to offer, I have found the clearest teachers to be children.  There is so much I have learned from seeing how we come into this world, what our natural state truly is and how we get pulled off track as we grow and develop. We so often look at our relationship with our children as one where we have to bare the burden of teaching them everything however if we shift our perception to a spiritual partnership, one where we teach each other, then the spiritual growth they can help facilitate for us is limitless. We can teach them how to interact per this world’s “rules” but they can teach us about our true nature and how to live it. They have truly helped me see how to apply some of the themes that were harder for me to grasp and serve as a constant reminder on practicing.

Fearlessness – Anyone that has seen a baby clumsily wobble around can see that fear is not something we are born with. It is something we learn. Children lead with their heart, diving into whatever action their heart guides them to without fear of pain, judgment or failure. All of these concepts are foreign to them and we can learn much from the “just go for it” attitude that children of many ages have. Letting our heart lead, and taking action without fear allows us to boldly live and revel in the rewards of new experiences.

Joy – Joy on the other hand isn’t something we learn, it is our natural state. A child’s general disposition is pure happiness. Eager to play, laugh and truly have fun, children embrace happiness and never question if they deserve it or wonder if it will last. As I have grown there are many times I have lost sight of the beauty in doing something just for the pure joy of it. Like many people I know, the to do lists can take over and keep me from fully living in the moment, especially when it is something as “frivolous” as having fun. What I have learned from children is that fun is never frivolous; it is something our soul needs.

Love freely – The heartache we feel in life can sometimes cause us to be guarded. Keeping love out completely or limited to those that seem “safe”, we lose the incredible gift that comes with a wide-open heart. Children don’t hold back love. If they want to give a hug, they give a hug. If a little baby wants to stare in your eyes and give you a smile for no reason, they do. There aren’t expectations of this love being returned, they just give it without condition. Each baby that comes into this world is the perfect love that we all hold in us and they show it however they feel guided to. We can begin to learn that this is our natural state from watching children of all ages embrace this emotion. It is who we are and the pain we learn is truly from expecting love back, not necessarily giving it.

Authenticity – Children learn the concept of “fitting in” from parents, friends and people in their life, they don’t arrive into the world with it. They are who they are. Many of us have seen a child want to wear outrageously bright, mismatched clothes simply because they like it and it represents who they are, never putting a thought into what others will think. Without the interference of judgment, children live completely authentically. This is something many of us spend years trying to get back to once we learn that what others think of us isn’t nearly as important as our own happiness. Children can show us that it is perfectly natural for us to be guided by our hearts and inner guidance, as it is how they live.

Curiosity – Nothing is more thrilling than seeing a baby look around, taking the world in and clearly demonstrating a complete sense of awe. They absorb everything around them without judgment so they can learn. They smile at every small accomplishment and are hungry to keep exploring. This is our natural state, a place of curiosity, bewilderment and awe. The world offers us as many unique things to learn and look at but often we become comfortable and lose the sense of wonder that we come into the world with. Children show us the incredible joy that comes from not being the expert but rather being a perpetual student.

Creativity – As adults we tend to lump ourselves into groups – left brain versus right brain, creative versus logical, structured versus spontaneous, etc. While all of these may be us having a tendency to being more comfortable leaning towards one direction or another, none of us are born into this world lacking any of these characteristics. All children enjoy coloring, making art projects, dancing to music or playing an instrument. They love bringing something beautiful into the world, and that doesn’t change just because they grow up. They play make believe games and daydream about the future. They demonstrate to us that a basic desire is to be in a creative space. Whether it is art, music, writing, inventions, machines or even new businesses all of us can benefit from allowing ourselves to be creative. As we grow, they way we express our creativity changes but they key is to never shut it out completely.

If we watch closely, children can show us how to get back to our original nature. Allowing ourselves to be our inner child, even if just for a moment, will give us an amazing gift of pure happiness.

With immense love and gratitude for all the children in the world – April

How Can I Serve?

Like everyone, I sometimes see certain aspects of my life very challenging. When I am in a circumstance that I don’t enjoy or feel isn’t necessarily aligned with what I want to be doing I can feel frustrated or even angry. The little kid inside me wants to kick and scream like those days when I didn’t want to go to school or the dentist (no offense to the incredibly valuable dentists out there). The resistance is sometimes a sign that I need to make changes in my life, however often those changes often can’t be made immediately. Patience is required and that can be one of the toughest things to practice in these situations.

In these moments, I have found it helpful to reflect back to something I have heard Wayne Dyer say many times “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Situations are only as bad as our perception is and in actuality, every experience invites us to learn and grow in different ways. I do truly believe in the divinity of every second so even those things that I want to run screaming from are openings to spiritual growth or guidance. As I have come to realize this I have found one particular question really grounds me and brings me back to a place of peace and excitement…

How Can I Serve?

This simple questions encompasses all of who I want to be, a person that supports and loves others and myself. Looking at the any situation, whether I like it or not, and asking this one question often opens up a world of possibility I didn’t see. Taking the focus off my dislike for something and shifting it to the benefit I can bring is not only empowering but also liberating. In looking at the world this way, everything becomes an adventure of kindness. It may be serving myself with a deeper level of love or it may be serving others with an act of kindness; either way is a gentle and fulfilling way to approach everything I do. This does not take away from the steps I need to make to remove the things I know don’t align with me, but it makes patience incredibly easier and I can enjoy the journey of growth instead of the suffering of circumstance.

This has now become my daily practice every morning, simply sending that question out and waiting for life to give me opportunities in response. I encourage you to try this question and see how it supports you on your path. If it isn’t this one, play with other questions that bring you back to who you truly want to be and you will be amazed on the shift this can bring to your life. Please share any questions you come up with below so my other followers can benefit from your wisdom.

With gratitude and service  -April

Change

Creating Balance in Your Life

It is so easy to get out of balance in our lives these days!  If you are looking for a way to get back centered check out my post on West Valley Moms Blog.  While it is written with Moms in mind the steps can be helpful for anyone! 

Creating-Balance-HERO

Moms are busy people.  Whether it is the demands from kids, husbands, friends, families or work, there is a lot for us to balance. We continue to add more onto our plate, and often feel like failures when we can’t do it all. Sometimes it almost seems as if there is a competition out there to see who can get the busiest.  The winner will win a slew of stress related health problems and regrets of not spending enough time on the important things in life.  It’s not a great prize and we don’t really want it, yet we all continue to compete.  Regardless of the stress or the amount of time it will take that we don’t have, we keep piling on things until one day, we completely break.  Why do we do this?  For each woman it is a little different but the range of reasons can include the inability to say no, feeling obligated to do more, not feeling as if we are as important as the things we have to do, etc.  It is a vicious and dangerous cycle that we thrive on until we are exhausted and burnt out and not only do we suffer, but our families do as well. Continue reading…

Practicing Mindfulness

12414_530099740365046_943005075_nHave you ever not been able to recall what you did in a day? How about realizing after driving a familiar route that you were on “auto pilot”? Each of us has moments where our thoughts run amuck and we miss out on experiencing what we are actually doing. It is very common, especially in today’s world when we are often run by our calendars and live by the clock. Living this way, however, is what causes us to feel like we lose time. Days pass by, months vanish and before we know it, it is the next year and we didn’t even feel it coming. This has become the norm for most of us and in the process, we are losing precious moments and experiences we will never get back.

Practicing mindfulness helps us truly live this moment, without allowing ourselves to be distracted by the past or the future. When we truly embrace all this moment has to offer, our senses can truly take in all that is around us. This creates a feeling of freedom and pure enjoyment that we rarely allow ourselves to experience. Whether it is eating dinner with a friend, playing with your children or even working on a project at work, by giving yourself the gift of being in that moment you will have more fulfilling relationships and be more effective.

Being mindful is an ongoing practice that takes constant awareness. To begin, there are a few techniques you can use. Give some of these a try and see how you can continue to expand your practice into all areas of your life.

  • Take a moment and look around the room you are in and absorb every detail. Close your eyes and see how much you remember. Do this once a day and you will see it eventually become a habit to take in all around you.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath, releasing any thought that comes your way gently. Doing this for a few minutes every day will bring you into the moment and create a stillness that will carry into anything you do next.
  • The next time you are in a conversation with your spouse, partner or child truly listen to every word. Don’t allow yourself to think about what you want to say next or what you have to do later. Simply listen to them and be present.
  • Sit outside for a moment everyday and look at the sky. Take in the beauty, releasing any thoughts that try to distract you.

All any of us really has is this moment. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on it!

_______________________________________________________

Just a few announcements…

Reach Your Potential Community Calls have moved!  They will now be held on the first Wednesday of every month at 8pm AZ time.  This is a free call created to come together and support each other in reaching our potential.  This is a space to experience a judgement-free, supportive environment to share ideas, experiences and gain some inspiration to reach your goals.  Bring your positive energy and love for the success of others! Register here! 

The next Reiki I training is 3/14.  The first degree  is open to everyone and provides the basic techniques for hands on treatments to provide self healing and healing to others.  The class will include a history of Reiki, the Gassho Meditation technique, and multiple attunements (Reiju).  After this training you will be able to conduct effective healing sessions. Space is limited so please register ASAP if you are interested.  

With immense gratitude – April