Tag Archives: simple living

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.

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Essential Oils You Should Own

essential oils and medical flowers herbs

I am always on the lookout for healthy ways to manage the natural discomforts we sometimes face as human beings. A huge part of my personal self-care is to ensure I am taking care of myself in the most natural and effective way I can find. Often the answer I am looking for is an essential oil. The reason is simple – they are easy, accessible and they work! From back pain to indigestion, from headaches to stuffy noses, and from bad moods to a minor cut, essential oils have always saved the day in my house.

Below are a few of my favorites that I encourage you to experiment with if you haven’t tried before. I often use in my home as well as in Reiki sessions and clients have seen great benefits. Of course, I am not a doctor so please seek medical advice if necessary. Also, it is important to know that these only have therapeutic benefits and are safe to take internally if you get a great quality, non-fragrance based oil. (I primarily use doTERRA®)

1. Lavender

Probably one of the more common oils, this is a great one to have on hand at all times. Usually know for its calming properties it can be used diffused in the air, in a warm bath or dabbed on the temples to give you instant relaxation. It has helped me more than once calm my nerves before a big presentation.  Did you know that it is also fantastic for the skin? Lavender can really help sooth minor burns, eczema, bug bites and even diaper rash.

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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!

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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

A few thoughts from silence…

The last few days I have been tucked away on a silent retreat.  Reflecting on this experience, I feel compelled to share a few of the many lessons I learned in this time.  Although this will be different (and longer 🙂 ) than my usual posts, I hope you will find some of these insights to be as valuable and as empowering as I do.

Since many people may be wondering what a silent retreat is, I will give some context Silenceby sharing a little about the retreat itself.  It was just what you would think, a bunch of people in silence.  No television, no computer, no phone, no books, no talking.  While there was time for walking, meditating, yoga, etc., a large portion of my time was purely spent sitting and thinking.  It was lead by two incredible souls, Cassandra Wallick (amazing yoga teacher and owner of Gilbert Yoga) and Patty Van Herpen (one of the most gifted cooks I have ever met), who both added fun, insight and love to the whole retreat.  We were blessed with cool nights and warm days in northern Arizona that allowed for us to absorb the depths of green pine trees, blue skies and lots of fun critters.

Below listed out are just some of the interesting realizations I had along the way.  The insights from this experience will inspire many of my future posts since I had much time to reflect on exactly what this site is about, finding true fulfillment.

It’s easier than you think – Everyone I talked to prior to going on this retreat said, “I could never do that”.  While I understand the hesitation, I had some myself, it really is easier than you think.  Aside from finding it hard not to say things like “Good Morning”, “Thank you” or “Bless you” when someone sneezes, I felt a strange sense of relief to not have to talk.  Not feeling the pressure to fill the air with noise was freeing and rewarding.  Our bodies crave some silence, and I found after just a few moments my nerves relaxed and my body and mind felt peace.  This peace is something that we need in order to give our minds and bodies true rest from the daily stimulation we encounter and we can benefit greatly from adding it into our lives.

Mindful eating– I am a super fast eater and I generally do so with some sort of distraction whether it is reading, television or a conversation.  To eat in silence and be challenged to slow down and truly experience every bite was new to me.  Really focusing on my food gave the experience a sense of wonder I have never had while eating.  I not only fully enjoyed every bite (especially because it was amazing food), but I developed a deep sense of gratitude for having food to eat.  Meal by meal this gratitude expanded from the earth for providing the food to all the people that were involved in getting it to me (farmers, truckers, store employees and of course who cooked it).  This practice also made me incredibly aware of the nutrition in the food I was eating.  Coming back I find myself not wanting to eat anything that won’t feed my body health and energy.  If you have never tried truly sitting and focusing only on your food while you eat, you are missing a simple but powerful joy in life and I highly recommend it be a practice you start.

True relationship building – I am eternally grateful to the women who shared this experience with me, without them I don’t believe it would have been the same.  Being with people for days without really knowing much more than their first name sounds like it would be a bit strange, but I felt a connection and a relationship form with each person without us saying a word.  We shared experiences, meals, and meditations all without talking or sharing stories of who we are.  This allowed a bond to form without any judgments or perceptions.  We can make so many assumptions about people when we learn what work they do, where they live, if they are parents, etc.  This experience showed me that when you take away all of that, there is a deeper level of connection you can build with people.  Not attaching our perceptions, judgments and assumptions to peoples stories can create a genuine knowing of who they are, a lesson that will change the way I shape relationships forever.

Where do you spend your time? – I was so amazed by what I found myself missing and what I didn’t even think about.  The only activities I really missed were reading, writing, playing with my dogs and listening to music; all things I never give enough time to.  I did not miss checking my phone for e-mails or texts.  I did not miss randomly scrolling through Facebook or getting lost in random Internet sites for hours.  I did not miss television.  This really brought me back to assessing what it is that I do with the time I have and if I am spending it on things I love.  I also found myself doing things that don’t always get time in my daily life, but I truly love, like taking slow walks, sitting with a cup of tea and staring at the trees or journaling.  If you have not recently assessed where you spend your time, take this as motivation to do so.  It is incredible how much time we can spend on things that don’t truly matter to us if we don’t bring awareness to it.

You don’t need anything – Aside from clothing, I didn’t have any of my “stuff”.  And I didn’t need it either.  We grow attachments to odd things in our lives and sometimes feel as though we need them.  As long as we have food and warm clothes, we don’t really need much else.  Finding a way to detach from the things we carry with us can be very freeing.  There is a sense of simplicity when you have less attached to you and it allows your mind to freely explore what things truly matter.  This is an easy lesson to practice daily by just minimizing what we buy and letting go of the things we don’t need.

Living in the moment – Once you spend enough time in silence, your mind does this amazing thing and temporarily stops the chatter.  When this happens, you are able to fully just be in the moment you are in, absorbing every ounce of it.  This awareness brought the most incredible sense of joy and gratitude.  Truly experiencing everything the current moment has to offer without the mind distracting you is where the beauty in life truly lies.  True happiness is here, in this moment, if you keep your mind from pulling you away from it.  There are no problems, no fears, and no regrets in this present moment.  Bringing this knowing to the everyday is key in truly living all that life has to offer.

I realize that many don’t have the ability to spend days in silence, however even if you add in some time to your daily life you will see these benefits.  Give yourself space to think, to process your emotions and thoughts.  Release the pain from your past and fear of the future in order to be in this very moment, embracing all of it.  This simple act of bringing some silence into our lives can bring more joy than we realize.  May this inspire you to take a step to limit the noise in your life and truly find the beauty in silence.

Cleanse Your Spirit

Summer is an amazing time of the year.  There is a light and fun energy in the air.  People reconnect with nature, spend time with family and friends and take much needed vacations.  Being outside in the sun, opening the windows in the house and riding with the windows down listening to music bring us excitement.  We tend to smile more, work less and feel a need to connect with those things most important in our life.

With this type of energy floating in the air, it is the perfect time of the year to shake things up and take a look at how to get rid of clutter in your life; mentally, emotionally and physically.  Leveraging this mood that tends to take us over, we can focus on cleansing our spirit and reconnecting with who we are.  This time of year, people sometimes feel the need to clean their house, clean their diet and clean their lives.  A sense of freedom comes with performing a cleaning out and your spirit feels lighter.  Developing a summer ritual to cleanse your spirit allows you to head into the fall feeling renewed and reconnected.

In honor of this great season, below are several ways you can leverage the summer energy to cleanse your spirit and reconnect to who you are.  Depending on what is cluttered in your life, different ones may resonate with you.

Cleanse your diet – Everything we eat takes a toll on our bodies and energy levels.  The heavier we feel, the less energy we will have.  This can lead to spending too much time on the couch versus doing activities that nurture our soul.  Eat light with lots of things that come from to nature.  This is the perfect season to get tons of fresh vegetables and fruits that can become staples in your diet.  Try some new recipes or foods you have never had.  You may even consider doing a detox, fast or cleanse to rid your body of the toxins.

Cleanse your house – If you missed spring-cleaning, now is the time to clean house!  The stuff we accumulate can take a toll on our energy and mind so get rid of anything that isn’t needed or taking up unnecessary space. Do you have clothes you haven’t worn in a year?  Do you have stacks of books that you won’t read again?  Let them go to make space in your life.  It is even more rewarding if you give to others that could benefit from these things.

Get outside – Nature is the very best medicine for stress and feelings of being disconnected.  Unplug and spend some time camping, hiking or swimming in a lake.  Take in all the beauty that surrounds us this time of year.  It will help you feel renewed and re-energized.

Get through that To-Do list – Most people tend to have items that linger on a to-do list too long.  There are many things we need to do that we don’t enjoy doing so they may get put off for days, weeks or even months.  It may be making that dentist appointment, cleaning out the pantry or calling that family member that we just haven’t made time for.  These things take a toll on our mental energy as we are constantly reminding ourselves that this has to get done.  Get it out of the way and then enjoy the feeling of not having to think about it anymore.

Re-evaluate your priorities – Are you spending your time where the most important things are?  Take some time to sit and really think about what matters most to you and if you are honoring those things.  Typically when we feel the unhappiest in our lives, it is because we have lost connection to those things that have the most meaning to us.  Commit to a few small changes that will help make sure you don’t get stuck in that cycle.

I hope you fill every moment with the beauty of this season and completely feel the joy that summer brings!

Finding Patience

Often it is challenging to be patient. We live in a world that is very fast paced and we want to get everything done now. This creates a sense of urgency that filters into many areas of our lives, whether we want it to or not. It seems we are less and less patient standing in lines, waiting in traffic or even waiting for commercials to end and get back to the show we are watching. When this occurs, we loose some of the beauty that can be found in observations of that moment. We are looking forward and feeling an eagerness that sometimes overrides any benefits we could gain from practicing patience.

This can extend to our larger life as well. We are often feeling like we want to skip ahead to a “better” time. It may be finishing school, losing weight, or getting to the next vacation. We can get in the cycle of wanting to reach our goal so badly that the current moment seems useless and perhaps unbearable. This is especially prevalent when we are trying to transition to something that we believe will give us more fulfillment or happiness in our lives.

The problem in this cycle is that once we get there, we will most likely want to go somewhere else. If we feel we “need” something in our lives to change in order to achieve happiness or have our lives really start, then it is likely we will never arrive. Some other stage of our life will always look better than our current circumstances. The process of getting to our goal and the events that occur between now and then IS your life. Your life doesn’t start once you get there.

Here are a few things you can do become more patient in your life:

• Be Present- Any time you are feeling like you need to get on to the next thing or need something to go faster close your eyes and take a deep breath. When you open them again look around and observe what is going on around you. Being anxious and impatient won’t make anything happen faster. Being present and observing will make it feel more enjoyable.

• Be Grateful- Gratitude is a key in creating patience. Once you stop focusing on what isn’t going right or what you don’t have and shift to what is wonderful in your life, you will be more patient in allowing things to flow versus trying to speed them up.

• Remember Your Past- How many times have you thought you wish you could go back in time when it was “easier”? Well, when it was “easier” you probably couldn’t wait to speed ahead into another time in your life. How many people want to grow up when they are young then want to be young again once they are grown up? Reflecting on this and where your mindset has been throughout your life can help remind you to enjoy this moment, as there will most likely be a time when you wish you had it back.

Patience is often the hardest lesson to learn but once you do, there will be happiness no matter what you are working towards or wanting.

Living Simplicity

It seems like in today’s life the concept of living simple is almost an art form.  It gets harder and harder to understand that we don’t need all the things that we believe we do.  We are constantly overwhelmed with commercials, billboards, and advertisements telling us the next thing we must buy.  Even in our groups of friend you may often find conversations circling around the newest thing to own such as a larger television, the newest gaming system, the best phone, etc.  Why do we buy into it?  We are human.  We enjoy new ways to entertain ourselves.  We strive for ultimate convenience. I suppose the list of why could go on forever.  The question really is; do these things make you happy?  Initially- yes.  Ultimately- no.  If you notice, what actually happens is we end up in this trap of constantly needing more.  There is a void we try to fill of “I need this” and “I need that”.  We buy and buy and buy till we have no money left and we are energetically tied down with endless things.   All the stuff that we needed to have clogs up our space, clutters our minds and robs our energy (not to mention hard earned money).  We feel drained and tied down by things.  This is where simple living comes in and two simple (notice I didn’t say easy) steps to get started.

The first step is to really understand that you don’t need to buy everything.  This is not to say that you should never buy anything.  The key is understanding the difference between wanting and needing.  You don’t need anything other than those things that keep you alive.  Technically that list could be as little as rice, beans, water and clothing. Depending on where you live and the circumstances of employment that list can increase with the things that help you get said items. Everything else is a want.  Recognize that everything has levels of need and want.  You may need food to survive but you don’t need to go to a restaurant.  You can live on simple food, you just may want more than that.  If you begin to distinguish your purchases this way then you will be able to make rational choices. You take out the emotional reaction and the urgency to get it this minute.  You can determine whether you can afford it, which version you actually want and when you would like to get it by.   Beginning this thought process can help you only get those things that you really want and not everything that may fill the “need more” void.   Next time you find yourself saying “I need to get…” stop yourself and ask if that is true.  Almost always you can change that to “I want to get…”.  This change of wording will give you an instant perspective shift.

The second step in keeping your space and mind clutter free is to remove things when you bring new in.  Look at the space you have and determine how much stuff you need to get rid of to allow the feeling of freedom.  Having the feeling of not being tied down by stuff is priceless.  Detach yourself from this stuff and start removing until you feel that peacefulness inside.  Once you do that, do not let new purchases come into the space without removing something.  This will keep the energy balance.  Getting in the habit of this will help you keep things in perspective and allow yourself to really determine if you would like to buy something.  It will force you to ask if you want this new thing more than something you currently have.  If the answer is no, then you must not want it that bad.

Try these two things and you will be shocked at how much less you buy, how much money you save, and how much happier you become.  Understand that you are not what you own.  People around the world live with much less than you do and many may even be happier.  Your things should give you the means to live the life you would like, but they do not define who you are.   Starting the process of living simplicity can begin the journey of living your true self.

People lived this simply once. Remembering this helps keep in perspective how little we actually need.