Being single can have you feeling lonely at times. But, try this two-step process to focus on your strengths and stop the negative chatter in your mind.
We all have some tasks or chores that we dread to do. It maybe you worked all day and are exhausted, but, your family is waiting for you to cook dinner. Or it a beautiful Saturday morning and you would love to play golf, but, instead you must mow the grass. Can you think of a time something similar applied to you? Usually the problem is we do not stay in the present moment. Our minds are racing to the future and wishing our time could be spent in another way. There is a secret to doing dreaded tasks mindfully.
The secret is just that: do the dreaded tasks mindfully. Stay in the present moment and give it your complete attention. The jobs will get done quicker and you could find peace and solace in the present moment. We can spend so much energy resisting instead of surrendering.
Surrender to the present moment do not resist it.
When my boys were young, I was starting up a business. If you have ever done that, it takes more time and more money than even the most conservative business plan projected. The boys school was 30 -40 minutes from my office. After working all day, I would rush to pick them up, silently hoping that I would not be the last Mother at pick up. Then I would drive home and make dinner. I dreaded cooking dinner. I was tired and just wanted to relax.
My spiritual teacher at the time suggested I turn that cooking time into a time of prayer and meditation. Instead of dreading and resisting, figure a way to make it relaxing and contemplative. So, on Sundays, I would sit down and plan all the menus for the week. I challenged myself to try new recipes and I would go to the store and buy all the groceries needed. In time, it worked. Cooking dinner was relaxing and meditative to me. To this day, when I have had a crazy day, I love to cook a meal.
The other day I was speaking with a family member and I inquired about her parents. They just had a huge snow storm late in the season. She said her Dad was happy for the snow because it gave him one more chance to shovel the long driveway. Instead of dreading what could be an unpleasant task, he relished the solitude and considered it a meditation. He would shovel zig zags and other designs in the snow instead of shoveling straight boring lines.
There is a wonderful little book titled, “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a monk in the Carmelite Order in the 1600’s. He disliked cooking and being in the kitchen. Well, as you could probably guess, that was his job, to wash dishes. Brother Lawrence, felt he was just as close to God while in the kitchen as when he was attending mass in church. He spent his time while washing dishes in prayer and communication with God.
We are all creative human beings. Next time that dreaded task needs to be done, think creatively on how to make it a special, meditative time for you. Find solace in the situation and surrender to the moment.
Have you ever felt that you are just existing and not living? I believe we all go through periods like these. It is easy to get comfortable with our routines and change is not easy. It is easier to continue with our current circumstances then to stir up the pot. Initiating change takes courage. It takes going deep into your soul to figure out how and what to change. I would like to change some things in my life and that is why I am going to do “A Vacation Stop.”
I have not been on a vacation for over two years, but, I have planned an incredible one for this summer. My youngest son and I are going to spend some time in the mountains. He will be graduating from college later this year and it is the perfect opportunity for both of us to regroup, refresh and nurture our souls.
My friends and family are all saying what a great, fun time we will have. That is true, we will have a wonderful time, but, that is not what this vacation is about. This is a vacation stop. Both my son and I are going to stop our routines and stop our crazy, busy lives. We are going back to the basics. We will spend time hiking in beautiful woods, taking drives to observe wildlife, and taking time to smell the sage brush.
We probably will not have Internet, nor cable television. But, we will enjoy eating our dinners outside overlooking a mountain and watching the magnificent night sky. Without distractions, we will be able to read those books we never seem to find the time for.
Most important, by hitting the stop button we will bring our inner and outer worlds closer together. We will be in touch with our souls and feel closer to God. Our true self is perfect and achieving inner peace brings fulfillment in life. With inner peace, we may decide or refine what our purpose is in life. Just like a cut will heal with a band aid on it, our stop vacation will be healing for our soul.
This summer, try a stop vacation for even just one day!
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Lately I have heard from so many people that feel frustrated in some part of their lives. It may be frustration from trying to launch a new company, frustration in trying to sell a home, or frustration in a dead end job. Have you ever felt that no matter what you do or no matter what steps you are taking; it seems like you are getting nowhere? Maybe it is time to release and surrender to a power much greater than yourself.
Surrendering does not mean you are giving up. It means you are going to stop holding onto the problems with your hands in tight fists and probably your stomach in knots. Do you find yourself thinking, “I am so mixed up and do not know what to do?” Think of what mixed signals you are giving your subconscious mind. You want to move forward, but, are verbalizing the opposite. A good analogy is getting in a taxi. You give the drive one address; you do not keep changing it. Eventually you arrive at your destination.
It is the same with our subconscious minds. Our subconscious mind is aligned with God. Give it positive thoughts for what you want to manifest and then let go. Easy does it, have faith that your prayers will be answered.
Several years ago, I had to sell my home of 25 years. I could no longer afford it and it was a very emotional time with many, many changes and difficult situations throughout my life. The house was on the market forever. I must have shown it over 100 times. It was so frustrating dealing with my financial situation and having to put a happy face on when showing the property. In addition, I was cleaning out 25 years’ worth of memories. Not an easy time at all.
I was like the passenger in the taxi giving too many directions. On the one hand, I desperately needed to sell the house. But, on the other, I kept thinking: Would my son and I be homeless? Where were we going to live? What am I going to do with all the furniture and other stuff?
I held the situation, “tightly in my hands” and it did no good and did not produce a buyer for the house. I remember one day, praying and meditating and a shift occurred. I felt it in my heart, the faith to release my worries and give them to God. After that day, whenever my worries would arise, I would say a prayer or think of God. I trusted that God could move mountains. I did sell the house and the sale went smoothly.
Sometimes we need to let go, let God and spend time quietly listening. Keep the ego mind in check and get in tune with your subconscious mind. Stop the struggle and open your heart to God’s love. Again, you are not giving up and of course, still take action steps toward your goals. But, also listen and believe in a power much greater than yourself.
Easy does it!
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Easter is a time of re-birth and renewal. It is a great time to reflect on your life. Maybe it is time to begin again and birth the life you deserve. How does that sound?
What part of your life would you like to change? Examine your life and see if there is something that needs to be cleansed or removed before you can move forward. Is there a habit you would like to get rid of? Is there someone you need to forgive? Or is that “fear” chatter consistently in your head.
During Lent, I was determined to face some of my fears. It was time to get rid of that chatter in my head. We all have something we fear and sometimes we deal with one and then another comes up. I was determined to trust God more than my fears. On a daily basis, I would spend a few minutes embracing my fears and then took steps to face them. Once I did this with prayers, affirmations, and journaling, some amazing things began to happen in my life.
The next step is to take some action steps toward the life you want and deserve. Some ideas would be: take a class, start networking, volunteer, research on the Internet, or join a meetup group. This action step is important. It is you telling the Universe that you are ready for a change. Stay focused and do not give up. If you have to take baby steps, that is alright.
Keep the faith and wonderful things will manifest. Doors will open up. But, remember change may not be in your timeframe. It is in God’s timeframe. Find a way to keep the faith. If one method does not work, try another.
Happy Easter and Happy Spring!
“The real key to life: if you change your mind your conditions must change too.”-Emmet Fox
Spring is Here!
Spring is here! Daylight savings time begins today and our daylight hours will increase. Spring is a time of re-birth and new beginnings. Living in Florida, the season changes are not as dramatic as other parts of the country, but, I still like to do a ritual to welcome in the season.
Of course, we always hear about spring cleaning at this time of year. The morning talk shows have multiple segments on “How Best to Do Your Spring Cleaning” and I picked up some great tips. Picking up the tips and actually performing the work are two different things!
I find a great way to start spring cleaning is by focusing on one area or one room. Walk around your home concentrating on your feelings. Does any area feel like it could use a pickup? Are there any areas where you have allowed clutter to build up? This is where you could start.
My area will be my closet. It is filled with clothes that I do not wear. I read somewhere that we usually only wear 20% of the clothes in our closet. That mean 80% is there to just gather dust. While I am cleaning my closet, I also want to think about my relationship with the clothes.
If you think about it, our clothes tell a story about our lives. I have the dress that I wore to my Mother’s funeral. It used to be one of my favorites and now it just stays on the hanger. Then there is the dress that a former boyfriend bought me. It has been hanging there for several years.
Now there is the dress I wore to my son’s wedding. Just looking at it brings me joy and happiness. And of course, there is the outfit that I paid a lot of money for that never fit quite right and really never looked good on me. There is also a jacket that my Mother bought me that was really not my style, but, I keep it for sentimental value.
This spring, I am going to try and keep only the clothes that I love, that look great on me and that bring me joy. This may not be easy, but, I am willing to give it a try because I know it will change the energy in my room for the better.
Some days, I find it a little more difficult to meditate. On those days, I prefer to use a guided meditation. One of my favorite meditation apps is Buddify2. It is easy to navigate and has a wonderful variety of meditations to choose from. They have meditations for feeling stressed, going to sleep, in nature and many, many more. They meditations also vary in length. I love the steps for a “Kindness” meditation that I describe below. Let’s all try to spread some kindness today.
Today there was a lunar eclipse. As a cancer, lunar phases seem to affect me. This lunar eclipse made me feel anxious, so, I thought I needed to take the emphasis off of “me” and put my energy into others. I needed to get out of my own head and connect with others. So, I chose the Buddify 2 “Kind” meditation. It felt so good to send love, kindness, and peace to another individual. We could all use extra kindness in our lives.
This is my version of the “Kind” Meditation.
The steps for the Kindness Meditation.
1. Take a few minutes to sit still and take a few deep breaths.
2. Think about someone you love or have affection for. The first person that comes to mind is probably the one you want to direct your energy to. Silently repeat the following phrase while visualizing this person in your mind. “I wish you love and happiness”. Repeat this phrase silently for a few minutes. Then, picture your heart surrounded by beautiful pink light. Visualize this light growing and growing. Surround the person you are thinking about with this beautiful pink light, from your heart to theirs.
3. Choose a second person that you love or have affection for. Repeat the above. Silently repeating,” I wish you love and happiness”. Then visualize the beautiful pink light from your heart to theirs.
4. Now repeat the above on yourself. Silently repeat, “I wish you love and happiness”. Then visualize your entire body surrounded with pink light.
5. Take a few deep breaths and slowly open your eyes.
Did you feel more relaxed?
Being mindful allows us to be fully present. When we are fully present, we are truly alive. Worrying about the past or being fearful of the future does not exist when we are living in the present. Try one of these 5 ways to practice mindfulness.
The other morning it was so beautiful outside. I went into my back yard and began pulling weeds out of the grass. Before I knew it, an hour had past. You are probably thinking, her grass must be a mess. It is summer in Florida and weeds are plentiful this time of year.
In that hour, I did not think about what else I needed to do, I just pulled weeds and listened to the birds singing. When I came in and washed my hands, I thought to myself, “That was a mindful activity.” I was fully present and grounded in the moment.
Many times when we think of being mindful, we may think we need to meditate or go off in a cave somewhere. I think meditation is great, but, we can do other things and create the same type of being fully present.
‘Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness
1. Walking- Go for a walk without listening to music. If you mind is racing, try to recite a prayer silently. Become fully aware of the smells, sounds, temperature and the sky.
2. In your office – Sit back in your chair. Become aware of how your body feels against the chair. Are there some areas that you feel more tension? Now take some deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth. When you breathe in, silently say to yourself, “Breathe in.” When you breathe out say, “Relax.” Try this for about 2 minutes.
3. Coloring – Adult coloring books are best sellers these days. Get a coloring book of mandalas and spend ten minutes mindfully coloring.
4. Journaling – Begin with an open-ended question like, “What am I feeling now?” Then without judgment, start writing for three to five minutes.
5. Weeding – This one I highly recommend.
Start to become aware of the different way you can incorporate mindfulness into your day.
Today, August 26, is National Dog Day. It is a day to celebrate that all dogs live happy, safe, and abuse free lives. Have you had a special dog at some point it your life? Maybe you were fond of a friend’s or neighbor’s dog. I had a beloved lab. He provided me with unconditional love and throughout my dark divorce years, was my constant companion.
Grizzly was a passionate 80 pound lab that thought he was a lap dog. He would jump on the couch to sit on our laps. He loved to swim and would spend entire days in the pool swimming back and forth with a ball in his mouth, only putting it down to rest on the pool steps. It always amazed me how well he knew the time. When it was 6:00 pm, he would come and find me, tap his nose against my knee, and try nudging me toward the kitchen so, he could have his dinner. I miss Grizzly, but, life is impermanent and I am so grateful he was a part of my life.
If you have has a special dog or any special animal in your life, try this Gratitude Meditation.
Fill Your Heart with Gratitude
Find a comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Try to relax your body. Begin to focus on your heart. Feel its beating and become aware of the space it occupies in your chest. Imaging it expanding just a little more. Continue breathing. Think now of any animals you love or you loved in the past. Picture them happy and healthy. Try using all of your senses. What do you smell? What sound are they making? How do they feel? Fill your heart with these images and thank them for blessing you with their love. Feel your beating heart again and know that these memories that you cherish will always be there for you to tap into.
Each month I try to highlight either a new book I recently read or it may be a book that I have had for a while, but, recently reread it. This month, I will feature three inspirational books for August.
“One Minute Wisdom” by Anthony de Mello
Anthony was a Jesuit priest known throughout the world for his spiritual writings. In “One Minute Wisdom” there are more than two hundred parables and lessons about living life fully yet simply. Each anecdote takes only a minute to read and he suggests reading no more than one or two a day. Some topics include: Miracles, Heaven, Presence, Humility and Manifestation. One of my favorite is called Transformation.
“To a disciple who was forever complaining about other the Master said, “If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers that to carpet the whole of the earth.”
“Zen and the Art of Happiness” by Chris Prentiss
I was given this book as a gift. It is about 140 pages, so, it is a quick read, packed with knowledge. I keep it on my desk and everyday I open to a page to read a few paragraphs. This book will help you learn to adapt to life’s changes, how to deal with stress and how to remain happy in your daily life.
Quote from the book:
“You may discover in reading this book that it is your time to take on a new belief that will bless your life from this time onward. We are the authors of every next moment.”
“The Future of God” by Deepak Chopra
This book provides insights into what God means and gives steps on how to grow in spirit. It is a spiritual book, not religious. He proposes that God lies at the source of human awareness. Therefore anyone can find the God within that transforms everyday life.
Quote from the book:
“The same road that leads to miracles leads to God. We haven’t traveled the road yet. We’ve only made the goal possible. That is the role of faith, to expand the range of possibilities.”