Category: Intuition Development

Harmonizing Your Emotions & Intentions

As February ends and March begins, you may be considering commitments to positive changes in your life; get more exercise, eat less sugar, have less screen time. With all of these healthy resolutions, another you may consider; reprogramming knee jerk reactions or emotions that set up a negative domino effect on your life. Do you tend to get upset about reoccurring issues? Are there triggers that put a bee in your bonnet, or perhaps family members that seem to have an emotional power over you? If you struggle to keep calm and clear during particular stressors, resetting your emotional reactions can be a way to move your life in a different direction.

Let’s face it, you can have the best intentions to carry through with changing your behavior, but if your emotions are on autopilot (which for many of us they are), it can be a constant battle of wills. What you know to be true may differ greatly from the scenario your emotions are trying to convince you of. For example, your mother or long distant boyfriend calls and you hear irritation in their voice about your upcoming visit. Immediately you assume the person is irritated with you and become defensive. Communication breaks down, feelings are hurt, and you end up feeling terrible about the mix up.

Sound familiar? An effective way to reprogram those automatic emotional reactions is to immediately, think differently about it. Don’t mull it over or stew, begin to implement going within and breathing, relaxing, rather than jumping to conclusions. This takes a lot of practice because the trick is to do this right away while in the midst of the emotional crisis or challenge.

Start with small efforts to change your emotional patterns rather than tackling the deeply embedded ones that typically are related to your childhood. For example, reassure yourself of your abilities to change. Read affirmations on a regular basis. Without making a big announcement, begin to react differently when challenge presents itself, which it will, that is life. Begin to choose to not get hysterical or upset when someone is rude, or cuts you off in line. Remember, you are in control; you don’t have to imitate bad behavior. Rather than gravitating towards the negative behavior, do an about face. Collect yourself, breathe, and walk away.

Begin to be present in your life; this will help with your resolve to reset your emotional responses. Spend time paying attention to the underlying issue you are reacting to. What are the big triggers for you? Feeling powerless, unlovable, frightened? Work on healing those deep-underlying emotions that keep you from reaching your fullest potential. Facing your fears with a counselor, through meditations, and/or spirituality will empower you to be less reactive. Developing emotional courage will reprogram your responses. Emotional courage, like all courage comes with practice and awareness. It doesn’t mean that you will never feel fear.

When you have learned new emotional behaviors, you are ready to tackle those long lasting emotional trigger people, mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses, and friends. It will be a leap of faith, but trust your new self to pull through. Go back to the basics, retreat within, breathe, remember that you are not a slave to your emotions; you can choose a different path. Again, remember it is important to immediately turn to the new response, don’t dally, that will give your auto response a chance to kick in. Breathe, recite a positive mantra, refuse to let the old emotional baggage drag you down, let it go.

Living in negative emotions such as fear, jealousy, judgmental attitudes accomplishes nothing but depleting you of your light within. And living on high alert, will eventually lead to physical illness. The brain, the mind, and the heart are all interconnected, one impacts the other. It is possible to reprogram your emotional responses; just like it is possible to learn new things, to open your mind, or to lose weight, it is a choice. Life does not have to be a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. You can choose to liberate yourself through love, presence, and letting go.


Creating a Gratitude Practice


Letting Go of Negative Narratives

untitled
“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra
All of us have a past, a history that we cherish, warm memories that makes us smile inside. But have you ever found yourself stuck in a story that you no longer want to play a part in? An old narrative that family or friends have cast you in? There are several ways to replace the worn out tapes of negativity with positive messages that will strengthen your ability to walk the plank. By walking the plank, I mean leaving behind the familiar and taking a leap into the ocean of possibility.
Letting go asks you to stop listening to stories that spout off negative messages of “you can’t or you shouldn’t.” Abandoning these narratives, gives you permission to step or leap over obstacles into the pasture of prospects and opportunity. The body responds to stories the mind spins whether they are true or not. By creating positive mental images and narratives, the body and psyche begin to shift; to believe that there are options and alternatives. Try replacing the “I can’t do this because I’m not…” with I can and see how the borders of your life expand.
Try to define yourself with what you can do rather than what eludes you. A friend was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at a young age and was given a list of do’s and don’ts. When she became an adult she began to study yoga and meditation empowering herself with new ideas that led her to realize her full potentiality. She released the story that had sold her limitations. Physically she grew strong and mentally she let go of fear.
How though do we step by step revise the stories that chain us to feelings of inadequacies? Here are a few ideas that may encourage you:
• Sit in stillness. Give yourself time to unravel the day’s “to do” list. This allows your mind to rest and recharge. It is difficult to re-write a negative narrative when your mind is exhausted. Sitting in stillness also allows you time to identify those narrative that don’t serve your best interest any longer. Stillness (even ten minutes) provides a sanctuary to go within a safe haven to observe your inner feelings and desires.

• Once you have honed in on a story you want to change, start small and steer clear of shame and blame. The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Take one story or thought at a time and gently re-write the scenario.

• Practice re-directing your thoughts and stories. Imagine batting them away or see them float past like a cloud out of your mind and body.

• Replace I can’t language with I can and I will. When revising a new story make yourself the hero. Whatever it is that you want to change or let go of imagine doing just that and say it out loud to yourself.

• Write it down. A good story or book tantalizes our imaginations; we see in our minds eye what the printed words suggest. Do the same for yourself. Write your story. Maybe you want to be an artist but were told by your parents that isn’t practical. Now is the time to erase that advice and pick up a paintbrush. Call yourself an artist, put notes around the house to remind yourself that you are worthy of following a dream or passion. Recall that person that loved your sketch or photograph.

By taking the time to let go of stories that hold you back, your load will be light enough to move forward into the horizon of change. Enjoy the revisions and writing the new version, the updated edition of you!


Practicing the Art of Silence

In today’s frenetic world, finding a place to sit in silence can feel like finding that proverbial needle in a haystack. But the reality is, despite the lure of devices and endless updates, you can learn to carve out sessions of silence. Silence has an innate ability to slow down your thoughts and calm your nervous system. It can bring clarity and a deep sense of appreciation for life. Establishing silent time can also increase your creativity and give you a sharper attention span. Stillness is how energy connects to energy.

If practicing silence does all of these magnificent things, why then does it seem such a challenge? Let’s face it, the world has become a very noisy place, televisions, phones, cars, buses, airplanes. Often we block out this cacophony by popping ear buds in or turning up the radio battling sound with sound. Try simply turning off the phone, computer, or television for a period of time. Relish in a walk without listening to music. This allows you to see, hear, and smell the world around you, the wind rustling through the trees, the sway of branches, the smell of fresh rain. Silence brings a heightened awareness to your senses.

Learning to sit in stillness gives you the opportunity to be truly present. The physical postures of yoga were created to prepare the practitioner for the travel inward. Inward to that place where the true self resides uninfluenced by age, illness, or titles (father, sister, carpenter, doctor, etc.). Taking some time to slow down the breath, helps us slow down the thoughts that try to veer us out of silence; thoughts that whisper those endless “to do” lists. Giving yourself permission to be silent, allows you time to reconnect, and to reflect within your stillness.

Silence also recharges our bodies, it is like giving your car a tune up. By embracing silence, your mind, which ultimately effects the body, has a chance to mend. Imagine if you never gave your body a rest? Eventually it would break down. The same is true for the mind. Silence says to the brain, “take five.” It rejuvenates and restores balance. Silence gives you time to collect your thoughts to sort through what you can let go of.

Practicing the art of silence amid chaos is possible. Our thoughts have the ability to drown out attentions, noise, or whatever is going on around us. Think about when you are engaged in a stimulating conversation your attention is typically diverted from other stimuli—even if it’s a loud construction sight. Or when you are deep in thought and get lost because you weren’t paying attention. Our thoughts are powerful; silence can help shape them in a positive way by bringing awareness to their content. Cultivating a practice of silence is like taking time to visit an old friend; you are able to catch up with yourself, to notice and connect to stillness.

Regular moments of silence develop concentration. Try turning off your phone the next time you are with someone you love. Sit under a tree or in nature and take it all in without playing music (not that music is a bad thing it too can bring peace and healing). Nature has a profound wisdom that in the silence speaks to us.

Silence teaches us to be better listeners. Everyone wants to feel heard, by learning to allow silence to be apart of a conversation; you learn to listen to not only what is said but what is not said as well. Silence gives us power through clarity. When we become silent we can build on our inner strength. Think about those times when your words may have muddled up a situation or inadvertently been misunderstood. Silence often stands the test of time where the truth can quietly step into the light.

The following are a few other techniques to help you develop your own personal practice of silence:

• Practice being comfortable with silence in conversation. Try to not fill silent moments (which many of us have learned to dread). This helps you build a tolerance for silence.

• Create a time for your silence by making it a ritual. Perhaps you spend the mornings in silence or the evening after the kids are in bed. (Children can practice silence as well and they reap the same benefits as adults). Or maybe late afternoon after work and before you hit the traffic heading home.

• Savor your silent practice by protecting it. Make it just as important as brushing your teeth even if for only a few minutes.

• Find your spot and make it your own: under a favorite tree, at a park, in a room at work. Turn off the lights, light a candle.

• Turn off your devices, step away from the computer and the deluge of stimuli.

• If it helps, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Inhaling and exhaling slowly to the count of four for a few repetitions.
_1324 (1)
Practicing the art of silence will leave you refreshed and more at peace with yourself and the world around you. Enjoy the still, silent space that lives in all of us.


Welcoming Change

DSCN4710

We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

– Joseph Campbell

It’s natural to take comfort in the things we know—even if they aren’t best for us or we know they aren’t working for us—but keep in mind that we often limit what is possible when we avoid or resist change. Sometimes, better things—things we didn’t dare hope for, anticipate, or imagine can come into our lives when we create room for them. That means a necessary first step is a shift from our old way of thinking into a new one.

In this post, Support yourself through transitions by changing your thoughts, I shared how to shift your beliefs and perceptions when we face transitions and changes. Most people acknowledge that change is a part of life and something we “have to deal with.” However, what if we were able to welcome change?

Staying the same takes more effort than allowing change. Have you ever decided you didn’t want things to change and did everything in your power to resist it? Was that easy to do, or hard? Did you succeed in keeping the status quo? Most likely, it took a great deal of energy and time—not to mention stress—to fight the change, and resulted in change anyhow.

Not convinced that allowing change is something that can come naturally to you? Think of it this way: We are all made up of molecules. Molecules are always in a state of change. Therefore, whether or not we are aware of it, WE are always in a state of change. If we are in a constant state of flux, then change is one of our instinctual qualities. Can you see that change can be an ally instead of an enemy? My post, Shifting Your Perspective to Relieve Stress, Anxiety, and Anger, is an additional resource to support you in welcoming change.

We may experience fear and stress as we are forced to adjust to new circumstances and the chance that we will experience what we see as failure or other negative outcomes. With time and a supportive attitude, we can acclimate and welcome change. We may even look back and realize that the change, which initially caused us discomfort, opened a world of new possibilities.


The Total Self

DSCN0155

In the post, Life Balance, I discussed the most prevalent areas of our lives that need balance and why each is important. The life area called Self is composed of our emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual needs and desires. Due to the complex nature of Self, I’d like to explore each component separately.

Emotional

The emotional aspect of Self determines how we feel about our inner and outer world. What do you need for a full emotional life that serves and supports you? Do you want to be more focused and grounded? Approach life with a more can-do attitude? Radiate more love and joy? React to challenges calmly and confidently? Once you decide the emotions that are important to you, ask yourself what actions to take or habits to adopt in order to bring them into your everyday life.

Intellectual

This is the part of us that needs mental stimulation and growth, and goes well beyond the classroom. It could be learning a new skill or hobby; increasing knowledge about a topic that interests you; challenging your brain with intellectual games or philosophical discussions. Consider what you need to keep your mind alert, interested, and challenged. What do you want to learn, discover, and explore?

Physical

The physical aspect deals with what it takes for you to look and feel your best. What does it take to be strong, healthy, and confident? How do you need to physically care for yourself and others? How would you want to be physically cared for by others? This includes nutrition and exercise; sexual needs; physical contact (a hug, pat on the shoulder or arm, etc). Some people crave a great deal of physical connection—giving and/or receiving—and some people not so much. Either end of the spectrum or anywhere in between is perfectly valid…it depends on what feels right to you.

Spiritual

This is the part that yearns to connect to something bigger than us. While connection to a higher power certainly occurs in religion, it is also possible to achieve through meditation, being in nature, and by practicing the arts…however you can come to a place of reflection, contemplation, and inspiration. Some questions to ask are: What fills your spirit and soul? Gives you comfort, guidance, and support? How do you want to grow spiritually?

Everyone is unique in his or her needs and desires. Awareness of what you require and desire will help you achieve those qualities that bring you balance within the life area of Self.


Overcoming Internal Resistance

rose in bloomHave you ever decided to do something and then found yourself procrastinating, avoiding taking action, or feeling stuck? Maybe you purchased a self-help program you believe will be helpful but haven’t started it. Perhaps you decided that organizing your work or living space will increase your productivity but you’re avoiding clearing the clutter or gathering the ideas/tools to guide you to the best setup. Whatever your situation, you know when you’ve hit a wall of resistance, and while it doesn’t feel good, it can actually give you some important insights.

Two things can be possible when you feel internal resistance within yourself:

  • What you are resisting will benefit you and requires you to push through any perceived limitations and inner blocks.
  • Your body, soul, instinct, etc. is telling you what you’re setting out to do might not be supportive to you at this time.

So how do you figure out the type of resistance you’re facing? And what do you do with that information?

1) The first step to decision and action is awareness, so you can gain clarity as to what your resistance is really about. Instead of pushing your feelings down, ignoring them, or trying to force them to change, allow yourself to feel and explore them. Notice what comes up for you and take note without judgment or criticism.

2) Ask yourself where this resistance is coming from and what is it about. Allow the feelings that came up in connection to the resistance to be your guide.

  • a) Is the source of resistance due to not knowing the next step to take? Fear, worry or doubt that you can do it, or if it will work out for you? If any of your resistance comes from this type of energy, you can learn from it. Whenever we see our blocks or “stuff” it is often an opportunity to shift from negative to a positive way of thinking.

Ask yourself why you have the fear, worry, doubt, etc. Is there proof that it’s true? Are you drawing upon your past perceptions or the perceptions of others? Whether or not we consider ourselves to be “creative” people, we have active imaginations that sometimes come up with all the ways something will be hard or won’t work out for us. This is our ego trying to protect us. Thank your ego for doing its job and let it know you are going to do it anyway with the help of higher consciousness and your intuition.

  • b) Is the source of your resistance coming from a feeling, sense, or intuition that something isn’t right for you or supportive for you to do? If so, this type of energy is telling you to re-examine your motives and reasons you think you need, should, or want to do this. Did you at first think it was a good idea but have since changed your mind (or sensed it is no longer a good idea)? Did you set out to do this for someone else because you think it’s what he or she wants you to do or will make them think better of you? Do you know or sense that continuing with your initial decision will drain your energy, health, and happiness or deplete you in some other way? If your answers come from this type of resistance energy, it might be in your best interest to let it go.

3) Once you are clear as to whether your resistance is a sign to push through your blocks or a sign to re-evaluate and redirect, it’s time to tune in, connect to your higher self and ask: What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? What is my desired end result if I could only do it right and nothing could stop me?

Then ask: What would the first step be in making that perfectly successful vision happen? Allow your heart to answer these questions. It knows the answers, so be open to receiving the messages and all the possibilities, no matter how “unrealistic” they might seem in the moment.

4) Take that first step! It could be finding the book or resource to learn what you need to know. Maybe it’s reaching out to a contact for help or thinking of who might know the person you need to connect with. Your first action step can be to act as if you are living in the energy of a person who has accomplished something similar to what you want your ideal end result to be. Your action steps may be uncomfortable, and there are no guarantees what will result, but putting into action what you desire is crucial to turning thoughts, dreams, and desires into reality.

 

 


Meditation: A Tool for Total Wellness

I ablesContemplate on this: Quieting your mind on a regular basis can result in both mental and physical well-being! How wonderful is that?

Meditation may, on a physical level:

  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce body pain caused by tension
  • Improve sleep, mood, behavior, and energy level

On an emotional/mental level, meditation may:

  • Promote feelings of calm and peace
  • Support clearer and more positive thinking
  • Expand awareness and perspective, which can lead to self-revelations and transformation
  • Encourage sharper thinking: New, creative, and productive ideas have the opportunity to arise in a quieted, focused mind

There are many kinds of meditations and ways to meditate. The best type and method of meditation is what appeals to and works for you…after all, if it doesn’t do those two things, you most likely won’t do it! The effects of meditation can be achieved in a few minutes a day, although many people find themselves engaging in longer sessions because of the positive results they experience. Also, keep in mind that the kind of meditation you are drawn to may change over time, as well as the effects you experience. Think of meditation as a personal trainer for your inner “fitness” program. As your inner fitness grows and changes, so will your “workout.”

Here are a few ways to meditate:

Focus your attention on a single thing. It can be a visualized object, a word, a mantra, or just the rhythm of your breath. When you notice your mind has wandered (which our minds are prone to do), gently bring it back to the original focus. Over time, you will experience less distractions and greater singular focus. Some examples of this type of meditation: Buddhist meditation, Loving Kindness Meditation, Chakra Meditation, Kundalini Meditation, Sound Meditation, Mantra Meditation.

Allow your mind to go as it may, without judgment or attachment. Tune in to all of your senses; be aware of sensations, thoughts, and feelings. Acknowledge them and then let them go. Your thoughts and awareness will flow freely in and out, like the waves of the ocean. Some examples of this type of meditation: Mindfulness meditation, Vipassana.

Follow a guided meditation. Normally, you listen to a recording of a meditation that has a specific purpose, such as increasing energy, reducing anxiety, letting go of fear or anger, promoting restful sleep, raising levels of gratitude, etc. There are many different guided meditations available, which you can access online. I particularly enjoy Louise Hay.

Try making meditation a part of your daily ritual, and see what good can result!


Shifting Your View Will Change Your Life

image

Shifting Your View Will Change Your Life

In our culture, we are constantly reminded to set goals in all areas of our lives. In setting goals, we often create artificial deadlines and are encouraged to plan out steps to achieve our goals within the allotted time. Positive things can certainly come from setting goals however far too often, people who set goals feel a heightened sense of urgency and anxiety that becomes a negative force in their lives and minds. Thoughts of self-defeat creep in when deadlines are missed.

The purpose of this blog post is to show you a way in which you can reach for your dreams in a positive, meaningful way that transforms them into goals. What is your dream for yourself?

Whatever your dream or dreams may be, I want to show you a new path for reaching them. This path is not marked by deadlines, nor is it full of rigorous steps; rather it is a path that allows you to embrace the beauty of the daily journey.

The key to changing your dreams into goals is by shifting your mindset. I challenge you to shift yours. Instead of setting rigid deadlines for yourself, I want you to think of your life in a more fluid sense. I want you to look at each day, each moment as a gift – be in present time. What does this look like? It starts with your thoughts. You have to change your thinking from the negative, ‘if I don’t reach my goal, I don’t know what I’ll do,’ to the positive, ‘I have this precious moment, this wonderful day, what will I do with it?’ Choose to see the positive in yourself and in those you encounter. Enjoy the journey. Always live in the present rather than the future or the past.

If your dream is to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, start by envisioning it. What does it feel like to you? What is your role in this? What does your relationship with yourself look like? Think loving thoughts – toward your spirit and your body.

At first, thinking loving thoughts toward yourself and choosing to see the positive will be a conscious decision you make, moment by moment and day by day, but soon this becomes a part of you. You no longer need to consciously choose this mindset; instead, you simply do, as this is who you have become. I can’t wait for you to see what comes your way as you shift and grow. Please remember that you can shift your beliefs and see your dreams come true.


Have You Been Told to ‘Become a New You’ in the New Year?

I’d like to encourage you to think critically about the ‘become a new you in the New Year’ notion. We’ve all heard it, right? While the phrase is cloaked in positivity, the idea of becoming a new you is actually rooted in negativity. It infers that who you are is not enough.

I challenge you to change your mindset from becoming a new you to becoming a new version of yourself in the New Year. Many of us tell ourselves this: ‘If I just make it through this holiday season, then I’ll emerge on the other side with the motivation to become a new person.’ What if, instead of limiting yourself to merely ‘making it through,’ you opened the door of abundance in your own life? Change your thinking to thriving instead of existing.

Did you know that setting your intention is the most effective catalyst for meaningful change? The power of the mind is astonishing. Let’s say your goal for the New Year is to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. The moment you decide to change your thinking from simply ‘making it through’ to ‘thriving,’ you begin to see open doors where there was once only dead-ends.

I want to give you a very basic example that can be applied to many circumstances and situations. Picture yourself at a holiday party. Holiday treats abound. If you were stuck in a negative mindset, the situation would likely end in you eating mindlessly, all the while telling yourself, “It’s okay, just make it through this holiday season – you’re going to be a new person in the New Year.” The problem with this thinking is that you are not giving yourself a manageable and positive path to success. How will you reach your goals if your negative thinking and habits don’t change?

Now, picture yourself getting ready for that party. You’re anticipating a spread of holiday indulgences and you want to enjoy yourself – so, you think ahead. Since you have decided to set your intention to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Why wait until New Year’s Day to start? Won’t it be much more fulfilling to make small decisions and changes now through New Year’s Day, so that you have some momentum to keep going? You decide to have a healthy snack at home before the party so that once you’re there, you can enjoy your favorite things, but you don’t over do it, and afterwards, you feel great!

Yes, this is a very simple example, but what I want you to see is that it can be applied to any goals you are reaching for in the New Year. You can choose the healthier, more fulfilling path by thinking positively and planning ahead, or you can make it much more difficult by taking the dead-end path of negativity.

Also, no matter what your goal for the New Year might be, please take this to heart: You do not need to become a new person. You are unique. All of your life’s events and circumstances have helped form who you are. Why would you want to abandon that? I challenge you to create a new version of YOURSELF in the New Year!