Category: Uncategorized

How to Keep Your Relationship Alive – Working from Home 

With more and more people working from home – tension can creep in, you may feel the spark in your relationship has fizzled as you struggle for space and alone time. Do you find you and your partner quarreling over minor concerns, or maybe just the sight of your partner is beginning to annoy you? When there’s too much imposed togetherness, this can happen.
Here are a few ideas to help you cope with cramped quarters and finding that sweet spot of balance in your work and personal relationship.

Keep the lines of communication open. Discuss your needs and work out a schedule that accommodates both of you. For example, you want to join a yoga class at 7 am, ask your partner to handle the kids while you attend every Monday and Wednesday, in the living room. The other days, he/she gets the space at a time that works for both of you. In other words, negotiate your space. We all need alone time; some need it more than others. When you talk about schedules, avoid being vague, it will help. Tell your partner exactly what you want, “I need time to work on my project alone for four hours a week.” No one is a mind reader, so be specific to avoid confusion and frustration.

Make having fun together a priority – Working side by side or in the same house doesn’t count as quality time together. Schedule time spent together doing things you enjoy, walking, dancing, bike riding, or even cooking together while music is playing on your phone. Rekindle on a regular basis, if schedules are tight, even every other week will work. Think of your time and energy as an investment in your relationship. Relationships need attention, like a bank account you can’t keep taking money out and expect to thrive. Imagine your life without your partner and be grateful for their gifts; remember to laugh together.

Give each other space – everyone needs that, maybe one of you needs it more than the other. It is the flip side of spending quality time together so honor it and get creative with alone time. Go for a drive, go to the store by yourself, take turns with letting each other have the place to themselves. All relationships, even great ones, revolve around space and togetherness, both are essential. If your partner says they need alone time, recognize that it has nothing to do with you. Part of giving each other space also means not phoning, not texting. When someone needs space, they need time to allow their minds to wander and imagine, texting interrupts that process and can make your partner feel as if they didn’t get the quality alone time they craved, which may cause resentment. No calls, no text, no interrupting the space time matrix.

Stay connected with friends – give them a call, plan a Zoom coffee or happy hour. Keep reaching out to people that you love and who are part of your life. They are precious to you, let your partner do the same when it comes to staying in touch with friends and family. A pandemic is a great time to rediscover letter writing or sending emails to those you miss, let them know you’re thinking of them. Continuing to have meaningful relationships outside of your primary one will allow you to feel as if there is more space in it.

Keep the romance alive, make house dates. Maybe dinner and a movie, or dinner and a lovemaking session. Or have a night where you reminisce and share memories. This pandemic won’t last forever, but your relationships can.


Keeping Open to Love

 

Have you ever met one of those people that no matter what life tosses their way they remain loving and kind while you find yourself getting annoyed?  Admit it, there are times in our day-to-day life when obstacles or challenges get the better or us. You may be exhausted from a newborn keeping you up all night or upset over an incident at work, or sad about a recent loss.  Whatever the cause, during these times, it’s easy to shut the security gate to your heart and retreat from feeling. Life holds many promises and disappointments, how then do you navigate through the ups and downs while keeping an open loving heart. Is it even possible?  Yes, but for most of us who don’t float about with angel wings, it’s a process, a choice, and it doesn’t come without work and a lot of practice.

First, begin to notice what is your go to emotion when challenges present themselves; fear, anger, jealousy, or perhaps you simply pick up the rug, sweep it under, and don’t deal with the issue at all.  Bringing awareness to how you react (in other words your patterns) is essential to redirecting them.  For example, if you get bad news about a promotion or plans change, or your partner is cranky do you immediately get mad or do you lapse into a panic?  Make no judgement on how you respond, however if you want to change, taking an honest look is the first step.

Treat yourself as if you were your own best friend. When you reflect on the “whys” of your behavior, be kind to yourself. Why do I always react with anger or fear? Perhaps that was the model you got as a child, or perhaps you were oblivious to your emotional patterns.  Then say to yourself, I am afraid or angry or hurt or jealous, but I don’t have to be.  After all, we have a choice in how we want to move through life.  Remind yourself that you have the right to be forgiving and loving towards yourself.  Being kinder to yourself will help you be kinder and more loving to others.  Knowing you are as worthy as anyone of love, allows you to release fear that in turn allows you to let go of anger (which largely comes from being afraid).

Communicate your emotions, say “I feel angry, I feel afraid,” get them out on the table rather than holding them where they wreak havoc on your relationship with yourself and others. Being truthful creates an atmosphere that leaves room for dialog. Which prevents us from making up a false reality (such as why does that person hate me, when they don’t).   If there has been a misunderstanding, dealing with it will open the channels for reconciliation. Yes, you want to be a loving person, but sometimes you immediate reaction is just the opposite.  You fail.  Mistakes are lessons in humility.  Admit when you’re wrong and give a sincere heartfelt, sorry.

Practice, practice, practice, life will give you ample opportunity for this.  Use each one to shift your choice of emotions and take your time.  Try counting to ten before you react, then learn to come from a place of love and understanding.  Once you begin doing this, it becomes habit forming and will not go unnoticed by those around you.  Love will flourish in your friendships, in yourself, and have a profound effect on the way you live your life.  There will be less frazzled angry moments because you have become a person that lives with an open heart and chooses to lead with love.

 


Listening and Trusting Your Inner Voice

Change surrounds us, whether we notice it or not. If you listen to the rustle of leaves or the ocean waves, they are never still, there is a constant shifting of energy. What does this have to do with listening and trusting your inner quiet side? If you want the tides of your life to go in a different direction, paying attention to the shifts and the inner wisdom within will help you be that change you want in your life. All of us have desires and aspirations that we want to see come to fruition. Yet sometimes there are leftover doubts lingering in the hallways of your spirit. Learning to trust yourself, not the voice of others will help you navigate through the changes in life and to guide you on the track that you are meant to follow. That marvelously unique journey that no one else can understand, feel or follow.

If you are hindered by self-doubt, let it be okay. The first step in listening and honoring yourself is to become aware, noticing and acknowledging.  Slowly you can learn to believe in your inner convictions and intuitions by practicing a few simple steps. First, take a few moments to close your eyes, and breathe into whatever comes up for you when you ask; what do I want? Let your mind roam and see what surfaces. Then draw your mind to what you see as obstacles in reaching this goal. Again, not judging, rather scanning for those voices (that most likely belong to someone else; a partner, parent, teacher). Thirdly, see yourself achieving what it is you want. How does that feel, sound, look? Throughout this exercise breathe slowly, allowing your body and mind to relax. It is safe, there is no right or wrong feeling.

Once you take stock of what it is you want for you life, start to focus on it. If your family wanted you to be a doctor and you have a love of cooking and dream of being a chef, listen to that voice within. Maybe you are at a corporate job that pays really well, but you are miserable, and you want to be a teacher or own a wellness shop…listen to that voice. For what you desire, you can achieve, by listening and acting on your desires

Begin each day focusing on something positive in your life. Your hair has gotten longer, you are exercising, you have sent an email that you needed to get out. Whatever it is, give yourself permission to pat yourself on the back. Make small commitments towards morphing your life into the life you envision. For example, you want to own a yoga or dance studio one day, but don’t have the money at the moment (remember change is imminent).You can work on your personal practice, teach a few classes, set yourself up for a path that can eventually fulfill that goal.

Make small promises to yourself and keep them. “I am going to remember my partner is my friend” or “I am going to see my friends twice a month.” Or “I am going to say no to overtime and yes to expressing my creativity.” Make attainable goals with incremental landmarks to celebrate that eventually lead to a life change. Think of yourself as a friend who keeps her/his word. This way you build trust in yourself, in the same way you build trust in a partner. If the partner never follows through with his/her promises, you begin to lose trust that they ever will. By being a friend to yourself, upholding commitments, you will build your confidence, which is one of the many rewards of listening to your inner voice.

Intuition is a real, scientifically proven phenomenon. It is a psychological process that is instinctual, you don’t have to try to create it. Intuition is when the brain draws on your experiences, knowledge, patterns and comes to a quick decision. It is the part of you that knows the right answer to a question far before the analytical mind gets involved. How can you use your intuition to enhance your life choices? By listening to your inner spirit, that energy that gives you a connection to something you love; music, dance, art, etc. and saying yes to your intuition, you will build a life that is rich with contentment, joy, and inner peace.

There are thousands of stories of people who were destined for one path, and instead listened to their inner voice, their intuition, their internal guides and chose to travel the road they were passionate about, and for that everyone around them benefitted. You too have that birthright to listen, trust, and honor yourself. Allow the movement of change, like the wind and the waves to take you towards a life you envision for yourself.


Stop Over Thinking

 

 

“I think; therefore, I am.”

Yet often, we overthink.

When we over-analyze our lives, it usually comes from a place of ego, fear, or the need to feel in control. Our existence runs deeper than mere thought. We’re beings who think, strategize, & want. We have intuitions that guide us with our heart & the subconscious, which when dreaming takes on a life of its own. If we cultivate that awareness into our existence as much as the brain & our thoughts, we allow life to take its course. Overthinking never changed the outcome of anything.

When we focus our thinking excessively on one thing, we sometimes sabotage the very thing we’re thinking about. Be it a promotion at work, a call from our partner, or the happiness & success of our children’s future, this kind of overthinking can lead to obsessive-compulsive disorders, adverse emotional reactions, & imagined dreadful scenarios.

We all have to think about the difficult choices we face in our lives. How to respond to the current state of affairs – including a pandemic, the appalling number of young black men murdered due to systemic racism in our country, & our personal circumstances as well. However, from time to time, we need to turn off our brains to allow for healing & growth. The power to let go of repetitive thoughts that often turn negative can be liberating, creating space for growth & lasting change.

When you overthink, your mind tricks you into thinking it’s always right, even when it’s wrong. It may also cause unnecessary stress on the psyche & body. Unwanted thoughts that spiral out of control can destroy your feeling of self-worth. However, discovering ways to turn our thoughts on & off can strengthen your inner calm allowing a more organic outcome to be reached.

  • Yoga & Meditation Practice. During these trying times, when you find yourself at home with more time to think & less opportunity to move, look for a podcast or class on YouTube or live-stream Vimeo courses. Yoga flow classes that get the blood circulating & meditation practices that harness our full attention to our breathwork alleviate unwanted chatter in the brain.
  • Take a Walk – The ego is in constant dialogue with our thoughts & our ego/pride often steer us in the wrong direction. Taking a walk in nature or listening to classical music can instill a deeper connection with your spirit & humanity at large. Pushing all sound & devices to the side & merely taking out a journal to jot our thoughts down is another liberating way to clear the cobwebs in your head. A repetitive sentence or two words such as, “let go, let go, let go,” will help us harness inner calm.
  • Read a Book. Overthinking can overtax your adrenals & send your stress levels to the moon. Our thoughts can be weapons of destruction or bells of peace. Picking up a delicious novel & allowing your mind to relax & get swept away in a story outside of ourselves can help lessen anxiety &inspire your creative side. Overthinking what could, should or would have been, will get tossed to the wind as your imagination runs wild & free in the book’s newfound characters, plots, & sub-plots.

A mind consumed with negative or obsessive thoughts leaves little room for your creative self & the chance to build an authentic relationship with yourself & others. When we think we know every answer or solution, we aren’t able to listen, learn, or evolve. Try listening more & see what happens. You may find you feel a deeper connection with your partner, friends, & family. Inadvertently, you’ll take a chance to learn something that might profoundly shift your life in a positive direction. Had you been thinking about your response & not fully engaging in conversation, you might have lost the opportunity for new & innovative ways of engaging, thinking & being.

How many times in your life have you thought something would happen the way you imagined or wanted it to, & it did not? Now think about all the energy you wasted worrying about the outcome & worse, being disappointed when it didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. Perhaps, in the end, you thought the result would be negative, but it turned out to be positive. Either way, if you learn how to let go of the thinking mind & breathe into a calm mind, you’ll start to manifest a happier & healthier life.

Take one day, one breath, one thought at a time, & let your overthinking melt-away, leaving you calm, clear, & ready to face life with a renewed vigor.


Welcoming Change

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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 Symmetry of Spirituality and Money

IMG_0129Does one have to choose between being spiritual and eschewing money or having money and being spiritually deficient? No. You can be both spiritual and wealthy.

In the post, Are Your Beliefs About Money Keeping You Poor?, I discussed how money is merely a tool we use to acquire what we need and desire. Money is neither good nor bad. Because of its neutrality, the having or not having of money does not dictate one’s spiritual validity. It is society that imposes values of “good and evil” that comes from acquisition of wealth or practicing asceticism.

How do you feel about your level of spirituality? Does it have any connection to your money—what you earn or spend or give?

Earning and Keeping Money

Are you subconsciously limiting the amount of money you make because you don’t feel it is in alignment with your spirituality? Or do you spend your money until you are left with “just enough”?

Having money is not a sin. How you spend or keep it is a personal choice. Creating a feeling of financial security in your life allows for a freedom of choice that benefits you others.

Think of this: You aren’t helping anyone by keeping your earnings at what you think is an acceptable/respectable level. You have the ability to create more of an impact—on your household, your community, your region, and the world—by earning to your full potential. Money can be used to support organizations you believe in, it can give you the support necessary to pursue your dreams, which in turn can help others. The more you earn the better equipped you are to take care of your needs and those important in your life. It allows you the freedom to express your spirituality.

Giving Money

For many people, it’s hard to give money when they feel they don’t have enough, or don’t think they will get it back. This can create inner tension if a person’s religion dictates that they tithe or if a person’s spiritual desires include giving money. When you give money, only give when you feel positively about it. If it feels comfortable or appropriate to you, enhance your monetary gift with energy from an open heart. Everything in the world is made of atoms, which have energy. Therefore, money also has and holds an energetic quality. Energy is exchanged when money is exchanged. Giving money is akin to completing a circle of energy. Set the intention that the money will bring benevolence to the recipient(s): You receive and you give, you give and you receive.

Having trouble parting with your money? Perhaps you might focus less on what money gives you (or costs you) and consider how your money helps others. Even if you are purchasing something, think of its effect after the transaction: Supporting business owners and jobs and therefore people’s families, and vitalizing your community as those business owners and employees and families in turn use that money.

While many of us were taught beliefs that intertwined spirituality and money with judgments, it is possible to shift those beliefs into ones that support us.

 



Life Balance

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Balance is an essential part of life. When elements in nature become unbalanced, they eventually correct themselves. The more out of synch the elements in nature are, the more intense the correction—what we call “natural disasters.”

If a houseplant is completely ignored, or only taken care of sporadically, the plant will not do well and might even die. If you give it too little attention—keep it away from sunlight, deny it water, or fail to plant it in the right soil—you can’t expect it to flourish. This is analogous to not taking care of an area of your life. By the same token, spending too much time and effort in a particular area of life is not healthy either. It’s like over-pruning the plant or providing it with too much water or sun.

As in nature, when we experience imbalance in areas of our lives—working too much, ignoring our finances, not taking time for self-love—there will be subsequent results.

There are 4 main areas of life most of us can identify with as being significant:

  • Relationships – Our interactions with and connections to family, friends, and community.
  • Finances – The money we earn, save, invest, and spend.
  • Career – What we do (for pay or not) that contributes to our profession or career goals.
  • Self – Our spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical needs and desires.

Every life area is important and needs attention to foster balance. When we spend most of our focus in one area—say, putting all our attention on our career—then another area will most likely suffer—for example, relationships or self-care.

Take a few minutes to determine what percentage of time and energy you spend in each of these areas. Are any of them lacking? Is there a way you can bring those areas into greater balance? What is one step you could take to do so? Perhaps it’s consolidating one or two workdays each week in order to spend that time with family. Or maybe it’s scheduling a monthly massage or earmarking 10 minutes each morning to journal. If your finances need attention, maybe consulting a financial advisor or a friend who excels in budgeting is in order. Commit to taking at least one action step in any life area that is out of balance, no matter how small it seems.

The amount of attention each life area needs may be different. Determine the amount of focus and energy that feels right for you. It may initially take a bit of focus, discipline, and effort to keep our life in balance, but like anything else we keep practicing, it will soon become second nature.


Born Again was originally published on Bridge of Life


Emotional Awareness

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Let’s say elevating your level of positivity and happiness is a daily intention for you. You utilize mantras, affirmations, and/or other tools on a continuous basis. You are letting go of unsupportive thoughts and adopting supportive ones. But there are many moments, or even days, that you are far from a state of bliss. What gives?

Well, we’re not robots, so it’s perfectly normal to experience unexpected emotions even after a lifetime of positive focus. No one is a happy, smiley person 24/7. Nor should that necessarily be the goal, nor a marker for successful personal growth. A more helpful goal is to achieve emotional awareness, or being conscious of how we are feeling and why.

Here are some points to keep in mind regarding our emotional experiences:

Emotions are not destinations. They are road signs. Your emotions are a result of your thoughts. So if you recognize you are in an uncomfortable emotional state, take a look at what you are thinking. For example, if you’re feeling despair the thoughts creating that are likely defeat, hopelessness, and powerlessness. Once you’re alert to your thoughts, you can start shifting them to ones you consider more positive and higher energy. “Happy people” are not always happy and “unhappy people” are not always unhappy…they just engage in more of that particular kind of self-talk and, therefore, resonate the corresponding emotion.

All emotions are the same. Yes, you read that right. Emotions are neither “good” nor “bad.” They are just different from each other, and some we prefer over others. However, being able to identify what kind of emotion we are experiencing gives us the opportunity to shift our thinking in another direction. We can create more of the feelings we like (referred to as “positive” feelings) by changing or shifting the language we use in self-talk from words that create emotions we feel badly about to words that create feelings we feel positively about.

All emotions are useful. Emotions like despair, fear, anger, and frustration may be uncomfortable and undesirable, but they are signals that something isn’t sitting well with us. Uncomfortable emotions can nudge us into awareness and can help us define what we want in life. As we work to move on to preferable emotions, we may see beneficial results we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience in the absence of that initial unwelcome feeling.

Recognize and accept all of your emotions for what they are. Emotions are part of the human experience. Take comfort in knowing it’s ok to feel unwelcome emotions, and feel confident that you have the power to change your thoughts, and therefore your emotions and your experience, at any time.