This one habit could be preventing your happiness

I was recently talking with someone who was reading The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. We began discussing the four agreements which are 1. Be impeccable with your word 2. Don't take anything personally 3. Don't make assumptions 4. Always do your best. 

Agreement number 2, don't take anything personally stuck out to me the most. This is so hard to do, and one that I am guilty of breaking all too often. Primarily, I believe we connect this agreement to mean don't take others' actions or words personally, but how about events. We don't get hired for a job and so often we think it's about us, that we're not good enough. Seemingly bad things happen and we ask "why me?", blaming the universe for not being on your side. Too often we make things personal, we take them personally. Too often we go to a place where we think others' actions, or negative events are because we said something wrong, or weren't good enough. How much suffering could we avoid if we could stop taking things personally? How much suffering could we avoid if we realized that others' judgements about us are more often a reflection of what's inside them rather than what's inside us? How much suffering could we avoid if we realized that we don't know it all, and what seems like a negative event in the moment might actually turn out to be a positive in the long-run? Whenever I find myself in a negative headspace, telling myself negative stories, feeling sorry for myself, or resentful towards others, I find I'm taking things personally. Stopping and bringing awareness that I'm taking things personally is often enough to shift my headspace and mood. Realizing when you're taking things personally can help to break the illusion that your thoughts are reality. So this weekend, if you find yourself angry, bitter, resentful, or just feeling sorry for yourself, see if you might be taking things personally and it may just help to prevent the onset of your next bad mood. Happy Weekend!

Happy Weekend!

What a beautiful thought. Why not start today, with something simple like a kind word, a smile to a stranger, or allowing someone to cut in front of you while stuck in traffic? One thing is for certain, we are all going to die. How wonderful it would be if we could all leave this world a little more beautiful, a little lovelier, and a little more loving. Happy Weekend!

Do this one thing to harmonize your life

I recently delved deeper into looking at yoga from an Ayurvedic perspective. Ayurveda, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, is one of the oldest medical systems, created over 3,000 years ago in India. Ayurveda is a holistic healing method which works to balance and harmonize the person as a whole, taking the entire self system (e.g. mind, body, energy) and how it relates to environmental changes into account. One very important concept stuck out to me when studying Ayurveda and yoga. When one imbalance is present, you will become naturally drawn to that which further contributes to the imbalance. For example, if you are amped up, and having difficulty sitting still, or calming down, you will crave yoga postures that amp you up even more, when what you might need are slow deep forward folds to calm and harmonize your system. This is also true for emotional imbalances. I see so many depressed people who naturally are drawn to stillness, laying in bed, isolating, all low energy activities which further the depression, further the imbalance.

If you are anxious, feeling restless, you may need to get still. If you feel like you have no time for stillness, you probably need it the most. If you feel like laying in bed all day, you might try getting out and going for a walk. Get the idea? Whenever you're feeling ungrounded, off balance, do the opposite of your current energy state and see if it doesn't harmonize your energy. I'm not saying, don't listen to your body, because I am a firm believer that if we listen hard enough, our body, mind, and spirit will guide us in the right direction. What I am saying, is take this concept into consideration when deciding what you need. Analyze your current energy state, and determine if you would benefit from shifting this state. If you need more energy, practice energizing activities. If you need calming, grounding, practice calming grounding activities. Listen to what you need vs. what you want and that may make all the difference. 

Simple Pleasure of the Week: Nature's Rhythms

The ebb and flow of tides, the seasons, the moon cycle, sunrise and sunset, are all examples of nature's rhythms. Predictable rhythms are soothing and this truth can best be observed in the calming nature of waves as they lap against the shore. There's something calming about the sound and sight of waves as they crash and fall against the shore in a never ending cycle. For this reason, Nature's rhythms are this week's simple pleasure. Enjoy!

4 Mindfulness Meditations to help you through the day

Mindfulness has solved a lot of my problems...a lot! Try a mindfulness meditation as part of your daily routine, or practice it when you're just needed relief from the stress of the world. Mindfulness is all about observing the present moment with intention, and non-judgmentally. You can practice mindfulness for a moment, a few minutes, or even a more formal 10-20 minute sit down practice. Below are 4 mindfulness meditations to help you through the day:

  1. Head to toe relaxation. I like to start my morning meditations with this short exercise as a means of getting in-tune with my body. Close your eyes and focus on your body. Focus on relaxing every part of your body, relaxing your face, jaw, throat, chest and stomach. You'll be surprised at how much tension you were holding in your body. Notice the difference before the exercise and after. 
  2. Scented mindfulness. Burn some incense, diffuse essential oil, or put on a calming scented hand lotion, close your eyes and tune into the scent. Fully immerse yourself in exploring every note of the scent you're inhaling. Observe the full experience of that scent, how it affects your body, mind, emotions, and energy. 
  3. Observe your thoughts about the situation. If you're feeling frustrated, hopeless, angry, annoyed, or resentful. Stop and observe your thoughts about the situation. We often tell ourselves stories about events. Everything is neutral. It's our story or expectations that make us perceive the event as either positive or negative. Just stopping and noticing the stories you're telling yourself about the situation can illuminate your biases and liberate you from them. 
  4. Place a hand on your heart. Place one or both hands on your heart and just breathe. Notice how the simple act of placing your hand(s) on your heart affect your energy. Do you feel grounded? Do you feel vulnerable?

8 Principles to Live Your Life By

These are simply some of the principles I try to live my life by. I'm by no means perfect, but it is helpful to have some values I can refer back to when trying to make a difficult decision, and these 8 principles have helped me along the way:

  1. Don't Be Afraid of Failure. Fear of failure will prevent you from taking risks. Risks are necessary for doing anything of value really, so embrace failure, learn from failure.
  2. Never Close a Door or Burn a Bridge. My mother always says "Never close a door", and I can't tell you how much this principle has benefitted me. There have been many times when out of anger, I've wanted to close a door but chose not to because of my mother's words in my head. You never know who knows who. Everything connects. Closing one door, may close another door for you down the road. Don't close doors or burn bridges. It's bad juju. Trust me, this principle will serve you. 
  3. You're Only as Good as Your Word. You really are, only as good as your word. If you say you're going to do something, do it. This is especially true in the work place. Don't be flaky. Be incredibly editing with commitments, but once you commit, follow through. Working with children truly cemented this principle for me because sticking to your word is crucial for building trust. 
  4. Make Your Goodbye Positive. I always try to leave on a good note, even if it's a job I can't want to say goodbye to. Expressing gratitude for the positives is a good practice for keeping your doors open, and strengthening your own positive thinking patterns.
  5. The Means Must Meet the End. You can't reach happiness with unhappiness. You can't reach peace with violent means. The means must meet the end you're wanting. If you want to have a life in which you feel gratitude, you must express gratitude for the positive things in your life along the way. Practice kindness and compassion if you want to receive kindness and compassion, practice healthy routines if you want to achieve health. 
  6. People Remember How You Make Them Feel. Always, be conscious of your energy. How do you make others' feel? This is truly important because people will remember how you make them feel more than what you did or what you said. I always want to make people feel heard, seen, and respected. You can choose to spread joy, or sorrow. Choose joy.
  7. Live Sustainably. I always try to live a sustainable lifestyle, meaning that my lifestyle sustains me rather than drains me. Work, diet, exercise, and relationships should sustain you, not slowly drain you. Reflect on whether you are being slowly drained or whether you are being sustained by your lifestyle choices. Adjust accordingly.
  8. Always Be The Bigger Person. I've had many instances where people yelled at me, spoke to me in a disrespectful manner, or pulled a downright dirty move. Always choose the high road. Always be the bigger person. In the long run, I promise it will serve you. You will feel good about yourself, others will respect you, and most often, those who have wronged you will feel extra guilty for it because you didn't give them any ammo to justify their wrong-doings. 

Mindful Minute: Rainy Day Study

The weather here is beautiful, with no rain in sight for the near future, but as I was looking through pictures we'd taken on a rainy day here by the sea, I thought of the Rainy Day Study exercise. On the next rainy day, truly listen to the pitter pattering of rain atop your umbrella, roof of the car, or roof of your home. Close your eyes, notice any patterns of sound, tune into the smell of the rain if you're outside under an umbrella. Notice how the air feels on your skin. Really study the full experience of rain. Take some slow deep breaths through the nose as you do this, and see if you don't feel more grounded, and a bit calmer after that one minute is up. 

20 Ways to Show yourself Love

With it being Valentine's Day week, I thought love to be an appropriate topic. Our relationship with ourselves is the foundation for all other relationships. We can't fully receive love from others if we can't first love ourselves. What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a little self-love? Above are 20 ways to show yourself a little love. Most of them are completely free while a few cost just a small amount of money, proving you don't have to have money to treat yourself! Pick something everyday that represents self-love and do it because love is a verb and you can't get good at something if you don't practice.