Tag Archives: awareness

Starting the Day with Gratitude (and a giveaway!)

gratitude practiceI woke up this morning, after a rough night of sleep. For some reason I was restless, and the birds were chirping at 3am as if to say, we’re up too, come join us! When I woke again, it was almost 8am and I found myself filled with gratitude.

I am grateful for sleep.

I am grateful for my family.

I am grateful for the geese.

I am grateful for this day.

To rise each day with gratitude means to begin each day filled with possibility.

If you’re anything like me, many days begin with you feeling like you are already behind, playing catch to a list of obligations, musts, and shoulds. When that is your starting point, it becomes much more difficult to shine your light and be the best version of yourself that you can be.

Gratitude goes much deeper than a powerful way to begin your day, and that’s why I’m excited to be offering Growing with Gratitude in the Rise and Shine Giveaway that runs through May 2nd. I am one of 25 women offering our gifts to you so that you can rise each morning, believing fully in the possibility that is you.

You can check out the giveaway here and choose your gifts, finding the ones that resonate most.

Here are a few that I’ve grabbed for myself:

The Inspired Mama’s Resource Guide from Becky McCleery

The Story of Stuck from Nancy J. Pigno

7 Real World Steps to Embracing Your Intuitive Gifts from Jessica Lee

After you look through the gifts, come back here and leave a comment letting me know which ones most inspire you to rise and shine!

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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The Truth about Reaching the Top

top of the mountainWe live our lives telling ourselves we need to climb to the top of the mountain. We are always striving for the top, and we are convinced, as the trail takes an unexpected turn, as the path in front of us is blocked, as storms rage on, that we will never make it there.

And if we do, then what? We look at the beautiful view, say we made it, and that’s all there is to do?

We’re missing the bigger picture. Life is not about climbing to the top of the mountain – it’s about exploring the entire mountain range. We reach the top and have a moment of pride when we look back and see all that we’ve been and done and gone through to get to where we are. Then, with courage in our hearts, we take the next step on a new adventure.

Over and over, there will always be a new adventure ahead of us. Each adventure will be unique, and will come with its own accomplishments, struggles, and lessons. There are a few simple reminders that will keep us moving forward to the next mountain, no matter what we encounter along the way.

Be grateful.

Be compassionate.

Be patient.

Be forgiving.

Be you.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Releasing Expectations So You Can Flow Instead of Struggle

release expectationsExpectations. We all have them, for ourselves and for others. Mostly, they lead to frustration, disappointment, anger and miscommunication.

When you are thinking about starting a family (or you are just dreaming of it for some time in your future), these expectations can be painful.

You have expectations about what needs to be in place, how long it will take you to get pregnant, what pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood will look like for you.

At each point on this journey, there are numerous opportunities for not meeting these expectations, these high ideals that you have come to believe must be true.

What if you could flip this? What if you could shift your expectations so you are open and receiving instead of closed off and fighting?

Shifting expectations continues to come up in my life, so I know that it is a lesson I have not yet fully learned. As I have been hit on the head with this lesson a lot this week, I realized something – it’s not about my expectations of others but of myself.

As I have worked on shifting my expectations, this has meant accepting that I need support to make my dreams, passions, and desires flourish. I reached out for this support, invested in myself, and I can feel the shift.

It has taken some of the pressure off of me and helped me create space to put my focus to where it needs to be. I am able to focus on what flows naturally, while getting support with the pieces that feel more difficult and tend to cause a lot of frustration and stress. This is invaluable!

Are you ready? Release those expectations so you can flourish and grow.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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When It’s Not What We Think It Is

It started on Chloe’s birthday after spending 3 hours in a park. The itchy throat, the stuffy nose, and it came on fast. Knowing my history with allergies, even though the past few years have been better (thank you raw local honey and clean healthy eating!), I made the obvious assumption that allergies were to blame, and I locked myself inside for the next few days as I battled to breath with just one nostril.

My suspicions were confirmed when I went out for an hour 4 days later, and I started to feel worse again. This time, more than my nose, my throat was the victim. By the next morning, I had virtually no voice. The weather was gorgeous and I stayed inside, wishing I could open the windows and let the air filter my home (just like Sara Snow talked about in our recent interview).

A week had passed, and despite beginning to feel better thanks to Melanie St. Ours and her wonderful herbal wisdom, I questioned whether enjoying the 70 degree weather was a smart choice, but I needed to get out, so off we went.

Clover Collage

“So far so good,” I said to my mom as we walked from the car towards the season’s first Clover Market, an outdoor market of area artisans including our friend Hillary from Isabella Sparrow and a woman I went to school with, Jenny Staple with her beautiful jewelry.

As the hours passed and I still felt pretty good (just tired out by the 4 year old!), I began to realize something really exciting – I had been sick!! I have rarely been so excited about being sick, but this meant that perhaps the windows could be opened and I could enjoy the fresh air of spring.

It is easy to jump to conclusions in our lives – whether it comes to relationships, to our health, or even to what path to choose. When we can stay open to all possibilities, we might find ourselves pleasantly surprised.

I remain cautiously optimistic and now feel prepared to try opening the windows and letting the breeze into my home. If you’re a fellow allergy sufferer, here are a few things I’m adding to my routine this season just in case.

  • My daily dose of raw local honey
  • Sabidil (a homeopathic allergy remedy)
  • My nose irrigator (I just tried it but so far I find it easier than my neti pot, same concept)
  • Lots and lots of water
  • Being mindful of high pollen days so I can keep track of how I feel and if it’s related (nothing beats self awareness!)

I’d love to know about a time when what you thought to be true turned out to be something else and what that taught you. Leave a comment below!

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Let It Go (and watch the magic happen!)

“I recently realized something,” I said to my mom. “I used to run really fast. I always won on field day in elementary school. I was fast. And the teachers never encouraged me to pursue that, never helped me see that as a strength. I feel like they took something from me by not helping me to cultivate that part of me.”

She agreed, and we had a brief discussion about how we can’t really go back and change things, but we can learn from them.

The truth is, I grew up hating gym class. I don’t like to use the word hate now, but I definitely hated gym class. I really didn’t enjoy any form of movement, and I was never really taught that it was important. It’s not that I didn’t see it from my parents – my dad played basketball and cricket, skied in the winter and worked out regularly. My mom was an avid runner. So why did I hate gym class?

Clearly from my memory, there was a time when I didn’t hate it. I enjoyed being out on that field, running as fast as I could.  I can remember playing soccer and being good. So I found myself wondering where the origin of this shift came from. I imagine part of the reason was that springtime often left me behind in gym class, relegated to running errands for the gym department who didn’t know what to do with the girl whose allergies were so bad that she couldn’t go outside without getting a bloody nose and having her eyes practically sealed shut. I wasn’t taught then about the importance of movement, and about the power that I had within me. I was taught (yes, by my teachers) that I was different and undeserving of support if I couldn’t be outside with the rest of the class.

This message stuck with me for a long time. Eventually, after years of feeling like it was completely natural that I was sedentary and that I didn’t really need to do anything differently, I found yoga. My view on movement changed a bit, because I found a space on my mat that was not just about exercise, it was about spirituality. My eyes also began to open to the importance of regular movement beyond yoga, especially as I was preparing my body for pregnancy, but I just couldn’t make it happen.

I think I was still holding onto this belief that I wasn’t an athletic person and that there was no point in trying. That all changed the other day when I stretched myself way out of my comfort zone. Remember how I have talked about how that’s the place where the magic happens? Well, in 45 minutes, I deconstructed this limiting belief and shut the old patterns down. Yes, in 45 short and sweaty minutes, everything changed.

photo by Justin N Thompson

photo by Justin N Thompson

I surprised myself quite a bit when I walked into Focus Fitness at 9:30 on a Sunday morning and signed in for a class unlike any I’d taken before – a class that combines spinning and yoga. I think the idea of the yoga part settled some of my nerves, but I wondered what in the world I was doing there, mostly-sedentary-little-me, getting ready to walk into a room full of strangers and hop on a stationary bike for 45 minutes.

I was lovingly welcomed into the group with full support. Someone even lent me a pair of sneakers (because I didn’t even think to bring those, see, my head really was on the yoga part!).

Here are some of the thoughts that ran through my head:

What the hell am I doing here?

There’s no way I’ll make it through this class!

Am I doing this right?

Oh my god this is HARD!

Okay, I’m pushing myself, I can DO this!

Wait, did I really just do 15 miles in 45 minutes?

I don’t know if I liked this.

I have to come back and do this again.

I AM capable of this!

I gave myself a gift the other day that went well beyond an intense cardio workout. I taught myself that for all of these years I’d been living a lie, and I don’t need to live that lie anymore. I do like how it feels when I move my body like this, and I am more than capable of it, I can rock it!

I limited myself by continuing to tell the story that I didn’t need a lot of movement in my life and that I wasn’t good at it and wouldn’t enjoy it anyway.

I kept living out that same pattern again and again – the one that told me I wasn’t like everyone else, that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t capable of this.

I’ve learned the importance of stretching myself beyond my comfort zone a lot in the last few years, and especially in the last few months as I’ve put together the Creating Fertile Ground Virtual Conference.  It wasn’t until this spinning class that I saw so clearly how quickly we can release our limiting beliefs once we recognize what they are and push ourselves to taking action to boldly step away from them and in the direction of growth.

So what’s holding you back?

What beliefs have been so deeply part of how you view yourself that it’s hard to imagine they’re simply not true?

And what can do to stretch yourself so immensely out of your comfort zone that you give yourself no choice but to release these old beliefs and make space for your Truth?

This is safe and sacred space, so please share here on over on the Facebook page.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Taming the Toxin of Regret

All is wellRarely does a day come to an end when we find ourselves thinking that we got absolutely everything done that we wanted to accomplish, and that it worked out just as we had hoped. Most days end filled with small regrets – I wish I’d gotten more accomplished at work, I wish I had eaten better, I wish I had called so-and-so, I wish I had done a better job with that project, and on and on.

When we step back and look at the big picture of our lives, the regrets that we carry with us get even bigger. I wish I had spent more time with loved ones, I wish I had gathered more family stories, I wish I had seen how my actions were impacting my loved ones, I wish I had taken a different career path, I wish, I wish, I wish.

As we learn more about ourselves over the years, it’s easy to want to go back and re-write our stories, our lives. In some cases, what we learn can be helpful in the path to healing not only ourselves but also our relationships with others. When you discover something about who you are, your personality, and it helps you to understand why certain relationships worked out how they did or why certain experiences played out in ways that seemed incredibly painful and unfair at the time, it might actually be part of your healing process to revisit the experience with others who were involved, and healing might come to the relationship as well. That is a productive use of self-growth and self-discovery.

When you take these regrets and let them become part of your narrative, part of who you are, you are poisoning yourself, those around you, and your future experiences, dreams, and desires.

Here are a few ways that regret acts as a poison:

  • Regret makes you feel like you are flawed, and then you are likely to view every similar situation in your life with the same negative lens
  • Regret closes the door to the possibility that events played out exactly as they were supposed to, for the benefit of everyone involved
  • Regret gives undue power to your past

In these ways and more, regret zaps your energy, your life force, and makes it much more difficult to thrive.

Think of a time in your life, an event or an experience with someone else that fills you with regret. Now think about what you have decided that must mean about you, why you’ve held onto it, and how much it has burdened you.

When I was a teenager, my paternal grandparents wanted to take me to see the movie Michael with John Travolta. I was 13, so perhaps needless to say, I had no interest and we didn’t go.  A year later my grandmother, who I was very close to, died. I was devastated. And I can’t even tell you how many years I carried a very specific regret with me – the regret of not going to see Michael with my grandparents. It seems so silly to me now. I spent lots of time with my grandmother and we had an amazing relationship. Still, it became something that I latched onto, that I felt such immense guilt and shame about for such a long time. I don’t ever remember when I let it go, but I remember realizing, many years separated from my 14 year old self, that going to that movie with her would not have changed a thing. Not going did not make me a bad granddaughter – it made me a teenager! I could let it go. I could focus on the amazing memories and I could honor my feelings by spending more time with my loved ones in ways that felt good.

So how can you release regret so that you and your dreams can thrive?

  • Make a list of things that you regret that you have carried as a heavy burden
  • Explore what you have told yourself each of these things has meant about you, your relationships with others, and how you live your life
  • Acknowledge how much power and energy it has zapped from you, and make the commitment to take that energy back
  • Create a ceremony for releasing your regrets (one of my favorite ways to do that is to have a full moon burning)
  • Treat new situations in your life not with regret but as lessons that are there to teach you about yourself and your journey

As you remove the toxin of regret from your life, you will create space for empowering thoughts instead of draining ones, and you will begin to thrive in ways you could never have imagined.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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How I’m Setting the Foundation for 2014 with My Guiding Word

Digging Into 2014 Banner: 200x 200

I recently had the opportunity to preview Digging Into 2014: Discovering Your Guiding Word, the most recent creation of my friend Tara Wagner. I sat myself on my balcony with a cup of tea, a pen, and the printed out pages of this guide and I dug in.

Let me say this – I have tried to come up with guiding words in the past (I think my word for 2013 was Simplicity but it speaks volumes that I don’t even remember). I was determined to make this coming year different, and as I was working through Digging into 2014, I found my word. More accurately, it found me.

I soaked in the process, uncovered what I learned from 2013, and as I wrote through the exercises, my word found me. Written here, then there, then bigger, then with building excitement and I knew it had found me….THRIVE

It felt so right, and when I looked up the dictionary definition, I knew it fit me perfectly.

thrive: to prosper or flourish; to be successful esp. as the result of economic management; to grow vigorously or luxuriantly; improve physically

I continued on with Digging into 2014, learning more as I was aware of the prompts that got me feeling stuck (that’s always a tell-tale sign of where more work, more support, more energy is needed).

I am so grateful to Tara for putting this together and for giving me a new way to approach discovering my guiding word for the coming year.

I encourage you to explore this work yourself, and once you do, please come back and share your guiding word in the comments!

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Expansion Experiment #1

jai yogaWe often go through our days with our eyes shut. We walk around not fully absorbing our lives. I do this, literally, in my yoga practice, My time on my mat is very spiritual and I often use it as a time for introspection.

As I focus on the word Expansion for the month of October (I’ll be talking more about this as we move through the month), I decided to stretch myself and keep my eyes open during my most recent practice. I discovered so much and I’d like to share some of it with you.

I discovered that my default is eyes closed, and I found myself back there many times. I let go of judgment and took it as an opportunity to reopen my eyes and look with a fresh view.

I discovered that I remain more present with my eyes open. I tend to ‘disappear’ in my yoga practice, flowing with my movement but not always being fully present to what I’m doing and where I am. Staying present today allowed me to have more gratitude for the space I was in and for how I was taking care of myself.

I discovered that the deep stuff comes up more quickly when I can see. In pigeon pose, with my eyes open, I learned exactly what I hold in each of my hips, and now I know what I can release. That felt amazing and very important in contrast to my usual sinking into the pose and turning my mind off completely.

I discovered that expansion is all about exploration and experimentation. In being open to a new experience, in this case that of literally keeping my eyes open, I gave myself the opportunity to see what this would feel like, and what I might learn from it. For that, I am grateful.

For so long, I’ve allowed my yoga practice to be a place where I can build strength and subconsciously invite myself to grow. By keeping my eyes open, by bringing more conscious awareness to my practice, not only did I welcome more growth, but I encouraged expansion.

I titled this post Expansion Experiment #1 because I can feel that there are more to come. I challenge you to play along.

Let’s start together today – in what ways can you begin to live your life with your eyes more open – either figuratively or literally? Share with us in the comments below.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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What Are Your Assumptions Doing to You?

freedomI’m sitting outside – warm sun, cool breeze.

I’m drinking tropical green tea.

I’m thinking about assumptions.

I recently noticed that we go through our days making constant assumptions. I see this in my interactions with others all the time.

Often these assumptions are about other people, but the ones that might matter even more are the ones we hold about ourselves.

Sometimes these assumptions are positive (yoga class will make me feel great), but more commonly they are negative.

Becoming aware of the assumptions you make is the first step in uncovering an important piece of information – are they true?

I promise this will fascinate you! You’ll be mid-thought and realize that what you’re thinking might not be based on any known truth. Or you’ll realize after doing something that you thought you couldn’t do, that you really can (this happens to me in yoga all the time!).

Here’s why assumptions matter: they hurt ourselves and others, and they hold us back. (tweet this)

Let’s flip some common negative assumptions and see what opens up for you.

You assume what you’re capable of achieving.

In doing so, you limit yourself by putting a cap on your dreams, desires, and self-worth.

Believe that you are capable of anything.

You assume what your body can handle.

In doing so, you suppress your natural power.

Believe that your body is strong.

You assume what others think of you.

In doing so, you give away control of your identity to others.

Believe that others see the best in you.

You assume the worst of yourself.

In doing so, you dampen the light of your spirit.

Believe that you are on your journey to becoming your best self.

Think for a moment about all of the assumptions that have become engrained in who you are. How would you feel if you could release them? How would you feel if you could find the positive flip side?

When you hold in your heart the positive ability that you have in your life, you open yourself up for an empowered experience.

When you believe that you are capable of anything, your world opens up to possibility and you begin to stretch yourself and reach out for the support needed to reach and surpass your dreams.

When you believe that your body is strong, you push it to be stronger, you take deeper care of yourself, and you embody that feeling of strength.

When you believe that others see the best in you, you attract people into your life who are supportive and loving.

When you believe that you are on your journey to becoming your best self, you can begin to take the steps to evolve into who you most wish to be.

So what assumption about yourself are you ready to release? Please share with us in the comments below! There is so much power in voicing these feelings and coming together in community.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Toxins and Getting Pregnant

Do you know what's in your products

Did you know that the average woman uses 12 different personal care products on a daily basis? Tweet this!

Did you know that there are over 80,000 chemicals in the products we use again and again and again but only about 100 of them have actually been tested for safety? Tweet this!

The chemicals that we are exposed to by putting them in, on, and around our bodies have the potential to impact our health in many ways and have been connected:

  • Infertility
  • ADHD
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Hormonal disruption
  • Resistant weight loss

I share this not to scare you but to empower you.

As you know, I believe in the importance of beginning with awareness.  This leads me to a really important reminder. If you have one takeaway from reading this today, have it be this – you cannot blame yourself or allow yourself to feel guilt for what you didn’t know. Tweet this!

You have to start somewhere, and beginning to understand what’s in the products that you use most often is the perfect place.

There was a recent story involving Johnson and Johnson having their license suspended that led to a lot of confusion.  For me, the where, the when, and the reach of the problem did not really matter.  Here’s why – regardless of the incident, Johnson and Johnson, and many other companies, continue to use harmful chemicals in our products.  Consumer pressure is changing this – there are many more safe products available than there were even a handful of years ago.  But in order for there to be consumer pressure, there has to be consumer awareness.

This is so important and I want to make it easy for you.  I opened up 10 spots in my schedule for FREE What’s Up with All These Toxins Discovery Sessions.  There are only 3 left, so if you want one, click here and grab your spot before they are all gone.

I don’t often offer free sessions so this is a special opportunity for you if you are ready to stop worrying and start taking action.

I look forward to connecting with you soon.

I’d love to know what your biggest questions or concerns are, so feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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