Archive for the ‘self-help’ Category

Blessed to be Free

During July, Americans celebrate freedom and independence. Fortunately, I was blessed to have been born in the United States of America where I am free to speak my mind, believe whatever I desire, own property, have multiple children, vote, practice any type of profession, travel and create a life of my own choosing. Many people around the world don’t have this kind of luxury. Perhaps you are one of these people.

One thing we all have in common however, is the ability to choose our own thoughts; that in turn reflects our attitude, and ultimately our life experiences. Regardless of political, social, religious, or economical oppression, nobody can control what is inside our heart and mind; this is 100% under our own control. We can choose to forgive and we can choose to have faith. Even in the case of “brain washing” or psychological torture/abuse, our soul/spirit is untouchable. This divine essence always knows the truth of our being and provides more sustenance than food or water.  There are countless stories of such experiences from people who have been imprisoned, oppressed, abused and tortured who have risen above all adversity as a result of this Truth. They never lost sight of their freedom to choose their own thoughts, attitudes and attitude despite any circumstance.

The story of Immaculée Ilibagiza, is a perfect example of this concept during the 1994 Rwanda genocide when she and seven other women huddled silently together in a cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house for 91 days! During this horrific ordeal, Immaculée lost most of her family, but she survived to share the story and her miraculous transition into forgiveness and a profound relationship with God. To read more of her story, get her book Left To Tell or check out her website for yourself. http://www.lefttotell.com/

The story of Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, is another example of someone who utilized his freedom of thought to endure unspeakable horrors. For more of his story, read his book Man’s Search for Meaning and discover what he learned about freedom. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl

When I think of these brave people, I am so thankful and grateful for the freedoms I enjoy and for the choice of thought/ attitude/ perception, that is inherent to every human being on this planet.

What freedoms are you grateful for? Take a moment to reflect on what you might take for granted or tell your story and comment below.  Here is what the books look like for featured authors mentioned above. They are definitely worth reading!

 

With love and blessings; gratitude and Joy,

Lisa

 

Planting Seeds of Faith

Spring if often a time for planting in the garden. A time of renewal and anticipation filled with promise and hope. I love 

gardening; planting seeds of herbs, vegetables, and flowers. This brings me joy and connects me to mother earth, which is a very grounding experience. At a recent workshop I attended, we explored the idea of seeds being planted into the conscious mind by way of intentions where they germinate and later manifest into our desires. Today, I want to explore the various seeds we can plant in our own lives and see what sprouts.

Just like there are many varieties of seeds available to plant for food, shade,  or pleasure; there are endless seeds of thought we can plant for a multitude of outcomes. We can choose to plant the seeds of wholeness, wellness, joy, love, beauty, success, dreams, simplicity, harmony, balance, fun, creativity, relationships, communication, forgiveness, reconciliation, hope, faith, strength, courage, wisdom, completion, discipline, longevity, health, adventure, positivity and so much more… There are an infinite amount of seeds available to plant in the fertile soil of our consciousness. The trick is to continue nurturing them and not dig them up. When we plant a seed, we are expressing faith in Universal Laws or Truths that we can trust to manifest our desires. Tomato seeds produce tomatoes. They can’t produce cucumbers because that’s not the intention of their seeds. The same in true for planting seeds of joy, wisdom, love and anything else in life; they all correspond to the intention of that particular seed. Therefor, paying attention to the seeds we plant in our own minds, correspond with the outcomes we experience in our own lives.

We have a choice. Planting seeds of faith require gratitude which nurtures the composition of the seeds allowing them to flourish into manifestation. What would you like to plant today? I invite you to plant the seeds that would make your life more enjoyable and fulfilling. Write them down. Nourish them with positivity, faith and trust. Weed out doubt, fear, or negativity. Instead, focus your energy on the outcome of these seeds and before long you will begin to see them sprout (manifest) in your life.

* If you liked this article, please comment below and/ or reblog (post on your page/wall) to share with others. Let me know what seeds you’re planting and together we can nurture all the possibilities!

Gratitude as the Gateway

 

Whatever the circumstance, gratitude can open the door from chaos to order; blocks to breakthroughs and endings to new beginnings filled with possibility. Gratitude is truly the gateway to happiness and more importantly, satisfaction with life. When we choose to look at what is right in our lives, we shift our focus and instantly our energy as well as outlook changes. The darkness of self-pitty and depression instantly become lighter, fear turns into renewed faith and despair turns into hope the minute we surrender and accept where we are in the moment. Being grateful for all the blessings we have in the moment open a space within us to accept the unacceptable with grace and ease. This practice paves the way for peace and clear thinking in which solutions can present themselves. When we are locked by resistance, we block God’s help. Gratitude breaks through the resistance by reminding us things could always be worse and helps us to put everything in perspective. Of course, we may not like the situation, but we must accept it nonetheless.

Acceptance does not mean forgiveness, or turning the other cheek. Acceptance, simply means acknowledging what is. It is what it is. This mindset helps take the emotion out of things and automatically takes the charge out of things. Try it and see for yourself. I’ve been using this technique for almost a year and the results are phenomenal. Of course this tool requires practice as our human tendency is to react out of emotion first and resist looking at things objectively. Unfortunately, this is the way most people handle problems, challenges and uncomfortable situations. However, it doesn’t have to be this way when you practice gratitude regardless of the outcome.

Starting today, write down everything that is working in your life. Using complete sentences, journal what you appreciate about your life and the people who make it better/worthwhile. Think about a challenge, problem or particularly difficult situation or person and find 10 things to be grateful for. Look for the positive in the person or situation and notice how you feel. Notice your energy level as it begins to shifts. Sleep on it. That’s why I love doing this practice right before bed, because the brain will contemplate it all night long in our sleep as it passes from our conscious mind to the subconscious mind where the real shifts occur. The next day, I usually feel entirely different about the whole situation and can see solutions that I couldn’t before. Tell me about your experience and comment below.

Until then, trust the process of gratitude and allow it to transform your heart, mind, and life.

 

Where is Gratitude in your life?

 Today, I decided to kick of this post with a good, ol, fashioned poll. See link below to participate!

What do you think about Gratitude? I want to know because I think it’s worth looking at in order to become present to our everyday blessings.  Author, Melody Beattie has a great little book out called Gratitude; Affirming the Good Things in Life.  Inside, Beattie reminds us of the principles of Gratitude; recognition, affirmation, acceptance, and goal-setting. What aspects of gratitude stand out for you?

Acceptance of our current circumstances, shifts our attention from drab to fab in the blink of an eye, uplifting our attitude as well as our mood making stress a thing of the past. Now this doesn’t mean we have to love everything in this world, but it does mean we need to accept life on life’s terms. When we practice acceptance, space is opened for gratitude to rush in and that’s where the magic happens. Our whole outlook on life begins to change and fear, negativity, along with depression simply fade away.

As Beattie so beautifully reminds us, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

According to Gogratitude.com, “Gratitude is the Master Key that opens all doors of possibility”. They even have a flash movie and a 42 day gratitude journey with inspiring  and educational videos to kick-start you on the grateful path. Although they call it an “experiment” what more could you ask for to try a gratitude practice of your very own? What have you got to lose anyways… our old ways of being will certainly be there.

I for one, can attest that when I come from a place of gratitude, my heart is open and my eyes are anew; life looks a little brighter, my face and body become more relaxed, my finances increase and judgement simply disappears. So why don’t you come along and take the gratitude challenge with me by seeing how this practice can add years to your life in a prosperous and joy-filled way!

[polldaddy poll=5536043

Thank You!

How could two little words mean so much yet be so simple? I think it’s the message behind them that counts because it convey’s deep appreciation, gratitude and love that acknowledges both parties involved. While this little phrase may seem overused, the practice of it never goes out of style because we all crave recognition for our good deeds in some way. There is nothing wrong with desiring validation for a job well done; however, the challenge comes when we seek this from outside sources (people, work, etc) because then we are giving others power over us and this is can be disastrous to our self-esteem in many ways.

Looking for praise from other people is a set up for resentment. This affects our attitude and behavior, teetering on the side of manipulation sometimes in order to gain approval from others. What if we could acknowledge ourselves? When was the last time you praised yourself? Often we focus on others to avoid looking at ourselves; even when its about acknowledging something positive within ourselves. Can you relate? Why is this?

To counteract this negative habit, I’ve instituted the practice of listing my accomplishments daily in a journal. This single activity forces me to look at all the things that I complete, do well, and achieve. Writing this out stares my monkey mind squarely in the face, and defies the illogical crazies. Try it today and say Thank You to yourself !

 

Lazy Days

I love lazy days. I didn’t always though; in fact, they have become an acquired taste I’ve learned to enjoy without beating myself up for being non-productive. The reality is, lazy days allow us to rest and rejuvenate from a week or month of fast-paced, busy living! Some of you might be saying, “that’s what vacation is for”, but how often do we fill our vacations with hectic schedules in different scenery? I know I do because I don’t want to waste a minute of it, sleeping or heaven forbid relaxing as there is always something to do or see that’s new and it fills my need for adventure.

On the flip side, lazy days are schedule free with no time constraints or adventure. They are what my mom likes to call “drop dead days”. Morbid title I know, but it gets the point across. My mom has a bad habit of pushing herself to the brink of exhaustion before allowing herself to take one of these days. By then, she really was ready to “drop dead” and couldn’t push any longer. How many of us over-achievers or perfectionists does that sound like?

Nonetheless, you may be thinking, “What does this have to do with gratitude?”. Well read on. Just today, I gave myself one of these lazy days; well an afternoon, but that’s a start. Lately I’ve been feeling exhausted and run down, tired of all the commitments I’d gotten myself into and somewhat depressed. After church, I spent the rest of the day with my husband and our dog Buttercup. We played and talked; did much of nothing and it was wonderful. Just what the doctor ordered! Now I feel relaxed, refreshed, and motivated again;  my batteries are recharged and I’m more productive too.

So when was the last time you did absolutely nothing; perhaps took a nap or leisurely read a magazine, or even a few movies on TV and weren’t sick? Exactly. That’s the point of enjoying regular lazy days, cause they actually prevent illness! Plus you can enjoy them without all the nasty symptoms that come with a cold or flu. Which would you rather have; down time when on your terms or down time when you feel too bad to enjoy it!

My challenge for you is to choose regular lazy days before your life catches up with you or better yet, passes you by in a whirlwind of activity. Become the master of your schedule and take the time to smell the roses once in a while; it will reduce your stress as well. I am sure grateful I did and my relationship will be stronger for it.

Take Time Out

I am so thankful and grateful for time out’s. Whether it’s a minute, five, ten, or all day, taking time out from the day-to-day routine is essential for optimal mental health. Doing this before the pressures of life get too much is far better than waiting for things to back up or worse, explode! Recently, I enjoyed a wonderful conference that explored integrating our shadow side (fears, resentments, frustrations, or other limiting beliefs) in order live from greater conscious awareness. It was a fabulous day away from the family, pets, and housework where I could dress up and feel like a real adult. Ahhhh. We all need time outs like these and I realized that it had been far too long for me.

The beautiful part about time outs is that afterwards, you feel completely rejuvenated and inspired with greater motivation as well as a fresh perspective. It’s like going away on a vacation, when you come home everything looks so much better.

Now a little more info on these time out’s and what they look like. Taking deep, cleansing, breathes for a minute or two can suffice in a pinch when you’re feeling stressed out and need to calm down to collect yourself. Practicing some yoga or Tai Chi postures for 15 minutes of more can be a great time out to re-focus and go within. Exercising at the gym or going for a brisk walk /run/ bike ride, can be another form of time out that is just for you, allowing for greater energy, improved physical health, and mental clarity. There are times, however, when one needs a longer time out than those described above. When this happens, enroll in a seminar or workshop for the day or go on a private retreat for the weekend to refuel and pamper yourself. The time alone will not only benefit you, but your family, job, and outlook on life as well.

Just like toddlers, we all need to take time out from our day to nap, rest, and play; yet as we grow up and the pressures of life build, we need greater time outs to reflect and bask in the silence. Media, technology, financial obligations, and increased job/personal demands have created a pace to life that is difficult for any human being to sustain. Thus, taking time out from this pace to slow down and relax is key to balance the inner with the outer and maintain feelings of emotional satisfaction with the lives we lead and the direction they are taking.

I, for one, am grateful for taking these time-outs in order to examine and re-align my life with Divine Purpose. Try it for yourself today and see how much better you feel afterwards. Mix up the varying kinds of time-outs described above and notice your productivity and outlook skyrocket.