Monday, February 2, 2015

The Art and Incredible Care of Being Selfish

Traditionally the month of February is about showing others how much we love them, but I'm going to invite you to show yourself a whole lot of love! A lot of times we self sabotage or make excuses for ignoring our own self care, one of the big things that gets in the way is the dreaded 'selfish' word. The dictionary definition is 'devoted to or caring only for oneself, concerned primarily with one's own interests , benefits, welfare etc., regardless of others' and 'characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself.' If we simply take out the word ONLY from both of those descriptions it sounds like the best ideas in the world!!

We truthfully should be devoted to ourselves, our interests, benefits, and welfare, because if we don't who will? and how will someone else ever be able to take care of you, if you don't know how you love to receive care! You will be able to be the best version of yourself if you practice and embrace who you are and what makes your heart sing, and as you develop the habit of doing this every single day, you will be able to be more present and loving to those around you.
We continue to live in a place of deficit, we feel like we don't have enough time, sleep, money or love, and we try to get things done in our daily lives from that place of exhaustion, pain and frustration and so far it hasn't been working out all that well for you. So I am proposing something different, begin being selfish in small ways, and start letting the idea of outward perfection go, and embracing inner satisfaction one step at a time.
I know that we think we have to do everything right now or else it won't get done, but sometimes we have to make a different choice, I promise you if you don't get to the dishes today, they will be there tomorrow (so will the laundry, facebook, the ability to check your emails etc.), but reading a chapter of a book that makes you happy, having a longer bath, going to bed 15 minutes earlier, meditating, taking the long way home so you can sing to your favorite songs in the car, getting a massage, going for a float, doing what ever it is that you need in the moment will allow you to feel life in a more harmonious and peaceful way. * I'm not saying that you have to put everything off all the time, just start off with one day a week every week this month, that you choose to do one thing for yourself, then next month try this out two times a week and keep it going as often as you can until it becomes second nature for you to do!

Once I began to practice the art of selfishness I started to be able to take care of other people in a healthy way, I no longer feel resentful of taking care of others, and it is actually something that comes from a place of love and joy, and anytime that feeling changes into something less pleasant I can look at where I am not taking care of my needs, make a better choice, and go back to feeling better. I feel like I am also coming from a place of abundance and I am able to be more present to those around me, and when I choose to consciously spend time with others, it is more meaningful because I am not thinking about what is on my list, or when I can get home and go to bed.
One of the ways I have used to help remind me that I need to think about what I need in this moment, is to set a reminder for a time in the day where I know I will have the space to do something for me. I set it on my phone, and it also goes off when I arrive home, so as soon as I walk in the door I ask myself "what do I need for me right now?" and sometimes the answer is to do the dishes, or to drink a big glass of water, have something nourishing to eat, or to sit down and do nothing for the next 30 minutes, or to write the wonderful thoughts swirling around my head down.

And most importantly, know that you deserve to take some time for yourself to show yourself some love.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Adopting the Practice of Self Love

I know that when we think of our bodies it is often in the sense of I don't like this, I would love to change that, this is ugly, I am ugly, I am overweight, I just can't seem to lose weight, get in shape, feel good about myself. If you take a moment to think of your body as if it were a small child this is probably what has played out: it has not gotten enough loving attention, so the first thing it does is do everything it can to draw attention to to itself - which is often the source of random pains, muscular discomfort, and even mild digestive problems. The result is getting more frustrated or unhappy with your body, because not only is it not beautiful, now it doesn't feel good either. Because that didn't work at all, it starts taking more extreme action, because if the attention is on too much weight for example, the body then, will take whatever attention it can get, so it will create more of what you don't want, because it brings even more attention to it. Which then creates more disharmony and negative feelings and increases the effects of this cycle.
There is also the worry and fear around this that if we accept and love our bodies and send it heaps of love as it is, that it will stay the same, and the change we want to see will not happen. This is simply not true.
I invite anyone who this resonates with, to try the following practice out, and stick with it for a minimum of 40 days.
Before you get out of bed in the morning, or before you go to sleep at night (or even when you are stuck in traffic! or a time that works well for you) Start at your toes, wiggle them or just focus your awareness on them, and say either in your head or out loud, I love my toes, then move to the soles of the foot, I love the soles of my feet, I love the tops of my feet, I love my ankles, lower legs, knees, thighs, hips, pelvis, groin, sacrum, spine - lower, middle and upper, my whole back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms - upper, forearms, wrists, hands, fingers, neck, throat, jaw, mouth, tongue, nose, cheeks, eyes, ears, forehead, scalp, skull, brain, nerves, lungs, heart, stomach, spleen liver, gallbladder, kidneys, small and large intestines, bowels, bladder, prostate/uterus, reproductive organs, skin, hair, muscles, bones, cells, chakras, energy, soul. ** it is really important to say I love my... before each part.
This may seem like a lot or like it will take a lot of time - it honestly takes me 1 minute 42 seconds to go through the whole process. It may take a little longer at first while you are trying to remember all the parts, but it will come quickly in no time!
While you are doing this, try your best to tune into your body and see how you feel, you may experience some discomfort in the beginning, but stick with it and see how you are feeling week after week!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

12 Tips for Building or Enhancing a Meditation Practice

1. It is called a practice for a reason! Be gentle with yourself if you have a mind that wanders frequently, it is perfectly normal! Your mind has been able to do what it wants for as long as you have been alive, it takes time and practice to get out of this habit!

2. In the beginning, your body will also rebel, it is normal to get physically uncomfortable within the first 10 minutes of a mediation practice, and that is okay too. Take the time to try out different cushions, chairs, and positions and find what works the best for you, and supports your body.

3. You don't have to meditate for an hour to consider it mediation! If you find that your mind and body get uncomfortable and rebel after 5 minutes of meditation and want to stop, that's okay. The more frequent you practice, the longer you will be able to sit for. If you try to sit and focus for an hour to start, you will set yourself up for failure and undermine your whole meditation experience (and your practice). Start small and work your way up to longer and longer times.

4. Use a focusing tool, whether it is a mantra (om and so hum are great), a thought, feeling, or idea     ( love, peace, calm, centered, connected), an affirmation ( I am calm, I am healthy, I am sacred) be creative, change it as you see fit, and find ones that really resonate and speak to you.

5. Use breathing to calm the body and focus the mind, check this out for info on breathing

6. Use guided meditations - find an app, listen to Deepak Chopra (him and Oprah have free meditation series regularly keep an eye out for them they are really great!) Find some on iTunes, or find some at 'New Age' stores or Yoga studios, find meditation classes (I lead a monthly one at Omnia Wellness)

7. Do some research, there are different forms of meditation, some are sitting, standing, walking, moving. Find different styles that you can try, so days when you are physically uncomfortable you can try movement or walking.

8. Carve out time in your day to dedicate to yourself, and your practice. If the morning before work, in the evening before bed, outside in the sun on a sunny day (or inside if it is winter!), find what time of day works for you and go with that, don't try to get it done in the morning if you aren't a morning person!

9. It's okay if you miss a day! Don't let missing a day or two throw your practice off completely, do your best to start back again as soon as you can (again, even if it is for 5 minutes, it'll make a difference)

10. Spend a few moments near the end of your meditation with gratitude, for yourself for doing it, for your mind for focusing, for your body for relaxing, and add in anything else you are grateful for. This helps your mind and body to know that meditation = gratitude, happiness, and calmness!

11. End your meditation with grounding. Imagine your energy connecting to the energy at the center of the earth, and allow yourself to ground and connect into that energy, then allow it to come through your physical body bringing that feeling of being grounded with it. Connect into the physical sense of your body, wiggle fingers and toes, then gently open your eyes and take a few deep breaths to bring your full awareness into the present!

12. Have Fun! Do what ever you can to make it the most enjoyable experience possible! Create a sacred space, burn candles, use an incense or an oil that you love, imagine yourself in a place in nature that you love like a forest, beach, cave, or at the top of a mountain, let your imagination take you anywhere!

Happy Meditating!

Friday, September 12, 2014

How To Breathe

I know it sounds strange to write a how-to for something your body does all by itself without really needing input, but an interesting thing happens when we start to feel stress, we stop taking normal breaths and start breathing really shallow, and it is mostly focused in the upper chest. When we actually take a moment to stop and breathe, it allows our nervous system to go from its fight/flight response to its happier rest/digest mode. It gives the mind an opportunity to really assess the situation and realize you aren't in imminent danger (unless of course you are, in which case, breathing may not be your first choice of actions to take!) this allows the body to follow suit, and stop releasing stress induced hormones, and allow the body's natural process to continue to work in an optimal way.

quick and easy breathing techniques:
 **please note that deep breathing can lead to dizziness - if you feel dizzy at any point, simply stop and let your breathing return to normal until the feeling passes.
You can inhale and exhale through either your nose or mouth - which ever is more comfortable for you.

3 part breath
1-inhale into the belly - focus on pushing your belly out as far as it can comfortably go and then naturally let yourself exhale when your belly feels full
2- inhale into your rib cage - place your hands on the sides of your ribs and focus on pushing them away from your body, again allowing yourself to gently and naturally exhale
3- inhale into the top of your chest - place your hand on your sternum (right in the top center part of your chest) and focus on lifting your hand/chest upwards, again exhaling easily and naturally.
Then combine all three parts together - inhale into the belly, then the ribs, then the chest all in one big deep breath. Repeat 3-5 times

Relaxation Breath
Sit in a comfortable position. Take 3-5 deep breaths and on each exhale think about (and allow) your body to relax into the chair you are sitting on, you can also do this in bed before you go to sleep.
You can also focus your awareness on different parts of your body with each breath - inhale while focusing on your legs, and as you exhale feel the muscles in your legs relax etc., also great if you have an area of your body that is in pain, you can breathe the whole time focusing on that area's relaxation and pain reduction.

Counting Breath
Great for if you are feeling overwhelmed, really angry or really stressed. This helps to focus the mind by giving it something to do instead of over thinking about what is stressing you out. Inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4. You can change the count # to begin always start with a lower number, as you practice this you can gradually increase it as you feel comfortable.

Energy Breath
This is great for releasing negative energy and bringing in positive energy. Close your eyes, as you inhale imagine a bright white light coming into your body, as you exhale allow any negative energy to leave your body - you can imagine it however you like, smoke, butterflies, a color. As you continue, on your inhalations picture this white light going through your body, your bones, muscles, cells, into your energy system and then at the end, creating a protective bubble around you that keeps light energy in, and any energy you don't want, out.

Try different breaths out and see which one(s) resonate with you! These are also great to help you get to sleep, or to start your meditation practice (the Energy Breath can be a meditation all on its own!)

Wishing you Happy Breathing!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Formula For Self Care

The topic of self care has come up a lot in my life recently, it seems to be one of the themes of this year for me. Often we put ourselves last in the care for column, we make sure that those around us are cared for and don't worry about ourselves until we absolutely have to and don't have a whole lot of energy left to spare. I am definitely guilty of this! so, I decided to do my best to take care of myself, and to put self care as a priority in my day to day life. So if this is something that resonates with you, here are a few things I did to help make it easier for me:

- Take some time to write a list of things you love to do for yourself - I love food, so eating a good meal is something that I love (even if its not super healthy!), meditation, writing, having a nap, catching up on tv that I really like, reading a for fun/self empowerment/personal growth book, walking/being in nature, giving myself permission to be entirely unproductive for an evening, are a few of the things on my list. A lot of these are things that I can do that help me recharge and relax.

- Set a reminder in your calender/phone to remind you to do something for yourself, and make sure you put it at a time in the day where you can do something about it.

- Check in with yourself and see what feels right, and be really honest with yourself! Just because you haven't meditated in two days, and you feel like you should, but you feel restless, means that a walk may be better for you! Or maybe you really want to eat a bowl of ice cream, do it and don't feel guilty about it!

- Sign up for a weekly or monthly class that is something that love to do, pottery, dance, yoga. It helps to keep you committed to yourself. 

- Have support from your friends, family, partner, children, coworkers. Let people know what your up to and get their help to keep you accountable, or have them join you on the self care journey. Talk about what you're doing, and included those you love connecting with in the things that you can (sharing a meal, going to a class together) 

- Give yourself permission to throw out the things that aren't working for you, or change things up if you stop getting enjoyment out of it. 

So that's it, that is what I do to take care of me. It really is true, that the more you take care of yourself, the better you can care for everyone else. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Importance of Having Compassion With Understanding

If we seek to understand with our minds and our intellect, we may think we understand, but we do so with judgement, because that is what the intellectual mind does , makes judgements about situations to make logical assessments so we can decide what to do, and what is right or wrong based on our own thoughts, ideas and experiences.
We may think what we judge is true and right, which leads us to think we understand.
This is not understanding.
This is judgement. 
This makes it about your ego. 

When we bring compassion into the mix, when we open our hearts to the person or the situation, when we put our selves into the feeling of the situation ( so we feel vs think ) and employ kindness and compassion for everyone involved regardless of their role, regardless of OUR judgement of right or wrong, healthy vs unhealthy, then we can truly realize that "understanding" doesn't matter. Being supportive and loving to a fellow human being is better for all involved, instead of saying "I totally get it, I understand what you're going through" which can make a persons journey seem insignificant in that moment, because we can't really know, we haven't lived it first hand, we can sympathize, we can empathize, but we don't KNOW. Instead, just be present, listen and offer your support -which may be sharing part of your story to express camaraderie, or what worked for you to get better, just do it with the intention of helping, instead of the idea of understanding, and let what they choose to do with that go.
If you find that someone else's actions or choices go against what you think is right, take that as an opportunity to express compassion anyway, a chance to send them love anyway, a moment to realize that what they (or you) are going through is probably bigger than the both of you and has a purpose that you just can't see yet. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How I learned to be authentic, and how I found my way back to knowing Love.

This has been one of the hardest but most incredibly rewarding years of my life. I stopped writing this blog because I lost a lot of joy, and had a lot of heartbreak and its hard to write about happiness and peace when you don't feel those things. I assure you though, the other posts in this blog are many of the things that got me through the worst of it.
So here are my lessons of 2013:

How I learned the importance of authenticity when it comes to EVERY single relationship and just as importantly, to myself:
I had a break up with a friend that I had had since high school, horrible things were said, horrible things were done, hearts were broken and disappointed. It all had purpose for me, it was my biggest fear when it came to truly being authentic (by being authentic I mean honoring what is right for me and who I am and being honest about who and what that is) and this big fear came to fruition with a person I really cared about. What ensued was some really deep looking at who I am, and who I've pretended to be. I wanted to figure out how can I align what I have put out in the world in the past that is false and that I created so I could feel like I fit in and that people would like me, with what was really who I have grown to become.

So this was step one of opening my heart, and letting other people in. I changed how I approached my friendships, I did my best to speak my truth, share my heart and have some difficult and scary conversations that ended up being the most beautiful and supportive moments. I have really deepened some friendships because I actually showed up as myself, not what I perceived the other person wanted me to be.
One of the biggest things for me was telling people that I am the sixth sense, esp, psychic kinda way which really didn't shock anyone but it was like coming out of the closet for me. I also started to share the hard things in my life with honesty and with full trust that whom ever I was sharing with would hold my hand and my heart with the utmost care.
I learned that in order for anyone in this world to know who I am, I have to show up in the world entirely myself.

How I learned to be grateful for the worst week of my life because ended up bringing me to the most profound place of love:

My worst week started off with my landlord giving me my one month notice, ultimately because his apartment was in the process of being taken over by the CRA, I made the decision to move back my parents place at least temporarily. I went to their house, told them everything that was going on, and declined the tea my mom had offered because I wanted to go to the mountains/river because I was having a bad day thus far. I left, and less than 5 minutes later I got rear ended, thankfully it was by an elderly woman, so I cared more about her well being in the moment than anything else. Grateful that I could fall back on my holistic/massage training I knew what to do for whiplash so I just went home, had a good cry and went through my protocols. The next few days I was in a lot of pain and had started my chiropractor and massage routine. Then the most heartbreaking thing happened, we had to put Ollie down. I love Ollie, he was the best dog and we had such an incredible bond and understanding, he was my furbaby. So I broke. I lost my apartment, I lost my car, I lost my health (physical, mental, emotional), and I lost my dog. It was the first time in my life that I literally felt broken. That first night after Ollie passed, the only way I got to sleep was to list the things I was still grateful for, and thankfully it worked. I spent days not getting up off of my couch, I didn't know how to keep going, but every morning I woke up so I figured I had to keep going (thankfully I have my Kaya cat and she needed to be taken care of still!)

So here is the beauty of it all (yes I said beauty!) with the car accident I got to have 21 Chiropractic and massage treatments. I know some really incredible healers and for three months I had to take care of myself by letting others take care of me. They helped me heal not only my body, but my mind, heart and spirit.
Moving in with my parents, who I already have an incredible relationship with, was the best thing for me, because I needed to heal and I needed to be with the two people who love me unconditionally and who would provide me the space and the time to do so. Because of all the 'work' I did deepening some really great friendships, I had an incredible support system and had people to listen to me, and cry with me, and just let me be who ever I could show up as with kindness and compassion. I was surrounded and supported by loving people.

The grief of Ollie was hard. With moving and everything else that was going on at one point I knew I had to put it aside as best I could to get everything else done. So about a month after I settled into my parents home, I was overcome with grief again. So I decided I had to sit in it. To be present to it. To honor it. To allow it. And then the most incredible thing happened, as I lay in bed sobbing, I understood. I realized that my grief was because I had cut myself off from my connection to Ollie because he had passed. Now bare with me. I went for a walk along an off leash about two weeks before this, and I could feel him walking beside me. I know from my experiences, and with my beliefs, what is true for me, is that you continue on  - the whole energy is neither created or destroyed, just changed concept. So my question became, why do I have to disconnect from that feeling of love just because he physically isn't here anymore?? and my answer was, you don't.

This is how I learned what Love and peace are to me. To come from a place of love, to be love, to connect to love. I opened my heart to it. I breathed into it, and I felt my breath go into the center of my heart chakra - to a place I have never felt it go before. There I found space, that weight, sadness, heaviness was gone. I needed to break in order to get here, all of those broken pieces were bits of things I needed to break free from.
I still miss dog snuggles from time to time, but I truly love my life now, and I know from this point on amazing things are going to happen!