When you bring up the topic of being mindful, you can instantly tell who is open to a discussion that might be considered new-agey. To me, being mindful is about living in the moment and slowing down. When you are 100% engaged in an activity and immerse all of your senses in whatever it is that you are doing, the quality of that experience is heightened.
To teach is to learn, and that is what I do here on these blogs, on this website, and all other social media activities. (I just started Periscope!). I write, talk and teach about topics I need to work on – from fitness to spirituality. We are all constantly learning and evolving. I am NOT the same person I was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. And the more I evolve, the more I realize I not only need to stop and smell the roses — I want to!
Many of us would like to change certain things in our lives, but when it comes to making tough decisions, we freeze and run the other way. Why? When we should be our own best friends and cheerleaders we often sabotage our confidence with obstacles like negative self-talk. How can we rise above our fears and obstacles to live a life we’ve always dreamed?
We all march to the beat of our own internal drummer, which is what makes each one of us unique. With outside influences from the media to the people around us, it can be difficult to trust the God-spirit within us to be authentically ourselves. We are constantly interacting with people who either approve or disapprove of who and what we are.
I celebrated another birthday this week. This makes fifty-three so far and I ain’t done yet! On the actual anniversary of my birth, one of the gifts my husband “gave” me was that I had carte blanche – we could do whatever I wanted. I got control of the channel changer AND the thermostat! Hallelujah!
Carte blanche means the unconditional power to do as we please, or the permission to do something the way we want to, i.e., having control of the channel changer. Many of us typically put the needs and desires of others before our own. Now, there are times in our lives when situations demand our immediate and diligent attention. New parents have to be on strict schedules of changing diapers and feeding. Those who have school-aged children have the challenge of juggling work and family. Taking care of ill or elderly friends can be overwhelming time consuming. And in relationships, compromise is crucial. At times, we just don’t have carte blanche.
How did this all start?
You will find more happiness growing down than up. —Unknown
There’s more to playing than just having fun, though that’s important too! Many of us are just too serious. We seldom have laugh-out-loud fun. Playtime helps us physically and mentally by allowing us to exercise and be creative. Our imagination can be stimulated through a childlike recess. Physical exercise can release hormones in our bodies that create a feeling of euphoria (similar to the process that occurs during sex!). These hormones are also used to block pain. On top of it all, having fun burns calories and helps us to temporarily ignore our troubles.
When you put energy and effort into something it becomes an asset, something of value, or perhaps something for which you hope to receive a reward, bonus or promotion. Sweat equity is the extra energy you expend, above and beyond what’s expected, that will propel you into the next level in many areas of your life. Doing a better-than-average job at work might pay off in the form of a bonus or promotion. More often, however, it’s easier to put a little elbow grease into helping others, or doing something special for our loved ones. But what if we set an intention to put ourselves at the top of the list?
Life is work and relationships are even more work. There are times when we really don’t want to do something that’s expected of us, but we know our efforts will be appreciated, so we do it. We show up. We are the best we can be. We volunteer for charities, we attend events that we’ve made commitments to.
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.—Khalil Gibran
We all experience some things in life that have brought us to our knees. Whether it’s an illness, death, divorce, loss of a job or financial troubles, our uncontrollable situations can cause us great suffering and grief. At times, we feel sad for no discernable reason. It’s very similar to and often related to negative thoughts. Sadness comes from a lack of meaning and purpose, from a lack of hope, from fear of the future, or worry about loved ones. It’s part of the human condition that we naturally have the ability to feel blissful and melancholy and everything in between. This is a good thing.
My son, Rocco, is intelligent, sensitive, and very spiritual. He studies many different spiritual practices from Christianity to Buddhism. During a phone conversation, he told me that he was sad but okay. Parents worry when their children are unhappy, especially when they live far away. My first reaction was to jump on a plane and make darn sure he really was okay. Rocco was the first person to explain to me—his mother—that being sad is part of life and that it made him appreciate the good times even more. I asked Rocco to recall our conversation and if he would share a few sentences about his interpretation of our discussion. Here’s what he said.
Made it to the top of Camelback Mountain! What an amazing adventure! There were times when I didn’t think I could take another step, and then I did. My legs were quivering, my feet hurt, but I kept on moving forward. The payoff was spectacular! I just had to take this crazy photo, but now I think that wasn’t a smart thing to do. One little slip and I would’ve fallen down the mountain. Stupid. Stupid. But I was on a Rocky Mountain high! Proud of this accomplishment. Something that I will remember forever.