Remember to Care for Yourself First

Have you ever been on a plane before and heard the flight attendant give you directions about oxygen masks? Remember that the instructions are for you to put your mask on first before you assist others?  This is the perfect metaphor about how to live your life.  But how often do we forget this and end up at the bottom of our list, or simply forgotten about?

You can’t take care of anyone else, unless you can take care of yourself first.  Don’t get me wrong, there are times when others need us and we need to be there for them.  But the key to caring for others is to make sure that you mindfully nurture yourself first.  Here are some steps to make sure you keep yourself at the top of the list:

1. Plan for your SELF time. 

This might be something as simple as plugging your nurturing activities into your calendar.  If it is in your schedule, you have made time for the activity…..and you.

2. Nurture all dimensions of your life.

You have mental, physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of your SELF.  It is most beneficial if you acknowledge these parts to create wholeness within you.  Spending 5 minutes a day in quiet reflection can do so much to support your spiritual and emotional self.  Your activities don’t need to be big to be effective.

3. Acknowledge yourself when you take the time for you.

We often forget to find the good in ourselves. This is usually blocked the with cognitive part of our mental self that  is looking for what is bad or not right.  Be kind, loving and gentle with yourself.

4. Pay attention to where you spend your energy.

You might be unconscious of where you spend your energy.  It’s a good idea to evaluate your life and let go of what takes away your positive energy.  Consciously focus on renewing your energy to fill YOUR cup.

5. Remember to bring Joy into your life.

Joy is the feeling of happiness and warmth inside of your heart.  Joy filled activities can activate endorphins, the feel good hormones.  Remember what brings you joy in your heart and try to do a simple joy filled activity each day.  It can be a simple as closing your eyes and reliving an wonderful memory.

Caring for your SELF and managing your energy can be the key to optimal health and well being. Spend some time quiet time reflecting on your life.  What can you let go of in your life?  What can you do to enhance your life?   Remember that your are the only one who can change how you are.   Care for yourself first and see what a difference it makes in your life.  Love and honor yourself with this gift….you are worth it!

The Power of Intentional Living

You may not realize how powerful your thoughts and ideas are within your world.  Every thought that you have in your brain sends a message to yourself about your reality and moves into your consciousness.  It becomes your reality, positive or negative.

So what would it look like if you have positive thoughts and direction about what you want your life to be like?  This is intention.  Webster’s Dictionary defines “intention” as, “A determination to act in a certain way.”  Intention allows you to focus your attention on what you want to create.

Change your thoughts, energy and actions towards your intention.  This is when you can utilize the power within you. Your personal power, not your ego power.  This is the power that comes from deep within your heart and soul.  When you set your intentions of how you want to be and what you want in your life, you create the blueprint.  Intentions…

…are your personal power.

…are your ownership of your life.

…are your commitment.

…allow you to see the vision.

…precede and inspire vision.

…live between potential and action.

In addition to thinking about what you want, you can activate more energy when you write your intentions down with pen and paper.  Visualize yourself in that space of your intentions.  See yourself moving through it.  How does it feel in your visualization?   Make it come alive within your consciousness.   The more senses you use during these activities just increases the positive energy.  When you are doing these activities you are telling the Universe what you desire and see in your future.

Only then, is the challenging step with intentions.  You must surrender your ego attachment to it and release it to the Universe. If it is in your highest good to manifest, it will show up in your life.  Pay attention to the signs and synchronicities around you.  This is when you realize that you are not alone and your intentions are co-created with Spirit.  Trust and allow Spirit to move through you.

Through the power of intentions, you have the ability to create the life you truly desire.

When to Connect and When to Disconnect

I just spent the past two weeks on vacation…..the longest vacation I think I have taken since I was a kid!  I had this time set aside for renewal, rest and rejuvenation.  I had to recharge my personal batteries.  I gave myself permission to disconnect with the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The first 6 days of my vacation were spent at my grad school, the University of Santa Monica, being of service and assisting for the Lab for First Year Students.  It was a powerful experience to connect with the loving energy of the teachers, faculty, students and fellow assistants (you all rock!)  Working 14 hour days from 9 am to 11 pm for 6 days was intense to my physical self, but my spiritual self kept riding high!

Then I disconnected from the USM energy to connect with rest, relaxation and fun for the next week with my husband on the California coast.  Then my physical and emotional self recharged with sleep (sleeping in late and naps!) and no schedules.  We just went with the flow and allowed ourselves to just BE.

I was very cognizant that I had disconnected from my business social media communication during this time frame.  Part of me felt a bit guilty, but those emotions were quickly squealed by my deep inner wisdom, knowing that disconnection was needed and would be healing at many different levels.  Don’t get me wrong, I know how important my business connections are, but I knew that when I returned I would have my batteries fully charged and ready to share again.  That’s what I’m doing now!

Listening to your inner wisdom is crucial when knowing when it is time to connect and disconnect.  Our human selves are hard wired for connection with others and it is important at many levels.  However it is optimal for your health and well being to be conscious of your energy spent to connect, and your energy renewal to disconnect.

When you slow down and find that quiet place inside….. listen and you will hear.

How Joy-filled is Your Life?

When you look at the word ‘joy’, what sort of reaction does your body feel?  Is it pleasant or unpleasant?  Is it a believable experience for you in your life?   I seem to always be talking about self reflection and asking these questions that make you think!

The word ‘joy’ is defined in dictionary.com as, “The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.” Now how does that make your feel?

The feeling of joy does not always cross our path in our everyday lives.  You may feel as though your life is joy-less. Perhaps it is.  However, you can make that change.  You can consciously bring joy into your life.   Sit down and just write down activities that bring you joy.   Close your eyes and visualize yourself doing it,  then go do it!

Walking in a garden.  Watching children play.  Holding hands with your loved ones.  Painting or some creative activity.  What truly brings you joy?  Honor your SELF by bringing a joy-filled activity to your life at least once a day. Treat yourself to the experience of “great delight or happiness caused by something good or satisfying!” And remember, when you are feeling  joy, your body is releasing endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormones.  All good stuff for your health and well being!

See the adorable picture in this post?  This is a picture of my sweet Granddaughter Savannah….she just melts my heart and brings me joy!!!

The precious gift about joy is that when your go looking for it, it will show itself to you!  En-joy!!!

Are You Allowing Your Light to Shine?

We all have a beautiful light within us.  We are meant to shine our light in the brilliance of who we really are.  We begin our lives as sweet innocent babies that just emanate our light.  However, as we age our glow becomes dimmed by the “nos” and “shoulds” in our lives from our parents and society.  We bring this dimness to our adulthood and wonder why we feel empty and what our lives’ purpose is.

We are the only ones who have control of that light and how it shines.  I kept my light dim for a long time because it was safe to keep it dim.  By keeping my light dim, I did not stand out and I could easily “hide” and not be seen.  I did not have to compete with the large egos around me.  Staying small and keeping my light dim was safe.   Until the light within me knew better.  I knew I had it, but I had to have to courage to step out into my light.

As I took those baby steps (I’m a toe dipper, not a diver!) towards my light, I saw that I had nothing to be afraid of.  The more I stood in my authenticity and my light, I knew that this is where I wanted to live my life.  There was no going back.  I’m here to stay in the brilliance of my own light!  Marianne Williamson says it best from her book A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Take the time to look deep inside and listen to yourself.  Is your light waiting for you to let it free and shine with the brilliance of who you truly are?

Forgiveness as a Healing Tool

“Forgiveness is the fragrance a violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”  ~Mark Twain

Have you ever experienced the upset and anger for an injustice someone else did towards you?  Chances are you probably have.  Why?  Because we are human and this is a normal human experience.  These are human emotions that can be triggered by an outside event.  The upset and anger are what we feel inside within our emotional body.

The key here is, what you do with that upset and anger?  Do you internalize it and keep it inside or externalize it with emotional outbursts?  Do you hold grudges and resentments towards those individuals?  Do you hold on to those negative feelings for years and years?  Does this anger feed your “story” about the injustice?  Do you spew this anger onto others?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to know that there are other choices of how you look at a situation that has caused you this upset.  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1.  How much energy am I expending on being angry and upset at this situation?

2.  Am I willing to give up my own personal energy to this situation?

3.  Have I acknowledged and processed my feelings in a healthy way…such as free-form writing or journaling?

4.  Am I judging the person or their behavior, and what are those judgments?

5.  Am I open to releasing the negative emotion from my SELF?

6.  Am I open to the healing power of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a powerful healing process that is the inner action of giving love and compassion to our SELF and others.  It is the remedy to the pain and separation that anger, resentment and judgment causes. It is an action that acknowledges that we are human and, at times, our behavior is not what we want it to be.  Forgiveness is the release of the chains that hold us back from the peace we so deserve in our lives, despite the perceptions we created around the upsetting situation.

Forgiveness is truly the healing resource we have available to us in any situation. Perhaps this may all sound so very difficult for you, but I offer you these suggestions to experience.  When you move through these steps….and then through the forgiveness process….you will truly feel the release.

If you want to find out more about the forgiveness process, come to the next Heartfelt Learning Workshop session, “The Healing Power of Self Forgiveness” on Wednesday, June 22, 2011.  For more details: http://www.heartfeltworkforce.com/workshops/HeartfeltWorkshops5-5-11.pdf

Listen…Honor…Care…Trust…

It has been six weeks since I began teaching my Heartfelt Learning Workshops Series sessions and what a joy it has been to share with such wonderful people!  The words I have listed above are what I had the privilege to experience happening inside of each and every participant.  Experiencing the openness of everyone to learn and watch the group connect each time we met, has touched my heart.

As I was teaching the group how to live life from a more open hearted perspective, I watched their hearts expand within themselves and with each other.  They learned to listen to themselves differently and were much more aware and in tuned to listen to others.  They even shared how much more aware they were of others in their lives who don’t listen!  I loved when one participant was listening to a sharing of another, and then they reflected back what they heard in front of the group, and then watched the entire group engage deeply into the heart centered listening process!

We shared what an ideal scene of what a healthy and whole person looks like.  Loving and honoring one’s SELF are the steps to that picture of healthiness and wholeness.  Here are a few statements we shared:

A Healthy and Whole Person….

…..has healthy boundaries with others in their life.

…..can give and receive love.

…..has their own voice.

…..can say NO as a complete sentence.

…..is available to see the truth.

…..has positive loving self thoughts.

…..accepts responsibility for their own upset.

…..trusts their own judgment.

The learning process allowed each participant to evaluate their life and explore where their energy drainers and fuelers were, and to create some action steps to find a better balance and care for themselves.  They created positive and loving affirmations about themselves to continue to see the goodness and beauty inside and create a practice to keep affirming those messages.

The greatest gift that the group experienced was that they learned to trust themselves and each other.  They felt safe enough to share from their hearts about their opportunities for learning and celebrating their successes.  The ah ha moments became more and more profound at each session.  I loved the last session when one lovely woman shared the activities she had done for the prior two weeks, and it was actually part of the material I was about to teach!  She had done some self reflection and was open and honest enough to go inside and take a look at her own heart.  She got it before she ever learned it!

It has been a blessing for me to share the wisdom of my heart.  Allowing others to share and expand their hearts with me has been my greatest gift of this teaching experience.  Living life from a more heart centered perspective can allow for more peace, compassion, joy, happiness and love in your life.