Storm Management: Relax. Be Still.

“If you will be still during the storm, you will find the strength to ride out the storm.”

Be Still.

Relax.

Those are were my least favorite words. I wasn’t born to be still. I like to be in motion, constantly doing something. Even when I’m sitting still, I have to be doing something. It doesn’t matter what- doodling, humming, playing with my phone- so long as I’m moving. I’d prefer to walk a few blocks between subway stations than stand still and wait for the train. So when the storms of life are blowing all around me, the last thing I want to do is be still.

My best friend usually would drive me insane by telling me to “relax”. My question always was, “How could you relax? Can’t you see everything is falling to pieces? Why aren’t you doing something????” During times of distress I always felt that it was my obligation to do something even if that something was only worry. It was no surprise then that I became an adult with depression and anxiety issues. I’d trained myself to be an obsessive worrier, always anxious, always calculating, always concerned, hyper-vigilant, high strung, very intense. In some areas of my life that turned out to be a strength of mine- I am very analytical with keen clinical judgement, and prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to dealing with my clients and their day-to-day affairs and mental health. On a personal note, however, I was constantly stressed out, and stressed out the people around me, pushed people away and was constantly living in a state of near crisis.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “Worry is like a rocking chair. There’s lots’ of motion but you’re going nowhere.” That was me. Lots of motion, but going nowhere. And then my friend would say, “Relax”, and I would pitch an even bigger fit. I couldn’t relax. I just wouldn’t.

During the storm, Pi reaches a moment of understanding in the middle of the second storm when the sees how his reaction to the storm is affecting Richard Parker. After having tried to remove the canvas covering to expose Richard to the awe and might of god, he realizes that Richard is terrified, and seeks cover with him beneath the canvas instead. There, they both lie in wait for the storm to pass, and though the wait is rough, as they are tossed back and forth like rag-dolls, they ultimately are kept safe within the confines of the lifeboat and live to fight another day. While looking at this, I wonder how much easier this transition may have been for them both if Pi had sought this action first, covering the boat and lashing it down securely, and lying still beneath the shelter of the canvas for the duration of the storm, instead of allowing the boat to take on water and scaring the tiger half to death before realizing that he’d already had what he needed to be safe and that all that was required of him in this moment was for him to be still

And so it is with us during times of chaos and trial in our lives. So many times we use up all our energy in the midst of a storm fighting, cussing, crying, blaming, using up all our resources looking for other resources, or trying to get other people to take responsibility for our storm for us thinking that these things will make the storm go away when in truth, all we need to see is that everything we need has already been given to us, and that we already have what it takes to withstand the storm, and to come out stronger than ever, if we would just be still. If we would just…

…relax.

“Relax”, I have come to learn, doesn’t mean “forget” or ‘let go”; it doesn’t mean “be lazy” or “neglect your responsibility”. It certainly doesn’t mean “I don’t care”. Relax in this context means “allow”. Allow the storm. Just allow it. See it, notice it, adjust your sails, lash your boat down, then be still and allow it in full faith that you will come out on the other side and you will be fine. Not only fine, but you will be better than you were before. The storms of life are meant to strengthen us, to show us things inside and around us that we hadn’t noticed before, to awaken the skills that are dormant within us so that we can persevere through the next thing. If we’re busy flailing and screaming and fighting the universe, we are not receiving the lessons we are being taught and the gifts we are being given.

If we are rejecting the universe, we will manifest lack.

If we are operating out of fear, we will generate struggle.

 BUT, if we allow it, if we operate out of faith knowing that the universe is collaborating with us for our highest good, even in the midst of the storm, we will find the strength to ride out the storm.This takes a certain amount of personal discipline to develop, but over time, if we will practice being still we will find that we are able to weather the storms of life with better and better outcomes. This is the secret to success. Successful people aren’t people who have never encountered personal storms, but those who found the inner strength to withstand multiple storms, and have come out on the other side stronger, faster, healthier, wiser, better than they were before.

 “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember

Do you believe the universe is working with you to bring your dreams to pass?

it’s not enough to have faith when the sun shines, only to abandon all hope when the storm clouds roll in! The way we demonstrate that we believe what we say we believe is by learning to be still. This means no worrying- no complaining, no going out of our way to find solutions by resorting to actions that violate our personal sense of integrity. Of course we remain diligent and work toward an end by doing what we said we would do- we get up and go to work every day, we care for our families and loved ones, we continue to take steps toward self-care. We listen to our intuition and remain faithful to the call we have accepted in our lives. And we allow the storm to pass- no push back, no struggle, no fear. Because we KNOW that the universe has our best interest at heart; we know that we will be taken care of. And it is this kind of faith, and this ability to rest that will take us through to the other side.

How do you practice being still?

I meditate every morning before I get out of bed to make sure that my thoughts for the day are aligned with an attitude of faith and strength. I am mindful of my thoughts during the day and when I find myself becoming anxious or using language that is not reflective of a relaxed, faithful attitude, I adjust my speech and remind myself that the universe is working in my favor. I stay away from people, places and things that are negative or that influence me to think negatively. I inspire myself to remain excited about my future despite the way things may seem in the present. I no longer allow myself to worry or be anxious about circumstances and situations over which I have no control.

If you struggle with depression or anxiety, talk with someone about ways to manage it. Try any of the things listed above and let me know if it works for you. If you do something different, I’d love to know about it- I’m always looking for new ways to try to keep myself on track. Let’s trade notes. 🙂

Relax and Be Still.

You can do it. Start doing it now.

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Whatever is calling, drawing, leading you forward right now into the New is doing so for your absolute Highest Good, and that of everyone else in your life.

You absolutely have the capability and strength to make these changes and to go where Life is taking you next. You really can do it, despite the intense, gut-wrenching fears and anxiety about what your life will look like if you follow your intuitive heart.

You must do it.

There is no turning back, and simply no staying still, because your energy field has already make the change. The decisions have been made in consciousness, and the steps actually already have been taken in higher vibrational reality.

Now, your body just needs to follow. You simply need to keep putting one step in front of the other and walking on towards the Light that is heralding such immense and joyful transformations for you.

You can do it.

It may feel like it is, or will, take every ounce of courage that you have ever mustered, but the energy inside you just has to flow freely: without restraint, without self-doubt, without the toxic pressure of other people’s reactions, without endless worry about the consequences of following your Truth.

When you follow your truth, sometimes it causes temporary chaos. It stirs up the dust and brings emotions to the fore that have long needed airing. Other people get to see that you are a person with needs, with passions, with ambitions, with dreams and with a life path that may not be just about looking after them.

What you feel is calling you now is not a selfish path. It is, in fact, a path that is ultimately more giving and more aligned with spiritual service than the one you were previously on. This is because when you are living from your true spirit you give back to the world expansively, without limits, from the pure wisdom of your heart, with a deep and clear quality of presence that only comes from a person who is humble enough to realize that they are divinely magnificent.

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You are divinely magnificent.

The world needs your magnificence to be sweetly flowing from your body. The world needs you to be glowing with love uninhibited. The world needs you to be nourished and supported, so that you can give from a place of balance – not burned out, resentful, jealous, frantic, unfulfilled, depleted or self-sacrificing.

You can make these changes that call you to put yourself in the center stage of your life and live from your authentic Spirit. You can do it in front of everyone that knows you. You can continue to do it even if they don’t like it and complain. You can keep doing it even if they have complete meltdowns and tantrums in the face of you shifting the patterns that have stood firm for so long.

People who have been used to receiving the endless giving from Earth Angels and Lightworkers don’t generally like it when you begin getting assertive with your own needs for freedom and individuality. It disrupts the nice, safe place that they have been living in for so long. It forces them to start taking responsibility for their own lives and personal issues. It makes them stand on their own two feet, and realize that you are not going to take their burdens any longer.

This frees you up to have much healthier relationship dynamics – and it also makes it rapidly clear who is now meant to be in your life and who isn’t. You are not abandoning people by getting stronger in your personal boundaries, or by taking new paths that resonate with your real energy. You are actually giving them a great gift – the opportunity to create their own lives, realise how powerful they really are inside, and to experience a new, more balanced and positive life of their own.

You really, really can do it, beloved Earth Angel. You can be strong, stronger and even stronger still.

You can accept the love and support of legions of etheric angels and other powerful guides who surround you at all times. You can receive the help of earthly angels who are all around you also.

You can trust the pulsing of your own precious, sensitive heart when it says that now is the right time to leave the old ways and move on to the wondrous and miracle-filled New.

You can do it, you are doing it, and you will continue to do it with nothing but encouragement and acceptance from the Universe. You deserve this life that is beckoning to you. You are entirely worthy of every drop of happiness that now comes your way.

Start doing it now.

(Originally written by Sophie Bashford and posted on Keeper Of The Platinum Ray)

Photo credits: Asa-Mari Thompson & google images

Yellow Daffodils

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A STORY THAT COULD INSPIRE YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE……

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say,
“Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.”
I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead
“I will come next Tuesday”,
I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy.
Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there.
When I finally walked into my daughter Carolyn’s
house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children.
I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

I told my daughter, “Forget the daffodils, Carolyn!
The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and
there is nothing in the world except you and my grandchildren
that I want to see right now. I don’t want to drive another inch!”

My daughter smiled calmly and said,
“We drive in this weather all the time, mother.”

“Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears,
and then I’m heading for home!” I assured her.

“But first we’re going to see the daffodils.
It’s just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this.”

“Carolyn,” I said sternly,

“It’s all right, Mother, I promise.
You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

So we went!
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road
and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church,
I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read,

“Daffodil Garden —->”

We got out of the car, each of us took a child’s hand,
and I followed Carolyn down the path.
Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped.
Before me lay the most glorious sight.
It looked as though someone had taken
a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak
and its surrounding slopes.

The flowers were planted in majestic,
swirling patterns, great ribbons
and swaths of deep orange,
creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink,
and saffron and butter yellow.
Each different-colored variety was planted
in large groups so that it swirled
and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

There were five acres of flowers!

“Who did this?” I asked Carolyn.
“Just one woman,” Carolyn answered.
“She lives on the property. That’s her home.”
Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house,
small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house.
On the patio, we saw a poster.

“Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking”
was the headline.

The first answer was a simple one. “50,000 bulbs,” it read.

The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.”

The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience.
I thought of this woman whom I had never met,
who, more than forty years before, had begun,
one bulb at a time, to bring her vision
of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop.

Planting one bulb at a time, year after year,
this unknown woman had forever changed
the world in which she lived.
One day at a time, she had created something
of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught me
is one of the greatest principles of celebration.
That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time.

“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn.
“What might I have accomplished
if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five
or forty years ago and had worked away at it
‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years?

Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”
My daughter summed up the message of the day
in her usual direct way.

“Start tomorrow,” she said.

She was right.
It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays.
The way to make learning a lesson of celebration
instead of a cause for regret is to only ask,

“How can I put this to use today?”

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The Daffodil Principle.

Stop waiting…..
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die…

– Author unknown

There is no better time than right now to be happy.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So work like you don’t need money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt,
and, Dance like no one’s watching.

If you want to brighten someone’s day,
pass this on to someone special (like I did to you!)

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!!!
Don’t be afraid that your life will end,
be afraid that it will never begin!!!

❤ Love you all.

Choose Your Thoughts Carefully.

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Last week I had an unfortunate run in with a friend over social media. This friend, while I love her dearly, has a tendency to be a “Negative Nancy”, and I (as wonderful as I can be!) am the opposite, if only by intention. I will admit, I have a tendency to be a bit scathing in my delivery sometimes, and I am working on that- after all, we are all works in progress if nothing else.​ So her “FML!” moment (because she has cancer) was met with my soliloquy on a soapbox about ​being positive and not giving in to the want of feeding her disease with negative energy.

This turned into a trolling frenzy.

I’m not saying I was right to try to tell her who to be, or what to feel, or how to vent. ​Admittedly, in trying to point this out I only made myself look like an ass-hat, because who tells a cancer patient who thinks she is dying that she shouldn’t rail against the heavens? I mean- what kind of friend am I? Well, I honestly thought I was being the good kind…but I digress.

​I’m a firm believer that t​he universe does not discriminate between positive and negative energy. I​t only gives us what we give it.

​Over my life, I’ve played with this idea several times and seen myself manifest numerous things simply through the power of intention- my first apartment being yellow, living in Rosedale (a.k.a my best friend’s backyard), the fact that I am a single mother​ and both my children are on the autism spectrum…all these things are things I contemplated heavily before they came to pass in real life. It is as if I specifically asked the universe to hand me these things…and it did. Were all of them things I wanted? Of course not. But I focused on them so much that they manifested themselves regardless of whether I wanted or didn’t want them.

I​t’s not that I didn’t want my friend to vent- like I said, defaulting to “fml” is her thing; it’s a knee jerk reaction if for no other reason than she’s practiced it for so long she doesn’t realize there are other ways to deal with loss or pain or frustration. And it’s hard for me to know she is in pain and setting herself up for more. On the other hand, I’ve worked in facilities where I’ve seen the elderly and formerly destitute, those who are amputees, cancer patients and survivors, and others with multiple medical diagnoses who live day in and day out with nothing less than a smile, whose response to “How are you today?” is always anywhere from “Hanging in there!” to “Couldn’t be better!” or my personal favorite, “I’m alive-can’t complain!”

It occurred to me after a couple years of coaching others to be responsible for their own lives that I ought to do the same for me, otherwise I am nothing but a hypocrite. “You Are A Creator- Your Words Create Your World”, I’d said, time and time again. For the sake of the outcome of my own life, I’ve had to learn to be responsible with my thoughts. ​I owe it to myself to be such.

Even in the midst of our suffering, if we shake our fists and shout to the heavens “F*CK MY LIFE!”, the universe hears us and says, “Okay- no problem!”- and brings us exactly what we do not want…because we asked for it! Pushing through the desire to be negative and transmuting that energy into something positive is the type of inner alchemy of which miracles are made.

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​There’s a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking. If we head into every day affirming that the universe is, indeed, collaborating with us to make our dreams come true, we will see this truth manifest in our lives. It is possible, if we train our minds to do this by everyday practice. For some of us, this practice is not just necessary everyday but on a moment by moment basis, depending on what we have trained our personalities to agree is acceptable. Statistically, and especially among cancer patients, those with positive attitudes and expectations are more likely to have positive outcomes. One can practice mindfulness through a number of ways- stillness, prayer and meditation are excellent, ancient practices for training the mind and spirit. There are many different types of yoga one can try. Some people go for de-cluttering walks, others prefer to exercise, with or without music.

Personally, I enjoy reading personal development books and articles. I read anything I can get my hands on and I annotate while I read. And I pay attention to what’s coming out of my mouth. I set daily intentions for myself and keep a gratitude list so I can be mindful and present about the direction of my day, what I would like to achieve and how I’m going to achieve it.

Words carry power. They enchant, entice, incite, excite. Words are magic. My thoughts control the words that are coming out of my mouth. If I can control my thoughts- if I can catch them and hold them there and take a good look at them before they have the chance to escape my mouth and create havoc, I may yet have a chance.

I’ve come a long way. I didn’t mean to be mean to my friend but I can see how I came off as arrogant and lacking empathy.

If I could take it back, I’d explain to her that I watched my mom die of cancer but that after she was diagnosed with stage IV cervical cancer, she taught her kindergarten class and traveled and planned picnics and events for the neighborhood and decided she wasn’t going to let her diagnosis slow her down, and she lived seven years longer than the doctors said she would.

I’d tell her that one of my other really good friends is also presently in a nursing home, living as vibrantly as possible with the same diagnosis she has- stage IV colo-rectal cancer; her tumors are decomposing. The doctors don’t know what’s keeping her alive and in such great shape, but every time I see her, she’s smiling and at 6′ 3″, she is as loud as she is tall!

If I could start over, I’d begin by reminding her that she is not alone, that she is loved and surrounded by love, and even though I know she is in pain, she can draw from that loving energy around her and surround herself with peace and calm, happiness, love and light. And I’d encourage her to think and speak and live as though she were preparing to live, not as though she were preparing to die.

I’m not perfect, and I don’t know everything, but what I do know is, regardless the circumstances, we always have the power to choose.

“Whenever you suffer, next time don’t complain, don’t create an anguish out of it. Rather, watch it, feel it, see it, look at it from all possible angles. Make it a meditation and see what happens: the energy that was moving into the disease, the energy that was creating suffering, is transformed, the quality changes. The same energy becomes your awareness, because there are not two energies in you, the energy is one. You can make it sex, you can transform it and make it into love; you can transform it still higher and make it into prayer, and you can transform it still higher and make it into awareness—the energy is the same.”~ Osho

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Blessings & Affirmations

Find the practice that works for you and allow yourself to enter your quiet space. 

Acknowledge that the universe is a vast, infinite source of energy.

Tap into that energy and let that energy flow through you.

Release your negativity- pain, fear, worry, misunderstandings, feelings of lack and insecurity- and allow the goodness of the universe to flow through you.

Choose your thoughts carefully and embrace what is yours.

I have permission to create my future. 

The Universe wants me to succeed.

Money is flowing to me easily and effortlessly and I trust the Universe to take care of all my financial needs.

I am going to let myself participate in life and enjoy it. 

I can choose love. I am love.

I can choose peace. I am peace.

I can choose calm. I am calm. 

I can choose surrender. I have surrendered.

I choose blessings. I am a blessing.

I can choose abundance. I am abundant.

I can choose prosperity. I am prosperous.

Namasté .

Love Thyself. Because Self Love is the Best Love.

This infographic landed in my facebook timeline and I couldn’t help but share it everywhere possible. It goes without saying, if you can’t love yourself, who can you love? I’ve heard so many confessions over the past week; absolutely wonderful, hard working, high achieving individuals who have a difficult time accepting themselves as they are, and who make daily habits of being hard on themselves to the point of depression.

Maybe it is an indicator of how our society measures “success”, and that hunger to succeed that drives us to self-loathing. At some point it should dawn on us that it is our personal responsibility to learn to be kind to ourselves first.

Appreciation of self and love for self translates into appreciation for and love for the “other”. The directive to “love they neighbor as thyself” hinges on the premise that one loves one’s self. I’m always wary of people who claim to love others but who have no concept of self love. How can you give what you do not have? Maya Angelou said it best when she said,

“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

We owe it to ourselves to learn to love ourselves- truly love ourselves, accepting our “flaws” and our strengths. It is only in so doing that we can ever truly love another. And I should know. I’ve been there too.

I hope you enjoy this infographic as much as I did. Make a mental note on what you can do, what you already do and things you really want to start doing, like, right now. I promise you, you will feel better!

I love you. You should love you too! ❤

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For The Free Spirited Females With Fiercely Sensitive Hearts.

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This is for the gentle goddesses with watery, empathic hearts, who ooze with oodles of compassion, eager to soothe another’s suffering.

This is for the luscious ladies with restless spirits who can’t stay in one place for long, because our souls are winged, always longing for adventure.

Yes, this is just for us:

The free-spirited females with fiercely sensitive hearts.

We are a balmy breeze, casually caressing arms lovingly, suddenly here, suddenly there, then suddenly gone.

We are a thousand grains of precious pink sand, slowly slipping through soft fingertips, one by one.

We can never be contained because we aren’t meant to be.

We are born to ride the wild winds of passion, surf the turbulent oceans of despair, and relentlessly explore the great vastness of this crazy world—until our bodies collapse in ecstatic exhaustion.

We understand deeply that life is a heartbreakingly beautiful series of goodbyes, hellos, triumphs and disappointments and we feel most alive in the midst of transformation, courageously shedding our old skin to be birthed again, raw and new.

We are are well-versed in letting go, able to boldly exhale and swiftly set fire to the past, painstakingly gathering the ashen wisdom to build a more abundant future.

We are phoenixes, falcons, eagles and butterflies.

We are light and airy, yet never lacking depth.

We are carefree and sparkly, but our effervescence actually emanates from caring so deeply, from feeling the world’s pain, happiness, love, sadness and struggle wildly pulsate within our chests, day in and day out.

We are spongy emotional barometers, picking up on another’s mood immediately, sensing anxiety, anger, grief, frustration and jealousy. Feeling it so damn intensely that we sometimes suffocate.

We crave alone time, solo adventures, secret places and quiet spaces because the world can seem so scary and overwhelming that we wonder if it could, in fact, swallow us entirely in one single gulp.

We love wholly, compassionately and completely—but never possessively.

We have to fly away sometimes, darting out in the velvety black of night because we know that by setting ourselves free, we can set others free too.

We deeply respect our femininity, listening closely to the whispering wisdom of our intuition, the mystical murmurs of our ancestors and the primal pulse of nature.

We feel most alive outside, wings fully spanned, feeling the firm ground beneath our feet, welcoming the fiercest winds to whirl through our wispy hair.

We are fierce warriors, forces to be reckoned with—precisely because we are so sensitive.

My gentle and free-spirited sisters, I hear your feathery roar.

Let us spread our wings and soar.

Let us fly long and fast and hard.

Let us fly unapologetically.

Into the incredible lives we are meant to live.

Let us vow now.

To never turn our backs on the wise contents.

Of our fabulously free-spirited.

And fantastically sensitive souls.

Written by : Sarah Harvey is an enthusiastic truth-seeker who loves chocolate and tea. She believes that life is art, communication is all we have, and that sharing all the craziness and chaos inside us is incredibly empowering. She believes in creativity, passion, and self-expression above all else. She believes that life is the craziest thing there is—and she’s learning (a.k.a. struggling) to go with the flow.

This piece appears in its entirety on elephant journal at http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/01/for-the-free-spirited-females-with-fiercely-sensitive-hearts/

Thoughts Of A Goddess: “Make The Shift”

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Last week’s lesson, Be Strong gave way to several breakthroughs and much needed karmic cleansing. Words that needed to be said were finally said. There were tears and kisses. There were confessions and forgiveness. There was the realization that everything in life happens for our highest good.

There is no such thing as failure. 

Nothing is ever going wrong. These moments are clarifying moments.

Learn from it what you must, then let it go and move on.

Know that when you have a dream, when you are charged with giving birth to a vision, you will experience resistance. Know too that the force of this resistance is in direct proportion to the measure of the dream that you will birth.

Great dreams encounter great resistance. Do not give in; do not give up. Push through and see your dream into reality; the universe wants you to succeed.

It is time for us to Get Ready, to Clean House.

 Make The Shift.

Fighting back when your food tries to kill you

I don’t have celiac disease but gluten-sensitivity is real. 

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For the past few months I’ve been dealing with hypothroidism and gluten sensitivity which has literally forced me to pay attention to the food I’ve been eating and switch to a high protein, gluten-free diet.

For anyone who is rolling their eyes, I’m telling you this gluten sensitivity thing is real. No one naturally gains five or more pounds overnight. The bloating, joint pain, swollen face and legs, muscle aches, and aggravated respiratory distress is not imaginary. I’d like to be able to breathe when I eat! While I don’t carry the genetic marker for celiac disease, the stress on my body when I eat certain foods is very real. What causes it is a mystery to many- I grew up eating a carb-heavy diet- rice, bread, pasta, flour tortillas are among my favorite foods- but I’ve never experienced anything like I have in the past seven months.

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Since eliminating wheat products from my diet, I’ve seen a turnaround. I am breathing easier and rely on steroids less frequently on a daily basis; my body feels lighter even without having lost the extra weight. Drinking green smoothies and including anti-inflammatory aids such as pineapple, ginger, turmeric and carrots has reduced my daily need for NSAID pain relievers. I feel stronger. My mind is clearer. Most recently, I added Shakeology (a Beachbody product) to my diet as well, and haven’t had to consume the seven-plus vitamin and mineral supplements I had been taking (each of which cost over $15.00 per bottle) to maintain my health for the day.

All things considered, I feel great! Now to lose these pounds and snap my body back into shape!

If you want to join me on this journey, you can check out my progress on the beachbody website- http://beachbodycoach.com/thundercat79.

Workout buddies of all fitness levels are most welcome- we’re all champions here!

Interested in Shakeology (what is it made of? what does it taste like? where can I get some?)? Leave me a note in the comment section-let’s chat! ❤

(Photos used do not belong to the author)

The Art Of War

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.~ Sun Tzu, The Art Of War, Chapter 3

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Much of life is preparation and calculation. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. In the 6th century BCE, Chinese general and military strategist Sun Tzu understood these principles, and wrote an entire manuscript called “The Art Of War”, which has been studied and translated since then. These principles for dealing with the “enemy” in times of war can be applied to daily life situations where “the enemy” can be considered as any adversary- any giant or pitfall- in our daily lives and personal development. Sometimes “the enemy” is us.

When the enemy is perceived to be external, our knee jerk reaction is to fight. We launch an all out, self-righteous attack, usually driven by a need to pacify our own ego. We feel slighted by the “other”. Our feelings have been hurt and we need to satisfy our feelings of revenge and self-pity. The universe must make it right! Chaaaaaaaaaarggggggeeeeee!!!!

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How often do we take the time to understand our “enemy”?

Sometimes the things we see in others that annoy us and drive us to anger are the same things with which we struggle, but we simply don’t see in ourselves- or don’t wish to see.

Sometimes the enemy is ourselves.

So many times, we let our fears, prejudices and bad attitudes get in the way and block our progress. It’s difficult when we are in these negative thought patterns to be the creatures of light, creativity and blessing we are called to be.

When it is clear that someone- an annoying coworker, a bad boss, a disloyal “friend” or companion, is causing the trouble, we have a few options. We can attempt to make our voices heard through direct communication and active problem solving. As Sun Tzu states: know the enemy. What kind of person are you dealing with? Is he/she easy to talk to? Irresponsible? Irrational? Stubborn? Get to know your enemy. Come up with a plan of attack and then proceed. Speak with a mentor or a life coach for help figuring out different scenarios. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when dealing with difficult personalities. Remember, people can be trained. People will always treat us exactly the way we tell them we want to be treated. Understand what your enemy likes and dislikes and use those things to your advantage. Stand up for yourself. Say or do the unexpected thing. Do what you can and must to restore the balance of power- so you’re not giving your personal power away in exchange for a paycheck, or a roof over your head, or an external feeling of validation. Do not be afraid of people. People are all the same, and sometimes even the most ridiculous ones simply need someone to stop them in their tracks and remind them (ever so nicely) to get their heads out of their butts!

Oftentimes in the midst of problem solving, we realize the problem isn’t necessarily the other person- it’s our perception of the problem and the way we are choosing to handle it. Here’s where asking for help is  of benefit- sometimes after having the opportunity to vent and get all our negative feelings out in the open, we can clearly see what steps we can take for ourselves so as not to further complicate the situation, and to make ourselves feel better. Talk to a friend, a close relative, a mentor or sponsor and ask for guidance or feedback, or at the very least, to be heard. Don’t practice keeping your feelings bottled up, otherwise you will drive yourself insane!

If the “enemy” is a situation- a job where you’re no longer comfortable, or a living situation that is no longer ideal- the approach is two fold: 1: Understand what it is about yourself that needs to change so you don’t repeat the same pattern again in the future, and 2: Carefully plan your exit, knowing that this is not where you are supposed to be. Don’t feel badly about it- you do not owe anyone an apology for your happiness! If you make your desires known to the universe, it will conspire to bring you exactly what you are looking for- the new job opportunity, new living arrangements, a new-found respect for single-living- whatever it will take to restore you to your happy, balanced self.

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill

The entire point of life is not to go through it fighting battle after battle. Some people take great joy in being the warrior type and in truth there are some of us who are destined to be such. For the most part, however, I believe we are created to work past that part of our nature where we always respond in either fight or flight. If we train ourselves to know ourselves and understand others, we will get to the point where these fights become more and more infrequently; the place where we live and maneuver our relationships and situations as skilled generals, where we earn respect from others because we have mastered ourselves.

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I’ve decided to call this series Lessons From The Lighthouse, in homage to the imagery found in the film, Life Of Pi. These lessons have served as an inspiration to me in my personal growth and development in the past year and half, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I hope that they are instrumental in helping you find your inner ability to create miracles in your own life.

Light & Love!

To find the entire series, click here.

Love Conquers All

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They spent all night in each other’s arms, talking, laughing, pontificating, snoring, cuddling.

By the time the sun came up, she realized what a fool she’d been. She’d spent all this time broken and angry- so broken and angry that she couldn’t see the good in what was being given to her. She’d instead projected all her pain upon him, labelled and judged him and blamed him for things that were not his fault. And through it all, he still chose to love her the best he could, the best she would let him, even though he knew she couldn’t see it.

The morning sun’s rays cracked through the dark as she lay her head on his chest and broke into sobs, tears running across his skin and onto his sheets. He already knew she was “crazy”, and he didn’t mind. This may have sealed the deal. This time she wasn’t crying because of him. She was crying because of herself.