How are you feeling about the holiday season? Some people find this time of the year exciting and love the energy that it brings. Other people find this time emotionally challenging due to many personal circumstances. Take the time to check in with yourself to see how you are feeling these days. The holiday season is here and will come around every year at the same time. This is your opportunity to design the experience you want to live. Here are a few tips to consider as you decide how you want to create your holiday season:
Be Grateful. Take a moment to really take a serious look at where you are right now. Remember that the news is designed to provide updates on things that are not necessary positive. The media and people around us may paint a picture that may not apply to what is happening in your world. What are you tuning into these days? How often are you tuning in? How are your emotions affected by what you listen to, who are you are around? There is always something to be grateful for: sight, touch, taste, hearing, talking, walking. Be creative and find something.
Be Engaged! Don’t you love technology? I do. The internet, cell phones and computers allow us to feel connected as often as we want to. We can email, instant message, and text message people any time we feel the urge. Take the time over the holidays to be more engaged in person with people and allow the technology to rest. There is nothing more special than having heartfelt conversations and laughing and enjoying good company. How can you connect more with the people you enjoy spending time with? Ask yourself, do I really need to have the cell phone on when were are together? Your family, friends, and people you are with will appreciate this simple gesture.
Be Thoughtful. Every moment you have a choice. Even when you don’t feel like you have a choice, you do. Take the time to pay attention to what you are feeling and how you are responding to people around you. Are you spending time with the people you really want to be with right now? If you are that is wonderful! If you aren’t, get clear about how you want to change that picture. Every moment is an opportunity to be mindful about the choices you make every day. When you decide what you want, move in the direction that will get you where you want to be.
Remember that CALM and CHAOS come from the same place, your mind. 😉 Be ever wonderful and make the choices that allow you to create the life you want to live!
Let me know your thoughts by clicking the comment button, I’d like to know what you have to say.
How are you treating life these days? Yes, that’s right. Instead of saying, “How are you doing? Or How’s life? I started asking people, “How are you treating life?” Hmmm…now that’s different right? It makes you think about what YOU are doing in your life. A dog is a dog. A cat is a cat. As human beings we have the power of choice. We often forget that we have the ability to fully engage in life or to simply live our lives on auto pilot. To truly LIVE Life is a choice. Making specific and conscious choices is what I call, “Living by Design.”
1999, I wrote my book, Why Struggle? Life is too short to wear tight shoes as a mini compendium of ideas, thoughts, philosophies and tips for helping me manage life’s unpredictable changes and to help me learn to Live by Design. Around that same time I started dabbling with meditation and relaxation techniques but I didn’t quite dedicate myself to the practice.
Being a student of life and growth, I decided I would give meditation a try, why not? Sitting and being still was very challenging at first- now, I don’t start my day without at least 600 seconds (10 minutes) of silence or meditation. A few months ago I released my meditation cd, Be Still: Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day and I have been truly honored by the positive responses.
Daily we brush our teeth, shower and prepare ourselves to go out into the world. Meditation is mental hygiene. It is one way to prepare our mind for our day. Meditation provides mental clarity. Consistently meditating as little as 3 minutes a day ensures more focus, greater clarity and less stress. At work or in our careers we train ourselves about things we don’t know. Why not train your mind to manage your thoughts and emotions more effectively? Why not use this amazing tool to create what you want?
Do you have 600 seconds a day that you can devote to yourself? Don’t you deserve 10 minutes a day to be with yourself? In less than 10 minutes a day you can start making changes in your life that will impact every choice you make with more awareness and clarity.I’m offering several specials on my website, www.dontstress.net, for my book and cd.
Be Still CD – $15.00 (regular price- $16.95)
Be Still CD Special – 3 CD’S for $45.00
Be Still MP3 – Download Available immediately for only $13.00
Why Struggle? Book – 1 for $9.95
Why Struggle? Book Special – 3 for $25.00
Don’t Stress Special – 1 book + 1 CD – $24.95
Take a 5 minute break…Listen to a sample meditation from Be Still:Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day
Please take five minutes for yourself and be still, get clear so you can choose well. You can listen to a five minute sample from the CD several ways:
What do you think about most of the time? Are your thoughts positive, negative, neutral?When something doesn’t go the way you want, what is your first thought? Our thoughts are constantly running around in our minds. Sometimes we forget that we can manage our thoughts. What we focus on expands in our lives. When we learn how to shift our focus from what we don’t want to what we do want, miracles happen.
Learning to use affirmations is one way to shift your focus from what you “don’t” want to what you “do” want. Affirmations are positive statements of truth and change. An affirmation can reflect how you truly feel about yourself, “I am unique.” Affirmations can also help you move to where you want to be, “I relax and allow my inner spirit to guide my life.”
Your subconscious mind is like a video recorder that never stops running, it picks up sounds, ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Whether you believe them or not, affirmations make an impact on your subconscious mind. These statements help you train and focus on what you “truly” want in your life. When you realize the power that you have to manage your thoughts and emotions you move into a new understanding of how to truly engage with life.
I recommend you think, write and say affirmations to continue to impress your subconsciousmind. You can think them throughout your day and definitely focus on them whenever you find yourself feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or having feelings that are not positive. Here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!
• I am a unique divine expression of love.
• I am available to receive more good than I have ever imagined.
• I am alive, alert, awake and enthusiastic!
• I believe my path is mine alone and I know that I am where I should be at this time, space and place.
• I relax and allow my inner spirit to guide my life.
• I design all areas of my life with ease and grace.
• I am grateful for all the teachers and lessons of my life.
When you find yourself focusing on what you don’t want – try one or all of these affirmations to jumpstart your thoughts back to where you truly want to be. Remember you have the power to create the life you want to live.
Let me know your thoughts by clicking the comment button, I’d like to know what you have to say.
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How are you feeling these days? This weekend I had a Barbara weekend. Barbara weekends consist of doing only what I want to do. I don’t commit to anything and allow my days to unfold moment by moment. I love these weekends. Sometimes I disconnect and sometimes I stay connected. This weekend, I stayed connected via the cell phone but did nothing on the computer.
I recently posted a comment to a blog comment from Tish about Obama using Twitter to market and campaign. Between the cell phone, instant messages, text messages and Twitter and Facebook, how did our parents do with out them? We are quite a busy group of people aren’t we? Whew! Being busy means being engaged in action. Being productive means yielding results, benefits or profits. We are busy but are we really productive?
I am truly grateful for being born in the 60’s. I grew up having dinner at real table with my family, writing a list to go grocery shopping, and being able to learn to think critically without having to call someone on the cell phone to discuss every thing that crosses my mind. I think that having a perspective of living in a time when we didn’t have answering machines, cell phones, instant message and such allows me to disconnect when needed. By the way, when was the last time you disconnected from all the technology? I have discovered that disengaging and disconnecting often leads to more productivity because our minds have the opportunity to relax and enjoy simple things.
Technology is absolutely wonderful. I have accounts with Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, WordPress and several other social networking groups. Some of my best friends and colleagues are on these networks and have helped me recognize the importance of truly being “connected” on the web. I have met great people through all of these groups and value the relationships and the people I have made and continue to create.
This quote from Albert Einstein resonates with me, “We shall require a substantially
new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” With all these new ways to communicate, I wonder, “Are we really connecting with these tools and being productive, or are we simply engaging in action? Click the comments below and let me know your thoughts or experiences.
Have you ever needed to do something and lacked the motivation? I have struggled with this in the past and often in the present. I would start a project and in the middle of it I would find something more interesting to do and move on to it before I finished. My I (idea) to I (implementation) ratio was very low. It was around 5:1. I needed help. I had to find a way to increase my I:I. I came up with the idea of having an AP™.
An AP™ is an accountability partner. The AP is who you report to about the status of your project, idea or task to be sure that you are held accountable. Here’s my example: I needed to recreate my script for my meditation cd before I could record it in the studio. My AP for this project was Wendy Y. She is one of my regular AP’s so I called her and told her what I needed to do and by when. The role of the AP is simple and specific.
The AP needs to know two things; 1. What needs to be done and 2. When it needs to be done. When I started using an AP™ my ratio was much better, it was 2:1.
Why did I need an AP? I needed to be held accountable. I knew that I couldn’t depend on motivation and inspiration to get me through, I needed discipline and commitment. Knowing I had to call Wendy Y on April 29th kept me focused and I was determined to call her and say, “Wendy Y, I finished my cd script early.” And I did. I often complete things faster when I have an AP involved.Why does this strategy work? Often time we are more accountable to someone else than we are to themselves. The AP approach works very well for me and I encourage you to try it.
There are three easy steps, here’s what you do:
1. Who – decide who will be your AP™.
2. What – decide what you need to get done.
3. When – tell your AP when you need to have your project/task completed- be realistic.
What happens if you don’t get your project/task done by the timeframe you desired? Let your AP know the new timeframe, if you are still interested in completed the project/task.If things have changed, you can always find another project/task. There is always something to be done.Your AP can be different people based on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are on a team with people, you may choose to pick someone involved on that team. An AP is a great way to develop and enhance discipline around specific projects and get things done more timely.
Let me your thoughts by clicking on the comments and leaving me your thoughts.
Every day we have opportunities to grow and create the lives we truly want. Each day we must truly venture to “live by design” in order to create a truly divine and magnificent life. Being responsible and accountable for the day we design and the energy we bring to everything requires that we live consciously aware of each moment and the choices that we make – for they will indeed have consequences.
1. Embrace change. A dog is a dog every day. A cat is a cat every day. As humans, we have the potential to change every second of every day. Life is beautiful. Life is wonderful. Life is filled with change. We are humans with the amazing ability to CHANGE, our minds, our will, our behaviors, any time. Learn to embrace change as a life partner and welcome opportunities to grow.
2. Create your own standards. Why is the color blue called blue? Why isn’t the color blue called yellow? Someone defined the colors just as someone defined the holidays and any other point of reference. The reason we celebrate anything in life is because there was a standard set and people believed it. I believe every day is a new day and a new year. I don’t have to wait until January 1st to plan to make changes. Think about your life and redefine standards so they work for you and the life you want to design.
3. Balance Technology. Cell phones. Instant messaging. Text messaging. Computers. Technology has no discretion, humans do. We lived for hundreds of years without 24 hour, 365-day access to people. A ringing phone does not require a response. Take time to become aware of your habits and patterns. Take the time to sit and talk to people in person and ENGAGE with them only. Turn off the technology. Make the effort to be present when you are with someone; turn the phone off or let voicemail do what it was designed to do, take a message.
4. Say NO when you want to. We are adults, so we have to engage in adult behaviors. Repeat after me,“I am an adult and totally responsible for my life.” That’s it. Make choices for yourself and not for other people. When you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. An explanation is not required. People adjust over time as our behavior changes. No more excuses. No more doing things you really don’t want to do. Be polite when you tell people no. Take a big step to managing your time and life by making the choice to say no.
5. Appreciate your time. Are you spending time with people you don’t want to? We have all probably done this at some time in life. Being with people who don’t nourish and encourage you is deteriorating your health. Ask yourself this question, “When I talk to _____, do I feel energetic or tired?” Instead of spending time with people who are sucking the life out of you, spend time with yourself.
Let me know your thoughts by clicking the comment button, I’d like to know what you have to say.
Do you believe that multitasking makes you more productive? I was thinking about this topic this morning as I walked my mother’s dog, Lacee while visiting in my hometown, Albany, GA. Walking is a type of meditation that I enjoy practicing when I take the time. I usually walk strictly for exercise prior to a serious workout, so it was great to walk at a nice pace and enjoy nature. Albany has beautiful trees, flowers and plants and the sounds of birds, crickets and nature always remind me of the joy of being alive and in the present moment.
Getting back on topic now. Multitasking provides the illusion of being more productive. Doing more than one thing at a time initially seems very productive until I really thought about what I was doing. Right now, I am typing this blog, listening to my mother and the tv is on in the background with the movie, Shopgirl playing. Oh, and I forgot, I just checked Google for thoughts on multitasking and found this blog, The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing it All Gets Nothing Done. Is that really productive?
Of course not, not really. However we convince ourselves that I can get some thing done or a few things done or maybe one thing done.One great sage, my mother, often says, “Focus, baby, don’t scatter your energy.” Great words from a wise woman.
Let me know your thoughts by clicking the comment button, I’d like to know what you have to say.
Meditation-Om. The sound of the word can create images of monks sitting crossed legged chanting words you don’t understand. Or maybe people in flowing robes espousing words of universal love. Forget your preconceived ideas of what you may think meditation is and focus on the results of regular practice. Take a moment to imagine a day that starts out peaceful and clear and well executed. Silence is a way to add to your spiritual bank account. Peace of mind, clarity and focus are some of the results of regular meditation.
Meditation is the process of letting go of the thoughts in your mind so you can release and recharge. Meditation for me is the process of going inside to reconnect with myself. It allows me to let go. I have become more clear and focused and that allows me to make better choices.When meditation was first suggested to me it didn’t make sense. Being still? Are you kidding? What could I learn from silence? I was a talker. Who would I talk to? I enjoyed thought provoking conversations. I didn’t get it at all. My connection with my inner spirit was probably there but it was temporarily disconnected due to lack of funds. At 30 I had not learned that the currency required for my spiritual bank account was in the form of being still. I was being proactive by seeking out information from sources like people, books and classes. I was not interested at all in being still. Stillness didn’t seem like a way to learn anything.
In 1995 I started dabbling with meditation a few times a week. I didn’t want to commit to the practice. I was afraid to be still. I was afraid of what I might find out about myself. Quiet Barbara scared me. I started meditating very slowly and with hesitation. I was still not convinced I would really benefit from silence. It took several years before I decided to create a daily spiritual practice that included some form of meditation. I used a guided cassette daily in the morning and learned to be still. When I decided to embrace meditation as a natural process for growth and development I began to understand the power of silence. I saw myself grow like a newly watered flower.
Now, I won’t leave my house without my meditation time. If I am running late, I will be 5 minutes later. Meditation recharges my internal batteries. Every morning I sit on my sofa, I close my eyes and breathe in and out and I sit in complete silence. In the stillness I have a reverence and an appreciation for my life. I give thanks to The Creator for all people and experiences I have had and the ones I will create. In the five to ten minutes of complete silence I allow my thoughts to do what they will, sometimes they tell me what I need to do, sometimes not. I allow my meditation time to develop as it will.
My daily meditation practice reminds me that I have a lot more to learn about myself and life. I have learned that I need to be still to get clear so I can choose well. After meditating my spiritual bank account is full and I am ready to create the day I want. Be Still: Yes, I must do that.
Click here for to listen to a sample meditation from my upcoming CD, Be Still: Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day.
Share your thoughts or meditation practice below in the comments.
It’s been a busy time since I got back from Barbados. I’ve been updating my website and getting the final cover design approved and it’s now at the press. You can listen to a few samples on my website or if you want have a few images you can listen and see images on You tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLGpFYWo7Is. My meditation cd is available at www.dontstress.net and also at www.learnoutloud.com (search on Be Still Meditation). Thank you Leticia Owens of R’Tish Creations for the beautiful cover and Charlie Mystro of Y.U.C.A. Music group for the great hi-def audio recording.
I’ve been listening to a few audio programs in my LWD (Learn while driving) program. I am almost done with Michael Beckwith’s Life Visioning – a phenomenal program for anyone who is interested in moving being mediocrity and living a life of excellence. You can find out more about him at www.agapelive.com. Michael says that “meditation is paying undistractable attention to the present moment. ” I wholeheartedly agree.
I also completed the audio program, The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved by Matthew Kelly. It was a wonderful program and the narration was absolutely flawlessly executed.
Matthew says that our main purpose is to be the best version of ourselves. Amen.
I remember reading somewhere that anything in nature that doesn’t grow dies. I believe that as humans we are here to grow and evolve. If you aren’t growing you are dying. Are you living on the surface of life or are you living with depth and feeling, tasting, and touching all the textures that come with the journey.
My question to you is… What are you reading, listening to or experiencing that is helping you grow?
Tell me in the comments and share this with your friends.
One of my life philosophies is – What you believe you achieve. What you give you receive. And who you spend your time with you become more like. What kind of friends do you have? Are they people who encourage you, love you and support you?
Yesterday I went to wash my clothes and my washing machine didn’t work. Well, I’ve had some problems with it for a few months so it wasn’t a great surprise and it was 13 years old. I called on of my salsa girlfriends, Bonnie, to let her know our plans for the Wednesday night Salsa might have to change since I would need to wash clothes. My nephew Byron is graduating with his MBA in Project Management ( I am soooo proud of him) and I’m leaving town on Thursday.
Before I could even finish the story about the washing machine… Bonnie says, “So you coming over to wash your clothes, I’ll be up for awhile.” It was 9:45pm. Now that is a friend.
A few minutes later I was catching up with my friend LaVonda, who has become a new mother (she has adopted her 7 yr old niece and has her mother living with her) and mentioned the washer and she also offered to have me come over. Now that is a friend.
What kind of friends do you have? These are just two of the wonderful group of friends I have and I am so grateful for them.
As you are living by design? Ask yourself- What kind of friends do I have? Tell me about some of your FABULOUS FRIENDS.
Day 6 in Barbados. Wow. Geno and I got up and walked to the gym for a nice workout about 7:00am. I don’t get up that early when I’m at home working but the sun is up here about 5:30 and it is pouring through the windows. Between the sun and the sounds of nature (chickens, roosters, tree frogs and birds) you can’t stay in bed very long.
These shots below are worth every hour I spent at the gym this week. So then we came back to the house and eat on the porch and had chat time. Then off to Brandon Beach. We took the bus and then walked over to the beach. Of course the beach was beautiful.
The lifeguard, Ron, was great…we saw him on this rescue surf board and he let us take a few pictures with him. We just enjoyed the afternoon and evening on the beach. Enjoy the pictures.
We were going to go to Bathsheba which is in the north part of the island however the rain was strong. We did make it to a few beautiful spots. We stopped at the Animal Flower Cave where the view was truly breath taking, as we stood over watching the water a storm came.
The drive over to Cherry Tree Hill was amazing as was the sugar cane I got to walk through. The area got a much needed rain and we ending up back home after visiting the Wildlife Preserve where I sat in this beautiful old tree.
This morning as I slept the rain came through like a monsoon. Then the sun came up like clockwork. The weather reminds me of when I lived in Tampa for 7.5 years. Liquid sunshine (rain) one moment and real sunshine 10 minutes later, typical tropical weather.
We had a cup of coffee on the porch as we have done daily since I got here. I tried to get used to the sound of the chickens and roosters crowing…it’s a haunting sound, and they crow whenever they want to. I just heard one crow. I wonder if they are in pain. Okay, I’m working on figuring the video thing out… I’m on vacation, that will have to wait. Oh well.
Today we decided after the 5 hour hike we would forgo the gym. I actually said this about 10 times while we were lost in the woods yesterday. Geno kept saying, let’s wait and see. I was VERY clear, I was not going to the gym. I don’t think any of us really knew how tired we would be. Just imagine being on your feet for 5-6 straight hours. That is a long time. My tooties are not used to that kind of activity.
Today we had a light breakfast and I read and relaxed, Sandra and Kym, I did relax this morning. 😉 Geno has not allowed me to help do anything in the kitchen except get water and something to drink. We went to to downtown Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. I went to Woolworth…who knew there would be a Woolworth in Barbados. I found some cool earrings for $7.50 and $5.00. We took pictures and came home and ate a nice lunch. We will probably chill out for the evening. Enjoy the pictures of downtown.
Day 2 – We all went to the gym and worked out.It felt great to be back working out again.My ankle strain has left me with very limited workouts, except SALSA.We went to Brown’s beach for the afternoon and watched the sunset.There were many families on the beach and Warren, Regenna and I enjoyed the weather and chilling in the water floats and the overall beach scene. The picture on the header is from Brown’s Beach in Barbados.
Day 3- This was the most unexpected day.We got up to go to a 6am hike at Hackertons Cliff. Regenna and Warren London and I got up and took our snacks ( trail mix, grapes, apples, water, and a few Little Debbie Oatmeal pies for Warren).It all started out so well, we got there right on time as they were explaining the different hikes.We opted for the Stop and Stare.We figured it would be a nice easy hike, we could STOP and Stare and take some pictures along the way.It was listed as a 3 hour hike.It started out very nicely, we walked through some wooded areas that were very beautiful. Then we walked past some houses and moved to where the fun really started.We entered a very wooded area that didn’t seem that different from the other area we just left.About an hour into the Barbados forest we all started to wonder what was happening.This was no ordinary hike.We were climbing up what seemed to be mini cliffs.Not what we had in mind.Well, there were several times we all were stopped and joked that the guide must be lost.We were right.We were lost in the Barbados forest for about 3 hours. Working out in a gym doesn’t quite prepare you for climbing up rocks, grabbing vines and maneuvering around trees with ants and slugs. I felt about as close to Survivor or Lost as I would ever be.The other 39 people on the hike were just as befuddled as I was about why we were lost.Were there markers we should have seen?Of course there were.I don’t hike. I mean I walk trails sometimes but really hike, no.I really didn’t know what to expect or know what to look for. I thought that was why we had a guide. About 3 hours after realizing that we were indeed lost we made it to what looked like the top of a pit.Regenna’s husband Warren was a life saver for the hike.He made sure that we had assistance and helped us in the steep areas.I was pulling on a stick several times that he held out to me to be sure I made it up some of the steep paths. Did I mention I don’t hike? Well, we made it to the pit and one of the guys helping the guide tried to convince me it was easy to get out and to the top. At that point I would have done just about anything to get out of that hole.It was beautiful in the forest, woods, it wasn’t quite a jungle but it was as close to a jungle I would see. But I definitely wanted out.He helped us all out with a smile and in the typical Bajan accent, “Wasn’t that easy.”Hell no.It wasn’t easy…it was a trip. When I came up out of the hole we walked over to an area to rest atop of a beautiful cliff.It was breathtaking. But that was not even close to the end of the hike. We still had another hour to go.
My body was aching; we were now back in the 80+ degree weather of Barbados and still clueless about how to get to the car.We all bombarded a local store owner for water, Powerade and Banks Beer (a local favorite) to help us on the next hour leg of our trip. At one point when we were nestled quietly in the forest waiting to find out which way we were going, I was standing very still and quiet with my eyes closed.Regenna asked me if I was okay.I told her I was praying.She asked if I was worried.I told her no, I was simply praying my prayers of affirmation.I thanked God for the safety of all the hikers. I thanked God for the wisdom of the guide. I thanked God for keeping the hikers calm. I had a few more prayers for God. I am continuing to pray at all times, prayers of gratitude help me remember that am at all times a blessed child of God.Regenna and I discussed what could be the lesson in being Lost in Barbados. I don’t know for sure but I am sure that being in the moment and knowing that I would be divinely protected had to be somewhere among the things I learned and experienced on my three hour hike that was six hours while I was visiting Barbados. After our hike we were all EXHAUSTED.We came home, showered and slept the afternoon away. We woke up and Geno cooked flying fish, rice and peas, mashed potatoes and salad.Yummy. Flying fish is native to the island and it was DELICIOUS! We just lazied (real word?) around the house all afternoon.My feet and body are so sore. See some of the pictures.