Monthly Archives: December 2014

Finding Your Life’s Purpose

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Ever witness someone living his or her life’s purpose?

It’s inspiring! Such a person exudes happiness. One can’t help but feel energized in their company.

Everyone has a purpose in life. And within that purpose lies a signature talent waiting to birth itself to the world.

While some people have a clear vision of their purpose early on in life, there are those whose paths seems unclear, even elusive.  I’m one of those whose life’s purpose took the circuitous route.  But I’ve learned a lot along the way, despite the detours.

Detours are not setbacks. Hitting a roadblock means it’s time to go in a new or different direction. This is a time for reflection and learning. Rather than worry that you may get lost (and you may), trust that your internal GPS is guiding you in the right direction. You may uncover a unique talent as a result, or you may learn something like a new skill or meet someone who will become a mentor. Be open to the possibilities while on detour…and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Read the signs. To be an active participant in your life, you’ll need to pay attention. “Signs” will present themselves in various ways. Notice the things that make you happy. Recall times you’ve felt fulfilled. What were you doing? What did you feel? Did you experience moments when you’ve lost track of time because of doing something you loved? Take cues from your relationships. What have others said regarding your skills and talents? Notice any common themes? When you hear the same thing several times from others that could be an indication of a talent you’ve overlooked.

Slow down. To read the signs presenting themselves to you, you’ll need to slow down. We live in such a busy world full of constant stimulation, making it hard to wrap our head around our own thoughts. Put yourself in a time-out, away from all the distractions, so that you can restore your balance and energy. This quiet time could be a walk through the woods, journaling, meditating, or exercising. Find what works for you, do it on a daily basis, and you’ll give space to inner clarity and expanded awareness that will help you discover yourself.

Change direction. If you’ve been traveling the same mental route with no results, you’ll need to exit and recalculate. Rather than get stuck on asking, “What is my purpose?” ask, “Who do I want to become?” This shift in direction throws your mind into a higher creative gear. What can you see yourself as, and what do you look like (and feel like) as you are doing it? If it feels good, then you are in alignment with your soul’s purpose. You’ll experience an inner knowing that can not be shaken. You’ll know that you know. And it will feel “right.”

Discovering your life’s purpose requires taking action. Living your life inside your head is not the same as living your life out loud, on purpose. There are steps to be taken with the biggest one being a leap of faith…not always easy, but absolutely necessary. It doesn’t have to be one big giant leap, but smaller ones which will impact big changes over time.

4 Steps To Managing Your Personal Energy

Managing our personal energy is our job, not anyone else’s. We are responsible for everything that we think, say, and do. There’s no way around it. And as much as we’d like to blame our stress on someone or something else, we must come to terms with the reality that we alone have invited that stress into our lives. We somehow agreed to it, either consciously or unconsciously.

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When we live our lives on auto-pilot, we get lazy. We say yes when we mean no.  We say no when we mean yes. We act without thinking. We think without acting. We don’t set healthy boundaries. We take things for granted. Suddenly two plus two equals seventeen, and we are left reeling under the pressure we’ve placed upon ourselves…all because we weren’t mindful.

When we learn to manage our personal energy, we reclaim our power and our lives. Here’s how:

Create a list of things that give you energy. All too often we engage in activities that deplete our energy. The focus here is to embrace activities that increase your energy and make you feel better. Take a walk, call a loved one, sing, meditate. It could be anything. These little things will feel like luxuries.  Keep your list available so that you can refer to it whenever you begin feeling overwhelmed.

Chunk your time into manageable segments. Rearrange your day so that you are working in blocks of time, not straight through. After every 90 to 120 minutes, take a break and do something from your list of energy-boosting activities. This allows you to relax and recover, and it gives the brain a much-needed break so that it can recuperate.

Practice mindfulness. Stay focused on one activity at a time. This means NO multitasking during your breaks since your breaks are meant for your energy-building activities.

Set healthy boundaries. Say no when you mean no. Say yes when you mean yes. Don’t agree to added responsibility if you can’t devote the time and energy. Think carefully about taking on additional tasks. Having no boundaries leaves one open to exploitation. Assert yourself if you must, but do so respectfully.

We can counteract the effects of stress by consciously making decisions and performing activities that energize us.  When we feel good, we perform better.  And in so doing, the structure of our brain actually changes; new neural pathways form as we continually take in good things, making it easier to feel good in the future.

Positive Mind Medicine

It is a well-known fact that stress, anxiety, tension, worrying, and fear will hurt your physical, mental, and emotional health. These negative states are shots of poison. “Drink” too many and you jeopardize not only your health, but your relationships, your career, your self-confidence, your self-esteem, and your self-worth.

Such negative states release toxins into the bloodstream, thereby “poisoning” your system. This opens the door to various ailments, disorders, diseases, and terminal illnesses.

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Talk about being your own worst enemy!

Obviously, minimizing the amount of stress in your life will reduce the amount of “poison” you release into your system.

Hippocrates said, “The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.”

In other words, we hold the “cure.”  We are our own antidote.

If we can think ourselves sick, we can think ourselves whole.  We have within us what it takes to change the direction of our health and the course of our lives. We can do this through the practice of positive mind medicine.

According to Universal Law, our thoughts and beliefs, whether positive or negative, manifest into reality. If we continually pump our systems with negativity, we release harmful cortisol and epinephrine (stress hormones) that deactivate our body’s natural self-repair mechanisms. The more that is released, the more the body breaks down, adding more stress to an already compromised immune system.

However, if we use the power of positive thoughts and emotions to influence our physical health, we relax our nervous systems and give our bodies the space to heal. Also, choosing to participate in positive activities over destructive ones releases “happy hormones” (seratonin, endorphins, dopamine, phenylethamine, and gherlin) that reduce the effects of stress and make us feel better.

Of course, I am not suggesting that positive thinking is the only factor in the healing process (things do happen that warrant immediate medical attention; if you need it, seek it). But in many cases, a positive shift in one’s way of thinking and mental habits can prove more effective than medicating oneself with drugs or other substances.

If negativity is “poisoning” you, here’s what you can do:

Take inventory of the stressors in your life. What immediate steps can you take to reduce them? Develop a plan of action to begin removing them.

Be more aware of your thoughts. Practice mind management. Catch yourself whenever you think negative thoughts, and replace them by thinking about things that bring you joy. This may take some practice, but keep at it. Inside the poison is the antidote, so turn negative thoughts around to thoughts that will serve you rather than harm you.

Rest your body and mind often. Do this several times a day, even if only for a few minutes at a time.

Practice some form of meditation. Meditation releases tension and stress from the body and mind. Use creative visualization to produce positive changes in your life. Breathe deeply and slowly.

Read inspiring words. Start and end your day with inspirational quotes, positive affirmations, or sacred literature that uplifts and edifies you.

Think and expect the best. Focus thought energy on everything working out for the best. Remember, Universal Law works with your thought energy, whether the energy you are emitting is positive or negative.

Give gratitude for what you have. Remind yourself of all the positives in your life, no matter how small. Gratitude acts as a magnet, attracting more into your life for which to be thankful.

Positive mind medicine has no ill side effects, requires no prescription, and the benefits are many. I’ll drink to that!

Breaking The Spell Of Lies

A good friend of mine is going through the most spiritually transforming time of her life. With the blinders gone, she is seeing life from a whole new perspective. While it has been painful for her at times, she is grateful for the journey.

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The hardest thing through which she has been working is dismantling the “lies” told to her by others about herself, all of which she believed to be true. Such lies crippled her in almost every area of her life. However, she has taken responsibility for her part in allowing other people’s words to control her, freeing herself from this trap.

Behold the power of words.  They can build you up, or they can take you down.

Lies are words used to deceive, control, and ultimately destroy us. They hold us spellbound.

In my friend’s case, she was repeatedly told many lies:

“You’re not worthy of love.”

“You are not enough.

“You don’t deserve happiness.”

“You are not unique or special.”

“You don’t deserve wealth.”

The list goes on.

She had allowed such words to blind her from her own amazing opportunities; these words bruised her self-esteem, crushed her self-confidence, and left her searching for what she needed outside of herself instead of searching within.  Her inner critic — the ego, the lower self, the “devil,” call it what you will — got the best of her.  She knew she had to take matters into her own hands if she were to survive.

What did my friend do to break such a spell?

She took back her identity. For the longest time she allowed other people and situations to define her. She came to know herself as a spiritual being rather than as a puppet at the hands of others.

She took control of her thoughts. She faced the lies head-on and saw them for what they were. She learned that whatever controls the mind controls life since thoughts lead to our chosen attitudes and actions. She stopped listening to the lies of others, and began believing in herself and in her abilities.

She discovered her gifts. She stopped comparing herself to others, and realized that she has gifts that others do not. Her uniqueness became apparent to herself.

She replaced lies with life-affirming words. She chose words to build her self-esteem and self-confidence and began repeating them to herself often, and it now shows in her actions and how she carries herself. She sets her intentions on a daily basis so that she can live a purposeful and mindful life.

She released toxic people from her life. She cut emotional attachments that were not serving her highest good. She came to understand that though the toxic people in her life weren’t inherently bad, they weren’t right for her, so she let them go. She made her well-being a priority and created a safer space for herself.

She began studying Universal Laws. She learned about the role that universal laws play in our lives and began to apply them. She understood the role she played and now plays in attracting people and events into her life.

She took responsibility for her past actions. She didn’t realize how she had been hurting herself by allowing others to control her with their thoughts and behavior. She forgave herself for giving up her power to them. And she released their hold on her by forgiving them as well.

It’s been quite a journey for her as she will attest. Words that once served to curse her to her own inner prison also freed her to discover how worthy and deserving she really is.

Spreading The Love Through Liebster

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One of the rewards of blogging is meeting people from all walks of life from all over the world. I learn so much from them. I hear other points of view that I never would have considered. I see lands I’ve never visited. I witness the beauty of other cultures. And I get to connect with these wonderful people through the medium of writing. Writing is what brings us together. It’s a beautiful thing.

One of the things that bloggers do for other bloggers is nominate them for awards. It’s a way to help each other get the word out about their blogs. Today I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Mary Burris from Jingle Jangle Jungle, a wonderfully rich blog about music, artists, and the stories behind them (thank you, Mary!).

The word “liebster” is German in origin. It means “beloved,” or “dearest.” In researching the award, I have found that there is no real award. There are no judges and no special rules. However, with that said, the rewards are greater than an actual award because you create connections and relationships with some very talented people you never would have met otherwise.

There are some “rules” to follow should you accept this “award,” but from what I have read, they vary:

  • Link back to the blog from which you were nominated.
  • Answer ten questions about yourself.
  • Give ten new questions to your nominees.
  • Nominate between five and ten new bloggers (some say 5, some say 10…your choice).
  • Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.
  • Comment on this post when you are finished, so we can follow the trail.

When Mary nominated me, she listed 9 questions (that’s okay, Mary, I won’t hold that against you!). My answers are in bold.

1.  What is your blog about? I blog about all things spiritual. I believe life is filled with “spiritunities” — opportunities that advance our spiritual growth.  Through my blog, I guide others on their spiritual paths.

2. What is your inspiration for writing? Authentic living inspires me to write. 

3. If you could give one piece of advice to fellow bloggers, what would it be? Write from the heart so that your true voice is heard. Writing is an organic, sometimes messy but beautiful and rewarding process.

4. What is your favorite genre of music? My musical tastes are varied and change often. I can’t say that I have a favorite. If I had to choose a favorite, well, no, I really can’t; although, I bounce between jazz, blues, rock, and country.

5. What do you do in your spare time? Write. Write. Write. Exercise. Write. Read. Write some more. Cook. Hike. Write. Think. Ponder. Contemplate. Read. Not necessarily in that order. 

6. What’s in your cup? Wuyi Narcissus Oolong tea with a touch of sweet cream. 

7. What is your favorite color? Purple. Deep shades of purple. 

8. If you won the lottery today, what would you do with your winnings? I’d invest it in others. 

9. Share with us your social media connections:

I nominate (in no particular order):

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Nominees, here are ten questions for you:

1.  What is your favorite song to sing aloud, especially when no one is looking?

2.  Describe yourself in three (3) words.

3.  Who is your favorite fictional villain?

4.  What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

5.  Share your favorite inspirational quote.

6.  What is your favorite way to unwind?

7.  If you were a color, what color would you be…and why?

8.  If you could travel back in time, what year would you travel to?

9.  What trick do you use to break through writer’s block?

10. What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to endure, and what did you learn?

Okay nominees, don’t forget to link back to this post in your post.  Answer the 10 questions I gave you, nominate 5 – 10 bloggers, give them 10 new questions, and come back and comment on this post when you’re done!  Congratulations!

For those I’ve nominated, please don’t feel pressured to pass this on. However, it certainly could brighten someone’s day if you choose to participate. Either way, thank you for your very inspiring and entertaining posts.

Are You Ready To Live A Simple Life?

Living the simple life is not so simple.  Not at first.

It requires letting go.  And if you’ve grown up in a consumer society, where everything is readily available and abundant…and convenient…this can be a real challenge.

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Here’s a telling test.  Sit in a quiet room.  Alone.  No distractions whatsoever.  And sit there for 20 – 30 minutes. In. Complete. Silence.  Think you can do it?  If the thought of this makes you uncomfortable, then you won’t be able to simplify.  At least not right away.  You can ease your way into it by starting with a few minutes a day and then building from there.

Living the simple life is living life on your own terms for your own pursuit of happiness, no matter what anyone else says. But you can’t live a simple life if you’re unwilling to let go of what you’re used to.

Therein lies the conflict…releasing what you’ve learned in the past in order to embrace a new way of living for your future.  It can be quite painful, but it’s the kind of pain that pushes one forward.  Think of it as physical therapy for the soul.

There was a time when I tried to be everything to everyone. But all I got was exhaustion, emptiness, feelings of failure and sadness. My health declined. I suffered migraines. I hated my life.  That’s when I took a vow of simplicity.  I wised up and pared down.  Instead of a life of constant busy-ness and rushing, I chose a life of contemplation, creation, and connection with nature, the people I love, and the activities I enjoy doing.

Does this mean I have no distractions or complications? No. But I have much less of them because I have reduced them to make space for the more important things.

If you’re feeling called to lead a simple life but are struggling with the idea of letting go, here are some reflections to help you process:

While letting go can be difficult, it will become easier if you start with a one-day or one-week challenge, upon which you can expand. Let go of something for the allotted time period and see whether you like it or not. Keep a record of your observations.

Decluttering your home and work space will declutter your mind. As you open up space in your environment, you free up your mind. Less time will be devoted to finding things once you establish an organizational system that works for you (you may have to train your family on your new system).

Waking early is a gift and gives you the time to go into your day unrushed. Use this time to read, write, meditate, and center yourself.

Let go of watching the news or programs that fill you with anxiety or fear. Negative energy breeds more negative energy. Also, get away from watching commercials that want you to buy things you don’t really need.

While social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are a great way to stay in touch and share with others, they can be a source of frustration and much pain for some people, especially when those people begin comparing what’s happening (or not) in their lives to what’s happening in the lives of others. Reducing your dependency on such sites opens up space for you to begin creating a better life for yourself.

Waiting for the right time to do something is wasting time. You have to make time, especially for what is important: time with your spouse, time with your kids, time for creating, time for exercise, time for nature, time for self.

Learning to say no gets easier. Reducing your number of commitments reduces your level of stress. Overcommitment is a cardinal sin against simple living. The less you agree to do the more time you will have for yourself. Choose the commitments that are most important to you.

You don’t need to change addresses or move deep into the backcountry to discover simplicity. You can create it right where you are. Simple living is all about self-reliance. It’s about taking your life out of the hands of others and into your own hands.

What will it take for you to live simply?