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A Personal Experience Story

Life is certainly never static — it is a living, breathing ebb and flow of change, shift and transformation.  When we talk about achieving stability and balance, it is but for a temporary moment in time. And though it is a worthy goal to aspire to create some form of balanced harmony in our lives, it is critical to accept that change will always be part of our reality.

Yet the thought of change is daunting for most people, and change can present itself as a huge challenge.  Cultivating flexibility and adaptability — traits that will help you stay in that flow of coping and being open to new possibilities — is worth the inner work!

From my own personal experience of the last month or so, I have definitely had to deal with that specter of change.  My elderly mother-in-law (an octogenarian who was widowed 20 years ago) had two accidental falls too many in a short span of time and finally agreed to move up from her condo in Florida to an assisted living facility local to where I live in Long Island.

She was used to living an “independent” life or so she perceived it. But legally blind, hard of hearing, dependent upon a walker for mobility, her life there — away from all family — appeared more “isolationist” to my husband and myself. She had a home health aid to assist her during the day, and even drive her to wherever she needed or wanted to go.  But each health issue that presented became an ordeal, simply because there was no family around and concern for some serious issue without the support and caring of family was on our minds.

My mother-in-law is very quick to speak her mind and is not a particularly positive-minded person. The sudden availability of an apartment at the assisted living during the freezing heart of winter created a whirlwind of activity and stress in order to get her packed up. Figuring out what she could bring with her and getting rid of the rest of her stuff (some of it lifelong accumulation) was really tough for her, as it would be for anyone in her position. (Please know that she had much physical help in the form of my brother-in-law and his wife.)

Personally, I was anticipating a huge challenge and indulging in too much fear-based anxiety, yet secretly praying/hoping that perhaps she would acclimate… She is not a person who has ever done well with change. And yes, I believe in the Law of Attraction and focusing on positive aspects.  However, the practical side of me, based on previous experience with the lady, brought up challenging thoughts.

And even though the facility has an amazing and caring staff, ultimately I knew that I would be the one most responsible for her day-to-day life and needs, especially since my husband works in the city and is gone for very long days. So the bottom line was, how would this impact my own life?  Yes, I love her and DO have an excellent relationship with her — but this move is a significant change in my life — a life that is already very full without another facet (even a loving one) added to it.

It was about four weeks of anticipation for both her and us — and at the other end in Florida, she was extremely stressed by this whole packing up and preparing-to-move process, and leaving the comfort and knowingness of her home.  Additionally, she was unhappy about coming from the mild climate to this freezing Long Island winter — who could blame her for that?

So now you may wonder — how did it all go?

Well, she has been here for a month and I feel a sense of relief from all that fear-based expectation. Incredibly, she has adapted quite smoothly — a surprising and delightful shock to me and my husband.

Despite many obstacles, she has been fine. The first week she arrived, there was a quarantine lockdown because several cases of flu broke out — fortunately not her, but for several days, nobody from the outside was allowed in. I could not get in and start to bring her all the winter clothes that were shipped via UPS and had been delivered to my house. So her stuff was in limbo and we could not even visit her and she had very few clothes.  Eventually, all the boxes were delivered, brought over, unpacked and her little apartment is all set up now.

She seems happier than I have ever seen her. And I totally believe it really has to do with two things — first of all, the love and nearness of family. She will now be able to watch her great-grandson grow up and establish a relationship with him, which she is already doing. Secondly, she is receiving a very helpful level of care and attention from the facility and included are three hot meals a day that she loves.

So there have been enough positive things to override that she is mostly stuck in the facility due to the outdoor weather being too snowy, icy, frigid and treacherous for her to navigate with her walker.  But she has two heating controls in her apartment and can make it as hot and Florida-like as she wishes!

From my perspective, this journey has been made a bit easier because I have truly focused on being in the moment as best as possible. When my mind would sort of “run away” with trying thoughts about what would be, I would remind myself to be truly present, and simply take the actions of the the moment that were necessary to move the journey along. And part of me just needed to “surrender” and accept that this change coming into my own life would be a positive and joyful one. I would have the opportunity to establish a close relationship with my mother-in-law, especially since my own mother is gone for many years and I am open to having a surrogate “mom” in my life, even though I will be taking more care of her than she of me!

The one life lesson that was clear and powerful for me was that: LOVE really does overcome. I firmly believe that the attention and love that my mother-in-law is receiving from nearby family (us and others) has been instrumental in her accepting and dealing with this major life change. And yes, we are all still adjusting to her being here and working on defining our relationships in a way that is pleasing and workable for all.  Another, very beautiful thing, is that my mother-in-law, not usually very expressive of emotions, has been happily voicing her appreciation for all that my husband and I are doing to help her — so that is a truly kind side of her that I am seeing.

All is well and I am adjusting to this change in my own life, and there is now a feeling of ease and grace to it… and for that I am grateful!

Affirmations:

  • I accept shift and change with a mindset of ease and adaptability.
  • Life is a flow of ongoing changes, and I welcome new possibilities with joyful anticipation.
  • I strive to stay in the moment and to be present exactly where I am on my unique life journey.

“Through gratitude we express one of our most powerful emotions and open the flow of positive energy.”  ~Joe Nunziata

Gratitude IS powerful.  It is said that being in the space of appreciation can change our lives in an uplifting and transformative way.  When we are thankful for all the joy and abundance in our reality, that feeling is amplified,  attracting more happiness and prosperity to flow in…  because the Universe responds with matching our vibration and bringing in more of the same…

It is easier for some people to adopt a mindset of gratitude and for others it takes more inner work to be able to look around, appraise your reality and count ones blessings, so to speak…

For me personally, I am training myself to spend more time in the place of appreciation… it does not come naturally.

One can keep a gratitude journal for the express purpose of regularly noting down what you are thankful for and make entries in this on a daily basis.

I recently participated in an online Social Media version of that idea — the 5-day gratitude challenge on Facebook. The goal was to write three things each day (over a span of five days) for which I am thankful. And I don’t know why this was more of a challenge… but I think it is because, for the sake of social media, I was reaching for major points of appreciation instead of just focusing on those little things in life that are simple, yet very beautiful.

Such as the wonderful, peaceful energy that fills my my Healing room.   Or a sweet toddler hug from my young grandson… Or the amazingly succulent flavor of a locally grown red, ripe tomato… Or the warmth of the sunlight that streams through the large window of my living room…

Doing the inner work of gratitude has helped me heal from the grief I went through upon the passing of my beloved canine companion. Whenever I would be consumed with sadness, I would shift the thought and emotion process to thoughts like: I am grateful for all the sweet love and devotion he gave me for nearly 14 years… I am appreciative that he actually lived such a long, full and happy life… These thoughts have helped uplift my heavy heart.  Now, as time passes, I bask in the space of gratitude for the wonderful bond we shared and I experience less grief over loss and more joy in the memories…

It has been shown that people who regularly lead lives filled with gratitude are generally more optimistic and experience an increased level of prosperity in their lives. So doesn’t it make sense to move into that space of authentic appreciation?

So what are you personally thankful for? Take a moment to give that some thought. Take a moment to just be in that lovely place of gratitude. Take a few minutes to do this everyday!

Working with relevant affirmations can help you. I have collected ten of the high-vibration positive affirmations that I have written and used over the last several years so feel free to recite them, integrate them into your own mindset, and enjoy the flow of uplifting energy they can fuel within your heart…

  • I gratefully accept all the wealth and happiness that the Universe provides for me every day.
  • I am thankful for all the love in my life.
  • With loving gratitude, I notice all of the beauty and grace that that surrounds me.
  • It is easy for me to feel and express appreciation for others.
  • I focus on all the positive things in my life, empowering them to grow and multiply!
  • I gratefully accept happiness and prosperity from a supportive, abundant Universe.
  • Expressing gratitude is easy and fulfilling for me.
  • The more appreciation I feel and acknowledge, the more joy and abundance flow into my life!
  • My life is exciting, unique and filled with feel-good experiences!
  • I give thanks for all the amazing blessings that fill my life.
Lessons from My Beloved Canine

 

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” ~Roger Caras

Sometimes life lessons come to us in the most unexpected ways…

Tiki was like a true family member, and I am certain he was a wise old soul in canine form. And he was my beloved companion for nearly 14 years…

I taught him how to “sit” and “stay” but he taught me how to LIVE!

Some of you who are not really “animal people” might snicker a little and think “What in the world could she have possibly learned from a dog?”

He knew how to experience life in the purest, fullest way. How to take the time to smell every blade of grass… How to feel the earth on his feet and sun warm on his body. He knew how to “commune” with the earth… Rolling in the mud and the dirt and enjoying every physical sensation of it. And he was happy…

From the moment we brought him home as a ten week old puppy, he lived his life totally immersed in every moment, every aroma, every aspect of love… until he couldn’t anymore, until his very old bodily organs and heart just gave out from old age.

There was so much living that happened in between those two moments of his existence… Between his puppyhood arrival and his sudden departure.

When my husband and I were married (the second time around for each of us) we blended our families — his two children and my two. But we were beyond the age for having our own human child so we adopted a “fur baby.” Who became very much like a child to us…

Tiki continually taught me about focusing on the now moment. Just inhaling the crisp beauty of each minute, each day… For dogs do not carry regrets of the past or worry about the future, unless perhaps where their next meal is coming from. And it is known that even dogs that come from difficult pasts are most often able to let go and forgive human transgressions… And to move forward in joy and connection…

So Tiki was always consciously immersed in the present and he taught me how essential that is for living a joyful life… Of course, the Reiki precepts teach that as well but Tiki knew it innately.

He always enjoyed Reiki… He loved keeping my clients company in the healing space whenever they were okay with him being there. And he loved when students came to take classes, especially when there was an Animal Reiki class being taught when he was allowed to spend more time with the students.

And he loved people in general…

He taught me all about the meaning and profundity of unconditional love. And he was always non-judgmental… As animals are… He was never angry and always so accepting and understanding.

And the way he chose to exit this physical life was in perfect alignment to the way he lived his life…

It was a blessing that he left quickly. But because he lived his life so enthusiastically, his passing at that particular time was so  unexpected.

I had noticed that he had slowed down in the last several months, and knew he had severe arthritis in his hips, but he was still mobile. What was to be our last evening together, we had gone for a short, leisurely walk and then sat outside for awhile and I just petted him and enjoyed his presence. He had had his normal dinner, which he consumed with gusto, as well as his bone treat (which he had every day after dinner — and always looked forward to very impatiently.) And then, without any warning, he was gone…

He was such an amazing presence and “light” in my life. And he certainly took a piece of my heart when he left…

He will be sorely missed, but his delightful, powerful presence will always remain strong in my heart. I am wiser and enriched by having had this beautiful, gentle soul in my life. And I deeply appreciate that remarkable inter-species bond we had up until the very end…

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ” ~Anatole France

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How well do you bend and flow with the storms and challenges of life? What about with the more gentler shifts and changes in daily realities — can you cope?

Flexibility is one of the key components to living a balanced, joyful and healthy life. Each individual is unique with the way that one adapts to the consistent flow of changes that are a part of the life experience here on planet Earth. Nobody’s reality is truly static. It is when one grasps on blindly to the “what is” — remaining caught in rigidity that brings one into the mindset of resistance. And we all know that resistance is a powerfully negative attitude that can disrupt the flow of well-being in a big way… Resistance takes us immediately out of that high-vibration, feel-good place.

Yet human nature seems to be prone to resistance. For we tend to be creatures of habit — even if those habits are not always the best for us. We seem to crave the comfort of sameness and routine.

For many, change is rarely perceived in a positive light.

Maintaining flexibility takes many forms. For our challenges take a multitude of forms. For instance, as I write this, I know that I am on call for Jury Duty this week. Of course, that is my civic duty and I am legally bound to attend when I am called. I am on standby and will call in each evening. I may get summoned to spend a day or more in court — or I may not. This is beyond my control. Do I want to be a juror — definitely not! This temporary state of “not-knowingness” is wreaking havoc with my week. I cannot schedule clients. I can’t make business plans. My car is having some issues and needs repair and it is difficult for me to schedule this as well. My elderly dog cannot be left alone for too many hours at a a time so I have to arrange care for him. You get the picture. And the thought of potentially getting stuck on a jury for a trial is very unnerving because of all these aforementioned considerations.

So have I felt some stress — more than I care to admit. But I have known about this obligation for some time and have even had a chance to emotionally prepare. Yet the bottom line emotion is resistance. So I am working on trying to regain a more flexible perspective — and I am feeling the inspiration to write this article because it is my own inner work therapy, so to speak. It is a reminder to flow with the current.

We need to adapt to not just changes in our lives, but also changes in those around us. A friend of mine has recently become a complete support system for her elderly mom who has experienced a series of serious health challenges in the last few months. My friend has had a very difficult time coming to terms with the aging of her parent because for such a long time her mom has been in such amazing and wonderful shape. So by her own admission, this lady just wants her mother to be the totally healthy and independent individual she was, and is resistant to adjusting to the way her mother is now at this point in time. But little by little, she is coming to terms with the situation, and appreciating the good in each day and the beauty of still having her loving mom around, even though she requires more care and supervision.

Some people honestly admit to being inflexible by nature and don’t see the need to be any other way. But of course, when challenges arise, they are the ones who become severely stressed out and overwhelmed and whose own physical/emotional health may become weakened because of this.

I always go back to that wise analogy of the old tall tree in the forest that bends and sways when the heavy winds and storms blow — but it survives to grow. We need to remain bendable. We must adjust our course periodically and change direction to stay afloat, on target — healthy, whole and in harmony with life. Adaptability helps us navigate and persevere.

So keep that in mind. Whether it is something as mundane as jury duty or as significant as a job change, loss — or an illness, setback, etc. let yourself be that bendable tree. Know that your roots can be strong and sturdy and “this too shall pass.”

Affirmations:

  • I strive to make adaptability an intrinsic part of my path toward self empowerment and joy.
  • A mindset of flexibility helps me deal effectively with all that happens in my everyday reality.
  • I flow with the current of life and tune in to my inner guidance for clarity and perseverance.

Unless you have been living in a cave the last ten years, you are familiar with the “hottest” new concept for positive and joyful living: affirmations. Everywhere you turn, there are teachings about the amazing power of affirmations.

I have written about them quite a bit over time. If you have read any of my monthly blog posts, you will know that each includes a trio of relevant affirmations. I do love affirmations and the immense and uplifting potential they offer us.

Let’s say you are newer to the concept of positive affirmations, or perhaps need a little review. Affirmations are statements we make to ourselves — part of our everyday head talk. They are in a sense, the cornerstone of our thinking mode, of our state of mind.

Because in reality, many (or even most) of the statements we make in our heads are of a negative vibration. Such as “That will never work out.” Or “I am such a mess.” Or “my life is out of control.” You get the picture — and admit it now, you are guilty too — guilty of allowing a barrage of negative thoughts to inhabit your mind and your thought processes. We all do it.

The key to really shifting is to recognize that, own up to it, and then begin to do the inner work of tuning in to more positivity. Good-feeling affirmations are one simple way to help with this.

You may know or have guessed that I have been greatly influenced by Louise Hay, who I consider the “Grande Dame” of positive affirmations. She has brought this concept to light for so many people and has definitely been a pioneer in the positive thinking/personal development field.

When we are totally living in the mode of negative affirmations, we are sad and depressed. And should these negative thoughts and stresses become lodged in both our conscious and subconscious mind, we run the risk developing corresponding symptoms of both physical and emotional illness. So thinking more optimistically, embracing affirmations and the like has been shown to help one align with the flow of well being. Think happy, be happy — be WELL!

Affirmations can be short and general or long and very specific. There is no rule. However, to begin an affirmation practice, it is essential to choose ones that resonate with you personally. For you to make an affirmation your own, you need to feel into it, to be able to believe it and to be able to say it with general conviction.

So an affirmation like “I will receive a million dollars today” is a fun and interesting statement but unless you are a wealthy stock market trader and are expecting the sale of a high level holdings, or unless a great-aunt that you never knew existed left you a sizable inheritance, this statement may not feel too believable to you.

Statements such as “I welcome abundance into my life,” “Money flows easily and joyfully to me,” or “I always manifest all that I need” are more generic, open and certainly have a feel-good vibration! You can also say things like “Abundance and prosperity come to me each day, often in surprising and delightful ways!” Or you can use a specific focus for your day such as “Today I am open to gracefully receive abundance and joy from a supportive Universe.”

Affirmations can be used for way more than just financial abundance, and certainly for all aspects of ones life including relationships, love, career, etc. You can use one — or a few — affirmations that feel right to you or reflect what you wish to shift in your reality or invite into your life. But you need to say them regularly.

Say them as if you mean them! Get in the bright energy of your affirmation! Make it a point to live in your highest and best “affirmation state of mind.” I am convinced that this can absolutely bring joyful transformation into your life…

Mar
03

Friendship – the Varied Bonds that People Share

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Friends are our lifeline, our most ardent supporters, our reinforcement in the belief that we matter. Friends add meaning to our life, joy to our reality, laughter and camaraderie to our world.

Yet how come at times the bonds of friendship can seem overly complex, dramatic or sometimes even disappointing?

Are our expectations about the meaning and bond of friendship too high? Personally, I think that yes, we want each friendship to be absolutely perfect, to meet all our needs. Yet, how can each bond of friendship measure up to such lofty ideals? When we demand perfection, we set ourselves up for failure.

In my own life experience, I have learned (and am still learning) to release some of those preconceived expectations regarding what I want/need in a friend.

The basic requirement is now very simple: if you wish to be my friend, be supportive of me, and my life path.

That’s all there is to it.

However, one needs to accept the knowing that there will be friends who completely support our life paths — and those who may not be so overtly encouraging, but love us nevertheless and allow us to follow our journey without judging.

But this also includes the notion that you must not be a “fair weather friend.” If times get tough, I expect you to be there for me in whatever way you are capable — and that is certainly different things for different people.

I used to have some clear friendship requirements, such as a friend must call me so often (every day/every week) or they wouldn’t measure up to my standards of communication frequency.

I now am accepting of friends who call me regularly and friends who contact me occasionally. As long is there is some joyful connection every once in awhile, I am okay with that. However, when I have called a few times and get no callback — that is a clear indicator of a lag or disinterest in the friendship on the part of the other person.

I used to believe that a friend needed to share the very same interests as me — but I have discovered that this is not always a necessity. Though it IS helpful in terms of understanding each other.

Friends come in a very expansive variety with a multitude of perspectives and world views. And I have found that I now tend to think of friends as being in a range of categories.

For instance, there are:

• Common interest, like-minded friends — For me these may be my spiritual, Reiki and healing Practitioner friends. For others it may be friends who share the same type of work, similar hobbies, etc. You may meet these people while doing the activities you enjoy or the work-related tasks that comprise your life.

• Lifestyle friends — These are people whose presence in your reality enhances or complements your life in some way. These are people with whom you feel joyful and comfortable. People who are going-out-to-dinner friends, friends you take ski vacations with, ones who you share a specific segment of life with, but perhaps no deeper connection than that. Yet these friendships can be very enlivening, uplifting and sustaining.

• Long term friends – these are the friends that have been with us for much of our life journey, through ups and downs, highs and lows, marriages and divorces, births and deaths. These are often our core friends, ones who will lend a sympathetic ear (or shoulder.) Friends with whom we can pretty much share anything with authenticity. These friends truly KNOW us, what we are about, and have persevered through all life’s uphill battles by our side. As of course we have reciprocated that same sentiment of dedication to them.

• Acquaintances — this category encompasses a multitude of interesting individuals who grace our lives, some nearby to us and some in other geographic areas. This category can include some of our Facebook friends, those who LIKE our joyful posts and photos as we enjoy visiting their pages and participating in their life on the net. This category also encompasses in-person individuals who are more on the periphery of our life. These cannot neatly fit into any of the above categories. They are not major players in our lives, but there is some connection they offer that clearly resonates with us.

We can gain insight, exhilaration, and optimism from our friends. They help teach us life lessons and they absolutely enrich our lives.

So let us offer them kindness, consideration, appreciation, and of course, our love and reciprocation of their devotion and connection to us. Our  journey here on planet Earth would be very lonely and solitary without our many bonds of friendship…

Affirmations:

  • I appreciate my friends and verbally express my gratitude for their presence in my life.
  • I treat my friends with kindness and caring, the way that I would like them to treat me.
  • I respect the life journeys of my friends, and am supportive along their unique and diverse paths.
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The new year breezed in with a gust of polar vortex air — frigid temperatures that brought challenges of their own. Plus a slew of unexpected everyday life obstacles.

So despite ringing in the energy of the new year on on optimistic note, writing my positive living article, I was — and still am — enmeshed in turbulence.

It was confusing for me a bit. I could not quite understand where these hurdles were really emanating from.

But I also know that surrounding energies and thoughts affect our personal space. And all that occurs reflects not just my own personal “energetic flow” but that of those around me.

And most of what transpired seemed apparently external in nature, beyond my personal control. A blackout burned out my refrigerator, and due to the holiday season — plus one very bad retail experience — I had no fully functioning refrigerator for 10 days!

Then some pipes froze and we were without cold water in the kitchen. The dishwasher burned out around the same time. And my wonderful trusty heavy-duty all-in-one printer that had been a work horse for nearly six years, printing my Reiki business certificates, flyers, forms in beautiful color — went into death throes.

Okay, so I was in appliance and technology hell — and perhaps still am.

Then my indoor/outdoor semi-feral kitty disappeared for three full days and I spent two days searching the neighborhood, posting flyers and almost thinking the worst… when he suddenly reappeared late one evening. A bit disoriented and completely ravenous, but okay… so I think he may have accidentally been locked in someone’s shed or garage. But it was not a fun few days.

And on the heels of that, Long Island endured another polar vortex with single digit temperatures, gusting winds and a 24-hour snowstorm. So I was out in those icy temperatures shoveling for hours. (The snowblower broke last year and we have not replaced it.) Sometimes young men with shovels who want to earn some cash come by and dig us out, but not one showed up this time.

I am physically exhausted and mentally drained as I write this. But in my heart, I know that this too shall pass.

Is there something for me to learn from these three or four weeks of constant turmoil? To maybe look at the bright side, that proverbial “silver lining” — my Reiki business has been greatly expanding. Our health is fine — and that is something to be immensely grateful for.

Life throws curves and challenges at all of us — no one is exempt. It is a question of how we react, how we persevere and how adaptable and flexible we allow ourselves to be as we traverse the winding road.

It is essential not to let yourself sink from all the constant hurdles. And sometimes a string of relatively petty hurdles does begin to seem like an insurmountable mountain of challenge.

Keep your sights set on something uplifting, whatever you can envision. The other night a friend posted a video of a sunrise on a beautiful, serene and unpopulated beach. For five minutes I watched the sun rise gently and brilliantly in this video and was amazingly soothed by it.

Take small, sweet moments that feel good to you and expand them. Stay present when there is a task to be done and don’t go into the “woe is me” frame of mind for that does not serve anyone. Ultimately, it will not help you feel any better.

Know that life flows and shifts in a constant tide of ups and downs, but enjoy the times when the sailing is smooth — let yourself deeply bask in the gratitude for those moments. Know that you would not be able to appreciate those feel-good moments if you don’t occasionally experience the opposite.

In the grander perspective, take some comfort in the fascinating and multi-textured weave that makes up the fabric of your life…

Affirmations:

  • I handle challenges that arise with ease and perseverance.
  • I learn important lessons from all phases and aspects of my unique life path.
  • By remaining flexible in attitude, I peacefully and wisely navigate any turbulent waves that head in my direction.
Sep
03

Positive Attitude – Appreciation in Your Everyday Life

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Do the people around you appear to complain more often than not? Does the “woe-is-me” state of mind seem pervade your surrounding reality?

Perhaps you tend to be the “everything bad happens to me” type yourself at times?

Or does the opposite state of mind seem to be more of the norm — being uplifted and feeling joyful appreciation for much of what shows up in your life?

I believe that more people generally focus on their sense of things not going well than going well, on the negative stuff that befalls us rather than on what shines with genuine beauty and exhilaration in our lives.

Take this conversation I had with my elderly mother-in-law who lives 1000 miles away from me. I hadn’t spoken to her in a few days, and I cheerfully made the call to catch up. But I innocently decided to ask: “How are you doing?” Well, the response I got that particular day was shot out at me “I’m disgusted, I’m depressed, I’m frustrated…” etc. You get the picture.

I asked her what was going on and it came down to the reality that macular degeneration has left her “legally blind.” But she is not blind — she can actually still see, though of course not well. But she keeps going to doctor after doctor on the impossible quest of finding a miracle to restore her vision.  “It’s time to stop going to all these doctors — they are only taking your money. And it is time to start dealing and adapting to it.” I reasoned with her, but she was not happy with that. “How would you like to be blind?” she snapped at me.

“What about those people who are blind their entire lives and still live happy, productive lives? Listen, you are eighty-something years old — you have had your vision almost your entire life. You still have quality of life and your aide [she has a fantastic home health aid] can and does help you. You mind is amazingly clear and lucid. Now it is time to focus on how to handle the tasks you need to get done.”

Of course, the point I was trying to get across was to be appreciative of having the amazing experience of now being an octogenarian, having a loving family and still living on her own. I went on to give her a gentle, caring “speech” on trying to cultivate a more positive, appreciative attitude — one that includes adaptability as well. And we also talked about practical ideas — such as a powerful, illuminated magnifying glass.

The next day I had a voicemail message from her and in a bit of a sheepish tone she had said: “I’m feeling much better today!”

Life is not always easy to navigate. Each stage brings its own set of unique challenges. But it is essential all along the way to really find those strong moments of appreciation. Focusing on gratitude always seems to bring in more of the same. It buoys us up, lifts our spirits and gives us the emotional prowess to forge ahead in a positive, optimistic way!

So think about your own habits and thinking — do you make consistent time for appreciation? Do you seize a moment and just inhale the reality of your blessings of the present?

I personally need to do more inner work on the theme of appreciation myself. But sometimes I just get caught up in the moment, and am absolutely flooded with an exquisite sense of immense gratitude. Sometimes it is just when I am doing Reiki for someone, whether friend or client. How beautiful and fortunate I feel to be in that space of letting this beautiful, beneficial energy flow. Or even surrounded by my sweet pets — sometimes the simplicity of their unconditional love just tugs at my heartstrings and I am completely in appreciation for their being in my life.

So how does one go about bringing more gratitude into their life experience?

1) Observe and note it down! Many people keep “gratitude journals” — whether it be the old spiral notebook or an app on your smartphone or tablet. Write down three to five things you are grateful for each day — or each week, whatever feels right for you.

2) Just choose “random moments of gratitude.” Make sure that each day you stop and feel the appreciation twice a day — or more. Even if it is for but a minute, it will uplift you and infuse your day with a boost of positivity!

3) Each night before you go to sleep, just focus on those things that stir up appreciation within your heart and mind. Particularly occurrences of that day for which you are appreciative. Make an effort to focus on each, replaying or visualizing those moments clearly. (Note how you feel when doing so — it usually will make you radiantly happy.)

4) Mirror work – best done at night. Speak to yourself in the mirror (perhaps strange at first, but very powerful if you do this regularly) and appreciate YOU and your blessings of the day verbally.

5) Share your gratitude with someone! Make that extra effort to just let others know about your appreciation, whether it be for something that they have done, something that you have experienced that day, or just something that creates a sense of bold appreciation within you. People enjoy hearing positive musings on gratitude because they feel joyful from the listening.

So do make an extra effort to bring an a powerful sense of appreciation into your life on a regular basis. I have a sneaking suspicion it just might bring in more joy, more abundance and more overall life satisfaction…

Affirmations:

  • I make time to cultivate thoughts and feelings of appreciation.
  • I acknowledge the blessings in my everyday life with supreme gratitude.
  • I appreciate all the goodness and positivity that flows my way from a supportive, abundant Universe.
  • An attitude of gratitude opens the door to the flow of more joy and abundance in my life.
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Aug
04

Positive Living – Being in the Now Moment

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Focusing on the breath of the very now moment. Does that thought of “just being” resonate with you, intrigue you? Does it suggest to you some quiet, downtime for yourself?

Or is life too fast-paced, complicated and ultra-busy for you to want to even think about this concept?

Life here on planet Earth is a full-bodied, multi-faceted adventure, especially in the big cities (and certainly here on Long Island where I live.) The pace of life gives us so much to take care of, to accomplish. And we often feel driven to do, do, do. Our schedules are filled to the brim with tasks of all varieties.

I always think about that old cartoon that read “Nobody wants their epitaph to read ‘I should have spent more time at the office.'” And maybe a modern version would be that nobody wants their epitaph to read, “I should have spent more time on my smartphone, tablet, etc.” Why are we so tied to these technological playthings? Believe me, I am as guilty as anyone with this at times.

But these devices are only one aspect of an ultra-busy lifestyle.

It is essential to seek some downtime, time to just “be.” Time to tune in to your own core essence. Time to just have the emotional freedom to unplug, relax and just “chill.”

You need to make that time, carve that time carefully. Make sure you take care of YOU. Give yourself that energetic break from the fast-moving current of life.

Sometimes, I just sit (not even meditating) contemplating and letting my thoughts deliciously wander. Not paying attention to the clock. Then I feel guilty about squandering or wasting time, not being productive. But fortunately, I give myself permission to “veg out” and just plop myself into the now moment. Not letting that gush of thoughts about what needs to be done interrupt me.

And I focus on the exquisiteness of:

Just being.

Just being me.

Just being me in the moment.

Make sure to take these breaks and just spend time being present, even if it is just ten minutes — though longer is better. Which means that you release the busy chatter from your mind. Particularly important to release difficult thoughts. Brush them aside. (And make sure all devices, including the TV, are off for this period.)

You can meditate if you wish — in any way that feels comfortable or right to you. Or spend time in quiet contemplation.

Strive to do this every single day. You will reap the calming, feel-good benefits.

It will help alleviate and reduce stress levels.

It will help ground you, give you focus.

And it will help you glide joyfully into the stream of well-being.

Although I posted the following video several years ago, its message is very apropos to this post. If you have not seen it before, please check it out. It is only 3 minutes long, and hopefully will give you a brief respite of peace and being present. And if you have seen it before, let yourself go back again and take a few moments to just relax with it.  (Affirmations are within the video!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGwNThRH9vg

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Jun
30

Self Empowerment – Expressing and Releasing Difficult Emotions

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Admit it — you get angry, frustrated and raise your voice on occasion. Or maybe too often. I am guilty of it at times, even though some people think because of my career path that I must be completely “zen” and calm always. Oh, how I wish that were true. And believe me, I am consistently doing the inner work of striving to maintain a sense of tranquility, non-reaction and the skill of being non-judgmental. But it can take a lifetime (and perhaps several) to learn some of these lessons.

As we are all members of this particular species — that is, human — and I say that with a smile, we are all prone to a broad spectrum of feelings, thoughts, behaviors and self-expression.

It is NORMAL to get cranky, angry, sad, frustrated and the like…

It is NORMAL to be dramatically reactive in certain situations…

We all have learned behaviors, ones we’ve brought with us from childhood on. Personally, any snapshot slice-of-life picture of my own childhood was far from peaceful and harmonious. My family thrived on drama and raised voices. For them, yelling was a socially acceptable expression of whatever frustration they were feeling at the moment. I thought that familial yelling and screaming was something everyone experienced and grew up with. I was quite surprised to learn such is not the case.

It has taken many years to un-learn some of my own ingrained behaviors. So, in my attempt to veer off into the other end of the spectrum and be this perfectly harmonious individual, I have discovered THAT is not normal either. So where is the balance? How can one achieve the middle ground? After all, to be totally zen, I think one would have to become a monk and live on a mountain in Tibet.

After much pondering and life experience, I have come to some conclusions.

1) I do believe it is important to slow down in life, as best one can, despite all the rushing and ultra-busyness of modern life. Slowing down allows you to catch your breath, get in touch with your inner guidance and also tap in to the wellspring of peacefulness or at least some semblance of calm that lies within.

2) DO strive to do the inner work of seeking and embracing tranquility/harmony/etc in whatever way will work for you individually. Maybe that is meditation, yoga, deep breathing, taking a walk, whatever feels right and peaceful to you.

3) It is okay to have periods of more dramatic and excited “self-expression” or negative self-expression. Permit yourself to raise your voice and show some anger or frustration if you truly need to do so and allow this personal release.

4) However, when you do need to release difficult emotion, keep it brief. If it should end up being directed at someone, be sure that person understands that you are having “a moment.” And that you still care about them. (And I am not condoning taking your frustration out on another, but I am acknowledging that as humans, we sometimes do this.) But try to keep any outbursts as something that you personally are experiencing as opposed to inflicting upon another.

One example from my own life was on particular occasion when my husband developed what I consider “domestic amnesia.” Which means he totally forgets about and distances himself from anything at all that may need to be done in the house, even small things that he is usually responsible for. I love him and he is a terrific husband, but occasionally… So this one time he was supposed to take care of something, actually a few somethings — and didn’t — and of course, I was feeling very frustrated. So I definitely got a little huffy and raised my voice but felt so guilty afterward. And then I felt guilty about feeling guilty. Because I do take care of most everything in the house since he works long commuter hours in Manhattan. So maybe he needed to hear what I had to say and maybe I needed to say it in a louder voice to get his attention and make a shift in his approach to taking care of a few things…

But my outburst was brief and it is infrequent that I allow such behavior to surface. And in the end, my husband DID respond to my requests and became more helpful.

The bottom line is that it is okay to permit some negative feeling to be expressed. Just don’t bathe in it, wallow in it and let it last interminably. Don’t become a victim to this behavior. And don’t let someone else bear the serious brunt of it. Let it come to the surface and then flow out… and be done with it.

And DO make every effort to find other constructive and gentler ways of expressing these emotions, channeling them into release before you get to the breaking point…

So acknowledge your “human-ness” and know that encompasses a broad perspective of self-expression. Choose the path of finding your personal voice in your own life — expressing your authentic self on an emotional level but in a way that you show up as a kind, caring, calm, considerate individual.

Affirmations:

  • I embrace an attitude of peacefulness and do the inner work of bringing tranquility and balance into my everyday life experience.
  • I acknowledge my need to express negative emotions and I do so as gently and constructively as possible.
  • My inner guidance helps me express my thoughts in a clear, candid yet tactful way.
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